Friday, December 28, 2007

A Really Lovely Christmas

Emphasis on the "love" part of that.

I had decided previously that this was going to be my "slacker" Christmas.  Gifts were already bought, so that wasn't an issue.  But skipped having tons of different cookies for just the ones I made for the cookie swap* and our traditional gingerbread.  

*chocolate-peppermint biscotti and chocolate peanut butter whoopie pies 

By Saturday morning, practically everything was done, part of a bargain we'd all made with each other that if everything was ready for Christmas by then, we could take a one-night trip to a neighboring town for lights and fun.  We did.  It was fun, and stress-free.  I mean, except for the one obligatory "don't make me turn this car around" moment.

Was everything perfect?  Um, you're aware I have 4 kids, right?  A glass of beans helped ...

My kids were off the week before Christmas. The Sunday before, I was thrilled, and ready to write a letter to the school board thanking them for this scheduling. By Monday afternoon, I was ready to write a letter to the school board threatening to burn down their homes if they do this scheduling again.

But I'm back to happy about it. And all because of a glass of beans.

I filled up a glass with dry beans. I put a sack next to it. Every time I had to break up a fight, or deal with whining, or argue with someone or, or, or .... it took away from my time and/or energy. And I took beans out of the glass.  Once the glass is empty, I explained, we can't go. Not punishment, just a visualization of reality. If the stuff isn't done, we have to stay home and do it.

The effects were magical.  For the most part, anyway.  And if LW shrieking "No, Ma Ma, don't take out beans!"-- at a restaurant when I asked her to not bounce on her seat -- is the price, well, that's okay.

And the presents ...

Well, we're not really trying to buy things, are we? The kitchenaid mixer is the promise of healthy, delicious food. The board games are a promise of warm, happy evenings as a family. The PDA is the promise of a stress-free, organized life.

And that's all fine, as long as our expectations are in line with what we're buying. That weight set isn't going to give you a great body unless you can also "buy" the time to use it.
So ... we bought the idea of the family playing together in the living room.  Not board games -- have you ever tried to play Monopoly with a 2 year old running around?  Or any board game with multiple pieces?  It doesn't work.

So ... we got a Wii.  No crazy midnight lines or paying twice the price ... I just googled "how to find a Wii" and found out that Amazon posts their new stock on Wednesdays at noon.  12:06, I had a Wii in my cart for normal price.

The Husband and I are feeling good about it.  We can all play -- even Little Warrior.  And while I won't go so far as to call it exercise, it does make you get up off the couch.  

The Boy wanted to get LW a very special present, something that would thrill her.  "Money is no object," he pronounced grandly.  (He socks his money away like a miser, so this was a real offer.)  After walking up and down the toy aisles at least twice, he decided on a giant stuffed dog, bigger than LW, and highly cuddleable.  He hugged it through the store and beamed when buying it.  He had that wonderful feeling when you just know that you've bought something someone is going to love.  He was right.

The most significant and extravagant gift cost the giver no money at all.  My mother-in-law (or mother-in-love, as I've called her since The Husband and I married), presented me with a gorgeous blue topaz necklace.  "This was my mother's," she explained.  Her mother died right after The Husband was born.  "She would have loved you and the children.  I spoke to the girls (her grown daughters) and told them I was going to do this.  I want you to have it."  

Ms. Kitty has been pondering mothering a grown son, one who is married.  I will (hopefully) face this some day.  I couldn't have a better role model.  My MIL met me when I was 20.  Her boy loved me, so she loved me.  It was that simple.  He married me and she encouraged him to cleave unto me.  She never gives advice unless asked, and perhaps equally important, she has asked our advice on various matters.  She and I can (and frequently do) stay up late into the night talking on her visits to our house, or ours to her condo.  And if she thinks I'm making any mistakes with the kids, she's never given any indication.  

So, our gifts are more than the things themselves.  Like a very special necklace that says, "You are valuable.  You are loved.  You are family."

A really lovely Christmas.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Coquito -- My New Favorite Holiday Drink

It's kind of like a pina colada eggnog.  Absolutely delicious.  Very rich.  Please note, you use coconut milk, in the Asian section, not cream of coconut from the drink section.

Coquito (Puerto Rican Coconut Milk-Rum Christmas Drink)
Adapted from a recipe courtesy Maricel Presilla

1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
1 (14-ounce) can condensed milk
2 egg yolks
2 cups fresh coconut milk or 1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
Pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon good cinnamon
1 cup Puerto Rican white rum
Ground cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a blender and process for 3 minutes at high speed until frothy. Put in the freezer til slushy – or, make the night before, freeze, then break it up with a fork, add a touch more rum for blending ease, and whizz in the blender before serving.

Serve in small glasses dusted with a little cinnamon.

Monday, December 24, 2007

It is Christmas Eve

Officially. At least in my time zone.

A few cookies have been made. There are still gifts to be wrapped (thank you, former self for making gift bags.) Cinnamon rolls to be made for Christmas morning.

But tamales are made. Chili is done. We even took a quick 36 hour trip to a neighboring town for a special night of lights and gingerbread pancakes.

If I don't get back before the holiday ... for those who celebrate it, a very happy Christmas. We don't know what next year may bring. It may be sad, it may be absolutely wonderful, beyond our wildest dreams. But we have this Christmas. Whatever it is ... a solitary day of peace, a wild and raucous day with family ... I send to you a wish for smiles, a wish of peace in your heart.

Merry Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Let's Talk About Cookies

I was already thinking and planning my Christmas cookies, but Kinsi has me thinking about the all-important "experiment" cookie that you try, along with all the regular "must haves."

Our must-haves are typical -- gingerbread, butter cut-outs -- this is my experiment from last year, which met with much acclaim. Hmm ... I think I've decided what I'm going to do for this year's cookie swap:

Raspberry Lemon Thumbprint Cookies
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2003
1/2 cup raspberry jam or jelly
1 tablespoon Chambord or kirsch
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 large baking sheets.

In a small bowl, combine the jam and Chambord. Stir to combine.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt and whisk to blend.

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in 2 additions and beat just until moist clumps form. Gather the dough together into a ball.

Pinch off the dough to form 1-inch balls. Place on the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1-inch apart. Use your floured index finger or 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon to create depressions in the center of each ball. Fill each indentation with nearly 1/2 teaspoon of the jam mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool completely.

What are your must-haves?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Projects

There are "crafty" mothers out there -- the ones who scrapbook and knit and make cool homemade gifts for everyone.

That ain't me, but hats off to 'em.

Nonetheless, at Christmastime, I get a peculiar urge to engage my children in doing some kind of project. Today, it's refurbishing ornaments. We took a lot of our hand-me-down glass ornaments -- the ones that are looking a bit worse for wear -- painted on some watered-down school glue and dipped them in glitter. They don't look like they came from Macy's, but they look better than before. And with a mother's eyes, they look positively beautiful.

This must be a genetic thing, or a going-back-to-my-roots thing. My mother also eschews the crafty side of life, but come December, she gamely had me painting wooden ornaments or wood-burning another set of ornaments, or making salt dough ornaments. A good sport, she is.

So, we now have clothes hangers hanging around the house, holding drying ornaments. And now it's time for the kind of craft I like -- cooking. Today is our tamalada. The pork is simmering with the chile, onions and spices as I write.

Christmastime is here ...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ring Bell! Salivate, salivate ...

Rough draft is complete, only minor tweaking needed tomorrow. Am suddenly having a craving for pancakes and sausage ... it's been 20 years since I began undergrad, but some things carve little places for themselves in your gray matter. Like going for midnight breakfast after completing a paper ...

4 kids asleep, and an already-overweight bod, so that's not an option. But hey, back then I couldn't (legally) have a lime-raspberry martini thing that The Husband just concocted for me. Times change.

Oh, and to summarize my paper ... using objectivity, love, authority and written policies, you too can ethically deal with a difficult person.

But I say it in 10 pages. With a lot of sources. Including the Bible and Dalai Lama.

Another Christmas gripe ...

When people say "Donner" rather than "Donder." But I'm not the only one.

LE ... who needs to get back to work on her Christian Ethics term paper, "The Ethical Balance in Ministering to the Difficult Person." Not that I'm a difficult person. Unless you say Donder. Or sing the modern version of "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas."

Great Holiday Movies

I should be working on my term paper. "The Ethical Balance of Ministering to the Difficult Person." But here I am, writing about some of my favorite holiday shows.

I won't take the time to do cool links. You can google 'em in you're so inclined.

