Jul 31, 2006

I'll Take Things Around Your Middle for $400, Ken

There were all sorts of things that happened over the weekend that I’d like to blog about. Alas the only thing I can remember this Monday morning is the phrase “Is that a tube top or a cumberbund?”

Jul 29, 2006

Beach Review

To escape the heat we ventured out to Pearl Lake. We used to go there a couple of times a summer when I was a kid but in my crabby old age I’ve discovered I don’t care for swimming in water that I can’t see through so usually beaches, swimmin' holes and rivers are out of the question. Recently caught a commercial boasting about the spring fed lake and decided that it sounded cool and crisp and clean.

We drove about forty minutes and upon arriving I recalled learning to float in the water at this beach while mom basked in the sun drinking cokes and Dad taught me a basic frog kick leading up to the momentous accomplishment of swimming. The smells were all the same Coppertone, kid sweat and popsicles and there is still a wonderful little snack bar that boasts hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream and even beer. I didn’t remember the beer part, but the last time I went I’m sure I wanted a Dreamsicle and not a Miller Lite.

I paid $8.00 to get in and Ella was free and we stumbled down the hill to the lake edge and sure enough the water was crisp, cool and clean. I could see right down into it and were it is deep it is a clear and beautiful turquoise. The lake has three sections according to depth, three feet, five feet and deep end and all three sections have a little fountain of crystal clean cold spring water spraying out in the middle. They also have the section were you can rent paddle boats, but I didn’t venture over there. I chose a spot by the three foot depth and spread out our blanket and towels and junk. Ella immediately ran for the water with her little pail and shovel in hand. After a quick dip I had a chance to do a quick estimate, there were perhaps 30 moms sparsely scattered around the edge of the lake sunning, maybe another 30 teenagers hanging around in the deep end and on the dock brooding and being cool and at tops 100 kids in the lake splashing and squealing. There were four lifeguards on tall stands and lots of empty sand.

We stayed all day and we’ll go back again. Next time I will skip the cooler and junk and just bring $15.00 for snacks, sunscreen, a couple of bottles of water two towels and Ella’s ola-ola (aka her swim ring and I don’t know why she calls it an ola-ola). Traveling light is better when you have sand in your shorts and you have to carry all your junk and the kid across the beach back to the van at the end of the day.
Also, please note that string cheese is NOT a convenient beach food for toddlers.

Jul 28, 2006

Cheated on

I started reading That Girl Emily, I even linked to it. It’s a revenge blog by a woman named Emily who’s found her husband Steven is sleeping with her best friend Laura. She is now exacting her “14 Days of WRATH”. The blog even goes back a few months explaining all about the once happy marriage. It's been juicy reading, but I became suspicious on Tuesday when I finally read back through her archives explaining the evidence the private investigator presented to her.

“This is what happened yesterday. I went to see the PI. He told me that Steven has a private credit card I don’t know about. A credit card I’m not supposed to know about. It’s been piling up hotel charges. Hotels in the city. Hotels I’ve never been to. Usually, when Steven goes out on company meals, a credit card for expense accounts is brought along. No one every pays with their own. Steven’s private credit card had numerous restaurants charged on it. Restaurants I’ve always wanted to go to. Restaurants I’ve never been to. The PI called Steven “sloppy.””

I understand it’ fairly easy to pull a credit report on someone possibly revealing an extra unknown credit card, but the only way to find out what is charged to that card it to either work for the credit card company, hack their system or be looking at the actual bill. The later being the most likely for a PI to do, but the supposed husband works as “financial consultant in a big firm”. I used to work for a financial consultant in a big firm and the security there was a HUGE deal. HUGE. So if the husband hides his records at work, the PI is not getting his hands on them without the FBI being involved. Besides Emily’s life seemed a little too well packaged for real life – but one can never know in the world of blogging.

I did a little PI work myself (ok, I googled it) and found the billboard that kicked the whole thing off has been linked to a viral marketing campaign for
Court TV. The New York Post ran the story seven days ago. According to Outside the Beltway the billboard is up in NYC and LA and now slow housewives everywhere are reading the blog. So, I am very sorry dear internets, for unkowingly linking to and helping perpetrate this brilliant guerilla marketing campaign, but it was kinda fun.

Remember when for a brief moment you saw and believed in a half hour documentary on the Sci-Fi channel called “The Blair Witch Project” and then you heard the movie was going to be out and had the wits scared out of you in the theatre opening night? Well, me neither, but it happened to a friend of ours and I always kind wished I had gotten to see it under those circumstances. Well, now I’ve spoiled it for you all too, but please, go ahead and indulge there’s two more days left in Emily’s 14 days of wrath and besides, now you are in on it! I’ll leave the
link over there on the blog roll until the sponsor steps forward.

Sleepy Girl

Jul 27, 2006

Just like a dream I once had

I packed Ella up with plenty of books to read and set off to root through the end of season sales to buy some summer clothes for our trip to Las Vegas. Upon arriving at my favorite department store I found the sale of the summer happening, everything with a yellow dot was 70% off the already marked down prices. Designer summer clothes at garage sale prices, a lovely event but challenging as one must spend time excavating the racks to find the right size. Not a bad way to spend and afternoon as the atmosphere is nice and the salesladies work on commission still so they are very helpfull and tolerant - my kind of place.

Thirty minutes in I made my way towards the dressing room just next to the exasperated old man sitting on the couch with purse in his lap. It didn’t match his shoes so I knew that his wife was in there trying something on. While I maneuvered the stroller and armload of summer tops into a dressing room I heard a crinkly old voice ask him

“What do you think of this color?”

I heard him reply with the enthusiasm of soup

“Oh, just lovely darling, just lovely.”

And then the crinkly voice “Oh heavens, maybe I should get the peach…”

I lost myself in the forty blouses I wanted to try on piling the ones I liked back in the stroller and returning the ones that made me look like I belonged at a NASCAR race back to the hangers. Ella was busy singing and making silly faces at herself in the mirror when I was startled by a knock on my little door.


“Did you find some clothes in there when you went in?” asked the crinkly voice.

“No, sorry just what we brought in.” I replied

“Oh dear,” she said “I think I must’ve forgotten what room I was in.”

“Oh no” I added, sure that she would find them. There couldn’t be more than eight dressing rooms in this section. I heard several more knocks on other little doors and appeals for clothes found in the dressing room to no avail, a pair of yellow shorts and a white top were missing. Then I heard

“No, no, I’m wearing the one’s I’m going to buy but I can’t find the clothes I need to put back on!” The crinkly voice said a little higher pitched this time.

Poor purse holding husband replied “Well, for Chris’ sakes, how do you loose your shorts in a dressing room? What do you want me to do?”

Then crinkly voice “Oh dear, oh dear, I wonder if they’ll be able to ring these up while I’m wearing them. Hang on I’ll go look again.”

By this time I practically had my ear to the door listening (I know awful really, but I couldn’t make her shorts appear and who steals little old lady’s clothes anyway?) when finally I heard a third voice say

“Can I help you with something?”

The crinkly voice explains to the sales lady about how she can’t find her shorts or her top and how she thought she had lost where she was trying on clothes with all the excitement of the sale but her husband was still outside this dressing room and so that couldn’t be but she still doesn’t know were her clothes went. When the saleslady interrupts with

“Oh, those were yours?! Terribly sorry, I thought someone left those behind and stole what they tried on. I took them up to the office.”

Crinkly voice says “Oh, thank God.”

As they sort it all out, I feel total relief for Mrs. crinkly voice and bewilderment at the idea that the sales clerk didn’t wait a few minutes or ask around to see if she’s stealing someone’s short whilst they are asking their husband peach or blue. I make a mental note to never leave my clothes in the dressing room while shopping there in the future.

Jul 26, 2006


Last night I was up until 3am. That was all fine and dandy until Ella woke up at 6am like a freaking rooster standing on the bed crowing “Mom, can you read ‘The Polite Elephant’ PLLLEEeeeeeeeEEEEEeeeeEEEEeeaaaaaaAAAAAASE?” Instead I flipped on the TV and rolled over to get some of that one-eye-open sleep which is for crap anyway I should’ve just gotten up. You get no real value from one eye open sleep, because you know your toddler could at any moment dump that full glass of water from your nightstand right into your bed or happily find her way down to the kitchen make an attempt at frying eggs for the dog. You sleep in 40 second chunks and every time you hear a noise you sit straight up adrenaline pumping briefly, only to settle back under the covers with a sigh while you grasp at chunks of dream desperately trying to drag them back. It’s just a terrible way of trying to fool yourself into thinking you are actually getting more sleep.

