Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What Fish Would Jesus Serve?

Our conversation at dinner last week, in which we show ourselves to be grossly ignorant of each other’s religious traditions.

Me:  I bought herring snacks for Passover.  But Dad already finished them off, and it’s not even Passover yet.

(Herring snacks are small bits of herring pickled with rather lots of onion.  They are not nearly as objectionable as gefilte fish, but an acquired taste just the same.)

Husband:  We don’t have bagels at Passover.  I can’t have herring snacks when there are no bagels.

(This must be one of the 613 laws: "And you shall not eat of the snacks of herring except that you eat them with bagels."  - Book of Comestibles 3:36.)

Me:  But I made Passover bagels.

Husband (shaking his head sadly):  No, herring snacks are not for Passover.  They don’t go with Passover bagels.

Son:  I thought fish was for Lent.

Husband:  Didn’t Jesus talk to fish?

Youngest Daughter (who has been somewhat paying attention to my reading of Bible stories):  Didn’t Jesus serve fish to a huge bunch of hungry people?  He took 3 fish and 2 loaves and fed a whole bunch of people.

Husband:  I always thought it was gefilte fish that he served, because, doesn’t the Bible say it was a loaf of fish?

Me: It was 2 fish and 5 loaves.  Of bread.

Son:  Is that why the cafeteria serves a fish sandwich every Friday?

Anyway, I am glad the herring snacks are gone and I don’t have to buy any more for a while.  They are stinky.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Prayer trickery and divine intervention

When we sat down this evening to dinner, I prayed, “Thank you, Lord, for helping my vertigo to go away enough so that I could cook the Passover food.  Thank you for this family, and for this food to nourish this family, and….”  Then, being at a loss for words, I said to the kids, “Anything else?” giving them an opportunity to address their petitions to the Almighty.

Son said, “Umm….Can I have the car tomorrow?”

I paused, trying to figure out if my son is asking me or the Almighty for the car keys.  I said, “Wait a minute!  That’s a trick!  If I say, ‘Amen,’ then that means ‘So be it’ and I’ll have to give you the car!”   I finished up with God by saying, “That’s it for now, Lord” because ‘Amen’ is too risky.

And to my son, “No, you may NOT have the car tomorrow.”

My son shot back with, “But if you have vertigo, you shouldn’t be driving.”

Despite the fact that I drove to church this morning while still suffering the lingering effects of vertigo, my son is right.  Last Friday at 6:30 a.m., when I was supposed to take him to school for a special study session, the vertigo was so bad that I could hardly get out of bed, and in desperation I let him drive himself to school.  It’s amazing how quickly these teenagers get used to having the car.

Tonight I said,  “I don’t have vertigo any more.  If I have vertigo tomorrow, I’ll let you know tomorrow.”   I might like to pretend I have vertigo, because tomorrow is another special study session which requires him to be at school early.

It is great to be over the vertigo, and able to cook the Passover food.  God had an even more miraculous blessing for me today:  Youngest Daughter helped me do the cooking cheerfully and without complaining.  Definitely divine intervention.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Bowling for Science

Last Tuesday the Common Household Son competed in the Science Bowl for Southwestern PA.  He was the captain of his team, which came in second.  The first-place team now has to go on to compete in Washington, DC. in April, but Son gets to relax at home that weekend, and so does his mother.  This is better than being first, and ranks right up there with coming in second in the county spelling bee, thereby winning a gallon of chocolate ice cream and a dictionary, instead of having to study more spelling words.  (This is what happened to me in 6th grade, in Lowndes County, Mississippi.) 

When my husband asked him what prize he won for coming in second, Son said, "A yo-yo."  In reality, the second place team wins money for the school science department, and each team member gets a bag, a cap, a yo-yo, a rubik's cube, and a squeeze toy in the shape of Albert Einstein (the “rubber effigy” of my previous post).  Alas, no chocolate ice cream.

Getting more mileage out of Albert Einstein's presence in our house.

I asked Son what some of the questions were, but he said he didn't really remember too many.  One of them was about an unpressurized rubber duck and buoyancy.  No, maybe it was an irrepressible rubber duck?  I'm not sure.  And something else about Doctor Evil, exploding things.

When we tried to leave the Science Bowl, the director said, "Wait!  We need to record an interview with the second place team before you leave." They put the whole team in front of the camera, put a microphone on Son and said since he was the team captain, he was the only one who was allowed to actually talk.   I thought, Great. They are going to ask him open-ended questions, and he's going to say, "I dunno" or "-grunt-" which are his usual responses to my questions.  Much to my surprise, he answered all the questions cogently and coherently, with no grunts.  This proves my theory that children save their most 'interesting' behavior for their parents.

I think it was an uncompressible rubber duck.

My son was in the Science Bowl and I got this cool name tag.
For me!  Even though I am not a scientist!
I wasn’t able to attend the Bowl itself, but I had the opportunity to have lunch with the kids on the team, thanks to extraordinary arrangements made by one of my favorite teachers at the high school.  These kids are fun, funny, and give me hope for the  future – hope that their knowledge of uncompressible rubber ducks will lead one of them to come up with a solution to the world’s energy needs, a way to build longer lasting bridges,  and maybe even a better way to detect colon polyps than a colonoscopy.