Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I finally mustered the strength to throw away the Thanksgiving leftovers. The stuffing loses some of its original "oomph" after the sixth reheating. And enough with the cranberries, already.

Soup and salad from now til Christmas.

That is all.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Comfort and Joy

This morning, Hannah asked me if we could go to the mall and have a Girlie Fun Day, which involves strolling with our fellow shoppers, trying out lipstick samples, and buying stuff.

I hate the mall, even when it's not the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

After I said no, my lovely and persistent daughters still tried to get me to drive there, because they didn't buy it when I told them that there really weren't any parking spots left.

I told them we'll go another time.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

That's What I Get for Being All Smug About Being "Organized"

I was sooo proud of myself for getting all of my grocery shopping done early this week, so I wouldn't have to deal with the lines and engage in pre-Thanksgiving supermarket warfare with all the scary ladies fighting over poultry, ("Mine! I saw it first!") canned pumpkin, and the last bag of cranberries.

I hyper-organized on Monday and made sure I had hazelnuts, and fresh thyme, and smoked ham, and gingersnaps, and cream cheese, and french bread, and spaghetti squash...

But I have to go to the store this morning because I ran out of sugar, which I have never run out of, ever in my life. And cat food.

Dang it.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Death of a Michigan Man

I remember waking up on Saturday mornings in the 70's and 80's, hearing the distant sounds of the Michigan Marching Band as they practiced for the day's halftime show. I had no appreciation then for how talented they were, or how lucky I was to have access to a season ticket in a stadium that boasted seats for 101,701 crazed football fans.

The Michigan vs. Ohio State game was always heavily anticipated by Ann Arborites -- a focal point of every fall. It never occurred to me that there were people anywhere who didn't look forward to toe-freezing, windy, sometimes rainy and snowy November days on Stadium Boulevard with the passion and fervor that we did. No question; that's what you did on Saturday afternoons. It just... was.

While I can't say that I have followed the ins and outs of Michigan football as an adult (I realize this horrifies my parents and my brothers; I'm sorry) I do remember many specific details from that glorious era. Bob Ufer's emotional and hilarious radio color commentary, Rick Leach's team leadership, Ali Haji-Sheikh's clutch field goal kicks, the thrill of Anthony Carter's many physically impossible, magnificent catches and subsequent game-winning sprints into the endzone, the emotional rush of being part of an excited, sometimes overzealous crowd.

My sports-fan energy is largely focused on the Boston Red Sox these days, but my roots are in Michigan football, as a freezing cold kid equipped with hand warmers and a wool hat, sitting in Section 20, Row 56. I didn't really get the nuances of the game, but I understood the thrill of the competition, the commitment of the team, and the level of excellence.

Mom and Dad went condo a couple of years ago, and landed right next door to Bo. They had known each other for years, but it has been fun to visit them in their new house knowing that The Man was right next door. He was a friendly neighbor, often stopping to chat in the driveway. He offered my parents a VIP parking pass so they wouldn't have to walk through the crowds to get to the football games that they rarely attend anymore. He even volunteered to help around the house, telling Mom that he could "still get around pretty good."

I urge anyone who appreciates great writing and/or loves the college football tradition to read Mitch Albom's article, issued today at 3:00 AM. He wrote Bo's biography back in 1989. They knew each other well. Mitch was one of my favorite writers long before he hit it big with his wonderful book Tuesdays with Morrie -- his Detroit Free Press sports columns were almost always my first-must-read at the breakfast table before trudging off to school back in the early 80's. He has a rare talent for hitting raw emotional nerves, using clean, simple language. This article is a beautiful tribute to a man who lived his life with intensity and loyalty; passion and purpose.

I can't say I'm a dedicated, knowledgeable football fan -- my brothers would laugh at me if I did -- but Bo's death has affected me in a way that surprises me a little. It's a personal loss for my parents, of course. But also, Michigan football was a prominent part of my childhood and adolescence. Those games were dominant topics of conversation at school and around the family dinner table for as long as I can remember. Bo's death puts another chunk of that era squarely in the past.

Go Blue, and rest in peace, Mr. Schembechler.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Quotes of the Day

Abby (from the tub; exasperated tone): Hey, Mom? This shampoo says "No More Tears" -- unfortunately, IT LIES.

