My kids sing the Little Drummer Boy refrain as "rubbing my bum."
Which I think it kind of funny though I feel hypocritical about that since I always tell them to stop when they start in on "Jingle Bells Santa smells."
I guess it's because they made up the "rubbing my bum" refrain themselves.
I can appreciate inappropriate lyrics only if they are original.
song: Little Drummer Boy • artist: Katherine Kennicott Davis
Tonight on the radio I heard a song called "Text Me Merry Christmas," featuring vocals by Kristen Bell of yes, Frozen fame. Delivered without irony, the song contains the lyric "I'll be right here waiting / for my pants to start vibrating." I am weeping for humanity.
song: Text Me Merry Christmas • artist: Straight No Chaser/Kristen Bell
Channel 17. Channel 17 is the Sirius Christmas channel. I've been listening to it for five days straight. Granted I don't actually commute to work in my car. I live 10 minutes from work and I only go into the office three days a week. Still, the Christmas music channel is significant because in my youth I didn't much care for Christmas music unless it was somehow angst ridden, "Do You Know It's Christmas?" "Rebel Jesus," "Someday at Christmas." Yes that last one is from Stevie Wonder but angst ridden none-the-less.
I'd complain loudly about stations that played Christmas music before Thanksgiving (I still do), but now the difference is that somewhere around three weeks prior to Christmas I start expecting more holiday music on the radio and when I did't find it this year, I went looking.
The change is of course having kids. Having kids makes Frosty and Rudolph (and even Alvin and the Chipmunks) fun. Your kids love 'em and you can provide the lyrics. It's a perfect combination.
There are still a few songs, however, that rub me the wrong way.
Humor me while I elaborate on the first five and feel free to hum White Christmas while you read.
First off , it's downright creepy for an adult to sing, "All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth," it's unforgivable for them to record it. Who thinks this is a good idea? I mean how'd they loose their teeth? Barroom brawl? Dosen't Obama Care cover oral surgery? Ugh. Get off my radio you degenerate. If you're a grown man and you're milling your from teeth aka Chris Cooper in the Orchid Theif, you've probably got worse issues than the inability to wish someone a Merry Christmas.
Then there's the line in "Here Comes Santa Claus," that goes, "Santa knows that we're God's children. That makes everything right." This always seemed like a taboo melding of the secular and the non-secular. Does Santa discriminate? Does he deliver to pageans? To agnostics? To Buddhists or Taoists?
Would I like to spend Christmas on Christmas Island? A tiny Australian territory 200 miles from the coast of Java with high cliff, and a rocky coastline where the mail economic activities include mining low-grade phosphate and 75% of the population is Buddhist anyway? Think I'll pass.
Who feeds the reindeer all their hay?
Who wraps the gifts and packs the sleigh?
Who's helping Santa every day?
Mrs. Santa Claus
Who keeps his red suit looking nice?
Who does he turn to for advice?
Who gives the brownies all their spice?
Mrs. Santa Claus
Who reads the notes from girls and boys?
Turns in the orders for their toys?
Fills every heart with wonderous joy?
Mrs. Santa Claus
Excuse me but WFT does Santa do? The guy pretty much sits around for 364 days, then spends one night out driving a sleigh. He's probably collecting unemployment for the rest of the year people! Santa a deadbeat!
And lastly, I've never liked, "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," and now that I have kids I like it even less. What kind of messed up imagery is this? Does Santa kiss all the mommies he happens across on Christmas Eve and if he does, does Mrs. Claus know? Probably not since she's so busy doing everything for her loafing, philandering, Don Juan of a spouse. Frankly, I think Mrs. Clause needs a good lawyer. song: The Christmas Song • artist: Nat King Cole
S, who struggles with reading, read the word give today off some junk mail. Expect he read it as if it rhymed with dive. I corrected him and without missing a beat he said, "but what about the silent 'e' ?"
No wonder little kids love riding the school bus.
They get to sit next to their friends and trade Pokeman cards.
Older kids tell them bad words.
And they don't have to wear seat belts.
It's like being an outlaw.
song: Ghost Riders in the Sky • artist: The Outlaws
You kids today have it so good. When I was a kid we marched in the Christmas parade and we didn't have hand warmers. When I was a kid we marched in the Christmas parade and we didn't have a boy scout leader with a chuck wagon full of hot chocolate and mini powdered doughnut, not to mention mini marshmallows. When I has a kid all we had was a homemade torch (it was an Olympic year), wielded by my friend Aletha that went out in the parking lot of Bradlees long before the parade got underway leaving her to carry what was now effectively a tin can nailed to a stick all the way down Main Street an image which, to this day, still makes me laugh out loud.
On nights when you grimace and don't want me to kiss you good night because you don't like how my lip gloss smells (even though it smells delicious), I sneak into your room after you're asleep and kiss you good night anyway.
Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, Cyber Monday, and now there's Give Back Tuesday. That's a lot of days dedicated to shopping in all its various forms. Why can't there be a week's worth of days dedicated to making mom's life easier? We could have Keep Quiet Saturday and Pick That Up Sunday. Followed by Leave Your Brother Alone Monday, Because I Said so Tuesday, Life Isn't Fair Wednesday, Put That Down Thursday and I'm Just Going in the Bathroom for Five Minutes, . song: Monday Morning • artist: Fleetwood Mac
Yesterday C was explaining that his friend Alex's dad is a pilot. "What?" says S, "Alex's dad is a pirate?" "No," we both say. "A pilot. For airplanes!" "This is just like in the Pirates of Penzance," says C, "when the girl apprentices him to a pirate instead of to a pilot." Yes! Obscure Gilbert and Sullivan musical reference! I love my dorky children. song: Sky Pilot • artist: The Animals
S and N are the most modest six year olds I've ever met. Prior to turning six they were the most modest five year olds I'd ever met. At the beach they'd want me to close all the doors to the mini van so they could change in the car without anyone seeing them. I'd have to wrangle a compromise (so they wouldn't suffocate) by hanging towels across the open doors. Now they don't even want the other to see them changing. Ironic because, as identical twins, they already know what the other looks like naked. Subsequently there's this whole song and dance routine we have to go through every morning where one of them has to cajole the other into closing his eyes or putting his head under the covers while the other changes. The threat is that if they look, the other will then go and change in the bathroom, which for some reason is unacceptable to the twin who's not getting dressed. Let's just say it's quite the ordeal. This morning I finally got S dressed. N was still asleep so you'd think it would have been easy but there was a lot of "what ifs" as in "what if he wakes up?" "what if he's only pretending to be asleep?" In the end we couldn't chance it so we changed in the bathroom. By the time I had N awake and in the process of getting dressed S was back upstairs having spilled a bowl of cereal in his lap and we had to start all over again. song: Back Where We Started • artist: The Kinks
I left my phone and my "to do" list (notebook actually) at home yesterday.
After work I just drove around aimlessly and unconnected. I couldn't see what people had for dinner last night, there were no cute pictures of puppies and horses, nothing humorous or poignant from George Takei, no "I f*cking love science," reports. It was just me, adrift and alone.
It was refreshing.
Except for not having my "to do" list.
That was a bitch.
C knocked my glass of wine off the dining room table last night and then N dropped a book on top of my cup of tea.
My self-imposed liquid diet is not going well.
Today I found it both ironic and appropriate that the on hold music (thank you for calling SCRIP, there are 12 callers ahead of you!) was ELO's Telephone Line.
song: Telephone Line • artist: Electric Light Orchestra
I hate that awkward Sienfeld moment when you're leaving the elementary school and there's some parent waiting to be buzzed in and you want to do the polite thing and hold the door but they don't have clearance from the office to enter yet; and even though they look vaguely familiar you don't know if that's because their child was in the same 3rd grade class as yours or if it was their mug being forwarded around on FB last night under the header "level 3 sex offended moves into the school district."
song: Let 'Em In • artist: Paul McCartney and Wings
All Flashdance jokes aside (you know I never actually saw that movie), the leg warmer is, in my opinion, the most under appreciated and valuable article of clothing ever. Well maybe it's number two to a warm hat, but it's way up there on the list. People ask me why I wear skirts every day and if I ever wear pants. The answer is this: have you ever seen me on a bike? Yes. Of course I wear pants. I just don't like to, that's all. And with the addition of leg warmers and some clever layering, knowledge leftover from my figure skating days, I rarely have to don my long pants (I am even less likely to be caught in shorts). The truth is - skirts (and dresses) are way more comfortable than pants and with pants, unless you're wearing sweatpants (and you know how I feel about sweatpants) you can't comfortably wear much underneath if it's cold out. Skirts give you lots more flexibility in the layering department. Footless tights (love 'em), warm socks, and you're good to go. Leg warmers complete the ensemble if it's really cold and your exposed calves (I am of the age where skirt lengths are always below the knee) need a little extra TLC. Leg warmers are like comfy sweater sleeves for your legs. So cozy! Where 1980s leg warmers got it wrong was that they were marketed as a gym accessory which made no sense whatsoever. In an exercise situation they're hot and uncomfortable and don't stay up when you're jumping around, so you end up looking ridiculous with them puddled around your feet like self-inflicted cankels. In the 80s I didn't even own a pair. Instead I had these two knit unitards that were like full body leg warmers, super toasty but a bitch when you had to go to the bathroom. So, laugh if you like, but if were up to me I'd single handedly bring them back into style. Long live the leg warmer!
Here's how I know I'm getting old.
I'd rather drink a cup of tea before bed than a glass of wine.
I still need a glass of wine for when the kids get home from school, but at bedtime? A cuppa please. And it's a wimpy decaffinated chamomile tea too.
I've also started calling salespeople who are obviously 20 years younger than me, hun. As in, "thanks hun" and "Have a nice day, hun" and "no plastic bag, hun, I brought my own."
Not only am I turning into an old person, I'm turing into an old waitress.
It warmed up yesterday while I was walking in the woods with a friend so I took off my black vest and then my black sweatshirt (I put the vest back on). I could have continued and then taken off my black long sleeve T, but I would have had to stop short of removing my black tank top.
I was like my own goth version of The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins.
So I picked a seed (pumpkin) out of my pumpkin bread the other day - but I figure that's a good thing.
Speaking of eating, C's been chowing down non stop lately. I think I might have to write a note to his teacher explaining how he couldn't finish his homework because he spent the first two hours after school snacking, another hour in the bathroom, and then it was time for dinner.
And whenever we drive anywhere in the car he's got to bring a snack along because heaven knows he might stave to death in the eight minutes it take us to drive to town.
He brings snacks out to the car, but the snacks never make it back inside the house. Presently there's a can of peanuts and a bag of corn chips in the passenger seat corroborating this story.
If it goes on much longer we might have to start having dinner in the car since that's were all the food will be anyway.
I used to always think this song was about a man leaving his wife until recently I realized that he never refers to the woman as such. Probably she was just some girlfriend which makes it somehow less melancholy.
On the other hand maybe they are married. Cause who's the other person that's supposed to be listening to and then relating the message to the girl - the man's attorney?
Spent a good portion of the weekend with H at the boy scout camp in Yarmouth for the camp's annual Turkey Shoot. Although no actual turkeys were shot I can still clearly envision my liberal, left-leaning self rolling over in its early grave. For the record H didn't hit the target once in bb guns (he faired significantly better in archery), so I think it's safe to assume that the wild turkeys who sometimes visit our yard are safe - at least for this year. song: Turkey in the Straw • artist: unknown
C has a buddy, let's call him Jack, every now and then Jack's parents call to arrange play dates. First they called to let us know what day Jack's birthday party was being planned for. "Darn," I said, C can't come because he's participating in a bocce festival - you know - bocce? It's a lawn game played by retired Italian gentlemen in their own backyards or by drunk college students at Bertucci's. The next time they texted to see if C could come over we were half way up Mount Washington. "Sorry, C can't come over, we're hiking Tuckerman's Ravine. Unusually good cell phone reception up here…" Last Saturday Jack's mom texted again. My response? "Sorry, C can't come over because he's in nose-bleed seats with me at Boston Garden listening to the Dalai Lama, you know, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism?" Next time they reach out to us and we're doing something utterly bizarre, I think I'll just say that C's washing his hair.
song: Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of • artist: U2
Sometimes I think I'd like to revisit my youth by walking to the Star Market near Fenway Park, buying a box of Swiss Cheese crackers and eating them in my dorm room in one sitting.
But I don't know if Nabisco is still even making Swiss Cheese crackers so I google it - and guess what? They aren't.
Not a big surprise really. They didn't taste much like Swiss cheese. I know this because I've never liked Swiss cheese, yet I loved those crackers.
Not only do I find that they aren't selling these crackers in the U.S. anymore, I also find a link to a FB page dedicated to convincing Nabisco to bring back the Swiss Cheese cracker and there must be some real outrage because the site got 22 likes in its first three days. Gone viral I'd say.
The best part was that the site administrator was planning a trip to Canada (for her honeymoon!) and hoped to score some boxes of the crackers (Seinfield sponge worthy episode anyone?). It turns out that the Canadian supermarket only had a box or two on their shelves, which the newlyweds went ahead and purchased (I'm picturing them eating them with champagne while looking out over Niagara Falls).
Alas, the new bride learned all to early in the relationship that life can be full of disappointments: "So I made it to Canada and found Swiss Cheese crackers," it says on the FB page, "they're not as good as I remember."
Still, she promised to post pictures.
song: Object of My Affection • artist: Shawn Colvin
If question 2 had failed by a 60 / 40 margin I think I could handle it. But knowing that you don't think the same as 73% of the population - there's something unsettling about that. Like I live in some sort of alternate universe or something, and an unpopular alternative universe at that.
Forget for a minute that we don't need bottled water to begin with, we've been led like ducks to a shooting gallery to believe we do by big business; and I won't go too deeply into the fact that from my perspective, any way I looked at it, voting yes on 2 was a no brainer, either you keep buying bottled water and then there's incentive to recycle = more recycling, or you scoff at the extra nickel and start carrying around a reusable water bottle which you fill up at the communal office water cooler = less plastic bottles being made. And if you still toss your single-use water bottle on the ground at least there's a nickel's worth of incentive for someone else to pick it up and redeem it. But 73% of the population doesn't see it that way and while I guess I'm used to being in the minority, I didn't think I was that much of a loaner. I've always believed that it's better to live within the system than to up and live off the grid, home school your children raise chickens and spin your own wool into yard but maybe I'm mistaken. Maybe those are my people after all. It's all a little disconcerting looking into the faces of my fellow Bay Staters and wondering if someone's a 73 per center or a 27 per center. I feel like Fox Mulder - paranoid of the smoking man. I've spent the day being very depressed about question 2, forget all the actual candidates that I voted for who weren't elected either. But hey, on the bright side. No, wait, there is no bright side. I was going to say that S hasn't pooped in his pants for 48 hours but honestly, I would rather clean poopy underwear in a world with 5¢ deposits on water bottles than live with my potty-trained child in a world without them. song: Remain Silent • artist: Keb Mo
Please share. I'd like to encourage all my friends in Massachusetts to vote Yes on Question 2 which would expand the bottle bill to include bottled water and sports drinks. If you're already planning to vote yes - that's great; if not I'd like to propose this challenge. Look out the window of your car while driving to the polls (not the whole time, we don't want any accidents) and if you see a water bottle lying by the side of the road, maybe you might reconsider that no vote. Expanded coverage of the bottle bill can't guarantee that all those water bottles won't wind up as litter, but according to the DEP 80% of the bottles and cans with deposits on them get recycled as opposed to only 23% of the bottles without deposits so it's certainly a step in the right direction. Thanks! song: Message in a Bottle • artist: The Police
We had an extra hour this morning and were still late for church. Ironically, on this, daylight savings weekend the Sunday message was about darkness and shadows and the power was out at the church so we were, literally, in darkness and shadows. If we were Catholic we could call it divine intervention but since we're Unitarians we just called it happenstance. song: Cold November Rain • artist: Guns 'N Roses
Trolled the thrift shops for months looking for a double boiler before finding the perfect one. I know you can melt chocolate in the microwave but it comes out smoother with a double boiler. So I was in domestic goddess mode this morning and I went to get it out for shortbread dipping - and then I remembered that N is wearing the bottom half of it on his head.
I was all set to give out the fair trade dark chocolate minis that I bought at the church from the Fair Trade Committee. Did I mention that I love the Unitarian Universalist church - because they have things - like a Fair Trade Committee. But then Ken bought two bags of Kit Kat bars so I ate the chocolate minis myself.
What else could I do right?
I've been deleting e-mails from "Native Exotics," assuming that it was some Native American mail order bride company - or worse - but then I realized it's the company I ordered two of my four carnivorous plants from. Really!
At the Trick or Treat on Main Street event this afternoon the twins kept choosing the worst candy!
Not the Twizzlers! Get some Kit Kats!
No! Put down those Whoopers and grab a Snickers Bar!
Dum Dums? Are you kidding!?
Plus N wouldn't wear his saucepan on his head so no one knew he was supposed to be Johnny Appleseed. Instead he was using it to put the candy in so some people thought he was a panhandler. Which is a funny play on words, but not what I intended.
