Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cartoon people

I had an inordinate amount of fun doing these last night. It's a website where you can pick face shape, hair, etc.:
Teddy

Troy
Daddy
Me:
I know, everyone who has a Wii has already done this, but videogames are banned on Home St. :)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hutzelwald

Hi everyone,

I've been making more jewelry, but I haven't had time to photograph it all.  Here is another line of one-of-a-kind necklaces and bracelets with vintage components, including my favorite bracelet.  I finally found a bead store nearby.  I didn't get many beads, but they have silver plated and sterling silver wire, which I eventually want to start using.  Stay tuned!

This pendant necklace collects together a vintage brown and black round button, a vintage brass cage bead, and vintage silver-plated "melon" bead, and a vintage green, fire-polished faceted glass bead suspended by bits of vintage chain from an old brass ring.  The necklace chain is new, but with an antique brass finish.

This pendant necklace is made from a vintage wooden bead, separated by brass rounds with an antique finish from two vintage blue and white lampwork beads.  It is suspended from two slightly different vintage brass chains.


My favorite so far:  three vintage buttons wired together using reclaimed brass wire and a vintage brass ring, connected by a chain and lobster-claw clasp that are new but that have an antique brass finish.  At the clasp hangs a vintage "melon" shaped bead that appears to have been silver plated brass.  The finish is charmingly worn and patinaed.

This necklace is similar to the first, but with a pearlized-white button, instead of the black and brown.  


Saturday, October 31, 2009

HAPPY HOLLOWEEN




Batman and the Ninja Turtle are off, trick-or-treating.  It's a warm, windy night -- perfect Halloween weather.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Untitled



This simple pendant pairs a small, time-worn silver key with a speckled blue ceramic bead held in place by a jet-black glass bead.  They are strung on a long, silver-finish chain with charmingly-irregular links.  A vintage shell button keeps the clasp company at the back of the neck.  

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Worn"




The photos don't do these justice.  These are one-of-a-kind earrings and necklace set made with vintage buttons and amethyst-colored lampwork glass beads on antique-brass-finish fittings.  I love how the subtle colors of the old buttons pick up the purple tones of the beads, the contrast in the shapes and finishes, and how the worn and irregular shapes of the stacked buttons look both geometric and organic.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The "Zermatt" collection


I made these with the clear glass buttons.  I wire-wrapped the buttons and dangled them off a loose silver-colored chain.  The bracelet includes three speckled blue ceramic beads, like tiny planets.  Clean and cool.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The "Heidelberg" collection




I made this coordinating pendant and earring set out of beads from the Murano glass necklace from the Heidelberg flea market, combined with some little brass rings I've been saving for years.  Emerald green vintage Murano glass beads and vintage brass rings with slight patina on antique-brass-color fittings.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Inspiration

Thanks to Oma and Mika for scouring the flea market in Heidelberg and finding this fantastic Murano glass bead necklace.  The necklace was a bit much as it was, with five layers of heavy glass beads, but with a couple of snips with the  scissors and an evening of sorting, and I now have six or more plastic baggies stuffed with emerald green beads of various sizes and shapes.  I don't think I would ever have chosen green, but necessity is truly the mother of invention -- it is when I am presented with limitations that I am most inspired.  I have already had many hours of fun creating earrings, necklaces and bracelets.  





Sunday, October 18, 2009

Topsfield Fair
















Right now it's snowing outside, so it's almost nostalgic to look at these photos from two weeks ago.  We went to the Topsfield fair and looked at animals, rode crazy rides, and ate corn dogs and cotton candy.  The second annual trip to the fair -- it's a tradition



Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Funny story

I already posted this on Facebook, but for you old-fashioned blog-readers, here it is again.

I was triying to explain to Troy what I do for work, which took a while, because it involved explaining the whole legal system, when  C walked in.

C: If anyone asks you, I am an artist, and I take care of you.

