‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

Well that was underwhelming.

We shook down three neighbors, which was slightly up from last year. Last year Lucy got scared at the second house and wanted to go home. This year Studley marched straight into the first house and headed for their kitchen. What was I to do? I had to dart in and grab him. And then there we were, standing in someone's living room. We ended up in all three houses, which is just not how I planned on modeling the trick-or-treat process. We will probably be the parents who drive behind our children when they are teens - lights out, a block back. Very sneaky. Oh, and Lucy said "no thank you" to seconds.

I have a problem with that last part, because it's not Lucy who's eating the candy and she has no right to reject it. We are collecting candy for Trixie, the Trick-or-Treat Witch.

Every year, the kids have the option of leaving their haul out for Trixie (forgive me if I've already told you about this). Trixie takes their treats and leaves them some kind of little toy. Every year Lucy thinks about keeping her candy and then, at the last minute, succumbs to What's Behind Door Number Two. Who, after all, can stand the suspense?

Lucy always likes what Trixie leaves. Studley likes pretty much everything. And Trixie likes it best when the neighbors are handing out chocolate. This was a good year for Trixie.

Oh, and our neighbor across the street complimented us on our fairy realm. She said she loved watching the fairies dance in the ribbons all afternoon.

And another neighbor mentioned our chickens. Apparently her sister-in-law once lived in our house and also had chickens. The ghost of chickens past. I think everyone in town has, at one point or another, lived in our house.

We were hoping to see baby Tex, but he was not to be found so we headed to Mahoney's. Everyone ends up there sooner or later. And he did. He was a bug.

We had some appetizers and then pumpkin bread pudding because you have to eat something pumpkiny on Halloween, right?

Happy Halloween.

Oh, and an extra special Heigh Ho to our former neighbors who once gave Lucy a potato. Trust us, we'll never forget you.

seal snouts

I got this email the other day:
I happened by your blog this evening - after my wife and children and I ate sandwiches at the beach watching the sun set.

I was horrified to notice that, after being such a humongous influence in your life, you make no mention of me. No retelling of my beguiling stories, no quotes of my deep insights into my alternate realities, nada, nil, nothing!

After I spent hours ranting about this puzzling omission, (my wife) mentioned that it could be because of a comment I may have made along the lines of " you're not going to put this in your BLOG are you?"

I was only joking. I/we LOVE attention, good, bad, neutral, any attention. Much like a bad dog that poops on your new couch cushions, any attention, be it a thrown high heel shoe or coddling praise for making it outside, any attention is good attention.
Just sayin is all.

"You're not going to put this in your blog" referred to a rural legend that the town used to pay $1 per seal snout - to keep the population down. Ew.

Rest assured that I will consider this friend and his alternate realities Open Season in the future. I will not, however, be inviting him into my home (especially anywhere near my couch) anytime soon.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

the view from over the cuckoo's nest

I had the teensiest weensiest little melt down this morning. It involved crying. It involved berating everything sacred and precious. There may have been some door slamming.

Chris told Heather about it this afternoon. "It was something about her knitting," he said. The "something" was Lucy's sweater, which I am about 1/3 of the way through. It came partially off the needles in the night and I don't know who I can string up for it. It wouldn't be a problem, but I was working with some crazy loopy chenilley fuzzy yarn and I cannot for the life of me find any stitches. And because it is crazy loopy chenilley fuzzy yarn, I can't pull it out and start over. It is like knitting with gorilla glue.

Besides, it wasn't really just about the knitting. Is it ever about the thing that ignites the fuse? I think it was more about my fears. Specifically, that everything that's right about our lives is getting shoved around by.... I don't even know what. And it's coming off the needles.

Of course our life isn't REALLY coming off the needles. But it sure feels precarious sometimes. Is that just life with kids? I am afraid that our outer chaos is a sign of inner chaos, but maybe it's quite the opposite.

Lucy set me straight. She told me "Studley's sweater didn't fall off the needle and he's the one who really needed a sweater because I have these and you hadn't made him any." She is so sensible.

Ironically, this is Studley's sweater:

Monday, October 29, 2007

scary Halloween thoughts

We have been to two costume parties and a parade. I almost packed their costumes away today, but then I remembered it's not even Halloween yet. There is still so much to do before the month is out.

First of all, I have to find out where my neighbor has moved because the new people haven't moved into her old house and therefore there is one less house to procure treats from. Maybe she'll leave a basket out. But if she doesn't, we'll track her down.

I'm a little nervous about the new neighbors. I have never gone to a neighbor's house with offerings of baked goods before. It sort of feels like my entry into adulthood. I'm not so sure I like it.

The last time my sister tried to welcome someone to her neighborhood, her oven broke while she was baking the banana bread. See? It's hazardous. Fortunately we have a short street and the likelihood of this happening again soon is slim. Unless we scare them off.

Oh I hope we don't scare them off. I just know that when I go over there with my Little Red Riding Hood basket of goodies I will talk too much in an effort to make them understand how nice and reasonable and civilized we are.

Because we sure don't look it from the street.

I will explain that yes, we have A Lot of vehicles but it's just because we have three and a half generations living here. We're the ikebana of the family tree world - a whole freaking tree stuffed into a wee terra cotta tray.

What if they DO move in before Halloween and I DO get up the nerve to take over a pumpkin bread and they DO answer the door and think we are just costumed as the crazy neighbors you would never want? I suppose if this happens then they will give us treats and send us off.

Maybe I should go ahead and pack up those costumes. Instead, we'll dress as a 19th century family. And we will appear normal.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

the sky is falling

So here's the deal. We got the chickens because, well, I thought it would be fun to have chickens. Or rather, I thought it would be fun to say "I have chickens." I also thought it would be kind of swell having fresh eggs. And I'm looking forward to the vegetables which will grow in the garden they are supposed to be fertilizing. It's one of those sustainability things - we feed the chickens, they lay eggs, they fertilize the garden and then we grow enough turbo-charged vegetables to feed a small country or the people in our house (whichever is larger at the time).

Problem one: we have not moved them into the garden because the raised beds are in the way.
Problem two: they're not laying.

It's not just our chickens that aren't laying. The people at the feed store report that no one's bringing extra eggs in to sell. And our friends who got chickens a little before us are also going hungry, waiting for their omelettes.

And so I must ask, is this a sign that the end of the world is near?

Because I kind of associate chickens with Mother Earth News. And when I used to pick up Mother Earth News I was always struck by how much information there was on surviving off the grid once all heck has broken loose and Trader Joe's is no longer carrying mochi balls. You know, ads for air tight buckets in which to keep your 5 year grain and bean supply. Bunker blueprints. Windowboxes for your bunker. Stuff like that.

So if the world is indeed ending, and the hens are not laying because of it.... well that just defeats the purpose of having them, now doesn't it? Except that it's still fun to tell people we have chickens.

