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...

Friday, May 05, 2017

That Old Saying

The other night the three of us got in the car and the following exchange took place.  Basically imagine me giggling through the whole thing:

JULIAN:  Remember the saying, 'if you do it, it's worth it'?

JEN: ummm nuh-uh, I don't, actually...

JULIAN: Ok fine, it isn't a saying.  But it IS.

SEAN: I don't recall that one. Sounds like a Julian original.

JULIAN: ok FINE it is. 

Just tickled me up and down.  And now, upon further reflection, it SHOULD be a saying, and will now make it so. I love it. It's kind of deep no?  Remember everyone, if life ever gets you down:

If you do it, it's worth it. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Birthdays Come and Birthdays Go Blonde

I had my birthday this week. The build-up was just as it is every year: as it approached, the excitement grew. Hints, subtle and not so subtle were dropped by you-know-who and I felt the thrill of the upcoming best day of the year. It has been this way since I was a child.  How did I spend that glorious 0427?

I woke up to the morning of my birthday. You know that moment, the feeling you have (or had when you were 7) when you realized it was your birthday, how this day was set apart from every other day of the year? I got up, dressed myself, and made my bed all whilst hearing a storm a-brewing outside my door. Julian was all but banging down my door, a commendable feat considering him and who he is as a person (that is, a person who barges into my room a hundred times a day) and considering the ruckus i heard. Huffing and puffing and pacing, just waiting for me to open my door before bursting altogether. It made me laugh and I smiled as I calmly did my tasks and then I opened the door.

I tell you, birthdays are nothing anymore without Julian.  It is amazing.  I am not sure of the phenomenon here. It's like I have someone to share the excitement with, someone who loves them just as much as I do. And it's a bit cathartic because it takes away all the birthday pressure (for me and, no doubt, Sean) so that I know, no matter what happens, it's going to be a great day. Because my birthday is basically his birthday and I die a thousand times to see him show so much love and excitement for me. He repeated many statements throughout the day that it didn't matter what he got, it was my day. He wanted my day to be special. He hoped so badly that it would be and, i mean, can you honestly imagine a gift better than that??

Here he is in my room before school, p.s. having put on his shoes and grabbed his coat without being asked. {cry}

He had me cover my eyes and walk downstairs (dangerous, don't do it) and presented me with the best birthday sign ever to behold:

It reads,

Dere Mom
I hope you have a fun b-day. it is going to be fun that I can promese. there are fun presents it is going to be soooooooo fun.  any way it will be fun. I hope you have fun to have the cake its delichus even [though] i hate it. love, Julian

{cry face, cry face, hearts for eyes face}

It's... AMAZING.   It was one of those moments--the whole day, in fact-- where you learn that your kid might not be a sociopath after all.  You know those special tender moments.  I'm kidding, but he was so friggin' thoughtful toward me all day. Kid loves me hard and I happily embraced it, all day long. That note is the ultimate because Sean had apparently ordered me a chocolate cake from the fanciest chocolatiere we know, LA Burdick- yessssss.

Julian, however, hates chocolate cake. He doesn't even really like chocolate except for gross chocolate candies which is not really chocolate so that makes sense.  Anyway, he and Sean debated over it for a long time and Sean put his foot down, Julian conceded, and got his own special cupcake but gave the greatest gift of all with his note telling me it would be delicious---FOR ME.  {heart break, cry face}

This cake, by the way, has made me real happy. I tell you, quality stuff is worth hunting for in this life and I won't ever give up.  I told Sean eating this cake gives me actual chocolate endorphins, like I actually feel happier when I eat it and not at all sick. It's basically a dense, possibly flourless concoction with raspberry puree and raspberry ganache which-- who knew such a thing existed.  It is perfection. We've been trying to figure out who to invite over to help us eat it but the nights are busy and it may end up being just a two-person project.

The day was filled with relaxation and several drop-bys by thoughtful birthday people. So basically I sat on my can while I received gifts. Just the best. Such kindness. I have now made a goal to make as many bday drop-bys as I can. 

One favorite gift was this gem:

 So good. I yelled when i flipped it over, then went up to scare Sean with it.  It scares us every time we descend the stairs. Scares the cat too. We're all scared. I love it.

Sean and I have some friends we met in Bklyn who live here now. Dom's birthday is a day after mine; we were born a day apart. I always feel a little connection to people who would have been in my grade. Kids of 1980, unite!  Off and on for many years we have celebrated together, the four of us, and it is a beloved tradition. This time we went to see Colossal, an outstanding indie film I highly recommend. There's some language but I hardly remember hearing it and it was just so good. It's wacky, includes some sci-fi (yay) and delivers a powerful message of strength, fighting back, standing up for one's self and taking responsibility, taking charge of one's own life. I loved it. We all did. And as I recently suggested to Sean that, as a means to help us feel those city-like feelings of diversity,  better connected with the outside world, we might consider watching more indie films. So this fit the bill and hit the spot. Excellent.  Followed by Thai food and lots of scattered conversation. Best.

Also I went to dinner and a movie with some OTHER friends.  The movie I wanted to see? And they good naturedly went along with? Kong: Skull Island. It was first introduced as a joke or like, feigning a lack of preference, " ha ha Kong would be awesome! But you know, whatever. I'm good with anything!"  But the seed of desire was planted. And we're all so glad it worked out that way because it was pretty awesome. Scary, gruesome, a little bit awful, but good fluffy entertainment. If you like to be scared with a little bit of grossness and also enlarged animals, go see it today. 

