Friday, October 31, 2008

October Is Out

Just a few days ago October was Fresh and new. But now it is Over. Old and and used and tired. Kinda like me at the closing of the day.

Today started pretty early. Right after we got up in the dark, in fact. As soon as everyone was awake, the Princess said, "Let's go trick-or-treating. We're all up!" Can't say we exactly shared her enthusiasm, but it continued, unabated, all day long.

I'm not sure we ever convinced her, but we spent the better part of the day explaining that there was no trick-or-treating until the evening. Made for one long day, but it finally came to its end, and off we went.

Trick or treating today bears no resemblance to what I remember as a kid. Back then we gathered up our little friends and walked, unescorted, throughout the neighborhood, where our neighbors gave out homemade candies and popcorn balls. No parents holding our hands, no parents chauffeuring us around, no safety reflectors on our clothes, no hauling off our candy to x-ray at the local hospital, and guess what? Our parents didn't worry, and nothing bad happened.

On the one hand, we are obsessed with guaranteeing a completely safe existence. There are laws and regulations in place for every minutiae you can imagine and some you can't:

  • Somebody gagged on a lifesaver? Outlaw hard candy!
  • Some kid tripped because her fairy dress was too long? Ban fairies!
  • Some other kid choked on a flashlight? Recall flashlights!

On the other hand, we live in fear like never before. The idyllic 50's may not have been entirely idyllic, but something precious was lost when we traded innocence for worldliness. Now we see potential harm and hazard everywhere we look. We are afraid to let our children out of our sight, and we wouldn't dream of allowing them to eat an unwrapped anything from anyone.

That said, unbelievable as it may seem, this era is going to be somebody's "good old days." Hmmm.... Maybe "progress" isn't always progress.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Can Opener Wars

AAAGGGGHHHH!!!! The can openers are in rebellion. Unlike some of their colleagues who are never on hand when you need them, the can openers are always where they are supposed to be. Only they don't do what they are supposed to do.

We have been limping along with our old can opener at half mast for I don't know how long. About three weeks ago it finally gave up the ghost altogether, and I finally broke down and bought a new one. Actually I bought two. How did I know??? Well...I just had a feeling.

And a good thing that was. The very next day when I came home, D rushed at me breathlessly confessing, "I'm sooo sorry! I broke your new can opener!!!" She held out her hand, and there it was, in three pieces. But remember, I had bought a backup, so she had been able to continue dinner preparations with the other new can opener which we used, with a measure of success, for the next two or three days when it, too, bit the dust.

I packed those things up, returned them to MoreMart, bought another can opener, and back to the kitchen I went, where I successfully and uneventfully opened a number of cans. My troubles were over! But not for long: It took only three or four days for this one to succumb to the siren song of its comrades, and before I knew it, we were again can opener-less, approaching the Red Alert level in the Can Opener Wars.

Have can openers always been this rebellious? They don't feature prominently in my memories, so I can't say for sure, but I'm thinking that may be an indication of a job well done and without a lot of fanfare.

My fourth can opener in as many weeks looks a bit fancier, with stainless steel handles, but...can it live up to its image? It doesn't look promising. So far it has managed to cut the cans, but not without a lot of slipping and sliding on every other turn of the handle, so it probably won't be long before it joins the ranks of the fallen.

My man says we should buy an electric can opener. I balk. As long as I don't have a broken hand or something, I don't find it that difficult to grip with one hand and turn with the other. Besides, I enjoy the simple things in life, and I am already out-technologied as it is. No need to introduce something with that many more moving parts to break down.

What I could really go for about now is one of those sharp little blades the Boy Scouts used to take on their campouts. Wow, I wonder where I could get my hands on one of those? That might tip the odds in my favor!

I need some sort of break in this hostile engagement, because so far...
Can Openers: 4; Me: 0.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Approaching Phoenix

Back in 2003, before the days of $2 gas, we took a drive to Phoenix. As we inched our way westward, gas prices inched their way upward, with the price at each gas station just a bit higher than the one before.

By the time we were leaving Tucson, we were in the danger zone on our gas gauge, but we soldiered on, insanely, inanely, impossibly fantasizing about cheaper gas to come. Hoping was an exercise in futility, and when we arrived in Phoenix we were running on fumes, but we made it safely to our hotel, where we were met by my nephew Ry.

