Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday Reading

What have you been reading lately?

While my kids are reading fun stuff (the new Heather Brewer book is in the house!) I've been putting together a holiday gift article for CapeWomenOnline and looking through books that might make fun gifts. I found a winner in Chuck Sambuchino's HOW TO SURVIVE A GARDEN GNOME ATTACK. Two thumbs way up - If you know anyone with garden gnomes or a history with garden gnomes (Liam, I'm thinking of you...) this book makes a perfect gift!

Here's an excerpt from the article that will appear in the Holiday Issue of the magazine, including links to buy the book from the publisher:

How to Survive a GARDEN GNOME ATTACK by Chuck Sambuchino is a tongue-firmly-in-cheek book detailing home defense against deadly gnomes. Yes, the red-hatted, white-bearded garden variety. Filled with faux serious advice and wonderful action photographs by Andrew Parsons, the book begins with the line: “Keep reading if you want to live.”

The slim 112-page hardcover gives the reader “vital” information on assessing risk, gnome-proofing homes and gardens, and instructions for hand-to-hand combat, including a section entitled “Ten Tips that Could Save Your Life.” It’s a fast, funny romp of a read that’s guaranteed to make a reader smile if not laugh out loud.

While seed catalogs are usually all a gardener wants to read during the long winter months, this little “How To” guide makes a wonderful counterpoint to the more serious business of farming and gardening. Because, really. What good is picking out the right seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds or the right tools from Gardener’s Supply if in the end the gnomes take over your garden?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Puppy Passes Another Milestone



The passage of time is a wondrous thing. It can drag on forever or snap by in the blink of an eye. Children and puppies keep growing, whether time is in a slow curve or a fast spiral.

April Puppy.

September Puppy.

Now granted, she's big. But she won't even be 8 months old until next week. Next Monday. It's not her un-birthday quite yet. So what's the milestone? Well...

I took Big Dog to the vet yesterday for her annual physical (which, by the way, has gotten way pricey in the last few years, yowza!) Puppy loves car rides and insisted on tagging along. She waited patiently in the parking lot.

When Big Dog was done, I asked if I could bring my Puppy in for a weight check. The tech laughed a lot when she got a load of "Puppy." It took forever to get her on the scale - she refused to be bribed, so I ended up lifting her, piece by piece.

17 pounds in April.

105 pounds in September.

She officially weighs more than Big Dog now. Outweighs her by 10 pounds. I still had 200 pounds of dog on the leash when we left, but in my mind the balance had definitely shifted.

What's your milestone for the week?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Have You Ever Stomped Grapes?

Have you ever been to a Grape Stomp? We certainly hadn't - but it sounded fun! The Truro Vineyards (in Truro, of course) hosts a Jazz festival and grape stomp as part of "Truro Treasures" weekend. It's all small town, community-building type fun, and happens every fall. Today at the Vineyard there was a craft fair, wine tastings, food vendors, live bands... and an actual grape stomp.

The workers poured crate after crate filled with grapes into a large wooden vat and announced, "Okay kids, time to jump in!"

Honestly, it's not only the kids who jumped for it. There were plenty of grown-up type folks who'd seen Lucille Ball do this in black and white a lo-o-o-ng time ago, and just couldn't resist.

It was quite crowded at first, so that it was hard to even take photos, but the novelty wore off quickly as parents realized that grape stains don't come out, and kids realized that cold grapes squishing between your toes doesn't make for long term enjoyment. My daughter and a few others were the exceptions, with parents that didn't mind the stains and toes that found the squishing to be intensely fun.
My daughter and her new friend Peyton were among the last to leave the stomping vat. Another little boy wanted to be the very last one. He kicked grapes at my daughter (note the stains all the way up her legs) but then he promptly (and deservedly) fell on his bottom. Boom. Splat. Grapes stuck everywhere. His parents dragged him out of the vat.

My proud wine maker. She's never seen that episode of "I Love Lucy" ... but when she does, she can honestly say, "Hey! I've done that! I even got into a grape fight (sort of) in the vat!"

If you get a chance, you should try this. She give it two thumbs (and ten crimson-colored toes) way up.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Just Write It.

I started the week with a walk on this beach. It was inspiring and overwhelming in its beauty. I couldn't wait to get home and write the scenes that ran through my head as the dogs and I hiked along the sandy shores.

I've written nothing this week.

I've sat down at the computer every day. I've sent tons of emails, mostly to people who've written or want to write for the magazine. And edited the pages I wrote last week. And tweaked. And surfed the 'net. And worked on target market sell sheets for the magazine. And researched. And. And. And.

My desk is a lived-in mess. But I haven't written anything new. Now it's Friday. Do I really want my word count for the week to be a big ol' goose egg? I think not.

Stop blogging. Start writing.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Puppy Visits Nauset Light Beach

My son's new high school is a mere mile from Nauset Light Beach. It's part of the National Seashore, and one of the beaches that allows pets if they're on leashes and you stay away from the lifeguard areas. Now that the lifeguards have gone home, it's all fair game.
At first, Puppy didn't understand why she needed to be on her leash. On our beach we let the dogs run free. But our beach is much smaller, more contained. Here, the ocean and beaches stretch on forever.
Once they got used to the idea, Puppy and the Big Dog were all smiles, happy to walk along the long, wide beach, feeling the cold waves roll in over their paws once in a while. We walked for an hour, and only passed a handful of other people and no other dogs.

