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 30, 2006

MOMP missed it's birthday!

I passed the 100 entry mark last week sometime, but just didn't have the heart to celebrate.

So, in honor of that, I have linked to what might be the cutest thing on the WHOLE INTERNET.

Yeah, and I stand by that.

Check out David's New Snail right now.

Also, as a little birthday gift to my teeny tiny readership, this gem of a photo of the author and her oft harangued hubby:

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What I'm finding most difficult today is the way the world around me sometimes echoes what's in my head... like this morning in the car on the way to work. I was replaying my last conversation with him (which incidentally was four months ago over Thai food in Allston) looking for clues. I know I shouldn't, but find me someone who can lose a friend this way without wondering if they could have helped... There just weren't any clues in that conversation. His pain was that deeply buried. And suddenly the opening strains of "Everybody Hurts" were swamping me, and I'm crying in my car, in rush hour on the Mass Pike.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Ritual and ceremony... We said goodbye to our friend yesterday. We held each other, we cried, we talked and sang, we told stories and shared memories and thoughts, and I hope that the healing has begun for everyone. I know I'm ready to get back to my life. I'm still raw from the emotional onslaught, and my heart hurts for all of us, especially his family, but you can't deny the pull to live, and so many people closest to our dear friend urged us to live well in memory of him. So I'll do my best.

But I'm still going to cry sometimes when we gather to celebrate together, and I realize again that he's gone.

I'm not in any way a Catholic, and by his own words, our friend did not identify as such, but I am a choir singer, and have always found the Catholic Requiem comforting, so I'm going to say goodbye that way:

Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
Absolve Domine animas omnium fidelium defunctorum ab omno vinculo delictorum et gratia tua illis succurente mereantur evadere iudicium ultionis, et lucis æterne beatitudine perfrui.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Which stage of grief is it that manifests in complete irrationality? Today is my last day of work for the week, and that's apparently a good thing... I snapped at Miss E this afternoon at lunch because she decided not to like watermelon. It ended with her self-imposed exile in her room while I cried at the kitchen sink. Not a good scene. All's mended. Apologies were made, and I did my best to explain to her that sometimes grown ups feel sad or angry, and it has nothing to do with the kids they love.

Not exactly ideal, but it will have to do. I need to go home.

I fought with Mark about an upcoming weekend in Maine - unnecessarily. Now I feel bad about that... I need to go home.

The bright spot in all of this is that I'm going to escape to NH for a few days, regroup, spend time with my husband, and hopefully I'll be prepared for the sorrow waiting for me on the other side of the weekend.


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The waiting is over. I know now what has become of my friend. He committed suicide this past weekend. Apparently the demons he was fighting became too overwhelming. I wish there had been some way to help... It makes me furious to think that in an age like ours, where there are so many advances in medicine, therapy, and liberal thinking, that stigma and taboo force someone who is troubled and knows this about himself to end his own life, rather than have to suffer in fear and silence.

His parents lost a son, his sister lost her brother. So many people have lost a treasured friend.

There should be a safe haven for those who need help, no matter what the damage to their soul. Think of the lives that could be saved and the crimes headed off before they were committed...


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

I've been thinking a lot in the last three days about how well you can really know anyone... And what the consequences of loving someone are if you have to shift your perception of who they really are. A good friend of mine found himself in trouble; the kind of trouble that haunts you for all your days. It was the kind of trouble that shocks, even horrifies many. Now he's missing, and we have to presume the worst, and all I can think of is that none of us who loved him even knew he was troubled.

The world at large might damn him for what he's done, but I cannot. This man has been the most generous hearted friend... always loving and supportive, loyal, funny in wry and impish way, and missed in the gaps between times we talked. If his past damaged him, and he has faught his demons for all these years, his only sin in my eyes is that he didn't ask us for help. Now, he has been driven to wrongful and perhaps even desperate measures, and we are sick with worry for him.

I guess in the end, his actions towards me and towards the people we have both known and loved outweigh the accusations against him. I will have to learn to see this new and sad facet of him, but he will always be my friend. And no matter what has become of him, he will always be loved.


Monday, June 19, 2006


In a pointless effort to distract myself from some very troubling news about a beloved friend, I took a quiz, and recieved the following results:
You Are 26 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Let them eat...

... CAKE!

My friend Alex and his fiancee, Kara, were married yesterday in gorgeous Waitsfield, VT. It was like a storybook - late afternoon ceremony by the pond, frogs gulping from the water, local, artisan food, a historic round barn on a mountain farm... ::sigh::

And a wedding cake by Cameron's Cakes! (the specimen above was a creative choice by the married couple: my Perisan Genoise sponge cake with chocolate creme patissiere and fresh strawberry filling and Italian mousseline buttercream. Special thanks to the folks at The Blue Toad for coming through with a last minute flower order!)

