Monday, November 16, 2009

The Broad Way

I started this post fully two months ago. As you can see. Before the play I was in even opened. It has now closed. I am sad about it. Here is what I wrote a while ago. Soon I will return to posts about the baby taking off her pjs and pouring talcum powder all over herself and her crib, and then mixing in wipes to make paste and then getting her hand stuck in the wipes container and then shrieking bloody murder. I will also post about how everything was so much better two weeks ago when I was on Broadway and wasn't dealing with preschool separation (which sucks beyond belief, by the way). And what I'm going to make for dinner (turkey and white bean chili tomorrow night). And babysitters who flake on me one hour before auditions and how the cat scratched the baby's head because we haven't clipped her claws in months and how I messed up and let a big audition get by without managing to go in on it and how there's no snow at all any more. But for now here's what I wrote on 11/16/09. Today is January 20th, 2010. Happy New Year.

So I haven't posted in about sixteen years. Sorry about that.

As it turns out, acting in a play on the Broad Way kinda takes it out of you. Who knew? We do 8 shows a week with one day off.

So we open this week which will be a whole other huge story. And there are many stories within. But I do just want to tell you this one story that is kind of unique for me. And says something about the people I'm working with.

The last phase of any rehearsal period is called tech. Basically, this is when you all move out of the crungy basement rehearsal room where you ate white cheddar cheezits and joked around a lot to the theater where you realize that people who paid money will actually be watching you in about a week. You get in your costumes for the first time and you very very slowly work through the play while all the designers finish doing their work of lighting you, and assembling the set, and altering the costumes and inserting sound cues. This takes forever. You get a few lines out and then you stop and do things again. And again. And again. From college theater to the Broad Way these rehearsals run much the same. They are endless. You spend lots of time in corsets if you happen to be doing a period play. The difference is really the quality of the material your dress is made out of, the number of lights that hang above you, and how many people are helping you figure out where your props are.

Under union rules, I believe, tech can involve two "8 out of 10s" and two "10 out of 12s" which basically means for four days you live in the theater. In those days, you work 8 hours in a span of 10 hours, twice, and ten hours in a span of twelve hours twice. Essentially 42 hours spent in the theater over four days. Typically, the goal is to get out of there as soon as possible at the end of every night. And at the end of tech, people are usually celebrating when their character dies ten minutes from curtain because it means they get to go home.

But what was unique for this tech. What I have never really experienced was the following. There are seven people in our cast. Five of us are done significantly before the play ends. But instead of racing home, a kind of amazing thing happened. When the five of us made our final exits, instead of leaving, we all went up into the front row of the mezzanine of our gorgeous theater, sat down together, ate cold pizza, drank warm beer and watched the final hour of tech.


That was all I got written on 11/16. I didn't ever publish it because I think I wanted to read over it and make sure it was okay. I never had time. On that tech night we all stayed to watch this beautiful special effect that happened at the end of our play. Music and lights and movement and snow. It was pretty amazing, actually.
I miss all those people.
I miss the play.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Play's the Thing

Well I made it. Made it through the first week of rehearsal. We started a week ago today.

Bean seemed to handle things pretty well. Aside from the whole pooping in her bed incident. That was kind of ugly.

And she's cutting some nasty nasty molars. So she's a little sniffly and whiny today. But she'll have a grumpy weekend with Daddy. And I'll have a weekend of rehearsal.

And I have to say...this whole working again thing...? It's super crazy fun! I'm tired, yes. The stress of arranging childcare and preparing the house for a babysitter every morning, then going to work, then coming home, is taxing. How have you all been doing this for so many years without collapsing? I'm kinda wiped after only a week.

I'm still pretty fracking (my new favorite word from "Battlestar Galactica") nervous too, yes. But they're called "plays" for a reason, I believe. And when writers are as wonderful as the amazing Sarah Ruhl, plays are play-ful, and challenging, and terrifying, and incredible to work on.

In the meantime, we eat Magnolia cupcakes tonight and tour preschool numero uno tomorrow. Life goes on, doesn't it.

Time passes. Listen. Time passes.

Friday, September 18, 2009

This is what happened the first day I went back to work

So I went back to work yesterday. For the first time since the Little Bean was born, really. I have worked a few days here and there. This is the biggie.

So my dear friend Becca was staying with Bean. Bean loves her. She loves Bean.

However...

Thinking a onesie would be a pain for diaper changes, I put Bean in some jeans that are a wee bit big. Becca put Bean down for her nap. Chattering ensued. Bean does this a lot. Sometimes she just chatters through her whole nap. I call it two hours of quiet time and we go from there. Becca checked for poop. She checked to see if Bean dumped her water all over herself. Neither.

Later...Becca checked again. Bean had removed said big jeans. Removed her diaper. Was sitting pants-less in her crib. May I say, this has NEVER happened before. Okay.

Becca put a diaper back on. Did not put on any new pants. Left Bean to try to sleep.

Later...chatter chatter chatter. Long pause... Then, very clearly, "Becca?"

Becca enters Bean's room to discover Bean has again removed her diaper. And very purposefully pooped on her mattress. Upon Becca's arrival, Bean grins ear to ear, points to her masterpiece on the sheets and exclaims "I did it!" Again let me say, she has never done anything like this before. Ever ever. Ever.

So my question. Acting out? Or merely getting ready to potty train.

And may I add, Becca is a very very very good friend indeed.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thrilling Convo Now We're Back from Vacation

We have been gone for over two weeks. The city appears to still be here. This is what we're talking about on our last night of vacay.

Doc Hubby: How do you spell "a propos?"

Me: "A" space "P-R-O-P-O-S". Like a cappella without the cappella and with propos.

Scintillating as ever.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Like Something in a Movie

So last night Doc Hubby and I went to the movies. This is the first movie we have seen since "Star Trek" back in June. Which was totally awesome.

Last night we went to see "Cold Souls" starring Paul Giamatti and David Strathairn. Two amazing actors. Oh and me. Yup, just a few months after giving birth to the Bean, I went to Roosevelt Island at the crack of dawn on a cold winter's day to say:
Because I'm convinced he has a twisted soul. He does things...