When nap time came, instead of lying down with Ella I read the paper instead thinking “It’s fine, I don’t feel tired”, this was almost the same as saying “It’ll be easier to just stay up all night”. It sounds like a brilliant plan until you are actually executing it. By 7:00pm I was exhausted and wishing I had taken that nap. It’s been a long time since I tried to function on three hours of sleep and it does me no good, just none. It makes me snappy and snarky and mean. Yet here I sit at 11:44pm typing away. Good night dear internet, see you on Thursday when I will have a coherent thought to deliver. I promise.

Jul 25, 2006

Picture of Bombadee's Garden

Websites as Graphs displays your website as a graph showing the connections within it.

Bombadee's Garden:

Jul 24, 2006

Sunday Hats

The weather was a beautiful dry mid eighties and we had no plans for a change. I set aside this weekend for us to hang around together as a family with no appointments or promises, no expectations, no schedule. I’ll spare you the exquisite details except this - on Sunday Dan and Ella got up without me and made coffee, bacon, eggs and toast while I slept in ‘till 10:00am. At 10:05 I came downstairs to a super yummy breakfast. Dan did dishes while Ella and I hoped in the tub and then we went out for lunch, took Ella to the park, Dan to the computer store and me to the art supply house before we came home to grill out with the neighbors. After dinner and playing in the backyard the girls made these lovely hats with foamy stickers while we grown folk sipped brandy and cranberry juice on the rocks. That is the type of Sunday that can reaffirm one’s faith.

Jul 22, 2006


Phantom Scribbler posted a link yesterday to Amy's series of posts about resentment. Now I don’t always follow the link, nor do I read so deeply into long posts written by bloggers I don’t usually follow. It’s hard enough keeping up with the blogs I like to read but today was rainy, my house was clean, the kid was playing with her toys by herself and dinner was being put on by the husband so I ventured out of my box.

Amy passionately reviews how her and her husband's lives have changed

“After all, Lance gets to have his same old life except with two extra little morsels to munch on when he comes home from work… He goes to work, just like he always did, and eats lunch in nice restaurants that use cloth napkins, talks and jokes with his colleagues all day,… Just like before the kids, except that now he has the added bonus of Isaac and Vivian. ”

I could not let this next paragraph go.

“Meanwhile, my life is completely, totally, irrevocably changed. I don't do ANYTHING without first considering the kids. And I don't mean in an Uber Mommy oh-let-me-do-that-for-you way; I mean in a two-and-three-year-olds-aren't-even-close-to-being-independent way. I don't ever go anywhere without planning. I can't get my f**king hair cut or go to the doctor without scheduling a time that Isaac is in school, and my mother in law is available to babysit, at a time when traffic won't be an issue, and a day when my doctor or the hair salon is available.”

I relate to it. Shortly after Ella was born I asked my mother how long it would be before I would get actual good nights sleep and she said to me. “When they’re babies you listen for them to cry and you get up to feed them, when they are children you listen for them to whimper and you get up to chase the monsters away, when they are teenagers you listen for them to sneak out of their window, when they are in college you listen for them to come home no matter how late, when they move out you lie awake and worry and hope they are ok… so never.”

When people tell you it will change your life it doesn’t even begin to describe what happens. You can’t even fathom how different you will be until it happens and then you are so gobsmacked with love and responsibility you barely have time to remember who you are. When you finally do find the time, you don’t even want to be who you were and the type of parent you had planned on being isn’t as realistic an idea as you thought it was. Nobody starts out saying I want to be a crappy parent with a crappy marriage.

From what I have gathered the most successful parents are the pliable ones; those who are willing to change the gate mid stride and dance around the tantrums, to laugh in spite of themselves as they find out who they really are. Because until you been pushed to the very physiological limits of normal human function on just 2 hours of sleep while still maintaining your ability to speak in a normal tone to your spouse you have not truly looked your own character in the eye. I suppose the true test of any individual is how one reacts under great pressure, be it screaming baby, winy child, bad traffic, idiot boss, out of control dictators, ignorant politicians. Can you keep your wits about you in the face of aggravation?

I’m not sure the point of this very long rant. (give me a break - it's late) Perhaps it is this - parenting is stressful and it will test your character in ways you can't understand until it is happening to you.

