Saturday, January 31, 2009

Weekend 3-way: Superbowl

It’s hard not to notice that it’s Superbowl weekend, I mean who among us doesn't know that the Arizona Cardinals are playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in Tampa on Sunday? Most of us probably also know that Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is the halftime act, and that there are going to be plenty of $3-million-dollar, 30-second commercials to watch? (Recession be damned!)

So my burning question is what are your Superbowl plans? Are you hosting a party? Attending a party? Watching at home? Not even going to watch?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what I’m doing for the Superbowl, or if I’m even going to watch the game this year. That would be a first for me, I think. I’m toying with the idea of going shopping during the big game, but maybe I’ll change my mind and camp out in front of the TV with my Super special slip-on koozie and cooler.


We're going to finish up this year's football season the same way we experienced most of it, with our great friends who live just a few doors down, who have a nice tv, a big yard and a smoooshy little baby girl for me to steal. We really should be having them over here, it's a totally one-sided relationship because we always go to their house, but I'm ascared of my giant puppy's baby eating potential, and we're down to one bathroom, and our yard is a teeny little crap-covered patch (literally). In exchange for being such lame non-inviters, we bring the food. Ohhh, we'll bring the food alright! I'm thinking:

1. The requisite lil' smokies - I have a great recipe that I make every superbowl. Dijon and brown sugar are involved.

2. Chips/Guac/Salsa - our hosts have a football helmet shaped chip & dip server that must be employed in homage to our poor old Chargers.

3. Raw veggies, and lots of 'em

4. Vacillating between pulled pork or sloppy joes in the crock pot. I looooove me some pulled pork, but I feel I might have done it to death and should branch out a little. I think a good turkey/beef sloppy joe with tiny diced veggies and worcestershire and warm, crusty rolls sounds yummy.

5. I'm not a baker. I shall buy my dessert. Probably those great big dreamy cookies from Costco. But one time our hostess made this most rockin dessert:

Take a mini pretzel twist, smoosh a rolo candy on top, put a nut on top of that (was it a pecan? I'll ask her and update). Pop in the oven to melt. Eat. Enjoy orgasm.

It should be a fun day, it's going to be beautiful and summery and I think margaritas are in order. The only bad part is that we have to watch football in between all of the commercials.

Go........... ah, who cares. Who's playing?

This is the first time in years and years we'll actually watch the Superbowl, instead of being in a campground somewhere, and we'll do so at The Tavern, of course. Actually, last year, in Fort Davis, we went to the only bar in town at halftime to watch Tom Petty, and settled in for the second half, but it was a slow night and they decided to close early. On Superbowl Sunday. So we went home and followed the Giants' remarkable victory online.

Our favorite Superbowls, though, have been in the Florida Keys the last few years. All the musicians who typically play in the Key West bars have the day off, and they all get together on Big Pine Key (30 miles up the road, where we stay, at Bahia Honda State Park) to play together. Organized by the lovely and delightful Terry Cassidy, the Pickin' Party has become a huge event over the years, with deep fried turkeys, tons of donated food, a silent auction, and raffles, and all the proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity.

It really is quite a fun event.

And if you don't play an instrument, you can watch the festivities from a tree.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Is It Summer Yet?

I'm being really brave. I am. I'm trying to live in the moment and not wish my days away, and realize that this, actually, is life. But it's starting to get hard.

Winter is starting to get really hard.

It's my first cold-weather winter in 8 years, and it's still only January. Does time always go this slowly? Didn't the summer fly by?

I've been going through photos, trying to organize them, save them onto CDs, print some, get those into albums, label them. And no, that project's not going well at all.

I came across the photos from my birthday, in early September, when some of my peeps met us at Ocean Beach for Friday afternoon happy hour. Ocean Beach is, of course, great to visit year-round . . .

But it's especially great to visit when one can drink champagne with one's girl after taking a late-afternoon dip. This was just a few months ago, a nano-second blink-of-an-eye in the Big Picture.
I mean, Ledge Light looks the same . . .

