Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas 2011: Roses and Simulated Snow, Not Stinkhorns.

Moss and our 2/3rd ornamented Christmas Tree.

A few days before Christmas the morning sky turned our field pink.

We started a new family tradition this year: Christmas Eve at Stephen Foster State Park.

The bell tower.  When you heard a Christmas tune via the largest set of tubular bells in America it could only mean one thing...simulated snow.

Simulated snow seemed to be comprised of one part water, one part air and one part dishwashing detergent. This didn't stop countless children from gathering around the faucets while they were covered in a sudsy simulated snow flurry.

The boys were content spending Christmas morning in the bed of their grandparents pick-up truck.

Our chickens are looking plump and healthy.

A new pile of sticks in the field.  This reminds me of the hay bales found in the salt marshes along the North Shore of Massachusetts.  

Moss and Giles at Alligator Lake.

On Christmas morning I went searching for the traditional Christmas Stinkhorn (see previous Christmas posts), but I found none. So this year the Christmas rose will replace the Stinkhorn.

Santa  brought the boys a cardboard box house which arrived in a large cardboard box.

We had our traditional bagels and lox Christmas breakfast. 

Grandpa, Moss and Giles read Ferdinand (their favorite right now).

Candies from Brockton, MA and bread from OWR.

Moss examines a beetle. You can probably hear him say 'Bug!"

Giles exploring the field.

Moss under a live oak. Get it? Moss under a live oak...ok, it wasn't that clever. Merry Christmas to all our friends and family. It was the best ever...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving in Ajo, 2011

The Crater Range, North of Ajo.

6:17 AM, Thanksgiving Day. Holiday cheer had not yet arrived to the Continental desk at Gate A11, JAX; I doubt that it ever did. Before the flight attendant snidely scolded us for our tardiness, she gazed upon the disassembled stroller, the car seats balanced upon the over-the-size-limit bags, the twins, Cymande and I with an expression that seemed to say, “there is no plane designed that can accommodate your unique set of problems.” The airplane milieu wasn’t any better: the 45-ish man in front of us yelled at a 92-ish woman, “OK grandma, sit down!” She was not his biologic relative. Things improved though, Moss and Giles fell soundly asleep. We arrived at HOU for our connection to PHX with just enough time to board. As the plane lifted off I could feel the heavy colloidal mass, which was once a diaper, shift position. Then, I felt a slow deep warmth sink into my lap. 30,000 feet above the earth and moving at 550 mph I was soaked in Giles’ urine.

After landing, we drove our rental car southwest toward Ajo and the waiting Grandparents. We passed through Gila Bend. This town has achieved modest notoriety lately due to Prince Harry learning to drop bombs from his fighter jet at a nearby military base. Gila Bend also achieved some press after the Mayor allegedly warned Harry not to “fornicate” with the local girls. We passed through the intriguing Crater Range and arrived in Ajo.

Thanksgiving dinner was warmly waiting when we arrived. The boys were greeted by their excited Grandparents and an arsenal of homemade and home-modified toys. This inspired Giles to master the pronunciation of ‘car,’ ‘papa,’ and ‘nana’. Moss worked on ‘fan’, but settled for ‘fen’ (who needs toys when you have a ceiling fan?).

I love Ajo. I don’t have the mettle to live there, but it is such a unique place to visit. We befriended a one-legged man from Mississippi and his cute feral son at the playground. We attended the open studios at the Curley School where we had some type of intuitive chakra analysis performed by an ex-New Yorker/color-designer/artist (and of course it was precisely correct). There was a youthful grey-haired ceramic artist wearing Chuck Taylors and listening to Marvin Gaye. If you are interested in living a modest creative life and want to live way out in the desert, the Curley School is waiting. Or perhaps you enjoy mines or dioramas, or men talking about mines, or men talking about mine dioramas; the Phelps Dodge Mine in Ajo provides all your mine wants and desires. We visited the library and walked around the downtown plaza that was interestingly covered with a lumpy and stinky layer of cow manure. My parents said it was the result of 'community service'.

Saturday, Nana and Papa babysat and we travelled to visit our friends Julie and Jamie in Tucson. We travelled through the Tohono O’odham Nation which is about the size of Connecticut, but lacks the Audis. Ajo Road winds through beautiful desert covered with saguaro and organ pipe cacti. It eventually led us to a Circle K where we met Julie and Jamie for our evening walk in the desert. They took us to King’s Canyon where they revealed their semi-professional desert-guide status. Julie and I attempted to catch-up after not seeing each other for 15 years, but mostly we talked about the birds and the killer bees. We visited petroglyphs and an ancient outhouse. We walked by the light of the moon, by the light of the moon, we walked by the light of the moon...sort of, until we needed the Iphone flashlight app. Then onward to El Charro,the first mexican restaurant in America (really) and it was delicious. They dry meat suspended from a pole that towers over their restaurant. During our visit with Julie and Jamie I managed to take only one photo featuring either of them, and this is evidence of great conversation with great friends over amazing food and margaritas. Sadly, it had to end. The two hour drive back through the desert was full of loud hip-hop, roadside cattle, coffee and Cymande soundly asleep.

