Wednesday, March 31, 2010

To Hell And Back

I went to Tennessee.

The purpose of the visit was to be there with my mother and assist her in bringing up the topic of Assisted Living with my Aunt Betty. We planned on visiting a few facilities to find out what the options are, and perhaps even decide on the Perfect Place.

Although I knew this was a difficult decision and that it would be rough, I didn't expect what we got. Mom and I both wimped out during the initial conversation, going all soft, positioning it as an information gathering quest for a far off date. Then the places themselves were less than assuring. The first place we went to had zero mobile people, and many of them were drooling. And the guy giving us the tour kept talking about activities, the Christmas party, and asked Betty if she played Bingo.

Anyway, when we reached the places, Betty kept telling us she'd wait in the car. And we saw the last place without her. She was so tired.

All of that seems pretty irrelevant, though. Because she had a heart attack the morning I left. Mom took her to the hospital, all that fun stuff. She'll be there for a few days. I'm not sure what the next steps will be.

But I did make it home.

Monday, March 29, 2010

On The Road Again

So Andy and I are on the road. I've taken him to Tennessee for a short trip. Rest assured, I'm missing the rest of the boys. Will be back with real posts soon.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Big Bite

It's hard to eat an ice cream as big as your head.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Zoo Shot

Nate's favorite part of the zoo was the spiderweb.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Earth Hour

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 27th, at 8:30, is Earth Hour.

Turn off your lights for an hour. All of them. Give the Earth an energy break. Support action on climate change. What have you got to lose?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Out The Door

When you leave the house to go somewhere, how long does it take you? You probably linger, sip your coffee or soda, read one last paragraph of your article, sleep in five extra minutes, and then take off. And when you do, you grab your keys, your jacket, and walk out the door.

Well, it doesn't go that way for me. When I decide to leave, I need to motivate three other people to leave with me. Three other people that would rather be playing Bakugan, or who need last minute diaper changes, or who refuse to put on shoes or can't find them or who decide to wear sandals in the snow or snow boots the first day that it's 70 degrees.

Some days, just getting out the door is enough to make me loose my mind. Negotiating the snacks and the shoes and the actual movement... I don't think anyone who hasn't actually experienced this can understand it.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Notes from the Doc

Last week I had a doctor's appointment. Remember when you used to go to the doctor and that was it? If you had to give a urine sample or they needed to take blood, they did it there. But these days they send you TO THE LAB.

And I suppose it was OK this time around, because I had to do one of those fasting things before they took my blood. So I chose to go first thing in the morning, before breakfast.

Over five years ago, I got my cholesterol checked to qualify for life insurance. And it came in at 202. Which is high. The insurance company did not care that it was mostly GOOD cholesterol, they just want the number. And two years ago, when it was checked by my doctor, it came in at 191. The good kind still outweighing the bad.

Well, this year, it dropped to 151. I still have more HDL than LDL (more good than bad) but I'm really wondering what made it all drop. Did the running finally catch up with me? Is this because I stopped drinking soda? Because I started eating flax seed bread?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Is he strong? Listen, bud...

The perfect way to end a perfect trip to the zoo is with an ice cream. Specifically, with an ice cream shaped like Spiderman's head. You just have to be careful that the eyeballs don't fall off onto the Central Park ground before you get to them.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Goin' To The Zoo, Zoo, Zoo

My parents live close to Central Park, the end of it that has the zoo. I like to wander in the park, and I can't tell you how many times I've simply wandered by it, completely by accident. So I knew, once we set out to go there, that we wouldn't be able to find it.

Well, that's just not true. Jamie was with us and headed us off in the right direction. We did find it, but we did wander around for a little bit, and ended up doubling back because there was no entrance where we thought there would be. But it wasn't a huge deal, because the day was absolutely fantastic. It must have been over seventy degrees out, and people were just out having fun and enjoying the weather.

We went to the main zoo, which is small, but a really nice zoo. The rainforest exhibit is really nice, and also warm and humid. One of the lemurs went nuts and let out a frightening series of growls in our direction, and now Nick is afraid of lemurs. And I have to say, I'm a little less inclined to watch Zoboomafoo.

