May Days

comments: 37






















It's a cold and chilly day today, and I love that. This morning Amelia and I were up before dawn. We started the coffee and then sat out on the back porch and listened to that one bird who always seems to sing the loudest. Actually, he sort of is the only bird within hearing distance. Way far off we can here other lone birds singing the same sky-lightening song. Amelia lay, wrapped in her comforter, looking up at the sky. I sat and drank coffee and watched the silhouettes soften into colors. I relished the quiet, save for the bird song. These days our property is drowning in noise from two major construction projects going on separately at each of our closest neighbors' houses. It's literally been almost enough to drive me out of my mind. The noise is shockingly loud and maddeningly constant. And I mean constant. They seem to howl in stereo. Or actually more like call and response. East-side starts, then stops. West-side starts, then stops. East-side starts. West-side starts. Guys talking on one side of the fence. A radio coming from the other side of the other fence. Passive-aggressive construction-dude conversation with new roofer guy: "Okay [skeptically]. If that's what you want to do. . . . Which [incredulous] one do you want? But that's gonna . . . uh . . . o-kay [majorly skeptically]." They all seem like nice-enough guys but uuuuugh. Shush. We can barely hear ourselves in the house. Nail guns. Power saws. Hammers. Compressors. Giant machine noises. Nail gun, nail gun, nail gun. Nail gun nail gun. Power sawing. More power sawing. Fourteen nail guns in a row. Are you annoyed yet? Welcome to our house! It's hard for me to think, I apologize. It's all been going on for weeks and it will be going on for many more weeks.

Inside it's really not that much better. Everything's fuzzy around the edges and needs a good cleaning. Dog hair, dead flower petals, sticks, dead bees. Puzzle pieces, dirty boots, a couch that looks slumped and weary. Andy went back to work today after having two weeks off and I confess to breathing a sigh of relief. When I'm alone in the house I go into a weird, efficient cleaning trance, wiping down crumby counters, sweeping dirty floors, picking up every last ponytail, straightening pictures, dusting surfaces, secretly tossing the kid-drawings that just don't make the save-cut. The list of chores I made went to the second side of the paper. Maybe it's not as bad as I think. I don't know. It does bring me a sense of accomplishment and peace to check things off the list, I must say. It doesn't take much to get it all to a good place but it does take some, and when there are a lot of people in the house I feel like I can't do it. I have a much lower tolerance for disorder than my family. But things are coming together!

Birthmother's Day is Saturday and we are having a party here, so I'm baking pies. I'm thinking coconut cream and banana. Maybe rhubarb if I can still find it in the grocery store. Or maybe chocolate cream? I would love to do one of those super fancy pie crust things that you seen on Pinterest all the time, with the cut-outs and the flowers, etc. Isn't this one so pretty?

I have things I want to write about but I think I'll be able to write more next week, when it'll hopefully be just a bit more quiet. Wishing you all a very happy weekend with lots of love and peace in every way. XOXO


Argh, that noise does sound irritating. I hope your animals are okay with it. My dog has an intense fear of air compressors and nail guns and I was imagining her frantic discomfort when you described the noise!

All of your pies sound delicious! Happy Mother's Day Weekend to you!

Your May Day pictures are lovely. I also like the dogwood blossoms. There is noise here, too, as the school in the next block is being added on to. It's just about finished, just in time for summer. HA!

It is such a relief to know that someone else feels unable to get the house chores done when the house is full. I thought it was just me. Only the threat of company gets me over that particular hurdle. Thank you for sharing that. Sorry about your noise, noise, noise, noise. Absolutely love the Maypole! Happy Mother’s Day!!

Happy May to you! All of your pies sound so yummy. Hope you have a wonderful, Mother's Day weekend!

Peace, and pies... good stuff.

Penny G says: May 10, 2018 at 04:25 PM

What a beautiful flower crown you made for her! Everytime I read what you are doing to share her life with the birthmother I think that is the way it should be when possible. Hopefully construction noise will pass soon. Happy May!

❀.•❤•.✿.•❤ Happy Mother's Day! ❀.•❤•.✿.•❤

I was wondering about the event and where it was held and wow.. the flower wreathes were gorgeous and so was the buffet! I hope you get the peace your yearn for.. I'm in need of de-stressing after a ridiculous few weeks of big events and traveling to Victoria BC for my birthday and staying in the Empress Hotel and having high tea at the Empress and visiting Butchart Garden. Such a memorable time.. but hectic! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

I know what you mean about the cleaning. The second my husband leaves the house I feel energized. Hope the pie making goes well. That Pinterest one is amazing!

Catherine says: May 10, 2018 at 11:01 PM

How wonderful to see the children dancing around the maypole. I love the fact that these old customs are still practised worldwide. It has been a cold start to spring here in the UK but the gardens are starting to fill with flowers now. I loved the pictures of the dogwood as I have just planted one in the garden, a Cornus Eddies White Wonder. The flowers look like large graceful butterflies dancing in the breeze. Building work is a pain but hopefully it will finish in the summer. We have building going on in the village and large trucks pass our back garden quite frequently carrying bricks and other building materials. I know how you feel. BTW, can you explain about Birthmothers Day? I’m not sure I have heard about that.

What gorgeous spring photos, all so very 'you', lovely. I can sympathise with the construction projects, it's been much the same here. I fantasise about noise-cancelling headphones. I'd never take them off. Especially not once the boys are home from school... CJ xx

Stefanie says: May 11, 2018 at 04:57 AM

Perhaps this is the time for you to do any renovations? While there is so much noise going on anyway!...I too LOVE the early morning...when there is such calm - and we too have those early rising birds!!...and there is one who definitely out sings the others!!!...I can hear them each morning through closed doors!!! Have a most BLESSED Mother's Day weekend!!!

