Friday, April 27, 2007

In Canada They Call it Spork

A week or so ago The Spouse changed my home email address (as opposed to the one that's connected to this blog). I was having serious spam issues. The new address fixed that, which was a relief. But since then, there have been some issues with people not getting my email or not being able to email me. The intrepid Sling figured out that an S was missing from the address and that seemed to have solved his problems. Just saying, those of you who have had a similar issue might make sure that the 'cons' part of the address actually has an S in it.

On the other hand, I think Dame Judi's email server is treating me as spam. Her own daughter. It's a shame.

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Heartwarming Tale

There was an accountant named Aaron Anderson. He lived in Alabama with his wife, Amy and the quadruplets: Adam, Adelaide, Allan and Aileen. They were a very happy and adventurous family.

One day, I believe it was on a Thursday, although it could have been a Wednesday, Aaron went to the animal bazaar. He had a hankering for an exotic pet. He found an aardvark that was particularly handsome. He had to pay a great deal of money for the aardvark, but as he had developed an intense passion for the beast he was unable to do anything else and so it was that the aardvark came to the little gray house at the corner of Main St. and Grand Avenue.

Aaron brought home the aardvark, who was of no particular religious persuasion, although he had been raised Roman Catholic. The aardvark was introduced to the family with elaborate fanfare, Aaron having a flair for the dramatic. They were all in raptures over the animal and decided to name it Abraham. They fed Abraham apples, artichokes, asparagus, antipasto and Asian pears. Abraham was ecstatic.

The Andersons made a soft bed for Abraham, with apricot colored sheets and an angora blanket.

They taught him opera and algebra. He was a very smart aardvark and soon was regaling the entire Anderson clan with tales of his travels down the Amazon and entertaining them with his antics. He was adept at handiwork, particularly tatting and beaded applique. He assisted the Anderson children with their grammar and aided Amy with washing the laundry.

Abraham eagerly anticipated the nightly family dance, when all the Andersons, Aaron, Amy, Adam, Adelaide, Allan and Aileen gathered to tango and salsa. After dancing, they would pull out the compact disks and play all their favorite music: Aerosmith, the Bangles, a-ha, and Madonna. Abraham regularly moved them all to tears with his rendition of "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina. He had something of a pash for Broadway musicals, particularly "The Light in the Piazza", "Singing in the Rain", "My Fair Lady" and most certainly, "Evita".

Abraham was grateful for his newly acquired way of life and thanked the Andersons often for their amiable cordiality. Though Abraham could be a knave and something of a rascal, he was, in large part, an enchanting asset to the Anderson's way of life.

For his part, Abraham was happy to be catered to and caressed. He had no complaints. In fact, he was often heard to say, "This beats scrambling for ants in Tanzania." And so it was.

And they all lived happily ever after.


Still Ignoring The Letter

My computer doesn't possess the needed plug hole for the other key thingy so efforts to circumvent the horrid key continue. My new key thingy, however, just delivered, believe it or not, sits here now for The Spouse to fiddle with this evening.

My morning meeting went long & I go to meet friends for pho in mere minutes. Things will get done following the noon hour.

I love the people @ Dell. Not 24 hours following my order & the key thingy is here. Joy spills forth.

We viewed "Little Miss Sunshine" in the evening. Review will follow when the key thingy is restored.

The Dog is funny. The other pet is, too. She is recovering, I think, from her illness & seems much her old self. This is good.

I love U2 & REM. The Gogos, too.

I'll be very joyous when I no longer must circumvent the horrible letter. It's required for useful words.

I hope your next 24 hours bring you good things.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dude, It's A Dell

I called Dell. I talked to Kevin. Yeah. Really. I did not know 'Kevin' was such a popular Indian name.

I'm getting a whole new keyboard. Free. My warranty is still good. Who knew.


I Tried Grish. Good Thing Your Moniker is Grish, Huh?

It's the first letter one memorizes. It is used so commonly, one neglects to notice. Until one loses the key for the letter & is forced to find other words to express emotion & story without resorting to the use of words holding the letter in question.

It is not simple. Try it if you don't believe me.

I find myself brimming with joy when I don't need to use the letter. My url: Not once need I use the letter, the horrible letter, the offending letter. It gives me joy to write of blog friends: JP, Sling, City Mouse, Red, Jon. But others whom I love, not so much. They must be shunned.

It is not possible to tell you of the food we consumed @ dinner. We devoured fish with pine nuts & butter. The rest must be left to shrouded mystery. The letter is involved.

My pinky is sore from trying to force the key to work.

Even the book which is full of substitute words is impossible to identify to you without use of the key. This is demented.

Useful keys, neglected keys come into use. Shift 2 gives me @. Shift 7 gives me &. This is helpful. But they do not solve my problems. The letter I'm seeking to not use is not deftly circumvented. My own moniker mocks me. My tete throbs with trying to find substitutes.

Over 200 words. I did it. But I give up. I must phone Sinji @ Dell. Now.



One of the things I wondered last week, after the Virginia Tech shootings, was if we would know anyone who was affected. We didn't know anyone at the school but as I learned on 9/11, the degrees of separation don't spool out too far. And sure enough. The 4th grade teacher @ The Child's school lost her cousin, Kevin.

He was a world class robotics professor. I remember hearing about him on NPR, the Tuesday after the shootings. But it didn't connect. His last name is the teacher's maiden name...I never knew her by that name...I listened to the story with that sort of sorrowful detatchment you have in such situations. When I heard of the connection to Amy, everything shifted, became somehow a little more personal if only because the grieving is no longer at a remove. I see it on someone's face every day.

He leaves a wife & 3 children. He saved the lives of 20 students, by locking them in his office. May he, and all the victims, rest in peace.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Why I Can't Bash Alec Baldwin, Much as I'd Like To

Oh, celebrities. Without them, none of us hoi polloi ever get a chance to feel smug and superior. I never go clubbing without my panties. See? I'm better than you.

If, like me, you've been too busy to hear, Alec Baldwin is in trouble because he left a phone message for his 11 year old daughter in which he yelled at her and called her names. It was ugly and of course, the message got out into the ether.

First off, the phone call wasn't random abuse. He has a court-apointed time to call her, as he lives in New York and she's in LA with her mother, Kim Basinger, who is, btw, a model of mental stability. He called when he was supposed to, the kid didn't pick up. He got pissed and vented. A lot. Did I mention it was ugly? But 2 questions spring to mind. 1) If the phone call is a pre-arranged, court mandated thing, why didn't she pick up? Doesn't she know that daddy is supposed to call every day/week/whatever at such & such a time? And b) how is it we know about this? The message was leaked to TMZ, a gossip blog. 'K. Who leaked it? Either the kid, because she's got an axe to grind - in which case, what a little turd OR it was her mother, who happens to be embroiled in a very ugly custody battle with Mr. Baldwin. That, I would think, violates at least common decency, if not a court order. But what a coup for her team, right? "Goes to fitness, your Honor".

