Saturday, December 31, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/31

The Gift of Optimism:
This year some of the book titled I read were No Impact Man, The Story of Stuff, In Defense of Food, and The Hundred Dollar Holiday.
Despite this, I still have plenty of stuff, including cans of cream of mushroom soup, and spent well over $100 at Christmas.
This week the internet seems rife with stories about 2011 recaps and how folks are elated to see this year wrap up in a don't-let-the-door-hit-you-on-the-way-out kind of way. While the year may have stank economy-wise, here on Cape Cod I still have my favorite local radio station and a membership to the farm that's a mere 10 minutes from my house. Farmers markets sprang up everywhere in 2011 with two winter markets scheduled to start in Falmouth after the first of the year. My sons' elementary school went paperless with his take-home notices and our fall fundraiser included the sale of reusable shopping bags instead of shiny wrapping paper that can't be recycled or burned. Shopping local for the holidays was promoted everywhere and despite my dream in which they folded to make way for a hip and knee replacement store, the sales woman at our main street toy store said sales were strong this year.
So maybe it wasn't all doom and gloom. Not if you turned over every stone and really looked.

Friday, December 30, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/30

The Gift of Leaving Well Enough Alone:
Why is it that when four boys are playing quietly, upstairs, together in one room, you have to ruin it by going up to check on them?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/29

C and I won the afternoon mind bender on WMVY yesterday. I provided the answer and C was quick draw on the telephone.
After giving the answer (Luxemburg), he threw the phone on the floor and started screaming "We Won! We Won!" as if we'd just won a million bucks in the state lottery instead of a CD from a radio station.
Speaking of gifts, even though we weren't, tonight C's got for friends sleeping over for a belated birthday party.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/28

Now that it's all said and done, I wonder if it wouldn't be better to give the kids occasional gifts during the year, gifts for no reason, or gifts for small celebrations that we make up ourselves, rather than save everything up for the big December payola.
My past philosophy has been that of not really buying my kids much during the year outside of birthdays - making it okay to go overboard on December 25. It's like a Christmas binge after an 11-month fast. Which of course is unhealthy.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/27

You know your kids got too much stuff for Christmas when they tell their grandparents on the phone that they got so many presents they can't remember them - and they only finished opening gifts 10 minutes ago.

Monday, December 26, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/26

The seasonal question - leave the unwrapped presents under the tree for a few days or put everything away?

What Child is This?

A litany of embarrassing moments from the Christmas Eve service at Grace Memorial Chapel.
When the reader started in on Luke chapter 2 verse 8 (and there were in that same country shephards), H leaned over and whispered: "Linus!"
When the organist started in on "Hark the Herald Angles Sing," he said, "Charlie Brown!"
When Jesus was getting wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in the manger he asked me, "Mommy, is Jesus a boy or a girl?"
After placing his cow in the manger, S made a b-line not for our pew but for the back door of the church. Ken got him just as he was opening the door.
After we finished singing "Silent Night," N spoke up loudly and asked, "we sing Happy Birthday now? I like that song."

song: What Child is This? • artist: William Chatterton Dix

Sunday, December 25, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/25

You gotta love Christmas. It's the only day I can get my kids to do anything:
"Sure. You can open your gifts right after you get dressed, clear away the breakfast dishes and re-shingle the roof."
I could have kept them going all day.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/24

You better watch out,
You better not cry,
You better not pout,
I'm telling you why:

'cause I said so.

Number Two

So far the kitten's been good about going number two in the litter box but Leo like to pee just about anywhere.
I bought a book on training your kitten but I wrapped it up to give to H on Christmas so it looks like we've all got to wait one more day before addressing the problem.

song: Number Two • artist: They Might Be Giants

Friday, December 23, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/23

Gift of Nature:
Finished stringing our outdoor Christmas lights (finally!) and found this bird nest in the holly bush.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Coldest Night of the Year

My husband and my eldest son are both wearing shorts to commemorate the shortest day of the year.
Touché

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

NaBloPoMo 12/22

In art class this week the kids made gifts to give away to other people.
C told me that he gave his present to his friend Will to give to Will's dad.
Great.
 Santa's getting all the credit - and now Will's dad is getting the homemade present that's rightfully mine.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/21

All the e-mail advertising promise that it's not too late - you could still get your gifts in time for Christmas, just order by midnight tonight, noon tomorrow, 8 PM on Thursday, expedited shipping, next day air… When is it too late? Pay extra shipping equal to twice the value of the gift and they'll show up in person and hand it to your loved one on Sunday morning.
The subject line in the e-mail ad for viagra and cialis reads "Christmas is Coming!"
Clever right? Christmas is coming and maybe you could be too.
Except that further down in my spam folder there's an ad for luxury replica watches and their subject line is also "Christmas is Coming!"
The viagra and cialis ship in one-to-four days.
It's not too late!

NaBloPoMo 12/21

I thought I had posted on Monday. In my head I had written about the gift of foresight and having stopped at the gas station before the empty light came on the dash - a first.
Instead I guess I needed to write about the gift of follow through.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/20

Have I mentioned that I made my own gift wrapping paper this year with a newspaper end roll and stamps made from styrofoam meat trays?
I confess, it was a little obsessive. Not exactly Martha Stewart, but not half bad.
Too bad Santa will still be delivering gifts in the toxic, don't-recycle-it-or-burn-it-in-the-fireplace-variety.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happiness is a Warm Gun

Some things that my children have told me look like guns:
• candy canes
• pieces of bread with bites taken out
• sticks
• rolled up pieces of paper

song: Happiness is a Warm Gun • artist: The Beatles

Sunday, December 18, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/18

The gift of perspective.
Knowing that in one week it will all be over.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/17

The gift of a guilt-free conscience.
It's easier to give away dog crates, cook books, faux x-mas trees, cloth diapers, and wine glasses. After postings on Facebook and Freecycle, Paul came through on Craig's List and picked up our old tv since there was no way after reading "No Impact Man," and "The Story of Stuff" that I could consign our working tv set to the dump.

Friday, December 16, 2011

New Kid in Town

Meet Leo.

song: New Kid in Town • artist: the Eagles

NaBloPoMo 12/16

Wouldn't it be better if the kids had the week prior to Christmas off and not the week after?
There are all these things we could be doing: making cookies and suet and paper chains and ornaments, and decorating frames for school pictures for the grandparents.
Instead the boys are in school all the way until next Friday where I'm sure they are so distracted they can't concentrate a wit.
Instead of a week of preparations, they have the week after Christmas off instead. C told me the reason it was this way was to give them a week to play with their toys thereby emphasizing yet again the gift-getting aspect of this holiday instead of the parts that could really be both enjoyable and memorable.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/15

Am I feeling some resentment towards Santa?
You bet I am.
I do all the work and some eccentric old guy in a weird outfit with a penchant for having little kids sit on his lap gets all the credit.
On any other day we would caution our children to run screaming away from anyone fitting this description and yet on this one day (and the 364 days leading up to this one day) we encourage our kids to behave so he will bring them gifts.
The other day H dreamily declared that he loved Santa.
"It's me!" I wanted to say. "It's me you love!"

