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

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Will Dailey


Tonight I listened to Will Dailey co-host one of my favorite radio shows, The Cheap Seats. What a coincidence!* His new album, "Torrent, vol. 1 & 2," has been hanging out in my mp3 player lately. Which brings us to a technical question: What do you call a volume of songs once it has ceased to exist as a physical entity? Not an album. Not a cd. A what?

So the last couple days we've been driving around listening to Torrent, vol. 1 & 2 and Sugarplum's all "yes, but what instrument does he play?" I have no idea because I'm listening on my mp3 player and I can't check the liner notes. Also I couldn't have checked the liner notes because I was driving and come on people, I have my limits. If I had an iPhone I could have looked it up online, but if I had an iPhone I would have said something like "quiet, child! I'm tweeting!"** and also the driving thing would have been problematic. So I say "um, you know, probably guitar. Maybe piano?" because that's a mom's prerogative. To make up stuff.

Tonight as we were driving around, still listening to Will Dailey but this time on the radio, Sugarplum asked again. And because I once stole Cat's cell phone at a party in order to get to be friends with her, I had her number. So I sent a text message (after pulling over, because if I hit a tree I'll never get the answer, now will I?) And the next thing we know, Will is saying, "well, Sugarplum, I play guitar and piano and harmonica and mandolin and..." I don't know, he listed about 12 more instruments. The dude's got it going on.

If you were to pull over and check the liner notes, you'd discover there are also cameo appearances by Kay Hanley (Letters to Cleo), Tanya Donelly (Belly, Throwing Muses), Elliott Easton (The Cars) and Tim Brennan (Dropkick Murphys). Good people to know, I'd say.

I'm a sucker for name dropping, but believe it or not, there are even more things to like about Torrent. "Keep You a Mystery" is one of those haunting tunes you wish a boy would put on a mix tape for you. "Peace of Mind" makes me want to lie on the lawn and smile at the sun. "Love is on the Way" is my favorite (I am shallow and have a weakness for happy songs. Shut up.) Oh, and it's about a mail order bride. Am I redeemed? The whole cd has that mysterious quality of getting better with each listen. I will not be embarrassed to own it in the future. And? I can't wait to see him live. If he's playing on our sandy spit of land, he's got to be somewhere near you. He'll also be on Craig Ferguson July 8.

On The Cheap Seats, Will verified the rumor that he sold his red Honda Civic to finance his first cd - thus the name, "Goodbye Red Bullet." You have to love a guy who names his car Red Bullet, and then sells it to foot his mixing bill. I hope I get to meet him when he plays at the Beachcomber next month. Maybe I can get him to sign my... wait, what will musicians sign once we've all migrated to mp3s? Better get the plastic version.

*That's a lie. It's not even remotely a coincidence. I wrote about Cat a few weeks ago, mentioned Will Dailey, and the next thing I knew, someone had sent me his cd. I love the interweb so much it makes me a little weepy sometimes.

** I don't even know how to tweet. But I'd say it anyway.

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Don't forget to leave a comment on this post, so you can win a Hoop it Off kit from Hoopnotica! Time's a-ticking!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Giddy-up, Mr. Bill

When I was 6 and we moved to Colorado, we pretended we were westerners for a little while and took horseback riding lessons. There was a corral in town, which was confusing to me because coming from my particular family, I only knew about chorales.

The first ride I went on was with Pine, a sap-colored horse that was big and slow and some kind of Zen master. I remember Pine because we spent a lot of time alone, just standing there on the trail, waiting for the rest of the riding party to finish their ride. Early in each ride, Pine would stop to smell the roses and I was not capable of either kicking him (pacifist!) or shouting for help (shy!). So we stood around a lot, just being.

Pine was far more Zen than I, and I ended up going to riding lessons with a great deal of anxiety about whether or not my horse would go.

I was reminded of this at today's sailing lesson, as I was shuttled by Boston Whaler out to Mr. Bill (my little sailboat). Today was the day they let us float away from our moorings and try our hand at making those boats go back and forth between two buoys. Still not totally grasping the concepts of wind direction and tack and so forth, all I could think was, how do I make this thing go?

