Archive for January, 2011

The dastardly GI bug that’s been stalking the innocent bagged The Mamma Sunday night.

Its rabid, hungry teeth bit hard, my legs were like caterpillar squish when they tried to answer the alarm’s revelry, and it took very little kitten-mewling-trying to know I wasn’t going to be doing many vertical activities Monday.

Superstud that I am, however,  I had myself convinced that I would be all up and able by this morning.  Wrong was I; and though that may sound like gracious, Yoda cadence, I was very unJedi in my Zen.  I don’t want to say I was a big baby about the whole thing, but I cried like a toddler who didn’t want to eat peas when I had to call in sick to work two days in a row.

I am not a big fan of my limits, and as any Mamma knows, even though the boat stays afloat, it’s just not the same cruise when a Mamma’s down.  Add to the equation that I was unable to take a birthday snack in for one of my kids for the first time in any of their lives, and I was ripe for a Pitty Party.

<Sniff!>

And do you know what tastes worse than NyQuil?  Pitty Party puke.  Nasty.

In lieu of a dose of self-loathing, we made a Plan B.  The Papa bought two dozen Spudnut donuts for the girl’s class on the way to school.  She was treated like every inch the birthday-princess she was today… The Middle Girl had Spudnut donuts, the only confection with a whole in the world good enough that other teachers come to the doors of the classrooms hoping for left overs like alms for the poor.

Our Plan B morphed into a Plan C when freezing rain made The Papa ditch our idea to go out to eat to celebrate her birthday as a family.  The Husband is kind.  He blamed the precipitation and not my green gills.  No one cared it was home spaghetti instead of Sal’s pasta, and we served our bread warm and straight out of the Pillsbury tube.  Instead of restaurant lemon-aide, we made chocolate milk in martini shakers, and served it ice-cold and frothy in martini glasses.  We pulled open the pantry and foraged ingredients to make brownies too.  They ate them hot standing up around the island in the kitchen.  The Middle Girl had a chocolate goatee under the Dr. Seuss birthday hat she’s worn every year since she was two.

All that mattered was that we were together.  Oh, yeah, it sure didn’t hurt that The Mamma In-Law got her The American Girl Doll, coveted Lanie, that The Middle Girl didn’t get for Christmas, and knew went into the archives as of January 1.  My ears still ring from her ear-splitting screams of joy.  Man, I just never wanted a doll has bad as that girl wanted Lanie.

It was The Middle Girl’s Birthday, but The Mamma received a gift of Grace from the family and a healthy booster about perspective.

What are little GI Bugs made of?
What are little GI Bugs made of?
Snog and wails
And moist, puke-y tales,
That’s what little GI bugs are made of.

What are little FLU bugs made of?
What are little FLU bugs made of?
Aching and moans
And it hurts in your bones,
That’s what little FLU bugs are made of.

What are we Mammas made of?
What are we Mammas made of?
Plans A, B and C
And veridicality,
That’s what we Mammas are made of.

I did my best,
it wasn’t much
I couldn’t feel,
so I tried to touch
I’ve told the truth,
I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

Pastor’s message was a bit of a wash for me this morning.  Naturally, that had nothing to do with Pastor’s message.  I was uncharacteristically distracted.  My busy brain switched channels like battling siblings during Saturday morning cartoons.  I was supposed to be in 2 Corinthians, but I composed a to-do list for the day.  When the time came to reflect upon Luke, I remembered a theological grievance and turned to Acts instead just to prove to myself how right I was to be offended.  I noticed who was in front of me, and oh, look… didn’t she have her parents with her today?  And Oh, my, how it touched me to see three generations of a Mommy friend!

And like the mouse in If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, I was all, oh, that reminds me that I should email this other friend about something and where’s my iPhone (Give me credit, I did NOT actually pull it out during church), and oh, yeah, had I signed up for a parent duty for kindergarten this week?  Of course, that made me remember that I hadn’t helped the Oldest Girl research pediatric sleeping disorders for her latest Language Arts independent learning contract and, did I mention, The Middle Girl turns 9 on Tuesday?

Oh, yeah, 9.  And you know what?  In lieu of her usual BFF bash, she wants to have a Mother Daughter dinner this year.  Don’t even get me started about having the mothers of her friends here for dinner, because I am in recovery, damsel-it, and I won’t go there.

