Friday, March 30, 2007

Oh, Doug.

Go ahead and just stab me right in the heart, why don't you?

Thursday, March 29, 2007


DemiGoddess the Younger had a very close call yesterday morning. Early in her day at school, she was seated at a table in the junior high cafeteria, where she and the rest of the eighth grade were taking their “honors test”—the exam designed to evaluate whether or not they are qualified participate in the honors program at the high school next year.

Two questions into her test, Ms. Younger began to feel a little bit sweaty, and a little bit burp-y, and a little bit like her stomach, which had been feeling not quite right since halfway through her bus ride to school, was suddenly about to stage a hostile takeover. At the last possible moment, she made a desperate dash for the door, and was just outside the cafeteria when she lost her breakfast on the hallway floor.

After getting the call from the school nurse, I left work and brought Ms. Younger home, where she spent the rest of the day on the couch watching Dr. Phil and sipping peppermint tea. A school counselor called in the afternoon to let her know that she’ll be permitted to make up the test on Friday, but her real fears were put to rest a couple of hours later, when her friends called to find out what had happened to her.

Apparently, none of the other students had seen a thing, and only her friend A., who had been seated very near the door, had heard the splat.

What a relief.

(P.S. She’s fine now.)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Right. It’s Not the Cat’s Fault. But Still.

My Ho and his Youngster are in Massachusetts doing a college prospecting tour this week. Tonight they’ll be having dinner with Batgirl and Jeb and BatBaby Dashiell, and I am properly put out that it will all be happening without me. While I am here. Feeding his stupid cat. And pouting.

What helps is knowing that opening night is only five short days away. My darling beloveds will take the field at the Metrodome next Monday night, Mi Corazón will be the starting pitcher, and My Ho and I will be there for our third home opener in a row. The cat is not invited.

Although I’ve tuned in here and there, in general I haven’t paid a lot of attention to the spring training goings on. I don’t have the patience for all the speculation, being much more a rubber-meets-the-road kind of Goddess. Just tell me who is going to be on the final roster and then get out there and do the thing already.

But Carlos Silva’s struggles have been all everyone has talked about lately, to the point where even I was thinking maybe it’s time for him to go. That is, until I saw this.

I’m all about anything that keeps Johan happy. And somehow, that video makes everything better.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Please Vote!

All due respect to Aaron and Seth, my vote is for Batgirl.

And my other vote is for The Shadow Thieves, by Ann Ursu (a.k.a. Batgirl).

Go! Vote!

Sunday, March 25, 2007


My Ho's big birthday blowout happened last night. The evening was remarkably low-stress, thanks mainly to the fact that my kind and generous sister Meghan (to whom I am now indebted big time) let me have the thing at her house. Because her house is bigger and nicer than mine, and also because she has one of those husbands who likes to clean.

(I had thought those were an urban myth until I saw him doing it with my own two eyes.)

The details--the food and the drinks and the party supplies--all came together nicely. The balloons and decorations were in Chicago Cubs red and blue, the cat was black, and the fake ivy (which was everywhere) and the miniature replica of the Wrigley Field scoreboard were green.

The cake caught the immediate attention of my niece, Madge, who dragged a chair to the table from halfway across the room so that she could get up close and gaze adoringly at it. "Oooooooh..." she purred, "That's a cool birthday cake!" And it was--with the red Wrigley Field marquee sign ("Home of Chicago Cubs") reproduced in icing on the top. Again and again, we reminded Miss Madge that she could look, but mustn't touch. She obeyed for the most part, although at one point I did see her carefully pluck a single colored sprinkle off the side. Even so, her restraint was admirable.

My Ho’s friends are interesting and social enough that the people from work mingled comfortably with his old college chums, who got along swimmingly with the members of my own family. Even my brother-in-law’s friend Steve, who crashed the party after seeing all the cars in front of the house and popped in to see what was happening, fit right in. My Ho's Youngster, after a long day of helping my sister Molly's aspiring-filmmaker boyfriend make a music video, made a cheerful, if weary, appearance.

And that, I think, was the best part. Seeing My Ho so happy to be surrounded by all of his favorite people, who were there to celebrate his birthday.

He makes it very easy to do nice things for him.

Friday, March 23, 2007

It Was Organic, At Least

Earlier this evening, while her mother shopped, I spent a good thirty minutes in the produce aisle with my 2½-year-old niece. Together we did a thorough review of everything from Brussels sprouts to sweet potatoes. We sniffed the ginger roots. We contemplated parsnips, beets and fennel. We did a side-by-side comparison of a tiny button mushroom and a giant portobello mushroom.