Lastly, I finally did it, you guys.  I bleached my hair.  I believe I'm on phase one of two to go even lighter. I've been wanting to do this FOR-EV-ER and last year i came this close but was scared off by the upkeep. But this year i said, don't care. It is time.  So I did it and i love it and satisfies the pressing feeling i've been having deep inside that anything different is good.  {sparkle emoji}



I might write a more philosophical, reflective post on getting older on this great journey we call life, but now, I just wanted to share that birthday magic is apparently real at any age, and it's alive and well with this one.

Friday, April 21, 2017

May I Help You?

Watching stuff while exercising is my favorite. Lately, I've been watching Clueless in snippets. Clueless, undeniably the greatest movie ever to come out of the 90's, has some real gems.  Cher Horowitz, the supposed "clueless" teenage heroine, has adopted a new friend to foster and indoctrinate, and discovers a greater depth of humanity and life when she reflects,

"It's like that book I read in the 9th grade that said, 'tis a far, far better thing doing stuff for other people.'"
I have a couple experiences I'd like to share regarding the service that has been rendered to me as a customer of late and this quote doesn't really have much to do with it but the movie is such an ingenious classic and I wanted to share, I mean "Cher," so there you go.

These two moments I'm going to tell you about made me laugh and, in spite of my frustration, are the kind of spice to my life I so enjoy. So I exasperatedly make fun but I owe a lot to these people and thank them from the bottom of my heart.

The first was when I was in the bakery portion of a local supermarket.  This place has a more gourmet quality, especially in the bakery and deli area so I allowed myself to have a bit of hope. Always on the desperate hunt for a decent baguette, eying the bagged, oblong bread loaves, I asked the girl behind the counter,

"Now, is this a crusty, classic baguette? or just a loaf of 'french bread'" snobbily knowing full well there is a difference and wondering if she will too. 

Her confused confirmation:     "yes, it's crusty french bread."

Me, trying again, but already knowing the answer:     "Ok, but it's soft, right?"

Because a baguette is not just a soft loaf of bread. The consistency is completely different and the correct crust, the air holes are imperative. Anyone who's had a good baguette will tell you this.

Helpful girl:     "It's soft, but if you want it crustier, you can just leave it out for a day or two."

Me:  and then

Then later, when relaying to Sean and the jokes come in:

"Just leave it out on the table for a while. It'll get hard."

"Great, thanks, because STALE bread is what i wanted.  This bread is too fresh! Gross."
Makes me be like, lol, and smh.  I still laugh about it.

The second story is about my poor little cat.  Cat, or Kat, or King Kitty, because his name fluctuates and nothing is set, recently injured himself. We think he got in a fight. We went down to the Goblin Valley some weekends ago for an overnighter.  Saturday evening upon our arrival, we noticed something weird about him. Even weirder than usual, i mean.  He was despondent, seemed a little out of sorts, and, as completely unreadable as a cat is, maybe even in some pain? I had him on my lap and was trying to brush him and when i got to a snag on his tail he hissed at me and, reprimanded, I ceased and desisted. The only thing strange about this is that he hissed instead of biting me which is his usual way of telling me he's had enough even though he was loooooving it two seconds go (smh).  But then later, with all of those factors combined with the fact that, as pointed out by Sean, his tail was hanging completely limp and Kat wouldn't move it at all, we realized something must be the matter. Wow it took a super long time to get this paragraph out. So complicated, for some reason.

The following Monday I called the vet. The conversation went like this:

Receptionist: Hello, you've reached the vet.
Me: Hi, I'm calling because something seems to be wrong with our cat's tail and I'm not sure if I should bring him in or what.  He won't let us touch it and he seems pretty out of it and possibly in pain.
Receptionist: Ok, so what do you mean about his tail? Like, is the bone exposed?

Jen: Ew, no. It just hangs there limply and he doesn't move it around. I'm wondering if he's been bitten. {retains grossed out face}

Ha ha ha ha.   And the jokes:

"Hi, yes. I'm wondering if there's something wrong with our cat's tail. He seems to be in some pain, seems kinda out of it. Also the bone is sticking out... is that normal? Is that not ok?"   
"There seems to be something the matter with our cat's tail. The bone is exposed. Do you think that could be part of the problem? Should we just wait it out or what..."

Or a continuation of her asking questions and me responding, horrified.  This is Sean's, as the receptionist, in a trying-to-be-helpful receptionist voice:

"Ok, so you think something might be wrong with the taill. Is the tail still attached? Did the tail fall off? And the kids are playing with it and won't give it back?"


"NO! Nothing like that. It just seems to be hurting him!"  {Grossed out face}

All of these jokes are at the cruel expense of the cat but still! What the what? So hard to convey in text, but so, so funny to me.

These little run-ins have delighted me and have served me quite well on my eternal quest for funny stories.  So there you go. Special thanks to vet receptionist and bakery counter girl who taught me two important lessons:

1. If you want a classic French baguette, just leave any old loaf on the table for a few days and voila.

2. Having the bone exposed is generally a sign there's a problem and you should probably let a doctor at least take a look, just to be on the safe side.

Friday, April 14, 2017

What is Easter?

Good Friday, to all of you.  I have about an hour to clickety-clack out some thoughts so I thought I'd share some tidbits on Easter, something I have a great love for, a love that grows every year, it seems. In other words, it's going to get a little religious here so, let that be a disclaimer.

I recently watched a blip of an interview where Stephen Colbert had Ricky Gervais on his show and the two had a debate on religion.  Stephen is a believer in God and Ricky is not. A fan of both, I was excited about this.  Here's the interview if you want to watch.

