Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Post-Zoo review

I picked up the car yesterday after a beautiful day at the zoo, although it was marred somewhat by the massive crowds of people that give their kids hideous names like Anakin. Sadly, I am NOT kidding. Perhaps they need my help to give their baby a nice, normal name, one that is a reminder of this Margaret Mead truism: You are a unique individual...just like everybody else. Anyway, the animals were quite sparky, and the elephant exhibit was gorgeous. HOWEVER...the zoo will earn a letter/email from me complaining abut their poor planning for holiday crowds. By closing off the Africa parking lot, everyone started in North America, wended their way to Africa, which meant huge crowds at the ONE restaurant that was open, and a line of 200 people waiting for the tram to return them to N America. We made the kids walk, and I must say, they sucked it up impressively. The other weird thing I noticed was how many strollers had 5, 6 and even 7 year olds in them. Parents, make your kids get out and WALK!! And if they can't, then they are OUT OF SHAPE and need to do more than watch TV all day and play with their new Christmas Wii.
Back to the car...I am a convert. I cannot believe how it looked when I picked it up. It was cleaner than the day I bought it. I am promising the whole world of the Internet that I will keep it clean. They even successfully removed the ballpoint pen drawings from the back seat. Flipper has been informed of my new rule: whenever we get out of our car, EVERYTHING must come into the house with us. No more shoes, socks, trash, toys, books, clothes can remain behind. It is beautiful. I love the Carolina Car Wash, where I took it. Family owned, friendly, professional, small-townish (in a good way). Worth springing for once or twice a year. Now, back to Facebook...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Territory

Our family, we are not "get a guy" people. Which means that we generally do our home/yard/car maintenance work ourselves. My parents shun the thought of paying anyone to do almost anything they can do themselves, outside of a restaurant server fetching some food from the kitchen. No maid, no landscape crew; for many years my father changed the oil and rotated the tires on the family cars. And so Sister and I have adhered to this for most of our adult lives. Today, however, this will change for me. On the way to the zoo with a friend, I am leaving my car to be detailed in Carrboro. The Subaru has become unbearable. Moldy on the exterior, incredibly dirty and dusty on the interior. I do this not because I particularly want to shell out a hundred bucks (103, to be exact), but I hope that I will be motivated to maintain some level of cleanliness.

This level of slovenliness does not extend to the house, thank god. I am quite clean inside the four walls, although somewhat messy. But the car is a whole new ballgame. I will confess something so very icky that I beg of you not to judge me TOO harshly: over the summer Flipper jumped onto the sunroof (don't ask) and knocked it slightly off it's track. I was unaware that it caused teeny tiny interior leaks, ultimately soaking the backseat floorboards, which were covered with multiple layers of magazines and papers. I lifted out layer after layer of damp paper....and uncovered a small nest of little worms. Alive. And what did I do? Why, what anyone would do in that circumstance: I dropped the whole pile back on top of them, and walked away. But today, over the course of 6 hours, the car, which I truly love and which has served me so well, will get a cosmetic overhaul. I can't wait!!

p.s. The above maggoty-worm story made me feel awful about myself...until a friend confessed that the same thing had happened to her. Except it was a pile of clothes on her dorm room floor...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

MEMEMEMEMEME!!

Holiday MEME

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Neither, "Russian" tea made with Tang and instant tea, straight out of the 70's. I love it.

Does Santa wrap presents or set them under the tree? He does both, depending on the size of the gift.

Colored lights on tree or white? Both. But no blinking!!

When do you put your decorations up? 10 days before Christmas.

What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Latkes. But we're not Jewish. However, that doesn't stop me from loving them!!

When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I cannot remember, so it must not have been too traumatic.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? No. We go to our one-time-a-year church service (at our old church) and then go out for Thai food.

How do you decorate your Christmas tree? With vintage glass ornaments from the 40's and 50's, glass icicles and clear lights, as well as the old-fashioned large-bulb colored ones. But NO BLINKING!!

Snow! Love it or Dread it? Love it, the more the better. But it doesn't snow much here in NC. Unfortunately.

Can you ice skate? Sort of.

Do you remember your favorite gift? A toboggan (shared with my sister) and a navy blue sweatshirt with my name on it.

What’s the most important thing about the Holidays for you? Family, and the fact that our Christmases are very low-key and have no drama or bad memories attached to them.

What is your favorite Holiday Dessert? Fudge with walnuts, made by someone else!!

What is your favorite tradition? Stockings and setting out cookies and carrots for "Santa."

Which do you prefer, Giving or Receiving? Both. Hard to choose. But probably giving the perfect present a little more.

What is your favorite Christmas Song? The Waitresses, "Christmas Wrapping"

Candy Canes! Yuck or Yum? I hate all mint, candy canes included. My daughter, however, loves mint so much she can eat Altoids one after the other.

Ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, I have. A wine and food basket given by my boss. It made the recipient very happy!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Up Up and Away

It is disconcerting to realize that one has become one's parents, although the start of my incessant NPR-listening about 8 years ago quickly cleared me over that particular hurdle, but it is even MORE unsettling to realize that one has become one's GRANDMOTHER (and at such a young age)!!
It is 4:35 a.m. I have already done a huge load of laundry, re-stacked the 30 or 40 books by my bed, made coffee, answered emails, learned how to do the blanket stitch on YouTube...and in a few minutes I am going to vacuum the entire house, save for the room where Flipper is peacefully slumbering. Then I am going to work on the felt crowns that my best friend's sons will receive for Christmas. Using the blanket stitch, of course. Then fold the laundry when it emerges from the dryer, pack Flipper's Bento box, and read the paper in a leisurely fashion, since I will actually be awake to hear the wet smack it will make when it hits the road in front of my house.
Last night I clicked the light out at 8:05. I am not kidding. This morning I read an email from a friend that sent it at 11:13, at which point I had been comatose for 3 hours.
My body loves this schedule. In my late twenties after an ugly break-up with a barely-human evil creature, I lived with my grandmother in Atlanta for 4 months or so. Every night she would go to bed at 7:30 or 8, and rise at 3 or 4. Unlike me, however, this drove her insane. She would bemoan the lack of sleep she got, and no amount of simple math tutoring on my part (and she was a lawyer, no less) could possible convince her that she was, in fact, getting 8 hours of sleep a night. They just weren't the 8 hours SHE wanted. Me? I'm OK with it. Every evening I promise myself that I will stay awake until at least 9, and most nights I fail miserably. But that's OK. Just as long as Flipper doesn't decide to join me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

...except at my house. I can't seem to embrace the season the way I want to, or the reality of the effort involved in putting up lights, the tree, the ten million little things I want to do. And poor Flipper, she is so, so excited and wants so badly for the lights, the tree, a wreath...all of it to magically appear. I am trying to catch her enthusiasm, and rouse myself, but it is hard. Too busy right now. So I am going to commit, here online, to DOING with her, from cutting pyracantha berries for our wreath to hanging the lights. Today, I mean tonight. I swear. I promise. Maybe!!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Book Review and Ode to a Dead Squirrel

I just read a really good book. I love non-fiction and memoir, even though I am always a bit suspicious of memoirs; I mean, who can remember actual conversations that took place in a distant past? Oh, that's right, I CAN. I have a wonderful, elephantine memory. It drives other people insane. Imagine arguing with me: "But don't you remember what you said two years ago in May when we were coming back from eating at that little Italian place? You don't? Well, why not? I remember it..." And so on. It makes me want to roll my eyes and scream at myself. Loudly. But the book...the book is called Dry and is written by Augusten Burroughs. He also wrote the memoir Running with Scissors, which was widely acclaimed. He is a really good writer; intense without being over-the-top, personal without being voyeuristic, and well-rounded: you simultaneously like and dislike him, but cheer for him as he tries to remain sober after a stint in rehab, even as you hold your breath, waiting for what seems like an inevitable relapse.

I just went outside (it is 5 a.m.) to retrieve the paper, and call Seamus back in, when I noticed (thank God) the furry body of dead squirrel on the porch and Seamus crouched protectively over it. I left it for my mother to deal with, as she is about 99% less squeamish than I am. Probably from being a nurse for so many years. In a weirdly good way, however, it reminded me so much of one of my other dogs, a nightmarish (but beautiful) chocolate lab-chow chow mix named Junior. He was a total freak: all the worst traits of a lab and chow mixed into one creature. But...we loved each other so much; he was a total Mama's Boy, loyal and loving to me and few others, but that was about it. One time I went up to the bedroom, only to find him on MY BED, proudly displaying...a dead squirrel, one that had been hit by a car but that he claimed as his very own. He was so proud of it, and so happy to show it to me. This is a memory I blocked until this morning, for obvious reasons. So, in a good way, there was a tiny flash of silver to the squirrel-cloud: it made me remember Junior.
He was hit by a car and killed 3 and a half years ago. It remains one of the saddest days in my life...and I do know exactly how lucky I am to be able to say that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Click

I wish more than, well not anything, but SOMETHING that I was able to capture, on my camera, the look on Flipper's face when the few tiny flakes that fell yesterday swirled around her. Beyond priceless...it was magic.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lists and more lists...

Here you go, Di!! (I LOVE these kinds of tags, lists, memes, whatever they are...)

5 things I was doing 10 years ago
1
) In school seeking a second degree (in education), making the best grades of my life
2) Living in the mountains (Cullowhee) and loving it
3) Single, traveling to see my favorite band, being a bit of a rock star, and not in a good way.
4) Exercising. A lot. I was quite fit and trim. Thinking about it makes me sad.
5) Making absolutely no plans for the future in any way, even though I was 30. Which seems impossibly young to me now...

5 things on my to-do list for today
1) Head home at 1:30
2) Eat lunch(veggie chili and cheese and crackers)
3) Take the dogs for a long walk in the crispy woods with Flipper
4) Vacuum upstairs, my most-hated chore!!
5) Work on our school's Holiday Fair

5 treats I enjoy
1) Eating out. Any place that someone else brings me good food.
2) Staying in hotels, for any reason. LOVE IT!!
3) Sugar. Pretty much any form but milk chocolate.
4) Being outside, in almost any weather.
5) Having harmonious, quiet time with Flipper,when we are both happy and engaged.

5 things I would do with tons of money
1) Give some to my parents, sister, and Flipper's dad.
2) Buy a mountain house near Blowing Rock.
3) Buy a beach house on Topsail.
4) Travel. Endlessly. Around the world, around America.
5) Hire a personal trainer and personal chef. And a maid.

5 places I've lived
1) North Carolina: sandhills, mountains, Piedmont
2) St Simons Island, GA
3) Telluride, CO
4) Cullowhee, NC
5) Carrboro, NC (currently)

5 places I've worked
1) as a cocktail waitress at the beach, a great job with tons of $$!!
2) As a copy-editor at a paper in Colorado
3) waitress (lots of places)
4) English tutor
5) Emerson Waldorf High School (currently)



Sunday, November 16, 2008

Retail Therapy

I am searching the Internet with Flipper's (hopeful) Christmas list at my side. Searching, searching, comparing prices, trying to decide what I can realistically make, what is beyond my reach financially, what I can assign to grandparents, etc. It should be slightly depressing, in that I wish I could just pop out a credit card with a sky-high limit (an American Express black, for example) and just run through the list, have it all sent to my parent's house, and pick it up on Christmas Eve. Not to be, certainly not this year, and perhaps never. But I can be ruthless when deciding what to keep and what to let go of, bearing in mind that she asks for one of two things: nothing remotely realistic OR nothing at all. Flipper is much more concerned with Santa not getting burned in the fireplace and having enough carrots for all the reindeer. Oh, childhood!!

In more exciting new (wait, how can that be??) the Cult has moved it's store off-campus to Carr Mill Mall for hte next two months. I have been pitching in, and will volunteer staff it a few afternoons per week. This is very exciting; most Waldorf schools have stores, but they tend to be small ones on campus for parents primarily, and run by volunteers. This new post is also volunteer-run,and it is exciting to see something so gorgeous come together. And, to work for something I believe in, meaning toys crafted with care, with natural materials and nary a battery or blinking light or frightful noise to be seen (or heard).

So, Natalie, Shanna, anyone else I know in the area with young children, come on down!! It is near the Panzanella end of the mall. Will post pictures soon of this incredible space. It is also called The Woodland Shop,and the very first customer's last name was Woodland!!! How freaky is that?? I mean, it isn't as though the store is named Smith or anything common. Hopefully, in these tightening times, a good omen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Missing

I miss you, little blog o' mine. And so I promise I won't let another such lapse occur. I think for Christmas I will ask for Internet service for my house, and force myself not to be the email-checking junkie that computers invariably turn me into. Today is Election Day, and, blessedly, I have already voted. I can't wrap my brain around other states, where early voting is not offered, and waiting HOURS to vote.
Flipper is unaware of any politics or drama, even my attempts to lure her into going with me to See Democracy In Action failed with a categorical NO from her. Followed by, "It doesn't sound like fun." But this year, it DOES sound like fun to me. Even going to a little party tonight with Flipper at one of her classmate's houses. We are all bringing appetizers. I can't wait!! Off to New York Thursday for a wedding. Also can't wait for that, although traveling with our whole family seems like a kettle that is endlessly simmering and might, at any moment, boil over, but never does.

