Saturday, January 31, 2015

Pre-Superbowl DOs and DON'Ts

Today I found myself alone in the house for several hours.  Just in case you, Dear Reader, ever find yourself in a similar situation on the day before the Superbowl, here are a few helpful DOs and DON’Ts.

DON’T go to the grocery store on the Saturday before the Superbowl and the day before a snowstorm is predicted to hit the area. You are likely to lose your favorite glove in the melee.  There will be no reduced-fat Cheez-its left, even though your Younger Daughter specifically asked for Cheez-its.  The store will be so crowded with ornery people that you will not be able to make it over to the toilet paper aisle and you yourself will become ornery.

DO leave the store and shed your orneriness by helping the guy with 20 helium balloons get the balloons into his car.

DON’T forget to get flour, if you are planning to bake something for the church bake sale.  DO say “Damn” or something stronger when you realize you forgot.

DO pay your aunt’s bill before it is overdue.

DON’T try to calculate how long your aunt’s money will last.  You will spend an hour down that rabbit hole and end up with an inaccurate number anyway, because you don’t know the secret number you need to calculate how much she must withdraw from her IRA, and you have no idea what her expenses really will be.  Any answer you get will be depressing.

DO eat an apple for virtue points, and then DO open the small bag of Chex Mix that you have been saving, and DO watch an episode of Doctor Who. 

DON’T make a new recipe for the church bake sale.  DON’T make the recipe for Pumpkin Snickerdoodles that you got off the internet from some random person.  Remember that you don’t have enough flour to make more than one kind of cookie.

DON’T spend 30 minutes looking for the salt.  DON’T begin to think that your brain has a big hole in it, because why would you have not put the salt in at least one of its usual six places?

DO text your husband with this message:  “I am losing my mind.  I can’t find the SALT.  Trying to make cookies for the $&@& church bake sale.”  He will soon text back with this:  “It’s upstairs on my bureau.”  Why, yes it is!  Because that's where everyone likes to keep the salt.

DO taste the new cookies.  You will discover that they are disappointingly like cardboard, and you will decide not to take them to the church bake sale, even though this means you have to show up empty handed.

DO wish that you had made the cookies that your daughter asked you to make – chocolate chip cookies.

DO be thankful that you are not hosting a Superbowl party, and DO be thankful that you don’t give a hoot about America’s National Holiday tomorrow.

Y'all have a great time!  I'm going to play the piano.

War Opinions: Guest Post

With the change of semester at high school, Younger Daughter’s last period at school has switched from Study Hall to Forensics.  I never had the option of Study Hall in high school, but it sounds lovely to me – extra time to do homework, or go to the library and read books!  But now it’s time for YD to buckle down and learn the art of argument.  Her class on World Affairs has begun its study of the Middle East.  

From all these changes, this is where her thoughts went yesterday.  She asked me to publish this as a guest post.

Different War Opinions and Perspectives
By Youngest Daughter

Strange things come to those who ask an opinion of a war.
Start from far away. From the top of the world, from the heights of the heavens, let’s take a look at the god’s opinion.
I can’t see anything. There’s just green continents. I can’t see any humans. Why should I care?
Okay. That was a little too far.

Closer now, upon the earth, but still far away from the actual gunshots. Let us find the superpower’s opinion.
Something’s happening, all right. But I can’t see it. Why should I care?
Okay, still too far. Let’s try again.

Yet closer still, within the land, torn apart by blood and fire, and into a place of pristine white. What is the government’s opinion?
Something’s happening. I can see it right here on this chart, on this report. But it’s not happening to me. Why should I care?
Still too far! This is getting a little ridiculous.

Okay, one more time.
As close as we can come, straight to the fight, into the heart and mind of a soldier, shooting and running, waiting to die and hoping to live.
What does he think?
Something’s happening. I can see it. It’s happening to me. And I care. I care deeply.
I care about wanting it to stop.
Please government, superpower, gods themselves, can’t you help me?
Thanks for the opinion. Now, why should I care?
Strange things come to those who ask an opinion of a war.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Retirement Package

Due to various things lately, my husband and I are feeling our age a bit.  We are definitely the filling in the generational sandwich right now, at one moment transporting the teen to band practice (and more) and the next moment paying the bills for Grandma (and more).  It’s not a bad way for things to be at all, just busy.  And it is true that the pressure of the responsibilities weigh on a person.

The other night my husband said to me, “It sure is hard managing the old people’s needs.” 

I said, “Yeah, and they don’t even live with us.  Imagine how difficult it must be for the people who have their elderly relatives living with them.”

My husband misinterpreted what I was saying.  He thought I was suggesting that we invite them all to live here.  Oy!

Husband:  “We would never do that. Our house just isn’t set up for that.  I mean, the bathroom….”

Me:  “Oh, I’m not saying that we should have them live here.  But I wonder what the Old Folks’ Homes will be like by the time we’re ready to live in one.  Will they be like they are now?”

Husband:  “When I retire I’d like to go live at the bottom of the sea.”

This reminds me of Mafia-style retirement.

Me:  “ There’s too much pressure at the bottom of the sea.  I’d prefer the moon.  There’s no pressure on the moon.”

Husband:    “But if you’re at the bottom of the sea, you can watch the fish swimming by!  You can’t see anything from the moon.”

Me:  “You can see everything from the moon!  You can see the entire universe.”

Husband:  “But you can’t get packages delivered to the moon.”

Because what fun would retirement be if you couldn’t get packages?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Metaphorical Whiplash

Religious whiplash:
From a lofty and inspiring synagogue worship service on Friday night, at which we formally installed our new rabbi, to a nitty-gritty and inspiring day-long strategic planning retreat at church on Saturday. 

Spiritual whiplash:
From reading The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, about utter injustice, violence, and racism, to reading Love burning in the soul : the story of the Christian mystics, from Saint Paul to Thomas Merton, about heavenly love, mercy, and peace.

Familial whiplash:
From having all three kids around at all hours, which was wonderful and challenging, to no kids around at all during the day, which is wonderful and challenging.

Seasonal whiplash:
From the scurry and bustle of baking-planning-buying-wrapping-eating-traveling for Christmas, to the gloom and drear of taking down the lights, putting the paper chain away in the attic, and needing to get rid of the effect of all those cookies and pies.

I’m fine, but I might have my head on backwards for a while.   Also, I will sit on the couch wrapped in a blanket for a while.  Call me when it warms up.

And you?  How is the year proceeding for you so far?

Not just snow, but colder than cold.
Must keep in mind that the
arrival of this wintry stuff does not negate
the arrival depicted in the scenes below.

(The four photos above are of my sister-in-law's
nativity scenes made in Central America.)