Monday, December 31, 2007

Are You Kidding Me?

Search terms that have led people here:

Treen Crack Whores Movies. You know what? I've met her in person now. And she's not a crack whore at all and I haven't seen her in any movies. So go away.

What's Got Two Thumbs? Me. You. Pretty much everybody.

Snow Fall In Celebration. Um, I think it's more about moisture in the atmosphere, and some other things I don't know anything about, and not so much about a celebration.

Snow Hot-Tub. If you're bald, like my husband is, it does actually get a little chilly.

Mom and Virgin. Well, according to some accounts that get some pretty weighty consideration, it happened once, so it's not, like, totally out of the realm of possibility.

If You Smell What the Dan is Cooking. Well, tonight he's cooking salad and I'm making braised short ribs, so you probably smell the ribs, but he's not exactly cooking.

Illegal to Give Massages. Hope not.

Convince Mom to let me go to Pensacola. If it's for some guy who's in the Air Force there, you probably shouldn't go anyway. You'll regret it.

Area of Inaccessability. Yeah, like that spot between my shoulderblades that always seems to itch. Or the backseat of a Volkswagen.

Baby name that sounds like Asshole. I...really don't have any suggestions in this regard, but I have to know what you come up with. And maybe why.

Sunday, December 30, 2007


We're back. And it's my birthday.

This is not how I expected to spend this birthday. Had you asked me back last summer, I'd have told you I intended to be in a house that I owned for Christmas, six months pregnant. Instead, I'm in a condo that I don't own, and not pregnant. Still. Getting closer, optimistically, but not pregnant.

Christmas was...well, it was good. Really great. I have a thoroughly hideous cold with a dry, hacking cough and pretty much the worst sore throat I've ever had in my life, which started on Christmas night. Even that couldn't ruin a totally...I don't know, serendipitous holiday.

I had this great conversation with my adorable step-cousin, who has been a family friend since forever, long before my mother ever thought of marrying his uncle, at my mother's Christmas Eve party. He got divorced this year and I can't imagine him being single for more than about a minute, so he has a new girlfriend, who I know a little--I know her younger brothers better, they're closer to my age and I went to high school with them. He is an almost frighteningly nice guy, much nicer than when I was in second grade and he tried to feed my Cabbage Patch Kid to a seagull at Hilton Head Island, and we had a couple of glasses of champagne and made a little fun of his older sister, a PhD psychologist in Key West who is incurably neurotic and loony.

Mom's whole party was just really great. The food was, as usual, delicious and accessible and elegant. My mother has really amazing friends, smart and fun and funny and with great stories. Max was an adorable little peach throughout the party, not getting flustered by the attention, and telling people, "I Max. I two now."

There's just something about a place that you don't go often, or people that you don't see enough of. Dan and I spent a whole day just driving around Kalamazoo. We drove past the apartment that we lived in when we got married. We had lunch at a campus dive that we used to live near when we first got together, that was open until the bars closed every night, where we could get dinner after Dan closed the restaurant or got out of class. We went to a movie and out for dinner--by ourselves--and there was something magic about being alone together. It doesn't happen that often. It felt like when we first got together, nothing to do but talk to each other.

I got my hair cut and colored and I feel like a new woman. I had forgotten what a new haircut can do for me. It's short--boy is it--but I feel good in it.

Thursday night Dan and I drove up to Lansing and met Gerry and Trina for dinner. Gerry is one of my oldest friends and Treen is his fiance, and I hadn't seen Gerry since maybe 1998. Trina and I have been exchanging emails for a year at least, but I remember looking at Gerry's MySpace page for the first time, before G and Trina had even gotten together, and seeing the girl at the top of his friends list and thinking, "Wow, she's like the perfect girl for him. I bet he's got a huge crush on her and he's really freaking her out." Then they got together and it turned out that she was perfect for him and he was perfect for her and watching them together is really just pretty great. I love seeing two people--one of whom has been a friend for years and the other of which has become a friend only just in the last year--be so right for each other. And I love that they remind me a little of Dan and me--they met at work, he was her boss, she had a bad boyfriend when they met. We closed the restaurant down and I even choked up a little when we left and I'm not really emotional like that, because I have lots of acquaintences and quite a few close acquaintences but I just don't have that many people who I really think of as friends. I love them and I miss them already. I missed them before we even drove out of the parking lot.

