Archive for August, 2009

I heart garage sales

August 31, 2009

Did very well with a garage sale a couple of weeks ago.  (After hitting some duds the same day.  Man, some people will sell their own trash for some spare change.  I really don’t believe the old saying in somebody’s trash being somebody else’s treasure – sometimes, somebody’s trash is just trash.)

Anyway, I purchased a sandbox (the classic green plastic turtle with lid), a wading pool, and a couple of books for under $10.  Picked up some play sand at the hardware store for $5 a bag.  A little boy’s love – priceless, if I do say so myself.

Henry loved it.  Didn’t matter that the sandbox looked like it had a couple of generations’ worth of wear (it had both eyes, only one was sort of missing the top part, so it looked like it was winking) – I  mean, it’s a sandbox.  It sits around outside and is full of sand, if not dirt.  It was obviously put into the garage sale so they wouldn’t have to throw it away; it has a great amount of use left in it.

I love a good garage sale.  I haven’t hit that many this summer – sort of out of it – but next year, just you wait.

just call child welfare already

August 27, 2009

I am feeling a total failure of parenthood from yesterday.

So I’m sick (less so than yesterday, thank goodness, but still congested, achy and coughing, and finding it hard to get around).  W was sick also, and he went through the “incredibly sick guy” phase where he basically couldn’t get off the couch after he came home early from work yesterday.  This was not helpful.  (He did put Henry to bed, and that was really helpful – thank you, W.)

For dinner, because of a lack of planning and inability to actually think about anything but my own personal sickie self, I made Henry namyun (ramen to you non-Koreans).  Not only did I make namyun, I made this kind: http://noodleson.com/review/2005/09/05/chajang-myun/ (as an aside – there are a ton of blogs about noodles out there – ramen, namyum, what have you – who knew?  People love the instant noodle!).  Henry loved it.  Of course he loved it: it’s noodly and messy and just a little salty/sweet with no vegetable contamination (if you want to get picky – there was a tiny packet of dried “onions” and “carrots” and “something brown that might have been mushroom bits”) – but I fear there was no nutrition in there whatsoever.

So, W put extra carrot sticks in Henry’s lunch today.

I want to say – I almost never do this.  Really.  But I have a very weak excuse – two, if I want to push it.

1: I was really sick, and this meal was fairly easy.  Henry did eat it, and ate a fair amount happily without giving me a lot of grief or throwing it to the floor in disgust, which is a strong possibility with other foods.

2: I grew up on eating stuff like this, particularly this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapporo_Ichiban – the red package.  The beef is okay in a pinch, but no other will do.  You feeling me?

No other noodle matches Sapporo Ichiban – such is the power of early childhood salty food imprinting (don’t give me how bad it is – I know it’s bad, but you’re talking about Koreans.  You want to talk about bad diets, give ’em hell about the nature of the national food, kimchee).  I wanted to pick up a box the other month but I couldn’t find it and when I asked her, my mother slyly bought another brand because she thinks that one’s better.  Doesn’t she read English?  (in a word, no.)  It’s Ichiban!  That means Number One!  The best!  (Okay, maybe it’s actually Romanization of Japanese, and the noodles are, I think, actually made in California, but still.  Can’t you just feel my indignation?)

A caveat – my mother actually only rarely made us namyun/ramen while we were growing up – I think in similar circumstances – when she was sick/super busy/dad was spectacularly unhelpful.  I remember my mother being really harassed at one point and when I suggested a dinner of namyun, she just lit up and started giggling (mind you, I was in my mid-twenties and she in her fifties).  Then she did it, still giggling like a schoolgirl, because it seemed so crazy to her.  She was thrilled, though, because it was so easy.  She didn’t even make many side dishes (I’ll have to go into the Korean love of side dishes some other time).  Then at the end, clean up was easy and she was just happy.

I actually don’t know her feelings about namyun, but that one shining moment, namyun made my mother happy and I will never forget it – or joy that she didn’t have to make a whole meal.  (Or her giggle.  Really.  I’m totally not kidding.  She’s not really a giggler so it was pretty memorable.)

sickie

August 26, 2009

Got a terrible cold.  So bad, my eyes hurt.  Home from work and yet can’t do anything fun, I’m just wiped out.  I can’t entertain you properly.  I can barely type today.  But this site will do it for me:  http://www.engrish.com

John Adams, furniture showman

August 24, 2009

W and I were watching the first part of HBO’s miniseries on John Adams and you know what we got out of it? Aside from the acting and the dialogue and usual unbelievably convenient placement of historical events (and how the actor portraying George Washington looked a little off – but the proportion of his head to his body (meaning, small head, big body) looked right)?

