Poetry Month? I’ll Play!

There’s a groundhog named Fred

Who lives by our shed

And he’s roly and poly and round

As he noses around

With his feet on the ground

He looks gray with a fair bit of brown

 

There’s some mighty big holes

In our yard, not from moles,

And the answer has filled me with dread

As we dig our way down

My smile turns to a frown

‘Cause the culprit just has to be Fred

 

 

Good thing that he’s cute

Or else he’d get the boot

Which wouldn’t be friendly at all

But it’s my freakin’ yard

And we’ve worked it so hard

Mr. Fred better learn to play ball

 

 

 

 

 

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Ten Things on a Thursday (Yes, Again)

1.  Boilers (or furnaces, I don’t really know if there’s a difference but it means my house is cold) are not fun things to spend a whack of cash on.  Ask me how I know.

2.  Neither are taxes.  Again, ask.

3.  Fun things are yarn, lunches out, and travel.  None of which is happening with my wallet now.

4.  2048 is a HUGE time-suck.

5.  April is weird.  Time to do ALL the gardening, apparently, but the ground is still too cold.  So should I plant cold-weather things?  Like pansies and peas?  But peas should have been planted on St. Patrick’s day.  But the ground was frozen.  I’m so confused.

6.  Tea solves everything.

7.  There is a direct correlation between the amount of sarcasm I employed and the fact that I am not employed.  I assume this means once my audience is gone, I am less sarcastic.  What does that say about me?

8.  I didn’t have to report for jury duty, even though this was one time I didn’t want to get out of it.  The only time I actually showed up at a courthouse my girls were very young and I announced I had to leave by 2:00 to pick them up from school.  The man behind the desk (which was really a folding table) looked at me oddly and said I couldn’t leave.  I looked at him oddly and said if I didn’t pick up my kids from school, the very same courthouse would be arresting me for child neglect and endangerment, so what did he suggest I do?  He curled his lip and told me I was dismissed.  I wonder if that’s why I’ve never been selected again.

9.  Luna bars make a satisfying breakfast, in that I don’t have to think about anything.  I love breakfast but don’t like to make it.

10.  Flurrious broke my heart, but I might forgive her.  Especially when the soup arrives.

 

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Hooray for Hollywood (or, in this case, New York)

One of the benefits of NOT working a traditional job (or, in my case, at all) is the ability to do things that can’t be done when you are otherwise engaged from 9-5 on a regular basis.  To that end, this week my friend invited me to come with her into Manhattan to see a taping of a talk show.  I’d never done something like this before; never even thought about it, actually.  The only show I ever wanted to see live was David Letterman, and as a teacher, the only time I’d be able to do it would be in the summer and I wasn’t keen on the idea of standing outside in the humid summer with fetid exhaust fumes just to maybe not get in at all because that’s always a possibility.  And now he’s going to retire so there’s a life event I might not get to fulfill, but with this new schedule you never know.

ANYWAY.  We left our comfortable suburban New Jersey homes to tangle with the wild beast of NYC, and emerged into the huge monster known as Penn Station.  You can’t just get off the train and pause to gather your wits about you, peering at signs to determine which way you want to go.  No, that’s a good plan only if you intend to be swept away by crowds and poked with umbrellas and assaulted with backpacks from all the folks who have some. place. to. be. now. dammit.  You just start walking in the same direction as everyone else and wait for an open area to present itself.  Then you fling yourself violently against the wall and catch a deep breath because of course the escalator stairs weren’t working and you just climbed the equivalent of three flights of stairs in double time and you’re sure your heart has never reached a tempo quite that fast before, all the while wondering which of these passing strangers might perform CPR on you because surely you’re about to die?  But then the world starts to focus slowly and you can figure out which exit you want without ending up on another train to an exotic location like Poughkeepsie.

