Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday Afternoon

C used food coloring to make blue mashed potatoes for dinner tonight.
The twins had the good sense not to eat them.
I knew they were smart babies.
I think I'm going to start relating to other people the way C and H do to each other:
H: You're the stupidest!"
C: No, you are!"

song: Tuesday Afternoon • artist: Moody Blues

Monday, June 29, 2009

Chapel of Love

When I chaperoned the preschool field trip to the Museum of Fine Arts last year I ended up with a car full of little girls on the ride home. They took the boys' dinosaur magnets, and instead of playing war with them, they paired them up according to which dinosaur was going to marry the other.
C cried when Sophia suggested it, but H seems okay with the idea of being married to Livia. Of course H also insists that Livia is his sister.
It's funny how little girls are talking about marriage before little boys even know what the word means.

song: Chapel of Love • artist: Dixie Cups

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Streak

H pulled his pants down at the preschool pot luck yesterday. It was like a foreign film - full frontal nudity. Thankfully his scene-stealing moment came after the candle ceremony so the other parents had finished shooting home movies.
I have this problem that, were I to write in to advice columnists, my letter would certainly be labeled a hoax.
Dear Abby,
My six-year old is reading too much in bed. He can read an entire Boxcar Children Mystery in one night. Tonight's is the mystery of the hidden beach. How do I get him to stop and go to bed?
Frustrated Parent

Ridiculous isn't it? What parent wouldn't want their kid to read in bed? The parent who is sick of dealing with an over-tired six year old who is short tempered with his four-year-old brother the next day - that's who.
In addition to his own reading, we've been reading The Hobbit together. It's been a long time. I'd forgotten most of the story. I did find it funny in the chapter where the group encounters the trolls, that not only are the trolls mean and nasty, they talk with a cockney accent.
Hopefully I won't cry at the end when (spoiler!) Thorin dies like I did in Charlotte's Web. I'll probably be able to keep it together. I remember being kind of choked up at the end of The Return of the King, but that was disappointment that the story was ending, not sadness over one particular character.
H and I have been reading Billy and Blaze; books I remember from when I was a kid. I even remember what shelves the Billy and Blaze books were kept on at the East Falmouth Library - back right corner, up high, in the A's, for C.W. Anderson. I remember the beautiful drawings more than the plot of the stories. In rereading them I see why. The stories aren't all that compelling despite their gorgeous illustrations. Worse than that, Billy and Blaze, the first book, is a parent's worst nightmare.
Who wants to read their kid a story about a child who actually gets a pony for his birthday?

song: The Streak • artist: Ray Stevens

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Won't Grow Up

There will be appreciations and retrospectives and people who will forgive him for every freakish thing he ever did but what everyone is really thinking is, "if Michael Jackson is dead, can I be far behind?"

song: I Won't Grow Up • musical: Peter Pan

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ride On

Well that didn't take long - all my good feelings about the bike path have evaporated. At the intersection of Old Dock Road and the bike path I have already run into (though not literally) one too many bikers staring me down because I'm not coming to a complete stop before crossing over the bike path. I'd like to say in my own defense that - there is no stop sign for vehicles! Yet there IS one for bikers. I'd also like to point out that all of those disapproving bikers were still on their bikes even though there's also a sign that suggests bikers dismount to cross the road. I'm not trying to be a big stickler for rules here. I've rolled through the occasional stop sign in my day. Dismounting does seem to be a bit of a stretch. I'm just saying that people who ride on two tires shouldn't throw tacks.
And as for all the greenery that was planted at said intersection, those larger trees are obstructing my view of who's coming down the path. Which makes it all the harder for me the see the biker who isn't stopping to get off his bike to cross the road before giving me a dirty look.