It's also the season for those big windy storms that knock power lines down. Think how nice it would be to have eggs florentine by candlelight.

I still think it's a good idea, this chicken and egg thing. Every time I take that carbon footprint test I struggle with how to make less of a carbon crater while still driving 2 hours to attend the ballet.

I think I'll raise tilapia in my rain barrel.

Girls Night Out

I need to remember to go easy on the eye makeup when I go to the ballet. It's not even the ones with sad stories that get me. It's the music, the costumes, the whole being there thing.

But I have questions. First, how do the dancers avoid static cling? All those wafty costumes, and no static cling. If I wore a tutu and tights I'd have so much static built up by the time I got to my front door the tutu would be stuck to my legs - along with some stray plastic bags, a bunch of cat hair and some assorted socks. If I could work out the static problem, I would totally wear a tutu to work.

I can't think what the other questions were, but I'm sure they were important.

So we went to Boston Ballet tonight and saw La Sylphide and Serenade. I love love love Serenade. You don't have to know what's going on. The costumes are simple. It's just stunning. Oh, and the music. Is there anything lovelier than Serenade for Strings?

This was my first time with La Sylphide. There's this fairy (who was very convincingly fairy-like) and this other girl and these two guys who are squabbling over the other girl except that the one guy kind of digs the sylph. They die.

The second half of La Sylphide was my favorite. I'm partial to those ballets in which the corps de ballet appears in tutus - whether they are swans, wilis, sylphs, or those white visions* in that ballet where the hero has smoked way too much opium. What's that one? Where they just keep appearing, in a line?

It's been ages since I've been to the ballet. I used to subscribe, but it's one of those things I let fall by the wayside when Lucy was born. But I got right back into the swing of things. We went early because there are such great restaurants to chose from around the theater, like Panang - a Malaysian restaurant. And then we still had time to do a little shopping at the ballet gift counter.

Here are two more great things about Boston Ballet. 1) performances are at the Wang Center, which is over the top ornate. 2) the ushers say things like "can I help you, girls?" This always makes me feel like I'm still in college and finding my rush seat.

It is good to be back. Prepare for more really highbrow ballet reviews in the future.

the Wang Center

* an alert reader informs me they are the shades in La Bayadère.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Here's the problem with Halloween costumes: I wouldn't know Hannah Montana if she walked up and bit me. How am I supposed to identify her in the form of a 5 year old?

There are lots of things I should know, now that I'm a mom. Like, what time am I supposed to take the kids trick-or-treating? They have short little legs and we have a lot of ground to cover. If the 31st is on a school night, should I take them on the Saturday before Halloween? Is it okay to send a postcard out to the neighborhood saying, "in lieu of treats, please make a donation to their scholarship fund?"

And speaking of trick or treating, I had a call from Lucy's dentist the other day. I was canceling Studley's appointment because let's face it, he'll never make it through. He is fiendishly ticklish and brushing his teeth requires singing, dancing and bribing. You know, to distract him from the fact that he is being tickled inside his mouth. That's just not fair, tickling somebody inside his mouth. The receptionist told me they would only do what he'd allow - there would be no strapping him to the chair. She also reminded me that he is my son and it's my decision when to bring him in. They weren't going to strap me to a chair either, she said. "And tickle me with a toothbrush until I gasp 'next Tuesday's fine!'" I added. And then she said, "is this Susan (insert maiden name)?"

First, the dentist is not even close to my town. Second, I swear to you I have never referred to toothbrush tickle torture in conversation before. How on earth did she know? It turned out to be someone I haven't seen in years - who's never met my kids. What kind of impression did I make on her? That's a rhetorical question, incidentally.

Oh, and now that I'm typing this out, I remember that she's related to Hebert Candies. Back when we were westerners we'd sometimes saddle up and ride east to visit family here in New England. We'd ALWAYS stop at Heberts so mom could stock up on ribbon candy and what-not. Maybe our dental receptionist has a familial karmic debt and she's now having to care for children's teeth.

Let this be a lesson to you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

storming the field

There was rumor of a Nor'easter hitting today. I brought in some of the house plants. I made sure the chickens had their seat belts on. I told the kids not to stand near the windows. We're ready. But nothing's happening.

When I first lived here, there were some big storms. We'd always head to the Land Ho and wait it out. I remember sitting there with the girls, waiting for our friend to plow all our driveways before we headed home from work. By the time we left, we had to shovel off our cars with food service lids.

When we had our crazy wrath-of-God storm a couple years ago, Liz ended up at the Ho because she couldn't get home and our house was blocked by a broken water main in one direction and a fallen tree in the other. She was in good company because everyone goes to the Ho when it storms. Unless you're stuck at your house thanks to a broken water main and a fallen tree.

We're not waiting this one out at the Ho because the kids are too short to sit at the bar. And we'd have to sit at the bar because otherwise we wouldn't get to see the game. "The Game" being the World Series in which my multiple personality disorder manifests itself as Colorado vs. Boston.

Who am I supposed to cheer for?

I was going to cheer for Denver, just to irk my husband, but it's 9 to 1 - okay make that 10 to 1 - and I am fickle so will probably just go with the Red Sox. Besides, I have an extra-cute Red Sox t-shirt and all of my Rockies stuff is at Good Will along with most of the rest of my earthly possessions. Okay, not ALL my possessions. I still have way to much china and an unreasonable number of books.

And now it's 11 to 1. This is just not right. It must be my lucky shirt.

Speaking of lucky, we get to hear the game when the tv goes to commercial because Chris still has his stack of equipment set up so we can listen to the radio and not have a digital delay. See, he has a multiple personality disorder thing going on too. He thinks he's MacGyver.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


I was supposed to sell cookie dough as a fundraiser for Lucy's school. The first year I bought a bunch of it because I had a new baby and was too lethargic to peddle it to anyone else. The second year I sold so much of it I had to use the upstairs and downstairs freezers to house it until I could deliver it all. This year I failed completely and finally threw away the empty order form - three weeks after it was due.

But really, it can stay in your refrigerator for 6 months without going bad. What's in it, kryptonite?

I overlooked this the first year because, as I said, I was too lethargic to do much of anything and taking freshly baked kryptonite-laced cookies to all those Christmas parties was way better than showing up empty handed or (heaven forfend) staying home.

The next year was pretty easy because I cannot keep a secret and told everyone at the parties what I had done and they then heckled me for a year asking for cookie dough.

And now there is this year and I'm on a baking jag. Not all of it is edible, but I do know what's in it and doesn't that count for something?

I am on a baking jag because I made our friend Randy some completely horrible peanut butter cookies in return for a favor he did. They were not intentionally horrible, although yes, there are some favors that warrant horrible cookies. This wasn't one of them.

