Jul 27, 2005

Could it Possibly Be Any Hotter and Stickier?

And to top it off, our new air conditioning system broke this morning. So my legs are sticking to the chair and I'm sweating. Not merely glowing.

Will has a new friend, Noel. It's really his first friendship, and he's infatuated. He and Noel run around all morning together in preschool camp. We've heard several times how Will and Noel spotted a cat in a tree the other day. Will brought a half-deflated Trader Joe's balloon to camp to show Noel, asked me if Noel could come to Maine with us, asked if Noel could come over to see our cat, and said he'll miss Noel when camp is over. Conversation in the car on the way to camp:

Jack (skeptically): He sure talks about Noel a lot now. How did he make friends with Noel?

Me: Well, since he's sitting right next to you and not doing much, why don't you ask him?

Jack: Will, how did you make friends with Noel?

Will: Well . . . I went to camp. Noel and William (Noel's brother) were there. And now we're friends.

So there ya go.

Tomorrow I'll be busy packing, and we leave Friday morning. Wouldn't you know the heat wave will break just as we go Down East. Murphy's Law, and all that, whoever Murphy was. Have a happy week, dear readers.

Jul 22, 2005

Wild Blueberry Bushes in the Sun

Wild blueberry bushes in the sun have a certain spicy scent that I love, less cloying than lavender and utterly envigorating. You always know you can reach the mountaintop when you come across that scent. On our Maine vacations, when we weren't hiking we were clambering over the rocks on the beach, for miles. Who needs sand, anyway? We felt like we could go on forever, that we would never tire of the perching, jumping, and climbing up again. And again and again.

And when it rained? The old cabins we rented were full of the owner's discarded treasures and books. The very best was a cylinder Victrola. We listened to songs from the 1930s on it, especially "Catch that Tiger" and a song with the words, "Yabba dabba doo, the monkeys in the zoo." As a child I always read anything I could get my hands on, and the musty books were always entertainment enough for me, whether they were the original Pollyanna books, obsolete Girl Scout handbooks, or P. G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster series, all of which I remember reading.

The town of Ellsworth, on Mt. Desert Island, had a blueberry pancake breakfast one Saturday, in which cheerful volunteers scooped cupfuls of batter out of garbage cans to splat on the griddle. Pancakes eaten outside are always delicious, but with Maine blueberries, they are just too good. Look away, vegetarians, but every vacation we had to boil the obligatory lobster. I don't remember the lobster crawling around on the kitchen floor a la Annie Hall, but it was all quite a delightful ordeal of delayed gratification. Crack the various parts. Carefully, tediously, extract the tender flesh. Dip that little piece in butter. Now you can eat it. Do it all over again for the next little piece.

Even the leaky rowboats and bee stings have a gauze of nostalgia over them, I suppose because my mother and my brother David are gone. Did I tell you that we forgot our bickering on these vacations? And that we all helped with the dishes and the sweeping?

Jul 21, 2005

Eight Days until Maine

Joe Miller, here's the recipe for the Apricot-Almond Cobbler. And we've gotten two more pounds of apricots this week. I'll make some other apricot dessert this Saturday for when my brother and father come over.

A big thanks to Scrivener for recommending my blog here (see #4). I think I may have a couple more readers now. Blogging away in obscurity is fine with me, but welcome aboard, everyone. He nows says he did that so that I would post more often. Jo(e) is right, he is a pest.

Here's a list of things that I was thinking about last night.

A Few Things I Dislike

When Jack puts his lips on the kitchen countertop and blows, creating a loud farting sound

Having to admit that the child yelling "My penis is peeing!" in the swimming pool is mine

Camp that is only 2 1/2 hours long

Taking two kids to two different camp locations for camp that is only 2 1/2 hours long

When my declawed cat scratched a visitor's bare legs, drawing blood. The hind claws still work just dandy.

Knowing that we have to clean out bucketsfull (is that a word?) of ancient cedar shake debris from our attic. (We neglected to cover our stuff up there when we got two old roofs taken off and a new one put on.)

