Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
"I can write words from the -ug Word Family"
8. thuge keriktre (which is Nathaniel's way to spell "thuggy characters")
His teacher put a big smiley face next to that one. I'm glad she appreciates the little weirdo.
"I Have a Little Poem"
I have a little poem
In the pocket of my jeans.
When I am feeling lonely,
All I have to do, it seems...
Is take my little poem
And read it through and through.
It cheers me up day or night,
It never makes me blue.
I have a little poem
IN my pocket, all the time.
When I'm feeling lonely,
I read my little rhyme.
This was the poem inside said pocket:
Develops the jaw,
But celery, stewed,
Is more quietly chewed.
Monday, April 27, 2009
This video is how most of we American children were introduced to Wagner's music and operas, and frankly many of us still have difficulty hearing "Ride of the Valkyries" without hearing "kill da wabbit" in our heads.
So, gather the kids around and enjoy!
What's Opera Doc?
(Apologies for linking, but youtube disabled the embed code. Boo Hiss!)
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Have I mentioned that as much as I love the city, I had forgotten a few key things? Like how to be smart and safe. Fortunately, I'd been in the company of two gorgeous men all day, so I thought nothing of my safety as I walked around looking rather fetching (if I do say so myself). I had done my hair. I wore make-up all day. I had on heels. In short, I looked foxy.
I had been in the city a couple weeks earlier, again in the company of Marc and Sukhvinder, and it was a weekend so riding the train home was packed with people and I had no worries for safety.
I hadn't a care in the world as Chris Ian and I waited for the train with no crowds around us. I began to be aware of the situation when a gentlemen on the PATH train outright leered at me while Chris Ian and I were talking. It wasn't until Chris Ian got off at his station and I looked around that I realized I had forgotten how to scope out a safe situation. Midwestern suburbia has definitely weakened my street smarts. I was the only girl on a train full of men. And I looked good. More than one man was leering at that point without my Filipino male companion by my side.
This may seem improbable. I'm not the kind of girl that gets oohs and ahhs of admiration over my looks. Ever. And it's been a solid decade since anyone tried to pick me up. (Except that one guy at the bookstore when I had two small children and a husband at home. It had been so long that I nearly wept with gratitude for his apparent admiration.) (Oh, and the guy at the gym that one time.)
Lest you dismiss this and think it was all in my head, let me tell you what came next. The guy who was responsible for opening and closing the doors sat across from me and said, "You look tired, honey." I weakly smiled, and replied that I was. At which point he said, "You want me to hold you so you can sleep?"
I laughed and told him no thanks. And then he got up and moved to a different car. Apparently, it was a rough shoot down.
When I got to Newark to wait for my husband to pick me up, I was again the only woman on a street corner full of big burly men. It occured to me that I was something of an idiot. And then I wondered if anyone would mistake me for a hooker. My hair was big enough. But my heels weren't high enough and I wasn't showing enough cleavage. That was something of a comfort.
It's the little things.
My husband sang a choral version of this poem in NJ Region II Chorus under the direction of Ginny Moravek. That was 17 years ago. He still walks around singing it. In fact, any of this poem that I have memorized is his fault.
Enjoy! (And thanks, Carrie!)
So after our day in the city with our boys, Todd bundled them home, I shopped a little and then met two wonderful friends for dinner at Ellen's Stardust Diner. Chris Ian, a.k.a. the tooth fairy to my children, works there and took us to meet all his fellow singing waiters and waitresses. Again, snobby me was a little appalled at the idea of going to such a touristy place, but we had SO much fun!! You can't not have a good time at Ellen's, specifically if the entire staff is stopping by the table to check on you. All of the staff take turns singing either a song from the 50s or a show tune, and all of them are working there way into showbiz, so they are goooooood! One of the guys there had just been hired to be one of the Hyenas in The Lion King tour. There were lots of other similar stories. Anyway, fun, fun, fun! You should go if you're in town. (And order the strawberry shortcake! Perfect proportions of cream, strawberries and cake. Mmmm.)
Chris Ian and Marc were delightful company! The two of them kept humming the theme from "Murder She Wrote" in anticipation of the show. For me, it was all about Rupert. Who despite recent plastic surgery is dang good looking on stage and in a tux.
"I'll take one of those, please."
