Tuesday, September 29, 2009

School Pix

I love this typical Ben expression -- and how about that Adam's apple?

Long hair and braces -- that's Logan. The girls are crazy about him and so am I.

Today Logan's football game is at another school -- his first away game and first ride on the team bus. Ben and I (and probably Grandpa) will be in the stands cheering him on. We are so busy with football, band and practices that I was compelled to put music lessons on hold until the first of the year. They have missed 3 out of the last 4 lessons -- paying for a whole month and getting one lesson just doesn't make sense. We'll miss them -- Chris (guitar/Logan) and Mark (drums/Ben) have become an important part of Missouri lives.

We'll have to bundle up for this evening's game -- the temp has dropped to the mid-40's at night and the mid 60's during the day. Walnuts are all over the ground and there is the first tinge of red in the maples.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

County Fair

Mallaika in motion (perpetually)

Just take the bus and get off at Tom Nevers. You can walk the rest of the way. And that was our plan for Sunday afternoon on Nantucket Island. Just a few little problems:
  • The "you" in this case meant seven people including a three-almost-four year old, an almost two-year-old, and a seventy-year-old using a walker, as well as four able-bodied adults.
  • "the rest of the way" was probably a couple of miles.
  • It was then early afternoon and we had to be on the returning ferry at 5 P.M.
We naively began our walk after leaving the bus. We walked and walked and Tom would nervously consult his GPS and say vague things like "it's either just around this bend or its way on the other side of that hill." But, it was a pleasant afternoon, no rain, neither hot, cold, nor windy, so we just kept trudging, and no one complained.

Finally, a nice big Lincoln Navigator made a U-turn in front of us. The driver rolled down his window and asked, "You folks heading for the fair?" Salvation! "Yes!" "Pile in, " he said, and we did.

Nantucket has a permanent population of 6,000 -- like a small town and it is an island. Crime on an island is kind of hard to get away with when the ferry only goes three times a day. So we felt safe. What we didn't consider is what 6,000 people do on a gray wind-swept island during the long off-season. I can tell you -- they drink. And this kind fellow was getting a head start on the off-season. Four empty beer cans and one in progress decorated the interior of his SUV.

Regardless of the risk, we got there safely. The fair was held at Tom Nevers -- a former Naval Station. The landing strip there is washing away and falling into the Atlantic as Nantucket erodes and shifts slightly toward the mainland. Also at the Station is a bunker intended for use by John Kennedy if he were at Hyannis Port in the event of an attack.

The fair was sweet and low key. It consisted of a food concession, an exhibit of monstrous pumpkins, a couple of bouncy houses for the kids, a few farm animals (goats, sheep, chickens, and ducks, all supplied by the same family), a dog show in which every dog won a prize (shortest, whitest, noisiest, etc.), and a few exhibits promoting good works: save the whales, prevent domestic violence (very high during the long drunk winters on Nantucket), etc.

All in all, it was a good day. We took a taxi back to town.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trip Report

Nantucket, the Gray Lady, is far, far away. The boat trip took us two hours and thirty miles across the water, past the eerily somber Kennedy compound at Hyannis Port, to another place lost in time. Quaint, quiet, historic, tranquil, touristy, and beautiful, it was the perfect place for our weekend getaway.

Mallaika and Eleonora hit it off immediately. Eleonora is just developing language and it seems to be mostly Italian. She dubbed Mallaika, Mima, a contraction of bambina (baby), and would delightedly squeal , "Mima" each time they reconnected.

Lorenzo, Nichole, and I feasted on lobster for $19.95.
The beach was littered with billions of shells and several plein aire painters.
Beachcombers (Lorenzo, Chris, Eleonora, and Tom) and fishing boats work the shores of Nantucket.
The misty air makes lush blooms.
Tom, Nichole, Mallaika, and I left the island Sunday afternoon while Lorenzo, Chris, and Eleonora stayed on another day. As we parted, Eleonora held out her arms and wailed, "Mima, Mima."

At Tom and Nichole's house, Mallaika put on a show for me using an inverted cheerleader's pompom as a microphone; she sang and danced, assuming the persona of "Hannah Antenna."

But, it's good to be home . Logan's first football game is tonight -- rain is forecast.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Know What It Is

It's a black Spanish radish. But, what will I do with it? I'm thinking maybe grate it and make a slaw if it isn't too hot. One of the benefits of CSA membership is learning to experiment and try weird vegetables. I also love the wonderful fresh veggie aroma that fills my car when I bring home the bounty. Beats the smell of sweaty football playing boy that permeates the vehicle each afternoon on the way home from practice.

Logan's first game is next Tuesday. Tomorrow they suit up in their full uniforms for the first time. I can't wait to get a picture. I am so proud of the way he has embraced practice -- he works his tail off every day for 2-1/2 hours and boy, does he work up an appetite!

Ben is excited about auditioning for a regional band (through the school). A state band will be formed from the best of the regionals. The boys are quite busy with all of their practices and I'm equally busy driving them around! The season is intense until Thanksgiving and then things settle down for the holidays and the winter.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Camping Out

Logan has gone to spend the night at a friend's house where eight boys plan to sleep in tents in the backyard. Sounds good on the surface, but I'm anxious because:
  • It's been raining all day and will no doubt rain tonight.
  • Logan didn't want to bring a sleeping bag, he brought only one (thinnish) blanket and a pillow. He has nothing to put under him and the ground is very hard and rocky around here (unless you are in a mud puddle or sink hole).
  • He's afraid of the dark.
Do you think I'll get a call in the middle of the night? He has a cell phone and isn't afraid to use it! Do you think I'm overly anxious?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


This week's harvest included edamame, green onions, carrots, various peppers, various beans (green and red, long and normal) okra, cherry tomatoes and slicing tomatoes, yellow squash, summer jewel melon, apples, egg plant, cucumber and eggs. We know and like most of this stuff, but I had never cooked okra, nor had I ever offered it to the boys. So, I decided to hide it.

A melange of brown rice, tomatoes, okra, peppers, onions, ham, and boned chicken cooked in the crock pot used several of the veggies as well as some leftovers. It was kind of gummy from the rice and the okra, but it tasted pretty good (lots of garlic). I steeled myself for "eeeeyewww, what's that? Do I have to eat it?" Guess what -- they ate it without a murmur! Now, I'll grant you, no one said, " Yum, can I have more?" But, I'll settle for no complaints and okra successfully ingested.

Speaking of ingested, digested, or whatever, I've finished a few more books.

White Tiger by Aravind Adiga is a story of India and a Mann Booker Prize Winner. It's interesting and good reading, but I'm finding that all the India stories, from Slumdog Millionaire on down are beginning to sound alike: class distinction, abject poverty, social injustice, disease, cruelty, and someone who triumphs one way or another. Still worth reading. (Cinder ate the corner of this -- lucky for him and for me, he didn't get any of the text.)

Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth is also a Booker prize winner. A tale of an English slave ship's owners and crew. Full of class distinctions, cruelty and social injustice (like the India stories), it reminds me a bit of Two Years Before the Mast. I found it a bit plodding in parts, but all in all, a good read. The style takes a while to get used to -- kind of like seeing a Shakespeare play -- you know, how you have to tune your ear to the sound of it.

The Elephanta Suite by Paul Theroux is a collection of three novellas about India. The folks he writes about live well at a terrible cost to the under class. Theroux is not a very good novelist, the stories are thin and more about place than people as one would expect from a travel writer.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is a first novel by a Canadian writer, although it is an American story. I LOVED this book! It reminds me a lot of John Irving - some freaks, good circus history and setting, well told.

The photo above also includes The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo because I found it (I was unable to locate it for the earlier photo of a stack of books). Let me know if you would like any of these.

Here are four blocks of my work in progress -- these are 16 inches square and there are 12 of them (all done)
Then, in the same quilt there are four blocks like this -- 27" square. I still have four other blocks to finish and then I'm done. I hope to be done before I go to Nantucket next week.