Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Meaning of Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, the ignored middle child of holidays.  Before Halloween has even come and gone, many stores start displaying their Christmas merchandise without so much as a thought for Turkey Day.  As the supply of princess costumes and mini Snickers starts to dwindle, people start looking forward to what's considered the holiest of holidays (from both a religious and a retail perspective). It's possible if you look hard you might find a few Thanksgiving decorations, but how can other holidays compete with Santa Claus, birth of a Savior, and Hallmark Channel's "Countdown to Christmas" made-for-TV movies?

Can we all just stop for a moment before the Black Friday sales begin and remember what Thanksgiving is all about?

Pie.  Thanksgiving is about pie.  

Go back with me for a minute to the very first Thanksgiving, celebrated by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians.  These natives had just saved the Pilgrims' heinies by not letting them all starve to death. (An act they may have regretted later.  "I told you not to feed them--now we'll never get rid of them!")  About half of the Pilgrims who set out on the Mayflower didn't live to see this first harvest festival, so those who did must have been very thankful, indeed.  Historians seem doubtful that any sort of dessert was served at this meal, but if there had been pie perhaps the relationship between the settlers and the Native Americans would have remained harmonious past the breaking of the wishbone.

My Grandma Mabel was never known for her cooking skills (a trait I seem to have inherited), but the one dish that all us grandkids loved was her Chocolate Chip Pie. 
This heavenly concoction consists of Cool Whip (not real whip cream, mind you, but Cool Whip, the non-dairy, hydrogenated vegetable oil whipped topping), marshmallows, and chocolate chips in a graham cracker crust.  (Grandma Mabel, not surprisingly, later became diabetic.) While we were growing up I always thought this was my grandmother's secret recipe--I even have it on a note card in her old fashioned handwriting.  Imagine my surprise when I saw the same recipe on the back of a graham cracker box.

Grandma Mabel was a first generation Norwegian American who lived through two world wars and the depression.  To me, that pie is a symbol of all that is great about our nation:  not only was Grandma's family able to thrive in this country, not only were they able to feed themselves, but they had dessert as well.  A dessert that required Cool Whip. From the store.  You know you've made it as an American when you serve processed food products for dessert. You couldn't do that back in the old country, now could you?

Pie could also be seen as a metaphor for what our country has become today:  a collection of several different ingredients (people from different walks of life) coming together for the greater good (pie). Sometimes involving hydrogenated vegetable oil.

So as you sit down to your meal on Thursday, there is no need to count your blessings or plan your Black Friday shopping strategy. (And for the love of God, do not finish your turkey and mashed potatoes and head straight to the mall!)  Instead, stay home with your family and your dessert--and just be thankful for pie.

Disclaimer:  While all types of pie deserve our recognition for its role in shaping our great country, Grandma Mabel's offering remains my favorite.  I share her recipe here with you.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

College Funds, Hypothetically

My son is getting ready to go off to college next week--time to break out that college fund. fund, college fund...

Shoot, I knew I forgot something.

Yes, I am one of those irresponsible parents that hasn't been stashing away $50 weekly since my child's conception so I can send him to an ivy league school.  But now that the day has come, I wonder if maybe I should have made it more of a priority.  It just takes budgeting, right?

What did I spend my children's hypothetical college fund on, exactly?

To start with, I invested that cash in a stay-at-home mom, who never had to drop the kids off at daycare when they weren't feeling well. With my husband as sole breadwinner, I could be home to read stories, play games, help with homework, and drive them to every activity under the sun.  The average weekly salary for a full-time nanny is $652 (according to a story in USA Today).  That's a $33,904 a year savings, or a whopping $610,272 for 18 years (taking into account the time span between children and when they were all old enough to stay home unsupervised together and not kill each other).  That might even cover an exclusive private college in the South of France.

I also dipped into my kids' tuition money to bankroll their childhoods.  All those swim lessons, summer camps, baseball camps, soccer fees, karate classes, ballet classes, gymnastics; trips to the beach, the zoo, the aquarium, the movies.  And don't forget the snacks--I must have spent a small fortune in goldfish crackers and fruit snacks alone. Total, for all three kids, I figure these things add up to about a million-jillion dollars.  If you round.

(Au revoir, South of France.)

