Saturday, December 28, 2013

Got to Have Something

Tonight I told one of the boys that if he couldn't eat his dinner, could he at least artfully arrange it on his plate?
No sense wasting food and sacrificing good design too.

song: Got to Have Something • artist: Mark Knopfler

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Little Drummer Boy

I don't get it.
He had no gift to give?
He had a drum.

song: Little Drummer Boy • composer: Katherine Kennicott Davis

Friday, December 20, 2013

Do They Know It's Christmas Time?

You know you've raised proper Unitarian Universalist children when you take them to "trim the church" morning at the fellowship and someone is playing Christmas songs on the piano and when they play "Hark the Herald Angles Sing," one of your kids says, "look! the church know the same songs as Charlie Brown Christmas."
Later, when you're driving to town, one of them comments from the back seat of the car, "why do so many people have Jesus's on their lawns?"

song: Do They Know It's Christmas Time? • artist: Band Aid

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Runaway

So what exactly is the moral of the story of the gingerbread man?
That you'll be eaten by a fox if you run away from home?
Sort of a harsh cautionary tale for kindergarteners if you ask me.

song: Runaway • artist: Del Shannon

The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)

Oh no! The twins have discovered the Alvin and the Chipmunk's Christmas song!

song: The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) • artist: David Seville & the Chipmunks

Friday, December 13, 2013

High Hopes

I keep wanting to run, Pavlovian-like to the phone, every time they play the Christmas Elves forgetting that we're - yes! Already qualified!

song: High Hopes • artist: Bruce Springsteen

Until the Day is Done

It shouldn't be Thanksgiving until all the Halloween candy's been eaten and it shouldn't be Christmas until all the left over turkey's gone from the freezer.
And since I've still got a chocolate bunny on the top shelf above the sink, this pretty much ensures me immortality.

song: Until the Day is Done • artist: R.E.M.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Photograph

Every time I see your face, it reminds me of the places we used to go.
But all I've got is a photograph, and I realize you're not coming back anymore.

song: Photograph • artist: Ringo Starr

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

If I Ever Lose My Faith In You

I think we can all agree that over weight guys with white beards and nicotine habits should not don Santa hats.
My kid (pointing out the car window): "Mommy. Is that Santa?"
Me: "I don't know. Maybe."
My kid: "Doesn't Santa know that smoking is bad for you?"

song: If I Ever Lose My Faith In You • artist: Sting

Friday, December 06, 2013

The Final Countdown

Despite having spent almost $40 on advent calendars I am still being asked the question children have pestered parents with since red-velvet coats and flying reindeer were first conceived: "how many days until Christmas?"
I get it - the idea behind the advent calendar is to let kids know how many days until the big pay off - so they'll stop asking their parents every five minutes.
But the sad truth is that they don't work.
And here's why.
They are made wrong.
Advent calendars count up the days until Christmas beginning with calendar day one, which corresponds with December 1 - unless you buy your yearly calendar at the Christmas Tree Shop. One year I got an extra day at the end of April, another year Easter was labeled wrong. For $2.99 you take your chances.
Anywho - the problem herein is that what does it being day 6 really tell a kid? Are there six days left until Christmas? No they aren's so the modern advent calendar tells us nothing. Who cares that we're six days in? All kids want to know is how many days are left and how five year olds can subtract 6 from 24?
None.
The same number who have the patience to count up all the skillfully camouflaged boxes that are left among their scenes of sugar plums, kittens in santa hats and sleighs flying through moonlit skies (in pictures there's always a full moon on Christmas Eve) to determine for themselves how many days are left based on how many little doors remain. Why go through the trouble when in your parent you have a living Siri doll to ask?
Sure - I could be a renegade parents and just have my kids open door 24 first and then work their way backwards but the calendars aren't set up that way. The big pay off is under door 24 - the tree with presents or the baby Jesus depending on whether you got the secular or the religious calendar.
Some of the calendars even have poems threaded through the doors - written in 4pt type. You can't very well start on December 1 with "and to all a good night," and expect the next 23 days to go well now can you?
So please Mr. Manufacturer of advent calendars - wherever you are - do a parent a favor and really count down the days to Christmas, starting with 24 and ending with 1 so I don't have to keep answering the question. Again. And again. And again.

song: The Final Countdown • artist: Europe

Monday, December 02, 2013

All I Want is You

The only item on my bucket list is winning the WMVY Holiday Stocking.

song: All I Want is You • artist: U2

Friday, November 22, 2013

Fill Me Up

Confession: sometimes I cook dinners that I know my children won't like just so there will be more leftovers for me. Ah delicious leftover pad thai, you're all mine.

song: Fill Me Up • artist: Shawn Colvin

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

What I Am

Spill over from yesterday's post - otherwise known as "wait, wait, there's more!"
So then there you are juggling six items in your arms as you walk to your car because you refused a bag at the supermarket because you have the reusable shopping bag in the car but you didn't bring it in because you only went in to get one item - the other five were impulse purchases - and you're passed by the lady wheeling a shopping cart that's filled to the brim with groceries packed three or four to a plastic bag. And honestly you think to yourself, "why am I bothering?" And I guess the answer is that I just don't know any other way to be.

song: What I Am • artist: Edie Brickell & the New Bohemians 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shame on You

On Sunday I took S & N to the coffee shop except that I didn't buy myself a cup of tea because I'd forgotten my travel mug at home. I think I could have asked for a mug instead of a paper cup but when you're traveling with five year old twins you can't always guarantee that you won't have to leave in a hurry.
I wonder if there's a scientific name for green guilt, or how many people suffer from this phenomenon. How many people are denying themselves a cup of tea because they left their stainless steel travel mug at home, or encouraging check out clerks to stuff their purchases into their pocket books and then emptying it all onto the floor of the cars because they forgot their reusable bags?
Or - to take it a step further, how many people are almost unable to shop at department stores because of the almost crippling certainty that the product they need already exists and that they could buy it used rather than new if they just looked a little harder.
Who wouldn't buy a Cub Scout handbook for their eight year old without first trying to find one on Freecycle. Who can scarcely comprehend purchasing new clothes? Who thrifted a $2 electric hand beater, bought a $25 bike off Craig's list, and got a vintage pencil sharpener on Freecycle?
Green guilt is the nagging feeling that you really ought to make everything from scratch because that's the only way to avoid a plastic bag around your bread or BPA in the tin can lining of your stewed tomatoes.
I don't think I've gone completely over the line yet but when you start having a hard time living your life because you're thinking about how your every move might effect the environment, it's not just green guilt, it's paralyzing green guilt. It keeps you from buying something you need. It's the equivalent of the Catholic guilt described recently on This American Life where people were constantly confessing sins that weren't actually sins, or worse, people where unable to live normal lives because they were sure that everything they did or were about to do could be construed as a sin.


song: Shame on You • artist: Indigo Girls

Monday, November 18, 2013

Run-Around

It really doesn't matter what we name the pet mice. Scabbers, Stewart, Al, Martin, Lucky, Phoebe, etc., etc.; they all wind up as Tubby in the end.
Which just goes to show that running incessantly on a squeaky wire wheel doesn't burn as many calories as one would think.

song: Blues Traveler • artist: Run-Around

Saturday, November 16, 2013

That Old Black Magic

There's a chicken bone on the rug in S & N's room.
Could it be that my twins are voodoo priests?

song: That Old Black Magic • artist: Johnny Mercer

Friday, November 15, 2013

Parenting is ...

noticing that there's still an electrical plug in the playroom with a child protective cover over it and feeling nostalgic.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Looking Out My Back Door

Raking leaves in our yard is like undertaking an archeological dig.
Today I turned up six tennis balls, two Nerf footballs, and a street hockey stick.