Monday, October 6, 2008

6984

Last week I went to my old office and transferred all the pictures I had on the hard drive there onto a flash drive. It took 45 minutes, and I came home with...6984 pictures. Even I was a bit shocked and horrified. Now I spend many minutes every day culling and culling and then culling some more. It is incredibly satisfying, as is almost any de-cluttering task, but, as might be expected, a bit wrenching as well. I cannot believe how young Flipper looks in so many, how curly her hair was...how just plain beautiful she was as a toddler. I must constantly remind myself that those days were tough ones, and that time marches on and on and on, stopping for no one, not even me. And then I cull some more. Kathryn is leaving Jackson Hole today, and sent me many pictures of moose and bison. God, I miss the mountains. Real mountains, ones with snow on them all the time. Work is slow because the kids aren't here, and so I will leave early and try to apply the same de-cluttering zeal I displayed with all those pictures to my house. Flipper is at my parent's house, or, in her mind, in heaven.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Happy Update!!

Oh, I've been missing you, my little blog! Finally, a chance to catch up and relate news. Main news: I have a new job, and for the first time in too long, I love it. LOVE IT. What could it be? you ask. What could possibly keep Leigh's very short attention span happy and permit her to talk with some frequency, another necessity to happiness? WELL...I am the secretary for the high school part of Flipper's Cult. And, therefore, I will no longer call it The Cult, in the interest of professionalism and niceness. I have a nice, well-lit office, (finally!) the students are incredible, the teachers are intensely committed and heart-driven. I am surrounded by music and art. From the students, that is. They play the piano before school starts, they sing unselfconsciously, they play the guitar between classes, they are polite, kind, and respectful...I could go on and on but I won't.

Here is an example of my duties: to signal the start of each class, I stand in the central hall and ring a medium-sized Chinese gong. Why, no, I am NOT kidding. No harsh electric bells here!! No, a real, live human being send the happy students on their merry way! I also take attendance, hold the confiscated cellphones until after school, and enforce, if necessary, the dress code. No real rule breakers. Yet.

And so, I am very happy right now!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

It was in the stars!!

I have become, in the past few weeks or so, totally and completely addicted to Facebook. I STILL can't believe it. What HAS been disconcerting, however, is how many people have emailed me, or, more accurately, written on my magical Facebook "wall" to say this exact sentence, or some close variant: "Is that beautiful little girl actually YOURS???" I mean, it is apparently quite shocking to some (many) people that I have managed to mate and reproduce and the product of said union is quite cute. This is one of those things I refuse to think about too much. Because my feelings might get hurt!! But I tell you this, Facebook is FUN. And, unlike MySpace, it seems devoid (so far) of scantily-clad teen-agers. I think the key here are the words "so far." I have reconnected-however briefly- with people I haven't seen or heard from in years. I troll their site, looking at their pictures, and writing little comments if I feel so moved.

I wonder what all of this computer/Internet/technology stuff will look like and be like when Flipper is older. And "older" she will have to be. As some of you know, all media/electronic use is discouraged for children in a Waldorf school, meaning that even Flipper's 1-2 hours of week-end animal documentary DVD watching is frowned upon. No classroom has a computer, a fact that causes some parents consternation, as they worry that their child will not be able to pick up the skills later, and will be disadvantaged in the workplace as adults. Other parents, when they find out that we have no TV, no Internet access, no toys that require batteries (although, to be honest, this evolved more from my own loathing of sound than a belief system) ask me about it. I believe this, from the FAQ section of the website www.whywaldorfworks.com

What about computers and Waldorf education?Waldorf teachers feel the appropriate age for computer use in the classroom and by students is in high school. We feel it is more important for students to have the opportunity to interact with one another and with teachers in exploring the world of ideas, participating in the creative process, and developing their knowledge, skills, abilities, and inner qualities. Waldorf students have a love of learning, an ongoing curiosity, and interest in life. As older students, they quickly master computer technology, and graduates have successful careers in the computer industry.

But I also think that there will be a greater demand in the future for people-oriented jobs in healthcare (particularly elder-care), mental health, teaching, etc. I also think that the way technology is moving, it will get easier and easier to learn programs and applications. So, we'll see. Last week I had (Justine, stop reading now so we can remain friends!!) a personal astrological consultation with this astrologer: www.lhillman.com
It was, of course, utterly fascinating. He warned me not to be too checked out of "the real world"-and he wasn't referring to an MTV show, and that my natural desire IS to be removed from modern society, culture, etc. Jokingly, I mentioned that he might feel better about me if he knew that I have a had a subscription to People magazine for many years, and he said, "Actually, that does make me feel better." He is an excellent astrologer. My sister consulted him as well several months ago, with equally positive results. He recommended that I take a martial arts class(!!) So, if you know of one that is a touch more spiritually based and isn't focused on competition, let me know!!!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Our week-end

I wonder what (and where) Flipper's "Favorite Places" will be when she grows up. A beach, for sure. Mountain place? Her grandparent's house? This past week-end we returned to one of MY very favorite places of all time, and, as usual, had so much fun. I hated leaving. I wish I could stay there for a week or more one of these days. The place needs a touch of explanation: one of my friends from college, who also arrived at motherhood a bit late (like me) has had family settled in Winston Salem for several generations. Her grandmother, whom, from all accounts was one tough lady, had a vision of a place in the foothills, a house on a lake. So she worked and saved and worked and saved and eventually bought, built, dug and created her dream over a period of time int eh 60's and 70's. And so, at the top of a dead-end road near Pilot Mountain, is her version of paradise. 400 acres. Woods, all of it, except for a beautifully clear spring-fed lake. Two houses, one a true mountain house with large stone fireplace, screened porch, antique furniture. The other, a real log house with chinking, a decent kitchen and lots of screened porches. Very old-fashioned; unpolished, unstained log floors, low, timbered ceilings. Sounds like heaven, does it not? My friend took me to her family's spot one spring in college, and I fell in love. When Flipper was a baby, she and I reconnected, and every summer since I have been lucky enough to return for a week-end or two.

Flipper lake-front, early one morning.

Another view of the lake.


Flipper walking between the two houses.
The old cabin where we slept.

