The Preslar Family

The Preslar Family
December 2017

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dancers and Poets

Recently Troy and I have been attending a poetry group.  It got started unexpectedly - we were enjoying some dinner with a couple of close friends and after the meal, as we sat on their living room floor chatting about our favorite music, I kept glancing at their bookshelf.  I always love to look at a person's bookshelf - the books we keep near us say a lot about us, I believe.  It's fascinating to see what people have on their shelves.  Our friends had several books of poetry on the shelf and finally I pulled one out.  Or maybe it was Troy, I don't remember.  Anyway, poetry came up in conversation and as we talked about a certain poet we all love I suddenly got the idea that we should have a poetry night - just get together and read our favorite poetry or things we've written.  Luckily my idea was well received and not totally laughed at. We invited a couple of other families that we thought might enjoy an evening of reading poetry aloud.  Does it sound pretentious?  If it does, I don't care - it was so much fun.  The different poetry styles that everyone brought to the table were fascinating and it was just a lovely evening.  So lovely, in fact, that we have done it twice more since and have another on the calendar.  I hope it never gets old.

One outcome of this poetry night is that everyone has had the inkling to start writing a little of their own poetry. Even my husband, who after the first poetry night declared that he had never had the urge to write a poem in his entire life, suddenly found himself jotting down a few lines.  It is so awesome.  In fact, I thought one of his poems would fit very well as an accompaniment to some pictures of Bundle's latest dance performance.  I really want to post some pictures but have run out of anything interesting to say about Bundle dancing because she's had like 5 performances in the last 18 months.  And since Troy wrote a poem about his youngest child and her tendency to spin, I thought they'd go nicely together.

She skips just because
She twirls without thought of the furniture around her
She smiles from morning to night
She gives kisses warning or reason
And hugs with reckless abandon
Her giggles are like a virus
Every moment is a grand adventure
When Emma is your girl

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I Once Caught a Fish THIS BIG

I was not expecting this evening to turn into an adventure.  After all, we only started out by asking our friends if they wanted to buy Girl Scout Cookies.  They kindly ordered a couple of boxes.  We didn't think that getting the cookies to them would turn from delivery to life-long memory! I guess we forgot to consider that these friends live in Layton so no matter how we got the cookies to them it would take some traveling.  And after all, these are our Christmas-Tree Hunting friends, and any time together with them at all is both rare and desirable, so if we were going to see each other at all why not at least spend the evening together?  At first we planned on enjoying some supper together. Easy - soup, bread, no problem.  But then Mary, the matriarch of the Layton-dwellers, had a great idea.  Why don't the Preslars head north, meet at Mary's mother's farm and fish for our dinner out of the trout pond?  Our kids LOVE fishing, this cute little pond is teeming with huge trout - how fun!  She made salads and a pie, I made scalloped potatoes, we were in the car by 4:45 and had lines in the pond by 5:30.

Of course Stomper had a fish out by 5:32 or something.  The fish must have been starving.  Stomper made like two casts and before we knew it he had a big ole' trout flipping around on the grass.  Triumph!  Then within 10 more minutes Troy had snagged another one and persuaded Bundle to kind of help him reel it in so she sort of felt some claim to that fish.  But then poor Bitty wanted to catch one with just a net.  She tried for a while but obviously wasn't very successful.  We took a break for dinner - the trout (talk about fresh!) were quickly gutted and wrapped in tin foil and thrown onto the nearby camp fire.  Everyone ate potatoes and salad and then when the fish was done started on that.  Bundle ate more than anyone else - she probably ate half of a 4 lb trout!

By the time people were eating trout, Bitty was getting desperate to catch a fish.  She started using a fishing pole (when it's not fly fishing, can I call it that or will I get in trouble?  Is it always a rod?  I don't know but I'm sure to screw it up!).  She stood by that pond for way more than an hour, casting and reeling, casting and reeling - I was really proud of her for not giving up and not totally having a meltdown because she was so disappointed.  Just as we were packing up dishes in the dusky evening, she started hollering - she had a bite!  The huge fish splashed violently while Troy and Stomper dashed to her side - just in time for the fish to unhook itself.  I saw one moment of I-Am-Going-To-Cry on Bitty's face until we all cheered for her for getting a strike and she went back to it.  Now I am trying to get everyone into the car and all the stuff loaded up so our bedtime wouldn't be completely shot, but Bitty just kept casting.  Just as I got the last few things in the car I headed down the grassy hill to fetch Bitty, only to see the group of kids gathered around Troy and an ecstatic Bitty who was beside herself with joy.

Yes, just as I was ready to pull out of the driveway, Bitty (with Troy's help but she reeled it in) caught the biggest fish of the night.  The thing was huge - Mary guessed it was 8 pounds or so.  Totally worth it for Bitty and us too - the smile on her face illuminated the car the whole way home, she was so thrilled.  We are looking forward to grilling it for dinner tomorrow night.  She asked if we could make it "extra fancy."

So bedtime was pretty much shot after all.  Not all homework got done, the kitchen is a mess but you know what?  I couldn't be happier.  Partly because we now do not have to go back tomorrow night to help Bitty catch a fish.  Another time soon, I hope, but for this trip, all dreams and wishes were fulfilled.

Thanks Burnetts!

Side Note: should I be disturbed at how completely enthused Stomper was to plunge his pocketknife into the brain of the fish?  It was his favorite part!  Was that too graphic?  Sorry....