Mark and I stayed up the road "a fer piece" at the The Wilder Farm Inn which was cozy and charming, and had the largest pancakes I've ever seen (Bickford's Big Apple excepted).

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Friday, June 16, 2006

New Hampshire: Boring?

I feel horrible. I have a niggling pain in my belly... crampy, achey, upset-ey. I tossed and turned until 4AM last night - very refreshing. And O's had teething fevers, and isn't napping or eating, and he's basically a wreck. Perhaps we're feeding off of one another?

I also have a wedding cake to finish for my friend Al's wedding tomorrow, and since we have to the drive the cake to Waitsfield, VT in the morning, it really needs to be mostly done before I go to bed tonight. Fun.

Do you ever have the fear, after a sleepless night, that this might be the end of good night's sleeps for you? It's totally irrational, but I know that, as I brush my teeth, exfoliate and moiturize my face, and crawl into bed tonight, I'll be wondering if I can just go to sleep like a normal person, instead of lying there, wide awake and miserable for god knows what reason. Awful.

Lucky for Captain Crabby-O, the big kids have been in NH with their grandparents since Wednesday morning (I should know, I drove them there!). They have this big ol' shingle style lake house with a beach and a dock, and boating and a huge play structure - that's a jungle gym for those of you born before 1985. I'd rather be there than in Beacon Hill any day of the week.I took this shot of the house, and toyed with the tint to see what original pictures of the house might have looked like. Pretty nice, huh?

Now, anyone who's familiar with my travels to and from the great Republic of Vermont between 1995 and 1999 knows that I harbor a less-than-secret hatred for the Granite State. First off, "Live Free or Die?" I won't start. But this from a state that hasn't legalized seatbelts for adults? Or helmets on motorcylists? More like, "Live Free and Die." Regardless of safety standards, it stands between me and my heart's home state. Well, I'm spending my anniversary trip there, so I'd better get over that, hmmm?

Easier said than done, when you see this statement on the side of a truck:
Now, I know it's referring to the work done by this company, but what PR wizard came up with this slogan? I have visions of someone from the state tourism board having a fit when they saw this.... But perhaps my analysis is biased by my dislike?

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Red Balloon

Life is good!


Monday, June 12, 2006

Can blogads save my kitchen?

Did everyone see the beauty of the blue countertops in the cake shot below?

They're so ugly. So. Ugly.

Maybe I should have blogads as a "Home Renovations Fund?"

Of course, no. I like my blog and it's tiny microcosm of a readership.

But I would like some non-blue counters...

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Anniversary Cake

One year has passed since the wedding. One year. On the one hand, I feel like I should get a t-shirt:
I Survived The First Year of Marriage!

On the other hand, it's been kind of a boring day. We both had work to do; Mark had cabinets to build for a client, I have a wedding cake for next weekend, so I made a vat of custard for the chocolate mousse base (baked the cakes yesterday)... I painted a little more in the DR (*huge* surprise!!!!)... I put some bleeding heart in the ground by our fence in the front yard.... I did a load of laundry....

And we ate the anniversary cake.

Everyone has told us that they didn't like their cake that had been frozen for a year... Maybe they got bad cake? Ours was brilliant! I defrosted it in the fridge for a day, then gave it 25 minutes at room temperature, and it was moist, delicious, and the buttercream was silky and sweet... Food porn, man. We each splurged and had two pieces, and now there are two left for tomorrow night...

Happy Anniversary!

Monday, June 05, 2006

A liger?

I was pointed to this link via an email from my uncle.... All I can think of is Napoleon Dynamite. Seriously, I'm like, "It's a liger!" and I hear Jon Heder's voice. It's just wrong.

Ah, I couldn't stop there, so I hit the random button... tales of german being the official language of the fledgeling USA (false) and polite Japanese bankrobbers (true) abound. Joy!

Our weekend was pleasant. I touched up some paint in the DR, made dinner for us, and my cousin S and his wife, D. Incidentally, their son, C, has the tastiest brains this Brainsucking Cousin C has ever tasted! Mwah ah ah ah! Sunday, I took Maurice to the dog park for a little while, and we took advantage of the lull in the rainy day to grill some yummy venison sausage and Mark's delicious burgers with the ever-fabulous L&T. Why they like us I'll ever know, since we are incurably dull. Mark was sleepy and I was vaguely headachey due to overindulgence the night before on Chuck Shiraz.

Back to work... J's on a playdate, E's having some quiet playtime, and O's finally napping - it took all day to get him there.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Suspense on the MBTA

An ill wind blew into town ahead of ominous clouds from the west as I sweated my way from Beacon Hill to the South End/Back Bay Station, intent on not missing the 7:20 train to Wellesley and points west. Disgusting weather. When the wind wasn'’t gusting dust and trash into my eyes, the air was deafeningly quiet, devoid even of birdsong. The atmosphere heavy with unreleased water. A storm waiting to happen.

