August 30, 2008
August 29, 2008
August 27, 2008
Well, at this stage they're still web worms, which is an unfortunate name for a creature. In May they'll become moths. The good news is that they don't harm the trees at all. Shew! I was starting to worry about those trees.
Today Buckaroo and I had a lovely playdate in Templeton--isn't that the name of Wilbur's rat? It sure does sound familiar. Then later Buckaroo spent some time with the FMF while R and I attended a very thorough introduction to the 6th grade.
In other news, I am unraveling my aubergine scarf-- not all of it, just the first half. My neighbor, G, told me to bind off the first half and start the second and crochet them together. I don't know how to crochet, but I thought I'd cross that bridge later. Knitter Bee, though, told me I could just tie the second skein of yarn on to the first and keep going. Der. So now I'm off to unravel and start again. Ah, well. It's not cold enough for a scarf yet anyway.
August 26, 2008
Sweet Potato hitched a ride to school with our neighbor, her daughter Tap Girl, and another kid I like to call Puppy Boy.
I'm happy to report that Sweet Potato had a joyful first day of school. Here's a quote:
"I sat by myself at lunch, and this boy sat next to me and started eating his Oreos-- he had a perfectly good peanut butter and jelly right there-- so I thought, 'well, I'm just going to eat my Nutter Butters then' and I did. Then a girl came up and asked me if I wanted to sit with her friends, and I moved to their table. They were laughing at everything. They even laughed at my name (but not in a mean way). The first girl said, 'Do you wish you hadn't sat at our table?' And I said, 'I'm never leaving this table as long as I don't have to sit by Oreo Boy again.'"
She and Tap Girl managed to find their way on to the homeward bound bus, and when Sweet Potato arrived she ate two cheese tostadas and gave me all the details.
Later, R came home from his one day at the office, and we weighed the pros and cons of the two job offers he's received. It's like he's trying to choose whom to take to the prom all over again. Lucky dog. He's playing coy.
So I was the only one in a funk today. I don't know what it was, but I couldn't shake it. The cooler weather maybe, or the fact that Buckaroo and I were without vehicle all day. R is talking about pulling the boat from the lake soon and bringing up the dock. Sweet Potato started school, R's changing jobs, and this is all really happening-- and it's happening without Obo.
Well, I'll stop there before I become morose.
In the wise words of Kevin Henkes: "Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better."
August 25, 2008
Mr. and Mrs. Sloane created the space after their son Sandy died in WWII. They lived in a big farm house with plenty o' land, and granted a piece of property to each of their three sons. Sandy chose his plot at the top, and then went away to war and never came home. At some point a hurricane (yes, in Massachusetts!) ripped through, tore down some trees and created a lovely view of Mount Monadnock.
The Sloanes decided to honor Sandy, and all fallen soldiers, on the land Sandy chose by bringing different religions together to progress toward a peaceful future-- sort of the "all paths lead to peace" idea.
People from all over the world have left tokens of loved ones at the cathedral, and many of the pieces were built into the stone walls there. In the museum there were pictures of soldiers, letters and poems written to them. I especially liked the fountain honoring the women who had died in battle, a tree of life.
A sort of strange thing happened while we were there. I was thinking a lot about my bonus dad, Leisure Lee, and his brother Dale who died in Vietnam, and I wondered what Leisure Lee would think of this place, and thought that maybe we could all visit again when my parents come out in October.
But before I tell you what happened next, I have to tell you that Leisure Lee is an avid guitarist. I listened to him play guitar and sing almost every day that I lived in Auburn, and when we go home we are usually awakened by some random strumming and a tune or two played through an amplifier in what used to be my bedroom.
So there I was strolling through the flower gardens, checking out the bees, thinking about my parents, and cabbageheaded war, when over an amplifier came the sound of a single guitar. No singing, not really even a song-- just a little bit of this and a little bit of that-- but definitely something that Leisure Lee might play. It sounded just like home.
August 24, 2008
August 23, 2008
August 22, 2008
We saw a couple of other lovelies as well, including this very photogenic dragonfly. He all but said Cheese.
August 20, 2008
Buckaroo enjoyed the trip and the berries and even took a break from helping R paddle for some milk.
