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

Friday, March 22, 2013

Main Street

It's harder to write about the things you really care about than the things that come from off the cuff. And not because you fear rejection or because you are afraid of being judged. It's harder because you don't know where to begin.
Starting off with a topic that you don't know about or aren't invested in puts you at a level playing field with most everyone else. Starting off with a topic that you do know something about or that you're passionate about requires that you realize others don't know or don't care about said topic with as much feeling as you do which is hard, because when you love something it's difficult to understand why everyone else doesn't feel the same way. 
Our town's main street merchants have complained about traffic congestion caused by the farmers market that's held weekly from May through October in the small park kitty-corner to the library.
Their objection is that the traffic and lack of parking deters would-be shoppers.
I contest that the farmers market is the only thing that draws me to Main Street Falmouth during the summer season and while it was difficult when the twins were younger to find parking and ferry the boys from the parking lot to the market, it's easier now that they are older.
If I can make the effort to navigate the traffic, find parking at an off-site location, and walk my four children from where I parked the car to where the market takes place - because I have a vested interest in going to the market every week - then I believe the people who want to come to Main Street, to shop, to have their hair styled, or to eat lunch will be equally likely to persevere in order to reach their final destination.
The farmers market doesn't compete with the merchants. There are no grocery stores on main street. Instead the market creates and invites community, invites people to slow down, perhaps even stop and talk to each other or listen to the occasional live music. The market appeals to all our senses: sight, sound, smell, touch and taste; and thereby awakens us to our surroundings. Instead of rushing past on our way from point A to point B the market encourages us to slow down and take a look around. Might we not, after slowing down, notice a new store front or an enticing sandwich board and take the time to investigate?
The farmers market reminds us that shopping can be a warm, interactive venture and not just something impersonal done with the click of a button via a computer at 11 o'clock at night. Might this revelation not benefit the shop owner as well as the farmer?
In the musical Oklahoma Aunt Eller implores the farmer and the cowboy to be friends. Today it's the farmer and the store owner. 
I'm sure there's a way for both to coexist and even to mutually benefit of the other.

song: Main Street • artist: Bob Seger

Parenting is ...

resisting the urge to stand under the hot shower - all day.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Parenting is ...

telling your sons they can't eat in the bathroom, because "food and poop don't mix."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Brave New World II

If you don't know what bathroom talk is then you've never parented young boys.
I was explaining to S & N the other day that they would be sent to the principal's office if they used bathroom talk when they were in kindergarten.
They in turn asked me if the principal had a gun - or a sword.
I said that the NRA is working on it but that she doesn't have one yet.
Not yet.

book: Brave New World • author: Aldous Huxley

Brave New World

Yesterday I saw the guy in line before me at Starbucks pay for his coffee with his cell phone. I asked the cashier how does one pay for a cup of coffee using a cell phone and he explained that Starbucks has an app and you can key in your Starbucks gift cards; at checkout the card's barcode gets called up on the phone which can then be swiped with a hand-held scanner thereby deducting the amount from the value of the card.
I paid for my cup of tea using cash and walked to my seat feeling like Rip Van Winkle waking up 20 years into the future.

book: Brave New World • author: Aldous Huxley

Monday, March 18, 2013

Stand or Fall

Seriously, we can invent the internet but we can't invent a name tag sticker than can be removed without leaving glue all over the sweatshirt it was stuck to? 
We're all walking around with computers in our pants' pockets but we can't come up with a zipper that will outlast the garment (or sleeping bag) that it's attached to?
There's a rover on Mars but all our pencil erasers are worn out or rock hard well before the pencil's even half gone.

song: Stand or Fall • artist: The Fixx

Just One Look

My post is being featured on Blogher!
Check it out!

song: Just One Look • artist: Linda Ronstadt

99 Luftballoons

There were balloons at church yesterday. My first big Unitarian Universalist disappointment.
I hate balloons. And not just for environmental reasons.
I have a pathological fear of them which stems (I think) from an early memory of them popping very close to me, possible when we were in Florida. Ask anyone. They'll tell you. Yes, Joanne hates balloons. I'm a real killjoy. I would rather drink bacon grease than buy my kids helium balloons for their birthdays and since you've never seem me with a big mug o' bacon grease you can assume you've never seen any of my kids giddy over helium balloons on their birthday. Poor them. Poor me.
Like fireworks on July 4th I just can't see the point. Plus they smell gross.

Why oh why do people release a bunch of airborne litter to celebrate a wedding or graduation?
I don't want my kids to have balloons but somehow they acquire them usually from a well-meaning shop vendor or at another child's birthday; and then I have to feign empathy when they subsequently (and almost immediately) implode.
And don't get me started on that movie, "The Red Balloon." A classic? Psychiatric trauma fest is more like it.
Balloons just drive home the point that life is fleeting.
How do you want to go out? With a bang? Car accident? Drug overdose? Heart attack? Crushed by a vending machine?
Or would you rather expire slowly, like the balloon that overstays its welcome, leeks its helium, sinks to the floor and finally shrivels up. Cancer? Heart disease? Debilitating stroke?
Pick your poison. Or just stay away from the bleeding balloons and avoid the existential crisis in the first place.

song: 99 Luftballons • artist: Nena

Fire and Rain

Weather Underground predicts "ice pellets" for tomorrow night.
What the heck are ice pellets?
It's like they know they'll never be right so now they're just making stuff up.

song: Fire and Rain • artist: James Taylor

Friday, March 15, 2013

Parenting is ...