10. And you can't get this anymore, or at least not a decent version. It's Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory with Geraldine Page. The voiceover was done by Truman Capote himself, although they had to slow the tape -- his voice was so high, they felt it would be too distracting. It can even make you want fruitcake. The movie, not his voice.
9. Miracle on 34th Street ... and now, blasphemy: I actually prefer the modern version to the Natalie Wood version. Not that I don't like the classic, but the modern version has more character development, more fun. And even a hint of loving marital sex! Whoo-hoo!
8. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Because I'm twisted, that's why. Ohhhh say can you see ...
7. White Christmas. (romantic siiiiigh.) Because my two elder daughters will sing "Sisters" together. And The Boy dies laughing when Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye do "Sisters" in drag. And I love Snow ... (the song).
6. Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas. A beautiful muppet-style story with an understated ending.
5. The Year Without a Santa Claus. The original one, of course. "I'm Mr. Heat Miser ..."
4. The Polar Express. Beautiful story, beautiful movie.
3. Elf. Don't tell anyone, but I tear up at the end when everyone starts singing together and it creates Christmas Spirit that powers Santa's sleigh. Shhh.
2. It's a Wonderful Life. Because I'm a sap. And I am totally in love with the concept of realizing how freakin' wonderful your flippin' ordinary life is. (And I was even before LW got sick.)
1. A Christmas Story: there's two kinds of people in the world ... yeah, I know, but for the sake of argument, go with me ... those who choose It's a Wonderful Life for their #1 and those who choose A Christmas Story. I've been pretty clear about preferring reality to romantic, haven't I? So, of course, this is my favorite. OH FUDGE!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Eschable, anyone?

Earthbound's comment about hating Winter Wonderland reminded me of another annoyance that pops up this time every year ...

Has anyone ever run into the word "eschable"?

When I was in high school, I was in choir.  I very distinctly remember singing "Winter Wonderland" as "we'll frolic and play, the eschable way" (not "eskimo") and our teacher explaining that eschable was an old English word meaning friendly.

I have never run across the word since.  Even with the Internet.

I swear I didn't do drugs in high school.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas (or, "Shut up, Frank")

I knew I'd be adding more to the list.  Blame Earthbound Spirit, whom I keep (good-naturedly) arguing over the "best" version of Christmas tunes.

I love "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and my favorite version is the original, done by Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis.  I get slightly cranky when I hear versions based on Frank Sinatra's request to "jolly that up for me."  But Frank gets what Frank wants, so the lyrics were changed from:

Someday soon we all will be together
If the Fates allow
Until then, we'll just have to muddle through somehow
And have ourselves a merry little Christmas now.


Through the years
We all will be together
If the Fates allow,
Hang a shining star
On the highest bough ...

Kudos to James Taylor who went back to the original. "I always sort of thought of this song with these lyrics from the movie," he said. "And it resonates more with me this way, with the sort of sadder, more melancholy lyrics. I like it better."

Friday, December 07, 2007

I'll be buying "Joy"

Got the phone call.
All clear.

Let the wild rumpus start.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Two Ornaments

There were two ornaments in the hospital gift shop today.  Both were gold stars.  One said, "Hope."  The other said, "Joy."

I told The Husband that after our followup appointment on Monday, I'll be buying one of those.

I hope it's "Joy."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Gifts for Kids

Little Warrior, chocolate-smeared, is on her third bowl of pudding. It follows scrambled eggs and leftover latkes. Scans are at 11, and she can't eat in the morning. So I'm stuffing her like the Christmas goose tonight.

"Are you nervous?" asked The Boy. "I'm always nervous before scans," I replied. "Me, too," he said somberly.

Since I can eat -- surreptitiously -- tomorrow, I have no need to stuff myself. So I'll resist the urge by addressing, "Things to get/not get for kids if you want to make both them and their parents happy."

The reason for the length of that title is because I don't want to hear from the "well, just teach your kids to be grateful for whatever they get" crowd. Well, duh. And my kids are always grateful, or at least they fake it well. But I've had child-free folks ask this question, wanting to get something really good, so here we go ...

#1 Rule: Do not purchase something that requires adult assistance unless you yourself are willing to give it. Yes, I know that it's an absolutely fabulous educational experience to put together the 563-part zigamathing. And really, I'd love to participate with my child. I'm just going to put it in the closet next to the other 4 adult-required gifts for now ... we'll have more time in the spring. Summer. Well, maybe I and my grandchild can do it.

#2: Find out if it needs batteries, and include them. Christmas/Chanukah/Solstice is not the time to preach against immediate gratification.

#3: Buy age appropriate. Look online if you don' t know what that is. Both sides of this are unfortunate. A bicycle for a 4 year old is going to frustrate your two year old nephew. And a toy that is below age for your 13 year old niece is going to make her feel that you see her as a kid.

#4: Buy things that are in line with the parents' values. The holidays are not the time to prove your alpha-dog status by buying a toy gun, a Bratz doll, etc, when you know the parents don't like that. You might not agree with them ... but you're not the parent.

#5: Ignore all the rules, if you have a very good relationship with the parents and they say it's okay. (A polite, tepid "that's fine ..." means No.) If your sister has said she really wants a zip line for the kids, even though it will mean she will have to assemble and put it up, go right ahead. If the toy says "appropriate for 3-4" and your niece is really brilliant (and the parents concur), go ahead and get it. And if the parents say, yeah, we don't normally let the kids have 'crap cereal,' but it's fine to get a fun treat from the grandparents ... we'll that's fine.*

Batteries ... well, unless your brother has solar charged batteries and morally refuses to use anything else -- bring the batteries.

*All real experiences from my family.

Real Gifts that Lizard Eater Endorses:

* Legos. I'd like to say something non-plastic like Lincoln Logs or Tinkertoys, but really, my kids play with the Legos 10 times as much as the other. And once you get past the choking age, Legos are ageless. Especially if you're fabulously wealthy and bought one of the older children the Lego Mindstorms.

* Polly Pockets. I hate these damn things, but Goddess help me, my daughters love them. But ask first.

* The Board games you loved as a kid.

* Books. But make sure it has a cool cover that will entice the kid in. Save the "you can't judge" lecture for some other time.

* For a little one: Fisher Price Baby Gymtastics Bounce and Spin Zebra. LW has loved and gotten so much use out of this, we bought a new one to donate to the cancer clinic.

* Boxes. No, not the cardboard ones that Grandpa always swore he was going to give to the grandkids next year. Boxes for special treasures. The ballerina jewelry boxes, or special wood boxes, or those combination lock "banks." Kids LOVE boxes. Actually, so does everybody, come to think of it. Dance, monkeys, dance.

* Lastly, I can't give a personal review on this yet, but I've read enough reviews that I'm getting some for The Boy ... carnivorous plants. If you're a catalog shopper, you've probably seen the "carnivorous plant kit" that comes with a terrarium and seeds. Well, go read the reviews on Amazon. Apparently, it's awful. Tons of work, and then they don't germinate.

Instead, go to Looks good.

And lastly ... the gift that my parents, bless them, always send the kids. It doesn't thrill the kids right now, but it does us, and eventually, they'll truly appreciate it. Each kid gets a savings bond, every birthday.

And that doesn't need batteries.


Look at your holiday list.  What's something you really don't want to do?  Cross it off.  Cancel it.  Don't do it.

I just did.  It feels terrific.  

Monday, December 03, 2007

"Dere's a monsser coming, save me!"

squealed Little Warrior, laughing and flinging herself at me.

And like so many mamas, I hugged her and instinctively said, "I'll always save you."

And then my thoughts went to Thursday and the scans to see if a monster has returned, inside her.

10 Songs of the Season

I can't say 10 songs of Christmas, because they're not all. But these are my 10 favorites of the season. That I can remember right at this moment.

10. Oh No, It's Santa -- Jingle Punx. Because it's fun to mosh on Christmas, too. "OATMEAL COOKIES!!! OATMEAL COOKIES!!!"

9. O Holy Night: Because it's my mama's favorite and one of the first I learned on the guitar

8. A Christmas/Kwanzaa/Solstice/Chanukah/Ramadan/Boxing Day Song -- Christine Lavin & The Mistletones. Because there are many reasons for the season.

7. Christmas Canon -- Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Do I love this song or hate it? Hmm. I think I love it. It's beautiful. Pachebel's Canon with a Christmasy twist. But I always cry. When LW was in the ICU, we had a 40 minute version of Pachebel's Canon looping 24/7, to try and block all of the noise. She had made it through surgery. She was alive. She still had functioning (though considerably trimmed) kidneys. But she was still critical. And we were so tired, we were walking into walls. So ... profound gratitude, fear, emotion ... and Christmas. I guess I love it. That's life. All mixed up together.

6. Christmas Wrapping -- The Waitresses. Because I was an eighties teen.

5. Santa Baby -- Eartha Kitt. Purrrrr.

4. Light One Candle -- Peter, Paul and Mary. Chanukah song; a friend and I performed it the Chanukah after 9-11. Very powerful.
Light one candle for the terrible sacrifice
Justice and freedom demand
But light one candle for the wisdom to know
When the peacemakers' time is at hand

3. Baby, It's Cold Outside -- Ray Charles and Betty Carter. Toe-curling good.

2. Christmas -- Blues Traveler. Because it touches on not feeling the spirit, but wanting to, diversity, and finding your Christmas spirit after all.
Now excuse me if i'm not being reverent
But i was hoping for a miracle to hold me, wash me
Save me from my righteous doubt as i watch helpless
And everybody sings
If it's chanukah or kwanza
Solstice, harvest or december twenty-fifth
Peace on earth to everyone
And abundance to everyone you're with

1. Merry Christmas from the Family -- Robert Earl Keen. I like reality.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Why I Love Christmas

I love Christmas. I do. I know, it's not hip to admit such a thing. But there it is.


10. Because last year, my cranky, 78 year old curmudgeon of a father decided he liked "Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney. "What's that song ... 'simply, having a wonderful Christmastiiime'?" he sang to me, over the phone.