Me:  That's a lot easier! (meaning a lot easier to explain)

Troy (eyes wide in indignation): It is not easier, Mommy.  Daddy has to spend all day cleaning the house!

I'm not sure what that says about us, but it sure made me laugh!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Back to school


I just watched Troy get on the bus for his first day of first grade.  I took one photo with my cell phone, but he wasn't really in a photo taking mood.  He's a bit nervous, especially since his parents blew it and forgot about the "meet the teacher" day on Monday, so he's never seen his teacher and doesn't know where he's going.  I was glad to see, though, that when faced with a situation like this, he sets his jaw and moves forward.  I feel like a mother bird, pushing her baby out of the nest, and  I even suggested to C that he could put Teddy in the car and go watch Troy go into the school. 

 I know he'll be fine.  He even gave us a smile and a wave as the bus pulled away.

P.S.  I folded his collar of his polo shirt down as we left the house, but he folded it back up again, just the way he likes it.  

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Not A Baby Any More

Yesterday we celebrated Teddy's fourth birthday with a barbeque in the back yard.  All the cousins were here, as were aunties and uncles and friends and neighbors.  It was hot out, but the yard is shady, and the kids played in the baby pool we had set up.  Thanks to a very generous little boy named Charlie who had outgrown it and wanted to give it away, Teddy got a swing set in the back yard for his birthday.  The kids had fun playing on it for much of the day.  Here he is modeling the sweater he got from Oma and Opa

Four years old is definitely "big boy" territory (although there's still plenty of crying and whining going on).  He's one of the kids now.

Another big birthday just passed, too, although I'm not sure exactly when.  Pippa turned two some time this week.  (When I adopted her, I was told she was eight weeks old, but had she turned eight weeks that day?  Several days earlier?  It was unclear, so I made her birthday the same as Max's, August 9.)  Look at this picture of her this morning.

Those of you who know her, will see the significance -- she's SLEEPING.  In her bed, during the day.  I was actually walking around from room to room, and she was lying in her bed SLEEPING!

She's been doing this lately, just in the past week.   This puppy has been stuck to me like velcro for two years, jumping up to follow me from room to room, barely closing her eyes when I'm around, so a few times I've actually gotten concerned when I noticed she wasn't underfoot and gone looking for her, only to find her lying in her bed. *Sigh* My babies are growing up!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My new friends


This is Shady. Shhh. He's hiding from Teddy until Monday, Teddy's birthday. In the background is Aubergine. She's looking for a friend.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Hobbies

Recently, I was in a group who was asked what our hobbies are.  One woman said she has no hobbies.  Then, I heard on of Massachusetts's female Supreme Judicial Court justices speak, and she basically said she has spent all her time, her whole adult life, working.

I'm torn.  It makes sense that to be really successful at something, you need to focus your time and energy.  When I think about actually doing it, though, it sounds so dull and . . . sad.

I taught myself how to play the harmonica.  I don't know why.  We had some for the boys, and I picked up one of theirs one day, and then I got curious and looked up how to play on the internet.  Then I bought a "real" harmonica and a book . . .   

I didn't practice yesterday, though, because I was busy making felted-wool stuffed animals out of recycled sweaters.  I got a bunch in great colors from Goodwill, and I use buttons from my collection for the eyes.  I had to stop, though -- time to go to work.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What is it with this summer?

What is it with this summer?  I'm feeling distinctly discontented this summer.  Last year, we went down to the Cape a bunch of times, and it seemed so fun.  Every Friday, we'd pile into the car, grab some pizza and eat on the way down there.  We'd spend some time on the beach, have a couple of meals out on the deck, and head back home on Sunday.  There didn't seem to be any crowds or traffic, and the sun was almost always shining.  This year, every drive has been tortuously long and hot (as the air conditioner in our car became feeble and then died).  It's usually cloudy, and when the sun comes out, it stays just long enough to lure you to the beach before being suffocated by clouds again.  When it's hot, the beaches are crowded, and when it's raining, everyone gets in their cars and sits on Route 28.  

On the other hand, the boys are learning to swim in the little pool in the back yard.  It's still nice to sit out on the deck, and there's nothing like an outdoor shower after a crowded, hot afternoon at the beach.  As Troy said last Saturday, "It sure is relaxing here." I think we'll go back next weekend . . .  

Psst!

Don't tell Teddy:  They aren't really "Power Sticks"; they're cut up zucchini from the garden.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It's a perfect day, and we went to Crane's Beach to enjoy the arrival of real summer weather.  Unfortunately, half of Massachusetts was there, too.  We got there at 10, which is usually before the crowds get there, but to find a place near the boardwalk (and hence not too far from the "potties"), we had to maneuver into a space in the middle of a bunch of other people who wanted to be near the potties and/or food (people with toddlers and one old lady).  Then, shortly after we got there a big group of people who had apparently come from the city, because they had a much different definition of personal space moved in behind us.  I breathed a cloud of sunscreen as one woman stepped away from her group to spray herself -- right upwind from us.  

I could go on, but I'll just say, the water was clear and refreshingly cold, the sun was hot and the breeze kept the green-head flies away.  We left after about an hour and a half, but that's the benefit of living 15 minutes away from the beach.

I'm sitting in the back yard now, after a picnic lunch, thinking about walking down to Patton park to hear the band.  The one sad spot in today will be the memorial ceremony we're going to have for Nemo.  I feel terrible, but we left Nemo yesterday in a spot where the sun shone in a window onto his cage and he got heat stroke.  We were gone most of the day, and by the time we noticed, it was too late to save him.  He died a few hours later, after being wetted and cooled, and then later warmed, wrapped in a washcloth in a basket on the kitchen counter.  He was, as Troy said, the best hamster we ever had.  

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dough Boys


The boys brought home those dough-balls that Bertucci's gives the kids to play with. I feel like we have a new pet -- we had to add flour last night because they got too sticky, put them in plastic containers so the boys could take them to bed, and this morning I had to re-knead them and clean out their containers because the dough had risen over night. Feed, exercise and clean - it's just like the hamster!

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Weekend is over

We had a great weekend.  On Saturday, Troy and I ran some errands and picked up plants and potting soil to fill our window boxes and pots.  We bought some tomato plants, too, because the ones we're growing from seeds are still so tiny, it's disheartening.  The bush beans we planted in the vegetable bed are sprouting, though, and so are some sunflowers.  It's so great to see things growing in the garden.  

We were looking at sliding glass doors on the internet.  We really want to put one in our dining room, with a deck into the back yard.  And have the house painted.  And have the driveway repaved.  And we have no money to do any of that . . .

Saturday evening, after running around and gardening, I didn't feel like making dinner.  We had a plate of vegetables and then went to the mall food court.  We had fun with the boys, going up and down escalators, and we went to H&M and found them each a "cool" cap and some shirts on sale.  

Yesterday we went to old friends for a barbeque lunch.  The kids played nicely, and the grownups got to talk.  We got home by 4:30, so still had time for a walk and to play some games before bedtime.  

After weekends like that, it's hard to leave and go to work.

Friday, May 15, 2009

I don't consider myself a funny person, but every once in a while, I'll crack a joke that will make people laugh.  The weird thing is, I seem to do it at the time when I would think I would be most shy and inhibited. 

As a first year associate, I was assigned to cover a few depositions in which we represented one of about two dozen companies that had been sued.  If the plaintiff had lined up the defendants in order of importance, our client would probably have been around number 20.  The depositions were tortuously long affairs, with dozens of lawyers in dark suits sitting around long conference tables, while one or two droned on, asking questions for hours.  The rest of us kept only one ear open so that we could blurt out the obligatory "Objection!" whenever our respective clients' names were mentioned, regardless of the question.  The rest of time we doodled, or daydreamed, or read the paper.

