The Undertones....on Top of the Pops, summer 1979.....
It does, it really feels like summer. How does that happen, seemingly overnight? Of course the wretched heat helps, but so does the fact that I bought tomatoes at the farmers' market and my kale and swiss chard is ready to start harvesting.
Yesterday was a somewhat wretched day but it was brightened by the presence of all three members of Little Pieces in our house lined up for showers. It made me tremendously happy and of course I got to see my beloved Grant Badger, see Rob Lloyd after a million years and meet Herman Jolly. All wonderfully charming men. You know how it is....there are some people that you may not truly know that well in some ways and yet you still feel very connected to them. That's how it is with Grant----we just love him. I wish I could have seen them play the night before but this made up for it.
The rest of the day seemed to devolve into frustrating children, a special pepper plant given by a friend killed by an errant foot in the garden, and Ernie reacting to Dennis Hopper dying of prostate cancer. Sometimes you can brush those things off and sometimes they go right to the heart of you, right to the heart of the fear that you try to keep hidden away, so it was a hard day for him.
The boys had planned a family movie junk food night so we started it early because we were at that point where we just wanted to get the day OVER with. The movie chosen was Night At the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian which I had seen once before and thought was horrible. However I'd been given strict instructions that I could not read during it, could not look at the laptop during it and most of all, could not go upstairs to read during it. So I watched it and ate some Cheetos and tried to cheer Ernie up by making him homemade potato chips and I didn't find it as wretched this time. I still found the Amelia Earhart character incredibly annoying with her faux Katherine Hepburn phrasing (I find Katherine Hepburn rather annoying as well) but in the end.....it's a movie about history and how can you not love that? When it was over the boys happily retreated to Lego and I used my 'get-out-of-jail-free-card' by saying I wanted to 'go upstairs and read." The boys settled down eventually and Ernie sat on the porch with a glass of something strong.
Today however has been lovely. I'm sitting in the front yard with that summertime-morning tease of heat and humidity. Ernie and Owen have already had a water gun fight and now Ernie's doing some tilling for our third raised bed. Later today we'll go over to Ann and Bob and Sophie's. I'm thinking of bringing a white peach and tomato salad. I got incredibly perfect and FRAGRANT white peaches from my fruit of the month club (thanks Debbie!) and we bought tomatoes at the farmers' market. I've got fresh mint and basil in the garden---maybe with a bit of red onion and shallots if I have them.... I've also got to make strawberry-cherry cobbler. The other day our neighbor Greg kindly let Owen pick some cherries from their tree and there's not quite enough for cobbler so I'll add in strawberries from the market. Sounds summery as well, huh?
Oh, and yesterday was my sister Debbie's 21st anniversary of being sober. I NEVER remember the date to send her a card. Oh well.... Cheers, claps and huzzahs all around for her though, don't you think? CONGRATS Debbie.....with love!
from our drive the other night:
oh, and one more thing. Yesterday Owen was trying to convince us to take him to Toys R Us because he'd decided what Lego set he wanted to get with his savings. I kept saying, "not now, maybe later" but then he thought for awhile and countered with, "well, you know when we get home from school you guys always tell us to do our homework right away and get it over with? Well, why don't you take me and just get it over with?" Score. We took him to Toys R Us.
Eh. The weekend's been a bit of a bust so far. Hopefully it will turn around. Last night we headed out, had a quick dinner, then ran into friends and had a drink with them. Then we just got in the car and just drove because it was a bit too early to head to the show and I didn't feel like having another drink. So we drove out in the fields as the sun started to set and it felt wonderful. Then the phone range and it was a sobbing Owen. A bit of a babysitting debacle and I guess I should have known better. I should have gotten our wonderful regular babysitter but I know she gets up early on Saturdays and I thought this would be o.k. Sigh. It wasn't. So we ended up heading home where I got Owen calmed down, sent the babysitter home and tearfully sent Ernie on to his way to see our beloved Grant.
