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July 29, 2008

Out Of Reach At The Beach

I’m in a house at the beach with double the number of penises I usually live with.  This year we’re sharing a house with our friends from Memphis, who also have three boys.  One is Finn’s age and the others are four and eighteen months– precious reminders of those ages which seem so far away with my own guys.  The other two families we vacation with are just across the street.  It’s our own beach kibbutz.

Last year the mothers (we were all college roommates) were afraid that the oldest kids, two boys and two girls, might stop being friendly and start being romantic.  We were lucky then, and  this year, although the hormones have definitely increased, the twelves are primarily concerned with protecting the whereabouts of their secret hiding place, reachable only by bike.  “Let’s go play cards” is code for an imminent meeting, and so far even Drew, determined teen-wannabe, hasn’t cracked it.

This is the eleventh year we’ve taken this trip, and having the two littlest boys reminds us of how far we’ve come.  Was Drew really just eighteen months old the year he got stitches in his lip from a shady Doc O’ The Beach?  He seemed so OLD.  Remember the year we started bringing bikes without training wheels?    How long have I been making this delicious bean dip we eat every evening while the adults drink and play dice games?

Traditionally we go to the beach in the morning.  Porter skimboards,
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the majority of the children dig and make castles,
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and a few holdouts stick close to the grownups waiting for the goldfish and pretzels to come out.
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Goldfish served on a plastic tennis paddle

Some members of our group have amused themselves by sitting on the beach and watching the people who walk by, then determining whether they are wearing proper beachwear.  Should that lady’s cleavage be more covered?  Is a Speedo ever appropriate outside the Olympics?  (No- our husbands deserve to see some buxomness without having to buy a magazine for that particular purpose.  Yes- it is also permissible to wear a Speedo at the Olympic trials, but these are not typically held at the beach.)

Finn and I have taken a couple of walks and determined that this year’s popular beach read is The Shack, a book that I was too snobby to order when Bill asked me to because the reviews castigated its poor writing.  Other reviewers have called it the greatest “guy meets God” book EVER and the beach readers appear entertained.

After so many years we’re used to each other’s idiosyncrasy’s. For example, Kimberly refuses to buy any food that contains calories.  Also, she loves the beach, except for the sand.  We’ve spent many years bribing children to spill sand on her pristine feet so that we can watch her freak out and them carefully de-sand herself with the Diet Dr. Pepper can of water she keeps handy just for this purpose.

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I’m still practicing with my camera, and Me Ra Koh is my new hero.  At BlogHer she was able to make concepts I’ve read about and struggled to understand seem easy-peasy.  I’ve picked a different tip to work on each day, and I’ve filled the frame, learned to blur the background, experimented with higher and lower ISO to increase color saturation and get shots in a dimmer setting. The pictures of Drew digging and this one and the one above of Porter skim boarding were taken at a lower ISO and should have more color saturation.

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I took these below of Porter on the Auto setting and they should have less saturation, although it’s hard for me to tell after a couple of glasses of wine:

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Some things don’t change, whether you’re home or away. We came home from an adult evening out last night. All three of my boys had put themselves to sleep, as instructed, although Porter put his special twist on it.

Goodnight, Finn.

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Goodnight, Drew.

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Well, maybe not exactly as instructed. Porter is buried under those pillows, and plans to sleep in this fort for the rest of the week.

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Two years ago at the beach in My Tiny Kingdom: No Smooching In The Boys’ Room
Good Lord!  That was TWO years ago?
Posted by Anne Glamore @ 11:05 pmBlast From the Past,Boys: Demented & Dangerous,Wanderlust: Travel Tales11 comments  

July 14, 2008

Card Sharks & Bats

Bill and I were a bit worried that the twins wouldn’t enjoy Cooperstown as much as Finn would. The main purpose of the trip was for Finn to play baseball, after all, and Porter and Drew were required to watch a couple of games a day. We hadn’t been there an hour before I realized I’d underestimated their ability to enjoy themselves regardless of the circumstances, although they did so in very different ways.

Drew idolized the big kids and wanted nothing more than to be part of their card games, particularly one called “Presidents.” The winner of each hand was the President for the next round, while the lowest two were designated “Dirt” and “Scum.” Drew achieved his goal and played joyously with the high-schoolers, and even got to be President a time or two.

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He hung out with the high-schoolers in the stands, cheering, one smooth-faced midget sandwiched between the six foot tall whiskered teens. (Here, of course, I’m referring to the males; the females were also smooth-faced and delicate.) By the end of the week he was convinced that he was as hip as any fifteen-year-old.

