Wednesday, February 28, 2007

parenting quatrain

on the last day of february i reflect
that parenting saps won's intellect.
though eye wasn't exactly brilliant be4
it seems I don't no nuthin' no more.

Teach Your Children

Boston College was one of the schools I applied to when I was a senior in high school. I was not accepted. Though if I had been, despite the shocking similarity between her first name and my last name, you can bet I wouldn't have stabbed a dorm mate over laundry. Too bad they didn't put that on the application.

song: Teach Your Children • artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

Fat Bottomed Girls

Some songs, no matter how much you like them, can never be played in front of your kids. "Fat Bottomed Girls" for example.

song: Fat Bottomed Girls • artist: Queen

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

She Drives Me Crazy

I went into the service department to get the car forgetting H covered my skirt in stickers this morning, though I don't think Crystal, the receptionist, noticed. They had washed the car, $650 for a 30,000-mile tune-up, gets you a free car wash. I was mortified to see that I had left a pair of tights, socks, and other clothing strewn about the front passenger seat, as if I live in the car. I was still thinking about that, wondering whether the socks were clean, when I went the wrong way out of the parking lot and ended up on the dead end row of new cars where I had to execute a three-point turn to get out.
I wonder if Crystal saw that.

song: She Drives Me Crazy • artist: The Fine Young Cannibals

Running Down the Road

The car had to be taken in this morning for service at the Subaru dealership on MacArthur Blvd. My husband set the alarm for 6:15, drove the car to the shop and then ran home. Last night I suggested we take it in after dinner but he said no, this would be easier. How many people do you know who think that it's easier to drop off a car at the shop, run the ten miles home, shower and go to work, than to drop the car off the night before?
Then of course I complained that I had to get my dad to drive me out to pick it up this afternoon. Couldn't you just run back out there after work?

song: Running Down the Road • artist: Arlo Guthrie

Sunday, February 25, 2007

I Started a Joke

"Mommy, why are you always serious?" my son asked today. I was making dinner when I should have been putting a puzzle together with him.
Always serious?
What about yesterday when I wore the tiger mask and chased H around the hallway upstairs?
What about when we all played monkey in the middle in the dining room before dinner last night?
How about tonight when he pretended he was a sea lion in the tub and I, as the zookeeper, threw him plastic fish to eat?
Or today when I helped him find animal pictures and pencils so he could prepare his Uncle Wiggley puppet show - which I later sat on the couch and watched?
What about when I took digital pictures of him yesterday with the cat lying across him arm?
Or when I pretended I didn't know where he was when he was hiding under his brother's crib?
Didn't I pull him and his brother down to the end of the street in the sled on Friday, at least until he decided he wanted to pull the sled himself?
What about today when I let them crawl under me like a bridge while I was in down dog pose?
Didn't I use silly voices when reading "Little Red Hen" and "Lazy Jack" tonight?
Didn't I sing my bad rendition of "Light My Fire" when he and Ken lit a fire tonight in the living room and an even worse rendition of John Travolta's "Sandy" to his stuffed bunny of the same name?
I'm always serious. Get real.

song: I Started a Joke • artist: Bee Gees

Teddy bear, teddy bear (a remix)

Teddy bear, teddy bear, spin around
Teddy bear, teddy bear, fall on the ground

Teddy bear, teddy bear, make some noise
Teddy bear, teddy bear, throw your toys

Teddy bear, teddy bear, catch the ball
Teddy bear, teddy bear, run down the hall

Teddy bear, teddy bear, time for bed
Teddy bear, teddy bear, shake your head

Teddy bear, teddy bear, say good night
Teddy bear, teddy bear, not without a fight.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Losing My Religion

