Thursday, October 28, 2010

My ridiculous day

Two kvetchy posts in a row. Sorry peoples. You can see what kind of a week I'm having, though.

Yesterday was fairly ridiculous but not atypical.

Slept in (6:45 a.m.) because had been up late the night before (attending daughter's play performance) so did not run the 8 miles that I was supposed to, will do at the end of the day (spoiler alert: this doesn't happen). Got kids up and moving and drove son to his school (band practice) then daughter to her school (drama practice). Daughter had practice after school, then tickets (thanks Dad) to wildly popular band concert in town. She had been up late arranging for a ride and we went back and forth as the players changed as to who was driving which way. It was settled upon that she would attend w/group of friends, who would swing by school and pick her up after her performance and all go to concer together. A different parent would collect them and return them home.

All good.

Realized at 11 that I was supposed to have dropped over 36 individually wrapped desserts at school that morning for inclusion in drama brown bag dinners that evening. Said desserts needed to be at school prior to 5. This was not going to be possible since I didn't even arrive at work on time. Husband to the rescue with a case of moon pies.

All good.

Receive text message at 5:30 from daughter "no longer have ride to concert, can you provide?" Begrudgingly, yes.

Still pretty much all good, only now I have time to kill. Text daughter back, "really no other options?"

Mad texting ensues where daughter wishes to just be "dropped off" at concert and she will find her friends once she gets there. As if! I wait for a more reasonable solution.

Daughter responds "problem solved, have a ride, all good." It occurs to me that she will not be able to take her ginormous backpack into the arena with her. I offer to swing by school and pick it up from her on my way home. Do so.

All good.

Receive text message as I pull into driveway at home (6:15) that says "Oh no, left wallet in backpack" (you probably saw this coming...right?) I respond "You don't really need a tshirt, and you can drink water. Not turning around." She responds "Concert ticket in wallet."

No longer all good.

Go inside, change clothes so I can go to the gym and run (finally). Text daughter that I wish she wasn't going, she's exhausted, she's leaving town for theatre academy field trip (4days) the next day and she hasn't slept, packed, etc. Also text her that I'm coming to bring her the ticket anyway. She texts back that she loves me more than chocolate.

Taking a deep breath, return to okay status.

Drive to school. See friend who is giving her a ride to the concert from school already sitting in lobby waiting for her. Have the following conversation:

"Hey there, are you waiting for her?"
"Yes, they're not done yet"
"Is your ride in the parking lot?"
"I got dropped off here, she told me she could get us to the concert."


Go upstairs, with friend, to sound booth where daughter is ooozing stress because play practice not done and tyrannical director is tottering around on stage rearanging "sleeping" cast members and telling singers to "PROJECT!" Daughter is sweating, and the "clearly what we have here is a failure to communicate" conversation ensues (where she promises me both her firstborn and that she will try to be nicer to her brother) and we all arrive at the logical conclusion that yours truly, (surprise!), will be driving her and friend to the concert.

Overwhelming frustration mitigated by how grateful/excited they are as I drive them across town(at 7:45).

Get to the gym. Only have time to run 6.5 of the 8 miles.

Go home, drink several beers, wait up until daughter is safely back in the house, deliriously happy, hoarse and in posession of very cool concert t-shirt. Take opportunity to revisit her vow to be kinder to sibling (you have to take the few opportunites you get, afterall)

All better.

Of course, it started all over again this morning as I mis-set the alarm clock, we all over slept, and I realized we did not have enough cash to give daughter for her field trip and had to wait for bank to open. No, I do not have an ATM card. But I will save that story for another post.

Hope everyone else is having a great day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Sometimes I am completely overwhelmed by the "dumbness" that I see all around me. I was going to use a more harsh word, but the point of this post is to search the universe for a solution, rather than dwell, necessarily, on the problem.

What to do about it?

