Thursday, August 31, 2006

Jamaica Farewell

Dear Laura,
Falmouth High School class of 86? East Falmouth Elementary School? Then yes, I would be that Joanne. I do remember a Laura F., if "F" is a maiden, and not married, last name. You must really know me too, since the bulk of my classmates insist on referring to me as "Joanna."
Funny you should mention Jamaica Farewell. I've no doubt I sang it as a kid though I don't actually remember it. My mother used to sing it on the way home during long car rides; that and the chorus of Yellow Submarine.
It kind of freaked me out because I was always thinking my parents were planning to leave me in Kingston Town. I was a "little girl" after all, and, we had to drive through Kingston on the way home from my grandmother's house in Dorchester. It wouldn't have taken much for them to slow down enough to dump me out on the side of the road.
I can see why Dan Zanes changed the lyrics in his version.
I'm flattered you read this blog as far back as my early entries when I was driving around last summer trying to get the kids to nap. My oldest stopped napping altogether when he turned three and car rides don't work on my 15-month-old. It's all for the best really, gas is too expensive now anyway. Besides, I always felt like the residents of Pine Bay were getting suspicious of my car constantly circling the neighborhood. Like I might be casing it out or something.

song: Jamaica Farewell • artist: Harry Belafonte

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Driver Eight

My son told me that one of the other kids in daycare said that if you were driving and you wanted the other cars to get out of your way you should beep the horn. Great, he's going to learn about road rage before he's big enough to be out of his booster seat.
This same little boy also, according to my son, "kills spiders with sticks, and even kills daddy longlegs."
"That's not very nice is it Mummy?"
"No it's not."
Guess they wouldn't get out of his way.

song: Driver Eight • artist: R.E.M.

Walking to New Orleans

I briefly commemorated the one-year anniversary of hurricane Katrina by rereading journal entries from my trip to New Orleans with Christine in 1992. Sadly the entries are paltry compared to all I wrote about going to Memphis the previous year.
Looking back I see I had a narrow view of food then, I recorded liking neither gumbo, or jambalaya, and we went out of our way to have breakfast continually at the Waffle House, ironic considering I've since taken to shunning most chain restaurants.
Speaking of, we would have spent the entire week camped at the Motel 6, our chain hotel of choice, but we arrived during the New Orleans Jazz Festival and the entire town was booked. We had to stay on the other side of Lake Pontchartrain in Slidell in a hotel that catered more to people who were permanent residents, than to out-of-towners. There was a pool in the center court that was filled in with dirt. I wonder where all those people are now?
The recorded memory that stands out the most was our trip through the Honey Island Swamp with tour guide Ron where we listened to women from New York try to beckon to alligators by making "mooing noises" and watched as "an older couple in matching red sweat suits video taped the entire tour." There were snakes, and all manner of birds, a pig that lived with some locals and came out on a dock to get a look at us, and of course alligators.
We fed them marshmallows.

song: Walking to New Orleans • artist: Fats Domino

Stormy Weather

Where did the phrase "sleeping like a baby" originate? Conjuring up images of adorable cherubs sleeping under handmade quilts is misleading at best. Presently my youngest son is upstairs asleep with his little face pressed up against the slats of the crib like a prisoner dreaming of a jailbreak. Sometimes I peek in to see limbs protruding from the crib like the paws of impounded pets. In Maine we put him to sleep on blankets on the floor, by the morning he had practically rolled under the bed.
His older brother is asleep in the middle of his bed but by morning he'll be facing entirely in the other direction, often times with his legs completely dangling off the side of the bed. Sometimes he foregoes the bed entirely and sleeps on the floor.
On the other hand, they both slept through every major thunderstorm this summer. Storms that woke me up and had me lying in bed convinced I'm be hearing from the at any minute. It's ironic because on regular nights I'm leery of flushing the toilet or using my electric toothbrush for fear of waking them.