I wanted to make another, less horrible, replacement batch and as I pondered peanut butter cookies I remembered some cookies my mom used to make. They were peanut butter, chocolate, oatmeal cookies and you didn't bake them.

I asked her how to make them one afternoon and she pulled out a stack of recipe cards to sort through. It took a few hours, because every one of those cards had a story. Many of them had two - hers and mine. I remember making some of those recipes when I was a kid. I remember the cookies whose names I mixed up and she'd make me what I asked for except it wasn't what I wanted. I did it over and over again and I still can't think of the correct name.

I remember making cookies with my sister and eating entire batches of dough. And not once did we die of food poisoning.

I'm not sure I'd trust the shelf-stable version not to kill me.

Besides, when Lucy grows up and asks a friend to take her daughter to a birthday party because she quadruple-booked herself, I want her to be able to make some decent cookies for him. And I don't want her to have to email me and say - "hey mom, where'd you order those cookies from? You know, the ones you always used to take to parties."

Sunday, October 21, 2007

the rise and fall of a once clean house

These are the balloons Chris brought in from his truck this morning, which he had snagged from last night's party. It was an extra great snag because today (finally) we got around to having Studley's birthday party. Ta da! Decorations! And then when our first guests arrived they brought another bundle of balloons which they had also snagged from last night's party. We can barely move but it is VERY festive. The balloons are now napping on the floor, tired from all their decorative frivolity. If I loose them all from their ribbons they will probably cover my living room floor. It will be like a scene from Swan Lake. On acid.

I have absolutely no idea why people clean before they have parties. Like the balloons, the cleaning was coincidental. I got on a jag yesterday and didn't stop until I noticed an actual change in the acoustics of my home. I should maybe stop taking stuff to the dump before I find myself living in an echo chamber. I would have told you all about it if I had stopped babbling about my hair long enough. These things happen.

So my house was pretty tidy and uncharacteristically dust-free (which turned out to be good because people went diving under the couch in search of a toy on a number of occasions) and then it was TRASHED because Studley's friends may be small but they are efficient. I picked up a bit after they left and then I was tired and I figure the layer of balloons will cover a bunch of what I missed. So really it's just serving dishes that need washing.

There were leftover snacks so my kids had shrimp, hummus and tortilla chips for dinner. I love party food and wish we had one of those countertops that doubles as a refrigerator so I could leave this stuff out for grazing. Or maybe I'll just lie on the balloons with my bowl of seven layer dip.

One time when I was pregnant I came home from work and no one was home so I made myself a seven layer dip and ate as much of it as I wanted before anyone could tell me to stop. I had a very good pregnancy.

Now where was I... oh right, lying on balloons.

The best news is that one of the moms brought us another party invitation. It looks like Lucy was right about us and parties. It's because our children are friendly and sociable and get invited out a lot. We adults are grumpy and don't answer our phones and are losing friends at a prodigious rate.

Except that someone dropped by just this morning looking for an emergency microphone (she was playing a benefit in mere minutes). I was glad to see her because a) she's nice and b) it's just not that often that someone stops by unannounced when my house is clean.

And now I am torn between staying up and watching the Red Sox game and collapsing in a heap, mumbling "must... write.... thank you notes."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

nerd overload

Tonight Lucy said "we go to parties all the time - let's do the space projector." She got a National Geographic space thingy for her birthday and has been itching to use it. Still... miss a party? What's gotten into her?

So we stayed home and set up the projector. And within minutes both kids were crying and hiding their faces. Studley left the room and chose to cry in the livingroom instead. Who knew a planet projected onto a ceiling could be so completely terrifying? I did what anyone would do with kids who are out of their mind with fear. I put them to bed.

Perhaps they'll have nightmares about whether or not Pluto is a planet.

And then I went to the party (once my friend stopped by to babysit. What do you take me for?). I was a little hesitant to go because I had my hair cut recently and it's not so good when it curls up. When it curls it makes me look like Bobby Brady. I mentioned this to someone at the party and she set me straight. "No, that's Peter. Bobby's hair was straighter."

Okay then.

So I came home to watch the Red Sox. After all, apparently we go to parties all the time.

there's gold in them hills

Liz has landed! I talked to her last night as she was photographing a sunset over the Rocky Mountains on the approach to Denver. They probably didn't look very big from there and it must have been thrilling to see her new home get taller and taller the closer she got.

So this morning I'm imagining them rooting around for their coffee machine and then giving up and going out. Is there anything better than waking up in your new house on that first morning? Everything's ahead of you. I'd probably pretend I hadn't put the coffee maker where I could find it so I could go out and explore and make a local of myself post haste at the closest place that makes coffee. It's not even 8am in Colorado, but I bet they're up.

When I did this (you know, abandon all my friends and move to Colorado) I had a recurring dream in which I found a short cut from Colorado to Cape Cod. I couldn't believe it had been there all the time and we could visit each other whenever we wanted to. I sort of feel like that now. I don't get to see her, but I get to find out what it's like to live in the crook of a mountain.

I think maybe we should get that Unlimited Pictures feature on our phone plans.

Friday, October 19, 2007

the word on the street

I was at the Sandwich library today freeloading their wireless connection when I heard one of the librarians say, "oh, there's a warrant for my arrest."

"Another one?" said a coworker.

Phew, librarians are wild. And this was just in the children's section.

Turns out it's one of those fundraisers where people from the community are put in jail and they have to get bailed out. The librarian in question pondered the possibility of not attracting any bail. What then?

I tried googling to find out more (heaven forbid I admit I had been eavesdropping and ASK). The search turned up fundraising ideas involving sandwiches, and actual fundraising people going to actual jail, but not any upcoming local events.

And speaking of googling, someone found this site by searching for "big rabbits". I am pretty sure I've never written about big rabbits unless I told you about the life size chocolate bunnies Chris used to get me from the Chocolate Sparrow. He doesn't get them any more because I've asked him not to. But if you haven't had your fill of chocolate bunnies and you also can't wait until spring, the Sparrow has Chocolate Turkeys available now.

No kidding. Chocolate turkeys.

and it was alright

Yesterday I was talking to a friend about musicals. You probably know my stance on musicals, but in case you missed it, I'm not a fan.

It turns out my friend had the Sound of Music album when she was little and played it over and over again. She acted out parts. She sang. Endlessly.

Finally her brother, who just couldn't take it anymore, threatened to break her album. And then he did something I see Lucy do all the time with Studley - he offered her something else to distract her from the annoying thing she was doing. He gave her rock and roll. She specifically mentioned The Velvet Underground.

I told this story to another friend about an hour later. She didn't have an older brother but there was a cousin or a friend's brother or someone who did the same thing for her. She also mentioned the Velvet Underground (as well as Boomtown Rats).

