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July 2015
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August 2015

Insult To Injury

Having discovered the secret to serenity, what was it, yesterday? Caroline even more quickly discovered the secret to upending my ditto and opted to watch the Chelsea game with me this morning.

Which would have been fine. Jolly even. Mother and daughter bonding over the game beautiful - if it were not for the fact that she decided to root for Man City.

"No, sweet," I said, gently but with a glittering eye. "We're Chelsea fans."

"I know you are but I like the light blue shirts better," she said, then added, "WhoooHOOOO! MANCHESTER! YEAH!"

And every time they showed a replay of one of the goals she thought it was a new goal and would go bananas all over again.

Thus, for all intents and purposes, I watched Chelsea lose eighteen to nil. It was hideous.

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Edward said, "Oh good, we're watching TV!"

I corrected, "No. I am watching football."

"No fair! You control everything and you're going to watch, like, four games in a row."

"Of course not. Four games? Today? That's ridiculous. I'm going to watch three."

And I did. And it was excellent. And Chelsea doesn't even play until tomorrow.

PS Ever since our return from parts yonder, I have been struggling to find ways to be by myself, awake and not in the bathtub (I'm not a damned mermaid, after all) but now I need struggle no longer. I discovered today that the Premier League is like kryptonite to my family. I mean, I knew from last season that no one would willingly watch with me but I did not fully appreciate the fact that five seconds of a Heineken commercial scatters them to the furthest recesses of the house. It's like magic.

PPS Since you ask - I assume you were about to ask - I think Man U is going to be formidable; Aston Villa looked surprisingly scrappy at midfield and I still cannot bring myself to like Harry Kane. Surely I am not the only person to notice his resemblance to Draco Malfoy? I expect in the UK it is all anyone ever talks about.

More importantly I realized this weekend that Everton on the whole is ridiculously attractive (Barry and Lukaku and Tim Howard without the beard and, I dunno, all the other lantern-jawed superhero types they have dashing about) and I really like the new green jerseys, complete with that cunning black band at the bottom. Very football fashion forward.

The combined effect - healthy good-looks, fetching ensembles, three very solid goals - was almost enough to make me switch teams 

[I made this observation to Steve, who has given up all pretense of even tolerating Chelsea, and he urged, "Do it! It's not too late. You could probably get one of those Everton away jerseys delivered before next weekend. Go... NotChelsea!"]

but not quite.

I look forward to Edward's face tomorrow when he realizes that I am not about to watch My Little Pony but yet another football match. He's getting the opportunity to build so much character.

No Place Like

 A friend took us out on the river this evening and as much as I love Canada (very muchly) [and DC. and Baltimore. Seattle. and St Louis. San Francisco. Brugge. Tucson. the gulf coast of Alabama]

dot dot dot





Caroline with her surrogate dog, Bella






And Patrick drove the boat


Now Just Watch Him Pull A Leon Uris

I almost always regret saying anything about a series before we are done with it but here goes:

I had been saving Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus books for something special (say, an epic 4000 mile road trip) and I am so glad I did. We have about three hours left in the last book of the original trilogy and the children are so engrossed that they all willingly accompanied me to the grocery store yesterday so that we could listen to another twenty minutes in the car. Even Edward*.

Caveat: definitely iffy for seven year olds, the beginning of book two was slow to the point of tedium, morally complicated, not entirely sure how it is going to resolve

*Full disclosure: I had to offer the book and a doughnut to get Edward to put his shoes on; but still, for a homebody that has only just returned after an extended absence to his couch and his books and his computer and his fuzzy Darth Vader blanket it is quite a compliment to the work.

PS On the Washington Post website I keep seeing a link to one of those random internet articles. What do you call 'em, the click bait things. This is one about the German study that looked at the emotional well-being of parents with, I think, kids under two and has the headline: Having kids makes people miserable, new study confirms.

'Confirms' is such an interesting word, don't you think? It implies that something generally known to be true has now been substantiated as fact. Like: People creeped out by spiders crawling into their mouths while they sleep, new study confirms. 

Not having read this particular article or seen the study I am unable to comment upon either but the headline... I don't know. Every time I have seen it I have smiled.  

PPS I once read all eleventy billion paperback pages of a Leon Uris novel only to have everyone die in the end. Everyone. Even the narrator who had - as I recall - been telling the story up to that point in the past tense, which... really? I suspect I have mentioned this to you before which just goes to underscore how bitter about it I still am.

Mass extinction of all characters irritates novel readers, new study confirms.


I wasn't worried about the cats or the fish (although it did take me two hours to properly clean the tanks this morning) since we were fortunate in our house sitter: a conscientious, nonsyllabic young man who has just graduated from college and, I think, was pleased to have a few weeks away from sleeping on his brother's couch. I felt sure that the cats would be fine in his care and they were - apart from one discovered token of displeasure left presumably by Patrick's particular cat in Patrick's room; he was appalled but Steve and I were practically high-fiving. After all, there was that one time when we went away for a week or two and, despite having a house sitter, came home to discover our entire bed... no. It's too awful to describe.

So they were good.

But I was REALLY worried about my bonsai. I gave ridiculously explicit instructions about watering and misting and light but so much needs to be judged on a daily basis. A little more water, a little less, a gentle leaf cleaning, a judicious clipping of some renegade shoot... how do you explain that? You don't.

It turns out that I need not have worried because not only was the sitter reliable he is apparently some kind of mystic plant bonsai wizard. The little jasmine that arrived via UPS in a cardboard box last November and promptly lost half its leaves not only thrived in my absence



I apologize for the increasingly terse communications but I am at a point in our travels (as wonderful as they have been) in which my need for solitude is rendering even a nice chat with you impossible.

So I will tell you what I just told the children: love you, here's your kindle, lights out in twenty minutes and the next person to touch and/or speak to me will be sleeping under the desk next to the mini-fridge.

Home tomorrow.

PS I am in Escanaba Michigan and logic tells me that we are in the central time zone but the hotel clock says eastern. What the hell time is it, really? Also did you know that Newfoundland has a time zone that adds half an hour? I find this so weird and delightful that I want to move there sight unseen and stay forever - even if it is a hotbed of crime*.

*Patrick and I have been watching Republic of Doyle - a show about a guy and his fadder who investigate evildoers in St. John's... did I tell you this already? Probably.


In Ottawa and hoping to stay awake long enough to walk over and see the light show at 9:30 but I am not sanguine. Not sanguine at all.



I let Caroline and Edward rides their bikes alone up to the trampolines today (a distance of, say, three hundred yards) with an injunction to be careful and come back in about half an hour. We don't do a lot of free-range... well free-range anything, really, in the woods of Minnesota (if you are smaller than a coyote they will eat you. if you're bigger it doesn't matter because there isn't anywhere to go.)

This excursion was a very big deal for Edward and afterward he described it to Steve, in obvious caps, as his First Free Scamper. He was very proud of himself. Caroline had already wheedled me into similar solo jaunts and was therefore more blasé about it. So much so that I am glad Edward was there to temper her because Caroline comma Canada and now we know she could just surf there.