Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Baseball and Boogers

Marlo thinks it’s funny to take a tissue and put it up to her nose and blow. I think it’s funny, too, most of the time. It’s funny because she’s so little and she’s not blowing her nose—she’s blowing through her lips. Whenever she thinks to do it we always get a good laugh.

This morning at church, a few folks more were let in on the joke.

We go to the family room at church because, as I’ve explained before, Marlo is not 100% in agreement with the whole you-have-to-be-quiet-at-church thing. In fact, she thinks that the quieter it is, the more she should fill in with noise—LOTS of noise.

To add to the challenge of church going with a toddler, Hubs is now playing in a baseball league that was supposed to play on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. They changed the schedule after he joined and so for the next umpteen months I have to fend for myself on Sundays.

So, today we got to church really early. We decided to get a cup of hot chocolate. Marlo had her sippy and Joy and I were going to share the hot chocolate while we waited for the service to start. It took a while for the chocolate to cool. Once it did, Joy picked it up—and dropped it. I’m not sure how a gallon of H.C. fit into that cup, but that’s how much came out. Thankfully, it was cool by then because the only person it got on was Marlo. I did my best cleaning job with half a dozen wipes and then decided it was time to drop Joy off at Sunday School.

Marlo and I then made our way to the family room. We found a nice spot in the front where I could keep an eye on her while she played with the other kids and I could still listen. After the service got started and everyone started to quiet down, Marlo decided she needed to examine the contents of my purse and my diaper bag. The item that got her attention was the package of wipes. After a few minutes of semi-quiet struggle, we negotiated a one-wipe compromise. She decided that the best use for a wipe at that time was to blow her nose.

Much to our surprise, she actually did blow her nose. And, lo and behold, a booger came out! Right on the wipe! Marlo took that wipe and looked at it, and looked at it again—and then, in her loudest, clearest voice, started pointing and asking, “What’s that? What’s that? What’s that?” And if it hadn’t been in the middle of church it would have been very amusing. (The 40 or 50 people around us thought it was funny anyway.) I just wanted to pretend it hadn’t happened, but Marlo, then decided she needed to show everyone—and stayed just two steps ahead of me. When I finally caught her she laughed like it was the funniest thing in the world. I’m hoping that God was thinking it was the funniest thing in heaven, too.

When is baseball season over?

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Miss Spider's Sunny Patch

Spiders are spinning away in the trees
Buggies are bouncing and riding the breeze
Gliding through the sky we’re riding high
The fun we hatch in Sunny Patch
To the Hollow Tree
A family on wings and strings and floaty things
Coming home for hugs
Be good to bugs.

This, my friends, is the theme song to the cute little cartoon, Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends. And, yes, I know the words. All of them. Hubs was surprised the other day when he heard me singing along. It’s a catchy little tune, I have to admit, but the only reason I know it is because it is the favorite TV show of the moment. We have to watch each episode as it comes on TV, record each one to play back later, then re-play our favorite parts over and over and over and over and over. If you lived here you would know it, too.

It’s not all bad. It is a cute, wholesome cartoon that teaches good things. There’s no bad language and Miss Spider’s voice is Kristin Davis. Kristin Davis as in Charlotte of Sex and the City Kristin Davis. The sound of her voice takes me back to the BK* days when I could watch Sex and the City, whenever I wanted to (*BK=Before Kids). I used to be into fashion and fun and cool things…now I am into matching hair bows and kids’ fun and Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends. Fashion these days means wearing a shirt that is NOT decorated with dried drool, food and snot. Fun these days is getting an extra 15 minutes of sleep, even if it means falling asleep on the couch before my favorite TV show has ended. And cool things are getting to hear Kristin Davis’ voice and reminiscing about Sex and the City episodes from yesteryear…until I am brought back to reality by the sound of laughter at something funny going on in Sunny Patch.

Yes, I know the theme song to Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends. That makes me cool with my kids, and for now, that makes me the coolest of the cool—that’s how I roll.

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Asphalt Dudes

There is a man-hole cover in front of my house. Usually we don’t even notice. Usually it’s a non-issue. But for some reason, last week, the county decided that they needed to dig a circular trench around the cover. Then they needed to make the trench about a foot deep. The trench then sat for a few days, exposed, with the only safety precaution being an orange cone to mark the location.

Yesterday, they came back out after their 2 day hiatus to finish the job. First they made the circle a little wider. Then they shoveled some asphalt into the trench. Then they brushed off the very top of the man-hole cover. Then they smoothed the asphalt in the trench with a shovel. Then they swept the street and pushed the extra asphalt into the filled-in trench. Then they used a thing that looked like a small lawn mower, but apparently it’s a steam iron to iron the asphalt flat into the hole.

And how many men do you suppose it takes to do a job like this? Well, I’ll tell you. It takes one to drive the truck and then he hops out to widen the circle. (Impressive multi-talented dude.) It takes one to stand in the bed of the truck and shovel the asphalt into the trench. (We’ll call him asphalt thrower guy…as. thrower for short.) One is in charge of the brushing (as. brusher), one is in charge of the smoothing (as. smoother), one is in charge of the sweeping (as. sweeper), and one is in charge of the ironing (iron as.). Then two more pull up in another truck. One was the as. foreman, maybe? The other one was just there to talk, apparently. So, the answer is, it takes 8 men to do this job. Each one some sort of as. generalist. (Not one of those jobs looked very specialized.)

I suspect there was one more worker who did not show himself yesterday. And his job is to spy on the home that the man-hole cover is in front of. He watches and observes and studies until he knows just when it would be the most obnoxious time for them to do their slow, noisy work. And he makes a detailed report for the rest of the as-es, and that’s when they work in front of our house. In our case, they came every morning at nap time (and of course, Marlo’s room is at the front of the house…no amount of white noise loud enough to drown out their racket) and they stayed the length of her sleep “window”. When she was beyond tired and could no longer go to sleep, then they would move on.

Bitter? Yes, I am because now I have a cranky, teething 18 month old who is off her nap schedule. If they come back because they didn’t do the job right, guess what? One of those as-es is going down the man-hole—and before he can get back up I will then show them how ONE person can do the job in 10 minutes…all courtesy of the lady of the house.

(8 men, 6 days, 1 man-hole—my a$$!)

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Words to Live By

"An adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered."
- On Running After Ones Hat, All Things Considered, 1908. G. K. Chesterton -

Saturday, March 27, 2010

FPW: Enjoying the Small Things

Here's an excerpt of this week's FPW (favorite post of the week):

And, though I may have cursed wooden shoes and Holland, I came to the realization that, in any parenting situation, there are a thousand Holland situations. And a thousand Italys too. (Warning: Going into far-fetched Analogy Zone. Hang on.) And there's air traffic control monitoring this constant stream of flights, for any given child, that take off and land in both the beautiful expected and the unknown lands where we must search for beauty. Perfectly "normal" children with 46 chromosomes take their parents to Holland. When girls grow up and tell their moms they aren't having children, thus crushing grandchild dreams. When boys choose art over football and disappoint their fathers. When children move away and don't come home for Christmas. When girls become teenagers and slam doors and call their mothers b-words.

And who says Nella will never take me to Italy? I feel like she already has...when she's breathing heavy on my chest at night and the weight of her tightly-jammied body sinks right into my soul and I smile thinking, "this is just like Lainey." When she takes her first steps someday. When she says 'mama' or 'I love you' or reads her first book out loud.

It's just a mess of flights and destinations for every child...some good, some bad...but that's parenthood. Period.

Background: Kelle Hampton, blogger, photographer, mommy of two beautiful girls, experiencing parenthood from a gorgeous point of view. Her blog, Enjoying the Small Things, is a riveting photo-fest of her adoration of life, no matter what. Read her latest birth story here.

