Sunday, December 30, 2012

Parenting is...

explaining that the "touchie takie" rule applies only to food and not to 59¢ items at the Christmas Tree Shop.
Nice try guys.

The Christmas Song


In wrapping up Christmas 2012 I'd like to remember how I got down with the holiday music this year. Not my traditional holiday music either the traditional, fun, and even corny stuff.
My usual bag of holiday tunes features songs that basically make you feel guilty for enjoying yourself at Christmas. Songs with the theme of "I don't know how you all can celebrate when there's so much suffering going on?" These songs include Father Christmas by the Kinks, Do They Know It's Christmas Time? by Band Aid, and The Rebel Jesus by the Chieftains. 
Normally I hate it when radio stations start playing Christmas tunes in November. And what's worse than a tired over-played Christmas song? An over-played retail advertisement set the the tune of an over-played holiday song (thanks a lot Target).
But this year I found myself switching the radio to the all Christmas all the time stations specifically looking for Frosty and Rudolph and then to classics like Hark the Herald Angels Sing (which my kids think originated with A Charlie Brown Christmas), Jingle Bells, Walking in a Winter Wonderland, Little Drummer Boy (which I found out makes my cry if I'm asked to sing it out loud), It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Oh Christmas Tree (which my kids also think is from A Charlie Brown Christmas), and even Santa Baby, Jingle Bell Rock and of course the classic "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas."
Why this sudden embracing of Christmas music that usually nauseates me? My kids of course. The twins specifically. It was the first time they ever responded to music on the radio (expect when WMVY plays Upside Down by Jack Johnson and they get excited because it's the "Curious George Song.") 
S & N aren't tuned into music as much as C & H were. The result of my slipshod parenting no doubt, I never took them to a Music and Me class or to any live performance save this summer's Toe Jam Puppet Band show at Highfield Theater. They specifically tell me "not" to put on music for them at bedtime.
So it was fun to have them get excited when Frosty would come on in the car. They would tell us all to be quite so they could hear it and then ask me to sing it again once it was over. And listening to Christmas songs through the ears of kids is fresh and fun. Like anything you can see for the first time from a kid's point of view. In that way they kids always notice things we take for granted like airplanes and birds singing, everywhere we went my kids noticed Christmas music playing.
One of our new favorites was Up On the Housetop. Up on the housetop reindeer pause, out jumps good old santa claus. Down through the chimney with lots of toys, all for the little lines Christmas joys. Ho, ho, ho, who wouldn't go? Ho, ho, ho who wouldn't go? Up on the housetop click, click, click. Down through the chimney with good St. Nick.
We seriously couldn't get enough of this song. We even liked the Jackson Five version. It's catchy and singable though the lyrics are odd. Who wouldn't go where? And then there are two verses that stereotype gifts for girls and boys but whatever - it's Christmas and I'll overlook it. We didn't memorize those verses anyway.  
So I let go of my political Christmas tunes and embraced lighter fare. It's best not to over analyze Christmas song lyrics although S & N did ask repeatedly why the other reindeer called Rudolph names. I'm guessing that would not go over too well at their preschool.
I figure I've got one, maybe two more years left to embrace holiday music with my kids before Jingle Bells Batman Smells takes over so why not make the most of it rather than have regrets that I never got silly with my kids over Alvin and the Chipmunks? 
There were still a few tunes I got tired of. I'll never embrace Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey, or I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, or that one where the little kid wants to buy his dying mom new shoes (sorry, little drummer boy is sentimental; that other kid is just plain irritating), but I confess that by the end I wasn't jumping to change the radio station the minute my kids were in bed. I was kind of into, dare I say, the Christmas spirit?
I suppose it would be entirely scroogish of me not to go along with the Christmas tunes while my four year olds were embracing them. And so I got into it too. 
And you know what?
I like Christmas songs!
I do. I like them Sam I Am.
What the hell. I can always go back to Emerson, Lake, and Palmer next year.

song: The Christmas Song • artist: Torme and Wells

Friday, December 28, 2012

winter haiku

winter woods walking
exposed leafless tree branches
and summer birds' nests

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Murder (or a Heart Attack)

In high school I read a horror novel in which a woman is killed by a demonic cat. The cat scratched the woman to death or until it opened her jugular - whatever - it was long and drawn out and made an impression though not enough to dissuade me from eventually getting a cat of my own.
Now, as a seasoned cat owner, I wonder why the literary kitty expended so much energy dispatching its prey instead of just hunkering down and tripping the woman as she went down a flight of stairs.
I'm pretty sure that's how Leo is planning to get rid of me.

song: Murder (Or a Heart Attack) • artist: Old 97's

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Spirit of the Radio

Good news!
Mommy got an internet radio for Christmas.
So now, if they do save WMVY, I'll still be able to listen to it.

song: Spirit of the Radio • artist: Rush

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Parenting Is...

not caring who started it.
Really you guys. I don't care who started it. Just stop it.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Saw Three Ships

I don't understand why people were so surprised earlier this year to learn that Jesus might have had a wife.
Don't they know the lyrics to this song?

I saw three ships come sailing in 
On Christmas day, on Christmas day 
I saw three ships come sailing in 
On Christmas day in the morning. 

And what was in those ships all three? 
On Christmas day, on Christmas day 
And what was in those ships all three? 
On Christmas day in the morning. 

Our Saviour Christ, and His Lady, 
On Christmas day, on Christmas day 
Our Saviour Christ, and His Lady, 
On Christmas day in the morning

Obviously they were returning from a honeymoon cruise. 
Probably to the Virgin Islands

song: I Saw Three Ships • artist: unknown

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Forever Young II

I think that someday I'd like to be the kind of person who wraps gifts using only hand-made wrapping paper and ribbon and no tape whatsoever. This would be handy since I can never find the tape when I want it anyway.
But for now I can't even joke about because all I can think about are those parents in Connecticut who will be burying their children next week instead of wrapping Christmas presents for them.

song: Forever Young • artist: Bob Dylan

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Forever Young

Enough with the sentimental. 
It was bad enough, even though she was excellent, to see Bonnie Thorpe, who graduated FHS one year ahead of me, playing aging film actress Norma Desmond in the Falmouth Theater Guild's fall production of Sunset Boulevard but it's even more disturbing that Peter Cook (although he was at least three years ahead of me at FHS) plays Grandpa Joe in the current production of Willy Wonka at the Cotuit Center for the Arts. 
I checked the original text - Grandpa Joe's 96 years old! Ninety six!
The theater is making me feel old.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Knockin' on Heaven's Door


Along with typewriters and floaty pens I collect double digit birthdays. Double digit birthdays go like this, my birthday for example is 2/2 (February 2), Doug's is 1/1, Glenway 3/3, my friend Christine 4/4, Kat (who gets bonus points for having the year match as well) is 5/5. And so on.
As you're certainly aware today is 12/12/12. Today would have been my friend Tom's birthday and I suppose it still is in a way.
It's been five years but it's still strange to talk about Tom in the past tense. It's strange to type his name. In fact I usually don't. If I mention him on this blog it's often in the present tense and rather cryptically which might leave readers wondering who I'm talking to or about.
Maybe this stands to reason since one of the things Tom complained about regarding our friendship was me being the kind of person who doesn't express my emotions freely. I call it being a good Yankee, but "I always have to guess what you're thinking" I believe was how he put it which is ironic considering.
Over the years I think we learn that there are times and circumstances where it doesn't pay to be a good Yankee.
Since it's a numbers kind of day. Here are a few.
- Every 13.7 minutes someone in the U.S. dies by suicide.
- Suicide rates are highest for people between the ages of 40 and 59.
- Men are nearly 4 times more likely to die by suicide than women. 
- Women attempt suicide 3 times as often as men.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
Sucky stats right?
I cannot think of a topic that's harder to talk about - or as it turns out - harder to put into writing.
So here I am - expressing myself albeit briefly. I miss you. If you were here I'd raise a glass of orange soda and drink it to your good health. Maybe I'd have bought you that Arnold Schwarzenegger autobiography and we could have remembered all the good (and bad) movies we saw at the Nickelodeon and laughed about Tom Cruise spoofing Axl Rose this year in Rock of Ages.

song: Knockin' on Heaven's Door • artist: Guns N' Roses

Monday, December 10, 2012

Radio GaGa

And so starts the third week of "Save WMVY Radio." 
We didn't win the giant stocking - which means we really, really need to save the station - so we try again next year. 
The station has been reading comments by donors both near and far. Although I know the station has a strong on-line presence, I'm still surprised to hear comments from out of state callers. Recently they read a message from a woman in Oklahoma.
On the one hand it's heartening to hear from these people, it takes a village to save a station and all, but on the other hand I get a twinge possessive. Who are these people anyway and why are they trying on hone in on MY local radio station?
I get the same twinge when I see out-of-state vanity plates sporting the names of Cape locations. I recall a car from Illinois this summer with a plate that read "Waquoit." What's up with that? Do I drive around with a vanity plate that reads "Chicago?" Who are they to lay claim to my hometown?
Then it comes to me. I live in a place that other people love. Love so much that they advertise their fondness for this peninsula by naming their favorite locales on license plates - or by listening via their computers to the local radio station. 
It also makes one pause and consider the potential dearth of decent radio in Oklahoma.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

I'll Be There

Only one more day to call in. I live in fear that I will seriously disappoint my kids by being unable to procure us a chance to be in the drawing for the WMVY giant Christmas stocking.
It's not for a lack of trying though. I have dutifully listened, ears cocked, ready to jump Pavlovian-like at the sound of the Christmas elves.
I have been caller number 2,3,4 (numerous times), 6, 7 and 8,
Everything but lucky caller number 9.
And caller number 5 but nobody cares about being caller number 5. So forget I mentioned it.

song: I'll Be There • artist: Jackson 5

Thursday, December 06, 2012

What I Like About You

Okay. I'm somewhat over my WMVY depression if only because I've convinced myself that no matter what happens Carly Simon will step in at the last minute and buy the station. Maybe as co-owner she'll fill in occasionally as a morning DJ which would be fine provided she never plays her own rendition of Itsy Bitsy Spider, because, as someone who's heard a lot of kids' music over the past 10 years, I've heard better.
Still I feel remiss about my previous post where I suggest that people support the radio station but describe the station in terms of the things I don't like. Let's be clear - there are plenty of reasons to love WMVY. Aside from the station being local and the DJs acting as absentee friends for lonely mostly stay at home moms the Cape and Islands over, I love the general music mix (duh), I love the Morning Movie Quote (whenever I'm up early enough to hear it), I love the At Work Challenge and the Afternoon Mind Bender. I love Sunday Morning and all that Jazz, which is saying a lot coming from a person who generally eschews music without lyrics. I love the Hot Seat and the Friday Afternoon Six Pack. I love that they don't overplay holiday music. I love their tradition of playing Alice's Restaurant on Thanksgiving. I love hearing the Steamship Authority update. I love On this Day in Musical History and their Black History Month clips. I love the Top 25 Albums countdown.
But I hate that I'm not qualified to win the giant stocking yet (caller number 2 twice today and number 4 once)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Radio Radio

It's always hardest to write about things that are important to me personally. It's easy to write off-the-cuff stuff about my children, or observations about the way things are in general. But when you really care it's hard because it's important. That's why we talk all day to our kids but sometimes fail to cover the real issue, the one thing you should be talking about. 
It's hard to believe you need me to make a case for why we need local radio stations but then I read recently that there are people in China who don't realize that in order to get ivory the elephants have to be killed (they don't shed their tusks). So, what seems obvious to me, may not be to everyone.
We need local radio stations for the same reason we need local newspapers and locally owned shops and restaurants. We need them because they support the communities they are in. They report on events like agricultural fairs, road races, July 4th fireworks and tomorrow's Christmas parade. Without promotion maybe these events would go away. Maybe someday we will live in a world where we all shop at Amazon and we all vacation at Disney World.
Last week WMVY radio announced its frequency (92.7) has been bought out by WBUR, Boston's NPR station. This in itself is ironic since I've often complained of not being able to hear NPR without radio static which just goes to show that one should be careful of what they wish for. 
Sure I don't love everything about WMVY. There are songs they over play, I could use less Blues at Eight, and some of the stuff on the Local Music Cafe just isn't very good, but, like a long-term relationship you've made a commitment to be in, you vow to take the good with the bad. 
On a personal level, in addition to supporting the local community and playing new music along with the old, WMVY keeps me company Monday through Friday. By the time I get up, Ken has already turned the radio on; when I go to bed, it's the last thing I turn off. 
Often I feel that I'm not old enough to be wringing my hands in despair and wondering out loud "what's this world coming to?" Where will we be when there are no more radio stations except those we pay for and no more news outlet except for the ones online? What happens when there are no more magazines that people can read and then pass along via the free magazine box in the front of the library? What happens when the chasm between the have and the have nots widens even further? 
Even if WMVY raises enough money to continue online, I'll have to be dragged kicking and screaming into the radio internet era. Not to mention the expense. It's one thing to go searching for a replacement radio at the thrift shop among the dented saucepans and mismatched mugs, it's another thing to have to play the radio through your smartphone or other iDevice.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Just Like Heaven

Now we finally know who killed JR.
Cancer.
Pretty lame plot line if you ask me.

song: Just Like Heaven • artist: The Cure

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Up On The Roof

I think it says a lot about one's psyche when you're driving and a vehicle in the other lane flashes its lights and instead of slowing down for the speed trap that must be ahead you assume instead that you've left your purse on top of the roof of your car.

song: Up On The Roof • artist: The Drifters

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cold Turkey

We gave Leo quality turkey leftovers last night and she snubbed them.
Honestly, what kind of cat is she?
The mice are better at finishing off table scraps.

song: Cold Turkey • artist: John Lennon

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Communication Breakdown

him: Mommy, Yoda is like the all-green guy. He has green eyes, a green lightsaber, and green skin.
me: Yup. He's all green just like Kermit the frog.
him: Who?
me: Nevermind.

song: Communication Breakdown • artist: Led Zepplin

Saturday, November 17, 2012

It's the End of the World as we Know it

Last week, along with bananas, cukes, and potatoes on the day old shelf at Jack in the Beanstalk were several bags of marshmallows. I asked the clerk how on earth she knew they were past their expiration date.
This little episode is timely considering last week people wouldn't be caught dead admitting they ate Twinkies and this week people are stock piling them.
It makes sense in a way. The Mayan calendar predicts Dec. 21 will be doomsday and Twinkies are the perfect bunker food.
While I'm at it, I might go back for a few bags of discounted marshmallows.

song: It's the End of the World as we Know it (and I feel fine) • artist: R.E.M.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Motherless Child