Lucky for me, the people in charge of the Boston Whalers adore my sailing buddy and were not about to let us sit watching the birds while the rest of the group trotted along ahead. They coached us through getting off the mooring. And then? And then we were sailing. And it was almost like flying. My sailing buddy, who I think we should call Mrs. Thurston Howell III, did an admirable job steering while I flapped around up front. We went back and forth and back and forth between those buoys, adding some decorative loop-de-loops that were not necessarily intentional.

It was very fun and we wished our husbands had been there, standing slack-jawed on the dock, in total awe of our sailing prowess.

And then we were glad they weren't, because it was time to get back to the mooring and while it made sense on a dry-erase board, it was completely impossible in practice. We approached the mooring in what can only be called a circular path. For reasons we have yet to understand, we can only turn the boat counter-clockwise. Which is not a nautical term. So we sailed in counter-clockwise circles, getting closer and closer to the mooring, when finally the nice people in the Whaler came by and coached us in. And when that failed, they nudged us in. And then they went to the bar.

We are the reason sailing clubs have bars, btw.

We rolled up our sails, high-fived, and pinky-swore that no matter what happened, we would still be friends.

And for the record? I think we'd both be fine hanging out on the water with Mr. Bill, while the others trotted on ahead. We're pretty Zen when it comes to sailing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

not found in nature


Behold, the first snap peas of the season! They join the strawberries, spinach and lettuce in produce we've harvested so far.

This year you have to walk through the vegetable garden to get in the house. We moved it so it could get more sun and so we wouldn't have to walk so far (20 feet) to weed and harvest. The old garden was a symphony of weeds, but this one just begs to be doodled in. So far so good.

We're glad of the snap peas because most of the garden is just toying with us. We have corn, squash, tomato, tomatillos, eggplant - all gorgeous, but ages away from maturity. The eggplant is actually not gorgeous. It is disgruntled and cold and would like to be flown to Italy, please.

We don't grow enough to sustain us completely. Our garden is more symbolic, like the Queen of England. It has no real power, but it looks darn good and does wonders for public opinion. That's the part I'm banking on.

I need public opinion help because I have something to confess. All this talk of garden produce and fresh eggs? It's sometimes eclipsed by a jar of salsa con queso.

There, I've said it. I have a salsa con queso problem.

A week or so ago I was at the grocery store and spotted some. I could not resist its charm, so into the cart it went. When I got home, the house was full of people, none of whom know about the queso, all of whom probably think I eat nothing but spelt and dark, leafy greens. So I did what any poser would do. I put the jar in my purse and smuggled it into the house. When no one was looking, I put it in a cupboard behind a jar of homemade applesauce.

A few days later, I was working late and suddenly remembered my stash. No one was awake. No one would know. I dove in. Ah, the spicy, gluey, goodness! This happened a few times over several days. Once I thought there was less in the jar than I had left, but what could I do? Ask around to see if someone had found the jar of salsa con queso in the back of the fridge? Risk giving myself away completely?

Tonight there will be another clandestine meeting. I will need to bring a spatula, because our little fling is nearly over. I will go back to leafy greens. I will maybe make some cookies. I will try to be the person I pretend to be. At least for a little while.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Cape Cod Vacation: Storm Version

It seems we have to rethink the ultimate Cape Cod Vacation. Because Mother Nature is not cooperating, even a little bit.

Oh it's great for my garden, don't get me wrong. I watch the rain come down and think of all the savings I'll see on my water bill (a dollar? amortized?). I also watch the rain come down and think of all the families with their noses pressed to their cottage windows. And I feel kind of bad for them.

Before I lived here, I vacationed here. We always rented a cottage in June because it was "less crowded," which is code for "cheaper." Sometimes it would be sunny, sometimes it would not. When it was not, we did jigsaw puzzles. We raided bookshelves. We had fires in fireplaces and on beaches. Honestly? Even as a kid I loved it here so much I didn't so much care about the weather.

It is with this thought that I bring you A Cape Cod Vacation: Storm Version. It's the storm version because there is a nor'easter out there, people, and it is trying to blow our chickens into next week. Holy mackerel.

Yesterday being Father's Day, we braved the elements and went to the Wellfleet Beachcomber for an afternoon of clam chowder and Incredible Casuals. Until we were safely inside, I hadn't realized what a spectacular afternoon it would be.

