23 April 2017

Might We Actually Take A Vacation?

By: Jon Katz

Might We Actually Take A Vacation?

Well, a shocking idea has taken hold in the farmhouse. Maria and I are actually talking about taking a vacation in the Fall, after the October Open House.

In our decade together, we have taken a number of short and weekend trips, and two trips to Disney World under very divergent circumstances. The first was a desperate escape, it was a brutal winter and we both had just left long marriages and were in pieces. The second was a gift given to me by people in my online creative group after my Open Heart Surgery.

Disney World is fun, especially for kids, but I have to confess that I have outgrown it. It is frightfully expensive, insanely crowded and overbooked, and for us, anything but restful. Since then, we have not had anything like a real vacation and since both work all of the time, usually seven days a week, it is time.

We talked about Maine, but after browsing online for a bit, I told Maria is didn't feel like it was the right place for us.. – also very touristy, crowded and lobster-centric and crafts obsessed. And expensive.

We have often talked plaintively about taking a vacation together, but never mustered the will to do it.

I have always wanted to take Maria to Florence, and she has always wanted to take me to New Mexico. Since it has become more apparent every day that I will not be able to take Maria to Florence in this lifetime, I suggested we go to New Mexico. I am drawn to the desert, to seeing George O'Keefe's house, to taking photos.

She was thrilled, it was, I think, what she most wanted to do. We will try to learn to relax (I will blog from there at least once a day, sending photos in the early dawn) and stare out at the desert, visit museums, walk and read. We have found a wonderful hotel in a small village a couple of hours outside of Sante Fe.

There are very cheap flights and exotic and inexpensive places to stay.

We're thinking eight days. We will have all the requisite freaking out and money discussions, but it is a good thing to do, it is an essential part of being productive and creative and engaged with the world. Sometimes you just have to step outside of yourself and sometimes, you just need to relax, and let the body and mind re-charge.

This is hard for us to do, we feel guilty about taking trips, being away from the farm. We're also very excited by the idea.

We have a wonderful kennel nearby for the dogs, and good people to watch over the farm. Life is, in fact, short, and I will be dead for a long time. I think I'll love New Mexico, and Maria already does. Win-win.

So, barring some change of heart, I think we will do it in late October or November. Our first real vacation in some years. We both know it's something we want to do and need to do. I write a lot about mercy and empathy, I told Maria it is time to be merciful to ourselves.

Posted in General

The Changing Landscape

By: Jon Katz

The Changing Landscape

I see my life is a landscape sometimes, and my job as a writer and an artist is to capture the changing landscape. This morning, I got up early (I try and let Maria sleep late on Sundays) to feed the animals and do the morning farm chores. I dragged out new high chair out, we assembled it last night for Robin who is coming in a month for a long weekend.

Friday, our house filled with boxes and crates – a crib, mattress, high chair and car seat, among other things. I want to have most things up here so that Emma doesn't have to bring them up from New York. She is fussy about the diapers, she is buying them online and shipping them here.

This is all a sign of the ever changing landscape, otherwise known as live. It has been many years since I assembled a crib and high chair or had one around. This is a part of my life now, and I welcome it and embrace it, as I try and do with change.

Because change is the landscape of our lives, and we either accept it or fight it or lament it, and that makes life a hard and joyless slog. I often tell myself in the morning that I am on the earth for a very short time, and I will be dead for a very long time,a and I do not intend to spend a minute of it speaking poorly or my life on Facebook, Twitter or anywhere else.

I moved the high chair all around before I found the right spot to photograph it, I'll do the same thing for the car seat once we get it out of the box later today.

Posted in General
22 April 2017

Robin’s Coming: The High Chair

By: Jon Katz

The High Chair

I am fortunate to have Maria for many reasons, one is that she is so much handier than I am. She put the high chair for Robin together in a few minutes. Emma said she didn't think we needed a high chair, , but I think it makes sense, Robin will have some secure place to eat, play and watch when she is downstairs and not getting hauled around the farm or the town. We hope to bring her to Pompanuck Farm to see the goldfish there, and also to the Gulley Farm to see the cows and goats and odd creatures who live there.

The baby monitor is the last thing to come, and that will arrive in a day or so. I just have to stuff the crib with a few more toys and we are all set for Robin and Emma.

Posted in General

Robin’s Coming. Putting The Crib Together.

By: Jon Katz

The Crib

Robins coming at the end of May, but I began ordering things for her visit this week to make sure we are ready. The living room filled up with big boxes this week. I looked for the folding crib we wanted and found it on Amazon. I spent an hour poring through the reviews, sent the link to Emma for approval, and also ordered sheets, a mattress pad, a car seat, and a high chair.

I like the reviews and comments on this L.A Baby Deluxe folding crib, people said it was sturdy, easy to fold up and store, and mostly assembled. For once, this was true, it took less just a few minutes to put it together, mostly it was adding the lockablle wheels.

We assembled the crip up in Maria's home office on the second floor, the room doubles as a guest room.

I like the crib, it is sturdy, simple to fold up, just the ticket. We stocked it with a stuffed fox Robin might like for company I'm sure there will be other things when she comes in about a month. Fate considered stealing the fox, she was threatened with destruction.

Maria did most of the assembly, and she had no trouble at all. Fate tried to steal the fox we put in the crib. I'm thinking i ought to get a baby monitor so that Emma can come downstairs and sit in peace after Robin goes to sleep. The monitors range from $17 to $499 and I found some of them creepy and excessive and intrusive. I got a fairly simple one, it has a video image and sound.

About $49.99. We put the high chair together but can't figure out how to fold it up. No rush, we have time. The only other things I might need are diapers and wipes.

My goal is to help Emma get some  rest – she is pretty and understandably worn out – and show Robin the farm and her first donkeys and chickens and barn cats. The doctor in Brooklyn says she needs to be exposed to real dirt so that she can build up her immune system. She's coming to the right place.

Things with Robin have gone about as I expected them to. I enjoy her when I see her, and feel a strong connection to her. I am not deeply involved in her life, and that feels comfortable to me. People tell me that I am over the top, but honestly, I don't think so.

I am not an over-the-top kind of person, I am right where I want to be, loving her and  yet also  living my own life, as she is living hers. The distance keeps her bounded, and Emma and Jay take wonderful care of her. She and I will make mischief together, she has a pirate gleam in her eye, and is fun-time girl.

That's what feels right to me. People also claim she looks like me, but I have learned that people see what they want to see, and mostly, she looks like her mother and father.

No baby girl ought to look like her grandfather, and I am have never been called adorable in my entire life.

Posted in General

Bob And Fate

By: Jon Katz

Bob And Fate

I let Fate out of the car at the dump, she knows it well, and she made a beeline for Bob, who has a biscuit waiting for her. Fate has friends everywhere in town – at the hardware store, the bookstore, the dump. She is crazy about people, especially Bob.

Posted in General