Saturday, September 29, 2007

Why I Love Garden Design Magazine

My new issue of Garden Design magazine just arrived with an article detailing how to rip out your lawn, and replace it with non-grass alternatives.

There are a variety of reasons that we will probably never free ourselves from the cycle of mowing, weeding, and fertilizing as much as I would love to, but reading the article reminded me that my distaste for my neighbor's pursuit of the perfect lawn is not completely misplaced.

Much like the last issue that was full of exotic Salvias, there is always something I'm compelled to read about, or dream about. They ran an article on Natural Swimming Pools, the only kind I would ever consider and hence we will never have a pool.

Here are some photos from my garden that I never got around to posting:

From left to right: Kniphofia, Canna, Crocosmia Lucifer

Now playing: PJ Harvey - Grow Grow Grow

Friday, September 28, 2007

Picture Day

1. It was Henry's wish to have his school picture taken in a white button-down shirt and tie. When he mentioned this to me his wardrobe contained neither. But since I found the request so funny, and think it has such potential to embarrass him in the future, I purchased a tie from Lands End and a shirt from Old Navy.

2. I was rethinking my plan this morning when we tried to get him into his get up. He didn't want to tuck the shirt in. The shirt collar was not made for a tie. He ate breakfast in his bathrobe to keep his clothes clean and ended up covered in fleecy lint.

3. He returned from school with the tie balled up inside his backpack, shirt untucked, but he assured me that his pictures turned out "awesome."

Now playing: The Hollies - Bus Stop

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Proof that I am only a recovering Type A personality

Two days ago we got a note home from Henry's teacher requesting that all children drink water instead of juice during snack time. Witness my shame spiral:

1. The easiest thing to do would be to purchase small sized bottled water and send it instead of juice. But of course I could not do this.

2. Why not? Because he will take like two sips and waste the rest. Plus I know the bottles won't get recycled at school. I am well aware that the juice boxes weren't getting recycled either but they can't be recycled. The thought of sending in a bottle full of water that would go in the trash made me crazy.

3. I assembled all of the water bottles in our house that could be sent into school with Henry, filled them and proceeded to test them for leaks. None of them passed to my satisfaction. I don't want water getting all over his homework. I can't send the bottle in empty because expecting him to fill it at school would be messier than a juicebox.

4. Yesterday I sent Henry into school with a note saying, "Please let Henry drink from the drinking fountain because he doesn't drink much water. Please let me know if he is too disruptive." You can only imagine what giving Henry carte blanche for the water fountain could mean for the classroom.

5. Last night the teacher called me and said that I could send in flavored water, as long as it isn't sticky. While I know he likes Fruit20 because my mom buys it, I don't want him having Nutrasweet everyday either. Plus the bottles are 11 oz -- way too much for him to drink. (I checked today at the store).

6. So I purchased a new water bottle, the fourth I've bought, that doesn't have a pop-up spout on it, that way Henry can drink from it without making love to the spout (anyone with small children will know what I mean here). This sucker seals completely. It was freaking $13.99, which if it means I don't have to buy juice or water, is still cheap, but my god, that's a lot for a water bottle. I got the blue one in the picture.

Anyone still reading? I think I need to go have a lie down.

Now playing: Peter Bjorn And John - Firing Blanks (Bonus Track)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Slang

Last night Henry was ready for soccer practice early and wanted to wait for Cary in the van. When I suggested he might be too hot in the car he said, "No worries Mom. This bad boy is always ready to go."

I don't think he was being sarcastic either.

Now playing: Peter Bjorn and John - Young Folks (beyond the wizard's sleeve re-animation)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Who knew violin could actually be enjoyable?

Last night Cary, my mom, and I headed to the venue formerly known as The Church, now, (somewhat comically to me) known as Babeville, to see Andrew Bird. Wow.

He played solo, creating the rhythm section himself by looping violin lines and whistling, then adding guitar and vocals to riff on the album version of his songs. He ran the sounds through two old Victrola-type speakers, one of which spun very fast on command. The effect made it sound like we were in a room full of stringed-instruments. After the second song, when Andrew was saying a brief hello and remarking on the unbelievable acoustics in, er Babeville, a guy yelled out, "This is already the best show I've ever been to." It will be tough to prove him wrong.