The next day we were visited by Cymande’s Uncle George, Aunt June and Aunt Carolyn. Papa, Moss and Giles put on a great patio show for everyone (and my father even managed to provide lunch). The Grandparents then bravely offered to babysit all night while we slept in the casita/little dude and a very rare full-night’s sleep was had. Thank you!

Our short trip to Ajo ended on Monday as did the pancake breakfasts, the onion rings, the on-call babysitters, the free laundry service and the Gambel’s Quails. The travel excitement didn’t end there though. Our connection in Atlanta featured an ATL employee telling me that she was going to call the police on me (twice!). The days of lap children are officially over and it will be worth every damn penny. We arrived home at 2AM.

Giles and Papa trade stories and hats.

Gambel's Quails outside of the kitchen window.

Cymande, my Desert Dandelion.

Garage in Ajo.

 The Copper Mine in Ajo.

 Open studios at the Curley School.

Giles in the Curley School.

Julie and Cymande.


Our hike in King's Canyon ran a little late.

Papa, Moss, Nana and Giles.

Church of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Ajo.

June, Carolyn, George, Cymande and I.

      Cactus garden the the front yard.

Giles and Nana.

Everyone packs except Moss who tried to escape through the bushes.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Happy Birthday!

I'm so happy to be on this journey with you.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sea Flowers

Rockport from Granite Pier.  We returned to our adopted-ancestral home for the second-annual Cape Ann vacation. What you can't see from this photo is the American Academy of Pediatric convention that we attended for a few days. Have you ever seen 2,000 pediatricians fighting over a tote bag? Do you want to? 

Essex, our first stop after arriving on Cape Ann. Cymande enjoyed Farnham's clam chowder in the drizzle while ignoring the heap of fried clams, onion rings and fries. Just a few steps away, Moss and Giles slept in the rented Impala.
Giles intently focuses upon steering an immobile antique tractor. He held the course. 
Russel Orchards, Ipswich. Moss was excited and happy to meet the turkeys of Russel Orchards. I encouraged this relationship until he pointed at his new friend. He looked at me in horror after the turkey sampled his plump index finger; clearly, this turkey was not his friend.
Giles enthusiastically heads for the duck pond; Ross watches apathetically.
Giles enjoying himself at Russel Orchards: cider donuts, playful pigs, conspiratorial turkeys, rocks and bits of straw. 

Early morning breakfast at Sugar Magnolia's in Gloucester. We just didn't feel it this year...dark, Metallica playing at 7am, ignored by our waitress and heaps of bland food.    

Moss, Giles and Cymande at Good Harbor with Twin Lights on the horizon.

Ross and Giles at Zumi's in Ipswich. Moss and Giles tore the place up while Ross and I drank our weight in cafe mocha. Thankfully there were many courteous patrons that returned my wayward children. Ross displayed his years of parenting expertise.  

Moss and Giles on Bearskin Neck.

Unintentional abstract signage on Bearskin Neck.

Across the street from the Ocean View Hotel on the Back Shore in Gloucester. Cymande and I stood here 10 years ago after we were married at the Ocean View. At the time we imagined that the cement residues were symbols of Mars and Venus. I still entertain this thought.

Front Beach, Rockport. The family enjoys a post-Tuck's candy and coffee on the beach. Cymande said 'Rockport smells like sea flowers.' Shortly after we made our way over to George Anderson's gallery for our first real art purchase.  It will look great in our new Seattle/Ipswich/Gainesville home.

Pilot Hill, Gloucester.  Giles and Moss visited Carley, Gerry, Danielle and Dot.  Giles demonstrated his spit-finger stone throw.

Appleton Farms, Ipswich. Giles reaches into the unknown.

The Great Meadow, Appleton Farms, Ipswich.  I pushed the boys through mud and over rocks with determination. I had a goal. I met my goal. 

Appleton Farms, Ipswich. Moss inadvertently poses for a cute Autumnal picture.  He was mostly chasing Giles from pumpkin hole to pumpkin hole. Pumpkin hole.

The pine grove at Appleton Farms. Unseen is a small pond to the right where I hallucinated a scuba diver, but it was just a Canada goose feeding. Did I mention that Moss woke me up every 2 hours throughout our vacation?

Jenn prepares dinner. Giles wanted to say, "More quinoa!" but he mostly pointed, yelled, "drock" and shoveled heaps of dinner into his mouth.

The new guitar room at Jenn and Daniel's house.

Shameless self-promotion on the stairs. 

Stavros Reservation, Essex. Ross, Moss and I turn our backs to the glorious Essex River Estuary.  Ross asked about the stone structure atop the hill and I told him some rambling tale.  Well, I looked it up and it was a pump house for the Burnham Farm in the 1880's and/or a lookout tower for Burnham-owned coal barges approaching Newburyport.  You decide. 

To the left: Castle Hill and Crane beach. To the right: Hog Island. In the grass: half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich. 
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