10 May 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 2)


I finally actually won a contest!! For realsies! That's my name at the top of the contest post! (The closest I've ever come before was when my friend Devin won all five extant Radiohead albums and gave them to me because he already had them all, sweet thang. Yeah that was twelve or so years ago.... Moving on.) I won a bunch of great stuff from the delightful Betty Beguiles, including a signed copy of Style, Sex, and Substance, which I cannot wait to read, the new Audrey Assad CD (love seeing her career blossom--and I also like to pretend that the successes of anyone I'm even vaguely connected to will automatically rub off on me), and a collection of Sephora samples, among many other awesome things (moleskine journal--heart!). I try to spend my days sitting by the front door now, so the UPS man is treated to a good look at my baby-breakfast-laden yoga pants and sweatshirt before he escapes into his truckI can open the package as soon as it arrives.


Things that should not have changed: The Battlestar Galactica theme song (from the first season version). The recipe for Dawn. My three year old's enjoyment of sleep.


James (12 months old now) has started copying us a lot. He's saying words and mimicking facial expressions. He even folds his hands when we say grace before meals--although I'm pretty sure he thinks we're all just getting ready to clap and he wants to join in. Which makes sense, actually, considering Stephen's enthusiastic rendition: "BLASS US o LERD, and DESE dy GIFTS we are aBOUT to reCEIVE from dy BOUNTY. True CHRIST our LERD, AAAAAMEN! In da name a da FODDER, SONNNN, and hoLY SPIRitAAAAAAAAMEN!" Encore, encore!


Laurence Olivier was truly a genius. Whether Peter Sellers was an equal or a greater genius has yet to be decided...but this should help.


And here I am, stalling after #4 again. It's my default setting. Thou shalt have four quick takes, and four quick takes alone shalt thou have. Thou shalt not have three quick takes, and neither shalt thou have five. Seven is right out.


This week I started fantasizing about potty training both boys at once. Wait a few more months, until James has taught himself to read and possibly cook his own breakfast and helping me plan Stephen's 4th birthday, and then I'll park one on the toilet and one on the potty chair. They can pee together to their hearts' content while I go watch a movie. I heard somewhere that's how it happens.


I'm too old to turn on iTunes by myself these days, so my music enjoyment has been greatly enhanced by the  addition of Spotify to my life. Recent obsessions include...well, stuff I already loved. I'm too old for new music. But I have very good taste. For example: Sia. Goldfrapp. Radiohead. The Flaming Lips. Janelle Monae (I guess she's new...still have a youthful spark in there somewhere). Daft Punk. Corelli. Go listen to Goldfrapp's Seventh Tree and tell me your day didn't just get better.

For more quick takes head over to Betty Beguiles!

04 May 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday (vol. 1)

--- 1 ---

My sister tricked me into doing this, my first quick takes. As usual. When we were kids (like, age 7), she tricked me into eating a PB&J with mustard on it (she told me she was putting strawberries on it), fooled me into believing our baby brother had decapitated my Barbie, and had me going for weeks--weeks!--that she had a friend with brain cancer. (I was a little confused about how she had a friend that no other friend or family member had ever heard of, but I regularly inquired after the progression of the cancer and fretted over the difficulties of facing mortality at such a young age.) She's made up for all this by promising to beat up anybody who gets in my way. She hasn't done it yet, but I'm totally sure she will.

--- 2 ---

I've been wanting to join in the quick takes fun for ages, but I have a disability as yet unrecognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act--an inability to be random. I've started countless quick takes posts . . . but after about take #4 I'd start struggling to come up with more, and then I'd realize all my quick takes revolved around a theme--which is totally legitimate, but most of the fun is the random snapshot of a moment of someone's life. Trying to be more random in my posts felt totally TTH. Like a middle school girl with no attention span who doesn't know what she likes yet, so she just says she's "soooooo random!" and then spends the whole day trying to prove it by squealing about whatever pops into her head. I love reading everybody's, I just can't quite seem to generate one (. . . until now?). And, like I said, Sydney tricked me into it, so here we are.

--- 3 ---

There are lots of important things I could be doing with my time, like working on my current editing project or parenting my children or paying my bills. But none of that matters right now, because I've found something so beautiful, all other cares dissolve. That thing is . . . warm vinegar, mixed with Dawn dish soap. If I told you it cuts through soap scum, I wouldn't be making false promises. If I told you it makes sinks and fixtures look brand new, I wouldn't be lying. If I told you it's the best granite cleaner I've ever used, I wouldn't be telling tales out of school. If I told you accidentally inhaling the spray mist would make you hack up a lung, I might be exaggerating a little bit. But seriously, folks, this stuff has changed my life and made my bathrooms and kitchen and dining room table and Stephen's tricycle and the living room box fan beautiful, fresh, even sparkling. (You've probably seen the recipe floating around Pinterest--just one part warm vinegar to one part Dawn in a spray bottle. Mix it a bit. Spray, scrub, rinse. Relive the magic of having new things.)

