free hit counter Snacks, please!: January 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

25 Things About ME

This is kind of like cheating...because I really wrote this for Facebook, where the order to self-indulge is floating around like that pink Teletubbies cloud. But. but! Some of you are not on Facebook! Some of you are actually crazy anti-Facebookers who say things like, "I just don't get it," while sipping martinis and chomping on roasted almonds. I'm looking at you, Auntie Pamela. It's also possible that some of you are on Facebook, but we're not friends? Is that right?? Hm. Conceivable, but I don't like it.

Anyhoo, I don't have time to actually blog about anything -- because the babies are throwing up and I need to go have a meeting at the coffeehouse and I'm losing all of my Lexulous games.

So here goes.

1) First of all, it's Mary Ellen. Not Mary. Facebook is discriminating against the Catholic girls of the 1960s-70s! Mary Ellen? Mary Lou? Mary Anne? Jane? Jo? Fran? Pat? Maybe I should start a petition.

2) Speaking of names, I did not change my last name.

3) I am trying really really hard not to say anything else about names. So as not to sound insane.

4) Ohhh, but while I'm at it, the girlies are Lucy Margaret, Margaret Carol and Josephine Patricia. And yes, they have a hyphenated last name. And yes, I know it's long! When they grow up, they can change it if they really want to. You know, if they want to betray the revolution and break my heart. (oh dear, did that sound insane?? I have a hard time judging....) oh, fine!! I will still love them. Ha. More than anything else on this Earth.

5) I actually promised the Mother of God that I'd name the littlest baby Mary Margaret if she beat the odds, but then I didn't do it. I worry about this a little bit.

6) I'm not actually superstitious, but I do believe in luck and I think I have a whole lot of it. The extraordinarily good kind. Also, I see signs. Not the regular ones. More like suicidal birds and old men.

7) Speaking of such, the day of my wedding, as I was waiting to walk down the aisle with my father -- or, actually, up the path to the beach -- an old guy in a bathing suit and towel came up to me and said, "You don't have to do it!" And I thought, "Oh no! Is he an angel? Was he sent from God?" But I thought, weeelll, most likely not. Right? (Right?!) And so I laughed and walked on. And I am really really glad about that.

8) When I met my husband, I was pretty sure he was gay. Proof: The pet greyhound, the talk about "antiquing on Southern Boulevard", the same-sex housemate with funky shoes, and the passing acquaintance with my housemate, who really is gay. What I don't understand is, he thought I was gay too...

9) My wedding was awesome. We had the sauce-mixing ceremony, the oyster-shucking men, Cape Cod Bay, Irish music, Vietnamese hand rolls and almost all of my favorite people. I'd like to do it again. You all can come.

10) I always wanted a lot of babies. Is three a lot? Maybe. Maybe not... I do know that they are just as much fun as I thought they'd be and I'd pretty much rather spend time with them than anybody else on Earth.

11) No epidural. You don't need one. But do demand juice.

12) It's been 11 years and I still miss my grandmother terribly. It kills me that she can't make meatballs for my daughters, hold them in her rocking chair, and tell them stories about bad little dogs and good little girls.

13) When I was a kid, I told everybody that I wanted a job like my father, where I could drive around all day and stop for a coffee when I felt like it. For a while, that's exactly what I did! And I loved it.

14) Still, my almost-favorite job was tending bar. One night, an old guy at the bar pocketed somebody else's change and I jumped over the bar and chased him down Maple Avenue. "I know the owner!" he protested. "So do I, buddy! He's my father!" I said. He gave me back the money, and it turned out he was the guy who introduced my parents. I am willing to believe he made an honest mistake.

15) I entertain a lot of stories in my head -- and one of my favorites is, "Where I'd go if I was on the run from the law." Probably not Ireland. I think I could hide there, but they'd trace the passport. Not a hotel -- they always want credit cards. I'd have to find a friend to take me in, and it would have to be somebody the feds would never ever think of. (It's always the feds.) That is, it couldn't be one of my very best friends...but it would have to be somebody who'd say yes, without question, and never think of turning me in. I have some good candidates. Of course I prefer not to say who exactly... (Feel free to tell me if you'd like to be on that list. I will make a note -- but not on paper!!)

16) Here's what I hate in people: Hypocrisy. Self-indulgence. Whining. Here's what I do like: Loyalty. Funnies. A willingness to eat my food. And play with my children. I do believe you should judge people by their best actions, not their worst. But I don't necessarily expect you all to do that for me.

