Tag: Confessions

You Ought to Know, Kiddies

“A painting.  Moving.  Spiritually enriching.  Sublime.  ‘High’ art!  The comic strip.  Vapid.  Juvenile.  Commercial hack work.  ‘Low’ art.  A painting of a comic strip panel.  Sophisticated irony.  Philosophically challenging.  ‘High’ art.”
“Suppose I draw a cartoon of a painting of a comic strip?”
“Sophomoric, intellectually sterile.  ‘Low’ art.”
– Bill Watterson,
Calvin and Hobbes

While my opinion of having children in the near future is well known, J. and I do like to theorize on it.  And occasionally I do something that I find completely baffling: I nest.

Not in the physical sense, in the intellectual.  See, I have it in my head that there are certain things I was exposed to growing up (mostly books and movies) that I found absolutely necessary to my happiness and that influenced me profoundly.  And therefore they will naturally be necessary to my children as well.  No discussion permitted.

And so, every once and a while, when no one is looking, when I run across one of these Necessary Items For My Future Spawn on sale, I snatch it up.

Luckily J. understands because one of the things that I think is absolutely necessary is quality cartoons.  None of your Spongebob Squarepants inanities and annoying Scrappy Doos, if you please.   Which is why he’s slowly building my collection of classic Bugs Bunny cartoons!  Behold one of my birthday presents! Looney Tunes – Golden Collection, Volume Three

Future spawn be darned, I watch these during Saturday morning chores!

See? Is this not required viewing? "Kill the wabbit!"

The Merry Month of May (or, Geeks Unite!)

“Any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still know where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.”
– Douglas Adams,
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

This is clearly the month for geeks, nerds, Avatards, etc.  Earlier in the month we were able to enjoy Star Wars Day, otherwise known as “May the Fourth, be with you.”  Now personally I’m a fan of the first three episodes (by which I mean IV-VI) and not so much the second trilogy (by which I mean I-III).

And this mind-warping chronology brings me nicely to today, which is Towel Day, in honor of Douglas Adams’ trilogy-in-five-volumes – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

This is a fan-holiday I can get behind, owning, as I do, the entire “trilogy” as well as (my preferred) Dirk Gently books, and The Salmon of Doubt, a collection of Adams’ speeches, essays, quips, and short stories.  Apart from a wonderful absurdist, he was a fantastically intelligent and clever man who despite his love for technology, was not limited to science fiction.  My personal favorite is the story of Genghis Khan who storms into Europe “so fast he almost forgot to burn down Asia before he left.”  Oh!  And God’s final message to his creation: “We apologize for the inconvenience.”

My parents are also fans.  They own the original radio series on cassette tape (which I may or may not have purloined when I went to university – sorry Mum and Dad!) which I listened to from a young age.  I’ve got them on MP3 now and they still make me laugh.

So yes, I know where my towel is.  Which reminds me.  J. and I need to do laundry rather badly.  So long and thanks for all the fish!

Weekend Soundoff

 “A man’s growth is seen in the successive choirs of his friends.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

And if ever this becomes necessary, I've got a crack team on speedial.

I have one friend going to study in Korea for the next few months.  His wife is staying here, working, and currently performing in The King and I.  Another friend is officially back from her world travels and has found a lovely house to move into in the city.  Yet another friend is recovering from morphine withdrawals.*  And finally yet another dear friend received and turned down the offer to be a man’s mistress. 

I know SUCH fabulous people! 

* Post surgery, which doesn’t sound nearly as intriguing.

Mothers’ Day, or Why We Shouldn’t Have Kids Soon

“For the record, I hate it when people do things to celebrate ‘future mothers’ on Mothers’ Day, like giving out flowers in church, so I don’t want to do anything with the holiday until we actually have kids.  However, if I’m pregnant on Mothers’ Day, I will expect you to do something, in the name of the fetus.”
“Duly noted.”
– C. and J.

While kids are a long ways off for us, we do have fun thinking about, arguing over, and speculating on our future family.  “You know you can’t swear in front of the kids, right?”,  “They will learn proper grammar, so help me!”, and “Piano lessons and a language are mandatory, ok?”  He looks forward to wrestling with them on the floor and playing catch, I look forward to answering questions and watching them discover the world.  And forcing them to read (though with us as parents, I don’t foresee too great a struggle in that vein).  I like to tease him about how, by marrying a petite woman like me, he’s forfeited his chance at a child playing basketball, and he counters that he’s switched his plans to baseball.  He takes a great deal of pleasure in shooting down all my potential baby names, and I smugly let him think what he wants because after nine months toting the little parasite around, gaining weight, going mental, being violently ill, and forcibly expelling it through a grueling multi-hour ordeal, I think I’ll manage to get the final say. 

