Thursday, November 16, 2017

Even More Sean Quotes

This title reminds me of that scary book, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.  And then they'd come up with sequels and call it like, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Even MORE Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.  How far did they get? I wonder.   Also, those stories were so scary.  I'm pretty sure that that part of my subconscious is where my mind's eye goes in my deepest and darkest of moments.*shudder*

Sean quotes are funny, partly because the thing itself is a funny thing to say but it's also how he says it that's funny. And usually the way he says it is abrupt, out of silence, out of nowhere.  For example, i was in the dark kitchen the other day on a dark day, a cloudy day where you might forget to turn on the lights and everything's just pretty dark*, and then all of a sudden he appeared out of the shadows and said the following:

"I just watched that Gangnam Style video again. It's lost nothing."

On this occasion and to the majority of these quotes, my immediate reaction is: 

I don't even know what to think. Or do, or say.  So I laugh and hurry and scribble it down on something.  He did go on to describe what was so great about it and, after my initial shock and bewilderment, I do find myself a little bit curious now...

After that we were discussing Thanksgiving plans involving a family spreadsheet, menu items and so on and so forth. T-giving food isn't my fave, especially eating it at weird-time-of-the-day o' clock, and Sean shares similar feelings. In discussing it more he said, "I just go back to what that Bon Appetit article said (fancy food mag that makes us feel fancy, even if we never ever make one of the fancy recipes) about it, that Thanksgiving is a meal full of very strong flavors."  I considered this and replied,  "huh..yes.. strong flavors. Maybe that's it."   And as he walked away, he said, sort of preoccupied in deep thought about the subject,  "Maybe that's just what it means to feast. I'm unaccustomed to feasting."    Which felt all philosophical to me (but also funny).  Good thoughts, Sean. Thanks for sharing.

Also, now that he's managed to pique our interest,  here's the gangnam video: 



Oh my lands... nooooo.  no no no. I regret. I regret!

*I wrote this before I wrote the first paragraph, interestingly.  I think there's a theme here? Maybe? Or not.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Remember November

The other day I had an experience that felt awfully familiar.  Being that it was November, I was already paying extra careful attention, as something inside of me stirs a little, invigorated and expectant of something good and meaningful.  It was reminiscent of this day, a day and post I think back to often. One where nothing particularly noteworthy took place but just felt really good and, by the end, pretty magical. It was the combination of many little moments, all under the blessing of November, I am convinced.  And it happened again.

This time we were, again, in the car. It was coming on sunset and as often happens in Utah, the sky was just ablaze.  It was shocking. The multiple cloud formations created such depth and dimension and combined with the rays of the sun, there was something spectacular to be seen at every turn. I love this time of day, when everything becomes alive because of the colors the sunset spectrum creates.   On this occasion, we had Julian's friend joining us for the ride.  We were driving to pick up Sean who had dropped off the other car at the shop.  Such a mom thing to do, I remarked on the insanity of the beautiful sky, particularly the burst of rays that shone down directly over the lake, creating this enormous pot of gold on the water's surface. Julian noticed it too and, in spite of being in the middle of little boy chatter, paused to exclaim his appreciation for the beauty as well. He tried so hard to get his friend to see it but, in spite of our combined efforts, it didn't work. The friend just didn't see it like we did.

I found myself feeling so grateful for this friend. It's taken Julian kind of a long time to be really comfortable with having kids over and it's been a long, long road for both of us.  So we've entered into this new phase and it's been pretty great to have someone to share in his interests, thoughts, and ideas, that isn't me. That I can sort of pass the baton to someone closer to his age as he dips his toes more and more in independence. I'm glad for it.  It relieves an immense amount of pressure that I have felt on a constant basis for 8 years.

Their conversation was so pure, and so boy'ish.  The friend could make fart noises with his armpit and they discussed whoopie cushions and how best to use them.   They discussed favorite foods and which would win, mac and cheese or pizza (it's a tie).  They had a waving contest to see who could get the most waves from passing cars.  And then the most magical back-and-forth took place and I sat and drove, desperately willing to keep it going, biting my lip to keep from laughing out of sheer delight whilst my mind frantically transcribed all that was said, to my memory.  Julian had mentioned something from when he lived in New York.

FRIEND: You lived in New York?

JULIAN:    Yes.
FRIEND: New York is dangerous.

JULIAN: No, it's not. My mom and I went out all the time and nothing happened to us.

FRIEND: My dad says it is. Did anyone ever try to take you? Or take something from you?

JULIAN: Like, kidnap me? No, never. 

FRIEND: My dad says that happens in New York. Scary things, and people trying to steal things from you.

JULIAN: Well, that happens everywhere! It's just because it's a big city. Tell your dad he's wrong.  I lived there for half my life and nothing like that ever happened.  No one stole from us, there were no murders, no kidnapping, none of it. 

All of this made my heart swell ten sizes, but "lived there for half my life" just about did me in.  I try so hard not to create false memories for him but I also don't want to lose whatever he already has.  Also I decided not to mention that I knew several people who'd been mugged, a murder took place just across the street by someone we knew, and we listened to countless thefts right outside our bedroom window.  Nonetheless.  In spite of that, living there was magic, and listening to this on this day was magic, and I felt so, so proud.  

Afterward, Sean in tow (meaning, sitting beside me), I turned on some Sufjan Stevens and as we listened to the chill and gazed at the shocking view before us-- those few minutes of the day when the sunset gets splashed onto the mountains giving off a very grand scale, faux bio-luminescence-- so beautiful and so unreal and I was reminded of another post of another really good day of a different month. But we sat and we watched and we listened, and we let November just do its thing, thankful we were there to take it all in.

Friday, November 03, 2017

Halloween 2017

Happy Post-Halloween! That wondrous time of year when candy just sits on the counter, having long lost its appeal to anyone, young and old, and also of putting away Halloween decor and trying to decide if it's worth putting up general fall-related decorations before doing the big Christmas haul. Sorry, Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, it's November, which is usually what happens after Oct 31.  And I have officially dubbed it "thank you card month."  This is an obvious idea but one I've foolishly never had. I can't explain it. So, I'm going to send out random thanks, or "give thanks" you might say, to as many people as i can think of.  And I might even draw a turkey on the card. I'm pretty skilled these days, you'd be surprised.

But before all of that thankfulness, let's view some pictures of whatever Halloween/autumnal thing I happened to take.  The frequency of my picture-taking these days has reached an all time low but that just makes whatever pics i do have all the more special. Also many of these are Sean's, a detail you didn't care to know.

