Friday, July 15, 2016

)en at the Pool

When I swim, i swim like a child. I like to do twists and turns and flail my body like an awkward and unabashed sea-goon.  If I'm in the deep end, I tread water but most of the time, since i have a squirt to swim with, we stay in the shallower end and I attempt to adhere to some unwritten rule that i must keep as much of my body under the water's surface as long as I can. No standing up with water to my knees, no no. That's wading, and there's no wading at the pool.   

First I see where both Julian and I can touch. It is here that I do my best twists and tricks. Same as on my knees. I have a pretty wide range of motion. Then as I move up to shallower water, I must switch to the crouch. My knees are bent as tightly as can be and I shuffle on my toes under the water until, in shallower-still water, I switch to my backside gently bumping along the pool floor and I glide my body around like a soon-to-be beached whale that's trying to pretend everything's cool.  But then I am, I am a beached whale, beautiful and proud, and I sit with arms and legs stretched out and let the tides and currents swish me this way and that in the hot summer sun and it is aaaaalright. It is very alright.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Eye Doctor

The Eye Doctor experience is a pleasant one. I've always enjoyed it at least. I think i like those awkward moments sitting so close, face-to-face with someone as they stare deep into my eyes.   Except the last time when I visited, the doc was about my age and when i complained of seeing those reflective retinal spots and wanted to know what he could do about it he shrugged and said "yes, you're getting older."  WHAT.  Unacceptable. But other than that, it's generally not a bad experience.

We knew the day would soon come that Julian would likely need the glasses.  I got contacts when I was in 8th grade but knew i needed them in 6th (yes, it was a foggy and confusing couple of years) and Sean got his at Julian's ripe little age of six. With our lame eyes combined,  he's basically been doomed. But I've been looking forward to it because I love nerds and little nerd children.  So when he began to show signs of not quite being able to see quite right I excitedly declared, "it's time!"  

The eye doc was super nice and great with the boy.  And Julian was cracking me the heck up.  He was similarly chatty as when he's with the hair dresser which is most entertaining.  The exam was quite thorough and they tested him in various ways which I appreciated and also enjoyed. The doc would show him a strip of 6 letters or so projected in reverse on a screen mounted to the wall behind him. I actually took a picture because it was so funny to me and guess who's the cool girl who forgot to turn off the sound on her phone when snapping the pic and it rang out nice and loud. Classy.

 

Julian was facing a mirror where he was to look and it was clear he wasn't seeing everything quite right when he would say things like this:


"V...L...E....box....."

Box! Hahaha.  And he wouldn't even pause to think like, hmm, maybe "box" isn't actually supposed to be one of them. It looked like a box so it was a box. Next.

Another one:


"L...F...circle with a line through it... X....B..."

Sooo funny.  "circle with a line through it" made several appearances and he was so sure of what he was seeing, i had to turn around to double check.  Maybe that is what it was? Just to throw you? 

It reminded me of this scene from Parks and Rec:


It's the dawn of a new age.  So far the adjustment has been pretty smooth. And we got him a sweet glasses band so they'd stay on his face which makes him even nerdier.  So great.  Here are some pics of Julian with his new specs:





Thursday, June 30, 2016

Summer So Far

It's so weird that we've been on summer vacation for a full month now. I was happy about this until I saw that my east coast friends are just starting theirs and now my gloaty happiness has turned to bitter envy.   Gloatful?  

I just thought I'd check in and see what summery things I have to say. Because as we all know, I know just as much as you do when I sit down to start typing something.  

1. Summer hikes.  I originally made a summer goal to go on 1 million hikes.  Somehow it has not worked out that way but I have done a few.  One was down south in Escalante, UT. It's a beauty of a hike, 3'ish miles and ends with a giant waterfall.  It's awesome except it was approx. 3 trillion degrees and we had oldie parents and young kids. Whoops.  Fortunately, we had some bags of ice with us, originally intended for coolers but would learn were destined for a greater purpose.  Sean and I ended up carrying a half bag of ice each and would hand out cubes to people to do with what they will. For instance, wrapping in a bandana and tying around your neck.  Or stuffing down your shirt and resting them comfortably inside your swimsuit (that was me. best ever)  Or just holding them against your face.  It was hot, dang hot, and a time when the feeling in the air started to get hazy and blurred and started to smell of survival. You know, when you begin to wonder what you have in your pack, that you should probably start rationing your water. Not real survival, but kind of, which is a game i enjoy.