And now here's my shocking, all-true-confession:  I spent my kids' college money on wild, gambling trips to Las Vegas.  Okay, they weren't so wild and my "gambling" consisted of $20 in the penny slots.  My husband and I have been going to Las Vegas for our anniversary the past six years, both for the sunshine (we live in Washington state, for cripes sake) and for the grown ups (we have three kids for cripes sake!). We spent money we probably couldn't really afford and took some time to relax with just the two of us. I like to think of this as an investment in our marriage. Total cost for all six years:  about $9,000.  If you haven't checked out costs for in-state schools lately, $9,000 will only get you through the first quarter.  I don't know what the job market looks like for someone with three months of college, but I imagine it smells a lot like McDonald's.

If you figure I saved $610,272 by not having to pay for a full-time nanny, minus the million-jillion dollars I spent on three childhoods, and then reduce it by the $9,000 dollars spent on my marriage, things start to look a little bleak.  However, if you consider the intrinsic value of a mother's love, a childhood full of enriching experiences to take with them into adulthood, and two parents who are still happily married (to each other), I think we all know what our total is:

A son who will be going off to college already in debt with student loans.

I was still feeling guilty the other day when my son and I started talking about his pending departure. The topic of classes and grades came up and he jokingly (?) said something to the effect that he doesn't have to go to class if he doesn't want, or even pass any of his classes, really. After my reaction of disapproval and dismay, he told me he was just kidding. Because--now pay attention, here's the kicker--if he was going to spend that much of his own money, he was going to make sure he was passing his classes.

Is this taking responsibility for his own future I hear? not saving money for his college fund, I was actually being a good parent?

Well, that's what I'm going with, anyway.  You all can draw your own conclusions, but I'll be over here feeling all smug and eating goldfish crackers.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Funny Papers: Snohomish County's Local Voter's Pamphlet

It's here--the latest publication of some of the funniest writing currently any registered voter in Snohomish County.  I may be the only one who looks forward to the Voter's Pamphlet with such glee, but when you read it you'll be amazed it isn't on the best seller list. (Okay, maybe because it's free.)  And while the current edition does not include a candidate who lists his community service as being President of the Wiener Dog Appreciation Society (oh, that was a good one!), it is full of all sorts of tidbits to keep me entertained.

All good plots need a couple of remarkable characters to keep the reader interested, and the realm of politics is full of characters.  Running for U.S. Representative in District 1 is someone who goes by the name "Mike the Mover."  He has no elected experience, but he was a household goods carrier for thirty-five years.  Okay, that's no reason to count him out--he's a regular guy who knows what it's like to work hard for a living--but if you go by a catch phrase instead your real name, I can't believe you really take the position seriously. And you might ding my coffee table.

Not to be outdone by the mover, District 7 offers us GoodSpaceGuy, whose professional experience includes only "prosperity building."  I'm not sure what that means, but it does sound, well, prosperous, doesn't it?  It seems a good part of GoodSpaceGuy's platform rests on the government's lack of viable space habitats, "connected together in various, turning configurations."  Wow is all I can say to that. Good luck, GoodSpaceGuy.

Any good publication needs a good story line, and I found that in the State Representative District 10 race.  This candidate has no elected experience ("I am not a career politician!"--he is a fan of the exclamation point!), but he was an advertiser "until the recent downturned economy."  So...he's currently unemployed?  Again, not a reason to count him out.  He lists his education as "high school valedictorian, #1 in class, UCLA studies, and entrepreneur."  Okay, he peaked in high school, dropped out of college, and then worked odd jobs?  It all becomes clear once you read his platform: he will "help integrate the Recreational Use Law into practice in Washington."  Ah, the story of a promising young academic who has become an unemployed, college drop-out, all because of the evil marijuana. But he does love an exclamation point!

Legislative District 21 offers for State Representative a candidate who has a snazzy photo accompanying his statement--think Casino Night at the Lodge, circa 1979.  His education consists of "Some college, many excellent management seminars, lotta hard knocks."  Only true characters can get away with using "lotta" while wearing a 70's era tuxedo.  Thank you, District 21.