Friday, March 26, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. Inspired by Amanda.

{this moment} - A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Project Runway Meets Romper Room

I love to watch “Project Runway.” I find it fascinating that designers can come up with an idea based on a challenge and put it all together in such a short amount of time. I wish I was that talented. But almost as much as I love the content of the show I love the lingo. I love Tim Gunn’s little phrases, like, “Make it work.” That’s a good motto for life in general I think.

Anyway, this week the challenge was to make an outfit for a little girl and then they had to make a matching outfit for an adult. As you can imagine, neither the designers, nor the models were very good with kids—although they tried to put up a good front. One of the designers said, at one point, “The work room was a little like Romper Room on crack.” I thought it was a little dramatic—the little girls were just being little girls. But I can totally relate to that statement.

Sometimes when I get home from work and I walk in the door, the house is quiet. The kids are upstairs playing with Gigi and the Norwegian. For about 5 seconds I just drink in the peacefulness. And then when they realize I am there, the insanity starts. Either they get a rush from me coming home and it gets them all hyped up, or my presence changes the whole magnetic field of the house and everyone has to act crazy. From the time they realize I am home until they get into bed they are “a little like Romper Room on crack.” They scream and howl and run around and act like little wild things. After a long day at work, and just a long day in general, sometimes it’s a little much. It makes Hubs a little crazy himself.

It is what it is, though—they are kids and they go crazy about funny things. Right now I am going to take it as a compliment. They are happy to see me and they are showing it by acting like little addicts. I am going to encourage this addiction as long as I can. I get a high from reuniting with them, too. When they get a little older and need to act “cool” these days will be a distant memory, and so I will enjoy it while it lasts…because one day you’re in and the next day you’re out!

Auf wiedersehen!

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dinner Conversation

When you send your children to school, you think of all the fun, good times, and great lessons they will learn. You may or may not think about the other potentially undesirable stuff, for instance, the potty talk. For the kindergarten/preschool set, apparently it is just funny to refer to it, mention it, sign it, act it, or otherwise immerse yourself in anything related to potty activities and repeat it over and over and over again. Often at dinner I have to remind them it is not appropriate dinner conversation. If they can't control themselves and continue to potty talk, I send them to the bathroom (not together--separate bathrooms-- luckily we have more than one) and I tell them to stay in there and talk potty talk to themselves until they are done and then they may return to the table. So far, that works pretty well to stop it.

At bedtime, when I am putting Samantha to bed, I put the boys in their room and start a CD for a chapter book. We are currently listening to Little House on the Prairie, partly because we are moving to the prairie in June, but also because I grew up loving the Little House books and want them to love them, too. So far, they like the stories really well and we've listened to the book three times over.

While driving to school last week, Bubba asked what a papoose was. Knowing they had listened to the chapter about the Indians, I explained it was an Indian baby that was strapped in a baby carrier and worn on the Indian mommy's back while she did her work, but during the whole explanation, Bubba and Stump were giggling. Not being able to turn around while driving, I thought they were poking each other or something. At bedtime that night, Samantha fell promptly asleep, so I was able to join the boys for part of their story. It was the Indian chapter again. When Laura sees the papoose and wants to keep him, the boys start giggling again and whispering "papoose" to each other. I realize they are finding potty talk in the Little House books: paPOOse, paPOOse, paPOOOOOOse! So far, I am onto these sneaky guys...but for how long?

Posted by The Editor.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Dirty Little Secret

I think Gigi was raised under the premise that ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’. Our house was always immaculate when we were growing up. Not a single couch cushion out of place, not a piece of hair in the hairbrushes, all hand-washed dishes put away immediately after every meal. I don’t know how she did it, but everything was always perfect.

Sometimes I wonder how it is that I never sent her to the looney bin, and here’s why…

When the Editor and I were little little, we lived in an apartment. The “backyard” was the size of a postage stamp with a little patch of dirt. One of our favorite things to do was dig a hole, insert a hose into the hole, and wait for the dirt to turn into mud. We would then wade into the mud and make mud pies to throw at the back side of the apartment. We were so filthy at the end of this that we had to be stripped down and immediately thrown into the bathtub. The bathtub had to be drained and refilled several times before the swamp creature effect started to wash away. (I was too little at the time to notice, but I am sure the tub had to be scrubbed with quite a bit of elbow grease to get rid of the grime we left behind.)

One time Paty and I decided that we were going to play restaurant. (I do not know why the Editor was not with us on this one—she was usually my best partner in grime.) In my little mind, it seemed that the best thing to use to play restaurant was the discarded food containers and boxes from our houses. The best place to find these items, without anyone getting upset that we were using them, was in the trash can. I didn’t think about the grossness of the situation or the filth or any of the other disgustingness that went along with this, but I’m here to tell you that playing restaurant with those things—empty ice cream cartons, empty coke bottles, empty mac n’ cheese boxes—now that was great fun! This kept us busy for hours, days, weeks even—until Gigi caught onto what we were doing. And that cleanliness gene she inherited kicked in and put the kibosh on our good times. I guess she was so busy being next to godliness that she didn’t know that one parent’s trash is another kid’s treasure.

Our aunt was a sewer (as in seamstress, not as in sewage). She could whip up anything on her sewing machine. (Gigi could too, but Gigi had little girls constantly underfoot which wasn’t always the best thing for sewing.) I don’t know why but one time our aunt made a bunch of little stuffed animals. I don’t recall all the specific kinds she made, but I do remember little wedge-shaped chicks. They were very cute, and as it turned out, a lot of fun. Our aunt made us the lucky recipients of a ton of these little animals. Instead of letting these toys go to waste by letting them sit prettily on a shelf or our beds, we made a game with them, appropriately named ‘Chickie Mess’. The Ed would sit on a twin bed on one side of the room, I would sit on the twin bed on the other side of the room. The goal of the game was to get ALL of the chickies (and other various animals) onto the bed of the other sister. As you can imagine, this was a LOT of fun—chickies flying through the air, little girls laughing and screaming and jumping on the beds. Now, for some strange reason, Gigi did not like this game. We could hear her coming (how, with all the racket going on in the thick of the game, I do not know) by the sound of her slippers, and her usually soft voice booming, “Girls!” And, just as she’d open the door, we’d stuff the chickies into the crack between the bed and the wall, and look up at her in the door way, saying (all wide eyed and innocent), “What, Mom?” (As if she didn’t know what we were doing.) I guess Chickie Mess was just too much of a mess for Gigi. One day we went to go play it and mysteriously, the chickies (and friends) were missing. Hmmmm….

Our house was next door to Paty’s house. The front corner of our garage was directly across from the front corner of her front porch. We spent many hours, standing there, in between the houses, hatching plans, chatting, scheming, and for some reason, pulling the berries off of a holly-like bush at that corner of our garage, and writing on the side wall of the garage. It wasn’t easy to do—the wall was stucco. It wasn’t particularly fun, either. I have no idea why we did it—I guess it was just something to do with our hands while we stood there scheduling our free time. This must have gone on for months. Finally one day either the Norwegian or Gigi saw the graffiti and that was the end of that. They sent me and the Ed out to clean it up. They didn’t say how or with what, but nevertheless, it was our responsibility to clean up our mess. So, obediently we went out to do it, but didn’t exactly know how to accomplish it. Luckily for us, Paty came over to offer her wisdom. She told us that mud is very cleansing. And so, being the resourceful girls that we were, we got a bucket and a shovel and the hose…and we gave the side of the house a very thorough facial (not unlike what we did to the apartment wall). Now, I don’t know if Gigi saw what we were doing and sent the Norwegian out, or if the Norwegian just came out himself to check on our progress, but the bottom line was that they were not happy with our choice of cleaning methods. To make matters worse, the “authority” on the cleansing mud idea vanished when the Norwegian rounded the corner. (Paty often did that. She was very good with selling her views and ideas to us, but not so much with the parental units.) So, the Norwegian decided that we had to stand there and watch him do the job right. He got a bucket and some kind of soap and a scrub brush. (Well, sure, anyone could clean it THAT way!) Needless to say, after that experience, our tagging days were over.

