Monday, November 22, 2010

Art of Dating

My husband and I are a little rusty on the art of dating, but every now and then, we give it the 'ole college try.  We are blessed to have a very flexible babysitter and so periodically, we head out into the suburban wilds.  Our typical date night usually includes a nice dinner and a trip to the bookstore.

Last night, we made a strategic error.  We went out on a Sunday.  The dinner part went swimmingly but then we realized that all the local bookstores close early on Sunday night.  Many of you will recognize the panic state that ensues when you have a babysitter for the night, but no concrete plan of where to go.  I am always willing to jump into the fray and so I came up with this retro idea:  "Let's go parking."  My husband's eyes narrowed, hard to say with what emotion, and off we went.

Our first stop was the local park in the center of town.  In theory the moon was shining and reflecting off the lake, the darkened trees were standing guard, and our pear-tinis were working their magic.  Cut to actual conversation:
"UHHHH, there are people here, probably teenagers."
"Yeah, that is generally who goes parking."
"We will be the creepy old people who get busted parking and featured in the S------Chronicle."
"So you need a parking lot with no parked cars."
"Yeah, let's try that."

Our second stop was a local school.  True, there were no cars, but the police bust that I was sure was eminent just got a lot worse.  No go.  At this point, and let me say for the record that this is why I adore my husband, he started getting amused.  I think he realized that the actual parking part of the evening was going to be the driving part of the evening.  We contemplated a church lot filled with cars using the technique of blending in with the natives but a lot of elderly folks probably finishing up bingo started pouring out of the building.  No go.

We ended up at a trail head, tucked off the main road.  The setting was benign vis-a-vis police presence.  The moon was still working it's magic.  My husband cut the engine:

"Wow, it got cold in here fast."  As my good friend pointed out retrospectively, teenagers park because they don't have anywhere else to go.  We have our very own home with sleeping kids and a babysitter who is only too happy to leave a bit early.  You can't go back but you can go home:)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thank you, Latvia

Roving Reporter and I were talking about blogging, we do that sometimes, and she tipped me to the Stats tab on Blogger.  This is a miraculous device that lets one see who is viewing one's blog.  I have 13 faithful followers which is a comfortable amount.  Still, there are days when the comments dry up and I do wonder who my audience is?  My most avid fan is my mom but she hasn't figured out how to comment so I have to take her involvement on faith.  Faith, and her phone calls when I have not posted in awhile.  The rest of my family (including my husband) read when I send them a specific post.  I usually do this when I have something laudatory to say about them or something embarrassing about another family member.

Then there are my faithful blogging friends:  I will read your blog if you read mine.  That is how it started but I am hooked on each and every blog, even blogs one step removed.  I met Roving Reporter's sister and felt like I knew her because I follow her blog.  I was very proud of myself for not asking any obtrusive big sister questions, since I am in point of fact, not her big sister.  My sister does not follow my blog.  I will email her this link but it will do no good.  It started when I was in 9th grade and she was in 7th.  I pleaded with her to join the track team so we could rival the Mayfield Sisters, a local sisterly running dynasty.  She ran one lap in one practice and sat down on the field to read a book.  Things have continued on that track every since.  She does her own thing.  My soul sisters and brothers read my blog and leave smart ass comments, just as they should.  You can get a little high falutin' when you are philosophizing in a vacuum.

Finally, today I learned I have a faithful reader from Latvia, a few from China, Russia, and England.  I appreciate their interest, even if they wandered in by mistake.  Maybe things would be a little crisper if I knew my target audience but as Tolkien said, all who wander are not lost.  Meander on my friends.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Art lessons from my daughter

I have taken on a few additional part-time jobs and have thrown myself and my family out of balance. See what happens when you take a few iron pills and start feeling like yourself? Emma is particularly aware of my increased absences and lack of patience when I am home so Sunday, we stopped the music. Luke and Scott were climbing so we had an afternoon to ourselves. She asked to make something so I pulled out my assortment of beads.

Pulling out your stash, be it beads or fabric or yarn or translucent papers, is an exercise in letting go. Most of us are material hoarders and a project has to be worthy of my beautiful materials which I have gathered from all over the country.
Lesson # 1: My daughter has no such connection to materials....any precious bead, especially those that I have been saving for "just the right thing" are fair game for what she is working on in the moment. In her mind, the art we are making here and now far outweighs the nebulous future.
"How do these pink beads look"?
"Oh, let's not use those, I am saving those for a pair of earrings"
"What about the birds"?
"UHH, I have had those for a long time....."
"Good, I'm using them."
In the end, she didn't use the birds, but she did pick up the lizard (from Sante Fe), the grape clusters (estate sale), and the silver pineapples (Brimfield). Her necklace is a map of my treasure hunting expeditions.

After finishing up our necklaces, she announces: "I'm giving my necklace to F-----"

Lesson #2: Even though a new necklace has treasured beads and takes an afternoon to make, it becomes even more of a treasure if you give it away.
I thank you Emma for a couple of art lessons I had forgotten in the hub-bub of my life at the moment. I will try and remember them as we slide into the holiday season:)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

She probably needs a vacation

We have always had trouble with the tooth fairy in our house. She started off with a bang and big bucks when each child lost his/her first tooth. All show...Luke got an antique silver dollar and Emma got a crisp five dollar bill. Nothing too creative but she seemed competent for the long haul. We were wrong about that.