. . . but we don't. Because we're warm and our skin is exposed to the air. My skin hasn't felt the air in months and months now . . . Nor has it felt the breeze from the flapping wings of a gigantic seagull.

Actually, he was kind of a handsome fella.

Mistah Schleckah and My Girl Nancy joined in the bday celebrations . . .

. . . as did Nancy's Jonny and The Dowd.

And Ledge Light, naturally. Ledge Light is always there, strong and true.
It's been a sunny winter around here, which helps a lot. And it's staying lighter every day. And our house is sunny and bright, which is an unexpected, but crucial, perk. But it snows an awful lot. And it's just . . . winter. Day after day after day.

Which is entirely different from summer . . .

. . . when I can hang out with my bday girls Nancy and Sweet Jennie and MB, my tiniest biggest sister . . .

. . . and we're all Sunny. And Warm.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Les Girls

(this is not a post about the L-Word, although I dig that show in a completely heterosexual way)

We’ve been driving past the sign for years, but only recently has it become a topic of conversation.

My girl spoke of it first, saying to her brother: “I hate that sign.”

“That sign rocks!” said he, brimming with brotherly support.

Did I have to ask? Did my asking bring more attention to the sign, which would have otherwise disappeared back into the scenery?

But I did ask.

“It says less girls!” she exclaimed

Knowing that this was a pivotal moment in my parenting story, I quickly considered the options for my response.

I decided to go with: “ .....................crickets ...................."

Ever since that first conversation, the sign is often discussed. The analysis is becoming more sophisticated. My boy recently concurred that it is indeed a stupid sign, because they spelled “Les” wrong

I have found that the best, most mature earth-mother of the world way to handle this recurring glitch is to try for distraction when we approach the sign.

“look at all those birds on the telephone wire! How many do you think are up there?!”

“hey check it out - that bum has the same sneakers as daddy!”

“do you think they really put chicken beaks in the nuggets?”

But sometimes my mind is elsewhere, and conversation turns back to the stupid sign.

They took a closer look, and my boy asked what the word “nude” means.



“Birds? Bums? McD’s?"

“But it says “body shop”, what the heck?”

“want a pony?”

“I bet they get naked and like, dance around”

“Who would dance around NAKED?”

I’m going to have to find an alternative route to karate. I’m not ready for this.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


It has come to my attention, yet again, just how touchy people are when it comes to dogs. I know, I know, many M&Y&E readers and bloggers and guest bloggers, and the public in general, are dog people. I know this. And this post is not meant to offend any of you die-hard dog lovers. And in the interest of full disclosure I need to point out that while I sit here writing these words I have a gorgeous, 1-year-old, golden retriever lying next to me on the bed, his head on my knee. And that I grew up having a dog as a family pet, and that when I started my own family there was also a faithful family dog.
But my point, my point remains the same -- people get incredibly edgy if you happen to let on that you yourself are not a "dog person." You can sometimes actually hear the intake of breath around you. "You don't like dogs?" people ask, barely disguising their disdain. It's as though their entire image of you is changed, that you are not the person they once thought you were. Can you even really be trusted? they seem to ponder.
It's not that I dislike dogs, I don't. I like dogs, but not enough to actually go out and get one. They are something that other people around me have brought into my life. (Much like TVs, I just realized; I've never gone out and secured one of these either, but I always seem to have one in my home.)
I'm not sure how it came up last weekend, but it did. I was at a small, neighborhood happy hour and it somehow slipped out: I'm not really a dog person. I spent the next 10 minutes or so defending my position, as if anyone should need to defend whether or not they like something. It's an opinion people. My opinion. I'm not trying to convert you.
But I do have my reasons.
Where to start....dogs are needy. I don't need needy. I have two children. Dogs need attention: dogs need to be walked, dogs need a ball thrown to them, dogs need to be pet, dogs cannot be left alone for the weekend. They are too dependent for my liking.
They also tend to be loud and somewhat hyper. Two more things my life is not lacking in. Oh how I love peace and quite, it's something I don't get nearly enough of, a dog just makes attaining this hard-to-reach state harder.
Dogs are messy. I'm not going to fault them for shedding; they have no opposable thumbs, so they can't be expected to brush themselves, but what's with the dripping water after they take a drink? C'mon, is there a hole in your lip? Or what about dogs who out-and-out slobber? Can't they do anything about that? Or how smelly they get. The last thing I want to do with my weekend is wash a dog, because we all know the only thing that smells worse than your dog, is your wet dog.
And although they are considered a social animal, they have such poor manners. I mean you can hardly tear a dog away from any other dog's ass, or any other dog's poop on the sidewalk, and you sure as shit cannot tear a dog away from cat poop. That turd is in the dog's mouth, plain or covered with kitty litter, before you can even react. (Face it, T, it's true!). And in the same vein, they're so immodest, they'll take a dump just about anywhere.
I will admit that dogs do have their good points: they are typically very affectionate, very faithful, they provide laughs on occasion, and they love you unconditionally. But still, do I really need one?

Who knows, maybe in my next life I'll be a dog person. Maybe I'll even carry a tiny, sweater-clad one around with my in my purse.

Nah, not likely.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Table Setting

Not to be outdone by Jacquie’s Wild Hair Bathroom Gutting, we’ve got a home improvement project of our own going on around here . . .

The Table.

Mom and Dad came over on Sunday morning, on their way back from Rhode Island. I know! It’s so great to get to see them so often lately. We’ve got to think of many, many more project for Dad to do for us.
They arrived with the beautifully stained and finished Dad-built leaves for our table.
We got them positioned . . .
. . . they only fit one certain way . . .
. . . then we locked them to eachother.
And then, we screwed the legs in. Oh dear. A problem. The screws on the legs are ¾"; the holes are 5/16".
Dad has to take them home and replace the bolts. The table looks awesome, though, doesn't it?
A Sunday morning bloody mary with Mom is a good, good thing. We like to pretend our Caribbean triptych is really 3 windows looking out onto St. John.
Mistah Schleckah was there for the fun . . .
. . . although his beverage choice was the juice-only variety.
It was just a lovely visit . . .
. . . I made chicken quesadillas . . .
. . . and we got Dad immediately started on another project -- gluing the dowels of our wine rack, which had been separating. Nice workbench, Dad. And look, on that table in the background . . .
Mom and Dad, June 20, 1959. And nearly 50 years later, delivering handbuilt leaves to their (ahem, favorite) daughter and son-in-law in New London, Connecticut.
Just perfect.
Oh, and the obvious question? Dad's a perfectionist; how could he possibly have gotten the size of the bolts wrong?
The answer is obvious. I measured them.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I am a wild hare with a wild hair. But my hair looks great. (updated 6pm PST)

"There are two expressions, wild hare and wild hair. The first refers to or compares someone or something to the natural skittishness of breeding hares in spring, especially in March (ergo Lewis Carroll's inclusion of that creature in the Mad Hatter's tea party). To have a wild hair (up one's butt) is a vulgar expression indicating an obsession or fixation of some sort. "Wild" in the first instance denotes erratic behavior like that of hares in rut. In the second instance "wild" characterizes a stray or unruly strand whose indelicate lodgment is the figurative cause of someone's perceived mania." John Dyson

All I know is that on Friday, someone said I had a wild hair/hare. I was fastidiously thrashing about my office, filling two blue bins with old paperwork. I became so irritated with myself for having saved all of this – my tb test results (which I update annually) from 1995; years of newsletter originals, although copies are archived in the office and saved on the network; checklists and spreadsheets for processes that have long been completed – that I almost forgot the motivation behind this torrential decluttering. I had determined that I could not work another day in this space with the window behind me. I was going to turn my ginormous desk. And I have this little problem with piles of paper that surround me, a veritable dam against the currents of change. Or desk rotation. I made great progress on Friday, but the job is not yet completed. Like a skittish wild hare, I will be forced to endure the torment of the sunshine and blue sky behind me (blah, blah, blah, sorry it’s cold where you live) for another day.

