Hedgehogs and Note to Self

Dear Kid,

Dad’s in “no”-mode again. But it’s ok—I have a plan.

The latest reason for him being in “no” mode is that I want a hedgehog. I saw the reason for not having a river otter in the house (what with not having a river in the house). So I’ve decided we need a hedgehog.

Have you SEEN these adorable little things?

See what I mean? How could you not want one of your own?

A group of hedgehogs is called an array. No one cares. Because they are pretty solitary creatures.

I’ve decided we need a hedgehog. DearKidLoveMom.comA hedgehog carries around between 5,000 and 7,000 quills. Quills? Wait, what? Note to self: find out if quills are very painful.

Their spikes are mostly hollow (which makes them light but strong—which is good because hedgehogs are tiny) and they are not barbed. They shed quills each of which lasts about a year. Note to self: Find out if it hurts to step on a quill.

Hedgehogs, being ideal candidates for glasses which they almost never get, rely on hearing and smelling to figure out what’s going on. When a hedgehog is exposed to a strong smell or taste, he will “self-anoint” which means cover his quills in foamy saliva. Ick.

Hedgehogs are mostly immune to snake venom. Why would I need to know that? I don’t want snakes in the house. Especially poisonous ones.

Hedgehogs (which used to be called urchins before urchins took the name) eat small creatures such as insects, worms, centipedes, snails, mice, frogs, and snakes. Um, centipedes? Not in my house, they don’t.

Hedgehogs are mostly nocturnal. Which is a fancy word for saying they don’t want to play when people want them to.

Note to self: More investigation is warranted.

Love, Mom

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Weather, the Maple Grove, and Dust Dragons (Oh, My!)

Dear Kid,

Winter is coming! Unless it’s Spring. No, I think it’s winter. Except it’s 90 degrees outside. Wait, wait, that’s snow. Definitely winter.

On cable TV they have a weather channel — 24 hours of weather. We had something like that where I grew up. We called it a window. ~Dan Spencer DearKidLoveMom.comMore like definitely confusing. The weather has no idea if it’s coming or going. And it doesn’t seem to care one bit that Mr. Phil Groundhog himself already declared that winter will stick around. It seems Mother Nature trumps Mr. Groundhog each and every time and right now Mother Nature is suffering from an Advanced Case of Indecision.

Meanwhile, your father has tapped the maple grove (and by “maple grove” I mean the one maple tree in our front yard). The first day the sap ran (or sort of meandered—I think it forgot its jogging shoes) into the spile and the jug. Then nothing seemed to actually happen. Turns out the sap has frozen. In the spile. In the tubing. And in the jug. Maple syrup will have to wait.

In other news, I’ve heard rumors that the Dust Dragons are organizing and plan to take over. I’ve considered sending the Puppy as an envoy, but I’m concerned he’ll get eaten. I’ve thought about attacking with the vacuum cleaner, but that seems like a somewhat rash and unnecessary act of housekeeping. I’m hoping they’ll just settle down and go back to being decorative.

Love, Mom

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National Pizza Day! How Are You Going to Celebrate?

Dear Kid,

Did you know that Super Bowl Sunday is the top pizza day in the country? Of course you did. More people eat pizza on Super Bowl Sunday than on any other day of the year. Which is (confusingly) why National Pizza Day is February 9th.

The most popular pizza size in the U.S. is 14 inches in diameter.

The rest of the top 5 pizza days are: New Year’s Eve, Halloween, the night before Thanksgiving, and New Year’s Day. I find New Year’s Eve as the second most popular time for pizza to odd. And somewhat sad. And delicious.

National Pizza Day! How Are You Going to Celebrate? DearKidLoveMom.comBecause in ‘Murica, we love pizza. We, the People, eat about 100 acres of pizza a day. Each and every day. Most of them have pepperoni on them. And we wonder why we’re not a svelte People.

Pizza comes from the Latin picea meaning “blackening of crust by fire” or “mama doesn’t feel like cooking tonight.”

Women are twice as likely as men to order vegetables on their pizza.

Pizza is a Most Excellent Food at any time of day. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, coffee break, middle of the afternoon, pre-dawn, post-late-night. Any time. Hot. Cold. Warm. But not frozen. Frozen pizza would be bad.

Have a wonderful (and not frozen) National Pizza Day!

Love, Mom

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The World Is On A Downward Trajectory In A Picnic Hamper

Dear Kid,

The world is on a downward trajectory in a picnic hamper.

The world is on a downward trajectory in a picnic hamper. DearKidLoveMom.comNot only did we have to endure two whole days with no Diet Coke in the machine, but CLOO has gone off the air. The entire station. The. Entire. Station.

Which means I am now in NCIS marathon withdrawal.

Which means there will be more than the usual amount of channel surfing until I find a new channel to love (and by “love” I mean resort to when there’s nothing else on the airwaves to keep me company while I’m working and writing). And by “nothing else on the airwaves” I mean

Do not suggest Hulu or Netflix or any other pay-more-for-TV channel because I’m just not ready.

It is a sad, sad state of affairs.

On the other hand, NCIS is still producing new shows, Big Bang Theory is in reruns all over the place (as well as new shows), and we’re not buried in 10 feet of snow.

And there’s likely to be hot coffee in a mug nearby.