17) Back in high school, the most fun was late nights at the LOG office. Then in college, the most fun was late nights at the Irish Times. And graduate school? Sorta like a combination of those two things. Speaking of late nights, I hope that my children use better judgment than I have.

18) You may be surprised to know that I can check the sheep for worms.

19) Aha! When I was a little girl, I thought for sure that I had been impregnated by God with the second coming of Christ. I had no idea how I would tell my parents. I knew it would be difficult to explain.

20) You know how kids can get so absorbed in a book that they can't hear you talking to them? I was like that -- Narnia, Anne of Green Gables... I've never outgrown that. And I do appreciate your patience, honey.

21) There's a handful of people that I call honey -- so much so that their real names, when I feel like I have to use them, feel weird in my mouth.

22) If I could design my ideal day, I'd have a whole lot of sand chairs out on the second bar in Cape Cod Bay. (Sand bar, that is.) And I'd have my whole family out there -- Ma, Dad, sisters, brother, spouses, and all the kiddos. And we'd play in the tidal pool and eat red grapes and talk about food, which is pretty much my favorite thing to talk about. And, if it wasn't too windy, we could play Setback!! We are the only people I know who play Setback.

23) I miss motorcycle rides to the middle of nowhere. But I don't want to orphan the children. Although, if I did, I think they'd be happy living with my sister Sharon, who is as near to me as you can get. Except the tattoo, which she doesn't have. And the fat, which she refuses to eat. And she doesn't like 80s music quite as much. Or public schools. She also cleans way more. And runs waaay faster. Not to mention, I think she's a wee bit bossier. But aside from all that...

24) I have never done a cartwheel. Not once in my life. And, even though I'm not quite as round as I used to be, I'm starting to think it's too late for me.

25) A few years after I moved to Florida, a friend of mine died. He was somebody I had known for a long long time, who lived up the street, who took my best friend to the prom, who helped my mother decorate her Christmas cookies. I think he saw it coming (although I didn't) -- and he had spent the last few years of life traveling around the world, visiting friends, giving big hugs and making sure we all knew we mattered. I would like to live my life like that, but I'm afraid I'm not very good at it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On the rocks, please

Today's morning snack: Bacon and cocoa.


Early this morning, long before the big kids dragged themselves out of bed, Lucy and I grabbed our new purple two-person flyer and hit the ice hill across the street. Were we fast?! Wooooweee! We hit the fence, baby! All the waaaay! A guy with a shivering German shepherd stopped us on the slog back up, me crunching through the ice on the incline, Lucy about 125 pounds lighter (oh, how I lie...), slipping along the surface in her princess boots.

"That's..." he paused.

Dangerous? Foolhardy? Bad mothering?

"Well, it looks like fun," he concluded.

He opted not to borrow our sled and try it himself, but David -- on the way to the bus stop -- did give it a go. "I don't know how to steeeeeeer!" And then, of course, we needed a little bacon and cocoa before Mommy had to do a little work. (I do actually work sometimes. It's true.)

What else is going on here? I promised to post photos...

This one is from the pre-inauguration concert:

See?? Bono?? That's him!!

In 1987, I saw U2 at the Hartford Civic Center -- the Joshua Tree tour! I should have bought a T-shirt... My father used to know a guy who worked at the Civic Center. About that guy, this is what I remember: One dark night, when he was walking home from my father's bar, a can of beef stew in each of his jacket pockets, he fell into the pond in Goodwin Park. He thought he was going to die! Dragged to his death by Dinty Moore. Sort of like Virginia Woolf, except much less poetic. And of course less effective, since the pond is only about 3 feet deep.

Anyway, he eventually became an HVAC guy, but those tickets that he got for us were quite good. Bono looked right at me! And then picked this funky girl with white hair out of the crowd to dance on stage with him (remember that music video with Courteney Cox? Was it Courteney Cox? Pulled on stage by Bruce Springsteen? Isn't that how she got famous?) Anyway, later that summer, I went to a sleep-away writing camp (I know, you can tell I've been formally trained, huh?) and, during orientation, we all had to say something true about ourselves and something false, and this one girl (her name was Siobhan, can you believe I remember that??) said, "I danced with Bono." And it was her! It was true!