To start out, to confirm, Ricky asks Stephen if he believes in God and Stephen says, "in three persons, yes." Essentially they debate their reasons for believing the way they do and I loved something Stephen brought up which was having great feeling of gratitude for existence and wants to direct that feeling somewhere.  I believe gratitude is one of the greatest, most powerful effectors of change and control in one's life, regarding one's attitude and outlook on it. The ol', instead of living in a state where you're focused on what you have not, choosing rather to focus on what you do have and the complete transformation that elicits. I love it. It's changed my life, to emphasize.   So, as a reason for his believing in God, Stephen says,

"I have a strong desire to direct that gratitude toward something or someone."
We all have or ought to have our reasons for believing the way that we do, and I love this. It's such a beautiful reflection of humility and submission, to a person, to an idea that there IS a person, to the idea that if there IS a person then this is how you would hope it would be, or what you'd like to do with that person. It's just beautiful.

So, with Easter upon us, and as a fellow believer in God, I thought I'd share some of my Easter thoughts, little experiences I've had that act as evidence or reasons why i believe in God and Jesus who allegedly died for all of mankind and lived again. Easter.

I've got a journal I keep in my bag and at the top of a certain page, in block lettering is, "What is Easter?" Here is what I've written down, the bulleted and italicized paragraphs word-for-word with the expansion of my thoughts following (naturally):
  • Going to a cemetery one year in Bklyn and feeling like I was standing in the middle of where other people's feelings and pain of death hung frozen in time, the unacknowledgement that it actually isn't the end after all.
    Greenwood Cemetery is this crazy old, nay--ancient-feeling cemetery with tombs and mausoleums (mausolea?) and grassy knolls growing over tombs like homes in The Shire. The epitaphs are old and scrubbed out, or new and sparkling and pristine with long family lines, poetic and tragic stumblings to make sense of such things.  It's SUCH a beautiful place and I think we went on Easter once, sort of by accident or for lack of anything else to do on a lovely spring day, and it was remarkable the feelings I had, walking through, submerged in so many people's pain. It felt sad and hopeless and created a kind of dissonance inside myself. It felt like an abrupt end, a hopeful resolution stolen away but that ought to be there. It felt frustrating. It was quite an experience.
  • Driving to church one eternal winter and feeling a deep depression for all of the bleakness- the bare trees, the universal gray that covered the earth, and the monochromatism I viewed all around me seeped into my heart. Hopelessly I lay my head against the window and as I thought the words, death, death, all around is death, I really felt afraid that it would stay that way forever.
    If Stephen Colbert holds to the need to direct his gratitude, I may hold to the need for hope in the universe. It's why I love the balance of things, the opposition, that if there is this then it must be that there is that.  I love to believe there is something bigger and greater than I, something to look to for guidance and example, to conceive for myself that there may be a better way and that I might not have all the answers I'll ever need to know in life. Plus, winter just blows and spring brings back the hope.  This is Easter.
  • Working on an arrangement of We Three Kings and learning the words so intimately, repeatedly and realizing it's actually an Easter song.

    The verses start out in the voices of the kings who visit the child Jesus. They take turns presenting their gifts and the second-to-last verse goes like this:

    is mine: it's bitter perfume
    Breaths a life of gathering gloom.
    Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding dying,
    Sealed in the stone-cold tomb.
    And ten the last verse is this:

    Glorious now behold Him arise,
    King and God and Sacrifice.
    Alleluia, alleluia!
    Sounds through the earth and skies.
  • In The Lord of the Rings, Pippin, a hobbit, and Gandalf stand watching the doom of Mordor approaching. Afraid of dying, which he feels is imminent, Pippin expresses to Gandalf he never believed it was going to end this way.  Gandalf replies, "Death is not the end. Death is just a pathway, one that we all must take."  And he describes a beautiful place, an existence that comes next, and Pippin cheers up and says, "well that doesn't sound so bad." 

    That hope can exist at such a time where it feels so absent, that there is no finality to things that feel so final, is Easter to me.
  • Watching caterpillars. They eat and live for one purpose: to shed their old skin and to transform so that they can live again.  It is in their nature.

    I talked about this already. What was sad and meaningful to me is watching the ones who died immediately thereafter, or even those that didn't make it to the metamorphosis stage.  But they all--ALL--did what they were meant to do. Which was work toward becoming. Eating, climbing, working.  Their lives spanned different stages.  Watching them was a sacred experience.
  • Going to the Good Friday concert St. Matthew Passion, by Bach. It begins so dark and tumultuous and ends so joyous and triumphant.

    So one year in NY, Sean and I decided we needed some culture so we got tickets for the philharmonic orchestra for some random Friday.  We were a little clueless in not realizing it was Good Friday and the piece performed was specifically about Good Friday.  I loved that we didn't really know what we were in for though, because it made it all the more poignant.  We listened to the music and it's just so stirring, so tragic and dark. This is where O Savior Thou Who Wearest a Crown comes from.  And it was so emotional and evocative, by the end, where hope is reborn, life returns in exuberance, Sean and I were both a little shook up, I think it's safe to say. WOW.  It was kind of a shock for both of us. It made this Good Friday so meaningful and created a desire in me to study more on all of Holy Week.  Easter to me feels so much more religious than Christmas. Christmas feels like so much, it's almost overwhelming. But Easter I can wrap my head around, and I love it.

