The sky was an unearthly blue hung about with underlit clouds and the sliding sun lighting up the entire side of the western sky with rose-pink and golden-yellow tones. As I came out of the neighborhood it suddenly struck me how QUIET it was. No sounds of children playing or laughing carried on the air, no lawnmowers, nothing but a distant hum of traffic. Usually I walk right after work when families are getting home and kids are running rampant in the short window between school/daycare and dinner-homework-bedtime. A flock of wagtails zoomed up from the green field behind the school, tail-pumping their way up through the air, all squeaking away like a sudden flock of rubber dog toys. Behind the daycare the sounds of the earth settled around me: a dove, rustling leaves, buzzing insects. The sky was light but the sun was all behind the grove of trees that hunches over the snail trail. Ahead of me it seemed to loom: a long, darkly overgrown chlorophyll-cooled tunnel. In hot weather walking the snail trail is a cool delight. Now, in the chill of early autumn I wrapped the ends of my jacket sleeves over my hands to warm my cold fingers as I walked.
The whole walk was punctuated by a peaceful feeling of quiet, after a long day spent cooped up in a meeting room with 23 of my colleagues and 2 improv team leaders. All the tall fall flowers are blooming; some of the bright yellow daisies and heady rudbeckia are as tall as I am! And so many of the flowering plants and bushes have had a second wind; honeysuckle have returned and plums and pears and apples are glowing like jewels in all the overflowing fruit trees.
It's only halfway through the week: I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I hope it involves naps or sleeping in. As Martin remarked the other day, this is our first really back-to-normal week. Anders and I both back at work, the kids at school, no houseguest, all the activities started. I don't quite have the weekly routine down yet. Gym days are different than they were last term and I've already forgotten to remind Martin about his piano lesson once (argh) but we're slowly settling into the groove of routine.
Yestereve's barbershop singing get-together was fun, though too short. I've never sung any real barbershop at all, and while this was mostly learning short "tags" it was the first singing I've done since our spring choir term ended in May. Choir is really late starting this fall because we still don't have a leader. :(
Today, during the game and role-playing activities we did a lot of fun exercises revolving around thinking outside of the box, an overworked phrase that most people love to hate, but which still has validity in so many ways. In 2 years, we've jumped from 6 people in our department to 25, with at least 5 more vacant positions to fill. 9 of us in the room were non-Swedes (1 Canadian, 1 Indian, 1 French-Australian, and 6 Americans) and the language of the day was English, as it is more and more even at work with Swedish colleagues. I have rather mixed feelings about that. While all the Swedes I work with speak English so fluently as to be seamless and it's, naturally, much easier and faster for me to communicate and express myself in my native tongue, it feels WRONG somehow to be speaking English at work or with my Swedish colleagues. Several of them, however, speak English with me and the other non-Swedes automatically, WHETHER OR NOT I SPEAK SWEDISH TO THEM, whether out of courtesy or defeat remains to be decided.
Last night after we'd gone to bed, Anders told me about the evening while I was gone and what the kids had been up to. Apparently, at some point, Karin complained in despair that she "looked like a monkey" and got all swooningly upset about it, saying she didn't want to look like a monkey. Anders asked if someone had told her she looked like a monkey, but it seemed that she had decided upon her simianhood herself. (Although I DO refer to both her and Martin occasionally as monkeys, I'm usually referring to their BEHAVIOR, not their looks) "What did you do?" I asked. He had told her that in his opinion she looked just fine and not at all like a monkey, but at that point Martin had chimed in and declaimed that, well, humans WERE evolved from apes so a certain likeness could hardly be avoided. Har! I swear, sometimes it's like having a living Calvin & Hobbes in the house with those two, what with Karin zooming around like a melodramatic maniac and Martin calmly narrating from the sidelines.
Now, I need to get some AWC webwork done and then I absolutely MUST finish the book group book for tomorrow's meeting, which is no punishment as it is calling me every minute I'm away from it. Listen! Can you hear it? "read me read me come and read me"... If any of you have read Haven Kimmel's A Girl Named Zippy and liked it, then I can very much recommend The Liars' Club by Mary Karr (though I'm still only halfway through it and it takes a swooping turn to darkness that floors you even while it keeps you turning pages). And even if you haven't read it, that's 2 good books I recommend to add to your reading list.
Baskets of Brightly Blooming Belated Birthday Wishes to wavebreaker!