Monday, August 31, 2009

Shorts - the movie, not the apparel

Saturday was a strange one, which is to say, perfectly normal by my family's standards. We were going to further celebrate S's birthday with a trip to Water Country USA (which is pretty much right up the road from us and to which we have season passes thanks to our resident Grandma) But the weather looked really iffy, started to rain, so we decided on a detour attraction of going to see the movie Shorts instead.

About thirty minutes before the movie was to start, the sun, of course, came out. We got ready to leave at the last minute per the usual procrastinate and rush tactic. This time it was my fault for wanting to also see Ted Kennedy's funeral before the movie while also finally folding this week's laundry. S, in a frantic search for his flip-flops or sneakers, ran down the stairs, tripped over the safety gate, crashed into the opposite wall and hit his head in two places, top and back, on the front hall tile. Frankly, I would have liked to have seen how exactly he fell for those two bumps to swell...I was a curious cat long before I was concerned mother. I figured he was alive, his pupils were working properly and he was yelling, "I have incurred serious injury, here, people!" to beat the band about it, so he had to be fine.

We did make it to the movie during the final preview, without snacks, and with an icepack on top of S's head.

So, the point of telling you all of this is I walked into Shorts thinking it was appropriate for his age group and directed by the Spy Kids guy. Even if Honey and I and possibly K didn't enjoy it, at least S would and we would do so as a family. Well, I was pleasantly surprised by the cast which included William H. Macy, James Spader and John Cryer and even more surprised by the humor, charm and imagination of the movie. That's saying a lot because our home movie night the night before was the Tim Burton movie of Neil Gaiman's book, Coraline, and I'm not writing my review of that DVD, but of this movie instead, an enormous Neil Gaiman and Tim Burton fan.

It was really funny, fun and a great adventure told through the comic (as in superhero) eyes of the main character in flashbacks. As the boy tells his story, he says it naturally as in 'hold on, forgot to tell you about...' and then we get another Short, hence the name of the movie, which caused much consternation for my sons as we approached the theater.

K: "Why is it called Shorts?"

S: "Yeah! is it about a pair of shorts? Why would they make a movie about a pair of shorts?"

K: "No, it's about a wishing rock, so it should be called Wishing Rock. I mean (looking at the marquis) District 9 is about a place called District 9, The Time Traveler's Wife is about a time traveler's wife, and Julie/Julia is about well, Julie and Julia."

I love my kids.

I'll tell you, we all laughed out loud in places, even the reluctant, "I'm not a Goth, Mom" slightly emo teen. It was an adventure, a romp, through a plastic covered anti-germ contamination house with giant man eating boogers, a parent turning into a terminator, another set of parents turning into the weirdest set of conjoined twins, and crocodile armies walking on two legs up the side of a castle that appeared out of thin air long with aliens and a never ending supply of chocolate bars where the most normal thing was a set of twins in a staring contest that lasts for days.

If you have kids, take them. Even my toddler enjoyed it, probably because of the super genius baby who can communicate telepathically and control things with her mind. Even if you don't have kids, but you like to have fun, enjoy a good adventure, go see it. It's good.

And of course, we returned home and relaxed just long enough to consider heading out to the neighborhood pool before the clouds rolled back over our heads...

I nearly forgot to mention that the theater clerk who sold us our tickets name was Marquis. I had to mention the irony of his name and his employ, to which he gave a big grin and laughed. Am I the only one who has made note of this to him?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Riddle of the week

Now let's just hope I can come up with some more that entertain me as much as this one when it came to mind:

How many Roman Emperors does it take to change a lightbulb?

wait for it


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Reading, the other love of my life. & 3 current reads

Here is my big fat opinion: writers write because they love to read. They write the books they want to read because they haven't found them yet on the library or bookstore shelf. As a writer and someone who is absolutely in love with books, I find this whole new e-book phenomenon repulsive, an abomination. As much as I love trees and want the planet, myself, my children and grandchildren to breath for a good long while, I love the feel of a book in my hands, the scent of paper and ink, the feel and sound of the flip of the pages, the finality, the permanence, the thing of it, what makes a book a book, the words on the page, the pages themselves.

Mine is a love that knows no bounds. I will read anything, though I am partial to fiction, poetry, children's literature, biographies, autobiographies and plays. I used to read the signs on the subway trains and busses of the Boston T. I read road signs, months old magazines in waiting rooms, even if they're about fly fishing. I read cereal boxes, all six sides. If words in print lay within eysight, I read them.

