Monday, November 30, 2009

Who Needs Sleep?

Besides being a title of a BNL song, this has been a long-standing personal motto. I have always been able to function on little sleep, and usually without the aid of a nap. (PS - BNL has a kids CD - pictured at right)

This is a trait that friends would marvel at during summers and/or planning weekends at Airy. This is a trait that has come in handy as a dad whose daughter tends to get up early in the morning.

Today I write to admit that I have met my match - it is the multi-headed monster known as "Thanksgiving-in-New Jersey-followed-by-an-overtime-Ravens-game-on-Sunday-night."

We always have a great time in New Jersey, but sleeping arrangements are always an issue. The issue ... is Lilly. With the exceptions of her bed at home and her beds at the grandparents' houses, sleepovers are challenging. When sharing a bed is needed, Lilly wiggles, and squirms, and grunts, and kicks. So, her 7th grade cousin is less-than-thrilled at the thought of sharing her bed ... but it worked for Thursday. I hunkered down with Pam in our nephew's room ... and his flannel sheets. Pam loved it - I sweat.

The next night, there was an extra bed, as Pam's folks left before dinner time. Well, by the time that the nephew reclaimed his room, and Lilly and Pam took the niece's room, and the niece took the guest room, I was ... off to the basement. I converted the futon, found some sheets and blankets, and laid my weary head to rest a few minutes after midnight. The cold, dark basement was just what the doctor ordered after the flannel-fest from the night before.

At 6:30 am, there was a tap on my shoulder. "Hi Daddy." Hello, Lilly. Sleep terminated.

By the time we got into out own beds at home on Saturday night, my back ached from the two strange beds from Thursday and Friday. I tossed and turned a bit that night, but I stole back a few minutes with a catnap on Sunday afternoon. The nap had a purpose - I expected to be awake until 11:30 while watching the Ravens game.

With a sigh of relief and a stomach ache, I laid down for bed at 12:30 am, following the Ravens 20-17 overtime win. My alarm went off promptly at 5:00 am. Destination - Thurmont.

I was dragging today. I must have been the only person at school today who was in a thick enough mental fog to have no clue that students were dismissed two-hours-early today. Imagine my surprise when the lunch shifts started at 9:42 am.

Off to bed.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We are T-minus 24 hours from turkey consumption, so naturally I have Thanksgiving on the brain. This holiday brings to mind many tales and factoids, including:

Many of us think of Squanto as the key Native American who befriended the colonists, but I have recently learned of Samoset. I admit that I am somewhat embarrassed to admit to just now be aware of Samoset, considering that I majored in history. But Samoset may be the coolest, little-known figure in American history. Various research tells that Samoset greeted the Pilgrims naked, and asking for beer. If that's not an entrance, I don't know what is.

Ben Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird. Not sure why ... considering he is so closely affiliated with Philadelphia (Franklin ran away from home and ended up there when he was 17), it is funny that he disapproved of Eagles. So do most Philly fans.

Top 10 Thanksgiving Foods:

  1. Stuffing

  2. Turkey

  3. Mashed Potatoes

  4. Ham

  5. Cranberry "Sauce"

  6. Pumpkin Pie

  7. Rolls / Bread

  8. Sweet Potatoes

  9. Green Bean Casserole

  10. Turducken

I didn't make the list - I just report it. What the heck is "turducken?" Is that the crazy looking bird that John Madden used to do a show-and-tell routine during a Thanksgiving football game?

Thanksgiving TV is quite football-friendly. With the advent of an evening game, pigskin enthusiasts can get their fill from 12:30 pm until midnight. It also is a time for thumbs to rest ... since there is only one game on at a time, the channel surfing is minimal.

I have one co-worker whose family loves turkey, but chooses not to eat turkey on Thanksgiving. When I pursued a reason, she said simply "We have turkey all year." I asked her if the family was also skipping bread, potatoes, wine and water. She laughed.

Have a good celebration, and if you head out shopping at some unholy hour on Friday, try not to get run over in a stampede.

And save me a drumstick!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Yup - I'm a Slacker

I haven't posted for a while, which is to say that many of you were secretly hoping that I had given up the blog and gone away.

Not so fast my friend!

Actually, a few people asked about he Blog, or rather the lack-there-of.

Without further ado, and in an effort to make up for lost blog time, here we go:

From the world of football
(I actually wrote this part before the weekend, but I never got around to posting)

Ravens are scuffling ... 5-4 with the undefeated Colts coming to town. Ironic that the Colts' kicker is Matt Stover, and that yesterday, the Ravens cut the kicker that succeeded Stover. It should be pointed out that after 10 games last season, the Ravens were 6-4. The Ravens / Colts game has an EVEN spread, which means that gambling folks think that the undefeated Colts are in for a tough game. The Ravens are good at home, and the Colts are not great playing outdoors. Terrell Suggs will not play, so here's hoping that Haloti Ngata does return to the line-up.