They are both in bands.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

a day in the life

If I encounter an adversary, I'll be ready thanks to kickboxing class. I'll do a bunch of jumping jacks, followed by some running in place. And then I'll invite him/her to breakfast before I get too winded to speak.

I'm making progress. Except that my scale broke quite recently so I have no idea. I don't think I broke the scale.

To compensate for the real or imagined lost weight, I ordered take-out for dinner tonight. I called Mahoney's and was transferred to the hostess. Here's how it went:

her: may I help you?
me: yes please. May I have two jerk chicken sandwiches.....
her: hi Susan
me: oh........

She didn't even let me get to the "heaps of chipotle crema on the side, please." Although now that I think about it, at least she didn't say "and would you like 3,000 calories of chipotle crema on the side, same as usual?"

A friend of mine from Falmouth (still on the Cape but AGES from here) asked for restaurant recommendations in my area. And then I wouldn't shut up. I might have to do a post just on the restaurants. By town. Oh I do love the restaurants around here. And then (because obviously she's a glutton for punishment) she asked me some questions about the way we raise our kids.

Her timing couldn't have been worse, because I had a long talk about that with my sister just last night and I've been feeling a little gabby about it ever since. Now if you don't have kids, don't hang up because it actually applies to every day life.

My sister is a child development genius. And she's really supportive and uncritical and, did I say supportive? of parents. Which is good, since she's a teacher. Her whole thing is parent education. You know, I have my Save The Whales thing and she has her Save the Whales by Educating Parents So They Raise A More Conscientious Generation thing.

Anyway, she was giving a talk last night and she told me she was going to ask people what they thought society was telling them their children needed. I listed things like: video games, a sterile environment, an SUV to ride around in, lots of expensive toys, a Kitchenaid dishwasher, and a really big swingset*. And then she asked me what I thought my kids needed, and I listed: a good example, opportunities to try new things, nutritious meals, family time. Yada yada. You get the idea.

My sister's whole point was: go with what you know your children need.

Now I realize I can be a little Lola Granola at times. I think maybe I go overboard with the whole experiential thing (hello, chickens!) to make up for my commercial culture reticence. And if I could just Let Go of the feeling that I'm not measuring up to society, I could be way more normal and go with what I think is right.

I'd probably still get the chickens.

*I'm not saying you shouldn't have these things. I'm saying that they (some of them) are the kinds of things I don't have and feel a bit self-conscious about. Some of them I'm fine not having. Really fine.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bye Bye Miss American Pie

Well, it's done then. Liz has moved and we can stop fretting about what will happen when she goes.

It is like a little piece of me has been pulled off and is on its way to Colorado. This is good and bad. Good because if a little piece of me is on a grand adventure then the rest of me is in on the fun. Bad because I am already lonely.

I was actually doing pretty well. I put together a play list of Liz Music and have been playing it pretty much nonstop. It's very much like having her here. I've been listening to The Beastie Boys, Adam Ant, Fatboy Slim, Moby, The B52's, J Geils, The Grateful Dead, G. Love, English Beat and a few of those MTV party-to-go mixes. It's pretty cheery. Except for the Moby song "Why does my heart feel so bad?"

Because it does.

Auntie Iss, as Lucy and Studley call her, was the emergency contact at Lucy's school. She was on the "permission to pick up" list. When she'd pick up Lucy, I could hear the shrieks of joy all the way out in the car - shrieks from both of them.

It occurred to me this morning at drop-off that I should change the emergency info. Auntie Iss just can't get there very fast anymore. I haven't changed it yet because I can't get out the sentence "Auntie Iss has moved to Colorado" without crying. And Lucy's teachers already think I'm a nutcase.

Earlier today I thought it was like Lyra and Pan's parting at the edge of the underworld in The Amber Spyglass. Except, okay, I didn't hold onto her and beg her not to go. I didn't pace at the edge of her driveway, whimpering. And I don't consider Colorado the underworld.

But otherwise, it's really close.

And as it turns out, Liz is driving across the country with the whole Philip Pullman trilogy on tape. Weird, that.

So I can't wait to hear about what kind of job she lands, how the house is shaping up, what the neighbors are like and so forth. I hope she sends lots of pictures.

And I hope her cats like road trips as much as I do. There is nothing like a good roadtrip.

Monday, October 15, 2007

play by play action

Chris is sitting on the couch watching the game (the game, of course, being the Red Sox). He starts making frustrated grumping noises, which isn't surprising because he often talks to the players, umpires and coaches. And then he tinkers with the stuff on top of the tv - no, not the fairy house, the receiver thingies which provide us with quality programming (and other things but I don't know what).

"I'm getting a digital delay," he says. Tinker, tinker.

He leaves.

He returns, hauling a piece of equipment in a rack. It's 8"x12"x17" (approximately. According to Chris it is "4 rack spaces high and 17 inches across. " He doesn't know how deep it is and I'm too lazy to walk over there. Also, I'm a little frightened.).

It seems he needs this in order to listen to the radio and watch the game without a delay of one or the other.

I always think we have this really simple life. Except that it's not.

Oh dear, he just said "where's my tuner?" Which means we will have 5 pieces of equipment teetering on top of our television - for a total of 10 rack spaces. Yes, there he goes, out the door to get the tuner.

Oh, and the tv is in an alcove under the eaves, which means that you have to start stacking things slightly to the left so they don't hit the slanted ceiling coming in from the right. So we have a tower of equipment that's precariously stacked (smallest, thinnest items on bottom) and slightly off kilter.

I have absolutely no idea what's going on with the Red Sox because I can't take my eyes off the tower of doom.

oysterfest update

This was in today's paper:

The seventh annual Wellfleet OysterFest, a two-day street party celebrating the town's shellfish industry, was held Saturday and yesterday. About 10,500 attended Saturday and about 7,500 yesterday, said Lisa Brown, president of Wellfleet Shellfish Promotion and Tasting (SPAT), the nonprofit that puts on the festival. Spat is also the word for a young oyster. -Mary Ann Bragg, Cape Cod Times
I wonder how many oysters were eaten.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Wellfleet OysterFest

First of all, let me say how ridiculously happy I was to find my blog listed on the surfwellfleet website! It's on the local blogs page and it says "A great place to start your day! What it feels like to live here blog..."

Really, my whole purpose for writing this (besides sending subliminal messages to my husband who doesn't read anything unless it's online) is to show what it feels like to live here. So thanks, Surf Wellfleet!

And while we're on the subject of Wellfleet and busily linking to all things Wellfleetian, today was OysterFest. I know, I know, I have said a billion times that I Don't Like Crowds. But sometimes I make an exception and this one is totally worth it. There's a shucking contest, there's music, there's lots and lots of food and there are things in booths you might want to buy. Oh happy day! Because you know I have a big spot in my heart reserved for things made by hand. I was REALLY close to buying a peace sign t-shirt for Lucy but they were out of pink by the time I got there and she Will Not Wear anything else. Nope.