The above does much to explain why I am currently reading the top three books on the side bar reading list. Go ahead, take a look. Here they are again:

Alison Weir, The Life of Elizabeth I
Norton Juster/Jules Feiffer, The Phantom Tollbooth
re-reading:John Elder Robison, Look Me In The Eye

Weir's book has been on my bedside table since early in my bedrest pregnancy of C who is edging onto seventeen months old now. Somehow, I abandoned it, without really abandoning it entirely. We've even rearranged the room several times as well as emptied it out to be painted and rearranged it again, including switching out furniture, but through it all, Weir's book remained firmly by my lamp, even when I bought a new one. I've always been fascinated by the original Queen Elizabeth's story. Heck, it's juicy even before she was born! I do like the way Weir tells the story, but sometimes I'd like a little more on some areas where it feels like a British presumption. I've been involved in history classes at many grade levels here in America, covering the time period, but sometimes I still feel like I need a little more background on the nobility - who they are and what part they play in the story, their motivations, etc. Also, sometimes she dates things without the year as she goes long into chapters of telling, and I forget, are we still in 1559? February what? When did she meet Dudley? How long has this issue of who to marry or not marry at all been going on now? Admittedly, some may be the two year gap on my part, but a little reminding clarifying details thrown in here and there can be very helpful.

I love Jules Feiffer's illustrations. I've admired him since childhood, in comics as an adult, and his I Lost My Bear! is a fabulous picture book. His simple line drawings in Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth are spot on. His map is great for referencing the imaginary world where it seems all is wordplay come to life. S and I are reading it aloud together. S prefers factual reading or comics and he has a hard time with inferences, so the fact that there are such easy telling pictures really works for him to understand a lot of what otherwise goes over his head if I don't stop, repeat, and laugh again, explaining why it's so funny. He particularly loves the very short Officer Shrift. We've just past the chapter, Discord and Dynne, and to have an illustration of 'that awful din' lit S up. We're still following Milo in his search and rescue of Rhyme and Reason. I've read the book previously, but it's been a while, and I am thoroughly enjoying it besides how much fun it is to make S laugh outloud with it. Of course, it helps that Juster seems to have as much a love for words and their playful side as I do. Even my son K, when he read it was laughing out loud.

John Elder Robison's book, Look Me In The Eye: My Life with Asperger's is much more than a book about having Asperger's Syndrome. It is one man's journey through life in this world, where it is difficult for anyone to find their way. He is an astounding storyteller, which is all the more remarkable when you consider the usual view of people with Asperger's is that they are emotionally void and unable to relate to others. The life he has led is vastly entertaining and traumatic and sad and beautiful and joyous and full of hope and ultimately full of faith in people and in himself. You feel by the end that his journey goes beyond Odysseus' of Homer's epic, The Odyssey. And he designed the cool guitar effects and more of the original showmen of Rock and Roll, KISS. I first read Robison's book about two years ago, having no idea about it except that he was the author of Running with Scissors Augusten Borroughs' brother. It blew my mind and gave me hope for my son. I am not recommending this book solely because I am a mother of an Aspergian, I am recommending it because it is damn good. It has been translated into dozens of languages and sold in as many countries as a long time NY Times Bestseller. This goes way beyond an inside look into Asperger's. This is an excellent memoir in it's own right. Go buy it now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

S's Birthday

Why do I feel so much more like he's growing too fast this year than previous ones?

Today my son S turns eleven, on my late grandfather's birthday.

He's such a big guy now, and he's showing so much more understanding of empathy and his place in the world outside of the center of his. Most of these changes have happened in the past year.

For now, I am going to appreciate him for who he is, just the way he is today. Just the way he laughs and wants to make everyone else laugh; the way he looks off to the right before he's about to say something truly philosophical and yet so simple, it's mindblowing. Just the way he throws his arms around me, dives in and squeezes me in his own peculiar kind of hug which he gives and receives with his whole body and soul.

Happy birthday, Kiddo. I love you. Mom.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I don’t know if it’s because I’m still waiting for some feedback on my manuscript, or because of the weather and time of year, or because I recently completed my first larger scale writing project since my thesis in college about 20 years ago, but for a couple months now, I have felt completely uninspired to write.

In the past, when I have felt this uninspired, I generally have felt depressed or frustrated by the absolute emptiness of my head. This time around I just feel pooped which can be attributed to the lack of sleep with a toddler who still wakes three times a night at least. The other feeling I have is vaguely satisfied, generally upbeat. Now, again, I’m not sure if this has anything to do with the manuscript or just maturity level over aged forty.

It’s summer and all the kids are as around as a teen can be when all his friends are back from their extended vacations that did not coincide with his visit to his father the previous month. S is always around, hovering upstairs drawing and reading or tapping me on the shoulder and Momming me repeatedly; and of course, Baby C is generally underfoot, when she’s not on top of something like Honey’s closed laptop on his desk. So, for me to sit in front of the computer is generally a continuously interrupted thing to do times three. During the school year, I generally have the mornings to myself, with my mother-in-law out doing her exercise thing (which is better than I can say for myself in that arena), and of course, C is still with me constantly.

