Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Holiday? What Holiday?

Somebody said we just came off a 3 day holiday weekend. Where?? My soon-to-be-employed son decided that he wanted to run his first mini marathon. So, for the past 3 weeks he has been getting up at the crack of dawn to train. Which means what? I have to get up at the crack of dawn.

Monday (the so-called holiday), we had to get down to the field in the early am because this year's race was threatening to attract some 6,000 runners all looking for grand prizes of BMWs and cash.

There were folks from all age groups and abilities. They all looked psyched too until a half dozen Ethiopians showed up. Well that was the end of that. The Africans gracefully sprinted to the finish barely breaking a sweat in the 80 plus degree temperature.

My 'not quite fully African' son did great for his first time out, a 22 minute 5k. Not bad! But no Beemer.

He only threw up once!

I tried to steal a quick massage at the therapy booth but they saw my garden clogs and knew right away I wasn't a runner...

All in all it was a fun morning and now my son is talking cross country track!

The pictures you will see below are more sad visuals of my continuing brushes with bad luck. My dryer broke down and I had the wonderful experience of visiting, for the first time on the 'so called holiday', my town's laundromat...

As it was the 'so-called holiday' weekend and I spent most of it drying clothes, I didn't plan any parties or cookouts with the kids. They sulked and complained and otherwise looked mistreated so I decided to drag my already tired behind to the supermarket on the 'so-called' holiday to buy burgers, hot dogs, coal, etc.


I guess everyone was at their beach houses, pool parties, barbecuing, sitting out on the chaise and relaxing holiday. I couldn't help it but I stood in the middle of the store and didn't want to leave.

Back home, I pulled the cover off the grill, the first time this season and prepared to clean the $^$#@ thing so's my hungry boys could have a cookout when this masked bandit shows up...

I raced into the house. I don't know about y'all but raccoons in the daytime gives me the creeps! Did somebody say rabies??

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Life as an Extra

I had the strange experience of being an extra in this film. A mom of one of my son's friends wrote and produced it. I spent the entire day sitting around in a 'holding room' at our local Women's Club - wasn't at all glamorous, more like detention.

The strange event began with my having to bring 3 outfits so that yet another mom of the same son's friends, got to pick what I could wear. I was instructed to bring "luncheon" wear. I usually wear jeans. I had this chiffon summer dress from a last summer's garden party. I realized from the look on her face that I needed to lose 20 pounds.

During the 8 hours of waiting I got to meet and chat with lots of nice people. Like this lady:

No she wasn't dressed like this. This is what Gina does professionally. She has her own personal training enterprise. Check it out: Fitness By Gina

Below is a picture of my friend and yet another mom of another son, who was the person who invited me to do this whole 'extra' thing. She's featured there in a New Jersey magazine. I knew Rosie was an actress and model so I did it for her. She has like 20 kids (in addition to her beautiful daughter featured there with her in the picture) and she and her husband are two very active and way cool people.

The movie comes out June 1. I don't expect you'll recognize me as I am one of over 100 extras who are sitting at a faux author lunch (complete with faux luncheon food). I enjoyed watching the takes and retakes and the, "cut, that'sa cut" yells from the director. That was fun. Will I ever do this again. NO. Unless of course, Rosie asks.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


May there be peace...

LYSISTRATA (Aristophanes - Greek, c. 444-380 B.C.)

Writing at a time of bitter warfare between Athens and Sparta, Aristophanes criticized the warmongers, demagogues, and profiteers rampant on the Athenian scene in such plays as the Acharnaians, Peace and Lysistrata.

In the celebrated comedy Lysistrata, Athenian and Spartan ladies get together and wage a successful sex-strike for the end of the war between the two city-states. In this excerpt, Lysistrata, strike leader, is being interviewed by one of the town fathers:

Magistrate: And how do you propose to disentangle all this and settle everybody?

Lysistrata: Easily.

Magistrate: How?

Lysistrata: Just as when wool is tangled we untangle it, working it through this way and that - so we'll settle the war, sending embassies this way and that.