I made it to the train ontime - a blessing, as Mr. X was home literally at the last moment, himself sweaty and puffing from hauling himself home in the still heat. Now I'’m a captive on rails, no precious internet to rot my brain, no book to distract me, only my iPod and iBook. Oh, the life of the iCommuter.

Apple should create a software package for the iCommute, including some kind of satellite access to the internet for those of us traveling on commuter trains (as opposed to the Acela which is rumored to have WiFi). Some cheeky reader will tell me that I could connect via my cell phone if both it and I were smarter... but we're not.

I'’m hoping against hope that the train will get me to Wellesley with a few scant minutes to hike back to the VW dealership and pick up my fabulously tuned up car. Then my worn out tires and I can head home to poach chicken breasts in balsamic vinegar and contemplate bankruptcy.

The oppressive heat has led to a unanimous decision to leave the outer doors of the car open, and I'’m sitting here watching the joint between the two cars bounce and sway, feeling the scrap of breeze coming through, and wishing I could do this every day. It'’s such a nice way to commute.... Calm, passive, even reflective, and I get to record all my musings on my blog for as long as my computer'’s batteries hold out. 3 hours, 30 minutes more according to the battery monitor.

I'm wondering how long I'’ll go before the conductor gets to me. It's wishful thinking to think he'’ll miss me altogether, but it's such a lovely feeling when it happens. A free ride on the MBTA... Trouble is, despite the relatively short nature of this commute, there are about 27 billion stops in Newton and Wellesley alone, so there'’s plenty of down time for the conductors to do their noble work and collect my $6 (which includes the surcharge for not buying my ticket at the station - no time to stop at a ticket counter!)

My iPod just gave me a treat: La Isla Bonita by Madonna

Despite the heat, there's nothing of La Isla in tonight'’s weather - I really hope the storm breaks before bedtime. Our room is like an oven. It's just doesn'’t get cold. Even in winter, it would be 60 when the rest of the house was 50. Imagine it in 80+ degree heat?

Still no conductor, though someone just stumped through and shut all the doors in the joints, so our lovely breeze is gone. Oh, well.

We'’re out of Newton now, and into Wellesley - Wellesley Farms to be exact, not to be confused with Wellesley Hills or Wellesley Square. Only two more stops to evade both financial loss, and/or a soaking. The breeze coming in (someone opened the doors again!) smells like rain now. I fear I'’m in for it. I envy VJ-S, who got herself to Worcester two hours ago on these very rails, long before the threat of weather abuse.

One more stop....

Are you feeling the suspense? Are you hoping I'’ll make it, or are you one of those sticklers for rules and fares who wants my purse robbed by the MBTA? I tell you, it'’s $6, but I'm getting a tiny illicit thrill from the possibility of fare evasion.

What a let down it will be when the conductor gets here, huh?

But aha! It'’s time to put the iBook away and get up to head for the exits... The train is slowing, my stop is being announced... Wish me luck (and dry!)

::time passes::

Safely home from the dealership, I pause to reflect on my luck, despite the fact that I did get caught in the rain, and had to take my flip flops off, as they resembled nothing so much as a pair of slip and slides on my feet, and walk barefoot the last 500 feet. A happy ending for the weary traveler!

Wealthy Drivers Wanted

Just when I was starting to see my financial situation as something under control and almost enjoyable, my car enters the picture again.

To start, I heart my car. A. Lot. It's a Reflex Silver '03 Jetta Wagon, 1.8T with a "Winter Package" which entitles me to a toasty tush in cold weather, and auto defrosting mirrors (whoop-dee-do, I know, but still, I love it).

I do not, however, heart VW service appointments.

40K miles on the car = $420 in standard service (oil change, tire rotation, realignment, lots of checkpoints, safe car, better gas mileage. I know!)

Plus, this month, I have to have in inspected, and apparently my tires won't pass inspection, so guess what? Got to get new tires!


On the upside, I plan to own this car for a few years after I pay it off, so all this service is an investment, right? Right?

Damn well better be.... ::stumps off, muttering::

A Magical Gathering

What I did on my Florida vacation:

Day 1: Technically not part of my Florida Vacation, but since it was the day I left home, I'm counting it. Mark and I departed Framingham around 4:30 with all of my luggage and the dog, headed for my parents' house. We dropped Maurice with them for the evening, and headed into Worcester's picturesque Main South to meet Pete and Andrea for dinner at Dalat (the last bastion of Vietnamese cuisine in our once formidable realm....). After fresh spring rolls and wonton noodle soup, we headed back to the Clark University campus to attend Mark and Pete's 10th reunion. It was.... enlightening. At one point I was accosted by a gaggle of girls who knew Mark, and seemed fascinated by me as "Mark G's wife." Apparently his tales of being a victimized objet d'amour in his college days were not all bluster and bragging for the benefit of the little woman!

