Friday, July 23, 2010

I Make You Happy!

Elliot and I have been talking about happy and sad lately. I've tried to explain that when he takes toys away from the dog, it makes him sad, but when he throws a ball for the dog, it makes him happy. When he's grumpy and tells me "no!" it makes me sad, but when he hugs me and says, "please" it makes me happy. Typical parent stuff, yeah.

So the other day I had left him to color in his new coloring book while I did some stuff around the house. He was at his train table, home to many toys and blocks, among them his favorite set of alphabet blocks, which are embossed colored letters on a light wood background.

Or at least they were.

After leaving him alone for about 20 minutes, I returned to the table to find him very hard at work:

The blocks no longer have light backgrounds. They now all have orange backgrounds, some messier than others. As I looked down at his very precise and thorough job of altering his toys, I couldn't help but laugh a little, despite having clearly communicated the rule: we only draw on paper, nothing else. This was not paper. . . But before I could put on my stern mommy face, he looked up can caught me smiling.

His face lit up, and grinning, he said, "I make you happy!"

He threw his arms open for a hug, and what could I do? "Yes," I said, "you make me very happy."

After making him help clean up the marker that had strayed on the tabletop and his non-alphabet blocks, I reminded him again of the rule: we only draw on paper and letter blocks. Nothing else.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

No Escape from Reality

Recently I've been watching an old BBC series on Netflix. I got into it because it was sweet and quaint and charming, and tho I didn't like all the characters, I did enjoy the stories.

Part of the ongoing story carried from one episode to the next was the love interest between the two primary characters. Because I don't want to turn anybody onto or off the series, I'm not going to give details, but let's say it was one of those romances that seemed impossible due to the other commitments in the characters' lives.

So three seasons in (I've been watching every few nights when Elliot goes to bed early), they finally get their priorities straight and decide Love Conquers All. He finally, poetically, passionately declares that he loves her.

She is then unceremoniously and unexpectedly killed.


(this is not what i signed up for)


After scanning episodes on IMDB, it seems the show gets into a habit of killing people off, so I will not be watching it anymore. In the meantime, I'm trying to rewrite the last episode in my head, and reminding myself that these are not people, they are characters. Their fate was determined by the whim of the writers, and could as easily have been different.

In my mind now, I've written off the last scenes as a bad dream, one which the lead awakes from and is finally ready to face life head on, trust his feelings, etc. and they walk hand in hand off into the sunset.

Because really, it pisses me off when people mix their tragedy drama in with my escapism. Not, mind you, as bad as all that, but bad enough.

Maybe I need to stick to positive thinking in the real world, since the media seems determined to disappoint me.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Toy Story 3

We went out for a movie today, Elliot's first big screen since he's been old enough to appreciate movies. We intended to see the 3D version, but missed the start time and ended up a little flat...
but as with the first two movies, TS3 was enjoyable even without the added effects.

The show starts with our toy heroes in trouble, and there's a moment when all seems lost. What will become of our hero?? On the screen, everything goes quiet... and into the quiet, a little voice said, breathlessly, "Ooooh no!" Elliot was enthralled.

He enjoyed the movie, but was a little scared at some of the more dramatic moments, and after the big climax (but before the denouement) he said "Ok. Let's go home." As all the loose strings were being wrapped up, and everybody was sniffling into their hankies, Elliot tried his best to make a getaway. I convinced him to sit with me a few more minutes...

Sadly, once it was actually over he didn't want to leave and had to be carried out sobbing. He promptly fell asleep in the car, and is napping still. Overall, we had a great time, and I'd recommend the movie to anybody, but do be prepared for a little nail biting and lap sitting, and a few whispered reassurances that "it's ok. it's just a monkey."

Hardware vs. Software

I got lost tonight. I do that a lot.

Sometimes i get mad at myself, sometimes at people I'm supposed to be meeting somewhere or another. It isn't that I haven't been there before, or that nobody told me where it was. It's that I don't find my way well. Something in my brain doesn't click like other people's. I can come to an intersection I go through several times a week, and once in a while I turn the wrong way.

I've tried to improve, but haven't found a way to make it better, other than a GPS. Sadly, my skills at keeping a charge on the GPS are similar to my directional skills - i.e. bad.

Fortunately, I also got found. After some confusion and a little frustration, I found myself at karaoke, forced into Love Shack before I'd even set down my purse. The nice thing is once you've made a fool of yourself with the B52s, you can take on anything.

Well, except maybe the GoGos. I didn't rock Vacation despite heavy coaching from friends. I do try to shy away from the country tunes due to the social stigma... but I got a bit of good advice "Sing what you can sing." So I did, and had a great time.

My karaoke regulars are about to get married and leave town, so I'm a little down, but perhaps I'll find the inner strength to go without them. After all, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and I did survive Love Shack, right?

Actually, I hate that saying, but admit that sometimes it's true.

