Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bye Bye Birdie

Well, it's official: Green will come. The tulips are pushing their dumb little heads up through the crusty gray surface of the earth. The garden hose, left out to freeze, is now uncovered. If it still works?

We all are beyond cabin fever. We take every small sign of spring as a miracle. We may believe in the eventuality of the calendar, but this winter tested our faith in it.

Should that hunger for spring lead us to the aisles of the grocery store, however, we must beware. The fruits of springtime are not yet here.

To wit, this article in the NY Times today tells of a disturbing connection between all those healthy, fresh foods we crave even on the darkest and shortest of days, and how they are killing songbirds. Yowza.

So, regardless of whether you think it doesn't matter for your health if you buy an organic or a conventional banana (after all, it's peeled anyway, some say), take a look at this article. Then, if you're so price conscious that the extra 10 cents a pound kills you, go buy your organic produce at Trader Joe's, which won't sting so much as buying at Whole Paycheck.

Half past Easter and down the path to Passover, it's a particularly a good time to think of those eggies that we love, dye, coddle and roast: don't let the hype fool you. The birdies, they not so happy with your spring.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Domestic (and otherwise)

The sun is shining today.  The temperature gauge in my car reads a desperately hopeful 59 degrees.  I kept the sunroof popped (except when driving by the two-day-old skunk roadkill, which requires a hermetic re-sealing).

Mostly idyllic.  Yet somehow, the domestic discontent has come home to roost.  

Last night, my husband sported home one of those white parcels which I know-- the second he walks in the door-- is from my mother-in-law.  Don't get me wrong.  I love those parcels.  In terms of gift-giving folk, my mother-in-law is tops on my list.  Always thoughtful, never in bad taste.  Most often using chocolate as packing material.  What could be wrong?

The package was addressed to my son, who almost leapt from his skin in excitement.  We opened it to find a cartoony, old-style dinosaur lunch box.  Inside, full and I mean FULL of easter candy... Oh, of course the good kind.  All those deliciously multicolored, foil-wrapped little swiss eggs-o-love.  A Lindt chocolate bunny.  On a bed of wood-spun, naturally-dyed easter grass.  Beautiful.  Stunning.  It's 6:15pm, my son's hungry, and I haven't started dinner.

We tried a sneaky approach.  We said "Oh, those are dinosaur eggs."  (Hey, not totally improbable... we had just been playing with dinosaurs expertly crafted out of Play-doh who were sitting on a nest of dino-eggs.  Anyhow, not as outlandish as you would think.

My son cries out, as if in pain, "That's chocolate!  Those are chocolate eggs!"  

Do you think he could smell the chocolate through the wrapping?  Jesus.  OK, plot failed. Three-year-old cannot be outwitted on this count (and, sadly, on fewer and fewer occasions). 

We let him have one, with the promise that we will bring them out again in the morning.
He isn't having any of it.  He's tugging furiously at my husband's leg as my husband robs the proverbial easter nest of its loot and transfers it into a ziploc bag.  My son begins to bay and squeal: "They're stealing my chocolate!  They're taking it from me!"

At once so desperate, so unjust a situation.  I couldn't not see it from his perspective.  I have to admit: I am the bad guy.  My husband looked at me with a sad, yet entertained look and I said, "OK, one more, and then they are going away until tomorrow morning."

And here I sit, evil mother.  Sometimes I don't seem to know when it's right to give in, and when it's right to stick to my guns.  I mean, come on!  My heart (and eyes, and thighs) delighted at the haul just as my son's had.  But then, being the adult, I had to say no.  I had to make the wise decision that if I let my son eat to his heart's content he'd bounce around like a baby on crack and then get so wound up that at the end of the evening there would be a giant temper tantrum, tears, and my feeling like I needed to be checked into a mental institution.

And in the hopes of avoiding all such occurrences, I reined him in.  I keep everyone on even-keel, even though half the time I'd like to join them on a bender or two, be it staying up late or playing the music loud or shoving my face with chocolate.  

I could tell you that it all probably stems from my childhood, and it probably wouldn't be wrong.  Still, somehow I feel like I have to find a little more of an erratic balance sometimes.  I don't know-- maybe it's the weather, the little tulips workin' hard for a livin', the promise of tomorrow's backhand slap of snow-sleet-crap.  

Or maybe it's the smell of that chocolate that's got me all worked up-- and, if you'll excuse me, hold that thought.  I must attend to my moronic cat who is trying to barf up a little piece of foil he found on the floor.  

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Oh yes.

"Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well." -- Barack Obama 3/18/08

'nuf said.