Sunday, September 30, 2007

Get Back

Before H was born we prepped C about the upcoming new baby. He understood that mommy had to go to the hospital to have the baby and that he would be going to see us both there. We thought he was well versed in the whole thing, in as much as a two-and-a-half year old can be.
After H was born, C came to the hospital and, with a little help from his grandmother, held him. As they were leaving he turned to Ken and me and asked:
"How does the baby get back?"
"Get back where," we said.
"Back inside mommy's tummy."

song: Get Back • artist: The Beatles

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm All Right

Landscapers and remodelers often put signs outside of homes, especially in some of the tonier neighborhoods, that they are working on to advertise their businesses: Totally Trees, Kitchens R Us, Ralph's Roofing, that sort of thing.
It seems like harmless advertising except once I saw a business that used a red, white, and blue theme on their sign during election season and instead of plugging their business they came off looking like just another candidate.
Today we passed a sign for OK Construction. OK Construction? Is that the best name they could think of for their company? It seems weak at best. OK Construction? Why not Pretty Good Construction, or Not Bad Construction? Above Average Construction? Better Than Nothing Construction? Sure Beats What You Have Now Construction?

song: I'm All Right • artist: Madeleine Peyroux

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


My friend Judy, a mini van owner, extolled the virtues of her Odyssey this way:
"It's great because it seats seven so your kids can have a friend over."
"A friend over?" I said. "They don't need to have any friends over. I'm giving birth to all the friends they'll ever need."

song: Friends • artist: Elton John

Miss You

Is this what it's going to be like? Sadness and a heavy heart whenever I drive by the middle school? It doesn't bode well for the future since, with four kids who will all attend Morse Pond, low estimates have me driving by the school another 8,000 times; if I never move from town, and if I retain my driver's license another 40 years.
I dreamed you were buried in the little cemetary across from the 7-Eleven. You once told that joke, "my girlfriend's so smart. Whenever we drive by the 7-Eleven she yells out: eighteen!"
It was lame but I laughed anyway.

song: Miss You • artist: The Rolling Stones

Monday, September 24, 2007

I Still Believe

Recently, an acquaintance who hadn't seen me in a while, earnestly suggested that in the future Ken and I start watching more TV.
It's an interesting theory. Perhaps it's true. Perhaps if X-Files hadn't gotten lame, boring, and finally cancelled, not only would I not be pregnant with twins - why we might not have any children at all!

song: I Still Believe • artist: Mariah Carey

clerihew in a glass box

Marcel Marceau,
as far as mimes go,
achieved international fame,
while rarely speaking his own name.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

C likes to make newspapers. I don't know where he's getting that idea from but he likes me to make a banner, something along the lines of "C's newspaper," and then he fills in the rest with what looks like binary code (a whole lot of 0s and ls). This is all fine, except that after, he wants to distribute the papers. The neighbors have all been gracious to date, Dave even went so far as to display one on the side of his house at C's suggestion. The problem was when he wanted to get up early in the morning and deliver the newspapers to our neighbors without me, "like a real newspaper."
I explained that he couldn't go downstairs and leave the house without me knowing "for safety" and that it's my job (among other things) to know where he is when he's at home. I said he'd be in trouble if he went out without telling me or without me knowing. I said they'd be "consequences." None of this was effective. He had some kind of preschooler rational to debunk all my reasons.
Finally I gave up.
"If you go outside early in the morning, the coyotes will get you."

song: You'll Never Walk Alone • soundtrack: Carousel

Friday, September 21, 2007

a mother's bouquet

Dandelions in spring
my children bring.
Daisies in summer
in great number.
Goldenrod in fall
given me by all.

