SP’s question of the day


What do you suppose happened to the young woman photographed in the light colored dress shouting something nasty at Elizabeth Eckford as Central High in  Little Rock, Arkansas was integrated?  The photograph is in this week’s Time Magazine, but I have seen it before as well.


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I loved playing with wooden blocks when I was a kid. We keep ours out in the living room so the kids can play with them often (and I can play with them when I put them away, often). We have a set of maybe 100 with a few odds and ends from my childhood and probably my father’s as well added to it. I think of all the blocks I remember having as a kid, now we are down to about 15. Surely we didn’t start out with 100! I described them to my husband, the tall rectangle green ones were dads and the round yellow ones were mothers. The short ones were children. He said, “you mean the ones with the hay bales,” and sure enough, the “boys” were green and hay bale shaped. That is why blocks are a great toy for the imagination, a different toy for each kid.

Speaking of toys that involve hundreds of parts, Jane asked Santa for a Percy train last year, Percy is a companion of the famous Thomas the Tank Engine. Of course, a train must have a track, so we now have a wooden track too. This I keep in the living room so I can play with it on lonely evenings. I have to wait until the kids are in bed, because Leo will come up and swipe his hands across your project and laugh his evil baby laugh as he knocks everything down. It takes a different mind set to build things which are sure to be knocked down before completion. An architect under these circumstances doesn’t spend time on elaborate details, but builds a utilitarian structure.

The best gift I remember getting as a child was a shoebox full of Barbie clothes made by my Aunt Gloria. I played with them, my step daughter Janine played with them, and now the Ladies play with them. I can’t be sure, but I think we still have nearly all of them. I keep the Barbies put up most of the time because I think my daughters are too young to play with dolls that look like that. Technically I think they will never be old enough to play with dolls that look like that. I prefer that they play with baby dolls. We do have some Barbies that stay out most of the time, like Ariel, Jane’s hero. But every chance I get, I put the Barbies away until someone makes a request a few weeks later and I get a few out again for a couple of days.

We went to a wedding last summer, where my niece, Marie married Abdul. This was the first wedding my children remembered attending, and it made a huge impression on the Ladies. They found an older brown haired Barbie to be Marie (although Marie is actually blonde) and dressed her up in the wedding dress my aunt made. Poor Abdul (Ken) only had a velvet cape and a black cowboy hat to wear. It was a pretty drafty ensemble. I found a lady in on Ebay who makes beautiful Barbie and Ken formal clothes, so we invested in a tux. Unfortunately, Marie got an illness common in older Barbies, her neck broke, causing her head to fall off, so I had to find another brown haired Barbie. The New Marie is a beach Barbie complete with tattoo and bare feet.

Those Bratz dolls look skanky. I really don’t want any of those in my house. At least Barbie looks glamorous in a runway model sort of way, not just plain old slutty. I suppose if we get one as a gift, I will do my best to distract the Ladies until I could put it in our garage sale stash. Santa brought Mae a soft doll with the name brand Groovy Girls, that looked kinda like a teenager, but a nice one, the kind you could be friends with. She even came with a change of clothes. We need to look into more of those.


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This was written a week ago Saturday.

I am not much of a football fan, I didn’t grow up watching football at all. Dad, as far as I know has only watched one brand of pro sports…rodeo, and he doesn’t follow it. Mom likes football (she grew up in Texas after all), but never made much of an effort to teach me about it. I have learned to like watching football when I know the players. Seriously, I attended about one half of a game when I was in high school, in my defense, I lived 30 miles from school, and didn’t make an extra trip often. When I went to college at University of Wyoming I stayed in my room during the first home game (and most of them aren’t warm weather games). My friends drug me to the next game and they explained what was going on. After noticing a guy I had met in the common area of my dorm suited up and playing, I was hooked. We always sat on the 30, about 5 or 6 rows up.

After graduation I moved to a tiny town in Nebraska, and I went to nearly every home game as well as the nearby away games. The town was so small, several of the band members marched at half time wearing their football uniforms. They had an awesome team, often scoring 45 more points than their opponents, ending the game early. My husband made the mistake of proposing to me during half time of one of their games, on a romantic river bridge just outside of town, and after he was done I was itching to get back so I could finish watching the Broncos beat the Trojans.

