Monday, December 31, 2007

Wicked Game

H has learned how to use the stereo remote so now he can play and replay "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to his heart's content. He also likes to replay "This Old Man" except that he calls the song, "This Snowman."
And speaking of snowmen, and we really don't speak of snowmen often enough do we? I got the scarecrow out of the front yard just in time to replace it with a snowman. Now nothing remain of either of them except a pair of knee-high rubber boots that Ken says used to belong to Margie.
H is wicked into Frosty the Snowman; all aspects of Frosty: the song, the video, and the song lyrics in book form. Frosty was always my least favorite Christmas special. The greenhouse scene was too sad for my sensitive tastes though it doesn't seem to bother my heart-hearted children.
And speaking of wicked, I heard a five-year-old at the Children's Museum announce that he was "wicked good" at some thing or another - I can't remember what since I was so surprised to hear a little kid say "wicked."
But back to Frosty. Most adults are content to be finished with Christmas by afternoon on December 25th. If only the Christmas tree would vanish from the living room at exactly 6PM on Christmas Day like all the holiday music on the radio does, then we'd be happy. But for kids, December 25th is just one piece of the puzzle and by no means the final piece. My kids register no shame in listening to Christmas CDs weeks and weeks after Christmas, reading Frosty every night, wondering what Santa is doing now (maybe he's the one who found C's glove in the driveway, brought it inside, and placed it on the drying rack), and watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas." And so, following many numerous readings of Frosty which has allowed me to analyze the song more than anyone ought to have time to do, I've come to this conclusion: Frosty is Jesus.
Let's examine the evidence. Frosty "comes to life one day," without the intervention of any parents, which sounds like a virgin birth. Children are essential to the Frosty story and in the Bible Jesus commands: "suffer the little children to come unto me (Mark 10:14)." Before leaving, Frosty leads a parade through "the streets of town." Palm Sunday anyone? Finally he, "waved good bye saying don't you cry, I'll be back again someday." Duh! And here's even more proof, check out this illustration from one of the two Frosty books currently in my possession, the little boy is actually waving a palm during Frosty's foray into town!
Unfortunately, I'm not the first one to notice this - perhaps because it's just so obvious. If you want to learn more, google Frosty and Jesus, there's something like 300,000 hits so the jig's up but just remember - you heard it here first.

song: Wicked Game • artist: Chris Isaak

new year's resolution (a quatrain)

No Britney Spears
In this new year's.
And her little sister?
We surely won't miss her.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sixes or at Sevens

I'm going to miss 2007, but not for any rational reason. I'm going to miss 2007 because I like to write the number seven. Not the word, the number. I like to write the number seven and then cross it through the middle like my high school math teacher, Ms. Spindel used to.
Do you think she would take pride in that? In knowing she had influenced the way I write my sevens? It's not like I majored in math or anything. I considered it but for some reason I thought graphic design would be more useful. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Of course upon further consideration, majoring in math and then going on to become an engineer or physicist and telling the young journalist interviewing me my for my Nobel Prize that I owed it all to my high school math teacher would probably have been a wee bit more flattering.

song: (Say, Why is Everything Either at) Sixes or at Sevens? • artist: Gilbert & Sullivan

Moondance

I try to discourage my son from using "bathroom talk," especially in front of his highly impressionable younger brother. Often times, what qualifies as bathroom talk can be hard to define but like pornography and the U.S. Supreme Court, I know it when I see it - or in this case - hear it.
Sometimes the word is just gibberish but I can tell by the tone of voice that's being used that it's bathroom talk gibberish. Sometimes it's the tone of laughter that follows the conversation that clues me in to the subject matter.
This is why it always strikes me so funny when C recites the names of the planets for his younger brother. He sails right over Uranus without flinching; while I, juvenile mother that I am, stand in the background trying to stifle giggles.

song: Moondance • artist: Van Morrison

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hard Headed Woman

Technology is a funny thing. The technology may advance, but do we? I received an iPod for Christmas and after much downloading, what’s the first thing I’ve listened to? Cat Stevens “Greatest Hits,” circa 1975.
And these ear buds aren’t any more comfortable than the ones on my Walkman.

Song: Hard Headed Woman artist: Cat Stevens

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

All I Ever Wanted

C woke up this morning musing about how he wished he had more presents to open. He went to bed last night bemoaning the same thing. After breakfast, when he launched into wondering out loud why the neighbors weren't lining up to bring him gifts, I thought I might remind him that he wasn't, after all, the Christ Child and no one was required to bring him anything. Instead, I briefly explained that there were children in the world who'd received less presents than him, and there were children who'd received more, but that the important thing was for him to be happy with what he had. Because if he couldn't be happy with what he had, he would never be happy.
And that about sums up my entire philosophy on life. I think my job is done. What else can I teach him?

song: All I Ever Wanted • artist: Michael Stanley Band

If I had a Hammer

It should come as no surprise that C did not get a box of magic yesterday from Santa, despite the detailed note left on Christmas Eve that requested "a box of magic to make me fly and make it don't do bad things."
It reminded me of the year that I asked for a puppy and instead got a note from Santa telling me to keep my room clean. Santa can be pretty tough.
C was up at 7:30 on Christmas morning and by 8:30 he had declared that this was the best Christmas ever, even without a box of magic, because he got a real hammer from Santa in his stocking.
Santa really lucked out because as far as I know, he wasn't even aware that the runner up gift to a box of magic was something as simple as a child-sized hammer. Lucky guess for Santa.

song: If I had a Hammer • artist: Peter, Paul, and Mary

Monday, December 24, 2007

christmas couplet #6

I see by light of the full moon
that Santa will be arriving soon.

christmas couplet #5

This very night
Santa takes flight!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

School's Out

Today I added my alma mater to the list of links off this blog. I did this out of guilt because I just recycled their annual appeals letter despite having recently had a pleasant phone conversation with the sophomore who was saddled with the job of calling up deadbeat alumnae and asking them for money.
Surely because of this link Simmons will receive lots of website hits which will make up for the money I did not send them. Here's another plug for my old school: "I went to a single-sex college, and, it wasn't that bad." In fact, in retrospect I wouldn't trade the experience. There are lots of obvious reasons why: small school, small classes, party invites to other colleges every weekend, whole city of Boston at your disposal. But more importantly, if you attend a women's college you won't wake up on Saturday morning to find puke in your hallway and overflowing toilets in the bathroom. You won't wake up to find a naked, drunken stranger wrapped in an American flag in your roommate's bed (ask Ken about it). They serve tea every Friday and you can wear sweats to class without worrying that you might pass that cute guy you had your eye on while crossing the quad. I don't like the sweatpants look myself, having never been one to hang around in my pajamas for extended periods, but whatever floats your boat.
People often confuse Simmons with Smith. When this happens people will then mistake you for someone much smarter.
You might even have a gay roommate, who will turn out to be the best roommate you could hope for, and you can marvel at the fact that she shaves her legs even though she's gay while you, a straight woman, rarely shave yours. When your boyfriend comes to visit he and your gay roommate can collectively ogle the girl in the adjacent dorm building who exercises in her underwear even though she must know everyone can see her through the windows.
On the downside, you'll go around for the rest of your life correcting people who say "all girls school," and reminding them that the proper phrase is "women's college."

song: School's Out • artist: Alice Cooper

Saturday, December 22, 2007

LA Woman

H and I were at the Cape Cod Children's Museum on Wednesday and we met a mom who - surprise - had twins. Her name was Heather and she was from LA where she was president of the local twins club. She spoke quickly. I don't know if that was a result of being the mother of twins, or the result of living in LA. I'm basing all my knowledge of LA on the 1991 film LA Story starring Steve Martin. Weren't there some fast talkers in that movie? Heather was especially excited for me because next year's National Organization of Mothers of Twins Club Convention is going to be held in Boston. So - I can go! Let's hope they're planning to have lots of childcare I thought to myself. She also told me that her twins, which are the same age as Henry, still sleep together in one crib, that the Double Snap N Go was a good investment, and that the Double Boppy was unnecessary.
I didn't let on, but being the world's most uninformed soon-to-be-mother-of-twins, I didn't know what a Double Snap N Go was. Turns out it's a generic double stroller frame made to hold two standard infant car seats. This would facilitate my getting the twins into the doctor's office and the little library since they sit one in front of the other instead of side by side, thus making the Double Snap N Go able to fit through a single door frame.
Ken checked it out on line and said, "Why? You have two arms." But he placed the order.

song: LA Woman • artist: The Doors

Thursday, December 20, 2007

christmas couplet #4

kids run about, making mom's thoughts grow hazy.
hurry Christmas, before they drive me crazy.

The phrase "christmas couplet" gets more hits than "thanksgiving couplet." Lots more. Seems that the readers of this blog are just a bunch of would-be poets. Again I say, anyone can write a couplet. Try it and see. Heed the words of Gilbert and Sullivan and their not-very-tough pirates of Penzance:
For what, we ask, is life without a touch of poetry in it?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

christmas couplet #3

Ornaments from the Christmas tree
Are dislodged by children frequently.

