Friday, July 31, 2009

Your Smiling Face

It’s twice as humid in the playroom as it is in the rest of the house. Even with plastic and hardwood flooring on top of it, the room still sits on a concrete slab. Today I noticed a film of mold sprouting on H’s car garage. The car wash attendant looks as if he’s growing a beard; or at least sporting some serious five o’clock shadow.

song: Your Smiling Face artist: James Taylor

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Round and Roud

It's so frustrating when things aren't in their proper place. Take the kitchen scissors for example, where are they? They should be in the drawer to the right of the sink. Or is it the left, I always get right and left mixed up, a little dyslexia I should think. It's a bitch when people ask me for directions, which happens all the time since I live on Cape Cod. The scissors aren't in either drawer, right or left. They aren't in the knives-and-miscellaneous-cutlery drawer. They aren't in the dish rack or the dishwasher and I'm wasting time looking because I could just pull the grapes apart with my hands to get enough together for tomorrow's lunch. I could, but it's infuriating because I know there are perfectly good kitchen scissors around here somewhere and maybe I should buy that organizer from the Pottery Barn - the one that cost 54 dollars but maybe there's a cheap knock-off version available at the Christmas Tree Shop. But everything they sell at the Christmas Tree Shop turns out to be crap sooner or later, except for those lettuce seeds two years ago, but that was a fluke. And where did all these earwigs come from? I hate earwigs. Where are the paper towels so I can wipe up the earwig's crushed exoskeleton which is now on the floor just below the right-hand drawer where the scissors should be but aren't.

song: Round and Round • artist: Ratt

Careless Whisper

Conversation in the truck on the way to Circus Smirkus last night:
H: "My penis is saying, 'wheeeee! I like when we drive over hills like this.' "
Mommy: "Really? Your penis is saying that?"
H: "No. Penises don't talk."
H: "It's whispering."

song: Careless Whisper • artist: Wham!

The Heat Is On


song: The Heat Is On • artist: Glenn Fry

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

1952 Vincent Black Lightening

As much as I appreciate a well-strummed banjo, and who doesn't, there are some songs that just shouldn't be interpreted via the banjo. A rendition of "1952 Vincent Black Lightning" by Del and the Boys, played this morning on WMVY was one such example. The song didn't quite pack the emotional punch as the original. It's just too cheerful. Nobody who plays the banjo can be a "dangerous man." One who has "robbed many a man" to get his Vincent machine, and "don't mind dying, but for the love of you."
Instead this version sounds as if it should be getting airtime on Sirius Radio's Kids Place where, ironically, yesterday they were playing "Alone Again Naturally" by Gilbert O'Sullivan. "Alone Again Naturally" is a song with truly depressing lyrics but with, apparently, the type of uptempo beat that appeals to children. Strangely it doesn't feature the banjo

song: 1952 Vincent Black Lightening • artist: Richard Thompson

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cuts Like a Knife II

Caveat: It's important to check your bulghar for pantry moths prior to chopping up all the ingredients for tabouli - and slicing your finger on your ginsu-sharp kitchen knife.

the best Tabouli Recipe
from the Moosewood Cookbook (of course)

1c dry bulgar
1.5c boiling water
1.5t salt
.25c fresh lemon or lime juice
1t crush fresh garlic
.5c chopped scallions (include greens)
.5t dried mint
.25c olive oil
black pepper
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1c chopped parsley
feta cheese
.5c chickpeas
1 chopped green pepper
1 chopped cucumber or summer squash
.5c grated carrot

Combine bulgar, boiling water and salt in a bowl. Cover and let stand 15-20 minutes, or until bulgar is chewable.
Add lemon juice, garlic, oil and mind, and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate 2-3 hours
Just before serving add the vegetables and mix. Garnish with feta & olives.

song: Cuts Like a Knife II • artist: Bryan Adams

Gift From the Sea

With apologies to Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, but if one is a toddler one can collect most of, if not all, the dirty cigarette butts on the beach.

book: Gift From the Sea • author: Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Monday, July 27, 2009

There's No Business Like Show Business

Get your tickets early - C's going to be in CLOC's upcoming performance of Carousel!
Yep, he's been discovered. How many years did Martha and I go to Highfield as kids? How come we were never asked to be in a show? It was that little suit jacket and tie, I know it was.
Come August 11-15, C will be making his debut stage performance in the pivotal role of the youngest child of Mr. and Mrs. Enoch Snow.
In other milestones, our neighbor celebrated his 90th birthday yesterday.
The secret to a long life is bocce and curling.

