Friday, September 30, 2005

Let's Just Call Them "Happles"

Either I've been hitting the hard cider a little too hard, or those are some freakishly happy apples. The one at the far left is a little hairy and probably won't taste so great in the apple crisp. Well, that's what happens sometimes when you don't use pesticides...Ahh, Vermont and its organic produce.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

It's Official...Fall's Here!

The kids contribute to the yard clean-up effort...Eh, they helped out about as much as I did...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Mocking Bird

Remember when you were a little kid and heard your voice recorded for the first time on a cassette tape? You remember how strange your voice sounded, hearing it like that, outside of your own head, thinking, "Oh, is that what I really sound like?" Well, that's kind of what it was like...

I was ironing shirts (what can I say, I never do that but there was a massive pile of them and the odd mood struck so I figured I'd better strike while the iron was hot. Ugh.) and the kids were down the hall in the play room, actually playing quite nicely together. I could hear their conversation, Sofia mostly saying "yah", which is her response to just about anything (most toddlers say "no", but my girl is a glass half full type of gal) and David is encouraging her in her play and slowly his style and tone of speech changed, sounding familiar, but I couldn't quite place it...

David: "Oh, good job, Sof. That's the way to do it."
Sofia: "Yah."
David: "Oh, now, Sofia! Why did you do that? Oh, now that's a big mess. Let's clean that up, shall we? Come on, now, help me out, please."
Sofia: "Yah."
David: "Now, you be careful there, you're going to fall down little Sof-a-Loaf. That's not how you do it. Let me show you."
Sofia: "Yah. Yah." There's a thud and Sofia begins to cry.
David: "Oh, it's okay little Sofia, you're okay baby. Now you need to be more careful and then you won't get so many boo-boos." Sofia stops crying. "See, don't be scared, you're okay."
Sofia: "Yah!"

I just don't know where he gets it from.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Honeybees, Hornets and Wasps, Oh My... God, Someone Help Me, I Am Freaking Out!

Apparently I have a phobia of yellow jackets. I didn't know this until I found a dozen of them flying around my kitchen this weekend and, after several minutes of smushing each and every one, found myself nearly fetal on the floor of the hallway, hyperventilating, with David on the other side of the baby gate asking if I was okay.

"What's wrong mommy? Did those yellow jackets sting you?"

Me sobbing: "No, David. Mommy's is just really, really scared of them. I'm just feeling very sad right now."

David: "It's okay, mommy. It's all right. You're okay, mommy!" He didn't appear to be anxious seeing me like this, but he did begin climbing over the gate.

Me: "What are you doing, honey?"

David, struggling to get over: "Oofff...I'm coming to rescue you!"

Me: "Wait, I'll come over there so you can rescue me..." I step over the gate and he gives me a big hug. He smiles.

David: "All better now?"

Me, weakly: "A little bit."

So we're infested. Right now they're more or less contained, but they're nesting in one (that we know of) wall of our home and they are all over the property as well. I'm not bothered by the honey bees, but there are yellow jackets and hornets making their homes in the hillside and on our lawn and earlier in the week I found myself standing smack in the middle of one and didn't realize until it was way too late. It was out back by the kids' playhouse and I had wandered over to some flowers I saw blooming and felt a whirring, buzzing sensation near my ankle. I looked down to find them swarming all around my legs and then I felt the first sting in my toe, another in my calf and then found one attacking my hand. I started whaling my hand against the ground, and finally got it off. I ran to the door of the playhouse and scooped up Sofia and tried to get David to come out...It was like a scene from a war movie, or something.

"David, we've got to get back to the house, mommy was attacked by hornets (At the time, I thought they were hornets)"

David's not moving.

"We've got to go, man, now! We're under attack!"

David: "Oh! I don't want to get stung!"

me: "Then we've got to move...MOVE, MOVE, MOVE!!!" I grab his hand and take off, ducking my head like I'm dodging bullets or something. David is saying something like "Aaaahhhh!!!" the whole way back to the house. Sofia just cries.