I guess sometime during my second year of college the cleanliness gene woke up in me. I realized that Gigi might have been onto something all those years. I began to appreciate the benefits of a clean living area. I became a clean freak. So much so that when the Editor and I lived together my senior year of college, we would clean our townhouse into the wee hours of the morning, probably to the major irritation of our shared-wall neighbor. He probably didn’t care that we were cleaning, but that we would sing “Cleanliness is next to godliness that’s why we’re cleaning at 2 in the morning” to the tune of “Memories” in a super high voice at the top of our lungs. I would clean and clean and clean until not a speck of dirt dared to show its ugly little face in my house.

And that lasted…until I became a mother. It’s not that I don’t still want to have a clean house, but the hours in my day get swallowed up by other things (mostly by wanting to spend time playing with the girls, rather than cleaning) and I guess that deep down, I have to stay true to my roots—roots that go deep down into the (not so clean) dirt!

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Words to Live By

We should all do what, in the long run, gives us joy, even if it is only picking grapes or sorting the laundry.
E. B. White

Friday, March 19, 2010

{this moment}

A Friday ritual. Inspired by Amanda.

{this moment} - A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Remembering Ike

I live in Texas, north of Houston, but I am not from Texas. I grew up in Southern California but I wasn't born there. When this school year is over late June, I will move to North Dakota and officially become a gypsy.

I have decided this move I need to travel lightly. The last two moves, I was expecting a baby and had no energy to dispense of some of the accumulated clutter. Someone told me they thought people should move every five years in order to minimize their belongings. I have moved more often than that (8x in 13 years) and have carried too much along each time.

Who else would care to look at the birthday cards I got at my birthday party when I turned eight years old? Is it really necessary to keep all the packaging when the original item is long gone, just to be able to look at the pictures on the box? I really don't want to wade through these boxes of belongings again, but if I don't, who else would? It's tiring and emotionally draining because I can remember so much when I hold these things in my hand.

Every move should be another beginning, an opportunity to refine our collection of stuff, a chance to learn more and experience new things. I don't want to be stuck sifting through the boxes of ephemera while everyone else is out there living. Trying to decide what will stay and what will go is difficult because it's a ranking of sorts. Is this cookbook more important than that pair of shoes or these dishes we never use? Granted, I could take it all, but it's getting too heavy to carry. I don't feel like I belong anywhere because I'm dragging with me all these pieces of my life and home in other places.

I won't miss hurricane season when we leave Texas for North Dakota. We hunkered down or sheltered-in-place in our house for Hurricane Ike. We were fortunate to only lose some trees and a rain gutter and section of fence. I am thinking, "What if Hurricane Ike had taken all of this away? What would I have wished I could keep? What would be long forgotten?"

This is a tremendous task in front of me. The Italian (my husband) is already off in North Dakota working and I am here, readying the house for sale, caring for my tribe of three, and sorting, sifting, and curating the stuff. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated...

Posted by The Editor.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Valedictorian

Before they could fully appreciate cousinship, the Editor moved away, and now Joy and Bubba and Stump only get to see each other twice a year. They totally enjoy their time together even though Joy is a girl and Bubba and Stump are boys. (Joy is very big about overlooking her guiding principle of life: “Girls are delicate, boys are wild’—but only for them.) Joy and Bubba are three years apart in age, but get along like equals. Both are freakishly smart as the first-born tends to be—at least in our family. The two of them together are truly a force to be reckoned with. It’s cute to watch—sometimes. Sometimes they are just aggravating.

Sometimes they get something in their minds and it takes an act of God to deter them. Like playing with the neighbor’s dog when the cousins are in town visiting for the summer. Both of them have their own ideas about how they should “exercise” the dog by making him chase a ball over and over and over and over again. When we explain that the dog is older and might not want that much exercise, the two of them start in, tag-team fashion, like future lawyers. Yikes! The negotiating is awesome, especially considering that it’s coming from two little pipsqueaks—unless you are on the losing end. And with the two of them uniting, anyone against them is on the losing end. Even if they concede and lose the battle, they still win the war, because before you even realize the negotiations are over, they have moved on to their next endeavor. Heaven help us all.

They also like to team up against Stump. It’s not very nice. They act like he’s too little to play with them—even though he’s almost a full year older than Joy. We’ve tried to explain to them that one of these days he’s going to be bigger than both of them put together and when that day comes, they will have some explaining to do. For now he takes it all in good naturedly, but some day it will be brawn versus brain. I think all the years of abuse will give brawn the advantage. When that day comes I’m going to be selling popcorn and front row seats, if anyone is interested. (I won’t be eating any of the popcorn due to my aversion, but selling it nevertheless.)

There are two little cousins that I have not included in this story—Samantha Jean Pocket, age 2 ½ and Marlo, age almost 18 months. They have not really tuned in to the whole cousin thing yet, I think they are too little, or perhaps they just don’t care. Each one is still intent on getting what she wants when she wants it and so they don’t particularly care if cousins are around. They don’t really care if aunts, uncles, grandparents, sisters, brothers, cats, dogs, elephants, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, other children, librarians, store clerks, waitresses, flight attendants, astronauts, teachers, preachers, most times Daddies, or anyone else for that matter, is around, just as long as Mommy is there. No substitutions. So, yes, they are part of the Cousin Cartel, but they are not fully participating members—yet. We are bracing ourselves for that day!

Sometimes Bubba and Joy get a little bossy. By a little I mean astronomically. Each one thinks that they are the smartest and know the best/fastest/most efficient/most fun way to do whatever it is they are conspiring to do. Each one has their strengths—Bubba is very wise in the ways of robots, dinosaurs, lizards, and all things mechanical. Joy is the expert on vocabulary, princesses, Barbies, wolves, and has an imagination that can whip the pants off most. Both fall short in sharing certain toys, sharing Gigi, letting someone else take control of the situation, and in lowering their stubbornness level. I fear for their teachers over the years. And I am sure the Editor will agree, we are going to operate on the premise of “I promise not to believe half of what he/she says happens in class if you promise not to believe half of what he/she says happens at home.” I, for one, am going to try not to place too much emphasis on schooling by placing more emphasis on Joy’s education, which to me includes the stuff she needs to know to get through life and be a well-rounded, contributing member of society. And here’s why:

Growing up I was always in the shadow of the Editor. She’s only two years older than me, but she was 3 grades ahead because she started school at 4. I started school at 5 and turned 6 shortly thereafter. She was always the smart one. The Norwegian dubbed me “the blonde bomb”, I guess because I was spirited and had a short fuse. I liked school and I liked to do well in school—somehow I just felt like I never measured up to the Ed. I tried, yes I did, but there were always other fun things to do that seemed to derail my efforts. She was the Valedictorian of her class in high school—something to do with that 4.0 she maintained. (It was probably above a 4.0, but who cares? Not who cares as in I don’t care, but as in anything above 4.0 is all gravy.) With my AP classes I was at a 4.0, too, but it wasn’t a straight 4.0 because somewhere along the way I got a B and there were about 23 other students in my class who had higher GPAs. (I had 4.0 years of cheerleading—the ONLY one in my class--but colleges aren’t really interested in that sort of thing, now are they?) By the way, we did not go to the same high school. We also did not go to the same college. We went to rival colleges. People ask why all the time. I tell them that I learned from her mistake. Anyway…

She went off to college and a few years later I followed. And I am not sure, but somewhere along the way something went wrong, drastically wrong. I enrolled in all of my classes, attended them religiously—always took a full load. I didn’t even take time off to go to the Fair. (Ha! Ha!) For two years I was involved in a community service organization that required us to do a minimum amount of volunteer hours at the University and in the surrounding community. The second year I was the secretary of said organization and was responsible for keeping track of everyone’s hours. (Not an easy job for a group of over-achieving women.) I was also the school mascot for two years. One of those years was an overlap, but somehow I managed to hold it all together and do it. My last year of college there was some confusion and I found myself needing a roommate. The Ed was already out of college, but she said she would move in with me and so we found ourselves to be reunited as roommates once again.

