August 29, 2009

We Walked a Massachusetts Mile

In honor of our surviving our first year in New England, I've made a montage. We passed the year mark back in June, but it didn't really feel like a true year until Obo's return. Don't forget to turn on your speakers.

It was good to go through our photos and see that I did have happy winter moments.

August 24, 2009

My Wandering Ways

"When I want to run away, I drive off in my car,
but whichever road I take leads me back to the place you are." --
Peter Gabriel

My dad was a driver, I think I've mentioned. He spent most of his life in his car and died in his car. When he lived in California he would wake up in the morning and decide to drive to S.F.,-- two hours down the road-- just to fly a kite in Golden Gate and slide a few oysters down his gullet. As I got older he'd get an itch, call me up on a Saturday morning and say, "I'm leaving for Mexico, you comin'?" He'd pick me up within the hour.

I get that itch, too, and am especially feeling it with September a tiptoe away. R and I could smell fall on the water tonight, and we had to zip the boat back to the dock because Buckaroo and I had a serious case of the goose bumps. I'm not ready for this. I want to run.

The thing about winter is that it comes on something like I imagine insanity might. I know it's out there, hovering closer, but the weather is fickle, and it's hard to recognize that winter is really happening until we're in the thick of an ice storm and can't imagine that summer or clarity ever existed. At least that's how last year felt.

Last summer I worried about the winter because I didn't know what to expect, but I had this idea that once I'd lived through a New England winter I'd feel less anxiety about the frostiness. Unfortunately, after last winter, I have mucho anxiety to share-- which is why I want to take it on the road.

The problem with my dad's road trips was that he was missing the tiny bulb in his brain that's supposed to light up and tell the tripper when it's time to go home. Sometimes he was gone for weeks. Luckily, I inherited a Trip Over indicator from my mother, which keeps me honest.

Don't get me wrong: my fantasy travel life is quite active. Most recently I was hitching a ride, in my head, to Australia to meet a kookaburra. I know, though, that I must be home near 3 p.m. on school days to make sure Sweet P starts her homework at a reasonable hour. Plus, Buckaroo and I don't do well together with more than four hours in the car a day, and though there have been days I've considered it, I just can't bring myself to stick him in front of the tv with a looping DVD of Bob the Builder and a mountain of fruit chewies.

Still, I have to scratch a little. There's a bookstore I'm longing to eyeball in Rochester, VT, but that's three hours from here one way, according to Mapquest, so today I settled for Peterborough, NH instead. Packed up the kids and boogied on down the road. Sweet P had never heard of Fleetwood Mac-- and egregious parenting oversight on my part-- so I introduced her to my favorite childhood songs in the car while Buckaroo napped.

We perused Toadstool Books, sampled our first fluffernutter sandwich and discussed John Mackey while Buckaroo canoodled with a chihuahua, braved the decidedly unfriendly staff at Twelve Pine for some foodie accessories (burnt fig jam, wasabi sauce, a bottle of red-- not to be enjoyed simultaneously) and dashed into the little corner market for R's faves: clotted cream and digestive biscuits.

We were home by 3 p.m., so Sweet P could be on time for her first (voluntary) sleep over, and R returned early from work, so we had time to watch the sun go down on the beach while Buckaroo chased frogs through the shallows. Did I mention that Green Mama cleaned my house while we were out? So lovely.

So it wasn't one of my dad's off-the-wagon three-week splurges in Mexico, but I can't say that's really my style, and my husband was happy to see me at the end of my trip which is always a bonus and not something that was necessarily true for Dad's wives.

All day I kept saying to myself I am one blessed woman.
This winter may I hold those blessings close like a hand sewn quilt-- soft, warm, and bodyworn.

"Well I love you so dearly
I love you so clearly
Wake you up in the mornin' so early
Just to tell you I got the wanderin' blues
I got the wanderin' blues
And i'm gonna quit these ramblin' ways one of these days soon " -- The Be Good Tanyas

August 21, 2009

Here Comes the Rain Again

Obo really did bring the sunshine with him, and apparently carried it back across the pond when he left. It threatened to rain all morning yesterday, which suited our moods, and as soon as Obo stepped on the plane -- crack!-- a torrential downpour. Incredible.

All of my hubbub about not being able to walk Obo to his plane came back to bite me in the tushie. The ticket lady was happy to let R accompany Obo to the gate, and would have let Buckaroo and me go as well, but I forgot my driver's license. Gah!

I told Buckaroo that Obo was riding an airplane back to England, and Buckaroo didn't understand why he couldn't ride on the airplane, too. Eventually he gave lots of hugs and kisses and was distracted by something shiny.

