Sunday, May 28, 2006

You can't make this stuff up

The girls are having breakfast.

M: If you cut yourself, do you see God?
S: No, why would you?
M: Because when I cut myself, blood comes out, and God is in my blood.
S: God isn't in your blood.
M: He's not? What's inside my body?
S: Your soul, and that doesn't come out until you die.
M: Why do we have to die?
S: So we can go and be with God.
M: Why can't we live in this house forever?
S: Because we don't want to.
M: I do.
S: Don't you want to see God? He made you...he made everything. He made trees, he made Mommy...what's your favorite thing?
M: My favorite thing is you.
S: He made me!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I'm probably not alone in this

I really hate the sound of leaf blowers.

Conversations with my brother-in-law

My sister- and brother-in-law were over for dinner Sunday night, and I can't remember how it came up, but S. commented (about someone's name) "Oh, that's like Richard Rich!"

BIL: The cartoon character?
MV: Um, no, he's a historical personage. He betrayed St. Thomas More at his trial?
NSLR: At least according to "A Man For All Seasons."
BIL: Looks slightly befuddled, or perhaps horrified.
MV: Yes, we're trying to ensure that our children are as vigorously ostracized as possible at school.
BIL: recovers quickly And, uh, we'll help you out with that.
MV: I'm sure we'll all do what we can.

Monday, May 15, 2006

It's really not that different from talking movies with most adults

Cinematic Conversation #1
M. appears in the living room, asking me to tie on the red satin Snow White cape. Since she is wearing it with pajama shorts and Tevas, I suspect she is not meant to be Snow White.

MV: Are you Superman? Wonder Woman?
M: No. I am the king.
my confusion and/or skeptcism must show on my face
M: From that movie we saw? In the hotel in Williamsburg?
MV: Ah, The Ten Commandments.
M: Yes. Why didn't that king wear a shirt?

Cinematic Conversation #2
M: Remember that movie we watched a long time ago?
MV: Which one?
M: The one with the same people as the other movie.
MV: What happens?
M: The dog hates the penguin.
MV: The Wrong Trousers!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Okay, Quarterly Political Post

Am I the only one who pretty much already assumed the NSA was doing this stuff?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ah, quizzes. The refuge of the blocked blogger



Drama nerd












Ghetto gangsta


What's Your High School Stereotype?
created with

Monday, May 08, 2006

Home Non-Improvement

Of all the people who come here via google and technorati searches, the one for whom I am most sorry so far is the one who was looking for info on "medicine cabinet non-standard size."

I feel your pain, anonymous surfer. All I can tell you is that you're going to need to cut a bigger hole, or employ some creative drywalling. You will never find a medicine cabinet the size of the one you had before. Give up now.

Our New Yard

Is a delight but also a significant investment, and as such a big ol' headache.

I am so, so tired of watering already. Now I feel like I have a tiny taste of what it's like to be a farmer.

I wish it would rain.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Today's Hee

Five Terrible Fake David Blaine Endurance Stunts

I particularly like #1, because I'm pretty sure I got food poisoning from a Shoney's salad bar.
And #3, because NSBR was handcuffed at a DMV (he talked them into uncuffing him).

Life Behind the Backstop

It's that time of year again, time for Little League stories. Yes, some of them are just child anecdotes under a different name. In no particular order:

Magic Words
I notice that many fathers--especially coaches but not limited to them--employ incantations during games, with the apparent belief that repeating the same phrase will affect their children's technique. "Throw strikes!" a man behind me kept exhorting his son, pitcher for the visiting team last week. "You're a hitter," one of the coaches keeps telling my son (so far, not so).

We're All Sensitive People, With So Much To Give (apologies to Marvin Gaye)
Not-so-little-R.'s coach approached me and not-so-big-R. last night. He spoke of the beach, which I now recognize as significant because it was a non-baseball topic. NSBR told him how excited NSLR was when he came home from batting practice Tuesday night, and thanked the coach for helping him set up his stance. "He was very fired up," I agreed. After a brief pause, Coach countered with a story about listening in on the boys' conversations on the ride home, and how smart NSLR is.

The Most Important Meal of the Day
After the game, one of the other mothers approached me. "Is that your husband?" she asked, pointing to NSBR still in suit and tie (he can rarely make the weeknight games because his commute is long).
"Well, I see him on the train every day, and I always think, 'That man's wife must really love him, because he has such a delicious looking breakfast.'" She turned to another mom: "Granola and yogurt, in a little tupperware thing, and it's not soggy, so clearly she doesn't make it the night before."

I must remember this whenever I feel purposeless and unrecognized. Strangers admired my food preparation and my wifely devotion, and I was unaware.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Band Names

Kendrak's Attack is holding a King Dork band name contest. I would enter, but I haven't read the book yet and I probably don't have the right idea.

However, this reminded me of my pet band name. When I was in high school, although I could not fully commit to being a goth girl (they were called the "groovy ghoulies" in my area. I was a "poser."), I wore a lot of black and went to see a lot of hardcore bands playing in church basements (what an adorably safe rebellion, in retrospect). Also one of my best friends was going out with a drummer and we spent a lot of time in his basement waiting for rehearsal to be over.

Many of these bands seemed to be in competition for who could have the most disgusting name. I specifically remember reading a 'zine with an advertisement for "Cup of Mucus With An Eyeball In It." So I came up with what I thought was a consummately awful name, The Phlegmy Defecators, and began a campaign to get some band to adopt this name. Bands were breaking up and forming all the time, so I had lots of chances.

Finally one kind, kind boy made his new band be The Phlegmy Defecators for about 15 seconds, and I pretended to be satisfied.