Porter, of course, followed his own muse. He was frustrated by not being able to see the entire field from the stands, so he created a perch that solved that problem to everyone’s satisfaction, unless you were the person left without a chair.

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He also played cards, but preferred to play poker with the dads. There were no chips to be found, but we were flush with pretzels and Ritz crackers, and Porter collected a sizable stash.
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During breaks between games, the boys found all manner of bugs and critters to play with. Their greatest coup was the discovery of a small bat, which was either hurt or asleep.

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This finding was made on day three, when I was suffering from exhaustion and baseball overload. I’d also had so much quality time with the twins that the quality of our time together was rapidly diminishing. That could explain my thought process, to the extent there was one, when I told them they could play with the bat BUT NOT TOUCH IT, while I headed to the nearest bed and fell asleep. I didn’t dream of rabies or bat bites, either.

I awoke to find that they’d obeyed my instructions, although they had broadly interpreted my command. After they observed the bat, they concluded that if he was not dead, his demise was imminent. Porter slid a playing card under him which acted as a stretcher, and they deposited him into an empty cardboard box which they then filled with dirt and grass to imitate his natural habitat. Alternatively, it could serve as a coffin if he died.

Other parents were aghast that I had let them anywhere in the vicinity of the bat, but they didn’t need 76 minutes of sleep as desperately as I did. No one has foamed at the mouth yet, so I may be in the clear despite my less than hands-on mothering.

Porter also used my new camera a lot, and as usual, saw things his own way, just as he did when we were in Lisbon. He produced photos of our fans in action,
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the Baseball Hall of Fame,
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Sally the Moth, (another beloved, less menacing pet)

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Finn pitching,

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and Drew playing cards.

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Truly, if he doesn’t decide to be a mama’s boy when he grows up, I think he should pursue photography. Although given the success of his amazingly high Baseball Chair, he may be an “inventor guy” after all.

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One year ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Finn Chases A Dream

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 8:09 amAnimal Stunts - Pets,Boys: Demented & Dangerous,Wanderlust: Travel Tales11 comments  

July 9, 2008

Itchy Packages and Other Ballpark Tales

Genital matters have come to the forefront in the barracks at Cooperstown. The coaches realized that they had more than baseball to deal with yesterday when several players complained that they were itchy underneath their baseball pants. It’s no wonder; they wear sliding shorts and play in the hot sun, then head to the barracks and trade pins and eat lunch before they shower.

They’re required to wear their bathing suits in community showers, and apparently the lack of privacy and nudity has hampered their bathing efforts. The buildup of dust and sweat in such a tender area has resulted in a condition that Bill bluntly calls “crotch rot.” Regardless of its true name, once a couple of players contracted it, the disease became a badge of honor. It’s become widespread, so although some of our guys are walking a bit gingerly, they’re holding their heads high. We’re hopeful that the tutorial on scrotal cleansing and the ointment our team doctor has administered will lick the problem.

Tuesday morning we played the North Carolina Riptide. Before the game we were warned that the Riptide had a “troublesome parent” among their fans, who would be escorted away by security if he had another outburst. This was heartening, as we had missed the holiday fireworks due to baseball, and we felt we deserved some. We spent the game leaving men on base at the end of each inning and scanning the opposing team’s fans for the offender. Could it be the man in the red polo? The one in the orange and white T-shirt? Sadly, we lost the game, the fan behaved himself and we left the game feeling we’d lost twice.

Losing doesn’t affect the spirit of our cheering section, which appears to be one of the strongest at the park. We haven’t seen another team sing the ESPN theme in harmony, act out a riptide, namecheck the players in order, or yell, “Let’s get up in their kitchen, Blaze!” or “Tag the bag!” with such fervor. We’ve recently added “Shake and Bake!” to the repertoire, which hasn’t helped the team but cracks up the stands.

Tuesday afternoon we were surprised when West Pines Florida’s high school football team showed up in baseball uniforms ready to play. The Guinness Book of World Records needs to head down there when updating its entry for “World’s Largest 12-year-old,” as the team had fourteen contenders. Finn pitched and I tried yelling, “Give ‘em your easy greasy, baby!” but he shook me off, and I reverted to more traditional forms of encouragement.

