Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Happy Birthday, Punkin Pie!!

Tomorrow is my baby's ninth birthday. NINE, People! I can hardly believe it.

She and Daddy were sitting together the other day, and I was sitting across from them. As I looked at her I realized that I don't see my baby anymore - she's crossed firmly into big girl territory.

She loves faeries, mermaids and princesses. Her favorite color is purple and she loves chocoate (duh! She's MY kid!). She is an extremely tactile person and needs to touch things to learn about them. She is kind and loving, rambunctious and crazy, and even though she drives me to the brink sometimes, I love her with an intensity that sometimes frightens me.

Happy Nine, Punkin Pie. Thanks for choosing me to be your mom!

I HATE Nathan Price

...but I have to admit to loving Barbara Kingsolver. In The Poisonwood Bible, she has created a character whom I hate, loathe, abhore and despise. Nathan Price is an ignorant, arrogant, self-righteous bastard of a zealot, and Kingsolver has crafted his character with such detail and nuance that I just want to reach into the pages and adjust the man with a frying pan upside the head.

It's a strange sort of delight I'm taking in this book: I really do hate Price, and I'm furious and frustrated with Orleanna, his wife, for allowing herself and her children to be ruled by this man who cares more for his own self-image and the sound of his own voice than he does for the welfare of his family (though he has convinced himself that he is on God's own path and that glory will be his. Please). It's almost difficult to read the book, but I recognize that my intense feelings are evidence of the skill of the author and my investment in the story.

The opposite of love isn't hate, it's apathy, and I am anything but apathetic about these characters.

(the image on this post is of John Stauffacher, Missionary to the Belgian Congo in the early 1900's. I came up with his photo when I Googled "missionary, Congo." Perhaps not strangely, he has precisely the same severe, dour look I would expect Nathan Price to have.)

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Happy Birthday, Baby!!

Today is my husband's birthday. For the occasion, I'm going to give you a little list, composed on the fly, to give you an idea of what I'm dealing with, here.

If you ask, he'll tell you he's twenty-two without a hint of shame and without skipping a beat.

He can sing the first line of pretty much any show tune. But only the first line.

He loves to get me cranked up in the morning by singing some TERRIBLE seventies tune - the latest impliment of torture is "Copa Cabana" by Barry Manilow - that gets stuck in my head and won't come out until he implants something equally insidious and maddening (Gloria Gaynor, anyone?).

His hobbies include tickling his daughters, stunt-kite flying, baseball-watching and roller-coaster riding (which, thankfully, he has a twin brother to accompany him, because I sure as hell ain't gettin' on THAT!)

He can quote from The Hunt for Red October for pretty much ANY occasion.

He has a penchant for German cars, Italian sunglasses and British food. Go figure.

The girls and I love him to the ends of the earth. Happy birthday, Daddy!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Who's Your Papi?

I'm not really wild about baseball but, because I AM wild about my husband, I sit through Red Sox games with him.

Despite my lack of real affection for the national pastime (I'm a football gal at heart), I do have to profess a love for David Oritz. You've got to respect a man who hits that hard - of course, he kind of has to hit that hard because, well, the man can't run worth a damn - but he certainly brings in the runs.

What The....?

Does anyone know what this little creature is?

S/he's been coming out from the narrow strip of woods that separates the houses on my street from the houses on the cul-de-sac behind us and has been hanging out in my yard quite a bit lately, despite the fact that I have four cats (some lawn lions THEY are!). S/he seems to love the tall grass cover (landscaping hasn't been high on the priority list lately) and munching dandilions and a particular variety of something that I've yet to identify but that seems to grow well in the yard.

As best as I can tell, s/he's not a beaver; though we live near-ish to a pond, the tail doesn't seem significant enough to indicate beaverism. Is s/he a woodchuck? A groundhog? Anyone?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

From the Horoscope Writers' Pens to God's Ears

Major accolades are coming you way very soon, possibly today -- prepare a humble acceptance speech just in case. Those in power have been aware of your accomplishments for a while and are almost ready to act. Emotionally, you're on a high that will last a while, buoyed in part by all the positive attention you're getting. Enjoy all the rewards you've earned -- no one knows the true lengths you went to so that you could reach this milestone.

Which Shall I Tackle Next?

I just finished Middlesex this afternoon. While I enjoyed the book, I'm not sure it would make my all-time favorites list. I think I would have liked a more satisfying ending. I would recommend it for the prose and the fun story line, just be aware that, much like the complexity of the story itself, the ending is not neat and tidy.

Anyway, I'm eyeing my stack of books and I need some help deciding which I should get to next. Given my general mood, here are the choices I'm considering:

Cold Mountain. Seen the movie, liked it well enough but was told that the book is FAR better.

The Poisonwood Bibles. I don't really know much about this book at all except that there was a fair bit of favorable buzz about it a year or two ago.

Kite Runner. I've read the first six or so pages of this - I picked it up while the kids in school were having a "reading day" and I'd forgotten my book at home. This is another one that generated some seriously good buzz.