This morning we headed out to the farmers' market where upon our youngest drove us insane. We came back home and turned on the a/c because it was a lot warmer than we'd thought it would be. I decided to sort through some stacks of paperwork and came across the humongous stack of sympathy cards we received after Judi died. I hadn't been able to let them go before this but I decided it was time, sorting through them to set aside just a few very special ones. What was I thinking? Not the best way to cheer oneself up I must say. I was feeling rather teary and dour so I grabbed the book of poems that Leo had brought home from school and I must say it pretty much is taking care of the tears.... My boy hates to write so I know these were WAY under duress.
Inside my heart lives....
Music, video games, my family
I know it's short
Don't bother me about it.
page two: Object Poem:
It's small, 8 studs on top
it's been around for 52 years
What is it?
page three: Place Poem:
Low tide, high tide
only water height is different
the sand gets annoying
the sun is always high
it's good for summer vacation.
I have nothing to fill this page so just skip it
I have no other poems.
The lyrical way he finishes the first poem with "don't bother me about it" just kills me. My sweet peas.
1. A notable day. The last full day of school for the boys (although they get out a half hour early--cutting short my lunch with my husband...hmph). They go on Tuesday for an hour or something like that. When I came downstairs this morning I found Leo---in a fit of elation----emptying his backpack onto the living floor. Composition notebooks, random books, 49 SOAR slips (not that he counts or anything) and various other detritus. I asked him if the middle of the living room floor was the best place for this and he cheerfully said, 'of course!" I hate to argue with a cheerful Leo and I admit it did make quite a statement so I let it be. Later Ernie and were looking at it all and he picked up this. This is one of those slips (I don't think it's a SOAR slip--I get confused on all this stuff) they get when they have been a good Dr. Howard citizen and when they get a certain number of them they get a treat. Here Leo has politely added a post it saying that while this is his 20th slip he STILL doesn't want ice cream. God I love that boy. I shake my head by I'm just damn crazy about him.
2. It is also a notable day because tonight Ernie and I get to see our beloved Grant Badger (Little Pieces) play at Mike n Molly's. We (Ern-thia in Grant's parlance) haven't seen him in a million years and he's one of our favorite people. I do seem to have a soft spot for bass players, don't I?
3. Found another sheet of Owen's word illustrations.....my favorite on this one is the little guy looking at the big tree and saying 'gulp' illustrating 'brave.' Although I also like the little guy rearing back in shock at the size of the giant and you gotta like the nurse (note: complete with cap Debbie) attending to the person on the stretcher.
4. My tomatillo plant surrounded by a forest of cilantro and dill volunteers....
Have a good weekend all!
Oh, and I forgot to add....this morning Owen woke me up and while my eyes were still closed, said, "Do you know what Daddy and I are going to do on Memorial Day?" I mumbled 'no' and he said, "we're going to honor Grandpa at the cemetery and we want to invite you. It's Memorial Day and we want to honor him. You can come if you want." and then he added "and Leo has to come." I kissed him and said I'd love to.
Sometimes I think I am just fine and pat myself on the back for handling my mother's death so well. And then I end up screaming through the phone at the AT&T guy about my mother's phone bill and I think...huh....maybe not.
I didn't disconnect her phone right away. I made the rounds of phone calls about everything one day but it was on a weekend when the AT&T line wasn't open. So then of course I forgot about it until I got a note saying it had been disconnected for non-payment. "oh good" I thought...now that's done. But I knew my mother would want the past due amount paid so I sent that off and wrote 'please do not reconnect, customer is deceased' on the bill. Now I suppose I knew I should have called about it but I hate phone calls at the best of times and I was so tired of making the calls. Everybody is well trained to express sympathy for your loss and sometimes I just don't want to hear it. I don't want them to tell me they understand what a hard time it is and how hard it is to lose a mother and that they appreciate my making calls at this difficult time. So I just wrote on the bill and sent it off.