I think some of this lack of inspiration is just the simple down time from writing something that was a huge deal for me to finish, so to speak. A first draft is a first draft, after all, and I am very aware that what I wrote is not a completed novel. But I wrote the story from beginning to end over one hundred pages. To me, that’s a big deal, not the page number, but the story arc, the things that the main character, who felt like one of my own kids, underwent and his growth and transformation.

I think this month especially has been one of considerable downtime, maybe a fallow field. Usually, when I lived in New England, anyway, the inspiration really starts popping like corn as soon as the first hint of autumn is in the air. So I wonder if some of this is just the dog days of a hot, humid August for me.

S’s eleventh birthday is on the 26th. This and K’s advancement to high school and C’s toddlerdom have really had me considering the constant mutability of time. It seems not so long ago that my boys were C’s age, reaching those initial milestones. Time is simultaneously standing still and speeding by for me. I am constantly considering what is important to pay attention to in the long run, as my children are representing three distinct developmental stages.

I am also in the process of applying for positions outside of my home after a considerable amount of time in which I focused on my kids, my recovery after bedrest pregnancy and my manuscript. In some ways it was a necessary luxury, as Kelly mentioned in comments on Brittany’s recent post at Creative Construction ,that must end. I took offense to the term luxury when Kelly used it, but I can see now is that it is a luxury to be able to be home, to be available to see the magic daily that is the kids growing and changing before my very eyes. Maybe some of the lack of inspiration can be attributed to refocusing on the outside world after being very insular for a long time.

While I have been very philosophically minded, I have not felt the urgency to write that has largely defined my life. This is the first time that to be so uninspired feels like a good thing.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ho hum

What can I say?

I'm not bored, there's plenty that has been going on but I can't seem to raise the gumption to talk about any of it. I guess I'm still in August mode, as I've mentioned, a very laid back state of mind, while I remain in denial that the starting gates of school are about to fly open. Maybe a list is in order as I'm not feeling very verbose. Speaking of lists, I better find the school supply lists....

1. Big thunder storm this weekend, very shortlived, but power went out briefly and I drove through a flash flood.

2. I drove through the flash flood because I had to take my eldest, K, to his friend's dad's house so they could then drive to Virginia Beach to see the Creed concert.

3. Very relieved that storm ended by the time I pulled back into my driveway, way too much bridge between here and VA Beach to trust my kid to someone else's driving through the flash flood.

4. Saturday, we took care of a lot of chores around the house. Very satisfying, but I hate doing chores on the weekend. I'd rather focus on family fun and relaxing, and take care of chores during the week - which I am avoiding now...

5. Baby C is starting to expand her vocabulary: baby, pizza, pie, hi and bye used appropriately, signing and saying 'mo peez' for more please, and much more. she toddles around the house doing vocal exercises a la my old chorus/choir experiences: may me ma mo moo, bay be ba bo boo, day de da do doo. I love it. Honey loves it, and so does Grandma. I really love how whenver we answer a phone, she says, 'ullO?

6. She also meows just like the cat and climbs the furniture like her, too, with a big grin, because she knows she's not supposed to climb up and stand on Daddy's computer, but that's what she likes to do. Oy, I'm in trouble with this one, huh? (she's doing it right now, and oh my, that grin is cute, if it weren't so evil)

7. S is turning eleven on Wednesday. Where did the time go? Just last week it seems he was climbing the furniture and meowing like the cats with a big evil grin. Come to think of it so did K, who is now 14. Wow, I'm really in trouble, aren't I? I've a lifetime of trouble with these three.

8. They're not so bad. For the most part. But now C is standing on the computer doing a dance and laughing after I pulled her off several times since writing #6.

9. See, lots to do, so much that I can't even make this list to number 10.

10. But I will anyway, because I wanted to mention that we hung out at the neighborhood pool on Sunday until the mini-thunderstorm, that S still thinks was just a truck so the lifeguards could blow the whistle and have the pool all to themselves. We took the younger two out for dinner which is always an adventure, but at least K was spending the night at his friend's house who just got back from spending most of August in Australia, the lucky dog. Besides, I can write #10, because C has left the room and I can hear her doing vocal exercises two rooms away, but wait they just ended, so does the list because she's probably on the diningroom table by now....

