Sunday, December 31, 2006

Remember When the Music

MVY is showcasing its picks for the top 25 albums of 2006. This year they are playing songs from the selected albums over the course of an hour of programming a piece. The songs are interspersed - diluted if you will - between other songs, news, and advertising. In past years the station has played albums in their entirety, from start to finish, with barely a station identification break in the middle.
What's going on here? Is it that we no longer have the attention span to listen to several songs in a row by the same artist? Is it because we can't listen to less-popular songs unless they are precluded, and then followed by, something familiar? Or is it just because the station can't sell advertising around large chunks of uninterrupted music? Is something lost in never hearing an album from beginning to end with the songs in the order the artist originally intended? Do musicians and songwriters even consider the total package any more or do they just strive for one hit at a time, figuring that people are just going onto online and downloading the one or two songs they like.
Whatever the reason, it stinks. Not because I'm a big fan of any of this year's top 25, most of the artists I haven't even heard of, except for Death Cab for Cuties, but I can't actually name anything they sing. I just think it's a sad state of affairs when we can't concentrate on one particular group or musician for a full 40 minutes. No wonder attendance is down at the symphony, who can sit through a whole concerto in D minor?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Cat's In the Cradle

Cats are like children, they always get sick just before the weekend. I was feeling remiss that I didn't bring her in yesterday, since my parents have the kids and it would have been less of on ordeal to not have to load everyone into the car. But there were eagle scouts to interview and drawing classes to attend so the cat had to stay in the bathroom all day. Not to mention I had forgotten the most important thing about taking the cat to the vet - it's more entertaining than anything I could dream up to do with my kids.
This morning I told C that we had to take kitty to the vet after breakfast. He lowered his head and smiled.
"Know why I like to take kitty to the vet," he asked me.
"Why"
"I like to put her in the little cage and when she's in the cage I can talk to her and when we get home I can open the door and let her out of the cage. It's sad when she's sick and I'm her friend."
Sad for who? I wondered.
Even my younger son was in on the action, down on his belly checking out the cat, who C insisted I put into the cage a full half-hour before her appointment.
There's nothing like seeing the family pet incarcerated, except that is, seeing the family pet get a shot.
"Kitty doesn't even get a band-aid," empathized my son.

song: Cat's In the Cradle • artist: Harry Chapin

Back Door Man

On Wednesday I went out to hang up the laundry and inadvertently startled a hawk that was dining on some dead something-or-other over by the water barrel. It flew off, prey in its claws, pursued by a flock of crows. Incidentally, a flock of crows can also be called a "murder" of crows. Anyway, the hawk flew into our neighbor's yard and straight into one of Jim's large picture windows. It then bounced off the window and flew erratically towards the trees in Jim's front yard; still followed by the crows, still holding onto its breakfast.
Thursday morning I went out to hang laundry and after I'd been outside for a few minutes a fox came out from beneath the bunk house, gave me a disdainful look, and slunk off towards Betsy's yard.
Thank goodness for the laundry or I'd never see any wildlife.

song: Back Door Man • artist: The Doors

Friday, December 29, 2006

Extra Ordinary

Live a life less ordinary
Live a life extraordinary
-Carbon Leaf

When I look back on my ordinary, ordinary life,
I see so much magic, though I missed it at the time.
-Jamie Cullum

So which is it?
MVY has played these two songs back-to-back without eluding to the obvious disparity in their lyrics. Guess they don't want to choose sides.

song: Extra Ordinary • artist: Better Than Ezra

57 Channels

I was describing my Adelphia to Comcast conversion woes to a friend today when I had one of those moments of revelation when you think, "OMG, I'm complaining about my e-mail when there are starving people in the world."
I sometimes have the same feeling when I gripe about there being nothing on cable; that little voice inside my head chides: "you should be grateful you can afford cable television. Rejoice in your comfy bourgeoisie lifestyle and think how lucky you are to be able to watch Scarface every night of the week.
This is what comes from going to church too often.

song: 57 Channels (and nothin' on) • artist: Bruce Springsteen

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Afternoon Delight

Unlike his older brother, my nineteen-month old can spend an entire afternoon in his crib. He loves it in there. He talks to himself: "ball, ball, ball, caw-caw, ball, ball, ball." He looks at his board books and hugs his stuffed animals and then throws them all on the floor, along with his socks. Eventually he falls asleep. When he wakes up it's the same routine all over again.
When I go upstairs to fetch him out he genuinely looks surprised, as if to say, "What? You've come to take me away from all this?"
I could stick War and Peace in there with him and he'd have it read by dinnertime.

song: Afternoon Delight • artist: Starland Vocal Band

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

It's the Same Old Song

Though he might disagree, I think Ken and I gave each other presents that we ourselves wanted for Christmas. For example, I gave him Johnny Cash's last recording and he in return gave me AC/DC's Back in Black. I did own this on cassette many years ago, which is surprising because I was more of an Air Supply fan then a head banger, but you just can't jog to "All out of Love" like you can to "You Shook Me All Night Long."
I love how new advances in technology have forced us to repurchase the same music we bought as kids. Seems there's something not very technologically advanced about that.
Anyway, just to set the record straight for next Christmas, I also owned Def Leppard twenty years ago but I haven't been pining for "Pyromania" lately. Although, perhaps my husband is.

song: It's the Same Old Song • artist: The Four Tops

You've Been So Good up to Now

So it went pretty well yesterday. Since neither of the kids watches a lot of television or takes frequent trips to the store, there wasn't one particular gift either was looking for and subsequently they were happy with whatever Santa brought. My younger son, at 19-months, would have been happy with just wrapping paper and boxes. My older son is convinced, however, that he got extra loot from Santa because he went to bed on Christmas Eve with a stomach ache and his bucket. A stomach ache no doubt brought on by the anticipation of Santa's arrival, since the first words out of his mouth coming down the stairs that morning were, "Santa's coming tonight!"
It's an interesting hypothesis though - that Santa might grade on a curve. If, say, Billy, wasn't very good during the year but he had a tonsillectomy in December he might still make out on Christmas morning. Not a good theory to publicize though, think of the ramifications. It would be like college students cramming for finals; on the last week of the year hospitals would full of preschool and elementary school children with broken arms and legs. It would be better to convince the kids that what Santa is really looking for is children who can sleep all night in their own beds and not wake up until at least 8AM. That and no guffing at bedtime.

song: You've Been So Good up to Now • artist: Lyle Lovett

Monday, December 25, 2006

We Need A Little Christmas


"For I've grown a little leaner,
Grown a little colder,
Grown a little sadder,
Grown a little older,
And I need a little angel
Sitting on my shoulder,
Need a little Christmas now."

song: We Need A Little Christmas • soundtrack: Mame

Someone's Looking at You

My son decided that the best way for us to help Santa would be to go to other children's houses and inquire of their mothers whether the children who live there have been good or not. "We could write them down and then Santa would know who is bad."
I sense a career in law enforcement; or maybe bounty hunting.

song: Someone's Looking at You • artist: The Boomtown Rats

Sunday, December 24, 2006

You Decorated My Life


My new creative outlet.

song: You Decorated My Life • artist: Kenny Rogers

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Waiting in Vain

There wasn't any preschool this week, nor is there any next week. I understand the teachers need a vacation but my four-year old does not. Especially the week before Christmas. What's worse than having to wait for Christmas when you're four? Not having your usual routine which gets you out of the house two mornings a week and makes time pass quicker. Instead he's stuck at home with his mom and younger brother, waiting and waiting for it to be Christmas, or staring at the Christmas tree and announcing infractions which will cause his little brother not to receive any toys from Santa.
"H is throwing his toys. Let's leave Santa a note and tell him he shouldn't get any presents."
Even with the Advent calendar to help count down the days, he's still asking me, "when will it be Christmas?" I tell him I'd like to know myself.
We watched "Santa Claus is coming to Town" the other night. Ken bought the DVD (along with Frosty the Snowman) but I told my son they were from the library so we wouldn't have to be watching them in April. He didn't seem to get the underlying concept of the movie, he kept asking: "why is that Chris Kringle guy dressed up as Santa Claus?"
He's painted some wooden ornaments that I need to put strings on and we've made a new construction-paper chain which wraps around the entire tree. When I'm totally out of ideas, there are always cookies to bake. We've made about twelve-dozen of the world's most unhygienic cookies this month. I can get him to wash his hands before we start but then we're rolling out cookie dough and he's wiping his hands up and down his sweater, or rolling the dough right off the wax paper onto the countertop, or blowing flour off the rolling pin so forcefully he's spitting across the counter. Then we go out and give the cookies to unsuspecting friends, neighbors, and our librarian friends. My coworker said not to worry, they were cooked after all, but I don't know, having witnessed what goes on behind the scenes, I suggest folks should be wary of kids bearing cookies. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

song: Waiting in Vain • artist: Bob Marley

cleanliness lament (a couplet)

Why is it my children would rather stay grubby
than get in the bathtub and take a tubby?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Beautiful Dreamer

Twas a few nights before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. That's because the mouse was dead - I heard the trap spring. As dead as a door knob. As dead as Jacob Marley to use a seasonally-appropriate metaphor. To be specific, the mouse was in the trap with a probable broken neck and Ken, who was not in his cap, wouldn't get up to go downstairs and remove it's lifeless body from the kitchen so his wife could sleep peacefully with visions of sugar plums, and not rodent carnage, dancing in her head.

song: beautiful dreamer • artist: Stephen Foster

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Can't Find My Way Home

OMG! It was on AMC again last night - Scarface! It's December 20th, shouldn't they be showing reruns of It's a Wonderful Life? I don't know about you, but the Cuban mafia doesn't put me in the holiday spirit.
The word of the week at our house is camouflage. I don't even know how it came up but C's fixated on pointing out things that are camouflaged. The flounder at the Woods Hole aquarium on Monday, the green M&Ms on top of the green sprinkles on the cookies he decorated at the library yesterday, and this morning it was my yoga mat and block.
"No wonder you couldn't find that gray block Mommy, it was in the back of your closet behind all your black clothes. It was camouflaged."