Try to contain your enthusiasm. And imagine the brilliance.
I have hung around movie sets a little bit. For about sixteen months in 1998 or so I went to Yankee Stadium in the freezing cold at the crack of dawn to be an extra in the Kevin Costner baseball movie (don't get too excited here...) "For Love of the Game." Never heard of it? Yeah. Not his best. I did it because I was just out of school and it was something to do and it paid $75 bucks a day. But it was insane. First of all it was friggin' freezing. We bundled up in ski coats and stuffed those hand warmers down our bras, and then when it was time to shoot doffed all the winter gear, and stood up and cheered for Kevin Costner as a washed up...catcher was it? Pitcher? As if it were a balmy early autumn day. We ate masses of macaroni salad with ex-cons and folks running from the law (no joke, someone was found and arrested there) and wackos in the bottom level of the parking garage. We watched people steal entire aluminum tubs of pudding and take them to their cars. We (my friends I met there...Jenny, Angie and I) did all this because we wanted to be actors. And cuz as I have admitted in the past, Kevin Costner kinda does it for me. (I KNOW! I KNOW! What can I say...)
When the movie came out...I went to see it. And I think I caught a glimpse of my left arm at one point.
Cut to ten years later. I show up on set on Roosevelt Island. I hang with Paul Giamatti, David Strathairn and Lauren Ambrose in the green room. I say my line. I try to be cool.
I go and see the movie last night.
And you guessed it.
My line was cut.
It's like something out of a movie.
Take home message to all you would-be actors out there: this is why you don't have a big party and invite all your friends and your mom to see your big old big screen premiere until you have gone yourself to make sure your big line wasn't cut.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why My Two Year Old Will Most Likely Be Rejected from Kindergarten

So I fancy myself a pretty responsible gal. I always handed my homework in on time. I took hot meals to shutins with my church youth group. I was a girl scout. I pay my bills on time and help old people get things from high shelves (no joke, I can't tell you how many times some old person in my apartment building has asked me to get something off a high shelf for them because I am ginormous).

But when it comes to my baby's medical care, I am so totally paralyzed by fear that I border on negligent. I guess it's fear. Maybe it's laziness. But I think the odds are a lot greater that it's fear.

I forgot her 18 month appointment. I guess...? I mean, honestly, I'm not sure I knew that she needed to have one. Did the doctor actually mention that at her 12 month appointment? Was I so preoccupied with our personal vaccine schedule that I didn't listen? Because usually, I'm pretty genius at listening when people give me instructions. I'm fairly certain the leading contender for my epitaph is currently "Follows Instructions Well." So how is it that I can't kinda get my shit together with getting medical things done for the baby at the right time?

I do, I must admit, lean on the fact that Doc Hubby is in fact, a doctor. Part of me thinks that all of this stuff should just be his responsibility because he has seen the inside of a human body and understands things about it, and it just grosses me out. So despite the fact that "I'm the Mom" I want all that medical stuff to be his department. I don't think he even knows we have departments in this relationship. Except that he always makes the pancakes. And since he never reads my blog, the odds are not good that he is going to become aware of it any time soon.

The day of my daughter's one year doctors appointment (which, if I can read my own handwriting correctly, was well over a month after her first birthday...see what I mean? What is wrong with me?) we took her across the street to a house of vampires where some guy who claims to be a phlebotomist (yeah, that's the kinda vocab I can just toss around because Doc Hubby is in fact, a doctor, and I'd have to be an idiot not to pick up a thing or two over the course of 19 years)stabbed her repeatedly in the arm while she shrieked until finally I grabbed her and fled. Fast forward to a month ago when we happened to see Dr. McJerky in our Peds practice because our wonderful French doctor wasn't in. He managed to make me feel like a total ass because I had staggered my baby's vaccines (it was like he could see the baby slings and BPA free bottles and organic yogurt spewing from my mouth) and never got that blood draw. Which, he insisted, she'd absolutely need for kindergarten. What is with the City of New York? That I can't just enjoy my one year old without worrying about kindergarten. And, by the way, the place they sent us to have it done sucked. And, no one told me I needed it for kindergarten, though I can't say I would have been listening anyway.

So we had the one year blood draw today. Several days after the Bean's second birthday. She screamed bloody murder the entire time. Doc Hubby took one for the team and held her down while the excellent phlebotomist took baby girl's blood (Doc Hubby just had to point out that she did go too deep at first and then had to pull back to hit the vein and I could have lived my whole life and not known that). Then the Bean proceeded to sulk the entire time that Doc Hubby tried to show her off to all the nice people he works with.

Note to self, do not begin this whole path of allowing the Bean's behavior to reflect upon me. I am not responsible for her being two. Or having just been jabbed with a needle.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

So Lonely...

My baby girl is so lonely. She is so starved for friendship. She is so aching for any kind of human contact besides Mama...that every day she stands in the living room and points to the window and says "Up in the 'indow? See peoples?"

Desperate.

Simply to catch a glimpse of another human being besides myself.

That she looks out our fifth floor window, waaaaaay down to the street below, and yells "baby!" every time a stroller rolls by.

When the babysitter arrives...any babysitter arrives...she immediately stands next to her, looks up at me, waves, and says "bye Mama!"

So either I have done something really right. Or I have done something dreadfully wrong.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Blaine isn't a name...it's a major appliance.

This is so much better than anything I could have written today.

Read it.

Sincerely, John Hughes

Monday, August 3, 2009

What Happens in Maine

People who are from Maine are exactly like people from Texas. They just don't hug or say "ya'll" or make quick decisions. They are deliberate and quiet and stoic. And they think that their state is the greatest state in the good old U. S. of A. (because let's face it, ya'll, it's a competition and the winning state gets a plaque). I'm pretty sure that behind closed doors there are people in Maine, particularly way way way Northern Maine, planning secession very quietly.

I like Maine well enough. I shop at LL Bean. I like blueberries. If I had been able to have Bob's Clam Hut cater my wedding I would have done it in a snap. Portland is a hip little town where I don't feel chronically underdressed. They wear fleece to brunch too.

Still, I hate to break it to you...folks from "The County"... but Maine ain't all that.

This is what your state did to my child.



To be specific, this is what the venomous, swarming, apocalyptic mosquitoes in Weld, Maine did to my child.



Start Fed Exing lobster rolls to my apartment, Maine. You got some serious damage to control.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Banana Cream Cheese Bread - Not the Recipe

So by rights, if the baby sticks her finger in the Banana Cream Cheese Bread while I'm waiting five hours for the people at the "we make your salad just like you want it" counter at the grocery store to make my salad, I have to buy it, right?

Honestly, I came this close to putting it back.

She poked her finger clear through the cellophane and into the bread. She made a hole. If I were a better blogger I would have taken a picture and posted it here.

But here's the thing. If it had been zucchini bread. Or nut bread of some kind. Carrot bread or lentil bread, I totally wouldn't have bought it.

So part of me thought, "yeah, whoever buys this and then gets it home and realizes someone stuck their finger in it is going to be super pissed and grossed out because they were having a bad day and the store was mobbed and they were also ordering their salad at the same time and never thought to check and see if someone put a finger in the bread, and they'll probably think it was a homeless person not my cute but honestly pretty crungy baby, and they will be really mad but not mad enough to take it back to the store so they'll just throw it away and what a waste of good Banana Cream Cheese Bread it will be because some homeless person truly could have eaten it."

And the other part of me thought" Wait a second is that Banana Cream Cheese Bread? Whaaaaaat? Why yes it is! And how have I lived this long without knowing that such a delicacy existed and what a shame the Bean put her finger through the cellophane so we'll just have to buy it, and yes I'd like no salad dressing cuz I'm on a diet because I'm going to be a big Broadway star now even though I have the smallest part in the play, but I do have a lot of stage time."