Lynn Marie says: May 11, 2018 at 05:14 AM

What a beautiful May-Day celebration! Spring seems to bring so much busy-work until we truly get into the season. Enjoy the morning and evening quiet in the midst of the construction. That pie!!! It is a true picture of what a special Mother's Day pie should be. Let us know if you attempt it ☺.

I'll be interested in the recipe you use for the banana cream pie; I recently tried one that didn't work (okay, it was an epic fail), but I am hell-bent on getting a good one. I might be trying another this weekend. Our freezer is full of overly ripe bananas.

virginia johnson says: May 11, 2018 at 08:42 AM

The pie crust reminds me of the May Day flowers you made. A pie that was unusual and pretty was featured on the blog, Hither and Thither yesterday. You might like that too.

You have my heartfelt sympathy. Our two neighbours are building extensions. They'll take 3-4 months. But I admit we'll be joining in with a bit of our own racket because our roof needs replacing and we can't put it off any longer. Up goes the scaffolding clang clang clang. We tried to escape to the country last weekend and were joined by 40,000 bikers riding to a festival in convoy. It was hideous.

Hello Alicia, your blog is an absolute delight. I love your photos very much. Happy weekend!!!

Lovely flowers, especially when the kids wear them.

Love the May celebration pictures, especially the one where Mimi is at the Maypole and turning to look at you. So precious. I also love that you include her birth mother into your celebrations. I hear you on the construction noise. We've lived here for 28 years and have suffered through that plenty of times. It is extremely unnerving. Unfortunately, we will be the ones driving the neighbors crazy soon enough, as we're having our front porch and sidewalk done soon. I'll be leaving the house while they're working!

The spring crowns with flowers are so beautiful and they must smell gorgeous. Thank you for giving the close up photos. We don't celebrate spring in the Southern hemisphere, or at least we don't where I live. It sounds like a cold miserable muddy start to spring. Thank goodness Amelia keeps smiling. She's a ray of warmth and happiness in the photos, the sweet sweetie.

Oh dear girl, I hear you and feel your misery.
Three years ago we were living in Portland. The lot right next door was under construction for a "tall & skinny" house & at the same time the lot across the street was split to build a house & refurbish the existing house. So we had three full on construction crews going at it from 7am until 7pm at night for months on end. Air compressors are the worse.
A word of caution, please check your driveway for roofing nails. Replacing a tire can be very expensive.
Needless to say the housing costs rose so high within Portland we were able to sell up enough to purchased a home in Oregon City. It's laid back here but still close enough to Portland, should we ever need a 'big city' fix.
Sending hugs & hopes the construction will be over soonest!
PS. Should you need any wood for projects, now is a good time to ask the crews for bit's & pieces. They're usually very accommodating & appreciate not having to dispose of the extra material.

Your reference to the pie crust design got me to thinking about an Instagram feed posting I saw a day or two back, put now can't find for the life of me.
Anyway, I was searching and came across this and I thought I just might try my hand at a fancy top crust. Judy Kim and a few other fantastic cooks are also mentioned in the post.

Your description of the fuzzy edges of a dirty house struck home with me. Animal (cat and dog) hair and dust everywhere. This kind of clean up cannot be done with other people in the house. I wish you (and me!!) energy and determination so we can bring our houses back into focus.

Oh, I DO love the blooming dogwoods... I miss that so much as we in Germany very rarely find those beauties here, extremely seldon a white one, never have seen one in pink. Back home in Pennsylvania they seemed to be everywhere... childhood memories. Your photos have been such a treat!

I know the feeling also that you describe when the man of the house has left and you suddenly get a charge of motivation. I don't think it has only to do with them actually being in the way. Being alone gives me freedom and an 'open space' to concentrate myself and plan. I can't even say where the energy comes from... all I can say it I know exactly what you mean. I am also one for listing my to-dos, setting priorities and loving the feeling of contentment that comes with watching the list shorten as I finish one thing at a time while crossing off what has been accomplished.

I hardly make pie... my Mom used crisco and there is 'no such animal' here and nothing that I have tried over the years has proved to be an appropriate substitute. I DO have a wonderful recipe for tarte that I bake in a quiche pan that makes a crust that is very flakey and light that I have been content with so I stick with that. I also have used a what could be compared to a plain cookie dough as crust in some recipes and have, instead of krimping the edge, used a cookie cutter to cut out shapes (for instance stars or hearts) that I have rowed along the edge, attached with a plain eggwash, also giving the edge a nice shine.

The May Tree is a custom here but not in my region. I am happy to see that it is celebrated in Oregon, certainly in other parts of the USA as well and it makes me feel good knowing old traditions continue to be kept alive and being passed on.

Waiting patiently to see your progress on Meme's lil' Sweater and to hear about how the pies turned out...

Xs and Os across the miles,

You’ve made my day . . .
May Day
Flower Crowns
May Pole
Children Dancing
Your Mimi . . .
Happy Mother’s Day Beautiful Mother . . .

Heather says: May 12, 2018 at 08:50 AM

ugh I can relate to ALL of this. (Anybody playing a radio outside so that other people hear it--AT ALL, in any capacity--should be severely punished somehow.) Also it struck me as funny that the vibe of the photos and words didn't match up [insert laughing emoji]. I totally get that. What the eyes see and what the brain thinks don't always reflect each other!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at