Friday, June 24, 2005

Hypothetical Question

Would it be bad to sneak an ice cream Drumstick for dinner if I give my children a more nutritious meal earlier in the evening?

A couple of factors to figure in: I had hummus & pita bread & carrots for lunch, and it's over 90*F here now. I broke down and turned the AC on, but it's still over 80*F in the house.

More Books

I read a lot, but I only tell you about the not-so-trashy ones here. The trashy ones, I occasionally talk about on Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels.

My latest favorite book is The Lake, the River & the Other Lake, by Steve Amick. And thanks to ypsi~dixit for telling me about this wonderful new book from a local author.


It really captures Michigan, tourism, summer people (Fudgies), boating, teenage life, social class, immigrant cherry pickers, the evils of jet skis, and so much more. It's the pefect summer read....light but not as completely mindless as Eleven on Top (which I gulped down as a frothy antidote after finishing Under the Banner of Heaven for my book club). I hope Amick's next book has more about Ann Arbor. Regardless, I'm looking forward to reading more of his work, and I'm going to buy some copies of his book for friends & relatives.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Housewife Theory of History

by Rebecca Solwit, in the latest Orion magazine is an article that Mothers & More readers and Miriam Peskowitz (of Playground Revolution) especially might appreciate.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

And a Joke from my Son... 8, he is really getting into puns and sound-alike types of jokes.

I dragged him to a playground full of 2-3 year olds last week for his younger sister's playgroup. Suddenly he stopped running around the equipment, came over to me, and said

"Why did the toddler cross the playground?"

"Uhh, I don't know. Why?"

"To get to the other SLIDE. Get it? Slide!"

We brought a tiny brown grasshopper and the first lightening bug I've seen this year home from the school playground, which I convinced him to release in the backyard. The caterpillar he found in our yard is still in its rubbermaid container on our kitchen table. I think it's a bagworm, yuck.

Monday, June 13, 2005

More Cute Things Said by a Three Year Old

It's an interesting time in language acquisition. A few days ago my daughter said she gets cold after drinking apple juice, "It gives me juice bumps."

Today she said she was going to take a "mouse nap". The other day I told her what a catnap was - as shown by her ten minute nap in the car. Today she decided she was going to take an even shorter nap, thus the mouse nap.

It was in fact such a short nap that I apparently missed it while checking an e-mail.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Fighting the Forces of Chaos, Death & Destruction


We just got a pretty expensive estimate for the second round of treatment for American elm that shades the whole back of our house, our deck, and the family room from the hot summer sun for over half the day. Unfortunately, two years ago (a year after we moved in), we realized the big tree had a few branches with some leaves turning yellow and dropping in the middle of summer. Googling revealed that this and brown stripes under the bark (indicating fungus clogged pores) on the smaller twigs are symptoms of Dutch elm disease.

I had erroneously assumed that our big elm meant that the tree was somehow resistant to the tree plague that swept through the midwest in the 40's and 50's, and that were just lucky we didn't have an ash tree in our yard. Whole neighborhoods around us are losing their shade trees (ash was a popular choice for city planners) to the emerald ash borer. Cities are struggling to pay for removing all the ashes on the street right of ways, and many can't pay for new saplings (in different species) to replace the mature ash trees.

Well, Dutch elm disease is still making periodic sweeps through Michigan, and taking some big trees with it. Now I realize what was going on when I saw those creepy black tubes poking out of tree trunks on a couple of college campuses - the trees were getting injected with fungicide to either prevent or attempt to control the fungus carried by the elm beetles. So we're doing that, and aggressive trimming (which has to be done by people who climb with chain saws), and extra watering and fertilizing the tree. It's a lot to spend, but it would actually be more to remove the big dead tree and buy an awning that would cover just a small part of the deck and the sliding glass doors that could easily turn our family room into an oven in July and August. Or even on a sweltering June day like today.

We're also spending money on various medicines & herbs to help our old dog's liver, which has some sort of degenerative disease. Zoe is 12 1/2, which is elderly for a lab/retriever mix, but she's otherwise happy and healthy, so she's getting four different pills daily, on the recommendation of our vet: a prescription, Vitamin E, milk thistle extract, and SAM-e. She likes the new regime, and now refuses to eat her dogfood until after she is given a cheese, peanut butter, or bread wrapped pill.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Unexpected Statements

Sentence #329 that I never dreamed I would say to one of my children: "No, you cannot keep a maggot as a pet."

I just donned disposable gloves to pitch a dead starling out of our yard. It looked pretty dead, with its gaping beak and dull eyes, but when I picked it up to pitch it over the fence and the creek and into the domain of the coyotes, I saw that its back was a big hole squirming with tiny maggots. If I had taken forensic anthropology, I could have told my kids how long the little bird was dead, but instead I sent it flying (along with a shower of maggots) while emphatically telling my son the above line.

Resources & Reading Guide for "The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars"

I am just so impressed with this book and this author, Miriam Peskowitz. I just ran across a reading guide for her book, and there is a wonderful list of online resources at her blog at Playground Revolution.

I'm thrilled to see that her book is moving up in Amazon's ratings, now at 12,046 (a week ago languishing at 96,088); still dismayed that Perfect Madness rates a huge 1162 (dropping from last week's 767). But what can I expect from a population that elected George W. Bush?

Right now I'm reading Laurie Notaro's We Thought You Would Be Prettier: True Tales of the Dorkiest Girl Alive, which is probably the funniest thing I've read since David Sedaris's Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. Which I initially had an impossible time finding on Amazon because I couldn't spell corduroy. I couldn't find Peskowitz's book for a long time, either, because I kept searching for The Truth About the Mommy Wars.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

A Primate's Memoir - Read It Now


If you are at all interested in Africa, brain chemistry, travel writing, primates & social relationships (especially baboons), or anthropology, you should read A Primate's Memoir right now. It's an autobiographical story of a primatologist/neuroscientist studying baboons in Kenya, but it is also a coming of age story, a travelogue, and an introduction to primate behavior. Most of all, it's funny and well-written. Amazingly well-written for an academic. In fact, imagine David Sedaris darting baboons with tranquilizer darts, hitching rides on trucks through the Sudan, doing magic tricks for the Kipsigi with dry ice, and you get an idea of the writing.

Here's an interesting interview with the author, Robert Sapolsky, and more about his book. I'm going to add the rest of his stuff to my huge stack of "to read" books right away. I may even buy a hardcover copy to keep after I return my library copy of A Primate's Memoir.