Monday, September 17, 2007

revisiting alaska--vicariously

Our friend Rich is currently visiting his sister, who lives in Anchorage. Last week they hiked Wolverine, one of the most dramatic and rewarding peaks in the Anchorage vicinity. As seen from the city, the peak is stunning: its jagged edges and perfectly triangular shape beckon to every hiker and climber who takes in its view.
I enjoyed hiking this peak when I lived in Anchorage, and later Bryan and I hiked the mountain when we were visiting, in March of 2001, when the mountain was covered in snow and ice and we trekked up with our crampons and ice axes, which we really only needed at the very top.
We have some lovely photos of our trip, but Rich, a professional photographer, is much more adept at capturing some of the natural grandeur of the Chugach Range. Still, I haven't yet seen a photograph that could do Alaska justice. Its beauty is ineffable.

folk music is alive and well

Spent Sunday at the Boston Folk Festival, on the UMass-Boston campus. The weather was quintessentially autumn: blue sky, billowy clouds, slightly crisp air, moderate breeze. Kaytie met us there, and Dylan and Alexa hung out with my parents in Waltham; they looked mighty tired by the time we made it back there. I think we'll bring the kids next year, because it was clearly a kid-friendly event, with coloring and blow-up ducks and hula-hoop and dancing.

We were initially drawn to the festival by Erin McKeown, one of our favorite Boston musicians, but little Erin proved to be one of the featherweights of the day. Catie Curtis, whom I'd heard here and there on college radio, was absolutely captivating, especially when she performed a song called "The Princess and the Mermaid," which was about how our perceptions change after children. In the song, a woman and her partner are traveling in a van with their two children in the back, the whole family weary from the road and from fights over who gets to pet the dog. The chorus, "But the princess and the mermaid point out the moon and fall asleep," captures so subtly and so perfectly how our children, no matter how many buttons they push, manage to give us perspective in simple yet startling ways.

Another highlight of the evening was Chris Smither, who was brilliantly funny and poetic and smooth. His song "The Origin of Species" was a hilarious satire of Darwinism, intelligent design, and religious dogma, sung smoothly and accompanied by some very pretty strumming.

And the things Patti Larkin can do with her guitar, and with her voice--wow.

Driving back to CT after such a long day was tiring, but it was well worth it. We made it home just in time to see the Red Sox rally against a 4-1 deficit. . . .and then lose 4-3.

Friday, September 14, 2007

cheshire fall festival

Dylan and Lexi tandem-drove the SUV. Lexi looks very serious--eyes on the road at all times.
Dylan has a more laid-back approach to the open road.
Dueling jerseys

Dylan really dug the live music.

nothin' left to do but smile, smile, smile

Dylan and Alexa had a smiling contest this morning at breakfast. Alexa started it off with her patented "I just ate something very sour but still I'm in ecstasy."

Not to be outdone, Dylan gritted his teeth as hard as he could and said, "Howszh thisshh, Mommy?"

Then Alexa went for the coy approach

. . . which Dylan could only counter with a much more intense version of his previous attempt.

So, cast your votes, ladies and gentlemen, for the best smile in the house!

bee in my bottom

A couple of weeks ago, Dylan and I were coming into the house after getting the mail, when he stopped, screwed up his face, and began to yell. "My underwear hurts!" he howled, dancing around and pulling at the seat of his pants. I was confused for a second. "It still hurts!" he cried, still gyrating. I whipped off his pants as he continued hopping, and saw five red welts on his cute little tushie. I looked over to his pants, now in a pile on the floor, for the culprit. I touched them cautiously. After a second, a nasty little yellowjacket came crawling over the zipper, obviously unable to fly. I"took care of" the bee, and tended to Dylan, who had gone into the bathroom, determined to remain inside until I could bring him the severed head of his assailant.
Soon enough, all was well. Dylan spent about 30 minutes on his tummy on the sofa, pants off, watching "Diego" with a paper towel saturated with apple cider vinegar affixed to his bum (great home remedy--draws out the poison). By the end of the day, he was riding his bike, ready to face the world again.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

cicada surprise

Dylan was climbing a tree in our yard when we spotted the big, vacant shell of a cicada, still clinging to the tree. It was a pretty neat sight

He was a little reticent at first, but once he realized the bug had left the building, he held the shell in his hand so I could take a photo.

Alexa wanted to serve it up as "ice cream," but ended up squishing the delicate coating beneath her not-so-gentle fingers. (Her day care provider, Miss Ann, has dubbed her "Little Miss Tuff Stuff.")

"When we walk, we naturally go to the fields and woods; what would become of us, if we walked only in a garden or a mall?"
--Thoreau, "Walking"

uh-huh, shedoobie

Alexa does a pretty mean Mick Jagger impersonation.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

rocky mountains on my mind

Strange coincidences and nostalgic longings. Yesterday, during "nap" time,
I was working on a short story I've been revising some time. I spent
the bulk of yesterday's writing session working on a scene that
takes place at the Mountain Sun Brewery in Boulder, Colorado,
a lovely, friendly, vibrant pub where I used to hang out and
drink Java Porter--a miraculous blend of beer and coffee-- when I was in my mid-twenties.
When naptime ended, I went to check the mail. The box was stuffed with the usual mess of catalogs, bills, and solicitations, but also my "Colorado State" alumni magazine. How funny, I thought. I've just been writing about Colorado.
Wednesday is my running night. On the first Wednesday of the month, we meet up after our run for beer and food at Archie Moore's in Wallingford. A few minutes after we were seated, my running pal, Jim Dalton, strolled in wearing a "Mountain Sun" t-shirt. Coincidence, or some kind of sign??? Ahhh, Colorado, I miss you so!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

the freewheelin' dylan

Lately, Dylan has become interested in going through the CD's and choosing which ones he wants to listen to. This afternoon, he picked out a Dylan CD and put it into the stereo. As his namesake sang "Blowin' in the Wind," Dylan went to get his harmonica so he could "play along." (A couple of weeks ago, he complained that his harmonica wasn't working, because "it's not playing that Bob Dylan song when I blow into it.")

Then it was time for a guitar solo.

And a little singing as well.
(p.s. The "enemy" team jersey compliments of Daddy)