Some days it is utterly staggering to me how, in the space of the 20 minutes it takes me to get from my house to the office, I witness all sorts of stupidity. From people texting as they drive (NO NO NO NO NO) to boys who cannot make it across the crosswalk in front of school because their pants are riding so low on their legs they can barely walk, to the woman who pulled a U-turn, illegally, only to whip into the gas station narrowly avoiding a pedestrian (who happened to have headphones on and was also texting). Really? Ugh!

And this is not to come off as holier than though (though I will point out that I have stopped talking on my cell phone while driving, which is a very hard, but bad, habit to break)because Lord knows I do my fair share of stupid things. And perhaps this is what keeps me from completely going OFF on people all day long. My own stupidity, ironically, is the only thing saving the rest of you, at least for now.

But how to reconcile all of this? How to not let it drive me wild?

I was overcome with the desire to move to NW Canada this morning, and tough it out in the wild, off the grid, where I only have my own stupidity to contend with and not that of the collective masses as well.

I'm at a loss and open to suggestions. Sigh.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Ally Week

I'm going to take the opportunity to brag about my daughter, because, afterall, this is my blog and, dammit, that's my perogative.

So, my daughter, who is straight (not that it matters, but it will become relevant shortly)is the Vice President of her school's Gay Straight Alliance. She got involved her first year in high school and has become increasingly more active since.

I had some gay friends in high school. Only, they didn't say they were gay, and we didn't talk about it, and we sure as hell didn't have a Gay Straight Alliance. It was just understood that that's what it was and they either flew under the radar or were everyone's funny super gay friend.

A lot has happened for gay rights in the 25 years since I was in highschool. I won't bore you with a timeline, you've clearly been living through it as well.

I was surprised though when I learned about this organization at the high school level and impressed that we have progressed, seemingly, as a society to this point.

Last week was Ally week, ( which is an informational campaign designed to promote awarness and tolerance. It isn't about advocating for gay rights or promoting the G/L/B/T lifestyle. It is strictly about inclusion, and drawing awareness to exclusion.

Her group had set up an info table in their school each day last week, handed out pledges that people could sign regarding tolerance, they've given out reams of rainbow ribbon and purple bracelets and lots of CHOCOLATE. (I love chocolate. It is the universal harmonizer.)

Anyhoo. On the third day, just as they'd set up for the morning, a student came over to the table, paused for a moment and then swept everything they'd set up off the table and flipped the table over completely in front of them. They attempted to confront him but he ran off.

Lots of drama ensued surrounding hurt feelings, shock, damage to property and involving administrators, parents, disciplinary action and lots and lots of buzz.

While it was sad (though maybe not surprising) that this happened, it was a great opportunity for her group to bond, process, reflect and most importantly practice what they were preaching.

What to do about this boy, who, clearly, has, like many others, an issue with homosexuality? Obviously, the members of her group who are gay took the assault on their display very personally. They all met with their faculty advisor at lunch to discuss, and my daughter, bless her wise heart, pointed out to the group that it was paramount that they retaliate with kindness and tolerance and that they not engage this boy, but rather strengthen their resolve to practice what they preached and move forward in the face of this adversity. And, knowing her, she probably used most of those SAT words because that's how she rolls.

She told me that she'd been overwhelemed, emotionally, to see just how many of her peers supported their effort that week by signing pledges, taking ribbons, verbalizing their support, etc.

She feels very strongly about this group and what they are doing. "Mom," she told me "we provide more support for some of these kids, in a 30 minute lunch, than they ever get at home."

I think it is that element, the lack of parental understanding and support, which is the most challenging and motivating for her. Because she is raised in an environment of tolerance and understanding, she finds the opposite incomprehensible. She has a significant number of gay friends who are in various states and stages of being "out" who are getting various levels of feeback/pushback/support from their families. It is an ongoing theme of discourse and emotion in all of their lives.

I was listening to NPR last week, and a professor from some Ivy League school was talking about how his surveys indicate that gay kids are just as well adjusted as straight kids and really no more likely to kill themselves as a result of their "gayness" than the average teen is likely to kill themselves over other social pressure. (This was in response to a big mainstream media story about the opposite being true)

Perhaps he is right, but when you add the stress/pressure of being gay to the stress/pressure of just being a teenager in this country, I find it very hard to believe that they are ALL as equally well adjusted. Maybe it has gotten a little easier, on some levels, given the framework of support that exists in some areas, such as high school GSAs, but as evidenced by the assault, I'm afraid that some things really haven't changed that much at all.

