Friday, March 11, 2011

7 Quick Takes

My poor husband is puny due to a tooth that has been giving him fits. Way back in his bachelor days he was cleaning the gutters of his roof and slipped. He caught a tree branch on the way down which broke his fall, but it was a big, old, heavy branch. When it started cracking, he dropped to the ground. The branch landed on top of him. It almost missed but he caught it in the face. The sandy soil saved his head and his Ray Bans saved his eyes and sight (if you need sunglasses, this is a shameless plug). He has a rakish scar above his eyebrow where they reattached his face to his head, but the main point of all this is that his teeth have cracks in them from the impact. Every few years he has to get fillings as the cracks wear into cavities over time. This one tooth had cracked close to the nerve and the filling aggravated it. The dentist thinks that there was some nerve memory from the accident that caused a surplus of pain for my poor guy. He got it yanked yesterday and with a puffy face from the post-operative swelling he's been telling me how much better he feels. That must have been one bad tooth.

Here in the south when we meet someone new we do a review of where "our people" are from and a quick genealogy check to see if we're related. Almost invariably we turn up some connection somewhere. Having done this recently I've discovered that we need more names for obscure relations. We tend to lump all the relatives in the older generations as "Aunts" and "Uncles" when we start to get too complicated in tracing our routes. We don't say, "She's my dad's great aunt Mildred." We say, "She my Auntie Mildred." Cousin works for anyone of your own generation or younger. We drop the second cousin and third cousin once-removed monikers after awhile and just claim them a bit closer than what they technically are. If someone around here says, "This is Frank. He's my cousin," you know Frank is a first cousin. If he's introduced as "This is Frank. He's a cousin," you can gather that the relationship is a bit more distant. Seriously, if this person is close enough to keep track of their relation to you, they are close enough to have a name. Maybe making up names for obscure relatives can be my new hobby.

I'm discovering this year that it is normal to feel a little hungry throughout Lent. This is all new to me because I've been exempt for the last 8 years or so due to pregnancy and breastfeeding. It's not much of a revelation, but it is giving me some thoughts to ponder.

We have our Crown of Thorns on the table. This year it is made of paper and tape because we lost the florist mold crown I made several years back. When we are short-tempered with one another in our little family, we apologize and then put a toothpick in the crown. When we do something nice for that person, we get to take it out. It's meant to be a visual reminder throughout Lent to really step up and actively work on being a kinder person, but the kids LOVE to put the toothpicks in, almost to the point of being encouraged to be nasty to one another. What I've had to do to avoid that is allow them the chance to put them in for me and my sins. Now I have all these little Pharisees following me around. "You almost said a bad word! I'll get the toothpick!" God is determined to make me a better person. "Better put in two, baby."

My on-line gaming is really suffering from all this Internet fasting. I just need to go on record with that whine.

I have to share this Ash Wednesday story from when we only had two children. We got to the front of the procession to get ashes and my husband presented the baby before getting his own ashes. I was guiding my oldest, just barely three, behind my husband. There was some hesitation in him so I was actively positioning him to take his place at the front of the line when suddenly he rang out with an indignant, "Father put DIRT on the BABY!" He slapped both hands on his forehead and glared daggers at Father John who tried valiantly to maintain his composure. When Mass was over and I came out, Father started laughing so hard he almost wept on my shoulder.

Speaking of obscure relatives, my Goddaughter just had a (beautiful, wonderful, glorious) baby. What do I call him? A Grand Godson? My Godgrandson? Surely there has to be a name for this?

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