Monday, January 29, 2007

I'm going out on a limb here, but I brought a blood orange margarita with me, so it's okay

I've been trying to think in an organized fashion about Melissa's appearance on the Today Show. Alice hit the nail on the head when she said that she was left puzzled and weary; I couldn't even work up the kind of sputtering rage I usually enjoy so much, because the segment was so depressingly bizarre and sort of understated. There was little to no dialogue, that's for sure; and it wasn't Melissa's fault. They hardly even let her be a strawman. It was a kangaroo court! And other mixed metaphors.

Anyway, I'm having troubled with organized thoughts because here are some of the other things I have to think about this week:

--I agreed to have 5-7 Webelos scouts come here for four hours on Wednesday afternoon, and I said that I would give them lunch and help them earn their entire "Artist" pin.
--S. has to do a book report, in costume, on St. Elizabeth of Hungary on Thursday.
--R. and S. want to take fencing, which involves two of my least favorite things: 1) calling a total stranger to establish a new business relationship and 2) spending 8 bajillion dollars.

But what I came up with in the car on the way to A.C. Moore to buy art supplies for the scouts was this:

I think we have gone so far in not being judgmental of others that we have destroyed the credibility of every regular old invidual out there. To wit: when something bad happens, when someone gets caught parenting badly--objectively badly, spectacularly badly--we say (some of us) "poor thing, he must be sick, it's not her fault, walk a mile in his shoes..." And it may all be true. But it left the door open for the people who don't believe in moderation, who don't believe anyone has self-control, or judgment, or standards. Because if it's not our fault, it's also not our responsibility. And it must be someone's responsibility. People who want to legislate, regulate and litigate every aspect of our private lives. Who think it's safest to make everything cut and dry.

And Alice is right--mothers come in for the lion's share of this. We're not trusted to make the decision about how one drink affects us--our mothering, our driving, our pregnancy--so we get no drinks. I'll go farther and say that mothers at home get the lion's share of the lion's share, because we strike the self-appointed experts as the dumbest parents out there. But I think they're coming for all of us, eventually. Not just parents but private citizens. First those who smoke, those who spank, those who drink. Then those who eat trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Then those who let their first graders stay up to watch 24. Then those who skip bedtime story so they can hurry downstairs to catch 24...

Edited to say: I'm so afraid of getting flamed here. I forget to mention that I think there is a very real place for charity in how we talk about other people's parenting; but I also think there is a place for our own confidence that we can do better when that parenting is demonstrably bad for the child.

But Seriously, Why "Babble"?

First off, apologies for posting a Reunions Project update to the Watering Place site. That was really rude, as the two readers of Watering Place really do not want to mix with the zero readers of Reunions Project. Yuck.

Jessa at Bookslut has alerted me to the fact that the people that brought you have a new parenting site, I guess it only makes sense that all that sex would lead to parenting, but I wouldn't leave my children with the Nerve people for 5 minutes.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Because it is pounding, and because it is my heart

Ran for 25 minutes today. Used my heart rate monitor for the first time. And, well, I never went over 100% of maximum. That's good, right?

Seriously, I really need to take a couple of weeks jogging and keeping an eye on my heart rate. I think that's the only way I'm going to increase my endurance, and thus my time and distance. But I just hate running any slower than I already do.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Words To Live By

Remember what Mr. Micawber said?

"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."

I say:

"Dishwasher emptied and breakfast dishes put in before 10 a.m., good day.
Dishwasher not emptied before 10 a.m., bad day."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Dubious Humor Involving Cats

My brother-in-law was over for dinner Sunday night, because my sister-in-law was away and I make good dinners. Also we now have television here.

I can't remember how we got to this point in the conversation, but...
S: We have this game we play in the basement. I stuff the coonskin cap full of scarves and doll clothes and stuff and then we pretend it's a cat named Pat and she's the president and Raly is trying to assassinate her. (You can see the influence of 24 even on the members of our household who don't watch).
M: And I'm Sarah's assistant, and I save her!
MV: The cat's name is Pat?
R: Well, that happened because one time I went downstairs and they were playing the game and I never heard of it before? And I thought they said "Pat," when they said "cat," so now that's the cat's name.
MV: Wait, I just want to make sure I have this straight. Pat is a cat--
BIL: And she's also the president. Yes, you've got it.

I laughed 'til I cried. I know it doesn't translate at all. But you know when something just strikes you funny? It felt good to laugh that hard.

Also, did you ever make up a stupid joke for your own amusement and then get it stuck in your head just as hard as a song gets stuck? Voila--

An arts and literature magazine for neoconservative cats: The Mew Criterion.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Some Searches That Have Brought People Here

Poor, poor people...

"stringing a mandolin"
"che and seth" (YES!)
"Chris Klein's ex-girlfriends"
"fake fiestaware"
"Mid-Missouri Mandolin"
"ryan o.c."
"hate autoharp"
"watering place"

Sorry you didn't find what you're looking for. And psyched that no one found me by searching for "crack pipe." Bummed that no one is looking for "sausage kimchi bap."

Friday, January 19, 2007

I picked up the crack pipe again

When NSBR is late coming home, bad things happen. Especially now that we have satellite, and I can look at the handy onscreen guide, the whole tasty world of television is temptingly mapped out for me. Also, it's been weeks--weeks!--since I could watch Studio 60.

So last night I watched The O.C. Also, it's ending, and I'm a sucker for swan songs.

--Loving the HoYay between Che and Seth. This show has always flirted with it, so to speak, but now maybe they'll really put it out there. The problem is, watching Seth and Summer kiss has always been one of my favorite things about the show.
--Taylor "chose me" in true 90210 fashion. Great acknowledgment of influence.
--Ryan has become a different person in my absence. It's like his voice is 33 set on 45, and the near-mohawk haircut? Weird.
--Looks like Jimmy's coming back. Excellent. Now if we could also get some good Kandy in the last 5 eps.

While we're on the subject of bad television, I know I'm not the first person to say this, but NSBR and I cannot believe how drunk Paula Abdul was in Minneapolis. We kept rewinding 30-second snippets and laughing hysterically. The best part is she's doing all these "they can't tell I'm drunk!" maneuvers that I have personally performed--e.g. the thing where you slowly lean forward looking very, very serious.

Yes, I know substance abuse is not funny, and my husband and I are going to hell.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I. Finished. My. Book!

The first draft, that is. Now for the long, undoubtedly painful but oddly attractive business of revising.

But first, I'll say it again:

I finished my book! I wrote a whole book, with a beginning, a middle and an end! With a plot, and characters, and a setting, and God willing, some themes and motifs!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

What I Did Yesterday

I reorganized what we generously call "the mudroom." Others might call it "the basement stair landing" or even "that dangerous little area with the door that can suddenly open onto you sending you hurtling down the basement stairs." Since it has fewer syllables, and implies that our house is so spacious we can devote an entire room to mud, we call it the mudroom.

I didn't think to take a "before" picture, but just study this picture for a moment. Then close your eyes and visualize this: all the same stuff, but on half as many hooks and no baskets.

Then I made dinner. I made these cute pork cutlets, except I made them out of chops. And I used leftover champagne instead of cider to make the pan sauce, and I think I put in "too much" creme fraiche, because the sauce was very creamy. Also I browned the sauce a teense too long to match the picture. But it tasted really good. I discovered this recipe because I had some purple potatoes and I was trying to figure out the best thing to do with them. The answer: ANYTHING! They taste so good. I dressed them with some roasted garlic-infused olive oil, as Meg in Paris suggests. Avec some steamed baby carrots, a beautiful and delicious meal:

Saturday, January 13, 2007

They're Writing Songs of Love, But Not For Me

Being on 43 Things really is helping me define my goals. They suggest mixing up the bigs with the littles, the realistic with the unrealistic, and boy am I.

Since the first time I listed my goals for the rest of my life on this site, I have been including "Sing in public" or "sing in public again." So then, you might say, join the church choir or the civic chorus. But no, I realize, I want to sing by myself, at least part of the time. I want to sing cabaret.

And there's more. According to "Four Weeks, The faintly creepy incredibly materialistic online magazine that's in sync with the rhythm of your life," (guess which four words I added to that description), the week leading up to your period is one of indulgence and introspection. I would add anger and despair, but that's harder to place products for. Other than guns.

Anyway! To indulgence and introspection let's add navel-gazing and self-pity, and go to town. How do I put this? No one thinks my singing is as good as I do, except my parents. And I don't think it's that great, honestly! I know Ergo is a better singer than I am, and my friend CW, and RG who sings in people's living rooms, and VV who has a band...but I'm okay, really. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Once upon a time, people clapped. I had the lead in the 8th grade musical, and again when I was a senior in high school. I had a couple of solos in my a capella group. They let me in to the geometrically shaped musical comedy group.

We have an annual adult sleepover party here, inspired by Peter's Friends. (Although someone pointed out that no one ever comes out in the middle of our party. Never say never!) I call it Country House Weekend, and it features 4-6 couples we've known since college (and one single woman who never wants to come any more), fancy dinner, parlor games, and Sunday brunch. As I had hoped, my Emmy-winning friend BK sat down to tickle my new ivories (hmm, that sounds kinky). I shamelessly slipped him my current favorite, "What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?" and he schmaltzed it up in his typical fashion. I have to say I'm in pretty good voice these days. Mid-thirties is when your voice is completely mature, my voice teacher told me at 16. The piano's out of tune in a flat, easier-to-hit-the-high-notes fashion. That song doesn't have the biggest range. When we finished, no one said anything. "Hey, you're sounding good," or "That was fun," or "More, please," or really anything. I may be paranoid, but to me silence says "Man, did that stink! Maybe it will go away if I stay very still."

*Sigh* So why would a bar full of strangers want to hear me sing torch songs? And where would I find such a bar, around here? And what is wrong with me that I want love as much as I want singing? Don't get me wrong, I love to sing, purely for the feeling of it. When I'm alone in the house you bet I sit down at the piano and belt out a few good ones. There's nothing like it. But I'd like to experience applause again before I die. Is that so wrong?

Monday, January 08, 2007

My father is home sick today...

...but apparently he's well enough to surf the web.

I received an email from him, subject "R&R Hall of Fame, Finally." Text: "The Ronettes plus Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five are to be inducted!"

Amen. And now you know where I get my eclectic musical tastes.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

If The Fates Allow

We had ourselves a merry little Christmas, and it isn't over yet! Twelfth Night is on Saturday, and the truly freaky don't take down their decorations until the Feast of the Baptism on the 13th, or Candlemas on February 2nd. I belong in the medium "Baptism" category. We are definitely in a quieter period, though, since R.'s parents and grandmother departed on the 26th. We had a nearly perfect holiday, with good food, lots of music and good will and moderate gift quantity. I, personally, got stacks of books and music and something sparkly from my wonderful husband. Not just something sparkly, but the exact something sparkly I asked for, which I think displays a particularly delicious respectful humility that is so rare in husbands. It's easy to think that you can improve on someone else's wish by exceeding or modifying it, but chances are you are wrong.

I have a New Year's Resolution/Navel-gazing post that I've been ruminating over for about three weeks, but it still isn't ready for prime time.

Meanwhile, here's something to watch:

Polar Bear Plunge

You can get a great view of my sister-in-law and brother-in-law. It's possible to spot me for a few seconds here and there: I'm in a teal tank suit and my hair is in a single braid.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Welcome to my (currently) 33 things

Ergo's Lhea J. Love made me aware of 43 Things, so I'm trying it out. My list of goals is in the right-hand sidebar, and I just realized I need to add a goal: "Learn how to add things to blogger template that show up in places other than the right-hand sidebar." Actually, a good thing to add would be "Learn HTML," because my secret goal is to take over the website for the kids' school when my term as Recording secretary comes to an end this year...hey, there's another goal!

I can see what they mean about constantly updating and reevaluating your list.

Anyway, I also really need to check back in with my fitness blog, since the deadline for The Reunions Project is approaching. There's another goal, "Look hotter by Reunions," although that's really wrapped into "Lose 15 pounds," "tone arms," and "get a flat stomach." Which should perhaps be "flatter stomach," if we're being realistic at all.