Summer Break Week 2

The Princess is in camp all week, and she seems to be enjoying it. Every day she comes home and says what a great time she had, but then the next morning it’s a fight to get her to go. She thinks she’s missing out on something here, I guess. (Little does she know.) So, I have been trying to placate her by saying that I will try to come pick her up after lunch, but I think she’s on to me. Today she said, “Don’t try. Do.” What is she, Yoda?

The other thing that’s nice is that she’s making friends there at the camp. Yesterday she came home and asked if her new friend could come for a sleepover. So, I said, “What’s your friend’s name?” But The Princess couldn’t say. I hope she doesn’t plan to do this kind of thing when she’s older — inviting a person she just met whose name she doesn’t know for a sleepover. That’s just a bad habit to get into. I met the kid today. She seems like a sweet girl, really cute with gorgeous ringlets of dark hair, but she’s not coming to sleep over. We just met her. Can’t we start slowly, with like, a playdate?

Meanwhile, Edison is not idle in this first full week off. No. He has devised a club, kind of like the Boy Scouts, with merit badges made of paper (and I think stolen from the Boy Scouts of America website, which he assures me is okay since he’s not making any money from this endeavor) called the Edison Scouts. He and Clooney were busy all afternoon, earning these badges. They ran around the house for the athletic badge. They created puppet shows for the entertainment badge. They biked to another part of the neighborhood for some other kind of badge. Oh, they were busy, busy. But more importantly, they were having fun together.

And when The Princess got home from camp, she joined the Edison Scouts, and they re-created all of the events for her so that she could earn her badges too. She was so happy; they all sat on the same side of the table at dinner, saying please and thank you and being closer than three middle toes in a pointed shoe. For the moment, there’s a lot of love in this house.

But in the words of Scarlet O’Hara: “Tomorrow is another day.”

Radio Silence

I have this friend.  We lived in the same dorm in college during my sophomore year at Purdue.  The dorm was more like barracks than anything else, and because of a glitch, where my intended roommate decided not to return after freshman year (what the hell was her name?? I remember she was from New Jersey, and she had lived across the hall from me that first year), so I ended up in a room at one end by myself.  Becky was at the other end of the one-story, eight-room building, and for some reason, she and I had this kind of connection.

She lived with a farm girl (can’t remember her name either), who told us how she raised and then slaughtered cattle on her family’s farm.  She claimed that there were portions of frozen meat in a freezer in her family’s basement, wrapped in aluminum foil that had labels like “Bessie’s rump.”  Being the metropolitan dweller that I was, I found this story fascinating, and more than a little disturbing frankly.

Becky and I had lots of laughs.  We watched Letterman together on a nine-inch screen that got poor reception from the rabbit ears attached to its plastic top.  We shared one phone in the common room out front with the dozen or so other girls in the dorm. We got snowed in, with drifts against the doors so high that we couldn’t get out.  And it was cold there.  That was the year I tried smoking pot for the first time.  Not with Becky, of course, she was such a good egg, but she was there after I smoked it, and was an excellent guide for me when I was that stupid.  She had some laughs about it.  I remember dropping a full, open can of soda on the floor of her room and marveling at how many slo-mo flips it did between my hand and the linoleum.  After that, she walked with me to the Stop-N-Shop for munchies, no doubt thinking that on my own I’d be too stupid to find my way back.  I do remember her laughing at me though.  She was more amused than not, I think.

Even though I dropped out of school after that year together, she and I have kept in touch for these two-plus decades.

In the early days, the letters were exchanged frequently, and there were even gifts for birthdays and Christmas, though as the years passed, that part of the tradition waned.  And that was fine with me.  I just loved getting a letter from her in the mail, seeing that postmark made my pulse quicken.  News from the world of Becky was always a wonderful thing.

She got married.  She had two beautiful daughters.  I moved a dozen times.  The letters kept coming and going.  I finished college finally, got married, had my own kids, and got my whole life in order.  We’ve seen each other a few times since I left Indiana.  Once I rode the train to her house, not far from Chicago.  Another time, she and her family met me in South Bend and we all had lunch at a Denny’s.  Another time, I was in Chicago and tried to get her to come up and meet me, but her husband wasn’t too keen in the idea, and the reunion never happened.

It’s weird to miss someone you’ve hardly seen in the last twenty-odd years.  Sometimes, after the Chicago thing, she’d go silent if I mentioned I was coming within fifty miles of her.  Don’t know if that was because she couldn’t or wouldn’t be able to meet me, but once the threat had passed, she’d write again.  A couple of years ago, I made a suggestion that we go away together, like to someplace tropical, like a momcation, just the two of us.  Silence followed from the other end.

