Monthly Archives: October 2010

More Things That Make Me Happy

You  know, I do like stuff, too. Lots of stuff. Sometimes you wouldn’t know it, the way I snark on about thus-and-so. But I do derive great joy from many things (besides the obvious — family, friends, my students). Behold:

I Like

  1. Lime Jello with mandarin oranges and pineapple — for breakfast
  2. The smell of fall in the air, especially in the morning
  3. Putting on a pair of jeans and finding money in the pocket
  4. Knowing that the show will eventually come together
  5. Lying on the sofa under my electric blanket
  6. Not having to set a 5 a.m. alarm
  7. The people I work with (^5 to my good pals Stoney and Meg’s Mom)
  8. The fact that Rousseau thinks I’m delightful and is always excited to see me

I covet your list of likes for today — though I’m sure “that it’s Monday” won’t be on them.

Arg. :-/

Souvenir II

Another memory.

It was 24 October — a miserable, cold, sleety, rainy Friday morning in 1980. I reported to the hospital for my C-section at 6 a.m., and by 11:00, little Seamus greeted the world. At that point, the weather — and everything else in my universe — was fine.

He was three years old when we bought him his first drumset. At 11, he was sitting in with our band. He grew up into a fine young man with sons of his own, and the cycle starts again.

I wonder this day: is there a crucial lesson hidden in the swift passage of time? Should we be learning to savor every moment even more, celebrate each conversation even longer? I think so.

When my sons were young, so was I. Having had children at age 21 and 24, I think I may have been too young to realize how fast things would take off, and that soon and very soon I would be a grandmother and I’d look at my sons and wonder how they got to be all growed up with families of their own. Time truly does fly by.

So, advice to my students and younger readers: Old, tired axioms like “Don’t take anything for granted” and “You’ll be an adult before you know it” are really true. Advice to self: slow down and enjoy it all.

Happy birthday, #1 Son. Mama loves you.


The French word for remembrance. Makes perfect sense. I have an amusement park souvenir to share today.

Mavis and I used to love it when the carnival came to town. Mave, remember the Zipper, the Rock-O-Plane, the Tilt-a-Whirl, the Paratrooper and the Scrambler (aka Vomit Comet)? And what about the Western Round-Up and the Rotor? Crazy memories. Remember when Missy hit her head while riding on the Zipper and barfed everywhere? We had no idea at the time that she had a concussion, poor thing. Good times, good times.


I laugh when I remember the ridiculous “safety” precautions of roller coasters at the Adventureland and Riverview amusement parks in suburban Chicago back in the mid-60s. I was scared to death of coasters — always had been. But somehow I was talked into riding one on one of our trips. It was the last time I did so for several years.

It was called the Comet, and I don’t even remember who rode with me. The cars were shaped like mini rocket ships, or some kind of streamlined contraption, and all I remember was being thrown by G-force clean out of the miserable excuse for a safety restraint and landing — screaming bloody murder — on the floor in the front “cone” section of the car. The shape of that conveyance was, I’m sure, the reason I didn’t fly completely out. I remember being slightly airborne, then shrieking MOMMY!! over and over for what seemed like an eternity. What was I, seven/eight years old? I think so. Riverview closed in 1967, so it had to be then or before.

I didn’t ride a roller coaster for some years afterwards. Having just moved to Ohio and finally making some friends (it might surprise you to know that I was extremely quiet and reserved in school until I discovered musical theater), I went to the Cedar Point amusement park for the first time as an eighth grader in 1973. Upon entering the park and seeing what looked like a snarl of serpentine wooden evil, I experienced a minor flashback to my horrific coaster ride years ago. Then my friends said, “Hey, let’s get in line for the Blue Streak before everyone else does!”

Yikes. It was do-or-die time. Was I supposed to tell my new friends I was askeered of a stupid roller coaster? No way. So I swallowed my fear (and its accompanying bile) and queued up for my rematch with wheels on metal.

We rounded the initial curve and the chain grabbed and yanked us up the first hill. The downward thrust was kind of thrilling, and I thought Hmmm…I might make it through this. Then, on the second hill, we’d gotten up a head of steam beforehand, and as the train crested the top and started the hard pull into the descent, I will be shot, stabbed, hanged, beat up and buried alive if my little 4-foot-11, 95-lb. body didn’t come clean up out of the seat and over the safety bar, nearly sprawling over top of the people in the car in front of me. I am not kidding you: I dang near fell out. The horror.

It took me a long time to conquer that fear. I finally did, but not until I was well into my 30s. Crazy, eh?

And I won’t even go into the “Ghost Train” nightmare at Riverview, where the train ride stalls in a pitch-black tunnel and all manner of scary creatures — played by real people — emerge from the walls, reaching and grabbing. All this at seven years old…no wonder I’m a flippin nutcake.


Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

Lovely diversion

Just when I think it’s another textbook Friday morning (drag out of bed after too little sleep, put on the moccasins, take out the dog, make the coffee, check Facebook, write blog post, get showered & dressed, make lunch, drive to school), my phone chirps at me.

It’s BFF Kay, from Slovenia, on Gmail Chat. How nice! She and Bob are having lots of fun in their last two weeks or so across the pond. Then they come back for awhile. It will be good to see them. And she so needs to work with my sopranos.

Then there’s Mavis. Any suggestions for an insomnia cure, outside of a loon mallet? That girl is worrying me bigtime… :-(

BoomR is having fun in Dubai, and Suzanne is back home in Klompenland after a whirlwind US tour. It was great to see her. Anyone else doing anything big?

It’s Friday. I am rehearsal.


Tempus fugit


I wanted to write about the flight of time, but time has flown and I am out of time. That, and I forgot that I promised my 6th grade boys I’d bring donuts to class this morning as a thank-you for their helping me rearrange and clean my classroom last week.

And so, unfortunately, the Fink is out.