Sunday, June 27, 2010

Petunia Purslane Salad

Thanks to the late night thunderstorms we’ve been having, I spent several hours weeding my flower garden. I didn’t plan to spend that long, but I have been neglecting it due to recent foot surgery, so there was no shortage of material to work with. I am glad to be getting back to normal activity, but my excitement at how those weeds were coming out so easily with beautifully intact roots is probably a little extreme. Thanks mom and dad, you did it to me. All those summers of being forced to weed the half-acre we casually called a “garden”, I am now officially obsessed with the art of weed extraction.

But this wet weather is great for a perfectionist weeder, so I spent an afternoon pulling purslane, small and large, with passionate satisfaction at seeing all those lovely roots coming right out, no digging required. There was nothing to stop me—the kids were playing in the kiddie pool without too much violence, it was a windy day, not too hot and not a mosquito in sight. Just me and the weeds and deep thoughts about how I should get up early every morning to weed and meditate, as a rejuvenating summertime ritual. Of course I don’t know much about meditation, but I think you’re supposed to clear your mind, which is impossible for me to do. So my meditation went like this: The petunias look great this year. I’m sure it’s because I’ve diligently trained the children to run out into the yard with their best monster screams whenever any type of wildlife sets nose, paw or wing into the garden. It’s so cute the way they shout “Don’t eat mommy’s flowers! Raarrrgh! Bad Bunny!”

Afterwards, I was pretty proud of my weed free garden. Unfortunately my obsession had a few unintended consequences. I didn’t get dinner made—despite having harvested several piles of purslane (yes, it is edible, and no, I’ve never tried it, haven’t ever been that hungry, thank you Lord.) I got sunburn on my lower back, which was exposed because I’m still unable to crouch (see foot surgery). So instead I had to crawl around the perimeter of the garden, stretching to cover as much territory as possible, much like a dying person crawling through the desert croaking “water”. Or possibly a zombie emerging from the grave craving brains. (“Weeds, I must have more weeds.”) Got the picture? Attractive, right? My tan line’s going to be pretty hot, too.

Later that evening, after shoving together some leftovers and pretending it was my plan for dinner all along, I was cleaning up and glanced out the window to see a rabbit munching on the petunias. I’m not good at reading rabbit expressions, so I’m not sure if he was pissed off that all that edible purslane was gone, or if he was just happy someone cleared the way to the flowers. I meditated on that for a second and decided that throwing shoes at rabbits will be my rejuvenating summertime ritual.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sail Away

I’d like to dedicate this “Wasting Time” post to Abby Sunderland age 16, for her efforts in making a totally unnecessary solo sailing trip round the world. Talk about a waste of time….oh yeah, that’s right, everyone is talking about it, and they seem to agree, that Abby’s parents are irresponsible idiots. What strikes me as strange though, is the absence of media scrutiny and outrage when she began this trip. I didn’t even know about her, or the other young sailors who had attempted this same goal. I guess nothing succeeds like failure.

If I had heard about Abby before the accident that cut her trip short and required a dangerous rescue, the long-lost 16-year-old within me would have thought “That’s pretty damn cool.” And as a parent, I can only hope that I’ll have inspired my children to pursue their goals by the time they’re 16. I feel encouraged by the Sunderland family, that someday, I will eliminate the whining “I can’t dooooo it!” from this family’s vocabulary.

To those people who feel that Abby’s family has deprived her of the chance to live a safe, average life, perhaps you can find a teenager closer to home who needs help being average. Sixteen-year-olds give birth, commit murder, do drugs, join gangs. There are sixteen-year-olds whose parents abuse them, neglect them, kick them out. There is no shortage of causes worthy of public outrage. The real waste of time is worrying about parents who didn’t buy their kid a bigger boat.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Introduction to Wasting Time (written at 2 am while wasting time)

I’ve wanted to write a blog ever since the good old days when I was single, having dating disasters and romantic wreckage on regular basis. Now I’m the mom of preschoolers, so naturally my blog should dwell on the pitfalls and pratfalls of motherhood, and the wit, charm and mess of kids. Right?

But sadly, I find that by the time I have a chance to write down their precious stories, I’m not in the mood. In the free moments I snatch for myself, I find, as always, I just want to waste time, and I really don’t care. I can’t even bring myself to feel guilty about it. In fact the only emotion I’ve ever felt regarding wasting time is regret when I don’t get a chance to do it.

I probably should clarify what I define as wasting time. First there are the obvious suspects: watching TV (although planned TV does not qualify--my DVR recordings of Glee and Gray’s are actual important activities, not to be confused with wasting time). Wasting time TV-style consists of channel surfing, reruns, movies already seen, and VH1’s “Top 40 Heavy Metal One Hit Wonders of 1988.” Then there’s the computer timewasters--games, surfing the Internet, reading random blogs, and most (but not all) of the time spent on Facebook. And finally, napping. Napping is the perfection of wasting time.

Then there are the less obvious activities—those that on the surface seem like perfectly acceptable choices, but are subtly transformed into wasting time. Reading the newspaper, for example is a pretty normal thing to do, but can easily be improved into wasting time simply by reading EVERY SINGLE ARTICLE, even the ones that are advertisements masquerading as articles (Did you know that the Amish make this amazing space heater?) And then there’s bathing. Of course a person needs to attend to hygiene. But when the urge to waste time strikes, then it’s time to linger in a bubble bath. Or to put the finishing touch on freshly shaved legs by meticulously inspecting and tweezing all hairs of micro-millimeter length that managed to escape the razor because they are virtually invisible.

Making a to do list is a good organizational tool, but if you’d rather waste time, follow a tip I learned from my dad. DON’T WRITE IT DOWN! Instead, just THINK about what you need to do. You can do this for hours, as I witnessed first hand when I’d head down into the junk heap of a basement, to see my dad leaning back in a chair. I’d ask what he was doing and he’d say, “I’m thinking about how I’m going to put those cabinets up.” I love to waste time thinking about how I’m going to redecorate this house once it’s no longer infested with sticky people.

Lest you think that because I’m a stay-at-home mom, I’m living a life of leisure for all this wasting time, I’d like to clarify, that before I became a mom, back when I had a full-time job working 48+ hours a week, I had WAY more time for wasting time. Now I have to give up sleep to do it. But that’s okay. I can always waste time with a nap tomorrow.