Sunday, October 22, 2006

Whomped by the Flu

For the first time in my life, I got the flu. Yes, you read that right, I have never had the flu, ever. Always big snotty colds, but nothing else.

Now I've made up for lost time. Fever of 102 for 3 days, 100 for a few more. Chills, aches, and now that oh-so-special dry hacking cough. And major fatigue on top of sleeplessness.

Now, I know I should be grateful. Wise anthroposophical heads have decreed (just kidding, it's all about the freedom) realized that fevers are our friends, bringing profound transformations to body and soul. Particularly for small children, they are key to healthy development and allow the child to "burn out" their inherited physical bodies in order to create new ones for themselves.

As I lay in bed for days, sweating and staring out into space when I wasn't dozing, while Papa took badly-timed time off work to take the kids out of the house so I'd have quiet, I thought about being grateful, but I was too miserable.

I've never had a real fever before. I'd seen them both in Papa and the kids, and knew what to do. When I felt cold and shivery despite a wool hat and sweater, I pulled that blanket right over me. When I wasn't hungry for 4 days, I ate a little applesauce to keep me going, otherwise nothing. Drink lots of water, sleep as much as possible.

I think that if I could be, I'd still be in bed. But, with toddlers, that's not going to happen.

Plus, now Papa's sick.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Outdoor Autumn Fun

Somehow autumn is always a busy time for us. Not summer, but autumn. Right about the beginning of October, weekends start filling up.

Last weekend we decided to take a day off from chores, errands and such and take a little family jaunt. We went up to Bear Mountain State Park, about 30 minutes north of us. It turned out to be a pretty awesome day. We drove up the Palisades Parkway, probably one of the prettier highways I've been on. Fall colors, woodchucks rooting around by the side of the road, and best of all, no commercial vehicles allowed.

After checking out the information center for maps, we noticed the indoor merry-go-round. Couldn't pass on that. Napoleona hung on for dear life, but Duncan had a good time. In addition to carousel horses, the ride features locally indigenous animals like deer, otters and bears. SillyBilly, true to his strange little self, chose a turkey.

Then we ambled by the Bear Mountain Inn, unfortunately closed for restoration, which has (to my jaded, stuccoed California eyes) charming Adirondack-style architecture. The Inn was one of the first examples of "park architecture," using materials found on site such as stone for the foundations and chestnut logs for the posts and beams.

Then after a snack we walked over to the zoo. All of the animals there are native to New York and have been injured or orphaned. The kids enjoyed the grey and red foxes, swans, frogs and toads...and then there were the turkeys and deer. We witnessed a turkey pecking and chasing a deer away from the food bin...I always knew turkeys were full of themselves! Probably the most interesting were the three black bears. They had many toys to play with; we saw one bear work very hard to get a small metal keg out of a hole in the ground.

Then it was time to walk back toward the Inn, where we stopped by Hessian Lake for an apple snack and a potty break.

We were excited to learn that the oldest section of the Appalachian Trail runs through the park and zoo. SillyBilly has had a mild obsession with the AT after Papa told him about it recently. Then we took a drive up to the summit of the mountain, which by then had become very crowded with people coming for the Octoberfest activities.

Needless to say, there was some snoozing going on in the back seat on the drive home.

And now, some gratuitous pictures of the kids, just because they're cute and autumn-ey. Besides leaf crowns, we've been raking, raking, raking. Then jumping and throwing the piles around and raking them again. During one of the jumping and throwing phases, SillyBilly yelled out, "I'm Mother Autumn!!" as if he were personally responsible for the leaves falling from the trees.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Out of the Mouths of Babes, V

SillyBilly: I want to go into space. To look at the moon and find moon rocks, and look at meteroids and shooting stars.

And I want to go camping on the big trail. [Papa had told him about the Appalachian Trail.]

I would get into a rocket in a big hole in the desert, and burn off into space: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, HKHEEOOHH!!!!

Napoleona: And I want to go too!!


So we're sitting in a Starbucks in lower Manhattan, having a snack after going to the Status of Liberty. The following conversation occurred after seeing a tour bus with an ad for the Bodies exhibit, and having discussed Egyptian mummies recently:

SillyBilly: Mama, is that a mummy?
Mama: No, it's a body preserved with chemicals.
SillyBilly: Did they use oil?
Mama: No, they don't use oil and resin anymore.
SillyBilly: What's resin?
Mama: Sticky stuff from trees, like on pine cones. Remember how at Christmas the Three Kings bring gold, frankincense and myrrh? Frankincense is a special resin they used to use. [Now that I read up on it, it was myrrh they used in embalming. Oh well.]
SillyBilly: Maybe they used that on King Tut.
Mama: Yes, that was a long time ago.
SillyBilly: Was that before God made the world?
Mama: No, there wasn't anything before God made the world.
SillyBilly: Does God die?
Mama: No. But some people like Hindus think that the world is created, then lives, and then is destroyed. And some people say God is dead.
SillyBilly: Who?
Mama: Nietsche.
SillyBilly: Who's he?
Mama: A philosopher.
SillyBilly: A philosoraptor?
Duncan thinks for a while about all this....
SillyBilly: Frankenstein is a special resin.