8 Trys

Too far away, let me get closer

Your eyes were closed, try and keep them open next time

Ok, actually you are just squinting now, maybe try and make your eyes big

Well, your eye-lids got bigger, but not really what I was looking for

Don't worry we'll get a good one

Hey, hey where are you going?! Wait...

Come back.

Phew, good thing we have a digital.

Jul 21, 2006

Breakfast at Bombadees IV

Ella: I’m eating a pear

Me: Is it a good pear?

Ella: Yup, it’s like a parachute

Me: A parachute?

Ella: Yes, like a pear – a – shoot Mommy, can you say that?

Me: Pear – a – shoot

Very good Mommy

Breakfast at Bombadee's III
Breakfast at Bombadee's II
Breakfast at Bombadee's

Jul 20, 2006

Summer Playlist

Being the cruise director for a precocious two and a half year old means not only having raisins on demand in your pocket at all times but being able to conjure new songs from thin air and then having the nerve to sing them in a crowed elevator to keep your charge from screaming her head off at the oblivious lady who hit the number seven button before she did.

What Bombadee is attempting to sing this summer:

1. The Great Big SunJustin Roberts
2. Star Spangled Banner -Sung by who ever is kicking this shindig off
3. Miss Mary Mac - My grade school music teacher Dorothy Paige Turner
4. Botch-A-Me (Ba-Ba-Baciamia Bambino)Rosemary Clooney
5. Hello Sunshine – Aretha Franklin
6. Everything Else Starts with “E”Justin Roberts
7. I Like to Move it, Move it – Madagascar Soundtrack
8. Bibbidy Bobbity Boo - Verna Felton (The Fairy Godmother)
9. Are You Gonna be my GirlJet
10. Were is Thumbkin - Mother Goose

Jul 18, 2006

Thee Dress

It was sweltering in Northern Illinois yesterday. I put the dog in the basement with food and water and took the child to the water park all day. Upon arriving home, we installed the window air conditioner in the spare bedroom and left for dinner at a very air conditioned establishment while it cooled down enough to sleep at home. It’s just a futon, but it’ll be the best sleep I’ve had in two nights.

Exciting news, I bought this dress on e-bay for 15.00 + 3.50 shipping. I think I’ll be wearing it to my wedding in September. Yes, you are looking at my 18.50 wedding dress. There you have it; I’m wearing gold and nude. Now I just need to find the perfect strappy sandals or maybe some little Cinderella like glass slipper sparkly things… shoe shopping for the next two months will be fun!

From description:
"Two peice NWT (new with tags).
Neiman Marcus $112.00 Retail.
There is a mark on the hang tag.
This is in PRISTINE condition.

-Three layers. Top layer is metallic gold lace, skirt has white netting petticoat, gold satin lining, butter soft, lightweight
-Attached gold satin ribbon around neck and at waist, spaghetti straps, zips in back
-Fitted in bodice and waist, full gathered skirt, knee length"

Jul 17, 2006

Can't think

Soo hot... going to the pool..92° F (35° C)... arg, blub, puddle... grog... will update when sun goes down.

Jul 15, 2006

Demeter Over Illinois

Every year, inBronze and The Fields Project award a sculptor the chance to create a sculpture for permanent installation in a prominent location. The goal is place 10 sculptures in 10 years. Last year David Seagraves won and his idea, now a finished a clay model of the 5 ½ foot tall sculpture to be cast in bronze by August or September, is considered to be a perfect fit for the Ogle County Judicial Center.

Seagraves’ depicts a beautiful sinewy woman, hair pulled back, seeds cradled in the concave bend in her dress, she is bending over to scatter across the landscape below tiny homes and buildings instead of seeds. He calls it “
Demeter Over Illinois”.

Pastor Kent Svendsen calls it a direct defilement of the Ten Commandments. The county board voted to call it “Agriculture, Mother of Civilization”.

RR Star Article - …“With a name like “Demeter,” the sculpture’s meaning could be misunderstood as an advocation of idol worship or polytheism, said Svendsen, who circulated a petition to stop the board from accepting the sculpture. The petition garnered 17 signatures, mostly from area ministers, County Board chairman Betty Gocken said.”