And by the way, I only looked for five minutes but it seems that the only place you can get this delectable bread is at my grocery store. All the recipes for Banana Cream Cheese Bread that I found online mix the cream cheese in with the butter but this one has the cream cheese in like a layer on the top in the middle like a cream cheese brownie. So I'm not offering the recipe.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Rotation of the Earth

So the thing about New York is, that on certain days of the year, when the sun bounces off the building across the street at just the right angle, and you walk into the kitchen at just the right minute to get a glass of ice water, sun actually streams in the window. Like it does at normal people's houses. And you can see, with staggering clarity, just how filthy the place is. I mean. Filthy. Caked-on goop on the side of the refrigerator...and the basket holding the takeout menus on the side of the refrigerator. Years of grime ground into the fridge handle. Nastiness caked on the front of the stove and the dishwasher. I couldn't actually bring myself to look down at the floor.

So what the heck is in those Mr. Clean Magic Erasers? They dissolve, themselves, and take the filth with them. When I'm done cleaning with them, my hands feel a bit like they've been dipped in bleach. I'm sure there's something on the box that says it's a good idea to wear gloves when you use them. Especially if you have hand mange like I do. They are effective, but man. They give me the creeps.

So instead of doing other things, I just spent about twenty minutes scrubbing, until my magic eraser had erased itself and some of the ick with it. And then the earth rotated and it's now dark as dusk in here. At 1:47 in the afternoon on a late July day.

My apologies to all of you who have stayed in this apartment over the summer.

And also, this post is totally not sponsored by Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. Which is a good thing since Mr. Clean might not like the part about how his magic erasers give me the creeps.

BTW they also take bird poop off the patio furniture. Even if the birds have been eating berries.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Something Happened

Well kids. I'm going back to work.

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/tag/michael-cerveris/

"Fiddler on the Roof" it ain't. A beautiful, funny and very poignant play it is.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Reality TV, Time Travel & The Road Not Taken

So I've been thinking a couple of things...mostly just trying to get some perspective. Also trying to use fewer words but that just so doesn't seem to totally happen when I sit down to write something.

Did I ever tell you about how Doc Hubby had an audition for a reality show? Yeah, while I'm out there scrambling to make anything happen, TV networks are recruiting HIM. Have you seen that talk show called "The Doctors"? It's on in the morning here in NYC and seems to be kinda a rip off of Oprah's episodes with Dr. Oz. Who, by the way, Doc Hubby knows. Have I mentioned Doc Hubby is a total rock star ? Good thing he never reads this blog because then he'd get a swelled head and it's big enough already. Anyway, I'm pretty sure that "The Doctors" on CBS is the one. The producers apparently scoured the internet, found his honestly crazy unflattering picture on the hospital website (he takes a really good picture, not sure why this horrendous one is posted online), and called him to come audition/interview. He had to go down to a hotel in midtown and talk to them I guess. My favorite part of this whole story is how he said to me the day before he had the meeting, "Uh...do you think I need to get a manicure?" Which is so sweet and hilarious because he's really not the manicure type. I told him I didn't think so. Not until he got the job. When it comes right down to it, Doc Hubby is more a researcher than a practicing physician so I don't think he had quite the right vibe for it. Patient care is only one small part of what he does. I'm pretty sure they cast this guy instead.

Actually my goal is to get Doc Hubby into the Obama administration because Doc Hubby's area of expertise is Electronic Medical Records and Obama talks about them, like, every thirty seconds. Maybe the Little Bean could go to school with Sasha and Malia? I could take yoga with Michelle. A move to D.C. might be just what the doctor ordered. So to speak.

We could wait until the second term. That would be okay.

One great side bonus of moving to D.C. would be that I could escape this crazy New York City school morass. Holy cowroni it's unbelievable. The Little Bean is one. She turns two in August. Last night we started in earnest our nursery school research. For the Fall of 2010! No joke. I saw this documentary, Nursery University, which is all about the utterly insane application process for NYC nursery schools. I'm thinking even if the smart folks in Washington realize how smart Doc Hubby is and have the good sense to offer him a job, it won't happen until after nursery school. Probably no dodging that bullet. But the whole system gets even more terrifying once elementary school starts. Maybe we could manage to be in some nice suburb with an excellent public school system by then.

It all just brings to mind roads not taken. My friend Rebecca wrote this lovely screenplay about the same woman living two different lives. The movie shows one and then the other--the whole "two roads diverged in a narrow wood" thing. I kinda think about that every day. What if I had... What if instead of staying in NYC we had... What if my parents had... Rebecca herself has spent the last ten years or so very successfully pursing an acting career in L.A. and now finds herself back in NYC studying Shakespeare for the summer. She feels as if the storyline of her life has just reconverged with the alternate storyline of her life which might have happened if she had stayed in Brooklyn in 199whatever instead of heading West. I kind of love the idea that even if you had chosen the "other path" it might have still met up with the path that you're on today. Very Star Trek. By the way, saw the new Star Trek movie last week and totally didn't get the whole Spock time travel story. And neither did Doc Hubby and he's kinda a genius. But I think it did kind of have to do with this whole parallel life choices thing.

Remember how there were rumors that the Obama administration was going to tap Dr. Sanjay Gupta from CNN to be their Surgeon General? He's a TV doc. So perhaps Doc Hubby is just on a different route to the White House.

And me? Maybe blogging will be the path to take me to my own TV show...hey, you never know.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ethanol, Ticks and Swine Flu

We can't sell the cabin. We totally totally really truly can't sell the cabin.

It is the exact same age I am. It is falling apart in many ways. Which is totally hilarious and sad and somewhat insulting though I'm sure the cabin doesn't mean to point out how old I am by ceasing to function and getting moldy and heaving under the carpets.

My grandfather built the cabin as a fishing cabin. It is the only house I know that has remained with me my whole life. It has grown and changed, but while my family moved and my grandparents moved, the cabin has always been there on Folly Creek. It was never meant to be a beach house, though that is what we want it to be now. It has vinyl siding. Most rooms are wood paneled. The bathroom walls are covered with some kind of plastic substance that I'm sure does keep them from getting moldy but could no doubt simply be hosed down to clean. But they are hideous to say the least. Nearly every room was decorated in some variation of orange and brown.

All this notwithstanding, when I was a kid I thought the cabin was the most beautiful, most luxurious, best-smelling house in the entire world.

We totally can't sell the cabin.

So why am I perusing realtor.com?

How to accurately sum up last weekend. Let me see... in short, the boat crapped out, we were infested with ticks and Doc Hubby got swine flu. Any one of these things would have put a bit of a damper on the holiday. All three bordered on tragic. And each is interesting in its own way. I'm trying not to be too apocalyptic but here's the deal.