I read The Man Who Walked Between the Towers to C Thursday night. He chose it from the little library based on recognizing it from a poster we have of Caldecott-award-winning children's books. The book is about Philippe, a street performer who strings a cable between the twin towers in 1974 and does an early morning high wire act before being discovered and arrested.
On the second to last page of the book there's the sentence, "Now the towers are gone." The last pages talks about the memory of the towers and of Philippe's walk.
My son immediately picked up on this.
"Why are they gone?"
"They fell down."
"How did they?"
"There was a fire."
He would not let up. He wanted to know how they got on fire so I lamely tried to explain that some "bad men" started the fire.
"Why did they?"
This segued into a talk about how sometimes people are afraid of other people who are different from themselves and how sometimes we just don't know why other people do the things they do.
Then he wanted to know how the bad men got the building on fire and because I'm not a creative enough liar I had to tell the truth, which led to an entirely new discussion about how airplanes and cars can explode if they crash into things.
Then we went upstairs and said goodnights but I could tell he was still pondering it.
"I don't know why someone would want wreck down a building," he said as I turned out the light.
"Neither do I."
"I hope someone got those bad men in jail."
On Friday I had a check up with my dermatologist and I complained to her that I was loosing more hair than usual. It's all over my sweatshirts, the kid's sweaters, the back of my chair at work. Dr. Barnett seemed to think it was stress related though she did send me off for a blood test just to be sure.
Since then, I've been chewing over the stress factor. Have I been more stressed out this year than last year? Now I'm not sure if my hair is falling out from external stresses or from the internal stress of wondering whether I'm stressed out or not. She mentioned things like getting divorced or moving to a new house. These are the kind of big-stress events that would cause ones hair to fall out. Not the normal everyday stresses of wondering what I should do with the rest of my life or of having to explain the events of 9/11 to a four-year old.

song: Losing my Religion • artist: R.E.M.

Friday, February 23, 2007

How Do You Do?

Today's Enterprise featured a photo of the razing of Jake's Tap. I recall only being inside Jake's once, but my dad could be found there regularly when I was growing up. He especially liked to run off to Jake's on the night the family assembled the Christmas tree. I say assembled because we had a fake tree for as far back as I can remember. Part of the tree tradition was my dad leaving to go to Jake's. What could be less festive than your dad heading out to the neighborhood bar, leaving you, your mom, and your little sister at home putting your Christmas tree together (blue branches in the bottom trunk holes, red ones on top)? We thought it was all rather funny actually; it wasn't your usual tradition, but it was our tradition.
Reporter Christopher Kazarian quoted Henry Peters as saying this about Jakes: "That is where my father met my mother, right here."
Someday some young reporter will record my kids saying the same thing when they level the Captain Kidd in Woods Hole. "That's were my mom met my dad," C will say, "right there under the TV at the end of the bar. My mother always hated TV."

song: How Do You Do? • artist: Mouth and MacNeal

Thursday, February 22, 2007

You Needed Me

The hospital thrift shop has a habit of trying to entice shoppers by putting some of their larger pieces of merchandise outside on the shop's front lawn. People waiting at the lights can mull over whether or not they need a new captain's chair or ironing board. Many times accessories for children are among the goods displayed.
This morning there were four items: a bouncy chair, an infant car seat, an umbrella stroller, and, a walker. Not a walker for children mind you, a walker for older adults. It was such an ironic juxtaposition of items. Perhaps the ladies who run the hospital thrift shop were trying to convey that life comes full circle. You need all these contraptions to help you as a baby and similar devices to assist you when you're older. Maybe they thought people might see it as one-stop shopping, something for the baby shower and the visit to grandma's house. It reminded me of the Sesame Street song where they used to show kids pictures of an apple, a banana, an orange, and, a bicycle and sing: One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn't belong. Can you tell which thing is not like the others by the time I finish my song?

song: You Needed Me • artist: Anne Murray

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Last night I threw out what was left of my son's Halloween candy. I actually felt guilty throwing it away - not because he might find out and get mad, he's still young enough to have entrusted the candy to my care and naive enough to believe me if I tell him he already finished it. No, I felt guilty for throwing food away. As if Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and mini Snickers bars could be defined as real food. I considered bringing it in to the office for my coworkers, but sorry you guys, I thought better of it. Besides, there's only six more weeks until Easter. Jelly bean anyone?

song: Candy • artist: Iggy Pop

House at Pooh Corner

song: House at Pooh Corner • artist: Loggins and Messina

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

You Can't Always Get What You Want

We left the kids with the babysitter and went out tonight. Last time we were out just the two of us we noted that it had been so long between nights out that the menu in our favorite restaurant had been redesigned. This time wasn't as dramatic though we did notice that we only recognized one person on the wait staff - of course it wasn't Thursday which used to be our regular night.
The last time we left the kids with a baby sitter C stood by the front door crying hysterically while we pulled out of the driveway. This time he barely looked up. He was in the living room completely engaged in conversation with Paige.
To tell the truth I'm not sure which I prefer.
We always want it both ways don't we?
We don't want a scene, we want to know they can live without us; and yet we do so want to be acknowledged, to be validated, to know that we are important, at least for a little while longer.

song: You Can't Always Get What You Want • artist: The Rolling Stones

Monday, February 19, 2007

We are the Champions

Check it out! Daddy's on YouTube!

song: We are the Champions • artist: Queen


song: Honey • artist: Bobby Goldsboro

Nothing Happened Today

Some people probably wonder what stay-at-home moms do all day. Here's a glimpse from last week.
3PM: Post blog entry written last night.
3:05: Get C more glue for special valentine project.
3:09: Decide to make pasta and chick peas for dinner.
3:15: Run dishwasher, negating energy karma points earned by hanging out laundry earlier in the day.
3:15: Make mental note that we have three bunches of bananas hanging in laundry room. Will need to make banana bread this week.
3:20: Get more glue and toothpicks for special valentine
3:30: Explain to C why "shut up" isn't a polite phrase.
3:35: E-mail free lance writers regarding story that won't be running in upcoming supplement and address request.
4:00: Play checkers with C.
4:10: H wakes up from nap. Change stinky diaper
4:30: Win checker game.
4:31: Start second game of checkers.
4:40: C excused to the bathroom, takes H with him.
4:50: Win second game of checkers by default, H distracted by wanting to play with his penny whistle.
4:50: Feed cat.
4:55: Get out mop. Water on the floor courtesy of H.
5:00: Empty dishwasher. Cajole C into putting away the silverware.
5:10: Put in book on tape: The Smallest Cow in the World.
5:15: Play catch with H.
5:25: Get out mop. More water on the floor courtesy of H.
5:27: Notice that broom is in the living room. Return it to laundry room.
5:30: Call Judi and offer to pick her up for book club.

song: Nothing Happened Today • artist: The Boomtown Rats

I Write the Book

Have you ever read the Acknowledgements at the end of a novel or work of nonfiction? I'll never be able to write a book. I don't know that many people.

song: I Write the Book • artist: Elvis Costello

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Dream a Little Dream of Me

When I leave his room after good nights my son always asks me to remember my dreams so I can tell them to him in the morning. In exchange he promises to tell me his dreams. Studies show that children his age dream about animals 60% of the time, but I don't bother to tell him this.
I almost never remember my dreams. Sometimes it seems like I lie down and don't sleep at all, I just segue from running down the list of things I didn't get done today straight into the list of things I need to get done for tomorrow, and then it's time to make breakfast. Last night though I had two dreams I remembered.
In the first we were all at some kind of road race. I think it was one of those ultra marathons because we were provided with our own little cardboard shack house on the edge of a large track.
In the second dream we went to visit friends in Woods Hole and their entire house was being gutted. There were stacks of two by fours and plywood all over the place. We barely know these people in real life and have never been guests in their home. Isn't that always the way? We dream about people that we seemingly don't give a second thought to during the course of being awake. At the house were our kids, and the children who lived in the house, and, for some reason, other random children kept coming in and out of the house. I couldn't concentrate on the conversation because I kept loosing H among all the plastic tarps, plywood, and debris.

song: Dream a Little Dream of Me • artist: The Mamas and the Papas

Saturday, February 17, 2007

You Win Again

Friday morning my son was up and downstairs before me. He had breakfast with Ken and was ready to go the minute I arrived on the scene.
"What to play Trouble?"
"Mommy's going to make a cup of tea and have something to eat first."
"Who's going to play with me?"
"Maybe you could play with your stuffed animals."
"I want to play with a real person."
Finally he decided he could play Trouble in the living room with Eco - his stuffed turtle, which was great except he kept giving me play by play of the game, yelling things like "Eco rolled a six!" and "I sent Eco home!" and on and on. This made me feel: a) annoyed because it distracted me from reading the paper, and at the same time, b) guilty for not playing with him in the first place.
At least he ended up beating Eco.

