27 September 2008


in answer to a call from MEP at not to brag, here is my post

visit it:
youtube. look at postings on youtube of vintage (1970's) sesame street segments. cosmo is really obsessed with marble mazes these days. he likes to make them out of household objects like tubes, spoons, old copper pipe fittings, cardboard, etc. and he recently spotted a new roller coaster type at a goodwill, which we've been setting up daily. he enjoys playing with them, and watching them on youtube.

we found videos of some really elaborate constructions, but usually they are not of the highest quality, filmicly, and can be difficult for a little one to follow. but those old counting pinball animations from sesame street not only fit the bill for exciting ball runs, they have a deliciously funky soundtrack, sure to please the adults too. i was thrilled to find "lady bug picnic" on there too.

resist it:
the toy museum in zionsville (indianapolis suburb). it sounds great (antique carousel, bumper cars etc.), but like so many privately owned and operated, small town museums, it's a rip-off. first of all, the website indicated that kids under 4 were admitted free. not so. they claim they've been trying to get that changed online, but still make you pay. after you pay your entrance fee, you are led downstairs, to the place with all the coin-op, ride-on toys--the kind you sometimes see in malls, used to find them outside of grocery stores. they have a large, windowless room filled with them, and they cost fifty cents per ride.

cosmo was excited about them, and we spent a couple of bucks riding them, but what's really strange is the environment. there's nobody else down there. so you feel like you are just playing around in someone's private collection, which is, of course, what you are doing. one ride on the bumper cars is included with the admission, so we tried them. but again, with no one else to bump into, what's the point? cosmo asked to get off after about 45 seconds. i cannot put my finger on why it felt almost creepy to be down there (with only the old guy who operates the bumper cars), putting coins into slots and watching cosmo go sort-of-up-and-down, sort-of-back-and-forth on a fiberglass dinosaur. it was sad, really. it felt like we were TRYING to have fun. trying too hard maybe? we took an elevator up two floors to a room with a carousel, and an arrangement of vitrines filled with antique toys. the toy collection was amazing. but who wants to look at a bunch of precious playthings that you can't play with? cosmo got frustrated when we came across some marbles and marble games. he didn't understand why he couldn't get them out.

the girl on the right, on the box looks as though she is threatening to harm herself if she can't have this toy mixer.

we did ride the merry-go-round (as they called it), which was pretty fun. i took a bunch of pictures. when i tried to climb on the pig, i was told there was a weight limit. oops. could've mentioned that before i made an ass of myself.

the guy that worked there was also annoying. he assumed cosmo's favorite things were disney characters. cosmo doesn't know anything about disney characters. they had this weird talking tree which spewed all kinds of nonsense, and was hooked up to an erratic motion sensor. cosmo was enchanted by it. i was mesmerized by this turn-of-the-century relic:

the only redeeming thing about the place was the ice cream parlor. they had a jukebox with miniature animatron figurines of jazz musicians playing at a night club. we both enjoyed that, and played it over and over (again, with the quarters!) somehow, eating ice cream all alone, and listening to fifties pop songs wasn't as disturbing as the rest of our experience at the toy museum.
take my advise, if you're in the area, skip it.

admit it:
i have a junk collecting addiction. i experience bouts of anxiety if i ride my bike past a pile of stuff someone has put out by the side of the road. i make a mental note to come back with the car, to sift through it (it's difficult to carry a wooden chair while riding a bike, but i have done it). sometimes i get distracted, and don't make it back before someone else has taken all the good stuff. i feel compelled to stop at yard sales, and i dislike going with carl. he has no patience for the kind of browsing i like to do, and might pass judgment on what i deem suitable to take home with us. in fact, i don't like to go with anyone. yard sale shopping puts me in a sort of trance-like state. it is a semi-systematic looking and touching of almost every item there.
i've found some great things too. in dumpsters, on the roadside, yard sales, flea markets, thrift stores. in fact, most of my favorite and most useful possessions came to me second hand. but i have begun to recognize that i am unreasonable, and a little out of control with it. perhaps i need to establish some rules. a couple of months ago, i asked carl to stop the car, and i hopped out and threw some boards in the trunk. he asked what i was going to use them for. i said, "i have some ideas, but in general, if you see solid wood by the side of the road, you should not pass it up. on the other hand, if you see particle board, or anything made from it, you should definitely not stop." i think that's a good rule to start with.