Orphan protagonists in children's literature are as common as mold spores in August. So common that one might assume that in order for a child to have any type of adventure at all, they must first become orphaned. Harry Potter is certainly the most popular orphan hero at present but orphaned children have an extensive literary history. Tom Saywer lived with his long-suffering Aunt Polly, Anne of Green Gables was an orphan, as were Heidi, Oliver Twist, Pollyanna, Dorothy Gale, and Mary Lennox of the Secret Garden. Well of course there were more ways to loose one's parents back then, cholera, typhoid, the plague, twisters; so maybe adventurous orphans were easier to come by, but the present day has plenty of parentless protagonists as well: James and the Giant Peach, the Lemony Snicket crew, the kids in the 39 Clues, the Boxcar Children, the Mysterious Benedict's Society, Hugo Cabret. Heck even Frodo Baggins is an orphan. I expect they'll go into his upbringing in depth in the upcoming sure-to-be-bloated three-part movie adaptation of The Hobbit.
Then you've got your kids who aren't orphans per say but might as well be since either they've got absentee parents (Pippi Longstocking) or such miserable parents they'd be better off as orphans (Matilda, Huckleberry Finn, those kids in Flowers in the Attic)
We assume that the reason kids are drawn to orphaned heros and heroines - or that authors are drawn to them - is that it does in fact free kids up for adventure. I mean really, how can you save the world from the Dark Lord if your mom's reminding you to grab a sweatshirt on the way out the door because, "it's going to cool off later on."
But actually, the reason authors write about kids who've lost their parents is that kids are obsessed with death. I know this because my kids are obsessed with death. My twins at least.
And whose death are they obsessed with?
Mine
Well - not me exactly but they've killed off their "other mom"and their "other dad" in a million assorted ways.
S & N have had an "other mom" for a while now. You see, instead of imaginary friends, the twins have imaginary parents.
For well over six months they've discussed their other mom, who she is (sometimes she's a stranger, sometimes she's a family friend, once they said singer Bill Harley was their "other dad"), where she lives (sometimes near their grandparent's house, sometimes in Maine), and how she behaves (sometimes she eats candy all day). I'm okay with them having an "other mom," except I'm afraid that the preschool teachers might think Ken and I have divorced and remarried.
Lately though their other moms and dads have been facing up to their own mortality. This might have happened about the same time they announced that George Washington was their other dad (that's right folks; he's not just the father of our country…). They said this and then asked if George Washing was still alive. Went they found out he wasn't they started in on talking about how they used to have an other mom but she died. Sometimes they go through two or three other moms and dads in a single car ride to town. Sometimes they killed of their other parents in comedic fashion, "my other dad slipped on a piece of pizza then he fell in the toilet and got flushed and died." Sometimes it's frighteningly real, "my other mom was at college and a bad guy was there and shot her and she died." Sometimes it seems like there's some real parenticide one-upmanship going on in the back seat.
And while its a little unnerving to have my kids bopping off moms and dads nonchalantly and then, after killing off one easily getting another one, "I had to get a new mom, 'cause my other mom died." "I used to have two moms but one of them died…" I can partly see where it's coming from.
First I think it's common for five year olds or in our case almost five year olds to suddenly latch on to the vague idea of death and to develop, if you can pardon my pun, at the very least a morbid curiosity about it.
As to their penchant for dead parents. It could just be that from what they see there are a glut of mothers and fathers to dispatch with, big whoop if we knock  few off. Go to the library, there are moms all over the place. Preschool pick up? Moms and dads galore. The playground? Ditto. Moms and dads are a dime a dozen. Naturally it stands to reason that if one set died you could easily get yourself a new pair.
And if you couldn't at least you could be guaranteed a starring role in an upcoming children's novel.

song: Motherless Child • artist: unknown

Doom & Gloom

After yet another note home about lice in the elementary school I ordered up a bottle of lice preventative shampoo from Fairy Tales Hair. From what I can see on line there's no real evidence that any lice preventative shampoo works (hence the company name), despite the exclamation-point-laden testimonials, "lice free for three years!" Buying a product just means you've done something, anything, to acknowledge the threat. It's like filling the bathtub with water prior to a potentially loss-of-power-inducing hurricane.
There was that and then the cat threw up all over the kitchen today. I mean she's not even a year old yet. I feel that a brand-new cat should come with a warranty, much like a new car - no hairballs or retching on the hardwood for at least three years.
If only I'd gotten her in Japan I could expect a recall notice in the mail any day now.

song: Doom & Gloom • artist: Rolling Stones

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dress You Up


Some Halloween photos for Liz.
Good thing I was better at finishing the costumes on time than I was about getting the Halloween photos posted on time.
I may be late with this and with Halloween crafts (yesterday S & N made q-tip skeletons), BUT, I have already ordered Christmas cards.
So there.

song: Dress You Up • artist: Madonna

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Unplugged

NaMoBlo is going horribly! I've posted less than usual this month instead of more. I was good to go before November began too. And up till the end of last week things were going okay but then I read about the Sabbath Manifesto wherein joiners agrees to disconnect, in ways that you get to define, from technology for one day a week.
I realize the manifesto is likely aimed at people who are far more plugged in than I; people who, for example, own smart phones. But I get as off track obsessing over Site meter, checking my three e-mail accounts, and lurking on Facebook, as the next guy. I especially hate it when I walk into the computer room for some other reason entirely - like to feed the fish - and I wind up checking the computer, you know, because it's there. I also hate it when I sit down at the computer for a specific purpose and then after scrolling through the usual suspects I forget what I sat down to look up. It's the computer equivalent of climbing the stairs and then forgetting why you needed to be on the second floor in the first place.
Embracing the Sabbath Manifesto was easy. It was if I was looking for an excuse to keep the computer off for a day; for someone to say, "go ahead, take a break, Facebook will still be there when you get back." There were some times on Saturday when I was tempted but overall - since we were out at soccer practice for most of the day - it wasn't that hard. Then, since Saturday went so well, I decided to try for a second day. And since Monday was a holiday - why not make it three?
So there you have it. But it wasn't as easy as I thought. I did want to turn on the computer. And on Sunday and Monday I did turn it on only I made a conscious effort to limit my viewing time and not to perform my ritual scroll through of all my favs. The whole experiment felt pretty good. Leaving the computer off eliminated one distraction at least, freeing my up to focus on the distraction that is my family.
The Sabbath Manifesto in and of itself is an open-ended agreement that's open to a lot of interpretation. One woman is quoted as saying she uses her computer down time to catch up on tv shows she's been missing. Exchanging one technology for another could be seen as missing the point but if the point is to relax and not be beholden to your devices than go for it. At least the television is one of the lesser-demanding of devices we now collectively all own.
As for NaMoBlo - I think I could write up and then schedule ahead a few posts on Friday night.

album: Unplugged • artist: Eric Clapton

Friday, November 09, 2012

Parenting is …

asking your children if they'd rather enjoy their lives and be happy or keep arguing and fighting over who stepped on a crack.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

late fall (a quatrian)

high winds sway
while pumpkins decay.
conversational banter
concerns letters to santa.

Born in the U.S.A.

God defend me from idiots.       
      -George Bernard Shaw

I don't know about God - but the voters did.

Missouri Senate
Claire McCaskill    1,484,683
Todd Akin              1,063,398

Indiana Senate
Joe Donnelly          1,263,885
Richard Mourdock   1,124,058

song: Born in the U.S.A. • artist: Bruce Springsteen

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Wishlist

Santa's going to have his hands full this year.
H said he's asking for a magic wand, "that really works," and for an instruction book so he can "learn how to use the force."
He also said that his friend Robert was asking Santa for "a girl that likes him."
I asked H if he wanted to ask Santa for a girl that like him too and he said no - adding that he thought that was a "dumb thing" to ask Santa for and that he told Robert he should ask Santa for something else.

song: Wishlist • artist: Pearl Jam

Monday, November 05, 2012

Parenting is …

cleaning all the dead pets out of the freezer.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Dang Me

Hey guess what Facebook friends? I f*cking love science too but I f*cking hate swearing!
Especially on venues my kids see.

song: Dang Me • artist: Roger Miller

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Somebody to Love

Someone to Lay Down Beside Me - Linda Ronstadt
Someone to Watch Over Me - Ella Fitzgerald

It's getting pretty  crowded in that room.

song: Somebody to Love • artist: Jefferson Airplane

Yesterday

The twins have invented a new word: lasterday.
Lasterday is a cross between "last night" and "yesterday" and it appear to be a synonym for "the other day" when we use that phrase to mean some span of time in the past that could be anywhere from one week to 20 years go.
For example: "Lasterday, when the power was out, we had to use our flashlights."
Or: "Lasterday, when I was in college, you could ride the subway for 60 cents."

song: Yesterday • artist: The Beatles

Friday, November 02, 2012

November Rain

Good grief. I'm already a day behind on NaBloMo. How did this happen? Stupid Frankenstorm? Holiday gift guide deadlines? PTO volunteering? Pick your excuse. I'll write two today and even do some penance in the form of finally, finally, responding to a NaBloMo prompt - albeit it yesterday's prompt.

