Monthly Archives: September 2011

Memory Monday

Since our bout with Irene and several drenching days of rain since, our ground has been extremely moist.  So moist, in fact, that mushrooms in these parts are flourishing.  They are sprouting in the lawn, laddering their way up trees… they’re everywhere.

I have trained my children to never touch a wild mushroom.  Yes, we don’t even touch them.  That’s because when I was about three years old, I picked a mushroom from the front yard and ate it.  I remember it very clearly.  I remember being whisked into the house, made to drink ipecac, and then sitting in the bathtub for several hours as I repeatedly threw up.  Again and again.  I do believe I was an adult before another molecule of mushroom passed my lips – this time the store variety.

Now, I’m a bit of a connoisseur of mushrooms – portobellas, shitake, crimini.  Yummy.  But never a mushroom from the yard.  Never.  Shudder.


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Biking is Fun!

A couple of weekends ago we set off on another Quabbin adventure.  This summer we decided to broaden our horizons and find some new paths in the Quabbin.  There are a limited number of paths for biking (most are reserved for hiking only).  We had never been to the far eastern edge, so we set out for Gate 43.  We didn’t realize that Gate 43 is actually one of the few boating gates, so there was some car traffic, but we went anyway.

The first part was paved – it’s about a mile-long ride to the water, where we found a lovely picnic bench to eat our lunch away from the boat dock.  The day was a little chilly, but the kids ran around and we enjoyed a leisurely picnic.  This was the view:

From there, we crossed a little bridge and continued on to the part of the trail that’s closed to cars.  The hills went up and down and up and down. This is what it looked like:

We went on for another mile, maybe a mile and a half, and stopped at the top of a big hill.  We decided to turn around at that point – I really didn’t relish the idea of pulling Aaron back up that hill in the trailer.  But Lydia, little Miss Lydia wanted to go down that super long hill soooooo bad.  We explained that any hill we go down, we have to go back up.  She said she understood that, but she really wanted to go down the hill.  “Well,” we said, “OK, go ahead.  We’ll wait here.”  So down she went, shrieking with glee all the way.  And then she got to the bottom and looked back up at us.  Her little face fell, and wouldn’t you know it she cried all the way back up.  We had little to no sympathy.

On the way back, we made a couple of good finds.  First, Jake spotted a stand of wild-growing concord grapes.  We all stopped and ate heartily.  They were very ripe, juicy, and delicious.  I’m sure they are left over from someone’s garden in the the 1930s – why else would they be there in the middle of the woods?

The other fun find was a little snake.  Jake suddenly screeched to a halt, almost causing a four bike pile-up.  He said, “SNAKE!”  We all looked in front of his bike, and there was a tiny little snake, probably eight inches if it stretched out.  It had red, black, and tan markings on its back, and it was coiled up and on the defensive.  We all gathered around to look at it and it tried to strike at our sneakers.  This little snake was fierce!  Nate had the brilliant idea to get a stick and move it off the road before one of the boaters came along and flattened the poor thing.  I got a not great picture, because honestly I was a teeny bit scared of it.  That’s how fierce this tiny snake was.

All in all, we had a great time at this gate, and will do it again sometime.  It’s about an hour’s drive to get over there, but it was beautiful and quite the adventure.


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A Week Without My Better Half

Things you don’t want when your husband is away for an entire week:

  1. One sick child.
  2. Another sick child.
  3. A massive spider above the headboard of your bed.
  4. Having to clean up a giant, wet, spider splotch off the wall after finally screwing up the courage to squish said massive spider.
  5. Spending two hours at walk-in hours with aforementioned sick children.

The good news is that the kids don’t have strep.  Just a nasty virus that so far Aaron and I have avoided.  Keeping fingers crossed there.

I have (yet again) a renewed appreciation for single, working parents.  I am totally exhausted – between trying to make it to work, frantically arranging emergency child care, playing nurse-maid to two sick children on top of the regular evening duties of dinner, baths, books, bed, cleaning up, and cleaning up, I am spread a little thin.  Add onto that the night-time wakings of children who need medicine and hugs and cuddles, and I am spread so thin I’m nearly invisible.

I pick Nate up from the airport after work today, thank the gods.  He’s going to be hearing about this week for awhile.  “Remember that time you went to a week-long conference and two kids got sick and I had to kill a spider the size of a squirrel right above our bed??”  He’d better have some tales about how horrifyingly awful his conference was.

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The Rain in Maine

Wouldn’t you know that the weekend Irene blew through New England would be the weekend we were going to be in Maine?  We decided to go anyway, of course.  Irene will not keep us down!

All in all, it wasn’t too bad.  The wind was something else, but there wasn’t too much rain involved.  We stayed in Aunt Anne’s house, which is a small, two-bedroom house right on the water of Frenchman’s Bay.  It’s an adorable little house – my favorite thing about it is the view you get while you’re doing dishes:

Jake and Aaron shared one bedroom, and Lydia and I slept in the queen bed in the other bedroom.  The wind overnight was incredible.  Every so often, it would catch this rolled-up awning over the slider on the deck, and it would bang the living hell out of the side of the house.  It sounded like a giant was hammering his fist on the wall outside.  Every time it happened, all night long, Lydia would sit straight up in bed, stare wildly around the room for three seconds, and then flop back down.  Asleep all the while.  I woke up in the morning with her feet next to my head on the pillow.  Good times.

Once Irene was done with her little tantrum, we had a lovely day of sunshine, which we took full advantage of.  My Aunt Cheri has a little pine grove beside her house, and she has spent a lot of time gathering interesting bits of nature that she’s stored in a bin so that the kids can make fairy houses.  Jake spent a lot of time on his house.  He got eleventy billion mosquito bites, but it was worth it because he made this:

Here is Lydia’s:

We also went out to the camp to do some canoeing.  Jake canoed at camp this summer, so he was pretty good at it, and gave rides to the other kids with Grandpa.

I can tell the kids are getting older.  Just look at them, they’re all grown up.  You know how I can tell?  We drove for 6 hours with only one stop and no videos.  We listened to music, we looked out the windows, they ate their lunches out of their lunchboxes while we drove.  They held their pee.  I thought to myself, “We’ve finally made it into middle childhood.  We can take a road trip that’s not a nightmare.”

In fact, I thought the entire trip was going to be a nightmare, what with Irene and all, but instead it turned out to be a rather peaceful, laid-back adventure.  Thanks, Uncle Jeff and Aunt Cheri, for having us!

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