Anyway, we arrived around noon which was probably the busiest time to get there. Chris and I had one of our marital spats - which of our super-secret parking spots was closer? Mine was work related and a block away. His was a friend's house and a block away. His was up a hill. Mine was near an ATM. His was closer to our get-away route. Get-away trumps ATM, we parked at his friend's house.

There are some great finds there, including Narrowland Pottery, The Harmon Gallery, Leave it to Weaver, and Jesse Mia Horowitz. Lots more of course, but I can't think of them off the top of my head. Oh, and there was a Caleb Potter booth, where his friends sold Caleb t-shirts and Jolly Roger flags and oysters to benefit his rehab. In addition to his official booth, several of the artists and vendors were donating part of their proceeds. Small towns are good.

So, about it being a small town. They close off Main Street and most of the action is centered around town hall. The parking lot behind town hall is where the stage and the food tent is, and then there are booths all the way out to Main Street, down the road, and up into another parking lot. And behind Preservation Hall (which used to be the Catholic Church) is an area for kids. Face painting, balloon animals, music. There are strands of cotton candy wafting through the air (literally) and I'm sure it's in my hair.

On our way to the kid area we stopped to see our friend Gerry who was helping with his son's oysters. Matt has a shellfish grant and supplies most of the restaurants we like with oysters. Lucy batted her eyelashes at Gerry and he said, "would you like an oyster?" She did. We call this "seagulling" and Lucy's really good at it.

I just spent a good 30 seconds or so trying to find stats on how many people attend this thing. I vaguely remember it being in the thousands. Is that specific enough for you? So with that many people there, chances are good you'll run into someone you know. One year we even saw our ballroom dancing instructors (who try to see as little of us as possible). It's a little like some kind of reunion, except that when you first get there it's kind of frantic and everyone is trying to Get Somewhere and not stop to talk every 3 seconds. I think we should all carry business cards that say "wow great to see you, I'm fine" so we can be friendly but get on with the shopping a little faster.

And then we could have gotten out of there faster and not gotten stuck in massively backed-up traffic. That's right, having a get-away-friendly parking spot is not so helpful if you are too chatty and forget to Get Away.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

spa day, hold the cheese

A month or so ago I noticed the YMCA was offering a mother/daughter spa day. It included an hour of yoga, a half hour massage, a manicure and a healthy snack. I'm generally up for anything that involves a snack, so I started looking around for someone to pose as my daughter (my mother was unavailable and Lucy's just not old enough yet).

I didn't have to look far, although for Heather to be my daughter I would have been pregnant in the 5th grade. I can't imagine how that dinner conversation would have gone.

I warned her that it was likely to be really cheesey. Nothing against the Y, but it's not very spa-like. I pictured massage chairs set up in the hall. I figured the manicures would be in the nursery and the healthy snack would be on a card table in the lobby.

It turned out to be at Body Sense day spa in Hyannis, which was so not cheesey. We were given spa-tini's at the door (mineral water with fresh raspberries and some magnesium seaweed something-or-other). We started with yoga, which turned out to be the stretchy, twisty, breathey kind of yoga instead of the sweaty, panting, aching kind of yoga. And then we had our snack.

And then we had our massages. A half hour is just way to short and if I do it again I'll ask for a foot massage. I could totally have someone give me a foot massage for half an hour. But they did have real massage tables and I did get to lie there for half an hour without anyone asking me for a cheese stick. So I'd call it a win.

And then we had more snack. And then we had manicures. Oh, and there was a facial thingy but it was Arbonne and every time I see an Arbonne bottle I am sure they're going to make me host a party or make me sell it in my spare time. I'm a quasi-stay-at-home mom, which makes me an easy target.

So I smell like lavender massage lotion and some kind of hand lotion and a salt scrub and probably some other lotions and if I were a baby bird there is no way my mother would recognize me.

But I am very soft. And relaxed.

Friday, October 12, 2007

history, geography - what's next?

My inlaw's inlaws were in town today. Since they are my inlaw's inlaws it didn't occur to me to clean up. It hardly ever occurs to me to clean up, much less when there's such a small chance of someone dropping in. So wouldn't you know, they dropped in for a visit.

As it turns out, my sister-in-law's husband's brother's wife is from north eastern Burma and thinks that American homes, with their "a place for everything and everything in its place" coiffed style, are a little creepy. Oh boy did she feel at home in my house. Interestingly, Studley adored her immediately and pretty much leaped into her arms. Her husband (my sister-in-law's husband's brother) tells us his wife is from a rural "hunter gatherer" community where they are extra extra crazy about their kids. I think he said something like "they're nice to them." Studley must have sensed this. If he could talk a little more I'd quiz him on why he thinks she's so nice. What is it they're doing that we're not? Are we not nice?

After they left I zipped off to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age with, appropriately, Elizabeth. We saw the first one together, so it was only right that we go see this one together. I pretty much knew what happened because I have read The Lowbrow Guide to World History and I know all there is to know about everything (except for a few puzzling bits which Liz, my medieval art history expert, was able to clear up. It's all in the tapestries, my friends).

We shared a bucket of popcorn which required its own seat. What do you do with leftover popcorn? Make soup? strata? a casserole?

And why are movies still interesting when you know what's going to happen? Here comes the Spanish Armada! Nooooooo! Obviously, it's the clothes. Because we know what will happen but not what Cate Blanchett will wear when it's happening. Like the angel-winged wafty thing in the scene where... (see? I didn't give it away, even though you already know what happens).

And speaking of leftover popcorn.... Liz is moving shortly (yes I know I've mentioned it. Get used to it) and every once in a while I come home to find "Liz droppings" in my kitchen. Once I found Hoisin Sauce and claw crackers. Today there was Jiffy Pop popcorn, some Little Golden Books and a box of couscous. I think there's something in my fridge, too. I will not be home on the day she actually leaves town, and I'm very curious to see what we find in our yard. Curious in a "do you think we should go home now or drive around until after dark" kind of way.

Hopefully there will be more books like this.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

about that yurt we've been meaning to build

Last night Heather babysat our kids from the comfort of her own part of the house thanks to the amazing technology of Baby Monitors.

Today Heather reported that she had no idea Lucy knew so many songs. Or that she could count to 116. Or repeat the months of the year over and over again. When a tree falls in a forest and there's no one around to hear it, does it sing "dum-deedle-dee-dum"?

Lucy is one of those children who doesn't talk to people. She has perfected the Deer in Headlights look. She doesn't speak during the day because she has no words left after she sings/talks/chants herself to sleep. The child Will Not Stop Yapping. Right now she is singing "four little monkeys, jumping on the bed." I think she may have started at 116 monkeys.

As long as we're talking about Heather and trees falling in forests, I'd like to remind you how nature abhors a vacuum. I should also remind you that I have been scurrying bags of things to Goodwill as fast as my little legs will carry me (see numerous previous posts about me scurrying to Goodwill). I can't see progress, but it has been made. Because it is backfiring.

Not for me, I'm fine. But I did drive up the other day and notice a Ryder truck parked in our driveway. "Oh goody, we're moving!" I thought. But then I noticed that furniture was coming out of the truck, not going in. Curious, I watched as family and friends carried furniture into the house, like very large ants with very, very big crumbs. I watched, waiting to see the walls expand outward. They did not. The next day, it happened again.

Now I have always been very good about giving people privacy within our house. I mean, it's the least we can do, right? But I am Loosing My Mind wondering what it looks like at the end of the hall downstairs. Heather is twitching a bit, so it can't be completely good yet. Did I mention that the rooms in question were already fully furnished? Sometimes furniture is like one of those puzzles where you slide the little squares around and only have one little square space to move things into. One at a time. And then, just when you think all is lost, there's a picture where there once was chaos.

Here's what I think we should do: get one of those pod things (okay, a small village of pods) and move all our stuff - every last toothbrush from all seven inhabitants - into the pods. And then move back in after we've cleaned and repainted. We'd only move the things back in that we really really like (our toothbrushes).

I think it's important to move every so often because it makes you get rid of all your unwanted stuff. Except my mom, who had professional movers and brought boxes of cake mix across the country. This may be the one time my mother was not right.

But here I am going on and on about my mother and her cake mix when you've read all this way for the sole purpose of finding out what we did last night that warranted a babysitter.

Chris had to work. Poor Chris.

But while he worked, I went to Tiki Port* with a bunch of friends. Let me just say that any restaurant with a curio cabinet/gift shop in the entryway is just bound to be a good time. As it turns out, I should have studied the drink menu more carefully. All the drinks come in fabulous glasses:

So of course you choose what drink you want according to what glass it comes in. By the time I arrived the table was speckled with Volcano Bowls. And my friends were singing "four little monkeys, jumping on the bed."

Some of the drinks come in glasses that you get to take home with you. I wanted one of these, but... where would I put it?

We all went to Tiki Port so we could have dinner with our friends who are moving to Colorado in not very many days. Now while I'm pretty much okay with anything that gets us out of the house, I am still not okay with this particular occasion. And the fortunes were TERRIBLE. Mine said "the vacation can wait. Take care of your work first." Whatever. I rubbed the Buddha belly in the atrium for about 20 minutes, so I should be writing about my vacation VERY SOON. Phooey on fortunes.

*I don't know if rubbing the Buddha belly on your monitor works, but it's worth a try.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

anger issues

Today in a music store I watched as someone dropped a guitar on the floor and stomped it to splinters. He said something like "that should give them some idea of what's wrong with it."

Monday, October 8, 2007

bike riding

Do you remember learning how to ride a bike? To me it seemed completely impossible, like I was supposed to learn how to defy physics. And when I did it - wow! the world was my oyster. I mean really, how could ANYTHING be harder than that? As my friend Sue said, she felt like she was pretty much ready to move out of the house. She could talk, she could ride a bike, how much more life prep could there be?

I still don't understand physics, but I'm sure glad I learned how to ride a bike. And so I must be brave and strong and let my kids do it too. Lucy's been tinkering for awhile now. We did that New Parent thing a few years ago and gave her a Radio Flyer tricycle one Christmas when she was much too young. It looked so cute under the tree, we couldn't resist. It was always hard for her, so she kind of skipped the tricycle part and has now set her sites on her pink and purple training-wheel shod bike.

Really, it was our family ride that got her motivated. She's a quick study and she figured out that she could either wait for me to repeat the ride with her (her tagalong is attached to my bike), or she could reproduce that feeling of euphoria herself. She also knows that before last weekend, my bike had been in the basement for years. So she got on her own bike. I dutifully walked back and forth in front of our driveway as she pedaled. And then Chris took a shift, with Studley following behind. I retreated to the kitchen.

And then I heard crying. Shrieking. I stepped out on my porch and pinpointed the sound as coming from exactly halfway around our block. I must have looked like a squirrel in the middle of a 4-way intersection. Which way to go? Do I drive? My neighbors are lucky I didn't take a short cut through their livingrooms.

I intercepted them and walked Lucy the rest of the way home. She showed me her injury, which was the size of one of the l's in "laughably small". Nothing a Hello Kitty bandaid wouldn't fix. She was Completely Unable to use her hand for the rest of the day. Held it up in the air like a trophy.

She "needed" the bandage changed after dinner and since Daddy couldn't find Hello Kitty she settled for pirates.

And then she went back out for another ride.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

very possibly the most Fun Monday ever

I think it's a regional thing, but people around here absolutely refuse to use their front doors. So I'm glad I'm not expected to write about the view of/from mine. I couldn't recognize it in a line-up. And I think at this point it's so overgrown I would need a compass and a machete to find it. From the inside.

So for today's Fun Monday post, I chose to look across the street at my most favorite thing to look at (in the neighborhood): the cranberry bog. It hasn't been worked in several years and has grown up with brambles and trees and whatever else I can't recognize (poison ivy, for instance). I have been meaning to go over there because I heard there were still cranberries and every autumn I think about how fun it would be to go pick them. But it's a bog and I don't have Wellies and I am really good at thinking about how great something would be and then not doing it.

I took some pictures of it from my yard but they didn't capture how incredibly cool it is. So after 6 years of looking at the bog, I put on my gardening shoes (orange crocs so I would be easy to find if anything went desperately wrong) and headed for the trail in. The trail goes about ten feet and then it's all overgrowth. I had a report to write, so I forged ahead:

the trail in

the pond in the center

some local color

a sign of its former life as a working bog

Sadly I didn't see any cranberries. I saw something that might be cranberries, but they didn't look enough like cranberries and I figured after the Great Chestnut Debacle I should probably look them up on Ye Olde Internet.

On my way out I peeked into one of the old equipment sheds (the door was gone):

And then I really did look up cranberry plants on the internet and as I looked at them it occurred to me that the undergrowth I was trying really hard not to step on was a dense carpet of cranberry bushes. Those of you who are smarter than, say, a cranberry, probably identified them in two of the pictures above.

I am not smarter than a cranberry. But I have opposable thumbs and can look stuff up online and I also have a burning desire (not literally) to can some things. Preferably, some FREE things. Like cranberries.

Picking cranberries is more like an Easter egg hunt than regular berry picking. For starters, lots of the leaves are the color of the cranberries so they're not so easy to spot. And in this particular bog the berries are few and far between - except in the places where it looks like the Easter Bunny got tired of hiding them and dumped a whole pile. As the sun got lower it was slightly easier to see them, but by then I had been crawling around for an hour and, as it turns out, had only gotten enough for six 8 oz. jars of cranberry sauce.

