Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sparkler Breast

You know how it is when you're driving in your car and your breast starts feeling like a sparkler is going off inside it? It's not as romantic a feeling as you might imagine. In fact, the pain is so exquisite that you wish you could stop and bang your head against the road just to take your mind off things a bit. Or maybe while you're down there someone will run you over and make things more interesting. Character building. Hellatastic.

Sparkler Breast (aka plugged milk duct) is almost as fun as sleeping in two hour cycles for over a year or a week of excruciating headaches. I didn't experience this with the first two kids, but with little Marshall it is a regular occurrence.

It is also true that Sparkler Breast will ignite when you're trying to get your kids to pick out a birthday gift for their buddy. Or when you don't drink enough water or when it damn well feels like it for no apparent reason at all. But especially in public because when Sparkler Breast strikes your first reaction will be to grab your breast and twist and turn and try to expel the dreaded fire. Kind of like Aunt Ada when she's speaking in tongues. And surely not the best choice in the children's toy section.

Sparkler Breast? Oh Sparkler Breast. The only way out is through.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Because it's like a week away people. And it's cold. And there is snow about 500 feet above my house. No lie. I saw it driving home this afternoon.

And because today was the annual Christmas Party at my husband's office. The hit toy of the evening was this wind-up Penguin that shoots candy out of its ass.

But for me, it just isn't Christmas without the Aluminum Tree. For the first four years of my life, that's the kind of tree we had and frankly, I loved it. The color wheel is why and because Aluminum is the substance most suited to conveying the magic of Christmas. I say that with complete sincerity.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Burning Bridges

I've burned many a bridge in my brief but exciting life, but never did I expect that one day I would blow it all at our local grocery store. We just needed to pick up a couple of things - yogurt tubes, bread, and eggs. A quick in and out even with three kids in tow, right? My god, we were there for about an hour and everyone in the store came to know us by the loud, piercing screams that emanated from the dairy section where we were lodged in a death dance while Olivia tried to decide whether she wanted blueberry or orange cream yogurt. "There's too many choices!" she screamed.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Since When Do You Have to Make An Appointment with the Balloon Person At Chevy's?

That's the burning question of the day. 'Cuz after waiting for 40 minutes for the balloon lady to make her way over to our side of the restaurant, she is finally within range. And Olivia is standing at the end of our table watching her make a kitty cat, a turkey, and a butterfly balloon animal for the kids only a table away from ours. She has been so patient. When we came back from the restroom, she wanted to go over to the balloon lady right then, but I said, no - she'll be over. Roger and I ate our overcooked sampler platter and drank our pre-made mix margaritas and Carter and Olivia accepted Chevy's burnt chicken nugget offering because we came there to ride the entire ride. And that includes watching them make the tortillas and getting a balloon from the balloon man - it's usually a man.

Tonight is different. Tonight there is a balloon lady and she makes the best balloons. And there she is, she's right there right next to us and Olivia is dancing and shuddering and her face is red and the balloon lady is so much better than the balloon man, so much more precise and careful and there - she's giving a last little twist to the butterfly's antennae and pulling out her Sharpie to give it a face and handing it to the little girl and then there are the hugs and the oh, that's what I live fors and the release and the look at Olivia standing, waiting and knowing with absolute certainty that It Is Now Her Turn and what? What?

There is the scream and the devastation as the balloon lady turns and walks away from us. And all the waiting and the patience and the hoping and the almost having and it being right there her turn is crashing into her and she falls into my arms sobbing and the balloon lady looks back and sees this and still - still - she walks away.

Fucking balloon lady.

I wish I had gone with my gut and followed her. Gone right over to the other side of the room with my unraveling daughter and cornered the balloon lady and made her make my girl a turkey. But it seemed slightly irrational at the time, no matter how justified. I wish I had. Because then there wouldn't have been the ride home in the van in the dark and the sobbing and the trying to come to terms with being ditched by the balloon lady.

O: Why, Mommie, why? Why did the balloon lady not come to our table?
E: I don't know Olivia. I'm so sorry.
O: The balloon man never leaves.
E: The balloon lady was very mean.
O: Maybe she doesn't come over when little kids are crying.
E: But you weren't crying Olivia. You were waiting. You were so patient.
O: Why did she do that Mommie?
E: I don't know, honey. I'm really sorry she did that to you. That wasn't right.

And when I see the balloon lady again, and I'm going to make a point to see the balloon lady again, even if it means choking down another bad meal and possibly waiting in an incredibly long line, because she owes my girl a balloon animal and an apology. Nothing less will do. There must be a rule? A clown school rule? Oh sure. I know there is disappointment and Olivia's better off getting used to that, huh? But there's another valuable lessen here and the balloon lady needs to learn it - I will teach her - she will learn: no one has to take shit from clowns.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Cuppa cuppa hot hot hot

While I was spooning out cough medicine (homeopathic) for Olivia this morning we had the following exchange:

O: What if they had a medicine to take for work?
E: They do. It's called coffee.

Friday, October 31, 2008

NAPLWRIMO: 30 Days to a New Play

By Thanksgiving you'll have most of it done and think how much juicer turkey will taste, how much more pumpy umpy umpy pumpkin pie will taste, how much stuffier wuffy wuffy stuffing will taste, how much cranberry airy airier cranberries will taste, and so on.

Sign up here.

It won't take seventeen years. I promise.

There will be some days when it feels like it's taking seventeen years. But it's only 30 days I promise and you can write a play in 30 days, you can.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oozy and Crunchy Eyeballs

I will be making these for my son's 3rd grade Halloween Party on Friday. Will he eat any of them? No. He will not.

Ground Control

Do you sometimes forget that you are living on a planet? That, you know, a big, spherical object with you on it is hurtling through space?

I do.

Some days it might just as well be flat.

But then there are days like today when I'm driving along 280 and can see the clouds spiral and stretch across the sky like long whispy strands of cotton candy that I'm reminded that ah, yes, we are moving.

If you need some perspective you can check out these photos. (h/t our may in berlin)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fried Chicken

I love roasted chicken. My husband is not so fond of it. Last night when he asked what was for dinner and I said chicken, he looked kind of beaten down when he asked "roasted chicken?" "Well. I have to cook the chicken," was all I could think to say because I have been awakened by little Marshall every hour on the hour past midnight for the past two weeks and my snappy comebacks are more snappy that comeback-y I guess you could say.

But I thought about it. I flipped through my big notebook of recipes. When it fell open to the page with the fried chicken recipe I thought to myself I just can't go there. I can't go to the dark side. You know the greasy, fat-fried dark side. The reason being that I love fried chicken and I will not stop eating it once I start. This could go wrong in any number of ways that mostly will affect my health, but anyway. I grew up eating fried chicken every Sunday with mashed potatoes and gravy and salty over-cooked green beans or salty-overcooked southern greens or salty over-cooked canned corn or salty-over cooked slightly peppered canned peas (except in summer when food was fresh from the garden), and combination salad. Combination salad deserves its own post, but for those of you who aren't familiar with it - combination salad is chopped up iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, cucumber or a few tomatoes maybe but not always, sluiced in salad dressing made from two primary ingredients - Kraft salad dressing (not mayonnaise, rather a mayonnaise-like substance) and sugar. Sugar. Oh, and iced tea - Nestea and lemon and Sugar. Sugar. God I miss my grandmother's iced tea.

