Saturday, January 31, 2009

Wild Rover

C and I played hooky on Friday and went up to the Museum of Science.
The MBTA has finally figured out that their parking fare at the Quincy Adams garage, $3.50 per day, was the best deal in town. They've upped it to $7.
C spent the entire subway ride into Boston hopping up and down, first on the red line and then on the green. In perfect city form, the other riders didn't give him a second look.
I was gratified to see people still reading on the subway. I expected that everyone would be yaking on cell phones. They weren't, unfortunately, reading newspapers. The entire trip I saw only one Globe being read. There weren't even the usual tell-tale signs of newspapers on the trains, the ones that get folded up and abandoned on empty seats.
While we were waiting for a Lechmere train to take us to Science Park, I was approached twice by people looking for subway directions. Either I look like I know what I'm doing, or foreign tourists find mothers with young children approachable.
When I was in school I once suggested to my boyfriend that we take the train to Lechmere for the day. I assumed Lechmere was some borough of the city, like the North End. I didn't realize it was a department store until we got there. I was disappointed but it was cold so we went in anyway.
It's not even that anymore. Just an end-of-the-line subway stop with a cryptic name.
I was on the lookout for interesting subway characters, but it wasn't easy to people watch while fielding questions such as "what stop are we?" "what happens if I pull this emergency lever?" "why is it so dark?" "how can the conductor see?" what stop are we?" what's a Haymarket?" "what's at Government Center?" "where are all the pigeons?" "are there roads over us?" "what stop ARE we?" All I could come up with was a guy getting on at Park Street at 5:30 carrying eight plastic bags full of groceries on a rush-hour subway train. I hope he didn't have any eggs with him.
When I was a freshman my then 11-year old sister came to visit for the weekend. We went to the Children's Museum, Salem Witch Museum, and Museum of Science, seemingly all in one day. She fell asleep in the Omni Theater. C fared a little better. Even though he was tired (probably from his subway aerobics) he managed to stay awake and even ask a few questions (surprise!) through the 3PM showing of Roving Mars.
Roving Mars was great but, like all movies, it was spoiled, at least for me, by the ubiquitous litter scene. In the case of this film, the title characters (there are two Mars Rovers) are, themselves, litter.
Seems we can send a Rover to Mars, but we can't get it back home again.

song: Wild Rover • artist: Liam Himself

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Psycho Killer

While running errands on Friday I was the victim of verbal assault in my own mini van.
Somehow C got on the subject of braces and why you couldn't eat popcorn while wearing them. Forget that he hasn't lost one baby tooth yet, nor does he eat much popcorn.
I try explaining that popcorn kernels might get caught under braces and he says what if you brush your teeth really well? I try explaining that dentists don't recommend popcorn eating while wearing braces and they are experts on the subject but he persists. Why just popcorn? Why not the white stringy stuff in clementines too?
He's driving me nuts. Soon I will be certifiable. I try to remember to breathe.
He wants to know if the tooth fairy came every time George Washington lost a tooth. He wants to know if George Washington's wife had false teeth too.
He wants to know if the men who shot President Lincoln, President Kennedy, and Martin Luther King got shot themselves.
He wants to know what executed means.
He wants to know what vigilante means.
He wants to know why scientists are going to let the Hubble telescope burn up entering the earth's atmosphere in 2013. He wants to know how the new telescope that scientists plan to launch in 2013 is going to be better than Hubble. He wants to know how scientists know there are 300,000 billion stars in our galaxy.
He wants to know what approximately means.
He wants to know what extrapolated means.
He wants to know why it's pronounced Hubble when there's an "e" on the end and shouldn't that make it Hubble with a hard "u" sound?
I remind myself to breathe again.
I want to know what it was I came in town to buy anyway.

song: Psycho Killer • artist: Talking Heads

Monday, January 26, 2009

We Three Kings

Who can deny that local newspapers are indispensable to the survival of our civilization when they contain items such as the following brief in their police logs?
[January 23, 2009] A Trotting Park Road, Teaticket resident reported finding a three-foot tall statue of a Wise Man at 9:40AM. A police spokesman said she believed the statue was Melchior, the king bearing the gift of gold.
The detail here is crucial. Say, your three-foot tall Wise Man had been stolen. You might be in your car and on your way to Teaticket, were it not for the last line of the brief. See it just so happens that your missing magi was Balthasar, the guy who brought the frankincense.
Your Melchior is safely wrapped in a blue tarp and stored in the shed.

song: We Three Kings • artist: Rev. John Henry Hopkins

choking hazards in my pocket (a list poem)

1 Yahtzee die
1 piece of white chalk
1 coin from the Czech Republic
1 purple magnetic letter "O"
2 green chips from Bug Bingo
1 paper clip

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Candle In the Wind

C was so insistent that H not help the twins blow out the candles on their joint birthday cake (one candle per twin) he suggested that we put pepper up their noses so they would both sneeze, and in the process, blow out their own candles.

song: Candle In The Wind • artist: Elton John

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Tide Is High

Yesterday C accidentally tripped up H who fell on the step that divides our kitchen from our dining room and got another nose bleed.
A bad one.
I'm not sure if he'd get less nose bleeds if only he could stop, "digging for treasure" up there.
Incidentally, when I tell him there is no treasure up his nose he insists that nose goopies ARE treasure.
So he's bleeding on the floor, and on his sweater, and on his socks - and I ask C to get a paper towel, get it wet, and mop up the floor so it doesn't look like a crime scene.
He does a mediocre job. It ends up looking like a hastily cleaned up crime scene.
Later in the evening I'm reading to everyone on the couch and I've got one of the twins on my lap. The other is down by my feet only I can't see him over the long arm of my Mission-style couch.
I ask C to see check on him.
"What's he doing?" I ask.
"He spilled your glass of wine."
Sure enough, there's wine all over the living room floor. The baby is sitting in a pool of it.
My life is one big stain remover commercial.

song: The Tide Is High • artist: Blondie

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

American Dream

After President Obama's inaugural address yesterday there was a big queue at the lunchroom microwave.
Guess nobody wanted to have to admit to their kids 20 years from now that they were nuking their vegetarian chili entree (or worse in the bathroom!) while the first African American President was being sworn into office.

song: American Dream • artist: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It's Today

Do you feel it? The pressing weight of the historical significance of this day?
It's visible in the air.
Last night C was trying to force a civics lesson on H.
C: Do you know who is going to be President tomorrow?
H: Papa?
C: No!
H: Nana?
C: No!
H: Big Jim?
C: No! It's not anyone you know. We just know his name.
H: You?
C: No! You have to be 35 years old.
H: Silas?
C: No! It's Barack Obama. Can you say Barack Obama?

Barack Obama.

song: It's Today • musical: Mame

Monday, January 19, 2009

Penguins II

As if the inauguration weren't enough, January 20 is also Penguin Awareness Day.
How very appropriate, I think there is a penguin colony forming in my backyard right now.
They'll be able to celebrate alongside the squirrels who live there since Squirrel Awareness Day is on January 21.

song Penguins II • artist: Lyle Lovett

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dream On

I dreamt the other night that I met the President Elect at some kind of news conference and he noticed that I'd scribbled his name all over my notebook like a schoolgirl - and - he asked me to the prom! No - not really. He's too mature for that even in my dreams. He gave me his autograph and I explained the childish doodles by saying I was excited about the direction which the country was headed in, "like the rest of the nation."
Nice catch.
It was the first time I ever had a dream the featured the president.
I once dreamt I was a Bon Jovi groupie. One of the lucky ones if you know what I mean.
Then there was that dream I had about John Malkovich after seeing Dangerous Liaisons. But that was really just about his wig.

song: Dream On • artist: Aerosmith

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Wanted Man

The Tao of My Twins: Lesson 3

If it's lying on the floor, I want it.
If he has it, I want it.
If I have it, I want it.

song: Wanted Man • artist; Johnny Cash

Friday, January 16, 2009

Places I Remember

Your favorite ugly statue was in the Globe on Wednesday.
I recognized it even covered in snow.
Quest Eternal. I'd forgotten it had a name.

song: Places I Remember • artist: The Beatles

I Just Want To Be Your Everything

Tough week. Mr. Roarke and now Andrew Wyeth. I couldn't think up a clever rhyme for Mr. Wyeth so I have this to offer. Say what you will about the Helga Hype, this print of the Flour Mill hangs in our living room. I bought it in college. It's one of my favorites.

song: I Just Want To Be Your Everything • artist: Andy Gibb

Thursday, January 15, 2009

clerihew for Mr. Roarke

Ricardo Montalban
that debonaire don juan.
He defined the 80s
and scored with the ladies

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

appeal to the weather gods (a tercet)

I'd like to speak for everyone
and say this snow's been really fun
but now we'd rather it be done

Slip Sliding Away

Had to don my extreme weather apparatus in order to get down to the bus stop this morning.
That's right. I wore my Yaktraxs.

song: Slip Sliding Away • artist: Paul Simon

Beds Are Burning

Yesterday, Talk of the Nation was doing a segment on the upcoming inauguration. One of the things that caught my ear was comments about coordinating of the arrival of moving trucks at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - the ones that will be removing President Bush's furniture, and the ones that will be unloading President Obama's.
I always assumed that the White House was one rental that came furnished.