We also stopped a few times to sit and listen to the roar of the waves. We watched seals popping their heads above water to stare back at us. Seagulls whirled overhead and a few sandpipers scuttled to and fro at the edge of the waves.

What a great way to start a new week.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Puppy Does Some Sunday Reading

Puppy is at it again.

I've written before about her taste for books, devouring my mother's copy of THE HELP before I could read it.

Now she's eaten yet another book from off someone's bed, this time from my son's room. Ironically, the words and music to "Hound Dog" were scattered all over the place.
Last month, she chewed up two of my daughter's books. One was her favorite Baby Mouse book that she takes to summer camp every year to gather the names and phone numbers of her tent mates. I was able to tape that cover back together - and all of the phone numbers but one are still legible. One or two of the pieces are missing, but that will just make for a funny story next year at camp. The other book was unrecoverable...

It's hard to stay mad at her - I mean, really, look at that smile - but this has to stop. I have too many books to keep them all out of her reach.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Puppy Tries a S'more

I promised my kids we'd make s'mores over Labor Day weekend, before school started. With Hurricane Earl swinging by the Cape for a visit, we had blustery winds most of the weekend. Early on Monday evening it was calm enough to light the firepit.

Puppy was intrigued by the flaming marshmellows. She kept asking to try one.
Finally, my daughter gave in. She let Puppy have a marshmallow. Puppy took it gingerly in her mouth, careful not to break it as she carried it over to the grass.... and...
...sat in it. Oops.

This is why you don't give a s'more to a Puppy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Milestone Moments

Today is the first day of high school for my oldest child. I'm officially the mother of a high school kid. Here he is back when he was still shorter than I am and liked having his photograph taken. He's over 6 feet tall now and you should have seen the scowl when I suggested bringing my camera to the bus stop...

Today marks the first time since he started preschool that I haven't had the first-day-of-school-Kodak-moment with him.

Since he's going to a regional high school, the nearest bus stop is actually in the next town. We had to drive there and park on the side of the road along with about twenty other cars. The bus arrived 5 minutes earlier than it's posted online time, but we were there waiting. Some of the parents started to pull away as soon as their kids got out of the cars to stand on the corner, but I stayed until my son got onto the bus.

My other two kids don't start school until tomorrow, and I'm still not sure how it'll work in the mornings, driving the one to his bus stop then zooming home to make sure the others get on the bus that stops up on our own street corner...

Tomorrow will be *my* back-to-school day. No kids in the house all day long. Or at least for 7 hours of the day. Which is good. Back to writing, after a long summer off.

But my youngest is starting middle school tomorrow, so it's a little bittersweet. *sigh* No more elementary school. Ever.

When I think of the first day of school, I still picture them all little and eager to go back and see their friends... new sneakers, new t-shirts, new dresses...

Happy back-to-school to all the other moms and dads out there. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Blue Skies for Labor Day

Non-Hurricane Earl has left Cape Cod, after barely even stopping by for a visit. Not that I'm complaining too much, mind you.

It's like expecting your stodgy Great Aunt Edith to stop by for drinks and dinner. The same old auntie who's lipstick-smeared cigarette-scented kisses haunted your dreams when you were a kid. You spend all day cleaning, scrubbing, preparing... but dreading the visit all the same. When she does ring the doorbell... and then just waves from the front steps and in her raspy voice says, "Sorry, can't stay," are you all that upset? Or glad to have dodged the bullet? (be honest....)

The sky is already blue, and the grass is starting to dry out from all the rain. But speaking of scrubbing and preparing, I have a party to get ready for!

Gin and tonics at my house, four o'clock.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Earl is on His Way to Cape Cod....

They're flying the hurricane flags over at the Chatham Lighthouse. Route 6 was heavily traveled all day yesterday with tourists cutting short their vacations. The Army Corp of Engineers has said they will close the Sagamore and Bourne bridges when the wind gusts reach a certain level. Most of Nantucket has boarded up their windows.

And yesterday afternoon, my son's soccer team jogged to the Nauset Light beach to play in the heavy surf brought on by the coming storm.

Reactions to the impending storm are mixed here on Cape Cod. Some people are panicked. Some shelves at the supermarket were looking bare yesterday, as the workers hurried to restock items like water gallons.

At my house, we've taken the precautions we would for any storm. We've put all the pool toys in the shed. Brought the grill into the garage. Taken down the patio umbrella. Took the kids' sailboat over to store in my mother-in-law's garage. Bought some water, just in case.

But I'm refusing to panic. I'm sure it will be a big storm. But I don't think another "Bob" or "Katrina" is going to happen. It can't. I'm hosting a dinner party tomorrow night for the extended family, and a major hurricane doesn't fit in with my plans.

So listen up, Earl. You're welcome to visit. Just remember you need to be a good guest an leave before you wear out your welcome. And preferably let the sun back out before cocktail time tomorrow.