Merry Christmas 2011

Merry Christmas to all who read the J Train. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and have a Happy New Year!


Three Black Things

I'd like to write about three black things in my life today.

1. My bag lady sweater. I'm actually on the third...it seems every two years or so I get a new warm black sweater that I wear constantly in the winter. They begin to look worn and prickly and I wear them long after their life. But it is cold. I cannot remove it. Not even to take a picture of it. And I'm certainly not taking a picture of myself wearing it.

2. Burnt toast. A pan full for the family at dinner. I rarely let this happen. I am still getting used to my radioactive oven. The broiling is even crazier than the baking. Though burnt toast is always a disappointment, it was quite a beautiful black color.

3. This drawing I found when I cleaned out the van today. Done by Libby. Is there anything better than the way you feel when you find a black sharpie? She must have been so excited to find one to use in her sketchbook in the van that she drew this picture. There is nothing more to be said about these wonderful pens and this amazing drawing (by an amazing artist) conveying true love for them.

I love you black sweater. I love you, burnt toast. It's not your fault. I love you, Sharpie. I love you Libby. Thanks for making my day.


Mommy McGyver

One of my many jobs as a wife, mom, and home manager is to keep track of things around here. I wish I could tell you that I'm one of those people that throws every small loose item away. I'm not. I keep things, knowing that if I throw it away, I will surely need it within 24 hours. It is one of the many points in Murphy's Law of Home Economics.

I am often confiscating things or finding things that are too small and thus a choking hazard. Or maybe it's a small item I don't want to lose. It could be something that seems important but I have no idea what it is. Does anyone else have these items? I have a lot of them. And they do have a home, because though my house does not always appear to be neat or tidy, most of the time I know exactly where everything is. (Except shoes. But that is another post.)

Where is my home for small unclaimed, choke-able, or important (so must be kept away from the children) items?

I'll tell you.

It's the kitchen window sill above my sink.

Why there? Because no one can reach them, of course! And also they seem to go unnoticed there somehow.

Behind my sink is a treasure trove of random thing-a-majigs. Sometimes I can't stand it and I have to clean it off. But most of the time I stare at these things every time I wash my hands and as an artist I feel it is an installation piece representing what's gone on around here since the last time I cleaned it off. Also, I am like a savant, using my sky-high IQ to memorize each and every item so if anyone asks where the chain that came off the fan is, I can retrieve it and thus feel as though I did my job as home manager over and above the call of duty.

As I write, some of the things in my window are: two toenail clippers, two candles, blue hair spray, fake vampire blood, infant Tylenol, a light bulb, disinfecting wipes, a paintbrush, two keys (don't know what they open), some loose change, bobby pins, a comb and hairbrush, soda can pop tops, and a flashlight.

I'm sure MacGyver could power a small town with the items found on my kitchen windowsill on any given day. Or at least make a pretty decent bomb.

Just one more way I can do my job. Because you never know when the power might go out and I will have to pretend to be MacGyver and I'll need some stuff to generate a little electricity. Hey, no food's going to spoil here, I'm collecting some junk in my kitchen window.