9. Because the idea that a culture would celebrate the concept of a little baby bringing salvation really is a lovely one. As we say often in our UU Christmas services -- every night that a child is born is a holy night. The manifestation of inherent worth and dignity. How incredible it would be if every child born were treated as if they, too, might be the messiah.

8. Because I get to be as corny as I want to be and -- at least now -- it thrills my kids. No, PB, you'll never see me in the pulpit with a holiday sweater, but I have one with a Christmas tree on it -- a handmedown from my mother -- and pish on any who say it's nerdy. I am a Christmas nerd and I shall let my decorated freak flag fly.

7. Because one Christmas Eve, peace really did break out ... even if it were just for a short time.

6. Because anyone can be Santa Claus. (Rest in peace, Larry Stewart. May your legacy continue.)

5. Because I love the reality of Christmas, not the Currier-and-Ives-Norman-Rockwell myth of Christmas. Which is why Robert Earl Keen's Merry Christmas from the Family is my all-time favorite Christmas song. Christmas is running to the store for a pack of diapers and discovering after dinner that we forgot to put out one of the side dishes and a kid preferring to play with the box the toy came in and parents cursing on Christmas Eve as we try to assemble the "easy assemble" toy that is assuredly not.

4. Because we make homemade tamales to eat on Christmas Eve. 2 years on up, everyone makes tamales. This will be LW's first year to spread masa.

3. Because a few nights before Christmas, we make the kids put on pajamas and go to bed, only to come running in 2 minutes later, madly swirling sleigh bells and shouting "Jingle Bell Sleigh Ride!!!", then bundling them into the car, stopping to pick up cocoa (if it's cold) or egg nog milkshakes (if it's warm) and fast food snacks and then driving all around, playing Christmas music and looking at lights. And every year, the kids will whine and grumble -- Why do we have to put on pajamas? Why do we have to go to bed? -- completely forgetting what happens every single year. They're not very bright, but they're mine and I love them.

2. Because my favorite 10 minutes of the entire year is coming. Christmas Eve night, after everything is assembled and filled, kids in bed, everything ready for the morrow, I go outside with our sleigh bells and ring them, just about three times. Just enough that maybe, maybe, some child dozing in their bed might hear them. And then I come inside, and sit on the couch with The Husband, and we sit there, with only the lights from the Christmas tree, and we bask in the moment and the anticipation.

1. Because Christmas comes around every year, no matter what. Somehow or other, it came just the same! And so even the years of horrible Christmases add to the memories, in that bittersweet way of making you appreciate the good ones. And we say, "We survived that." The year my Dad had just been diagnosed with cancer. The year after my brother committed suicide. And the good years. The times (2) my whole family went to the Bahamas together. And that wonderful, magical Christmas, 20 days before the awful dark day when Little Warrior was diagnosed with Wilms' Tumor. An incredible, innocent, Christmas with everyone -- everyone! -- from both sides of the family. Meemaw and Bubbe and Pops. Aunts and the one Uncle. Unheard of, a Christmas like that. And through those darkest days that would follow, I would look back and say, "Well ... we had a really wonderful Christmas."

Little Warrior has scans next Thursday. As I write this today, I have no idea -- will this be a really wonderful Christmas, or will it be a Dark Christmas? I can't know.

But still ... I love Christmas.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Noble Sacrifice -- Or Justifying What You Were Going to Do Anyway

Do we, as culture, still know what sacrifice means?

In the case of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, it meant walking everywhere ... from December 5, 1955, to December 20, 1956. 380 days of worn out shoes and lost jobs. That is a sacrifice.

Last Friday was National Buy Nothing Day. But how many people "participated" in that, who had been planning on going out and spending all day doing Black Friday shopping? Or was this, as I suspect, merely an opportunity to pat oneself on the back for doing what you planned anyway, staying home away from the hordes? (Don't even get me started on the economic class issues this brings up ...)

And I just read an article about women who are purportedly not having babies because of the potential impact on the planet.

I am a bit cynical, you see, because the persons mentioned did not go on to adopt children. Which tells me that these were not people aching to hold a child to their chests. These were folks who didn't want to have children anyway. But now, they have such a noble reason for it!

And then there are those emails that come around like clockwork, proclaiming that a certain day is set aside for no one to gas up their car. That'll teach the oil companies!

If you're really going to sacrifice, my hat is off to you. If you didn't spend last Friday, and aren't going to spend at all for Christmas, prefering to give homemade gifts or forgo gift-giving entirely, more power to you.

And if you are going to walk everywhere, or adopt rather than procreate, or what-have-you, well, then, kudos for you.

But patting yourself on the back for something you were going to do anyway, for your own selfish reasons ... oh puleeeaze.

You really think that if they'd just boycotted the buses for one day, things would have changed?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thanksgiving Panini

We all know that the leftovers are better than the actual dinner, right? And now, with the "invention" in our house of the Thanksgiving Panini, I might have everyone begging me to make Thanksgiving the day before, so we can have these on Thanksgiving.

Take some good baguettes, not super-skinny, and slice lengthwise and crosswise for sandwiches. Fill each with mayo, and squeeze some of that wonderful garlic that roasted in the turkey juices. (See obsessive turkey.)

Layer on whatever leftovers strike your fancy -- cornbread dressing (yes, on a sandwich!), cranberry sauce, a little gravy, and of course, the turkey. The Boy added green beans to his. I think The Husband added a slice of cheese, maybe some of the sweet potatoes.

Grill in a panini maker, waffle iron, or just in a skillet, with another skillet put on top of the sandwich to squish it down a bit.


And now ... off to check on my turkey bone gumbo.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I am thankful ...

That, right now, my heart doesn't have a hole that will never heal.

That, right now, not only can I pretend to be normal, I can actually feel like everything is normal.

That, right now, I can get so mad at LW for doing 2 year old type things, I want to strangle her.

That, right now, her "adventure" is just that. Yes, she went through cancer. And The Boy went through intussusception, and the Princess has her things and Bo Peep has hers ... and that's just life.

That, right now, there are changes in my life. And they're all good.

That, right now ... I will set six places at the table: one for The Husband, one for me, and one each for my four children. And then I will set a place for whomever else is joining us this year.

But there are no empty places. Anyone not here, is simply not here.

I am thankful.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Super long post with recipes

I'm not going to repeat the instructions for Obsessive Turkey, you can just go look at it. But here's some of the recipes for the rest of our feast.

Regarding the sauerkraut ... I had read about it for years, having sauerkraut at Thanksgiving. Then I heard Sara Moulton talk about. Well fine, I thought, I'm going to give this crazy idea a try.

Not crazy at all. It's just perfect with all the rich food and gravy. Try it, try it! If you like sauerkraut at all, you'll be converted. And the below recipe is just fabulous.

Pralined Sweet Potato Casserole (I think I'm going to add some chipotle peppers to this potato mixture this year.)

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
2 beaten eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup milk
Mix and spread in 11 x 13 pan.

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup pecans
Mix and sprinkle on top.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or so.

Crunchy Thanksgiving Dressing

2 pans cooked cornbread, dried out overnight and crumbled (I like to put lots
of herbs and spices in the cornbread itself before I bake it)
1 cup chopped onion
1 can water chestnuts, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
generous handful chopped toasted pecans
1 cup chopped green pepper
chicken broth
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine
spices: Italian seasoning, dill, paprika, cayenne -- whatever you like!

Saute onion, celery and green pepper in a little olive oil til tender. Combine
with rest of ingredients in saucepan, adding chicken broth til of the texture
you like. If you like, you can finish this off by putting in a casserole dish
and baking in the oven.

From Deborah Madison's ``The Savory Way'' (Broadway Books, $20).

2 cups pecan halves
8 peppercorns
4 cloves
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
41⁄2 ounces piloncillo
1⁄2 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup espresso or strong coffee
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large egg
Yolks of 2 large eggs
3 tablespoons half-and-half or cream
Pinch salt
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon flour
1 (10-inch) tart shell, blind baked

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Toast the pecans on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes, until fragrant. Be careful - they burn easily. Set aside to cool.

Bruise the peppercorns and the cloves, crushing them slightly with a pestle, then combine in a small saucepan with the cinnamon, piloncillo, corn syrup and coffee. Bring to a boil. Simmer about 10 minutes until the piloncillo is dissolved. Add the butter, in pieces. Set the mixture aside to cool, stirring occasionally so that the butter melts.

Beat the egg and yolks together. Add the cooled syrup to the eggs, along with the half-and-half, salt, vanilla and flour. Stir to combine.

Arrange the pecan halves attractively, rounded sides up, in the tart shell. Carefully pour the syrup over the nuts, rearranging them if the liquid spoils your pattern. Bake about 35 minutes or until tart is set.

2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans sauerkraut, drained
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons caraway seeds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 medium onions, finely chopped

(I make this a few days before Thanksgiving.) Combine the sauerkraut in a large saucepan with the sugar, vinegar, caraway seeds, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauerkraut has absorbed some of the liquid and is very dark, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Remove the cover from the sauerkraut and increase the heat to high. Bring to a boil and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and add the onions. Return the cover and set aside until ready to serve. (Or refrigerate.)