song: There's No Business Like Show Business • musical: Annie Get Your Gun

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Silent in the Morning

Everyone maligns the Grinch who stole Christmas. As far as I can see all he wanted was a little peace and quite from his noisy neighbors. It doesn't seem like too much to ask.
What he really needed was a 6.5-foot tall, 264-feet long fence running along the Who's property. That, however is another story. One likely to be written by author Peter Abrahams in the near future from the restored quiet of his garage.
Seeking a little quite myself, on Sunday I set out to weed the garden after a nine-day vacation-induced absence. I foolishly brought H and C along.
The best thing about gardening is the zen-like practice of weeding. Isn't doing any mindless task zen like? Or do we just tell ourselves that in order to feel better about having to do mindless things. If household chores resulted in zen-like clarity of thought our Puritan forefathers would have brought statues of Buddha with them from the Old World instead of Bibles.
Anyway, there was no time to contemplate any of that because C was talking, talking, talking, in my ear the whole time.
"What happens when you steal something?"
"What if you're only six?"
"Who would see you?"
"How do you get caught?"
It was just like the time we drove by Amber Wave's former location and he mused about how he might tunnel under the store and break in despite my reminder that there wouldn't be anything to steal once he got inside.
"Maybe there would be some shelves left."
I don't know why he's so obsessed with petty crime.
Several nights later he told me he'd been working on his routine to divert audience attention while performing magic tricks, namely the disappearing handkerchief trick. He plans to spin a little tale about how angry his mother's going to be if he loses her "favorite scarf" while he works the false bottom of the magical velvet bag.
"I'm very distracting," he said proudly.
You're telling me.
H and I were picking blueberries up at Coonamessett on Monday, which would have been a quiet, peaceful, activity except for the farm's new alarm, strategically placed mid-blueberry field to scare off birds. The noise was deafening. I assumed the screeching noise was the war cry of a large bird of prey. It sounded like a pterodactyl.
Later we learned that it was the cry of a bird in distress, meant to frighten off other birds.
A pterodactyl in distress.
But of all the noises that can drive one crazy, is there anything more annoying than a single fly, buzzing through your otherwise silent house at night?

song: Silent in the Morning • artist: Phish

Friday, July 24, 2009

Play with Fire

Does anyone really like eating roasted marshmallows? Because it seems to me that what the kids really like is playing with fire and having an excuse to wield a pointy stick.

song: Play with Fire • artist: Rolling Stones

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cuts Like a Knife

Rainy days I don't mind. It's easier to keep track of my kids if they're all inside, plus there's no worrying about how long its been since I watered the garden.
I take it as a personal affront however, when it rains on my one day to run errands around town. That's just cruel. Especially when there are pressing purchases to be made such as yet another birthday party gift and more dry erase markers so N and S can take their caps off, put their caps on, take their caps off, put their caps on, and finally take their caps off and leave them off until they dry out. Here's an idea for a baby toy, giant magic markets with caps large enough to not be considered choking hazards. That would mean caps the size of coffee cans. The markers don't have to work, the caps merely need to be removable.
Despite the enjoyment I take in perusing the toy store and ogling the selection of black felt tip markers in Staples, my favorite errand was dropping off my kitchen knives at What a Grind Knife Sharpening in North Falmouth (shameless endorsement). I love that you can fill out a slip of paper, tie it around your knives and put them in the drop off box along with other people's knives, shears, and clippers. Today I picked them up, again in the rain. They are ginsu sharp, though I won't be cutting any tin cans with them, for only $5.

song: Cuts Like a Knife • artist: Bryan Adams

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood II

Another musing on the topic of gross misunderstandings.
I think that, if, as a nation, we are going to argue and debate over whether or not to amend the constitution in order to define marriage as the union of one man with one woman, we need to address the definition of beach.
On Cape Cod a beach has sand on it. In fact that's usually the way one recognizes a beach. A person new to town turns down Falmouth Heights Road, makes a left at the stop sign, sees the sand meeting the water and says to themselves, "look, there's the beach."
In Maine "beach" is a relative term. One they use mainly because tourists might be less lured to a place called endlessly rocky coastline.
Boom Beach, Isle au Haut, ME

song: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood II • artist: The Animals