To begin, a writing assignment Julian did at school. I think I've known him long enough now to know he probably won't actually grow up to be a serial killer; he just likes badness sometimes! And don't we all. Maybe we should all embrace our bad side more.  Furthermore, I'm pretty sure I learned that to be a good story, you have to have a really compelling opener and I don't know about you, but I know I want to read more:
"His name is Stemy. His friends call him bloodhound. He likes
kicking people and must be kept on a leash at all times."

Next up is a pie. I've been making a lot of pies lately. Mostly just the same pie: apple.  I have thought in my life that the apple pie is the most basic, borderline boring pie there is. Sean vehemently disagrees, which is why I even made it in the first place.  But then I was like, you know..? If it ain't broke.  Here's the first apple pie of the season. The pic is sideways but a million points for whoever can guess what the decoration is: 


A couple of weeks ago we took a spontaneous trip down south. We saw Bryce Canyon, Red Canyon (sounds made up), and saw the Cedar Breaks.  And pulled over to random spots for random hikes and also random photos. This trip was pretty amazing because we got the variety of the red rock and then took a little jaunt over to Brian Head which is much higher up and all coniferous and things. Totally different scenery.  Wacky, Southern Utah! Just plain wacky.  So these aspens were just insanely stunning. When I got out of the car it was extremely windy and quiet and I felt, as I always do when I'm down yonder there, that distinct feeling that there actually remain parts of the earth that go relatively untouched. And how wonderful that is. Note to self: pull over and get out more.


One thing we did a few times this fall and not once the entire summer is the canyon campfire. I sometimes battle about it because I have shower schedule particularities but you know what? A fire really is the best, and it's totally worth the day o' laundry one must do the next day.  We huddled by the fire and brought tea and hot chocolate and a book of scary stories and it was pretty great:

A school for special needs kids down the road held a fundraiser they've apparently been doing for years and have fine-tuned to the last possible detail and it was, frankly, amazing. Basically it was Harry Potter world, with a million little details like "hermione's elf hats" for purchase--cool hand-knitted hats for like .2.  And other goodies for pennies. We got so much loot. Also spiders in the hall showing where to walk for games in various classrooms. Sean said, "follow the spiders" and then we both started, understanding the book reference. "OH--!"  Just totally tickled with everything.  Anyway, one room had the sorting hat where you'd sit, someone would place the hat on you, and then play a recording in your ear of the sorting hat sorting you--haha! Love that they had so many volunteers to do all of these little things.  As I walked up to the stool I said, "uhh-- i'm feeling a little nervous!" and sat down before I could properly prep myself.  When the sorting hat exclaimed my house I was a little startled but then, as i thought, realized it sounded about right:

Yup:

Sean, however, was NOT pleased: 
 "We take everyone!"  ha ha. Sorry, Sean.
Then they gave us pins of our houses and offered these photo ops.   This place was so cool. Also they had a seriously creepy Knockturn Alley, a Honeydukes with goodies for sale (again, for pennies), a racing game of wooden cars (Ron's flying car race) where you got to KEEP the car.  I was like, what?? At every turn.  So generous with their games and event. T'is a good way to get people to be generous back.

Moving on, here we are with a moment of Cat Lap, my favorite thing.  Kitty loves up on me in such ways that i am putty in his paws:
{cry face}
 Next, soups.  Lots of soups being made these days, even though we're having sort of a hotumn, which i am not opposed to.  (I learned that word from reading theSkimm, a daily news email subscription)  Even so, the soups abound and we finally made one we had wanted to for weeks and weeks but is a bit of a bugger: the french onion soup.  Sean and Julian did a lot of the heavy work. I made a pie.  But look! Look how pretty! We invited friends who, through a misunderstanding, arrived 30 min. late and I was seriously like, "where in h--- are you???"  because i didn't want to miss the prime soup moment. (this makes me sound meaner than I probably am. probably) I mean those french onions don't wait for anyone.  It worked out though and was so, so good. Still dreaming about it a little bit:

Next, the costume.  This year, Julian has been binge-watching Voltron, a remake of the 80's show, which airs on Netflix. Airs? I don't think that's right at all. First, is it aires? Second, I don't think anything I watch on Netflix is "aired," right?  This word now is total nonsense to me.  Anyway, what he chose to be was a Robeast, the bad guy in a couple of episodes.  It was cool, to be sure, but we tried to coax him to be something a little more recognizable. Nothing doing.  So, the best dad that he is, Sean set to work and even bought a sewing machine.  Amazing, just amazing.  First, here's Sean hard at work, fitting the boy. But not before fashioning himself a Dread Pirate Roberts mask:

                                              
Also, as an aside: What a great name for a pirate. Dread Pirate? Man. It makes me want to come up with other clever combination to amp up a profession. I just sat here for many minutes and can't think of a thing. 

Moving on, here's the robeast:

Part robot, part monster? Every single day for a month, Julian would ask me,
"so, do you have any questions about the Robeast?" and I'd try to come up with something.
I consider this my contribution to this year's costume.

Behold!


 

Ha ha! Those arms were so long, and stuffed with foam. A little awkward, but man, it looked so cool. With lights velcroed on and everything which came in handy in the nighttime.  Here is Julian at his school costume parade (led by the local HS drumline--big deal! that sounds sarcastic; it's not. It was cool. Plus I will always hold a special nerdy place in my heart for the drum line.) Anyway, here he is in true Julian style-- cool but acknowledging parents:

My mom came with me, bless her, but I have to say i was pretty disappointed with the parents in general. Maybe it's because I've been in a few parades in my time (brag) and know a little bit about.. what, parade etiquette? But like, NO ONE was doing anything. Just staring at the kids, watching in silence. Maybe shouting out names of kids they knew. But the cheering was pathetic.  I tried to shout out comments and clap and basically looked a fool but i don't care. When you say, "Hey, SNOW WHITE!" or correct the guy who hollers, "Hermione!" when it's so obviously Ginny (colored hair), you know the kid appreciates it.

Next, jack-o-lanterns.  Every year we get all excited to carve pumpkins and then realize that nobody likes to carve pumpkins.  So what we do is we make Sean do it, and that works out pretty well.  Also I force Julian to help because I can. Me, i would but you know, my hands can't have gunk all over them. Sensitive skin...reeeeally sensitive.   Here they are:



Next up is apple uglies, tradition as old as time.  My mom the genius busted out the cotton candy for the first time this year and, excited about a new candy prospect, we were all abuzz with the possibilities.  Sean never tries very hard with his apple but always seems to turn out something pretty great:


 This year I wanted to go for something really really scary so when Julian saw it and exclaimed, "Mommy, that is horrifying" i thanked him, complimented. 

 

 
Sean found a Star Trek picture he thought it was reminiscent of and we deduced it must have been in my subconscious the whole time.  Homage: 

for some reason the silvery hair with like, bangs, cracks me up. I like to imagine this creature is trying to pose all seductive. Also i just want you to know, to find this pic, i googled "old star trek scary guy."  ha ha. It worked, obv.
 My niece made this next one and we all oo'ed and ahhh'ed over it. Amazing. Also, it should be mentioned that it was heard from her quiet, totally unassuming mom, "I think I should get a little credit here."  So props to her for wanting the credit to go where it's due.   
I think all of us were mentally scheming as to how to do this trick with the eyeball
gumballs and we were all happy someone successfully executed it.
 This next one is Julian's.  I respect his quest to cover the entire thing with candy and somehow manage to make a face at the same time.



Lastly, I dressed up too this year.  When I saw the costume online I said to myself, "it will be mine. oh yes, it will be mine."  And it was glorious.  Happy Halloween 2017, finally hitting publish on this thing!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Selfish Do-Gooder

Aside from my trusty 5 x a week honey lemon tea, I've never been a big tea drinker. Herbal tea just never tasted very good.  And then I discovered Trader Joe's peppermint tea and it was a revelation. I'm obsessed. It's so refreshing and delicious. It's like a mood-shifter. A real pick-me-up. It'll cure whatever ails you and I believe that 100%.  Every time I go to TJ's, I buy like 10 (or more) boxes. They joke with me, and I joke with them, saying yeah it's my favorite, can you tell? Or maybe I'll tell them I'm going to give them away as gifts, which I might. But then they say, somewhat more seriously, "you're just saving up for when we go out of stock, aren't you."  And I reply seriously, "that's actually exactly what I'm doing. I'm stockpiling." Because often, as we (the store clerk and I) know all too well, TJ's will run out of a thing and you don't know when it might be back.  I'm still waiting for their instant vanilla pudding and it's been years. Years. One day it was there and the next, poof! Gone. Years.

I remember when I first bought a box of this tea (tea memories). I read the side label which states:

"Trader Joe's Peppermint Herbal Tea makes a refreshing tasting beverage.  It is the menthol in the peppermint that is known for this soothing effect.  Peppermint is an ideal after dinner beverage.  This crisp and refreshing beverage is emerging as a leading herbal tea in America!"

And then it has this really powerful tea proverb or something--

"This first cup moistens my lips and throat. The second shatters my loneliness.  The third causes the wrongs of life to fade gently from my recollection. The fourth purifies my soul. The fifth lifts me to the realms of the unwinking gods."  -Chinese mystic, Tang Dynasty.

That's nice. Well, then I drank it and have since completely subscribed to this religion attitude. SOLD.  I have yet to have 5 cups of tea in a row but I'm honestly, like, sad when I finish my cup of tea. I'm so happy to begin and so sad when it's gone. I mourn a little and sometimes indulge in a second cup.  It really is a transcendental experience.  I've since tried a few others and another good one is Trader Joe's Well Rested tea, a combo of peppermint, chamomile, and other things. It's a good wind down.

So I drink tea about twice a day. I used to save it for after dinner and sincerely looked forward to it all day (my life is exciting). And then I was like, why can't i have it earlier?? You're not the boss of me! (to no one)  And yeah. This may be my neighbor gift for Christmas this year. Or it might be my Jen gift. Gift to myself. Depending on if i've used up all my stores.

Feeling kind of ill-- I think a cold might be coming on, @#$%-- I decided to make myself some earlier today. I knew I had to go pick up the lad soon but, in my excitement to settle in for a nice hot cup,  I believed I had enough time. Or wanted to believe.  But I did not. The tea must steep and the water must be hot (I love that I'm really discovering this for myself for the first time, and now must educate others of this thing that has been done for literal thousands upon thousands of years).  So in the end, I had to leave and my tea was still too hot. I sat and debated for a moment, whether or not I should bail on it and reheat later (gross), or just chug it all and scald everything on its way down.  I really did consider this; i love it so much.  In the end I decided against self-maim and decided to offer it up to Sean.  I was planning on telling him my plight when I realized I didn't have to. I could just make it look like I had made him some tea out of the blue. That way he wouldn't have been burdened with my super sad story of not being able to drink my own tea.

So that's what I did.  I went up and said, "Hey, wants some tea?"  and that's all. And he did and was grateful for it and I did a nice thing which he knew about but that was nowhere NEAR the really nice thing, the true sacrifice, which was giving up something I really wanted for myself. Fortunately all of you now know, so I can walk away feeling really, really good about myself and my good deeds.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Handsome Jen

This past Saturday I woke up early (awesome) and decided to go cozy up with myself downstairs in mine and the cat's favorite chair. I've recently begun printing my blog--at long painful last-- and I'm really excited about it. And feel a sense of relief. That's a lot of material to just leave hanging intangible in internet oblivion.  So I found a website that is easy, does everything for me, and is nothing fancy which is just what I was looking for.  I have to do it in intervals though because it's quite a bit of content there. So I do it by year.  I was reading 2009 and without comments or pictures (my pictures don't start to work until mid 2010) it's 92 pages. And what strikes me whenever I read back is how funny I think I was, compared to now, which then bums me out exceedingly. I still think I'm decently-humored, but I don't write like how I used to. And I miss it. Just slapping up stuff off the cuff, silly little nothings about my day. Random thoughts or things I'm noticing that I feel warrant my public commentary or that make the day mean a little more, stand out for a specific reason or two.  The general lightheartedness. And by gol, I think the world needs more of it. So I'd like to try to go back to my blogger roots. To see if I'm really not as stale as I feel. Yes I've grown but I'm wary of really growing UP, because I still laugh at what I wrote. I cringe at times as well, but the laughs outweigh the shudders. So I'm going to give it a try at least.

To start:

Since it's Monday and horrible things are happening in the world every time we wake up, it seems, I have a joyful little tidbit to share with you, brought to us by a gem of an app called Face App.  Get it today.  I first learned about it from my niece, naturally, and essentially you upload a pic of your face and have the option to see it altered to look old, female, male, and young. It's entertaining.  For example, here's one of me and... Jon? (not to be confused with my brother) Jeb? My mountain man alter-ego? Nah, this guy's too classy. He's definitely a Jameson. Jett? He could be a Jhett. J(h)ett, my hipster man alter-ego:   


What I'm seeing is they thinned his frames a bit (so he's cool but not TOO hipster), lengthened my face a bit, giving him a sliiightly more square'ish jaw (slightly, for my jaw is decent already), kept my nose the exact same, added some greys and scruff and then put a suit jacket on me/him??  Anyway, busts me up.  I feel like I know him from somewhere... it's a little disconcerting.

