Archive for July, 2009

Rosemary Pool

Posted by laura on Jul 27 2009 | Holiday

When I was a kid in Needham, we used to take swimming lessons at Rosemary Pool. There’s a lot to be said for this pool; it’s big, it has a sandy ‘beach’ all along the shallow end and it’s nestled at the base of a small hillside, on the edge of a lake. You can bring your dinner and sit up at picnic tables or on lovely grassy terraces and look out over the pool and lake as the afternoon slips away. There’s even a concession where we used to occasionally get candy, like those ufo-shaped lollipops that were the same consistency as smarties – do you remember those?

Well it turns out that my sister and my cousin bring their kids to Rosemary pool now, and it’s just like the old days. In fact it’s EXACTLY like the old days. The pool is the same color blue, the lifeguards still sit in their chairs and twirl their whistles the way they used to, the metal dock makes the same sound when people walk on it, sand inevitably makes its way into the shallow end and grits under your toes the way it always did. At the end of each hour, a lifeguard drones into a megaphone, “It is now time for a 15 minute rest period. All swimmers under the age of 18 please clear the pool.” They haven’t even changed one word of the announcement in over thirty years.

cousins

Our first morning in Needham, we got to accompany the cousins to their swim lesson, and as it turns out, there’s just this one other thing that hasn’t changed since we were kids – that pool is still f-f-f-freezing c-c-c-cold. Now it all comes back to me… the blue lips and chattering teeth and ice blocks bobbing past as you shiver and pray for the lesson to please, please end already.

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Doesn’t that look fun?! Yay! You can see how they lift their hands so no part of them touches the water until it absolutely has to. We stood there watching them shiver and couldn’t help reliving the misery. My cousin made a crack that she’d waited her whole life to be on this side of the equation, but we sure felt for them as they shook away. They got some serious consolation when they got out though.

swimconsolation

Plus, they’ll surely have character – not to mention the hope for the day that they’ll be the parents on the beach!

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Home Again

Posted by laura on Jul 27 2009 | Holiday

hamptonswim

Back again. I had full intentions of posting while we were away, but with the travel and change in routine, I just lost all momentum to keep things up here. At the end of each busy day I convinced myself that just brushing my teeth before bed was an accomplishment. (Which it IS.)

We sure had fun though. I’m having a bit of a ‘bird by bird’ moment here, puzzling how to wrap the trip up nicely without writing a novel, so for today I’ll just say how relaxed and grateful we all are after being with our relatives and friends, swimming in the Atlantic, working out our skee ball arms and playing in the sand. It’s not surprising that our kids loved every minute and will now spend the next 50 weeks counting down to next year’s visit.

hamptonboat

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And They’re Off

Posted by laura on Jul 07 2009 | Fun, Holiday

The countdown has been officially noted for a couple of weeks, with Hot Wheels making the announcement at some point each day.

“12 days till we go to Boston!”

“11 days till we go to Boston!”

and so on, as is the nature of a countdown. Yesterday he popped out of bed at 6 and dashed into the kitchen with a big grin and said in a rush, “2daystillwegotoBoston!!” He then climbed up onto one of our kitchen stools. Tom asked him what he’d like for breakfast. He sat. Thought. Then gave himself a little shake, climbed down, and went back to bed.

Now it’s officially 0 days till we go to Boston! And I’ve got to try and catch some sleep, as I’ll be up in about five hours. Wahoo!!! Man your stations, everybody, INCOMING!

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Out With the Old

Posted by laura on Jul 05 2009 | Making, Sewing

The fabric stash around here just keeps growing when I’m not looking, so last week I fired up the old sewing machine.

First up: stacks of old t shirts not good enough to give away but too good to turn into rags. Something had to be done. Turns out there is a great skirt pattern over at craftstylish that’s easy and fun to make. I am 100% for clothing I can whip up in about a half an hour, and this skirt has the added benefit being super soft and comfortable.

Result: A small dent in the fabric collection, and Honey and I each ended up with new skirts before teatime!

blueskirtredskirt

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Happy 4th!

Posted by laura on Jul 04 2009 | Awesome, Fun, Holiday

Hope everyone here in the States had a happy 4th of July! With any luck you had your share of fireworks, fire trucks and marching bands. With drum majors. We hit the parade in Larkspur, which is one town north of ours, and it was good fun. Of course, it’s a little different out here. Our marching band was extremely well turned out, with a perfectly sharp, stern drum major and terrific sound. They had the most phenomenal baton twirler out front who was thrilling and precise; the baton flew forever and never hit the pavement. So, you say? We had that. What’s the big deal? Well I’m going to go out on a limb and venture that your baton twirler was not an effervescent man in his 50s. Just a guess.

