Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Be thankful

It's that time of year again.
The winds have turned cold. We're waiting for the first snow of the year. Frozen turkey bowling balls have appeared in the stores once more. We're inundated with sale ads and Black Friday ads and commercials for hugely impractical toys.
We also see those images of perfect Thanksgivings.
You know the ones.
The TV shows a four year old dressed in a sweater and tie, sitting perfectly at the table and using his knife and fork with a prowess Emily Post would praise. Beside him, in an antique wooden high chair is his sister, dressed in spotless taffeta and lace and not a speck of food has missed her mouth.
Grandma and Grandpa, aunts and uncles, all sit around the table as mom brings in a perfectly brown, perfectly garnished turkey. After the perfunctory peck on the cheek from her husband and the adoring gaze she casts at him, he prepares to carve.
That's what the TV shows.
My life looks more like this.
Punk is sitting a high chair, her hands, face, hair, and surrounding covered in a film of stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and drool.
Boo is sitting at the table, clad only in a pull up (saves on laundry) shovelling in devilled eggs like they are the last layings of the last chicken on earth.
Bug is sitting in a chair, probably in his underwear, picking out one piece of food and studying it like a specimen under a microscope before declaring it's "Yucky."
The Man is trying to inhale food between talking sports with my brother, whose walking by sneaking additional bites.
My nephew will be on his third plate before we've each filled our first plate.
I'll be repeatedly asking, in a more high pitched and shrill voice, for the kids to eat their dinner with their forks and to "Act like they have some manners and belong to the human race!" There will be no adoring glances, just reminders that "These are your children, too, you know!"
My sister in law will be picking the skin off the turkey or the oysters from the stuffing while plotting a post holiday shopping trip, complete with diagrams.
And my mom will sit there with a bemused smile on ehr face, watching the chaos and enjoying it.
And somewhere, probably near the ham, the memory of my Daddy will sit, laughing at us, urging the boys to be louder and messier and sneaking Punk little bits of food.
While I'm celebrating my not so Walton's Thanksgiving, I hope you have a day blessed with joy and love and plenty of good food.
Just remember, it's not about the perfection of the day and the Polaroid moments, its about the smiles, the laughter, and the love. Perfection is highly over rated and the leading cause of ulcers in mothers around the holidays.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Game Show Snobbery

Now, I love me some game shows.
But I am a bit of a snob.
I don't like Wheel of Fortune, Family Feud, or any game I consider pedestrian and pedantic (words learned from game shows, BTW!).
Nope, I like the brain teasing, make ya think shows like Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.
Alex Trebeck giving the answer makes me happy, and truthfully, a little hot under the collar. Who doesn't get a little bothered and sweaty by a man holding all the right answers in life?
And I would so do Millionaire. Meredith and I? We would be legendary! History making.
Let me just say I am a trivia junkie.
No, not a trivia junkie. The trivia junkie.
How many times did Dorothy's hair change lengths in the Wizard of Oz? Four!
Ask another!
I'm ready!
Do you hear the Jeopardy theme music, or is it just me?
My family won't play trivia games against me anymore. They fear the all powerful, all knowing brainiac I am. (Or is it because of the insufferable chit I become when winning? Hmmm.)
Seriously, I love the challenge of trying to pull some piece of obscure information I may or may not know out of my wazoo and presenting it as fact.
It's a rush like no other.
Better than sex, drugs, rock and roll, and anything else you might name.
Except chocolate and Pepsi.
That's my line. Drawing it in the sand.
Other people share my obsession, including the bloggers at and
What's your game show get off? Come on! Share! We're friends, aren't we?
And I won't tell!
Oh! Jeopardy's on!
I'm coming, Alex!