song: Looking Out My Back Door • artist: Creedence Clearwater Revival

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cry, Cry, Cry

The twins asked me to come in to school and eat lunch with them today so I said I would.
Seeing me having lunch with the twins made a little girl in their class miss her own mommy and she started crying.
When it was time to leave S decided he wanted me to stay and he started crying.
I felt like by the time I left I had have the kindergarten class in tears.

song: Cry, Cry, Cry • artist: Johnny Cash

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Candy Everybody Wants

The twins had their first dentist appointments last week and in case you are wondering - they LOVE going to the dentist. At least so far. They are even remembering to brush their teeth in the morning before school.
And while we were at the appointment I got to ask the burning question - what DOES a dentist give out at Halloween? The answer: candy. And not even the secret sugar-free-but-still-decent-tasting-so-your-house-doesn't-get-egged candy that only dentists know about. Just plain old candy.
I was more than a little disappointed.

song: Candy Everybody Wants • artist: 10,000 Maniacs

Monday, November 11, 2013

Dixie Chicken

It's amusing when chicken companies advertise their products as 100% vegetarian fed.
Really?
Your advertising company couldn't come up with anything better to say than that?
It's about as creative as saying, "Chicken breasts. Contains chicken."
Vegetarian diets. Duh. What else would you feed chickens - steak? Chicken?
Maybe that's it. If you fed chickens chicken then you could advertise them as cannibal chickens.
Now that's a marketing slogan.

song: Dixie Chicken • artist: Little Feat

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Jump Back


Have you ever plopped down some wet cat food only to have your beloved kitty come over, take a sniff, and physically jump backwards as if recoiling in horror?
It would be funny if it wasn't the same reaction I get every night from my kids when I put (a perfectly delicious) dinner on the table.

song: Jump Back • artist: Steve Windwood

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Parenting is ...

fishing toilet paper tubes out of the office trash can to take home for your son's pet mice.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Dear Mr. Fantasy

I'm so pleased that drivers have completely dispensed with the use of blinkers.
The unnecessary formality of alerting other drivers to what my car is about to do next was so taxing.
I'm was also happy to see one of our town DPW trucks parked outside of Jack in the Beanstalk with the engine running (guess in that case perhaps it wasn't actually "parked" at all) while the truck's two occupants were inside getting their lunch.
Having to turn off your car's engine is such an effort.

song: Dear Mr. Fantasy • artist: Traffic

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Still Crazy After All These Years

Really? Dunkin Donuts has an energy bar? Because you can't get enough of a jolt from eating a jelly doughnut with frosting?
I was at Dunkin Donuts twice recently and as I was entering the store around 1 PM there was a woman exiting who was wearing pajama bottoms.
I blame the pajamas-as-acceptable-clothing-to-wear-in-public trend on the 1980s when we all started wearing sweat pants as everyday clothes. Going out in sweatpants can be interpreted in two different ways. Either a person is trying to give the impression that they are either on their way to, or coming from - the gym, or people are just wearing them for the comfort factor.  From these two camps it was a slippery slope which diverged into two seperate fashion statements. Everyday workout clothing or yoga clothes as fashion statements and pajamas as acceptable clothing because who can argue with the comfort factor. The only thing more comfortable might be wearing your pajamas and a sleeping bag with holes in the bottom for feet.
I may be guilty of wearing the same outfit three days in a row (the underwear's clean I swear), but to misquote Paul Simon, I would not be convicted by jury of my peers, still crazy enough to wear pajamas outdoors after all these years.
At the elementary school on half days, the kids can wear their pjs to school if they donate $1 to the PTO. I think adults who go out in public in their pjs (with the exception of to their own mailboxes or to the bus stop), should be fined $1. This would go a long way towards fixing the country's debt crisis.

song: Still Crazy After All These Years • artist: Paul Simon

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Transendental Blues

C made a replica of Thoreau's cabin!
In Mindcraft.
Funny. I don't remember Walden Pond being so pixilated.

Transendental Blues • artist: Steve Earle

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Can't You See?

C noted today that, "whenever we can't find a book, it's always in the bathroom."
This is pretty much true although I'm not sure I want all my favorite librarians to know it.
C also noted that if his twin brothers got their library cards (they are old enough to be eligible), between everyone in our family we could check out 300 books at a time. "Way to do the math," I said - now figure out late charges at a nickel a day per book for 300 books and maybe you'll be on to why S & N don't have their own cards yet.

song: Can't You See? • artist: Marshall Tucker Band

Monday, November 04, 2013

I Call Your Name

My son C is writing a letter to a player on the varsity basketball team via a pen pal program initiated by one of his teachers. His opening paragraph is about his name, what it means (faithful, in Hebrew), and why his parents chose it (named for great, great uncle).
This leads me to wonder if a good naming story is important. And if it is important - how import and is it? Does a good name story build you up and give you confidence while a haphazard one, a "Mommy and Daddy just liked the name," is  just downright dispiriting. 
Though I don't tap strangers on the shoulder and brag about it - I have a good good name story and when the occasion arises I parade it about. Even my sister, who was named after my grandfather, has a pretty good story - not as good as mine, but that's one of the many advantages of being first born.
All of my kids have name stories except one and of the three with name stories all three are different, it's not like all three were named after relatives or movie stars or Disney characters. or something One was named for a relative, one for a local whaling captain, and one for the son of a friend. Actually my fourth son does have a name story but it goes like this - "we needed a name that would sound good with the name we'd picked for your brother (they are twins)." 
A story like that might be even worse than having no story at all.

song: I Call Your Name • artist: The Beatles

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Rikki Don't Lose the Number

C dismantled an old laptop a while back and S retrieved a rectangular piece of metal from the pile of scraps saying it was his cell phone. He was walking around with it the other day and I asked him who he was calling he answered, "I'm not calling anyone, I'm playing video games."
I found this to be both imaginative and disturbing.

song: Rikki Don't Lose the Number • artist: Steely Dan

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Suspicious Minds

You'd think I'd be happy, but really I resent it when the cashier tells me that there's a coupon as part of my sales slip. I figure that it's a sinister ploy to get me to hang on to my BPA-laced store receipt just a little bit longer.
Yep, I'm pretty sure Stapes in trying to kill me.

song: Suspicious Minds • artist: Elvis Presley

Friday, November 01, 2013

Give a Little Bit

When I suggested you give some of your Halloween candy to the bus driver, I didn't mean the Kit Kat bars.

song: Give a Little Bit  • artist: Supertramp

Monday, October 28, 2013

Dream Police

A Halloween koan:
If my kids are the only ones trick or treating on our street, do I still have to fill a bowl with candy?

song: Dream Police • artist: Cheap Trick

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sooner or Later

Because it's not bad enough that the World Series gets played at the end of October - they have to air commercials about Christmas between pitches.

song: Sooner or Later • artist: The Grass Roots

Thursday, October 24, 2013

She's (Shoe's) Come Undone

Low Expectations:
Me: "Your shoe is untied, didn't we double knot it this morning?"
Him: "School's six hours! Knots can't last that long."

song: She's Come Undone • artist: The Guess Who

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

New World in the Morning

For this weekend's read aloud I thought I'd choose something appropriate to the holiday and so I went with Jean Fritz's "Where Do You Think You're Going Christopher Columbus?" which I read to S & N over the course of two nights.
Having finished it I have to wonder why we continue to celebrate this holiday at all. I mean I guess I always knew that he didn't exactly discover the "new world" since there's that little problem of all the people who already lived there. And I knew he was looking for a trade route to the Indies and that in fact the "new world" was just a little something that got in the way. But I didn't realize what a jerk he was, how bullheaded he was, and basically how deluded he was. Even the book, which is a children's book, couldn't come up with much to say about him that was nice.
In the end one of the twins asked me, "was Christopher Columbus a good guy or a bad guy?" To which I answered, "well, he was certainly ambitious." Which led to the question I knew it would lead to: "what's ambitious?" But at least it got us off the subject of Christopher Columbus.
A quick internet search reveals how other communities have dealt with this most grayish of holidays. In Berkeley California they celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day. In South Dakota it's Native American Day. Hawaii has Discover Day. 
Rather than rid ourselves of a long weekend in October, and to avoid me ever again having to explain who Christopher Columbus was to my kids, I propose we rename it as well.
Here in New England we could call it "Apple Picking Weekend," "Leaf Peeping Day" or "Time to Bring the Houseplants Plants Inside Weekend." 
At our house it was "Last Swim of the Season Weekend."