The cabin sits on a tidal creek on the Eastern Shore of Virginia. It is gloriously remote to this day. Part of what makes it so special is that while every field in my hometown is getting filled with McMansions and mini-McMansions, the Eastern Shore of Virginia remains virtually the same as it was in 1980. I mean, there are many more chain stores on the big route down the DelMarva, but once you turn off 13, it's country. And marsh grass. And towering pines. And barrier islands accessible only by boat with pristine and kinda wild beaches, littered with sea treasures (and I'm not kidding, my Dad saw a guy flip a gold piece out of the sand just while they sat and chatted). And big fields. But the fields have been farmed increasingly heavily in recent years. And agricultural run off and mud are filling up the creek. The dock has been extended twice to create boat slips. But the slips keep filling up with mud. This isn't why the boat isn't working, mind you. It's just context.

The boat isn't working because of ethanol. No joke. Up and down the East Coast of these United States, people are sitting sullenly in their stalled out boats because the carburetors are full of corn syrup. Because the gas that sat in their engines all winter...or in gas cans in their garages, or that just didn't get totally cleaned when winterized...has separated, leaving essentially a layer of corn syrup in the bottom to gunk up carburetors and stall boats. Ours among them. So we had no boat to use to get out to the island to the beach or to go fishing.

So okay, we'll just hang around the house.... Except that with the increase in all that mud, and the growth of tons more marsh grass, and (dare I say it) the increasingly less hard winter frosts, we are infested with ticks. Infested. How best can I express how infested we are? My Dad, who spent one afternoon carefully pruning the azaleas, had seven ticks. I had two embedded and one crawling across my foot. Ticks gross me the heck out. So much worse than mosquitoes. So insidious and flat and creepy and plague-bearing and ick.

So okay, we'll just spend time indoors together playing games and singing songs and telling stories.... Cough cough. Snarfle snarfle. And Doc Hubby, who works at a hospital where there have been no less than 288 cases of swine flu to date, has quarantined himself on the glass and screened-in porch. For days. He takes this seriously. Plagues and the like. I'm a germaphobe and all, but he peed in the bushes and we handed in plates of food to him and he totally didn't come out. So when the time came for us to make the six hour drive back to New York City, we went through this ridiculous comedy of errors that involved many clorox bleach wipes, a trip to Baltimore, and a rented Sebring Convertible (which, Doc Hubby has confirmed, is a piece of crap car but it's still a convertible and I think he had fun driving it home anyway even with the top down because it also rained most of the weekend). We get home to the city. He returns the rental car, and promptly drives upstate for three days to continue the CDC mandated quarantine. FOR A HEAD COLD most likely. But who am I to quarrel with epidemiologists.

So the night we get home and he leaves to go upstate, we eat waffles for dinner. I give the baby a bath hoping for a calm, quiet, lovely evening together. I rinse her pretty little curls, go to wash behind her sweet elfin ears...and there's a TICK! Embedded behind her ear! At this point I am fairly rabid. I can't, in good conscience, call any of the women I know in the building to help me with the tick removal, because we both could be carrying SWINE FLU! So I swaddle the baby in a towel, lay her on the living room floor, all the while she's howling "All done! All done, Mama!" at the top of her sweet lungs, SIT on her, and grope around her ear with sharp tweezers until I remove the tick. Which I place in a ziploc bag to keep to hand over to said CDC in the event she develops LYME'S DISEASE.

And here's where I risk the whole apocalypic thing...I'm no conspiracy theorist but what is up with these whack ass plagues? Lyme's disease? If rats were causing this public health crisis no one would think twice about taking major action against the carriers. So because the bugs live on Bambi we're not doing a thing? I'm not saying I want to go out there and shoot them, but really? The choice is to do nothing? You can't play in your yard anywhere in the East Coast without worrying about this nasty and weird and totally creepy disease that started on an island off the coast of Connecticut. And now swine flu???? Where did this come from again? Some kid in Mexico and a pig? Sounds really fishy to me but what do I know? I'm just high on all the carbs I've been eating to make it through the last week with some shred of sanity remaining. Pass the brownies.

So Doc Hubby is back now. He's cursing in the kitchen chasing a "wiley" roach around. I am trying not to throw up over the concept of bugs hanging out on my fridge where this guy was spotted, and at this point I'd like to live in a tupperware container for a few days. Maybe if I did my skin would look as lustrous as Bernadette Peters' does.

I digress. All this said...we really totally can't sell the cabin, right? I mean, right?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My First Run with the Jogging Stroller

Running with a jogging stroller is a unique form of torture. I happen to think running is torture, period. I have, at various points of my life, done more or less running. I have never gotten to the place where I thought "ooo goody, I get to go for a jog today." Or conversely, "oh man I feel like crap because I haven't gone for a jog today."

Nope.

I never get past the place where it hurts.

But we were so generously handed down a jogging stroller and let's be frank, I need the exercise. Last year at this time I was walking every day. At least two miles. Sometimes more. Often vigorously. Both with the plan to lose weight and also because there wasn't anything else to do with the baby and I had no friends. Now I have a few friends and we meet at playgrounds and the kids run around and get exercise and we drink iced mochas and eat the bits of muffin that fall on their shirts.

Doc Hubby and I actually spent a half an hour two Saturday nights ago watching an infomercial for P90X. Some exercise program that you're supposed to be able to do in your home with just weights and a chin up bar (who has a chin up bar in their house???). And in 90 days you get ripped. Neither Doc Hubby nor I has ever been ripped. And we sat and watched this thing like crazy people for thirty minutes, I think kinda seriously considering doing it. I actually wondered if you can get it on Ebay. You can...OF COURSE. You can get a spare lung on Ebay.

I mean, who doesn't want to be ripped? And 90 days? That sounds like a decent amount of time in which to get ripped. Then we watched the first two hours of "Dances With Wolves" which is honestly a totally brilliant movie. I know how some people feel about Kevin Costner, and I agree in some, though not all ways. And I totally don't think this movie should be a punchline. But I have to stop watching it when it starts to get bloody because since the baby was born I just kinda can't stomach any violence in movies. So how do I think I'm gonna make my way through P90X if I'm such a wuss? Excellent question. I'll get back to you on that one.

So in lieu of P90X I jogged about a mile pushing the jogging stroller. Then turned around and walked home as vigorously as I could manage.

I discovered that I missed the crab apple blossoms this year. Because it rained a lot in the last few weeks and also because we keep going to the playground and not for walks.

I just feel...kinda antsy and rambly and itchy. Can you tell? And I totally have the hiccups.

Nothing a little P90X wouldn't cure.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Time to Cook or Get Out of the Fire

I said this to my friend Rebecca on the phone yesterday. "It's time to cook or get out of the fire."

I meant kitchen. We both decided we like fire. I am not totally sure what it means.

We are all about to turn a big number. Birthday-wise. And we've all got something stuck in our craws, it seems. All my "about to turn a big number" actor friends.

