Tuesday, July 26, 2005

got away

DH and I went to Mystic and had a fantastic, fabulous kid-free 30 or so hours.

Now we're back, and I'm posting this over the in-laws dial-up connection.

In other words, don't expect much else showing up here for a while. I'll have cable modem access again on the 31st, and we'll be home again on the 3rd, but until then, the chances of anything getting posted are slim to none.

I took about a zillion pictures today and hope to post some eventually. Can't do it now (even if I wanted to try, over the dial-up) because if this machine has a USB port, I can't find it, so I have no way to upload. They'll keep. (Hint: Mystic Seaport, beautiful blue sky day... *sigh*)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


I remember a time when the only name conjured by the initials "HP" was Hewlett-Packard, and they made calculators. I also remember the time I left my very pricey HP calculator unattended on a study table at one of the 'tute's libraries and it got nicked. That was devastating -- I was completely broke and really needed that thing. I got bailed out by a friend but that created its own set of complications... and this digression has taken much too space already.

I finished The Half-Blood Prince about 45 minutes ago.

What do I think? You may be asking. I'm asking! I don't know yet. As the end of the book approached, I continued with dread because I honestly did not want to know what happened...

Did I like the book? Well, it was quite lively, and there was quite a bit that made me smile, but I can't commit to liking it just yet. I'm going to have to let it percolate a while and probably re-read a few of the more hairy passages, which I tend to skim as rapidly as possible so I can just get through them, it's very difficult for me to read about some of the dear character's pain and trials -- there were plenty of those, throughout.

It's the ending I'm having the worst time with, really. I am one of those people who should not start to read a series unless all the books have already been written. I'm looking forward to "Eldest, " the next in the "Eragon" cycle, which is due in August, I think -- even though "Eragon" was not that great a book. Really, it wasn't -- but I still want to know what happens.

Anyway, I managed to fit all of HP6 starting last night after the kids went to bed, and then a lot of the morning, around cooking and cleaning up and going to the beach and having dinner and doing some grocery shopping with DH, too. I've perfected the method that lets me get through the book without being a complete jerk to everyone else: 1) Get up and do whatever is required, immediately, cheerfully, and efficiently. 2) Check when completed if there is anything else needed? 3) If yes, repeat steps 1 and 2 until the answer is no. 4) When answer is no, stick nose back in book.

I think my feelings of dread led me to be less stupid about staying up all night just to read the thing, and less reluctant to put it down for a few hours at a time. It is a great read, don't get me wrong -- but big parts of me didn't want to read it, and parts of me are wishing that some things had gone much differently. The inevitability of these things is immaterial; I can still wish for something that would have forestalled the inevitable.

Monday, July 18, 2005

at the flicks

We saw the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory today, and even though DS2 wriggled maddeningly on my lap throughout, and whined right up until it started and immediately upon it ending, I loved it.

Best moment: DS2 turning to give me a very thorough hug when Charlie found the Golden Ticket. He was so happy he couldn't contain himself -- awesome.

I did miss a few minutes because DS1 needed to go to the bathroom. I swear, I will NOT take my children to the movies unless all of them use the bathroom before we leave, or at least before the previews start. We get popcorn, it's salty. They drink their water. ALL of their water. Their tiny bladders fill up, and I end up missing parts of movies I've paid very good money to see. Annoying, but since this is about the only thing I can complain about regarding my kids, I will count my blessings.
(end rant)

Back to the movie: I liked the stripped-down story of this version, and I loved the visual design. I liked very much that they re-instated Charlie's father, and I adored the cast from top to bottom. Deep Roy rocked, and is very good at lip synching. Loved the boat ride. Loved seeing the kids leave the factory, although the scene where they arrived was classic Tim Burton and I loved that, too, even though I think it was on the verge of disturbing my kids. Had it gone on a moment longer, it would have been too much -- but as it was, it just squeaked by.

So, recommended only with the reservation that if you dislike Tim Burton and/or Danny Elfman, don't bother.

