Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day

This was to be my one Duncan-free day of the holiday season, and my to-do list was enormous. Instead, we are bracing for a storm, and Duncan is having a snow day.  I'm heading out for supplies so I can bake up a storm during the...well...storm.  Duncan and Jamie are headed out to the train station to buy tickets for our trip to the city on Monday (more details to follow).  Much like Tilly, I believe I will be scratching things off my list, not because they are finished but because I'm acknowledging they won't get done.  Baking, wrapping in secret in the office, and frantically paying outrageous shipping to get things here on time are about all I can accomplish with the little monkey underfoot, even with a great Daddy who is planning to take over so I can get some things done. to go.  Broken by Duncan today:  1 red glass ball. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree!

When Duncan was younger, we worried about him falling into the tree or knocking it over.  Now, he's pretty steady on his feet, but he loves to be a part of things.  He loves the feeling of power and control, whatever his 2 1/2 year old self can have agency over.  He enjoyed decorating the tree, and even making some ornaments for it, but a tree stylist he is not.  His favored method is to put all the ornaments on five branches, and even though he knows he is not to touch the ornaments, they move suspiciously when we are not in the room so that they hang in clumps around the bottom.  I love this tree, and I especially love having a little person to make those kinds of priceless ornaments that will be heirlooms in twenty years.  Jason and John should particularly enjoy our new pipe-cleaner ball.  This is the best tree, ever.

Forest for the Trees

Two weekends ago, we went to Battenfeld Farm to cut down a Christmas tree. We've frequented a selection of local establishments, but Battenfeld is, by far, our favorite. We usually look for about an hour and end up picking the first tree we looked at; that wasn't quite the way it worked this year. At second glance, the first glance tree proved to be too crooked of stem even to be able to be straightened by our super duper high tech tree stand. The second was fatter and fuller and, once we got it inside, proved to be equally crooked, although the tree stand did not fail us. You'd never know how crooked this tree is unless you look under its skirt, and you're all too polite for that.

Battenfeld's has turned into a nice bit of agriventure. Families from all over have always tailgated at the farm, and they continue to do so. Lunch is available for purchase. Mr. and Mrs. Claus were on scene to pose for photographs, and two beautiful obsidian-black stallions provided sleigh rides. As we ate our hot dogs, a marching band of bagpipers entertained us. I was shocked to see so many bagpipers in one place; bagpipers are hard to come by, let alone a piping Santa in a kilt.

We fondly remembered other tree trips: the trip we took with Joe when we had to hike ALL OVER the farm for hours for his tree; our trip with Paul and She Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken for the trees that were really spiky and painful to brush up against; the year I was 6 months pregnant, and the tree farm was covered in a foot of snow, and I couldn't find anything I liked, finally collapsing in a tearful, sobbing heap in the snow; the year we bought Duncan's first tree. I feel vaguely selfish cutting down such a large, living plant solely to decorate my house, but the memories are truly priceless.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pee from the Heavens

I realize I haven't said much lately about the favorite subject of this blog:  Duncan.  Duncan is currently very excited about singing.  This is his newest "Twinkle Twinkle," but hopefully soon I'll be able to post some "Over the River and through the Woods" and some Christmas carols.  Enjoy!

All materials used in the production of this post are biodegradable.  Well, not really, but I couldn't let a post go by without addressing the environment.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Salt and Vinegar

Just for fun, I cleaned the bathroom with vinegar and baking soda.  After reading all the evil things about chemicals and what they're doing to the environment and to my family and me, I thought I owed it to myself at least to TRY something different.  I had read a lot about natural cleaning solutions, and, to be honest, if I had a carbon offset for every time my mother told me I could clean everything with vinegar, I wouldn't have to worry about the future of the polar ice caps.

So, to make a short story long, I cleaned the bathroom with vinegar and baking soda.  It was okay; I survived.  When I left at the end, I felt that the bathroom was genuinely clean.  Sure it smelled like Easter eggs, but I'm not sure ammonia smells particularly good either.  The difference is, we've been taught by the media to believe that the smells of bleach and ammonia are clean; we've been taught that vinegar belongs on salad.  I cheated a little bit.  I still used my Clorox toilet wand for the porcelain fixture, for a couple of reasons.  I do have one of those toxic bleach cakes in the tank, and bleach and vinegar apparently produce toxic fumes.  Also, I really don't like to touch the toilet, and Duncan really DOES like to touch the toilet.  I have a hard time not believing bleach is important there.  Vinegar and baking soda were FANTASTIC on the tub, where they made quick work of soap scum.  And (see next paragraph) I sprayed an environmentally friendly spray on the counter when it was all over, just because it smelled nice.