I'm not going to justify Mr. Baldwin's actions. He had every right to be angry that she didn't pick up, because she clearly is supposed to. He screwed up royally by venting to the voice mail. Kinda the technological equivelent of going out without panties. Someone is going to notice.

But the reason I'm not going to get all high and mighty about it is that I've heaped similar abuse on The Child. Yes, I have. So has her father. I'm not proud of it. I've hated myself for it when it has happened but yeah, I haven't always been in control of myself when dealing with her. Such episodes are far and few between. Most of the time I remember that I'm the grown-up, at least enough to walk away until I'm calm. But it has happened.

"But what he said was really awful," says you.

"You've never had an 11 year old, have you?" says me.

Most parents, one time or another, lose their cool. The ones who say they don't are either saints or liars.

Kids can be infuriating, intractable, selfish. Sometimes Mom or Dad loses it. It's shameful, it makes everyone feel terrible, but it happens. The difference for most of us, of course, is that we have the luxury of going to our child immediately, holding them and begging their forgiveness. And no one ever has to know. Unfortunately for Alec, now everyone knows that he lost it and gets to stand in judgement of him because of it. They get to shake their heads and point their bony fingers and "tut tut" about his lack of control. Because, like I said, that's what celebrities are for. We're all just lucky that people aren't photographing and taping our every move. Because I'd guess that even the best of you have moments that your glad no one else is privy to.

But I know my own truth and therefore can't claim any moral superiority. Mr. Baldwin's episode may help me think twice next time. Hopefully, it will help him think twice next time. But as much fun as it would be to throw stones, I just can't. I live in a glass house of my own. When I'm the perfect parent of my fantasies, then I'll spout off.

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Weekend Update

Let's start with the pep rally on Friday, shall we?

It was insane. The decibel level was painful. And when I introduced the Chicken Man, you'd have thought he was Bono or Oprah or something.

We got the kids pumped up doing some air guitar to "We Will Rock You".

We were a hit.

The dance on Saturday was a success. I didn't win the chili cook-off and I'm bitter™ about that, especially since everyone who ate it raved about it. Except the judges. There's always next year.
The Parent Board as Devo was a huge hit. The Child took photos but they didn't turn out very well. "You kept moving!" she complained. Hello? We were whipping it good. Still, you deserve to get a sense of how we looked:

Crack that whip!

OK, maybe not so much.

The Child put together a group of air jam competitors. They called themselves Sassy Girlz & 1 Boi. They rocked. Seriously. All the other air jammers just sorta hopped around. But SG&1B were jumping off the stage, playing guitars behind their backs, kneeling down, rolling around and even break dancing. The crowd went wild. It was a slam-dunk unanimous decision on the part of the judges. (Clearly, not the same people who were judging the chili. Me. Still bitter ™.

In short, big fun, lots of energy, terrific DJ who pretty much had people dancing, so to speak, in the palm of his hand. And we made money.

After we cleaned up we had a little champagne and then it was time to go home. My car wouldn't start. Dead as a doornail. No one had jumper cables so my friend Alex, the Chicken Man, drove home to get his. Waiting. Waiting. Alex arrives, we jump the car. Nothing. Mind you, I just replaced the battery 2 months ago. I was frustrated. The Child called home to tell The Spouse we'd be late. He gets me on the phone.

"Are you in 'park'?"

"Of course I am," says I, putting my hand on the gear shift and finding that it was resting between 'park' and 'drive'.


When I wasn't doing school stuff or ignoring housework this weekend, it was all 80s-all the time. JP found a new source for videos and we were playing all kinds of stuff. I found one video that I'd been looking for since before we started our website. Every few hours we'd call each other just so we could get all giggly about how much fun we were having. It was totally awesome.

The Child was out with Boyfriend and Uncle yesterday. She came home bearing 2 large bags of fresh cut lilacs. She gave some to The Neighbor and to another couple on the street who are sort of her adopted grandparents. The rest were for me.

Lilacs are my all-time favorite flower ever. They are all over the house now.

In the kitchen,

the bedroom,

on the piano,

and over the hearth.

The house is lush with their fragrance. It's really a lovely thing to have a house full of flowers on a Monday morning. Not at all bitter ™ about that.

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Public Service

Just in case you missed this:

"Really!?!" with Seth and Amy


Friday, April 20, 2007

Some Quick Things

The "a" button my my laptop just fell off. I use that key a lot. This sentence alone has taken me 15 minutes to type and my left pinky is already very ticked off. Argh.

We have this dance/air jam/chili cook-off event at school tomorrow. The Chicken and I are going to be promoting it at a pep rally today with Queen's "We Will Rock You". That's going to be super fun.

The air jam component of the bash is going to be fun. The Parent Club Board is going to air jam to Devo's "Whip It". We have hats and everything. As for the air jams for the kids, we were talking about songs and ruling out a lot of stuff because it is, after all, a Catholic school. I suggested "We've Got the Beat" by the Go-gos for one song and someone said, "Yeah, but are they going to know that?" and I was all, "Hey, it's our job to see to it that these kids are exposed to the classics". So the Go- gos it is.

I also had to go pick up the CD for "High School Musical" and while I was at the record store decided to pick up an 80s compilation disk. Which I'm going to listen to in about 15 seconds. Plus, there are some songs on it that I don't think we've played over at Here's the 80s so now one of my other jobs today is to check the catalog and then go poke around YouTube.

And, she added in a moment of pure and shameless self-promotion, our hits over at Here's the 80s have been a little low lately. How low? Last week JP made a comment that there wasn't anyone in the club and all he could hear was the chirping of crickets and we were so lonely that we started naming the crickets and telling stories about them. Heck, we even made them the week's VIPs. We aren't sure why fewer people are coming around. It may be because people think we've exhausted all the best music of the decade. Let me just tell you, nothing could be farther from the truth. You wouldn't believe some of the juicy stuff we've played in the last week. Plus, we are closing in on 1500 posts. That's right. 1500 videos, despite those bastids at Viacom, of kicking music. You owe it to yourself to come around and send your friends. (And Iwanski, Red and Barista Brat, you know that we love you for your loyalty. Sling, your shift starts at 10. Oh, and Belinda called). Once again, that's Here's the 80s. Admission is free. The drinks are free-er.

I also have to bake pans and pans of cornbread and brownies for the party. And make chili. I hope I win the trophy.

And after that, I have to go to Bed, Bath and Beyond and look at the bridal registry for Orrin and Al. They are an adorable couple.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007


After another hour or so of bi-partisan pounding, Sen. Hatch just kissed Gonzales on the mouth and asked him to marry him.



Sen. Tom Coburn, Republican from Oklahoma, just told Gonzales that he thought that the same standard for performance that was supposedly applied to the fired attorneys should be applied to him.