The play was delightful! (And should at least be nominated for a Tony for the lighting design.) Angela Lansbury is amazing considering she's 84 years old, and according to Rupert when he appeared on the Today Show, she never misses a show, which guilts the rest of the cast into having to do every show as well.
After the show I convinced Marc and Chris Ian to be theater geeks with me and to wait by the stage door for the actors to come out. I was not leaving without a signed program and a close up glimpse of Rupert.
I can't remember which one of them came out first. But...
Angela came out of the theater, and she was a delight! She smiled and talked to everyone and signed any program or poster handed to her. (She did refuse to sign anything not from the show. She didn't want to encourage people who hadn't been at the show and were just glomming on to the awaiting theater crowd.)
Rupert came out (snicker), signed a few programs (mine being the most important) and then waltzed away all by himself, casually down the road. One very handy thing about being in the company of a man who is 6'5" is that he can see over the crowd and when I had lost sight of my darling Rupert was able to spot him immediately strolling down the sidewalk. All. By. Him. Self.
Do you hear me?!
Marc suggested that then was my chance to tackle him. I would be lying if I said that the thought was not instantly appealing to me. But then I had a sudden vision of having to call Todd to come bail my out of some precinct in the city. I didn't think he'd find it very amusing...well, not for a few months at least.
I struggled inwardly at my decision to not throw my arms about Ruperts waist at a stampeding run, but then he got in a car at the end of the block and my turmoil was over. The moment had passed and I wasn't going to have to explain any ridiculous behavior to my ever-loving-and-ridiculously-patient husband.
Though I may forever regard Rupert Everett as "the one I let get away".
Rupert!!! He signed my program and made eye contact, and yes, Marc, is shorter than you. You still win.
Finally, when he'd had enough he yelled up at everyone standing on the curb waiting for the sign to change, "HEY!!! EVERYBODY GET OUT OF MY WAY!!!"
Apparently, he's ready to move to the city at any time.
Saturday, April 25, 2009
With some time to kill, I decided to walk back down to Macy's to see what the "Spring Flower Show" was all about. I stayed in for about five minutes. It was crowded full of people looking at Flamingos made from fake flowers. They were admittedly pretty fabulous, but not worth the crowds and same old stuff you could get at any Macy's.
The thing that was amusing, though, is my Father in Law's latest gig is doing finances for a company that makes "permanent botanical" arrangements.
"Permanent Botanical" are what those in the biz like to call fake plants. Just like my husband does "direct marketing" and not junk mail.
So, here's to Permanent Botanicals in the shape of Flamingos!! Macy's and I salute you!
The day we headed into the city was sunny/cloudy/rainy/snowy. Typical spring. The little boys were so excited. They remembered NYC from last time. We tried taking them in a lot when we lived in NJ, but they were so young when we moved that they don't really remember it. Benjamin has a few memories, but the others don't really.
We took the PATH from Jersey City to NYC. And then walked from Penn Station up to Times Square. Todd was so happy to be back in the city. He has always loved the sights, sounds, and smells. The crowds, the rush, the everything about it. Todd was happy.
We divided paths when we got up to the TKTS booth. Todd and J went to stand in line at the booth and I took the little boys to the Toys R Us at Times Square. Caleb and I went on the big fun Ferris Wheel. Nathaniel and Benjamin were still too traumatized from the Chicago incident to consider it.
Afterwards, we decided to get lunch while poor Todd was still in line at the TKTS booth. J asked if we could go to the Hard Rock Cafe. Todd and I were about to say "but it's tourist food" when we remembered that we are tourists now, and it was fine. We were happy to give him the experience. He was a little surprised by the prices of food and asked quietly if it was okay to order a $15 hamburger. To which I replied, "eh. It's midtown. That's what hamburgers cost."
Afterwards, J and I went to see "Avenue Q", and Todd took the little boys to see "The 39 Steps". Everyone enjoyed their respective shows. And then we met back at the TKTS so Todd could take the boys back to NJ and I could stay and see Rupert Everett!!! More on him in the next post.
The little boys loved the city! J did not. It was complete and total sensory overload for him. To the point that upon returning home, he decided that acting was no longer a viable career option.
Benjamin was the most city savvy. He remembered all the maneuvering in and around crowds. Nathaniel (who is hyper-sensitive to the fact that he can't be around cigarette smoke) after holding his breath for the gazillionth time shouted an exasperated, "AGGHH!! Does EVERYONE in New York City smoke?!"