That morning at a pit stop, we had discovered that one of D's shoes had fallen out of the van at an earlier stop, so we were obliged to make a late night run to MoreMart for a replacement pair. Ry offered to accompany us. We told him we desperately needed gas before we could go anywhere, and he directed us to the gas station across the street.

"We don't want that gas," we told him.

"Why not?"

"Well, DUH! It's $1.95 a gallon!" we pointed out.

Ry shook his head and laughed, shrugging his shoulders, and we went reluctantly across the street to buy $1.95 gas. We had not at any time on our trip, or ever before for that matter, paid that much for gas. But Ry was right, and for the duration of our stay, sure enough, we paid $1.95 (or more) for every gallon of gas we bought.

Over the years since that trip, gas prices have reached unreachable heights, and we have often reminisced and laughed about, and longed for, that $1.95 gas in Phoenix.

After a high of almost $3 a gallon for the last several months, gas prices, for whatever reason, have actually been in decline the last couple of weeks and this morning on my way through Lampasas I was giddy with excitement to see that the gas at MoreMart was $2.11! It killed me not to stop, but I was on a tight deadline, so I zoomed on by only to discover $2.04 gas a few miles down the road in Marble Falls!

The crowd at the gas station reminded me of the lines of 1974 when the first gas "crisis" came along, but fortunately, the line for gas on the passenger side of the car was only two deep, so my wait was short. I happily filled up my tank and went on my way.

I spent the afternoon enjoying BB2's birthday party, and when I reached Lampasas on my way back, the $2.11 gas had become $2.07 gas! So I filled up again.

It's a bit scary to think how easily we can be conditioned to think of something outrageous as "normal." All "they" have to do to make us happy to pay for overpriced $2+ gas is to hike it up to $3 for awhile, and then when it starts to come back down, we think we are getting a good deal.

Who knows how long it will last, but that's where we are now, and no doubt about it, $2.04 gas is a relief. The price is inching down by the day, slowly approaching Phoenix, only this time that $1.95 gas looks really good.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Just a Thought

On my way home this afternoon I had the misfortune to fall in line along with eight other cars behind a school bus taking its ease as it stopped every 2-3 minutes to drop another kidlet or two or three along its route. It would begin to flash its blinking yellow lights and then the red ones, before stopping and flapping its "STOP" signs on both sides, causing every car in the vicinity to come to an immediate halt. Never mind that traffic was starting to pile up in both directions, some of the kids that got off didn't even have the decency to cross the street! The ones that did cross did so in the leisurely manner befitting the entitled around whom the world revolves.

I am certainly in favor of pedestrian safety; I myself am a careful, courteous driver, but I'm not so sure that it is in our kids' best interest to teach them that every car on the road will stop the instant our little darlins' poke their little toes off the curb.

Maybe our kids would be better served if somewhere along the way we took some time to instill some personal responsibility, training them how to look both ways and cross the street safely. What a concept.

Do it for them, or teach them to do it for themselves...? A no-brainer in my book.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Day of Simple Pleasures

  • An early morning shower,
  • Cafe' con leche,
  • Getting to church on time,
  • Running off the bulletin on a copier that works!
  • Sharing the toy soldier's picture with friends that love him,
  • A nice lunch with my Man at a nice restaurant for $1.07, courtesy of the CC Chamber of Commerce,
  • A phone call from a friend,
  • A sunny~but not hot~afternoon,
  • A cup of chocolate-swirled vanilla ice cream,
  • Navigating the converter box/VCR/DVD player/TV maze all by ourselves!
  • A cat purring in my lap,
  • Computer word games,
  • Time to read,
  • Time to write
  • Cinnamon-scented pinecones

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Saturday...Still, Silent, Sedate

So this is what it feels like, alone in the old folks' home on Saturday night. I had forgotten, after several weeks of Princess and Gingerbread Cookie in the house interspersed with the occasional Blue-Eyed Boy and a couple of visits from BB1, BB2, BB3, and the Other Princess. Yesterday the girls went off to Oklahoma for a few days; this morning the Blue-Eyed Boy's mom came to pick him up bright and early, and my Man was off to work in the dark. So, I really was home alone! Not such a common occurrence anymore.