song: Beds Are Burning • artist: Midnight Oil

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Turn Around

The problem of the van's automatic sliding door freezing stuck was solved yesterday when I inadvertently left it open for three hours after bringing the twins in the house.
Wasn't frozen at all when we left for 3:30 preschool pick up.
It's raining out now so it will nice and frozen tomorrow, which is good because I like a challenge. Loading 11-month old twins and a three year old into the car and trying to get somewhere (anywhere!) on time, isn't difficult enough, I enjoy the added layer of having to slide them into the car seats and buckle their five-point harnesses in from the driver's seat.

song: Turn Around • artist: Harry Belafonte

Monday, January 12, 2009

Captain Kidd

These icy freezing days spent waiting for H and C with the twins in the car make it hard for self-rightous mommy to keep to her usual anti-idling ways.
The boys were awake when I dropped H off at preschool. They were crying when I left the little library after (finally!) returning Mary Poppins. They were asleep after our trip through the bank's drive up window. Life is good! The only thing that would make it better would be a trip through the drive through of my North Falmouth fantasy coffee shop to be located somewhere between the bank and the library.
We exchanged Mary Poppins for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which the kids insisted on watching immediately. Let me just say two things. First, I'm putting the kabash on watching full-length movies during the week. Second, from now on I'm reading movie reviews on anything that Ken remembers as a classic from his childhood. In the immortally plagiarized words of Lloyd Bentsen, I've seen Mary Poppins, but Senator, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is no Mary Poppins."
Next up: I've requested Treasure Island - three-and-a-half stars.

song: Captain Kidd • artist: Great Big Sea

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Such A Night

Tonight, out of the blue, C asked me to make him a peanut butter and banana sandwich for tomorrow's lunch.
Could it be that I gave birth to Elvis's love child through immaculate kingception?

song: Such A Night • artist: Elvis Presley

Amoeba Hop

My dad has taught the twins how to clap. They've reached that Pavlovian stage where, if you say "yeaaaaaaaah," in a high pitched voice, they will automatically grin and start clapping like harbor seals. If you put them in their LLBean baby buntings the effect is even more seal-like.
Lying on their backs in their buntings the twins look like starfish. Dr. Seussian starfish since one is red and the other blue (one starfish, two starfish, red starfish, blue starfish...). If you put them on their stomaches in their buntings and they start squirming about trying to maneuver into crawling position, then they look like amoebas.
Papa is also trying to teach the twins to make noise by getting them to open their mouths wide and slap them repeatedly with their hands. "Whoop like an Indian!" he encourages them. It's kinda cute but politically speaking it's disturbingly incorrect.
When they aren't whooping, the twins favorite activity is pulling all the CDs out of the bottom cubbies of our CD holder. The CDs are, or were, in alphabetical order which means the the Rolling Stones, Warren Zevon, and Tom Waits are being strewn about the living room daily. In the very bottom cubbies are, or were, my collection of operas. These have taken a real beating. The twins have cast aside Carmen, tossed Tosca, trashed Traviata, turned over Turandot, and bashed Bohéme.

song Amoeba Hop • artist: Christine Lavin

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Accidents Will Happen II

In case you missed it on my Facebook page, in the "what are you doing right now," box I just filled in: "cleaning up puke."
Not my own of course, though it was my own fault since he did say his stomach hurt.
"Look, Mommy, it's chicken soup. See the carrot?"
For some reason he was on his way upstairs from lying on the living room couch when the sh*t hit the fan so to speak; so, after he was done we had a little talk about how, if you think you are about to throw up, you need to run to the nearest bathroom, and not head for the upstairs bathroom when there's a perfectly good downstairs bathroom to throw up in.
This tops off a night when H executed a perfect 6.0 crib dive in which he smashed his face into the footboard and gave himself a bloody nose.
That reminds me, I should get some Spray 'N Wash onto his powder blue pajamas with the footies so the blood washes out. Good thing pajama day was last Friday because I'd hate to have him show up for preschool in his favorite blood-stained pjs.

song: Accidents Will Happen II• artist: Elvis Costello

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Proof positive that H is the "black penguin" of the family.