So Buckaroo and I rode the escalators, shared a cookie, played with the rental car telephones, and mashed ourselves against the giant windows so we could watch the supply trucks come and go.

Sweet P opted not to join us at the airport. She is poo-pooing that whole crying-in-public thing these days. She waved from the porch as we drove away and then made a big batch of Beat the Blues cupcakes.

It's quiet in the house now. Even Buckaroo's favorite game of Tackle the Dog couldn't match the silly wildness that Sweet P and Obo cooked up.

Frog Mama and the FMF came for a swim in the near-hurricane winds today (good friends that they are), and that kept us busy and chatty, but as we were waving them goodbye Buckaroo said, "I just want Obo to come back now."

August 20, 2009

Goodbye Day

You know the worst part of airport security? It's not removing my shoes and realizing that I've forgotten to clean my toenails, or having some shmoo view all of the intimate items in my carry-on bag-- or worse, bring them out for the entire airport to view-- it's not even scalding my throat trying to guzzle down the hot tea I bought because I forgot I couldn't take it past the metal detector. I know, I know, it's all in the pursuit of safety-- but the worst part is that we can't, as a family, walk our boy to the gate and watch his airplane depart for England. It might make saying goodbye the teeny tiniest bit easier.

Goodbye Obo, skier of the lake, jumper of the wake, singer of Ga Ga, fan of all things poppity, boy who makes the air a little lighter, who finally brought us the sun.

We love you.

August 10, 2009

The Waterskiing Boy

Look at this handsome face! Isn't it just smoochable?
Obo does not enjoy having his picture taken, and he really does not enjoy having his photos tossed out to the online world, so nearly every one of the 10,000 photos I've taken of him are just a blurry hand, but this one slipped through. Ha!
The boy finally hopped up on the skis today and stayed on top of the water for about 200 feet. It's a record. We plan to have him zipping around the lake before he hops on a plane back to the land of the jolly.
Here's the Obo quote of the week: Upon requesting a third helping of dessert, "I can't help it. It's my stomach! 'SHUT UP stomach!'" You might have needed to see his angry hand gesturing at his tummy.
I'd like to share more of the funny things Obo says, but they are mostly inappropriate. Funny, but totally inappropriate. He is fifteen, you know. He and Sweet P have bonded so tightly around bathroom humor.
We've got 10 more fun-packed days with the English Boy from America. Our agenda includes: One trip to the Boston Children's Museum
One fish and chips dinner with the Grandma and Grampy (although Obo doesn't eat fish. I said I thought it was unpatriotic for a Brit to refuse fish and chips. Obo said he can't wait until I visit him in England so he can disabuse me of all my British notions).
One horseback riding adventure in New Hampshire
One visit to Old Orchard Beach in Maine for roller coaster rides and chilly ocean swimming
One trip to Burlington for Indian lunch with R and a trip to the mall so Obo can spend his birthday money
Oh, and the lake zipping
Not sure we'll squeeze it all in, but we'll give it the old New England try.
He's hovering over my shoulder now to ask if this bloggity blog is finished. It is.

August 4, 2009

A Hole in the Water

"You know what they call a boat, don't you?" R asked as we were driving to Bob the Boatman's store to pick up a new starter for the boat.

"I don't," I said.

"A hole in the water where you throw your money."

Sure nuff.

The previous evening we'd had a glorious time skiing and tubing until our digits were all numb from the boat's vibrations. Just as we were packing it all in-- kaput-- the engine wouldn't start. R thought it was the battery. We were, of course, at the far end of the lake, so we took turns paddling, and it was slow going-- especially with Buckaroo (who had been so patient until this point) whimpering, "I want to go home now." Did I mention we hadn't eaten dinner?

I've never been a big fan of motorized thingies. A friend in high school said, "I don't like things that make noise in nature," and I totally agreed with her. Sweet P's dad taught her to call any sail-less boat a stink pot, and I was really ok with that.

Then I bought a house in the woods, and it came with a motor boat. What are you gonna do? Learn to ski! That's what you're gonna do! Now I can't imagine why I didn't learn to ski twenty years ago.

Still, when we were ever-so-slowly paddling our way across the lake, and the sun was just melting, and there were the brightest patches of blue sky between the gray clouds-- and then-- a perfect rainbow all the way from one side of the lake to the other, and it was so quiet, and I remembered what it was I liked about a motorless boat: the calm.

Maybe there was a reason our boat broke down with all of us in it. It forced us to take some time to look around and appreciate the beauty instead of zipping past it at high speeds.

Then, today, as we were splashing around on the beach, I said, "It would be fun to have a sailboat," and Sweet P said, "I was just thinking that!"

Not a half an hour later, a neighbor's tiny sail boat washed up on our shore.