Thursday, April 30, 2009

Meme and movies

Having been asked nicely by the Danish to participate in a meme on facebook I have churlishly chosen to fill out an entirely unrelated meme ganked from Schmutzie. Still thinking about the fb one, sorry for the foot dragging.

What are your current obsessions?
“The Galaxy Song” from Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life. Fred Vargas’ detective novels, but that’s a soft obsession and I’m currently taking a break.

Which item from your wardrobe do you wear the most often?
My favorite string bikini undies. Just bought some more bikini ones at Target but couldn’t find any string ones - boo.

What's for dinner?
I’m going to eat chicken lime soup, leftover in the fridge. I don’t know what the kids will eat. Probably tostada/taco. Mm, now I’m thinking about tangy soup. If I get ambitious I will make slaw with ginger dressing. Now I’m excited about dinner.

What is your greatest fear at the moment?
That my husband will be unable to earn a living and we will be unable to provide for our children. Bankruptcy and so on.

What are you listening to?
The air handling system in my office, my typing. In terms of music, I need to put my Old 97’s cd in my car for early morning bopping.

If you were a god/goddess what would you be?
Persephone? I’d only have to work one quarter of the year, that appeals. Plus I’d be highly anticipated and could be just as fickle as I liked. Maybe I could learn to knit during time off in the Underworld.

What are your favourite holiday spots?
The 4 corners area of the southwest US is stunning. I’ve been on exactly one camping trip there. But I would go back in a minute. San Francisco continues to hold lots of tasty fun for me. I love the beach too, Ft. Myers, in Florida or San Diego.

What are you reading right now?
I’m supposed to be reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame but I’ve successfully misplaced it. Must find that book.

What are four words that describe you?
Patient, limited, graceful, pithy

I started writing a more negative answer but have successfully stuffed that self critical imp back into its velvet bag.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Silly books: Karl Hiaasen most recently and Terry Pratchett always. DVDs of 30 Rock too – Tina Fey would be my guilty pleasure if I could just get her into bed.

Who or what makes you laugh?
Harold Lloyd, Stephen Colbert, Terry Pratchett

What is your favourite spring thing to do?
Walk through an area of budding trees. We have red bud trees in South Park and the walkways are lined with purple glow. I love to see the forsythia too – reminds me of my mother. Demeter.

Where are you planning to travel next?
Not planning any travel – poor. But maybe we’ll get back to Albuquerque in October. And we may ship oldest daughter there for a granny visit the first week of June.

What is the best thing you ate or drank lately?
The devil’s food cake I made for my 5 y.o.’s birthday party was primo. But the banana bread I made last night was almost as good

When was the last time you were tipsy?
Can’t remember. Holidays? Must go right home and tipple.

What is your favourite ever film?
Can’t choose just one, be real. Old favorites: Tampopo, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Blade Runner, The Thin Blue Line, Swimming to Cambodia. New favorites: Sense and Sensibility, Sita Sings the Blues (ssss!), The Producers (really just the soundtrack)

What is the biggest life lesson you've learned from your kids?
To own my own feelings and preferences. I can’t speak for them, just make room for them to speak.

What song can't you get out of your head?
It’s a Hard Knock Life from Annie (could be worse) and I’m trying to learn all the numbery words to The Galaxy Song.

What book do you know you should read but refuse to?
Gravity’s Rainbow and anything by Updike.

What is your physical abnormality/abnormal physical ability?
Somewhat pointed ears, and I can raise either eyebrow independently. A little Vulcan in the bloodline apparently. MSWord just capitalized “vulcan” for me, how helpful of it.

Bonus film info links for you today. I found Ferdy on Films a while back and had bookmarked her. It was because she reviews old films. Just today I enjoyed her reflections on the most recent Roger Ebert film fest. I was delighted to hear that he was able to participate with his MacBook robo voice. [Edited to add that this fest went wild for my little favorite: Sita Sings the Blues. So exciting!]

And then thinking about my old favorite movies I looked for something on Spalding Gray and found the wonder that is Not Coming To A Theater Near You. It’s a grabbag of film commentary by what I take to be underemployed film students. Looks like lots of sad children films on the top page right now. But look around, lots of great obscure films are discussed. And from what I've read: some solidly well written pieces.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

One Saturday via Train

A Saturday in Early April

Got up early and rode on exercise bicycle in basement. Watched the beginning of All That Jazz. (We have a treasure trove of VHS tapes in the basement.) Ascended to the sounds of children wanting breakfast. Fixed children breakfast and then nearly bit off their heads because they were being normally annoying and I hadn’t had any breakfast yet. Ate my cereal and took my vitamins and regained my temper. Turned on the tv for the kids to watch something execrable. Took a shower. Got my clothes on and felt very efficient.

