Monday, May 31, 2010

Ride Like the Wind

The first time I went to college (I have graduated twice. No, no special reason. I just liked going to school.) I went to a university in the southern part of Minnesota located on a river. Well, thecity is on the river. The university is on top of a bluff. This sounds all very picturesque until you realize that your father doesn't think you need a car but will buy you a bicycle. The ride into town is fun. The ride back to school . . . not so much.

Dad did buy me a very nice mountain bike -- which was good for getting up and down hills and my boyfriend at the time decided we would become serious off-road bikers. He didn't think we had very much in common (We didn't.) and thought we needed a hobby. My kick stand was immediately taken off. Serious biker do not have kick stands. I had cages for my pedals. (Is that what you call them?) I had a speedometer. I had gloves. I even wore spandex bike shorts. No bike helmet.

I hated it. Hated it. Hated it. I didn't like being jostled around. I was sure I was going to get hurt. I got hot and tired. On the up side, college boyfriend was a pack a day smoker, so he certainly wasn't out-riding me. I think it was all in looking the part.

Well, anyway. I have dragged the old bike out every now and again, but, frankly it just brought back bad memories of being in the woods, looking for a bathroom. One of the first things my lovely practical husband said after we got married was, "We need to find you a kick stand." What's not to love about Big Daddy?

This year, however, I thought it might be nice to, you know, bike to the park. Brent likes to bike with the boys and I got to thinking it might be fun to join them. This weekend we went to the bike store and bought this:


Look! Kick stand! Helmet! Room for a basket! I am getting excited. I even looked at spandex shorts on-line. Did you know you can now buy them covered up by other shorts? How great is that? Oh, yes. I think I am going to like biking after all.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Writer's Block Friday

Blah, blah, blah . . .

* Yesterday I said there was no amount of money that would make me consider being a fifth grader again. After being on the school bus for the two hour drive to Minneapolis, I would have to say it would take a large amount of money for me to be a school bus driver as well. Bless those heroes who drive those behemoths full of our children in all sorts of weather. I mean, it's not exactly a Ford Focus, is it?

* Speaking of school, many mommies I know get sad at the start of the school year. I don't know. I get sort of excited for the kids -- new teacher, new school supplies, fresh start. It's the end of the school year that makes me sad as I watch my kid cross another finish line toward adulthood. If I do my job well, I work myself out of a job. That's the way it should be all right, but . . . it makes me a little melancholy.

* Saw my friend Sylvia, the Hollywood actress, today. I tried to look perky and put together but it is hard when you are holding a sticky, cookie laden Preschool D. What was worse was he really wanted to sit with her, and I don't blame him. She, however, was trying to stay clean, and I don't blame her for being a little hesitant.

* I know many of you are prayer warriors and I ask that you would lift up my high school friend Michele T who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia on Wednesday. She was admitted to the hospital and will be on 24 hour chemotherapy for the next 7 days. It's no good, I tell you. No good. Thank goodness we live in the age of modern medicine and not in sod huts, but let's never forget no matter how advanced our science is, we still need our God.

Have a super Memorial Day weekend. I'll see you next week.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Take Me Out

Colin and I had a perfectly fine time at the ballgame yesterday. Fun to be in the new Target Field. Fun to see the Twins play the Yankees -- even though they lost.

What a powerful reminder to me that there is no amount of money you could pay me to be a fifth grader again. What a strange and awkward time these tween years are. We were traveling with the sixth graders and that looked worse yet.

I have sat here for a long time wondering how to expand upon this idea and I can't come up with a thing. I have talked to many friends this year who said, "Oh, (grimace) fifth grade." I think it's just a universally understood awful concept.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Poem for Tuesday

Colin and I are going to the ballgame in case I don't get a chance to talk to you tomorrow.  I'm not opposed to professional sports, I just don't really follow them.  As you know, my second life motto (the first being "at least I know I'm crazy") is "Fake it 'til you make it," or "It's all in looking the part."  I have a brand new Twins t-shirt at the ready and I know all the words to "Take me out to the ballgame."  I should be able to blend in at least.

In salute to our worthy opponent tomorrow, here is a poem about Yankee great Babe Ruth. (And, yes, I do know he no longer plays for them.)

The Babe
Anonymous


Jovial Giant squashed between
Greatness and an empty childhood;
Juxtaposed in time and play.


Mirthmaker,
Charmer,
Crowd-pleaser,
Lover,
King.