Who Loves You

So I thought I might suggest to C that Santa isn't solely responsible for every present under the Christmas tree.
I posed this question: "Who else who loves you might bring you presents on Christmas?"
"God?"
"Anybody else?"
"Nana and Papa?"
"Anybody else?"
"Grandma and Opa?"
"Anybody else?"
There was a long pause and a blank stare.
"How about Mommy and Daddy?" I offered.
"Oh." he said flatly.
It's not that I mind taking a back seat to God and my parents but, heck, I wasn't even going to make the list. I suppose that's what I get for not buying him anything the other 364 days of the year.

song: Who Loves You • artist: Frankie Valli & The Four seasons

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Orange Crush

The comment I'm hearing most often these days is, "you're not as big as I thought you'd be."
What does that mean? That they were expecting a duplex and I'm only as big as a single-family home? I don't know for sure but I expect it's a close to a compliment as I'll be getting for some time.
The craving of the month has been clementines. I like to eat three or four of them at once. At least the twins won't have scurvy.

song: Orange Crush • artist: R.E.M.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Twelve Pains of Christmas

I was reaching to hang an ornament on an upper branch of the Christmas tree when my protruding stomach knocked a glass bunny off the tree. It smashed on the floor. Damn twins - breaking ornaments already.
C has decided to ask Santa for a "box of magic" so he can "fly around." I suggested that Santa might not be able to swing that but he insisted that "Santa can do anything." It would be a lot easier if he just wanted an Xbox.
On the way home from the office Sunday night I heard a version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" on WHJY. It sounded like AC/DC or some other heavy-metal band's interpretation of this classic. It was scary sounding. The underlying message seemed to be that you'd better lock all the doors and arm yourself with a baseball bat because "Santa Claus is coming to town" and boy is he freakin' pissed!

song: The Twelve Pains of Christmas • artist: Bob Rivers

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Substitute

You know how in the comic strip "Family Circus," Bil Keane will occasionally use little Billy as a substitute cartoonist? Billy will make observations like, "sometimes daddy calls mommy his dear," which will be followed by a child-like drawing of a deer wearing pearls and high heels. Well frankly I find the Family Circus characters too saccharine for my tastes. Nothing bad every happens to those kids. I prefer "For Better or For Worse" where at least the kids grow up and once they had to deal with the dog dying.
Anyway, I'm taking a cue from Mr. Keane and giving myself today off. I leave you instead with a story from C.
Once I went to the cranberry bog but there was no one to see except too many frogs. But I went home and I thought no one would see me but I was wrong. That night I woke up and I heard something outside and there was a huge scary monster outside. I saw it and I closed the door and locked it. Then there was a big storm! And the storm blew the house down! It was rumbling and rumbling and then there was a big bang! The house hit a rock and I was scared. I said, "I hope this storm will stop soon."

song: Substitute • artist: The Who

Thursday, December 13, 2007

christmas couplet #2

When decorating the Christmas tree,
Children hang ornaments indiscriminately.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'll Fly Away

On Tuesday night we decorated the Christmas tree. I think that next year we should skip the tree, hew down one big branch, and prop it up in the living room. The kids hang every ornament on the same branch anyway, why confuse them with a whole tree?
We went to the tree farm on Sunday and after we cut the tree down and brought it home, we put it out in the yard for the afternoon before bringing it inside that night. When we brought it in, it was covered with winter moths. In the brightness of the living room they all took flight. It was like a B-grade horror movie: "Revenge of the Moths," or "Holiday Moth Attack." Ken wanted to bring the tree back outside but it seemed to me that we'd come this far and shouldn't retreat. Besides, you have to look at it from a five-year-old's point of view. From C's stand point at least, aside from having Santa put presents under it, being infested with moths was about the best thing that could happen to a Christmas tree. We armed ourselves with flashlights and fly swatters and C got to pick moths off the tree and squish them, with mommy's approval, for a half hour. H had a good time pointing to moths that were on the floor or flying around the lamp. Heck, even the cat got to eat a few.
After we'd picked off all we could find, Ken came through with the vacuum cleaner to suck up the ones that were trying to hide on the ceiling.

song: I'll Fly Away • artist: Albert E. Brumley

You Say It's Your Birthday


12/12/84
You are still older than me.

And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me.
You will always be my friend.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

song: You Say It's Your Birthday • artist: The Beatles

Saturday, December 08, 2007

History of Us

I don't know what's worse, being asked questions about Santa that I can't answer, or being asked history questions that I can't answer.
Yesterday they were talking about Pearl Harbor on the radio so of course C asked me about that, me and my sketchy history, the Titanic I know plenty about, but Pearl Harbor not so much. Then last night we started a book of American tall tales, the first being about Davy Crockett. The introduction to the story mentioned how Mr. Crockett achieved legendary status after dying at the Alamo. This led to me having to describe the Alamo, which, having been to the Alamo I was in a slightly better position to do than Pearl Harbor. Still in all, it gave my history-deprived brain quite a workout.

song: History of Us • artist: Indigo Girls

I Think I Love You

I think I've met the mom of my dreams. We were all at the Woods Hole playground last week, her and her three boys, and me and my two. C insisted on bringing our garden clippers so he could plod into the woods, cut sticks, drag them back to the playground, and build with them. I told him we had to ask Aidan's mom before taking the clippers out of the car. Not all mom's approve of having their children play with recently sharpened gardening clippers I explained, though what I really said was the textbook, "different families have different rules."
Aidan's mom answered, "Sure. If I had known, we would have brought our clippers too."
I think I'm in love.

song: I Think I Love You • artist: The Partridge Family

You Can't Do That

Pumpkins should be incorporated into Christmas decorating. The average Christmas tree, cut in Nova Scotia and brought to Cape Cod, lasts about two weeks while a uncut pumpkin is good for at least three months.
Back when I didn't have kids, I would hear parents negotiating with their offspring or offering bribes for good behavior, and think smugly, "when I have kids I'll never say that." But you never know what's going to come out of your mouth when faced with frustrating circumstances. Thursday I threatened C with the old December stand by, "Santa won't come if you don't..." In this case it was, "if you don't stop vexing your brother." That's right, I told him Santa wasn't coming, and, I used the word vexing on him.

song: You Can't Do That • The Beatles

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Wishes

What do you mean I have to get them presents for Christmas? Two new, younger siblings isn't enough?

song: Christmas Wishes • artist: Anne Murray

Thursday, December 06, 2007

christmas couplet #1

'Tis the season,
To shop without reason.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Any Old Kind of Day

You asked me once why I never mentioned H. Was it because "he's such a little guy, he doesn't do much yet?"
That was the case a year ago but lots has changed since then.
Last Thursday H and I were at the playground outside the Cataumet Arts Center. Towards the end of our time there another little boy showed up with his father. The boy, Matthew, wasn't much bigger than H though it turned out he was only two weeks shy of his fourth birthday.
When H began climbing up to where Matthew was, the older boy announced to his dad, "here comes a baby." To which H responded, as clearly as though he'd never mumbled an unintelligible phrase in his entire life, "I not baby."
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I was home with both the kids all day. We couldn't get our act together to get to story time at the rec. center, so by 11AM they had already started to fight over stuff and yell at each other.
I decided to take them down to Megansett. In typical preschooler fashion C protested. He didn't want to go to the beach. He didn't want to go for a walk. He didn't want to be cold. You get the picture. I drag them down anyway and the tide is out, way out, and in no time C is digging up quahogs with a stick and H is collecting snails (hundreds of them) off the jetty rocks. They collected shells and walked on the rocks and watched a man launch his kayak. Basically they had a great time for ninety minutes, then, out of nowhere H ran straight into the water. I don't know if he meant to or if he just didn't realize the tide was coming in and there was less beach to run on but suddenly he was in the water screaming. I ran out to scoop him up and then I was soaked. As I carried him to shore I looked around sheepishly because the only thing worse than having your two year old knee-deep in November ocean water is having another parent witness it and thereby label you worst, most negligent, mother of the year; meanwhile H is going into his hold-your-breath-till-you-pass-out dance. I hustled him and his bucket full of snails to the car. At this point C started crying because he didn't want to leave.
"We have to leave, your brother is soaking wet," I say, adding "if you were wet and cold, wouldn't you want to leave?"
"The water's always cold," he countered, but it was too late because I already had him in the car.
I took H's shoes off, they were filled with water, along with his wet socks and pants. I put the car blanket over him and it seemed to cheer him up.
I suggested to C we go home and do a stuck shell project, which seemed to cheer him up.
Ken returned the snails to the ocean that night after everyone was in bed, which I'm sure, cheered them up.

song: Any Old Kind of Day • artist: Harry Chapin

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Eternal Flame

Ken took the kids to the parade yesterday. Somehow I've gotten out of that gig for the past three years. Not that I haven't put in my time at past parades. I remember marching or riding on a float for either the girl scouts or the figure skating club every year. I have this memory of being in the parade one year when I was in high school; it's one of those memories that always makes me laugh though I'm unsure it will translate well. It was an olympic year and the figure skaters had made a float featuring the five olympic rings. Leigh Ellen and I were going to carry the FFSC banner and walk in front of the float and Aletha was going to walk behind us carrying an olympic torch. The torch was made by a boy scout who had two sisters in the club. It consisted of a coffee can on a stick. I don't know what was in it to keep it lit but whatever it was, it burned out completely while we were still in the mall parking lot waiting for the parade to start.
Undaunted, Aletha walked the entire parade route carrying a can on a stick with no flame.

song: Eternal Flame • artist: Bangles

Goin' By The Book

At the bookstore on Friday I saw a new, illustrated, version of The Elements of Style. Why would a book about grammar, composition, and style need to be illustrated? Maybe along with the mantra "omit needless words," Strunk and White should have included "omit needless illustrations."

song: Goin' By The Book • Johnny Cash

Friday, November 30, 2007

On The Radio

The Martha's Vineyard radio station I frequently listen to is fund-raising this week. At least they had the decency not to hold their beg-a-thon the same week as the local NPR station (that was last week). As if on cue the station is obscured by static on the kitchen radio. Can they control that? Can they actually make their station not come in so as to make me feel guilty, ("they can't even afford enough bandwidth to broadcast in Falmouth.") Should I send them some money?
Wait, no. I can still get them in the living room.

song: On The Radio • artist: Donna Summer

Her First Mistake

I stand corrected. Actually I'm sitting corrected. A friend who is much more fashionable than I told me today that it's a cowl neck, not a cow neck. Who knew? Everyone but me no doubt. They've got turtle necks, why not cow necks? Because it's a stupid name - that's why.
Let's see, is this more or less embarrassing than the time I wrote "mute point" in one of my articles. It's "moot point" but you already knew that. It's definitely not as embarrassing as the time we were in Canada and I tried to order jimmies on my ice cream. The woman behind the counter just kept staring at me while I repeated my request two, three, four times. Finally Connie jumped in and saved me, "they're called sprinkles, Joanne."
But look, I'm not the only idiot out there.

song: Her First Mistake • artist: Lyle Lovett

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hurt So Good

Tonight I noticed that I posted more comments this past week about being pregnant than I did about my cute, already-been-born kids. Originally I thought that being pregnant with twins would provide endless fodder for The Mommy Rant, but as long as things are going along pretty well, there's not much to say. Who wants to hear about my varicose veins or inch-high belly button? Compared to accounts I've read on-line, things could be much worse. At least my pregnancy ailments have occurred in a linear fashion, that is, one after the other and not all together. Thankfully my back wasn't still hurting when it felt like I'd pulled all the muscles in my groin. Good thing my groin wasn't hurting the week I woke up every night with leg cramps. The other night, even without cramped up legs, I hurt myself sitting on the couch. There I was, with my feet up, taking it easy, and when I went to get up I, ouch, pulled something.
So that's it about being pregnant for this week, and now back to our regularly scheduled programming, already in progress.