A quick google search indicates that this name is still available. I hereby declare it up for grabs.

Oh No!

Pandora was featured in Daily Candy today.

On a shallow note, now I am no longer ahead of the curve but simply one more member of a metropolitan gal stampede who think they are cool.

On a more practical one, do they have the bandwidth to handle the onslaught? Or will my stations stutter and skip today?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My Shiny New Timesuck

See the blue box in my already-crowded righthand sidebar? (I can't figure out how to put stuff anywhere else). Terry Teachout reminded me of Pandora's existence; unfortunately I can't remember who first put me onto it.

You must, must go there, but briefly, here's the deal: you start with a song (or artist) you like and Pandora (courtesy of the Music Genome Project) starts suggesting others songs you might like, not based on some limited, genre-based, record-company template, but on a bazillion qualities such as "mild rhythmic syncopation, mixed acoustic and electric instrumentation and major key tonality" (the qualities that made them think I might like Joni Mitchell's "Nothing Can Be Done.")

Read Monsieur Teachout's post for a far more intelligent commentary on this offering than I could ever produce. Meanwhile, I'll waste my life (and my husband will waste his) refining our "stations."

You'll notice I have two so far. One was called "Spit On A Stranger Radio"; I changed it to Watering Place because it's the repository for absolutely everything I like, from New Order to Barbara Cook. The other is called "Life In a Northern Town": that's the song I started with, trying to create a station that I can play while I'm working on my book and trying to remember what it's like to be 14 (awful). Of course, Pandora doesn't deal in such surface classifications as "80s," but I am finding some interesting current stuff that suggests the sounds of my youth, which did take place in a Northern Town, so why not keep the name?

Shut up, MomVee, so your two readers can hit Pandora.

How to wreck my sense of self

That may be a slight exaggeration. However, on with the story:

I've started going to the gym again. I am doing strength training because I have a "now" goal of shapely arms and a "later" goal of bone density. Using the equipment hurts my hands sometimes, so I decided to buy gloves. Also, as everyone knows, gear helps you enjoy your sports more.

I went to Modell's and tried on many women's lifting gloves. I am a women's size medium. Definitely. Not only did the smalls make me feel like my fingers were going to burst and I would never get them back off, but objectively, according to the tape measure, I am a medium.

I have small hands! Really! Everyone says so. Small, small hands. People notice this a lot. Boys have quoted this from e.e. cummings: "nobody, not even the rain, has such small hands."

Now I find that among women, my hands are not extra-small, not even small. I know I shouldn't worry about it, but it reminds me of my boyfriend the summer before college.

He may have been my most toxic boyfriend, and that's saying something. He was 24 and I was 18, that was my first mistake. One of his favorite hobbies was discovering something I was vain about and then denigrating it. He told me that my hands were not in fact small. "You just have short fingers," he said. "The main part of your hand is a normal size. They're just out of proportion. Deformed, almost."

Okay, now that I've told it I feel better.

Here's another poem I love. I thought it featured small hands but to my relief these hands are merely still:

Pale brows, still hands and dim hair,
I had a beautiful friend
And dreamed that the old despair
Would end in love in the end:
She looked in my heart one day
And saw your image was there;
She has gone weeping away.

William Butler Yeats

And to finish up:

Iseult Of Brittany

So delicate my hands, and long,
They might have been my pride.
And there were those to make them song
Who for their touch had died.

Too frail to cup a heart within,
Too soft to hold the free-
How long these lovely hands have been
A bitterness to me!

Dorothy Parker

Warning: Child Anecdotes

S.'s First Communion took place last Saturday morning.

Saturday night, with the event and party behind us, I said to the children, "Well, tomorrow let's do something really frivolous and spontaneous to reward ourselves for all the hard work. What shall we do?"

"Go to the library!" they all cried in unison. I'm not kidding. I think our nerd indoctrination program is now complete.

We also went for dim sum. My brother-in-law is very competitive and neurotic about dim sum. I'm sure these personality traits take him a long way in venture capitalism, but it makes me a little tense to be told that I've ordered too much from the sticky rice cart, and now the steam cart is sure to snub us. Okay, not a child anecdote.

I had to buy S. her own batting helmet because there is a concern among the mothers of the softball team that headlice will be spread via batting helmet. R. asked if he could use it, too.

"I don't know," I said, "will the other guys think this sparkly blue helmet is girly and say stuff?"
"It isn't sparkly, Mommy, it's metallic."

All right then.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Yes, Another Complaint

So, I go to this very posh gym. My mother pays for it because she thinks I'm fat. No, no, no, I'm sorry--my mother pays for it because she wants me to have time to myself. Or something like that.

Anyway, the conversationsI overhear there are fascinating. I would say the emblematic statement was "There are so many expenses connected to the au pair that we didn't anticipate; it's really cutting into our wine budget."

There are about 10 showers in the locker room. Four (along one wall) are double-depth showers, so you can step completely out of the spray and sit down on a stool to shave your legs, and dry off without being a contortionist. The other six are normal, perfectly nice and adequate showers.

Many women absolutely refuse to use anything but a big shower. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but it really seems as if they're saying, I'm not accepting second best in anything, ever. And when I head for the shower and there's one woman waiting, it's easy enough to chuckle, "Oh, I guess I'll go ahead and take one of these." But when there's a line of five or six women waiting while four small showers stand open, it's hard for someone as shy as me to walk all the way to the front and essentially (it seems to me) say, "I'm not quite as spoiled and insecure as the rest of you."

Except I am insecure, because I stand at the back and pretend that I'm holding out for a biggie too.