Thursday, May 22, 2008

Against My Better Judgement

Dan and I just bought a GPS...the TomTom OneXL. I love it. But I have two questions.

1. I personally know two people who have GPS's who have named them. Is that normal? Should I be thinking of a name for my GPS? And if so, does anyone have any suggestions for a name? I was kind of thinking of Arturo. Or Howard.

2. The GPS didn't come with a case, and it's got a screen that looks sort of...sensitive. I'm thinking of knitting a cover for it, probably in felted wool. Am I a total yarn geek of the worst variety, or is that sort of cool? Or both? I really have no idea.

Also, on an unrelated note, I bought a fucking pair of capris today. I have long proclaimed my hatred of capri pants, but I tried these on and they were really cute and comfortable. I look tall in them. I mean, I am tall, but I am also round and usually I just look round without the tall. Will I have to re-form my opinion on capris? Are these just a terrible idea, or does it not matter how much I hate something if it looks good on me?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Too Weird For Me To Be Making It Up

Let me just say that people who find this blog using Google are probably disappointed at how mundane and disgustingly suburban my life is. I'm sorry, but there is no Mom+boy love, or Oldre mom+boy, or naked mom love boy, here, or at least not the kind you're looking for. Oh, and you're a big creepy skeev, by the way, and if I ever find a way to figure out who you are, I'll publish your email address. Go away.

Is it possible to synthesize Val Kilmer? Sadly, no. Because if it were, I would synthesize him circa 1985. Behold:

The Navy regrets to inform you that that guy was eaten. By this guy:

Dude: step away from the guacamole. That is tragic.
Illegal to sell cars in Maryland on Sunday? Not that I know of, but I haven't tried.

How to evict your boyfriend If he signed the lease, legally, you're probably stuck with him. If he's that shitty though, do yourself a favor and evict yourself instead. Move out while he's at work. I did that once.

Is it illegal to dye chicks in California? Clearly not.

Heroine Crushed By what? This sounds like a good story.
Google Best Pose For Conceive A Baby Clearly, I can't remember how I posed, or I'd go ahead and pose that way again.
"Literally take a test drive" Yeah,, "literally" and "practically" are NOT the same thing. If you're on your couch, you're not test driving anything but your remote control. Don't take liberties with the English language since you clearly don't have a grasp of its finer points.

And my personal favorite...
Backpack Sex Machine I bet you're a hit at parties, aren't you?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

This or That, Retro Edition

Hey, that was fun. I'll do it again.

1. This or That: Erasure or Depeche Mode?
2. This or That: Jordache or Members Only?
3. This or That: Atari or ColecoVision?
4. This or That: PeeWee Herman or The Smurfs?

Monday, May 19, 2008

This or That, Pop Culture Edition

Monday morning: Dan is at work, Max is at school. I am lonely. Leave me a comment.

1. This or That: Project Runway or America's Next Top Model?
2. This or That: TiVO or DVR? (or does it not really matter?)
3. This or That: Jack Johnson or John Mayer?
4. This or That: "Juno" or "Knocked Up?"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Phone Call You Don't Want

Me: Hello?
Dan: Are you watching the news?
Me: No. Why?
Dan: Turn on the news. But I'm safe. There are bombs...I have to go.
Me: What? Bombs? What?
Dan: I'm safe. But I have to go. (Hangs up abruptly.)

So I turned on the news, where the lead story was this:

Bottle Bombs Go Off at Maryland High School

I'm not allowed to talk about this, as it affects my husband's job. But let me just say that any phone call from your significant other that includes the words "There are bombs" will stop you dead in your tracks. Take my word. Don't find out for yourself.

This news clip, however, fails to truly communicate exactly how uncertain and frightening this scenario was for the better part of three hours today for the students, the faculty, and the parents. I cannot tell the story that my husband told me in any kind of a forum as public as a blog, even one as little-read as this one is.

But let me just say this: parents, teachers are smart and well-trained and even more than that, they love and care deeply for your child and they will do anything that it takes to protect them. My husband teaches 9th grade English. He is a hero to me and has been since the day I met him. Today he became a hero to a classroom full of frightened kids, and I'm sure that he would be embarassed to hear me say this, but parents, you can send your kids to school and know that they are as safe there as they can possibly be anywhere. I learned something I didn't know about teachers, or even about my husband, today.

I would love to tell you what happened in his classroom today, but out of respect for him and his career, I won't do it here. But I am so proud of him, proud that he is all heart and guts and brains, proud that he chose teaching and that he loves it, proud that he did his job today and did it so well, and additionally I am relieved that nobody was hurt, and I am so sorry for Dan that he knew the kids involved and liked and respected them, and that he is feeling disappointed and let down by them, and angry about the media coverage that this incident incurred. I'd love to tell you this story, but it's not mine to tell.