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Ring

People ask me a lot how my mother is doing.  It's a really tough question to answer because everyone wants to hear something positive and encouraging.  Mom is going downhill, there is no way around that.  True, she is still overall a very cheerful person and tries very hard to connect to all her family members and friends though she is definitely getting foggy about how everyone fits into her puzzle.  She still knows us and that is great.  For now.  The way Alzheimer's goes, that will leave eventually too.  I've been wanting to write for a long time about it, and I just haven't known how to put the words together.  And then suddenly it all came tumbling out in a poem.  Here it is.

Star Sapphire

A ring is on my finger
Slender sliver circle
Oval of blue clutched by
Tiny empty claws 
Where chips of diamonds once winked
Long ago lost to the daily jostles of mother’s hands

My favorite part: a star
Hidden in the depths of the sapphire 
Flashing only when tipped just so in the light

It was a gift to me
A gift given awkwardly
Passed suddenly over a cafe table
No birthday, no parting words
Or “remember me by”
You should have this. 
It was a gift from my father.”

Surely my mother, with her sudden bestowing
Could not have known that 
Even then
She was striding so surely towards her descent 
Into the clouding oblivion of disease

What little voice whispered to her 
That this was the time?
The time to slip it off,
Look at it once more,
And with a quick polish of the thumb
Press it into my palm?

This ring,
It is a token
An anchor
A key to the secret entrance of time’s erasing:

There I am, leaning on the kitchen counter
The dirt of a summer day still smudging my face
Watching my mother’s hands hustle and whip over bread dough
The click of her ring as she rolled and shaped
Was the only solid sound in that mass of softness

And there I am, sagging at her side
Perching crookedly on her bench,
Leaning into the warmth of her as she played the piano,
Her ring adding a percussion of clack-on-key with every ring-finger note.

These visits to myself are brief but so solid
In memory all is yellow light
So warm it seems to gather everything closer
I see her hands; certain. efficient. warm.

Now they are flighty, unsettled, thin.  Cool.
I look for my mother in those cloudy eyes
Which hardly meet my searching gaze
I find little reminder of dough or music or warmth

So I bake bread
I sit at the piano 
I run my hands over the counter
And against a mixing bowl
Through all the daily jostles of a mother’s hands
My children lean into me
My sapphire winks
I hear a familiar little clack
And there is my anchor 
Holding in my mind
The remembrance that though she is not so now

My mother once was my mother.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why I Love YouTube

Before I expound on the virtues of YouTube, I just have to share one little thing. Today is Thursday. My dear hubby Troy has been on a business trip since Sunday night. I made a big list that evening of everything I wanted to accomplish while he was gone. Checking things off my to-do list is one of the ways I get really really happy, so I thought it would help me get through the week. One of these things was to complete a blog entry each day. I, like always, have a long list of blog entries to get to eventually and I thought my quiet evenings would be a great time to start my best blogging month ever. And I have one thing to say about how that went:

BWA HA HA HA HA HA What was I on when I thought I would write MORE rather than LESS when Troy was gone?

Yeah, not a lot of blogging going on here. Oh well, one is better than nothing, right?

Oh yeah, one more little thing. Remember how I decided I wanted to make my blog private? I never got around to doing it and now I've changed my mind. Thanks everyone who let me know they cared about the blog enough to be on my list. I just had a bad little experience with a naughty website that I thought was connecting to my blog and was then accessible by any visitors to my blog. This, I don't think, is true, but if you see anything fishy please let me know. Sometimes the internet is the best and sometimes it really sucks. But since writing this blog has actually helped me connect with some old friends and reach new people too I didn't want to make it inaccessible after all.

It's late at night and I think I might be rambling. What was the title of this entry again? Oh yeah, YouTube!

And now I'm realizing that this is probably just more stuff that no one will care about but me. Oh well!

So back in high school, back in the day when the national pastime of teenagers was to make mix-tapes, I got just such a tape from my sister's boyfriend. (Now THERE'S a story for another day.....) (And in case you are freaking out about that, it remains true that my sister and I have never kissed the same person so no worries there.) ANYWAY. I got this great mix tape. And it had these two songs on it by Colin Hay, the lead singer of Men At Work. One was called "Hold Me" and the other was called "Can I Hold You?" (Apparently the man really needed a hug.) I loved these two songs dearly. But sadly, my little mix-tape went the way of all mix tapes. It probably got all its ribbon pulled out by a dirty tape player or a curious little brother, or maybe my tape player broke and I never got a new one because I had so many CDs already. (SO 90's.)

I missed those songs though! And I never forgot about them. Every few years I have looked around a little in CD stores or online and have never found them. Even when the miracle of iTunes came along - finally, I could just buy one song instead of a whole album I wasn't sure I'd like! - I couldn't find these two songs. Anywhere. Probably someone could tell me in 2 seconds where to find them but with my limited abilities I have gotten nowhere.

Then the other night I had a little idea. Look on YouTube! And although I can't exactly take songs off of YouTube and put them on my playlist, I can listen to them. And as I listen, watch their slightly odd (even for the 80's) videos.

Thanks, YouTube. Here are the links - having trouble posting the actual videos. Maybe I can fix that later but if I don't post this now I will totally fail in my effort to cross "Blog ANYTHING!" off my to-do list.