2012.03.28 Facetime follies

Written by David Green.


I walked back into the living room late Monday night and yelped when I noticed incriminating evidence: Maddie’s well-loved (i.e. old, hand-me-down, permanently stained) baby doll and the hot pink Boohbah lying together on the couch.

“Ayy! I better put them back quick!” I thought. “If David sees them he’s gonna know I’ve been Skyping with Caroline and Rosie instead of proofreading stories.”

Actually, we were on FaceTime on the ipad, not Skyping. Either way, I love using the ipad when videochatting with Caroline. It allows us the freedom to take tours around the house so she remembers who we are as she connects us with where we live...a kind of visual “Hey! You know us! Remember your wacky lady? And here’s Mama and Aunt Maddie and Uncle Ben.”

Caroline has three sets of grandparents, one set of great-grandparents and another great-grandmother and great-grandfather—it’s never too early to get the “who’s who” straight.

She gets excited when the baby doll makes an appearance in our FaceTime sessions; she smiles broadly and enthusiastically waves at it. And the Boohbah equally captures her attention—especially when it’s activated to do its little song and dance, rising up and swirling its head to the music, making bizarre high-pitched noises.

It’s probably the weirdest thing in our house, with its bald head, lashless painted-on huge eyes, a bump of a nose, no mouth, five dots each for eyebrows, star shaped hands emerging from tiny pink arms, and rotund body, but Caroline appreciates it—fitting since her own mother bought it while Black Friday shopping with friends in high school.

It’s kind of space age looking—as much as a pile of pink polyester fluffy fabric can look space age-y. More than its looks, it’s the high-pitched squeal it emits after doing its dance—five or six seconds later. That latent noise coupled with its overall bizarre appearance just seems other-worldly. Google it if you haven’t already seen them on the PBS kid show.

I added the Wendell Glaser rooster painting to the FaceTime rounds Monday night, but forgot about the goose Chris Wood painted years ago. And, I just realized I’ve never panned the collection of Christmas ornaments sitting atop a bookshelf—the big fat hen, Bantam rooster, parrot, ostrich—another parrot Ben brought back from Brazil and an elegant wood sculpture of a heron.

We feature the soft sculpture wild woman (her lady) on every tour. Since she was tiny, Caroline has loved its white and black polka dot arms, black and white striped legs, and the hodgepodge splashes of color on its triangular trunk.

She delights in seeing the charcoal portrait of Ben, Rosie and Maddie drawn by a Chinese immigrant in Central Park during spring break, 1995. I still hear my mother telling him to adjust his depiction of Maddy because he made her look too old.

“She’s only seven! You make her look 17!” 

Somehow, we all missed how he made Ben look slightly evil and how they all look slightly Chinese. It doesn’t matter to Caroline—she reaches out to touch her Mama; she sees the resemblance.

She likes to look at each of Ben, Rosie and Maddie’s high school senior portraits, and always gets excited when she sees Rosie’s.

I included the Nok Hockey board hanging on the wall near the senior portraits in the tour and instantly regretted it. 

“We’ll have to make that disappear,” I told Rosie. “She’ll want to play with it and she’s bound to hurt herself on the sticks.”

Maddie’s new penguin pillow is an attraction, but I’m not sure I should show Caroline the Matryoshka dolls Bob and Jackie brought back from Poland for Rosie and Maddie. She’s usually transfixed to see each doll inside another, but I’m afraid she’s going to want to put them and their questionable paint in her mouth.

Caroline and Rosie are coming for a visit in a few weeks so a whole new round of babyproofing is in order. That’s OK. I’m sure I’ll enjoy it way more than proofreading.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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