Saturday, March 31, 2007

I'd Do it all Again

Repetition is part of every job. That's why Mary Poppins advocated whistling while you work - to take the edge off the repetition. Even in the seemingly relaxed world of the "supplement coordinator" there are the usual deadlines to contend with and the inevitable angry advertiser whose ice cream shop or camp ground was left out of a story.
When my son gets dressed in the morning he always asks me what he should do with his Pull-Up. I admire his optimism in believing that someday there might be an alternative answer to my usual response: "put it in the trash can."

song: I'd Do it all Again • artist: Shirley Bassey

Friday, March 30, 2007

Say, Say, Say

I don't understand - why, why, can't Uncle Wiggly speak the language of the boys and girls when he can understand what they are saying? It would make things so much easier.

song: Say Say Say • artist: Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Who Are You?

You know you're spending too much time at the computer when your 22-month old goes over to it, pats the mouse and says, "mee mee." That's toddler-speak for mommy.

song: Who Are You? • Artist: The Who

White Wedding

Today I brought a broken watch into the jewelry shop where we bought my wedding band almost eight years ago. It's possible I haven't been in this shop since having the ring engraved. I remember giving the information to the woman at the counter: kmg to jmb 10-2-99. She dutifully wrote down the information and then she turned to me, smiled sweetly and asked, "so dear, when is your wedding?"

song: White Wedding • artist: Billy Idol

You can Leave your Hat On

When a preschooler has two shirts on, a turtleneck and a sweatshirt for example, and it's tubby time and he has to undress, he can't get both shirts off at once. First he wrangles off the outer layer, getting his arms out and the body of shirt over his head. In the middle of this process there is a point of crisis when suddenly he realizes he can't get out of the shirt and he starts yelling for help. You come in and find him standing there with a sweatshirt over his head, the empty sleeves waving around as he flails about desperately trying to get out. He looks like a creature from Mummenshantz.

song: You can Leave your Hat On • artist: Tom Jones

Monday, March 26, 2007

Empty Garden

C and I planted radish seeds today. I planted mine in the raised garden bed while C scattered half of his seeds all over the yard on the way to the garden. It's probably too early for them but what's the worst that can happen - they don't come up? Like we haven't seen that before.

song: Empty Garden • artist: Elton John

sorry honey - a couplet

A decent haircut is more than dumb luck.
Your wife in charge ain't worth saving a buck.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Animal Crackers in My Soup

Remember those little boxes of animal crackers your mom used to give you in the supermarket to shut you up so she could get the shopping done? Back then they were about 25¢ a box; three for a dollar at most. Now they're $1.19 a box.
One nineteen a box? For that price I might as well let them split a rotisserie chicken while we shop.

song: Animal Crackers in My Soup • artist: Shirley Temple

Friday, March 23, 2007

Good Day Sunshine

I ran into my opthamologist today while walking on Main Street. I wasn't wearing my sunglasses and it was sunny. I was wearing my hat though so I was all set if only it had been my dermatologist instead.

song: Good Day Sunshine • artist: The Beatles

Do Right

South Carolina legislation wants to pass a law that would require women to view ultrasound images of their fetus before they can have an abortion. Great idea. But why stop there? Why wait until a woman's actually pregnant to saddle her with guilt? Why not take every woman of childbearing age and show them images of children already waiting for adoption? Surely those selfish women wouldn't go ahead and have children of their own knowing there are already children in need of parents.
Every decision we make has consequences. Perhaps every time I turn up the heat in my house I should have to look at family photographs of coal miners who've been killed on the job. Maybe next time I'm shopping around for a new television I should get a leaflet showing images of deformed children in China, victims of water tainted with cadmiun, led and mercury the results of the US sending a majority of its e-waste overseas. Instead of a menu at the drive thru they should play video footage of gastric bypass surgery or a slaughterhouse before you can order. I hear laying chickens are especially mistreated. Egg McMuffin anyone? Rainforest defoliation to go with that cup of coffee? Screening of Blood Diamond for every customer who enters Shreve Crump and Low?
Whether you think the idea is fabulous or absurd, the fact is we don't do these things do we? Well not usually. I was at a vegan restaurant run by Seventh Day Adventists in Portland last week where at the front counter they had vials filled with fat sporting labels like: hamburger 9 tsp. fat, fried chicken 3 tsp. fat. But generally speaking we don't go around reminding people of the unpleasant side of things. Unless of course we're taking about a pregnant women. Then it seems as if it's the governments responsibility to browbeat her even though it's insulting to presume she's not already fully aware of the consequences of her decision.
That's tonight's rant folks. Perhaps tomorrow we can talk about what's wrong with the law being proposed in Texas that would give woman $500 to have their babies and give them up for adoption. That's right. It's a baby bribe.

