Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Holiday on Gnome Hill

Okay, so most of our holiday celebrating revolves around eating... This is not necessarily a bad thing.

Sure, sure. There are families that put up a badminton or volleyball net, but this only detracts from what it really on everyone's mind.

Another activity we stress during our holiday get-togethers is teaching the young people a skill that can carry them through difficult times throughout their lives. We prefer to call them "mathematical manipulation challenges" so said young people don't write their "What I Did Over Memorial Day Weekend" about learning to deal blackjack.

One interesting phenomenon that occurs just about every weekend my family comes over: My African Violet sprouts interesting flowers.

Listen to the Poe Head

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Now this is how you do weekends...

This will be the kind of weekend we had in mind when we decided on this house:

People coming and going; Spontaneous acts of cookery; A (legal) casino in the basement; All fridges full; A full range of musical genres on the stereo; No one in charge.

We’ll need every bathroom people keep asking us about. (“Five and a half bathrooms? You only have four bedrooms…”)

I expect at least one of the following will occur at some point from Saturday through Monday:

  • Heir 2 and the Twin Progeny will casually saunter outside like they’re going for a walk or something. Shortly afterward we will look out the window to see them putting to use some piece of detritus in a new and unusual way, probably involving unhealthy heights and noxious smells.
  • Dark Garden and I will drag out the entire contents of the freezer and refrigerator and come up with an incredible meal which we won’t be able to recreate because we wrote nothing down and now we’ve had too many gins and tonics to remember.
  • John Boy will explain the fine points of how to break even at craps and black jack. Everyone will pretend to listen. At the end of the evening everyone will be thankful we don’t use real money.
  • John Boy will end the evening attempting to recap all the statistics garnered that night and reading them aloud to everyone. No one will care. He will store these statistics in his Basement of Doom and keep them for the next 30 years.
  • Dirtman will spend the weekend holed up in his office, claiming he’s working, but actually watching ESPN. (He will come out on Casino Night to mop the floor with everyone, mostly because he can count cards while carrying on normal conversations, even though he will deny this vehemently.)
  • Something will break down. It will be something for which we cannot find the instruction book. Dark Garden will shake his head in disgust and then fix it. No one knows how he does this. It is a gift.
  • Dark Garden will throw out my straws and Ms. Dark Garden will yell at me about my little scrubber squares. I will show them the ¼ cup of coffee I can buy with the money I save washing my plastic straws and cutting up my pot scrubbers into little squares.
  • Heir 1 will attempt to slip an annoying CD onto the stereo. Everyone will yell at him when they’ve had enough of listening to what sounds like feedback or a moose in pain.

So if you’re in the area, drop on by. We’ll be in – unless I’ve got to make a food run, in which case just find a chair, have a seat and someone will be along with a drink in a minute or two.

(You hear that Blogger Conventioneers?)

Monday, May 21, 2007

So, Linguinis...what have you been up to?

Oh, this and that, that and this.

We went to Strasburg's Mayfest parade to watch Heir 2 march by for 20 seconds.

Then we went to Winchester to get light bulbs.

We went to Costco for cereal, milk and orange juice.

Planted the flower and herb boxes.

Then we pimped out our dog.

You know...the usual weekend stuff.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A minor rant that gives me an excuse to brag about the Heirs, which I won't make a practice of, I promise.

I have mixed emotions about Joe being designated the top male academic scorer in his class (second year running…)

Naturally, I am very proud. How could I not be?

Then, again, the most successful and self-actualized people I know of were underachievers in high school. In addition, I realize that a high grade point average is not necessarily the best measure of intelligence and definitely not creativity.

Even Joe points out that the main reason he gets good grades is more a matter of compliance than brilliance (you can see how overjoyed he is by the lower picture). That he recognizes this makes me very, very proud.

His brother, for instance, is also very smart. But compliant? Not so much. He excels at what he excels at. But he won’t give time to something in which he has no interest.

While most school systems are preprogrammed in favor of the Joes of this world, I can see merit in both. Joe will draw the lines for Charley to color outside of. They’d be brilliant in business together, if they don’t kill each other first.

Attending this reception, though, left me with an unsettling feeling. All these kids looked very…tidy. Not a hint of rebellion, not even a whiff of original thinking.

Joe, I might point out, was not particularly tidy. But, then, I don't dress him anymore. I think this is a good thing, actually.

Where were the Heirs’ friends whose humor is sophisticated enough to make adults laugh? The kids I know are reading technical manuals that make my head spin or advanced philosophy books they dissect over coffee weren’t there either. Where were they?

Oh. I know. They got a “C” in gym.

Monday, May 14, 2007

St. Sisiggy of Flushing Meadows

I’m rather cautious about my expectations on Mothers’ Day, as some of you may already know. We mothers have a little sideline of guilt-inducing martyrdom going on that I’m not all that sure is justified.

So I don’t like to be too demanding. All I ask is that for this one morning, someone else let out and feed the dogs and make the coffee. I figure I do it every other morning…see how easy it is to slip into guilt-inducing martyrdom? Oh, just nominate me for sainthood and get it over with.

So once I have my extra half hour of sleep – or as much sleep as you can get once the dogs have wolfed down their food and now want attention – I’m pretty content. Just leave me alone the rest of the day and feed me dinner that night. Anything else after this I consider gravy.

Dirtman, however, is convinced that I will slit my wrists or something unless my perceived “sacrifices” for the sake of my family are duly acknowledged by the Heirs in the form of attendance at whatever activity I choose. So around 9 o’clock every Mothers’ Day, he can be heard rousing the Heirs from sleep with phrases like, “It’s the least you can do” or “You go down there and tell your mother you’d rather sleep in than acknowledge her day.”

So we embark on what begins to look like a forced march through antique malls and thrift shops, an activity Dirtman and I usually engage in by ourselves.

It’s not that the Heirs don’t observe Mothers’ Day. Heir 1 has established the tradition of giving me a CD he mixes featuring songs he thinks I would be interested in that I wouldn’t come across myself. Heir 2 prefers to offer work hours instead. So for the week he’ll clean my cat’s litter box for me or tackle a large chore I’ve been putting off.

We’re all cool with this. Except for Dirtman.

I might add that shopping anywhere with the Heirs walks a thin edge between hilarity and embarrassment. It gets even more treacherous when indefinable antiques enter the picture. If they can’t figure out what something is, they will make up a use for it, usually involving a disgusting bodily function.

I’d like to say they’re discreet about it but, then, they wouldn’t be Linguinis, would they?

So this year was no different and, while surprisingly few Shenandoah County antique stores and flea markets were open (what’s with that?), I did manage to find some impressive items: a random china cup to use as a planter; ice tea glasses to go with one I already have and a mother lode of vintage handkerchiefs, most of which are really tea napkins ............... except for this one which will never really be used for the purpose pictured

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

He cleans up nice when properly motivated...

Charley and Tori on prom night. Tori did a mighty fine job with our scruffy and usually recalcitrant Heir 1, not to mention managing to look stunning herself, two tasks I have never heretofore been able to manage.


And never ask Charley to show some emotion...

(I'm still paying the orthodontist for that smile...)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

It's that weekend again...

The weekend of the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, where, once again, I won't be going.

It's also the weekend I say, "Next year, though, I'm definitely going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival."

But it's always something....

You will note that last year I said in a post about the Apple Blossom Festival that I would be heading for Maryland instead. But it never happened because we ended up at the House of Never-ending Construction dealing with some last minute emergency.

As a matter of fact, it's been over a decade since I was able to go to the Sheep and Wool Festival. The list of reasons has been varied:

Little League (Heir 2's team always had a Saturday and Sunday game. You'd think in 7 years, just once one of those days would be free...)

Parades (once he outgrew Little League, Heir 2 began marching band. There is always somewhere to march around here on the first weekend in May.)

Gold Cup (when I was a reporter for a local weekly I was required to cover Gold Cup like I had a clue about Steeplechase)

And this year's reason:

(where Heir 1 will make his first appearance in a tux, we hope a tasteful tux...if his girlfriend Tori picked it out, we're safe. If not...can you say "Lounge Lizard?")

Next year Heir 2 will be eligible to go to the prom and, since that will be his junior year, the next year also.

There was one magical year, though. It was back when the Heirs were toddlers. We met Da Bros at Charles Town Race Track for the Kentucky Derby (vicariously on the television, but they have mint juleps in commemorative glasses on Derby Day) -- always a great place to take the kids -- and that night went on to Frederick, Md., to a Holiday Inn Express that took dogs and had free breakfast (for people). Then we were able to get out early the next morning to hit the Sheep and Wool Festival before all the yarn was gone. (deep, nostalgic sigh.)

This year, though, Dark Garden insists we need to go here. Go ahead and ask me why....

Because he wants to see Him: