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!!!!