Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bits n Pieces

Was a bit busy getting ready for Thanksgiving which turned into a luxuriously lethargic weekend following the feast.  And, if you've ever read my blog, you know how I go for the lazy.

Although I was the official host of my side of the family's Thanksgiving, hardly anyone could make it due to several constraints.  But my brother made it with my sister-in-law and niece who just got engaged so her fiance joined in as well.  As did my cousin's daughter and her family.  Her side of the family is out west so we were happy to have them.  Small but mighty we were.  My niece studied culinary arts so after we did the Gobble Wobble (a 5k T Day morning race), we headed back to make the feast.  Basically, I just did what I was told and drank wine which worked out well.

Great thing about not having visitors, is not having them in your house.  The day after Thanksgiving, I found myself alone with my family.  We didn't have to travel anywhere and we didn't have to entertain anyone.  It's a rarity for us to be alone on Thanksgiving weekend.  So we went to the movies -- we saw Tangled.  I give it an "eh."  Not the best Disney flick and certainly not the worst. 

Friday was a bit of a gift because Brian was going to spend the day (with our only car) in Trenton, NJ, trying to buy us a second car.  See, and I can't remember if I posted about this before, my car got totalled in an accident in early August.

I'm fine and it wasn't my fault at all.  I was driving home from Old City around midnight, minding my own business when a car ran into the driver's side front end (according to the police he made an illegal left and ignored a steady red).  All very sudden.  My side airbag deployed.  Well, not so much deployed as fell out of its casing.  Luckily, I wasn't hurt and even more luckily, 2 policemen saw the accident.  It was a bit scary because I was alone.  Brian had to come down and get me and wait with me for the tow truck which took so long I had to pee behind a statue because there were no nearby loos.  Don't tell anyone will you?

We had to get a new car because of the frickin' air bag.  The insurance company will total your car because an airbag is so expensive to replace.  So we got a new car the day before Thanksgiving.  A smaller car than my last one (which was a station wagon).  The funny (odd not ha ha) thing was I had been thinking just a couple of days before the accident that "as soon as we finish with this station wagon, we're going to get a smaller car and save on gas."  I guess someone heard me.  Still getting used to a smaller car.  I'm a bit worried about road trips but as Brian pointed out, "we'll just take less stuff."

That's pretty much what I've been up to.  Oh one last thing...James Franco and Anne Hathaway hosting the Oscars?  Really?  They don't have any personality yet.  And I don't even think they are stage actors which helps enormously if you're going to be on Stage for an entire evening.  I know what you're going to say: Well, don't watch them.  But that really isn't in my DNA.  Although, I have not been much of a movie goer this season.  I did see Howl with James Franco and it was good and will probably assist in getting him a Best Actor nod for 127 Hours (the Academy loves breadth of work although they don't always recognize it).  None of the movies have really inspired me to get off my lazy ass and go see them.  But I am trying to buck that trend and will be going to see Stone (tonight hopefully).  It's certainly no Oscar contender but Edward Norton is in it.  (SIGH!)  Now, he could host the Oscars and I wouldn't complain, hell, he could read from the phone book and I'd buy a front row seat.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Theme Thursday: FOOD

I cannot wait to eat off the buffet of blog posts about food.  It's EVERYWHERE!  I mean, I love food.  I eat it every day.  And, so much is being written about it nowadays.  Everyone seems to be heading toward the locovore, slow-food, grass-fed movement.  I try, I really do but have you seen the prices lately?  And, I'm not just talking about arugula.  So please, don't yell at me that my ground beef isn't always from cows that have been grass-fed and put to bed each night with a story.  And, okay, I'll admit it, I have bleach in my house!  I need to whiten my tablecloths for Thanksgiving.  I know it's bad, I'm sorry.  Oh, oops, got carried away there for a moment, Catholic guilt and all.  But can I just mention, real quick, that I mostly clean with vinegar?

Vinegar reminds me of one of my sisters because she can't stand it.  When we were young, if she had to pass the salad dressing, she would wrap it in a napkin so she wouldn't get any on her.  To this day she eats her salad without any dressing.  And if you think that's odd, you have not met my family - home of the pickiest eaters on the planet.  Several family members do not eat cheese of any type.  My brother never has and never will eat pizza.  Who doesn't eat pizza?

This same brother though, only ate one type of peanut butter growing up.  Grand Union brand peanut butter in the five gallon buckets.  But they had to be red buckets.  Side note:  the empty peanut butter buckets came in handy as holders of large amounts of spaghetti sauce or as personal puke buckets, you know, whatever.  One day, my mother brought home Grand Union peanut butter in a yellow bucket and my brother said it tasted bad.  So now you know what my poor mother had to deal with.

