Monday, June 30, 2008

Ite Mail Box

Leave it to quirky little Liam to be the subject of a blog again. He's just so funny! He is currently completely obsessed with mailboxes. He finally learned to call them "mail box" (I leave a space intentionally because he says them with a big pause and breath in between the two words) and not just "mail, mail, mail, mail" as he was in the last blog.

One day, recently, he saw a white mail box, got super excited and shouted out a three-word description (before this was unheard of as he was single word kind of boy), "ITE MAIL BOX!" Well, partially on account of the three words, and partially because it WAS indeed a white mailbox, I went a little crazy with the praise. "YES LIAM! That IS a white mail box! Nice work! Good noticing! (etc...)" Now, in his little brain, ALL mail boxes are white mail boxes. It's a single concept, "ITE MAIL BOX," repeated ad infinitum on our daily walks. Elena and I are slowly breaking him of the habit of saying "ITE" by pointing out all the other lovely colors of mailboxes that exist. Green mailbox, black mailbox, silver mailbox...he tries, but sometimes he just can't help himself. It's branded in his little gray matter. The highlight of the walk for him is when we pass the one actually white mailbox. His little face lights up, he points, he gestures, he shouts, "ITE!! ITE!!! ITE MAIL......BOX!" It's really so cute.

Tonight, as we came to the end of the road and thus the end of the string of mailboxes, he started asking for more mailboxes. "Mo mail box? Mo mail box?" And, my little boy, who NEVER uses sign language to communicate, signed more....awwwwwwwwww....

Monday, June 23, 2008

Strapped In

There is something so comforting about driving when you have kids who are almost 2 and 4 years old. They are safe. They cannot reach each other. You have a task, mindlessly driving. You can listen to music and buzz along fielding questions from the back of the car. It's a wonderful, freeing feeling. Imposed immobility. Sometimes, I get lucky and one of them falls asleep. Once in a blue moon, both of them fall asleep (it has happened once in the last six months, I think).

Yesterday, I was driving with both kids and Patrick. We were trying to go to a restaurant which was under renovation (don't try and hit up the Sesame Seed in Danbury just now). I took back roads and the long way to the second choice restaurant. He was annoyed, "Why on earth are you going this way?" Because they are quiet, happy and strapped in. Therefore, I am happy. I think I could drive to Maine and be happy right now.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Divorce, Amicable Style

Last week, as we prepared for the tag sale, Patrick and I got to that lovely, cathartic point where you will pitch anything, have lost all attachment to stuff and are free to purge. Yesterday, I threw out wedding albums, my wedding planning book (to which I was attached at the hip for a full year), photos and memories. It's sometimes nice to throw out memories, especially when it's a joint decision.

Tag Sales Bite

Apparently, the world does not buy stuff through tag sales anymore. I didn't do the best job advertising, but wow. We made all of $21, which means we did not even break even on the cost of the signage. Makes me want to cry. I am stymied by the amount of crap I now have to deal with. Craigslist and ebay, here I come.

Entropy and the Four-Year-Old

...or three-year-old, or two-year-old, or any child for that matter! You can count on a lot of things when you have a child: late nights, diapers, sickness, hugs, messes etc., but one thing I did not count on was the complete and utter derangement which children bring to the physical household. It's almost laughable.

I have to start by saying, I was not born a neat person. There is a photograph from when I was about eight, where I am lying flopped on a mattress on my floor, looking completely crestfallen. The source of my upset is not, as you might guess, something traumatic or sad, but instead merely that I had to clean my room. If you expand your attention beyond the girl on the bed, you will see that she is floating on the aforementioned mattress, surrounded by a foot high sea of debris. Sigh...I have not been neat, no. When I was pregnant with Elena, I prayed for an anal rententive child. In short, I DID NOT GET MY WISH.

Elena is a lot of wonderful things: creative, bright, interesting, articulate and energetic. The problem is that she likes to explode all over the house. All the explosions have some meaning to her, and on my more magnanimous days, I have fun trying to discern the meaning. On my less amused days, I feel overwhelmed and discomfited. This morning, I must be in a more generous mood. I captured some of this little outcroppings on film. This exercise of photographing some of the odder combinations was inspired by a game a friend of mine used to play in college. Silly, half-drunk college kids that we were, would walk to the grocery store and roam around looking for acts of the supermarket vandal. We would look for items furthest from their home, or in the funniest location. The fungal cream in the ice cream freezer, or the side of meat nestled among the fresh flowers...these things would crack us up!

The juxtaposition of ball and unicorn don't make me laugh on their own, but it's the addition of the potato masher that really gets me going.

Tupperware should be outlawed in our house as containers become tidal pools, collecting random bits.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tim Russert

There are some people you just don't get an opportunity to meet until it's too late. Life can be filled with missed opportunities. I hate missed opportunities. I am living a missed opportunity right now in Tim Russert's death. Maybe it's because I am only thirty-eight and he was a bit ahead of my time? Maybe it's because I avoid the news due it's graphic and negative nature? Maybe it's because I have never been inclined towards politics? For whatever reason, I didn't get to know Tim Russert until this latest chapter in his life...his death. What a tragedy! His funeral service was so moving. The stories and eulogies enlightening and engaging. I totally missed out. I miss you, Tim Russert...and I didn't even really get to know you.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Just a Bunch of Stuff

Today was an exhausting day. The POD people (as I affectionately call them, and I'm sure they adore) dropped off Patrick's and my storage POD holding all our (remaining) worldly possessions. I would say we reduced our 1100 sq. ft. house's worth of "stuff" by two-thirds when we got the POD and now, after having paid $2995 over the last year and a half to house said worldly belongings, we are putting this expense to an end.

