Showing posts with label Aimless Digression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Aimless Digression. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

{8/52 & 9/52}: screw gentility

There are two main reasons I try not to complain about the weather, and they both have to do with my southern heritage. First and foremost is that as a southern girl, and I am born and bred to please. Genteel manners are in my blood, and a lady never lets on that she is not in a state of supreme comfort. Secondly, I still really have no concept of what is normal for the weather up here, and I refuse to be that cliche, just another Dixie redneck who can't hack the cold.

Luckily, y'all, those reasons have gone out the frosty window now that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, is complaining to me about the weather. And thus, I say to Boston, on this bitterly cold Wednesday in a sea of bitterly cold days, DUBYA TEE EFF.

I am done. Done with my drippy nose, my numb fingers, my arse that tenses when I walk outside my front door. I am DONE. But unlike other activities I decide I'm finished with, being done does not mean I will be any less forced to deal with this weather. But I don't have to like it any more. You hear that, Boston? I DON'T LIKE YOU MUCH RIGHT NOW.

{That's about as harsh as my criticisms get, but I mean it with all my heart.}

And yes, I'm sorry I'm using the blog again as my personal punching bag, but what good is it if not a repository for my bitching, moaning, and aimless ranting? Sigh. Okay, I suppose I should end with cute pictures of my kids, which I can only hope make up for all manner of blogging sins. Please say yes?

{8/52}: Vivi has two less teeth than when I took this pic.

{9/52}: Writing her name! My big girl.

I am, XOXO, etc., your cranky pal,
~J


Friday, January 10, 2014

winter journaling

This is an account a regular day in the Ranger house. I know I'll treasure whatever reporting I manage to type about these normal moments of life because I already do treasure the ones I've made in the past (see Feb. '12...boy do I miss my morning NPR-listening and zoning out). Most of my days are one of two or three possible routines, including 1) the gym, 2) the library, or 3) shopping, or some combination of all of them.

Monday, December 23, 2013

...in which Pooh goes hunting for trolls and finds some

Yesterday I suddenly remembered I had never gone on Facebook to read the comments about my article on Natural Parents Network. The new thing seems to be to comment on Facebook instead of directly on a blog, presumably because there are no comment moderators to delete whatever nutty thing they feel like saying. Indeed, moderation is not a word one would routinely ascribe to the Facebook medium.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

marital shorthand

That thing where you can have an entire conversation with your spouse using mostly monosyllabic sounds...

Nate: Gah.
Me: What?
Him: Nothing.
Me: Oh, that?
Him: Yeah.
Me: Mmmm.
Him: Ugh.
Me: I know, yikes.

*****************

This morning the kids were driving me nuts while I was trying to make their breakfast, and I ended up accidentally grabbing the wrong bottle to sprinkle on their oatmeal. I was running late as it was and didn't have time to make new oatmeal. Spousal levity is a great method of diffusing these moments.


Saturday, December 07, 2013

the shadows of things that may be


This little light o' mine. My latest thrift shop find. Ain't it grand?

This morning my eyes popped open at 7:00am on the nose. My brain keeps orderly internal time, though I dunno why, given that I haven't had a job to wake up for as long as little sister has been with us. I have no one to impress with that little anecdote except you, Reader.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

what does the guinea hen say?

Sorry for the poor image quality.

Nate has recently upped his thoughtfulness in the gift department. After last month's anniversary gift (Garner's Modern American Usage) and this week's birthday gift (the above guinea hen that I have been pining over in the town trade shop window for the past six months), it is GAME ON at Christmas.

When the kids saw the guinea hen at separate moments on my birthday--it was hanging out on the mantel--they both said independently of hearing the other, "QUACK!" It cracked me up because it doesn't remotely resemble a duck to me. When I told them such, they of course wanted to know what a guinea hen says.

...And then I finally showed them this video, which left them no less confused, but they were at least able to come up with creative sounds for the guinea hen. My vote is "wow pow pow pow pow pa pow!"

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

me time

The most unusual and delightfully surprising change has happened to my daily routine since the girls have started school again. I'm going to tell you the following without trying to sound like a braggart. I HAVE FREE TIME. Okay, so I suppose writing in all caps isn't the best way to appear like I'm not bragging. But if you're a mom like me with two young children, and you feel like you'll never have a minute to yourself again, like your brain will never fully work again, take heart. You will get time to yourself. You might even get your brain back. It happened for me, and it will happen for you too.