Here is a picture of me at a different waterfall trying to dip my head in the falls and not die.
                                       

2. Summer snakes. For the first time in my life this summer I saw a real rattle snake.  It was hideous and terrifying.  It was on this same camping trip and as I was walking across the dirt road back from the bathrooms (that information is unnecessary) at desert dusk, I saw it, casually pointed at it-- "snake"  and then my heart did a little flip.  Still getting used to being in nature, the cause for real terror is delayed for me and my initial feelings are "who let this snake out of the zoo? Whose pet is this?"  It's weird that it just LIVES there.  Anyway, it was headed straight for our campsite with a dozen kids so we all turned warrior.  I've learned that in the fight or flight reflex scenario, I believe i tend to lean more toward fight. I will FIGHT that thing. Stupidly, even.  I semi-hysterically told Sean, "get the hatchet! I'll kill it!! I'll do it!"  He, also half-hysterical, replied, "you have to get super close to it to use that!"  So we began throwing rocks at it and it turned on its rattle (because it's not real, see) which was super scary. The sound of a real snake rattle in nature-aaah.  Finally my snake-loving brother (in the days of yore, he's not that creepy. But as a teen he used to collect them and keep them in the window well. GROSS) got a long ax and chopped its head off. A nephew got the rattle. We were all jealous. But scared.  I still am. *shudder*

3. Summer Timp. Speaking of hikes and snakes, my friend Brooke has made a goal to hike the nearby Timpanogos Cave trail 36 times this summer.  Click here to see some pics of the cave. We've toured the cave already but the hike is really where it's at.  1.5 miles basically straight up. Ok, basically at a semi-steep incline. It rises about 1,000 feet in elevation from base to cave and it's a paved path as shown below:


Also? It's a 10 min. drive from my house. Guh-lorious. The sights and the smells are SO beautiful, SO rejuvenating. Brooke and I go together but sometimes i go alone and when i do i listen to podcasts that make me think some wonderful thoughts that i immediately forget if I don't discuss them with Sean right away. It's some serious exercise, both up and down, and I love it so. I've done it about 10 or so times now and I think I'm addicted.

  Well, the other day I was hiking in the morning and saw the most hideous worm/snake ever. It was so repulsive, I felt like I wasn't really meant to see it. It was red like a worm but moved like a snake, though slowly, and it had a snake head. I shouldn't have looked at it. I feel like i cursed myself by looking at it and now bad luck will befall me. Like normally it's a kind of evil, a demon that only lives in shadows and the one time it emerged, with no one else around, I the unlucky soul, just happened to glance down at the wrong moment. I should have performed a spell, commanding it to return to the shadow from whence it came, but instead I took a picture. It could have been some kind of snake baby which is somehow more disgusting, and Sean wonders if it's a rattler (we're still traumatized) since it has a stubby tail. Here's a picture. *vomit face

 

And now that you've seen it I am afraid you are cursed as well.  You have seven more days to live.

4.  Summer fruit. Let's talk for just a minute about berry season and how it's the greatest thing.  Well, that's pretty much all I need to say about it but let's just sit and let that thought really soak in. Best. Ever.  There is no end to blueberries that Julian and I can eat. Really. Oft we get those giant-sized containers from Costco and sit out on the porch and one by one toss them back until we lick the clam container clean. 

5. Summer fruit tip:  If you have a mandatory bowl of apples on your counter top like I do, put delicious fruits with it for an infused flavor combo. For instance: peaches. We combined our peaches with the apples and then I ate an apple and was like, WHAT AMBROSIA HAVE I DISCOVERED IN MY BOWL?  It tasted amazing and it was too subtle to immediately be like, what the, am i eating a peach? but enough to be freakin' delicious. Also, cut your apples on the same spot where you sliced a lemon. I know lemon juice and apples go together, this is old news, but for some reason--maybe if you do it accidentally and that's the secret--it tasted extra good.  

6. Summer pools. Public pools are getting more and more gross to me, in my mind. Which is sad because the pool is the best! Except when you think about all the gallons of sunscreen and gross bodies and questionable fluids you're swimming around in. Blehh. I just have to put it out of my mind. It's hard though. But-- i made an important discovery whilst at the pool and it is this: Adolescent boys sound JUST like moms. Like 40'ish-age moms.  And it's super trippy.  I'm always a bit startled to find that the mom who had told her friend, "dude, let's go down the slide again"  was actually a twelve-year-old boy. And I know I should probably just say "woman" instead of mom, but that's where my brain went. It's really weird though. Next time listen up and you'll notice it too.   It kind of makes sense though, since I've often thought my singing voice sounds like that of a teenage boy.