You might think that with a whole house to myself for a whole day, I would actually accomplish something. But that would be wrong. I may have been by myself, but I wasn't really mine. The time went, as it usually does, taking care of someone else's business rather than my own. Always something bigger than myself. Hmmm...come to think of it, that would be just about everything, wouldn't it...? Anyway, that's what I signed up for when I became the Mom, and there are worse things. I could, for instance, be home alone all the time with nothing but myself to think about.

Fast forward to Sunday. I just got a text message from D. She and the little girls are on their way back. I'm not sure when they will get here, distance being only one thing. The other main issue factoring in is stops. Stops for something to eat, followed by stops for something to drink, followed by potty stops. And when traveling with babies, just crying stops in general. So I'm thinking nighttime. Several hours away yet...just time enough to get ready for Monday...Mayhem.


This is the perfect Winnie-the-Pooh blustery day recipe! Looks like a lot of work, but what it is is a lot of ingredients. Really, hardly any work at all. Well, if you have a decent can opener, that is.
1 lb Polish or smoked sausage, diagonally sliced into 1-inch pieces
1 15-oz can great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz can tomato sauce
2 med carrots, cut lengthwise in half, then sliced thin
2 small parsnips, cut lengthwise in half, then sliced thin
1 rib celery, sliced on the diagonal
1 med onion, sliced and separated into rings
1 T honey
1 c broth
1/2 c wine
2 T fresh thyme OR 1 t dried leaves
2-4 garlic cloves, pressed

Put everything in the crockpot. Cook all day. How much easier can it be?
A couple of observations:
  • It makes enough for the Army. However, it freezes very well, and if you aren't feeding the Army and are so inclined, you can freeze it in one-serving portions. That way you will have to cook only once all winter, and there's a lot to be said for that.
  • It is ok to experiment! Use what you have in your hand. *Somebody* invented this recipe. Might as well be you.
  • If you don't have carrots, try a sweet potato. If parsnips are unfindable at your store, use a turnip. You could probably even use white potatoes, although I'm not sure I would go that far. Ssshhhh, don't tell anyone, but...I am about tired of potatoes. That is practically sacrilegious in this family.
  • This recipe is actually my tweaked version. The original calls for 1 15-oz can of crushed tomatoes and 2 T of tomato paste. I can't stand chunky tomatoes floating around in my soup, and what do I do with the rest of the can of tomato paste besides wait for it to spoil in my refrigerator so I can throw it away? So...tomato sauce. The whole can.
  • I'm not a big fan of refined sugar, so the 1 T honey is my response to the 2 T packed brown sugar in the original. There are those who believe that honey = sugar, but I am not one of them. I figure that as the only food for one of the hardest-working creatures in nature, honey has to have something better going for it.
  • Broth? Use chicken or beef, or even veggie. Whatever you have on hand.
  • Wine? Red, white, burgundy. Your choice.
  • Don't be afraid to add last night's leftover roast chicken along with the sausage. Or instead of the sausage.
  • And when it comes to garlic, go for the max. Or more!
  • One more thing: the recipe really says: Mix all ingredients in a large, heavy, lidded pot. Bring stew up to a simmer on top of the stove; cover and transfer to 375-degree oven for one hour. Forget the heck out of that. Give me my good old crockpot any day!
  • Oh, and serve with crusty French bread.
This stuff is soooo good, even those who shall remain nameless like it, and that is definitely a compliment.

YUM-YES, as the Princess would say. This is just GOOD. Try it!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Surprise! #1

Dark and early phone call today:
Aunt Le is getting married!
No contest, the very biggest surprise of the day.
Might as well go back to bed and wait for tomorrow.
Nothing is going to top that!

Congratulations! ;-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Good Day!

We got up this morning to rain and rain and more rain ~ shaping up to be a great day! Except for two dark heavy clouds hanging over us. Oh, wait, bad metaphor. I love clouds...

#1 seriously big bad brain-consuming event coming up this morning: M's last two minutes of hell. Well, boxing hell at any rate. M was scheduled for his last graded bout of the course this morning at 11. He was on profile for his broken nose, so he would be boxing with a cage on his face. The nose and the cheeks are natural shock absorbers that protect the brain from a blow, so the bad thing about boxing in a cage is that, ironically, to protect the face is to expose the brain.