All in all it was a fun adventure, but perhaps in the future we'll take in one or two kids at a time so it's a little less chaotic.
But this year we were in NJ for Passover, so that didn't happen. And we were so busy upon arriving home that I never got around to it. But the time has come. I realized today that the grain moths have become a little too much a part of our daily routine when Todd told me this story:
"Caleb had cereal first, and then decided to have some of the leftover French Toast from last night. He took a couple of bites and then said, 'I'll leave the French Toast for the grain moths.' and walked away from the table to go play."
I guess I know what priority number one for next week's project list will be.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Go ahead, it won't bite.
Well...maybe a little.
More a nip, like. A tingle.
It's pleasurable, really.
you see, it keeps on opening.
you may fall in.
Sure, it's hard to get started;
remember learning to use
knife and fork? Dig in:
You'll never reach the bottom.
It's not like it's the end of the world-
just the world as you think
you know it.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
This is Beth's second poem featured this month, which may make her our poet in virtual residence. Yea, Beth! There is no stipend for this prestigious honor, sadly. Perhaps I will bake you some cookies or something.
Read on about the drugs!
Dear Mr. President,
You have done it again.
You interfered with my one hour of escapism per week. One hour. On Monday night. That's all I'm asking for. I really don't think it's too much to ask for you to leave it alone.
You may recall that I was not amused by your press conference which interfered with my watching of House. I appreciate that you learned your lesson on that one.
I am less amused that you took Kal Penn.
Kal Penn, though you are forgiven for not realizing it since I hadn't added him yet, is on my list of "crushes-the married years". I have had dreams in which Kal plays starring roles. (He and a friend of mine were playing a prank on their boss but I was the one who had to break into the boss's house to turn off the fountain. Hm. Does the White House have a fountain?)
To add insult to injury, not even a full week after he was killed off the show*, he was photographed wearing a very boring suit at the White House Easter Egg thing!! Seriously? You stole him for that?!
And, okay, I realize it was his choice to work for you, and it's great that he's pursuing his other passion of politics, but I confess that I am secretly hoping that this is one really long research trip for "Harold and Kumar go to the White House".
A Unamused Voter who lives in Franklin County, Ohio and voted for you last time but if you keep messing with House may have to switch sides
*I've delayed writing this so all the people who had Tivo'd that episode could get around to watching it. But if you haven't watched it by now, you're clearly not that serious about it.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
The book and the poem just want to be together. Who am I to stop them?
Brains brains brains brains brains
Brains brains brains brains brains brains brains
Brains brains brains brains brains
(*this post is dedicated to Nancy who I think was a little concerned after my Shakespeare post that we were going to get all high-falootin'. As you can see, you have nothing to worry about.)
Sunday, April 19, 2009
Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
Why lovest thou that which thou receivest not gladly,
Or else receivest with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
By unions married, do offend thine ear,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.
Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
Resembling sire and child and happy mother
Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing:
Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee: 'thou single wilt prove none.'
Saturday, April 18, 2009
I guess I just wasn’t expecting it
And though I wasn’t expecting
A white stallion
And a castle in the clouds,
Maybe I was expecting a little armor.
It’s odd how quietly you came—No fanfare,
No dramatic revelation;
I just turned around one day
And there you were,
Where you’d always been.
Your hand fit quietly in my hand,
And your life quietly filled a void in my life.
It seems odd;
I have always looked at eternity
As some vast and distant goal,
But now I find
That bits and pieces of eternity
Are settling quietly
All around me.
-Dayle King Searle
This poem appeared in a magazine in 1991 and I thought it was wonderful. I'm sure I thought about Todd while reading it. I even used it in a presentation my senior year of High School. Everyone in the class was paired into couples and we had to plan a wedding. I included it as one of the readings. The football player/dressed all in black/played in a band/totally didn't care about the project/and barely spoke guy that was my partner found out how much it cost to rent a tuxedo. I planned every thing else. Menu, readings, music, service, travel, guest list, invitations, cake, dress (I even included a dress pattern and a sample of the material it would be made from).
When I was married 4 years later, I used absolutely none of it. In fact I didn't care. I just wanted to be married, not get married. Which makes me think that my senior year health class husband had the right idea.
Friday, April 17, 2009
'I cannot go to school today, '
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
'I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more-that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut-my eyes are blue-
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke-
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is-what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is...Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play! '
Thursday, April 16, 2009
me: Does he like it? Because it doesn't look at all comfortable, but I noticed so many guys in San Francisco had it.
Mark: How did you notice THAT?!
me: Oh. I was on a nude beach.
Mark: Were you nude?!
me: of course not. It's chilly in San Francisco. It seems like a very silly place to have a nude beach.
Mark: What were you doing at a nude beach in the first place?!
Me: It has the best view of the bridge.
Mark: Poor Todd.
me: Why poor Todd?
Mark: You're kind of a lot to handle sometimes.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Monday, April 13, 2009
Those hot dog on a stick hats remind me of all the hours of my middle school years I wasted at the mall.
I might have spent more hours there, though, if something like this had happened.
To read more about the people behind it click here.
(Incidentally, some victims of this group Improv Everywhere stayed with us in Ohio when their band was on tour. You can read Improv Everywhere's side of things here and the band's version as the explained it to Ira Glass if you watch the first TV version of This American Life on Showtime.)
Sunday, April 12, 2009
then Elvis really Lives
and Princess Diana foretold I end as car spin.
If you believe the letters themselves
contain a power within them,
then you understand
what makes outside tedious,
how desperation become a rope ends it.
The circular logic that allows senator to become treason,
and treason to become atoners.
That eleven plus two is twelve plus one,
and an admirer is also married.
That if you could just re-arrange things the right way
you'd find your true life,
the right path, the answer to your questions:
you'd understand how the Titanic
turns into that ice tin,
and debit card becomes bad credit.
How listen is the same as silent,
and not one letter separates stained from sainted.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Oh, I'm being eaten
By a boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
A boa constrictor,
I'm being eaten by a boa constrictor,
And I don't like it--one bit.
Well, what do you know?
It's nibblin' my toe.
It's up to my knee.
It's up to my thigh.
It's up to my middle.
It's up to my neck.
It's upmmmmmmmmmmffffffffff . . .
- Shel Silverstein
Friday, April 10, 2009
"Birdie, Birdie in the sky
Why'd you do that in my eye?"
Which just goes to show that there's a poem for everything.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
whistles far and wee
and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
when the world is puddle-wonderful
old balloonman whistles
far and wee
and bettyandisbel come dancing
from hop-scotch and jump-rope and
(This was a great suggestion from Nancy! Thanks, Nancy! I love the bit about the world being puddle-wonderful!)
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
Incidentally, on stage the lyric was "New York, New York a helluva town!" This was apparently to wild for MGM who changed it to "New York, New York a wonderful town!"
When I was in town last week for my uncle's funeral, I spent the following day in
New York City with some dear friends. I can't really explain how I felt. I'm not native to NYC. I'm a Jersey Girl, but being back in NYC again made me feel like I was home. Being on NJ Transit made me smile. The fact that I could remember the train stations and schedules to get into the city made me happy. I was even able to help out a few tourists who were lost. (I, myself, was lost at one point because the E train was stopped and sitting just short of the 6 train and the nice policeman gave me bad directions for getting to the 6 train.) Anyway, I love my new city and state. It is a wonderful place for us to raise our kids and live in an incredible neighborhood with great friends, neighbors, and schools. But every now and then it's nice to slip back into a comfortable place and enjoy it for a few hours.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Katey has been sending me emails about our runs in poetry form. I just wanted to share how relatively easy it is to slip poetry into your every day life.
The first one:
Friday at ten
We will walk run and then
I'll rub down my bunion
You'll upchuck fried onion
Just don't play hookie
Cause I ate Girl Scout cookie
The next one:
This Thursday at 1
I am in a meeting ...no fun
and therefore can't run
But this Friday I'm free
10 o'clock works for me
I'll beat you...you'll see
and I'll do it with glee
Emilia my friend,
Workouts I must suspend
Spring break is afoot,
So my schedule's caput
We'll resume in a fortnight,
That should be about right
Until then I vow
Not to eat like a cow
Saturday, April 4, 2009
The crystal goblet and the wine...-Jacques Crickillon
You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.
However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.
It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.
And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.
It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.
I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.
But don't worry, I'm not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.
(Because what women really want, apparently, is metaphors.)
Here is a clip of the poet reading it. Close your eyes and enjoy.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
It's late and I'm tired, so we will kick off the month with a Haiku sent to me by the fabulous Joan. In her own words "Dogs and poetry, a match made in...well, just read them anyway!"
"I sound the alarm!
Paper boy—come to kill us all—
Look! Look! Look! Look! Look!"
Go here for more of Haiku from the dogs perspective.
That wonderful and festive time of year is upon us once again. Time for us to send you the annual Smith family newsletter in which we brag about all the goings on of ourselves and our perfect children. We have spent the year entirely at home, so we could devote all of our time to making our house practically perfect in every way. Todd is a master craftsman and not a single project is left to be done around the house. Emilia has perfected all the old artisan methods of bread making, cheese making, butter churning, and (on a whim) basket weaving. All the boys are so quiet on a regular basis that their teachers are becoming a bit concerned about them being entirely too studious and not social enough. Not to fear, Dr. Phil had them on and we feel like we’re really working through their challenges with them now. In fact the other day, Caleb walked a few feet away from Emilia’s side and said hello to a complete stranger! It was a break-through!
HAPPY APRIL FOOLS’ DAY!!!
We Smiths seem to rarely be at home. In the past year we drove all over the country several times. We hung out in Chicago, at Mt. Rushmore, and Devil’s Tower on our way to a family reunion with Todd’s family in Utah and then quality time with all the Bradshaws in Wyoming. We also drove down to Florida twice. Caleb spent much of the cold Ohio winter asking if we could move to Florida. He and Nathaniel tried to further convince us to move by regularly wearing shorts and flip flops all winter long. (Though, when there was lots of snow, they did switch from flip flops to winter boots. Yes, they kept the shorts.)
Todd is still working at Chase bank and is very happy that his employer has nicely weathered the current banking storm. When not saving the world one piece of mail at a time, he can be found at the gym, playing Scramble or Word Twist on Facebook, or arranging music for his calling as ward choir director. He’s also still secretary for the Stake Young Men Presidency.
Emilia is still at home (or more accurately, shuttling boys all over the place in the car), though recently took on several piano and voice students and is very excited to realize that after a four year break, she still enjoys teaching private lessons. Her big excitement of the year was to take a trip out to San Francisco, where she joined some friends and hiked up to the Half Dome in Yosemite. She did a half marathon the previous spring to train for the event. She was also recently called as Relief Society President, much to the shock of all who know her. When not driving in the van, Emilia can be found reading or socializing both in person and virtually.
And now, the newest addition to our family: Jake! After nearly two years of waiting for the right adoptive fit for our family, Jake was placed with us in December. He is 16 and a native Ohioan. He’s a very talented actor and singer and has taken part in two musicals this year, and is now working on a part for a children’s show as well as several one act plays. He also plays the guitar and xbox 360. Like any self-respecting teenager, he likes to sleep and socialize. We are so happy that he’s agreed to become a part of our family.
Benjamin turned nine in March! Benjamin is having a great third grade year and is as affable as ever. Benjamin is still dancing and is on his 4th year of tap, and his 1st year of hip hop. He also recently discovered a love of “long” distance running, and was very excited to come in first in the class half mile. Benjamin loves to read and his parents have realized that they must take his book away when they turn out the light or they will find him reading in the dark a couple hours after bedtime.
Nathaniel LOVES kindergarten and has recently announced that he should just skip right to second grade because he already knows everything. He is involved with Gymnastics and loves running, tumbling, and swinging. Nathaniel has two great loves in life right now; numbers and the Wii. He frequently surprises us with his precociousness on both. Nathaniel also loves biology. When he gets sick he wants to learn all about the viruses that are making him ill. For the school science fair he made a clay model of some of the germs that cause ear infections and he now carries it fondly around with him.
Caleb is almost done with preschool and is excited to be joining his older brothers at full-day school next year. Caleb is still quite the fish and has a great time swimming. He was in heaven both times we were in Florida. Between the ocean and the salt water pools he was a very happy little boy. Caleb is also a devotee of all things Star Wars and every evil bad guy out there. He announced to us the other day after spreading his bread with jam all by himself, “Mom, when I grow up I am going to be a chef who spreads things. Or an astronaut. Instead of all of those creepy things.” (He had previously aspired to be the King of Vampires.)
We hope this letter finds you happy and healthy!