song: Can't Find My Way Home • artist: Eric Clapton

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

insomnia (a list poem)

is the heat turned off
who do i hear cough

where's my cat
am i getting fat

is this a caffeine rush
i feel i must be flush

what will the next supplement stories be
does anyone take me seriously

will those water jugs freeze in the car
how has my life turned out so far

are you still awake
am i making a mistake

i can't believe it's two o'clock
did i check the front door lock

where did my son leave his sippy cup
maybe i should just get up

Brokedown

The movie version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer features the island of misfit toys. At our house we have the "shelf of broken Christmas tree ornaments."
There's a snowman that H pulled an arm off of and a second snowman who is missing his banner which reads "joy." I was thinking of gluing the little letters back on out of order, have it read "yoj" instead.
Then there's the "please don't play with that glass bird ornament because it's a fragile," now missing its head, and a "woof woof" in a Christmas stocking that H took off the tree for closer inspection one too many times.

song: Brokedown • artist: Slaid Cleaves

Out of Touch

It has been a long, and mostly useless, day trying to transition from Adelphia to Comcast. Things are not going well. So far the mail goes out but does not come in and may not be coming in for another 24 to 72 hours. It's difficult to be a Mac user in a PC world.
I'll keep you all posted, knowing as well I know, that the only thing more boring than reading about someone else's children, is reading about their computer problems.

song: Out of Touch • artist: Hall & Oates

If You Could Read My Mind

Book club is reading Richard Russo's Straight Man for January. I'm trying desperately to finish though it's nearly 400 pages and I still haven't finished the Omnivore's Dilemma which I started in July. I've never read Empire Falls, Mr. Russo's most well-known work, though I'm enjoying his self-deprecating writing style. It's how I would wish to sound if I were to attempt to write anything longer than six paragraphs.
I sometimes wonder if everyone has at least one great novel in them. How many excellent books by first-time writers are out there which are followed up by mediocre second novels if they're followed up at all?
Mark Hadden's second book only received a fair review in Sunday's Boston Globe. Mr. Hadden's first book for adults, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is the town pick for Year of the Reader 2007. Happily we read it in book club last year so I'll be able to discuss the book and appear well read without having to actually squeeze in an extra read - as if it would be possible.
On a related note H's favorite book is Wheels on the Bus, the interactive version illustrated by Paul Zelinsky. It's the book I'm most frequently requested to read through his toddler pantomime - he hands me the book then pats the couch - I am suppose to sit down and read. His second favorite is Helen Oxenbury's Tickle Tickle, because he anticipates the big climax - the tickle, tickle - on the last page.
His big brother's book du jour is The Case of the Dumb Bells by Crosby Bonsall; part of a series of I Can Read detective novels by the same author. The book's copyright is 1966 which might explain why the overweight kid is inappropriately nicknamed Tubby. I'm a little disappointed in Ms. Bonsall, I think she should have known better.

song: If You Could Read My Mind • artist: Gordon Lightfoot

Tannenbaum Tercet

Our Christmas tree,
Decorated randomly.
Plainly suits me.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Silent Night

Top Ten Least Favorite Secular Holiday Songs
(There are so many, it's hard to know where to begin)

1. We Need A Little Christmas - by Percy Faith. It's so watered down compared to the Angela Lansbury version from Mame.
2. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus. I hated this song long before my son started asking me uncomfortable questions about it.
3. All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth. Not even having children of my own can convince me this song is cute in any way, shape, or form.
4. Santa Baby. Don't like it when Eartha Kitt sings it, like it even less when Madonna sings it.
5. Any tear-jerking holiday song which exists only to make you sad at Christmas. Examples are that song about the Christmas cat that had Canadians in tears a few years ago and that one about the little boy who wants to get his dying mother a new pair of shoes for Christmas. If you want to be depressed about the holidays just read Hans Christian Andersen's Little Matchstick Girl.
6. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Maybe it's just me but I find this song to be as irritating as I find Frosty endearing.
7. Little Saint Nick - the Beach Boys. Misguided holiday classic wannabe. Radio stations should stop playing it.
8. Destination Christmas songs like Christmas in Killarney or Christmas in the Caribbean do nothing for me. Maybe if I were Irish or taking a cruise this Christmas (like some people I know!).
9. Any Christmas song by the Chipmunks. Again, not cute!
10. If I were a Carpenter - by Bobby Darin. What's that you say? This isn't a Christmas song at all? Then why is it on my "Crooners at Christmas" CD? It's not even the last song on the album, a space filler as it were, no, it's number seven!

song: Silent Night

Don't Stop the Music

There's this war going on in Iraq with no end in sight; people being massacred in Sudan, and global warming threatening to sink half the Cape, but what's got everyone all up in arms and spewing out letters to the editor?
The possibility of piped-in music on Main Street.

song: Don't Stop the Music • artist: Yarbrough & Peoples

Dancing With Myself

They put ivy wreaths on their heads, held onto a long scarf, and folk danced in a circle around a lantern and then around a hat. My son held the circle scarf in the wrong hand causing him to have to side step through the entire first dance. Lots of parents and grandparents took videos. Afterwards there was cider and cupcakes.
"Was that my first time dancing in front of other people?" he asked when we got home.
The boy who can remember every face-down card in a game of concentration isn't sure if he's been in other preschool dance performances or not.
Guess that's why there was so much video taping going on.

song: Dancing with Myself • artist: Billy Idol

Friday, December 15, 2006

Not Fade Away

After several months of saying we would, I finally got together with a high school acquaintance last month. We had a lively and heartfelt conversation about the kinds of feelings a twentieth reunion inspires - what we've accomplished in the past twenty years, what's worked out, what hasn't; and what things, try as we might have in high school, we could have never predicted would happen.
In the past year, in addition to this pleasant meeting, my class reunion and this blog have led me to be in touch with some other people I'd since lost contact. Prior to this, I'd made the observation to another friend that it's sad to no longer be in contact with the people who were once integral parts of your life. The people who were there when formative memories were made. Without those people to share the memory, I surmised, it's like the event never happened. This, I suppose, is why people of specific generations gravitate towards other people of the same age. There's shared memories, even if the people didn't know each other or didn't even live in the same proximity when they were growing up. They still share the same popular music and can relate to the same historical events. In my case I could approach anyone who graduated in 1986 and ask them where they were when they heard about the Challenger explosion. I was in the school library. Amy came in and made an announcement to that affect but no one paid her any mind, she always did have a flair for the dramatic.
What I've realized this past year, however, is that even the people who were closest to you at the time may not remember the significant events that you remember with the same intensity that you do. Incredibly, they may not remember them at all.
Extrapolating on this theme I could ask my husband what specifics he remembers about our wedding day. Granted there are probably some things he and I both remember, seven years isn’t that long ago; but there are, no doubt, things that I remember that he has no recollection of whatsoever, and vice versa.
In a like manner I think about all the memories I now have of my sons, things that we’ve done together. Since when do my parents play a starring role in any of my childhood memories? A few family vacations but that’s about it.
What it comes down to then is the memories that are special to you really are yours alone, regardless of how many high school or college friends you still keep in touch with. Which isn't to say you shouldn't reconnect, happily it may lead you to a memory you had previously forgotten. Just be forewarned and don’t be too disappointed when what seemed pivotal to you at the time, barely registers on someone else's radar.

song: Not Fade Away artist: Buddy Holly

Do You Hear What I Hear?

My top ten list of favorite secular Christmas songs:
1. We Need A Little Christmas - Angela Lansbury. From the soundtrack to Mame, not the lame Percy Faith version with half the lyrics left out.
2. Father Christmas - Emerson, Lake, and Palmer. I love the last line, "the Christmas we get, we deserve," no sugar coating there.
3. Merry Christmas Darling - The Carpenters. I know it's corny but I can't help it.
4. Blue Christmas – Elvis. of course!
5. Same Old Lang Syne - Dan Fogelberg. Like Father Christmas this is yet another bitter-sweet holiday tune, must be the cynic in me.
6. Frosty the Snowman - Jimmy Durante. I wish I had Frosty’s positive outlook on life.
7. Do They Know it's Christmas? - Band Aid. It's so 80s!
8. Happy Christmas (War is Over) - John Lennon & Yoko Ono. Even though, as I’ve been told, “the 60s are over.”
9. You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch - Thurl Ravenscroft. You're a crooked jerky jockey, and you drive a crooked horse, Mr. President. (Opps, I mean, Mr. Grinch!)
10. Christmastime is Here - Vince Guaradli. This is the theme from a Charlie Brown Christmas for anyone who might know the music but not the actual name of the piece.

song: Do You Hear What I Hear?