Right now I am watching my nephew quarterback Idaho playing USC. He is a smart articulate young man. It is fun to see him get so much TV time. I wish I could see him make a touchdown. He has made some great plays, and the announcers even pointed out that even though Idaho was not matched athletically against USC, they were “sort of” out playing them. That was before half time though. It has been really confusing since the Idaho players have duplicate numbers, there are two 10s and several other numbers as well.

I am not a Nebraska football fan. I certainly don’t cheer against them, unless they play Wyoming of course, but most of the time I could care less. I have been to several games, and everyone is excited, and it is fun, but you have to sit so far from the game, it takes all the fun out of the live experience, no 30 yard line 5 rows up here. And I don’t know anyone on the team. I do respect my husband’s need to scream advice and insults at the refs during games. I try to keep the kids out of the way and keep enough background noise that their ears don’t turn blue.

Now when I watch football, it is usually only the Superbowl, and I always cheer for the underdog. I guess I am in my element here watching Idaho and USC. Well, Nathan is out, I sure hope they score though. I would like to see them with at least 10 points. Idaho has done well on sacks and interceptions too. Whoo hoo, they scored! They only showed the Idaho fans once, and I didn’t see my step-dad or step-brother. That sure wasn’t equal treatment.

I wish I had a team around here to follow live. I don’t know any high school boys, I guess all my friends have little kids. My husband keeps telling me that Leo will be a football player, but he is only one.

The Deadbeat Gardner

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I tackled the garden last Friday. I would call my husband a deadbeat gardener, that is the nicest thing I called him as I pulled out 6’ tall weeds and piled them in a pile roughly the size and shape of a Volkswagon Beetle. Each spring we have the same conversation, I say, “let’s just do a little garden this summer, some tomatoes, maybe a zucchini.” To this my husband replies, “Huh” very loudly which means he doesn’t agree. A few years ago I had him put in a hydrant at the end of the garden so he couldn’t stretch it one more rototiller width each year, he has to stop at the hydrant or it would be pretty obvious. His mom raised 11 children on her garden produce and he seems to think I could do likewise. This right here is one reason I am not Amish.

As I am pregnant and still unaccustomed to the humidity and heat of central Nebraska summers after nine years, I told him it was up to him this year. He gamely planted three rows of potatoes (the cheapest and most reliable produce item to buy in a store) because we had some getting a little leggy around the house. He planted tomatoes, beans, watermelon, cantaloupe, beets, zucchini, and cucumbers. At least that is all I unearthed, he might have planted carrots too. Of course the cukes are all yellow chicken bombs by this time, and since he got the garden in late, the beans seem to be just coming on. It is just too doggone hot for me to be crawling around out in the garden picking beans during Leo’s naptime (after lunch), and the mosquitoes are horrid after bedtime, so we haven’t had any.

He started the summer rototilling between the rows, but that ended when July started.  He had a pressing fencing project to complete, and a grain bin to take down, and a friend who needed help doing something and so on. It is not like he languishes on the couch watching TV or anything, but he hasn’t been gardening either.

My jungle expedition revealed a trazillion ripe grape tomatoes and lots of green tomatoes which are going to be ready soon. And the beans. We also seem to have one intrepid beet. I jostled the vines around enough to cause problems with both the cantaloupe and watermelon, two and one respectively, all small. We ate so many zucchini and cucumbers earlier this year that our skin looked like we were developing some sort of photosynthesis mechanism. Our green skin has faded though, and fall approaches. My pantry has one lonely quart of tomatoes awaiting its fate.

I ran out of canned tomatoes a few years ago, so I went to the store. Did you have any idea there were so many different kinds of canned tomatoes? Diced, whole, stewed, then you hit the value added market, diced with onions, basil, green peppers, and so on. I just go to the pantry and get a quart of tomatoes, two if I am making soup. What do you even use all this other stuff for? I am hoping the weather and the family cooperate so I can put some tomatoes up this year. I love to look at rows of home canned stuff on my shelf, and when I have the time and energy, I don’t even mind putting it up, but I don’t plan to survive on my garden produce.