Monday, May 31, 2010

thomas jefferson, day 1

while out rambling on saturday, i found a soft stuffed thomas jefferon doll at a neighborhood yard sale.  now, caricaturish he may have seemed, and the bow tie was so incongruous i had to giggle, but how could i pass up a founding father for just a quarter??  and my favorite president at that?!!

he seemed delighted to have been rescued, telling us how confused he felt, left as he was on the table for a couple of hours before we decided to adopt him.  needless to say, a lot of s'plaining was necessary.  we got him back to the house and with the help of google and the interwebs, which he was on ALL NIGHT apparently, he seemed to have acquired a fairly firm grasp of a wide variety of topics by the time we woke up on sunday morning.   i know he was considered really intelligent back in the day, but i was truly surprised at what a quick study he proved to be!

after being shocked that breakfast consisted only of cereal and some fresh fruit (he's just going to have to suck it up that 12 course meals are a thing of the past!), thomas joined us in the early cool of yesterday morning as we duly set off for our community garden. while being suitably impressed with the speed at which we are able to travel, tom was thoroughly annoyed at having to wear a seat belt (as can be seen from the look on his face!), even when we explained the dangers of driving without one.  methinks he was secretly a serious libertarian.  boy, is he in for a shock, landing as he has in a liberal family like ours!

back to the garden, where we have just started growing our own organic vegetables and herbs.  now, our 30 x 30 plot is more than sufficient for our little family of three (okay, four now that thomas has joined us), but i have to say, he was completely underwhelmed ... both by our efforts and the size of the plot! (i think that even after hours on the webs, he may have been surrepticiously looking around for our slaves!)  however, i think he came to see that we were doing our level best and that huge tracts of land are no longer available, as they were in his day.  he even (graciously) posed for this photo!

on our return to the house, we showered and came down to find tom kickin' back watching some TV.  the old boy sure seems to enjoy the history channel!  however, continued bad news of the oil spill really freaked him out.  "LOUISIANA??" he kept yelling.  "My purchase???".   it took a while to calm him down, but since everyone in the house is more than a little sad over the failure of the topkill, we didn't feel it was really fair to censor his reactions in any way.

later in the day, we did our memorial day grilling, as hubby has to work today ... the joys of being a reporter!  tom had fun watching the whole grilling process and thoroughly enjoyed the ribs, burgers and shrimp.

today, we are chillin' (except for hubby, who is off to work soon) and tom, i believe, is out on the deck catching some rays.  he sure loves nature.  there is a problem, however ... if anyone knows where i can find the guy a tricorn that'll fit, please let me know ... he's not happy without a hat and the one i gave him (borrowed from the boy amish doll) is, in his words, "inelegant and undesirable".  rotten ingrate!

Friday, May 28, 2010

appreciation of american holidays

well, memorial day weekend is here.  in our house, that means ... well, not much, really.  hubby, apart from being a published author, freelance writer and editor, is also a reporter for the local paper and he is working monday, so we'll do our grillin' on sunday instead.  our son, nick, is the grill master.  the kid just loves grilling, what can i say?   he'll be out there, ipod hooked up to the speakers on the deck, tongs in hand, completely in his element.  i just love watching the whole joyful spectacle of it!!  of course, the prep work falls to me and  i love it! choice of foods is anything but exotic, but you can count on ribs, burgers and shrimp being on the menu. 

I guess that being an immigrant, it took me a while to understand the significance of the various american holidays, and i think memorial day was the first uniquely american holiday i experienced after arriving in the country almost  fourteen years ago.  we were living in florida at the time and we drove up to jupiter and had lunch at one of those key-westy-waterside-quay type restaurants.  afterwards, we ended up at the jupiter lighthouse and there was this massive picnic going on, with about a million flags.  everywhere you looked, people were decked out in the colors and i was really impressed.  hey, i'm from south africa ... we did things differently back there, ok? 

over the years, i have come to deeply appreciate the significance of the holidays americans celebrate.  without a doubt, thanksgiving is my favorite.  i just love the whole pilgrim thing!!  i love decorating the house when fall rolls around, all with thanksgiving in mind.  i do, however, recall a rather disastrous pumpkin episode in west palm beach.  we had just returned from a trip to philadelphia, and having seen all the pumpkins so beautifully displayed on porch steps in the suburbs of philly, and fallen completely in love with the idea, i dutifully went out and bought the largest pumpkin i could find and proudly put it outside, next to the front door. 

oh gosh, anyone from florida is probably falling off their chair laughing at me by now, but hey, i was new to the tradition and still fairly new to the country.  how was i to know that within 72 hours, the pumpkin would be a steaming, rotten, stinking mess, crawling with ants and bugs that seemed to have migrated specifically to my garden with the firm intent of feeding on said rotten pumpkin???  my sons friends eventually did the whole 'kick the cr@p outta the pumpkin' thing before i had a chance to get out there and clean it up.  let me tell you, rotten-insect-fed-upon pumpkin is one of the vilest smelling things on the planet.  there was NO pumpkin on the thanksgiving menu that first year, i assure you!

back to memorial day: i want to wish everyone a wonderful memorial day weekend. drive safely. and above all, let's not forget WHY and in whose honor we celebrate this day. thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to all our troops who so gallantly serve this nation and its people.