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Name of the Game

Some parents have been known to debate the pros and cons of purposefully allowing their children to win at board games; should they or shouldn't they?
Anyone with this concern, and a deck of cards, can rest assured - if you play concentration with a four-year old, you will legitimately lose at least fifty percent of the time despite your best efforts.
No matter how hard I concentrate, my concentration doesn't last long enough. When it's his turn he takes his time, and time to him is not a concrete concept to begin with. He'll start telling some unrelated story, or requesting a Kleenex, skillfully trying to distract me while I sit there thinking "hurry up! I can only remember where that queen is for another five seconds!"
Not only will you lose but then you'll have your nose rubbed in it in a way that only a four-year old can accomplish by repeating phrases like: "I really cleaned up, didn't I, mommy?" or "I thought it would be a tie but then I was the winner. I had thirteen pairs and you only had twelve (we have cards missing from our deck.)"
Even worse, after they mention their incredulous thirteen-to-twelve-pair win five or six hundred times, they'll ruminate on the final plays of the game leading up to the big win: "First I picked up those tens, then I picked those two fours, then I got the nines, and then the queens." How the heck did they remember that?
Your only real chance at the game is to initiate it just before their bedtime.

song: The Name of the Game • artist: Abba

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Who Loves You Better

Here is a photograph of our Christmas stockings. I present the photograph not so you'll be jealous that my family has hand-knit stockings with our names stitched into the tops, courtesy of my mother, but to point out the large discrepancy in stocking size.
I know what you're thinking, does size really matter? Get your mind out of the gutter! It's a Christmas stocking, of course size matters! It matters in the other respect as well, who are we kidding, but this is a family blog so let's just move on.
As mentioned, my mother created these stockings. Mine is the oldest of the group, and as you can plainly see, the smallest. Ken's is at least seven years old and, while larger than mind, not nearly as large as the two that belong to our children.
My mother claims to have used the same instructions and the same size needles on all four stockings and yet has no explanation for the obvious size differences. I have to call it like I see it and it looks like blatant favoritism to me; not to mention that I'm left to stuff these gargantuan socks for my children.

song: Who Loves You Better • artist: Lyle Lovett

Paperback Writer

Okay, I know I just made fun of that jewelry ad, so I realize it's ironic that I'm going to make this sales pitch - but - if you're looking for a gift for a friend who just became a mother, or even a friend who has been a mother for a while, I recommend a subscription to Brain Child. This is assuming of course that said mother has time to read but even if they don't have time for an entire book, a magazine can be stuck into a bag or left in the car to be read while waiting to pick up a kid after school or during Spanish lessons.
Brain, Child contains a great mix of fiction and non-fiction articles written about the experience of parenting. Yes, they are mostly written by moms, but dad's can and have contributed. Unlike mainstream conservative parenting magazines, every issue does not contain an article promising to help parents save money for that dream trip to Disney World; and unlike mainstream liberal parenting magazines, every issue does not contain an article about the moral highroad of home birthing.

song: Paperback Writer • artist: the Beatles

Travelin' Man

In October we got C one of those placemats with a map of the United States on it. Remarkably, he knows at least 95% of the states. He tends to forget Iowa and Idaho, but really not much is happening in either of those places so what's the loss. Now when we're eating he says seemingly odd things like:
"Mom, there's some yogurt on Montana."
"There's a piece of dirt on Nebraska."
"Put my bowl of cereal on Texas."
To which I respond:
"Put my bowl of cereal on Texas, please."

song: Travelin' Man • artist: Ricky Nelson

Trim Up the Tree

There's this cliché about kids decorating Christmas trees. That all the ornaments are hung off one bent-over branch, half-way up the blue spruce; and that chains of construction paper look as if they were haphazardly thrown onto the tree or blown there by an unexpected wind.
Except that it isn't a cliché.



song: Trim Up the Tree • artist: The MGM Studio Orchestra

Material Girl

I was all set to mock the radio commercial about the woman who tells her husband, Stuart, that she wants jewelry for Christmas. She goes on to tell Stuart (he is obviously a dim bulb) which jewelry store to patronize because of their reputation as "jewelry experts;" her rationale being that if she were going to buy him a set of wrenches she would of course seek the wise counsel of the "wrench experts."
It occurred to me that Stuart was getting the short end of the stick. How much is a wrench set, fifty dollars tops? No doubt he would be shelling out considerably more than that after his visit to the "jewelry experts." But then I did some research on line and found Stuart's dream wrench set for $479.89, which ladies, if you order it now, is on sale for $241.62.
So yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus; and yes, there is a wrench set that's the monetary equivalent of a jewelry purchase. Although if you recall, the woman in the ad doesn't actually promise Stuart she's going to the "wrench experts" for Christmas, she merely uses it as an analogy. She's probably going to the "tie experts" again. I wonder what the world's most expensive tie costs?

song: Material Girl • artist: Madonna

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Hole in the Bucket

While my son was sick last week he became quite proficient at throwing up in a bucket. For two days he carried the bucket around with him everywhere he went. In fact I sent him and his bucket off to his grandparent's house on Tuesday afternoon, which I know is kind of terrible of me, but I had a lot of work to get done.
On Wednesday he seemed better. No throwing up in the middle of the night. No throwing up after breakfast. So I suggested we all go to library story time at the recreation center.
"Okay," he said. "I'll bring my bucket."

song: A Hole in the Bucket • artist: German traditional

Sesame Street



Christmas on Sesame Street.
Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Bethleham?

song: Sesame Street • artist: Joe Raposo

Thursday, December 07, 2006

limerick for Christine

Thinking Christmas in Bratislava quel drag,
A certain teacher thought she might visit Prague.
Though her roommate objected,
Said she might get arrested,
For discussing porn with underage grads.

All Shook UP

My older son has had the stomach flu for what seems like eternity. Perched on the edge of his bed all night waiting to hand him "The Bucket" has given me pause to reminisce on my own ghosts of throw up's past.
I kept him home from preschool on Tuesday though I think he might have been okay if only he had been satisfied with toast and hadn't wanted everything his brother was having for breakfast instead. I didn't want to send him prematurely and have him end up branded as "the kid who threw up at school." I never threw up at school but I vividly remember the kids who did.
Once, in elementary school, I had to escort a girl who was not feeling well from the lunchroom to the nurse's office. While waiting for the nurse, the girl threw up on my shoes.
I was not the kid who threw up during our fifth-grade class trip to the National Seashore – that was Alison. I still have a photograph of her, taken when we first arrived. She's on the top bunk unpacking her suitcase, blissfully unaware that her week is soon to turn sour.
In Ms. Lawton's seventh grade English class, it was Tim, the boy who sat directly in front of me, who leaned over his desk one afternoon and let go. He was so subtle about it that no one knew it had happened except for me, the girl with the front-row seat for the main event. Afterwards we got to go outside for the remainder of the class while the room was cleaned and aired out.
I was, unfortunately, the girl who vomited on a girl scout ski trip to Vermont. I had to go home early with one of the chaperone dads; a car ride which I now realize was equally as uncomfortable for him as it was for me.
My other throw up memory in which I play the starring role happened during my freshman year in college when I threw up into my roommate's wastepaper basket. It's not what you think either, I was legitimately sick. Stephanie wasn't in the room at the time and I thoroughly washed the trash can afterwards but I don't think she ever quite got over it. She moved out of our room soon after, taking her trash can with her.

Song: All Shook Up • artist: Elvis Presley

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Play Me


I like the tag line for this product: "Hours of Fun." What they don't tell you is that it's hours of fun in ten-minute increments. That means the amount of time it will take you to set up and clean up is considerably longer than the total amount of time your child will be engrossed in play before he decides what's really fun about clay is bunching it up and throwing it at his brother.

song: Play Me • artist: Neil Diamond

Friday, December 01, 2006

Something Stupid

My son and I went to Gallo Ice Arena for public skating yesterday. We were lacing up our skates to go on the ice while a woman who had finished skating was taking hers off. She looked over at me and said, “he’s wearing the wrong kind of skates.” My son has black figure skates - she was wearing hockey skates.
So, to recap, a women in hockey skates is telling me that my son shouldn’t be wearing figure skates. Is there no end to the irony? Should I have told her that in fact she was wearing the wrong kind of skates as well and if she can play hockey why can’t my son wear figure skates?

song: Something Stupid artist: Frank Sinatra

Thursday, November 30, 2006

You May Be Right

Hmmm. I just noticed that my last three posts had Billy Joel songs as their titles. You're probably thinking, "Wow. She must be a big fan." Guess the cat's out of the bag on that one. I even have the bad recordings, you know "The Bridge" and "Kohuept."

song: You May Be Right • artist: Billy Joel

She's Right On Time

There was a catalogue in the mail today from a kid's company with the headline: "Need a Last Minute Gift?"
Last Minute Gift? When in the heck do these people think I start holiday shopping?
song: She's Right On Time • artist: Billy Joel

Miami 2017

Message to American Movie Classics: Scarface is a bad movie, you should stop showing it. I'm tired of switching to AMC at 11:30 every other night and seeing Al Pachino face down in his indoor swimming pool. Crime and drugs don't pay - I get it already!

song: Miami 2017 (Seen the Lights Go Out on Broadway) • band: Billy Joel

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

If I Only had the Words to Tell You

Sunday at Mashpee Commons we ate lunch behind a family with children similar ages to mine. "I'll bet you don't do sign language with your kids," my cousin remarked nodding to the other table. She's right - I don't. I thought I might with my youngest son, having seen some other children signing to their parents and thinking it was pretty cool, but I didn't have the time to commit to it or the ambition.
Kids eventually learn to talk, why teach them something they'll only use for 12 months maximum? Yes, signing for more food is convenient but I can tell when my son wants more dinner, he hands his plate directly to me or Ken. This is the international sign for "more" in our house as opposed to the international sign for "no more," which is a forceful head shake followed by throwing his plate on the floor followed in rapid succession with throwing his folk, sippy cup, and any food scraps left on the highchair. It's messy, but it gets the point across.
Likewise my youngest son can communicate his desire to go outdoors by pulling a hat, anyone's hat, out of the basket, putting it on his head and banging on the front door. He communicates his literary needs by handing you and book and then running into the living room and patting the couch until you sit down and read to him.
Adults tend to think that kids can't wait to talk because there's so much they have to say and until this point have been unable to say it. What is it that we think they need to tell us? "This board book doesn't have much of a plot, and very little character development - plus - you've already read it to me eight times today!"
Yes, I suppose it's frustrating if you're stewing in a dirty diaper and no one notices, but if that's the case you are the child of clueless parents not the victim of wordlessness.
What's so great about being able to talk anyway? There's a big difference between being able to talk and communicating. Adults can talk and yet we fail to communicate all the time. People are either not listening to each other or failing to get across what's really important among the myriad of unimportant details we're all going on and on about.
Maybe we should take a lesson from a toddler and don't talk at all. Take someone's hand and lead them outside or hand them a good book. Remember Eliza Doolittle? "Sing me no song! Read me no rhyme! Don't waste my time; Show me! Don't talk of June! Don't talk of fall! Don't talk at all; Show me! Never do I ever want to hear another word. There isn't one I haven't heard."
Bet she didn't teach her kids sign language.