7. Summer reading.  Did you take English classes where you had to read books before the school year started and you were like, this is a serious rip-off!  For me it was the summer after 9th grade. Though one of my best because it basically consisted of me and my friend Amy riding our bikes from morn until dusk and playing bike games with a tennis ball, a summer memory my mind takes me back to often, I also had mandatory reading to do which was just a real drag.  You know, we should all go back and re-read the required reading books but this time for pleasure and see how we feel. See if it's still tainted by school. Maybe.  This past year my book club read The Scarlet Letter and I just couldn't do it.   

Anyway, we do not have required reading this summer but what we do have is Julian's school's library open once a week and I'm realizing the 5th-6th grade level reading is RIGHT up my alley.  Those short mysteries written in the 70's-90's--YES.  No phones, no annoying modernity.  It feels classic and simple but well thought out and I love it. 

So far I've read Melusine, a super legit-creepy book set in a summer break chateau in France, Summer of the Swans which was so, so nice, and Someone Was Watching, about a family tragedy that takes place at a summer beach house... but with unanswered questions.   I perused the shelf of Goosebumps yesterday wondering if I could revisit that. Time will tell. 

So, in short, looks like the summer so far is shaping right up. 

 

Sunday, June 12, 2016

)en's Car Names

Every once in a while, usually while on a car trip, in addition to playing geography games, I like to play a game called Made-up Car Make Models.  That's a bad name for a game. But you know what i mean, coming up with good car model names.  I'm sure everyone does this. Sonata, Elantra, Camry. Who comes up with this? I'd like to know.  It's kind of an exercise in creative word play for myself. Free play.  It feels like a word game. What words do i know? What words will come out of my mouth? Let's find out. It's a fun game.

I don't know a lot of car names. Sean knows more than I but he's not like BIG into cars either. And I'm convinced I could come up with some really good ones. We were driving through red rock country and i felt inspired.  I ran them by Sean and he helped confirm whether or not it already existed and also vetoed what he saw fit.   I wrote down what I came up with and now you get to see it. If any of you works in the Office For Naming Cars, that'll be one million dollars, please. I should apply to work there and if that doesn't work out, I'll send my application to Office For Naming Crayon Colors.

Here they are:

Tumbler
Chandelier
Capitan.  Like El Capitan.   But maybe Captain, as well.
Bushwacker
Unicorn (veto)
Mountaineer--already exists
Nautical
Mariner--already exists
Spotlight-- i like this one. Who wouldn't want to be in a Spotlight?? Tagline I just came up with!
Endeavor (shuttle name)
Dream Catcher
Rainmaker
Tumult

Detective
Inspector
Forte

Bamboozle-- Sean's tagline for this car:  Crappy car no one will buy!

Gazelle
Highline
Standby-- ha ha.  Sean's tagline: The car you don't use but just in case.

Rabbit--already exists
Jameson. Fancy car. The car your driver would drive you in.
Enforcer
Prism--already exists
Radon-- Sean's tagline: it'll kill you.

Torpedo

I tried to go for alliterative names but apparently, according to my crusty notebook here, i only came up with one:  Chevy Showdown. Pretty good though, right.

Fantasy
Spellbound
Sunset
Sunrise (Sean said del sol was already one)
Axis
Access.  --Sean's tagline: it lets you get there.
Klondike
Dakota
Coda

And the last one I came up with and apparently the best one since i circled it:

Spectre.


Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Summertime Julian Quote

Julian's not only learned to love the cat, he's developed shmoopy love, producing spontaneous cat nicknames and excels at the baby voice.  Some cat words he's made up:

Hugnut, a nickname I enjoy. He is a little hugnut, yes he is!  I wonder where he learned the kitty lovey baby voice.

Bunchum.  This happens when the cat sort of stands up on his hind legs.  It's funny and the word makes it funnier. 

And others I can't remember.  He toes the line of loving the cat too hard and I wear myself out getting after him and then rationalize in my head that maybe this is just normal, that cats are used to being tossed around by kids, that maybe he even likes it.  I won't say that I get a tiny bit of satisfaction when the cat retaliates at Julian when he's been loving him too hard.  I won't say it.   But the cat teaches him a lesson better than I ever could.

Our cat is crazy and wild and also very very soft and pillow-like.  It's a good thing I love animals because i could get a hefty profit for a catskin stole.  

Every once in a while Julian busts out with phrases that are just really, really well done. I'm learning a lot about the kid of late and this is one thing.  He's expressive. He's descriptive. And I'm so proud.  The other day I gave him a new notebook for him to use for whatever and he said he'd call it Julian's Log.  I mean, are you kidding me? Are you kidding me.  Anyway,  here's the funny weird quote he said the other day, about the cat, as he was loving up on the little hugnut:

"Mom, there's a giant, been-in-the-oven-too-long nugget over here. Think I'd better eat it." 

What? Just... what?  Outstanding.

