assignment: go down each slide in GH county

* This weekend was dominated by a sleep/swapover; we had our friends’ children over on Friday night, and they took Sophie last night. Nels was scheduled to attend as well but he spent Friday running away from me a handful of times, including at the YMCA then later around the block to the iffy Trios bar on Simpson Avenue where had he stayed one more minute he would have schmoozed his way inside and smoked a few Camels. Exasperated I pulled his sleepover privilege. One of those things as a parent where you don’t know what to do so you just do something. I do believe (and cross my fingers) Nels will take this to heart and begin asking me before running off to skeezy taverns.

So anyway.

Avast ye Trees
We planted trees on Saturday, hauling the four kids along. They mostly played and threw giant rocks in the stream. As for me I thought it was a ceremonial, plant-one-tree-in-a-park kind of thing (I think in a half-assed way I thought it was Arbor Day) – not the wet, cold, muddy work party that greeted us when we arrived. I wasn’t dressed for it, and it was so cold it would have taken the damper off my spirits for anything, even things I like so much more than planting trees, like eating Mexican food or doing some ass-grabbing.

We are working on lots of projects for homeschool. My children’s talent is wonderful, in part because it pops up in ways I heretofore had never realized they had:

Playground Map
“MIRICAN FAG”. Here we see much of Nels’ artwork and spelling. The red lines are “bridges”. The flag is a majestic specimen located at Morrison River Park in Aberdeen. At first he’d written “American” with no “a”; a couple days later he intuited the vowel sound at the beginning of the word and updated accordingly. The weird thing is a lot of people pronounce it the way he first wrote it. Nels is an expert: phoenetics, olfactory identification, and social justice (although he occasionally seems to consider himself exempt from the latter).

* Shown in photograph: Sophie’s seventh tooth lost, kicked out of her head by her brother on Friday morning.

of pesto and people-watching

Last night we’re sitting in our favorite pizza parlor. It’s so nice to have Ralph home and know he’s home for the weekend. I’m feeling very proud of him as he’s been riding his bike to and from work every day. In the Hogaboom driveway days go by while both our cars lay fallow as my husband, children and I use public transit and our own human power to get around. It feels liberating.

Tonight in the pizza place I can’t hear it, but on the television propped up by the kitchen I see an amusing commerical featuring a duck. First the duck somehow gets its bill stuck in a mail slot. Then the duck runs inside a barber shop and stands in front of a poster such that it appears to have a professionally-coiffed head of hair. Then the duck gets surprised about something and opens its bill really wide. I don’t know what the commercial is about but I like it better not knowing what I’m supposed to buy, and just watching the duck.

A party of four adults toting one baby come in. The baby is about six months old, a girl, bald, and dressed only in a little red polka dot romper. No fuss, no huge carseat caddy or special sippy cup or pre-packed little baby food containers. I like that. The adults are young and boisterous – one calls the other “retard” as the shuffle the tables around. The baby turns around to look at us often as we eat. When the baby drops her toy Nels picks it up. He keeps an eye on the baby.

A couple comes in, a few years younger than my parents. He is huge, massive, wearing a Lynyrd Skynyrd t-shirt, long silver-streaked ponytail, and full-arm tattoos. I actually feel very comfortable around men who look like this. They are usually very friendly, engaging guys. Sure enough, a few minutes later and he’s making goo-goo eyes across the room at the aforementioned baby. I notice he and the infant have the same shade of large, blue-grey eyes.

The pizza, pasta, fresh coffee arrive and my family digs in.

"the *lemon tree* is doing well"

No, I’m not much better physically, but the codeine helps at night. Everything else is going well. This weekend was spent on the beach, in the yard, working on the garden, making sweet love, watching family movies, baking bread and yes, even sewing! (a polka-dot shirt from vintage fabric for yours truly).

Ralph put a webcam up on our garden:

Now available to view in real-time: Nels watering garden, cats lying under the broccoli.

what we’ve been up to, abbreviated

1. We got two rats – Strawberry and Maude. Maude is very sick, probably for lack of care of previous owner? Please pray for my rat.

2. Nels gave Harris a whisker-trim. He did an OK job, actually.

3. I’ve been working super hard on the Community Garden and learning a lot about the local politics of extending community outside the status quo. ¡QUÉ LÁSTIMA!

4. I finished the g-d Harris costume for Nels. He loves it. It hurt my ego to sew it.

5. My children and husband are minutes away from leaving for the weekend on a little trip.

what he lacks in coordination he makes up for in force

Yesterday my children asked to go to the kids carnival at the mall. We got there just as it was closing. It’s one of those very rare incidents in my life I feel badly for my kids – who generally have a great life – because I could have been more on the ball and committed to the plan, rather then enacting something half-assed.

However, it’s hard to dampen the Hoga-kid’s spirits because, yeah, their life is pretty good. We carried the last of our week’s grocery money in quarters and played a few games at the arcade and let them crawl around on the plastic play structure – so exciting for children, so devoid of wonder and amusement for this mom at least – for about twenty minutes before heading home. I enjoy window shopping, and even though the Southshore Mall is practically a ghost mall – I picture the main phone number will ring on a black rotary phone in a back office with a desk clerk’s skeletal remains encased in a moldering uniform – there are a few signs of life, like a good shoe sale at Penney’s.

Nels has quite the overhand approach on Skee-Ball: