Tuesday, April 30, 2013

hidden talent

My girl was in a talent show last week, and it was amazingly transformative and special. It was a two hour ordeal show, and each act was slated to be two minutes long. I had lots of me time in that cesspool auditorium full of children and their parents. It was stinky and chaotic and l-l-l-l-loud, yet I couldn't think of any place I'd rather be from 5-7 on a Friday evening, especially because it was 75 and sunny outside.

I've already posted the video of my girl's showstealing number on facebook, the upload was easy to do because I recorded her act on my phone. I do have a great camera that takes great video. I know this because it's the exact same camera that Ellie has, and I've seen her great videos. I've never seen my own videos though, because I can't quite figure out how to operate that particular option on the camera.

I have tried.

In Colonial Williamsburg, I turned the little dial and got myself set up and made a great movie of the fife and drum procession. It was heartwarming, patriotic, and merry through the viewfinder, a regular american treasure. But when I went to watch the movie, I was chagrined to find that it was just a photo. Just an instant in time, nuthin.

So I thought I'd use the time I had available before my girl's big moment to figure out the video portion of my camera. I'm a smart person. I have degrees. I fix things. I'm a figurer outer.

But alas. My trial runs revealed little more than a hundred still photos of my knees.  I was thankful that I had my phone at the ready, and grabbed a great video. Here are my knees.

Earlier today I popped my camera's memory card into the reader on my computer to look for a particular photo, when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but this!

My knees!  They're animated! It's a movie! It's a miracle!

Now this is the photo I was looking for when I opened up the memory card. I was intending to write about how funny it is when one goes to the beach on what appears to be a hot, sunny day but ends up having to shove one's legs into the arms of one's dutch tavern hoodies to keep warm


And apparently, this was the first photo I'd taken since fiddling with the video command on the camera, because look! (but don't listen, unless you're a fan of shrill)

I can't wait to get home and find the fife and drum march. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Monday morning chuckle

I'm sorry, love him or hate him, the guy has got great comedic timing, and an amazing smile ;)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Greening Up

I went outside the other day and the grass turned green before my very eyes.


In the morning it was beige; in the afternoon it was green. That's how it goes around these Southeastern Connecticut parts, in April.

And the grass is not the only thing greening up.

Rosie is also greening up before our eyeballs.

And so is the Hofstra hostra.

Like our new bird bath? Perfect, right?
 Thank you, Mumsie.

I did the only thing one can do at a time like this; I mowed for the first time yesterday. The grass is uneven and patchy and weirdly un-mow-able in sections -- it's like nylon scallions growing in our yard -- but I persevered and got 'er done.

There's that moment, though. That first moment when you bring the mower out of the shithouse shedhouse for the first time since last fall, and fill it with gas, and check the oil, and pump the little pumpy thing, and get set to pull the cord, and hope against hope that it will spring into life -- that we'll *all* spring into life -- after this long, cold, demoralizing, endless winter.

First pull, baby.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

things I learned in traffic school

We want your traffic school experience to be painless, educational, and convenient. Our course uses plain English, gives you lots of examples, and doesn't bog you down with too many details.


It's  important to remember that your horn is not a self-expression tool. You should not use your horn to convey anger or frustration at another driver! Unnecessary horns just frustrate everyone around! 


 Just like the hippest celebrity hangouts ask that you see and be seen, so does the road in extreme weather


 Pablo and John are driving on the freeway, on their way home from the beach. They spent all day at Santa Monica with a group of friends. While everyone else decided to leave earlier, John and Pablo being good defensive drivers decided to wait for traffic to calm down. They know that you are less likely to get into an accident if you avoid rush hour. Once they left the beach, traffic was significantly better, however, there were still quite a few cars on the road. John was driving. He not only followed the three-second-plus rule (it was dark, after all) but he also kept looking around, making sure he wasn't in anyone's blind spot. After driving for fifteen minutes, they noticed that a car was approaching them rapidly. Both John and Pablo knew that tailgating was a problem especially on the freeway. They both assumed that was all it was, a stubborn tailgater refusing to abide by the three-second rule. After looking up at the car again, they noticed he was right behind them and did not seem to be slowing down. Was there something wrong with his brakes? Or was this an example of road rage? Whatever it was, they did not want to find out how far this would go. The other driver was approaching them too quickly. John quickly signaled that he would change lanes, checked his mirrors, looked both ways and switched lanes. This evasive action saved John and Pablo from a dangerous collision.


 As you approach a construction zone ahead, you attempt to merge into the lane next to you in the standard alternating from each lane method, but the driver that is supposed to give you the right-of-way, insists on going ahead. We suggest that you let him go, and don't get angry about it.  Save your energy for more important problems. 


any questions?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Living the dream

I spent the past weekend in Laguna Beach with some girlfriends. It was a LOT of fun.