Gently reheat the sauerkraut, stirring to mix in the onions, over low heat until warmed through, 3 to 5 minutes. Serve hot with the turkey and stuffing and pan gravy, if desired.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Unplugging the Christmas Machine

I think that if we want to preach to the people who aren't already planning on simplifying Christmas, we need to stop titling sermons with negative terms.

"Unplugging the Christmas Machine" = Turning off Christmas!

They're coming to take your Bing Crosby and your twinkle lights and your roasted chestnuts and your Charlie Brown Christmas! And Rudolph, too!

"Finding a Richer Christmas" "Making Memories" "My Heart Sings - A Holiday Plan"

I'm just sayin' ...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Holy Spirit at Work

Last week, I wrote about what happened in my Christian Ethics class, but I didn't include the personal back story. Which has grown and -- after a remarkable speaker, last night -- blossomed.

A few weeks ago, I became good friends with one of my classmates. I'll call him George. George is a big, black, handsome man, about 50. He is gay. And he has lived a life, oh boy. A life of addiction and pain, but here he is, in seminary.

It was he who gave the presentation that led to the discussion about homosexuality. And it centered on the question -- would you hire someone gay to work in your church?

So, last week ... it wasn't just philosophical, this discussion. It was personal. He and I both felt so ... hurt.

My class is mostly made of black students. And for him, I think that's what hurt the worst. He wrote to me -- It amazes me how black folks especially, can discriminate against anyone. How they have forgotten what life used to be like in America ...

I shared some of this in an email with my father. He wrote back -- give me George's email. Last night, George told me that he received an email from Dad, explaining that he was 78 years old, and was raised to be a bigot and a homophobe, and his best friend now is a gay man and George, keep the faith. It was apparently quite a sweet email from the man who prides himself on being a curmudgeon.

My dad is cool.

Last night, before class, one of our fellow students whom I'll call Amy talked to me. The previous week, when students were saying, no, homosexuality is a sin, and they wouldn't hire someone gay, I asked, "Well, are you going to have a list of all the sins, during the interview? Are you going to go down it, checking off things?"

She had thought about that all week, she said. And isn't it interesting, she said, that with some things, we help the person into counseling or recovery services, and we're there to help them, but with others, we simply write them off. We chatted about that for a while. And about whether those same ministers would refuse to hire someone who goes shopping or watches football on the Sabbath. So she's thinking.

And then ... the biggie.

We had an amazing speaker last night. This guy is the real deal. If you want to know about someone who is walking the walk, doing the loving and leaving the judging for others, get his book. Right now. (You can also go to and pick up a used copy.)

His name is Rudy Rasmus and he wrote the book, "Touch." If you read O Magazine, you know him as the ethics columnist. For him, ethics is simple. Jesus told his disciples that the two most important things were to love God completely and to love your neighbor as yourself. So for Rev. Rasmus, when faced with a dilemma, he applies those issues.

"Sometimes, I miss," he said. "But I never miss an opportunity to love."

And how. His church serves the homeless, serves those diagnosed with HIV. Serves those struggling with recovery. Oh, and he serves wealthy folks, too, like Beyonce.

So, during the Q & A, George brought up the discusson last week. "Would you hire someone to work in your church who is gay?"

We do, said the reverend. To do otherwise would be discrimination. And he talked about love. And not drawing lines in the sand. And in the midst of all this, one of my fellow students, a male, got up and went over to George. And hugged him. And kissed the top of his head.

Sincere? I don't know. A group of students (including that one) huddled in the parking lot after class and judging from their faces, (and the fact that they abruptly stopped talking when I walked over) they were displeased.

We still have a long way to go. But keep the faith, baby. Keep the faith.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Boomer Sandwich, and Barack Obama

My mother, my sister, and I make up a boomer sandwich. Meaning, my mother is WWII Generation, my sister (16 years my senior) is Boomer Generation and I am Gen X.

My mother and I have our complaints about the Boomer Generation. For my mother, the Boomers were the ones telling her that she needed to have her consciousness raised and that she was wasting her life by being "just" a housewife. I have received my own share of comments about how the Boomers broke barriers for me and here I am, ungrateful and a waste of a college degree, staying home with my babies.

The more things change ...

The self-importance of Boomers is a bit grating for my parents. "Weren't we out there marching, too? In fact, weren't we the ones organizing the marches?" they might grumble. Except that they are WWII-Gen, and they generally don't take the time to grouse. I am interpreting their rolled-eyes.

As a Gen X, my rolled-eyes come from the idealistic weak memory of some Boomers. "Well, we've solved the other problems, I think we'll find a solution for the environment, too," one clueless Boomer friend recently said to me. No, she was not being facetious.

And hey, while I am grousing, thanks for inventing the 60-hour work week!

Of course the truth is, some of you Boomers did some amazing stuff. And really did change the world. Sarah Weddington, I give you my thanks. All the female UU ministers who got out there and showed congregations that having a female minister wasn't so wild and crazy. All those who actively worked for tolerance and inclusivity. The women who busted the doors down to the Boardroom.

But as a Gen Xer, I have had the feeling, "Okay, okay, you were wonderful, you changed the world ... can I please stop genuflecting now?"

The problem is, just as there genuinely are slacker Gen-Xers, there are genuinely Boomers filled with their own self-importance, convinced that their view is not just valid, but that it's RIGHT. Exclusively.

And that, I think, is why Obama's quotation had some many folks sitting up and taking notice:

"There's no doubt that we represent the kind of change Senator Clinton can't deliver on. And part of it's generational. Senator Clinton and others have been fighting some of the same fights since the '60s. It makes it very difficult for them to bring the country together to get things done. And I think that's what people hunger for."

Depending on your birthdate-definition of the generations, Barack Obama could be characterized as either a Boomer or a Gen Xer. With this quote, he put himself firmly in the Gen X camp. And a lot of Gen Xers cheered.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Biting out little pieces of me

Ohhhh ... it is so good to come home and wander into the warm room that is uupdates. Do you know, I actually felt hugged, even though none of the posts were to me in particular. It was warm and familiar and reflected my values.

Christian Ethics tonight. Which I normally enjoy, except that tangentially, homosexuality came up in discussion.

Hearing being gay referred to as a sin ... over and over, not viciously, just matter-of-factly ... hurts. Physically hurts. I feel like little bites have been taken out of me, all over.

"We are Christians. We have to uphold our standards."

What I would like to have said, but didn't:

"So, I'm curious ... which is more important to you, that a person be Christian, or that a person not be gay? Cause here's the deal. They're going to stay gay, but they won't necessarily stay Christian. And they're going to leave your church and come to mine, and guess what folks? At my church, you don't have to be Christian. And you certainly won't have left a good feeling in them about what a Christian is. So, really ... which is more important to you? And is homosexuality really that important to you?


My heart feels sad.

Friday, November 02, 2007

How the Grinches Stole Thanksgiving

Oh by gosh, by golly. They've already started the Christmas commercials. Time for a replay of a poem I wrote last year:

How the Grinches Stole Thanksgiving

The Cretishists (Christmas Fetishists) liked Christmas A LOT
But Thanksgiving, they believed, was a day best forgot
They should still get the day off from work, they said,
But it should be considered the First Feast of Christmas, instead.

The Commercialists thought that idea was fine, indeed
For Thanksgiving, they said, there really is no need
“Look,” they said, “We already have Halloween,
And then comes Christmas, so nothing in between!”

Even the Hearts joined in with the plan
They thought it a great way to stick it to The Man
They decided, in good conscience, they couldn’t recognize the day
That celebrated smallpox and the end of Red Man’s way

The Cretishists had already removed from their town
Any evidence of other religions to be found
If you dared to say, “Happy Holidays” during the month of December
The punishment was your choice – die, or be dismembered

So to remove Thanksgiving would be simple, they thought
First remove anything Thanksgiving-related that could be bought
The others joined in, with the Hearts leading the show
“These porcelain Pilgrims are the first things to go!”

Cranberries, pumpkins, they threw them all away
Turkey platters, autumn flowers, scarecrows sitting on hay
“Autumn is really so October,” they sneered
They put up a Christmas tree and everyone cheered.

The night before what-was-Thanksgiving, they all went to bed
Satisfied that the former holiday was dead
They’d wake up early the next day for the Feast
Christmas was here! Let the sales begin! Wear red and green, at the least!

But when they woke up, they got a big surprise
They walked around, their mouths agape, they couldn’t believe their eyes
For the people from all over the land,
Sat at their tables, hand hooked to hand

They spoke of being with the people they love
They expressed their gratitude to the heavens above
“We have such bounty,” they all seemed to say
“And we’re going to stop, and be thankful, all through this day.”

And the Cretishists and the Commercialists, the Hearts et al
Were stumped – they hadn’t removed Thanksgiving at all!
No matter what they did, it still came!
Without pumpkin pie or pilgrims, it came just the same!

They puzzled and puzzled but then had to face
Maybe Christmas, they thought, is fine it its place
But maybe we can still find a reason
For not yet starting the Yuletide season

Maybe there’s a real need for a day to give Thanks
(And not just a day to close all the banks)
Perhaps our soul cries out to give gratitude each year
For all that we have, and all whom we love far and near.

