Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Not shrimp

I was a bit puzzled yesterday when Dh called the dinner we were going to a shrimp fest. About twice a year one of the companies he delivers oil to have a huge crawdad feed. Why had they switched to shrimp? I was hoping he was right; I would much rather peel a shrimp. I never did figure out why he said that. We arrived and it was crawdads they were serving. Lane, Princess, and Curly top were the only children that had went with us. The girls had never even seen a crawdad before so I knew they were about to be grossed out. We were a little late so there was not much of a line. Piled at the start of the table were a bunch of cardboard trays. The were actually those shallow boxes that cans are shipped in. From the large pile I handed one to each of the children and kept one for myself. After I watched the large man who was serving the crawdads dump a large scoop into the person's tray in front of me I reached over and put Curly top's tray back up. Princess shook her head no at the man and passed him by. The next server put a boiled red potato into my box, Curly top didn't want one of those either. She did want an ear of corn so I asked for two of those. Princess was happily accepting everything she was offered now that she was past the crustaceans. A bowl of white rice was covered with spice beans and sausages and handed to me. Curly top said no to rice, but she would take some beans. We both passed on buttered white bread, but I made two for Princess. She would eat hers quickly since this is her favorite food. Most of the people were just taking them to butter their corn with. On our way to sit down I see another table serving hot dogs and hamburgers. Our hands were full so we passed by the ice chests full of pop and headed further into the crowded shop to find a seat. As I was walking I tipped my box to one side and juice from the crawdads spilled out of a hole in one corner and ran down my jeans and splashed on my shoe. Great, now I was going to stink.
After we were seated I took the kids back up and to grab a drink. Princess filled another plate with hot dogs and chips. Curly top took a pop and a bag of chips and this was all she would eat that night. The corn I had for her was sitting too close to the crawdads so she refused to eat it. The same with the bowl of beans. The only things she would eat were packaged and sealed when she received them. Kind of odd for a five year old, but she has always been a bit odd about her food. One day last year she wanted a second bowl of oatmeal. As I was carrying it back to her I lifted a spoonful to my lips to feel how hot it was. I didn't actually touch any of it, I was just feeling how much heat was coming off of it. She would not eat it. She said she couldn't eat it now because it smelled like me.
Now that the kids were all busy eating I settled down to the dirty job of peeling these things. There are not many things uglier than a crawdad. I am always happy to pull off the tail and toss the rest of the creature to the side. Unlike a serious eater I do not suck the brains out of the head. Honestly, I'm not putting the head anywhere near my face. I pull the meat out of the first tail and dip it into the sauce. Woah, something is extremely salty. I dipped my potato into the sauce and taste it. No it isn't the sauce somebody must have went a little crazy when salting the water. After a few more pieces of meat I become used to the salt. I like the flavor of the meat, but after a while I move on to my rice and beans. I eat mine and most of Curly top's bowl and I was stuffed. People are going back to have their boxes refilled. My problem is that I never like my food to be so much work. That is why I don't eat many crab legs or sunflower seeds either. I used about ten complimentary baby wipes to wash the itchy juice off of my hands. The itchiness is gone, but they probably still stink even though I washed them twice once I was home. I take the girls to see the pots the are cooking the crawdads in. They always remind me of large Bunsen burners. We then look into the buckets of water that are holding the live ones. There are always a group of boys hanging around these buckets picking them up and playing with them. I'm sure the crustaceans are thrilled, first they are a petting zoo, then the are boiled alive. I won't be surprised if I turned the girls into vegetarians yesterday.
While we were eating Curly top pulled my sleeve and said 'Hey look it's that girl I was playing with the other day, at the golf place.' I looked up and there they were. I'll have to explain this odd coincidence in my next post.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Before I get started I need send out a quick thought to one particular driver.

Hey, guy in the over-sized, blue pick-up. That's right you, the one with his name painted on the back window. I don't know what your hurry was last night, but did you really save more than a second or two by passing me right before you slowed down to turn? Or was your turning such an important event that it deserved two vehicles slowing down for it rather than just the one? I hope, for your sake, that you are more considerate to people than that when you are not driving, because if not you are a real asshole.