So, the second quarter of my senior year, in the middle of midterms, the Ed was going out with some of her friends and wanted me to come along. I couldn’t because I was studying for a really hard test. We went around and around, the Ed trying to convince me to go, me trying to convince her that I couldn’t because I didn’t want to do poorly in the class. And that’s when it happened. The Ed said, “You need to have some fun and not study so hard all the time. Is that all you want to remember about college?” and I replied, “OH, SURE! That’s easy for you to say, Miss Valedictorian!” You see, I had erroneously believed, for my first 3 ½ years of college, that the Ed got perfect grades in college. She then pulled out some of her transcripts and showed me—not that they were all that bad (and in her defense, she had a really hard major) but they weren’t as perfect as I had thought all that time. We got a good laugh out of it. It relieved some of the pressure for that midterm the next morning AND it had motivated me all those quarters to get really good grades. (I didn’t end up going out with the Ed that night, but I think she had an entertaining story to tell. It probably started, “My sister is so dumb…”)

I really did enjoy college. I was really involved and I made a lot of great friends. One of my best friends to this day is my roommate from the dorms from my freshman year.

I guess if I had to do it all over again I would remember that letter grades don’t show up on your diploma and good grades don’t necessarily make a well-rounded person. Luckily I do get to kinda do it all over again, with my girls—and you can bet I will share this little bit of history with them.

In the meantime, I am just going to enjoy the plans and schemes that Bubba, Stump, Joy, Samantha Jean Pocket, and Marlo come up with when they get together twice a year. And I will thank my lucky stars that, due to the smartness of these children, that it IS only twice a year that we have to try to deal with their antics…but most of all I will be thankful that I am no longer trying to live up to the Editor’s academic prowess.

(Thanks, Ed—you could have told me about that a little sooner!)
Note from The Editor: I think I did tell you, you just had to see the transcripts for proof!

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday Heartbreak

I got my heart broken on Monday. Joy went to preschool and everything was fine. When I picked her up I asked her, “How did it go today?” And then it happened. She told me, “Ashley did not want to be my friend today.” Ashley didn’t come out and say that she didn’t want to be friends, she just played with someone else. Joy compensated by playing with another little girl, too. (She forgot to ask her name.) (I realize that Ashley might just have wanted to play with someone else because the sky is blue or maybe they were doing another activity that Joy didn’t want to do, but in Joy’s little world, this snub was harsh.) Everything else about the day for her was good.

MY day, however, was shot. The ache in my heart would not go away. I know it’s not possible, or even a good idea, to shield your child from every little hurt. They have to learn their way, learn how to cope, learn how to be flexible, and learn how to be good friends themselves. Sometimes the best way for them to learn how to be a good friend is by being on the receiving end of someone who is not being a good friend. But that doesn’t take away the hurt I felt. Why wouldn’t someone want to be friends with my sweet little Joy? I would want to be her friend if I were in her preschool class! Little girls, man! I know they can be mean. I know they can be snotty. I just guess I didn’t remember that it started that early. I keep warning Hubs, who only wanted little girls, to just wait for junior high school. Girls get mean around that age. And even if we can instill some kindness and empathy in ours so they aren’t the mean ones, they may still be the targets.

I guess I need to start bracing myself, and start teaching my girls the best way to get along with others…or at least how to handle it if someone hurts them.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep nursing my broken heart. I would keep nursing Joy’s, too, but I think she has forgotten all about it…at least until Wednesday when she goes back to school. My plan of attack is to kill her little friend—with kindness, people! (I’m not one of those cheerleading moms who puts a hit out on kids to get my own on the squad! Come on!) I am going to make a cute little scrap-booky card to give to Ashley’s mom to invite them over for a play date in the near future. Joy liked this idea. I hope it works. I want Joy to be sweet and kind—I don’t want to have to teach her how to kick a$$ and take names. OK, I wouldn’t really do that. I’ll just sing her “Baby Mine” and hopefully it will convey how I feel to her. Here are the words:

Baby mine, don't you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine

Little one when you play
Don't you mind what they say
Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear, baby of mine

If they knew sweet little you
They'd end up loving you too
All those same people who scold you
What they'd give just for
The right to hold you

From your head to your toes
You're not much, goodness knows
But you're so precious to me
Cute as can be, baby of mine

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Word Talk

Here, on our blog, where our communication is so dependent on words alone, without the help of facial expressions and body language, words take on significance not always present in the rapidity of conversation. Most of the time, I feel I am understanding what is being said and am communicating what I need to say, but there are always exceptions to the rule. I usually write with time constraints and hope I am conveying the right meanings. I first learned southern, and then English vernacular, and then childese, and I do realize I am still learning language.

My four-year-old granddaughter will learn a new word and overuse it until it becomes a familiar part of her vocabulary. A couple of weeks ago, the word was “depressed”. I have to admit that I still don’t know her meaning of that word.

Example 1:.) She was on the couch in the living room that shares a wall with the home office. The door to the office was closed. She jumped up and down on the couch for a while, then lay down on her back and then turned to her stomach and then piled the couch cushions and then pushed off from the coffee table to backwards jump on the couch. I watched while she was obviously being impatient and antsy and then called from the next room, “What are you doing, little missy?” “Oh, I’m waiting for Daddy to finish a phone call in the office to a client… then he might have to send a fax, because the client is so depressed.” (?!?)

Example 2.) The next day, her babies (dolls, animals, etc) were jumping on the bed and since they couldn’t do it by themselves, she had to help them. I told her to stop before she got hurt and she said it wasn’t her, it was them: And so I said, “If they don’t stop that, they’re going to get a time out.” She replied, “They can’t.” “Can’t what? Stop it? Or be given a time out? ” “They can’t stop. They’re too depressed.” (?!?)

Example 3.) She wanted to play Memory and thought of a way to ensure that I could not say I didn’t want to play. She put out all of the cards in very neat rows and worked diligently for quite a long time. Just as she got them all organized and was ready to enlist my help with the actual game, her little sister was cruising the play room and reached over and with one swipe of her elastic arm, messed up all of the cards. In a fury, she yelled, “Gigi, don’t you need to put her down for her nap? She needs to be depressed!” (?!?)

I tried to connect the dots in those usages, but didn’t get very far. It did make me think of some of the words that I have contended with in the past. When one of my daughters was just about four, we had a record album of children’s Bible stories that were told in song. There was a song about Daniel in the lion’s den and to explain why the lions didn’t eat Daniel, it said, “God gave them all lockjaw.” The daughter was singing it, “God gave them all slockjahl.” I asked, “What is slockjahl?” She said, “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe something like sloppy joes, but with chicken.” On another children’s collection, an attempt was made to explain being born again. The song went, “Bullfrogs and butterflies, they’ve both been born again.” This time, the daughter sang it (quite frequently and quite loudly) “Bullfrogs and butterflies, they won’t bimbo again.” I was afraid to ask what that meant…And so you see, psychology, theology and sociology all out of the mouths of babes. What will they say when they get older? (Read this blog to find out) No wonder communication is such a challenge.

