Fverishly hot date

Last week, Bill and I had a babysitter lined up. At the last minute, I had to cancel. Petey was throwing up.

{This reminds me of a similar situation years ago. Bill and I were going to a formal event that was hours away from our house. One of the boys got sick that day – high fever. Bill went alone. At the event, someone inquired about me, and Bill explained the situation. The person seemed confused as to why a sick child would prevent my coming. I’m still confused about their confusion.}

Today, Bill and I have a babysitter lined up. Dinner. Grocery shopping (hey, we’re an old married couple, grocery shopping is romantic…and necessary).

Last night, I told Bill that nobody was allowed to get sick. If they got sick, I would simply have to kill them. Dead bodies require less maintenance than live, sick bodies.

This morning, Bill wasn’t looking very good. He expressed fear for his life – he’s feeling a bit sick.

I don’t care if he has to excuse himself to go to the bathroom to vomit. We’re going out.

Fortunately, he’s not throwing up. Yet.

If he’s too sick to eat, we’ll save money, right?

Bloomin’ Flowers and Trees

There are about a dozen clusters of daffodils scattered on my property. They are lovely.

I am certain that the tulips I planted at my last home are preparing to bloom soon. I do hope that the family who lives there now is enjoying them as much as I did.

There is something about spring. Even a coldish day seems a bit warmer if there are sunny, smiling, yellow flowers waving at you.

The one small clump of crocuses are already gone. I am making a mental note to plant more of those for next year. It is always good to see a glimmer of purple peaking out from the snow or mud.


As we drive around, the kids are quick to point out any “blossom trees.” They are my favorite, so they say. They don’t realize that they are noticing perhaps a half dozen completely different trees. They do know that I have dragged them down to the Tidal Basin every spring that we have lived in the DC area to see the cherry trees in full bloom.

They don’t know that I regularly check out the latest updates on peak bloom and plan accordingly. Peak time is expected for between April 1st and 4th this year. It really really is worth the trip and the crowds. Really. Photos can not do the scene justice.

The kids reminded me that Billy threw up the last time we tried to see the cherry blossoms. I hope we have none of that next week.

We did drive past the Jefferson Memorial on our way to Walter Reed on Wednesday (another story). The ring of trees around the Basin had a faint tinge of pink. My heart leaped. We already have a trip to the Zoo scheduled for Monday, the 30th. It’s a few days before peak, but I just don’t want to plan to miss two days of school next week. I’ll head over there after the Zoo (it’s not too much out of the way) and maybe have a picnic dinner under a canopy of white and pink. If the blooms disappoint (even a bit before peak, I find that very doubtful), we can always go back on Sunday.

My favorite charity

With all the scandals regarding “Catholic” charities giving money to not-so-Catholic causes, I am very wary of giving any money to any organization that hasn’t been fully vetted. And when I do have extra cash (OK, that is never, but round about this time every year, I get a tidy sum from my tax return) this is the charity I prefer to give to. I’ve met the woman who started it; I know one woman who works there; they send me a hand-written thank you note; and they include my family in their rosary. It really doesn’t get more personal (or more “vetted”) than that. Bill and I were discussing if we should split the amount we were giving away between Visitiation Home and another charity – perhaps Wounded Warrior. After I found this video, I am reminded why I never need to look for another charitable cause again.

Words Matter

“I think it’s important to see that words hurt and words do matter.”

– The chairman of the Special Olympics, Tim Shriver, on the President’s poor choice of language in describing his bowling skills.

It was only last month that the President made offhand remarks about Jessica Simpson looking fat.

Senator Grassley says that AIG executives should commit suicide – and then takes it back when he comes under heat. He “didn’t mean it like that.”

If I cared to spend an hour, I could come up with probably a dozen more recent examples of careless talking.

Words do matter. I thank my father for teaching me to always mean what I say and say what I mean. Boy, would he give you the third degree. And no squirming away with a lame, “But, Da-ad! You know what I mean!” He would insist that he didn’t, and make you explain yourself. It was much simpler, really, to just say it right the first time.

I excuse people all the time for careless talking, but I admit that I do so with a condescension that I try to mask. Out of charity, I keep my mouth shut, but inside I’m analyzing why someone would talk a certain way: lack of education, lack of experience, lack of compassion. A big pet peeve? Using the term “retarded” to mean “stupid.” When I was in high school, my quick retort to that was always, “My brother is retarded, but he would never do something that dumb.” I never had someone repeat that term in front of me, and I’d like to think that they probably quit for good. After all, it is rather juvenile.

But apparently, the President never met someone like me, so he never learned that saying what basically amounts to “I bowl like a retard” is, well, juvenile.

I so want the leaders of my government to act like grown ups.

Words matter. This is why we hush our children when they say mean things and make them say they are sorry. This is why we ban “bad” words like “stupid” and “hate”. This is why we teach them to say “I don’t care for it” instead of “This food is disgusting.” This is why we we suggest “I am angry” as an alternative to “I wish you were dead” and certainly as an alternative to “You should go kill yourself.”

The lessons that the President should have learned as a child are being taught to him now. It’s a hard knock and embarrassing way to learn, but I hope he studies well. And perhaps he will consider leaving the joking to Leno.

Crossing Over

Coming-of-age genre films are not very popular in this house, mainly because they always seem to involve tears. Some people, women usually, like to have themselves a “good cry.” Not I. There is no such thing as a good cry. Crying gives me a headache. Crying makes my eyes red and puffy. Crying produces gobs of snot. And if the movie was a family film, then I have a passel of red eyed, snotty kids with headaches that I have to comfort when it’s over.

No, thanks.

Unfortunately, my life is a coming-of-age movie. I’m not the star, of course. I have already come of age, and then some. No, I am watching my children come of age. And my eyes are red and puffy.

Last night, Fritz crossed over from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts. Earlier in the day, I had, as acting Awards Chair, filled out his Arrow of Light award. It was emotionally difficult, and I told him so.

“I’m growing up, Mom,” he told me, smugly.

That he is.

At the crossover ceremony, they have a small symbolic bridge. It’s a little wobbly, and some of the boys stepped gingerly to keep their balance. Not Fritz. I think only one foot actually touched the bridge as he skipped over it. He’s ready to take on the world. The Boy Scout world, at least.

But I am left recalling how much I cried when he cut his first tooth: “He’ll never have that gummy smile again!” I want him to grow up. I want him to enjoy his life. Naturally, if he were 11 and still had his gummy grin, I would be upset. But the joy I have in watching him grow is tinged with a sense of loss.

These are one-way bridges, and I’m left on the other side.