song: Hurt So Good • artist: John Cougar Mellencamp

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lovefool

Speaking of maternity clothing, I finally wore, for the first time ever, the sweater that my cousin gave me as a hand-me-down five years ago. I've been meaning to dye it burgundy (it's pink) for forever but now it can't be done because I need a top-loading washing machine which we don't have. I imagine the laundromat frowns on people using their machines to dye sweaters in.
It's also got a cow neck. Remember those? When did they go out of style - 1984? Whoever thought that "cow neck" would make a good name for a design feature in a sweater? Who wants a neck that looks like a cow?
Even though the sweater isn't exactly me, I wore it because it fits which is more than I can say for most of my clothes.
So I'm wearing the sweater and H is sitting with my in the computer room and he leans over too far because he's mad that he can't find a picture of a lighthouse in the book we are looking at, falls off his chair, hits his face on the edge of the desk, gets a bloody nose and proceeds to bleed all over - the pink sweater.

song: Lovefool • artist: The Cardigans

Forever in Blue Jeans

Lately there's been a range of reactions to the size of my stomach, everything from "you look great! Are those even maternity jeans?" to "boy, you're getting big, you must really be tired."
The answer is of course they are maternity jeans, are you high? I have finally been forced to embrace the jeans I bought when I was pregnant with H and never wore. I disliked them because they have a mini-bell bottom-type cut. What's that for, enormous swollen ankles? They are also at least five inches too long despite being a size small. This means only one thing, that tall skinny women are the only people who should be getting pregnant. But, it was either roll up the jeans and wear them or have only one pair of wearable pants, which would mean having to go around naked on wash day.
The best reaction to my "condition" was the complete lack of any reaction by the salesman at the Plymouth Winery. I stopped in for wine to go with Thanksgiving dinner and he asked me not once but twice if I wanted to sample the wines I was purchasing. This means either, a) he wasn't paying attention at all, or b) he's been burned in the past and now refuses to assume a woman is pregnant until she shows up at the shop with an actual baby.

song: Forever in Blue Jeans • artist: Neil Diamond

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Amnesia

People are so predictable. We are constantly amazed by the same things over and over. The other night's full moon for example. I stepped out the door from work and there it was - amazing. I stood awe struck. My parents took the kids outside later that night for a viewing.
You'd think, by the way people talk about it, that a full was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence instead of something that happens once a month.
"There's a full moon tonight."
"Did you see the full moon?"
"Look how bright it is outside tonight because of the full moon."
How about this phrase which everyone utters in some form or another every December:
"I can't believe how dark it is out, it's only 4:30."
Or how we all marvel at a particularly colorful sunset, or how we can't help but to comment (over and over again,) on how fast time seems to go by once one is over 30.
It's like the human race has collective amnesia.

song: Amnesia • artist: Pousette-Dart Band

Monday, November 26, 2007

Free Falling

I wonder. Have I recently become more of a klutz due to the power of suggestive thinking, as in "don't drop this because it's too much of an ordeal to bend over and pick it up. Opps. Damn."
Or have I always been this way?

song: Free Falling • artist: Tom Petty

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Holiday

There seems to be some general holiday confusion around my house.
On Wednesday C asked me:
"Is Christmas Jesus's birthday?"
Instead of a short lecture on the winter solstice and how early Christians adapted pre-existing pagan holidays as their own, I simply said:
"Yes."
"When is it God's birthday?," he wondered out loud, "on Thanksgiving? I think we should have a cake."
On Thursday morning, before anyone had come over he was in the living room with his little brother when he announced excitedly:
"H! Today is Thanksgiving!"
H, equally excited, said:
"I be pirate!"
"No!" big brother corrected, "you don't dress up for Thanksgiving."
Well you can dress the turkey - but I thought it best not to bring that up.

song: Holiday • artist: Madonna

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Do-Re-Mi

So it's Thanksgiving evening, why aren't they airing "The Sound of Music" on any of my 50 television channels?

song: Do-Re-Mi • Soundtrack: The Sound of Music

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Poetry In Motion

Through the wonder of Sitemeter it's possible for me to see what Google search has led someone to this blog. Usually, because we're such a high-brow bunch, it's people searching for the lyrics to Jeremiah was a Bullfrog. Every now and then something more unusual comes up. Today, for example, I expect that the individual from Kingston NY who was searching for "mommy you sexy" was disappointed with The Mommy Rant. This month I've noticed that the words "Thanksgiving couplet" are turning up frequently. I wonder who these people are who search for Thanksgiving couplets. I can almost understand "mommy you sexy" more. Are they poetry enthusiasts? College students searching out inspiration for a writing assignment? A journalist perhaps, looking for a clever opening to a holiday article? Assuredly they are disappointed as well when they get to my site; but what were they expecting - Robert Frost?
On the other hand I hope my words aren't being pirated by some 18-year old who is too lazy to come up with a couplet of his own. If I can come up with a couplet despite the distrations of my children, anyone can. In fact, I encourage everyone to give it a go. A couplet is two lines that rhyme, nothing more. It's best if the meter of both lines match but it's not imperative. Look here are several I thought up today while hanging out in the front yard with the kids, C was climbing a tree in order to "put on a show," and H was climbing on our upside down dory, his "kayak," and subsequently trying to wrench the pen out of my hand so he could draw with it.

song: Poetry in Motion • artst: Johnny Tillotson

thanksgiving couplet #5

Turkey, stuffing, and mashed potato
Eat till you can't move from the table.

thanksgiving couplet #4

Thanksgiving Day
Well on its way

thanksgiving couplet #3

Yearly Thanksgiving meal
Universal appeal

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I am the Walrus (I am the Eggman)

As if the irony of preschoolers wasn't enough, how about the irony of supermarket eggs?
If I get plain old no frills brown eggs they come in a cardboard carton, which, though it isn't suppose to be put out with my curbside recycling (can someone tell me why?), I can tear up and toss into my compost pile outback or burn in the fireplace along with those pizza boxes I'm also not suppose to recycle. But, if I upgrade and buy the eggs laid by chickens that are fed organic feed, then my eggs come in either a plastic container, which I can't throw out in the backyard, or they come in a Styrofoam container, which I can't recycle at all.
This makes it impossible for me to have my cake and eat it too. Especially if I want to include an egg in that cake mix.

song: I am the Walrus (I am the Eggman) • artist: The Beatles

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mama We're All Crazy Now

The woman who led the talk about birds at the recreation center said it was possible to get a chickadee to eat out of your hand. What was required was to stand outside everyday for ten minutes with a small amount of seed in your hand until the birds grew accustomed to your presence.
Of course C wanted to put this to the test right away. He stood on the deck the first day with his bagel covered in birdseed and the kitchen timer set to 15 minutes. The next day he decided to try again. H took his seed-covered bagel and tried to follow.
"Don't let him come out. He's too loud," C commanded.
I told him he merely need to explain to his younger brother that it was important to be quiet.
This is my new tactic. If I encourage C to rationally explain a situation to his two-and-a-half-year-old brother, surely H will cooperate.
So they both went outside even though the wind was gusting and there wasn't a bird in sight.
In a few minutes all can hear is C yelling at the top of his voice:
"Stop it! Be quiet! You're making too much noise!"

song: Mama We're All Crazy Now • artist: Quiet Riot

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down

Scarecrows, I find, provide a harsh lesson on the deterioration of man at an accelerated rate. When first filled with leaves they prop themselves up sturdily. For a while he sat proud and tall observing the oak leaves falling in the yard. Oak leaves which rarely turn interesting colors, only brown. After a few weeks though, the scarecrow slumped in his chair, inches shorter than when he first came into being. Try as I might it was impossible to rearrange his drooping bodies in such a was as to regain his former presence. No wonder the crows laugh. Little harbingers of the grim reaper that they are, watching us trying in vain to stave off the march of time.
Perhaps next year it would be better to decorate the yard with bales of hay. Scarecrows are too depressing.

song: I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down • artist: Elvis Costello

Lady

Another reason to hang clothes outside on the line even in November: ladybugs in your clothes basket.

song: Lady • artist: Styx

Friday, November 16, 2007

fall couplet #3

falling leaves
naked trees

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Just One Look

I know it's not the Virgin Mary appearing in my French toast, which is too bad because then I could auction it off for big bucks on Ebay; but doesn't this knot in our piece of plywood look like a spider?

song: Just One Look • artist: Linda Ronstadt

Sample in a Jar

Now that I have started saving jelly jars to use as drinking glasses, it would appear I am skipping right over turning into my mother and moving straight on to becoming my grandmother.

song: Sample in a Jar • artist: Phish

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Today

We've got some big days coming up this week, starting with Wednesday as Reusable Bag Day in Massachusetts. Forgot your reusable bag at home this morning? Well, just designate Thursday as Reusable Bag Day For Those Who Weren't Aware That Wednesday Was Reusable Bag Day.
But wait, no can do because Thursday is already National Bundt Pan Appreciation Day.
Is there a Bundt pan in your cabinet? My mother made all her cakes in Bundt pans. She used to let me grease and flour the pan when it was cake-baking time. I thought this was pretty special but in retrospect greasing and flouring a Bundt pan is, well, a big pain in the Bundt, which is why, now that I'm a grown up, I don't own a Bundt pan. That's right, I'm on to you now, Ma.
I let my kids grind nuts and break eggs. Now that's fun.

song: Today • artist: John Denver

I Can't Explain

My eldest son used to say that when he grew up he was going to marry me. Last night he and H came downstairs having played together without incident for a record-setting 20 minutes and he announced: "I really love H. When we grow up we can get married."
I suggested that he and his little brother could be best friends when they grew up instead. Why couldn't they get married he wondered out loud. Was it because boys had to marry girls?
No, that wasn't the reason I told him.
Can boys marry boys he asked.
Yes, but it's unusual I said. "Do you know what unusual means?"
"It's not happening all the time."
"That's right."
"But it happens sometimes."
"That's right."
"Do sometimes boys marry boys?"
"Sometimes they do, but you still can't marry your brother."
To make a long story less long, I went on to explain why brothers and sisters and cousins can't get married. That it's a better thing for a baby to have different genes (not the kind you wear) instead of similar genes which is what would happen if you married your relative. I reminded him of the talk we had about why he and his brother both had blue eyes (because mommy and daddy have blue eyes), and that babies might get sick if they have parents who are relatives.
None of this actually had anything to do with why he couldn't marry his brother since he and his brother wouldn't be able to have babies, but, thankfully he was distracted enough not to pick up on that.
Fifteen minutes later he asked me when daddy would be home.
"In a half hour. It's only 5:30."
"But it's so dark. Why is it so dark?"
"Because this time of year it gets dark early."
Gay marriage and hemophilia, those are topics I can tackle, but daylight savings time? How do I explain that?

