Tuesday, April 21, 2009

There's a section on my Blogger Dashboard that reads "Manage Blog" but evidently no matter how hard I click the thing won't write itself. It's just as well. The Internet does everything else. We shan't use it to top off our journals.

I have returned! When MacArthur famously said he'd return to the Philippines, did he actually announce it when he did? Evidently so. Well, God bless him for following through. It's tough sometimes, and there are many a day where you wonder why you bother with any of it. But then you consider the virtues of integrity and consistency. I don't know, is consistency a virtue? It must be, I suppose, but only when coupled with goodness. Perhaps it is merely a component of integrity. Oh, I don't know.

I was thinking virtues are things taught -that children are not born with- and then I realized that children can be so consistently selfish and irritating without any prompting -and "consistency" suddenly failed the test. One good thing: the Little Digger has a consistent smile on. He just seems to light up whenever he makes eye contact with another human. He's someone you want to hang with! And for that, I am very grateful.

(I used to think that babies smiled only because they could see the angels standing behind you, but my little boy smiles so much that I now realize there couldn't possibly be that many angels standing behind me. So it must be that gassy breast milk after all.)

Last week was filled with houseguests, Disneyland, Legoland, Alumaland, an Avocado Festival, and an endless succession of periods of dishwashing, or so it seemed. Last Friday I had just about given up on everything -and this before the work weekend! I announced that NEXT WEEK IS ANOTHER WEEK! all Gone With The Wind style, and then yesterday came and I was overwhelmed by the pile. Sometimes you just pine for a nice long commute where you can ease the seat back and catch some radio. Yesterday was one of those days.

Easter was a fine moment. My guava ham glaze did not quite live up to expectations, but the standard house barbecue sauce did the relief work. At one point I was mixing sauce ingredients and I looked out the kitchen window to catch the awesome spectacle of all my nieces and nephews playing baseball in the backyard and I thought how perfect it all was, and how beautiful. The weather was fantastic, and the cooler was full, and everyone seemed happy, and dammit, I should have made the sauce last week so I could be drinking beer outside in the sun and playing baseball with the famiglia!

Lesson learned.

Who knows when the whole family will get together again like that? A few years, maybe. When are folks just going to realize that if you miss a family event, you end up being the subject of conversation? This is why I show up -as a matter of defense. But it was sweet and wonderful and impressive, as big families are. Children are a blessing. The more children, the greater the blessing. At one point, on Easter Eve, there was an extensive discussion on where everyone was going to sleep in our modest suburban abode. We were concerned about Grandma, who didn't exactly have a bed, when I turned to her and said, "You know, this is all your fault: you had all these kids!" She just laughed and took the newest, most comfortable mattress. With six kids and eight grandchildren, she deserved it, I guess. Then we hid the eggs. (And, ahem, that is not a euphemism.)

Here's a few of the folks after the sleepover (there were six others who crashed, too):

After Easter at the Ditchman Compound, Disneyland was somewhat anti-climactic. And this week it's back to normal -with the exception of the hundred degree temps. The heat makes Mrs. Ditchman happy. For that, too, I am grateful.