Friday, June 29, 2007

I just want to chew gum

It was the kind of summer day I always thought I would have with my kids ...

1. Henry wanted to learn how to blow bubbles with gum. We were at Target, so I tried to get some traditional Hubba Bubba or Bubble Yum. The closest thing I could find was Hersheys chocolate flavored Hubba Bubba. Even humble chewing gum is a boutique market.

Henry couldn't wait to pop the first piece in his mouth. I said he needed to chew it until it got soft. A gob of chocolatey spit escaped his mouth -- it was a big piece of gum! I suggested he sit down at the kitchen table. I told him to flatten it into a circle. More spit escaped. I got my own piece (sour apple Trident) to demonstrate. See, it's flat in my mouth. Now poke your tongue into the flat circle. He gave it his best shot and out popped the gum. I demonstrated blowing a bubble. Wow, you're good, mom. He tried again. Giggled. Out popped the gum again, an unflattened slobbery mess. And so ends lesson one of what will probably be a life long struggle for our dear Henry.

2. Lucy peed in her pants while I pushed her on the swings at the playground. I was not too upset; I can only imagine the act of swinging stresses the bladder.

3. When we arrived home she insisted on wearing the rain boots that I had purchased for her (on sale) for the rest of the day. I have to admit that they almost looked cute with her denim mini skirt and her Threadless kids T.

Here's a track to celebrate Henry's oral spazziness and Lucy's questionable fashion sense:
Annie -- Chewing Gum (Headman Vocal Remix)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Cabin Fever

The children and I have cabin fever, something not usually seen in these parts in the summer, but with temps in the high 80s, and Henry's behavior in public pools remaining untrustworthy, we are forced to stay inside.

Henry eats his way through the day. I can't tell if he's bored, having a growth spurt, or reacting to withdrawal from the hidden calories in the school lunches.

Lucy punches, pokes, and otherwise annoys him any way she can. A summers worth of time out awaits.

Once they go to sleep at night I spend the rest of the evening saving my poor plants from complete dessication. I am a slave to the garden hose.

I have another review up on Venuszine. You can read it here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Found at the end of our driveway yesterday

One bright orange can of malt liquor, empty and imploded, as it had been shotgunned.

One water bottle which its owner had used as a make shift spittoon.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Overheard in our household today

Me to Lucy: "Put your underwear back on and stop spitting on me."

Henry to me: "I ate all of my lunch. Now I can have my chocolate caramel cookie bar."
(Referring to the Twix bar he got from a birthday party that he had been begging me for since 9 a.m. which had completely melted from being handled by his sweaty little fingers.)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Updates on the last post and the last year

1. Just like Auntlyh, I have now been blogging for a year (thanks for the reminder) but stuff has been going wrong for a whole lot longer. Just thought I would mention a few highlights that predated and led to the inception of the blog:
* The summer day that the entire basement filled with bees.
# The day that I learned from the furnace cleaning man that the previous owners used to house at least 250 guinea pigs in our basement.
$ The six long months we spent potty training Henry.
! The time in January when Henry locked me out of the house when I was ten months pregnant and not wearing a coat.

Sweet, sweet memories.

2. A few clarifications about the last post. Because LHM and Auntlyh both seem curious, here is a picture of the grill:
As gas grills go it really isn't all that big, but compared to the last grill I purchased (a Smokey Joe), it seems huge. I purchased the Smokey Joe at Ann and Hope in Boston in 1994, and I must have brought it back to my apartment in Brookline on an MBTA bus because I don't think I could have ridden with it on my bike.

Kitten number one is no longer "Sugar Ray" because my dad can't remember that either. He is in some sort of name limbo between "Puffy" and "Stubby" and my mom is trying to tell me that she has settled on his name being "Sugarpuff," but she will call him "Puffy." I am find this incredibly funny, but feel sorry for the cat. And I am not going to call him anything at this point.

I also wanted to clarify why we were trying to get Henry into a gifted and talented program in Kindergarten. We aren't crazy parents. Other kids in the Henry's school who are a tiny bit ahead of him academically are in the program, or are getting to go read with the first grade class while he languishes because his teacher doesn't give a shit. I don't care how his reading needs get met at school so long as they get met.

Plus we have friends whose kid is in another school, same district, who is in the program and has gotten to do fun things like put on plays in a small group setting. Something that would be great for Henry, or any bright kid. I also think ANY parent wants what is best for their kid and hopes the teacher does too. Sadly I have yet to find this to be true in any of Henry's classroom settings. We chose to live in the suburbs for their supposedly good schools and I have been nothing but unhappy with them this entire year. And then I have to listen to the school tell me how great they are.