Then we had lunch. Andrew was so wiped out that he fell asleep eating a french fry, and slept through the whole Children's Zoo. The Children's Zoo is a small, intimate, interactive petting zoo which was occupied by about five hundred people. More than half of them with strollers. The boys hopped through boy-sized logs, and pretended to be turtles. There is a gigantic spiderweb to climb on. Tons of fun.
I thought it was so crowded because the Children's Zoo was the big draw. But when we left and walked past the ticket booth, the line was four times as long as it had been in the morning. If it had been that long when we arrived, we would not have had to wander around AT ALL. And besides the line, the park itself was overflowing. Every inch of grass had a blanket or a towel with people on it. Many girls were in bikinis.

This is odd to be for so many reasons. I refuse to wear a bikini at a private pool, let alone the beach. So wearing one in a park full of fully clothes people IN MARCH is an impossibility. But to make matters even more bizarre, the skating rink was still open, and folks were still ice skating. Next to the sun bathers.

Anyway, I really enjoyed the day. It was a lot of fun, and so beautiful. But I have to say once more how it made me appreciate what I have here. A backyard. When the weather is nice, or not so nice, or so beautiful and unseasonal it must be taken advantage of, we can simply step outside. And be alone. I could wear a bikini in my backyard and only the crows would be the wiser. No need to go out and elbow your way through throngs of equally sun-starved folk. Of course, we can't walk to a zoo.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

NY State of Mind

Took a quick trip to NY. We're back now. I'm tired. I'll post all about everything tomorrow, OK? But for now I need to sit with my feet up, watch The Hangover, and maybe cut out some fabric for the quilt I'm working on.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Here Comes The Sun

It must be tomorrow, the sun has come out.

The past couple of days have been so beautiful. The boys have gotten in some really good outdoor time. The yard is still pretty muddy in a lot of places, so I can't get to the thorny brush yet, but I've started working on my little vegetable patch (I hope to actually get some vegetables this year.) And it's been so warm I started drying my laundry on the porch. Although I need a better system, because we get a strong breeze and I'm running all over the yard picking up sheets and shirts and various people's underwear.

I keep reminding myself that it's not going to last. Spring here is notoriously muddy and wet. Last summer we had more yucky days than nice ones. But I can't help hoping. Because maybe, just maybe, we'll have nice sunny days until September!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dinner Time

A few months ago I established a "no meat" day in our home. Essentially, I felt we were eating too much meat than we needed to, and seeing as meat is expensive, unhealthy in large amounts, and harmful to the environment, I thought we could cut back.

I mean, one day a week. At supper - lunch and breakfast didn't even count.
But the truth is, it's harder than you think. I've made corn chowder, cauliflower soup, potato bake, all sorts of things. But I am not the world's best cook. And even when the dish turn out well, I put it down in front of a bunch of picky eaters who act as though Ricotta were made of slugs and pepper causes teeth to fall out.

Tonight, for instance, I made something from a vegetarian cookbook someone gave me. It's called "Great Eats Without Meats!" and it's wonderful. But after I leaf through and eliminate everything that contains bulgar wheat, tofu, ricotta and gorgonzola, there's not much left to work with.
I found something called "Penne Di Bosco" which is Penne with mushrooms, and I thought the kids would go for it. They even voted on it, but it turned out it was just because they liked the way it sounded. "Penne Di Bosco!" And they also liked the way I said "mushroom sauce." It made Andy laugh.
Anyway, I think I would have had a better chance if the list of ingredients hadn't left out both garlic and shallots. They weren't listed, and so I didn't buy any. And then while cooking I came to the step that said "sautee shallots and garlic" and I freaked out. I skipped the shallots and used pre-minced garlic I keep in the fridge (probably would have done this anyway.)

Also, "add Porcini" popped up in at least two places. The second time was about forty minutes after the first, so I freaked out again...

But it wasn't too bad. I feel a little funny now, but that's probably because I ate thee helpings to show the kids how YUMMY it was and how much they were missing out. Andy finally fell for it, and ate the penne, if not the mushrooms.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Animals Marching Two By Two

It's been raining for three days straight. It's so irritating, because things were warming up, and as the days were getting longer and the temperature milder, there was more time to take the boys outside, to breathe fresh air. And now we're stuck inside and I'm turning the heat back up. Welcome to Spring in New England.

