Summer


I know I’ve written about Séamus quite a few times, but his threeishness affords quite a few topics to write about. This is good for me, because it means I have an almost neverending supply of blog fodder. Hopefully, that news will bring the utmost excitement and sheer joy to all of my regular readers…all 5 of you (yes! We’ve now progressed to 5! Happy dance!!).

Now, on to the topic at hand…Séamus-isms. Ferris Bueller said the following:

A person should not believe in an “-ism,” he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.

This is all fine and dandy, but the only reason why he held to this viewpoint was because he never met Séamus. Believe me, if he had, he’d change his tune in a hurry and at the very least believe that certain –“ism”s are pretty darn funny.

As I’ve mentioned before, Séamus is three. Three year olds are notorious for being very matter of fact on issues they know nothing about…you know, come to think of it, so are many adults…oh well, nevermind that. Back to Séamus. Let me give you some examples.

A few weeks ago, Séamus came running into the kitchen, yelling: “Mommy! I peeped!” I looked at him, and asked: “Where did you peep, Séamus?” “In the BATHROOM!” was his reply. Of course, I understood perfectly what was going on, but to any other person who is not well versed in the goings on at Casa Izz, Séamus might have been thought to have been peeking in at someone while they were doing their business in the bathroom. But that wasn’t it at all. He wasn’t “peeping” at anyone. He went potty. We had just potty trained him and whenever he went potty, he would run and tell us that he “peeped”. We all had a good laugh for about a week after, calling him the “Peeping Séamus”.

Another “Séamus-ism” has to do with the way he acts, rather than what he says. He hates to go to bed (unless, of course, it’s with Mommy….darn Œdipus), and he has become very adept at faking sleep when it suits his needs. You can go into the room, lightly shake him, talk to him, tickle him…he just lies there without making a sound. If you pick him up, he stays totally limp, like he is totally asleep. It’s not until you’ve gotten out the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream that you wait to take out until all the littles are asleep that you find out that he’s really not asleep at all. “Mommy, I want soma you ice cream!” he loudly states after he has sneaked up behind you. He can fool everyone in the house with his bogus slumber. He really is that good at it.

The latest “Séamus-ism” was one of the funniest ones. A couple of weeks ago, on a particularly hot day, Mr Izz and I proceeded to take the Izzlets to the beach. It took some time to endear poor Séamus to the water, but once he understood it’s capacity for fun, you couldn’t get him out of it. He would try to get further and further out into the water, pushing it to the limit each time he went in, and making his mother (which would be me) more and more anxious and afraid that he would make it out to the outer limits of the designated swimming area…although, the way he was going, he probably would have swam to the other side of the river rather than drown. But I really wasn’t in the mood to find out, so it was a close eye I was keeping on him and guiding him back whenever he tried to make a break for it. By the time we got home, several hours later, he was tuckered out, the poor guy. We had dinner, and shortly after tucked the little guys into bed (I was pretty confident that there would be no phony snoozing, based on how tired he was). Not too long after, Séamus comes running out of his room, yelling at the top of his lungs…don’t let his size fool you; he can yell pretty loudly when he puts his mind to it. I couldn’t understand him amidst all the screams, so I calmed him down, and then asked him what was wrong. “My BRAIN!!! It’sa comin’ out my EARS!!!” I just looked at him because I couldn’t for the life of me understand what would make him think such a thing. Then it occurred to me that he’d been in the water all day, and he might have gotten water in his ears. Sure enough, when I looked, you could see a water-like substance in his ear canal. I had my answer, and trying very hard not to laugh, I informed him that it was just water coming out, not his brain. It did take some doing to finally convince him, and honestly, I’m not too sure he really was. But at least he was calm enough to get back to bed, and really go to sleep.

The next day, he did talk a little about it, saying things like “My brain too big to get outta my ears”…I’m not sure where I got this, for I didn’t think I said. Maybe he’s smarter than I’d thought, or at least more conceited. But at least he felt better about the situation. So did I. Especially because he went right to sleep afterwards, and was so tired, didn’t come to sleep with me. It really is the little things…

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I’m a big fan of buying locally. Whether it be clothing, CD’s or food, I do what I can to frequent the “Mom and Pop” shops in my area. I also do what I can to avoid the “Big Box Marts” that seem to be spreading into every town, no matter how big or small, no matter how metropolitan or rural, like a nasty parasitical plaque all over the US. I really do feel that since the people that run these Mom and Pop shops live and breathe in my community, and also give back in so many ways to the community whether economically or otherwise, my patronage is the very least I can do to show my gratitude. But since this isn’t really meant to be an essay on my political viewpoints, I’ll step off my soapbox and get back to what I was going to write about to begin with.

Right now we are at the height of the Summer season here in the North Country. Everyone’s garden is bursting forth with verdure, with much of this vast greenness developing into luscious vegetables and fruits. It’s a veggie lovers dream, to be sure (and since I am a veggie lover, I can say that authoritatively). There is nothing quite like deciding to make oneself a green salad, and then quite serenely rambling out into the garden to pluck up those things which will make that dream of a green salad reality. The taste is heavenly, and you can’t even come close to matching it from the wilted, tasteless rubbish you find in your local grocery store. I really could eat a truly garden fresh salad for each and every meal, every day. But, alas, because of our tardy move into this house (tardy, at least concerning the planting season), we were unable to plant our own garden this year. I could be devastated by this fact, if it weren’t for the hundreds of vegetable stands which dot the roadways of the North Country, not to mention the numerous Farmer’s Markets. These stands are the very ultimate in buying locally…much of what they are selling was harvested that very day, so it is fresher than fresh (if that’s possible). There were no huge tractor trailers needed to bring those cucumbers or summer squash to the roadside stand…only the basket that was used to put each thing in when picked. Like the asparagus I wrote about in the spring, the taste of these fresh veggies is unbeatable, and more often than not, far cheaper than anything you would find at your local grocer. So far this season, we’ve had squash…both yellow and zucchini…, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, peas and other stuff I can’t remember. But the one thing I’ve been waiting for all summer has finally ripened enough for most of the roadside stands to offer…sweet corn. There is absolutely nothing on earth like freshly picked sweet corn. It’s one of those things that I anticipate all year, and joyously buy tons of when it’s finally time. Today was our first sweet corn of the season…it was well worth the wait. When you took that first bite, each kernel would burst into your mouth in an explosion of sweet succulence. Unfortunately it was over too soon, and I had eaten all the corn off my cob. I may have to go back to the stand up the road yet again to buy another 28 ears. I think the guy thought we were insane, buying so many. But, oh…it was so good…I could stand another odd look for another dinner of sheer bliss. The next thing I can’t wait to have are raspberries, but that’s a story for another day, I’m afraid.

So there you have it. My favourite first of the summer. I urge all of you to get out there, find a local roadside stand, and buy a few ears for yourself. While you’re at it, buy some cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and beans. You won’t be sorry. And think of how good you’ll feel for helping to support a local grower. Your taste buds, as well as your local economy, will thank you!

Any of you who read my blog on a regular basis may already know this, but I love summer. I love the fact that it’s warm and not 20˚ below zero…for a little while anyway. I love the warm breeze, and the way it sounds as it rustles through the leaves way up in the maple trees. I love catching the fireflies and listening to the crickets. But as much as I truly love all these things, there is one thing about summer that shall always have a far greater claim on my heart: the day that my Boston boys of summer come back to Fenway to either bring me the utmost joy, or break my heart yet again.

Yes, that’s right. Despite all my talk about romance and poetry, I love baseball, and most especially the Boston Red Sox. It has always been a love of mine..something that even as a young girl (who was anything but a tomboy) I loved to watch. I would savour each moment that Roger Clemens (the traitor…) pitched, and would hope beyond all hope that this would be the year. Of course, it never was (I’m sure in some way it was Roger’s fault…did I mention he’s a blue pin-stripe clad traitor?). Season after season went by, and despite my total devotion to and love of my team, I was met with heartache and dejection. I loved that team with every ounce of my being, but despite that love and adoration, I was never to gain anything in return. Perhaps this is where my sentimental notions of romanticism stem…who knew that baseball could have such romance surrounding it! SIGH!

I’m not really sure where this love of the Fenway boys started. I come from a very long line of New York Yankee fans….VERY long line. I grew up in upstate New York near a goodly portion of my extended family, so it stands to reason that we’d all be Yankee fans. I remember sitting on my grandfather’s lap when I was about 7 or 8 watching the Yankees game, and he telling me that someday he’d take me to the House that Ruth built to watch that great team play. I smiled sweetly, for I adored my grandfather and would do anything to make him happy, and told him that would be the most wonderful thing ever…inwardly, little did he know that I prayed those nasty, vile beings in blue pin-stripes would be playing MY boys in red socks, and that we’d beat the tar out of them. Even then, I knew the difference between good and evil…and the New York Yankees were evil despite what my poor grandfather thought. To this day, I still hate the look of blue pin-stripes, even if it’s only a dress shirt on one of my sons.

