Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Storm Warning...

There are very dark clouds looming on the horizon.

Pardon me while I take shelter and hope for it to pass.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Praise the Lord and Bring Out Yer Dead!


Happy Easter.

So, here it is. Easter again. And what do I even say?

I guess the most Easterly event was going to dinner at my in-law's and seeing my grand-nephew(?) running around in a skeleton mask. I supposed we all celebrate the raising of the dead in our own way.

All in all it was a very nice holiday. Got to see the cuz and wife at their country estate. Had some mimosas, took a little constitutional around the property, visited the mother shrine in the woods - all very nice.

After that it was to the in-law's where crazy antics and mayhem ensued.

It's been way too many glasses of wine for me to really write anything remotely interesting or spelled correctly so I'm just going to paste an Easter poem. Now, for those of you who know my sister, please don't get excited and expect anything...um...well, just don't expect anything. I did not get the writing gene. At any rate, I did a writing exercise on a web site where they give you ceratin words to write a poem with, so...well...without further ado, here it is.

An Easter Poem

It is this time of year
that makes me think of women -
church going women from years past,
standing in the pews
in prim dresses long separated
from the mother bolt of calico,
tissues tucked in sleeve,
firm missile bosoms standing at attention,
mountainous Easter bonnets
raising up in tireless praise
of the Lord.

No one ever guessing
their private thoughts
were really on
the ham in the oven.

Happy Easter to all and I hope the risen Lord finds you and kicks you in the butt.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

An Abrupt End to a Career in Sports?

If any of you know my son, you know he's the quiet type - at least around adults. He's got a pretty mellow personality and he's not - at least from what I can tell - too concerned about the whole social scene. It seems he thinks his time is better spent with the carburetor of a 1990 KX than a girlfriend. Thank God for some small favors.

He's never been much of a joiner, especially in organized sports. So you can imagine my surprise when he informed us that he was joining track and field this year. Whoa, where did that come from? Who is this kid and what did he do with my son? Of course we were pretty excited at the thought of him actually leaving the garage a few times a week so we were all "Yeah, we're down with that."

I can't tell you how bizarre it is to hear him tell me to pick him up at 4 because they are going to be lifting today. Weird, that's all it is. And I got to take him shopping for track shoes the other night. I've never really seen track shoes up close before and had no clue that have metal spikes sticking out of the bottom. It amazes me they haven't banned them from schools yet.

Daughter is also on the team but that's nothing surprising because she's such a joiner she would join the Junior League of the National Beekeepers Association if she could get her hands on a honeybee.

So, this morning I'm in the car with daughter waiting for son to come out so's I can take them to practice. I pick a few cassette tapes out of the door pocket and start looking through them and turn on the radio while we wait to see what new bits of culture are riding the air waves. It turns out there is an interview with Marianne Faithful and we enter the broadcast just as she is saying "...and this is my darkest album yet." Just as she says that, I lay my hands on a Leonard Cohen tape. I say "You think you're dark? Well Marianne Faithful, meet Leonard Cohen." And I pop the cassette into the player. Daughter thinks this is funny. Finally, son comes out of the house and we are on our way to practice.

We didn't even make it to the end of the driveway when he says "Are you listening to this?" meaning the mournful Bird On A Wire now piping through the Camry. "Why, yes, yes I am." Silence.

After a few miles he tries again.

"Don't you want to see what's on the radio?" "No, I want to listen to Leonard."

A few more miles and he makes one last, desperate attempt.

"How am I supposed to listen to this and then go to practice and actually do anything?"

I told him not to fall prey to the myth that one must listen to commercial radio in order to be able to perform at sports. Daughter thinks this is also funny.

A few minutes later, I dropped off my young track stars, inspired by Leonard Cohen, telling them to "run hard and true and try in your way to be free!" It's almost two hours later and I haven't had any phone calls about an "incident" on school grounds so I'm guessing all is well.

Maybe this is not the best course to raise a track and field star. Maybe it's not even the best course to keep them on the team. Or, maybe it will inspire them to leave the house more often. Who knows?

At any rate, if he does eventually lose interest, I can use the shoes to aerate the lawn.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Go Granny, Go Granny, Go Granny, Go

So this past weekend, I was travelling along with my husband and mother through the lovely coal lands of PA and we passed a sign for Big Diamond which is a dirt track for auto racing. Shortly after that, we saw a race car parked in front of a garage with a "for sale" sign on it.


Here is my great idea. My mom left the workforce when she had her first child (or somewhere there abouts) and remained a homemaker, domestic engineer, offspring progression coordinater, whatever the pc term is, after that. Now that her daughters are grown and raising children of their own, she's got some free time on her hands. I suggested she buy the car and begin her racing career.

Dig it. We came up with a whole list of sponsors - Geritol, Mrs. T's Pierogies, Depends, St. Jerome's Bingo, etc. And when she gets really good, we can go after the big bucks - the AARP and the PA Lottery.

Hey, I know what you're thinking, but my mom's got moxy. I think she'd bust some ass.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Aging of Humor

We're a musical kind of family. Not like the Partridge's or anything, but we each have our instruments and music that we love. Although I would love to put my husband and kids in double-knit polyester leisure suits and take them on tour, it would have more to do with my morbid sense of humor than love of musical performance.

At any rate, because of our dabbling, we have acquired a rather interesting stock of instruments. We have the standard piano and guitars - acoustic and electric, the requisite clarinet for the discriminating high school girl, a haphazard drum kit, trumpet, not just one but two trombones and baritone. We also have an assortment of percussion instruments from terribly exotic places such as Africa and pre-school. We also have a lonely fiddle. Violin. Whatever.

The sad fiddle is mine. It was a Christmas gift from my poor, misguided husband. It's not his fault. I really wanted a fiddle. I really wanted to be able to play the fiddle. However, I have fallen into the unenviable position of not being able to "have one's fiddle and play it too". Like the cake thing.

So this morning, I am driving my musical daughter to catch a bus that will take her to her final practice, and then concert, for county band. We're tooling along listening to public radio (because of my burning hatred for all things commercial), enjoying the temporary sun in a cloudless sky, the mellow voice of whoever - whomever? - stroking our frazzled brains with tales of cultural events. And then, "Now we'll hear Johann Sebastian Bach's Air on the G String."

My daughter and I both chuckle. I turn to her with the intention of saying "That's what they would call it if I played it - Err on the G String" but, before I can put our shared joke into words, she gives me the Groucho eyebrows and says "Air on the G-string. That's gross."

And that's the difference 20 years makes.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

That's what I wa-a-a-a-a-ant, yeah. That's what I want.

Well, I'm almost done with my taxes. By done I mean I've assembled all of my paperwork, receipts, documents, etc. to deliver to my tax person. Then I wait.

I already know it's going to be bad news. No rebate here.

I have a relationship with the IRS simlar to that of the pasty, frail retainer-clad child and the schoolyard bully.
"Give me your lunch money."
"But I already gave it to you and then I had to get other money so I could get lunch today and now if I give you that too OOOF!" A quick blow to the breadbox.
"Thanks kid. See you tomorrow."

And so it goes.

I don't like this estimating quartely taxes nonsense. I can't seem to get it right. It wouldn't be a problem if I would err in the other direction but, no, that is not the case. So all I can do is sit and wait to hear the damages. I suppose I could worry about it too but, this year, I have resolved not to even bother. So I'll owe some taxes. Who cares?

What does worry me is this talk of privatization of social security. Now, don't worry, I'm not going to get all political on you. My concern is what the hell are they thinking putting me in charge of my retirement? Why would they even consider that? I'm the type of person who would think the Garden Weasel looked like a good investment! My social security is as good as gone... I have all of this paperwork to start a retirement plan and the big hold up is that I can't pick where I want my money to go. I have no faith in myself for this kind of stuff. I would feel more comfortable taking it to a back alley somewhere and laying down a bet on a cockfight. At least I think I could pick the better rooster out of two...


Tuesday, March 08, 2005


My legs are so cold it seems as though they could shatter. Pieces of leg all over the floor...

The Philadelphia Flower Show is going on this week. I really, really wanted to take a day off and go but, alas, the Gods of Finance said it was not to be. And really, the only reason I wanted to go is because it would be cheaper than therapy. Not that I'm going to go to a therapist instead of the flower show...no money for that either. I just needed a little lift - a little reassurance that the days will, indeed, get longer and the snow will melt. And now, what? It's 20 degrees below zero with a 50mph wind. And that's inside. As if on cue, a plastic lawn chair just blew across my porch exactly when I typed that. Well, go on, lawn chair. You're free. Good luck in the big, cold world. See how far you get.

I've about had it with winter. The seed catalogs are starting to show up in my mailbox, mocking me. Have they no mercy? Don't they understand I'll be lucky to see my Daffodils by July? Damn you, seed catalogs.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

The List

Ok, here's the quickie background...

We don't have cable. Haven't had it since it came down in an ice storm 6 or 7 years ago. Since it was hooked up illegally to begin with - not by us, mind you, the former owner of the house - we couldn't really just call the cable company and have them come out and hook us back up. Our entertainment since that time has consisted of taped movies and public radio.

A few years ago, I compiled a list of movies that I thought my children should see in order to better relate to the world and understand their parents. Here's some of what we've seen so far...

Harold and Maude (has since become my daughter's all-time favorite)
The Holy Grail
The God's Must Be Crazy
Airport 1975 and 1977
Every Which Way But Loose
Deliverance (hee, hee - that had an awkward moment or two)
Citizen Kane (which, believe it or not we got to see on the big screen in an old theatre)
Gone With The Wind (same as above)
The General
It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
The Longest Yard
The Great Escape
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
True Grit

This is a small list but you get the idea. Right now I'm saving up to buy a dvd of Convoy. Go ahead, laugh. I don't care.

So, any suggestions?

Friday, March 04, 2005


The word alone is enough to bring back the memories.

The half-pint milk carton Rice Bowl, held in reverent hands whilst walking - straight line and "Is that you I hear whispering, Miss Crosby?" - little green plaid ducks behind our black robed mother bride-of-Christ Sister Concepta. Black linoleum block floors, scuffed to a high shine. The smell of the weekly Friday pierogie sale wafting down the hall, mingling with the cleanser aroma that said "Bernie the Janitor was here". Painted cinder block walls - thick, thick coats of paint - adorned with the last week's art project, a purple outline ditto page - smell it fresh off the roller, mmmm - a picture of a cross with lillies to color. Fuzzy knee socks, itching, "Is something wrong? Then stand up straight!" Shiny topped desk, so smooth but the metal underneath rough with pink chipped paint - place the little box inside and sit and wait, hands folded, wait for your turn, your envelope, your Pizza Day receipt, no meat on Friday. "Remember, while you're at luch, remember those children, those starving children."

I suffer, I suffer, I suffer. And then...

Jelly beans. Chocolate eggs. An LP - From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee. What?