30 July 2010

Sending You Elsewhere

oh hi.

julochka, she of moments of perfect clarity, claims to have run out of ideas for blog posts - which i find hard to believe because she is divinely creative in many different ways, but i digress - so she's been interviewing her readers, of whom i am one. said interview is up today, if you'd like to read it.

when you're done finding out what my favorite wii game is, come back and tell me if you recognized this post's homage to julochka.

29 July 2010

Eleven Into Fifty Minus Six Equals FIVE

The last time I took the six year old in to the office, it was right before the end of school and there was, consequently, nearly nothing going on at work. So I promised her that sometime during the summer session, she could skip camp and come to work with me. Today was the day, and we had a rich full day:

  • The commuter train to NYC
  • A tour of Grand Central courtesy of my sister-in-law
  • The subway to my office
  • Ballet classes to watch
  • Office supplies to play with
  • A quick trip to Old Navy for cheap flip flops because wearing sneakers without socks gave her blisters
  • Macaroni and cheese (for her) and gazpacho (for me) at City Bakery for lunch
  • A hula class to watch
  • A detour through Barnes and Noble to cash in her reading log for a free book (and some other books)
  • The subway back uptown
  • New socks from Little Miss Matched
  • Sorbet from Ciao Bella
  • And the commuter train home.

And all the while, she wore a black and white dress that I'd found in my closet, realized I was never going to wear again and took it in (and up) to fit her.

[If you're following along, I've done very little on my list.]

27 July 2010

She Loves Me

I came upstairs the other night, to find my bedroom door closed (an unusual occurrence, we never close the doors), and a note taped (well, Post-It flagged) to it. The first note (on the left) referred me to the second note, which was lying on the floor, tucked up against the door sill.

Of course I love you, sweetie, of course I'll write back.

There is nothing like getting mash notes from a six year old.

And yes, she was asleep in my bed.

26 July 2010

Car Wash

Once upon a time, my husband worked for a construction company. One summer, they renovated all of the dressing rooms and back stage areas at a big non-profit theater, including the installation of fancy Toto toilets with washlet seats - you know, only the best. The job was ending just as a new production was moving in to begin previews. As there always are, a few punch list items had to be finished, even after the actors were in the dressing rooms. One of my husband's co-workers went up to the theater to install a handful of toilet paper holders. He knocked on the star's dressing room, and was greeted by the A-list actor in his Falstaff fat suit. "Hi, I'm here to install the missing toilet paper holder in your bathroom." The reply, in a fine Shakespearian bellow: "What the hell do I need toilet paper for? I've got a car wash for my ass!"

(With thanks to Vodka Mom, who reminded me of this story.)

23 July 2010

This Is Not A Post

It's Friday, and my brain has turned to mush and is dribbling out my ears. Oh, and I have too much work to do.


1) I'm guest posting at Gwen's, so go check out my riff on naked (what can I say? she assigned a topic).


2) I dug up a video of people dancing in the Grand Central windows - more of a documentary, but you get the idea. I sent it to De last night; her reply this morning was "Thank you. My heart is bubbling over with joy into my brain. What a good way to start the day." It's cool. Watch.

Oh, and have a lovely perfect summery relaxing weekend, and let your heart bubble into your brain, instead of your brains out your ears.

22 July 2010

Hidden in Plain Sight

When you walk through Grand Central Terminal and look up to the east or west, you see these huge windows. Really huge - they're about four stories tall. And you're awestruck at how big they are, and how the light comes through them just so, and how you can actually see buildings on the other side. It's marvelous, really, something to marvel at.

But if you're very very lucky, you know someone who can take you up and inside those windows. Because they aren't just big windows, they're double windows, with catwalks inside. And there are five separate catwalks in each of the two big windows, like five hallways traversing them, with glass floors and an intricate old mechanical system for opening the windows. They do, the windows open!

It's not for the faint of heart, or the acrophobic, but it is awesomely cool to get that bird's eye view of the commuters scurrying about in their unchoreographed yet oh so precise dance.

21 July 2010

What Is It? Wednesday

(With apologies to Janet, from whom I filched the What is it Wednesday idea.)

19 July 2010


You know that I'm an atheist, right? Yes, I believe there is no god. Parse that. Note that I didn't say "I don't believe in god", because that implies that there is a god that someone else believes in.

My sister, well-intentioned, gave me - for our good pagan Christmas celebration - a Flying Spaghetti Monster to stick on my car. It's still hanging on the fridge in its protective plastic wrapper.

Julie of The Mom Slant is an atheist too. Julie's husband has an FSM on the back of his car, and she thinks it's "the only one in town". But I haven't yet put mine on my car, because it ever so slightly rubs me the wrong way. I realize that it's parody, but it cuts a little too close to home. If I believe that there is no god, how can I believe that there's a Flying Spaghetti Monster?

16 July 2010

Shooting From The Hip: Blue & White

I should have counted. On the train home yesterday, it seemed like every other person - male and female - was wearing a blue and white checked shirt. Or blue and white plaid. With a couple of blue and white striped shirts for good measure. Thin stripes, pale blues, vibrant checks, navy blues. A sea of blue and white.

It's like someone decided it was the summer uniform, and everyone complied.

15 July 2010

RIP, even though I hate the Yankees

Yeah, whatever. I hate the Yankees. For several reasons: hubris on the part of the Yankees, a deep and abiding love of the underdog Mets, and the DH. I mean, come on, what is that business of the designated hitter and the pitcher not going to bat? I hate all American League teams, just because the pitchers are wusses.

Anyway, we were sitting there at the breakfast table yesterday, reading the New York Times as we are wont to do, and discussing the fact that George Steinbrenner was dead. The girlie looked up from her cereal at this photo, spread out in front of her, and said, "is that him in his box?"

