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


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


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.
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