song: You Win Again • artist: The Bee Gees

Pencil Thin Mustache

Some people spend their lives searching for that perfect, special someone. Me, I spend a lot of time searching for the perfect writing instrument.
The right pen actually helps me write. It enhances the mood. If the words are a physical pleasure to write and I like the way they look on the page, then it helps me care about what the words say.
Before I had kids, quit my full-time job, and achieved international fame for writing this blog, I used to be a graphic designer. I studied graphic design just before the industry became computer driven. Perhaps that's when the search for the perfect pen began.
Sometimes when the perfect pen is not available, the next best thing is a well-sharpened pencil - a #2 soft.
The perfect pen varies from job to job. For example, if I need to write a check, it's blue ink. If I'm correcting a story draft, it's red ink. For journal and letter writing, it's a black felt tip.
There's really no good reason to use plain black ink. All those pens should just be put back into the office supply closet to be used by someone with lower ink standards.
The writing line has to be even and unbroken. What ever happened to those "erasable" pens that came out back in high school? You could erase it sure, but you never got a consistent line, it was always getting broken up; and if you rubbed the paper sometimes the ink would just flake right off. Good riddance I say.
The thickness of the pen body is important. It has to fit comfortably in the hand. Not many do. Again, it depends on the job. The pen that's kept inside the checkbook can have a very thin body, that way it stays put without making the checkbook too bulky. A pen that's too thin eventually gets uncomfortable in the hand because you have to grasp with too much pressure to keep a hold of it. But no novels are being written with the checkbook pen so it doesn't matter, whereas a comfortable pen is critical if one is about to sit down and pen a letter to a distant friend.
Remember the old stationary store on Main Street where you could buy individual felt tip pens and markers? There were lots of them to choose from, in all sorts of colors and thicknesses. They were all on display so you could test them out and see how they felt in your hand before making that crucial final decision and plunking down 79¢ for a LePen. I loved standing before the seemingly endless selection of felt-tip markers. Now we have to buy pens in packages of 10 or more, all exactly the same, all hermetically sealed. "Little Boxes" as Pete Seeger would say.
Make no mistake, I'm very attached to my computer and a die-hard Mac enthusiast, but there's no tactile pleasure or satisfaction in the perfect keyboard.

song: Pencil Thin Mustache • artist: Jimmy Buffett

By My Baby

I hear that Barack Obama isn't really black.
Have I mentioned that Ken is the father of Anna Nicole's baby?

song: Be My Baby • artist: The Ronnettes

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Only the Good Die Young

Logan's Run. I was just thinking about that movie the other day. I wasn't thinking about it a lot, mind you. Not as much as I think about Peter and the Wolf or what's for dinner. It was more along the lines of, "I wonder why they never show Logan's Run on AMC? It's equally as good a movie as Scarface." And then, voila! it's going to be on TCM tomorrow night at 9:15!
I remember watching Logan's Run on more than on occasion with my cousins, Christine, Karen, and Maureen. It was probably in the late 70s, maybe as late as 1980. I would have been ten or twelve, that seems about right. There we all were watching a movie about people who, "could have anything - except their 30th birthday," back when being 30 was an eternity away. We were probably all thinking, "death at 30 - what's the big deal? They led a full life. Who wants to live to be older than 30 anyway?"

song: Only the Good Die Young • artist: Billy Joel

All Cried Out

They both have colds now. My older son claims that he got the cold from his younger brother the other night when we were all on the love seat and H threw his head back, hitting C in the nose. As if there's a lot of transferable germs on the back of my baby's head.
It used to be that the cure for every bump was the magic kiss from mom or dad. Now the cure is ice. H hits his head all the time. He is a casualty of our mission-style couch. He'll have barely started crying and his big brother is running off to the freezer for ice.
Tuesday night C swung around without looking and got hit on the side of the head by a metal taxi cab car that H was holding. He was inconsolable until I offered to get him some ice. Then he played with the ice inside the plastic bag until he poked a hole in it and got water all over the sofa.

song: All Cried Out • artist: Dusty Springfield

What's Going On?