August 19, 2008
It must be caterpillar season because the guys are everywhere, and I haven't seen any that look like the fuzzy guys in California. In Auburn we had little black pillars with an orange or yellow stripe. This guy was hanging out in my garden, and I tried to Google him, but I couldn't come up with much, other than his being a fuzzy goldy, which I could have guessed by looking at him.
Oh, but there is a really cool web site called What's That Bug? Where people post pictures of creepy crawlers, and the good people there try to identify them.
This silky white guy is another one I found hanging out in my mint. He's going to be a moth when he grows up. I didn't take this photo, unfortunately.
I think I mentioned that the Daddy Long Legs out here are black with an orange-ish body. I tried to get a photo of this one-- on the left-- I don't know if you can see him because he blends in so well with the pine needles.
These are some very dainty (and blurry) flowers growing by the water. They have tall stems. They might be weeds, actually, but they're so delicate and sweet.
This fellow is just the opposite of delicate and sweet, rather ornery I hear. When I first saw one on the blueberry bushes, I said to R, "Look at this cool beetle. His shell is like copper." Then R told me that it was a Japanese beetle, and they eat everything.
According to Wiki they eat 300 different kinds of plants, and they have no predator in the U.S. Bummer. So I guess I won't be making friends. I read that a gardener could try spraying them with a 50/50 mixture of soap and water because it dries up their bodies. Yik.
Otherwise, you know that papercut art (like the cut-out snowflakes that kids make in grammar school)-- well, that's how all the leaves look when the beetles are done with them. Very intricate work.
Well, in case you were on tenterhooks about it, R's interview was just ok. They don't want to pay him quite as much as he'd hoped, and they want him to spend the first two months working in Boston. Too far! The interview was three hours long with all sorts of different people. Very stressful, and he won't find out if they liked him until tomorrow.
So in honor of R, and because tomorrow is our anniversary, I'm ending with an R quote from earlier this week that made me giggle and giggle:
"You're the luckiest wife I've ever had."
August 18, 2008
So there R and I were in the Market Basket yesterday when Yankee Magazine jumped out at me. Sweet Potato was very intrigued by the cover photo which shows a blondy girl eating a candy apple. She'd never heard of such a thing, let alone seen one.
Looks like there's a whole article in there about Nantucket, which is where R and I are thinking of having an adventure if he's able to swing a vacation between jobs.
Also, the mag is full of New England home ideas, and yesterday we visited with our neighbors, Mr. & Mrs. Next Door, and they have a whole upstairs full of light. When we came home I told R that I thought a whole upstairs seemed extravagant before, but now I think it's a great idea. We could take out the wall between the kitchen and the kids' bedrooms, and have big open spaces down here and all of the bedrooms up there.
Get this-- R agreed with me! So exciting. I also mentioned how lovely it was to sit on the covered porch in the rain at the FMF's house, and he's considering that as well. Of course the act of turning these idears into reality is a long, long way off.
Sweet Potato requested that the upstairs be done by the time she moves out of the house and added that she may live at home while attending college, so that gives us plenty of time.
Some things I forgot to mention: We had a joyous reunion with Sweet Potato and R at the airport. Buckaroo was so delighted to see his dad and sister he squealed and kicked his legs with wild abandon.
We all learned some things during our time apart: Sweet Potato learned that she likes dogs and would like to have one as a pet. R, on the other hand, learned that having a dog as a pet is a lot of hard work, and we just don't have the time or energy for a Fido right now.
I learned that Buckaroo likes to pinch doggie lips. Poor Sweet Potato.
I also learned how to make tofu-- oh, and that I'm very grateful to R for all of the wonderful things he does around the house and for the kids. Shew!
We don't yet know what Obo has learned, but we do know that he saw Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging in the theater in England, and he says we must purchase it as soon as it's available on DVD.
Now I'm off to help R prepare for his first big job interview tomorrow. I've been coaching him to say, "Telecommuting: that's an option, right?"
August 17, 2008
August 16, 2008
Earlier this summer Obo and our neighbor Puppy Boy were snorkeling around our beach and found several golf balls at the bottom of the lake. "Hmm," we said. "That's weird. From where might those have come?"
Well now I can tell you. Tonight, as R and I were enjoying the sunset on the still water, a golf ball zoomed past our heads. And then another one.
Photo by Christopher Seufert
Our neighbors directly across the lake were enjoying a little game, apparently. Besides our teeth, they almost took out the window of the house behind us.