    So, a good Good Friday to you and yours, and here's to celebrating the life and death and life again of the Son of a God who sent him, the perfect example of love, of hope, who gives us this fragile and precious existence, the one to whom I direct all of my gratitude, the keeper of my hope.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Hidden Treasure

The other morning it was frigid outside.  It was the kind of day that looked quite deceptively warm all day long. Sean, who lives in a cave, kept questioning me: "But it looks so nice!"   "NO, Sean. Don't be fooled, it is nasty out there. Don't try it. You'll be sorry!"  Constant wind with such a bad bite, not even the desert sun could penetrate it.  I was not amused by it.

That morning began like any other morning.  For example, upon immediately waking up, I probably put on pajamas part II, also known as "pajamas for the public" or "presentable pajamas."  It's lounge wear I put on after I wake up but before I get truly dressed for the day.  I've never enjoyed lingering about in my pajamas for very long. So since I can't get up and immediately get ready,  this is a compromise.  Julian probably woke up on his own. The cat was no doubt outside my door with his trademark morning meow/yowl that is this close to sounding like a human "hello?"  We surely had breakfast that morning and it was likely to be pancakes, the mix of which i make ahead of time in a ziplock bag because it's my favorite recipe that has a beautiful combo of cinnamon AND cornmeal in it and takes too long to make on our rushed mornings. And then, when it was time to depart to school, I surveyed the boy and saw all kinds of beloved things:

1. His grown up, dimply face
2. His cute gap toothiness
3. His glasses with the strap
4. His cool jacket I'm super jealous of
5. His light-up tennies
6. His general color scheme and blockedness.
7. His space backpack.  Julian never cares much about these things but he tells me he often gets compliments on the backpack from other kids, and I'm just so pleased he has a mom as cool as he does.

I had to take a picture so I commanded him to stand in the frozen morning air by the pinwheels to let me. Ever the cutie, he nailed it on the first try:

 But then I noticed something strange. Obviously I knew it was there but to catch it looking at you is always as startling as ever.  Zoom in, why don't you:

 AAH! This gem is a faux stone angel child someone gave me and Sean for our wedding 13.5 years ago. WEDDING.  Like, as a wedding present. ??? The obvious question is: who hates us so much? My parents have been storing random nicknacks i never took with me to NY when setting sail those many years ago and upon moving here, they were all too excited to give me every last box of my junk, one of which included this thing. It's creepy, it's somehow even creepier to think that someone would want to give it to us. Like, why? Who? What were the circumstances? I have half a mind to think there's something dangerous hidden inside to be retrieved when it's safe, or some kind of spy gear or something. Joke's on them, it's been in a box for over a decade.

 But now that we've found it a home, I've grown rather attached, and like to prop it up as you see here.  Sometimes, somehow, it's angled to be appearing to look right at us, no matter where we are, often through the window into our home. Thanks, creepy angel. And thanks creepy wedding friend who gifted it to us. It really does make me want to dig through my junk at home and take it to weddings.  Mazel tov!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cat's Vomit

When I was younger I had a bunch of phrases or words I'd use as profanity replacements. Things to shout out when I was mad or frustrated. There were made up words for good feelings too-- I had a friend who used "Yeah, baby!" a lot when he was pleased, in reference to Austin Powers and i give that a big fat thumbs down. I tried it out for a time and hated myself a little.

So one of those faux-swears was an addition to the classic "rats!"  To take it a step further-- "rat's vomit!"  Because what's grosser than a rat? a rat that's just vomited. The vomit of a rat. {cringe, grossed-out face}

A few mornings ago, all felt hopeless and lost. I have been feeling a little suburban mom life-stifley and Julian lacked any decent story to tell which is basically a reiteration of what I just said, what was happening to me.  And then the cat puked and it saved us all.

It was truly foul. I have accepted having an inside pet, something I never had growing up--Sean never had any pet at all-- but it took a little bit of time. Like, we walk in the house seeing the cat roll around in the dirt and then ten minutes later he's napping on our bed. {cringe face} But, you know, we take care of him and he's a fluffy sweetie and has taught Julian how to love so the pros outweigh the cons.

Normally in situations such as this, I would absolutely confer this task to Sean. Julian has thrown up one time in his life where it wasn't immediately cleanable. As a baby he threw up in his crib. I had been out late and upon entering our apartment I sniffed and declared a funk in the air. Sean didn't notice anything strange. I went into Julian's pitch black nook, bent looow in his crib, breathed in, and then died. YUP. A FUNK.  We turned on the light and it was eeeverywhere, ha ha. So gross. I took the baby and Sean took the bed and that sealed it, sorry Sean.

But this time, he was busy working and it just sat there on the rug, seeping in, and I had to bite that disgusting bullet. I felt like a true American hero, and declared myself as such to Julian (as if he needed any more proof).

So as I sat scrubbing before school (and later re-scrubbing, vacuuming, then scrubbing again) Julian toiled and fretted because it was Monday and they had a "weekend news" journal and what would he write about?? The fact that Dad hurt his back (which never happens)?? Or that the cat threw up?? And he did not know which exciting thing to talk about! I wished him luck at making such a tricky call and spent the rest of the day sitting on the floor, scrubbing whilst reading Reader's Digest, again, a good shake up to the day. Cat's vomit!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

)en's Cookbook: Soft Boiled Eggs Part I

I spend a disproportionate amount of my life thinking about breakfast.  This is the one meal of the day I care about and actually have some skill in.  (I use that term loosely. By "skill" i mean "ounce of clue.") 

