Terran and I got out early and went to that sheep to shawl event. My ex, the boys’ father, drove us. In the car on the way up, we talked about the boys’ father’s latest book, arguing about whether creatures who sail but do not pillage or plunder should be called pirates instead of sailors. (Me: PLEASE NO. Kids’ dad: WHATEVER.)

The event was educational in all the expected ways. We saw actual shearing, talked about lanolin, cleaned, carded, spun, and got to weave on two different types of looms. I made the longest piece of yarn in the shortest time, finger spinning. Terran wanted to know about vegans vs. vegetarians and how that would impact his future sheep farm. Or ranch. Or whatever it’s called when you keep sheep. He made a detailed plan for his future establishment and did not stop gabbering about it until we were home six hours later.


We explored the museum that hosted it, looking at pursuits of children in the 1800s. Terran picked up a blank journal and vowed to record his doings daily.

The first restaurant we found when wandering around, starving, looking for a bus stup, coincidentally had a gluten-free, vegan menu. Inside, Terran and I discussed lactase, gluten, and how his mother’s guts behave.

We wandered into a comic book store while waiting for the bus, where Terran collected all the freebies from Free Comic Book day, then asked a lot of questions about how to make custom buttons.

When the bus finally came, it took us home through two different towns we hadn’t spent any time in. I was exhausted, probably because of cross-contamination in my gluten-free vegan food; just stepping into a bakery these days causes me to break out in hives. I tried to keep an eye on the bus route so we could take it back to these cities someday while Terran chattered on about keeping sheep.

Meanwhile, at home, Verdi was reading all the way through the second book in Juliana Baggott’s trilogy and Bear was designing, scanning and uploading to his website custom classes, races and items for his Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

At about 3:20, we hit a road in our own city. It happened to be the road my physical therapist is on. This reminded me that I had an appointment today, but I couldn’t remember if it was at 3 or 4. I texted the boys, “Look at our online calendar and tell me what time is my physical therapy appointment.” As we were going past the office, I got a text back, “Five minutes from now: 3 40.” I pulled the cord right away and we got off just one stop from the therapist’s office. I picked up three new exercises, all crazy things I did not think my body could actually do. Terran sat in the waiting room guarding my purse, doodling in his new diary, but eventually got bored and started using my cell phone to call random people. When I came out of therapy he was on the phone with his grown-up brother, who lives a few hours away, and who I haven’t seen in years. I didn’t even know the number I had for him was still current. Or still in my phone. I guess I’m glad it was.

We walked home from therapy, two and a half miles. The weather was so beautiful, I couldn’t stand to get us back on the bus. When we hit the city’s large, central park, we stopped to look at the lake and ended up picking up a bunch of litter. Then we walked over to the tulips and Terran spent a bunch of time smelling them all. He asked about the statue in the park so I reminded him of the story of Moses and we sang a few relevant folksongs. Then Terran climbed crazy high up in a cottonwood tree. I usually encourage the kids to climb high but I was scared. (I tried not to show it.) A little baby squirrel started to run up the tree, apparently not realizing there was a primate in it. I wish I had a picture of the look on its face when it spotted the human in a place where it’d never seen humans before. Squirrel expressions are so… expressive. It and Terran stared at each other for a long while.

Then Terran noticed the runners and asked what they were doing. When I explained, he wanted to try it. So our outing ended with Terran running the entire mile home. “How do your legs feel?” I asked at the end. He said, breathless, “Like… the… blood vessels… in them… are… expanding… to let extra… oxygen… get… around.”

When we arrived home, after his brothers gave us all the details of their day (lots of reading and writing, they said), I got some food put together. In the midst of that, Terran shrieked so loud across the house, in such horror, I thought for sure something he loved had just died. Turns out, he was experiencing some natural changes to his uncirc’d private parts and was very, very scared about it, but that took a lot of talking to figure out. I had to Google diagrams to show him so we could talk about what part was doing what. We also talked about why erections happen, and what those look like circumcised and not. He said it looked like it hurt, and I assured him it actually felt good, and he asked why bodies would even do that, and so we had the whole long conversation. Again. He brought up, independently, that he didn’t like it when Grammy saw him naked (while filling the bath for him) but didn’t seem to mind it when I did because of his emergency. So we talked about modesty and sexuality, how those feelings can be just as bad as they are good, in the wrong context, but in a context like emergency medical help it can be fine. He reported that Grammy wrote off his modesty, saying, “I’m a nurse; I’ve seen lots of penises,” and she didn’t leave right away when he asked. I told him she was wrong not to, and he should say, “It’s my body and I get to choose and I choose for you NOT to watch, and if you don’t agree I need to call my mama right now,” if anyone ever pressures him again. I’m also going to send Grammy an e-mail.

After that little drama, the boys scarfed food down (I still felt too sick to eat) and then Terran asked me if he could have stitching lessons. Bear immediately jumped on it, saying he could teach Terran to sew. As I type, they are gathering needles, felt and floss to make a simple doll. Verdi is in the backyard throwing the ball for our elderly dog, who needed to be prodded down the stairs and will need to be carried back up, poor sweet girl. She sure is happy to chase that tennis ball, though. Unless it goes down the hill or into the stairwell. Then she goes as close as she can, stops, and looks expectantly at Verdi until he gets it for her.

I am looking greatly forward to sleeping tonight. I do hope the boys are just as tired.

(Edited to add: While the boys wait for the next books in their series to ocme in at the library, Bear is reading Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, and Verdi a Piers Anthony novel about Death.)