Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bobby-fest Part 1

On November 13th 1981, at 4:10 p.m., after 8.7 months of taking prenatal vitamins, and drinking only water and fresh milk, and eating only the healthiest foods (and many, many Taco Bell Tostadas);

and after 6.5 months of lying on her side for 15 minutes every two hours because of this and after a sleepless night of contractions,

this girl had her first baby.

And she fell most deeply in love. She stared at that baby boy well into the night, and when the nurses wanted to take him away for tests, she followed them to make sure he wasn't switched, or dropped, or lost.

She wanted to name him Brian or Kevin, because those were her most favorite boy names. But the baby's father thought those names were too wimpy. His suggestions were Perry, or Louis, or Thomas or Robert, historic family names. She named him Bobby, not Robert, and not after her dad like everyone thought, but secretly after her 6th grade teacher, who was more like a dad to her anyway... and after Bobby Sherman.

Now, on November 13th 2008, at 4:10 a.m., after searching through boxes in the basement for two hours, that girl, 27 years later, can't find her first baby's baby book. She found two other baby books, and several dozen photo albums, and boxes and boxes of pictures not in albums.

She found this

and this

and this.

And then she looked at the clock and saw that it was 6:30 a.m., and realized she had a very long day ahead of her, and that Bobby-fest would have to become a two-part blog post.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Busy Busy Busy

Cliche I know, but isn't it always like this?

It is a busy week for sure at work... add to that we are moving our entire office to a new location Thursday and Friday.

It is a busy week at home... add to that Downtown Dad is on a consulting trip in Iowa, and doesn't come home til Thursday nite.

This week, the kids' musical opens, parent preview night is Thursday. I'm on the committee that serves dinner to the 50 plus kids involved in this, and oh, yeah, we invited their parents to eat with their kids this year!

Bobby's birthday is Thursday and there was talk that his bestest friend in the whole wide world, Tony, was taking the train to visit... no word on the mysterious Tony's travel plans.

No worries. I'll go in to work early and help box up and transport what I can. The fabulous food committee for the musical, are already ready already with the food and set up for dinner, and... well, if Bobby and Tony would like a free birthday meal they'll just have to come to the high school and eat there!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fun Monday - Veterans Day

JANIS from Life According to Jan and Jer says this, "Since Next Tuesday is Veterans Day, I thought it would be nice to salute our Veterans and show our appreciation. Photo requirement of something patriotic."

OK, well you can't get much patriotic-er than the very FIRST Veteran's Day.... I give you the Civil War Veterans!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Engineers' Stereotype

I've been at my new perfect job now for two months. I work for an engineering firm and in case you don't know it, engineers are kind of known for being anal their attention to detail.

I thought I'd share one of the things that makes me giggle. When I open the cupboard at work every morning to get a cup of coffee - this is what I see:

Do you notice that every mug is the same? All of the plates are on one shelf and the bowls on another. Notice the naughty older mugs of an inferior design are relegated to their own shelf, not to intermingle with the superior newer mugs.

Notice how each one of the cups' handles are turned the very same way....

I stand back for a minute and shake my head as I sip my coffee. It makes me giggle, but in a strange way, it also brings me peace.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Three Facts and A Fib

Here's a little ice breaker game we played recently at my office - called Three Facts and A Fib. Basically what you do is write down four statements - three of them true, one of them false. The people that play along have to guess which one is the lie. Here are mine:

1. I have been to Hawaii four times
2. I have hitchhiked across the country
3. I had a monkey as a pet
4. I was a radio announcer

Put your guesses in the comments, or steal this and play along on your own site!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Were You There?

I don't know if it's legal to take pictures at a polling place - but yesterday just felt so much like something historic - even before the results - I had to capture the moment. To me, it was a powerful privilege to be participating in this election. When I think about it sometimes, it causes me to tremble.... tremble.

It was a little weird, voting as we did in a church. I don't want to think too hard about the whole separation of church and state thing. Downtown Dad and I are good neighbors, and honest people with a spiritual belief, but save for weddings, funerals and the odd election, we rarely darken the door of religious establishments.

We tried, back in the early nineties, dutifully taking the kids to services and Sunday School, singing the hymns, sometimes in silly voices to keep their attention. One hymn we always looked forward to was the Eastertime favorite, an African American spiritual called Were You There When They Crucified My Lord. Downtown Dad would wait for the chorus, a repeat of the title, followed by a long "whoooa- oh- oh -oh" then a dramatic "sometimes, it causes me to tremble... tremble" and he'd sing it in an Elmer Fudd voice - slightly off key, replacing the r's with w's, and exaggerating the vibrato, making the tremble sound more like "twem-bo." Cracked us up, every time. But besides a few moments of levity, for the most part we solemnly recited the prayers, we fellowshipped and amened in our own voices right along with the rest of the congregation. But try as we might to lead by example, the politics and pervasive evil of a few "christians" drove us and our children away.

One of the last times we were in a church was for the funeral of one of our son Bobby's friends. It was a very sad circumstance, he had been a very popular young man, and there was a huge turnout from the community. Bobby, as a pallbearer, sat in the front row, and DD and I a few rows back. One of the hymns, I noticed, was "Were You There" uh oh....

OK, I have to ask, have you ever been in a situation where it is absolutely inappropriate to laugh, and something happens, that really isn't funny to anyone around you, but you laugh anyway, and not a small giggle - I'm talking a laugh that rumbles up from your belly, a boisterous crowd of laughs elbowing their way through your chest, and up your throat and then tumble out your mouth in loud snorting, guffaw, usually followed by hiccups? No? Yeah, me neither. And it never happend to DD, or Bobby sitting in the front row either.

...And when the organ music started, Downtown Dad did NOT sing that song in his Elmer Fudd voice....

