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Archive for June, 2005

(note: since he’s now nearly up to my shoulder, i don’t suppose he’s really Little Small anymore, and i call him Little Man all the time.)

this came from the last hot spell we had a few weeks back. we were driving home, and i remarked that it was Africa hot. having blown the AC in my car last year and not replaced it yet (i got a little sidetracked), it’s especially noticeable in the car.

and from the back seat comes… ‘but this is America. why would you call it Africa hot?’

me: ‘well, because there are a lot of deserts there, and it gets … really hot.’
he: ‘yeah, but there are deserts in lots of places.’
me: ‘hm. you’re right. Australia has a big desert. i wonder why nobody says Australia hot.’
he: ‘it’s just hot.’

telling Chica about this later that night, we decided it has to do with the cadence of the phrase Africa hot. she started throwing out options that sounded good, and made about as much sense, and came up with Malta Hot. personally, i think that sounds like a chocolate drink or a really weird cocktail. 😉 but it does sound good. Malta hot.

and if there were any question about exactly what qualifies as Malta hot: i just ran an errand, and my keys, which were inside the air conditioned house, instantly became poker hot when i put them in the ignition. methinks that’s just a touch too hot.

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from my point of view, it’s not overdrive, it’s just that i’m always thinking about something. not even anything meaningful or profound, just thinking. it’s a pain in the butt when i want to go to sleep and can’t find the off switch for the mental processes, but other than that, it’s the way i’ve always looked at life.

but from his point of view, i can see how it seems like constant churn. conversations with me, when i’m talking to those closest to me, are often rather stream of consciousness, if consciousness were a bag of ping pong balls in a wind tunnel. and if we’re close, i (unfairly) assume that you’ll make the leaps right along with me.

the examination of life around me also leads to some strange moments, internally. i was sitting at lunch yesterday, reading the burrito wrapper, and it dawned on me that i’m not sure i understand cheese style. as in, ‘rice, bean and cheese style burrito’. the way the label is laid out, cheese style is on its own line, as if it were a complete idea. and i thought, what is cheese style? is it like cheese food? (don’t even get me started on ‘cheese food product’ and its nondairy existence.)

and then there’s air conditioning. i ended up driving behind a truck for C. A. Smith Air Supply, or something like that, the other day. the subtitle, as it were, was ‘heating and conditioning’. and it struck me how strange the phrase air conditioning is. if you want warm air? you heat it. if you want cold air? you condition it. eh? what is up with that? i was especially not liking the condition of the air that day (it was one of the really hot ones last week), which perhaps is why that caught my attention.

yeah. so, perhaps i should give more attention to meditation, and moments of nonthinking. 😉

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it’s gone in waves, days or hours here and there, and the occasional solid week. and it’s about everything under the sun, no particular pattern. (the entire month of rain was especially helpful. 8p)

for example, hitchiking. not that i ever did any, other than catching a ride home from school with someone i recognized (we lived in a really small town, where everyone knew you, or someone you knew – think Two Degrees of Separation). but we were talking about it at dinner the other night, Chef and hubby and me. and i thought again about picking up old ladies on the side of the road.

it’s not as bad as it sounds, honest. sometimes, i’ll be driving along, and an older woman, 70 or 80ish, will be standing at a bus stop, or sitting on a bench, looking rather bedraggled by the day, with a few bags of groceries. and i’ll want to stop and offer her a ride, because it looks like the bags weigh more than she does. but i never do. because while i am white, and female, and fairly nonthreatening, i’m still a stranger. and i never know if i’ll be seen as helpful or threatening. so i keep driving, and wondering. how is it that strangers can hold the door for you, or offer to carry your bag to the car for you, and it’s fine, but if we’re in a car, the stakes ramp up? how is it that, in my small town 20 years ago, getting a ride from a near stranger wasn’t bad, but now i think twice or three times about stopping to help an older woman?

and that train of thought led me to thinking about driving, and learning in general. (apropos of nothing, how is it that raspberry slush is blue?) i’ve been doing a lot of driving lately, and really liking it. i’ve always liked driving my car, or at least that’s the way it feels now. there was a time when it scared the crap out of me. but generally, i like driving. i like driving more than being the passenger, and i especially like driving on long, curving roads on sunny days, where i can roll down the windows and turn up the radio and sing at the top of my lungs, passengers or not. if you had asked me 10 years ago if this were possibly, i would likely have laughed. some of you may remember the stories: at 30, i bought a car i could not drive, because i’d never learned how to manage a manual transmission. and i learned to drive a stick in the city – Boston, no less, which is not especially forgiving of your driving shortcomings.