song: New World in the Morning • artist: Roger Whittaker

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dawned on Me

Looks like I inadvertently left some treats in with the Halloween decorations when I stored them in the attic last year. In case you were wondering - yes - mice eat chocolate.
Also, I've given up on trying to decorate separately for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Even with Thanksgiving coming way at the end of November this year, these holidays are too close together.  Just throw all those decorations up at once and get it over with is what I say.

song: Dawned on Me • artist: Wilco

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Parenting Is...

thinking that bumper stickers declaring the driver's children have been chosen as "student of the week" are dumb, but secretly wishing that my kids' schools handed them out.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Leave It

If you're ready to leave the hotel 15 minutes before it's actually check out time, it feels like you're not getting your money's worth.

song: Leave It • artist: Yes

Saturday, October 05, 2013

You're Not The Boss Of Me

The people who are ranting and raving about not wanting the government to tell them what to do when it comes to healthcare sound like stubborn nine year olds who don't want to wear their winter coats to the bus stop in January. "You can't tell me what to do!" they'll tell their moms all the while shivering in defiance. But actually, I'm guessing the ranters really do have healthcare. Is there anyone out there who's refusing employee-offered health care just to prove a point?
In that case, they are more like suborn nine year olds shouting about how they're not going to wear their coats and nobody can make them - except that they are, in fact, already wearing their coats.

song: You're Not the Boss of Me • artist: Bill Harley

Friday, October 04, 2013

Guess Things Happen That Way

When you're over 40 the card game Concentration could pretty much be renamed Just Guessing.

song: Guess Things Happen That Way • artist: Johnny Cash

Thursday, October 03, 2013

You Ain't Going Nowhere

So we can hike in the White Mountains tomorrow because they haven't been shut down (yet), but if we get into trouble on the mountain there won't be any park rangers to bail us out.
Luckily we'll have the Affordable Care Act to take care of our injuries, provided we're able to hobble out of the woods by ourselves.

song: You Ain't Going Nowhere • artist: Bob Dylan

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Parenting is ...

learning how to make bracelets out of tiny rubber bands and having a Pete the Cat song stuck in my head.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Time (Clock of the Heart)

 
Check out the never-been-opened, circa 1970 alarm clock I just got at the thrift shop for two dollars! Made in the USA! I looked all summer for an alarm clock that wasn't made in China and didn't suck like the last two I bought at LLBean (sorry LLBean and thanks for the refund). 
This one reminds me of the clock that was in the guest room at my grandmother's house when I was a kid. Words in a blog cannot possibly express how excited I am about this clock. It will make having to wake up at 7AM totally worthwhile.

song: Time (Clock of the Heart) • artist: Culture Club

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Don't Fence Me In

Varmints ate my second crops of beets.
When will I learn?

Next year I am going to cover them in fencing. Double fencing.
Eat my chicken wire you rabbits you.

song: Don't Fence Me In • artist: Cole Porter

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Be a Dentist

Today we went to the dentist. Not just any dentist though - a pediatric dentist. 
Because H had a cavity, our usual dentist recommended this switch as the environment at the pediatric dentist "might be more relaxing."
How oh how have I survived these eleven years of parenting without experiencing the bliss that is a visit to the pediatric dentist?
The office was like Disney Land with a dental chair in the middle. There were movies playing. And not only were there movies in the waiting room and being screened on the ceiling above the dental chairs, when you're the kid getting the filling, you get to pick the movie (which seems to me like it might lead to kids getting cavities on purpose just to be in control of cinematic selections but I'm sure the dentist knows what he's doing). 
The array of toothpaste flavors was dizzying, bubblegum, strawberry, grape, you name it. Even the laughing gas masks came in a variety of smells. The dentist himself was super animated. If he ever gives up his practice I'm sure they'd be an opening for him on Broadway. He also had the largest smile I'd ever seen. I suspect he was showing off his own teeth and who could blame him - they were dazzling. 
The part I liked best, other than the dentist going over my son's x-rays with me with more clarification than my ob/gyn used to explain my ultrasounds, was that the kids were all handed their prize bags on the way out the door. This eliminated the task of the child having to choose their own prize out of a big basket of assorted prized, which, as any parent will tell you, is an agonizing decision and one that takes roughly twice as long as the visit itself. 
At home H carried the prize bag in from the car himself, without reminder, which sounds mundane but again parents will confirm that it's a near miracle. Despite the fact that settling on a prize at the dentist or doctor's office takes longer than choosing which college to attend, by the time you arrive home, said prizes are usually forgotten about and subsequently left in the back of the car. As a parent I usually hope that my child chose the foam dinosaur over the rubber pop ups because the pop ups are ever so much more likely to clog the vacuum cleaner three months from now during my car's routine cleaning.

song: Be a Dentist • musical: Little Shop of Horrors

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Part of Me

It has recently come to my attention that Jaws, the movie that scared the bejeebers out of landlocked and coastal dwellers alike in the summer of 1975, is rated PG.
PG.
That's the same rating as Happy Feet.
Now I know from experience that PG movies in the 1980s and PG movies in 2013 are two different things because I've rented the Goonies and Back to the Future for my kids and heard them say (gleefully) more than once, "hey Mom! Did he just say Xyz?"
But Jaws? I mean wasn't there swearing, and nudity, and body parts? I'm pretty sure I remember swearing, and nudity, and body parts. I know a lot of the scariness in Jaws was implied scariness, which is what made the movie so great; that and a really good soundtrack, but there was some actual scariness too. 
What'd it take to get an R rating back in the 70s? I suppose Apocalypse Now and Taxi Driver were also rated PG?

song: Part of Me • artist: Tedeschi Trucks Band

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Just One Look

We went to a cookout last weekend with not one, but two, bouncy houses. One hell of a kids party right? You bet. The only problem was that my kids kept taking off their shoes in order to bounce only to be unable to find them when they were finished bouncing. 
Ken and I spent half the night helping H search for his sneakers (he finally found them) and the other half looking for one of N's brown slip ons (we had to stop back the next morning and find it in the daylight).
It was just like that line from My Fair Lady when Professor Higgins laments spending the evening with a date: "you go to see a play or ballet, and spend it searching for her glove."

song: Just One Look • artist: The Hollies

Friday, September 20, 2013

Still the Same



Separated at birth: Les Nessman, radio newsman known for award-winning farm reports, and Dwight Schrute: beet farmer.

song: Still the Same • artist:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Out of Touch

Sorry, but if Hall and Oates are playing at the Life is Good Festival - that's not going to be good.

song: Out of Touch • artist: Hall and Oates

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Loving Cup

So the cup C needed for baseball led to the cracking of a number of jokes and comments on the package's advertising.  I explained what it was to H, but to N and S I just said that it was part of their brother's uniform.
C's team lost the first game of the season 9 to 1. I don't know who got that one run but I know it wasn't C.
"Did you get any hits?"
"Nope."
"Make any plays in the outfield?"
"Nope."
"Make contact with the ball in any way?"
"Nope."
"Guess you didn't really need that cup, huh?"
"Mom. I didn't really need my glove."

song: Loving Cup • artist: Rolling Stones

Friday, September 13, 2013

While You Were Sleeping

Research concludes that lack of sleep accelerates the aging process.
Conversely more sleep can slow down the aging process.
I guess that means that we can live longer if we sleep more; but the downside is that we'll spend those bonus years snoozing.
This research, I suspect, was used by Disney when they came up with the plots for both Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.