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/14

With the prompt, gift, it seems natural to contemplate one's childhood and reminisce about a favorite Christmas present. Only trouble is I can't think of one.
There was this Tuesday Taylor doll, sort of a large version of Barbie. What I liked most was that my mom made her clothes. Sometimes she made the out of remnents from clothes she'd made me so Tuesday and I matched. I also remember being pretty excited about the Barbie camper one Christmas. But other than that, what I remember about Christmas is decorating the tree, having shrimp for dinner on Christmas Day, the long wait before opening gifts while my Dad went to mass, years when my Lexington cousins came to visit, putting those wax-like bricks in the fire that made the flames turn color, those bumpy pillar candles we had, one of Mary, Joseph and Jesus and the other of the wise men, and lastly those birds that looked like test-tubes with water in the bottom that would dunk their beaks into your drink - boy did I think those were cool.
Kinda puts it all into perspective as I contemplate whether or not to by more stuff for my kids. What they need isn't more gifts. It's more kitsch.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/13

In college I once went to a Joan Jet concert that I didn't want to attend. My boyfriend didn't want to be there either. So why were we there? Gifted tickets? Sociology report on the science of crowds? Free snacks? No no and no although there might have been snacks, it's hard to remember - everything about college had snacks involved.
We were there because neither of us wanted to do what the other wanted. I wanted to go to a lecture at Simmons and he wanted to go to an NU huskies hockey game. Instead of one of us sucking it up for the other we chose to do something neither of us wanted to do in the first place and despite the fact that we had a pretty good time at the concert, for a long time after I would use this incident as an example of everything that was wrong with the relationship and how neither of us would make a sacrifice for the other.
But time has this way of putting things into a new light. Often I find myself suggesting to my children when they are fighting because C wants H to play a board game and H wants C to shoot hockey pucks up and down the hallway, that they do neither and agree on something else entirely. I use the word consensus and explain that while they may not end up with their number one choice, they should be able to come up with something that is fun for them both; it's either that or take your toys to your own corner and play alone. What I find is that having someone to play with is usually more important than what they play.
Because it's almost Christmas, this incident from college has reminded me of O. Henry's Gift of the Magi, a story which I've always had a hard time deciding if I liked. It's depressing picturing the two characters sitting on their shabby couch, her with her fancy combs and short hair and him with his watchless platinum watch chain. Even O. Henry flat out calls his characters "foolish children" but then waxes sentimental saying that "of all who give gifts these two were the wisest."
I don't know. Maybe if they had just pooled their resources they could have gone to the Joan Jett concert too.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Blues About You Baby

The Tao of My Twins: Lesson #10

He who does not commit the time up front to paying attention to what their kids are doing must accept that they will have to clean up the mess after their children are done.

song: Blues About You Baby • artist: Delbert McClinton

NaBloPoMo 12/12

Damn. I'm sure Donna what's-her-name is a very nice person and all, but no one deserved to win that gift stocking more than me.

The Road

I still think about you, wonder where you are.
Can you see me from some place up there among the stars?

And if it's only all about the journey in the end
On that road I'm glad I came to know you my old friend.

song: The Road • artist: Emmylou Harris

Sunday, December 11, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/11

Waiting for the big man to arrive for the passing out of gifts at the Elks Christmas Party:
C: Santa always comes in from the bar.
Me: Of course he does.

You Keep Me Hanging On

The rules.
#1 Glass and ceramic at the top, wood and felt at the bottom.
#2. An ornament must hang from the Christmas tree.
No exceptions.
If you hang an ornament and it dangles so low that it ends up sitting or lying on the branch below it does not constitute hanging. You must remove that ornament and find a different place to hang it.
#3. An ornament that has a definite front and back must be hung so that it faces front regardless of how many times you have to take it off, unwind its string, hang it again and wait until it stops spinning to see if you got it right. Santa's face must be facing forward. Period.

song: You Keep Me Hanging On • artist: The Supremes

Saturday, December 10, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/10

Today, S, my son who cries at preschool drop off literally pushed me back and fended off his brother in order to go - by himself - to collect his gift/em> from Santa.

Friday, December 09, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/9

Good News caller number nine!
We're now registered to be in the drawing for the giant gift stocking from WMVY!
C and I are already counting our gift certificates.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/8

Dear fellow Blogher readers,
It's that time of year. Time for parents of school-aged children to receive a letter or e-mail from the classroom parent suggesting that they all pitch in to buy a gift certificate for the teacher.
How do people feel about monetary collections put towards gift certificates for teachers?
I opted out of the group gift because a) my son won't get that good gift-giving feeling if I write the teacher a check and b) I have four kids, all of which have various teachers, classroom assistants, music teachers, Sunday school teachers, coaches and bus drivers. These people are all lovely and invaluable to the quality of my children's lives but I cannot afford to go out and purchase gifts or go in on gifts for all of them.
It seems like the group gift is now the norm. Maybe it is easier for busy parents. Don't get me wrong about it. I'm busy too. You don't have to think up a super-creative gift for your child to give their teacher - or strong arm them to think of something. I have the kids compose a card in which they tell their teacher what it is they like most about class this year. I have them use details. The details might take some strong-arming but teachers love details. We generally make something simple and include it with a card.
Is the "group gift" now the norm? Does your child give the teacher a gift for Christmas?

Lazy Day

It's 1:20 PM. S & N just changed out of their pj's in order to have lunch - pancakes.
In the last few days I've been dialing the WMVY hotline in an attempt to register for the drawing for their holiday stocking stuffer so often that today I went to call Ken at work and couldn't remember his number.

song: Lazy Day • artist: Spanky and Our Gang

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/7

Sunday is the Elks Christmas Party.
The one where I provide the wrapped gifts to be handed out to my kids and Santa gets all the credit. - not unlike December 25th.
H is planning to ask Santa for a DS.
I hope Santa's prepared to let him down easy.
C would know better than to ask for anything electronic, he's very in tune to Mommy's attitude about electronic toys. He reminds me of myself. I always knew to only ask my mother for clothes that were hanging on the sale rack; H on the other hand is still shooting for the stars. Do I like it better to think that my kid knows who I am or do I like it better to think that my kid is oblivious and ever hopeful?

The Trees

S & N try to protect Christmas tree ...
 From crazy saw-wielding older brother ...
 to no avail ...
song: The Trees • artist: Rush

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Sing a Song

The other day C and H and I were watching School House Rock and getting down to Lolly Lolly Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here. I told C that instead of commercials when I was a kid they aired educational programming between television shows (not exactly true but no harm no foul). I then told him that in addition to singing about adverbs, the constitution, and interjections, we used to sing our times tables in school.It's no wonder I'm always breaking out into song. I can't help it. I'm a child of the 70s.

song: Sing a Song • artist: The Carpenters

NaBloPoMo 12/6

To the best of my knowledge no one has complained about this year's holiday gift guide. It might be a first.
You would think that the holiday gift guide would be the least controversial supplement and yet there's always something. Once I got complaints that one town on the Upper Cape wasn't featured enough. Once someone commented that there wasn't enough mention of Hanukkah. Once a woman left a long rambling message about how we featured Hanukkah too much, and Christmas not enough. There have been complaints about shops not featured and credit not given, events not listed and facts not checked.
Once someone complained that the supplement features were all about encouraging people to buy stuff and not about the true spirit of Christmas. Undoubtably they weren't paying attention on the cover - where it says, in large print, Holiday GIFT GUIDE, because that's what the supplement is folks - a guide to gifts. No hidden agendas here people.

Monday, December 05, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/5

I imagine the cast of "Says You!" being given the words "present" and "gift" in a round of What's the Difference. Without consulting Webster (we don't need no stinkin' dictionaries), I would answer that a present is given at a prescribed time, for a birthday, for Christmas, etc., while a gift can be given at any time, making it more spontaneous. Also, a gift can be less tangible than a present. We often refer to the gift of time or of friendship; while you don't usually hear someone speak of the present friendship. Gifts have a spark of the divine about them. A gift might even connote sacrifice which could be why O. Henry wrote "Gift of the Magi," instead of "Present of the Magi."
There are gifts from heaven and gifts from God. Personal attributes or special talents are considered gifts, as in, "he was musically gifted" or "she was a gifted student."
A round of Says You's "Odd Man Out" featuring the word gift might look something like this: Tag, Baby, Horse, Shop and Cheese. Cheese would naturally be the odd man out since you've got your "gift tag," "baby gift," "gift horse," and "gift shop," but no "gift cheese."
And speaking of, it's a real gift when I get to listen to "Says You!" in its entirety on a Saturday night. That 8PM time slot is really not conducive to parents who are trying to put children to bed. In a few years I'll just give up and let them listen with me.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Automatic for the People

The automatic sliding door on my mini van is broken. Estimated cost for the replacement part is $400 and there's substantial labor involved in the procedure so it looks like I'll be adding the door to the things-that-will-never-get-fixed-in-my-lifetime list. It's a bit discouraging because the automatic sliding door was the only cool thing about driving a mini van.

album: Automatic for the People • artist: R.E.M.