A crown of gold
A golden crown
A golden statue
A statue of gold.


We
Toast you with gauntlets of gold
And crown you with our passion.
We
Celebrate your proud head
Tipped upward and framed by a golden sun.
We
Chill in your stretching shadow
Which blocks the sun.


Can you remember
All the autographs inked in hysteria?
Or
The pennants
Nailed
On flagpoles atop the stadium roof?
Nailed
By the bludgeoning power of your power.


The wind makes those flags
Dance in the sky,
And their sound is the sound
Of seagulls-
Returning home to dine.

Monday, May 24, 2010

At the Airport

Is there anything more fun than picking up somebody at the airport?  Especially someone you haven't seen in a while?  I was just bouncy and started snapping photos before she even got off the plane. "Make way," someone said as I dashed toward her, fancy phone set on camera mode. "There's a parent coming through!"

A self-portrait of the pick up crew . . .
The Queen of Norway coming through the gate.
Saying "hello" to Big Daddy.
Saying "see you soon" to room/blog mate Kjerstin.
Cheers to an excellent Norwegian adventure!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Shelby, Queen of Norway

Shelby, my s'daughter, was the local Sons of Norway Queen a few years ago. (Yes, there really is such a thing. My community is very proud of its ethnic heritage and flies Scandinavian flags mixed in with US flags on our little Main Street.) I took to calling her Shelby, Queen of Norway. This amused me a lot, especially when I was a parade announcer at our local water festival and announced her as the Queen of Norway as she rode down the street in her convertible. I thought it was hysterical, but I think the poor innocent people just trying to watch the parade grew tired of me by the end.

Anyway . . . as you know, she has spent the semester in Norway but is on her way home today. Thankfully Eyjafjallajokull volcano (Yes, that's really its name.) is quiet, so it looks like her airplane will be on time. While Big Daddy and I road trip to the airport, why don't you take an opportunity to catch up on her adventures.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fritz Escapes

This weekend the porch got its yearly cleaning of all the things that accumulate there over the winter months. We cleaned it up and swept it out. Today I managed to get a couple of the storm windows taken off and the screens put up. (Don't ask me how I feel about jalousie windows. I will get ugly fast.) Since then, Preschooler D and I have really been hanging out on the porch -- reading, eating snacks and playing our electronic games, of course.

I had gone back into the kitchen for something when I heard Preschooler D say, "Mommy, Fritz wants to go out." Dropping whatever it was I had gone to the kitchen for, I raced to the door . . . alas . . . too late. Fritz was gone.

Now you may remember when we got Fritz T that I swore up and down that I was going to train the dog and train him right. Well, that hasn't happened. At all.

Normally, Fritz is put on a rope when he goes outside. A rope which twists itself around our ankles and leaves nasty, scaring rope burns when Fritz T sees a leaf drop and decides he needs to chase after it. But D didn't think about that. He's three. He just thought it would be a good idea to let Fritz out.

Out Fritz ran into the neighborhood. It was after school, so I could tell where he was by neighborhood dogs barking followed by cries of neighborhood children, "It's Fritz! It's Fritz! Catch him!" Their little friends would then reply, "Nah, it's too hard. He just runs away." Indeed, he does.

I was mad and so I was perfectly content to let him run about, possibly to be run over by a car, but unfortunately Neighbor Wendy came by on her bike with her large dog and no leash. Her dog and my dog played chased between three or four houses. I was perfectly content to go back onto the porch let them both be run over by a car, but Wendy is actually trying to train her dog to obey and so she wasn't very happy. I went out and made a big show of trying to catch Fritz, but, of course, I didn't.

Neighbor Wendy caught her dog and took him home. Fritz took off in the other direction. I went back to the porch. It wasn't until Brent came home that Fritz finally decided he'd had enough and allowed Brent to drag him to his kennel.

I have a feeling that today's run away episode won't be the last one this summer.

Boo.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Poem for Tuesday

I saw Carole King on TV today. She looks great. Let's relive our 70s childhood (or adulthood) memories today.