We spent the morning with one eye on the clock, waiting to hear the all-clear from our boy. We were in MoreMart when we got a text message: "I'm alive." YES!!! We figured if he had gotten knocked out he wouldn't have been able to text, so...we'll take it. He told us later that he will get a good, strong B for the course.

#2 "cloud" of the day was my dentist appointment which has been hanging over my head for weeks. It was just for a cleaning, but...I have had some teeth *issues* and I was afraid of some kind of dental nightmare on the horizon. It was my first visit to this dentist, and the first time I have had my teeth cleaned by the big guy himself; no hygienist in that office. Dr. S was sorta talkative. I never know if I should try to respond when a dentist talks to me. Am I rude if I don't? Anyway. The good news is everything is perfect in my mouth. My teeth are as perfect as my eyes. The other news is that there is no explanation for all those things going on in my mouth. I'm guessing it's all in my head.

So: good end to boxing; good report from the dentist; and, of course, rain, rain, rain. All is well and very well in my empty-nested world.

All in all, a good day!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ordinary October Day

My Man has just gone off to work. It was his day off, but his manager was in a bind and asked if he might come in for a few hours and bail them out. My Man appreciates his good managers, so he agreed to help. "I feel like a relief pitcher," he commented as drove off in my van, which he has been driving for the last several weeks while his little truck has been out of commission.

This morning woke up grey and cloudy and beautiful. It actually rained at one point, something that has happened less than rarely this year, so right off the bat, this day was lifted way out of the realm of ordinary. So, even if *gloomy* wasn't my favorite weather, it would have been a beautiful day. I never, never, never get tired of rainy weather.

Our house is full of little girls today. Well, only two, but it sure seems like a houseful at times!

Monga took them off to feed the ducks at the park, and while they were gone I put myself in turbo. Nothing special, you understand, just bare maintenance...started laundry, tidied kitchen, showered, made the bed.

Other than the off-and-on rain that continued throughout the afternoon, the rest of the day was just as ordinary: made/answered lots of phone calls, paid bills, worked on tax school~ACK! Did some errands: post office and three banks. I had an idea I might like to visit the library, but that turned out to be a dream unrealized.

Exactly how ordinary can it get...?

I missed my ordinary day last month because...? Oh, yeah, I remember, no computers in techno-hell.

Monday, October 13, 2008

M Transformed?

Not really.

We had been warned over and over to expect changes in our boy the first time we saw him. Good changes. He'll be more grown up, more confident, more mature, we were told. So when he surprised us on our doorstep two weeks ago, we really weren't sure what to expect. The first thing we noticed was that he was taller. Really? We finally decided that was due mainly to his uniform: the gig line and the stripe down the outside of the leg and the high waistline. And maybe he did stand just a wee bit taller in his handsome uniform. But different...?

I wish we could have talked more, but time was short, friends and family were many, and there was only the one M to share, but it was more than we had expected, so...can't complain.

It was enough time to interrogate him~in a friendly way~about his new life: Do you like it? Is it what you expected? Do you "fit in" there? Do you feel comfortable there? "At home"? Are you learning anything? What are you learning? How do you feel about what you are learning? It was a good conversation.

It was enough to be sure, in case I didn't already know, that M has what it takes. He is learning a lot. Some things are being taught, some caught. Some direct teaching, some not so direct. Some things good, some bad. He is well-grounded and confident. But he was already that way before he went. He knows how to take the lesson and spit out the bones, and he will take advantage of every opportunity.

It was enough to hear about life in the Army: platoon leaders, sergeants, TAC's, formations, battalions, companies, classes, projects, section trips, authos, knowledge, SAMI's and WAMI's, duties, TEE's....

It was enough to hear how reality measures up to anticipation and expectation.

Of the three days M was here, every day was my favorite. He may be packaged a bit differently, but he is still our own M, and not a day goes by that he's not missing from my life.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Raccoon Rodeo

Friday morning, creeping around in the dark so as not to wake the Princess or the Gingerbread Cookie, I heard the eeriest, creepiest growling and hissing outside the dining room window. Normally, as soon as my foot falls into the room, Chudleigh is exuberantly greeting me at the window; one of these days he is going to break through it and find himself right here amongst us having breakfast, but today he didn't even show up. That in itself was strange, and coupled with the growling and hissing, it really called my attention.