Finally, a real page-turner must always have real gooder righting. (Wow, that hurt to type.) Why worry about proof reading when there are important political agendas to be promoted?  Tired rhetoric ("Teach a man to fish..."), incomplete sentences ("Let's face it."), random capitalization and quotation marks ("A big part of this is 'NOT' to accept corporate funding") and a "lotta" exclamation points (!!!!) are all hallmarks of a successful voter's pamphlet.  While the current edition could use some intense professional editing, the last issue included a candidate who had "SO" many typos that it was clear he didn't even have time to use spell check.  I felt this also meant he didn't have time to fulfill his duties in office and did not vote for him.

The lesson you should take away from this is it's your civic duty to be informed on all political races and issues.  Read your Voter's Pamphlet so you, too, can laugh at the candidates--and hopefully choose those that will be least likely to embarrass you while in office.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Half Windsor

We were getting ready to attend my son's high school graduation and he needed help with his tie.  I can only do it if it's around my neck, so I took it from him and started wrapping and knotting.  My brother, who was going to the ceremony with us, seemed surprised that I knew how.  "Well, yeah--Dad taught me."

Throughout my childhood it seemed my mom was the main teacher, from learning to read to making a bed, but that evening I realized Dad had a hand in some important life lessons.

My father started his career as an algebra teacher, so my math skills came from him.  He was instrumental in me not failing second grade arithmetic; I owe all my long-subtraction abilities to him. Thanks to calculators and computers I rarely have to use this skill, but I'm ready should the need arise.

Dad was also in the Navy Reserves while we were growing up, putting in a weekend a month and then several weeks every summer on his ship.  He always told me "There's the right way, the wrong way, and the Navy way."  When I asked him if that meant the Navy way was not the right way, he laughed.  I think what he really meant is things aren't always black or white--sometimes you just have to find what works for you.

Dad taught me that my sense of humor had merit.  He used to to say I was a smart ass, but the look on his face told me it was a good thing to be, indeed.  (When Mom heard him say "smart ass" she'd snap "Bud!" and he'd amend it to "smart aleck," but Dad and I knew that I was a smart ass.)  I was the youngest of the family with no obvious talent or beauty, but I had to learn to use the gifts God gave me (and maybe that was just making my dad laugh).

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there.  Never think that your kids aren't learning from you--just by being present in their lives shows them that they are valued.

And don't forget to teach them how to tie a Half Windsor.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Not Your Hallmark Kind of Mother's Day

Tomorrow is Mother's Day and once again I have forgotten to send my mom anything.  I knew it was coming up by the crowds of people in front of the card section, but to be honest I'm not all that impressed with the selection available.  "You are the best mom ever" (Really, the "best"?  What about that time she forgot you in the grocery store?)  "Everything I am, I owe to you."  (Does the name Dad ring a bell?  Or are we saving his share in this for Father's Day?)  "Today is your day, so take it easy!" (After you wash my soccer uniform and make dinner, I mean.)  I guess I'm just not a Hallmark kind of daughter.

For the most part I try to make Mom a card on my computer--a cute picture of the kids and a "Happy Mother's Day" is usually enough, but getting my teens to pose for a picture together is like asking them to donate a kidney.  So I put it off and put it off, and here I am with no card waiting to greet Mom on Sunday morning.

Ugh, I am a lazy and forgetful daughter. Luckily I inherited my mother's creative gene, so I came up with a couple of Mother's Day cards that won't show up in any Hallmark store (possibly because no one would buy them.)

  Sorry about that episiotomy…

  I guess I didn’t come out like you’d planned.

Too much?  How about a more traditional approach?

A Mother’s Love…

…is hard to summon up when the kids are on vacation, they’re all fighting, it’s 90 degrees with no air conditioning and Dad won’t be home for another three hours.

Or my favorite:

  M is for the many times we made you scream.
  O is for the one time I vomited on you.
  T is for the tantrums I threw, silently, standing in the hallway, which you pointedly ignored.
  H is for the headache you had all summer (that miraculously disappeared when school started).
  E is for everything bad I did and didn’t tell you about.
  R is for revenge in the form of your grandkids that are    just as troublesome as I was.

Well, Happy Mother's Day, Mom!  I may not be your most devoted child, but I bet Mike didn't use "vomit" in his card.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

World's Okayest Soccer Mom

My son graduates in June and is in his last season of school soccer. Henceforth,  any team he joins will be his responsibility--all fees/half-time snacks/purchasing countless pairs of that special kind of socks.  On one hand I am rejoicing (at home, warm and dry in my
comfy sweats, adult beverage in hand), and on the other hand (the one without the drink) I realize it's the end on an era.