Did I like it?  I still had difficulty believing the bathroom was clean, but I'm convinced my doubt results from 43 years of conditioning by the chemical industry.  Yes, I know that there are nonchemical, environmentally friendly cleaning products available, and I own several of them. Method makes cleaning products that I want to eat or wear on my person because they smell delectable.  Flushable, eucalyptus wipes, grapefruit dish soap...yummy.  I think I'll transition to them slowly so the cost does not seem so prohibitive.  In the meantime, I bought the largest bottle of white vinegar and the largest box of baking soda I could find; the combination cost less than $5.00, and, if I wanted to, I could eat my bathroom.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not

Every relationship has that moment: one person says the L word and waits anxiously to see how the other will respond. Novels and movies are written about it; plays, poems, and reminiscences capture that pregnant pause. The past, present, and future of a relationship hang in the balance of that moment.

For years, she has said it first. And waited patiently while there was no response.

And one day, he responds "I love you Mama."

"You go away now."

Monday, November 10, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green

I enjoyed The Green Book.  I can't think of a good modifier to insert in that sentence that doesn't sound trite - tremendously, a great deal, very much...but they're all true.  It presents reasonable and feasible approaches to changing your lifestyle to make it more environmentally friendly.  It also provides the reader with concrete descriptions of the ways in which small changes can improve the environment. For example:  "Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth.  You'll conserve up to 5 gallons of water per day.  Throughout the entire United States, the daily savings could add up to 1.5 billion gallons - more water than is consumed per day across all of New York City."  I can turn off my tap while I brush my teeth, easily, and I can picture what 5 gallons of water looks like.  The thought of pouring that needlessly down the drain makes me think twice.  And the concrete depiction of the effects that small change can have motivates me to continue doing it. I've never felt so much like an agent of change.  This book made be believe that my small changes are important, and that the path to bigger changes is made of small changes.  It made me feel fantastic for giving up paper napkins without having to wonder about the chemicals I'm using to wash the cloth napkins.  I've spoken highly of this book before so I don't want to bore you, but it's the kind of book I need.

Green Living and Living Green are everything The Green Book is not.  Although they are both informative, comprehensive, and good resources, they do not leave me feeling that I can make a difference.  They leave me running scared.  Perhaps it's my own anxiety speaking (it IS a rough time at work right now so I'm already primed for a freak out), but these books left me feeling like everything I put in or on my body (and in or on the bodies of my family members) will certainly cause cancer.  The message is that I need to buy organic, starting this minute, even though foods grown organically on large farms that also grow nonorganic crops can still be polluted with pesticides, so say the authors.  I must stop storing my foods in phthalate off-gassing containers yesterday.  Plastic wrap is evil.  Shampoo is giving us cancer.  My deodorant is leeching aluminum into my body and destroying my brain.  My child spends 11 hours a night breathing toxic fumes from his mainstream, non-organic mattress.  Doom and gloom...and I can only save myself and my family with a major overhaul.

This, I do not need.  What I need is permission to exist in my world as it is, comfort as I assimilate each change into my lifestyle, and reassurance that each change I make is an investment in my child's future.  You see, I simply cannot afford to start shopping organic, replace all the fiberboard-based furniture in my house, and start using glass bottles to store leftovers.  I may get there, and I'll let you know if I do, but I'm not there yet.

And so what have I done?  I've ordered two more books (raise your hand if you think I need to use the library more).  Also, raise your hand if you want to borrow any of these books so they'll get more use from their already recycled pages.  I will think about buying organic carrots, since I eat them raw every day.  I will think about buying Tom's of Maine toothpaste (though the dentist will not agree).  I will ponder Tom's of Maine deodorant.  I will continue to try to shop locally when I can.  Who needs an organic chicken that flew here from California?  My real resolution, and it's a small one folks, is that I will begin sneaking cloth napkins into our lunches.  How difficult can that be?  We're already carting the reusable lunch bags and reusable sandwich mats back and forth; how much harder can it be to add a cloth napkin instead of a paper one.  That's a good next step?  