Posted by The Editor for Gigi.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Words to Live By

"None of us have tomorrow. This is it. Today is all we have, and today you are alive. Today you can hold your wife's hand, and tell your children you love them. You're going to have good days, and you're going to have bad ones. Make a list, and on the good days, do those things you want to do. Live your life."

From So, This is Life March 2, 2010.

Friday, March 12, 2010

{this moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual, inspired by Amanda. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sky Diving

When I was in sixth grade my teacher did a lot of projects—and made us do a lot of projects as well. One of her favorite things was to have us present oral book reports dressed up as the main character. I have NEVER been a fan of public speaking so I found this very annoying. And I always read books that didn’t have “normal” main characters—especially when it came to biographies. The one biography I can remember in particular was about Amelia Earhart. I LOVED reading about her. She was a very interesting character, indeed. (I also loved Amelia Bedelia books—maybe it was just the name????) But I digress…

Of course, we did not have an Amelia Earhart costume. My mom (Gigi) always LOVED getting into the projects with joyful enthusiasm, much to my dismay. For my Amelia book report she decided that we should go to the Army surplus store. She got me some goggles, earphone set with a microphone, and a parachute. I had a jacket that could pass as an aviator’s jacket and we tucked some pants into boots and topped the whole thing off with a white scarf. Thankfully we did not take a picture. But I have to say, as mortifying as the whole experience was, I looked pretty authentic (for a school book report) and the goggles helped me to feel like I was covered up, so all in all, it was not as entirely embarrassing as it could have been. I think we only had to do 19 of these throughout the school year. Miss Clements had quite an imagination, God love her!

Gigi recently (recently as in about a year ago) brought me the costume box for Joy and Marlo to play dress up in their many adventures in Playland. At the bottom of the box was the parachute and headgear from my book report. Joy and Marlo are deeply entrenched in the fairy princess phase of their dress up life, so the aviator stuff is usually at the bottom of the box, forgotten and ignored.

A few nights ago I received an unexpected break in my very busy life. When we got home from work, Hubs gallantly offered to make albondigas for dinner. I didn’t have to do anything except play with the kids. I bathed them first, just to get it out of the way, and then we headed to the loft to play. After a few minutes of general chaotic excitement, they settled in to play dress up. Joy put on the former flower girls dress…Marlo put on a tutu. They started playing music and dancing, and I looked down into the bottom of the box and there was Amelia’s parachute.

I took the parachute out of the box and looked over it. I don’t think I had ever really done that before. But that night, in the midst of two magical fairy princesses dancing their hearts out, I decided that this parachute warranted a second look. I pulled all of the fasteners off and moved all of the belts and buckles. There was not parachute inside. There were rubber band looking things at the ends and the parachute lines had been cut. And then I turned it over and there was a little place right in the middle that said Data and Information. As I looked closer I realized it was a pocket. I reached inside the pocket and there was a little card—with handwritten entries on the card! The chute holder had been manufactured in 1943 and was used until 1964. And the most interesting part of all was that the owner of the chute was a man who lived in the next town over from me! (If they put stuff like this in history books, I might have enjoyed history a little bit more.)

The next item on my very busy agenda is to look this man up and find out if he or his family still live at that address. And then if I can locate him, I’m going to take him his parachute holder and have a chat with him. And hopefully learn a lot more than I learned for my oral book report. And thank him for his service to our country.

This story reminds me of an email someone once sent me. I remembered the title of the story and looked it up online. It’s a good story with a great message:

I packed your parachute!

Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, ' You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down! 'How in the world did you know that?' asked Plumb. 'I packed your parachute,' the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, 'I guess it worked!' Plumb assured him, 'It sure did. If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today.'
Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, 'I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you?' or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.'
Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn't know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, 'Who's packing your parachute?' Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory - he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.

And so there it is… a great big thank you to everyone (in this story) who has packed my parachute, including, but not limited to, Amelia Earhart, Gigi, Joy and Marlo, Miss Clements, and Mr. Ward, the parachute owner. Oh, yes, and Hubs for making dinner so I could learn something new from a 6th grade lesson…and be reminded of all of the blessings in my life who provide what I need to make it through the day.

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The joy of talking

My oldest, Joy, started talking at 9 months and I swear she hasn’t come up for a breath since. She falls asleep mid-sentence, she wakes up mid-sentence, and if she doesn’t have anyone to talk to, she talks to herself, makes up stories, or begins a conversation with her toys. Most of the time it is ultra-cool to have a child who can communicate better than most adults, sometimes it’s exhausting, and sometimes it’s just downright funny. I especially love her little sweet 4 year old voice saying words that she mis-hears. (OK, on a side note, I think it’s genetic, this ‘hearing’ of certain words incorrectly. I guess the one I will own up to is a Boyz to Men song…Down on Bended Knee. If you know the song you know it’s all about some guy apologizing for something stupid/guyish that he did to his girl. There’s a part where he really belts it out and says, “I’m gonna swallow my pride, say I’m sorry, stomp on your fingers, the blame is on me…” Whoa! Hold the phone! Stomp on your fingers? How is that going to make anything better? I’ve never had my fingers stomped on, but if it feels anything like your toes getting stomped on, it is no bueno. I am pretty sure that won’t restore any guy to any woman’s good graces. And then my sister, laughing in my face set me straight. It’s not stomp on your fingers, it’s stop pointing fingers. Oh. Well. That makes more sense, I guess. If you have any spare time on your hands, go listen to the song and you tell me what it sounds like.) But back to Joy’s mispronunciations… I rarely correct her because she usually only mispronounces them 3 or 4 times, and then corrects herself. (And the way she says it is so much more fun—sometimes ‘insterical’.)

Little Miss Loquacious loves Alvin and the Chipmunks, except they aren’t Alvin and the Chipmunks (Simon and Theodore)—they are Almen, Simon, and Eeyore. She loves the part where ‘Almen’ is in the ‘oven’ (the dishwasher) and he is singing, “Don’t you wish you ganny Y Ha! Like me…” (Don’t you wish your girlfriend was hot like me) and then he says, “I’m waiting for the minse (rinse) cycle.” Then she proceeds to say that you should never get into the oven because the fire could kill you, but always wants to know if our oven has a ‘minse’ cycle. (Our oven doesn’t usually have a minse cycle, but lately I don’t think our dishwasher does, either. In fact, we might actually have a Chipmunk (or a herd of them) who has a membership to shower in our dishwasher because I think our dishes come out dirtier than they go in.)

Last Christmas she saw a Nativity scene and wanted to know why the baby was lying in the bed with all the animals looking at him. So after about 972 times of telling her the nativity story, complete with a loud rendition of “Away in a Manger” at the end (each and every time), she finally decided to tell it herself. This is her version: “God told Mary she was going to have a baby and she had to name him Jezuh so then Mary and her husband Josuh went to Befleham which is also known as the City of David (like David and Wendy David?) but there was nowhere for them to sit down so they went into the barn with the cows and donkeys and alpacas and Watusi with the long horns and Mary had a baby and she named him Jezuh and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in the manger and then the angel went to the shepherds in the hills who got really really scared, but the angels sang to them so they wouldn’t be afraid and then they went to go see the baby in the barn and then the smart men followed a great big star to see the baby in the barn and they took him presents of gold, Frank and sense, and myrrh.” We have a tree decoration that is a wooden carving of the nativity scene. She points to and names Mary, baby Jezuh, (the angel) grandma Josuh, and the manger (Joseph). (Just to clarify: David and Wendy are our neighbors, there is a farm down the road that has alpacas, donkeys, and long-horn cattle called Watusi, we have a Grandma Josie, and an Uncle Frank—who really doesn’t have much sense at all.)

