Monday, November 30, 2009


When my 15-year-0ld son was four, he liked to watch Barney. A lot. We had all the videos (yes, VHS), and they pretty much got worn out. If D-Dawg felt like singing, it was Barney songs he belted out. "Mr. Sun" and "Drivin' in my Car" were two special favorites. Ipods hadn't been invented yet, but he certainly didn't have a Walkman or a BoomBox. He accompanied his own singing with some artful jumping and twirling.

Now that my youngest is four, things are a little different. See, she has a 15-year-old brother. And a 12-year-old brother. And an 8-year-old sister. They don't like Barney. They like Selena Gomez, Rascal Flatts, Taylor Swift and the YouTube clip of the Glee football players dancing to Single Ladies. (I have to admit, I like that one, too). Little AJ still jumps and twirls, just like her older brother did all those years ago, but she does it with his Ipod stuck in her ears, and she's bustin' a move to Life is a Highway.

I miss the innocence of my oldest. If I could, I would keep all my kids from any knowledge of the outside world until they start kindergarten. I haven't found an effective way to do that, but when they're sick and half-alseep on the couch, and I sit down to rub their foreheads, I still sing "Mr. Sun". D-Dawg rolls his eyes, but I'm pretty sure I see him mouthing the words right along with me.

P.S. Check out that hilarious YouTube clip here:

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Provident Living

I have just completed an intense four-hour course on provident living. Being provident is defined as, "Having or showing foresight; providing carefully for the future," ( Do you admire how I annotated my source there? Let's discuss some of the areas of your life that could use a little more providence. Yes, I mean you. I'll discuss my own life at a later date, since it's not as amusing to me.

First, let's talk hygiene. You stock up on cream of chicken soup when it's on sale, but what about toothpaste? What would happen if there were a great peppermint shortage and the price of a tube of toothpaste hyper-inflated to $300? I can't abide bad breath, and so I urge you to provide carefully for the future by buying a few extra tubes next time you go to the store.

Dare I discuss jeans? All the YFBs will villify me for this, but know this - if I thought $120 jeans would make my buttockal region look cute, I'd spring for them too, but unless those babies are fashioned out of spring steel and tenterhooks, it just ain't gonna happen. Therefore, I can be self-righteous and say that $120 is just too much. I mean, I could get a really cute Wonderbra for that much...oh wait...

Now sit down a minute while we talk about the phone bill. Do you really need to be able to track your stocks while you're in the bathroom? Give up the internet access already! Actually, the only reason I'm hateful about phones is because we're cutting back on extraneous things like water and Cheetos at my office, but everyone still has their iPhones. Everyone but me that is - me, who never got one. Me, who still uses the old Radio Shack model that barely fits in my purse. It's embarrassing, and it's about time for everyone else to come back down to my level.

And Christmas. That's right, I'm going there. People! I don't need three presents from each of you. Just one will do. I mean it, I'll be fine. I'm cutting back.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Games for the Tired

Ever have one of those days where you're just too tired to play with your kids? Maybe you had a long day at work, or maybe you were up all night with a sick baby, or maybe, like me, you just finished your weekly triathlon. Anyway, the point is, you're tired, and the kids want to play.

Never fear, the Currant Pie Official List of Games to Play When You Are Tired is here:

Car Alert: I just played this one today. In my version of this little-known game, you take some blankets and pillows out to the front yard and get cozy with your kids. Everyone needs part of a blanket to cover up with. Whenever you hear a car coming down the road, you scream "Car Alert!" and you all cover your heads, as if you will blow up if the people in the car see you. Once the car has passed, you can poke your head out again. If you want a really brilliant variation, make it a rule that you can only listen for cars, not watch. This guarantees a little shut-eye for you while you play.

I'm the Baby, You're the Mom: You can't walk or talk, all you can do is recline on the couch and have your kids feed you a pretend bottle and rub your forehead and sing you lullabies. Their goal is to get their "baby" down for her nap. Let them succeed.