The partner I was working for, though, suggested I might want to ask one or two questions, to establish that the deponent didn't really know which product of our client's was supposedly involved.  When it came time for me to ask my two questions,somehow, with 20 lawyers looking down the long conference table at me, and the stenographer typing every word into her computer, I managed to crack a joke.  A pretty mild, friendly one, aimed at the plain silliness of the question I had asked ("You didn't memorize the item numbers of every one of dozens of products from ten years ago?")  But why right then?  Sometimes it still comes to me that somewhere in some transcript, amid hours of boring testimony, there's my little joke and the notation "(Laughter)", and I'm still embarrassed.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Funny things kids say

C was cleaning when Pippa had an accident in the house (my fault for neglecting to take her out).  Already frustrated, C exclaimed "Now why did the friggin' dog pee in the house!"  Teddy was right there, immediately picked up the word he had never heard before and started practising it to commit it to memory.  "The friggin dog peed!  Friggin dog. Friggin' dog? Friggin' dog!"  C had to turn to him and say "Um, Teddy, that's not a good word.  I shouldn't have said that.  Let's not use that word any more, ok?"  

Ah, that's how kids make us better people.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Finding Nemo

I have a question: is it bad to use your kids to gamble?  

The reason I ask is that I think Troy is psychic, and I want to make him pick Lottery numbers for me.  How do I know he's psychic?  Last Friday night, on the way to the pet store to pick out a hamster (for his birthday), I suggested he should think about some possible names.  After only a moment's thought he announced he had decided on "Nemo" (from the Pixar movie "Finding Nemo," which we've watched repeatedly).

Nemo is a perfectly nice Golden Hamster with a twitchy nose and beady black eyes -- and an amazing ability to get out of his cage.  Every morning we come downstairs in a state of anticipation, wondering where he will be.  Being quite clever, it only took us a few days to start adding security to the several little doors on his cage.  Apparently, hamsters are quite clever, too, or at least persistent, and rubber bands and tape have so far not deterred him.  

So what I want to know is: how did Troy know we would be spending every morning FINDING NEMO?!? I'm going to go pick up some Lottery tickets.  

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dear friends, family, and visitors,

I've been neglecting you lately, I know.  First, I'm in a new relationship.  I haven't been in a relationship like this in many years.  It actually started on-line, but we've spent almost all our time together for the past two weeks.  Old relationship wasn't working out anymore.  It sure has been exciting.  Sometimes I think it isn't going to work, but then I spend some time working out the kinks, and it's fantastic again.  Everyone, I want you to meet the apple of my eye, my new laptop:
Thank you Ebay!  Don't worry, we can still hang out.  As a matter of fact, I hope this little iBook G4 will help us spend more time together.  I'm actually working 0n-line right now, while riding the train.  This hasn't come without some pain, mind you, getting this Wi-Fi/Airport Express/keychain password relationship worked out.  Never mind -- I love you iBook!

Second, the weather was BEAUTIFUL this weekend!  It was 60 and sunny both days.  We played and walked and sat around and stood talking to the neighbors ALL weekend long.  I think all that fresh air tired us all out, because last night we were all ready for bed, even though we had lost an hour to daylight savings time.  I almost didn't notice the blizzard on the way to work this morning.  OK, I totally didn and it was depressing, but it's ok, because we have the seeds for our new vegetable garden at home, and Spring is coming.  

Love always,

Monday, February 23, 2009

Imagine it's summer



You're lying in the warm sun, squinting in the brightness.  You splash in the water to cool off . . .

Aaaahhhh!  I can't wait

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Another winter weekend

This is a hard time of year.  It seems like the hours spent at work are so long, and the time at home is so short.  At least I realize now that it's not a sign that I need to make a major change in my life -- I just have to make it a few more weeks until Spring.  