No, not how good an actor Paul Giamatti is, or how Laura Linney did, or the portrayal of the various other characters, or the adaption of David McCollough’s book.  Nothing reasonable like that.  Although all of those things would be good points to discuss.

The thing we got out of it was how awesome the furniture looked – and if we should maybe invest in some like that someday. And how the people portrayed managed to keep warm/cool in those houses (i.e. “see the curtains across the door?” “every bed has drapery – you see that?”). Because we own a house in the style of the houses portrayed in the miniseries (even if it was built some decades after the ones that were represented, whether or not they were actually used).

I guess that means that I have lost my mind.

Too much material

August 21, 2009

It’s funny, I was walking around an antique fair and came across a 1930’s fridge storage container, and thought “wonder who had refrigeration in 1930’s and how can I work that?” and then I was like “geez, not everything that I see has to be put into the story! ”  (Also, while I was interested in the item conceptually – who would have owned it, how was it used, etc., I didn’t want to buy it – if that makes sense.  I’m not really into glass collecting.) 

I should just be able to enjoy something for what it is – right?  Why does everything have to be material?  I feel bad for W sometimes, because while I think I don’t really use anything from our life together, I wonder how much actually ends up in there.  (This is partly why I tend to write fantasy/romance and not more literary ‘real-life’ fiction.)  I wonder if he even has an inkling of how hard it is to not use the stuff in our lives for my writing.  This is also one reason why I’m not in a mad hurry for him to read it (the other one mainly because I’m afraid he’ll think it’s terrible – I mean, I can take criticism, but it would be a bit much coming from him, for a number of reasons.  W respects this.  I think he might be a little scared of reading my stuff as well for a whole other host of reasons – besides fantasy/romance not really being his thing.  He’s much more guns and random explosions with parts flying around with a side of political intrigue).

This is why I can’t be a stand-up comedian.  I do think I’m funny enough, maybe, but besides it not being my type of lifestyle thing – the pressure to come up with funny stuff all the time would be too great, and I’d have to start mining my personal life.  Which I think is not very healthy all the time.  Sometimes, I’ll be listening to a comedian and laughing and then suddenly, I stop laughing because it’s all “ooo – that’s just a little too personal, can’t go there with them.”  How does one’s personal life withstand that kind of abuse – the constant plowing and rehashing of the worst/most awkward moments?

I’m snorking.  What is a blog but a mine of personal stuff?  Oh my head.  What little deceptions you cast so I can keep on doing what I’m doing.

Sorry.

August 20, 2009

I don’t mean to go on and on about this – only that I have to make the decision today about what I’m supposed to do about the whole healthcare thing and since I was so good about living in denial the last two weeks, it’s really coming down pretty hard on me now.

Okay – done.  I don’t want to spend all my time worrying about myself in a way that’s unproductive and unfunny.  I’d rather just be funny.

MIA

August 20, 2009

Sorry about not updating – I’ve been distracted.  It’s sort of a long story, but I’ll try to shorten it up for you.

So I’m due to have a baby shortly.   A few months ago, my OBGYN left his practice and I had to go to another.  That’ s okay – I’ve seen them before.  Then this month, I find out that the local hospital (where I had Baby1 and it’s so close I can practically walk there from almost any point in town) is closing its Maternity Ward – at the end of the month.  Yup.  Closing two weeks before I’m due, 9 days before I was scheduled for my c-section.

I’ve been a bit worried.  I didn’t know if the practice could continue with maternity patients if there wasn’t a place to deliver within 40 minutes – I didn’t know what would happen if I suddenly had an emergency – I didn’t know if anywhere I chose I could find any doctor I knew.  The midwife was funny – she said I was among the ‘worst’ possibilities because I was in that weird 2-4 week period where they themselves were trying to figure out what the heck was happening.

I suppose if worse came to worst, I could just go to any ER and deliver there – or, in case I couldn’t make it, I could do what my mother said Korean ladies used to do – throw a rope over a central beam in the house, holding on while I squat and push.  (My mother – you just have to hand it to her – she gets down to the bare bones without any fuss.)

