Friday, November 21, 2014

O., N. and L. speak

 An overdue account of some moments I've been jotting down for the last few months.

 Hunting Bears
At bedtime, L. often chooses “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” for us to read.  When we get to the part ‘We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we’ve got to go through it," he has some opinions to share about that:
“Yes, they can go over it! Jet Pack, duh!” he says. “You can so go frew it!  Just dig. You can go under water.  Put your goggles and swimming fings on.”
“We’re not scared!”  I read.
“Yes, they are scared.  Because it’s bears, you know,” he says.
 “We’re not going on a bear hunt again,” I conclude. 
“Yes, they will. Because we’ll read it tomorrow again, right?"

Over It
One weekend in the fall we were planning a trip to Kings Island and I mentioned that they were hosting a Halloween festival event in one portion of the park.  O. had some thoughts about that. “Well, we’re not going to go over there.  Because it will just be tables with crafts and stuff.  So, like there will be pumpkins and some glitter or something.  Meanwhile, there’s the best theme park in the world, with awesome rides!  Geez.”

Cemeteries
Driving to Tae Kwon Do, we pass an old cemetery.  O. must have noticed this each time and had some thoughts about it.
O. "Isn't it weird to think about people being buried in the ground?  I mean, what if you died with your mouth open, and then it got filled up with dirt.  Then if you were just, say, planting flowers in the graveyard, you could actually be digging into someone's throat!"
Me:  "Well, you know they don't just put the person in the ground.  They bury them in a box."
N:  "Yeah, you know.  Like that big pretty one that Great Grandma was in at her funeral."  It's made of like metal. And sometimes really important people get that whole house thing at a cemetery for them."
O:  "Yeah, I bet that for rich people and famous people and stuff, they get boxes made of gold and stuff.  But if you're a robber or something, you don't get anything.  Maybe just wood.  And that guy that killed Abraham Lincoln?  I bet he didn't get anything."

Interesting 
O.:  "I don't think I like people who don’t have kids."
Me:  "Oh really?  Why not?"
O. "Well, for one thing, I wouldn't want to hang around them, because they wouldn't have anybody for me to play with.  But also, if they don't have kids, well, that's the end of their family.  For all these years, that family has been going on and on.  And then they don't have kids.  Boom.  That family is done."

A Little Young to be Realizing This 
Liam:  Is this maple syrup on these pancakes?
Me:  Oh, no, I forgot to get the maple syrup out of the fridge for you.  That’s just regular syrup.  I’m sorry, buddy.
Liam:  That’s otay.  Stuff happens.

The Expert
Me:  How do you know that?
Liam:  I read it in a book.

We're Always Pretending Something
Me:  Oh no, Batman!  That lion is attacking!
L:  It’s otay.  I have a gun!  I will shoot him.
Me:  And our truck is all broken up because he has attacked it.
L:  I will simply fix it.  I am good at fixing things.

Every Other Second, It Seems 
L: Do you want to pay yegos with me?

Model Student 
L:  "I am the only one at stool that pays attention.  Everyone else cannot sit still on the carpet  They are always laying down, but I am always listening.  Just saying."

Awww 
L:  "I love Nora.  Nora calls me Squirt.  You can’t call me Squirt."

Bedtime Farewell 
Me: You’re the best. (I say it to them all.  Promise)
L:  You’re the best mom.  (He's the only one that replies.)

It's Always Snacktime
L:  I’m hungry.
Me:  Ok, what would you like?
L:  Just anyting.
Me:  Well, I want to pick something you’re going to eat.
L:  Just pick whatever you fink. 
Me:  Okay, here’s a box of raisins.

L:  Not so much.

The Conversation Jar
We have a jar full of questions/conversation starters that I printed out.  The kids (usually N.) always remember to bring it to the table and take turns pulling topics out.

Who in your family do you act most like?
O:  Dad.  Because I fart all the time.  And I laugh at myself because I think I'm funny.

