Thursday, October 29


Today I made it into Doodles's classroom to help with pumpkin carving. Luckily most of the class was back--for the past week most kids have been out sick. Well, maybe not most, but half. Literally (and we know I don't mess around with the word "literally"). Out of 18 kids and 2 teachers, yesterday 9 kids and 1 teacher were out sick. Can anyone say "Treyf flu"?

But going into the class was really fun, even if Doodles does act up specially for me. The kids drew their own designs and I carved them onto the pumpkin for them. While we were working (other parents were there too to help), the teacher put on some Halloween music. Irresistible Halloween music. There was no stopping anyone from getting up and shaking a tush, to the point that by the end, the teachers were teaching the kids how to do the dance to "Thriller."

The song stuck in my head, and when we got home, against my own better judgment, I decided to show the "Thriller" video to the kids. I know it's scary, but, hey! The kids are in our bed anyway. Might as well have some fun with it.

Tab is over and so I gathered them around the computer and YouTubed it for them. Big mistake. Not because it was scary. But because the questions came fast and furious. "Why is his arm falling off? How was he a person and then he was a dead and then he was a person again? Why are they chasing her? I don't understand--is he a person or is he dead?"

And the questions haven't stopped. So, yes, "Thriller" was scary. But only for me.

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Wednesday, October 28

8 Annoyed People

So I had jury duty. My civic duty. (Duty! I said, "Doodie! Ha ha ha ha ha!") I received the notice and thought indignantly, "They can't call me! I already served!" And then I checked my files and noticed that I had served 3 years and 10 days ago. You can be called every 3 years. They so have my number.

It was fine. The court is conveniently located, although I found it disconcerting when I walked in and the security guards let me in with a "She's not a criminal" and a "Remember: Guilty, guilty, guilty!" Only jury members are allowed in the courthouse before 8:30 a.m., so the folks who were waiting to go in were clearly there for some sort of trial. Something just seemed wrong about the security guard's comments.

Anyway, I entered a small room of people. I had lucky number 11. I sat. And sat. And sat. Did a crossword puzzle. Read a book I'm really enjoying. Then we watched a video on the jury system. Now, I know that it's horrible to pick on people with any kind of disability, but really: Reshoot that damn video. To have the superior court judge open up the video on how to perform at jury duty was just torture in a snickering kind of way. The woman has a lisp that makes her sound incwedibwy wike Baba Wawa. And, remarkably, I'm the only one with a 12 year old's sense of humor and the only one who sat smirking in the corner.

Then it was time to impanel the jury. We had to answer "Present" when our name was called. One guy didn't say present. He was excused from jury. Eight folks sat on the jury (after evidence had been presented, lots who have been drawn to see which two of the eight would be alternates). Guy who didn't say "Present" was of course excused. Jurors 4 and 6 were no shows. So guess who got lucky seat number 8?

I actually thought it would be fun, and I didn't mind. I had childcare arranged for the afternoon. I was a little worried when they said there was a possibility the trial could go into the next day, as I'm scheduled to carve pumpkins in Doodles's classroom and then take the kids to Adam's office Halloween party, but I certainly could have managed.

So it was going to be an interesting experience. Except. Except. Except it wasn't. The assistant D.A. seemed like a nice enough guy, but he was clearly a total neophyte. He'd barely breathe before the defense attorney said, "Objection!" and the judge said, "Sustained." That poor defense attorney never got her tushie in the seat, she was up so much objecting. The assistant D.A. would lose his place or his train of thought. I felt like I was sitting in an SNL satire of Boston. The accents! The detective showed up in--no joke--a trench coat. The police officer was clearly nervous. And the defendant was a Boston stereotype if ever one existed. And before the trial even got good--before we found out who "Bruno" was; yes! there was a "Bruno!"--the trial ended on some procedural point, of which we could not be informed. Blah.

But now I'm in the clear for the next three years. And I've done my civic duty. Doodie. Heh heh. Still makes me laugh.


TV for the Tweens-to-Be

Courtesy of Adam:
Mylie Cyrus/Hannah Montana - check
Beyonce – check
Project Runway – check
Mama Mia - check

Next time you catch Pie singing "Single Ladies," you'll know she's right in step with the rest of American little girls.


Thursday, October 22

Got a Fever Burning Inside of (Not) Me

I've been getting grief from my father (hi, Peter!) for not blogging. I'm not completely sure why I'm not blogging, but I haven't. Part of it is that I am writing, just not for you. I've been working steadily away on my novel. I'm at a rough place in it at the moment, not sure if it's all gelling together. I need to just plug away at it. Part of it is also that I've lost that snark factor. Now that I have kids, I feel like I can't let my bitch out. It's one thing to alienate my friends; it's something else to alienate my kids' friends. But I go through this blogging crisis about once a year and the fact is that it's been eight years I've been doing this, which is longer than I've done almost anything else in my life. The only thing more consistent in my life is Adam, as I've been with him for almost ten years. But I've never lived in a single place for eight years. I've never had a job for eight years. Eight years is something to be reckoned with, so here I am.

And right now is my writing time. I should be working on my novel. But my darling daughter pulled the old "I'm healthy but now you can't send me to school" trick. Last night the boy was trying to get out of homework. Pie had just gotten home from a playdate and was cranky, but nothing out of the ordinary. But the boy! Oh the moaning, the groaning. "I can't do my homework! My head hurts! I'm sick!" I feel his forehead.

