Wednesday, September 29, 2010

mood enhancing bee (a tercet)

If a clumsy bee falls from a tree
into my cup of St. John's Wort tea
Will he be happy instead of me?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

According to a certain current movie trailer there's a general misconception circulating that mothers can't keep baby poop off their heads. It reminds me of the equally irritating scene in Sex in the City where Steve has to tell Miranda she's got "a little doodee" on her head.
Please people. I have changed a lot of diapers - more than I care to think about. I have gotten poop on the wall and poop on my hands but I have never, ever, gotten poop on my head much less paraded my poopy head out in public for other people to comment on. Because you see - a wet diaper can be changed anywhere - a poopy diaper usually requires the offending toddler be relocated to the bathroom where the trash can and the wipes are - and - where the mirror is. So that even if there was a question about facial poop - I would be able to resolve it before making a big entrance.
Reason number two that you're likely to see mothers walking around with toilet paper stuck to their feet or their skirts tucked into their underwear before you see them with poop smeared faces (in case you need a reason number two) is this: poop smells - which makes it pretty easy to detect.
Glad we've got that cleared up.  And speaking of - I've got to go clear up some pee on the wall where my five year old missed the toilet.

song: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face • artist: Roberta Flack

Monday, September 27, 2010

Guilty II

It's been a long time since I've been in a bathroom adorned with graffiti. All that changed on jury duty day. The stalls in the bathroom at district court located closest to the jury holding pen are covered in graffiti. It struck me that graffiti is the precursor to twitter: short, random, and often misspelled.
And whereas high school bathrooms usually contain mostly romantic (if not graphic) sentiments, court bathroom graffiti is writing on the wall of a different sort. First there are lots of RIPs. "RIP Crystal," "RIP Jordan," "RIP Nick." Then there was this one: "DD and Daubly hate DSS."
There's lots of religious graffiti wherein bathroom goers are assured that God loves each and every one of them and heck maybe he even cares about their bowel movements, certainly he wants them to wash their hands before leaving regardless of whether they are an employee or not.
There was a line reporting that a man named Jack was a rapist which could be taken with a grain of salt in a high school bathroom but carries more weight in the stalls of the county courthouse.
An ironic message beseeched would-be street artists to grow up and write on their own walls at home.
And finally, "the older up we get the more bills and trouble we get into."
Amen to that.

song: Guilty • artist: Bee Gees

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Don't You Forget About Me

Dear Denise,
I guess your memory does not serve you correctly.
Tom taught sixth grade not fifth.
Also, there was an article about his death in the paper.
Finally, not to disclose in your letter than you and he were once married makes it appear that you yourself may feel some stigma in admitting that you were married to someone who later committed suicide.

song: Don't You Forget About Me • artist: Simple Minds

Friday, September 24, 2010


Jury duty started with a stroll through a metal detector.
"It's just like going on vacation," I said to the security guard.
"But you get leave your shoes on," he countered. Obviously he'd heard that one before.
Potential jurors greet each other with phrases such as, "this must be the place," "we're the early birds huh?" and "can I scooch by?"
There were only 20 jurors when we were called to line up to be checked in which I found strange given that when I'd called the night before the message was that jurors in groups 1 through 25 had to report and "all other groups" were canceled. I was just working out the math: 20 jurors for 25 groups means 1.25 jurors per group, when the woman next to me, the one who'd "scooched," waved her postcard around like it was a golden ticket and exclaimed that she was in group 33 and in a perfect Clerks delivery announced that she's "not even supposed to be here today." Then, because stupidity is rewarded (it's just like you feared), she got to go to the front of the check in line.
You have to wonder about people who don't bring any reading material, just a cup of coffee, to jury duty. Are they just really optimistic about not having to serve? Are they hoping the jury holding pen will have some really good magazines (it didn't)? Are they really deep thinkers who don't need external stimuli or are they just blank slates?
In the waiting room we all got to covertly check out what each of us had brought to read and, and based on what we saw, make broad assumptions about each other. The woman with the Whole Foods water bottle was reading "Eat, Pray, Love" and by the looks of it our heroine was still in Italy. A skinny woman was reading a novel called, appropriately, "Skinny." The man who's hair and beard were half dyed read was reading a Tom Clancy novel. He later admitted to being bumped off a previous jury because he had long hair. A woman in a gold lamé dress told us that she'd been picked for jury duty exactly three years from the day she last served.
By 9:15 the coffee drinkers were finished with their java but each was clutching his or her disposable cup - staring intently at it - and presumably pondering the meaning of life.
The sound of the jury waiting room is a mix of chip bags being opened and of carbonation being released from soda bottles. Did no one have breakfast? Isn't it a little early in the morning for Fresca? It's the sound of a wrinkled dollar bill being repeatedly fed into the tired-looking snack machine and jettisoned out again and again and again. Enough times to make you want to giggle uncontrollably, the way you used to at Christmas Eve candle light services with your sister, sniggering until your mother looked over with "the disapproving glance" - the one that said "you're not being very Christian" making you want to reply, "you should be happy your adult daughters get along so well" or better yet, "I'm not even supposed to be hear today."

