Monday, December 31, 2007

Something this campaign will never do! Except this one time.

So Mike Huckabee had a press conference in Iowa today, in which he announced to a group of reporters that he is Taking the High Road. Yes sirree, he's going against the conventional wisdom that says if your opponent uses negative ads, you go negative on their ass, too. Such behavior is beneath the Huckabee campaign, I tell ya! Because Iowa voters deserve better!

In fact, he said, I'll show you exactly how low I will not stoop! Here is the negative ad that we are not going to stoop so low as to [pay to] put on television! And he proceeded to show the reporters the negative ad that he'd decided was beneath him to show.

So the ad gets exposure that costs him nothing --- because he's better than that. Riiiiight.

To their credit, the reporters laughed out loud.

The Obligatory Resolution Post

In years when I've belonged to a gym, January was the worst time EVER to be there. Like clockwork, all the New Year's Resolution crowd joins up in the first week, and proceeds to hog all the treadmills and elliptical trainers and stare vacantly at the Nautilus equipment. Gym etiquette, that useful code of conduct that makes sharing workout space less odious, is not for them. They'll leave a towel and water bottle on a machine to claim it, then stroll away in search of reading material, which will stay unread as they end up shouting into their phone instead. They'll take up entire locker room benches rather than stow their bag beneath. They won't put the weights back when they're done. They'll take long showers, and chew gum in the sauna. They'll jam hallways, especially those who've joined in pairs and can't be silent, let alone apart, for a single minute. All this for their pathetic -- what, three weeks? -- of effort to become less gross. By mid-February, things are usually back to normal.

I learned to thoroughly disdain the selfish, silly, rude, chit-chatting, new outfit-sporting, you-go-girl New Year's Resolution exercise crowd. So you can imagine the self-loathing with which I announce that in 2008, I plan to:

1. Move more.
2. Eat less.

Obviously that's just the "lose weight" resolution broken down to its necessary components (and there are no other necessary components. Put down the stupid magazines already, and go for a walk). I have no idea if I'm going to lose weight. But I do need to move more and eat less.

It will be very easy to keep those two resolutions; ease which speaks not of my strength of will or character, oh no! -- but of how little I am moving, and how much I am eating, lately. Simply put, I disgust me. I resolve to disgust me less.

You will be pleased to know that my other resolutions are relatively vitriol-free. For example, I hope to:

3. Get more sleep. It is just stupid, this business of staying up late when I don't really have to and then feeling like crap in the morning. I won't resolve to get eight hours every single night, just as I won't resolve to grow wings and fly to the moon. But I do plan to get more rest.

I will also:

4. Floss. I do this already. It's a bonus resolution I throw in so that I can say I'm keeping one, instead of despairing entirely of my worth as a human by early February.

Also, I should:

5. Wear more makeup, more often. I'm lucky to have a pleasant enough face (those who know me IRL, please indulge this harmless delusion) and good enough skin so that I haven't felt the need to use a lot of makeup for most of my adult life. I had a good run, but let's (har!) face it, it's time to call in reinforcements. I don't look like Jodie Foster anymore; I look like a train wreck. Or maybe like Jodie Foster's pudgy, long-forgotten, can't-afford-highlights cousin after a train wreck. In any case, my Clarice Starling days (that first scene, where she's jogging on the FBI training course? looks just like I once did) are done. Sniffle.

I'll never be one who won't be seen by anybody until she's "put on her face" -- that's just silly, not to mention it's a bad example for my daughters. But still, a tad more effort than none is warranted. 'Nuff said.

So here's to the New Year.

You go, girl.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

"It's all mixed up!" :(

After we put the girls to bed, we usually have -- oh -- ten to fifteen minutes of relative quiet. Then, on about one night in three lately, the Bean will holler at the top of her lungs for one of us to come to her. I don't know if she drifts off to almost-sleep before some need or other jerks her awake, or if she's still awake and just seizes upon an excuse for company.

Sometimes it's an accusatory "YOU FORGOT! to put lotion on my hands/put Chap-Stick on my lips/any number of other things" in which case I reply that we can do it in the morning, so go to sleep, you! Other times, her need is more emotional, less defined, and worth paying real attention to. Those moments before sleep seem to give her worries a voice.

Last night, when her frantic cry had me pause Ocean's 13 (grr) and dash up two flights of stairs, it turned out she was sad because "I really miss my friends a LOT!" We talked about how many days are left of school vacation (and believe me, you aren't the only one counting 'em, kid). She was glad to know it, but still distraught. "It's all mixed up," she said. "When I'm at school, I really want to be with you! When I'm at home, I miss my friends! It's all mixed up!"

It's OK to feel that way, I said. It means you like being at home and being at school, and that's good! And it's normal to miss people who make you feel happy. I feel mixed up too sometimes, I said. When I go on a Big Trip to see my friends, I'm always excited to go, and really glad to visit them. But as soon as I'm out of the driveway, I already miss my Bean. So sometimes grown-ups feel that way, too.

But oh, that Bean! She doesn't like mixed-upness. She really wants to feel things in the right order. She's a reflective, sensitive child, but she doesn't like her emotions out of control.

And she's so like me, it just floors me sometimes. I've been observing this since she was 12 months old, putting crayons in a box in deliberate order, all point up. I see so many similarities in our personalities that I'm extra careful not to project, or to just assume we are alike, but how much clearer could it be when she says "Mommy, I just like the days to be the way they usually are!"?

She likes vacation, yeah yeah, but she's positively jonesing for her routine. I understand, Bean, I do. One regular schedule, returning shortly!

I just ache for her when she feels like this. I want to give her tools that make it easier for her to go with the flow. The world is so much kinder to people who can just roll with stuff! But I know full well, having the personality I do, how hard it can be to "let go and let be," or whatever the saying is. See, I'm so disinclined to it, I don't even know the saying!

In the meantime, I thought it would be good to breach the school/home divide. This morning I told the Bean she could choose any friend to invite over on Monday. She chose Kevin, her "favorite boy friend." Kevin's daddy says he (Kevin) has been asking about the Bean, too. Ruh-roh ;).

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Of movies and memes.

Over Christmas we watched the third movies in two trios.

The Bourne Ultimatum is fun -- all those Bourne movies are great suspense/action films and we need (read: I want) more great suspense/action films. There is so much crap in this genre! But maybe we've had a bit of a break since one of those responsible for a good bit of it has gotten into the government business. (Does that still stike anyone else as just colossally funny? He seems to be doing a decent job of it, so whatever... but damn. Arnold Schwarzenegger is the Governor of California! I mean really. I've watched some of the "special features" on the DVDs of his movies, where he explains "what they were trying to show" with his character, and, well... yikes.)

ANYway. Matt Damon is fine, fine, but the supporting cast makes this movie more than a star vehicle. I'm becoming a David Strathairn fan (a little late, I see, as he's been working steadily for decades). He played the harried D.A. in the unremarkable Fracture, but I like his look so was happy to see him as the CIA dude hunting Bourne down. Joan Allen is terrific as well. I love her in the Bourne movies, but check out Off The Map for a total change of pace. She's amazing. So yes... see Ultimatum. It's well done, and precisely what I wanted after a run of serious dramas.

We also watched Pirates of the Carribean: At World's End. And -- well, I love the makeup and the effects and the premise and the concept, and Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow is all kinds of clever, quirky pirate fun -- but. I must be some kind of dummy cause I can't follow the plots of these movies. They're too long, I can't understand what anyone's saying, and I've fallen asleep during each one. So, yeah. Old Fartitude, here I come. But the Pirates movies, while definitely sort of cool, haven't wowed me overmuch.

In other DVD news, the girls got Season 2 of The Muppet Show, which is an honest to God riot, and some of the best television ever produced. Statler and Waldorf heckling Milton Berle? Comedy gold.

So there ya go.

Meme time. This one is honorably pinched from the lovely Patois at whee! allthewayhome. Since my brain is watery post-Christmas mush, it felt almost like exercise or something. Want to do it too? Consider yourself tagged. The idea is to come up with something in each of these categories that begins with the first letter of your name.

1. Famous Singer: Siouxsie Sioux
2. Four Letter Word: shit
3. Street: Sesame
4. Color: scarlet
5. Gifts/Present: silver
6. Vehicle: scooter
7. Things in Souvenir Shop: souvenirs
8. Boy Name: Scott
9. Girl Name: Suzanne
10. Movie title: Shrek
11. Drink: shiraz
12. Occupation: sous-chef
13. Celebrity: Susan Sarandon
14. Magazine: Smithsonian
15. U.S. City: Springfield
16. Pro Sport: soccer
17. Fruit: strawberry
18. Reason for Being Late to Work: stalled subway
19. Something you throw away: singed suppers
20. Something you shout: STOP!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

O Blessed Day After

I hope everyone had a good time of it over Christmas. Even I managed to enjoy myself. But I'm also glad to have it over with.

