Friday, June 24, 2011

Sold! One Great Idea.

Paul Bunyan likes to play. He plays hard. But he works hard too. There is very little sitting. Unless he's at work and there is no one dying. Then there is some sitting. But last week right after he got home from playing very very hard with the Mothership in Chicago, he started taking a class here. Now, be mindful that Paul Bunyan would like to retire tomorrow if he could but that wouldn't mean he would stop working less, especially in the woods. He just wouldn't be saving people's lives. He would, in his dreams, buy (or better yet, build) a 50 foot sailboat and sail sail sail.

We went to the British Virgin Islands in the winter of 1998 with 12 other Breckenridge ski patrollers. I was the only girl with 7 other guys on one of two 40 something foot sail boats. This picture is the only one I have access to of that trip. The others can only be viewed on an old school slide projector. I have one of those but that would mean you would have to come sit on my couch and watch my slides. But then you would see how messy my house is and that there are dead carpenter ants in every corner cobweb. And then I'd have to make you pop corn. So you'll just have to believe me when I say that trip was AMAZING.

So, I think Paul Bunyan has it somewhere in the back of his bald head that he'd like to actually do that again. Well, more than do that again; he'd like to actually live that again. Like, as in, live that way for a few months out of the year. So...he's in preparation mode.

Included in the price of this first step sailing class was a sunset cruise captained by a licensed for real professional captain. So we went. Last Tuesday. The official first day of summer.

We started out at dinner time.

But we had blue blue skies littered with only a few clouds.

And while Paul Bunyan helped rig the lines,

the kids and I sat and snacked. I imagined how this might go on our boat some day. Me sitting and watching and snacking.

And sure enough he was putting everyone to work.

I know, I know it's all about team work.

Claire was at the helm for a bit.

And Auggie took a turn too.

But it was Paul's day to shine...even though there was no (little to none) wind.

Claire wanted to be under the water instead of on top of it. And we decided that this is how she's supposed to be.

But I started telling her about all the incredible things she could do when she came south to visit us on the boat during her college vacations. How she could swim with the bioluminescent fish in the dark of night, actually carry air on her back to swim under the water for hours, swim to the bars and restaurants, swim with the sharks, swim in water the color of Timmy's life jacket, just swim all day every day.

And I told him he could pee off the boat whenever he wanted.

And I told him he could actually poop in the water if he wanted.

And I think...

I think that's all I needed to say.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

For Pop-Pop on Father's Day...

My Dad and Mom took us to a New Hampshire Fisher Cats game last weekend in Manchvegas, N.H.

I think Pop-Pop had high hopes of teaching the boys the science of baseball and the ins and outs of how to keep score (officially). He taught me in the bleacher seats at Fenway. I remember being interested and I'm not really sure why.

I'm sorry Pop-Pop that they didn't watch the game, couldn't sit still, wouldn't listen to your insight. That they didn't care about the dog who retrieved the bats, but more about the hot dogs and pop corn and cotton candy doesn't mean that you failed. It just means that they're not ready yet. They will be one day. And then you and me, we'll take them to Fenway and teach them the way with DP 6-4-8, 1B, 2B, 3B, HR, RBI's. I promise you.

But even then, even then if they're more interested in the Cracker Jack's, I'll keep score with you.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Her Heart Song...for now.

After seeing my mother commemorated (what a weird word) the other night, I've been thinking about what I'm supposed to do with my life. Oprah's last show made me think about it. Watching Happy Feet made me think about it. Reading The Dirty Life has made me think about it. Watching Diner's Drive-ins and Dives has me thinking about it. Making scones people like has me thinking about it. Killing carpenter ants has made me think about it. Well, okay maybe not the last one but that's what I've been doing lately.

I simply don't know what my heart song is. And I want to know when it is going to show up? I ask you.

I know some people are born with it. They're destined to be one thing in life: musicians, artists, doctors, lawyers, pig farmers. They know this from a very early age. I'm not sure if this knowing is easier or not, but there must be a certain comfort in it. I also know some people are not born with it and that they have to discover it. With some work in searching.

Claire is trying to discover if hip hop is her thing. Well, I'm not going to comment either way because if she's having fun doing it, then who is to say it's not what she's supposed to be doing? Right? And who am I to say anything really, because at 38, I'm still searching and I'm afraid my song is getting fainter. That, or I'm going deaf.

Claire is in a brown tank top. You'll have to excuse the bootleg version. Someday, when she's famous and she gives us big chunks of cash, I'll be able to afford the professional copy.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Gone. Absent. Missing. Retired. Well, that last one isn't me it's my Mom. I'm in my home town, sleeping in the bed I grew up in- literally. The house is starting to smell like an old person's home. But I guess that's what happens when your parents get old.

Twenty years is a long time. To do one thing. I'm finding it hard to do any one thing for more than half an hour, like weeding. It's good to keep that in short spurts. So, I'm very proud of my mother. She started teaching math in my high school during my senior year. If you do the math, because I know you're better at it than I am, you'll know I'm celebrating my 20th high school reunion this summer. Eee gad.

Anyway, I didn't get a chance to speak at my Mother's retirement party last night, which is fine because I'm not the one who has spent the majority of the last 20 years with her. But if I could have this is what I would have said:

I thought it would be fun to give you a picture of my mother before she was a teacher, although she has always been a teacher in some way. I'm still baffled about how my parents, who are two very left brained people could breed a right brain child. I mean my brother is left brained too, far far left brained. So I was an even more shaggier black sheep in the family than most black sheep. I hated math. I loved writing. So when I was a young girl I wrote my mom many a crappy poem, and she taught me the times tables. And as I wrote my mom many a crappy short story, she taught me long division. And when I made her these beautiful heartfelt homemade cards (which always made her cry) she taught me how to balance a checkbook. Please don't tell her I do all my banking on-line now.

My mother was an accountant before becoming a teacher. She has always loved numbers. My father built her an office in the basement. She would spend hours down there with books and pencils and paper and pens and calculators. It was an awful space with a drop ceiling and florescent lighting. The only time I remember spending down there was on the night that my appendix was about to burst and I was rolling around on the floor in pain, trying to convince my mother that I was really sick. She kept working, telling me that I was fine and that I just had the flu. She kept working until I told her that I was going to drive myself to the hospital.

I'm glad I got my mother out of the office that night and I'm glad (and I'm sure many of her students are glad) that she decided to get herself out of that office.

My mother is not done working with numbers. There are inches to measure on quilt squares, and stitches to count on alpaca hats that need to be knit, and 1/4 cups to be measured as she bakes with my children. And there is definitely my daughter's math homework she needs to help her with. Because I can't do it.

Mom, I'm so very proud of you. My only wish for you for the next 20 years is that you don't have anymore insubordinate students and bureaucratic crap to deal with and that you continue to teach us all about how to live this thing called life, with its numbers and all.