Song: Stormy Weather • artist: Billie Holiday

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Every Picture Tells A Story

My artist friends Doug and Hillary recently had their second baby. She's very cute, and to help out the family I thought maybe someone out there might want to purchase some art, like this painting, from a few years ago that used to be a portrait of me until Doug went a little overboard tweaking the eyes, which I guess I can't hold against him, artist liberty and all. Besides I did have some pretty good crows feet forming until my cancer-induced brow-lift last summer.
You'll notice there's no price on the website, that means it's going for the big bucks, as in, if you have to ask, you can't afford it. Though in reality I'm a pretty cheap date, I like to remind Ken every once and a while that he in fact "can't afford me."

song: Every Picture Tells A Story • artist: Rod Stewart

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Today I passed a hatchback driving on Rte 28A with a full-sized mattress and box spring secured to its roof. The driver had one arm out the window and was hanging onto the ropes that were tying the load down; as if that's going to help.
Last weekend we were driving on the interstate outside of Portland, Maine and we passed a truck traveling in the breakdown lane pulling a trailer that had only one tire. The wheel on the left side of the trailer was just a metal rim, zipping along the road spewing out the occasional spark.

Then there this roadside relief station on County Road in Bourne.

song: You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet • artist: Bachman Turner Overdrive

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I'm Gonna Be

We were in the car the other day and my son was going down the list of things he's planning to be when he grows up.
"A drum player." (drummer)
"Someone who flies in rockets that go faster than airplanes." (astronaut)
"Recycle man." (sanitation engineer)
"Someone who lights fireworks." (pyromaniac)
Then he asks me:
"Didn't you want to be anything when you grew up, mummy?"

song: I'm Gonna Be • artist: The Proclaimers

Games People Play

What is it with this game Old Maid? How is it possible in this age of political correctness that this game still exists?
Kid's toys, games, and songs have become very politically correct, although this doesn't necessarily make them okay. Barbie can have a career now along with her 22-inch waist provided it's a career she can do in her high heeled shoes.
I admit I found it annoying at first that in the Dan Zane version of Jamaica Farewell it's his friends who are being left in Kingston Town and not "a little girl," and it's the dancers who sway too and fro and not the "dancing girls," but I've gotten used to it.
In one particular Cinderella rewrite there is still a fairy godmother but this time it's Prince Cinders who she rescues from his thuggish royal brothers and sends to the dance.
So I'm surprised we even still have this children's game in which the absolute worst thing that can happen is for you to wind up a single woman. Why haven't the feminists of the world risen up to demand a change? Why isn't there a version called "Dirty Old Man" or "Weird Bachelor Uncle?"
I guess that would be unfair to men though wouldn't it?
Let's look at it from another angle; the other characters in the deck are all described according to their professions: Waitress Wendy, Mailman Marvin, Labtech Lil. This must be because employers only hire married people. Poor Old Maid, not only can she not snag a husband, apparently she can't hold down a job either.
Using this logic it would be more appropriate for the undesirable card to be something like Unemployed Edwina, or Slacker Stanley.
Or maybe some anthropomorphism could be introduced. The Old Maid could be changed into a big bad wolf since wolves are already maligned in many a children's story. To give it a real Cape Cod slant, instead of a wolf, make it a coyote. Change them to Waitress Wallaby, Mailman Manatee, and Labtech Leopard. This would even eliminate some of the more stereotypical players like Nurse Nell would could become Nurse Needlefish and Tutu Teri who could morph into Tutu Turtle. It would also lend itself to more interesting illustrations.
But the bottom line is, my three-year-old loves to play this game. Note: if you are ever called upon to play Old Maid with a small child, enlist the help of at least one other adult, preferably more than one, it's a heck of a lot more interesting.
My son doesn't have any idea what an "old maid" is and in an obvious case of "person unsure of a concept," he really wants to be the person that is stuck with the old maid at the end of the game.

song: Games People Play • artist: Alan Parson Project

Everything's Coming Up Roses

After dinner my younger son likes to stick his entire fist down his throat until he throws up. At his 15-month check up, after the the car alarm incident,, I asked the doctor if this was normal. The consensus was that while it ain't exactly normal, he's probably not bulimic. It's one those behaviors you should try not to make a big deal out of because that will only encourage him to keep doing it. It's difficult though, to ignore someone regurgitating their entire dinner, not to mention the cracks from my husband about how my cooking is driving him to it.
So, during the post-dinner clean up, when it's helpful to leave said son in his high chair and not have him toddling underfoot, we've taken to putting socks, sometimes more than one, over each of this hands. I'll start with a small sock, one that belongs to his older brother and then follow it with one of his dad's socks.
As it turns out, having socks on ones hands is funny even to a toddler and always gets him laughing. It doesn't take him very long to cast them off and then wave his hands around gleefully until someone puts them back on, but it seems to take his mind off trying to make himself throw up long enough to load up the dishwasher.