Last I heard, she had finished her courses and was getting certified to be a teacher.  That was more than a year ago, I think.  I’ve written a few times, but there’s been no answer.  I’m worried.  Is she okay?  Is she just too busy?  Is it over?

Mostly I’m worried that she’s not okay. I hope she’s okay, just too busy to write.  But I think this is the longest she’s gone without sending a note in more than twenty years.  I miss her.  I have lots of friends.  I’m not hurting for friends, but I feel like her friendship is the most enduring of my life, which is only one of the myriad reasons why it is so dear to me.

Every day when that mail comes through the slot in the door, I search the postmarks, so far in vain. It’s never really been our thing, but maybe it’s time for me to pick up the phone and call?


Green Momster

Went out with my girlfriends last night.  Some of the few things I remember:

Awesome dessert.  Peanut butter ice cream covered in chocolate and sprinkled with nuts.  Mmmmm.

K, telling us more than we wanted to know about the Kardashians.  I still don’t understand why they are fodder for reality television, but then, I don’t get the genre in general.hulk

That all moms can, at any moment, turn into the Incredible Hulk.  I’m not the only one.  And I need that reminder from time to time, because I only remember my own mom from a child’s perspective, so I have no reference point for her faults.  My cousin, who’s older than I am, tells me that I remember her just as she was.  That she was, in fact, the perfect wife and mother.  And I kind of believe that, because we are talking about a woman who ironed absolutely everything.  I can remember her ironing sheets, my father’s handkerchiefs, his boxers.  But I also remember a few fleeting moments when she went Incredible Hulk on us as well.  Any mom with kids, at any time, can turn into the hulk.

I am often reminded, whenever I drive a certain on-ramp of the interstate, of a moment 40 years ago when my brother and I were arguing over a rubber wrench in the back seat of the car. It was green and it had a little pin in the center that allowed the jaws to open and close. It went with a whole rubber tool set my brother had.  But I liked the wrench. My mother must have gotten sick of hearing “It’s mine,” “No, it’s mine,” etc.  So she called to us from the driver’s seat.  “Let me see that,” she said innocently enough, and so we gave it to her.  She then rolled down the window of the Impala, threw it out onto the highway and gunned the engine.  We were left dumbfounded, looking out the back windshield as the thing skipped in the dust in our wake.


Manfrengensen and I went to the movies tonight to see Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which was very funny.  But I don’t want to talk about Sarah Marshall.  I want to talk about the preview I saw for The Incredible Hulk.  Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m really looking forward to this movie.  I don’t have any problem with Edward Norton as Bruce Banner.  I don’t know why some Hulk fans are up-in-arms about the casting. I think Norton will be awesome as Bruce Banner. rock See, Bruce Banner is not some muscle-rippled athlete.  He’s a scientist.  I’m not saying that there aren’t any muscle-rippled scientists out there, but I do think, when you think scientist, you don’t think of this guy:

So, my problem is not with Edward Norton.  My problem is with the size of this Hulk.  He looks too big to me.  How are they going to cover his gnads?  In the 70’s show, he wasn’t that big, he was just an extra-large man.  Bill Bixby’s jeans turned into cut-off bermudas for Lou Farrigno, and everything was on the up-and-up so to speak.  When Edward Norton’s Bruce Banner turns into the Hulk, what’s he going to wear?  I’m not a reader of the comic, so maybe this question has already been addressed, as I am sure the Hulk has increased in size over the years. My guess is that in the film Banner’s always wearing pants with Spandex. Lots of Spandex.




FW: Stupidity

I hate to get forwarded crap, especially from people I hear nothing from other than the forwards. Pardon me, but that’s just poor form. Bad etiquette, don’t you think? I’m in a book club with these women, and two of them send out forwards all the time. One is a doctor, and I can’t believe how lewd the ones she sends are. They just make me cringe. What pisses me off is that I once emailed her a professional request, just asking her if she knew anything about a particular specialist, and she never responded. When I next saw her she made an excuse about not having access to her computer. Whatever, but the first thing she did when she got little peopleback online was forward a bunch of crap??? Then the other woman who forwards, she’s kind of laid-back, a little naive, even. She always sends these forwards that are like five years old. Seriously, she just sent me one yesterday about the eerie similarities between Lincoln and Kennedy. I think Johnson was president when that made the rounds.

On another note:

Which do you think there are more of in the world? Fisher Price Little People, or real ones? I know in our house, they outnumber us by at least 20 to one.  These folks appear to be going on a nice vacation. Private jet — can’t beat that.