song: While You Were Sleeping • artist: Elvis Perkins

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Driver Eight

Last night the twins referred to Cal as their "school bus teacher." 
I didn't bother to correct them by revealing that he's really the "school bus driver" because he may very well be a teacher. After all, the Mishnah says, "Who is wise? One who learns from all people."

song: Driver Eight • artist: REM

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Photograph

Let's hope that for the kindergarteners, picture day is before lunch.

song: Photograph • artist: Def Leppard

Monday, September 09, 2013

The Coffee Song

My husband turned off the tea kettle this morning which I'd left it on when I went to the bus stop with C.
Later, I turned off the coffee maker which he forgot to turn off before leaving for work.
It's the perfect marriage!


song: The Coffee Song • artist: Frank Sinatra

Friday, September 06, 2013

Learning to Fly

The twins were super excited to go to kindergarten this morning because "today Mrs. Anderson is going to teach us to read!"
I expect that on Monday they'll learn algebra and on Tuesday they'll graduate.

song: Learning to Fly • artist: Tom Petty

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Ticket to Ride

What drunken sailor, high on outlet shopping, numbered the exits on the Maine Turnpike? 
It starts out normally enough when you get on in Bangor headed south. There's exit 186, 185, 184, 183, and 182 A and B. The next exit is 180 which might give the sticklers pause - I mean why two exits for 182 and none for 181? The next exit is 174. What happened there you think. Did I miss the last six exits? Am I not paying attention? Do I need another Red Bull?
But that's not all because the next exit is 167, then 161, 159, 157, 150, and 138. It's like a preschooler did the numbering.
Things really start to plummet when you get close to the New Hampshire boarder: exit 32, exit 25, exit 19, exit 7. It starts to feel like some sort of Twilight Zone episode where a motorist goes looking for an exit that doesn't exist or a Stephen King novel where the driver leaves the highway via exit 50 only to find that there is no exit 50 and now they're on some kind of side road to hell.
And while it's all well and good to make fun of it (whatever it takes to pass the time while driving right?), there's a real danger of missing your exit say if you're getting off at exit 86 and you're at 103 and cruising along on auto pilot only partly paying attention because you think you've got scores of exits yet to drive past right? Wrong. You're got one exit, #102, then it's straight on to exit 86, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Maybe it's a ploy by the Maine highway department to get drivers to miss exits, thereby forcing them to get off and back on the highway repeatedly and having to pay expensive tolls over and over again. Pretty devious of those Mainers if that's the case.
Maybe there's a more humane explanation. A Buddhist one in which the designers of the Maine Turnpike have purposefully misnumbered the exits in order to keep drivers from becoming complacent. Gotta drive in the present man. Gotta pay attention.
It's just a little Zen and the Art of Highway Exit Numbering.
Yeah. That's the ticket.

song: Ticket to Ride • artist: the Beatles


Alone

The cat caught a mouse in the twins' room this morning - as if the first day of school wasn't exciting enough.
As of 8:45 AM, I am officially the only person in my house.
It's just me and 5,000 fruit flies.

song: Alone • artist: Heart

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Spider and the Fly



This spider lives outside the front door of our relatives' house in Nova Scotia.
It's huge.
As creepy as it is to go out the front door and see her there, it's way creepier to go out the front door and not see her there because then you're left wonder where she is and when is she going to jump out and scare the bejeezus out of you.

song: The Spider and the Fly • artist: The Rolling Stones

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Penny Lane

Have you seen the new Canadian $20 bills? They are all high tech and shiny with a clear window in them and holograms and made to be more durable. Why can't the U.S. get with the program and start printing up some cool money? Why is there always so much resistance when the government proposes changing our currency? I mean we can all get used to our new iPhones but no one can handle dollar coins?
Canada has also done away with the lowly penny. I guess to make more room in the coin purse for all those loonies and toonies. No longer will Canadians be able to give each other a penny for their thoughts or offer one another their two cents worth. A penny saved won't be a penny earned. Lucky pennies are apt to be significantly less so. It will never again rain pennies from heaven and seeing a penny and letting it lay won't bring one any more bad luck that seeing a penny and picking it up.
Canadians can still complain of being nickeled and dimed however, and they'll still have to maintain vigilance again anyone trying to give them a wooden nickel - at least for the time being.

song: Penny Lane • artist: The Beatles

Saturday, August 24, 2013

On the Road Again


En route to Nova Scotia.
Christine once explained that vanity plates are ridiculously cheap in New Hampshire, hence, everyone has one. Not to have one would in fact make you appear to be at most a stingy bastard and at the very least someone who lacks imagination.
While a vanity plate isn't as permanent as a tattoo one can't help but wonder what happens when PRLJAM decides he likes the band Nirvana better or when BFYMAN loses weight (or becomes a vegetarian)? What happens when VL+MC split up?
And what about the van that sped past me while I was going 65 with a plate that read ZAZEN? Late to a Buddhist retreat?
Lastly there was a mini bus with the marque Jesus Saves emblazoned on the front. It was towing a medium-sized U-Haul. So what exactly does Jesus save? A lot of stuff if that U-Haul is any indicator - Jesus in fact - might just be a packrat.

song: On The Road Again • artist: Willie Nelson

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Shall Scream

I hate it when there's a decomposing mouse smell coming from your kids' bedroom and your kids aren't old enough to be leaving ham and cheese sandwiches in their beds so you gotta figure that there really is a decomposing mouse. Somewhere.
And then you go looking for said mouse and while you're picking up a swim shirt off the closet floor you uncover  -  a finger puppet mouse!
And you scream bloody murder.

song: I Shall Scream • musical: Oliver

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Yellow Submarine

C was humming "Yellow Submarine" a few weeks ago and I mentioned that not only was that a song - it was also a movie.
"Let's get it," he said.
And so - courtesy of the Edgartown Public Library - we did.
I'm not sure my kids liked it although they wouldn't admit it because then I would have suggested turning it off and going to bed. They did admit that "it's colorful." I might have enjoyed it more since I at least had a glass of wine to drink while watching.
The day following the movie everyone went around chanting "we all live in a yellow submarine," and pulling the black felt circles we'd made out of their pants pockets and exclaiming, "there's a hole in my pocket!" They all agreed that Ringo was their favorite Beatle.
At one point H asked me if I'd seen the movie before.
"Yes, a long time ago."
"I thought so Mommy, because you knew a lot of those songs."

song: Yellow Submarine • artist: The Beatles

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Jailhouse Rock

Newsflash: Whitey Bulger is found guilty.
duh

song: Jailhouse Rock • artist: Elvis Presley

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Harbor Lights

Some people are afraid to swim in the ocean because there might be sharks.
I, on the other hand, am afraid to swim in fresh water because there might be snapping turtles.