Magistrate: Threads, skeins, spindles, you little fool: What's this to do with war?

Lysistrata: If you had any sense you could handle politics as we do wool!

Magistrate: Well...?

Lysistrata: Like the raw fleece in the wash tub, first you must cleanse the city of dirt: As we beat out the muck and pick out the burrs, you must pluck out the place-seekers, sack the spongers out of their sinecure offices, rip off their heads - then the common skein of good sense: - blend the good aliens, the allies, the strangers, even the debtors, into one ball; consider the colonies scattered threads, pick up their ends and gather them quick; make one magnificent bobbin and weave a garment of government fit for the people!

Magistrate: It's all very well this carding and winding - women! You haven't any idea of what war means.

Lysistrata (very deliberate and serious): We know just twice as well. We bore the sons, you took the soldiers.

Magistrate: Must you recall such painful memories?

Lysistrata: Yes

- excert from the book, Poems of War Resistance from 2300 B.C. to the Present, published 1969.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Baby's Got a Summer J-o-b!

How can you not love Cherry Blossoms?

My soon to be 16 year old got a job. Gone are the days when $20 dollar bills were handed out like candy, "Mom, I need $20 for the movies." "Mom, I need $20 for the football game," "Mom, I need $20 to go into town." What will I ever do with all of this new money I get to keep??

On Friday I took him to his job interview and sat patiently waiting for him to be done. On the drive over to our town's recreation department, I prepared him for the fine art of job interviewing. I cautioned him, "No monosyllabic responses to any question, ok"? He answered with one of his favorites, "Um."

For years whenever I'd asked him about anything, like

"Andrew, how'd you do on that test?"


"Andrew, how did you do at the game?"


"Andrew, how was the coq au vin?"


They grow so fast!

Scenes around town

It is really hard not to notice all the precious things about spring. It has been unseasonably cool which, ironically, keeps the spring flowers looking fresh and the tulips remain erect and perfect for so much longer.

Progress on The Vest

I'm hoping to get it done before the end of May. The soon to be college student will also be 18 next month. There will be graduation AND birthday presents to finish.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Knitting, lectures and books

Neighborhood dogwoods are in full bloom

At 3pm yesterday I decided to do something totally unscheduled. I drove into New York City to attend a history lecture. It was at Cooper Union, an art and engineering college near New York University. It's really not that far from my home in suburban New Jersey but it could take hours with rush hour traffic. The event was scheduled for 7 pm. I wondered if I could get there on time after rounding up the children and getting them fed. I wrote my knitting and writing buddy, Barbara, in California, for moral support. She urged me to, "go, just go." And I did just that. I dialed for takeout, sent text messages to the boys and by 4pm, I was on the road.

I packed some knitting

My son's 'going off to college' vest

a book on cd (if I get stuck in traffic) and lots of cash (just in case my van gets towed and I have to bail it out at one of those seedy NYC pounds). No, I'm not exaggerating. New York is notorious for extracting the last life blood of any discretionary cash you might have.

Anyway, I digress... The lecture was a celebration of Howard Zinn's cherished book, A People's History of the United States (published in 1980). I read it late in life - in my 20s. It remains one of the books that still resonate in my life and he is one of the few living historians I adore.

I never got to take a class with Prof. Zinn nor was I ever able to attend any of his lectures. I have heard him innumerable times on the radio and, thanks to CSPAN, I've got to see some of his lectures on TV. He isn't getting any younger (he's about 85) so now was the time and perhaps the last time I would be able to do this.

It was a bit of a challenge to even locate my kids after 3pm. I later learned that my soon to be college student had an AP prep class; my soon to be 16 year old was out playing dart wars - don't ask; and my soon to be 8th grader was not going to be held hostage for another 3 hours in anybody's lecture hall after having spent 8 hours in school! It was 4:30 when I left them all, feeling a bit guilty but I had to go. Danny Glover would be reading from the book and Steve Earle would be singing Dylan, how could I miss this?

