Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Whole Lot of Nothing

Bad headache yesterday. I wish that the CSMT would be some sort of magical cure-all, but it just isn't going to be. It has, however, let me recognize that they are caused by air pressure changes/cloudy, oppressive high humidity weather. The one trigger that I can't do much about, save moving to Arizona or Utah. Which, actually, I would love. I love the desert, the dry dry air, the high sky ceiling. But, enough of that. Yesterday I talked to Flipper's preschool teacher (at the Cult it is the Nursery) about the upcoming school year, and her placement in the fall. There is much drama and tension surrounding which kindergarten teacher your child is assigned to, as it invariably means some kids will be separated from their friends, and each teacher is very very different, and try as we might to remain unbiased and open to anything, the truth is that we all have personal wants and desires that may or may not get fulfilled. I was very very surprised when I returned from the beach and opened our assignment letter; I had been led to believe she would be in one class but the letter indicated otherwise. So I called her teacher, and it has been sorted out, with Flipper moving to the teacher I wanted all along. With her friend that I wanted her to be paired with for the sake of comfort and familiarity. Only a month left of the fastest-passing summer I can ever remember. It is hard to believe she is going to kindergarten, which might need a bit of explanation. At The Cult, children can go to k-garten for 1 or two years, and the same with the nursery class. The movement up to a new level, or staying where they are depends on how they are socially and maturity-wise. Flipper, at just 4 years and 3 months, is a bit young for their kindergarten program. Many four year olds stay in the nursery for two years, then go to kindergarten for one. No matter what, they cannot advance to first grade until they are 6 years old by June 1. So the first grade has kids a bit older than public school. Most of her friends will be in the kindergarten for two full years, which is why there is a lot of tension surrounding the teacher assignment. Perhaps it is prep-work for first grade, where they get the teacher that will follow them for the next 8 years. Now, on a totally unrelated topic, Rose and I received our Boden order yesterday. We combine orders to get the "free shipping" deal only available if you spend a pretty large chunk of change. Blessedly, Flipper LOVES the pants I got her, hot hot pink corduroy with a knit drawstring waistband and light blue heart-shaped patches on the knees. Utterly adorable. She hates most pants because of the snap waistband isn't comfortable. I would love to see her embrace more pants, and perhaps this type of waistband is the solution. I wish they offered plain jeans like this. But they don't. On Friday we leave again for a family reunion in Waynesville, then return Sunday. Too much car-time, but should be fun. Can see all my cousins again. Very excited. Flipper will be annoyingly shy, apparently how I was as a child. But confident she'll outgrow it. Keith doesn't have Lyme Disease, but some sort of freaky virus. He actually went to the Dr. today, after I made an appointment for him yesterday. They think we're married, because it seems like such stereotypical wife behavior. Yuck. Trying to resist temptation to go home and crawl back in bed with a book for a few hours. Must resist.

Flipper and her partner not in crime, but kindergarten.

Monday, July 30, 2007

We're back. And, shockingly, rested.

We're back. And tan, very tan. It was the first trip I have taken with Flipper in which I actually returned feeling rested and un-stressed out. I figured out why after the first evening, when I left our dishes in the sink and washed them the next morning. It was so nice to be able to not worry about being a good guest, or what someone else wanted to do or eat or talk about or go to the beach or come back or bedtime or anything else. All the things I can't let slide at home or on a trip with other people, or while staying in someone else's house. And I said a lot of yeses. Yes to watching Riverdance 6 times in a day, yes to Ben and Jerry's after supper, yes to chocolate chip cookies after breakfast, yes to the "I want to be naked" request, and more than the yeses to Flipper, I said a lot of yeses to myself. Yes to buying magazines just to read once, yes to leaving wet bathing suits in the tub for a few hours, yes to a 2 hour nap with Flipper one afternoon, yes to Ben and Jerry's after supper...oh, right. I covered that already. I am going to find a way to make this happen on a very regular basis. Needless to say, Flipper was fantastic; easy, flexible, loved the sand, etc. But she was reluctant to get in the ocean more than knee-level; the rough water adn strong current make her very nervous. On Saturday we went to the Coral Bay Club in Atlantic Beach with Jessica and Connor and she loved the pool there more than teh ocean because she could then show off her swimming prowess. I loved it because they give you towels and Jessica orders our yummy lunchand we sit by the pool and eat it. Loved it. Truly I am not the total slob this entry makes me appear, but I am not by nature and kind of a neat and tidy person either. It is tiring to be something you aren't, even if it is just doing the dishes immediately after supper. And that endless effort, on vacation, is exhausting. This fall I either want to take her to Blowing Rock for a week-end or car camping somewhere in the mountains. Just the two of us. And no Riverdance.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Emerald Isle (on this side of the pond)

