July 31, 2008
I think I'd like a bit more color in my kitchen, but mostly what I want is light! Hallalujah-Praise-the- Lord kind of Light. Our house is so dark we could grow mushrooms in here-- which is why Buckaroo and I have to get outside every day, rain or sunshine. Walking back from the mailbox today we spotted our first Eastern Goldfinch and (I think) his dull little mate. According to Wikipedia, they are monogamous, seed-eating, and range from Canada to North Carolina. They're also known as wild canaries.
Today a California friend visited and ran around with Buckaroo while I unpacked a few boxes. I don't think I can unpack anymore because we've filled every nook and crevice with our junk. We're just going to have to stuff the rest in the attic and never look back. Isn't that what attics are for?
July 30, 2008
R's mom planted a bunch of these white bloomers around the house, and they're finally bursting with the sunshine. I don't know what they're called, but the neighbor is growing them, too, and hers are purple. Here's an up-close shot:
Other exciting news: Frog Boy and his mama came over today for a swim, and Buckaroo was so excited to have a playmate that he pinched and squeezed and pulled hair and completely traumatized Frog Boy. Buckaroo also shared his chips and fed Frog Boy some peach, so I hope that made up for the abuse.
While we were in the lake we saw a big, stripy frog, and he sloshed through the water with big splashes.
Also, it turns out that Frog Mama and her husband were married the exact same day as R and me. Also, our boys were conceived one day apart. How crazy is that?-- we've been living the same lives on opposite sides of the country.
Oh, and they like to water ski, so when R gets back we're all going out on the water before it gets too coldy.
Now Buckaroo is napping, so I'm off to unpack a box and read the new Anne Brashares book, The Last Summer (of You and Me), which is not part of the Traveling Pants series but has some promise anyway.
July 29, 2008
I could not live in that town and keep a straight face.
The park in Athol, though, is bright and clean with a grassy area for running, and it was a sunny day with blue skies, so we even had to put on sunscreen. Finally. Buckaroo and I made a couple of friends. An all-around success.
Back at home, Buckaroo and I finished reading Elvis & Olive by Stephanie Watson. I bought it for Sweet Potato and Obo, but they left it here. I guess they knew I'd need a good read.
It's about Natalie who has a very ordered life: Her mom is an accountant, and there are no weeds in her garden. Natalie's dad is a pharmacist. She goes to a private school where the kids are so polite it makes her want to scream. Then Annie moves into the neighborhood with her uncle, a bartender who mostly ignores her. Annie doesn't like to wear a shirt, and she keeps a dead bird in her pocket. Annie and Natalie become fast friends and neighborhood spies, until they learn how it feels to have their own secrets exposed.
The book is a little bit grittier than I expected, and it had a twinge of To Kill a Mockingbird about it-- the classism bit anyway, and the smalltowny-ness.
It also had a timeless feel like The Penderwicks-- very few references to pop culture or modern technology. I like that in a book.
When I was googling around about Elvis & Olive, I found this cool blog about tween lit.
Earlier in the week I read The Year My Parents Ruined My Life by Martha Freeman, which I really wanted to love because it's about a girl who moves from California to the Pennsylvania snow, and Sweet Potato has to read it for her summer reading. I did not love it, but I did like it a little. I guess there wasn't anything about the main character that made me really root for her, but I like the way the author shows glimpses of the mom's moving experience through the daughter's story. Of course I'm unapologetically all about the mom.
Tonight, after the reading, Buckaroo and I were eating dinner, and he tossed aside the beans and corn I put on his tray and totally dug into my Thai chicken salad. That's my boy, a born foodie!
I've just discovered that there is one Burmese restaurant in all of Massachusetts. I must get there for the tea leaf salad! This is one recipe that, seemingly, cannot be made at home. I googled that, too.
And that concludes our first solo week. Shew.
July 28, 2008
PS Did I mention that Band Girl's Mom's toddler tried to poison California Dreamin Mom's babe with wheat crackers and bread???
July 27, 2008
Single parenthood is not for the faint hearted. I knew this from my previous stint as a single mom, but it's still true. I know I'm not really a single mom this time around because it's only three weeks for crying out loud and how bad can it be?
I just want to know, ya know.
July 26, 2008
Oh, and Obo finally called to tell us he arrived safely in England. We think he is caravanning about now (what we here in the US like to call camping).