Sam: I know what I want for Christmas. A dumbwaiter, and Comcast Digital Cable.

Hannah (after school, getting off the bus): I need a vacation.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It Took Four Months

... for her to realize that the pink leopard ears buried in the dressup box match her jammies.

What do leopards eat? Nacho Cheese Doritos, by the bagful, right before bed.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The Accidental Sammich

It's a bummer to open the apple butter and find fuzzy, grey apple mold instead.


But this turned out to be a good thing, because I made an emergency substitute and came up with a killer sandwich today.

- 2 slices of bread (today's selection, whole wheat)
- Many slices of Boar's Head Ovengold Turkey
- A few pieces of brie cheese
- Romaine lettuce
- Thin slices of apple (that's right, I said apple. I used Empire, 'cause that's what was in the fruit bowl.)

Lightly toast the bread, then lightly butter it. Place brie slices on one piece of toast, and toast it again (in toaster oven or in a pan) until the brie melts a little. Layer turkey, romaine and apple slices.

Sweet mother of tryptophan.

The apples works with the brie, and the brie works with the turkey, and it all goes crunch.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Game About YOU

OK, I stole this from a friend's blog, and I'm game if you are.

Tell me in the comments section that you want to play and:

1. I'll respond with something random about you.
2. I'll tell you what song/movie reminds me of you.
3. I'll pick a flavor of jello to wrestle you in.
4. I'll say something that only makes sense to you and me.
5. I'll tell you my first memory of you.
6. I'll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I'll ask you something I've always wondered about you.

Come on now, let's play! Don't be a-scared.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Before I Forget

UPDATED UPDATE to 10/27 "Shiver Me Timbers!" post:

We went to Abby's final Pirate of Penzance performance on Sunday, which for Sam, was all about the raffle tickets. I spent a good part of the morning explaining to him that despite our big cash win at Friday's show, most of the time when people buy in to a raffle, they win nothing.

I was very concerned that he would buy, not win, have a meltdown.

Public tantrums are not good.

However, he was determined, and he needed the little life-lesson in order to let the issue go, so I held my breath and watched him hand over his allowance.

He won again. A gift certificate for a half-hour massage this time, which he will be giving to his mother as a Christmas present.

I gotta get this kid some lottery tickets.

Trick or Treat!

Abby woke up this morning hugging her candy bag.

This was the first year -- youngest kid, age 7 -- that the kids had the stamina to keep going until they exhausted the supplier potential. This year, we shifted from the cute little plastic Halloween pumpkin buckets to the pillowcase type, a decision I now deeply regret.

I distributed a huge amount of candy to neighborhood toughs, as Jim hauled the kids and a couple of extra hangers-on around the neighborhood. I was hopeful that we wouldn't have any treats left in the house as I watched the contents of the bowl dwindle. Then the kids triumphantly returned home dragging their bags o' booty -- approximately 8 pounds per child. Sam dumped his all over the floor and celebrated the size of the pile, beholding the chocolatey, sugary goodness all around him; Abby counted every piece in her bag (she claimed it was a math assignment) and declared her total at 328; Hannah disappeared into her bag as she repeatedly dove head-first in search of chocolate.

I'm still trying to figure out how to prevent the inevitable candy-only diet that began this morning ("Hey, it's 6:00 AM! Time for Skittles!") Part of me wants to let them eat 'til they puke, thinking that maybe they'll learn the hard way that moderation is best, even though I know it's really no different than the time in the early 80's when my family's three dachshunds nosed open the refrigerator and had a bacchanalian puking/crapping ham and turkey festival all over the kitchen floor. Did they learn? No, they did it again at the very next opportunity.

Realistically, I'll let the little monsters delight in their riches for a few days, then it will all mysteriously disappear into the trash. I know that's cruel and painfully parental of me, but it's the only way. Letting them keep it until it's gone results in a situation similar to life in a crack house.

Thanksgiving! Stocking stuffing! Full mall parking lots! Crazed grandmas emptying the shelves at Toys 'R' Us! The end of the year roller coaster ride has officially begun.

Not coincidentally, I stocked up on wine yesterday.

Oh yeah, good times.