No matter how many times I go into New York, it’s always a bit of a culture shock when I emerge onto the street.  I get transported back to the days when I had to go into “the city” with my mom when she was working as a comptometer operator and she had to bring in big office envelopes of completed work.  The smell was exotic and heady and at the same time just a bit disgusting.  Cigarettes, burned pretzels, taxi exhaust, coffee, and heat.  Enter the subways and you can add a fine layer of old urine and mechanical grease to that.  I was like a dog trying to identify all those odors, but at the age of 4? I guess? it was just a mishmosh that immediately signaled that exciting yet mysterious stuff was going on all around us.

Today, as a mature adult, I certainly don’t lift my nose in the air and give a long appreciative sniff followed by several little ones as I used to, but I still get that jarring sense of excitement and danger when I hit the streets.  Even though it was a bit chilly (and I’m sorry, Bill Evans of Accuweather Forecast, but will you please stop saying it’s going to be 64 degrees when it never seems to get over 48? Thank you.) I didn’t care, I was on an adventure.  On a Wednesday!  At 11:00 in the morning!  I wasn’t teaching third grade how to play recorders or 8th grade how the music industry is a growing one or reporting for cafeteria duty!  

We decided to head to Eataly.  And there, my friends, is where I died and went to Italian heaven.  If I ever meet Mario Batali or Lidia Bastianich, I am going to kneel before them and kiss their talented fingers.  (I have seen Lidia Bastianich before.  I worked in an office that managed the books and payroll for her early restaurant, Felidia Ristorante, and I think I worshipped her then, too.)  This place which takes up an entire city block of Manhattan, is like a grocery store, import store, deli, and restaurant with everything Italian you could possibly dream of.  If we were not continuing our journey on to a show taping, I would have bought enough Italian goodies to sink us into serious debt.  (As it is, I’ve informed my family that we WILL be making a visit there.  Soon.)

After some serious touristy-type gawking, we decided to eat at the pasta section.  The other option was pizza, and I love a good pizza but come on!  PASTA.  Just look at this gorgeousness:

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I’ve carefully edited out the drool spots

That?  That is spring pea and lemon-ricotta ravioli, with scalloped edges, and buttered asparagus with cheese.  OH. MY. LORD.  I grudgingly offered a bite, but thankfully it was declined and I had the whole plate of deliciousness to myself.  Had it not been so crowded I totally would have licked the plate.  My friend had this:

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She never took her eyes off of it, or it would have been mine, too.

I believe this was called parchetti, but I could be making it up.  It is like amazeballs giant rigatoni and had shrimp, scallops, mussels, and probably lobster.  Ohhhhhh…….

And then we shopped among all the jars of pesto and jardiniere, packages of every pasta you could think of, fresh meats, chocolates, fresh fruit and veggies, kitchenware, and this delightful looking spot:

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Which would look a lot more delightful if my iPhone took better pictures, or had a better operator. Hmmmm……

Oh, man!  Cheeeeeeeeeeese…………

Are there any other places like this?  Does Wisconsin have a huge palace devoted to the delights of Dairy Country, with the artistry of a master chef (or two)? Indiana?  What about West Virginia?  I want to know.  You know.  For science.

 

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Opening Day

Today is a big day, this Monday, March 31, 2014.  It marks Opening Day.

*yawn*

No, I kid.  I like baseball, although some would argue that point with me considering I root for the Mets.  Typical reply to that comment is “Really?  Are the Mets still in baseball?”  Yuk, yuk.  Or the more direct, “Why aren’t you a Yankees fan?  It’s so much easier!”  I have a downtrodden team but I don’t care.  I like the Mets for two reasons:  my mom rooted for them and I have good memories of her watching the game by herself in the den on our tiny tv and going crazy with delight; and David Wright.  In an era of overpaid and overblown sports icons and bratty behavior, David Wright is a class act and I like class acts.

But that’s not what I referring to in my title.  It’s opening day for me.  The day when I decide to open up the possibilities and plan a garden.

Reflect on that for a moment.