So this Thankgiving Day, please remember its reason
Let the day be its own, and not merely the start of a season.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Party, Halloween and Seminary

Time for some catching-up ...

The Party was terrif. This was actually our 13th Halloween party. And no, I don't think 13 is unlucky. In fact, I love the number 13 now. After Little Warrior had completed all of her treatment, we were going up to the Cancer Clinic on the 14th floor, when I noticed ... hmm, no 13th floor. So we had actually been going up to the 13th floor that whole time. I love that place, so 13 is a beautiful number, to me.

Anyway, party was much fun. Tons and tons of people, just the way we like it. Great food, if I say so myself (some contributed by friends). Mojito punch. Slide show DVD of previous parties. Karaoke. The Princess and Bo Peep pooped out about 9ish, but The Boy and Little Warrior were still going strong at midnight.

Seminary is also quite enjoyable. I have a new friend, who -- being black, gay, and an ex-addict -- is generously sharing his experiences with me. Some eye-opening information, especially since I didn't know the current practice of separating out and color-coding the self-admitted gay inmates in the county jail. Rather yellow-star-ish.

I'm working on my term paper now -- the ethical issues in ministering to the difficult person. I'm sure I'll never need that ...

And yay, today is Halloween. I hatehatehate the fact that in the part of the country, children are no longer allowed to wear costumes to school. (It offends the religious sensibilities of some.) And I'm not very fond of the government pushing the time change off a weekend ... means we'll be waiting even LONGER for it to get dark tonight. (Around here, no one goes trick or treating til dusk.)

But it is Halloween, a holiday I love. I've been sick this week, so I'm not going to make our traditional Halloween meal (Burgundy stew with spaetzle) ... I think I'm going to ring up The Husband and get him to pick up some hot and sour soup for me and entrees for him and kids. And then ... trick or treating. Got a big bag of candy and in case we get more trick-or-treaters than I expect, a bunch of individual bags of cookies. Can be used in the kids' lunches otherwise, you see.

Oh, and costumes ... The Boy is a pirate, The Princess is Hermione, Bo Peep is a Neverland Fairy and Little Warrior is Piglet. For the party, The Husband and I colored our hair blue, wore blue warmups, and name tags -- Gene and Jean. Get it? Get it? We were a pair of ... Okay, it was his idea. Don't flame me.

Happy Halloween, Y'all.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hot Chestnuts

Hey, you Yanks -- help me out.

I live in a land of no chestnut vendors. We're doing a holiday festival and I've found a vendor of fresh chestnuts. How many chestnuts are usually in a sack, and what is the cost ... from the best of your recollection?

Thanks, y'all.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Funny choices

I think it's quite funny that many Christian churches are foregoing trick or treating -- a tradition that owes more to the 1950s-era suburb neighborhood values crowd than to its soul-cake pagan origins-- in favor of harvest festivals. Festivals honoring the changing of seasons and the harvest. MAJOR pagan influence.


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Doing favors for my future self

Monday morning, I was dropping my son off at school when I noticed my gasoline was getting low. I wanted to just go home, but I have class Monday nights, so I said, "This is a present for my future self" and filled up the tank.

It's the kind of thing that I wouldn't hesitate to do for someone else, but for myself, not so often.

That afternoon, as I was frantically getting my stuff together (oh, YOU try and get professionally dressed, make dinner for the 5 you leave at home and get out the door on time), I was very thankful to my earlier self.

I think I'm going do more things for her. I mean my later self. Oh, you know.

Shoutout to Who Told Me About Sliding Papers in a Sermon

I think it was Peacebang, or maybe it was someone quoting PB. In any case, whomever you are, thank you. I preached this Sunday (all about forgiving God, forgiving others, forgiving yourself) and used the trick of sliding pages over, rather than flipping them.

Eureka! Don't you love it when something so simple, so easy, is so revolutionary?

Mwah, mwah, dahlings.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Charlotte and the Exterminator

We have used an exterminator on a regular basis since moving to this house, surrounded by towering pine trees, which bring with them great big Wood Roaches.

It's about time for a visit, but then I realized ...

The exterminator sprays outside the house, too.

He sprays in the garden where Ariadne and Cassandra live.

No, no, that won't do! They are still spinning gorgeous webs everyday, thrilling us with their brilliance.

So, we're holding off. And I'm looking for better ways to not have roaches roaming the house. Will take suggestions, IF you've tried them yourself. Don't just google a recipe for roach cookies.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Any modern UU's gone door-to-door?

I was already thinking about UU evangelism and the article about Quillen Shinn reminded me of a question:

Have any modern UU's -- minister or lay -- gone door to door, inviting people to church? I mean, literally door to door. Going around a neighborhood, introducing yourself and saying, Hey, I just wanted to let you know that we're in the neighborhood and I wanted to invite you to visit us.

Curious minds want to know.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Random Thought

If you're a parent and you've never watched Parenthood ... I'm sorry, we have to revoke your license.

If you ever want to be a parent ... watch it. Now. If you can't stand it ... um, keep up the birth control.

And if you're not a parent, but you're a minister ... again, watch it. Today. A comedy, with a lot of truth. I can still remember when, after a conference up at the school with Child 1, The Husband turned to me and said ... "I'm sorry. I 'Parenthood'ed' you."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

"Hullo Toad,"

... she said somberly.

LW and I are outside playing in the back yard for the first time in about 6 months. We finally got a cool front and it is pleasant.

Walking the kids to school, we saw that a number of folks in the neighborhood have put up Halloween decorations. Here, they mean something more than just celebrating October 31. It's kind of an affirmation ... phew! We made it through the hot summer and survived! Facing broken air conditioners and overheated cars and mosquito bites and choking humidity ... but the summer is over and we are here. Time to celebrate.

(That and it lets you know who is safe to say "Happy Halloween" to and not worry that you'll get a lecture about how Halloween is Satan's holiday. A genuine risk, in this part of the country, where every Protestant church holds "autumn festivals" Halloween night to keep children "safe.")

Well, it's too early for me to begin my Halloween rant. Time to enjoy the particular modern pleasure of using my laptop outside, a new treat for me.

And help LW chase toads.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Laptop Lunches -- Cool, and Cheaper

We are now in possession of 3 "laptop lunchboxes" because -- yay! -- you can buy them in bulk and sell them to your congregation/co-op/etc.

We bought three, for the 3 school-budders ... but I think I'm going to have to buy another, for The Husband.

It's kind of a cult, this American bento-box fascination: ooh, aren't those photos cool?

Hard for me to argue with, though. Reusable containers, healthy food.

Tomorrow, the kids get:

* Deviled eggs (made with homemade yogurt, says Mz Martha-Stewart-not-at-all)
* Edamame (my kids are ready for bar snacks, what can I say?)
* Strawberries
* Cookies (but tomorrow I get in the kitchen and bake, I promise ...)

They're so cute. I might have to get two for Little Warrior and myself.

(sigh at consumerism ... there will be a post forthcoming on that topic.)

Friday, October 05, 2007

A Special Seminary

I am really happy with my seminary.

It hasn't always been this way. When I began school before All Of This, 3 years ago, it was a different school. Different location, much smaller enrollment, different attitude.

Now, they're really making strides towards being more diverse. In the orientation, the president of the school was very direct -- "You will be in classes with people who have different beliefs than you. Let me assure you that God did not send you here to 'save' any classmates."

Since this is a self-proclaimed evangelical Christian school, this was pretty huge.

Higher expectations, too. Which is good -- we all want to feel challenged, right? Yeah, okay, remind me that as I'm working on my term paper.

Best, I have a unique opportunity by going to this school. As I mentioned before, I am by far the racial minority; socio-economic, too.

What a gift this is! I realize that may sound so "cute," so earnestly liberal. But it is such a gift for my journey. My classmates are generous with sharing their experiences. Anti-oppression, anti-racism? I've got people living it and teaching it, baby.

That's good. Because I feel like I was called to be a minister. And the voice never said, "A minister of white, well-educated, upper-middle class people." The voice said to minister. Period.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Know of a great "servant model" of a minister?

Help Lizard Eater with her presentation. If you know of a great minister (especially UU) who fits the "servant" model of ministry (really tries to serve their congregation, as opposed to being the CEO or the hired hand), tell me about them.

Right now I have Rick Warren ... surely you can give me one a bit closer to our theological home?

And I know. Don't call you Shirley.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Ariadne is in the front garden

Every day, she gives us a new masterpiece.

She is Gasteracantha cancriformis. She makes huge spiral webs, going from our rose bush, to the roof, to the crape myrtle.

Every day, our first gift of the morning is to run outside, my son and I, to see what her web looks like today.

And just a few minutes ago -- excitement! -- I found a "sister" spinning her web on an azalea that's right by our dining room window. I was 1 foot away from her, watching her spin her web. She was on the 4th interior ring, carefully, but rapidly, going spoke to spoke, making the ring.

That, my friends, is a thrill. May you all be given such a gift.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Weeping for another mother's child

Precious Girl is gone. She died last night, at midnight, in her mother's arms, at home.

Saturday, she celebrated her birthday. She turned 5 years old.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month. Please consider giving to CureSearch.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Grown Ups Not Doing Their Job

What bothers me about the whole Jena 6 thing is that it is so ... needless.