Friday, June 03, 2016

More Questions

I found this confusing gem scribbled on a bygone post-it note that had fluttered to the floor and it needs to be made public.

JULIAN (age 6): Daddy, what's blubber?

SEAN (expert): Blubber is a layer of fat under the skin that helps keep marine mammals warm in cold water.

JULIAN: That means aliens must be mammals.


fin

Monday, May 30, 2016

Poem Book

When I was a wee lass I wrote poems.  It was a very big deal apparently because my first grade teacher--who did not love everyone-- loved me, because of my poems, i think.  I would give them to her and she'd put a big fat scratch 'n sniff sticker on it and hang it on the wall for all to see.  Big deal. I felt proud. 

Thus, my mom bought me my own poem book.  And I loved it:




I think then, I thought white cats were the fanciest cats in the land. Because they are. Look at that creature sitting majestically on its wicker throne.

I took my poem-writing and book very seriously. VERY. SERIOUSLY.  And so should you:

"Jennifers poem book! Touch this and die."

I wrote in it a lot. Some were about the seasons or holidays, some about my family.  They weren't all masterpieces but some weren't half bad.

As the school year comes to a close and summertime approaches I thought these two were appropriate and basically express the same sentiment I continue to carry to this day on the subject(s):

 


 I know you don't need a translation as my cursive is flawless, but here it is anyway:

"School is such a pain, 
Especially when it's a day of rain.
When school starts I cry and cry,
When school lets out I want to fly/
Math is especially a bore,
Integers, changing decimals to a fraction, and more.
[I think that's a brag]
Homework is probably what I hate the most,
So I don't do it, and eat some toast.
It is now May 30 and I'm proud to say,
It's summertime, it's time to play!"

Look at that. Something like twenty-six years ago to the day I wrote that poem and sure enough, I feel the same way now. As does Julian. Kid does not love school. 

As a bonus I found one of the poems I'm most proud of it.  It's so good I awarded myself the Newberry Award Medal which, I don't know if you know, is pretty prestigious. I made it huge for you so you're sure to catch everything.



 In type:

I have a stinky sister,
She bawls and whines all day.
She thinks she has hard hard work
And she cries when she can't play.
I have to share a room with her,
(thank goodness not a bed)
She always bawls and bawls when someone
taps her on the head.
At night time when it's time for bed,
She snores so loudly! and I almost lose my head.
There is a lot more to tell about,
But I fear it'll take up the page,
So there's most of it about my sister,(She's in a stinky stage).

Wow. Just soak that in for a minute.

HAPPY SUMMER!



Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mom Life

I had a conversation with Julian the other morning that I feel is a pretty accurate portrayal of what mom life really is.  

I was at the sink being noisy with the faucet and I heard Julian, who was rolled up in a blanket ball on the couch, say something I couldn't hear.

JEN: What did you say, Hun?

JULIAN: I didn't say anything was fun.

JEN: No, I said, 'what did you say, hun'

JULIAN: I didn't say anything was fun!"

JEN: I said, 'what did you say, HUN'


JULIAN: Oh! I didn't say anything!

JEN: Yes, you did.

JULIAN: What was it?

JEN, in a sing-songy voice: I don't knowww, that's why I'm askiiing.

I feel like moms' voices get extra sing-songy when they're on the cusp of a minor brain explosion. Even if it's a humorous brain explosion.   Silly, kids.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Philosopher's Drone

The other night I told Sean, "I think I'm a philosopher. I keep finding myself in social situations where we're discussing a topic and I want to talk about the humanity behind it. But, it's annoying. I can feel its annoyance.  Like, too far, Jen. Too boring."   I went to a book club recently and asked something like, "Why do you think we do that? Why is that a natural tendency?"  But no one wants to talk about; they want to get to the next point.  

It's funny, kind of. And sort of interesting. Maybe.    I wonder why I do that? Why do you think that is?

Monday, May 16, 2016

Of Late

Things that have happened recently:

1. Went bowling and played laser tag.  I witnessed two miracles. One that was wonderful and the other just defied every law of science imaginable.  The wonderful miracle was watching my friend bowl SIX STRIKES IN A ROW.  What the fudge?! She was unstoppable. 

Miracle two was when the bumpers miraculously appeared mid-game.  We didn't know if our lane was sympathetically haunted or if the staff was watching our pathetic game and couldn't help themselves. Regardless, we played on and I came at the lane at an angle so as to let the ball ricochet as many times as possible.  Everyone knows the bumpers are great because you can't get a gutter, aka miss all the pins.  EXCEPT YOU CAN.  My cursed bowling ball must have bounced 6 times at lightning speed only to bounce of the corner at the end of the bumper and jut across to the dark corner, missing all the pins.  It was such a raucous display and empty-handed conclusion, the combination of which made for a very funny scene and I died.  How is that even possible??

