Monday, July 31, 2006

wedding bell blues

Our scientist-friend Margie is getting married on Sunday. The wedding is North of Boston although Margie's been living in North Carolina for several years. After the wedding she'll be moving to Miami.
I can't picture her living in Miami, but knowing Margie, she'll spend all her time in her lab anyway. Maybe she'll appear on CSI: Miami, the episode where they dump the body into some shallow water and it's partially devoured by killifish.

Note: Margie, if you are reading this and you want your wedding present to remain a surprise, don't read any further!
So I've had an idea of what to get for a wedding present for a while now. Actually ever since I wrote that supplement story about pottery I've been looking for an excuse to buy something from one of the potters I interviewed. A wedding - the perfect opportunity. I had planned to get a set of mugs with fish carved into the rims but when the baby and I finally made it over the the pottery studio this morning she didn't have four mugs that were the same. I would have gotten four that were of the same style but with different nautical designs on them, but that wasn't an option either. The potter wasn't there, just a note saying the studio was on the honor system and to leave a check with the appropriate sales tax. The appropriate sales tax? And you thought you'd never need to use math again once you graduated from high school!

Note: Margie, I'm also going to give away Connie's gift as well.
So anyway I kind of panicked and bought a small lamp in the fish design. I'm afraid it might be a bad choice though because Margie gave us a lamp for our wedding present. An eye for an eye, a lamp for a lamp? Maybe she'll think it's a bad joke. Maybe she'll think we didn't like the lamp she got us. There was a nice serving platter but Connie said she bought a bowl and a shallow bowl is almost the same as a serving platter so I didn't want to duplicate. Maybe I should have been assertive and gone home and called Tessa on the phone, or I could have just left a note. She probably has a ton of mugs in a back room somewhere.
Plus I couldn't help feeling like I was stealing walking out with the lamp, even though I doubled checked my figures on the appropriate sales tax.

Note: Margie, here comes the picture!

song: wedding bell blues • artist: The Fifth Dimension

Sunday, July 30, 2006


I'd say it's official. He's walking. He's not walking all the time, he totters a few steps and then goes back to the crawl. But when do you actually say they are walking? Do you wait until they choose walking over crawling? Till they've mastered walking across the kitchen? 1000 meters?
Wouldn't it be funny to dress a tottering baby up as Frankenstein for Halloween? They could play the part so well. People always compare those first few steps to a drunken sailor but it's much more of a Frankenstein gait. The locked knees, the outstretched arms, the semi maniacal grin that says "yes, mom, I'm afraid it's all over for you now."

song: Staggerlee • artist: the Grateful Dead

MoMA Cinquain

"Da Da"
said the baby
His father answered "yes?"
"Nonsensical art movement, dad,
Not you."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Life is a Carnival

I remember being disappointed my first day at work to learn that the size of the newspaper, for the most part, is dependent on the amount of ads sold for that particular edition and not the amount of actual news. Years later newspaper ads almost seem almost quaint. At least they are right there in front of you, instead of being cleverly worked into the copy of an article like product placement in movies and television. At least newspapers, again for the most part, try to provide useful information to readers with their stories instead of some television programs which seem to exist merely to frame advertising around them.
Sometimes the ads in the paper are in direct contrast to the stories. Articles about over consumption, coupled with a full-page department store ad. Or, like page A6 of today's Times, the juxtaposition of ad and story can just be down right ironic.
Below a short police brief describing a stabbing that took place in one of the fair parking lots, is a big advertisement for the fair itself with the catchy tag line: A Surprise Every Day!
I bet the guy who got stabbed in the arm trying to break up that fight was surprised all right.
Did anyone else want travel with the fair back when they were in high school? Didn't that seem like it would be the life - working a ride on the midway (preferably one where people spin around upside down and all the change falls out of their pockets) or selling Mexican blanket knock-offs in one of the vendor tents? Unlimited access to fried dough and cheaply-stuffed plush animals, what could be better?
Now I try and avoid the fair like the plague, leaving my husband to navigate the dry straw, dust, and angry boyfriends who stab innocent bystanders that are merely trying to break up parking lot fights.
I see in the ad that John Cafferty and the Beaver Brown Band are playing tonight. I think they were playing the fair when I was in high school as well. Bet we'd all be pretty tight 20 years later if I'd had joined up and become a carny, talk about your road less traveled.