The surprise isn't that I am getting free time, it's that it totally caught me off guard. Here I am, the mom of two potty-trained individuals who can entertain themselves for literally an hour or more without needing me, and I was somehow unaware that I'd have more time to myself when kindergarten got going. In my defense, my brain wasn't working too well prior to a week ago...

Jumping on the couch, a morning favorite.

A great part of this set-up is that even when Charlie is home with me (she still only has school two mornings a week), she is so easily entertained and quiet that it's like being alone at times. I can set her up with an activity, like an art project or a stack of books, and I get a full thirty minutes of time to think, write, read, or switch laundry. As a result, I'm currently sitting in my dining room at the computer with no mess in sight, and Charlie is dancing nearby to a Raffi song.

Not sure what she's doing here. But she's quiet as a mouse.

Now I just need to decide what to do with my time, other than read my stack of books and laugh until I almost fall out of my chair at the Bloggess. Once I had a few minutes to think about what I might like to do, the answer became obvious. Write! Nate has been so helpful at organizing my thoughts and ideas (turns out there's more to consulting than just prolonging the problem), so I've even developed a framework for what I want to write. It irks me when bloggers--especially Facebookers-- are vague because they hope people will be on the edge of their seats ("I can't tell you about it, but something amazing is about to happen to me!!"), but I honestly still don't know what to tell you yet. When I do, I promise not to be vague.

I remain, Reader, your most humble and faithful aimless digressor,
~J

p.s. For the two of you who are wondering, yes I did in fact get the idea for the "me time" title from Cards Against Humanity. It might just be my favorite card.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

since MTV seems to want my ideas

I get all kinds of solicitations now from businesses who want a slice of PR on my blog, want my opinion about their products, or want to sell or offer something to you, Reader. Some of these opportunities are fun, some are just plain silly or annoying, and others are hilarious. Recently I received an email from MTV asking me if I want to be on the program, "16 and Pregnant." Considering I am neither 16 nor pregnant, it seems they may need to do better research. However, I do have a suggestion for you, MTV. How about "Real World: Grandmas"? Because more than anyone else I know, they've stopped being polite and started being real.

How are y'all doing? I am trying to keep the pace of life slow for my kids this week, since it's one of their only "do nothing" weeks all summer. But slowing down is harder than it looks from the outside! If you're a mom, you likely identify with this struggle. I'm limiting my time at the gym to my standing once-weekly spinning class date with the hubster, and otherwise it's just trips to the library and long walks for us. It seems lots of you started back to school this week. Can you believe we don't start for a whole month? Much as I could rub it in, I know you'll be laughing at us come the end of June when we're still in school.

Hopefully this post about nothing will get me back into the swing of writing...well...about nothing. It's what I do best, wouldn't you say?

Dominoes between her toes. Love this girl.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I forgot my mantra



I love that quote by Jeff Goldblum in Annie Hall. I don't always get Woody Allen's jokes, but I get that one because it so accurately represents how I feel. I would try to meditate, but I'm certain I would forget my mantra because my pursuit of meditation would be so poorly executed. You see, I'm an ideas girl. I leave the execution of details to my life partner. We make a great team, he and I.

My church is a small congregation, and we take a break over the summer due to so many families traveling and to give our pastor some much needed time off. During the summer months, they invite speakers on Sundays to discuss any number of topics not covered over the rest of the year. Our family typically skips these non-sermons because we also need time off, but this Sunday covered spiritual meditation/prayer so we decided to give it a try. I felt I could use some lessons on learning to quiet my mind, for I lack the discipline to do so on my own. Even as I type this sentence, I'm thinking "I wonder if I have a load of laundry in the washer." Focus, girl!

It was an interesting experience just to converse with the other people who came. As it turned out, their reasons might not have been so different from my own. I have been contemplating how best to assist a family member who seems to be experiencing a mental decline lately, and it was the primary reason for my desire to meditate that day. During the candle lighting for concerns and celebrations, another member of the congregation stood up and asked us to pray for him as he helps his mother and father move into a smaller home. Then after the service, Nate called his parents and discovered his dad was also spending that weekend helping his mom move into a smaller home. Does it ever feel like you're being spoken to, LOUDLY, if you would just stop to listen?

The other immediate benefit of meditating, apart from the always wonderful shared experience I get from church, was that once I quieted my mind, solutions for a bunch of half-answered problems that have been floating around my mind suddenly jumped out at me. Could it be so easy? Whenever I have a problem, I could just sit quietly and empty my mind of thoughts, and the answer would jump out?