On Friday we dropped Max off at my mother-in-law's house and drove up to Saugutuck. When Dan and I were sneaking around and trying to keep people from finding out that we were dating, we used to drive up to Saugutuck, a resort town on Lake Michigan. It's gorgeous and charming and adorable and I love it. It's full of art galleries and cute tiny little restaurants and in the summer there are film festivals and art shows. On Water Street there is the greatest place on earth, a store called the Saugutuck Spice Merchant, where I generally spend the equivalent of two months' cell phone bill on things like raspberry chipotle spice rub and Northwest alder smoked sea salt, and a roasted garlic-wild mushroom seasoning that I'm already planning on working into fresh egg pasta for lasagna for New Year's Eve dinner. It is paradise for a food nerd, and despite the fact that I have this god-awful cold and couldn't stop sneezing and I could barely smell anything in there, I once again spent a small fortune. Dan and I split an order of portabello fries in Phil's, a bar halfway down the main drag, where we ducked in to get out of a driving snowstorm, and drank coffee and ate really good, really spicy chili at the bar at The Butler, down by the marina, surrounded by locals. In the summer, it's hard to get a table there, like it's hard to get a parking spot anywhere in town, when it fills up with rich people from Chicago. Saugutuck's charms aren't lost on anyone really. There was so much snow that the drive back to my in-laws' house was really a little bit exciting, especially because we hadn't driven in that much snow in awhile. We went out with them to Su Casa, a Mexican restaurant in a town mostly populated by migrant workers. It used to be in the back of a tiny, grungy Mexican grocery store, but now it's big and bright and has a bar and a mariachi band. Max couldn't get enough of the band, and I have it on video. I'll post it tomorrow--it's the cutest thing I've ever seen. The food there, incidentally, is what I'd choose for my last meal if I were on death row--the carnitas tacos are something I dream about occasionally. When I do, I know it's time to get back to Michigan for a few days.

We're back home again in Maryland, and in an hour, it won't be my birthday anymore, it'll be New Year's Eve. Before Dan and I got together, I had a really lame and crappy boyfriend who I don't think was actually cheating on me, but I would be surprised if the thought didn't occur to him. He was a total dud, as it turned out, but he did make the same New Year's resolution every year, and it was a pretty good one. His resolution was More. You know--more. More sex, more fun, more money. And so I'm making the same resolution this year for myself. More great food. More fun with friends. More family. More writing. More reading. More knitting. More love. With luck and the right combination of drugs, accupuncture and well-timed nookie with my loveable geek of a husband, more baby. More More.

Happy New Year, Internet. Be sure to check me out at A Year In The Kitchen, my new project in 2008. Here's to More.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Baby Mama

Apparently, Britney Spears' little sister is some kind of television star on a show for 8-year-olds, I guess. I mean, I'm not familiar, but she's famous enough to be on the news this morning.

She's sixteen. And she's pregnant.

Britney, when asked, said, "Ding dang, y'all, Jamie-Lynn's pregnant! I'ms gonna be an aunt, or maybe an uncle. We don't know if she's havin' a boy or a girl yet."

You know, I'm not, like, all weird and judgey about teenage pregnancy. My husband's a high school teacher, and I got over being shocked his first year teaching, when he had four students who were knocked up. One was even due at the same time I was, with the same obstetrician and at the same hospital--Dan and I kept imagining awkward scenarios where she and I ended up as roommates in the postpartum ward.

But this seems just so weird to me. I mean, sixteen-year-olds get pregnant all the time, I get it. But she seems really excited about it. She's planning to move back to Louisiana to raise the baby with "a normal family life."

I wonder where she's going to find a normal family. I mean, her mother was writing a parenting book when this happened. Seriously? A parenting book? From Britney Spears' mother? Did I hear that right? We're not talking about a children's book, something about, I don't know, pigs and tractors and hootch stills?

Same news program: kids who have sex education are statistically less likely to have sex before age 15. 79% and 59% less likely for boys and girls respectively. I mean, that's, you know, fairly significant.