Davy Crockett, Johnny Appleseed, a cowboy, and a jester - those are this year's costume choices at our house.
When I was a kid you had to dress as something thematically associated with Halloween, or with autumn at the very least. I was a scarecrow, black cat, witch, ghost. One year my sister was an apple core, another, an ear of corn (she had a fruit and vegetable theme going or something.)
Every year I secretly yearned to be a gypsy or a hippie like every other girl in my class but I never went as far as to buck tradition.
H is being Davy Crockett. We bought a real (yes real) raccoon tail at the Fryeburg Fair and I sewed it onto an appropriately-shaped faux fur hat. The cat freaked out while I was sewing the tail, she kept trying to grab it and run off with it or at least locate the rest of the raccoon.
Anyway, the hat's done and he's got the rifle replica, really once you've got a coonskin hat, who else could you be but Davy Crockett? Costume done right?
Not so fast.
I wanted him to have a brown fringe shirt. He's to short for the jacket I bought in college, which would have been perfect (I guess I should dress as Davy Crockett for Halloween) so I figured I could just get a brown shirt, make my own fringe, and sew it on.
After checking thrift shops, Walmart, TJMaxx, and of course my own attic, I can safely say that brown is the least popular color for a shirt on the planet. Walmart has t-shirts and long sleeve t-shirts in every color; there's even a section of neon colors, every color but brown that is.
I looked on-line thinking I could get a brown fleece from LLBean. No brown. I googled "kids brown shirt," I got t-shirts for the Cleveland Browns. I googled "kids chocolate shirts," in case they weren't calling brown, brown any more, i.e. eggplant for purple and slate for gray, I got t-shirts with picture of Hershey kisses on them.
Authentic raccoon tail? No problem. Brown shirt? Not on your life.
When your son wants to walk the long way back to the car even through it's drizzling, because there's a chance you might see wild turkeys - and you cave in a do it and then it starts pouring and the wild turkeys are long gone (because even a turkey is smarter than you about knowing when to get out of the rain), are you the cool mom who said yes - or just a chump? song: Fool in the Rain • artist: Led Zepplin
When my kids think of children who are less fortunate then themselves, they'll likely think of kids who come to Storyland in the summer and who have to (gasp!) wait in line in order to ride the bamboo shoots.
Where are the t-shirts that read, "A Goat Ate My Bookmark at the Fryeburg Fair?" Because I'm sure S isn't the only one that's happened to.
Or maybe, "My family went to the Fryeburg Fair and all I got was this lousy bookmark. And a goat ate it."
"Keep Calm and Hold on to Your Bookmark."
Friday I broke open the box of chocolates my friend Christine brought me from the Czech Republic this summer in order to counter the effects of having biked 10 miles to (and from) school with my kids.
If sh*t falling out of the freezer onto my feet doesn't kill me, my kids will.
We've been playing a lot of Clue at our house.
So much so that today while driving I swear I saw a cloud that looked like the wrench.
It was done by Hercules, in the Elysian Fields, with the Wrench.
But seriously. It was done by Mrs. White. The overworked maid.
And who can blame her?
How bleak things must be in Afghanistan if visiting the Cape Cod Mall was enough to make three Afghan soldiers want to defect.
The Cape Cod Mall usually makes me want to leave the country. Or at the very least run away screaming.
It's not as if there were at the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone or Las Vegas or something.
I mean at least Robin William's character in "Moscow on the Hudson" was in Bloomingdales.
song: Stay (Just a Little Bit Longer) • artist: Jackson Browne
Sometimes I pour my leftover wine into the watering can before I water the houseplants.
I figure if I'm going to kill them slow they might as well be inebriated.
Maybe I could procure some medical marijuana for them too.
Although - if a plant were to smoke pot - wouldn't that make it a cannibal? Or at least a cannabisibal?
S traded his new musket-ball bracelet that we bought at the Bunker Hill Historical Museum last weekend for Pokémon cards on the bus yesterday.
It's like Jack and the freakin' Beanstalk around our house.
Today one of the boys asked me, "if a white person and a brown person wanted to get married, would that be okay?" Which kind of stunned me since we've already gone over, pretty thoroughly, with examples, that (at least in our state) boys are free to marry boys if they want and girls can marry girls. So I guess I figured the okayness of an interracial marriage would just be a given. But as usual I figured wrong. Yes, of course that would be okay. This falls into the category of my observation from a week or two back that, if we could just last long enough as a species, won't we all eventually end up the same color? song: Black and White • artist: Three Dog Night
All three of my elementary school children's back to school lists request one dozen black dry erase markers. The ones at Staples sell for $4 a four pack. That comes out to $12 for a set of 12 markers and $36 for the requisite 36 markers I have been asked to purchase total. I bought three packs of four and called it a day. Let my kids fail elementary school. I can't bring myself to spend $36 on black markers. At least not when there's crayons, colored pencils, ear buds, sharpies, three-ring binders and folders in a rainbow assortment of colors still on the list. Has anyone priced out Post It notes lately? Those suckers are expensive. And what happened to the pencil sharpeners and cases I bought last year? song: What You Need • artist: INXS
If you drive around inland Maine on some of the smaller highways, especially in the morning, you're likely to get the impression (as I did), that the only inhabitants of this state are all the stedfast New England yankees interred in all the picturesque cemeteries that are so prevalent on these back road. Dead people and cows. Really independent cows that don't need people (because, remember, the people are all dead.) That's who lives in central Maine.
song: As Far As I Can See • artist: Joanne Cassidy
Yesterday S & N decided they were going into business by giving biking lessons to anyone on our road who'd like six year olds to teach them to ride bikes.
They decided to announce these lessons by making up some advertising posters but they had a falling out when S only made two signs and N thought he should have made three. N then proceeded to throw a fit and kick and scream for the better part of 20 minutes.