Here's the view from the balcony.

I mean, can you get a room closer to the ocean? It would be hard.

When not on the deck taking in the view, which we did a LOT of, we spent time in the spa, time in some pretty fine eating establishments, and at the beach and in the pool, hot tub, etc..

We enjoyed the amazing west coast sunsets,

and cheese plates and wine and bubbly.

But amazingly, regardless of all this loveliness, my title does not refer to me and my friends.

Don't get me wrong, we were living the (temporary) dream too. It was amazing. But I could not tear my eyes away from the local boys who came to the beach early in the morning, and stayed there until sunset - surfing, boogie boarding, skim boarding, body surfing. These kids were there all damn day.

They set up right under the balcony of the lowest rooms, the concrete just a few feet above their sun-kissed heads. They had their towels and wet suits and, I don't know, I would hope some snacks? I didn't see any of them smoking the green, but hey, that could very well be a testament to their undercover spot and some discretion. There were a couple of girls hanging out some of the time, but mostly it was boys. There were maybe 8 in total, almost always in the water, making the most of the swell that came in while we were there.

This resort beach, this strip of sand adjacent to the gorgeous Pacific, in this affluent seaside resort city, is their everyday. They are living the dream.They are who kids from all over the rest of the country fantasize about being when they think of living the dream. They won the damn lucky sperm lottery.

But honestly, they were so cute, and young, and athletic and, oh my goodness, I just discovered that I am not the first to get drawn into their paradisaical life! (Thank you Google.) Apparently there were 3 full seasons of an MTV reality show called none other than, Laguna Beach, a few years back. It was show that "follows eight teens living in Laguna Beach nearing the end of high school and beginning the next chapter of their lives."

These boys were younger than that. They probably ranged in age from 9 to 15, but still, it's the same draw - gorgeous youth, living the dream in an extremely moneyed, beautiful beach town.

Obviously, I should move to LA and start directing reality TV shows and start living the dream....

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


One day last fall the sun started setting and I got cold, as I do at dusk. I couldn't warm up and Mistah said, "Here, put this on," and handed me one of his big, oversized wool sweaters that he's amassed over our years on the road, from friends, or from Goodwill, or from the one and only Salivation Army.

I haven't taken it off since.

You know, this one.

I've never owned any wool because I've never needed any wool. When Mistah and I drove around in our Westy for seven years, I'd sit in a sundress with the window open, talking or doing a crossword puzzle or talking, and he'd be in jeans and a sweatshirt with his window shut tight, interrupting me, begging me, "Ellie, please roll up your window; I'm freezing."

But funny things happen when you get older.

Well, funny things happen to me as I get older. As I get older, I get colder.

Until Mistah gave me one of his sweaters.

Really. I have been wearing it all Winter. And all last Fall. 
And oh yeah, all this Spring.

The Wool Sweater was in Mistah's bag in the closet with his other inherited sweaters, and his bag also housed a couple bars of Dial soup that my mom had given him; they were still around because Dad was a Dial devotee. And a BJ's shopping warehouse devotee: there was a lot of Dial soap around.

Mistah kept the bars of Dial right in his bag to keep everything smelling fresh, so when I inherited that sweater I could smell nothing but Dial soap for days and days. (And, frankly, I probably smelled of nothing but Dial soap for days and days.)

Plus I couldn't stop sneezing.

But the thing about wool?

The best thing about wool?

When you're wearing wool, you can be outside in Connecticut, in Spring. And this year? In this mad, climate-changed, universe-wacked, topsy-turvy year? That's the only way one can *be* outside in Connecticut in Spring.

The good news I am going to be on the beach this summer, even if it never warms up: I've got wool.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Well, that sucked.

Last week was a doozy. So much fear and sadness, so much loss. Many were comforted by finding the positive, celebrating the helpers, believing that goodness would prevail in the face of such offensive affronts in Boston and Texas and the Senate. As for me, I did a little wallowing down in the dark rabbit hole. The whole week just made me feel tired and mad and hopeless. I don't like feeling that way. There is so much I can't control in this world, and when optimism seems futile on a grand scale, I know I've got to focus on a smaller vision. I can't just move on from all of this, it's now become part of today. But I can learn, and I can live, and I can hope.

 What else is there?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Spring strawberries

Hey, it's spring!!!

Spring, with all it's daffodils, and spring cleaning, and mild weather, and gardens growing. Here's a creepy talking strawberry video (with a Parnie gap) to celebrate the season....

Happy weekend!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Dafs

The daffodils are abloom in southeastern Connecticut.

And yesterday, in an attempt to find beauty in a discouraging world, I went on a bike ride and brought my camera.

It was hard taking photos. At first, I had the camera in the bag under the seat of my bike, and stopped dead in my tracks to take photos every time I saw any bunch of dafs.

Oooh, pretty.