Gonzales said he admits that he made mistakes.

Coburn: "And mistakes have consequences" and then went on to tell Gonzales that the best solution to the mess was for him to resign.


Political Theater

Sorry I haven't posted anything this morning. I've been absolutely enthralled by the Senate Judiciary drawing and quartering hearing with Attorney General Alberto "I Can't Recall" Gonzales. I'm no fan of the AG, but even I feel sorry for him today. You can smell the sweat from here. And let me tell you, it's ugly. Sen. Schumer just ripped Gonzales' heart out of his chest and showed it to him. (Then he dipped it in BBQ sauce and ate it).

But the most fascinating thing is that up until Schumer, the harshest statements and questions have come from Republicans. (Note to self: don't ever piss off Arlen Specter). The only Republican who's come off as remotely sympathetic is Sen. Hatch, who gave Gonzales a foot rub and called him "Pookie". The rest of them are, in a word, steamed. They want the truth and are not at all satisfied that Gonzales would know the truth if it ran him over with a semi-truck. They are angry that the firing of 8 US attorneys was so botched, they are angry that Gonzales' testimony, both written and oral, is in direct contradiction to the testimony of other witnesses. They are angry that Gonzales seemed to be behind an idea to circumvent the Senate relative to the appointment of attorneys. It doesn't matter what party they are from, senators don't like end runs or people who even contemplate end runs.

Yeah, I would not want to be Al today.

Back to the show.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Gifted Children

When The Child was very wee, 2ish, The Spouse was quizzing her about things she knew. He asked her, "What does a kitty say?"


"What does a doggie say?"

"Woof, woof".

"How many is this?" (holding up 3 fingers).


"What is Hegel's dialectic?"


So he thought it would be amusing to teach her "Thesis, antithesis, synthesis".

Then he'd show her off. "Honey, what is Hegel's Dialectic?"

"Thethis, antithethis, synthethis".

Clever girl.

She's still being serious about math and at dinner wanted to prepare for a quiz today by sharing with us what she'd learned in class. It was this:

The Pythagorean theorem: The sum of the areas of the two squares on the legs (a and b) equals the area of the square on the hypotenuse (c).The theorem is as follows:

In any right triangle, the area of the square whose side is the hypotenuse (the side of a right triangle opposite the right angle) is equal to the sum of areas of the squares whose sides are the two legs (i.e. the two sides other than the hypotenuse).

If we let c be the length of the hypotenuse and a and b be the lengths of the other two sides, the theorem can be expressed as the equation a²+b²=c² or, solved for c:

a²+b²= c

That's right, friends, Euclidean geometry. Not that I understand it. I just like saying "Euclidean". And "hypotenuse"

Here's the thing about my generation of parents. They all think their child(ren) is/are gifted. It starts really early. "Oh, little Sebastian was sleeping through the night from the first day". "My little Eudora, she's so gifted. Why, she potty trained herself at 4 months". "I really don't mean to brag, but Anastasia was reading Dickens, to herself mind you, when she was 18 months. I think she's gifted".

Here's a news flash. Hardly any of the little darlings of this generation are baby Einsteins. Sure, a few of them are. And I played classical music to my little darling, too. U2, The Beatles, Dylan, like that. I sang her a lullaby in Spanish and counted her little toes with her and enrolled her in dance class. You do those things. And certainly, children are born with unique gifts, aptitudes and talents. Which are superfantastic and should be nurtured. But come on. The fact that I happen to think my child is the cat's meow (a sound she could replicate in 13 languages, including Latin by the time she was 6 months old) doesn't mean she's gifted. She's my gift. There's a difference.

So when we were teaching her Hegel's Dialectic and "Don't Cry for Me Argentina", it was mostly because it was fun. Like having a pet monkey. The fact that she still remembers that stuff and that she now actually understands what the Dialectic is all about doesn't mean she's going to invent a perpetual motion machine before she graduates 8th grade. It just means that little baby brains are sponges and they can soak up a lot of groovy stuff.

Speaking of Andrew Lloyd Webber, "Don't Cry for Me, Argentina" really was her favorite song when she was wee. Only she thought it was about her. She sang, "Don't Cry for Me, Boofacina", which was her nickname. It was pretty adorable.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Let's Lighten Things Up

Red sent me this link today. It's delightful.

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Some Stories. And a Soap Box Alert.

The Child and I discuss a lot of things. One of the things I hate discussing the most is violence. War, murder, these are very unpleasant topics. But she's out in the world. She hears things. And it is important to me that she knows she can talk about anything with me, even unpleasant or difficult subjects. Plus, I want her to hear stuff from me first; not because I can always spin things to sound like no big deal but because it's my job to make her feel safe. And when you hear about a shooting, even one clear across the country, it rocks your feeling of safety.

I had just heard about the Virginia Tech shootings as I was going to pick her up from school yesterday and the radio was on when she got in the car. So I told her what I knew. This morning, after reading the NY Times, we talked about it some more.

Her first connection was to the murder-suicide that happened on the University of Washington campus just a few weeks ago. We talked about how they weren't related. (I wouldn't want her to think that going to college is a bad idea). Then we talked about how twisted and desperate some people get and how that's really sad.

"Maybe that guy got really bad grades so he wanted revenge," she posited.

"Maybe. They really don't know yet. Whatever it was that made him do it though, it wasn't right. And," I added, "most people don't pull a trigger every time something doesn't go their way. But when it's on the news like this it can make you feel like they do".

Then she asked why they hadn't locked down the campus after the first shootings.

"Good question. A lot of people are asking that right now".

She knows about lockdowns. When she was in the first grade there was a murder in town. The gunman fled and as the search for him spread, schools in the nearby area were locked down. Including hers. She remembered the teacher getting a code from the office and how they all had to sit on the floor by the wall, away from the windows. The kids didn't know what was going on. They were having fun, not doing school work and just having stories and singing time.

I remember that day, too, arriving at school to find Sr. M standing outside the building, directing parents to the one unlocked (and guarded) door to pick up our kids. And I remember thinking how comforting it was to know that the administration had acted prudently to protect our kids. 'Cause that's their job.

Unfortunately, The Child is not unaccustomed to gun violence. The next year I had to tell her that a school-mate had been murdered by her father. That wasn't any fun. The child in question came from a troubled home (duh) and had her own set of issues. But she'd always been kind to The Child, always gave me hugs when I saw her. She was a needy, sad little girl who tried to wring some joy out of her miserable life. And then she was dead, through no fault of her own. Murdered by her own father. It still gets me. And every year, on Dios de la Muertos we light a votive for Tiffany.

When I told her about that incident, after we cried together, The Child asked if I'd ever known anyone who'd ever been killed like that. And sadly, I did. My senior year of high school one of my best buds, Joe, was murdered. One beautiful spring morning his brother got up, loaded a gun and walked through the house, killing his parents and his brother as they slept.