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Hoddoween

Duncan had a banner day of trick or treating.  Housatonic Child Care Center took the kids into Salisbury to trick or treat at the local businesses, and Duncan came home with a large bag of treats, including a fireman's hat and activity book.  When he got home, we put him back in the turtle costume and headed to Kildonan ("the beeg school") to do a little more trick or treating. Many thanks to Ken, Bob, Karl, and Dana, who supplied us with even more candy, and also to the mysterious benefactor who provided the treat pumpkin.  (This pumpkin appeared on our doorstep while I was home between school and a meeting on Thursday).  My guess is Lisamarie and Tim, but I don't know for sure.  We hope you all enjoyed a little fall cheer.  As for the great pumpkin, I don't think we'll be seeing him in our pumpkin patch tonight.

Mea Culpa

That wasn't very useful, was it?  The pictures are too small.  Sorry!  I think the directions are pretty clear though.  If I can zoom into the photos, I'll post them again.

Comments on Multisensory Instruction

I've received a few more question about you to post comments on my blog. As a multisensory language instructor, I know that presentation is often enhanced by the use of more than one sense so I've prepared a multisensory lesson on how to comment.

1. At the bottom of the blog post, click on the "comments" button. Unless it's been a particularly interesting post, the comments button will probably read "0 Comments.

2. When the comment window opens, type your comments in the box.

3. Type in the letters in the word verification box; this is to ensure that I don't get loads of spam sent to my blog.

4. If you have a gmail account or a blogger account, click that button and type in your screen name. However, most of you don't so click Name/URL instead.

5. Type in your name. Leave the URL box blank (unless you have one that you'd like to share).

6. Click "Publish Your Comment."

Easy peasy lemon squeasy.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Butterfly Born A Day

I promised this video quite some time ago, but I've only just learned how to edit it. This video portrays Duncan's interaction with the monarch butterfly we "hatched" at home this summer.

Trick or Treat

Perhaps it's because we have a gymnast friend, who I am hoping will open his own gym and then coach Duncan in 5 years or so. Perhaps it's because Duncan is 2 and likes to climb things and act like a monkey. In any case, I've been taking pictures and now video of some of Duncan's gymnastic maneuvers (they call them TRICKS in the trade). Forgive me if you've seen these already, but I wanted to post them all together. Move over Paul Hamm. There's a new gymnast in town.

Monday, October 27, 2008


A few weeks ago when we went to the grocery store, we had to buy small garbage bags; you know, the kind you put in the small wastebaskets around the house? I had forgotten about them, quite frankly, because I was using my grocery store bags in the trash cans. Much to my surprise, we had finally run out of grocery store bags, and I was INORDINATELY excited.

We are not a green household by any means. It's not that I didn't CARE about the environment. I've always CARED, but like many people, I didn't really believe that any changes I made would make a difference in the overall scheme of things. So we recycled cans and bottles because it's the law, and that was about it.

Then came the summer. We decided that we would save money on our groceries by no longer purchasing individually packaged fruit, apple sauce, cottage cheese, and yogurt for Duncan's lunches. Since he was only attending day care one day a week, we were only packing lunch for him one day a week; we thought we could put a little extra work into it and save a little cash. And we survived.

In mid-August, I decided to give up plastic grocery store bags. I don't think Jamie thought we would stick with it, but he discovered that he could pack the groceries better in the cloth bags. And Stop and Shop gives us a 5 cent discount for each bag we use. I stocked both our cars with bags and bought one for my purse...and we haven't looked back. I knew then that if I wanted to make changes, I had to take them one step at a time and wait to add a new one until the previous ones had become a way of life.

Buoyed by our bag success, I decided to use our collection of cloth napkins rather than store them in a drawer. I said to Jamie, "I know you're going to think this is crazy, but..." He said that as long as I washed the laundry, he didn't care. We still use paper napkins for dessert and for lunches we pack for school, but I've only bought napkins once since August. Yeah!

So, lunches...when Duncan went back to daycare full time, we didn't go back to the prepackaged fruits, yogurts, and cottage cheeses. It takes a little longer to pack his lunch, but maybe there will still be trees and oxygen and grass when he's in high school. I can live with that. On opening day at school, I received my sandwich mats in the mail, and we've been using them to pack our sandwiches and vegetables. Not only do they save plastic bags, but they also save the paper towels we used to make the sandwiches on top of so they're doing double duty.

