Friday, March 25, 2011

Breakfast for Dinner

I had to pick the husband up from work, which led to a spontaneous decision to have dinner “out,” which happens every so often, though usually on a full moon. We cruised around downtown as we called various places, inquiring as to whether they had room in their fine establishments for two adults and four kids. We checked Jines, the Highland Diner, and Sully’s. As we pulled into the parking lot in front of Sully’s it dawned on us, finally, that we were not, in fact, hip city-dwellers, but rather parents in a partially rusted mini-van.

We went to Perkins.

I was in a mild state of agitation thanks to Caleb, who had peppered me with questions on the ride out. Caleb is a morbid child, and I say that with as much affection as I can muster. He’s a close relative of that kid from “What About Bob”- the one who kept repeating “I’m going to die. You’re going to die. We’re all going to die.” I’m not sure if it’s normal for a child to focus so much on dying- not the afterlife, but the physical act of dying- but John assures me that he was just like that when he was a kid. Which doesn’t really alleviate my concerns.

In the car, I tried to pragmatically and calmly answer questions about choking to death, falling off a building, and becoming (here’s a likely scenario for ya) stuck in the stratosphere.

“Mom. What’s the difference between the atmosphere and the stratosphere?” If Caleb isn’t asking about death, he’s asking some scientific question I should know the answer to, but don’t.

“Um, I’m not sure.” (Caleb sighs.) “I’m pretty sure the stratosphere is above the atmosphere.” (It’s not. The stratosphere is within the atmosphere.)

“I’ll just ask dad,” he said.

Well, phooey, I thought. Caleb is convinced John is a million times smarter than I am thanks to my proclivity for saying “I don’t know. Ask your father.”

I told this to John, who insisted he wasn’t smarter, just different. He was more like Caleb, who has a scientific mind, while I was more like Ben, who is “artsy” and “sensitive.”

In fact, I do find Ben’s questions easier to answer than Caleb’s. Today, Ben wanted to know the following:

“Mom, do they make red pants?”

“Yes, ‘they’ make red pants.”

“I’m not talking about red shorts mom. I’m talking about red pants.”

“I gotcha, and yes, there is such a thing as red pants.” Ben considers this.

“No. I don’t think they do make red pants.”

So, I can’t win. Even when I’m right, I’m wrong.

Daniel and Ella, however, still believe that I know everything. Right?

“Look mom. The snow!”

“Yes, more snow. It’s yucky, isn’t it?”

Daniel gasps.

“The snow is beautiful!”

And Ella? As I was about to order her a grilled cheese, she said, “No. Pancakes.” Even though we had just discussed her desire for grilled cheese. She looked at me like I was stupid. I swear she was about to roll her eyes and say, “Duh mom. Why would I want grilled cheese? This is Perkins, mom. No one goes to Perkins for grilled cheese. I have to text my friend now and tell her how stupid you are.” (This is what I think teenage girls are like. And I am so afraid.)

I’m actually not bothered. They are growing up and realizing that I am not the beginning and the end of the universe. And that’s normal. It’s fascinating to spend time with them and learn what goes on in those little heads.

We were loud in Perkins. Super loud. Thankfully, it was dead in there, not an annoyed young hip city-dweller in sight- just a jolly, accommodating waitress with crayons and chocolate milk and an appreciated sense of humor. We ate pancakes for dinner.

Having kids is like having breakfast for dinner. I’ll have dinner for dinner someday, but right now, I’m loving the breakfast.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Best Picture in the History of Pictures

My sister has a serious serious problem.  She goes online, looks at pictures of dogs in need of adoption, and then runs out and rescues them from imminent doom. 

She has gone from 0 to 2 dogs in the last 4 months.

That's like a 200% increase in dogs. 

Having recently gone through a 100% increase in dogs myself, I think she is off her nutter. 

She has a pointer who suffers from separation anxiety.  His name is Jeff.  Now, she has a beagle-type dog who is apparently female.  Her name is Maize. 

She also runs a food pantry, goes to school part-time, and has two precocious children.  I love them very much, but they are precocious.  Mary would be the first to admit this, because their precociousness is quite obviously hereditary. 

Nevertheless, the sudden whirlwind of canine activity in my sister's household has provided the world with the best picture in the history of pictures:

  I told you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Caution: Disturbing Images Follow

The plural of crocus is "crocuses" OR "croci."  I prefer "croci." 

"Look!  Look at all the croci!" I yelled to the kids.  They whipped their heads around.

"Crocodile?" asked Daniel. 

We were pleased as punch to spot the little purple flowers peeking through dead leaves and shredded napkins.  (I've really got to clear out my flower beds.)

Another sign of spring: 'tis St. Patty's Day- and Caleb's elaborate leprechaun trap failed him yet again. The leprechaun left a note, took a bite out of a couple of jellybeans, and stole all the money Caleb had left out to lure him into the trap.  Caleb was, surprisingly, pleased as punch.

(He doesn't know this, but the leprechaun deposited the dollar coins right back into Caleb's bank.  Leprechauns are not as pernicious as folklore would have you believe.)

Our St. Patty's Day celebration is extended this year.  Tomorrow, John is going to make corned beef and cabbage and participate in the Protestant St. Patrick's Day moratorium on promises made during Lent.  I.e., he will drink a Guinness or two.  I think he made this moratorium up.  To which I say, for shame. 

I hate corned beef and cabbage.  I think that if you cook a meat that is red and it stays red, it should be treated as rancid.  Ick.  And cabbage?  Only acceptable in coleslaw, and then only if presented with minimal mayonnaise, not that soupy atrocity they serve at most diners. 