So look, say you've got a swimming pool. You can tell your kids that the pool is dangerous. You can tell them to stay away from it. You can put a fence around the pool with a locked gate. But whatever you do to keep your kid out, this is a fact: your kid is going to get into that pool. Sooner or later, your kid is going swimming. Do you not think that you should maybe get your kid some swimming lessons? How is that not the responsible thing to do?

I really just can't fathom how this is even a question anymore. Sex education for Max? Yes please. Whatever it takes to keep him out of the pool as long as we can, we'll do it. But we've got no illusions about the fact that it's a decision he will make for himself, regardless of what we want. Did no one tell this kid, this Jamie-Lynn Spears, about where babies come from?

She seems to think that this will all be some kind of kick, some kind of good time. Look at me, I've got an expensive handbag and a nice car and a baby, y'all! Like I said, I'm trying to not be judgey, but give me a break. Parenthood is tough. It's hard work. I'm not saying a sixteen-year-old doesn't know how to work hard, but how is this something that a kid, and she is still a kid, could possibly be ready for?

And she has the audacity to tell other kids that they shouldn't have premarital sex. Really? No premarital sex? Well, I'm pretty sure you've lost all your credibility with anybody who was listening to begin with, and you really sound like a hypocrite, but definitely tell your own kid that too. I'm sure it'll work out for her as well as it did for you. Jamie-Lynn, 30-year-old grandmother.

Wanna know what parenthood is really like, Jamie-Lynn? Why don't you ask your big sister? I hear she's a shoo-in for mother of the year, y'all.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: Things I Should Have Learned To Do

1. Play the French Horn. I like music, but it's not anything I'm particularly talented at. I can pick out a few bars on the piano here and there, and I played the flute in 6th grade but never got very good at it. But one of the first pieces of classical music I can remember hearing, and loving, was the wolf's theme from Prokofiev's "Peter And The Wolf." I would love to be able to play that.

2. Paint. I've taken...oh, dozens of art classes since childhood, including pottery, sculpture, photography, and graphic design. But anything 2-dimensional doesn't seem to be within my realm.

3. Make puff pastry from scratch. Mmmmmm, puff pastry. Making it from scratch is a skill that pastry chefs really need, and it involves a lot of butter and rolling and turning and flipping and more rolling, and I just don't have the patience for it, especially when I can just run to the store and buy a box. Still, it's one of those things I wish I'd learned to do.

4. Cartwheels. I am tall and semi-awkward and as a child I was even more awkward than I am now, and when my tiny 4'3" friends were all learning to do cartwheels in gym class, I was still trying to keep from falling off the balance beam.

5. Excel spreadsheets. There is a surprising call for me to do these in my current job, which I don't understand, given that I'm a writer/editor. I can muddle my way through one, mostly, but occasionally I am felled totally by my inability to make a column of numbers behave the way I want them to behave.

6. Get through a marketing meeting without rolling my eyes. Luckily, my boss travels most of the time and dials in from wherever she happens to be.

7. Put on eye makeup without either blinding myself with eyeliner or making myself look like someone has punched me.

8. Read a map. I mean, I can read a map, but generally speaking, I don't have a great sense of direction and I almost never know what direction I'm facing without the assistance of the little digital compass readout in my car.

9. Write like Aaron Sorkin.

10. Golf. Everyone in my family plays but me, and I swear to God, they use that time out on the golf course to talk about me behind my back.

11. Walk in high heels. I look like a drunk when I try.

12. Properly blow my hair out straight once it's grown past my shoulders. It's too long now, and I look like I gave up halfway through every time.

13. Iron. My clothes look worse when I'm done than when I started.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I am starting a new project as of January 1st. It's a blog called A Year In The Kitchen.

I did NaBloPoMo and it felt like a terrible effort at the time to come up with something to say every day. Lots of people do it, and they do it well--much better than I did.

I have a number of small obsessions, not the least of which is food. I like cooking, eating, cookbooks, reading about cooking, watching TV about cooking, watching movies where people cook and eat and entertain people with cooking and eating. Being a diabetic, and a little lazy, and also sort of fat, I don't get to eat as much as I'd like to, and so not being able to do that translates into me spending a lot of time thinking about food and eating.

For example, right now I'm thinking about lunch, and running across the street to get some soup from the salad bar at Giant. I think it's Chicken Noodle day. Just thought you might like to know.