My theory has yet to be tested, but I like where this line of thought is headed. Slow down. Stop trying to think so much, and you might do some actual thinking. What stands out to you about this concept? Have you done any meditating?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

barreling along

I am am having this weird duality of personality this month; sometimes I am flying at warp speed and other times I can't pull myself off the couch to unload the dishwasher. I am SO ready for summer break, and I don't even have a job, y'all.

Well, right now I have a job. I've been jaunting back and forth to a birth, which could be why I am feeling so drained. It's a good thing I got my new phone because I actually had to send eleventy billion text messages. I'll spare you the boring story details about how I do not have the proper thumbs with which to text and instead will share some cute pics I took of the kids with my new toy:



Friday, May 10, 2013

we can improve upon this

I made what is hopefully going to be an improvement to the blog by removing the Disqus commenting feature. I had heard from quite a few people that it wasn't working right, and from my end I noticed that about every fifth comment would disappear for no apparent reason before I could reply. Not deleted, just gone. So I hope if you found it frustrating to comment before that you will do it now. Okie dokie?

This change to the blog got me thinking about other life changes I and others could make. Vivi has been trying to quit the thumb-sucking habit for some time now. Her most recent goal was to quit by her fifth birthday so she could wear nail polish. When that day came and went, she announced "Oh well! I guess we can try again next year." Noooooo!! We've been told by just about every child development professional that we should avoid negativity where the thumb is concerned and make only gentle reminders, but Reader, it is so hard. Any advice here is heartily appreciated.

In return for my gentle suggestions to Vivi, I've allowed her to comment freely on my slouching problem. Who knows if it's a habit developed from my embarrassment over being the tallest by a foot in eighth grade, my desire to go unnoticed in the public school system, or if I just have weak stomach muscles or something, but I slouch...A LOT. If you know me, you are already aware of this problem, along with the fact that I have a funny gait. I saunter, in fact. Imagine, if you will, a mash-up of Goofy and Meg Ryan, and maybe throw in a dash of Olive Oyl. Can you picture it? That is my amble. I am not in any hurry, and I'm pretty sure I couldn't be even if I wanted to.

Some people have notedly tried to help me out with my funny walk by offering me some tips:

"Stick your chest out, like you want men to notice you!"
No thank you.

"Try pilates!"
Um, what?

"You have shin splints because you run so damn weird."
Thanks, Coach.

[When discussing silly walks, are you already picturing Monty Python? Me too!]

So yeah, I could stand up a bit straighter. I think that will be my new self-improvement project. Where's Henry Higgins when you need him, amirite ladies?

Oh, and I'll also add "Stop yelling in the tone of a shrill siren wail" to that edification list. It is so un-lady-like and generally embarrassing. What would you change about yourself if you could?

Reading a book with a grandparent while sucking her thumb might be her all-time favorite activity.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

did you ever know that you're my hero? {Updated}

I've been coming up with lots of ideas for what I could write about, but I am actually more interested to know what you're doing. Did you know that, when I write "So, what's going on with you?" I actually want to know what's happening with you? Like, for real. Even if I don't know you in person, I would like to have a chat. So if you're cleaning your refrigerator or petting your cat while you read, I am genuinely interested in finding that out. This means you, Dad.

Update: Ask and you shall receive! I got quite a few messages this morning that Disqus is not working right. Geez, you guys, thanks so much for letting me know. I still don't like Blogger comments, but for now it will be what I'm using. Try it out for me? Thanks!

Moving on from begging, I will share a bit of what's we're up to today. A shipment of two giant boxes arrived in our mudroom. They are waiting for Grandpa Dave's arrival tomorrow so he and Nate can assemble a backyard cedar playhouse for the girls. Meanwhile, our entryway smells delightfully of a cedar chest. I suggested to Vivi that they girls could color the outside of the boxes with crayons, and she enthusiastically replied, "Let's design some plans for this art project." Future engineer?

In other tales of household heroism, Mom and I planned and hung a gallery wall in our stairwell when she was in town. I am quite pleased with how it turned out. Care to take a gander?


The wall on the right is going to have some of its photos swapped, but even empty frames are a huge upgrade from what was there (i.e. nothing). Some of these shots I will leave, though, like the ones professionally taken and all the B&Ws. Others, like the flowers (left over from a years-ago failed nursery project) will be swapped with more chic landscapes. More of England, perhaps? Here, have a closer look:



Right now it has a funky mixture of B&W, sepia, and colors. I'd prefer B&W with red accents, but maybe this is one of those projects where you step back and chew on some hay for a minute before you make changes. Do you have any first impressions to share?

