Eggy Peggy and the Japan Man

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PHOTO CREDIT:  PINTEREST SITE

 

It happened at IHOP the other day. I hadn’t had my morning cup of coffee yet. And I needed one. Like ALWAYS, I had a zillion things on my mind I was hoping to accomplish, knowing about 92% of them would actually be completed around the twelfth of never.

So I’m sitting there with my clever, sweet 8 year old son and our neighbor’s daughter, a smart, loveable 9 year old girl. They’ve been bus buddies for four years.

However, this Monday, we decided to change it up, trick the bus driver, play hooky from our stop and just have some pancakes. Or chicken and waffles, if you want to be precise. OK, that’s what she ordered. My son ordered the super-soaked chocolate chip pancake slathered in HFCS-laden pancake syrup, complete with a big whip cream smiley face and red-dyed maraschino cherry nose.

I was half listening to their simultaneous conversations happening, as I was mentally strategizing how I was going to get thru another impossible day.

It’s not that life is actually impossible. It just seems like it is. Our endless tasks, jobs, home and family responsibilities, volunteer commitments, bills, appointments, projects, and people to communicate with via email, texts, Facebook, Skype, blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, and heck, even telepathically if you’re as busy as I am tend to make our brain tired. To the point, it’s sometimes hard to actually concentrate on what our children are saying.

Suddenly, I miraculously decided to turn down the volume on my own mental noise. I decided to PAY ATTENTION to what these two precious children, who are strangely almost preteens, were saying. It seems like they were waddling around in diapers only a few weeks ago, yet here they were– lips moving, full of words, thoughts, ideas, and chock full of randomness!

Both were talking at the same time. My son was saying something about Macon Bacon and Eggy Peggy. They were characters on a paper search-and-find placemat. Our friend-like-a-daughter was saying how when she grows up, she wants to marry a Japan man, have two kids, and 3 cats. She was going to name them Messiah, Shiloh, and Little Tokyo.  

Both children continued to talk at the same time about these most random thoughts that had instantaneously occurred to them. Neither topic was related to the other. Neither seemed to care that I had but one set of ears, exactly one to hear half of what each mouth was saying, until the waitress came, asked us what we wanted, and harshed that mellow!

I had no clue what I wanted to eat. I was simultaneously visualizing a grown woman in Japan with two kids and three cats in the yard while my son was running around saying “Where is Eggy Peggy?!?!”

“He’s with the Japan Man!”

“Huh?” said the waitress. Oh. My overloaded brain.

“One coffee straight up please!”

And then it hit me. THIS IS WHAT CHILDHOOD IS ALL ABOUT!

Finding Eggy Peggy and Macon Bacon and living in the now. Dreaming of a perfect future; nothing wrong with dreaming that a Japanese husband just may be the ideal guy, as long as he likes felines. Randomness as opposed to every second of our day micromanaged to obey multiple agendas simultaneously.

I don’t think either one was all stressed out about how they were going to get through the day. I know neither one cared how much the food cost as a ratio in proportion to GDP of the family’s earned income like we adults stress over. They were unaware if bills were caught up at home, and I seriously doubt they were thinking about what will they be when they grow up.  

Suddenly, I found myself just wanting to inhale this exuberance of youth. The infinite time that still seemed to lay before them. The lack of hard core responsibilities and tough decisions.

Right now, deciding what to order was all that mattered. I got out my phone. We watched YouTube videos of Okinawa.   For a quick three minutes, I was somewhere else if only in my mind:

I’m running down the white sands of an Okinawa beach beside a translucent blue ocean. Three adorable exotic cats are running beside me.   I’m in hot pursuit of Eggy Peggy and the Japan Man. And they are running–fast!  As fast as they can, chasing two shadows in the wind–shadows of two precious children, growing up faster than all the ones that preceded them as small voices trail behind them, “Run, run, fast as you can. You’ll never catch us!”

Laughing at me and my tired spectacled eyes, and so many true stories under my belt, sadly, I know they are right.

Mr. Curious and Tampax Flight 309

Fireworks Boy

Okay, so tonight was weird. Well, actually it was NORMAL for Mr. Curious, a certain creative genius who resides at our house who has yet to be discovered for the beautiful mind that he is.

Here’s how it all went down: I made fish and parmesan couscous for dinner. The couscous was the only carb I could find since my health-conscious, vegetables-to-the-max daughter returned from overseas and eradicated all traces of sugar, wheat, flour, pasta, and various other delicious things faster than Napalm gives you a sunburn.   We had watermelon and pineapple as our sides and greenbeans and a vegetable medley.   My 8 year old son was stalling this culinary experience by saying he “had to go to the bathroom.”

Translation: Anything could be happening up there.

As my husband and I finished the last of our quiet dinner, I heard him tromp down the stairs as he exclaimed, “MOM!!! Look what I found in (name withheld of specific sister’s) bathroom!!!”