Friday, August 21, 2009

August Dog Days

Nature is slow, but sure; she works no faster than need be; she is the tortoise that wins the race by her perseverance. -Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)

I lived in Thoreau Country for a handful of years, a mere ride down Route 2 to Walden Pond. In college, I took way too many classes about or around the Transcendentalists, too, so I’m pretty well steeped in the guy. Never mind that for over ten years I was an active member of the UU church in Harvard Square where he stood at the pulpit and gave his famous speeches along with that other nature guy of the area, Emerson.

What most people don’t realize when they think of him sitting out in his cabin by the pond, is that he actually lived at his mother’s house and scammed sustenance and cleanliness from her and his friends. He only visited the cabin for short jaunts. Think of it as his vacation home.

That’s not what I wanted to write about, but a little background never hurts, especially if it dispels a myth of his living there and makes us realize he was a little closer to and dependent upon town just like the rest of us suburbanites.

What I want to talk about is the fact that it’s August here in Southeastern Virginia, which is rather like August anywhere on the North American Continent, except possibly a bit more hot and humid, therefore even more languid.

Languid has always been a favorite word of mine. I think it sounds exactly as it is. It’s Oscar Wilde on laudinum, it’s a model in repose, a heavy blanket of velvety robe, and a dog day of August.

Most of my blogs lately have been short and rather on the slow side - taking a moment to peek at a butterfly or take in the scenery. The bulk of the summer harvest is past and Fall has yet to arrive. School is around the corner, and no kid I know wants to do more than sit around and be bored, even if they are complaining about it. I think that’s why August exists. Nature tells us to slow down, take in the view, before we start hustling for the Autumn Harvest, start school, start revving up retail for the Holiday season that seems to start earlier and end later every Winter.

August is a wait time, a time to muse, a respite from the rest of the year. February is a lot like August for the fallow months, an emptying of the mind, a lessening of activity. But August is hot, humid and languid about it whereas February is bundled up in woolies in front of a fireplace, huddled inside. August is as naked as you can and still be decent if you’re in public, when the air itself feels like clothing. February is curled up in a ball, everything tucked in. August, even in the air conditioning, is:

Thursday, August 20, 2009


As a poet, the underlying theme of my life is to be present in it - to measure the moments by living within them rather than racing past in a constant pursuit of, well, to live in a different moment. That seems to be a pitfall of most of Western society at this point, don't you think? Isn't that the message of every Oprah show, self-help book, morning news segment, etc?

So, enjoy the moments below and hold your own within you as you live them.

As my son S said the other day, "Errrrg! I just get so frustrated when the future keeps becoming the present and then the past so fast!"

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Golden Quiet

Some days I just have a mouthful of nothin'. Better to leave it that way, so enjoy a little more of Mr. Swallowtail. Or a beach view if you prefer.

Jennings Beach, Fairfield, CT Aug '09

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Aaahhh...beautiful butterfly

Outside my front door and along my driveway is a very weed-filled, overgrown plot of flowers, but in the past week, I have spotted all five types of swallowtails in it. I only know there are five because I looked it up in my trusty Peterson First Guide to Caterpillars. Here are shots from Sunday of a stunning Tiger Swallowtail.

So while the garden itself is something to behold of an entirely different variety, some beauty can still be found within it. Ok, time to head out there with the big tools and a sturdy pair of gardening gloves. Enjoy Mr. Swallowtail while I'm gone.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Fine Art of Cartooning

Saturday morning, I managed to sleep in, so to speak. As I made my way into the kitchen to make coffee, on the counter lay this. S has a tendency to draw something and leave it lying around. I get a kick out of the random chuckles. This one was instantaneous. Just look at the detail on those wings, and the facial expressions are spot on. Who says aspies are unempathetic? He knows the fly's fear!

The day before he walked up to me and declared, ""It takes time to be a good boy, you know. It does."

How can anyone not love this kid?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Conversation we had in public

Yesterday, we were in Dairy Queen getting Blizzards for the Miracle Treat Day. DQ donates a dollar per Blizzard to Children's Miracle Network which benefits childrens hospitals, and yesterday was the day for that. Sorry I didn't mention it earlier if you missed it. Oh well, maybe next time.

Anyway, there we were, Mom and boys date, sans Baby C. The following conversation transpired as we waited for the DQ folks to make our Blizzards:

S: Mooom? Can they really make a building out of chocolate?
M: I don't see why not.
K: But you'd have to build it in the Arctic.
S: Wa-it, w-w-ait. You'd have to build it in the Arctic? But then it would be frozen!
M: So it doesn't melt in the sun.
S: Oh, yeah.
K: But then if your bed is made entirely out of chocolate, then when you woke up you'd have melted chocolate all over you.
M: But then you could makes slurping sound and licking motion at her arm.
S: eyes widen considerably Yeeeeaaa!
K: And if your shower is made out of chocolate then -
In Unison, reverentially: Choooocolate syyyyrup!
K, with glee: I don't even want to talk about the toilet!
(Oh yes he does!)
K: Because then we're discussing an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT kind of chocolate.....
M: Okay that's enough right there.
S: chuckles heartily.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


All morning the boys have largely remained upstairs in their respective rooms doing whatever it is that an almost eleven year old (listening to Weird Al and undoubtedly drawing storyboards to go with the songs) and a fourteen year old (listening to the radio and strumming the never in tune acoustic three quarter guitar when there is perfectly good brand new Ibanez bass and practice amp in the garage) do when they are in their rooms.

