Monday, July 27, 2009

The Day Before Moving by Tom Atkins

The Day Before Moving

One by one the boxes fill,
books, lamps, pictures,
the arcana of your every day life

carefully put away, packed
with care, packed and marked,
then piled one on the other

in a great mass of cardboard
in the room you used to call the library.

Each day less and less
of a lifetime of accumulation
is still accessible, and yet

you miss far less of it than you imagined.
You are comfortable with a few pans,
a few books, your desk

and your thoughts,
thoughts not of leaving this place
you have lived all your life,

but rather, of where you go,
for your past is always with you,

a warm blanket of memories,
of people you love and who love you
beyond distance, beyond time,

never really left behind.
But what lies ahead! Adventure,
a new place to live,

not just a house, but a heart
whose nooks and crannies await
exploration of the tenderest love.
--Tom Atkins

This picture is of the play structure in the basement living room of the house we'll be moving into next week.
Here's an email I sent out to various people today.:
OK, we have more details about moving in August. For anyone who hasn't heard, we (Karen, Peter and Elizabeth Ahlstrom) will be moving in with my parents (Randy and Rebecca Stay) and my Grandpa (Roland Holt) in a house they're buying in Salem, UT. We'll be able to move in (I think) starting August 7th.

My parents are shipping their containers from Ohio to Salem, UT and they will arrive probably on the 10th of August. There's a LOT of stuff coming, and we'll need help unloading. If anyone is available to help at any time of day or night between the 10th and 15th (or help arranging and unpacking boxes later) in Salem, we'd love to see you.

We need to move several carloads of stuff (and a few larger items that'll need a pickup truck) from our apartment in Provo down to Salem sometime before the 21st, and clean the Provo apartment to check out.

On the 15th, we'll have a moving truck at my Grandpa Roly's house in West Jordan at about 8:30 am and will be filling it until about noon with stuff that Peter and I have stored there for the last few months, and stuff my Grandpa wants to bring down to Salem. That afternoon, we'll be unloading that truck in Salem -- we have to return the truck that night, so we'll need help to get it finished in time. If you can help in either location that day, we'd really appreciate it.

If you can provide babysitting or on site entertainment for my daughter Elizabeth (18 months old) and/or other helpers' children, either on the 15th or for a couple of hours on any of the other days we'll be working, that would allow me to work and direct where my things ought to go without worying about safety for little ones.

If you can help any of these days for any amount of time, please either email or call me so that I can get a count.

Thanks SOOOOOO much!

-Karen Ahlstrom
and Peter, Elizabeth Randy, Becky, and Roland too!

It's been kind of crazy the last few months trying to figure out what the living situation is going to be when we have to leave our apartment in August. When we rented this place in April, we were pretty sure we'd be moving into Grandpa Roly's basement when he returned home after resolving all the details of nursing home bills and such in Ohio. That would give my cousins (who are currently living at Grandpa's house) time to find somewhere new, and give Grandpa time to make sure he really wanted to have us living with him, and give Dad time to finish the basement so it's more than bare concrete with insulation falling from the ceiling.

Then Daddy found a house online and it looked like we'd all be moving to a ginormous duplex style home up on the hill in North Provo. Then he realized that there might be foundation issues that could cause the house to fall down the mountain, so he went looking for other houses. After rejecting an old 1800's chateau and an unfinshed cookie cutter house out in Saratoga Springs, he settled on the Salem house. So after saying they'd move west eventually for 20 years or so, they finally are!

So that meant that we would only be living at Grandpa's house with him until he deciided to sell it (perhaps in the spring). And if we're not going to be living there long, we might just finish one or two rooms instead of the whole basement. And then, maybe we don't have to finish the basement at all -- for a couple of months we could all live upstairs. And finally, let's let the cousins stay at Grandpa's house, and we'll all move in together in Salem!

I'll admit, it's a little scary how fast everything has moved, but I'm glad to know what the plan is for now at least. I've also been frustrated hearing about all the packing and sorting they're doing in Ohio (and how much work there is left to do), while I'm twiddling my thumbs out here trying to fill my days by going to DI and garage sales to find stuff to repair and/or sell on ebay so that I can keep buying more junk. Ah well, there'll be plenty for me to sort and help with next week. If you want to come help too, give me a call!

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson

My Shadow

I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,
And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.
He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;
And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow--
Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;
For he sometimes shoots up taller like an india-rubber ball,
And he sometimes goes so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,
And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way.
He stays so close behind me, he's a coward you can see;
I'd think shame to stick to nursie as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,
I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;
But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,
Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.
--Robert Louis Stevenson

I didn't have much success finding a ball poem in the amount of time Elizabeth was willing to let me look, so I went to my backup list, and found this poem that at least mentions balls.

Since I have a wide computer screen, I've been showing Elizabeth Youtube videos on one half to keep her happy while I check email on the other half. I have several playlists full of old Sesame Street clips, and songs from Disney movies, but what she's especially fascinated by are random videos of Doggies, Kitties and Balls. Dogs and cats are pretty safe to search for on youtube, but balls are more problematic, if you catch my drift.

Thinking about a solution made me remember that my old computer had AfterDark installed, so I hooked it up on the spare desk, and turned on the Marbles! module where marbles drop from the sky and bounce off pegs before settling. When I showed Elizabeth, this was her reaction:

While I'm on the subject, here are a few other fun videos of Elizabeth's ball obsession.

Roll the Ball:

Elizabeth's first strike:

Elizabeth and I played a fun game where she'd roll balls from my knee to my toes where they'd ski jump. In this video, she only does it once before deciding she'd rather kick her legs like the kids doing karate on Sesame Street

Later that day, we found that the chair made an even better ski jump for the balls than my legs do.

So if you'd like to support her addiction, send me links to your favorite youtube videos of Balls, Kitties, Dogs, Nursery rhymes, Finger plays, Vintage Children's Television, and whatever else you think Elizabeth would like to see. Also, if you know of any baby appropriate games (see has some examples of what I'm talking about here) that can be played offline, you can send me those links too!