The usual precursory worry looks were exchanged by my husband and me. She’s of legal age, so I figured it could be anything, and at this point in life, really nothing would shock me, except that it did.

“LOOK! What is this?!?!?!?!” Mr. Curious demanded.

And that’s when we saw the item in question. It was a TAMPON. Yes! A tampon!

Only recently did I finally have “the talk” with Mr. Curious. That’s because he learned some colorful words on the bus and started using them not knowing what he was talking about. Sigh. That’s another story. But even though we had “the talk”, it was not accompanied by visuals detailing just how different women are and why. I had not specifically gone over the chapter of “things necessary to being female” yet. And since Mr. Curious lives in our house, generally we keep things of a private nature secure, like guarding the gold at Fort Knox.

“HOLD UP A MINUTE! PLEASE TELL ME YOU DIDN’T GET THAT OUT OF THE TRASH CAN!” I shrieked as my husband started laughing and then I did too.

Thank heavens, it was how can I say this delicately, still in mint condition. Again–thankfully!!

“Can we light it and launch it Dad?” pleaded Mr. Curious as he pulled out a box of camping matches he already had in the other hand.

“Well, we could son, but it won’t really go anywhere, because it doesn’t have any gunpowder in it.”

And that’s when it hit me! Why didn’t I think of that? Why am I not the one who invented the Rocket Tampon? That way when I’m really ticked off and PMSing super bad, I can make my feelings be known at an even faster, much more efficient rate of speed. Say 500 wpm as opposed to 120 wpm.

Perhaps we could obtain world peace once and for all if we fired rocket tampons instead of bullets! It’s the rare courageous man who can actually purchase a box of said cellophane-wrapped cotton rockets for the women in their lives. Can you imagine how quick our nation’s enemies would retreat if under fire by thousands of these little boogers? With the proper Iron Lady in charge, perhaps we actually could see peace in our time.

As my mind contemplated these things, my son made his 5th request, “Come on, let’s go LIGHT it!” It didn’t matter that we told him it would not launch; he remained undeterred. He had to see for himself.

“Someday, he’s going to burn this house down,” my husband said matter of factly, “he has that urge to burn things.”

“It’s possible,” I said. I thought of the story he told me of when he was a kid and and burned most of his neighbor’s front yard playing with gasoline and matches and realized genetically the nut really doesn’t fall all that far from the tree.

I thought of how every time we go camping with the our scouting den, most of the boys simply can not resist testing all of nature’s elements in fire, figuring out which items burn slowly, which burn quickly, which crackle, which cause sparks, and most blissfully: items acknowledged as things that could be truly dangerous, warranting a parental intervention in order to preserve the woods for the next group of campers.

Playing with fire. It’s a universal boyhood desire of curiosity, that we adults are often quick to extinguish.

“Quick! It’s time to watch the Grand Finale!” our pyrogynotechnician informed us beside a micro pile of spent match sticks.

In the end, Mr. Curious’s plastic coated cotton rocket launch of Tampax Flight 309 could only be qualified as a 100% failure by NASA standards. But that doesn’t mean science did not happen tonight. It did. (Cotton turns black when burned, but is not a good source of fuel. Plastic melts. ) But something bigger happened as well.

We all laughed. We hypothesized and made observations. The cats and the dog joined in on the deck, totally unaware of what strange people they’ve had the unique fortune of being adopted by. And out in space, perhaps the man in the moon may be looking down at a little boy on our deck under a warm July sky with crickets chirping in the back yard and see the possibility of the next astronaut.

 

Weather on the 8s

  
PRESS PLAY BEFORE READING MOM!

Four score and seven years ago today, a very special lady celebrated her first birthday.  Did she have cake to crumble and icing to smear?  Did her mom have to make cake from scratch in the 1920s?  Three full years before the great stock market crash of ’29?  Was she the apple of her mama and papa’s eyes as they had not yet given birth yet to her two brothers?

Was she an easy baby?  Or was she fussy?  Did her parents ever tell her?  Does she remember?  Have I ever thought to even ask?

Her childhood for me is but a remnant of out of focus and scattered black and white photos with so many people I never knew but have a deep need to know now so I will always remember.

I’m talking about my mother.  Today she turns 88.  Double eights.   In her grandson Tyler’s world, that would make her a mere teenager, a ripe 16 year old.  But we know differently.  Time passes quickly and in a blink she surely must have gone from being a baby to a child to a lovely teenage woman coming of age at 14 when World War II started when Germany invaded Poland.   Her Sweet Sixteen was eclipsed by Japan bombing Pearl Harbor.  So many young men died; so many young wives and mothers cried.

Perhaps that is why she hates to see American soldiers, young boys and even girls now, shipped off to distant lands like Iraq and Afghanistan because it brings back memories of the boys of her youth who never came back.  When the war ended she was my daughter’s age now.  At twenty years old, just like her granddaughter Caroline who is enrolled in college, she too was enrolled in college in the big city of Manhattan……Manhattan, Kansas that is.  Good old K-State.

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Before long she was out and working full time at Boeing.  What was it like mom?  Making airplane parts?  Being the first generation of women who worked full time?   Dating flyboys in bomber jackets with big egos who probably smoked cigars and drank everything “on the rocks” while dancing to Benny Goodman or Glenn Miller.  I look at pictures of you in slender skirts and pearls with a wave in your hair just so with your Bette Davis eyes and I think I can almost hear Glen Miller’s “In the Mood” and I want to go back in time with you.

I want to be there in the dance halls where the smoke was thick and the women were all beautiful and hoping their man would be safely home this time next year.  I want to stand with you when American Pride was in full swing as much as the music that characterized your generation.  I want to look into your young eyes as you were waltzed off your feet to “Moonlight Serenade” by…..   By whom mom?  Did you tell me?  Why can’t I remember?  Will you write your stories down for me so I will always know?

I want to be the one that pins a fancy jeweled brooch on your tweed herringbone suit.  I want to position your hat just right and then we’ll go to the movies and come home and sneak a smoke.  I’ll pretend I’m Veronica Lake and you can be Lana Turner and we’ll hit the streets of Wichita and turn heads everywhere we go.

Maybe our food will be rationed but our imagination and wanderlust to see the world outside this state of wheat and sunflowers, this dust bowl smack dab in the middle of tornado alley, will never be stifled.

I’ll go with you and I’ll fuss the boy out who left a tack on your chair for you to sit on when you first starting teaching high school English, Latin, and the merits of Shakespeare in Syracuse, Kansas.  And then I’ll quietly fade to the background when your long legs, superior intellect, and proper grasp of the King’s English captivated my father’s heart several years later when you taught Freshman English at Wichita State.

Yes, he was so lovestruck he wrote you poems and tried to impress you with his writing as well.  You were a pioneer in that area my dearie too.  Long before there was Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, there was my mom who easily got away with marrying her student nine years her junior, because after all, who could tell the difference?    What are mere years when two hearts fall?

I’ll ride in the backseat of your Peugot as you and Dad make your way to Alaska to live in Fairbanks.  I’ll put on a fur parka and enjoy taking a dog sled ride with you across this frozen tundra where the dark of night sometimes lasts only a few hours.  We’ll watch the Northern Lights and then I’ll sit by the fire with you and Dad in the log cabin he built as you plan your dreams for the future, not knowing then what we both know now.  Some of our dreams come true; others don’t.  And yet life still has a way of working out for the best!  While your friends from rural Kansas were making babies and cooking Friday night pot roast, you were off exploring new lands.  I was with you then in spirit.  You just didn’t know it yet.

Soon you were off to Athens Greece.  That’s where you both made me.  I started out so small and unaware that someday I too would have another sister, my beloved sister from another mother, who also calls Athens home.  But that would be years later.

It was back to Omaha, Nebraska so you could bring me into the world.  Dad was given the news overseas in Greece where he promptly passed out cigars to his fellow Athenian workers to announce the birth of his “son”.  It’s okay now.  I watch Mad Men.  I get it.   The sexism.  The 60s.  The cocktail parties.  It all went together.

Several weeks later, off we went again.  This time to Oberhochstadt Germany where I would live for the next four months.   Back to Nebraska and Kansas to see family and then Pasco, Washington.   Why can’t I remember the photo of the baby girl in curls kissing her red puppy dog Rudy?  I want to remember this in a way that is real and not observed by looking at a picture.

By the time I turned four, we had moved to Raleigh, NC where we established deep and permanent roots.   I went to school all twelve years with the same neighborhood friends, a rarity that doesn’t exist now.  When I was very young, I remember we were always having company or going to see family.  Meals and traveling in our yellow convertible Cadillac and playing with cousins and favorite aunts and uncles were common.  It was what families did back in the 1970s.

We must have traveled like every weekend or something until my 8th birthday.  It was May 17, 1973.  I was bedridden and covered head to toe with a wicked case of poison ivy.   While my friends’ moms made Watergate salad, I watched Watergate hearings and President’s Nixon’s scowling jowls wave in the wind as he insisted “I am not a crook” before he ultimately resigned.  Years later I would vote Republican anyway and become politically obstinate in my own views.  I guess you can blame it on the poison ivy.  It made me sympathetic towards Nixon I guess.

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Suddenly it was just the two of us.  Two little women in a huge house, alone, with no brothers or men, just our wits and creativity and a hatful of kittens to propel us forward.  And on we marched.  While other moms traded meatloaf recipes and made new creations with Jello, you quit smoking and took me to the mountains as we watched falling stars.  You took me to the mountains in upper New York State and also to Corning Glass Works and watched glassblowers turn sand into liquid glass and form it into works of art in front of our very eyes.  We went to the mountains of Georgia and I learned yoga at an early age.  We went to Myrtle Beach a lot and I rode my raft in the ocean and played shuffleboard!   We were not only hippy chicks, we were hip.

And when I was twelve we went to San Francisco and rented a tiny car and you drove us on the twisty Lombard Street of San Francisco.  I thought I had turned into the Beach Boys’ California Girl, if only for a week.   We went to beautiful Monterey where we saw sea lions crack clam shells as they floated on their backs.  I went to camp in the wine country of Napa Valley where all the kids asked me to “speak” like a trained dog because of my southern accent that came out anyway despite your best attempts to teach me to talk correctly.

The years passed quickly after that.   My rebellious teenage years collided with your transition to the full-time work force again.  Other moms stayed home and continued to play bridge but you knew there was work to be done, and a teenage daughter to deal with, and bills that had to be paid.  Still, you found the courage to date, and even become the President of the Capital City’s premier group for single parents and their families.  You didn’t wither up and shrink into depression when Dad left, instead you thrived, and we became brave and adept at traveling and creating our own adventures and defining our destiny.  You sought leadership outside the world of homemaking and had the solace and comfort and coffee of a dear neighborhood friend.    You thought I was out playing, but I was watching too.

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I was watching and learning.  I learned that the world is full of endless possibilities.  Sometimes we will choose right and sometimes we will choose wrong, but God can use both kinds of choices to teach us and guide us towards becoming who He already knows we are capable of being.    I learned that fried green tomatoes are tasty.  I also learned that eating cereal for supper won’t kill a kid and is one of my favorite family suppers to this day when I have other things I need to do.  Perhaps it is the secret of slim Or at least for the first few decades of life.

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I learned what kind of mother I wanted to be someday.  I wanted to be a mom who created her own destiny, not just be “somebody’s mother” or “somebody’s wife.”    You taught me it is okay to have shared dreams as well as dreams of my own.  And that is a good thing.

When you retired after many years of working for the state, and then ultimately as a bus driver for the airlines (go mom!) that is when you best found your niche in life:  Helping me by helping me with my kids.  Oh how they have been so blessed by your presence dear mother.  Having a baby in the 80s, 90s, and then the “oh-ohs” as I like to call it, was made more special because you have been in it.  Like you, I knew 40 was plenty young enough to still have a baby.

Three decades you’ve faithfully served at “watching” my kids when I worked or maybe just worked out or ran errands.  You have always been there, more steady and true than the rocks at Stonehenge.  Just like my childhood, you’ve shared with my children the love of many a cats, and now a beloved dog.

Every morning the local radio gives the “weather on the 8’s.”  Well here we are mom.  The time is on the 8s!  How is the weather?  How is the view?  Here it is, the third of May and yet it feels like Autumn with a cool 60 degree morning in Raleigh, North Carolina.  It may feel like Autumn in your life too.  But this much I know is true:

You have lived a long life.  Indeed, you have lived a blessed life.  God has blessed you with so many years, and with a strong body and mind that still is going strong.  I know your body has slowed somewhat, but your heart is still strong.  Your will is still firm.  And your love is long.  It is eternal.  It is the song that goes on and on.  Long after you’re gone, and I’m gone, all that have come through me, and beyond are gone.  It is our Sentimental Journey that transcends time and place and keeps us as one until God carries each of us safely home.

Happy Birthday Mother!  May you be blessed today and always.

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From the daughter and the family who loves you more than words can adequately describe.

Elizabeth

PS – I apologize in advance for all spelling and grammatical errors.  It’s not for lack of teaching.  But I too am getting older, and sometimes I forget what you taught me.  But I’m still young enough to relearn.  😉

My Mom LizLogic Header

Don’t Get Caught By the Eyeball Police!

Photo Credit: Lambert Hulton Archives/guardian.co.uk

      That’s because in our house Little Brother is watching you!  Yes, he roams the kitchen table like a roaring lion waiting and watching for a disobedient dinner patron to commit this most dreadful of sins:

Praying with your eyes OPEN!

If there was a word that described the pace and structure of our house, it would be this:  HAPHAZARD.   So on the nights I cook dinner, if I’m not utterly exhausted, and if I happen to muster up the energy to clear off random acts of homework, unfinished Lego kits, half-sorted piles of junk and legitimate mail, and other miscellaneous objects from our kitchen table in order to have a “family dinner”, then I usually insist that we say a blessing.

It’s only fitting that we should ask God to bless our food for the nourishment of our bodies and oh did I mention the “hands that lovingly prepared it”?  Anyway, my six year old son still prefers the standard:

God is Great

God is Good

Let us thank Him for our food

By his hands we all are fed

Thank you God for daily bread

 

Sometimes I throw in a quick extra request before everyone can shout Amen and start digging in.  I’ll wiggle a sentence or two sideways in that brief interval before the first mouth utters first syllable “A” and mutter something about a world event, “and Lord, please bless our soldiers who are digging in and trying to stay safe from enemy fire” or “please bless the starving children in Africa.”   Or I may say, “Please bless our daughter as she travels out of town this weekend.”     The point is I try.

