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topaz: (Default)
I remember thirteen.

At thirteen I started to ride the subway alone. Thirteen was when I put away my Matchbox cars and picked up Rolling Stone. It was after-school peanut butter cups and cream soda from the deli on Bond Street. At thirteen I got to try a little of dad's beer, and at thirteen I swore I'd never drink that godawful stuff. Thirteen was tremulous fear and quaking desire. Thirteen was when childhood faded into the mist, and the future beckoned slyly from the car.

I remember thirteen well, but now I see it for what it really is:

make a wish

Thirteen is the time of angels.

Happy birthday, my mad, bad, sad, brilliant beautiful man.
topaz: (Default)

pasta bridge stress test, originally uploaded by qwrrty.

We went to an open house at the Voyagers Homeschooling Co-op in Acton. One of the activities was an invention workshop, where they were building bridges out of spaghetti noodles.

Final tally for Morgan's bridge:

* 7.4 reams of paper
* 387 #2 pencils
* 36 colored pencils,
* 30 large Crayola markers
* 100 small Crayola markers
* five glue sticks
* and six quarts of milk.

topaz: (Morgan - thrashin')
 [livejournal.com profile] redheadedmuse wrote recently about the importance of recognizing and valuing the way people in relationships with you desire you. We often may misread desire as being needy, a drag on our time or energy, an irritation, an interruption of some very important thing we must do right away. But recasting it as desire -- thinking in terms of how these people desire you -- has potentially a lot of power to reframe those emotions in a positive way. We all want to be desired. It may help to remember how many ways it happens, all the time.

Today I'm struck by the way my kids desire to be with me and do things with me.

This ain't small potatoes. Morgan, at 12, is right on the edge of figuring out what dorks his parents are, and once he does, I figure that's going to be game over until he's 35 or so.

It hasn't happened yet, and that's continually fascinating and rewarding for me. He calls to find out when I'll be home from work, and whether it's okay with me for him to watch Doctor Who without me. We play Dungeons and Dragons together every week with friends, and he's decided he wants to start a second campaign with me because he's not getting enough of it. I read to both of them at bedtime every night, and Morgan always wants me to start earlier and read more.

I have to remind myself that any day now, he's going to go all angsty and emo and will be hopelessly nonplussed by my complete uncoolness. For now, I'm just going to live in the moment. My kid still thinks I'm awesome. How great is that?
topaz: (Quinn - on shoulders)
From Saturday. Many thanks to [livejournal.com profile] shayde for the video:

topaz: (shooting stars)

My family is preparing to dispose of four bar stools, about 27" high. Is anyone interested in them? We have to arrange transport from Maine but could work something out.

Weird old guy not included.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

topaz: February 20, 2008 (lunar eclipse)
there is nothing half so much worth doing
"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing..."

as simply messing about in boats
"... as simply messing about in boats."
topaz: (Morgan - thrashin')
Ellen: "After you've done that, Dad will take you out and show you where the compost pile is."

Morgan: ...

Morgan: "Why?"

Ellen: "So then you can take the compost out!"

Morgan (dubiously): "Why would I want that?"

Me: "It's all the rage!  Everybody loves the compost pile!"

Morgan: "Great.  You do it."

Me: "I already do it.  I just like sharing the wealth."

Morgan: "I don't want your millions, mister."
topaz: (Morgan - thrashin')

The Life Face, originally uploaded by qwrrty.

Morgan called this one "The Life Face". I am still not sure why, but I like it.

topaz: (snow)
The boys and I went out for some snowball fighting and sledding after the winter storm today.

I kept trying to tell them not to throw snowballs at the photographer. This was a hard rule for them to remember.

the agony of defeatMorgan
topaz: February 20, 2008 (lunar eclipse)
When I was about two years old, my father bought a vintage Wurlitzer 1100 jukebox.

He had some work done on the mechanicals to make it work properly, so you could play records and didn't need to insert a coin.

Wurlitzer 1100 - coin slot

It plays 78 RPM records. My father had about 3,000 78s. We still have about 300.

I grew up with this behemoth in our living room. I used to sit on the floor and watch the glowing lights slowly revolving in the front panels. I grew up listening to the Andrews Sisters singing "Hohokus, N.J." and the Crew Cuts doing "Carmen's Boogie" and my personal favorites, Slim and Slam's "Dunkin' Bagel" and Phil Harris's "The Thing."

Wurlitzer 1100

As time went on, the other outrageous arcade gallery paraphernalia in our house slowly disappeared -- the pinball machine, the vintage Coke machine -- but the jukebox remained. Dad and I couldn't bear to part with it.

Wurlitzer 1100 - lower grille

When we were getting ready to leave Brooklyn, Dad started talking about selling the jukebox. I put my foot down and informed him he was not allowed to sell it. I vouchsafed my own living arrangements against it. "I will take the jukebox as soon as I have my own apartment," I announced.

It took until I was 28, but I did bring it home.

Wurlitzer 1100 - front exterior

I'm nearly 40 now. I live in a house that I'm delighted with, but which (by design) really doesn't have enough room for this monstrosity. It lives in storage, awaiting a final resolution. I'm writing to collectors to drum up interest in buying it. My son begs me tearfully not to sell it, and daily comes up with new clever plans by which we can bring the machine home.