We'll put the racist DA to the side for the moment.

Mistake 1: When a new black student approached the principal and asked if he could sit under what had traditionally been a "whites only" tree, this was a powerful opportunity for the educator. Imagine a well-organized school assembly, where students are encouraged to talk about traditional assumptions. Where they are challenged to overcome those assumptions. A little bit of discussion about "olden times" wouldn't hurt, either.

Mistake 2: Kids are stupid. Not all of them, but as a group, yeah, I'll stand by this statement. IT IS OUR JOB, as adults, educators, parents, police, to TEACH THEM to face consequences. Notice: I did not say "ruin their lives." Teach them. You haul the offenders down to the jail, make their parents bail them out, then have a judge who gives them a stern talking-to and assigns them to something clever, like writing essays about prominent African-American heroes, and doing community service at an after-school program for underprivileged children (heavily supervised). The judge also calls all the parents forward and questions whether they think this is just a "prank." He/she dresses them down, too. In short, you scare them straight, both kids and parents.

Mistake 3: The community should have responded. I'm sure someone could have thought of something poetic -- how about a line of adults standing in front of the school the following Monday morning, (after the nooses) holding up posters that say, "Jena is Not a Town of Hate"?

Mistake 4: There were so many injustices throughout this, I won't go into them all, other than to mention they arrested the students who took away another student's gun (that he threatened them with), but did nothing to him? REALLY??? Oh, dear God.

Mistake 5: The assault on the white student, for which the Jena 6 were arrested. They should have been arrested, absolutely. See Mistake 2. But the goal should have been to scare them straight, NOT to make an example of them, or ruin their lives, or both.

There were many other mistakes that others can comment on, like the media ignoring it. But a fundamental issue in this is the grownups -- parents, teachers, etc --

They failed them. White students and black, they failed them.

Mychal Bell was denied bail

When he was tried as an adult, his bail was absurdly high, but it was there. Now, perhaps because enough money was raised for a bail bond ... no bail?

This entire thing makes me feel physically ill. Will post more later, once I can type without retching.

Planning for The Halloween Party

This will be our 13th Halloween party. Ooooh! 13!

Planning is already underway, as it must be. If you have any really amazing party recipes, please share. Finger foods preferable.

And here's one for you. It's so pathetically simple, that I've refused to make it, though I've seen the recipe a million times. Well, I recently had it at Elder Stateswoman's home, not knowing what it was. Fabulous. You take mushroom caps, and fill them with -- get this -- Stouffer's spinach souffle. Top with parmesan. Heat in the microwave.

Go figure.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Do You Know Someone Who Will Be At Jena Tomorrow?

If you know of someone who will be there, who would like to "live blog via phone," let me know.

lizardeater at gmail period com

Monday, September 17, 2007

When the minister revealed his pain ...

Ms. Kitty and Making Chutney are talking about ministry and how it affects your life, and what do you choose to share with your congregants.

This past Saturday night, The Husband and I were with the Elder Stateswoman for dinner. Somehow, conversation got around to a minister we had about a decade ago. He was going through an intensely painful time, as his brother was dying from a horrible disease. He shared that pain in a sermon. And he told us this: that the truth about "what happens after we die" was no longer a concern for him. He said that it brings him comfort to believe he will see his brother again. And if that is true, great, and if not, so what.

All of us remembered him saying that, in great detail.

Sometimes, I think sharing your pain is a gift. You allow others to feel compassion, perhaps they can even grow a bit themselves, through your experience.

This scenario isn't exactly what Ms. Kitty and Chutney were talking about. But they got me thinking about it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Fantasies of Ministering

1:05 am in my house. Everyone is asleep in my house, even the dog. Except for me.

My reason for wakefulness is not a bad one. No worries eating at me. Fantasies, actually. Two competing fantasies, of a life as a minister.

In one, I am a hospital chaplain. I already know the first rule of medical chaplaincy -- Shut up and listen! -- but I bring more with me. I can't be all things to all people, but I have little bits and pieces that bring comfort. I visit a Jewish family and the mother wants the language from her past, as a student, as a schoolgirl.

Y'varekh'ka ADONAI v'yishmerekha
Ya'er ADONAI panav eleikha vichunekka
Yissa ADONAI panav eleikha v'yasem l'kha shalom

The LORD bless you and keep you.
The LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

I speak to another. No, I am not a priest, but I can find one ... Do you know ... ? she asks ... Of course, I soothe ... Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee ...


I have another. I am a pastor and the church I serve, serves all colors, all cultures, all classes.

Black, brown, white, red, yellow. A white father and a black mother attend, and know that their child has others here, with similar backgrounds. Sometimes, being "unique" is not preferable. There are others who understand that even in this world, even now, there are prices to be paid for this richness of culture, this amalgam of ethnicity. They find each other. One can go his way alone, but Oh! To find another!

We are a church of inclusion. Each new culture adds more flavor. We know that we all benefit from the experience of another. Our readings are from the 'Gita. The Koran. The Bible. Many times the Bible, because it is the dominant religious book in our culture. Khalil Gibran. L.M. Alcott. Skinner. Heinlein. W.E.B. DuBois. A.A. Milne.

Shel Silverstein.

We laugh. We cry. We leave fear, self-consciousness, superiority -- all at the door. We leave with a mission to improve the world.

Fantasies ... keeping me awake.

Who knows what my future will be, what path will open up. A chaplaincy at a clinic, ministering to a small congregation such as my home church.

But hopefully, hopefully, I can still take these fantasies with me. And drop a little taste into wherever I land.

It is a million years from year.

And miles to go before I sleep.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Conversation with myself, communion with God

On my walk today, I was quite dispirited. I am watching another mother's child die, through email and her blog. They upload pictures and I see the deterioration. She has a brain stem tumor and it's fatal. Her family is enjoying these last precious moments, living a lifetime in a matter of months. I call her Precious.

After Isaac was spared, did Abraham give any thought to the children who were not spared?

I walk on. Around and around and around the track. I do not feel that God intervenes, so I am not railing at God. I do not feel He saved Little Warrior. I feel that the system is what it is, and the system does what it does. No reason.

My heart hurts.

On my iPod, Cry for Help is playing. It is at that time that God joins me. He slips his hand in mine and we walk on, silently. Around and around the track.

God appears in different ways, as my imagination follows different paths, depending on the day or the circumstance. Today he looks kinda like your regular image of Jesus. Except he's wearing an Indian kurta set today. Hard to run in robes.

What if God Was One of Us comes on. He kind of smiles sideways at me. We've talked about this before. I know that he can be as frustrated with The System that is in place as I can be. But he knows that this is how it has to be. Free will and all.

A song from Next Stop Wonderland comes one. Have you ever been to Brazil? I ask him. He again looks sideways at me, with a look that, if he were not God, would be described as a smirk. Yeah, okay.

I don't speak the language of the song. What does it mean? He doesn't answer, as is his norm. He reaches over and pushes a button on my iPod to go to another track. He does this frequently. It would annoy me, coming from someone else, except he always goes to a good one.

It's Abba. He loves Abba for some reason, and I find Abba songs frequently popping up where I don't expect them.

Why now? Ah. Of course. Abba sang the songs, even when they didn't know English. They sang with emotion, even though they might not have known exactly what the words meant. Sometimes, the words aren't the important part. Just like this, whom I'm walking with. My imagination? The universe? The interdependentwebofexistenceofwhichwearejustonepartbutcanaccesswhennecessary?

"God" works.

I am getting to the end of my walk. The next song comes on. How Soon Is Now comes on. I swing my head around, startled.

I am the son
And the heir

God is ... giggling. After a second, I start laughing, too.

We walk off the track together, arms slung over each other's shoulders.

Stop at the nursery to pick up Little Warrior. God waits outside for me. When we come out, LW jabbering about her day, he stoops and kisses the top of her head. She's too busy trying to get to the water fountain to notice.

He walks with us out to the minivan. I get LW settled in her seat and turn to him.

"But ... Precious."

He wraps his arms completely around me and holds me close, his cheek resting on the top of my head. "I know," he says softly. He lets go and looks at me.

I give a nod into the minivan, asking if he wants to come home with us. He shakes his head no. He half-jogs back across the parking lot, and goes back inside. I think I saw a pick-up game of b-ball starting as we left.

And Little Warrior and I go home.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Back in Seminary

And feels like I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be.

Great class, last night. Christian Ethics. Great professor. Great classmates.

I am in the racial minority at this school. I count that as a good thing. It can feel good to not be yoked to unearned privilege.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

"Thank you for a wild Saturday night," he said, bending down ...

... and kissing me on the cheek. "Goodnight, Mom. And are you sure I shouldn't do some more homework?"

"It's 10:30, Boy! Go up to the playroom and sleep in front of a movie!"

A Wild Saturday Night for an 11 year old boy, in case you're wondering, involves watching Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide on Nick, dancing with one's parents and sisters to AME and Pentecostal gospel tunes* and watching old Weird Al Yankovic videos on YouTube.

Of the latter, The Boy and I have a special affinity. Especially when we found Weird Al's "The Night Santa Went Crazy." TRULY twisted. NOT for your younger believer children. PERFECT for a new middle-schooler. We laughed so hard. The Boy wrapped his arms around me, insanely chortling.