Monday, October 02, 2017

The Fall

Today's been the kind of day where clouds blanket the sky, yet the sun still somehow shines.  Like everything is under a giant spotlight.  It's cold and fall'ish and things are starting to creep out like Halloween décor and pumpkins and cider-scented candles. The trees are just making their debut (or grand finale?) The grass is still green, though, and my beautiful roses, my babies, are still hanging on like the champs they are, for though the frozen nights treat them terribly, the afternoon sun, which they directly receive, is a bit more kind. But every day I look at them and ask myself, for how long?   (I've recently learned my favorite flower is the rose. I always thought I'd go for something unusual and exotic but I guess there's a reason why they're the clichéd fave. I love them so much) 

Watching the earth slowly pass away gives me mixed feelings. I'm eager for change, but I kind of feel like I need to be paying my respects.  Fortunately fall is a spectacle so reverence turns to celebration, which I can get behind.

The other day Julian sat across the table from me and said this:

"Mom, now tell the truth: Is the tooth fairy not real? And instead it's YOU who leaves the money?"

I stared at him with thoughts of, hey, he's got to know sometime. Is now the time? Is 8 old enough? too old?  Also thinking that belief in the tooth fairy nowhere compares to that of Santa Claus (one that is still mightily held to, I might add) I mean, it's just the tooth fairy, right?  I replied, "do you REALLY want to know?"

He responded, "Yes, I do."

Me, still hesitating, "Well then yes. It is."

I sat staring at him and just for a split second-- if I'd blinked i'd have missed it-- I saw his face fall, and I realized that both of us reluctantly stood at the precipice of uncertain desires.   Did he really want to know? Did I really want to tell him? Even if he did sincerely want to know the truth, ought I give it to him? Or should I wait? Unwilling to accept, he asked again,

"Really? Are you for real? Tell the TRUTH."


Me, again, "do you REALLY want to know? For real?"

He said again, the tiiiniest fraction less sure,  "Yes, I really do."

And I said again, "Then yes, it's true."

And I saw that look again, an internal debate of whether or not he was prepared to reconcile this information with the things he knew and held to deep inside.  Yet again, he questioned,

"C'mon, Mom.  Is it true? Is it really not real?"


Not sure I had it in me to go it a third time I quietly asked again, "Julian, are you sure you want to know?"

And he quietly replied, "No, I guess I don't."

And my heart broke a little bit and I wanted to take back any notion of thought I'd ever had about growing up and facing reality or speaking plainly or anything of the kind.  As I sat surveying the situation, watching him clinging still to childhood I asked myself, but for how long. Finally I decided to say to him, "I've never seen the tooth fairy, have you?"   He said he hadn't.  I said, "But it doesn't mean the tooth fairy isn't real. Right?" He agreed. 

I feel like kids and parents eventually reach this "don't ask don't tell" point in their relationship. That maybe there's this in-between phase where maybe they no longer quite believe in a weird little fairy that collects children's teeth (ew, why is this a thing), but they believe in something. Something not quite equating their hope that their mom or dad will remember to dig up some change for them. I'm remembering how my sister, who's the youngest, would tell my mom she'd lost a tooth and my mom saying, "ok, go find some change in my purse."  Something tells me that's not quite the same, so no wonder they cling. They and us.

And that's where we left it. One last breath of hope hanging in the air, his childhood hung
in the balance, perched precariously at the edge of a cliff but for how long? At this point, who knows what one good gust might do.  


  p.s. I was looking through his first grade binder where I kept all the jewels from the year and found this, with my commentary at the bottom:



Tuesday, September 26, 2017

To Taste

As you may have gathered, cooking does not come naturally to me.  I don't have an instinct for it. Or maybe patience? I prefer to bake because it tells me exactly what I should do. I had a semi-big debate about this with a sunday school teacher a few weeks ago who was using baking as an analogy and how he always forgets to check it and burns everything and hates to bake. I told him to set a timer.  But yeah, it's basically the same ingredients, I use the same tools, and plus it's baked goods, which are delicious.

But cooking? No. Sean is much better than I. He can think of ingredients we might have and whip something up. If I were to do that i would boil two cups of salt and make a shepherd's pie trifle.*

*both of these are Friends references.

So when a recipe says, "season to taste" i'm like, alright. I can understand the need for more salt. Like, I know what that tastes like--blandness. I could never be like, "you know what this needs? More marjoram!  A dash of dill. Cream of tartar, for spice."   But I understand adding more of what they've already given me in the instructions.

However, I draw the line sometimes. I was trying to make eggs baked in avocados. They turned out ok-- I'm not sure if i'm in love with hot avocado (sounds like a song or band name. latin?) but I read this part of the recipe and, you guessed it, was shaking my head. Pay particular attention to Step #3.



 Yeah, ok. Gently crack in an egg, then dip your finger into the RAW EGG GOO and taste to see if it needs more seasoning.  Thank you, no!   You can't just add "to taste" in there willy nilly. Give me salmonella, for heaven's sake, not to mention make me break the yoke which, I might as well throw it in the trash.  Anyway, as I said, they were ok. I over-cooked them because some sillies in our house don't like runny eggs. I might try it again. Baked stuff in stuff is fun. 

The End.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Story of My Life

I have so many thoughts right now that I need to get out before they all completely disengage and float away.  I feel like they're barely tethered together as it is.  I just finished chatting with Sean about this book I'm reading which delves into science and fiction and the universe and, therefore (for me), religion, all the perfect combination to make me cry a little when I've come to an understanding, and it was all highly enriching and productive and I had to write it down.

The book is a novella called  Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang.  It was for a book club and the specific story assigned was Story of Your Life, which is the short story the movie Arrival was based on. I really liked Arrival. I thought it was strange and trippy and provoked thoughts that I wasn't sure I'd ever have the time or capacity to really explore. I felt like I'd watched something that my subconscious needed a bit more time with, and it stuck with me.  Ever since I saw the movie and since I've begun reading the story (which I never finished for the book club but instead read another shorter one I loved so much, I was compelled to go back) it's been on my mind and I revisit it often. I may be reading something else or listening to someone speak or observe the actions of others, catch a quote or idea, and somehow I am always tying it back to Story of Your Life which I'm still in the midst of reading. And it's kind of giving me a very cerebral, transcendental experience.

