Watching CNN yesterday, I felt simultaneously utterly insignificant AND an integral part of something bigger and more important than I can possibly comprehend. The last time I felt that way was right after 9/11, and needless to say, the last time it didn’t feel particularly GOOD. Yesterday felt good.
So all of this other stuff, this minutiae going on in my life… I realize that it’s just filler. I don’t have any illusions about it. Still, it’s My Stuff, and if I don’t talk about it, WHO WILL? (No one, that’s who. I mean, I hope. That would be kind of weird, otherwise.)
All of which is a looooong way of saying that my life is still completely insignificant, but not everyone can go to the Inaugural Ball or be sworn into the highest office in the land. Some of us have to do everything ELSE. Like stay at home and eat Sun Chips and pretend that they’re healthier than potato chips because, dude, they totally have fiber and, um, STUFF!
And I’m pleased to report that I feel I’m handling the whole Sun Chips things like a real pro. No need to thank me! Just doing my civic duty.
Nevertheless, little things are niggling at me, as they sometimes do. And so I will share, because maybe you need to know while you eat YOUR Sun Chips.
Otto and I went out to dinner over the weekend, and we did so with the excellent planning we always use, which means that we were out and about running errands and then realized it was late and we were starving, which is a GREAT WAY to embark upon a Saturday night dinner out, because NO ONE is out eating, then! So we tried one restaurant and the wait was insane, so we went to another and waited half an hour for a table.
By the time the waitress brought us some bread, I may have bitten her hand off at the wrist in my hurry to get some food into my stomach. I then ordered a pomegranate martini, which I tried VERY HARD to only have a few sips of before the food came, on account of Empty Stomach + Low Alcohol Tolerance = Extreme Silliness, if I’m not careful. Despite the superior deliciousness (nice and tart! not too sweet!) of my drink, I’d really only had maybe half an inch of it when our food arrived. This did not stop me from declaring “THIS IS THE BEST THING I’VE EVER PUT IN MY MOUTH!” at top volume—waving my steak knife around, for emphasis—after biting into my ribeye.
I want to believe this was because it’s been months since I had any beef, rather than because I was tipsy. Then again, I also want to believe that Otto then darted under the table because he dropped his napkin, not because he was hiding.
Speaking of Meat
So the whole kid-gone-vegetarian thing has wrought some interesting changes in our cooking; most notably that we’re all eating a lot less meat. I’m happy about the change, because I think we’re eating healthier, and I think we (that’s the royal “we,” like, all Americans) eat too much meat in general, anyway. And it wasn’t until we went out to dinner the other night that I realized I’d pretty much stopped buying beef, and so we’ve had some chicken and some pork chops sprinkled amongst the veggie options, but NO BEEF. Hence the hankering for—and extreme enjoyment of—the steak. Mmmmm… tasty cow.
I am also VERY excited about the fact that after nearly two years of whining about how I just want to find a local place to buy a side of beef, or whatever, so that at least the meat we eat has a smaller carbon footprint and might not be full of industrial chemicals and whatnot, a friend of mine came up with a connection to a local farm where we can go in together and each get a quarter of a cow. Yay! Local meat!
Then she gave me some more details and I realized that even just a quarter of a cow is, well, A WHOLE LOTTA MEAT, and given the way we’ve been ’round here, it would still be WELL above our requirements for even a year’s supply. I then sent out an email to some OTHER friends, informing them that I was going to go ahead and commit to buying a quarter, but that really the most we want/need is an eighth, and if anyone else wanted to buy some of our portion, to let me know. Now I have two friends who are willing to take half of my quarter and split it between them, so when all is said and done I think I’ll have an eighth of a cow in my freezer and they’ll each have a sixteenth, although how we’ll actually manage the logistics of this isn’t entirely clear at the moment (I’ll set up Mir’s Butcher Shop in my garage one Saturday, I’m guessing, while Chickadee pickets outside with a sign that says MEAT IS MURDER).
… and, suddenly, I wonder if maybe Chickadee doesn’t have the right idea. But then I remember the ribeye and start to drool. So.
There’s a whole story I could tell you about how YET ANOTHER drama going on here in our school district is this endless discussion over whether or not the public schools should institute a uniform, but it makes my eye twitch so I’ll refrain. I will state, however, for the record, that NOTHING WOULD MAKE ME HAPPIER than the kids wearing uniforms to school. It seems like it would be a lot easier. But for various reasons—including the issues inherent in requiring certain clothing when you have a large segment of the student body living below the poverty line—I doubt it’s going to happen.
I swear, that was background to this: Chickadee is going to be in the school spelling bee. She’s very jazzed about the whole thing. I am, too, owing to the fact that I never really got over that early elimination in 8th grade when I misspelled “hollyhock.” (I knew how to spell it, too, I just somehow left out an L, and then hated myself for making such a stupid mistake when I knew the right answer.) Ahem. ANYWAY. Suddenly a letter has come home to the parents of kids who are participating, from the school’s vice principal, reminding us of the day and time and asking parents to come support their kids.
And also listing what the children are supposed to wear.
Girls should wear a white blouse or turtleneck with blue pants (NOT JEANS) or a blue skirt. Boys should wear a button-down white shirt with blue pants (NOT JEANS). “If possible.”
Chickadee says the VP told them that this dress code is MANDATORY and that it only says “if possible” on the instructions “so that the parents don’t feel like I’m bossing them around.” Hey! Guess what! If you send home a notice less than a week before an event telling me that my kid has to wear a specific outfit, I’m going to feel bossed around! And while it’s annoying for me—Chickadee doesn’t own blue non-jean pants or a blue skirt, nor does she have a white blouse—I could afford to go buy her new clothes, I guess, though the idea of doing so irritates me. For many of the parents receiving that letter, the kids aren’t going to have the “right” outfit, AND there will be no money to outfit them. What then?
“Oh, well, we’re supposed to tell you to borrow from someone or maybe go look at Goodwill,” Chickadee told us. Oh. Fabulous! Let me get RIGHT ON THAT. Given how much free time I have, I’m certain that ALL THE OTHER PARENTS (especially the ones who are really struggling to make ends meet) will also not find this presumptuous and exasperating AT ALL.
I am considering sending Chickie on Bee Day in something that COMPLETELY violates the rules. But I realize that would be wrong. So instead, I told her she can wear the closest thing she has. And now—surprise!—she’s angry at me because I won’t go buy her the prescribed outfit. Thanks, Vice Principal!
On second thought, maybe I will show up in MY white blouse and blue skirt. With a steak in one hand and a pomegranate martini in the other. I’m pretty sure I’d have a whole new appreciate for spelling bees (and dress codes, and the universe in general…) if I got to do it that way.