A Wild Saturday Night.


* Hey, I've got religion! "Well, you certainly didn't get it here!" (Old UU joke.)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Inclusion, Not Exclusion, The Answer

Buncha different posts on various topics has me thinking about how we should focus on what we include, not what we exclude.

Peacebang recently wrote, "My wish is that someday, even the most angry, Christian-suspicious Unitarian Universalists will be able to hear selections from the Bible, traditional Christian hymns, and the name of Jesus in sermons with just as peaceful a heart and steady blood pressure as they do hearing the poetry of Mary Oliver or segments from the Dhammapada."

She had comments turned off, which I completely understand. Sometimes, you just know what will provoke debate and sometimes, you're not in the mood for one. But had comments been open, I would have written something along the lines of "Amen, Sister," and that I'm going to use her post in my UU 101 class.

Over on Moxie Life, the author wrote about her church's Sunday speaker, who advised that, "we should not devolve into Humanism." Moxie goes on to explain that "We are proud to be Humanists. We do not see that as a de-evolutionary process. Granted, my anti-Christian stance would not be popular in most congregations, but at a UU Church I expect that there is an understanding that we are standing in the presence of Humanists."

I'm going with all of this, I swear.

Over on Philocrites, there were comments responding to a post about classism by talking about water ceremonies -- how classist they are, how bad people feel when others talk about the vacations they've taken, and how they should be abolished.

Which made me remember a post on the subject of Mothers Day, by Biddies in My Brain. I appreciated her post, because it was honest and raw and it affected what I said in the pulpit on Mothers Day. However, the quote from a friend of hers -- "... DON'T even THINK about bringing this celebration into the church. Not on my watch. I've held too many women in coffeehour who have wept and felt the pain of this day" made me say, really? Really? Does that mean that we should also get rid of child dedications?

And don't even get me started on the "we shouldn't have a Thanksgiving service" posts.

I think that the answer is inclusion, not exclusion. Have a Mothers Day service, but mention that you know this is a day of pain for some. The Bible is full of great, marvelous illustrations for your sermon. Don't get huffy because someone uses one. Humanists have given, and continue to give, wonderful contributions to our churches and I for one think that having the "opt-out" clause in the God column is a good choice to have, whether we take it or not. And our water ceremonies ... the time in which we say, "I left you, my friends, and traveled elsewhere. I saw new people and new things and I brought some of it back to share. Let us pool our combined experiences and rejoice that we are all back together." My contributions have usually included, "This is water from my hose where my kids played in the sprinkler" or "This is water from the hospital where our daughter was getting chemotherapy"; rarely have I had a vacation water, and when I did, it was never from someplace exotic.

We are not a selfish people. We Are Not. As such, we will not say, No, don't use Christian imagery, I am not a Christian. No, don't be a humanist, for I am not a humanist. Don't celebrate Mother's Day, I have no mother. Don't tell me about your vacation, I did not go on one.

Inclusion is the answer. To talk about the simple vacations and wide ranges of beliefs and all different kinds of philosophers and pain and sadness. To say, Here's another view of Thanksgiving and Do you know what your neighbor's kids did all summer, since their mother couldn't afford daycare?

To limit ... no. To expand ... yes.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Middle School Really IS Hell

LE has been quiet for a few days because my eldest has begun intermediate school. I am already threatening to pull him out and homeschool him, simply because of the workload. This is a straight A student who loved school, who now does homework from the time he arrives home, takes a break for dinner, goes back to homework, at 10:00 (11 last night), we tell him he has to go to bed, and he then gets up early the next morning to do more homework.

The Husband and I have been coaching him -- "Don't double check your work. Don't even worry about correct answers. Just rush through it as fast as you can." Is this really what we want to be teaching our kids?

I have a friend who says that after about 3 weeks, the workload tapers down. Something about "showing the kids how tough the teachers can be."

Yes. Because transitioning to middle school isn't difficult enough for a boy who could pass for a 5th grader with a locker under a boy who, I'm pretty sure, has begun shaving.

Friday, August 31, 2007

F*#% Cancer

Okay, so I put in some different symbols for the aggregators, but here, in my post, I'll spell it out.

I just watched two movies. One, a documentary, called "Crazy Sexy Cancer." And the other, which you've probably all seen, "Little Miss Sunshine."

End result: I have a vision, like from a really funny, crazy movie, that I want to make real, but I know that I don't have the courage, and do have the "modicum of decency" to not create:

But, just for fun, imagine the scene:

Next Spring. Lizard Eater and her family -- The Husband, an 11 year old son, an 8 year old daughter, a 5 year old daughter, and Little Warrior herself, 2 years old ... all walk onto the track of a suburban high school. They are surrounded by a moderate amount of people, there to cheer on cancer survivors. All of the members of Lizard Eater's family, including herself, the seminarian and somewhat-model mom, are wearing hats that say, in capital letters:


Isn't it a great vision?

So what if it won't become reality. The vision still reflects something everyone in my family can get behind. My kids, only 2-5-8-11, can all get behind it. The 5 year old remembers it all -- it's probably why she retreats into herself in this first week of kindergarten. It's grandparents being here, but with worried looks on their faces, and presents given by worried, distracted adults who don't spend much time with her, but instead want to ask her questions about her baby sister. Anyone gets sick now, even the cat, and she asks, dispassionately, "Is it cancer?" Casually. Like it's a cold.

The 8 and the 11 know cancer, remember not being allowed to go to birthday parties or Chuck E. Cheese or the library for-cripes-sake. And washing their hands all the time. And getting attention at school from sympathetic teachers. And grandparents morphing from fun, spoiling people to guys who are like parents, who fuss at you for not doing your homework and make you wear proper clothes to school. And walk around with worried looks on their faces and talk in hushed voices after answering the phone. And even now, they know that "cancer" is a magic, but powerful word, and if they say, "My sister had cancer," people will pull back, and treat them in a way that isn't normal. And they've learned that "special" doesn't always mean "good."

We were a family already. But this has given another layer to that familydom. Which is probably why so many people laugh and cry at "Little Miss Sunshine," and think the movie was made just for them, because they have a completely crazy family that has gone through unique experiences, and know that even though their family is crazy and not the Bradys or the Cosbys, it's still tight, and loyal to each other, and willing to trade embarrassment to protect one of their own.

And the "2" ... Little Warrior herself. The child who acts fearless ... but washes her hands, every chance she gets. She knows what hand sanitizer is for. She knows what a stethoscope is for. She carries her syringes of medicines, three times a day, around to the people in her family, judiciously choosing which one gets the honor of giving her medicine. On vacation, it was "Bops." (Pops.) She wields it like a Queen allowing a privilege to one of her subjects. And she puts bandaids on her stuffed animals, admonishing them, "Shhh, shhhh."

Midnight, it is September 1st. September is "Childhood Cancer Awareness Month."

We're aware.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I want to strip nekkid

... and pour the contents of my PurWater fridge dispenser over me.

No need to adjust your ratings filter. Lizard Eater is just hot Hot HOT. It is mid 90s in the shade, here on August 30. I pushed the stroller up to the school (1/2 mile) and back (10,000 freaking miles), this time the stroller loaded with backpacks and lunchboxes. And I have reached that point, that point that I reach every year around about this time. The point at which I say forget bloom where you're freakin' planted, I WANT A COOL FRONT!

My parents lived for a while in Rochester, NY. My mother recounts standing at the window, looking out into the grayness, the unceasing snow, and just crying. Tears running down her face.

I'm not crying, mostly because all of the fluid in my body has been converted to sweat.

I'm ready for fall. Autumn. Isn't it just the most delicious word, redolent of pumpkin and cinnamon and long-simmered stews on the stove? Granted, where I live, fall can still be hot, but it's bearably hot, not "I'm going to melt right here on the pavement and you're going to have to scrape me up like a gooey marshmallow and how are you going to explain THAT to your father?"

I'm heading for the PurWater ...

Let me share a little of the good stuff

Okay, time to NOT hold back. Many of you have been on this ride with Little Warrior and me through the worst, darkest, scariest times. Reading Another Working Mom's post about her workplace made me realize that gee, I've shared the bad stuff -- how about I share a little of the good stuff?

Thursday, we had the appointment with LW's oncologist to go over the scans. I already knew they were clear, so there was no stress. Well, other than taking 4 kids downtown to the appointment.

Actually, it was all good. The kids were helpful with LW, and they enjoyed seeing the clinic again, especially the child-life specialist. Now that, my friends, is a calling. To be the person who explains, in child terms, what cancer is, what chemo is, and what the heck is going on with your brother/sister/self. She even goes out to the local schools when a cancer-kid goes to school, to explain to his classmates what's going on.

The oncologist was thrilled to see LW. You know that phrase "feasting his eyes on her"? That's what he did. And here's what he saw:

A fat, laughing little girl, with curls over her head, and a very faint scar bisecting her belly. Who was having a ball, jumping off the exam table, into Mom's arms. Over and over and over. And dashing out into the hall. And creating all kinds of mischief. Really, if you look close enough, you can see two little horns amidst the curls. And that's okay. Because it keeps us from wrapping her in cotton wool or treating her as if she's "precious." She is precious. They're all precious. But she ain't gonna let you treat her as such. She's a rough-tough, rum-tum-tugger.