July 25, 2008
July 24, 2008
July 23, 2008
At home the rain let up for two minutes, so we went outside to play and that's when we saw the lake all shrouded in mist. Very eerie. I wonder if that's what it looks like in the fall. It felt like October-- or how I imagine October feels here. A California October is really the best month of summer.
July 22, 2008
July 21, 2008
July 19, 2008
July 18, 2008
July 16, 2008
July 14, 2008
July 13, 2008
July 11, 2008
Last night, though, from our bedroom window, R and I heard the hoot of our first owl. It didn't sound anything like I thought it would.
July 10, 2008
The date felt a little rushed and very expensive, but it was good to get away for a few hours. I finally got my lobster!
Last year when we were visiting Mass we asked R's parents if there was somewhere we could go to have lobster. They said they never eat lobster at a restaurant because they always buy it fresh and make it at home. Since we've been here I've asked several people, and they've all said the same thing. I know if I waited until somebody bought fresh lobster and cooked it at home (I'm not so culinarily advanced) I may never eat lobster again.
One day we were driving some windy road somewhere, and I saw a restaurant with a big lobster on it and practically shrieked. Miraculously, R remembered how to get us back there.
My friend Jennifer K. Sweeney has a poem in her book Salt Memory about how lobsters are affectionate with each other and hold claws in the ocean (Well it's about more than that, but you'd just have to hear it). While I was dipping it in butter, I tried not to think of my lobster holding claws with its love. Maybe I was a vegetarian in a past life.
After R dropped Miss A off at home, Obo gave us the full scoop on the babysitting experience. He deemed it an overall success.
July 8, 2008
This is one of the wacky plants we saw on our hike up Mt. Potato. I have no idea what it is.
Today we met our neighbors, P, P & B. They are crazy year-rounders just like us! B brought over his friend K-- who also lives on the lake, and all of the kids went swimming. Obo was shy and sat on the beach raking sand, but I coerced Sweet Potato into making conversation, and she eventually had fun with them. Afterward, Obo said, "Why don't you call B and invite him over again tomorrow, and tell him that I'll talk this time." So that's the plan.
Tomorrow Buckaroo and I are going to a playdate in Lunenberg. I just love the name of that town. If I were to live in a town because of its name, that's the one I'd pick.
R and I are going green! Well, it's mostly his doing. Yesterday the plumber installed two new low-flow toilets. I never thought I'd be excited about a toilet, but there it is.
There is much talk about heating out here, and everyone talks in tons-- as in, "How many tons of wood pellets does it take to heat your house in the winter?" I cannot fathom how much a ton of wood pellets is, or a cubic yard of sand for that matter, which is another purchase we are about to make.
Bob the boat man was supposed to come back today. He said we've got a bad fuel pump. R figures he'll be back on Thursday. We'll see. Apparently Bob was supposed to fix R's dad's generator-- which we will need if we invest in a pellet stove and the electricity goes out-- and he's had the thing for five years. He's still waiting on a part.
Tonight we grilled tuna steaks on the bbq, and I put too much salt in the cajun spice mix, but otherwise it was tasty.
Time to get the Buckaroo to bedfordshire.
July 7, 2008
On Sunday, R and I took the Buckaroo to Royalston to hike Doane's Falls. It was too early for the big kids, but they want to go next time. I think of it as Doom's Falls because there are all kinds of signs prohibiting hikers from going anywhere near the water. I guess four people have drown while swimming there in the recent past.
We hiked two miles (it felt like ten-- we need to get out more often!) to Tully Lake Dam, and it was gorgeous. The trail changes from large granite slabs to narrow and rooty and soft with pine needles, to cragged and mucky.
The river mellows, and at one point we looked over a bridge into the water, and the moss was flowing like mermaid hair. We saw baby trout (we think), geese, turtles, blueberries and tea berries everywhere. R says we could make tea from the tea berries, and it's very tasty. I was hoping to see a wood duck (another creature I thought was mythical) but we didn't spot one. When it got warm we could smell the pine trees, and it smelled like home.
The lake fingers out, cattails grow around the edges, and there are islands in the middle.
We stopped at the dam and had lunch while Buckaroo tried to throw himself in front of cars in the parking lot. The hike back to the car was much shorter. Why is it always that way?
Saw my firsts bats on the lake after sunset. For a second I thought they were giant moths.
