Friday, July 29, 2005

time for being mom

Out of the blue today, Mare told me that she could tell from reading my blog when I switched from writing for myself to writing for others. After all this time, I shouldn't be surprised that two nights ago as I was trying to think of what to write in my blog, I said to myself "Hmmmm, self...I seem to have shifted from writing for myself to writing for other people." When you've been best friends for 30+ years I guess it's a given that you can read each other like a book - or a journal, or blog, heh heh. Heh. I want it on this record, too, that when Mare took the dog quiz she ended up with the exact same dog I ended up with when I answered for her. So it works both ways. A little freaky, maybe, but oddly comforting.

I wore my mom hat all day today. I took the kids to get haircuts at 10, made them a delicious lunch of spaghettios, picked up Q's friend to take the two of them to science camp, realized Q forgot his camp shirt so had to rush back home to get it, resulting in my dropping them off for camp about 10 minutes late. (aside here - kudos to Q for not losing it. He's learning some maturity after all). The camp was having a parents' open house at 3:30 so E and I stayed down in the city, having to find a way to kill 3 hours. We did a little shopping and eating of ice cream, and visited the SPCA. Boy, that place just kills me. I fell in love with one shepard-mix dog with big warm eyes who loved to lick my fingers through the cage. I cannot stand watching those dogs through the cages. I put human emotions on them, imagining them trying to catch my eye and make enough of an impression that I'll take them home. They're not really doing that, are they? Are they? They sure put on a good show. So we attended the open house and I left just all the more impressed with my flesh and blood. He's a cool kid, that son of mine. We sat in on their physics class, and the teachers (high school students at the governor's school, which means they are very very smart HS students) were demonstrating to us the kinds of things the kids learned. They'd ask questions, and there is no doubt that if Q were to be transported to Harry Potter land he'd be Hermione. His hand shot up in the air after every question, and the poor HS kids were desperately trying to get other kids to answer. Aw. He loved that camp. We rushed home through bad traffic to try to get to Kaitlyn's horse show - went by Sonic to grab dinner, then Karin called on my cell to tell me they cancelled the horse show. So now I'm home, too full from a Sonic cheesburger, with an already half-drunk glass of wine in front of me, realizing this is the first time today I've stopped being mom.

And that's fine - I have to say that I THRIVE on being mom. I totally dig the whole PTA thing, and love having the house full of kids. I wonder if I'll be OK once I'm not needed like this any more. It's exhausting and frustrating, but when you are needed so much, and when you are so central in the lives of important people, it sure gives you a sense of worth. But sometimes when I'm getting ready in the morning, I look at myself in the mirror and see the same eyes that I saw when I was in high school myself, and it's just WEIRD. I don't think my self has been lost in all this - it has been transformed, and in a better way - but sometimes it's hard to see it under all the mom paraphanelia. There will be a time when I can shed all that and find it again. I'm not ready to yet, and in fact it scares me just a little to think about doing that. But not a lot.

Life - is very cool.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Turd blossom

Several newspapers refused to run this comic strip.

I think the point of concern is the use of the word "turd blossom."

Any response I can write about this will just diminish the hilarity, so I will leave it as is. But dubbya, I dislike you a little less just for today.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

culinary delights

My poor children are being subjected to one weird dinner tonight. They'll have canned tamales and Couscous. This is a result of working a full 8 hour day and not getting home until almost 6, combined with being too lazy to keep up with the shopping. But they seem happy enough with the menu so there's really not a problem, other than finding something for myself to eat. Unfortunately we finished up the canned spaghetti-oes a few nights ago. I've had two cheese sticks and a glass of wine to tide myself over for a while until I search through the fridge again and find something that strikes me.

I've advertised this blog now to a few of my friends and family and am wondering if it should have a theme or just continue to be random meanderings of whatever strikes me at the time.