I can't remember what I said, but I bet it wasn't that interesting.

One more photo...

Between inaugural events (I know, I have to move on with my life...) we headed out to Great Falls park, where we ran into a small giraffe, wandering in the woods. This is really inhospitable weather for giraffes! You know they usually live in Africa. Or western Palm Beach County. Anyway, we brought her home, where she sometimes wears pants and eats bacon, and shows a great deal of interest in our toilet. (Last night she actually shouted PEEEEEeee and scampered over to it!)

(I do not know why my hat looks like that. Russian. I bought it 10 years ago on a ski trip to Colorado, where it was supposed to make me look like a teenage snowboarder... Feel free, any of you with skillz, to make and send me a new hat! I would be so happy!)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What a mystery!

Lucy takes her pink baby and hands it to Josephinie. "Here Josie. Do you want to play with my baby? It's a new one! It just came out of my tummy. I don't know how exactly it did that. But here it is."

The second half of history

So, last we left, I was sitting at my desk, eating an orange... contemplating the next 2.1 mile walk (uphill!) back to Cynthia's. Ugh. I did finally limp up 16th St, past a guy wearing a Make Out, Not War button and a girl carrying a Health Care, not Warfare shoulder bag. Stopped for two empanadas. Collapsed on couch.

Oh! Ted Kennedy! The honored guest at my ball last night... I have blogged before about my Ted-love. (Familial, not romantic. Wish he was my Uncle Ted too. We could eat oysters! Talk about wind energy -- right for some people, like maybe in Iowa, but not for us...) Last night, at the ball, while I was expressing my near-teary Ted regret over the lobster risotto, somebody says to me, "Well, he's dying."

He's dying???! Maybe. But I won't say so. Not for sure.

Anyhoo, back on the couch, lots of parade coverage. Lots of water.

And then, eventually, off to the ball! I'm not a make-up gal, but I tried my best with my new eyeshadow from Target. (Twenty bucks! For eyeshadow?? But it did come in a nifty case with three colors that pre-matched, removing the possibility that I might think blue goes with green. But it could, couldn't it?? Because it works in the ocean. And I do like the ocean.)

That's me on the left, the lovely Cynthia on the right.

Got lucky with a cab, except cabdriver was big ninny who dropped us off SIX BLOCKS from the Folger Shakespeare Library, where last night's ball was held. Good thing I was wearing woolly tights under Vera Wang. We stopped some teenagers near the Capitol, which seemed to be glowing with unusual beauty, and asked them to take our picture. Had momentary -- um, I just gave my digital camera to faceless kid in a hoodie?? Then felt regret at my anti-hoodlum paranoia. We are One!! Kid Hoodie was surprised too, it seemed. Picture lousy anyway.

At the coat check: George Lucas!!

The scene: Enough dark wood to sail the Spanish Armada, yards of crimson-bound books, enormous fireplace and lots of nerdy men in tuxedos (this particular ball was sponsored by a consortium of educational tech interests).

The food: Creamy lobster risotto, fresh tomato and goat cheese tart, and a watercress salad with pears! Munch, munch. Ohhhh...raspberry cream tart and chocolate bread pudding.

The entertainment: World-famous Farras! What? You haven't heard of him? Seriously? Because he's been in the Today Show -- you know, the TODAY Show?? -- and he does a to-die-for cover of Elton John's Tiny Dancer. Get with it, ladies.

Mr. Big was supposed to show up, but he did not.

So, you know, it was fun. It was an "unofficial" ball, which means no Obama. Which also means no security... not a bad thing. Oh! Speaking of security, I read in the Washington Post today that ticket-holders spent FOUR HOURS in the Third Street Tunnel yesterday, also known as the TUNNEL OF DOOM, and still never made it into the light, onto the Mall. These include people who have waited all their lives for such a moment -- and all they saw was a whole bunch of ski jackets. I feel very bad for those people.

More photos to come. Promise!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Halfway thru history

It's 2 p.m.
I have walked 9.3 miles. (seriously, gmap-pedometer...)
I have eaten two sandwiches, one apple and the best-tasting orange ever.
A crack addict asked me if I was a man or a woman.
A pimply teenager stood behind me and said, "Push on like they're Orcs."
I feel like I've drank the bitter swill.
But baby, it's been awesome!

Let's see...