I do often get that feeling of needing to get something done now. Ellie ribs me about my inability to resist opening a package the second I receive it, even if the occasion is days or weeks away. Once I have a thought that leads to a plan of action, I find it very hard to do anything else before a do that. Wild hare? Or wild hair?

Wild hair sounds gross, especially when you finish the sentence that goes with the expression. But it is descriptive… it’s something nagging and nagging at you that you really can’t ignore.

But sometimes you do… my bathroom has been a wild hair for years now, every time I go in there I am irritated. It is the only part of our house that has remained untouched in the eight years since we bought the place. Everything else just had a higher priority, this is the master bath off our bedroom, no one uses it but us. I’m going to show you something now, and ask you not to judge me too harshly. It’s gross. It’s really bad. This is my bathroom:

And this is Ivan (cue angel chorus),

who is at this very moment tearing that wild hair right from the ass of my house. The whole family is sharing a bathroom this week, and I have spent more time and money at Home Depot in the last 72 hours than I care to admit. But when I get home today, it will be gutted, and by next week it will be beautiful.

I have to say, I never knew I could feel this way about a vanity.

Please send good karma to avoid drywall, plumbing, and electrical issues. Every minute that my phone does not ring is a victory. Talk about a wild hair….


Here is the bathroom at 5:00 pm

And here are the writing utensils I found in and on and around my desk today:

Happy Monday

...a real post is coming later today...

but I can't promise that it will be as entertaining as these penguins.


Animations provided by MUDTRAP.COM

Saturday, January 24, 2009

weekend 3-way: high point, low point (yes, again)(updated)

I ain't got nuthin' else (channelling Zach Mayo)

So, high point, low point! Last 24 hours.


high point: Dropping the kids off at movie night, they're happy and we're happy, a nice big window of mommydaddy morphing into jacquie and bill time. we decided to see a movie, negotiated throughout the day and after comparing listings and run time with our window of opportunity, we narrowed it down to the wrestler, doubt, the reader, or gran torino. I nixed mickey roarke and his creepy yellow hair, bill vetoed the holocaust and catholic scandal, so we headed out to gran torino!

low point: Sold Out.

Oh, Jacquie, really? That's my new low point.

high point: I went to another Friday afternoon high school swim meet with my girl Nancy and watched her boy, my susperstud godson, tear up the pool. Along with his studly teammates. These kids are good. Elliott was pure poetry in motion as he won the 100 back.

low point: The diving was excruciating. The swimmers (well, some of them) are better than we were in high school; the divers are worse. Backwards progress. It took forever, and, well, they stunk.

Next Friday: East Lyme High. Bring it on, Vikings.

high point: Having a strawberry-banana smoothie and toasted sesame bagel delivered to me while still in bed. At 8:55 AM.

low point: Being woken up on this rainy Saturday morning for the first time at 6:12 AM.

Readers, Lurkers, Friends.... tell us your highest and lowest points from the last 24 hours...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mommy magnetism

My brother and his wife are expecting their first baby this week. He was actually due on Wednesday, so they’re past expecting and now just hanging on, waiting for labor to kick in. They are, of course, excited, and anxious, and joyous, and freaking out. In fact, here’s the lead-off line of an email I got from my brother last week:

“Holy freaking out! I feel like the death row prisoner after he already had his last meal. Well, probably not quite that scared. “

It’s all a mystery. It’s all brand new. It’s all about to begin.

I remember it, sort of. Well in all honesty, maybe not so much, because once the baby actually arrives, once you go from expecting mother to actual mother, your life is never the same. And after a few short weeks (days? hours?), it’s hard to really recall what it felt like before the baby burst into the light of day.

Because it becomes apparent pretty quickly that your baby is drawn to you like a, like a, well, for lack of a better image, like a magnet. It’s your smell, the way you walk, the sound of your voice. I mean, he's spent his life up until this point inside of you. How’s that for close?