When she was 2 she got a doll for Christmas. I asked her what the doll’s name was and she said she didn’t know. So we tossed a few around, but none of them were the right names for the doll. So I just called her ‘Cupcake’. Awhile later we were leaving to go to Grandma’s house and she started asking if she could have Pancake with her. In our rush to get out of the house I was confused as to why she wanted to have pancakes. After all, the table and frig were full of homemade tamales and all kinds of holiday dishes and treats. I think she ate half a pound of budge (fudge) by herself every time she thought no one was looking. When we were actually walking out the door she went back in to grab her new doll and insisted that Pancake had to go with us. Other dolls and stuffed animals get new names and identities almost daily (I am expected to remember all of them) but Pancake never changes. Pancake is always Pancake. A few months ago, she dressed Pancake up in a little pink frilly dress. We were playing hospital or school or something like that with the dolls and I remarked how cute Pancake looked in her pretty little dress. She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Mommy, Pancake is a BOY!” Oh. Really? Really?!? Yep, Pancake is and always will be a boy. Just like the Cabbage Patch doll someone gave her—his name was Manny Moe, but has been changed to Nanny Lo. Boy. Now and always. Now, the owl that sits by our pool to discourage pigeons from hanging out by the pool, drinking and carousing as pigeons will do, has been named Patrusty. Sometimes Patrusty is a boy (when he scares the pigeons away) and sometimes she is a girl (when she takes care of other little birds who just want a quick drink and then fly away).

My little one year old does a lot of talking for her age, too. She says Mama, Dada, dance, ghost, more, all gone, what’s that, woof woof, cheese, yes, no, this, hi, bye, shhh, yay, please, ear, twinkle, A…and I’m sure there are a few others that I am forgetting. (It’s hard for me to remember anything with the 4 year old walkie talkie’s constant chatter!) But Marlo’s joy does not come from talking, like Joy. No, Marlo derives her joy from eating. Anything that I give her, she eats with gusto. I have to be careful with her, though. If we go out to eat I have to give her a snack first. (And no, I am not worried about her losing her appetite!) If I don’t give her a snack, she acts like I have been starving her since she came out of the womb! She shovels fistfuls of food into her mouth at lightning speed, nearly chokes herself, spits part of it out, then stuffs it back in again. Sometimes she leans down and sticks her whole face in the plate. It gets rather embarrassing. She was chubby for quite sometime, but now that she’s walking, she has thinned out, but her appetite is as voracious as ever. I have to change, bathe, dust-bust or sponge bath her after each and every meal. You can tell, just by looking at her, that she LOVES her food. No spoon for her soup? No problem. She is just as efficient at eating soup without a spoon as she is with one. She even helps us out by not needing a napkin. Don’t you know it’s just as easy to wipe your hands on your hair? It’s true. She is like a little squirrel. (Not the pants wetting kind of squirrels, the food storing kind.) I guess she thinks that we might not feed her again, because I find food hidden everywhere: between the high chair seat cover and the seat, inside DVD cases, inside pumpkin shaped candle holders, in Barbie purses, in the trunk of her little scoot-along car, folded up in doll clothes, frittered away in play kitchen dishes, on the shelves of the lower cupboards, in the waistband of her clothes, etc.etc. She is devilishly delighted when she “re-discovers” these hidden treasures. And apparently it doesn’t matter how long it’s been there or how stale it might be, she wolfs it down like it’s her last meal. Bless her little heart—or maybe I should say her stomach—and thank heaven I don’t have a picky eater on my hands!

Just recently we went to Denny’s for breakfast. She ate the following: oatmeal, fruit, hash browns, pancakes, scrambled eggs, milk, orange juice, bacon, sausage, and toast. In between bites, she would gleefully throw a handful of food into the air to shower over her head—and not wanting to waste the food, she would look up, open her mouth, and catch some of the food in her mouth. Needless to say, this attracted a lot of attention from the other diners. Fortunately our waitress was very busy and not very attentive. We strategically staged our exit to coincide with her being in the kitchen so that we wouldn’t have to apologize profusely for the edible carpet Marlo left beneath our table. I guess our strategy wasn’t so well thought out—we left a trail from the table to the car…and probably down the street and all the way home.

And so my life goes, the enduring theme being good food and stimulating conversation. I love my two little girls and the unique qualities they each bring to the table (literally!)—a voracious appetite and a bountiful vocabulary. I thank Jezuh for them every day.

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

(and, from the length of this post, we can see the apple didn't fall far from the tree in Joy's case)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Life is not fair

Unfortunately we have always lived within driving distance from the Fair and my ENTIRE family (growing up) always loved to go…me—not so much. One year I had perfect attendance at school and a mother who shall remain an unnamed Gigi went to school and arranged with the principal and teacher for me to miss school one day to go to the Fair (of all places). I only had to do 3x the work to make up for my absence. After she did all this orchestrating I negotiated with unnamed Gigi and convinced her it was in her best interest to let me stay home. Of course I couldn’t actually go to school because that would have been too complicated. No, I had to stay with someone, worrying about the load of homework I was facing and bemoaning the perfect attendance record that was no more.

I guess I just don’t understand the Fair…from start to finish. Why is it called the Fair? I think it should be called the UN-Fair and here’s why: There is nothing “fair” about it. I guess technically the weather is fair, but when it’s in the blazing dog days of summer, rainy would actually be a welcome relief. There is nothing fair about the attendees at the Fair. The Fair seems to draw every walk of life—even some I didn’t know existed. And then you mix these various walks with the hotter than heck weather and you get some not so fair smells, although I have come to categorize these smells as distinctly “Fair” smells. (Not so good.) The other Fair smells, like all that fried food, mingled with the attendees’ aromas is enough to make anyone want to gag. OK, well, I guess not anyone, but ME. It makes me want to gag. (If you would like to recall, I am the un-American girl who cannot eat French Fries, popcorn, hot dogs, or red meat. That’s another story for another day, but fried, processed food—especially the smell of it—is not my forte.) Don’t even get me started on the animal section of the joint! And then you’ve got the carnival rides. The rides seem to be held together with duct tape and safety pins. Yikes! And no matter where you step, the ground is sticky. Nothing makes me want to just come out of my skin like stepping in something sticky, which leads me to the restrooms. The restrooms should be sealed with crime scene tape OR they should pass out biohazard suits at the door. Seriously.

And then there are the buildings. There seem to be endless rows of never-ending buildings filled with displays, exhibits and all kinds of gadgets that work at the Fair, but never seem to have their intended effect at home. There is always too much stuff crammed into these buildings, with too many people shuffling through, all the while the product demonstrators barking at you. Inevitably someone steps on your foot a few or 27 times, elbows you in the back, knocks you over with their brand-new Sham Wow mop handle, or shoves you into the stacks of veggie choppers because they are trying to be one of the first fifty shoppers to get half price on the no-stick omelet/doughnut/stir-fry microwave genie attachment. A couple of hours minutes into this ordeal and I am ready to go home. Unfortunately, we always come in the same car, so there is no escape. I feel trapped in a crowded, noisy stench of all things UN-fair.

Now, add all these things together, along with a family who unreasonably and inexplicably loves to embrace these elements, and you have the recipe for an unhappy BusyBody. I have been fighting this yearly pilgrimage my whole life. Thank the good Lord the Fair only comes once a year.

