Dear Birthday Express Dot Com

Filed under:Good Grief,It's My Life,Mothering — posted by Anwyn on August 27, 2008 @ 9:33 am

On what planet is “Hot Wheels” a “sports” theme for a child’s birthday party, but soccer is not? Thanks for zip.


Filed under:It's My Life — posted by Anwyn @ 8:12 am

Is there much worse, in things sleep-related, to wake up at six, decide there’s nothing really to get up for and you can stay in bed, and wander back into slumber only to have a nightmare?

Conversation of the Day

Filed under:Children's Books,It's My Life,Mothering — posted by Anwyn on August 26, 2008 @ 9:08 pm

Me, hunting for the particular book the Bean wanted to read at bedtime: “Let’s see, if I were Jeremy Fisher, where would I be?”

Son: “You’d be wherever Jeremy Fisher is right now.”



Filed under:It's My Life,Movies — posted by Anwyn on August 24, 2008 @ 2:28 pm

I’m home. And tired. Which I shouldn’t be, so much, because I slept on the plane–determinedly, so that I wouldn’t watch too much of the soundless miniature Prince Caspian playing on the video monitor above my head. I tried listening through the earphones–“Maybe it won’t be so bad to watch it on the plane!”–but the tiny sound still managed to be screamingly shrill, so I ripped off the earphones and shut my eyes. By the time I woke up, Caspian was conqueror and king and, on the DVD player in the next seat over, JFK was dead but not buried, and we were flying over eastern Oregon. Mission accomplished.

Time for Me to Fly

Filed under:It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on August 21, 2008 @ 3:51 am

Hey, didn’t you just come back from spending a ridiculously long time in the Midwest?

Yes. Yes I did.

Well, where do you think you’re going now, missy?

Back to the Midwest.


Family birthday party; thanks for asking. Just a quick trip this time. May blog, may not, as I’ll have a laptop with me … nobody’s ever tried to scientifically verify what would happen if I were disconnected from the web for 24 contiguous hours. It wouldn’t be pretty.

This One’s for Mr. Sippican

Filed under:Blogging,It's My Life,Music — posted by Anwyn on August 17, 2008 @ 1:07 am

Mr. Sippican Cottage, that is. Although I’m not sure it’s the kind of music he enjoys. But I love it, and it reminds me of the way Mr. Sippican writes about his wife, about his children, about his life in terms of them.

You know “Ashokan Farewell,” right? Unless you were living under a rock with no cable during the time of The Civil War, the mini-series, you know it. This is by the same composer, Jay Ungar. A cousin of mine who is a dead ringer for Loren Dean and I have talked about who would play me and various other cousins in our life story. The lady at the piano, Molly Mason, would have to be played by Stockard Channing–look at those cheekbones! (Cousin and I couldn’t come up with a satisfactory actor look-alike for me. Go figure.)

I played this in trio yesterday with a couple of great musicians I get to flute around with every few weeks–a fiddler and a guitarist. I flute as aforementioned and also sing–mostly old Peggy Lee songs that Mr. Sippican would probably approve of. “Lovers’ Waltz,” by Jay Ungar. Gorgeous.

Don’t Fib to Smart People (Update: And Don’t Let Them Read Your Blog, Either)

Filed under:It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on August 11, 2008 @ 6:43 pm

Scene: Playground, summer, a couple hours before sunset.

Son: “Mom, climb up here and slide with me.”

Me: “No, I’ll watch you slide.”

Son: “Noooo, climb up here, I want to slide together.”

Me: “No, I’m too big [fib, hoping he’ll just accept it]. I’ll just watch.”

Son: “You used to slide with me.”

Me: “When you were little. Now you’re big and you don’t need me to slide.”

Son: “Did you slide when you were 32?”

Me: “Probably.”

Son: …

Son: “Has your tush gotten wider?”


Later, inside the house, Mom returns into the kitchen to find son staring at the computer monitor.

Son, grinning the grin of the one who knows he won: “That’s what we said.”

Whew, I’m Not the Only One

Filed under:Cool,Food,It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on August 10, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

I’ve taken on quite a devotion to cooking in the last couple years. I love my cast-iron pans, I love broiling steaks in them, making pasta sauces in them, making everything I possibly can in them, and next weekend I’m going to try a giant apple pancake in one of them. I’ve always suspected, though, that I would be looked down upon by serious enthusiastic cooks and food lovers, because there are so many different foods I don’t like. These fall into a few categories: Foods I like okay but probably wouldn’t choose if given options (shrimp, for example); foods I don’t like but will endure if I have to (citrus fruit, cilantro, others); foods I don’t like on their own but will accept in other things (blueberries in pancakes or muffins, avocado in guacamole); foods I simply cannot stand and will not eat under any circumstances (beets, mushrooms, artichokes, any of the weirder types of fruits like mango, nuts other than peanuts, tea, coconut, etc.).