cold frame made almost exclusively from salvaged materials

listen to it:
oneida. i'm not talking about the flatware company, or the indian tribe. i won some tickets from the college radio station (WIUX) to go see this band at the bluebird. we had a great time, and became solid fans. i'm not sure if many readers of this blog would like it, and i am no good at describing sounds, or putting music into genres, so check it out for yourself.
we've also been listening to a lot of children's music. current favorites include hoosier hotcakes (who we see live every saturday at the market) and elizabeth mitchell. there's some lovely songs on her cd "you're my little bird."

visititresistitadmititlistentoit is not a meme, but i challenge my fellow bloggers to give it a try.

16 September 2008

windy indy

the remnants of ike swept through here on sunday. the high winds knocked down a lot of trees, and big branches, resulting in hundreds of thousands of power outages throughout the state. ours went out at around 1pm sunday, and just now came back on (tuesday). our entire city was not flooded, or otherwise in utter chaos like galveston, or houston, where so many of our dearest friends live. we felt extremely lucky. shawna had some freezer space for our frozen summer harvest (her power was on), and that was really all i was worried about. otherwise, it was just a slight inconvenience.

we had some fun doing bedtime stories by candlelight, and outdoor shaving for carl (the bathroom was really dark). we spent a lot of time explaining to cosmo what it meant to have the power off. he'd ask to listen to a cd, or look at marble mazes on youtube, and we'd say, "no cosmo, the power is out, so those things don't work. anything that plugs-in doesn't work. try turning on the TV." he'd go press the button on the TV, and it wouldn't come on. then i suggested he try his piano, to see if it still worked. he ran over and plunked a few keys, and his face lit up with delight. later, he got out his marbles, and i heard him say "yep. the marbles still roll."

we saw the crews show up to deal with the downed line on our block, so we walked over to watch. i pointed out where all the lines went to the houses from the main line that was out. when we got to our house, cosmo traced our line, and our next door neighbor's. lessons in infrastructure.

08 September 2008

best and worst

the best thing about making grape jelly (from concord grapes we picked from a fence row in our neighborhood), is actually the grape juice that was left over. unsweetened concord grape juice is really delicious. add a little fizzy water, and ya got grape soda!

the worst thing about making grape jelly is when a whole batch doesn't set. it was the low sugar batch, which was doubly disappointing. the full sugar batch was so sweet, it seemed to take away from the wonderful, fresh grape flavor. i'm not even a fan of jelly, generally. it just seemed the thing to do with a bunch of grapes. if i'd thought of it, we could have just made juice, and canned that. next year.

we followed the instruction on the pectin box precisely, so we have no idea what went wrong. i think sometimes it just doesn't work. there is a chance we may reprocess the batch that didn't quite set (though it looks better today than it did when we first made it). we have instructions for re-doing batches that don't set. if it were jam, i wouldn't care. blueberry sauce is great on waffles or ice cream. but runny, un-jelled jelly? what are you supposed to do with that? i think the answer is: re-process it.

05 September 2008

cosmo sez...

cosmo: turn over your back, i give you a little backscratch.
mama: ok, thanks cosmo.
cosmo: (scratching my back) i'm a woman.
mama: why are you a woman?
cosmo: i like to be a woman. it's tuesday (it actually was tuesday).
this next one is a rather common request:

"i wanna lie down on your boob--i wanna lie down on your breast.
no, the other second breast!"
from a while ago:

"sometimes, i get bummed"

from a couple of days ago:

"C-O-S-M-O, cosmo. i wanna write my name!"
below is his attempt (i helped him with the "s" he did the rest on his own).

and then he made this drawing of himself and nani at the pool and the sun (this is a detail).