I started out the day by making a punch list. For those of you not in construction or project management, which I also am not, but like to sound cool and talk about such things as punch lists, is a list of tasks and subtasks broken down to "bite-sized" chunks. Basically, my punch list ordered the POD activities. First empty the garage, then empty the POD into the garage, then take all garbage to the dump and then sell all worldly possessions at tag sales, sit back count money and move on with divorce and life. Really, not that big of deal, right?

And, I am surprisingly unattached to the items in the POD at this point. Most of the really important stuff came with me when I moved into my parents' house. The really sentimental stuff is hiding in boxes. No big deal. I was most moved by the greyhound collar that belonged to my sweet girl, Athena that, when jingled, did sound EXACTLY like she was alive and bouncing around the POD. Awwwww...Poor Thene girl! Who knows what the other end of the POD may hold, but for now, there have been no real big shockers. Just a bunch of stuff.

Stuff that holds the promise of selling, though! I think everyone should have a tag sale at least once in their lives, preferably BEFORE accumulating a houseful of trinkets and crap. I have started to think of my "stuff" priced and arrayed. I am already arranging it in my mind on shelf space. I am so excited for the opportunity it provides to bring me a few bucks. Not because I am poor (for once), but because it allows me to lighten my load even more. Somehow, I spent all this time out there hunting for, buying, accumulating and storing this junk and now, "Good riddance!" I say. It's value has completely inverted. I don't want to horde it, I am ready to set it free. Good bye my big ole POD-ful of stuff!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Missed it, Dangit!

Apparently, as part of an enticement to film here, the State of Connecticut has been offering some tax breaks and incentives to Hollywood. So, this new movie, All Good Things starring Kirsten Dunst and Ryan Gosling is being filmed here. And, not just here in Connecticut, but here in my town. They are also shooting on Lake Lillinonah tomorrow. My dad was in the music store this evening getting his bass fixed when a props guy was in there getting a guitar for Kirsten Dunst set up for the film. Apparently, she plays the guitar and would like to perform this stunt herself in the movie. All exciting things.

I am only sorry I missed their set-up in town. Would have been pretty cool to have seen our entire community center draped in blackout cloth. Such are the challenges of shooting night scenes without the assistance of actual night. I am still kicking myself for not popping on my sneakers and hoofing it downtown to check it out. I keep racking my brain to figure out why I didn't? I suppose it could have been because it was over 100 degrees that day. Maybe that's why?

Well, that's about all from this sleepy town reporter.

Details on the Lake Lillinonah shooting, so you don't miss it. Click to enlarge.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

The Power of Archive

This is pretty amazing! I googled "heat insanity" today, since it's 99 degrees and I feel as though I am melting, and I got this headline:

HEAT CAUSES INSANITY.; Serious Results of Continues High Temperatures in Rhode Island.

It's a New York Times article, I think to myself, it's got to be reliable. Then I look at the date to see if it's outdated...Guess what that date was?

August 2, 1898, Wednesday

Holy crap...I never expected that!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Berry Picking Season

Those who read the blog last year, will remember my obsession with picking raspberries from our front yard. Every day, for the short-lived raspberry season, my daughter and I could be found at the foot of the hill gathering juicy, ripe berries in stained fingertips. I think I also said this in last year's blog, but it makes me feel like a pioneer housewife, living off the land, gathering the fruits of the season.

Since raspberry season is pretty much the month of July, I feel the need to extend the berry picking by at least another month or two. This year, I am waiting with bated breath for the local strawberry season to start, which should be mid-June at the latest. I cannot wait. Strawberries, fresh plucked from the vine are like a whole different fruit! Modern, grocery store strawberries come from South America and other points far away. This means they are bred for hardy travel. Their skin and fruit made to withstand conveyer belts, picking machines and trucking, is tough and solid. You could probably drop a strawberry from the grocery store on the ground and it would bounce.

Strawberries fresh picked are delicate, sensitive things. They are as thin-skinned as a new baby. So, in two weeks or so, expect a blog of succulent berry pictures.

Above is a picture of the raspberries at harvest time last year.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Know Thyself

And it is only in knowing thyself that I realize what my freaking problem is! Here I am making a go of it on my own. I have a new, pretty successful business. It covers the bills. It's fun. It's different everyday (something I always consider a prerequesite for a good job). And yet, I face these wonderful periods of disenchantment. Why?

Well, first of all, I am a person who needs and wants to be engaged by my work to truly enjoy it. In fact, if I am engaged, nothing can stop me from finding my work exciting and entertaining and fun at anytime of the day or night. I can spend hours and hours at it and never tire. However, then there are the fallow periods. The troughs alongside those peaks. These are the times when I have to do the less engaging work and immerse myself in dullness. It's enough to depress me and sometimes even immobilize me. The longer I am frozen by the ennui the longer it takes to get through the rote stuff and get back to the exciting part.

Secondly, I am sensitive to praise. I think I have mentioned on here before my mercurial reaction to praise, have I not? Let's face it, I'm a praise junkie. When I don't get the positive feedback I so dearly crave, I start to lose my mojo. The color fades from my personality. To quote the Beatles, "I need a fix cause I'm going down."

I do know thyself and I do know this will all clear when I can finally shrug off my fears, move forward boldly and get some damn work accomplished.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Alert the Fashion Police!

My daughter is the queen of doing EVERYTHING HERSELF. This means damn near everyday we get treated to outfits that are reminiscent of Punky Brewster. The "matches" are hysterical. Unfortunately, I can't do anything but laugh since I am trying to be the kind of mother who doesn't care about things such as matching clothes. I am trying to be the kind of mother who values independence and freedom of choice over aesthetics...did I mention that I am TRYING? It's HARD!