Hope you have a wonderful day, kiddo. And avoid one way trips in baskets.

Love, Mom

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I Can’t Keep Quiet | The Sauna and Real Responsibility

Dear Kid,

I have started sauna-ing.

Sitting in the sauna is what you do after you’ve been exercising hard and want to relax your muscles.

It’s also what you do if you haven’t been exercising hard enough and want to sweat anyway.

Sometimes sitting in the sauna is a time for quiet (and warm) reflection.

Other times, it’s an interesting conversation with people you might never meet anywhere else.

I mean how often do you go up to someone who is working out and randomly start chatting? OK, in my world it happens more often than you might think, given that I seem to have a way of introducing myself. And when J and I are at the gym together, you can imagine that we manage to meet all sorts of interesting people.

Last night (after our very intense workout), we were in the sauna, solving all the world’s problems, when we got into an interesting conversation with a woman who is approximately your age (and by “approximately” I mean exactly give or take a few months).

We started talking about the movie Twilight (which I have not seen, but I read one of the books a long time ago). This very insightful woman was saying how she’d rewatched the movie recently and started noticing how the relationship was a very abusive one (emotionally speaking). Which got all of us talking about why women do some of the things we do and enter into some of the relationships we enter into.

Many people (more knowledgeable than I) have written (much better than I possibly could) about the insidious little steps that seem (more or less) harmless at the time but in reality lead to the next one and the next one and…

We (and I mean all of us) have a responsibility to watch for subtle signs and signposts. To watch over our friends, our family, people we care about, people who are only on the edge of our awareness. To reinforce the “rightness” of standing up for ourselves. To give women permission to listen to that little warning voice we so often ignore. To insist that they respect themselves. DearKidLoveMom.comWe (and I mean all of us) have a responsibility to watch for subtle signs and signposts. To watch over our friends, our family, people we care about, people who are only on the edge of our awareness. To reinforce the “rightness” of standing up for ourselves. To give women permission to listen to that little warning voice we so often ignore. To insist that they respect themselves.

I’ve been obsessing over MILCK and I Can’t Keep Quiet. Hopefully, you’ve heard it already. If not, here it is.

Love, Mom

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No Waterfowl Were Harmed in the Writing of this Letter | National Lame Duck Day

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time (by which I mean in England in the 1700s which is before even your grandfather was born) the term “lame duck” referred to stock brokers who couldn’t pay their debts. I don’t know why. Those British, you know.

Then the term carried over to people (in those days, men) who were completely bankrupt but would continue to do business.

You want me to fly with crutches? I think not. Lame duck, my ass. Happy National Lame Duck Day. DearKidLoveMom.comBack in the Old Days (and by “old days” I mean before hashtags were invented) of the United States, there were 13 months (count ‘em—over a year) from the time a congressperson (man, in those days) was elected until the time he took office. Which meant a long time during which he was neither campaigning nor particularly beholden to his constituency. This time was called a lame duck session of congress.

On the plus side, this meant that congressmen could get on with the business of governing. On the downside, it meant that many people (men, mostly) considered that these folks didn’t have any real power since they’d been booted out of their jobs.

An awful lot of people are confused as to just what is meant by a lame duck Congress. It’s like where some fellows worked for you and their work wasn’t satisfactory and you let ’em out, but after you fired ’em, you let ’em stay long enough so they could burn your house down.  – Will Rogers

So back in the 1930s (also a long time ago), people decided that 13 months was just waaaay too long. And they decided to pass the 20th Amendment to the Constitution to shorten the “lame duck” period from 13 months to 2 months. Which meant the waterfowl didn’t need crutches for nearly as long.

The Amendment was passed by Congress (not during a lame duck session) on March 2, 1932 and ratified on January 23, 1933. So why am I talking about it today? Because it was Proclaimed by the United States Secretary of State on February 6, 1933 and February 6th was therefore chose as National Lame Duck Day.

Which is pretty lame if you ask me.

Love, Mom

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A Perfect Sunday

Dear Kid,

A Perfect Sunday (obviously) starts with the night before. Last night Dad took me to see the North College Hill Community Theater production of The Real Inspector Hound. The accents came and went a bit, but it was delightful (I LOVE Tom Stoppard [the author]) and a nice little space. The only thing that could have improved it would have been to tie it with another of Stoppard’s one act plays. On the flip side, with only one act we got home before bedtime.

Also last night the Puppy slept through the night. Which was a Big Freakin’ Deal. We are quite hopeful that this is a sign that the 4am barking phase is over and done with.

Today, I hope to get to the gym early and be home in time for the most important event of the year. You got it: the Puppy Bowl.

This year they’ve included several “disabled” dogs. Um, “differently-abled” please. The really wonderful news is that all these pups are from shelters and have now been adopted. Big cheer from the endzone if you ask me.

Also, flippin’ cute.

As a conversation stopper, "I don't drink caffeine" was right up there with “Let’s talk politics and religion.” DearKidLoveMom.comThen there’s football.

I really hope it’s a good game. It’s the last one of the season and I hope, hope, hope it provides 100% in the way of entertainment and sport and 0% in the way of scandal. We, the People, need that.

Meanwhile, the sun is shining, the streets are clear, and the coffee is hot.

This is shaping up to be a perfect Sunday.

Love, Mom

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