I'm proud of my daughter and her friends for trying, one chocolate bar and ribbon at a time, to make our world a more tolerant place to live.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Trophy Wife Redux

Had lunch with my friend Jen today. Sometimes I talk and she listens, sometimes she talks, and I listen and sometimes, like today, we both talk at the same time, which seems to work for us, but probably drives people around us completely W*I*L*D. (And that's fine...go eat your tuna sald sandwich somewhere else then!)

She too, needs another wife in her life, to help her maintain the myriad commitments on her plate and that got me thinking about the whole concept of Trophy Wives. (I refer you to wikipedia if you must brush up on the term...

I'd like to refute the blonde bombshell/big boobed hanger on image of yore, however, and suggest a more relevant conceptualization.

Not to date myself, but I think that a true trophy wife brings home the bacon, fries it up in a pan and .......well, if you know the reference, then you know the rest.

For example, take my friend Jen.

Jen is smart (and not just, "let me help you with your Algebra homework, honey" smart...she is PhD, tada... your mice now have an extra chromosome and i've taught them how to knit, kind of smart) and funny (blow soda out of my nose, question my standards of continence laughing at her kind of funny) and kind (stays up til 4 a.m. crafting a homemade scooby doo cake for her 4 year old kid kind).

Moreover, she holds down a big time, stressful, required 4 years of post-bac, 7 years of training kind of a job where she saves people's lives and gets to say pithy things like "yeah, that patient was in DKA and the frigging intern had her set for discharge" that make the rest of us mortals go "oooh" and "aaaaah" and prompted me to list her as my #1 emergency contact in case I have a heart attack or get a splinter or something.

So, in addition to her crazy, time consuming, life force sucking career, she is this cuddly mommy person to her children, who buys her own groceries and washes everyone's clothes and cooks things from scratch. She squeezes in the occasional date night with her hubby, with whom she still really likes to hang out. She spends her few free weekends digging holes for new plants in her yard, and carting her kids to sporting events, or holding down the fort so that her husband can do the same.

She reads, and writes, and stays abreast of current events. She swims and she runs (not because she's being chased, but because the thought of running 26.2 again is always just slightly on the periphery of her potential radar) and she has gaggles of friends over for cookouts and girl's nights.

Is she nuts? You bet! Over committed? Duh! Does she need an au-pair or a Mary Poppins in her life? Hell yes! But she's normal, and nice, and not a bitch, and does all these things, for all these people without ever making me feel like I'm inferior. She can laugh at me and then turn around and laugh at herself in the same breath, singlehandedly validating and destroying both of our neuroses in one fell swoop.

It is THIS woman, and so many more just like her that I know, who is the TRUE trophy wife. This isn't one of those cheesy gold painted plastic tropies that ends up on a shelf. No, this is the sterling silver cup you won that ends up being your favorite Pilsner mug.

Soul Food

Early this spring I happened to be out and about on a Sunday morning and caught NPR's show Speaking of Faith by Krista Tippet and have been a fan ever since. Her program has a fabulous blog w/all episodes archived...and lots of offshoot resources. The name of the program has subsequently changed to "Being" (of which I approve).

Yesterday they streamed, live, a conversation with the Dalai Lama and some other religious bigwhigs, about Happiness (which I have capitalized on purpose, because I feel like it's a large enough spirtual concept to be worthy thereof).

It can be found on her site in a day or two (from what I'm reading)....

Am feeling compelled to add a slightly political comment about how the thing I love most about what they're doing is the encouraging of everyone to share in the conversation we all should be having about just GETTING ALONG with each other.

Really. Seems so easy, and yet.....


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Magazine of Yoga New Post

Thanks to them!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Help Wanted

Nice, but tired, middle-aged couple, seeks wife for assistance with projects of a disctinctly domestic nature.