song: If I Only had the Words to Tell You • artist: Billy Joel

Monday, November 27, 2006

Popsicle Toes

I've discovered another benefit to staying up every night till midnight, besides the obvious advantage of premature aging and general crankiness. Ken is already upstairs and the bed is all warm and cozy by the time I climb in with my freezing cold hands and feet to spoil it.
We're pretty scant on heating the upstairs, especially at night, so when it's cold out, it's cold upstairs. Everywhere but in my bed that is!

song: Popsicle Toes • artist: Michael Franks

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Dancing in the Dark

When my four-year-old comes in our bedroom in the middle of the night and wants to crowd into "the big bed," I steer him back to his own room and lie down in bed with him. My hope being that he'll fall back to sleep before me and then I can sneak back into my own room.
As I perched on the edge of his bed last night at 3:30AM, listening for his steady breathing and trying not to get too comfortable myself, I realized this was a metaphor for the role all parents play in their children's lives.
We lurk around the fringes of our kid's lives as they get older, ready to help when we're needed or go back to our own lives when we're not. We want to be involved but not overbearing and although we think we know what's going on, we're pretty much in the dark.

song: Dancing in the Dark • artist: Bruce Springstein

thanksgiving couplet #2

Dessert pie.
Calories belie.

thanksgiving couplet #1

Thanksgiving done.
Leftovers just begun.

Longer

Our book club is reading the pulitzer-prize-winning novel March by Geraldine Brooks. I'm three-quarters of the way through it and it's not even the end of November yet so things are looking good for our December 11th meeting. March is a companion story to Little Women, and tells the tale of Mr. March who is off serving as a chaplin to the Yankee soldiers during the Civil War while his wife and four daughters are at home in Concord. It will only be the third book I've finished this year for book club. Did I mention I have kids? Well anyway, since I'm well on my way to finishing this book with time to spare I thought it might be high time to read Little Women. I clearly remember carrying the book around with me in the sixth grade but I know I didn't read it else I'd surely remember it. I have total recall of things that happened in middle school, not like my fading memory of last week. I can tell you I did read The Pearl, babies, scorpions, caves, ask me anything.
So I was at the library today and checked out Little Women. Did you know it's four-hundred-and-forty-four pages long? And not the large type and wide margins you sometimes get with kids books, four-hundred-and-forty-four pages of regular type - single spaced. No wonder I never read it. It's the Harry Potter of 1868!

song: Longer • artist: Dan Fogelberg

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fields of Gold

Folk stories are a great distraction when kids and I are in the car, taking a walk, or engaged in any activity where storytelling comes in handy. I'm no great storyteller but I can recite classics like the Three Little Pigs pretty well give or take a detail or two. One of the more disturbing folk tales that we've read and I've recited a number of times is Rumplestiltskin. That story has got all kinds of things going on, none of which lend themselves to a feel-good tale. First there's the poor miller who lies about his daughter's ability to spin straw into gold. Then there's the king who's so greedy he can't stop at one room full of gold - he has to have three. Then there's the story's namesake who offers to help the miller's daughter, for a price, and ends up getting cheated by the miller's daughter, now turned queen. But my son hasn't noticed any of these disturbing details yet and loves for me to recite the story. He especially likes for me to make up a lot of funny names when it comes to the end and the queen's trying to guess Rumplestiltsin's name.
"Is your name Handsome Harry?"
"Is it Marvelous Mike?"
"Is it Mommy?"
To all of these questions my son happily sings out, "no!" Right up until the big climax: "Is it Rumplestiltskin?"
We were up in Vermont for a few days last month and we stayed at the Swiss Inn in Londonderry. The upstairs sitting room had the mandatory eclectic assortment of antiques that one would expect to find in any self-respective New England inn. One of the items was a spinning wheel which my son pointed out, saying, "just like in Rumplestiltskin." Just like it, I agreed.
The next day we drove to Woodstock and, among other things, visited the Billings Farm and Museum, which is a very nice spot if you're looking for something to do in the mid-Vermont area. In the museum part of the complex were exhibits of old farming equipment, actual examples of the equipment with explanations and old photographs showing said faming implement in action. My son even sat through a 10-minute video showing people cutting ice out of a pond in the 1940s. At one point he wanted to know if the mannequins in the scenes of life on the farm "used to be alive," which was funny and in the room with the farm equipment he started picking up the hay that the old plows and milk wagons were sitting in.
"Honey, you can't take that, it belongs to the museum."
"Can I just take a little?"
"Okay, just a little,"
He puts a handful into my pocket book.
"Okay honey, I think that's enough."
"Just a little bit more, Mommy."
Then he turns to me and asks:
"How much straw do I need to make gold?"



song: Fields of Gold • artist: Sting

Monday, November 20, 2006

I'm Going Down

Last week the Kleenex box took an unexpected dive into the toilet bowl. The incident lead to the creation of this sign, which is now strategically located on the bathroom wall to help prevent further mishaps.

In case you're not sure, it reads: "When you're done close the two lids."

song: I'm Going Down • artist: Bruce Springstein

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Time of the Season

November 19 - first Christmas song of the season heard on the radio. Had to control Pavlovian urge to rush to the mall.

song: Time of the Season • artist: the Zombies

Friday, November 17, 2006

Busy Bodies

My younger son's had a very busy week. On Saturday he fell off a stool and almost bit a hole through his tongue. I was thinking we should take him to the emergency room but what would they do - put a stitch in his tongue? After Ken said it wasn't that bad, and since he was laughing at his older brother while I was on the phone to the doctor's office, we decided not to take him in. It's looking better now, though earlier in the week it was kind of white and swollen and every time he stuck his tongue out it would give me the shivers. It will come in handy when he's 16 and wants to get his tongue pierced.
The doctor got to examine it anyway because we took him in on Monday for a suspected ear infection.
Later on in the week he stuck his hands into the kitty litter numerous times. While I was on the phone he picked up the cats water dish and started drinking the water out of it, later he climbed into one of the basket I keep by the door for hats, gloves, etc., and reached the handle on the water jug, pouring water all over himself; and after dinner he fell into the mostly empty bathtub while Ken and I were busy examining the weird red-marks on his brother's scalp. Yesterday while I was leaving a work-related phone message, he grabbed a drawing I had to scan for work and ripped it in half and then dismantled the stapler and bent the wire so it doesn't work any more.
song: Busy Bodies • artist: Elvis Costello

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Great Suburban Showdown

The following event took place three years ago but I'm including it because I promised my professor something funny if she read my blog.

I hadn't been using cloth diapers on the baby recently and I was feeling guilty about it so I put some on him this afternoon. Of course he instantly poops in them and cloth diapers are a bit gross when they're poopy, you have to empty its contents into the toilet and then swish the diaper around to make sure everything's off.
So I accomplish that and I take my drippy, wet, poop-stained diaper downstairs to the sink that's next to the washing machine and I put it in and put the plug in and start filling it up with hot soapy water. Then I wander off to call the swim teacher and leave her a message saying we aren't going to take swim lessons this winter; but I get distracted because the cordless phone needs to be recharged and I have to go use the rotary phone instead.
I finish making the call and I hear the noise of running water but it doesn't register that anything is wrong because I just assume it's my tea water starting to boil. It isn't of course, and I finally realize the laundry-room sink is overflowing and when I go into the room I see that the overflowing water is pouring directly into the kitter litter box, which in turn is overflowing onto the floor. It was a huge mess. I had to turn off the water and reach into the sink up to my elbow to pull the plug. Then I had to go upstairs and get the baby and put him in the Pack 'N Play for safe keeping and then bail all the water out of the liter box until it was light enough to pick up and take outside and dump. Then I spread towels all over the floor to soak up the water and then I washed the floor and the towels. It took about 45 minutes to clean up, plus I'm running around trying to finish before Ken gets home so he won't find out and think I'm a big idiot.
Boy, that cloth diaper sure did save a lot of resources!

song: The Great Suburban Showdown • artist: Billy Joel

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I Should Have Known Better

I said, "Don't play with that jug of water, I'm afraid it will drop on the floor and spill."
HE played with the jug of water.
IT dropped on the floor and spilled.

song: I Should Have Known Better • artist: The Beatles

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tempted

So I used to thumb my nose at people who had to resort to bribing their kids in order to get them to cooperate.
That is of course until I had to start doing it.
Usually my bribes take the form of offering up something I want to do as well.
"Let's leave the playground now and we'll have time to go to the coffee shop."
This morning in the doctor's office a mother was trying to cajole her son away from the toys in the waiting room and towards the door.
"Who wants a jelly donut?" she offered.
Everyone in the waiting room looked up.

song: Tempted • artist: Squeeze

spider couplet

The spider in the upstairs bathroom,
I fear is migrating no time soon.