A long time ago I noticed that when the weather is really bad - when saltwater is blowing and treetops are thrashing and waves are dragging entire houses into the sea - people find themselves inexplicably drawn through the elements and into the safety of the bar.

The Beachcomber had some of the ocean-side shutters closed, making the outside deck marginally habitable, but we (being sissies) did not sit out there. We and a hundred or so of our closest friends chose to hang out inside, where the wind blew through the doors and reminded us where we were. Really, when all that's breaking loose, where do you want to be? You want to be in a life saving station, wrapped in a woolly sweater, eating lobster. You can look around and imagine the surfmen sitting there, doing their surfmen thing. It makes you feel sort of rugged. And hungry. Do surfmen eat oysters Rockefeller?

By the time we left, the car was coated in a fine mist of salt spray and sand. It is not dirt, it is a badge of courage and honor. I may never wash my car again.

Another Storm Version adventure might be to go ahead and book that fishing trip. Dress warmly and pretend you are on Deadliest Catch. If you don't like fishing, you could get the same degree of seasickness from a whale watch.

You can also hole up with a book. Recommended thematic reading includes Henry Beston's Outermost House and Thoreau's Cape Cod.

In my heart of hearts, I hope if you are here on vacation you get to see some sun. But until then? This is about as authentic a Cape Cod vacation as you can get. Thoreau would be proud of you.

If you ask nicely, I'll loan you a jigsaw puzzle.



Photo of Cahoon Hollow Life Saving Station, by Herbert W. Gleason, 1903
Stolen fair and square from the Beachcomber's website

Sunday, June 21, 2009

the Easter Bunny

My dad used to tell me I had been born to a wealthy family across town who wanted to remain wealthy. He says he and my mom found me in a box on their doorstep.

He told me not to accept any dinner dates, because no one would ever marry me after he saw how much I could eat.

I used to call him the Easter Bunny, because in high school I was embarrassed by his pink-rimmed glasses and bow ties. He swore the frames were "flesh toned." When it came time for new frames, he ordered the pink ones because he liked his nickname.

When I was the only one with no boyfriend, my dad told me it was because I was tall and beautiful and, quite frankly, I scared all the boys. I still don't believe that was true, but he told me to keep it up anyway.

When a college professor intimidated me, he reminded me that PhD stands for "piled higher and deeper."

The year I went to college, I asked him what he would think if I came out as valedictorian. He told me he'd be proud, but he was afraid I'd miss out on a lot of fun. He wasn't sure it was worth it.

Dad had a little notebook he kept in his shirt pocket (no pocket protector, but only by the grace of God). He called it his brains. When we quizzed him if he remembered when our birthdays were, he'd check his brains.

I called my family when I was in Germany. Everyone was on the phone when I told them I was on my way to Italy. "But you don't speak Italian!" said my mom. "Get me some shoes!" said my sister. "How much is this call costing me?" said my dad.

After he died, I dreamed about him regularly. In one dream he asked why I never called him and I told him I didn't have his number. "Oh, you've ALWAYS had my number," he said.

You know how people always say you marry your dad? Well it was really, really hard to find someone who even came close. It was worth the wait.

Happy Father's Day to everyone worthy of the title "dad."

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Awkward

Pronunciation: \ˈ-kwərd\

Function: adjective

Example: When you get a song stuck in your head while stripping sheets off beds and then find yourself singing Adam Ant's "Strip" to random strangers who are just trying to use your bathroom.

feed the house

A few posts back, I claimed our house is "bigger than it needs to be." This, of course, is completely open to interpretation.

It is not especially large by American standards. I am always finding myself in homes larger than ours. Not in the way I once found myself in someone else's house because it looked like mine and I accidentally walked in and wondered who had moved the stairs. More like people invite me over and I find myself looking for a bathroom and wondering if there is a kiosk with a site map.

The family who lived here before us had ten kids. Those kids had friends, and as a result, nearly every person in town has been to our house. One person remembers ice skating on the pond across the street. Another used to climb the tree next to the house and sit on the roof. I hear stories all the time. So really, there were 10 kids living here, but from the sound of it, there were 30 or so people milling around at any given time. I want to go hug the mom.