song: Do Right • artist: Paul Davis

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Penny Lane

There are conversations that you expect to have with your children: what happens when you die? where do babies come from? why is smoking bad for you? why is the minister always talking about God? But what makes parenting really interesting is when you find yourself trying to explain completely off the wall things like why my son shouldn't take the coins from his piggy bank to school to give his friends.
And what exactly does "not appropriate" mean?

song: Penny Lane • artist: The Beatles

I'm Looking Through You

Why are the lights always so much brighter at other places that I don't notice my children have dirty faces, shirts, pants, you name it, until we are at the library, school, music class, or elsewhere, surrounded by other people and their clean children.

song: I'm Looking Through You • artist: The Beatles

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Lost in the Supermarket

Writing the previous post made me reflect back to some of the other jobs I had before taking on my current occupation, which consists, among other things, of being available to wipe my sons butt when he calls from the bathroom.
When I was in college I would come home in the summer and work at the local supermarket. This was back in the day when supermarkets were more manageable, that is to say you didn't need a GPS to find your way around one.
One afternoon there was an electrical fire in the frozen foods section. It was mostly smoke but we all got to evacuate the building. It was the only time I ever saw the fire lane being used for its designated purpose.
We were all sitting out on the grassy hill to the immediate left of the parking lot with our orange smocks on when these people pulled up, observed us all lounging around outside, walked past the fire truck and headed towards the entrance of the store. "There's a fire," one of us orange smock-people called out helpfully.
"That's okay, we only need a few things," they answered.

song: Lost in the Supermarket • artist: the Clash

Monday, March 19, 2007

Nobody's Girl

Here's the thing, she thought: when you work outside the home you get a paycheck every week. That's an obvious truth; but along with the money often you accomplish something tangible. In a previous life she worked for a fishing magazine. At the end of every month a magazine was created. You could hold it, thumb through it, and cringe at mistakes that should have been corrected before the pages went to press. And then you would start all over again and at the end of the next four weeks there'd be another magazine.
When your job is to be at home with your kids, everything you do gets undone every day if not sooner. Pick up the living room and tomorrow it will be strewn with train tracks, plastic animals, and Duplo again. Clean the kitchen floor and no sooner is it dry then it's smeared with American cheese and Cheerios. Ditto for bedrooms. Make dinner and it gets eaten; do laundry and it gets dirty. There's nothing tangible about the job of parenting. Nothing to show your spouse at the end of the day. Nothing except that the kids are still alive which is pretty much a given.
I know people will offer to trade places with me in an instant, shake their heads, and wonder what I'm complaining about she thought. But usually something that saps your energy so thoroughly leaves you with something at the end of it - a paycheck - a magazine - an interesting story from the office - some evidence that you put in a full days work. This job doesn't. It's overwhelming and yet nonexistent at the same time. If the Peace Corps is the "Toughest Job You'll Ever Love" then staying home with your children is the "Toughest Job You'll Ever Have Nothing to Show For" she thought.

song: Nobody's Girl • artist: Bonnie Raitt

early spring haiku #2

cloudy afternoons
turn spring back into winter
where'd I leave my hat?

Wishin' and Hopin'

We broke a wishbone this afternoon. The same wishbone that got pulled apart after Thanksgiving but then glued back together after my son didn't quite grasp the concept of the wishbone and cried when he realized it was broken. Today he had no problem pulling it apart, and, he got the bigger piece. I guess the potential for having his wish granted out weighed the desire to keep an intact wishbone in his desk for all eternity. Now he wants to know exactly when he's going to turn into a dog.