I remember coming to school and finding cops in the hall, talking to my best friend Barb. (Her locker was next to that of the gunman). Little knots of students were standing around, whispering. I couldn't believe Barb would be in trouble with the law.

Then my friend Becky came up to me, ashen faced. "Have you heard? Joe is dead." Joe, crazy Joe, who was always, always coming up with some good natured joke. Brilliant Joe, the go-to guy when you didn't get something in your homework. One day, in AP English, he had drawn a cartoon bubble on the chalkboard and stood so it looked like it was coming out of his mouth. Brian, who always had a camera ready, started snapping pictures. It happened to be Joe's birthday so I started playing. He wrote a cartoon bubble that said, "Hi, Lori!" I drew a piece of cake and a bubble that said, "Happy birthday, Joe. Have some cake!" and posed accordingly. Brian took the picture. That was the shot that was used on the "In Memorium" page of the yearbook.

It occurs to me that I'm rambling, that I should edit this and compose my thoughts into something coherent and meaningful. But when people kill people in random, senseless acts, me not so much with the coherence. I get angry. I get sad. I get frustrated and then I get angry again.

This would be a good time to warn you that I'm going to rant right now and that you should also be advised that you'd best spare me any "guns don't kill people, people kill people" crap. I'm not buying it.

I get angry that it is easier to get a gun than it is to get a driver's license. I get angry that there are enough guns in this country to arm every man, woman AND child. I get angry that the NRA consistently thwarts even the most common sense measures to assure gun safety. There are always going to be guns and people who will use them to do harm. I also know that someone bent on destruction will figure out a way to do it, with or without a gun. I'm not stupid. I also know that most gun owners are sensible, law-abiding citizens who know how to handle their weapons, how to store them safely and don't own them so they can take out other people. I also know the difference between a hunting rifle and a semi-automatic weapon. And until the day I die, no one will convince me that an average, law-abiding citizen needs to own such a thing nor should they be able to purchase one. You don't hunt duck with an Uzi. You just don't.

Growing up on a farm, everyone had guns. Sean Connery had one. It was kept in his bedroom closet. It was used for putting down animals. It was a part of life. It always gave me the heebee jeebees but that was probably a good thing. It meant that I had a healthy respect for the thing. And my brother, George Clooney, had a BB gun. We were taught how to use it, how to shoot it and at what. If he had ever so much as pointed at someone with it, the folks would have taken it from him forever and probably smacked him on the ass with it. Guns were serious business. We knew that.

The Spouse once suggested getting a gun, I don't even remember why, and I told him that when he lived alone he was welcome to it but no gun was every coming into my house. That's just me. Which is all to say that I don't have a problem with gun owners. I have friends who own guns and I support their right to own them. I just choose to exercise my right not to have one. And to insist that this country still needs to do a hell of a lot more to control guns. Me, for gun control. Deal with it. And all that said, I know that the deeper problem isn't with guns but with our hearts and with the root causes of violence. Which is a whole other topic.

Ok. I think I'm cycling back into my sadness mode now. My heart goes out to the victims and families of the Virginia Tech shooting. My heart goes out to all of us.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

This Morning I Did the Tango. With a Chicken. Who Wore a Tuxedo.

The Parent Association is hosting an Easter dance and chili cook-off on Saturday. One of my comrades on the board has a chicken suit, for reasons he's never fully explained, and has become our de facto mascot. Whenever we need to promote something we slap him into the chicken suit and make him do stuff. This morning I dressed in my highest heels and a glittering evening dress, donned my superfantastic chandelier earrings (the ones The Neighbor gave me for my birthday last year) and drove The Child to school, looking every inch a czarina.

Monday morning starts with a prayer service, during which announcements for the week are made. So the chicken and I arranged with The Principal for some promo time. She introduced some "special guests" and Chicken Man and I did the tango from the back of the room to the microphone. Laughter ensued. I don't know why.

Chicken Man and I have a new motto: Join the Parent Club Board: lose your dignity, support your school.

Now I'm still all dressed up, because I had to make the rounds in Blogtopia and figured y'all deserved a little dose of extra glamour on this cloudy Monday morning. But I have to change now because I am not going to be able to mop the kitchen or weed the garden looking this fine.

Yesterday was the 10th anniversary of buying our house. Totally forgot to celebrate.

The Spouse changed my email address for me this weekend. For the second time in a week. I was loathe to give up my very clever and entertaining email handle but could no longer bear getting 412 spam messages a day. I don't need any pharmecueticals. If I was going to refinance my house, it wouldn't be from a cold call email. Also, I have absolutely no use whatsover for a penile enhancement. It was just time to shut down Babbington K. Squidly, the International RX and all the other little spambots.

It was very nice, consequently, to wake up to a virtually empty inbox.

The Child and I were watching The Food Network Awards last night (I know, I's like that scene in "Annie Hall" where Woody Allen raves about LA saying "They do nothing but give out awards. I can't believe it. Greatest Fascist Dictator - Adolf Hitler!") Anyway, Catherine Zeta-Jones has a new movie coming out, a remake of the terrific film "Mostly Martha". Which didn't need to be remade, btw, but since it's a foreign film I guess it was fair game. Anyhoo, it looks yummy. I like movies about food.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

"Beurre noir" is Just French for "Oops, I burned the butter!"

The Child cooked dinner last night. "I'm not really in the mood," she said.

Given that I am not always in the mood either she received no sympathy. And it was a simple meal...white fish with kalamatas, roasted red peppers, garlic and lemon, wrapped up in parchment and baked. Not much prep or fussing involved.

Cooking in parchment is one of my favorite methods, because it is quick and it assures minimal clean-up. Plus, there is the drama of opening a present at the dinner table. She soldiered on.

We sat down to eat. Grace was said, wine poured. We opened our packets. It smelled wonderful. The fish was perfectly cooked and a half a roasted pepper sat jauntily atop my fish, like an over-sized beret. Bits of olive were scattered about and the fish seemed to be swimming in a puddle of olive juice. Interesting, I thought. Good way to introduce a little flavor.

"Oh!" said The Child, brightly and quite pleased with herself. "I tried a little variation. I cooked the fish on a bed of black sea salt".

Needless to say, the meal was inedible. Beds of sea salt, I explained, are for fish with the skin still on, but not for slender pieces of red snapper that are going to absorb all the salt.

And then there was a welling of tears and a trembling of lip. "Don't cry," I told her. "This is the mark of a true chef. Trust me, every cook worth their, um, salt, has made mistakes. In fact, there are lots of things that people cook today that were probably mistakes to begin with. So don't be sad and don't worry".

"I told you I wasn't in the mood to cook," she pouted.

No one starved. She made herself a bacon and mayo sandwich and The Spouse and I had grapes and cheese and crackers.

