a list

It’s yet another rainy day, sigh. The skies have pressed down dark and unyielding for days now. Saturday afternoon I caved under the pressure and took to the sofa where I languished away the hours. Each day since has been a battle in which I struggle to think up meaningful activities and then do them in hopes of Making It Through.

They’re calling for sun on Friday. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.


Pre-lunch, we watched the first episode of Cosmos, a TV series that a friend from church loaned to us. It’s a well-done series (though I supposed I should withhold judgement until I actually see the whole series). My youngest was actually moved to tears over the mistreatment of Bruno, and all the children got their minds sufficiently blown. Afterwards, when I asked the kids if they wanted boiled potatoes mixed in with their tuna salad and then got mad at them for their rudely-voiced opinions, my older son said, “Mom, in the grand scheme of things, does this really matter?”


We won the lice war. At least, she’s been clear for nearly a week. Once the sun comes out, I’ll do one more round of washing of sheets and blankets, yet another head check, and call it good.

It was the weirdest thing, though. She had a pretty fierce case—I’m not even going to tell you how many lice I pulled out of her head and stuck on masking tape because you would be very, very disturbed—but no one else in our family had them. We share hairbrushes, towels, bedding, hats, everything, and yet the rest of us remained perfectly clear. If lice are supposed to be so contagious, what’s up with that?

Also, we still don’t know how she got them. Best we can guess, she contracted them at camp several months ago.


I ate rice for breakfast (and then I ate it again for lunch). It’s just sausage links that I sliced open to make bulk sausage that I then fried up in bacon grease with onions and peppers before adding leftover brown and white rice and some cooked peas. I ate it while standing at the kitchen sink watching my daughter canter Isaac in the upper pasture.

In other food, we finished up the chocolate peanut butter cake leftover from the birthday party at the barn. I have a big bowl of cut up butternuts waiting to go into the oven once the granola finishes baking. This pumpkin pie-that-isn’t is calling my name. But where to find maple cookies for the crust?

Also, the donut party is this weekend. Or it will be, if it ever stops raining.


Ha. You didn’t think we’d make it through a whole blog post without a picture of a horse did you?

Here’s the thing. I find it exhilarating to watch my older daughter fly through the field on the back of a horse. The pounding hooves and streaming tail: there’s something both primal and magical about it. Freedom and power and speed…

I don’t know. Whatever it is, it makes me happy.


I finished Still Alice, a book about a woman who gets early onset Alzheimer’s. It’s eye-opening and terrifying. What a horrible disease. Now I’m reading Half Broke Horses, the sequel to The Glass Castle.

And we finished up yet another family read aloud: The Giver. Not sure what to start next. Any suggestions?

This same time, years previous: three vignettes: my husband, puzzling it out, and going up.


  • Apettis in Oregon

    I agree with Greta if you enjoyed The Giver read the rest of the books in the series. They are fun reads. And Isaac & your daughter's journey through the winter deserves regular posts:)

  • Anonymous

    Yay for Half Broke Horses! Resilience. What you might need before the rain goes away! And, then winter, oh my!
    You need to provide a list for us of what you have already read with your kids. Though, I suspect you have read so much, I probably couldn't contribute much to the conversation! Lauralli

  • Unknown

    Jen — we are still in the end stages of a lice battle here in Nairobi as well. It's the worst! We just started reading another Lowry book, "Number the Stars" — she's amazing, eh? We've really enjoyed the Christopher Paul Curtis books, the one set in the freed slave settlement in Canada is especially great for a range of ages.

  • mommychef

    Maple cookies are everywhere in Canada…even duty-free sells them at the airport. I would send you some but once drowned under the paper work required for sending food items over the border. Try some golden Oreos laced with maple syrup but you might want to dial back the sugar a little. Weirdly, we can't get golden Oreos here…I cross border shop for those so if you ever want to meet up in Plattsburgh, I'll trade you!

  • Greta Bucher

    The Giver is the first of four – I just finished reading the three sequels, and I thought they were pretty good. Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son are their titles, and all of them are pretty fast reads. There are a few more interesting ideas about who we are and how we work, through the rest of the series, so if you haven't read them before I'd say they're worth a look-see.

  • karen

    Have you yet read "The Inconvenient Indian" by Thomas King? It is an enjoyable, thought-provoking, narrative challenging book that everyone who calls this continent home should read.

    Oh, and I'm entirely in love with your daughter having that horse. What an amazing responsibility/privilege she's worked her way into.

  • Margo

    My sister in law once went to the doctor with what she thought was a scalp infection and the dumb man gave her an antibiotic. She woke up a week later, sobbing in frustration and scratching her scalp raw and my brother actually looked where she was pointing and yes, LICE. And he didn't get them either.

    Anyway, we are reading Bed-knob and Broomstick aloud with our kids. Just finished the chapter on cannibals last night and the kids were huddled close with big eyes. It's great. Mary Norton also wrote The Borrowers, which I adore.

  • Anonymous

    Sometime in the past few days I read that Listerine is good for getting rid of head lice. Followed by a rinse of equal parts vinegar and water. The vinegar rinse makes the hair strands so slippery the lice don't have anything to cling to. This was a newspaper column by a pharmacist…..Love all the horse pictures. He is a beautiful animal! ~Sherry

  • Lynn

    You can call the lice "good" (all clear) after a week but keep checking once a week until it's 3 weeks out– for all of you. They have a long incubation period. Been there, done that 3 agonizing times. :knocks on wood: haven't since.

    Love the book choices. 🙂 If you haven't read Winter Garden, that's a good you-book, not so much a family book.

    Hope the sun comes out.

    • Jennifer Jo

      Oh yes, I'll be checking for a good long while. When I say "all clear" I mean that she'll be allowed to wear her hair loose.

      I haven't read Winter Garden. I'll look into it—thanks!

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