Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How is love like a corn dog?

This morning, I had the privilege to work with the kids in my daughter's mixed preschool and kindergarten class for a few hours.  And while my volunteer morning started on a somewhat sour and totally asinine note - instead of simply passing by the front desk, I actually remembered to sign in for my hours and was promptly rewarded with a tardy slip for 8:32 (school starts at 8:30) - the rest was at once enlightening and hilarious. 

My idea was to get the kids to write a poem about an abstract term using their five senses.  I started by giving them paper bags with oranges in them.  The kids then felt and smelled what was in the bags and described the contents.  "Squishy," "rubbery," "round," and "smells like oranges" were the most common answers.  Later, I worked with two kids at a time to write their own poems about either "love" or "friendship."

"What does love smell like?" I asked, my adult brain trying valiantly to ignore the answers I would get from my high school or college students...or my husband.  "Flowers" was pretty common, as was "strawberries" and "mom's shampoo."  Awww.  One little girl said love smelled like tortellini, her favorite meal.  I suddenly remembered I had only had a small Greek yogurt for breakfast.

Banishing those inappropriate adult, albeit juvenile, responses from my mind again, I asked, "What does love smell like?"  Some expected answers were "cake" and "chocolate," but my favorites were "spaghetti" and "corn dogs."  The girl who answered corn dogs was immediate with her answer and totally sincere.  Who doesn't think love smells like corn dogs?  Isn't that universal?

While some of the kids' answers proved that my acting skills are still pretty much in place, some of them, well, I'll let them speak for themselves.  Over and over, when I asked what love and friendship looked like, the kids answered "family." 

That got me thinking.  When I was a kid, what would I have said love smelled like?  tasted like?  I'm pretty sure my answers would have been pancakes and make-your-own ice cream sundaes at Coco's.  Making pancakes with my mom was a happy event, a content event.  And I remember it fondly to this day.  She would spell our names in pancakes, or make dinosaurs, or aliens, or whatever we were into at the time.  The smell permeated our little house for hours.  And since going out to a restaurant was a rare occasion, the opportunity to slather on chocolate syrup and not having to wash the bowl was joyous indeed.  Isn't that why so many of us have trouble with food as adults?  We equate it with love?

Ah...but the innocent minds this morning really taught me a lesson I thought I had learned well enough.  Love and friendship should look like family.  I only hope that that is what my husband and I are giving to our children. 

I'll leave you with A's poem.

Love tastes like cherries
sounds like birds tweeting
smells like milk
feels like the wind blowing
and looks like family.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Addicted to Vampires

I have a bit of "downtime" (if any mother of two small children can call it that) between semesters, so I'm doing a bit of light reading.  After trying to get into Black by Ted Dekker, and I did try - got to page 193 out of 410, I decided to go back to a tried and true good read.  Since the last (sob!) Harry Potter movie doesn't come out until July 15 and Season 4 of True Blood begins on June 26, I settled in with Charlaine Harris' series.  Sookie!

Ever since being scared out of my ten-year-old mind by a scene in an old vampire movie where a priest stuffs his vampire's victim into a furnace, I have had a love affair with all things fanged.  I read all of the Anne Rice books and saw the movies.  And yes, I'll admit, I do own the entire DVD collection of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and since there are no books to that series, I do own many of the comics as well. 

Then, a little over two years ago, along came Season 1 (I was a little late on the uptake) of something called True Blood.  My husband, brother, sister-in-law, and I watched the entire season in the course of two days, literally.  I had to have more.

Lo and behold, the HBO series was based on books!  I could not put them down.  I bought and read every single one of them, and I have read them all now about three times.  This series, while admittedly a "beach read" and something that, since I am a certified Prairie Home Companion  English Major, I have to dub a "guilty pleasure," is smart.  Harris manages to present vampires, werewolves, fairies, and other supernatural beings in a storyline that is fun and suspends disbelief.  She tackles prejudice (much as Rowling does with house elves, muggles, squibs, werewolves, etc) by showing humans' (often violent) reactions when vampires and shapeshifters "come out."  She also examines class structure, and prejudice in class structure, by writing her main character, Sookie Stackhouse, as an intelligent, strong, telepathic young woman from a backwater Louisiana town who never went to college and is...a waitress.  All while giving her readers a nice dose of soft-porn. 

I am already on book three, Club Dead, again.  Can't wait to see what direction HBO takes the characters this season!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What a Bargain?

Ok, it has been over a week since I've blogged...and since my goal is to try to write something every day (practice, practice!), here we go...

First, let me say that I love magazines.  There is something about them that the Internet will never replace for me.  Of course, I will never replace my entire library with ebooks either, so...big surprise.  Anyway, I received my complimentary copy of Country Living (May 2011) in the mail yesterday, and overall, I'm more impressed than I thought I would be.  It's a bit oversized in width which makes it feel fancy, and the information to ad ratio is actually pretty good.  And...it is titled "The Bargain Issue"!!  Be still my beating heart.  I could not wait to see what I could get for less. 

This issue covered a wide range of bargains, from fancy nail files for $1.75 to a house in Wilson, NC listed at $76,500.  But the article that caught my interest the most was "Family Values."  This is about a Charlotte, NC (woot!) designer named Lynn-Anne Bruns who decorated her house with "flea-market finds."  So you know, I'm all about that. 

Bruns' home is, indeed, eclectic and beautiful.  I would expect nothing less from a fellow bargain hunter.  But when I saw that $799 was paid for a bed and $2000 for a couch, I had to say...whoa Nelly.  While getting a $9000 couch for $2000 IS a great deal, they still paid $2000 for a couch.  I had to pinch a penny just to keep from feeling like my credit card had just been hacked.  (Which it was.  For real.  But the company caught it before any major theft, thank goodness.) 

I had to find out more, so I read the article instead of just looking at the pictures with captions.  The following quote told me everything I needed to know:  "All told, Lynn-Anne figures the renovations tallied around $350,000."  This in regards to the house the family purchased in 2006 which "needed extensive work to comfortably fit the whole gang."  Maybe it's because I grew up nervous about money, maybe it's because my husband and I are both in education, maybe it's because my leather Lane couch, chair, and ottoman cost me $150 total on Craigslist...whatever the reason, the idea of spending $350,000 on anything just about makes my heart stop. 

Much like the segments on morning talk shows that showcase Cute Summer Outfits for Less than $100!!! where a pair of pants costs $45 and the shoes don't count towards the total (only $60! can you believe it?), this issue failed to wow me in the bargain department.  I am, however, going to try the recipe for "Breakfast Casserole with Turkey Sausage, Mushrooms, and Tomatoes."  Yum.  It must be time for breakfast...I might even pay for the year's subscription...