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Ready or Not,

March 31st, 2009 by Joyce


Here he comes.


Today, David picked nearly all of our remaining carrots.  He said later he thought Carmen might want some.  I think he really just needed an excuse to treat himself to the jollies of pulling up a bunch of pretty little carrots, all winter in the making.  He brought his harvest upstairs, and washed and scrubbed the carrots in the sink, tickley-soft tops still on.  He offered three to me and Carmen two, then ate the rest, even the tiny ones.

He says he left some for later.  What, like, two?

He’s already planning what we might put in that square next.  “Vegetables,” he says.  “Not plants.”  “Oh,” I asked him this evening, “what vegetables?”  He furrowed his brow, a serious little man discussing serious little things.  “Carrots.”

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The Beach

March 29th, 2009 by Joyce


It was cool and windy, but still plenty warm enough for a trip to the beach.  We had been working too hard for too long, and needed to get away from the city, if just for a morning.

We brought the things we needed:  breakfast tacos, tractors, water, buckets, and a couple of gardening trowels.

Almost as soon as he stepped into the sand, David brought out the heavy machinery


and got to work until he realized the rest of the family was setting up a little further down the beach.



Arriving the day after a cold front blew in, we made some good finds.  We found the remainders of crabs that had been caught


and dissected


by hungry beaks.




In the sand we found glitter


and material enough for several buildings.






Then the wet sand became our journals.  David drew a picture first.  “Look what I drew!” he exclaimed.  “What is it?”


We wrote and traced love notes to our favorite beings.



We rolled in the sand and took rides in the wagon.



We lowered ourselves over the rocks of the jetty to pet hermit crabs and seaweed, and found a garden in a piece of driftwood.  Then, with the sun high, we drove home, already thinking about when we might be back.


→ No CommentsTags: Dynamic Duo · Go Joyce Go

Great parents some day

March 29th, 2009 by Joyce

Lately sometimes Carmen dresses David in the morning.   It’s faster, and she gets to choose what he wears (e.g., “Today, you’re going to be Lucky, so wear your brown overalls so you look like a horse”).


(Eating carrots from the garden, 17 March.)

Now David has come down with  a cold.   When he got stuffy, Carmen decided she could help . . .by grabbing a tissue and picking his nose.   She was very persistent about it.


David didn’t seem to mind.


He had a turn at helping Carmen out earlier in the week, when she suffered a short stomach virus and threw up at the park.  Our little man thought he could cheer her up by talking about vomit, so he did.  I guess it worked, because I heard her laughing from the back seat until Matt and I changed the subject.

They’re going to be great parents one day.

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March 22nd, 2009 by Joyce

(or, Hey, Uncle Dickie, this one’s for you.)

I tell people that living here sometimes is like living on the set of Stomp. 

stomp I’m not sure they believe me. But at this house, everything is at some point tested and utilized for its acoustic quality. Then the clang of plates, the clink of glasses, the thud of the couch, the thwop of the wall and more are all used in compositions of all sorts, like mealtime rhythms and potty songs, brushing-teeth interludes and downstairs marches.

In the past two months, David (and Carmen, but David is the more enthusiastic percussionist in his house) has been received two new pieces of inspiration.  First, one sunny morning we took a walk to the Rockin’ Robin.  The Rockin’ Robin sells guitars and stacks and stacks of drums.  Against one wall is a large shelf full of drumsticks.  We couldn’t leave the store without a pair.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, we saw a trash can percussion ensemble.  This last experience was not especially important until we we replaced the upstairs air conditioner this weekend, when the rhythm-seeking, the drumsticks, and the quest for the perfect sound all came together.


So the HVAC technicians could access the compressor of our air conditioner, we had to move away from the back fence.  One of the items we moved was an old-style, Oscar the Grouch-style trash can, sans a lid (the missing lid was part of the reason it’s been assigned to the back fence).  To prevent the trash can filling with water, I turned it upside down. 

Just like, David realized, a drum.  This afternoon he found two skittles pins (the closest things to drumsticks he could find at the moment) and started to work.  Imitating her mother Carmen shook her head, said “This noise is making me sick!” and marched upstairs.

(The video is taken from the balcony.  David is camera-shy these days, and I didn’t want to spoil his fun.)

To help him along a bit I brought out the drumsticks, and while I was at it brought out a large pot from the local restaurant supply store. Too big for anything except Matt’s culinary dreams, it had been in the attic until we cleaned it out for the HVAC work.

David played until he realized Matt was on his way to the hardware store.  He ran upstairs, handed the drumsticks over, and went on his way.

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Bird’s nest and bunny’s burrow

March 21st, 2009 by Joyce

Contemplating many more mornings with a finger in my belly button and a foot at my face, and many more bedtimes that arrive far too quickly and between giggles and snuggles often take far too long to complete, Matt and I decided it was nearing the time to get the other twin bed and build the bunk bed.

We bought our twin bed at Ikea as part of a bunk bed set not long after the AVM, when we found ourselves suddenly scrambling for comfortable sleeping arrangements.  At the time we just needed one twin-sized bed, but perhaps in a nod to our modular dorm room furniture, we bought the set of matching beds, and figured we could always decide on the final arrangement of the beds–down, bunked, or lofted–later.

The bunk bed idea quickly built steam.  We decided that although children so small shouldn’t use the top bunk, a king-sized bed as a landing pad should allay any fears.  Then after dinner one night we drove to Ikea to buy a second twin mattress.  At the store Carmen and David examined at a model of their bunk bed and decided who would sleep where.  They were so excited, in fact, that they thought we should all sleep in bunk beds, set together head to foot like the sleeping quarters of an old naval warship.

We didn’t intend to assemble the bed until later, but a delay in the installation of our new air conditioner and furnace on Friday meant Matt suddenly had the time to disassemble the present beds, rotate them to another wall, assemble the bunk, and replace some of the Flor ripped up during Hurricane Ike.  At the end of the day we had a twin set of bunk beds and the king bed pressed against it.  David declared his bottom bunk the bunny’s burrow, or maybe the train’s sleeping barn.  Carmen declared her top bunk the bird’s nest, filled with blankets, Lucky the horse, and a big white bunny. 

At night everyone assumed their assigned positions. 

By the morning Carmen slept pressed against my side, and David and Matt squeezed inside the bunny’s burrow.

We slept well, anyhow.


At the playground: 

D:  How old are you?

Random Boy:  Six.

D:  Ooooooh!  That is a LOT of years!  I am four, but I have been four for a long time already. 

Carmen:  Do you know Lizabeth and ZuZu? 

Random Boy:  No.

Carmen:  ZuZu is little.  She is just two . . .

(Then the boy, perhaps leery of a tag team, skipped off to find his mother.)

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Another score for Team Organic?

March 14th, 2009 by Joyce

In August I wrote that one reason to eat organic is that the produce grown organically has been shown richer in nutrients than produce grown conventionally.  Last month Time picked up on the idea after a journal article suggested that in the past five decades the nutrient level of our conventional fruits and veggies has decreased by 5-40%.   The idea is that conventional big-ag produce is grown for size, looks, and transportability–not taste or nutrient quality.  Then, thanks to chemical fertilizers and pesticides our food is grown and harvested rapidly in sad, depleted soils; the more depleted the soil, the more our veggies and fruits are lacking in nutrients. 

Eat your (organic) veggies.

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Blue Screen

March 13th, 2009 by Joyce · 1 Comment

I was trying to prepare for tomorrow.  With just a few minutes left until bedtime, I sat in front of the computer, writing out a list while David and Matt worked on a large puzzle.  Carmen sat at the keyboard and “played along” to the MIDI of Carmen’s toreador song, holding her notes long and running her fingers up and down the keyboard while the MIDI played over and over again.  After several minutes and many repetitions of the song she turned the keyboard off and I exhaled.

But it was too late.  I felt suddenly sick. 

My desktop computer has been having problems.  Lately I get a Blue Screen of Death every so often.  The only solution is to let the computer stop and reboot itself.

That’s a little like my brain, except rebooting it takes a little longer than my desktop.  I scooped up my papers and eyes down quickly retreated to the dark master bedroom downstairs.    

Now everything sounds and feels like banging.  The brrrrrit-tip-tip-tip-tap-tap-tap of the computer keyboard is making my ears hurt.

What did I do today–or yesterday, or this week?–that was too much and overloaded this system?  I don’t know.

Last weekend Matt spent some time trying to figure out the reason behind the computer’s error screen.  After reading the error screen and considering its possible implications, he decided to just install Linux-based Ubuntu and give up on Windows except in the direst of circumstances.  He started the first step of his work this evening.

I, meanwhile, will sleep.

→ 1 CommentTags: My Brain (& the AVM)