song: Everything's Coming Up Roses • musical: Gypsy

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Noah's Haiku

Plastic animals
on my living room table.
Peaceable kingdom.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I'll Meet You Halfway

Every parent worth his or her salt is familiar with Margaret Wise Brown: Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, The Big Red Barn, all classics and immensely popular with the kids though irritatingly repetitive to adults. We have two copies of the board book edition of The Runaway Bunny . The one in the back of the car was recently torn in two. It's better that way because now each kid can have his own piece. I like to refer to it as, the dismembered runway bunny.

song: I'll Meet You Halfway • artist: The Partridge Family

The Times They Are A Changin'

So we finally made it back to our favorite restaurant tonight, without the kids.
I can't remember the last time we've been there without our sons. The last time it was the four of us and we had that table in the side room with the bar and the fireplace that's all painted with sea creatures, including the topless mermaid, which my son, luckily, did not pick up on.
The restaurant's only a mile from our house so it's almost embarrassing to have a sitter come over. Even if we have to wait for a table, two drinks, appetizers and dinner still gets us home in an hour-and-a-half. It's embarrassing.
We haven't been there in so long that they've got a redesigned menu and two new pizza selections; they've renovated the interior of the restaurant so that you can only get to the ladies room from one direction through the main dining room, and, we didn't know any of the wait staff! It was totally depressing. Well, wait, we did talk to Stephanie on the way out, and Kathy is still tending bar on Thursdays, which used to be our "regular night." Of course no one remembers that but us because it's been something like five years since we had a "regular night" to go out to dinner.

song: The Times They Are A Changin' • artist: Bob Dylan

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Let's Give Them Something to Talk About

The baby's first official word is ruff ruff. To use it in a sentence would be to say, "the dog says ruff ruff;" only in my son's case he thinks every animal says ruff ruff as evidenced today when he pointed directly at the cat and said, "ruff ruff."

song: Let's Give Them Something to Talk About • artist: Bonnie Raitt

Monday, August 21, 2006

ode to my favorite cookware

Loved once to the core,
but tragically no more.
No matter how I will it,
You failed to adore,
My favorite cast-iron skillet.

Running On Empty

People often assume that my husband is competitive because of his running. when asked about it, I usually reply that he isn't really; sure, he prefers a good race over a bad one, but his satisfaction from racing usually comes from besting or matching his own previous race time.
In the running world, if you knock 30 seconds off your best time ever for a particular race or a specific distance, you say that you've set a new PR or personal record.
Runners like to talk about their various PRs ad nauseam, adjust them according to age as in "my best five-mile PR since I turned 40" or date them, "my five-mile PR for this year," runners have even been know to take a particularly good PR and use it as their ATM password; and why not? it's as good as Bosco.
But getting back to my original premise, I don't think Ken's particularly competitive, except, that is, when we're on a road trip and he wants to see how far we can make it on one tank of gas.
Me on the other hand, I'm the opposite. I'll drive around town on empty for days, knowing that if I do run out of gas I'm probably less than a mile from a gas station or from home. On the highway however, I prefer to fill up every time I stop at a rest area in order to ensure that I won't have to get off the highway, and risk getting lost, just to find a gas station.
Strangely though, I'm never driving on long car trips when we're getting low on gas.
I should mention for the record, that prior to this weekend our PR for one tank of gas in the Subaru was 388 miles. This PR was set last year during a weekend trip to Vermont. I know this because the PR information is carefully tucked away in the glove compartment with other vital vehicle paperwork, should we ever be pulled over by the police and queried: "license, registration and current PR, please."
Unlike me, my husband is happy to tool along the highway on empty for miles as long as the gas light isn't on, talking about the new PR. He'll point to the trip odometer and announce, "look, we've gone 382 miles and the light's not even on yet." Of course the light finally does come on and then it's a mad, nail-biting dash to find a gas station.
Sometimes finding a gas station off the highway isn't even enough. Sometimes he wants to press on if the price of gas seems to high. "I think we can do better," he says as we drive further and further from the highway and I picture myself in the car, in the dark, on a deserted side street with the kids, while he's off walking to a gas station.
This weekend we drove to Maine.
"Seven hundred miles on two tanks of gas," my husband beamed as we pulled into our driveway last night.
"That's great," I said.
"I don't think you're impressed," he said.
"No, I am, and in fact I'm going to put it on the blog," I said. "Put in on the blog" has become my new idle treat.
I'm happy to report that we set a new PR of 406.9 miles on one tank of gas. The goal was merely to break the record by reaching 400, so that means there were 6.9 miles of panic while we blindly searched exit 22 off 128 for a gas station, but I have a feeling that this record will stand for quite some time.

