Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Hello! Still Here!

I spent all yesterday afternoon lying on the couch, but I have no idea whether I was sick or just exhausted from getting ready to host Bunco Monday evening. In the meantime, the privilege of driving Rachel to Civil Air Patrol, waiting 2 hours, and then driving her home was foisted off onto Larry, who had been up since 6 AM and who put in a full day of work while his wife languished.

I mean, in case you ever wonder who's getting the short end of the stick here...

Despite my ailment, I ended up driving Brian and a friend to youth group, which was actually a bad idea, but I felt guilty not holding up our end of the carpool obligations and it still wasn't as bad since I got to go straight home.

My hands are getting tired typing this. I want to lie down.

The plus side of having Bunco Monday night was that, when I was non-functional the next day, the whole house was clean and there was plenty of food in the fridge. It's a win!

It was a busy weekend (I mean, busy in a middle-aged, suburban sort of way, not a 20-something having fun sort of way): Larry's sister stopped by en route from Texas, so I actually had to make a real dinner Friday night. It was pretty impressive, if I do say so myself.

How about that juxtaposition of wine glass and
IKEA cups, eh? Pretty darn classy

It was Mexican shredded chicken and a black bean thing and asparagus that had not yet managed to rot in my black hole of a refrigerator. All perfectly complemented by the gaily decorated plates I found on the discount shelf at Target years ago...these have inexplicably survived at least 5 years in our home, which I think is some sort of a record.

And then I went off and spent my weekend doing stuff and unintentionally ignored our guest. There was yoga and knitting and all the other ways I distract myself from the existential angst that is always lurking there, just under the surface of my overactive psyche. There was (who would've guessed it?) driving a teen to an activity Saturday evening.

And then, of course, there was the darn time change this weekend, which you would have thought was an airplane trip over 10 time zones, the way my body reacted. I mean, seriously, all Sunday afternoon - when I should have been cleaning up the house for Bunco (have I mentioned Bunco yet? Suburban much?) - I was whining about how I couldn't get anything done. I ended up sorting through my living room yarn collections and carting half of it up to my room, but that was about it.

This looks normal, right? Tell me this looks normal.

Living room yarn collections are definitely a thing.  They impart that cozy yarn shop vibe to your very own home. Try it!

Oh, and while I'm talking about yarn (funny how that happens), check out what my friend bought for me in the airport in Iceland:

Now, I'm not much of an overseas traveler, but I've decided Iceland is one country that has its priorities straight (I mean, yarn in an airport!) and therefore merits a visit. Bonus: Larry can't possibly make us take the camper there. Sign me up!

Thursday, March 08, 2018

What's Bugging Me

Oooh, look at me! I decided to change the ol' blog up a bit, sort of a spring cleaning, if you will. What do you think? The new colors are a little bold, I know; but sometimes you just have to make a statement, even if that statement is only "I was bored, so I messed around with my Blogger template."

I think I'm the only blogger who bothers to use semicolons. I feel special.

So, it's been a while since I've shared what I'm reading on the internets, but this article definitely caught my eye. The part where the woman discovers all of the clothing she is wearing is completely covered in teeny-tiny ticks? My brain can make a full-length horror movie out of that image. I mean, just, OMG.

THOUSANDS of these - on her CLOTHES

But, as if that isn't enough to make a bug-phobic person such as myself run screaming in circles around the room, there's the description of this particular new pest - the one that explains that this tick can reproduce simply by cloning itself (GAH).

Scientists, what are you waiting for? Fix this, STAT, before they take over the planet! Thanks.

Looks like we are also going to be invaded this year by the spotted lanternfly, an import from the Far East that decided to pack its bags and see the world. An entomologist from Pennsylvania describes it as "the weirdest, most pernicious insect I've ever seen," while an entomologist from Maryland simply calls it "really a nasty critter."

Think about it - those are people who LIKE bugs. How do you think the rest of us are going to feel about this particular creature, hmmm?

Does NOT have a good reputation, apparently

Long story short, I am dreading the warmer weather, when ants and centipedes once more invade my home, while stinkbugs and cicadas buzz around in great multitudes outside. Do any of you live in Canada? Do you have bugs up there or do your cold winters kill them all off? Would you like a house guest who does dishes and can cook? Talk to me.

[Asian tick image: NPR]
[Lanternfly image:]

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

In The Halls Of Power

So today I did something I haven't done in 26 years of parenting - I chaperoned a public school field trip. I did it out of a sense of civic duty, plus hey, I wanted to go where they were going, anyway, and this way I wouldn't have to drive. I did have to endure a ride on a school bus, though, and yeah, I'd forgotten how sick that makes me feel (it's been, oh, 37 years since I've last experienced that). Plus, I worried all last night that I wouldn't know how to chaperone correctly. It turned out to be pretty simple, though. The teacher gave me a list of 9 kids (including my own Rachel) and said, "Make sure they get on the bus to go there, and make sure they get on the bus to get back."

You know, I LIKE that teacher.