And here it is:
Tell us your favorite quotation and why.
Just one? I got a million of 'em although I hate it when people post quotes to Facebook. Say something original will ya? But words to live by? Sure. It's good to be reminded of a few axioms. Here are two favorite quotes that get repeated (at least by me) around our house:

The things you own end up owning you - Chuck Palahnuik
Toffee for breakfast, toffee for dinner, toffee for tea - W. S. Gilbert

It's great to have a few good quotes as guiding principals in our lives. What is "do unto others as you would have them do unto you," but a great little biblical sound bite.
A good quote (like a well-written children's book) also reminds us that we don't have to be wordy to get our point across.
Both of these quotes seem perfectly obvious to me - what's the point of a pity quote if it needs explanation? But, since NaBloMo is asking I'll follow up by saying that the Fight Club quote (go on - you recognized it!) reminds me that if we become slaves to our stuff, or to the idea of acquiring stuff - we loose what's important in life. There are hundred's of other quotes in the same vein; Thoreau is saying the same thing with his simplify trifecta, and Saint-Exupert too in the Little Prince when the fox reminds us "we become responsible forever for what we have tamed." It is in our own best interest then to simplify, simplify in order that we tame the right things instead of the wrong ones.
The second quote is less well known.
It's from the musical Patience written by the british team of Gilbert and Sullivan. In the scene a duke explains to an assembly of military men why he finds the constant flattery and adulation that accompanies dukedom so tedious.
"Tell me, Major, are you fond of toffee?" he asks
Major: "Very!"
Colonel: "We are all fond of toffee"
All: "We are!"
Duke: "Yes, and toffee in moderation is a capital thing. But to live on toffee - toffee for breakfast, toffee for dinner, toffee for tea - and to have it supposed that you care for nothing but toffee, and that you would consider yourself insulted if anything but toffee were offered to you - how would you like that?"
Colonel: "I can quite believe that, under those circumstances even toffee would become monotonous."

So you see, toffee for breakfast, toffee for dinner, toffee for tea is a way of saying too much of a good thing is not so good.
Sometime I wonder what's the point of blogging? Is there anything new under the sun to be said? Sure, there are clever, funny, moving ways of saying things but aren't we all mostly relating to the same issues the Greek philosophers ponders centuries earlier? Perhaps blogging is mostly about the quotes that we choose to live our lives by and then writing that daily check in on how well we're doing.

song: November Rain • artist: Guns 'n Roses

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Peter Pumpkinhead

N has been carrying his pumpkin around the house with him, flameless candle aglow, and leaving it places: the living room, the playroom, on the blue chair next to his bed. It is both endearing and a little creepy.

song: Peter Pumpkinhead • artist: XTC

More, More, More

Not sure why they put small amounts of candy into tiny bags and call them "fun size." What's so fun about six peanut m&ms?
Ask any kid and they'll say a five-pound package would be loads more fun and maybe then they'd share a few with you.

song: More, More, More • artist: Andrea True

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wishing Well

S enjoys my favorite place in all of Boston - the reflecting pool in front of the headquarters for Christian Science.

song: Wishing Well • artist: Terence Trent D'arby

Monday, October 29, 2012

Like a Hurricane

Hurricanes were so much more fun when we didn't own anything.

song: Like a Hurricane • artist: Neil Young

Goin' up the Country

So right about now I'm feeling pretty good about the 10 jars of peaches and 9 jars of apple sauce I canned earlier in the season.
We might loose power - but we won't get scurvy.

song: Goin' up the Country • artist: Canned Heat

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Telephone Line

This is it. I absolutely refuse to answer the phone until after the election. Even if I recognize your name and number I'm still suspicious that you're going to try and tell me why I should vote for your candidate.
Just leave a message.

song: Telephone Line • artist: Electric Light Orchestra

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Son of a Preacher

Larissa at Papa is a Preacher invited me to participate in my first-ever blog hop. And let me just say outright - I was thrilled to be asked. That was last Thursday. And then the link up closed and like many a project around my house - I didn't get it done.
You see there was this caveat - not the part about commenting on other people's blogs, that I can do - it was coming up with something of my own to post.
What do you mean you couldn't think of something to post? You post to this blog all the time.
Yes, yes, I know. But I post a sentence or two. An observation. A Seinfeldism. A random thought. Nothing in complete paragraphs that I could show my ninth-grade English teacher. That's right, get your head out of that Edward Gorey book Ms. Spring - I'm talkin' to you. Little of substance.
I sometimes marvel at bloggers who write daily missives. Where do they get their inspiration? Who's hanging the laundry and prepping dinner while they are writing?
I also know that there's many a site out there to provide inspiration for bloggers block in the form of various prompts and themes and five-minute free-form writing assignments. That I don't participate is my own lack of commitment I suppose. Or maybe it's something deeper.
I want to participate. I really do. I guess I just feel funny about admitting that I'm writing for an audience. That it's not just an online journal and oh look you happen to have found it. Picking a theme or participating in the chat means the jigs up - I do care. There. Fine. I said it. I care. I want you to read this. I want you to like me. I really do.
I feel a bit like Maurice Sendack's Pierre. Now can I fold the folding chair?

song: Son of a Preacher Man • artist: Dusty Springfield



Sunday, October 21, 2012

And It Stoned Me


What the hell was up with those parents who gave Charlie Brown rocks for Halloween? I hope someone reported them.

song: And It Stoned Me • artist: Van Morrison


Friday, October 19, 2012

Crash Into Me

Dear Mr. Truck Driver,
I understand why you swerved into my lane today to avoid running over the squashed skunk on the middle of your lane. Who wants to run over stinky roadkill? My only concern is that you pulled all the way across the center line right in front of me, and you see it's like this - I'm still alive and would like to stay that way - the skunk was already dead.

song: Crash Into Me • artist: Dave Matthews Band

Galileo

Yesterday's NY Times contained a tech story about apps and included a rated listing of apps which have the sole purpose of suggesting to people what apps they ought to buy. Your personal app shoppers. The thought being, there are so many apps out there, you really need an app just to keep up with them.
Woah. If you don't know an app exists isn't that proof that you don't need it?
Are you better or worse off for knowing about apps that you previously didn't know about?
Apps seem like they are getting more existential all the time.
If an app falls in the forest, does it make a sound?
What is the sound of one app clapping?
Have we all gone app happy?
I confess. I'm not a fan of apps.
You might say I'm anti-app. Though you could also argue that since I'm app-less I'm just suffering from app envy.
In which case maybe apps are more Freudian that existential.


song: Galileo • artist: Indigo Girls

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lawyers, Guns, and Bunny


Check out my son's pistol-packing bunny.
No one messes with his carrot.

song: Layers, Guns, and Money • artist: Warren Zevon

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What's Your Name?

In retrospect it would have been easier if I had given my kids names like Stupid, Butt Butt Brains, Stinky, and Poo Poo Head
If I had - then when one of them runs over to me and says, "Mommy! He just called me Stupid," I could say - well that's your name isn't it?

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

Just the Way You Are

My parents celebrated their golden wedding anniversary this weekend.
This means, among other things, that for 50 years my mother has gone to the Congregational church in Waquoit every Sunday while my dad has faithfully attended the Catholic church on Main Street. For half a century neither has tried to convert the other.
Perhaps this is the secret to a successful marriage.
Don't try to convert one another.

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

Woman

Nowhere Man (The Beatles)
Ramblin Man (Allman Brothers)
Travelin Man (Ricky Nelson)
Wanted Man (Johnny Cash)
Magic Man (Heart)
Lucky Man (Emerson, Lake & Palmer)
Southern Man (Neil Young)
Old Man (Neil Young)
Better Man (Pearl Jam)
Rocket Man (Elton John)
Particle Man (They Might Be Giants)
Macho Man (Village People)
Walking Man (James Taylor)
Candy Man (Sammy Davis Jr.)
Back Door Man (The Doors)
Ordinary Average Man (Don Henley)
Well Respected Man (the Kinks)
New World Man (Rush)
Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top)
Hurdy Gurdy Man (Donovan)
Guitar Man (Bread)
Piano Man (Billy Joel)
Poetry Man (Phoebe Snow)
Mr. Tambourine Man (The Byrds)
Street Fighting Man (Rolling Stones)
Secret Agent Man (Johnny Rivers)

Devil Woman (Cliff Richard)
Hard Headed Woman (Cat Stevens)
Woman in Black (Foreigner)
Black Magic Woman (Santana)
Evil Woman (ELO)
Witchy Woman (The Eagles)
L.A. Woman (The Doors)
Pretty Woman (Roy Orbison)
American Woman (Guess Who)
Kentucky Woman (Neil Diamond)
Natural Woman (Aretha Franklin)
Coconut Woman (Harry Belafonte)
Honkey Tonk Woman (Rolling Stones)

Here's a brief list of song titles with the word man in them. And a second list featuring the word woman.
From what I can see guys seem to have it over the ladies when it comes to song titles.
Guys get to be carefree, rugged, rambling, or slightly dangerous.
Women on the other hand get to mostly be mean, stubborn or satanic.
That and the Candy Man and the Coconut Woman should get together.