I tried not to stop on downhills or uphills, because, well, on a bike, that would be dumb . . .

. . . but on this particular uphill I made an exception.

Ooh, forsythia too.

What an entrance, huh?

After a while, I realized I could never get a good bike ride in, and take photos, unless I tooke the proverbial bull by his proveribal horns. And so I did. I took the proverbial by the proverbial and I snapped photos while biking.

Taking photos while biking is not easy. Well, unless you're Mistah, biking to Niantic, it's not easy.

It's fun though . . .

. . . and it's beautiful. But I did stray off the daffodil course . . .

. . . because -- well, I could not quite believe what I was seeinbg -- but that's the United States of America's very own Tall Ship, the Barque Eagle out there, randomly anchored in Waterford or East Lyme or somewhere, right there for me to love . . .

I kept watching her . . .

. . .  and taking photos of her . . .

. . . and wondering what in the dang nab hill she was doing out there.

But in the meantime, well, it's a gorgeous bike loop.

. . . and I started focusing at things besides daffodils and the Barque Eagle, like my bike . . .

. . . and me on my bike.

Look Ma, no hands!

But the daffodils kept bringing me back to reality . . .

. . . oh how espectacular they are.

Ooh oooh oooh a ferry!

Oh, it's the lovely Cape Henlopen.

Sure sign of spring #487: sailing classes have begun.

Me again. C'Mon -- you've got to admit that's a Mistah-esque photo right there.

But yes, mostly, yesterday was about the dafs . . .

. . . the beautiful dafs . . .

Daffodil Heaven.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Queen of awesomeness

Here we go again, looking for a way to find something to write about in the midst of heavy gloom and the sinking realization that there are only so many times we can call it unthinkable. I'm just so sad and stunned and also really fucking pissed.

So there I sat, just stewing. Pissed.

And in walked my ray of sunshine, with the most perfect gift.  

J ust so beautiful
A dores her children
C lara's her favorite child
Q ueen of awesomeness
U nbelievably epicly awesomly awesome
I  ncredebly a great singer
E nthuseasticly, crazely, AWESOME

C andy lover
L oves to sing and act
A dores dogs
R eady to learn
A dores dance

J aunty
I ncredably cool
M oki's brother
B est brother ever!
O penly careing!

W onderfuly hilarious!
I ncrebably weird!
L oveable and kind!
L oving and caring!
I nvincable!
A dores his favoire child Clara!
M arveles and Manly!

Thank you, Clara.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The magic box

I love libraries. Who doesn't, right? They are amazing, even the less-than-nice ones. And by that I mean the OB library. The OB library was recently upgraded, only you can't tell. The building is charming from the outside, a small early-California Spanish-style number, but inside? Well, it's dingy, and small, and full of homeless people using the free Internet access. The children's section is roomy, but again, old and dingy, and well, I really don't love to visit this particular library. Except for the fact that it is still a library, so you can borrow books. And movies. And they have a small book sale area right inside the front door that sometimes has good reads for $1.

But there is one thing about this library that beats all others I've ever been to - the magic box. Yes, I said magic. There is always a box outside the back door, usually more than one box, actually, and they are full of books. Free books. Books for the taking.

And the crazy thing is there are really amazing books in there. Books that we were going to the library to look for anyway. (I kid you not....)

My middle daughter has discovered the Harry Potter series, and although she owns a few of them, mostly we have borrowed them from the library. We went to the OB library in search of book number two, and what was in the magic box, but book number three! Yes, true, we still had to borrow the second book, but whoot whoot, we were covered for the next one. And we get to keep it.

I have picked up some goodies for myself from there too. I doubt I would have ever discovered the book below if not for the magic box. But it was a perfect read for me.

I picked up this number this very morning.

The blurb on the front from the San Francisco Chronicle, right there above the author's name says "Call him the anti-Mayle. Stephen Clarke is acerbic, insulting, un-PC and mostly hilarious." And now, don't get me wrong, I am not anti-Mayle. In fact I like him and his books, especially Chasing Cezanne, but if there is one thing I can really get behind, it's being un-PC about the French.

But the very most amazing thing the magic box has provided us with is this:

It is the second of the Percy Jackson series. My oldest daughter is a, shall we say, reluctant reader. But she bombed a recent history test, and there was extra credit available to those students who read books from the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series and then wrote a summary about them. I told her she would be doing at least two of these summaries, so we went online and put books 1 and  2 on hold at the library. When they were available, we headed to none other than the OB library. We, of course, glanced in the magic box on the way in, and low and behold, The Sea of Monsters, book number two, was in there. Right in the box. For the taking. Now if that isn't serendipitous I don't know what is.

But the very best, magical part of this story? She likes this series. She stayed up reading this book under her covers with a flashlight the other night. And asked me to wake her up early so that she could read it before school on another occasion.

All it took was a little magic.