My favorite is the opposite wall, with its mostly symmetrical layout and matching colors.

I need to get a magic eraser for those pencil marks. And where's that personal assistant I ordered?

Mom laid the whole planned display on the floor first, which helped tremendously with placement. Is this a well known decorating trick? I have tried it before, but she added the element of snapping a photo, which was key in avoiding confusion once half the frames were hung.

At one point as I was standing on the old rickety wood ladder, precariously nailing hardware, I noticed a sign on the ladder that reads "This unit is not meant to be used separately." Ha. Fear of heights aside, I found the whole experience completely fulfilling. Productivity provides its own brand of endorphins, I suppose. I just wish I could be as productive all the time as I am when visitors are around, especially my mom, who is the doer of all doers. Therein lies the rub, since most of our visitors probably want to do other things than assist my home improvement exploits.

Perhaps I can lure you over with a glass of white wine. You can sit on the stairs and direct where and how my photo swapping should occur, and I'll do the labor. Deal?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

details

Even as I began making some plans the other day for what I would do this week and remarked to myself "I don't have that much going on!," I knew it wouldn't last. Either because of jinxing myself or because life has a way of filling in the gaps, my moment of freedom was short-lived. I got a migraine followed in quick succession by Charlie catching a 24-hour vomit virus. Luckily no one else in the family caught it, but the laundry required by one child during such a night is astonishing. It really makes me pity the people who don't have nearly industrial-sized front-loading washers waiting in their basements to do their sick clean-up bidding.

We're all back in good spirits now, and I've returned to the sorting of the cold-weather and warm-weather clothes. This routine has a method: I find some clothes I truly hate--they seem to materialize out of nowhere, no?--and I stack them in the corner. Then when I come across an item I'm not sure I want to keep, I go over to the stack and sit the item on top. Immediately, I get a gut reaction that is either "Gross, it belongs there" or "Quick, pick it up, or it will be gone!" The key is that you actually have to walk it physically over to the stack, don't just let it hang in the closet or sit in the drawer. The other key is you can't listen to your brain's hasty protests, like "I might wear these jeans to paint the house!" The irrational hoarding part of your brain doesn't know what it's talking about, for you will be far happier without the clutter than you would be if you kept those ugly jeans. I'm sharing my tip with Works for Me Wednesday, though I'm not sure this trick would work for anyone but me. But there you have it. Use it if you will.

So I guess I'm just checking in with the deets, but there's not too much happening over here. What's going on with you? Fill me in!

Yesterday we went on an impromptu picnic after picking up Vivi from school. We sat in the grass under a cherry tree and ate our store-bought tuna wraps in quiet satisfaction. Life burgeons all around us, and as happens so often to me as a mom, I want this moment to last forever. I try to stuff down that guilty feeling I get, wondering if I am enjoying them enough, because it is not a helpful feeling, and because I don't think that part of me will ever be satisfied that I am truly relishing them as I should be. I get the same feeling about the spring blossoms; when I see them, I am both happy and guilty, somehow believing I am supposed to be getting a greater appreciation of them than just the joy I get in seeing them when I pass by.

I watch the girls frolicking in the woods, giggling because they spied a ladybug, and I am struck by how little they look. Satisfied they are still my babies, I turn my attention toward the sun and lie in the grass, eyes closed, to soak it in. Just at that moment and not a second later, Vivi yells "Mommy, my tooth is almost all the way out!," thus breaking my brief truce with the marching of time. Of course her tooth would fall out now. Despite my silent protests, it seems they will keep growing.

I am not one to quote poetry often, but my resignation to life's continual passing brings to mind that Virgil poem Georgics from which we get the phrase "Tempus fugit." Here it is:

Sed fugit interea,
Fugit irreparabile tempus, 
Singula dum capti circumvectamur amore.

But meanwhile it flees: 
Time flees irretrievably,
While we wander around, prisoners of our love of detail.


Monday, April 15, 2013

winter in perpetuity

The cat finds creative places to get warm and simultaneously gives me an excuse not to fold clothes.


Update (3:40pm): I published this post a few minutes before I heard about the blasts at the Boston Marathon. From what we can see on the news, they still are not sure what the explosions were, but since I can't get my phone to work right now to reply to the text messages I'm getting, I'll say it here that we are at home safe, watching the news to find out more.

I love three-day weekends. We are having one right now because of a Massachusetts holiday known as Patriots' Day, which commemorates the battles of Lexington and Concord at the start of the Revolutionary War. My favorite part about the holiday is that they also run the Boston Marathon today, so there is an air of festivity about the day. This is also the start of "April Vacation" (aka "spring break" everywhere else in the country), so I'm enjoying the relaxed atmosphere in our household.

On Saturday we did pretty much nothing at all. The morning was spent sipping coffee at the dining room table and planning our summer trips while the girls played in a homemade sofa fort in the living room. We're looking forward to a kidless beach vacation in August. More on that later. Charlie had a fever all day, so much of the day was spent snuggling with her and reading my book. I didn't mind the excuse to slow down, and she's a trooper when sick. She just wants to cuddle but makes very few other demands of me. Every now and then she'd say in her cute toddler voice "Mommy, I gots a temper-sure. I need some mee-sin."

After the kids were tucked in, we watched the latest film in the Mission Impossible series, and I have to say I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. It was fast-paced and somewhat cheeky, served with very little cheese, just the way I like it. I have become a big Jeremy Renner fan, so I enjoyed seeing him in two movies in a row (the last being The Avengers, which I also unexpectedly liked). When did Simon Pegg get so skinny?

I began yesterday morning with a cleaning bug, to the point that I sprang out of bed and started scrubbing the toilet before 8am. Nate staggered into the bathroom and looked at me as if I had three heads. With only a quick glance in his direction, I shouted "Clean all the things!" and continued on my merry scrubbing way. I barreled through the rest of my morning with a caffeinated zeal for purging our home of the unwanted things that linger in corners and drawers.

It must have been an infectious bug because before I knew it, Nate was at work doing some spring cleaning of his own. In another of our home organization vignettes, I sometimes I find Nate standing in a room for several minutes, and I know he is silently plotting something. This happened yesterday in the guest room--I interrupt him and asked him what he was thinking, because I am nosy. Then because I am the conceptual thinker, I loved his ideas and want to commence the project immediately. Being the analyst he is, he prefers to consider details from every angle first. Sigh. I left him alone for a while to ponder, attacking a closet in my quest to declutter, and then offered my services of lugging and hauling when he was ready to begin. We got rid of an ugly old dresser and consolidated the girls' furniture, then swapped out the guest bed for a roomier futon sofa. It looks great!

Later that day I went to afternoon tea with a girlfriend. Tea is one of my favorite and most-missed British traditions that I have gladly continued on occasion since returning to the states. Boston has maintained its tea connection, so you can find many a tea shop that offers afternoon tea in our area. We pigged out for two hours and still had enough to bring home for the kids to sample.

Today we had hopes of seeing the marathon on a pretty spring day, but alas our lengthy winter is plodding forward with high winds and low 40's. The girls spent their morning sitting in the sunlit upstairs landing, the only warm spot in the house. I hope we'll get in a bike ride this afternoon while we still have a Daddy day-off. Right now I am sitting on a cozy chair while the kids have their quiet time, eating Haagen Dazs while I pretend not to notice the pile of laundry a few feet away. Now you know everything.

xoxo
~J

Saturday, April 06, 2013

first world problems

I have nowhere else it makes sense to tell you the following things, so I am just going to say them here now in this safe space. To make it perhaps a little more enticing than your average bitch-fest, I'll call this list my top 5 first world problems this week:

1) When I take Vivi to her swim lesson at the YMCA pool, there is a fellow mom who takes up too much space on the bleachers talking to a friend. She talks to him loudly and doesn't seem to notice how adorable my two-year-old is as she tries to mount the bleachers with her little flip-flops on and a lollipop in her hand. Instead, Blabbermouth Mom ignores this cuteness and blathers on about all the things that bother her, thereby forcing me to eavesdrop involuntarily on her boring conversation instead of reading my book like I want. Also, she has three sons, and their names are Chase, Cash, and Beau. Would you like to know more? Because I now know it all.

2) I was fixing the printer the other day, and while it was uploading the program, it gave me all these annoying updates that I had no idea how to interpret, e.g. "running package scripts." Am I supposed to know what that means? Why can't it just say "still working" or something vague?

3) People here say "kindiegarden." Like, EVERYONE. I loathe this mis-pronounced word, particularly when you add the Boston accent and it becomes "kindiegahhdun."

