Friday, August 2, 2013

A Lament

There are a lot of things I've given up on since becoming a mother: Sleeping through the night. Sitting down to eat a meal and staying seated the whole time. Wearing any kind of shoe with a heel when my children are present (and they're always present).  And my hair.

I miss my hair. If you were to meet me for the first time, my hair is probably the first thing you would notice. That is, it's the first thing you notice if you can see it. It's long and very dark and very, very curly. But you can't tell any of that anymore* because it's always pulled back in a messy bun.

This is, of course, solely because of grabby little hands intent on scalping me, and my lack of time to shower and style my hair in the morning. And so my beloved curly hair stays bundled out of the way, consigned to a tight ball away from destructive baby hands.

Unfortunately, I am not one of those people who looks good with her hair pulled back. So I pretty much look . . . not good. On a daily basis.

I am not a particularly vain person. I don't wear make-up. I don't wear stylish clothes. I don't give a damn about pedicures and manicures and facials and whateverthehellelse.

But I do miss my hair.

* Except the dark part, and even that's starting to be compromised by white hairs. THANKS, KIDS.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Impromptu Drinking--Again

This afternoon around 3:30, Cubby, Charlie, and I were hanging around on the lawn eating carrots when A. descended from his office to ask if we would like to go on a family walk in the woods.

So, you're saying I don't have to spend the rest of the afternoon alone with two roaring children? Now that's a plan.

As A. was going inside to get the pack for Charlie, he saw the lamb chops I had taken out to defrost for dinner. And he suggested we could bring them with us and cook them over a fire in the woods. He had left a metal grill thing up there last time he and Cubby camped in the gully.

At first I was hesitant about packing all the food up and hauling it in the pack. But then A. said two magic words: No dishes.


As I was gathering together the food, A. came in the kitchen to fill a water bottle with red wine to bring along. He asked if I wanted any. No. I didn't want any nasty old wine. If I were to drink anything, it would be a gin and tonic. But that's not very portable.

Or is it?

I found a pint-sized Rubbermaid container that my mom had accidentally left behind when she was here. It's one of those things with a screw-on top and a flip-up part. Perfect for G&T on the go.

And this is how I found myself hiking down the gully bank and swigging a gin and tonic at four o'clock on a Monday afternoon.

Not quite as relaxing as wine on the lakeshore, but I'll take it.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Ray Mears Fan Club

If you're American, the odds are you've never heard of Ray Mears. And that's a shame. So let me tell you about him.

He's a British dude who has done a million and one (approximately) shows for BBC television*. The shows are all about bushcraft. That is, survival. But not irritating survival like SOME shows I can think of, where the host is dropped in the Kalahari desert with nothing but the contents of a theoretical broken-down Land Rover or whatever.

Those shows are lame. Ray Mears is not. He knows his shit. He carves his own tools. He learns from indigenous people. He has traveled all over the world and learned about the animals and plant life everywhere he goes. He's kind of goofy, very enthusiastic, and just . . . likeable.

Of course, I have no idea what he's like off camera, but on camera he seems like the kind of guy who would actually be tolerable to camp with for a couple of weeks. Which is more than I can say for most people.

So go to YouTube. Search for Ray Mears**. When you've got some time to spare. A LOT of time, because there are a TON of shows.

In sum, Ray's got the Blackrock Seal of Approval. I know he'll be pleased with the endorsement.

* He also runs a school teaching bushcraft in the UK, and he has an online store that sells a bunch of junk that seems kind of at odds with the theories of independence and wilderness innovation that he preaches on the shows. But, you know, a guy's gotta make a living, and I still like him. 

** Some of the series are better than others. We haven't so much liked the "survival" ones. I think there's one called Extreme Survival and one that's World of Survival. Those are more gimmicky. We like the bushcraft ones. And the wild food ones. And the northern ones. And . . . well, all the other ones.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

"Can't" Is Not in His Vocabulary

Yesterday morning was spectacularly painful. Several bad nights with Charlie and early wakings from Cubby combined to leave me whimpering with exhaustion when I heard Cubby's feet hit the floor at 5:32 a.m. yesterday.

Literally whimpering. I think I cravenly said out loud, "I can't do this."

But I did, of course. I got up. I went downstairs. I found Cubby lying quietly on the couch. "Thank God," I thought. "He can stay here and rest while I get some coffee."

I said good morning quite pleasantly considering the circumstances, gave Cubby a kiss on the forehead, and informed him that I would get my coffee while he rested there.

Instead he bounced right up, announcing brightly, "I'll come with you!"


He followed me into the kitchen, talking all the while. He found his truck on the floor of the kitchen and kept up a running commentary while I fumbled my way through coffee making.

Then he asked me a question.

Now, the thing about Cubby and questions is that if you don't answer, he'll just ask again. And again. And again and again and again and again, until finally you say something, ANYTHING just to stop the repetitive questioning.

He's not a quitter, that one.

I think this question was something innocuous like, "Why don't all cars go on the road?"

There's an easy answer to this (which, incidentally, he already KNOWS, which makes it kind of annoying): Because some are designed to go around race tracks. Or because there are monster trucks made to drive only in arenas. Or whatever. But I was in no shape to be forming any kind of answers.

He asked about five more times when I didn't say anything, and finally, I said quite reasonably, "Cubby, I need to just not talk for a few minutes. I'm very tired."

Pause, then at full volume from Cubby, "NO, YOU'RE NOT."

Uh. Yes, yes I am. "I'm too tired to talk right now."


Right. Not a problem he has, obviously.

"Because, Cubby, I need to wake up a little bit."


Well, yes. I am technically awake and moving, but my brain is still dead. This does not compute with a three-year-old, however.

Eventually I got my coffee made and Cubby calmed down. And that was the start to a day that also involved no nap from Cubby, a truncated nap from Charlie thanks to Cubby waking him up (ON PURPOSE) early, and Charlie escaping into the bathroom where he found the fascinating toilet water (GROSS).

But Charlie slept last night and today will be better. It certainly started better.

*Are the caps conveying the volume and shrieking of these statements? Because they were loud. And shrieky.