Posts Tagged "nature"

Poison Oak Attacks Suburban Mom! and What We Can Learn from Nature

Dear Kid,

It turns out we have poison vines in our backyard. I’m pretty sure it’s not poison ivy (unless it is) and it might be poison oak (unless it isn’t), but whatever its name official might be we can clearly call it the “gives mom itchy bumps” vine. From hell.

I am not including a photo of me because A) I pretty much never include a photo of me, B) there is nothing attractive at all about Poison Vine Bumps, and C) Dad says I look funny with white stuff on my face—not a look I care to immortalize.

Despite having been recently attacked by the Vine of Death and Destruction, Dad and I did some more work outside today.

Now, you know how I feel about wildlife (it belongs in the wild) and how I feel about legs (up to four is quite a sufficient number and anything with more than for is showing off and icky). But I can appreciate when Mother Nature does something cool. Especially if it doesn’t crawl on me.

When you get right down to it, ants creep me out (too many legs). So here are some pretty flowers. At the bottom of the stem (not shown) is one small ant, minding his own business. DearKidLoveMom.comSo there we were, weeding away (complete with Puppy supervision), far from the area where we encountered the vine of torture wielding poisons. I grabbed a piece of dead tree stump to move it—and it moved (amazing, I know). Which is to say part of it moved, revealing a nest of little black picnic ants.

After an obligatory squawk of surprise, I took a good look. I’d uncovered the nursery. Little neonatal ants (I could tell because of their badges and uniforms) were scurrying to move their little charges to safer territory. No one had to yell, no one had to use a bullhorn, no one worried about budgets, no one formed a committee to discuss the best way to recover from the natural disaster (me). They just worked together to get the job that obviously needed to be done, done.

I’m also pretty sure they didn’t develop a post-emergency power point presentation.

Sometimes I think people can learn a lot from nature. Especially when it stays outside where it belongs.

Love, Mom

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Mud, Guts, and Glory. And Cold. And a Celebrity.


Dear Kid,

Last week Pi found out about the Mud, Guts, and Glory race. She felt it was too late to train for the competition, so she invited me to volunteer with her. Being the kind of Mom I am, I said yes before I found out what volunteering involved.

That is how it came to be that at extremely early in the morning o’clock I found myself sitting alone in the woods next to a pile of tires with no pen, no paper, and only 20…19…18 percent left on my phone battery. Not one of my better planned mornings.

The tire carry at Mud, Guts, and Glory 2016. Pre-race and pre-mud.

The tire carry at Mud, Guts, and Glory 2016. Pre-race and pre-mud.

I’d been assigned to the Tire Carry obstacle. Really, Pi and I had both been assigned to the Tire Carry but they were short on volunteers and moved her to the Weaver. Did I mention that one of the reasons I agreed to volunteer was to spend time with her?

There I was, by myself. At an obstacle in the middle of Stage 5 of the race. I had about half an hour until the Elite competitors began and the first one wouldn’t get to my area for an hour and a half or so. Here’s what I was thinking.

My feet are cold. Really cold. How can nature be this cold in May?

I have to find a way to entertain myself. Commune with nature. Yep, there’s nature. Still surrounded by nature. Nature doesn’t seem to be doing anything.

What do people do in nature? Try to relax. People relax in nature, right? I’m not one of those people. People paint in nature. Think about whether you’d like to paint the trees. I’m sure someone would, but not me.

15%.  Why doesn’t nature come with electrical outlets?

The race starts in 10 minutes. They won’t reach my station for more than an hour. That’s a lot of nature to contemplate.

I try harder. I look at the trees. The poison ivy climbing up the nearest one winks at me.

13 percent. 

Dear lord.

I listen to the wind in the trees. I picture a gentle breeze on a hot day. I compare that to the reality of a sub-arctic morning with a 90 mile an hour wind.

The poison ivy smirks. It doesn’t care about the cold.

Did you know that nature doesn’t come with coffee? Who invented a coffee-less nature? Coffee’s natural. There should be a Keurig around here somewhere.

Oh, great. My phone’s dead.

Then out of nowhere, colorful racers burst around the corner, running easily and enjoying the course.

Nope, that didn’t happen. Not even a little bit. I was hoping it would, but it didn’t.

I started pacing on my little platform to warm up. I felt like the polar bear at the Central Park Zoo.

Eventually, The First Runner came sliding silently down the hill.

mgg-hillSerious competitors are focused. Really, really focused. Really, really focused on competing. No small talk here. The First Runner grabbed up two tires, slung them over his shoulders and headed around the loop. At the end, he dumped the tires and off he ran. I cheered for him. He didn’t seem to need the encouragement.

Ten minutes later, runners 2 and 3 arrived. They didn’t seem to need the cheering either.

The poison ivy didn’t bother cheering. Apparently it had already computed the outcome.