4) When I drive out of the street in front of Vivi's school, I have to make a left-hand turn from a stop sign onto a busy road on which there are cars moving in both directions every second of the day. Add to the traffic that the intersection is on a curve, and there is a line of cars parked on the road on both sides, so I have to ease out into the road to see if I can go. Oh, and in the winter, you can also add a giant mound of snow I can't see past. Most days, I end up gunning it, but I never come close to wrecking, or even putting these people out of their way by making them slow down. But 75% of the time, I know that when I do this maneuver, I will get honked at. Bostonians honk their horns all. the. time.

5) The sun has returned from hiding and is now occasionally gracing us with its presence, to the point where my pasty vampire flesh actually got burned a few days ago. In 55 degree weather!

Okay, so that last one isn't really a complaint. I am so thrilled that we are down to vests instead of big puffy ski jackets that smell of cooking odors and resentment. The girls and I have recommenced our almost-daily walks to Trader Joe's or Walgreen's. Yesterday we adventured in search of sidewalk chalk and scored big with a glittery kind. All that is to say, I am well aware that my few tiny problems are of the first-world variety, and I am in fact a lucky duck, maybe even the luckiest.

Now it's your turn. Lay it on me. What's got your panties in a bind this week?

Quacks,
~J


Friday, April 05, 2013

rage, rage against the scattering of the jewelry

A few days ago I sat down to dinner with the family with a sort of smug satisfaction. All food groups were represented, it was on time and delicious, and Charlie had just wowed me with her cuteness by coming downstairs to dinner dressed like this:


But the mood would change suddenly a few minutes later when I noticed Vivi wearing a ring from my jewelry drawer. I let the fork drop to the plate, stunned for a few moments, which was long enough for Vivi to figure out what was happening and blurt, "Charlie took your jewelry, Mommy!"

I raced upstairs, and sure enough, in the place where I keep my engagement ring, my mom's wedding ring, and my great grandmother's cameo necklace, there was nothing. Instead, my ring was on the floor in the hallway, and all of the other various pieces of jewelry were scattered to the wind, amidst sheets and under toys. Oh Lawdy be!

Reader, I would love to report to you that I had a very calm and rational discussion with the girls about Mommy's personal belongings that are not to be played with, etc., but I think we know that isn't the case. I'm not proud of my reaction; as I've said before, I sometimes have trouble caging my inner tiger. On the plus side, I do try after a blow up to explain later that sometimes grown-ups misbehave and need to be reminded of the rules, and that I want them to let me know when they feel sad about the way they're being treated. If we can't be perfect, at least we can be honest.

I have since made our bedroom "off limits," and the point seems to have gotten across because I haven't seen either child step foot in that room again. Today Vivi said to me, "Mommy, I wish I could dig a hole into your room from the bathroom so I could sneak in there." Oh, sweet child of mine! I really didn't want to place a no-entry limit on them. I love the idea of them being able to come in there and lay on mom's big bed and peek into my closet. Hopefully in a year I'll be able to reinstate our room as a fly zone, but while I have a toddler who knows how to use a step stool but doesn't know how to employ self-control, it's probably a good idea to ban entry for a while.

I have more stories to share with you from the week. I missed you, friends! For now, I'm going to share one of my favorite dinners to eat when I'm spending an evening alone, as I am tonight. I'm eating a Spanish omelette, which is really called a tortilla, but I call it an omelette so as not to confuse my brain. Please don't bother telling me how many calories I'm ingesting when I consume this meal. I know, and I don't care.


fatty omelette for one

3 eggs
dash of milk
oil
1/2 c. pre-cooked diced potatoes
smattering of caramelized onions
grated cheese
enormous glob of sour cream
salsa

There are some time-savers in my omelette process. When I have red potatoes on hand, I dice most of them up right away and either freeze them or par-boil them and put them in the fridge for the week. You'd be surprised how useful they are. I do this prep work because organic potatoes go bad very quickly (note: If you don't yet eat organic potatoes, here's why you should consider it).

Another time-saving step is that I caramelize onions while I'm making dinner for the girls or doing dishes, whatever. Y'all know how to do that, right? Cut an onion in half and then slice thinly. Start a skillet over low heat with some oil, add the onions, and let sit nearly untouched for 10 minutes. Then add some salt and mix them up. Cook for a total of about 45 minutes at the lowest heat setting, stirring only every 7-10 minutes or so. These are another item that I can put into almost anything, and it adds an extra layer of deliciousness.