Her oncologist carried her into the lab to show her off. "What the heck did you do to her?" they laughed. She doesn't look like a cancer kid.

Her older brother asked why the doctor was doing that. Why he was showing her off.

"You know how when you do really well on something at school, you want to put it on the refrigerator?" I asked him. He nodded. "Well, LW won't fit on his refrigerator."

That day, LW got to BE the good stuff for someone.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Another Fantastic Quote About Worship

The Elder Stateswoman emailed me this. She and I share a similar belief about the holiness of a worship service, which should be treated accordingly.

Worship at its heart is the practice of becoming aware of the presence of God so that we become more deeply and fully human. I judge every worship experience in which I participate by that definition.

John Shelby Spong

"Shut Up" - 5 times a day

I have a new spiritual discipline. 5 times a day, I must shut up.

I don't mean that I need to have a period of quietness 5 times a day. I mean that 5 times a day, I have to stop myself right before speaking.

It's not that I say things I regret. It's just that I sometimes speak when it is unnecessary to do so. Which means that I might be missing out on an opportunity to hear something.

A couple of years ago, I lost my voice. Totally, for about 3 days. I still had to go about my life, though. So, I carried a pen and paper. When you have to write out everything, you only speak when you have something really important to say. And you know what? At the end of it, I didn't feel that there was anything important that I had been unable to communicate.

Like Moxie Life, I've had my struggles with Chronic Sharing. Like many females, I have often offered up sharing as a way to bond. It is the equivalent of showing the soft white underbelly, making oneself vulnerable as a gift.

I think that there are better ways to bond.

Sharing with close friends is one thing. But sharing as a way to establish a relationship that is not already in place often leads to that sick feeling in one's stomach and ache in one's head ... the dreaded Oversharing Hangover.

Obviously, if I'm going to be a minister, I have a whole host of other reasons to cut the chronic sharing.

Last week, we were in the clinic and a very nice lady, a volunteer, came over to talk to us. It turned into her telling me all about her second cousin once-removed and her problems with diverticulosis or some such. It didn't particularly bother me, because, hey, I already knew that Little Warrior had clear scans. Not much bothered me that day.

But what if I had a newly diagnosed child. Or we were waiting to hear scan results. The last thing you need at that point is to have to put on a polite face while a stranger prattles on.

I mentally wrote a blog entry: "If you're a volunteer in a hospital, here's some advice ... Shut up."

It's actually pretty good advice for me.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Holding some back

"Be a cool, dignified mystery." I just wrote that in comments to Moxie Life's post about mean girls growing up to be woman haters.

And I go back to my post yesterday about purchasing "The Rules." So, why do I like the book?

At its heart, I don't think The Rules is about "games." Instead, it answers the all-too-painful situation so many of us have seen time and again.

(The following is based on vast generalizations. Of course you know people who don't fit this. But I bet you know some who do.)

Boy falls in love with independent girl. Girl falls in love with him. She then makes him the center of her life, brings him brownies, picks up his dry-cleaning, hangs out with his friends, and tries to provide anything he wants/needs.

Boy says, "What happened to the independent girl I thought you were?"

The Rules is about trying to break females of this "over-nurturing" drive. Have your own friends! Only accept being treated like the unique jewel you are! And for God's sake, hold back a little of yourself!

The latter is good advice for anyone, in any situation. Okay, maybe not therapy. But that's the point ... regular life is not a therapy session for you to dump everything.

As my Southern Belle mama would say, "Keep a little mystery!" I can think of many times in my life I should have followed that advice, whether it was being a little too trusting of an office co-worker, or sharing my insecurities with someone on the second date.

My natural persona is (like you haven't noticed), extremely open, extremely honest. As I have gotten older, I have realized that this has not always served me well. The women whom I admire are those who carry themselves with quiet confidence, quiet dignity. The ones whom, after much time has passed, you learn something about and say, "Wow! She was a race-car driver?" It's not all on display.

It's okay to hold a little sumpin' back.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I'm buying "The Rules"

Prepare to scream, but I stand my ground.

I'm buying it for a young woman friend of mine. Now, I was already well-married when the book came out, and like most everyone of our (liberal, feminist) type, I thought the whole idea was horrible.

Well, a few years ago, I saw it in a friend's bookcase, and picked it up. And read it. And agreed with most of it.

Not all of it. Some is just manipulative. Don't call back, even if he leaves you a message? Pah.

But a whole lot of it made a lot of sense. It was the stuff Mama told you in high school, that you didn't want to hear. Don't chase after boys. Don't be so convenient. If a boy calls you Saturday afternoon for a date Saturday night, say no. "If you would just spend as much time on your schoolwork as you do thinking about boys ..."

Now ... if they would just change the title to "The Rules -- How to Maintain Your Individuality and Keep Your Self-Respect" -- everyone would like it.

Except the playas.

Lizard Eater IS a sign

So, I had my divinity school orientation on Friday. Early on, they decide to go around the room and have us all introduce ourselves. Name, denomination, and the relationship your denomination has with Christ. (No jokes on the last, it's just too freakin' easy.)

I am the first person to speak, and it turns out, the last person to describe my religion. Everyone else just names it -- Baptist. AME. Non-denominational.

Well, even though I am not normally a fan of the elevator speech, here it was needed, and glad I was to have one. Hi I'm LE I'm sure I represent the most liberal denomination here I'm Unitarian Universalist and we believe in encouraging people to find their own path and live by the highest ethical standards. take a breath. Whew. (Do I think this is the most eloquent elevator speech? Of course not. But you tailor your message to the audience.)

So, then, the fellow on my left introduces himself. Hi I'm Joe Blow and The Baptist Fathers Would Be Shocked to See Me Sitting Next to a Unitarian.

No, really, that's what he said. It wasn't anything I didn't expect, so I inwardly just rolled my eyes.

But I had it all wrong.

He and I talked afterwards. He had been going to a very conservative school and didn't like it. "They prayed all the time! They'd start a class with a prayer for George Bush!" I squelched the impulse to remark that if anyone needed praying for, it was Bush. I instead commiserated -- I don't like it when any side mixes politics and religion.

We chatted a bit more and then he said ... "The fact that I wound up sitting right next to you. I think it's a sign from God. I do."

He didn't elaborate. He seemed pleased with the sign, though, not running and screaming. So maybe, somehow, my presence told him that he was right where he should be.

That's cool.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Ahhh ... sitting down

Sipping slightly cooler than room temperature champagne, left over from the morning's mimosas.

Okay, so this week:

Kindergarten, Intermediate, and Seminary Orientation:


Various Doctor Appts:

School Supplies purchased:

Hosted a stewardship brunch for the big money-givers of the congregation:


So, school starts Monday. For the kids. My school starts Sept 10.

Brunch Menu:

Green Chile Egg/Cheese Torte
Gingerbread Muffins
Corn Muffins
Triple Chocolate Muffins
Banana Pecan Muffins
Mocha Chocolate Chip Muffins
And contributions of:
Noodle Kugel
Cheese Grits
Flavored Butters
Fruit Tray.

My friends also brought an extra tray of cheese grits for meself for tomorrow, and two kinds of homemade-from-scratch soup. What can I say? I've got FABULOUS friends.

And a lot of leftover muffins.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Doctor Called

Clear scans.


Right now, off to the pediatrician. Little Warrior woke up looking very similar to Eric Stolz in Mask. At least, around the eyes. All swollen and puffy. Probably just some bitty allergy ... but of course, "kidney problem" jumps out at me. (Edema is a symptom of kidney problems. Edema usually shows up around the eyes first, since that's the "softest" area.)

But maybe I just need to wash her pilowcase.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Vacation's Over

Well, as is obvious by my blogshow of the trip, we had a fantastic, relaxing time. But vacation's over, Baby! No time for transition!

This week, somehow, we're (collectively and individually, depending) going to attend three orientations -- Kindergarten for Bo Peep, Intermediate for The Boy and Seminary for moi. (If you've been gone two years, you have to effectively start over.) AND I have to meet with my academic advisor. AND we have to go buy school supplies. AND .... the Big "And" --

Little Warrior has CT and MRI tomorrow, results appointment is Thursday.

If I close my eyes, I can still see the water rushing over the rocks, see how fast a leaf dropped in the river will whizz away.

Open your eyes, LE. You've got things to do.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Trip Home

Happy 17th Anniversary, Darling.

We’ll, we’ve had anniversaries that were more fun, but if this was the price for a great vacation, it was worth it. It is 10:54, 11:54 on our internal clocks. My father, who is an RVer, has a different route to our home. We tend to prefer big fast interstates. But he is convinced that his way is fastest, so this time, we decided to try it. (Note: he usually takes 3 days to do what we are doing in one.)

Did I mention what time it is? And that we left at 6:45 am?

Suffice it to say, it’s not. But hey, we tried.

Kids 1, 2 and 4 are asleep. Kid 3 just requested that we turn off the 12 Dancing Princesses DVD so she could get to sleep. I think we’re an hour and a half from home.

Ahhh … home. Such a nice word.