Edited: Okay, I have to say this one other thing. If you follow the news link in this story, you will see photos of parents attempting to break through a fence to get to their children. Look, I get it. I am a mother. I would stand between my child and a freight train if I needed to. But what every teacher I've talked to who was there yesterday has said this: everything was fine, everything was under control, every child knew what they were expected to do and they did exactly what they were supposed to do, every person was accounted for and safe, until parents showed up on the scene and violated security. And then there was chaos. Then nobody knew what was happening. I am appalled by the irresponsible, disrespectful, and attention-seeking behavior of these adults. There were proceedures set in place for parents to sign for their children. The proceedures worked well, until certain people decided that they shouldn't have to follow them.

My experience has been that this is far too often the case. I don't ever want to be that parent, the parent that takes an unfortunate but under-control situation and turns it upside down for everyone. The most frightening thing about yesterday, as it turned out, wasn't that bombs went off. It was that the mob mentality of supposedly responsible adults made a bad situation infinitely worse. I could not be more proud of my husband and his students. I could not be more disappointed in their parents.

And one more note: I want to make it clear that these are my opinions, not Dan's. If he has feelings on the subject or feels compelled to talk about what happened yesterday, I'm sure he will do so. But I don't work for Friendly High School or the Prince George's County Public Schools, and my opinions are not necessarily shared by anyone who does.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Fire Sale on Mayonnaise

Today, my first unemployment check arrived.

I really like the idea of getting paid for sitting around, making homemade mayonnaise and knitting and watching Fox Reality Channel (a sidebar: has anybody seen that channel? It defies explanation. Holy crap, there is some excessively awful TV out there that I didn't even know existed.) It probably would have been less appealing a year from now, but when we did the math, we realized that if I kept Max at home with me, I would be breaking even.

What this involved, though, was a committment: I had to commit to staying at home, not job-hunting, and depending on my unemployment.

Have I mentioned my confirmed status as a total commitment-phobe?

And let me say this: Dan doesn't care what I do, as long as I'm happy. Dan is the most adaptable, accepting, open-minded human being I have ever met in my entire life, which is why I snapped him right up and married him. I cannot say enough good things about this man.

What if the perfect job fell into my lap? What if the opportunity to be, like, an ice cream taster for Satan came along? Do I sell my soul and put my kid back in daycare for that job?

Yes, as it turns out, I do. On the day that my first unemployment check arrived, the day that I decided I would give stay-at-home-mom-hood another shot (I stayed home with Max for fourteen months, and...let's just say it wasn't my cup of tea), I got offered a job. I got offered the job, the ice cream tester for Satan job. I got offered the cream of the crop of jobs that I interviewed for in a panic the week after I got laid off, the one I really wanted, the tasty morsel. They offered me more money than I asked for, they're in a primo location, and best of all, I don't have think about whether this place will close its doors.

I got a job, so get your free mayonnaise while you can.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I Realize This Is Weird, But...

This morning, I made homemade mayonnaise. And now I have the mayonnaise equivalent of a bumper crop of zucchini.

I know, I really need to find a job. I got it. But I love homemade mayonnaise, and making it is just so much fun. It's like magic--it goes into the food processor liquid, and it comes out really thick and gooey. It has something to do with fat molecules suspending the water molecules, and emulsions, and some other chemistry that I don't really care that much about because I am not Alton Brown. But still, it is just so cool to watch, and by the way, yum. It tastes so much better than anything that you buy in the store, mostly because it isn't made of things like gelatin, like your regular mayonnaise is. But the smallest manageable amount of mayonnaise that you can possibly make is, like, 11 pounds of mayonnaise. Okay, it's like 4 cups. But that is really a lot of mayonnaise. And homemade mayonnaise tastes better and stronger than the stuff that comes in a jar, and a little goes a long way.

Here's the question, and it's a really good one, so think hard (or not at all, because it's really only a good question to me): What do you like mayonnaise on, or in, or with? Because this recipe made about six months' worth of mayonnaise, and I just can't eat all of this myself.

If you'd like some mayonnaise, and you live in the D.C. area, let me know. I will personally deliver homemade mayonnaise to you. Is that a job, do you think? Could I make money AND mayonnaise?

That sounds ideal.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Seven Skills Every Woman Should Master

Yay for Maggie Mason and her lists. She made a list of skills every woman should master (or muster.) I agree with most of her things, and I have a few of my own.