I went over to the window, and there was Chudleigh, running circles around a...a...a...what was that out there in the dark?! Chudleigh was bowing, face close to the ground, butt sticking way up, and tail wagging to beat the band, as our 102-year-old Granny would have said. He was bouncing and prancing, sometimes daringly closing in for a better swipe and always jumping quickly back out of the danger zone, obviously wanting to play. But the growling...well, I have never heard anything quite like it, and it seemed a pretty clear indication that whatever it was out there didn't share his enthusiasm.

It took a few minutes before I was able to discern that it was a raccoon. Interesting! But I was in a hurry to be out of the house early that morning, and the whole scene was beginning to cause me some irritation, even while it fascinated me. It took another few minutes to realize that the raccoon was wounded. Now what? I could have left Chudleigh to his own, I suppose, but I feared for his safety, even though he clearly did not. What to do...? Well, as is so often the case... I decided to call on my Man. I easily managed to rouse him out of his sound sleep, however, I did not manage to win his interest. The Great Possum Hunter heard me out and then turned over and went back to sleep. Uh-oh.

It then occurred to me that we have an animal control officer in this town, though I was doubtful of getting in touch with him at this early hour, so I decided to call the police. Once I had a plan, I began to put it into action. Or tried to, but right away I hit a snag. I didn't really want to call 911 as we did not have a real emergency here. Yet. So that meant calling the non-emergency number. So far so good, except that, even though we have three current phone books around here, I could find only one...the one with the non/emergency numbers page ripped out. Well, the best laid plans...and I was back at Square One, only now in a bigger hurry. And then I vaguely remembered ~ The last time I called the police on non-emergency business, the phone number was the same as our street address back in the far-away days of Hermitage. Go figure. But sure enough, almost immediately I had the friendly local police dispatcher on the line.

It was, as I feared, too early for animal control, but she promised to send over an officer. I had to leave before long (Actually, I should have left long before.), but by this time, the Great Possum Hunter was up and dressed and outside with his flashlight checking things out, so I left the situation in his capable hands.

He told me when I got home later that morning, that the officer had asked to see the raccoon, but when he saw that there was a dog to be "controlled" along with a possibly mad raccoon, well...sometimes discretion is the better part of valor. He got back in his car and called animal control out of their warm beds, and Chudleigh found himself shut up in the garage in the meanwhile.

I was gone when the animal control guy came, so I missed the whole thing. I missed the animal guy parrying with and poking at the raccoon. Its back legs may have been paralyzed, but it did not have any trouble whipping itself around to face, and threaten, its tormentor. I missed the wrestling match, ending with the noose around the raccoon's neck. I missed the raccoon's deportation, with Chudleigh frantically trying to scratch through the garage door.

In the two days since the raccoon's banishment, Chudleigh has been behaving very strangely, barking and pawing at the places where the raccoon had rested before being hauled off, so in a weird sort of way, the Raccoon Rodeo lives on...

On a totally unrelated note...This morning as I was getting out of my car at the post office, I noticed a man with a splint on his nose going in. Later, as I related the incident to D, she began to laugh and said, "I just came from Walgreen's, and there was a man with a splint on his nose in there." After we finally stopped laughing, we both said, "Don't you think it's the same guy?!" Has to be. We have never seen anyone with a splint on the nose that we can remember, and how many can there be in a small little town like this?

Like we said.... It rains it pours...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It Rains It Pours

I was babysitting and cleaning the kitchen and starting lunch for the little girls when the phone rang. I am always tempted to ignore the phone when the caller ID says "unknown caller," but I have learned that I ignore it at my own peril. Of course, I answer it at my own peril as well. No doubt about it, even in the age of caller ID, answering the phone is a crap shoot. But I digress.

The stove was sizzling, the water was running, the microwave was beeping, the little girls were crying (and I wasn't far from it myself), and suddenly the phone was ringing. I took a chance and answered it, and there was M!

Normally that is cause for sheer delight, but this time... It was the hesitation and the tone of voice and my instant gut feeling, but *something* was wrong. It was another one of those "Mom, I'm OK" calls I got from S not so long ago.