It would be interesting to have a time lapse video of the house over a few generations. I picture people spilling out of it, in bell-bottoms and halter tops, and then skinny jeans and skinny ties. Many would be carrying guitars. Some would be sitting on the roof.

And the house would have a contented look on its face. It whispers to people "come! stay!" It gives them a beanbag chair or a hammock or an air mattress and tells them to be comfortable. It is always looking for more.

Because our kids can't share one little bedroom forever, we think about what we will do in the future. We don't worry about it now, because honestly? If we put them in their own big rooms, we'd find them every morning, holed up in the little bedroom. It's close to us. They're close to each other. It's much friendlier than having their own rooms.

So, it's not time yet, but on down the road, we have a game plan. A plan in which everyone has their own room and our laptops come off the coffee table and move into a real office.

The words sound lonely as I type them. It feels empty and too spread out. I can't picture it now, because my kids don't have their own friends, coming and going like picnic ants. But they will, soon enough. The time lapse film will continue for another generation, with various cars in the driveway and a host of new faces appearing in the windows.

I don't think the house would allow it to be any other way. I know this because the Upstairs Neighbors are not home and, despite the presence of a band in the basement last night, the house is beginning to fret. It's quiet, and a little sulky.

It sends subliminal postcards to our out of state families, inviting them to come for a visit. It whispers to Lucy "make cookies for the band." It makes unexpected new friends and invites them over. "Here," it says, "have a bean bag chair."

Friday, June 19, 2009

cock-a-doodle-doo

I could have made some money tonight, except cock fighting is illegal in my state.

It all started when I picked up the Chicken Whisperer to give her a ride to a birthday party.

"There's, um, something I have to do on the way," she said. "We have to drop off Tennis Racquet."

So actually, it all started when Chicken Whisperer's 24 laying hens arrived as day-old chicks. I took the ones I had ordered, someone else took the ones she had ordered, and Chicken Whisperer was left with 14 hens. The children named the chicks: Baby Feathers, Locket, Little Bear, Crispy, Tennis Racquet, and so forth.

Tennis Racquet was the most beautiful chicken of all. She had gorgeous black and white feathers, which grew into a sweeping tail. She had big, black eyes and a magnificent comb. And she could crow like no chicken you've ever met.

Woke in the morning and started to crow
Now it's time for that rooster to go
He says, hey babe, take a walk on the wild side
Said, hey honey, take a walk on the wild side

And all the chickens go:

Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo
Doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo, doo

With much YouTube video-worthy hilarity, Tennis Racquet was captured.

We drove him to the farm, where we don't think he will be eaten. At least not right away. He's a particularly lovely rooster, and we think he's going to be a breeder. Is that legal? At any rate, it made us feel better, carting him off like that.

There was no one around when we arrived, so we opened the door to the most magnificent coop I've ever seen, and tossed him in. And all was well. For about 30 seconds.

Then we noticed the other rooster. We noticed him because he had fluffed up to twice his normal size, making himself look like a Thanksgiving turkey. He was not amused with Tennis Racquet. Tennis Racquet was all "dude, I'm a lover not a fighter. Look at my pretty tail feathers and my big beautiful eyes and my HEY! Get off me!"

Chicken Whisperer and I, remembering those PBS specials on cockfighting, realized we might be in for more than we had bargained. We thought about intervening (actually, she thought about it. I was hiding behind a rock). We thought about taking Tennis Racquet out of the coop and rushing him to ER. We thought about taking out the other rooster and making coq au vin. We thought about pretty much everything except having to stand and watch two roosters tear each other limb from limb. I mean, that's what they do, right?

Before we could decide on a definitive plan, they stopped fighting. And then they started again. And then another rooster (maybe?) took a shot. And then the hens started in. Tennis Racquet handled them all magnificently. That rooster was smooth, I tell you.

We waited until things had settled down and some sort of pecking order had been, at least temporarily, established. As we got in the car, Tennis Racquet looked through the fence at Chicken Whisperer, breaking her heart a little. But maybe not as much as it would have broken her heart to see him throttled by the competition. Or turned into stew. Or throttled by her neighbor and turned into stew.

Everything is relative.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the removable persona

A friend of mine sent me an old picture of an old boyfriend the other day and it has put me in a tailspin.