Prayer is important.  It’s important to me.  But generally my family just wants to eat, if there are actually full plates sitting before them.  The “please bless and save the world” prayers are preferred at bedtime, not meals.    See my son likes the prayers, but what he really likes is to be the enforcer and check the table for any wandering eyeballs that happen to reveal themselves behind lids that should be closed.

“(Sinful person name)’s eyes were open!”  he gleefully proclaims if anyone opens their eye at any point during the prayer before Amen is stated.

He should be a lawyer I think.  He expects obedience to “the law.”  No mercy is granted, and if my son was sheriff, you would be flogged in the public square for not adhering to the Eyes Remain Shut regulation of mealtime prayers.

I sometimes sigh and wish our grace at meals were more full of….well, grace!  Less legalism, more words full of thanksgiving and grace and Godly requests for others.    I want prayer to be our habit of love, not our obligation to following a rule.

I believe that is how Jesus wants us to come to him…with thankful hearts, with prayer and petition making our requests made known.  And then the peace that surpasses human understanding will guard our hearts and mind in Christ Jesus.

That’s the idea anyway.  It’s just that sometimes that’s when the cat jumps up on the table.  The solicitor phone call rings.  Ding Dong goes the doorbell.  The forgotten oven timer finally sounds reminding us that the food I prematurely took out is now ready.  Prayers are started and quickly interrupted.  Eyes open and my son is taking names and calling them out.

We live in a busy world and when did it get so hard to just make a family meal happen?  You know; the table is cleared and set, steaming hot healthy food waits to be ladled onto shiny white plates, iced drinks await to be sipped, napkins are in laps, prayers are said, and Dad is ready to slice the meatloaf.  Sweet children patiently await the food to be served.  Then we’ll all talk about our glorious day and how blessed we are.

OK, scratch the record at this point.  Still as moms we try, and dads too!  Interruption is our standard and peace seems to be our exception, but still we press on with endurance to have a family meal, complete with meaningful prayer and good food that we are indeed thankful for.

As for me and my household?  Well, we all try to keep our eyes shut as long as possible.  Never mind the plank that frequently juts out from them, we just don’t feel like getting a verbal citation from the Eyeball Police.

A QUICK prayer for your family dinner: 

Lord Jesus, please bless the mother’s hands today who tried her darndest to lovingly prepare a family meal after a full day of work and responsibilities, for kids who are not perfectly behaved or quiet, and a husband who doesn’t make it home on time because he works so hard.  Bless the solicitor who calls because they’re just arriving at their second job because times are tight, and the cat who reminds us he’d like to eat too, if it wouldn’t be too much of a bother, and the little Cub Scout who just happened to sell popcorn at an inopportune time to raise money for his troop.  Bless our over-scheduled lives and our sometimes under-nourished souls.  May we remember that even when we don’t give You the praise for our dinner and even more so for our lives, that You are still watching over us, blessing us, and in control.    We thank you for not only the food that nourishes our bodies, but for You who feeds our spirit and nourishes our life.  Help order our time so that we may enjoy eating as a family and with minimal distraction and drama.  And Lord, please keep us safe from the Eyeball Police!  Amen!

PS – I’ve made this meatloaf and it’s really good. Especially the bacon topper! It’s essentially the same as my mother in law’s recipe, but I was too lazy too type it, so I pulled this from About.Com

1950s Meatloaf Recipe:

  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef (chuck is best)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork sausage (seasoned or not)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup fine bread crumbs
  • 1 to 2 large cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 cup diced sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup diced green bell pepper (sweet capsicum)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 package dry onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste, divided use
  • 2 to 4 strips bacon, cut in half (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine ground beef, pork sausage, eggs, bread crumbs, garlic, sweet onion, bell pepper, oregano, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, onion soup mix, milk, and half of the tomato paste. Gently mix only until combined. Do not overwork the meat or it will become tough. Form into a loaf. Cover with the remaining half can of tomato paste. Weave the bacon strips over the top.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let meatloaf rest 15 minutes before cutting to serve.

Yield: 8 servings

1950’s-style Meatloaf Recipe Photo © 2010 Peggy Trowbridge Filippone, licensed to About.com, Inc.

Gutter Language: Going Off the Rails

   Photo: Andrew Riggs/The Collegian/Cal State University – Fresno

Yesterday we signed our six year old son back up for Saturday league bowling.  Last year he was in the “Bumpers” league, but this year he has moved up.  Translation:  He will not be bowling with bumper rails anymore.  He loved it last year, but after his first day this year?  Meh!  Not so much.

