Friday, December 31, 2010

Another New Year's Eve

How can I plan new year's resolutions when I can barely plan dinner?

song: Another New Year's Eve • artist: Barry Manilow

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Already Gone

The Harry Potter Legos have been put together, so has the solar-powered car. One of the iron puzzles has been solved and he can catch the diablo (sometimes). The house is full of balloon animals and "696 Jokes about School" has been read.
Christmas just doesn't last as long as it used to.

song: Already Gone • artist: The Eagles

Monday, December 27, 2010

Cold As Ice

Dear Priscilla,
Thank you for the Elvis CD. I have added Blue Christmas to my iPod holiday playlist. I was wondering where my Elvis Christmas CD was and the truth is it was probably a cassette anyway.
The inclusion of Mama Liked the Roses as the final song on this album has always puzzled me. What does this song have to do with Christmas? Sure, Mama liked roses, but did she like them for Christmas?
I also own Christmas Crooners, a CD that features holiday songs by Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and the like. The collection includes the song If I Were A Carpenter. "If I were a carpenter, and you were a lady, would you marry me anyway? Would you have my baby?" I get the reference but the carpenter in question isn't Joseph. If it was the lyrics would have to be changed to "would you marry me anyway, would you have God's baby?"
And why do they play My Favorite Things from "The Sound of Music" as part of the holiday lineup? Yes Maria likes brown paper packages tied up with strings, but they aren't necessarily Christmas presents. They might just be deliveries from Sears or Wells Fargo.
This got me wondering about the myriad of songs that have been relegated to being played between December 1 and December 25 merely for the crime of being about winter. Take Jingle Bells. Any mention of Christmas there? Nope none. Jingle bells, so I've been told, was actually written for Thanksgiving. And what about "Let It Snow"? Radio stations should be cranking that song right now. No mention of Christmas there. "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" anyone?
I think these songs about winter are getting a bum rap by being pulled off the air a mere four days into the season. I see another three long months of cold weather anthems ahead of us. Down with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and up with Coldplay is what I say. They don't stop playing "Beach Baby," "Boys of Summer," and "In The Summertime," on June 25.

song: Cold as Ice • artist: Foreigner

Friday, December 24, 2010

Who Are You?

Best line of the day:
"Mom, I was having so much fun with my sled I forgot that it's Christmas Eve!"
Duly noted:
Little Cindy Lou Who, at no more than two, had a much better vocabulary than N and S, who are almost three.
Their conversation with the fake Santy Claus would have gone like this:
"Anta. Ismas Tree. Mine.

song: Who Are You? • artist: The Who

Thursday, December 23, 2010


Yesterday N, S, and I watched in horror (well I was horrified anyway) while a small spider in his web in the corner at the top of our stairs, began devouring a much bigger spider.
Yep, it really is a dog-eat-dog world out there.
Or a spider-eat-spider world.
Or a littler spider-eats-gangily-big-spider world; and if you don't want to live fast and die young you'd best travel with a full can of Raid.

song: Trapped • artist: Bruce Springstein

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Coldest Night of the Year

We watched "A Year Without A Santa Claus" last night which may not, at first glance, seem like an appropriate way to celebrate the winter solstice but you forget that in addition to the great tune "Heat Miser" the movie also includes a cameo by none other than Mother Nature herself.
No wonder they don't air this holiday special on prime time any more - it's a pagan Christmas movie!
We, or at least my kids, also celebrated the shortest day of the year by playing outside in the snow until it was dark out. S, N, and I played earlier in the day. Two hours worth of play. We made snow bunnies, two of them, and a snow wall that the twins kept calling a train.
The word of the week for S and N is "snow" and H has taught them to say Santa, except that it sounds like "Anta" and they both got frustrated with me when I couldn't figure out what they were saying the first 25 times they said it. The moral of that story is to never let your son with the IEP for speech therapy teach new words to your two-year-old twins.
I downloaded "I'm Gettin' Nothin' For Christmas." It's my new favorite holiday song.
There were fruit flies in my red wine again tonight. Could someone please tell them it's winter now?

song: Coldest Night of the Year • artist: Bruce Cockburn

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

For So Long

This month Brain, Child magazine printed my response to their Backtalk column. Which, although it's always great to see one's name in print, is not a big deal since they print everyone's response.
What stood out when reading the entries was not their cleverness and originality, but their length. Backtalk specifically asked readers to keep their responses to 100 words and in writing my piece, I had to edit and edit and edit again in order to reach the 100-word goal. Therefore it was evident to me with my story on the page next to the others, that lots of writers went over the 100-word limit.
My eight year old would have worried over the unfairness of this blatant disregard for rules but what bugged me was that I'd cut some of the funny details out of the piece - the ones that really made the story come alive.
The piece was about H and his Moby Dick obsession upon which I've already expounded numerous times in this space so I won't repeat it here - not even the uncut, and in my opinion, funnier version.
So the question is, do you break the rules for the sake of the piece; or do you follow the rules and edit the story even to its own perceived detriment?
And I think that that is the big question and that the answer is that it's the people who break the rules who reach the top. They become famous in that way that most of America wants to be famous. Nice guys don't necessarily finish last, but more likely somewhere in the middle. Because they are nice, they don't mind that much. It takes arrogance and chutzpah to succeed.
A truth that would definitely make the average eight year old shout, "not fair!"

song: For So Long • artist: Bee Gees

Monday, December 20, 2010

Cold Moon Lament (a quatrain)

Google snips
tout eclipse.
Must not know
about the snow.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It Ain't Me Babe

My son, the budding copy editor, read the following sentence in a magazine: My sister said she would write me from camp.
"I think Highlights made a mistake," he said. "This doesn't make any sense at all. It should be "write to me."
I only bring this up as a warning to my coworkers. He may start reading the Enterprise soon.

song: It Ain't Me Babe • artist: Bob Dylan

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All The Best II

The next line in that song is
"It decays and dies, and the snowman melts."
Just in cast throwing the tree in the yard wasn't depressing enough for you.
Perhaps he should add a line about the cosmic uselessness of spending three hours wrapping gifts that your kids will tear open in 10 minutes.

song: All The Best • artist: John Prine

Monday, December 13, 2010

All The Best

"I guess that love, is like a Christmas card.
You decorate a tree; you throw it in the yard."

Couple this with "Christmas in Prison" and John Prine really knows how to bring you down around the holidays.

song: All The Best • artist: John Prine

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Material Girl

I've been having a real anti-advertising kind of week. Maybe it's the Christmas bah humbugs, but to start with I can't understand those ads for the Snuggie - the cross between pajamas and a sleeping bag. Don't these people ever get up off the couch? What happens when they have to go to the bathroom? Want more wine? Peanuts? Do they have to hop out of the room like some potato sack race contestant?
There there's the carton of eggs in the fridge with the words "vegetarian fed" printed on them. At first that sounded reassuring but upon further consideration - what the heck else might they be feeding chickens? Steak tips?
Next there was the box of sidewalk chalk that lauded itself for being "washable." Since when is chalk not?
What's next? Bottled water billed as "wet?"

And how about this? I don't even know what's being advertised here because I can't get over the fact that this woman is outside in the snow in her bathing suit! Just kidding. It's snow boots. I read the fine print. It still doesn't explain the bathing suit. Maybe she's just really late to get her kids to the bus stop and she's got a 9AM appointment at the tanning salon.
song: Material Girl • artist: Madonna