Today is delicious. There is nothing in particular to do. Errands that could be done; nothing that has to be done. Laundry has backed up but I can do it tomorrow.

I slept late.

We were painting with the watercolors from Santa, but the girls abandoned me to go set up an "awesome awesome" train track with their uncle in the playroom. They don't sound to be squabbling yet. Uncle's holding his own.

I finished a little painting of balloons at the kitchen table by myself. It's a masterpiece. I should hit the craft show circuit! Not.

It's chilly out but not punishingly so. We might get outside for a walk. The weather is calm. I am wearing my excellent new socks.

All is well. Here's hoping the same for you and yours.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Festivus!

Seinfeld was great stuff.

For my next Festivus miracle, I shall brave the grocery store. I hope my strength to weight ratio is up to the task.

Edited to add link to the Seinfeld video in case it doesn't work in place. It's about six minutes of the episode in which Festivus: A Holiday For the Rest of Us! was introduced. Good times.

Off to prepare for the Airing of Grievances...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Perhaps you misunderstood.

When Mitt Romney said he saw his father march with Martin Luther King, Jr., he didn't mean he saw it, he meant that he "saw" it... in the sense that if you close your eyes and imagine something, you can "see" it. Like, oh, visions of sugar plum fairies. That kind of thing.

Oh, you thought he meant it really happened? No, silly! It's a figure of speech! Figurative, you know? Like when you say something "is," but you don't mean that it is in real life, you just mean... well, it depends on what the meaning of "is" is.

Yeah. Like that.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


funny pictures
moar funny pictures

I'm not one for sickly-sweet kitten pictures, and at first, I didn't like LOLcat-speak all that much. But it's growing on me. When browsing, I sometimes really do LOL. If you're one of the two people in the internet-surfing universe who hasn't seen the site, check it out, s'fun. Then you can tell that one remaining person about it, and they don't have to know it was almost the other way around. You're welcome.

Oh yeah, "Fracture"

Last weekend we saw a movie I have already almost completely forgotten about. Fracture stars Anthony Hopkins as a super-intelligent, super-successful mechanical engineer, who discovers his wife is having an affair with a hostage negotiator, and shoots her in the head. Ryan Gosling (gosling... isn't that cute!) plays the up-and-coming, cocky young prosecutor who gets the case. He's almost out the public service door on his way to making the big bucks for a private firm, but he takes on this One Last Thing, because it looks open-and-shut.

Surprise: Complications ensue. The defendant refuses counsel and acts as his own attorney. He appears to have planned things in advance. Our prosecutor is in deep. Will he nail this one, or wreck himself trying? How much of the trial has the husband orchestrated? Will he get away with it?

This courtroom thriller is not heavy on character development, not meticulously concerned with plausibility. Hopkins could do this role in his sleep... even gives a nod to Hannibal Lecter with a couple of otherwise unnecessary flares of his nostrils. Gosling is OK. He seems to have done mostly TV stuff before; at least I'd never seen him in anything before this. There was something a bit jeuvenile about him for the role, but it isn't a deal breaker. Rosamond Pike (remember Miranda Frost in Die Another Day?) plays Gosling's supervisor at the new firm, and, oddly soon, his girlfriend, too. Whatever.

In its favor: Fracture isn't too long, and it's paced well enough so that you can't get hung up on the plot holes until after the credits have rolled. It is entertaining while you're watching it, and nothing about it is outstandingly bad (ouch, faint praise!). It's likely to be the legal thriller that nobody's seen or heard of, if you're standing around Blockbuster with a couple other people saying "what do you want to watch?" "I dunno, what do you want to watch?" A decent compromise choice.

Against: It has no staying power whatsoever. While you might not regret the just-under two hours spent watching this movie, you are likely to forget all about it within hours after ejecting it from the machine. Which, if you're prone to becoming obsessed with "how come he didn't..." or "that wouldn't have worked because..." is probably a good thing.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Microsoft Office. GRRR.

I am beginning to see why everyone who knows anything about computers hates Windows so much.

Things have been crashing around here ("here" = "my desk") lately. Last week Explorer kept crashing. I reinstalled it.

The other night I couldn't open Excel directly, yet it would open if I clicked on an existing worksheet. I shrugged and kept going.

Last night I couldn't open Microsoft Word, either the program itself or through any existing document.

That is NOT OK.

Mr. Sandy really wishes I would calm down and stop swearing when stuff like this happens. But I get so angry I can barely think, and obscenities are all that will come out of my mouth.

I was running Windows XP with Office 2000; evidently it was time to upgrade to Office XP. I did that today.

Now, Outlook crashes every 10 minutes and Explorer crashes every time I try to sign into a site (say,, which is oh, kind of USEFUL THIS TIME OF YEAR).

So I follow the link for "more information" on the error message. It tells me I need "updates." I download the updates. It requested my Office XP disc. I put it in. It downloaded and installed updates. I have no idea what they are or if they'll solve any of my exponentially multiplying problems.

(Yes, I have a firewall, have done a virus scan, etc.)


I'm sorry to yell at you. It isn't your fault.

But all you people who know anything about computers and won't touch Windows unless you absolutely must: I am beginning to see why.

And while I'm on the topic of fucking stupid things that computers do, or stop doing, without your knowledge or consent or having done anything to cause said change in function: Why the fuck does Blogger stick two carriage returns between paragraphs, when all I put there is one, and ALL I WANT THERE IS ONE? Because if I'd wanted two there, I'd have fucking well put two there myself.

Bah. I should probably be where people are not.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Leader of the Band

Hey, Dan Fogelberg died Sunday (advanced prostate cancer). He was only 56.

While I wasn't a huge fan of his music, I do remember his album Phoenix was one that my parents deemed acceptable for me to own as a young teen. (They confiscated Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run, and left me with Dan Fogelberg's Phoenix. Which lyrics do you think I know by heart, to this day? Parents can be so stupid.)

I just listened to snippets of it on Brought back memories of youthful angst.

RIP, Dan. RIP, youthful angst.


We've got a little, child-crafted Advent wreath at home -- I think there must be a Biblical requirement that these be astonishing fire hazards -- and church is decked out in its purple finery. The third Advent candle was lit yesterday, but we didn't go because a second snowstorm in four days dumped on us, even though it isn't even honestly WINTER yet, and even though winters on Cape Cod are allegedly SO MILD YOU WON'T EVEN MIND THEM. Not that I exactly missed going to church. But I could have done without the additional 4 inches of wet snow, which has now frozen solid.

But I digress.

Christmas grumpiness notwithstanding, I am aware what it's Really All About.

Imagine: You are 35 weeks pregnant with your first child. You're as big as a friggin' house, and you haven't had a comfortable night's sleep in weeks as your very skeleton painfully protests its expansion. Childbirth is nearing. Angel, schmangel, you're still a bit afraid. Carry a baby for nine months yourself, angel, then tell me to be not afraid of its exit, mkay? You know the first birth is the hardest. You try not to wonder if you'll live to see your precious babe; many women don't, even strong young women such as you are. You take comfort in familiar things... preparing your home for the baby, staying close to your mother and sisters, aunts and cousins, women who will help you get through it. You're excited. God's child! It's still hard to believe this is happening to you. But it is, as baby will remind you with a solid kick in the gut any time your mind wanders.

Then your husband -- a kind and gentle man, but sometimes, honestly! -- comes home from work with the news that you have to go to the... how shall we say... humble? little burg of his birth, for a census, or some such nonsense. That means hauling your enormously pregnant self onto a donkey and bouncing directly on your already smooshed bladder for several days' travel. No, it can't wait till the baby comes, Joseph says. Pack up quick and say your good-byes, darlin', cause Ceasar says be counted, or else. Hey, maybe there'll be time to hang with the in-laws, if they still live around there. What? Why are you looking at me like that?

Oh. My. God. You want me to WHAT? you say, and not for the first time this year, to be sure.

But you go. It isn't Joseph's fault; there's no sense taking it out on him, but if you don't see another Roman for a while that'll be just fine with you, thank you very much.

You get through the journey. Joseph accommodates your frequent pee breaks with grace. You can tell he's getting worried about where to stay given how crowded Bethlehem will be, and you keep each others' spirits up as best you can.

By the time it becomes clear you will be giving birth in a STABLE, you are so tired of the travel, not to mention the donkey, that you can't even worry any more (although you will be careful in future not to say "what else could go wrong?!"). Also, you're in early labor, and you just want shelter. ANYWHERE.

Joseph does the best he can to get things clean and ready.

Contractions begin in earnest, and it seems you are not alone, after all.

Everything is all right. It hurts, but it is all right.

Jesus comes, and he is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I still haven't chosen a picture of the girls for a Christmas card.

I have no idea what I'm making for Christmas dinner, and the only feeling I can conjure about it is "whatever." I have uncharacteristically opted to buy rather than make dessert for Christmas Eve dinner at my SIL's house. Nobody notices or cares either way.

The girls will get so many presents from their grandparents, and such a spectacular present from their Daddy, that I didn't even bother getting them anything myself. What's the point? So, I am almost done with all the obligatory errands. Except, what do you get a kindergarten teacher who's going to get 44 other stupid little presents?

This feeling usually passes, but right now? If it were up to me -- which nothing ever is -- I would skip the whole damn thing.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


Something possessed us to do a stuffed animal inventory the other day. Now I know why the house feels so crowded.

The girls came up with:

a rhinoceros
an alligator
a stegosaurus
a zebra
a sea lion
a crocodile
a cow
a seagull
a titmouse (heh heh, you said "titmouse")
a goose
a chicken
an ostrich
a wolf
a gorilla
a camel
a caribou
a snake
a mouse
a platypus
a moose
a starfish
a bumble bee
a smiling blood droplet (Yes. A gift from their uncle, who got it for giving blood.)
a kangaroo
a lobster
a giraffe
2 jaguars
2 caterpillars
2 sharks (1 hammerhead, 1 Great White)
2 hippopotami
2 white tigers
2 white seals
2 leopards
2 pandas
2 unidentifiable creatures
3 monkeys
3 polar bears
3 horses
3 lambs
4 cats
4 fish
4 penguins
5 frogs
6 elephants
6 ducks
7 bunnies
12 dogs, and:
17 teddy bears.

I like that the girls have been given so many cool and/or unusual stuffed animals, and relatively few battery-sucking plastic toys. Bean loves all of her critters, but never attached to one in particular. Peanut has gone through several favorites, though she didn't relinquish the others when a new one got the top slot, so she eventually had quite a few companions in her crib. One night she was singing louder than usual after lights out. I poked my head in her room and said "Hey! Time for sleeping!" and she said, all indignant, "it's this one's birthday!" as if I were interrupting honest festivities with some crazy unreasonable request. "Oh," I said, "well, um, keep it down." She cracks me up.

The caribou has actually been around since before we had children. When Mr. S. and I were first dating, he considered a post-doctoral fellowship in Canada. Good grief, I thought at the time. I knew I was going along, if he pursued it. Yet it was still sort of early in the relationship to be declaring such things. Quitting my job and following him to another country might've seemed, if not overeager, at least premature. So I made a big show of talking him out of it. CANADA? I said. Aren't you cold enough here in New England? Move to Canada, you'll be shoveling caribou droppings out of the driveway along with the snow every morning. In fact you'll probably have to get a pet caribou to sleep at the foot of the bed and keep your feet warm at night. You'll have to leave extra time to get to work in case the caribou migration is blocking the road...

...I went on and on. It was caribou everything, for a while. I even looked online for caribou steaks, but I wasn't much of a cook in those days, which is a post for another time. Anyway when I happened across a little stuffed caribou, it was a no-brainer to get it for him, even though I'm not a stuffed animal person really, and even though it was stuffed with potpourri, and I'm not a potpourri person really, either. (I came across it at the cosmetics store in one of those huge Outlet Village places, where they sell off all the leftover promotional items from various makeup lines. There was a whole barrel of potpourri-stuffed caribou, can you imagine? Why those things didn't fly off the Origins shelves at retail, I can't fathom.)

Anyway I put the caribou in Mr. S's driveway and made like it had migrated down here to be with him so he wouldn't have to head North. He didn't go to Canada, and I didn't have to let on that we'd be getting married eventually anyway. The caribou (his name is Virgil) has been stowing away on various trips with us ever since. We had to keep a close eye on him during the elk rut in Rocky Mountain National Park one year, but he's mostly no trouble.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Yeah OK, so it's beginning to feel like Christmas.