It's a good thing I have a calm, reasonable husband because just as I was about to shout obscenities from the end of our dock, R hopped in the stinky boat, cruised on over, and politely asked the bunch of rowdy college boys to stop trying to clock us with sporting equipment. Grrr.
I tried to Google golf ball pollution, but it seems that I'm the only person in the world who thinks that hitting golf balls into water is a bad idea. Although, they are making environmentally friendly golf balls these days, so that must mean something.
In happier news, we spoke to Obo tonight, and he is enjoying his time with the Brits. He says he's eating tea and biscuits while riding on the red double-decker bus just as I expected he would. He also said he'll start making his farewell rounds on Monday and will be back The Woods on Thursday. Yay!
August 15, 2008
Erm, no. I know I freely share the nitty gritty details of my life, but I'm afraid some material is off limits.
It did occur to me, though, that I may not want to be pecking at the keyboard this evening. Plus, Sweet Potato is hoping for a dinner out on the town to celebrate their long-awaited return. Sweet Potato and I will really use any excuse for a dinner out. Obo, too, if he were here.
So I thought I'd better post while Buckaroo naps. He had a playdate with the FMF this morning so I could do a bit of scrub bubbing around the house. In case you were wondering, I'm not known for my domestic aptitude. I don't think there's anyone out there saying, "That Tricia, she sure is a tidy girl!" I do enjoy a tidy house, and I especially like to read a book in my tidy house-- or write a little something. The thing is, I'd also rather read and write in my messy house than take the time to make it tidy. You see where this leaves me-- with a tidy husband!
This morning, though, I whizzed around here like nobody's business, and it's all shiny. I even made brownies, wheat-free from a Trader Joe's mix-- well, like I said, I'm no Martha Stewart.
And Buckaroo has awakened.
Sweet Potato and R have just left Denver and will arrive this evening! Yippee!
August 14, 2008
August 13, 2008
Also, I did not mention Knitter Bee's lovely husband, who is a Mass native and (I've been told) sometimes refers to Bee as "My California wife."
And one last, but very important thing: Knitter Bee made us a green salad, and she happened to mention that she added maple syrup to the dressing just as I was about to dig in.
Many people hold it against me and wonder if I can really be American-- even more so out here in Maple Land-- but I do not enjoy maple syrup, so I have to admit that I halted my fork over my plate and let it hover there for a few seconds, but I quickly decided to give it the ol' "when in Rome" try.
I couldn't believe my taste buds. It was fantabulous.
August 12, 2008
We went to visit my new friend Knitter Bee and her kids, Kayak Boy and Equestrianess in Wenham. When I told R I was going to Wenham he said, "Are you going to beat 'em, too?" Not sure if that's a MA joke or just his funky brain. Now you see why I lurve him.
Knitter Bee is a cousin of a former co-worker in California, so Bee and I have chatted via email since I moved here. She lives in a recently renovated house full of sunshine. Oh, the light! Plus, a wrap-around porch. I have to say I felt a little envy in my heart.
Also, Knitter Bee has the best laugh-- so full and infectious. The kind of laugh you want to hang around.She made us a delicious lunch of lentil soup (a big hit with the little man) and grilled cheese sandwiches. Then we dashed about here and there. We picked up Equestrianess at the stable and patted the horses. Buckaroo was somewhat intimidated by the size of a horse, which was probably a good thing after the way he manhandled the family dog.
Then we were off to Yarns in the Farms where I picked up the most gorgeous aubergine (don't ya love that fancy word for purple) yarn ever. Fat llama yarn and fat needles for a big, cozy scarf. The yarn store is tiny, and the owner fills it up with rich color and her own easy laughter. She just returned from visiting a home for disabled people in Guatemala where she donated oodles of yarn.
Across the street from the yarn store is an ice cream stand, so of course we had to pop over. Buckaroo and I behaved ourselves and shared lemon sorbet. Scrum diddly dum. While sitting on the bench eating our dessert, we all lamented the dearth of ice cream stands in California. Did I mention that Knitter Bee is from Lodi and even has family in my hometown? Crazy small world.
Next we trotted off to Gloucester to get a glimpse of the ocean and pick up Kayak Boy from camp. Knitter Bee helped me cast on my scarf while we waited, and Equestrianess entertained Buckaroo in the back seat and reminisced about her Raffi days.
