Sunday, August 01, 2010

Twin Trees

Day 1: We can barely fit everything in the car since we decided to bring all of our food and enough clothing to mostly avoid laundry for ten days. We also tote a surprisingly high maintenance monarch caterpillar, a whoopee cushion, and many many books.

The skies darken as we hit Lake George but it only sprinkles a little. The kids and Dan grab slippers and blankets as I unpack them, complaining of cold. It is 70. On a milkweed reconnaissance mission, Dan steps on a yellow jacket nest. A’s two stings are fine, but Dan’s four swell alarmingly, so we make an unplanned family fun trip to North Creek for Benadryl, find milkweed in the parking lot, dance to a local band on the sidewalk, and stop at the river on the way home, where Dan refuses to take the Benadryl.

Dan declares that people shouldn’t run around actin’ like hippies if they don’t practice free love. We both desperately hope that Lynyrd Skynyrd made a whole lot of money from the fake (and egregious) Sweet Home Alabama.

Day 2: It rains. C finds a heavy metal station. We set him to work repairing torn cushions. We realize that we can not see the fireplace from our bed in the Rose Room and consider making a life-size mural of it on the unfinished section of drywall.

Dan suggests that the book I’m reading, The Search for Community on an American Street, One Sleepover at a Time, could be redone to good effect as “one sexual liaison at a time.” I note that I’ve never found that to be a good community builder.

Day 3: C leaves with his grandparents. The rest of us go to Hooper Mine and Thirteenth Lake. There are many red raspberries, very few blueberries, and a couple just-ripe blackberries and thimbleberries. A draws fairies who are “smiling so hard that their long pointy teeth are showing.” The caterpillar turns green and pupates, allaying my fear that the trip had killed it (it hadn’t eaten since we got in the car). Dan decides to write a novel, gets out his computer, and goes all Jack Torrance.

Day 4: I try the plunger-and-bucket method of handwashing clothes to ensure we’ll have enough. We go into town so Dan can check his e-mail before hauling dirt to cover the new water line. I’ve finished all but one of my books and am way too tired to follow the discussion of Homo habilis DNA in the last one, so grab a 1971 book about hippie communes off the shelf.

We draft a budget, and Dan decrees that the entertainment line is more important than the savings line, which we drop to zero. Unsatisfied with the toy fairies she brought with her, A draws and cuts out several more and acts out multiple dramas with them. After she’s in bed Dan and I walk down to the brook and watch a yellow moon rise.

Day 5: We drive up to Raquette Lake to trade kids with my parents, check out their newly electrified cabin, and experience the wind at Golden Beach. I muse on the viability of growing bamboo as a building material and Dan says we’d need a guard gorilla. Or panda. Upon our return, C and Dan play Settlers while I take a walk and sit on a patch of thyme, watching the creek go by and the clouds turn pink.

Day 6: I wake up without the headache I’d had for the previous 48 hours but it returns by evening. We hike to Ross Pond. C complains that:

  • We’re not going to Hooper Mine and that’s the only hike he will ever want to go on
  • He’s required to change out of his pajamas
  • Finding his water bottle is not his responsibility
  • The trail is too far from the parking lotA moth flew into him
  • The trail is too muddy
  • There are too many “malarial mosquitoes”
  • The woods at home are just as nice and easier to get to.

He eventually seemed to decide that his best strategy was to end things quickly, and ran up ahead. (I was impressed with his stamina but it made me feel very old.) I wore sneakers and learned that my fear that I now own no shoes that fit me well enough for a walk of more than a couple miles was correct (my sandals bit the dust before the trip). So when we got back I performed surgery on another pair to make room for all my toes. My parents drop off A and stop for dinner on their way home.

Day 7: Dan can’t go another minute without e-mail so we head back to North Creek. We stop by the swimming hole when he’s done; kids play, a heron visits, and I find a neat little walking path. We determine that my sinus headache may be altitude-related. I get out a puzzle but no one is willing to work on it with me.

Day 8: The phone rings at 9 a.m. and Dan expects it to be word about a job (the decision date has been pushed back three times already), but alas. We got to Hooper Mine and Thirteenth Lake (yes, C complains anyway)- it’s a beautiful day and Merganser ducks congregate on rocks. The kids bicker in the car and, thinking on the commune book I’ve been reading, it occurs to me that a major reason any lasted as long as they did was because everyone was stoned all the time and thus better able to put up with each other. I consider lifestyle changes. C brainstorms ship names. My favorite is the CKR Metaphor.

Day 9: C asks how to make Molotov cocktails; Dan objects when I begin to explain. I play in the creek with A. Dan and I disagree on whether pyromania is a human instinct. Dinner, a haphazard cleaning of the refrigerator, consists of peanuts in melted chocolate and hard boiled eggs.