We got to see our friends who are just home from an amazing stay in Prague – to sum up what I’ve heard, you should buy your tickets today. Their beautiful girl is walking now and such a sweetheart it was hard not to steal her away. We also saw the parade with Susie and Finn, and their little girl is due any day now – I have some serious money on their child being an angel as well. Sometimes you just know.

Yesterday we really kicked off the holiday weekend – buckle your seat belts, because we went to the county fair. I am a major county fair lover – it has everything and then some. We met up with our friends Amy and Peter and their boys and had such a great day.

fairfeet

This year the fair theme was “Cool Green Fun” and an amazing effort was put into keeping the fair environmentally friendly. Solar and biodiesel power for buildings and sound stages, biodegradable or compostable food containers, recycled material exhibitions, electric cars – even the award ribbons were made with environmentally sound materials. It’s great to see such an enormous venue taking big steps towards protecting the environment.

Here’s an event with something for everyone: rides, music, demonstrations, food, quilts, jam, roses, baby pigs, gigantic pigs, dancing, science, bonsai, cows, ice cream, fireworks, tupperware. Tupperware, for crying out loud. A county fair basically says, “Bring us anything – anything at all – and we will judge it for you.” It rocks. Here’s a snapshot:

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cakesfairquilt

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darthjams

So let’s see… we have a black silkie that actually belongs to some friends of ours who live just around the corner – they were showing a few of their chickens and their dog a well. Then the ferris wheel. The wall of winning cookies & cakes. Quilts. Cars. Bareback riding exhibition. Darth Vader and a storm trooper. Jam.

Woah there, you’re thinking. Back up… Darth Vader? Well it wouldn’t be Marin without him, frankly. There was a whole section of the exhibit hall dedicated to Star Wars related craft. They did it right, though, with amazing costumes and huge guys inside them – very impressive. It was cracking Amy and me up to watch Darth walk through the hall flanked by two storm troopers – she and I took one look at them and wanted to bolt. The little kids, though, were chasing him like he was a Teletubby. Kids. No sense whatsoever.

There also was an experimental science exhibit called the Wizard’s Challenge – it was fantastic. One truly diabolical item, though – a 20 foot rotating tube with a metal walkway running straight through the middle. You can see a photo of it here. Looks innocent enough, but the second you step inside, the walkway appears to slant a good 45 degrees and you find yourself gripping frantically to the railings to keep from falling. If you look at the picture, the adult looks like he’s walking pretty casually with a water bottle in his hand; that’s because he’s focusing on the walkway to combat the tilting sensation. The boy, on the other hand, is looking up, and hanging onto the railing with both hands, because once you look up your eyes tell you you’re about to fall. It was absolutely insane. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.

All in all, it was a completely satisfying day.

cottoncandy

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Good Neighbors

Posted by laura on Jul 02 2009 | Awesome, Uncategorized

We really hit the neighborhood jackpot when we moved into our house. Today I’d like to feature my friend Joan, who lives almost directly across the street from us. She’s like having a sister next door – one who is fun, inventive, kind and wicked smart. She has such a beautiful aesthetic sense as well – have a look at what she pulled together for her younger daughter’s birthday tea party:

backyardparty

They have this arbor-type structure in their back yard, and she hung fabric between the posts to great effect – the color and weight of the fabric and the quality of the light coming through transform the table into something out of a story. An added bonus is that when the table is moved aside, the area becomes a stage with the curtains lending themselves nicely to all kinds of drama. Sweet. Then there’s this:

partytablesconetree

Seriously? It looked like a fairy tale. I wish I had a proper photo of that scone tree – it has a bird on the top and is one of the coolest serving pieces you can imagine. If you break it down, the items here are not too exotic – fruit, tea sandwiches, scones, mini roses – but the combination is gorgeous.

The other day, Joan knocked my socks off with an unexpected gift of a cookbook we’d both been coveting:

cookbook

If you’re familiar with Cook’s Illustrated magazine, you’ll know what a treasure this is. In the magazine, they basically take recipes into the test kitchen and jump all over them – swapping ingredients and testing temperatures and examining methods until they feel they’ve come up with the best result. But instead of just handing over the final recipe, they tell you what they did – what worked, what didn’t. It’s awesome, and now that Joan and I each have one, it looks like our street just got significantly tastier.

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