Have you driven by a field of cabbage during harvest season?  Have you smelled the foul stench? 

However, being a most obliging wife, I did pick up the brisket and cabbage at the supermarket.  I didn't get potatoes because I had some at home. 

This evening, John went to retrieve the potatoes from my insulated vegetable drawer.  He made a horrible face and demanded I come look.

Oh my gosh I've never seen anything more terrifying in my life I thought we were doomed it was awful.

My potatoes had grown extraordinary tentatacles that ripped through their bag threatening our very existence on this earth.  

It was a science experiment gone most awry. 

There was screaming and flapping of arms. 

And then I was made to go to the supermarket to get more of this awful tuberous vegetable.  Which seemed unjust.

And tonight as I sit here, thoroughly traumatized, where is the husband?

Off at a couch burning.  Which is how they celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Ireland.  (Well- the Protestants, anyway.  The Catholics have a moratorium on couch burnings during Lent.)

Happy St. Patrick's Day. 

(The following pictures are not for children or people with heart conditions.)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let's Talk

Oh blog.

Where has the love gone? Our relationship has become, and it pains me to say this, lackluster.

Remember our pet names for one another? I’d call you my bloggy blog, and you’d lovingly call me your own “blog administrator.”

These days I get on and you dare to ask me for my password. What is that? Why must you be so cruel? It’s like a knife through my heart.

So the posts have dwindled. I know that. You know that. So let’s talk about it. Let’s try and be mature about this.

I don’t have good news to give you. Ella’s speech is… regressing. That’s what they tell me. My backyard is one big brown pile of dog excrement. Kiah the Wonder Dog won’t stop jumping on people. The husband has all but left me for the land of corruption and budget cuts. Daniel keeps telling me (in a rather ominous tone) that one day he will be bigger than me. Ben is boycotting baths and Caleb- Caleb spends most of his time making elaborate leprechaun traps. He stopped believing in Santa, the Easter Bunny, even the tooth fairy, but, and this is my fault, he believes in leprechauns. This might be because I claimed to have witnessed a leprechaun climbing out my window when I was a little girl.

I am a compulsive liar and I fear there is no hope for me.

Japan is under water. They found a baby, days later in the rubble, crying amidst the corpses.

Who knows how to respond to news such as that. With joy? It’s a miracle? Or with horror?

You don’t really need to be told these things. But in March, I have a hard time feeling lighthearted.

Yet, there are so many things, bloggy blog (and yes- you will always be MY OWN bloggy blog) that I love about you. I like that you are always just how I left you. No child has moved things around or wiped snot all over my widgets. I like that you politely e-mail me when someone has left me a comment. I like that you always know what day it is, even when I don’t. You are a reliable friend.

I haven't forgotten you.  I just haven't had much to say.

Monday, March 7, 2011


I’ve been thinking about Lent.

“What are you giving up for Lent?” I asked John. “Because I have some ideas for you. You should give up alcoholic beverages. I’m giving up sex.”

“Wow. A double win,” was his response.

He was unenthused.

Lent, of course, is the 40 day period before Easter Sunday where Christians take time to pray and contemplate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Self-denial is a practice of Lent that I have always been perfectly happy not to participate in. I’ve only ever attended protestant churches that don’t participate in Lent; yet, I’ve always been intrigued by the concept.

So, I’ve been thinking seriously about participating in Lent, which starts this Wednesday, but I can’t decide what to deprive myself of. I’m focusing on the following verse:

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Cor 9: 24-27 ESV

I like this verse. It works on many levels. I’m hoping that if, for 40 days, I focus on becoming more physically disciplined, I will also become more mentally and spiritually disciplined, because when it comes to self-control, I am lacking. I am much like Kiah the Wonder Dog, unable to stay out of the pantry, unable to focus on tasks at hand, unable to keep my small brain from getting into mischief.

I do not pee on the floor. I want to make that clear.

I think I’m going to try and eliminate processed foods (with the exception of Cheerios. I can not be without Cheerios. And pasta and rice. I’ll try to go whole grain…) and limit my overall daily sugar intake. This will require supernatural assistance, especially since it is Cadbury Cream Egg season.

(I wish they made a sugar patch, like a nicotine patch. I am so very addicted to sugar.)

I’d be more disciplined at running- actual physical running- if I didn’t suffer from a debilitating condition. My toes and the balls of my feet go numb after I’ve run about a mile. At first it just feels weird, but then it gets prickly and painful, like running on little needles.

Why does this happen?

So, I’ve been training in the pool, but I think I need a lesson. I may have trouble swimming in a straight line. (A statement that, like the verse above, works on both a literal and figurative level.) Knock into an elderly woman once, and it’s an honest mistake. Do it more than once, and suddenly you’re a “menace” and “out to get people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.”

There have been many obstacles to getting in shape. I’m talking literal obstacles that take the form of grouchy old women floating on those tube things.

So, here I am this evening, contemplating a 40-day sugar semi-fast, while half watching a National Geographic show entitled “My Child is a Monkey” and eating a small bowl of sugary fruit loops. (And let’s be honest. There will probably be more small bowls of sugary fruit loops as the evening progresses.) The TV guide’s synopses of “My Child is a Monkey”: Primates who are adopted as surrogate human babies. I thought it would be funny. It has turned out to be dreadfully depressing. Here’s to hoping that the following program, “Marijuana Nation,” will be more uplifting.

Also, I’m noting how often I’ve used the word “I” in this post. Will write about narcissism later this week, because that’s what narcissistic bloggers do: write about their narcissism in a self-deprecating narcissistic manner. Also trying to give up narcissism for lent.

What are you giving up?