So I made the fried chicken using this recipe. It was the first time the kids ever had southern fried chicken and they were skeptical. I told them: "It's like katsu chicken. Really. Sort of. Except for the bones and the lack of flatness and the light panko breading." Olivia picked the breading off. Carter ate a little of both. Then they both devoured an entire breast. Because the secret is that the inside is oh so moist and tender from all that flash fat frying, eh? And not so greasy.

Note: I did not season the flour with paprika or thyme or dried mustard like the recipe called for. I did, however, use the full 1 tablespoon of salt and pepper and a sprinkling of cayenne (the kids don't do spicy so well). It was flavorful, but a little too hard-shell. I prefer the coating to be delicately crispy and light which may be as much about my technique as about the recipe itself . The thing I like about it is that you finish it in the oven, which also helps keep it tender and moist. I also liked frying it in my big iron skillet just like grandma used to.

Now I've crossed the threshold. Fried chicken is back on the menu chez nous. I'll be experimenting with various techniques and ingredients - namely butter milk marinades and such. It's all in the name of expanding the kids' food horizons. Sure.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Apparently It's Not Terrorism If You Agree with Their Agenda

There's no question that Bill Ayers by his own admittance was one who sought to destroy our US Capitol and our Pentagon. That is a domestic terrorist," Palin said, referring to a 1960s leftist who founded a radical violent gang dubbed the "Weathermen" -- and who years later supported Obama's first run for public office in the state of Illinois.

"Now, others who would want to engage in harming innocent Americans or facilities that it would be unacceptable to... I don't know if you're gonna use the word 'terrorist' there," the ardently pro-life running mate of John McCain said.

No. Wait. You've got to hear her say it.

Check out the Huffpost.

The Words German Engineering and Babies Should Not Appear Anywhere in the Same Sentence.

Not even in reference to Routan babies.

Have you seen that freaky ad with Brooke Shields and the babies and the VW van? I get that it's supposed to be "hilarious," that it's a mockumentary. But I don't know, it's a little - oh - tasteless.

I see the print ads in Parent and Cookie Magazines and I ask myself:
Why is it that such a carefully assembled multicultural mix of babies is not smiling? Hmm?

Don't they appreciate German Engineering?

Or it is because they just instinctively know that the words German engineering should not appear in a sentence with any word that is remotely human-related. 'Cuz remember the time when the German engineering thing got out of hand? With the people and the ovens? And the death camps? Hmm? Did the ad firm you hired collectively fail world history or is VW (Excuse me, Das Auto?) all about embracing its roots these days? Hmm?

Nice car
Ah, I love those Bavarians
so meticulous
- Don Henley, The Garden of Allah

Monday, October 20, 2008

Unrelenting Optimism

On the ride back from getting take-out tonight Olivia was showing me pages from her Bb book that she made in preschool today.

O: Look Mom! What's this?
E: I can't tell you. I'm driving.
O: Look in the mirror! See!
E: Olivia, it's not safe to distract the driver.
O: What?
E: It's not safe to ask Mommy to look at pictures while she's driving.
O: Oh.

Then Carter chimes in:
C: Right, Olivia. Because Mom could crash the car into something, it could explode and catch on fire.
O: And then we'd have to walk home?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Denial Is A Sign of A Deep-Seated Issue

We are working strange, wiggy magic around here. Yep. We're cleaning house. Left to our own devices we'd bury ourselves in old magazines, broken toys, and cereal boxes. But everyone has their limit and I've reached mine - I tried to put down a glass of water on my desk yesterday and there was absolutely no space for it.

We went walking (although the kids felt it was a forced march) with a friend recently. As we were walking by a particularly cluttered looking yard. "You should have seen it last week. You couldn't see the yard," my friend pointed out, wondering if maybe the elderly woman who lived there had compulsive hoarding disease.

Then I watched this documentary:

POSSESSED from Martin Hampton on Vimeo.

Read more about his film project here.

Okay. We're not into that territory - yet. But I do kind of fall into the book hoarding category - I even have piles of library books. Of course, some are for my thesis, but others are not. The key phrase here is that hoarding interrupts social interaction and affects health. I mean my kids already do that.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Can Someone Maybe Appropriate A Dartboard?

An intern at my husband's office has been telling us about her boyfriend who works at the Fed. Apparently when the crisis hit a few weeks ago he was in the bathroom when men started running in and vomiting in the stalls. Stress much? Now with the bailout plan in place and all, the general opinion is that they still have no idea what to do. Thank you government intervention.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

That's Ma Fox. He's Ma Friend.

I know it's wrong. I recognize the flawed logic (if it can even be called that) of befriending a wild animal.

But I can't get enough of the Timmy the Fox episodes from Timothy Treadwell's The Grizzly Man Diaries on Animal Planet.

Clicky clicky here for your descent on the slippery slope of environmentalism.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Olivia's Corn Monologue & Song

Your mom likes corn.
Your dad likes corn.
You baby brother likes corn.
You don't like corn.
Your big brother doesn't like corn.
Your mom likes corn.
Your dad likes corn.
Your baby brother likes corn.
You don't
You don't
Like! Corn!
Your mom likes corn.
Your dad likes it
Your baby brother likes it
You Don't Like It!
Mom likes corn
Dad likes corn
Your baby brother likes corn
Mom likes corn
Dad likes corn
Your baby brother likes corn
You don't
But your not scared of it.

Singing now:
Your little baby
likes corn
But you say I don't like corn!
My mom
My dad
No one likes to worry
They like
They like corn.

Now singing to the tune of So Long Farewell from The Sound of Music:
They sing
They walk
They only get the plant
They walk and sing
Then they have the corn.
They dance
They eat
They really like corn
They don't know when they
find the corn
They sing and dance

Then they go to bed
They're tired
They're exhaust
Their bed
They really need it now.

I don't
I don't
I don't like corn
But I'm not afraid of it.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Have You Done It?

Check your deadlines here.

You can do it here, here, or here - https://secure5.ctsg.com/rtv/ovr/index.asp?pid=99.

I'll bake you a pie (you must send me proof of registration).

(h/t - Lessig Blog.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Okay. I Couldn't Resist.

Jon over at Yowsa got fed up with all the spam mail he receives and decided to strike back. After getting the following email over and over today, I was inspired to do the same. Here's the letter I received. It's pretty much the standard.
Good day!!!

I have been waiting for you since to contact me for your Confirmable BankDraft of $500,000 United States Dollars, but I did not hear from you since for a couple of weeks now. Then I went to the bank to confirm if the draft has expired or getting near to expire and Dr.Wilson the Director United Bank for Africa told me that before the draft will get to your hand that it will expire.

So I told him to cash the $500,000 USD UNITED STATES DOLLARS to cash payment to avoid losing this fund under expiration as I will be out of the country for a 6 Months Course.