song: Life is a Carnival • artist: The Band

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

I'm Walkin'

When my older son started walking he just picked himself up one day and walked across the dining room floor. There was a ball he wanted to get; guess he was so focused on it he forgot that up until that second, he didn't know how to walk. There was no holding out your arms and coaxing him, teetering along, towards you. He just did it.
If only he would potty train the same way.
My younger son is taking a more roundabout approach. Today he stood and cautiously picked up his left foot and put it down, once, then twice. He didn't move his right foot at all so instead of walking he just pivoted around a little like a sailboat at the start of a penalty 720. So it's a little vague. Was it really walking? Can I check it off in the baby book? As far as I can see, there's no entry for "pivoting."

song: I'm Walkin' • artist: Fats Domino

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Run Baby Run

My parents took both the kids to the fish fry on Friday so I was faced with running the QD5 without the stroller. The previous two weeks I jogged the shortened, 2.5-mile, route - jogged in the most liberal sense of the word. The first week I was behind a fellow who was speed walking. I never caught up to him.
When you're jogging with a baby stroller, no matter how slow you are going, people are still impressed. Strangers cheer you on and say your baby is cute, friends call on the phone and leave messages that say "good for you!" Real runners empathize and say encouraging things like, "I'm sure you'd run much faster if you weren't pushing that stroller." A statement, which, for the record is not true. I'd been using the stroller as a crutch, without it, I might have fallen down; like a novice hockey player who uses his stick to prop him up. But regardless, for two weeks I've gotten the distinct impression that people view moms who jog with baby strollers as plucky and spirited and worthy of applause.
It's like when Ken takes the baby to town on the weekend. Without a baby, he's just another guy in town doing errands on a Saturday morning. With the baby, he's a sensitive new age dad; everyone wants to give him their place in the check out line and open doors for him.
Without the stroller, I'm not even a mother. I have no excuse for being so out of shape. Without the stroller, I'm just slow.

song: Run Baby Run • artist: Sheryl Crow

Pay Me My Money Down

We're limping towards the 21st century at our house with our recent mastery of downloading recordings to the computer off i-tunes. Yes, we've finally arrived with our new ability to resurrect songs that theoretically might be better off dead, any time we like. Lost 45s like "How Do You Do?," "Ride Captain Ride," and "Me And You And A Dog Named Boo," as well as bad 70s tunes like America's "Daisy Jane," and even songs that have been relegated to being played only at office Christmas parties like "Come On Eileen."
There's no time to ponder the world's problems when there are important decisions to make right here at home like whether or not we should purchase the three-and-a-half minute version of "Tainted Love" or go all out and get the almost nine-minute "Tainted Love/Where Did Our Love Go" rendition.
Some things are missing though, there's no AC/CD, not that I'm a huge fan; I can't get the studio recording of Warren Zevon's "Mr. Bad Example," only a live version, and I wonder - did anyone ever recorded "Uncle Jed" or is the only way I'll be able to hear it again is if Joe Sutton and the Safe Sextet reunite for a world tour.
Tonight's 99¢ was spent on the purchase of "The MTA Song" more famously known as "Charley on the MTA."
Come on, it's a catchy tune, admit it! I intend to sing it to the kids. It always begs the question though, if his wife could hand him a sandwich through the window of the Scollay Square Station every day, why couldn't she just slip him that bleedin' extra nickel as well?

song: Pay Me My Money Down • artist: Bruce Springsteen/Pete Seeger

Sunday, July 23, 2006

If You Wanna Get To Heaven

Older son walked around all morning with a line of pink clay smeared down his forehead. It looked like a preschool celebration of Ash Wednesday.

song: If You Wanna Get To Heaven • artist: Ozark Mountain Davedevils

rain quatrain

So much rain
gives me a pain.
With two all day,
inside to play.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

She's Already Made Up Her Mind

Hey! They ran my letter to the editor in today's Boston Globe. That's right, I'm not just a mostly stay-at-home mom anymore, now I'm an opinionated, mostly stay-at-home mom.