Shouting a half dozen times at your children to not run in the preschool parking lot and then running yourself in order to keep up with them when they don't listen.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I'm A Boy II

Let's go back for a moment to my post about what little boys want. What I said was that they want to be little girls but upon further consideration - perhaps that's not what I meant. It's not that they want to be little girls rather they want the trapping that little girls are entitled to.
At church on Sunday the minister talked about Bread and Roses on account of Women's History Month. Bread and Roses has an historical reference but roughly it means demanding not only the means by which to survive (bread) this life but also demanding a life with some beauty in it (roses).
I was reminded of when Gilbert & Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance sing that all they ask is "life, with just a touch of poetry in it." 
It also reminded me of a scene in the play "I Read about my Death in Vogue Magazine" when the actresses come out dressed as men, pick up a handful of women's accouterments and utter phrases like, "I'm burning these - women's things," and "I'm studying these - women's things," and "I'm confiscating these - women's things." 
I think what the boys want is what those striking factory workers in Lawrence wanted one hundred and one years ago, not just to be provided for, but a little art, a little beauty, a little poetry, beaded bracelets with big colorful flowers on them along with the freedom to enjoy life's roses. Seems to me men are only respected when they stick to the bread side of things.

song: I'm a Boy • artist: The Who

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Year's Day

This year's New Years resolution was to pick up (at least) one piece of litter every day. Minus three days when we couldn't get out because of snow (and we wouldn't have been able to find anything under the snow anyway), we've kept to things pretty well.
I can tell you based on unscientific research that the majority of our side-of-the-road trash in Falmouth (excluding cigarette butts) consists of nip and water/sports drink bottles, plastic silverware, plastic drinking straws, and cups (paper, plastic & styrofoam) from fast food restaurants.
Of course there is no point in anything that cannot be self promoted so if you want to read about our adventures in litterland it's at or click on the button to the right.

song: New Year's Day • artist: U2

Saturday, March 09, 2013

I'm A Boy

I think a little boy's first disappoint is that he's not a little girl.
Once one of the twins asked me when he was going to be a girl and then got very put out when I said he wasn't. I had to break it to him: "once you're a boy, you stay a boy."
I recall C lamented once that as he was a boy he'd never get to be a Mommy. When I offered that he could be a daddy it seemed like little consolation.
The other day S asked me if pink was a girl color. I said some girls like pink, but girls like lots of other colors too. Then I asked him what his favorite color was and he replied "purple" but I suspect his first choice might have been pink and he was only settling on purple as a more socially acceptable substitute.
Then this morning S had one of my bracelets on and asked me if only girls wore them. I reminded him that his older brother sported at least a half-dozen sailors bracelets. But I know what he really meant. Do boys wear beaded bracelets with colorful flowers on them? 
I was helping at the elementary school recently and a first-grade boy said he liked my bracelet (the same one S admired this morning). Then he asked me if I'd like to see his bracelets. 
I said I sure would.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Monday, March 04, 2013

Up Against The Wall

The last time H had indoor soccer practice there was some kind of incident in which another player made off with his soccer ball leaving H moping and unable to play for the rest of practice. 
I did not observe said incident as H had gotten a ride to practice with Tom, and Ken had gone in for the pick up. I had not in fact watched any of H's practices, being more of the "drop and run" type of mom than the "stay and watch" variety.
Last Sunday I had decided in advance that I would go to practice and stay and watch; my hope being that a) I would be there in the event anything went wrong, and b) H would play better if he knew I was watching him. Let's just say I hope he wasn't playing better on account of my presence because that would mean that it's possible for him to play worse. Let's also say that I need to find him a sport wherein he can spend copious amounts of time on the ground because that is where, from what I can see, he most enjoys being.
So I'm there and I'm by the doorway to the gymnasium and I'm talking to another mother and the conversation's going pretty well, at least in my mind, and I'm pleasantly surprised because I don't usually hit it off with other parents. But then they break the kids up into smaller groups and H gets sent way down to the other side of the gym and after a few minutes I reluctantly excuse myself and head over there so I can do what I came to do - which is watch H (and order seeds for this year's garden). I'm there on this long bench flipping through my seed catalogue and watching when I see this boy who's crying and the coach is trying to console him but he's still crying and his parents must not be in the building because he's walked over to the bench - my bench - and told to join the game when he feels better.
Now he's on the bench, and I'm on the bench, and I feel a bit like we're in an Arlo Guthrie song. And let's just say that as bad as I am at talking to other parents - I am 100 times worse at talking to crying seven-year-old boys who are not my own children.
I try convincing myself that he'd rather be left alone and go about my business, then I give him what I hope is a sufficiently sympathetic glance all the while thinking that every other parent in the gym must be wondering why I'm not trying to help this kid.
Finally I do the only thing I can think of. I slide over a little closer to him and say "I'm sorry you're sad." Then I say, "do you like vegetables?" 
He tells me he's more of a meat and fruit kind of guy (so is H). Then I show him the selection of carrots in the catalogue and say, "look here - I can get 150 carrots seeds for $1.65. That's about a penny a carrot."
He agrees that that is a very good deal.
We weigh the pros and cons of cooked carrots verses carrot sticks and lo and behold soon we are talking gardens and fences and rabbits and sunflowers and finally he says, "looks like they're going to scrimmage soon." And I say, "well, it's been fun talking with you but maybe you'd rather go and play." And he does!

song: Up Against The Wall • Fiction Family

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Parenting is ...

knowing that no matter how many glasses of fruit smoothies you drink, you'll still need a handful of M&Ms to make it through the day.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

clerihew for Dr. Suess

A very happy birthday to Dr. Seuss.
creator of Horton and Thidwick the Moose.
Yertle, the Grinch, and those two stubborn Zax.
Bartholomew Cubbins, the Once-ler, and the Lorax.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Bed Are Burning

When a single recipe calls for cooking some vegetables in canola oil and others in sesame oil I just assume they are trying to mess with me.

song: Beds Are Burning • artist: Midnight Oil