I read somewhere that baby wash is responsible for a huge amount of plastic in landfills so I bought a bar of baby-friendly soap for Duncan, and no one missed the bottle. What's more, the bar is cheaper and has lasted longer. Who knew?

I'm not sure where I'll go next. We're ready for a new step. I'm excited to compost, but it's not really the season to start that. (I do sneak out from time to time and dump the kitchen vegetable scraps on top of the pile of garden detritus that we dumped in the woods. And when we had a pile of squishy apples, we threw them into the woods for the animals). Maybe I'll give up Diet Coke. Maybe I'll stop using disposable pens. In fact, the concept "disposable" is turning me off these days. Maybe I'll start rinsing out ziploc bags like my Mom. Do I think I'll start baking all my own bread or hanging my laundry on a line...not yet. But we're taking little steps, and I firmly believe that they will make a difference.

By the way, when you're done reading Animal, Vegetable, Mineral, read The Green Book. It will change the way you think about how much you can change the world. Then, loan them both to other people so you can pay it forward. (The Green Book has already been recycled once! Keep it moving!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Last week, each member of the administration was asked by our new Headmaster to prepare a written job description to help the members of our Board of Trustees understand better what our administration does. It was agonizing. I'm still not sure my description really does the job justice. I thought I'd post it here because a lot of my friends and family don't really know what I do. This won't answer all the questions, but it will give you a picture of what I get paid for. And yes, the acronym for my job is DOLT, and isn't that funny, ha ha. I've heard it all before. If you work with me, you know there is a lot that is not in here, like answering on the fly "why is the word simultaneous spelled -eous instead of -ious" and "how does that extended doubling rule work," and "is there a reason Tristan can't copy off the board," and "should Dan be writing in cursive in class by now," and the simple matter of talking a faculty member off the ledge once a week...but I digress. Such are the matters that cannot be documented in writing.

Director of Language Training Job Description

The Director of Language Training (DOLT) oversees the Language Training (Orton-Gillingham tutoring) program at the school.

The DOLT is responsible for organizing and helping to conduct the 70 hour Orton-Gillingham training course in which all first-year teachers participate. In addition, the DOLT, in conjunction with three other A.O.G.P.E. Fellows and a Fellow-in-Training, organizes and conducts ongoing training throughout the year. The Language Training Department meets approximately every three weeks, and those meetings primarily serve the purpose of continued training. The DOLT supervises a department of approximately 30 - 40 tutors, with the help of the other Fellows, by conducting tutoring observations, reading weekly tutoring reports, and meeting with tutors to discuss their students’ progress. The Assistant Director of Language Training is gradually taking over the role of supervising all Elementary School tutors and works closely with the DOLT. The DOLT also tutors several periods a day as needed; the current teaching load is three periods. The DOLT works with the Academic Dean (AD) to schedule and assign upper school students and faculty to evening study halls and monitor student performance. The DOLT oversees the Language Training budget and is responsible for procuring educational materials for use in tutoring.

The DOLT reads each new student’s file and works with the Academic Dean (AD) and other administrators to plan tutoring placements and schedule tutoring periods. In addition, the DOLT, with the help of a Testing Coordinator and the AD, plans and implements individual testing, maintains records of student progress, and communicates with parents regarding student progress in tutoring. The DOLT works closely with the Testing Coordinator around registering students for standardized tests and writes Section 504 Accommodation Plans for eleventh and twelfth grade students whose accommodations are not secured under the IDEA through IEP’s. The DOLT serves as a resource to the college coordinator regarding post-secondary schooling options.

As Chair of the Language Training Department, the DOLT meets weekly with the other Department Chairs to discuss student, scheduling, and curricular concerns. In addition, the DOLT serves as an advocate for students by guiding classroom teachers in making appropriate classroom and testing accommodations. The DOLT works closely with the Assistive Technology Coordinator to identify students who are appropriate for that program and keeps abreast of their progress. The DOLT is responsible for editing all Language Training reports during the interim and end-of-term report periods.