Sometimes I really miss being in the office. I miss the general convivial banter about the news of the day, otherwise known as gossip. I know the adage about gossip: "Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people," but we can't be figuring out ways to save the planet all the time and besides Eleanor Roosevelt, to whom this quote is attributed, probably never had a 40-hour-a-week, nine-to-five, desk job.
So, for the record, I'm thinking of running for president, and Ken is really the father of Anna Nicole's baby.

song: What's Going On? • artist: Marvin Gaye

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Come Fly With Me

So I've been thinking about this (perhaps a bit too much), and the whole premise of Peter and the Wolf doesn't make sense. First the duck and the bird tease one another by saying "what kind of bird are you if you don't swim?" and conversely, "what kind of bird are you if you don't fly?" Then the duck gets eaten by the wolf precisely because she can't fly.
Who ever heard of a duck that can't fly?

song: Come Fly With Me • artist: Frank Sinatra

Hungry Heart

Nothing says "I love you" like a heart-shaped pancake.

song: Hungry Heart • artist: Bruce Springsteen

valentine's day haiku

Rock salt and chocolates
Saint Valentine's Day storm front
For those who love snow

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Three Times A Lady

I have three hemp skirts, all floor length, all in what one might call "earth tones." I wear them almost exclusively three seasons out of the year. Having three skirts that all look the same reminds me of the scene in the remake of "The Fly" when Geena Davis arrives at Jeff Goldblum's house to interview him and he's got a closet full of suits, all identical. He explains to her that Einstein or some other genius - someone who doesn't end up crossing his DNA with a fly - used to do the same thing. The idea being, less time thinking about what to wear equals more time to solve the world's problems.
Me, it just helps to get a leg up on my kids in the morning.
Upon close inspection, though the skirts all appear to be the same, there are differences. The green skirt is the longest. It will actually drag on the ground unless I roll the waist band up. The blue skirt by comparison is shorter. The maroon skirt has a slit up the side which prevents me from wearing it with a slip. It also has a drawstring instead of an elastic waist. Once when C was an infant, I was carrying him up the stairs when the drawstring untied. I couldn't reach down to pull it up because I was holding a baby so all of a sudden I found myself standing on the stairs with my skirt around my ankles wondering if this type of thing happens to other new mothers.

song: Three Times A Lady • The Commodores

Monday, February 12, 2007

I Will Remember You

It looks as if my son is no longer planning to save me from the grim reaper. The other day he left my room with a big fistful of hair from my hairbrush. When I asked him about it he said that he was saving it to remember me by after I died.

song: I will remember you • artist: Sarah McLachlan

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Take Good Care of my Baby

While we were up in Quebec and C and I had split from Ken and H to check out the ice house and snow sculptures, some woman reprimanded Ken for having brought H outside in the cold weather.
To be sure, H was wearing tiny toddler thermals, long johns, ski pants, a onesie and fleece sweater under the ski coat, hat, gloves, boots and a neck warmer. He was better prepared for the weather than his father.
It never ceases to amaze me when that happens. People seem to feel they are rightly qualified to freely give fathers their two-cents worth. Ken has been out with the kids and has been told by well-intentioned buttinskies that his baby was hungry, tired, and shouldn't be holding that butter knife (okay, that one was probably justified).
I, on the other hand, have never been approached by anyone offering unsolicited advice about how to clothe, soothe, or feed my children.
How are we suppose to encourage fathers to be more active in their children's lives when the message everyone seems to want to send is that we think they are all idiots who don't know how to properly dress their children for cold weather?

song: Take Good Care of my Baby • artist: Bobby Vinton

Saturday, February 10, 2007


I didn't even say the words out loud. Yesterday, while driving to work, I was just thinking that the kids hadn't been sick much this winter compared to last year when we were at the pediatricians every other week. This morning H slept until 10:30 and woke up sneezing a river of nose goopies. I should have pulled over and knocked on wood.

song: Superstition • artist: Stevie Wonder

Friday, February 09, 2007

Dead Flowers

How ironic. There is a dead plant on my desk. I should not be writing spring home and garden stories.

song: Dead Flowers • artist: The Rolling Stones

Tea for Two

Every morning I make tea. This has been a routine ever since I stopped working full time four-and-a-half years ago, so you'd think I'd have it down to a science by now. Alas no. I always seem to put the kettle on and then forget about it entirely. Ultimately I end up in some other part of the house entrenched in an activity I can't disengage from, usually a diaper change, when the kettle goes off. The whistling used to inspire my older son to scream "tea!" at the top of his lungs but now he just screams. His younger brother does the same. Thus my morning cup of tea, a ritual usually steeped in the notion of relaxation, commences with bedlam.
Today I ran into my next-door neighbor at Coffee O, (I was getting the day's second cup of tea), and she remarked that her dogs had been barking more than usual this morning and she hoped I hadn't heard them. Over the normal 9AM chaos in my house? To put it in British terms: not bloody likely.