If Ever I Would Leave You

Sometimes I buckle my kids into their car seats and then go back in the house to use the bathroom before getting into the car to leave.
Sometimes I use the bathroom, transfer my cup of tea to a travel mug, and apply lip gloss before heading back out the door.
Sometimes I use the bathroom, transfer my tea, gloss lips, check my e-mail, and then hang out the laundry. I leave the drivers side door open and look out the window every now and then. They get along better when they're strapped into the car waiting to go somewhere than they would if they were in the house with me.
We all know the stories about the terrible things that can happen when children are left alone, even for a minute.
I heard about a mom who left her sleeping baby in the car while she and the child's older sibling attended music class. I read an article about a mom who was chastised by strangers for leaving her sleeping children in the car while she went inside a farm stand. By now everyone's heard of Kate and Gerry McCann, the English couple who left their three kids alone in their Portugal apartment house while they dined with friends. Their daughter Madeline is still missing.
We take our chances with our kids every day. Some of us take more chances than others. Some take chances that others of us couldn't conceive of, but we all take chances.

song: If Ever I Would Leave You • soundtrack: Camelot

Little Red Corvette

How come you never see any mini vans in candy apple red? If I can't drive a cool car, can I at least drive a car in a cool color? Instead there's blue mirage metallic, silver pine mica, silver shadow pearl, and arctic frost pearl. The first three are basically silver, the last, white.
On a different note, I was remiss in my tomato recipe. A friend who tried it reminded me that tomato pie, like good soup or chili tastes even better the second day.

song: Little Red Corvette • artist: Prince

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Simply Irresistible

There are a lot of ripe cucumbers in the #2 greenhouse at Coonamessett Farm which compels me to share another great recipe, this one is from the Moosewood Restuarant's Low Fat Cookbook and it's one of the few recipes (along with tuna casserole) I have committed to memory; probably because it has only five ingredients

Cucumbers Vinegarette
Two cucumbers sliced paper thin
mix together and pour over cucumbers:
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 c cider vinegar

song: Simply Irresistible • artist: Robert Palmer

Monday, September 17, 2007


The four of us went to the Vineyard yesterday on the Island Queen's noon boat.
I've never been that impressed with the Vineyard. It seems like the only reason to go there is to buy t-shirts - and there are lots to choose from over there, it's a regular island paradise of t-shirt shops. At least downtown Nantucket has a library, a whaling museum, and a historical society. Granted in repeated visits to Nantucket I've never stepped foot in any of those spots, but I feel more cultural when I'm playing darts in the Chicken Box just knowing they exist.
I guess if you stay for the day you could go out to the-town-that-used-to-be-called Gay Head, or eat ice cream at Mad Martha's (it was good enough for Bill Clinton), check out the bridge that brought down a presidential hopeful (except that it's been rebuilt), and visit dead celebrities (John Belushi) in the event you don't spot any real ones (Carly Simon).
Or you can do what we did and ride the Flying Horses in Oak Bluffs. Ken scored a brass ring, earning C, whose arms weren't quite long enough to catch any rings himself, a free ride. Then we had chowder in the kite-flying park and caught the bus to Edgartown. Unfortunately we forgot to pick up t-shirts.

song: Vineyard • artist: Jackopierce

Every Which Way But Loose

This week a different police officer was directing traffic around the 28A roadwork. Instead of a big stinky stogie hanging out of his mouth, he was drinking a bottle of apple juice. Much Better!
Unfortunatley now they are also doing work on Quaker Road down by Old Silver Beach. That policeman looked disinterested in the whole business of directing traffic but he wasn't eating or smoking anything so I'd best leave him alone for now. I just hope no big crimes are being perpetrated town down while the police force personally directs me and my children as we come and go from preschool.

song: Every Which Way But Loose • artist: Eddie Rabbitt

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Time and Time Again

The kids covered the living room windows with Halloween decorations this week, more than six weeks before the holiday. I let them do this - me - the irate mom who wrote the nasty letter to Stop and Shop two years ago when they had snowman snow globes and fake greens on sale in September. I noticed last year they managed to hold off on selling Christmas until almost after Halloween. Maybe I wasn't the only annoyed mother who spoke up.
But back to the Halloween decorations in September, I just needed something for them to do for 15 minutes that wouldn't result in screaming.
So far C's settled on a pirate costume for Halloween. This seems a bit more doable than the Titanic or Mount Vesuvious, his first two ideas. Sinking passenger liners and erupting volcanos, when is my son going to become obsessed with dinosaurs like a normal five year old?

