Monday, November 24, 2008

My fault for asking.

I glanced over to find Claire's finger up her nose. She pulled it out and examined it. "Do you need a kleenex?" I whispered.

"Nope," she replied. "I can just lick it off."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Master Plan

After (too) much discussion, the Thanksgiving scene has finally been set. I am cooking. We are eating at the big house. The big house is Nick's grandparents' house which now belongs to their daughters. It is the only house in the family with enough table space for everyone. We will be 12-15 strong, I think.

The menu!

  • Salad - something with pomegranates
  • Turkey, of course
  • Ham
  • Dressing w/dried cranberries
  • Mashed sweet potatoes
  • Roasted root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, parsnips)
  • Steamed broccoli
  • Quick breads - pumpkin, cranberry, something cheesy?
  • Pie - apple, pumpkin, cherry

The plan for Wednesday!

  • Bake ham
  • Bake quick breads
  • Bake pies
  • Make stuffing but don't bake it
  • Make sweet potatoes

The plan for Thursday!

  • Enlist someone to make salad
  • Enlist someone to set the table
  • Enlist children to decorate table with pretty leaves and make a centerpiece from ?
  • Roast turkey in the electric roaster
  • Roast veg in the oven
  • Bake dressing in oven
  • Steam broccoli on range
  • Nuke mashed sweet potatoes
  • Make gravy

I think it's going to be a very good day.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Big Exhale

I do believe that our Indian Summer is officially over. Many folks are hoping for one more warm spell, but I'm not. The cold has come in earnest. I dug out the coat closet and have mostly outfitted the family for winter. We have a few issues to sort out like Nick has three sets of gloves and Claire has none, but we are by and large set to be roasty toasty.

Yesterday, the trees started getting serious about losing leaves. I drove through vibrantly colored showers on an almost windless morning - a sure sign that nature is settling in for the winter. My favorite is the maple a few blocks from home. Each leaf is fiery red with bright yellow veins. Claire and I spent ten minutes sorting through them the other day, arguing about which leaf was most perfect.

Today is rainy and cold, but not miserable (at least not to me). I love this time. It's the big exhale. It's like the end of the day when you climb into bed tired in body and mind. You let out a big sigh and snuggle down safe, warm, and happy. I love winter, the way it forces us to turn inward toward our families and homes. I've been busy knitting, sewing, sorting, cleaning, waiting.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

There are days and then there are days.

Today was my fourth attempt at getting flu shots for the kids. First, there was a bomb in the next building and the entire block had been evacuated a few hours before our appointment. Then, I rescheduled the appointment in a coveted evening time slot, only to realize later that the appointment was ten minutes before Claire's bedtime and it was two days before the Halloween costumes needed to be finished. So I rescheduled again for a Wednesday, got confused and thought it was on Thursday, and missed the appointment. I apologized to the most gracious receptionist and managed to make another appointment. No bombs, no costumes, no bedtime, no confusion about the time. All it took to get there was three emails, one telephone call, 90 minutes off work, and the complete disregard for school pickup rules.

Claire took the injection like an old pro. She always does. Jake whined, complained, and protested so much before the injection that I seriously considered giving him a sedative. But he cowboyed up and just hollered ever so slightly. The real problem came later in the evening when I had to administer some new antihistamine eye drops that we're trying out. I sat on my son.

We are heading toward allergy shots for Jacob and honestly I am not sure how on earth I am going to handle it. But I also cannot handle him being miserable 80% of the time and rubbing his own eyes completely out of their sockets.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

When you wake up tomorrow...

Many good people all over the political spectrum are writing about the election. Good for them! Elections are important and we need to talk about them. This election is especially important to me. I was absolutely thrilled to wait in line to vote this morning. If you have voted already, huzzah! If you haven't and you are a registered voter in the US, hie thee to the polls! Your opinion is important, even if it contradicts mine. Of course, I'd prefer that people vote for my candidate. In fact, I spent most of last night fretting instead of sleeping.

I have to admit that I have been just short of terrified about the results of this election. My fears aren't so easy to name as economic destruction or global warming or any of the myriad other issues that are on my mind. My fear is more about me and where I fit into the American landscape. My fear is that too many Americans disagree with me about what America is and what our values ought to be. My fear is that I might become un-American as the definition of America evolves.

A few weeks ago, a Sunday morning homily put words to my fears and helped me to at least begin to form cohesive ideas about where my country is at and hopefully, where my country is going. I do believe that more than any other election in my lifetime, this election is about change. The only question is the direction of that change. Then Monsignor had the wisdom to point out that even if the election is a landslide, that very likely will mean that 45% of the voters will have backed the losing candidate. And we will have to live with the people who lost.

Take a look around your neighborhood. Chances are, you will see some McCain signs and some Obama signs. You might even see a sign for a third party candidate. You might see yards that don't have signs at all! Perhaps the residents are apathetic. Perhaps they are undecided or unexcited. Perhaps the household is divided and it's easier to put up no sign than multiple signs (that certainly has described my own household in past elections). These are the people who you are going to have to work with to effect change. Because no matter who wins, we the people have the power.

Tomorrow morning when you wake up, be the change that you want to see. What do you expect from your neighborhood, your schools, your state, your country? What are you going to do to meet those expectations? The election will be over. The work will have just begun.

Monday, November 3, 2008

NaBloPoWhat? When? Let's just pretend today is the 1st.

So I'm a few days late, but I am going to do a daily post for the rest of the month. Consider this a warning. And further warning - after today, the posts will most likely not be light and fluffy. I have a lot on my mind and I am fully prepared to empty that vessel in a verbose and quite possibly rambling fashion.

Yesterday, I played cribbage with my mom. I have been playing cribbage with my mother since I was old enough to add to 15. She taught me one evening and then we played every night for a week. At the end of a week she said, "If you can't count your points, I'm going to start taking them." I replied, "You'd steal points from a little kid?" And with that, we were off on a lifetime of card games. I cannot count how many hours we have pushed the pegs around the board while chit-chatting about life, but every single one of those hours was well-spent. And more importantly, I've won more games.