Tomorrow Flipper and I take off for the beach together until Sunday. I am trying very hard NOT to have really high expectations, or attempt to create the perfect vacation for us, since it doesn't really exist. She and I never actually travel together, just the two of us, unless you count the loooonnnnggg plane trip to Maui in December. We usually go on trips with other people, family members, etc. But this week-end it is just us. We are going to my boss's beach house on Emerald Isle. It is on teh sound, which I had reservations about, as it is a bit of a slog to the beach, but after staying there a year ago, I love NOT being directly on the beach. We go, we stay for awhile, then we come back for some downtime in a very very quiet and peaceful place. It breaks the day up really well, and there is no endless begging to go down to the beach every five minutes when one only really wants to be inside for a bit. I sense some photo ops this week-end, and pray I remember to take the tulle skirt Jessica gave her and make th eeffort to buy some black and white film. Luckily, we will spend some time with Jessica there, so Flipper and Connor can play together.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Finding her thrill...

Flipper was sick from Thursday night onward, reinforcing my not-very-nice belief that sick children are simultaneously pathetic, in a cute way, and annoying, in a not-so-cute way. I think she had strep, due to the bizarre rash and high fever and initial puking. But now, Monday morning, she has recovered. Avoided another dr's visit, yet again. Poor pathetic Flipper! It had it's upside, however, selfish mommy that I am, because I was able to plow my way through the new-and last-HP book all day and night Saturday. Sunday she on the mend, so we maintained tradition by taking her blueberry picking, something we do every summer. This area has been visited by unusually fantastic weather over the week-end, cool and low humidity, very mountain-like weather. So I told Keith that if we were going to go, it had to be this week-end or it wasn't going to happen. Nothing will make you empathize with migrant workers more than picking berreis for a few hours in July. But they are so worth it...back in the day, when Keith and I were in love and I was busy turning myself into Suzy Homemaker I would make pancakes and waffles during the winter from our frozen organic berries. This came to a screeching halt, obviously. Flipper wants to make a peach-and-blueberry pie that she will eat only one or two bites of, but so be it. She had fun, looked precious, and I froze 2 or 3 lbs last night and this morning. To feeze perfectly, place unwashed berries on a cookie sheet, put in freezer for an hour or so, then place in the sandwich-sized Ziplocks bags. Perfection!! All-American cute pics below.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Raindrops on Roses...

Actually, not. I hate rain. I think it should only be allowed to rain at night, thereby never ruining my plans for the pool or playground. And no whiskers on kittens either...pets of the devil, cats are. But, I did wander around yesterday, taking a few shots of my favorite things. Disturbing. Here they are...

My Kenmore canister vacuum cleaner. During a brief, hedonistic period of my life Keith actually bought me maid service for a year. In return, he got a blow job every Saturday. I have never loved something more, never. This is the vacuum our cleaner Holly used, and when she left, after a year, I bought one. Not cheap, but no Miele, either. Perfect for hardwood and tile, of which I have in abundance.

