Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 15 - Don't Tread On Me

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical." - -- Thomas Jefferson

"Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery." - -- Calvin Coolidge

"The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets." - -- Will Rogers

Skeletons on the Zahara by Dean King

Book club met last night to discuss Skeletons on the Zahara. Everyone thought the story was compelling. Here's a brief synopsis:
In 1815, the merchant ship Commerce ran aground off the west coast of Africa. Capt. James Riley and his crew of 11 men managed to make it to shore where they were captured by Arab nomads. The Bedouin despised white Christians and enslaved the shipwrecked sailors they found along the coast. Capt. Riley and his men were stripped of their possessions and treated as barely human as they were sold from tribe to tribe and forced through the unimaginable horrors of the Sahara, at times subsisting solely on goat entrails and camel urine. Skeletons on the Zahara details their treatment and ingenious plans to arrange their release.

Monday, April 13, 2009

On Motherhood and Monopoly

As you may already know, playing Monopoly with only two players is very boring. Once a player gets a monopoly the other player is facing certain death- at least this is my experience. If you're the unfortunate player languishing behind you can only wish for a quick death but often (believe me) it is a long drawn out torturous and agonizingly boring demise. One tedious game can take days. Here's my harrowing and true tale:

Two fateful weeks ago, I innocently agreed to Lily's challenge to play Monopoly - just us two chicks. Girl time / mother- daughter bonding and all of that. I was off to a great start, beating her badly the first two games. It was great. Understandably, this made my sweet daughter angry. She quickly figured out my winning strategy and has been determined to avenge her loses. Now she's like a dog with a bone. There's no letting go. With the game figured out and her natural competitive nature in full gear, she's out to win. The standings as of this hour are 2-3. She has slaughtered me in the last 3 games. We've been playing in the mornings before school and manage to squeeze in a few rolls of the dice after school, before her various sports activities begin. We even played in the evening after I hosted 30 people to my house for Easter. It's exhausting.
But here's the kicker - Today, driving home after soccer practise, she says to me, " Mom, can we play Monopoly as soon as we get home? I really like playing with you. You're fun to play with because you're not uptight or strict. I'm glad it's just the two of us playing. It's so much fun. "

So, here's a nod to all the mothers out there. We don't always know what we're doing but we do our best and a simple and sincere comment like - I like playing with you because you're not uptight - makes our day. I also find it very helpful to remain hopeful that some day soon my daughter will tire of Monopoly and move onto Backgammon or Checkers or even Solitaire! That would be good.


When his parents had their backs turned, the teenagers snatched poor Max and slapped a bunch of gel in his hair. Then they handed him some sticks and made him entertain them on Joe's drums.
Luckily for little Lucy, she escaped their dastardly clutches and was free to roam. But she did have to wear her winter coat to keep warm on the childrens Easter egg hunt.

Other then the teenage corruption of the young and the pesky rain, our Easter day was perfect.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Same Dog - Different Day

This is Kicks
( Before and after "grooming")

Kicks is our family's dog. He's unusually affectionate, lavishing hugs and sloppy kisses on anyone who'll permit a 50 lb, stinky-breathed mutt to drape himself over them. He has a particular attachment to me. My kids want to know why he prefers me to everyone else so I've explained to them that Kicks, like many dogs, has an uncanny ability to sense when a person is exceptionally wise and good. Dogs know who they can trust, I continue with a soft, serene smile on my face, and he obviously sees these fine qualities in me.
I believe there's no harm in reinforcing my kids perception that their mother is special.
(It is true that I often feed our dog bacon in the mornings, soup bones at night and rub his tummy whenever he seems lonely, but I doubt this has anything to do with his predilection to follow me to the ends of the earth if that's where I'm headed.)
Special note:
Our cats' name is Punches. Kicks and Punches. It's a karate thing.