free hit counter Snacks, please!: February 2008

Friday, February 29, 2008

A good cause

Dear four faithful readers,

This is my niece Mollie.

(It's hard to tell here -- but all of the girls actually love her. Really!)

She is not selling Samoas, sorry. But she is raising money for the March of Dimes. Basically, how it works is, her sponsors promise to give a specific amount of money for each book that she reads. (She expects to read 10 or 15.)

March of Dimes is not Jerry Lewis' personal pension fund! It aims to prevent prematurity and birth defects. I will not give you my own tale of woe because, frankly, it's not really so very affecting -- compared to this. If the sight of Simone's sealed eyes and sparrow legs don't move you, well... you are a bit out of touch with your feelings.

Anyhoo, if the four of you are so inclined, let me know.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Calling all iPeople!

Look what I got!!

And now I need to put music on it. Running music! (That is, music that I can run to.) So, what do you all recommend? Back in the day, when I last ran to music, I liked a little ABBA. Okay. Stop.

Full confession: I don't claim to have good taste in music. All of you people who listen to Cutie Monkeys or Death Cabs to the Arctic or whatever else has replaced Ben Folds Five for cool white people these days... I laugh at you and your pretentious listening habits. Like this: Ha ha.

(Speaking of white people, you simply must look at this website, if you haven't already. And, speaking of the self-conscious Five, I did pretend to like them, like 10 years ago, and I even saw them in concert! Small venue, of course. But truthfully, I think it's just a whole lot of whining and get over it already.)

A little respect? You know, by Erasure. A good one for running? I do love me some bad music from the 80s. (In seventh-grade, our class took a public vote: Culture Club or Duran Duran. I knew that DD was much more coolio, but truthfully, I did really like the former George O'Dowd. So I abstained.) Some of the 70s might do too. I want you to want me, for example. Still, I'm probably more of a Bon Jovi than BTO gal.

Oh! Oh! I Don't Want Your Freedom!

There may have been a short window in 1994 when I was a little more cutting edge. I had Meat Puppets and Poi Dog, and Lyle Lovett seemed a little more art school before he married Julia. I had lots of Lilith Fair kind of stuff, long before the teenage lesbians in white wife-beaters were screaming her name. (Oh boy, do I have a story about Lillith Fair and the women's bathroom! But that's for another day.) And I have always liked U2, from the very very start. Although I'm mostly over Larry Mullins, Jr. And they've never stopped being cool.

Don't Stop Believing!

I also like music that many of the coolest 10-year-old's like. Kanye's Gold Digger, for example. A must-have, no? And I like that paralyzed song, whoever it is. Good for running, I think! And I do like country music -- and not just Lyle and Willie and all the small-chested, sequin-free women, but the crappy cowboy hats too. I can't see running to it though. (I can almost hear Bird's sigh of relief from here.)

Radiohead! Ha. Just kidding.

Good for running, in my opinion, should be peppy (the Go-Gos, maybe?), motivating (Kanye's Stronger, perhaps?), or evocative. That last one is harder for others to recommend. Since not everybody spent every Friday night 1990-1993 at the Irish Times on Capitol Hill, not everybody is going to hear, "Come on out and dance. Come on out and make romance," and lose their spot for a few minutes.

Anyway, I need your help.

P.S. I do have good taste in books. I do believe John Banville is the greatest living writer -- and not just because he's Irish. I read the New Yorker, all of it! And I just finished Paul Theroux's latest book. (Has anybody warned the Indian tourist board about that??) What I'm saying is, while I might aspire to be Queen of the Desert, I am not a total Philistine, thankyouverymuch.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Happy birthday, babies!

A belated happy birthday to the babies! (It's taken me forever to get my act together this week...) On Saturday, Margaret and Josephine celebrated a whole year on the outside. They are not zero anymore, as Lucy likes to say.

"But why?"

Because they've been alive for a whole year!

"Did you ever think you'd get to this day?" asks Auntie Pamela.

Well, yes! To think otherwise would have been... not me. But they sure have come a long way. This is Margaret, back in the day, on oxygen support, with a big heaving pit in her chest.

And this is my little Josephinie, back when the special preemie pacifier was nearly as big as her face. Look at her skinny legs! She was like a little alien, come to see us on a special flying carpet that not only transports babies, but fixes their jaundice too.

And here they are at their birthday party!

Today, Margaret weighs 21 pounds. Without adjusting her age, she hits the 50-75th percentile for weight and height. Hello, Chubchub! My little Phinie weighs 17 and a half. That's... well, it's the 3rd percentile. But she's feisty!

The animal Margaret is most like: A Duck. (But a smart friendly one, which I know is not the most representative paddler.) She waddles around -- with a fat hand on her little walking accessories -- and then throws herself headfirst over the stuff in her way. You see her legs waving in the air, like a mallard diving for bugs, and then... whoomps! She's up again, with a big gap-toothed smile. She tries to talk. But she doesn't make any sense. And she tries to eat with a fork and spoon. And she tries to steal Lucy's stuff.

"Maaar-ga-RET! Stop!"

"Lulu! Why are you always yelling at Margaret?"

She is a tad dramatic. When she falls, she wails like the banshee. She also likes to shake her tushie and do that white-girl seat dancing thing. She's funny. She slaps her belly in the bathtub and laughs.

Here's the animal Josephine is most like: A monkey. For sure. When you pick her up out of her crib, she springs up -- and the momentum makes her feel even lighter than she really is. Then she's very likely to nip your shoulder. (I don't know what that's about.) And she clings so tightly, like a little tamarin!

She loves games! "I'm here! I'm here!" she shouts, as she throws blankets over her head and off. Giggle, giggle. And she's a splashing fiend in the tub. We're going to get moldy floors, baby! She's crazy about David. (I don't know what that's about either!) And green Jello. Everything about her is a little edgier than Margaret -- her giggles are more gleeful; her squeezes are more sweet; and her rages are little more fierce.

They both like books, but Josephine eats up The Very Hungry Caterpillar. She likes to poke her little fingers through the hole in the chocolate cake. I like to sing, "Josephinie! My little Queenie!" And now Lucy sings, "Josie! My little Queenie!" which doesn't actually rhyme, but still is very sweet.

They're really delightful little people.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

You are what you eat.

Many years ago, I had breakfast with a hostile school superintendent at an ungodly hour and this is what she ate: "One order of extra-crispy bacon and a small glass of grapefruit juice." A nut, right? It's totally obvious.

So I'm delighted to read Slate's story about Hillary Clinton's eating habits because I completely agree with "French gourmand Jean Antheleme Brillat-Savarin, who in his 1825 work, The Physiology of Taste, wrote, 'Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.'" Turns out Hillary snacks on Boca Burgers (ugh), but also enjoys Middle Eastern food. (A good sign for the Jews?)

So, a little insight into the Snacksplease family:

Mr. David likes Edy's rocky road ice cream -- every night. Self-indulgent? Nutty? You be the judge.

Lucylu likes, no, actually loves dried cranberries, black olives, and chocolate chips. Note the significant absence of any protein (although she does like salami...) I think this means she will be a modern dancer when she grows up.

Margaret likes anything that anybody else is eating. A future journalist? Nah, maybe a lawyer. Aiee! A small state governor!

Josephine likes cookies. She will be a leprechaun.

The Opie likes Oreos specifically. She eats them for breakfast and snacks. In fact, last week, she knocked back a whole pound of them. She also likes Stouffer's French Bread Pepperoni Pizza. What does this mean? It means America is Great!

And me? I've been on a whole-milk plain yogurt kick lately, which feels both indulgent and virtuous at the same time. I'm loving parsnips. And Irish cheddar. And grapefruit. But because I sneer at self-analysis I leave the conclusions to you.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

From police files

Date: 20 February 2008
Time: 06:17

Investigating Officer: Sgt. Sean Malarkey
Case Number: 01-00777

Agency: Arlington County Police Department

At 06:14, I was dispatched to the vicinity of Lee-Harrison, in response to a 311 citizen call, reporting an unknown white female, age between 30 and 40, acting erratically. (Response time, est. 3 minutes, v. good.) I found the subject shuffling along the north side of the street, muttering to herself and wearing excessive numbers of fluorescent arm bands. Subject carried no identification, but also was wearing T-shirt that said, "Hartford's Hooker Day Parade 1993." (Note to self: Checked warrants. None pending.)

Subject was extremely red-faced, but no apparent signs of drug use. Attempted to calm subject, but she said, "Can't stop! Leprechauns leap!" At that time, I determined subject posed possible danger to herself and others, and called for transport to VHC. Transferred custody to medics for mental health evaluation.

Probable cause: No charges pending.