Sunday, November 16, 2008


I am fortunate.
I will never forget what my dear, departed loved ones look like.
My children look like them, more so every day.
My kids all look like me, with little bits of their dad thrown in, but they are a genetic blueprint for their ancestry.
For example, when Bug smiles, he has that same cat in the cream grin my Daddy had. The one where I knew he was up to something and just waited for the police to come knocking at the door. In a few years (hopefully thirty) it may be an irate father pounding on my door because some girl fell victim to that smile.
Boo has his great grandpa's eyes and the cleft in his chin. In fact, Boo looks so much like my sweet grandpa it's startling. I've never seen any picture of Grandpa as a child, but I now know exactly what he would have looked like.
Punk looks like me mostly, but she has soft brown eyes like my grandma. And her smile is that same cat in the cream smile of her grandpa, only feminine and pretty instead of handsome and rakish.
My babies look like their Daddy's side of the family--at least the one's that I like and I'll admit to.
Bug and Boo both run like my husband's grandpa, kicking out their feet like Charlie Chaplin on crack and with their heads down, ready to run into something.
There are other similarities, mostly in the dietary considerations of my youngest son, who will eat almost anything. That definitely came from his Daddy's side!
In this, the season of my family's loss--and birth, with the arrival of our baby Punk-- I take comfort in looking at my children and knowing that people don't really leave us. They stay behind in tactile reminders imprinted upon our children, ourselves, and the world around us.
It's a pretty nice legacy for them to leave us.
I think I'll go stare at my kids a while.

Time marches on

This Saturday will be two years since my dear Daddy passed away.
The world has moved on, and, so, in many ways, have my family and I.
I have had a baby girl, my boys have grown by leaps and bounds, and my husband has lost portion of two fingers, creating a whole new bevy of sick humor.
My mom has a boyfriend, which is not something I ever thought I would hear myself say.
The home I grew up in was sold and my mom moved into town and into a new home.
My brother became human, although he's still ac capitalist pig.
My nephew is driving.
That is just some scary shit.
I know that time marches on, despite our efforts to hold it motionless.
The pain is no longer crippling, just wrenching.
I can still smell him, that mixture of sweat and after shave that was unique to him.
I can still hear him calling me Punk and laughing at my boys.
I know what his face would look like staring at my baby Punk girl. That mixture of awe and amusement that my boys instilled with a healthy dose of protectiveness.
Some days, I can almost feel his holding me, like when I was little, curled up in his lap while he rocked me.
Like I do with my own children.
I miss him. I love him. I would love to see him one more time.
It seems, no matter how much time has passed, no matter how old you are, some days, all you want is your Daddy to hold you and tell you everything's all right.
Or to sit around the table with you and your brother and embarrass your mother. Either way, you miss him. You want him around.
No matter what, a girl always needs her Daddy.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Ten hut!

Today is Veteran's Day.
Despite what you may think, it is not a day just to get off work.
It is a day that recognizes the sacrifices of our military men and women, who should be honored 365 days a year.
Yup, I'm married to a veteran of two wars, daughter and granddaughter of veterans. My husband is proud of his service, as were my daddy and grandpa.
And I am proud of them.
Today is a day you should look that veteran selling paper flowers outside of a donut shop straight in the eye and say, "Thank you." And then you should buy one of those flowers and display it proudly.
You should teach your children to understand the sacrifices made by these men and women. And to understand that not every one came home.
You should look at the man with no legs, wearing a American flag, and understand that his sacrifice was so you could elect a President, go to school, and live freely.
You should do this every day or every year, but I understand that we are human and we get too busy to think about our veterans.
So, just for today, remember why you are and American. It was not just a fluke of being born in this country. It was because someone, somewhere, stood tall and proud, laying down their live so we would not have to.
Our freedom was bought with the blood of men and women, with the tears of grieving wives and mothers, with pain, sorrow, and sweat. And to forget that is to forget what it means to be an American.
Even though the men in my life are Navy men, I think they'll understand when I say, "Hoorah, baby!"

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rock the Vote!

Or do like me and close your eyes, mark someone, and hope for the best.
Is it my imagination, or are our political choices becoming increasingly unsavory?
I am terrified of either person, Obama or McCain, in office, because they are simply politicians playing the game.
They will promise us everything they think we want to hear until they are elected, then the promises will fly out the window faster than a helium balloon in a hurricane.
Candidates make more promises than a sex starved man trying to get the last woman on earth to put out. And once they have what they want, just like that man, the promises will suddenly be forgotten.
Politics is a business and these officials are in the business to make money. Somewhere, underneath their slicked up veneer and political rhetoric, they might care a small amount about my family trying to make ends meet, but only until it affects their own pocket books.
They will not get us out of Iraq neatly. They will not stop the recession, improve health care, save social security, cuts taxes, or anything else. They will become slaves to the system and either learn to go with it or get run over.
The United States needs to revamp their election promise. We need real people, not politicians in office and leading this country. Only then will you find middle America, main street represented. Only then will our country crawl out of the cess pool it is wallowing in, wipe the shit off our faces, and stand proud.
I will vote today because it is both a right and a duty. But I won't like the outcome, no matter who wins.