Husband took the kids to the movie theater to watch a special morning showing of Kung Fu Panda. I did three loads of laundry and watched half of DVD of Vanity Fair with Reese Witherspoon. (Review – watchable, entertaining but choppy and unconvincingly sensual. Well, the scandalous dance sequence anyhow. But I’m glad to see it attempted and I will watch Reese do most anything. I was going to compare this version unfavorably with a BBC production starring that W. African actress from ER but that turns out to have been Moll Flanders. Sorry – wrong madcap rebellious female costume drama.)

Went to drugstore to buy concealer. Bought some for $14 plus tax. Applied in the car – perhaps future applications will be more polished looking. Went to get my hair cut. Told hair dresser my unrealistic hair plan. She told me she thought it wasn’t happening with my cowlicks but that she would give it a try. No straight swoop of bangs but much nicer hair than what I went in with. She confirmed that I have enough hair for two heads. Made next appointment for six weeks. I usually try to pinch pennies by not getting my hair cut until it is driving me bats. But I think I'll try the faithful attendance approach for a change.

Back to the Present

So that was a day that I had unexpectedly to myself. I didn't get to see Kung Fu Panda but instead had free time to launder and mooch around and attend to grooming.

I had another day off unexpectedly this Monday -- I kept Lexi home because she had run a fever the night before. Just a passing virus it seems. She played very happily with her birthday presents most of the day. I did get her to take a big nap despite protests. I got the kitchen and bathroom floors washed that morning so felt extremely proud of myself.

Cake Pride

More pride: I have to brag on the devil's food cake I made for Lexi's birthday. It was a thing of delicious beauty. Much better than last year's cake from scratch which was dry and unworthy of the butter frosting it carried. Everyone liked this one.

Train Wreck

I'm realizing that because I'm using this space to vent about our money travails and other bad decisions, this blog is more train wrecky than I expected. (Previously I assumed that I hadn't made enough crappy decisions for my life to be a train wreck. But evidence is mounting.) I'm trying to embrace that. I only have one life and it's too short (esp. from this vantage point) to waste being ashamed. So on with the wreck and forward to build from the wreckage!

Appropriately I have been listening to the Old 97's album 'Too Far to Care' from 1997. (They're named after "The Wreck of the Old 97" which is some famous old folk song about a train derailing.) I think Bee might like it for its Texas hyper poppy western-ness. I love the lyrics and Timebomb is an excellent 'get off your ass' song. I found out that they released a new album last year after being split up for a while. Rhett Miller still looks spookily attractive per their website. Because I use old music consuming technology, I may have to buy their greatest hits CD.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Go now and read about E.A. Poe. I have to read something about him every five years or so. Also found in this New Yorker piece is a cartoon I found groovy: Sheep 1 says to Sheep 2 “Sure I follow the herd – not out of brainless obedience, mind you, but out of a deep and abiding respect for the concept of community.” This reminds me of my reasons for joining the Episcopal Church. Baaaa. Plus a bit of rabid anglophilia. And a fondness for churchgoing and a desire to get on a team and get on with things dammit.

The wild baptismal weekend went well and I'm relieved that it's over. Four out of town relatives was plenty. Girls and I were anointed and fested. We had a bang up feast at the downtown hotel brunch.

Tried watching "The Singing Detective" a British tv serial from the late 80s. It includes period noir and extended hospitalization, fever dreams and musical numbers. Couldn't hack it. V. slow at beginning and dim and I am just on to the next thing. I'm reading The Hunchback of Notre Dame which is proving slow going. Was relieved to come across our title character today at my lunch break. And Esmeralda has been announced. Surely some plot will make itself known soon.

I’m cheating on my 19th century lit with some Carl Hiaasen: Skinny Dip which was practically free at the spring library book sale. He's a guilty pleasure for sure, bless his eco freako good ol boy heart. I'll be done with that by the end of the week.

Have I mentioned the Little Professor's blog? She's an academic who writes about Victorian religious novels (I think that's right). And sometimes finds time to comment on other works of art. Currently I'm enjoying her recaps of the currect PBS broadcasts of the BBC
's 2008 Little Dorrit. I loved that novel which I read while commuting in the Bay Area. But I find I haven't retained much plot.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April update

Lexi turned five and it's still making her smile. (Nonsense words of maternal endearment here.)

Easter at church was v. crowded but lovely. The choir was great and I loved the tympani and trumpet with the organ for the H. Chorus. The girls wore matching dresses given by a school friend. They were fancy and beautiful. Thank you note in process.

One grandma arrives on Thursday afternoon and the next on Friday. Nod's Missouri cousins are also coming for our baptisms. Much to be done before the girls and I are baptized on Sunday. As Nod noted, this baptism celebration seems to be taking on a life of its own. I think our mothers (and cousins) needed an excuse to have a party. Well, good!