The dishwasher. Have expounded upon it's many virtues before, so will not repeat self. A Whirlpool. Adore it.
My "Frosted Root Beer" pendant lights over the peninsula in the kitchen. No, not an island, as it is anchored on one end to the wall. These are pretty and yet cast enough light to do surgery on the peninsula that Keith built. (now that we live apart there are no more blow job rewards, however). In fact , the whole new kitchen is one of my fave things. Truly, not a day goes by in which I don't look at the remodel in a sort of happy disbelief that the hideous particle-board cabinets are gone, the ancient stove is gone, etc etc.

My BED. And the damn dog. I love this bed, I love the mattress, it is by far my favorite piece of furniture ever. An imaginary day in heaven for me is a day on my bed with dogs, no humans demanding anything from me, a stack of semi-trashy books. And some freshly-made iced tea. And no feelings of guilt at such sedentary laziness.
I purposely left human beings off my favorite things, since they aren't things, after all. Tonight, were I younger, I would be fighting sleep to stay up late enough to go to the Harry Potter party at some bookstore and then stay up late late reading the wole thing quickly, then re-reading it slowly. After, of course, skipping to the very last page. Jessica cannot believe I do this. It is the Virgo in her that will wait, the Aries in me that cannot stand the suspense and must FIND OUT.
and Robin? Time to come home.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Christmas in July

Yesterday's post digressed so far off my original topic-one that was only in my head-that I decided to revisit it today. The point of my no-tech household was really for the addict in me, the one that can surf through70 or so TV channels without ever actually watching anything for more than about 15 seconds because Ihate TV, or the addict in me that loves the computer/internet almost as much as I love my dishwasher. Whilst at "work" I surf. And I surf A LOT. I have many blog faves I read every single day, sometimes offering comments, etc. Then there are the current faves, sites I visit until they are completely exhausted and I have computer screen overload and must actually accomplish something for The Greatest Boss in the World. After avoiding the frenzy that is YouTube, I succumbed. Now hooked. Go there and type in "shark attack" in search field and watch the first one. Amazing. My sister searches for a fair amount of animal attacks, while I prefer "avalanche". And not the hockey team. Also fascinated by video clips of the massive tsunami, water moving in, somewhat innocently, before suddenly getting higher and higher. We like natural disasters, my sister and me. Do not know why, and have no desire to try and figure out why this is fascinating. Once YouTube has worn out it's welcome, I go to my other super-favorite, vrbo.com. Stands for "Vacation Rental By Owner." I look at houses and condos and apartments in places I've lived, like Telluride, places I've been, like Maui, and places I want to go, like Maine. Warning: quite addictive. Will have you doing some mental arithmatic to see if you can afford a few weeks on an island somewhere. Like Kauia. Then, with only a few minutes to go beofre the inevitable return to "work" I cruise through eBay for a time. I absolutely love eBay. Many of Flipper's clothes come from various other mommies across this great entrepeunerial country of ours, as well as the addition to my senseless collection of children's mystery lit, like Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins, etc. Have massive collection. Enough said. Yet soemthing else to NOT examine too closely. I mention eBay becasue I mailed a check out to some kind mother in Washington state yesterday for the princley sum of 10 dollars for a Christmas/holiday dress for Flipper. The one she had last year was beyond cute (see below) and I love the preppy, schoolgirl-ish pinafore and plaid, rather than the yoked red gingham dress with smocking candy canes around or some such nonsense. So for 5.99 + shipping, I will get a red and green plaid pinafore for Christmas. It pays to shop ahead!! Who else is buying Christmas dresses in July? That's what I thought: no one. Below two pics of Flipper in both of her holiday dresses: sadly destined to be worn one time, then passed on. But worth it: look at the cuteness.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Gateway Drug.