A Year In The Kitchen is going to be about food mostly, with bits and pieces. I'll post a recipe every day. Sometimes I'll post a restaurant review. Sometimes I might talk about some celebrity chef whose name rhymes with Fachel Fay and how much I think she really shouldn't be called a chef and how much I don't want to eat what she cooks just because the sound of her voice makes my skin crawl.

No Hipsters will continue to be my chief effort, where most of my creative energy is focused, but A Year In The Kitchen will be my ongoing exercise project, where I have a daily deadline and regular expectations. Discipline is good for people, I think, and particularly for me, as it doesn't come naturally to me.

So please come and read me at my new blog A Year In The Kitchen, starting January 1. Send me ideas and feedback and recipes. I am excited about this new thing I'm trying.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A Series of Unfortunate Events, and an Aborted Afghan

Two items:

1. In the past several weeks, I have managed to hurt myself, or be hurt by members of my household, so many times that I now look like a field of bruises, scrapes, and general awfulness. It started two weeks ago, when I lopped the tip of my left thumb off with a 6 1/2" santoku knife while chopping onions. Entirely my fault: Max came to the kitchen door and asked me a question, and instead of doing what I know I should do, which is to put the damn knife down, I instead lost about half a pint of blood into my kitchen sink while I stammered to my husband, "Dan...Sweetie? I think I...I think I might need some...something." Since then, I have broken a toe, bruised my right hand knuckles so badly it looks like I punched someone, fallen down the stairs from our loft, been scratched deeply across the right ankle by our cat jumping over the ottoman, and developed bruises all over my shins from our son being a 2-year-old roughneck. I've also hit my head, twice, on the towel bar in our bathroom. Don't ask. I look like a domestic abuse survivor.

2. Remember this afghan?

I'm making one just like it, only in kind of a wheat color instead of the sickening green. Yeah, well, what a pain in the ass that thing turned into. The directions call for it to be knit in panels, five of them. Interestingly enough, I knit three and none of them were the same length, me with my elite knitting skills and all. So I unraveled all three panels and did what I should have done to begin with, which is to knit them as one piece. It's probably going to take a long time, and be incredibly heavy to lug around. I should really learn how to knit for real.

And a bonus Thing: I like the chicken sandwiches from Chik-Fil-A, and I like that they give Max a kid's book as a prize instead of a piece of plastic crap from a Disney film, but I am a little weirded out by a chicken restaurant run by Jesus freaks.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A Roadmap Into The Heart of Darkness

The search terms that people use to find my blog just really crack me up. As my Grans would have said, "It takes all kinds." But honestly, this list gets longer, and weirder, all the time, and I feel like I must be nothing but a big disappointment to people who come here looking for "toothless faces" and "naughty Potter." I wish, more than anything, I'd called that entry something else. Anything else.

The big winner this month: Thanksgiving Dip. Hmm. I have to say that I am thankful without fail for almost all dip. Do you have something specific in mind? I can probably help you out, fan of dip that I am and all.

Oh Brother Where Art Thou and Brands of Car. Not really having any idea what those two things have in common, I can only assume that whoever this person was made it here a few times, then forgot my name and searched the only two things that stuck in their head to try to find me. Congratulations, and welcome back.

Is Owen A Trendy Baby Name. A little. Trina's on board but Kimberly says it sounds nerdy and Dan just generally hates it, so I guess it doesn't matter since I'm not pregnant anyway and the first kid's already got a name that's ended up being a hair too popular for my tastes anyway.

Heroine Uses. 1. Saving speeding passenger trains headed toward a cliff. 2. Being faster than a speeding bullet. 3. Gratuitous use of blue and red spandex. 4. Leaping tall buildings in a single bound. 5. Required componant of superhero eight-ball.

How To Convince Your Mom To Put Up The Tree. Put up the tree yourself and decorate it in the middle of the night while she's sleeping. She probably won't take it down once it's already up.

Bilbo's Dressing. Mmmmmm. It's got anchovies in it, and I don't care. Delicious. Also, for future reference, Google searchers, it actually comes from Gordon's Food Service and it's called "White French Dressing." Bilbo's re-packages it into their own jars. Just a little former-food-service-employee knowledge for you there.

Closing on a house is... Stressful. Terrifying. Ultimately incredibly disappointing. Wait, I don't know. My house never closed. Never mind. Seek answer elsewhere.

