Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Let Freedom Ring

We live in the birthplace of Liberty, or so they tell us. And Philly takes its Independence Day celebrations quite seriously. It’s when we Welcome America! It’s when “WE WANT YOU to party with us!” It’s when we shine. Or at least glisten in the humidity. (I have to mention that I love those print ads with the dancing people in the Uncle Sam top hat. Hip and clever. So sayeth me.) And every year I try to make the most out of the festivities. I like feeling involved . I like the buzz in the air. And I like free stuff.

On Saturday we went to the Sidewalk Sizzle and Ice Cream Freeze at Reading Terminal Market. We took a carnival train ride around the block and ate like pigs. Today Noah and I had a lovely afternoon when we went with my friend and ex-co-worker Jeff to catch some free music in LOVE Park before stopping back in my old office to make the rounds and show off the boy. And I’m hoping to check out the fair in Rittenhouse Park on Friday, as well as possibly make it to the Fiesta on the Parkway on Monday. Oh, and of course we’ll head over to Penn Treaty Park to have a superb view of the fireworks over the Delaware on Saturday night. It’s big stuff. Check out the event listings.

So what else have we been up to? On Sunday we headed out to Jersey to visit with Mark’s Grandmother, Mark’s Dad and his wife. It was generally a lovely evening though Laima blew my mind. First let me say that I adore Mark’s grandmother Laima. She’s 96 and a matriarch of the first order. She’s sassy, opinionated, educated and colorful. But she’s not really an expert on the small people. In fact she seems downright uncomfortable with them. I think Martin, her only child, was mostly raised by nannies in Latvia where her family where landowning gentry before the Russians forced them out. So I pretty much stood slack jawed when she started telling me what I was doing wrong with Noah. Apparently I need to stop telling Noah what things are and start asking him more questions – which she proceeded to demonstrate by awkwardly asking “What’s that?” repeatedly without ever giving him any answers. She said that until I did that he’d never learn to speak. At first I tried to explain that he was speaking quite well for his age, though his pronunciation was a bit suspect, but soon I gave up and nodded. What else can you do? SHE”S REALLY OLD. And pushy. But later we had an exchange that had me nearly howling with laughter. While I was coloring with Noah she told me she had NEVER colored before. I said “Surely you did some coloring with Mark when he was little?” I flashbacked to coloring, cards and board games with my Oma. To which Laima said she never colored with Mark. And why? “Because it wasn’t fashionable at the time.” Oh RIGHT. The seventies were largely anti-coloring. What was I thinking?

Tomorrow Noah, Mark and I are headed to the zoo to see the new Big Cat Falls. Mark had a use-it or lose-it personal day to take before the end of June so it’s a nice family day extra. And it shouldn’t be as crowded as it would on a Friday or a weekend. I hope the weather is good to us.

Saturday we’ve been trying to tempt some folks to come to our place for burgers and beers for a few hours before jaunting over to the park to watch the fireworks. So far we don’t have any definites, but we’ll be having burgers and beer regardless of our company. Wanna come? Then Sunday we head to Pa Joe’s for a picnic to celebrate our independence and my brother Jim’s birthday. And then Monday and Tuesday are reserved for more Philly fanfare. And probably some bathroom and kitchen cleaning. We’ll have some lovely antibacterial fireworks of our own. Though maybe we should do some of that before we have company?

And what have you got in store for your fourth?


juliloquy said...

Too bad we'll be out of town on Saturday, or we'd crash your party. You shall recognize us by da Shmoo we carry!

I love the Laima antics! I suppose she has also never operated a Slinky(R) nor a yo-yo, as they were equally unfashionable in the 70s. It's good that you can laugh off her - um - helpful advice.

Cute new picture!

Katy said...

What time on Saturday??


Missuz J said...

Erik's Great Grandma--Grandma Tee-Tee--just passed away a few months at age 98. Ok-loved her, she was old, whatever, but she was a total hag about the kids. She was always telling me how Janzen would grow up to resent me. Once when he was a toddler, she called me during a rain storm to make sure I didn't have him "out in the rain."

Sounds like she and your Laima would be peeps.