PS The picture was taken by a roving photographer at the show. The curious among you can find another of mom and me here.

Now playing: Andrew Bird - Fake Palindromes

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Cure for the Common Cold

Yesterday I pulled myself out of bed to go see Metric. The band played probably 70% new material, all of which was great. Although the show was at the Town Ballroom, and my mom and I got there too late to get one of the six seats in the place, we had a great view of the stage.

I could see the enthusiastic twentysomething negotiating with the security guy to give her a set list. I spotted two other people who pulled the same trick as me, and bought a dress from the H&M girl's department.

Crystal Castles opened. Whatever hipness they may possess was lost on me. Alice, the near anorexic, did nothing but dance and shine blinking lights on the audience. And the other dude's best trick was running his laptop in the near darkness.

But back to Metric. Emily has the market cornered on postpunk t-shirt dressing. She was sporting a Stranglers t-shirt, with shorts and boots when we saw her on Letterman. Last night she was in a Joy Division t-shirt (Unknown Pleasures, but with multi-colored Mountains!) that fit her like a dress. Emily, who is your tailor?

They said they don't even know when the new record is coming out. What a tease!

Now playing: Metric - Parkdale

Friday, September 21, 2007

Best thing yet I've seen on IvyGate

Here's a tidbit: "For the past week, tons of freshman have been aimlessly wandering Sterling library in search of a secret room where supposedly professors would go to hide from their students..." Click on the link for the whole delightful story.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gotta get me a gun

A glue gun that is! (For the Tootsie Roll Pop Spiders I have been assigned to make for the Halloween Party) You may all laugh now.

Despite negative educational experiences by pals LHM, Mommy at Work, and Anne, I've been doused with some abededarian holy water.

I think I lucked out in the room parent department. My co-room parent is a former elementary school teacher whose home is stocked with supplies from her old classroom, and she showed up with a binder full of ideas. She was as easy-going as a woman toting a binder full of ideas could have been.

Henry's current classroom teacher is as enthusiastic as last year's teacher was curt and dismissive. She has sent home extra books on music and science to give Henry additional stimulation, one of which she seems to have purchased solely on his account.

Now playing: Jens Lekman - A Postcard To Nina

Saturday, September 15, 2007

When did I stop feeling like Lisa and start feeling more like Marge?

I've been trying to Simpsonize myself for weeks ever since I saw Takka Takka's results on Brooklyn Vegan. What a hassle. But after JSE's results I decided to give it another go.

What I really wanted to do was make this my picture for my blog since when I leave comments the old picture makes it appear as if I have no eyes or teeth. Kind of amusing, but kind of not. Do any tech savvy folks know how I could make this happen? Blogger refused to recognize the .jpg and so did my computer.

As an aside, while I was working on this, Lucy drew all over the back of Henry's neck with a green marker.

Now playing: Peter Bjorn and John - Sitar Folks

Thursday, September 13, 2007

That's Educational!

1. Lucy loves pre-school. So far I love everything about it too, except the parking situation. I think I may need to re-learn how to parallel park before the year is out. This concerns me greatly.

2. While I am still afraid of the PTA, I agreed to be the one of two room parents for Henry's class today. They were short one volunteer and asked me because I was the only person to check the box that said, "I don't have enough time to be a room parent but I still want to volunteer in the classroom." Lesson learned. But I should not be short of blog material for the rest of the school year. I wish I had LHM's inherent craftiness because I think I will be planning parties for first graders. I am gratefully soliciting suggestions for the Halloween party should the mood strike anyone.

3. Because of a four-day long migraine (which may be over, finally) and some goings on with a friend I feel overwhelmed and behind schedule on everything in my life.

Now playing: Shout Out Louds - South America

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Rockin' at the Knox post-mortem

1. Overall - an amazing event. They had a few sound problems, particularly during Paolo Nutini, but the planning committee did an unbelievable job -- even the food was decent.

2. The highlight of the night was crowd-related, and happened during Nutini's (zzzz) set. My mom and I were right behind a group of young women in their late teens who, in spite of doing their best impression to look slightly edgy, were still clearly fresh-faced and adorable. When Nutini launched into a cover of Vera Hall's "Trouble so Hard" (a.k.a. Moby's "Natural Blues") three of the girls exchanged ecstatic looks, stood up, and broke out into a fully choreographed dance routine. Best thing ever.