song: Harbor Lights • artist: Bruce Hornsby

Just Breathe


For the past year I've been attending a sangha and trying to get my zen on - so to speak. Some people might think that when you sit zazen you're meditating but it's not really that. Meditation carries with it that notion that one is meditating on or about about a certain something. "If I meditate on this dilemma perhaps I'll discover a solution." 
The purpose of sitting zazen is to think of nothing. It is to sit, while all the thoughts that are in your head bubble to the surface, but to not latch on to any of them. "Thinking not thinking" is what I've heard it called. Think it's easy to think of nothing? Think again. First of all - it's hard just to sit still. Take me for example. I'm a leg swinger and an arm twitcher. If you want to sit zazen you first have to physically sit still. Then you have to mentally sit still. Try it. Try thinking of nothing. At best I might have a second when there's nothing but most of the time it's just me trying to chase thoughts out of my head as they come along.
But that's not what even what I want to talk about really.
When you join the sangha there's sitting zazen, but there's also the dharma talk. During the dharma talk members of the sangha might read from an assigned book - or the teacher might read, tell a story, explain a concept - or do all three. The idea for the students, again, is to listen without latching on to one single idea at the expense of all the others. Maybe it's just me but I find this so hard to do. I can listen up to a point, either the point when I find something in the words that I can agree with or relate to - or the point when I become completely confused by the concept being presented. What happens next is that I go off on some tangent in my head where I relate some thought or event to the idea that was just presented, thereby tuning out what going on in the present - namely the rest of the talk. Or I loose focus altogether because I don't understand, "did she just compare a problem to a grapefruit? How is a problem like a grapefruit? I hate grapefruit." And so on.
Think about when you've listened to speakers in the past. Maybe it was in a school situation and there was a text book to follow along with or there were notes to take. It's not often that we simply sit still and listen - to ourselves or to someone else.
Sometimes I wonder if the point of the dharma talk isn't so much to get me to understand Buddhism as it is to simply get me to pay attention to something in its entirety. It's the opposite of multi-tasking and yet we think of multi-tasking as difficult when in reality just the opposite is true. Doing many things at once is easy. Doing only one is hard.

song: Just Breathe • artist: Willie Nelson

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Surfin' Safari

Who knew that endless days of sunny weather spent at the beach could be so exhausting? 
I've invented a new idiom: Beach Reach. It's the arm's length a Mom (me) has to reach in order to apply sunscreen to her offspring. Like the universe the length is not fixed but constantly expanding.
You know you've been spending too much time at the beach when you start forgetting to flush the toilet at your house because you assume your home commode is just another porta potty. 

song: Surfin' Safari • artist: Beach Boys

Monday, August 05, 2013

Parenting is ...

... remembering to take deep breaths.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Many Rivers to Cross

S and N have a new favorite word: billion.
As in it takes "a billion years to drive to Woods Hole" and "a billion minutes for the 10 minutes before swim class to go by." There are a billion grains of sand on the beach and today we needed "a billion quarters to fill our five gallon bottle at the water store" (four really), and there were a billion American flags on Main Street when we drove by.
Yesterday we picked "a billion blueberries" at Coonamessett Farm.
That one might be true.

song: Many Rivers to Cross • artist: Jimmy Cliff

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Roots & Vine

Before you become pregnant you pretty much take the baby's nine-month gestation period for granted. It's a system that works - right?
Then you become pregnant and you start reading up on things and you learn out about spina bifida, cleft palates, heart defects, anencephaly, fused limbs, and progeria and you realize that with all that's got to go exactly right in those nine months it's a miracle any baby is ever born healthy at all.
It's sort of the same thing with gardening. When you first start, or when you're first considering starting you think, "how hard can it be? You plant a seed and water it right?" But then you get started and you learn about rabbits and moles and slugs and white flies and cucumber beetles and squash mildew and blight and pretty soon you realize that it's a wonder any vegetable ever reach maturity at all. 
The difference between developing babies and developing bean plants is that (so far) we don't encourage expectant mothers to douse themselves in chemical insecticides for their nine-month growing season.

song: Roots & Vine • artist: Sons of Fathers

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Hot Sun in the Summertime

Even our pet mice are hot.
How do I know?
They told me.
Not actually but I'm an expert at reading rodent body language.
Usually the mice huddle together and curl up into little balls to sleep. Today there's no huddling and the mice are all asleep stretched way out instead of curled up.
That's how hot it is folks. Forget frying an egg on the sidewalk - it's too hot for a mouse to curl into a ball.
Yesterday I drove H to Jr Rangers at 8:30 AM. At 8:30 the car's thermostat read 28°C. At 6:30 PM I was driving to the community garden to water and again the car's thermostat read 28°C. I believe that between 8:30 AM and 6:30 PM the temperature could have only gone up. For those of you who don't do celsius 28° is a good one to remember because it's basically the reciprocal of it's Fahrenheit equivalent - or - 82°F.
And you thought it was too hot to learn anything new.

song: Hot Sun in the Summertime • artist: Sly and the Family Stone

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Saturday, July 06, 2013

See the World

Up until Thursday I had not been to the town's fireworks display in years because I labor under the suspicion that they are an enormous waste of money. Thursday's show, under a blanket of low-lying fog, did nothing to change my position. I did however, find it amusing how - once people figured out the firework were going to be partially obscured due to fog - everyone stood up. Woah - what does that give you - another three-and-a-half feet of elevation? Ain't gonna help.
And speaking of obscured vision, it was nice years back when the bikpath portion through West Falmouth was finishing and different groups went about beautifying it by planting flowers and ornamental grasses where the path intersects Old Dock Road except that it's impossible this time of year to see past the grasses and the day lilies in order to ascertain whether or not a biker is actually on the path headed towards the intersection.
In retrospect I think the intersection should have been spruced up with some attractive ground covers or moss varieties instead.

song: See the World • artist: Gomez

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Star Spangled Banner

...by the dawn's early light.

song: Star Spangled Banner • artist: Francis Scott Key

Rubber Soul

Whoever thought that shredded rubber tires would make a great substrate under the playground at the North Falmouth Elementary School should come over and pick it out of my washing machine.

album: Rubber Soul • artist: The Beatles

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Go Your Own Way

Having a bad day? Going no where? Not accomplishing anything? Take heart folks, things are not so bad as they seem.
When life seems overly complicated and things just don't seem to be your way just take a page from my son S who announced tonight that it was a "good day," because - - he didn't pee in his pants.
And he's right. It was.
See? That's all it takes. Just don't pee in your pants and you can consider your day not only complete, but a complete success.
"Hey! I didn't pee in my pants today. Guess my work here is done."
Amen to that.

song: Go Your Own Way • artist: Fleetwood Mac

Monday, July 01, 2013

Cuts Like a Knife

Remembering that C got his first pocket knife when he was eight, H decided that he was due. The staff at the lodge called around and, this being NH, quickly came back to us with directions to Abe's Awesome Armaments in New Hampton. Awesome Abe had it all: knives, guns, swords, throwing stars, you name it. I love a guy who's into weapons and alliteration. And when we went to check out, $10 (used!) Swiss army knife in hand, Awesome Abe (or the guy at the cash register) told me he liked my recycled rice bag wallet - which seemed odd. You'd think the kind of wallet Awesome Abe would like would be one made of bison leather - assuming that you'd killed and skinned the bison yourself and stitched it together using cat gut. 
Back at the lodge later that afternoon I told H he shouldn't use his knife around the other kids because I was afraid that 1) he might hurt someone and 2) in seconds they'd all be lining up to try it and the other parents would be horrified.
But there was a third option I hadn't thought of and a few minutes later he was back inside.
"Mom, there are two other kids outside whittling with their pocket knives, can I sit and whittle with them?"
Yes!  
I gave their mom my phone number.

song: Cuts Like a Knife • artist: Bryan Adams

Monday, June 24, 2013

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

Have reached a new milestone in old ladyishness today - brought my reading glasses home from work to use at night.

song: You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet • artist: Bachman-Turner Overdrive

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

a couplet for Barry Manilow


Happy 70th Birthday to Barry Manilow
Writer of songs you'd rather not admit you know

Parenting is...

more often about the circle of laundry than the circle of life.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Photograph

Our parents took photographs with Eastman Kodak point-and-shoot cameras loaded with 12, 24, or at most 36, potential film exposures (maybe an extra two if you loaded the camera just right).
For comparison, I have 2403 photos on my camera right now.
In order to take pictures inside, they had to use flash cubes: six or eight flashes to a cube.
And still - despite the handicaps - they all managed to get at least one embarrassing photo of us in the tub.

song: Photograph • artist: Def Leppard

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ramble On

"There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West.
Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world."