song: Wishin' and Hopin' • artist: Dusty Springfield

Sunday, March 18, 2007

early spring haiku

raking last year's leaves
up from the backyard garden
disturbs woolly bears

Friday, March 16, 2007


The kids and I went to Maine earlier this week to visit my sister. I can’t recall what made me think taking a vacation alone with my kids would be a good idea, in retrospect it seems like insanity but we made it back alive to I guess all’s well that ends well as Shakespeare would say. Indeed, given the date, I should be quoting or misquoting Julius Caesar, so here goes: “Beware the long car-trip with your children.”
It wasn’t that it was awful, the hardest part was that they would not fall asleep at night. I expected the first night they would be too excited to fall asleep quickly but by 10PM their being excited was getting old. Finally I had to turn out all the lights and retreat into the bathroom to wait for them to finally nod off. Do you know what it’s like to sit on the bathroom floor of a hotel room reading the newspaper? It’s like being held hostage by your children. The second night though I thought they’d go right to sleep, having gone to bed late the night before and gotten up early that morning, but still it didn’t happen. At 9:30 my sister and I went out to sit in the hallway so they would sleep and we could still talk but C cried until we came back in and sat in the doorway with the entryway light on. Two grown adults held hostage by children. At least we didn’t both have to wait it out in the bathroom.
Being both the driver and navigator on this trip confirmed my suspicions that I’m capable of getting lost in a paper bag. Twice on the way to Spring Point Ledge Light I had to pull over and consult the giant DeLorme Map book. Twice! It’s a lighthouse for Pete’s sake! How difficult can it be to find a lighthouse? You drive towards the water until you can’t go any further and then look out over the horizon and there it is, big as life. I also missed the entrance to Portland Head Light by one road, I swear the sign said “next left.”
The Inn by the Bay was good enough to provide H with a crib. Having cribs available would lead one to believe that the hotel might also have appropriately-sized blankets as well; but either they don’t or I was suppose to order that separately. Faced with no blanket, the first night I covered him with the bedspread off my double bed. Had he enough energy, he could have taken it, tied one end to the crib, thrown the other out the window, and climbed down all five floors to the street. I didn’t use the bedspread the second night after my sister expressed concern he might suffocate. Instead I covered him with three large bath towels.
In the car, I was held hostage by the Bee Gees. I left their CD in the whole way up and the whole way back, not wanting to draw attention to the CD player by changing CDs or putting on the radio. I was afraid C would demand to know what other CDs I had and then I would be forced to tell the truth – that indeed I had brought the Uncle Wiggly CD. So it was the Bee Gees – eight full hours, minus 45-minutes towards the end of the trip when I turned it off and we sang “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” At one point “Massachusetts” came one, for the 20th time, and C exclaimed, “hey! He’s going back to Massachusetts and we’re going back to Massachusetts!”

song: Holiday * artist: The Bee Gees

Thursday, March 15, 2007

My Wild Irish Rose

Darn these minor holidays. I made the mistake of cutting out some shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day; the valentines were getting tired and it was too early for Easter no matter what the Christmas Tree Shop would have you believe. So C decorated one and we hung it up in the dining room and now he keeps asking me when is St. Patrick's Day and how do we celebrate it. Do I tell him about the snakes in Ireland and the potato famine, or that here everybody gets drunk and sings off-key rounds of the unicorn song? A holiday that you celebrate by eating corned beef and cabbage just isn't very exciting in the eyes of a four year old.

song: My Wild Irish Rose • artist: Chauncey Olcott

A Reason to Believe

It looks as if I'm obsessed with signs this week.
Remember when I griped about people idling their cars. for what seems like hours on end? Well I found some kindred spirits in Maine. This sign is in the parking lot of a school in downtown Portland, and, there was a similar sign urging tour buses not to idle in the parking lot in front of the lighthouse at Portland Head. Yes, they both seem to focus on buses, but it's a start.

song: A Reason to Believe • artist: Rod Stewart

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Road Less Traveled

We took a lot of back roads on our way to Canada this past January. It was as if we were trying to sneak into their country or perhaps to test homeland security on the way back into to U.S.A. You get there faster on the highway but you miss all the good stuff. On a farmhouse just north of Newport, Vermont was a sign advertising "Antiques and Manure."
Bet they don't get a lot of people stopping for both those items in the same shopping trip.

poem: The Road Less Traveled • author: Robert Frost

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Ice Ice Baby

It was a rough afternoon for little kids at our house. First C got hit square between the eyes with a wooden block thrown by his brother. I got ice. Then H fell and hit his head while jumping on his big brother's bed. Daddy came in and took over the consoling. Then C banged his head on the wall while running into the bathroom. I got ice.
Not to mention he also got two splinters in his hand while outside helping me rake leaves from the garden. He was too tired to remember about them tonight but tomorrow those will probably need ice too.

song: Ice Ice Baby • artist: Vanilla Ice

It's a Sign of the Times

There is a new sign at the hospital lights. What does it mean? Shouldn't symbols make something more clear and not merely leave one puzzled as the light turns green? Does it mean people might be crossing the street on their way to the hospital? Does it mean that first aid might suddenly be given to someone in the crosswalk? Does it mean that patients on their way to doctor appointments better stop thinking about their co-pays (is it $10 or $20?) and start paying attention to pedestrians in the crosswalk?
My best guess is that it's trying to say: Don't worry if you are caught in the elevator door, there is a hospital near by.