7 kids and 1 husband: all picky.  It's no wonder that we had the same meals every week.  One time my mother made pea soup and none of us liked it so she sent all of us to bed without supper.  Go mom!  She did some odd things though as well.  On spaghetti night, we all had half a grapefruit, don't ask me why.  To this day, I always associate grapefruit and spaghetti.

I'm surprised I'm not as picky as I once was but I attribute that to Brian, who likes food and will try anything, even jelly fish.  And to Clara, my daughter.  When Clara was born, I wasn't one of those overly busy, frantic parents.  I mean, she slept all the time, what was I going to do?  I didn't have a car which was probably lucky because I didn't go out and spend lots of money.  The closest store to me was a grocery store so I'd stroller Clara over and buy food and make dinner.

I almost raise a picky eater though.  For some reason, and I can't fathom why, I started, all of a sudden, making Clara a separate dinner from what Brian and I ate.  As we all know, this is stupid because it creates picky eaters.  We had a time changing that pattern but eventually we did.  Now, both our kids eat a lot or at least try a lot of different food.  Even sushi.  Sushi was difficult at first but they both started to like it after they spent the day making it with dad.  They say the way to get kids to like food is to have them make it.  So I guess, They were right.

The first time I had sushi was in Baltimore on a date.  I was living there in a previous life and went out with this guy from work who told a friend of mine he was smitten with me.  I can't remember his name.  He took me to sushi because I had never had it and he insisted that I would love it.  I don't know if I did love it or not.  I think it was an acquired taste for me.  After dinner, we went back to his apartment and smoked pot and listened to the Grateful Dead.  We sat there and over a long interval he explained how awesome the Dead were at playing their own thing for a while (listen, listen, listen) and then coming back together at the same time.  We didn't have a second date.

Oh, in case you were wondering, I didn't inhale.  But I hear that pot causes munchies which is so funny because weren't we just talking about food?  Happy Theme Thursday Everyone!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Forget Me Nots

The other night, it was cocktail night if you must know....wait, now before I begin, I must say it was the beginning of cocktail night.  Because, well, I'll tell you the story and then I'll tell you why.

When I say the beginning, I mean, drinks had just been poured.  So Brian and I are discussing Kevin Costner for some reason.  Not my favorite actor by any stretch of the imagination.  Hang on, now I know why we were discussing him:  I was telling my mom (when I was up in Vermont) about the movie The Upside of Anger (great flick with Kevin Costner and Joan Allen), but please don't ask me why I was talking to my mom about it; that's just too much remembering.

Anyway, Brian and I were discussing which Kevin Costner films we like and I said, "I like him in that film..." for the life of me I couldn't remember what the name of the film was.  And Brian says, "Yeah, I know, the film where he's dead?  I can't think of it either.

There we were, finishing each other's thoughts and forgetting the name of the same film.  If that isn't love?  Or two people who've spent a lot of time together...

In case you're racking your brains right now, the film was The Big Chill.

One of my favorite movie lines of all times comes from that film:

Karen You'll never get this many people to come to my funeral
Michael Oh Karen, I'll come.  And you know... I'll bring a date.

So the reason I insist of saying that it was at the beginning of cocktail night is because at the end of cocktail night we tend to forget things.  Sometimes, the next day I'll say:  Hey, what was that thing we wanted to look up last night?  And Brian says:  We wanted to look something up last night?   And I say:   Didn't we

And no, it's not because we were snockered the night before.  It has more to do with the fact that as we get older, alcohol and tiredness affects us such that....well, I don't have to tell you do I?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ramblings and Repetitions

Last week, I drove up to Vermont to spend a couple of days with my mom.  She has Alzheimer's.  She still lives by herself but can't drive any more.  She relies on friends to bring her to church and my sister-in-law to take her to appointments and shopping.  People are busy with their lives though and she doesn't get out much and is quite bored; she tells me so all the time.

So I went up by myself so I could focus on her for a bit and she'd have a little company.  We did go to the movies:  RED and Morning Glory.  She didn't love either of them saying at the end of the second movie: They just don't make them like they used to.  Too true.

One morning we were imprisoned in the house waiting for the Cable Guy.  My mom doesn't have cable, never did.  Growing up the refrain was: I will never pay for television.  Alzheimer's has mellowed her and we told her we (the kids) were paying for it so she can watch all those old, good movies.  Surprisingly, she agreed.  While waiting, I thought how she is rather like a toddler.  She repeats herself the way a young child wants to play the same monotonous game over and over.  Also, because she is bored, she really enjoyed having someone to talk to; she almost demanded attention. 