"Mommy, why are you reading so slowly?"
"Because I'm sad. And the story is good."

song: Ramble On • artist: Led Zepplin

Friday, June 14, 2013

Stairway to Heaven

S continues to count stairs wherever we go. 
I think I mentioned this earlier since he's been doing it since he first got the hang of counting back in March. Not only does he count steps and stairs in new places, he continues to count the stairs in our own house (12). And it's not ironic counting, or just announcing from memory that there are 12 steps. Every time he descends the stairs he counts them which is sometimes frustrating when you're trying to get somewhere in a hurry as in "come on! there are 12 steps, we all KNOW there are 12 steps will you stop counting and come on already!" But when I'm not in a rush I find my son's step counting to be possibly the most grounding activity I've ever witnessed. 
In zazen we're instructed to focus on our breath in order to give us something to focus on in the present so our mind doesn't wander.  In a display of his Buddha nature, my son practices this without any instruction There's nothing more in the present than counting the steps you take as you descent a flight of stairs. And there's nothing that says things are in a constant state of change as counting the same stairs every day since it speaks to the possibility that that number could, one day, change.
Taking a page from S's example, C and I counted the steps up Scargo Tower the other day (37) but we didn't tell S about it because we figured he'd be mad to known we'd been somewhere (somewhere with stairs) without him.
It could, on the other hand, be some early warning sign of OCD but either way, when I feel as if I'm loosing my grasp on reality (which happens more frequently than I care to admit) I think I'll remind myself to count the stairs under my feet. It's not the stairway to heaven exactly but perhaps it is the stairway to enlightenment.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Parenting is...

pulling an orange, plastic, spider ring out of your pocket and having no recollection of how it got there.

One Bad Apple

So the apple's organic but what about the glue on the back of the giant sticker?

song: One Bad Apple • artist: The Osmonds

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

a limerick for Maurice Sendak (on his 85th birthday)

Maurice Sendak a writer of books
about wild things with fearsome looks
Mark his birthday we might
share a cake with delight
Baked by Pierre in the kitchen at night

Monday, June 10, 2013

No One is to Blame

One of the twins pooped in the tub today and even though they alerted me to the fact, they both vehemently denied having done the deed.
I couldn't figure it out myself. 
Was it the one who scampered off to get dressed by himself? 
Or was it the one who lagged behind to make sure I cleaned up the mess?

song: No One is to Blame • artist: Howard Jones

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Cherokee Nation


Hey! I say that Western Fort Playmobil with Native Americans shooting flaming arrows at the frontier guys is unpc. 
I also say that a song about Cherokee Nation sung by a band called Paul Revere and the Raiders is ridiculously ironic.

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

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Love Stinks

Last week I posted about the unlikeness of a cat on a four-foot leash catching a chipmunk.
You'd think it would also be highly unlikely that a cat on a four-food leash would get sprayed by a skunk.
But you'd be wrong.

song: Love Stinks • artist: J. Geils Band

Friday, June 07, 2013

Walk This Way

When I go out for my nightly loop around Pine Bay I have to walk on Quaker Road for maybe 1/8 of a mile. It's the part of the walk where I encounter the most cars.
I've noticed that when I'm walking against the traffic (on my way out) the cars will generally pull way way over to the other side of the road when they drive past me. 
I hardly think this is necessary as I'm an averaged-sized person walking to the outside of the white line. I'd be happy if the cars just slowed down a bit - unless of course you're a really cr*ppy driver - then - by all means, pull way, way over and pass me on the opposite side of the street.
I've also noticed that on my way back, when I'm walking with the traffic (it seems silly to cross the street to walk against the traffic for 1/8th of a mile only to have to cross back on a curve to get to my road), the cars rarely veer to the other side of the road in fact they neither slow down nor pull over. You would think the cars would instead be more wary of me considering it's usually much darker when I'm walking home. 
My rationale for this is that because I'm technically not following the rules of the road and walking with the traffic the drivers figure they don't have to look out for me.
Kinda passive aggressive don't you think?

song: Walk this Way • artist: Aerosmith

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Waiting on a Friend

 Waiting for my best friend to wake up. #1

Waiting for my best friend to wake up. #2

song: Waiting on a Friend • artist: The Rolling Stones

Monday, June 03, 2013

Parenting is ...

being the only UNO player out of five who is actually keeping track of whose turn it is.

When I Come Around

If I over steep my green tea until it's bitter and tastes bad - is it still good for me?

song: When I Come Around • artist: Green Day

Friday, May 31, 2013

Coming Up Close

Leo caught a chipmunk yesterday which is pretty good for a cat who sits outside on the doorstep tethered to the plant stand by a four-foot leash.
I did manage to get her to drop it without having it dropped in my kitchen, it scampered off past the garage, none the worse for wear and a little wiser, I hope.
Wildlife, no matter how hard we try, we're still, with the best of intentions, hurting it.
While biking to school we saw a dead mouse on the bike path. Really? A biker out saving the world by not driving their gas guzzling and polluting car, had the misfortune of hitting a rodent? More misfortunate for the rodent obviously. An avid biker friend told me her husband once hit (and killed) a chipmunk. It just seems like dumb luck, like tying up your cat and having it still catch a chipmunk.
Other times it's just us who are dumb.
Someone threw their noodle lunch thingy out the window of their car on Quaker Road last week and it attracted one of our resident foxes (there's a family in the neighborhood), and he (I'm assuming it was the dad) stood in the middle of the street eating said noodles while cars thankfully slowed and went around him (one woman leaned out and took a photo with her cell phone) until I spoiled the fun by clearing the feast to the side of the road so the fox wouldn't ultimately get hit. Come on people - if you're going to throw your leftovers out the window at least make it the passenger window so wildlife doesn't have to stand in the middle of the street to eat it...

song: Coming Up Close • artist: 'Til Tuesday

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Parenting is...

thinking it's clever that your five-year-old twins are choosing to express their individuality by wearing two differently pattered socks until you realize that really what it means is that they are just creating dirty laundry twice as fast.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Pocket Full of Kryptonite

To the manufactures and designers of clothing for preschool-aged children: think pockets!
And it's not enough to just put pockets in their pants.
The twins have a closet full of shirts but they will only wear the four that have pockets.
Ditto for sweatshirts.
Ditto for sweaters.
Must have pockets.

song: Pocket Full of Kryptonite • artist: Spin Doctors

Friday, May 24, 2013

Round Here

This week was for the birds. On Monday I joined up with a Cape Cod Bird Club hike in town as part of a story I'm writing - and because I really like bird watching. In four hours I had more new birds to add to my life list than I'd managed to find in the past four years: scarlet tanager, orchard oriole, savannah sparrow, great crested flycatcher, indigo bunting, grasshopper sparrow. It was great. I was on a new-bird high. Then, on Wednesday, I'm upstairs in the bedroom and I look out the window and there's a great crested flycatcher on a tree outside the window, all of five feet away.
What gives?
I've never seen this bird before in my life until Monday - now I'm seeing it outside my own bedroom window? It was as if it was mocking me. But that would have made it a different bird all together wouldn't it?
Then, a day later, S asked me if birds could read. I think he meant specifically if they could read street signs. "No," I said. But how interesting is it to think that a child might assume an animal could read. Must be all those talking animals in picture books. If they can talk - why not read?
Today I myself wondered if I put frosting in our compost if the crows would get a sugar rush.

song: Round Here • artist: Counting Crows

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

When the Music's Over

I'm sorry about Ray Manzarek and all but I gotta say I'm really enjoying all the back-to-back Doors songs being played on the radio in tribute.

song: When the Music's Over • artist: The Doors

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Devil Went Down to Georgia

The Devil gets to go down the Georgia.
Mommy is lucky if she gets to walk around the block.