(Editor's note: In truth, Auntie Pamela and I are doing fabulously! We're up to 2.5 miles -- including hills! She wants us to register for the 8K Leprechauns Leaps in three weeks. I think that's a little ambitious myself, but we shall see.)

And then it pooped.

Overheard at the zoo on Monday:

"What kind of animal is that?" asks a well-dressed mommy.
"A zebra!" her preschooler answers confidently.
"Yes. But what kind of zebra*?"

Meanwhile, we're the parents who say, "Oh, the zebra! Lulu! Remember when it pooped in front of us? I wonder if it'll poop again today." Wait. Wait. Wait. "Well, maybe not. Maybe it didn't eat all of its hay."


While I'm writing about the zoo...
David asked Lucy, "Do you think chimpanzees look a little like people?"
"Um," she considers. "Yeah. Maybe like daddies."

(*Oh, you sad people! Your children will never go Ivy! The National Zoo has a pair of Grevy's zebras from Northern Kenya. My advice to you is, before you make ignorant babies, get on the decade-long waiting list for a good preschool, hire a nanny who speaks at least two other languages, start saving money to build a new dorm at Harvard, and begin planning a service-learning project that will stop the genocide in Darfur.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Thankfully, he eats veal too.

My post-Valentine's Day post...

There was a recent story in the NYTimes that started like this:

"SOME relationships run aground on the perilous shoals of money, sex or religion. When Shauna James’s new romance hit the rocks, the culprit was wheat. 'I went out with one guy who said I seemed really great but he liked bread too much to date me,' said Ms. James, 41, a writer in Seattle who cannot eat gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye."

Sadly, I completely agree.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dr. Lucy

I was surfing yesterday when Lucy sidled up and asked, "Whatta you doin'?" Well, I told her, I have a friend who is sick and I was thinking that maybe he'd like to eat some non-hospital food. "Does he have a beaver?" she asked. "I don't think so!" I said. "Beavers aren't allowed in the hospital. They make a mess in the sinks."

With great patience, she explained to me that a beaver is like a teeny-tiny tube that comes out of a machine in the hospital and goes up to your nose. "Like Josephine had one, and Margaret, when she was a baby, but not me."

They help you beave.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Mean Mary Ellen

This is the au pair and this is my sad story of working for a woman who thinks I should limit myself to 250 cell-phone minutes a month.

Last week, Mary Ellen made me cry. Here she comes, sashaying through the door (dressed far too casually for office work, in my opinion), after 8 hours of... what does she do? I have no idea, but I know it doesn't involve baby poop. (Editor -- It does however, involve a whole lot of bullshit...) And this is what she tells me, "I don't want to come home from work and wash your lunch dishes or pick hot dogs off the floor."

And then she says, "Can you work on that?"

Unbelievable! So I went to Starbucks, of course. (Without doing my lunch dishes.) And when I came back, I think she had been drinking. (Editor -- That is true.) I ask her, "What are my obligations here?" Well, the more she says, the worse it gets! She says she is not demanding. (A joke? I don't understand the humor in this country.) But then she says, and I must think this is the booze talking, "I don't want to do your work."

I cried, of course. But do you think she brought me a Kleenex? No! She walked out of the room! So, fine. I come from a country where the people have suffered a great deal and I know how to make like the martyr. (Editor -- Whaa? You're Italian?!) She should not think that she can console me with Oreo cookies, hazelnut coffee and Valentine's Day chocolates. (Editor -- So that's the price of clean dishes. A bargain, I think!)

Monday, February 11, 2008

For my veggie friend

I have lots to write about -- Barry Manilow! Making the au pair cry...
But, for now, a quick Ode to My Red-Haired Friend.

I can be your friend! I can be your friend!
If your hair is RED or yellow,
we can have lunch,
I'll share my Jello!
I can be your friend!

This is actually from Veggie Tales, a crazy Christian show that Lulu brought home from the library on Friday. There's a whole song about lips, sang by a tomato to his veggie psychiatrist. (He kissed his Aunt Ruth and she had a beard!) And there's another bizarro episode where the cucumber loses his hair brush, sings sadly about it (while wearing just a wisp of a towel), and then finds out that he doesn't even have hair. How unfair!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Sorry, Tom. I'm back!

For several years, I served as founder and chief instigator of a Tom Hanks movie boycott. You might not have heard of it, but it actually was pretty successful. (Can you name his biggest hit of 2006? Hm? Well, it was Cars, which was a pretty big one, but you don't actually see him in it! Proof that I have great powers.)