song: It's a Sign of the Times • artist: Petula Clark

I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For

Thursday morning, for 90-minutes, I lost my wallet. Well I lost the little zippered purse that I use as a wallet. It was not in my pocket book, it was not in the book bag, it was not in the car, it was not in my coat pocket. It was nowhere. I panicked and called Ken at work. As if that would help, now he was panicked too. I asked my older son if he'd seen it.
"Oh that. Yeah. Nope. I haven't seen that."
My only hope was I'd left it at the little library Wednesday after we checked out books. Of course the little library isn't open on Thursdays so I had to call the main library and ask around for my "little library" friends. Deep down I knew that they didn't find my wallet because if they had, they would have opened it, found my license, and called me. I usually get phone calls from the little library several times a week since I "rent" all my movies through the CLAMS network. But I asked the question anyway, even though I already knew the answer. Cat was genuinely concerned. I knew she would be. She is so nice. We decided the wallet must have fallen out of the book bag in the back of the library near the story-time room, but my fear by now was that I'd left it on top of my car and driven off. I've lost sunglasses, a diaper bag (yes, a whole diaper bag), H's shoes, a hat, and various other objects off the roof of the car. That doesn't include the many times I've left my travel cup up there brimming with tea. It's a terrible habit but when buckle the kids in, there's nowhere else to put my stuff. This is why I feel bad for the dad who left his kid in the shopping cart at the Burlington Coat Factory. I'm not saying it's excusable, and if I wasn't a parent I wouldn't be able to understand it at all, but, I can see how it could have happened.
Back to the wallet. I got everyone dressed and out the door. By this time we'd missed music class because I couldn't get it together in time to go, not to mention I could never have concentrated through three verses of "Shoe a little horse, shoe a little mare, but let the little pony go bare, bare, bare" or any other kiddie songs. My plan now was to drive over to the library and check the parking lot for my wallet. I was even prepared to peep through the windows and look for a glimpse of it.
I opened the top glove compartment to fish out some lip gloss and there was the wallet - right on top. I'd checked the car twice! Twice! How could I not have opened this compartment?
Turning the car around, I drove home and called Ken. Then I called Cat so she and Laurie wouldn't be looking for the wallet on Friday. Cat said she appealed to St. Anthony on my behalf. Obviously, it had worked. Then I went back to the car and drove the kids to the little library anyway. It was 30-degrees out, warm enough to run them around the tennis courts for an hour.
So, it turned out that all I really lost was my morning - and a little bit of my mind.

song: I still haven't found what I'm looking for • artist: U2

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

prerequisite to a nap (a couplet)

While brother's in class we chase the ball
Up, down, and around the long, cold hall.


Confessions of a guilty mother:

• I have turned up the car radio in order to drown out the sound of crying.
• I have let my son wear the same onesie three days in a row.
• My sons don't take baths every night.
• They have dirty fingernails right now.
• I have read bedtime books after drinking two glasses of wine and enjoyed them more then when I'm sober.
• I don't care whether or not my son can read in kindergarten.
• My children have eaten things off the floor long past the expiration of the five-second rule.
• I didn't love breast feeding.
• I weaned my second son after only 11 months.
• I had two c-sections.
• I've cheated at Trouble.
• The sand in our sandbox came from the beach.
• I've reset the timer to prolong quiet time.
• I've eaten more than my share of the chocolate-covered almonds.
• I threw out the remainder of the Halloween candy.
• Ditto the Valentine's Day candy.
• I think Uncle Wiggly is a bit of a namby pamby.
• I indulge my kids at the coffee shop and buy them Fresh Samanthas which cost more than my tea.
• I threw out some of the folded and stapled pieces of paper my son gave me as "birthday presents."
• My son walked into the wall while wearing his hat pulled down over his eyes and I laughed.
• Ken laughed too.

