Showing posts with label Whackadoo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Whackadoo. Show all posts

Thursday, February 20, 2014

as usual, I refrained

Chucks for Chuck.

I was typing my grocery list into a note in my phone the other day. My old way of grocery listing was the ubiquitous pad and ballpoint pen my dad taught me to carry always; those trusty partners have served me and my lack of short-term memory well over the years. But lately I'm getting into this smart phone thing, and my new method of listing is to scribble needed items on the white board then transfer them into my phone. I have no idea if this process saves or costs me time, but it does keep me from ever losing my list.

So anyway, I'm typing the list, and I get to refried beans, which my phone autocorrects to refrained beans. This accidental correction cracks me up for way longer than it should, perhaps because of the irony of the autocorrect in telling me what I already know. Yes, thank you phone, maybe refried beans aren't such a good idea after all.

Somehow this typo got me thinking about restraint. Another contributor was Becky's tweet wondering when we're all going to be rewarded for our ladylike behavior. Yes! I wonder this all the time, and the only answer I can ever come up with is that at least we get to laugh later?

Take, for instance, a family I encountered yesterday while the kids and I were sledding (please!). We're at that giant hill in our neighborhood with the view of Boston, the same one from last weekend. As you can see in that video, there are lots of families all sledding at the same time. We, each of the families, follow some kind of unspoken Yankee sledding protocol.

Boot-height snow. It's a doozy. 

I am a quick-study on the social order of things, so I'm pretty good at the rules already: stay to the right if you're faster, yell "look out!" if anyone's about to bite it, make sure your kids aren't getting in everyone's way, keep to yourselves and talk amongst your own--unless of course one of my kids wipes out, then I flash a grin at the family next to me because all grown-ups appreciate a good kid wipe-out. The best yesterday was when I sent the girls down on separate sleds at the same time; at the exact moment Vivi wiped out, Charlie veered off in Vivi's direction and sledded OVER Vivi. It was fantastic.

I'm getting to the refraining part, I swear. As I was saying, we encountered the most bizarre family yesterday. The family is made up of a few kids, a few adults, and a grandma figure, and they relentlessly, comically get in everyone's way. The kids will stop midway down the hill and just seem to lay there forever; no one in the family offers assistance. The adults mill about in the walking path, talking amongst themselves and generally ignoring all of us. But they seem to be sledding for the first time, so I let it go. Plus, if you know me, you know I will let a situation get incredibly ridiculous before I say anything. Even then, I might not say anything.

I should mention a contributing factor in yesterday's comedy of errors was that surprisingly few locals were present. I know this because I was giving a dad sledding tips, and I am NOT the sled guru by any means. Because it's February vacation week up here (a kind of mid-winter spring break, only with more snow), I figure most of the locals are up north skiing somewhere. The absence of locals is notable because, as I've often said in the past, Bostonians don't let anyone get away with anything. If you make any errors, you're going to hear about it posthaste.

In this case, the lack of locals means that just as it seems like this family couldn't be more annoying, the grandma pulls out a bag of disgusting-smelling snacks (dried fish, maybe?), and the ENTIRE FAMILY sits down right in the middle of the big hill to eat them. If that weren't enough (and it is), the sleds of the two young boys periodically roll downhill by themselves. Following sledding etiquette, the other children present offer assistance by lugging the sleds back up to them, which is no easy feat, only to have it happen again moments later.

Finally, a type-A New Englander walks up, grabs the sleds, and hurls them uphill. They do not seem to notice even this act of silent aggression. As I told Nate the story later, I realized it was like watching a silent Charlie Chaplin movie. Fortunately it was the kind of bad that is funny, which allowed me to share plenty of empathetic glances with other families. This feels like a big win for me, as these Yankees are a tough nut to crack, y'all.

Have you encountered anyone lately who refuses to follow social rules? What do you do when this happens?

Stay warm! xoxo ~J

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

a price below rubies

Yesterday I had one of those mornings of shopping planned that required a lot of pre-game thinking, scheming, and generally mumbling to myself like a crazy person. Someday my kids will have lots of material about me over which to bond with each other.

This trip was special enough to plan ahead for because Nate was tagging along with me to BUY ALL THE THINGS! He's the type of no nonsense, strategically driven shopper who wants to get from Point A to C via B with no zig-zagging or redoubling our path, so I deemed it important to get the logistics right. I'm not a logistically minded person by nature. Add to this scenario that I had enthusiastically signed up Charlie for the after-preschool program for the first time--so we could get in some extra shopping and a lunch date--and you may be able to guess what I did next after waking them for school and discovering they both had a cough..........