song: I Can't Explain • artist: The Who

Monday, November 12, 2007

holiday couplet

Thanksgiving approaches,
but Christmas encroaches.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Sister Golden Hair

They didn't have my usual tea tree conditioner at Amber Waves. Instead I had to choose between the conditioner for "damaged hair" and the one for "fine, limp hair." They didn't have one specially made for "rapidly graying hair," which would have been the most appropriate, so I went with fine and limp. "Damaged," sounded too much like my hair had suffered some kind of emotional trauma and was in need of therapy. I'm not a big fan of therapy, not even for my hair.

song: Sister Golden Hair • artist: America

Tell 'Em the Truth

Recently I met a very nice mom with three very nice, well-behaved, young sons; and a dog named Whiskey. I thought that Whiskey might be an inappropriate name for a family pet, but then I reconsidered. Perhaps the kids named her that because she has a lot of whiskers. After all, when I was five we had a cat named Reefer. She came off a windjammer my dad captained in the Bahamas. Maybe the crew had to reef the sails a lot; or maybe she was named after the coral reefs. I'm sure it was something perfectly innocent. Really. I'm sure.

song: Tell 'Em the Truth • soundtrack: Reefer Madness

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Thing of Beauty

The fern on my desk is dead. That makes two ferns I've brought to work and ultimately killed. Now that I only work part time I find myself too busy with actual work to perform frivolous tasks such as taking deceased plants outside and dumping them alongside the building. In retrospect, I guess I was also too busy to perform the frivolous task of watering. Subsequently, the dead fern has been sitting on my desk for many weeks now. It didn't kneel over or anything, it just dried out. I've always been partial to dried flowers. It doesn't look half bad sitting there, frozen and zen-like, next to the lucky bamboo, I think I'll keep it.
What's lucky about lucky bamboo you ask? Lucky bamboo is lucky it isn't a fern.

song: Thing of Beauty • artist: Hothouse Flowers

Thursday, November 08, 2007

1979

Because I'm sure you all run right out there whenever I mention what's in season at Coonamessett Farm, today we bought a large pumpkin for two dollars. Two dollars! They don't grow pumpkins at the farm so I can't say as they were local pumpkins, and I know that the season to carve them has past but guess what else you can do with pumpkins? Eat them! I won't bore you with my recipe for pumpkin bread which is no more innovate than any you'll find in your own cookbooks, but it sure is better when the pumpkin doesn't come out of a can.
The three of us went to Coonamessett today because C was bent out of shape that H and I went yesterday while he was a preschool. We visited the chickens, the sheep, the goats, and ducks, the alpacas, and the miniature donkeys, but the animal that made the biggest impression on H was the farm cat. It followed us around and H became enamored with it yelling out bossy instructions whenever it started meandering off into the woods. You'd think it was some exotic animal and that we didn't have a cat of our own at home.
When C was small he was afraid of the goats and the sheep because they were loud. That's ironic given how loud he now is himself. But anyway, one afternoon, in an effort to prove that the goats were friendly, I was bending down to pet one when the hem of my dress got into the pen and the goat started chewing on it. There I was trying to yank back my dress and C is screaming and crying because as far as he was concerned not only were goats loud, now they were trying to eat his mommy.

song: 1979 • artist: Smashing Pumpkins

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Sorta Fairytale

The fairies at our house can't seem to win for trying. After cleaning the wrong sink they were invited back to work their magic on the bathroom sink, a fixture that, happily for the fairies, is easier to clean than the kitchen sink.
But the next morning C wasn't a bit interested in the fairies or whether or not they had performed their requested task.
Two nights later he was brushing his teeth and finally he asked:
"Did you clean the sink?"
"Nope."
"Did Daddy?"
"I don't think so."
"Daddy! Did you clean the sink?" he yelled downstairs, because what five year old believes their mom?
"The fairies must have done it!" he exclaimed.
"Look how shiny everything is!" he marveled.
Mommy can't win for trying either. My task was to purchase a gift for a five-year-old classmate of C's who was having a birthday party this past weekend.
"What does Sam like?" I asked C.
"I think he likes super heros."
Great. Not auspicious advice for the mom who likes to eschew everything licensed-character related.
So I went to the toy store, and with all due respect to William Wordsworth, "I wandered aimless as a cloud." I picked up a toy, wondered whether a five-year-old boy I'd never met before would like it, and then put it back. It's likely I'd still be at the store except that it closed at 6PM. As if I were in a game of musical chairs, the shop turned off their music to signal time was up and I dutifully took the last toy I had in my hand and brought it to the register. I ended up with a Zoobdude Rock Climber. The description on the box said he was an "Adventure Hero." I don't think that's the kind of super hero my son had in mind.
Having completed this task, I stopped off at the Windfall Market. Still contemplating my choice and not feeling at all satisfied with it, I roamed the aisles of the supermarket. I got myself some chicken salad for dinner and a can of Ghirardelli double chocolate hot cocoa mix with which to cheer myself up. "I wonder if Sam would like some European dark chocolate," I mused.
The party was cancelled because of Saturday's weather.
I should have bought the chocolate.

song: A Sorta Farytale • artist: Tori Amos

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Blinded by the Light

Here's some helpful advice from the voice of experience.
When there's a nor'easter predicted and you expect that the electricity could go out, it's best not to get your flashlights out and organize them on the countertop in anticipation. This is because your children will inevitably take them down and play with them. When the lights finally do go out you'll be left standing in the pitch black going "where the ?&$&!!*$% are the flashlights!"

song: Blinded by the Light • artist: Bruce Springsteen

Monday, November 05, 2007

post-halloween couplet

Happy jack-o-lantern grins at me
Innocent of what his fate will be.

post-halloween quatrain

Searching out a healthy treat
Something good for mommy to eat
I find halloween candy
Irresistibly handy

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Wind

Poor Colin Murphy. He doesn't want a wind turbine near his house. "I don't want to hear it or see it, and I don't think I should have to be bothered by it," he is quoted as saying in the Enterprise about Webb Research Corporation's plan to erect a wind turbine on their Technology Park property. With the turbine Mr. Webb hopes to provide electricity for his company using a renewable energy source.
That Mr. Murphy objects to possible noise caused by the wind turbine is ironic given his line of work in the tree industry. I can think of nothing more objectionable than having to listen to chain saws, leaf blowers, chippers, and lawn mowers when they are working at houses in my neighborhood.
More ironic however is Mr. Murphy's statement itself. The rising level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's atmosphere, a phenomena some people refer to as global warming, is a process that can't be seen or heard, but it's for certain that Mr. Murphy, or his children, will someday "be bothered by it."
So what's it going to be Mr. Murphy? Fight the devil that you can see or give some serious consideration to the one you can't.

song: The Wind • artist: Cat Stevens

Friday, November 02, 2007

Two Months Later (a list poem)

Your dog
Your truck
Your books
Your bike
Your rollerblades
Your shark teeth
Your York Barbells
Your hot air corn popper
Your Mack Truck collection

What happens to your things, without you?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Communication Breakdown

It's important to be specific with kids. They are very literal little people. Sunday afternoon C went skating, the first Sunday session we've gone to since the club started. I explained that unlike Tuesday nights, there was no group lesson, he was just to have free time for 45 minutes. He seemed to get it but then he got on the ice and went immediately to the back and glommed onto the basic skills class Katie was teaching. Katie either took it in stride or didn't realize he wasn't signed up to be in the class.
After the session was over he informed me:
"You were wrong, momma, there was a lesson."
Monday night I was trying to get everyone undressed in order to get them into their pajamas and subsequently into bed. I had already asked C numerous times to take off his sweat pants when the kitchen timer went off and I had to go downstairs and take some stuff out of the oven. When I got back upstairs he was stark naked and rearranging the furniture in his brother's room.
When I yelled at him and declared I wasn't going to read him any books because he still wasn't in his pajamas he said:
"But momma, you didn't say to put my pajamas on."
Of course the reverse is also true. It's important to get specifics when they tell you something.
Last night C dictated this letter which I dutifully wrote down:
A note for the fairies
Please make sure at [sic] everything goes back in its place. Make sure you have cleaned the house and please wash our sink. If you would like to, you can do it with your wands.
Thank You,
C


So, before going to bed I washed down the kitchen sink and cleared everything off the countertop. I don't know where he's getting this notion of fairies, if I wanted him to be well acquainted with fairy lore I'd send him to the Waldorf school.
First thing in the morning he's up.
"I wonder if the fairies came," he mused.
Then he went straight into the bathroom and looked in the sink.
"It's still dirty!"

song: Communication Breakdown • artist: Led Zeppelin

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Pirate King


Better far to live and die,
Under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part,
With a pirate head and a pirate heart.
Away to the cheating world go you,
Where pirates all are well to do.
But I'll be true to the song I sing,
And live and die and pirate king.
• • • •
When I sally forth to seek my pray
I help myself in a royal way.
I sink a few more ships it's true,
Than a well-bred monarch ought to do.
But many a king on a first-class throne,
If he wants to call his crown his own,
Must manage somehow to get through,
More dirty work than ever I do.

song: Pirate King • artist: Gilbert & Sullivan

clerihew for lancelot

Robert Goulet
died yesterday.
His fans loved him a lot.
Elvis Presley did not.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I Want Candy