Flipper fished for about 300 straight hours over the week-end. I could not tear her away from the dock or the pole. I could not believe her diligence and patience and fascination with it. Or maybe it was just the Barbie rod and reel. Another college friend came with 4 teens, two are her daughters and their two best friends. And they are a whole 'nother story. Just let me say this: to ALL of you parenting teens...my hat is off to you. Really. I mean it.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Newbie

Because I am lazy and fleeing for the week-end and have a million or two things to do before I head out of town at 3 this afternoon, I will not leave you with my own scintillating writings, but those of my sister, who just started her own blog. You can find her HERE: http://kathrynsparacino.blogspot.com

Exciting (I hope) news from me on Monday. Everyone have a good week-end!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Update

Keith came through yesterday afternoon and took Flipper off to try to replace her stolen bike, a bike I miss more every day because it was just so...PERFECT for her. And, perfect for ME because it was free. I was on the phone having a personal astrological reading at the time. At any rate, they found a decent replacement at a used sporting goods store, and while it doesn't in any way achieve the purpley-pink glory of her "Malibu Stardom" bike, it is speedy. And red. And has flames on it. Here's yet another rhetorical question: why, oh why, does every single toy have to be so fucking gender specific? What happened to a green bike? Or orange? Why is the world of little kid-dom a world of blue and black and pink and lavender? I emailed the customer service department of Camelbak last year with the same complaint. I realize there is no good answer to this, or, more accurately, no answer that will satisfy me. She tore around the tennis court near my house until she fell and skidded on a sharp turn and screamed hysterically for few minutes and then got back on and kept riding. She is good that way.

And I want to say a "thank you" to Kelly, a friend of a friend, that offered her daughter's bike to Ella. It makes the loss of her bike sting a little-no, a LOT, less.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Gone (but not forgotten)


Remember this?

It's gone.

Stolen not 10 feet from my front door, helmet tossed on the ground. At least they left the helmet. And, interestingly, my grown-up, much more expensive ADULT mountain bike was left behind. Flipper is not angry (Mommy has the exclusive rights to that emotion) but she is very, very confused. There is something more enraging about a child's bike being stolen than an adult's, because someone ADULT had to steal it FOR a child. My bike? Well, that I "get" more. Ride it away, use it, sell it, whatever. But a little girl's bike that is worth only 25$ or so could only have been stolen for one reason: for another child. I try to imagine this: some older brother, sister, mother, dad, uncle, family friend, whatever, presenting this bike to another 5 (or 6) year-old little girl, a child that might even learn to ride a bike for the first time...on Flipper's. And this little girl will (hopefully) have no idea that her uncle, aunt, father, brother, whoever, stole it for her. Flipper hasn't mourned it's loss TOO much; she is much more concerned about when I am going to replace it. And that is what sucks: this bike was free, I don;t have any spare money right now. This bike was the perfect size, the perfect everything...although I can't really wrap my brain around white tires. And now it has vanished, and Craig's List is empty of little bikes. I am sure something will work out.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Week-end

The week-end, which started out so excruciatingly dull, turned out to be pretty fun after all. The rain on Saturday wasn't enough to be exciting or dramatic, but enough to keep us inside. We were just bored. Yes, I know that "only boring people are bored"...but maybe I am a really boring person. So, poor Flipper. These are the times that I wish she had a sibling to go off and invent some sort of super-involved imaginary SOMETHING, and yet she can't. I need to take a good look at her toys, and think about some new things for her to play with/do/create/build. She isn't much of a builder, perhaps because it, like so many things, isn't much fun to do alone. By 2 on Saturday afternoon we were tired of each other, short-tempered and irritable. Then, a friend called and within an hour we were all packed in her small car, headed to Raleigh for the International Festival, held in the new convention center. It is MASSIVE. 500,000 square feet packed with what seemed to be 6 or 7 million people, food booths, and, for some strange reason, a bunch of motor boats, jet-skis and RV's on display. Now, I have to hand it to whoever set this up: I absolutely loved seeing about 700 kids of all ages racing up rickety wooden steps with no handrails to swarm all over the boats, bounce on the RV's beds, and generally just crowd on and off of boats and boat trailers on a concrete floor. How I loved that there was almost no supervision beyond the random mom dad saying, "Get down from there now so we can go eat!" No one seemed worried that their kid would take a flying leap onto a concrete floor, or that the small wooden stairs might not be super-safe; I just loved it. When it comes around next year, by all means GO!! The food is fantastic AND inexpensive, the stage has a constantly changing cast of dancers form about 80 different countries, it was great. But don't go if you don't like crowds. More tomorrow on a tiny loss of Flipper's innocence and faith in humanity. (sob)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Back (briefly)

Oh, I've been missing you, sweet little blog!! And since I don't really feel like writing too much, pictures from our beach trip over Labor Day week-end will have to suffice. Eating on the deck.
Balance beam practice for 2020 Olympics.
Rough ocean. Made even ME nervous.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Really, a post about nothing

Flipper's Bento box arrived yesterday, along with more teeny tiny reusable cups and skewers and generally cute stuff. Bento things are TINY. This is good for us, because she doesn't eat sandwiches, or more typical lunch things, and as her school provides a hefty hot snack just 90 minutes or so before lunch, a large amount of food isn't a priority for me. Not throwing food away is. One unexpected bonus of her Bento box is the hilarious "Engrish" sentences on the lid. I have a friend that LOVES Engrish, and I hope she sees this and gets a little laugh as I did. (go to http://www.engrish.com/ for more examples)

The top reads, "Today is so nice day! How about going for a walk?" I love the "so nice day."
Small and cute, yes? The yellow part is the bottom section; the top one has a movable divider.
Another view of a lunchbox fit for a munchkin...



The two pieces, as well as the small silicone cups that hold a few grapes, or one strawberry, etc. Resting against the cream-colored section are small (and quite sharp) skewers for teeny kabobs of fruit or veggies. They each have an animal on the top. Bento is big on animals; see the yellow bunny cup?
Not pictured: the stripy cloth drawstring sack that holds it all. I cannot believe I have written an entire post about a 5 year-old's lunchbox. And if you are wondering just why I selected the box I did, well it is because, "The donkey is my favorite farm animal." Who knew?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nothing Much.