It comes down to several things, Chris said. Do you really just want to do good work? Or is it the whole being famous thing. Because we really are in a place now where we could just decide to do good work and then do it.

My video did not win $10.000 on YouTube. A big company was sponsoring this contest. I was so sure I would at least be a finalist. I really was. I was ridiculously disheartened when I wasn't chosen as a finalist. I was all ready to launch my Facebook campaign and my Twitter campaign and win. That money was already in the baby's college fund. But I may have said "poop" too many times and talked about my underwear too much for this squeaky clean company's liking. Or it may have been just too much about me and not enough about the cute baby. Honestly, I thought that the whole idea was for them to choose a new spokesperson for their YouTube channel. So maybe it should be an itsy bitsy bit more about me than her. But then again. Maybe they just didn't like me.

There's this theater company that I love and I have worked for for many years. I have become friends with the people who work there. I feel, in a way, that they are my family. Or I am a tiny part of the family. Maybe just that weird sister-in-law who reads books out on the deck and sips sweet tea while everyone else is in the kitchen laughing and drinking red wine. But as time goes on, it appears that I'm kind of not being chosen to be a part of this company. I have been passed over.

Wah wah wah. Poor me. Not everyone can like you. Not everyone will like you. I feel like a pretty likeable person most of the time. But I have got to come to terms with the fact that I just don't float everyone's boat.

Not everybody will like me.

So therefore, it is time to get together with my friends. And cook or get out of the fire. There are people I adore and respect and would love to work with. So maybe I should stop sitting around waiting to be called in from the deck, and actually get out my own damn crock pot and start cooking. They all seem ready to cook too.

So we're doing a reading. My friends and I. Here in New York. To benefit a new theater company. I had rehearsal for it last night. The first rehearsal I've attended in over two years. It felt really nice.

If you're here, do you wanna come?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Bird Poop and The Evening News

Conversation in my living room ten minutes ago.

Doc Hubby and I are listening to a promo for the 11 o'clock news.

News Man: ...the latest skin treatment. Pei Sze Chang tries it out...

Doc Hubby: Did they just suggest using bird poop on your face?

Me: They certainly did.

(pause)

Doc Hubby: Bird poop takes the paint off your car.

Me: So maybe it exfoliates.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Germaphobe's Worst Nightmare. Or One of Them.

I have a nasty headcold.

I should have known better than to share penne with someone who said they had a "tickle" in their chest. Now I have that and much more.

My nose dripped into my baby's clean laundry this afternoon when I was folding it. Or rather, when I was folding it and putting it on the glider and she was cackling and throwing it back in the hamper which did not amuse me at all even though she is very cute.

I have no idea which item of clothing it dripped on.

I put all the laundry away in her drawers.

She can't get sick from one drop of snot, right?

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Schwartzman Quartet's Biggest Fans

Conversation upon the ending of DVR-ed Season Finale of "Friday Night Lights." Time: 11:02 p.m.

Show ends. Wipe away tears. Erase episode. Noggin blares loudly through living room. It's the opening theme song of "Jack's Big Music Show."

Me: Let's see how long it takes for me to identify what episode this is.

Doc Hubby: The music sounds better when it's going through the Bose.

Pause. Episode Starts. Two seconds later.

Me: Yeah, it's the one where Mel gets hit in the head and thinks he's a cat. (Verifies this on the DVR episode info guide). Yup. It's a good one. Have you seen it?

Doc Hubby: (Shakes head no)

And the thing is, we both briefly pondered watching the entire episode. When the Schwartzman Quartet sings "Meow Meow Meow goes the dog Mel, his meows are super swell. Some dogs bark or bow wow wow. Mel the dog just says meow," it's kind of brilliant.

Addendum: When I do a Google search of "Schwartzman Quartet" that youtube video of them singing "Mel the Dog" is the first thing that comes up. See, I'm not alone in this way of thinking.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

P.S. Holy-Crapola Here I Come

So there are two articles in the Times today about public schooling your kids in NYC. My baby isn't two yet, but I'm kinda already having palpitations about it.

The first one is The Sudden Charm of Public School. This article makes the point that given the economic downturn, lots of parents who were sending their kids to swanky NYC private schools, or who were planning to send their kids to swanky NYC private schools, are now trying to get them into public schools. And the high-demand, best-performing public schools now have a glut of applications and not enough slots necessarily, even for kids who live in the zones. And here's where it gets icky...people are even faking that they live in these zones to get preference. Either renting apartments there that they don't necessarily live in or "moving in" with family. Borrowing addresses. I knew all this was coming but....really??? YUCK!

The second article, Don't Move Until the School Secretary Says It's O.K. discusses many of the same topics, with the focus on making the choice to move into a zone that contains a highly ranked school. Resources offered for researching schools include other parents and the independent website InsideSchools.org. Also talks about people without kids choosing to buy in zones with good schools to up the resale values of their homes.

Now may I say, when we moved into this apartment we were planning to have children. But it never even crossed our minds to look into the school district. Let me repeat: never even crossed our minds. Can I have a rousing: Duh? DUH!

Not that it would have made that much difference. This apartment is great. We would have taken it no matter what. The neighborhood is great. The parks are great. There's a Starbucks within spitting distance. Really good bagels. But the neighborhood school is less than great.

What I realize basically, is that I am at the beginning of a big long journey. And if we choose to stay here in NYC (which for the time being seems likely) I am going to be taking on the full time job of my baby's school agent. Oh I can hire someone to do it for me. This is New York after all. But I'm pretty sure that's not gonna happen. Ok P.S. 1-2-Holy-Crap-What-Are-We-Getting-Into...here I come.

Monday, March 30, 2009

My Top Ten List So Far

So I've been doing this blogging thing over a year now. I started at Babies Gotta Have It, but then I just got the yen to come here and write some of this stuff that 's going on in my life. I would actually like to write a book, but that's not something I seem to have the discipline to do during naps.

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately. Some of them are good. Really surprisingly good. Some are interesting and some are educational and some are funny. Really surprisingly funny. Like laugh out loud funny when you've been out to dinner with friends and you had that really strong mojito and you're really a teetotaler and you come home and your baby and husband are sleeping in nearby rooms and your apartment is really small but you're laughing in bursts through your nose like you've got the giggles up in the balcony in church kind of funny.

So this gal over at Piece o' Coconut Cake had the idea to create a top ten list of her favorite posts for her readers to check out while she's visiting her family in Guatemala. Let me just say, why doesn't my family live somewhere tropical and lush instead of somewhere that Puritans and farmers decided to remove rocks from and endure. Anyway, when you're up late reading blogs and eating thin mints and you want to meet some new bloggers, check out her list and the links at the end of her post.

