Friday, July 10, 2009

5:00 Fridays

Mac Daddy has a dry wit and thrives on sarcasm. In fact, he doesn't think I'm funny at all since I go for the obvious "that's what she said" kind of joke or stupid pun. I personally think I am hysterical; it pays to be one's own best audience. Plus, my friend Shelly pegged it when she surmised that Mac Daddy has a severe case of funny envy.

He cracks out the humor every time we're at the grocery store in summer. He takes one look at the melon display, and I know some wisecrack is coming. "Nice melons," he remarks. "Firm. I can palm this one." And so on. I offer up the gratuitous laughter. Hardy har har har. It would be funnier if he weren't an ass man. Anyway, the melon joke is one that never gets old. I suppose it's his version of "that's what he said."

Summer is a melon joke teller's stage of glory. A vertitable tata tea party. Melon is an anagram of lemon. Surely there's a joke in there somewhere, right? We've had our share of juicy Sun Jewel melons from Farmer Tom of CSA fame this year. I also recently tried a fantastic summer libation at one of my favorite joints, The Oxford Gastro Pub. If they ever take the fried panko off the menu I'm not coming back.

To celebrate a summer of melon lovin' (no matter how you look at it), I present to you...drumroll, please...

The Melontini

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour in a shot of Absolut vodka, a shot of Midori, an ounce of pineapple juice, a splash of sour mix, and a drizzle of triple sec. Shake well. Pour into a martini glass. Garnish with a slice of fancy melon like Santa Claus melon or Sun Jewel.

Just make sure you get a manicure and fun cocktail ring before photographing yourself holding one of these cocktails. And by the way, vorsicht! A couple of these will be real knockers!
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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Summer Slide

I love summer. I work fewer hours so I can be home with Bird and Deal while school is out (the biggest perk to running my own marketing consulting business!). Since Bird is perched on the cusp of first grade, I especially love the time we have together over the summer. He often feels left out when, at the end of the day, an anxious Deal who has patiently waited for his big brother to get home from school, sputters on and on about our adventures and escapades from the day. Bird shrugs it off, but I can tell he feels like he never gets to join in our reindeer games.

Our weekend jaunts are markedly different from the places we frequent during the off hours Monday to Friday. We rarely go to the same places with the boys over the weekends because a warehouse full of jumpy houses is utter mayhem. A stress factory. So I suppose Bird does get ripped off. I promised him that our summer would be chock full of adventures, popsicles, Happy Meals, matinees, swimming, exploring, duck feeding, and general frolicking. The boys have half-day camp one week a month, all by design. There's no need to over schedule kids, for childhood is precious. Bird, Deal, and I spend our days relaxing and romping.

We stay in our pajamas until lunch time.
We eat pancakes and waffles and breakfast sundaes.
We build LEGO vehicles and race them down the hallway.
We watch Ace of Cakes.
We make Playdoh cannolis.
We paint.
We make popsicles.
We eat store bought popsicles because we are too impatient to wait for ours to freeze.
We rock out to Mamma Mia.
We build ramps and catapults.

And that's all before lunch.

But the lazy days of summer can go too far. Education is not folly.

Three months of no teachers, schedule, routine, or homework can be detrimental. Imagine doing your job after a three month hiatus. I don't want my kids to spend the first two months of school re-learning everything they accomplished. Bird ended his kindergarten year as a pretty strong reader and mathy kid. One month into summer vacation has killed it. He loses a brain cell for every firefly that lights up its glowing bum. The adage "practice makes perfect" should not be reserved for the September to June months.

Now I'm not a believer in summer tutors, ruler-on-the-knuckles study time, or any such Draconian measures, but I do think summer is a time to keep the ole noggin fresh. And I ain't talkin' a certain "preschool on TV" variety.

And so I traipsed off the to Teach Me store to stock up on school supplies. Bird has some workbooks to complete, and Deal has letter writing to practice. They actually enjoy their "school" time, and they'll never admit to this, but they like the break from running around like banshees. Deal learns an awful lot just from watching and listening to Bird. Bird likes to engage his brain and thrives on taxing himself. He's a creative, energetic, precocious kid who loves T-Ball and Transformers. But he gets jacked up on learning too. What a disservice it would be to take that away from him. We don't have formal study hall or anything and we don't even pull out the pencils everyday. But we do have workbook time throughout the week, and I squeeze in a seat at the kitchen table to chat, explain, and help.

I know naysayers are out there grumbling the whole "they're only kids once" drivel. I echo that with an emphatic yes, they are only kids once. We owe it to our children to teach them about balance, education, discipline. The Spartans believed in a sound mind and a sound body. I think those toga clad dudes had it right. Learning and Fun are not mutually exclusive. At any age.