As a subset of breakfast which I'd actually prefer to call "hero," I'd like to talk about eggs today. I've got a lot to say about eggs but specifically I'd like to tackle the elusive nigh unto impossible task of making a soft boiled egg.  Hard boiled eggs are great. In fact, I purchase them by the bag because I'm too lazy to boil my own. Plus I need those un-boiled eggs for other things. But a quick boiled egg is the best way to grab some protein as a quick snack or toss on a salad, for example. Since the bagged eggs come de-shelled and are a bit dicey in their lifespan (or "eggspiration" date-- {cry/laugh face})  what I do is grab a paper towel as a receiving mitt and then shimmy one or two eggs up the bag so as to have 0% contact with my human and therefore contaminant-hands.  Then I salt them and enjoy and they are the best.

Anyone can hard boil an egg. Just put it in boiling water and forget about it. But the soft boiled version is much more precarious and I have yet to accomplish it. But I love it. So sometimes you get out the eggs, set to experiment, and risk wasting a good many of them.  Since I know my recipes are quite popular, I thought I'd share with you my experiences from the other morning.

The day dawn was breaking and sunlight poured into my kitchen. It was the end of the week and I had entered full "don't want to do anything today" mode, save for accomplishing a really good egg. I had been trying sporadically in days previous so this time I made a few adjustments.  Here's how it went down, as written in present tense as a sort of mish-mash of a scientific study and a kitchen recipe. I think Julia Child would be proud of me (at first I typed Julian Child--OMG, I think I just discovered his Halloween costume[!!])

1. Take out a carton of eggs. Understand that you may use anywhere between 2-12, depending on your egg desperation and success.

2. Start with two. Two is a good number. Enough to satisfy and use for experimental purposes (call them Subject A and B if you'd like).   Use a mid-sized pan because you want to have enough water to cover the eggs.

3. Fill up the pan. Eyeball it.  Toss in some salt and turn up the heat to high so that it gets it to a rapid boil.

4. Use some tongs and carefully place eggs in the pot.*

5. Abiding by a certain recipe found somewhere but half remembered, remove the pot from the heat and cover with a lid. Let it sit for 5 minutes because it told you that would give you a medium-level amount of doneness. Your goal is a semi-runny yolk but a pretty done white part.

6. Take out one egg. While holding it, tap a knife around the top to take off and examine. See that the entire thing is 1% cooked and therefore inedible. Toss down the drain. Leave shell in the sink too. Curse a little.

7. Let the other egg sit for a minute longer and take it out. Find exact same results even though that dumb recipe told you otherwise. Pretend it's a little more done. Eat a bit, gag a bit, then toss it as well.

8.  Disappointed but determined, start again. This time with four eggs because you need more subjects and also you are hungry.

9. This time, leave eggs to boil on active burner for like a minute or something because you have forgotten to set a timer.  You are a good scientist.  Then take it off the heat to leave to cook under a lid as done previously.

10. After 4 minutes, take out one egg (Subject A). See that it's still way too runny. Toss. Curse a little more. Do this with Subject B as well.  Examine Subject C after another minute and fool yourself into thinking it's a bit more edible.  Question how exactly a soft boiled egg is supposed to be. Discuss with a family member/fellow scientist. Question your definition of a soft boiled egg. Wonder about how others eat them and what's an acceptable/un-hazardous to your health form for them to be eaten or not.

11. Wait a minute or so longer and pull out Subject D, your last egg and hope.  Say a little prayer. Tap a knife around the top to get the lid off and also burn your fingers a little because these eggs are scald-degrees but you have negative amounts of patience (scientist). You must know. If you are taking photos at this point, do an impossible feat of photo-taking where, both hands being busy, you may need to take picture with some part of your face.

12. Put your egg in its little cup.  Examine:

13. Notice that the egg white is solid. Say another prayer.  Dig in a little. Remember: Your goal is a semi-cooked yolk. Become distracted by the surprisingly beautiful photo you've taken here. Good ol' morning sun.

14.  As you dig in further, see that the yolk is completely cooked. Examine further but knowing full well you have failed. Again.

15. Confirm your failure. 

16. Be dejected next to a sink full of useless egg goo and shells. 

17. Eat your dumb fully cooked boiled egg anyway:

18. Shake your fist and shout to the heavens, "soft boillllled!!"  

19. Don't give up. Tell yourself it's for the love of the egg.

*I think I figured it out. There are so many variations to making this egg but I think I forgot I had let the egg sit in the water before bringing to a boil. This makes it so you really have to keep an eagle eye on that water but it may make all the difference.  Stay tuned for part II...

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

The Unlocking

This may come as a surprise, but the seasons and weather are very important to me.  They give a percussive, underlying rhythm to my life and I walk by it every single day.  There aren't many days or even moments where I don't view my life and what's going on inside it within the context of the nature taking place around me.  I have my particular feelings and opinions about each season. I feel like I've spent the majority of this winter blogging about winter which I'm sure is really fun to read. Sometimes it's all I can do in winter.

And now we enter that fickle transitional period of winter --- > spring.   I always get a little restless this time of year. Maybe because the earth is too, and I try my best to mirror whatever the trees do, as a rule.  But I feel restless, noticing full well the sun outside my window but feel a real trepidation at allowing myself to go out, to be outside just for the sake of being outside, something I end up vowing never to do again until I am SURE the snow will never show its ugly face again.  But I'm noticing the pockets of snow hiding in the shadows are breathing their last breath. I'm noticing the buds on the trees and the slivers of tulip leaves slicing through the earth, slipping through unnoticed until they are, startling everyone, like one of nature's many pranks. It's a brave new world during a brave new time. And we find ourselves facing it again, waiting to be reintroduced.