You Never Can Tell

My son's been itching to make dinner. Not crack the eggs or grind the nuts, he's already mastered both of those. Not grease the pan either. Somehow when I was a kid my mother convinced me greasing the pan, a bunt pan mind you, was fun. No, he wants to actually make dinner.
What's more, he wants to make dinner without a recipe. I don't know where he gets his cooking daredevilry. I can't make cranberry sauce without a recipe and there's only three ingredients in that.
I don't want to squelch his culinary aspirations but I'm getting tired of taste testing his creations. His focus has been on soup. First it was garlic soup, which, although I have a recipe for, he refused to follow. We served it up at my dad's birthday dinner where my parents were both polite enough to try a bowl. After all, what are grandparents for but to drink soup created from random ingredients and declare that "it's delicious."
Next it was cube soup. Cube as in bullion cubes. This one had promise until he insisted on putting in too much salt. Last night it was sticker soup, which thankfully, didn't have any stickers in it. It did, unfortunately, have too much curry powder.
Being only four he's having a tough time with the less-is-more theory of cooking. If we have fifteen jars of spices in the cabinet, why not add all fifteen to the soup?
And though I'm impressed that he can recite ingredients like sugar, flour, and baking soda, I have a hard time convincing him that, while those ingredients work for pumpkin bread, they aren't normally part of a good soup. Sadly, as I have no fundamental grasp of cooking, I have no idea why this is. I can only offer the lame, "because the recipe says so." Who knew I should have paid more attention in junior high school home economics class so that thirty years later I would be able to provide my son with basic cooking instruction?

song: You Never Can Tell • artist: Chuck Berry

Monday, November 06, 2006

Circle

Who else out there feels like their days sometimes segue from cleaning up after breakfast straight into cleaning up after lunch with nothing else in-between?
Grilled cheese anyone?
song: Circle • artist: Harry Chapin

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Morning After

So what's my post-halloween strategy?
Encourage him to parse the candy out over the next two months or just let him gorge himself on the loot tomorrow in hopes he eats himself sick and let's me throw out the leftovers?
Also, thank you to Karen for the excellent tooth fairy advice and to Esther for making me feel like less of an idiot about the orange juice incident. I meant to do that, yeah.

song: The Morning After • artist: Maureen McGovern

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Accidents Will Happen

Know what happens when you accidentally pour orange juice into your cup of tea instead of milk? Well nothing really - except that you feel ridiculous and look around the kitchen sheepishly hoping no one saw you. Then you move on to blaming your husband for buying orange juice in the carton when he usually buys it in the plastic bottle. He must be deliberately trying to make a fool out of me!
In truth it makes plain old Lipton taste like a mandarin orange herbal blend. Not bad really.

song: Accidents Will Happen • artist: Elvis Costello

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Patience

We were on our way to the recreation center for "Spooky Songs and Stories" this afternoon when a very large tree branch fell across Old Dock Road right in front of the car ahead of us. We both pulled off the road and talked for a few minutes. Like me, she had two small children in her car. Talk about spooky. What's even more spooky is that I almost pulled out in front of her. I was waiting at the stop sign and she seemed to be taking forever to drive by. I could have easily made it in front of her and been directly hit by the falling branch.

song: Patience • band: Guns N' Roses

Spooky

So I haven't written much on the blog this week mainly because we went to Vermont the first half of the week and during the later half, between work and kids and writing book reports for Children's Literature, I've been finishing up Halloween costumes.
My son told me after Halloween last year that next year he wanted to be Santa Claus. I thought he would change his mind a number of times over the coming twelve months but like our president he decided to stay the course. Turning a four-year old into Santa is actually pretty easy. I found a pair of red flannel pajamas and sewed fake fur in all the right spots and attached a black belt. I purchased a santa hat that turned out to be exactly the same shade of red as the pjs, cut out a fake fur beard and voila! he's santa. Then I doctored up a pair of green footy pajamas in order to make his younger brother look like an elf. The effect is more of a jester but at 18-months he's too young to know what's going on much less complain.
Of course making a Santa costume for Halloween does have its drawbacks, the most significant being that last week at the dinner table my son announced "it's almost Christmas" and I had to remind him it was still October.
I don't remember being particularly curious about Santa when I was a kid. He came, he brought presents, that's all I needed to know. When we got our wood stove I recall wondering how Santa would get down our chimney but the explanation "we'll leave the front door open for him," quickly sufficed.
I don't recall being inquisitive about much when I was a kid which makes me wonder all the more at how it is that I'm currently employed as a pseudo reporter, but I digress.
My son on the other hand has many questions about Santa. What's Santa's real name? Why do some people call him Saint Nicolas? What does Santa wear when he's not wearing his Santa suit? Where does Santa live? When can we visit him? What does Santa do during when it's not Christmas? Does Santa die? Is Santa a spirit?
I try to be straightforward with my answers to questions in general but of course you have to wing the whole Santa thing, there's no reference book that I know of. After a few rounds of Santa questions I'm about ready to just blurt out the truth and be done with it.
Last year after Christmas my son suggested we write Santa a thank you note. An excellent suggestion my well-trained little boy I cooed and got out some red paper. After we'd written thank you in large black ink and folded it into an envelope I mentioned something about the mailbox and he said that we didn't need to mail the thank you note we merely had to leave it by the fireplace, in the exact spot where we'd left the cookies only a few nights before. If Santa could come down the chimney to deliver presents, of course he would come back to collect his thank you note.
There are so many things kids, at least my kid, take for granted as absolute truths. Tonight after going to Spooky Songs and Stories at the Recreation Center he kept asking me about Dracula. This was the first he's ever heard of Dracula, and he wanted to know what Dracula was and do any live around here.
Even worse than Santa though is the Easter bunny. I mean at least Santa's a person - well maybe he's a spirit, the jury's still out on that - but a giant bunny who comes in the night to bring children (plastic) Easter eggs? What kind of wacky story is that? This year he wanted to know if it's a real bunny or someone dressed up like a bunny. Damned if I know.
And how about the tooth fairy? My son hasn't lost any teeth yet but he's already informed be that he doesn't want to leave his tooth under his pillow for the tooth fairy. Quarter or no quarter, he plans to keep his tooth. This comes as no surprise to me. How can a child who hovers over the potty waving goodbye to his solid waste be expected to willingly part with his tooth? I suspect thought that in another year, when he's actually old enough to lose a tooth, the idea of a monetary reward will loom a lot larger on his radar screen and he'll be more than happy to part with his tooth in order to collect a little loot.

song: Spooky • artist: Atlanta Rhythm Section

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Winner Takes it All


In the event that Boston sets a new record for the most lit jack-o-lanters, ours is number AA1833.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Time is on My Side

We got my son his first watch yesterday. He’s been asking for a while. I put it on the wrong arm as it’s been 20 years since I wore a watch. They’ll probably be obsolete soon, everyone can just find out what time it is by checking their cell phones.
Anyway, now that he has a watch he’s the town crier. He can’t tell what time it is, unless it’s exactly on the hour so first he’ll ask you what time it is and you reply, “it’s five-thirty. Then he’ll walk into the computer room and announce:
“Guess what, Daddy, it’s five-thirty!
This went on all day yesterday.
“Guess what, Daddy, it’s five-forty five!
“Guess what, Daddy, it’s almost six o’clock!”
“Guess what, Daddy, it’s six o’clock!
When Ken carried him back to his own bed in the middle of the night he was awake enough to press the button and illuminate the clock face.
“Daddy. It’s not morning yet.”

song: Time in on My Side • artist: The Rolling Stones

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Little Boxes

There's a small wooden box in my desk, it's blue and decorated in a Pennsylvania Dutch design. I can't remember where or when I got it, presumably I bought it at a yard sale and judging from some of the contents of the box, it was over 15 years ago.
My son likes to get it out and rummage through it, strewing the box's contents all over the floor and calling all the business cards his credit cards.
Inside the box is an assortment of odd and unrelated items. Christine's business card from Children's Hospital, my dad's business card from the Island Queen, one of my mother's AT&T calling cards, a business card from that garage in Nashua where they fixed our car after it broke down one Memorial Day Weekend on the way to Vermont. There's a prom picture of my sister and Bob, the other 11 wallet-size photos from my senior prom (my son thinks my date is "daddy") tiny road race proof photos that we kept since we didn't order any enlargements, a business card from the restaurant we ate at repeatedly the first time we went to Portugal, and the card from the motel in Montreal where Christine and I stayed one Fourth of July weekend.
All this stuff is technically trash. If I'd wanted to save it, it would already be in an album somewhere, but now that it's kicked around for so long I can't throw it out. By virtue of still existing, this stuff has elevated its status from junk to memorabilia.
It's like the Up Close Museum in the complex across from Graceland. Did Elivis's grandmother Minnie Mae really have the foresight to save Elvis's library card or the stub from one of his paychecks back when he worked for a trucking company? Of course not. That stuff all got packed away during a move and left in a darkened corner of an attic only to be discovered years later during the final move to Graceland.
It all worked out for Elvis because of course he became famous and now people like me will pay good money to stand in a museum and gawk at his driver's license.
Is anyone going to care that I still have a business card from Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room in Savannah or a photo of me and some college friends taken in one of the photo booths in a bar on Boylston Street? Does anyone want to see the picture of our couch cut from a flyer for a furniture store that's no longer in business? Good thing I didn't sign up for the extra ScotchGuard protection plan.
The oldest thing in the box is a photo of my cousin Warren taken in 1973 when he was six years old. One of the most recent items is a business card belonging to the real estate agent we almost bought a house in Vermont from last year before we chickened out at the last minute.
I have another box upstairs in the loft room, a metal box for index cards that also contains accumulated odds and ends. Things that were too big to put in the wooden box. Things like a phone message written on a Post It note my junior-year college roommate, a CD cover autographed by the artist who I dated briefly, and one of my all-time favorite photographs of my mother, my father, and my aunt, all asleep in my parents living room.
At what point does a box of useless stuff switch from being junk to being mementos? Is it after five years? Ten years? Fifteen years? Does it depend on the stuff and the memories conjured up by said stuff? As I mentioned before all these things are basically duplicates of photos I already have safely squirreled away in other places, or cards, notes, and addresses I never planned to keep in the first place.
Now that this stuff's been inadvertently saved for long, how can I part with it when each item reminds me of some snip it, no matter how mundane, of the past? I can't, of course.
I was setting some things aside the other day to donate to the church rummage sale. I reached in the pocket of a coat I haven't worn in ages and pulled out a ticket stub from 1994. The movie was Four Weddings and a Funeral. I put the jacket in the bag for the sale. I put the ticket stub into the wooden box.