song: Ride On • artist: AC/DC

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's Your Thing

Human beings aren't born with any innate abilities. A few interesting reflexes perhaps but we can't build a nest like a bird or migrate to Mexico inn the fall like a monarch butterfly. We can't swim upstream to mate in the same pool where we were spawned like salmon do - heaven knows as a species we have a lousy collective sense of direction.
There is one thing however that males of our species are innately in tune with - obsessed with, if you will. You know what it is - you know. It's what makes teenagers hide copies of Playboy under their mattresses or google "big jugs." It's what makes politicians hire overpriced prostitutes and what makes little boys walk around with their hands down their pants. And if you happen to have twin boys not only to they have their own appendage to hold onto, they can also make a grab for their brother's goods.
Penis grabbing prevention must have been the impetus for the invention of clothing. Without clothes early man would have walked about with one hand on his club and the other on this "little club," thereby leaving no hand free with which to drag women around by the hair. Without a free hand for hair dragging he would have been unable to convince early woman to accompany him back to his cave, ply her with woolly mammoth burgers (which she would have to cook) and ultimately conceive cave babies.

song: It's Your Thing • Artist: Isley Brothers

the 2nd question (a couplet)

Does wine taste better
in stormy weather?

the question (a couplet)

The wind it whips and the rain it pours
Did I close the mini van's side doors?

I'm So Excited

This has to be the coldest month of June on record. Think of all those dads who didn't get to grill on Fathers Day. Isn't it enough that they got cheated out of unrecognizable crafts handmade by their children because Fathers Day feel after the close of school this year? Must they go without grilled grub and a day on the golf course as well?
The global warming nay-sayers must all be wagging the fingers and saying, "See? It's all bunk. Just like I told you."
The radio announcer described today's weather as "exciting." Mmmm. I'm sure that's how the local chamber of commerce is feeling about it too. It's exciting if you don't mind wind, rain, cold, and cancelled ferry boats day in and day out. It's exciting for me to walk around the house closing and opening windows and wondering how many blankets to put on the bed.
Is wearing footie pajamas in June exciting for my kids? I'll have to ask them. How about a big bowl of steaming hot chili when we should be moving on to chicken salad season?
H decided to forgo pull ups and wear undies to bed last night.
Now that's exciting.

song: I'm So Excited • artist: The Pointer Sisters

Friday, June 19, 2009

Give A Little Bit

Ah, the stress of the end-of-the-year gift for the teacher, and the speech teacher, and the teacher's aide, and the bus driver, and the bus driver's aide...
Before they got to the house this afternoon I put some banana/chocolate chip muffins in some leftover party goodie bags for H's bus driver and her assistant. I'm afraid the muffins were kinda dry because I left the butter in the microwave (again!). Instead of dry I preferred to think of them as "accidentally healthier."
Not good enough I guess because tonight H announced he was making a present for his bus driver. He proceeded to take one of his stuffed animals, a stuffed kitty accurately named, "kitty" and tape construction paper all over it. After, he taped the construction-paper-covered kitty to the dining room floor. It looked like a stuffed kitty in a well-staked-down tent.
Then he asked C if he would take the present to school tomorrow for Miss Mary.
C cried and said he didn't want H to give away the stuffed kitty because he would miss it.
H reconsidered and generously decided to give Miss Mary - our couch.
I said that I would miss the couch.
He reconsidered again (begrudgingly) and started making Miss Mary a card with "horse and doggie stickers on it."
Then he decided to give the card with the stickers on it to C instead.

song: Give a Little Bit • artist: Supertramp

(again!)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thyme of the Season

I never trust a recipe that encourages me to "season to taste." It's as if the recipe can't make a commitment.
I picture a hefty Italian mama in her apron and floral-print dress (pulled tight across her bosom), wooden spoon in hand, leaning over to taste her pasta sauce.
Though years of taste-testing hot spaghetti sauces have burnt off her taste buds, she will still emphatically declare, "needs more oregano."
Mangia!