The DOLT serves as a member of the administrative team. In that capacity, the DOLT is responsible for helping to make decisions that affect the entire school, such as consulting with the admissions department, developing yearly calendars and schedules, participating in the faculty hiring process, and advising on campus improvements.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bind Off

That's all I have to say, really. For those of you who have been following the progress of Baby Ben's sweater, the hood of the hoodie is about to be a hood. More later, but I know the excitement has been mounting so I wanted to keep you all updated. Just kidding...sort of...I have, in fact, been asked about the progress of the sweater.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Free to Pee, You and Me

Every parent has one of these stories, whether it's his/her own or that of a friend. Tuesday, while Jamie was in our bedroom changing his clothes after school, Duncan stripped himself naked and peed on the couch. If that parent is (un)lucky, he/she has another. This morning, before Duncan even made it to breakfast, he stripped off his diaper and pajamas and peed on his bath. It has been 48 hours straight of laundry. If only we knew the motivation of a 2 1/2 year old...this could be a good thing, right? An awareness that one has to pee and difficulty navigating all the variables to make a trip to the potty happen? Or it could be naughty...but he doesn't seem to find it funny. Any advice? I don't want to risk traumatizing the kid and setting back his toilet training, so we're left with reminders that there are two places to pee (in your diaper or in the toilet) and requiring him to participate a little in the cleaning up so that he realizes there are some consequences. The boy is home from school so I have to run because anything could happen, and we don't yet have one of those stories about poop...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

YA LIT: My Drug of Choice

I read like a madwoman. More specifically, I read young adult literature like a madwoman. I do it because I love it but also because I buy a lot of reading books for school. In the business of converting children to the world of reading, it's important to be able to match the right book to the reader. And you gain a lot of street cred among the grade 7 -12 crowd if you can just get it right once. If you can find a reluctant reader just one book that he kinda sorta maybe doesn't hate, then he'll come back for more. And each time, you can up the ante with a longer book, a more sophisticated book, a more classic book, a book with a GIRL for a protagonist. And then his friend comes to borrow that first book, and you've got it made. But you have to gain their trust, which means you have to predict what they'll read, and to do that, you have to read. I LOVE this part of my job.

I meant to write this post in August, but life got away with me. My friend Michelle, our beloved bookseller, left Oblong Books and Music in August after 7 years of providing local children and adults with all the best in children's and young adult literature. Michelle reads more than I do and never failed to recommend a book I liked (and usually loved). She left Oblong to do something near and dear to my heart...teach Kindergarten. I've been thinking about Michelle a lot as I drive by her house or find a new, fantastic book, or encounter a new, challenged and challenging reader. I've been wondering how her new job is going and if her students know how lucky they are.

I say all this because today I went back to Oblong for the first time A.M. (after Michelle). I was there to pick out books for Kildonan's Parents' Day book sale, and Michelle would be proud. I think I picked out about 3 boxes full of books. It wasn't the same without Michelle, and that nice, innocent part-time woman working in Oblong, Jr. was okay but not great. She tried. I missed Michelle's enthusiasm and expertise, but I reminded myself that she's getting in at the ground level! She's creating readers before they even hit first grade! I also realized that I DO know what kinds of books appeal to young adults. I can trust my own instincts, and I can continue to read voraciously. It's research, after all. When my child is 16, I hope he'll have someone like me to lead him to great books, but I realize he'll be a lot more receptive to someone like me at 16 if he starts his education with someone like Michelle. That's wordy, but it does the job.

Read on. Get hooked. Read more. Pay it forward.

Greening Amenia, One Step at a Time

My friend Karl just finished Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; like me, he also found it inspirational, eye opening, and well written. (No, I don't know Barbara Kingsolver personally, and I am not receiving royalties for this book!) It changed the way he thought about food. He called me and said: "I thought it would be easy. I thought I could just stroll the aisles of the supermarket and choose the things that come from within 200 miles. But there's nothing. Even the granola let me down." (Why is it near impossible to find produce that is grown anywhere but California? We are literally SURROUNDED by farms. I'll tell you why...the farms are producing corn to feed the cows that we eat as beef...and so on. Most of what we grow in this country is corn, and most of it is used for animal feed...)