This one said, "Mom I broke my nose. I'm going to the hospital to have it set at 3:00." Oh, no, nooo, NOOOOO, NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" I see a disturbing pattern developing here, and I am hating boxing more and more by the minute (Is that even possible?). M was supposed to have had almost a week to recuperate from his not-quite-dislocated jaw before his next graded bout, but today he got pulled to make up the bout he missed while debating at Smith College a couple of weeks ago.

He had a few minutes to talk, and he informed me he is absolutely determined to finish this class, even if it means...well, what more could it mean now? A concussion? I hate to even imagine. But I am with him. Dropping out, or being dropped by the doctor, even at this late date, with only one 2-minute bout to go, would mean he would have to take the whole nine-week class all over again. It would mean his non/dislocated jaw and his broken nose didn't even count, and that just isn't happening if he has any say whatsoever about it. Two more minutes of excruciating pain vs. nine more weeks of misery and agony...well, there's really no contest.

Next stop Keller Hospital. He was in and out of there so fast, my head was spinning. 3:00 appointment and he was calling at 3:40 to say he was already out. The doctor numbed his face a bit (but not enough) and manhandled his nose back into place; then offered him a splint for his nose (?) even while commenting that he didn't think it would help any, so that was easy enough to turn down. After all, he is going to debate at Harvard tomorrow, and how geeky would that look?!

So. Here's the prognosis: "If you can't breathe in three or four months, come back to discuss possible surgery." And meanwhile, the doctor was kind (well, kind-ish) enough to put him on profile, meaning that he will be allowed/ordered to wear a cage for his last two minutes of hell graded boxing next Tuesday. And that will be that. As far as boxing, that is. Still to come: military movement, close quarters combat , knife-fighting (ACK!!!), unarmed combatives, and who knows what other evil surprises lurking in the shadows.

The hits just keep on coming....

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

WAAAAAH Burger and French Cries

That's it. Party's over. M needs to come home now. I know, I know...he's a big boy.

It seems that he has dislocated his jaw. From a bout in boxing. And he did not even tell the teacher, but he did take himself to the school nurse's office, where he found that they are not allowed to touch jaws, so instead they referred him to dental sick call or something for early tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, he can't really open his mouth big enough to eat, so he put himself on a diet of canned soup (no soup in the dining hall) and Pringles (has to suck them), and he is limiting his talking.

He will be getting a decent grade in boxing, but, Oh My! I am just happy that it will be over with for him next week.

M detests boxing. Thank goodness. But he did sign up for West Point, and when you sign up for West Point, you sign up for a six-week course in boxing. At least if you are a male you do. I had no idea...

So...what do you think we have here? Nothing other than one more case of Kid's dream = Mom's nightmare.

Monday, October 6, 2008


So, can you believe it, 13 years to the day OJ Simpson was found *not guilty* of the cold-blooded murder of his wife and her friend, OJ was found guilty on several criminal charges including kidnapping. All I can think is "It's about time."

There was objection from some quarters, most notably the defense attorney, that the jury was judging OJ not only on this present offense, but also on his history. Such may well be the case. But this time I can't really generate too much sympathy for the losing side. In an ideal world, the jury actually would ~ and could ~ honor the instruction to disregard all but what was put before them for their particular case; of course in an ideal world, no one would ever have to go to trial at all, but especially not for something so violent and heinous as the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman.

Apparently there are times when the justice system has to work in a flawed way for there to be any justice at all, and here is the proof. Disillusioning in a way, but then again, offering hope that at least once in a while, the truth gets another chance, and eventually, one's sins will find one out.

Guiltier man there never was.


My Man woke me up early this morning loudly whispering "It's raining!" WOW! That was definitely worth waking up for, even if it was still dark.

The steady, gentle rain, going on for the next three hours, was the longest rain we have had all summer, downgrading to a drizzle for the next several hours after that.

Now as for the rest of the day... grey and gloomy and dreary and cloudy, mist hanging in the air...the best of all possible days. I am ready to hibernate!

Friday, October 3, 2008

WhataWeekend Saturday

Saturday started dark and early. My Man was off to work by 5:30, and for M, formation (or whatever they call it) was at 9, so soon it was time for the *boys* to get up and on their way. Off they went, with instructions to let us know when they got there.