We're passing the time by planning our vegetable garden.  We're going to put in a second bed and plant tomatoes, lettuce, peas, beans, zucchini, and we're going to try garlic and watermelon, too.

Today, I took both the boys to the grocery store to get a few things for dinner tonight and tomorrow.  (Marcy is coming to visit tomorrow afternoon, and we're going to have the Clapps over.  I decided to make chicken schnitzel.)  I cleaned out their closet a little, made lunch, and then we all had a rest together.  Teddy and I made "healthy" cookies (Oatmeal, nut, dried cranberries, and reduced sugar; which apparently I am going to eat by myself).  

Before dinner, I took Pippa for a walk at Patton Park.  It was just before 5:30, and the sun was setting on a clear, cold day, outlining the trees against the glowing sky.  

I figured out the trick to get Teddy to do ANYTHING: ask Troy to ask him to do it.  Right now they are both upstairs putting on their PJs by themselves.  You don't know how many nights we have battled him to put his PJs on (and to put his clothes on in the morning)!

All is peaceful here.  Good night :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Educational Programming is Ruining My Kids

This evening as we were cleaning up after dinner, Teddy ran to the bathroom and tried to open the door.  He can't quite get the hang of pushing the handle down and pushing the door in at the same time.  "Slow down, Teddy, and you'll have more success," said Christian.  Yes, we are those people. The ones who talk to their kids like we're perpetually trying to impress a college professor or potential employer (I said perpetually).  We do it for the same reason we restrict their television viewing to the educational shows on public television, like "Sid, The Science Kid," about a boy who likes to learn about science, and "Martha Speaks," about a dog who can talk and who learns vocabulary words -- because we want to increase their exposure to knowledge and decrease their exposure to vulgarity (although apparently we don't want it enough to do without TV altogether).

Teddy opened the door, went into the bathroom, and stuck his head back out.  "But Daddy! Success means making a lot of money!"

Christian's jaw dropped and my head spun around so fast, I nearly pulled a muscle.  I recovered quickly enough to try to explain that for some people, success means being happy, or doing something to help others.  But Teddy insisted that "the man on 'Martha Speaks' said that success means making money!"  

That's it! No more PBS for you, young man.  From now it's Nickelodeon or the Disney Channel, 24/7!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Look out, Tech Show, here comes anti-matter girl!

I'm afraid to touch anything. I've been experiencing a string of technology failures, and my sphere of destruction seems to be growing.

First, it was the horn in the car. I tried to be cute this weekend and honk as we passed our friends in the street, but ended up looking like a doofus when no sound come out.

Luckily, no one was watching my next technology failure, as I tried over and over to push the toast into the toaster, with no success, going from one outlet to another. Later, when Christian drove the car, the horn (and the speaker -- that had nothing to do with me) suddenly started working again. Ditto with the toaster.

On Monday morning I arrived to find our server had crashed. It broke repeatedly and was finally taken out on a stretcher today. When I tried to scan something, the scanner didn't work, and now one of the printers doesn't seem to be working. I think I better go. I'm going to walk really carefully, and try not to touch the train.

They're going to love me at the Tech Show tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Teaching, Tweets, and Turkey Turnovers

I had a busy few weeks there, which I definitely like better than when work is slow. I am proud to say that I did a big mediation by myself (with the client there) and it went really well. It didn't settle, but that was not unexpected. I also gave a speech to a group of lawyers about social networking and blogging (as it relates to legal marketing). That was fun and gave me an excuse to learn all about Twitter and the related applications. Now I'm hooked, and spending all my extra time hanging out with my "Tweople" instead of "you people" (Sean, are you reading this?)

The thing I like about both the mediation and the panel talk was the teaching aspect of it. I still get super nervous before-hand, but I still love it. I think it's like sky-diving is for other people -- that's how I get my thrills. I know; that's weird.