In an effort to not seem so terrible and mean, I will admit there are a few (and I mean a VERY few) things that keep me from going over the edge on these outings. Number one: I do like to people watch. There is no shortage of material at the fair. Number two: there is one little shop that sells some very tasty fudge. If I can block the idea of vermin running rampant after everyone goes home at night*, I can eat a bite or two. Number three: if you go on a week day, it’s not as crowded and it closes at 10 pm. Thank heaven for small favors. And number four: unnamed Gigi loves the Fair. There is nothing better than watching her be delighted and excited at all of the fried food and the useless gadgets the Fair Folk try to fill you and your bags with. Most of the time I am truly my mother’s daughter…but the “I love the Fair” gene skipped over me. I guess seeing her enjoy it so much makes it tolerable for me.

And I suppose you are wondering why I am talking about it like it still happens—these forced outings to a place I cannot stand? After all, I am a grown adult, no longer required to travel to family activities with the family because I am too young to stay at school/home and fend for myself while the family ventures into the black hole otherwise known as “The Fair.” Well, as luck would have it, I was only granted a very short reprieve from my Fair sentence. I got married, and in one of those not-so-funny twists of fate, Hubs, as it turns out, shares that ridiculous love for the Fair with Gigi. Somehow or another they always manage to conspire to con/trick/bribe me into going. They play dirty and get Joy to beg…and that opens up a whole host of new germ/crowd/fear of carnival rides breaking down issues. Again, thank the good Lord that the Fair only comes once a year!

Oh, the crowds! Oh, the noise! Oh, the sickening smells! Life is definitely NOT fair!

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.

*note from The Editor: This is an idea totally established by the original (1973) Charlotte's Web movie, do you remember Templeton's gluttonous night at the fair?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Fair Warning

I love the Fair. Fortunately, we have always lived within a convenient driving distance and so we go to the Fair every year.

Unfortunately, one member of the family who shall only be known as an unnamed Busybody does not love the Fair. She always told me she was sick on the day we were going, as a family, to the Fair. This would be after I had negotiated terms with the schoolteacher and principal to excuse her from that day and promised to do extra homework for the next month to make up for the day she would be gone. She didn’t care about the amount of effort I had expended, she was adamant that she couldn’t go and I would have to then arrange for her to stay with someone because if I sent her to school, their efforts would be in vain, also, and it just became too much of an explaining task So one year, I decided that she had to go no matter what she said. We got to the Fair and got on the shuttle and she started sneezing; while we were purchasing tickets, her eyes started watering; as we walked through the carnival midway, her eyes became red-rimmed and swollen; by the time we got to the real part of the Fair, she took off for the restrooms holding her mouth. Fair restrooms, beach restrooms, park restrooms, restaurant restrooms and, sometimes, school restrooms made her gag even when she wasn’t actively being sick in other ways, and I knew that that day at the Fair was over.

In spite of the fact that we cannot enjoy the outing as a complete family, I still love the Fair. One of the things that is high on my list is that every food there is fried. Yum. (Remember, I’m from the South; the Norwegian is not.) My very favorite things at the Fair, though, are the commercial buildings. I am fascinated by the wide variety of new innovations that have hit the market since the preceding year; I am amazed that these products are exactly what I have been thinking I need in my life. And I am totally in awe of the expertise of the people doing the demos. I stand and make eye contact in encouragement and watch and smile at their sales pitch and, oh too often, I buy the razzle-dazzle product. In the long months between the Fairs, I am a fan of infomercials. Although I don’t impulse buy them as I do at the Fair, I head straight to the As Seen On TV section of the store, and take a little longer to consider the product before I buy it. I just never take into account that I will have to store this item somewhere in my home and I will have to learn to use it with the same expertise as those showing it in order for it to be a timesaving convenience for me. Whereas, those people have received intense training before being put on the job, and then practice their training for many hours each day, I only need that convenience occasionally.

One of the things that I purchased is a Sav-Time-Every-Laundry Day clothes folder. This is a really good item. I have seen it used in department stores, a lot. So that, when careless people mess up the stack of clothes, they can refold them on the folder contraption and that item will exactly match the rest of the stack. That is exactly what I want here at home. It doesn’t work on towels, however, because then they don’t fit in the linen closet shelves. I think in the department stores, they make the shelves to fit the folded clothes. Really, now that I think about it, the only things I can use the folder on are the Norwegian’s undershirts. I do have to decide how many shirts needing folding justify getting the folder out, using it and putting it away. Four? Ten? Maybe I should wait until all of his undershirts are dirty and do one huge load, get out the folder and complete the job all at once. When the folder was newly home from the Fair, I think I tried that method, but sometimes forgot and then he would have to wait for laundry. He doesn’t notice whether or not or how things are folded, but he does notice clean. I don’t mean recycled clean—as when you put an item in the dryer with a fabric sheet, pull it out triumphantly fifteen minutes later, and say,” there you go”—I mean clean, clean.

I don’t pay a lot of attention to the things that sit around in the house because I know why I bought them and I know that at some time or other, they will be very useful: Useful to the ultimate level that those demo people promised. Sometimes the grandkids get a little confused. “What is this, Gigi?” “That’s a bread slicer.” “Can I use it?” “No.” “Why?” “Because I buy bread that is already sliced.” “Are you going to make bread, Gigi?” “I don’t think so. Not today. Maybe another day.” “So, can I use the bread slicer?” “No.” “Why?” “Because you might cut yourself.” “No, I won’t.” “Look, Gigi’s going to put the bread slicer up here on the top shelf where we don’t have to think about it—with the sushi maker, the ostrich feather fan duster, the star shaped ice cube maker, and other assorted things, and we’ll talk about this when I visit you in college. I will even lend you my roll-up suitcase that you lay all the clothes out flat and then roll it up so they don’t have to be folded and get wrinkled.” “Can I see it now, Gigi?” “ No.” “ Why? “ “Because I don’t really know where it is—probably on a shelf that’s too high for us to reach…. But if you stop asking questions, maybe I’ll take you to the Fair with me this year.”

Posted by The Editor for Gigi.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Words to Live By

On Children
Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Visit Tracey at Notes from a Cottage Industry and see all the other "Words To Live By".

Saturday, March 6, 2010

FPW: Mommy Management

Here's this week's FPW (favorite post of the week):

From Coma Girl: Mommy Management Monday and Socks

Coma Girl's profile: I have lots to say and my husband is sick of hearing it. So, I take time out of my busy day of singing “wheels on the bus”, watching Noggin, doing laundry, making dinner and listening to the dramas of three teenagers, to vent to the world in my blog. I have always wanted to be a writer and ever since I left my job writing business letters and reports (not exactly what I had in mind), I have been looking for an outlet. Plus I need to prove to everyone why my $40,000 English degree was worth it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

A Wordle for Us

Wordle: Gigi A beautiful word cloud made from our blog posts.

or make your own wordle.

Friday Moment

{i want to savor this moment}

Thanks, Amanda!

On a reflective note:

Being born in this country at just that time, in such a place, gave me a position of opportunity and yes, wealth that is unique in history. Moderate means was able to accomplish what great fortunes could not provide in other times. I am able to read, write, ponder and know the joy of freedom. With that foundation, I am able to fully experience the abundance of my life. I am grateful that we have access to so many different areas of thought and that we are able to see the validity and integration of them into our lives. I am also grateful for the ever-learning process. My journey continues…thanks for traveling with me.

Posted by The Editor for Gigi.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It was you, blue kangaroo, and the squirrels did it, too!

