Monday, November 26, 2007

For a small guy, he can put up a good fight

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday weekend. We enjoyed eating WAY too much food at my parents' house, and then headed down to Little Rock for what turned out to be a highly pleasant weekend. We got to see lots of family, including my wonderful great aunt Joyce and Uncle Lonnie. They entertained my kids nonstop just like they did for me when I was little, and I have to admit that I was a wee bit jealous--I miss being a kid at their house so much! My Uncle Lonnie even took off one of his fake legs for Abby, which is just as cool now as it was 20 years ago. She couldn't get over it, and neither could I!

Let's see, what else happened over the weekend? Hmm...oh yes, WE BEAT LSU. I cannot think of a better thing to happen for my beloved team. Not only did they beat LSU, but the game was AT LSU, and LSU was at the time the #1 team in the country. As my friend Kevin is fond of saying, LS-WHO?

The biggest challenge of the week was cutting my son's hair. He has developed what can only be described as a violent resistance to his hair being cut. His protest is so significant that Matt and I together cannot get it done--Ethan is just too strong. We had to resort to waiting until 11 PM, when we scooped him up from bed, lulled him back into a deep sleep in my arms and then as quickly and silently as possible snipped what we could. It's not great, but at least it's not in his eyes anymore. Tomorrow we have a check up with his ear doctor, and if he has to get tubes in his ears again this winter I intend to request that a hair stylist be present at the surgery to give him a proper trim while he's under anesthesia. It's like I always say, never waste a good induced coma!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Mind your Peas and Qs

This is not my story to tell, but I LOVE it so I'm going to tell it anyway. It's actually my friend Mandy's story, and she told me over a month ago, and I immediately said two things: 1) This is exactly why I love you, and 2) This is SO going on my blog. Here it is:

As you might recall, Mandy, David, and their 3 children have recently moved to NW Arkansas. They enrolled their 4 year old daughter, Katie, in a local pre-school program. The school goes past pre-school but Katie will only attend there for her pre-K year. At any rate, Mandy had some issues with the school right off the bat. Apparently the school "rules" parents to death, meaning there are rules about every little thing. If a problem crops up--say, there's a traffic problem at peak drop off and pick up times-- rather than just send a letter home asking parents to be more aware, they make an announcement that there's a new rule that parents can't arrive before this time or after this time, or park here or here, or blah blah blah. They have a rule that parents must have Internet access at home, and must check email frequently for school communication. Mandy said she gets more than 1 email per week. Seriously? What could the school possibly have to say that often? And whatever happened to asking nicely?

Here's where it gets good. The school does not provide lunches for the children, so everyone must bring their own. One of the school's multitude of rules is that every child's lunch must include a vegetable and a fruit, every day. Even if they will not eat them and they will get thrown away, they MUST be there, every day. Mandy seems to think that this is something they are required to do to keep their license. Trying to be a thorough blogger, I just spent half an hour trying to determine if parents are responsible for such things, but if there is such a regulation it's buried deeper in some state website than I care to dig. It seems absurd, though, to force parents to waste food.

Being the good sport, Mandy obliged and sent the required foods daily. One day, though, she forgot to include a vegetable in Katie's lunch. It was the first time this had happened. That day, Katie was sent home with a stern note reprimanding Mandy for not following school policy.

This is the part that makes me love my friend. Understandably, this ticked her off. Aside from the absurdity of the policy, there are about a million more appropriate ways to have handled it. So Mandy decided to let the school know what she thought about their policy without saying a word. Since the day of the mean note, Katie's lunch has met the vegetable requirement by the inclusion of 3 raw frozen green peas. As Mandy pointed out, there's nothing in the rule about the vegetable being in edible form. Clever girl! I LOVE it. I suggested she branch out--maybe send a raw potato or squash, or a huge thing of cauliflower. She's not heard a word since from the school. Way to show them, Mandy--I aspire to this level of moxie!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A pirate's life

At last, the public gets what the public demands. I present the AMEN family pirates:

Halloween was really fun this year. Abby was very much into it, and Ethan was hysterical. He was at his "along for the ride" best, and cracked us all up. He took his little pumpkin bucket and just wandered off after his sister. You want me to wear this goofy pirate hat? Eh, all right. Going to some strange door? Sure, why not? Someone opens it? Might as well go in. No? Okay, but I see I get candy--that's cool. Hey, you got any more? No? No problem, I'll just move along now. It was such a change from giving Abby a new experience. She's the type to want to know how far the walk will be, how many pieces of candy to expect, how many she would get to eat upon completion of the walk, and if she will have the option of changing clothes if her costume begins to annoy her. How these two children came from the same parents, I will never know.

Here are a couple of pictures of their trick or treating adventures:

You may notice that in Abby's pictures her mouth is in a funny shape--it's because she thinks she can't touch her lips to each other when she has on lipstick or it will come off. We're working on it. We're also working on Ethan's pirate "Argh!" which sounds more like a roar, but who's perfect?