song: Thyme of the Season • artist: the Zombies

Beautiful Day


Walking the bikepath on Sunday from Old Dock Road to Old Palmer Avenue was the closest I've ever come on Cape Cod to people watching the way you can on Boston Common. Everyone was out. Everyone.
I saw old couples. I saw young couples. I saw a couple holding hands while biking.
I saw all manner of children and families.
I overheard mothers and fathers who were not practicing Effective Parenting.
I saw a dad twirling his daughter around while giving her a shoulder ride.
I saw a man countering the healthful effects of biking by biking while smoking.
I overhead couples and groups of friends discussing where they were going to eat dinner after their walk and from what I could hear, Chappy Grill was in for some business.
I was surprised by how many people on the path were from out of town. Don't they have fabulous bike paths in their own communities?
I saw all manner of biking apparatuses. Who knew there were so many? Bikes, recumbent bikes, two seater bikes, two seater bikes with a child carrier attached. Also all manner of attaching one's offspring to one's bicycle. Up front on the handle bars, behind in a chair, behind in a trailer hitch. I saw a dad go by with his daughter in one such trailer hitch and when he passed by a second time the daughter was gone. I hope he knew.
I saw a family that was pulling the family pet - in its pet carrier - in a red wagon. I'm still kicking myself that I didn't ask them the story behind that.
I wondered how the owners of all those million dollar homes felt now that us riffraff could enjoy the same view.
I saw only one item of trash the entire walk and believe me, I was looking.
I was kept company by all manner of wildlife. Some that I could see: red winged black birds, herons, and rabbits, some that I could only get a glance of: yellow warblers, and some that I could only hear: bull frogs.
Everywhere I looked people were happy. I wanted to be my usual cynical self, wondering what everyone had to be happy about, but I couldn't help myself. I was happy too.

song: Beautiful Day • artist: U2

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Words

One of the "words to talk about" on C's weekly "family time" worksheet last month was vaporetto.
What we "talked about" was how none of us knew what vaporetto meant. I had to look in two dictionaries before finding it listed as an entry and yes, I still look in the dictionary so file me under D for dinosaur.
A vaporetto is a public transportation boat used in Venice.
Kindergarten sure isn't what it used to me.
As a kindergartener C has also learned about Bakugan. If you don't know about Bakugan then it's obvious you don't have a child in elementary school.
Bakugan are like circular Transformers. I can't believe I know what I Transformer is. They are also a Pokemon thing. That's about all I can tell you. There's an elaborate game that you can play once you've collected, or should I say once your mother has purchased you, enough Bakugans, but as far as I can see nobody actually plays the game they just trade Bakugans back and forth with their friends.
The only good thing about Bakugan (and Pokemon) is that its phonetically spelled (which is more than I can say for the word phonetically).
I'm neither for or against them at this point but I do kind of wish C could have grown up during the Beenie Baby craze instead.

