Martha Thinks

Friday, February 26, 2010

After the flood, after the flood

On my daily Bono walk I sought out a tree around the block that Rich said had been pulled up by the big wind last night. Geez, I guess so. Normally I don't listen to him at all, but by golly, he was right about this one ; )
These pretty old trees line our street and we are sorry to see this one go. It was a good peeing tree.
Big old mess. But good firewood.
We had about 3 good inches of wet in our basement. My brother saved the day by loaning us his pump, but still more rain is expected and it's a big mess down there. Why is there anything other than Christmas ornaments in the basement I ask you??? That's it. I'm done. The first sunny spring day I am getting rid of or giving away everything down there because I don't even know what's down there! Although I did see a zip-loc bag in the corner of old kid school stuff and drawings that I will be sick to death if it got ruined...even though I didn't even know it was there. Frustration circle. It's not easy parting with this stuff.

Those apron strings and all.
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Monday, February 22, 2010


I have always felt guilty about not keeping a baby journal for the boys. I was always given them as baby presents but always got carried away with every day life to keep up. I found photography as a much easier way to capture their life and so there are no shortage of those! I still carry a camera with me everywhere. No scrapbooks, no funny sayings, but lots of evidence. But when I found this entry of a day in the life of Ronan when he was 2 years old (underneath a pile of everything this while cleaning this weekend) , it made me completely nostalgic and I wished that there were more pages full of memories. But, hey, it's a little freakin' traumatic having a baby at 40.
There were only 3 entries.

One on first day I wrote:

Dear Ro -
Although I have not kept a journal for you up until this point I have a "photographic" journal. That's my thing. I'm a photographer and have taken many funny pictures of you and your brothers. Many things that you do will also be about your brothers, so I'm hoping to follow through on this one!
You are my heart, my love, my 3rd son, my surprise! I love you, Mommy.
2nd day:

Sept. 4, 2003
Today was the boys' 2nd day of school. You cried and said "no-bye" "no-bye" as the bus drove away with your buddies. We watched all the fun shows today. Teletubbies, Clifford, Caillou, Arthur and whatever else we could find. We read, colored with markers - which ended up all over your clothes...and you moved all the juice from the deck to the kitchen floor - because you said "not dare" (not there!). You took the apple pie off the counter and it fell all over the floor. I banged my head against the refrigerator.

3rd day:

Sept, 7, 2003
Today you saw I was wearing a bandanna as a headband and so you needed one too! You wore yours like a "doo-rag" and learned to say "dude!" You laughed a lot.
I let the guilt carry me for a while, as I usually do. And then I re-read the entries and realized that I was, we all were, so busy with the "doing" that it rarely left time for the "writing."
Hey, I took good care of that kid. I let him get messy, move stuff around and obviously didn't make him move out of the house for wrecking the apple pie.
Also, let me be PERFECTLY honest, he was really hard to take care of. Such a pain-in-the-butt. He was spoiled, he was stubborn, impossible a lot of the time. He just squawked until he got his way. He wore me out. But I always loved the little dickens more than life and he has cracked me up as many times as he has made me pull my hair out.
What naturally happens with our "right now" life is that we don't find it that extraordinary. So what, we watched Caillou? So what you moved the juice? So why write about this everyday stuff? probably what I was thinking. Never realizing, of course, it would be the stuff magic and memories are made of. Really. What I wouldn't give to drop in on that day and be a fly on the wall. And the cliche comes true, turn around and the 2 year old is now 8, turn around and the young brothers on the bus are now 15 and 17.
And so I speak only for myself, although all moms as well...

I am a good mom
I always try my best
I'm not riding the guilt train (today)
yes I wish I had a blog in 1992 or 1994 or 2003
or kept a better journal
but I didn't
but we cooked and we painted and we planted
went apple picking and to the beach
learned to ride a bike and tie your shoes
went sledding and made Christmas cookies
went to the Museum of Natural History in NY
just because you liked dinosaurs
and good enough really is good enough
so I will put that slim little journal away
someplace very safe
make some brownies and enjoy the right now

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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Geeks Rule

Today my son Carter had a "LAN Party" (local area network) with a group of his friends. They descend on a willing parent's living room or kitchen, connect to their Wifi and play Age of Empires II, starting off in the Dark Ages and working the way up to the Renaissance. Everyone brings a laptop and take up at least two rooms to play.
"It's a strategy game about manifest destiny and conquest" says the 15 year old. "it's like you have a base and everyone else has a base, and the goal is to destroy their base." All while munching on pretzels, chips and chugging a few sodas, of course.

8 computers going, two teams of 4. They played for 5 hours and I will say they were relatively quiet. The Geek Squad, perhaps, but let's check in with them in a few years shall we? Hello Bill Gates? Really, though, this is one of the reasons I love this blog/diary - for proof. Because I rule. And Dad rules. Because we let you do this and we retired to the kitchen and didn't bug you for 5 hours. Remember this when we are old.
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A cup a day keeps happy.

Have you tried Jello Tapioca "Cook and Serve"? I love this stuff, all pudding in fact. Love it. This was still warm and I had it with whipped cream. Goes well with chilly nights and it's relatively guilt-free.
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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Teenage Boys Live Here

Here's a different use for Cran/Grape. Ocean Spray would not approve, I am sure.
Do I get it? No. My idea was "Olympic Snowman". Overruled. Like I said, teenage boys live here.

  • Update: Young Jack, our 6 year old neighbor - on a dare from his 11 year old brother - came knocking on our door telling us that our snowman was awful and that it would give the kids in preschool nightmares and that he was going to knock it down! He didn't. But the next day we came home and hmmm, it was in pieces. Brave warrior snowman.
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Monday, February 15, 2010

Carly and Molly

They are my nieces, first cousins a year apart, their dads are my brothers. They are sweet and lovely.
Cousins Matty and Ronan get into the action...
They checked their hair in the mirror behind them after every time I took a picture to make sure it was falling "just right." Then they pretended to ignore me.
The woman in me wants to tell the girl in them not to worry. You are beautiful. Just believe in yourself and the world will fall in place. And your hair looks great.
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Sweet Sentiments

These big glitter hearts were actually made for a middle school project about 2 years ago and I found them tucked away (well, tucked away in a plastic bag under a pile of clothes that's been waiting to go to Goodwill for a year), good as new. And, really to even get him to smile. Well, I won't bore you. You can almost tell what he's gonna look like all growed up.
X's and O's "smores" cookies made especially for Williams Sonoma that my sister-in-law, Jill brought along.
Yes, even heart-shaped pancakes. On this day, I am not bitter, snide or grumpy. I do not gossip or say mean things. The world is free from my criticism. I'm all about the sugar, darlin'.

Jill and Ric squeezing in a kid-free breakfast on the couch.
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More Valentine's

I make no pretense. We had company and so since we cleaned up everything looked shiny around the clean. (shiny around the clean? what does that mean? it's pretty funny, tho.)You know how that is? And since typically there are winter boots and backpacks covering every surface, I love having photographic proof that for a short while the kitchen was looking good. I like pretty, I like to make a little effort and I really do like Valentine's Day. It's girly in a sea of boys. It's a day to celebrate all that is pink!
I made these for all of my boys and their visiting cousins from New York. Kind Kyle, Charming Carter, Brave Brady, Darling Devin.
Now we're getting really girly. But easy. This "centerpiece" has lasted 3 days already. Floating flower candles from Pottery Barn with some rose petals. Feeling the romance yet?
This is a MOST funny self portrait, literally seeing into the future, as unbeknownst to me at the instant I took the photo my mother walked right into the house, right into the shot. Looking ahead, looking behind. Great, right?

After our great Valentine's Day pancake breakfast, we hit the road and headed up to Kennebunkport to check out our summer beach rental. For one week in August everyone in this picture (plus a few extras) will be making sandcastles, riding bikes and eating lots of ice cream. On this day, however, we could not wait to get off the beach. Frozen, all of us.

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Loving Bad Blake

Wow. What a performance by Jeff Bridges in "Crazy Heart." I won't give anything away, but it's a gem of a quiet little movie with Jeff Bridges showing the real underbelly of this character, Bad Blake. After one of his many nights of drinking, waking up with his greasy hair and bottle tucked under his arm you can practically smell the whiskey - and the stank - on him. His performance is comparable to Robert Duvall in "Tender Mercies." Both of these guys, you believe they are their characters. Right down to the age spots on their hands, worn in cowboy boots, suffer no fools mentality and Wrangler denim shirts that coulda been faded as much from the hot Southern sun as being washed a hundred times.
And then to my delight, Robert Duvall does come walking in to "Crazy Heart" delivering the most wonderfully understated performance. He uses few words to represent his character and in the end you admire him all the more for it. Maggie Gyllenhaal was ok in her role giving Bad Blake lots of dreamy looks but Colin Farrell as the young protege of Bad Blake who now headlines the shows; not so much. No zest, no excitement, no charisma for me. I know a lot of country singers (they are my friends) and none are as drab as him. My opinion.

But back to Jeff Bridges and Bad Blake. Since he is in every scene, it is his role that shines beginning to end. It's one of those movies that I can't stop thinking about. 4 stars. Loved, loved, loved it. I hope he wins the Academy Award for Best Actor. He deserves it.
He melted my icy blue heart.
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Friday, February 12, 2010

I Surprised Aunt Jane

My mother and I drove up to Concord, New Hampshire to celebrate Aunt Jane's 85th birthday and take her to her favorite restaurant, Olive Garden.
"They have great breadsticks."
"Don't you love the breadsticks?"
"I'm taking some home."
She's priceless. She loves her "Red Hat Society" meetings, so I gave her a pretty scarf to wear to the next one. Is purple her color or what?
So I worked as an undercover spy and asked the waitstaff to come over and sing Happy Birthday to her. Oh My Lord, it worked and caught her completely off guard. She loved it. She said no one had ever done that for her before! I wish I had known that, because I would have done it every year ; ) A sweet lady and apparently wrinkle free. Look at that firm neck! And no potions or creams, she's not into that. Just good genes that I'll be hanging on to for dear life.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Milestone

50 years ago today, Richard Eugene Salz was born. He obviously had a thing for dogs from the beginning.

Could he have ever predicted what was in store for him having 3 sons of his own? Such is the mystery of life.
We humans must not dwell too much on the number, else we'd never get out of bed. I will soon have a number "5" attached to my name, but let's leave complaining for another day, shall we?
the requested carrot cake
(unfortunately a little- no a lot- dry, Alden Merrell will hear from me tomorrow)
and a pair of crazy-as-it-sounds-but-much-desired Muck Boots as a birthday gift made the night complete. In fact, he put them right on and took the dog to the park. Dogs don't really care about birthdays. That's another good reason to to keep the muddy paws around. They think you're like, 18 ; )

From the first pup in the baby picture, he's shared his 50 years with canine companions. Dinah, Deegee (Dinah's girl), Tara, Sunny, Zach, Cody, Max, Dakota and the current
owner of Rich, a black lab named Bono.

"a walk we took
my friend and me
so muddy paws
here they be"
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