Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The Morning Song

I fear I may have missed my calling in life. Sure, I enjoy cracking jokes, writing, singing in large, very large groups, but really what I love is food. Any kind of food. Right down to scrounging for the change at the bottom of my purse to sample the new favor of gum from Orbit.

I am the one who tivo's shows on the Food Network. I am the one who secretly wishes I could attempt the "kitchen sink" challenge on Man vs. Food. Not because I believe I need two gallons of ice cream to soothe myself, but the thought of choosing six flavors of ice cream to ping upon thousands of my taste buds is my idea of going to my happy place.
All of my dream vacations revolve around food to some degree. Before I die, and preferably before I am 40, I must visit Hershey Pennsylvania. I believe heaven is waiting for me there in a giant tub full of warm chocolate at their chocolate spa. On my bucket list is also Vermont, to not only see the trees change in the fall, and witness the sap dripping from trees, but also to commune with Ben and Jerry in all their glory. I must visit England, not just to see Shakespeare's home, and the bridges William Wordsworth sat upon while composing, but to bask in the glory of as many free samples I can consume without hurling at the Cadbury factory.
However, the one attainable manna that has alluded me in the 11 states I have resided is the chicken and waffles. There is no combination I am more fascinated by, and nothing my taste buds crave more than the heat of the hot sauce against the moist juices mingled among spices in a beautiful piece of fried chicken all while the wafting aromas of vanilla and warm maple syrup from a crisp waffle await me.
I have scoured Zaggat in search of the manna. I have tried to convince my husband that two hours is not an unreasonable drive for a perfect meal. This unattainable meal has now become more than a bucket list check to mark off, it has entered the realm of birthday wishes. I dream of a birthday not with cake and ice cream, but a nice big candle in the middle of a piece of fried chicken atop a waffle... I've always been a simple girl...

Friday, September 25, 2009


The joys of teaching your own children are sometimes never realized. The emotions involved when reading with a first grader is something akin to having water continuously dripped on your forehead for 12 hours. The ka-ah-t cat ih-z is ah-nn on th-eh the rah-uh-gh rug. Then there is the practice of Anger Management when interrogating the 4th grade parolee on whether or not there is any homework tonight, and if not then why is the teacher sending home notes every week about missing assignments. My personal favorite is when asked, I respond that indeed 2+2 is 4, the response fired back by a 4'2" person is "no it's not, my teacher said it's 5." It is at this point, the wheels fall off the bus, and I can only reply through clinched teeth, "go ask your dad."
Since I started tutoring, I have discovered this is a common trend in parenting. My favorite thing after each class is to watch the parents first peak their head in the door, as if to assess the damage and sweep for land mines before entering. Once they trepidatiously cross the threshold of the room, they gingerly walk over, and with one eye nearly closed as if to receive the final blow, ask, "how'd they do?" When I am still smiling and respond enthusiastically, "great," a look of shock, then relief washes over their face.
Between the three classes I have, there are nine students. All but two of them have ADHD. All of them are hysterical. Last week, when I was reading a story out load to them, I told them to close their eyes and imagine what a windy day in fall would feel like. One of my 2nd graders instantly shot up his hand and said "Miss Kristi, my imaginary is broke. It's like someone went inside my brain and turned it off, so do I have to close my eyes?"
Teaching other people's children is a joy I receive two days a week. Every Tuesday and Thursday for a few hours, I get to be smart and know what I am talking about. Every Tuesday and Thursday I receive the joy of parents telling me that the tutoring homework is done without the weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and that they are amazed. For me, every Tuesday and Thursday is a little like a Stewart Smiley moment when I can look in the mirror and say, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and daw gone it, people like me."

Monday, September 14, 2009

On My Own

I love words. Very rarely am I at a loss for them, and there is so much to be conveyed with words. Who couldn't love a word like onomatopoeia. Or when doesn't a good "gosh friggin' dang it" make you feel better? Over the years I have become particularly fond of the words squishy, zen, serendipity, clandestine, smoky, and a few others which shall remain nameless in this here family oriented blog.

But the greatest words to be heard in the house lately have been, "Momma, I gotta go potty." After the initial frenzy to get the wee one to the pot before any accidents occur, there is a moment I have standing there in the bathroom, resting one arm against the marble sink, that I swear I hear the sound of a cash register spinning and the click of coins rolling to a stop in their bowl at the edge of the machine.

Upon completion of potty duties and the "atta girl, way to go, you're such a big girl, I'm so proud of you," congratulatory speech, the corners of my mouth turn ever so slightly in the upward position as I mentally erase diapers from the grocery list, and convert their monetary value into a good book or a pack of chocolate covered strawberries.

Now, about that forth one...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

When I See You Smile

We all know my trifecta rule that cannot ever be accomplished in my life. You know, the thin, rich, pretty trifecta. It is a life long examination in humility for me. See, if I actually ever achieved the trifecta, I would be unbearable to be around. I know this about myself. However, it would seem part of the trifecta mentality has seeped itself into my self identity. Until I see photos of myself.

There are few things in life that serve as a greater reality check than photos. So much so, we have not done a family photo since before the wee one was born. Each time the photos are downloaded to the camera, I carefully scrutinize them for any and all signs of myself. For me, it's a little like pulling off a band-aid. Somehow it hurts less if you just hurry up and get it over with. In those rare instances I find someone has captured me on film, I think to myself, "Really? I look like that?"

In my own mind, and in the mirror every morning, I may not be a beauty queen, but I certainly don't have dark circles down to my 47 chins, and my eyes are not closed from the weight of my cheeks pushing the bottom lid out of existence. There is a moment when I first see a photo with me in it, that I do a reference check. Yes, the tree looked like that, the sand was that color brown, Hollywood looks like that, Curly did her own hair that day, the wee one definitely didn't match that day, but it wasn't worth the battle...then horror fills my soul when I realize "holy crap, I am a little further left of my trifecta than I thought!"

My only hope in all this is school photos. In particular, Hollywood's first grade school photo. Every time I see it, it makes me laugh. I find comfort and hope in it. I know he doesn't look like that. I know he is a handsome boy who was cursed with the idnotknowhowtosmile disease.

The disease is contagious and spreading in our home. School pictures where this week. We practiced smiles for two days in front of the mirror. As we practiced, I saw the idontknowhowtosmile germ jump from the corner of Hollywood's pursed lip grin to the center of Curly's bottom lip. The lip instantly closed, covering all teeth, and as the germ crept it's way to the edge of her eye, the lid closed in defense. Apparently, a few germs hitched a ride to the brain via the snot rockets because while engaged in this rediculous smile, Curly proudly proclaimed, "Look mom, isn't my smile beautiful?"

Here's to hoping a vaccination comes out before next year's pictures.