I told Karl to take heart, go to Daisi Hill farm for squash, and make pear sauce from Diana King's home grown, organic pears. We can walk to Diana's house. You can't get much greener than that. The best thing that came out our shared literary and gustatory experience is that Karl and I are talking about sharing a subscription to the (sort of) local CSA, the Chubby Bunny Farm. Karl also admitted that he's tempted to try making his own cheese. Maybe we can have a cheese making party. I'm excited to have a new partner in my green adventures. Today, I ordered a food mill to facilitate the sauce making (this way I don't have to peel or core), and when it arrives, I'll make a huge batch of pear sauce and more apple sauce. I harvested all the green tomatoes from our garden (nothing ripened, but we decided we should pick them before we get hit with frost) and am ready to make a chutney. It's not easy, but we'll take one green step at a time.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Knit Organic

Remember when this blog used to be about knitting? I think that was one day during the winter (the day I named the blog, obviously) and then perhaps one day during the spring. Recently, I picked up the needles again and made some serious progress on the mysterious baby sweater. No longer a mystery, for I told Marcie it was for Ben in a desperate attempt to encourage me to finish it, the sage green organic cotton sweater is growing, slowly but surely. It is size 12 months; Ben is size 12 months; you understand my desperation. I'm working on the hood, and then naught is left but stitching it together. That, of course, is the part I know nothing about so I welcome any advice (or assistance) anyone can offer. In the mean time, here's a trailer. I hope we'll be able to post a picture of Ben in it soon. Next (if there is a next), I'm excited to knit a sweater for Duncan who has an odd interest in sweaters and an even stranger interest in hand-knit sweaters. Only 4 more inches to go...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


This summer, I read Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and because I love Barbara, I was willing to believe it is possible for a family in America in the 21st century to live off the land. Although I know that I don't have the time or persistence to do it myself, I began to believe that I could least live a little bit closer to the land. I was inspired to start a garden, which has produced little but been a source of much inspiration. We'll get it together next year, and hopefully I'll keep us in tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, and beans. Then I read Plenty and realized that I can still make smarter choices in the grocery store even if I am not ready to commit to slaughtering my own turkeys and growing 11 kinds of tomatoes. Both books hammered home the point that the average food item that we put on a plate in America has traveled at least 1500 miles to get there...and at these gas prices? Astonishing. Let's just say that again for the shock value...1500 miles. The average food item on our dinner plate has traveled 1500 miles. What is wrong with that picture? What is RIGHT with that picture. Many of us (dare I say most?) are eating produce that is picked unripe, loaded onto trucks, and shipped across the country to arrive bland and pricey. In fact, we have nearly bred the life out of American produce to mold it into this system.

I tried to buy more locally grown produce. To be honest, this is the one area in which I have failed in my attempts to live greener. For several weeks, we visited the farmers' market as well as Daisi Hill farm and bought as much locally grown produce as we could, but our life makes it difficult to add yet another errand to our week. Our garden hasn't produced anything worthwhile except herbs and the odd carrot here and there. There's a cute little Halloween pumpkin, already orange, about 5 inches in diameter. We also have a couple of bigger ones but not exactly the SLAUGHTERING of pumpkins I was anticipating. The cucumbers that threatened take over simply stopped growing, and some small animals ate the tiniest baby pumpkins. I DO look at the origins of my food more closely now. I'm happy when the broccoli comes from Maine instead of California. I buy vegetables that are in season because they are more environmentally friendly and taste better. Asparagus is never in season, and I love it, but I can live without it having such a long commute. On the other hand, we LOVED the vegetables we bought from Daisi Hill, and next summer I'll make them a part of our field trips with Duncan. I try to buy as much unprocessed food as I can, choosing baked potatoes over frozen fries, home baked cookies over store bought, and fresh vegetables whenever possible. We picked two pecks of apples so far and have made two batches of apple sauce. I think when we go to the pumpkin patch, I might actually cook one. It's certainly not sustainable living, but we will only continue to improve.

I need to post this now so that Dawn will stop nagging me, but stay tune for the next installment of my attempts at greener living. Food was our least successful area, but I'm pretty pleased so far with the other changes we have made. Read Barbara's book if you haven't already. I can't recommend it more highly.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This is It

Well, this is not's not the piece I've been writing; however, it IS the last home game at The House That Ruth Built. Tonight, we say good-bye, amidst legends, fan fare, abundant camera flash, and Jorge, poignantly snapping pictures of the plaques in Monument Park. Derek Jeter has officially hit more runs in Yankee Stadium than any other Yankee in history. Bernie returned home to say good-bye. Yogi saw his last Yankee game in this park tonight. David Cone looks younger, if that's possible. David Wells looks good. Jorge threw the first pitch to Babe Ruth's daughter. Bob Sheppard, who is too ill to attend the game, pre-corded the introduction for Derek Jeter. Andy Pettite started. Who doesn't love Andy?