You've Got a Friend
Carole King

When your down and troubled
And you need a helping hand
And nothing, whoa nothing is going right.
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest nights.
You just call out my name,
And you know whereever I am
I'll come running, oh yeah baby
To see you again.
Winter, spring , summer, or fall,
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
You've got a freind.
If the sky above you
Should turn dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind should begin to blow
Keep your head together and call my name out loud
And soon I will be knocking upon your door.
You just call out my name and you know where ever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Winter, Spring, summer or fall
All you got to do is call
And I'll be there, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Hey, ain't it good to know that you've got a friend?
People can be so cold.
They'll hurt you and desert you.
Well they'll take your soul if you let them.
Oh yeah, but don't you let them.
You just call out my name and you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again.
Oh babe, don't you know that,
Winter Spring summer or fall,
Hey now, all you've got to do is call.
Lord, I'll be there, yes I will.
You've got a friend.
You've got a friend.
Ain't it good to know you've got a friend.
Ain't it good to know you've got a friend.
You've got a friend.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Tiny Cry

I was sitting in church yesterday when I heard this:

"Whaaaaaaaaaaaa"

It was the cry of a tiny, tiny baby. That little baby was giving it all she was worth and it only came out like this:

"Whaaaaaaaaaaaa"

Just a teeny weeny little cry. The embarrassed parents rushed tiny baby with her wee little mosquito cry out and I just had to chuckle. I remember how that felt. You think the whole world is being disturbed, but we're not. It's just a weensy teensy little noise and all too quickly that tiny cry turns into:

"I WANT MY CHICKEN NUGGETS NOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!!"

It's really just a matter of perspective.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

She had a farm

Friends and loved ones, you know by now -- of course -- of my undying love for Isaak Dinesen's book Out of Africa and the movie and Meryl Streep and Robert Redford isn't bad to look at either. As you will recall the book opens with this line:

I had a farm in Africa at the foot of Ngong Hills.

So yesterday I was on Facebook where I read that my newish friend Robyn was homesick for Africa where she grew up, the daughter of missionaries. My first response was to write "She had a farm in Africa." Now you and I know I never mean any harm, but I was afraid that Robyn would think that I did not take her homesickness seriously as she probably did not know of my true devotion to Dinsesen's work.

Instead I sent it to her in a private message, which made sense to me at the time, but now that I think about it didn't really address my concern that she understand that I was taking her homesickness to heart.

Are you following any of this?

Anyway . . . Robyn was lovely and gracious and wrote to me that she could see the Ngong Hills from her backyard. Well, that was too much for this devotee. You know how I get. I just burst right into tears and sent her this passage from the book. I'm not sure I was helpful at all in curing her homesickness, but it's such a good part. I hope you enjoy it too.

If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Double Fun

Preschooler D and I had two play dates today. Play Group with the Play Group Mommies, of course, and then a new play date. The kid could not have been cuter and neither could his young mommy, but she put me in quite a bind in front of my mother-in-law when she asked this ever-so-seemingly innocent question, "Do Pull-Ups* work for you?" Because as you know, friends and loved ones, I haven't a clue because Preschool D is not potty training.

Oh, you'd been wondering how that was going? Well, you should have just asked. It's not. It's not going. Am I happy about this? Of course not. Of course I do not like changing the stinky diaper of a three-year-old. Just get a good picture of that in your mind for a minute . . .

. . . good? I thought so, but there's one thing we Advanced Mommies know and I've said it before -- You can drag them to the potty, but you cannot make them go.

Of course, my husband was trained out of the womb or some such thing, so my mother-in-law looked at me meaningfully when Cute Mommy asked the question, not realizing what a can of worms she had opened right there in the living room.

When Preschool D is ready to go or whenever the State of Minnesota says I have to send him to school, whichever comes first, that is when he will be potty trained.

* A Pull-Up, in case you don't know is a diaper with cute little designs on the front that go away whenever they get wet alerting the trainee and his mommy that he has missed his opportunity to use the potty. They are not working for Cute Mommy because Cute Kid doesn't care if they get wet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Poem for Tuesday

It's cold and rainy again today in West Central Minnesota. Let's have something somber like Shakespeare writing on love today.

Sonnet 116
William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Preschooler D Quote O' the Day

Heard from the next room.

Rainbow, rainbow, rainbow
How I wonder what you are
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky
Now it's time for us to have a snack
Meet you next time when we're back

Doot doot doot

Mommy! I'm a good singer! (hard "g" sing-ger)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Fritz is Naked

The dog went in for a haircut this weekend and had to be shaved down to the quick because (ahem) apparently his owners don't do a very good job brushing him.