We have a saying in our house whenever someone tries a new recipe: "This is either going to be really good or it is really going to suck". It all started with "Tuscan White Beans" that was a horrible slop. But in cooking, as in life you have to try new things. You have to be willing to fail. You have to put that curry powder in the tuna salad so that you even up the score and your wife can bring it up every time you try to tease her about the Tuscan white beans. And sometimes you have to take that beautiful black sea salt and see what happens when you put fish atop it. It's how you learn.

Dinner tonight: BBQ take-out.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Movie Review: Marie Antoinette

It's been a week since The Spouse and I watched "Marie Antoinette" and I find my initial sense of it unchanged. It is a very beautiful movie. Very, very beautiful. And completely insubstantial.

Coppola manages to use images more than words to convey the tedium and ridiculous protocols of the Versailles court. The anachronistic use of modern day speech and musical selections like Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy" totally worked for me. Coppola seemed to be exploring the notion of royalty as pop star and on that level the film completely succeeds. She uses nifty devices to hit some of the historical high points of Marie's life. All good.

But in the end, it is a 3 hour film with no story. For example, Marie and Louis failed to consummate their marriage for quite some time. There was scene after scene of the two of them sitting in bed not doing anything. OK. But after a while you wonder why 2 healthy young people who seemed to actually get along pretty well considering it was an arranged marriage aren't doing the deed. No one was making the case that he was gay. So what gives? The question is never successfully answered. Lots of nothing, then there's something and a baby. Huh?

Marie Antoinette's life has been endlessly interesting to biographers and historians and certainly her complexities, and those of the time, make for more fodder than might be adequately explored in a feature length film. But I'd think that a film-maker of Coppola's ability might pick at least one aspect of Marie's life and times on which to focus a story. But instead the seeds of the French revolution, the relationship of Marie to Louie, Marie to the court, Marie to the French people is all given the most cursory, if lip smacking good, gloss-over.

3 hours is a nice bit of time and given Sofia Coppola's talent as a storyteller, in the end the movie was disappointing. It was like a snacking on a meringue when what one really needs is a nice bit of meat: it takes the edge off but hardly satisfies one's hunger.
out of 5

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Kurt Vonnegut wrote good books. He thought a lot. He made me laugh. He died last night. So it goes.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Scenes from Easter Break: Coffee

Only problem with sleeping in is that The Spouse is making a fresh pot at 6 a.m. and even though we have a thermal pot it just isn't as fresh and delicious at 8 as it was when first brewed. Which is why I'm probably going to stop sleeping in the rest of the week and just indulge in afternoon naps if I need to. Because I just love a fresh cup of coffee, more even than sleeping in.


Scenes from Easter Break: My Teenager

For the last 2 days I have been sleeping in. Really sleeping in. Yesterday I got up at 9, today at quarter past 8. It's been a very deliberate sleeping in. I stay up as late as I want and then go to bed without setting the alarm. Because I. Don't. Care. I will get up when my body decides to get up. There are no schedules to keep, no children to pick up and deliver, no meetings, no obligations. And it is very nice.

The Neighbor suggested that I take a vacation from doing this week. Which is a nice idea but not strictly practical. Some things must still be done. But I am only doing the barest minimum of those things and otherwise doing pretty much as I please. Like Monopoly marathons with The Child. Today we're going to do a little shopping. I don't really enjoy shopping as a past-time but she does and she has some gift cards from Christmas burning a hole in her pocket so shopping it is.

Then I think we'll come home and play some more games.

The other night we were sitting together watching something, I don't even remember what, and she said, "This is really nice, just being here like this with my mom". And at times like that I think, What if everyone is wrong? What if all those naysayers who keep warn about the teenage years and how brutal they are, what if they are wrong? Or even partly wrong? What if we aren't destined to be at each other's throats for the next 5 years?

Because honestly, she was more of a pain in the arse between 9 and 11 than she is right now. And I remember a friend telling me that her daughter was a major pain during those years and that when she became a teenager she actually mellowed out and they got along great.

Of course there will be issues. The whole business of growing up and away from your parents, of developing independence and naming your own values is a big deal and will, necessarily, sometimes be fraught. But isn't it also a bit cliche to suggest that from now on it will be nothing but adversarial? I think so. In fact, I think that lots of times parents set themselves up by thinking the teen years (or any other period, for that matter) are going to be difficult and so they end up focusing on the difficult ("See? I told you it was hard") rather than just letting each day unfold and keeping an open mind.

All I know is that there is a new level of maturity and general sweetness about The Child right now and I'm enjoying it. And I don't know why I ought not expect the best of her in the coming years, rather than the worst. Of course it won't all be jokes and spa treatments and heart to heart talks. But I don't see any point in setting her up as the enemy, either.

Also, she has now made her bed for 7 days in a row. Just saying.


Scenes from Easter Break: The Snuffling Dog

The Dog's sister is visiting. And she is being very odd. She keeps snuffling and scratching under the bookcase that stands to the left of my desk. I began to think there might be a mouse hiding under there or something, she was so persistent.

I took a Swiffer thingy and discovered that there were bits of somethings under there, somethings more substantive than just the eternal dust bunnies that exist in a house with animals. I used the handle of the Swiffer thingy to see if I could pull out any of the bits. There was a marble, a dry erase pen (yay!) and a little box of retro aluminum coasters with poodles on them which I vaguely remember being given by The Neighbor. There was also some very ancient kibble, which Sister Dog immediately began to eat. Eewww.

And I thought that would be the end of it, but she's still scratching and snuffling and I can't figure out what in the world could be so compelling.

I admire her persistence. But I don't know that it will be rewarded. Moving the cupboard to see what else might be there would require unloading 412 pounds of serving pieces and tins full of bread and flour and sugar. And I'm just not in the mood right now.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter in Retrospect

The weather Easter day was variable but 'round about 11:00, when children were going to be hunting eggs, it was clear enough.And then we had a really yummy brunch of hot cross buns, which The Spouse made while I was at church on Saturday night, a savory baked egg-potato-cheese concoction and Canadian bacon sauteed in butter and then simmered in beer. There was a bowl of beautiful strawberries and some bananas (because I really hate making fruit salad and one of the families that comes doesn't really eat fruit). There was mimosas for the adults, and nice, black coffee. I had bought a bottle of sparkling cider for the kids, stuffing it in the freezer to chill quickly.

I forgot about it. Yeah. It exploded.

I was completely exhausted from the lack of sleep the night before. I told The Spouse before anyone arrived that around noon I was going to very politely excuse myself for a nap, in case there were stragglers still at the party. This ruse was not in fact necessary. Once everyone cleared out I thought through all the tasks to prepare for the evening feast and decided I could easily nap until 3 and still have ample time to do what needed doing.

And I napped. And it was delicious.