I feel like I should give a hopefully brief synopsis for some background. In the movie, and so far in the book (spoiler?)  a linguist is contacted by the government to learn how to communicate with aliens in an alien ship that has newly landed on earth along with several others in various spots on the planet.  They don't know where to begin, each species seemingly so different in the way they communicate, and they can't ask the questions they want to or deliver any kind of message.  So she has to find some way to cross this great divide and communicatively start from scratch, without any precedent or any kind of specific plan.  She meets a mathematician who's working alongside her and they share their efforts and attempts, bouncing ideas off one another. Both sides (alien and human) using various methods, she eventually learns how to speak using their language in the way she can, in a way they might understand in return.  She comes to the conclusion that the way they think and speak ideas is not linear, with a beginning and an end, but that each part is a whole and what these "sentences" look like is what she calls a semasiograph, a circular image with facets and nodules that, through learned interpretation, can all be understood simultaneously, it seems to me. 

As she learns this new language, images, like memories, begin flashing in her mind of her daughter. In the movie I think they begin really early on, like at the beginning of the movie.  The birth of her daughter, her growing up, all memories.  But in the present moment we see her living alone, no spouse, no child, so we're assuming they are gone from her, that something happened.  But as she learns the language and becomes more fluent, it seems that these images increase. Her teenage daughter's diagnosis, her ultimate death, the heartbreak.  And then we see scenes where she's having a "flashback" to when her middle school-age daughter, working on a school project, asks her for a certain word and the linguist mother can't remember it. She can't help her out.  The linguist in the present day that we see is sitting there seeing this, recalling this memory.  Then she's interacting with the man, the mathematician, and he says the word her daughter was/is/will be looking for and the linguist mother in that "memory," in that moment at home with her daughter, has the word come to mind and she says it to her daughter. These two points overlap as if occurring simultaneously and she is able to recall the word.

Well then, again, spoiler, at the end we see her realizing more and more that her life, these memories, are not in the past but in the future but that to her, they all feel like now.  She sees what will be and chooses things accordingly but the way she looks at them, how they feel, are memories she currently has.  In the book these same flashes happen and (the story being told in first person) she talks to her daughter who actually hasn't been born yet using phrases like "I remember seeing you at fourteen. You will be...."   And I just love this crazy concept and what it does to my sci-fi-loving brain.  Using words like "I remember" and "you will be" in the same breath. What's more, there's something that feels very cognitively familiar to me about all of this, like it's tapping into something that goes beyond us now but may be what actually is.

In the book she is fascinated with this new language she's learning and she describes it,

"Over time, the sentences I wrote grew shapelier, more cohesive.  I had reached the point where it worked better when I didn't think about it too much.  Instead of carefully trying to design a sentence before writing, I could simply begin putting down strokes immediately; my initial strokes almost always turned out to be compatible with an elegant rendition of what i was trying to say. I was developing a faculty like that of the heptapods [aliens] (p 126)."

She then thinks about language as inner thought.  The way we speak silently in our heads. She remembers doing a Russian immersion program that made her think and dream in Russian. Different language, but it was always spoken, it was always phonological, a voice in her head. "Different language, same mode: a voice speaking silently aloud."   She tells of a friend she had born of deaf parents.  He grew up using ASL and, "he told me he often thought in ASL instead of English.  I used to wonder what it was like to have one's thoughts be manually coded, to reason using an inner pair of hands instead of an inner voice."

Now, as a linguistics and inner thought-lover and one who is constantly in search of any new way to express oneself, this delights me exceedingly.  Speech and cognition and expression and enlightenment and understanding, shifts of understanding, shifts of methods of understanding, have always fascinated me.  I took a class in college called Sensation and Perception and I loved it. It was half full of psych majors (me) and half full of neuroscience majors which I now realize also could have been me. I'm just so into this stuff.

She goes on,

"As I grew more fluent, semagraphic designs would appear fully formed, articulating even complex ideas all at once.  My thought processes weren't moving any faster as a result, though.  Instead of racing forward, my mind hung balanced on the symmetry underlying the semagrams.  The semagrams seemed to be something more than language; they were almost like mandalas.  I found myself in a meditative state, contemplating the way in which premises and conclusions were interchangeable.  There was no direction inherent in the way propositions were connected, no 'train of thought' moving along a particular route; all the components in an act of reasoning were equally powerful, all having identical precedence."

This is the quote I wanted to read to Sean which ignited our discussion and my ensuing emotion-filled moment of enlightenment.  Sean, ever with me, shared his views of things he's read that relate.  I had to tell him some background a bit, how the linguist and mathematician were at dinner discussing Fermat's Principle, which of course Sean already knew something about. I told him i thought it was something to do with light refraction, that light has to take the quickest route? You know what, let's just find out the real thing.  Here it is:

Fermat's Principle: light travels between two points along the path that requires the least time, as compared to other nearby paths.

The linguist in the story was having trouble with it and asked the mathematician some questions and ultimately she thinks to herself, the ray of light has to know where it will ultimately end up before it can choose the direction to begin moving in.   

You can see how this would all connect with the language she's learning, the new abilities she's acquiring.  Sean offered some insight regarding quantum physics where (I really need to get him to come over here and explain it) wacky things happen that can't really be scientifically explained. Two points or quanta occurring simultaneously no matter where they are when they begin(?) Like time and space don't matter. He said Einstein called it "creepy" science.  I thought it was interesting and find myself, again, wishing I had a more scientifically-wired brain to grasp it as easily and as quickly as others do. But oh well, I guess that's why he's here. (This all sounds very sexist of me. "I need a man to explain it!" Ha ha. Again: oh well.  This time.)

I told him I felt like this is how things might really be, but for now in this existence, we live more linearly.  But why does it feel so familiar? So relevant to me now?  It seems evident as a real and a strong presence currently in my life in so many ways, so many important ways that are constantly on my mind.

One of them is Julian.  He's eight now and ever since he was born I've constantly thought about what I was going to do with his life. How mine would change, over time, in all the ways. How present I was going to be.  How aware would I make myself of what was happening.  I've already touched on my desperate goal of living in the moment for the past few years but I feel like this explains why.  Over and over I hear people talk about their children growing up, how fast it happens, how they mourn the end of the ______ phase or that one.  I feel it too, but I also have zeroed in on his being the only one and equating it with this being my only chance.   I love what she says up there about learning this new alien language. To requote:

"My thought processes weren't moving any faster as a result, though.  Instead of racing forward, my mind hung balanced on the symmetry underlying the semagrams."

I look at my life as a semagram, at the present. A single sentence made up of all its parts simultaneously.  Sean and I both agreed that though it seemed that the future and the past were more simultaneously felt and overlapping for her, she still had a now.  And her understanding of this overlap affected her now, her present. Her thoughts were slower, her mind hung balanced on the symmetry underlying the semagrams, or what she wanted to express.  I feel like I hang in my own balance and the past and the future that-- though I know nothing about it-- create a symmetry for my present.  And that is why I don't feel like just like that, he's eight! Oh just the other day he was two, like I often hear from friends and which stumps me a little bit. I don't think I've missed anything.  I understand what they're saying but I just don't feel that way. He is what he's supposed to be and I feel a real calm about it. I've been around for all of it and have made so many efforts to be present for him, with him, that my now, the past, and what may be, feel very closely intertwined.