What does that say about me when merely having to slow down when I didn't need to caused so much ire?

Dh just called me and asked what I was doing. After my answer that I was cooking supper for tonight he very cautiously said that he had forgot to tell me that we had been invited to a shrimp fest tonight. You would think that after fourteen years he would know that I am basically a lazy person. Instead of getting angry, I was thrilled. Not only do we get to eat a meal tonight that I don't have to cook, but I now also have supper ready for tomorrow night. Luckily I was making stuffed shells, which in my opinion is better after it sits a day.
Usually I don't start cooking supper at 9:00 a.m. unless I am making something that needs to cook all day. Most days I start looking through the cabinets to figure out what I'm going to cook thirty minutes before I need to have it done. Since I'm already starving by this point I grab a handful of Manzanilla olives to eat while I look. Today I was making an exception because I am working all week. On Friday an office called to see if I would fill in Monday and Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday. I was already scheduled to work in an office here in town Thursday and Friday. Now I need to go call my sisters and collect on some free babysitting I've surely earned.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Which finger?

You Are a Pinky

You are fiercely independent, and possibly downright weird.
A great communicator, you can get along with almost anyone.
You are kind and sympathetic. You support all your friends - and love them for who they are.

You get along well with: The Ring Finger

Stay away from: The Thumb

I'm not sure how accurate this quiz was. For almost every question it was really hard to choose between two answers. O.k. the down right weird part may be accurate.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

If your not a criminal shouldn't you be free?

Magic Bellybutton: I want to be free

Please go read this story. That we are letting children be treated like this in our country is shameful. If you feel as strongly as I do, which is very strong, that these are the type of stories our media should be covering and leaving the celebrity gossip to the tabloids then link to her post or write about it in your blog. This story is about something we can and should change in our country.

While we are at let's all write to our national news providers and tell them how we feel about the quality of our news. I apologize to any international readers for aiming this story specifically at local readers, but really civil rights shouldn't have national boundaries, so express your outrage from wherever you are. Sheesh, I'm in Texas on a monthly basis and only heard about this because of a delightful blogger in Australia

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bithday party and prom

We survived the sleepover, and most of the chips have been vacuumed up. Most years we have warm, sunny weather for Lane's party. We go outside and play kickball or soccer. Not this year. Friday it started out misty and cold. By ten it was hailing. At eleven-thirty they canceled school because of snow. For the first two hours of the party he had invited his whole class. That meant I was going to need to entertain over twenty kids indoors. Since he loves Law and Order I had decorated his cake like a crime scene, complete with chalk outlines and a bloody knife. to entertain them I wrote up a mystery for them to solve and gave them all pencils and little notebooks to write the clues on. They got to keep these in the place of goody bags. Dh was very vocal about this not working and that they would hate it, but since he didn't have a better idea we went with it. I didn't hold back from rubbing it in when they seemed to be having fun with it.

The next night was prom. In a small school, our senior class has about 18 students, several underclassmen get invited as dates. They also invite the school board members, all of their current teachers, and all of their previous teachers to the banquet. Lee is a freshman this year and a senior girl asked him to go to prom with her. Every year the sophomore class serves the meal, their reward is getting to go to the dance. I guess I can count on having to rent a tux for the next three years too. One of the memorable moments of the night for me, as an adult the prom pretty much means a free meal and slipping on heels, was how damn handsome Lee looked in his tux. His kindergarten teacher is retired and lives out of town, so he hadn't seen her in while. When he walked up to say hello she stopped looked him over and said she almost wished he were her date. He talked to her a bit about his upcoming trip to Europe and she put into words the reason I have been working so hard to make this happen for him. She and her husband have done quite a bit of traveling themselves. She took him by the arm and said, "Wait until you get over there and see we don't have a corner on the world. You'll see the things they are doing with art, historical buildings, and recycling and be amazed." I really believe that if more of our young people traveled, less of them would grow up thinking that being an American means being right all of the time. I don't mean to slam my country here. I am very proud to be an American and proud of some of the great things we have accomplished. However, I have listened to our government tell us that to be true Americans we have to think as they do, when to me the best thing about being an American is being allowed to think for one's self.
I'm not sure how I got off on that tangent. Back on topic, another thing that I was reminded of on prom night is how mean high school girls can be. After prom I popped back up to drop of some plain clothes for Lee. He wanted them to wear to the after party. I asked one of the senior boys how prom had went and he said it sucked. Lee explained to me that this boy's date, a freshman girl, refused to dance with him most of the night. The poor boy had not realized beforehand that she only agreed to go with him because she wanted to go to prom, not because she wanted to go with him.