B & K stopped by just when I needed to get up. They were invited to dinner but unable to make it so they came by with a bottle of wine for the feast and a very cool ice cream sundae basket for The Child. We chatted for a while and they were off.

I had some boo boos in the kitchen this year. First, I sliced my hand while washing a champagne flute. Which, if you have to slice a hand, is an elegant way to do it. I also totally burned the crust for the lemon curd tart, but that was ok because The Neighbor was going to be bringing a triple coconut cream pie from the Dahlia Lounge. (And as it turned out, everyone was so full of feast that the pie was a to-go item for most of the guests anyway...they didn't need lemon curd tart, too).

And the molasses biscuits were a disappointment this year. I over cooked them a bit, too. The flavor was fine but they were sorta like hard tack. Which was not the intention.

And I tell you all this because, well, I don't always get it right and you should know that.

However, these items were of minor importance as the star of the Easter feast is the BAH and everything else only exists to serve it's smoky, spicy, glaze-y goodness.

It starts like this:It ends like this. (That's the roasted beet, orange and spinach salad in the background).I also served green bean casserole and streusel sweet potatoes, which were delicious, though I say it myself. But more important even than all that, even than the BAH in all its smokey, spicy, glaze-y goodness were the people gathered 'round the table and exchanges between and among us.

ReeRee and I sang our traditional rendition of "I Don't Know How to Love Him", complete with the harmony that gives The Spouse goosebumps. There were hugs and tears between prayer buddies, there were faith journey stories and jokes and spilling of wine and what, to my mind anyway, amounted to the grand and joyous relief of another Lent accomplished. There is something really wonderful about knowing that there are now 50 days ahead to celebrate what we learned, to embrace the graces that have been bestowed and all without having to fast.

The evening ended with The Spouse giving a screening of "Fortune Hunters" and we sent the guests off with wrapped slices of pie and reminders for the Pentecost feast in 50 days.


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Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Monday

Right about now my regular blog buddies are thinking, "Hey, shouldn't we be seeing glorious pictures of the BAH as she regales us with tales of the feast? Ought not our mouths to be watering by now?"


But see, first I slept in for a really long time and then had coffee with The Neighbor, who slept in even longer. Then I stared mindlessly at my computer for a while, answered a few emails, read some stuff, like that.

And now I have to mitigate the damage from last night's party before going over to help The Neighbor start reclaiming some of her house. (The remodel is puttering toward an end and she's so ready for it to all be over. I told her this morning that I was fooling around on the computer because that way my back was to the kitchen mess and she said, "I want to turn my back on my whole house". Hence my desire to help her find some order amid the chaos).

So anyway, maybe you'll get festal pictures and wrap up later today. Or tomorrow. I also haven't told you what I thought of Sofia Coppola's "Marie Antoinette" or about the newly instituted Easter tradition of the BBB or about yesterday's brunch or the fact that the authorities suspect arson in that house fire the other night.

I had jelly beans and coffee for breakfast. And the ears of my solid chocolate bunny with Butterfinger® bits in it.

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter Morning

Hail thee festival day
Blessed day that art hallowed forever
Day whereon Christ arose
breaking the kingdom of death!

That's the big anthem we always sing on Easter, right before the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Woke up with it on my mind, so there you go.

The Child and I went to the Easter Vigil last night; it is my absolute favorite liturgy. This year 25 people were baptized. I had the privilege of standing as proxy for a woman named Liz. She lives in Oregon but came up to be baptized along with her sister, who is a parishioner at the cathedral. Liz's sponsor couldn't make the trip, I was available, there you go. Liz is a lovely, funny young woman and we hit it right off. I got to spend some time with her during the afternoon preparatory retreat and it was, not to put too fine a point on it, a blessing.

Anyhoo, the service was gorgeous, the spirit infectious, the music grand. The service began in clear, balmy air as we gathered on the Cathedral steps for the lighting of the Easter fire. And when Mass was over, we left in a torrential downpour. It was like God was saying, "All that water imagery? All the baptismal stuff? Yeah, I mean it". And then, just as quickly it stopped.
We got home around 12:30. The Child went off to bed and I ran over for a post-prandial with The Neighbor, who is in 2 choirs at church and consequently has pretty much been singing non-stop since Good Friday. Then home to assemble Easter baskets.

I was still a little jacked up from the service so I read a bit, finally turning off my light a little after 1:30. Then sirens started. And came very close. And we looked out the windows and smoke was pouring down our street. A house just a block up had caught fire. It was quite the most sensational thing I think I've ever witnessed...flames shooting up into the dark sky, the sound of breaking glass and chain saws, the myriad lights of so many response units that I just kept hoping no one else needed anything in the night. The smoke was frighteningly thick at times, swirling around the knots of neighbors who gathered along the sidewalk, talking in hushed tones.
There was so much hooha I wouldn't be able to sleep, even though my group finally all ceded to the cold (including The Spouse). I wandered up to the corner to see if there was any word and found Tanya, the Rabbi's youngest (beautiful young woman, a hat maker). Then the Rabbi and his wife came along. We were alternately chatting almost blithely about our Passover/Easter celebrations and then saying, "Oh, I hope everyone got out"...stricken little prayers of hope.
And the family did get out: parents, grandparents and 2 teenage boys. Although, we also learned, the firefighters had delayed putting out the blaze because the youngest boy was unaccounted for and they had kept searching the house for him. Turns out, the little bastid had snuck out and was at a friend's...they called his cell. I looked at Tanya and said, "Oh, when the relief subsides, he is sooooo grounded".

Anyway, once we had the word that all was well and another neighbor family had taken them in for the night, I felt like I could sleep. Which I did. For what amounted to 4 hours before The Spouse got up for early services.

So there you go. Mama is soooo going to be taking her traditional Easter nap today. The extended version. Now I must away to assist the Easter Bunny -who left a basketful of eggs on my desk. I think she wasn't quite sure if the weather would support an outdoor hunt so she left that call to me. It is blue and fine...just like an Easter morning should outside it is.
Friends arrive at 10:30 for the hunt and brunch. I intend to bodily remove them all by 1 at the latest so I can sleep before the feast at 6:30. Mmmmm. BAH.

For those of you to whom it applies, have a very happy, blessed Easter. For those of you to whom it doesn't, have a wonderful day anyway!

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Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday, Wherein I Manage to Make A Inordinate Number of Parenthetical Statements

I have a killer headache today. At first I was really grumpy about it but then I thought about the significance of today in Christian tradition and thought, "Well, maybe a little suffering is appropriate".

Today is supposed to be one of fasting and prayer. Got the first part down (and no, that's not why my head hurts), the prayer not so much quite yet. We are just now entering the 3 sacred hours, or Tre Ore, the time when we remember Christ's crucifixion. I usually try to keep this time in some way; if I don't go to the Tre Ore service at church then I at least try to unplug and be quiet, read the crucifixion story in Scripture and pray. I'll get to that in a bit.