The drive into the city was a wacky array of New York City madness.

Lots of traffic and suicidal yellow cabbies

Lots of distractions... stuff on billboards (my soon to be 8th grader would have loved this!)

And lines and movie stars for the Tribecca Film festival

I finally arrived at 7pm and miracle of miracles, there was a parking space on 10 St. and 3rd Avenue, opposite a great Japanese ice cream store and only 3 blocks from the lecture!

I had the best time!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

MAY DAY - an update

Yes, yes, yes, I've been gone a looooong time. Thank you to each and everyone of you who have sent out APBs and written me about my absence.

Aside from the regular spring stuff: garden cleanups, recitals, AAU basketball, luncheons, fund raisers and the like, Spring is a time of renewal and reassessment for me. I've been doing a lot of that, trying to get back in touch with things that have meaning. This poem says so much of the conflict that I feel about this season.

Lines Written in Early Spring
William Wordsworth (1798)

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.

Through primrose tufts, in that green bower,
The periwinkle trailed its wreaths;
And ’tis my faith that every flower
Enjoys the air it breathes.

The birds around me hopped and played,
Their thoughts I cannot measure:--
But the least motion which they made
It seemed a thrill of pleasure.

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

So you want to know what I've been up to??

I've been out taking pictures of the beautiful trees and shrubs that are in full bloom.

This photo below is my favorite. It is right outside the post office. I took it this morning after dropping the children off to school (they missed the bus!).

I've not done a lot of knitting. I finished the green boucle sweater jacket I started a year ago. I've got to sew it together now, ugh. I'll definitely need the help of my friend Phyllis and my neighbor Cindy for that!

I'm also working on a vest for my son for when he goes off to college (did I really say that?!) next Fall.

I've been experimenting with paper crafts some. I'm making these mini art cards or ATCs. It is a quick form of expression using scraps of things you might already have.

And, I've been trying my hand at collage. I made this after coming home from a museum trip with a pocket full of crap I collected from the sidewalk while waiting for my car.

Below are pictures from all of the events I was involved with for the past month or so. The first one is from a yarn tasting I helped organize as a fund raiser:

We set out a huge variety of yarn for our guests to play with and then gave an overview of each of them.

We even had a masseuse to massage our new knitters' hands!

One of the guests brought along her mother's needles that were sweetly tucked away in a silk case.

My Garden Group's fundraiser
A 200 guest garden event. There were speakers, demonstrations, vendors, landscape painters and designers and an auction and...

A view of our guests

That's me with all the auction baskets, I'm smiling but I was exhausted!

These were the reason I was so tired. Two hundred boxed lunches. We made the food (tea sandwiches (4 of them in each box) cookies and fruit. The only thing we didn't make from scratch was the bread. I was baking cookies at 5am and raced to the venue to help assemble the boxes at 8:30. The guests arrived at noon.

Africa Day at my son's middle school

Each year I do this for the 7th grade social studies program, an huge art event to present the culture of Africa. As you know, Africa is a continent and not a country so it is a real challenge to represent 53 countries in one day! We have over a hundred artifacts including masks, jewelry, textiles, sculpture and currency

Many children have never seen black people on money!

My town library's annual fund raiser
I'm on the board of my town's library. I love the library. Each year we put on an incredible 650+ guests author event that includes a giant auction. Below is one of my contributions. Yup, I had to knit it. Don't ask me where I found the time.

My son's high school senior year activities
Dinners, dances, decorations, tests, college trips, club trips, fashion shows, expenses, expenses, expenses... Far too many to list. This is a picture from a fashion show he was in.

...And the real reason I haven't posted in like forever??

I ran out of space on the computer. Who knew that iPod files could suck up 80 gigs of hard drive? One of my faithful blogger buddies suggested I buy an external disk drive, duh! Here's a picture of my new hero -

We met a the mall. Inside of 2 minutes (and $100 bucks later), I ordered and paid for my drive and, I shit you not, that sucker was on my doorstep in 2 days!

250 gigs