Only two more days until Halloween C reminded me yesterday. As if I'd forgotten. He'd like to know why there's school on Halloween since it's a holiday. Surely in a country where we get free tacos for stolen bases, and kids get to miss school because some Italian merchant with a few ships accidentally "found" the new world and mistakenly proclaimed the natives "Indians," we ought to get a day off to gorge ourselves with candy. It almost seems unamerican that we don't.
Someone asked me if I was the kind of mom who passed out toothbrushes for Halloween. No, I'm not quite that bad. This year I got individual bags of goldfish crackers instead. C, picked them out, they're the ones in all the different colors - how all-natural looking. It's not that I don't like candy, it's just that the kids get enough of it without our house adding to the pile. Take my neighbors for example. We live on a dead end, dirt road, with perhaps 35 houses, half of them empty this time of year. On the whole street my two kids and one other little boy make up the only trick or treaters likely to come calling. That's three kids. So if it were me, I would buy three candy bars, maybe four to err on the side of caution. But at every house we go to there's a big bowl of candy - a big bowl. When we get to the house (we usually team up with Matthew and all go out together), it's always the same, the homeowner will say something to the effect of "well, looks like you boys are the only trick or treaters we're going to get (it's all of 6:15), why don't you go ahead and take more than one piece." In this way, even though we only trick or treat to a dozen houses (maybe less), including our own, where three bags of goldfish sit in a relatively tiny bowl, the kids still come home with enough candy to choke a dentist.

song: I Want Candy • artist: Bow Wow Wow

Monday, October 29, 2007

Get it Right the First Time

There's frost predicted tonight so I covered up the plants in the garden in an effort to keep them alive until spring. We planted garlic, onions, parsnips, kale, and radishes; something ought to make it. Having never tried to winter anything over, I don't know what will happen. I suppose if everything dies we'll just be staring from zero again in the spring which is where we usually start from. I love the book Being There where the caretaker, Chance, talks about the garden and everyone assumes he's using the garden as a metaphor for life, when in reality he's just talking about the garden.
Gardening is a metaphor for life. It involves accumulating knowledge slowly, season by season, year by year, one mistake at a time. It involves working with outside forces that are often beyond the control of the gardener. One should never start a garden and then stop after just one season, just as a homeowner should never single-handedly lay a wood floor in just one room. Once the knowledge has been acquired, it must be used over and over and tweaked to fit new circumstances - in the bedroom, in the hallway, in the living room, and so on.
The same could be said for parenting. It stands to reason that we should gain experience, learn from our mistakes, and become better parents with each offspring. What a waste to take all that hard-got parenting know how and not put it to work a second time. On the other hand, and from a personal perspective, have I really learned that much in the past five years? I've learned that you can't believe what you read in parenting books and magazines. Kids like choices for example:
me: "Do you want to stop hitting your brother or go straight to bed when we get home?"
(long pause)
me: "Well? What's it going to be?"
him: "I'm thinking."

song: Get it Right the First Time • artist: Billy Joel

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Let's Spend the Night Together

With the Cape Cod Marathon happening tomorrow, Ken's friend Duke and our friend John Evans are both spending the night at the house. I spruced up the guest room and put some blankets and a pillow in the living room (the small couch pulls out).
C wanted to know why Duke and John couldn't just sleep in the guest room together.
"Because they're too tall," I said.

song: Let's Spend the Night Together • artist: The Rolling Stones

Carry that Weight

At an ultrasound appointment last week the technician estimated that each twin weighs about one-and-a-half pounds. That means I'm carrying around three pounds of baby - and 17 pounds of what else?

song: Carry that Weight • artist: The Beatles

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I'm Slowly Turning Into You

There are a million tiny ways in which we can turn into our mothers. When I was a kid my mother was a perfectionist when it came to costume making and doll clothes. All the outfits my Barbie had featured matching hats, ponchos (it was the 70s after all), tank top shirts, and bellbottom pants. All hand knit and packaged with little color-coordinated high heel shoes. My mother would lie the ensembles on styrofoam trays, that, in a previous lives had served as the backing for some store-bought vegetable or another. The packages was neatly arranged and then finished off by securing clear plastic wrap over them.
She sewed perfect hemlines in skating costumes that got worn on the ice for all of two minutes when other moms simply cut skirts off at the right length and didn't even bother to turn up the bottom.
On Sunday I made my first-ever scarecrow. As noted previously, it doesn't have a penis.
It's a decent scarecrow, but not anything to crow about. I tried to complete it in an afternoon and not obsess over details. In my sixth grade after school art class we made life-size dolls, from pillows, tights, and wigs. My doll had a nylon heads that I hand-stitched a face onto. I called her Suzie. It took all my willpower not to take scarecrow creating to the level of life-size doll making. I worked hard to convince myself the scarecrow didn't need a wig. It didn't need any hair. It didn't even need a face. For clothing I settled on a plaid shirt and resisted putting my old frayed-around-the-sleeves jacket on over it. For the head I ended up using a plastic shopping bag stuffed with other bags, covered by a baseball hat. The only problem being I couldn't find the duct tape to secure it and it's been windy every night since Sunday, meaning that every morning the scarecrow's head is somewhere in the yard.
I think this lends a legend of sleepy hollow-type air to the whole thing.
I carried the don't-sweat-the-small-stuff philosophy, otherwise known as "don't become your mother," into last night as well when I spent two hours sewing white stripes onto C's pirate vest. A pirate vest should have stripes, I reasoned; but after using the better part of two hours to sew three stripes onto one side of the front of the vest and still having the stripes on the other side merely pinned on, I revised my position on the subject. A pirate vest should have stripes on the front. The back could be left empty. After all, it only has to make C happy and he was perfectly happy without any stripes at all.

song: I'm Slowly Turning Into You • artist White Stripes

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

San Franciscan Nights

I see in the paper that the co-inventor of Rice-A-Roni has died. Surely I owe this man a debt of gratitude. I'm not clear how one co-invents a rice product, but Mr. DeDomenico would no doubt be pleased to know that his jingle lives on in my heart and his little boxes of Rice-A-Roni fill my kitchen cabinets.
So here's to Mr. DeDomenico for keeping me awash in Spanish rice in the style in which I've become accustomed.
I wonder if the inventor, or co-inventor, of Near East is still alive.

song: San Franciscan Nights • The Animals

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Entertainer

Recently I told another mother that C was heartily entertained for two hours one afternoon gluing a big clump of acorns together using my glue gun. The other mom was surprised I'd let a five year old use a glue gun. "He did burn himself once," I admitted, but think of those two hours! Heck, I'd let my kids play with power tools if it entertained them for 10 minutes.

song: The Entertainer • artist: Billy Joel

Across the Universe

It looks as if H is going to be as succinct as C is loquacious. When asked by the library staff where is brother was (at preschool), H answered:
"Gone."
When pressed he elaborated:
"Gone in daddy's truck."
Yesterday when he was upstairs I yelled up to ask what he was playing with:
"Toys."
Over on the other side of the world - yesterday C asked me which way the earth moved around the sun, and, was the earth moving around the sun as fast as it takes his fingernails to grow.
The answers? I don't know, and, I don't know.
They both have one thing in common though, independently of each other they both pull things out of the trash and tell me:
"Don't throw this away, Momma."

song: Across the Universe • artist The Beatles

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My Name

Sorry, I know the women of production have already heard this one. I was thinking that really we only have to come up with one more boy name that we like. Say we decide to go with Matthew. One twin can be called Matthew, the other, "not Matthew."
We will not however, under any circumstances, be naming either twin Boston.

song: My Name • musical: Oliver

Rain on the Scarecrow

This afternoon C suggested we make the world's first anatomically correct scarecrow.
"Is he going to have a penis," he asked as I stuffed moth-chewed oak leaves into a pair of Ken's jeans.
"Even if he had one you wouldn't be able to see it," I said, though I don't know why I answered that way instead of saying, "of course not!"
"But you could make him going to the bathroom," suggested C.
I'm sure the neighbors would love that.

song: Rain on the Scarecrow • artist: John Mellencamp

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Life

Earlier today I was thinking that my life was like a credit card commercial:
Two pirate hats: $17.99
Two eye patches: $2.58
Two plastic swords: $9.98
Two scarfs from the thrift shop to wear as sashes: $4.00
One vest from the thrift shop: $1.50
One white shirt from Woods Hole Child Care Center's Rummage Sale: $2.00
Watching my children chase each other around the backyard in their Halloween costumes: priceless
But then this happened. Driving home from the Silver Lounge tonight we passed a car on the side of the road - the driver was changing a flat. A second car was on the scene with its lights shining on the first vehicle. I commented to Ken: "look at that poor guy changing a tire."
C: What?
Mommy: That car had a flat tire.
C: What?
Mommy: That car by the side of the road.
C: Where?
Mommy: That we just passed.
C: When?
Mommy: Just now.
So you see really my life is like an Abbott and Costello sketch.

song: My Life • artist: Billy Joel

Eleanor

H likes to sing Happy Birthday To You. He breaks out into it at odd times and for no reason that I can detect. He sings it when we're driving in the car, during dinner, whenever the mood strikes him. It's disconcerting since I'm often confused about details such as what day of the week it is or what month of the year it is, now I have to stop and consider "whose birthday is it today?"
It just so happens that today is Eleanor's birthday. We were at the Silver Lounge tonight (the caboose) and from the main dining room we heard an enthusiastic rendition of Happy Birthday To You being sung to someone named Eleanor. I turned to H and said, "they're singing your favorite song," then I turned to Ken and said, "I'll bet Eleanor's turning 90."
Turns out Eleanor was turning 99.

song: Eleanor • artist: Low Millions

Monday, October 15, 2007

You Sexy Thing

There's this magazine called More, maybe it's new or maybe I just never noticed it before. More is a magazine for women forty and over, I guess the idea being there's more to life than being youthful and shapely though you'd never know it from the magazine's advertising; but that's another rant. The issue I picked up (in the free bin at the library) included a feature about how men find gray hair sexy. This is news? Sorry, but in my, albeit limited, experience, men are turned on by any woman they think they might be able to get into bed - they might not be interesting in a long-term relationship - but long-term relationships weren't the focus of this article. The article merely examined the idea that men find women, even women with gray hair, sexy. I know I'm generalizing here and of course this doesn't apply to my darling husband, or the sensitive men my sons will grow up to be.
In their own defense men are up against many millennia of conditioning. Here's a similar take on the subject using males of a different species. According to the book Elephants on Acid, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania were intrigued by a male turkey that tried to mate with a lifelike female turkey. They decided to remove parts of the turkey model one by one to see how many turkey appendages they could take away before the male turkey would lose interest. They ended up with nothing but a fake female turkey head on a stick and still the male turkey was interested in a proverbial roll in the hay.
There was no data in the report on whether the fake female turkey head had gray hair or not.