Here’s the thing, this magnetism doesn’t go away. Sure, they wean, they get bigger, they mature, but they are still freakishly attracted to you. I know this will probably change when puberty hits, or perhaps earlier, but my oldest is seven and there are no signs that she is giving up her mommy jones.

“Can you get me dressed?” she asks almost every morning. Wtf? She’s seven!!!

Of course it’s not that she can’t get herself dressed, it’s just she gets all that extra mommy attention if I do help her get dressed.

In my experience there are certain circumstances when mommy magnetism is at its strongest. Wiki states that “The overall strength of a magnet is measured by its 'magnetic moment.'"
Cooking dinner most definitely qualifies as a magnetic moment. You are irresistible when you have something in the microwave, two burners going on the stove, and are cutting up a kiwi. Your children can’t stay away. There they are, bumping into your thighs, jumping rope behind you, wanting to know just how hot the pan with boiling water actually is.

An even more magnetic moment is when you step into the shower. My children’s need for me is overwhelming when I’m in the shower, not the moment before, or after I step out to towel off, but when I’m fully immersed, enjoying the hot water running down my back. Of course, their need for me when I’m in the shower is sometimes so intense that one or both of them strip down and jump in with me. In which case I’m forced to begrudgingly lovingly share the precious hot water with them.

In my household, the very most magnetic moment of all is when I'm on the phone. It does not matter if my children are upstairs in my bedroom in the far upper north corner of the house, and I’m down in the kitchen, in the far lower south side of the house. The attraction is irresistible. They are next to me within mere seconds, and what they have to say to me is SO important that it cannot wait. “Mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, MOMMY!!” they utter with ever increasing volume and energy. It’s exasperating, and I rarely keep my composure.

I love my girls, and I love being a mom -- don’t get me wrong -- but no one really tells you before they’re born just how captivating you’ll be to them, just how mesmerizing your kids will find you. Just how much they long to crawl in bed with you every night.

So dear sister-in-law, godspeed and good luck, and please remember that it’s okay to hide in the closet to talk on the phone, to make a strict no-kids-in-the-kitchen-while-I’m-making-dinner rule, and to wait until he’s fast asleep to take that really, really, long, hot shower that you will so deserve each and every day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Eight Years Later . . .

Eight years ago – January 2001 – Mistah Schleckah and I started our Grand Adventure. We quit our jobs, rented out our house, bought a 1987 VW “Westy” camper, and hit the road. We left Connecticut on January 11 and arrived in the Florida Keys 5 days later.
And a few days after that, on January 20, 2001, George W. Bush was inaugurated as the 43rd U.S. President.

We were not happy about that development.

That’s the Miami Herald, January 21, 2001, with the headline: “Bush Sworn In”.

We weren’t the only ones feeling despair that day. Ol’ Long Neck, who tormented us constantly for food scraps, he was feeling despondent too.

It was the very, very beginning, the first few days, of what we thought might be a year or so on the road, and turned into, well, into eight. Two terms. Bush’s entire presidency.

Interesting, isn’t it?

But after the inauguration, we tried not to let the fact that a guy we both thought was completely incapable of being President – never mind the means by which he got to office – get us down too much.

We were, after all, in the Keys. At Bahia Honda State Park, our own little slice of heaven.

We had a killer campsite,

we became acquainted with the local Key Deer (which, by the way, it is a federal offense to feed),

and with the iconic Bahia Honda Bridge – this time from the water, in a friend’s fishing boat.

Oh, we went fishing . . .

. . . and caught our first fishies ever.

But it was a nagging, disturbing feeling, those first few weeks, and, increasingly, obviously, in the years since then, that something was wrong. That something was awry. That things were out of whack and out of sorts and fully out of kilter.

