Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
are enjoying it, but I can tell they'd appreciate a bit more action. Of interest to all of them is the idea that the parents of a girl not much older than themselves allowed her to roam around New York City (or at least the Upper East Side) for hours every day after school. When we put Harriet down, we created MadMen avatars of ourselves over at AMC. I love the setting of that show. The costumes remind me of pictures of my parents when they were dating and newlyweds. Here's how my son pictures himself looking in 30 years:
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
That is until I sent my oldest son to first grade. Every once in awhile, I would send him to school with money for the oh so exciting purpose of buying lunch. Apparently he impressed the lunch ladies with his eagerness and manners. Right before his birthday that year, I received a phone call at home from one of the lunch ladies who said something along the lines of, "Hi, I'm Mrs. So and So, I'm a cafeteria worker at your son's school. I hope you don't think this is strange and I wanted to clear it with you. Can I give your son a birthday present? I love talking with him and I found a gift I think he'll love." That's how we ended up with a Sea Monkey tank on our kitchen windowsill for two years.
That same son of mine has moved on to fifth grade. At his current school, there are days when he is the only customer for soup. I send him in with a bagged lunch most days and a dollar for soup. He comes home raving about the Italian Wedding Soup, the minestrone, the navy bean, and so on. Sure, lots of kids purchase chicken noodle and tomato, but on other days, he's the only soup eater. The lunch ladies see him in the hallways and tell him what the soup of the day will be. They have also hand delivered cups of soup to his lunch table and given him free refills. He loves those ladies. So of course I'm going to have to get him Jarrett Kroscoczka's new graphic novel Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute. It's the first in a planned series aimed at seven to ten year olds. I don't know much more about it yet, but it certainly looks fun!
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Here is my ten year old and a snapping turtle he caught. He spent several mornings in a kayak stalking turtle sunning themselves on rocks. Every time he got too close, they slipped quickly into the water. Finally this guy was a bit too slow. My husband showed us all how a snapping turtle reflexively? instinctively? snaps by placing a stick near its mouth. He immediately clamped down on it. We all yelled "Do it again!" He did. We yelled "Do it again!" This went on for an embarrassingly long while. We have no television at the house in Maine, and we're a bit simple, I guess.
Here we are at the Portland Head Light. It's a very predictable family photo op, but I don't care, because it's a nice one. Speaking of predictable, my youngest son is not looking at the camera even though we were all admonishing him to do so from the sides of our smiling mouths. Of interest to me is that this lighthouse is pictured on the cover of the American literature textbook I will be using to teach this fall.
This shot is of two of the kids eating lunch en route from New Jersey to Maine. Before you alert the authorities, the truck was parked in a lot. While the truck was moving, everyone was buckled into their seats and bickering about elbow room. I just include this photo to show how Beverly Hillbillies we roll. And to give you a glimpse of the beautiful sailboat my husband built.
Finally, speaking of boat, after twelve months of schlepping my kids around to school and sports, play dates and activities, it was nice to be in the passenger seat and let my six year old son do the driving.
As far as books go, I finished To Kill a Mockingbird and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society while sitting by the water. On the car trip to and from, we listened to Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl. We all enjoyed it, even my husband who is usually more of a nonfiction guy.What more could a vacationer ask for?
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Farewell, Thomas the Tank Engine suitcase. My boy is shipping out without you. He did, however, pack a few of his men to keep him company:
My daughter learned her lesson last summer when she ran out of books and had to visit the local library. Although, it was kind of fun to visit a library on vacation. She's got an entire bag filled with fat books. We need to decide if we are going to listen to Artemis Fowl or Tuck Everlasting on CD for the seven hour drive and then we're set to go. Well, we have to cram all of our stuff in the car and forget a few things first as is our routine, and then we're off. I hope to see you back here in a week. In the meantime, what are you reading this summer?
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Today's NYTimes has a great piece entitled "The Gyro's History Unfolds." It is really well written and full of fascinating gyro facts and history. It attempts to answer "who is the Henry Ford of the gyro?" and suggests that in an economic downturn, the gyro business is a good one to be in. Plus, it has a video. "The Making of a Gyro Cone." I have to admit, I never knew such a thing as this big BandAid colored round of mass produced gyro meat existed, but I never thought deeply about it. I just craved them.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Friday, July 10, 2009
a) How cute is that bespectacled tamale?
b) I love the idea of anthropomorphized tamales!
c) It's a retelling of a fun classic, The Three Little Pigs.
d) It's fun to say "hot tamales."
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I had the best of intentions at the outset of summer vacation. The kids and I were going to get ourselves some culture. We were going to drink in art museums and classical music, maybe even some historical sights. Well, we have gone swimming frequently and eaten a lot of ice cream. Does that count as culture? Luckily, I found two great books at our library that don't quite serve as a substitute for a trip to an art museum but have engaged all three of my kids. Katy Friedland and Marla K. Shoemaker's A is for Art Museum is terrific. It is, as the title suggests, an alphabet book, and it presents dozens of pieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. A question is posed of each piece as well, helping readers/viewers/art appreciators think about the art. For example Modigliani's Portrait of a Polish Woman faces a page that reads, "N is for neck. Here is a lady with a very long neck. Can you stretch your neck like this?" Van Gogh's Sunflowers is used for the letter S. "S is for sunflowers. Vincent van Gogh loved to paint sunflowers. Can you see where he signed his name?" In addition to the question given for each piece in the book, the authors give suggestions to enhance the readers' next museum visit. If we can organize ourselves to go this summer, I've got some great ideas to try with the kids.