song: She's Already Made Up Her Mind • artist: Lyle Lovett

The Bug

It's been buggy at the house the past few days. More buggy than usual that is.
First we left the baby's high chair outside all night. That's one of the drawbacks of eating at the picnic table, having to haul everything outside and then back inside. So yesterday morning I'm hauling the highchair back inside and there are a half-dozen earwigs on it. Earwigs. Ants are okay. Spiders, I've made peace with, but earwigs don't get any sympathy. I scooped them up in a napkin and tossed them into my husband's abandoned but only half-finished mug of coffee. Let them drown in caffeine. As I reach over the toss another one into the mug I glance into yet another dirty mug in the sink - yes, we are not particularly tidy. Inside it, no lie, was a beetle, dead, as big as a mouse. It barely fit into the bottom of the mug.
Now I'm no sissy. I've caught toads and caterpillars and dug in the garden looking for worms, but this was a BIG beetle. It was godzilla beetle. Maybe it'd gotten juiced up on caffeine. I backed away and didn't go near the sink again until my husband came back downstairs.
"Wow," he said.
He took the mug outside
"Don't dump in near the driveway! I don't want to see it," I said.
Flash forward to this morning - my older son's downstairs getting ready to eat cereal when he spots a sluggish moth on the front door. He goes over to try and capture it but it flies off in that drunken way moths have of flying during the day. This arouses the interest of the cat, who, having not been fed yet, swats the moth out of the air with one paw and eats it.
My son stands there, taking it in.
"Did kitty eat the moth?"
"Yes, I think so."
He says nothing for a minute and then bursts into tears.
"You, bad, bad cat!" he screams.
"We can find another moth," I suggest.
"No! They don't come out during the day," he yells. (He's got a point.)
"Kitty's not really bad, honey. That's just what kitty's do," I say, unhelpfully.
He finally gets a grip on things and sits back down to eat cereal. When he notices the empty bug hut next to his bowl he starts crying again.
My husband comes down and asks him what's the matter. This makes him cry harder.
"The cat ate a moth he was trying to catch," I say, trying not to laugh.
Later in the morning the three of us were filling up water jugs at "the water store" when he notices a dead moth in the drain.
"Will this moth go down the drain?"
"I don't think so."
So he pokes at it and huzzah, it moves!
"It's not dead!" he says triumphantly, pushing it around the drain with the kind of little-kid force that has probably killed many a moth, caterpillar and daddy long legs.
I step in to rescue the moth from its rescuer.
"We won't let kitty eat this moth," he declares as I sift through the back of the car looking for something to put the moth into.
So I sent him off to afternoon daycare with his half-drowned, half-maimed moth underneath a hosta leaf in the bug hut so he could share it with all the other three-year-old budding entomologists at Becky's house.

song: The Bug • artist: Mary Chapin Carpenter

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Blueberry Hill

Remember what I said last month about strawberries at Tony Andrews? Well now it's blueberries at Coonamessett Farm. Blueberry season is a little longer than strawberry season and happily Coonamessett is open until 8PM so you don't have to rush right over there and pick in the sweltering sun, unless you're gunning for that true migrant field worker experience. One summer I helped my sister who was picking strawberries for Tony Andrew's farm stand. It was hot and sunny and at one point one of Tony's extended family brought us a drink, the best iced tea I've ever drank.
And speaking of the weather, why do we look forward to summer when we either don't go outside because it's raining or it's sunny but we can't go outside because the air quality is bad. Seems like something's rotten in Denmark if you ask me, but, that's a blog for another day. For today let's at least be happy that we can get fresh blueberries, the size of nickels, locally.
I hate to keep sounding like an advertisement, but while you're at the farm check out the eggplant, purple peppers, and zucchini. Anyone for ratatouille?