Darkness on the Edge of Town

OMG, I hate this time of year. What's the point in hanging out the laundry, I'll just have to bring it in two hours from now when it gets dark.

song: Darkness on the Edge of Town • artist: Bruce Springsteen

NaBloPoMo 12/3

Mommy buys the Advent calendars.
Mommy strings up the Christmas lights.
Mommy makes sure the boys each have a new ornament to hang on the tree.
Mommy buys gifts.
Mommy wraps gifts
Mommy buys gifts for the Elks Christmas Party so that Santa can hand them out to her four kids at the party.
Mommy bakes cookies.
Mommy strings popcorn and cranberries
Mommy makes sure her kids make cards and presents for their teachers.
Mommy orders the photo card from Shutterfly.
Daddy hides the elf on the shelf.

Friday, December 02, 2011

NoBloPoMo 12/2

I admit it, I'm a person who judges other people on how they react to my kids. What that means is that I'm waiting for you to say my kids are cute, if you don't, it's likely that Ken and I will talk about you later as in, "Can you believe so-and-so didn't say the kids were cute?"
I blame society for this because society tells us our kids are cute - all the time. Seriously. Want to get a response from 20+ people on Facebook? Don't write something clever - post a photo of your kids - people you didn't even remember you were friends with will respond to it. It's pavlovian. It's taken to the next level when you have twins - hyperdrive cute.
When S & N were babies and I'd push them down Main Street in their double stroller we were like a parade: people in cars would slow down and point, people on foot would at the very least smile when we passed, I think that even dogs were humbled (yep, they're cuter than me, woof, woof). I was pushing the boys on a side road once and a man came out off his porch and asked me if I'd push my twins over so his 90-year old mother could see them. Last week S & N stood at the end of the driveway to wave to the garbage man and not only did the garbage man wave back, he stopped to truck, got out, talked to them, showed them the cab, and beeped the horn. The twins were awestruck.
When they were babies I remember telling my husband the twins were ambassadors of good will and that I'd never, in my life, gotten so much attention. It was intoxicating. It was what being popular must be like. You get used to it. We got used to it. Which is why - when people don't comment on how freaking' adorable my kids are, I notice. Yesterday the plumber was here, providing a morning of entertainment for S & N who would have happily handed over tools had it been an option. Silas even presented him with a gift: a yellow piece of paper with several cut marks (he's working on his scissor skills), and barely got an acknowledgment. I get it. The guys not a little-kid kind of guy, I wasn't a little-kid kind of gal before I had some myself, but it doesn't stop me from saying, when Ken called to ask about the job, "can you believe he didn't say the kids were cute?"
Even though I was not a baby gusher before kids, now I try to comment on other people kids because as adorable as that baby or toddler is when I tell their mother that they are lovely, there will come a time in the not-too-distant future when they will be red-faced and wailing. Perhaps when they are in that moment, it will help that exasperated parent to remember that their child is usually so sweet that even strangers on the street notice.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

NaBloPoMo 12/1

"The first gift of Christmas!" announces Santa as he hands off that harness bell to our nameless "Polar Express" narrator while all the parents wax nostalgic and all the children think, "what an idiot, he totally wasted his wish!"

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Animal

Even though I just upgraded to Snow Leopard, I see that Apple is now out with OS Lion. I think all that's left for future choices are OS Ocelot and OS Cheeteh, neither of which sound appealing; OS Cheetah for obvious reasons and OS Ocelot because it sounds like "OS cost-a-lot" if you say it quickly.
It's good to know however that long after all the big cats have become extinct in the wild, they'll continue to live on in the MacIntosh Menagerie.

song: Animal • artist: Def Leppard

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Afternoon

S & N decided they needed to bring the following items with them when we went to wait for C & H at the bus stop this afternoon:
1. flash light
2. 10 8oz. plastic cups
3. plastic shopping cart
4. half finished bowl of oatmeal and a spoon (placed inside the shopping cart).

song: Tuesday Afternoon • artist: Moody Blues

Your Song

Good news! I'm already an annoying embarrassment to my children.

song: Your Song • artist: Elton John

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hot Stuff

me: "What do the people who got 42" televisions for $199 on Black Friday do with the 40" sets they got last year?"
him: "Put them in their bathrooms."

song: Hot Stuff • artist: Donna Summer

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Cold Turkey

So much turkey they passed out on the couch.

song: Cold Turkey • artist: John Lennon

Monday, November 21, 2011

Yes Sir, That's My Baby

H acknowledges mommy's favorite Dr. Seuss character.
In the past month C wrote an acrostic Halloween poem for school that touted the avoidance of high fructose corn syrup and H failed to recognized a photograph of Ronald McDonald ("it's a clown").
Those are my boys.

song: Yes Sir, That's My Baby • artist: Ace Brigode

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Superstar

OMG! Guess who was speaking at the Eric Carlie Museum of Picture Book Art today!
Norton Juster!
Sorry, but if you don't know who Norton Juster is then you had a sad deprived childhood and I feel sorry for you.


song: Superstar • artist: The Carpenters

Friday, November 18, 2011

Changes

It's tough trying to potty train twins. We went through five pairs of undies and pants before dinnertime today.

song: Changes • David Bowie

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Come To My Window

Proof that the holidays are too close together: S & N want to know if Santa is coming for Thanksgiving dinner.
I can't speak for Santa, but this turkey arrived at our house a week early. And he didn't bring a side dish.


song: Come to my Window • artist: Melissa Etheridge

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Last Time

Last day in the garden.

song: The Last Time • artist: The Rolling Stones

Oh Very Young

Morning tongue twister. Say it three times fast.
Serious cereal spillage
Serious cereal spillage
Serious cereal spillage

song: Oh Very Young • artist: Cat Stevens

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hot, Hot, Hot

When there's day after day of plus-60°F weather during November, we say "Shhhhhh. Don't jinx it."
But when there's a cold streak in May the right-wing pundits are quick to sarcastically say, "and the scientists claim there's global warming."

song: Hot, Hot, Hot • artist: Buster Poindexter

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Pictures of Lily

First photo - new camera.
And what? You thought it would be of my kids?

song: Pictures of Lily • artist: The Who

Friday, November 11, 2011

diner haiku

creamer pyramid.
six year old's ancient wonder,
of the diner world.

