28 May 2008

Pass the Torch


On a harried and unshowered afternoon about three years ago, Nicola and I were pushing double strollers around Castle Island in an incoherent trance, bonding over a traumatizing evening involving FeverAll suppositories and cracking up, tears rolling down cheeks, over imagined sound effects. Back at Nic's, we plied all four babies with Goldfish and blueberries and lamented the fact that we couldn't even finish an afternoon glass of Mother's Little Helper. It was a time when we were straddling the ridiculously thin line between sanity and postpartum craziness, self-proclaimed “poor little bastards” with Boudreau’s Butt Paste in our hair.

That's when Nic declared that one day we'll be beyond this, things will be easier. "We'll be showered, sitting on our arses, drinking wine, and it'll be someone else's turn." Indeed, the ceremonial suppository torch was passed after the Bags' family's 2006 night with toiletries from Brooks but this past weekend at Jen's cocktail baby shower, we realized that the day has dawned. Things have gotten easier. There we were in the South End: Showered, sitting on our arses, and drinking vino as we watched Jen open gift after gift of bewildering babyware, mistaking several items for puppets. (“Exactly how many puppets did your register for?”) Nic, Code Red and I sat back in cockeyed rebellion, running a commentary like these guys, fancying ourselves pass-out-on-the-roofdeck hilarious. We've come a long way but are still capable of regression when in the company of Jen, etal. As she opened up some receiving blankets, I recalled the evening we took a corkscrew to a bottle of balsamic vinegar, having mistaken it for pinot noir. Then we considered putting Ollie in the Baby Bjorn and heading to Beehive. What a fantastic night all around.

Still --even more evidence that the day has dawned – a Memorial Day cookout at Jess’s house, a true Babypalooza, with LPD, Jess and Auntie fostering chaos on a baby blanket. For us, it was the first year we didn't have to worry about the kids eating pine cones. They were actually able to help out and party with the beautiful wee ones and enjoy them as much as we did. This also maximized everyone's enjoyment of the yodeling pickle that Bags brought. I had to Google it the next day to make sure I hadn’t dreamt it. I didn’t. And it sounded just like this. Best of all, in the spirit of cooperation, all mamas and papas were able to sit on their arses, finish their wine and enjoy some (with apologies to LPD) fantastically plump, moist & juicy steamers. Thanks Jess & Joe!

Enjoy a crappy low-res slide show of a superior afternoon.

20 May 2008

A Prayer for a No-Hitter and Tickets Gone Missing

(photo: Boston.com)

I spent most of the ninth inning last night in child's pose. James wondered when I'd become a muslim. I was reducing Jon Lester-related anxiety at the time -- not actually praying -- but then I figured I might as well while I was down there. I wasn’t alone, either. The entire crowd at Fenway rose up and the camera zoomed in on many fans with hands literally clasped in prayer for a no-hitter. A few weeks ago, I interviewed Michael Borer, an author and sociologist whose book "Faithful To Fenway" was published last month. He writes about the Red Sox as a religion with Fenway Park as the church. How Red Sox fandom is a unique form of worship and devotion, unlike any other in sports. It's alway been this way for New Englanders but since 2004, it's reached a fever pitch: The fairy tale endings, the dramatic come-from-behind wins, the term "walk-off" homerun entering the vernacular, etc. And then there are the heartwarming cinderella stories. Last season, we prayed for rookie Clay Buchholz who went on to pitch a no-hitter in his second major league game. Then, just when you couldn't up the emotional ante any further, enter Jon Lester. The babyfaced 24-year-old who battled back from cancer to win the deciding game in the World Series. Now this! Let's sing some hymns.

But still, Borer explained, our lingering angst is likely an enternal flame. Regardless of the overwhelming sense of things turning around, we’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop --so we pray. As everyone knows, Lester triumphed last night and our collective heart stopped racing. But if it caused so much anxiety for fans, I can only imagine what it must’ve felt like for him. A friend was recently talking about the element of loneliness in any kind of accomplishment. That element could not have been any more apparent last night with Lester. James pointed out how none of his teammates would talk to Lester or even glance in his general direction in the dug out. Even on the mound, with everyone at the park chanting his name, he was – as the forever quotable Cliff Poncier once said -- “a self-contained unit, a solo arstist.” Having the presence of mind to finish the game and not, say, collapse into child’s pose on the mound was a accomplishment in and of it self. As long as we don't get too used to it.

In smaller Sox miracles, we headed to the game with P and Maria last Friday night. Pre-game, we jammed into Eastern Standard seeking shelter from the awesome windswept rain until learning the game was postponed until the following evening. So we decided to go have dinner at Cambridge 1 (crazy delicious pizza pie) and then head back to P and Maria’s to watch the Celtics. We hailed a cab, but within a few seconds, P somehow realized that our four Sox tickets had fallen out of his pocket during the slow jog to the cab. We pulled over and he ran back through the throngs to see if he could find them. "Say a prayer to St. Anthony," he said, invoking the patron saint of lost things. He was half-kidding but the rest of us remained skeptical that he'd find them -- especially on a rainy windy night amid a major exodus from Fenway. But he did. They were lined up -- all in a row -- in the middle of Boylston Street. Well, three out of four of them, the fourth likely carried off on the tire of a passing car. Not miraculous, per se, but considering the elements -- pretty wild.

