Friday, August 27, 2010

An Ode to Late Summer

I love late summer.

I'm probably not alone or unique in my adoration of this particular part of the season. But I love it for its glimpse of the future and its rather steadfast hold on the present. Right now, as I type, the kids are playing outside with jackets on. And shorts. In an hour or so, the kids will abandon them, leaving outerwear strewn on the deck as the summer sun does its job.

We've dug out the blankets: Hannah with her baby quilt that doesn't even cover her body when it's stretched out lengthwise, and Lillian, with her crocheted orange blanket made by her great-grandmother. In the mornings now, we might need them. With windows open, the house feels pleasantly chilled when we wake.

And I like this dichotomy. The need to cover-up and the need to shed. Cold and warmth, all in the span of a day.

The kids still have a sense of their freedom, and I suppose in a few days, the changing of the calendar to September might put a damper on that. But now they play with zero sense of impending doom. Now they play like it's June.

This weekend, with more heat approaching, we'll probably see friends and grill. And also find a place to stack the gigantic pile of firewood. The sun gives off signs of its impending hibernation. It hangs around less, its visits truncated. When it goes away, we light fires. And sit by them. We go through firewood like candy, and usually, when we go to bed, there are still embers glowing orange.

I look forward to this, but knowing I'll miss the particular fire of the sun.

We still have some trips to go. An amusement park up North. Ocean City, NJ. We go when everyone else leaves. We shun long lines and crowds. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I'll miss summer, the kids driving me insane, the heat, a relatively unfettered schedule. I'll miss an outside welcoming and accessible, Coronas with a wedge of tart lime, people walking by. I'll miss iced coffee. I'll miss the trees, full and vibrant and green.

But there's still something about the bare tree, stately in its exposure. A group of them, all packed in together, as if for warmth, does something to my heart.

Skeletal in the waning light, the winter-bare tree merely goes to bed early. It's right there with us. Waiting for the sun.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Things I'm Currently Wondering

Why is The Real World still on?

Because according to MTV, the 'real world' consists of an expensively decorated loft done just so for a group of 20-year olds, who will promptly vomit all over it as soon as introductions are made.

Remember back in the day when they actually had people with personalities on that show? Remember Heather B? And Julie from somewhere down south? Remember Pedro? I loved Pedro. They actually filmed people with jobs and aspirations. Jud was a comic book writer. Pam was a med student. The ubiquitous hot tub hadn't yet arrived on scene.

Remember how Rachel tried to hide her belly button piercing from her very Catholic, very traditional mother?

Can you imagine a time when a navel-piercing was controversial?

Do I sound like a curmudgeon? Because I totally feel like a curmudgeon.


How do stink bugs get inside my house? I find their little carcasses on the wood floor, turned belly (thorax?) up, and sometimes I hear them plunking against a window.


Why all the froth over the Ground Zero Mosque? And who was the wizard that came up with such a hyperbolic name for what is essentially a community center? It was probably Mama Grizzly herself, what with her 'stabbed heart' and all. She acts like Osama Bin Laden himself is the project manager. Sheesh.

This blog shows some places that are in the same general vicinity as the proposed house of worship, whose congregants which would worship, you know, God, and not planes flying into buildings, as Mama Grizzly would have you believe. Then perhaps they'd take a swim and a shower, and see a show in the proposed auditorium, and then buy some snacks.

So, just to be clear, we're down with sex and gambling on 'hallowed ground.' That's rockin'. But none of them Muslim folk. Gotcha.

Shouldn't we encourage voices of moderation? Shouldn't we listen to Fareed Zakaria when he says, 'If there is ever going to be a reformist movement in Islam, it is going to emerge from places like the proposed institute.'


Will the roofer show up on time to give an estimate of slate roof repair, chimney repointing, gutter replacement and all manner of other things that make the sound ca-ching? Or will I be spending all afternoon wondering where the hell he is?


What is up with all the 'Girl With' novels? Are these something I should be reading? I've gotten the cautious go-ahead from a trusted friend with impeccable literary taste, and heard family members talk about how good they are.

But, without even having read them, I'm wondering if the late author was a misogynist dressed up as the opposite. I'm not sure I have the stomach for them right now, although hearing that Daniel Craig is going to be playing a lead helps. I have zero problem with reading a book that allows me to envision him at length.

Still, with all that's happening in the world, The Girl Who Purchased an Ice Cream Cone and Ate It Under A Shady Tree is probably more my speed.

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