Move Over Mary Poppins!

The real life adventures of one nanny, her husband, child, dogs, house, and whatever else crosses her path.

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Location: MA, United States

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Friday, June 04, 2010

Drumroll, Please!

I'm moving.

Just my internets address. Don't be alarmed.

From now on, you can find me at

This blog will stay live for a good long time, as I have some tweaking to do on the new site which will require this one stays put, but starting today, all new content will be over there.


Thursday, June 03, 2010

The Great Pumpkin; or Good Things Come from Neglect

Last fall, my Mom took Felix to her local garden store to pick out his Halloween Pumpkin.

Yes. I know he's wearing the fire helmet backwards. He wasn't yet two. So?

So, when I asked him if he wanted to cut out a face for his jack-o-lantern, he looked at me as though I'd suggested lopping off one of his limbs.

"I don't WANT you to cut it!" he yelled, indignant.

Needless to say, we didn't have a jack-o-lantern, which was okay, since we trick-or-treated with friends two towns over, and Mark would never leave a lit candle on our front porch. He's the paranoid smart one.

An uncut pumpkin will keep nicely on a front porch as November arrives in New England and the temperatures drop. Ours stayed right where it was through the first snows of December, into frigid January, until Mark plopped it in an adjacent plant pot so its eventual decomposition wouldn't stain the mahogany decking on the front porch.

And there it sat. Until I moved the whole pot to the backyard gate, intending to compost the contents and recycle the cracked plastic pot, in early April. Two weeks ago, I noticed that a small, fuzzy pumpkin leaf was sprouting from the ruins.
Two days ago, I saw that a full fledged pumpkin plant was living in the pot.

Today, it has a proper home.
So the cycle can continue...

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Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Suburban Eden

I planted my first vegetable garden this summer. It is very likely that it's an overly ambitious first garden. I'm not good at reining myself in when it comes to new hobbies. I have four different types of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, pole beans, English peas, yellow squash, carrots, pumpkins, and lettuce and a full complement of herbs in containers (except the cilantro, which arrived later than the rest).

Perhaps I should be selling farm shares? Probably not. I will, however, be canning, pickling, and freezing my vegetable bounty for most of July and August.

Of course this is all assuming that there's no tomato blight, drought, pestilence, my own debilitating laziness, bunnies... The litany of potentially destructive forces to be driven down upon my defenseless chicken-wired garden by vengeful gods is long and frightening. (Inflated sense of self, much?)

My neighbors must think I've finally gone 'round the bend. Sometimes I just stand there, looking down on my tiny plants with a maternal expression. Oh, look, Squash has a new set of leaves. Mama's so proud!

The best part right now is the early harvest. My herbs are going crazy and the lettuce is beautiful!
So green!

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Tuesday, June 01, 2010

I Swear I Had a Legitimate Post for Today

That post? Lost forever in the swampy gray bits of my brain...

So, to celebrate the albeit murky, thunderstormy first day of June, I give you cuteness in turtle jammies and sparkly flipflips!

You're all very welcome!


Monday, May 31, 2010

Pancakes, Wind Turbines, Audiokinetics, & Barbeque

Yesterday, we spent the day playing tourist in Cambridge and Boston, which is ironic, since we used to live and work there, and were somewhat mocking of the tourists. Turnabout is fair play and all that, I'm sure we were mocked at some point. I'm okay with that.

I can't speak for Mark, but when I used to mock tourists, is was the gentle mocking reserved for family, because yes, they might be taking photos of the T signs (it's a subway! who cares?), but they thought my home city was cool enough to vacation in! Right?

We drove into the city and parked the car near my former "office" and took the T across the river into Cambridge. We had breakfast in Kendall Square, Mark's old neighborhood, at this kitchy, yummy place called The Friendly Toast, and then walked to the Museum of Science.

Felix has been there before, on trips with the Boss kids, but never as the star of the show. It was hilarious! He raced around, checking out solar powered cars, newborn chicks, a large scale model of a firefly. His favorite things? The George Rhodes audiokinetic sculpture, wonderfully titled Archimedian Excogitation, the running track at the Science In the Park exhibit (of which he put himself in charge for a good long while), and the Catching the Wind exhibit.