In between I took the boys and went to Heidi's for the weekend for a "leave daddy home alone" weekend (remember, there used to be Girls' Weekend?) It was quick but fun. Always so relaxing to be there. I made dinner for them: Turkey Turnovers. Ask me for the recipe. It's soooo good.

Love always,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ohio Is Actually Not That Bad

I had a great trip to Ohio.  I flew in on Saturday, and after a couple of delays (late flights, confusing city streets) Monique picked me up at the airport.  We went to the "Short North", an area of Columbus where her brother Sean lives, and where we spent most of the weekend.  We stopped for lunch at North Market (Vietnamese food) and then went to see a t-shirt designer who designed some great Obama t-shirts so Monique could get a t-shirt.  We stopped by to see Sean's friend, Jane, who has the coolest house, and then went "home" to Sean's cute brick Victorian.  We went to pick up Sean's daughter at her friend's house, where they were making plans for their all-girl band.  I am determined to come up with the best band name for them -- what a cool bunch of kids!

BUYING CRUSTY BREAD AND GOAT'S CHEESE AT NORTH MARKET

Later that night, the four of us went to a restaurant called Rigsby's, and had some fantastic appetizers and drinks.  Monique and I kept going until midnight, so we could celebrate her birthday.  We went to a bar where Sean's kick-boxing instructor was performing with her band. It was just like old times!

It took us a while to get moving on Sunday, for some reason (like old times?).  Sean made breakfast, and then Monique and I went to the Ohio State University's art museum to see an exhibit of Andy Warhol.  


HANGING OUT WITH ANDY AT THE WEXNER


Sunday night was dinner with Monique's parents at a really good Italian restaurant.    On Monday, we had big plans, but got bogged down at the mall, shopping and eating at The Cheesecake Factory.  We made up for it with Yoga that night, and then dinner of soup and veggie drinks at a health-food restaurant called North Star.  They made the best Rustic Tomato and Bread soup, ever!

All in all, it was a relaxing weekend of reminiscing, good food, and hanging out. Thank you Columbus!!!


MY ARTSY PICTURE OF HIGH STREET IN THE SHORT NORTH


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Guest Blogger

Hi, This is Teddy.  Mommy went on a trip this weekend and told us we had to be good helpers while she's gone, so I'm helping her with her blog.  

Grown-ups say crazy things sometimes, though.  In the middle of dinner the other night, after I ate a lot and I was making my Celery-guy dive into the little pool of Dressing, I felt thirsty.  Mommy always says I have to use my Big Boy voice, so I said, "I want something to drink!" real loud so Mommy and Daddy could hear it, except I think I might have accidentally said "I want something to eat," but celery-guy kept wanting to jump from higher and higher, so I can't remember.  "Aaaaaaaah!" That was Celery guy jumping.  

I know she heard me, though, because when I said:

"I want something to eat!" 

She said: "Oka-a-ay . . .   How about I make you a sandwich with bacon and lettuce and tomato -- like the half-eaten one on your plate in front of you?"

I think she was trying to be funny, but grown-ups always tell me it's yucky when I put food in my drink, so I said: "No! That would be disgusting!" 

Celery Guy: "Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!"

Mommy:  "What's disgusting about about it?"

Me: "Because you don't want to have it when you put food in it!"

Mommy: "You want me to  make a sandwich that doesn't have any food in it?"  Her eyebrows were up high so they make those lines on her forehead.

Me: (using lots of words and moving my hands around like grownups do when they try to explain things) "No, not the food in the sandwich that you're eating it, it's when you don't want to have it for drinking because you're thirsty!"

Mommy: "Oh! you're thirsty; you want something to drink! Why didn't you say so?"

Celery Guy: "AAAAAaaaah."  

I don't know why she would think I was hungry, when I already ate lots of bites of my dinner; grownups make everything so difficult!  I hope she doesn't say crazy stuff like that to her friends this weekend, or they might send her back early.