I haven't actually written all that much in the last ten months. But I do have more than ten entries. So I went back through and scanned them and reread them. Here are the ten I like the best today.
  1. My Apology to the Girl at the Cruise Lines Audition My first post. Why and how I got into all this.
  2. What Does It Mean to Eat Your Children The post I wrote the day I stopped breastfeeding.
  3. Left Wing Butterflies Baby's First Birthday Post.
  4. Taking the A Train With My Baby New York, motherhood, and avoiding the culture of fear.
  5. Pole Dancing and Drag Shows That's just how I roll.
  6. The Apocalypse The Mayans and the end of the world.
  7. Lock Up Your Craft Scissors What happened when I cut my baby's hair. This became a weekly series.
  8. Pa Ingalls and My Responsibility Project When littering meets Halloween.
  9. Yes We Did. The video I took of people celebrating election night in the streets of New York.
  10. The Bouncing Remote, Baby TV and Why Doesn't My 17 Month Old Walk

    And as an extra bonus. A Conversation Late Last Night. This is short. It speaks for itself.

    Thanks for reading. Want to get a coffee?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Ghost Hunters and Confessions of a Teetotaler

I am a teetotaler. I do not even know if I spelled that right. But I am.

Not really by design. My parents don't drink. I am not entirely sure why. I think perhaps my mom doesn't drink because she thinks it's evil and my dad doesn't drink because he knows it's evil.

I'm pretty sure I believed both when I was in high school and college and was very holier and way smarter than thou. Also way more boyfriend-less than thou so take that whole smarter thing as you will.

I still don't drink a lot. I like girly foofy beverages that taste like juice or coffee ice cream. Red wine gives me a headache...sorry Dr. Oz.

And I have never played a drinking game...

Until now.

Now, my husband and I have invented the "Ghost Hunters" drinking game. Here is how it goes.

  1. Buy some drink that is tolerable to the wife who hates beer. I.E. Smirnoff Ice or Wine Coolers or Ginger Ale with Peach Schnapps (look, I make no claims to be that girl from Indiana Jones who could drink fat guys under the table, except in that I can kick your ass and I'm a good kisser).
  2. Tune in to "Ghost Hunters" on the Sci Fi Channel. It is in no way as good as it was when Brian was around. He was such a screw-up that the entertainment value of that alone was worth it. Also ever since Grant pulled a fast one in the whole Halloween Episode Jacket Tug thing I have had something of a falling-out with the show. Not enough to stop watching. Just enough to say to myself, "Ok, maybe they are good actors."
  3. Drink at the following moments, and any others that you find to be appropriate:
  • Any time the following terms are spoken by any of the TAPS Team: EMF, K2 Meter, EVP, Thermal Sweep, Full-Bodied Apparition
  • Any time that Steve says "Go for Steve" into a walkie talkie
  • Any time J. says "Personal Experiences"
  • Any time J. exclaims something along the lines of "Holy Crap!" or "What the Frig was that!!!???"
  • Any time any member of the TAPS team uses any form of the verb "To Investigate"
Remember on "Frasier" when Frasier and his Dad created an "Antiques Roadshow" drinking game. The only rule I remember is that they drank when anyone said "finial." I thought that episode was hilarious.

I think our Ghost Hunters drinking game is hilarious too.

And just as a side note, the baby came up to me today while I was sitting in a chair. She opened her mouth and spat a little wet brown something into her hand. Then she put it on my tummy. It was a kibble of cat food.

At least she didn't eat it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

How to Turn Your Kitchen into a Food Network Kitchen

Ok so I can't get arrested in the Entertainment Industry these days. Nothing doing. Not at all. "No thank you Wendy, we'll just pass." And pass. And pass. And pass.

I am, however, getting invited to blogging events right and left. This amuses me to no end. I'm not getting paid a dime for them, of course. Except in hypo-allergenic pillow covers, Yanni CDs and bath mitts. Oh and pasta sauce. And it was at the pasta sauce event I attended where I learned:
How to Turn Your Kitchen into a Food Network Kitchen
(not literally. the kitchen i crashed was actually just a studio kitchen and the event was not a Food Network event per se. just sounds sexier with that title, don't you think?)
  1. Add water to browning ground beef if you want it to steam. And who doesn't want a little more sizzle in life? No idea what this does to the beef itself. Might it make it moister? God knows. On list of things to try someday when I have time to kill.
  2. Arrange all your ingredients attractively in clear prep bowls.
  3. Wear full make-up and a great (very slimming) dress while you cook. Also pretty rings so your hands look good while you're adding salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Pour your sauces slowly...dare I say...sensually when you add them to things. Even if you are pouring them out of giant glass jars.
  5. Always pour sauces away from you and toward the camera. This minimizes messy splashing on your aforementioned great dress and allows the viewer to see what you're doing.
  6. Have fresh flowers on your counter. I mean, if you don't already. (I know, who doesn't grow narcissus on the kitchen counter...)
  7. Polish your tomatoes until they shine.
  8. Have another person actually do the food preparation and clean-up for you.
  9. Put pans and plates into the oven absolutely silently.
  10. And finally, don't forget "The Hero Shot." Let me explain, lest you think I have strayed from the realm of cooking shows into porn. From what I could observe, "The Hero Shot" appears the be the final shot taken, when you have cut the beautiful slice of whatever it is you are making, served it up on a pretty plate, garnished it with whatever it demands, and then you photograph or film it in all it's foody glory, being heroic. Frankly after slaving in the kitchen I think you deserve to be featured in the Hero Shot. But unless you have someone doing your makeup and providing you with the great dress, it's probably better to just shoot the damn pie.

Friday, February 27, 2009

12 Things I Learned on My Trip To Los Angeles

1. Flying Virgin America is like flying in a Mac store.
2. Los Angeles does have four seasons. It is not endlessly summer. Right now, it is Spring in Los Angeles.
3. There are Farmers Markets there all the time, and some of these Farmers Markets start at five pm and go until nine. You don't have to be there at the crack of dawn to get the good stuff.
4. The strawberries in Los Angeles are as big as the ones we get in the supermarket in New York....but they taste like someone injected them with powdered sugar.
5. The main difference between fresh citrus and citrus that has traveled across the country is texture. Fresh oranges are not stringy and you can eat the white stuff that doesn't come off with the peel.
6. Los Angeles is a sprawling, gargantuan mega-city. I have a very good sense of direction. I was driven past a cool store called "Uncle Jer's". 45 minutes later, we came upon a store called "Uncle Jer's" and I said, "Oh, look! There are two Uncle Jer's." I was informed it was indeed the same Uncle Jer's from the opposite direction.
7. Across the board, the food in Los Angeles is very very good.
8. Jason Alexander has a pug. He can be seen walking it in his neighborhood on Sunday mornings. (note to Jason Alexander...we were not stalking you. i was on a tour of the city and my friends were showing me your gorgeous neighborhood to try to convince me and my husband to move there. it was an absolute coincidence that we passed you twice.)
9. In and Out Burgers are as good as Hilary Swank says they are.
10. Pretty much all of the men in Los Angeles are handsome and pretty much all the women are skinny.
11. The Holllywood sign used to read "Hollywoodland", and the letters are so big that lots of people jumped off them to kill themselves and so now you can't walk all the way up to the Hollywood sign.
12. You can get there from here.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Walking on Superbowl Sunday

So the baby is walking. On Superbowl Sunday, while neither her father nor I were paying here the least bit of attention, she just got out of her chair and started walking around the apartment. Not just taking a few steps and falling. But walking all over the apartment with her arms way up over her head and her hands flapping. "Look Mama, no hands!!!!" We shrieked and screamed and she giggled and then the Steelers won.