Baby C has been lounging on me lazily until she fell asleep, making that great sucky sucky noise with her two fingers squarely in her mouth. Then I was actually able to lay her down in the play yard for a nap.

I'm having a lazy, hazy, thunderstorm impending, hot and humid South Coastal Virginia August quiet, inside with the a/c and the hum of the computer.

I don't feel like doing a darn thing. It's August. I'm supposed to feel this way, but preferably lying on a beach, or under a tree canopy, waving something flat and thin in front of my face, very slowly. It just makes me feels lazier and hotter if I do it any faster.

Uh-oh, that was short lived. Thud, thump, bump, ka-thud from upstairs. Well, no one is screaming yet, and sounds of movement are still evident, so no one has died. Good, I can stay here and do nothing a little while longer. Ah, summer.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I can't even peek

In my travels last week, I retrieved one well inked copy of my first manuscript draft I had sent to a dear friend in the Boston area for critique and suggested edits.

Many moons ago, I lived in a 2nd floor walk-up on Newbury Street dubbed the shoebox, and he rented a room in the former servants' quarters on the fourth floor (even more stairs, I had to take them two at a time at a momentum run to survive the ascent) of an old Commonwealth Avenue townhouse that had been broken into condos. We regularly spent entire days walking around Copley Square, sitting on benches on Comm Ave, in the BPL Courtyard, a few regular cafes, Newbury Pizza or each other's humble abodes, discussing Literature, Art, listening to Mozart, Schubert, old time Rockabilly, Frank Sinatra's In the Wee Small Hours, and critiquing poetry and plays each wrote. We really dissected each other's work, at times taking personal affronts, at others, able to make useful and take useful suggestions. Sometimes another friend joined us, but mostly it was just the two of us, picking apart each other's work in order to build it back up again into something better. That was fifteen and then some years ago.

Last week, he very kindly told me it was a great story and excellent characterizations as he handed back my baby. He gave a few verbal points of interest. But mostly, I noticed just how much ink he laid on each page in my quick thumb through in the dark of the rainy night under a street light.

How very film noir.

A week later, I still can't look at it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Red Sox losing streak

I am a Red Sox fan. It took me nearly twenty five years of living in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to declare this, but I did, then promptly moved to Virginia. I vicariously lived through other long time fans' enjoyment and heartbreak in my good friends. Now, unless I get satellite tv or buy into a gazillion sports channels, I basically only see games when they play the Orioles or Nationals, or they happen to be on Fox or ESPN. There are pros and cons to this. Pros: I get to see them periodically but it doesn't take over my life. Cons: I only get to see them periodically and can't keep up very well with player changes, etc.

I largely stayed out of the rooting for any team or sportsperson for most of my adult life after growing up in a rather sports-oriented family, being the black sheep artiste. Weekends and then some, there was always a family member in a tennis tournament, a tournament on tv or a team game of any kind on tv. I realize now, it was not because I didn't like sports or didn't appreciate the challenge to win, etc as I proclaimed all those years. It was because deep down I am competitive as all get out and don't like to lose. It breaks my heart. I'm mature enough that I can admit this human fraility now. Even when it hurts. Like now.

Okay, I'm not a rabid fan, I don't prescribe to all the "Yankees suck" flag waving or bumperstickering. I know enough of stats to have a sense of what's going on historically without caring so much about the specifics. I do think think the Yanks are overpaid and a bunch of cocky b's. Come to think of it, most professional sports players are overpaid.

I love the Sox like some of those guys are my brothers - Wakefield, Lowell, Youk is getting up there, too, the rest of the older guys - I want to see them come out of their surgeries and win, or do their best trying. I love others of those guys like they're my sons or my old students. I root for them to make a good play or hit a homer or at least a double and run like the wind - Ellsbury, Pedroia, Drew, or for Papelbon to close a game brilliantly.

Lately, though, I'm very disappointed. When I've seen games, they've been real heartbreakers. I'm sure, like Pedroia said the other day, "It's not like we're not trying out there." But something has to be going on behind the efforts. They seem to be psyching out. I know they're better than that. Varitek, please get out of the habit of swinging at everything when the pressure is on.