If only there was a six year old on our street who was offering anger management classes.
Yesterday I drove past Old Silver at 9AM and there wasn't a big line of cars in the live parking lane. At 10:00 I was at Megansett and there wasn't even a parking lot attendant on duty.
Summer's definitely over.
Pretty sure I've spent the whole summer drying beach towels and tying shoe laces. Why oh why won't my kids wear sandals or flip flops in summer like normal children? Why do they insist, on the hottest of days, when we're just driving to the beach where we'll be taking them off anyway, on jamming their feet into knit socks and then lacing up sneakers? It's hot and a waste of time. I guess I get it - you can't run around as well in flip flops or sandals (it's a boy thing), it's just that to me slip on shoes were the essence of summer when I was growing up. We didn't wear sandals or flip flops during the school year - just during summer. I remember walking into the skating rink in tights but still wearing flip flops which was ridiculous because the nylon webbing between your big toe and your second toe made it impossible to keep the shoe on but it was summer dammit and if I was going to suffer the indignity of a bathing cap during swimming lessons because I had to jump out of the ocean and go straight to the skating rink then I damn well was wearing my flip flops into the rink, tights and all. song: Walking in Your Footsteps • the Police
I sign up my kids for swim lessons not just because I want them to learn to swim, though I do, but also because swim lessons forces us to go to the beach at least Monday through Friday for six weeks in the summer. Feeling obliged to go to the beach does two things the first of which is to force us to appreciate living here on Cape Cod, which, as I've lived here my whole life, could easily be taken for granted. The second is it forces you to really know the beach. Noticing the tide and knowing in advance if it's going to be high or low tide reconnects us, if only slightly, to our ancestors who knew when to get up because it was daylight and when to go to bed because it was dark. And also, because Megan the swim instructor's not afraid to get wet (and because we've paid in advance), we go to the beach not only on perfect, sunny, beach days but also on overcast days and on windy days and even on rainy days. And in a way this gives the beach more depth. If you only go to the beach on ideal beach days then the beach is just a perfect, superficial, place. Always happy. Always smiling. Always aiming to please. Adverse weather brings out the beach's complexity; it's brooding moments, it's more thoughtful, mature nature. The beach becomes it's own entity and not just something that's there merely for our own private pleasure. We should shun the fair weather friend and at the very least not limit ourselves to only the fair weather beach day.
song: Down by the Water • artist: The Decemberists
At least on Cape Cod the farmer's tan has been replaced by the UV protection swim-shirt tan. Today was the last day of swim lessons and it was a first because the tide was low enough so that S & N were finally able to walk out to the "swim area" buoy. Their observation, "it's bigger up close." It was also a great day because just as we were about to give up and leave the ice cream truck arrived which meant I got to spring for a blueberry Two Ball Screw and a Tear Jerkers Bomb Pop with a gumball in the tip; two novelly ice cream treats that sound (and cost) more like cocktail drinks than popsicles.
So I'm coming around the corner by West Falmouth Harbor this morning and on the lawn in front of one of the houses I see (because you couldn't miss it), the biggest inflatable pool toy I've ever seen. It's a swan, the size of a Hyundai. A small family could catch a ride by handing onto the swan's neck or set themselves down inside the giant ring which made up the body of the bird.
As I'm looking at this enormous water fowl and thinking what the heck have we all come to that we need to swim with gigantic blow-up swans, I almost hit a guy on a bike who is coming around that blind corner by the water.
And after my heart rate returns to normal it occurs to me that the set up for this accident, wherein an early-morning driver hit a cyclist after being distracted by a giant inflatable cygnet, sounds like the plot to an as-yet-to-be written John Irving book.
Why does the car's dashboard panel tell me when the driver doesn't have their seatbelt on? Owing to the fact that I am the driver, I can pretty much figure out for myself if I'm not wearing my seatbelt. What minivans really need is a dashboard indicator to tell mom when one of their kids (especially in the way back) doesn't have their seatbelt clicked. Of course on the other hand I do have H, who is quite good at telling me who is misbehaving and who is not.
Sometimes I stand on the concrete steps leading down to Old Silver Beach and feel a wee bit like the crying Indian from the 1970s Keep American Beautiful commercial even though I know that was just a farce and that that guy wasn't even a Native American. That commercial still makes me sad and that river wasn't half as trashed as Old Silver gets at the end of a good beach day. You can look across the sand and fool yourself for a few seconds into thinking that all those white specks are seashells instead of water bottles, plastic lids, bottle caps, candy wrappers, plastic shovels, sunglasses, and whatnot. Come on people. That plastic trash you're leaving behind is going straight into the ocean.
Why is it I always feel sheepish about dumping clam or quahog shells into the ocean? I always wait until the end of the day or even nighttime before venturing down to the beach for this covert operation. It feels like illegal dumping or something shady like that. Like I might get caught. "Oh! Look at her! Dumping those shells BACK INTO THE OCEAN! Who does she think she is anyway?" I guess dumping anything into the water just feel like littering.