One might think, given my very very low-tech household, a household that has a small Sony cd player that almost never plays anything at all becauue I crave silence all the time, that it is this way due to personal, very high-minded, Waldorf-inspired intellectual snobbery. And, there is a little truth in that. Very little. I do think that Tv for kids is awful, programming sucks, and no, I don't care that "it's PBS!" as though it is somehow something other than intellectualized crap. An organic doughnut is still a fat-filled, sugary nutritional wasteland. This is the station that provided the world with Teletubbies, for God's sake. Yet another bad British invention. Like kidney pie. Or blood pudding. I have find it much easier to avoid ever saying "no" to Flipper about watching something because...it simply doesn't exist. No TV, no nothing. Consequently, she doesn't ever ask!! How brilliant is that!! Quite, I do think. But I did buy a really nice, really good portable DVD player, and a few kiddie-safe DVD's in topics that interest her. Mainly, dinosaurs (meat eaters) and dancing Irish grown ups, aka Riverdance. I made the fatal mistake of taking them from my parent;s house, where they lived quietly, largely untouched and unwatched unless she was sick, to mine. Actually, I took her to work with me for one day and she sat quietly on the floor of my office, absorbed, for a few minutes at least, in Fantasia, which is just about the only thing connected to Disney I am okay with. At any rate, we watched Riverdance a few minutes at a time, a few weeks ago...and now she begs for it almost daily. I find this maddening. It reinforces my personal belief that tv/videos act upon the brain like a stupor-inducing drug, (although for me, almost everything acts as a drug) and yet is 30 mintes every week REALLY that big a deal? I think not. I think it is a very slippery slope, however; that this video of people tappity-tapping is the gateway drug to a life of Happy Meals and plastic toys. No one that knows me will be surprised at this extreme perspective, or, frankly, how crazy it is. There is a tiny part of me that feels sorry for her, growing up out-of-the-mainstream of kiddie-culture (such as it is) and the other part of me watches her put on her own tap shoes and then frantically try to copy the talented Irish dancers, and yet ANOTHER part of me decides not to think about it anymore. So, have a good day.
p.s. Found out Riverdance troupe is coming to Raleigh next April. Will be there with Flipper.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

cabbage patch crap

I was flitting around eBay a few minutes ago, you know, while at "work" in an attempt to get excited about clearing out the jumble of junk that comprises my second bedroom. I searched for "vintage kids" hoping to find old prints, clothes, whatever. But what I really found was about 10 million fucking Cabbage Patch Dolls. How on earth can I be old enough for a childhood fad/toy to be labeled as "vintage"?!?!?!? Not that we ever had one, we were a bit too old, plus I can still remember the hysteria and press they generated, and my parents, like me, automatically assume that toys coveted by the masses are worthless toys. The Tickle-Me-Elmo of it's day, if you will. The only good I ever saw a Cabbage Patch Doll come to was when my sister gave it to her incredibly difficult and dominant female chocolate lab, who then proceeded to parade around Telluride with it for months, the doll clutched by it's neck in Georgia's teeth. From a distance, it looked for all the world as though she were carrying around a toddler. A dead toddler. And, knowing Georgia, a toddler she had just killed. Because Flipper is blessedly removed from the mainstream because she watches no TV ever and it would take an act of God to get me to even walk inside a Toys R Us, I am thankfully thankfully ignorant of any toy "fads." She asks for almost nothing, because she has no idea what to ask for. Thus, I am safe from having to endure the whine-beg, which is doubly annoying, nor does she receive cheap plastic crap from China, which is one of my big goals in life. The things she does ask for are completely out of the question: currently, she wants to get her ears pierced. In her opinion, waiting until the age of 13 is cruel and unusual treatment. She wouldn't even be allowed to wear them to school until 8th grade anyway! Poor Flipper. At my mother's house she gets out gobs and gobs of my grandmother's costume jewelry with many clip-on and screw-on earrings, and wears them for hours. How can she do this? They make my ears hurt in about, oh, 1.7 seconds. But not Flipper. She seems to embrace suffering for the sake of beauty/fashion. What does this bode for the future? Nothing particularly good, I fear.
Anusara yoga tonight, possibly with Justin instead of Justine. It will be interesting to see how many people return after last week's free class.
So, just what is trendy out in toyland?
On another note, my boss has urged me to leave for the beach next Wednesday, instead of Thursday. After some arm-twisting, I leapt at the chance. I can't wait...might even take her poufy tulle skirt and do some photo shoots on the beach in the evening. I sense a million pictures looming in my future. Please, god, send me a digital Rebel. Like, tomorrow.