Along with trains, emergency vehicles, construction machines, and race cars, this kid capital-L Loves wind turbines. If he were old enough, he'd totally be campaigning for Cape Wind. He sat in front a computer terminal, clicking through turbine specs and photographs for about fifteen minutes, each time crying joyfully, "Mama! Look! Anoder turBINE!"

So far as I can tell, the fascination was born when we noticed a giant turbine on the hill east of route 146 in Worcester. We discovered it was erected by Holy Name Central Catholic Junior/Senior High School as part of their Green Initiative. Cool, huh? Subsequently, the new SuperWalMart down the hill, adjacent to 146 on the west side, built a mini-windfarm of Skystream Turbines atop the lights in the parking lot. I'm not a huge fan of WalMart overall, but this move is certainly a good one. Now, he notices them everywhere. He observes whether they're spinning, and if so how fast. We've talked about how the turbines use wind energy to make electricity, which he understands as the driving force behind the television and the stuff Mama tells him not to waste when he gets caught flicking light switches. It's a start.

We ended the day with a trip along the Harbor Walk, and another ride on the T, before collecting the car and heading back out to the 'burbs, with a stop for take-out barbeque at Blue Ribbon.

It was an excellent family day.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Eviction of the Fluffeh Bunnehs

Karma is coming to get me. But before it does, thanks to CaneWife of Three Pugs and a Baby for inspiring the title.

A few nights ago I evicted five juvenile rabbits from their nest. In my defense it was a foot from Felix's sandbox. They are known carriers of parasites, disease and deer ticks. They are an obvious threat to my burgeoning vegetable garden.

Their huge damp eyes and shivering paws as they ran off to recolonize under our shed will haunt me at least until tomorrow.

There's been neither hide nor hair (hare?) of their mother, nor had we seen them before the night in question, despite their close proximity to a regular backyard haunt, which led me to wonder if she's merely done rearing them, or if something nefarious happened to her. Either way, I had Mark shoo them from the area, and we pulled apart the nest with a stick. They headed for under our shed, but I figured they'd eventually head under the fence for the big, bad woods and marshland behind our neighbors house.

Lo, not three hours later, there they all are, huddled along the fence near the now demolished nest. I am picturing myself with a construction order, a hard hat, and a wrecking ball while the bunnies cower and weep at my cruelty. I am seriously doubting my earlier eviction notice. I scatter them, gently nudging them with a leafy branch, until they head for the safety of under the shed.

Next morning, three of them have returned. They are healthy, cheeky, and no longer frightened of me. I have visions of Watership Down. I feel awful, but mostly? Still afraid of deer ticks and parasites. Sigh. So, I upped the ante. I sicced my dogs on them.

Oh, don't get all horrified. Have you met my dogs? Their natural enemy is their own bed. Dangerous predators they are not. They made a big show of barking and chasing, but all three bunnies left the property alive and relatively unharmed.

I say relatively because if bunnies have pride, theirs is shattered. They ought to send me their bunny therapy bills. One decided the best route to safety was through the spokes of Felix's tricycle wheel. Maurice caught it trying to squeeze through, and nipped at it's tail. It ran off with tail intact. No harm, no foul. Amelie got as far as getting her mouth (her soft, gentle, Golden Retriever mouth) around a bunny. It squeaked (for those who don't know, rabbits scream when they're hurt, so I was largely unconcerned), and she jumped like she'd been stung. I called them off, and inspected the victim. It was breathing and unmarked, but still.

I said very softly, "It's okay, but you should go now."

Then, as if the little guy heard me, he rolled back onto his feet, shook himself (yuck! dog drool!), and hopped, as nonchalantly as possible, to the gap in the fence, where he squeezed under and was never seen again.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial Day

Every spring, usually sometime between Mother's Day and Memorial Day, my Mom plants flowers at her mother's grave. Growing up, I often accompanied her. I would fetch water and help with the planting. My maternal grandmother passed away before I was born, so those trips helped me to forge a connection with her memory. She loved hyacinths, something I know from asking Mom about the engraving on her headstone.

Felix and I spent the day at my parents house to day, and our morning outing was to plant petunias and marigolds at the cemetery. Felix is no stranger to cemetery trips with Mom and me (though I am surprised he didn't ask where the picnic was), so he was game. In fact, he aided me in my traditional water-bearer duties, before helping Gramma with the planting.

It was sweet to watch them watering flowers and planting together, and while not a strict interpretation of Memorial Day, I certainly think it's fitting.