Laser tag was awesome. There were no miracles but I was amused by how quickly we all got into "combat mode."   "Quickly and almost instinctively create a strategy mode."  Or maybe that was just me. Maybe I should never lay another hand on a real gun ever again (which I've done twice in my life).  This is reminding me of this funny Onion article. 

2.  I swear, every time I try to do a good deed lately, it blows up in my face.  I try to do Service here and there. You know, real Service with a capital S and it always goes awry. It's intrusive, i make people uncomfortable, it's unnecessary, etc.  So i'm honestly hesitant to help people out now.  This morning I was at Target, and it was no grand deed nor a big deal, but the lady behind me had an infant car seat in her cart and was also toting a toddler. I bent down just as we were getting ready to cart on through to the exit and saw a dirty baby shoe on the floor. I picked it up and plopped it atop the car seat and said, "baby shoe!"  and almost left in time to miss the woman say, "oh, that's not mine," and hand it to the cashier.  But I did see it, I did hear it. And I laughed and exclaimed, "oh, it's not yours? Gross! Ha ha ha, sorry! ha ha ha" and laughed all the way out the door.  "Here's a dirty shoe!" *plop*

3.  Hiked up a mountain.  At the end of the hike a man had an adorned fabric satchel thing and I asked what it was.  He said it was a mat for cave yoga which was a joke but made me be like, cave yoga, eh...?  hmm...not a bad idea.  Actually it was an old timey wooden flute or something and we heard it beautifully echo as we made our descent.  I declared how I wished i could bring an instrument up and play it on a mountain.  The guy was scruffy, sort of man of the earth, and I told Sean, "I have it in me, you know, Sean.  I'm a little hippie'ish, a little bohemian."  And he said, "Oh, i know. I've seen how you dress."  Ha! Burn? Whatever. Next time I go up I'm bringing either a recorder or my Jr. High flute. 

There are just a few things I've been up to.  I need to keep blogging so this has been an exercise. I hope to produce more and better stuff soon.   But we'll see, won't we.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Parenting Win

The other day a friend and I were chatting and she said her daughter told her that Julian was her funniest friend.

That's it! I'm out.  Good night, everyone.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Julian Potter

A year+ ago I went on a friend trip to Harry Potter World in Florida.  It was marvelous. Why? Well:

1) Getting out of winter in mid-February is always on my list of to-do's.

2) Being with pals where everyone is easy and can just hang out and do whatever is SO great.  Not everyone is vacation-compatible.  It made me so happy to see them again.   They flew down from Bklyn and it was a happy reunion.

3) We are all HP nerds so of course we were excited. In fact, I decree that you shouldn't be allowed to visit this place UNLESS you are a fan. Why would you even want to?? You can't have it both ways. Give in and just read them already. Otherwise there should be a lamer version of it for those people.  Mine and Suzie's problem, though, was the letdown that the place wasn't actually Hogwarts.  That the magic wasn't actually real. But it wasn't for lack of effort, particularly Diagon Alley side of things. So magical that when i watch the movies, it looks like HP World and I'm like, "I've been there!"  But we're just too childlike in our HP wishes.  But once we accepted reality, it was awesome.  When we were buying the tickets and figuring out which sketchy website was real or not, there was a fear we'd made a wrong turn and had actually purchased tickets to a knock-off amusement park called Harvey Porter, a favorite joke that continued throughout the duration of the trip. Hey, that should be the name of the lame version! They'll never even know the difference.

Several other outstanding jokes were born but I'll save them for another day. But to summarize, it was totally magical.  We ate at the Leaky Cauldron, drank butterbeer, slipped from Diagon Alley to creepy Knockturn, witnessed a wand/wizard-choosing, rode rides, some of which gave me the serious heaves, performed spells...



This brings us to last fall, when I broke down and started reading Harry Potter to Julian.  I know.  I thought I'd wait, it's probably too soon but I just couldn't help it!  Fall time brings it out of me. And he just soaked up the magic like a little wizarding sponge.  He began writing letters to us, delivered by his existing snowy owl (now named Hedwig).  He declared himself the professor of all classes and we even had a potions lesson: 

Water + rootbeer + orange slices + raisins + sprinkles + honey and I don't even know what else. Lacewings and a bazoar.  We had a sorting (I think I'm Gryffindor. Sean as well. Julian, I believe, is a Slytherin. Dang, we always knew he had it in him. Though, he could be great, you know.) And we thought up a way to play Quidditch with bouncy balls that actually works pretty well. The rules are as follows:

Get four bouncy balls: a quaffle, two bludgers, and one special one to be the snitch. 