My husband and I have attended countless soccer games in the cold, sideways-driving rain. We have spent entire weekends shuttling wet, muddy children between games and home and one more game. There was one soccer season when all three kids were playing, all on different days, and my husband was in an adult indoor league, so we had soccer 7 days a week. We have put in our time and paid our dues.

With our son's recreational soccer league we attended every game, but for some reason we've never bothered to go to any of the school's away games.  Maybe because he always had to ride the bus there, anyway, and it got to be a habit.  Maybe because it was a weeknight and we were tired and we had two other kids at home who needed dinner and homework help and our presence.  Maybe we just aren't as good of parents as we thought we were.

After the last game at the high school I was talking to some of the parents in the stands when they asked the inevitable question: Was I going to the next game in Granite Falls?  I panicked a little and tried to come up with a good excuse (Important business meeting in Poughkeepsie?  Emergency surgery on my big toe?)  The best I could do was :  Umm, probably not--we don't usually go to the away games.  "Really??  We try to go to all the games!"

Soccer in the rain
Let me just point out that because our school district is so small (2A) we don't play many local teams, but have to go to Sultan and Coupeville and South Whidbey.  That, my friends, requires a half hour drive to Mukilteo (in good traffic) and a ferry boat ride (after waiting in a long line-up of cars, all undoubtedly trying to make it to their kid's game).

I don't do away games.

I was feeling a little guilty, however,  about missing this game.  It's his last year, after all, and the odds were in favor of our team winning.  But it was an early game (Granite Falls recently built a huge, beautiful high school, but then couldn't afford stadium lights). And there was no covered seating (the Pacific Northwest is not known for dry, sunny springs).  And I was coming down with a head cold.  That afternoon I told my son we probably wouldn't be making it to his game.  He gave me kind of a confused look and asked "Why would you be making it to my game?"  Um, because we wanted to see you play?  "But it's an away game."

Now, there are a few ways I could take his response:
  A)  He has learned to expect so little from us as parents, that he wouldn't consider the possibility of us putting forth the effort to go a game more than 15 minutes away.
  B) We are parenting geniuses and have raised children who do not see themselves as the center of the universe, therefore not asking any more from us than we have time to give.
  C)  He never really wanted us to come to any of his games.

I have chosen option B because it makes me feel better.

Soccer in the snow
I started thinking about all the other things I don't do for our kids, all the late night rides to the roller rink I refused, or the slumber parties I've vetoed.  All those things that my kids swear every other parent in the known universe is happy to do.  Was I really short-changing them? And then I thought about all that I have done for them--like teaching them to read, oh and that little thing called giving them life.  When they are grown and gone, I'm sure there will be at least one way they'll feel we've failed as parents.  I figure skipping their away games is pretty minor in the grand scheme of things.  I mean, it's not like I called them "Sweet Pea" in front if their friends, or insisted on coming to 5th Grade Camp.  (Oh wait, I did those things.)

As it turns out, the weather conditions for the game in question were near perfect (read: no rain) and my son's team won 5-0.  I still stand be my decision to forgo this game, if only because he personally did not score any of those goals and I spent that time with our other two kids, watching a movie on the couch after a home-made meal.  And sleeping.

Home games are the best games

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Circle of Life

There's a post I've seen on Pinterest that says "The real problem with reality is the lack of background music."  Wouldn't it be great if life were more like the Disney movies, where all the hard lessons were accompanied by a catchy tune and everything is resolved in the end?

Some of you know that my father has been suffering from Parkinson's Disease for several years now.  He's been slipping away from us bit by bit--his memory, his balance, his sense of humor. Oddly, his voice is just the same as I remember from childhood.  Last time I visited him I saw before me a frail old man who didn't really seem to know who I was. When he spoke, however, out came the voice of my Dad, the same one who used to give me piggy back rides and laugh at my jokes.

Dad is getting worse.  His body is starting to give up on him and his doctor feels like his time has run out.  This weekend I will be heading back to my hometown to say goodbye.

