Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Here's an interesting article on the train wreck that is the Ed Orgeron Era at Ole Miss.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

...And We Walked Uphill Both Ways

So today I'm making lunch for the young lad, as my friend Tracie calls my son, and I realize, as I'm cooking up some quesadillas, that tortillas, by and large, have become a staple in the American kitchen.

Think about it. You go in them thar supermarkets these days, and you can buy all sorts of things. FOREIGN things.

Seriously - it was sort of a revelation to me (which may say more about the condition of my mind than it does about the condition of the American supermarket). But when I was growing up, you didn't just walk in the Winn Dixie and buy tortillas. And if you had asked for them in my hometown, you would have had to deal with Ruby - she of the bouffant hair and the gum stuck back in the left corner of her mouth JUST LIKE SHE LIKED IT so that she could crack it real good when she rang up your groceries - and she would have said, "Hon, what in SAM HILL are you talking about? Tor-till-ahs? Never heard of 'em."

We couldn't buy hummus or tahini or tomatillos or even salsa (it was the 70's - you got taco sauce). The grocery store was the place where Americans bought American food to eat in their American homes with their American families. The End.

Anyway, I thought about the fact that A. will never know a grocery store without tortillas. He will never know a world without Tivo. We had three channels when I was growing up, but my child has access to a hard drive with all his favorite shows on it...not to mention the fact that, at 2 1/2, he knows how to work the remote. He will never know a world without cell phones or computers or DVD players or XBox. Or Xbox 360, for that matter.

And furthermore and on top of that, my husband read an article the other night about coursecasting...which basically means that professors are putting their lectures online, and students download Podcasts so they can hear whatever was said that day in class. All I could think was that if that particular brand of technology had been available in the late 80's / early 90's, my friends and I would have NEVER made it to class. Daph would've still gone - because she loves knowledge - and EK would've gone because she would've never figured out how to get the coursecast off of the internet and would've found it MUCH easier to just do things the old-fashioned way. Elise and I, on the other hand, would've not only found a way to download the lectures, we'd also have found a way to turn a profit. Because we're industrious like that.

So all of these things - tortillas, coursecasts, etc. - make me wonder about what kind of world Boo will live in twenty years down the road. Will he just have some sort of chip in the side of his head so that people can beam information at it? Will he have some sort of permanent earpiece that's a smaller version of those cell phone wrap-around-your-ear things that I just despise? Will his cell phone be able to perform light cooking and cleaning duties in addition to being, you know, a PHONE?

But here's the biggest revelation I had after my thoughts of tortillas: my son will pity me. He will pity me because I didn't have the same conveniences. Just like I pitied my parents for not having push-button telephones and color television when they were growing up. And I can't help but imagine him rolling his eyes at me when I try to explain that, when mama and daddy were children, computer monitors only had AMBER LETTERS - there was NO OTHER COLOR. And him looking at me all incredulous-like when I say that we had to GO SIT IN A DESK and use PEN and PAPER because there were no coursecasts or laptops or cell phones that could cook a casserole.

Yet in this moment, on this fine fall afternoon, I am comforted by one essential piece of information: Alex is about to wake up from his nap, and when he does, he will want my undivided attention. Technology can do a lot, you see, but it can't replace mamas and daddies being there when you wake up. Or when you fall down. Or when you need a shoulder to cry on. There are some needs that reach beyond the realm of coursecasts on the college campus and tortillas in the supermarket.

And for that, I am thankful.

Hey Y'all, I'm Paula Deen

Reasons Why I Adore Paula Deen To The Extent That My Child Sees Her On The TV Screen and Says, "Mama's Show!":

1. Every recipe contains the following phrase: "Okay, y'all - first you take a stick of butter..."
2. She appreciates mayonnaise. Many don't. But Paula gets the necessity of this far-too-underrated condiment.
3. She is proud of her wedding ring...she wears it when she's kneading dough, she wears it when she's pulling chicken off a bone...I don't know if I've ever seen a woman just WORK IT OUT where a wedding ring was concerned, but Paula does.
4. She obviously saw herself on the first few episodes and thought, "You know, I look a little tired." Look at her now. I don't know who her doctor is, but Paula looks REFRESHED.
5. She recognizes the comfort and utility of wearing a men's oxford shirt while cooking. It's an apron with buttons as far as I'm concerned.
6. She loves her boys.
7. She makes food that real people will eat. And she eats it, too. (NOTE: there is another chef on Food Network who weighs approximately 92 lbs. My husband walked through the den one day when I was watching the other chef's show, and he did a double take at her waifish size and said, "She knows it's delicious because she's smelled it so often." And that is why we're married).
8. She cooks with stuff that I have in the pantry. I don't look at her recipes and think 1) what is that? and 2) where do I find it?
9. She reminds me of my mama and her friend Edna - you give them flour, eggs, sugar and butter, and they will produce Delicious Goodness for a crowd of 20 with it.
10. Her accent makes me happy.