Most exciting preview: Burton's The Corpse Bride, with nearly the same cast. (Yay!) Looks awesome, but I don't know if I'll let my kids see it. That's OK, I'll go myself (hehehe). Preview bone tossed to the moms in the audience: Must Love Dogs, which, since it has both John Cusack and Diane Lane, I may actually go to see or will definitely rent once it hits DVD. It actually looked insightful and witty, and it has the bonus of having Christopher Plummer, whom I have adored ever since The Sound of Music.

Oh, and there's a new Zorro movie coming, too! I loved Antonio Banderas last time, and the preview at least was very lively. There is the sad but definite possibility that the film won't live up to the promises of the preview -- it happens way to often that they put the best parts in the trailer to lure you, unwitting, into the theatre, all unaware that you've already seen everything worth seeing... but Antonio is worth looking at, and so is CZJ, and that CA setting was gorgeous as well, so at the very least we can hope for a good eye-candy piece if not a great action movie. And if we're really lucky, it will be a great action movie.

I was surprised to learn about Corpse Bride and Zorro from these previews, I realized I've been neglecting AICN. It's summer, I can't keep up with everything!


Spent most of the day agitated (aka grumpy).

DH is coming tomorrow! We talk at least once a day, and over the course of these weeks we have had, as any couple would, our ups and downs. Reunions, like beginnings, can be difficult. I've been here with the kids for over 3 weeks and we are more or less in a groove, and we'll have to re-establish a new order once DH gets here. I am at once excited and giddy with anticipation -- yay, he's coming tomorrow! -- and exhausted from arguing with the kids about everything (it seems) -- when will he get here, already? how much longer do I have to do this by myself?

This was sooo much easier last year. My RA medicine had me in remission, I had nary a twinge all summer. I didn't know I had cancer yet, either. I'm not entirely convinced that the second has anything to do with my feelings of frustration and near-incompetence, but I'm sure that the first does.

Anyway, it's good that DH is coming just at the point where my internal mantra has evolved into I don't want to do this anymore... I'm not sure I can do this anymore... Can we go home now? It's not that I want to go home, really. It's that I want more of home here, with me.

Mostly, I just want to feel better both physically and emotionally, and I'm hopeful that DH being here will help, if I don't take his head off inadvertently. I remember so clearly last year this transition time: I had some resentment then, but this year it's worse. It's completely unfounded, of course -- why should I resent him for staying home and working so all the rest of us can stay on the Cape and go to the beach whenever the weather allows?

Hey, I know it's not rational, but after shepherding the kiddos for 3+ weeks solo (frequent periodic help from relatives, all fantastic, but I'm still the one that's trying to put the monsters to bed every night!), I can't help but think that he has had a vacation of sorts already.

Then again, I have guilt for taking us all away from him for so long. He is not one of those guys that craves solitude, so it's not as if he were counting the days until we left him alone and in peace. Now, me? My vacation is scheduled for the 25th, when just the two of us head to a B&B in Mystic for the night, while Nana and Papa cope with the offspring. Can't come soon enough, but I'm hoping for good beach weather for DH's sake between now and then.

Sunday, July 17, 2005


A short list of items I do not care to see amidst the sand and surf:

orange peels
chunks of apples
pistachio nut shells
halves of limes, no doubt once squeezed into an adult beverage

And last but certainly not least, half-rotted long-stem roses, which were probably tossed overboard in some misguided romantic gesture. Note to the dramatic: if you're going to throw flowers overboard, make sure you are well off-shore when you do it.

I don't care if all of these things are "natural" or will eventually get eaten by gulls or crabs. I don't want to swim with any of it, and I don't want to sit next to any of it in the sand, either. Just because it's all biodegradable doesn't mean it's not still trash.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

the great nothing

Lileks goes on and on (and on and on, as is his way) today about paying attention to the small perfect moments that somehow add up to happiness without our ever even noticing them.

Since he went to the trouble to write all that, I won't have to. These days are slow and easy, the weather is gorgeous, the kids only get on each other's cases a few times a day, and there's always ice cream. Mostly I just stay out of the way and let the days unfold. It's not like we have important appointments to get to, or deadlines to meet. The next hard target date is August 3 when we go home, and that's a long time from now.

Boston today, and a trip to Kimball's, most likely a late night. We're visiting, today, not sight-seeing, so I will not be watching the time as I would otherwise -- there is never enough time to spend with these people, so I will steal what hours I can, even if it means keeping the kids out way too late. They're young, they can take it, and we can all sleep in tomorrow.

