Monday, May 28, 2007

The (un)talent show

I'm doing this to the music of "76 Trombones Lead the Big Parade," since watching me blog has got to be the most boring thing EVER.

We're at the family reunion, in Colorado, and it's been fun — and tonight's the talent show. Or untalent show. The big announcement is that Ryan's working toward dental school. I'll have TWO brothers-in-law who are dentists, lucky me.

So Rebecca made balloon animals for all the kids, and Alan's kids sang to Grandma, who reciprocated by reading the kids a story, and we even got Beth to sing "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam." (She did a good job, too.)

After putting the kids to bed, and dealing with the excessive whispering that ensued, we came back for more: rice pudding, poorly told jokes, Ryan actually participating (juggling smooshed dinner rolls), and David singing (over and over). David and Alan sang a great song about Scott getting stuck on the T in Boston. We're getting it all on video, again, and someone (hopefully not us, this time) will put it on a DVD for posterity. It's all pretty cool. And this is a pretty talented crew, even when they're un-talents. Me? I'm blogging, as a spectator event.

Friday, May 25, 2007


We're in Colorado for the annual Boss Family Reunion, and it's a zoo. Really: Ten adults, seven kids, and two more on the way. It takes us four (full) cars to go anywhere. So today we took all seventeen people in all four cars down to Colorado Springs, had lunch at a picnic area in the Garden of the Gods, and spent the afternoon at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Wow. Wow.

This isn't a huge zoo, and it's probably under-funded. But it's a great, great zoo. The animals look healthy and well cared-for, and they're so close to visitors! Bethie got to feed a giraffe, which alone would have made my afternoon. ($1 for three giraffe crackers, walkways right at the giraffes' eye level, so they're up close and personal for kiddies. And adults.) I remember briefly petting a giraffe once at Hogle Zoo when I was a kid. The long tongue! The long eyelashes! Today we stood and talked with one, and felt its horns (they're called ossicones — I looked it up), and petted its nose. Such a treat. We took Sarah out of the stroller to have her meet one of the giraffes too. She's about as big as its head.

There were great signs up to tell about the animals (I've been looking at the spectacled bear at the Pittsburgh Zoo for a couple of years now, but just found out today he's native to South America), and zookeepers who stood and talked with all of us about the four 19-month-old mountain lion cubs, and gorgeous peacocks strutting around. I wasn't about to do the petting zoo with Beth (she's terrified of the big old mangy goats in Pittsburgh), but her cousins were doing it, sooooo...we washed her hands and I went in with her. Two clean, dainty pygmy goats — not much bigger than Beth — were in there with a keeper, and when I held my hand out they licked it and nibbled curiously. I held Beth's hand in mine and they licked her hand, then tried to nibble her sleeve and raincoat. Instead of freaking out (this is the third day this week she hasn't taken an afternoon nap) she took it all in stride. "Again, Mommy! Do it again!"

My favorite moment, though, was walking through the wallaby enclosure and getting to pet a motherless baby wallaby that a zookeeper was carrying in a denim pouch. (I have neither the vocabulary nor the italics to describe this.) So little, so soft, and when it curled up its big legs and feet wrapped all the way around to its little head. I thought: This is like carrying Sarah in a sling, or in her Snugli, and right now she is just as little and soft and vulnerable as this baby is.

(I'll get pictures up, I promise. I'm blogging in the dark while the girls are asleep back at our hotel. But in the meantime, you can check out the zoo's giraffe cam.)

Later this evening, headed north on I-25, in the past-bedtime dark, we heard Beth murmuring something to herself. I turned around. "What's that, Bethie?"

"Goat eat my shirt. Goat eat my shirt."

"Yes, Bethie, the goat tried to eat your shirt."

From the back seat, a moment later, a giggle. "That's funny!"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Househunt v2.0

We have a house! Probably. We all know what happened last time. Caveats aside, though, it's a very neat place in a terrific neighborhood: a two-story condo built in 1920 and redone in 2000. Photos are here.

So the whirlwind househunting tour has been a success. I don't think I ever want to do it again, but I haven't felt this much like a superhero since 1978 and the Wonder Woman Underoos.

And Bethie has been just fine. Truly. I've talked to her over the phone several times, and she sounds like she's having a blast: trips to the library and Phipps Conservatory, time alone with Daddy, and the company of her little buddies Daniel and Eleanor. I miss her so much!

(Okay, I miss Scott too. But Scott doesn't need me to put his hair in "bunny rabbit ears" — Beth's term for pigtails — in the morning.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Stripped of the (Sunset) Strip

I've been ignoring this for months, hoping the bad reports were premature or wrong or something...but I guess I have to face facts: Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is gone.


Scott claims that if he watches a TV show from the pilot episode and likes it, the show's doomed. He may be right about this (remember Firefly? Love Monkey? Even, eventually, Enterprise?) I doubt it's a gypsy curse — the more likely explanation is that what we like and what the rest of the country likes just doesn't jive. I mean, how many CSI spinoffs are out there?

I'm really bitter about this, though. (Yes, more bitter than about the house: see below.) I'm not a Sorkin-head; I never got into West Wing; I liked the show on its own merits. Studio 60 was funny, smart, and had a good sense of its own non-history (my favorite episode is the one where Cal meets the old guy who was a writer on the show before he got blacklisted). People complained that the show was too self-consciously L.A., but that's the very reason I wanted to watch it.

Guess one of these days I'll have to take down my link to the (long-since-deceased) blog about the show...just not yet...I'm still bummed out about this.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Home (bitter, bitter, bitter)

Okay, okay, it's not that bad. But we had an inspection done of the house we planned to buy, and it turned out that it needed $11,000 (yes, that's three zeroes) of repair work done before we could even move in. The furnace doesn't work; there's a crack in the foundation; the darling sunroom has dry rot in the floorboards; there's carpenter ant damage. The list goes on: a bunch of must-do small-ticket items that add up pretty fast. The sellers refuse to pay for any of it (in fact, they insist that the furnace works fine and the home inspector didn't know what he was talking about). So we backed out of the deal, and we're only out $400 for a good home inspection.

So I'm going back up to Boston this week to find us all a place to live. Sarah, sweet baby, is coming with me; Beth is going to split time between Daddy and hanging out with her buddy Daniel (Margaret, you're my hero). Scott and I had a very good, very realistic talk about yard work (i.e., how much of it we're actually willing to do vs. how much we want him to get tenure) and decided that we'll probably go the condo route for the first few years. (Condos, by the way, are amazing! — old houses, newly renovated, split upstairs/downstairs into huge flats.) Cross your fingers for us, y'all: we need a place to live, and I have two and a half days to do it in.

I feel so, so conflicted about leaving Beth for three days/two nights. On one hand, I know she needs to learn that there are lots of people out there who love her and will take care of her, people she can rely on and trust. Truly, I shouldn't worry about this. She's been known to bypass me when she hurts herself and go to Margaret for hugs and kisses. But on the other hand, she's been so clingy and whiny and needy and just-turned-two-ish recently that it gives me a sick feeling to think about how dreadful her few days without Mommy will be.

And then there's an even odder fear: will she be just fine without me? Would that make me feel worse?