In college, because students could get them at half-price, I purchased tickets to the Nutcracker for my boyfriend and me. This was before the Nutcracker got booted out of the Wang center and replaced by the Rockettes who don't even perform to live music but don't get me started on that.
For the evening I decided on a black dress (what a surprise); the one with the drop waist that I used to add the antique lace collar to. Tom purchased a new shirt and a paisley bow tie at Filenes.
On the night of the big event we met up outside the theater. He was carrying a small, brown, greasy paper bag.
"What's in there?" I demanded.
"They'll never let you into the theater with that."
"Sure they will."
On our way in I got frisked for cameras, Mr. Greasy Popcorn waltzed through.
Being a student got you discount seats but not, as it turned out, good ones. We were escorted to the nose bleed section, way up in the balcony, surrounded by restless children.
At the start of the second act Tom broke out the popcorn and passed it around among our young theater-going neighbors. He was instantly a hero among them. I was reminded of the scene in Alice's Restaurant where Arlo Guthrie describes having a groovy time with his new friends on the Group W bench.
But instead of seeing this as an incredibly endearing moment I remained mortified and indignant throughout the whole thing; staring straight ahead, refusing all offers of popcorn, and maintaining an air of "we're grown ups now, let's behave with a little more maturity," until I huffed out after the performance was over.
Later Tom changed his major from physical therapy to education, and I learned to lighten up.

song: Popcorn • artist: Hot Butter

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chanukah Song

So they passed out dreidels in H's kindergarten class.
Now I know how it feels to be a Jewish mother at Chanukah:
"It' a gimmel."
"That's called cheating!"
"Gimmie the dreidel!"
"Stupid C!"
"Now go and get it."
"C, it's my dreidel."
"Go and get it or I'll fine you a penny!
Go and get it or I'll fine you another penny!"
"Stupid C!!"
"Your penny, your dreidel."
"Stupid C!!!"
"Fine. I quit."

song: Chanukah Song • artist: Adam Sandler

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Walk Like An Egyptian

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum grants anyone with the first or middle name of Isabelle free admission. I think the same should hold true for anyone named after a whaling captain who seeks admittance to a whaling museum.
And with our recent trip to the New Bedford Whaling Museum (where we did get in for free but because of a library pass not the notoriety of my son's name), thus ended the Gartner family's great New England Whaling Odyssey of 2010 which started with a children's version of Moby Dick at the public library and led to visits to the Falmouth Historical Society, the Nantucket Whaling Museum, and finally New Bedford. Go ahead, ask me about whaling. Better yet, ask H who knows more about whaling than your average 75 year old never mind your average 5 year old.
I must say though I felt a little indignant about the masthead of the Awashonks being in the New Bedford Whaling Museum's collection. Shouldn't that be in our historical society?
Perhaps that's how Egyptians feel when they view the mummies in the MFA.

song: Walk Like An Egyptian • artist: The Bangles

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Be My Downfall

Our Christmas tree is now officially in danger of collapsing under the weight of all the ornaments that are hanging off it.

song: Be My Downfall • artist: Del Amitri

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Seasons in the Sun

Is it really time to decorate for Christmas? Cause I haven't made a scarecrow yet and I was really planning to. In fact today I got a good scarecrow-making leaf pile going in the backyard so I'm thinking that if I just put a Santa hat on that big boy I could perhaps combine the two...

song: Seasons in the Sun • artist: Terry Jacks

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Money Song

C lost two teeth at school on Tuesday. Two in one day. He's making up for lost time.
Now he's ten dollars richer and he's got this huge gaping hole in the front of his mouth.
Too bad All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth is still one of my least favorite holiday songs.

song: Money Song • artist: Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem

Years May Come, Years May Go

I was at the Commons the other day waiting to take a left turn and park behind the Gap while two women and a little  were on the crosswalk between the Gap and the post office. From the parking area this SUV came speeding towards the crosswalk, and stopped short in the middle of it causing the trio to stop, one woman pulling the child back and the other yelling at the driver.
Then the window rolled down revealing that the driver was none other than a former boss of mine - a woman I haven't seen in forever - forever being not long enough as far as I'm concerned.
As if Christmas shopping weren't hazardous enough.

song: Years May Come, Years May Go • artist: The Irish Rovers