I, immediately, felt guilty for thinking this.  And felt even more guilty when I had to return home and leave her to her boredom.  I feel guilty and helpless because I don't know what to do to alleviate her condition.  I'm cranky and intolerant of other people (more so than usual) because I don't know how to negotiate this new terrain.

Returning home, and hanging out with my own children, I feel worried about my future and their future.  My mom did a lot with her life:  raised 7 kids, returned to school to get her MLS, worked, traveled, volunteered (and that's just a small hit list).  I want to model a fully realized life for my children but how do I do that?  And yet a part of me wants to just hide my head in the sand.  Staring mortality in the face, my flight-or-fight instincts are working overtime; I wonder who will win.

I have no point to this post but wanted to share because I'm sure I'll be writing about this more.  I guess you could say that this subject, like the rest of my life, is a work in progress.

Friday, November 5, 2010

There is Superstition...

Brian and I were at a party a couple of weeks ago talking with another couple about baseball (this was before the Phillies failure to make it to the series).  We told this guy that we couldn't watch the Phillies play because every time we did, they lost.  In all seriousness, the guy said, "You know, whether or not the Phillies lose has nothing to do with you watching the game."

Well, duh, but we weren't going to take any chances.

Superstitions are funny, and sports (baseball in particular) is riddled with them:
  • The curse of the Bambino
  • No mentioning "it" when a pitcher is on his way to a no-hitter
  • The William Penn curse
  • The Sports Illustrated jinx
Not to mention of course the players personal superstitions including: bat smelling, chicken eating, beard growing, special shorts wearing, etc.

I have to admit, while I'm not a professional sports player (bet you didn't know that), I have my own superstitions which in the clear light day are obviously ridiculous. 

My silliest superstition is about my earrings.  I swear that if I wear certain earrings, I'll have a bad day.  Don't!  I know what you are thinking.  But I have hard-core, well-researched, anecdotal evidence!  It seems that every time I wear certain earrings, my day goes south.  Sometimes, I'll forget what pair I've put on, my day will be rocky, I'll look in the mirror and Voila!  Bad earrings!  I don't know how you can argue with that. 

I do have to get over it though because Brian gives me most of my earrings and I don't want to offend him by suggesting he is somehow the orchestrator of my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad days. 

Now who's up for sharing their superstitions?  Unless of course, I lost you at bad earrings.

Oh, and, in case you were wondering, we tried not to watch the Phillies play but ended up in a bar when the game was on.  They were up by 2 runs and in the time it took us to drink a beer, the Giants pulled ahead by 2.  So I guess I won't be watching baseball next summer.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My "Ah Ha" Moment

Yet one more post in my "Laziness" series.  I'd write a book, but who has time?

It isn't a huge "Oprah Ah Ha" moment where I figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life; paint road signs, save the armadillos.  Unfortunately, it is the Ah Ha moment when I realized why I have trouble getting lots of stuff done even though I have tons of free time.

I discovered it in bed yesterday morning when the alarm went off.  My choices were to sleep an extra half hour, or get up, get breakfast and go for a run before I had to meet a friend for lunch.  Well, let's just guess what I picked?

See, my problem is getting out of bed in the morning.  Once I do, I'm fine (after coffee of course) but it's the actual, physical act of getting up that makes things difficult.  And that translates into the rest of my day because I have an actual, difficult time of starting anything... at all.  Once I start a project, I'm good, I'm into it.  It's the starting that's difficult. 

I had friend, a few years ago, who used to run in the morning with a group.  She told me that she regretted joining the group the first few times the alarm went off at 5:30 am, but then she got used to it. In fact, she started waking up before the alarm went off. 

So I tried it; getting up early to run.  Except that it didn't work out so well for me.  When I knew I had to get up the next day, one of two things happened:
  • I would try to go to sleep at 3 in the afternoon because "Oh my God, I have to get up soon!" or
  • I would go to bed at a reasonable time and think, "Sleep, Now!"  "Okay, sleep now!"  "Right now!"
I've been working on it lately.  But I've found that if I've run, and shopped, and perhaps done some yard work then well, I need a break so I play Spider Solitaire, then check Facebook, then look up Meet Up groups online that I'll never join, then...well, then it's a crap shoot.  But dinner getting made doesn't look good.

I am getting better at starting stuff (and even finishing) but I can't start too many things in one day before my lazy self takes over and says, "Really, but we've worked so hard, why do we have do that as well?"

I've met women who get up and run 10 miles, get their children up, get everyone off to school, go to a full-time job, put dinner on the table and write a best-selling novel in their spare time.  But I'm not friends with them.

It's not that they are not nice; truly they are the nicest people in the world.  But it's like hitting your head against a concrete wall, you know?  I will feel bad just thinking about how much they accomplish.  Seriously, thinking about how much they do in one day just make me want to go back to bed.