“More than that, said board member Thomas Scholl, the statue doesn’t accurately depict Ogle County’s agriculture. A more appropriate representation might be a John Deere plow, Scholl said.”…

…“Several board members tried to kill the sculpture’s installation at the judicial center after the board voted to accept it as a donation from The Fields Project, a local artists group”…

This is a true story that is happening in a county where the respect of free speech is so great, that just this week an Aryan Nation Rally was announced causing the cancellation of a very good friends’ Girl Scout event.

RR Star Article - “A Freeport-based Aryan Nations group plans to rally Saturday in front of the Ogle County Courthouse in what the organization’s leaders are calling a nonviolent “voice of opinion about current immigration laws.””

So, if I’m getting this straight, Oregon County board members think that skinheads with free speech is a necessary evil to a free society but an artist naming his OWN sculpture by inferring a Greek myth is an abomination? What do the Ten Commandments have to do with how tax payer money is spent? Do they really just want to park someone’s old tractor in front of their judicial building? Is it really 2006?

Alas, none of the board members appear to be assessable via e-mail. So instead I offer the Ogle County Board Chair Betty Gocken phone number 815-732-3201 or easier yet, dear Bloggies, drop her an e-mail at
ocbc@oglecounty.org and tell her that her board members actions and opinions reveal their true ignorance. Maybe if they get more than 17 e-mails they'll change their tune. Pick a topic that’s important to you, may I suggest:

-Freedom of speech
-The danger in legislators being cowed by the church
-Importance of recognizing art and culture in society
-The things legislators waste their time arguing about
-Gratitude and graciousness

Or how about

-I vote we call the Mona Lisa - Mother Mary
-Just park a tractor in the yard then
-No art, no growth, no brains
-Hitler hot, Zeus not
-Ignorance, not just for bigots anymore

Demeter Over Illinois by David Seagraves
Photo from ALAN LEÓN at RRStar

Jul 14, 2006

More Humid Than Humid

Today is one of those days that is rainforest sticky. It’s in the mid eighties already at nine o’clock and it’s going to get warmer. The sky is overcast. The air is thick with moisture there is moss hanging from my chandeliers and I think I can hear howler monkeys in my bathroom... or that could just be a toddler singing to herself in the tub.

Jul 13, 2006

The House that Bombadee Built

It had to be five years ago now that I last volunteered for Habitat for Humanity. I began to be involved when we formed a small group of young Democrats that wasn’t actually THE Young Democrats because we were all out of college but still not yet thirty. We sat around in meetings a lot and we raised some money and we worked on some campaigns and met some really great leaders and future leaders and later a lot of our group would go on to get elected. But this particular summer I suggested that we put our muscle where our mouths were and volunteer to help build a house or something. We decided it would build camaraderie as well as giving us the opportunity to make a difference in a way that didn’t involve debating the merits of two colors vs. three color walk pieces. Besides its Jimmy Carter’s Pet Project so it was something we all felt we could get behind.

So, we showed up for work in old campaign t-shirts ready to help build a house and we did build a house and friendships and there is definite fulfillment involved in putting a nail into a piece of wood. It’s satisfying in its instantaneous-ness. You can stand back and see that you have created and it is good. There are no polls or opinions, no debates, no wondering and waiting until results are in, it’s immediate and I enjoyed it but I’m still glad I don’t do it every day. You can imagine that
Habitat for Humanity has a lot of doughy, middle aged, white people standing around feeling good and waxing on about using their hands. These people usually sit in front a computer every day, so swinging a hammer is a great novelty to them. You can scoff at them (us / me) in our altruistic ignorance of an actual hard day’s work if you like and if you do it for a living then you should, but the fact still remains the house is getting built.

I sat on the roof for the third Saturday in a row nailing shingles by hand (crazy I know, ask any roofer and he’ll tell you “Get a freaking nail gun!” but
Habitat for Humanity has to appease all those middle class Democrats who want to pound nails with their hands while secretly atoning for their middle classed-ness). Anyway, I sat on the roof with my pouch full of roofing nails laying asphalt shingles in straight lines and hammering my soul into a happy place when I realized my booty was getting pretty hot. Now, we still had a third of the roof to finish and who am I who has a house to live in, to stop roofing because my delicate hiney felt warm? So, I kept on nailing even though it was really hot. I tried to just squat while I pounded, but squating in the heat really puts you in danger of passing out and then what, you roll right off the roof and now you aren’t building anything, so I kept my butt underneath me and just kept going. When we finally broke for lunch I politely excused myself because of a prior commitment and went home to shower the tar off.