Trapped II

I love how kids see the world. Always in a more optimistic (and creative) light than adults.
Our neighbors are having some work done to the underground irrigation system in their front yard. The landscape trucks have been there for two days and dug a large hole which they covered with planks.
On the way to the bus stop yesterday H exclaimed, "look at the trap the neighbors dug!"

song: Trapped • artist: Bruce Sprintsteen

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Trapped

Note to self. Soy nut butter may fool elementary school children but it does not fool mice.

song: Trapped • artist: Bruce Springsteen

Here I Go Again

Hello?
Who picked up the snake she found while raking the yard - with her bare hands - in order to put it in a container so her kids can see it after school?
I am the best mom!

song: Here I Go Again • artist: White Snake

Monday, November 07, 2011

Ripple

On Monday mornings after the Patriots have lost, the school bus gets to our stop earlier. The reason being, the bus driver is too depressed over the loss to engage in his usual curbside banter.

song: Ripple • artist: The Grateful Dead

Sunday, November 06, 2011

It's Five O'Clock Somewhere

It's 7:47 PM, my kids are bathed, read to and in bed.
I think I love daylight savings.

song: It's Five O'Clock Somewhere • artist: Jimmy Buffet

Friday, November 04, 2011

Why We Can't Save the Planet (a haiku)

Like fated squirrels
Plastic bags waft past my car
I hit one dead on

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Beg, Steal, or Borrow

Question: How much candy can I remove from S & N's stash before they start noticing?

song: Beg, Steal, or Borrow • artist: Ray Lamontagne

Monday, October 31, 2011

Round Here

And now for the counting the sorting of the Halloween candy.
A time-honored holiday tradition.

song: Round Here • artist: Counting Crows

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Be Good Johnny

You never know how much you use your saucepan until you let your six year old use it as part of his Johnny Appleseed Halloween costume.

song: Be Good Johnny • artist: Men At Work

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No Time

My kids were the only ones at the Halloween party on Sunday not wearing store-bought costumes.
The only ones.
When I was a kid we felt sorry for the kids with store bought costumes. Now I feel like cheap-skate mom. Surely if I loved my children I would spend my money on them and not my time.

song: No Time • artist: The Guess Who

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead

Between the squirrels who keep eating them, and the three year olds who want to keep carving and scooping them, our pumpkins don't stand a chance of making it to Halloween.

song: The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead • artist: XTC

Country Roads

Donny and My Twins (the variety hour from hell):
"You're a little bit stinky."
"And I'm a little bit rock and roll."

song: Country Roads • artist: John Denver

Monday, October 24, 2011

Big Shot II

Him: "Why don't they just shoot all our garbage up into space?"
Me: "I'm sure they're working on it."

song: Big Shot • artist: Billy Joel

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Big Shot

You never know how many shoot outs there are in a movie until you watch it with your kids.

song: Big Shot • artist: Billy Joel

Friday, October 21, 2011

Stop Your Sobbing

What are the chances that while on the short walk to the bus stop for afternoon pick up both the twins will run down our dirt road at top speed and then fall down face first; one scrapping his knee, the other the palm of his hand?
Unfortunately, the chances are really good.

song: Stop Your Sobbing • artist: Pretenders

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

a birthday quatrain for Gene

bluefish, schoolie, small mouth bass,
hope your birthday was a blast.
martin, les paul, underwood,
sixty never looked so good.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wild Horses

One morning, out of nowhere, N came downstairs and announced, "today we ride horses."
S jumped right on that bandwagon.
I said I didn't know of any places where we could go horseback riding but he seemed unconvinced.
Later that morning, in the car on the way to the library, N said he'd forgotten his gun, which he needed in order to "shoot horses, make them come."
I suggested that maybe we could make them come just by calling them - without having to shoot them to which Silas said, "you have phone?"
It was another "Waiting for Godot" moment, courtesy of my twins.
Luckily N & S got to go on the pony rides at the Freyburg Fair - without having to shoot any ponies.

song: Wild Horses • artist: The Rolling Stones

Escape (a couplet)

sometimes from the Cape,
it's good to escape.

song: Escape (the Pina Colada Song) • artist: Rupert Holmes

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Psycho Killer


So I read this on Google as 5 Ways to SHOOT Someone with Antisocial Personality Disorder and thought, shooting someone's pretty antisocial all right, but how can there be more than one way to do it?

song: Psycho Killer • artist: Talking Heads

The Sweetest Thing

Go figure.
Twinkies stay soft forever, but the erasers on the pencils my kids got last year are all hard as rocks.
Maybe they need to start making erasers out of the same stuff as Twinkies.
Then the pencil manufacturers could get some government subsidies via the U.S. Farm Policy.

song: The Sweetest Thing  • artist: JJ Grey & Mofro

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

You Dropped A Bomb on Me

Before one becomes a terrorist, one should really consider what sort of terrorist one wants to be known as.
 Underwear bomber is even worse than the shoe bomber.

song: You Dropped A Bomb on Me • artist: The Gap Band

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Digging in the Dirt

End-of-the-season at Scusset Beach.

song: Digging in the Dirt • artist: Peter Gabriel

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Taking Care of Business

I think I could be pretty creative and make all of those craft projects in Family Fun magazine if only I didn't have to take care of my kids at the same time.

song: Taking Care of Business • artist: Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Friday, October 07, 2011

Always the Last to Know

The Tao of my Twins: Lesson #9

He who enters the mini-van last, cannot complain about which seat he gets.

song: Always the Last to Know • artist: Del Amitri

Thursday, October 06, 2011

New World Man

song: New World Man • artist: Rush

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Even Now

Even in the rain the parking lot at Storyland looked full.
Even in the rain the workers at Storyland were so nice.
Even in the rain we stayed until closing.

song: Even Now • artist: Barry Manilow

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I Say A Little Prayer

We were excited to be asked to care for the praying mantis raised by the Little Sprouts gardening class after classes ended last month. It felt good to be recognized as the most bug-loving family in gardening class.
Getting to take the mantis home was like getting to take the classroom guinea pig home over Christmas vacation. Except that guinea pigs don't eat live insects or shed their skin.
Now, in addition to practicing the piano and doing his homework, C has to forage around outside everyday after school scouting out meals for the mantis.
Yesterday he yelled excitedly from the front yard, 
"I found a spotted salamander!" 
And I countered with, 
"the praying mantis can't eat that!"
The only problem is that as we are a bug-loving family, I can only feed bugs I don't like to the mantis and not surprisingly, there just aren't that many bugs, that I can easily find that I don't like.
I don't like houseflies. I don't like ticks. I don't like mosquitoes, or fruit flies, or pantry moths, or aphids, or striped cucumber beetles, or lily beetles, or those beetles that look like lady bugs but really aren't. I especially don't like earwigs.
Around my own house and yard though it's becoming hard to find these bugs. Mosquitoes I can find but they are had to catch and if you screw up dropping it into the mantis's jar, then you've got an escaped mosquito in the house. 
We've got plenty of pill bugs but I feel guilty about feeding them to the mantis, ditto for the cricket that we caught yesterday.
I even felt guilty about the big juicy ant I dropped in the other day. 
I felt even worse when it got caught in a spider web that was in the jar.

song: I Say A Little Prayer • artist: Aretha Franklin

Slow Hand

There must be 900 pencils in our house.
Four hundred and fifty of them have broken tips.
The other 450 have crappy erasers that don't work.

song: Slow Hand • artist The Pointer Sisters

Monday, September 26, 2011

Just One Look

You can choose to talk on your cell phone at the beach all you want but I will not shush my kids - no matter how many times you look over at us.

song: Just One Look • artist: Linda Ronstadt

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Built to Last

Last Friday I was at Wal-Mart, dodging the go-cart people and feeling as if I was on the set of a live-action remake of Wall-E, on my way to the bedding department for a dust-mite cover for a new pillow. 
I get my pillow protector and get in line.
The woman in front of me has only a few items, one of which is a cast-iron skillet.
The cashier rings her up, bags everything but the skillet, then turns to the woman and says that it wouldn't make sense to put the skillet in a bag because the bag would break.
She offered up double bagging the skillet but even then she was dubious about the bags holding up.
The customer paused. She pondered these choices for a long time.
The cashier offered to put a sticker on the skillet - one that would say, "sold."
"No one will question you," she assured the woman. I felt that the cashier was sincerely pushing for the no-bag option.
Still the woman hesitated.
Finally she said, "I would feel more comfortable with a bag."
So the cashier bagged the skillet and told the woman to carry the skillet by its handle not by the bag's handle, which she did.
More comfortable? Really? "I'd be more comfortable putting my purchase in this toxic piece of non-biodegradable plastic." Really?
And I know I'll never reach a state of inner enlightenment if I can't stop judging people all the time but please - help me out here - if you don't want to be judged - don't take the unnecessary plastic bag! Don't do it. Just say no. 
I suppose it could have been worse. She could have been buying a Teflon frying pan.