Meaning, is that a picture of him dead in his coffin? Coffee came out my nose, despite the fact that it was a completely logical question what with the brown background and the hand placed just so.

14 July 2010

More Posts I'm Never Going To Write

  • The one about the ecological superiority of living in a small house.
  • The one about (ditto) having only one child.
  • The one about raising a gender neutral child.
  • The one about "Baby X".
  • The one about keeping a kid's gender a secret.
  • The one about how irritated I am by sweeping generalities about "girls" and "boys" and what "girls" do and what "boys" do.

13 July 2010

More About That Swim Team Stuff

After her somewhat less than stellar performance in that first swim meet, which was the "B" team, the takes-all-comers team, not the team that counts towards points in the regional standings, we got an email that her times were good enough to move her onto the real team, the "A" team. Go figure. She's competing in the six and under group.

So off she went to practice, and I got the following text from my husband:

I just looked up from my reading and there she went, diving (plunging really) off the starting platform and swimming a very respectable 25m for a small fry.

The swimming team business is surreal and sublimely entertaining.

12 July 2010

Posts I Am Never Going To Write (Though I Reserve The Right To Change My Mind)

Can you tell that death is on my mind? It has been, ever since my mother was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. I think about her death, which was as "good" a death as they come - at home, with two of her three children at her side (the third would have been there but for the fact that he'd had a baby 14 hours earlier).

I started a post about hospice a long time ago, mostly because I'd come across a paragraph about hospice workers in a comic novel called A Dirty Job, a paragraph that kind of flattened me:

"He turned to see a big, thirtyish woman in scrubs: another hospice worker - another of the amazing women that Charlie had seen in the homes of the dying, helping to deliver them into the next world with as much comfort and dignity and even joy as they could gather - benevolent Valkyries, midwives of the final light, they were - and as Charlie watched them at work, he saw that rather than become detached from, or callous to their job, they because involved with every patient and every family. They were present. He'd seen them grieve with a hundred different families, taking part in an intensity of emotion that most people would feel only a few times in their lives."

Benevolent Valkyries indeed.

Let me just say this: hospice is a good thing, a very good thing. It gives grace to death.

09 July 2010

Cherry Quilt

I love that someone at the Greenmarket took the time to arrange many pints of three different kinds of cherries into a table top quilt. I didn't buy any of those particular cherries, but I did buy two quarts of sour cherries. I'll use one quart for a pie this weekend, and I'll pit and freeze the other quart for a pie in January when it will be an oh so happy reminder of summer.

What kind of pie are you going to make tomorrow?

08 July 2010


The six year old was in her first swim meet yesterday. She wasn't even supposed to be on the swim team, but the "pre-team" practices are in the morning when she's at camp, so she kind of ended up on the team by default. She was a little nervous beforehand, "I don't want to lose, Mama", but she persevered and swam three races - two freestyle and one backstroke. If you look very very closely, you may be able to see that she received two sixth place ribbons, and one for fifth place. She was beyond delighted with her "prizes", and I am tickled at her delight because coming in sixth means, um, she came in last in the two freestyle races.

My husband, who was roped into timing, said that the child who finished last in the backstroke - that is, after our little fifth place girl - went off course, veering across the pool and under two lane markers, to finish the race two lanes over from where she'd began. If I'd been the one timing, I think I'd have been laughing too hard to click the button at the right moment. I guess that's why I have a desk job.

Twenty twenty Olympics? Here we come!

07 July 2010

Accuracy At All Times

I have trouble with language sometimes - I'm too precise or it is or we both are but at cross purposes. How do I refer to my husband, who happens to be the father of my child? "We" means her daddy and I, or, my husband and I, or really both of those things. If I call him her Daddy, it sounds like we're not married; but if I refer to him as my husband, it can sound as though she's not his child. So complicated, this language of ours.

05 July 2010

An Afternoon on An Island

Pro: It is salt water.
Con: It's not the ocean.

Pro: It's pretty close to home.
Con: The sand is coarse and rocky.

Pro: You get to take a tiny little ferry to get there!
Con: Beach pass, plus ferry ticket, plus parking adds up.

Pro: It's an island! The child can't get lost.

Over all, and even though it's not the ocean, we had a great afternoon at Island Beach - a tiny little public island park in Long Island Sound off Greenwich, Connecticut. It's totally charming, the girl loved building moats and sand castles with similarly sized strangers, and I'd go back in a minute. Hat tip to my next door neighbors; I'd never heard of it until two days ago.

01 July 2010


In the summer, we always eat outside, unless it's raining. One day last week, I was out on the deck drinking my morning coffee in my bathrobe, when I heard the unmistakable sound of a large truck backing up. From around the corner of the house, we saw a dumpster backing gingerly down the neighbor's driveway. I thought, maybe they're doing some construction, or a new roof.

This particular neighbor has lived in his house for a long long time, and he's kind of a odd ball. He blows his leaves and snow blows his driveway at night, in the dark - not because he has a day job, he doesn't, but because he's a night owl. He spends hours moving boxes and traffic cones from one side of his garage to the other. While I've been in his house, an ordinary enough house, I've never been in his basement, which he once described to me as Collyer-Brothers-like. I can believe it, based on what I've seen in his garage.

Two mornings after the dumpster drop, I heard the truck backing down the driveway again. The now full 20 yard container disappeared - and was replaced with an empty one. Days later, it seems full again. Periodically we hear something clang in, though mostly all I can see are cardboard boxes. No construction work is happening. But occasionally, I see the neighbor out there pulling things back out of the dumpster. And then his wife or one of his grown children comes out, and gently escorts him back in to the house.

To all appearances, the wife and children are staging a hoarder's intervention. I'm torn between sadness, pity and desperate curiosity as to what the hell is in those dumpsters.