Monday, August 25, 2008

38 Special

I am 38 today. Ever since we discovered the brilliant Jay Hitt and his heart-rending "Twenty-Five Years Ago," I have used two rubrics to take stock on my birthday:

25 Years Ago
I was thirteen. My father excitedly informed me, a few weeks before my birthday, that he had two tickets for us to see Tina Turner at the Run-Down Theater in Supersecret Nearby Town. He had to explain who Tina Turner was, because it would be six more months before the spectacular second act of her American life began. But he told me everyone in the audience except us would be from the West Side of Supersecret Town, and that the atmosphere would be absolutely electric.

Then I found out that August 25 was the opening night of the Fireman's Fair in Other Supersecret Town. Now, in my defense, the Fireman's Fair was and still is the juvenile social event of the year around here: carnival rides, junk food, games of chance, an opportunity to sweat buckets in one of your spiffy new fall outfits while catching up with people you haven't seen all summer. I told my father that I would rather spend my birthday at the Fair with my best friend SdL than go to the show with him. So he gave the tickets away.

When it occurred to me to apologize, oh, ten or fifteen years later, my father said there was nothing to apologize for: when you're thirteen, your friends and your social life are everything. Of course, my father never wants me to feel bad about anything; but he had a point, and I try to keep that in the forefront of my mind now that I am about to have a thirteen-year-old in the house.

Tonight I am going to the Fireman's Fair.

Half My Life Ago
I was nineteen. I'm embarrassed to say I'm not at all sure how I spent my nineteenth birthday. On my eighteenth birthday, my mother made me a cheesecake topped with chocolate shavings, my grandmother brought me hot-pink cabbage roses, and I had my picture taken with both of those things--wearing one of my father's old undershirts knotted tight around the hips, my hair in an early attempt at the Millay bun, my face as pink as the flowers. Then I went out on the town with my friends, most of whom were leaving for college the next day. On my 21st birthday, I had a masquerade party on the stage of Supersecret Theatre at Supersecret College.

On either my nineteenth or twentieth birthday, I went skinny-dipping in the ocean with MB and TF. That's as close as I can get.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Things I Like

If you enjoy the domestic aspect of things around here, I recommend this blog:

Salt and Chocolate

and this recipe (not from the blog):

Roasted Baby Summer Squash with Feta and Thyme

which M. actually ate. Yes, a child ate yellow summer squash in my house and I did not videotape it for posterity. You'll just have to believe me; but this is what roasting things with balsamic vinegar and mixing them with cheese can lead to.

And on a less domestic front, while I'm recommending things, these headphones:

Zumreed Border Portable Headphones

Are there headphones that aren't portable? Anyway, pay no attention to the first reviewer who claims they are lacking, since he(?) uses the phrase "like I." I have the yellow and orange ones. They make me very happy, and they don't fall out of my ears like buds do. Originally brought to my attention by Jordan at O Happy Day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summertime, and the blogging is practically nonexistent

A Twix commercial during the Olympics last night featured a flighty young woman exclaiming "I love blogging!" in token of her compatibility with a Twix-chewing young man. R. turned to me and said, "Guess that means blogging is over."*

Well, it's not over over here, but it is desultory. As are all my projects. For every day of energy-filled productivity and enthusiasm, I have two or three (or four) of vague inertial malaise, during which hydration seems a full-time job and dinner and laundry nearly insurmountable tasks. And cleaning...ha! Ha ha ha! I haven't even been reading as much as usual, but I am still working on my summer project of clearing out the "To Read" pile. To wit:

In Cold Blood, another of my dumpster finds. It was okay, a little too real, a little too sad; but given how much I love Breakfast At Tiffany's (all the stories in the collection) and A Christmas Memory, I think it's high time I sought out Other Voices, Other Rooms. I should have read it as soon as I fell in love with Nanci Griffith's CD of the same name. Buy it, now.

The Present and the Past, Ivy Compton-Burnett. This is the second Compton-Burnett I have slogged through and now I can say confidently that I don't "get" them and I don't have to read any more. Henry Green leaves me cold, too; I'm not the Anglophile sophisticate you thought I was.

Which Reminds Me, lots of show-biz anecdotes from Tony Randall. Good for reading at the beach, out the door it goes so someone else can get the chance.

The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman. I'm quitting in the middle of this one. I don't believe people can be crammed into five categories, and I think I'm going to rely on my own instincts in the trenches of family life rather than pinpoint R. or the children as particular types and express my love accordingly.

*An Internet search indicates that I wasn't paying close enough attention to the commercial: the man was not looking for a computer-savvy soulmate, he was using blogging as the modern equivalent of etchings.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Oh, hi! No, I didn't accomplish anything while I was gone

I started a long post about some food I've been making and then was too lazy to upload the pictures. If anyone would like the recipes for white bean-sage dip or rosemary-raisin wheat bread, just let me know and I'll email them to you.

I guess I just got out of the habit of blogging. I've been going to the beach, very slowly trying to get my literal and figurative house in order with a January deadline, and staying hydrated. It's a full-time job when you're pregnant. I had forgotten that, and also forgotten that Pregnancy Brain precludes multitasking. I'm not a great multitasker under any circumstances, being a daydreamer of the extreme "oh, there's a bluejay!" type. Last week, though, I managed to make one batch of bread without yeast, and then a second without salt. And after several bread failures R. gently asked me how old my yeast was, and the answer was "over a year past the expiration date." That can't be attributed to PB, I don't think.