song: Built to Last • artist: Grateful Dead

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Marvelous Toy

If parents of little boys were completely honest when filling out their son's baby books, under the question "what is your favorite toy," they would all have to fill in "my penis."

song: Marvelous Toy • artist: Tom Paxton

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

You Can Leave Your Hat On

C asked me why signs entering stores say that shoes and shirts are required but not pants.
"It's coming," I told him. It's coming.

song: You Can Leave Your Hat On • artist: Tom Jones

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Shelter from the Storm

Rec Center soccer started yesterday. H's team is called Storm. All the teams in his league have weather-related names. Well, most of them do. Cyclones, lightening, thunder, tornadoes, avalanche, etc., and then when the rec. dept. ran out of weather-themed names they threw in some solar system stuff (asteroids, stars, supernovas). Guess they figured it was all "up there."
For me, Storm just doesn't cut it. It's too general. Generic if you will. It's not scary - like cyclone or twister, you wouldn't want them bearing down on you. But storm. It's just a storm. It's puny and weak. Something that couldn't even work itself up into a hurricane. Maybe it's a light rain, a drizzle, a summer shower. 
And what about all the good weather-related names they forgot to use, like blizzard, squall, tempest, typhoon, monsoon, and the scariest one of all: tsunami.
I'm sure they're all busy down at the rec center but honestly, I think they could have tried harder. I'm just sayin'.
Now I'm stuck yelling "Go Storm!" for the next eight weeks and it sounds ridiculous.
Team Storm has the black t-shirt and socks. We were late getting to the field yesterday and all the other kids were off in a mid-field huddle by the time H was dressed and ready to go.
"Just follow the other black kids!" I yelled as he ran off.
Somehow that didn't sound good either.

song: Shelter from the Storm • Bob Dylan

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Distant Early Warning

My kids I like to put to bed early; my garden, not so much.

song: Distant Early Warning • artist: Rush

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Physical

A Facebook post from a friend extolled the virtues of MapMyRoute "a community that provides all the tools you need for an active lifestyle, including routes search, workout logging nutrition and training plans."
The poster said they'd biked 9.18 miles for the day.
Who needs MapMyRoute to bike 10 miles? All I need is one nine year old who wants to bike to school. For Mommy that makes 2.5 miles to school and 2.5 miles home in the morning and 2.5 miles to school and 2.5 miles home in the afternoon.
And just to raise the ante and keep it action packed, on the ride home we have to beat the afternoon bus lest H get taken back to school because no one was there to meet him at the bus stop.

song: Physical • artist: Olivia Newton-John

Dirty Laundry

Car seat covers seem to be designed and created under the illusion that they will never need to be removed. A few strategically located snaps or velcro between that five-point harness sure would make life easier.

song: Dirty Laundry • artist: Don Henley

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Always the Last to Know

What strikes me most in remembering 9.11 is how long it took for the news to reach my coworker Gene and I.
We were in Rhode Island taking photographs for a book project and it had to be noontime when we crossed the Jamestown bridge and were told about the attacks by the toll collector.
It's hard to imagine that only 10 years ago two people traveling together for work could have been so "unplugged" that neither of us had cell phones, at least not ones that were on 24/7. We didn't stop anywhere with laptops or iPads to check e-mail or to upload the photos we'd been shooting.
We didn't even had the radio on.

song: Always the Last to Know • artist: Del Amitri

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Searching for a Heart

Here's how you find out about improvements in your son's vocabulary. 
One night you are reading one of both twins favorite stories, "Going on a Bear Hunt," and N says, "I want go on bear hunt."
You say, "sure! we'll go on a bear hunt tomorrow!" Because you always say tomorrow when you mean some undetermined day in the future that's probably never.
The next morning N is up bright and early and the first words out of his mouth are: "today we go on bear hunt!"
When the heck did he learn what the word tomorrow means?
Guess what?
No bears (except for the stuffed one we brought with us) at Bourne Farm, in the cattle tuner, or on the paths behind the farm!

song: Searching for a Heart • artist: Warren Zevon

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

September

Can you hear it? A collective sigh of relieve from moms all over town as their children (finally!) get on the school bus.

song: September • artist: Earth Wind & Fire

Monday, September 05, 2011

American Pie






Big victory at the Truro Agricultural Fair yesterday.
The pie was no match for my kid.
My only prior experience with pie eating contests was watching the movie "Stand By Me."
Luckily this was nothing like that.

song: American Pie • artist: Don McLean

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Why Can't You Behave?

Forget the terrible twos.
What about the tyrannical threes?

song: Why Can't You Behave? • artist: Cole Porther

Thursday, September 01, 2011

What is Life?

Recently I finished reading "No Impact Man," which leaves me now with "No Book to Read" always a dilemma.
I have to confess that I checked out "No Impact Man" for the sole purpose of sport.
"No impact man indeed," I thought, how about "No Book Deal Man," or "No Good Gimmick Guy?" But like Graceland, after visiting I came away with new respect for Colin Beavan who seems sincere enough, even though I kept confusing his name and calling him Colin Beaver.
One comment though. There's a point in the book where No Impact Man's wife points out how the TV, the internet, magazines, the radio and even books are all distractions meant to keep us from thinking about our own lives and from bigger questions such as, "why are we here?" and "what's it all about?"
But in another chapter, or perhaps it's the same chapter, No Impact Man talks about his life sans TV, newspaper, and similar distractions. It's just what you think. Friends come over. Connections are made. People play charades.
Wait.
What?
Charades?
Isn't charades just another distraction? Albeit a non-electric one. Shouldn't Colin and his friends be sitting around discussing those big issues?
'Cause really. Have you ever played charades?
I hate charades.
It's an over rated parlor game to say the least and so are all those games which are just variations on charades.
I once had to play a charade-type of game with my college boyfriend and another couple. The game had my boyfriend drinking water out of the other woman's bellybutton and me having to sing "Don't Go Breaking My Heart."
Frankly it makes sitting around talking about the meaning of life look pretty good.
You know what is funny about meaning-of-life discussions?
I think that young adults don't really have them because at that stage life seems to stretch out endlessly in front of you and it's too overwhelming to think about and besides you're only at the beginning of the journey anyway.
Then you get to be in your 40s and you don't have meaning-of-life discussions because it would be too embarrassing to admit so far into the game that you don't know.

song: What is Life? • artist: George Harrison

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Haiku

hurricane gusts
scatters yard with sticks and leaves
blows summer away

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Watch Your Step II

Wishful thinking.

song: Watch Your Step • artist: Elvis Costello

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Watch Your Step

Best caution signs ever.

song: Watch Your Step • artist: Elvis Costello

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Get Ready

The Tao of my Twins: Lesson #8

Tis better to go out in one's pajamas, than not to go out at all.

song: Get Ready • artist: The Temptations

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Blue Bayou

Doesn't anyone remember that we hated the Smurfs the first time around?

song: Blue Bayou • artist: Linda Ronstad

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Can't Drive 55

It's ironic to drive two hours to take your kids to Canobie Lake Park only to arrive and find that the first ride said children want to go on is the Canobie 500 (race cars), and that they are willing to stand in line for a half hour just to (you guessed it) ride in a car again.

song: I Can't Drive 55 • artist: Sammy Hagar

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Against All Odds

We picked up our two new mice at the pet store today.
Even though the clerk asked them to send girl mice, it turned out there were boy mice in the shipment as well.
"I'm 95% sure they aren't pregnant." she said.
As far as I'm concerned those are not reassuring odds.