We’ve driven 7 or 8 loops around the country and 125,000 miles during Bush’s two terms in office. While the rest of the country was suffering through bad decisions, and declarations of war, and either hubris or stupidity – depending on your point of view – we were traveling through deserts and seashores and mountains, living a pretty great existence, slightly apart from everyone else.

And reading newspapers religiously, of course. And listening to NPR nonstop, and ranting with our friends from Fort Davis, Texas to Moraga, California; from Chicago, Illinois to Asheville, North Carolina.

And now it’s over. Bush’s administration and, weirdly, our travels. At least for now.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Eight years ago, I was in a campground and had no TV – although I wouldn’t have watched a moment of the proceedings, if I had. And now, 8 years later . . . I still don’t have a TV. I do, however, work in a Tavern. And I watched TV on Tuesday, January 20, 2009, from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. And was riveted. Full of hope and emotion and excitement.

And yes, of course I ignored my customers.
Okay, okay, I realize this is the newspaper from the day after Obama got elected, not the day after he became President. This one we have in the house tonight, though; Wednesday's, which I read cover-to-cover at the Tavern, we don't.
Now, finally, a bookend later, things feel right. Things feel good and true and positive. And hopeful.
Jacquie and Beth have articulated it eloquently the last few days. And I'm right there with them. Hope. Readiness. The Big O.
¡Viva Obama!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Barack and Roll

Dear President Obama,

So, how was your first day?

New jobs are rough, aren’t they? Between the gala balls and the swearing in, you’ve got to figure out when to take your lunch break, where the bathrooms are, and which of your officemates are feuding or sleeping together.

Hey, before you get too busy finding world peace and patching up the ozone layer, I just want to say congrats, and thanks.

We both know that your job will be really, really hard. Some people see you as a knight on a white horse who is going to swoop in and fix everything, thus restoring the glory of our limp nation. Others are standing by, waiting to witness your failure. Either way, whatever you do and whenever you do it, the judging eyes of the world are focused squarely on you. I am so proud of you for accepting this challenge. I appreciate your humanity, your humility, your courage, and your candor.

I for one will not sit idly, glued to facebook, expecting you to tidy up this mess on your own. I’ve got your back. You knew coming in that the best way to inspire change in this nation was to inspire agents of change, and I’m proud to join those ranks. I am privileged to have the opportunity to do so, and to spread your passionate optimism with the people in my life.

I told my kids what you said, that they don’t have to be President to serve their country. But I also cautioned them about selling themselves short, either of them CAN be president, and that is pretty much the only way they are guaranteed the chance to go bowling in the white house. My boy is intrigued, but my girl wants none of it. She does not want your job, she said there are too many choices to make and she knows that she takes too long when she has to choose. She would prefer to stay a kid. She said that grown ups always have to fill out papers. How boring.

One of the really cool things about being on this journey with you for the last year has been to watch it through the eyes of my children. My two are the same age as your girls – and mine are both readily available for playdates and/or arranged marriages. They are at the age when their social consciousness is ripening and they are really paying attention. They question everything, and from campaign to inauguration they have cued in on the big issues. They don’t miss a trick, and even though they have mixed you up with both Tiger Woods and, they cheered themselves hoarse when you won, and they are positively bursting with anticipation of the ways that you will help them change their world for the better.

I had the distinct pleasure of watching your inaugural address with my girl’s 2nd grade class, on a tv with rabbit ears and rolling static. That didn’t detract from your impact, on me or on those kids. They were all fired up for the chance to watch it live. Maybe more so because your speech took the place of morning math, but still. They are keen to the fact that this is history, this is a day they will remember.

You spoke to me yesterday about the impact that our actions will have on the inevitability of our children’s fate. You talked about the "sapping of confidence across our land -- a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights." Cheese and Rice, man. Them’s fightin’ words. Thank you for taking up this fight for them. For all of us.

One word of advice, Barack, if I may be so bold. My kids and many others will take you a lot more seriously if you stop saying “duty” so much.
So good luck, buddy. Let me know if you need anything. Thanks for making it happen.