So now I'd like to post a couple of photos from our last big storm. The one with the power outage.

Here's our backyard with the flooded brook. The water came all the way up to the shed. It always recedes after a day or two, and it did, but it never returned to it's bed. Of course, with the new rain, it's back up to the shed again. It better not rain tomorrow.
And here are the trees that fell. They are still there. We have to call someone t take them away, because Steve and I know full well we'd probably crush ourselves if we attempted this on our own.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Holiday Needed

The first week of March is Dr. Seuss's Birthday. You know Dr. Seuss. If you don't, you've lived under a rock for the past forty years. Or you should. Because Dr. Seuss Rocks.

Anyway, each year on his birthday, the Dr. Seuss books come out at the library, and at the schools, and everywhere you can possibly imagine. What's more, this year at Nick's school, they made a special WEEK out of it. Each day was dedicated to a different book. That's right. Monday was Grinch day, and everyone wore green. Tuesday everyone wore mis-matched socks. Wednesday was wacky hair day. Thursday was hat day. Friday you got to dress up as your favorite Dr. Seuss character. LOTS of fun for the kids. I think that, as a nation, we ought to band together and all do these things every year.

We had fun on Wacky hair day. Nick's hair is short, but I did my best with my hairspray and Steve's mousse.

Of course, Nate couldn't be left out.

The best part is that Nate's hair is still doing this, even though it's been two weeks and I've washed his hair many times.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Your Tired, Your Poor

He calls it "The Statue Of Flipperty."

I didn't coach him.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Contrast and Compare.

When my brother Winston was a little boy, he drove me crazy with the questions he'd ask my mother. "What's faster, a cheetah or a road runner?" "What's faster, a cheetah, or a bus?" Obsessed with speed. Every day. Every single day.

Tonight at dinner, Nick asked, "Which is bigger, a mouse, or a Bakugan?"

Before we could answer, Nate asked," What's bigger than a rat: a bunk bed, or.... a rat?"

Hmmm.... the answer is a bunk bed.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Dentist Vs. Donut

When I told the boys they had dentist appointments, they got all excited. Because they would be getting new toothbrushes. I have the only little boys in the world who flip over new toothbrushes.

I had errands to do before the appointment, before picking up Nick from school, and I took Nate and Andy with me. And at one point I stopped for a coffee.

"I am going to Dunkin Donuts," I said. "We are NOT getting donuts. I am getting a coffee, and that's IT. Nothing else."

I should have known better. Because as soon as I pulled away from the window, coffee in hand, Andy started wailing. "Donuts! Want Donuts!" Big Fat Tears.

"But Andy, we can't eat donuts now. We'll go to lunch after the dentist!"

"No dentist!" Andy yelled. "Donuts! Hate Dentist!"

At least he's normal. I feel the same way.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Makes No Census

In case you have not been made aware by the many TV commercials and magazine ads, this is the year of the US Census. I've seen the ads. I've been looking forward to getting mine in the mail and filling it out. Not as much as I look forward to my National Geographic, but I've been keeping my eye out for it.

Anyway, today we got an envelope that said "2010 Census" and I thought "Hey! The Census is here! It's a lot smaller than I thought it would be." And I opened it up... and it was a one page letter that basically boiled down to "You will be getting a census form. Please fill it out and return it. Please do not throw it away."

So instead of getting a census form, we got a letter telling us we would be getting a census form. Because if I were a person who would throw out a census form, maybe I would open this OTHER bit of junk mail telling me about the census form, and maybe THAT will make all the difference?

I suppose I shouldn't be so cynical. It just seems like so much useless.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Over Indulgent

I love watching the Oscars.

I know, as stupid as it is, as over indulgent as it all is, I sit there and eat it all up. Even these days, when I've seen only a fraction of the nominated films. The only problem is, I'm OLD!

No, I'm not talking about the teen werewolves or whatnot. I'm referring to the length of the darn thing. I tried and tried to stay up last night, but I didn't even make it as far as the Best Actress. I crumpled somewhere during the documentaries and short films.