Book group was heavy on nice. I reflected afterwards that I was hoping for something more edgy and eggheaded -- perhaps that's what I should call my next book group. They were very welcoming and I will read The Hunchback of Notre Dame to discuss with them in May.

The cold has abated (thank gaia) and we are ready to be springy here.

I'm staggering through the chores that need to be done. I think I'll be glad when the fam stuff is done. But I hope I can enjoy some while it's happening.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Strike a Pose

The sun has come out again and the temperature is supposed to get up to 60 degrees. But that's not all! Project Runway and a clone will both be back for summer 09!! Project Runway was yanked from Bravo during the last iteration. I haven't followed the hollywood play-by-play but it was going to go to the Lifetime channel. (The home of sad lady revenge stories.) Then there was wrangling which has now been resolved. Plus Bravo is coming back with its own ripoff called Fashion Show, starring Isaac Mizrahi. It will start on May 7th. Squeeee! I trust Bravo to produce something watchable and the Lifetime reanimation might be good. Thank goodness for Project RunGay , those fastidious fashionistos are keeping me informed.

Lexi turns five years old next Friday. What a momentous birthday. Five seems like the end of babydom for sure. I have been having a hard time focusing on this event and on the party we must throw. It seemed very overwhelming. But I think I'm coming out of the fog now and starting to look forward to it. I think we'll do it out of the house, and that will relieve a lot of my stress. The rec center does a gymnastics party that will fit the bill. Nod thinks this is jake and now I just need the birthday girl's okay. I will happily bake her cupcakes for preschool next Friday. And I can bring cake for the party. She and the other five year olds deserve a good time romping and bouncing. The indoor pool does birthday parties but I find that idea too fraught. No potential drownings at any party I'm hosting please. It's a an overreaction, isn't it? I let my kids play in the water and Lexi can't swim yet. But the idea of being responsible for a half dozen or so other kids in the water makes my blood go cold. So we'll keep our parties on dry land to keep me cheerful.

Both grandmas are shopping for easter clothes for the girls. Aw. I have a new skirt and cute heels to wear but need a top. I'm going to put on my skirt and send my mother a picture tonight so she can look for me too. Because apparently I am twelve. I probably have a blouse that would work in a pinch. And yes, having fun dressing up *is* a valid reason to go to church. This week's church homework much easier -- share someone or some situation you want to pray for. I can do that. I often pray before I go to sleep. I started doing it when Lexi was born. I was so full of gratitude to the universe for my children. I had a huge need to say thank you. And it settled my mind when I went to bed and my brain was whirling. Last Sunday after church Katy told me that she didn't believe in God. I thought for a while and then said, "I don't know about God but I believe in church so I'm going to keep going." She agreed that she liked church too. It'll be interesting how this conversation develops over the years. For both of us.

Nod tells me that our first short sale guy has proven to be a weasel. So we'll start again with a new weasel person. I am tempted to get all in a tizzy about this. But I think I will choose to rise above it today. I'll put it into the compartment in my brain reserved for "things that could go wrong with the house." And I'll close that compartment's door and leave it well alone for a few days.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I'm going to write a post because I'm falling asleep at work. I didn't leave for lunch and that always makes me feel like I'm trapped in this basement. It's a dark rainy day too which isn't popping my mood toward ecstatic. Some blogs have helped but I really have to stop reading now. Stop. reading. now. Action is required. I'll take this little narcissistic action and then do something worky.

From Mrs. Trefusis
Since when did having it all mean doing it all? Is this really what Betty and the sisterhood had in mind when they fought the sex war and won? My generation has been sold down the river by Germaine Greer and I'm getting singed fingers trying to snatch my bra back out of the bonfire. Having won the right to equality in the workplace, we forgot to win a fight for equality at home too.

The bold is the part that made me laugh.

I have been quite depressed at the state of the house lately. I feel like I have failed and it will never get better. Even when we pick up we don't clean. So everything is dusty and the floors are not nice. I can do the dishes and some weeks I get caught up with the laundry. There is a lot leftover that doesn't get done. After almost six years in this house it shows. We've never washed all the windows and some of them are quite cloudy. I am cringing while typing that.

It feels out of control. Even when I can get past the "I'm not keeping it clean and tidy so I'm bad" reasoning, it's just depressing to live like this. Oh wow I did not realize until now how the weather has got me down.

Anyway. Time to switch gears. I have done something worky now, in between working on this misbegotten post. Here's some Paris-think for you. It seems to be right on. You'll see the parallels if you read Stuff White People Like. But even without that reference it's just fun to imagine being a snobby Parisian. After all, Paris is always fabulous, even in nasty gray rainy weather.