If you’re organizing a baseball team, it helps to have a parent who owns two gourmet restaurants with you. After three days of pizza and chicken fingers, parents and players were getting grumpy. We gathered at a house and worshipped at the chef’s altar as he directed the preparation of grilled chicken and flank steak, guacamole, Greek salad, and four cheese macaroni. Our able bartender Ephraim (his choice of pseudonym) continued his winning streak, serving beer, wine, and exotic mixed drinks.

Although we thought this was going to be a family vacation, I haven’t spent much time with Bill at all, as he’s staying in the barracks with the team. We’ve resorted to kissing through the fence at the start of each game. The cookout gave us time to sit down together and talk. That’s when I learned about the itch. I also found that this is many of the boys’ first experience dressing and undressing in front of others. Bill said he stripped down the other night while our pitcher looked on and said, “That just don’t bother you none at all, does it? “

I also discovered that the Cooperstown laundry service, while highly praised, hasn’t been so dependable for our team. The Blaze has sent off the correct number of uniforms but received only partials back, and Bill’s underwear is AWOL in the Park, rather than on his derriere.

We appreciate all your well wishes. Our team isn’t nearly the best here, but we’re set on having the best time of any group, and so far we’re succeeding.

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 5:31 pmBaseball,Frolic and Detour: Sports,Wanderlust: Travel Tales15 comments  

June 9, 2008

Drew Busts A Move

It’s rare for me to have uninterrupted time with any one of my sons. Drew and I drove to Greenville on Friday and spent the night, and then I dropped him off at camp the next morning.

Drew padded his seat in the car with his favorite pillow, his iPod, and his teddy bear. His bear is less cuddly than you might imagine, as Drew pierced his ear and stuck a gold loop earring in it. He then unraveled the bear’s knit cap and refashioned the strands into blue dreadlocks. That is one reggae teddy bear.

I spent part of the drive teaching Drew how to blow a bubble with bubble gum. We bought three flavors of Bubblicious and chewed them, then I went through the “flatten, tongue poke, and blow” routine with him. I highly recommend this activity as a bonding experience.

I let Drew pick the music on the way up, and we listened to the rap playlist I created with all of your valuable input. I added a couple of tunes of my own, and so we listened to Chic sing “Good Times,” and then noted that “Rapper’s Delight” shares the same background music. We did the same exercise with “Superfreak” and “U Can’t Touch This.”

While Drew got the point that a major part of rap involves sampling other songs, I don’t think I’ll be teaching Porter the same lessons just yet. I can hear the questions now: “Why can’t you take her home to mother?” “What’s she doing on the street?”

I sang every word to “Rapture” and the background vocals to “Bust A Move.” Drew showed a definite preference for “Brass Monkey” and “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” He was thoroughly entranced with the latter song, and I have no idea why he found it so appealing, thus illustrating Will Smith’s premise, I suppose.

He also asked insightful questions, such as, “Which came first, Bubblicious or Fergalicious?”

One of my college friends lives in Greenville. I’d let her know we were coming up, and she emailed back and said they had a Scottish parade at six. I wrote back, “WTF is a Scottish parade?”

Turns out it’s exactly what you’d imagine, and it marched right in front of our hotel.

I never dreamed that Greenville, South Carolina was the heart of Scottish parade country, but there you go.
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This man was clearly the star of the show.
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Drew was entranced by the spectacle. The bagpipe rendition of “Amazing Grace” was a far cry from “Baby Got Back,” but I guess that just shows Drew’s appreciation of a wide range of music.
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He didn’t say so, but I know that inside Drew was thrilled that he’d worn his plaid Old Navy shorts, like a true Scotsman. He fit right in, except that he was wearing underwear beneath his plaid.

The next morning we got to camp, and my Braveheart got a bit jittery. The custom at camp is to register and go straight into the lake for the swim test. A camper must get a rank of 3A in order to be able to do the water activities such as sailing and kayaking. Even if you plan to stay on land, planted firmly on horseback or on the tennis court, you’re required to take swimming lessons if you don’t reach a 3A. This happened to Drew last year and upset him so much he almost decided against going to camp this year.

As I wrote earlier, Drew worked diligently on his swimming all spring, culminating with his triumphant swim in the triathlon a few weeks ago. Still, even with that under his belt, returning to the scene of his earlier failure, coupled with the prospect of three weeks away from home, turned my usually unemotional son into a red-eyed, quivering mass of bones.

