Tuesday, March 31, 2009

He may thank me when he is older

A few months ago I wrote about traumatizing my child with a visit to Santa Claus. Spring has arrived in San Diego county, and the Easter Bunny has his official digs at the mall, complete with mechanical bunnies-in-waiting and pots and pots of artificial plants. Perhaps this is the company's disclaimer that everything about the Easter Bunny is fake, because it is pretty easy to get a real looking Santa, but a person who looks like a rabbit, complete with ears and a fuzzy tail usually works for Hugh Hefner and that is simply not age appropriate. Business has been slow in my walks by the hassenfeffer throne, but I am sure the throngs will be out this weekend and next with Easter just around the corner.

I have pretty much made up my mind that I will not be taking Lucas to see the bunny, and I blame it all on a costumed pig at the Memphis in May BBQ cooking contest. I wasn't present for the festivities, but my brother attended with several of his friends. For those of you unfamiliar with Memphis in May, it is the city's way of recognizing and honoring a chosen country and an excuse to get drunk and eat roasted pig flesh. And then cap it all off with a symphony on the banks of the Mississippi River. You have to class up the event somehow, and nothing says class but the Memphis Symphony Orchestra playing Mozart to legions of drunken rednecks, frat boys, and families from the 'burbs venturing into the big, bad city. I say that out of jealousy, as I will probably be sunning myself with a glass of chardonnay on my tiny patio and longing for a taste of 'cue when they start to sing, "Ole Man River."

One year, my brother attended with several of his close friends, and they were able to get coveted tickets inside one of the competitor's tents, courtesy of friends of my parents. Drinking and eating ensued, and given the pictures I have seen and stories I have heard, more drinking than eating occurred. During the night, someone was making the rounds to the tents dressed in a pink pig costume, which looking back, I find to be a bit grotesque, sort of like Porky Pig being named the official ambassador of a festival celebrating the slaughter and devouring of his people. Given that Memphis in the month of May tends toward the warm and humid, I can only imagine how uncomfortable the person inside the costume must have been. Also, May can be a rainy month, and those who venture down to the event know to wear comfortable shoes and clothes they don't mind getting dirty (except for some women, who insist on open toe sandals and their best summer short/top combo, it is an occasion, you must remember). The pig, or rather the pig costume, looked to have been on the receiving end of a puddle, or perhaps in drunken revelry, the wearer decided to get down in some slop. Whatever the reason, one of Joel's friend eyed the pig and very blandly stated, "That is one dirty ass pig." That statement became a catch phrase of our group of friends, and sometimes, in the middle of a conversation someone would randomly drop the catchphrase and chuckles would ensue.

In the past ten years, I have been unable to look at anyone in a costume of that nature, whether it be a team mascot (sorry San Diego Chicken), a company mascot, or a costumed character from a children's show or a cartoon and not be transported back to a hot Memphis night with a bunch of my friends, listening to them tell me the story of the dirty ass pig. SO, maybe, just maybe, one day when Lucas is old enough and he asks me why I never took him to see the Easter Bunny, I may just tell him the Easter Bunny is a dirty pig.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

When it rains, it pours

I can use all ten fingers and none of my toes to count the number of times friends have come to visit us in San Diego. Given that most of my friends live on the other side of the country, and we all have busy lives, I understand how taking a jaunt over to the left coast might be a little difficult to navigate.

Suddenly, however, I have had three dear friends visit in the span of two weeks. Two of them I used to teach with in Nashville, and the other one is an old college friend. Lanita and Melissa know me on a personal and professional level, and their stories about the latest escapades at my old school made me simulataneously question going back into teaching and made me want to jump back into it again with both feet. We had a grand old time driving up the coast, and given that San Diego is so different from Nashville, I thrilled at playing touring guide and showing them all the scenic nooks and crannies along the Pacific Highway. As we drove through La Jolla, they asked about the pronunciation of its name. You must understand that any Southern pronunciation is hard, meaning a name like "eggplant parmigiana" would be prounounced, "Egg plant PARMA JONNA." So, I explained the double "L" pronunciation and they we all decided jointly that it should be pronounced, "La Holla." As in, "Holla back atcha." Yes, we all have our Master's degrees in education and yet we revel in the immature mispronunciation of La Jolla. A fun time was had by all.

My friend Teresa is still in San Diego, but is visiting other friends. Our escapades involved wine country and lots of it. It also involved a sick child, and her wonderful, kindred spirit to me came shining through when she looked at Lucas's red, watery eyes, running nose, and drooling mouth and pronounced, "THAT, is a face only a mother could love." It felt to good to laugh hard again, and reminisce about our escapades in Memphis and Nashville. It is always nice to pick up right where we left off.

Come see me again! We'll pass a good time.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

14 Months and Why I am a Killjoy

Lucas is 14 months old today. He is officially walking, and I feel like I need to tape record myself telling him "no" because it is all I seem to be doing lately:

"Don't stick your hands in the dog's water dish."

"Don't lick the cat's tail."

"Don't spit out your food."

"Don't cram that last two inches of banana in your mouth."

"You will not act this way in God's house." This is usually done with a hiss of hot breath in his ear as he tries to wreak havoc in the back pew.

"Stop sticking your finger in your nose."

"Don't poke the dog in the eye."

"Don't lick my hair."

"Don't bite me."

This morning I was sitting in the back pew, and as it was a communion Sunday, Lucas's babysitter came back and sat with him so I could take the sacrament without him clinging to my hip and trying to stick his finger's in our Lord and Saviour's body and blood. She sat next to me, and since he is going through the stage that if I put him down for a nanosecond he goes into full conniption mode, he refused to let her hold him. Instead he kept reaching out to touch the hair of a visitor in front of us. Given that her hair is to her waist and long, and shimmering, and just beckoning to be stroked, Lucas stuck his paw out to touch it. I took his hand and put it firmly in his lap and told him, "NO." So, he tried again, thinking I would not notice. Again, I took his hand, placed it firmly in his lap, and said, "I said NO." This time the hot breath came in his ear; I felt the spirit of my mother descend upon me, and his lip quivered and poked out, just like I used to do when I didn't get my way. Then my mother really took hold of me, "That's right, poke it out REALLY far. I think you are going to step on it." It quivered for about 8 seconds and then he was distracted by the pretty blonde sitting behind us. At least he was distracted until I passed him off so I could go up the altar. His screaming pretty much distracted me for the entire sacrament. We could have gone into the nursery, but I am a firm believer in not using the nursery, because, hey, it is full of toys and FUN, and well, given a choice between playing with some blocks or sitting in the back of the church, YOU ARE SITTING IN CHURCH. I never had that choice when I was growing up, and on more than one occasion I was introduced to my mother's hot breath when I was not cooperating. I feel bad enough letting him have a sippy and some cookie during the service, but it allows me some peace, allows me to hear part of the service, and keeps him from pointing up the altar and screeching, "Hi, Daddy!"