Of course I received another bill. So I geared up and called about it. I punched her number in and hit the pound sign...nothing happened. I punched her number in again and hit the pound sign....I got disconnected. I called back, punched her number in and hit the pound sign and got connected to somebody. He asked me for the phone number that I had just punched in three times already. Sigh. Went through my story. He said I should have called to disconnect it after I received the disconnection notice. I said I understood that they have policies and rules and categories of disconnection that THEY understand but as a customer....if I receive a notice saying that the number has been disconnected why would it occur to me that I needed to call and disconnect a disconnected number? After going round in circles he said he understood and passed me off to somebody else. I got the new person and he asked me for the number that I had punched in three times and given to the other person. Sigh. We went back and forth and finally I said, "so if I had just said 'o.k. fine, it's disconnected' and thrown away the bill there would be no problem but because I tried in good faith to pay the past due balance I am getting screwed. He basically agreed without actually saying so. In the meantime there kept being loud whistling noises and yelling so I kept having to ask him to repeat himself. Finally I said, "what is going on?" and he said, "well, we have a very interactive office is the only way to explain it." So from then on, we would both pause and wait for the whistling and yelling to stop before we started back up again. We went back and forth and back and forth and honestly what the hell is wrong with me that I'm going through all this for $50? He finally gives up and passes me on to somebody else. He asks for the phone number. Sigh. Thus far I had been irritated but o.k. but the new guy immediately starts in sympathizing with me on my loss and talking about how it's hard to lose a mother now matter what age you are so when we start getting into I immediately start yelling and then of course came the tears. Sigh. He's closing the account and crediting my account. He said I will get a final bill, it may be for a few dollars or it may be a small credit. I said that was fine. Then I apologized for yelling. He said he understood and that if I got a survey to give him good marks.
Recent favorites on youtube:
Amy Rigby and Wreckless Eric doing Jackie DeShannon's Put A Little Love in Your Heart from their new album Two-Way Family Favorites. And on a related note: can you ALL please WILL Amy's glasses back to us? They were supposed to be returned to us since Customs in France acted like Customs in France I guess....the last word on the tracking is that they were in Elk Grove Village on May 17th. The SEVENTEENTH! Supposedly they are tracing them for us and I'm hoping to be able to deliver them in person at Schuba's on June 18th. Cross your fingers, send a prayer----do anything you can to send those glassesBACK to me please.....
Given that Leo is seriously fond of potato chips, Ernie is often found singing Slim Gaillard's Potato Chip. Periodically he broadens his repertoire to include the classic Yeproc Heresey by Gaillard....and once that gets into my head it is WAY hard to get it out....
And then you have Dan Baird and Homemade Sin (with Warner Hodges) doing American Girl by Tom Petty while they were in Spain. I don't know about you but this makes me a happy girl.
Last night I was ridiculously tired. I just didn't sleep the night before and in fact I was so tired that I couldn't bring myself to cook despite a refrigerator full of food---and that's not like me. At one point Ernest had to step in and explain to Owen, "Owen, I've known your Mom for a very, very long time and when she's this tired----it's really best to leave her alone."
So when the boys went off to swim at Vicky's pool (poor Vicky must feel like she's being stalked, there was a gang of kids waiting for her to come home because God forbid she have a life away from them) we ordered a pizza. Then we heard thunder so we scurried outside to watch the sky. We were sitting at our neighbor Dave's house with him and Ricky watching the shapes of the clouds when suddenly Ernie said, "Look! It's Bob Dylan!" And sure enough we could see Bobby the Poet in the sky..... Do you see him? You're kind of looking from above at his profile looking to the right?
We sat and stared at the clouds until the pizza got there....ate pizza lying on our bed watching tv and I drifted off.
Not a bad evening. I got cold wet hugs from the boys when they came back from the pool (I love those kind of hugs in the summer), saw Bob Dylan in the sky and pizza with lots of oregano.....
Can't complain, can't complain....
I really considered selling my sons this weekend. Truly.