Having said that __ ending my rant __ Cary felt the letter from the gifted programming specialist was less of a brush off, than I did. And Henry's teacher is nasty, but she didn't give some kids gifts and not others. She also didn't bother to help us figure out where they were from or choose to explain any of this to Henry.

3. If anyone is still reading, I have a new review on, and you can read it here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Wrongest day in recent memory

1. We were due to arrive at Henry's classroom half an hour early to listen to him read from his journals and "book box" before taking them home. I forgot to set the alarm. We arrived on time but barely. Henry had very little interest in reading these books to me since none of them were ever very challenging for him. He did point out that his coloring has gotten much better since September. Lucy was extremely interested in sticking her face directly in front of mine while I tried to pay attention to Henry.

2. Unfortunately a few people in the room were leaving with gifts. Henry became obsessed with the location of his gift. He concluded that he had to read his entire book box to receive the gift. Declared he didn't want the gift. I still don't know what the story was, but there was no gift. The teacher, in her ever unhelpful way told him only, "I don't have a gift for you, Henry." At that point he started to cry inconsolably, just as everyone was starting to leave, of course. And Lucy continued to stick her face in mine, "What's wrong Henry, Mommy?" Then I noticed Henry's friend B was crying too. I did my best to calm Henry down rather unsuccessfully. When I left both boys were still crying, B silently, Henry rather loudly, and I heard the teacher mutter aloud, "Well, we could get started now if everyone would stop crying." She is retiring in three days to teach pre-school. I wish her all the best.

3. If that wasn't bad enough we got the package we had sent to the gifted programming specialist back with the glibbest, most unhelpful note. We wrote a letter asking if Henry could be considered for language arts programming for next year because he is reading second grade books with no help and third grade books with a little help at home, while in school it is all monosyllabic nonsense. I do not harbor any illusion that my son is a genius, but his teacher this year has done nothing to nurture him. The gifted programming specialist wrote back that there is nothing she can do because he is at grade level in his class room. Christ on crack! That's why we wrote the note in the first place. I am so tired of this school.

4. And then, I went to pick up our grill. A huge thunderstorm broke out. Did I mention that it hasn't rained more than a drop in months? I had to back the minivan up 40 feet and wait while three very helpful guys placed the grill (which is HUGE) inside. The thing barely fit. At one point they were giving the kids large pieces of metal to hold. Then Henry had to get out twice so we could move up his seat. He was standing on his book box (of course I hadn't taken it out of the car yet) asking me if I could get his umbrella. Both of us got soaking wet.

5. And now I have to rethink tonight's dinner: hot dogs and hamburgers.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Gone Wrong Miscellany

1. Kitten Update: Mo has now been officially re-christened Twoey after I admitted to my mom that my dad and I were referring to him as Twoey in private.

2. I have had migraines three out of the last four days. So, not surprisingly I have been extremely distracted by the white noise inside my own head. I now have an appointment with the M.D. neuro as opposed to the P.A. that I usually see since I no longer think that my treatment is going the way I would like. Hopefully by early July I will have some answers. But I will do just about anything to avoid another transfusion and the drugs that followed it. At least now I know.

3. Cary and I spent the weekend trying to buy a grill. Normally such an inane domestic purchase would not be worth blogging about but we are so hopelessly inept, even at shopping for something like a grill, that even though our hand-me-down grill has been broken for a year, and we have been planning to buy a grill for over a month, it still took us more than 24 hours to choose a stupid grill. We have concluded that we like getting household items given to us for free (duh) not just because its cheap but because we have so much trouble making a decision. This is why most of our furniture used to belong to someone else, and some is held together with bungee cords. It's much easier than picking out something new. Thank god they put it together for us.

4. I spent a portion of the afternoon spraying homemade insecticidal soap (rubbing alcohol, dishsoap, and water) on much of my garden because I have a pretty serious four lined plant bug infestation. It is more of an annoyance than anything else, but they were all over my asters, which were struggling as it is. Hopefully they will still bloom this fall.

5. This is the last week of Kindergarten.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

What Went Wrong: The Kitten Edition

Last week my parents adopted two male Ragdoll kittens after losing their cat Jezzie to cancer earlier last month. We adopted Jezzie from the SPCA when I was in high school and Ethan was about Henry's age. I think she was just shy of her nineteenth birthday. Unfortunately I don't have any digital pictures of her, but she was an affectionate cat who practically never caused my parents a minute of worry (except for the time she spent the night outside under the deck), but I digress. I just feel a little sad plastering the entry with these kitten pictures without saying a few words about Jezzie first.

