Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Holiday traditions

We're packing up and heading to Jersey for Thanksgiving.

North on 95 may be the last place I want to be this week, but it has become a tradition. I think this may be the 34th year that I've done this traffic dance, weighing Wednesday night vs. Thursday morning. Coming home on Saturday vs. coming home on Sunday. Make my food contributions here vs. make my food there. It feels completely normal to drive north to Jersey for turkey day. I'll love it and hate it all at the same time. Just like I do every year.

But what I'll miss are the games that we used to play in the car when I was a kid. Every Thanksgiving day, my parents would get us up early, shove us into the station wagon and head to my grandparents house. The only thing that got me into the car those mornings was the gambling that would take place driving to the feast.

We'd all ante up and play two games on the way to my grandparents. The first was Hear and Name the First Christmas Carol. We would tune into the local public radio station, listen intently and pray that Jingle Bells was the first carol that would come on. Inevitably two hours into the drive some obscure religious hymn would come on that only my father could name and he would win. And also inevitable the next song that would come on would be Jingle Bells.

The second game had much better odds for my sister and me to wine while cruising in the back seat. It was See the First Truck of Christmas Trees. All you had to do was shout out that you saw the truck brimming full of fresh cut Frasier Firs, confirm it with someone else in the car, and the money pot was yours. False alarms of trucks with tires, yard debris, and even livestock were tolerated but eventually one of us would spot a truck full of those tightly wrapped trees heading to some strip mall to be sold for a small fortune, and we ourselves would win a couple of dollars.

I loved these games, I loved how they helped pass the time in the car, and of course I loved making a few extra bucks before the holidays! But these games can no longer exist. Christmas carols have been playing since mid-October. We have satellite radio and can tune into a channel that plays them exclusively 24/7 from Halloween until valentine's day. And on top of that, the title of every song as well as the artist that sings the song runs in ticker-tape style along our radio. In addition, decorations have been out since before daylight savings time and I am sure that the Christmas tree farms have been selling their trees since election day. Seriously???What has happened to the time when we waited until December to decorate? Where is our self-control? Have we forgotten that too much of a good thing eventually loses its appeal?

Maybe that's what I should be reminding myself as we head to Jersey again for Thanksgiving. That too much of a good thing eventually loses its appeal...noooo, that can't be the answer...I like Jersey and christmas decorations too much for that to be the solution!

Friday, November 13, 2009


Have you heard? There's this wacky sickness going around called H1N1.

It has come to my attention not because I watch tv, listen to NPR, or talk to other people, but because I am surrounded by my children or in a school 24/7. My kids go to 3 different schools, take 3 different classes, and I work in a school filled with students who belong to families with similar schedules. Imagine the germ cross contamination that is going on. As a result, each time someone coughs, sneezes, or whistles a little funny everyone takes a deep breath, takes two steps backward, and thinks "OMG they have swine flu!" No one wants to get this flu, and people are taking action.

Never in my life did I think that I would get up wait in line for something at 6am in the morning that didn't involve live music and a night on the town. But no...I got up at 5am to get a number at the health clinic so my kids could get the H1N1 vaccine 5 hours later. Did they thank me? No...those freakin' ingrates.

It really has become crazy. I was actually afraid to say out loud that I had a cold last week because I thought that people would think that I had the flu. I muffled my cough, discreetly blew my nose, and didn't complain at all (that was the hardest part of the whole cold!) And in fact, 5 days later, my husband confessed that for a while he thought I had the swine flu because I was coughing. What? Since when did a cough = flu?? This pandemic has made us crazy.

What really emphasized how crazy we have all become about this was my son. He gets a "treat" each week for good behavior at school, and last week he asked for his treat to be hand sanitizer. Really...you think anti-bacterial wash is something that you have to wait for, to earn...if you aren't good, I'm not going to give it to you and you can get the flu? I don't think so. I talked him off the H1N1 ledge, gave him some hand sanitizer, just because. I'm crazy like that.

I hope we can move on from the great H1N1. I know it is out there, I know people are going to get it. But is it really the plague? Should I really be this worked up about it? I don't know, but I did go to Costco to get the hand sanitizer, so I think we're good for this flu season!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I really want to be here

I SO want to blog again. But you see...I'm a working woman now. I work TWELVE hours a week, and it is exhausting. Oh, lord, you have no idea..my friend who works SIX hours a week at her gym totally understands. The demands of being a mom AND working at the same time are just too much. After working 4 hours each day, for three days in a row...I really have no energy left to write.

And that's my excuse. But...you might also want to believe that all I want to do is write about the crazy kids that I teach, and that would be wrong...wouldn't it??? Or would it?