Posted by: Mama Bear | June 4, 2009

another lunch


I promise not to post a daily picture of Logan’s lunch.  Wouldn’t want anyone to have a heart attack from all the excitement that would generate.  But I’m having so much fun with this bento stuff.

My tendency to be a bit of a copycat dates back to 2nd grade spelling tests, so I used a model I found here to make this lunch.  He has two star-shaped peanut butter sandwiches, pretzels, cheese, bear cookies, yogos and a few raisins. 

Yesterday, after Logan’s first day of summer school, I asked him if he’d like to occasionally buy a hot lunch at school. 

“That’s yucky food,” he replied. 

Once I go back to work and have to downgrade these meals to Lunchables or – gasp – traditional sandwiches, I’m laying odds that the hot lunches won’t look so yucky.

Posted by: Mama Bear | June 3, 2009


Because the Mama Bear never misses a chance to geek things up, we’re taking the bento approach to Logan’s summer school lunches.

I’m having a hard time explaining a bento.  The best I can do is to say it’s a Japanese concept of arranging food so that it’s pretty and organized.  There are lots of websites devoted to it.  This one’s my favorite.

Here’s Logan’s fare for tomorrow:


He has chicken and cheese kabobs and whole-wheat goldfish crackers in the top tier (white part) of his lunch box.  The bottom tier contains raisins, yogos and a chocolate-chip cookie.

The two tiers stack together.  Then, the lid is held in place by an elastic belt.


I made him several drawstring bags for hauling his grub.  This is the one he’ll use tomorrow:


And in keeping with my usual pattern of throwing all of my efforts into a new hobby, I’m letting a few things slide.  Namely, housework.  Good thing I have dogs.


Posted by: Mama Bear | May 25, 2009



Dad and I went to Jefferson City this weekend to tour the old Missouri State Penitentiary.  This prison, which has sat empty since being decommissioned in 2004 was, hands-down, the coolest place I’ve seen in years.


Built in 1835, it’s 100 years older than Alcatraz.  Noteworthy criminals such as gangster Pretty Boy Floyd and heavyweight champ Sonny Liston did time there.  In 1961, James Earl Ray escaped by hiding in a large bread box.  A year later, he would assassinate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Nothing was prettied-up for the tour; the prison was dark, eerie and dilapidated. 


Lead paint peeled from the walls and ceilings.  We wore hard hats as we walked around inside.


In 1963-64, there were 550 serious assaults, including hundreds of stabbings.  That year, TIME Magazine called it “the bloodiest 47 acres in America.”  The scandal led to the prison warden’s downfall.


The darkest stopping-point on our tour was the gas chamber.  Notice how death row inmates would walk past the big cross along the walkway as they headed toward the door.  Inside were two holding cells that faced the chamber.  Prisoners awaiting execution would have a bird’s-eye view of the large metal capsule.


Here’s a mirror that pointed toward the observers’ room.  It allowed witnesses to see the faces of the condemned.  However, those being executed couldn’t see them.


Photos of the 40-plus executed prisoners hung outside the chamber.  Their ages were listed along with their names and crimes.  Since I’m 36, I thought it was interesting that almost all were in their mid-30s. 


It seemed pretty slick to sit in one of the gas chamber chairs.  That is, until one of the tour guides pulled a lever to turn on the exhaust fan.  When I heard the loud rattle and accompanying rush of air, I barreled out of that chair.  I think I aged 10 years in those few seconds.


Despite the momentary notion I’d be gassed, the place was amazing. 

Posted by: Mama Bear | May 19, 2009

ask and ye shall receive

So once again, I’m a day late and a dollar short with my posts.  Thanks for the gentle reminder, dear relative who shall remain unnamed.

Mother’s Day wasn’t the bust I’d been expecting.  The hubster took charge of most of the child-rearing that weekend and gave me a gift certificate for a local spa. 

Although I relish gifts like this, I’m in a quandary about how to use this one.  Usually, a massage tops my list, or perhaps a sandblasting of my feet followed by a few slaps of polish.

But lately, all of the wise sunbathing decisions I made in my teens are coming back to haunt me.  Thanks to a long-ago combo of an aluminum-foil towel and a full body application of cooking oil, my face is starting to look like an early admission ticket into the local nursing home.  So I’m thinking about some sort of skin-grinding process to help deal with that.