song: Guilty • artist: Bee Gees

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mind Games

My five year old is obsessed with UNO. Which, all things considered, is better than being obsessed with the game Trouble or with the dreaded Candyland but still, played compulsively, one can even grow weary of UNO.
When he first got the hang of the game, which was roughly three weeks ago, he couldn't bear it if he didn't win at least one game before retiring for the evening. If you've ever tried to purposely loose a game of UNO let's just say it's more difficult than it looks. You'll draw a wild draw four card when you've only got two cards of the same color left in your hand, one of which is a skip card or you'll have UNO and your opponent will change the color to match to remaining card that's in your hand - do you go out or pick from the deck and keep playing? And it wouldn't be so bad to loose on purpose if your children didn't do victory dances around the room after they (finally!) win and trash talk you.
Thankfully he's rapidly become a good enough player that I no longer have to try to loose, conversely, I find myself loosing all the time.
H can remember everything about every game we play. What color the opening card was; the last four moves up until he got UNO and went out; how many "good" cards he got dealt, and so on. The best though is the trash talking. C does it as well. Nothing too outlandish, just the occasional "Man! You're tough!" "revenge," and "take that!" I think it's a great little release, since I usually discourage, in the spirit of the Peace Builder's Pledge, put downs. A fast-paced game of cards gives them the chance to hurl a few insults and slights at each other in a playful environment. One in which everybody is a loser sometimes and (thankfully) everybody is a winner. And nobody makes fun of your happy dance.

song: Mind Games  • artist: John Lennon

Monday, September 20, 2010

Abraham, Martin, and John

Ask me why I'm so excited about the 14-dollar, size-small, Abraham Lincoln costume I just ordered for H?
It's because he wants to be Captain Ahab for Halloween!
Just look at these two men! Who is Captain Ahab but Abe Lincoln with a harpoon and a peg leg? Not to mention, costumes of historical figures are way cheaper than your average Halloween costume.
Next year I'll use the costume again when I dress the four of them like the profiles on Mt. Rushmore.

song: Abraham, Martin, and John • artist: Dion

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cherokee Nation

H decorated the hat but S is wearing it. Meet Chief Baby Face.

song: Cherokee Nation • artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Walk on the Wild Side

For my walk on Monday I decided I would go backwards. Not the actual walking but the route. Instead of my usual Colonial, Cliffwood, Yankee, Gov. Bradford and back to Colonial, I chose Colonial, Gov. Bradford, Yankee, Cliffwood and back to Colonial.
In ten years of this being my route it's never occurred to me to walk it in this direction. I felt like George in the Seinfeld episode where he vows to do the exact opposite of all the things he usually does.
So I'm going along, and truthfully it's a little disorienting. All the houses look askew when approached from the opposite direction - familiar yet unfamiliar.
I come out on Cliffwood and I'm a few houses down from the intersection of Cliffwood and Yankee when I see this deer on a lawn to my left. The deer is casually eating grass in someone's front yard unperturbed by my presence. I stop and look up and down the street, searching for someone else with whom I can collaborate this story as I've never, in many nights of walking, seen a deer on someone's front lawn. Alas, just as it was when I saw the dinosaur-sized snapping turtle on the bikepath, no one else was about.
With no one else to witness the deer I began to question it myself. Maybe I was having a Harry Potter moment (because all my metaphors have to elude to outdated cultural references) and the deer was actually a patronous like Harry's stag or Snapes silver doe (Whoops. Spoiler. Hope you've read book 7).
In other nature-related news, yesterday while trimming what passes for shrubs in front of the house I found two bird nests. C found another three when he got home from school. As per my friend Laird's suggestion we put them in the microwave to kill any mites or other small bugs that might be living in them. Small birds do not return to their nests (because of the vermin) so there's no guilt in fall nest collecting.
On my suggestion C checked out some cool scat in the backyard by the shed. I think I should like to be remembered someday as the mother who pointed out cool scat to her son.
I had a second Harry Potter moment, less than 24 hours after the first at the bus stop when I commented to C that the black wispy cloud that was floating rapidly by in front of the large fluffy white one looked like a dementor. A dementor! C, the boy who rereads Harry Potter books like the ending might change if his eyes just bore into the book long enough, seemed unmoved by my keen observation.
Perhaps he was busy trying to conjure up his own patronous.