I had trouble getting a good picture of the kitten on the left because he never stops moving, but not as much trouble as my parents have had giving these cats names! As I type supposedly the kitten on the left is Sug (short for Sugar Ray) and the kitten on the right is Mo (short for nuthin'). My mom was originally going to call Mo Moby, but that didn't seem right. I liked it for the 1990s silly pop-rock connotations. Then she was going to name him Balboa, since Sug is named after Sugar Ray Leonard (my parents don't even like boxing, but the name suits him). But my dad couldn't remember the names. He kept calling the kitten on the left Stubby and the kitten on the right Twoey because Stubby has a stubby body and we got Twoey second. Yeah. And you thought stuff went wrong at my house.

My mom won't leave the house yet because the Mo cries when he is in his room (my old room), and she can't leave them to their own devices yet for fear they will scuffle. So today I got to stay with them for an hour or so. Kitten sitting beats the pants off chasing my kids around, that's for sure.

My mom hasn't had a decent night's sleep in a week, and when we are on the phone, I hear her yelling, "No. Stop that! Oh, I gotta go." It is as if she has created an animal bizarro world where kittens are infants but neither of my parents is truly up for the pace of caring for an infant for too long (neither am I, really), so I hope things settle down soon. We miss you, Jezzie.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fragile, like an eggshell... I'm mad as hell

So last night Cary and I went to see The Mary Timony band. We used to see Mary's old band Helium play all the time when we lived in Boston, so more than wanting to hear the new album, I was excited to see her play live again.

Mary looks pretty much as I remember her, though the v. cute navy Tretorns were a new addition. Cary said hello, reminded her how he used to play tennis with her old beau, Ash, who also played bass in Helium (and Polvo) phenomenally well. She had no memory of Cary, which makes sense because I think we met her once. But hey, you gotta be friendly when people come to B-lo.

I thought I remembered reading that her drummer had been in Fugazi. As a whole the band was incredibly tight. It was great to see Mary, who had always seemed so inhibited on stage, totally rocking the guitar solos, and then throwing in these little flourishes, like a kick. Then she would kind of smile like, "hey, I am rocking out." She also kept shaking out her hand after the solos, like it had gotten really worn out from playing so much.

And while the audience didn't piss me off which was nice there were like no other women at the show. Which means it was nothing but the creepy freaks who secretly worship Mary and probably drive her nuts at all the gigs.

This video is a little old, from the Helium days, but it shows off JP, where I used to live in Boston, really well.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

There were people and girls and beers and hair, but there was no one that I wanted to be near.

Just a few comments about the Voxtrot concert on Sunday. The lead singer, Ramesh Srivastava, announced he had a "terrible cold" and then later mentioned that he had a "fever" and said "three of us will be leaving at 6 a.m. to fly to Austin for a funeral tomorrow." He mentioned this after telling us what a great audience we were. And I thought: Worst Audience Ever. The "Hey, Look at Me" dancers were out of control, vying for my personal space wherever I moved.

The best part of the night was when some mom came in and demanding to retrieve her kid and he looked about eleven. A true all ages show. But it wasn't the younger members of the audience that were obnoxious, most of the worst offenders should have known better. I think they need to get out more.

In spite of the illness, Ramesh sounded OK, though having to follow Favourite Sons singer Ken Griffin, who has an incredible voice, would be tough on anyone.

Fortunately Voxtrot didn't just play stuff from the new record. They played one brand new song that isn't on the album, which was pretty good. And what the hell, I'm going to give them some advice: you guys aren't an angry band. No one wants to hear you sing songs with the words "conflict" or "blood" in them again. Stick with what you know and you'll change anyway. You are frighteningly young.

I think this is the first time I have seen a band where all of the members are easily younger than my 23-year-old brother. And definitely the first time I have seen a band where the bass player looks like the spawn of Rowan Atkinson.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Friday Garden Picture

Taking a page from Jen14221's fkp, I offer you an "fgp," if you will. Though it may be the only one I ever do. The clematis is fully in bloom, as is the salvia in front of it. The allium hasn't given out yet, and the lime rickey heuchera to the far left are blooming as well. It's a pretty decent time for the garden. I am taking this picture mostly for posterity because I am sure the clematis will never look like this again, ever.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Happy Birthday, Cary!

Now you're as old as I am. I hope you like your presents because you are getting really hard to buy for.