He's The Coach Because He Talks So Good

Stop making up words already, part 2:

'We got out-physicaled today,'' Orgeron said.

I could write novels on the ironies of Coach O being at the helm of the Rebel ship - but really, today, it boils down to one sweet little fact:

State - 35
Mississippi - 14

Go Dogs. :-)

It's The Constant Repetition of the Repeating That Gets So Repetitive

I don't think it's a huge secret that I was never a person who aspired to have children. I have always liked other people's children, and I have always thought kids were cute, but I never had some deep burning desire for my own. I don't remember wondering what my children would look like...I don't remember, even when Hubby and I were engaged, trying to picture what we would be like as parents. I did picture what we would be like when we bought our first house, or what it would be like when we took Fabulous Trips to Exotic Places. But kids? Not so much.

However, about three and a half years ago, we started Talking of Children. Or, I should say, Talking of Child. Just throwing the idea around. It wasn't so much that we needed something to "complete" us - it was more that if there was some really cool experience out there, we didn't want to miss out. Kind of like going to a great resort - if, at said resort, you were awakened every three hours by HIGH PITCHED SCREAMING and everyone walked around not in sarongs and swimsuits, but in spit-up stained t-shirts and pajama bottoms. I mean, who wouldn't want to go there?

As it turned out, I got pregnant so fast that I kind of felt like Loretta Lynn in Coal Miner's Daughter when Doo looked at her and said, "Baby, I think we may have finally found something that you're good at." I got pregnant so quickly that I didn't have time to really even get used to the idea of wanting to be pregnant. But we were, as my mama would say, tickled to death - and because we hadn't spent the first five years of our marriage longing for a child, the whole thing was kind of a novelty: "OH, this is what the people speak of on the television. " "OH, this is about the stage Julia Roberts was in at the end of 'Notting Hill' when she and Hugh Grant are sitting in the park."

Needless to say, we were blown away by the arrival of our little one (whose daddy has nicknamed him "Boo"). I will never forget those first couple of weeks of his life, and I still contend that our four days in the hospital (yes, four days - when a baby is over 10 lbs., it is oftentimes wise for a mama to have a c-section) were the sweetest days of my whole life.

Boo was a great baby...there was only one completely sleepless night when he was around 4 months old, and he was not a screamer, by and large. He was always really easily consoled and, for the most part, perfectly content in any and all situations (which means that if I ever have another one, he / she will come equipped with head that spins around so fast that it pops off its axis and explodes, but the screaming. will. never. stop). So I haven't really known that feeling - at least not on a regular basis - of wanting to pull out my hair, of wanting to hop in the car and drive up the Pacific Coast Highway and check into a hotel, a la Marie Osmond. (And I am NOT, by the way, making fun of post-partum depression, because I know that it is real and painful and Tom Cruise needs to keep his mouth shut).

It's been surprising to me to discover just how deeply we both love Boo. You just don't know that level of love is there, and when you tap in to it - OH MY WORD - it changes your life. I am forever humbled by the gift of sharing in this little life, of having a chance to shape and mold and teach and train and squeeze his cheeks and shower him with hugs and kisses. It is, in short, the best.

So I say all of that as a preface to this confession: I just can't take all of the talking. I am grateful that Boo seems to have Strong Verbal Skills. I am grateful that he is happy child who seems to enjoy expressing himself verbally. I am beyond grateful that he is healthy. I love seeing his little empathetic heart start to show itself when he says, "Mama, you okay? You're okay, Mama!" But there are times - usually when we're in the car - when I am completely overcome with anxiety due to the following constant (as in not stopping, as in never ever ever ceasing) requests:

a) wanna go to Publix
b) wanna get a cheeseburger
c) wanna get 2 cheeseburgers
d) wanna go to Target
e) wanna go swing
f) wanna hear [insert name of Veggie Tales song] AGAIN
g) wanna get out
h) wanna go to Rosita (that's BooksAMillion in BooSpeak)
j) some combination of the above

Now I love my child. I do. I would throw myself in front of Any Fast Moving Object to save him from danger. I would donate many major organs and several of the minor ones to ensure his well-being. You can insert any cliche' about a parent loving a child into this sentence, and it would apply. I adore him.

I just don't know how to handle the repetition. I am thankful that God prepared me for this aspect of parenthood by providing me with a husband who enjoys singing short phrases of songs over and over and over. But the difference is that there's no urgency, no demand, no insistence in D.'s singing. It's just a song that he enjoys, and he feels compelled to share. That I can handle.