Thursday, May 23, 2013

on not {quite} fitting in

Me on Halloween (age 11). Yes that's a wig. And yes I am awkward.

We've been living in Massachusetts for nearly two and a half years, which is a long time for us to stay in one place. In fact, it's about as long as we've ever stayed in one city before moving. It's hard for me envision what it would be like to move right now because I still feel like I am learning how to be a proper Bostonian.

I wonder if it's a part of Boston culture that it takes longer than two years to feel like I fit in. The same couldn't be said for Wisconsin, which fit us like a glove. Ultimate frisbee, bike paths everywhere, and constant beer, fried fish, and cheese. Amen to that! If it weren't for the lack of family there and the brutal winter--worse that New England, if you can imagine that!--we would move back in a heartbeat. People seem genuinely happier there, despite the weather.

In contrast, New Englanders are not the happiest bunch I've ever come across. I realize I am stereotyping here, in the same way that you might discuss slavery apologizers in the south. I recognize not everyone behaves the same. But I've noticed more than once that people are pugnacious in an almost laughable way--picture Mark Wahlberg talking to animals, and you get it. Sometimes I LOL at how it seems like they are all looking to have their next fight.

From the way you take a number to stand in line and buy a sandwich, to even what you call the bread (don't say "white" when you mean "sub") and the stuff you put on it, EVERYTHING feels different. Nate has a funny story about ordering a sub when we first got here, and they asked him if he wanted "hots," which is a pickled pepper relish. But the way they say it, it sounds exactly the same as "hearts." It makes me giggle to imagine the curious position he was in for a few moments.

Much like when we lived in England, we spend some part of every day trying to figure out what the heck people are saying, even with small words like "jimmies" instead of sprinkles. On the surface, it might seem like an easy enough thing to learn, but what you don't see initially is that you aren't just learning the word but the history and connotation of its usage. In the case of "jimmies," it apparently has some sort of racial significance...and yet, they still say it? The intricacies of semiotics, y'all!

They way they chat with each other, their sociability, everything is slightly altered. I often feel as though I'm missing some kind of non-verbal cue during conversations with strangers.  Interesting but exhausting too. Last week I was chatting with another mom who has a six-year-old in Vivi's pre-k class. I was really intrigued because I've considered whether Charlie will be ready for kindergarten, having been born on the cut-off date. And Reader, she answered that they are keeping kids out of school an extra year, "you know, because of sports." As in, so her kids are bigger than the other kids. Say what now?

Whether I am making myself an outsider by pointing out these differences or am being made to feel like an outsider is a chicken and egg scenario. I love living here and observing people with my cultural anthropologist cap on, but at some point I'd like to be able to turn to a friend and say "I could really use a banana pudding milkshake" and have her understand what I mean. You know?

Saturday, May 04, 2013

in with the new

Spring is finally here to stay. With it came all the bargain shopping experiences you know I love. Negotiating ain't my thing, but if the price is set, I'll buy--and the last hour when everything is half price is fun too.

This weekend was my church's rummage sale, which is always a favorite. The children's book section is where I make a bee-line during the volunteer pre-sale. Check out some of these "awwww"-inducing finds:



Last year I volunteered during sale week by marking prices on breakables, but not being a tchotchke collector, I was worried I did it badly and found the experience stressful. This year I stuck with sales, which I liked because it involved talking to people. I met lots of the congregation who come to the 11am service. They all sized me up to be a 9am-er, "because all you 9am-ers have small kids."Yup.

The hardest part about sales was the rush at the end of the half-price sale. Everyone seems to assume you will give stuff away for nearly free just to get them out of your hair and because you don't want to cart the goods off to charity. They are mostly correct in this assumption, but I must tell you a hard truth. This segment of society--who haggle with volunteers at a rummage sale from which the proceeds go to a good cause--they weren't raised right by their mamas. My fellow fraught cashier could be heard a time or two exasperatedly bristling, "Oh all right, have it your way." I just laughed because laughter is how I handle awkward folks. Well, laughter and judgmental blog posts.