song: Running On Empty • artist: Jackson Browne

It's Been a Long Time

We just got back from a long weekend in Maine and two six-hour car rides peppered with:
"Are we almost there?"
"When will we be there?"
"Are we in Maine?"
"When will we be to Audria's?"
"Are we still in Maine?"
"Are we still in Maine?"
"When will we be home?"
The when-will-we-be-home question was first posed when he was climbing into his booster seat Sunday morning. We hadn't even pulled out of Audria's driveway yet.

song: It's Been a Long Time • artist: Southside Johnny

Thursday, August 17, 2006

clerihew for the king

Elvis Aaron Presley
was a lot like you and me.
He loved his mum, his burgers, and his gun,
but blue jeans on stage he did shun.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tonight's the Night

It's 9PM, the kids are finally asleep. Make that 9:30. I shower, do one measly round of sun salutations, thought not very good ones because I'm too lazy to go downstairs and get my sticky mat, followed by five-minutes of chest isolations. In the downstairs bathroom the nut falls out of the bolt that attaches the toilet paper fixture to the wall. While fishing around behind the toilet for it, I realize the tank's filthy, so I sponge it off. I go into the guest bedroom to get crafting materials out of the closet so I'll be one step ahead of my son tomorrow and I see that I still haven't put that blanket away on top of the closet shelf because it requires dragging a chair into the bedroom from the dining room. Then I notice the cat's left a big hairball on top of the bed. Out in the living room the rug needs to be vacuumed because my older son's been playing with the box of wood scraps and I don't want my younger son eating splinters tomorrow. I consider rolling the rug up for the summer, but since #2 son is still learning to walk I decide it's best to leave him a padded surface to "fall back on," so to speak, besides, summer's almost over. I should water the plants but where the heck's the watering can?

song: Tonight's the Night • artist: Rod Stewart

fall couplet

Fall's chill,
gives me a thrill.

fall haiku

Summer's heat turns cool,
wakes me up in the morning.
The best time of year.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

This Land is Your Land

It always takes me a minute to figure out what my son is trying to tell me. Usually it's hard to decipher because it's so obvious. Yesterday he wanted to know if the runners of the Falmouth Road Race were "bad" because they threw their paper cups on the side of the road after passing a water stop.
Bad? Why would they be bad?
Because they're littering of course!
There's an exception to the rule isn't there? Even littering.
As glad as I was to realize that my daily musings about grubbing up the planet were getting through, I was in a fix trying to sound compelling in excusing the runners' behavior. It seemed like a weak argument to explain that it's okay for runners to throw their cups on the side of the road because the volunteers would pick them up. It's like saying "sure, dump out that box of Legos, mommy will pick them up." He took it at face value though and didn't pursue the question. He actually seemed disappointed as we walked along the course that the volunteers had, indeed, picked up all the trash and there wasn't anything left for him to help with.
As you can imagine, the short stretch of road between our house and daycare is, for the most part, trash free.

song: This Land is Your Land • artist: Woody Guthrie

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Dirty Laundry

The energy-efficient washing machine we just bought in January was broken for three weeks. What's more energy efficient than an energy efficient washing machine? Not washing your clothes at all, that's what. But, it didn't come to that, the machine still worked, just the timer was broken so you had to remember to nudge the dial every 10 minutes or so to get the machine to advance to the next cycle. I could never remember to do it, of course, so it was taking two hours to get a load of laundry washed which didn't leave enough time to hang everything on the clothes line and have them dry before dark.
I didn't realize how much I like to hang the clothes on the line until it wasn't an option. Now that the machine is fixed I'm loving the clothes line again. Especially days like today when the clothes you put out at 9:30 are dry by 1:30 and you can squeeze in a second load.
I know it's just laundry but there's nothing more satisfying than using energy from the sun and the wind to get something done. We're so out of touch with our environment, we're always working against it, turning on the AC when it's hot out, turning up the thermostat when it's cold. Rarely do we use nature as a means to an end, except when people are out sailing or if you happen to have solar panels on your house or a wind turbine in the yard. It's the illusive free lunch, so why are we all resisting it?