"You're fine," I tell him.

"Nooooo! I'm sick! Take my temperature."

Which I dutifully do. And he's a lovely 98.4. Pie is standing there. "Shall we take your temperature, too, while I'm standing here?"

She agrees and I take her temperature. 102.5. I do a double take and take her and his temperature three more times, certain something is wrong with the thermometer. But no, she's sick. Just doesn't seem like it other than a cold.

So now I'm sitting on the couch as she overdoses on TV. We started with High School Musical: "The girl with the lipstick and the sparkly shirt, who's hanging with the boy? That's who I am. What's her name? Gabriella? That's who I am. I the character of her and the person of her [meaning Vanessa Hudgens]." Now we're on to Berenstain Bears. She's anxious to go out--because of course she's had no fever all morning--but I can't in these panic-y swine flu times take her anywhere where there might be children, so she's won the TV lottery for today. Given Pie's Law of Health, she'll be chipper and happy all day, till about 5 p.m. when her fever is guaranteed to return.

In the meantime, I can leave you with just a few of the things that have been keeping me away from the blog:

For the first time, we built a sukkah. We have our lovely remodeled house, with an ample backyard and a place to store the sukkah in the off-season. So it was time. "What size should we get?" Adam asked me.

I looked over the Sukkah Project web site. "I think we should get the easy snap together kind."

"That's ridiculous," I was told. "It has to be made with lumber. Or else you're just cheating. What size?"

"Um, 8 by 12 should be fine."

"No, too small."

"Okay, 12 by 10."

So what does he order? 12 by 16. We need a bigger table to fill it, but it was nice as we hosted Shabbat and two kid-oriented meals in the sukkah. I'd show you pictures of Adam and Doodles building the sukkah, but somehow I've misplaced all my September photos.

Cub Scouts
Let me say off the bat that I have very mixed feelings about the Cub Scouts. I despise many of their policies and I'm not crazy about some of the skills they teach. However, Doodles was so excited to do this. A troop advertised outside of his school and he was dying to join. I nixed it, as it was not the most sensitive to Jewish scouts. The first meeting, for example, was on Rosh Hashanah. Monthly meetings are on Friday nights. Doesn't work for us and easy to say no. But then we discovered a troop (although that's the former Girl Scout in me talking; Cub Scouts are not troops, but packs) on the other side of town that was not only Jew-friendly, but populated by many kids from our synagogue. The boy is so excited. He's working his way through his Tiger book and is just about ready to earn his Bobcat badge. He needs to sell popcorn to raise money, and I'm not the selling type. But he's begging to go door-to-door to sell. We compromised as I found a friend or two willing to buy and he suited up to go to their houses. If anyone reading this would like to buy popcorn, you know where to find me.

Apple Picking

The rain finally took a long enough break to get to apple picking. We went nice and early on Columbus Day to beat the crowd. We arrive, and I go to buy the small bag to fill. "We'll fill that in no time. We need a bigger bag," Adam insists (are you seeing a theme here?). So we get the bigger bag. Only Pie loses interests and she and Adam wonder off leaving me to haul around a honking big heavy bag of apples that I still haven't used up.

Recognize that player in the blue fleece? I got so confused when I saw her out there, given that last year, that was the boy's fleece, so I kept thinking I was looking at him. But that girl really held her own and did just great. The boy is amazing, how much he's improved since last year. Poor Adam: Doodles made the advanced beginner's group, which meets from 8:50 to 9:30 and Pie is in the beginner's group, which meets from 9:50 to 10:30, so he gets to spend his entire morning at the rink, while I'm off running. That's what you get for saying, "Oh, hockey and the early, cold hours at the rink don't bother me."

And now, now it's time to be a Mom again. To change the channel and make princess soup for Pie and to bake my next apple creation: Spiced Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake. Perhaps I'll try to sneak in a bit of noveling today. You never now.

So, yes, I'm still here. At least for the time being.

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Thursday, October 1

Ladies First! Ladies First!

We've begun to conquer Pie's separation anxiety. First we tried sending her to school with a tape recorder that had a message from me. Then we tried a letter from me. She took a book with her. Next we tried her stuffed hippo. Then, finally, we found what works and has worked all week:

She brings her purse. And in her purse is a tissue. And a lipstick. And when she's feeling sad, she puts on a little lipstick on. And, voila! She feels better.

And, yes. She's four.

Oh. Dear. Lord. I'm out of my league here.


I Can't Get No Respect

We played Two Truths and a Lie at dinner tonight. We were having a nice dinner, as the day actually wasn't bad at all. For my turn:

Me: Today I saw M.'s mom at the YMCA when I went to workout; today I went to Starbucks to have coffee because no one made me any coffee at home; today I returned two SIGG bottles to Whole Foods.
Pie: SIGG bottles.
Adam: M's mom.
Doodles: Starbucks.

Starbucks was the logical answer, as Adam conveniently left early to go to the gym, but didn't set up the coffeemaker for me. And I don't make coffee. Just don't. Don't know why. Just don't.

Me: Doodles is right.
Pie: So you didn't have coffee at Starbucks?
Me: No.
Pie: Then where did you have your coffee?
Me: Nowhere. I didn't have any coffee today.
Doodles: Oooh! That's why you were cranky today!

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