My grandfather was never able to take me to that game, and as the years went on, I kind of moved away from baseball. I still loved the sport, and still would half-heartedly look at the stats to see how my boys were doing, but my heart had been broken one too many times, and everyone knows a girl can only take so much. I stayed away for a while…I couldn’t take that blasted curse, and no one could possibly know how horrendous it was to endure seeing them come so close, only to come crashing down yet again (well, except maybe a few people from Chicago…). I couldn’t bear it. That is, until my eldest son came of age. Something changed in me…for some reason he inherited my love of that team from Boston. It was he who brought me back from my despondancy, and made me remember that when you’re a Boston fan, you are one for better or for worse (even if the worse seemed to always beat out the better ). I’ll never forget it…it was 2004. As he watched and became more and more excited, so did I. It was a wonderful feeling to watch the Sox with my son, and see the game through his eyes, and be a part of his excitement. It brought back so many wonderful memories. But in the back of my head, I kept hearing that nagging little voice: “You know they’re going to blow it, just like they always do…you need to tell him not to get too caught up in the whole thing.” So, foolishly, I did. I wanted to spare him the hurt and the disappointment that I’d lived through a lifetime of. I wanted him to be prepared to have his heart broken like I had so many times before. I told him all of these things, with concern and a mother’s love, and then waited for his answer. “Don’t worry Mom….this is THE Year!” That’s when I knew it was too late. He was already too far gone. So I did what any good mother would do…I decided this was THE Year too. We watched as many games as were televised, and as the season went on, our excitement grew They didn’t totally choke after the All Star Game! Surely this was a sign from above that something good was going to happen…that this was THE Year.

Then came the playoffs (where they came in as a Wild Card team), and then the American League Championship Series. The Sox were playing the Evil Empire, and I must admit I grew concerned. They had Jeter and A-Rod…both good players…just to name a couple. And the Evil Empire had held their own all season for the most part. When we got to game 4 of the series, and the Sox were down 3, I must admit I was anxious. Was it going to happen yet again? After we were so close? No other team had ever come back in a postseason series to win after losing the first 3 games. Surely, it was too much to hope for. But they won…after being trounced by the Yankees in game 3 with a score of 19-8, they came back in game 4 with a win, 6-4. There was still hope!! Game 5 they won by 1 run…5-4. Game 6 was 4-2. By Game 7, you could feel the momentum when Johnny Damon hit that grand slam (another traitor in pin-stripes, I might add…it’s too bad he played such an important role)…they beat the Evil Empire, 10-3. They became the first team in MLB history to come back after losing the first 3 games of a postseason series to win the series. They beat the Yankees to win the American League Championship. They were off to the World Series against the Cardinals.

I think everyone knows the outcome of that World Series. In it, my Sox broke another postseason MLB record by winning 8 straight postseason games…4 straight in the ACLS, and 4 consecutive in the World Series. During that last game, we had company over, that my husband had invited (what can I say…he’s a Dodgers fan), and I finally had to excuse myself to watch. My son and I watched as Keith Foulke caught Renteria’s bounce, and then gracefully throw it to first for the last out of the inning, and the last out of the Series. They won! The Curse was broken! My son and I danced around the room, savouring the moment (I must admit, I was in tears). My team had finally won, and given me back so much from all those years of devotion. And my son wouldn’t have to endure all the heartache that I’d had to endure…he will always be able to look back and say how his team came back from behind, and won in 2004, after 86 long years of waiting for The Year to come.

Now that I have a few sons that are into baseball, and also into the Sox, baseball season is a wondrous thing here at Casa Izz. We live in “Yankee Country” so it’s not always easy rooting for the Sox, but we do it proudly. Right now, the Sox are 10.5 games ahead of the 2nd palce Toronto in the East. Things are looking really good….I think that this really could be THE Year, again. But even if it’s not, I’ll take it, for I am part of the Red Sox Nation, and I’ll stand proudly no matter what the outcome…for better, or for worse. Go Sox!!