Monday, July 16, 2007


I have been thinking all week-end about...birthday parties. You would be quite correct in thinking that there are many many topics perhaps worth a bit more of my brain power than this "topic"...and you would be right. But this is one of those things that crops up with your child, and often smacks into issues from your own childhood, blah blah blah. Every now and then something will happen that lets me know, very definitively, just who Flipper IS, what makes her happy (and unhappy) and what she can "handle" and what she simply can't; and not because she is hungry or tired (those reasons falter as they get older and older), but just because she is who she is. And who she is...she is a little person that hates crowds of kids, chaos, even if that boisterous chaos is happy kid-chaos, and wants to be with her friends one-on-one. There is a growing sentiment against mega birthday parties, ones that are "over the top" and while we've yet to attend one I would classify as "over the top" (I am waiting for the petting zoo and Bounce Castle in someone's yard) the truth is it is all a bit much for her at this stage of the game. I am putting it down "in print" if you will: next May, when she turns 5, we will have a small, very small, party at homw. 3 kids. Drop-off. No more entertaining adults (no matter how much I love them) just Flipper and her little friends.

Now, onto happier things: we went to the lake last week and then one of our all-time favorite places this summer: Loco Pops. I am trying to muster the will to break out of my Mexican chocolate/creamy lime rut and branch off into other, more interesting flavors. It will set a good example for Flipper, and perhaps encourage a more adventuresome palate. It is so nice to eat them by the fountain, whicle the kids splash around, covered in sticky pop-stuff. See below:

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Flipper, the attachment parenting preschooler, with very short hair, carefully tucking Blueberry into her sling.

Flipper isn't particularly attached to any particular stuffed animal or doll, they all seem to share equal rights in her eyes and affections. Every nowand then she will take one to bed, but after a few days the love fades away and it is relegated once again to the yellow holding pen downstairs. Please, God, let her not repeat this action in college!! Anyway, she has this one animal, one of those annoying Beanie Baby creatures, a smallish, bright blue bear. In a moment of clever inspiration, I named it Blueberry. Blue-Bear, get it??I am a GENIUS. Actually, I name most of the animals that come our way because Flipper has this incredibly funny habit of giving her special things very very literal names. As in, literally the first thing her eyes light upon. We have a horse named Table, and his gnome-buddy Hat. The coconut she adopted in Maui for a week was named Stick. The hula skirt and lei-wearing bear she received in Maui was quickly dubbed Sand. What is amazing is that these names actually last; a year after getting Table the horse, he still goes by that name. It is worth it to see the looks of disbelief that quickly pass over someone's face when they ask her the name of her doll or bear or horse. Flipper, of course, has no idea that most people do not give thier loved creatures very basic noun-names. This has provided Kathryn and me with hours and hours of endless amusement. But this is about Blueberry. Blueberry straddles the line between "stuffed, fake animal" and "very real, imaginary friend." But what a friend he is! He lives this very exciting parallel life "in a pink house in Chatham County" (WTF?) What is amazing in all of this is how quickly she and I have adopted Blueberry into the everyday, give-and-take of our lives. She will be in the car, eating lunch, playing by herself, when a few words about Blueberry will spill forth, and I will respond in the typical, lazy, slightly detached way that most parents have when their child is talking about a friend they see everyday. No longer do I stop what I am doing (which usually involves putting down my People magazine) and give her tale of Blueberry's adventures my full, animated attention. "WOW," I used to say. "AND THEN WHAT DID HE DO?" No, now I keep reading, and say, "I'm glad you're giving Blueberry dancing lessons. Is he always late?" And she will say, "No. He'll be here soon." I'll reply, "Good." Then, Blueberry shows up, and Flipper frantically smacks her tap shoes on the floor, while keeping her hands on her hips. She loves Riverdance practically the only DVD I let her watch and is very taken with the "loud dancing." Ballet is "soft dancing." Even more incredibly, Blueberry, even though he exists in floppy, plush form, is currently buried beneath other animals and doesn't even make a physical appearance I mean, it's not like she has him sitting there, watching her. But I guess he IS watching her...in spirit.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

6 inches...

