Hey, whaddaya know. Now it’s my turn:
Today’s the day, but we celebrated last night in the usual fashion. My present this year was a pair of L.L. Bean moccasins, lined with shearling just to be extra-fancy. Dog-walking boots for every kind of weather.
Oh, and a waffle iron. But that’s more a house present.
Otherwise, a nice weekend. Kate and Alan worked for hours on a project for her physics class. The task was to construct a catapult that would fling a marshmallow 5 meters and land in a bucket. If you know Alan, you know this required multiple trips to the hardware store, math, power tools, drilling, testing, tape measures, more testing and, of course, marshmallows:
My job was to purchase the marshmallows. Wendy handled fielding the ones that missed the bucket. Given the rules — exactly five meters, one marshmallow, landing in the bucket — I feel bad for the kids who don’t have a handy dad. You can make one with a shoebox, rubber bands and a tongue depressor, but it won’t go five meters.
I think there are lots of non-handy dads in Grosse Pointe. One thing I’ve noticed, when I look at estate sales — the more expensive the house, the fewer the tools. And more sporting goods. Many, many more of those, skis and boxing gloves and hockey sticks and high-end bicycles and boat stuff and horse stuff. But rarely so much as a hammer. You hire that shit done.
Otherwise? I watched “Olympus Has Fallen,” and marveled once again at a few things:
1) Great actors can go a long way toward rescuing a dumb script.
2) American movies are just ridiculously violent. Torture and gunplay is really baked into our bones.
3) There’s a reason Melissa Leo is nearly unrecognizable. She probably insisted on that dark wig to conceal her identity.
So, bloggage? Here’s something I wrote, a little different sort of thing for Bridge, for a slow holiday week. Hit it and keep me employed.
We did this — mulch nearly all our leaves — this year, to cover the bare topsoil in the still-unfinished back yard, and hopefully spare us a winter of muddy dog footprints throughout the house. Interesting that policy is nudging homeowners in that direction now:
In the past few years, lawn signs have sprouted in this Hudson River village and across Westchester County, proclaiming the benefits of mulching the leaves in place, rather than raking them up and taking them away. The technique involves mowing the leaves with special mulching blades, which shred them into tiny bits. That allows them to quickly decompose and naturally feed lawns and shrubs.
Officials are encouraging the practice for its cost savings: Westchester spends $3.5 million a year on private contractors who haul away leaves in tractor-trailers and bring them to commercial composting sites in places like Orange County, N.Y., and Connecticut. At the same time, environmental groups and horticulturalists are praising the practice’s sustainability, devising slogans like “Leave Leaves Alone” and “Love ’Em and Leave ’Em.”
The new film “Philomena” tells the story of Philomena Lee and her search for the child she gave birth to in one of those notorious Irish slave-convents, a story I’d been unaware of until reading the pre-release publicity. Here’s a Guardian story about the book the film is based on. It is breathtaking to think this happened in my lifetime. Just awful.
Now, I’m off to have a happy birthday. For you, just another Monday.