...Update to the above described menu for the smaller ones. They have decided to add a "fluffer-nutter" to their dinner, which is a delicacy best described as a peanut butter sandwich with jarred marshmallow cream instead of jelly. Why not? If tamales and couscous go together then I guarantee there is no better accompanyment than the "fluffer-nutter." Bon appetite.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Behold the simple cricket, a member of the order Orthoptera. The chirping of a cricket, heard HERE is called stridulation. You can supposedly tell the temperature by counting cricket chirps. Count the number of chips from one cricket in a 15 second period and then add 40 for the temperature in Fahrenheit.
I tried this with the crickets my son keeps for his gecko. I figured these would be an ideal testbed for this theory because they chirp a lot. They chirp A LOT.

The one noisy cricket chirped 13 times in 15 seconds, meaning it should have been 53 degrees in my craft room. (Yes, my son has decided they need to live in my craft room so he can get to sleep at night). It was, in fact, 77 degrees, so I guess our crickets just shot that theory all to hell. Either that, or there is a tremendous temperature gradient between my craft room and the thermostat in the adjacent play room.

They are persistent little things. They do not stop chirping. Ever. They are supposed to be nocturnal, but we are lucky and continue to get the rare 24-hour, neverneedstosleep variety of cricket. Dear Leggo the gecko. May you be very hungry tonight.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Expounding the virtues of the simple Farmer's Market

I love the local Farmer's Market. The only way I can describe it is an explosion of the senses. There are the expected nicities like cut sunflowers and an array of fresh flowers that I don't even dare to try to name; jars of honey and baskets of melons. Boxes of fresh corn and beans and tomatoes beg to be picked up and sniffed. Lemonade and coffee is across the street from the entertainment which is sometimes a folksy guitar and sometimes a wild jamboree of conga drums. There's sausage and goat cheese, and peaches are nearly bursting with juices.

But that's not totally it. It's that once a week, our smallish-to-medium-sized town of today desperately tries, for just a few hours, to return to the neighborliness and coziness of little towns of yesteryear. Now look, I'm the last person you'll find wistfully wishing for the past or expounding how we're going to hell in a handbasket. I have little tolerance for those who think we humans were better, or safer, or more moral in the good old days compared to today. I'm very happy in this century and decade, thankyouverymuch. But I'll admit things have been different in the past - not better, but different. Way different. Before telecommunications and easy travel and the internet, who else *was* there to know but your neighbors? Towns had to have been more tightly knit in the past compared to today. It was your whole world. So while I'm quite content utilizing the technology available today, I do admit that it's fun to dabble in traces of the past.

I'm reading way too much into it, I know. But there's just something fun about nodding at the man you recognize from the week before as he searches through the eggplant, and petting the same dog week after week, and joking with the sausage vendor about his plans for retirement. Now, I can't give you any names of my fellow marketers by any means, but it's a grand chance to play pretend. And besides, we have the most scrumptious lunches on Saturdays now. Fresh ground sausage, string beans, slices of fat tomatoes and cucumbers with a touch of salt and pepper, and the sweetest, juciest ears of corn you've ever had the pleasure of munching.

And there's more to come. With autumn come the pumpkins and hot chocolate and spiced apple cider, and then the wreaths and berries for the winter decorations. Oh the bliss. Oh the sensory gratification.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

my life as a dog

To see what kind of dog you are, you will want to visit this site:

I am (apparently) a Basenji, othwise known as the Congo Bush dog, or the barkless African dog. This dog yodels instead of barks, and washes itself like a cat. They are odor-free and are described as intelligent, but in a hoodlum, why-do-I-need-to-obey-humans sort of way rather than a high-scoring SAT sort of way.

Yeah. OK. What to think?

I answered for Marion and came up with her being a field spaniel.
Personality: Despite its apparent disproportion this is in fact a good sporting dog with an equable temperament. It is adaptable and able to fit into family life and fieldwork, helping people kill animals.

First - the disproportion thing...don't know where that came from, I swear. Its head is big. I did *not* tell it that about you. Really.
The killing animals thing - well that is just creepy.

I'm off to the living room to watch the All-Star game. Matt Clement of the Red Sox is pitching and he's the one that stood around for 20 or 30 minutes before the Red Sox/Orioles game we were at last week to sign autographs for kids (one of which went to my son). Nice guy, despite sporting an Abe-Lincolnish looking sort of beard.
And Johnny Damon too.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Happy birthday to me

I was born 41 years ago today.
I'm too old to dream about being a bikini model one day, or an Olympic ice skater or gymnast. I'll never be the youngest astronaut in history or a child prodigy. There are a lot of things I could have been that are now crossed off that list, but nothing that I dreamed of being that I regret crossing off my list.

My vast world of opportunity is considerably more narrow now. I distinctly remember a moment in my childhood when I climbed to the top of our jungle gym. I looked out over the expanse of my world - the neighbor's houses, the woods in the back, the big blue Texas sky, and I thought to myself "I will forever remember this moment". And I have. Whaddayaknow.
I was at the start of my trajectory and I could do anything. The world seemed completely boundless. I remember not only the color of the sky and the hot summer air, but the feeling I had in my stomach that moment. I think I was really understanding at that brief moment that I was starting on a journey that led outside my little hometown and narrow world.

But I'm still happy to be along for the ride. I don't know how I'll feel when I turn 75, or even 50 - I'm not ready for that. For now, though, 41 is still somewhere in the gray zone between living with possibility and living with limitations. My parents seem totally happy with where they are, so I suspect life will continue to work its magic on me.

And as they say, another birthday is definitely better than the alternative.

I just got a comically biased survey via phonecall concerning a proposed proffer tax in the county. After I gave the answers I knew they were not looking for, the caller identified herself as with the local Realtor's Association. Ha. Me, the curmudgeon.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Primitive withdrawal and Flotsam

I've always loved the response an infant has to too much chaos in their environment. She will simply fall asleep. Primitive withdrawal.

My son and I were watching one of the episodes of Carl Sagan's Cosmos series last night, and in particular, we were watching Episode 8: Travels in Space and Time. My mind was nice and open , too, due to the glass and a half of wine I had whilst playing board games with my daughter earlier. I've lost count of the number of times I've tried to really understand Einstein's theory of relativity - I mean not just repeat the words and know the equations but *grasp* it, see it and know it; but it increased by one last night. And as I tried to bend my mind around the ideas and Carl Sagan began discussing the physics (questionable) and philosophy of moving backward in time, describing the multiple threads of existance that must exist in parallel - indeed, there must be an infinity of these threads...I simply fell asleep. Apparently, my mind is not fated to grasp these ideas by the roots, but simply by the shells. The fun is in the trying.

Happy Independence Day to the US of America. These wishes go out to the infant and child America - the one with the integrity and dreams - the one that valued individuals and true freedom. The adult America of today has not earned my respect. But I'm not ready to give up completely just yet. There's always Barack Obama waiting in the wings.

We're having my locally famous ribs at our neighborhood barbeque tonight (and please note that 'locally' refers to the lowest level of local). Pork loin back ribs, dry rub of Emeril's seasoning, lots of mopping with red wine vinegar, and our faithful electric smoker/steamer. Simple. Fattening. Succulent.

Introduction to Me

I suppose this is the place to put an introduction to "myself", but
this is really for me. I can be selfish here because I'm not prepared
to be selfish in other parts of my life. I'm a mom, you see. And a wife, and
a scientist, and a daughter, and a friend, not necessarily in that order
every day. So this is my place to do things my way.

I'm also a pantheist, a compromiser, a democrat, and a dreamer.

I am too many things to include in a simple introduction. I am not enough
to gloat about in an introduction. I'm simply curious and wanted a place to
come to think out loud.

I don't know where this will go, but it will be engaging to see.