I can never put my finger on why this transitional period is so difficult for me. Is it difficult? Maybe unsettling is the word.  Never quite knowing my place in the natural context.  Am I here or am I there? Is it time? Where do you want me? How do I feel? What IS my place? Where AM I going? All of those silly questions begin flashing through my mind as the reel starts up again, thoughts I've had before as an eerie celebration of the anniversary of questions I always have this time of year.

Well. A friend recently sent me an excerpt that I love and that, I think, finally explains a little bit of the happy dissonance taking place. Because I do enjoy or at least appreciate it. I'm excited! But also nervous. It's like a tightly bound thrill is beginning to be unfurled.  Spring! Or is it? Yes? No? When? Soon? SPRING! Is it??

Here's the answer, as explained by Kurt Vonnegut:

One sort of optional thing you might do is to realize there are six seasons instead of four.  The poetry of four seasons is all wrong for this part of the planet and this may explain why we are so depressed so much of the time.  I mean, Spring doesn't feel like Spring a lot of the time, and November is all wrong for Fall and so on.  Here is the truth about the seasons. Spring is May and June! What could be springier than May and June? Summer is July and August.  Really hot, right? Autumn is September and October.  See the pumpkins? Smell those burning leaves.  Next comes the season called "Locking."  That is when Nature shuts everything down.  November and December aren't Winter.  They're Locking.  Next comes Winter, January and February.  Boy! Are they ever cold! What comes next? Not Spring.  Unlocking comes next.  What else could [March and] April be?*
 Ah ha! And there we have our answer! Fickle March is fickle because it isn't winter and it isn't spring! It's unlocking!  And that period after fall has finished but before winter has begun is the last few sweeps of Earth tidying up and closing shop! Locking!   I love this so much, it explains so much. I gives a balm to my soul, a name to my feelings, and I wish you and yours a very thrilling Unlocking indeed. 


Wednesday, March 01, 2017

If You're Going to San Francisco

If you're going to San Francisco, I don't know why, but be sure to wear some flowers in your hair. Maybe because if you're going to San Francisco, you're going to meet some gentle people, gentle people with flowers in their hair as well, and you'll want to fit in.*

*Thanks, Scott McKenzie, for an outstanding song.

When I was a youth, I was in the school choir. This was the kind of choir that basically admitted all seniors and some juniors if you were really good. It was sort of the cool thing to do, i suppose, and I had a lot of fun, trying to sing well but not once practicing. Joking around with my nearby fellow singers.  For our choir tour where we competed, our destination was San Fran.  We drove all night on a bus and had a rip roaring fantastic time.  It was also one of the first times I fell in city love.

What did I love so much about it? It's hard to say. It wasn't any single thing, I suppose, but the feeling and the energy I found myself exposed to and ultimately infected by. I looove a town with a personality. And it was beautiful and exciting. And so, so hilly. And charming with the trolleys and the stunning bay and, as they always are, the awe-inspiring city bridges, stretching like mammoths linking other mysterious lands green and sparkling.

While there on the choir tour, I debated with some trolley drivers about cities vs. the country. Though I was loving my time there, I felt loyal to my roots and defended the need for living space vs. what the city had to offer. Yards vs. parks. I did not know then that I would have a serious change of heart in about 5 years to come.

Whilst living in Bklyn and loving the heck out of it, whenever we'd try to consider another place we could see ourselves living (when anything other than NY really felt intolerable), I conceded to say that I could live in San Francisco. I'd always wanted to go back and revisit that first love and last week we did, and we took the boy with us.

The highlights included:

  • Being in a city again. All three of us put our city legs on and couldn't wait to just get out and walk. It's all I really want to do in a town like that.
  • The loveliness of all of it. It felt so much like New York and even Julian, who left when he was just five, could feel the likeness and commented on it often. But it was cleaner, prettier, smaller, with the energy efficient, eco-friendly old timey buses still in use and trolleys that are just still the best ever.  It had its own Union Square but with palms surrounding it. Yay. Also, it felt so mediterranean to me! With its brightly colored houses stuffed into the hillsides by the bay, something I'd forgotten the last time i was there.  It's really so beautiful and even the midtown area that's supposedly newer and not the beauty focus of a city (at least the midtowns I know of) were charming and full of museums and very pleasantly walkable.
  • Speaking of, the museums. We went over Sean's birthday and to celebrate, I wanted to hit every museum possible. But it was tough to manage, especially with a boy who is actually quite museum-tolerant but to a point. We did manage to hit up the MoMA and just filled our museum bucket as much as we could. Sooo much good art there. New shows and the regular ones. We ran from room to room, trying to see it all before we tired ourselves out. We commented on our favorites and least favorites. Julian said he prefers the sculptures. I particularly loved Chuck Close, photorealist painter. He paints these giant portraits of people and Sean told me Chuck suffered some kind of spinal cord problem that left him partially paralyzed. It hampered his ability to paint with such detail which to me feels so tragic, but he continues to do these giant portraits by other means like using a billion scraps of paper of a billion different shades of gray which made me be like {shocked emoji} and then {cry emoji}.  Amazing.  Anyway, click here for his google images and here for his wikipedia. Here's a pic of his paper scrap: 

say whaaaat.

  Here's a quote of his I took off the wiki page:

"I went to the Seattle Art Museum with my mother for the first time when I was 14. I saw this Jackson Pollock drip painting with aluminum paint, tar, gravel and all that stuff. I was absolutely outraged, disturbed. It was so far removed from what I thought art was. However, within 2 or 3 days, I was dripping paint all over my old paintings. In a way I've been chasing that experience ever since."