--- 4 ---

So I'm not usually a coupon clipper. I love the idea, but keeping up with the activity, organizing the coupons, and having them with me at the appropriate time is all somehow beyond me. Target coupons, however, I am all over. Since I can only run one errand at a time avec les enfants, I'm never combining a Target trip with any other errand, so I have a dedicated Target coupon folder, organized and up to date--and I actually use them. I know, I know--just grasp that chair and put your head between your knees, and you'll feel better in just a few minutes. I'll warn you the next time I try to be consistently competent with something.

--- 5 ---

Today I left the kids with my mom and went to the doctor, and I felt giddy and light--I was on a solo outing! I seriously need to get out more.

--- 6 ---

Texas Pete, I don't know who you are or where you've been, but I know where you're going: into my mouth. (To clarify, I'm talking to a condiment. One that's really good on eggs.)

--- 7 ---

I did it. (~pant, gasp, splutter~) I did seven. I don't know how. I need a drink.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

27 April 2012


Clearly I need to do more with my life than not get dressed, not clean my kitchen, and not fold my laundry. But I need to take this slowly--I don't want to get all excited about a hobby idea, do a bunch of research online and convince myself a) my life will never be complete without this hobby and b) this will make my family's existence so much better they'll start praying to me and maybe even build me a shrine whereat they leave me daily offerings of ice cream as though I were some sort of Indian cobra goddess. (People leave out bowls of milk for snake gods, right? I'm not making that up?)

So, this has to be a hobby that requires

  1. little-to-no monetary expenditure, unless I can justify it as being for the household, like furniture reupholstery, or HGTV-watching, or extreme couponing (I do enjoy cutting paper with scissors...);
  2. little-to-no regular sleep--no operating heavy machinery...except cars carrying small children, large appliances operating near small children, and doors blocked by small children mid-tantrum;
  3. little-to-no space--I have no craft room, no desk, no attic, no basement, no crawl space, no closet space, no shelf space, and very little mental space. (The hobby is kinda supposed to fix that last one.)
I've already considered and discarded many excellent ideas--writing, reading, needlework, photography, coloring, singing in the shower, getting dressed, cleaning my kitchen, folding my laundry (into origami), and Zen Buddhist meditation. Plenty of options that cover bettering my environment, clearing out my brain, avoiding my brain at all costs, being more active, being less active, or being completely inactive. I could just pick one of these and go with it...but then what do I do when I get bored with it next week?

New hobby idea: Watch Cars every day. It fits all my numbered criteria, requires no special preparation--and I can do it regardless of state of dress, health, or mental awareness. I'll learn more via observation about the intricacies of digital animation, feature-length film plotting, and literary character development. I'll memorize all the words to Sheryl Crow's "Get Gone" and James Taylor's "Our Town." I'll be able to list each of Luigi's tire offers to McQueen--so far, the one thing I know is that they actually get progressively worse each time (I can feel you getting more impressed with me already). 

This may take some convincing of Stephen--currently he only wants to watch it about 5 times a week. I'll just have to employ my sparkling powers of preschooler persuasion (they're vampire powers). It's important not to let your personal interests be neglected, even--especially--if that means your children don't get what they want all the time, so they aren't spoiled and you aren't burned out. Priorities.

12 April 2012

Real Housewives of Anne Arundel County

Eat it, "Bethenny" Frankel. I have my priorities straight. No plastic surgery, no ghostwritten book. I also know how to spell. And all those Marthas on Pinterest who make ice cream and pinwheels and silk screen scarves with their clean, smiling children--is it fun taking all morning to prep, spending most of the activity making the kids hold still so you can get good pictures, and then cleaning up after they've melted into a puddle of tantrum in a puddle of ice cream and silk dye?

Like I said, priorities:

  • Priority 1: Keep Children Alive. 
  • Priority 2: Make Dinner. 
  • Priority 3: ...It depends. Some days, Get Dressed. Others, Do Laundry. Sometimes even Don't Yell At Stephen For Being A 3-Year-Old. I like to mix it up. You gotta keep things fresh. 

Regardless of the status of Priority 3, to be a successful working mom-on-the-sit I always focus on my goal and I never make myself feel guilty for neglecting those specialty tasks other mothers use to try to impress each other.

Like kitchen hygiene.
Or decorating.
Or bed-making.
Or showering.
(I do, however, make love to the camera.)

My goal? Don't leave the house. It makes everyone tired and hungry, I spend too much money at Target, and I start getting wild ideas about being informed while listening to NPR on the car radio. Dangerous. So far I've got a 98% success rate. (The internet really helps here, if I find myself at loose ends.)

Why waste time and energy trying to keep up with the Frankel, or Martha? I'll only end up rich, famous, and thinking that 41-year-old me should be played by Mila Kunis in the movie of my life, or making brownies with Snoop Dogg. Actually that last one might be kinda cool.

Most importantly, in the pursuit of my goal I will spend time with my kids, which is the greatest gift a mother can give her children. That, or check Hyperbole and a Half for a new post. It's been a while.

12 March 2012

Everybody Drink Chai!

I knew chai was delicious and suspected it was nutritious. It also seemed to help me lose weight when I drank it regularly. Now, info revealing chai is in fact a wonder tea! Those Indians know a thing or two about consumables (cf any Indian restaurant lunch buffet).

Links regarding the health benefits of...

I'll let you look up the benefits of black tea and honey (if you add it to your chai) your own dang self. 

I guess I'll be living forever now. Pardon me while I go brew another cup.