song: Against All Odds • artist: Phil Collins

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Reunited

Have fun at the class reunion guys.
If only there were quarter-century superlatives.
I'd vote Rene and Hadley in as "Most Courageous."

song: Reunited • artist: Peaches and Herb

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Call Me


Cell phones have rendered obsolete an entire genre of music - the telephone angst love song.
You know the type, either the love-sick caller can't reach his intended because she's not answering (Telephone Line, ELO); or the caller muses over his betrothed with the dispatcher, an employee from MA Bell who, though silent, acts the part of the good therapist (Operator, Jim Croce).
Nowadays not only do you not need a third party to connect you, there's little chance you'll get no answer when you call - at the very least you'll get voice mail.
Surely the outcome would have been different had Dr. Hook been able to talk to Sylvia directly instead of merely to her mother, and if that pesky operator wasn't repeatedly requesting nickels (Sylvia's Mother, Dr. Hook & the Medicine Man).
Then there's the peeping Tom of telephone songs, Wichita Lineman. Get off the line already!
Even the Beatles can't always get through (You Won't See Me).
But it's not as if there's no precedence for this in the music world. 
Witness: In Your Letter, Take A Letter Maria, Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself A Letter, and Please Mr. Postman.

song: Call Me • artist: Blondie

Saturday, August 06, 2011

I Saw the Light

According to the Globe, a North Andover mom "wants to leave the earth a healthy place for her three children. But what good is a thriving planet ... if her kids are forced to live in a home lighted by bulbs that are energy efficient but ruin the look of the dining room chandelier...?"
To spare her kids from poor lighting, the mom is hoarding incandescent bulbs in anticipation of their scheduled "fade out" as it were.
Really? Are you kidding? F*ck the chandelier lady, you've got a planet to save!
What will you tell your three kids 20 years from now? "Sorry about the polar bears kids, but look, I've still got some lightbulbs from 2011. Nice shade of white don't you agree? Almost the same shade as a polar ... Oh never mind."
I know, there are some great reasons for wanting to hang on to traditional bulbs. How will kids spike their temperature on a thermometer in order to stay home sick on test day with only a 15-watt bulb? Whatever will they use to melt wax crayons on? Oh the humanity.
This is why we'll never be able to save the planet. Because even though we want to save the planet - and we really, really, want to save it - we just don't want to be inconvenienced in the process. Not one little you'll-have-to-pry-these-incandescents-from-my-cold-dead-hands bit. And saving the planet will be inconvenient. I guarantee it. First we will have to believe in climate change. We will have to drive less. We will have to commute more. There will be wind turbines to contend with. We will have to be accountable for the garbage we create (pay as you go may be here sooner than compact fluorescents) We will have to actually remember to bring all those reusable canvas bags into the supermarket instead of just smugly keeping them in our car. New Englanders won't be able to eat fresh strawberries in January. We'll need to stop buying yearly new wardrobes full of cheap clothing made in China and wear last years fashions instead.
Luckily, on account of the bad lighting, no one will notice.

song: I Saw the Light • artist: Todd Rundgren

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Thank You for the Music

The gig.
video
song: Thank You for the Music • artist: Abba

Monday, August 01, 2011

Teach Your Children

Despite the MFA's written appeals and signage admonishing visitors not to take flash photography or video at the museum, people were flashes cameras and shooting video left and right at the Chihuly exhibit today.
Therefore it's no wonder non-members are still taking to the fields in droves at Coonamessett Farm.
Ignoring rules must be the American Way.

song: Teach Your Children • artist: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tom, Dick or Harry

C and I saw the final Harry Potter movie today. It was my first time at the cinema pub in town.
I like the concept but it just seems disrespectful to chow down on buffalo wings while Harry is saving the world from the Dark Lord.

song: Tom, Dick or Harry • artist: Cole Porter

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

One for the Mockingbird

"You ain't fair" I said, you ain't fair." 
"You're real nice, Uncle Jack, an' I reckon I love you even after what you did, but you don't understand children much."...
"And why do I not understand children, Miss Jean Louise? Such conduct as yours requires little understanding. It was obstreperous, disorderly and abusive."
"You gonna give me a chance to tell you? I don't mean to sass you, I'm just tryin' to tell you."
Uncle Jack sat down on the bed. His eyebrows came together, and he peered up at me from under them. "Proceed," he said.
I took a deep breath. "Well, in the first place you never stopped to gimme a chance to tell you my side of it - you just lit right into me. When Jem an' I fuss Atticus doesn't ever just listen to Jem's side of it, he hears mine too, an' in the second place you told me never to use words like that except in ex-extreme provocation, and Francis provocated me enough to knock his block off."
•••
"Jack! When a child asked you something, answer him, for goodness sake. But don't make a production out of it. Children are children, but they can spot an evasion quicker than adults, and evasion simply muddles 'em."


Sometimes I feel guilty that when I read, I mostly read for pleasure. Sometimes that pleasure is in a work of fiction and sometimes it's in a work of non-fiction, but rarely does it take the form of a parenting book.
"You're with them all day - why would you want to read about them at night," the devil on my shoulder whispers into my ear. "You might get some helpful ideas or gain some insight into how your kids are feeling," counters my inner angel.
But low and behold - sometimes you can have both - great literature and great parenting advice.
It's a funny thing. I've read To Kill A Mockingbird at least three times now but only once as a parent and until I became a parent I never noticed that it's full of stellar parenting directive, though none perhaps that jumped off the pages as much as these two passages.
I wonder what pearls of wisdom I stand to glean from my next read, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?
After all, Ichabod Crane was a schoolmaster.

song: One for the Mockingbird • artist: Cutting Crew

Sunday, July 17, 2011

One Burbon, One Scotch, One Beer

Rather than the front yard, usually I steer my kids to the backyard to play. The reason being that it's easier to look out the back windows to see what they are up to, plus, this time of year some percentage of the four of them is bound to be in some stage of undress.
The other day I could hear the sounds of noisy children emanating from the front yard. I wondered to myself who the heck was visiting Dave and Jeannie's house only to realize minutes later than it was my own kids.
Yesterday at 11:30 AM Ken wondered out loud if it was too early for a beer.
"Your naked kids are running through the sprinkler in the back yard," I told him. "You might as well drag the couch into the yard, sit on it beer in hand with your shotgun in your lap."

song: One Burbon, One Scotch, One Beer • artist: George Thorogood

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let the Music Play

There's been some discussion surrounding the performance of two plays on the library lawn next week though not the kind of discussion the organizers of the play had hoped to inspire.
The discussion is over whether or not the plays are suitable to be performed outside in a public space where people passing by, especially families with children, might be disturbed by the intensity of the drama.
I have never seen the plays in question and it sounds as if there are other issues surrounding them than just their appropriateness for children who might be in the vicinity; but as to that one objection I'd like to relate the following observations from experience as my oldest boys, ages 8 and 6, have seen a fair amount of live theater.
Live theater, though it may be intense with its action happening right before one's eyes, is by the same token made less scary because the action is happening right before one's eyes. No matter who is rumbling (West Side Story), changing into an evil alter ego (Jekyll and Hyde), committing suicide (Carousel) or cutting the throats of his customers (Sweeny Todd), my children are well aware that the action isn't real and that the actors, even the recently deceased ones, will all take the stage for a bow when the show's over.
Contrast this to television viewing where sometimes the action is real (the news, reality shows) and sometimes it isn't (movies, dramas, sitcoms). It's much harder in these situations for children to discern what's real from what's not and there's no curtain call at the end to help them sort it out.
This is the beauty of live theater. It's big and thought provoking and sometimes in your face, but it's not usually so horrific that you have to hide behind your playbill or shield your kids from it.
As for the screaming. Kids are natural dramatists anyway. People are screaming in my house all the time.
If there's screaming at my house it means that either someone's wife accidentally gave them a poisoned robe - or someone dropped a cookie on the floor.