And today, even though I didn't stay awake through the whole thing, I was exhausted today. So exhausted that somehow, I forgot my morning coffee. I made it, but somehow never got any into a mug. And when I took the boys to gymnastics, one of the mothers had the girl-scout cookies I had ordered way, way back when. Four boxes. Because I could not make up my mind. YUM!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Sunny Weather

This past week has actually brought us a few warmish days. The sun will come out, and the temperature will rise to a tropic fifty something. A couple of my tulips have broken through the ground. I've taken the boys out to ride bikes in the driveway a couple of times, and this morning we spent time on the swings.

This morning Nick asked, "Is it summer now?"

I think his heart will break when he finds out about the muddy season.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Something Fishy

Tonight I made salmon for dinner.

Nicholas announced three hours before the meal that he was NOT eating it, no way, and would I please please make a salad? Nathan refused to come to the dinner table, telling me that he would skip dinner altogether. Even Steve rolled his eyes when I told him what we were having. (He isn't a fan, but hey, he'll try it.)

Andy, little Andy, was the only one who rushed to the table. He looked down at his plate and actually said "Yum Yum!" and finished his salmon before Steve got to the table. He then had three more helpings. THREE! Little guy ate more than I did.

I love him!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

When To Cry Over Spilt Milk

I do a lot of reckless things with my laptop. I carry it around with me. I bring it into the bathroom when the boys are bathing. I sit with it at the lunch table. I bring it outdoors when the boys are riding bikes. I prop the laptop on stools and paint cans when I paint rooms, so that I can watch movies or listen to music.

Today, as I sat at the lunch table, reading a book, my laptop got drenched in milk.

My laptop was not at the table with me. It was sitting on the counter, next to the phone, on, but sleeping and closed.

And as soon as it happened, I wanted to blame someone. But who?

Do I blame the cat, who was the one that knocked over the milk in the first place, the greedy little monster? After all, the kitchen counters are off limits to him. He didn't even care he spilled the milk, he just kept lapping it up, even as the boys were yelling at me to get my attention.

Do I blame Nate? He was the one that put his milk there, right next to this expensive equipment. And I remember telling him very specifically to finish his milk and then place his cup in the sink, neither of which he did.

Or, should I just blame myself? Because I know the cat jumps on the counter and knocks over milk cups. And I know that Nathan is a stubborn little boy who will place his dishes on the counter instead of walking the four extra feet to the sink any chance he gets. And I tempt fate every day with my computer. So why am I so surprised when something finally happens?

I was so upset when this happened because my computer stopped working. It just went dark and refused to turn back on. And I thought of how dependent I am on my laptop, for blogging, Facebook, email. I thought of everything stored on my computer - my photographs, my writing, my music. I haven't backed anything up in many months.

But I am lucky. I am married to a computer genius who was somehow able to get it going again. And suddenly I have it back, only now I am aware of the time I spend on it. And I swear this weekend I shall back everything up twice!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Is it Bedtime Yet?

After I did the dishes, I announced that it was time for the boys to go upstairs and get ready for their bath, the start of the getting-to-bed routine.

"But sleeping is so boring!" Nick cried.

I told him I would remind his of that when he was a teenager sleeping at noon on a Sunday. He was not very impressed.

And I tried to think back to when I thought going to sleep was hard and boring, and the last time I was frustrated and had to clench my eyes shut, wishing I were doing something else. These days I fall into bed. If I'm not half asleep when I climb in, I am glad, if not giddy with excitement, for the rest.

What happens to us as we get older? Do we really become so positive that there will be time to do it tomorrow?

Monday, March 01, 2010

All Lit Up

About five minutes after I posted last night the lights came on.

I wish I could say the moment was memorable. That suddenly a whirring picked up, that we went from dark to a brilliant explosion of light that left us shielding our eyes. But no. Instead, Steve went into the kitchen to get some ice cream and stood there, wondering what had changed. And it was the lights!

I was very happy, and immediately started doing laundry.

I am embarrassed by the tone of my last post. It was supposed to be funny in an overwhelmed and self-pitying sort of way. Instead, as I read it over, it came across just self-pitying and bitter. And I suppose I was. But now that we're all good and healthy, eating ice cream and turning on closet lights, I feel much better. And it all seems very minor.

Of course, I still know people that are living without power, without water, and without heat. And they are unhappy. So... I just realize how lucky we are.