Shoe shopping. Sigh. It took several years off my life yesterday. I swear part of it might be the bad music they pipe in at Kohl's but the rest is all because of my beloved sons. Owen desperately wanted Tony Hawk shoes which cost too much but the last pair did last a lot longer than the Target version we'd bought in the past so off we went. Of course we couldn't find the pair he wanted (it all had to do with the shoelace color and no, it didn't help to offer to buy him other shoelaces) so he tried on pair after pair. And as I got hotter and more harried I tried to be patient when he assured me that the size 7 felt too tight but the size 6 felt fine. Then Leo moped and moped because he couldn't find anything without shoe laces and he refuses to wear shoes that need to be tied. He says he'll forget how to do it. When I point out that his mind is like a steel trap he disagrees and says sometimes he goes upstairs to his room to look for a piece of Lego and when he gets there he forgets what he's looking for. I pointed out that the amount of Lego in his room could empty anybody's mind...to no avail. Then as we forced him to try pair after pair on he kept insisting that they were too small even when they were clearly big enough. It reminded me of the time when he was two years old and we went for his check up at the doctor and they did a hearing test. Imagine that fat little stubborn face sitting there REFUSING to lift his hand to show that he'd heard a sound in his ear. It got louder and louder till it was echoing through the whole room but he never did give in even though he never tried to pretend he didn't hear everything ELSE in the room. They'd ask "did you hear that?" and he'd just frown and shake his head no. Good Lord.
Eventually I said, "O.K.! We're buying these---let's go." Leo insisted the shoes were too heavy to carry so Owen cheerfully took both boxes and headed off in the lead....
This morning Leo insisted on taking the laces out of his shoes and doing something funky with the tongue. Owen looked at him and sighed, "Leo, you look awesome" so evidently it was very cool. I just have no idea at this point in time.
But for most of the weekend I just wanted to sell them. They just would not leave each other alone. Peck, peck, peck....like little chickens. And Owen has ALWAYS known just how to get under Leo's skin and Owen's skin is so senstive that Leo can hurt him just by sighing. GRRRRR. Thankfully the big news of the weekend was that they were going to get to swim at Vicky's pool (we have the best neighbors). Owen went over to ask and came back with a plan to rally the troops (alert all other neighborhood kids) about 1:30....the ETA of swimming was 2:30. So a little after two there was this group of kids milling about in front of Vicky and Greg's house wearing swimming trunks and quivering with excitement. Poor Vicky and Greg! Anyway, at least it wore them out a little.
I spent much of my weekend obsessing over how to fix up our downstairs bathroom. The problem is that anything you do leads to more and more and more. It needs a new ceiling, I'd like to move the washer and dryer into the oversized closet and I'd like to rearrange the tub and sink and toilet. Of course that means new flooring and new tiling in the shower is needed no matter what we do. Of course we could just do that but.....then you start thinking....well, if I'm going to do THAT then I should do THIS....and so on....
So it was just one of those weekends. Part of the problem is that we spent far too much time on North Prospect (the mega commercial strip) so this is what I saw for much of the weekend:
We did score three pairs of jeans, two pairs of shorts and nine shirts all for $20 at Goodwill. Then we went to Target to finish off summer clothes for the boys (as they have nothing that fits them) and spent ten times that. Oof. But at least for the first time in awhile they will have clothes that actually fit them....and we bought BIG so hopefully they'll last a bit!
So that's my weekend. Somewhat unsatisfying, I agree. And to top it off last night when I was heading inside there was a BIG snake right in front of the front steps. Even Ernie said it was big....and it bit him as he tried to grab it.
What does the week hold?
Well, the City of Urbana says my parents' recently trimmed hedge is a public nuisance and is in the way of the sidewalk so there's that to be dealt with. I need to make some appointments regarding setting up the trust for the boys. Got to remember to call the monument company and have them put my mother's dates on the stone in the cemetery. I KEEP forgetting. I need to stop putting off dealing with my mother's house. Damn....I better try to come up with SOMEthing fun. Any suggestions?
Oh....yeah, at least I did get a nice picture of my hostas after the rain:
I'm full of a sense of well-being this morning because we saw our good friends Berni and Wendy last night. So affirming to spend time with old friends. Berni and Ernie....not only do their names rhyme, but so do their personalities and their histories and their love of music. They're not just the same but somehow they rhyme....does that make any sense? Anyway, they are special to one another and Wendy and I love them all the more for it. Ernie and I both woke up in good moods this morning---thanks guys (and you really SHOULD consider moving back to C-U).
Gloomy rainy day....Leo and I LOVE them so we're both quite happy. And it's Friday....ahhhhhh.....
Look at my happy little kale: