Mitchell-Lama Mama’s Blog

an ordinary life in an extraordinary city

Summertime, and the Living is…well, easier, anyway June 30, 2009

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Happy Summer, all! ūüôā ¬†

 

The last week of school was crazy hectic, as always. ¬†The last day was emotional. ¬†The middle guy said goodbye to his friends and teachers, and I said my goodbyes to the school, also. ¬†He was a student there for six years, so yeah, even trusting this is a good, positive decision, there was a tug. ūüėõ ¬†

 

The girl is beat. ¬†This was a long, long year for her. ¬†Mama’s prescription for the summer: reading (so she doesn’t completely lose what she’s worked so hard for), rest, and ice cream. ūüėÄ

 

One night last week Mama had the opportunity to go and visit some very impressive reef tanks. ¬†The largest tank is 240 gallons, and the other two aren’t far behind. ¬†Breathtaking. ¬†

 

No rest yet, though. ¬†Saturday, Mama’s sister in law was in town for a visit, had brunch with her and the kids. ¬†Then long-time friends of ours from Atlanta (also in town visiting) came over. ¬†Not restful, but beautiful. ¬†These are friends we used to see regularly, but they don’t get to NY very often anymore, and I miss them. ¬†It was lovely, he’s a singer/musician, and played on middle guy’s guitar for a while, including playing a new song of his own that just made me wish I could hold that moment forever. They came with their oldest child (26!), and their youngest (17!). ¬†

 

Sunday all the excitement was tank-centered. My big guy had gone out last week, brought me home a frag ūüôā a peppermint shrimp, and an emerald crab. ¬†The crab is to eat the bubble algae hiding in one of my little colonies. ¬†Cute, no problem–for now. Crabs are opportunistic feeders, and can be iffy when they get large enough. ¬†The peppermint shrimp was to eat the blasted aiptasia, which came back bigger and stronger than ever. ¬†I have the superman of pest anemones. ¬†Great! Umm, not so much. ¬†Nemo didn’t like the peppermint shrimp, and proceeded to hunt it and chase it for the next thirty hours. ¬†Sunday morning found the peppermint shrimp on the floor in front of the tank. ¬†Crunchy. ¬†Taps, anyone?¬†

 

I guess the chase was pretty intense that night, because several pieces had been knocked over, including my candy cane frag. ¬†That piece was one of my first frags, and I happen to be very attached to it. ¬†ūüė¶ ¬†It had landed with one head on one of the ricordias. ¬†Ricordias are lovely, come in all kinds of colors, look like a cross between an exotic flower and mushroom. ¬†They also have a very powerful sting. ¬†Needless to say, that head of the candy cane was hurt. ¬†So, Mama straightens everything up in the tank, water change, etc. ¬†Look up to see the coral beauty taking BITES out of the candy cane. ¬†Yes, bites. ¬†Not nipping, but biting off pieces of flesh and eating them. ¬†Grrrr. ¬†

 

Now half of the crown of that head is gone, skeleton exposed. ūüė¶ ¬†ūüė¶ ¬†I do think the coral beauty only ate the flesh that was badly damaged, and the head–or what’s left of it–did manage ¬†to eat a pellet yesterday. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Hoping for the best.¬†

 

Today will be a work day. ¬†More laundry–loads to catch up on (pun intended), dishes from last night, cleaning, and a play date coming over. ¬†Why was Mama so looking forward to summer? ¬†Because it’s warm, and there is SUN this morning, and no school nurse phone calls. ¬†ūüôā ūüėÄ

 

Summer is Mama’s time. ¬†I get to enjoy time with the kids, and have some of the warmth and sun I so desperately need.

 

Bested By the Fish May 22, 2009

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Things are clipping right along in the tank, dontcha think? ¬†Maybe not. ¬†The coral beauty has developed a taste for, well, my corals. ¬†In keeping a reef tank, fish really are secondary. ¬†The bulk of the money and the fascination are in the corals and critters. ¬†This all equaled a decision that the coral beauty has got to go. ūüė¶ ¬†

 

So blue, so innocent--don't be fooled!

So blue, so innocent--don't be fooled!

Two of Mama’s fishy friends came over yesterday evening. ¬†One willing to give the coral beauty a good home, the other willing to catch her. ¬†“Don’t worry, twenty minutes.” ¬†

Yeah. ¬†Not exactly. ¬†It appeared that it would be easy enough. ¬†Unlike many other “reefers,” Mama doesn’t care for the wall o’rock look, so there’s only about 50 lbs of live rock in the display tank. ¬†Plenty of room for swimming and interesting rock structures. ¬†Mama designed her “rockscape” keeping the comfort and happiness of the critters in mind. ¬†Plenty of dart holes, hiding places, pass-throughs. ¬†Getting a feel for problem #1?