Meanwhile, Pastor is about to wrap his message on the difference between sharing Jesus and talking about Jesus, and he reads this quote:

Preach the gospel always, and when absolutely necessary, use words.

—   St. Francis of Assisi

And after I say to myself, “God, stop reading my intracranial email!”

I think, yeah, this is why I came today, to be reminded of this one sentence.

So, here’s how The Mamma plans to operationally implement St. Francis of Assisi:

  1. Make my Sunday to-do list before church each Sunday.
  2. Ask forgiveness as soon as I first realize I have trespassed against someone.  (Like today in church was the first time I had considered that maybe I owed the party an apology… Please!)
  3. Wait for Meet & Greet time to reunite with friends.
  4. Keep up with school emails and/or delete all by Saturday night.
  5. While I’m at it, keep the Sabbath, and commit to a no homework policy on Sundays unless it cannot be avoided.  (Let’s all agree, it could have been avoided in this case.)
  6. Actively choose the life I live.  No one who knows The Mamma thinks that she would host that dinner for The Middle Girl if she didn’t secretly want to thrill and delight her daughter with the experience.  Own your choices, Mamma!

Lather, rinse, repeat, and now, generalize!

Get out of your own selfish, self-absorbed head.

Oh, and call your mother, carry a meal, take on someone else’s burden, and when in doubt, shut up and do good… metacognitively and verbally!

I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

In Starbucks Siren, I opined that a googol is a big number.

A googol is actually a mighty big number.

Any guesses out there how many zeros are in a googol?  10, 100, 10,000?

For those of you that chose 100, pat yourselves on the back!  A googol is the number 10 to the 100th power:

10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000!

So, Google, the search engine gurus, created an intentional homophone of this mega number, coined by a 9-year-old Milton Sirotta in 1938, as the name of their search engine.  Milton’s uncle,  mathematician Edward Kasner, made hay with young Milton’s concept in his book Mathematics and the Imagination.  Even the book title itself mainstreams the fancy of any one who googles as a verb.  Google made its own hayday with young Milton’s term.  They fractured its spelling to Google and began to sell their promise of a googol of ready hits on any topic you could want to search and have become their own irrefutable icon in the tech community.

So, a couple nights ago I was swapping sass with a new reader, Sara, and suggested in a comment that Google was delicious enough to have its own ice-cream flavor.  She insisted that I patent the idea immediately.  In the in-between, the fam and I have formulated a couple of possible recipes and seek your opinion.

Just what googol of yummies should be in iGoogle Ice-cream?

Please note we’ve been design intentional… two Os make us reach for things round, and a time or two we went clever (Google can be a life saver with research, thus Life Saver Gummies…)

BTW, I know you’re out there and reading.  I can hear you breathing.  This time the question is neither rhetorical nor esoteric.  Let’s hear your voice or ideas.  One voice, one vote.

I plan to tabulate your responses, research patents, and plot a pitch to Google!

iGoogle Ice-cream i: Vanilla bean ice-cream, Life Saver Gummies, mini-chocolate chips.

iGoogle Ice-cream ii: Chocolate ice-cream, Fruit Loops, coconut.

iGoogle Ice-cream iii: Mocha ice-cream, yogurt covered almonds, toffee chips

iGoogle Ice-cream iv: Cherry ice-cream, milk-chocolate covered cherries, white chocolate chunks.

iGoogle Ice-cream v: Vanilla ice-cream, pretzel rings, brownie-batter ripple

iGoogle Ice-cream vi: Coconut ice-cream, graham cracker, dark-chocolate covered peanuts

iGoogle Ice-cream vii: Caramel ice-cream, macadamia nuts, hot fugue ripple

iGoogle Ice-cream viii: Chocolate ice-cream, Oreos, Nilla wafers, chocolate-chip cookie dough

Raise your hand if you can tell I gave up ice-cream as part of my back-to-fitness New Year’s regimen!

I think I slobbered all over the keyboard.

Excuse me, I need a napkin.

And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah

and drool on my chin!

Greek mythology teaches us that the Sirens are mythical creatures with the head of a woman and the body of a bird.  Native to Sirenum scopuli; three small rocky islands, they lured mariners to their watery graves with their seductive melodies of their irresistable songs.

Sirens

In the Odyssey, the Argonauts were able to dodge the sinister song of the sirens because their dude, Orpheus, recognized their predicament in time to pull out his lyre and sing his own Hallujah clearly and loudly enough that it drown out the sirens’ sexy and deadly tunes.  A bit of a maverick, Orpheus was clever enough to travel to the underworld and return.  A classic epic-hero-kind-of-guy, Orpheus travelled to hell and back in a bold attempt to rescue his wife, and knew how to weave and dodge.  In another trek close to the sirens’ island, for example, Orpheus instructed sailors to stuff wax in their ears to secure their safe passage.  Orpheus himself, however, had an appetite both for the sirens’ voices and their wisdom.  Lore told that sirens would impart mysteries to each soul that came close to them, a sagacity that quickened the spirit and mind.  He wanted him a double scoop of those goodies, so he ordered the crew to tie him to the mast such that he could hear their beautiful songs without willingly throwing himself forfeit to their fiendish hymns.

Now I am going to tell you something that might seem totally unrelated.

Don’t say, “Again?”  I can hear you when you say that.

CNN reported today that Starbucks has changed their logo.

For those of you that don’t know, I am a Starbucks girl.  If you don’t know my regular order by now, well, I guess you don’t really love me.  I think the only legal tender could be Starbucks gift cards.  The only way to gift a better experience is to give a Barnes & Noble gift card… books and beans, Baby.  Shaky Zen, and you know I love me the juxtaposition of trying to meditate with the quad pump shakes.

As you can see below, the use of the Starbucks Siren has evolved since 1971.  Clearly, the Siren was a somewhat closeted figure, and come 2011, Starbucks is all done with their Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policies.

Starbucks unveils new logo

I began with a brief overview of Siren lore for a purpose, People.  Let’s recall that Sirens are like mythological serial killers.  Before there was ever a CSI crime lab, these seductresses stole the lives of innocent sailors for seeming sport.  As much of a Starbucks fan as I am, I still gotta wonder how this murderess became a coffee selling icon.  Does the coffee lure innocent people to spend ridiculous amounts of money for an addictive drug and smash their financial peace on the rocks of their corporate island?

Or is the swift and heroic Starbucks consumer like Orpheus?  Will the go-juice administered by a friendly barista imbue nuance to aid our recognition of predicaments?  Will a venti skim quad shot no-whip Mocha stimulate in us enough acuity to prompt when to pull out our lyres and sing our own Hallelujahs clearly and loudly enough that it drowns out the sexy and deadly tunes of the world?  A bit sleep deprived and overworked, is the Starbucks consumer instantaneously transformed like Superman in a phone booth to become clever enough to travel to hell and back and return?

As delicious as are their $12 scones, and really if you have tasted the raspberry, I know you will back me up on this, does any modern day consumer have a yen for the sirens’ voices and their wisdom?  Lore notwithstanding, we’ve got Google to impart mysteries to souls that draw nigh.  Google sagacity quickens the spirit and mind… Do you know how big a google is?  It’s a big number.  I already got broadband, of course I want a double scoop of those goodies.  I order coffee so I am awake enough NOT to willingly throw myself forfeit to fiendish hymns.

I love Starbucks, but consider tea as I reflect.  Is it the product or the allure that sings the Siren’s song?

Yeah, I admit it, the wench can sing, but I think she looks better from the closet after I’ve had a cup of coffee.

And even though
It all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah!

A tale my husband told me last week continues to vex my peace.

We were able to NOT ONLY celebrate our anniversary this year, but do so without kids because of the incredible generosity of a Mommy-friend of mine.  This woman not only tended my kids, she took them to her house overnight so that we could, <gasp> sleep-in the next morning.  I think if you look in the OED under Mommy friend, that exact example is listed as an ace connotation!  Before you think I have wandered off the conversational path again, trust me, ok?  I am getting there.  Given the delicious novelty of the event and venue, The Husband and I agreed that we would not discuss The Children.  As we bath the children, feed the children, raise the children, keep the children from killing each other, praise the children, minister medical and emotional first aid to the children, tutor thie children, drive the children form event to event, and keep each other from killing the children together 24/7, not talking to each other about the children for a whole night is more of a challenge than you might expect.

Perhaps for want of content, it was on that date night that The Husband told me the story that thunders in my ear like a souped-up Chevy Geo with too much bass at a traffic light.  The Husband shared that he had been thinking about what a former colleague had told him while recovering from hip replacement surgery.  This former colleague is a pretty hip guy, super charismatic, a successful builder of teams, professionally savvy, a supportive husband, and a great dad.  You like look at his outsides, and you think, “Yeah, rims to fins, he’s the whole package.”  Given this public persona, therefore, it jolted The Husband, and me (still) by extension when he told my husband, “Self.  Work.  Family.  Pick 2.  You can’t be good at all 3.”

To his credit, The Husband did NOT throw the get-well potted plant on the speaker’s head.  Instead, he challenged the guy, “Come on, Buddy, look at you.  You can’t tell me that.  Look at you.”

The guy’s response it the vex piece.

He explained to The Husband that it’s actually much more dire than that.  He pledged that he could have honestly said you can only pick one of the three, “If you want to be excellent, if you want to be a true master, then you can really only pick one thing.  Like now, all my energy is in me.  Rehab.  Physical therapy.  I see my kids right now maybe a half hour a week.  I know all I can do, and what I have to do, is get myself strong again.  If you want to be excellent, you can only pick one.  If you want to be good, you can pick two things.  If you try to pick three, you will fail one of them.”

“If you pick three, you will fail one of them.”

Let’s review the list:  Self.  Work.  Family.

I’ll save you the pandora’s box that opens once one considers the order of that list… DON’T GO THERE.  Let my perseveration serve you, and let’s simply conclude that the list is not alphabetical.

Now let’s admit where we are…

Mono-focused?
Bifurcated?
Or just one sleazy, poligamist Don Quixote tilting at windmills and shooting for all three?

I gotta guess you know where I stand.

I’m like that multipurpose printer you got at Staples that never really worked right.  I want to print, fax, copy and butter your toast all on my own strength.

Not!

Ya’ll remember what happened to the printer in Office Space? That’s my success multitasking life without God, except I take the bat to my own head.  I don’t even need an to wait for an outraged consumer to go postal.

I am neither for Self, nor Work alone.
I am neither for Work, nor Family alone.
I am neither for Family, nor Self alone.
I am neither ignorant there are more permutations possible, nor willing to type them all out; that’s so not the point.
I am neither for conceding to suck at a core value nor, willing to admit that is necessary for success.

I am not a Math girl.
I am not a formula.
I am not an equation that needs reduction.

I stand among royal Company.
I am a New Creation.
I got Fruit.
The Fruit.
Neither one, nor the other,
but all the juice I’ll ever need to serve
GOD
Self,
Work,
Family.

Look at that, stop relying on my own, futile strength, and all of a sudden, my limits are neither lids nor forever.  They are just like a point on the map, baby.  I am here.  Now.  Today.  Don’t blink or go potty, though, cause I am on the move and I won’t be here tomorrow.  I’ll be there.  Simple.  Be still.  Plans to prosper, Baby…

For example, there was a time when my vex would have stayed irritated. Ida, you remember her, right, what I’d done… like for a time I should’ve legally changed my name to Ida Shoulda Done. Oh, yeah, baby, Ida woulda told that guy a thing or two about playing uncle in the orchard, pouring poison into my husband’s ear. I woulda been neither charitable nor mute.  I woulda been neither respectful nor cute.  That was then, though.

This vex Here, doesn’t burn, it grieves.

Really, guy, really? Is that what you believe?

I wanna strap the Turbo Charge of Life on his back like a passenger bag, and fill his Sigg bottle from the Well of Love.

Then he’d be neither tired, nor alone.
Then his limits would neither be his own, nor finite.
Then his Hope would neither be compartmental, nor cynical.
Then his Heart would neither be brittle, nor cold.
Then his life would neither be futile, nor small.
Then his Love would neither be limited, nor mortal.

I am vexed.

I don’t want to slap this guy, I just want to hug his heart and say, that idea neither belongs here, nor is longer welcome.

There is a better Way.

And as much as I want to let my Light shine, folks, there just ain’t no way present context and relationship allows me to tell this to him today.

Neither do I accept that as an excuse, nor will I forget my stand.

With this, as it should be for me with all things, I will wait with Hallelujah on my lips with sober expectation for Direction.

Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah,
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!