Friday, October 31, 2008

Fairfax (Road) Trips

Though we're just a one-van family right now, we seem to find ourselves on long road trips. Fairfax went to Massachusetts with us to catch the fall display of the Sugar Maples in early October. By the end of the month, Fairfax had seen the bright reds of the Black Gum, the light purples of the White Ash, and the orange of the Sassafras in central Virginia.

Of course, we always made time to stop at our favorite watering holes. Here we are in CT to get our fill of food that fills the soul and warms the heart.

On our way to see Mr. Jefferson's home, we basked in the ambiance of Charlottesville's Downtown Mall. That meant riding in the historic kiddie carousel, and sitting at the counter of century-old Timberlake's Drug Store for a grilled cheese sandwich and a vanilla malt milkshake.

Unfortunately, in the rush to catch the shuttle to Monticello, Fairfax was left in the van. She did enjoy the visit to the garden shop, though we had to make up for our neglect with a java stop at the Mudhouse.

The girls are taking a break from long-distance travels to concentrate on our election unit study. Fairfax is more than grateful for the rest but looks forward to having the wind on her ears and to spread the word about Marissa again.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fairfax Trips

As the D-meister has mentioned, we are helping spread the word on Infantile Spasms. We got our own Fairfax and lugged *her* around on our homeschool field trips. There must be something about cute girls and a bunny that elicit comments from strangers. Right on cue, the cute girls start their spiel about their little cousin, Marissa Ann.

Fairfax's first outing was to Hartland Orchard for our annual apple-picking. She encouraged the girls to climb trees, and was more than happy to comfort the girl that fell. No, she's not begging for a bite. We made sure she had her share.

We're learning American History this year through stories from our local monuments. OK, so we live in the DC metro area, and local refers to all those national monuments: Washington monument, the Lincoln memorial, the Jefferson memorial, the White House. But a field trip is a field trip, even when it means just taking the bus and the metro. The girls and Fairfax had an exciting time taking their first-ever bus ride, and deciphering the Metro map.

Of course, we had to take the obligatory shot with the Washington monument perfectly balanced on the bunny's nose, and another at the Navy Memorial for Marissa's dad. The big whale that welcomed our troupe is part of a half-mile long mural called Hands Across the Ocean by Wyland.

Brave Fairfax didn't even blink as she stared at the shark; the girls happily painted more fish next to Wyland.

We are finally getting the hang of bringing Fairfax along, and here she is, enjoying the biggest pumpkin in the state, as well as tolerating the girls' penchant for speed. We are still *discussing* the source of their speed gene.

Next up: the trip to New England

Friday, October 24, 2008

Fairfax was here ...

Fairfax, my God-daughter's bunny, is now visiting Hawty McBloggy. I found this out, when, out of the blue, her daddy, marissas dad, called me up:
Are you near a computer? he asked.
Me: Um, yes? Not getting the non-sequitur; where else would I be?

Marissa has infantile spasms, and it was her parents' brilliant idea to get the word out using the metaphor of the travelling gnome, substituting Marissa's bunny for the gnome.

And, boy, has Fairfax traveled! Read the "Rocky and Hometown Barbershops" on Marissa's Bunny blog. First and foremost for the flying squirrel incident, but then to see some of Fairfax's travels. The good that has come from this is immeasurable (perhaps also at times intangible?), so I helped things along by getting the word out a bit myself. So, my "name" was front-paged on HBO (no, not that HBO, as it's a bit too vampiry, as you recall), again!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I can't make this stuff up!

I have been accused of exaggeration (perhaps the accusers exaggerate the exaggeration by calling it "hyperbole") in my story-telling skill. But I must say, in my own humble, honest, and totally unopinionated view, I'm actually not at all that creative (if there is one fault that I do have, it is that I am far too humble — but that's barely a fault to blemish my near-perfection ...). I simply report here what's going on. After all, not even in my wildest imaginings could I ever create an exchange that transpired yesterday between the bunsoh and my cara spoza:

Lizzie: Mama, may I go to the party tomorrow? I only have a cold.
Me: Yes.
Lizzie: Yay!!! (pause)
Lizzie: What if I make a friend?
Me: That's good.
Lizzie: Well, only if she looks like me?
Me: Why?
Lizzie: Because I like looking at myself.

I don't "make up" interesting stories; I just happen to be near them when they transpire.

Red Necks? Pfft! New Englanders!