I couldn't help but think that death in real life is not quite like it is in the Disney movies.  Never once do they mention Parkinson's; no songs were created about nursing homes or adult diapers.  In "The Lion King" Mufasa dies in a dramatic scene while trying to save his son, Simba. The background music magnifies the feelings of danger, loss and guilt.  Songs are sung and lessons learned and the circle of life moves us all.

I decided my father needs a soundtrack.  Some musical score that I can hum along to while I say goodbye.  A simple tune that reminds me of the man he once was, not the frail body that is slowly giving up.  Not being musical myself, I needed to find a song or lyric already out there that somehow captures the person my father once was.

Then it hit me:  Johnny Cash.

One of my earliest memories is my parents playing an LP of Johnny Cash and my father singing along in his deep voice.  I used to think he'd actually recorded those songs with the man on the album.  "I Walk the Line," "Ring of Fire" and "Folsom Prison Blues"-- I can hear him now.  My father's life was not as bleak as those songs, but I didn't understand the lyrics back then, I just knew his voice.  That was my my dad I was hearing, not some man named Johnny Cash.

So I leave you with a clip of "Ring of Fire."  Whenever you hear a Johnny Cash song, please think of my dad, Bud Alvick, and know that while his circle may be near it's completion, we are still singing his song.  (And thank you to the incomparable Johnny Cash, for accompanying my dad in his soundtrack.)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Facebook Fasts and Lenten Love

Those of you who know me might be familiar with my slight Facebook addiction.  My brother complains about how much I post on my timeline; I say he needs to contribute more.  Whatever.  For the past several years, however,  I have proven that I can stop anytime I want by giving up Facebook for Lent.  Lent, for those of you not schooled by Catholic nuns, is the time period before Easter in which one prepares for the holiest of the holy miracles of the Bible, the resurrection of Christ, by giving up chocolate.  The idea, as explained to me by Sister Judith (my second grade teacher who forced kids into submission with a Vulcan death grip), is that you give up something you really like to remind yourself of all that Jesus gave up for mankind.

This year I have decided that I will not give up Facebook for Lent for the following reasons:

1. I don't want to.

2. Instead of a Lenten fast, I have decided to put forth more effort to take care of myself--my body is my temple and all that--and am committed to getting at least 30 minutes of exercise a day as well eating my 5-a-day servings of fruits and vegetables.  Forty days and forty nights.  (Just accidentally typed "farty" instead of "forty"--extra fiber will do that to you.) It's nice that Lent coincides with our annual anniversary trip to Las Vegas so I will have a little less muffin top in my swimsuit poolside.

3. Last year during my Facebook fast I, in boredom, turned to Pinterest.  There, while perusing my daughter's pins, I discovered that one of her "bucket list" items was to meet and have a book signed by her favorite author. (Can I point out that she was 13 at the time and in perfect health--I'm not sure she understands the significance of a bucket list.)  Her favorite author of the moment, Cassandra Clare, was just releasing a new book and. I learned upon further investigation, was appearing at a local bookstore.  I scored big time Mommy Points all because I was off of Facebook.  Lesson learned, time to move on to a new challenge.

4. As I mentioned, my husband and I are planning our anniversary trip to Las Vegas for the end of April,. Facebook has game called myVegas Slots where you can earn reward points for comps in Vegas, anything from free buffet passes to show tickets.  I am this close to having enough points for two tickets to Beatle's Love (a Cirque du Soleil show) and Easter falls three days before we leave.  I feel the Heavenly Father wants me to see Beatle's Love.  I think he may have spoken to me in a dream.  I can't quit now.

So come Easter expect to see a slimmer and healthier me, getting ready to jet off to Las Vegas with two Beatles' Love tickets in my hand.  I'm sure Sister Judith would approve.

(It occurs to me now that not giving up my Facebook addiction because of my gambling addiction might be a cause for concern. But then I think "Less muffin top and Las Vegas show tickets" and I think the 12 Steps can wait till after I get back from our trip.)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

To-Done List

My mother is a list maker. She's always planned her day down to the minute, carefully crossing off tasks completed.  I apparently did not inherit her organizational skills--I'm more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person. (Or more likely, "Oh sh*t, was that today?!")  I've always envied her sense of accomplishment and thought maybe I should give it a try.  Seeing all those tasks spelled out quickly became overwhelming, however, so I added some stuff  I'd already done and then crossed them off to make myself feel better. 