I love that. The rage! Of being exposed to something that comes from such an opposite realm you live in, to ignite such strong emotion and then to be fundamentally changed by it.  I watched Julian have his own mini-outrage in this museum visit:  "I could make that! It would take me ten seconds, no problem!" 

Other highlights and hopefully in a more condensed format:

  • The Wharf and the sea lions and the aquarium and clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl which was totally legit.
  • The Musee Mecanique with old timey--some SUPER old timey-- and functioning (!) video games and fair games. The WONDER! Pure magic.  I couldn't get over it. Such old weird scary contraptions meant to amuse and delight. Everything moving by crank, either hidden inside or employed by the patron. Yaaaay. Julian kept asking what his prize was and I said "your own amusement."  Just the BEST ever. This place was legit as well and I would highly recommend.
  • The Exploratorium, an enormous museum? i guess? jam packed with what I would call a billion totally interesting and astounding professional science projects.  Of all categories--physics, biology, and other... fields of science.  This place was vast and too huge to see everything. It was so much fun trying to figure out what everything did and maybe learn the reason why before we moved on. My favorite thing and what blew my utter mind, was in the biology quadrant where there was a table displaying four egg yolks in petri dishes covered in what looked like a simple sheet of plastic wrap and showing the various stages of LIVE EMBRYO DEVELOPMENT. LIVE.  I SAID LIVE.  I had NO idea this was possible. They had things labeled and it was the coolest most basic example of life i've ever seen in an up close way, to state it weirdly.  I took a video of the chick embryo where you can see the heart beating(!!! no big deal!) In the video you can hear me reacting to what a man near me said about watching a show about this, how they hatched a chick from a plastic cup(!!!)

  • We walked the town until our legs fell off, a particular goal I had.  Ohhh i have lost my walking legs. They have forgotten. It is so sad. I was SO sore which was exceedingly lame, but worth it.  We hiked up and down those hill-mountains.  We saw the Lombard street and then manually walked ourselves to the trolley stop for not one more step we could take.  Loved every second of the trolley.

  We ordered seamless to our hotel for dinner every night because we COULD. 

Is there anything better than eating _________ in a hotel bed? (pictured: ramen)

  • We ate fancy tapas where the cool nice owner approached us to thank us for bringing our kid (you're welcome?) and offered to show him and Sean the back cooking area and to give us a bunch of free tapas--yay. Julian ate octopus and became obsessed with Alcatraz, as we knew he would. Creepy old prison? Right up his alley. So you would have thought we'd have bought tickets in advance to take the tour but we did NOT. And could not. {sad face, full of regret} So sad. Parent fail. He was enthralled. We have decided to put it on our "next time" list, to ensure there is a next time and not too far off in the distance.  He did get a stuffed shark though and named him Alcatraz.

  • As I do whenever I detect a hint of a possibility it might be of decent quality, I purchased hot chocolate whenever I could. Sean told me later he was keeping a running tally of how many hot chocolates i got (wise guy) and gave me a total of five.

When we got home I had (have) severe post-vacation depression so to ease my pain Sean and I watched Vertigo last night. I never really saw Vertigo much in my Hitchcock adventures; I don't know why. But I thought it was super weird. Kind of interesting, at the end, I guess.  Who am i rooting for, exactly? Who's the villain? Is it the vertigo? Maybe these are all important questions. Though it may not be my favorite of Alfred's, the SF shots were glorious and it did help a bit.  Now onto making our list of good things about being back...  hmm....{thinking with a pen poised}


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Winterly Update

My my my. My winter hibernation must have been a heavy one to allow an entire month to trudge by with nary a post. I'd apologize but it's only to myself. I do have a good excuse though.

Usually if you follow someone's blog and they don't post for a long time you start to wonder what's up.  Are they going through personal tragedy? A major life change or emergency? The answer for me is yes. And it goes by the name of:

 Winter. (ha ha, sorry for the disappointment)

Honestly, that's it. I've been getting through winter.  It started well, with high hopes, fire fed by desperation as its fuel.  I always get like that.  If you can't beat it, embrace it.  And I did, I tried. I spent a lot of days shouting "in the name of HYGGE!" over and over again, my new winterly mantra I clung to.  I spent hours cutting out the most ornate snowflakes I've ever seen because I practiced and practiced.  I played in the snow, broke all the bones in my body building the world's biggest snowman. Or at least that had ever graced our lawn. I went snowshoeing and mountain sledding.   I drank literal gallons of hot chocolate (though I would do that anyway).  You notice how I'm speaking of this time in the past tense? It's because for me, it's over.  I'm past it. (in case you'd like to know, "past" is looking like a complete non word to me right now. p-a-s-t? What nonsense)   As mentioned in my desperate tribute to the solstice, I gritted my teeth and loved winter so hard. Too hard, perhaps. Or too falsely. Or maybe winter is just too long. I think that's what it is. I didn't hate it this whole time, i swear. I would shovel snow with glee, put on my winter skin and walk as I watched the snow fall.  

But the love bred from hate felt a little too twisted, a little too unsustainable. A little too Stockholm Syndrome-y and while I could, for a time, convince myself my captor was actually my friend, in the end, the true colors of death shone through and the dementor, latent but sure, returned and I was slowly tapped of all cheerfulness on the subject.  This is how it always is.

January 31 was a day I really thought I would never see.  The week leading up to it was fantastically slow. I was shocked at the phenomenon taking place before me. But I did my best and that elusive February did eventually show its face.