Carving the roast beast lyrics. Seriously, that's a song? Is it from the "High School Musical II" soundtrack?

Mom six sons. Two words for you: surgical sterilization.

Naughty Naked Thirteens. Step away from your keyboard and seek help. I recommend chemical castration. I am so not kidding.

Pizza Hut Commercial Mom I Love You Filmography. ...Wha?

Suburban Mom Hairstyle. Goes with high-waisted tapered-leg jeans, Crocs, and Christmas sweater.

There are others, but these are my favorite--or at least my favorite things to say sarcastic things about. Yay for Google Analytics and their keyword drilldown.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

In Celebration of the First Snowfall of the Year

Several years ago, my parents added a section to their back deck, including a large hot tub. Every year at Christmas, I insist on spending several hours a day simmering away in their hot tub in the Michigan snow, and every night, I insist that Dan perform Eddie Murphy's "Celebrity Hot Tub" routine before I allow him in the hot tub.

One of the great things about my husband: he indulges me to a really absurd degree.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Let Me Make A Few Things Perfectly Clear

There is a blogger (who I will not name for fear of sending traffic her way, so let's just call her Bad Blogger) who is notorious on the Internet when it comes to being a troll. She is critical, nasty, and doesn't bother to actually understand what she's reading most of the time. This isn't really about the fact that she's a big, sucky uber-troll in my opinion and generally detracts from any discussion she joins, but about the fact that she's sort of a bad human being.

Her blog today criticizes a New England charitable organization that, among other things, supplies aid to Jewish families who apply for it. She evidently gets food from this organization each month, and applied to them for assistance with buying her children Chanukah gifts this year.

She's unhappy with the gifts that they bought her children and complaining that Russian Immigrants who "know how to work the system" get so much more than her.

I cannot tell you how much this bothers me. This bothers me more than I am even capable of expressing, and I'm pretty good at expressing.

Listen, I get it. I want to buy Max nice Christmas presents too. I wish that we could afford to get him a nice new big-boy bed. It's what he's said he wants. But we can't really afford it, and we don't have space to store his toddler bed and mattress, and it's just not a priority at this point, when the toddler bed is still functioning just fine and house prices are still as high as they are.

We would honestly rather get him out of this tiny little shoebox of a condo and into a place with a yard to play in and some room to spread out. That's for us too, but being a parent means that when you want, you want mostly for what it would mean to your child. Dan and I aren't thrilled with the condo, but if it were what was best for our family, we would stay indefinitely. Because that's what's best for our family. Get it? It's not about me. It doesn't have to be about me. I have a kid, so it's almost always about him. And I'm good with that.

Bad Blogger wants for her kids too, but the fact that she is angry enough to write about this agency and what they're not doing for her and for her kids--you know, there's a line. There's a line between loving your babies and wanting to see them light up on Christmas morning, and nothing ever being enough and taking aid from people who really need the roof somebody's putting over their head so that you can buy your kid an I-Phone or an I-Pod or a frickin' pony. Come the fuck on.

Bad Blogger claims to be poor, and yet her blog is literally plastered with ads, so many that it generally freezes my computer up every time the blog loads. She doesn't work for health reasons, and yet she manages to write for several different blogs and spend the rest of her day trolling for easy prey on the internet.

Bad Blogger subjects her readers to lectures about her liberal pet causes--she alternates them with posts about her Amazon Wish Lists and things that she'd like all her readers to buy for her. Sorry, Bad Blogger. No leopard high-heel boots from me this year.

And yes, I told her all of this (anonymously) in her comments. Why anonymously? Because I can live without her boring, pointless vitriol that way, way, way too many of her critics have been subject to. But you know what? I'd say it right to her face too, and she's clearly smart enough to come looking for me if she feels like it. So, my name is Molly and I think you suck a lot. I think you're a bad human being and a boring writer and I don't judge how other people parent but I think you enable your clearly spoiled-rotten children beyond all belief. You are the kind of person most people are thinking of when they say "crazy knee-jerk dumb-ass liberal," and that's coming from a liberal. I'm done reading your lame blog, even for the train-wreck value it had for me.

Bring it on, Bad Blogger. I will leave the light on for you.