Cornball Corn Dog Lover

Yes, we recycle gray water. Yes, we are mindful of our utility usage. Yes, I buy only grass fed beef. Yes, we eat veggies from our garden. Still, a boy’s gotta love what a boy’s gotta love, and my boy loves corn dogs. He loves corn dogs so much that when one of his teachers assigned a project on architecture, he constructed a museum for the documentation of the storied past of the corn dog. When another teacher assigned a five paragraph, three point essay for his writing journal, he found a way to honor his obsession. Oddly, he never once mentions mustard.

Favorite Food — by 10 YO Boy

I love corn dogs becuase they taste awsome. They also never get boring. Last of all they are finger goods but your finger never touches theme.

Corn dogs never get boring becuase you can eat all week and never tier the taste out. I know becuase I eat corn dog almost every time I eat out.

Corn dogs are my favorit food becuase they are a cleaner finger food because they have a stick.

That why corn dogs are my favorit food becuase they taste awsome. They also don’t tier. And therd of all they are a clean finger food.

Cookie Boothin’ Throughout the Universe

Hawt Mz came by the ole cookie booth yesterday. I wanted to tell her something cool like how I wore a Goody comb in my back pocket all day and then leave the story all enigmatically like that. Instead I geeked about books, gossiped about, uh, not gonna say, and then realized I smell like armpits most of the time.

Later the 10 YO, who was sitting behind a plate glass window playing his DS and minding his own business, came to inform me he was getting water for some guy. I looked at the grimy paper cup in his hands and asked, “What guy?” The 10 YO pointed at a man even more grimy than the cup who was peering over the shoulder of a gamer. “Dude, you totally just failed Charlie Check First.” “Yeah, so I’m going to get that guy some water.” “Uh…kay,” I said thinking he would visit the drinking fountain back inside the store and brb. I also took a look at my son’s gaming stuff that he left in the seat next to creepy bum. I wasn’t in the position to leave my 7 YO Girl Scout with all those boxes of cookies plus the cash kitty. She’d totally establish her independence before sundown. Nah, I had to trust the universe. “But after you give him water, get your stuff and move.” I then commenced the “I will f*** you up!” stare at the oblivious bum, daring him to look at me. That took about three seconds before my attention was redirected to cookie sales. I later learned the 10 YO didn’t go to the water fountain. He went down the way to a restaurant and got iced water. Iced. Freaking. Water. The 10 YO and I eventually had the expanded stranger danger discussion during which I asked why he complied with the request. “Because he asked nicely.” I need to lock that boy up.*

I’m thinking uncool armpits and grimy bum were karmic payback. Prior to the booth, the 7 YO sold out her personal inventory. I was on a high about the deal driving home when I watched a car hit an orange tabby, slow down to evaluate the damage, then speed off apparently under the impression that no further action was needed. The cat convulsed then gave up. I’m thinking, I would have to cross major traffic to pull over and cross three lanes of busy traffic on foot to get to the cat, who lay in the turn lane. What if the cat were sick, rabid, or just freaked out? The Hubster would be totally pissed if I put myself or the kids in that sort of danger for a feral cat. Even so, I have empty cookie cases I could use to scoop the cat up. But I’m already running late for the next thing. Would my vet take on a charity case? By now I’m down the street. I’ve always loved orange tabbies. I suck. Not cool. The universe wants me to know I’m a stinky armpity bum and should never be allowed to sit at the cool kids’ table. Oh, the inhumanity.

The 7 YO has another cookie booth in a few minutes.

* Don’t go thinking the 10 YO is all sweet and innocent, he totally belly gut laughed when his friend got his dad to say he liked eating cookies, where cookies was a euphemism. He got busted on that one after the 7 YO had to explain it to me.

Dodging Balls

In case you were wondering what I’m up to:

Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Dodging balls speeding toward my head from every direction (work, home, family). Fortunately, my team is most kick ass. The book festival booth planned for work is awesome, uplifting, and will make a difference while allowing others to pay it forward as well. I tackled clutter piles and called the Hubster to tell him he deserves more attention than I’ve been giving him with my nose in research, eventing, or convalescing in exhaustion. And the Site Council at the NOW 10 YO! boy’s school has articulated a focus and voted to maintain their current building. Now if only we knew whether we’ll be an intermediate school or a middle school and how to fund it and…. Oh, time to do that kid thing! Pancake supper? Uh…. One sec. Hubster who? Can you ask him to hold?

If you say so, I will let down the nets* and maybe answer the door**

Last week I dreamed that my son put together an intricate project rather like a LEGO construction. A teacher allowed the smashing of the project (or did it herself). I tried to collect the pieces on a blanket, but was chased away by the teacher before all was gathered.

I scooped up the blanket and dashed off to Spanish. That teacher was busy roving around the school, but never entering her classroom. I chased her around speaking Spanish, though she couldn’t be bothered. Finally, she turned on me and stated that she was all together wrapped up in her thoughts about her husband and would I please go away.

With a sigh, I sat down next to a very sad older man who told me that he had been ordered to quit playing his violin. In fact, his violin had been taken from him by the powers that be. I told him to ignore that nonsense, get a new violin, and chase his happiness. He left to do just that. Later an angry teacher informed me that his building had a no music policy. The man was kicked out of his home as a result of picking up his instrument. I pressed her for more information and she grudgingly admitted that he had a new place to live and was happier, however I had stirred the pot and things definitely should not be changed — even if for the better.

I sat down and cried. The principal stumbled upon me and draped his arm over my shoulders as I cried and cried. Maybe I even sobbed a little.

Aside from the fact that it is clear by the way I can’t easily identify myself or my son as the student that I have a severe detachment disorder, this dream is odd in how OBVIOUS it relates to my ongoing “where the f*** is my kid going to school next year” dilemma. I’d much rather be dreaming about falling, or having my teeth fall out, or being chased by zombies.
But wait! There’s more! I had another dream last night. I was in a huge concert hall attending an audience participation performance. We were all playing along and once in a while an audience member would be spotlighted for a singing solo. Willie Nelson sang from a few aisles behind me! Then a performer handed the microphone to some American Idol flunky who refused to sing. He used the microphone instead to say this was stupid and everyone should bail. A few audience members did just that. Then a few more. American Idol wouldn’t quit deriding the effort and the hall continued to bleed its contents and I stared at more empty chairs. I began to sing louder but just a few joined that effort. I took the microphone and asked if everyone couldn’t just wait. Couldn’t we give the performance a chance to shine? Weren’t we all just enjoying ourselves? Don’t be sheep to the false Idol! Didn’t you hear Willie Nelson sing? Willie Freaking NELSON!

But people continued to leave and I woke up to rain outside my window and the remembrance of a promise to go to church to watch my daughter light the Word and maybe get rid of a few more boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

My last two posts were not simply about moving and fighting. They were about the right time and the right way to move and the fights worth having and when to have them. Obviously, I have some unresolved issues as my memories, my present, and my dreams have smacked up against each other amping my already angsty existence.

* Luke 5:1-11 ish. I’d better just cast my damn net. I don’t know what I’m fishing for, but there’s something in here somewhere I’m supposed to know, be, do. Jesus was the master of teaching through allegory. As I’m not much of an allegorist, or teacher, I probably should quit telling tales of my misspent youth and my frustrating dreamland. So, to be more pointed (or blunt?):
1) I don’t want to move and I don’t want to merge and I am trying to be sensitive that my kids may be concerned about such movement and mergement.
2) I am well acquainted with fighting with my fists, though I haven’t done so in nearly three decades. It typically leads to more fights and bruised people. Fighting with words is not so eloquent. Fighting with solutions to meet the needs of all involved is difficult at best and impossible most of the time. Must I continue fighting a fight that makes me fight with my friends, as well as those who shouldn’t be enemies, for a goal that may not be achievable or if it is it will be achieved after our time?
3) Also, for the love of whatever you love, can we who comment on news stories agree to stop being vindictive and quit punishing kids? Could we work together to support kids? I know there is a better way. If you are ever presented the opportunity, please persuade people to be pissed all they want at whomever they want but that their vengeance shouldn’t be exacted on children?
4) I really need some untroubled sleep.

**In case it’s not obvious, I’m the sinner and I’m not entirely sure if I want to answer the door, much less how to answer.

When Taking the High Road, It’s Best to Know the Way

My brother received a camera for Christmas one year. We can go on ad nauseum about all the great stuff my brother got that I didn’t, but that would ignore the fact that I got a bunch of awesome stuff too and acknowledgment of such would not lend itself well to my sour grapes attitude. We spent some time photographing our normal activities — at least those I was willing to share with my brother. He’d seen me fight before, so I invited him to photograph a fake one (WWF style — I still got my hits in). Check out my form.
I loved being a kid. I loved impromptu games of kickball and climbing fences and walking barefoot on fresh hot tar. I loved my friends. I loved Wendy and Angela most, but I also loved the neighborhood kids and my classmates as well. I loved them so fiercely, especially the ones I saw as weaker, that I would kick the ass of anyone who caused anyone any grief. I guess I maybe had a reputation.