Now comes problem #2. Gloria.  Remember Gloria, the glorious yellow tang?

 

Observe carefully

Observe carefully

See that thin little white line towards the back of her? ¬†There’s one on either side, and it’s because of those pretty little dashes that these fish are sometimes known as scalpel fish. ¬†Those little lines are her defense, and are literally as sharp and dangerous as scalpels. ¬†Shouldn’t be an issue, we’re not interested in Gloria. ¬†Wrong again. ¬†Gloria didn’t care for the nets invading her territory. ¬†By the time we were twenty minutes into this, there were three nets trying to corral and catch the coral beauty. ¬†Fishy friend conducting this capture is a professional violinist. ¬†Keeping hands in perfect working order = an absolute must. ¬†It quickly became more about evading the tang than capturing the coral beauty. ¬†

 

Reef tanks are very sensitive. ¬†Corals can begin chemical warfare, melt away, and crash the whole tank if you stick your hands into the tank without washing them first. ¬†Mama kept imagining fresh blood marbling through the water, running through all products and remedies she’s heard of wondering if there’s a reef-safe “antidote” to human blood.¬†

 

Guess who’s still in Mama’s tank this morning? ūüėõ

 

Not to mention the tank is now a “mess,” coral frags knocked over in the melee, and all critters looking quite annoyed this morning. ¬†Reefing can be fun, beautiful, and peaceful, but I think I’ll wait until they all calm down before sticking my hands back into the tank to fix things up. ūüėÄ

 

How many grown ups does it take to catch a fish? ¬†I don’t know. ¬†We had three, and it wasn’t enough.¬†

 

Happy, happy Friday Night Madness everyone–enjoy the holiday weekend!

Thanks for reading,

Mama

 

Serenity, Now! May 14, 2009

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Mama is doing what she can to center herself for today’s meeting. ¬†A friend offered to meet me for coffee afterwards. ¬†This is a friend who doesn’t know the full extent/live the nitty gritty details of having a child who isn’t neurotypical, but I’m glad for the support, and am taking her up on the offer.¬†

 

In trying to prepare myself, I actually dug through all my junk looking for makeup. ¬†Now, Mama isn’t a a makeup wearing gal. ¬†I think the last time I bought any was 6 years ago, and when we moved into this place in the fall I threw away the bulk of it–some of those tubes of lipstick were older than my oldest child. ūüėõ ¬†So this morning I found an old mascara, eyeliner, and lipgloss in a forgotten handbag; ¬†broke out the coconut oil and did my best to tame my hair. ¬†Does any of it matter? ¬†Not really. ¬†But there’s something about the ritual, a feeling of putting on armor. ¬†Probably why I don’t generally bother with any of it. ¬†ūüėČ ¬†

 

Of course, it’s raining now, so Mama’s hair will be its usual 4 foot circumference of frizz by the time I get to the meeting. ¬†Wonder how many years waterproof mascara retains its waterproofing?¬†

 

 

Torch Coral, Coral Beauty Angel (She Who Has No Name), and Giddy, the cleaner shrimp

Torch Coral, Coral Beauty Angel (She Who Has No Name), and Giddy, the cleaner shrimp

 

Mystery hitchhiker coral and edge of blue mushroom

Mystery hitchhiker coral and edge of blue mushroom

 

Busy Busy Busy May 13, 2009

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Tank Pics!

All my prettys

All my prettys

Clam--wild, huh?

Clam--wild, huh?

 

Plate coral and 6-line wrasse

Plate coral and 6-line wrasse

 

Sadie the Fire Shrimp

Sadie the Fire Shrimp

 

Clowns Protecting their Special Place from Yellow Tang

Clowns Protecting their Special Place from Yellow Tang

 

Pipe Organ

Pipe Organ

All right, One full tank shot

All right, One full tank shot

More crazy days here. ¬†Chaperoning the girl’s all day field trip today, guitar lesson for the middle guy later, then middle guy has a band concert (trumpet) this evening. ¬†Tomorrow (yikes) results from the girls testing, Friday night the big guy’s show–She Stoops to Conquer. ¬†Whew! ¬†Mama is ready for summer in every way!

 

News: ¬†The middle guy was accepted!!!!!!! ¬†He was thrilled for about an hour, and is now stressing about making the decision; should he go? Aargh! ¬†Poor guy, really. ¬†We all know plenty of adults who are afraid of upsetting the status quo, even when it almost certainly means positive changes. ¬†Human nature, fear of the unknown. ūüė¶¬†

 

Hope everyone has a good one, Mama is off and running!