R took the big kids kayaking, and they all had a great time. Sweet Potato was worried because her last and only other kayaking experience didn't go so well.
I put on my swim cap and goggles and swam a few laps at sunset. Then I flopped onto the tube and watched the thumbnail moon cross the sky while listening to Jack Johnson from the neighbor's beach.
The stars are out tonight! It's the first cloudless night, or at least the first one I've noticed. Oh, how I've missed the stars.
I went to the packie today (govt liquor store) to buy makings for drink recipes from our friend Deanies Tini Lounge. R is stewing up the mynt symple syrup right now.
Sweet Potato thought she spotted a fisher cat. We have yet to confirm any fisher cat sightings in the area.
I shopped at Wal-Mart! Argh. I feel so dirty. Folks here don't seem to have any problem with shopping at the evil empire. I thought this was a blue state. Don't they know that last year alone Jim Walton (son of Sam) donated $37,300 to the Republicans? Haven't they read Nickel and Dimed? Ok, I'm hopping off of my soap box now.
Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be anywhere else to shop around here. When we came out of the store we saw that a shopping cart had rolled into our car and scratched it. Karma, I tell ya.
July 6, 2008
July 5, 2008
July 4, 2008
I think he did enjoy the junk food.
We went to a bbq with our FMF. Oh, and as an aside, everyone out here assumes that we're vegetarian or vegan because we're from California. Ha! I say. We delight in meat. Actually, I am thinking of cutting way back in the meat department and only eating it once a month on special occasions because I think we'd all be healthier, but that is totally off the subject. Now back to it: We thought there might be teenies or tweenies at the barbie, but it turns out they were all off gallivanting around the globe. The big kids were left to their own devices. I, however, was invited to a moms' night out and a book club! R was invited to create a band, but, alas, he sold his drums.
We thought that we would be bereft of fireworks because they are illegal in Massachusetts, so we were very excited to see everyone shooting them off illegally around the lake. It is very wet out here, I suppose, and they are pretty. But, then, what is it with men and dynamite? I don't understand the loud booming things that have no sparkly lights. What is the point, I ask you? All they did was wake up my baby from a perfectly lovely slumber at 9 p.m. and keep him up until 10:30. The whole place sounded like a war zone, so then I thought: Is this what the 4th is all about, recreating war? That's a bizarre little way to celebrate-- right up there with creating the effigy of a conspirator and burning him.
R says it's time for bed now. I'm almost adjusted to the time change.
We are thinking of adopting a furry friend when Buckaroo is all potty trained -- in a few years-- and our FMF told us that they adopted their dogs through an organization that rescues them from Puerto Rico. Very cool.
July 3, 2008
July 1, 2008
Also, Bob the stinky boat man finally showed up! Unfortunately, he left the boat with a dead battery, so we still don't know whether or not there is smoke billowing from the engine because we can't start the engine. R says Bob is the last of a dying breed in Massachusetts and we'd be hard-pressed to replace him. Erg.
So, we've made friends, and they took us to a tasty Mexican restaurant last night. Yippee. We attempted Mexican food in New Hampsha one day, and it was ok, but the margaritas seemed to be made of only ice and tequila. I was about to ask the waitress if the lime and sugar were coming separately when I saw that the people at the table next to ours were slurping their margaritas happily. I decided to keep my California mouth shut and mix my drink with Sweet Potato's lemonade.
Anyway, back to the FMF (as they will forevermore be known). They are the friendliest people I've ever met in my life. At first I thought it was just a Massachusetts thing, but now I think it's just them. They've practically invited us to move in with them.
Last night on the way home from dinner R decided to have an impromptu, "How ya feelin' about the move" check in. Obo said he's much happier now, and he's looking forward to making some friends. Sweet Potato said she likes the lake, but she's also looking forward to her trip back to visit California. Buckaroo said he doesn't care where we live as long as we keep him stocked with Tings (actually he just made the sign for more food, or oof as he calls it).
How do I feel? Tired, mostly. I think I still haven't recovered from the time change. It is fairly amazing to go for a long, hot walk in the woods and then jump into the lake to cool off, which I did yesterday, but I'm missing my old life, too. I miss seeing someone I know every time I go out. It's only been two weeks, though, and I've been told I have to give it two years.
I asked R how he felt, and he said, "I love it here."
Buckaroo is making the milk sign, and he's covered from head to toe in soy yogurt. Time to sign off.