song: Time and Time Again • artist: Dusty Springfield

Angry Anymore

Just to prove that my kids will fight over anything: last night they were fighting over who got to hold the plastic bottle of lime juice.
This type of behavior makes me long for the dreaded minivan we're going to have to buy in the near future. At least I can put the two of them in the way back.

song: Angry Anymore • Ani DiFranco

Friday, September 14, 2007

Nothing from Nothing

Hey Liz,
Too bad we missed this installation it opened this week in Boston. It makes fart art look like the Sistine Chapel. Ken said I was ranting last night but really - is this art? I'm pretty big fan of art, even modern and conceptual stuff, but this isn't art - it isn't anything. "I love the subtlety of the piece," says the gallery owner in the Globe. You have got to be kidding. Of course it's subtle, there's nothing there. It's just blinking lights! Hello! The emperor has no clothes on!
The artist (if you want to call him that) even admits as much. "I don't think it's provocative," he's quoted as saying, "It's just the lights going on and off. What's provocative about that?"
What indeed.

song: Nothing from Nothing • artist: Billy Preston

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Beautiful In My Eyes

At an office visit last month the doctor proclaimed I had a "perfect uterus." A week later at Brigham and Women's, the doctor checking my ultrasound said I had a great cervix for carrying twins. Ken told her that's exactly why he'd married me - nice cervix.
The whole episode reminded me of dialogue from The Mikado, where Katisha, the "elderly lady" from the Mikado's court, explains that though her face may be unattractive she has "a left shoulder-blade that is a miracle of loveliness," and her "right elbow has a fascination that few can resist."
On a different but related topic, how come the women in the catalogues modeling the "power panties," "higher power panties," "torso trim," and the "midriff-smoothing miracle, hide and sleek camis," never look like people who actually need any extra support?
So what visible attributes do I actually possess? Well, my high school boyfriend once told me the acne scars on my face were sexy though I highly suspect he was just being kind. I think Ken really married me because I had the shiniest lips of anyone he'd ever met, but that's only a lip-gloss induced attribute. There's a mole on my face in approximately the same spot as the one Marilyn Monroe had.
It will probably turn out to be cancerous.

song: Beautiful In My Eyes • artist: Joshua Kadison

Storm Front

Hey! how about that, the cat came through.
I guess a broken oar in a hurricane is still better than no oar at all.
Poor Templeton.

song: Storm Front • artist: Billy Joel

fall couplet #2

When leaves fall
I feel small

fall couplet #1

Cooler nights
Fall delights

Rat Trap

When there's a mouse in the kitchen, having a 16-year-old cat is about as useful as having a broken oar in your rowboat during a hurricane. The mouse keeps sticking his head out from under the dishwasher and I expect him to speak in the voice of Paul Lynde: "Hey! all ya got under here is cereal crumbs! Hows about droppin' down some cheese?" As you can see, mice don't have very good grammar.
But of course Templeton was a rat. He wouldn't have fit under my dishwasher.

song: Rat Trap • artist: The Boomtown Rats

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Big Yellow Taxi

The Plymouth Farmer's Market disproved my theory about seedless watermelons. I had thought a seedless watermelon was just a small watermelon that hadn't gotten big enough to have black seeds in it. So we bought a small melon at the market, and, what do you know - seeds. I had forgotten how much fun seeds in a watermelon are, my kids (and I) spent a few afternoons spitting them all over the yard. But now I don't want to think about what they are doing to genetically alter supermarket watermelons to make them seedless. It's just another good fruit gone bad.

song: Big Yellow Taxi • artist: Joni Mitchell

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Waiting

Has anyone else noticed how the library renovation project is cruising right along but I'll be lucky if the high school is completed by the time my five year old is a freshman?

