Friday, March 31, 2006

Mercury Rising

So the other day, Sam, Lily and I are just sitting around and as usual (without me even trying to make the day funnier) I'm caught up in how absurd and hilarious the whole parenting thing is. First of all, Lily learned this strange dance thing this week. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't even sure it was dancing at first, and since Sara hasn't seen it yet (it seems that when she is home, Lily just wants to hang on to her and isn't really in the dancing mood) I couldn't get a second opinion. It starts with her doing a side step - and a pretty deliberate one, as if she is counting off "a one and a two, a one and a two" in her head - and moving around the living room in a big circle as if she is imagining herself as one small part of a large wedding dance around the bride and groom. The next step in her (remarkably well choreographed) routine is to fall down on to her butt and violently flair her arms and torso from side to side like she was doing some early street version of the twist that never really caught on until it was changed into the relatively mild dance that it is today that has very little chance of poking out an eye or sending anyone to the hospital with a lumbar fracture. I have to admit, the first time I saw the second half of the dance, I was a bit frightened. She laughs while she does it too, which might seem cute when you read about it, but actually, for the uninitiated, it's a little Children of the Corn. That first night after I saw it I even checked the back of her head for three sixes while she was sleeping... only found three nines though, so I slept like a baby. All is well, it turns out... last night I asked her to dance and she happily did the whole routine for me. As you might imagine, I was relieved, and even egged her on with a little song that went pretty much like "dancin, dancin, Lily dancin.." (you have to add a little tune to that in your head) which she thought was just hysterical enough to repeat the routine another 137 times until Sara got home... and then acted as if she had no idea what I was saying. Now that I think about it, our house is kind of like Footloose. I'm Kevin Bacon (encouraging the dance) Sara is John Lithgow (who Lily - Lori Singer - doesn't dare dance in front of) and Sam is more of a Chris Penn, the one who yearns to dance but can't seem to stop spinning into furniture.
Now the dancing alone wouldn't really make the day all that funny, but Sam's odd little brain occasionally bowls me over. Lily is dancing, and Sam is sitting around drawing in Turtle magazine ("crafts" is what he calls any art project, which he doesn't pronounce well when he is excited and often will jog up to me and say "daddy, do you want to make some craps with me?") when he sees a picture of a box of Trix cereal on the back of one of his cereal boxes. "Hey daddy!" he shouts, "we should get some of that!" So I reach deep down inside myself and struggle not to yell out "MY GOD YES! TRIX ARE DELICIOUS! I WAS NEVER ALLOWED TO HAVE THEM AND VOWED THAT ONE DAY MY CHILDREN WOULD BE RAISED SOLELY ON TRIX, COUNT CHOCULA, BOOBERRY, AND FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, EVEN THOUGH IT WILL RIP THE ROOF OF YOUR MOUTH TO SHREDS WITH ITS CRISPY GOODNESS THE GODFATHER AND UNDISPUTED CHAMPION OF ALL SWEET CEREALS, CAPTAIN CRUNCH. My son, open the box, and together we will go down the rabbit hole..." Instead I say, tears welling up in my eyes, "No, we can't get that, its not good for you." Really. Even though I felt a little piece of me die, I said it. As if he understood how hard it was for me to say like deer somehow know when it is going to rain, he was respectfully quiet for a moment.... and then said the only thing in the world that could have made me feel better at that moment. That is, precisely the last thing I ever expected my three year old to say...
"But dad, it's part of a nutritious breakfast."


Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness of My Head

Ok, blog category #2 - successes and failures of last week.
Started out ok on Monday, until 6:48pm, when I suddenly got sick. Might have been 6:49, but the point is, all of a sudden I thought "holy crap, I feel terrible", and I went from well to sick in about thirty seconds. Stayed home on Tuesday, felt crappy. Went in to to work on Wednesday, felt crappy, and started to stress about the rest of the week. Thursday, still crappy and really behind I stayed after work to prep for friday, ran home to get ready for my wine class... paused a moment to reflect on how sick I was.... and ran off to class and talked for two and a half hours about California wine laws, Oregon LIVE, Albarino, and why if you don't like (or can't learn to like) Barolo you'll never be invited over to my house. At least that's what I think I talked about. I wrote it down before class, but by 10:00pm, things got a little fuzzy. A couple of students noted on their instructor evaluations that they disagreed with my position on the whole Dick York vs. Dick Sargent thing. I am a York man, of course. With his simple country charm and unflinching devotion to his wife despite all of the madcap scenarios she got them into (not to mention he was quite the tall drink of water) I can't possible imagine feeling any other way. How or when that might have come up on Thursday, I have no idea.
Anyway, I woke up in Sam's bed on Friday (because by the time I got home he was passed out in my bed and I was too tired to do the switch) and sat there for a minute deciding whether I should get up and shower, or pray that the seething mass of germs that were pulsing beneath my skin and making every pore on my body ache would finally win so I could die right there on the dinosaur sheets. I went with the shower - and thanks to Sara dressing the kids actually got to work early so I could make a soup before I prepped for the day. Work, then prep for Rosa's gig, and then the dinner - Shitake & crimini tarts with peppered apples and a red pepper & tomato reduction... carrot & cilantro soup... rare pepper encrusted bluefin tuna with curried crab salad & black pasta with garbanzo and garlic puree... greens with shaved parm and roasted pumpkin seed vinaigrette... and three tuilles layered with raspberries and chantilly...
and I was out...
home, sick...
and too wired to sleep. Go figure.
Oh yeah... little footnote to my last post... Do you realize how often you use your thumb? Like, all the time. Seriously, try this little experiment. Say "OW!", now count to three, say "OW!" again, and now repeat this process for two weeks. Go ahead. Try. It sucks.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ode to a Thumb

Oh! chubby digit on the side
So handy when I need a ride
Oft ignored or used to suck
Without you I'd be out of luck

A change of pace, you thought would do
"Perhaps I will accent a stew,
some chutney or charcuterie,
perhaps a garnish I can be...
Not merely food when hope is dashed,
for soccer teams whose planes have crashed.
I'll sit on plates by men of honor,
no longer served for parties, Donner."
My flavor surely so unique,
they'll revise Larousse Gastronomique.
Some thumb in tart or etouffee,
would impress Auguste Escoffier."

So on I chopped still unaware
of Thumb's designs l'art culinaire
He waited, watched, and then reacted
When I was just a bit distracted.
My reaction time a touch belated,
I sliced him off with my serrated.
"Foiled!" I swear I heard him yell,
For my serrated did not cut so well.

Still attached, with wound agape,
I put the tip back on with tape.
Healing now, comfortably numb,
I often wonder why my thumb
Would go so far to get his wish
to be a part of my new dish.

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