I look at this website and I think, My God I'm white. http://www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com

Sunday I donned two hats simultaneously; Sporty, athletic fit Mommy and Competent Mommy. Both fit well. Flipper is unable to be separated from her bike. She wants to ride all day, every day. On Sunday we walked up the sidewalk and crossed Estes, easily accessing the web of trails that comprise the whole area around Bolin Creek. She, outfitted with a new pink helmet and her old pink Camelbak, rode and rode and rode. Oh, and fell on big rocks a few times. It was adorable, mountain-bike-girl, without the mountains. I ran and trotted and jogged and sweated while holding one dog on the leash. The other, not being predisposed to snap at the legs of runners and bikers (except us) runs free. I felt so virtuous, and, for brief moment, so thin. About 45 minutes into our trek, the chain on Flipper's bike came off. And here, in one of those beautiful and (sadly rare) Ms. magazine moments*, I told her to hold the leash, not talk for a few minutes, and that I would fix it. Which I did. She was proud and happy. I was more relieved than I can express, given that we were a solid mile or more from my house and I had a frightful vision of wheeling and carrying and cursing the bike all the way home.

*One of Top Ten Proudest Moments: I sent in a sexist ad torn from a magazine to Ms and they printed it on the "No Comment" page. Very proud. Oh, the ad? It was for either booze or perfume. i think perfume. It showed a woman from the back, dressed in an evening gown, with her wrists "handcuffed" together with a bracelet, while some guy lounged on the bed in front of her.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Re-Cap

Since once is never enough, now I can freely abuse the Olympics again since they are, blessedly, over for anoth 4 years. And speaking of which...stop torturing us with them every TWO years and revert to the Winter and Summer games being held in the same year. I mean, why did it even change? Get it over with in one fell swoop. These "suggestions" will be short and sweet. Many of my earlier "suggestions" were validated once the Games actually commenced. And so...we're off!

1) Reiterating my earlier stance: ban about 50% of what is allowed. It seems as though any sport can make it to the Olympics now, and that is actually abad thing, not a good thing. Sailing? I think not. The fact that sailing was an utter fiasco this year should be reason enough to toss it. Ban all team sports, starting with those that are POPULAR. So, volleyball stays (the kind played INSIDE, that is) basketball goes. Ditto tennis. Ditto soccer. There is something strangely wrong about professional millionaires going for the gold. Or, keep the sports but ban the pro athletes. let it be college kids! More fun! More...sporting, somehow.

2) Women: put some fucking clothes on. I mean it. ESPECIALLY in the invented "sport" of beach volleyball. Make the women and men wear the same thing. That goes for track, too. I mean it: put some clothes on. There is no reason that you need to wear basically nothing, and no, I don't buy your argument that you're able to move more easily. Were that true, the men should have to be basically naked as well. Gymnasts? Leotards were HIDEOUS. Skin-tight glittery red "fabric"-and I use that word loosely, looks good on NO ONE. You should be wearing the smae thing, Nastia and Shawn. No pink. No glitter. No sequins.


Look at Olga! Nary a sequin to be seen!!

3) And while we're talking about gymnastics...for the love of god, someone, somewhere, somehow get rid of Bela. He is a bullying*, poor sport that doesn't help us at all. And his little wife, too. He's been doing it long enough; time for some fresh blood. Like Shawn Johnson's coach, who actually seems to let her eat food. And Nastia? Tell your dad to stop kissing you on the mouth when you finish a routine. It's icky.

4) I have to weigh in on the side of the IOC head that chastised that runner for his macho posturing after his races. Actually, I have an even better idea: ban the victory lap. You're done, you won, head to to podium. Don't let the flag touch the ground, remember? Or was it just me that took all that flag-ceremony stuff so seriously at Camp Toccoa? I mean, can you imagine Michael Phelps staying in the pool, swimming up and down with a (wet) flag dragging behind, pointing at the sky, and so on, and so on? Nope. He celebrates for about .02 seconds, gets out, and hugs his mom. THAT'S how you do it.

Wrong on so many levels, I barely know where to start.

5) US relay team: not sure what to say about you guys, except that this must be the most forgiving sport in the world where the person that droped the baton 4 years ago gets to do it again this year. And your excuse that you aren't together to practice? Find a way. But don;t drop it. And ladies? Put some clothes on.




Friday, August 22, 2008

Upcoming...

Oh, the Olympics. They are almost over!! Do I save my commentary until the bitter end, or share it now? I think I'll wait. Let things simmer, so to speak.

Our upcoming week-end promises to be a social one, full of entertainment. This evening my best friend arrives from Rocky Mt. with her eldest son, and we are going to the Forest Theater to see The Paperhand Puppet Intervention's annual summer show. She has never been before; it is our 3rd year. I can't wait to see her!!! And, our tickets have been purchased for New Orleans, our hotel room has been booked (I will be sorry when my sister stops working for Marriott and 38.00 rooms are no longer available to me), we have found a private driver to whisk us from the airport to our hotel and other fun places, now all we have to do is but tickets to the show. They go on sale September 12, my parents' 44th wedding anniversary. Amazing, really.

Tomorrow morning we go to a birthday party at Mapleview Farms. I am looking forward to this. I think it will be fun, there will be some sort of hayride or other adorable photo-op activity, plus ice cream. really, a winner all the way around.

Sunday is The Cult's Back-to-School picnic. It is a potluck, although it never seems to work out that everyone has enough to eat. They do make the teen-agers go last, however. I think the school should pay for real and fake burgers and dogs, and let the parents bring sides and desserts. But, shockingly, they didn't ask me!! I have been racking my brain and trying to decide what to bring-I always expend WAY too much energy trying to make a decision about things like this-and decided to make 2 or 3 batches of blueberry mini-muffins. We have tons of frozen berries, and everyone likes them. I hope. Sunday morning I will be there for an hour or two, doing more landscaping/weeding in preparation for the first day of school. Blessedly, Flipper does not go back to school until the day after Labor Day (I think this should be a national law) and so we have some time left to squeeze every sweaty, chlorinated, mosquito-y drop out of summer. And that's all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oh, bento.