Laura fancied herself as tough stuff and came looking for a fight. For that reason alone, I should have taken an extra hit of joy in knocking that clown down. I made short order of Laura, but it was a joyless exercise. I realized that once people started searching me out to challenge the champion, then I was no longer, nor maybe ever was, defender of of the little guy. I was just a target for every wannabe tough kid.

With one last face shove in the dirt, I got up, my brain reeling in confusion. Yes, I kicked her ass in front of her friends who had just told her they would jump in but who didn’t. Yes, she was more stout than I, but I was an inch or so taller. Not only did I not want to be My Bodyguard*anymore, I also didn’t want to be part of that sort of humiliation, even when people deserved it. I determined Laura was my last beat down. I was finished and I said so.

Laura got up with grass in her hair, clothing askew, and obligatory dirt smears on her arm and cheek and asked for more. I couldn’t believe it. She hadn’t even caught her breath from the last round! “Nah, I think we are done here,” I said. “Are you scared?” she asked. Hell no I wasn’t scared; I had just kicked her ass! I laughed incredulously, but couldn’t think of the gracious way out, so I turned away and began walking home. She shoved me and her previously mute friends renewed their empty promises.

I faced them in disbelief. I was absolutely NOT used to people not accepting my word for gospel. “I said I was done.” “Because you’re a big ol’ chicken!” Laura said and her friends clucked in agreement. Then I said the dumbest thing of all. “Can’t you hear my mom calling?”

* Did I mention I am a sellout Amazon Associate? I am and even managed to make $2 off you suckers!

When Darkness Fell

The summer I was 11, I played on a softball team. The coach had a warrant out for her arrest, so we frequently didn’t know when or where we would practice until we got a call about half an hour beforehand. Not surprisingly, like all teams with criminally inclined coaches, we kicked ass. At the end of the season, we had a huge slumber party at which I froze a bra for the first and last time. The next morning, my parents failed to pick me up. The hosts called, but got no answer (before mobile phones, before cordless phones, before even answering machines — yes, I am that old). Late in the afternoon, they decided to just drop me off at home.
Like most drop-offs of the era, there was no parent-to-parent kid transfer. They barely slowed at my curb, they were so eager to get rid of me and get on with their lives. I hardly noticed nor did I flinch at the empty house. I had years of practice breaking into my home. On this particular day, I climbed up on the shed wherein our laundry machines were kept. From there I leaped to my second-story sill where I managed to wedge the window open with my freer hand (I had a practiced technique).

My room was lovely in the late afternoon, glowing. My mother and grandmother had papered the walls with yellow and white gingham. I had eyelet curtains with huge princess blue satin bows that matched my bed cover. The ballet bar, the dresser, the vanity, the Barbie Dream House — all was in order. I loved my room and I hung out there for a while. When darkness fell, I realized that my brother wasn’t there. It was usual for my folks to not be there, but no Jacques! Quelle horreur!

I went to check on him. His room was empty — not just of him, but of all his things including the purple grass mask that hung by his exposed light switch that scared the hell out of me (the mask AND the risk of shock). There was no bed, no dresser, no desk, no Rocket Tubes, no Jacques. Nothing.

Moving on, I went downstairs. The living room was barren, exposing only the charred circles of burned shag carpeting that stood witness to the hours alone my brother and I spent at home. The kitchen was empty. My parent’s bedroom was empty. The dog was gone. The cat was gone. I was utterly alone. The family had moved and they left my stuff and me behind.

(Whatever: Don’t feel sorry for me and don’t hate on my parents. You weren’t there. They worked hard at lousy paying jobs and that’s just the way it was. Also, that’s not what the story is about. This story is from the perspective of an 11 year-old who DID NOT WANT TO MOVE. Hate on the parents for that.)

Motherhood Obsession

I’ve discovered that, for work, Twitter is a billion times better for getting my info/gossip fix than anything else and that I act like a total techie jerk when my boss sends me a message like, “This is something so and so should know about ASAP.” Meanwhile I’m thinking, “Yesterday’s news.”

And so if you’ve been following my personal Twitter feed you know that lately I’m all about my great parenting and how God commands my kids to acknowledge my great parenting. This swim suit spied at My Parents Were Awesome would enhance my great parenting, don’t you think? You can tell it’s the perfect swimwear for moms by how it accentuates the firmly-held hand of a young ‘un being dragged to the water. Seriously, I hope someone on Project Runway makes this suit this season. It’s freaking awesome! This is where you say, “Your obsessions are yesterday’s news.” Fortunately, I obsess a lot.