What you have to do now is to contact FEDEX COURIER SERVICES as soon as possible to know when they will deliver your Consignment to you because of the expiring date.

For your information, I have paid for the delivering Charge, Insurance premium. The only money you will send to the FEDEX COURIER SERVICES to deliver your Consignment direct to your postal Address in your country is ($150USD) One Hundred and fifty United States Dollars only being Security Keeping Fee of the Courier Company so far. Again, don't be deceived by anybody to pay any other money except ($150USD) Dollars for the Security Keeping Fee. I would have paid that but they said no because they don't know јhen you will contact them and in case of demurrage.

You have to contact FEDEX COURIER SERVICES now for the delivery of your BOX with this information bellow;

МHONE NUMBER: +234-708-489-3187

Finally, make sure that you reconfirm your Postal address and Direct telephone number to them again to avoid any mistake on the Delivery and ask them to give you the tracking number to enable you track your package over there and know when it will get to your address. Let me repeat again, try to contact them as soon as you receive this mail to avoid any further delay and remember to pay them thЏir Security Keeping fee of ($150USD)Dollars for their immediate action. Note this. The FEDEX COURIER SERVICES don't know the contents of the Box.

I registered it as a BOX of Africa cloths. They did not know the content was money. This is to avoid them delaying with the BOX. Do not let them know that box contents money ok.

I am waiting for your urgent response. Yours Faithfully,

Mr. Shawn Mark.
Here's my reply:
Dear Mr. Mark:

Such prodigious news! You may be aware of the critical financial situation we Americans are finding ourselves in. In fact, my bank was seized by the federal government only this Thursday last. People were lined up outside the bank for fear that they would not get their money back. I trembled at the thought of losing what is, for me, hard earned money.

I am indeed sorry I missed your previous message. My husband is a very jealous man and has been intercepting my email. I am afraid maybe that is what became of your last effort at contact. If you should get a call or an email from Mr. Steve Douglas, please make every effort to avoid speaking directly to him. If you must enter into conversation with him, please do not, I am begging you Mr. Mark, please do not breathe a word of our relationship. He would not believe it if you told him it was strictly financial. He would say ugly things about my virtue and insinuate that more than money was changing hands. You must understand, he has not been himself for several dismal years and every day his bitterness and mistrust grows like some foul weed choking off all our love and fond esteem. You must believe me, Mr. Mark, I have tried to be a good wife, but I am near my breaking point. With the financial markets in such collapse and my trust fund threatened, as well as the likelihood of foreclosure on our house, I have begun to wonder if maybe I have been wrong about putting all my eggs in one basket, for robbing Peter to pay Paul as it were. Let me be honest, my marriage is a sham, the love we had has wasted away like a corpse in July. No one knows this, not even Corrine, my best friend. We lunch every Tuesday noon and serve on numerous community fundraising concerns, but I have not been able to bare my soul to her. The weight of the silence that has built up around my husband and I has become untenable. I may be of a mature age, Mr. Mark, but I have needs. And they are not being met. In fact, Steve and I have not had sexual congress in many years because of an unfortunate hunting accident that left my dear husband's manly member somewhat misshapen and dysfunctional. Up until that time, Steve, was my husband in every way. In fact, I was quite unschooled when we first wed, but will be forever grateful for the world of wonder he introduced me to and to this day I regret that I ignored my father's admonitions to always, always, always, maintain the target within my site whilst pointing any high-powered weapon. Now Steve and I both bear the brunt of my impetuous and foolhardy practices. Indeed, it is out of guilt that I have maintained my quiet and resolute celibacy even though I am ashamed and devastated when I think of the years that I've wasted and the chances I've had to turn other men's eyes. I am not unattractive, Mr. Mark, and could have my choice of any number of eligible, mature men who not only know their way around the garden, as the saying goes, but are very careful where they plant the irrigation hose.

But to the matter at hand. Pardon my unseemly rush at disclosure, but I find myself opening up to you and I think it is because of the kindness you've extended me in looking out for my interests in this very delicate financial matter. There is so much cynicism in the world today, so much ugliness and mistrust. I am sensitive to these sorts of universal vibrations. My stern father taught me to believe in the Golden Rule and to suffer no fool kindly which, now that I think on it, seem to contradict each other. Perhaps the tension between these thorny truths has contributed to my waywardness and fed my restless nature in ways that I am only now becoming aware of. At any rate, you will find me ready to rhumba, as the saying goes and I will never forget the kindness you have extended to me.

But, Mr. Mark, I must confess, I do not know what Fedex Courier Service is. I have never had dealings with any such company. I asked Roy, my butler, and he seemed as perplexed by the phrase as I. It is no secret that Steve handles most of our business dealings with the exception of my trust fund - it's become a point of pride with him, the dear is compelled to exercise his manliness in every little way he can and I try to be supportive, but the cost is my own ignorance of such affairs! So if you could be so kind as to tell me how I would go about contacting the Fedex Courier Service I would be most grateful for your patience and sanguine nature. Are you sure Fedex Courier Service can be trusted or can you recommend another service. It occurs to me that if they would try to deceive me into revealing the contents of my box, it might be prudent to seek a more reputable company with which to conduct business.

I await your patient counsel.


Elsbeth H.

For You Girl, Because #2

For You Girl, Because #1

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Don't be yourself - be someone a little nicer.- Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Friday, August 29, 2008

Hey Mama What's Rockin'?

After 12 straight hours alone with the kids, there are days when I find myself babbling. I start to say something to one of the kids like you know maybe you should stop screaming and you - you - you stop holding your sister by the ankles and making her scream I don't care if she asked you to do it that screaming is stripping my last nerve. Except it doesn't come out like that: it comes out like you you oughta not to do that cause you shouldn't oughta do that cause cause cause hey look at that wall. Bang bang bang. My head hurts. Ow.

It's like an out of body experience. I hear the words. I know I'm speaking but I can no longer make meaning or form coherent thoughts. This is one of those moments when you sound ridiculous and the kids know it and you know you've heard this kind of talk before - yeah, your parents used to talk like that. Their mouths would open and words would come out but they made absolutely no sense whatsoever. Those parents: ideally, they'd be around now and in your house (most likely laughing at you), but finally serving some sort of utilitarian function - like helping out with the kids. Like taking them out for ice cream or teaching them to throw lawn darts. Circumstances being what they are (parent's not dead but crazy- remember I said ideally) that is not an option for me.