Flipper returns to The Cult for her second year of kindergarten 14 days from today. As such, I have been ironing out minor issues and larger ones, some easy to accomplish, others less so. Oh, and none that are actually important. The main one is that she will not be staying for the "nap" program this year. Regular kindergarten is over at 12:30, but kids can stay until 3 if they need to. She did this 3 days a week last year...and it sucked. Mostly because if she sleeps during the day, she WILL NOT go to sleep until much later that evening, say 9:30 or 10, and then is an absolute nightmare the next morning, tired, etc., and the whole icky cycle gets repeated. Waldorf is very big on sleep. And on staying warm, but that is another issue. And so I get it, I, too, think that children today stay up later than they should, are tired at school, etc. But when I hear friends talk about their child's bedtime as 6:30 or 7, I think, No way. And they would say, WAY. But she cannot stay after school and not lie down on a little mat in a little muslin teepee for 45-60 minutes, and stay awake. Even a 30 minute nap throws off her whole evening!! Nor should she be able to read or play while everyone else stays lies quietly and/or sleeps. So we are bagging it this year. Other changes will take place, mostly that I will take her to school every morning, as opposed to my mother, but my mom will pick her up at 12:30 and keep her until 2-2:30. I think this will work better for all of us, but particularly Flipper. Now, moving on: at her school the children (and teachers) wear slippers inside the classroom for a variety of reasons that I won't elaborate upon here. For the past two year she has worn THESE:

Nice, warm, vaguely old lady-ish, but whatever.

BUT...they make her feet hot. Very hot. And I empathize because I, too, have Hot Feet. They cannot even be under the covers at night. So this year, I was all set to order more, since fleece slippers seemed even hotter to me, when I was struck by a flash of inspiration and ordered THESE instead:
SO cute!! So...un-hot. I hope. So far Flipper loves them.

And the last hurdle we (I) tackled was lunch. Or, to be more accurate, what I am going to pack it in. Like many, many things, I thought I would love making lunches for Flipper. But I hate it, mainly because she eats so little of it. She has been taking her lunch in a very Waldorf-y natural basket with a lid, all sweet and brown and plain. Now that I feel more secure in my Cult status, able to bend the unspoken rules a tad more without fear of expulsion or shunning, I am jumping on the bento bandwagon!! I love the cuteness! I love the fact that nothing gets thrown away! I hate the plastic...but can live with it!! Bento will work for us (hopefully) because Flipper hates sandwiches, which lets out a whole lot of easy lunch-making possibilities. But I get so inspired by the sheer adorableness and healthiness of most bento lunches. So...today I bought her a bento box, a little cloth drawstring sack to hold it, small, open-topped silicon containers to hold little things, some animal skewers to make fruit kabobs, and tiny pig-shaped squeeze bottles for soy sauce, since she loves inari, and will undoubtedly take some to school this year. A recent Newsweek article referred to bento-lunch-making mothers as "overachievers" and I scoffed at that...but then I re-read this entry and thought, Wow. I sound completely crazy.
I love the donkey! It says, Today is a nice day. Would you like to take a walk? Apparently, most boxes are made in Japan, where they have these English statements on them that are, usually, correct, but often make little sense. This box is two-tiered, with the upper tier divided into two compartments. It is SMALL, about 6x5x3. Perfect for the tiny appetite!!

The cloth bag. Seems to go perfectly with the donkey-box (as if that matters) AND...it was only 3.50.


These are divider cups, used to hold a few soybeans, or small crackers, or a mini-muffin...also used to point out that I am completely insane.
The eensy-beensy squeeze bottles. Mine are shaped like little pigs!! The animal-skewers. AND...the inspiration:
Note: nothing like this will ever appear in Flipper's lunch. I just like to look at the many possibilities dreamed up by people even more crazy than I am!!

*I bought all the above supplies from www.iloveobento.com

For more nutty pictures from overachievers, go to http://shop.iloveobento.com/blogs/bento-gallery and imagine breaking out your little cute box in the lunchroom while everyone else brown-bags it.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another (little) milestone...

After many, many spills, tears, MORE spills-including one collision with a gravestone, my very determined and pretty tough little girl...GOT IT.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Only one (most of the time)

Little (only) bunny!!

Toys are the bane of my existence. No, not really, a weak bank account is! But it feels like I am always in pursuit of something that doesn't really exist-except in my own mind- The Perfect Toy. The one that will keep Flipper happy and occupied and not impart any shaky values to my little angel. And, it must be wood, or close to it, require no batteries, have minimal plastic...blah blah blah. But here's the sad truth: no toy is really going to grab her because she has no sibling to enjoy it with. She can play with a friend for hours in her room, with her dollhouse or fairyhouse or silks or Legos or blocks...but by herself? Not so much. And I hate it. Mostly because my sister and I always got along great, always played together for hours and hours, building, drawing, pretending creating...and Flipper has none of it. I hate her only-child status, and yet, barring some sort of Biblical miracle...she will always be an only child.
Many facets of it I like...just the two of us, the ability to take her on trips that would be out of reach with another, her education at The Cult, which, again, would be out of reach financially with another child. Our house is silent in the mornings, so much so that my best friend calls it The Tomb. But. I have one annoying trait-actually, that is a total lie, I have many annoying traits, but I can almost always look on the bright side of any situation, even to the point where Pollyanna would look like the world's worst pessimist. The best thing about not necessarily every only child, but definitely mine, is Flipper's ability to make friends easily with other children.
This was NOT part of my childhood, as my sister and I made up a very exclusive gang of two, and pretty much ignored or shunned others that wanted to play with us. But Flipper can go to the beach and within a day find other little friends to frolic with, she is blessedly gender-blind, and loves her male friends as much as her female ones (more, even, at times) and where she is shy with adults, she loses all reserve with other kids. I love this about her, even if I hate the circumstances that let her be this friendly, adaptable little girl. We had a great playdate the other evening, a mist, rainy afternoon that led to my creation of the very best macaroni-and-cheese EVER (I will post recipe soon), a rainy graveyard romp with wet kids, and then chalk on the parking lot, and the messy but exhilarating discovery that the chalk, when wet, runs together to make a thick paint. I love it when kids get dirty and muddy and wet and covered in something. It just seems so...kid.
Chalk paint!!

Messy hands!! (Creative kids)


Blocks discovery; finally old enough to enjoy building. Here, the start of a bus station!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Shedding light

How sad AND interesting that the biggest thrill of my life right now is having an electrician install a light in my pantry, which is really a pitch-black closet that hides food so successfully that I have multiples of the very same thing. I had to take out everything, including the shelves, so he could work. I piled all the cans and boxes and jars and bottles on the dining room table. Unfortunately, the damn dogs tore apart a bag of granola, calling to mind the disastrous (for me) episode with the flour last December. But this time was worse...Sophie, the delicate, fragile, purebred NIGHTMARE woke me at 2:15, nosing me to let her outside. I did...and then discovered 6 separate piles of poo in the living room. I spent one hour cleaning it up, and then she woke me every 30-45 minutes after that ALL NIGHT LONG. Then, at 7 a.m., she fell asleep and didn't get up again. I, however, was spared this luxury and am now at work. Not sleepy yet...but I will be.