Tonight, Abby asked me to tell her a "silly joke", and my mind went completely blank. I could not think of a single "What do ghosts eat?" or "What do you call a rhino in a swimming pool?" type of joke. Neither could Matt, so we went straight to the great crutch of our generation--the Internet. We found a couple that she liked, particularly: What is grey, has four feet, and goes up and down and up and down? An elephant on a trampoline. We found plenty of funny ones, but most were way over her head. She totally would not get why the chicken crossed the road, for example--irony and sarcasm are lost on her. So! I need some absurdly simple, funny, easy to remember jokes to teach her to aid in her apparently earnest quest to be her class humorist. Silly is the key--if it doesn't make her giggle uncontrollably, she isn't interested. Anybody got any ideas? Take away sarcasm and irony, and I'm powerless here. I need help!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Haters never win

Wow, I haven't had this many comments in ages! For all of you wondering, let me end the suspense and tell you that most of the anonymous comments are likely my mom and aunt, who are probably not as much trying to be mysterious as they just forgot to sign their names.

I thought for sure the Halloween pictures would bring the biggest demand, but it's obvious that my stadium story must be told first. I'll begin with clarification. At the Homecoming game, a couple of fairly attractive gentlemen sat behind us, and I decided to try to get them talking to my friend Jennifer in hopes that we could make a love connection. Alas, they left at halftime. I told her it was no loss--anyone who leaves a football game at halftime isn't worth the trouble anyway.

Now, the man seated behind us at the South Carolina game was most definitely NOT a looker. He is the perfect example of the "fans" that I call Haters. Theoretically they are at the game because they LIKE the Razorbacks--they are even wearing Razorback gear. But Haters never cheer or say anything positive--usually they don't even clap. They spend the entire game telling every player and coach what they're doing wrong, as though the players and coaches can hear them or care what they're saying. They think somehow that by being ticket holders they have earned the right to be critical and hateful.

Haters make my blood pressure rise and my teeth clench. I try very hard to refrain from confrontation, partly because it's rude and partly because I couldn't mortify Matt more if I went to the game in a sequined bathing suit. But it was the last game of the season, and we were playing SO well, and we were headed into halftime ahead by 18 points. We had about a minute and a half left in the first half, and our coaches decided to run the clock out rather than try to score and risk getting an interception that would completely ruin our momentum. (For those of you that don't care at all about football, momentum going into the second half is very important. Trust me.)

So Hater starts BOOING and yelling at Houston Nutt for the decision. Thing A, it was a good coaching call. And thing B, what kind of fool BOOS when we're 18 points ahead? After the 3rd time, I just couldn't take it any more. I turned around and led the following exchange:

Me: You don't boo your own TEAM!

Hater: I PAID for my seat, thank you!

Me: I don't know WHY, since you hate the team so much.

Hater: I wasn't booing the team, I was booing the coach.

Me: Ummm, I'm pretty sure the coach is a PART of the team. QUIT BOOING!

You know what the best part of the whole thing was? I figured that engaging in this battle would cause serious detriment to my marriage. I was wrong. The moment the first word to me was out of his mouth, Matt was all over the guy too. He totally had my back! That's a good man I have.

At any rate, Hater knew I was right, so he just sat back in a huff. Matt and I spent the 3rd quarter cheering wildly for every good play and standing whenever we could. Hater was completely silent, except for the occasional industrial strength sigh of fury. About halfway through the quarter, he stomped off down the stairs and dragged his wife with him. About 10 minutes later, she came back to get the two teenage girls that were with them--"He says we're going, NOW" was all she said. Guess the game wasn't bad enough for him. She glared at us, and I responded with a sound "GO HOGS!"

The Razorbacks of course went on to win one of the most exciting games I can remember being at, and I had the double satisfaction of knowing that Hater was driving home FUMING. So let this be a warning to all the Haters out there. Karma will get you--every time!

Monday, November 5, 2007


Now that registration is over and I finally have a minute to blog, I'll finish out my trip review. If so much time hadn't passed, you'd probably get a much more detailed description, but it's been a couple of weeks so this is the best I can do:

- I ate crab. A LOT of crab. And it was so good.
- Baltimore is kind of a shady city when you get away from the harbor.
- We rode a train from DC to Baltimore. It cost $7 and took 1 hour. WHY don't we use trains more in the south?
- Maryland has got some seriously tasty crab.

The one part of the trip that I won't skim over is my reunion visit with some old friends. I graduated high school with Brian and worked with his wife Alice at a day care forever ago. We have only seen each other a couple of times since, but I knew they lived in the DC area. They drove all the way to Baltimore with their two daughters--one of which is only 8 weeks old!--to see me. It was so fantastic to get to spend the afternoon with them. Their daughter Mili is maybe the cutest little girl I have ever seen--next to Abby, of course. Here's a shot of us on the harbor:

Okay, something's wrong with Blogger's website and it's not letting me download pictures. I could just save this entry as a draft and finish it later, but I want everyone to know that I did indeed write it, so you're just going to have to wait until later for the pictures.

Halloween pictures and the story of the foolish man who crossed me at the Razorback game Saturday are ahead. Speaking of the Razorbacks, GO HOGS!