I told Sean it was why I constantly futurize. I learned this word when reading an article one day about how parents tend to futurize their children's bad behavior.  What will this look like when he's fifteen. What will this damaging effect I've supposedly caused have on later years? {nervous teeth} But instead of focusing on the negative, (which I can do) I choose instead to futurize a different way, by launching myself into the future and imagine all kinds of possible scenarios that might take place, conversations we might have that might be connected to the past. Moments where he might look back and pinpoint the most concrete memories from where we are now, his childhood, the things that stayed with him the most.  Moments where I will do that. I think about sending him off to college and imagine what memories I will go back to in conjunction. Simple things, like when we used to sit together at the table every morning in second grade. Having a conversation. The silly or profound things we used to talk about.  Reading together, the kinds of books we read. Playing together in ways that change as he ages. I imagine when he's learning to drive and branching out on his own. When he has his first child. When he's doing mundane tasks, living far away from me (us, far from us--ha) and picturing where his thoughts will take him as he thinks back. I find myself analyzing what kind of relationship we might have then based on this or that, wondering what I can do now to facilitate what i might want then.

Of course it is hypothetical because unlike the character in the story, I can't actually see future events lying before me like today's news, but it gives me a certain feeling of connection. And it greatly influences my present.  Because of this practice, I am much more deliberate and intentional (synonyms) in my behavior now or at least in how I process my thoughts. I try to pointedly make memories. I try to emphasize the good I can do now. The conversations we can have now. The bond we can create now with the time we have, the future never feeling very far away.   It is why I have chosen to stay home with him, though I've often struggled with the stay-at-home parent life, never really identifying as one, often claiming to be or at least feel like a "working mom who doesn't work."  (whatever a "working mom" looks like)

Because of this, the past never feels very far away, either. I think it's because I've trained my brain to look ahead so that I can facilitate my present, which will some day be the past.  So the feeling I have about my actual past keeps some semblance, some essence of the present for me.  It doesn't feel distant. In either direction.

I told Sean of something really interesting from a book club i attended the other day.  I hadn't read the book-hadn't attended all summer, actually.  So it's awkward since I can't really join in on the discussion but I try to glean what I can from the conversation.  The book was The Orphan Keeper, a novel based on the true story of a boy kidnapped in India at age eight, was sold to an orphanage, and then adopted to unknowing American parents.  It takes months for the boy to learn English enough to tell the adoptive parents he already had a family and thus begins the search for his birth parents.  The topic raised was the guilt (i think) felt by his birth parents.  His mother searching for him for years (it took years to find them, like over a decade? I probably should have read the book) and the feelings of guilt she had.  My friend responded with something I thought was so interesting and relates to this.  She is the mother of three children but the second one passed away as a toddler in a car accident about twelve or thirteen years ago.  She said she feels guilt for all kinds of things-- of course for what she could have done differently that day--taken a different route, whatever, to prevent it.  But the weird things she said she felt guilt for that would pop up in her head for years to come, maybe even now still, things she wouldn't have thought, were thoughts of, oh, I should have given her that cookie that one day.  I should have bought her new clothes. She only wore hand-me-downs from her sister.  Why didn't I buy her new clothes?    Trivial things that are still a presence in her mind, looking back.

These stories I hear from others, or read in strange and ingenious books that tap into my soul, are just examples to me of what I could be doing in my life and why I focus on living in the moment so much. It's really weird, too, because I feel like the more I read this book and the more I contemplate this concept of learning this linguist learning this alien language, the more I can imagine feeling what she's feeling.  The easier it is to contemplate the future and connect it, along with my past, to my now.

I feel like I'm having a Neverending Story experience (it's a thing). Bastian reading a story and finds himself incorporated in it.  I really feel like, eerily, I've begun reconfiguring my brain a little bit, that I've learned a certain language and acquired a certain ability from watching a movie and reading a story about a woman who learns a new kind of language and acquires a new ability and I feel very strange that somehow, Ted Chiang was writing the story of my life after all.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Summer Post 2017

Well it's been a million months since I last blogged. I hate it but it's just one of those things, you know how it is.  I am not giving up on it but I sometimes wonder how to re-approach it, you know? Should I do something different? Is it meaningful to anyone? (not that that should matter but my ego says it does) Do i have anything meaningful to even say? (-- the more pressing matter on my mind)  Or if not meaningful, then what I have dubbed "blog-worthy?" These are the questions I ask myself.  And I don't really have any answers.  So, I do what I've always done: look to the scrapheap of my drafts and see if there's anything salvageable.  Since school's just started which also means summer's just ended (awkward phrasing), I see here that i had begun a post at the beginning of summer about summer.  That I did nothing with until the middle of summer where I decided to add to it and write about mid-summer.  That I did nothing with until now, well past the end of summer.  I think I'll just give you what I wrote, an unfinished stream of summer consciousness but presented in real time.  What Jen was thinking in the moment:

*****
Summer, summer. What a dream. There's nothing that makes me hate winter more than basking in the beautiful glow of midsummer.  Oh wait, no, winter makes me hate winter more.  But other than that! I find these days that with my love of summer comes a latent rage against winter and I bemusedly ponder on how I try sooo hard to love it but we all know it isn't real love. And now, being a safe distance away I am free to loathe and rage with reckless abandon.  But enough of that. Summer! I know the heat must get to me eventually, and so it shall, but what a joy June has been. Just an absolute joy.  I recently clicked on an important article ranking the months from worst to best and I have to say, although I don't have quite such a disdain for November, the ranking seems pretty sound. 

I thought I'd go into a bulleted list of how my summer is going so far. What we've been up to, various and vague summer thoughts, but first I thought I'd put in a blog post I wrote a month ago and never published because for some reason I'm really struggling with the blogging these days. But I found it again and thought it wasn't the worst. Plus it's fun to revisit a forgotten thing and use it to evaluate the present. So here it is:

written in early June, 2017
 
Summer is here, at long beautiful last. (-- it sounded good in my head. I'm sticking with it)  Like all parents, I wrestled with feelings of enjoying an unstructured life and going bat-crap crazy without it. I feel like this battle from within must add to the balance of the universe so I'm just going to allow it to happen and not get too worked up about it. If one day is crappy and lame, then let it be! Tomorrow is a new one, a chance to see if it's crappy too, or not, and it's usually not. Whatever the case, I like my summer to happen organically. Just like with a child, if I overplan or overbook a summer, it can't have the freedom and room to grow and develop on its own. I like to see what the hot summer wind carries and that is certainly one thing that can be relied upon.