I understand why this is happening – it’s a small rural practice – and it’s hard to attract doctors the patients don’t tend to be very wealthy (there seems to be a fair number of Medicare/Medicaid patients) the medical community is small, the hospital is small, the fancy extras are harder to get to (there is an anesthesiologist on call (not on staff), but that practice itself is 40 minutes away – the nearest pediatric emergency is 40 minutes away in another direction – you get my meaning).  The ward itself was probably always on the edge of viability anyway.  It’s just – I don’t know – I wish the thing would be open another frickin’ two weeks.  That’s all I ask.  Apparently, that is too much.

I mean, I’ll be okay.  I’ve got private health insurance (which the OBGYN says is very nice because I can go anywhere), I’ve got a partner who has a very flexible schedule, and I’ve got a job that will give me reasonable leave.  It’s just – sort of – I don’t know – something I didn’t want to have to make a contingency plan for, if you know what I mean.

Opting out

August 12, 2009

I was playing around with the idea of doing NaNoWriMo – (basically where you write a book during November – http://www.nanowrimo.org) but then reality intruded.  I’m going to be a wee bit busy (yeah, um, I’m due to have a baby in 4-6 weeks, so that means the baby would be 6-8 weeks old when NaNoWriMo begins, which makes me think I’m going to have enough going on without worrying about my wordage).

The idea of doing NaNoWriMo is really alluring.  Maybe it’s the idea of shutting off the interior critic/editor that’s so appealing.   No editing, no second guessing, no thinking – just brain dumping until you reach the magical 50k words.  Then, you win!  Everybody who hits 50k is a winner.  How awesome is that.  On the positive end, I can type pretty fast, so this might work.  But then – I run up against that little thing called life – you know, with kids and husband and cooking and shopping and cleaning (including personal hygiene, because let’s get real, towards the end, I’m thinking it would get kind of sketchy) and maybe getting enough sleep and the inevitable relatives.

What a fantasy this is.  Calling Ricardo Montalban.  I have a hard enough time pumping out 5k – a whole order of magnitude larger belongs in the realm of complete and utter craziness.

Maybe I’ll do this after the kids leave for college.  That’d give me plenty of time to ponder what I’d write as a novel.  Besides, all my ideas I’ve had for longer pieces I’ve already put down in some outline form – s0 that would invalidate them as potential pieces for NaNoWriMo, as I think you have to start off as a complete blank.

Remember Eldin Bernecky?

August 10, 2009

Yeah, I don’t know if I would have remembered the name either.  Except for one thing – W was talking about how when he was much younger, he used to watch this TV show called “Murphy Brown.”  The thing about early seasons of “Murphy Brown” is that when she comes home from her hectic professional life, she often finds the handyman/contractor there.   They’re friends, sort of.   

The upshot of this is that W said he never related to this idea – didn’t  understand how there would be this guy just hanging out in your house while you’re gone that you come home to and just chat with.  He didn’t get it until the past couple of years, after we bought our house.  (We’ve had most of the house re-sided with new windows and insulated, and one bathroom re-done as well as the kitchen, so you understand the kind of relationship we’ve got going on here.)

Our own contractor comes and goes – we have don’t have much control and often, no idea of his appearances.  Henry loves him – thinks he’s a friend of the family, perhaps to come by and play with him.  Calls him “Mr. Norm.”  He’s excited when Mr. Norm shows up.

I think there’s a lot more of Mr. Norm in our future – he’s already talking about the other bathroom and the dining room.

The eggbeater

August 10, 2009

Henry does this funny kind of run – I’ve noticed this in other young children.  A sort of run where the feet splay out from the knees – sort of like an egg beater.  (I think this might also come from a snippet of a documentary I saw about a Baseball Hall of Famer, but the name escapes me right now. )

Henry loves running.  There is a stage my brother likes to call ‘crazy legs’ where kids just run and run for no reason – not running from, not running toward.  Just running.

And if they’re housebound, this is not a problem for them – they just run in circles around the living room.  Around and around and around and around until somebody runs into some furniture that was always there but they lost track of it in the running.  Then they cry.  Then they start running again.  I imagine this can cause seizures in more susceptible parents.  “Crazy legs” is more than a problem for him than for me because he has 3 children and lives in a small apartment in NYC.