This weekend even I felt a little Christmassy.

Yesterday we and another couple took our children to see a local production of The Nutcracker. Now, I'm not a ballet person. I can't review the production. I've no idea if it was great, or awful, or terrific given what they had to work with, or what. For me it all amounts to prancing and twirling. Granted, it's impressive prancing and twirling, with sparkly costumes. Ayuh. Two hours of it.

And how do you explain the story? I should've prepped in advance. It's completely bizarre. Who the heck would give a little girl a nutcracker for Christmas? Weird. And I guess the story of the battle of the mice goes back a long way. Rodents Of Unusual Size, Mr. Sandy whispered to me when they appeared. Indeed.

Anyway. The girls were champs. The Bean waited a full 20 minutes before asking "when is it going to be done?" She did enjoy it overall. The Peanut was more transfixed... completely still, eyes wide open, and clapping every so often. It was really fun, watching them taking it all in.

We had a really great time out to dinner afterwards. The girls and our friends' children are now old enough to sit together at one end of a table so we adults can sit at the other and actually talk amongst ourselves. It is awesome. Takes some of the sting out of their not being babies any more.

They're still young enough to buy the Santa thing though, which is cool because today we had a visit with the man himself. Peanut asked for "an Edward" (one of the Thomas and Friends engines. Santa will probably deliver on that request. Hopefully Edward will not be coated in lead paint). Bean wants a piggy bank. I think Santa can handle that as well.

I'll never forget the year Bean was 3, and all she wanted for Christmas was a ChapStick. She was delighted with the other things that Santa brought, but when she got to the ChapStick at the bottom of her stocking, she just lost it with joy and excitement. "CHAPSTICK! JUST WHAT I WANTED!"

Here's to keeping it simple.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Million Dollar Baby

I hate boxing.

I hate tearjerkers.

I can take or leave Clint Eastwood.

I loved Million Dollar Baby, which is all those things, but a lot more. It's about character, grit, redemption, and a different kind of fight than happens in the ring.

Hilary Swank plays Maggie Fitzgerald, who came to L.A. from nothing, and trains to be a fighter in her every spare moment. She wants Frankie Dunn (Eastwood) to train her. He "doesn't train girls." But Maggie is no ordinary person. Working out late into the night on her birthday, she lets fly when Frankie asks her "what are you doing here?"

"I'm 32, Mr. Dunn," she says, "and I'm here celebrating the fact that I spent another year scraping dishes and waitressing which is what I've been doing since 13, and according to you, I'll be 37 before I can even throw a decent punch, which I have to admit, after working on this speed bag for a month, may be the God's simple truth. Other truth is, my brother's in prison, my sister cheats on welfare by pretending one of her babies is still alive, my daddy's dead, and my momma weighs 312lbs. If I was thinking straight, I'd go back home, find a used trailer, buy a deep fryer and some Oreos. Problem is, this the only thing I ever felt good doing. If I'm too old for this, then I got nothing. That enough truth to suit you?"

He relents.

There wasn't a bad performance in the whole production. Swank earned that Best Actress Oscar and then some. Eastwood was great. Morgan Freeman (Best Supporting Actor) was excellent as Scrap Dupris, a retired fighter who manages Frankie Dunn's gym.

So this is probably yet another movie that I'm the next-to-last person in the movie-watching world to have seen, especially as it won the Best Picture Oscar. But just in case you're the other one: do see it.

I will say that after Crash, Lonely Hearts, Brokeback Mountain, and Million Dollar Baby over the last few weeks, I'm seriously overdue for a movie that makes me laugh, or has explosions and car chases and/or some good old fashioned gratuitous nudity. Enough with the serious dramas for a while.


And by the way, what's so great about boxing? Yes, there's tremendous athleticism. Yes, there's strategy and grace. But it still boils down to two people stepping into a ring and beating the crap out of each other until one of them is too hurt to stand up. The idea of paying to see it is repellant.

Yet unlike most people, I have --in real life, not for sport -- hauled off and punched another adult in the face, hard enough to bruise my knuckles and knock him flat out. And I have to say it felt fucking great, and that I would do it again, under the same or similar circumstances. So I know that instinct, and the primal satisfaction from acting on it. If I felt that anger all the time? Shoot. Boxing might be just the hobby for me.