Day 10: We pack and clean, finding toothpicks all over C’s room and tiny pictures of A’s everywhere. I appreciate the outhouse because it gives the children no excuse to come inside. I also appreciate the Playaways I got from the library; despite the arguments about the horror of wearing headphones, it may have been the most pleasant family car trip in our history. Home on time for the first laundry to dry before bed!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

six hours of A

Where is the sun in space?

If I mix the red and black raspberries together I can make a sauce! Every day in the summer when there are berries we can go berry-picking, and on day number one I'll make sauce for me and you, and the next day for Daddy and C, and the next day for me and you again. That way I won't have to pick so many berries on the same day. What color do you think it will be?

(Rummaging through dress-up stuff)
Friend: Ooh, can I be the cow?
A: There's no cow in princesses.

Do you know what rugby is? It's like football, but without the masks.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I keep more things at work than some people own

In my office:

Drinking glass
Calcium tablets
Jar of almonds
Jar of sunflower seeds
Jar of chocolate chips
Bag of granola
Shelf-stable palak paneer
Winter coat
20 or so books and magazines

In the locker room:

Jar of baking soda
Bottle of vinegar
Coconut oil
Ponytail holder

Socks (5 pairs)
Underwear (4)
Camisoles (2)
Short-sleeved shirts (3)
Long-sleeved shirts (3)
Skirts (3)
Pants (2)
Towels (2)

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The new bike is getting outfitted!

Our current child seat setup on the Yuba Mundo. Not as pretty as this but it took less than 15 minutes to put on an old booster seat with two utility straps and an old belt. Cheaper and holds bigger kids than the official option.

Our kids and the neighbor kids took turns getting rides around our circle today, and Dan took A to a dance about four miles away.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

happy vernal equinox!

After our St. Patrick’s Day ice cream cones at Stewart’s, the kids and I made ornaments representing signs of spring. Observations, events, etc. We hung up the ones that had already happened (snowdrops blooming, geese flying north, etc.)

and are waiting for the rest.

In future years I plan to use these as an event-driven, rather than date-driven, Advent calendar- maybe marking the dates on the back of each one as we get to hang them up?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Albany Bicycle Coalition favors sharrows over bicycle lanes

From last month's minutes:

"The consensus was that ABC favors Shared Lanes over Bicycle Lanes in those cases where there is a clear choice.

This consensus was based on the following points:
- Shared lanes are easier and less expensive to implement
- Shared lanes do not give a false sense of security to the cyclist (as a bicycle lane might)
- Putting shared Lanes “everywhere in Albany” (i.e., on the majority of heavily traveled streets) would enhance awareness by both motor vehicle operators and cyclists.
- Shared lanes do not put the cyclist in the (dangerous) “door zone.”

Those having concerns about this policy should make their thoughts known."

The next meeting is February 25th if anyone is interested in discussing this more.

I personally think that sharrows might be worse than nothing because they can give drivers the impression that cyclists are only supposed to be on streets with them. Bike lanes have the same downside but at least provide cyclists with some benefit. I understand ABC's position, but I believe their active membership consists entirely of confident urban cyclists, which may be blinding them to how important bike lanes are for encouraging more people to bike. I personally don't find bike lanes necessary for myself (though there are places I'd find them useful) but I might've started biking sooner if they were there and I know many people who'd feel safer if they existed.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

also, I have some Dukes of the Stratosphear

In my effort to convince Dan to get rid of virtually all of our cassette tapes, I’m tossing mine. Even this mix tape, dated “May/ June 1988.”

Side A:
Say You Will (Foreigner)
Angel (Aerosmith)
Land of Confusion (Genesis)
Faith (George Michael)
Pour Some Sugar on Me (Def Leppard)
Nothin’ But A Good Time (Poison)
Amanda (Boston)
Make Me Lose Control (Eric Carmen)
Never Say Goodbye (Bon Jovi)
Can’t Stand Losing You (Police)
Owner of a Lonely Heart (Yes)

Side B:
Hold Onto The Night (Richard Marx)
With or Without You (U2)
The Flame (Cheap Trick)
Need You Tonight/ Mediate (INXS)
Foolish Beat (Debbie Gibson)
Here Comes The Sun (Beatles)
Heart of Rock & Roll (Huey Lewis and the News)
And She Was (Talking Heads)
Devil’s Radio (George Harrison)
One More Try (George Michael)
The Night (Moody Blues)

Sunday, January 03, 2010

I wish he'd chosen a hero with an easier job

C wrote this as part of a homework assignment a few months ago. It broke my heart a little. (The mess in Afghanistan left him feeling betrayed by Obama.)

Barack Obama is President of the United States. At first I liked him more than any other president but then, although he is better than John McCain, he isn't as good as I first thought. Though I still agree with his health care plan, the lesson is that I can't like and trust someone (especially not a politician) too much.