Any suggestions on which it should be?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

There IS a Difference...

...between "nice" and "friendly."

I'm due to pick up Monday and Wednesday morning step classes starting tomorrow. This morning during my regularly scheduled step class, one of my regulars, an older man we'll call Jim, was telling me what format the classes had been following up to this point. "Don't worry," he said, "just do what you do. We'll all be nice to you."

It was at this point that another regular, we'll call HER Crazy Alice (because that's what we really call her) pipes up from the back with "I'll be nice to her if she'll be nice to ME."

Now, you need to understand something. Crazy Alice is a particular personality, and hers is a personality that DOES NOT combine well with mine. I know this, I am aware and smart enough to notice this and, as a consequence, I do my best to not be where she is lest I say or do something really inappropriate. She's gotten in my face more times than I care to recall and, up to (and, I think, including) now, I've managed to keep a relatively professional demeanor in the face of all her uptight, Type-A shit.

When she came out with that crack, I had ALL I could do. "Come on," I said, "I'm nice to you." This earned me a "so so" sign with her hand. I was overcome with a damned near irrepressible urge to sign something right back to her, but I didn't. That was me, being nice.

I'm pretty sure she'll be in step class tomorrow. If the opportunity arises, I'm going to take her aside and, with all the professionalism I can muster, inform her that there's a difference between "nice" and "friendly." Just because I don't want to be her friend, or listen to her go on and on about her obsessive parenting of her thirteen year old son ("I don't know WHY he doesn't want to go shopping with me anymore") or be anywhere near her when she gets going about her useless husband ("I don't understand why he stays so late at work all the time") doesn't mean I'm not nice to her. I nod and smile and say nothing.

Believe me. It's as nice as I can be given the circumstances.

Friday, May 19, 2006


This amazing little device is a SideKick - affectionately known around my house as "the gizzy."

It's a phone, a calendar, email, calculator, address book, web browser, text messager, camera, note pad, alarm clock and game player, all in one handy little package.

It lets me stay in touch. It finds me weather reports and answers off the Web. It gently wakes me in the morning. It holds my grocery list and keeps track of all the books and DVDs I loan out. It keeps my appointments and reminds me when friends' birthdays are approaching. It amuses me when I forget to bring my book.

I send emails to myself to remind me of stuff. I text baseball scores to my sister and love notes to my husband. I keep a wish list that I add to when people tell me about fantastic movies they've seen or amazing books they've read.

I LOVE this thing.

To Go, or Not To Go...

...THAT is the question.

I've GOT to start working out more. I've picked up two step classes a week - I start teaching them starting Monday, and that will help a lot. The thing is, though, I'm sitting here trying to dedide whether to go to Friday morning step. I've got a TON of stuff to do today - I'd like to see my sister, but her window of opportunity to stop by is SO narrow that I'll have to duck out of step class early. I'm supposed to go to commencement rehersal this afternoon, but I'm probably going to blow that off in favor of visiting my mom, who I haven't seen in FAR too long. Then I come back home, snatch the girls from school and go visit my grandparents. I keep thinking there's something else I'm supposed to do this afternoon, but I can't remember what it is - and it's not in my calendar, so oh well.

Well, I suppose I should walk the talk, huh? I've been bitching about how little time I've had to work out, so I'm off!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Next Up...


I was told by the fabulous used book store owner that I couldn't leave his shop without a copy of this book. I'm a hundred and three pages in and, so far, enjoying the experience.

I haven't quite figured out what the story is ABOUT yet - Punkin Pie keeps asking me, "Mommy, what's this book about?" - but I'm not sure I really care. The narrative voice is interesting - dry and sarcastic and slightly under-amused by the whole telling of the family history. I'm not sure where the destination is, but I'm enjoying the ride.

It's SO great to be reading again.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Like a Creamsicle, Only Better!

A little Bacardi Vanilla rum in a glass of Sunkist orange soda? YUMMY!

The Incredible Sinking Street

This is what it looks like at the end of our road. That end has always been funky - there's a little pond to the right of the street - you can't really see it in the picture - and for reasons we've never been able to quite figure out, it has always been pot-holey and rough at that intersection. I'm betting that the deluge of water we've had lately is too much for whatever poorly installed drainage was under the street, and the whole thing just gave way.

There's still room enough to sneak around the mess in smallish cars, but I'm not sure how safe I feel that is.

And the precipitation continues. We're up to about sixty three hours of non-stop rain. And there's a lot more where that came from...

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Rain, Rain

Seriously, People.

See that big heavy rain band in New England? Yeah. We live there.

It's been raining non-stop since nine o'clock on Friday evening. Truly. Non...stop. It's now seven o'clock on SUNDAY evening and we're getting no indication of relief. Ever.

The weather report all the way up to NEXT Monday, which is as far out as they'll go, is nothing but rain.

A bunch of schools have been closed.

An enormous chunk of the end of my road literally fell in this morning - California sink-hole style (I'll get a picture for you tomorrow when I put new batteries in my camera).

