May 2003



What do the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus (aka the Hogfather), Death Incarnate, the Grand Daughter of Death Incarnate (who practices using doorknobs all the time to make sure she doesn’t forget how), a nailed shut door with a sign that says “do not open under any circumstances” (that must, of course, be opened to find out why the person who hung the sign wanted to keep it closed), the God of Hangovers (sorry, the Oh God of Hangovers), the Fairy of Cheerfulness (with her blue hen of happiness), the Bogeyman (as opposed to “that bogeyman”), Death of Rats (Death is a little too busy to take care of rodents), a Raven trying to look like a Robin, and the Auditors of Reality have in common?  It took me most of the book “Hogfather” by Terry Prachett to figure it out… and then there are STILL a couple of pieces I’m fuzzy on, like where the soap went when Archchancellor Ridicully opened the interlock to the University Organ while using his new shower room to (of course) find out what it did.  This is the kind of book that you can sum up in a single word… “Trouble.”  That is, if you are trying to read it before going to bed, but then it turns out it’s close to midnight and you are clamping your mouth shut trying not to laugh out loud but all that does is make you quiver so much the bed is shaking like one of those quarter-operated vibrator beds in cheap motels and your bleary eyed wife is suggesting that it might be a good idea if you slept in the basement before she has to find go find the baseball bat.  You know, that kind of trouble.

We visited a Gem and Mineral show in Toppsfield, Mass, were we saw a lot of Gems and Minerals.  Lots.  Acres.  Tons.  It was fun.  Will zeroed in on a guy that takes semi-precious gems (aka “cheap stuff”), drills holes in them, and sells them for more per carat than diamonds (aka “expensive stuff”).  But they were very, very nice holes (think I’m kidding?  Check out  Bought a bunch ‘o rocks, you know, the kind that look different enough that you have to find a place to display them in your room if you are a kid, even though, when you get right down to it, they are ROCKS that look a lot like rocks you pick up outside and then paint with primary colors. 

But the big hit was the Bunny and … and … and … well, I forget what the call ‘em but they are basically guinea pigs that bathe in “miracle grow” each night (as indicated on the right).  We also saw the biggest rabbit in the world (nickname, “the biggest rabbit in the world”), a 16+ pound MONSTER (below).  Brie and Will had to pick up every rabbit (aka bunny aka soft & fuzzy aka hoss & pepper) and then could only be detached from it with a crowbar.  While distracted.  With mace.  


Will also made this pretty cool bracelet to help out with Kate’s jewelry business.  That doesn’t have a lot to do with the gem show but I thought I’d stick it in here anyway!


Of course, I’ve been playing a computer game, “Black Hawk Down,” which is fun, if you’re idea of fun is machining-gunning down a few hundred people (who are admittedly shooting at you).  It was pretty amazing, close to photo-realistic combat.  Adding to the realism (aka stress), your computer run team-mates are doing their best to shriek at you as much as possible… one constant cry was “RPG!  RPG!” (that’s Rocket Propelled Grenade… I think?) as the missile hits nearby and you see your avatar blown into the air in slow motion. 

Mother’s Day dawned bright and early, as most dawns dew.  Ha, get it, that was a little joke, you know, morning dew… dawns do… do the dew… Well, I thought it was funny.  Kate was working at Cambridgewear, and we were doing dinner for Mother’s day instead of breakfast or brunch, so I and the kids hiked one of the trails in the nearby Great Hill Conservation Land (I’m still unclear on the hill part, since the trails are all pretty flat, and the great part, since it’s hard to be great if you’re not there).  We were (sssshhhhh) hunting wabbits… no, Deer, actually, not as in “No, Dear, I did not leave the toilet seat up again” but as in the “The deer have eaten all the buds off the flowers again”.

And below… it’s MISTY, who you might have thought was our spooky but beautiful Gray cat… but, as we can see in the attached photo, like a child of the night, when you’re not looking, she turns into DEMON CAT!


May finished off with Brie’s Birthday party at a place called “Boulder Morty’s” on the 31st.  Brie’s birthday is actually not until July, but we celebrate it with her friends before the school year is out to avoid the vacation season.  Boulder Morty’s is an indoor rock-climbing center, and it’s fun, if you’re not belaying kids non-stop for several hours… my fingers are so blistered they are making squishing noises as I type this.  And actually, even so, it was fun.  I did climb a bit (as my brother Bill and I had to certify as belayers, we trading off climbing and belaying during the training sessions… that’s him climbing and me belaying to the right).   The kids had a ton of fun, and I think everyone made it to the top at one point or another.  Will was particularly proud (picture of him at the top below), as he’d never managed to go all the way on the few times we’ve managed to artificial rock climbing before.  And some of these climbs were tough, with inverted walls, ledges, odd corners, and other difficulties along the route.