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

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

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