I am not sure how often I'll go back. What with the coyotes and foxes and creepy crawly things, it's just a little forbidding. But also very peaceful. And gratifying. And it's been there all this time.

For the record, one level beach bucket (child size) is the perfect amount for those six jars of sauce.

"Plink!" says the lid of my cooling canning jars.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

artists amuck

Okay true, we have exactly no space for art on our walls or on our shelves (she does both), but who am I to resist a peek inside someone's art studio? Today I went to Rosalie Nadeau's annual sale.

At these sales she thins out her stock of flounder platters (I suppose there are other fish too, feel free to identify them) as well as her paintings. They had the platters displayed on the trampoline, thusly:

We were given one of these platters as a wedding gift from our neighbors. It is used frequently and fondly.

From the trampoline you follow the sign to the studio, thusly:

You pass her garden and then you are in her studio:

It is completely fabulous. Tucked in the trees, inviting, well-loved and worked in. There's a huge window at one end that makes you feel like you're outside.

She has trays of the most gorgeous pastels I've ever seen, and as it turns out they were made by my friend Terry. Small world, even though he lives 2,000 miles away.

As I left I noticed that we were close enough to the ocean to smell the salt. I love being able to smell the ocean.

From there we loaded the family on bikes and went for a ride. Here's how it sounded:
"No mommy no! I'm scared! Get me off! NO NO NO NO NO!!!!! Boo hoo I DON'T WANT TO DO THIS!" Yes, our neighbors think we are the meanest people in the world. Lucy was trying out her new Tag-Along (also known as a Free Loader). It was attached to my bike and I got to listen to her shriek as we set off for a trial run.

And then, half way around the block, she loved it.

Meanwhile, I never really got over the feeling that I was sending my daughter up in a helicopter with no doors and no seatbelt. She's this teeny thing, perched on a seat and careening along a bike path, (hopefully) hanging onto the handlebars for dear life. Studley had it made in the trailer, but Lucy? Doomed.

Knowing that I was probably going to have to throw myself off my bike to break her fall at some point, we stopped at the new bike store in town for a helmet. Lucy already had one, along with knee pads and shin guards. While we were chatting with the (owner? manager?) guy behind the counter, we discovered that his father is a potter who - what a coincidence - made a pair of mugs we got from our plumber as a wedding gift.

It's not like we have shelves of things by local potters. What are the odds?

As it turns out, I did not have to throw myself off my bike and our whole family made it home intact. Lucy was so inspired by her ride that she tackled her own bike and gave her training wheels a run for their money when we got home.

And aside from the helmet, I managed to not fuel the local economy. It's someone else's turn to support the arts today.

Friday, October 5, 2007

assorted noticings

Local Color:
There are tour buses around here all the time. Why not, it's scenic and stuff. But why do they all make a stop at the Christmas Tree Shop? Is it featured in the tour flyer?

The Christmas Tree Shop in Hyannis has a belltower. Today it was playing the theme from the Adams Family. It has a note missing, so it's not immediately evident that it's playing the theme from the Adams Family. Maybe we're supposed to clap on the missing syllables. And Adams was their name-o.

For about 5 minutes this afternoon I was sitting in a hammock with a cup of tea, watching Studley play with his friend Alice. I thought "sheesh, this motherhood stuff is breezy." And then, of course, all heck broke loose.

I almost died in kickboxing today. All was going well and then the teacher told us to get 9 pound bars. So we did, meekly. It's a bar that looks like a quarter staff and I thought she was going to teach us to spar. My friend Liz is pretty good at this stuff and can do it in full medieval velvet regalia. She rocks.

But no, we put them in front of us and were told to jump back and forth over them. Imagine hopping over a rolling pin - front, back, front, back. All I could picture was accidentally grazing it or landing right on it and fwing! out it would go from under me. Splat. I got a great workout because even though I stopped doing it fairly quickly, every single muscle in my body remained tense until.... well, now.

Finally, my mom compared my kickboxing class to the Jazzercise class she took when I was a kid. See? No matter how hip you are, you're not. 20 years from now, I'll get the "I can't believe you thought you were so cool pretending you were Carrie Ann Moss" from Lucy while she takes who-knows-what at her local gym.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Word to the Wise (or "why you shouldn't eat my cooking")

I saw this cd at the Orleans Whole Food Store today as I was buying yet another package of Dancing Deer brownies. It's about "Finding Freedom from Anger, Resentment, and Other Destructive Emotions." I didn't buy it because I've found that if I'm well stocked on things like Dancing Deer brownies it's very difficult to bait me into being resentful or angry. Still, I think "don't bite the hook" might be a new buzz word to keep in my head.

As is "don't bite the roasted chestnuts." Today on our walk we passed a chestnut tree which was shedding chestnuts like mad. So Lucy, Studley and I gathered a bunch (a really enormous bunch) and brought them home to roast. I carefully scored them (otherwise they explode) and put them in a 425 oven to roast. Oh, and I washed them before I did all this because, you know, they were lying on the GROUND and who knows what had happened to them there. And while they were roasting I thought, "hmmm, I wonder if all chestnuts are edible?" and so I googled exactly that phrase and I discovered that indeed they are not. Horse chestnuts and buckeyes, though similar, are poisonous. So I drove back to the tree and grabbed a leaf and looked at the pod thingies and compared them to the pictures of Castanea (the edible ones) and realized that they looked exactly nothing like the ones you can eat.

So I should have started this post "Today I nearly poisoned my whole family." Except I liked the picture of the fish.

In other unrelated household disaster news, Lucy had a fire drill at school and someone from the fire department came to talk to them. He asked if anyone had heard a smoke alarm at home and Lucy said she raised her hand. "You know, because of all the smoke at dinner time."

Is nothing sacred? At least she didn't tell them about when I really did set the kitchen on fire making almond brittle for Christmas. For those of you considering making gifts this holiday season, I suggest you stick to needle crafts or maybe molded jello. The holidays are not the time to get all crazy with things involving high temperatures. No Hot Glue Guns!

I do, however, still have visions of canning - there's pumpkin butter on my horizon. Yes, the mystery vegetable in my garden turned out to be a pumpkin. Yes, it is edible. I was going to get the whole canning kit, but I'm pretty sure I can make do with what I have around the house. I am most excited about using the magnetic thing Chris uses to lift screws out of hard-to-reach places for getting the metal lids out of the boiling water. I will feel like Mrs. MacGyver.

And remember, if you are planning on canning anything you have foraged yourself, don't forget to look it up online or have it inspected by your local phlebotonist. Or something.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

taking tea

A few of us met for tea today - our croquet group minus one and plus another.