The thing about being a parent is that one day I can be gushing about how great my son is and the next day I want to kill him, literally. Sunday I told him to put his tux back on the hanger so I could return it. There is a late fee so I had to return it that day even though I really didn't feel like making a trip. Since I was going anyway I made a list of a few things I needed at the store. It was a beautiful day so I put the trip off for awhile and took a walk in the country with my mom, the girls, and Jason. We walked a couple of miles out. We took a stroller so Curly top wouldn't have to walk on the way home, so we could go that far. There were still patches of snow on the ground from Friday, so I got hit by several snowballs. Jason packed one so tight I was sure I was going to have a bruise.
As I was getting ready to leave I reminded Lee to put his tux on the hanger. He was leaving to go to my mom's house so he ran to his room before he left. I went back to get the tux and it was on the hanger all right. He had tossed the hanger on his bed then tossed the clothes on top of it. I went through my repertoire of curse words as I hung it up myself. When I got to the store I realized the pants were missing. The store closed in thirty minutes and there was no way to avoid the late fee. Worse than the fee was knowing I had to make the trip again in the morning. He was very lucky that I had time to cool down on the drive home. He was also lucky that Jason had went with me and suggested stopping for a milkshake. We had such a good time together that my mood had improved considerably by the time we made it home.
I had an appointment in Guymon the next morning to pick up the cheese Lee had sold as a fund raiser, so I buckled Huggy bear into her car seat and drove in a ninety-five mile circle that morning. We had to be home by eleven to pick Curly top up from preschool.
The crazy part of the trip was that I was dying to buy something. I never run out of town for just one little thing. If I am going I have a list of things to do since I try to only go every couple of weeks. As I left the clothing shop I kept trying to think of something I might need even though I kept telling myself I didn't need anything. I looked back at Huggy bear and wondered if she needed anything. She was content with her crackers and a bottle, so I thought about stopping for ice cream. I didn't really want ice cream, I just had a silly need to do something. Logic won out though and I just drove on home. I also overcame the urge to kill my firstborn.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Lane's birthday

Lane is eleven today. How odd it is to have my baby be so grown up. Next school year he will be in junior high. It doesn't seem like it has been eleven years since he was my nine pound baby. One day he is chubby mama's boy who loved to throw potatoes down the basement stairs for fun, then suddenly he is this little adolescent who is addicted to Law & Order.
This also means I am done with birthdays for the year, hallelujah. With Three in February then one in March and one in April, I am ready for a break. I think Lane's plans are for a sleep over this weekend. We have been raided by all of the boys in his class every year since second grade. I'm going to have to make a run for pop and chips.

Drama Queen is spending a week in jail right now. It is hard to think of her locked so I have been trying not to dwell on it. Last year during her rough patch she ended up with two drunk driving tickets. The irritating part is that she has had the last year to get her life back in order, and she has, but now they are sentencing her. Why wait until she had quit drinking and found a job to send her to jail? This really would have been more effective immediately. She has been planning for at least five days, since that was the minimum sentence, so I hope that the two extra days off won't hurt.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