The camp encourages you to leave before your son goes for the test, but it was such an emotional hurdle for us that I found a towel to hide behind and watched as Drew walked down the pier to demonstrate his racing dive, his crawl, his float, and his ability to tread water for twenty minutes.
Although he’s grown several inches this year, he still looked tiny to me.
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They got out and stood in line to get marked with the level they’d achieved.
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I thought I might die from the suspense. It would be embarrassing when a counselor found my corpse lying beneath the mildewy towel. Plus, I was wearing a pretty short miniskirt, and if I collapsed, I might look indecent. I’d be the “Superfreak” personified– the mom who couldn’t live through her son’s swim test and then died with her leopard undies showing.
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Thank God this had a happy ending.

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One year ago in My Tiny Kingdom:Bad Bride

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 8:20 amMusic: Give Me A Beat!,Wanderlust: Travel Tales20 comments  

May 20, 2008

Cramped Quarters With The Guys

I’ve preserved a minuscule area of femininity in my own house, and the boys are prohibited from entering my bathroom unless expressly invited. Invitations are issued sparingly for delivery of soft toilet paper from my private stash, removal of painful splinters requiring my fancy tweezers and dexterous fingers, and other medical and hygienic procedures.

When we travel, however, I’m thrust in a room with four males, and maintaining a sense of decorum and privacy is daunting. Over the years I’ve learned to quickly nab a clean bath towel and stash it in my suitcase until it’s time for my own shower, so that I’m not left choosing between the damp towels soiled with boy grit strewn over the hotel floor.

This weekend we traveled to Memphis for the Memphis in May triathlon. I chose our accommodations carefully. My goal is to fit all five of us in one room without excessive punching and screaming.

The Embassy Suites is always a huge hit, as it generally features a glass elevator. This provides hours of fun as the boys ride up and down, imagining they are Charlie from Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, about to zoom through the roof and on to unimaginable adventures. The Suites also host a Manager’s Special at 5:30 each afternoon, where free drinks and snacks are served. Even a weak gin and tonic– free!– is a gift after a four hour drive.

This particular Embassy Suites had several features that made it extra special. There was an arcade, an indoor swimming pool, and best of all, a fake river that meandered through the lobby level, filled with live ducks and goldfish the size of a dachshund.

No doubt the ducks were added to emulate the ducks that swim in the fountain at the much posher Peabody Hotel, where Aunt Lulu and Uncle P and the baby were staying. If you go to Memphis, you must see Graceland, eat barbecue, walk Beale Street, and watch the marching of the ducks. Each morning they leave their pen on the roof of the Peabody, and parade off the elevator and down a red carpet into the fountain where they stay until the afternoon, when the process is reversed.

My boys watched the ducks and visited the Peabody roof, but after we left they all poo-poohed the Peabody with its fancy rooms. As Porter said, “I think two star hotels are the best kind for our family.” Drew proclaimed the Embassy Suites “the awesomest hotel ever” and Finn went a step further and asked why we couldn’t move to Memphis and live there.

Theoretically, I suppose we could, but it would kill the romance in our marriage. When it was time for bed, we surveyed the two double beds and the pull-out sleeper sofa and I began to assign sleeping spots based on the idea that Bill and I would sleep together and that Finn and Porter would be separated.

“Hey, you wanna sleep in the nude?” Bill asked me, as I assigned Drew to one of the double beds.

“You’re kidding, right?” I’ve been hiding my lady parts from the boys for several years now, and Bill needed to rest up for the race. Surely he wasn’t proposing hanky-panky, especially in such close proximity to our offspring.

Silly me. What Bill had asked was “Do you want to sleep with the dude?” meaning Drew, so that he could have a bed all to himself.

Of course I agreed. Drew and I snuggled up, paperclip and all. The things I do for love.

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Two years ago in My Tiny Kingdom: Dead Pets Society: The Hermit Crabs

Posted by Anne Glamore @ 2:07 pmFrolic and Detour: Sports,Triathlons,Wanderlust: Travel Tales11 comments  


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I'm Anne Glamore, wife, mother, lawyer and blogger. I have three boys, and I'm desperately trying to train them to become Southern gentlemen, but that may be an unrealistic goal. At this point I'd be ecstatic if they'd quit farting at the dinner table. If you're new here, check out the Readers' Favorite Posts below or browse through the Categories. I write about my attempts to teach the boys about peckers and sex (which we call "making googly eyes"), my struggles with hepatitis C and spine surgery, the boys' adventures with fire and pets, my mom's death from ovarian cancer, my love of cooking (with plenty of recipes) and anything else that crosses my mind. Join me on Twitter or StumbleUpon or Email me. I'm happy to speak to your group or club.

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