On a different note, the latter part of May has become a bittersweet time of year.  I do some freelance work for the local newspaper and usually help with the overflow of annual graduation stories.


This year, with my son about to embark on his school career, the task seemed especially poignant.  Oh, how I dread the day that I’m among the parents sitting in those bleachers.

Posted by: Mama Bear | May 5, 2009

mother’s day


I’m chomping at the bit in anticipation of how my family will honor me on Mother’s Day. 

After all, I did bring our offspring into the world, and my induced labor capped off with c-section by chainsaw was no day in the park.

Always one step ahead of me, my husband threw out several suggestions for possible actions and attitudes that would make the day really special.

  • Logan can start biting again and go back to diapers for the day.
  • Augie, our German Shepherd, might lay his filthy pelt on my side of the bed, leaving a dog body outline.  Then, he can sit on my pillow.
  • Tilly, our halitosis-plagued greyhound, can wake me with the sound of her digestive ailments which often manifest in the form of puke on the carpet.
  • Bud Bird can take a notch out of my thumb with his beak while I change his water.
  • And Todd can stand around outside all weekend and hit the sauce with the neighbors.  When he comes in, it will be to speak to me in monosyllabic grunts, eat the homemade meals I’ve prepared for him and track a trail of mud across the carpet as he weaves his way to the bathroom for beer-induced potty breaks. 

It sounds special indeed, but I have a hard time being grateful for the last suggestion.  After all, it doesn’t require him to alter his usual routine at all.

Posted by: Mama Bear | April 29, 2009

got it!

I got the job, and boy, am I happy.  I’ll teach 7th grade English beginning next fall.

Posted by: Mama Bear | April 27, 2009


I had a job interview Thursday.  It went really, really well.

It’s at a school district about 15 miles away, so if I get on there, Logan won’t attend in our city.  Instead, I’ll put him in the district where I teach.  That aspect makes me a little sad since he’s gotten to know several friends during his twice-weekly mornings at our local district’s preschool.

But that’s the only negative.  The people with whom I interviewed were so friendly and easy-going.  It seemed like it would be an enjoyable place to work.

Should hear something Monday.  Please cross your fingers for me.

Posted by: Mama Bear | April 24, 2009



“Mama, I got myself dressed!”  my son proudly proclaimed as he barreled down the hallway, rejuvenated after a brief lockdown in time-out. 

He opted to use those solitary moments toward his own self-betterment by carefully choosing an ensemble.

Yes, that shirt says “I pass more gas than tests.”  It’s his favorite.

And until today, I’d been able to convince him that the shirt likes it best when he wears it as a pajama top.

Posted by: Mama Bear | April 23, 2009

field trip

Our weather’s getting better by the day, so it seemed like the perfect time to plan some sort of outdoor adventure.

We discussed several possibilities; the zoo, an out-of-town park or maybe a botanical garden.

The mention of a garden interested Logan, but it wasn’t the one I had suggested.  Instead, he adamantly insisted a garden of the variety that had completely escaped me as being some sort of destination a 5-year-old might enjoy.


Seems he took an interest in the rows of evenly spaced headstones we passed a couple of days ago as we ran some errands.  I explained those stones weren’t playthings, but instead marked the spots of those who had gone on to reap their heavenly rewards.

He wasn’t deterred in the least.  So we loaded up and went to the cemetery where his great-grandparents are buried.  I figured that once we got there, the intrigue would quickly wear off.

Instead, he was enthralled.  In fact, I had a hard time convincing him it was time to leave.


His hands-down favorite attraction of the event was when he spotted his name on his great-grandfather’s headstone. 


That was a little disconcerting.  But I guess at age 5, I’d have gotten a kick out of it, too.

Posted by: Mama Bear | April 20, 2009

did it


I finished the race, and with a not-so-bad time of just under 38 minutes. 

The time aspect wasn’t part of my goal; I just wanted to run the 3 miles without dying or looking like a moron.

I can see now why people get addicted to this stuff.

Logan ran a 100-yard dash with other 5-year-olds.  Actually, he skipped the whole way and visited with others along the path.

Either way, we both had a good time.

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