So here's to strength, and embracing a challenge, now off to bed before my morning of sleeping in (Mom's got Ellioe tonight) gets completely wasted by my online addiction.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Put it out to the universe...

I didn't want to cook tonight. Karl used to cook for me almost every night. Rarely did I have to so much as lift a finger, and there was food - usually very tasty food - set before me. The past two years I've gotten better at fending for myself in the kitchen, but it will never be a passion, and I was thinking about the unfairness of it all. And of course then there would be cleaning up to do.

In my self pitying state, I asked the cat to make us dinner, and he only stared blankly back. The dog seemed no more motivated. Since Elliot's not allowed to touch the stove, I didn't ask him, because I imagine I would have gotten an enthusiastic response, then have had to squash his excitement...

Checking my phone messages while noshing on crackers and salsa, I realized that long distance repeat caller I'd been ignoring was actually a friend of my parents. I called them to pass along the message, and got an invite to go out to dinner.

No cooking, no cleaning up.

I do love it when the universe is listening.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

reaching out

i'm feeling my way in the dark
my fingertips tracing your form
on the rough walls
on the cold bars
on the moist pillow
beside my head

i'm feeling my way through the dark
breathing slow

the smothering embrace
of memory
of loss
of despair

a moment
not to rise
not to fight
not to dream

i'm feeling my way
but it's dark
and my fingertips
hide from light

Friday, July 2, 2010

Glosta, Salem, and Stonhenge - Vacation Part 2

So. Saturday morning, after a mostly sleepless night, we were up and at 'em, and off to the reception. I didn't take pictures because we were too busy having a nice time swimming, chasing a ball down a rocky slope, and generally eating too much. I will try to post the video of the happy couple going down the water slides together when I get a free minute.

Elliot still wasn't feeling too swell, so all too soon we headed back to the motel for some down time. We took a little walk around the grounds, where he convinced grandma that he had the power to turn the rain on and off with pure strength of will. I'm not sure he's not right...

Sunday we hung out with Jeff and Kelly in the AM, exploring Gloucester's shopping district and being sold the idea of moving to the NE coast. I'm sure Jeff was entirely honest in telling us it's actually quite balmy in the winter and hardly ever snows. Something about being by the ocean, and warm currents. I remain somewhat skeptical...

My brother took the train up and met us around lunch time, and we had a lovely Italian feast, then headed down to the harbor for the annual Greasy Pole competition. That's a telephone pole stuck on a big tower out in the water, liberally greased with environmentally friendly slippery stuff. Men in homemade costumes try to reach a flag at the end. It took 3 rounds for somebody to make it, and he was half way off the post when he managed to hook it with his elbow. Good times.

The locals take Fiesta quite seriously. I think only the cat in the hat has finer headwear. Most of the observers actually weren't so dressed up, but they clearly were enjoying themselves tremendously.

After the greasy pole ended we took Josh back to the train station, and after wandering around completely lost for a while; i mean, after taking a scenic tour of the island, we headed back to the motel. Elliot seemed in much better spirits, so I decided to head in to Somerville to visit some college friends. Mom said Elliot was doing great, so I didn't wander back till late morning, after a very tasty breakfast at the local grape-arbor covered courtyard restaurant.

I picked up Mom and E, and headed for Salem, MA to see Witch Town, USA. Mom and I both had some misgivings about the emotional toll of rehashing murders, but it did look interesting and neither of us had ever been. It turned out we had a great lunch at a little Indian place, then toured the town, which was charming and historic. While the witches were mentioned, we didn't have to suffer through any gruesome retellings of the trials, or tours of dungeons, or haunted anything.

It was hot and muggy, so after the tour we went back to my brother and sister in law's place. We hung out with their family (birds and bunny :) for a bit, then back to the motel for some much needed rest.

Tuesday we had a late flight scheduled, so we headed to the Gloucester beach for a while. Elliot enjoyed throwing the rocks more than walking on them.

I enjoyed seeing how many different kinds of rocks in how many colors and patterns I could find.

After a little over an hour playing at the beach Elliot was worn out again, so we hit the road and started north back to Manchester airport. As we crossed the NH border we stopped at the info station and found a brochure for a place calling itself "America's Stonehenge." It sounded a little hokey, but also historic. And it had alpacas. Seemed like the perfect way to burn our last two hours in the NE.

Mom had a little flashlight along, and Elliot explored all the shadowy places. The weather was not too hot, and the woods were lovely. We had a nice time.

I'm still not sure why the alpaca were there, but this one was so ugly he was cute, or so cute he was disconcerting. I'm not sure what it was about him, but I was completely charmed.

Two flights and 8 hours later we were home. I can't say I'm a fan of the midnight arrival in the airport, but at least it wasn't crowded. Sad to report the cleaning fairies did not visit while I was gone, so the house remains a disaster, but I'm working on reclaiming it. And catching up on some sleep.

Next adventure? Fireworks.