I live in the freaking windiest spot on this green earth. Remember that scene in the Keira Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice, when she goes to see the lakes or whatever with her aunt and uncle and there's that scene of her standing at the edge of the cliff in the moors and the music is sweeping and dramatic and Keira stands full-faced into a ginormous gale, her dress whipping violently behind her? That's how I feel every single day, it seems.  And I channel Keira whenever I open the door, as in all things.

It's so weird living in the place I grew up. For countless reasons. I'm often reminded of feelings i had as a child and one of them is angry swearing feelings at the wind.  And then I'm pleased to know, yet again, that who I was a child is who I am still deep down (or not so deep down).  But I live at a slightly higher elevation and it is constantly. windy. I feel like i'm fine with it for the most part. We have several wind lawn ornaments that I've become somewhat attached too. A giant metal rose, a small rainbow-colored windmill and a shiny silvery one. spindly dangles hanging from the tree, all to blow in the wind.  It's fun.  But when I

And that's where it ends. We'll never know what I  was going to say. Probably something about the wind getting real nasty here and ruining parties and things like such as. We had a couple backyard dinner things where actual food was being blown off plates, and then the plates themselves. It was ridiculous. Like, "Oh, you're going to want to have more on your plate than just salad and chips. Here's your salad, chicken, chips, and rock."  Anyway. But no matter, i'm moving on. 

In bullets, here is how I'm spending my summer.



  • Reading. Julian has finally reached that magic age where he wants to read and read a lot. I marvel that we spend our summer mornings lazing in bed, something he and I both love to naturally do. We are not fast movers in the early AM.  And then he reads. Kid will read for hours in the morning. I thought I'd get him up and start him on jobs and chores and structure and then after a bit I was like, what in the good heavens for?!  So I let him read and it was blissful.  And, as anticipated, his school library is my favorite--for him and for books for me. 5th grade required reading? Yes, please. 
  • We started a science club. I did this a couple summers ago but only did one experiment and guess what? Same thing happened this time. This took place during my "need to plan and organize!" bliz/freakout but ultimately goes against my nature and I haven't cared to do another one. I love science club though. The first (and only) one was a hit and tons of fun and I really hope to have another one one day. 
  • Along that vein, I did start a bug board. Like an entomology board, where you pin bugs. I found a big dead beetle on my porch and that's how it began. Then i realized I'd need to kill bugs and realized I hadn't thought this through. So, so far I've pinned already dead bugs or bugs that needed to be destroyed but then carefully preserved. I have the beetle, a big green'ish housefly, and a giant mosquito that was flying in our house. I told Sean to get it and then yelled, "WAIT! Don't smash it! Is it preserved??" i have a real twisted relationship with bugs now. I drive through the canyon and see these giant monster butterflies and remark to myself what a lovely addition they would make to my collection. I even found a dead one in the parking lot and even had a ziplock bag for it! But then i tucked it in the corner of a nail salon while Julian and I got pedicures and I think some kid saw it while he was waiting for his mom and took it home. Cuss.  


  • *****

    And that's where that one ended. This brings us to today, September 14.  I won't bore you with all the summer details but I will say this: At the beginning of the holiday, (-- I'm still being Keira, apparently, and British) Julian made a robot for some unknown reason. He's not a big crafter so i don't really know why he did it and I don't think he did either. He didn't spend too much time on it but when he was done we had this huge robot we didn't know what to do with. I suggested we hang it up, because i felt like that was the mom thing to say/do.  We did and then we stared at it for a day or two until we got the idea to write down all of the things we do this summer. Instead of making a list of summer things we wanted to do, we made a retroactive summer list-- things we did-- to see, at the end, all the things we had done. To be reminded of the little things that seemed small at the time but, combined together, made for one of the funnest summers ever. I'm making the pic huge so you can read everything. But the summer was fab with a few things planned and little to no pressure and i recommend taking this retro-list approach.

      Also, one last thing. Around the heat peak of July, I found this poem and recited it to myself whenever I could. I don't know if it'd be )en's Log without some kind of poem mentioned.

    Anyway, and re: blogging:  I'm back!  Probably!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

One For Each of Us

Found some quotes on my phone that need to be posted and published post haste, so here y'are:

This one is from April that i had totally forgotten about:

SEAN: *mumble singing "The Sign"* [click here and scroll down for more of Sean's thoughts on this song]

JEN, snickering: Good job, Sean.

SEAN: I bet I know the whole thing.


***

Last March, out driving at a sunset'ish time.

SEAN: Wow, the lake looks so pretty right now.

JULIAN: Yes! Enjoy it while the red light lasts.

JEN: Julian, I love your outlook on life. What a great thing- "enjoy it while the red light lasts."

JULIAN: What does it mean to abuse the world?

JEN: Uhh...
 ***

A year ago. Jen and Sean at a fancy brunch.  Jen cuts her food in fourths like an elegant lady, then scoops it ALL on the fork.  Sean abruptly notices and is immediately amused.

JEN: Don't look at me!

ha ha ha.  I can't remember what was exactly said, but Sean, in his way, pointed out the irony and then I busted ten guts, probably with my mouth full.



Saturday, June 03, 2017

The Last Day

Goodness gracious, nobody told me what the last day of school can be like. Julian was in kindergarten for two years and the last day was a non-event, perhaps because we missed it for both years? The first for camping? Details are fuzzy.  Last year we missed the whole last week (and therefore all of the "picnics" and "graduations" and "special activities"--best decision i ever made) and also, maybe because it's kindergarten? Maybe? But first grade is veeeery different, as we all know. 

I don't know about you, and maybe you're still in it, but for us, the last week of school was never.ending. Man alive! Every day felt like Friday. "Certainly it must be Friday NOW..."  Sooo sloowwwww.  I knew Julian was feeling some trepidation for one reason and one reason only: having to say goodbye to his dear teacher.  Turns out Mrs. R was universally beloved. It wasn't the number of children who loved her (which was every one I talked to) but the way they loved her. Like, at the mention of her name, there was a certain look in their eyes, their expression immediately changed, softened, for fondness.  Tenderness.  She had carved herself a permanent place in each little 7-year-old heart and it was truly a thing to behold.  Every now and then, throughout the year, Julian would randomly say things to me like, "You know. I think Mrs. R is really starting to become part of my life."  It was unlike anything I'd ever seen, that's all i can really say about it. I felt like I was witnessing true love. True first grade teacher love-- just how it should be.  Based on that alone I shall sing her praises forevermore with the utmost gratitude.  

