Monday, May 15, 2017

Owen Flotsam

Owen:  I’m ready for my breakfast, Miss Pee.
Me:  Don’t call me that Owen; it’s not nice.
Owen, earnestly:  But you said I could call you anything just as long as I don’t call you late for dinner.
Me:  ba dum bum.

Word mix ups:  we planted new lilac bushes a few weekends ago, and Owen calls them violacs.  I was going to correct him, but violacs seemed rather apropos.  Instead of “don’t mind of I do,” he’ll say:  “I don’t mind what I do.”

Owen is very into making rhymes these days, and the other day he came running to me, saying: “Mom!  I made a rhyme!  Greenest penis!”

I was talking to Sean and said to him about someone:  I think she is Armenian.  Owen promptly interrupted:   No, Dorothy is our minion!

The other day Owen said to me:  I think Dorothy needs a hearing aid.  She never listens to me or Nanny.

When we were driving home from Massachusetts after the holidays, Sean thought he had lost his new pocketknife at a rest-stop and let out a few choice words.  (He later found the knife.)  Anyway an hour or so later when we were still in the car driving, Owen mused:  “Daddy said a bad word when he lost his knife.”
Me:  That’s right, he did.
Owen:  Daddy said “stupid.”
Me, thinking:  he said a lot worse than that!

Wise words from Owen:  Sometimes, Mom, you don’t know if a cat is happy.

Owen took this picture of me with my happy cat:

Around Thanksgiving time Owen learned the history of Thanksgiving at school.  I realized he didn’t quite understand it when he started talking as if WE had taken our particular house from the Indians.  I had to do some explaining.

After finishing a slice of cake not too long ago, Owen said, “Today I fell in love with chocolate.”


Owen one day sitting next to a very loudly snoring Dorothy:  “I don’t like snoring.  I like to be quiet like a pig alone in its puddle.”

The issue of death has also come up often lately – mainly in regards to pets.  He knows that I had my pug, Tulip, and Sean had his cat, Kilman, and that both are no longer with us.  He still doesn’t get the sadness of death – which I suppose is a good thing on the whole, but it leads to him making comments to me such as the following.  He was pretending to talk on an old landline phone of mine and said to me, “Mom, Tulip is on the phone!  She’s not dead; she’s just living somewhere else!”  Me, thinking:  well that is just horrible!!

I spy a bulldogge:

I was between Owen and the spray of water one night and apologized for being a waterhog.  A few minutes later Owen said:  “Mom, you’re doing it again!  You’re being a wet groundhog!”

Owen's Bed

Here is a picture of Owen’s new bed!  The bedspread is my sister, Meredith’s college bedspread (and thus a million years old J), and the pillows are handmade by my sister, Martha!  The fabric pleases me – camping scenes and ogling clams – how could it not?

We put off getting a bed for him for way too long, mainly because, let’s face it, he doesn’t spend more than a few hours each night in said bed, so it didn’t seem urgent.  He was sleeping in the converted crib – basically a crib with one side removed – but eventually that got too small to contain comfortable blankets and a pillow.

The posters and artwork, such as it is, are still situated from when the dresser was where the bed is now, and we have yet to change the positioning, as you can see.  Owen is a big fan of hanging up his own artwork, and he has strong opinions as to what should go where.

I told him I will make the bed for him in the mornings until he turns five, and then it will be one of his jobs.

I have noticed now that when Owen leaves his bed and joins us in the night, then Posy will often go into Owen’s room and use his bed.  Smart kitty.  Plum also has recently discovered that there is a good view from Owen's bed.  At least someone is getting good use out of it!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Book Reviews April 2017

The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Countryby Helen Russell.  This was a fun book – it’s sort of the book you’d get if Bridget Jones traveled to Denmark and lived there for a year.  Helen Russell had a successful career in the fashion magazine world in London, but left to go live in Denmark when her husband got his dream job at Lego.  She had been having a stressful time of it in London, and decides to move to Denmark and embrace exactly what makes it such a happy place.  They move in January and the book is divided by one month per chapter.  The “downside” of the book is that basically all the reasons that the Danish are happy can’t be emulated in another country—you basically need to move to Denmark (or Norway) to achieve that happiness for yourself.  Drat.  It’s interesting to see how well the social safety net works there, although Russell is also honest about the problems she encounters with the Danish way of life.  Russell is a very entertaining writer – she’s very irreverent and very funny, and very au courant.