The adult book section--by that I mean books for grown-ups, not of the three-x variety--also had some great finds, so I think my summer reading selection is nearly complete. I put it up on Goodreads in case you're on there too and want to follow along or comment. If you're an avid reader and not yet on Goodreads, check it out! The combined inventions of GR and Pinterest mean I almost never miss a book recommendation these days.


Would you count Faulkner and James as summer reads, though? Hmmm, perhaps not. What do you have on your current book list?

p.s. I've already read Stumbling on Happiness, but I gave it away years ago and thought I could use a refresher. Do you give away books you liked? I can't handle clutter, so I find it's easier for me to get the book again later from the library or a used book sale than it is to lug it around for years. If I keep it, I just end up resenting it gathering dust. Plus, giving it away means I get to share book-love, which is one of my favorite life activities!

p.p.s. I admit that pic above of the books isn't great to show off the titles, but I wanted to squeeze in my other new purchase. That little bowl on the left is also a find from the church sale. Three bucks! I've been looking for a bowl for all the cell phone hoopla, and this one fits the bill nicely, doncha think? Here's a better shot of the books:


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


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?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

on making our own lard

{Secondary/Alternate Title: Yes, We are Those People}

My plan was to publish a post today about pocket meat pies. That post will need to wait a day because to make a meat pie, you need a sturdy savory crust. I believe that crust should start with one surprising but important ingredient: lard. I've gotten on my lard soap box before, so rather than beat it to death, I'll simplify the conversation today and boil it down--so to speak (hardy har)--to a few quick paragraphs.

Why lard?

In the middle of the last century, well-meaning scientists told us saturated-fat-containing ingredients like lard caused heart disease, and law-abiding citizens ran fleeing from it. Since then, we've learned that the replacements for lard--like vegetable shortening--contain trans fats, which are much worse for you than saturated fat. Not only that, but lard also contains monounsaturated fat that is necessary for brain function. Even leaving health out of the discussion for a moment, I am sold on the idea of lard because I am a firm believer in nose-to-tail cooking. Hence, we actually eat tail from time to time.

In a nutshell, lard is not your enemy, and the people who want you to go on believing it is have ulterior motives.  Set aside what you think you know, do your research, and make your own decision.

Where can you buy lard? 

To make lard, you need to get your hands on pork kidney fat called leaf lard. The reason you want leaf lard is that you can render it into a neutral fat that doesn't taste of pork, assuming you cooked it low and slow enough. I'll get to that part in a minute. We get our leaf lard for a $1/pound from a cooler at our monthly meat CSA. If you don't have a CSA, I bet you can strike up a deal with any pork seller at your local farmer's market if you're friendly. Heck, you might even be able to get it already rendered from your butcher if you're lucky.

Remember how I said I was going to start saying yes to ideas, even if they sounded scary or impossible? Ahem. To be frank, the rendering process is not as pleasant as I'd like it to be. But then, with a process called "rendering fat," did you expect it to be pleasant? For one thing, it's messy, in that "fat gets on things and won't come off things" way. For another thing, it doesn't look good. Mine wasn't even photographable. For a third thing, it's smelly. Not "I'm frying up some bacon" good smelly, but "I've been working in the kitchen of a 24-hour diner" bad smelly. I advise you to make a giant batch in one day, then hang on to it in your freezer for the next six months. Let it be a warm enough day that you can crack a window--for us, that's around 40 degF, but our standards are influenced by the chilly Beantown climate.


Nourished Kitchen
Image credit: Nourished Kitchen

How do you render lard?

Now that we've gotten the purchasing and caveats out of the way, let's get down to cooking. The actual directions couldn't be much simpler, so rather than reinvent the wheel I'm connecting to blogs that have already written them. If you are making a batch of savory lard and you don't mind a slight porky flavor--in fact, you might even be going for that--you can make it in a Dutch oven on the stovetop. If you want it for sweet pie crust and don't want it to taste like pork at all, then you should probably make it in a slow cooker. For either method, you'll want to start by chopping the fat into small pieces (Note: if you're getting it from the butcher, you can ask to have it ground, or you can do the grinding yourself if you have one of those sausage attachments on your stand mixer).

Here again are links to the two methods:

Tomorrow, we'll delve into the fruits of our labor and discuss delectable meat pies. I promise it will all be worth the stinky effort.