Eventually Pi showed up and made the day much more entertaining. She has that effect.

Michelle Warnky of American Ninja Warrior fame was the second woman we saw. She is a rock star. (This is my crazy impressed face.)

As the day went on the course, um, deteriorated. By that I mean where there had been mud, there was MUD. Where there had been slippery, there was treacherous. Where there had been sprinters, there were walkers pulling themselves along by their mud-covered fingernails. (Still, they did more than I did, so I’m not dissing.) Where there had been silence and concentration, there was conversation and camaraderie. It was fun.

The poison ivy continued to show its superior attitude. The Keurig didn’t show up. Neither did the feeling in our toes.

Still, it was a pretty cool day.

Love, Mom


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27 Reasons There Isn’t A Post Today

Dear Kid,

Here are the 27 reasons there wasn’t a post on today.

1. I didn’t wake up in time.
2. I’m still asleep.
3. There wasn’t enough coffee in the house.
4. There wasn’t enough coffee in the world.
5. Dad wanted to go for a hike.
6. Dad wanted to go for a hike at the Cincinnati Nature Center which is about half an hour from our house.
7. Going for a hike with Dad took all of my ability to focus.
8. Going for a hike with Dad took all of my ability to focus which meant I didn’t have a lot left to avoid stepping in the mud.
9. There was a lot of mud.
10. Having the ability to focus on avoiding the mud wouldn’t have helped because there was too much be able to avoid it all.
11. I gave the Puppy a bath yesterday.
12. He went on the hike with us.
13. Did I mention the mud?
14. Cleaning the mud off the Puppy took the teeny tiny bit of concentration I had left.
15. Except we still had to get from the cleaning-off-the-Puppy area to the car.
16. Which required cleaning him up again.
17. And he still doesn’t smell clean.
18. But we had a nice hike.
19. Even though I only burned 16.5 calories the entire time.
20. Then I had to spend a ton of time contemplating the reasons that Moms burn 8 calories an hour while you burn 4 billion calories an hour.
21. Sitting still.
22. Which left me devoid of words. Correction: Devoid of printable words.
23. And then I had to cook.
24. But first I had to go grocery shopping because (as Pi has been saying) there is no food in the house.
25. Unless you’re a puppy.
26. Which I am not.
27. And neither are you.

Which explains why there was no post today. Except now there is.

Love, Mom

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Puppy Conversations | Puppy Rolls in Something Dead

Dear Kid,

When I got home last night, I said hi to Dad, and hi to the Puppy, and “What did This Dog roll in?”

Dad: He’s stinky?
Me: No…
Dad: How do you know he rolled in something?
Me: He’s. Filthy.
Dad: Really? I didn’t notice
Me: Our dog is tan and white. This animal, who has the general shape and attitude of our Puppy, is black and grey. How did you not notice?
Dad: I just didn’t. I wiped his paws when we came in from outside
Puppy: Outside? I like outside
Me: You wiped his paws. You missed his entire body but got his paws. How?? I have no words…You, little boy. Let’s get you cleaned up.
Puppy: I thought we were going outside
Me: Not at the moment. You are filthy. Come here
Puppy: What does “filthy” mean?
Me: It means you need to get cleaned up
Puppy: What is That Thing? I don’t think I like it
Me: It’s a wash cloth. It won’t hurt
Puppy: It doesn’t look like a treat
Me: Come here, baby, it’s just a washcloth
Puppy: It doesn’t smell like a treat either
Me: We need to get you cleaned up
Puppy: I think I will just sit here and stare at you
Me: I have treats
Puppy: You what?
Me: Atta boy
Puppy: I am a good boy
Me: Yes, you—holy moly, what on earth did you roll in?

The minute I touched the black on his fur, the air became perfumed. And by “perfumed” I mean stank to high heaven. Clearly, the boy had rolled in something dead. Very dead. Dead and rotting. Which had then dried on him. As I rehydrated the very dead and rotting whateveritwas, the aroma returned.

It was not (to my nose) enjoyable and it did not improve as I cleaned him.

Puppy: I am a very good sharer
Me: Mmmm
Puppy: If you want to smell this good I can show you where to roll
Me: Mmmm
Puppy: But it would be better if you left the good smell on me
Me: Um, no
Puppy: Because you’re just moving the yummy smell to the washcloth
Me: I know. I may need to burn the washcloth
Puppy: Which means I won’t smell good anymore
Me: Wow this is potent. Into the sink with you. Bathtime.
Puppy: What? How did that happen? I was being so good
Me: Laws of nature
Puppy: Laws are better when they don’t involve baths

Update: The Puppy is clean (for the moment), the washcloth is clean (for the moment), and the dead whateveritwas is still out there. Hoping Dad keeps a better eye on the baby today.

Love, Mom

Who do you know who would enjoy Puppy Conversations? Share the love

See more puppy conversations

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