Not in a "oh no! I married the wrong man!" sort of way. More in a "what happens to all those people once we're done being them?" sort of way.

When you date someone seriously, you can't help but picture what your life will be like with that person. He was scrappy and idealistic. He was studying things he loved, with not much thought for how his degree was going to feed him. It was never an issue, because he always made things work. I admired him very much.

Meanwhile, I studied for the Foreign Service exam. It is maybe not a good sign when you and your boyfriend are preparing for careers on different continents. It is one of those things that made sense at the time. Neither of us was concerned about making a lot of money, but we did want to spend our work weeks doing what we loved. It's one of the things that was right about us.

Do you remember the commercial, where two young men are hitchhiking in Europe? One of them is talking about how he wants to be a potter and live off the grid as they walk past sheep farms and whatnot. And then a couple picks them up in their beautiful, quiet, comfortable, leather-interiored, European luxury car, and the boys are rendered mute. After a moment he says, "maybe a business major with a minor in pottery."

That boy, I'm sorry to say, was me. I tried on some new versions of myself. I envisioned big weddings with elegant gowns. I dated real estate developers and anesthesiologists and got a job in an art gallery because that's what I saw someone do in a movie once (sadly, not kidding).

It took me a long time to realize that real estate developers and anesthesiologists, though lovely people, are not my thing. I like my life partners a little scrappier, thank you.

The picture of my old boyfriend made me think about what was so right about our relationship. And after days of stewing about it, I've concluded that what tripped me up when I saw the photo was that I lost sight of who I was for so long.

There is a lot of talk about losing oneself when becoming Somebody's Mother. There is talk about keeping who you are alive, the you that is not defined by a mini-van and mom jeans. I love this idea, but the problem is, I lost sight of who I am long before I had kids. I'm not really sure what it is I'm supposed to keep alive.

At least, I wasn't sure until I saw that picture. I saw that picture and saw who I was when he was who he was.

I'm smart and scrappy and comfortable in my own skin. I think I'd like to revisit that version of me. And the funny thing? That's exactly the kind of person I married.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

a three hour tour

Sailing lessons are coming along smashingly.

Our boats have not been released from the dock yet, but don't let that fool you. I am a total natural at sailing. You should see the cut of my jib.

My sailing buddy and I successfully rigged the boat in the comfort and safety of the parking lot last week. I say "comfort and safety," but if I may be honest here, if and when you get brained by the boom, wouldn't you rather be thrown into the water than onto pavement? Maybe it's a personal preference thing. I thought we should go ahead and wear our life vests, for padding.

I figured rigging the boat would be easy, especially since they gave us a handy checklist of things to do before setting sail. I can do anything if there's a checklist involved.

Item one: "step aboard carefully." See? How hard can this be?

And then the list says, "slack off sheet and vang, clew to outhaul, foot in boom track, tack pin in, tension foot."

This reminds me of when I was first learning how to read chapter books. I especially remember reading Stuart Little. When I read, I skipped over the words I didn't understand, and figured out what they meant from the context. I may not have gotten them all right, but I got the idea.

With this in mind, here's my reading of the above: "slack off sheet and, to, foot in, in, foot."

Maybe it will get better? I read on: "Feel along luff, secure halyard to head, start in mast track. Jib on forestay, tack to stem plate, halyard on head board, No Twists!"

It is safe to say I am in big trouble.

So we did what anyone would do who hadn't done their homework: cheat. We graciously allowed the couple standing next to us to go first. And then we watched very carefully. You know, to make sure they did it right.

And wouldn't you know, it's easier to do than to type. I still don't know what half those words are, but I do know how to get the sails up. We even got to try it with the boat in the water, and nobody fell off.

So speaking of Stuart Little (because I often am), remember the scene in the movie where he sails in Central Park and wins the race for his new brother, George? That's totally going to be us next week. Except we are taller and we don't sound like Alex Keaton.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

hooping

Last winter I wrote an investigative piece for a local paper. It involved going deep undercover. It involved taking a hula hooping class.

I know! The things I do for work!