song: You Sexy Thing • artist: Hot Chocolate

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Five O'Clock World

Ah Fridays. When I can come to work. Where it's quiet. Where no one asks me to play chess, and I can feed my unborn children junk food from the office vending machine. This Friday was better than most food wise though, Cindy left me some fruit and I snuck some coffee cake out of sales.
Speaking of fruit - did you know that technically speaking any type of produce that contains seeds is a fruit and not a vegetable? That means: tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and peppers are all fruits. And it means Ronald Regan was wrong when he tried to classify ketchup as a vegetable in school lunches. Just an interesting fact you may want to use at the next cocktail party.
It cracked me up to hear the song Five O'Clock World being played in Betsy's Diner on Thursday with the defiant refrain, it's a five o'clock world when the whistle blows. No one owns a piece of my time.
When does the whistle blow when you're a mother? At 8:30 when the kids are finally asleep? Then it's time to start the second shift, cleaning the kitchen, bringing laundry downstairs, picking up and folding clothes and making lunch for preschool tomorrow - lunch, by request, with a lot of snacks in it. Even asleep they own a piece of my time.
Now if I was sentimental I would point out that the Vogues song ends like this, 'Cause everytime my baby smiles at me, I know that it's all worthwhile.

song: Five O'Clock World • artist: Vogues

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Stumblin' In

C had a well-child appointment at the pediatrician's office last month. After a few minutes in the waiting room we were called in by the nurse for weighing and measuring and then it was time for all three of us to pile into the bathroom so C could "leave a sample."
At our pediatrician's office you just leave your sample in a Dixie cup. H saw the cups and demanded a drink of water. So I poured him one. Yes that's right, I let my kids drink tap water.
Since I hadn't received any further instruction on what to do with it, I left the sample on the back of the toilet. We exited the bathroom with H in the lead, still clutching his cup of water. The nurse saw us coming and a look of horror spread across her face as she immediately jumped to the conclusion that I'd let my two-year-old son carry his brother's urine sample.
"It's just water!" I yelled out as H tripped and spilled it on the floor.

song: Stumblin' In • artist: Chris Norman & Suzi Quatro

Monday, October 08, 2007

Abbey Road

C has been helpful lately in offering up name suggestions for the twins.
"How about we name one of the twins Abbie?" he said.
"Well, Abbie is mostly a girl's name and the twins are boys." I said.
"Why can't we name one Abbie anyway?"
"Won't that be confusing? People will think the baby is a girl when it's really a boy."
"What if we name one Mr. Abbie?"

Album: Abbey Road • artist: The Beatles

Saturday, October 06, 2007

The Way

On Thursday I took the kids to the Green Animals Topiary Garden in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. The garden and mansion are part of the historic Newport Mansions, overseen by the Preservation Society of Newport Mansions . It was mid-week in October meaning, while not completely empty, there weren't a lot of visitors to the garden that day. So much the better since it meant no one caught my kids touching the topiaries, shaking the bamboo, trying to eat the grapes off the arbor, and stirring sticks around in the fish pond, all activities I'm sure the preservation society would frown on.
Upon leaving, we went to a conservation area that was recently mentioned in a Boston Globe travel article. According to mapquest, the spot was less than two miles from Green Animals but I went by it at least three or four times before finally figuring out where it was located. The reason being, the road came off the circular driveway of the elementary school with no street sign to suggest the driveway was anything but the entrance to the school. It seems to me the Globe should have mention such an important detail. Something along the lines of "to get to the conservation land you must pull into the Melville Elementary School," but alas, I was on my own.
Strangely though, I knew where I was. It was exactly where Gene and I got lost and had to do several turnarounds trying to find a fishing spot while researching On The Water's Fishing New England: A Rhode Island Shore Guide. It dawned on me when I pulled into this small shopping plaza thinking maybe it would lead to the conservation area. The name of the road was King Charles Drive and I remembered Gene and I did the same thing. We took the road thinking perhaps the location we were seeking, Weaver Cove, was just behind the shopping complex. The road led to neither conservation land nor fishing hole, just the shopping mall.
Not to criticize the Globe, but in our fishing guide, we gave both specific directions, and, a darn good map of the area. In fact I wish I'd brought my guide book along on Thursday, since I also recall that the fishing spot was a lot nicer than the conservation land turned out to be.

song: The Way • artist: Fastball

free verse #1

Cat go
A mouse
Catch that mouse
- a poem by C

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Another Brick in the Wall

On Monday evening C came home with a broken piece of concrete. Preschoolers collecting rocks is nothing new, but this piece of concrete looked suspiciously like my chunk of the Berlin Wall. A historic piece of concrete that was procured through the sweat and toil of my friends Clayton and Peter back in 1990, when the three of us were in Berlin and the Berlin Wall was still in Berlin as well instead of being in little pieces in people's desk drawers.
"You could sell it on ebay," suggested Ken of my chunk of German history.
I could, but how could I verify that it is an actual piece of the Berlin Wall and not just another piece of concrete my five year old brought home from the sports center?
I could enclose a photograph of the piece being held after it was hacked off the wall. That might be convincing, but still, a photograph can be staged.
There's a funny story about my piece of the Berlin Wall. When we arrived in Berlin we had to walk along next to where the wall used to be for some time before we came to a spot where there was still some wall left to chip away. While we were walking, one of the three of us picked up a piece of metal. I'd say it was three inches by eight inches-long. It was all we had to work with to attain our goal - free souvenirs from Berlin. We got to the wall and began hacking away. We, being a relative term, Clayton and Peter hacked, I took photographs. During the time the two of them were hacking, a bus load of Japanese tourists pulled up. The group, equipped with pick axes, exited the bus. In minutes, using their superior tools, all the Japanese tourists had their souvenirs. Many then returned to the bus, but some stayed behind and took video of - you guessed it - the ill-equipped American tourists who were woefully unprepared for their encounter with the wall.
Somewhere out there is copious video footage of two unshaven Americans banging away at the Berlin Wall with a piece of metal. If only I could get a hold of one of these clips I could use it to authenticate my ebay posting.

song: Another Brick in the Wall • artist: Pink Floyd

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ring Ring

On Monday I squandered my first day of having C at preschool until 3:30. He's been asking me since the first week of school when he could stay and have lunch with his friends. Signing him up for lunch seemed like a bad deal for mommy because a) I'd have to pay another $5 a day, and b) I'd have to make him lunch. Sending him for the full day, twice a week, seemed like a better solution.
So, with the whole day, until 3:30, stretched out in front of us, I took H to the outlet mall in Sagamore to buy ski pants for C to wear to ice skating this week. It was a great plan but it was foiled when, after parking the car, I realized I didn't have my wallet with me. H and I persevered and went in to price ski pants anyway before giving up and going to feed rainbow trout at the fish hatchery.
In the ladies room at the mall we got to witness a woman answering her cell phone in the stall next to ours. That she answered the phone didn't surprise me that much, that she told the other party she was going to the bathroom struck me as more information than the caller might have needed to know. She didn't offer to call her friend back, she talked through the rest of her business, through the flush, and through the hand wash. She was still talking when we left her meeting up with her husband outside the bathroom.
Is there any situation when people consider it inappropriate to answer a cell phone? During sex? At a funeral? While giving birth? While your wife's giving birth?

song: Ring Ring • artist: Abba

Anniversary Song

Happy anniversary to my husband Ken.
However would the leftovers get put away so efficiently without you?

song: Anniversary Song • artist: Cowboy Junkies

Monday, October 01, 2007

Lightnin' Strikes

Lying on my back in bed at night with my hands on my stomach, I wait for a kick. At this stage it's like trying to watch for a bolt of lightening during a storm; even though you're scanning the skies and covering as much ground as possible, you're never looking in the right spot.
Here's a fact, the chances of a woman having twins increase as she ages, regardless of family history or use of fertility drugs. Identical twins are a truly spontaneous occurrence, again not dependent on family history.
Now they tell me!

song: Lightnin' Strikes • artist: Lou Christie

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Get Back

Before H was born we prepped C about the upcoming new baby. He understood that mommy had to go to the hospital to have the baby and that he would be going to see us both there. We thought he was well versed in the whole thing, in as much as a two-and-a-half year old can be.
After H was born, C came to the hospital and, with a little help from his grandmother, held him. As they were leaving he turned to Ken and me and asked:
"How does the baby get back?"
"Get back where," we said.
"Back inside mommy's tummy."
Duh!

song: Get Back • artist: The Beatles

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I'm All Right

Landscapers and remodelers often put signs outside of homes, especially in some of the tonier neighborhoods, that they are working on to advertise their businesses: Totally Trees, Kitchens R Us, Ralph's Roofing, that sort of thing.
It seems like harmless advertising except once I saw a business that used a red, white, and blue theme on their sign during election season and instead of plugging their business they came off looking like just another candidate.
Today we passed a sign for OK Construction. OK Construction? Is that the best name they could think of for their company? It seems weak at best. OK Construction? Why not Pretty Good Construction, or Not Bad Construction? Above Average Construction? Better Than Nothing Construction? Sure Beats What You Have Now Construction?

song: I'm All Right • artist: Madeleine Peyroux

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Friends

My friend Judy, a mini van owner, extolled the virtues of her Odyssey this way:
"It's great because it seats seven so your kids can have a friend over."
"A friend over?" I said. "They don't need to have any friends over. I'm giving birth to all the friends they'll ever need."

song: Friends • artist: Elton John

Miss You

Is this what it's going to be like? Sadness and a heavy heart whenever I drive by the middle school? It doesn't bode well for the future since, with four kids who will all attend Morse Pond, low estimates have me driving by the school another 8,000 times; if I never move from town, and if I retain my driver's license another 40 years.
I dreamed you were buried in the little cemetary across from the 7-Eleven. You once told that joke, "my girlfriend's so smart. Whenever we drive by the 7-Eleven she yells out: eighteen!"
It was lame but I laughed anyway.

song: Miss You • artist: The Rolling Stones

Monday, September 24, 2007

I Still Believe

Recently, an acquaintance who hadn't seen me in a while, earnestly suggested that in the future Ken and I start watching more TV.
It's an interesting theory. Perhaps it's true. Perhaps if X-Files hadn't gotten lame, boring, and finally cancelled, not only would I not be pregnant with twins - why we might not have any children at all!

song: I Still Believe • artist: Mariah Carey

clerihew in a glass box

Marcel Marceau,
as far as mimes go,
achieved international fame,
while rarely speaking his own name.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

You'll Never Walk Alone

C likes to make newspapers. I don't know where he's getting that idea from but he likes me to make a banner, something along the lines of "C's newspaper," and then he fills in the rest with what looks like binary code (a whole lot of 0s and ls). This is all fine, except that after, he wants to distribute the papers. The neighbors have all been gracious to date, Dave even went so far as to display one on the side of his house at C's suggestion. The problem was when he wanted to get up early in the morning and deliver the newspapers to our neighbors without me, "like a real newspaper."
I explained that he couldn't go downstairs and leave the house without me knowing "for safety" and that it's my job (among other things) to know where he is when he's at home. I said he'd be in trouble if he went out without telling me or without me knowing. I said they'd be "consequences." None of this was effective. He had some kind of preschooler rational to debunk all my reasons.
Finally I gave up.
"If you go outside early in the morning, the coyotes will get you."

song: You'll Never Walk Alone • soundtrack: Carousel

Friday, September 21, 2007

a mother's bouquet

Dandelions in spring
my children bring.
Daisies in summer
in great number.
Goldenrod in fall
given me by all.