Author's Note: This post is part of Fight Back Friday, Tasty Traditions, Real Food Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, and Whole Foods Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

the decider

In doing some motherly introspection a few days ago, I mulled over a typical interaction that happens between me and Vivi lately. I'm starting from the middle of the story though, so I really should back up to what spurred the self-examination. I'm a Sunday school teacher for the first and second graders; I complain about this job probably too much to Nate and my mom, but secretly I love it. Six years old is IMHO clearly the best age next to eleven, and these kids are every bit as excited about life, potty/button/shoe-tying trained, affectionate, and not yet sarcastic as I had hoped. But I digress.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

you found me how {6}: on gremlins and dumpy apartments



Apart from a million different avocado recipe searches, I did manage to have a few funny Googlers lately (see past examples of this series here)...

Monday, September 10, 2012

who's afraid of the big bad germs?

Image credit: Prevention article about air freshener

Newsflash: Antibacterial soaps are bad, and public toilet seats are cleaner than your kitchen sponge!!

I'll never forget the first time I heard that antibacterial soap might not be the wonder cleaning cure it's touted to be. I was a freshman in college, and my new boyfriend was learning about the subject in his microbiology class. It occurs to me college freshmen must be the primary target group for changing beliefs and attitudes because I only vaguely remember feeling momentarily taken aback about the news, and then I quickly accepted it and moved on.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

and the band played on

Progress.

Yesterday I had a day of mixed emotions. Mostly, I was super psyched because I shared my first post with the Carnival of Natural Parenting, a huge step for me in my quest to allow myself to be vulnerable with you in this bloggy space. I got some great feedback (yay!) and was feeling the love. Additionally, I was invited to write guest posts on two of my favorite blogs! And, I'm having my own set of guest posts next week by some lovely writers! But, I also encountered my first snark attack.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

you found me how, round 3


I had a whole post written, and it was fabulous, and then I did that dumb thing where you accidentally delete it. And then I looked like this (sorry, that weasel is never going to get less humorous). Sigh. So instead, let's have another round of "You Found Me How?!" This will probably be the last post in this series (others are here and here) for a while--because how long will it be funny to gawk at the menagerie of odd Google searches? Let's find out!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

you found me how, round 2


I have a confession to make. Okay, so it's not a biggie confession, but sometimes it's nice just to get the feelings out there on the table, knowwhatimeanvern? I used to be so paranoid about what I said on the blog, as though the comments I made about running around bra-less would one day be used against me in a job interview or during a bank loan meeting. Or maybe there'd be this stalker who would just love to know all about my trips to the farmer's market. It was a thing, my worrying. Probably silly, but there you have it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

you found me how?!


I got the idea to post about the crazy ways people find my blog via Word Nerd Speaks. This is my first installment, aside from the time I laughed about geese and Tim Geithner, of what I imagine will be a more frequent occurrence of the people who find my blog through strange and sometimes hilarious Google searches. The following are some of the #youfoundmehow searches from this month:

Saturday, January 21, 2012

do wacka do

"At my age, you think you've seen it all. Then boom! Somethin' else happens." 
-Burt, Raising Hope

Remember how we got rid of cable last week? Yeah, well apparently that doesn't mean we stop watching TV. That 9-10pm hour draws me to the couch like an undertow, and most nights I'm too brain-dead to read my shiny stack of library books. Instead, we've discovered a new show to stream on Netflix, marathon-style: Raising Hope! It took us so long to get on board, despite the literally dozens of friends who told us we should. In case you're also one of those people who can only add so many TV shows to the repertoire at once, let me just say that this one should move up a few notches on your stand-by list.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I am becoming one of those bird ladies

Don't get me wrong, I'm not about to buy top-notch birdseed from the Audubon Society or anything. But I'm feeding the birds, and it's new to me to get pleasure from watching them eat from my kitchen window. Currently we have mostly sparrows, chubby squirrels and the occasional cardinal or blue jay.






In the spring we get cedar waxwings that eat our mulberries, and they are a gorgeous sight.


Anyway, if I start talking about buying suet or shooting squirrels, I'm expecting one of y'all to host an intervention. Consider yourselves warned.



Image Credit (cedar waxwing): Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Monday, November 28, 2011

tomfoolery abounds

It's that time again when I report to you the horrible daytime TV shows I am catching while at the gym. Well, this will actually be the first report, but let's make it a regular thing, shall we? I have been catching more TV at the gym than usual lately because I can't seem to remember to charge my iPod shuffle. My routine has become music for a week, TV for a month, and so on.