Whisk eggs together with a smidgen of milk, then add to a preheated skillet coated with oil. Season with salt and pepper. In the first minute, push the eggs toward the center in a few places to allow the runny egg to move around the cooked egg. Sprinkle the omelette with potatoes and onions. Cook over medium on the first side for about 4 minutes total. Make sure it is loose, then slide onto a plate, invert the skillet over the top, and flip the omelette back into the hot pan to cook the second side. Sprinkle some cheese on top and let cook for 3-4 more minutes. Slide it out onto a plate and top with too much sour cream, salsa, and more salt and pepper. Eat it while you watch Midnight in Paris again. It's a little less fun the second time, but a glass of red wine helps.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

on dating myself {spoiler: rant coming...}

No, not that kind of dating. The kind where you ponder your age and shake your head at the time that has rudely picked up and marched on.

A few days ago my aunt, a college professor, posted to Facebook that her students do not know who Eric Clapton is. Eric Clapton!! This piece of news is unfathomable to me. I remember the day early in high school that I broke a window in my mom's garage door while hitting tennis balls against it. What was playing on my boombox? My third-ever CD purchased--after 10,000 Maniacs (yay!) and Candlebox (...yak)--Clapton Unplugged. Looking back at that moment, I think it's funny that I didn't realize my own ability to break windows with tennis balls. I also wonder about my neighbors having to endure my blaring driveway music, although who can imagine someone yelling "Turn that garbage down!" about San Francisco Bay Blues. I can, actually. Those were some cranky-ass neighbors.

But back to my original point. Or not point, really, but incoherent rant. What the crap? How do these whippersnappers not know who Eric Clapton is? These were children born in, what, 1990 to 1994? We're not talking about Twiggy or Studio 54, here. Eric Freaking Clapton is one of those people you should just KNOW. I blame their parents, I suppose. And this is the moment where I realize I am going to be one of those parents who some day will pin down my daughters and force them to listen to Crossroads. But so be it. There are some things that must be passed down to future generations, and effing Cream is one of them, okay people? Ain't nobody got time for that shit.

The intangible moment is upon me, in which I realize I no longer fit in with youth but don't fully see myself in my parents' shoes. What do you call this stage of life? Adulthood? Not full-blown disillusionment, surely. This is not a Dickens novel, after all, but still! I must admit there is a twinge of "these kids today and their iPhones" when I watch a sullen hobbledehoy taking my order or bagging my groceries. I'll be among these young'ns soon enough when I go back home to work at my old camp for a month this summer, which I'm doing since Vivi will be attending for her first time. That experience promises to be interesting, I'll say that much!

In honor of the mixing of the ages that is to come, let's ponder some of the ways I can shock them with my wisdom and experience, shall we? (I borrowed inspiration for this part from an oldie by Sub'n Matron, who borrowed her inspiration from Finslippy. My life is a derivative Woody Allen film, hardee har.)

For starters, I had a record player until high school. My favorite record was the Dirty Dancing soundtrack; I must have played it 1,000 times. I remember an exciting morning that an LP came in our Sunday paper from McDonald's, and I played the menu song a million times in a row that day... "I'd like a Big Mac, McBLT, a Quarter Pounder with some cheese..."

I remember when we used to rent a VCR from Turtles, a local movie store. When I was eleven years old, I saved up all my babysitting money to buy a duffel bag with the Atlanta Olympic rings on it. This was after I watched the announcement that the Olympics were coming to Atlanta on our little black & white TV in the kitchen that had rabbit ears and two dials. Back then I would get up to turn the channel back and forth from 17 (back when TBS was only in Atlanta) to 4, which had my favorite Saturday morning shows, Muppet Babies and Pee-Wee's Playhouse.

Early college, circa 1999? Love and the pencil-thin eyebrows.
I can remember the first season of Real World. I remember typing high school papers on my typewriter. The start of the Internet, AOL and "you've got mail" and all that. I know where I was when I heard Princess Diana died. One time I bummed a quarter from a stranger in college so I could call my roommate on a pay phone (in college, you guys--i.e. no smart phone) to come pick me up because my car was in a parking lot, out of gas.