A couple of hours later we got a text from Ko: "Just left Caldwell. We passed our motel. It looks crapy." I'm not sure if he meant "creepy" or "crappy," but whichever, I was pretty sure I got the message. Not worried about it, though. As long as it was good enough for Edgar Allen Poe, it would be good enough for us. Besides, it isn't like it was the purple motel in San Antonio where we were afraid to all close our eyes at the same time. No, we are talking about the motel next door to the MoreMart in Caldwell, for Pete's sake, where people aren't worried about being murdered in their beds.

So what if our rooms were upstairs and the balcony/deck/walkway seriously sloped toward the parking lot...? There was a rail to stop us if we should happen to slide too far.

So what if the pool was green...? It wasn't full of green water; it was filled in with dirt and had green grass growing in it. Quite a sight, complete with lawn chairs around the "pool" and a ladder going down into the grass.

So what if the luggage rack/stand fell apart when I opened it...? We only had one small overnight case which fit easily on the counter next to the sink.

So what if the chair almost fell to pieces when my Man sat down in it...? He just sat quietly and didn't make any sudden moves.

So what if the water tasted nasty...? There was an ice machine outside the front door, and if you suck on ice it numbs your taste buds.

So...It was early afternoon when we arrived in Caldwell. While walking around to our room, the Gingerbread Cookie stumbled and went down with a thunk like you have never heard, right on the big middle of her forehead. Good thing babies' bones are soft, and of course I carry arnica in my purse...melted that knot right off her little head.

As soon as everyone got there, we walked over to check out the MoreMart. It was a non/super MoreMart like we hadn't seen in years, and M hadn't seen any kind of a MoreMart in years...oh, wait, I mean in almost three it was fun buying snacks and colored pens and band-aids and all sorts of clearance items.

After our little shopping trip, *some* of the boys began to wrestle and roughhouse and suddenly we heard the second THUNK of the day, followed by a scream from BB1. He jumped up with his hand to his head and M noticed "He's dripping blood!" This time we had our whole medical entourage in the room: M, who in his less than two months since CBT first aid training, already has three head injuries (not his own) to his credit; Ko, an EMT presently attending paramedic school; and Gi, an ER nurse currently enrolled in nurse practitioner school. And of course we still had arnica.

Once that little glitch was taken care of we went outside for a photo op and then off to dinner and the playground. It was so much fun for me and my Man, sitting on the park bench like old folks, watching our kidlets, big and little, on the playground. Monkey bars, jungle gym, merry-go-round, swings, swirly slides, they played them all. It would have been really fun if we hadn't been quite so busy scratching and swatting at the horde of burly, belligerent, Texas-size mosquitoes.

We had an early morning the next day, so we were soon off to put our swarm of little kidlets to bed. S and Gi went home and the rest of us drifted off to our rooms. There is nothing at all quite like making memories with your family. After all, to tweak a quote from Samuel Johnson, "To be happy with one's family is the ultimate result of all ambition."

Edgar Allen Poe never had it so good.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fresh October

Fresh October brings the pheasant;
Then to gather nuts is pleasant.

I remember this poem by Sara Coleridge not from my childhood, but from my kidlets' childhood/s. It was in a book of nursery rhymes that I read all the way through. Many, many, many times. In fact, with a 13-year difference between my first child and my last, I was probably reading the book continually for, oh...18 years or so.

Anyway, this poem is a winner! It goes through every month of the year and evokes all sorts of memories, or at least imaginings, of living with nature in the seasons ~ my favorite way to live ;-)

Oh-so-sadly, that book was one of the casualties of the floods last year, so the poem was only in my head. I couldn't quite remember every detail, and it finally occurred to me to google it last night. I found many listings for it, but alas, every one of them said "Brown October..." Brown October? I could have sworn it was "Fresh October," but page after page came up brown. Am I going crazy/er? Or is it another case of the reality not measuring up to the memory?

This morning I had an epiphany to google by the October verse instead of the January verse, which is what I did last night, and whaddya know... Right there it was: "Fresh October." Vindication!!!

It happens that brown is one of my favorite colors, but for October, for Fall, I much prefer "Fresh!"