Forget Red necks is what Jeff Foxworthy has to say about New Englanders...

  1. If your local Dairy Queen is closed from September through May, you live in New England.

  2. If someone in a Home Depot store offers you assistance and they don't work there, you live in New England.

  3. If you've worn shorts and a parka at the same time, you live in New England.

  4. If you've had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed a wrong number, you live in New England.

  5. If 'Vacation' means going anywhere south of New York City for the weekend, you live in New England.

  6. If you measure distance in hours, you live in New England.

  7. If you know several people who have hit a deer more than once, you live in New England.

  8. If you have switched from 'heat' to 'A/C' in the same day and back again, you live in New England.

  9. If you can drive 75 mph through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching, you live in New England.

  10. If you install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked, you live in New England.

  11. If you carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them, you live in New England.

  12. If the speed limit on the highway is 55 mph -- you're going 80 and everybody is passing you, you live in New England

  13. If driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow, you live in New England.

  14. If you know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction, you live in New England.

  15. If you have more miles on your snow blower than your car, you live in New England.

  16. If you find 10 degrees 'a little chilly', you live in New England.

  17. If there's a Dunkin Donuts on every corner, you live in New England.

  18. If you actually understand these jokes, and forward them to all your New England friends & others, you live or have lived in New England.

... of course, "snow blower" is just plain wrong: shovelling snow builds character. And where're the parts about wood stoves (with the accompanying necessity of chopping, sawing, and splitting the wood) as central heating? Add your own observations below, dear reader.

Catz, Ninja and otherwise

I'm not really writing a blog entry, I'm doing my civic duty right now, filling out tax forms for the Man.

My cara spoza has me on a blog-writing diet, so I won't talk about the reason for my side trip to Amherst, and I won't talk about how my entire extended family magically knew about my Amherst visit, and how they asked how it went even before I got to say hello! And how they phoned in from California to have my Aunt [my regal Aunt] inquire into the matter.

No, this blog entry is not about that.

But, as you know, I've had this constant struggle between my piratey-self and my super-secret-ninja-assassin-self. I had thought that pirates had it all wrapped up in the debate.

But then I came across this:

That, folks, is a clear win for the ninjas this round.

Speaking about Brittany Murphy, the pussycat — yeah, don't gimme that look: for I was speaking about her, `pataphorically — I had no idea that besides being a Jane Austen actress, she is a singer, too! Amazing, the things one can learn while exercising!

Back to doing the taxen ... *sigh*

Saturday, October 4, 2008


EM sits in her chair, reading, of course. The book she currently holds is one of the Calvin and Hobbes collections. She, still being all of six years, reminds me of Calvin almost not at all ... perhaps she's little Susie Derkin? — I never knew Susie was Filipina ... I now see her in an entirely new light, and since EM is also, they now have a special kinship.

There have been, oh, a few Calvinistic incidents recently, which I will now relate.

  1. I was working in the office, as usual, when I heard a loud crash from upstairs. EM and I were home alone, and she seemed well enough alone, as she was reading, as usual, at the time. I waited for any follow-up noise, and then, waited patiently for little Thérèse to come tell on herself. Which she obligingly did:

    EM: Papa, I was fixing the window, and then it broke; can you help me?

    I didn't help my stern look one wit, those guilty, imploring, eyes of hers. Pusong mumon is my middle name, after all. I went upstairs to investigate, finding merely the curtains had been dislodged from the window frame. That (the curtains) was easy enough to fix, so I then needed to fix my little girl's heart. A hug and a word of encouragement fixed that.

  2. Another day, in the midst of one of my DDR sessions, and the li'l tyke interrupts me between sets.

    EM: Papa, I tried to flush the toilet, but the water didn't go down like it should...

    Those eyes again, working on me.

    I went upstairs to resolve the issue. The toilet didn't seem jammed, but, yes, the bowl was full. So, what's a genius to do? Flush the toilet.

    Not so smart.

    Water, clean water, Deus gratia (that is Suisse), flooded the banyo. All the more embarrassing because I had just finished lecturing and praising the little one about not fixing this problem herself, just as Calvin, erhm, didn't. Everyone else was still sleeping, but my hurried repairs and plunger action was a guaranteed reveille (that is Mayan).

So, I guess it's okay for her to read Calvin and Hobbes, maybe it's her pater familias that is more like Calvin than she is.