Day 2: Our day began early, as Mom, Dad, & I had to catch a flight to Orlando out of Providence at 8 am. ::yawn:: Nothing eventful on the flight down... And getting to Walt Disney World is stupidly easy these days - even Clark Griswold can get there on the Magical Express, a (for now) free service to those with accomodations inside the compound... So we get there, wander around our enormous "Grand Villa" - we're talking 2500 square feet, cathedraled living room, full kitchen, three bedrooms, four baths, pull out sofa, and jacuzzi in the master suite. Way nicer than our house! - and then decide to take the ferry to Downtown Disney Marketplace for dinner at "The Earl of Sandwich." Tasty Iced Earl Grey/Lemonade! Dessert at the Ghirardelli soda fountain, and home early to rest up for our first full day of family fun in Disney World.

Day 3:Yo ho! Blizzard Beach is calling! Swimsuits on and ready, we headed off for waterslides and tube rides... The day was made well and truly memorable by the double sighting of a man we dubbed "Captain Banana Hammock." Suffice it to say this gentleman was ready for anything and not afraid to cover that only with a leopard print g-string. 'Nuff said, eh? After a nap for Rylee, we bussed to the Magic Kingdom, then ferried to Fort Wilderness for the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. Fried chicken, ribs, and corny humor, complete with napkin waving. Yeeeeeeeeeee-HAW!

Day 4:After a bit of a lie in, we all bus off to the Magic Kingdom, this time to conquer some of Rylee's favorite rides: the Cinderella Carousel, Small World, & Snow White's Scary Adventures, before Gramma and Grampy took Rylee home for her nap, and Jamie, Dy & I did Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, Buzz Lightyear's SpaceRanger Spin, and Stitch's Great Escape. During all of this fun, we managed to get separated by a Main St. parade, and Jamie lost Dy's park pass while grabbing FastPasses for Thunder Mountain. Thank goodness Disney is so good at fixing problems, we got the pass reissued on the spot at Guest Relations. We took the monorail to Epcot and had a beer at the Rose&Crowne before we met Rylee and my parents at the Japan pavilion on the World Showcase for dinner. We got my dad to eat california rolls and seaweed salad!

Day 5:Wednesday morning, Rylee had what we thought was an ear infection, so Mom & Dy got a taste of Disney health care, by way of the Florida care clinic on the finges of the Park. They were actually impressed, and Ry got some meds to ease her achey ears. During which time, Dad went to the pool, and Jamie and I took in a little shopping. After lunch by the pool, and a nap for the bean, we bussed to the Animal Kingdom, where Jamie, Dy, and I fell in love withe new Expedition Everest coaster! Wahoo! Dinner at Boma in the Animal Kingdom Lodge, followed by giraffe and wildebeest watching from the hotel terrace. Cool! Later, Mom & Dad took Ry home and Jamie and Dy went out for a drink, while I finished up my shopping.

Day 6:Yup, we're still in Disney World. Up early for 8AM Magic Kingdom opening, and 5 rides in before our 9:15 character breakfast at the Crystal Palace. We did the Raceway, Peter Pan, Small World (again), Winnie the Pooh, and something else.... i forget... it's a blur. The Bean loved breakfast, and meeting the Hundred Acre Wood set, and after a trip to Goofy's Barnstormer coaster in Toon Town Fair, she headed off for a nap with Jamie & Dy, leaving me to hang with my parents like a spinster daughter. It was actually quite nice! We shopped a little on Main Street and did the Jungle Cruise (oh, so hokey!), and had Pineapple Whip at the Dole stand (just like Hawaii!). After all that, we met up with the Bean and family and had a few hours at Typhoon Lagoon before our Mexican dinner in Epcot.... Wait for it, we're done through yet! We stayed out late to catch the "Wishes" fireworks show back at the Magic Kingdom.

Day 7:Are we still on vacation? This morning we packed, and bussed off the Epcot again for a surprise Royal Banquet with the Disney Princesses for Ry's 3rd birthday. After that and a few trips through the Imagination ride (I heart Figment) we parted ways with Bean and Family, and Mom, Dad & I went back to the resort to catch our Magical Express back to Orlando International. But oh! Our travels are only beginning... Our flight was delayed by thunder storms which gave way to a spectacular rainbow. We didn't get back to Worcester until almost 1 AM, and the Mark was waiting to take me back to Framingham - long day!!!

The weekend was a nice recovery from the vacation. I attended VJ-S's engagement party, and the annual Pig Roast (mmmm, pig!), got some painting done in the DR (will we ever be done?), spent some time with Maurice and Mark, and finally headed back to work on Tuesday...

Were you all as exhausted as I was?

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