Finally, we zipped over to Hamilton for a visit to the Appleton farm where Knitter Bee picked up some produce and flowers and Buckaroo attempted to trample the crops.
Back at the house, Buckaroo chased a very patient Cosmo Dog around the house while Knitter Bee made pasta and veggies. Good stuff. We sat out on the porch until the evening cooled and Buckaroo fell apart.
Two minutes into the drive home and he was asleep, and it was a good thing because Mr. GPS lead me down the windy backroads.
August 11, 2008
August 10, 2008
August 9, 2008
August 8, 2008
Oh, and does she know a bird! We watched the Bohemian Waxwings nibbling away at the blueberries by the mailboxes today. I would have had to Google the things, but she knew right away they were bohemian and not cedar because of the tops of their heads.
I think I've yakked Annie's ear floppy, but I have to say, grown-up conversation is a beautiful thing.
August 7, 2008
I was listening to a Commonwealth program about intergovernmental climate change on KFOG (streaming live, gotta love it) and this guy-- Rajendra K. Pachauri (with a big title)-- said that going off of beef is equivalent to trading in one's car for a hybrid because it takes so much energy to produce a hunk of mignon. I'd probably know this if I could have gotten past all those ears of corn in Omnivore's Dilemma. R's mom happened to be nearby when I mentioned that I'm tinkering with the idea of giving up meat, and her jaw dropped to the floor. She said I'd be a difficult person to live with.
Well, I'm already difficult person to live with, so no change there, but then how will I make up for the stinky boat?
On a less depressing note, our FMF and I were singing "Five Little Duckies" with the children the other day and wondering what happened to Raffi, so I wikied him. Looks like he's been busy working for children's rights. Here's my favorite part of the blurb:
Raffi advocates for a child's right to live free of commercial exploitation and he has consistently refused all commercial endorsement offers. Raffi's company, Troubadour Music, has never directly advertised nor marketed to children. In 2005, he sent an open letter to Ted Rogers of Rogers Wireless, urging them to stop marketing cell phones to children . He has also turned down a film proposal for "Baby Beluga" because of the nature of the funding, which was based on exploitative advertising and marketing.
August 6, 2008
Around here we're reading Where the Wild Things Are at least five times a day. It is a Buckaroo favorite. If we're not reading it, we are often singing the tune to the wild rumpus. Does everyone make up his own soundtrack to the wild rumpus? Ours is heavy on the drums.
We've got more that a week of solitude still spread out in front of us, and I think we're starting to feel like banished wild things on our own little wild island.
Turns out R is the only floor mopper around here, and I never realized before how desperately someone needs to do that job on a regular basis. Right now, in fact, there's a lovely salad of potato, cheerio, soy bean and blueberry all over the place.
The good news: I've figured out a way to bathe. At a La Leche League meeting yesterday one woman said I should throw scrubbies out of the shower and let Buckaroo fetch them. I tried it this morning, and it worked! I am a happily bathed woman again.
Also, we did get out of the house today. Our FMF took us to Worcester for a little discount home supply shopping (so many possibilities!) and lunch at O'Connors' Irish pub. My lunch was a football-sized fish with chips. Mostly I enjoyed the hot cocktail, coffee with frangelico, and strangely I don't have the post-coffee jitters. I think the caffeine and alcohol balanced each other out.
It poured waterfalls of rain today. When it rains in California it always feels like morning. You know the song, "and the morning lasted all day . . . " but here it felt like dusk all day. When Buckaroo woke up to tell me it was 7:30 a.m., and he needed some oof I didn't even believe him.
But then when we returned from our crazy driving-in-the-rain trip the sky cleared, and the lake was still, and the fish were jumping, and it really was dusk.
Last, I think I'm officially over my cooking strike. Today I took Buckaroo to the store, and I bought vegetables: lettuce, asparagus, cucumber, mushrooms, bells, and red onion. I'm determined to make a meal tomorrow. I was going to make one tonight, but that gargantuan fried fish tuckered me out.
August 5, 2008
Here's the letter that Sweet Potato wrote, and I received today:
Hi! I am writing you from Nana Sandy's. Yesterday I said goodbye to Soccer Star and got lost on the way here. I felt sick yesterday, but today I am much better. Today Nana and I went to JC Penny's and Barnes and Nobles. I got 5 shirts, a pair of jeans, Bloomability and Ruby Holler (both written by Sharon Creech, as you know). I miss you and Buckaroo a lot and I can't wait to see you again. Write back if this letter comes before I do. I will be at my dad's.