We went to Dunbar Tea Room, same as usual, but this time we got our teas to go. Sarah set up an impromptu spread in her garden:

See why I'm friends with her? We got to pull out little plates and serving dishes from her pantry, including her grandmother's teapot.

Snooping around in other people's pantries is like browsing bookshelves and cd collections. Okay, they're not usually as accessible - so maybe they're even more rewarding. I have a little china problem and I'm always glad to meet other people with the same porcelain monkey on their back (I don't have any porcelain monkeys. I like practical china. Although in some circles three tea sets, an espresso set, an Italian coffee set and myriad dinnerware may not be considered practical).

Imagine my delight when I walked into Sarah's kitchen this afternoon and was presented with an assortment of teacups to chose from. It's been ages since I was allowed to chose a tea cup - maybe since having tea with my mother's childhood ballet teacher, after whom I nearly named my daughter. She had a glass china cupboard full of fussy little things that we actually got to use when we were there. She wore kaftans, smoked those long cigarettes and had a spectacular auburn wig.

Am I digressing?

We took our tea in the garden because... why wouldn't we? It is gorgeous and we wanted to make the most of it while there's still time. I do not know how people get their gardens to look like this. I have such garden envy. Here's a closer look:

Oh, oops, that's a close-up of the individual dishes of strawberry jam and clotted cream. Tip for staying friends with the people you have tea with: give everyone their own bowl of clotted cream. They were very nice at Dunbar, making sure we had generous fluffy dollops for everyone.

Besides the garden, it was nice having tea at home (or at someone's home) because our kids could run around and we didn't feel like we needed to relinquish our table. And we got to play with china that doesn't come out very often.

Funny, we grow up and get jobs and have families, but we're just as fond of playing dress up and having tea parties as we were all those years ago. I think as long as we remember that we're playing, all will be well.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Getting Out

Most of you probably take "going to work" for granted.

I get to go to work at least once a week. The rest of the time I have work hanging over my head like a very pointy, very heavy object. I do work during the week, just not as efficiently.

When I go somewhere to work I can't believe how easy it is. I get to work on a project until it's done! Now I do remember that when you're in an office there are distractions that come up ("Susan, the elevator's stuck!"), so I'm not saying that working in an office is easy. But when I go in, no one has any questions and they seem slightly afraid of me. They don't really know what it is I do. I am the Great and Powerful Oz.

Today I went to work in Wellfleet. I love going to Wellfleet, with its narrow streets and small town friendliness. Last week one of my coworkers ordered a salad for lunch from the restaurant down the street. When I went to pick it up, I was handed a china plate with her salad on it. It would have been ruined if they had put it in a box, don't you know. And they know where to find us if the plate doesn't come back promptly.

They were cleaning the streets today. One visitor noted that they cleaned both sides of the street on the same day. "Where do you park?" she asked. Except for part of Main Street, there is no street parking because the streets are narrow enough already. They could probably clean both sides of the street with one pass. I can't imagine seeing signs here that say No Parking on the Third Thursday of the Month. Instead, there is a sign about rampant children, cyclists and pedestrians. "Please Drive Gently" it says.

There are also still plenty of Caleb Potter signs up. I love hearing the good wishes of strangers when they ask who he is.

As usual, I got to work early and set up shop in the garden. There's a tall fence, so I can hear what's happening out on the street, but no one knows I'm there. I've heard all of "Danny Boy" in thick Irish brogue. And lots of small town banter. It seems like everyone knows everyone else around here.

My town is a little like that. I guess you just have to see it somewhere else to appreciate it.

And totally unrelated, you know all those ads and commercials where people are working on their laptops outside? That's nonsense. I have tried to work outside on many occasions and it is close to impossible to see what's on the screen, even if you find a nice shady part of a particularly beautiful garden. So if you go to the beach and you see a black lump which may be someone sitting in a beach chair with a black drop cloth over her, it's me getting some work done.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Fun Monday flip flopping

So my new friend Robin over at Pensieve is part of a group that writes on specific subjects every Monday. Last week I put in my two cents on her blog and wound up writing about my not very photogenic dinner. This week she is hosting it, and I think in all fairness I need to join the party (instead of crashing it). Here's her request:
Shoes tell a lot about a person and we wanna delve deeply into your soul sole. Photograph your favorite pair--or pairs--of shoes and tell us a little about why they're near and dear to your toes heart (I can't wait to see how Swampy ties this in to Breast Cancer Awareness!). Follow in Jenny's footsteps and make a foot-family portrait...show us your baby bronzed booties...let us see the shoes YOU HAD TO HAVE (but have never worn)...or all those grotesquely dyed-to-match formerly white satin bridemaid's shoes that were worn ONCE...the reinforced steel-toe boots that saved your big toe from being hacked off in that industrial "accident"...or, just take pictures of your nekkid feet--gnarly bunions, twin toes, or perfectly OPI-pedicured tootsies.Funmondaylogo_2

My favorite shoes, bar none, are my flip flops. I love them because I wear them all summer and they are perfect with everything. They are perfect with everything because I live in a place where flip flops are what one wears in the summer. And to take it one step further, I live where I live because I can wear flip flops all summer.

It hasn't always been this way. When I first moved here I heard a lot of "you're not from here, are you?" I worked in an art gallery and dressed the way I thought I was supposed to dress. And then I sort of eased into flip flops. You know, with kitten heels and such.

And then I had Lucy and everything went topsy-turvey and when I came out of the spin-cycle that was the first 6 months of her life I had reinvented my career, my home and my lifestyle. They were all very good changes - primarily because all three became more relaxed.

For starters, I began working from home. People always think that folks who work from home sit around in their bunny slippers, drinking coffee and chatting with the neighbor. This is a misconception and on any given day it is only two-thirds true.

For instance, there are meetings and when your home looks like mine it's just not a good idea to have those meetings at the home office (see many, many references to shoddy housekeeping). So on go the flip flops and off you go. Now you may be thinking "good heavens that's so unprofessional, who would hire her?" And you would be right and the answer would be, "people who are also wearing flip flops." I like working for these people. They are nice. They are flexible. They have their priorities all sorted out. And they pay promptly.

Now with all that said, I do not like ALL flip flops. My favorites are my Reefs - especially the ones with the thin straps. This is the newest pair:

I took the picture on our porch and not on the beach because flip flops are totally worthless in the sand. They make it hard to walk and they flip sand up your skirt with every step. So much for being iconic beach wear.

Reefs are good because they don't lacerate your feet when worn repeatedly. And they do have some support. The ones with the bottle opener built into the bottom are just silly.

It is starting to get a little too chilly for my beloved flips. I will hold out as long as possible, but eventually they will move to the back of the closet and be replaced by warmer clothing. It will then officially be Dansko Clog Season.