It was a blast. I learned to spin it around my hand and up over my head. By the end of the night I could spin it over my head and then drop it down around my waist without knocking myself unconscious. Also by the end of the night I had sent it spinning out of control into groups of other students, nearly knocking them unconscious several dozen times. There is a reason they don't put spikes or razor wire around the outside of beginner hoops.

The next morning, I knew I had taken a hooping class. I am here to say that pilates is for pansies and if you really want a core workout, take up hooping. Especially at the beginning, when every muscle in your body is tensed in fear. Good stuff.

Fast forward to this summer, when those same women announced a schedule of kids hooping classes. I may have asked the kids in their sleep if they wanted to take the class. And then they said "mmmm..um..mmmm....yawn" and I said "great! I'll sign you up!"

Studley stood like a frozen rope for most of the class. Sugarplum finally nailed it (she has tried to hula hoop for years). And I? Could not resist the lure of joining them.

It was one of those classes where the moms sit on the sidelines and chat amongst themselves. I didn't really know any of the moms and since I was sitting all by myself I ended up chasing hoops for Sugarplum and spinning them around Studley's belly. It wasn't long before I thought it would be helpful if I participated - you know, for moral support. And there I was, hooping in front of a bunch of chatting moms, surrounded by short people. Have I no shame?

I tell myself it's like Suzuki music lessons, where the parents are encouraged to learn and practice alongside the child. I tell myself that those other moms secretly practiced hooping in their garages after the kids were in bed. I tell myself that none of them thought it the least bit strange, me jumping into the fray.

I don't hog the swings at the playground. I am delighted to sit quietly and watch their activities, lessons and sports. But sometimes? A girl's gotta play.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

the open seas


Because I am a high profile blogger and have such sway with the public, I was invited on a hospitality cruise last night.

At least, that's what I like to think. It was hard to keep up the dream, what with all the people coming up and asking who I was and why I was there and all. Fortunately that didn't happen until I had my Courtesy Bundle, full of spiffy coupons like free ferry service to Nantucket.

I was there as the guest of my friend Cat. Cat is a radio personality. Whenever I introduce her to someone, they say "oh, you're THAT Cat" as soon as she starts talking. She was invited because everyone loves her and the cruise in question (Hy-Line Cruises) sponsors her radio show. They are smart to do so, since hers is one of the only non-NPR shows people I know tune into.

But enough about Cat.

Hy-Line, at Cat's request, printed my very own name tag. Since she is music-related, she had them put my music-related employer as my company. This usually gets me a lot of attention - like if I worked for MTV or was Steven Tyler's personal secretary. I felt it best to cover my name tag with my lapel - since I planned on eating everything offered and didn't want to give my employer a bad name.

I am always looking at these cruises and wondering how you get on one. It was the weirdest thing in the world to stand on the ship, looking at the people who were wondering how to get on. It was also, I'm sorry to say, as fun as it looks from the shore. I like it when I get to experience things that are out of my usual circle and decide that they are not so great after all. Like when you see a house you'd love to live in and then find it's dark and damp inside.

On the ship they had two open bars - one of which (the crowded one) was serving Cape Cod Beer. I don't drink beer, but I do know that you're at an A-list party when there's Cape Cod Beer.

They also had people walking around offering food. I love a party where I can go sit in a corner and watch the food come to me. I do this until something especially delicious goes by, and then I stalk the server.

It's a wonder I don't get invited to more of these things.

Once the ship left the harbor, we moved downstairs - closer to the ice cream and out of the wind. We sat by the window and watched the sky turn pink. We watched the lights come up on shore and pointed to the general vicinity of the Kennedy compound. There were petite fours being passed around, so we couldn't be bothered with paying close attention to exact locations.

It seems we missed some dancing. Instead of dancing, we talked about the local music scene. We talked about Chris Trapper, who was on Cat's show last Sunday. We talked about Will Dailey, who was scheduled to be on Cat's show when he comes to play at the Beachcomber. He had to cancel because he'll be in L.A., with Craig Ferguson.

It seems I linked everything but the personal pronouns in that paragraph.

We also talked about how this Exciting! New! Economy! is forcing/encouraging people back into multi-generational living. We're seeing a lot of consolidated housing - friends moving in with friends, families moving in with families. While in general I want to kick the economy in the shins, I am grateful for small blessings. If you poke the human spirit with a sharp stick long enough, eventually you will find yourself holding a broken stick.