The faster and harder Francona chews, the more nervous about a game I get.
C'mon, boys, there's a lot of love out here for you. We know you can do it. You have to believe it, too.

Update: Thank you for the win against the Detroit Tigers last night, Red Sox! Keep up the good work from here on out, please!

Monday, August 10, 2009

A - Z

No this will not be an alphabetical listing of any kind , thank goodness for that. I'll save that for a day when I have very little happening in the idea department, which may be shortly, but hopefully not. So you are spared for now from a list of random whatnots that happen to float through my brain in alphabetical order. Trust me, this happens.

This A to Z is Aspergers to Zoo. Our local asperger's support group is as much for parental support as for a social opportunity for our kids who have difficulty with socializing with neurotypicals, or in the jingo of John Elder Robison (see sidebar books), nypicals.
So a lot of us invaded the Norfolk Zoo on their Special Needs Day when one attendant Adult and one Special Needs Individual are admitted for free. In our group, we call our kids, aspies. I've referred to S as such before or talked about his aspie tendencies. It's easier to say and sounds much lighter and fun to say aspie rather than Aspergers, Aspergian or Asperger's Syndrome.

My take is while it can be difficult at times, for him or for anyone dealing with him, S is an infinitely more interesting person than those who won't deal with him well, and therefore don't know what they're missing because of their impatience or intolerance. They might learn a thing or two, too, because, he's one educated expert in the fields of his interest. Most days, he walks up to me to discuss, out of the blue, something like Koko the sign language gorilla, and he fills in lots more facts about gorillas in general, and their habits in the wild, and how they might react to one of us stumbling across them suddenly if we took a trip to the African jungle, which would be something like thinking we're like them, only shaved, and therefore would try to communicate with us by their behavioral modes, such as flinging some mud to see how we would respond. And he would add much more factual detail than I just did. I honestly have no idea how he finds so much out when he has limited access to the internet, which he usually uses primarily for youtube Godzilla clip viewing or reading godzilla movie reviews, or going to the Toho Studios site.
That is the A - Asperger portion of today's program. Here is the Z - Zoo. See, I skipped 24 letters.

First things first: S hit the showers, or water fountains. It was fine, lots of kids do. Just wish he was this quick to do so at home!

Peacocks wander all over this zoo, one of the things I love about it. This one is not nearly as vain as their reputation suggests. He did not want to pose, wouldn't even face me, rather like a certain teen or his mother I know. (ehem, it's rude to point.)

Monkeys are so cool and so hard to photograph. just look how this golden spider monkey's tail wraps around his whole body. I want a tail.

Suave Bollo Swan, unlike his Peacock brethren.

Pardon the blur. I was starting to get very hungry, hard time holding the camera still as I shook from a low blood sugar moment. K said, "Barred owl, how ironic."

Isn't he just gorgeous? I wanted to climb in and cuddle up, running my fingers through that thick mane. But they don't allow that. Darn. Well, I do still have my face intact. I forgot to mention we arrived very late due to being directionally challenged. So by the time we arrived at the elephants and giraffes department, the staff had packed them in for the evening. It was much cooler in there for them, too. Hard to tell, but this guy, or girl, is absolutely enormous.

Immediately, a ZZ Top tune came to mind when I got a gander at the these. She's got legs/She know how to use them.Okay, objectification over, here's her beautiful face.
This guy was just rude. Red River Hog had these long beautiful white tipped ears, but all he gave when I pointed the camera was hog butt. Mia apologia. At least you couldn't smell what lay all around as a product from the same. S made a whopping big deal out of that. Personally, I think he was much less stinky than the goats in the petting farm near the front gates.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Highlights from 1500 miles of good road - Part II -days in CT

Baby C has been refusing a nap all day, so if this is incoherent or seems incomplete, my apologies. She is screaming her way down on my lap as I type.

Nearing the end of our foray through the miniscule state of Rhode Island, I received a call from my mother who mentioned that my older brother was at his significant other's place in Madison, CT, a hop skip from the border, so I called him to goof about how were were driving by. His longtime girlfriend answered his cell because he was dragging kayaks from the water, and she said to come on by, we weren't due at the other brother's house for a while, and we could caravan together.