But this toddler repetition thing is a whole new ball game. I figure that I've either got to ascend to a whole new level of patience, learn to block it out, or employ the use of masking tape over mouth when we're in the car (and last time I checked, there are Large Government Agencies that sort of frown on that practice...though the fear of them doesn't discourage me as much as the knowledge that I'd just have to hear a muffled voice saying "NO WANT TAPE! NO WANT TAPE, MAMA! NO WANT TAPE! NO WANT TAPE, MAMA!").

I have a friend who often reminds me that parenthood (and marriage for that matter) is mountains and valleys. So if the repetition is a valley, then that encourages me - because it'll get better. Either I'll get better coping skills, or Boo will discover that saying something once is a fine, desirable option. But if the repetition is a mountain?

Well, I may just fling myself right off of it. :-)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

It's The Obtuseness of The Verbiage To Which I Object

Enough with the making up of words already.

From this morning's Clarion-Ledger:
"In addition to the new median, the timing on the traffic signals was adjusted. 'The signalization timing is helping move traffic smoothly,' McGee said."

Signalization? SIGNALIZATION?

I know I grew up in Mississippi and all, but I think Ridgeland's mayor TOTALLY made up that one.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The Day of All The Tile and Vomit

About six weeks ago, when Hubby was caught up in a mad tornado of swirling optimism, he sent me an email in the middle of the day that said, "You know, I think that we should stay home Thanksgiving, just the three of us, and maybe tile our bathroom. That would give us a project we could do together, and as an added bonus, we'd make the bathroom better, too." Seeing as how we have a 2 1/2 year old little boy, I don't know what was more insane: 1) that I agreed 2) that I saw no problem with attempting a Large Home Improvement Project with said 2 1/2 year old in the house 3) that I thought it would, in fact, be fun.

(Funny how the definition of "fun" changes with home ownership and parenthood - but that's another story for another day.)

So I've found myself, over the course of the last couple of days, wondering Why In The World didn't we let qualified professionals handle the whole tile thing when we built this house? Actually, "built" is a strong word...so let me re-phrase: why didn't we let qualified professionals handle the whole tile thing when we selected this floorplan from several other options in our Planned Residential Community? If memory serves, we were concerned about every nickle we spent on this place...what with Hubby starting a new business and my not being gainfully employed and all, so we decided, in a fit of uncharacteristic reason, that we would do the tiling ourselves...save the $1300 that the builder wanted to tile both bathrooms (pennies, in retrospect. Pennies.)...and until the day of tiling arrived, we would live with linoleum that, as it came to pass, was really the lowest quality among all the low-quality linoleums.

It's only taken us five years to get around to this project. But I've been kind of excited about it, because ever since Boo arrived, I haven't really felt like our bathroom was ours. Because one bathroom is downstairs and one is up, and since we pretty much live downstairs during the day, it just became easier to put the young'un in our big tub, b/c, quite frankly, I could multi-task without venturing into irresponsible parenting territory. The problem with putting the child in our tub, however, is that our bathroom ceased being a sanctuary for me and was transformed into sort of a waterworld rumpus room. Instead of being my little haven, the bathtub turned into a storage facility, really, for the baby tub and vinyl Baby Einstein books and rubber duckies and whatnot.

A couple of months ago I decided that two years of exile was enough, thankyouverymuch, and I wanted to reclaim all of our formerly adult spaces. That included the den, which had enough wicker storage baskets filled with toys to put Pottery Barn to shame, and our bathroom...which by this point was covered in Sesame Street toothbrushes, water spots from enthusiastic splashing, and untold bottles of baby lotions, salves, potions and soaps. Time for a change. And that very night, Boo took his first bath in the upstairs tub, and his mama and daddy started to reclaim their space. Well, mainly Daddy started to reclaim the space...b/c someone had to watch the child, and that someone was me.

A couple of weeks ago Hubby painted and covered the Fine Flat Paint that all builders, for some reason, put in new houses, and it loses its luster (should that be "lustre"? Have I read too many British mysteries?) after approximately one day and then proceeds to look like the homeowners placed their palms on stamp pads and walked around hitting the walls in random places. Anyway, with new paint on the walls - time for the next step: tile.

I won't go into all the details, but after no less than three trips to A Large Home Improvement Warehouse, Hubby looks defeated. His shoulders are hunched, his mood is gloomy, and his back is, as it were, shot. And remember the part about the tiling being "something we can do together"? Not so much. Because we forgot about The Boy Who Requires All The Watching. So the tiling has been a solo job, as has the parenting on this fine Thanksgiving weekend.

And to top it all off, our first child, a yellow lab, apparently ran into some bad turkey as she roamed the neighborhood in the middle of the night last night, because she has vomited. all. day. long. She vomited on the stairs, on the rug in the foyer, in the middle of the den, in our bedroom, in the dining room...basically, if you were to name any room on the first floor of this house, Maggie has baptized it in vomit today. If vomit is holy, then we are sanctified, because oh, did I mention the vomit?

I'll try to post before and after pics later...of the tiling, mind you, and not the other thing.