Last night Justine and I rallied and went to a free yoga class that was terrifyingly packed...had some sort of incest-fueled fire broken out we would have been in real trouble. We committed ourselves for the next 8 weeks, and wrote checks before the class...which was great. But when you hear the teacher say, "Place your mats 6 inches from the person next to you..." So every Tuesday night we will go together, which is a motivator in and of itself. Not to mention actually paying for something...the reality is that I want everything to be free, yet am more likely to go when kicking down for it. Smokey took care of Flipper, which they both seemed to love. Garden work, and the discovery that Flipper's pumpkin has turned ORANGE already. Now must store it for 3 more months until Halloween! Without it rotting into a brown and green putrid mass!Perhaps she has inherited the green thumb of her father and grandmother. Plus I came home to a neat and clean house, since Smokey is unable to sit still for more than 6 or 7 seconds. She is like a two year-old. The studio is on the third floor of the same building that houses the birth center. It was hard to be back in that building, and I tried to remember nothing about our hideous, pain-filled experience. Last night's class was tinged with a bit of pain, but not too much. The space is beautiful, and it will be interesting to see how many people will be there next Tuesday. We enjoyed it, yoga is, I think, fundamentally the same but each style has such a different vibe. Blessedly, Justine liked it too, the teacher was great, very very innately sweet and kind, andwe left pretty damn happy. Not too much relaxation adn New-Agey chit chat, whcih I find boring. Cranio-sacral massage appointment today, then the pool if it doesn't thunder, then home, walk with exercise-deprived dogs and dinner with Rose and Baby Seamus. Just another typical day....full and fun. I am getting very very excited about taking Flipper to the beach, and so happy Justine will be there for part of the time. 2 weeks and 1 day until we leave! I am going down early Thursday morning and she will come down with the boys on Friday. Must find king-sized sheets to take with me. Must get Bob some sort of cool gift for being such a great boss and all-around excellent, generous person. Sense many many photo-ops looming this summer with our packed travel schedule: beach, tehn next week-end Waynesville for family reunion, next week-end after that Blowing Rock, then 2 week-ends off then Richmond VA to visit Gretl and kids and great husband John. Then first day of kindergarten...sniff. Tear. Sad. Bye, Flipper.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Continuing my good-week-end post, Saturday was a day dedicated to Flipper, and trying to rest up for Henry's 5th birthday party. We went to Weaver St for bagels and coffee, which we transported to the Carrboro Farmer's Market. We sat on a bright blue bench by the playground and ate very companionably together. Then we took the damn dogs for a walk, and then we actually went to the library, something I almost never do with Flipper, seeing as she has well over 150 books of her own that she loves to read. From the library we went to Wellspring, where I spent much more money than I ever should have on healthy insta-meals (something I have become expert at executing) and then home. Lunch. Then...miracle of miracles, she actually did what I wanted her to and took a 2 hour nap, waking at just after 4 pm (!!!) in time to head to Henry's party well-rested and refreshed. I cannot tell you how competent I felt as a parent, a much-needed little boost of the old parenting ego. His party was at Meadowmont, and I must say, I just love that pool. Mostly because it is truly kid-friendly, more than a lot of other pools, and the lifeguards are so easy-going, apologetically asking us to pour bottled beer into cups (which they provided), just really really accomodating. Below is a picture Flipper took of the pool during a lull in the water-play, a lull in which all the kids frantically crammed as much pizza as they could into their chattering blue lips. At least, that's what Flipper did. She ate three pieces. The gift bags were perfection, the cake was incredible, and the Loco Pops were the crowning glory. I even boldly took home one of the centerpieces, a hurricane lamp filled with sand, blue sea glass and small shells. Gorgeous. Below are pics. It is fascinating to me to see and experience how people do parties for their children. Next year, I do think I am going to quell my own desires (for once in my life) and have a very very small kid-party (meaning parents drop them off and leave) with just 3 or 4 of Flipper's little friends. My hat's off to the parents that can actually do this...but Lord, how I love to go to the big parties like Henry's!!! So, happy birthday Henry, and way to go, Robin and Alex. And please...keep having the big birthday bash...and inviting us!!