I don't think I ever watched a moment of Regis and Blondie until last week, when it wasn't even Regis any more. But I've caught enough clips on The Soup over the years that I feel I have the gist. Have you seen it since Jerry Seinfeld has been filling in? Don't. Unwatchable! He is palpably uncomfortable in the roll and holds his cue cards like they are a pile of junk mail. "Nothing in here could possibly be interesting, but here goes!" Ick.

My second report comes from this new talk show called "The Chew," in which famous chefs and minor celebrities discuss and make food. Heard of it? I watched about 45 seconds of it last week, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that I want that minute of my life back. Melodrama aside, it's got an even bigger ick factor than Reeg-cum-Jerry. It stars Mario Batali, another chef I usually like, that Clinton guy from What Not To Wear, and a few others. The moment I witnessed was filmed from inside a refrigerator, with the hosts on the other side trying to decide what they were planning to cook. It was beyond patronizing, like something out of a twisted adult version of Sesame Street, only with no possible chance of learning anything new.

I was going to talk about the Rachael Ray show, but I really have nothing spectacular to say, and I don't want to become one of those mean, snarky girls who doesn't create anything but pokes fun of those who try. But seriously, try harder! Okay, on to some better video content: my kids! (Did that segue work? Let's pretend it did).

I'm sorry to say our Flip video camera, which has given us such great videos since Vivi was born, is on its last legs. You can hear its sad swan song (crackling noise, aka the "phlegm rattle") in some of these videos.

The first was supposed to be of Charlie being cute, but Vivi quickly stole the show as usual.
video

The next two are of the girls reading and playing in the tent we got forever ago at a sale and forgot all about. Great score!

video

video

The last video is of the kids dancing to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." Cuteness overload!

video

Thursday, November 17, 2011

a tale of two moms

I encounter two moms in my weekly rounds who remind me of this crazy/lonely lady. Remember Will Farrell's SNL skit about the guy with voice immodulation syndrome? They're like that character, only less funny.

The first mom is at our neighborhood park, and she chooses not to engage with the other moms in conversation but rather LOUDLY narrates her two-year-old's every movement. "H____, you're going to the slide! Oh, not the slide, the swings! Wow! Now you're sharing your toy. Good job! Oh, you're not sharing your toy. That's ok, you're a good boy!" It is off-putting to say the least.

[Note: Boy's name left out due to unnecessary protection of my blogging anonymity. As if anyone in my city even knows I blog. They don't. Yet.]

Then there's the dad, who sometimes meets them after he gets off work. His behavior is perhaps even more odd. First I must mention he has the same bowl haircut as his son. Starting at the far end of the park, he briskly bounds across a ball field on his way toward the playground, gripping a backpack and all the while loudly talking to H_____, who has not even noticed him yet. The hair, backpack and loud voice give him the appearance of a giant toddler coming to play. Once, I kid not, he was wearing OVERALLS.

Okay, I kid, I kid! But boy, I have stifled a cough-laugh many a time. They are a pair, these two.


Charlie at the park. Loving her new curls.

The other momzilla hangs out at the children's library resale shop, which is my little-known quiet rainy-day haven where I can find gently used snow boots and children's books for a quarter. Usually I go there after dropping off Vivi at school to kill time until Charlotte's little tumbling tots class (the epitome of cuteness, by the way). The other moms are almost always interesting and funny, and the only thing missing is a coffee shop on the corner. I don't think I would ever leave if it had that.

I picked up the most wonderful book of old nursery rhymes the other day, and each and every picture looks like it ought to be framed. It has been bringing up all kinds of warm feelings that probably deserve their own post.

But for now:



See what I mean?

So ok, there's a strange mom at the library shop. She appears to live there, although I'm sure I am mistaken about that. But she could use a shower and a mirror. She carts her kid around in a stroller (a much-too-old-to-be-in-a-stroller kid, I might add) and almost always ignores the kid except occasionally saying "No, you can't get out yet."

But that is not all. Oh how I wish it were all. She wanders about shouting to no one in particular "OOOOOHHH look at this! This is made by a company in Belgium, I didn't know they sold these in America, I wonder who brought it to the store and how they got it, I just can't imagine how it got here, isn't that weird, and it's from Belgium, very rare, very very rare."