1. Everyone plays all the positions.  Have a space of hard floors.  
2. Go to the edge, cover your eyes, and throw the balls into oblivion. 
3. Open your eyes, mount your invisible brooms, and go look for the balls.   They all get knocked around on the hard floor so there's constant movement.

Basically you take turns throwing the quaffle into hoops (glass jars on a chair) while scooping up the bludgers and throwing them at each other as you yell, "BLUDGER!"  And every once in a while looking for the snitch, but you can't focus all your attention on it. Ours is currently lost.  We still haven't found it from the last time, so that game is on-going.  It's been months.

Anyway, I just wanted to share with you some letters we've received via Hedwig, often they are on the floor at my door first thing in the morning.  And with all these goings-on I've realized my acceptance of "reality" was wrong all along, that the magic is, after all, very real indeed. 

"Dear Jen, You are invited to Hogwarts starting Monday"

"Dear Jen, By yourself for Hogwarts at Diagon Alley"

"Dear Jen, Wizards will be cleaning your dormitories for you."


"Dear Jen, now that you know the easy classes you will be switched up to level 8. (?) And go to harder(?) classes. From Professor Severus Snape."

"Dear Jen, There will be some cats in Hogwarts's halls."
 Wow, it's really hard to write these words correctly.  Holz--what? that looks right to me.  Or maybe it's just hard to transcribe from adorably incorrect to boring correct. Whatever it is, are they not spectacular? Goodness gracious.  We are now on Book 4. I was hesitant to move on because the 4th book is so epic, but he insisted. So we're in it now.  I'll keep you posted.

But one more funny thing. I was flipping through one of my notebooks and found this gem recorded a couple months ago. Just makes me laugh:




 

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On Blogs and the Human Race

The other day I asked myself, and Sean, why nobody blogs anymore.  Do you feel this is true? It used to be such a huge THING back in the day, 10-some odd years ago.  And now it's sort of fizzled out. Of course they're still out there but it's not like it used to be.  I then started to wonder why my blog seems to have fizzled out.   Not that it's ever been remotely popular. But it's the general feeling I get. Which is fine. I never did set out for any particular goal other than to just put myself out there.  But why?   I have some possible answers:

1. People just aren't interested in reading lengthy tomes of rambling thoughts anymore. We need sectioned off ideas, attention-grabbers, visuals to entice, emboldened statements to tell us what is important so we don't have to filter it out ourselves. Words adapted to enable my growing attention deficit. 

2. Social media. I don't really fully understand the societal implications because I, on the whole, put my hand in the face of the new technology that greets me at every corner.  The platforms I use are Facebook (warily and on my own specific terms), Instagram, and that is it.  No one even emails anymore which will forever make me sad. I love to email. I love to compose, construct, and send things along the electronic wire. And it usually takes more than a few lines and a picture for me to make anything meaningful. But then, i have always been wordy.  I don't believe any of these things, by themselves, are particularly horrible but I'm afraid for what they're training my brain to do, what to look for. How to process or internalize. 

3. I've moved away from someplace cool and interesting to another place that's, well, not as much so. Of course I had secret hopes of garnering some kind of readership, that there might be more people in the world other than myself to hear what i had to say on things. To share an interest in the weird stuff that comes out of my head.  So I wrote about a wide variety of things. I was never an authority on NY anyway.  And I just have to believe that New York isn't what makes me interesting, though I did always feel like I was in the cool club for living there.  Really I was just a long term guest, an outsider with a peek in.   But maybe it's what people want? I don't blame 'em.   So many cool and funny people back in the day had funny blogs and then they started having babies and it changed the tone of their blog. Which is totally fine. But maybe that's what I've done to mine?

Whatever the case, I still have things I want to say to the world and as an archivist and auto-documentarian, blogging has always been a wonderful way for me to do it. Since I've been mulling this over for days, earlier this morning Sean came down and handed me a random quote he read about blogging, in reference to the art world.  First some background:

Apparently Damien Hirst, (shark in tank, diamond skull-- one of Sean's favorites of his, titled For the Love of God)  is having an identical art show of dot paintings in multiple art galleries around the world.  I haven't seen terribly much of his stuff but he always struck me as a shockist (shock artist-- a term I'm going to pretend I made up but probably didn't) with a sort of in your face gluttonous quality to it.  But here's what Sean gave to me:

The dealer and the artist made waves together in 2012 when all of Gagosian's locations worldwide (a paltry eleven at the time) showcased Hirst's spot paintings.  That show, naturally, made a huge splash, but not everyone loved it.  ArtFCity's Will Brand posted this scathing assessment:

"There is, we recognize, a historical danger here.  Someday, the record of this exhibition might be dug up by a young art historian, or perhaps a blogger like us, or perhaps some sort of future blogger who does things with brainwaves.  They'll see that there was a massive show spread across every location of the most successful gallery of the time, entirely comprised of one of the most successful artists of the time, and that it was supported by some of the most illustrious voices money could buy.  So I'm going to lay this down, just to clarify, so that nobody from the future gets confused:  we hate this sh**.  Everyone hates this sh**.  These spots reflect nothing about how we live, see, or think, they're just some weird meme for the impossibly rich that nobody knows how to stop."
 Ha ha! Nothing better than a good zingy art critique.  But I particularly love those last lines.  How much do we really know how people live, see, and think.  Social Media truncates life. Through it it is screened and depersonalized.   Nothing's better than sitting with a person and talking with them face-to-face, but the most inciteful, most impacting contributions historically are the gathered first-hand accounts, the words written down at the time, from a person who was there with a time stamp. 
 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Science Lesson

The other day I overheard a conversation between Julian and Sean:
JULIAN: What's inside a black hole?

SEAN: A singularity. 
JULIAN: What's that?

Jen quietly listens in, as she does whenever Julian asks Sean science questions, so as to gain some insight, as the answer is given in such a way that a 6-year-old might understand. 


SEAN: A tiny place that weighs a lot.

And that's sort of where it ended.  We both still have a lot of questions. 

Monday, April 11, 2016

The Things I Eat 2016

Well, it's almost been two years since the last one and I thought I'd see what my eating habits are like these days compared to then. What I should do is do this in a different season and see how that compares. Maybe next time.  So let's go, and here's the link to the last one because it's just as exciting to read as the first time.

Breakfast

1. The smoothies are still a staple for me. Same recipe as well except I've since added chia seeds and some turmeric when I'm feeling a little inflamed and like I want to gag myself because it is guh-ross. I'll mostly just mix it into my own private smoothie because others shouldn't suffer so needlessly 

Additionally, I realized that if I run out of spinach or it goes bad I can use canned pumpkin as my vegetable. I learned that this past fall when i had a surplus of cans of the stuff and couldn't make another pie or batch of cookies. (One thing i did make was pumpkin pudding and it was fab. Or maybe Sean made it? I honestly can't remember. Let's face it, it was probably Sean, but I know i found the recipe. So i did that at least.)

The problem with the smoothie is, of course, once again, my flighty friend the banana never sticks around very long and if I don't have any ready for a smoothie I don't make one at all. It's the only way i want to sweeten it. My dream is to start up a banana delivery business and you can choose how many you want and from which phase of ripeness. I'll create a scale and come up with clever names for each phase.  The ultimate ripe phase could be called "Save Me From Myself,"  for instance. Or, "Banana's Last Breath" or "Bake Me Into Something Now."   The super unripe phase will be "Backburner Banana."   I'm going to have to think more about this but I'm liking this so far.

2. Also toast is fine. An occasional English muffin. But I don't necessarily eat it daily. I have a ton of bread products in the freezer these days and I find that I sleep better knowing I don't have to eat the entire loaf in 3 days.

3. I alternate smoothies with eggs. The incredible edible egg.  Love the eggs. I mostly do poached, sometimes scrambled. Maybe in the middle of toast. Lately Sean has been mastering the crispy egg which is tasty but I can't do myself.  Also, I've lately begun buying bags of peeled boiled eggs because I am a lazy old man and it's awesome.  I do have egg goals though and one is to start trying soft-boiled eggs and eat them in an egg cup. Dream of dreams!

4. For about a year now I've been drinking some hot honey lemon tea every morning. I kept reading things about people doing this and all the benefits it gives and so i tried it and guess what, it's true. It is great. I think the citrus is doing crazy good stuff for me like cancer-prevention (none so far!) as well as with my skin and other things. I do it for my digestion-gets things rolling, a quality I always like in food. And I think it just generally calms my entire digestive tract down.  I can't sing its praises enough, really. I read that you should drink it as hot as you can, first thing in the morn. Food is medicine and I take this one religiously.

5. I also love the pancakes, as mentioned.  

6. Another beloved food item and on the medicinal list? Oatmeal. Ohh bless it.  It's so good for me. My body cheers every time I eat it and my stomach is satisfied for ages.  And you can eat it in so many ways and variations. Oatmeal 4-ever. I usually eat it plain with apple sauce. Unless I'm eating it for dinner (that's right!), which you can read about in a minute...