Monday, July 9, 2007


After an icky end-of-week, I regained control (somewhat) of my life with Flipper. I decided to spenmd the whole week-end with just her, no real plans beyond Henry's brithday party, and try to get back some of the easy give-and-take that has been absent from our lives lately. To that end, we headed down to Bynum Friday evening for dinner and music at the country store. Thankfully (for my fragile state of mind) it was FANTASTIC. Flipper and Glenn resumed their adorable love affair, Caroline was as self-possessed and sassy as ever, and a good time was had by all. Flipper's hair is long enough (barely) to be forced into two short braids. She loves it, and wants to wear her hair like this all the time. It is incredibly adorable, and makes her look a bit older, less moon-faced and babyish. The music was good, Lorrie and her family showed up, which was great, and Keith dropped by too. More pics below. Anyone in the area that wants something low-key and fun to do on a Friday evening should head down to Bynum, which is the first right just barely past Alan and Son BBQ in 15-501 going south. Park near the store around 7. Grassy spot for kids, a hotdog stand, and music, week in and week out. More pics below.

What a shirt...

Friday, July 6, 2007

Beneath the pine trees...

I have been thinking a lot about camp (already), even though Flipper is just 4, and so several years away from being shipped off somewhere fun. At least, I hope it will be fun. I write this as though I have already decided to send her to some summer program somewhere, and I suppose I have, at least in my own mind. I adored summer camp; Kathryn and I went to the same one for 7 years in a row, the same camp that my mother and aunt attended and also worked as counselors. I also worked as a counselor for two years while in college. It was incredibly hard...but still fun. I loved it. Will Flipper? I hope so. I wouldn't send her if she was really really resistant to it, but maybe by the time she's seven...that is how old I was the first year, and now, having a child, I cannot imagine her spending a week away in just 3 short short years. One of the camps I worked at was in upstate New York, only 2 hours south of Montreal. It was shockingly beautiful there, very old-school Adirondack "camp" type buildings with little diamond-paned windows. There were two sessions, each for 4 weeks. Most kids attended for the whole simmer, and about 99.9% of them were from New York City. They had 5 and 6 year olds there for 4 weeks at a time, something that I found surprising then, and downright horrifying today. Yes, the kids were very very homesick. And, yes, the parents were rich and usually in Europe for those weeks. Sadly, our little family camp is no longer single-sex, which is one of my main requirements. She could have been a third-generation camper!! There are jillions of camps in North Carolina, and I am sure I will exhaustively research them all. Luckily, many are still same-gender camp. I worked at coed camps, and poor Flipper will have to live without the opposite sex for that week or two in the summer. The teens and even pre-teens were just so intensely aware of the boys, every morning was a battle for the shower, and the make up and the curling iron...it never ended! It sucked!! No amount of lecturing from us on "now we're at camp! Let's embrace nature and let our natural beauty shine!" changed their hormonal panting. The irony was that the boys were usually pretty indifferent to the girls, much more interested in being dirty and whatever adventure they were slated to enjoy, or some sort of competitive game where they could best each other. It is true that the little kids were blissfully unaware of all of this, but one of the main joys of camp is coming back to the same one year after year. I don't know why this is so important to me, but it is. So with no family-tradition camp in Flipper's future, it is all up for grabs. Perusing Waldorf camps online right now, none are single sex but the one in Idaho seems so very West Coast hippie that I already like it. But...Idaho?!? Pretty damn far away. It is gorgeous there. Lucky for me, I have several more years to obsess about this and make myself crazy.