As we all remember, I despise summer and humidity and do my best to escape it with amazing resourcefulness.  (“Yes, of course I’ll drive to the supermarket to pick up a bunch of things – it’s air-conditioned.  Duh!”  “No, I don’t want to come outside and look at the insert-something-that-Hubby-wants-me-to-see-close-up right now, I can see it from the window and it’s air-conditioned in here.  Duh!”)  But although I swore off gardening three years ago, I think I’m ready to punish myself try it again because now I have time to be thoughtful about it.

The biggest problem with gardening, to me, is the ninja weed that sneaks in overnight and builds up a fort around your carefully tended growing things.  I can go outside every day for two solid weeks and verify nothing unplanned is happening in my happy pile of dirt except what I put there, and foolishly think that maybe this time it’s going to work, and then BAM!  The ninja weeds waited for my back to be turned and they set up shop.  They’ve entwined their way about the cucumber trellis.  They are choking out the peony.  They are silently running underground (ninja submarines?) and cloning themselves to look like a new batch of lettuce when they’re really putting out feelers for new ways to kill my spirit.

Well, this year I have time to be more diligent and get out there when it’s cooler in the morning and take stock of what’s happening with the ground folk.  I think I might actually be able to do it this year.  I just might be successful at this and not end up with canoe-sized zucchinis and cucumbers that look like zeppelins.  

I….I’m daring to open my heart again to a garden.  Hold me.

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I see no problem with this plan.
/sarcasm

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It’s a Love/Hate Thing

Ten Things I Love:

1.  Fritos Scoops.  They are LARGE and crunchy and corny and they’re way better than their skinny counterparts.

2.  Yarn.  Well, duh.

3.  Hidden object computer games.  It’s amazing how much time I can spend scowling at my screen.

4.  Southern Comfort and seltzer on the rocks.

5.  Looking at houses: interiors, exteriors, landscaping, floor plans, furnishings, closets, basements, I love it all.

6.  Driving.

7.  Tea at night with a shot of Bailey’s in it.

8.  Baby anything.  Except spiders.  Those suckers are gross.

9.  Gilmore Girls.  Yes, I have the boxed set, so what?

10.  Ravelry.

 

Ten Things I Really Don’t Love:

1.  NJ Politics.  With every fiber of my being, I really don’t love this.

2.  Spiders.  Yeah.

3.  Getting my fingernails dirty.  

4.  Arrogance.

5.  Stupid drivers.

6.  Getting a Christmas card from someone I didn’t remember.

7.  Basketball.  Get off of all my channels.

8.  The color orange.  Yes, that’s what color a basketball is.  Hardly a coincidence.

9.  Disorganized clutter.

10.  Fritos scoops not being in my house.

 

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Indeed.

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Let Me Think About That

Introspection can be dangerous, exhilarating, miserable, responsible, boring, scary, or avoided at all costs.  I, sadly, have not been able to avoid it for the last two weeks (and there’s my explanation for no blogging, Younger Daughter, so stop nagging me) and it’s not exhilarating in the slightest.  It is a re-run episode of a sitcom that gets watched only when nothing else is on and you remember the episode vividly and also remember that you didn’t like it very much but what the hey, there’s nothing else on and the remote is all the way over there so you settle in for a mediocre half-hour of time.  No wonder I don’t like it.

But it’s been following me all over the place, like a piece of yarn from my latest project stuck to the inside of my shoe and not even that noticeable but still there, and when I finally notice it I realize what a dope I am for not noticing it earlier.  Had I noticed this bout of introspection following me around and nagging me for attention maybe I could have dealt with it earlier and saved my brain and my emotions that much time.

But no, here we are, and now we’re just muddling through.  I can’t blame it on the weather, because I’m really not sick of winter.  Think about it: I knit.  Why would I not love the season of knitted items galore?  I also hate sweating, remember?  Why would I want the season of humidity and lethargy to be here that much sooner?  Also, a sunny day when there are no leaves on the trees makes the world sparkle just a bit more and I like that. 

So no, I can’t blame the weather for my malaise.  I also can’t blame the calendar.  We’ve had all sorts of social events happening here and there, and events with friends, and things to plan and look forward to and that has generally kept me content.   It’s a bit disconcerting to have my hips and knees lodge a formal protest with their creakiness and generally unwillingness to come along quietly, instead deciding to scream and holler their incessant demands for not moving at all.  But still, we get stuff done.

