Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bowl Birthdays

"You are SOOOO lucky!!!" 
My brother, Brian, said this to me one year when my birthday fell on Super Bowl Sunday. 
I didn't feel lucky. I didn't want to spend the entire day watching football, which is what we would most certainly be doing. (Well, besides going to church). He, on the other hand, thought there were few things greater than a both a birthday and the Super Bowl on the same day. 

I've watched few, if any, Super Bowls since leaving home. Yesterday, I guessed (correctly) that the Steelers were playing this year. After all, it seems like I've seem them in the news and mentions of them on my yahoo home page. I was told the Arizona Cardinals would be the opposing team. Funny. I'd never heard of them. Wait a minute. Aren't the Cardinals in St. Louis? I looked them up on Wikipedia. Apparently, I've not watched football since 1987.

I have had birthdays, though. Some on Super Bowl Sunday, some not. This year, my birthday was on Monday. On Monday, the ALA announced the children and young adult literary awards for 2009: The Newbery Award, the Caldecott Medal, The Printz Award. The Super Bowl of Children's Writing. Combine that and the fact I finally got flowers on my birthday:
Well, I am so lucky.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Miss America

Why am I watching Miss America? Tradition, probably. It used to be in September, right around my sister's birthday. We didn't watch it every year, but enough to remember some highlights. Like the year Sharlene Wells, Miss Utah, won. She played the harp, and ate almost a pound of fudge just prior to  the swimsuit competition. I'll also never forget the year Vanessa Williams was stripped of her crown after nude photos of her were exposed by Penthouse magazine. I was young. . . and shocked.

My Mom always complained that they didn't show enough of the talent portion of the competition and too much of the swimsuit competition. And can we really compare an opera song to a show tune? or tap dancing to classical ballet? And a dramatic reading? Just how did she get all the way to Miss America doing a dramatic reading??? My mother loved the talent portion. She would always base her prediction of the winner based on the contestant's performance in the talent competition. Almost always, she was wrong. 

My father, on the other hand, almost always correctly predicted the winner beforehand. Ironically, he wouldn't even watch the pageant. Usually he just bumped in from time to time, complaining "oh, did I miss the swimsuit competition again this year?" 

No, my father would base his predictions on a set of random factors. A minor one was chest size. (For this my mother would scold him. He'd shrug and say, "sad, but true"--He never claimed to approve). The major factor, however, was simply a different kind of size: the size of their home states. New York, California, and Texas were always front runners. He'd also account for any politically correct wild card-ness. (In the case of Vanessa Williams, it was time for a black woman to win, and one year, there was a contestant who was deaf). 

This method of prediction drove my mother nuts. It tore at her belief that the Miss America pageant was based primarily on talent, scholarship, and community service. To this my father would answer, "I'm not saying that Miss so-and-so SHOULD win, just that she WILL win." Then my mother would point out that her evening gown was the wrong color for her skin tone. Yes, it was as entertaining to watch my parent's bicker about who would win as it was to watch the pageant. 

Home tonight, watching alone, well there's just not as much fun in it. There's still surgical enhancement, spray-on tans, too much make-up, and that song: "Here she comes, Miss America." Oh, and world peace. There is always, always world peace. Well, a girl can dream.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I did something last night that I hardly ever do. I went to bed without taking off my make-up. I  thought it through. Since I didn't even put make-up on until 4:45 p.m., I thought maybe it could stay there all night without terribly damaging effects. After all, there are days I wear make-up ALL day. What's the difference, if you wear it all night? 
Well,  I read once that for every time you don't wash your make-up off at night, you age five days. I've committed this crime twice in past year. So people, that technically means that today's my birthday.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kids & Christmas

Christmas is not my favorite holiday. Instead I long to crawl under a rock and stay there until the spring thaw. At the very least, I want to stay home the entire month of December. I really do. I want to stay home, snuggle with my kids, and read a book. I wish that there really was a man in a red suit to deliver presents on Christmas morning so I don't have to go shopping. My brother-in-law calls me Scrooge. 

I didn't stay home, though. No, this year we packed up all our kids, all their presents, all our snow/winter gear and went to Idaho. I didn't want to, but I understood that my husband and our children did. It wasn't about me, anyway. Christmas isn't about adults. 

We'd driven about 40 minutes when my husband got a call that his cousin had been killed that morning in an avalanche while snowmobiling. We still had a 2 1/2 hour drive. A person thinks during that time. 

We entered the house to a somber crowd. Jesse had worked for my husband's brother alongside  his other two brothers. We probably knew Jesse least, but I never saw him without a smile on his face. Now I saw pain in everyone's eyes. 

And then our kids came in behind us, bounding--their eyes and hearts excited for Christmas and all it's wonders. Being at Grandma and Grandpa's was an added bonus. It took a little time, but I watched everyone pick up their sagging hearts. After all, there was still Christmas to be had. 

So we had Christmas. It was better for everyone, I think, because of the kids. It's hard to be too sad, with children around at Christmastime. Of all the years, this one was a good one to be at Grandma and Grandpa Campbell's. We didn't bring anyone lots of gifts. O.K, we didn't bring any gifts. But we brought the kids. I hope it was enough.