16 May 2008

Pissing off the Geezers

(New Kids, aging well)

Just a few weeks ago, I was so blissfully unaware of my own age that I unwittingly referred to a woman younger than me as a "cougar." Today, I'm all too aware of my own geezerhood. It started with the New Kids kicking off their reunion tour on the Today Show this morning. I was too old for them the first time around and find this whole reunion to be an affront to my magical thinking. My babysitter, who is 10 years my junior, was all juiced up, recreating some dance steps for Caroline and Paulie that she used to perform in her room when she was nine. I jumped into the fray and tried to bust into that New Kids/Bobby Brown hybrid dance move that LPD and I used to do at 19. Caroline immediately shook her head and deemed it "ridiculous." (Aside: James can just keep quiet about my dancing ability as I've seen photos of him from the early 90s and he looks like one-half of Kid 'n Play.) Keeping the spirit, Katie (sitter/magician) and I put on some PM Dawn and enjoyed some Milanos. She further showed her youth by sharing a dream she had last night about being on a date with David Archuleta from American Idol, one that possibly involved a double deuce of malt liquor. I continued to show my geezerhood as my dream last night was that the new Target planned for my town opened a year early. I was so over the moon about this that I was the first person at the store. And for some reason, everyone that worked at the store was wearing a red gymnast leotard. No more Nyquil on the Rocks!

12 May 2008

A Mexican Hangover for Mothers' Day

A rained-out Renegades game became a Mexican springboard of sorts for some spontaneity and long overdue Taylor time. Under the auspices of Mothers’ Day, we conjured up last minute sitter/magicians and --beneath an antique KPMG golf umbrella – scurried down Gloucester Street to Casa Romero (Cafe Rodriguez). It was pouring outside but down in the public alley it was all about free flowing albarino, cactus-stuffed chicken medallions and disordered piles of refried beans. Muy bien.

We discussed the Mothers' Day Q&A sheets sent home from school:

Teacher: “What did your mother like to play when she was a little girl.”
Paulie: “Nothing! She was just a tiny girl and she was very, very chubby.”

We sat next to two inebriated yet jolly young women -- relentless utensil droppers who told us four times they'd just returned from Asia. One of the ladies snapped our photo while giving a mini-lecture on flash photography. "That’s great, please don’t drop Chubby's camera."

We enjoyed our standard unneccessary nightcap at Sonsie where we proceeded to rearrange furniture and create a barrier between us and a gaggle of manorexic svengalis.

"di pa-ta-ta!"

"Say 'Son-say'"

05 May 2008

Random Quizzilla

1) What kid of music do you listen to while driving?
It’s been well-documented here that my kids stuffed some nickels into my car's CD player and cigarette lighter so I haven't been able to hook up my iPod or Sirius or even listen to an old mixed CD recently excavated from the glovey (dated Feb 2000/titled “Busmalis” after the character on Oz). So, I usually listen to the radio, mostly 'FNX, The River and 'BOS. If you're forced to listen to the radio in your car, you may have noticed that 'BOS recently changed its format. They undoubtedly took a cue from marketing geniuses behind 93.7's totally random, DJ-free experience designed to compete with the iPod (only if your iPod has excessive amounts of Steve Miller and other hideous strains of Redneck rock). Not good. But, BOS isn't totally random, it's totally 90s and is clearly targeting my demographic of nostalgic 30-somethings. Now, I can put on some old tunes, get down and wallow in nostalgia with the best of them, but this format is not working for me. It's not so much a feel-good nostalgia as an anxiety-producing one. It's like a Proustian memory for the ears. Driving to Dunkins, suddenly having an out-of-body experience from 1995: Gavin Rossdale's voice, feeling slightly anxious and hungover. Moments later, snapping out of it: Thank God that now is not then -- and holy crap, it's way too early for Screaming Trees.

2) When was the last time you were on a train?
Yesterday, we took wee brown ones into the city on the Greenbush Line. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience except for a couple of cackling ladies behind us who talked about Edy’s Slow Churn ice cream the entire ride in.

3) What is the most frequent letter of the alphabet in your whole name (first, middle, maiden, last, etc.)?
Frigging “A”

4) What is the last "silly" photo you took of a person, place or thing?
There are a several silly noun photos. Here we have BG and Paulie at the Playwright on Saturday afternoon. And you can't see it in the picture, but BG is wearing a donkey pinata shirt with "I'd hit that" beneath it. Fantastic. Other recent silly photos of note: intersection ponyrides at the local liquor store, where the hell are my glasses, and the impossibility of recapturing the excitement of the Celtics' win in a contrived post-photo.

5)Have you gone to any high school reunions? Will you attend your next one?
Just one -- a sparsely-attended 15th that was held in a windowless function room at an Italian restaurant in Dedham. Not if it's held in a windowless function room at an Italian restaurant in Dedham.

01 May 2008

Don't Get a Perm, but...

(Maria curls Edie)

Check out today's Style section for my article on the return of big hair and bigger curls. A photo gallery of dos, and a quick reminder of don'ts.