song: Words • artist: The BeeGees

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Our House


46 Across: Our House

song: Our House • artist: Madness

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Digging in the Dirt

It's fixing up to be a tough year in the community garden. We saw four baby rabbits last time H and I were there. Maybe it was really the same rabbit and he was just getting around very quickly but we saw him in all different corners of the garden. He would have to have been Houdini's rabbit to get around like that. And hungry? He was one hungry rabbit. Having nibbled all the tops off the newly sprouted bean plants I could see he'd come to the realization that baby bean leaves taste delicious. Interestingly the rabbits had not touched any of my sugar snap pea plants or any of the pea plants in the other plots. This made me wonder why my CSA puts pea tendrils in my veggie bag every year and never any baby bean leaves. Why would I want to eat something that even rabbits thumb their little pink noses at?
In exchange for leaving the peas alone, the rabbits did elect to taste our radishes. One nibble out of each radish. I don't understand rabbits. Why one nibble per radish? Why not just pull one radish and eat the whole darn thing?
Then the persistent cold weather has my tomato plants on the verge of total collapse, despite their shiny new tomato cages. They look like they need intensive care, maybe an IV drip.
Planting a vegetable garden is this year's new black. There are articles in the paper constantly about when to plant what, and offering all manner of advice on growing vegetables. I drove by the methodist church tonight and noticed they'd dug up part of their front yard for a garden. Well good for them I say. Everyone is getting into this locavore movement and knowing where your food comes from. But for people who are growing vegetables in an effort to save money I say - good luck. Maybe after a few years you might break even but the first year - not a chance. First there's the plants themselves, you've got to buy either seeds or plants, I always buy more than I can possibly use - I never learn. Then, if you've never gardened before you'll need a shovel, maybe a hoe, maybe a hose and a sprinkler, you might even need to have some nutrient rich soil trucked in - it's not like people can garden in what used to be their pesticide-laced front lawns. You might need a starter kit and large pots if you plant to grow your vegetables on the deck or patio. Tomato plants need tomato cages, pole beans and sugar snap peas need something to grow up, you'll need some Neptune's Harvest organic fertilizer, you'll need a hat with a big brim, maybe some gardening gloves and a bucket, liquid fence to discourage rabbits, a real fence or raised beds if your rabbits are very smart. You can go crazy and get Walls of Water to extend your growing season, kneeling pads, cold frames. The lists goes on and on.
And for what? Some rabbit-chewed radishes? Let's face it, radishes aren't even a real vegetable. I only grow them so my kids will have something to pick early on so they don't lose interest in the whole thing. And so Houdini's rabbit won't starve.

song: Digging in the Dirt • artist: Peter Gabriel

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Substitute

"To open - gracefully tear along perforations."
Maybe it's okay for the junk mail advertising writers to try and convince me that I am a, "Gourmet Asian Food Lover," but I'm not sure I like my pseudo yoga clothing delivery bag telling me how I should open it.
Last week C made a cake from scratch using his own recipe. I had to remind him to put in baking soda (he decided to put in both soda and powder just to be on the safe side) but let's just say the cake came out good enough to eat - which we did.
Unlike adults, kids have no fear of failure, which is a great thing when baking a cake from scratch but not so great when it comes to less safe behaviors. If I'm lucky he'll be so busy with his culinary curiosities he won't want to get his driver's license until he's 25.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention but I have found that stupidity is invention's mother more often than not. Today's list of things to do included making peanut butter cookies. I doubled the recipe, because what is the point of three dozen cookies, but when I mixed everything up it looked suspiciously dry. I didn't have enough flour to start over again so I poured in some milk. Then I poured in some more. Then I put the first cookie sheet in the oven. Ten minutes later I had cookies, kinda lumpy but not too bad. S ate one without complaining.
Then I decided to go in for some more mood-enhancing tea but the tea was cold and there's nothing less good-mood enhancing than cold tea so I opened the door to put it in the microwave. Voila! A bowl full of butter - proving that you can get out all the ingredients but that doesn't mean all the ingredients will make it into the cookies.
Hence I discovered through sheer stupidity, that it's possible to substitute milk for butter without dire consequences when making peanut butter cookies.

song: Substitute • artist: The Who

Sunday, June 07, 2009

(Not So) Tiny Bubbles

video
What to do with random pieces that fall off your house?
Blow bubbles with them of course.
Bubble solution: 1pt dishwashing liquid, 12pts water, and some of that corn syrup you were saving for pecan pie.

song: Tiny Bubbles • artist: Don Ho

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Free Bird

Yesterday I read about a mom who writes a blog on how to save money. Thirty-thousand people a month tune in to read her advice.
I can't remember if the theme was saving money in general or saving money specifically in regards to meal planing but hell, I'll give it a try.
Having four kids is a great way for you to save money because you won't have time to shop for anything except birthday presents for other people's children.
The best way to save money at the supermarket is to never, never take your children there. Leave all grocery shopping to your able-bodied husband provided he can read a list and isn't afraid to pick up the occasional feminine hygiene product.
Another way in which I save money is by encouraging my cousin to shop for kids clothing at the Madaket Mall. When you have four kids it doesn't matter the size of the clothes - they are bound to fit someone.
I used to outfit myself by shopping entirely at rummage sales and thrift shops. I love to rummage, even at the dollar a pound store when the price increased to $1.50 a pound. This has led to me having scores and scores of clothing. Now I've started to purge. All above-the-knee dresses - gone. All dresses that drag on the floor and have tripped me while climbing the stairs - gone as well.
I find myself having to mail order clothing now. Preferably from catalogues that push organic cotton yoga wear to people who don't do yoga. However, having four kids saves me money in this department as well because even though I am mail ordering expensive clothing, I need much less of it since I barely ever leave the house
So there you go - my tips on how to save money.
I'm ready for my book deal (and my close up) now.