Pantry. Or, really really dark closet. One shelf emptied...
Contents from said shelf...amazing how much was on that shelf!!
Will post more pictures when the project is complete.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

For once, NOT a control freak...

I cannot believe how heavenly the weather is. Disconcerting, even. Last summer we were DYING--100+ temperatures, and now I actually got COLD last night!! And woke up with Flipper AND Seamus pressed against me, shunting me to the very outside edge of the bed. It has, however, caused the water temp in the pool to plummet, and it has gotten quite chilly after just one or two nights of cooler weather. Not deterrent to Flipper, however. I can imagine almost nothing that would keep her out of the water.
A few weeks ago I went by a thrift store I almost never frequent, and there, outside, a bit shabby, was a dollhouse. A BIG one, made, obviously, from a kit. And made imperfectly. I didn't care in the slightest, and after forking over three whole dollars, we brought it home, where it has become Flipper's new "project." Over the week-end, we finally dragged ourselves to the craft store and bought little bottles of craft paint, and then I left her to it, quelling my desire to take over and make perfect the trim outside the windows, the edges where the floors meet the walls. But I realized that she doesn't see any of the mistakes she has made, the splotches on the walls, the splashes on the floors. And so they will remain. She is in love with this thing, and played with it yesterday with 2 friends that were visiting. She wants to make furniture next. We'll use The Borrowers for inspiration!
A blank slate...
Blue roof, yellow walls, red trim.
Finished!! For now. The fairies have happily moved in.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Faster than...

This has been such a fast summer...and the week-ends go by even faster. When Flipper was young, 18 months or so, and I was freshly single, week-ends would loom in front of us like some sort of miserable mountain; we were both so bored and lonely, she was still too young for "real" playdates, me, with few friends and parents that had not yet retired, and so were busy on week-ends, and, well, they just sucked. Once, in sheer desperation, I took her to a playground...even though it was only 26 degrees and bitterly windy. One other mother was there, and we bonded, shivering, as our kids ran around for half an hour or so. But those days are behind us now. Thank God. Friday night we went to Bynum for what might have been the funnest music evening of all. So far. GREAT weather, kids off running amok, frolicking without any adult supervision/interference...it was great. One of Flipper's school friends came as well, and they all had a good time. So...pictures below. Tomorrow: why watching TV with Flipper might be the most maddening thing I have encountered in some time.



Caroline. These boots were made for, well, SOMETHING, I'm sure. Perhaps being cute?

Caroline's father, a self-portrait, if you will. Recently, I had dinner with two nice men that had just returned from a very very good time on Fire Island. They, too, picked up someone's camera and took a few shots...but not of the head on TOP of their body.


Stage and fantastic gospel group. Loved them.


. Caroline, sans boots, after a highly successful feeding of the hat.
Night.

Friday, August 8, 2008

MY Olympics, by The King

I'm going to write it out loud: I am fully convinced that I could single-handedly run the Olympics BETTER than the current state it is in, a state that is so bloated, cheapened, and sold-out that it is virtually unwatchable. At least to me. Although, truth to be told, the main reason it is unwatchable to me is the lack of a TV. I actually can't remember the last Olympic event I saw in recent history...but I do remember Nadia's 10. I was 8 years old, and we still had a little black and white TV on a rolling stand. When I was 5, and my general impatience and quick-to-anger temper was just beginning to rear it's ugly head, I jerked it towards me in a fit of rage that one of the wheels was caught on the edge of the rug, and TV got its revenge by flattening me to the floor, TV on my chest. My family, with the exception of the Nice Member (our mom) often plays an entertaining little game called "If I Were The King Of The World I Would...". Try it! So fun to try to bend 5 or 6 billion people to your will! My dad would ban hats in restaurants. I must second him on that. 4 days ago were we eating at La Residence in Chapel Hill and some guy at the bar had a visor on.

Anyway, here is what I would do to to transform the Olympics back into a nice little amateur athletic competition:

1) Ban any opening ceremonies besides the parade of athletes. There is no reason why any country/city should spend millions of dollars on some sort of choreographed dance that honors some sort of heritage. Plus, NO SHOW should last 4 hours. Yes, Atlanta and the ugly cars: I am talking about YOU. But I LIKE the parade of athletes, although the only one that I can remember was a long time ago, Winter Olympics, when the US wore sheepskin coats and cowboy hats. Loved it! Here, backing up my proposal, is what is wrong with the Olympics:

The Games, which will open at precisely 8.08pm on Friday, on the date 08.08.08, come as the culmination of seven years in which the Olympics have dominated China's politics, culture and industry, with £20 billion spent on venues and infrastructure in a desperate bid to improve the country's image internationally.

There is something truly disgusting about this. Do you see how much money that is? How much time and energy was spent on improving an image? As opposed to actually DOING something decent that will help MORE than an image? Can we all, just for a minute, imagine how many people that could have helped? Like people in Tibet. Or the ones tossed out of their villages for a monstrous dam to destroy the environment and homes to provide power to factories so we can keep going to Wal-Mart to buy cheap plastic crap.

2) No team sports. No soccer, no basketball, nothing like this. It is silly, and just plain wrong for professional players to play in the Olympics. I would extend this ban ACROSS THE BOARD. Good-bye, tennis. And screw you, Michael Jordan, for refusing to get on the stand because your sponsor (Nike) didn't provide the uniforms. "I don't believe in endorsing my competitors," Jordan said. "My contract with Nike is much more lucrative than my contract with Reebok."
Get some GRATEFUL athlete up there!!

3) A media ban on any story of any kind that has the words "heartwarming" or "tragic" applied to it. Total. Media. Ban.

Remember them? I do. But I don't remember who actually DID win the gold that year.

4) The Games would be held in the same city, in a friendly, neutral country. No more million-dollar pitches, no more unseemly wooing of the IOC, an organization that has gotten entirely too big for it's britches, in my opinion. Canada. Switzerland. Or, just keep the damn thing in Greece, where it all started. Some chilly country that no one hates. Which lets us out of the running for the next 100 years.

5) No mascot. This isn't Jr. High, people!! This is another arena that Atlanta royally fucked up. See?
The copy that accompanied this stated PROUDLY, proudly, mind you, that "this was the first mascot designed by a computer. "

6) All athletes must wear the same thing. This really only applies to ice skaters, and I think that ALL of them MUST wear the SAME little skirt thing. No more hideous sequins. No more "artistic license." Remember how awesome that Russian pair looked that wore plain navy blue? They looked even more awesome with a gold medal around their necks, proving that, indeed, all that glitters is NOT gold.

See? Classy. Simple. PLAIN, if you will. The Amish of the skating world. And I mean that in a good way.

7) And, last but not least, for the love of God, STOP SELLING EVERYTHING! No more endorsements, no more mentions of "how much someone is worth," no more pimping out of athletes.
See? Want to vote me "King of the World" don't you?
As a sidenote, if you really DO want to watch something tragic, genuinely tragic, not made-for-TV-tragic, rent "One Day in September" and try not to cry. It isn't possible.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Dark, not milk

Short today since my N&O column is due, but I had to pass this along. I became a teen-ager/college student this week and joined Facebook. It is terrifyingly addictive. Several people from my past got in touch, and we are "now friends." BUT... how cool is this? One of the guys that contacted me lived in Telluride the same time I did, and then started a chocolate company called...DAGOBA. One of my very favorite brands of chocolate. I like very very dark, very very bitter chocolate. No milk chocolate ever. And this guy makes , or made, one of the brands I adore. How fantastic! And it would be even MORE fantastic if he sent me about a million pounds of it.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Sting

I am going to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak, and try to pick up some material today for Flipper's cute little jumper. I must find a way to handle the buttonholes, which I have no experience sewing at all, but realize that it is a skill that must be conquered. Flipper was stung by a big hideous black wasp yesterday at my mother's house. It was hiding inside a huge bell wind chime that she decided to ring. The wasp apparently disliked it's housebuilding interrupted by a monstrous GGGOOONNNGGG!!!! and sought revenge. Successfully, I might add. Unlike bees, they don't die when they sting, and so live to sting another day. It got her right beside her eye, on her upper cheek. She is remarkably stoical when it comes to real pain, like this, and yet will moan for a Band-Aid for a tiny splinter. I cannot figure this out. This morning it is, apparently, quite swollen, although she says it doesn't hurt. I say "apparently" because I left a good hour before she woke up. Aunt Kathryn spent the night and so I left them both at 7:20 this morning and headed off to work.
I am plowing through books this summer at an amazing clip. I discard any and all books that fail to grab me quickly, and am currently enraptured with memoir/humor, a la Bill Bryson, David Sedaris, Tony Horwitz, etc. I just finished "My Years in Paris" which Julia Child wrote just before she died. It is fascinating, this glimpse of post WWII Paris, the people, the land, the food. I loved it, my dad read it at the beach and liked it as well. Many times celebrities just aren't particularly good writers, but she did a good job. Flipper is plowing, with some adult assistance, the 5th of the 8 Ramona books we own. The whole series, in fact. I liked these books as a kid, and she likes them as well. She is fast leaving picture books behind, although she loves to look at the illustrations in the Ramona books. I like them because the family struggles financially, not dirt-poor like Where the Lilies Bloom but are hurting nonetheless when the dad loses his job, is only able to find work as a grocery store clerk, then returns to school to get a college degree, blah blah blah. So many books seem to have white collar parents with good (stable) jobs and yet there are so many families that are, truly, middle class. And, it seems as though they have all gone to college. It is hot outside, brutal, in fact. But I can vividly remember last summer, where this kind of heat wound on day after day, and so I haven't complained. Much. Yet.

SIDENOTE: The movie of Where the Lilies Bloom was filmed entirely in NC, in Watauga County. When I was in Jr. High, my closest friend's family had a tiny cabin there, and we went there on week-ends. Down the road from their cabin was the cabin that was used for this movie. I remember it vividly. I also remember taking codeine cough syrup on one week-end trip...but that's another story.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Making It.

Certain...things, financial things, if you will, are going to force me to be more money-conscious, something that I am appallingly bad at, even considering how pretty much broke I am. Perhaps that is WHY I am without. At any rate, one of my main weaknesses is clothes. Not for me, but for Flipper. Expensive clothes. Expensive clothes made from organic cotton, clothes that will not be worn by a younger sibling, although I do have some occasional success selling them to the lucky with smaller girls than my own. But, considering the incredibly unhealthy things I used to spend money on, perhaps organic cotton isn't all THAT bad.

I love Mini-Boden. Love it. Do not care (much) that it is frightfully expensive, love it. Flipper has worn many items, and, blessedly, she has short arms and legs; in fact, she is short all over, which means I rationalize spending 28.00 on a long-sleeved t-shirt because she will wear it for 2 years. Or so I tell myself. At any rate, the fall catalog just came out, and I went through it like I always do, marking everything I want...and the total was 299.00. Not doable. Financially, or realistically. So I pruned and weeded, and regretfully crossed THIS off the list: God, I love it. So cute. So happy. So vaguely 70's, and in a good way, not the Studio 54-disco-ish way. Brief digression: While scanning channels at the beach, Kathryn and I stumbled upon a VH1 (I think) documentary entitled "The Drug Years". We watched the depiction of Studio 54, the late 70's, the clip of Eric Clapton with a shirt on that said "No Snow No Show." It was, well, mesmerizing. We would both like to be transported back, for just one night. A late night. Anyway, moving on...I wanted to buy this for her, but the price (44.00) isn't THAT bad, but the truth is, I can make this. And so I am going to try to make corduroy skirts and jumpers for her. I love applique and embroidery, and am convinced that my rudimentary sewing machine skills are up to the task. I can;t make knit things, since they require a serger, but this, this I am going to tackle. But different color and applique. i am thinking loden green with red-capped mushrooms. Funny how those are the mushroom we most often see in kids' books, toys, etc., and yet I think they are poisonous...why I am I writing this down? So I'll do it. I think. Hope. Whatever.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Back.

Flipper emerging from the surf. The ocean was surprisingly-and excitingly-rough for Topsail, which meant closer supervision, but also meant good swimming, boogie boarding, etc.


Aunt Kathryn, and "the little sister I never had."


My beach tent, once scoffed at, now adored by millions. Or, just us. Seriously, this thing is GREAT, no umbrella to be uprooted by stiff wind and risk impaling a hapless sunbather, no holes to dig, just sheltered shade. No lawsuit from the impaled.

They have bread in their hands. We waited for one of the more aggressive birds to rip a finger off, but it never happened. And if it had...I would have captured it and posted it immediately.
Shark tooth not found by Flipper, but coveted.


Walkway from our cottage to the beach. Note sea grass (not sea oats) that keep the dunes in place...why?

For exhausted turtles to wend their way from the ocean to the spot they hatched and lay eggs, eggs that would be uncovered, counted, and reburied. This happened on our dunes the last night we were there. 50 eggs.


Sea turtle tracks.