We just watched Joey Chestnut eat 61 hot dogs in 10 minutes. Because that's what the 4th of July is all about folks, the freedom to gorge yourself on questionable meat products. Happy Independence Day. song: Hot Dog • artist: Led Zepplin
S got a stuffed animal gorilla at the May Festival last month and it's gone everywhere with us ever since. I don't mind really, he's a good-looking gorilla as far as stuffed gorillas go, it's just that he's a little on the large side and not easy to slip into a vest pocket or a canvas shoulder bag when he gets handed to me on various outings which inevitably happens. The gorilla obsession has led us to check out a number of library books about gorillas which have led to us learning quite a lot about gorillas, the most major point being that gorilla's are a lot like us. As if we couldn't have figured that out just by looking at them. For an enormous animal they are relatively passive, they are vegetarians, they take care of their young and live in social groups. So here comes the heartbreaking part. They are also - like every big animal - seriously endangered. This always comes as no surprise to adults but as a bit of a shock to kids. It would be so much easier if our children would just form attachments to earth worms or herring gulls or dung beetles, or some other animal that we have on the planet in abundance. But no - it's always elephants, tigers or gorillas and who can blame them? They are beautiful, impressive animals which are either caught in the crossfire of a remote civil war (such is the case with gorillas), being hunted to extinction, or live in habitats that have shrunken to the size of postage stamps. S was genuinely sad to find out that gorillas are endangered. His suggestion was that we help out by getting one for a pet. I reminded him of how much gorillas eat every day and that we'd never be able to afford to feed such a large pet. I then suggested that we have a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to one of the African preserves we read about where gorillas live. His response: "That's a great idea, Mommy. We can have a lemonade stand and use the money to buy food to feed our pet gorilla." I love his sentiment - and his ability to think outside the box. But we still can't get a gorilla. song: Ape Man • artist: The Kinks
What's better than your son passing out geodes (in lieu of cupcakes) to his classmates in honor of his 9th birthday? When the geodes arrive packed in newspaper rather than styrofoam peanuts.
A little love for GeodeGallery.com.
The other night at Dairy Queen, S, N, and I ran into a family that we are friends with. They had just come from a baseball practice.
First they asked where C was.
"Oh, I just dropped him off at the rec center to practice his diablo with a group of jugglers.
Then they asked where H was.
"Oh, he and Ken are at a historical society lecture about the Battle of Bunker Hill."
I didn't even mention that the three of us had just returned from celebrating the Buddha's birthday at the UUF.
And that's when I realized it.
We are a family of freaks.
I can't quite figure out the cat's rationale for repetitively circling figure-eight style through my legs when she's hungry and I'm walking down the stairs. Why does she think this is a good strategy? Has she considered how I will feed her when I'm in the hospital with a broken neck? See that's the trouble with cats. No foresight.
What's the protocol for the second sock when its match develops a hole?
It seems like cruel to just toss it out. Kind of akin to those ancient cultures that would doom the deceased king's wives and servant by entombing them along with the king's body.
I already have one matchless sock that I use to protect the digital camera (the sock camera C calls it) and another for the flip video camera. I guess a few more for dusting rags couldn't hurt.
song: Another is Waiting • artist: The Avett Brothers
If it's even possible, I think I like the Easter bunny even less than leprechauns.
I mean how am I supposed to sell this? He's not even human!
Now that H has the whole crucifixion thing down he's thinking that the Easter bunny is actually Jesus.
Yes honey, Jesus came back from the dead in order to hide plastic eggs in our backyard.
As adults I think we forget how big a deal it is to loose a tooth. As adults losing stuff, especially stuff off our bodies, is bad. We lose our hair, our waist lines, our eyesight, our hearing - please stop me when you've heard enough. But for a kid - losing a tooth is huge. I would say in fact that loosing that first tooth might be the elementary school equivalent of loosing your virginity except that it's more socially acceptable to talk openly about it. Here's how the conversation might go whether you're ease dropping on seven or seventeen year olds: "Did you loose yours yet?" "Yeah. I lost mine." "I lost mine too." "Hey guess what? Marcus lost two in one day." "Two of them? Wow. They must have been really loose." song: Losing My Religion • artist: R.E.M.
As if motivated by the fact that my toddlers are no longer toddlers my cat is now acting like a toddler.
I go into the bathroom and she claws at the door until I let her in.
She enters. Sees that I'm peeing and gives me an, "is that all you're doing look." Then she scratches the door to be let out so I let her out.
She decides maybe I'm no longer peeing but doing something more interesting and starts scratching again.
She is disappointed. I let her out.
Luckily it's a very small bathroom.
Holy cow, what's the deal with St. Patrick's Day? The school's have boosted this holiday, which has less pull than Columbus Day I mean there's no three day weekend involved, to legendary status. I suspect it's because it's a holiday, despite the word saint in it's title, that doesn't offend anyone. Who can be offended by little green men, pots of gold and a song about unicorns that was written by a jewish guy from Chicago (Shel Silverstein)? Me that's who.
S & N woke up Monday morning and their first words were "Guess what? It's St. Patrick's Day!" I know they said this because they were both sleeping in my bed. Which means I had to spend half the day preparing for a pseudo holiday on top of not getting enough sleep.
They were so excited and all I could think was, "nothing happens on St. Patrick's Day guys, it's not a real holiday. You're not even Irish."
Okay fine. You wear green to school. But that's it. And even that was totally overdone in the school. I tell you the twin's entire kindergarten class was a sea of green. I couldn't recognize kids whose names I know because they all looked the same. There were green beads and green buttons. S and N almost went into convulsions when H appeared at the breakfast table and he wasn't wearing green. I had a hard time convincing them that this was okay - it's okay not to wear green on St. Patrick's Day. It's optional. The next thing that happened was that they asked me to get "the rest" of the St. Patrick's Day decorations out. There are no St. Patrick's Day decorations! It's not a real holiday! Well there are some shamrocks I cut out and write personal Irish blessings on but that's it.
Then they asked me if I could go to N's favorite store (Michaels) and buy leprechaun hats. So what am I doing at noon after my Monday deadline when I should be getting ready for Wednesday's deadline? I'm at the craft store trying to figure out how to make leprechaun hat out of foam top hats, glitter peel and stick paper, and green ribbon. Then I buy chocolate gold coins, and shamrock shaped chocolate lollypops.
Thirty dollar later and I'm at home prepping dinner for nine because the one thing I will do to celebrate St. Patrick's Day is to invite friends over and serve nothing but green foods. One year I even made green smoothies.
I arrange the hats and the coins and the lollypops and when my kids get home they scream, "the leprechauns have been here!"