If anyone knows of someone locally who might be interested in buying this crazy thing, please put them in touch with me.

Because as long as I'm selling it, it would be nice to keep it in the family. You know what I mean.
topaz: (Morgan - thrashin')
When Morgan went to Nature's Classroom in September, he took his point-and-shoot camera and extra memory cards I packed with him.  He came back with about 800 pictures.

A lot of them were of things like his dinner and mashed-potato sculptures and his classmates doing goofy things.  There were probably 100 pictures of the bonfire at the end of the week, taken valiantly in total darkness and coming out impossibly blurry.

But a lot of them came out well.  And some of them really stunned me.

I think I could work with this guy.

forest walk

fish heads


Aquila shows off


Dec. 4th, 2009 12:17 am
topaz: (Default)

Morgan, originally uploaded by qwrrty.

turning 39

Nov. 13th, 2009 12:35 am
topaz: (birthday)
So I had this birthday.  And a really, really lovely birthday it was, with highlights including:
  • Surprise visit and magnificent birthday cake from [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth in the morning
  • Surprise visit and gifts from [livejournal.com profile] chaiya in the morning
  • Long lunch and great conversation with [livejournal.com profile] ectophylla 
  • Surprise birthday dinner and magnificent birthday cake from [livejournal.com profile] keyne, Mom, Dad and the kids
  • Lots of post-dinner visits from the neighbors to help polish off as much of the cake as possible.
The funniest part:

The magnificent birthday cake from [livejournal.com profile] omegabeth was a chocolate layer cake with peanut butter frosting.

The magnificent birthday cake from [livejournal.com profile] keyne and [livejournal.com profile] npierce was.... a chocolate layer cake with peanut butter frosting and chocolate glaze.

I think I may be getting predictable.

But enough of that.  Here's what matters.  All day long, I ran into people at every turn who were conspiring to make sure I had a good day.  And wow, apparently I needed that more than anything.

Thanks and love to you all.  You are my rockstars.
topaz: (Mosaic)
I learned to drive a backhoe last weekend. How was your Labor Day?

Seriously. Our landscaping team here at Mosaic has been on a tear to spruce up the place and have done some absolutely astounding, fantastic, brilliant work around the grounds. On Sunday morning, Beezy came and knocked on my door and said: We need someone to drive the backhoe. Can you do it?

What was I supposed to say? It's just like driving a truck, right?

Actually it's like the biggest Erector Set you've ever had in your life. I drove that thing back and forth all day and didn't stop grinning.  I dug two 10'x20' garden beds in no time flat.

The previous day, Morgan and [livejournal.com profile] lilzon and I spent about four hours unloading and spreading a truckload of wood chips in the hot tub enclosure, to keep the weeds at bay.

Does this sound like work?  Okay, so it's work.  It was hard.  I was exhausted and burnt to a crisp by the end.  Both days.  Big deal.  It's hardly work if it's filled with so much joy.  Piece by piece, this place is coming together right before our very eyes.  Every day tops the previous one.

We held a barbecue to celebrate opening the common house, and it was so very wonderful that you could be there.

five more )
nobody's fool
topaz: (Morgan - thrashin')
It's a rough gig sometimes.  You can spend so so much time trying to help these kids make their own path, and still you both get frustrated and fed up a lot of the time.  Maybe he's so taken with a new video game that he wants to play it all day long even though it's a beautiful day outside, and you can tell right away this is going to end unhappily no matter what, it's either going to be you setting a time limit and him stomping outside at the end of it in a fit of pique or else he'll only figure out at the end of the day that what he really wanted to be doing all along was playing outside, and now it's too late and he's such an idiot he can't stand it and the tears start coming and then what can you do?

So it's like that a lot.  You want to let them choose their own adventure but you also want to help them not make choices they're likely to regret later, and often it seems like there are no good answers and you find yourself lying awake at night thinking to yourself: what in God's name made you think you were cut out for this line of work?

The funny thing is that many people think the worst part of it all is to have to stay up at night with a sick kid.  I won't lie, it's pretty awful when a young man comes in at 3 a.m. and says five of the most dreaded words in the English language: "I don't feel so good," and you have to get up and speedwalk him to the bathroom before it all comes up on the bedroom rug.  It's even worse when he comes back a half-hour later and says "I'm feeling bad again," and a night when he's retching every fifteen minutes from 3am to 7am is not one that you would wish on your worst enemy.  I would especially not wish it on [livejournal.com profile] keyne, who sat with the retching boy last night so I could try to get some sleep.

But, bad as that is, this is why those are not the worst nights: because the next day, after he's finally had some sleep and he wakes up and isn't feeling awful, he comes to you and looks up at you with those big round eyes and says softly, Thanks.  And you say, Thanks? What for?  And he says, Thanks for sitting up with me last night.

Because that's the part that makes you fall all to pieces, and lights the little fire inside that makes you say, I would walk through fire and ice for you, mister.  That's it.  That's the one.  It's all worth it.

April 2012


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