5 a.m.: Awake. Two pants of pants, stole David's long underwear. Final decision -- bike or bus? Public transit apologist in house convinces me to take Metro bus. "Nobody is taking the bus!" he says.

6 a.m.: First bus. I'm on!

6:30 a.m.: Get to Metro station. It's kind of a zoo. Already beleaguered Metro employee explains that no Virginia bus will be allowed to drive into the city -- thanks to a last-minute change by Homeland Security. I get on a bus that gets me a mile closer, but end up sitting next to a crack addict who is screaming, "Denzel Washington ain't on this bus! Motherfuckers!" And then she turns me to and says, "You a man or woman?" I eat my first sandwich.

6:45 a.m.: My march begins -- across the Potomac, covered in jigsaw ice. Bicyclists whip past me. Um-hm.

7:30 a.m.: Get to office -- I am on time!! But Cynthia and Sanjay, whom I am to meet, have been delayed. Sanjay forgot his wallet. Oh, and now he wants cocoa. Does he know there will be one porta-potty per 5,000 visitors? Enjoy that cocoa.

8:30 a.m.: Insanity. Cynthia and I approach the 3rd Street Tunnel, but we do not like it. It's dark, it's crowded, and it's rapidly filling up. Later, somebody will describe the experience as riding into one of those box canyons where they catch and kill wild horses. We hear the tunnel is closed at end, freak out and leave.

9:00 a.m.: We are going the long way around the Capitol and we are smooshed between blue lines and purple lines, maybe orange lines, nowhere near the silver line, where is where we wish to be. And we are seriously smooshed. Annoying teenager behind us starts talking about the final battle of the Lord of the Rings. I'm going to jab him in the kidney. People have babies in here? Are they nuts? Cynthia is looking grim. We hop a steel fence.

9:30 a.m.: We find Cynthia's pal in the silver line, which is sort of like Southwest C. We are waiting and waiting. I eat my apple.

10 a.m.: Still in line. I eat my sandwich.

10:30 a.m.: Still in line. Shoulder to shoulder. More than a little squished, and nobody is moving. I worry that we will miss the Joe Biden swearing-in. I didn't like Joe so much at first, but I love him now. Girl wrapped in tie-dye blanket (these are the kind of people who get silver tickets??) overhears me and snips, "I've always loved Joe Biden." Whatever. I step on her blanket.

11 a.m.: Cynthia is past grim. She is leaving.

11:30 a.m.: Good thing Cynthia left. Pandemonium has ensued. We are pushed forward by crowd, over Jersey barrier, across trampled crowd control fencing. Park Police man is bellowing, "You will be asphyxiated!" My new friend leans in and says, "Do you think I still need my ticket?"

And suddenly, it's bliss. The announcer says, "Introducing the President of the United States," and the woman in front of me begins to cheer! The announcer finishes, "George W. Bush!" "No, no!" I tell her, "Not yet!" And she says, "But I'm ready! I'm so ready!" Our crowd boos Bush. Somebody says, "A little respect!" Somebody else says, "But consider how he treated us!" Aretha Franklin sings. Oh! So beautiful. Joe is sworn in!

We are steps from the Capitol Reflecting Pool, watching Obama on the Jumbotron, watching the flags ripple across the Capitol. He takes the oath. A woman behind me cries, "Amen!" And then he speaks.

It's glorious. It's stirring. It's serious.

And now I need some water.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Too late

Margaret is chomping on a grape Tootsie Pop.
"Where'd she get that?" I ask Lucy.
"From the garbage," she answers matter-of-factly.
"The garbage?!"
"Yes. She reached in and found it."
"Margaret! That's from the garbage??"
She pulls it out of her mouth, studies it closely and cheerfully agrees.
And then pops it back into her mouth.

Inauguration fever!!


Okay, first there's the free concert on Sunday in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Bruce Springsteen! Even better, Bono!! How am I going to get there? Hm. Bicycle, I think, since the Secret Service "is insane," says U.S. Congressman Jim Moran, and has closed every single bridge between VA and DC. So fine, pedal, pedal, pedal... Is it possible Bono will pull me from the crowd?? No. Not possible.

On Monday, there's the Day of Service and I've signed up to help get books to kids in Uganda. That is, I will be loading a truck.

And then, then, then, Tuesday is Inauguration Day! I do have a ticket. One single, standing-room only ticket to history -- or, more specifically, the area near the reflecting pool. Again, I'm on the bicycle. Because the Secret Service has closed every single bridge between VA and DC. (Is that any way to reward Virginians for voting blue for the first time in 40 years??)