Leprechauns, the Easter Bunny, Santa, the Tooth Fairy, I never get the credit for anything.
Leprechauns. I hate 'em.
Do you know what leprechauns do? I'll tell you. They come into kindergarten classes while the kids are out and they mess stuff up - desks, chairs, etc. Then they use the bathroom and turn the water in the toilet bowl green.
And you know what happens then? Well first my kids think because of the leprechaun and the toilet that it's open season to use bathroom talk but what's worse is they come home and act like leprechauns. "Come and see, the leprechauns were here," they say and then they take me by the hand and excitedly show me rooms that they've messed up - admitting gleefully that "they" are the leprechauns.
As of yet no leprechauns have stepped forward to clean things up.
I'm hoping the house elves will have a word with them. Yesterday I took three out of my four boys to a pagan celebration of the equinox. Because - you see - the first day of spring is a holiday I can get behind. song: Good Luck Charm • artist: Elvis Presley
Yesterday we picked C up after school except that we were early so my other three kids decided they couldn't wait in the car and were going to go play on the playground. "There is no playground, the DPW tore it down," I reminded them.
"Then we'll play on the field," they said.
"It's freezing out," I reminded them.
"We don't care," they said.
"Got a soccer ball?"they asked.
"Only this half deflated one," I said.
"We don't care," they said.
Off they went and tore up the field for 15 minutes in the freezing cold with nothing to entertain them but a mostly deflated soccer ball.
So - if my kids ever complain about being cold, or being bored, or needing new toys - I will remind them of the day they played outside with a dead soccer ball w/o hats or gloves when it was 29°F. Touché.
song: Everybody Have Fun Tonight • artist: Wang Chung
The name of the Patriot who rode with Paul Revere on April 18, 1775, warning the Minute Men and townspeople about the travel plans of the British Army. He is usually referred to as "the other guy."
Interestingly he and Paul Revere were both caught by the British. William quickly escaped.
song: Midnight Ride • artist: Paul Revere and the Raiders
This year's Falmouth Reads Together book is Frankenstein. I was feeling a bit sheepish over having never read it despite it's having been on my bookshelf for as long as I can remember.
So - I dusted it off and started reading.
When I got to the part where the monster (who's much more eloquent than I'd expected) starts listing the books he'd read: Paradise Lost, The Sorrows of Young Werther, and Plutarch's Lives, I realized that not only was I remiss in having never read Frankenstein - I'm not even as well read as Mr. Frankenstein's monster.
Ah well. Less well-read perhaps but I'm not a hideous beast, so I guess I've got that going for me.
Today's NaBloPoMo prompt is "tell us five interesting things about yourself." Who can resist that? 1. I bellydance because it reminds me of figure skating. 2. I can't go to bed if my closet door is open. 3. I collect old typewriters and floaty pens. 4. I love to eat at diners. 5. My new year's resolution this year (and last) is to pick up at least one piece of litter every day. I probably missed about 10 days in 2013 but I'm 62 for 62 so far in 2014. song: What I Like About You • artist: The Romantics
You think it's been a productive day. You went to work. You volunteered at the elementary school. You picked up the kids and let them unwind on the playground. The laundry is done. The dinner prepped, cooked, eaten, and cleaned up. The pumpkin bread is made. The lunches are made. The library books are collected. The teacher notes for the next day are done. But what it really comes down to is this. The most productive part of the day was the 30 seconds when you thought to look behind the blue dresser and found the favorite stuffed tiger that's been missing for five days. Yes! song: Monday Morning • artist: Fleetwood Mac
With all due respect to my sons' preschool teacher, whom I adored, I do rue the day when she so super effectively taught the boys that they needed to sing the alphabet song (twice!) during teeth brushing and hand washing and didn't tell them that the could sing it to themselves - inside their own heads - rather than enlisting their hapless parent in the activity.
C gave his dad the following poem for Valentine's Day:
Roses are red You can clip them with shears We hope you never Run out of cold beers
He's a poet after my own heart. I especially like the detail about the beer being "cold." Nice touch. On a similar topic, here's what Margaret Atwood really said about snow (and it's got nothing to do with love).
The Eskimo has 52 names for snow. All of them are expletives.
song: Poetry Man • artist: Phoebe Snow
Today I drove to the shopping plaza in order to go to the sports exchange and order C his soccer uniform except that the sports exchange wasn't at that particular shopping plaza - that one reference by both my husband and I as "the shopping plaza where Amigos restaurant used to be."
So I asked a co-worker who had better information than I, and then called to ask them if I was in danger of being too late to place my order. Thankfully, I have until Saturday so there's still time but before I got off the phone with them I caught myself asked, "so you're in the plaza where White Hen Pantry used to be?"
Where Amigos used to be?
Where White Hen Pantry used to be?
Could I please reference a store that's still in business please and not just one that only exist in my own mind?
On my way home from work I stopped at the coffee shop and read a flyer advertising a showing of Casablanca commemorating the movie's 70th anniversary.
I remember seeing a special showing of Casablanca that commemorating the movie's 50th anniversary at the Wilton Town Hall Theater in New Hampshire this groovy little theater upstairs at the Wilton Town Hall.
So I was feeling uber old but then I googled the theater guess what? Unlike Amigos and White Hen it's still open!
Tonight Ken asked the twins why they always fight over who has to sleep on the side of the bed that's against the wall and they said that neither of them wanted to sleep on the inside because they were afraid of the hand that might reach up from under the bed and grab them.
I guess that would freak me out too.