The shower was going to be glorious. The cool water on my sunned skin would wash away the aches and pains and dirt of the day. I was going to stand in there for a good 15 minutes before we had to rush away to a family reunion. I flipped the water on, peeled sweaty clothes off, and then stepped into the shower where I immediately felt something bite my butt. I jumped and kinda turned around. I didn’t see a bee so I stepped back into the shower with a little soap on my shoulders and sure enough, I got bit again. This time I felt with my hands for a waterlogged wasp clinging to my hind end or I guess you could describe it more like I frantically swatted and brushed at my own butt while I jumped out of the shower and screamed for Dan. He hurried in and complied with my demand to see what was wrong with my butt.

I bent over the sink. He got close enough to examine my rear. He touched the spot that stung. I yelped. Now, if you’ve ever been in this position then you know it’s not good when the person doing the examining starts to laugh at you. You just panic and your voice rises as you plead

“What?!! What!? Is it a tick!? A thorn? Just tell me what!”

Through stifled laughs he finally said

“You didn’t get stung! You have a blister. You burned your ass today on the roof.”

My immediate feelings of relief that it wasn’t a tick melted into sheepish embarrassment at the thought of willingly submitting my butt to a roof so hot I had second degree burns. I refused the band aid because I suddenly didn’t want to admit that it hurt at all. I mean who doesn’t have enough sense to tell their own ass is cooking? That’s worse than not knowing when to come in out of the rain right?

Ever after that summer whenever I was ticked off you could hear the following exchange.

Dan: “Boy, I bet that really burns you’re ass (snicker)”
Me: “Shut up”

Burtonwood's Burnt Butt BBQ

Jul 12, 2006

All the Sprinkles You Need

A conversation with Ella about cake:

Ella: I'm gonna make a cake

Me: Nice! What are you going to put in it?

Ella: Butter an cream an sugar an water an sugar an sprinkles an worms

Me: It sounds yummy, except for the worms

Ella: And you can have all the sprinkles you need Mommy

Jul 11, 2006


Want to know how this happens?
The president has reduced us to this.

Jul 10, 2006

Reptiles Stole My Baby

Saturday night we witnessed Reptile Palace Orchestra do the unthinkable, invite all the children in the audience on stage with them to dance. It started innocently enough with me dragging the kids down to the front of the stage and encouraging them to jump and spin while the band found their ease. Soon the music began to pulsate and the lead singer came dancing down into the crowd and clapped when the children writhed and hopped and spun to the drums. We did our best to keep the young clan off the stage but when the music turned to a trance like gypsy profligacy of drums and violins and Baltic wailing it frothed the children into a blood pounding frenzied stew of sweaty chubby dimpled legs and squealing smiles I could no longer be held responsible and they danced captivated by the lady in the sparkly red dress. She sang to them directly and showed them the delight of twirling with arms outstretched while enchanting them further with her trumpet. They were mesmerized and when she took a detour from her spotlight to take her fiery cadence straight into the crowd the children gave chase. They pursued her weaving through the benches and blankets on the hillside, in their trance they would’ve followed her straight into the woods and under the foot bridge to be eaten by trolls or stolen away to work in the kitchens of giants or at best dance for the fairy queens for the rest of eternity all the while their parents snapping pictures in awe of the spectacle. She returned the children unharmed save for extreme exhaustion brought on by the enchantment and relentless dancing.

Jul 8, 2006

Money Money Money

When Ella goes to school I'll be going back to work during the day so I've been thinking about what my next career should be. Here are my requirements:

Felxible daytime hours
Tons of money
Fun atmosphere
Lots of people

Any suggestions? (I have a few ideas)

Jul 6, 2006

Happy Dance

I finally took the time to upload pics from the weekend (Blogger isn't cooperating). Sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the stuff I want to blog about and end up saying simply "It was fun" and then I write about sculptors and politicians and you are left probably wondering "what the...?"