song: Walk on the Wild Side • artist: Lou Reed

Monday, September 13, 2010

Synchronicity II

C and H are into the marines and the police respectively. C runs around in his plastic camouflage helmet saying he's the U.S. Marines, and H, as the police, uses loose-leaf binder rings for hand cuffs. All the while I field questions like - Can the marines arrest people in other countries? Can the police arrest the marines?
Which to me is akin to asking who would win Godzilla or Mothra? Superman or the Green Lantern?
I chose the police. Frankly I don't think the marines can arrest anybody and besides, the police have better songs.

song: Synchronicity II • artist: The Police

Urge for Going

We're cleaning up the kitchen last night and Dixie Chicken comes on the iPod.
"That would made a good first dance song at a wedding," says Ken.
"Well she's not exactly faithful," I point out. I believe the gist of the song is that she's everybody's "Tennessee lamb."
I hate it when people don't listen to the song's lyrics.
That guy in Green Green Grass of Home? He's on death row.
Charlie? He never gets off the train.
A huge flock of starlings went through the back yard this morning.
The geese must be in chevron flight.

song: Urge for Going • artist: Tom Rush

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?

C was sent home on the third day of school with a note from the nurse that  described an injury he sustained thusly: "poked self with sock in left eye."
Great. My son is Homer Simpson. At least if he were Bart he would have poked some other kid in the eye with a sock instead of himself. D'oh!
Then I get an e-mail with this subject line from BlogHer: "I love my small chest!" The message goes on to say that I'm only receiving this e-mail because of my relationship with BlogHer but don't you believe it.
Damn that targeted marketing.

song: Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? • artist: Culture Club

Friday, September 10, 2010

Eight Day a Week

Why is the first week of school so tiring for me? I'm not the one who has to go there. All I have to do is get them to bed, get them up, get them to the bus stop, pick them up from the bus stop, make them lunch, pack them snacks in separate bags so as not to be confused with lunch, help them gather personal items for "get to know you" homework, fill out paperwork (lots of paperwork - in duplicate), get twins to preschool orientation (more paperwork), pick twins up from preschool orientation, strain to remember names of new preschool parents to whom I have just been introduced one hour earlier, read supplement copy, remember to go to dermatologist appointment, and play UNO with H every spare minute of every day.
I heard an NPR report that insomnia and repeated nights of sleeping less than six hours can shorten one's life.
Now I definitely can't sleep.

song: Eight Days a Week • artist: The Beatles

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

September Morn

song: September Morn • artist: Neil Diamond

Monday, September 06, 2010

Girls Girls Girls

 Frank and Martha's show in Portland

song: Girls Girls Girls • artist: Mötley Crüe

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Hurricane II

H was prepared to illuminate the house with his lantern.
C was planning to cook lunch and make me a cup of tea using his pizza box solar oven.
Both were disappointed to wake up and find the electricity still on.

song: Hurricane • artist: Bob Dylan

Friday, September 03, 2010

Electric Boogie

The CC Times interviewed a woman who was leaving Nantucket to drive to Maine because she didn't want to be without electricity with her two year old.
I'd rather be without electricity with a two year old than stuck in the car all the way to Maine with one. That's good news for me since I'll probably be there soon enough.
For the time being though N and S are practicing their survival skills by drinking out of puddles in the front yard.

song: Electric Boogie • artist: Marcia Griffiths

Thursday, September 02, 2010


Hurricane Bob was weathered with a big box of doughnuts, several bags of cheese curls, and copious amounts of wine.
I'd just assume greet Earl in much the same way except that I wouldn't be caught dead eating doughnuts in front of my children.

song: Hurricane • artist: Bob Dylan

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Birds of a Feather

The other day I e-mailed this question to a friend who has a Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology. I am reprinting his response as a public service.

Dear Laird,
The other day I heard a dad admonish his child not to pick up a feather because "if a bird loses a feather it's because the bird is sick."
Is this true or just something we parents say in order to stop our kids from picking up items we deem undesirable?
Should I let me kids pick up feathers?

Dear Joanne,
Birds go through at least one molt and sometimes several in a year so losing a feather is perfectly natural and not indicative of an illness. Even if a bird was ill it is quite unlikely the feather would be contaminated with anything that could be transmitted to humans.
Even feather lice do not live on humans as our body temperature is too low when compared to birds. Whenever I see a nice feather I always pick it up. In fact, Connie and I have a feather collection in a mug at home.
So encourage the boys to collect feathers!

So the moral of the story is you should let your kids collect feathers, who knows, they could become a big brain like my friend Laird.

Now about that 5 second rule...

song: Birds of a Feather • artist: Phish