Keep You Close by Lucie Whitehouse.  I loved this thriller and couldn’t put it down.  Rowan is a woman in her thirties living as an academic in London when she learns that a childhood friend of hers, Marianne Glass, died in a freak accident falling off the roof of her house.  Although Rowan had been estranged from Marianne for the past ten years, she goes up to Oxford for the funeral and ends up agreeing to house-sit for the family.  Marianne was an extremely successful and famous painter, and it turns out that right before she died she sent Rowan a letter.  Rowan is not convinced that the death was an accident, although she doesn’t know if it was suicide or murder.  She decides to investigate on her own.  Her search reveals more and more, but the reader also finds out some interesting information about Rowan herself, which has the potential to change everything.  It is very suspenseful and very well written.  It’s an excellent book!

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.  This novel is about the Grimke sisters, Sarah and Angelina, who in real life were southern women abolitionists in Charleston in the 1800s, and a slave from their household, Handful.  The chapters switch back and forth from Sarah to Handful.  Handful was given to Sarah on her eleventh birthday, but even at that age Sarah was anti-slavery so tried all she could do to “give her back.”  She and Handful become friends, and Sarah illicitly teaches Handful to read.  Sarah ends up so out of place in Charleston that she goes to Philadelphia and becomes a Quaker.  Later Angelina joins her and they become abolitionist speakers, which they did in real life.  Meanwhile Handful and her mother meet up with Denmark Vesey and their situation becomes even more complicated.  Sarah had made a promise to Handful’s mother to try to free her, and she attempts to keep that promise.  It’s an interesting book, although I was never able to get very enthusiastic about it.

Siracusa by Delia Ephron.  This was a really good read.  Two couples go on vacation together to Italy, and while in Siracusa, disaster ensues.  Each chapter is from the viewpoint of one of the four main characters, and it is entertaining to get all the different takes on the trip.  Lizzie and Michael are writers from New York, and Finn and Taylor are living in Maine, where Finn owns a restaurant and Taylor works at the tourist bureau.  Finn and Lizzie dated once in their early twenties.  Finn and Taylor also have a daughter, Snow, who is ten and on the spectrum.  Both couples are having marriage problems:  Michael is in the midst of an affair back in New York, and Finn and Taylor have troubles because Taylor is obsessed with their daughter.  Ephron is a really funny writer – I laughed out loud frequently, even though the topics are fraught.  My one criticism would be that Taylor is too one-note and not believable.  She’s too easy to thoroughly dislike.  It’s a fun book though and I will definitely seek out more of Ephron’s novels.

Little Deaths by Emma Flint.  I didn’t enjoy this one very much.  It is about a woman in the early sixties in Queens, Ruth, whose young children, age 5 and 4, go missing and then are found dead.  The detectives believe she did it and do everything they can to convict her.  The reader knows she didn’t do it – although we don’t know who did until the end.  The majority of the story is told from the point of view of Pete, a young reporter who finagles getting assigned to this story in the hopes that it will make his career.  He starts investigating and thinks Ruth is innocent, but more so because he becomes attracted to and obsessed by her.  My problem with the book is that the main point of it seems to be to show how unfairly Ruth is treated because she is a beautiful woman who sleeps around.  This more than anything else motivates the police and detectives to try to prove her guilt, even though she isn’t guilty.  The stressful part is that we only see Ruth through the eyes of the men surrounding her, so as readers you feel rather complicit in her objectification.  Flint doesn’t help us out, because she doesn’t make Ruth really anything more than her like of losing herself in sex with men.  We really don’t know more about Ruth than what the men think they know, and that makes it frustrating to read.