song: Penguins • artist: Lyle Lovett

Bad Day

Knowing that everything doesn't really happen to you still fails to soften the blow when it feels like everything happens to you. Woke up yesterday at 8:10. Ran screaming into C's room and told him to get up quick and get dressed or he was going to miss the bus. Had him quivering under his covers in fear of crazy Mommy when Ken finally came upstairs to tell me school had been delayed two hours on account of freezing rain.
"I turned off the alarm so you could sleep in," he said.
Okay then, I suppose in retrospect that was nice.
I apologize to C who's still hiding under the blankets.
Even though we've now got an extra two hours to get ready the rush is still on to get to the bus stop by 10:30.
H goes to preschool at 11:30. It didn't seem worth it to drive home and unload everyone for 40 minutes. The gas light is on so we head to the full service Getty station for a fill up. As I'm pulling away from the pump, my three year old tells me, "he forgot to take it out," a phrase that on it's own could be seriously misconstrued. I haphazardly assure H that everything's fine and continue my exit. There follows a loud clanking noise confirming what H had been trying to tell me. He'd forgotten to take it out all right so I get out, replace the nozzle and put the gas cap back on myself, accepting apologies from the station attendant. I in turn apologize to my son for not listening to him when he was plainly trying to convey useful information.
We park at the beach as it's still not time for preschool. I read a book about some American mice detectives who fly to Scotland to solve a haunted house mystery. The only mystery I can discern is why don't the American mice wear pants.

I head over to preschool and gingerly walk H down the icy driveway only to be met by the teacher who informs me that on days when school is delayed, preschool is automatically cancelled. She apologizes for having not called me. I am gracious. My entire day thus far has been a wash except for having successfully gotten gas. I explain to H that even though we've been killing time for the past 45 minutes, there is, in fact, no school today.
We shuffle back to the car and head home.
While I'm unloading the twins, H slips in the driveway, falls in a puddle, and soaks himself.
"I wanted you to carry me," he wails.
He gets even more upset when I walk up the stairs ahead of him.
"I wanted to beat you, Mommy." He says.
I'm beaten, baby. I'm beaten.

song: Bad Day • artist: R.E.M.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


They need to put a few mothers in charge of the Israeli Palestinian conflict.
A mother would go in a tell both sides, "look, if you can't get along in this here Gaza strip I'm going to take it away - and nobody gets to play with it."
Then she'd kick everyone out for not using their indoor voices and pass some sort of legislation designating the entire area as a nature preserve or something.

song: Jerusalem • artist: Steve Earle

Is That All There Is?

Dear Liz,
So, how did the pork chops come out you ask?
C had these words of advice during dinner last night.
"Mommy. This meat is very chewy. I don't think you should give any to the babies."
He also commented that my garlic potatoes made his mouth tingle.
Pork chops, bah. Who needs 'em? They remind me entirely too much of women who used to cook dinner in aprons and pearls.
Speaking of eating, the twins, who will eat anything - food or otherwise, have developed a healthy appetite for cheese. They can eat broken up pieces at an alarming rate. Not faster than the speed of light perhaps but faster than the speed at which Mommy can turn around and replenish their supply.
I think they may be the fastest cheese eaters ever, though not the neatest. I noticed one had cheese in his hair as I was wrestling them into their car seats on our way to pick up N at preschool.
It's only fitting since Ken was born in Wisconsin, making him the patriacal cheesehead.

song: Is That All There Is? • artist: Peggy Lee

Monday, January 05, 2009

One More Try

The Tao of my Twins: Lesson 2
If it looks good enough to eat - might as well give it a try!
What the heck. If it's not edible that crazy long-haired lady will come and fish it out of your mouth.

song: One More Try • George Michael

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Looking Forward

There is no surer way to get kids interested in something than to a) throw it in the trash, b) throw it in the recycle bin, or c) throw it in the fireplace.
Forget all that stuff you got them for Christmas. What they really want to play with is garbage. H & C took plastic gallon containers out of the recycle box today and used them as microphones. Then they went through the rest of the recycling, checking to see which cans they could pick up with the giant magnet.
At least the giant magnet was a Christmas present.
Earlier in the day they removed pieces of a sawed up chair from the fireplace. Note to Ken: if you're going to cut up a chair and put it in the fireplace you need to burn it immediately. Note to everyone else: the chair was on its way out, times aren't so tough that we're burning our furniture for heat - yet.
Not to worry about the heat though because spring is just around the corner. Ken came home from the post office yesterday with a 200-page seed catalogue and a second catalogue advertising course listings for spring yoga retreats in Stockbridge.
I love their optimism.

song: Looking Forward • artist: John Gorka

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Cask of Amontillado

If only.

story: The Cask of Amontillado • author: Edgar Allan Poe

Friday, January 02, 2009

Don't Cry Baby

The Tao of my Twins: Lesson 1
If everything is making you cry, it's time to take a nap.

song: Don't Cry Baby • artist: Etta James

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Twilight Zone

My new year's resolution is to make good use of my time.
I like the open-endedness of that one don't you?
That would explain why I spent last night watching three-and-a-half hours of the Twilight Zone marathon.
Just trying to get it all out of my system.

song: Twilight Zone • artist: Golden Earring

new year's couplet

amidst high winds
the year begins