song: Dirty Laundry • artist: Don Henley

Friday, August 11, 2006

Ring My Bell

We were at the pediatricians on Wednesday for the baby's 15-month well-baby visit. After the weighing and the measuring were over we were all waiting for the doctor to come in and my older son had his younger brother completely hyped up so in order to keep him from jumping off the exam table I gave him the one thing that all babies long to play with - the car keys. It worked well for a few minutes. We were in an exam room with the door closed mind you, and not a room in the front of the building, one of the ones in back. So of course my son activated our car alarm. Luckily my husband was with us, he and my older son went outside, past the reception desk where they were announcing "it's a green Subaru" to the waiting room full of people, to try and turn it off. It seemed to take an eternity but finally all was quiet. The irony of course is that many times I've stood directly in front of my car trying to activate the door unlock to little avail, so how is it that it worked through several walls and two closed doors?

song: Ring My Bell • artist: Anita Ward

Stouthearted Men

"I know the worry and strife that come with a wife but here is a man, who would gladly give up his life to marry you, Marianne."
What the heck kind of lyrics are those? It's a bit extreme don't you think man? I mean let's be realistic because you're only setting yourself up for failure - dead men don't make good husbands.

song: Stouthearted Men • musical: The New Moon

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Won't Get Fooled Again

There is a backyard baby. I'm not sure if it's the grandchild of the people who live behind us or if, low and behold, a young couple have moved in near by but I heard the backyard baby earlier in the summer and now the backyard baby, is, well, back.
When I hear the backyard baby during afternoon nap time I always end up hoofing it upstairs only to realize at the top step that it's not my baby that's crying. Sometimes, in heeding my crying baby Pavlovian mommy response, I'll go upstairs twice in the same afternoon. Today I only went upstairs once but then when my 15-month-old did finally wake up I left him up there in tears longer than usual because I was so sure it wasn't my baby crying

song: Won't Get Fooled Again • artist: The Who

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

bad mommy senryu

Too hot for napping
upstairs, baby is crying
ignored by his mum.

Walk On By

This is the kind of welcoming signage I pass by daily. The orange and black 'no trespassing sign' is a new addition this week. Robert Frost once wrote "good fences make good neighbors," I wonder what he'd have thought about this? I'm guessing the good residents of this neighborhood are thinking, "good fences with a lot of signs on them keep the undesirable local riff raff out."
Admittedly, those of us on the poor side of town, without private beach rights, are at a disadvantage this time of year, having to swim with the townies and the tourists and all, but not having beach rights doesn't mean we're (a) stupid, (b) dense, and (c) unable to take a hint with the first three signs.

song: Walk On By • artist: Dionne Warwick

Monday, August 07, 2006

Life's Been Good

At work on Friday two huge bags of corn were dropped off from Tony Andrew's Farm. It didn't take long for us to gather at the front, a myriad of bags in hand, to dole it out to those of us dedicated or foolish enough to have stayed until after twelve o'clock on a Friday. I only work in the office one day a week, and lately it's been more like a half a day since my free babysitters have obligations in the summer, so normally I miss all the good stuff, the occasional employee lunches and birthdays, sales reps bribing the production department with bagels, snacks in the newsroom on Thursdays. And now that Lisa's out at the plant I can't even raid her candy dish. So the corn was a huge windfall. A solid five-hours of uninterrupted time to work and mingle with other grown ups - and fresh corn to boot! It can't get much better than that.

Corn Salsa
4 tbsp vegetable oil
6 cloves garlic - peeled
4 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 shallots, chopped (red onions work just as well, they just don't sound as exotic)
4 cups fresh corn kernels cut from the cob
1 small hot chili pepper, chopped
3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice (no guilt, no pressure, if you don't have fresh, bottled works. I mean you have the fresh corn, that's what's important here)
juice of 1/2 an orange (see above comment)
salt & pepper

In a skillet, heat oil and saute garlic over low heat, stirring often (or as often as you can remember to while you run about the house picking up after the kids, watering the plants, and doing laundry), 10 minutes or until garlic is soft. Mash garlic in pan. Add tomatoes and shallots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring as often as is humanly possible. Transfer this mixture into a large bowl. Sir in the corn, chili pepper, cilantro, lime juice, orange juice, salt and pepper. Set the mixture aside to cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to allow the flavors to mellow. Bring to cook out, reap heavy praise. This recipe, minus the running commentary, is originally from the Boston Globe Magazine, back when the Globe had faith that its Sunday Reader's attention span was longer than five minutes and they ran actual stories in the Globe Magazine instead of the fluff that passes for articles today.