It’s hard not to. Moms get the blame for everything and when they aren’t the target for blame, then they are self-questioning or loathing. Choices, so many choices, with their pros and cons leave us looking over the fence where indeed the grass is greener (bending light, yo). Should I continue to pursue systems think, inquiry-based, performing/visual arts focused education for my kid in a happily diverse school? Or am I, like Hitler’s mother, creating spoiled darlings by encouraging their artistic ambitions though they have no talent? (Yeah, she totally got the blame for that! Fortunately, my spoiled darlings do have talent.) Screw it. If I’m going to mess up my ankle biting rugrats no matter what, then I’m going to have fun and I’m going to do it in that swimsuit.

Epiphany, or 20CMB10 as we like to call it

It’s Three Kings Day – Epiphany! We acknowledged the 12 Days of Christmas by being lazy about cleaning up our tree and then this morning, all four of us stepped outside in the frozen tundra of the desert (the lows last night must have been in the 40s — BURR!) to bless the house.

God of Light, bless our house and our family. May this be a place of peace and health. May each member of this family cultivate the gifts and graces you have bestowed, dedicating our talents and works for the good of all.

Make this house a shelter in the storm and a haven of rest for all in need of your warmth and care. And when we go out from this place, may we never lose sight of that Epiphany star.

As we go about our work, our study, our play, keep us in its light and in your love.

It’s a Methodist prayer and we are Episcopalian, but like God really cares. I also don’t think God cares that the marking of the door with the date and initials of the kings should be done in chalk and over the door. We don’t have chalk. My kids’ teachers use dry erase and it seems to work miracles in the classroom. It looks good, right?

This version has the added benefit of being mobile. When the landlords kick us out so they can move in (whenever that will be because they just let us know things are “progressing slower than expected”), we’ll just take our blessing with us. That tile is a gift from my boss. She’s way cool like that and I say so knowing full well she doesn’t read this blog.

Kings’ Day means no more tree. What a mess! Better get out the vacuum.

Wah, wah, waaaaaaah.

I replaced the broken belt with a new one, which quickly burned through like the first after I made a big show to the kids that they had to learn to fix such things. Stink and smoke later, both kids stared at me with bitter disappointment in their eyes. I’m going to try a third belt to salvage the vacuum because maybe I didn’t make entirely sure that the brush was rotating properly. Also, I have to show everyone I’m right and that buying a new vacuum would be wasteful. Until then, the broom does an adequate job.

Christmas is cleaned up. Thank you letters, where appropriate (only to the most elderly of family members), are written. Presents put away. Sadly, the end of Christmas means no more of these (from a former boss),

or worse, no more of these (from the attendance clerk at my son’s school).

I like my gifties. Maybe I can craft a convincing argument that all my friends and family should resolve that in 2010, they will give me awesome gifts all year long. Maybe Hawt Mz could send home another empty bag of these cookies.

Anyone? Anyone?

Christmas Gifts

Gifts we gave. We made all our gifts this year, including zipper pulls for the cousins’ backpacks.

Gifts for the kids. The tree is propped up by presents especially selected by our loved ones for us. Some of us were excited and some of us played it cool.

The leather jacket emphasizes the cool, don’t you think?

Gifts for the dog. Toys marked “chew me” don’t last long around these parts.

Gifts for the future. I pray that I have enough of my children’s great grandmother’s genes to look this good in my mid 80s. She works out every day. Bleh.

Gifts to make me cry. Caddo Artist also gave handmade gifts. It’s too bad I couldn’t catch the detail on the beading along with the way it catches the light. Then again, all I’m trying to pass along is that people not on her Christmas list should be jealous. I’m jealous of myself!

My mom told me that I would have to wait until she died to get this scarf, just like she had to wait until my grandmother died. I didn’t have to wait and how nice is it that my mom is alive? She also recounted in a lovely illuminated letter the story of the scarf and a childhood trip with her mother to San Francisco.

Dreams of our new year. I can count my blessings at Thanksgiving, but I learn so much more about giving at Christmas. Between now and the new year, I’ll be considering the generosity of my family by birth and by choice. This season I’ve been put on notice that the world has the capacity to be beautiful, kind, and creative. I must respond likewise. I’ll have challenges, but I’ll have support. In this way, I (you are welcome on the journey) can continue to dream for a world in which every day we celebrate the best in each other (after you quit gagging, of course).