All too soon, the lights of the harbor reappeared and it was time to go home. Cat waited for me to unlock my car, while I explained that Chris had microphones in the back seat so he asked me to lock it. The car does not like to be locked - or rather, it does not like to be unlocked. The process of struggling with my locks reminded me that I live in a place with chickens and upstairs neighbors and unlocked cars.

Sometimes when I drive up to my house in the evening, with all the lights on inside, it strikes me as particularly beautiful. I see my friends in the upstairs window. I see my family in the downstairs window. And I wonder how I was lucky enough to get invited to this party.

(That's a Hy-Line ship up there, but I don't think it's the one we were on.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

time flies

Today I negotiated the terms of my release.

Sugarplum offered to let me nap on the couch for a full 20 minutes, if I made her popcorn when I was done. The deal was struck. I snuggled up and watched as Sugarplum stopped herself from talking a mile a minute. This was not easy for her.

I closed my eyes and thought even pretending to be asleep would be, well, dreamy.

Soon I heard elephantine tippy-toeing, followed by Beethoven's Piano Sonata #14 at a pleasantly low volume. This kid really, really wants her popcorn.

A few minutes later, I heard someone breathing very close to my face. She didn't want to wake me, so she stood about 6 inches away until I noticed she was there. She was holding a note:

Thursday, June 4, 2009

sing it with me now

Chris: it's "seafood, steak and lobster, too."

me: but that's redundant.

Chris: yes, but that's the way the jingle goes.

me: I prefer "something, something, lobster too." Besides, it's better than "seafood, steak and sometimes gruel," which was the other version in my head. They should count their blessings.

Chris: I'll never work in this town again.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Woody's Eastham Lobster Pool

Hey! Let's go out to eat.
I know a place that can't be beat.
Something, something, lobster, too
at Woody's Eastham Lobster Pool!

I obviously don't know all the words, even though this is the jingle Chris recorded in our basement. Because the band needs to get a hobby, they did about a hundred versions, including a ska version, a Beach Boys version and something kind of loungey. So they recorded it a few hundred times and then played it over and over again to mix it. And then they put in the narrative, for good measure. Which took, you know, about 700 takes.

I am very, very well versed in what Woody's has to offer.

No pun intended.

We finally got to go the other night and boy howdy am I glad we did. It has that Cape Cod kitsch thing going, without being cheesey. There's a raw bar made out of the stern of a boat (that's the back, for anyone who is not a sailing class primadonna). There are steel lobster claws used to support things - the mantle, a little roof over where the food comes out of the kitchen. There are two dinghies tied up outside in a harbor made of blue flowers. I know, I know, it sounds totally tacky - like you'd be able to buy snowglobes and those pens with floating sailboats inside. But somehow they walk the line and you end up looking around and saying, "yep, this is cool." For instance, the flowers are not plastic and the mulch is not spray painted blue. Which would be awesome for a mini golf course. I like my mini golf experiences to be heavy on the cheese.

While I am relentlessly forgiving of mini golf, restaurants often rub me the wrong way. Some of them smell weird, others are too cookie-cutter. There was a place in Denver where my friend and I took our own glasses because the ones at the bar were a deal breaker. Stuff like that.

Woody's score: no complaints. That, my friends, is high praise.

It's a good thing I can overpower my kids because we were supposed to share the crabcakes and the fish tacos. I hardly ever order fish tacos because I almost always hate them. These? I will order again. As for the crabcakes, I did eventually agree to share them (begrudgingly) with the rest of the family. But not until I had licked off the remoulade.

I know, it's not a comprehensive review of the menu items and so I need to go back. For you. It seems the least I can do.

Also the least I can do? Is get the jingle stuck in your head. The Woody's Jingle. Does anyone know how to post an mp3? You will thank me.

(you will thank me to shut up, actually - but it will be fun until you realize that you've been humming the jingle for 3 consecutive weeks.)

This is not a paid endorsement, but I would be okay with some fish tacos if they happened to send them my way (ahem). Woody's Eastham Lobster Pool is on Route 6 in Eastham, just south of the Bracket Road traffic light. You know, where Jasper's surf shop used to be.

Dear lord I am starving.