The problem with that is that February is still February.  January's ugly, less charming sidekick. I felt myself starting to succumb. I lost the fervor, replaced by fatigue and a general state of just being really bored. Another factor might be what I call Suburban Suffocation. Have i mentioned this? Sean and I share in this feeling and it comes and goes. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, i think a flare-up coincided with winter and the result is my feeling extremely restless. Excitement-starved. An intense need for a shake-up. I told a friend the other day I'm this close to starting a fight club. But Valentine's Day saw us through, as it always does, and we have an upcoming what has been officially and SCIENTIFICALLY [by me] declared an "End of Winter Trip" planned so, let us rejoice.

To conclude, a bulleted list of everything I have done since I last posted. Everything.

  • As I said, made a million paper snowflakes. They were going to be strung up somewhere like a winter garland but I never got around to it. I think just cutting them was enough for me. Totally relaxing and a solid tribute to the Hygge.
  • Wore thick socks and sweaters and watched a heck-ton of TV.   So good.  This includes Poldark season II, Sherlock season whatever, Victoria, all other british series (seri?)  and more. Aren't we so grateful for TV? I feel like I could tack on "and watched TV" at the end of every bulleted item in this list.
  • Downloaded an app on my phone called Marco Polo. Apparently it's like Snapchat but since I don't snap, I can't be sure. Basically it's a simple app to send videos to your friends as text messages. There's not much to it.  But one of the best things to come out of this winter was when I casually made a group video chat called "Bachelor" where I added two local friends and one faraway friend who have since all become close through our detailed back-and-forth analyses of the finest show winter has to offer.  It's honestly been so much fun and it is a great way to feel more connected with people. You almost feel like you're having real conversations and does much to rejuvenate the soul. So if you want rambley videos of me at odd times, hit me up.
  • Visited friends, tried to get out with friends. Giving in to the Hygge (pronounced hue-guh, though I thought this video was extremely helpful and entertaining.) by definition means staying in more and embracing the solitude, but everyone needs to get out sometimes.   I did this by: going to dinner, chatting, snowshoeing, and playing high competition-level games.
  • Played a couple rounds of tennis with strangers
  • Read books, talked about books.
  • And very often, did nothing. Absolutely nothing. Another attribute of Hygge--embracing the do-nothing'ness.  And it felt fine. I was in hibernation so, in a literal sense, doing anything made me feel productive in my day.   And that's alright.
 As for blogging, I anticipate more frequency. My computer is located downstairs where it's frigid so that was a discouragement for me. But you'll be happy to hear I have commanded nature to bend at my will so it'll be warming up soon and that means I can blog more. Yay for everyone. 

What has kept you going this winter? Or to rephrase, what have you been doing to while away the time?  I am curious. Do you sit back and let winter be winter? Does it play an active role in your life? Is it a non-issue? Do you embrace it? Shun it? Endure it? Does life look the same for you whatever the season?

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Clue: A Story

Once upon a time I played what is for some strange reason one of my favorite games, Clue. I think it has to do with the pivotal game I played so many years ago.  I also like mystery and intrigue so I guess it's just a good fit. And, it seems like something ALWAYS happens when I play Clue. This story illustrates:

One restless night, I demanded that my friends come over to my house to play Clue. This was about three years ago. I insisted they come because i had just purchased this game and it's just not a two-person game. You can do it that way, as I've played several times with me and Sean with Julian on the team of whoever he thinks will win--a method he wishes he could suddenly alter whenever he feels he might risk being on the losing side.  But anyway, it's not the same.  So two friends came. Their names are Suvi and Suzie.  If you try you can combine the names, like Suvzie (and I always try).  These gals are winners because they're always up for fun and spontaneous silliness. They're always "game," if you will. 

The game was close. Or something. The tension grew. Ever one of the gals, Sean was there as well, so the four of us spread out like the detectives we were over that special anniversary edition of the game. All the rooms, all the weapons, all the suspects and hidden passageways. Who was it? With WHAT? WHERE???  As we collected our clues and made our deductions the race to solve the crime grew fierce.  Trying to get to a specific room without looking like you're really trying to get there is difficult. "oh, i guess I'll just go in here then and make a guess, why not?"  *shifty eyes*  But you start to sweat when you see others following and you're stressed but the thrill that you might be right goads you on. Come on, figure it out! THINK. What do you have left? Which one is it??

Come with me, if you will, into the murder mansion itself:

I can't remember all of the details. I believe I was fairly certain on the location (since we were all or close to all congregated there) and the murderer, but I knew EXACTLY which weapon was used as I had crossed off all but one. I then made my guess:

"OK. OK. I've got it! It was... IN the library... WITH the wrench... by PROFESSOR PLUM!"  (Must implement as much drama as possible when playing Clue)

Inexplicably, someone proved me wrong by showing me the wrench. What?! How can that be?? Stupefied, I explained that that could not be possible as I now had all of the weapons crossed off.  We were all so confused and made comments in the voices of nerd detectives, possibly with a British accent:

 I exclaimed, "What happened?  What's the third card?? Ok, I've got it. [someone sinister tone] The murder took place in the library... AND the billiard room!"  And Suzie chimed in, "...and he killed him by DRAGGING him, back...and forth...back...and forth...?" And we all laughed, giddy and nervous.  The tension at a breaking point, we had to open the orange envelope to solve this crime once and for all.

Turns out, we were correct. At the start of the game after shuffling each of the piles, I had accidentally included one person card and TWO room cards and, sure enough, it took place in those very rooms we surmised, a grisly death by merciless dragging to and from the library and billiard room.   Case closed. (Winner [and loser]: me.)