Name someone you would like to go back in time to meet.
N:  Mom, I would like to go back and meet your grandpa.  Because I never knew him.  And I know you and Great Grandma loved him and I didn't get to know him.  I'd also like to meet your great grandma.
Me:  Oh, sweetheart, my grandpa would have loved you so much.  He liked little girls so much.  He would let you sit on his lap and mess up his hair and call you brown eyes.  And O., he would call you and L. rough necks.  And my great grandma that I knew?  She was such a sweet lady.  She loved nature and animals and was really good at arranging flowers. And she always had candy at her house."
O.:  Well, then I would like to meet her, because she liked nature.  But I'd also like to meet the guy that invented bacon.  Because who looked at a pig's butt and said 'I gotta have some of that!'"
L:  I would like to meet myself.  Because I like me the best.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Risotto Ramblings

I'm making risotto tonight, though I know no one but me will enjoy it for dinner tonight.  It's a butternut squash version that I'm kind of winging it on, leaving out leeks called for in the recipe I'm using, one I found on my phone,  bc I don't have any, and adding some rotisserie chicken.   Hoping it tastes just a little like the risotto I love from the Brio lunch menu, but I doubt it, because I am never brave enough to use as much salt (and probably butter) as a restaurant cook would. Plus, I think the Brio one has bacon in it.  Not sure why I'd be too hard on myself about its success or failure, because the cooks on Top Chef can't perfect risotto either.  I think the only dish that sends more people home on that show would be scallops.  I had some risotto with grape tomatoes and way too much cheese recently at a really good restaurant, and it was pretty blah on the flavor.  Something I told myself I could totally cook at home.  And it turns out, I can.
Anyway, it's the kind of meal that requires you to stay close to the stove, but not actually think too much or have that much hands on interaction with the dish.  Perfect dish for mind wandering, percolate about the writing I'd like to be doing kind of dish.  Good for me, because every time I sit down to write, there is that darn blank screen staring back at me.  Or that darn blank page in the notebook, if I can even find the notebook.
It's not that I don't have ideas to share, or even thoughts and issues that consume a great deal of my time and energy.  But I've reached a strange season of life where my kids need me less physically, but still take up the bulk of my emotional and actual time.  They need more protection from what I might write and share and discuss about their struggles and challenges and even victories than they used to, which makes writing for an audience, however fictional and minuscule, problematic.  So even though things are happening here, I have a hard time figuring out what and how to say them.
I read articles online and in the newspaper, and I have things I want to say about them, about my dismay about how life just seems to be getting harder and harder and harder.  Not to mention lonelier and lonelier, despite all our "connections" and sharing. But then I read another essay and think "oh, that person already wrote pretty much what I wanted to say about that." So I just share that essay on my Facebook wall.  There are moments in my day when I'm so revved up about some injustice or ridiculous moment of idiocy that I feel ready to write a letter to the editor, or email the person in charge (is anyone really in charge around here?  where are the adults who can take care of crap when it goes wrong, anyway?  Oh, that's me now?  Darn.) or maybe even run for school board or city council or at least form some sort of committee.
I am at times so filled up by the blessings of my life, and so thankful for all the moments of wonder and sweetness and just plain goodness that the people I have figured out how to keep around me offer that I want to write it all down before I lose it all all all.
But then the kids get off the bus and we're doing homework and we're doing dinner and I'm putting away laundry and I'm emptying the dishwasher and someone has to go to gymnastics or Tae Kwon Do or basketball and we're playing legos again.  And then the glass of wine and the blank screen await, and I'm all out of anger and irritation and even enthusiasm.  All the moments of sweetness have faded in detail, leaving just their echoes to carry me on into the next day.
I've written all of these ideas before, and have even written it better before.  This is the stuff that gets in the way of the writing that I really feel like I want to be doing.
So, instead, I make a pot of risotto.  Or I chop some vegetables for a soup.  Or I roll some chicken in some breadcrumbs.  And I feed my family and the best parts of me the best way I know for right now. The making of the food is sometimes enough to absorb the worst grumbly lonely parts of the day. It's almost always enough to let the sweet people who come through my home know that I will keep trying to care for them in all the best ways I can.  Occasionally, the simmering and the stirring and the chopping are even enough to get a few thoughts going and write a few lines.  Something to come back to later when there is more of me to give.