hard decisions

Last night was the hardest night of my year. When I was approached about running for the school board one of my main objections was that I did not want to be responsible for firing teachers. Let me stop here before anybody gets the wrong impression about any school board grandeur. This is a small school with around 250 students. I ran unopposed with no campaigning. I simply registered at the court house to put my name on the ballot then showed up at the polls to vote for myself. The next thing I know I'm sitting at a table with my own little name plate.
Teacher evaluations were the main item on out agenda last night. It's not that there haven't been a few teachers over the years I would really have liked to get a chance to fire. I just don't take changing peoples lives lightly. Basically that is what the seven of us do. In a small community like ours we get to know these people and their families during their first year of teaching. We sit with them at ball games, we invite their children to birthday parties. Then we sit around a table and discuss if they will still have a job here next year, or if they will have to pack up and move away from us.
One of the new teachers last night, Tams, is a very good friend of mine. Both of her parents and even her grandparents grew up in the community. This was one evaluation I wasn't too worried about. When it was time to hire her last year I knew her well enough to know she would be excellent. I like to think that I would have had the courage to turn down her application if I didn't believe she would be a good fit for our school. We will never know though, will we?
Two new teachers last night were asked to resign. This was hard. One of them was an older teacher who was just finishing up his second year here. If we offered him a contract he would be tenured. I knew going into the meeting that I would not vote to offer him a new contract. This is an extremely nice guy, so I was feeling very mean about this. My mantra going into the meeting was 'your responsibility is to the students'. In the end I felt we made the right decision, even though it was hard.
The next one I still don't know about. Part of me thinks we were right to ask him to resign. Another part of me believes I was right to be the one dissenting vote. A first year teacher has a lot of room for improvement. We had one more year before we tenured him, so I was willing to try to work with him on some of his weaker points. I also wondered, in the back of my mind, if part of the problem was that he didn't play the good ol' boy game well enough. One of the opinions we were given last night came from a man who came in the same time as this guy and was in direct competition with him for a few coaching spots. My opinion of this other guy is that he plays the game very well and has formed a kind of a men's club with the administrators. I'm still not sure what I think about this one.
The hardest part was that all of the interesting parts of the meeting took place in executive session. Legally I am bound not to discuss them. Parts of this post are crossing the line a little. Not saying anything to dh, my kids, or Tams when she called last night was very hard, because I really needed to talk out that last one to get a better handle on my feelings about it.

Monday, April 09, 2007


This morning I woke up, looked around the house and was glad to note that other than the dishes Easter was said and done. We had a great holiday. The only problem was that my brother and Miss Universe both had to work. The gray skies and snow falling didn't make it seem any less like Easter. Last year was a bright, sunny day and I just couldn't get into the Easter spirit, so attitude holds more sway with my holiday emotions than weather. It would have been nice if the snow would have accumulated so we could take pictures of colored eggs hiding in the snow. Since the snow wasn't picturesque we decided not to brave the cold we hid the eggs indoors instead. One of the perks of living in a small town is that with a simple application you can have a key to the school gym. We went down there to hunt eggs, and then stuck around to play soccer. When you are the uncoordinated bookworm in an athletic family you end up being the court jester. I completely missed the ball on a drop kick and was just grateful I managed to stay standing. We will be entertained with impressions of my kicking skills for at least a month.
Back to this morning. I put on the kettle on the stove and came over to the computer so I could finally get around to posting while the kids were asleep. Before I could click on the firefox icon the minesweeper on caught my eye. Minesweeper is my current game addiction. For years I wouldn't even attempt to play. It had a stigma of a game only people who were good at math could play. Math has never been my best subject;I muddled through it in school, but never excelled. About a week ago I read the rules and started playing it and was instantly obsessed. I have not won on the expert level yet. So instead of posting I found myself trying again. The tea kettle started to whistle. Do I let the whistle wake everyone up so I don't run the timer up? Quickly I decided that my objective is just to win not to get a good time so I ran and made myself a cup of tea. I sit back down and went to mark a bomb. The wrong finger clicks and the game is over. I start again. This time I am doing really well. My eye slips down to look at the clock, my tea should be done steeping. I remind myself I don't care about time. I go get my tea. Half way back to the computer the cup somehow manages to slip out of my hand and tea goes everywhere. Good thing I'm not worrying about time. After I get that cleaned up I go back to my game. Now the children are one by one waking up. Lee comes and sits by me while I play. I am at a hard spot with no clues that I notice. Two squares are next to each other one of them have to be bomb, the other can't be. Lee assures me that one square is not a bomb. I decide there is a seventy-five percent chance he is right. I resist marking it though. I recheck all my moves, nothing. It is hard to resist somebody three inches from my ear. I mark the bomb and click the square next to it, bomb, game is over.