I want to put my arm on her shoulder to steady her stream of words, but I have seen many a woman get sucked into her vortex so I politely ignore her and avoid eye contact. There is an unspoken rule among us ladies who shop at the library store: if you are sucked in by this lady, you are on your own. Folks, it is dog-eat-dog out there in the world of motherhood.

Am I being hypercritical? I try to maintain a distant approach to gawking at other families, but I admit to passing judgment on occasion. I guess parents should be allowed to be as excited about their kids' every breath or article of clothing as much as they like, but they detract from my intentional delusion that stay-at-home moms are all fun and cool. And most of them are. But this mental trickery is how I make the internal decision to initiate conversation with the unknown moms in my surroundings.

What about nutty moms in your neck of the woods?

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

the thirty-second birthday

Hello friends! Prepare for some grade-A stream-of-consciousness writing today. If you can't be uninhibited in your writing on your birthday, then when can you, amirite?

I noticed when I typed out "thirty-second" instead of the number 32nd, it looks the same as 30-second as in the amount of time. This is a fitting accident, as it really feels that my birthdays are already flying by. I have nothing more substantial or profound to add to this observation, but I want you all to know that I am aware of it. Of the speed-of-light birthday thing. Older people are always trying to tell me this fact of life as though I am not yet in the know. But I am! Which brings me to my next random point.

I looked up the word "Methuselan" the other day (thanks to Sub'n Matron's use of it on her blog). Basically, you might say it's a nicer, more creative way of saying 'old person.' So anyway, I'm looking it up when I stumble upon a reference on the D&D (that's Dungeons & Dragons for those of you like me who aren't in the know) Wiki.

This find brings me to two thoughts. The first is that I'm going to start keeping a list of words I want to use more often. Methuselan is a great-sounding word and is totally better than just saying 'she's an old lady.'

The second thought is "Who are these people?" Who are these people who are interested in knowing how to create a virtual undead humanoid? This fact is in no way related to the remainder of my post. But did you know that, about the existence of a D&D Wiki? There's a whole 'nother world of peeps out there, y'all.

My birthday journal entries are always fun ones to go back and read. Unfortunately I haven't been as good about blogging on my birthday as I have at journaling. Here's a post I wrote the year I turned 30. Here's another post I wrote three days before my 29th birthday, and in which I inexplicably do not mention my birthday. No wait, it is explicable, because birthdays in your twenties flit in and out of your life like snowflakes; even the bad ones aren't bad because, cripes, you're in your twenties!

Another by-product of my thirties is that I now always pay attention to someone's age when I'm reading an article about them. I suppose it's so I can properly judge them for whatever accolade they've achieved or ludicrous behavior I'm reading about. Note: Chelsea Clinton and Jessica Simpson are both my age, as are Kate Hudson, Elin Nordagren, Drew Brees, Alicia Keys, Venus Williams, Gisele Bundchen, and John Krasinski. Kim Kardashian is a year younger than me and has two divorces more than me. Yet again, nothing enlightening to say, just passing along the deets. Judge away.

Since it's been over a year since Charlotte was born, I think I might have surpassed the period of time in which I can blame my stupidity on "baby brain" and start accepting that this is the new me. In light of that revelation, I am happy to have discovered a site that lets you determine whether you are about to share old news. Just in case some day I, like many of my elders, cease to be hip and with it. Oh, who am I kidding, that day has arrived.

I'm not sure how old I was when I first saw "When Harry Met Sally," but I do have one memory of its impression on me. Well, two memories. This first is that I marched right over to my friend's house who I knew wore days-of-the-week underpants to find out if it's true they don't make Sunday (It is! or was, circa 1991). The second was that I completely understood why Sally had a meltdown over her age. Or, I thought I understood. To me, she was old, even if Harry tries to convince her she's not. And so, because it was burned in my brain that day, I remember how old she was. Care to guess? Thirty two, of course!

I've already had a wonderful birthday so far, and it's only 8am. Bring on the Facebook onslaught of well wishers I haven't had a real conversation with since 1998! My birthday week doesn't end today, either. Nate and I are getting a babysitter on Friday night so we can finally see the newest Harry Potter film. Our party trick used to be to announce the last movie we saw in the the theater; the point was to shock and horrify our childless friends. But at this point neither one of us can even remember what that last movie was. Are you shocked and horrified?

I got an early birthday present from Charlie yesterday. She simultaneously began walking unsupported around the living room and began climbing on the couch (evidence of her escapades is below). Happy birthday to me!

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