I met her father who was a riot and had no idea that we were stopping by when S invaded his house and pushed him aside to get the lay of the place, as he must always upon entering a new place. I'm not certain if he's searching for goods or an escape route, but this is what he does. Anyway, when S realized he was pushing past someone, when the thing spoke, he piped up with an accusatory "Who are you?!" Without skipping a beat, the man countered, "I'm R, I live here. Who are you?!" Thank you, R, for a completely appropriately funny way to deal with him. R then turned to me and said, "Who are you?" So many of us were laughing that I turned to my brother - here we run into the K problem my family presents - WKC, who R knows and replied, "His sister." whereupon R conveyed his apologies and - uh-oh, a new initial problem, R's daughter, WKC's girlfriend, C3 (to distinguish from myself and Baby C) laughed louder than all of us. More dogs, one bear sized, one horse sized poodle, an aged pitbull who is looking for love in all the wrong places, and a bevy of preteen girls cuddling a min-poo to death.

Moving right along: on the way to KHC's house, we caravaned a roadside stop for ice coffees, and my tummy rumbled and so the kids' must be, too, for another hour drive before KHC's house. After WKC and C3 pulled out of the drive thru, we pulled around for pick up and the window girl said, "don't worry, they got it." I laughed more, noting that my big brother thought he was buying an ice coffee for Honey, and sprang unwittingly for 3 large fries, too. Pay it Forward indeed. Right back to when we were kids.

Trumbull, CT: We arrived for the big family get together at my brother KHC's house. He and his wife have two little boys who are growing faster than I can register. Next month they start kindergarten and first grade. They have an awesome playset which allowed us to confirm our suspicions that Baby C is not as easy going as she generally appears. She's really a daredevil at heart. The little thrill seeker must have climbed up and slid down this giant slide a thousand times. Where's her spotter? He's wielding the camera, apparently. When I was with her, I held on. She was so fast, there's nary a clear shot of her out of quite a few on this thing. It was wonderful to see everyone, my brothers their families, my parents, the grand patriach and matriach of the clan. We slept at Gaga and Papa's in Fairfield, and it was good to see my mother getting around really well a mere month after her stroke. One thing about my family, though we might fight, and get impatient with each other and disagree about what happened when, we do generally laugh outloud a lot.

Hamden, CT: The next day we spent the afternoon with Honey's niece's family in Hamden. She's having another baby in December. This is her nearly three year old, M. Baby C loved the fishies and M is showing her the different kinds. "And that's the spotted one, and that's the white one, and that's the black one..." We also saw Honey's sister and her husband, but were sorry his brother couldn't make it. He's very funny and S loves his motorcycle. If you can peer very closely to the framed shot on the bottom shelf, that's M when he had the same curls as C. Have I mentioned previously that though Honey and I met while living in MA, and now live in VA, we both grew up in CT?

Of course the boys found what they find where ever they can find it. And with new fandangled accessories to boot. Note the looks of concentration. Or are they merely glazed over?

Fairfield, CT: The following day we spent very relaxed at Jennings Beach with my old friend Cathy J and her son. We met in second grade when I moved to a new school. I was writing my name in the dirt in the back baseball field during recess when she wandered over and asked, "How did you know my name?" By fourth grade, her family moved across town. We met up again in the church youth group in 7th grade then went separate ways again, though we saw each other around jr high and high school. I'm not exactly sure how, but we found each other through email around our 2oth class reunion, and have been emailing and sticking close, though miles and states apart ever since. She was the only person who C warmed up to quickly the whole trip. They cooked seaweed bucket soup together at one of the beaches we grew up on. Her family is so local there are historic parts of town from the colonial era named for them. Her husband's family, too. It amazes me how some families are like that. As much as I love and seek stability, my kin and I seem to be wanderers.

Random baby meeting. This little girl sidled right up to C. Very cute, same age, and big brown eyes, too. She wasn't a giant baby, merely average sized, which is still bigger than C.

This shot is for balance. I'm overbabying you, sorry. CJ's son and S took to each other almost immediately in a sea monster game. K joined them eventually, too.

Fairfield, CT: Gaga and Papa's house. This is taken on the back patio of the house I grew up in from the age of seven. It had been raining for 26 out of the previous 30 days. I helped to weed the slate area of the patio, but the pebbled area is so overgrown, my brother WKC is going to resurface it altogether. That is a first in the decades my parents have lived there since 1973. (That's right, moved in when I was seven in 1973, you do the math). C was enamored with the bunny. He had to join us for dinner.