song: Woman • artist: John Lennon

Saturday, October 13, 2012

People C'mon

The Tao of my Twins: Lesson #15

The Lord may help those who help themselves but if mommy wants to leave the house with her kids - she has to help everybody.

song: People C'mon • artist: Delta Spirit

Parenting is ...

watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 - again and having to sit through the scene where Dobby gets killed - again.
 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Sharp Dressed Man

School picture day. C wore his suit coat, white shirt, tie, and tie clip.
"Is C wearing his church sweatshirt?" N asked.

song: Sharp Dressed Man • artist: ZZ Top

I Don't Want to Know

an excerpt from Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell 

Few IKEA outlets in the US are accessible by public transportation and since the company does not support a home delivery service, customers willing and able to take public transport rarely do so. As a result, the traffic jams surrounding IKEA stores are so gnarly that customers are discouraged from shopping on weekends when lines of idling cars can back up for miles. IKEA touts its 'green side' by lighting its stores with low-wattage bulbs and charging extra for plastic bags while its clientele burns through gallon after gallon of fuel to buy disposable tables and lamps. Asked his assessment of company practices, MIT-trained urban development expert Wig Zamore said: "IKEA is the least sustainable retailer on the planet."

Bummer

song: I Don't Want to Know • artist: Fleetwood Mac

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Children of the Corn

Since when is being lost in corn fun?
When I was a kid Stephen King ruined corn the way Peter Benchley ruined swimming. It was all bloody scythes, horror, and nightmares.
Guess it's because they aren't 19 yet.

story: Children of the Corn • author: Stephen King

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Red, Red, Red

song: Red, Red, Red • artist: Fiona Apple


I Love Bald-Headed Men

Terrible news! Someone is C's class has lice. This after C declared last week that Harry H. cut his hair leaving himself as officially the fourth-grade boy with the longest hair.


song: I Like Bald-Headed Men • artist: Christine Lavin

Monday, October 01, 2012

She's a Beauty

Our condo in North Conway comes equipped with an extensive collection of Disney videos.
Disney movies are like a new strain of the flu for my kids - having not been exposed very often they've built up little tolerance. Last year they happily indulged in the Jungle Book, Peter Pan, and Shrek.
The first pick this year was Dumbo which I'm okay with since I consider it a classic - I mean what kid can grow up without having been thoroughly creeped out by Pink Elephants on Parade?
Last night we almost watched Sleeping Beauty but I talked them into Beauty and the Beast instead. My rationale being not enough action for four boys in a beauty that just sleeps, better add a beast to the mix.
I'd never seen Beauty and the Beast except as a theatrical performance and I'll admit - I was looking forward to it because I remembered that the heroine is a nerdy book geek, so imagine my disappointment when the book she chooses (one that she claims to have read several times) turns out to be a fairy story about a girl falling in love with a handsome prince. I didn't expect her to be reading War and Peace but is it too much to hope for to have her read something of substance? Guess in fairy tales girls can read - but they can only read fairy tales.
Tonight the twins went with Sleeping Beauty since they can abide handsome princes and kissing more than their older brothers can. When I got back from the clubhouse with H & C the movie was already in full swing and let's just say they don't make Disney villains the way they used to:
Maleficent: "Now you'll deal with me Prince Phillip! And all the powers of Hell!"
C: Mom. This movie is rated G? It should be PG, they say swear words.
M: Ummm. Well. At lest it's in context.

song: She's a Beauty • artist: the Tubes

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Buckets of Rain

Is there a special place in heaven for parents who take their kids to Storyland in the rain?
Because there should be.

song: Buckets of Rain • artist: Bob Dylan

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Live and Let Die

If New Hampshire is the Live Free or Die state why all the tolls on the highway?
Are they trying to kill me?

song: Live and Let Die • artist: Paul McCartney and Wings

They Don't Know

Last week I was working in the yard when S came over and decided he wanted to work with me. He took off into the house and then came back telling me, "Daddy didn't know what I was saying."
Me: "Daddy didn't understand you?"
S: "No! Daddy didn't know what I was saying!"
Me: "Why don't you tell me what you were saying and I'll tell it to Daddy?"
S: "Daddy didn't know what I was saying."
Me: "I know. What were you saying?"
S: "Daddy didn't know what I was saying!"
At this point Ken comes outside.
Ken: "I don't know what he's saying."
Me: "I know."
Ken: Well what's he saying?
Me: "I don't know because he won't tell me what he was saying. Is it just me or is it like Abbot and Costello around here?"
Ken: "He's saying it right now."
S: "Shovel."
Me: "Shovel. He wants a shovel."
Ken: "Oh."

song: They Don't Know • artist: Tracy Ullman

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy

With all due regrets to the local wildlife and our neighbors - C is now playing the trumpet.

song: Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy • artist: the Andrew Sisters

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Alone Again

Leo plays this game where she'll pick up a Lego or Playmobil piece in her mouth, carry it to the top of the stairs, drop it, and then chase it down the stairs and repeat.
Brilliant! I think she's the smartest cat ever!
Now if only my kids could figure out ways to entertain themselves.

song: Alone Again (Naturally) • artist: Gilbert O'Sullivan

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hot Dog

song: Hot Dog • artist: Led Zepplin

Put a Lid On It

The Tao of my Twins: Lesson #15

If there were 10 bathrooms in our house, there would be 10 toilet seats left up. 

song: Put a Lid On It • artist: Squirrel Nut Zippers

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Angel from Montgomery

This is a heads up to my friends at the North Falmouth Library. I just ordered up a bunch of books about angels - they are for a Christmas supplement story - I'm not suddenly really into angels. Not that there's anything wrong with that!
I always wonder how much the mailman, the trash collector, and the local librarian know about us. An awful lot I would guess.

song: Angel from Montgomery • artist: John Prine

Monday, September 24, 2012

You Better You Bet

Overheard at the Bocce festival on Saturday:
"Damn. I thought we could at least beat a kid playing with a broken arm."
No such luck. They only tied our team.

song: You Better You Bet • artist: The Who

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Non Sequitur of the Day

A news report citing that a demonstration in which protestors shouted "death to America," was "mostly peaceful."

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Wedding Song

The Catholic church should be relieved to learn that Jesus might have had a wife.
At least it means he wasn't gay.

song: The Wedding Song • artist: Paul Stookey

Friday, September 21, 2012

Ice Cream Man

scene: Middle row of the mini van. Two four year olds discuss their career options:
S: "I wonder what I'll be when I grow up? I know! Maybe I'll be an ice cream man!"
N: "Yeah! And me too!"
S: "Yeah! And me!"

Phew! Glad we've got that all figured out.

song: Ice Cream Man • artist: Tom Waits

Button It

Photobucket

Thursday, September 20, 2012

You Can Call Me Al

There's a new mouse in the house. I know because I put it there.
It's a pet mouse - the kind of mouse you don't allow the cat to harass.
"Not the mice in the cage, Leo; it's the other mice we want you to catch."
Talk about a confusing double standard.
This mouse takes the place of Gomff, who passed away last month after developing a tumor.
What? You may ask do you do when your son's mouse develops a tumor?
You take it to the vet (of course), because you said you would and you're a good mom who keeps her word whenever possible. Then you weigh the options of mouse surgery, exonerate yourself by asking the vet if you are a bad parent for not investing $300 in mouse surgery, which, the vet even admits may not be effective on a mouse tumor of relatively considerable size. "You're not." He assures.
So you bring your sick mouse home and explain to your son that sometimes there's nothing you can do. And you are sad. And he is sad. And you go out and buy special bedding at the pet store so your sick mouse can burrow into it along with her companion mouse, Martin, and be comfortable.
Now we have a new mouse and instead of asking to special order a "fancy mice" at the pet story (fancy being, from what I can see, another name for "not white"), I simply go in and ask for one of the white mice - otherwise known as "feeder mice," because their usual fate is being fed to snakes and other rodent-eating pets.
When the clerks asks if the mouse will be a pet and I reply yes, he confirms what I already know - most of the mice in the cage are not likely to become pets for 10-year-old boys.
I resist the urge by buy all four mice while the clerk, who seems genuinely happy about his charge's fate, reaches into the cage and says, "who's feeling lucky?"
We named the mouse Al. Short for albino.
I feel pretty good about Al because I figure regardless of how long her little mouse life lasts - it's bound to last longer with us than it would have without us.