I wrote the following in his baby book-- his journal where I jot things down from age 1-now, all in the same book. I wrote it the day of so I think i should just put it in here.  What a day:

26 May 2017

Dear Julian,

Today is the last day of first grade.  I didn't think it would be that big of deal. not as big as the first day, right? Wrong.  We walked to school together and the air was thick with last day jitters and excitement.  "Last day! I can't believe it! Finally!" we exclaimed, over and over.  We said goodbye and that was that.

Then it was time for pick-up.  As I stood outside the school, waiting for you, I could feel some emotions bubbling up my throat (ew).  I saw a big receiving line of parents with cameras at the ready, just outside the main doors.  I stood back on my little patch of cement where I always go for pick-up and thought maybe I should get my camera out too and capture the "last day of school" faces.  But of course I thought better of it, knowing that in so doing, I take myself out of the moment, and it did feel like a big moment.  So I stood and waited and when the bell rang, an enormous mass cheer could be heard from inside and the kids started pouring out. 

I won't cry, I said to myself.  That's silly.  Why would I cry? So I took a breath and held it together and I was fine.  And then I saw you.  Like so many times before, I observed your face, trying to ascertain your emotional state.  Today it was a bit somber and strained as you desperately tried to just get to me.  And as you ran into my arms, you burst into tears, completely overcome by the emotions-- of the day and the beautiful heartache of loving a teacher so much and having to say goodbye.  And so of course I cried, knowing perfectly well it is NOT silly.  And we walked away together and I laugh-cried through your gut-wrenching tears, and that was the last day of first grade.  

We got in the car to go the diner for a celebratory brunch.  You cried the whole way there and through your weeping and wailing, said the most amazing gems that I had to pull over to write them down.   Here they are:
"I just want the end of the school year to be pushed back farther, or not happen at all!" 

"I want to go to school for the rest of my life!"

"I'll never make it through the summer!"

"I'll never see Mrs. R again!"

"This has been the most wonderful year! 100's club, parties, field trips... Second grade won't be the same!"

"Mrs. R became such a part of my life.  First she teached us and then we had to say goodbye. I miss her so much already."
****

Honestly I'm getting a little teary just transcribing here.  What a thing!  Why did no one tell me? I assumed he'd run out, kicking his heels and never look back. But then, I did know the kid loves hard, loves deeply. We didn't give Mrs. R an end-of-year gift or anything, but I know she'll be receiving a mid-summer love letter with some pretty great quotes and maybe a school pic I have no idea what she'd do with. 

Aaaand I took a pic:

I was laughing more than this pic lets on, but man, we just feel what we feel! And we cannot hide.


Also, I just spotted this touching little story.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Good Housekeeping 1960

Before it burned down, my mother's family's farmland held a tiny concrete home that was like a stargate to another time and dimension. Read more here.  Inside were old relics, largely unmoved over the decades and among those relics was a trove of readable treasures I had previously known nothing about and the discovery of which changed my life forever:  The old Good Housekeeping magazines. 

Losing them in the fire was the least of the sad items lost but still was sad. Until I got on ye olde ebay and purchased up a lapful of the vintage gems and now they display proudly in my sitting room. I have a difficult time trying to express why they are so wonderful and precious to me but I'll do my best to sum up.  

Essentially, it is the most perfect, unmolested, uncontaminated inadvertent time capsule you will ever come across, only to be buried by other forgotten items in a hoarder's attic (hoarders I love and owe my life to).   Any old magazine, I'm now realizing, would be an immediate transport back in time but the Good Housekeeping, I believe, particularly captures the essence of American culture and, frankly, the human psyche during certain eras.  It is the most perfect history lesson and when you open it, you've stepped inside a time machine. Inside, we see styles in fashion, furniture, general home decor. You might see the gradual transition of the flowery 50's to, in my opinion, the more typical "mid-century" style of the mod 60's, but like, they didn't know it at the time. But you do! You know the end! To flip through the pages feels omniscient and it's alarming and exhilarating.  I looooove it.

More than that, though, we see attitudes, general belief trends, science views, child-rearing practices, SEVERE blatant sexism and an absolute non-existence of non-white culture or representation thereof.  I read an article that was actually titled something like "how women can stop being so useless" and it was NOT a joke.  Basically it was how men work hard at jobs and women should come with certain homemaking skills when they marry. Aye aye aye! But it's not spoken or written about retrospectively. It's the current view of the time, completely unaware of the future, without acknowledgement of any other lines of thinking. It's widely accepted as everyone's reality,  an actual real snapshot printed and published.  The "science" is bizarre but was then commonly accepted-- doctors promoting cookies for children as a healthy snack, for instance.  It makes you scoff and then sit and wonder what current, scientifically-proven facts that we believe now are possibly going to be later debunked or discarded. 

And then, oh my, there's the copy, the text! The captions! Ohhhh they just tickle me so. They are lengthy, oftentimes bizarre. Sean and I imagine Madmen-type guys sitting around with pens in their mouths coming up with a really good paragraph for sanitary napkins.

In addition, and one of my favorite elements, are the styles and trends of food prep and really outrageously gross recipes.  The microwave, for instance, was a new hot item and for a time, the goal was to cook ev-er-y-thing in it. Roasts and fish and complex casseroles.  It's just outstanding, and super nasty.

In particular, gelatin in some form was apparently expected for every single meal, as was using molds, which makes sense.  The goal, it seems to me, was to incorporate as much random and completely incompatible food items together into one giant mold. You marvel and wonder how anyone could think such a thing was appealing. The other day we made up a game where I sat reading recipes to Sean who, mystified, had to visualize and then attempt to describe to me what he thought it would look like. I'd then reveal the image and we'd see how close he got, and then make puke faces. BEST.

I thought I'd make this a series because there are too many gems to skip over. )en's Log is going retro.  For now I'll share just a couple of images that i've been texting to friends. They delight me to no end. 

The first was a challenge:

Looking at the ad here, can you guess what ingredient they are referring to? 



I'll give you a minute to think.  Got your guess?

Did you guess... THIS?




 It's fuzzy. Kellogg's concentrate(?) I believe this might be some form of cereal, maybe like Grape Nuts/Grape Nut Flakes? Question mark? Nobody knows.  

Here's another one that just makes me laugh and puke at the same time:



Ha ha ha! Chill a soup! Soup on the rocks! Ice-cold refreshing consomme BROTH.  AAAHH.  It's like some weird but still entertaining nightmare. 

Anyway, just wanted to share with you. I've got several here I pore over on the reg so stay tuned for more vintage GH goodies...