So I'm learning to navigate this moment by taking a mommy time out. Oh sometimes a cocktail sure would be nice - and I've been known to load the kids in the car and drive to some kid- friendly place like Chevy's so they can have balloons and ice cream and some form of cheese or chicken and I can have a margarita with dinner. And after a reasonable time and a pitcher of water I take them home. I've been known to do that - though not too often because now that would be a problem wouldn't it? Or else I whip out the chocolate, sugar, eggs, flour, butter and vanilla and mix up a batch of brownies. Afterwards I hold the chocolate-covered spoon in my mouth like the serotonin just can't get to my brain fast enough which is absolutely true. Other times it's best to get the kiddies in the tub and playing so I can sit on the floor and regain my composure or at least my ability to turn thoughts into speech. There's also the trick of urging them into their pajamas with the promise of "hey you'll have lot's of time to read to yourselves in bed!" This never works never ever but I still throw it out there 'coz I've heard that if you repeat something long enough the information eventually takes hold. Like you have to repeat it a lot. Like zillions - no bazillions of times. Like you have to say it until the words lose all meaning and even the syllables - what are those? right? - even the syllables and speech itself, speech itself seems like about as useful as having a tail or an extra toe, and then maybe, maybe someday soon like after all those bazillion times, the kids will suddenly, inexplicably find themselves wanting to put on their jammies and get in bed with a really really good book without even pausing to demand cookies and milk. I wish they were like the dog.

You toss the ball throw the frisbee shine the flashlight and you and he can be amused for hours and he may even not eat a diaper or scarf your dinner when you aren't looking or puke on your shoes. The kids are not like the dog. But then again, they don't eat diapers - score! Here we are at the end of the day and they aren't tired oh no they maybe running on fumes but it only energizes them. It only adds to their determination to eek out the juice from this day. Sometimes all I can do is shut up and let them run it out. And this is fun, as long as no one is being bodily harmed, the house isn't being set on fire, and if - A Big If - I can take a step back and just enjoy them without being conscious of how freaking overwhelmed I feel. No lie. It's hard to manage this. But I've been working on it with varying degrees of success. Maybe it's about finding the strength or maybe it's the giving up of getting your way or just being so freaking tired that your head feels numb and you can't fight back anymore. But you take a step back and you see how alive they are and how this moment when the sun is just so and Marshall is sitting in the pasta pot and hugging Carter and Olivia is flitting across the room like a flower fairy is so very fleeting and what a gift it is, and there is a trail of toys and clothes and shoes and paper clips and books and tissue that leads from one end of the house to the other and spaghetti sauce is smeared on the table, this one moment is singular and will never, no not ever, not even in a bazillion years, this moment will not come round again.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Confirm Your Unsubscription

That's the message I received when I tried to unsubscribe from The Democratic Party email list. Get this: you have to wait to get a security code to unsubscribe (that's where the confirm your unsubscription message occurs). So let me get this straight, no paper trails for electronic voting machines, but security codes to unsubscribe from a party mailing list. 'Coz there's some vast right wing conspiracy of hackers who make it their mission to unsubscribe the devoted so they can't get their Biden/Obama magnets?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Why Do the Democrats Make It So Hard to Vote For Them?: Joe Biden Edition

So this is what the politics of change look like?

Money quote:
A senior Obama adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, said his boss has expressed impatience with what he calls a "reverence" inside his campaign for his message of change and new politics. In other words, Obama is willing — even eager — to risk what got him this far if it gets him to the White House.

Wow. The kids'll come out in droves to vote now.


I won't vote for Biden. No way. It's almost as unsavory as voting for McCain.

Joe Biden
  • Voted for the War in Iraq
  • Only Democratic candidate to vote for the 2007 Iraq war supplemental funding bill that did not contain a withdrawal timeline.
  • Said it would be unconstitutional for Congress to cut off funding for an escalation of the war in Iraq, as opposed to a full-scale denial of war funding.
A few Biden quotes that have been floating around the Republican blogosphere:

The only guy on the other side who's qualified is John McCain. MSNBC, October 30, 2007

John McCain is a personal friend, a great friend, and I would be honored to run with or against John McCain, because I think the country would be better off, be well off no matter who [won] - The Daily Show, August 2, 2005

Well, the point is, it turned out they didn't, but everyone in the world thought he had them. The weapons inspectors said he had them. They catalogued them. This was not some, some Cheney, you know, pipe dream. This was, in fact, catalogued.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: 1968 really screwed up this country.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bookworm, grind, egghead, highbrow, intellectual, brain, genius, scholar, slacker

I wish this book had been around when I was in high school. I realize looking back that I shied away from fully embracing my nerdiness, the way most of my friends did, either because there was no other choice or it never even occurred to them to be otherwise. Sure I flaunted my individualism by quoting the likes of Emerson - "whoso would be a man (or woman in my case) must be a non-conformist" or "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds." I confess: I was a dilettante or is that nerdilettante? (Right there proof of my nerdiness.) Apparently I wasn't alone in my unwillingness or inability to identify with the group. Benjamin Nugent recounts his own experiences denying his best friend and disengaging himself from the nerd pack in American Nerd: The Story of My People.

The first part of the book traces the origin of the word nerd and its evolution. It was a bit slow going for me even though I loved reading about how Anne Beatts and Rosie Shuster developed Lisa Loopner and Todd DiLaMuca* as well as the creation of that great late '90's show, Freaks and Geeks. Part 2 provides examples of the many ways the concept of nerd finds expression in our culture starting with two guys who are debate partners (yeah, I was a debater too). In my favorite chapter Nugent deconstructs nerd chic and explains some of the advantages to pretending to be a nerd - primarily as a way of downplaying class and gender differences. He also discusses the advantages of being a nerd in the workplace - a tangent I found particularly illuminating considering I live and work in the San Francisco Bay Area and identify with the frustrations of hanging out with creative types either of the engineer or artistic persuasion (hey, I'm an artist myself). This is the killer quote:
The fake nerd...is a way of dealing with constant threat. The threat, in this case, is a lot milder than that of nuclear war, but it's the single largest threat that hangs over the lives of creative professionals in major cities: losing momentum in your career, losing the aura of an up-and-comer, acquiring the odor of failure. The nature of work in the media, broadly defined, is that it's insecure and transient. Survival depends on maintaining a register of acquaintances who think you're good at what you do, think you're cool, want to hire you, have the power to do so, and haven't been rejected by you sexually. There's often a careerist hustle in the depths of friendships, even when the surface is calm...there is a new version of Richard Yate's immortal couple in Revolutionary Road, the Wheelers. They live in Park Slope, or Silver Lake, or Wicker Park. "God," they sometimes think, "in a way, wouldn't it be kind of nice to be an engineer in the fifties? Not really with all that sexism and conformity and general attitude of fascism, you know? And the discomfort about sexuality? But just not trying to be someone you're not?"
Originally Todd DiLabounta until the real DiLabounta threatened a lawsuit.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Mmmmm. Pecan Pie Bars.

Can I tell you how good these are? Silky, chocolatey, sweet bourbon jesus good.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Writer Stretches His Imagination 'til It Snaps

L. Ron explains Xemu in 8 minutes. 8 very long incoherent minutes. Or maybe my negativity is just a manifestation of my psychic trauma and upset and so on and so on.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Memories of Fruit #1: The Persistence of Peaches

More peaches. Juicy and cold. No peach pie yet because we eat them too fast. But soon.

Growing up we had peaches in our backyard. My grandmother and I would sit out on the stone step at the back door on a summer's night and eat a peach we had just picked. The first bite was my favorite - puncturing that fuzzy flesh and then sucking up the juice right down to the pit. I remember the hard stone of the stoop under my bony butt. The hard stone where my great grandmother had fallen during her stroke. She lay inside in a hospital bed unable to speak and unable to walk. Sitting and eating the peach was our little thing - my gramma and me- a quiet close to a day spent bent over doing factory work or in my case talking to tulip trees barely held together by light and riding my wagon around the neighborhood.

A few years later, they started spraying the neighborhood for mosquitoes. The trees didn't die instantly. They deteriorated over time until finally they stopped bearing fruit. I have an enduring memory of them - their branches cut off, gnarled and grotesque against the darkening sky. I would sit out on the stoop and throw pebbles at their trunks. Or sometimes I'd hurl myself at their trunks hoping to wake up their roots. But no life was left in them. No matter how hard I shook. Finally, I sat down against the biggest's blackening base and waited. Just waited and cried. After my grandmother had them cut down I would stand on top of the stump and pretend I was the tree spreading my branches against the sky. Or I'd jump up and down on the stumps mindlessly aching for peaches.

From Blossoms
From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward
signs painted Peaches.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

The Weight of Sweetness
No easy thing to bear, the weight of sweetness.

Song, wisdom, sadness, joy: sweetness
equals three of any of these gravities.

See a peach bend
the branch and strain the stem until
it snaps.
Hold the peach, try the weight, sweetness
and death so round and snug
in your palm.
And, so, there is
the weight of memory:

Windblown, a rain-soaked
bough shakes, showering
the man and the boy.
They shiver in delight,
and the father lifts from his son's cheek
one green leaf
fallen like a kiss.

The good boy hugs a bag of peaches
his father has entrusted
to him.
Now he follows
his father, who carries a bagful in each arm.
See the look on the boy's face
as his father moves
faster and farther ahead, while his own steps
flag, and his arms grow weak, as he labors
under the weight of peaches.

Both Poems by Li-Young Lee

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Someday Maybe He'll Wrestle An Alligator

It's nearly four hours since I left home and I've yet to get the call that Carter cut off his hand so I'm supposing it was okay to let him use the box cutters. After all he was being supervised by the babysitter and it's not like we gave him an axe for Chrissake.

It went something thing like this:

"Mom, will you set up a play date for me? (our babysitter) says it's okay if one of my friends comes over."

"No, that's not such a good idea, Carter."

(If the babysitter only knew the hell that could be raised.)

"Why don't we cut out the doors and windows for your recycled city?"

My husband brought home three appliance boxes for the project and they're just waiting for the creativity to flow.

"Can I cut out the boxes?"

"I'll cut them out."

"Oh, why can't I? I've used boxcutters before."


"Dad let me use them. He lets me use them all the time."

"Are you serious?"

"Okay, he let me use them one time."

"I'll wait and you draw the doors and windows and I'll cut them out."

Heavy sigh: "Okay, I'll go get a sharpie."

He comes back and starts to draw an elaborate matrix of windows and doors. There's no way I'm going to be able to cut them all out before it's time for me to leave. Finally the babysitter offers to do it. Great.

"Mom, can I please I cut out the cardboard?"

"I'll watch him," the babysitter offers.

So I said yes.

That's right. No! Hell no to the play date. Yes! Why not? To using the box cutters.

Lesser of two evils folks. Lesser of two evils.

When I came out one last time to check on him he was cutting out small windows and holding the instrument dangerously close the blade.

I played with a real bow and arrow when I was eight years old and I only got shot in the head once. You can't even tell now.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We Have Too Much Cabbage

Yes. That's right. Bet you can't even guess how many is too much can you? I bought a share in our local CSA (right down the road from where we live) and there has been a head of cabbage in our basket every week for about a month or so.

This week's came with the following note: These are indeed large. Do not be overwhelmed.

How much coleslaw can a body take? We're about to find out. Or I could freecycle it. Lest you think I jest - people give away food, used cosmetics, and dryer lint all the time. Waste not.

Ring a ding ding

Oh look how cute this is. I want it. I'm thinking of how much fun the kids would have if they managed to wrest it from my clutches.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Alton Brown Breaks Down the Apple Pie

This morning we eat a beautiful juicy peach and I've been thinking about peach pie ever since. I'm currently planning a pie-making day. It takes time to make a good pie and if you don't believe me, this episode of Good Eats confirms it.

Question: Does anyone have a grandmother, aunt or relative of any sort who has a pie bird? Have you ever heard of pie bird?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Charmed Life: Growing Up in MacBeth's Castle

A Charmed Life: Growing Up in Macbeth's CastleThe strongest/most interesting parts of the book are Campbell's stories of medieval Scottish history and her descriptions/perceptions of the natural (sometimes supernatural) world around the castle. She relates well what it was like to walk in two worlds - the historical and the present and of her growing awareness of the rift between the two.

If I were directing MacBeth, this would be one of the source books even though Cawdor was never MacBeth's castle. Campbell captures the bloody battles and competition amongst the highland warrior clans explicitly - including a tale about Muriel, the only woman ever to be Thane, who was branded as a baby (strictly for identification purposes in case of kidnapping) and whose nanny bit her little finger off above the joint (when the feared kidnapping finally took place, just to be absolutely sure, should the girl ever return home that she was indeed the heir to Cawdor). Campbell's chronicles of her father's erratic behavior, addictions, and abuse along with a very long list of eccentric ancestors makes great material for creating the characters of MacBeth and Lady M.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mr. Snow Miser: You done me wrong.

What is it with summer? Last year I contracted Fifth Disease (you may know it as Slapped Cheek) and had painful arthritic symptoms in my hands and knees for two months. Last week my back went into spasm during a water gun fight we had at a picnic for my husband's startup. Let me tell you it is painful. Still. It's been a whole week. A friend loaned me an inversion machine, but I can't lift it and since Roger is out of town - it is left sitting in the garage. I'd probably just get myself stuck on it and life would turn into one of those wacky I Love Lucy episodes.

I've been managing the pain by taking hot baths, icing, and taking Tylenol gel caps. Which was working fine until I burned my back by over-icing. This is something you should never do. Oh, we've all been warned - ice for no longer than twenty minutes. I studied sports massage and worked in a physical therapy clinic - I guess that's why I thought I was immune to the rule.

I was not. I climbed into the bath last Saturday and felt this hellatastic pain at one point on my spine. I reached around and a gooey gob of skin came off! Like I'm fucking Thomas Covenant!
I screamed for Roger to come look at my back. He reported that along with a small circle void of epidermis there were two long reddish rectangles on my back that resembled the cells on my icepack. The pain and the itch are exquisite.

Do Not Adjust Your Television Set

Andy on Love Boat. Does it get any better? No. It does not.

315 Johns: Authentic Warhol or Fo Fo Fo Faux?

When is a Warhol not a Warhol? Apparently when a Factory boy makes it and Andy doesn't know about it.

The title, “315 Johns,” sounds less like the name of an artwork than a headline describing a prostitution bust. But in the second volume of the catalogue raisonné enumerating the works of Andy Warhol, it is listed as a 1967 Warhol creation: a series of silk-screens made from a photograph of the artist John Chamberlain and arranged in a heroic grid.