So if you're looking for ways to engage your kids, come up with clever crafty ideas, or just figure out what to do about swimmers ear, check out Shine from Yahoo. And get yourself a subscription to Family Fun magazine. Oh, and here's my secret to making reading seem like a video game...BrainFlips online flashcards. There are tons of fun ways to exercise those blank slate kiddie minds. A little laughter tossed with a little learning will go a long way.

Here's to "Summer Slide" referring to just the playground equipment and a kicky pair of sandals!
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Monday, July 6, 2009

Palin/Coleman 2012

I hate to give Sarah Palin any air time but I must shake out the fuzzy details of the nightmare I had recently. I realize that statement is redundant.

You see, Mac Daddy likes to watch a bit of news before he hits the hay. The man is a news junkie, yet he somehow manages to also be tuned into all the latest hip hop and R & B music and slang that the cool kids are mumbling. I'm pretty sure he's not getting all that from the same source. Last I heard Anderson Cooper (heart be still!) wasn't beatboxing the headlines. Do people still beatbox? Is that even cool anymore? Clearly I am not the one in tune with music, unless you count anything from the years 1985-1986.

Mac Daddy and I are not generally TV-in-the-bedroom type of people but we do have a wee 13-inch television in our room. The thing is so small that Mac Daddy, with his bat in broad daylight vision, cannot read the news crawler or sports scores from bed. That is a sign of how small the TV screen is, not how enormous our bedroom is. I, however, can see the crawler and scores perfectly. Oddly enough, my eyesight improved with each pregnancy. Those boys gave me back fat, but at least I don't have to wear glasses anymore. I realize this has nothing to do with Sarah Palin. Well, she does wear glasses so I guess my non-sequitor is a sequitor after all. Anyway, I hate to watch the news before bed. Nothing like some sad, maddening, irritating, explosive news to bid you off for a journey into dreamland. I have enough trouble sleeping as it is; I don't need visions of Sarah Palin taunting me. And I sure don't need her whiny croak to be the last voice I hear before I fall asleep.

Because when the stars misalign, I have nightmares.

If both Sarah Palin and Norm Coleman tapped you on the shoulder while you were wasting away in Margaritaville, you'd bolt upright in bed too. All I heard was their inane chatter and Coen brothers' Fargo accents guffawing at deafening decibels in my dreams. I saw their Crest Whitestripped teeth glistening in their caricature smiles. My god, those two are living caricatures anyway! They were holding up a slew of sandwich boards, signs, stickers, banners, and other such paraphernalia announcing their bid for the White House in 2012. Palin/Coleman 2012. Shall I get you a bucket to toss your cookies in? I might have been dry heaving in my own dream. I'm pretty sure I was at least quivering, shaking a fist. It was one of those moments that I was asleep but knew I was dreaming. No matter how I tossed, turned, and stole the sheets, I could not wake up. Try as I might, I couldn't shake those two party crashers. It was as if Sarah and Norm were holding my eyelids shut and my brain tuned into their song and dance routine. "On with the show!" they barked.

Nothing like a presidential run from two people who are more cut out to be pageant contestants than running mates. Oh wait, Sarah Palin already did that, right? These two Limelighters thrive on speculation. They are ringmasters in their own media circus. Have I mentioned before that I loathe the circus? That's another story...

Let's see here, Norm Coleman fought, fangs and claws gripping at shredded threads, for a Senate seat he lost to Al Franken. He left his state in the hands of resident Nut Job Michelle Bachman while he tied up state resources to overturn Franken's win. Way to leave the people voiceless, Norm. Wow did he act like a high school forlorn boyfriend grasping pathetically to hang on to the girl. There comes a time when you must realize your options are exhausted. If Coleman really wanted to serve his state, he would have stepped aside, oh, seven months ago. He was in it for himself, not to serve his people. Duh. Transparency in government, right?

And then there's ole Sarah Palin, still trying to play the victim while she plays us. We are all on to her, aren't we? Tell me there aren't still Palin lovers out there. She's not even finishing her term as governor, and the half she did serve was spent mostly on the campaign trail in her $500 boots. I suppose Alaska will be in better hands now, right? Perhaps less soiled hands anyway. I don't really care if she writes a book, hosts a talk show, or runs off to the snowy wilderness to be seen only by the Planet Earth film crew. I just want her out of my life. If she continues to force feed herself to us, she's making herself a part of my life. An unwelcome part. America will never grow, improve, and thrive with the likes of her in the captain's chair.

It's time we arm ourselves with smart people at the helm. People who give voice to the mute, a hand to the disenfranchised, an olive branch to the enemy. Contrary to popular belief, and admittedly the bias of this blog, there are smart people on all sides...dare I say some smarter than others. Can we just agree to keep Sarah Palin off the national collective radar? Her 15-minutes expired months ago, and the clock battery died.

I need my sleep. And I could use some Disney-esque dreams to come true.

What America needs is less hubris, more humility.
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