Monday, May 29, 2006

To a Memorable Memorial Day

So I did attend the parade, the quintessential suburban turn-out of grandparents and kids in strollers. We entertained ourselves with many snarky comments comparing the bands to the glory days of the marching Imperial Scots. I asserted that the wavering lines of out-of-step adolescent musicians result from the breakdown of discipline in the schools. Observing the disorganized, milling pods of Cub Scouts, Fifth pointed out that it all begins there. Of course, that almost tipped me into a rant on the quasi-military construct of scouting in general, which even I realized was inappropriate on Memorial Day. What Fifth meant, I presume, was that scouting seems to have deteriorated in the last generation. But hasn't parenting overall? Scouting used to be about values, and in the best case scenario reinforcing the same values kids were learning at home. But I don't think I see actual values in kids anymore. I'm sure everyone else is a better authority on this: between actually having kids and working with kids. My general observations, however, are that I see appropriate behaviors for specific situations. Values, the tools that you rely on to deal with unexpected situations, I think are lacking. The result, when faced with the unanticipated, is follow-the-pack. Two years ago when I was doing some research on humane values in children, I found that thre were no studies tying thoughts to actions. So if a kid responded in a survey that they felt sorry when another child was hurt, there was no corresponding data about what they actually did (laugh?)when they saw someone get hurt. Well, this isn't what you expected to read for Memorial Day so throw another burger on the grill and crank up the John Phillip Sousa.

Friday, May 26, 2006


I understand Eighth Son's band will be marching in the M-Day parade this weekend. I haven't actually been invited, so I don't know what day it is. Or where. But I'm holding on to hope that I'll be tapped to become part of the cheering throng. And speaking of holidays and music, I will not be going to RibFest this year. Again. No good music there. Yeah, sure, they'll have REO Speedwagon. The Doobie Brothers. Charlie Daniels Band. But They Won't Have Ever Since August. So who needs 'em? I can sit home, eat ribs and listen to my ESA CD.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Forget March. May is the Cruelest Month

So where have I been?
It has not been a good month. I hesitate to even say anything because the month isn't over yet. The path away from the big traumas has been littered with mini-traumas. Even with all that, my stress level was only 44%. Check this out. How are you doin'?
But now, it's a long weekend coming so I guess I'll swing by Trader Joe's, stock up and catch up.


For anyone who has fallen farther behind than me, I would like to point out the Minnesota/Illinois connection was kept strong when Fourth Son #2 threw out the first pitch at a Twins v. White Sox game earlier this month. Unfortunately, it was not televised. Fortunately, Fourth took pics.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Why I Like Cooking Shows

Long before there was a Food Network, before I ever subscribed to cable service, I loved to watch cooking shows. On Saturdays I could usually count on PBS to string together a few consecutive hours of cooking shows. Jacques Pepin and his daughter Claudine, the grande dame of the kitchen, Julia Child, Jeff Smith and Rick Bayless, cooking secrets of the Culinary Institute of America. I even loved when PBS invited viewers to come in and demonstrate their favorite recipes during pledge week. So what’s the big attraction? It’s so very personal. There they are with their faux home setting; how many years did I think that was the cook’s actual kitchen? Looking directly into the camera, right at me, sharing family stories while showing me how easy it is. Rick Bayless is so earnest as he explains and demonstrates, working in a bit of culture along the way. And I believe! Of course I don’t get to taste it or even smell it. It is television, after all, and I don’t really know if the outcome is successful. But when Paula Deen pops a crab ball into her mouth and rolls her eyes I just know that’s got to be the best thing since fried chicken. What can be more caring than feeding someone? For those 30 minutes I am convinced I could cook just like Rick and Paula, Tyler and Bobby. I scurry around for paper and pencil to take it all down. Inevitably, by the time I get my shopping list to the store aisle, the ambition has fizzed away. After all that cooking with Giada, I’m just too exhausted to trail around the store sniffing cilantro and ponder the oregano’s country of origin. I load another bag of cheetos into my cart and wonder how they would taste with peach salsa.