song: The Waiting • artist: Tom Petty

Darkness on the Edge of Town

Despite having acted like a big baby brat all day, I still took C outside at 7:15 last night to see the bats flying over the back yard.

song: Darkness on the Edge of Town • artist: Bruce Springsteen

Leave Me Alone

C acted terrible all day yesterday. It was one of those days that, before you were a mother and had kids, you couldn't understand how those mothers could stand it; kids screaming at each other a dozen times a day, good grief, what kind of life is that?
It was the exact opposite of what you'd expect. Not the usual little brother annoys big brother routine. Every time H would get involved in some project, C would drop what he was doing and hone in on him. He'd immediately ask, "can I have the hose, can I have that rock," or, "can I have that truck." Inevitably H would say, "no" and then C would grab it away from him, claiming, "he never shares!" Then H would start screaming.
It happened over and over and over again despite my best efforts to remind C that if he'd just let his brother alone for five minutes H would eventually want C to join in; and in reality he's very good at sharing, at least for a two year old.
It was all making me long for a day in the not too distant future when H will be able to beat the cr–p out of his older brother and I won't need to intervene on his behalf.

song: Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress) • artist: Helen Reddy

Angels Want To Wear My Red Shoes

On Wednesday I picked C up at preschool and on the way home he asked me if grownups ever cry. I said yes and then he asked me if I ever cried. I was thinking that I'd been crying behind my sunglasses on my way to pick him up a mere ten minutes ago but in lieu of that I reminded him of how I cried when we read Charlotte's Web.
On Thursday he asked me why, in books, people who are dead are always drawn with their eyes closed. This is what I get for reading books about the Titanic and Pompeii with him. So we had a big discussion about that.
On Friday he came home from being with my parents all day with two drawings. One he explained was a fire truck driving on the road and "here's the house that's on fire."
"What's this one," I asked.
"An angel," he said.
Now, I'm not someone who believes in angels or spirits or the paranormal in general but this was a bit much.
I kept the drawing.

song: Angels Want To Wear My Red Shoes • artist: Elvis Costello

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Remember when you were a kid and you went to the beach and collected interesting shells? Now my kids go to the beach and collect interesting bits of plastic. I took them to Old Silver on Thursday and they gathered the following: one plastic army guy with a really big gun that I tried to twist off but couldn't, two red plastic straws, numerous screw-off plastic bottle tops, the broken top of a blue plastic shovel, the broken bottom of yellow plastic shovel, and lots of other plastic items I couldn't identify.
None of these items could be thrown away because the town, in it's infinite wisdom, has locked the trash cans, thus discouraging any serious beach cleanup.
From the natural world they did manage to bring home two smelly crab claws and three rocks.
On the plus side, I found a post card in the sand of Virginia Beach. Just the kind of irony that I delight in. I haven't decided yet who to mail it to.

song: 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) • artist: Bruce Springsteen

Gee, Officer Krupke

Maybe I'm becoming more narrow minded in my old age and pregnant state, but I thought it was completely inappropriate for the policeman directing traffic around the 28A road crew to be smoking a cigar. He's suppose to be setting a good example for my kids! He's the guy who, if they're ever lost, they are suppose to approach for directions:
"Excuse me officer, could you put out that butt and help me and my brother get home?"
"Oh you're lost son, that must be why your younger brother is crying."
"No. He's crying because you just dumped some ashes on his foot."