Candidate should be strong, healthy and patient. Additionally, the following skills would be a plus:

Plumbing and electrical, woodworking and tile know-how
Masters in Education, preferably Math/Science and/or Japanese
Commercial drivers license, P, N or S endorsement (passenger, bus, tank)
Cordon-bleue classical french cuisine training
Commercial cleaning license with hazmat endorsement
K-9 obedience trainer
Travel agent, meeting planner
Debate skills
PhD Philosphy

Applicant must not require vacations or more than 4 hours of sleep per night and should expect to be on call 24/7/365.

Room and board provided, no salary. Benefits include free use of netflix membership and (after preparing them for us) meals shared with positively delightful family.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sometimes procrastination IS the process

Which I stole from a forum post on this website for the National Novel Writing Month Project.

Anyone up to the challenge of writing 50,000 words in the month of November???

It is a tad daunting, I will admit. I can always crank out 1,000 when the assignment calls for 500, but not sure about writing 50,000. And, I suppose the point is, they're supposed to all make sense, in a row, sort of like.



Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I hate it when this happens

Dear Universe,

I just noticed that I've blocked myself for two hours, during the middle of the day on Thursday, it says "ME...OUT" in the memo line in Outlook. Do you know where I'm supposed to be? Because, try as I might, I do not. Like, really, no clue.

I've searched my desk for little appointment cards (dentist, doctor, etc.) but have turned up nothing so far.

I even copied my boss on this appointment to let her know I was going to be gone, so It wasn't like this was an appointmistake, I really did this on purpose.

I'm hoping that maybe you can give me a teeeny weeeny little clue, please? I'll be very quiet and listen hard for even the faintest whisper, or change in wind direction.

Barring that, could you maybe nudge whomever it is I'm supposed to meet with to maybe send me a reminder or a confirmation, or something?

I've got a bad feeling about this........

Fun Project

Started by some friends of mine:

Because, clearly, they aren't already busy enough. ??!?


Chocolate Guinness Cake
by Nigella Lawson

(Reprinted from the New York Times via NPR: (

This cake is magnificent in its damp blackness. I can't say that you can absolutely taste the stout in it, but there is certainly a resonant, ferrous tang which I happen to love. The best way of describing it is to say that it's like gingerbread without the spices. There is enough sugar — a certain understatement here — to counter any potential bitterness of the Guinness, and although I've eaten versions of this made up like a chocolate layer cake, stuffed and slathered in a rich chocolate frosting, I think that can take away from its dark majesty. Besides, I wanted to make a cream cheese frosting to echo the pale head that sits on top of a glass of stout. It's unconventional to add cream but it makes it frothier and lighter which I regard as aesthetically and gastronomically desirable. But it is perfectly acceptable to leave the cake un-iced: in fact, it tastes gorgeous plain.

Ingredients for the cake:

1 cup Guinness
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups superfine sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

Ingredients for the topping:

8 oz Philadelphia cream cheese
1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream

Nigella's Suggestions:

For a simpler dessert, replace the frosting with a light dusting of powered sugar.

Preheat the over to 350 F, and butter and line a 9 inch springform pan.

Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add the butter — in spoons or slices — and heat until the butter's melted, at which time you should whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the brown, buttery, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and baking soda.

Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake.

When the cake's cold, sit it on a flat platter or cake stand and get on with the frosting. Lightly whip the cream cheese until smooth, sift over the confectioner's sugar and then beat them both together. Or do this in a processor, putting the unsifted confectioners' sugar in first and blitz to remove lumps before adding the cheese.

Add the cream and beat again until it makes a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake so that it resembles the frothy top of the famous pint.

Makes about 12 slices

From Feast by Nigella Lawson. Photographs by James Merrell. Copyright 2004 Nigella Lawson. Photographs Copyright 2004 by James Merrell. Published by Hyperion. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Things I am listening to these days (as I eat my lean cuisine lunch at my desk, sadly):

Steel Wheels

We Are Star Children

Crooked Still

David Wax Museum