And in 2000, documents show, Mr. Chamberlain sold it for more than $3 million to an unnamed collector after securing a declaration from the Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board that the piece was genuine.

But in a lawsuit now making its way through state court in Brooklyn, Gerard Malanga, a poet and photographer, angrily contends there are a few problems with this. For starters, he says, the work was not Mr. Chamberlain’s to sell; for another, it should never have sold for so much because Warhol, who died in 1987, not only did not make it, but was never even aware it existed.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them. - Lemony Snicket

Friday, June 06, 2008

You've Got to Break Many Eggs to Get a Few Flat or Give a Kid a Flat Egg & He'll Maybe Eat for a Day- Afterwards You Must Feed Them to the Wolves

Donut Friday. That's the day Roger takes the kids to school and stops by the donut shop. Donut Friday's the day dad makes breakfast - flat eggs made to order. Salt. No pepper. Not ever! Flat-freakin-eggs.

The kids think their dad's ability to make flat eggs is a skill of the highest culinary order- no gently curdled scramble over medium heat for them. But today Dad was in Seattle and I was left to make the eggs. Who knew that it could be so hard to render an egg rubbery and crepe-like? Can I tell you? I went through half a dozen eggs trying to emulate their dad's flat egg technique. Olivia screamed at me after each failure - "that's not how dad makes them!" When we were down to two eggs I warned them that if they didn't like these then -horrors!- no donuts. But the threat of a Donut-less Friday did not deter them - oh no! They will have their freakin' flat eggs and their donuts too. And I did manage to make two serviceable flat ones. Carter sighed and agreed to eat the last one even though it had a rise, nay an indentation, an inexplicable microscopic formation, a minor change in elevation that rendered it un-flat. "Okaaaay, mom, I'll eeeeat it," he sighed. "I'll eat it. Can you cut in slices like Dad does?"

Slices?????!!!!!! Slices????!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Children ask better questions than adults. May I have a cookie? Why is the sky blue? and What does a cow say? are far more likely to elicit a cheerful response than Where’s your manuscript? Why haven’t you called? and Who’s your lawyer? - Fran Lebowitz

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Where the Streets Not Only Have Names, But Cameras

Where in Dublin is Bono? Check out the Bono Probability Positioning System. Click on Bono's face to find out the probability of actually seeing Bono at that location.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pie, C'est Moi. Et Vous?

You Are Cream Pie

You're the perfect combo of simplicity and divinity.

You are a secret hedonist. No one knows how indulgent you can be.

You don't indulge often, but when you do, you go for the best.

You have expensive taste - even if you aren't rich.

Those who like you life for understated pleasures.

You're not flashy or trendy, but you have a depth that most people lack.

Interacting with you makes most people feel incredibly satisfied.

You are gentle, super sweet, and in harmony with those around you.

Because You Are Too Stubborn to Ask for Directions

Where the Goblins Live.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

29 Days/29 Gifts

What would happen if you gave 29 gifts in 29 days? I don't know either, but I'm going to enlist the whole family in this project. Let me know if you decide to do it and tell me what happens. I'll post updates once a week (or more, if I'm so moved).

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fowl to Feast

I killed a chicken. Stuck it in a kill cone and slit its throat. Dipped it in a 145 degree water bath to loosen its feathers. Hung it up by its two legs and started plucking. Finally, I took it down and put it on the table and removed its innards.

Eight of us took the workshop for various reasons. The food editor of our local newspaper was there which made most of us nervous at first. You know, what if we can't perform the function. Here we are now - failures in print. One woman, who called herself Mud, was trying to reconnect with her family roots in the midwest as well as find ways to integrate the good elements of her time as a Hari Krishna. Most of us had read Omnivore's Dilemma or Fast Food Nation.

I did it because I want to understand the depth of my food choices. I figure if I can't take direct responsibility for eating meat, then I probably shouldn't be eating it. At various times, I 've been a vegetarian - even following a macrobiotic diet. While I benefited from those diets, I found that I require meat to give me complete balance. Many of the people at the workshop had been vegetarians. Even Steve, our teacher had been one as a way to rebel against his family who farmed for a living.

I started anthropomorphizing my bird immediately. I named her Myrtle. She was red and like most chickens looked ridiculously confused. I caught her in the pen and then carried her down to the slaughtering station and I held her and stroked her for about twenty minutes. We developed a relationship. When the slaughtering started, there was a little squawking amongst the flock. What was being communicated? Some of the birds, including my Myrtle, squawked back and forth. Both Myrtle and the bird in front of me kept looking keenly at the woods next to us. A good place to escape.

You can alter someone's breathing by modeling relaxation yourself. I know this from working as a massage therapist and it comes in handy with kids. We're constantly modeling behavior - good or bad - and the people around us pick up on it and adjust accordingly. So, I tried to be calm and relaxed as we stood waiting. Myrtle relaxed and settled down in my arms. I wanted to give her a dignified death, or at least one that wasn't fraught with terror. Practically speaking, the more relaxed the animal, the less lactic acid that gets distributed into the muscles. Lactic acid makes the meat tougher - you're eating fear.

It was my turn. My voice had that deep, calm tone that means I'm scared and out of my element. I turned her upside down, holding her wings, and put her in the kill cone. With the other hand, I reached up and found her head. I pulled it through the bottom of the cone and stretched out her neck. The idea here is to slit the throat at the carotid artery. The bird loses consciousness and dies, unaware of pain. That's the theory. How do we know for sure? I turned her head to one side to expose the artery and pulled my knife across it. It was shocking to feel the blood coming out of her warm. Her body jerked. It took several minutes before she was completely bled out.

There was a continuity to the moments preceding and during the slaughter that became increasingly hard to maintain. For one thing, as I was standing there plucking Myrtle, I became insanely hungry. But the repetition of movements - the plucking - makes it easy to check out. Also, I was surprised by how quickly, just a few plucks, and the chicken starts to resemble what you buy at the store. Except it's still warm.

I live less than a mile away from this farm. The day's event promised to give "poultry eaters a deeper connection to the food they consume." What this means is that - essentially - I paid for the opportunity to butcher my own chicken. It's kind of odd when you think about it (and, of course, that's the point). People the world over either hunt/grow and butcher their own food every day. My great grandmother raised chickens in her back yard. She hung their dead bodies on the clothes line. Here I am, three generations later, paying someone for the opportunity to get reconnected to my food. I can almost hear great grandma say, "I broke my back raising chickens so that my children's children's children could pay to wring a chicken's neck?"

I took Myrtle home and put her in a brine bath - salt, rosemary, thyme, peppercorns, garlic, a bit of sugar, and water. I let her soak for a couple of days and then I roasted her in an iron skillet. Superb. Obviously, I'm not going to be doing this on a regular basis. That's not our set-up here. I have started buying less meat and have found that the little I buy goes a long way with the family.

The children have also become more aware of where chickens, etc come from. We've talked about how everything the chicken eats becomes part of us - we're made up of the sun that shone on the grass, the water that fell from the sky, bugs, gravel, etc. Carter observed that it might not be a good idea to eat so much ice cream because you wouldn't want it to become too much of you. Indeed.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Still Cannot Talk About the Derby

Decadent & Depraved. But we already knew that.