Here’s why.  He rolled a lot of gutter balls.   At six, when the bowling ball weighs about 1/6 of your skinny body’s weight, it is kind of hard to muster up the strength to get the ball rolling fast, stay centered, and annihilate the pins at the end without the aid of some bumper rails to help you along the way.  Several times the ball rolled so S-L-O-W-L-Y, it came to a complete STOP just shy of reaching the end of the alley.

So my little munchkin did what any child who is embarrassed would do:   He deliberately rolled another ball in the gutter to push the stalled ball out of the way.  It too stopped.  As did the third one.  Help was summoned.   Yes my child was the recipient of attention when the cavalry was called in to relieve him.  The attendant at the desk carefully made his way down in league-sanctioned shoes, as not to damage the floor, and with a whisper of a push, drove all three balls to their rightful destiny.

Remember when you were a little kid, if you were fortunate enough to have a bunk bed, your parents wouldn’t dream of letting you stay on the top bunk without rails to keep you secure.  Never mind the fact that they felt totally safe letting you sleep the two or three feet off the ground without benefit of rails previously.  Falling six feet onto a barrage of plastic toys beneath is just too dangerous. 

As a little kid you are taught to hold the rails on everything!  Staircases, escalators, you name it!  Somewhere around age five, you realize rails are more fun to hang on, climb on, and weave in and out of when standing in boring long lines.  Their original purpose to keep you safe becomes obscured as you grow and learn to either ignore them, or hang all over them as if they were jungle gym equipment.

Since everything is a metaphor in the mind of Liz Logic, I quickly made the connection yesterday how bowling resembles life.  Profound, no?

We spend our days trying to knock down the pins and get the highest score.  That is to say, we are driven to reach our goals, walk the straight and narrow, or preferably run (for the ultra-ambitious) the (rat) race with endurance, and “get ‘er done”.  Don’t deviate from the path.

Don’t go off the rails!

     Everybody knows someone completely off the rails .  As soon as you read that, you are thinking of someone fairly cuckoo, maybe kind of crazy.  They probably were attracted to seeing what’s on the other side of the rails, or made some choices that took them to the gutter of life like a magnet drawn to steel.

Yes, when we live life without benefit of rails, if you are prone to temptation, you might wind up in the gutter.  That being said, if you are curious, and prone to innovation, then maybe you should risk walking just past the gutter, into the other lane and see what answers or fortunes await you.

Taking risks, asking why, and thinking in terms of “I wonder what would happen if I….” are the dominant thoughts of great scientists, inventors, artists, and technology creators!

Life is full of danger both externally in the world around us, and especially internally by the choices we freely make.  Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, you become aware the rails are slowly lowering, until one day they are level with the ground.  Soon it’s up to you baby!

  • Sink or swim.
  • Straighten up and fly right.
  • Color inside the lines.
  • Walk the straight and narrow or else!

A little caveat here—this same son who has experienced the embarrassment of a stalled bowling ball (several of them, several times actually!) is also the same child who once when playing skee ball threw the ball so badly, it not only deviated from the walls of his lane, but actually skipped over into the neighboring lane, rolled up the hill, and landed in the 40-point bin.  Score!  Even if it’s for the other team!

What can I say?  That’s my boy!  I love him.  I’m proud of him—even when he veers toward the gutter or jumps the track entirely.

Here’s to you and the choices you make today.  Enjoy life, aim true, and navigate safely when the rails are lowered!

Post script to story:  So I’m surfing Facebook today (8/19/12) and I run across this lovely gem of a pic.  Since I also have a daughter who dances, I had to put this in here.   Stay UNIQUE!

Back In the Day: Life in the Twenty Fish Century

The Great One and Various Other Actors

My six year old son always keeps us in stitches!   Tonight it was announced during our family dinner of Stouffer’s lasagna, sweet corn on the cob, and sliced home baked pumpkin vanilla chip bread* (not made by me) that following supper there would be a performance play of epic proportions to be performed by:

The one, the only—–The Great One!   Our little six year old!

 He dictated to us the start time (ASAP) and length of our required attendance (one hour)!   So no TV tonight!

It was past 9 pm.  Most children are long asleep.  I’d already received six phone calls full of details that had made my head spin during the preparation of dinner.  My husband and adult children came in intermittently as they all got off work.  My mom came over.  My needy cats needed food and medicine.   So I was already a wee bit tired when my theatre star son announced the required play we would all be attending.    I really wasn’t in the mood for another play choreographed, produced, and acted by the same person who starred in last night’s play.

Alas, the emperor had spoken and my wishes were simply that—wishes.   Dinner was to be wolfed as quickly as possible so we could all see the amazing and fantastic play.  Oh, and audience participation would be required.

I got the dishwasher loaded.  I got off a long-distance call from my dad whom I hadn’t spoken to in months.  I took Tylenol for the migraine that was returning from the night before.