The recipe for lemon square came from the internet. I suspect the only reason I made them was because there were lemons going to pot in the fridge. I made them once, twice, at least three times before the twins decided they loved them - N so much so that he listed them as his favorite food in the kindergarten "All About Me" project. But the rub is that the more my kids profess to love them - the harder I find them to make. They stick to the bottom of the pan. The lemon filling doesn't set. The powdered sugar doesn't stick. Yesterday all three of these mishaps befell me. I don't quite know what's going on. It's like going bowling. You bowl a frame and you're carefree and could careless - and then you notice that things are going pretty well, you're bowling lots of 8s and 9s (which is pretty darn good for some of us) and then suddenly Bam! you bowl a gutter ball and then another and then you're lucky to get a pin or two down. What happened? You started to care too much about it, that's what. You over thought it. You got too much inside your own head. If you were a Buddhist you might say you got too attached to it. On the other hand the lemon square were still edible, at least as far as much kids were concerned and as for the bowling, it's not about winning or losing it's about a night out with your kids and looking good in them there bowling shoes.
song: Don't Think Twice it's All Right • artist: Bob Dylan
The other day the twins asked me why Santa doesn't bring them birthday presents.
I said that it's because Santa has a really good union and so he only has to work once a year and besides it wouldn't be cost effective to fire up the sleigh just to deliver a handful of birthday gifts nightly. He wouldn't get very good reindeer mileage that way and being green is important to Santa.
Secretly though I was thinking - damn! why doesn't Santa bring birthday presents?
While he's at it why doesn't he organize the birthday party and bake the cupcakes too?
Maybe he could talk the Easter bunny into helping out - I mean what the heck does that rabbit do the other 364 days a year?
There's nothing but irony in the fact that H had to bring home his in-school essay on "What's my Resolution for the New Year,"because it wasn't finished.
What is H's resolution for the new year?
To get his school work done at school rather than having to bring it home for homework.
Not off to an auspicious start.
From the end of August up until about two weeks ago our downstairs toilet wasn't working properly. Flushing it was like playing Russian toilet roulette. It would work fine and then every 5th or 6th flush it would back up. I may have toned up my butt climbing the stairs constantly to use the upstairs bathroom. It didn't affect S & N much because they already won't use the downstairs bathroom because they can always find some lone spider holed up in a corner down there - apparently when you're five, spiders are way scarier than overflowing toilets. You may wonder why I didn't mention this before and I'll tell you. It's because commenting on your own parenting inadequacies, or on the wacky things that your kids say or do, is funny in a folksy, self-deprecating way but having a broken toilet, well that's just downright embarrassing. Ken valiantly hauled it outside on the back deck not once, but twice. What's more embarrassing than having a broken toilet? Having a broken toilet on your back deck. He fished foreign objects out of it not once, but twice (tweezers and a metal bracelet). Who says boys don't wear (and lose) jewelry? song: Handyman Blues • artist: Billy Bragg
It's hard not to be suspicious when your kid leaves five pairs of socks in the dirty clothes basket but only two pairs of underwear.
Is he changing is socks three times a day or his underwear once a week?
This frozen turkey, purchased in 2012 "when they were cheap" was up for grabs because the woman who owns said turkey, "needs the freezer space." While it's nice to give it away - and I hope that if she didn't have any takers she up and took her "never used" turkey to a food pantry - here's a wild suggestion: cook it! Turkey - it's not just for Thanksgiving. song: Cold Turkey • artist: John Lennon
OMG, The prompt for NaBloPoMo is about list making. I love making on-going lists and crossing off items as they get done. My lists go in their own special notebook not on a digital device, I guess so that I can keep referring to it when the power goes out. I'd like to title this post Zen and the art of list making. I started list making in earnest at the beginning of last year when I decided to tackle the age old problem of flitting from one project or chore to another without finishing anything. You know how that works, your pantry cabinets are above the washing machine and so every time you reach for a can or box of pasta you hang up a few items of clothing to dry. Except that that leads you to forget what food item you went back into the laundry room to get in the first place and causes you to make more trips than necessary and the laundry does get hung but it's piecemeal and not very satisfying. So I brought this problem up during dokusan, which, when you study Zen Buddhism is your one-on-one meeting time with your sensi (teacher). One of the challenges of Zen Buddhism is to always be in the present, to focus on one thing at a time. Sensi, suggested among other things than whenever I head in the laundry room to fetch a jar of spaghetti sauce and notice clean laundry in need of hanging and get tempted to stray from the task at hand, I bow in acknowledgment to the laundry and then get that jar of spaghetti sauce. So I bowed more than a few times and then I started making these lists as I went along - I didn't need to hang the laundry immediately per say, I just needed to write it down so I'd remember to do it later. Then I could stop thinking about it and go back to thinking about that spaghetti sauce. I regress now and then and put away clean dishes one at a time as I'm walking by the dishwasher but for the most part the list making helps, and even if it takes me a few days to do even some simple task that I've written down - well that's okay too.
To celebrate the new year we joined the Woods Hole toast to the coast parade which features dancers with horns, a jaunty man with a parasol, the spontaneous quoting of Shakespeare (at least I think it was Shakespeare) and other oddities to be found only in Woods Hole.
After toasting the coast we went to Pie in the Sky to try and get our frozen selves a little more toasty only we couldn't because the shop is so tiny that we all ended up at an outside table where once again I lamented that my stainless steel travel mug is so darn insulated that no heat seeps out to warm cold fingers.
After Woods Hole my kids insisted on going back to Old Silver to slip and slide on the ice at the far end of the parking lot, an activity they discovered on New Year's Eve when we went to the beach for the last litter pick up of 2013. They played ice hockey (with ice), ran and slid, and just generally entertained themselves in 28-degree weather for almost an hour.
You think that all your cat needs for entertainment is some wadded up newspaper but all my kids need is a dirty parking lot and some ice.
That new year's joke about how "I won't see you again until next year!" never gets old does it?
I let the kids all suggest things for dinner Tuesday night which meant we ended up having mac and cheese, pesto, pot stickers, and I threw in some rice pilaf and broccoli for new measure.
There was so much food on the table I didn't have to cook again until the next year!