Among the ideas that sound good at the time...

It sounded so good at the time. Teach the children responsibility and skills by giving them the opportunity to plan and make dinner.

Here is Mary's menu for tonight: garlic bread, apple yogurt salad, baked potatoes, dinner rolls, and, for dessert, ice cream and strawberries. Not bad for a ten year old. A little heavy on the starches, but Mary's ten, and we are trying to be encouraging over here.

Did I mention that the dinner rolls must be made from scratch, that we are probably using about one hundred dishes, spoons, forks, and knives, and that I'm about to pass out from exhaustion? That's the little glitch I didn't anticipate: that I would be so intricately involved in the making of the dinner. I'm the sous chef, actually: the cutter of apples, the cutting of garlic bread, the cutter of lemons and strawberries. I am also the oven master. Naturally, I'm these things: Mary's ten for godsake. We want dinner not a trip to the emergency room.

Oh, and did I mention that I am paying for the privilege to spend more time in the kitchen than I usually spend in three? Yes, you see -- stupid, stupid, stupid me -- I am paying the children five dollars to plan and make dinner. What was I thinking? What? What?

Tired, so tired. And just hoping to sneak a salad after everyone's gone to sleep.


Hillary Clinton as Hera

So, I'm sorry. I'm still thinking about Hillary. And here's what I've decided: Hillary was too much like Hera, the wife of Zeus.

As every sixth grader whose taken Ancient Civilization can tell you, Zeus was king of the gods and Hera was his wife. Now, a sixth grader will tell you that Zeus had a lot of girlfriends, but let's be honest, the man slept around like nobody's business. He left a string of swept away maiden's and half immortal children wherever he went. As you can imagine, this made Hera look bad. She was queen of gods, after all. Plus, she was the goddess of marriage and childbirth. He did no favors to her omnipotent powers and reputation by seducing every milkmaid in a toga, which is why, perhaps, Hera was incredibly jealous, bad tempered and went around turning all of Zeus' lovers into goats and such. No one really liked Hera. She had no sense of humor and she took things way too seriously. Goats? I mean, really, isn't that a bit much? Especially when most of the gods and goddesses had pretty liberal sexual ethics.

Any of this sound Clintonesque? People never got over seeing Hillary as Hera: Powerful, yes. Intelligent, hardworking, yes. Scorned, vengeful, jealous wife, yes. And who wants Hera for President? No one. She's no fun at all -- even if she can drink John McCain under the table.

Hillary's problem is that she got her goddess mojo all wrong. She needed to find a way to channel a different goddess. I'm thinking Athena. Everyone liked her. Men and women. Athena could be president. But Hera...not even on Mount Olympus.


Ice Cream Cake for the Dog Days of Summer

What better way to celebrate summer than to marry your dog to its best dog boyfriend?

Anyway, that's the plan my kids came up with. So tomorrow at four o'clock, our terrier-mix Scout (looks just like a German Shepherd puppy) will be marrying Mackie, a rust-colored German Shepherd/Golden Retriever. The service will be performed by our ten-year-old neighbor Kevin, who is also the ring bearer. My two daughters (ages ten and twelve) will give away the bride. To celebrate we will have a cake from The Barkery for the dogs and an ice cream cake for the humans. Mary (my ten year old) is making the human cake from scratch. Here's her recipe:


1 Cup crushed Oreos
1/4 Cup melted butter

1/2 gallon chocolate ice cream
1/2 gallon chocolate chip ice cream
Fudge sauce
Whipped cream.

Combine the Oreos and butter and smush them into the bottom of a springform pan.

On top of the crust put the chocolate ice cream (let it soften to smooth it) then add the chocolate chip ice cream (let it soften to smooth it). Harden in freezer for about an hour.

Add the fudge sauce. Mary's making homemade, but you can use store bought. Harden in freezer ten to twelve hours.

When ready to serve, remove from freezer and remove outer part of springform pan. Top with whipped cream. Enjoy.