Here, have a s'more:

Monday, July 11, 2005


The weather cleared Saturday late morning, we've been hanging around some and doing stuff, too, like going to the beach yesterday afternoon for a few perfect hours. My niece has taken a million pictures and so have I, but I have no ambition to upload anything at the moment.

The kids are fine but even with the drier weather my RA is kicking my butt, and I've got a minor case of the mumps. Just to be clear, not really the mumps, but my salivaries are swollen and painful. To me, my face looks weird, but then again it's my face and I'm used to it looking a certain way -- my mom says she can't tell. Between the creaky joints and the ouchy face I am not a happy camper. I'm taking generic Aleve religiously but it only lasts about 8 hours, and only takes the edge off, so to speak. Yesterday at the beach walking on the sand was an interesting experience, the first day I can remember that happening.

Man, this being old stuff sucks.

Friday, July 08, 2005

if it's going to rain...

... you might as well dance in it.

pass time

DS2 made a fish today. It's drawing paper (medium weight stock, but flexible) sewn with worsted in a running stitch using a real tapestry needle (not too sharp or pointy, but still pointy enough). I stuffed it with a bit of polyfil and sewed up the opening.

I was impressed with his patience and persistance. He liked working on his fish while I was working on his teddy bear. It was a good rainy day activity.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

ok, ok

I'm still alive, just really busy.

Yesterday the contractors came and put in the new door. It's great. In the afternoon we went shoppng and for an ice cream snack and we got rained on.

Today we drove up to Boston and went to the Aquarium and to Legal Seafoods for lunch, then went to my sister's house and hung out for a while. We brought my niece back to the Cape, she was invited to an event this weekend and so caught a ride with us.

Now we are all exhausted. It's FREEZING here. Well, it's 20 degrees above freezing -- seriously, it's 52 degrees outside. It's 110 in AZ. We have half the temps here DH is having at home. Brrrrrrr. Today we all wore long sleeves and long pants and our sneakers, and wore our sweatshirts when we went out and no one was hot. I can't believe this is July. I grew up here and I guess I am just in denial, but I don't remember it being this cold in early July. Late August, sure. Early July? No way. This is ridiculous.

At least this year I am prepared. Last year I froze and this year it's even colder -- but HA! I say to the weather, this year I was ready for you. (Actually, what I say to the weather is, "What is this? Can't you do better than this? Can we please get over this late Spring-type weather crap? Please?" So far, it hasn't done any good, but I'll keep trying.)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

living history

Ha, I'm thinking, this post could be about how I feel like a walking fossil. But it's not.

We went to Plymouth today, and saw Plymouth Rock (aka "the Plymouth Pebble"), the Mayflower II, and Plimoth Plantation. It was a long day, but a good one, marred only by my lack of credit cards and subsequent inability to shop as I would've liked.

I was only moderately assaulted by the uber-politically correct narrative of how the Native Peoples respected the land and worked in harmony with nature yada yada yada. One snotty teen waiting in line with her mom at the Mayflower II behind us started going on about how great they were and how scummy the Europeans were and I did say something to the effect that these Native Peoples were not all sweetness and light, seeing as they themselves practiced slavery and went around slaughtering each other (to say nothing of the immigrants) as they saw fit. I'm not trying to disparage them, just trying to inject a little perspective. Disney's "Pocahontas" isn't the best place to be learning about this stuff.

These places are extraordinary and I could've easily spent several more hours at both the ship and the plantation, but with the kids I felt lucky to spend the time we did. They get tired, they need snacks, they only have so much of an attention span. Fortunately, in Plimoth Plantation, it's always 1627, so someday I'll get to go back and really soak it up.

One thing I do know, I literally wouldn't have survived back then, since only strong antibiotics saved my life as an infant. I certainly would struggle to do the physical work they had to do survive, even now. But I find it all quite fascinating. I wish I could interest the children even a bit -- they did enjoy the craft demonstrations (woodworking, needlework, and pottery making) that we saw, so I guess there is some interest already. I have enormous respect for the actors and craftspeople at these sites, they had tremendous patience and knowledge. I'm sure the kids didn't really understand that you could talk to them and ask them questions ranging from, "Why did you come to America?" to "What do you eat for breakfast?" I think they would've liked that. So, we'll have to try again another time.