“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


No, it's not my age, not yet - don't rush me. But it is President Obama's number. 44. The 44th President of the United States. Pretty amazing. Incredibly historic.

I rushed in from my car at 8:41 AM this morning to tune into the inauguration via streaming video in my office. I was logged in and watching by the time Aretha Franklin took the stage. And the video feed only went out on me once during Obama's inaugural address -- during which time I was stressing out and cussing like a truck driver -- because I very much wanted to hear what he had to say. All of it.

From the opening, "My fellow citizens..." to the closing ..."And God bless the United States." I wanted to hear it all.

I have to admit though, that what struck me most about the whole she-bang was Obama's inability to repeat the oath itself. And his composure at his inability to repeat the oath. He just looked straight ahead with a half smile on his face and waited for the lines to be repeated to him. Of course they would be. But for those few moments it seemed, to me, that we were able to glimpse his own realization of the enormity of the moment, of his accomplishment, of the seemingly overwhelming tasks that lie ahead of him.

I very much enjoyed his address as well. He was back to the amazingly composed person that we've become accustomed to seeing. It was not as soaring and lofty as some of his prior speeches, it was almost sobering, really, but it worked. It worked for me anyway. I want a President who is humbled, grateful, mindful. I want a leader who will strive to lead with "hope and virtue." And I want a leader who is committed to keeping our nation safe, but is not willing to compromise our ideals while doing so (the video I was watching panned immediately, and perfectly, to the departing President). I also like a leader who thinks to include "nonbelievers" in his list of religions practiced by US citizens.

I look forward to his upcoming speeches, to the new energy he and his administration will bring to DC, to watching him try to turn things around.

As I a bell ringer said to an NPR reporter yesterday in Washington, "50% of marriages end in divorce, and 50% of presidencies bring disillusionment, but the beginnings, the weddings and the inaugurations, these are something to be celebrated." (Or something like that.)

So here's to the next 4 years...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Table Talk

Way back in July, Mistah and I got a banged-up but really cool round table at a yard sale . . . for $5. I blogged about it (naturally) here.

It’s a handsome table,
which expands to 7 feet,

although its incredible expandability didn’t do us much good, since we didn’t have anything to put into all that expanded space.

And dinner parties tended to be a little crowded.

We needed leaves.

Enter Handy Dad.

We asked Dad if we could commission him to make us a couple of custom-fit leaves for our cool old table. And Dad said yes. Because he rocks.

He and I went back and forth for a couple of weeks, me measuring the width of the apron and the thickness of the table top and taking photos of the profile, and emailing them to Dad. Then he and Mom had the audacity to go to San Diego for a week, completely ignoring us and our top-priority project.

When they finally returned, though, they drove right up last Wednesday, for a fitting.

My Dad’s a perfectionist – a really good quality in a surgeon – and the two leaves are absolutely, well, perfect.

The table, however, is not.

When it opens, the table changes from a perfect circle to an imperfect oval.

Thankfully, Dad brought 2 routers and a saber saw so we headed out onto the deck in the 6ยบ night, to make some adjustments.

We routered and we sawed, until the perfect leaves matched the imperfect table.

And after we finished with the power tools we hammed it up for the camera.

Next we turned the whole shebang upside down, so we Dad could add the hardware to connect the leaves to eachother and to the existing table. Mom and I did a lot of supervising.

Dad just goes and goes and goes until the project is done. Aren't those leaves gorgeous?

There were, of course, refreshments. And the crock pot was simmering with yum chicken-curry-ginger-tomato delight.

Bill and Mom and Dad chose a stain that best matched the existing color, so Dad could take those now-perfectly-imperfect leaves home, and finish them. He's also going to make legs, to support the far-apart table ends when the table is open to its full, proud, impressive 7 feet.

The legs will screw into existing hardware on the table's underbelly.

The hands of my parents, and my dad's handiwork. A mid-week visit in the middle of January -- what a delightful treat.

Thanks, Dad! Awesome job. Now get to work on those table legs, wouldja?