I sat down and tried to dig deep into my exhausted body and muster up some enthusiasm.  I was sitting beside my mom.  My husband was in a chair beside her with our cat’s Elizabethan collar upside down on his head.  This collar prescribed by our vet is used to keep animals from licking injuries, but my husband calls it “The Collar of Shame” from a movie I clearly never saw.  His lampshade-attachment like choice of accessorizing made him appear to be a rickshaw driver.  Do not ask me why he was wearing the cat’s collar.  I have learned in my world it is better not to question some things.  My six- and-a-half foot tall adult son stood beside me near the door in case he needed to make a hasty exit.  My daughter was given a pass by my six year old since there was no more room for people or pets to sit or stand in our sunroom that doubles as a Toys-R-Us, when it’s not being used for off-Broadway plays.

The house lights were darkened.  The conductor (my son) flipped a switch and the programmed organ began to play a classical rendition of Deck the Halls sung by tonight’s soloist (my son). Then the star of the show (also my son) made a compelling announcement to the audience!

Welcome Everyone!  This Play is About:   

Back in The Day of the Twenty Fish Century!!!!!!

Dun Dunna Duh Duh he trumpeted!!

Well okay then!  Maybe this play won’t be so bad after all.  I’d love to hear about life in the TWENTY FISH century.  I wonder if it’s better than the twenty-one-ways-of-communication century I’m living in every day!    I figured I was about to be entertained by a riveting story similar to the times our Lord and Saviour lived in.    A story where people baked bread with yeast, and made loaves that fed multitudes.  A place where the roads were made of dirt and only the prosperous or the greedy had sandals or donkeys anyway.  A story where fish really had a starring role and where fishermen fished for real men AND fish.  Regrettably, I was about to be disappointed.

Where’s the concession stand I wanted to know!  I would like a Moonpie and an RC Cola please!!

Ain’t happening.  Take your seat I was informed!  My tall grown up son was roughed up a little bit and tapped on the back with an umbrella hook by security (my son) for attempting to leave in the middle of the play, which sort of (okay—a lot)  was lacking in plot, character development, and believability.    It didn’t matter.  This displeased the emperor (my son) and so security (also my son) was called in for non-compliant patrons.

The rest of the obedient audience, that is my mom, husband, and myself, continued to endure the show:  a mixture of a laser light show (a light from a broken electronic slinky), a frightening song about ghosts being on the ceiling and inside of our head which was penned and performed for the first time ever, on the spot, by the singer (my son).  Then we were treated to a stirring rendition of Für Elise set to a backdrop of an electronic metronome.

Occasionally the actor in his limited reading ability did seek help from his grandmother to help him read the verbal script that she had helped him prepare prior to the show.  He stumbled on one line, quickly gained composure, and then delivered this line perfectly:

     Okay, this is the part you are really going to freak out!

Again, however, the plot weakened.  I didn’t freak out, but I did look at my wrist praying a watch had somehow materialized.    That’s when the emcee (also my son) announced the play no longer had a set time to end.

That did it!  I revolted!  I turned on the lamp and thanked him for the amazing and exciting performance.  We were all affected beyond belief!  We would not forget this night ever.  We could not if we tried!     You see, we love the movie star who was in it.  Even though the entertainment can sometimes be sub-par, he really has a way of hooking the audience—literally!    Every star makes their share of box office flops; why should my child be the exception?  The point is this—it’s the passion and the intention of what he was trying to get across:

I love my family!  This is so much fun!  Thanks for coming to see ME in MY SHOW!  Creating this for you has been my supreme joy!  This audience rocks!

The truth is, we had lots of moments when we laughed.  There were indeed moments I thought I might cry.  There were boring parts and there were parts with music.  Not a lot different than when we shell out $11.95 at the theater to go see a movie on a Friday night after our tax refund finally arrives!  Okay, so the story was a bit lacking.  But you know?  You get what you pay for!

But spending quality time with a family you just might be too embarrassed to go out in public with anyway after a delicious dinner, in the presence of a rising star?  Well now, that’s priceless!

 

The Cure for Paraskevidekatriaphobia

Yesterday was Friday the 13th.  For the third time this year!    I was suffering from a case of writer’s block.   Then I kept hearing all day long on the radio and TV about people that suffer from (hold on….let me go copy and paste):

Paraskevidekatriaphobia

Boom just like that!  After hearing about this for the thirteenth time, I got unblocked faster than you can say Ex-Lax!    Here are thirteen things in less than thirteen hundred words that may or may not have contributed to the way I am today.  Only those that know me, could say for sure:

  1. I was born in Omaha, Nebraska during a severe thunderstorm.  I heard the lights went out.   I’ve been fascinated by storms all my life and found safe haven in the middle of a tempest multiple times, both literally and figuratively.  Impending storms terrify me.  Once I’m in one,  things get crystal clear.
  2. Until I was two, I had curly hair like Shirley Temple.  Those were the good old days when I was wild and carefree.  Back then I still felt comfortable sunbathing topless.
  3. When I was three we moved to Raleigh from Washington State.  My mom always called it Washington state, so I was never unclear that we didn’t originally migrate from DC.  When my parents bought our first house in Raleigh, it had a full sized swimming pool.  It was like being the innkeeper at your very own Holiday Inn.  We moved to our second and last home of my childhood before I was old enough to invite friends over.
  4. I had two dogs before I turned four.  They were the only dogs I would ever have as a child.  One, a reddish spaniel named Rudy in Washington State and Muffin, a solid black puppy when I came to Raleigh.  I remember Muffin, but I don’t remember why I didn’t have Muffin when I was four or five.  I should ask my mom.  I hope this story doesn’t have a sad ending.
  5. I remember I had a doll named Miss Baird.  I’m not sure why I named her this.  She had short blond dreads long before I knew who Bob Marley was.
  6. When I was six, I met one of the Harlem Globetrotters at the airport.  I think it was the DC airport, but I’m not sure.  I remember I was eating oatmeal at the airport diner, and this tall, dark, and kind stranger sat down beside me and my mom and just starting talking to us.  He was real friendly.  Back then it wasn’t racist or politically incorrect of my mom to assume certain things so my mom said, “You must be a basketball player!”  He said he was.  He said he played for the Harlem Globetrotters.    He gave me his autograph, but what I remember most is he complimented me for making good choices and eating something as healthy as oatmeal for breakfast.  To this day, I usually eat oatmeal for breakfast; is this the reason why?
  7. When I was seven my dad built me a pair of stilts for Christmas.  I was so frustrated!!!  Then I got the hang of it on the same day.  Then I got really happy.  Because how many kids get a pair of homemade stilts for Christmas?  Plus now I could probably join the Circus one day.
  8.  I got a Polaroid Camera that year too.   A life long love affair with pictures began.  Once my own children were born, I became their personal stalking version of paparazzi.  Before my digital Canon, and 35mm Nikon, I snapped everything from cats to rocks with my Polaroid.  Until finally my parents quit buying me cartridge replacements.  Thus began my dark years, except for when I got to borrow my mom’s Kodak 110 instamatic.   My entire childhood is one big collage of fading yellow and green Instagram memories.
  9. My dad collected weird things.  I remember in our driveway we had two big metal barrels.  I don’t even know what  they were for.  Water containers ?  Fuel tanks  just in case because Jimmy Carter was President?  Anyway, one monstrosity was solid rust and was about 8 feet tall, the other was about 4 feet tall, silver, and non-rusted.  Both were about 4 feet in diameter, and they were just there.  This is one of those mysteries of childhood.  We had barrels of unknown origin and purpose in our driveway for  the longest time and then one day they’re just no longer there.  Childhood memory goes through weird time warps.  You grow up and wonder, “Hey!  I wonder whatever happened to those barrels?”
  10. When I was twelve, I remember I got a Coke-a-Cola AM radio.  It was an AM radio cleverly hidden  in an exact replica of a coke can.  I carried it with me on my way to play penny poker with the boys that lived at the top of our street.  I was just too cool for my own self.  “Hey, you wanna coke?” I’d say, and then I’d throw them a can of tunes!  I’m sure they were impressed for at least a nanosecond.
  11. Also in sixth grade I was good at foosball, I mean really really good.  My dad was in the restaurant business and he had an old foosball table from a pizza establishment that he was not using anymore.  He put it in our garage and I had foosball tournaments in the summer.  I could single-handedly take on two guys in high school any day of the week.   I still remember I’d get that ball, wedged up under the center forward, and then flick my wrist real hard as my ceramic man’s feet, which were really two feet that kicked as one,  positioned  backwards almost vertical with feet in the air,  and then like lightening I’d spin the handle and BULLSEYE!!   I’d have that ball in the goal faster than you could say “Bay City Rollers.”   The opposing goalie didn’t have a chance.  I had a word for it:  Snick It!  I’d take that ball and “snick it” into the goal over and over.  I still lust for the game whenever I see a foosball table.
  12. I never dated anyone who had a Ford Pinto in high school.   I didn’t have to spend my dating years worrying about whether or not I’d blow up, if I got rear-ended.   My now husband who was my then boyfriend had a yellow and primer painted Fiat X-19 that part of the key broke off in the ignition.  He just used a penny as the top part of the key or always parked it on a hill and let out the clutch.  I remember I thought that was so cool!  His brother drove an AMC Pacer, so together, they really rocked my block!  I knew as long as he owned that car, we’d always have at least one cent to our name.
  13. Thankfully I don’t suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia .  In fact I’m not sure I know anyone who does reroute their day on Friday the 13th, but I’m sure there are some somewhere.  In all my years of living, I don’t recall a Friday the 13th of any significance.  My youngest son was born on Thursday the 13th, so the following year he turned one on Friday the 13th.  How could I be afraid and still throw a big party?

Life!  It’s so RANDOM!  Or is it?  (Play Twilight Theme song in your head now)