(segue: how is it that bumper sticker fell out of favor? i often feel like i’m the only one who uses them. the up side to that is this: i love seeing the driver behind me squinting, reading, and laughing.)

the ability of the human mind to stretch, and grow, and continue to learn is amazing. and the ways in which we learn at different ages is fascinating to me. watching Little Small be a human sponge and see what makes sense to him (or doesn’t – those are sometimes much funnier) is an education in itself. and i think, man, being at a point where everything is an opportunity to learn – how overwhelming must the world seem some days? and then i think about the information overload that we have as adults, and the conscious choice to *not* learn some things in order to leave room, or energy, or attention, for other things – i have willfully ignored the home theatre system in our living room.

the human machine, in general, is a pretty amazing thing. i was watching a show on Discover Health called I Am My Own Twin. as much as we think we know about the human body, there’s so very much more we don’t know. to wit:

In this riveting documentary, cameras follow the stories of individuals who were born with an extraordinarily rare condition. Sometimes in early pregnancy, two embryos fuse together creating one fetus in the womb resulting in a baby with two distinct sets of DNA. These babies are called Chimeras, after the Greek mythological being who is a hybrid of three different life forms.

absolutely wild. two of the women weren’t diagnosed until they needed some medical work done; there was no visible sign that, on a cellular level, they were ‘twins’. for one of them, depending on which hair you plucked from her head, you’d get one of two sets of DNA. even wilder was the mixed race person whose torso was, quite literally, a checkerboard. sometimes, Nature trumps fiction.

speaking of Nature, it’s something for which i’ve been very grateful lately – the profusion of trees greening up, and blossoms emerging everywhere. one day a few weeks back, a splatter of red tulips along the side of Storrow Drive made me ridiculously happy – seeing all that color in an unexpected and otherwise barren stretch of dirt. there’s also a kind of tree around here whose rich, pink blossoms are spread up and down the branches as if they’d been spread there with a roller. i don’t even know what kind of trees they are, a sign of how disconnected i am, i guess. i can’t even remember the last time i walked around the neighborhood, or went walking for no reason, or plopped down under a tree to observe, or listen, or read, or nap.

there’s a whole lot more about changes, and my outlook on life (as in, the lense thru which i look), that i’ve been pondering, perhaps for another post. Little Small has been an education and an experience, all rolled into a challenge, topped with some enlightenment. and thinking about owning a place? talk about looking at the walls in which you live under a different light. i’ve never owned a place, only rented. and man, oh man…

but sometimes, it’s something as simple as sharing my chocolate bar. i had several Mounds bars the other night, altho hubby only saw the one in my hand. he asked if i’d share, and he ended up with his very own candy bar. when i said i’d always share with him, he noted that ‘there was a time when you wouldn’t share your chocolate’. and i suppose it’s true, but the change has been so gradual i hadn’t noticed it. i trust that he’ll be there for me, so i’m there for him. and it’s not even a conscious choice to *share*. it’s just… what’s mine is his. and vice versa.

which makes the whole home owning thing easier, and fun, and a great prospect.

more than that? i’m thrilled to be married to my hubby. i talked to my mom the other day, and she and my dad celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary today. love and hugs, guys. we should be so lucky, to have that much time and love. 🙂

and i’m about ready to collapse, having played soccer on the porch with LS, and chased the ball over the rail and down the hill several times at a sprint, then carried him (and the ball) back up the hill …because he was tired. i swear, it rocks to be a kid. 😉 truly, i wish i could explain to him how great it is to be him right now, rather than waiting 25 years for the feedback. ‘yeah, i’d like a piggyback ride, too!’ efh. 🙂