Monday, July 04, 2005


to bed and early to rise leaves the blog to suffer.

And so it goes. The kids have been staying up way too late, and so I consequently go to bed with them or just shortly after, and I find myself up well before 8AM or even 7AM lately. The dry weather is helping some but still everything hurts, including my face (damn salivaries!), and I've misplaced my Motrin and the Aleve is basically useless but I think I'll take some tonight anyway.

Saw everyone yesterday, took a million pictures, had a good day, am completely exhausted. 3x that for the kids, they're wiped out. High points of today: a walk around the neighborhood, visiting DQ for dessert along with the entire rest of the town of Falmouth after dinner.

I got a banana split and ate (nearly) the entire thing. Where the heck is that appetite coming from? There's no scale in this house but my clothes still fit so I guess I'm doing all right.

Low point of today was realizing my handbag, with wallet etc, was still under the front seat of my sister's car, which is now in Boston. I hopped down to the beach yesterday afternoon in her car to photograph the kids who were all buried up to their neks, and got some great pics. Then I ferried a bunch of them home, and in the bustle completely forgot about the bag, which I had stuffed under the front seat. I have rarely felt so idiotic in my life. I'll get it late tomorrow through the combined generosity of my siblings, and in the meantime Mom has cashed a check for me. It's not really as dire as it could be, I just feel stupid about it. I'm sure I'll recover, though.

Tomorrow's plan is to visit Plymouth Rock, Mayflower II, and Plymouth Plantation. Hopefully later in the week the contractor will show up to do the door. Meanwhile back in AZ, DH has painted the downstairs bathroom and replaced the mirror, and today he went out and got us a new dishwasher. He's busy! It will be weird going home to such differences, but we'll get used to them quickly, I'm sure. This summer certainly demonstrates how life is just a constant struggle against decay and entropy, at least as far as home maintenance goes.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

happy birthday, USA

Today will be another family day, lots of kids running and tons of food.

The past few days have been packed even though the only specific events were driving to and from CT to my in-laws house. My brother-in-law and his family were in from OH, and if I didn't take my kids over, there's no knowing when we would next get so easy a chance to see them. We spent Friday there, the kids played in the paddling pool and on the slip-n-slide, Papa made his typical huge feast, and we let the kids stay up too late watching junky TV. They loved it.

Hit the road early yesterday and still ran into bridge traffic about 4 miles out, but all in all it was a fine trip, got back to Mom's by 11. The older kids went off with their uncles quahoging and clamming, but DS2 needed some mommy time and stayed home with me. Speaking of Mommy time, Mom came home from her European trip on Friday, too, so yesterday afternoon was a nice time for the two of us to catch up while everyone else was gone.

The contractor that was supposed to come and put my mom's new door in on Friday never called and never showed. Grrrr, but hey -- that's what contractors do, at least in my experience. I'll give him a call on Tuesday and see when he can get his crew over here. I don't want to spend all summer arguing with that door.

PA bro brought a big box of sparkly-type fireworks and we had an absolute blast last night with them, lighting hundreds of sparklers for the kids and then setting off the bigger showy things (I have no idea what to call them). It was awesome! And then we sang "happy birthday to you" to America, and hustled the kids back inside into their pajamas. By the time everyone decompressed enough to go to sleep it was after 11, and I just crawled in there with them.

DH would faint: for the second day in a row, I've been up and about by 6:30. A.M. Even I'm stunned. I'm probably going to need a nap to deal with today's upcoming family invasion -- just about everyone will be here. Of the siblings, only one sister will not be here because she's away at tax school (I think, something like that), and of the grandchildren, a few have to work or can't make it because of other commitments -- we'll be missing 3 or 4 out of 15. Both great-grandkids will be here. I think the total is something like 33. Yikes. I've tried to prepare my kids but there's no knowing how it will go. Fortunately the weather is fantastic, dry and clear, and likely to stay this way for a few days at least.

I'm very happy they are all still asleep, but I'm wondering how long it will last. Another hour or two would be great...