I understand some indigenous tribes actually do have something called a rain dance, but in
Oregon we refer to it as Having a Picnic.  It’s been hotter than we’re used to here for a long time, but now that Fourth of July is coming up, the weather has cooled significantly.  I have lived here five years and storm clouds very rarely fail to gather on holidays or celebratory events.

My church is putting on a pancake breakfast for the Third of July (since Fourth of July is on a Sunday, and Mormons are too busy to celebrate anything on Sunday), and being the optimists that they are, they’re having it in a park.

I’m the accompanist for our choir, which is scheduled to do three numbers.  For some reason they opted not to do them

a capella but figured they’d arrange to have a piano on site.  I asked the choir director how he was planning to keep said piano dry.  I don’t think he appreciated my sense of humor.  Frankly, I’m a patriot who doesn’t mind getting a little wet.  I was more concerned about the instrument.  He said that it doesn’t usually rain on Fourth of July.  Which is true.  But it almost always rains on the Third of July, especially if you’re having a picnic.

Now I’ve found out that we’re not going to have an actual piano in the park–which makes sense because pianos are heavy and really don’t belong outdoors, especially when it’s about to rain–but we are going to have an electric keyboard instead.  Which is going to need heavy amplification if it’s going to be heard by anyone, and even then, it’s not going to sound that great, but I’m less concerned about the music now than I am about the fact that water and electricity are possibly going to be intersecting where my body is supposed to be.  The sacrifices we make for art and country.

Sugar Daddy and I have always thought those annual Christmas newsletters were impersonal and annoying, and we always swore we would never write one.  Until we approached our fourth Christmas together and realized neither of us had the stamina to write individual notes to 47 of our closest holiday friends, telling them what we’d been up to all year.  Not that all 47 really needed to know anyway, but at that moment we didn’t have the stamina to tell our closest relatives how we were doing, either.

So Sugar Daddy was composing our first annual Christmas newsletter.  When it came time to talk about what I had been doing all year, he got a little stuck.  He read back to me what he’d written so far:  “‘Madhousewife is still an unemployed freelance writer,'” he said, “‘but she continues to research future articles on child-rearing and’–what else is it that you do?”

“Crud-scraping?” I drily replied.

“‘Crud-scraping.’  That’s good.”  Pause.  “Do you really want me to put that down?”

“Why not?”

And thus another Christmas tradition was born.  Every year since then we’ve had nothing more to say about me than “she continues to spend her days as a wife and mother.”  Unless I’ve happened to give birth that year, and then we tell some grisly labor and delivery story.  Just kidding.  But I’ve been tempted, just to liven things up a bit.  No offense to being a wife and mother, but somehow we’ve always managed to say more about Sugar Daddy than “he continues to spend his days studying the properties of thin metals.”

Every year I make writing goals for myself that I never manage to reach, and for some reason it is too depressing for me to talk about by the time December rolls around, even when I’ve accomplished more that year than in years past.  It’s never anything close to what I envisioned January first.  I know, I know–new year resolutions are as cheesy as annual Christmas newsletters, but I can’t help myself.  At least I’m not into drugs.

Since Princess Zurg abandoned tap to focus exclusively on ballet, I’ve been looking wistfully at her little tap shoes gathering dust in her closet.  I always wanted to take tap when I was growing up, but my parents could only afford one type of fancy schmancy refinement lessons for each of us kids, and since we already had a piano, piano lessons were what we all got.  I grew up thinking only rich little girls took dancing lessons.

When I registered PZ for her dance class and bought her ballet slippers and tap shoes, I felt these pangs of jealousy.  I

especially coveted those shiny patent leather tap shoes with the bow ties.  I knew I would have to live vicariously through my child, but I was okay with that.  Until she abandoned tap lessons, unaware that she was abandoning my dreams along with them.

Overly dramatic, yes.  Which is why I’ve swallowed my pride and done something ridiculous like sign up for tap dancing classes, which start tonight.  Let me tell you, those shiny patent leather tap shoes with the bow ties are not nearly as precious in a 9 1/2 ladies as they are in smaller sizes, but so what.  This year I hope to meet my lofty writing goals.  I’ll be pleased if I even make it halfway, but I figure even if I don’t, when the end of the year rolls around, I will still have taken tap dancing lessons.  And if I practice on my kitchen floor, maybe I will finally be able to chip away some of that crud on the linoleum.

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