Sunday, April 25, 2010

Holy Hasenpfeffer!

A few days ago, while covering the teachers’ strike in our school district (North Penn), my husband noticed a few familiar faces approaching him with what appeared to be picket signs. It was my sons’ 4-H leader and her two daughters. As they approached, they revealed their protest cards. They weren’t aimed at swaying teachers or the school board to give in. Instead, these personalized placards were aimed right at my husband.

Well after a year of trying, my husband’s spine and resolve finally cracked and he surprised our boys tonight by telling them they could have a bunny. They’re not ripe yet, so we have to wait a month. But we got to visit the “nursery.” They were very white. Very small. With very blue eyes. We picked the one we wanted and I chose the name, Frankie.

We have no idea whether Frankie (or any of it’s siblings) is a boy or a girl. Frankie’s goodies aren’t visible yet. I’m told that by next month, if I blow on them I may be able to figure it out…but I’m just not quite curious enough to blow on a rabbit’s groin. Maybe once we get to know each other better. Or after I’ve had a few drinks.

Both boys have promised to take charge of Frankie’s cage ~ a promise that I know is as big a load of crap as Frankie’s cage will soon be. Just like the cat, and the dog, and the goldfish, I’ll eventually get charge of Frankie. I’m trying my hardest not to notice just how much Frankie looks like the rabbit in Fatal Attraction. And I do have a little bit of guilt that Frankie will be the first pet whose species I’ve actually eaten, in a delicious Moroccan tangine with olives, lemons and couscous served by belly dancers.

Knowing for a fact that a pet tastes like chicken is a bit disconcerting.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


There are several positive phrases that come to mind when you hear the word “strike.”
“Strike while the iron’s hot.”

"Strike up the band."

“Strike gold.”

“Strike up a conversation.”

“Strike it rich.”

But if you live within a 5-mile radius of my house, those aren’t the phrases that come to mind this week. Our teachers are on strike. Today is school-day #4 at home with our little “darlings.” And chances are, we’ll be home with them for another three before the strike legally has to end. Now, I’m not going to go into the politics of the strike or which side I support. If you know me personally, you already know the answer to that question. If you don’t…well you really should because I’m a fabulous person. (And humble.) But no matter which side you support, we parents of the North Penn School District have one thing in common:


This early taste of summer vacation has gone to their heads…and their stomachs. They want to be entertained, and fed, constantly. “I’m bored” is their manta (“I’m bord” for those of us with crappy spellers). No, mommy can’t take you to the movies. Or mini golf. Or the batting cage. Or the mall. Mommy works while you’re in school and just because you’re home doesn’t mean she too gets to play all day. No, we can’t go to McDonald's/Wendy’s/Taco Bell every day. I bought plenty of groceries for the week last Sunday. How you ate them all by Wednesday is beyond me. See the Ramen in the pantry? Lunch. No, you can’t have a bag of potato chips. Why? Because it’s 9 in the morning!

Luckily, the weather so far during the strike has been fairly nice, so we can set our tykes free outside to ride bikes, play in the yard and dig for worms (Why? We’re not going fishing! Why is there a jar of worms on my picnic table?) But while we may be temporarily able to fend off boredom for a few hours with neighborhood friends and outdoor play, we parents must constantly be on guard for the foe who is milking this strike to his full advantage. We must keep an ear out for the evil one who is waiting to entice our children every afternoon just as we’re calling them in for dinner. You know of whom I speak. He lures our offspring with his siren song from blocks away. And like dogs listening to a whistle, the children freeze, cock their heads, then run into the house to plunder. The “Ice Cream Man.” The spoiler of appetites. The maker of purse pillagers. Fagin, with sprinkles.

As the teachers’ strike continues, parents are getting more and more annoyed at either the teachers or the school board. But it’s a waste of energy to feel hostility toward either side. Eventually the strike will end and a contract will be agreed upon. Once we’re all back in school, this animosity will be all but forgotten. And then we parents can direct our ire at the real enemy. Mr. Softee.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I'm Uncle Sam, Uncle Sam I am...Now Cough it Up!

Mid April means means different things to different people.

To the kids/dependents, mid-April means riding bikes, staying outside later at night, peeking outside to see if it’s a shorts or jeans day for school, getting covered in dirt and grass stains, sliding into home plate and the opening of Allentown’s drive in theaters. Mid-April also means the end of school is within reach…a sneak preview of summer bliss.

If you’re a grownup/filer, mid-April means it’s time to oil up the lawnmower, start taking Claritin, switch the wardrobes from winter to summer, clean the birds nest out of the grill, start washing tree pollen off your car, and wishing the 4 a.m. mating birds and the 7 a.m. mowing neighbors would all just shut up. And filing taxes.

I just left the long line at the post office, having waited to make sure that I put enough Bart Simpson stamps on our tax returns. Bart seemed the appropriate postage choice since each return included a payment. My little way of subtly telling the IRS and the state department of revenue to “eat my shorts.” Everyone in line had the same look of resignation on our faces. We all owed. How did I know? Because if you get a refund, you sure as blazes file before April 15. Only we owers hold off until the deadline.

This year a lot of companies have picked up on the April 15th misery and are offering freebies today. I’d like to thank Starbucks for the free coffee they offered today to help wash down the bitter tax pill. Free Starbucks coffee somehow tastes so much better than paid-for Starbucks coffee. They both leave me doubled over a half-hour after drinking, but at least I didn’t pay for the pain this time. Later we’re going to Boston Market for their “tax break” B.O.G.O. dinners and then my husband is taking the kids to Maggie Moos for their free “tax day giveaway” ice cream. I’m on a diet and no one’s offering free Income Tax Day cottage cheese so I’m S.O.L. Free ice cream is great, but expenses aren’t the only thing this mom is trying to deduct.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

After...Happily Ever After







Monday, April 5, 2010

Let Me See You Sweat

Tonight I felt like my heart was going to explode, I was on the verge of throwing up and my left inner thigh muscle was visibly twitching. No, I wasn't having a stroke. I've joined a gym. A friend excitedly told me these symptoms are all “very good things.” That's nice. I still put 911 on speed dial, just in case.

I haven't belonged all that long, but I've already noticed a couple of things about my gym, and I presume gyms in general. The clientele varies greatly depending on the time of day you go. Weekday mornings are the mom and seniors crowd. The pace is slower, the sweat flows a little lighter and there's plenty of available equipment. Lunchtime, when I'm usually able to go, is some of the same crowd, with die hard exercise nuts thrown in the mix. People who run in from work, sweat for a half hour, shower, and go back to work with wet hair. They scare me. They need a burger.

Tonight was the first time I joined the “just clocked out” crowd. There was a waiting list for some of the cardio equipment. Unfortunately, everything I needed was available. There were a lot of teenage girls working out together, all plugged into iPods. I was envious of that. Not the teenage part (I only long to be couldn't pay me to be a teen again), but the working out next to someone you know part. I could go for that. (I have three guest passes people, HINT!) And then there were the no-necks. The biggest men I have ever seen who weren't wearing an NFL uniform. So much grunting going on there on the weight floor that it sounded like they were filming porn. Or Andre Agassi was playing Pete Sampras.

Someday I hope to get to the point where I feel comfortable working out alongside the no-necked grunters. I'm sure they're a swell bunch of guys. But for now I think I'll stick to the mom and senior hours for a while. Yes, there's quite a bit of grunting there too. But it just me trying to get off the recumbent bike after my legs have jellied.

Treadmilling to "Trampoline" by Latch Key Kid...great music always helps!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Putting the "Happy" in Happy Easter

Just a few giggles for Easter

The Origin of the Easter Egg If we'd only let 'em hatch