 

Tricky Sense of Time May 7, 2009

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I’m wondering why the days fly by so quickly, and yet each week stretches on forever. ¬†Am I the only one with this perception? ¬†

 

I’m not sure I could get any less sleep than I do and function long term, but still I run out of time each day. ¬†Twenty four hours should be enough, no? ¬†But it never is. ¬†Each day ends with Mama feeling guilty because I didn’t _________. ¬†If I clean I didn’t write. ¬†If I write I didn’t do laundry. ¬†If I do laundry I didn’t shop. ¬†If I shop I didn’t play with the girl. ¬†If I play with the girl I didn’t blog. ¬†And on and on, no end in sight. ¬†I think the world would end if I made time to *gasp* read. ¬†

 

Somehow I’m sure I should be grateful I have so much to do, right? ¬†Somehow. ¬†But then every morning I wake up thinking it must be Friday, and it still isn’t. ¬†

 

I did accomplish something yesterday–I think. ¬† ūüėõ ¬†I tried to kill the aiptasia (pest anemone) again, and I haven’t seen it resurface since. ¬†It must be morally wrong to be so happy to kill something, but I admit it. ¬†Alone in the living room, by the light of the tank, Mama did a happy dance. ¬† ūüėÄ

 

Eyeballs, Check! May 5, 2009

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Whew, I finally did it. ¬†After going to the girl’s classroom for another “author celebration,” I went into the one place in the neighborhood with a $99 special for exam and contacts. ¬†Yippee! ¬†Not only did I get the exam done and contacts ordered, they had a trial pair on hand in my prescription. ¬†I don’t think that ever happened for me before. ¬†So now instead of tipping my head to try and prevent the lens from falling out of my broken eyeglass frames, I’m tipping my head trying to get used to having peripheral vision again–it’s been several years. ¬†ūüôā

 

I swear the colors in the tank are popping more now. ¬† ūüėČ ¬†Speaking of the tank, Mama has a couple of new additions. ¬†I’ve remained in touch and friendly with the young man I bought the system from, and have been getting to know his girlfriend too. ¬†Both very lovely. ¬†And gf was interested in doggie gumbo, so we’ve been swapping gumbo for critters. ¬†I got a clam!!!!! ¬†She (she because the girl named her Boca) has a beautiful blue and brown pattern on her mantle. ¬†Also some new zoas, and a new SPS frag that has a long scientific name that promptly trickled out of my ears. ūüôā Sorry, still no pics because I can’t get the camera to work.¬†

 

And here’s the most exciting tank news, Mama’s clownfish are breeding! ¬†Have I already mentioned that? :0 ¬†No, I won’t be raising the fry, but they’re a tasty treat for the other critters. ¬†Mama didn’t actually realize what they were doing until the aforementioned fishy friends were here and clued me in. ¬†In my defense, clowns have some weird behavior patterns, so I thought it was just part of their regular weirdness. ¬†

 

Both boys are miserable with their allergies now, and the girl is just wishing the school year would hurry up and end.  Me too, darling, me too.

 

Finally April 24, 2009

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A beautiful day, and it’s Friday! ¬†ūüôā ¬†The sun is out, and I think it’s in the seventies. ¬†The dog even spent some time on the terrace this morning. ¬†

 

Friday Night Madness has been downgraded, due to the economy. ūüė¶ ¬†Instead of going to the local diner/coffee shop for dinner, we’re going to the local chain “bakery” for tea. ¬†Aaah, nothing but the finest in half raw coffee cake and rubbery croissants. ¬†We’re sticking to the Lipton, thanks. ¬†If you avoid the pastries and ignore the gluey film on the tables, it is quite entertaining on Friday nights. ¬†By day, it’s filled with nannies and strollers. At night though, a special treat. Young tourists who didn’t realize how quickly their money would run out here in NY, scratching at sores left behind from bugbed filled mattresses at the area “hostels.” ¬† ¬†And let’s not forget the homeless who come to spend the night. ¬†Oooo, yeah, Mama is living large. ¬†ūüėÄ

 

So, I was sitting on my couch staring into my tank¬†doing some writing, when an unfamiliar movement in the tank caught my attention. ¬†Yikes! ¬†Another hitchhiker. ¬†I only saw part of it come out of a rock, but I’m pretty sure it’s a mantis shrimp. ¬†Tiny right now, but bad. ¬†They’re affectionately called thumb splitters, and some people keep them because they can be beautiful and interesting. ¬†In their own species only tank. ¬†Blech. ¬†I haven’t even gotten rid of the aiptasia yet. ¬†Luckily, I think it will be a while before he’s big enough to do any damage to any of my livestock. ¬†

 

Happy Friday, everyone!