Monday, January 12, 2009

Another weekend snowstorm

We got several inches of snow on Saturday night, on top of the icy layer of snow still on the ground.  We've come to really enjoy these snowy days, forced to stay home and find ways to amuse ourselves, having time to bake bread and playing in the snow.  
The roads were snowy, so we didn't want to drive anywhere to go sledding.  Instead we made a little ramp in the backyard and pushed the boys the 40 feet to the bottom of the yard.
Troy got snow in his collar and went inside after a few minutes, but Teddy had fun for over an hour.  I got a good workout, too, shoveling snow, packing the run, and running after the sled. It's so satisfying to come inside and have a nice, warm lunch after some tiring fun in the snow!

Only one week until I go to Ohio for M's birthday.  I can't wait for our "Girls Weekend."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Remember the "Seinfeld" episode about B.O.?

I got a great new sweater yesterday, but it smells like a perfume I don't like.  What should I do? How did I end up with a new sweater?  It all starts with the dog . . .

I tried to take Pippa to her doggy-playgroup yesterday.  My New Year's Resolution to get up early and take her out wasn't very successful last week (I'm not giving up).  The second day, the radio alarm accidentally got turned down so low, I slept through it.  The third day, it was sleeting, and I had stayed up late, so I turned off the alarm and went back to bed, Thursday blah, blah, blah.  

Anyway, she had not gotten much exercise, and it was pretty cold out, so I figured I would take her to play with the dogs, where she gets completely, utterly exhausted.  The place where we took puppy obedience has an indoor facility where on Saturdays they host a play group for small dogs for one hour.  Of course, they charge money to do this, and so I actually pay $15, yes, $15, so that Pippa can play with dogs her size.  Even though there are lots and lots of dogs in our neighborhood, it's rare to run into an opportunity for them to play and run around, and even more rare that it's really fun for Pippa because she's so much smaller than most of the Labs and Goldens around here.  That's how I justify the $15.  

I guess they changed the time, though, because when we got to the Fit-N-Trim Dog Agility center, there was no one there.  What could I do?  I went shopping at TJ Maxx nearby, and then took Pip' for a walk in our local park on the way home.  At TJ Maxx they had jackets and sweaters marked way down, and I found a nice charcoal grey cardigan with a cowl neck that was marked down to $20 ($20 minus $15 saved because no dog group = sweater only cost $5).  In the car, I thought I smelled car air freshener. I didn't notice until I picked up the bag to get out of the car that it was the sweater.  I had it laid out all night in the enclosed porch, and it still stinks!  It's some perfume that I recognize, but I don't know the name.  I can smell it wafting over here now.  Either someone tried it on while wearing a gallon of the stuff, or someone wore it and returned it.  Is this why it was marked down?  Will the smell ever go away?  Ech!

P.S.  I added photos to "Of God and Videogames" below.  You should check them out :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

In the old days, I was against the Photo-of-the-Kids Christmas Card.  Every Christmas, I would tear open the envelopes from far-away friends, eagerly expecting news of how they were and what they had been doing.  I would be disappointed when I would find only a picture of a child I didn't know and a sterile (I thought) "Merry Christmas."  

Time goes by.  Life changes.

This was the picture on our Christmas card this year: 


I am now fully a converted Photo-of -Kids-Christmas-Card-ist.  What I realize now, is that this photo, printed on a card ordered online, with a few words scribbled on the back, says more about how I am and what I have been doing, than I could write in 1,000 words.  You have to look closely, but it's all there.  

"I am happy," it says.  "I am completely captivated by these two boys."  In the picture, they are sitting in my lap, but all you see is the edges of my arms holding them: "They have become the most important things in my life."  C isn't in the picture either; he's behind the camera: "He is as engrossed in them as I am. We are sharing this with each other."  See how close he gets to them with the camera?  Trying to capture forever the exact color of each eye, the shape of each tooth, the curve of each smile.  