song: Blueberry Hill • artist: Louis Armstrong

Monday, July 17, 2006

And When I Die

"I love you so much, Mommy, I'm never gonna let you die." My son tells me this every night during our "bedtime ritual" and several times during the day. In fact I can't get an "I love you," out of him without it being followed by this proclamation.
I don't know where it comes from. His only brush with death so far has been Coco the seal from the aquarium, which he took pretty well, I mean after all, I think Coco was old - for a seal, and Oreo the bunny at the Green Briar Nature Center. I didn't even think he would notice Oreo was gone, they have several rabbits; but he did so I had to tell him about the sign in the classroom that said he died and went on to say how much he had enjoyed his life at the Nature Center.
Every night, though, he tells me he's going to save me from dying, something I told him hopefully won't happen to me or anyone he knows until they are old - like 90. So then he wants to know if 38 is almost 90. Well sometimes it kinda feels like it, but I say no. Then he says that when I get to be 90 he's going to "hold onto me so I won't die.
"Isn't that nice of me, Mommy?"
I politely say thanks.
It's all kind of creepy, why couldn't he just be afraid of what's under the bed like a normal kid?
I think it's turning into an Oedipus Complex now. This morning he informed me that when daddy dies, not only is he not going to save him, he's going to be his little brother's "second daddy."

song: And When I Die • Artist: Three Dog Night

Friday, July 14, 2006

new truck couplet

New truck sits in the driveway dirt.
Pray tell, why do you still drive the old truck to work?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Through The Long Night

It took two hours to get my son to sleep last night. Not the baby, he was out like a light at 8:03, it was his big brother. There were the usual delays, crawling up the stairs on all fours, taking forever to brush his teeth, needing a bandaid, the inevitable glass of water. Then there was coming downstairs to find out when I'd be up to check on him.
"As soon as I feed the cat, finish the dishes, and wipe down your brother's high chair so fruit flies aren't dancing around it in the morning," I said.
"I'll just wait for you on the stairs," he offered.
"No, go back upstairs to bed," I answered.
Then I have to follow him back up and put the sheet over him.
"Is that a bug on the wall there."
"Yes, it's a lucky spider, now go to sleep."
Then I had to close the window next to the bed because he felt some raindrops (it wasn't raining).
Then daddy came home and went upstairs to talk to him and help him fix his pajama top which was on inside out.
Then I had to come in and open the window because it was hot in his room, which was my fault for originally putting that idea in his head in an effort to change his mind about closing the window in the first place.
Then I brought some work notes to the bedroom and rewrote them so I'd be upstairs with him. Usually I fold clothes, but there wasn't any laundry last night on account of the rain.
Then the Latin lullaby CD ended and I put on Guys and Dolls for him.
Then I finished my with story about adult music classes, wrote some PR for the Falmouth Walk, and an angry letter to the "Toys to Grow On" catalogue for featuring a toddler on one of those battery-powered electric ride-on toys on the cover of their 2006 catalogue (aren't we in the middle of a childhood obesity epidemic?).
Then I went downstairs for a second glass of wine.
He was asleep when I came back upstairs.

song: Through The Long Night • artist: Billy Joel

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

cleopatra's cat

That's it. I'm done serving the cat a variety of cat foods. It's ridiculous. I'm standing in the Falmouth Pet wondering whether she'd like a sardine, shrimp, and crab combo, or turkey, rice, and vegetables. Rice? Since when do cats even like rice?
It's like the toothpaste aisle. Gel? No Gel. Mint Flavor? Tartar control? With baking soda or without? For Pete's sake! We're just going to spit it out!
The cat likes beef, she likes liver (hey, she's a cat, what can I say?), so I got her a dozen cans of each. Why didn't I think if this before? She's a 15-year-old, spayed, indoor, cat. She doesn't need variety. All she needs is a sunny spot to sleep in and for the kids not to vex her while she's stretched out enjoying it.
They say that being enslaved is having no choices, but I say it's also having too many choices. We should be trying to solve global warming, instead we're all paralyzed trying to decide between 50 different types of cat food.
The downside to having a pet and having kids is when your son puts his plate on the floor and says, "look, mommy, I'm eating my dinner like the cat." Then you notice that he's eating more that way than he was at the dining room table - eating like a three-year-old.

song: cleopatra's cat • artist: spin doctors

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

back in black

Saw my cousin's daughter at a family function this weekend. She's twenty-something - black clothing, black lipstick, abundance of chain jewelry. A little bit goth in the same way Marie Osmond used to be a little bit country. She works at the Wal-Mart because she's "too unmotivated to look for another job."
I'm not sure I see how one can work at Wal-Mart and simultaneously feign an anti-establishment attitude, but on the other hand no doubt she's getting a good deal on black lipstick.

