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Friday, April 19, 2013

Ya buncha bed makers, you

 photo hospitalcorner_zpsa01031f6.jpgI asked one simple question on the 4th Frog Facebook page the other day:

How many of you make your bed every morning, or almost every morning?

Whoa! I had no idea how many people would take the time to answer. To date, 123 people have responded (that's a lot for my page). Of those 123, I would say everyone except about 5 people make their bed every day or almost every day. 

For realz? With hospital corners and everything? 

It probably won't surprise you that I am not a bed maker. There are several reasons why I don't feel compelled to tidy up my sleep space. 
  1. Once I'm up, I hit the ground running and just don't have (or take) the time to make the bed.
  2. I have a king size bed and making it amounts to an aerobic workout, which I try to avoid at all costs.
  3. Why make it when I'm just going to get back in it in 18 hours and mess it up again?
In fact, the only time I do make my bed is when I'm cleaning the bedroom so I have a flat surface to put all the junk that's cluttering the floor. 

When I was in college, I kind of made my bed most mornings. I lived in a sorority house (Ahoy there, Delta Gammas!) and we all slept upstairs in one big dormitory filled with bunk beds. During rush week and when talking to parents we referred to it as an "open air dorm." But really, it was a cold dorm -- made that way because the windows were kept open all the time to air out the germs that could collect when 70 girls were sleeping in one room. If you didn't at least pull the covers up over the mattress and your pillow in the morning, you could be in for a very cold welcome when you got back in bed at night.

That's probably why, even today, I like climbing into a bed with cold sheets and pillowcases. I don't like it to stay cold, but I like to start out that way.

Some people in my unscientific Facebook poll said they only make their beds on the weekends. What I want to know is why? The weekends are "off-duty" time, although I do tackle several other chores over the weekend.

But all you bed makers have gotten me thinking. Maybe I'll make my bed today. Or maybe I'll just climb back in it and take a nap.



Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In the face of tragedy then and now

I didn't know anything about the explosions at the Boston Marathon until sometime after 4pm yesterday when Charlie was watching ESPN. I knew it had to be big if ESPN was reporting a news story that was suddenly only tangentially related to sports. I sat on the couch, watching the coverage, seeing for the 20th time the old man runner in the red shirt stumble and fall to the ground as the explosion rocked the crowd just a few yards from him. I watched the coverage for maybe 30 or 40 minutes before it dawned on me that Robbie and Charlie were watching along with Mike and me.

Robbie asked what happened. We told him there was an explosion. Charlie said it was a bomb and I immediately wanted to protect them both from that thought. Explosion, while bad enough, didn't seem to carry with it the essence of evil that the word "bomb" did. We gathered, held hands and said a "Hail Mary" for those injured and killed. I texted Annie and asked her to say a prayer too. Then I turned off the television, told the kids to do their homework, and went about making dinner.

Nearly 12 years ago, in 2001, we watched on the morning news as the Twin Towers and thousands of lives were sacrificed in New York City. Annie was at preschool. Charlie was only 2 and played with toys as Mike and I sat and watched the events unfold. After about an hour or so, I got up and drove to pick Annie up from preschool. I felt an urgency that we should all be together. We watched hours of coverage, switching to Barney and Madeline videos when it seemed that little eyes and ears were getting too many details, or when Mike and I just had absorbed more than we could handle.

Yesterday as I turned off the TV, I wondered what was best to do. Turn off the television and protect my kids from the day's terrible events? Or leave it on and help them be informed about their world? I didn't worry about how Annie would handle it. But Charlie can be pretty sensitive and I wasn't sure that Robbie would be able to understand what was happening in perspective to his own bubbled life. It turns out we did a little of both. After dinner we watched a little bit of the coverage. And then we turned on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. There was something therapeutic about watching a show where I knew the good guys were going to win in the end.

We had talked some at dinner about what had happened. And then when I was tucking Robbie into bed, we prayed again for everyone in Boston who was hurt.

"Why would someone just go put a bomb in a place where there were people?," Robbie asked after the prayer was over.

"I think he must have a lot of hate in his heart," I told him.

"I know how that hate might have gotten in his heart," Robbie said. "Maybe he is in school and kids are mean to him and that's why he has hate." Whoa. Deep breath here and a slight prayer that this was an observation, not an empathetic sentiment.

"Maybe," I said. "You know the best way to help people get rid of hateful hearts?," I asked him. "You give them lots of love, even when it feels like you don't want to. We show people God's love and hopefully one day, they open their hearts to that love and have lots of love to share." That seemed to be enough for him. He fell asleep with no more questions.

I'm sure that the questions won't end there, though I'm not sure I will have sufficient answers. It was so much easier 12 years ago to protect my kids by simply turning on Barney. I didn't have to think about how they would be part of that big, ugly, complicated world someday. But now -- as they are all in double digits -- I remind myself that they ARE part of that world. And I'm left wondering how best to help them live and love in it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Yes Mom, I was listening.

 photo menmom.jpgTonight is the first rehearsal for the event that will give me my 4-1/2 minutes of fame, "Listen to Your Mother." To prove that I can walk the talk, and that I did indeed listen to my mother, here are 10 things I learned from my own mom:
  1. If there is a business that never seems to have any customers, yet has been in business for a really long time, it's probably a front for drugs.

  2. When I don't want to go to church, I just have to ask myself "Do you think Jesus wanted to climb up on that cross and die for you?"

  3. Almost anything can be fixed with a paper clip and a rubber band.

  4. When beginning a test, say a quick prayer to St. John Chrysostom. Apparently he is the patron saint of smart people.

  5. I'm not going to be happy until somebody ends up crying.

  6. When I can make a free throw while holding a bag of groceries in one hand, I will belong to the "cool mom" group.

  7. Real moms buy sandwich bags that fold over, not zip; orange juice concentrate; and Nestle Quik.

  8. If you see some cute home decor at the store, don't bother buying it because you can just make it yourself. You probably won't get around to making it, but you could.

  9. Should the need arise, Serenity brand protection is the best for a leaky bladder.

  10. If your kid says his arm is broken, it probably is. However, you can wait a day or two to have it checked out just to be sure.
Confession: I must not have listened that closely because I could only come up with 8 things and I had to call my sister to help me recall the last two.


Listen to Your Mother Indianapolis is Thursday, May 2.
Get your tickets today! (Really -- prices go up on April 15.)

You can read what some of my fellow cast members have learned from their mothers too:


Hillary at Midwest Berliners 
Robyn at Hollow Tree Ventures


Friday, April 5, 2013

My gastronomical paradox

food network photo: food network food-network.jpg I'm not a great cook. (If you recall my attempt at potato soup, this statement will not surprise you.) Often I can't think of what to cook. If I do have any idea of something to cook, it's not unusual for me to be without the time or ingredients to get the dish made successfully. And if I have an idea, the time and all the food necessary, then I put dinner on the table to hear my boys groan and declare, "I'm not eating that."

So of course, what is my favorite thing to watch on TV? The Food Network. It started years ago when I got hooked on Ready, Set, Cook. Who remembers that show? That's old school Food Network. Then it was Emeril and Mario Batali. Now my list of Food Network faves includes:

Worst Cooks in America
Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell
Chopped
Food Network Challenge
Diners, Drive-ins & Dives
Next Food Network Star
Iron Chef America
Unwrapped

In a pinch, I'll watch Cupcake Wars, though it's not one that I would DVR.

I could watch food TV all day. Chopped is probably my all-time favorite. At this point, I can start to predict what flavor combinations the chefs will go for and which dishes the judges will like.

With the exception of Diners, Drive-ins & Dives and Unwrapped, all the Food Network shows I like to watch are competition shows. So maybe I like the competition more than I like the cooking? And although she hosts two of my favorite shows, I don't care for Anne Burrell. The wacky hair, the clunky shoes with the short skirts. The attitude. Not my taste (pun intended).

I LOVE Alex Guarnaschelli, especially as a judge on Chopped. I think she might have a straight-up cooking show of her own, but I don't watch it. 

And I can't watch Restaurant Impossible. Chef Robert Irvine usually finds too much gross stuff going on in the kitchens of those restaurants. It makes me not want to eat out. Not eating out means more cooking and I've already established that as something I'm not too keen on.

Are you a food TV foodie? What do you like to watch? Does that translate into good cooking?