Joy checked out a charming little book from the library and we read it last night. It’s called “It was You, Blue Kangaroo” by Emma Chichester Clark. It’s about a little girl named Lily who blames all of her mischief on her little blue stuffed kangaroo. I guess this happens a lot—kids having a scapegoat for their naughtiness. Joy doesn’t specifically blame her antics on anyone else, she just says, “I don’t know who did that.” And she sticks to it, to the bitter end, if necessary.

Her mother actually had a scapegoat. Her mother used to go out to play and would get so engrossed in what she was doing that she would fail to go inside to go potty. She wet her pants. A lot. And when Gigi would ask her, “Why? Why did you wet your pants?” Joy’s mother would tell her, “I didn’t. The squirrels wet my pants.”

I guess Joy’s mother didn’t really think through the logistics of that statement—even though she used it consistently. How could squirrels wet your pants? Did she take them off and give them to the squirrels who then put them on and wet them, then gave them back? And while we are talking about squirrels, I am not sure where Joy’s mother came up with squirrels. There were no squirrels running around where Joy’s mother lived. I don’t think Joy’s mother had ever even seen a squirrel. The squirrels, nevertheless, took the fall, on a regular basis, for the wetting of Joy’s mother’s pants.

I guess that’s why Joy’s mother thinks “It was You, Blue Kangaroo” is so funny. And maybe someday she will let Joy in on the joke. Maybe. She just has to make sure the squirrels are gone for good and that no blue kangaroos come to take their place.

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body, who has always, obviously, been very busy.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Golden Cheese Bake

Golden Cheese Bake may not appear on a typical breakfast menu, but that’s what I had for breakfast. I like it; in fact, I like it very much, but I ate it for breakfast because it was a leftover from last night, and the Norwegian does not eat leftovers—especially for breakfast. For over 40 years, that has been one of my commitments to the marriage-- eating all the leftovers. We are like the nursery rhyme couple of Jack Spratt and his wife.

“Jack Spratt could eat no fat, His wife would eat no lean

And so between the two of them, they licked the platter clean.”

There are many breakfast guidelines at our house. The food of preference is oatmeal. (Oatmeal every morning and sometimes again in the evening when nothing else sounds good.) Coffee cake is fine, but not regular cake. Donuts, with the exception of chocolate ones, are ok, but not pies. Bacon is acceptable, but not ham or pork chops. The ideal breakfast would be one that featured a bacon appetizer, a bacon side dish and a bacon main dish. Oh, perhaps, I exaggerate… It would be a bacon appetizer, a bacon side dish and oatmeal. I think if they ever biopsy any part of the Norwegian’s body, his cellular composition will greatly resemble an oatmeal flake. (Did I know these things before we were married? Of course not)

I have, however, in the cause of self-preservation, and with the occasional absence of leftovers, made up my own recipe for oatmeal. Take a cereal bowl and layer, in the order listed, the following ingredients: 2 Tbsp of cooked oatmeal; 2 Tbsp of raisins; 2 Tbsp of brown sugar; 4 Tbsp of applesauce with cinnamon; and, 6 Tbsp of hazelnut flavored coffee creamer. It tastes best if you put your spoon straight down into the mixture and bring up some of each layer in every bite. Note: I have sometimes had the problem that the spoon is only big enough to go down into the first four layers. I am considering revising the recipe to alleviate this problem. The logical thing would seem to be to eliminate the bottom layer. Let me know any variations you may have perfected.

Just in case you do not have any large spoons, here is the recipe for Golden Cheese Bake.

(Oven 350) Combine 2 cups cooked rice, 3 cups shredded carrots, 1½ cups shredded cheese, ½ cup milk, 2 beaten eggs, 2 tablespoons minced onion, 1-teaspoon salt, and 1/4- teaspoon pepper. Pour into greased 1 ½-quart casserole. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup shredded cheese. Bake in moderate oven 50-60 minutes. Makes 6 servings.

Choose a recipe and Enjoy!

Posted by The Editor for Gigi.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Move over, Tylenol!

On Sunday Joy started coughing. It feels like she just got over a cold and now she’s coughing again. She insisted, on Sunday, that she felt fine, that she was NOT getting sick. On Monday, the cough started rattling in her chest, but she was still running around and playing and insisting that she was fine, that she was NOT getting sick. Early Tuesday morning (as in 3 am early) she woke up to go potty—and then it took another hour to go back to sleep because she was coughing and she had a little bit of a fever. On Tuesday when she woke up she was still running a temperature and I could tell by looking at her eyes that she just didn’t feel well. But, of course, she insisted she was NOT sick. I went to work and Gigi took care of her.

When I got home she was playing, quietly, in her room. (Clue #1 that she was sick.) At dinner she picked at her food. (Clue #2.) Then, instead of eating, she laid down on the couch. (Clue # 3). When Gigi chuckled at something cute she said, she got totally offended and left the room. (#4). At bath time, she told me that she did not want to take a bath with Marlo—she would wait for me to finish with Marlo, but she would lie on her bed and “rest her eyes” while she waited. (OK, that was the clincher.)

Before Marlo even got out of the bath Joy was asleep on her bed. She didn’t wake up when I pulled her clothes off and put a little sleep shirt on her. She is hardcore, though—she would not take any Tylenol or anything to help with the fever. And that is what this is about, kind of.

Back up there at clue #2—the picking at the food part, Gigi was trying to get her to eat. And she did eat a little bit. She had a quesadilla, salad, and orange slices on her plate. She ate the orange, had a couple of bites of salad, and drank some lemonade. But then she moved on to clue #3—lying on the couch. This was also when she decided that she was not going to take any Tylenol. I tried to coax her into taking some, then I tried bribing her, but she was pretty firm on her decision, and I decided that forcing the issue might make the situation worse, so I gave up. That’s when what this is about (kinda) took place.

Gigi said, “Would you eat a popsicle?” (I didn’t even know we had any…apparently the Norwegian went and got some yesterday—they were in the freezer.) Joy lethargically said yes, a purple one. So we gave her one and she slowly and dispassionately ate it. And while she ate that grape popsicle, Gigi told this story:

“When Samantha Jean Pocket was born I went to visit the Editor. While I was there the boys, Bubba and Stump, were sick most of the time. And since it was summer and it was hot, I suggested that we give them popsicles—they would cool them down and they would be getting some liquids, too. The Editor’s husband, the Italian, said, “Gigi, popsicles are your solution for all ailments.” I told him that they cool them down, the liquids thing, and that they have less sugar than apple juice even…and so, yes, I do recommend popsicles for sick kids.” Gigi said this with a little laugh and a little shrug of the shoulders.

The whole thing—the popsicles, the story, the laugh, the shoulders was so Gigi—but one part of it reminded me of Grandma. And that was the part where the Italian commented that her solution to all ailments is popsicles. That’s what this is about. No, Grandma did not prescribe popsicles for everything also. But she did have a solution for everything and it was an ointment called Kip. I have no idea where she got it—I’ve never seen it anywhere else but her house, but maybe I’m just not looking in the right places. But that’s not the point. The point is that any bump, bruise, scrape, cut, gash, or splinter could be healed by using kip. It became a family joke—stubbed your toe? Just get some Kip. Fell off your bike and scraped your knee? Just get some Kip. Accidentally cut off your finger while chopping a salad? Just get some Kip. We joked about it, but it was very cute—and (unintentionally) funny. And now popsicles are the new Kip, thanks to Gigi’s insistence that they can cure almost anything..

I am hoping that when Joy wakes up she will feel better, the cough will be gone and the fever will have faded away. If not I will try to get her to take some Tylenol, or perhaps I’ll just give her a popsicle. (I might try to use some Kip, but I don’t know where to find it!)

Ah, wouldn’t it be nice if popsicles and Kip could heal all of life’s hurts!

Posted by The Editor for Busy Body.