Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hamstrung and punch drunk

[Warning: blog post ahead written on lack of sleep and unedited!]

Easter is early this year because Easter is on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox. Is there a spring equinox? I may be misremembering the story I heard on the radio station, KEOM out of Mesquite. It's all 70's all the time and run by high school students. I like to listen because I like hearing their young, untrained voices reading the news or telling us what song we just heard. "Thankths, Tiffany," I can hear through John's braces. "And now to the traffick report." They enunciate slowly and well, so that their consonants are harder than most on-air voices.

Back to Easter. Of course, like all our Easters, it's overcast, cloudy and threatening rain. That's also a sign that we're headed to a backyard gathering for brunch. I have been assigned to bring the meat, as my hostess is a vegetarian. It did not occur to me until this morning that ham is probably a good choice. So, I'll be doing some last minute shopping.

Plus, even though it's her party, I want to use a punch bowl I bought at a flea market, so she asked me: do you have any punch recipes, and the answer is, of course, no. So, research, shop, produce.

One of my dearest and oldest friends is Jewish and this time of year, she generally wants to know what my family is doing for Easter. She starts hinting around about ham. From her perspective, Christian families have ham for Easter, at least, that's what television Christian families do, she said. I don't remember ham being an Easter tradition in my house growing up, and it's not the first meat I think of when I think of eating meat as a grown up. Luckily, my husband thought of it, so hopefully, the store will have a pre-cooked half-pounder waiting to be sliced.

As I am in touch with my inner senior citizen, I have been awake since 5:30, and am ready for a nap. Unfortunately, the middle-aged don't get to indulge in that part of senior citizenship.

My husband has made good progress on a backyard two-story playhouse this week. Since it was the kids' spring break and he has gobs of vacation time, he took the time off. It rained Monday and Tuesday, but he put in 11 hours straight yesterday and has completed the floors and framing. This morning he's toying with the roof. (Pictures to come.)

I predict in less than a month, our town's ordinance "sheriff" will spot the playhouse, which is higher than the fence and order us to take it down. Just guessing, but that sounds like what a community would do to itself--pass a law making life 70% less fun. If that happens, I'll request a variance. (Mr. Ma-ya, I'm jest uh po' country chick who's found huhself in a twelve piece bucket o' trouble!)

A-ha! you say. She's been following town council meetings. And indeed I have. My newspaper covers five of them and government, at its most basic level, is fascinating to watch from the outside and without a doubt somewhat frustrating from the inside.

But all that's for another day. The eggs have been hunted, the candy devoured, and I'm off to buy a ham and a can of punch. Happy Easter, friends.


Monday, March 17, 2008


Morning Edition ventures conversations with conservatives.
According to NPR ombudsman Alicia Shepard, more than 60 angry e-mails and phone calls arrived at the network, calling the programming "shameful" and a "lovefest with radical, right-wing nuts." There were only a few, she said, that praised the series as "refreshing" and "articulate," among other things.
I guess they were jolted out of their comfort zone. I wonder if it was Grover Norquist's comments? Who could get upset by a guy named after a muppet? (Via Pajamas Media via Instapundit.)

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Yesterday and yesterdays

Yesterday was going to be the best day ever, according to my six-year-old daughter because it started out with snow on the ground, would wind its way to bought lunch (baked potato) and finish with dinner at The Olive Garden. (Lately, Tuesday is our night out for dinner because that's my busiest work day.)

So, how did it really go? Well, they don't offer cottage cheese as a topping for baked potato at school, so she had to eat it plain, and she got a check mark for leaving her textbook at home, but all in all, it was pretty good.

She forgot her textbook because I'm a working mom. These days first graders get homework. In our case it's a short story to read, write a few sentences about and draw and color a picture, plus about three front-and-back math worksheets. It comes home on Monday and is due on Thursday. The short story, in the form of a paperback, is due back Monday, but upon request can be sent home again. To avoid that hassle, I make Emma do the reading part of her homework on Monday.

(Are you with me? Wake up!)

In addition to all this, she must read or be read to 15 minutes a night. Occasionally, the teacher sends home a textbook to help this along. Naturally, we forgot about the extra reading assignment that night, so she read it Tuesday morning, but forgot to put it back in her backpack. Long story short (I know--too late!) she got a check mark.

Along comes little brother, "My Ol' Gummer got a check mark, too!" Ol' Gummer is his imaginary friend. I'm delighted one of my children has an imaginary friend. I had one at about the age of 6 or 7, but I was completely conscious of the fact that I was making her up, so I don't think she really counted. Her name was Penelope and she shot hoops with me.

Brendan has had many imaginary friends since he was 2. When first caught talking to one, and asked for the friend's name, he slowly let out, "Tchummer." That evolved into Gummer, which evolved into Ol' Gummer and his better counterpart New Gummer. Ol' Gummer is responsible for pushing, shoving, talking out of turn and getting check marks. In short, anything that goes wrong is Ol' Gummer's fault. New Gummer is a prince among men and often counsels Ol' Gummer on his behavior.

I've threatened many a time to call Ol' Gummer's mother if his behavior doesn't improve. And I still might.

Emma, conscious of the fact that she's the only kid without an imaginary friend, whips out Mr. Nobody--a rip off from a preschool cartoon called Little Bear. I shouldn't call it a rip off. Borrowing ideas is a great way to learn and be creative, but Mr. Nobody really only comes out when Ol' Gummer does, which is on the way home from school with Emma telling me about her day, and also when she upsets her brother, which is often lately as she's learned what fun it is to mess with a preschooler.

Speaking of preschool cartoons, my three-year-old's thirst for knowledge has moved them to commercial television. He learned how to use the TV before she did. So now, I get "Mom, there's a new purse that has a place for your cell phone and your keys and a special place for your wallet, and if you hurry you can get it before they run out!" Cute from a six-year-old; hilarious from a three-year-old.

I LOVE this because I wanted my mom to buy such a purse when I was a kid watching commercials sandwiched between reruns of That Girl and The Galloping Gourmet. The purse I wanted Mom to buy had a special place for sunglasses, and a key chain that you could snap on the inside. Oh! The organizational benefits!

Mom was not interested. She wanted a big open bag hanging from her shoulder. She hated pockets. Ah, well. We're not all organization freaks. In fact, I hardly am anymore. I had to let all that go in order to get along with people.

One day, however, one day--yes!--the world will bow to me my designs and lay straight and orderly as it is intended to!

And if not? Well, maybe Penelope will. Thanks for stopping by.