A Few Things I Like

My husband putting away the dishes and loading the dishwasher

Jack and Will kissing and hugging each other

Friends who will drive five hours or more, with two small kids, just to visit us for 24 hours

The anticpated coolness and fresh air of Maine in August

Memories of childhood vacations spent in Maine

Having a DVD player in the van (so much for those simple vacations of yore)

Fantasizing about going here next summer

Jul 16, 2005

Two Pounds of Fresh Apricots and Two Geeks

Two pounds of fresh apricots are waiting patiently in my red Pyrex bowl (like the bowl my mother used to have) to be made into an apricot-almond cobbler today. The apricots just arrived in the CSA on Wednesday, and our friends Scott, Kathy and their children are coming to visit today from Virginia. The convergence of the apricots and our friends makes me giddy, since all are so delicious and rarely experienced by us.

I had a post all written the other day but then I lost it when I tried to save it because we were having DSL problems and I ignored my geek husband's advice. It was about how John (geek husband) wanted to go to the Tyler Arboretum last Sunday. This shocked me, but I soon learned it was so he could try out his new GPS tracker. Hmmpph. Did I say he is a geek? It wasn't as horrible a distraction from nature as I had feared. I think he got it for our trip to Maine in two weeks, although I might find it handy if I ever go to the King of Prussia mall again. I'd like to not have to use the car's alarm function just in order to find where I parked. Even better, though, is my plan to never go to the King of Prussia Mall.

Speaking of geeks, I have to tell you that when I was in college in the late 1970's "geek" meant "not Greek," as in not affiliated with a fraternity or sorority. That was all it meant. And "nerd" was a new word, I guess, which is probably why the Roches spelled it wrong on their album "Nurds," which came out in that era (like James Beard spelled "pasta" "paste" in an early 1970s cookbook, instead of just calling it "macaroni" like like all the other Americans). And yes, I was a geek in that non-Greek sense of the word, along with the Indian students, pimply ROTC members, gay artists posing as straight chemistry majors, and confused malnourished transfers who smoked. Anyway, what are the students at my college called now if they're not in a frat or sorority? PWSHGACs? People Who Should Have Gone to Another College?

Well, it's back to those beautiful apricots.

Not really, that last sentence was an awkward attempt at closure. Sometimes I forget this is a blog. What I'm really going to do is throw the dead lightning bugs out of Jack and Will's bug catcher, which is on the kitchen table next to the cat. Then I'm going to push the cat off the table. Then, yes, I'll clean the table. Give me some credit.

Jul 7, 2005

Meet Our Imaginary Friends

I have an imaginary son named Bill, who always washes his hands quickly before dinner, using just the right amount of soap, and who trots obediently up to his bath when he's asked, never lying down on the stairs or insisting that I carry or drag him. Or so I told Jack when he asked me if I had any imaginary friends. Jack and Will share their imagary friends, Jubie Vicdaria (a boy) and Christopher Zero (a girl). The other night all four of them, Jack, Will, Jubie, and Christopher, all visited yet another friend, Asworth, who lives in Hawaii. They took me with them, which was nice. A significant part of the visit involved Will and Jack lying on top of me on the sofa. There was some confusion as to who got to be Asworth, so each boy played their own Asworth. It all worked out, Asworth being a rather sketchy, amorphous character, a kindly host residing in the shadows. At some point it was revealed that he is Aslan's cousin (from the Narnia stories), but none of us quite knew what to do with that information, so we disbanded the game before returning home, so I guess that means we're still all in Hawaii.

Jack will often tell me about "Jubie's World," where instead of green traffic lights they have purple, and where they speak a special language. In Jubie's world, children are permitted to do lots of things they can't do in our world. Last night John was asked to give Jubie a bath, which he was pleased to do. The IFs don't seem to eat, but Jack and Will's bunnies do, so they sit at the breakfast table propped up against the wall, and we give them tiny bowls of cereal. (The boys both sleep with their bunnies, but I don't know where the IFs sleep.)

Realism does rear its ugly head now and again. Will, as he was finishing his lunch yesterday, remarked, "We're meat. We're built out of meat." As he cheerfully polished off a piece of ham.