If Ever I Would Leave You

Sometimes I buckle my kids into their car seats and then go back in the house to use the bathroom before getting into the car to leave.
Sometimes I use the bathroom, transfer my cup of tea to a travel mug, and apply lip gloss before heading back out the door.
Sometimes I use the bathroom, transfer my tea, gloss lips, check my e-mail, and then hang out the laundry. I leave the drivers side door open and look out the window every now and then. They get along better when they're strapped into the car waiting to go somewhere than they would if they were in the house with me.
We all know the stories about the terrible things that can happen when children are left alone, even for a minute.
I heard about a mom who left her sleeping baby in the car while she and the child's older sibling attended music class. I read an article about a mom who was chastised by strangers for leaving her sleeping children in the car while she went inside a farm stand. By now everyone's heard of Kate and Gerry McCann, the English couple who left their three kids alone in their Portugal apartment house while they dined with friends. Their daughter Madeline is still missing.
We take our chances with our kids every day. Some of us take more chances than others. Some take chances that others of us couldn't conceive of, but we all take chances.

song: If Ever I Would Leave You • soundtrack: Camelot

Little Red Corvette

How come you never see any mini vans in candy apple red? If I can't drive a cool car, can I at least drive a car in a cool color? Instead there's blue mirage metallic, silver pine mica, silver shadow pearl, and arctic frost pearl. The first three are basically silver, the last, white.
On a different note, I was remiss in my tomato recipe. A friend who tried it reminded me that tomato pie, like good soup or chili tastes even better the second day.

song: Little Red Corvette • artist: Prince

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Simply Irresistible

There are a lot of ripe cucumbers in the #2 greenhouse at Coonamessett Farm which compels me to share another great recipe, this one is from the Moosewood Restuarant's Low Fat Cookbook and it's one of the few recipes (along with tuna casserole) I have committed to memory; probably because it has only five ingredients

Cucumbers Vinegarette
Two cucumbers sliced paper thin
mix together and pour over cucumbers:
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mustard
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 c cider vinegar
chill

song: Simply Irresistible • artist: Robert Palmer

Monday, September 17, 2007

Vineyard

The four of us went to the Vineyard yesterday on the Island Queen's noon boat.
I've never been that impressed with the Vineyard. It seems like the only reason to go there is to buy t-shirts - and there are lots to choose from over there, it's a regular island paradise of t-shirt shops. At least downtown Nantucket has a library, a whaling museum, and a historical society. Granted in repeated visits to Nantucket I've never stepped foot in any of those spots, but I feel more cultural when I'm playing darts in the Chicken Box just knowing they exist.
I guess if you stay for the day you could go out to the-town-that-used-to-be-called Gay Head, or eat ice cream at Mad Martha's (it was good enough for Bill Clinton), check out the bridge that brought down a presidential hopeful (except that it's been rebuilt), and visit dead celebrities (John Belushi) in the event you don't spot any real ones (Carly Simon).
Or you can do what we did and ride the Flying Horses in Oak Bluffs. Ken scored a brass ring, earning C, whose arms weren't quite long enough to catch any rings himself, a free ride. Then we had chowder in the kite-flying park and caught the bus to Edgartown. Unfortunately we forgot to pick up t-shirts.

song: Vineyard • artist: Jackopierce

Every Which Way But Loose

This week a different police officer was directing traffic around the 28A roadwork. Instead of a big stinky stogie hanging out of his mouth, he was drinking a bottle of apple juice. Much Better!
Unfortunatley now they are also doing work on Quaker Road down by Old Silver Beach. That policeman looked disinterested in the whole business of directing traffic but he wasn't eating or smoking anything so I'd best leave him alone for now. I just hope no big crimes are being perpetrated town down while the police force personally directs me and my children as we come and go from preschool.

song: Every Which Way But Loose • artist: Eddie Rabbitt

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Time and Time Again

The kids covered the living room windows with Halloween decorations this week, more than six weeks before the holiday. I let them do this - me - the irate mom who wrote the nasty letter to Stop and Shop two years ago when they had snowman snow globes and fake greens on sale in September. I noticed last year they managed to hold off on selling Christmas until almost after Halloween. Maybe I wasn't the only annoyed mother who spoke up.
But back to the Halloween decorations in September, I just needed something for them to do for 15 minutes that wouldn't result in screaming.
So far C's settled on a pirate costume for Halloween. This seems a bit more doable than the Titanic or Mount Vesuvious, his first two ideas. Sinking passenger liners and erupting volcanos, when is my son going to become obsessed with dinosaurs like a normal five year old?

song: Time and Time Again • artist: Dusty Springfield

Angry Anymore

Just to prove that my kids will fight over anything: last night they were fighting over who got to hold the plastic bottle of lime juice.
This type of behavior makes me long for the dreaded minivan we're going to have to buy in the near future. At least I can put the two of them in the way back.

song: Angry Anymore • Ani DiFranco

Friday, September 14, 2007

Nothing from Nothing

Hey Liz,
Too bad we missed this installation it opened this week in Boston. It makes fart art look like the Sistine Chapel. Ken said I was ranting last night but really - is this art? I'm pretty big fan of art, even modern and conceptual stuff, but this isn't art - it isn't anything. "I love the subtlety of the piece," says the gallery owner in the Globe. You have got to be kidding. Of course it's subtle, there's nothing there. It's just blinking lights! Hello! The emperor has no clothes on!
The artist (if you want to call him that) even admits as much. "I don't think it's provocative," he's quoted as saying, "It's just the lights going on and off. What's provocative about that?"
What indeed.

song: Nothing from Nothing • artist: Billy Preston

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Beautiful In My Eyes

At an office visit last month the doctor proclaimed I had a "perfect uterus." A week later at Brigham and Women's, the doctor checking my ultrasound said I had a great cervix for carrying twins. Ken told her that's exactly why he'd married me - nice cervix.
The whole episode reminded me of dialogue from The Mikado, where Katisha, the "elderly lady" from the Mikado's court, explains that though her face may be unattractive she has "a left shoulder-blade that is a miracle of loveliness," and her "right elbow has a fascination that few can resist."
On a different but related topic, how come the women in the catalogues modeling the "power panties," "higher power panties," "torso trim," and the "midriff-smoothing miracle, hide and sleek camis," never look like people who actually need any extra support?
So what visible attributes do I actually possess? Well, my high school boyfriend once told me the acne scars on my face were sexy though I highly suspect he was just being kind. I think Ken really married me because I had the shiniest lips of anyone he'd ever met, but that's only a lip-gloss induced attribute. There's a mole on my face in approximately the same spot as the one Marilyn Monroe had.
It will probably turn out to be cancerous.

song: Beautiful In My Eyes • artist: Joshua Kadison

Storm Front

Hey! how about that, the cat came through.
I guess a broken oar in a hurricane is still better than no oar at all.
Poor Templeton.

song: Storm Front • artist: Billy Joel

fall couplet #2

When leaves fall
I feel small

fall couplet #1

Cooler nights
Fall delights

Rat Trap

When there's a mouse in the kitchen, having a 16-year-old cat is about as useful as having a broken oar in your rowboat during a hurricane. The mouse keeps sticking his head out from under the dishwasher and I expect him to speak in the voice of Paul Lynde: "Hey! all ya got under here is cereal crumbs! Hows about droppin' down some cheese?" As you can see, mice don't have very good grammar.
But of course Templeton was a rat. He wouldn't have fit under my dishwasher.

song: Rat Trap • artist: The Boomtown Rats

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Big Yellow Taxi

The Plymouth Farmer's Market disproved my theory about seedless watermelons. I had thought a seedless watermelon was just a small watermelon that hadn't gotten big enough to have black seeds in it. So we bought a small melon at the market, and, what do you know - seeds. I had forgotten how much fun seeds in a watermelon are, my kids (and I) spent a few afternoons spitting them all over the yard. But now I don't want to think about what they are doing to genetically alter supermarket watermelons to make them seedless. It's just another good fruit gone bad.

song: Big Yellow Taxi • artist: Joni Mitchell

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Waiting

Has anyone else noticed how the library renovation project is cruising right along but I'll be lucky if the high school is completed by the time my five year old is a freshman?

song: The Waiting • artist: Tom Petty

Darkness on the Edge of Town

Despite having acted like a big baby brat all day, I still took C outside at 7:15 last night to see the bats flying over the back yard.

song: Darkness on the Edge of Town • artist: Bruce Springsteen

Leave Me Alone

C acted terrible all day yesterday. It was one of those days that, before you were a mother and had kids, you couldn't understand how those mothers could stand it; kids screaming at each other a dozen times a day, good grief, what kind of life is that?
It was the exact opposite of what you'd expect. Not the usual little brother annoys big brother routine. Every time H would get involved in some project, C would drop what he was doing and hone in on him. He'd immediately ask, "can I have the hose, can I have that rock," or, "can I have that truck." Inevitably H would say, "no" and then C would grab it away from him, claiming, "he never shares!" Then H would start screaming.
It happened over and over and over again despite my best efforts to remind C that if he'd just let his brother alone for five minutes H would eventually want C to join in; and in reality he's very good at sharing, at least for a two year old.
It was all making me long for a day in the not too distant future when H will be able to beat the cr–p out of his older brother and I won't need to intervene on his behalf.