song: Little Boxes • artist: Pete Seeger

At The Zoo

A helpful hint regarding the zoo. Visit the animals in the fall and you might get to see the big cats moving around instead of doing their usual sleeping routine.
How do we feel about the zoo anyway? As my husband pointed out, some of the animals do seem a little down; but then a friend remarked that most people don't go about their day all perky and smiling either.
Do you think the cheetah ever just grabs one of those pesky squirrels that I saw cavorting in his pen? That would be quite a show.

song: At The Zoo • artist: Simon and Garfunkel

Monday, October 16, 2006

Good Thing

What's the best deal in Southeastern Massachusetts?
Dinner at Antonio's in New Bedford and gas for $2.09 a gallon at the station across the street from the restaurant.

song: Good Thing • artist: Fine Young Cannibals

Saturday, October 14, 2006

On The Street Where You Live


Okay everyone, here is the geography lesson for today.
My friend Christine has just left a teaching position in Osaka for one in Bratislava.
Osaka you may remember from the movie "Black Rain" is in Japan. Bratislava, for those of you who did not know (I didn't) is the capital of Slovakia. For those of you who still can't place it, Slovakia used to be part of Czechoslovakia until 1993 when Czechoslovakia split into two countries, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.
Still in the dark? It's in Europe, next to Austria and above Hungary.
Having friends who travel has helped improve my knowledge of geography.
Over her ten-year stay in Japan I got postcards, and from some of the better locations even floaty pens, from Guam, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Turkey, Saipan, and Malaysia.
Now that she's in a different part of the world I expect vacation greetings from other exotic locations. Since she's closer to the United States now I don't have to try and mail her Christmas present on November 1st - not that I ever managed to do it anyway. Ironically, I was out today researching my story on holiday gifts ideas for teachers when I found (and bought) the perfect gift! Now if I can just manage not to loose it between now and December.

song: On The Street Where You Live • soundtrack: My Fair Lady

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My Way

Dear Jeff,
Forcing someone else to share my views? Are you kidding? Am I going door to door? Am I standing on a street corner holding a sign? Is your computer screen frozen on this blog? It's a blog - my blog - of course you're going to get my opinion but I can't possibly be forcing it on you.
You seem to be a pretty opinionated fellow yourself. Maybe this would help you out.

song: My Way • artist: Frank Sinatra

Let's Hear It For The Boy

My younger son has had a cold all week.
Today he is trying to stick his sippy cup in his ear.
What do you think?
Ear infection?

song: Let's Hear it for the Boy • soundtrack: Footloose

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Just the Way You Are

Dear Jeff,
I appreciate your opinion, or that is, the opinion of Llewellyn Rockwell. What you sent me is far longer than anything I've ever posted on the blog so I chose not to include it as a comment. I don't think anyone will read it all the way through. I did, and found it to be obtuse; do you even know what a kulturkampf is? I had to look it up. Anyone who is interested in Mr. Rockwell's politics can find them at his website.
You seem to be under the impression that I'm for government controlling everything and I don't know where you got that idea.
I'm also not anti-advertising, I work for the newspaper for Pete's sake. My background is in graphic design which includes, among other things, creating advertising. I'm very much for local businesses and so I'm very much in favor of positively promoting them. Comparatively speaking, print advertising is innocuous, meaning I can ignore it if I so choose. It's those TVs above the supermarket salad bar, on the subway, and in the bank; Elmo on my child's diapers, Bus Radio, Channel One, product placement in teen and adult novels, and The Gap printed on the bottom of my child's socks that drive me nuts. I don't want government to control this, I want people to stop buying into it as part of popular culture. Shop locally. Shop less. Stop buying things you don't need even if they're on sale, even if they're two-for-one. Stop saving for Disney World and enjoy life right now.
Yes, it is my job as a parent to guard what influences my kids as Mr. Rockwell points out. It's difficult to do, that's what gives me cause to "rant," it's the name of the blog remember? This is all just my opinion of course, if you don't like it I won't be as harsh as you were and suggest you move to Cuba - but it won't hurt my feelings any if you keep clicking on "next blog" until you find someone you can agree with.

song: Just the Way You Are • artist: Billy Joel

Rescue Me

Hats off to the three women who got out of their cars tonight at 5:30 to help a swan who was stuck in the grassy triangle at the intersection of Routes 28 and 149. The traffic on 149 came to a stop and the three women herded the swan back towards the pond.
I have been told that swans are mean and territorial but it still warmed my heart to witness an act of kindness during rush hour. I don't think the women had any sort of plan when they stopped, I don't even think they all knew each other. They might have had second thoughts when they got over to the bird; swans sure look a lot bigger out of the water. Maybe it would have made it on its own I can't imagine anyone actually hitting a swan. Still the women deserve some recognition for coming to the aid of a fellow creature in distress.
Unfortunately, on my way home from the 4Cs I saw, in my headlights, a frog trying to cross MacArthur Boulevard. He was half was across when I saw him but there was a lot of traffic behind me.

song: Rescue Me • artist: Aretha Franklin

Folsom Prison Blues


My son left his little plastic chain saw on the sink in the downstair's bathroom. Then he brought home this thick rope from an outing to the beach with Papa. It has a loop in one end and it looks like a big old noose. That's lying on the dining room floor. It's like living with a serial killer.

song: Folsom Prison Blues • artist: Johnny Cash

Friday, October 06, 2006

Hanging by a Thread

What's funnier that Seinfeld reruns after two glasses of wine? Watching a pre-schooler eat a mini-powdered doughnut that's hanging from a piece of dental floss without using his hands.
It all started at Noelle's birthday party. Noelle's dad, a great master of ceremonies, lined all the little kids up next to their respective doughnuts and made them put their hands in their pockets. To add another layer of difficulty, all the doughnuts got a little push so they were swinging.
None of the kids could do it. It was hysterical. Ten three-year-olds covered in powdered sugar, bobbing and weaving in vain.
It would have gone in indefinitely except our favorite bad boy from daycare finally gave up and cheated. Come to think of it, he cheated at pin the tail on the kite as well.
Not long after the party, at my son's urging, we had to buy our own box of mini-powdered doughnuts and my son took to practicing in the back yard after dinner with the doughnut on a string tied to the clothes line. When it got too dark or the mosquitoes started coming out, we took it indoors and hung the doughnut in the doorway to the guest bedroom.
He's getting a lot better at it. He should be a real contender at next year's party.

song: Hanging by a Thread • artist: Nickel Creek

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

anniversary quatrain


Though I prefer tea
You like coffee a lot.
Maybe some day
I'll make you a pot.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Fly By Night


Dear Connie,
Did I tell you about how the guy at Peterson Farm chewed me out for picking milkweed leaves to take home for our monarch caterpillar? It wasn't like he worked for the EPA or anything, in fact he was the guy who keeps his sheep up a Peterson Farm. Maybe I should have pointed out that perhaps there'd be more milkweeds if his sheep weren't eating them and/or tromping on them.
And, it's not like I was pulling them up by the roots, I was clipping leaves off a plant that was growing in the parking area. As a matter of fact it was growing right next to another milkweed plant that'd been recently run over for Pete's sake. Good Grief, I think he was a little out of line but now our caterpillar is a nice chrysalis and we're pretty excited about it becoming a butterfly. I was thinking that once it hatched we'd release it back at Peterson Farm but the sheep gestapo would probably come and yell at me for transporting wildlife.

Dear Connie,
The monarch butterfly hatched this morning! How cool is that? I'm stressed out about it though because Ken took the kids to Connecticut last night. They're suppose to be back by dinnertime and I don't know what to do with the butterfly in the meantime. Should I let it go? I probably shouldn't until the kids get to see it. I'm afraid it's going to die! All it has to eat in the terrarium is some really old, ill-gotten, milkweed leaves. What if it's starving? I mean it's been in a chrysalis for almost three weeks! What should I do? I put some sugar water in the terrarium but isn't that for hummingbirds? I can't drive to Peterson Farm and scam more milkweeds because I'm waiting for the guy from the oil company to come clean our oil burner. He was suppose to be here between noon and 2 and I just called to find out where he was. I was trying to be assertive. I should have shouted: "Look! You've got to hurry up! My butterfly's life may depend on it!"

Dear Connie,
The butterfly is sitting on the paper towel soaked in sugar water. I feel better about it since you agreed that the sugar water was a good idea. The kids have seen it and it's a preschool morning so I suppose I should take the butterfly out and put it in our garden and just say that it flew away. That way, if it happens to keel over and die no one will be traumatized except me.