Misery Loves Company

Another edgy, unconnecting-with-Flipper miserable day of parenting. Blessedly, our misery-streak was broken by the appearance of Erika and the kids, which, thankfully, jolted both if us out of our bad moods. We went to Elmo's for dinner with her, and the kids inhaled icky cheeseburgers and then we saw yet another friend, who was having the same disconnected interactions with her son and husband. So it wasn't schadenfreude, exactly, but more like a sense of relief that other people are struggling right now with their children. Trying so hard to do the right thing, "make" them happy, buy their love...and it never seems to work. Nothing seems to be easy or flowing or even satisfying right now in my life. The only comfort I can take is that it happens to other people too (there's strength in shared unhappiness) and that it will pass. I read a book once about the relationship between a therapist and a client and the client came to the realization that being adult mean recognizing happiness when you feel it...but not expecting it to last.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Oh say can you seeeee...

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July, and, blessedly, Flipper still has day camp. I LOVE them. I will give Smokey the day off, drop Flipper off at Summer Cult, and then go to Wellspring to buy food, mostly overpriced organic everything, some insta-meals, and ingredients for my very favorite soup of all time, Pineapple-Cucumber Gazpacho. Then I will head home and make a lemon-buttermilk sheet cake for the cook-out at Dave and Neva's house. Keith has his orders to finish work at 2:30 so we can go to Hollow Rock to watch Flipper, well, basically show off for a few hours pre-cook-out. He doesn't like pools so much, vastly preferring lakes and oceans, but she is so excited about her swimming skills, that this is his day to watch. When I say "orders" above, it is exactly what I mean. Our relationship has evolved, and will probably continue to do so, but he does well with clearly defined expectations from me, particularly in regards to Flipper. Is it control-freakish and annoyingly bossy? Why, yes, I believe it is. But it works, as she is so happy with his regular involvement in her life; there will be no every-other-week-end parenting for him. It is better all the way around to have day in and day out involvement in her life. He is very very good at it, and when he does miss an evening, she doesn't get upset...because he comes so often. But back to the patriotic 4th...last year we participated in the Carrborro People's Parade, went to the pool, and had Keith's family over to my parent's house for dinner/sparklers on the deck. Fun, but too hot...almost 102 after the parade. Fun, but just way too busy and crazed. This year, in keeping with my desire (a desire not always backed up with actions) to lead a simpler, less frenetic life, we will not be doing the parade, just afternoon pool-time and the party at Dave and Neva's, which I am very much looking forward to; the ENFP in me leaps out and loves to meet new people at parties, talk talk talk, etc. Below is Flipper decked out for last year's parade. Perhaps we will do it again some year, perhaps not. When she is older we can go to one of the fireworks shows, but they all start around 9:30. Might buy some Benadryl for the dogs, however.

Monday, July 2, 2007

If I could marry a pool, this is the one.

Her nickname isn't Flipper just for the hell of it. She is, I believe, part fish, and every day she goes to the pool she improves exponentially. Yesterday afternoon we went to our favorite pool, Meadowmont, for the afternoon. I love this pool. I love it's democratic, anyone that wants to go can pay and get in policy, I love the sheer randomness of the pool-goers, I love how it caters to little kids by not enforcing a lot of uptight rules that exist not to protect a patron, but the management from a lawsuit. It is all about fun for little kids, and since I have one, I love them. The shoreline entry is genius; every pool should have one. Flipper likes the waterslide the best (of course) although she is strangely reluctant to try it on her own. Her tiny body gets tossed about even in my lap, perhaps she is wise to wait. And, the slide is incredibly fast. Her new skill is diving; she launches herself up and off the wall, and does almost a complete flip before hitting the water headfirst. Then she gets up and does it again...and again...see below. And, did you know that an eensy weensy yellow polka dot bikini actually exists? It does...on my kid.