song: Free Bird • Lynyrd Skynyrd

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Big Time

A commercial for male enhancement pills (Extends) just followed the opening ten minutes of The Color Purple. Talk about an ad being woefully ill-timed.

song: Big Time • artist: Peter Gabriel

Alive and Kicking

How many times does this happen to you? It's morning and there's a 16-month old baby on the changing table. You put his right leg into a pair of pants and then you move in for the left leg but the baby decides now is a good time to show you what a soccer star he's going to grow up to be and starts kicking furiously. So much so that by the time his left leg is in his pants his right leg is out of them. So you go back to the right leg but the same thing happens again, left leg out, right leg in, left leg in, right leg out. You keep going back and forth and it's like you're trying to dress an uncooperative octopus who is soon to be diagnosed with ADD.
And it's funny but frustrating because you know there's another 16-month old who is also waiting to get dressed and while he's been waiting he's taken all the tupperware out of the middle drawer in the dining room and you look around because even though the bathroom is small you're sure there's got to be a hidden camera.
When it's time to put everyone in their car seats it's the same thing all over again. Except this time it's with arms and five-point harnesses instead of legs and pants, and instead of hidden cameras it's Google Earth that you're sure is watching

song: Alive and Kicking • artist: Simple Minds

If This Is It

The cat has taken to sleeping in the newspaper recycling basket. I don't mind except that now I have to carefully place the daily papers in it and I used to derive a certain amount of satisfaction from pitching them in the basket with force - take that, you house-clutter you!
It's much less satisfying to gingerly arrange them around the cat.
I've been feeling like a Judas but lately I can't help wondering how much longer I can justify a subscription to the Boston Globe. The price of the paper is up to $1.50 a day. I don't even know what the Sunday paper is costing me. That's $1.50 a day and no redelivery in my area for missed papers. In the past few years they've cut most of what I liked about the paper including my favorite section (Home) and my favorite columnist (Barbara Meltz), and turned what used to be fleshed-out stories in the Globe Magazine into sound bites. Is it worth $1.50 per day to read Dilbert, the editorials, and the occasional art review by Sebastian Smee? Does the entire future of the newspaper industry hinge on my continued subscription? Is it treason for someone who works for a newspaper to bail out on another paper that's in dire straits even though, when analyzed, my relationship with the Globe (like my relationship with spring) seems to be unhealthy (monetarily at least) and one-sided.
On the other hand if I cancel I might have to invest in a proper bed for the cat.

song: If This Is It • artist: Huey Lewis and The News

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Difference

H has ascertained the difference between boys and girls.
"Girl babies wear bows in their hair," he observed.
For Ken and I the difference is less obvious.
On Saturday, when the weather started to cool off, I grabbed the first thing within reach as a cover up. The item in question, or the questionable item, was Ken's CC Marathon sweatshirt.
"I never seen you wear Daddy's shirt before," said H, "you look like Daddy."
Later on C came in the dining room, glanced into the kitchen and said, "I thought you were daddy."

song: The Difference • artist: The Wallflowers

Southern Cross

C nailed two leftover pieces of hardwood flooring in the shape of a cross and told me he was going to give it to our minister. But instead of bringing the cross to the minister he left it propped up outside our front door which makes it look as if Jesus has stopped off at our house on his way to Golgotha.
Maybe he's looking for one last consecrated virgin.

song: Southern Cross • artist: Crosby Stills & Nash