Granted, I am thoroughly smitten with this child, but I really can’t imagine anything better than hearing her tiny, gleeful voice screech, “That’s an ARTICHOKE!”

We discussed the fact that while radishes look a lot like cherries, they do not taste like cherries. And when I took a moment to return the little bunch of radishes to its display, I turned back around to find Miss Madge happily munching on a carrot. Totally unpeeled, straight off the display.

“I love vegetables,” she announced.

“That’s good!” I said. “Vegetables are very good for you! They’ll help you grow up healthy and strong.”

“They’ll help me grow up healthy and strong, Jewee.”

I love the way she helps me remember how to really see things again. I had completely forgotten how gorgeous eggplants are.

And yes, her mother paid for the carrot.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Nobody Puts Half Pint in a Corner

Patrick Swayze as Pa?

Oh the humanity!

Maybe it's just me, but this whole Laura as Ma, the Swayze as Pa thing seems like the realization of a Freudian dream Melissa Gilbert had in 1979...

Monday, March 19, 2007

I’d Have Been Better Off Throwing Darts at the Bracket

My Ho has run the annual NCAA pool at his place of employment since long before he was My Ho. Every year there is a pool where I work, too, but, never having been much of a fan of basketball in general, and of college hoops in particular, I didn’t pay a lot of attention to March Madness until he and I started dating.

Inspired by his enthusiasm, for the past couple of years I’ve gone ahead and filled out a bracket based on My Ho’s picks, and forwarded them, along with my $5 entry fee, to a guy in our accounting department. I have yet to win any money, but with My Ho’s guidance, I always finished somewhere in the top half. It’s something to do until opening day, anyway.

This year he carefully chose a number of underdogs with potential to upset the favorites, because he has participated in enough NCAA pools to know how these things go. And also, he’s super smart. Or, at least, I thought he was super smart, until every blessed one of his carefully chosen underdogs-with-potential picks went belly-up over the weekend.

When I first glanced through the Excel spreadsheet of current standings that the accounting guy e-mailed out to everybody this morning, I thought for a moment that he had accidentally left me off the chart. Then I scrolled to the right and found my name in the faaaaar column. Currently, I am holding strong at number 95 out of 97.

We’re not out if it yet, though. All of our final four teams remain alive, and we can finish in the money IF the remaining half of March goes for our surviving picks a lot like the last half of the Twins’ season did for my darling beloveds last year.

They did end up winning the division, after all.

Maybe I should just stick to baseball.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Another Happy Birthday

Two of my favorite guys in the world have birthdays back-to-back. Yesterday was Johan’s, and today is My Ho’s birthday, which makes life infinitely easier, because I’m terrible at remembering dates most of the time.

My Ho is not Venezuelan, he is from Skokie. He grew up a fan of the Chicago Cubs, and as a kid would take the El to Wrigley Field early on summer mornings, to wait in line for the bleacher seats. In particular, he was a fan of the 1969 Cubs team, and I am convinced that this is the reason he turned out to be the man of character that he is. My Ho is a sensitive soul, and exceptionally kind, and I believe this is because he learned from an early age the pain of a broken heart, and how to carry on and continue to love, even in the face of bitter disappointment.

As far as I know, My Ho cannot throw a changeup, but he is the fastest two-finger typist I have ever seen. And, like Johan, he is not one to self-promote. Many of the admirable deeds he has done in the past I found out about by accident, which makes knowing him a little bit like a treasure hunt. I just never know when I’m going to stumble across something amazing.

This is a big birthday for My Ho, one that ends in a zero. The real party will happen in a few days, and it will have a Wrigley Field/1969 Cubs theme, complete with a black cat (big thanks to Dr. Dave for the tip). But I wanted to do something special for today, too, as a little preview.

(Ernie Banks was already taken. Sorry.)

Happy Birthday, My Ho!

“Hey, hey, holy mackerel,
no doubt about it,
the Cubs are on their way!

The Cubs are gonna hit today
they're gonna pitch today
they're gonna field today
come what may,
the Cubs are gonna win today!

Hey, hey holy mackerel
no doubt about it
The Cubs are on their way!

They've got the hustle
they've got the muscle
the Chicago Cubs are on their way!!!”

Monday, March 12, 2007

Love on the Rocks Ain’t no Surprise, Pour Me a Drink and I’ll Tell You About My Parrot

It was a weekend right out of a Neil Diamond song, I’m afraid.