The day began with other pursuits. Halfway home from dropping off The Child I realized I hadn't given her money for her lunchtime soup, so had to go back. Then my car did this weird stalling thing that it started doing this week where all of a sudden it just refuses to start. No sound, no lights, no clicking, no nothing. Needless to say, this has been semi-alarming given the fact that I've already repaired my car once in the last month. The odd thing is that after about 5 or 10 minutes it starts up again and behaves perfectly fine. The good news? The Spouse checked my battery and a lead was loose. He fixed it and says that should solve the problem. It's a Good Friday miracle.

After all that nonsense, I was finally able to get to the main goal of this morning, collecting the Easter groceries. Oh, how I love shopping for feasts. Best of all, purchase of the BAH required a trip to the Pike Place Market.

I love the Market. It is a tourist destination, which brings with it some annoyance, but annoyance happily forborne. When I lived downtown I shopped there every week (and I just realized that means nearly 30 years). We tried to maintain that once we moved to our house but it wasn't really practical so now I only get down there a few times a year, usually at the holidays, because we always purchase our festal meat from Don and Joe's Meats.

Since Trader Joe's didn't have any dry pink wine (which is what I prefer with ham) and I was going to be in the Market anyway, the adventure began at Pike and Western Wines. Here's what I love about the Market. Even though I don't shop there regularly anymore, my vendors still love me. I walked into Pike and was greeted with raucous joy by the proprietor and clerk. They've known me since before I was married. They remember when The Child was barely 3 and would stand on the counter and sing "Don't Cry for Me Argentina". I still remember when Maureen's kids were peanuts. Geez, I remember when she was pregnant with them. And I love that I can still walk in there and say, "I need something dry and pink for my ham" and Michael will just grab something he knows I will adore.

After promising to bring The Child in sometime soon, I wandered all the way to the
other end of the Market, past the Japanese tourists taking pictures. Tourists posing in front of buskers, tourists posing in front of Rachael the Pig, tourists posing with a greengrocer who threw the goat as he held up a basket of strawberries. I have often wondered how many photo albums all over the world contain photos of moi because I happened to be walking past tourists taking pictures. I digress.

Safely navigating through the thickets of tourists and pan handlers I was greeted at Don and Joe's with an enthusiastic "Lorraine!" Talk about feeling loved. More inquiries after the health of the family, more reminiscing about The Child when she was wee, and a really lovely sense of belonging to a community.

And then, oh then. I headed back to the car, out the walkway that connects the Market to the parking garage and was just gobsmacked, once again, by the brilliant beauty of this city. I don't think I mention it very often, probably because I take it for granted, but Seattle is a frakkin' beautiful place. I could smell the sea. The sun was out in all it's glory and Elliot Bay was throwing spangles everywhere. The Olympic mountains, dark and still covered with snow, popped out from the horizon. It was just one of those completely breathtaking moments and I breathed it all, amazed once again that I get to live in such a gorgeous place.

It made me forget all about my brain tumor for a minute.

So now I'm home and have to unpack all the glorious food that's sitting at my feet and candy some lemon slices for the lemon tart. Then I'll pray. Some more. Because there's a way in which the whole morning has been one big prayer of gratitude...gratitude for laughter and connections, for money to buy beautiful food, for a Spouse smart enough to fix my car, for a beautiful world and the glory of the Easter season. Yep. Feeling pretty grateful. (Although the headache, not so much. Just saying).

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Thursday, April 05, 2007

Could it be a Trend?

Day 2. The Child made her bed again.

There were a few comments yesterday from parents who had the "pick your battles" strategy relative to room cleanliness. And I get that. Which is why we haven't actually had tons of battles about her room. Usually I just keep my mouth shut until it's looking like a hazmet site and then insist that she at least clear a path to the door in case of fire.

But the other side of the equation is, well, two-fold. And since I've been getting math lessons from her I know there are only 2 sides to an equation so suggesting that the other side is two-fold sounds like algebra or maybe even calculus. Which I don't do. Yet. I digress.

Let's start again.

I don't want her to kill herself should she have to negotiate her way out of her room in the dark. That's one.

I don't want mice and other creatures inhabiting her room. That's 2.

I also know that one of these days she's going to go live with other people. I don't want her to be the one whose personal habits are such that the other people are the ones asking, "Were you raised in a barn?" Because she wasn't, dammit.

But the other thing that I think is really important, though far less tangible, is the sense of peace you have in a room that isn't cluttered. A bedroom, especially, should be a respite, a place to get away from what's crazy and just be. A place to dream and create and play. The Child never wanted to clean her room, but she also didn't want to be in it. Or couldn't.

A few weeks ago I suggested that part of her afternoon routine be 15 minutes of "housekeeping" in her room, just picking up a few things, clearing one area, no big deal. And I suggested that if she managed to do it every day, she probably wouldn't have to do any cleaning come the weekend. She thought that would be groovy so she tried it. And it worked. Then she realized that if your bed is made, even if there is some stuff on the floor, your room still looks more clean than not. Plus it's yummier to get into at night. Add to that the fact that she's now doing her own laundry and necessarily can't have half her wardrobe moldering on the floor and it amounts to a pretty, calm, restful little spot. Which she is starting to use and enjoy in a way she hasn't since she was 3 and we first moved in.

And I think that is superfantastic.

I've been quite a productive little peanut today and I'm going to continue in that vain. Appropos of nothing, I'm going to leave you with this little tune which I just discovered last weekend while vjing at Here's the 80s. It's now my favorite Bangles song ever. Plus, both JP and I find this video to be brilliantly hilarious, for a couple of reasons. And since not all of you come to the club (as we like to calal it) on the weekends, thought you might enjoy a little musical interlude. (And yes, Rosie; I know you can't play videos on your archaic computer that is powered by gerbils. And all I can say is, hello darling? it's called the 21st century. Maybe you can watch it at Gina's).

"Going Down to Liverpool"

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Who's Child Is This?

So I asked The Child about the cooler full of provisions.

"Oh. That."

When she came home sick on Monday I had just stripped her bed prepatory to a good laundering. So she was insconced in our room with television and chicken noodle soup. Once I got her bed back together she was going to decamp to her own space and do homework. (Oh, and the "illness" was just a touch of the over-doing it with junky food during all her weekend festivities - The Boy's birthday party and then a movie date/Johnny Rockets fandango with The Spouse and The Boy).

So her story, and she's sticking to it, is that she prepared this little feast so that she could eat if she was hungry without bothering me.

"That's very considerate," said I. "But it's my job to bring you food when you're sick in bed. Don't worry about it. Plus, mommy doesn't want ants and things in your room. That's why I only want you eating in there if you are in fact sick in bed".

"Oh. Ok".

So there you go. Nothing nefarious or even mildly creative. Nothing like the time when Dame Judi was cleaning out my brother's room and found a drawer full of garden dirt.

"Why do you have a drawer full of dirt?" she asked, as would anyone.

"Well, sometimes I like to make projects and I don't always want to go all the way out to the garden".


Meanwhile, The Child has been on some sort of mission. She brought up her science and religion grades, which was superfantastic. But she got an F in math. Yes. An F. No drama club for her this spring. But the cool thing was that for the first time ever, she really cared.

"You know, mom, I've realized that I really have to knuckle down. I mean, this is serious. I'm in middle school and high school is coming up. I have to do better. I even asked Mr. D to move me to a new desk because P is always turning to me and saying things like, 'What's the square root of a picon?' and I don't even know what that is and I tell him, 'Hey, P, I'm trying to work here'".

So she has this whole plan, which she is fully implementing, to get as much of her work done at school as possible and to spend more time at home reviewing and studying. To that end, she has also decided that for 15 minutes every day she's going to teach me the math she's working on. Which is a good strategy because teaching someone else is a very good way to learn yourself.

Yesterday she came home with an entire worksheet that she'd created, something with tables and logic questions that, frankly, kicked my butt. I'm happy to say that with her instruction I was able to score 24 out of 26 on my "pop quiz". Math and I haven't been on a first name basis since 4th grade but if it helps her feel more confident about what she's learning then I'm all for it.

But that's not all. This morning she got up and dressed in record time. I called her for breakfast and she was a little late to the table. "I'll be right there, I just have to make my bed". Cool. She comes out and eats and then, without being told, picks up her dishes and...wait for it....loads them into the dishwasher. Then she wiped the counter.

"Uh, I'm sorry, what did you do with my kid?" I demanded. She grinned. Then she asked if I'd like a tour of her room. (Been there, bought the snow globe, but sure). She takes me in to reveal that she had not only made her bed, arranging the pillows and stuffed creatures as if for a photo shoot, but had also picked up her floor, tidied her desk and straightened her shelves.

Times like this you can't help but think, "Hey, maybe we've got a potentially productive member of society on our hands after all".

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Well, That Will Be an Interesting Conversation

I was just making a pass through the house, emptying out the various wastebaskets. I went into The Child's room and expected that before actually emptying her garbage it would be added to it with all the little bits of teen clutter that are usually present: spent lip gloss tubes, crumpled tissue and the inevitable banana peel or apple core that is always moldering somewhere even though she is technically not allowed to eat in her room.

But her room was pretty clean, which made me happy. As I made a mental note to compliment her on her efforts at tidiness, my eye caught sight of a plastic container on her bedside table- a plastic container full of shaved coconut. Annoyed at the idea of her 1) sneaking out the container and b) of eating crumbs of coconut in a bed that just yesterday received fresh linens, I went to retrieve the container. And tripped on an insulated food carrier that isn't even ours but was left at a party by some friends.

I picked it up. It was heavy. I opened it to reveal an ice pack, a quart of grape juice, a single serving of applesauce, unopened (thank heaven) and a baggie containing 2 thick slices of cheese. What the....

Stay tuned.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

One a Penny, Two a Penny

Hot cross buns.

Love 'em.

Love making 'em.

Which I will do, probably on Holy Saturday, so they are nice and fresh for Easter brunch.

Nicole asked for a recipe. Here is the one I use every year.

Hot Cross Buns
3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1 t. ground cinnamon
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. sugar
3/4 t. salt
3 eggs
2/3 c. dried currants
1 slightly beaten egg white

In a large mixer bowl combine 2 cups of the flour, yeast and cinnamon.

In a saucepan heat the milk, oil, sugar and salt until warm (115-120°). Add liquid to dry ingredients; add eggs.

Beat at low spead on mixer for 1/2 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl. Beat 3 minutes on high speed. Turn speed down to medium and add currants and enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. (If you don't have a KitchenAid mixer, do this part by hand).

Shape dough into a ball. Place in oiled bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise until double (about 2 hours). Punch down. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.

Divide dough into 18 pieces and form each piece into a smooth ball. Place on oiled baking sheet 1 1/2 inches apart. Cover and let rise until double (30-45 minutes).

Cut shallow cross in each bun and brush tops with egg white (reserving what remains).

Bake at 375° F. for 12-15 minutes. Let cool then pipe a cross on each bun with the frosting.

Combine 1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar with the remaining egg white, 1/4 t. vanilla and a dash of salt. Mix until smooth. Add milk if necessary to make frosting of piping consistency.

It should be said that I don't pipe my frosting. Because I've tried that and trust me, Martha Stewart makes it look way easier than it is. I just use a tiny spoon and dribble the frosting in a cross over the buns. And yeah, I say, "In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit" as I do each one. 'Cause I'm goofy like that.

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Dang Me

The Mariners are 1 and 0 on the season. Whoda thunk?

Happy Opening Day!


Monday Stuff

This week is going to be massively nuts. Tonight is the only night I get to spend at home. Tomorrow I'm doing some Passover babysitting for the Rabbi's grandson. Wednesday there is a meeting at school. (You know how I hate evening meetings but someone is coming from the SPD to talk about internet safety and teens and that's a pretty important topic). Thursday is Holy Thursday so we'll be at church.

To balance the equation, The Child is starting her service hours for this trimester, working 3 days a week helping with different after school activities. Which means mama doesn't have to pick her up until 4 or 4:30 most days. Love that.

Yesterday the weather really got into the whole April Fools concept. It was bright and fragrant but the sun was deceptive. It was frakking cold all day. So cold, that even though it was April, I felt completely justified in making chicken and biscuits for dinner. Winter food in springtime. It was really yummy.

Yesterday was also Palm Sunday. YAY! Lent is almost over, officially ending on the Thursday evening, when the Holy Triduum, or 3 Days, begin. This Lent has kicked my butt. I'm going to be really, really, REALLY ready for the feast of Easter.

Not that I'm complaining. Lent is supposed to kick your butt, one way or the other. There's been a lot of reflection and wrestling and plenty of realizations. The self-examined life, they say, is not worth living. But Lent is heavy on the examination part. I suppose it's not unlike studying for a really big test. You have to do it, you know it will bear fruit, sometimes you discover little nuggets of truth that escaped you during the regular classwork. But in the end, you really can't wait for it to all be over. Hopefully, some of what I learned will stay with me instead of falling out of the back of my head.

Crap. School just called. The Child is sick.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's a New Month

I'm done blogging. It's stupid plus I haven't encountered a single person who is remotely interesting.

The Mariners are so going to the World Series this year.

I'm pregnant. And The Spouse has decided to leave me for, in his words, "Someone with more class. Like Britney Spears".

I ♥ Karl Rove.

"American Idol" is the greatest show on television.

Brussels sprouts are my favorite vegetable evah.