Sleeping Monster: You sit in a chair or on the couch and close your eyes (see how good I am about this closed eyes thing?). Your children have to muster enough courage to come close to the sleeping monster and risk waking her up. When they are very close, open your eyes and tickle whoever you can grab. You are not allowed to run after them, you can only tickle the ones you can reach from your sitting position. Repeat until someone wets their pants, then send them to Dad.

Tickle Monster: A close cousin of the Sleeping Monster, the Tickle Monster sits perfectly still in a chair with two arms. One child decides to sit in the "comfy looking chair" they have found. When they sit on your lap, you suddenly come to life and start tickling them. As soon as they fall out of the chair, you go back into statue mode (closed eyes optional).

Speed Bump: You lie on the floor and pretend to be a speed bump that your race car children must navigate as they crawl around the room. I recommend lying on your stomach for this one so you don't get the breath knocked out of you by an errant knee. Also, the face-down position will mostly hide the fact that your eyes are, yet again, closed.

Dead Man: You pretend to be dead while all your little doctors work to revive you. A word of caution - keep your lips tightly closed, as you never know what they'll decide to use for "medicine". Of course, this game requires that every few minutes you actually do revive, but then you can quickly have a relapse, and the fun begins all over again.

I am suddenly starting to feel some shame for how quickly these games are coming to me. It only took me about four minutes to list those six games, and I'm pretty sure I could come up with several more, if only I wasn't so doggone tired right now.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What Exactly is Currant Pie?

Red currants...don't they look delicious? If anyone knows how to grow these delightful little berries in Arizona, you'll have to let me know.

I grew up in Michigan, and it seems like everything under the sun grew in our backyard. At least 3 varieties of apples, plus peaches, raspberries, rhubarb, strawberries, innumerable veggies, and of course, maybe, currants.

Mostly I have painful memories of all this largesse. Picking peas, putting them in a sack. Shelling peas, and putting them in another sack. Washing the peas, and putting them in yet another sack, bound for the freezer. Actually, it wasn't so bad. I put a pound of peas in my stomach for every pint I put in the sack, and to this day I only eat raw peas. I detest cooked peas. I was brainwashed at an early age. Only the freshest for me, please.

I also remember picking raspberries and eating them out of my hand, sometimes getting a stinkbug in the mix but not realizing it until it had already been squished between my molars, which is so GROSS to remember that I can hardly ever think about it.

I have vivid memories of picking (and eating) pretty much every single thing we grew. Except currants. And that's so funny, because I remember currant pie as being my absolute favorite kind of pie. A kind of pie that I haven't tasted since I moved to AZ when I was 12, but that I dream about every third Thursday from 1:00-1:20 a.m. (which totally explains the drool on my pillow). Currant pie, to me, is childhood, easy-growing gardens, family and not caring how many calories are in a slice.

I named my blog after this elusive memory. Where did it come from? Dad? Did we grow currants in Michigan? If so, why don't I remember picking them? Unlike every other edibility we had, I only remember eating them. Maybe I've blotted the work from my memory so I don't taint the deliciousness of it all. Kind of like writing. Until the moment I sit down to do it, I'm pretty sure there isn't a shred of even a single idea in my head, and I dread the work of it. Then I sit down, and poof! I find the work is delicious to me, and the rest is all forgotten.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Two Friends

Sometimes I feel myself going through life lurching from activity to activity, as if busy-ness itself were keeping me upright, rather than any particular will to live. Not that I lack the will to live, just that I forget the purpose in it sometimes.

Today two friends woke me up by doing me a service so great and so inherently risky that it was both wholly unexpected and completely endearing.

They took something I love (to despair sometimes), and wrestled it upright and gave it a moment of success, a moment of meaning that meant a great deal to me, too. It was an assist that I didn't even realize I needed until I got it, when the sense I had of gasping for air after being under water too long made me realize how necessary it truly was.

I know I'm being vague. Forgive me for that, but some things are too personal even for a half-baked blog!

Service is the handmaiden of charity, the pure love of Christ. When you give it, it changes your life. When you receive it, it changes your heart.

Thank you.