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and then there are other days where you’re a complete numnut, and you’re left feeling even *smarter*. right? we all have those days. well, lemee tell you, last week, i was a freakin’ genius. 8p

first off, my car has no AC. i blew it out last summer on a trip to Maine, an event that caused much consternation and volumes of white smoke pouring out from under the hood while we were paused at the toll booth. but it was really a no harm, no foul sort of thing – cut out the squeaky (nonfunctioning) belt, problem solved. since then, it’s been 4×50 – roll down all four windows, drive really fast. 😉 and truth be told, i’d sort of forgotten it needed to be fixed until lately.

then there was the month of deluge. (did you contemplate building an ark, too? and the water table in our town is about 6″ down, so it was *very* exciting.) and then the sun came out. okay, May doesn’t really have anything to do with the story, except insofar as i thought that was all the rain we’d get for quite some time. i mean, there couldn’t be any more up there, right?

some of you can already see the punch line. we live in a lovely, quiet, safe neighborhood, so i thought nothing of leaving the windows on my car cracked open to avoid a stuffy car in the morning.

and then it rained. more. lots. thunder and lightening, and it was lovely to watch, and i completely forgot the car was open.

i got to drive Little Small to school whilst sitting on a trash bag that i pulled out of the back seat (don’t ask, i don’t know either), and then to my interview, in full monkey regalia, whilst sitting on a towel, and praying when i got there that there wasn’t towel lint on my jacket.

i’m telling you, freakin’ genius. 😉

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laundry is done, Little Small has his outfit for tomorrow (because he wears mom clothes back to her house), The Dane has what he needs for work, all the boys (LS, The Dane and strat) have all been fed, watered and seen off to bed, everyone had reasonable dinners, several games of Othello were played, football was tossed around, i cleaned the trunk of my car in preparation for tomorrow, Boy1 and Boy2 were chaufferred from place to place (one can’t drive, the other prefers to save on parking… i leave it as an exercise to the reader to discern which boy went nowhere today 😉 ), much fun was had at the local watering hole (which no longer means my favorite bar, but instead the pond at the local state park), including a visit to the ice cream truck which trundled around at an opportune time just after lunch, as well as a good stretch of time where i got to be the Human Launching Pad™ for his cannonball efforts, lunches were made and packed (tip o’ the hat to a friend who demonstrated that cooked hot dogs travel just fine, thankyouverymuch), i caught up with sis who is off to Japan (kudos to her for snagging a grant to get her there and back, because she rocks), spent some time talking with Chica, arranged for various and sundry boat activities for tomorrow (and again, i’ll be the chauffer, which is all fine), Othello happened over breakfast (and i can’t tell you how thrilled i am that LS is interested in strategy/board games at this point, and *good* at them, too), i designed and printed a certificate of excellence for LS last night before bed, because he had his debut performance at the school’s talent show (two magic tricks, to much applause), bills and paperwork have been addressed, arangements for parties and trips and events have been made, i’ve been to job fairs and interviews this week…. oh, there’s so much i’ve forgetting. as Calvin would observe, the days are just packed.

and my doctor made an interesting observation recently, which bears much pondering: there’s the child’s age, and the parent’s age. not the chronological age of the person, but the age of their stint as a parent. by that reckoning, i’m the parent of a one-year old. and it’s an interesting way to look at where i am these days. more on all of that later, as well as a gargantuan post on various other ponderings that’s been brewing for a while. but the nut of that is: there’s a lot going on developmentally, both for LS and for me. yes, hubby is part of it, for sure, and going thru his own evolution as a divorced dad who has remarried. but in some ways, as a parent, he’s miles ahead because he’s been there from the start.

all of this is to say, i suppose, that it’s no wonder i’m wiped out at the end of the day. 🙂 no plea for sympathy there, because it’s all stuff that i’ve either willingly taken on, or see as a gift. just the observation that life can be a full time job, and i don’t think we often give ourselves enough credit for that. so, pat yourself on the back, and let me know how your weekend went. 🙂

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on an unrelated note: does anyone know someone who’s going to the ALA conference in Chicago at the end of this month? i need to turn in a form there, and it has to be done by a human, altho not necessarily me. any contacts would be appreciated. 🙂

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Exhibit:: Louvre
Evolution:: Darwin
Loser:: Competitor
Hypnotic:: Swirly
Unlikely:: Odds
Interrupt:: Switch
Ambivalent:: On the fence
Rise and fall:: Tides
Indian:: Raja
Prophecy:: Doom

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