1. Write a thoughtful and personal thank-you note. I can't tell you how many times recently I've received a "thank-you" note from someone for whom I took at least a little trouble to find a personal and thoughtful (I thought) gift. In every case the note was not addressed to me on the inside, and in most cases said something like this: "Thank you for your thoughtful gift, whatever it was."

When I was in elementary school, my mother once refused to allow me to complete an assignment handed out as a punishment: copying pages from the dictionary by hand. As a professional writer, she loathed the idea of writing as punishment. These deeply impersonal and thoughtless notes seem a lot like that kind of punishment to me; frankly, I'd rather not receive a thank-you note at all rather than one of these no-thanks notes.

2. Entertain unexpected guests. Keep a bottle of white wine in the fridge and a bottle of red someplace dark. Keep bags of cashews, toasted pecans, and dried apricots in a dark place in the cupboard (and don't polish them off while watching "Grey's Anatomy.") Invest in a nice cheeseboard, and keep a wedge or two of decent cheese (like an aged cheddar and a hard cheese, like real Parmigiano or Dry Jack) in the fridge.

3. Perfect one easy appetizer, one salad, one main course, and one dessert. In case the unexpected guests stay for dinner. Here are some that are easy and use things that ought to be in your pantry (if they're not, consider keeping them in your panry.)

Cheese straws
Spinach-Basil Salad with tomatoes, candied walnuts, and warm bacon dressing
Glazed blueberry chicken
Orange flan

4. Break up with a toxic friend. You know who I mean--it's that one friend who admires your new shoes, and two days later has some of her own. The one who, when you told her you had a crush on a new boy in high school, became enamoured of him herself. The one who is just a little two-faced or likes inappropriate drama or doesn't return phone calls when she's got a boyfriend. Yeah, you don't need her--you just need a good way to lose her.

5. Throw a frisbee, a baseball and a football. Believe it or not, these things will come up. And if you can't do them, the boys will notice you. And not in a good way.

6. Apologize convincingly. You would be surprised how far a heartfelt apology will carry you. And even if you don't mean it, you should sound like you do.

7. Say no to your mother-in-law. If she's like mine, she is surprisingly convincing. I am working on this skill myself.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Reasons I Should Never Have Encouraged Him to Speak

Max says that he and Daddy are "penis boys." And I am "a vagina girl."

This after the whole penis-vagina conversation that Dan had with him--boys have a penis, etc.

Incidentally, his grandpa is "a penis grandpa." And guess what we're calling Grandma now?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Thursday Thirteen Things About Me

1. I went on two job interviews today. I like both of the jobs very much, and I feel like I have a fair shot at them both.

2. I am afraid of fish--both the swimming kind and the kind that may land on my plate.

3. I drive a minivan. And I love it.

4. I have this idea for a knitting project: it involves strips of plastic grocery bags knit into a square base, then a grafted-on wool top for it, felted for sturdiness, witha drawstring top. It's an ecologically sound, slightly zany lunch bag! Okay, it sounds weird, but in my head, it is supremely awesome.

5. My favorite sandwich is a turkey sandwich with mustard and lettuce, followed closely by a bologna sandwich with cheese and pickles. Yes, seriously.

6. My wedding cake was chocolate, with raspberry filling and chocolate buttercream frosting. It had white roses (not the kind made of sugar, the kind that grew in the ground somewhere) on top. I would love to say that it was the greatest wedding cake ever; unfortunately, I only got the one bite that Dan fed me for the benefit of the photos. That bite, though, was delicious.

7. I loved the Beverly Cleary "Ramona" books growing up. I cannot wait until Max is old enough to read them.

8. I think Anthony Bourdain is smokin' hot. So is Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Danny Masterson, Sean Lennon, and Edward Norton. Yeah, I know; I am a total freak.

9. I love Crocs. I know they're ugly. I don't care.

10. I found out recently that Sonic's Diet Cherry Limeade is nothing but Diet Sprite and sugar-free cherry syrup, with limes squeezed into it. I'm a little sad, but I can actually make it at home now. Score!

11. I have never bought my own drink in a bar. I know that sounds weird, expecially because I've never been an enormous social success, but men buy me drinks. It's inexplicable to me.

12. I don't like lima beans, tapioca, or duck.

13. I have a great idea for a bakery in Saugutuck, Michigan, called American Bake Sale. It's the kind of place that sells $4 gingerbread-flavored cupcakes with vanilla buttercream icing, double fudge-peppermint brownies, and chocolate-chunk-dried-cherry chocolate cookies. I have not gotten any farther in this fantasy than the name of the restaurant and the menu.

Go read Kimberly's Thursday Thirteen.