song: The Devil Went Down to Georgia • artist: The Charlie Daniels Band

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Maggie's Farm II

So there's this 5K race off Cape next weekend to benefit the National Farmers Market Association, an organization with headquarters in Washington,DC. 
The entry cost is $50, which, if you're a racing regular you'll agree is a steep entry fee for a 5K.
How steep? For example K and C ran a 5K race in Onset today with a $20 entry fee. The upcoming Falmouth Flag Day 5K is $25. Register online for the Paul White Memorial Road Race and it will only cost you $15.
"It's a benefit" we were informed when the high cost of the race was questioned. 
The majority of road races are benefits.
Again to today's race. It was benefit for the local YMCA's support fund which provides financial assistance to families who might not be able to otherwise afford to purchase memberships or participate in programs and camps. A worthy cause right?. The Flag Day race supports the town's education foundation, and the Paul White is a major fundraiser for the North Falmouth Village Association.
Now - if you know me at all you know I'm a ginormous fan of farms, farmers markets and all things local food related but I can't help but wonder how much this race is benefitting family farmers and local farmers markets.
Touted as family friendly - if two members of my family wanted to run the race it would cost us $100 - which doesn't seem family friendly to me. H has been known just the occasional 5K too - that would run us $150.
Granted there is a post race party with music, food and an expo - but other (cheaper) races also do up their post race events the right way.
The race is being promoted by a professional management company and it's chip timed which may account for some of the extra expense and you know what? People will probably come out and run it and feel good about supporting local farms though whether they are or not remains to be seen.
Want to support your local farm? Forget running 5Ks for $50 - for an extra $10 you can purchase a membership at Coonamessett Farm which will cover you for an entire season of visiting the farm and being able to go onto the property and pick and purchase your own fresh veggies. 
And if you still want to get in some exercise, a few trips up and back to visit the alpacas will certainly cover you for a distance of 5K.

song: Maggie's Farm • artist: Bob Dylan

Friday, May 17, 2013

Come to My Window

I don't know why we keep a running tab on a chalkboard in S & N's bedroom of whose turn it is to sleep on the outside of their bed when by the end of the night they are usually both in our bed anyway.
S said he doesn't like to sleep on the inside of the bed because he's afraid fingers are going to come in the window and grab him.
Where does a freaky idea like that come from? Too many Pixar movies? Too much of Dr. Suess's story of the spooky green pants with nobody inside them? Admittedly that story did freak out my sister when she was little.
I assured S that the window was locked and that he had N in the room to keep him from being scared plus me, daddy, C & H right down the hall. 
He said okay but added that he still thought about the fingers.
Now I can't stop thinking about them either!

song: Come to My Window • artist: Melissa Etheridge

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gone, Gone, Gone

Today the twins ate an entire bag of SeaSnax dried seaweed in the car on the way home from the health food store.
My tuna casserole they snub, but a big bag of kelp? Bring it on.

ps. In case you've never eaten seaweed and you're wondering, it's not as if seaweed tastes like chicken. Seaweed tastes like seaweed.

song: Gone, Gone, Gone • artist: Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother


Some Mother's Day love from H, who, as it turns out, knows me pretty well. 
The drawing's good too, though I rarely wear red and blue.

My Mom has : brown hair and blue eyes
Outside, my Mom loves to: watch us do stuff
Inside, my Mom loves to: cook
My Mom's favorite thing to eat is: my mom likes a lot of things
My Mom's favorite television show is: my mom don't watch television
My Mom loves to go to: Betsy's Diner.
My Mom likes when I: clean any room in the house

song: Mother • artist: John Lennon

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Wheel in the Sky

The old adage says that the squeaky wheel always gets the grease, but when it comes to mouse cages in our house, the squeaky wheel gets tossed out and replaced with a much quieter one.
Put that in your unpc pipe and smoke it.

song: Wheel in the Sky • artist: Journey

Walk This Way

Walk-to-School Day is my favorite day in the school calendar. But it should really be called Walk-to-School-and-Pick-Up-All-the-Litter-You-can-Comfortably-Collect-without-Falling-into-the-Ravine-by-the-Side-of-the-Road-or-Risking-a-Bad-Case-of-Poison-Ivy-and-then-have-your-Husband-Drop-off-your-Bike-at-the-School-so-you-Won't-Have-to-Walk-Home Day.
Too long?
Surely they could shorten it to WTSAPUATLYCCCWFITRBTSOTRORABCOPIATHYHDOYBATSSYWHTWH Day.

song: Walk this Way • artist: Aerosmith

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Parenting is ...

when living on the edge means maxing out your library card.
Fifty books, baby!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Green Grass and High Tides

Up until today I thought this song was "Green Grass and High Times Forever." Thanks Sirius for clearing that up. It should be Green Grass and High Times Forever, I mean look, it's even by The Outlaws.
Just for the record, I never thought it was Dirty Deeds and the Thunder Chief.

song: Green Grass and High Tides • artist: The Outlaws

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

You Spin Me Round


YES!
Spirograph is back! I loved, loved, loved Spirograph when I was a kid. Spent hours with it and hours later on doodling in spirograph-fashion in all my high school notebooks.
Spirograph and Colorforms. Two of the best open-ended toys ever created. So great I might even be able to overlook the plastic and vinyl that they're made out of.
The question is - do I buy it for my kids or cut out the pretense and just buy a set for myself?

song: You Spin Me Round • artist: Dead or Alive

Monday, April 22, 2013

What's Your Name?


You'd have thought J.R.R. Tolkein would have had the foresight not to give two of his evil characters names that have a difference of only two letters.
Saruman and Sauron - how's a kid (and his mom) supposed to keep them straight?

song: What's Your Name? • artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Let it Grow


video

An Earth Day message from S & N.

song: Let it Grow • artist: Eric Clapton

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Parenting is…

Accepting a fistful of dandelions with the same enthusiasm you would a bouquet of roses.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Hot Stuff

Things I forgot to pack:
the corkscrew
the cribbage board
the alarm clock
the umbrellas 

None of these omissions mattered too much. Well the corkscrew might have been a problem but we were able to borrow one. 
I always feel a bit like a player in the George Carlin riff "A Place for my Stuff" when I set my alarm clock, lip gloss, and hair barrette on the hotel-room or condo night stand. The part where he talks about going away on vacation but being okay with it because you still have "some of your stuff."
I thought too that with internet radio we could listen to WMVY even though we're 300 miles away from the Vineyard. But what's the point of traveling if every thing's just going to be familiar when you get there?

song: Hot Stuff • artist: Donna Summer

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thank You

First I'd like to thank the toll booth guy who walked over and gave me a ticket from his booth after I accidentally pulled up to an E-Z Pass booth while getting onto the New York State Thruway. 
Then I'd like to thank the two cars in line behind me - presumably legitimate E-Z Pass holders - who didn't honk their horns at me and curse at me.

song: Thank You • artist: Led Zeppelin

Run Runaway

The thing I love about a road race is that it's the only sporting event I know of where everyday competitors compete in the same event with world-class and olympic athletes. 
You or I can't compete in a swimming race with Michael Phelps, ski with Bode Miller, or golf against Tiger Woods. And not because those athletes are too stuck up to compete with the masses - their sports just aren't set up that way.
But running is different. A marathon is comprised of runners who will finish in 2 hours and 50 minutes as well as runners who will finish in 5 hours and 20 minutes and everyone in-between. 
Slower runners and older runners aren't relegated to another race. 
There may be categories within the race and there may by staggered starts. There may be 20,000 runners between you and Lelisa Desisa Benti but ultimately you and he are both in the same race.
It's the same for spectators. You can see some of the best runners in the world stream by only a few feet away as you stand along the edge of the road holding an encouraging sign and cheering for a college roommate, spouse, or track club friends.
If it's sweltering hot. The lead runners and sweltering hot too. If it's raining, everyone's getting wet.
Road racing is the most democratic of all sporting events. There's an openness to it that other sports competitions lack.
As with life, there's a real "we're all in this together" attitude that makes road racing special.