What do you remember about the days of yore?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

if you can't say anything nice...move to Boston

[An aside about my post title: I mean it in the most cordial of tones. I own that it did take a while before I embraced the common use of the eff-bomb in ordinary, everyday Massachusetts vernacular. Whereas I once thought Yankees had all the charm of a snake, after two years in residence up yonder, I see their affably blunt manner in a new light. Bostonians say fuck with aplomb, demonstrating at once both their status as a person of the world--a reckon-able force, I daresay--and their passionate candor. The Irish blood shows itself in their heightened color, irresistible sarcasm, and a retributive justice that lends a simple ardor to their storytelling (see also: Bill Burr). When I ponder migrating southbound again, it's surprisingly this aspect of New England life that gives me pause more than any other. I've grown fond of telling it like it is, y'all. And so I wonder, would I be able to speak as bluntly in the honey-dripping, bless-your-heart Deep South? I fear not.]

I feel I owe you some deets after missing another blogging day yesterday. It is complicated, this 31-days-of-posts business. Let's get on with it, shall we? I'll begin by telling you that when I brought the kids home from school today, I stood in the kitchen for five minutes, "making out furiously with a jar of Nutella." I blame Nate, who suggested I might eat more calories now that I am pseudo-training for a triathlon. Thanks, dear.

In my defense of the Nutella binge, allow me mention that winter has finally beaten me into a dazed submission. It started snowing while I was milling about the preschool hallway, and I cried actual tears on my friend's shoulder while she patted my back. Me!, grown woman who does not cry (that would be my Native American name, I think). We are simpatico, these girls and me, and I feel lucky to have some best-good friends who understand the meltdowns of a transplanted southerner WHO JUST WANTS TO FEEL FUCKING WARMTH ON HER SKIN IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK.

This morning (I realize I'm going backward, but that's how stream of consciousness works sometimes) an older lady in my neighborhood was wearing a plastic grocery bag on her hair while walking to her car. So this is still A Thing, this bag-over-the-hairdo thing?!  I'd like to have a serious discussion with you about this sighting. I remember ladies doing this practice when I was a child, but somehow I thought the passage of a few decades would mean the extinction of such a behavior. The fact that it is alive and well means the following scary truth: Daughters of those ladies witnessed their mothers' placement of the bag, laughed at them, and yet. Yet! Somewhere along the line these same women thought "This seems like a good idea" and started doing it too. I would like to go on record now to my future grown children that if I ever start wearing a plastic bag on my head, you have my permission to pull it the rest of the way down. Because, no.

In closing, I present to you a sweet picture of my kids huddling close to each other during the scary part of a movie (Cars, I think? I can't imagine what scared them, haven't sat down to watch it yet). Pay no mind to the clean but unfolded sheets under them on the chair.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

on saying yes

Image credit: Fwallpapers.com


Did y'all read Tina Fey's article in the Huff Post? I loved every word and read it twice. In fact, I just went back and read it a third time after writing the last sentence. She is a smart lady. Despite some criticism I heard before reading it, I also liked Bossypants. A devotee of 30 Rock, I pretty much adore everything she puts her stamp on.

Back to that article. I don't normally consider myself a yes woman. I don't go out on a limb. I play it safe. I'm not a trendsetter. I'm not an early adopter of technology, books, hairstyles, TV shows, leisure activities, or food. I suppose the only exception to that rule could be health trends, but I don't count that area because you're supposed to adopt trends in your field early. It's called a job.

Lately, as part of a non-resolution-resolution, I decided to pay attention to whether I'm saying yes or no to the opportunities that come my way and say yes to them when I can. That is, when my answer as to why I want to say no is lame, I say yes. This practice is harder than I thought it'd be, and it means I'm trying LOTS of new things.

Drink caffeine?
Yes. 

Learn childbirth education?
Yes!

Help organize the church auction?
Yes? 

Sprout potatoes for seed?
Yikes...okay.

Eat canned fish that isn't tuna?
Erm, I guess so. 

Have you tried anything lately that you hesitated to do at first? How'd it turn out? I have a hunch Ms. Fey is correct that saying yes just might make the difference for becoming a successful person. Well, that and 10,000 hours.

Pricey caffeinated loose tea and caramels? Yes, please!


Saturday, January 05, 2013

sculpting a legacy


I have been thinking about the Huff Post article about living without regret from the other day, the one I linked to a few days ago. His metaphorical deathbed question of "What is your legacy?" stuck with me. What a fun question! What is my legacy? Fortunately, unless you're Tiger Woods or Taylor Swift, you probably don't need to have that question answered by your thirties.

Share

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...