Some of you are saying "It's just a ball park." Well, you can feel that way; you're entitled. If you are not a Yankee fan, there is no way that you can appreciate this moment in history, and Yankee history may be more significant than that of any other baseball team. If that doesn't mean anything to you, than I have to tell you this.

I never meant to watch baseball. I never meant to care. Then I met a Yankee fan, from a long line of Yankee fans. I started watching baseball in the spring of 1996, when the Yankees had just begun their return to eminence. It was an exciting season to be a part of baseball as the Yankees won their first World Series in many years. I learned to watch baseball, and like it. I made my first trip to Yankee Stadium in 2000. I forged a relationship that included baseball. I watched the World Series with my then ex-boyfriend and current husband. When your apartment building burned, and we moved in with John and Kathy for a month, we watched the World Series while we got our life back in order. My commitment to the Yankees made it into my wedding vows. Several family members and friends got married in several Octobers, and we frantically checked post-season scores while enjoying the nuptials. In the fall of 2005, we bought a tiny little Yankee outfit for the tiny baby I carried inside me. We sat those pinstripes in front of the TV for luck during that post-season (though it didn't really bring any). I blearily pretended to watch baseball while nursing an infant and reluctantly (sort of) gave up baseball for a time because I was (am) just too tired to pay attention. We took that little boy to Yankee Stadium, where he exclaimed "WOW! Yankees." He watches a game on TV and asks "Derek Jeter, Daddy?" Often, when we leave the house, Duncan says "I need my Yankee hat."

Now, do you understand? Just indulge me. Good-bye Yankee Stadium; thanks for being there.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Promises, Promises

Okay, I'm writing something; really, I am, but you have to wait another day (or several). What's continues to fascinate me is that when I'm NOT writing, I feel like something is missing from my life. It's like being far away from a close friend. We're all back at school now, and it's a little tough. It's not the WORK that's tough. We're both pretty happy at work at the moment. It's not really sending Duncan back to daycare that's tough. He's so happy that he spent the first week back asking us DAILY if he could go to school tomorrow. The schedule is not even really too tough; we get up at the same time, vacation or not. We eat our meals at the same time. We all go to bed at the same times. No, what is wholly unpleasant is the return of the school-related chores...the daily ironing, setting out of clothes, lunch making, and child delivering. Ick. So there's my little back-to-school mini-rant, and I hope it sustains you until I publish something real.

Ahh! But you know what cures the "I hate my chores" blues...a good dose of John and Kate Plus Eight! there a ubiquitous picture of Duncan I can throw in here to keep the people happy?

How about a shout-out to Ben, right back at you, Kiddo.

Friday, September 12, 2008

An Apple a Day

Every year, we go apple picking. Every year, we wait too long. Last year, there were only a few kinds of apples left by the time we got to the orchard. Although we had a great time with John, Kathy, Brian, and Karen, and it was about 90 degrees even though it was near the end of October, we came out with slim pickings. This year, we decided to go early to make sure we got our pick of some of our favorite apples, including galas. We got our galas, but that was about it, for this year, we went to the orchard too early. Only galas and early macs were ready to pick. We enjoyed picking those meager three rows; we were in and out in about half an hour with about 20 pounds of apples. We'll take Duncan again later, in mid-October, when the leaves have changed, the air has chilled, and the pumpkins have oranged. In the meantime, we'll enjoy a lot of apples, and, hopefully, my first homemade apple sauce.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Lorna!

We spent Labor Day weekend in Albany saying good-bye to our eventful summer and wishing a happy birthday to Lorna. Is it possible that my baby sister is 37? Great cake, good fun, hanging out with Nana and Poppy...we're ready for fall.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Cat in the Hat Came Back

Jay came for dinner and a visit before he left for college. He stayed to witness both dinner and the bedtime routine; after two years of listening to me explain why I have no free time, am always tired, and don't ever get to watch TV, he finally understood why I am utterly exhausted by 8:00 pm. Two years of tutoring give back. Bless his heart: he gave us a huge break by reading one of Duncan's bedtime books that night. See the crazed look in Duncan's eyes? For some reason, Jay makes him insane; when Jay and Duncan are in the same room, Duncan thinks anything either of them does is hysterically funny. We hope Jay will come back to visit soon; oral reading is optional.

Southwick Zoo

Giant Bugs