song: Gee, Officer Krupke • musical: West Side Story

Friday, September 07, 2007

Yesterday When I Was Young

I took the kids to the Plymouth Farmer’s Market on Thursday. I take them to all the best theme parks.
To my astonishment one of the vendors was selling strawberry tomatoes. I bought two pints and seemed to be the only person there who knew what they were. The stand was wisely giving out free samples to attract attention.
Strawberry tomatoes are a perfect anecdote for a week that I’ve spent navel gazing my own history between ages 16 and 21, because strawberry tomatoes were in my life even before then. My grandmother grew them in her garden. She only had a few plants; they grew wild and haphazard on the edges of her more cultivated rows. I would pick them individually and eat them immediately, peeling back their little dried jackets, which made them look like Chinese lanterns. My grandmother’s garden seemed enormous to me when I was little. I found out later, when my cousin sold the property, that the whole estate: house, garden, and all, was only .66 acres.
I would spend Sunday afternoons roaming through the garden while my mother visited with my grandmother after church. It seemed as if they were inside the house for hours; probably it was more like 15 minutes.

Song: Yesterday, When I Was Young * artist: Shirley Bassey

If You Don't Know Me By Now

They were whispering about you in the little library, and they weren't whispering because it's a library.
I wanted to scream, "you didn't even know him!" But then I thought that maybe I didn't really know you either.

song: If You Don't Know Me By Now • artist: Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fire and Rain

One night last week C was crying in bed because we can't go to Cataumet Gardens anymore. We haven't been able to go there in a year and a half because it closed but he picked last week to get upset about it. First he was crying because he remembered that we used to go there and see frogs. I assured him I knew other places in town where we could find frogs (our back yard for example), but then he countered with, "there's nowhere where we can go see peacocks."
He had me on that point, there is nowhere else that I know of, within a five-minute drive of our house, where we can view peacocks.
I thought it was weird that he was having this meltdown 18 months after the fact, but then isn't that the way things are sometimes? Feelings can take months to process. Someone can die and for a while it just seems like it's been a long time since you've seen them or maybe they've been out of town. Then finally it hits you that you'll never see them again.
You can move or chance jobs and then months later realize with regret that you'll never be at that place in your life again.
But those aren't things C should have to grapple with yet, so damn you Cataumet Gardens for closing and making my five-year-old cry. And damn you too, Tom, for making me cry; because I always thought that I'd see you again.

song: Fire and Rain • artist: James Taylor

Monday, September 03, 2007

Eat A Peach

Here's the kind of thing that might happen if you couldn't understand what the heck your toddler was saying. You might accidentally eat the piece of sliced peach off his plate that he thought looked like a sailboat, causing him to burst into tears and continue crying until his older brother danced around the dining room with his plastic pretend shopping basket over his head providing enough distraction to stop the waterworks until you ran interference by putting leftover birthday cake on the table.
Miraculously I made it through another year without having to throw C a birthday party that included a bevy of his peers. Cake and presents at Coonamessett Farm's Cajun buffet was enough. Even though I might be an inadequate mom for not being able to pull together a real party, I did make him a cake that looked enough like the Titanic that he was able to identify it as such without reading the alphabet pasta letters that spelled out RMS Titanic on the ship's bow. Candles were stuck into the Yodels that I used for smokestacks, plus one extra ("it's the lookout," I told him) to make five. I haven't bought a box of Yodels since I was in college and would buy them and eat the entire box in Kenmore Square while waiting to see a film over at the Boston University movie theater.
Of course C did ask, "where's the iceberg?"

album: Eat A Peach • artist: Allman Brothers Band

Sunday, September 02, 2007

backyard haiku

play in the backyard
toy trains, buckets, nets, and bats
in the rock garden

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What Have I Done to Deserve This?

The sign in the bathroom stall said no diapers, tampons, or depends in the toilet please. Guess that about covers all the bases. What's the deal with restrooms that have the hot water faucet turned off? Why am I not worthy of hot water? I didn't flush anything verboten down the toilet.

song: What Have I Done To Deserve This? • artist: Dusty Springfield

It's Not Unusual

What's more of a cliché, that I was sweeping the kitchen floor without any shoes on (barefoot and pregnant), or that I scarfed down a roast beef sandwich from the Mad Platter (unabashed commercial plug), while sitting in my car in the parking lot of Deer Crossing?

song: It's Not Unusual • artist: Tom Jones