song: Let the Music Play • artist: Shamur

Black Water II

Always be careful of what you wish for.
I was secretly hoping for a day off from swim lessons but thought it would come in the form of rain and not a high bacteria count.

song: Black Water • artist: Doobie Brothers

Monday, July 11, 2011

Lightenin' Strikes

Everything I learned this week I learned because of my kids.
1. The reason fish don't get killed when lightening strikes the water is because the fish are all under the water while an unfortunate swimmer or shellfisherman is breaking the surface of the water while the electricity is going across.
2. Cooties are real - and you really can catch them. 
3. The singular of mice is mouse. The singular of lice is louse.

song: Lightenin' Strikes • artist: Lou Christie

Saturday, July 09, 2011

The End

Seems like no coincidence that the final space shuttle flight and the final Harry Potter movie are taking place less than a week apart.
The space shuttle is the ultimate Firebolt and the earth merely a snitch.

song: The End • artist: Doors

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Early in the Morning II

Another summer season starts and so begins the jockeying for good parking spaces at Megansett.
This year I plan to arrive early enough for a coveted space along the perimeter of the lot.
I don't know why these spaces fill up first but I do know that parents who don't get to the beach early enough to secure one and have to park instead in the less desirable middle spots are pretty much lame losers who don't love their children enough to make an effort.

song: Early in the Morning • artist: Vanity Fair

Monday, July 04, 2011

Wicked Game

C seems to be entering his Bananagram phase. Three games in three nights.
I like it much better than his Monopoly phase.

song: Wicked Game • artist: Chris Isaak

Friday, July 01, 2011

The Border

Happy Canada Day to my cousins!
We made it all the way home with our billy club, lobster bands, spear, and eagle feather.

song: The Border • artist: America

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Life is a Highway

I read the sign for Dipper Harbour as Diaper Harbour both on the way to and from St. John.
I kept wondering why my children weren't snickering from the back seat.

song: Life is a Highway • artist: Tom Cochrane

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

When Will I See You Again?

If kids live so much more in the moment than adults how come H always asks - before we've even finished doing something - when are we going to do it again?
H says that Carole is "very nice," but that his favorite is "him and Joseph. Just the two of us together."

song: When Will I See You Again? • artist: Three Degrees

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dock of the Bay

The breakwater dock is the social hub of Lower Wedgeport.
All evening long cars and trucks drive on and off the dock.
People come down to check their boats. Or just to see who else is around.
One man takes his two papillons out for a drive. We've seen him on the dock every night since we got here.
Another gets out and introduces himself. He turns out to be a relative.
Everyone stops to talk to my cousin Joseph.
Everyone asks C & H if they've caught any fish.
Everyone is friendly.
No one is in a hurry.
No one is talking on their cell phone.
And you thought Maine was "the way life should be."

song: Dock of the Bay • artist: Otis Redding

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Watershed

So I drive us through Boston and to Belfast, and then I drive us to the boarder and on to St John. And I find our hotel room after only circling the block two times due to a closed exit. I get us to the ferry early enough to watch it dock and I have my luggage meticulously packed so at each hotel I only have one bag to bring in with us.
Everything's going swimmingly and then, when we're an hour from our destination, it starts to rain. Hard. It's already windy and I'm having to use both my hands on 10 and 2 to keep my non-high performance mini van on the road and suddenly it's raining like there's no tomorrow and I can't see the road even with the wipers going at the highest possible speed. It isn't letting up and I've slowed down to like 40mph (what's that in kilometers?) and then there's thunder and lightening and it's just so ridiculous and all the while we are listening to The Hobbit on CD and it's the crucial chapter where Bilbo meets Gollum and they go through all the riddles (an egg! a fish! time!) and it's still pouring and then Gollum can't find his precious and he starts screaming and it all seems so cosmically appropriate and finally I pull over cause I just can't see anything and the minute I do my kids come out of their back seat trance and C says,
"Why are we stopped?"
and H says,
"Are we there yet?"

song: Watershed • artist: Indigo Girls

Hotel California

H and I are eating cookies in bed.
We must be on vacation.

song: Hotel California • artist: the Eagles

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Tide is High


Low tide in the Bay of Fundy.

song: The Tide is High • artist: Blondie

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Havin' A Party

We picked up 80 bottles and cans from the woods behind NFES on the last day of school and did not donate the proceeds from the returnables to the PTO.
Those elementary school kids sure know how to party.

song: Havin' A Party • artist: Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Get Happy

Happiness is a fridge full of fresh strawberries.

song: Get Happy • artist: The Partridge Family

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Come Dancing

It's the news you've all been waiting for (now that the Stanley Cup is over) - students of Elena Griffin's belly dancing class will be performing during Arts Alive this Saturday at 4 PM. I will be way in the back hoping I don't trip over my veil so come on down and cheer us on. And don't miss my lovely and talented cousin Lindsey who will be performing a solo!

song: Come Dancing  • artist: The Kinks

Monday, June 13, 2011

Waiting in Vain

Dutifully we waiting until June to plant the tomatoes so they wouldn't get cold.
Looks like we should have waiting until July.

song: Waiting in Vain • artist: Bob Marley

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ridin' In My Car

Now that C has finished his first season of travel soccer one of the other parents asked me if I was going to get a soccer mom bumper sticker for my car.
"I drive a mini van," I said, "it's pretty much assumed I am a soccer mom."
A bumper sticker to that effect would just be redundant.
Like those Priuses going about with Obama campaign stickers on them. Tell me something I don't already know.
That's why I choose the Buy Cape Cod Grown bumper sticker.
That way everyone knows I really would be driving a Prius - if it weren't for all these darn kids.

song: Ridin' In My Car • artist: NRBQ

Friday, June 10, 2011

Have A Heart

"Mom, if it's against the law to relocate wild animals, why do they make Have-a-Heart traps?"

song: Have A Heart • artist: Bonnie Raitt

Thursday, June 09, 2011

You Might Think

You would think that over the course of many years I would be an expert or at least passingly adept at both choosing appropriate birthday party gifts for six-year old boys and writing out sympathy cards.
Alas, I have found myself woefully lacking in both departments.

song: You Might Think • artist: The Cars

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Early in the Morning

Another day another morning of hard breakfast cereal decisions and of having to convince my children of the improbable.
"Yes. There's butter on your toast. You just can't see it. It melted. Yes. It's really there. Go ahead. Eat it. Eat it."

song: Early in the Morning • artist: Vanity Fair

Your Kiss Is On My List

"How come you didn't eat your watermelon?" C asked H as they emptied out their lunch leftovers into the sink this afternoon.
"Because I didn't have time. I didn't see them." He replied.
What I should have said was, "Dammit, the public school isn't giving you enough time to eat your lunch!"
What I did say was, "Guess I should include a menu in your lunch box so you know what's in it."
So naturally, tomorrow he'll be the only kindergartner with a menu in his lunch box.

