Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Into the Fray

August 1st really marked the start of the school year. The kids didn't start classes until the 14th, but we started football and cheerleading practice on the 1st. Which meant, "where are my tennis shoes? Do I have to take my pompoms? Can you put my hair up? When do I start tackling? Did you get me a water bottle? I can't get my helmet on! Are you staying to watch? Where do these pads go? Is dad going? How long will it last? Watch me - I remember all the cheers from last year! Do you have to bring Ben? I'm hungry. Black practice pants? Everyone else has white! I forgot to go to the bathroom!"

It also meant that I had to plan dinner far in advance, prepare the ingredients so that when we got home at 8:45, I could throw together something that resembled nutritious food and get them all fed and in the shower before they collapsed from exhaustion. I'm getting that figured out, and we've only had to have frozen pizza once. So far.

I can't just sit, so I talk to the other parents and crochet. Yes, it's kind of an ancient hobby, but it keeps me busy, and the kids' blankets are finally getting done. Some of the other kids are actually quite interested in watching me make a square of fabric from a bundle of yarn. I now have requests for blankets from four of Abby's cheerleading buddies.

The question they all ask is so cute - "do you know how to do that?" Well, yes... obviously. I tell them the story of Mrs. King, who lived across the street from us when I was little. She had two hobbies: crochet and gluing sequins on felt calendars. I didn't understand that one then and I still don't get it, really, which was fine because she wouldn't let me near the piles of sequins and toothpicks and dried drops of Elmer's glue on the card table in her living room. Instead, in between games of Go Fish (during which she would occasionally ask me for a deuce and I would stare blankly until she reminded me that was a 2), she taught me to crochet. I remember ending up with a huge pile of single chain from some scrap yarn she had and holding it up for her to examine. She would look and point out the places where the stitches weren't even, watch my hand position, make little corrections. I don't know if I actually thought this was fun when I was younger, but I'm very grateful for the lessons now. It gives me something to do while I'm sitting and waiting, and the result is a blanket or dishcloths for someone I love. I'll take requests, but be prepared to wait. :)
Football is going well - Elliott got ready for a shower last night and came running naked to the back room, pointing to his upper arms. "Dad! Look! Check out these bruises! Aren't they cool?" Dad's response: "Yep. Chicks dig scars." Please don't let my son marry a 'chick.' Cheerleading is going well, too. She remembers cheers from last year and is helping the new girls. A W E! SO! ME! Awesome awesome awesome are we! Go Vikings! No cool bruises, though.
First games are September 13th. Where? Don't know yet. What time? Not a clue. Why? There are no moms on the football coaching staff.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More Words

Okay, so in a quick few minutes here, I want to tell you the story about the Dictionary of American Slang. I love this book - got it from QPB, a club to which I have belonged for more years than I have bookshelves. Some of what I get is interesting to Don, like the Intellectual Devotional of American History (today's entry is about Reconstruction in the south after the Civil War, the first federal initiative that had government directly impacting ordinary citizens' everyday lives, or attempting to anyway). But more often his reaction to seeing the cardboard box on the table is, "How big is the bill this time?" To my credit, I'm an excellent bargain hunter, only paying full price for stuff you seriously can't get anywhere else and I seriously can't live without, and he doesn't argue with me. I think he's glad that I buy books and not shoes or jewelry - he always has loved me for my brain.
So anyway, one day several months ago a box arrives and it was on a rainy day when Don happened to be home. He brought it in and unwrapped it. Staring at the cover, and then at me, he looked decidedly perplexed.
"How many dictionaries to you need?" he asked quirking one eyebrow as if I was sending the publishers ideas.
“This one’s really cool,” I said. “It’s a collection of all the words that just sort of fell into the language because of popular use.”
“Like what?” he asked, clearly still skeptical of how anything called a dictionary could be cool (even after 12+ years of marriage and all the old dictionaries he’s lugged home from garage sales and dusty bookstores for me, and even after he acknowledged that the Encyclopedia of Omens and Superstitions is actually pretty informative).
“Look up sh*t” I suggested, going to the kitchen to start lunch, leaving him and his skeptical eyebrow at the table. He opened the book.
It’s a good thing the kids were embroiled in a video game at this point, because he followed me all over the house for the next 15 minutes reading entries. Like a good red-blooded American male, the word he looked up was not the one I suggested, but the F Word.
There are 38 entries, beginning with the word itself (11th century Europe to describe the sex act) and ending with the ultimate insult “____ you” (1940’s).
He sat down at the dining room table again as I put a sandwich in front of him, book still in hand. “Wow, who would have thought a dictionary could be so… entertaining?” he asked.

Well, me.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

He's a Keeper

Sorry, ladies, he's taken. Very taken.

A conversation between my avowed Athiest husband and his son, Ben, at the dinner table a few nights ago:
Ben: I wonder who made God.
Don: Who made trees? (relating to a previous conversation)
Ben: I don't know.
Don: Who made you? Take another bite, please.
Ben: I don't know.
Don: Who made the planet and everything else?
Ben: God?
Don: So who made you? Take another bite, please.
Ben: God? (at this point, he was laying across his chair, feet in the air, fork blindly reaching for his plate)
Don: Sit up, please. So who made trees?
Ben: (around a mouthful of pork roast) God.
Don: So if God made all those things, He's been around a long time, right?
Ben: Yeah. I know, take another bite.
Don: So then God just is.
Ben: Okay, can I be full now?
Natalie: Yes, you can. (to Don) That was pretty good for an Athiest.
Don: Yeah, well when I'm groveling on my knees in front of Him, I'll tell Him to thank you.

So even though he professes that there is no such thing as God, one higher power that controls everything, I think he does appreciate the need for others, including his children and his wife, to believe in something greater than themselves. He believes in love, being kind, helping others, and working hard. If the application of his beliefs is restricted to those in his immediate family most of the time (his agressive driving is an example), well... he's at least on the right track and there is hope for the future.
So I'll keep him.