Maybe humans need boxing.

Friday, December 07, 2007

She doesn't like this, either.

Dinner did not go well for our Peanut yesterday. This morning I was trying to figure out what else to make her -- give her some choices, let her be part of the decision, all that empowering stuff. If she's part of the process, she'll more happily partake of the results, goes the parenting logic.

Me: Peanut, what other dinner foods do you like, besides pasta and pizza?

Silence. She's thinking. Eventually:

Peanut: I like sauce, and cheese.


So much for parenting logic.

Here's what she rejected last night, though everyone else looooved it:

Shrimp Lo Mein

1/4 c low sodium soy sauce
1 lb. large shrimp, peeled, cut in half
8 oz. lo mein noodles
2 T peanut oil
1 large onion, thinly vertically sliced
4 c. broccoli florets
2 c. bell pepper strips -- whatever color you want; I use up what's in the crisper
1 T minced garlic
1 T minced ginger
1/3 cup unsalted cashew pieces

Combine shrimp and soy sauce, put in fridge.

Cook the noodles. While the water heats,
Cut/prepare all the stir fry ingredients.

Drain the noodles and toss them with 1 T peanut oil so they don't stick together in one depressing clump. Set aside.

Heat 1 T peanut oil in a wok (large skillet would do).
Stir fry onion 4 min., add broccoli and peppers for another 3 min., add garlic, ginger and shrimp/soy sauce mixture, stir fry until shrimp pieces are done (about a minute).

Add noodles and nuts, combine well.

Voila. It's really, really good, unless you only like pasta and pizza (or turkey burgers or hot dogs).

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Whatcha readin'?

I installed this nifty widget on my sidebar that shows what I'm reading. It comes from, which is a great site; the blog widget's a tiny fraction of what it does.

Seems I can't read just one book at a time. My book groups read things monthly, and I always have longer-term or additional reads going too. So the list will change every few weeks, and maybe I'll post more about books than I have been, or maybe I won't.

Sometimes I don't have much to say about 'em. For instance, I recently finished The Sea, by John Banville, and although he's obviously a very good writer, and there is rich vocabulary and a certain intriguing rhythm to this novel, its characters are vile and/or inaccessible, so the book left me feeling appreciation but also a sort of distaste. Hardly a wholehearted recommendation. Yet it won the Booker prize, so what the heck do I know.

At any rate you can expect that George Washington bio to be weighing down my "currently reading" list for the next decade or so. After I read David McCullough's John Adams, which was wonderful, I was so enthralled with the joy and virtue (!) of reading Presidential biography that I made an informal vow to read one a year, starting with Washington's. And... that was probably 5 years ago now. The biography of Washington that I chose is a miserable slog compared to John Adams. I am too stubborn to quit it and get a more readable one, too easily distracted from it to ever get through the dang thing.

Do you like to read? What's in your stack?

Things That Make Me Cringe Like a Vampire Before a Crucifix

The Sound of Music

The sight of two metal forks with their tines stuck together (Yep, that's odd. Who knows why, but I can't stand it. Plastic forks are no problem, but metal? makes me whimper.)

The department store women who lunge forward to spray perfume at potentially unsuspecting shoppers as we try to walk by.

Kenny G.

That poster of a kitten clinging to a branch, with the caption "Hang In There!" Ditto the one of a puppy in a basket next to a bunch of flowers, captioned "A Hug Would Make My Day."

Those freakishly smiling kids on Barney (I have seen this show a total of: once. It is nightmare fodder.)

The phrase "keep your eyes peeled."

Laura Ingraham's voice (don't know her? Cut some aluminum siding with a band saw in an enclosed space. Same effect, without the tiresome politics.)


Motivational/inspirational posters displayed without irony. I'm always caught off guard when I see this actually happens. Fortunately there is an antidote for this one.

Wearing sandals lighting candles by the sea

Happy Hanukkah, all!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Urges Probably Best Left Unsatisfied

* the one to throw car keys down a storm drain just to hear the "ploop" sound they'd make in the water

* the one to cut off the long skinny braid from the back of a coworker's otherwise relatively normal-looking head (what, he's young Obi-Wan Kenobi now?)

* the one to yank the teenage mall rat's pants down the rest of the way

* the one to throw it in 4WD and bomb straight down the median

* the one to blurt out "oh come OFF it" during the sermon