song: Your Kiss Is On My List • artist: Hall & Oats

Monday, June 06, 2011

We Are Family

Aunt Betty passed away yesterday.
She and my Uncle Mike raised seven children. I suspect, though my uncle was likely the disciplinarian, most of the raising was done by my aunt. As long as I knew her, Aunt Betty did not have a paying job; her job was raising her seven children. While it may not be the kind of occupation that gets you a shout out in the obituary section of the New York Times, those of us who are now busy raising our one, two, three (or four) children, with the help of DVDs, microwave ovens, and Music Together classes, have at least some idea of the myriad of challenges she faced.
But because one never thinks of what it's like to raise children until one is embroiled in the process themselves, I never thought of that when I visited my aunt and uncle's summer house, which during the work week, was occupied mainly by my aunt and my cousin. Instead, I thought that my Aunt Betty was the best because she made peanut butter and fluff sandwiches with oreo cookies for dessert for Maureen and me and took us down to the town landing so we could go swimming. She helped me pull out my second loose tooth when I was over her house - my first one having been lost on Washburns Island. She let Maureen and I stay up late to watch the Miss American pageant. We would sit on bean bag chairs with pencils and paper and keep our own scores.
On one occasion my parents left me at my aunt and uncle's Lexington house for the afternoon and I promptly threw up in their family room. Aunt Betty didn't bat an eye, she sat me on the couch with a bucket, and brought me coke syrup. Mmmmm. coke syrup.
Aunt Betty was someone who we relied on to be there when we needed her – and she always was. Not only was she there, she always gave the impression that there was nothing else she'd rather be doing than pitching wiffle balls to us or watching some "performance" Maureen and I had cooked up.
It often takes an adult perspective to realize that you had an idyllic childhood and I had one, especially during the summer. My aunt was one of the people who made that possible and for that I am forever indebted.
I hope she had some time to rest back then but if anyone deserves to rest in peace it is my Aunt Betty.

song: We Are Family • artist: Sister Sledge

Friday, June 03, 2011

Could it Be Magic

Hey! I just noticed that I can buy Barry Manilow's Mandy from iTunes for $1.29 but Could it Be Magic is only 99¢. Is Mandy really a whole 30¢ better than Could it Be Magic?
I think not.
I mean for starters Could it Be Magic is like six minutes long and Mandy's only three. That's twice as much Manilow Magic for the money.
What the hell. I'll just buy the whole album and skip the alliterations.
song: Could it Be Magic • artist: Barry Manilow

Gone Daddy Gone

Wednesday night Ken found out the hard way that my new  TV-B-Gone really works.
Because he had the mini van, with my keys, and my key chain, he couldn't help but test it while out for pizza with the boys. You see he didn't realize it's just a universal remote and as such will turn a TV on as well as off. So after testing it out on the hockey game he couldn't very well ask someone to turn the TV back on for fear of being fingered as the culprit who turned it off in the first place.
And that's how curiosity killed the play offs.

song: Gone Daddy Gone • artist: Violent Femmes

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Waiting for the Bus

According to C, student behavior on the bus is deteriorating faster than a piece of cardboard left out in the rain. There are third graders teaching swear words to kindergartners, people throwing things, rampant use of "inappropriate language, and kids crawling under the seats. A meeting was held with the principal but chaos still reigns.
I feel for the substitute bus driver. Looks like being young, cute, and buff commands little respect in the world of elementary school bus drivers.
Children relate better to gruff, old and crusty.

song: Waiting for the Bus • artist: ZZ Top

Minute by Minute

The problem with a three year old telling you "just a minute," is that they have no idea how long a minute is.

song: Minute by Minute • artist: the Doobie Brothers

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bicycle Race

A suggestion for bikers on Quaker Road: cars traveling in the same direction don't travel two abreast and neither should you.

song: Bicycle Race • artist: Queen

Cult of Personality

N peruses his options from what's left of "Land Fill Scaped" at the close of Robert Rinder's show at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum.

song: Cult of Personality • artist: Living Colour

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cruel Summer

My children have forgotten what summer is.
Whenever I put short sleeves on N & S they tug on them repeatedly until I help them into long-sleeved sweatshirts.
On Thursday we were going out and I was wearing my skirt with the shorts on underneath (my favorite shorts since the ones from the Army Navy store on Martha's Vineyard finally wore out) and N & S both came over, pointed at my knees and said, "Mommy, pants."
"I am wearing pants, I said. These are shorts."
That's the kind of winter and spring it's been. My children don't remember shorts.

song: Cruel Summer • artist: Bananarama

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Don't Talk to Strangers

This week alone brought the conviction of the mother who put her infant in the microwave, the identification of the kindergartner from Texas who was suffocated (presumably) by his mother, the trial of Casey Anderson, who we're pretty sure killed her two year old and then painted her nails, partied, and borrowed a shovel from neighbors afterwards, and the Salt Lake City mother who tried to sell her 13-year-old daughter's virginity for $10,000.
So is it really strangers that kids have to worry about?

song: Don't Talk to Strangers • artist: Rick Springfield

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Shower the People

OMG. C just told me that all the black stuff coming off the trees and covering the back yard is caterpillar poop.
I think he's right.

song: Shower the People • artist: James Taylor

Drive

This is what the laundry room (laundry hallway really) looked like after I did three loads of wash on Monday. Is it any wonder I'm so excited about another week of hot-elementary-school bus driver?
After school I suggested the boys make a birthday card for Nana, another one for Brody, and a get well card for our regular bus driver, Cal.
"We should make a card for the substitute bus driver too," suggested my son, "to thank him for driving the bus."
Indeed.

song: Drive • artist: The Cars

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Golden Slumbers

Invasion of the Pillow Snatchers: When a three year old climbs in your bed at 2AM.

song: Golden Slumbers • artist: The Beatles

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wild Thing

There was some hot bird sex going on in the garden plot next to ours at the community garden this afternoon.
I tried not to stare but like everyone else, I'm a voyeur at heart.
There are five birdhouses, all kid decorated, hanging up in my yard.
You'd think those birds could have gotten a room.

song: Wild Thing • artist: Tone Loc

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

Ken's working tomorrow and I have no plans for the five of us. I was counting on some post-apocalyptic mayhem with which to entertain my kids.
Actually I'm kidding. I just really, really want to use this song title for a post.

song: It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine) • artist: REM

Thursday, May 19, 2011

World On Fire

It's product endorsement time!
When C was in kindergarten I bought one of those shower curtains with a map of the world on it. I liked it because it was so much bigger than the map that comes free with your subscription to National Geographic and I didn't have to worry about how to frame it or where to hang it.
This morning H noted on his flags of the world place mat that "there's one country that has just a green rectangle for its flag."
"It's Libya right?" I said because I've long thought Libya needs to get more creative with its flag. Are there no graphic designers in Libya?
"Yep." he said.
"Does anyone know where Libya is?" I asked.
"It's in Africa" said Caleb.
"How'd you know that," I said, thinking maybe the public school is discussing the occasional current event after all.
"I spend a lot of time in the bathroom."

song: World On Fire • Artist: Sarah McLachlan

Every Rose Has It's Thorn

Look! A laugh-out-loud line from the section on qualified health claims in Michael Pollen's book "In Defense of Food."
"No doubt we can look forward to a qualified health claim for high-fructose corn syrup, a tablespoon of which probably does contribute to your health - as long as it replaces a comparable amount of say, poison in your diet and doesn't increase the total number of calories you eat in a day."
And to think my son asked me why I never read "anything good."

song: Every Rose Has It's Thorn • artist: Poison

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Watch Your Step

It may be raining for two straight weeks but at least  your melons aren't exploding.

song: Watch Your Step • artist: Elvis Costello

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Magic Bus II

Don't forget to vote today. With Donald Trump formally stepping out of the race for President, perhaps he'll become Falmouth's next write in candidate.
In other Falmouth news, OMG the substitute bus driver for NFES's bus 18 is really hot! I predict local mothers will be forgoing their usual bus stop attire (sweatpants) and all arrive in faux yoga wear and stilettos.

song: Magic Bus • artist: The Who

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rocket Man

I dreamed we were in a mall, surrounded by flat screen TVs, and couldn't get one store owner to switch channels to the space shuttle launch.
"My children are going to be so disappointed," I pleaded.
Luckily this was not the case.

video

song: Rocket Man • artist: Elton John