My husband is downstairs in the basement with the shop vac, sucking up water that's bleeding through the walls on the side of the basement without a sump pump. The side of the basement WITH a sump pump is still mostly dry, but the poor little pump is working like mad down there, we're praying to all that is holy that we don't lose power and I have an old Sunday school song echoing eerily through my mind:

"The Lord said to Noah, "there's gonna be a floody, floody" Lord said to Noah, "there's gonna be a floody, floody, GET THOSE ANIMALS (clap) OUT OF THE MUDDY MUDDY, children of the Lord!"

Saturday, May 13, 2006

NOT Discontinued!!

It turns out I wasn't cursed in this particular instance. I was merely under-informed.

I gather that there had been an increased number of fungal eye infections linked to the use of a particular lens care solution (eeew!), so a bunch of them had been pulled off the market. When I went to the mega-mart yesterday, though, lo and behold! My brand was back on the shelf!

I know. Not terribly exciting blogger-fodder but, hey. It's my life.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Back To Basics...

Today was the first day in a very long time where I didn't have to worry about anything but my simple little life. It was delightful!

I got up at seven (which is heavenly, given that I've been up before six most mornings since September), helped my husband round the girls up for school (he handled shower duty, I made lunches), then headed BACK to bed to read after everyone left. GLORIOUS.

I meandered into the shower around nine and ran a few errands before meeting PTrinity for lunch (PTrinity wants a new pseudonym, by the way, so be on the lookout for that - I'll let you know when I come up with one that adequately suits her). After a LOVELY lunch and a tiny bit of browsing in a fun downtown shop, we parted ways and I headed to my dentist to pick up some medication ahead of my appointment on Monday. After that, I went on a completely pointless search for reasonably priced gas, then came home for a few minutes before the girls came home.

I met the lovelies at the bottom of the driveway where I bundled them into the car for a visit to my grandparents. Grampa regaled me with his adventures in genealogy (I've been set to the task of helping him hunt down a difficult-to-trace great-great-great-great grandfather) and told Gramma the story of my thesis presentation. After our visit, the girls and I headed back and met Daddy at a grocery store in the town where Daddy works. We all picked out dinner (I chose garlic hummos and salad - yummy!) and headed home to feast.

As I write this, we're all on the couch watching the Red Sox (currently losing three to nuthin' against the Rangers).

Life is, indeed, good.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Reading Again!

Oh, how WONDERFUL it is to be reading again!

I went to the big-box bookstore to buy a birthday gift for my MIL. I picked up two copies of this book - one for her and one for me - because the Universe has been sending me loud-and-clear messages that it's an excellent read (I'd had five people in the span of three days - including the used book store owner and a complete stranger - tell me how wonderful the book is. It was a hard message to ignore).

My MIL had already read the book, so she traded in her copy for something else. I'm on page 109 and can't wait to get back to it. I'm not sure I understand it completely (time travel stories really mess with my head) but the language is beautiful and the characters are intrigueing.

I'm off for a half hour of reading before I have to get started with my day...

Boys and Girls

The differences between boys and girls was made plain to me the other day.

I have two daughters - ages seven and nearly-nine. When I drive with them in the car, one of a number of things happens. Either they read, or chit chat with each other and me, listen to their iPod Shuffles, or comment about what they see out the window ("what kind of dog is THAT lady walking, Mommy?"). Lately, they've added pretending that my car is a limousine and they are princesses being taken about.

I had the pleasure (really) of taking care of Bowyer's sons (who are, in all respects but blood, my nephews) the other day. They are six and nearly-seven. When I drove THEM in my car, it turned into a fighter jet and they were the soldiers shooting pretty much anything we passed by ("LOOK!! There's an ALIEN DOG!! SHOOT IT!!").

I love my nephews to the ends of the earth, but I'm SO glad the Universe gave me girls.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


It seems that a highly appropriate way to celebrate the completion of one's graduate work is with a glass of wine in one hand and a pint of Ben and Jerry's in the other.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

True Story...

...a couple of weeks ago, the girls and I were in the car in a restaurant parking lot, waiting for Daddy to meet us for dinner. Both of my babies were in the back seat reading; PunkinPie was working on a book about Someone-or-Other's Worst Birthday Ever and Beanie was flipping through a book about faeries. Anyway, Punkin's book was about a girl who had to cancel her ninth birthday party because she'd come down with the chicken pox. Our conversation went something like this:

PP - Hey, Mommy?

Me - Yes?

PP - What's a plog?

Me - I have no idea. Give it to me in a sentence?

PP - "I'm sorry, Jessie," Denise said, "I have to cancel my party. I have the plog."

Me - (slightly confused) Spell it, please?

PP - P-L-A-G-U-E

Me - OH!! Plague!

PP - (with the excitement of recognition) OH!! BRING OUT YOUR DEAD!!!!

Can you tell what kind of household *I* run that my not-quite-nine-year-old readily makes this reference??