They squeeze in close together, pressing their faces to the camera: "They are happy, unembarrassed, unencumbered.  They love each other."  

You can see the reminder of the sun and sand of Cape Cod in the color of their cheeks, the highlights in their hair.  "We took a week off and went to Cape Cod," it says.  "The weather was fine.  The boys are always thrilled by the waves." 

"They are healthy," say the eyes and the smiles, bright and clear.  "We laugh a lot, see their silly smiles?  We spend time together as a family."

"And we think of you, even if we are busy.  Too busy to even write anything on this card, other than a very heartfelt 'Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year'.  We think of you when we see a picture in the last days of summer and think, this will make a great Christmas card.  I can't wait for them to see it."  

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Of God and Video Games

Around Thanksgiving, Troy's kindergarten teacher had the kids write and draw a picture of what they were thankful for; and for New Year's she had them write and draw a New Year's Resolution. Now, C and I are atheists and proud of it.  I think the most discussion of religion Troy has heard in our house is me saying "Oh my god, Troy, how many times are you going to ask me that?"  Of course, everyone is entitled to their beliefs, and we want him to be free to find his own way and beliefs, so we don't say anything negative, either; it's just a complete non-issue in our house.  So imagine my, um, surprise, when I looked at his school papers and saw his "I am thankful for _____" paper. 

Apparently, Troy is thankful for . . . GOD. 


Complete with a drawing of the Holy Ghost in the sky.

After looking at it  for several seconds with my mouth hanging open, I gently put it in the drawer with all his other drawings.  A few weeks later, in front of the local Church's nativity scene, I gave Troy a little intro to Christianity.  He didn't seem overly interested, and I felt my duty satisfied for the time being.  

Today when I came home from work no one was home because the guys were at the bonfire where the town burns all the Christmas trees (which in itself is becoming an odd sort of community ritual).  There, on the dining room table among the notices and other papers from school, I saw "My New Year's Resolution is ____." Curious, I pulled it out.  Imagine my relief when I read:

"My New Year's Resolution: veleo gemks."  Teacher's translation written below it:  "to get better at video games."  

PHEW!  (I like how accurately he has tried to draw the TV on top of the cabinet, and that its main feature is the keyhole that locks the door where we keep the DVDs and videogame.)

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sledding

The weekend has been cold, but sunny.  We found a new sledding hill, and had a great time sledding yesterday and today.  The temperature has been hovering right around freezing, so the snow was packed and fast.  The boys are just old enough now to enjoy it and be able to walk up the hill on their own (mostly).  I'm so happy that they're learning that you can get bundled up and have fun outside even when it's cold.  Good preparation for skiing?  

I took the camera along, but left it in the car because I was having too much fun sledding, myself, so no pictures.  You'll just have to imagine it:  C, sitting crosslegged on a round plastic sled, flying down the hill backwards, yelling "Ahh, ahhhh, AAAAHHH!"

On the last run of the day, I accidentally sent Troy into the bushes.  Luckily he had his sunglasses on, but he got a good scrape on the side of his face.  We ended the day in tears, worn out and hungry, but I think we'll be back again soon.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Secrets

Kids say funny things, and I think one of the things that makes them funny is that they point out how illogical our use of language sometimes is.  Before Christmas, I was trying to introduce the boys to the "giving" part of the holiday. I had each of them wrap a small present with me for his brother.  Troy gave Teddy one of the magnets we had made out of one of his drawings.  Teddy was happy with the tiny square package tied with a ribbon -- he didn't even care what was inside.  

Teddy and I picked out a Star Wars figure for Troy and wrapped it together.  Teddy was so excited.  "I can't wait to tell Troy!"  

"No, Teddy, listen.  Don't say anything.  It's a secret."

"Oh, yeah.  OK, when Troy comes home, I'll whisper it real quiet in his ear!"

2009 has arrived in Boston

Happy New Year!!!!