Friday, August 24, 2012

People Watching

For several years I've been in restaurants, catching flying splatters of food and asking my child to sit still and eat, while I enviously eyed those headphone-wearing, laptop-toting, coffee-drinking solo patrons relaxing around me.  Tonight I am one of them, and I have to say, it's just as awesome as I imagined.  These are the types of things I took for granted before I lost the option to finish a cup of coffee while it is still hot.  So here I sit, ignored by the constant flow of people coming and going, and have very wisely switched to decaf.

Even though I am attempting to "escape" for a little while, I notice that I keep getting distracted from my solitary screen-staring by the real life going on around me.  The young couple with a new baby and a two-year-old taking turns eating and parenting, strained smiles and sleepy eyes.  The very serious-looking teenager sitting with her parents and talking about very serious-looking things.  The twenty-something guy who breaks into a grin as he texts or tweets or posts from his cell phone while waiting for his dinner.  The fellow laptop guy who asks me to watch his stuff as he gets up from the table, since I must be much less likely to swipe his things while I am busy with my own.

Then there are those that catch my attention because they hit a little closer to home.  The high-pitched story-telling I can hear from the kindergartner talking to her mom about school.  Watching her bounce around her table and eyeball my coffee as her mom coaxes her back.  I can't help but smile at her, which I'm sure isn't helping mom's case.  I always find it comforting when I see other little people floating around and other parents futilely trying to pull them back, because at least I know it's not just me who can't do it.  I also find it both comforting and sad to hear the exasperated mom in the bathroom with two girls under 6.  Comforting because the words coming out of her mouth are so very similar to the ones I have heard myself using, sad because they are words like stop, no, child's name in an exhausted whine, repeating the same commands in a louder voice in the hopes that maybe it just wasn't loud enough the first time, etc.  The ugly is always uglier when I see it reflected by someone else.  Thankfully it is quickly followed by compassion and a vow to not be the mom that reminds other moms to stop being so cranky.

We could all learn a thing or two from each other.  I raise my cup to you, exasperated bathroom mom, and hope that you can find yourself restfully pondering other people someday soon.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Something from nothing

Back in April I spent a Sunday afternoon re-potting some houseplants that were long overdue for new homes and dirt.  I am so happy to be writing with good news.  All of the plants are happy and well, and it is still calming to me to know that they have recently been re-potted and the ever present to-do task is done for a while.

First, the most impressive before and after plant.  


And after:

I'd say this one is thriving in it's new home.  And since I'm spending so much time at work lately, I guess it's nice to have it there with me.

But the most exciting progress is with the plant that I named the "5-foot-tall palm-looking-thing," because I still have no idea what the real name is. This is the plant that I couldn't bear to part with even though it clearly was not doing well.  I followed my husband's advice to lop off the top and put it in water and see if we could get the top to grow roots or the trunk to grow sprouts.  The top sat in a vase of water for at least six weeks. It wasn't droopy, but it wasn't growing, either.  Then the trunk got moldy under the plastic bag and nothing else happened and I had pretty much given up on both.  We got back from our summer vacation to Virginia in mid-June to find that the top in the vase had finally sprouted a single, white dot of a root.  Now there is a whole web of roots in the water and I think it is finally ready to have a home in a pot of dirt.

The trunk is even more amazing.  After a few weeks we basically stopped watering it, because the trunk was clearly not going to grow anything.  Probably the only source of water it had was the occasional glass of water being poured in by my three-year-old for fun.  About two weeks ago my husband very excitedly told me that something had sprouted near the trunk.  I have no earthly idea how this thing sprouted new growth from below the dirt with virtually no water, but it did.

The trunk on "lopping day"

And the amazing little sproutlet today:

 I thought I was going to end up losing one plant, and now we've managed to make two.  Never count out the underdog!