Lunch

1. Same as 2014, i guess. Veggies and fruits. Scraps. And, of course, fruit and cheese. Though I don't eat nearly as much cheese as I used to. These days I have learned that it's not just the foods that make me feel a certain way but the combos in which I eat them.  Like if i eat cheese as the same time as vegetables, i do so much better. It's so amazing to me! If i could I would go back and major in food science and tell my future self to listen up.  But I love stuff like this. Often I will gear up for eating trash by stuffing a bucket of sugar snap peas into my gullet. Purely for medicinal reasons. 

2. I'll also eat some cashews or a packet of trail mix nuts. Maybe a boiled egg.

3. Also tuna on crackers but this is rare. 

Lunch is sort of the weak link for me. But it's very low pressure which I can handle. The worst is...

Dinner

Newsflash, dinner still sucks as hard as ever.  When I moved to the 'burbs I was like, "now i'll learn to cook! I'll just cook, like everyone else! Do what the people do, you know?"  WRONG. I still hate it. And it's even worse now because i don't have delicious takeout to turn to. It's so depressing. We still eat out or go pick up some burritos but it is NOT...cannot emphasize this enough.. NOT the same.

Also: Julian has entered a fun phase called Not Liking Anything, But I Mean AN-Y-THING.  Boo. 

But for the list's sake, here's our week's dinners so far:

1. In order to bond more and also get myself to actually make real dinners, we started making my pal Brooke a dinner once a week.  This was in the wintertime so it was mostly soups. While several things were good (beef and broccoli, thai curry soup) the outlier is the crockpot tortilla soup with the magic ingredient: The pasilla pepper. OH it's so good.  I've never actually made it in the crockpot as the recipe is too big for our tiny two-man pot. But we make this almost weekly with cornbread on the side.  Julian and I could both eat a pan of cornbread in one sitting. I'm always torn between making him first eat soup before cornbread and letting him immediately have it because it's best piping hot. I compromise by giving him a tiny square of hot bread and then hoards of it after the soup. 

 2. Trader Joe's has an awesome frozen orange chicken that we try to keep handy. And other TJ's frozen things.

3. Turkey burgers.

4. Of course tacos.  I love mexican food because it's all the same food just presented differently!  Want some meat and rice and beans and veggies and a lot of it? Wrap it in a tortilla and it's a burrito.  Want the exact same thing but not so much of it? Put it in a tiny tortilla and it's a taco!  Want a saucy burrito baked in an oven? Enchilada!  No tortilla but extra lettuce? Taco salad! In water and chicken broth? SOUP!   Honestly, I could eat a Mexican variant every day of the week. 

5.  OATMEAL FOR DINNER.  I discovered this a couple of weeks ago when there wasn't much time, i was desperate to just find something we would ALL (*cough* Julian) eat and i had a revelation. Oatmeal bar.  Little bowls set out filled with tiny diced up fruits, bottled peaches, apple sauce, cinnamon, sliced almonds, whatever dried thing you have in your pantry.  Everyone has a good time and once again, the health benefits rule all.  Lately i've been reading about savory oatmeal and i've yet to try it but I'm very intrigued.  

6. Trying to get us invited to friends' houses.  Yesterday a friend told us they had made taco meat but realized they had no toppings whatsoever and wondered if we had any they could use. When i replied we did she then invited us over for dinner because that was the determinant. HAHA!  Brilliant!  So funny.  We brought tomatoes, avocados, chips, whatever else and their pork taco meat was great and it was such a good trade. So fun.  

7. Food trucks!  They come in the warmer months to a park just down the street and we are aghast at how close they are and how few the people are. What the hey? We still don't understand but it's so great. Some are better than others but there are some seriously quality trucks. We get a hodgepodge and eat on a blanket on the grass and nothing makes me happier than a parknic. Then Sean and I play catch with our adolescent-sized mitts and Julian runs around and all is happy and right in the world. The trucks are back now and i plan my week around them.  

8. Bagged salad. All these new-fangled salad kits are such a great invention.  I will never make a salad again unless it means opening bags and dumping.  

Dessert

Brownie in a mug is a frequent friend. Or just plain hot chocolate. I don't have so much ice cream these days, for no reason at all.   But I'll eat anything for dessert, the most important meal of the day.

One thing worth mentioning is I recently found a recipe for custard that I use for everything and it is now my specialty. I feel so culinary too because it's apparently tricky and yet i can do it! i know! You just have to stand and stir for a while. I set out all my ingredients so I can keep stirring while adding and then i can my custard thickening meditation.   But I've perfected the banana cream pie and it's basically the only pie I make now.  Here it is:

1. layer of graham cracker crust (no sugar added! Don't do it!)
2. thin layer of ganache.
3. layer of custard
4. bananas
5. more custard.

and voila.  I've made this pie about 7 or 8 times since last fall and there's no stopping me.    


                                                                      2016!