And Out Like a Lamb

Spring has sprung, and the Brooke is running . . .

. . . everywhere. This time of year always feels especially hectic for our family. It seems like there’s a different kid event every night. Meanwhile, the Dire Spectre of Summer is looming over the horizon, threatening to cancel all my personal productivity, so I’m scrambling to get as much writing done as possible before school gets out.

Every summer I tell myself I’m going to write every day, and every summer it never happens. It’s nearly impossible for me to focus with kids running around and squabbling — or worse, zoning out on YouTube. (Ugh, if I could throw Jeff’s school-issued Chromebook in a lake, I would.)

BUT that’s getting ahead of myself. In between all the scurrying, there’s been much to enjoy.

Eleanor did a great job in her school’s production of “The Internet is Distrac– Oh Look a Kitten!” She played a creepy Kermit-obsessed Wikipedia contributor. Her friend Esther played the lead, a kid who is desperately trying to finish the last paragraph of her essay about “The Great Gatsby.” (Eleanor’s character changes the Gatsby wiki entry to say that the green light represents Kermit. “That’s not weird! YOU’RE weird!”)

The next day, I made my annual pilgrimage to see the cherry blossoms at the UW. Laura is moving away to California this summer (I am very sad about this) and in all her years of living in Seattle, she’s never seen the cherry blooms, so I invited her to come along with me.


Brian was able to walk over from the hospital and say hello, too. It’s such a nice, fresh way to say hello to spring. It always feels like a big public party.


And of course I had a double-header: the afternoon after the cherry blossoms, I climbed in my car to head off to the annual Northwest Pilgrims retreat. We had a much smaller turnout than usual this year (about 55 people instead of 80+) and . . . I don’t know. I shouldn’t use attendance size as a measure of how successful the retreat is. But it’s hard not to. The tone of the retreat felt “off” to me, as well. For the first time, I began to question whether or not I should be there. Perhaps it’s just me feeling burned out on organizing the retreat every year. This was the sixth year in a row for me. Maybe I need to take a break. Eh.

It was still fun to network with other curious, questioning women from all over. I made a Captain Marvel hat for the silent auction. The first attempt turned out enormous:

So I unravelled it and tried again. Better, I think (modeled by Julia):

Here’s something hilarious: on the Sunday of the retreat weekend, Katie went to ward choir practice, and once again the director brought cookies for everyone to share. Katie grabbed an extra for me, but on the way home, she decided to take a little bite. Soon she was saving half a cookie for me . . . and then a quarter.

When I arrived home, Katie handed me this:


I remarked that it sounded like something from a “Frog & Toad” story. But Brian suggested that in a real F&T story the cookie would be completely gone, and I’d only get an empty bag full of good intentions. So I guess I should be grateful that I got this much. `

Spring is still springing, despite the absence of cookies. Our main seasonal attraction is this guy:


This is Mr. Robin, and he and his mate built their nest stupidly close to our dining room window. Ergo, Mr. Robin keeps seeing his reflection in the window, thinks it’s a rival bird, and tries to chase him off. All day long this bird is attacking our window, so we’ve got a fairly constant thump-thump-thump in the background as we go about our day.

We’ve tried putting bird cutouts and other deterrents on the glass, but it’s not working. I’m worried that Mr. Robin will injure himself. We’ll have to wait and see if the eggs hatch soon.

In the meanwhile, we’ve been having a bit of Arts Extravaganza lately. Since I’ve started a better household budgeting program, we’ve been able to set aside money for going to more performing arts events. Eleanor and I went to see “Marie, Dancing Still,” a new musical at the 5th Ave. Theater which many people predict will be headed to Broadway soon (it was written by the people who wrote Ragtime and directed by director of The Producers). It’s based on the statue “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” by Degas, and imagines the friendship that developed between the artist and the young dancer who was his model.

I thought it was a pretty good show! What made it stunning was how they used digital projections to make the scenery look like Impressionist paintings. I was able to snap these images from intermission and the curtain call:

Meanwhile, Jeff finished another run on the tech crew of the school drama club. He was the spotlight operator for their production of “Newsies.”


Kristen and Sven got to come watch a matinee with Eleanor and I last weekend. The tech crew came on stage for the final curtain call and did a little line dance together, which was really fun. I’m so happy that Jeff has found his funky tribe with the theater people.


(Oh, and Kristen and Sven got to come over for a massive dish of paella afterwards. I put William in the picture for scale)


Finally, this weekend Eleanor turned fourteen! She asked if we could do an “escape room at home” party. I found a company that sells downloadable escape-room kits, and we chose the zombie-themed one.

The scenario was as follows: the girls were trapped in a hotel room surrounded by pizza-eating zombies, and the last surviving pizza was locked in the oven! To escape, they had to get the pizza, get a weapon, unlock the door, and then shoot their way to freedom.


The puzzles were . . . uneven. The best part was the end, when a “zombie invasion” required a shootout. Paper zombies were lined up for a shooting gallery, and the girls took turns firing at them with a Nerf gun.




Can’t have a birthday chronicle without Cake Commentary. This was the “She Loves Me” daisy cake from Rose’s Beautiful Cakes, split and filled with lemon curd and blueberries. Divine.


The festivities continued the next day, as Eleanor and William got to meet their “fur-st cousin,” Maggie Murderface, at Aunt Kristen’s house the next day. We then embarked on a yarn-shopping expedition (I’m planning to knit Kristen a sweater) followed by a lunch of savory waffles:


We then finished the afternoon watching Pacific Northwest Ballet’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was very fun, even if it didn’t have the play-within-a-play. (I guess that would be difficult to do in ballet mime.)


Only one more week before Spring Break . . .here’s to hoping we survive the carpooling madness!

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