Dear Connie,
You were right! It was just sitting there drying off and resting! After lunch the butterfly became really animated and started flying around in the terrarium. We opened the lid and it just took off! Straight up over the trees and as Ken said "on its way to Mexico!"

song: Fly By Night • artist: Rush

Freeze Frame

Saturday is picture day for the munchkin soccer program my son is enrolled in.
This means I have the opportunity to spend considerably more money than I spent signing up for the entire eight-week program just to have my kid photographed in a team shirt that hangs down below his knees. At least I don't have to worry about washing his shorts.
There are no less than twenty different photo options and combinations to choose from. I can get my kid on a Wheaties box. I can get pennant flags with his mug on it, a photo button, trader cards, magazine cover, or a three-dimensional 5x7 statuette.
In high school I remember being excited to be able to get a dozen wallet-sized prom photos of me and my date, I think I still have eleven of them left.
I'm feeling some photo day peer pressure - Is everyone else doing it? Am I crap mom if I don't buy into this? Will he wonder thirty years from now why there's no photo in the album of him and his teammates from the good old days of munchkin soccer?

song: Freeze Frame • artist: J. Giles

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Don't Stop Believing

Without warning, the intersection at Old Main and County Road in North Falmouth has turned into a four-way stop. It used to be a two-way stop.
In truth they should have made it a four-way stop years ago because people with the right of way were always stopping because they didn't trust the people with the stop sign to actually stop.
Nevertheless, I'm confused enough as it is. One day there's no stop sign, the next day there is. I can't take the added pressure of sitting at the stop sign getting irritated at the guy on Old Main Road because I think he's stopped for no reason when in reality the other driver is equally annoyed with me, the driver on the right, for not going when it's my turn.
Where was the warning? I need more notice! How is an easily confused parent expected to keep up with these changing times?

song: Don't Stop Believing • artist: Journey

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Anything You Can Do

My son had a play date the other day. It consisted of he and little boy of a similar age following each other around the playground saying things like:
"I'm going to hit you."
"No. I'm going to hit you."
"I'm going to shoot you."
"No. I'm going to shoot you."
"I'm bigger than you."
"No. I'm bigger than you."
"I can climb up this pole."
"No. I can climb higher than you.
Who knew the urge to compete was so innate?

song: Anything You Can Do • musical: Annie Get Your Gun

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My Old School

School's been a big presence in my life this fall even though my oldest is still two years away from kindergarten. First, I'm taking a class at the community college, my first foray back into academia since I graduated from college 16 years ago. Some may argue that a BA in graphic design hardly counts as academic work and they might have a point there, but to them I say: "I almost minored in math!"
It's been slow going. The first week I didn't have the text book and when I found my way to the campus book store during break I realized I'd left my credit card in my car. The next week I had to wait in line with students half my age who were paying more for their books than I'd paid to take a three-credit course. After purchasing my book and my "school supplies" which consisted of regulation lined paper and a three-ring binder, I walked back across the small campus to my classroom. I passed groups of students hanging around smoking, talking on cell phones, and just generally congregating. I felt completely out of place and irrationally uncomfortable, like everyone was staring at me in a "who's the unprepared old chick?" kind of way.
Then I remembered. Except for the old part, I felt the same way 20 years ago when I went to college the first time.
If you remember walking alone across campus and feeling self conscious, how about trying to climb those ropes in middle school in your gym shorts? Makes me sweat just thinking about it. My four-year-old is playing in the recreation department's munchkin soccer program. It's week two. He's on the cheetah team, which sounds a little too much like "cheater" for my liking. Why couldn't he a tiger or a lion? This week, though, we found out what's worse than being a cheetah, being on the team with the pink uniforms. We heard that two kids cried and had to defect to other, more masculine-colored teams. The cheetah's have red uniforms. Somehow my son choose a shirt that hangs down below his knees, but that doesn't bother him in the least, of course neither would pink uniforms.
Anyway, now that it's the second week, we parents are starting to get things figured out. We can spend less time keeping an eye on our kids and more time sizing up the other parents. I've come to the conclusion that except for the lame name, the cheetah's rock! We've got my former gym coach's kid on the team, and the sports editor's kid as well. Our neighbor's daughter Lauren is on the team and got partnered up with my son through all the drills. Lauren's cousin is one of the coaches so we know they're getting lots of good instruction.
It's like being picked for the cool team at recess. I can't wait for the first game!

song: My Old School • artist: Steely Dan

Saturday, September 23, 2006

blocks: a persona poem

Stack me up
Knock me down.
Stack me up
Knock me down.
Would you please
Make up your mind?

Tom's Diner

I love diners.
I love to eat in diners.
Diners are real places where real people, not just beautiful people, congregate to eat real food.
Diners are decidedly middle-aged but they don't mind that they are. They are not afraid to show a little wear and tear, an occasional torn stool at the counter, those jute boxes in the booths that are never operational. People could learn a lot from a diner. We should all be as accepting of ourselves.
Despite the advances of age, diners still take pride in themselves, behold their shiny chrome and bright neon.
Diner glassware is rugged and practical, like comfortable shoes. I love the thick, concave coffee mugs. They are the exact opposite of the wine glasses with the ridiculously thin stems that are used in pretentious restaurants.

A good diner has its history printed on its placemats.
Diners are places where real conversation happens. I recently overhead a conversation in Wareham's Mill Pond Diner that began with the words, "It's just a fact of life that..." No one sounds that sincere in a Burger King or The Olive Garden.
Diners are great places for children because they can always get a grilled cheese.
Real diners are created in a factory and then moved to their working locations. Diners can be moved to new locations and renamed many times because life is a journey.
Truly great diners serve breakfast all day because you never know where a person's at in his or her day and don't we all need a chance, every once and a while, to start over while we're in the middle of things?


song: Tom's Diner • artist: Suzanne Vega & D.N.A.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Walk the Line

We haven't rented any movies lately. By rented I mean borrowed from the library, you gotta love that CLAMS card. But this week "Walk the Line" finally came in, which I'd requested months ago, along with it seems about 20 other people on the Cape. That's the only drawback in getting movies at the library, anything remotely new can take a while to reach you. But, what the hey, I'm not going anywhere.
So as I'm sure you know, "Walk the Line" is the Johnny Cash story. Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar last year for her portrayal of June Carter. Frankly I didn't think the movie was very good. It wasn't convincing and I especially didn't like the part about Johnny getting drugs from Elvis! Way to frame a dead guy.
But anyway, I am not a movie reviewer so I am not going to try and review the movie for you. Go see it yourself, and let me know.
Upon returning "Walk the Line," my librarian friend recommended "Finding Neverland," about author J.M. Barrie and his inspiration for Peter Pan. This movie is considerably better than "Walk the Line" and not just because Johnny Depp is cuter than Joaquin Phonenix. Again, see the movie yourself and let me know.
What was really interesting though, and yes I'm finally getting to my point, was the similarities between the two men. It's kind of like the famous Kennedy/Lincoln coincidence piece .
For example, Both Barrie and Cash had older brothers, who were favored by their parents and died when they were kids. Both Barrie and Cash used initials to identify themselves, Barrie wrote under his initials J.M. Barrie and before he becomes famous, Johnny Cash introduces himself as J.R. Cash.
Plus, at least according to the movies, both men were married to nagging, unhappy women. Johnny Cash as we all know ends up happily married to June Carter, Mr. Barrie? Well, I won't spoil it for you.
I guess the bottom line is, if you happen to be the older brother of an aspiring writer or musician, you'd better watch your back.

song: Walk the Line • artist: Johnny (J.R.) Cash

Blackbird Couplet

Starlings to my front yard do flock.
As if in a scene from Alfred Hitchcock.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Question

Here's a list, probably not comprehensive, of all the questions my older son asked me today between three and six o'clock:
• What kind of animals do birds eat?
• How do rocks protect themselves?
• Where's my butterfly net?
• How do stores get their things?
• Can you please come in the shed for a minute?
• Can you go in the house and get a mirror?
• Why can't you swallow gum?
• How do you make strawberry yogurt?
• When I'm 17 how old is Anthony going to be?
• Why are those ducks not in their pen?
• Why can't they get some exercise in their pen?
• Is this a real anchor?
• Why don't you like any beer?
• Why can't we honk the horn everywhere we go?
• Can I have the keys?
• Is the car locked?
• Why are there mirrors under those flappy things?
• Why are we leaving Coonamessett Farm?
• Why don't people swallow cigarettes?
• Where do people who smoke cigarettes get them from?
• What's a coach?
• How big are these batteries?
• Did Daddy buy them?
• What's this?
• Why'd you put the gate up?
• Have you seen my tambourine?


song: Question • artist: The Moody Blues

Friday, September 15, 2006

Take a Chance on Me

Can we get a moratorium on political ads and phone calls for the next four days?
Supporters of various democratic gubernatorial candidates have called my house at least a half-dozen times in the past month.
I mean I want them to win in November and all, but I also want to be able to answer my telephone without fear of being asked what issues are important to myself and my family.

song: Take a Chance on Me • artist: Abba

Every Breath You Take

As if sticking his fists down his throat until his throws up isn’t bad enough, now my younger son has developed cyanotic breath holding.
You know how when a kid is about to cry, you know they’re going to cry, they’re winding up to cry, they take a deep breath, a really deep breath, they hold it in for a long time and then let out a wail? Well it’s like that except these kids hold their breath for so long that they turn blue and pass out. It happens to 5% of children between the ages of one and five, being hurt or being angry can trigger it, and, it’s perfectly normal .
Perfectly normal? Tell that to the baby sitter, she looked as if she was going to pass out herself when I told her not to panic if it happened while she was there.
“That’s freaky,” she said.
I agreed.
I’ve seen it happen at least four times now so I’m less freaked out than at the onset. A better parent would have called the doctor immediately but after the passing out part they finally do cry and then they are fine. So I hoped it was just a one-time occurrence like when my older son was about the same age and wound up in the hospital for two nights for asthma-related breathing problems. Thankfully, he never developed asthma.
I did at least look it up on the internet (thank goodness for Google) where my son fit the description of cyanotic breath holding to a T.
The first time it happened was after a head bumping incident in the dining room. I don’t mean to sound like a negligent parent but I was surprised because frankly, I’ve seen him hit his head much harder.
Yesterday’s incident was brought on by anger. Pure toddler frustration at not being able to exit the back door while the rest of us were inside having lunch.
When I told Ken it had happened again, he’s never seen it happen, freaky things only happen when mommy’s on duty, he suggested I call the pediatrician.
I did and he told me the exact thing I read on the internet but somehow it does sound more reassuring to say, “I talked to the pediatrician and he said it’s perfectly normal,” than to say, “I googled it.” At least it does when your trying to convince the babysitter that it’s no big deal and not to worry, when what you’re afraid she’s thinking is, “next time they call I’ll say I’ve got to much homework then I’ll find me some kids to babysit who are healthy.”

song: Every Breath You Take artist: The Police

Thursday, September 14, 2006

breakfast quatrain

What's your plan
little man?
Eat some more
or toss it on the floor?