 However, we are firmly on the same page regarding one thing about children: slave labor.  Oh, yes.  They will have chores.  Starting young.  It’s going to be fun to make them pull weeds, mow the lawn, and dust the house.  Mummy loves you, darlings!

Lifestyles of the Poor and Obscure

“It’s an area of Dublin that still has lots of character.  It hasn’t been yuppified to ****.”
Lisa’s spirits started a slow slither.  She was
desperate to live in a place that had been yuppified to ****.
– Marian Keys,
Sushi for Beginners

Every once and a while a strange urge takes hold of me, shakes me around a bit as I struggle to be free of its grasp, and and is finally, forcibly thrown off while I stagger around gasping and trying to reorient myself.  It’s the (understandable but currently impractical) desire to have an upwardly-mobile-ish change to our lifestyle.

Nothing desperate, you understand.  But maybe…an in-house dishwasher (that isn’t J., I mean).  Or a newer flat that doesn’t have creaky floors (or my Lord and Lady Stompington above us).  A second car, one that can manage the highways without 4000 rpms or a using half a tank of gas to get to the city (45 minutes away).

Now, I’m aware that I’m in one of the best phases of my life.  Newly (relatively) married, no kids, no mortgages, the ability to do nearly whatever J. and I want.  And yet…sometimes I have this strange desire to be just a bit further on.  First house together and past renting creaky flats.  First pet, instead of surreptitiously googling local breeders and the Human Society at work.  First real double income paycheck, instead of single-and-very-small checks on paydays.

Again, I feel as if this an understandable feeling, but I’m constantly shocked by what will trigger the flood of longing.  Today Wise and I headed out to get a cake for our monthly department birthday party.  The venue was Costco, wherein I have not spent previous quality time.  Oh dear.

Back, temptress!

There were boxes of strawberries that had not yet succumbed to slime and decay.  There were bags of frozen chicken that contained more than two or three breasts.  There were quality diamonds, iPods, lawn chairs, massive bags of chips, huge bales of toilet paper…yes, it was all very impressive.  But, above all, there were SAMPLES.

Wise and I wandered the store sucking down granola, salad, juice, and finally this.

And now, suddenly, I am wrestling the desire for a Costco membership, something I will probably not need until there are more than two of us…solely because I now crave a bottle of Roasted Blackberry Chipotle Sauce.  Aren’t I supposed to be craving babies or something?  Why do I want a dog and fancy fruit/chili sauce instead?

Lys-Dexia

“Check and see the oven inside.”
“Something in the oven there is.”
“…wait, what?  What did I say?”
“Something along the lines of, ‘Do or do not, there is no try.’  Don’t worry, I speak C. fluently.”
“Go die.”
– C. and J.

I swear I have a speech problem, and not just Foot-In-Mouth disease (a tragic, incurable illness wherein the sufferer is constantly choking on their own stupidity and awkwardness).  I frequently speak in Spoonerisms.

Pictured: a Dad Face.

I blame Dad.  He has a bit of a goofy sense of humor, and one of the things he finds most funny is to switch up words.  Depending on how much sleep the siblings have had, our response to this can vary from a pity-chuckle to uproarious laughter.  So when Mika misbehaves and Dad sighs, “Dupid sog,” accompanied by a Dad Face, we will probably all find it pretty funny.

The irony is that I can’t make a Spoonerism off the top of my head the way Dad can.  But, without even trying, I CAN completely rearrange a sentence into one that utterly defies logic and grammar.  In fact, I do it quite regularly.

More’s the pity for me, J. is just as quick as my Dad in the comebacks.  Curses.

Timber!

“I am the only person I know who can miss the ground with both feet.  While walking!”
– C.

At 4:32:05, yesterday afternoon, I tripped while carrying the laundry bags to the car to drop them off at the cleaners.

At 4:32:05:02, suddenly the earth dropped away.  That’s the only explanation.  I was walking merrily along, and then somehow neither of my feet managed to touch bottom.

At 4:32:05:22, the inexorable tug of gravity made its presence known.

At 4:32:05:46, due to the many years of experience I’ve had with this sort of thing, my only working thought was, “Oh, bother.”

At 4:32:05:59, also due to experience, I tried to twist my body such that I would land squarely on my knees without skidding (not that they mind.  As far as I can tell, my knees are used to this sort of abuse).

At 4:32:05:87, with impact approaching, I suddenly realized I was wearing my best trousers.

At 4:32:05:96, thunk!

At 4:32:06:63, I managed to scramble up, assure various passing persons that the only thing damaged is my dignity, and brush myself off when…

At 4:32:06:94, it became very clear that the right knee of my trousers had been shredded.

Drat!