song: Run Runaway • artist: Slade

Friday, April 12, 2013

At Seventeen

So I hear the cicadas are making a return this year.
Cicada mania they called it on the radio.
I thought cicadas were every 17 years? Excuse me but it's only been 5 years since we last had cicadas and I can prove it because I blogged about it.  And this is a photo taken at Tony Andrews when were strawberry picking in 2008.
So to paraphrase Monty Python. That was never 17 years.


song: At Seventeen • artist: Janis Ian

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Share the Land

There were these two moms on the playground (and me) yesterday and one mom was telling the other how she'd chastised these parents on the beach last summer because the other parents' children didn't want her two-year-old son to join them in their sandcastle building."I told them they ought to teach their kids to share and that it was a public beach after all. I was just furious." She was furious too. I could hear how furious she was because I could hear her conversation perfectly clearly from well across the playground. But aside from being loud, was she right? Are other kids obliged to share the activity they are engaged in with anyone who asks to join? This sort of rule does apply at the elementary school level where at recess students can't exclude from their game other kids who want to join. Without making the focus of this post the school's rule let me just say I can see why the rule is in place and I have heard first-hand from my son about the rule's shortcomings, mainly that other kids want to join a game but not abide by the rules that the organizers of the game have already laid down, thus causing the game to fall apart. But back to the beach. I don't know the specifics of the incident such as how old the other kids were, did the little boy ask to join, or did his mom ask, and was he politely or rudely refused. Personally I think it's okay for a child to ask and another child to decline provided it's done politely. This is how things work at the preschool my twins attend. If you ask to join in with a child or children who are working on a puzzle, building a tower, or engaging in some other type of Montessori-established "work," the child who already has the work out can either say yes or "I'm working alone right now but you can have the blocks when I'm finished. "This would probably not work so well on a beach where children are unlikely to say "you can have our sandcastle when we're done with it," but as already noted by furious mom it was a public beach meaning surely there was enough sand to go around and anyone who wanted to could have built their own castle. Ecclesiastes should have included a verse on a time to share and a time to hoard. My kids know that at the library they have to share the toys because the toys there are the communal property of the library but I don't think kids should be forced to share - at all times - with anyone who asks. Isn't that likely to result in them resenting the whole idea of sharing? I especially don't think an older child should be forced, every time, to share a work in progress with a younger child who may inadvertently wreck it as in the case of the sandcastle and who knows maybe those two kids have younger siblings who weren't at the beach that day meaning this was one of the few days they could build an elaborate castle without the interference of a younger brother or sister. I know it's hard to see your child rejected by other kids. Believe me, I've seen my kids get the brush off, but generally speaking kids are more resilient than we give them credit for at least that's what I observe in my own children. Life isn't always going to hand you yeses, you've got to take the occasional no as well because it is only from a no that we'll learn to build our own sandcastles.

song: Share the Land • artist: The Guess Who

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Chocolate Cake

"You can't have your cake and eat it too."
What kind of stupid expression is that?
Why would you bother having some cake at all if you couldn't eat it?
Who makes this stuff up?
Don't get me wrong, I understand what the expression means, it's just that the cake analogy makes no sense. If you're a 10-year-old boy it means you can't sleep over your friend's house and expect your mom to clean your mouse cage while your gone. 


song: Chocolate Cake • artist: Crowded House

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Give It Up

A few posts back I wrote about the Starbuck's patron who paid for his latte by flashing his cell phone at the cashier. I believe there comes a time when a person has to just throw up their hands and say "I give up!" I cannot, will not, shall not learn how to use another piece of technology or participate in another type of social media. 
I won't tweet, tumblr, pin, linksy, Skype, facetime or vblog. 
How much social networking do we need anyway? 
Sure, I've had people ask me if I use Pinterest - "you'd love it," they say, "it's got all kind of great craft ideas." And no doubt it has and it's flattering that there are still some people who think I'm capable of keeping on top of this stuff but honestly I've got all kind of half-finished craft projects going on why would I want to spend time looking at more stuff?
And that's not to mention keeping the technology you already have up to date with new operating systems and new releases and updates to iTunes every other day. There are new phones, new interfaces, new computers, pads and pods.
I could see it if I  thought it was useful and necessary and I suppose to some people it is necessary. But not to me.
So I officially surrender. I step off the hamster wheel (or mouse wheel if you're at our house). I'm willing to read about, but not test drive, what comes next. I didn't think I'd label myself obsolete at 45 years old but there you go - life is full of surprises.
But for the record I did have one of the very first Macs. Way back in the mid 1980s - I had a Mac. 
I just want my kids to know that at one time their mom was cutting edge.

song: Give It Up • artist: Hothouse Flowers

Sunday, March 31, 2013

White Rabbit

The Easter bunny is a tough sell. 
Can anyone really explain the Easter Bunny?
At least Santa's human.
Here's what we learned this Easter. If the Easter bunny leaves eggs filled with chocolates in our yard late in the evening on the night before the holiday - there's a good chance some hungry animal, a raccoon me thinks, will maul a few of the eggs, eat the chocolates and leave our kids just the wrappers.Another important thing to remember is that when you call the Easter bunny on the telephone, don't hand the phone off to your children before you check and make sure it really is the Easter bunny - and not just some poor confused woman on the other end.

song: White Rabbit • artist: Jefferson Airplane

Monday, March 25, 2013

Maggie's Farm

I'd like to lump Coonamessett Farm in with the Farmers Market vendors and implore you all to support them as well. I've heard the arguments as far as the farm is concerned. Why go there for blueberries in July when you can get them at the supermarket - and for less money!
It's hard to know where to begin with this argument. As I see it - it's a no brainer. Anything picked at the farm just plain tastes better. Much better. I can get tomatoes in January but what's the point when they taste like cr*p? Ditto for strawberries, melons, rock-hard peaches - you name it. Fruits and vegetables should be consumed in their proper seasons. We should gorge ourselves on watermelon and corn on the cob in summer until we are sick to death of them knowing that it will be nine or ten months before they'll be coming around again. There's a reason they call it summer squash.
And now for the less money argument. Yes. It it more expensive than the supermarket. That's because it's better than the supermarket. We can all understand that when you buy something handmade or handcrafted it's more expensive than the same product mass produced. We understand it in everything except for food that is. These strawberries were grown by the guy around the corner with no middle man - why can't he sell it cheaper than the companies that ship vegetables to the chain shops? Well for one thing your neighbor likely isn't getting any farm subsidies - the farm bill mostly supports big agriculture. Your local farmer produces less, owns less land, and employs growing practices that cost more money. But forget all that for a moment and think of this. We're talking about the food you eat. The food your family eats. What could be more important? What could be worth paying a bit more for if you can afford it?
I've also heard people say they aren't renewing their farm membership because their children are too old to want to go there anymore and feed the chickens; as if farms (like super sugary breakfast cereals) are only for kids.
To that argument I say - what are there organizations you support? Audubon? The Humane Society? The Appalachian Mountain Club? Do you reap all the benefits of your membership? 
We belong to Mass Audubon which means we're entitled to waived entrance fees at all the Massachusetts Audubon sanctuaries. If I'm on my game we might visit one or two sanctuaries per year which doesn't cover the cost of membership. My membership to the AMC entitles me to discounted lodge stays. We manage one weekend per year at an AMC lodge and while I love staying there, the discount is not equal to the amount we pay for a yearly membership. And yet I still reup these memberships. What's more, I donate to my local NPR station knowing that my only perk is that my local NPR station (hopefully) will not go anywhere. Anywhere like away that is. It's my hope that Coonamessett Farm likewise does not go away. If that's your hope I would entreat you to renew your farm membership, regardless of whether or not you think you'll visit the farm enough times to justify the cost. Here's how I see it. Would you rather support Coonamessett Farm with a yearly membership or drive down Hatchville Road years from now and pass the Coonamessett Farm Condominium Development? Besides, if you join - it might encourage you to visit more often, which will be good for everyone.

song: Maggie's Farm • artist: Bob Dylan