1. Conversation between Henry and me this morning:

H: How old is daddy?
E: 36
H: But you're older, right?
E's brain: thanks, kid
E: No, now daddy and I are the same age.
H: (Looking serious) Are you going to die soon?
E: No, honey, I'm perfectly fine. You don't have anything to worry about.
E's brain: Jesus Christ!
H: Because people don't die until they are in their 90s, right?
E: That's right, honey.
H: Or if they are really old and sick, right?
E: That's right. 36 is still really young.
E's brain: Isn't it? Who told this kid about death? It wasn't me!
H: That's right, Mom.

2. I forgot to put Henry's half completed math homework in his back pack so I had to drive it over to the school. I always feel like the know me there. I hope I'm not the only mom that does stuff like what feels like at least twice a month.

3. I got called for jury duty again, six months after being called and excused. They called me once under my legal name and once under what would be my married name, if that person existed. This is what happens when you don't take your husband's name. I'm looking at you LHM and Auntlyh. Apparently it might continue to happen on into the future, so the nice person on the other end of the line advised me to photocopy the summons and make a note of how we handled it "just in case."

4. I had some musical stuff to say. Jonah quit the band The Blow, so now it's just the girl, whose name I am too lazy to look up. I'm pretty sure that will make their records suck from now on, but maybe I will be pleasantly surprised. But the girl, whatever her name is, Khaela, will certainly be wondering where her friends are now, won't she. (Except no one gets the reference because you all don't really get into those mp3s. Thassok. Maybe mp3s don't fit the DC-Vienna-Bflo axis deomographic.) Also, Cary and I are going to see Voxtrot on Sunday night. Again, they are a band. I won't bother posting a track. Too bad the album is boring. I loved the EPs. It got trashed by Pitchfork too, so you can be there were some tears in the practice room over that one. Then we are going to Mary Timony on Tuesday. Her CD was also very mediocre, but I am so excited to see her live. I will report back. I know all of you will be dying for the details.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

As Lucy grows increasingly responsible, I require additional assitance for the simplest tasks

1. On the way to the grocery store today I totally panicked because I couldn't find my keys. I have been pretty spacey because of the migraine drugs they have had me on since the infusion (today was the last day for that, thank God), so I had NO idea where my keys were. I hadn't driven in nearly 24 hours and yesterday I didn't have any pockets, so I there were no obvious places to check. Lucy followed me around with her cow flashlight, that moos, saying, "I see things, Mommy." I took deep breaths and tried to relax because I am also afraid of having another headache. After fifteen minutes of fruitless searching it turned out that the keys were in the front pocket of my hoodie where I must have put them just minutes before they went "missing." Typical.

2. It was a big day for Lucy at the grocery store because it was her first time being stashed, er, allowed in the playroom. She was very excited. She didn't want to go potty here. "I use Wegmans toilet," she said brightly. So I dropped her off after a quick bathroom break, and as I expected, she never looked back. She had a great time. We will have to see if I forgot fewer items on my list than usual without her distracting me. So far, so good. My little girl is definitely growing up. She rarely calls herself "Fluflee" anymore, and is fascinated by her own baby pictures. On the down side, she is rarely napping, which is something that will be hard for me to surrender. She is in her crib as I type, sing-screaming altered lyrics to "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."

Friday, June 01, 2007

And I wanted to know where are my friends tonight?

I have been wrestling with the following question: Can I be happy in the suburbs? Initially I thought the answer was YES! because after all, it was so much better here than Watertown, and wouldn't we be able to cut through the pain of living so far from any real urban stimulation by frequent trips to such places since B-lo is such a cheap place to live. While it is much better than Watertown, and the city of Buffalo is actually way better to live here than when I was growing up, it turns out I pretty much dislike the suburbs as much as I did when I was a teenager. And those trips out of town are not frequent enough, and not really them same with two little kids in tow.

So what can I do about it? I have seriously considered moving the family to the city of Buffalo, but am not sure that my general malaise justifies quadrupling the length of Cary's commute, not to mention uprooting my children etc. Plus what if it turns out that the Urban Buffalonians were basically just like the Suburban ones but with better glasses, and I didn't like it there either. Then I would have made all of our lives much more inconvenient for no good reason.

But there is no question that I feel somewhat trapped where I am, with the diaspora that is my true peer group nowhere in sight. Virtual contact is great guys, but I need you here for the rest of it too, at least sometimes.

Everything in the suburbs can be so stagnant and predictable that it may as well be an all ages nursing home.

So, I found a couple of songs that sum it up.

The Blow - "The Sky Opened Wide Like the Tide"
LCD Soundsystem - "Us V. Them"

PS -- Forgot to mention that my headache got so bad that I called the neuro and had to go in for an infusion of some drug and magnesium yesterday. I guess the pain is mostly gone, but I haven't felt right since. I am certainly not up to leading my sleepwalking neighbors through a cultural revolution.