3. The rain sucked. Mom and I got soaked. The wind blew Feist's hat away and the weather almost cut her set short. I would have been really sad if she left the stage without playing "Mushaboom," but fortunately the rain let up and I was not disappointed. (We spent some time with a few happy-go-lucky strangers under a very leaky tarp in between Feist and Elvis. At least two references to March of the Penguins were made.)

4. I can't forget about the local openers. It was the first time I'd seen Mark Norris in about 18 years, (since before Girlpope, I think) and he and the Backpeddlers sounded great. I wish I had been close enough to catch a CD. The between set banter was very charming. The Great Train Robbery brought back girlhood memories of traipsing around to see the only local band my friends actually liked.

5. And then there was Elvis. And his unbelievably awesome piano player, who also played a theremin! Elvis' voice sounded great. I couldn't believe how many people talked during the entire acoustic set. Christ on crack, they just sat through a monsoon, you'd think if they wanted to talk, they'd just go to a bar. He sing-talked his way through "God's comic." Very entertaining. And nearly 5000 people sang the chorus to "Allison."

6. And at the end of the night I got Henry another free poster for his growing collection.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

You know it's time to take a break from the iPod when

you see JOYDIVR on a vanity license plate, as I did this morning, and immediately think, "I guess someone's a big Joy Division fan."

But in the time it took me to pull up closer to peer in at the driver I realized the owner was probably a diver, not a fan of Ian Curtis, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, and Stephen Morris.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

1. Henry began first grade today. Unlike his first day of Kindergarten, things went remarkably well. He popped off the bus and said, "I had a great day, Mom. And tomorrow will be another great day of school." This year's teacher seems remarkably well-tempered and eager.

2. I did some housework with only one child nipping at my heels. Hardly bliss, but not torture either.

3. My second Trouser Press entry, on Rilo Kiley, is available. You can read it here.

My pal Mr. Parnell has a knack for creating up lists of dream covers, while I only know one when I hear it:

(For Henry) Peter Bjorn and John - "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I always knew they were better than me.

A classic day with Henry

1. We had to stop by Henry's school to drop off his supplies. He spotted a kid from last year's class and said loudly, "There's Willy, the bad kid." I'm positive Willy's mom heard us. When I asked him in the car what Willy had done that was so bad Henry said, "He said lots of bad words for no reason. And got sent to the Principal's office more times than me!"

2. I had to take Henry to the Pediatrician at the last minute because he got a splinter in his foot on Saturday night and didn't bother to tell me until today. I tried taking it out myself, but it wasn't protruding, so I couldn't get a handle on it.

a. When we arrived at the Doctor's office I was told that we were not allowed to wait in the Well Child waiting area because they were busy with last minute exams before school. So even though Henry was not sick, we had to wait in the Sick Visit waiting area. When I questioned the receptionist about the logic of this she said, "It's really no different than going to a store and being exposed to sick people." (While Henry is practically licking the rocking horse.) Huh? Maybe if the store sells only quinine and snake venom. Then it turned out that someone had spit up on one of the vinyl bench seats. Another Father kindly alerted the receptionist, and covered the offending pool with a tissue, but it stank. When we left half an hour later, after Henry's splinter was removed in nanoseconds, the vomit was still there! If we get the stomach flu I am going to be so pissed.

b. When we were driving home I said to Henry, "Aren't you glad we went to the Doctor? She took your splinter out in no time at all." He replied, "Yeah. Doctors really are better than you, Mom."

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Beyond beleaf

After dinner tonight Cary and I discovered to our surprise that Lucy had shoved a piece of maple leaf into Henry's ear. Rather than tell us what had happened Henry decided to try and remove it with a q-tip, driving it even deeper into his ear canal. Cary was eventually able to remove it with tweezers, sparing us all a trip to the ER.

My kids never spare me the details, "Mommy, Henry's bothering me. I want a turn. Lucy took my flashlight." But when it comes to something where he actually should tell on his sister, he tries to handle it himself.