song: Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress) • artist: Helen Reddy

Angels Want To Wear My Red Shoes


On Wednesday I picked C up at preschool and on the way home he asked me if grownups ever cry. I said yes and then he asked me if I ever cried. I was thinking that I'd been crying behind my sunglasses on my way to pick him up a mere ten minutes ago but in lieu of that I reminded him of how I cried when we read Charlotte's Web.
On Thursday he asked me why, in books, people who are dead are always drawn with their eyes closed. This is what I get for reading books about the Titanic and Pompeii with him. So we had a big discussion about that.
On Friday he came home from being with my parents all day with two drawings. One he explained was a fire truck driving on the road and "here's the house that's on fire."
"What's this one," I asked.
"An angel," he said.
Now, I'm not someone who believes in angels or spirits or the paranormal in general but this was a bit much.
I kept the drawing.

song: Angels Want To Wear My Red Shoes • artist: Elvis Costello

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sandy

Remember when you were a kid and you went to the beach and collected interesting shells? Now my kids go to the beach and collect interesting bits of plastic. I took them to Old Silver on Thursday and they gathered the following: one plastic army guy with a really big gun that I tried to twist off but couldn't, two red plastic straws, numerous screw-off plastic bottle tops, the broken top of a blue plastic shovel, the broken bottom of yellow plastic shovel, and lots of other plastic items I couldn't identify.
None of these items could be thrown away because the town, in it's infinite wisdom, has locked the trash cans, thus discouraging any serious beach cleanup.
From the natural world they did manage to bring home two smelly crab claws and three rocks.
On the plus side, I found a post card in the sand of Virginia Beach. Just the kind of irony that I delight in. I haven't decided yet who to mail it to.

song: 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) • artist: Bruce Springsteen

Gee, Officer Krupke

Maybe I'm becoming more narrow minded in my old age and pregnant state, but I thought it was completely inappropriate for the policeman directing traffic around the 28A road crew to be smoking a cigar. He's suppose to be setting a good example for my kids! He's the guy who, if they're ever lost, they are suppose to approach for directions:
"Excuse me officer, could you put out that butt and help me and my brother get home?"
"Oh you're lost son, that must be why your younger brother is crying."
"No. He's crying because you just dumped some ashes on his foot."

song: Gee, Officer Krupke • musical: West Side Story

Friday, September 07, 2007

Yesterday When I Was Young

I took the kids to the Plymouth Farmer’s Market on Thursday. I take them to all the best theme parks.
To my astonishment one of the vendors was selling strawberry tomatoes. I bought two pints and seemed to be the only person there who knew what they were. The stand was wisely giving out free samples to attract attention.
Strawberry tomatoes are a perfect anecdote for a week that I’ve spent navel gazing my own history between ages 16 and 21, because strawberry tomatoes were in my life even before then. My grandmother grew them in her garden. She only had a few plants; they grew wild and haphazard on the edges of her more cultivated rows. I would pick them individually and eat them immediately, peeling back their little dried jackets, which made them look like Chinese lanterns. My grandmother’s garden seemed enormous to me when I was little. I found out later, when my cousin sold the property, that the whole estate: house, garden, and all, was only .66 acres.
I would spend Sunday afternoons roaming through the garden while my mother visited with my grandmother after church. It seemed as if they were inside the house for hours; probably it was more like 15 minutes.

Song: Yesterday, When I Was Young * artist: Shirley Bassey

If You Don't Know Me By Now

They were whispering about you in the little library, and they weren't whispering because it's a library.
I wanted to scream, "you didn't even know him!" But then I thought that maybe I didn't really know you either.

song: If You Don't Know Me By Now • artist: Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Fire and Rain

One night last week C was crying in bed because we can't go to Cataumet Gardens anymore. We haven't been able to go there in a year and a half because it closed but he picked last week to get upset about it. First he was crying because he remembered that we used to go there and see frogs. I assured him I knew other places in town where we could find frogs (our back yard for example), but then he countered with, "there's nowhere where we can go see peacocks."
He had me on that point, there is nowhere else that I know of, within a five-minute drive of our house, where we can view peacocks.
I thought it was weird that he was having this meltdown 18 months after the fact, but then isn't that the way things are sometimes? Feelings can take months to process. Someone can die and for a while it just seems like it's been a long time since you've seen them or maybe they've been out of town. Then finally it hits you that you'll never see them again.
You can move or chance jobs and then months later realize with regret that you'll never be at that place in your life again.
But those aren't things C should have to grapple with yet, so damn you Cataumet Gardens for closing and making my five-year-old cry. And damn you too, Tom, for making me cry; because I always thought that I'd see you again.

song: Fire and Rain • artist: James Taylor

Monday, September 03, 2007

Eat A Peach

Here's the kind of thing that might happen if you couldn't understand what the heck your toddler was saying. You might accidentally eat the piece of sliced peach off his plate that he thought looked like a sailboat, causing him to burst into tears and continue crying until his older brother danced around the dining room with his plastic pretend shopping basket over his head providing enough distraction to stop the waterworks until you ran interference by putting leftover birthday cake on the table.
Miraculously I made it through another year without having to throw C a birthday party that included a bevy of his peers. Cake and presents at Coonamessett Farm's Cajun buffet was enough. Even though I might be an inadequate mom for not being able to pull together a real party, I did make him a cake that looked enough like the Titanic that he was able to identify it as such without reading the alphabet pasta letters that spelled out RMS Titanic on the ship's bow. Candles were stuck into the Yodels that I used for smokestacks, plus one extra ("it's the lookout," I told him) to make five. I haven't bought a box of Yodels since I was in college and would buy them and eat the entire box in Kenmore Square while waiting to see a film over at the Boston University movie theater.
Of course C did ask, "where's the iceberg?"

album: Eat A Peach • artist: Allman Brothers Band

Sunday, September 02, 2007

backyard haiku

play in the backyard
toy trains, buckets, nets, and bats
in the rock garden

Saturday, September 01, 2007

What Have I Done to Deserve This?

The sign in the bathroom stall said no diapers, tampons, or depends in the toilet please. Guess that about covers all the bases. What's the deal with restrooms that have the hot water faucet turned off? Why am I not worthy of hot water? I didn't flush anything verboten down the toilet.

song: What Have I Done To Deserve This? • artist: Dusty Springfield

It's Not Unusual

What's more of a cliché, that I was sweeping the kitchen floor without any shoes on (barefoot and pregnant), or that I scarfed down a roast beef sandwich from the Mad Platter (unabashed commercial plug), while sitting in my car in the parking lot of Deer Crossing?

song: It's Not Unusual • artist: Tom Jones

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just Can't Get Enough

People requested this so here it is. The credit for this goes to Margie, who, though I doubt she came up with the recipe, first coined the phrase, "it tastes a lot better than it sounds."
Tomato Pie
crust: 1 3/4 c flour, 1/4 tsp. salt, 1/2 c butter, 1 egg
Stir together flour and salt. Add butter and blend to meal consistency. Add egg. Press dough into 11-inch pie plate. Chill for 30 minutes.
pie: 1/4 c Dijon mustard, 1/4lb gruyere cheese (grated), 3 large (1 1/2lbs) tomatoes (sliced), 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley, 1 Tbsp minced fresh oregano or thyme, 1 tsp. garlic (minced), 1/4 c olive oil.
Spread mustard over chilled pie shell and sprinkle with cheese. Arrange the tomato slices over the cheese. Sprinkle with herbs, garlic, and oil. Bake in 400° oven for 40 minutes.
comments: There's just no way to make this taste bad. I've been using prepared crusts and substituting Swiss cheese for gruyere. I've also made it in the winter with all dried herbs. It's funny because I hate mustard on sandwiches, but I love it in this recipe.

song: Just Can't Get Enough • artist: Depeche Mode

All I Want is You

I feel that I'm missing out on the true pregnancy experience because I've yet, in two-and-a-half pregnancies, had to send Ken out to the store at 2PM for pickles and ice cream. Instead, this is what I've been craving: waffles (which I also craved in huge quantities when I was pregnant with C), tomato pie (which is a lot better than it sounds, trust me, I made one yesterday and it's half gone today), and corn on the cob (but who doesn't crave that, pregnant or not). We've managed to keep all these foods on hand for the most part so, alas, no midnight runs to Tony Andrews Farm Stand. I'm glad to be craving relatively healthy foods (crust on the tomato pie - not so healthy) and not Yodels, jelly doughnuts, and Oreos, but the corn is a bit of a problem since I can't floss my teeth due to a heightened gag reflex. If someone would let my dentist know maybe he'd make a midnight run to CVS and get me a water pick.

song: All I Want is You • artist: U2

Monday, August 27, 2007

Nights in White Satin

What's worse than playing checkers with a four-year old? Playing chess with a four-year old. In a way it's good that we've moved on to chess because he kicked my butt in checkers last week, I didn't know what hit me. Chess, though, is worse because there's no room for chance or dumb luck, just pure strategy. When Ken and I were first dating I bought him a chess set. As I recall we played once and then I couldn't take the pressure. I enjoy cribbage, a game where skill and luck both play a part. Luckily we squirreled away the pieces for ten years and miraculously were able to find them after my dad taught C to play. I've managed to win all the games we've played so far but I don't know how much longer I can hold out. I'm hoping he scores a Chinese checkers set for his birthday.

song: Nights in White Satin • artist: Moody Blues

Sunday, August 26, 2007

New York, New York

I know what you're thinking, "good grief, how long does it take her to read one book?" Answer: a long time.
I just finished the "Here is New York" essay in my E.B. White book and I know I'm not the first to point this out, if you google "Here is New York," E.B.White, and September 11, about 1,000 hits come up.
Nevertheless, it was new to me; keep in mind E.B.White wrote this in 1949.
"The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now; in the sounds of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest editions. . . . All dwellers in cities must live with the stubborn fact of annihilation; in New York the fact is somewhat more concentrated because of the concentration of the city itself, and because, of all targets, New York has a certain clear priority. In the mind of whatever perverted dreamer might loose the lightning, New York must hold a steady, irresistible charm."
The paragraphs were underlined in my copy of the book so I couldn't miss them, no doubt by Marshall.

song: New York, New York • artist: Frank Sinatra