Anyway, it could have been an even more successful campaign if I had a media budget or an articulated position. (Betcha Mitt Romney says the same thing. Ha.) In any case, last year I realized I was all wrong about Tom Hanks. It was Tom Cruise who I really don't like. What a nut!

Possible catch-phrases:

Stay home! Your Cruise has been canceled!

Turn off the Cruise control!

I am not embarrassed about my time spent on the Other Tom boycott. I did have compelling reasons, I just can't remember exactly what they were. Something about wages in Immokalee? Oh, no, it was those stupid Gump jokes... Anyway, Mr. Hanks, I'm back! And I'm WAY looking forward to Charlie Wilson's War tonight!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lucy says no to prom, yes to ministry

1) I scraped the side of David's car (again) in my Inferno-like parking garage. Lucy took one look at it and exclaimed, "Oh Gawd! Not again!" (I've been hearing a lot about the Big Guy lately, as in, "Oh Gawwwd! Where's my nipple?" or "Oh Gawd! The Babies are trying to eat my lunch!"

2) Lucy is very popular with the boys at school. Her teacher has a couple of theories -- maybe they like her because she's so tiny, maybe because she never fights, or maybe because she won't whine when they get wacky. She just says, "NO!" Anyway, she was spending a lot of time with a little charmer named Jack, but not so much anymore. When asked, she said, "I'm done with him."

3) After a particularly trying afternoon with The Babies -- Margaret had turned off her Thomas video and knocked over her Jello, and then body-slammed her to the carpet -- and Lucy had tried to reason with them, "Babies! These are not your toys! These are not Baby Toys! This is not your lunch! Be gentle! You are being naughty!" she turned in disgust and concluded, "These babies...they just don't LISTEN TO ME."

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Josephine gets feisty!

My sweet potato bit Margaret! And then chortled while Margaret shrieked in horror. I think maybe she's just delighted with her new teeth and all that they do. I hope she doesn't turn out to be one of those little pissers who pinch their sisters and then cry. The tired mother will always yell, "What did you do to your little sister?!"

Monday, February 4, 2008

Secrets of the Sisterhood

At the hospital on Friday, the girls and I squeezed onto the elevator, nearly knocking over the nice... lady who is holding the door, tapping an enormous pointy boot and swinging long blond extensions. She's got to be 6'4", and about half that length is draped in gold. The fringe on her distressed leather jacket is brushing my hair.

I think it's a man. But I'm not sure.

I want to find out, but I am distracted by the typical conversation:

Elderly woman in wheelchair: "Oh my! Are they twins? Two bundles of joy!"

Me: "Oh, yes!"

Daughter pushing chair: "Now she's in heaven. She loves babies!"

Middle-aged man in back: "I have twin daughters. They're 18. They play tricks on me. With their personalities."

Me: "Hm."

I am trying to check out her hands. She catches me looking. I smile. (Advice to the nosy: Best always to smile when caught.) She looks away. Hands are big. But she is big! Inconclusive.

Second-floor, door opens, petite nurse gets on.

"What pretty babies! Are they twins?"

Me: "Yes, thank you!"

"How old are they?"

I want to see the Adam's apple. That's the give-away, isn't it? I crane my neck. "Almost a year!" I say. Argh! Again! I am caught looking! I smile. She does not. "This one is bigger, isn't she," nurse helpfully points out. (Elderly woman is trying to catch Margaret's hand. Margaret waves, and then slaps the air. Lucy giggles.)

Third-floor, elderly woman and daughter exit.

"God bless you!" she calls.

New sweater-set woman gets on: "Wow! You have your hands full, don't you?"

"Yes," I say, edging closer to the door, if I can just turn my head this way and SHE could just turn her head that way...

Fourth-floor and Lucy announces, "Let's go, mama!"

"Good luck!" the new woman calls.


But hours later, as I'm drifting off to sleep, I have my answer: A man. Definitely! And no, it wasn't the heaps of gold jewelry. Or the crazy fringed jacket with matching boots. (Which all made me think: My, you're excited about the accessories.)

It was her total disinterest in my pack of babies! At least pretend, girlfriend. Feign interest, envy, sympathy, disgust, something... That's what the ladies do.

(Weight check: 31 lbs.; 21 lbs. 8 oz.; 17 lbs. 4 oz.)