Thursday, February 19, 2009

Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.

This week’s Spin is all about laughing – something I do all the time. If I didn't, I be in a corner, drooling into my Ensure.

We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh.
~Agnes Repplier

Like everything else in my classroom, even the way we do Shakespeare is nontraditional. Each period breaks into five groups, and each group takes an act of Romeo and Juliet, creating a way to teach their section to the rest of the class. They can read their act any way they wish – take parts, popcorn, or silently read. Most groups take parts, since they are required to re-enact at least one scene in their presentation (ohhhh how I wish I could show you these – talk about hilarious!). The group nearest my desk was acting out the parts when one girl started singing. My head popped up, all quizzical. I asked her why she was singing. She replied, with all the snip and snide only a freshman girl can manage, “Uuuuuuhhhhmmm, my part?!?” “There’s no singing in Romeo and Juliet!” I blurted. Again she drew from the well of incredulousness, “Uuuuuuuuhhhhhmmmm, it totally says ‘Chorus.’”

You can't deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants. ~Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis

When my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my dad had the bright idea to take her on a trip to Texas. He ended up in the hospital. Since he couldn’t exactly watch Mom while he was in the hospital (the IV drip REALLY got in the way), she came home and Dad asked me to come home, stay with Mom, and help my sister and brother to find an assisted care living facility. The only catch was I had to find this place completely on the sly – Mom was to have NO IDEA she was about to be institutionalized. Right. No stress here.

But, I did my best, lying through my teeth about where I was going every day. I thought Mom might suspect something because she remarked that she certainly didn’t know that I had SO many friends, but she never seemed upset and she never cornered me, firing accusations and questions that I was NOT about to answer. Oh, wait, that was 11th grade. Apparently, Mom was calling Dad (who she thought was still in the hospital), and giving him a very hard time. This prompted a secret 4-way phone call between my dad, one of my brothers, my sister, and myself. I’m pretty sure the Treaty of Versailles took less finagling to work out than getting us all on the phone without Mom knowing. Dad began by telling us all about Mom’s rough phone calls, and came out and asked us if any of had said anything, since she was specifically accusing him of having a secret plan to put her in an assisted living facility. I know, creepy, since it was true. But I must say the stress, the exhaustion of caring for someone with Alzheimer’s caught up with me and I blurted out, “No Dad, anytime I talk to Mom about it, I always say ‘nuthouse’ or loony bin.’”

There was a pregnant pause. Like a Jon & Kate plus 8 pause.

Then they all started laughing at the same time and my heart started beating again and everything was a little bit okay.

This story sounds awful and funny at the same time. Kinda like it really was.

But now, it isn't, and here's a little proof.

Thanks Katie!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

not in a box and not with a fox UPDATED

Save the cheerleader money, save the world. It’s quite the pressure cooker to feed a family the size of mine on my income and my hours – I am sometimes surprised I don’t poop diamonds. Of course, if I did, it would certainly solve many of my problems, but no doubt at some point some jackass would slit me open. Also take into account the environmental concerns and health concerns, and I start to lose track of how many balls I have in the air.

Jen over at Sprite's Keeper asked to Spin out some frugal advice. So how do I save money? The biggest thing for me is to not buy anything in a box or jar that I can make myself. Like mashed potatoes or spaghetti sauce – I know how to do it and do it well, so why would I buy these things? But I found myself feeling justified in opening a jar of sauce when I’m walking in the door at 6:15 pm and had left at the same time that morning, so I had to make the time to do the prep work the night before and I had to INSIST that my husband do the dishes each and every night. The only exception has been brownies – I just cannot make good brownies! Pasta Fagioli al Forno? No problem! Amaretto Cheesecake? Snap! But my brownies are nasty. Anyone have a good recipe?

I also religiously follow Mir over at Want Not. She has converted me to an Amazon Addict. I have her feeding my RSS habit on my Google homepage - not only does she find me fabulous internet deals, she also has great give-aways and always tells me how pretty I am.

Another big chunk of my shopping philosophy (you know, 20 years ago, if you would have told me the words "shopping philosophy" were going to come out of my mouth, I would have snorted hard enough to make my shot of Yukon blow right out my nose. Seriously.) is that I follow the same doctrine as Pseudonymous High School Teacher – I refuse to shop at Walmart. I will only buy meat from my local butcher (MacDonald’s Meats) and shop locally whenever possible, like buying my spices and such from Grammy’s in Girard, but I am forced to do the majority of my shopping at Giant Eagle. Just last week, my rare stop at the deli counter made me feel so isolated: I asked the girl if they carried pancetta and, as she looked at me with total distain, she said “Ummmm, you have to go to the meat department for, like, internal organs.” *sigh*

Another great way I could save money would be to not buy so many books. But I can’t. Crack ain’t got nothin’ on the crackly sound a brand new book makes when you crease the spine for the first time. To lose myself in the newest murder in Duluth, Minnesota, or the latest house of horrors in Bangor, Maine, or travel through time and know that Clare always waits, or … I could go on and on (take a look at my Shelfari (which only shows a fraction of the books I own) to the left and you'll see what I mean), but to immerse myself in these other stories is something I simply love to do. I ain't givin it up.

Update: While this really isn't a money-saving technique per se, it could be. Giveaways! For example, The Secret is in the Sauce Bedroom Bliss Giveaway. Apparently, the majority of the free world is aware of the fabulous girls, but I just found them (thank you, PHST). Any girl with a leopard blog is a girl I want to know!

I also found ANOTHER giveaway on The Sweet Jelly Bean! But hurry - the contest ends 10 February.

There is also a Shona stone give away on Mozi Esme.