Now normally Fritz and Preschooler D spend the day driving me crazy wrestling with each other and then getting mad at each other and then making up and then starting all over again wrestling. Not so much since the shaving. The past two days you can find the dog here:

Yes, under the comforter in my bed. He usually favors Colin's bed, but for some reason my bed is the winner right now. I have a heavier comforter. Maybe it feels better. Maybe he thinks no one will think to look for him there. I know that's what I think when I take to my bed to hide from the world.

All I know is he didn't even come down for popcorn yesterday afternoon. That is one depressed dog. I feel bad for him.

. . . if only it weren't so gosh darn funny.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Pass the Skim Milk

Yesterday I was feeling pretty tough and so I sat down with my coffee to watch a local morning show, when who should appear on the screen but a woman who -- let's us the word "dated" although that's not what I mean at all -- my college boyfriend while I was also actually dating him. I disliked her in a BIG way.

She was singing and she looked as tiny and cute and perky and trendy and talented as ever. I sat on the couch in my ragged jeans, sniveling thanks to this cold, drinking coldish coffee with no creamer because I need to drop a couple of pounds (and may I say life is too short not to drink creamer), thinking of letting Preschooler D play with my new fancy phone just to keep him busy.

Here's the thing: I didn't really care. Good for her for still being tiny and cute and perky and trendy. Good for her for sounding good while she sang.

I may or may not be any of those things, but I am peaceful. I am happy. It turned out in the end that College Boyfriend and I weren't a very good match . . . at all. I can be done being jealous and angry.

Good for me.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Poem for Tuesday

I'm starting to think my second round of allergies is really a cold, so while I rummage around the house for more tissue, enjoy this poem by Ogden Nash.

Common Cold
Ogden Nash

Go hang yourself, you old M.D.!
You shall not sneer at me.
Pick up your hat and stethoscope,
Go wash your mouth with laundry soap;
I contemplate a joy exquisite
I'm not paying you for your visit.
I did not call you to be told
My malady is a common cold.

By pounding brow and swollen lip;
By fever's hot and scaly grip;
By those two red redundant eyes
That weep like woeful April skies;
By racking snuffle, snort, and sniff;
By handkerchief after handkerchief;
This cold you wave away as naught
Is the damnedest cold man ever caught!

Give ear, you scientific fossil!
Here is the genuine Cold Colossal;
The Cold of which researchers dream,
The Perfect Cold, the Cold Supreme.
This honored system humbly holds
The Super-cold to end all colds;
The Cold Crusading for Democracy;
The F├╝hrer of the Streptococcracy.

Bacilli swarm within my portals
Such as were ne'er conceived by mortals,
But bred by scientists wise and hoary
In some Olympic laboratory;
Bacteria as large as mice,
With feet of fire and heads of ice
Who never interrupt for slumber
Their stamping elephantine rumba.

A common cold, gadzooks, forsooth!
Ah, yes. And Lincoln was jostled by Booth;
Don Juan was a budding gallant,
And Shakespeare's plays show signs of talent;
The Arctic winter is fairly coolish,
And your diagnosis is fairly foolish.
Oh what a derision history holds
For the man who belittled the Cold of Colds!

Monday, May 3, 2010

To Tell Truth

I'm not a huge fan of Oprah, but I watch from time to time and I tuned in Thursday to watch Reille Hunter because -- now give me a chance here -- I wanted to find something about her to like. If not to like -- to understand.

I have been down some unattractive roads, and I am not going to judge her because she made some bad decisions. I will start to judge her if she lacks remorse, however. I wanted to see something that made me feel less ill every time I see one of the players on television or read about them in the news -- not because I agree or disagree with them politically, but because I am a human being and the whole thing was just so yucky.

I'm waiting for . . .

* John Edwards to come out and say he was wrong and he's sorry he hurt his family, Reille, the new baby and the American people for straight up lying to each and every one of us.

* Elizabeth Edwards to stop with martyr thing and admit all was not right in her marriage, that she knew more than she said, that she played a part in deception and cover up to American people.

* Andrew Young to own up to the fact that he was trying to elevate himself with money and/or power by assuming responsibility for the tiny baby and then writing a book about it.

* Reille Hunter to admit that her half naked photo shoot for GQ was not the only bad decision she made in this whole to-do.

Apparently, I will be waiting longer for the last one, because I didn't hear it on Thursday. Why can't someone just tell the truth?

Poor, poor tiny baby. What a way to come into the world.