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood

Yeomen of the Guard, the original "Indecent Proposal" musical, contains a song in which the leading man postulates on what a "Jack" must do if he wants to win his "Jill." I don't know about you, but I'd always assumed Jack and Jill were siblings, not would-be lovers. In a vein similar to Governor Mark Sanford and "hiking the Appalachian Trail", it gives new meaning to the phrase "fetch a pail of water."
In other previously misunderstood words, phrases, and description by yours truly, the house we stayed in on Isle au Haut was referred to by the islanders as the Stone Cottage. Silly me, I thought it would be made of stone. When we got there I thought, "those resourceful Mainers, it sure looks like wood to me." Only later did I find out that the Stone in Stone Cottage referred to Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone who built the house and served on the supreme court with Oliver Wendell Holmes and William Howard Taft.
I suppose it lends an air of prestige - Ken and I did sleep in the man's bedroom - to vacation in the former home of a supreme court justice, even one we'd never heard of. It was a greater brush with fame later in the week, however, when our rental car wouldn't run and the Stone Cottage's present owner fixed us up with a truck owned by sword fisherwoman and minor celebrity, Linda Greenlaw.
Isle of Haut is a place that's going to be forced to change its name as soon as someone takes offense to it. If the Santas in Australia aren't allowed say ho, ho, ho, can objection to Isle of Haut be far behind?

song: Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood • artist: The Animals

Sunday, July 19, 2009

three couplets about Isle au Haut

couplet #1
while driving around, beautiful sights we saw,
from the bed of a truck owned by Linda Greenlaw

couplet #2
the stars shine exceedingly bright here on isle au haut;
where every bit of trash has someplace special to go

couplet #3
on isle au haut we're want to stay,
but alas we're out of bug spray

Welcome Back

Seems summer has finally come to Cape Cod.
After being closed up tight for a week in the July humidity, our house smells like 50 cats live in it instead of just one. When we got home, Rufus was glad to see me for about two minutes - until she realized I'd brought those four short humans back with me.
I myself was glad to stay at Belfast's Comfort Inn last night, even for $179, since it meant a stand up shower, not having to bring my own sheets and towels, and not having to carry out any dirty diapers.
I felt like Arlo Guthrie driving around the mainland yesterday with our contraband bags of dirty diapers and returnable bottles. There's never a dumpster around when you need one. Isn't that always the way?
We drove around with our garbage smelling up the van until a half-hour out of Searsport when we struck pay dirt with a redemption center located next door to a gas station (H had to go). The gas station had a dumpster around back. There were even some vegetable plants piled up next to the dumpster so I was able to get Martha and Stephen a tomato plant as a trailer-warming present.

song: Welcome Back • song: John Sebastian

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Island Girl

What's black and white and red all over?
Why is it that time marches on but generation after generation of children still find the same corny jokes funny?
And speaking of funny, why can't Heinz create a ketchup bottle that doesn't make - you know - that noise.
I suppose there are people out there who would rather have a plastic ketchup bottle than to have to go at it with a butter knife. But those people don't have kids. Nothing ruins a manners-molding family dinner like a farting ketchup bottle.
And now for the bad part gentle reader, or the good part depending on how you view the glass.
I'm leaving tomorrow for a remote island in Maine for a week; an island without wireless.
I didn't know such places still existed. I wonder if they've heard about Michael Jackson yet. For a week, I get to commune with my kids all day long without the midnight respite of Seinfeld reruns and a cathartic blog post.
Thankfully the island has heard about the repeal of prohibition.
So as Uncle Wiggly might say, if the rabbit doesn't hop out into traffic on the busy interstate, and the mommy doesn't rip out all her rapidly graying hair, I'll be back next week with more adventure stories.

song: Island Girl • artist: Elton John

Friday, July 10, 2009


Even cuter than a two-headed llama.

song: Legs • artist: ZZ Top

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Just the Two of Us

Very funny to whomever left this book propped up in front of the double stroller on Monday when C and I were busy scouring the tables for Boxcar Children mysteries at the library book sale.
Funnier still that I bought it.

I like to put the twins into the same the baby swing at the North Falmouth playground. They remind me of Pullme-Pullyu, the two-headed llama from Dr. Doolittle.

song: Just the Two of Us • artist: Bill Withers

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Lion Sleeps Tonight

I retired the lion mobile tonight. The lion mobile has hung above the changing table for each of our kids. It was originally part of the changing table accessory that came with the Pack 'N Play my On The Water coworkers bought me before C was born. We only used that changing table briefly until Ken purchased a wooden table. Since we're still using the Pack 'N Play, the mobile was only retired to the attic. Still, the end is in sight and it's got me a little sad.
Just another first in the endless parade of putting away and getting rid of things as the children outgrow and lose interest in them. Even with being hopelessly busy, it's difficult not to get nostalgic over every little thing. There's always a spare minute for mourning the passage of time. So far the last of my offspring have outgrown bouncy chairs, size one (and two) diapers, those sleepers that are part sleeping bag, baby clothes sizes 0-3mo, 3-6mo, and finally everything 12mo and under, and various rattles, sustainable wood and otherwise.
The lion mobile was something all four of the boys were crazy about looking at, batting, and ultimately grabbing and trying to stuff into their mouths.
As an added bonus, the mobile used to inspire me to sing the weema-weh song. You know, "in the jungle the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight." Or is it the quiet jungle? Or the peaceful jungle? Well, maybe it's all for the best, but the boys loved it at the time.
Michael Jackson might have been the king of pop, lions are the king of the jungle, but Mommy is the king of the changing table.