How about this - Last weekend there were friends, family, cookouts, swimming, giraffes, sea shells, pancakes, candy, motorcycles, parades, babies, fireworks, pizza, music, carousel rides, finger paints, bubble baths, glow sticks, horses, tractors, pickles, fireflies, beetles, flowers, sunscreen, seals, maracas, guitars, thirty-one flavors of ice cream, bubbles, deer, a coyote, joy, love, laughter, coffee, crosswords, movies, popcorn, swings, slides, quiet, loud, sangria, chocolate milk, fireworks, tutus, finger paints and more fireworks. Each deserves an ode to it's own beauty and how we loved it and yet I am still overwhelmed and exhausted.

The sheer joy of it all was best expressed during the wait for Tues night fireworks, by Ella's interpretive dance.

Mr. Clemens

Alonzo Clemens suffered a head injury at the age of six. He has an IQ of 40. Five percent of Americans IQs are under 75. An IQ less than 50 puts one in the category severely retarded needing assistance in nearly all aspects of daily life. Alonzo is also an artistic genius and to witness him mold a glob of clay into a tiny animal he may have only seen once is truly a marvel to behold. His fingers work furiously pulling peaks and leaving seemingly random divots, till you realize what you thought were accidental gestures are the very deliberate actions of brilliant fingers that need only move clay once to put it were it needs to be. A tiny ox forms from a lump of earth in front of your eyes. When I was a kid hearing bible stories this is how I imagined God formed animals with his hands in the mud of the earth. He is one of the few living artists whose work I would like to own. His sculptures sell for thousands and his studio is in Aspen CO.

Jul 5, 2006


“I think of the flag as a symbol of what the veterans fought for, what they sustained wounds for, what they sustained loss of limbs for, and what they sustained loss of life for,” said Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa. I disagree with Mr. Specter I think soldiers risk life and limb so we can be free from a government that legislates it’s citizen’s feelings and free to express our feelings no matter how unpopular*.

*Barring yelling “fire” in a crowded theatre et al.

Jul 3, 2006


The fourth of July is a kind of sacred day for me and Dan. With few exceptions, we’ve always just packed up a small bag of munchies a little radio and a blanket and headed down to the river together to see “Sky Concert”. Sometimes we meet up with close friends and sometimes it’s just us, but this event has always been important to us. The reverent feelings some get during Christmas Cantata or Passover Dinner we get during the Fourth of July fireworks. There is something so sanctified to me about anonymously lying in the grass with thousands of my fellow citizens all ages, colors, creeds while we listen to Ray Charles’ gravely voice from the radio croon “What a Wonderful World” and we watch the most spectacular display of fiery elements* splashed across the sky while communities around the country do exactly the same. Even tacky ‘ol Lee Greenwood howling on about his freedom doesn’t bother me that much on the Fourth of July. I see the good in my neighbors and my political misgivings start to unravel as I think about a comfortable old quilt patched and pieced together over time, not all the patches are my favorite but the abundance of hands that have sewed and the sheer love put into it makes it my favorite quilt and one we can all lay on while we enjoy the fireworks.

*aluminum, iron, steel, zinc and magnesium dust

Jul 1, 2006

Firecracker Firecracker Boom Boom Boom

Good morning folks! Hope your Fourth of July weekend is off to a wonderful start. Ours started yesterday when we picked up Dan early from work and went to Madison WI with some friends. We had a blast, but I want to tell you about the most unique part of my day doing something I hadn't done in twenty-five years. I got to sit in the back seat with the cool girls. MiMi, Abby-girl and I sat back there singing:

Miss Suzy had a baby
She named him tiny Tim
She put him in the bathtub
To see if he could swim
He drank up all the water
Ate up all the soap
He tried to eat the bathtub
But it wouldn’t go down his throat
Miss Suzie called the doctor
The doctor called the nurse
The Nurse called the Lady
With the alligator purse
‘Mumps!’ said the doctor
‘Mumps!’ said the nurse
‘Mumps!’ said the lady
With the alligator purse

We told stories that started with "This one time..." and ended with "I swear to God!". I showed them how to crack an egg on someone’s head (not a real egg, just with your fingers) they showed me how to make it feel like you are pulling a string through the middle of your hand, we tried to read each others minds by looking deeply into the palms of our hands, we traded more silly songs and showed off all the weird ways we could bend our fingers. I will probably spend a good portion of today looking up the lyrics to the rest of the Miss Suzie songs and trying to find the words to “
Eggalina Magdalina, Oopa, Sonna, Donna, Wonna, Oka, Poka, Noka was her name” Thank you MiMi and Abby-girl for reminding me.