song: You Can Call Me Al • artist: Paul Simon

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ride the Tiger

song: Ride the Tiger • artist: Jefferson Starship

Twilight Zone

Surely you noticed the other day that I posed about my son and his earring and I did not name the post for the song Twilight Zone by Golden Earring.
This was no oversight.
For many months now I've been meaning to write a post to go with that particular song.
You see my twins have these outbursts several times a day wherein they bust out screaming for some minor infraction: he said this broom is black, but it's not it's blue! a drop of milk from my bowl of cereal has spilled on my placemat! You answered my question instead of repeating it back to me verbatim! You answered my question wrong! You didn't answer my question at all! You are paying attention to my brother instead of me! He has more macaroni in his bowl than I do! I have too much macaroni in my bowl! I am not hungry for macaroni!
It's especially frustrating when they melt down over situations they could easily solve themselves such as "my fork fell on the floor!" "you closed the bedroom door!" or "there's no lights on in the bathroom!"
So there's this walking on eggshells dance that I do as the main caregiver to twins who act completely high strung around their mother - I hear they are delightful around other people and they certainly don't pull this sh*t in their dad.
And although I know many things to avoid in order to stop a blood curdling outburst before it happens, I am still subjected to multiple freak outs per day wherein my normally delightful children turn into screaming mimis in a nanosecond.
These scenarios remind me of the Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life" in which there's a small town being held prisoner by a monster who is able to unleash untold misery on the townspeople for seemingly innocuous infractions such as firing up a record player, dancing, or thinking bad thoughts.
After Rod Serling is done with his prologue he introduces us to the monster who turns out to be a five-year-old boy. A five year old Billy Mumy to be specific - remember him? From Lost in Space? Of course you do.
Anyway. Back to my story.
Make no mistake - the boy is not a proverbial monster as in:
"Hi Honey, how were the kids today?"
"They were monsters, where's my glass of wine?"
No no, he's a real monster who turns towns folks who piss him off into scarecrows or jack in the boxes with the least little provocation. Needless to say the townsfolk proceed more than a little cautiously around this young feller.
They should have considered themselves lucky he wasn't a twin.

song: Twilight Zone • artist: Golden Earring.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Think

So it used to be that if you saw four people sitting on a park bench and three of them were reading books, magazine, newspapers, what have you, and the fourth was staring aimlessly off into space - we'd assume that the fourth person was a slacker and a loser with little upstairs to sustain him or her intellectually.
Now if we see four people sitting on a park bench and three of them are staring at their iPhone, smart phones, iPads, what have you, and the fourth is staring off into space - we assume that the fourth guy is intellectually superior to the three others because of his ability to be entertained without the aid of an electronic device and therefore the only one capable of sustaining deep thoughts.

song: Think • artist: Aretha Franklin

Battle of Evermore

H has a bow, a lightsaber, a sword, and a musket in his corner of the bedroom.
He's at the ready should either Robin Hood, Obi Wan Kenobi, Elrond or General Washington require his assistance.

song: Battle of Evermore • artist: Led Zepplin

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Never

As the mother of four boys I never thought I'd hear this phrase uttered in my house but it was tonight so never say never:
"Mom! He won't give me back my earring!"

song: Never • artist: Heart

Wrapped around your Finger

If the silly bandz craze is over then why am I still wearing this rubber band around my wrist?

song: Wrapped around your Finger • artist: The Police

Friday, September 14, 2012

Grapefruit-Juicy Fruit

I asked my husband to buy more plums at the farmers market but they were sold out. Instead he brought home organic nectarines from the grocery store.
"The cashier rang these up as nectarines but they're plums right?"
"Nope. Nectarines."
Yesterday the farmers market was in town again so I went and bought plums myself.
H. looked at them and said: "Those are the biggest grapes I've ever seen."
"That's because they're plums."
You'd think my family had never seen fruit before.

song: Grapefruit-Juicy Fruit • artist: Jimmy Buffett

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Run Joey Run

It's ironic that the Sirius 80s station reminds me of high school (class of '86), when the 70s on 7 reminds me of college since that's where I discovered the classic hits station WZLX. And the cheesier the 70s hit - the better thanks to the Lost 45.
Turntables, I hear, are making a bit of a comeback. The proof being quite a few listings on Walmart's website. Good news because my Barry Manilow records have been gathering dust in the attic for way too long.
It's funny that cassettes we can throw out (at least I have) but vinyl we hang onto as if deep down we know it's got more intrinsic value.

song: Run Joey Run • artist: David Geddes
In case you've only seen/heard it on Glee

Send in the Clowns

The phrase panem et cirenses came up twice in 24 hours in two very different books that I am reading. This being no coincidence it must be noted and commented on.
In Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture Ellen Ruppel Shell defines the phrase, which translates from the latin to bread and circuses, as "the art of plying citizens with pleasures to distract them from pain." In this case it seems to be all about making us think we have choices. Like when we have 75 choices in breakfast cereal but none when it comes to health care.
Mockingjay, the third installment in the Hunger Games trilogy says that panem et cirenses is a phrase coined to describe Rome - a city where "in return for full bellies and entertainment, his people had given up their political responsibilities and therefore their power." Translated to the present I think Susanne Collins is saying it's like when we pay more attention to what the Kardashians are doing that what's going on with our own 401Ks.
Woah. And I thought Bread and Circus was just a defunct natural health food chain that got swallowed up by Whole Foods.

song: Send in the Clowns • musical: A Little Night Music

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rewrite

Deb at Kicking Corners is encouraging her readers to keep scraps of paper and pencils around the house and office and in the car on which to jot down ideas when they spring to mind.
I like this idea as I'm definitely peripatetic. As soon as I sit down to write all my ideas flee.
So I carried a notebook around all day and kept it nearby while I worked my way through my to do list (wash kitchen wall, make guest bed, plant lettuce); but the stress of knowing that I was prepared should a thought arise effectively kept the ideas from flowing.
I was reminded of this little ditty though - an autograph book poem from middle school. Remember autograph books?
Can't think. 
Brain dumb.
Inspiration won't come.
Poor ink.
Bum pen.
Best wishes.
Amen.


song Rewrite • artist: Paul Simon

Bicycle Race

Finally!
song: Bicycle Race • artist: Queen

Monday, September 10, 2012

Wouldn't It be Nice?

Isn't it time we retired the milquetoast moniker "Isn't Falmouth Nice?"
Nice?
Is that the best our town leaders in the 1970s could come up with?
Nice?
Did no one have a thesaurus?
There's about 50 synonyms for nice on thesaurus.com, couldn't we update nice to something a little more colorful? I mean second-grade teachers require their eight-year-old students to use more descriptive adjectives.
The only thing worse than "Isn't Falmouth Nice?" would be adding a lame qualifier to it like "Isn't Falmouth Really Nice?"
What about some alliteration?
Isn't Falmouth Fabulous?
Isn't Falmouth Fantastic?
What's so great about being nice anyway?
Nice guys finish last.
Nice girls don't get asked out on second dates.
And as a motto it's such an easy target whenever two differing town factions are in disagreement say over wind turbines or the pledge of allegiance or the location of farmers market. Editorials and letters to the editor spring up like weeds with folks wringing their hands, and bemoaning us all to harken back to the good old days when Falmouth was so much nicer than it is now.
Isn't Falmouth Nice? isn't even a statement. It's a question. Maybe a rhetorical one but who knows? As far as we know, we don't even know IF falmouth IS nice. We're just waiting for someone to confirm our suspicions. We're that painfully shy girl at the junior high school dance who needs the acceptance of her peers in order to feel good about herself. Like the town's in need of a good dose of self-esteem.
As a town on the whole it looks as if we're insecure AND unimaginative.

song: Wouldn't It be Nice? • artist: the Beach Boys

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Charlie Brown

C: "If Charlie Brown never wins a baseball game, how come his team always makes the playoffs and then loses?"
Me: "Maybe someone else is the pitcher for the winning games."
C: "Yeah, but Charlie Brown's the manager."
Me: "It's a comic strip. You may be over thinking it."

song Charlie Brown • artist: Coldplay

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Surrender Dorothy

Never Surrender - Corey Hart
No Surrender - Bruce Springstein
Surrender - Cheap Trick

Which is it?