And then, then, then, I have a ball ticket! Actually a press pass -- to a ball where the tix cost $2,500 per couple. Oh. My. God. And Ted Kennedy is going to be there. Have I talked about my love of Ted Kennedy? If I could get a picture of myself with Ted's going on the wall, baby. I haven't blown up any picture from my wedding, mind you. But I'd have Ted on my wall, for sure.

I am scampering over to Auntie Pamela's place to try on dresses. I do not actually own a single long dress... But I'm also covering my bases -- and ordered a fabulous red one from Bluefly. (Vera Wang, $130). That's a bargain, right? I had a Vera Wang wedding dress. (Which I bought on eBay, because I do like bargains...)

Okay, I'm off to twitter and flitter around the office.

Oh yes, you know this is all really about hope, right? I am hopeful. I am excited about my red dress, but I'm also excited about this country. (P.S. My new crush? Steven Chu. What a cutie...)

Monday, January 12, 2009

I'm available for Middle East negotiations...

After Lucy's ballet recital last night, her teacher, Miss Judy, gave her a snack bag of candy. "I'm going to have this one," she announced, gaily waving a grape Blow-Pop. "And the babies can share this one," she said, pointing to a Kit-Kat. "Lulu! It is so nice of you to share your candy with your babies!" I said.

"I don't really share," she said matter-of-factly.
"You make me share."

One more thought: I love the way the babies run. Margaret bounces along, giggling and flapping her arms like Liza Minnelli. What a goose! Josephine tucks in her elbows and tushie -- and skedaddles on her short little legs. Zip zip!

Confessions of the ill-groomed

Like my friend KC, over at Where's My Cape?, I kicked-off the new year with a gift-certificate trip to the spa last Friday. Oh, hello hairless ladies!! Yes, it's me. Please provide with dew and white robe.

I had signed up for the "European" facial, which I have had before, but did not clearly remember. As in, I do clearly remember with great appetite last year's post-facial lunch: fried fish with Marie Rose sauce, hot chips with vinegar, and a Cadbury Flake bar at Eamonn's in Old Town.

What I could not quite recall was the choking mist machine. (I'm sorta more comfortable in a fog.) Nor the blinding interrogation light, the near-endless extraaaaction of useful facial oils (hello! now the evil ozone can penetrate my pores!), or the very uncomfortable conversation between moi and Madame.

Her: Tell me about your skin care regimen.

Me: Umm, well...

Her: You just use a regular cleanser and moisturizer.

Me: Oh, well, sometimes, maybe...

Her: Sometimes... Like last night, how did you prepare your skin for bed?

Me: Giggle. Um, we just said good night and went to bed.

Her: Silence.

Her: And this morning, what did you do?

Me: I took a shower.

Her: And you used??

Me: Um. Water.

Aie! Here is the awful truth: I don't wash my face. There! I said it! I don't use a "cleanser" or a "moisturizer" or anything else with "essential oils." But I swear I do take a shower. And I *think* my skin looks okay... I haven't gotten any notes from HR that says something like, "Re: Personal grooming. Meeting 10 a.m., please." And I do like shampoo! I do wash my hair!

Her: Does your skin itch?

Me: No.

Her: Do you break out?

Me: Never.

Her: Silence.

White light goes on. She grimly studies my skin. Sigh.

Her: I believe you have conditioned your skin to this treatment.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

On Thin Ice

So, what with the beautiful weather here today -- all chilly and bright like a Thomas Kinkaid painting -- my colleague and I decided to sneak out of the office and go ice-skating.

(Wait a second...who reads this blog?? Some of you should understand that this ice-skating stuff is obviously a metaphor. By "ice-skating," I mean sit at my desk and move my mouse around its pad in wide graceful circles. oh! Triple-axel Google search!)

Anyhoo, off we went to the skating rink on the Mall, past the new bleachers for the fabulous Inauguration that I am afraid to attend. (One port-o-potty for every 3,000 visitors?? Ha! I've had three children -- I can't hold it for that long!!) We lace up, do a few laps, and then... who shows up?

The evening news.