Oh yes he DID!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Fun Monday - Why I Blog

Today's Fun Monday Host is Bee Dancing As Fast as I Can, who's name refers to that funny little waggle dance that bees do in their hive. I think the name of her blog is perfect since that dance is how the bees tell each other where the good pollen collecting places are. I've always thought of Fun Monday as a blogger's dance of sorts, a way to tell each other where the good blogs are. The topic for this week fits perfectly with that thought.

Bee Dancer says:
"I'm relatively new to blogging, & I'm sure this has come up before, but I'd really like to know WHY you blog. Tell me how you got started or why you got started and why you keep it up. Plus there's a photo requirement: Post a picture of the one person/place/thing that most symbolizes the town or area where you live."
At first I thought this wouldn't be much more than a one line answer - Why do I blog? Why, to write about me of course. ME, ME. ME! But then I thought deeper about it, and I realized that while that's somewhat true, a blog is much more than just a need to be narccisstic. A blog, my blog is several things to me. It is:

1) A Forum. I love to write, I love to express my ideas, I love the give and take, the zingers and one liners that get tossed back and forth in the comments sections. To me posting on your own blog is like writing an article, but much less scary than submitting it to a magazine. Some would say more anonymous, but with comments, there is always the possibility of getting some whack job filling up your comment box with propaganda feedback in the bargain. A blog is my way of having a conversation, but with a little more time to shape your thoughts.

2) A Social Network. I ask you, where else can you waste so much time have conversations with so many interesting, hilarious, smart people from all over the world, every day, for free? You guys are my friends, and I laugh and worry, and hope, and get mad right along with you.

3) A Barometer. Even though I stay away from right wing, Republican and religious Pundit Blogs, I can still read about opinions on national issues from people who think exactly the same way I do who have nothing to gain or lose from expressing it.

4) A Mirror. It is incredibly freeing to read that others struggle with some of the same issues I struggle with. The same messy houses, the same conflicts with coworkers, kids, husbands, the same struggle for blogging topics. And at 2:30 A.M., it's nice to know there are others, fingers poised on the keys, faces illuminated by the blue glow of their computer, staring at a blinking cursor with no earthly idea what to write.

5) A Sanctuary. I admit it. When I have a deadline, or something icky I don't want to do - I like to take a little mental vacation and visit some of my imaginary friends.

6) A Leveler. It is humbling when someone takes the time to not only read, but comment on something you have posted. It makes me work at posting something interesting, thoughtful and well written, knowing that you never know who is going to read your blog.

7) A Challenge. In all honesty, I guess I started blogging as practice. A way to begin the discipline of writing each and every day. I challenge myself to write something I hope is not only interesting, but I like to put a positive twist on everything I write. And as I'm sure you can agree, that right there is the challenge.

8) An Inspiration. Long before I got up the nerve to start my own blog, I read blogs. I scanned at first, but then began to get to know these imaginary people, and I started to read more deeply. I laughed at what I read and cried at what I read and wanted to write hilarious stories and gut wrenching accounts, and achingly true confessions just like the ones I was reading from you guys every day.

So - those are my reasons for Blogging - go waggle your tail around to all the other Fun Monday participants and see what they have to say!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Stuff

I have a neatly organized a few stacks a bunch of ominous, unruly piles of the dreaded "things I HAVE to do" on my desk. This is AFTER I'd been working on it a while. I also have a blog post to write. There is laundry to do as well.

So what do I spend my morning with?

I got a new phone that can do all of the things that my old phone only hinted and teased at being able to do. It opens up a whole new world of possibilities for me. Its just a phone, I know, but for the first time, I've had to read the instruction books (plural) that came with it.

If someone should actually call me, I'm afraid, in trying to answer it, I will feel like the Wizard of Oz, as his balloon lifts away from his adoring crowd taking him back to Kansas. As poor Dorothy cries for him to come back.... the poor man, overwhelmed by the technology, moans: "I can't, I don't know how it works!"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Menu Planning by the Book

On the weekends, I like to clean out the fridge before I go grocery shopping - and while my leftovers are nowhere near as public or as famous as Suburban Correspondant's, I must say that I can pinch a penny til it squeals enjoy the challenge of trying to use as much as I can wont throw anything out before it sprouts fuzz throwing it out. When faced with about 2 pounds of leftover grilled chicken from dinner earlier in the week, rapidly wilting celery, carrots, and onions, an opened box of chicken broth, the end of the mayo jar, and some artichoke salad - what do you do? Chicken soup and chicken salad of course!

I've come to really enjoy the weekly grocery trip. I try to make it a challenge to buy store brands save money, and still buy enough food to feed a hungry herd of ravenous teenagers varying amount of people on a given day, but yet only enough so that it will fit into my 1980's refrigerator.

One of the things that has helped me over the years was the accidental find of this cookbook;

The 7-Day Menu Planner, written in 1993 by Cynthia Hizer-Jubera. She's a "Food Stylist" and apparently worked on the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes." I don't think this book was a big success. It was on of the last books on a bargain table at one of those bargain bookstores, in fact I think they paid me to take it. But it has literally changed the way I look at preparing meals.

Each week has a shopping list. There are seven dinner menus each week with recipes using those ingredients. The first couple of nights require cooking or baking, but the rest of the menus build off of the leftovers generated by the meals earlier in the week. Some of them are awful a little out of the ordinary. Some of them are amazing! I don't always stick to the schedule, sometimes I start with the general idea of the suggested dinner, and then cover it with cheese modify it to suit my family. But the nice thing is that if I buy the groceries, at least its there if I need it.

I've been using this poor tattered book for 10 years now. I should probably purchase a new one - maybe hard bound instead of paperback this time. The good news is that there are some available on Amazon!