song: Tea for Two • musical: No, No, Nanette

If I Fell

My son wants us to get a tent so we can sleep out in the yard this summer. I'm all for this, I even want to move up from backyard camping to actual campground camping, or join the AMC and sleep in those huts, whichever we get around to first. C specifically requested that we get a tent with a zipper so no skunks will be able to get in. Another excellent suggestion. He further explained that we need a zipper on the tent because, and I quote, "just in case a big tree in the backyard falls over on us, we'll be okay."
A zipper will protect us from falling trees? Who knew? Perhaps he'd like to explain that to our insurance agency, which is no longer providing home insurance coverage on the Cape.

song: If I fell • artist: The Beatles

Thursday, February 08, 2007

What Was I Thinking?

According to my Google homepage there are currently 3,181 articles on the web about NASA astronaut Lisa Nowak, so I figure - what's one more?
Having recently turned 39, I've done some reflecting on how I've spent the past 40 years of my life. Have I lived up to my full potential? Well, if my full potential was to be a full-time mom and part-time writer/supplement coordinator at a local newspaper than things are going pretty well. I never did one of those What Color is Your Parachute-type quizzes so I'm unsure what my full potential actually might be.
It's possible I could have gotten a higher degree, moved to the city, tried for a better job. Sure, I could have done more.
But at least I can say that I haven't embarrassed myself, my friends, my family and my employers and coworkers - at least I haven't yet - which is more than I can say for Ms. Nowak despite her degree from the U.S. Naval Academy and a masters in aeronautical engineering.
According to the Houston Chronicle Ms. Nowak "chose a juggling act of dauntingly high difficulty" as an astronaut and mother of three. As a mother of only two I can't speak from experience but I'm fairly sure that any job, coupled with mothering three children, would be a task of high difficulty and lest you all think I'm coming down too hard on Ms. Nowak that same article quotes an acquaintance of Ms. Nowak as saying "what the hell was she thinking?"

song: What Was I Thinking? • artist: Four Bitchin' Babes

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

How Long is Too Long

Ken had Monday off so we all went to the downtown post office to apply for H's passport. I didn't intend for this to be the only thing I got done all day but that's how it turned out. When applying for a child's passport, both parents have to appear to sign the application in front of a post office official so they know that one parent isn't trying to steal the child and take him or her out of the country.
It started with us needing to wait in line to get the mail that had piled up while we were out of town. A postman brought out one stack and then said he would go back and check on whether or not there was more. We waited, but he was gone a long time. Another postman came over to ask if we needed help. We explained that our helper had disappeared and that in fact we needed a passport photo. The second postman scowled slightly and went away. The first postman came back without any more mail for us. We explained we needed to file an application for a passport and he went away again. Later I saw him out in the parking lot moving orange cones.
Meanwhile C entertained himself by chatting up everyone who came into the post office, asking them about the quality and quantity of their mail.
The post office is equipped with a camera and a white projection screen for the express purpose of taking passport photos, the only problem is that no one at the post office knows how to operate the camera. A woman came over and made two attempts in which H came out blurry and off centered in both. After that we gave up and left to go to Ortins for the photo but before going we signed on all the pertinent lines so Ken could leave and do other errands. Did I mention it was freezing out? It was. I shelpped the kids back to the car, parked behind Eastmans, and drove to Ortins where C complained that he didn't want to get out of the car and I had to convince him that staying in the car by himself wasn't an option. We go into Ortins and the store is completely empty, no customers, no staff, no one. Beth must have been at the bank. We waited a long time. I could have made off with armfuls of I Love Lucy mugs and Elvis key chains. Finally Gary, the man behind the curtain, came out and in only one try, took a perfect passport photo of H. We pay, leave, and schlepp back to the car. Back inside the post office it's now noon and a large line has formed. C went back to making small talk with post office patrons. H started screaming which got up moved right up to the front of the cue. I handed over the photos and the postman said all that's left is to pay the fees. I said fine and handed over my credit card but alas, no credit cards for the purchase of a passport. We all went back to the car, again parked behind Eastmans, where I retrieved the check book from the glove compartment. Then there was more arguing with C about whether he could or couldn't stay in the car (he couldn't). I went back to the post office, frozen children in tow, to close the deal. This time we went straight to the head of the line without even pretending to be polite.
Afterwards, we three went to Coffee O to celebrate our accomplishment with chai and hot chocolate.