And so began one of the most unpleasant weekends we've had since we moved here. Ernesto has spent a good chunk of time this weekend using wasp poisons, setting up outdoor traps, plugging holes in the walls and making calls to pest control places that apparently are either too busy or too lazy to get back to us. I have contributed mostly by freaking out and showing how incredibly displeased I am by all this. The kids, for the most part seem unaffected, but curious to watch their mother's rapid descent into madness.

Things are quiet for the moment and today we've seen only a few of the nasty buggers inside. Perhaps they are mostly gone, due to all the spray we used, or maybe...

maybe they're just waiting to come creeping back out after Ernie returns to work on Monday, the kids are napping and I'm all by myself. Someone send me some Valium. Quickly.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

A Troublish Pixie

Here she is, looking suspiciously like Elton John.
At least she doesn't whine as much as he does...

Oh, but she does make a mess of things sometimes...

This morning I tried to photograph
David playing soulfully on his guitar
and Sofi runs in front of me, yelling
This is what I get:

So then we're outside for maybe
ten minutes, playing in the yard
and she rolls herself down
the hill, freshly dressed, and does
this to her spankin new white kicks:

Now it's time for a snack! I know, let's not
eat it, Sofia says, let's dump it on the kitchen
floor and stuff some of it down David's pants!!

She's not naughty.
She's the troublish pixie.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Good Stone Walls Make Good Motorists?

There is a lot that needs to be done around the old manse, but I'm thinking there are two projects that can no longer wait. One would take probably quite a bit of money, which we don't currently have and the other, not much money and not too much time.

So here's my dilemma. People keep driving really fast up our street. Not everyone, just a select few dopes. Don't mean to be judgmental, but they're dopes. There's just no getting around it. We had a sign up that said "Children At Play" for a while but someone drove over it. But not before taking out the snowman that David and I had built on the front yard, first. As a mother, this both infuriates and frightens me. We've had tire marks on our lawn, our mailbox has been knocked over twice, once by accident- once entirely on purpose. So I'm thinking a BIG ROCK WALL would look really nice. Not so that people will crash into it and die (I've done the math and the most that could happen, considering the pitch and curve of the road, is that someone will ruin the paint job on the passenger side of their car, dare they come too close) Now, I don't want to keep people out, so much as cars out of our yard. I don't think it's too much to ask.

Okay, the other thing we could really use is a dishwasher. The old palace didn't come equipped and even when we moved in I thought foolishly, awww, who needs it? I mean, how many dishes do I really do every day. Well, a lot. A whole bunch. A motherload. I am here just about all day, every day and my kids eat all day, every day, so maybe a dishwasher (other than yours truly) would be a good thing. It would save me time and effort and help keep the kitchen looking clean, which I find relaxing. But then I'll still be worried about the front yard. I can't even let my kids play out there without being right on top of them.

So what's a girl to do? Safe yard, or soft hands? Expensive, labor intensive stone wall or relatively cheap dishwasher? What would you do?

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Say Hello To My Little Friend...

Help me!!
Originally uploaded by Ernesto and Kristen Burden.
The cricket's only defense? Moments later it pooped on David's hand. Hey... what would you do?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

You Old, Girl!

Regardless of the what the calendar says, autumn has reached Vermont. This part of it, anyway, and another summer is tucked away into what's left of my memory, blurred images of the kids running, chasing crickets, going to the beach, trying to eat ice cream as it melts, the dog that we don't own, napping in our driveway- now in some strange way part of our family.