Prediction ... I think the Ravens squeak out a win, maybe 26-24?

Sunday update - Ravens lost, but the game was close for 60 minutes. The Ravens gave away many chances to win. The new kicker made 5 out of 6 kicks, but the miss was bad. Joe Flacco threw a terrible interception, and Ed Reed was guilty of two major mistakes - burned for a touchdown pass by Dallas Clark, and the fumble / lateral late in the game.

Other items of note:

What's up with the trial of Baltimore mayor Sheila Dixon? She didn't testify ... does that matter? Jurors are sending notes to the judge, courtroom observers are shouting and hollering, and all the while the mayor is making appearances around the city.

I saw "The Blind Side" - the movie based on the book, which is based on the Ravens' Michael Oher. It's a feel-good flick that intentionally dodges most questions about race and class. I laughed a bit, and it was cool to hear the whole theater cheer when Oher's name was announced at April's draft.

I chaperoned my first Thurmont Middle School dances on Friday. There is a dance right after school for 6th grade, and then a 7th/8th grade dance at 7 pm. Coming from Crestwood Middle School, the dances up in Thurmont are, comparatively, mellow. The kid turn-out was decent - over 150 kids between the two events. We old folks persuaded the DJ to play "The Humpty Dance." Kids didn't recognize the song - the grown-ups loved it.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving - we'll be in New Jersey with Pam's brother and his family. We hosted last year - had I been blogging then, there might have been a post entitled "Pam's No-Good Terrible Very Bad Day." We participated in a "Turkey Trot" run / walk that morning around some lake. At one point, Pam was walking with the kids and showing off her version of a "Turkey Trot." Enter back injury. Then, during a pre-dinner / post-cooking dish washing cycle, bubbles began to ooze everywhere. An unnamed family member put dish soap - not dishwasher soap - in the machine. What a mess. Pam was none-too-pleased.

This year, I'm thankful for my family and friends, the fact that I have a job, and for the medical marvels that have taken care of my niece Izzie, our friends Dennis and Kailey, and certainly many others.

Until next time ... Peace and Humptiness Forever.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Where can I get a sandwich in Arbutus?

I'll explain what that means in a moment, but let me begin by saying "Thank Goodness" that Halloween fell on a weekend. There is no scarier prospect than Halloween falling during the school week - the candy, the sugar-rush, the pranks, the silliness ... and then there's the students.

We hosted a Halloween gathering - my folks, Pam's folks, the Albrights, the Miles, the Roussillons, and the Monfrieds. The spread was fantastic - a tray of nuggets from Chick-Fil-A; Margie's crab soup, Dennis's chilli, Tracey's meatballs, Holly's cornbread, Jen's cookies and cupcakes ... and a platter of sandwiches from Mars.

Not the planet - the supermarket.

Not in Ellicott City - in Arbutus.

I am one of the first people to be willing to drive for good food ... Friendly Farm, The Tasting Room, Waffle House, and others. In fairness, the sandwiches were very good - a collection of shrimp salad, tuna, and chicken salad. Soft potato rolls. Pickles.

But the deli around the corner from us was out of something key ... how does a food store run out of food? Anyway, so we decided to pursue the same sandwiches, and the good people at Mars pointed up toward Arbutus.

The two towns are more than 10 miles apart, but it feels like another universe when you drive into Arbutus. And my experience in the store proved the point. I proceeded to the deli counter, took my number and waited my turn. The lady that waited on me took my name and shouted to a guy in the back who walked into a big fridge ... and then she took a plastic spoon, dipped it into the big container of shrimp salad, and ate it . She appeared to mull this over, and as she tossed the spoon into the trash, she announced "Too much mayo - not enough Old Bay."


The guy with the sandwiches emerged from the fridge, walked to me, and kept on going. Puzzled, I followed him and we got in line to pay. I offered "you don't have to wait here" but he shook his head and said something about needing a copy of the order form.

So we're in line, and I ask the guy to show me the paper, because I did not know the price. I must have been reading aloud to myself, because I next hear "MMMM, I'm coming to the party at your house!"

The speaker is a classic "Bawl-mer" woman ... jeans, a Ravens t-shirt, and looking as though she'd had a few too many Natty Bohs in her day. I chuckled, and responded "Well, I'm looking forward to the nuggets from Chick-Fil-A" and then she and the deli guy both got excited.

Now they both wanted to come to the party. I let the comments slide, paid my bill, and headed back to the car.

Other Halloween observations:

Best costume - a guy wearing a pig mask and a t-shirt that said "Flu"

Best candy - the family that gave out a full-size Nestle Crunch bar

Best use of a stroller - as a candy-hauler and a bottle holder

Best comment - from Lilly: "Daddy, I want more candy but I'm tired of walking."

Next holiday update - Thanksgiving.

Gobble Gobble