Since then she does it just a bit more every day. Wednesday was one of those wonderful sneak peek of Spring days. Very warm. We went to the park and for the first time she toddled around the playground by herself. This part, however, was terrifying. She is so small. She seems so much smaller than all of those boys who zoom around the playground, whacking each other and yelling things about pirate ships and Batman. She wants to stand at the bottom of the slide and watch them come flying down. Which I have tried to reason with her is not a very good idea. That reasoning didn't go over so well. There were many small fits pitched when I removed her from one hazard or another. I remembered how everyone said to me, "You're lucky she's not walking." I pretty much knew that was true at the time. Now I really do. But I'm still glad she's doing it.

There was this one sweet faced boy at one of the playgrounds who she kept smiling at. And then he would smile at her. She didn't talk to him, but they did look at each other for quite a while. I started imagining that they would meet up again in college. They'd fall in love and some late night over pizza they'd realize they lived two blocks from each other when he was three and she was one. Until his mother left her job at Columbia and they moved to Boston. They'd wonder if they ever passed each other in their strollers or if they saw each other on the playground. There's that line in one of those John Mayer love songs (I'm kinda a sucker for John Mayer) "I could have met you in a sandbox. I could have passed you on the sidewalk."

My husband and I have had this conversation. I lived in Lexington, MA for several years and he has cousins there whom they visited all the time. "I could have met you by the Minute Man. I could have passed you at the Burlington Mall..."

So I'm looking at this sweet faced kid and thinking about all of this. And then he did finally open his mouth. And I'm not even sure what he said, but it was totally weird. He sounded like a frog and suddenly seemed a little creepy.

And I thought, that's okay. She doesn't have to marry this one.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Rev. Harry J Colver, Jr. August 30, 1910 - January 26, 2009

A Tribute to My Grandfather:

On the morning of Sunday January 18, 2009, my grandfather suffered a severe stroke. When it happened, he was shoveling the driveway so he could get the Sunday paper. On that snowy Sunday morning, he was 98 years, four months and twenty days old. And may I say, his wasn’t just a short, level little slab of asphalt. His was a steep—precipitously steep—long (even for those of us many years his junior)—backbreakingly long—driveway. I wouldn’t have wanted to shovel it. Especially not if I could see that my neighbor was out shoveling his driveway, and I knew that in twenty minutes or so that neighbor would be over to shovel mine, as was the case that day. But I am not Poppop. And I daresay no one else is either.

I had the great privilege of knowing my grandfather for 39 years. I am aware of how rare and how lucky that is. But that almost 40 years was just a fraction of his long and extremely productive life. He said to me quite recently, “When you get to be as old as I am, so much of life just seems like a dream.” I suppose this is no wonder.

Harry James Colver, Jr. was born on August 30, 1910 in Philadelphia, PA, the second of three sons born to Harry J. Colver Sr. and Laura Stetler Colver. The April before he was born, Halley’s Comet was visible from Earth, and though the Model T had been introduced two years earlier, most Americans still traveled via horse and buggy.

My Grandfather was two when the Titanic sunk and seven when the U.S. entered the First World War. He was ten years old and already working hard at his father’s feed mill business in Boyertown, PA with his brothers Erve and Don, when the first radio stations were set up in the U.S. He often recalled standing atop the big mill water wheel, riding it down, and leaping off just before it plunged into the stream.

When the stock market crashed…the big stock market crash in 1929 (he would weather several others after), he was working his way through Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina. He told us stories about how he’d attend school one year, then take the next year off to drive the feed delivery truck all over the Pennsylvania Area, from Boyertown to Philadelphia and back again, to earn enough money for next year’s tuition. He regaled us with his ventures on the basketball court and the soccer field at Catawba. He earned a varsity letter there. He traded it for a raincoat.

My grandfather attended Lancaster Theological Seminary in Lancaster, PA and was ordained in 1937, the year Roosevelt was sworn in for a second term and Amelia Earhart disappeared over New Guinea.

He and my grandmother were married on October 28, 1939 and began 69 years of marriage by riding down the main street of Stroudsburg in a horse-drawn carriage with a hand-lettered sign perched on top, reading, “Just leaving on life’s tour…A Little Slow but Happy! “ They made quite a scene, the carriage adorned with streamers, the driver bespectacled and top-hatted, townspeople hanging out of windows and hooting. Much to my surprise, I have learned that my grandfather thought this was something unbecoming for a young, upstanding minister. They had their first and only child, my mother, several years later.

Poppop did his earliest pastoring at St. Peter’s Evangelical and Reform Church in Allentown PA where he served from 1937 to 1941. And as the United States entered the Second World War in 1941, my grandfather began what would be a thirty-four year tenure at First Evangelical and Reformed Church, later called First UCC Church in Bethlehem. Poppop always just called it “First Church.” He served this church on the South Side of Bethlehem during the height of the steel era. While there, he would oversee a membership of nearly 700, three choirs, an active youth program and a yearly Easter Sunday service renowned in the area for its giant cross of lilies, accessible and entertaining sermons, and remarkable music.

During the nineteen fifties, my grandfather was elected President of the Bethlehem School Board and hosted his own radio show, “Religion of the Air.” In 1955 he traveled to Europe with 65 cows as a part of the Heifer Project, to aid farmers in post-war Germany. Though at the time he was leading a large, urban church, his heart always remained with farmers. He was accompanied in Europe by his friend and fellow minister, Clarence Moatz. Ever a great fisherman, Poppop frequently told us of Canadian fishing trips with Clarence. He and Clarence would pick a stream in Ontario, drive up in a day, pitch a tent, fish for a few days and then return home to Pennsylvania with a cooler full of fish the size of watermelons.

In 1965 he was appointed chaplain of the State Senate of Pennsylvania. Two years after he married my parents and one year before he baptized me, Poppop saw men walk on the moon.

He “retired”, and I put that in quotes, in 1975. I was five years old.

This began another thirty years of interim ministry, first in the Lehigh Valley and then in Central Pennsylvania after my grandfather and grandmother moved to Lewisburg in the early 1980s. He and my grandmother served churches in Spring Mills, Pillow, Freeburg, Herndon, Rebuck, Sunbury, Mifflinburg, and Milton, to name a few. Though he achieved his greatest success in a large church, his love, particularly in his later years, was in serving the small country churches where he said he could throw in his trout line during the prelude, check it during the offertory, and pull it up right after the benediction.