Marking the end of the season, as always for me is my birthday. And now David's, as well. We celebrate our birthdays in tandem and it's so much more fun now to party with someone who gets so excited about getting older. I don't think much about mine any more and when I had turned 30 it was great to have my son celebrating his first. What a grand distraction!! This year was none too bad, either. Spent some time with family, relaxed, even shopped a bit, by myself. Went to a younger cousin's wedding and danced with my husband for the first time in years. He had bought me a beautiful dress for my birthday and I wore it, loving the way it looked, but having no idea if I was fashionable, looked too old to be wearing it or what. Didn't matter, though because I could dance as well as anyone and no one was laughing at me. At least not out loud.

Sitting to the left of me at the reception was my mother's, cousin's, daughter's boyfriend who was leaving for college in a few days. We talked about his courses and his being excited about heading off into the unknown, sad of course to be leaving his girlfriend still in high school. It was neat and weird to talk to someone so much younger than myself and feeling like I actually had advice to offer this person. Even though I'm a wife and mother of two children, I often wonder how I was let into the world of adults. Like I sneaked, unseen, into a club I'm not meant to be a member of. I still feel the pangs of childhood and even greater now as my children grow and I relive experiences through their eyes. So I'm sitting here talking here with this kid, feeling adult, but still hip enough to converse in a language he understands. I'm actually feeling kind of cool in myself, in my age.

Then the DJ makes all the tables sing a song with the word "love" in it, to the bride and groom. This is to replace the cling-clang of spoons on the wine glasses, lame encouragement to get the happy couple to kiss. So we're all talking at the table about what we can sing and I lean over to my cousin's-three-times-removed boyfriend and say "Oh, how about 'Love Me Do'. That's an easy one we can all sing." He just looks at me, takes a sip of soda.

"What's that?" He clears his throat, tilts his head.
"You know, by the Beatles? 'Love, love me do. You knoooowww...I love you! I'll always be...' "
He's smiling at me and shaking his head.
"I'm sorry, but that's a new one for me," he says.

Oh dear Lord. I am hoping he's making a joke, but he's not. The kid does not have a clue what I'm talking about. He's just got to know it and I sing a bit more, lamely and he's trying to be nice and squinting up toward the ceiling, nodding his head now, saying, "oh, yeah maybe I would know that if I heard it." I just sang the whole, stupid song for him.

"Yeah, well, it was before your time," I tell him. Before mine, too, I think to myself, but we're not so desperate as to go there.

So we sang the song as a group, without the help of my buddy, since he didn't know the words. I stayed away from any potentially age revealing conversation after that point and just hung out with my hubby who's three years older than me but likes to pretend it's more like 10. If I can't remember a glam rock guitarist that he used to emulate he'll say something like, "Oh honey, that was way before your time. You would have just been a little kid then." God bless him!

If you want to have a chuckle at my expense, check out my friend Alyssa's tribute to me on my birthday. Wondered why my blog got so much traffic on a Sunday until I checked where all that traffic was coming from. I wouldn't remember what I did in college if it weren't for her...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Please Give

If you've watched even only a few minutes of news in the last couple days, no doubt you've been overwhelmed and horrified at the devastation Hurricane Katrina has brought to so many. I stayed up late watching coverage and couldn't get to sleep seeing the faces of all those people, especially the little kids. I can't even stand to watch movies where children are hurt, let alone real life pain and sickness. I know you'll all give whatever you can wherever you can and if you're at all like me, writing a little check doesn't make you feel a whole lot better. I needed to do something, even if it's a small gesture and by gathering up some supplies and sending off a care package I at least felt like I would be making some kind of difference in someone's life. My husband Ernesto has some links on his web page where you can donate to different charities and Open Book has an address where you can send care packages to the St. Vincent de Paul Society in Baton Rouge. The actual shipping address for packages is 1010 Nicholson Dr., Baton Rouge, LA 70802. They are in desperate need of clothing, shoes, bandages, toiletries, blankets, towels, children's Tylenol and diapers. I saw a woman at the grocery store today with about 10 mega packs of various size diapers in her cart. I'm guessing it's not because she has a dozen or so kids...

Anyway, I know you'll all do what you can. Keep praying that it gets better soon.