Perhaps that's how I should go about my day, marking down all my accomplishments as I go so I feel like I haven't frittered it away.

I give you my "To-Done List."

1.  Made coffee.  This is obviously the most important step of the day, without which nothing else will be done--or if it will, it will be done slowly, with a small headache and a lot of whining.  It's ironic that this crucial activity is done when one is least able to perform tasks.  One morning my automatic coffee maker didn't start and I just stood there, at 5 am in the half-lit kitchen, for what seemed like hours trying to figure it out . (But then non-caffeinated minutes are longer than regular minutes--something about the space/time continuum.) It was a nightmare--which I couldn't wake up from because I had no coffee! 

2.  Annoyed my children.  This is the easiest task of the day, as I need only to speak to them.  It is important to annoy your children every day or they may never move out. They have informed me that I excel at this, which is good as I'm planning a cute little office for myself in one of their bedrooms.   My daughter claims that her friend's mother isn't annoying, but I assured her to her own daughter she is.  It is the natural order of things.

3.  Yoga.  I twisted my body into positions it was not meant to go, and for which I will pay tomorrow.  This is not your yogi's routine of balance and meditation, but Jillian "I Make Fat People Cry" Michaels' Yoga Meltdown.  And yes, I have a occasionally had a melt down after one of these workouts.   (Okay, sometimes I cry.)  She reminds me of a mean little poodle, but she's a mean little poodle with rock hard abs, so I fold myself into camel pose as I curse her under my breath...If I can still breathe.

4.  Pretended that I know how to be an accountant, payroll specialist, human resources representative and an office manager.  Sometimes I succeeded, sometimes not so much.  It's all good--I'm sleeping with the boss. (Okay the boss is my husband-- I'd never be hired for this job if I didn't have connections.)

5.  I whipped something up for dinner.  This is a phrase that my boss/husband likes to use, infering that I can take the year-old frozen chicken nuggets, wilted lettuce and two hamburger buns and create a nutritious and delicious meal for five.  HA.  Every meal choice I offer elicits a groan from two or more children (I only have three, mind you).  But family dinners are essential to a child's self of well-being and their place in the
world, so sit down and please stop making those gagging noises.

6. Made sure my children were in their bedrooms at a decent hour.  Proper rest is important to young bodies (as well as middle-aged ones).  That and I just want to be done being a mom early enough so I have some time to myself.

7. I wrote a silly blog post about my not-so-organized life.

There, look at a ll those accomplishments.  Maybe tomorrow I'll add "End World Hunger" or "Figure Out Where That Weird Smell Is Coming From."

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Only the Lonely

I have a confession to make:  I don't like football.  I will probably be the only sentient being in the state of Washington not watching the Seahawks playoff game this weekend.  I do not own a jersey, I have not invested in any face paint, I could not name a single player on the team.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that a local team is doing well and I see why everyone's gone all 12th Man, but I just don't get football. It's quite possible that it's a birth defect as the rest of my family are all fans:  my brothers who played in high school, my mother and sister, even my father in the nursing home who sometimes doesn't even know his own name.  I've tried watching.  I sat and looked at the TV screen and tried to connect everyone's cheers or jeers to what just happened on the field.  It's clear, however, that I lack the enzyme/chromosome/gene that can distinguish a tight end from a safety, or even care what a first down is. (I just had to Google "football terminology" to get that much--didn't bother to read the definitions.)

Just. Not. Interested.

I'm not anti-football--I don't care about all sports equally. The only events I enjoy watching are the ones that my kids are in, like literally suited up and on the field.  My son played basketball for many years and I went to all his games, even learning (most of) the rules.  Now that he's strictly soccer, I don't have the patience to watch basketball, even if other kids I know are playing.  I don't really even like going to to my daughter's school track meets, but that's mostly because they're so darn long . She's usually in the first event and then the second to last, three hours later, as I sit in the cold and don't get dinner made or retain feeling in my toes.  I will occasionally attend professional baseball if there's beer and hot dogs involved, but definitely not football, not even with margaritas and nachos on the side.

So come Sunday I will be sitting alone, curled up with this stack of books. I will cheer on the main character as he defeats the forces of evil and boo the antagonist's attempt to slip through the defensive line. You all enjoy yourselves.