song: back in black • artist: AC/DC

Monday, July 10, 2006

Where Have All the Flowers Gone (revised & updated)

Where have all the crayons gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the crayons gone?
Long time ago.
Where have all the crayons gone?
Young children have broken them, every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the markers gone?
Long time passing.
Where have all the markers gone?
Long time ago.
Where have all the markers gone?
Young children have left the caps off them, every one.
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

song: Where Have All the Flowers Gone • artist: Peter, Paul, and Mary

Thursday, July 06, 2006

birthday quatrain

Happy birthday to my husband Ken.
May you still win races now and then.
Hope the only time running becomes a pain,
is when your wife leaves you out in the rain.

Our House

My son thinks we need to move out of our house because there are fruit flies in the kitchen.
Last week when it rained and the roof leaked he thought we should have called the police.
When they bulldozed the house across the street and built a new one he wanted to know, "when are they going to boom down our house build a new one?"
He doesn't want to sleep in his bedroom because it's "too bad."
And, he wants to know why we can't have a tennis court in our backyard for ride-on toys like they have at daycare.

song: Our House • artist: Madness

Call Me

I got a call the other night from my cousin's boyfriend. He's organizing a surprise party for her and calling people in her address book to invite them.
"Have we met before?" He asked.
Nice gesture I offered, though I couldn't help but think what would happen if someone did the same for me.
My address book is a 10-year-old clutter of mostly useless, outdated information. No one is ever crossed out, even if it's someone I haven't spoken to in years, even if it's someone who's dead. The only people who do get crossed out are my friends ex-husbands or former live-in girlfriends.
Addresses and phone numbers are crossed out, though, lots of them. Seems by the looks of it that most of my friends are wandering nomads. There are entire pages dedicated to just one person, line after line of crossed out numbers in contrasting ink colors until finally I give up and start writing in pencil.
Then there's the utter cluelessness of duplicate entries, written on the same page, almost on top of one another, how could I have not noticed?
At least I've had the foresight to pen in addition family members as they arrive on the scene. This comes in handy when it's time to address Christmas cards and you want something more personal than "Ms. Jane Doe and family."
Many entries are not in alphabetical order. Take for example friends who have divorced and reclaimed maiden names. I just cross out the last name and fill in the new one but leave them on the same page in the address book. Likewise friends who get married. Now when I want to call someone I have to search tax the rapidly decreasing cells in my brain to remember what name they're filed under. Not to mention married friends with different last names. The only time weddings work in my favor are when couples hyphenate, then they can rightfully remain on the same page.
Doctor listings are scattered throughout: PCP, OB/GYN, dermatologists, reconstructive surgeon, and ophthalmologist. How's it possible at 38 I have more doctors than friends?
So who would actually be at the party? Former co-workers, old housemates, my son's daycare provider, the Cape Cod Times/Boston Globe delivery guy, the animal control officer. The animal control officer? What's that doing in my address book? That's right, it was the time the stray peacock was in the back yard. Come to think of it, the animal control officer thought I was nuts; so on second thought, don't invite him.

song: Call Me • artist: Blondie

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?

Here is an excerpt from the Chamber of Commerce's Web Site regarding today's July 4th parade:
Parade begins in Bank of America (Fleet Bank) parking lot across from Village Green and proceeds at 12:00 to Peg Noonan Park. Prizes awarded for various categories.
So, can someone explain to me why, when the digital clock across from the Post Office said 11:50, the parade was clearly over? And then - can someone explain it to my three-year-old?

song: Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is? • artist: Chicago

Monday, July 03, 2006

mommy limerick #1

There once was a stay-at-home mum,
who strove to make parenting fun.
All day with the tots
she played games and banged pots,
but at night she'd come completly undone.

I Only Want to be with You

Why is it that when my older son complains that his baby brother is "messing up my stuff," and "wrecking my work," so I put kid brother in his pack 'n play; the next time I look into the living room, the both of them are sitting in the pack 'n play together getting along fabulously?

song: I Only Want to be with You • artist: Dusty Springfield