A Fall Day At a Park

Several weeks ago my mom’s sister, Janeil, visited for two wonderful weeks. She traveled from her home state of California, a lovely place to visit her, but far away. These pictures were taken on a Saturday in October at Fort Saint Clair State Park in Eaton, Ohio. My grandma was there, along with my mom and my mom’s brother Corey, and his family. We had a picnic. We walked. We played at the playground and threw leaves. It was such a nice day, both weather-wise and family wise.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” —Albert Camus

Woodfill’s Big Top Festival (Year Three)

I love everything about this festival. I love how kid-centered it is. I love how inexpensive it is (although as the kids get older, we’re discovering it becomes more and more costly). I love how everything is run by volunteers. I love how all the money earned benefits the school. I love how excited my kids get over cheap plastic rings and lollipops. I love that we can walk to it. I love the community feel of it. I love that afterwards, we can walk to a local park and meet good friends and then walk to Anita’s with said good friends for good Mexican food.

I spent most of my childhood living in houses on land. That land was surrounded by more land and everything was so open. Views, from everywhere, included fields and tree lines and yard, yard, yard. Often, in Fort Thomas, I feel closed in. The neighbors (as much as I love them) seem too close. The traffic from 27 sounds too loud. The lights from the gas station on the corner seem too bright. The fact that there’s a pseudo-junkyard behind our privacy fence, which you can see from our second-floor windows when the leaves are down, drives me insane. I lament how few stars I can see—my children can see—and that it’s impossible for my children to play tag football or softball in my backyard. As much as I’m crazy-in-love with my house, I wish I could move it to LAND. (Although, while I’m wishing for things, a first-floor laundry room and garage would be nice, too.)

But there are advantages to living so close to the city. A short work commute for Andy (something I strongly believe in). Sidewalks. The ability to walk to parks, restaurants, the library, school, the local Y, farmers’ markets and shops. A sense of community (we will long be newcomers in Fort Thomas but already I feel like I know—and am friends with—many). Accessibility to everything Cincinnati has to offer (the zoo, museums, restaurants, sports, the river). Afternoons and evenings spent like the one pictured here.

It could be better, I say. But I think, no matter where I was, I’d think it could always be better. I’m working on that, about myself. It’s slow-going. And the truth is, it could also, easily, be a lot worse. Practicing, working on, gratefulness.

“The grass is not, in fact, always greener on the other side of the fence. Not at all. Fences have nothing to do with it. The grass is greenest where it is watered. When crossing over fences, carry water with you and tend the grass wherever you may be.” —Robert Fulghum


My HipstaPrint 0 (1)

The boys didn’t nap today, which doesn’t make any sense because they didn’t sleep well last night. The weather, however, was thankfully, unusually warm so right about the time we were all ready to kill each other we put on our shoes and coats and walked to the small park down the street.

We were having a lovely time at the park … until I looked at Sophie climbing up a ladder and noticed that the back of her pants were soaking wet. She didn’t even tell me she had had an accident.

So I told her we had to go home. I reminded her that she was almost 4. “No, we cannot come back to the park after we change your pants,” I said. “I’m not very happy with you right now,” I added.

Halfway home she ran over to some grass and picked a dandelion (in January). She spotted another. “No,” I said. “We’re not stopping every 10 seconds to pick dandelions and pinecones. You’re soaking wet. We have to go home.” I reminded her that I wasn’t happy.

We walked for a little while as she clung to her little dandelion.

“Mama?” she said.

“Yes?” I said.

“Do you know who I picked this dandelion for?” she said.

“Who?” I said.

“You,” she said.

I thanked her. We kept walking.

A few moments later she said, “Does that make you just a little bit happier?”

It is so difficult to be mad at her sometimes.

“It gives one a sudden start in going down a barren, stony street, to see upon a narrow strip of grass, just within the iron fence, the radiant dandelion, shining in the grass, like a spark dropped from the sun.” —Henry Ward Beecher

Meeting Friends at Keehner Park












About a month ago my good friend Shruti was in town from Texas, along with her husband, Arun, and their two beautiful children, Rashmi and Naveen. So we, along with my good friend Aimee and her husband Jon, met at Keehner Park. Shruti’s brother Uday and his wife Alisa also were in town and so we were able to meet their beautiful daughter Sophia.

It was hot—oh, so hot—but we had a most enjoyable afternoon (even after Sophie had her first public accident, in the playground tunnel nonetheless—thankfully a ridge of plastic kept Rashmi from getting wet). We ate brownies and watermelon and exchanged belated birthday presents. The visit was too short. It always is.

“There is magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound.” —Diana Cortes