song: Life's Been Good • artist: the Eagles

Good Intentions

I know, I know, I talk about bugs all the time! Who would have thought they'd become such an integral part of my life? The other night I was up late answering e-mail. How pathetic is that? I can't even concentrate enough during the day to answer e-mail?
Nighttime is the only time the cat has any energy and she's usually poised next to the heating duct in the kitchen in hopes that those distant rustling noises from the crawl space turn out to be mice. The other night though, she left that post and was stalking a large beetle in the hallway. Sister beetle to the one that drown in Ken's coffee mug a few weeks back. It was big, but sluggish, so I decide to catch it and put it in the bug hut so my older son could see in the morning. I grab one of his plastic teacups (yes, my son has a tea set, and what of it?), and I put it over the insect while the cat looks on probably thinking, "hey, a teacup, why didn't I think of that?"
I come back with the bug hut, and this bug is so large it is literally pushing the tea cup over the floor. I slide some cardboard under the cup, scoop up the bug and deposit him in the bug hut.
For those of you without children a bug hut is a container that's basically made out of a screen with a sliding door on one end.
The next morning there was no large beetle in the bug hut, only a hole in the screen which my son noticed right away.
"Mommy, how'd that hole get in my bug hut?"
"Geez, honey, I don't know."
I put some duct tape over the hole and didn't mention beetle, now on the lam, somewhere in the house.
I found it later that same day, inside a damp towel. This time I didn't bother trying to keep it, or alert my son, I just hustled both the bug and the towel out the door.

song: good intentions • artist: Lyle Lovett

Waiting in Vain

I entered my quilt in the Barnstable County Fair. You remember the fair? The one I didn't want to actually go to? Yet I was okay with lugging my quilt down before the fair opened for judging. It seems vain I know, but I figured I'd spent seven years making it, and if Ken's going to take our son to the fair, the least I can do is enter something in order to get him a free admission ticket.
The quilt came in 3rd. I was kinda disappointed, like they should judge the quilts on the amount of years they took to make and not on the actual quality of the finished product. If I get my other quilt done maybe I'll enter it next year. Maybe there's some other type of contest I can enter, the contest for people who never manage to finish projects. I'd be in good company, there are a lot of famous procrastinators - like Gaudi who died in 1926. His church of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is still not finished. And Korczak Kiolkowski who started the giant sculpture of Crazy Horse in South Dakota in 1948. He died in 1982 and his wife is still overseeing construction 24 years later. That's love for you. As if she didn't have any projects of her own that needed finishing.

song: Waiting in Vain • artist: Bob Marley

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Up, Up, and Away

My older son was just like the cat this morning. He scarfed down his breakfast, walked three feet away from his bowl, and promptly threw up.

song: Up, Up, and Away • artist: Fifth Dimension

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Life in the Fast Lane

This is for all the folks who pass by in their cars on Quaker Road while I'm walking my older son to daycare. I am the mom who pulls her son in the red wagon and has the baby in the back pack. I just wanted to say that I really appreciate how you all pull way over across the median to avoid hitting us, or splashing water on us, when there are no cars in the other lane. You know what work even better? If you just slowed down.

song: Life in the Fast Lane • artist: The Eagles

August Couplet

August already? Is the chant that we hear,
how soon summer starts to disappear.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Hot, Hot, Hot