The Holy of Holies, down at the far end there
I ended up with over an hour to wander around on my own and finally managed to see the inside of the Supreme Court building (I've lived in this area for 3 decades now - it's shameful how little I've seen). I was even able to go inside the actual courtroom, as the Court isn't in session right now. Guys, the whole thing is like an American temple, with the steps leading up to the huge columns outside, and inside there is the long marble hall (more columns!) leading to what is, essentially, the curtained inner sanctum of the courtroom itself. I half-expected to see the Ark of the Covenant, sitting up there by the Justices' bench.

That didn't happen.

And we were given tickets to sit in the Senate gallery at the Capitol, where I totally geeked out  recognizing all sorts of Senators down below. (And why is seeing someone in person completely different than seeing them on TV? Tell me.) Schumer, Gillibrand, McConnell, Graham, Kaine...the guard twice had to tell me to sit down as I attempted to see who else was down there.

We had a tour of the Capitol building with a great tour guide, interesting and funny. AND we were all standing in the ....I don't know what you call it, that middle part under the great dome...when Benjamin Netanyahu himself walked through on his way to Paul Ryan's office. He was less than 10 feet from me and I briefly considered shouting, "Stop the settlements!" but decided that I didn't want to be tackled by all those security guards surrounding him.

Sort of wish I had, though.

So, yeah, I did something new and it was fun, and I managed not to be arrested for disturbing the peace, so my day was a win all the way around, I'd say. How was yours?

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Vowels Are Important, Redux

Heading to the basement last night to throw in a load of laundry, I spotted Brian settling in for some late-night TV viewing in our family room. "What are you watching?" I asked, hoping it was something I'd like.

"Everything Sex," he said.


"Everything Sex," he repeated, looking annoyed.

Now, granted, I don't monitor his TV viewing much. I mean, how? If I banned something on the TV, he'd watch it on his laptop in his room without my knowing, if he really wanted to. And in another 6 months, at college? He'll be able to watch whatever the heck he wants.

Watch at your own risk

So, yeah, I adhere more to the BE AWARE philosophy - that is, know what he's watching so we can discuss it. Still, Everything Sex? Looked to me as if a serious talk was now necessary.

"So, uh, what's that about?" I asked, not really wanting to know.

"It's a 90s show about high schoolers," Brian said, looking annoyed at the parental interrogation.

I took a deep breath. "Look, hon, you DO know that high schoolers aren't really having much sex, don't you? Or if they are, they probably shouldn't be?"

"What?" said Brian, looking confused.

"I mean, a show about high school sex definitely isn't realistic," I continued. Gosh darn it, why can't I sound more intelligent when I talk to the kids about these things?

"WHAT are you talking about?" asked Brian, staring at me as if I had 2 heads.

"What are YOU talking about?" I said. "Isn't the show called Everything Sex?"

Brian smiled. "Everything Sucks," he said. "SUCKS."

Well, never mind then...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Oscars. Also, Worms and Mushrooms

I'm still making myself run (most) mornings. Just a mile and, at best, my "run" is more of a stagger. So add to that the fact it rained this weekend and all the worms (I do mean ALL THE WORMS) came out on the sidewalks to avoid being drowned in their holes (or wherever they live - in the dirt, right?), and you'll understand why there was a bit (okay, A LOT) of weaving added to my stagger, as I attempted to avoid stepping on their gooey selves.

Not because I care about worms, I just find them disgusting, and YES I know they aerate the earth and compost things in their disgusting worm-y bodies. I DON'T CARE.

So my morning jog on Sunday looked more as though I were absolutely drunk and about to fall down. Hi, neighbors! No, really, I'm FINE.

You'll never look at mushrooms
the same way again
In other news, I'm on a mission this week to see as many Oscar-nominated movies as possible, because I have that Oscar party to go to again this year, and I'm downright competitive about it. I've already seen "Get Out" and "LadyBird" and "The Post," so tonight a friend and I took in "Phantom Thread." My official review is that Daniel Day-Lewis was marvelous and the movie was unbelievably weird. Also, I am determined to contribute a mushroom-themed dish to the party on Oscars night. Suggestions are welcome!

I'm hoping to see "Darkest Hour" and "The Shape of Water" sometime before Sunday. I am never, ever going to see "Three Billboards..." though, so don't suggest it.

No matter what, I'll be better prepared than I was way back in 2012, when I had seen only one of the movies and barely knew who any of the nominated actors were (I was coming off of, oh, 20 years of baby-raising and also being flat broke). Someone commented anonymously on that post, claiming she couldn't BELIEVE I was that ignorant and I must be kidding. But hey - she didn't recognize that the title of that particular post alluded to the 70s sitcom "All in the Family."

We all have our little fiefdoms of ignorance, I suppose...

Anyway, now that I can afford movie tickets and have some time I can call my own, I'm in it to win it. Also, I need you all to go see "Phantom Thread" so we can discuss its weirdness, okay? Thanks.

[Phantom Thread image: IMDB]