song: Guilty • artist: Barbra Streisand

a quatrain for liz

The rhyme of the day is meant for Liz
It's pretty short - this is all there is:
Joyeux anniversaire to my tres bonne amie!
How I await your return to the big city!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Last night I finished reading The Devil Wears Prada. It reminded me very much of The Nanny Diaries. A morally upstanding, witty, and fun woman in her early 20s ends up working for the female boss from hell and the job takes over her life. Both stories are funny in what we hope are exaggerated descriptions of how these shrewish women make life hellish for our young and optimistic heroines. In both stories the protagonist escapes with her integrity in tact, but the books are unsatisfying in that the evil boss never actually sees the error of her ways. Yeah sure, we're comforted by the fact that money doesn't buy you happiness. The boss will forever remain small-minded, friendless, and joyless. But I really wanted the boss to change, to grow, to say, "Yes, Andrea, you're right, I am a terrible person, I have no friends, I'm shallow, I treat people horribly." And then to see them somehow get better.
What is up with that? Why do I care? Why don't I just want the evil witch to go down? I do want them to go down, I was happy Andrea told Miranda, "f-ck you" although it seemed out of character since she hadn't uttered that phrase anywhere else in the book. Beyond that though, I wanted Miranda, and Mrs. X, to come back up changed people.
Perhaps I'm softening with age and trying to see both sides of the equation. Maybe it strikes a chord with my women's college upbringing. Aren't the authors propelling their female protagonists forwards at the expense of these other women? Haven't the authors created stereotypes of the worst kind? Why are these women the enemy? Aren't they just victims of a system that assumes women can't hold positions of power unless they wear a dress-size of zero and behave like battle-axes?
Or perhaps I'm just taking a beach read too seriously.

songs: Why Can't We Be Friends? • artist: War

You're the One That I Want

Last week I wrote a post card to Jude Wilbur, someone I've never met - well maybe I met him once, outside the main post office. Anyway, in the postcard I suggested he run for selectman again this spring. Then I stuck the card inside a library book, forgot about it, and promptly slid the book through the book drop. This means that either it fell out and the people at the library were good enough to put it in their outgoing mail (it was stamped), or it's tucked away inside some shelved book waiting to be discovered by some unsuspecting library patron. Now I feel that it is unlikely Mr. Wilbur reads this blog given that he's not a relative nor one of my coworkers. But if it's true that only six degrees of separation exists between myself and every other person in the world, then one of you might know Mr. Wilbur and be able to pass along this message. Come on Jude, run! The town needs you!
And while I'm on the subject: Al Gore in 2008!

song: You're the One That I Want • soundtrack: Grease


I tried to get to bed before midnight last night. Conserving my energy is a new priority since C is off from school for the next two weeks. A vacation from pre-school - how funny is that?

song: Vacation • artist: The Go-Gos

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Over the past decade and a half I have amassed a collection of floaty pens from various locations. What's a floaty pen you ask? They are the novelty pens, that, when tipped sideways, some tiny image moves across a little background, say the Eiffel Tower floating across Paris, or Elvis's pink cadillac floating in front of Graceland. Part of the rules of collecting, my special rules, is that you can never go into a store, approach the cashier and ask outright if they have floaty pens or not. You must hunt them down on your own. The search for floaty pens is part of the fun. They are often in the most cheesy of tourist shops, right up by the cash register. I can breeze through a souvenir shop and know in under 30 seconds if they sell floaty pens. Airport gift shops are good bet for finding floaty pens. They're usually right there with the souvenir shot glasses and those little spoons my mother used to collect. I used to insist that all the floaty pens be from places I'd gone to myself, but recently, in the past five years or so, most of the additions to my collection have come from other people's travels.
Thankfully I still have some friends who travel, even to places like Wichita, Kansas. Joan just got back from a business trip there and brought me my favorite souvenir. The image is of a tornado funnel whirling past what must be the Wichita skyline, sucking up in its wake: a tree, a cow, a truck, a wind turbine, and, a barn.
I wonder if the Wichita Chamber of Commerce has seen these. Do they really want to put the image of a tornado, something that screams out "national state of emergency" on their tourist products? I could see if it had a Wizard-of-Oz-type theme but this one did not. Just your ordinary - run of the mill - everybody in the cellar - tornado.
It would be like showing an image of a hurricane battering boats up against a rock jetty with the words "Welcome to Cape Cod" emblazoned on a floaty pen. For the record, the pen I have of Cape Cod has some sailboats breezing past an image of Nobska Light.

song: Windy • artist: The Association

Friday, March 02, 2007

No Anchovies Please

Nowhere but at a preschool pot luck dinner would a pan of plain pasta with no sauce be among the main entrees.

song: No Anchovies Please * artist: J. Giles Band

Thursday, March 01, 2007

cerhliew for Dr. Seuss on his birthday

The distinguished Dr. Seuss,
drew fanciful animals obtuse.
His rhymes sublime
kept rythum and time.
Not like this tribute of mine.