It was the hottest day of the year. My three-year-old and I were under a tent, circus tent that is.
It was Circus Smirkus, the kid's circus from Vermont, performing at Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich. I'm not a big fan of the circus, but I am a sucker for anything from Vermont, and as another parent commented, at least we didn't have to fight our way through a crowd of animal rights protesters on our way in or feel squeamish watching the "sad elephant" perform.
We were unusually early to the performance. I mistakenly thought the show would be inside the museum's grounds and that there would be time for a ride on the carousel before the show. In reality the tent is set up outside the actual museum, so we ended up being very early without anything much to do once we arrived.
Surprisingly, my son had fallen asleep in the car, which normally means I would get to listen to NPR for 15 minutes in peace but the heat being what it was, staying in the car wasn't an option.
We wasted a bit of time walking up to the regular entrance and being told we had to go down to where the tent was set up to retrieve our e-tickets. We picked up our tickets and found a shady spot to sit down in for a half-hour. Good pseudo-reporter that I am, I'd brought my notebook with me so I entertained myself by making a sketch of the big top. My son entertained himself by asking me was that I was drawing, (what do you mean you can't tell?).
One bottle of spring water later it was time to cue up to enter the tent.
I began noticing that all the other children and adults were waving cardboard fans, purchased at the merchandising tent which we had cleverly steered clear of. Friends commented that the fans would probably be the biggest selling souvenir of the day and we remarked that the cast had probably been busy the night before xeroxing and assembling the fans.
For the record, Circus Smirkus is a phenomenal group of talented teenagers. Their ability to perform a spirited show despite oppressive heat is a testament to their talent. This blog however is not about Circus Smirkus, it's about my insecurities as a parent. Let's just get that straight. No circus reviews here, though I did take copious notes for a potential story in next year's In Season so stay tuned.
So there we are, inside the tent, with another 15 minutes to go before show time.
The tent is only about one-quarter full; all the sensible parents having bailed out on account of the oppressive heat.
I thought I was prepared, with two bottles of water and a bag of Cheerios but as I look around I realize that two bottles of water is completely inadequate. Parents, parents who care about their children that is, are passing out apple juices and even ice packs.
The kids are allowed to sit on the ground just in front of the ring. As I said, it's a sparse crowd which is good because that leaves lots of elbow room for fan waving, and there's a lot of it going on. In fact I realize that every child in our section has a fan except for mine.
Some grandparents are sitting in the lowest bleachers actually fanning their grandchildren, who are seated on the ground..
I've always thought that those hand-held fans were a bit of a scam. It seems like the energy you expend waving them around vastly out weighs any benefit acquired from the small amount of breeze that's generated. That's the reason why, in mosaics from the Roman empire, it's always slaves fanning the Emperor and not the Emperor fanning himself. It's probably just as effective to simply sit still and exert no energy whatsoever, I think the Spanish call it siesta.
I'm alone in this rationale however and instead of a vendor selling popcorn and peanuts the fan hawker begins circling the ring. "Get your personal Circus Smirkus air conditioner here, only one dollar," he says.
He comes back later peddling personal-sized electric fans for five dollars. It seems like a steal, he could have easily sold them for $20. A few indulgent parents shell out. Most of the children in our section still just have the human-powered models. Again, everyone but my son. He's looking kind of flushed. I climb down from my seat and encourage him to take off his floppy hat. His hair is matted and wet as we wait under the lights for the show to begin.
The heat is getting to me. I begin to obsess. What if he passes out? It's so hot it could happen. I can see the headline, "only child at Circus Smirkus without a fan, faints in heat."
I start rooting around my pocketbook for a dollar. The hawker is on the other side of the tent. What if he sells out before he gets back to our section? Determined, I grasp my dollar, make my way across the tent, and purchase the fan.
I climb back down and hand it to my son. He looks at if foreignly. As if he hasn't even noticed that he's sitting in a sea of hand-held fans and that everyone around him is waving one.
He begins to fan in the wrong direction. He is fanning away from himself towards the middle of the tent. There's no time for fanning lessons as the lights dim and the show begins. As the performers come out, all fanning ceases. I knew it! A dollar wasted!
At least he had fun showing it to his little brother when we got home.

song: Hot, Hot, Hot • artist: Buster Poindexter

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Moldy Couplet

Can't take the humidity in my house any more,
there's mold in places that never grew mold before!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

munchkin land

My front yard is beginning to remind me of the Wizard of Oz. Remember the scene when the flying monkeys swoop down and carry off Dorothy and Toto? They leave behind the lion the scarecrow and the tin man, but not before they ruff them up a bit.
The lion and the tin man rush over to the scarecrow. He is all dismembered. He says: "they took my legs off and they threw them over there! Then they took my chest out and they threw it over there!" Then the tin man cleverly says, "well, that's you all over!"
Since his got his new truck Ken's been dismembering the old one and leaving parts of it all over the front yard.
First he took the roof rack and put it near the baby's swing, then he took the bed liner and left it near the fire bushes. You get the idea.
Surely the neighbors who just moved into the $600,000 house across the street were hoping for a better view.

song: munchkin land • soundtrack: the wizard of oz

Boris the Spider

Who would buy this? Who would want to rid their home of spiders? At our house we stand around with the door open as much as possible deliberately trying to coax more bugs in.

song: Boris the Spider • artist: The Who