Love, Sweet Potato
P.S. I have changed my mind about something so big you will not believe me.
P.P.S. I will tell you when I get there.
P.P.P.S Remind me about it.
I love you.
P.P.P.P.S Pop is fine. Bye!"
Here are my guesses as to what she's changed her mind about:
She's decided to stop re-reading Harry Potter for a while. This would be major.
She's decided to join the school band.
She decided not to be a children's book author when she grows up.
She's decided not to go to college-- oh, anything but this.
And that is the end of week number TWO.
August 4, 2008
I'm not crazy about the Indian casinos. My dad used to be in charge of filling the new casinos with games (or at least I think that's what he did; his employment was always something of a mystery and a bit shady). It always seemed like things never turned out as well, financially, for the tribe as they did for the non-tribal investors. Plus, people were always shooting at each other by the time Dad moved on to the next casino.
Speaking of my dad, I've been thinking about what that tarot card reader told me, and I think she was predicting my past instead of my future. I guess that's not a prediction, is it? More of a psychic re-telling.
Just before I went to see her, Buckaroo and I were wandering around a scary junk store in Gardner, and I stumbled (really, physically) on piles and piles of vinyl 45s. I was suddenly six years old again and in my dad's work. Back then his job was fixing juke boxes, pinball machines, video games, and the place where he worked had a distinct smell: bars and machines and sweat. There were gutted games everywhere and so many vinyl records. I loved to go through them and try to find songs I knew. I never did, though. It was always bad country music.
I had to resist the temptation to go through the records in the junk store. I don't even own a record player, but I wanted them because I felt close to him, like he was working around the corner. I was starting to blubber, and Buckaroo was squirming, so we blinkingly stepped back out into the bright light of the sidewalk festival, and that's where we saw Doula Mom and family. She led the way to the tarot cards.
So, it was with that energy surrounding me that Roseanne read my cards, and the reading that she gave me (see below) fit perfectly into my past: Three years ago I wasn't speaking to my dad, but we did eventually work through it, and then I got preggie, and my dad was so excited and called me all the time to talk about it. Plus, the major crossroads: Whether or not we moved to New England. There you have it.
Ah, it's all a lot of rubbish anyway, right?
Now, you're probably wondering about the above photo? Buckaroo and I had dinner (turns out Buckaroo is a fan of zucchini, yay!), ice cream, and a walk with our FMF today, and we passed wild concord grape vines. It looked more like a tree, really, and at first I didn't realize they were grapes because they're so big, but they're not translucent at all. They looked solid like green marbles. I was told that they get bigger and purpler in the fall. Our FMF didn't see what the big deal was.
Also, the blackberries out here are tiny dots, but I don't have a photo of those.
August 3, 2008
herby vegetable soup (Buckaroo's fave)
bread with molasses ginger butter
crackers with sun dried tomato and herb spread
fettuccine with spinach, olives, and herbs
scone with strawberries and lemon flavored whipped cream and mint
Also, spiced tea.
August 2, 2008
August 1, 2008
Today I realized that, 1: It's August, and summer is almost over. The baby maples on the walk to the mailbox are starting to get rusty tops. 2: R and Sweet Potato will not be home for another two weeks, Obo in three, and by that time there's just a sliver of summer pie left to enjoy.
I'm not, though, ready to start cooking dinners again. Maybe that is my cosmic karma: If I cook it, they will come, but I'm not cooking a dagnabbed thing, which is why I bought myself a veggie wrap for lunch today.
Wraps are a hot item out here. Every where I go someone's got a wrap. Don't get me wrong, I like a wrap as much as the next person, and they might as well do something with those tortillas because ain't nobody making Mexican food. I just think it's an odd little cultural quirk, and I don't know why they're not so big in California. I imagine that if I moved from here to the West Coast, I would probably miss the wraps.
I don't think I've mentioned though, there is no Juice Squeeze out here. Juice Squeeze: 70% juice, 30% carbonated water, what's not to love? How I miss it. I've tried to recreate it at home, but it's not the same.
Also, I did not know that hummus could also be spelled hommus. It says so right there in the Market Basket. I had some hommus on my wrap today. So tasty!