Friday, November 26, 2010


Around the Taylor living room fire, we counted up the points for the day. Without a doubt Thorpe got the most. She made the turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, salad dressing, and sweet potatoes. She swept the kitchen, served mulled cider, and employed Hiromi—when the grad student came out of her room for air. Thorpe also directed the clean up. (But technically all Thorpe’s points belong to me because she is my servant. I like to let her feel like she’s earned a little here and there for herself. But if she ever tries to cash in her points, she’ll discover the truth.)

Grandma Taylor and Teri’s scores closely followed Thorpe’s. They provided the green bean casserole, ham, pickles, rolls, bubbly drinks, breakfast bacon, tea, salad, olives, and pumpkin pie. Grandma Taylor also gets points for directing the after dinner Yoga exercises and for sticking around until 7ish when we ate at 4:30. Phil got a point because he’s my husband, and Papi got a point for leading us in a round of thankful prayer.

The rest of the scores aren’t worth mentioning, except perhaps the two funny points Jacob got for making clean up a comical experience for all who were involved. I only know from hearsay. I was practicing Spanish with Mama Grace and Papi while the kitchen work was taking place.

Thus sits the final scores for Thanksgiving 2010 at the Taylor’s when the patriarch and matriarch were eating Cheereos in a Denver hospital. My Mom’s points probably add up to twice Thorpe’s, considering all that she’s organized in the last week and a half. But we don’t have an actual point-count on that yet. My guess is it’ll be somewhere in the high fifties, what with flights, hotels, paperwork, phone calls, and hospitals.

I hear that Finn Fincher got half a point for being an exceptionally good baby while his parents assisted my mom, but who’s counting half-points? And of course it would be useless to count my Dad’s points because crashing an ATV put him too far in the negative to make up over a period of 12 days.

Now I’d like to add up the Fincher points, but if I ask my Mom, she’ll assign all her points to the Finchers, and if I ask the Finchers, they’ll assign all their points to my Mom. Then it’s nothing but work, work, work all the time.

I tell you… no regard for the scorekeeper.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Wires and Fractions

Tonight Phil and I watched the airplanes as we constructed a frame for our bathroom mirror. The cumulous had the weatherman telling us it would rain, but we didn’t feel a drop. The planes however were unusually low. They wove in and out of the clouds as we watched. Phil and I felt like we were whale watching in Baja, except we gazed up for a glimpse of a 747’s belly.

The weather was perfect for being outside: sunny and blustery. But we spent the morning indoors trying to figure out how to move a light switch and plug over 5 inches. The original switch/plug location was directly under our off-centered bathroom light, which is next on the list to move. Our plan is to hide the old light hole with our mirror frame. But this meant we had to move the old switch/plug over 5 inches.

We had a pretty good idea how to do this, but when I pulled off the light/plug cover, I found madness. I drew a detailed diagram and called my dad before trying to do anything else. He made sense of it and helped Phil and I perform the transplant. The blank cover over the old switch/plug bulges with all the wires jammed into it.

After the operation we enjoyed the gorgeous weather. With grocery bags in hand we walked Beverly, Alta, Hadley, Greenleaf, and Camilla picking up trash as we went. Phil has wanted to take a trash-walk for a while. Today he remembered to bring a bag. Candy wrappers from Halloween were the top item, closely followed by cups, straws, and little pieces of fabric. We also found shreds of a pink feather boa, a goblin glove, and half a toy motorcycle. We should do that more often.

After the walk we read some Louis L’Amour. Kurt Plubell’s report on L’Amour at book club got Phil and I started. L’Amour’s books are full of sword fights, narrow escapes, and manly-manness. I enjoy a good man book; they give me ideas on how to keep my Junior High boy’s engaged in my Math lessons. My most recent ideas caused one student to exclaim: “Ah! My Math teacher keeps a knife in her desk!”

It was true. For one week I kept a knife and cutting board in my desk for a demonstration on decimals. Last week I brought Phil’s ratchet set, Allen wrenches, and drill bits to explain comparing fractions.

While I hate having to teach fractions and decimals—why didn’t these kids learn this in sixth grade—, these topics are perfect for visual aids. Later we’ll measure objects around the classroom with IKEA measuring tapes. Then we’ll taste test cookies that the students create after dividing the ingredients in half.

After making the frame for our bathroom mirror today, I think I’ll ask our principle if I can bring a Mitre box and saw to school. Building their own frames will be an excellent fraction lesson.