song: The Lion Sleeps Tonight • artist: The Tokens

I'm So Tired

How come when I come to work and it's warm in the office it makes me sleepy but when I'm trying to fall asleep and it's warm in the bedroom it keeps me awake?

song: I'm So Tired • artist: The Beatles

Mashed Potato Time

A blog comment from Mom-of-three, who doesn't know me very well, suggested I garden with my kids. The comment was posted in response to my entry about blue mashed potatoes. I realize that Mom-of-three was only trying to be helpful but she missed the spirit of the post.
I love that my kid wants to turn mashed potatoes blue. I love just about anything that keeps them from wanting to turn on the television in boredom. Blue mashed potatoes was followed the very next day by floating straight pins.
The phrase "turned the mashed potatoes blue" could be a metaphor for what life with kids is like. I think that's why we have kids, so they'll turn our world upside down, or at least turn our mashed potatoes blue.
Parents at dinner parties should turn to new acquaintances and say things like, "my life used to be predictable and ordinary, but then I had kids and they turned my mashed potatoes blue."

song: Mashed Potato Time • artist: Dee Dee Sharp

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Ease on Down the Road

Yet another elderly driver has crashed into the front window of a liquor store. Instead of debating whether or not we should require older drivers to retake their driving test, perhaps we should ponder why seniors are drinking so much.

song: Ease on Down the Road • musical: The Wiz

Saturday, July 04, 2009

One Night in Bangkok

WMVY has you covered whatever the circumstances. Today they admonished listeners not to drink and drive, not to drink and boat, and not to drink and go to the beach because you might pass out before applying sunscreen, which would result in a nasty sunburn.
Why stop there?
Don't drink and grill, especially shish kabob, for obvious reasons.
Don't drink and rent a bicycle because you might accidentally go for one of those four-wheel go-cart type things with the big striped canopy and end up embarrassing your family.
Don't drink and try to put away leftovers. You'll never be able to successfully match up the Tupperware with its appropriate covers.
And lastly, don't drink and go to the local coffee shop because they are renting videos now and you might accidentally rent one starring Nicolas Cage. Remember when he used to be quirky instead of buff and ridiculous? The title in question is Bangkok Dangerous. As if Mr. Nicolas is any less ridiculous in Bangkok.

song: One Night in Bangkok • artist: Murray Head

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Sunny Afternoon

I have to confess. My children do not have appropriate rain gear.
You know how when it rains you see those adorable children outside in their Wellingtons and yellow rain slickers with the hoods up? They look like oversized rubber duckies inexplicably come to life (there must have been some magic in that old silk umbrella they found...). Those are not my children.
My kids are the ones digging in the mud puddle in their underwear. Or maybe in their bathing suits as they'll use any excuse to put them on.
The other day I suggested that C go out and dig a canal in order to join the puddle on the left side of the driveway with the puddle on the right.
Today H was out there trying to ride his surf board in the resulting giant puddle.
It's not that I'm sick of the weather. Rather, I'm sick of people talking about the weather.
The weather, unlike the piles of filthy laundry, the food-encrusted dishes, the sticky dining room floor, and the eternally burning question of what's for dinner, is out of my hands. I am not responsible for it and I cannot control it and in those regards I rather like it.
The weather is just. It rains on everyone. And yet people whine about the weather and it gets vilified.
The rain spoiled my picnic.
The rain is causing my vegetable garden to rot.
The rain is scaring away the tourists.
The rain is destroying the economy.
The rain sank my battleship.
The rain killed Michael Jackson.

song: Sunny Afternoon • artist: The Kinks

four poems about rain

poem #1 (a quatrain)

It rains on you,
it rains on me.
It rains on us,

poem #2 (a quatrain)

It rains and it pours
on ocean and land.
If you can't take more,
raise a wrinkled hand.

poem #3 (a couplet)

Rains pelts against the window sills.
I wonder when we'll all grow gills.

poem #4 (a couplet)

The rain outside
makes tourists hide