Time for a short break

Gentle readers, I’ve got a bunch of things I need to get done before the end of the work week, and we’re now looking at a perfect summery Memorial Day weekend ahead. This blog is going to take a short break, starting today and returning on Wednesday. Enjoy your holiday!


The Morris Dancers

The kids’ school has a lovely tradition of planting new trees on campus every year for Arbor Day. The fifth graders do a Morris dance to open the ceremony:


Morris dancing is a custom from England. Here is an example – not our kids, but a good illustration of the technique:

It’s an old, old form of dancing, and it pre-dates Shakespeare. Nick was a very good Morris dancer in his day, and naturally, Maria was pretty sharp too. In three more years, we’ll get to see Anna take her turn.

More from EGIS Night

As we mentioned before, Nick got to present his Eighth Grade Independent Study (EGIS) project on long exposure photography. Here’s the young man at his project board:



The variety of work on display was amazing – everything from guinea pigs to go karts to comic book artwork. It was great to see this culmination of the kids’ efforts!

Playgrounds always help

Nick had a soccer game Sunday afternoon, and while there wasn’t much of a playground next to the field, there was at least enough for Anna to do some climbing around:


Having a place to play near the soccer field is very helpful. A barren field is boring when you’re not playing in the game!

Wayback Machine: August 2010

They started cleaning and filling the pool at our swim club this past weekend… is it that time again already? Here’s a look back at Nick in last year’s diving champs. Not bad for a rookie.


Happy weekend!

Vegetables: The Good Wife, end-of-season thoughts

Sudden thoughts and second thoughts, in honor of Bill Lyon:

The season finale of The Good Wife aired this week. Those of you who are not watching the show may not find this post very interesting.

In watching the last few episodes of this season, I felt like I could finally see where the long arc of the series is going to go. Here’s my prediction: Whatever happens next, and whatever happens after that, the end of this story is Peter and Alicia together, in love, permanently. Because this whole show is the story of a marriage, and because of the way this season just concluded, I believe the writers tipped their hand.

The Good Wife began with Peter’s sex scandal, and in his downfall he radically disrupted the lives of his entire family. Alicia had to go back to work, mid-career, with teenagers at home. They moved out of their house and into an apartment. Early in season two, the kids were still expressing some nostalgia for their old lives in Highland Park. Alicia was living in a no-man’s-land between that old life, no longer reachable to her, and some uncertain future.

Even before the Peter/Kalinda bomb dropped on Alicia, though, she was already starting to see that she no longer wanted that life back. Peter’s first betrayal opened doors for her, and though at first she was pushed through them against her will, by this week’s season finale we saw her standing in Diane’s corner office, imagining it as her own.

Now Alicia has found out about another betrayal, and though it’s an old one, it hits even closer to home. She had warily started rebuilding her trust in Peter, and she had invested a great deal of trust in Kalinda. The timelines and the motives of the betrayal don’t matter. Alicia gets rocked to the core, and is all the worse for having come through one crisis believing she was in the clear, only to be thrown into another, darker one.

Alicia has moved with righteous fury in these last three episodes. I thought her scene in the conference room with Kalinda last week was over the top, but we’re clearly meant to see that Alicia has started twisting her own sense of right and wrong in the service of her anger. She feels entitled to be angry – and she should be – but that entitlement has led her to a betrayal of her own. Pride goeth before the fall.

The reason I think Alicia and Peter come back together again at the end of this story is that Alicia needed to fail in order to bring the story full circle. In fact, they both need to fail a couple more times. There are plenty of ticking bombs left in this story for both Peter and Alicia. And we’re almost guaranteed to see the duality next season of Alicia grudgingly working with Eli on Peter’s statewide campaign, while facing off against Peter in court.

If I were writing this show, I would lay it out like so:

Peter and Alicia, marriage in tatters, make the Faustian bargain of having a political marriage of convenience. Alicia gained enormous power this season as a kind of good-luck totem for Peter. She can carry him all the way to the statehouse as governor, and she can make partner in the process. This will not be a flattering portrait of either of them. (Think of how unattractive Will has been at certain points this season. We got a cold, clear glimpse of his competitiveness and his compulsion to win.)

Then they are brought low again, together. Peter wins the governorship, Alicia makes partner, maybe while secretly keeping house with Will. Peter and Alicia have a plausible reason to spend even less time in each other’s company. But the skeletons in their shared closet will come rattling out eventually, and deal both of them a serious blow. I think this is about where Will makes his exit, and I think we will see a smaller and scrappier Lockhart/Florrick (Alicia) make its debut, like the third-season finale of Mad Men.

Having exhausted all of their anger, and having been humbled in spectacular fashion, Peter and Alicia find their way back to each other. For the first time since the pilot episode, they are on equal terms. They can’t keep score any longer, because they’ve lost count. And they find they are in love again, because after all of that drama and fighting and straying, they are meant to be together. (I strongly suspect that the Clintons’ marriage is ultimately serving as the writers’ template here.)

Peter fails because of his weaknesses. Alicia fails because of her strengths. The central argument of the show is that everyone finds their path to true happiness through failure, and suffering. It’s pretty bleak when you put it that way, but it makes for some riveting television.

One last prediction: Any series that makes it to 100 episodes can be sold in syndication, though the bar might be a little lower now with DVD and streaming options. Anyway, given the way the business works these days, my guess is that Good Wife will wrap in five seasons. You heard it here first.

Party hearty

Sunday afternoon, our friends the Lesters had a combined birthday party for their two young kids, who both have birthdays this time of year. They had a great idea for the party – they rented a picnic pavilion in a local park:


They had another good idea, too – they hired our Maria and a couple of her friends to help wrangle kids during the party:


Here is the patriarch of the family, looking about as relaxed as parents usually are when they throw a birthday party with 30 small-fry guests:


The kids played parachute, which was another brilliant idea and perfect for the roomy pavilion:


Our whole gang was there – you’ll remember from yesterday that Nick and Anna were off chasing frogs for part of the time – and we all had a blast.


I spy a frog

On our way to a birthday party in a park over the weekend, Nick and Anna spotted a frog hopping through the grass.



Anna had designs on picking him up, but she lost her nerve, and settled for gently stroking the frog on his back with a leaf. Sounds pleasant enough, but for the frog it was probably terrifying:



Tomorrow: At the party.

Just another manic… Saturday

This past weekend was somewhat light on our schedule, but we still did a decent bit of running around. Saturday morning, Anna had a soccer tournament. I didn’t capture any of the action on the field, but I did snap a pic of Anna and her teammates playing on the playground in between games, which is just as important:


Anna scored a goal in one of her tournament games. And in typical Anna fashion, she didn’t celebrate afterward, and didn’t want anybody else making a fuss over her, either. Quietly professional.

Later, the young striker and her brother went with me to the produce store to get fruit and veggies for the week:



Sometimes the quiet moments are the most fun. They’re great produce shoppers, in fact. Nicholas has a discerning eye for green apples, and Anna is good at picking out vegetables.

Out for a manicure

Maria and one of her girlfriends went for manicures over the weekend. (Nick and Anna gave Maria a gift certificate to the nail salon for Christmas.) Here’s our girl getting her nails painted:


And here are the girls showing off their shiny new nails:


Being fabulous is a full-time job for Maria!