During his many decades of ministry, he preached fifty consecutive Easter Sunday services.

He presided over countless weddings including mine when he was 85 and my brother’s when he was 89, and he baptized scores of babies including my mother, myself, my brother Wes, and in 2007 at the age of 97, my daughter Cate.

In 2003, squarely in the center of the digital age, my grandfather was honored by St. John’s United Church of Christ in Milton, PA for sixty-five years in the ministry. When asked by a reporter for the secret to his years of service and dedication he responded, “I never felt that I worked. It’s been fun all the way through.” My grandfather did what he loved, and he loved what he did. He loved talking to people. My grandfather could make conversation with a fence post. He loved becoming a part of people’s lives and learning about their kids and grandkids. He loved inviting them down to the cabin in Virginia to fish for flounder, crab and rake clams. He loved being part of a community. And he loved being a minister.

Poppop preached in illustrations, aphorisms, and stories. My mother and grandmother can recite most of them by heart. But I remember in particular, one little saying he included in his again, quote, “retirement” address. It went like this “I was looking back to see if you was looking back to see if I was looking back to look at you.” I have no idea what the context was, and honestly I remember nothing else from the speech, but this phrase stuck with me. I liked the way it sounded, of course. But more than that, I was puzzled by it. As I tried to work it through in my mind, I created a mental image of two people on a roller coaster, one in front of the other. If “I was looking back,” (i.e. looking over my shoulder), “to see if you was looking back,” then you, logically, must have been sitting behind me. But if “I was looking back to see if you was looking back to see if I was looking back”….how could that be? How could you be looking over your shoulder to see me if I was sitting in front of you? What it took me, I am embarrassed to say, literally years to realize is that the two people in this little saying are walking away from one another. “I was looking back to see if you was looking back to see if I was looking back to look at you.” Which, given that this was a quote in a retirement speech, makes sense.

The irony of this is, of course, that my grandfather NEVER looked back. I think it was one of the primary keys to his remarkable health and longevity. That and the willingness to make frequent trips to the doctor. Though he could walk into the kitchen with a fish hook squarely through his finger and just show it to you like it was an oddity and maybe even a little bit funny, he had no reluctance whatsoever about frequent visits to the doctor. He was a lesson in preventative medicine.

But my Poppop was also the most forward-thinking person I have ever known. An avid and genius gardener, the tomatoes he had planted on his sun porch were up two inches and the beds around his driveway had just been rebuilt for spring planting, when he passed. He walked forward through life with no regrets about the past, never second-guessing his choices, steadily welcoming tomorrow. I am trying to learn this from him. When Poppop did look back, it was primarily to revel. To tell and retell stories from his remarkable past, and to ensure that those he had valued still remained fresh in his, and our, minds. Perhaps the notion of that phrase that stuck with me, “I was looking back to see if you was looking back…” was that though we may walk away from one another, we will always look back to keep an eye on those that mattered. And they, God-willing, will be looking back at us.

When I walk away from Lewisburg, and head back to New York City I will look back. I always look back. But I will also go home to my small apartment, get out the pots and the potting soil, place them under the window, and plant my tomatoes for the spring.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day 2009


I love it that even on the day the world changes, I still have to scrape chicken mush off the splat mat.

Friday, January 16, 2009

A Proud Moment

So little bean is obsessed with electronics, but she's almost equally as obsessed with the cat. And the cat's water bowl. Any chance she gets she's splashing in it.

So yesterday she's playing with the magnetic letters and numbers on the fridge while I'm making a quiche (spinach, tomato and shallots and very very yummy). Before I know it, the baby has grabbed the number 8 magnet, is crawling like a maniac toward the water bowl, and dunking it in. I grab her, emphasize very firmly that we do not dunk the number 8 in the cat bowl, and place her back down on the floor next to the fridge.

Seconds later...I look down...

And she's licking the water off the number 8.

I'm so proud.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Bouncing Remote, Baby TV, and Why Doesn't My 17 Month Old Walk...

So I just had this memory. Five minutes ago I was sitting on the couch, remote balanced on my tummy, watching some Primetime hidden camera special (there is seriously nothing on TV tonight). Suddenly, I got a little abdominal muscle twitch and the remote started to bounce up and down. And I had this memory...

When I was pregnant the same thing happened. I had the remote on my ever-growing stomach, and suddenly the baby kicked and the remote bobbed over my belly like a boat on a stormy sea (appropriate image given my nonstop "morning" sickness - did I mention I puked on every major holiday from Christmas to St. Patty's Day that year? More than once on most of them?). But when it happened the first time, it was so surprising and delightful that I was absolutely transfixed. Doc hubby and I sat on the sofa, watched the remote bob up and down, and giggled and gawked.

I remember people talking about this concept of "Baby TV"...that when your baby is born you are so totally mesmerized by her that you just sit for hours and watch her little face like TV. This seemed not only inconceivable to me...but honestly, totally boring. I figured, you know, you love your kid and all, but to stare at her for hours? Really?

So then I got pregnant, and then the remote started flopping around on my belly, and then I found myself staring at that for maybe not hours, but certainly long minutes on end. And I thought to myself, "if I spend this much time watching a small, battery-powered device bobbing on my belly....maybe that whole idea of baby TV isn't so far off base.

The baby took two steps today. On her own. I haven't written much about this...my 17 month old doesn't walk on her own, and while it kinda freaks me out, she has her crazy strengths and I just think we're all geniuses in our own way and walking early isn't her way. But I have been embarrassed to take her to music class or on playdates lately because I'm afraid people will look at me funny and tell me I need to have her checked out. My mom is an early childhood specialist. So I have kind of had her checked out. And she cruises like a champ and walks with a walker all the time and walks holding on to only one of my fingers. I feel in my heart that she's fine. She's just cautious and she lives in a really small apartment and she doesn't like to fall down. I'm all those things too. I get it. We have many of the same other strengths and so I appreciate her. I said to my friend Katie the other day, "well she still isn't walking..." and Katie said, "yeah but she's writing her memoirs, isn't she?" Which is sorta true. She also hits herself in the head when she gets mad. See I'm afraid even to write this because I fear I'll get all kinds of comments from people saying "Yeah my kid didn't walk and hit herself in the head when she got mad and she went crazy and lives in a yurt and I never see her..." Or much worse. Yurts are pretty green and all. I could get behind a yurt...

Anyway, when she took the two steps I totally started to cry. I was ridiculously proud of her. And she sort of didn't seem to notice that she did it. She immediately fell and she didn't like that at all. And she was transfixed by her bottle and "Pinky Dinky Doo" (yes I also let my 17 month old watch some TV...more comments here we come...). I think that's why it happened, honestly. She's just her own schedule and her own person and all that makes me a little weepy.

Because she used to just be a remote bouncing around on my belly.