Friday night I met my friend CombatGirl for coffee for the first time in a couple of months, and she filled me in on her recent breakup with the guy she had been seeing for the past year. I knew she had been on the fence regarding this relationship for a while, but apparently the deal breaker happened a few weeks after Christmas, when the boyfriend asked my friend why her father hadn’t shown up for the family Christmas gathering at her house.

Given that my friend has been estranged from her father for years—which she had told the boyfriend all about—and given that she had, not long before, experienced a difficult emotional episode related to her estrangement from her father—an episode which the boyfriend had witnessed part of—CombatGirl was understandably surprised by his question. She promptly introduced herself as the woman he had been dating for the past year, and then broke up with him.

I’m thinking she made the right call.

The next night I had dinner with Dr. Dave, who was in town for a few days, and who, coincidentally, is also fresh on the heels of a breakup. A woman he had met here in Minneapolis started pursuing him via e-mail shortly after his move to Maryland last summer, and at first the effort of trying to do the long-distance relationship thing had seemed worthwhile. They shared a number of common views on things like religion and politics and buying locally-grown produce, and she even liked baseball.

But, over time, he grew concerned that she was a few years younger than him. And that she seemed a little bit closer to her parents than most adults he knows. And also, that she had a habit of taking in wounded or abandoned animals. Her menagerie of pets included a three-legged kitten and a couple of parrots, and while Dr. Dave doesn’t have a problem with animals specifically, there seemed to be a lot of them, and he began to find it a little bit odd that she treated them more like children than animals.

Then, after a couple of back-and-forth weekends, it seemed like she was maybe a smidge more invested in the relationship than he was. And, he learned, she had a funny way of turning every conversation around until it was all about her. And so, after much deliberating, Dr. Dave decided to break it off.

Still, when we met on Saturday, he was not 100% sure he had done the right thing. Much of our conversation during dinner was about just that, and it continued in the car as I was driving him to the airport after dinner.

Finally, he said, “...and she sleeps with her parents.”

“What?” I said, horrified. “Like, in the same bed?”

“Yes,” he said. “Birds. In the bed.”

I realized then that he had said “parrots,” not “parents,” although I couldn't decide if that was better, or worse.

“Is that weird?” he asked. "That's weird, isn't it?"

I imagined little feathery heads nestled into fluffy pillows, with a comforter snuggled up under beaky chins, and Dr. Dave and his girlfriend tucked in on either side.

“I could have saved you a lot of time if you had told me about this months ago,” I said.

But, apparently, he hadn’t known about the birds in the bed until very recently. And I did not ask him for the details of how, exactly, he had learned of the birds in the bed. Because I have learned from experience that one should not ask questions that one really, REALLY, does not want to know the answer to.

I'm pretty sure he also made the right call.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Snow Day

So, we got a little snow.

It started yesterday morning, with predictions of up to 20 inches, and by lunchtime enough had accumulated on the roads that pretty much everyone at my workplace headed for home. I left at 1:30, and because I was still a little achy in spots from shoveling the dump we got over the weekend, I decided to stop at Target on the way to pick up an extra shovel. We already have two, but there are three of us in the Goddess household, and I wouldn’t want anyone to have to miss out on the fun.

I searched all over the store without seeing a single snow shovel anywhere. It’s March in Minnesota, three feet of snow is in the forecast, and all they’re selling at Target is frilly Easter dresses, flip flops and swim goggles. I could have picked up a very nice new set of patio furniture, but I still kind of like my old set:

Anyone up for a barbecue?

Not one freaking snow shovel. God Bless America.

The first time I cleared the driveway was around 5:00 p.m., and at that time there were about ten inches on the ground.

All evening, the Demis kept their eyes fixed on the bottom of the TV screen as the list of announced school closings scrolled past. Around 9:00 p.m. we received word that our city had called the first snow day in fifteen years. There was much rejoicing. Shortly after that came confirmation that my workplace would also be closed, and there was further rejoicing. Although, since I was tired and my back hurt, it was mostly on the inside. A tiny fist pump and a "whoo" was about all I could manage.

I went out again at 10:30 p.m. and shoveled another four or five inches, and by then I was throwing snow up onto piles that were a good four feet high on either side of the driveway.

Super fun.

So today we're all home. The snow stopped falling some time during the night, and the DemiGoddess have both gone sledding with friends. I’ll need to get out there and clear off the driveway once more before I’ll be able to get my car out of the garage. But I think I’ll wait until this ibuprofen kicks in first.