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Blowin' in the Wind

Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice.
I say it will end with a kleenex in the eye. At least it almost happened to me.
Yes folks it's not texting while driving that you have to watch out for, or even yanking on your cell phone; blowing your nose behind is what's really dangerous.
I've been doing all sorts of things while blowing my nose lately: blowing my nose while working on the computer, blowing my nose while hanging laundry, blowing my nose while disconnecting from computerized phone calls from political pundits, blowing my nose while sitting zazen (which surely never happened to Buddha); so I'm surprised it took so long for this incident to arise.
By freak chance I was in the car alone when it happened which was a good thing because a) I couldn't take my whole family with me, and b) I couldn't be mocked by them after the fact either.
What happened was I went to blow my nose and when I lifted the tissue to blow, a corner of it poked me in the eye causing my eye to close so forcefully that a piece of the tissue got caught in my eye and tore off.
My eye started running, my arms started flailing, I couldn't see anything and I was on the highway doing 60mph. Luckily there are days when being a townie comes in handy because even half-blind and crying I could find my exit and pull over towards it all the while seeing the phantom headline in my mind - "Mother of Four Killed by Kleenex on way to Library. Family Left to Pay Overdue Fines."

song: Blowin' in the Wind • artist: Bob Dylan

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Good Thing


Having a barrel of fun on vacation.

song: Good Thing • artist: Fine Young Cannibals

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Urge for Going

H says that we're on an awesome vacation and that we're having twice as much fun as the twins are in Maine. "We have fishing and standing on the roof of the shed. All they have is going to the beach."
I guess it's better to leave a vacation still wanting more than to leave sick of a place.

song: Urge for Going • artist: Tom Rush

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Saturday Night Special

We ate lunch at the tea room on the grounds of the lighthouse at Cape Forchu and topped it off with wedges of cheesecake in a tea cup with chocolate sauce, whipped cream, and a cherry - the tiny tinker.
My eldest son noted, probably correctly, that with the exception of a slice of 13-layer cake - which was actually a mistake - he's never seen me order dessert out to eat before.
I said it was a special occasion because we were on vacation but I think it was really the appeal of alliteration.

song: Saturday Night Special • artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Friday, August 31, 2012

Lucky Man

C always like to tell me that everyone in his class has been Disney World, "some of them have been twice.""But how many kids get to gut fish on their vacation?" I ask.

song: Lucky Man • artist: Emerson, Lake and Palmer

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fisherman's Blues II

One summer day when I was a kid my cousin and I took two fishing poles down to the yacht club where we caught two fish (flounder) from the end of the club's dock. We brought them back, still on the lines, to her house.
"If you can't take the fish off the line don't go fishing," said my uncle sternly.
And thus ended my fishing career.
I successfully made it through six years working for a fishing magazine without having to touch a fish much less having to remove one from a hook.
But it all ended yesterday at the breakwater when I had to help my kids disengage mackerel from their fishing poles because they were catching so many that my cousin Joseph and two old-timer bystanders couldn't keep up with removing fish and unsnarling the boys' lines. In the end there were 44 fish in the bucket and only a few that got away.
Thirty-plus years later and the fish felt just as slimy as I remembered.

song: Fisherman's Blues • artist: Waterboys

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Walking on the Moon

Last year when we were on our way to Nova Scotia Whitey Bulger (who went to high school with my aunt) was finally apprehended.
This year we learned about Neil Armstrong's death while staying overnight at the Holiday Inn Express in St. Johns New Brunswick.
My parents think the first time they brought me to "visit the cousins" I was a year old - 1969 - maybe it was in July, when Mr. Armstrong was walking on the moon.

song: Walking on the Moon

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Home in Halifax

My grandmother was born in Canada. She was one of more than 10 siblings. A few I can still name: Leona, Agnes, Catherine - and of course my grandmother - Matilda.
My grandmother came to the states and married my grandfather, but lots of her siblings stayed put. The result of this is that there's a small town in Nova Scotia where we are related to everyone.
When he was a kid my dad was sent by my grandmother to her hometown where he would stay for the summer with his cousins.
He took my mother here on their honeymoon and brought me for the first time when I was a year old.
I can't remember 43 years back but for as far back as I can remember, this town has changed very little. Houses have been repainted, a few are gone and a handful have been built. Satellite dishes and clothes lines used to dot every lawn, the clothes lines remain but satellite seems to have given way to cable.
We used to come during April vacation when I was a kid and when I got older right after college let out in May. Sometimes I would tag along going to school with my cousins and in the evenings we would hang out in the shed listening to Duran Duran while surrounded by salted fish that was hanging up to dry.
My sister would play in the yard with neighbor kids who didn't speak English and not notice.
Now my kids come and trail after my cousin Joseph who takes them fishing and lets them climb on the roof of the same shed.
The dominant industry in town remains fishing related while hand-painted signs out in front of houses advertise the side jobs of the resourceful occupants who live in them: smoked mackerel, fire wood, fresh bread, quilts.
I am always struck by repeatedly seeing my grandmother's surname on mailboxes and street signs, in amongst the Surettes, Doucets, and Boudreaus. I feel a sense of belonging to this timeless and welcoming place.
It's true that you can't go home again but lucky for me I'll always have Wedgeport.

album: Home in Halifax • artist: Stan Rogers

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fisherman's Blues


Fish, fish, I got my wish.

song: Fisherman's Blues • artist: Waterboys

That Smell II

Yesterday's post reminded me of how I used to try and find Lynyrd Skynyrd in the cassette racks at Strawberries when I was in the 10th grade. I wanted to buy a recording of Freebird but could never find it because I thought Lynyrd Skynyrd was a persons's name, so I was forever looking under Leonard and of course I didn't know how to spell Skynyrd either.

song: That Smell • artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Sunday, August 26, 2012

That Smell

Good news!
The motel H and I stayed at last year doesn't smell as weird this time around!

song: That Smell • artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Vacation

Miles to Saint Johns: 475
Number of Red Bulls it took to get there: 1
Maine Turnpike: expensive
Maine Turnpike rest stops: lottery ticket magnets
Towing a Mini Cooper behind your super enormous Winnebago: misleading
My car: trailing another piece of half-torn plastic
Hotel pool: open until 11!

song: Vacation • artist: Go-Gos

Monday, August 20, 2012

Mistaken Identity

So we're watching Star Wars Episdoe II and Obi-Wan Kenobi goes off to investigate some planet that's not on the galactic map and while there goes along with it when he's mistaken for another jedi knight.
And my kids and I say -
"Hey! That's just like what happened when Aunt Sally thought Huck Finn was Tom Sawyer!"
Are there no new plot lines left?
Even in a galaxy far far away?

song: Mistaken Identity • artist: Kim Carnes

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Shooting Star II

So we're in the toy store yesterday and H is trying to choose a LEGO Star Wars set and I voice my apprehension over all of them.
"it's just that they are all about fighting and battles." I say.
"But Mom, the movies ARE all about fighting and battles," he counters.
Touché.
And another thing, if the Star Wars prequels are so bad - why are the DVDs from the library always scratched up and skipping?

song: Shooting Star • artist: Bad Company

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lightening Bar Blues

It's funny when you go outside in a lightening storm to rescue your four children who are sleeping in a tent and when you get there the nine and seven year olds are both jonesing to go in tout suite but your four years olds are both still sleeping.