Fabulous Bust

I'm inexplicably attracted to this.

No Pie; Cake

My son has been planning his 8th birthday festivities for about three months now. We've settled on an activity - boating at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. I had to talk him down from the idea of renting a motor boat that he and his sister could drive. Seems his estimation of his amazing 8-year old powers are a bit inflated. Now we just have to settle on the cake. There are three contenders.
  1. The R2-D2 Cake (A friend suggested this one and to be honest, perhaps he has over-estimated my pastry-making abilities ever so slightly. I'd need more than the force to pull this off.)
  2. The Lego Cake is more my speed.
  3. Speaking of Speed. Carter is caught up in the Speed Racer movie marketing push and wants a Speed Racer ice cream cake from B & R. Spritle! Chim Chim! Come out of the glove compartment!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

No Pie for You

How do I explain to Olivia that the penny in her Blue's Clues pouch will buy her absolutely nothing anywhere? Can't even buy time at the parking meter.

Army Gives Soldiers the 5-13 = Nothing

"The next thing I remember is waking up on the ground." Men from his unit had gathered around his body and were screaming his name. "They started shaking me. But I was numb all over," he says. "And it's weird because... because for a few minutes you feel like you're not really there. I could see them, but I couldn't hear them. I couldn't hear anything. I started shaking because I thought I was dead."

Eventually the rocket shrapnel was removed from Town's neck and his ears stopped leaking blood. But his hearing never really recovered, and in many ways, neither has his life. A soldier honored twelve times during his seven years in uniform, Town has spent the last three struggling with deafness, memory failure and depression. By September 2006 he and the Army agreed he was no longer combat-ready.

But instead of sending Town to a medical board and discharging him because of his injuries, doctors at Fort Carson, Colorado, did something strange: They claimed Town's wounds were actually caused by a "personality disorder." Town was then booted from the Army and told that under a personality disorder discharge, he would never receive disability or medical benefits. (RTRH)

h/t Adam Szymkowicz

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Five Words You Never Want to Hear

Mom? Astro ate my deposit.

Yeah. The dog ate Olivia's poo. Right out of her potty. He ate her poo!

Mom? Astro ate my deposit.

After Olivia made this admission I ran to the bathroom to inspect the poo-catcher and when I walked by Astro, the beast had the audacity to pick up his head and lick his lips. No Shame! Like eating poo is the most natural thing in the world. Natural as in it came out of my daughter's ass natural.

I furiously scrubbed the poo-catcher and put it back in the potty. But what about the dog? He followed me around for an hour afterwards. Smacking those lips that touched - nay, ate! - my daughter's poo! Finally, my husband put him out on the deck so we didn't have to hear that telltale smacking. Are there enough mint dental rings in the world to wash the poo from his mouth? Are there? No. There are not.

Friday, April 25, 2008

World Penguin Day

Today is World Penguin Day - the day that marks the annual northward migration of los pingüinos.

There's still time to celebrate with Tuxedo pie.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's An Old Joke and One of My Favorites

We were having dinner tonight and Carter was looking at his Solar system placemat and explaining to me about all of the inconsistencies and downright errors.

Carter: Like Pluto's orbit intersects Neptune's!

At this point, Olivia leans over and examines the placemat.

She points to the Earth and completely deadpan says: You can see our house.

Even Marshall busted up over that one.

Funnier still: Carter actually looked for the house before he realized she was joking.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I wear a necklace, cause I wanna know when I’m upside-down. - Mitch Hedberg

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Ray O' Light

The inspiration for this shot came from the Superhero Photo challenge: shooting into the sun. My little guy had a good time helping me out with this one.

First Snow/First Sled Ride

We made it to Flagstaff without mortgaging the boy, but just barely. It was touch and go what with the one hour it took to get out of Phoenix/Scottsdale on the 101 loop. But once we made it Flagstaff and ate at the Route 66 Dog Haus (a drive-through hot dog place shaped like a - you guessed it) there was a little less 'tudiness all around - except for Olivia who refused to order anything at this fine establishment.

We found ourselves an over-priced tourist sled and headed to Crowley Pit. Now I'll grant you - Crowley Pit - while not the most inspiring name for a snow area is fairly self-descriptive. This marks the first time any of our kids had seen snow. They took to it like baby seals or something like that.

Everyone who could voluntarily hold themselves in an upright position had a turn on the sled. The beauty part is that it started to snow while we were there, so the kids saw falling snow - just in case they were thinking it came up from the ground.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Skippy's Secret Desire

You will want one of these, oh yes you will. Unless your dog goes to work with you - even then think of the fun.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Perspective is All

Carter: So how much do you weigh?
Me: I'm not saying.
Carter: But this is my homework. We have to weigh something and we only have a people scale.
Me: Marshall weighs 20 pounds.
Carter: How much does Olivia weigh?
Me: About thirty pounds.
Carter: How much does Dad weigh?
Me: You'll have to ask him.
Carter: How much do you weigh?
Me: 160 pounds.
Carter: How much?
Me: 160 pounds.
Carter: 160 pounds! You could lift all my friends on the see saw! I weigh 60 pounds. Do you realize you weigh 99 pounds more than me?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

40-Some Things to Do Before My Next Birthday

Inspired by Andrea at Hula Seventy, I created this list for my birthday.
  1. Finish my thesis.
  2. Breathe.
  3. Learn to meditate.
  4. Take a Qi Gong class.
  5. Teach the kids to lie around the house.
  6. Teach the kids some Yoga.
  7. Make a new friend.
  8. Reconnect with an old friend.
  9. Read out loud.
  10. Read two Shakespeare plays I haven't read.
  11. Read two Chekov plays I haven't read.
  12. Read a new play every month.
  13. Read two of the books on David Sedaris' Recommended Reading List.
  14. Resume free-writing exercises.
  15. Start a rewrite of one of my old plays.
  16. Start my new screenplay.
  17. Organize all my source material for playwriting projects.
  18. Write down the master plan for my theater center.
  19. Take a food writing class at Stanford.
  20. Start learning a new language (I'm thinking Italian).
  21. Take a contact improv class.
  22. Sew some stuff for my kids.
  23. Sew some stuff to sell on Etsy.
  24. Get my bike tuned up and ready to ride.
  25. Get a grill.
  26. Invite the neighbors over.
  27. Experiment with making whole-wheat and/or gluten-free pie crusts.
  28. Make a fresh peach pie this summer.
  29. Take the kids berry-picking.
  30. Go to the farmer's market most Saturdays or Sundays.
  31. Eat more vegetables.
  32. Drink more water.
  33. Get a massage or two or four or more.
  34. Eat a meal at Zuni.
  35. Plant pumpkins and sunflowers with my kids.
  36. Plant bulbs in front of my kitchen window.
  37. Buy a birthday cake for absolutely no reason. Anyone who wants can make a wish on it.
  38. Continue with the clutter-taming.
  39. Start a play reading salon.
  40. Involve the kids in a guerrilla art project.
  41. Do some of the Learning to Love You More assignments.
  42. Go on a geocaching excursion in our area.
  43. Take my kids to SFMOMA.
  44. Take the kids to Big Sur and rent a cabin for a weekend.
  45. Travel some place we've never been.
  46. Attend the PICA TBA Festival.
  47. Celebrate Winter Solstice by having some folks over for dinner.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Jack Ad for Hillster

Umm, maybe before they included that quote from A Few Good Men, they should have read the rest of the line?

Jessup: I want to tell you something and listen up, 'cause I mean this. You're the luckiest man in the world. There is, believe me, nothing sexier on earth than a woman you have to salute in the morning. Promote 'em all I say, 'cause this is true: If you've never gotten a blow-job from a superior officer, then you are letting the best of life just pass you by.

Jo: Did you consult with the doctor that night?

Kaffee: Back off, Commander.

Jessup: You see, my problem is, of course, that I'm a Lt. Colonel. I'll have to keep taking cold showers till they elect some gal President.
Here's the scene from the movie.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Midway on our life's journey
I found myself in the dark wood
The right road lost - The Inferno, Dante (trans. Robert Pinsky)
Last week, one of the women at my daughter's preschool brought up the idea of Midolescence, the new term for midlife crisis and, considering the hormonal changes, I think a more self-descriptive term. When she found out my age she grew concerned:

Preschool mom: Don't you just think about how your life is half over? Really. You've already lived half of your life. Doesn't that scare you?
Me: No. What scares me is thinking about my twenties. I'm lucky I survived my own stupidity.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Compounded Daily

Driving past Scottsdale on our way to Flagstaff I noticed an interesting new business and pointed it out to Roger.

Me: Child Mortage. That building says Child Mortage. Hmmm-
Roger: Hey, Carter. We have a new consequence for your bad behavior.
Me: Let the money just roll in.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Have It Your Way

Burger King. San Jose Airport.

I decided to order a quick lunch for my kids before we hopped on the plane for Phoenix. We queued up at the home of the you-know-what (but not for hamburgers my god they recalled 143 lbs of ground beef the day before are you crazy?!!). No. We went for the chicken nuggets and oh yes I know how they lived and died. It's The Omnivore's Dilemma all day every day. Carter managed to convince me to order the kid's meals which is not something we normally do.

Waitress: Do you want a boy toy or a girl toy?

Me: Excuse me?

Waitress: Boy toy or girl toy?

Me: I thought these were kid's meals.

Something you won't find on the menu at BK.

Brand New Key

Barack Obama skated here all the way from the beach just to see you.

Barack Obama has parsed your error.

Barack Obama relates to what you are saying.

Barack Obama warmed up your car for you.

Barack Obama made you a mix tape.
What will he do for you?

h/t Suburban Bliss

I Hate It When You Peer At Me So Intently

When I was a child I made an observation: People's faces distort in direct proportion to the amount of stress you are under. The more upset you are, the weirder, more disturbing people look. It's also a fact that when you're sobbing uncontrollably the only people who want to comfort you are the ones who look like they're extras from a David Lynch film. This thought returned on Tuesday night as I sat on a bench outside the restaurant holding Olivia while she screamed "I'm hungry! I want a highchair!" She had a meltdown when waitress gave her a booster seat instead.

Now I'm sure to Olivia her reasons for wanting a highchair are perfectly rational and most likely have to do with the fact that her little brother Marshall was given one and Olivia deep inside wants to be the baby too. But even though she's "four now and taller," she really isn't in a place where she can analyze her motives. "I'm HUNGRY! LET. ME. EAT! I want a highchair!"

Every person who came out of the restaurant looked the other way and moved quickly to their cars. Except for this old woman with craters for eyes who looked like she most likely lived in a gingerbread house. Oh yes. She wanted to help. She bent down and leaned in towards us until she was three inches from our faces, the hairspray from her tease-job wafting unappetizingly close to our noses. "What's your problem little Missy?" Her sunken eyes rolling in two different directions. I absolutely swear they did. Two different directions.

I'm sure our screams are being measured in space even now.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weekend Obsessive

I had a hankering for brownies.
Carter doesn't like chocolate so he asked if I could make blondies instead.
Fair enough. I had seen a recipe that sounded good so I thought I'd try it.
It was a complete failure.
Too much like cake.
I like cake okay. But I wanted brownies. Or rather blondies.
So I made another batch.
Still too cake-like.
I ran out of eggs.
I bought more. I decided that I would get these to come out right no matter how many batches I had to make.

I made another batch. Mixed them less. Put them in a bigger pan.

Not quite the taste-sensation I was hoping for.
Too dry.

I am sick of blondies.

Bring on the chocolate.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cute and Healthful

Carter: Here Mom. Happy Valentine's Day.

(Hands me a heart-shaped box with Cutie written on it and three Hershey's Kisses inside.)

Me: Thank you, Carter. I love chocolate.

Carter: I hope it's dark chocolate. It's better for your cholesterol.

Happy Valentine's Day

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

Neptune's Castle

We found this driftwood shack on the beach last year.

We did a bit of remodeling because we're remodeling-type folk.

We embellished it a little with treasures we found.

We sang songs and beat drums on it.

We waited for the waves to come and carry it away.
I look at the Augusteum, and I think that perhaps my life has not actually been so chaotic, after all. It is merely this world that is chaotic, bringing changes to us all that nobody could have anticipated. The Augusteum warns me not to get attached to any obsolete ideas about who I am, what I represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may once have intended to serve. Yesterday I might have been a glorious monument to somebody, true enough - but tomorrow I could be a fireworks depository. Even in the Eternal City, says the silent Augusteum, one must always be prepared for riotous and endless waves of transformation.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Little Romance

Can I just say one more time how mucha, mucha, mucha I love Youtube? Here's one of my favorite childhood movies - A Little Romance featuring a young Diane Lane and Theolonius Broussard. The opening features classic American films dubbed in French. John Wayne saying "Qu'est-ce que tu prefere?" just cracks me up. Kinda cheesy I guess. But I used to watch it obsessively. I could just buy the thing, but it's so much fun to watch it on my computer broken up into ten minutes pieces. Go figure.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

National Pie Day

It's National Pie Day. Did you know this? One of you did and alerted me. Why National Pie Day?
Because back in 1986 (how's that for a long standing tradtion?) the American Pie Council wanted to acknowledge Crisco's 75th anniversary of "serving foods to families everywhere." I did not know Crisco was considered a food item. No, I did not. Will I bake a pie to commemorate Crisco? Hmmm. There's always room for pie, no? I'm going to see what I can whip up. I found a great recipe yesterday. Can you guess what kind? Bittersweet Chocolate Pecan. I guess this does not qualify as a "new" recipe.

I did have Quiche for lunch. That may be as close as we get to pie today. It's been very hectic in Spreenland so far. But I will save those details for another time.

Thanks T.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Stuck Inside the House with Runny Noses and Hacking Coughs

Thank G.O.D. for Boxes

and Stuffed Lobsters.

Yes. It's the dog's toy.