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Celebration of the Lizard


My son would have a fit (literally) if he knew I let this guy get away. I can't tell you how many logs we've turned over in search of salamanders; but some things I can't risk. Keeping a toad in a terrarium for a few nights in the name of instilling a love of nature in a child, that I can live with. Not that we've lost any critters yet, only relocated a few. But I can't tamper with the health of a spotted salamander.
Besides, the toads were so cool, eating ants and all.
Maybe my son would understand but I think I'll play it safe and just not tell him.

song: The Celebration of the Lizard • artist: The Doors

mouse quatrain

In our house,
there is a mouse.
I wish the cat
would react.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Right Back Where We Started From

I asked him if he had to use the bathroom when we were still at the conservatory. He said no. It wasn't like last week when we were on 495, headed home after the the turkey farm incident, and I passed by the rest stop without mentioning bathrooms in an effort to get home quickly. As soon as we were passed the rest stop he announced he had to go.
So he said "no," but the minute we arrive at Amber Waves he's wondering, "why don't they have any bathrooms at Amber Waves?"
"Why, do you have to go?"
"Yes."
"I asked you if you had to go when we were at the conservatory and you said no."
"But then I was eating this cookie in the car, and now I have to go."
So after Amber Waves we head back up Depot Avenue and stop at work. It's always helpful to have your office in town for emergency bathroom trips.
We're headed home and he suggests I roll up the windows because he's cold and then I remember: we left his coat hanging in the pre school room in the conservatory. His pajama tops are tucked in the sleeve because he insisted on wearing them on his head to the open house.
We turn around and head back to Depot Avenue for a third time this morning.
And people wonder what I do all day.

song: Right Back Where We Started From • artist: Maxine Nightingale

Monday, September 11, 2006

Anyway You Want It

Now that my former classmates have a yahoo group devoted to them, I, as a member of the class of '86, am privy to any exchange between classmates until it gets personal enough for them to switch to individual e-mail accounts in lieu of addressing the entire group.
One member of our class is now part of a rock band. Though they might be great, you've never heard of them. This in and of itself I have no problem with. In editing her questionnaire response for our 20th class reunion, however, in the line where you would list you children (names and ages) she wrote "none, thank you." Now, I realize I'm a person who has children so maybe I'm taking it the wrong way, but frankly I thought that was rude and unnecessary. You don't have to dis someone else's choice, if it's not your own. Just leave the question blank.
So okay, fast forward two months. Now she's sending out group e-mails listing tour dates and encouraging "come check out our band if we swing thru your area."
We're lame for having kids but thankfully we're still good enough to "bring earplugs" and head over to O'Brien's in Allston.
Now there's at least three former classmates planning to hire babysitters so they can head out for an 11PM show and see a woman who, in my opinion, is making fun of their lifestyle choice, but as I've said, I'm probably taking it too personally, I am the person who held a grudge against classmates who couldn't seem to remember that my name ends with an "E" and not an "A."

artist: Anyway You Want It • artist: Journey

World Outside Your Window


Like everyone else, I feel compelled to share my whereabouts on Septemer 11, 2001. I suppose the imputus to do this stems from knowing that even though it was, to quote Joe Walsh, an ordinaly average day - I, and you, will always remember where we where when we heard the news.
Back in 2001 I was not a mostly-stay-at-home mom. I worked full time for On The Water Magazine, which was still under the umbrella of the Enterprise. As everyone recalls, Sept. 11, 2001 was a beautiful day. Warmer than today. My co-worker Gene and I left the Cape early for Rhode Island. It was one of our last field trips to the Ocean State to do research for On The Water's Fishing New England: A Rhode Island Shore Guide book.
We were planning to shot photos for the cover of the guide.
First stop was East Wall, near Point Judith in Narragansett. I took pictures of Gene surfcasting. I believe that's where I slipped and amost dropped my camera and where Gene got soaked and had to change clothes.
Next we stopped at the Avenues in West Narraganssett Bay. An amazing spot that you can access down several side streets as you make your way up Route 1A from the Point Judith Lighthouse heading towards Narragansett Beach.
The photo that's on the cover of the guide is from our photo shoot in the Avenues although personally I thought we had some better shots than the one that ended up being chosen.
I think we also stopped in a spot where people were surfing. I can't be sure where that might have been. Gene probably knows.
I also think we stopped for lunch in that sandwich shop in Jamestown just across from the harbor, but it seems impossible that we could have stopped there and not heard the news. Remarkably, we hadn't have the radio on all morning, somehow we'd been managing to practice the art of actual conversation.
Anyway, it must have been noon when we found out, we were paying the toll to go over the Jamestown Bridge onto Aquidneck Island, it's more familar name being the island where Newport is located. So the bridge tender is telling us this news in fits and starts, figuring of course that we already know what he's talking about.
We had no idea.
We just looked at each other and said "is he crazy?"
Then we turned on the radio.

song: World Outside Your Window • artist: Tanita Tikaram

Sunday, September 10, 2006

running couplet

At four, the Main Street Mile,
can take a while.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Ruby Tuesday


I haven't worn an earring to work in some time. I know this is true because I wore one to work today and three of my coworkers helpfully informed me that I was sporting only one earring.
For the record, I have only one pierced ear and here's why.
I was chicken to have my ears pierced when I had it done, even though I was in college at the time. Back in the late 80s I had bangs and a hair style that covered most of my left ear so I decided I could pierce the right one, see how it went, and then go back for the left one.
It went okay, but as you've probably guessed, I never went back because by this time, if nothing else, my degree in graphic design had taught me that asymmetry is better than symmetry. So I left well enough alone.
The upside of the one-earring thing is that you never have to buy earrings because your friends will give you all their lone earrings that have lost a mate. I have acquired 90% of my earring collection this way.
So, I'm sporting a hand-me-down earring this morning when my son comes downstairs.
Recently we signed him up for the recreation center's munchkin soccer program which starts tomorrow. Alex from daycare is also going to be in the program, and we presented the whole thing as an opportunity to play with Alex instead of introducing the concept of leagues and organized sports.
He was excited about the idea last night but this morning he is distracted.
"Mommy, I want an earring like that."
I explain that he doesn't have any holes in his ears so he can't wear earrings.
He sticks his finger into his ear and tells me there's a big hole right there.
Not wanting to disappoint or typecast earring-wearers as all female, I go upstairs and rummage around. He follows. Finally I pull out some faux ruby clip ons that were made to go on one's shoes. I wore them when I was in my friend Althea's wedding party.
I put them on his ears.
He is delighted.
"I'm going to wear these to soccer tomorrow and show them to Alex."

song: Ruby Tuesday • artist: The Rolling Stones

Musta Got Lost


I rarely drive over the bridge. Not that I’m one of those people who can’t, I just prefer to take the bus. Lately though I’d been racking up a list of things to do with the kids around the Waltham area and since I couldn’t use public transportation to accomplish all of them I decided it was time for a road trip.
I printed out my directions, marked up my new DeLorme Massachusetts Atlas, and talked a friend into meeting us up there.
It all went exceptionally well. The only place I got lost was along the dirt path at Garden in the Woods and that was because I was trying to hurry in order to get us to our lunch destination on time.
It was going so well in fact that I took the lead on the way to Bob’s Turkey Farm in Lancaster even though my friend didn’t have directions. We’d discussed them extensively over ice cream at Dairy Joy in Lincoln but unfortunately not extensively enough because my friend, several cars behind on Route 117, got lost.
I pressed on, anxious to get my turkey pot pies made from local free-range turkeys. I called on the cell phone and before the connection cut out she indicated she would be there soon. We waited but she didn’t arrive. My toddler played with the keys and activated the car alarm, yet again. She still did not arrive. I called again. She’d driven to the next town. It’s now almost 6PM and Bob’s is going to close. I call again offering to purchase her pies myself and meet her at the farm stand on Route 117 that advertised its own locally grown peaches.
Having agreed on this meeting place I hang up the phone, slam the door and instantly hear a beep that can only mean one thing - I’ve locked the keys in the car.
The beep was following by a sinking feeling buoyed only by the fact that at least I hadn’t locked my toddler in the car. He and his older brother were both there, standing next to me under darkening skies, in a soon-to-be-deserted parking lot, a bag of goldfish between them.
Utterly defeated I head back into the shop. The matronly lady who sold me my pies lets me phone home. Thankfully Ken answers and doesn’t let on that I am an idiot. I give him our address, not bothering to explain what I’m doing at a turkey farm, then I get him to give me my friend’s number so I can call her and explain how she can’t wait leisurely for me at the farm stand. This ended up being irrelevant as she was still driving around lost.
Then I remember that I haven’t purchased the second round of turkey pot pies yet. The sales woman is cashing out so I have to be quick about it.
Moments later the three of us are standing alone in the parking lot, turkey pot pies on the car roof. I wrangle a few goldfish away from my children. I look up just in time to see my friend’s tell-tale blue Toyota zoom past the farm’s driveway.
I hustle the kids out to the road hoping she’s noticed the small, unobtrusive farm sign and might be turning around and heading back but no such luck. The man who lives in the house in front of the store is home though and in a flash he’s got a coat hanger and is headed towards my Subaru.
I ask him if he’s Bob. He isn’t.
It doesn’t look as if the coat hanger is going to work but there’s barely time to give up when, like the sheriff riding in on his white stallion, the AAA van comes rolling into the parking lot.
We’re back in the car by the time my friend finally locates us. There’s a happy reunion, the passing of the pies, and the sharing of snacks. Then my friend takes the lead to get us back to 495 which is entirely appropriate, because after all that driving around, she’s really familiar with the area by now.

song: Musta Got Lost artist: J. Geils Band