It might be the phrase that pops up every now and again with people I run into:

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW?

 

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This is what’s driving me a bit crazy and starting those internal dialogues in my head.  I used to be a teacher.  I’m not teaching any longer.  So what am I going to do now?  Hubby offered to get me a job at his company, and I literally had the kind of reaction you do when you swallow Robitussin for the first time.  Other friends cheerfully piped up with “why don’t you teach private lessons?” which would bring me right back to where I was and the not-so-good feelings I had and by the way, people are cutting back on spending money for things like that.  Another friend offered me a part-time job in her office doing her filing, which was a sweet and generous offer but not something I want to do.  And every time I mentally reject something, I get the TTOG (two tons of guilt).

I’m guilty because Hubby is the sole money-maker for the family, even though he promises me we are going to be fine and we can handle it.  We’ve done it before when he’s been unemployed and I was staying home with my young children.  I’m guilty because it seems people are expecting me to come up with another game plan to make my days worth something.  I’m guilty because … because … oh, hell.

… because I am enjoying staying home and being off a crazy schedule and having time for anything and everything.

 

Isn’t that crazy?  I’m guilty because I’m happy where I am?

 

At this time I’d like to thank my mother, the Catholic Church and all her nuns and fathers, motherhood in general, and my close Jewish friends for this legacy of monumental guilt that has taken up permanent residence in every pore on my soul.  If I didn’t have you in my past, I wouldn’t be wallowing in this guilt today.  So, thanks for that.  Allow me to return the favor sometime.

 

And on that note, I’m going to make another cup of tea and knit something.  Because I can.

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What a glorious feeling

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Happy Boiled Dinner Day

It’s that time when we throw a hunk of meat in a pot of boiling water, add carrots and potatoes and a “spice packet” and later on some cabbage, and pronounce it delicious.  We had our dinner last night because Somebody made other plans for this evening and I’m actually okay with this because it means leftover boiled dinner sandwiches tonight.

It was a festive week here at Tea and Sarcasm with both daughters on Spring Break, and much hilarity ensued.  It culminated in everyone dressing up and attending a Charity Ball.  We sound like rich people for saying that and it makes us giggle when we do, but the real reason we attend is to hear the amazing band.  It’s based in New Jersey (which means nobody else has heard of it, but that’s okay with me) and they’re known as the Infernos.  A wild night was had by all, and we all had appropriately sore tootsies the next day from all that dancing.  

I myself am fighting a cold (spoiler alert: the cold’s winning) that I picked up from the two little munchkins next door that I babysat earlier in the week.  They are adorable so it’s easy to forgive them when they cough and sneeze in my face, or rub their runny noses on the front of my sweater.  You’d think after fourteen years of teaching I would be immune to almost anything by now, but I guess munchkin germs are super germs and they have staying power.  It’s been a week and the cold is just about to move into my chest.  Yay, sexy phlegm!

Between missing planes and civil unrest in the Ukraine, we’ve been having interesting political discussions, too.  Both my daughters are history majors and they know way more than I ever will, so it’s fun to listen and learn.  (Hear that, girls?  I admitted I learned from you.  Now stop pestering me.)  Plus we are watching “Cosmos” and Older Daughter is explaining the tougher points to me when I get that glazed over, help-me-its-science look.  That and the Cosmos twitter feed makes me feel less stupid.  I have other mad skills that are not in the science and history realm, so I look forward to showing off someday.

Apparently one of the lottery prizes is up to 400 million this week, and the inevitable conversation of “what would you do with…?” came up.  I was a dud at the game, because I answered truthfully and said I would save it because I pretty much have everything I’ve ever wanted, and the only thing it would bring me is relief that I’d be able to pay any medical bill that came my way as I got older.  I think I was being silently judged.  Judge away, folks, I’m a contented creature.

Hmmm.  Not too much sarcasm here.  Must be the cold.

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*cough* *cough*

 

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