The trouble started with Luke's second tooth. It was raining hard that night and a big thunderstorm blew into town. Luke appeared at our bedroom door the next morning crestfallen: "The tooth fairy didn't come." I wanted to strangle that little pixie. What the hell?

My husband, in a very co-dependent fashion if you ask me, told our son that the tooth fairy often has difficulty navigating through thunderstorms and clearly was blown off course. The only bonus to the situation is that if the tooth fairy runs into difficulties, she has to double down the next night. She managed to find her way and left several dollars the next night. I was beginning to sense she wasn't reliable.

This week, our daughter lost her third tooth in as many weeks. I get that the tooth fairy is fatigued but she has signed on for this and needs to not dash a small girls dreams into fairy dust. Really. Emma forgot to put her tooth under her pillow for several nights, and then in a ninja move, slipped it under unbeknownst to her parents. She appeared at our bedroom door the next morning crestfallen: "The tooth fairy didn't come."

"Sweetie, you put a tooth under your pillow last night?" She hands me the tooth in a little treasure box her teacher gave her when she lost the tooth at school.
"Why did she forget about me mom?"
"I think she probably has a drinking problem." My husband glared at me and said "Pumpkin, sometimes the tooth fairy gets overloaded in one night and has to come back the next night."
"Why are you defending her?"
"Why are you presenting her as a substance abuser?"

She wobbled into town last night and did right. She always does, eventually. I am trying to feel some compassion for her as she is clearly overworked and stressed out (I did, in a libelous fashion, make up the drinking part). I am sure it is no picnic, whizzing through the night air, loaded down with bloody little teeth. Still, this is what she signed on for.

Maybe I will give her a hand

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Notes from the Pew

It has been an interesting experience, teaching religious education to my children. I don't have my own religious background to draw upon because I went to Sunday School in the south at Pioneer Park Church of Christ. Here is a sample of a song we used to sing:

Are you washed?
Are you washed?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

Are your garments spotless, are they white as snow,
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

One learned not to ask how one's garments could be "white as snow" if you had the bad sense to wash them in lamb's blood. Some questions are metaphysical in nature, apparently. In fact, early religious education teaches you the difference between a question that can be answered and one that can't.

My students are not used to the blood and guts that can be found in the Old Testament. I know this because my co-teacher and I are teaching stories from the bible this quarter. Two weeks ago, I told the story of Moses and how his mother left him in a basket in the river to escape the Pharaoh's edict that all first born Hebrew children were to be killed. I think it is accurate to say that this bit of history traumatized them. Why, why, they asked? Why would anyone kill a child? Sadly, our own modern history is filled with instances of infanticide and horror. Am I preparing them for the inevitability of history? I hope I am laying the groundwork for these young souls to always, always think there is another way. May we all remember to be horrified when history repeats itself.

The lesson today on the oppression Moses and his people faced by the Egyptians ended with the song, "Let my people go." While we were cuing up the CD to listen to it, my son turned to me and said, "Didn't they play this song at your wedding?"


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Notes from the field

Last week-end was over-scheduled, over-stimulating, and over-abundant with a plethora of parties and friends. We loved it (in retrospect).

During the week, there were a few auspicious signs that things might be a little dicey at work
They were.

Today, I recharged in a city that never fails to restore balance and remind me of why I moved 2000 miles from home twenty some years ago. Throw in good friends, a craft show, and our ritual of eating on the pier....I think it doesn't get any better.

I hope you all recharge, reconnect, and revive this week-end.

Monday, November 1, 2010


After all was said and done my husband, the elf, called me a "Hallow-Weinie" when I begged off hour number two of trick or treating. Are you kidding me? Granted, I did not put on fake ears, a leather tunic, and a wig but I think this makes me a balanced and mature adult. I would also like to direct your attention to the vein bulging out of my neck; this is my I'm-in-the-middle-of-my-last-marathon-event-and-it-is-possible-I-may-not-make-it vein. This vein pops out when I have over smiled, no word of a lie. It is also a good indication of nonstop activity for many hours. Notice the elf has no bulging veins, this is both his gift and my curse. I do get a bit riled up before having people over because our house is not party ready. Here are a few things we had to take care of before folks came over:
1. Washing the stair rail where I found to my complete surprise that the paint I had assumed was antiqued is actually patina, just grime.
2. Picking up more than one board with rusty nails sticking straight up...I call them "ghost busters."
3. Rounding up a pot to mull the cider. Realizing we don't have a little ball or cheesecloth to put the mulling spices in....later, instructing people to spit out mulling spices...later still, picking up many glasses 3/4 filled with cider.
4. Excavating the playroom, the sandbox, and the dining room table. Vowing to keep them all pristine until Thanksgiving. Vows broken one day later.
So this Hallow-Weinie had logged a few miles before the main event. Nostalgia for the week-end set in about an hour ago. I have figured out next year we will add a scavenger hunt and maybe a haunted sandbox. Needless to say, the vein has receded.