My Love-to-Hate Affair With Mac & Cheese

“At least she’s eating better things than macaroni and cheese.”
– Heidi Klum

Translation of fragment: "Mac and Cheese is food fit for dogs. And Gauls. Go Rome!"

Throughout my life my mother has been in school, in some capacity or another.  When I was about three or four, she had to leave Dad and I for a few weeks to finish up something or other with one of her degrees (I misremember which.  Which isn’t me being a bad daughter, it’s her having one in Asian Studies, one in American History, and now another in Classical Studies from Cambridge because she decided to learn Greek and Latin.  In other words, my mother is exceptionally awesome).  Time has blurred the details a bit but as I recall, this was an absolute highlight of my short life because Dad and I subsisted on mainly pizza.

I didn’t realize this during the Great Pizza Blitz, but it turned out that my Dad hated cooking.  Really hated it.  He encouraged my Mum to go to school, continue her education throughout her life, and work if she wanted, but by golly the one thing he wanted was dinner to be on the table, because left up to him, dinner would come grudgingly from a frozen package.

So, a few years down the road when she decided to teach for a semester or two at a local university, I thought the Pizza Affair would be reborn.  I was sadly, terrifyingly mistaken.

This is NOT food.

Mac and Cheese.  From a box.  Every night.  Some days even for lunch.  Sometimes we varied it up with chunks of hotdog, but mostly not.  Again, I’m sure both time and horror have worked their magic on me and the vile orange sludge was not as prolific as I remember, but it sure seemed like it at the time.  When my mother’s teaching finished, I refused to eat another disgusting, processed bite, and I’ve never touched it since.  Once when shopping J. picked up a box for himself on days when I’d be at school late or he needed a lunch, I had to swallow escaping bile.

However, watching Food Network the other day, I saw a recipe for ‘Grown Up Mac And Cheese’ and thought suddenly to myself, “That doesn’t look so bad.”  It sounded pretentious enough that I could assure myself that it would be as un-Kraft-like as possible, but looked really easy to make.  So, on Sunday I girded my loins and made Mac and Cheese for the first time in years.

And you know what?  It was pretty darned tasty!

**I’ll still never make the packaged stuff again.  My children will not be subjected to this powdered cheese monstrosity, except to survive the Zombie Apocalypse.  And even then, I might choose death.

Ready To Spring!

 “Winter is a ball hog.  It’s time to warm the bench and let Spring play a bit.”
– TenFour
 

I make this same error every year: sometime around mid-February we get a week of warmer temperatures and sun instead of thick, low-hanging clouds, and I will invariably mistake this for the early signs of Spring.  

I'm ready to be right regular March Hare!

I’ll start gleefully stripping my closet of turtlenecks, sweaters, and wool trousers and putting them in plastic tubs for storage.  I’ll shun hot chocolate and tea and valiantly start drinking lemonade.  I’ll start sporting brightly colored shirts and colorful accessories.  I’ll shave my legs with more enthusiasm than I’ve done in months! 

However, immediately after one (foolishly) locks the last of one’s winter gear away, the snow clouds roll back in and one has to snag a cardi from home on one’s lunch break because the temperature has dropped.  It’s been snowy and gray all day and I’m in a strop.  See here and here for last year’s thoughts on the subject.    

Admittedly, it’s been an irregular winter to begin with.  Here I’ve sat (mostly) high and dry in the Rocky Mountains while two nasty snowstorms have walloped the East coast.  Where’s the logic?

Self. Denial.

“You should give up hamburgers for Lent.”
“Why on earth would I do that?”
“Well, I’m giving up something bad for me, so you should too.  Be supportive.”
“I’m giving up smoking.”
“You don’t bloody smoke!”
“See?  I’ve improved myself already.”
– C. and J.

I’m at a loss.  New Year, the time for such bursts of ardent revamping passed without so much as a guilty twinge.  The number on the scale creeping upwards gave me pause, but not enough.  The subtle tightening of my trousers was acknowledged, but then dismissed (though oddly enough my shirts displayed no such variance).  No no, friends.  What gets C. back into the gym, swearing off junk food and dedicating herself anew to salads?  

Alright, I'll work out. I'LL WORK OUT!

Lent. 

Of course I’m not going down by myself so J. has been bugged, hounded, and generally harassed until he agreed to give up Mountain Dew (though not all sodas, he would like it noted).  He’s also being dragged to the gym with me to keep me on the straight and narrow.  I got on an elliptical machine today for the first time in six months and clocked nearly three miles before doing a half hour of weights, so I forsee the traditional Lenten feelings approaching tomorrow: sorrow, remorse, and reliance on prayer to get one through. 

I’m already craving sugar.  Keep me strong, friends!