Friday, May 22, 2009

Goodbye Girlfriends!

It's been a busy few weeks, so it takes a traumatic event to make me post. And this morning was full of trauma.

OK. Yes. I know. It's not cancer. Nobody lost a job. (Well, except Kathy and Judy.) But geez. Kathy and Judy have been holding down the fort at WGN 720 on your AM dial from 9a to noon for 20 years. I've been listening to them for most of that time--as soon as Carl is off the air, of course. :-)

The Girlfriends will be sorely missed. They surrounded me with adult conversation when I was home with two little munchkins. They made me laugh loud and long on many, many occasions. They made me cry a few times, too. What am I supposed to do at the end of next summer, when I send my girl off to college? There will be no "Letting Go" show for all of us parents to cry with on our rides home.

Being a long-time fan was a great education for me. Helped me understand why people approach us at concerts asking how our children are or if Carl's minding his diet after his heart attack. I didn't realize how connected I could feel to people I do not really know--nor how much I would miss them when they are no longer on the air.

Kathy and Judy's liberal political bent was, of course, nice to hear on an otherwise moderate to conservative station. But what I enjoyed most was the feeling that I had a few friends over every morning to talk over today's news and general life stuff. Goodbye Girlfriends.

And goodbye WGN radio. Putting Gary Meier on in the afternoons was bad. But canceling Kathy and Judy removes them from my pre-sets. I'll still hang with the Cubs and Pat and Ron. But if I want talk, I'll look elsewhere.

We all know where to go when we want music, yes? :-)


Friday, May 08, 2009

Frenchified musings

I'm always pleased and satisfied to read an explanation of my own behavior writ large in a headline. Apparently I'm fat and tired because I'm an American. Yet another study has made the astounding discovery that the French spend more time eating and sleeping than us, yet we are the wider for our short-shrifting of these two horizontal pleasure sites.

I've been pondering the differences between the French and myself, trying to account for my unseemly behavior. If I merely spoke French, perhaps that would help. I'd speak more slowly. Well, truly I would speak rarely, as my French is terrible and my accent is worse. And if I spoke less, maybe I would sleep more. If I slept more, perhaps my rested self would eat more slowly, thus taking in less food in more time.

But if I spoke French, then I'd have to BE French. Or at least pretend to be. And French women wear very insensible shoes, upon which they totter. I'm not good at tottering. Or teetering. Neither of which are similar to Twittering, which I also do not do.
Perhaps I need to wear those insensible French shoes to the dinner table, as they would also encourage me to sit for a long period of time--seeing as how I can't stand up in them.

The French eye roll? That I can do. The shrug? I'm there. And, really, the sleep part would be awfully easy to take on. Yes, I'd do it, pull on my big girl panties and take those 9 hours of sleep as painful medicine. But when would I tackle my big life accomplishments, like the NYTimes Thursday puzzle or the Trib's Friday sudoku, or blog about important politic issues of our times, like studies that waste thousands of dollars telling us that which we already know? Which is more pleasurable, sleep or these things?

The hardest part would be the slow eating. For years and years, I've made family dinner time a priority, as a good rule-following mother should. Slapped those home-cooked meals down on the table at 5:30, gathered the family together for quality food, quality time, and quality conversations. Doesn't that sound conducive to slow eating? Harumph. Not so much.

Why? The boys argue with regularity about any possible topic, as fathers and young men are apt to do. The teenage girl reacts with predictable dramatic flair to the annoying male things that her father and brother are apt to do.

Further, the whole family is so comfortable in their knowledge of my love that they feel free to critique the previously mentioned quality food that I prepare. Well, I am not interested in their critiques. Not one bit. I make the food; you eat the food; you are grateful for the food or you cook it yourself.

None of these behaviors (including my own) seem to lend themselves to quiet family bonding moments. No one is hanging around the dinner table for hours at a time. Rather, I find that I react to these behaviors by eating as much food as I can as quickly as I can. This definitely doesn't fit into the French plan of eat little for a long time. I love my family but I do not want to sit at the table with them for a long time at this stage of our family life together. So shoot me.

Rather than resort to violence (against my family or self-inflicted), I've encouraged a whole new line of behaviors, including reading at the table, grazing, and studiously avoiding eye contact while eating, the better to bypass those pesky social interactions between family members. I find myself feeling more French every meal, as arguments, furious silence or ear plugging are replaced by blissful long moments of shared quiet over good reading material.

Pass the croissants, s'il te plait. :-)


Sunday, May 03, 2009

H1N1/Heinie/Swine-y Flu

My obligatory swine flu post seasoned with a dollop of questionable logic.

Swine flu in River Forest? There are wild animals in Thatcher Woods, notable the ever-present carnivorous teenager. Coyotes have been sighted, as well as fox. Lions, tigers and bears, oh my, will probably be next. Is it any wonder that I am becoming convinced there are wild swine running loose in Thatcher Woods? Ergo, River Forest will be the epicenter of the Illinois flu outbreak.

Annie has swine flu? She was recently in Mexico. She even received a possible tainted tattoo there. She is now sick with a respiratory ailment which is triggering asthma problems. Ergo, Annie has swine flu.

Swine flu will kill us all? 1918 saw a horrible flu epidemic. It killed millions. The world is exactly the same as it was then. Ergo, swine flu will kill us all.

The swine flu scare is a crock? Swine flu was a crock in 1976. We had millions of vaccines and the only people who got sick were those who were vaccinated. Whenever we prepare for some big possible epidemical (new word) outbreak, nothing bad happens. Think bird flu. Ergo, the swine flu scare is a crock.

There are swine living in Oak Park and we are all at risk of swine flu--run!? True story: Jonathan looked out the back window today and yelled, "Mom, oh my gosh, there's a pig at the back gate!" Thinking that perhaps he was sleeping walking and talking, I meandered down the stairs to look. He was quite coherent, and insisted that an animal of porcine lineage just walked down our alley. "Hooves, mom, it had hooves."

A mad moment occurred while we threw around that possibility. Then Annie yelled down from her room (where Maggie dog had been barking like crazy at the unidentified possibly porcine beast), "Jonathan, it's a dog. It was black with fur!"

Oh. Never mind. As Annie wisely noted, "Aren't there village ordinances about having pigs as pets? Who would walk down the alley with a pig?"

Flu of any kind is not a good thing. It kills people, particularly the very young and very old and those with poor immune systems and chronic illnesses, So wash your hands, don't lick desks at school, and for crying out loud, don't leave the house if you have flu symptoms because you might give it to me.