Thank God I've just been sitting at my desk.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Margaret 1, Mommy 0

I am looking for a used know, the baby backpack carrier favored by women who buy organic sleepers and wooden toys?? Margaret -- and her outrageous, butter-fueled war demonstrations on my filthy kitchen floor -- has worn me down. And now, I will wear her -- all over Creation.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Personal records

There's this running blog that I like to read, the appropriately named "Not Born To Run," mostly because it's not so much, "Had a fabulous run today! 6:32/6:12/5:54 -- passed a Ford Mustang like it was stalled!" But more like: "I thought I had about half a mile to go (NOT) which I figured I could do in 5 minutes IF I KILLED MYSELF. 'What's the point,' I thought, 'you've already lost.'"

But...aha! Jeanne (I don't actually KNOW her, but I'm using her first name anyway) already has set a personal record in this new year! Go Jeanne! Interestingly enough, she's not the only one setting PR's (that's runner talk) in 2009.

To wit:

Three (3): Visits to the Smithsonian over five days. That is, dinosaurs, Monet and naked mole rats. Eeeek! Give me that piece of broccoli or I'll bite your tushie and step on your head! (Isn't it great to live in DC?? Or the suburbs of DC, where the parks and libraries are much better funded.)

Four (4): Consecutive days that I have poured whipping cream into our dinners. That's right, WHIPPING CREAM. Featured in turkey tetrazzini, mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, au gratin spuds, and New England clam chowder, which, it must be said, also featured a great deal of bacon fat...

Fourteen (14): The number of slices of salami that Lucy ate, as a bedtime snack, the other night at 9 p.m. "I'm hungryyyy," she called. And I figured that was about right, since she refused the mashed potatoes with roasted garlic, pork chops and spaghetti squash. (Love, love, love spaghetti squash!) She wanted salami, which maybe isn't a great snack before sleep, in terms of GAS PRODUCTION, but eh, she WANTS it (I'm going crazy with the caps tonight) I figured, so okay. "Another one?" I asked, over and again. "That's probably enough," I said, a little queasily, after Slice 8. "Five more!" she insisted. And then, oh what the hell, maybe just one more, please?? "That's it! It's gone!" I lied.

Friday, January 2, 2009

I Resolve...

Well, I've got some good ideas:

Reduce computer usage; master foreign language and chocolate souffle; stop squinting; learn to make fancy sausages?? quit my job and sell them to restaurants?? rent canal boat in Wales; give more hugs; tell more interesting bedtime stories (not so much about the children who get trapped in the grocery store overnight...); try bicycling to the office; conquer fear of cars??

Oh! Oh! I know, write book!!


Okay, based on last year's success, I think I've got the key to resolutions. First, don't have too many. Second, make them sort of measurable, you know, like restrictive and soul-crushing public policies around education.

So, here goes:

1) This has nothing to do with the rights of animals, which aren't actually mentioned by George Mason in the Virginia Declaration of such. Nonetheless, because meat production consumes so much energy, I resolve to be meat-free at least once a week. (Recipes welcome!!)

PS -- My friend Mary at The Eleventh has actually gone off the deep end and tried a vegan diet! I'm not doing that. Just so you know.

2) Run a 10-mile race. I think this is doable, the only problem is finding one. The Cherry Blossom is already full, and the next one happens to fall on the only weekend in 2009 that I have plans for. Then there's the Army 10-miler in October, but that's perilously close to summer, and the last time I ran too far in the heat I went blind for 14 minutes and my neighbor had to guide me home, hand on elbow, so embarrassing, plus somebody died in that race last year. So we'll see... Could possibly substitute some other appropriate physical challenge. Ten-course dinner at Restaurant Eve? Or mini-triathlon?

3) Double current freelance workload. Last year I did a single freelance story and it was a nice diversion. (This blog is also a nice diversion, but it doesn't actually pay, except you know, in kindness and laughter.) So maybe this year I could try to do two?

And, not that anybody has asked, but let's think of some resolutions for the other adult in this house...

Let's see... reduce computer usage; give more hugs; master chocolate souffle; conquer fear of cleaning? Oh, I know!! Take wife to the Inn at Little Washington. Order "Marriage of Hot and Cold Foie Gras with Ice Wine Jelly and Grilled Black Mission Figs" for self. Remind Mary Ellen of 2008 letter-writing campaign, when 2.4 percent of the country's wackadoodles wrote to her to protest her published recipe for foie gras appetizer. (This is actually true...) Insist ME try beet mousse. Then go wash the minivan.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

I am watching the babies eat Pringles. First they crumple each chip into 112 tiny pieces and then they stand on my new crockpot box to stuff the tiny shreds through a big hole in the pantry door where there used to be a doorknob. They unscrewed that weeks ago.