WKC's kids, aged 20 and 17, with my brood in the livingroom at Gaga and Papa's. KHC came to dinner that night, but his little guys had to go to bed for summer camp in the am. This is just one shot of what it takes to get a shot of all the grandchildren. And two are missing. When they can sit still, they are a goodlooking bunch of kids. We usually try to get an annual portrait of all of them together, but believe me when I tell you this is merely one of very very many before we got the good one. L is a sweetheart, C is so rocknroll, K is dreaming of his girl back home (pah!) and W and S survived the photo shoot contrary to appearances.
The ride home was made in good time, outside of NYC and the GWB, that is. All in all a good adventure, that I'm still exhausted from days later.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Highlights from 1500 miles of good road - Part I - days in MA

Last Wednesday, Honey and I piled a gazillion stuffs, ourselves and Baby C with baby seat clipped into the floorboard of Honey's Honda Element. Elements are four seaters - more on that later. My van was diagnosed as unfit for the road the day before the trip. We started not nearly as early as we thought, but we made it from Yorktown, Virginia to Auburn, MA by 10pm even with the flash flood that hit NYC and the Jersey Turnpike just before Elizabeth, NJ. I wish we were better about camera wielding this whole trip. Frankly, I was not thinking about blogging travels, but seeing bulldozers spread out water in front of semis that were wheel deep on one of the busiest roads I've travelled often over a lifetime was pretty darn unusual, and pretty cool. So was the rainbow over the hazy Empire State Building in the distance. Baby C was a real trooper traveling toddler, too.

Auburn, MA: Honey will not like that I am posting this pic of him as a six year old girl's fashion plaything. Oh well. He rarely peeks at the blog anyway. So I won't tell if you don't. Seriously, don't tell. Our hosts' home was under massive construction and much appreciation is sent to them for letting us invade in the midst of all they had going on.

Our hosts, Mike and Raffy have two dogs. We've seen them through others and particularly miss their old black standard poodle Jake, but Zimba was a good old girl with the babies. Mike's brother's family lives across the street and this is his giant nine month old. She weighs in as a whopping 24 pound buddha . Baby C at sixteen months is barely 18.5. We have pediatric confirmation that she is healthy though petite. So was I. So was K at the same age. Come to think of it, K is still pretty small for a fourteen year old male, but he's working on it at a scrawny 90lbs. I wish I'd gotten a shot of Jack the labradoodle who seems more horse than dog or a shot of when we visited the horses up the street. Baby C was mesmerized. A girl after my own heart. We seemed to have a theme this trip of meeting giant babies and horse sized dogs. Baby C loved Jack, couldn't get enough of him. She didn't even come up to his chin.

Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA: Steve's Ice Cream has an old bank vault in it that was painted to look like an aquarium in like 1985. I can remember going there when I was a student in western Mass. I think I spent as many weekends as possible in Boston and Cambridge even before I moved there right after college. It helped that I had a working car in college. Unlike now, and the razzafrakkin van I just paid off. Photo credit on left goes to Ted who is pictured on the right, along with his girlfriend Linda and my other oldest dearest Boston friend, Joe. I know both those guys have always got my back. If I'm ever trapped in a dark alley with bad guys, it's Ted I want by my side, sorry, Joe. Ted's just scrappier for an alley fight. Not that I've been in one since about 1990. But that's another story. I can't believe how much Ted's son has grown, unpictured. I remember when he was a baby and he's going into 7th grade! How did this that happen?! Oh yeah, I have a kid even older.

Groton, MA: Same day as Cambridge, earlier: Remember giant baby and horse sized dog comment earlier? This is a picture of my friend Miranda's baby boy with Baby C on their dog's bed. That dog is a Newfoundland. Forget what I said about horses, this dog is the size of a bear. Note basket of dog toys, each of which is bigger than the kitten. This stop on our journey was hysterical. The rain was astounding that day for traveling all over Northwest of Boston. We definitely got a taste of the freaky wet weather the whole Northeast has been experiencing for the summer. Again, I wish we took better pics and Miranda blogged it much better than I can with a severe case of road head here:
Next installment is loaded with family in Connecticut. Somehow, even though we had the camera out for our foray into Rhode Island to pick up the boys and meet up with some of my old college friends, we neglected to take any shots. I blame picking up the boys and readjusting to parenting the mayhem that is my three together, especially crammed into a tiny vehicle with legs draped over mouldy backpacks, the snack stuff, the entertain the baby stuff and more. We were glad the diaper bag was wedged between the guys. It cut down on the 'will you stop touching me' portion of the trip. However, I loved seeing my old roomate Cindy and eating brunch at Phil's Restaurant in Wakefield, RI, which was suggested by another college friend who had a sudden scheduling conflict and couldn't meet us in the end. But I thank him anyway for the tip on the diner. Yum.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Crash landing

I am home.

I am happy to be home.

I have the boys back.

And the noise.

Now I need a brain before I blog highlights from our adventures.

My bedroom is crayon green. Well, half crayon green. That was the spousal compromise.

My Honey is not too keen on change. I love pop.

Pictures to come, once we find all our furniture and move it back in. And I need to find the brain, too. I think I just tossed it in the washer with the first load. I swear a 100% cotton Mount Vesuvius erupted out of the suitcases.