song: How Long is Too Long • artist: The Partridge Family

As Time Goes By

In the olden days (before kids) when I was the passenger on long, and even not-so-long car trips, my only responsibility was to read the map. Occasionally I had to hand Ken his sunglasses or open a bottle of Gatorade but that was about all that was required of me.
That was then. Here's the job of the mom on a two day, eight hour, car ride to Quebec. I'm responsible for doling out snacks (seemingly constantly), playing endless games of tic-tac-toe, adjusting the radio to either the front or back seat depending on whether we're listening to CBC or Big Ryan's Tall Tales, putting all of H's books back into his book bag a half-dozen times, reading the Map Quest directions, playing I Spy, guessing what C's drawn on his MagnaDoodle and then drawing something for him to guess, handing Ken Gatorade, answering the question "When will we be in Quebec," at least 50 times per day and the question "when will it be Mommy's turn to drive," another 20.
For this I got a crayon-written message (which I had to dictate proper spelling) that read "Get Well Mommy." A reference to my appendix operation of three-and-a-half weeks ago, which I will of course keep forever.

song: As Time Goes By • movie: Casablanca

Monday, February 05, 2007

a poem by ken

mommy and baby were were up in quebec
and did not hear the yell – "hit the deck"
they were walking about enjoying the town
when all of the snow came tumbling down
they did not dodge to the left or the right
but instead just froze and looked up in great fright
it came off the roof in a great big white clump
and hit mommy and baby with a big giant thump
baby was fine from his head to his toes
because he was sheltered by mommy's big nose

Don't Stop the Carnival

We call this photo: after the carnival.

song: Don't Stop the Carnival • artist: Harry Belafonte

Hit Me With Your Best Shot

The last thing we had planned before leaving Quebec on Friday was a final ride down the toboggan run. Well Ken and C were going on the toboggan run, I was suppose to stand at the bottom and document the event with our new digital camera, and H was going to watch boats navigate the ice-filled St. Lawrence River. It would have gone off okay except that at the crucial moment H fell into a snow bank and started crying and a man came and stood right in front of me as Ken and C came swooshing down the toboggan run.
As if that wasn't enough, while we were walking to the parking garage, a chunk of snow slid off the roof of the Chateau Frontenac and hit me in the nose å la Marcia Brady. I knew I should have grabbed a handful of Kleenex on my way out of the hotel, a good mother always has Kleenex in her pocket; but I didn't so I had to borrow some from Ken and tilt my head way back so I would bleed all over the white winter coat, guaranteed to -20F, that I'd borrowed from Joan. Then I couldn't get into the bathroom in the hotel lobby because we'd already checked out of our room and therefore my credit card key didn't work in the restroom door. Seems to me if you've got a lobby full of expensive boutiques, which the public are allowed and encouraged to shop in, the public should also be allowed to use the facilities. Thankfully an exiting customer let me in so I could clean up. Then I had to stick a snowball on my nose so it wouldn't swell up, which made C declare that he wanted a snowball for his nose as well.
Oh, and did I mention it was also my 39th birthday?

song: Hit Me With Your Best Shot • artist: Pat Benatar

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Cover Me

The next winter olympics should include a dressing-children-for-sub-zero-temperatures event. Each team would get one child, preferably an unruly 20-month old, and a suitcase full of clothing: one set of thermal underwear (tops and bottoms), a turtle-neck onesie, a fleece sweatshirt, jacket, sweatpants, snow pants, socks, boots, mittens, and a neck warmer.
In the first round, teams of two would have to dress the child while being timed from start to finish. Points are lost if it turns out the boots have been put on the wrong feet or if the child can't see due to the hat or neck warmer covering his eyes.
The second phase of the competition would entail a neutral party taking the child outside, picking them up, and running a lap around a regulation-size track. If any article of clothing falls off, the team would automatically be disqualified from the final round.
Obviously countries nearest to the equator would be at a disadvantage in this event but they would have the upper hand during the summer olympics which would include an outfitting-your-child-for-the-beach event - complete with water shoes, bathingsuit, swim diaper, sunscreen, sun hat, and UV protection sunglasses.

song: Cover Me • artist: Bruce Springsteen