They are crafty, these babies!!

Must go vacuum. Be back in a sec.

Hahaha. The girls like to sit on the back of the vacuum canister, like tobogganers, and say, "Chooooochoo!"

So, we're back from Christmas break!

The highlights:

Snow! Of course I forgot to bring the children's boots. So I scrambled to Wal-Mart at 2 inches deep with my lovely niece. ugh, Wal-Mart! You can't provide health insurance to your employees, but you can charge $22 for stiff boots with Disney crap on them? Back home, 4 inches on the ground now, they don't fit!? so now we must find Target (5 inches), grab two pairs of too-big Hello Kitty rain boots and rush home (6 inches) to play in the backyard for exactly... four minutes.

Antipasto: Sopressata, fresh ricotta, squid salad (not as good this year), tiny green Sicilian olives and big fat red ones, Asiago, marinated mushrooms, roasted red peppers, Italian table cheese, and mozzarella salad with sun-dried tomatoes and capers.

Parties: One Hanukkah (latkes!) and one Christmas (cookies!) Margaret bossed around my cousin's dog. "In! In!" she scolded, holding open his cage door. ahahaha! The funniest thing ever: At the same party, we met my cousin's new girlfriend, who is a very nice and very pretty African-American woman who runs a hospice down in New Orleans. On the way home, my niece exclaims: "I didn't know we were part-black! I can't wait to get to school and tell my friends!!"

I swear to God, if I'm not invited to his wedding, I am going to go back to New Orleans and dump a whole fried fish on his doorstep.

Speaking of Margaret, which I was, way back there, she was the victim of a drive-by slap at the Peabody Museum in New Haven! Some little hooligan (red hair, age 2) tripped over his feet by the T. Rex and fell to the floor. Then he jumped back up, looked around, and slapped Margaret!

Needless to say, because I have frequently documented my craziness in this particular department, I half-lost my mind, bent over and yelled, as close to his snotty little nose as possible, "What are you doing?? You do not hit other children!" (My father totally backed me up with a very angry bellow. My husband, on the other hand, was wandering blithely around ocean fossils.) Then, as his mother swept in and ran for minerals and gems, I shouted to their disappearing backs, "And you should say you're sorry!" I hoped she brought him home to think about his naughtiness, but we spied them in dead birds later that morning. I do not like dead birds. And I do not like naughty children.

Oh so, speaking of naughty children, which I definitely was, Margaret again!! David says to me yesterday, "Do you think Margaret is going to be one of those children who has fits on the sidewalks?" "Ha! She already is!" He sighs. "It's just so embarrassing." "Whaat?! I'm not embarrassed! Margaret should be embarrassed! She's the one throwing herself on the floor?" He sighs again. "Honey. Margaret is not embarrassed."

(Feel free to advise, although know I probably will ignore you: When the crazy curly-haired child throws herself on the ground, most likely because her so, so mean mother wants her to actually walk the 13 feet to the car, should that mother just stand there and probably say something like, "Margaret. You look nuts." Or should the parent pick her up and carry her the 13 feet to the car?)

Best presents: "I got a makeup table!" Lucy whispers, twisting her fingers in excitement. "And it has real makeup. Not fake makeup!" The babies unwrapped new orange ninnies and went absolutely crazy. They are ninny addicts. "Ninnnnnyyyy!" They got hooked on these pacifiers in the NICU in Arlington, and now I have to order them from a medical-supply company in Boston.

What else? Lucy cried the whole way home (okay, not the whole way...exit 7 to 8, NJ Turnpike), "I need Gigi! Gigi, gigi, gigiggigigiiiii." Then she woke up the next morning and said, "Where's Liam?" It is so sad to be just one of three children with semi-attentive parents. She needs adoring grandparents and cousins too. Of course, when Gigi calls, she refuses to take the phone. "How come, if you miss Gigi, you don't talk to her?" David asks. "I don't want to talk to her! I want to see her!"

And what else else? I could not finish John Updike's new book. Blah-blah-blah. It is possible that I am not as smart as I used to be. But I did really like Richard Price's new book about gangs. Pow!

Okay. New Year's resolutions to come later...