song: Lightening Bar Blues • artist: Arlo Guthrie

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Born to Run II

So - you ran the Falmouth Road Race and you think you're pretty special?
There are many unsung heros of this race. People who are in fact mentioned (a lot) as being unsung heros, by people who don't understand the concept of an unsung hero. You've got your medical tent volunteers, the people who hand out water and set up prior to the race early Sunday morning or man the number pick up table days before the actual race. How about the people who repaint the numbers on the road a week prior to the race and always get their photo in the paper doing it? How unsung isn't that?
You want to know who the real unsung hero of the FRR is? It's me.
That's right. Me.
Not people like me - people who get their kids down to their designated race viewing spot before any of the runners have gone by and plant themselves there until the fat lady sings, or in the case of a road race, the police cruiser goes by to signal the unofficial end of the race - but me.
Me baby.
Me.
Not only do I drag my kids down to the race so they can see their dad go by even though he doesn't always see us because he's in that phantom running zone when he goes by our spot, but this year I purchased special noisemakers instead of just raiding our musical instruments bin as in past years. This allowed us not only to make more noise ourselves (it's the one day out of 365 when I encourage my children to make as much noise as possible and even join in the fray) but to include other noiseless onlookers in the festivities. In this way we single-handedly spurred on 12,000+ runners.
And for the record, I've run the FRR, and standing on the side of the road ringing a cowbell and yelling through the entire race is much harder.
I love that the runners now sport their names on their bibs. It makes my job so much easier and more personal.
"Way to go William!"
"Great job Matthew!"
"Lookin' good Susan!"
"Go Toby!"
"You, yes you! I'm talking to you!"
And did I mention the cowbell?
What runner doesn't appreciate a good cowbell?
We got lots of chants of "more cowbell!" by runners applauding our efforts.
That's what I like to see. You're out there plodding over a seven-mile course amid heat and humidity and YOU are cheering for us.
But on the other hand. Why shouldn't you?
Hell, I ended up with a good-sized scrape (blood!) on the knuckle of my middle finger due to prolonged cowbelling. Where's my medical tent?
You, you put your mind to it and you could be done in an hour and down on the ballfield pigging out on snacks. "It's like a supermarket," reported C.
Where's my finish-line smorgasbord?
Not to mention all the preface actives like watching the elite mile and participating in the Falmouth Walk, three miles in the rain on Saturday. Was it raining during Sunday's race? I think not.
But back to the race.
The waiting - as Tom Petty said - really is the hardest part.
We waited and we waited. At least you get to run.
We just stand around waiting. And if we turn away for a split second - WHAM - we miss you! So we never turn away. We wait and while we wait we cheer on the rising sea of runners until the tsunami has quelled to a mere ripple of stragglers. And still we wait to see everyone that we're expecting to see. And even after we see them we can't leave. Because those folks at the end, who are walking, they need cowbell love even more than the middle of the packers.
Plus I feel guilty packing up in front of them.
"Yes we're leaving. So long suckers. You've got two more miles to go!"
And I even had enough energy left over for the post race party at 43 Sippewissett Road.
And that's why I am the unsung hero of the 2012 FRR.
See you next year.

song: Born to Run • artist: Bruce Springsteen

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Born to Run

Porta Potties for 14,000.

song: Born to Run • artist: Bruce Springsteen

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Shooting Star

Don't forget the meteor shower tonight if the clouds break.
Last night H surmised that when you wish on a shooting star - "the wish goes up to God and God tells it to Santa."
"Yes." I said. "That's exactly what happens."

song: Shooting Star • artist: Bad Company

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Bicycle Race

Twice this week cyclists have waved me to pass them on curves.
Sure buddy, I'll pass you on Sippewisstt Road.
Not.
Why are bicyclists trying to kill me?

song: Bicycle Race • artist: Queen

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Message in a Bottle

C and I made a ship in a bottle at the  Woods Hole Historical Society last Saturday. The workshop was advertised as taking place from 10 AM to 12:30 PM. We were the second family to leave (read that as we were the second family to finish - woohoo!) and we didn't leave until almost 2 PM.
Just for the record - putting a ship in a bottle is hard. Really hard.
You think there's some sort of trick to it like the back of the bottle comes off or the ship folds down flat and then pops up once it's inside the bottle. Alas no. There is no trick. Only a few handy tools you have to make yourself and a lot of patient perseverance.
This is hard. Really hard I thought while we struggled repeatedly to get our sails into tiny holes on the ship's deck. On the other hand I thought how lucky it was that sailors didn't have cell phones back in the day. If they had you can forget about a rich naval history full of intricate ships inside bottles, turks head knot bracelets, scrimshaw or lightship baskets. With smart phones all sailors would have to show for their months at sea would be a lot of high scores on Angry Birds.

song: Message in a Bottle • artist: the Police

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Parenting is ...

being joined in the shower by four-year-old twins and a Playmobil pirate ship.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Low Budget

It's generous that the village association in Falmouth offers a free family movie night on Wednesdays at Peg Noonan Park - and I don't mean to complain - but who's picking these movies?
I didn't bring the boys in July because the movie choices were bad and the August selections aren't much better.
A Cop and a Half? Dudley Do-Right? ED? Tooth Fairy II? At least the first Tooth Fairy had parental eye-candy The Rock in the lead and a whopping 4.8 on the IMDb Richter scale. The sequel with Larry the Cable Guy only comes in at a mere 3.8. But even that beats Cop and a Half at 3.4 and Dudley Do-Right at 3.6 both of which look like Citizen Kane next to ED which, at 2.4, is the lowest score I've ever seen on IMDb where even Waterworld got a respectable 5.9.
The highest-rating movie in the bunch looks like it was the first offering, Mirror, Mirror - a retelling of Snow White starring Julia Roberts that scored a whopping 5.6 but still couldn't best Waterworld. At least I hope that's the Mirror, Mirror they showed and not the 1990 horror flick of the same name.
If you're going to go out of your way to show free movies why not make them worth viewing?
Over at Mashpee Commons, they've shown the oscar-award-winning Hugo along with Pirates of the Caribbean, Jaws (okay so maybe I wouldn't take my kids to that yet but you gotta admit, it's a good movie), and Casablanca. Even their final movie of the series, Dolphin Tale, which I've never heard of, ranked a more than acceptable 6.7 on IMDb.
Now I realize both towns are merely trying to lure you to their venues so you'll stick around and shop - or come early and shop before the flick. So maybe Falmouth has the right idea, show a really bad movie and maybe everyone will clear out of the park early thereby getting in more shopping.
Or maybe we'll all just see our free movies in Mashpee.

song: Low Budget • artist: The Kinks

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dream On

I recently finished reading a biography of the artist Salvador Dali who was far and away the Andy Warhol of his day. Or should we say Andy Warhol took his cue from Salvador Dali since the Spanish surrealist came first?
What I don't understand is, if the surrealists painted what they saw in their dreams how come there are no surrealist paintings of students taking of their coats in front of their school lockers only to realize they'd forgotten to get dressed that morning?

song: Dream On • artist: Aerosmith

Monday, July 30, 2012

Non Sequitur of the Day

H: "When I grow up I hope I'll be blind. Then I can get a dog."

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Limelight

Limeade, lemonade's lesser-known cousin, has been on sale and consequently a new favorite among my kids.
I myself can't help thinking of it as the name of some fund-raising music festival started by Willie Nelson to provide support for the hard-working green citrus growers of this nation.

song: Limelight • Rush

Non Sequitur of the Day

S to N: "When you wake up tomorrow you'll be dead."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Happiness is ...

blue ribbons at the fair.



a cowboy hat and a pony.


chicks!





Friday, July 27, 2012

Tom Sawyer

Have I mentioned that following our read-out loud of Tom Sawyer I've been reading Huck Finn to the boys? I'm surprised at how well they can follow the dialect and the plot since it's written in first person from Huck's perspective. There was a chapter C fell asleep in the middle of and when I was telling him what happened, H was correcting me on all the details.
"And he gave all his money to a one-legged guy."
"He had one eye Mommy. Not one leg."
"Oh yeah. The one-eyed guy."
"Then all he had left was a dime but I can't remember what he did with that."
"He gave it to the minister in church Mommy, because the minister said if you give your money to the poor it will come back to you doubled but that didn't happen to Jim."
"Oh yeah. Right."
If you parent boys I would highly recommend Tom and Huck. The books are funny and serious. The only hard part is that unless you want to censor it, you'll find yourself repeating the N word so often you'll feel like you're in Boyz N the Hood. But there's a good discussion to be had in that too.

song: Tom Sawyer • artist: Rush

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Parenting is ...

appreciating a good-looking stick and making room for it in the back of the car.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sands of Time

Summer means spending all day in your wet bathing suit top.
And that commercial for the Cape and Islands license place that suggests you keep the sand in your shoes all year long with the purchase of a C & I license plate?
As it turns out - having sand in your shoes all day is really annoying.

song: Sands of Time • musical: Kismet