Recently I’ve become completely enamored of the Smitten Kitchen, so it was with glee that I came upon her entry of some of her food weirdnesses and discovered that even serious cooks have a lot of stuff they don’t like.

2. As the above should suggest I’m really quite the curmudgeon about food; cooking allows me to hide this: I hate beets, green peppers on anything but pizza and even then not really, find cilantro (the green, not the powdered spice or seed) distasteful, as well as most teas, broccoli rabe and kale,all chais, cardamom, caviar, cheese-stuffed or coated items, dolma, minestrone, coconut curries, mustard that looks like yellow paint, the vast majority of fruit juices, nectars and smoothies and the vast majority of California cabernets and chardonnays I have tried.

Awesome. I don’t like smoothies myself because of a very limited relationship with fruit in general (strawberries, apples, grapes, and bananas, essentially, make the cut, and sparingly). She hates beets and dislikes cilantro! Just like me! Woo! But best of all was this bit:

1. After being a vegetarian for more than 15 years, the thing I took most quickly to was bacon, followed by any sort of pork, mussels and then beefy stews in butter-enriched sauces. Perhaps I wasn’t so much a “vegetarian” all those years but “rebelling against Jewish food.” Meanwhile, I have no love for typically easy-to-love non-vegetarian items such as chicken, turkey and shrimp. I’d pretty much rather eat a beet than a grilled chicken cutlet, which I will insist to my dying day tastes closer to cardboard than something edible.

Hallelujah. I have only recently come to the conclusion that the main reason I haven’t worked with raw chicken in my kitchen for a year or more, other than to roast a whole bird now and then, is because I really don’t enjoy eating the results. I made a heavy-duty chicken stir-fry the other night because of a sneaking suspicion that I’d been going too heavy on the beef lately, and it just. is. not. worth. it. The slimy, raw chicken that you have to pull strings of bloody tendon out of, and what do you get? Little chunks of white, dry, tasteless protein only marginally rescued by the glory of veggies around it. Yuck. I’m with Deb: Bacon, pork, beef. (I’ve never tried mussels.) Give me a steak to slap into the cast iron, any time, or chopped bacon on my spinach salad, or pancetta in my mashed potatoes, or pork tenderloin … did I mention the steak broiled in cast iron? Yum.


Filed under:It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on July 26, 2008 @ 7:48 pm

If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent much of your adult life learning how to communicate properly and effectively with other adults. Only to find out that, typically, you still can’t make these interactions turn out satisfactorily for all parties.

A pessimist might be tempted ask at that juncture, “What’s the point?”

She’s Baaaack

Filed under:Blogging,It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on July 24, 2008 @ 3:27 pm

… from The Longest Vacation Evah. Blogging shall resume. At some point.

Balloon Ride

Filed under:Cool,It's My Life,Photoblogging — posted by Anwyn on July 11, 2008 @ 8:56 am

My sister, who comments here as Bumble, and I were taken up in a hot-air balloon yesterday morning. It was absolutely as fantastic as you always thought it would be. Silent, still, views like the ones off the Sears Tower but without the heat, noise, grime, smells, and concrete. There are photos below the fold, but if you want to skip the narration and go straight to the in-flight pictures, they are here.

I was nervous before we went; not about flying or the height, but since I became a mom, reasonable fears of accidental death have blown up into an occasional, irrational near-certainty that because I’m so careless and rude to my child as to actually take an adventure that has a small chance of possibly going horribly wrong, it will actually happen that way. I tried to wrestle this down with the assurance that our pilot, Dave Bobel, has been flying balloons for more than thirty years and is certainly not about to crash himself just to validate my midnight fears. You won’t catch me going skydiving, though. Details and photos after the jump. (more…)


Filed under:Cool,It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on June 30, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

These are vacation posts, if you can’t tell. Short. Shorter than usual, that is.

I’m trying to learn about photography–i.e. learn what’s actually involved with making my various camera settings produce good photos rather than using Auto all the time, which tends to wash out faces with too-brilliant flashes. It’s perfectly appalling how much light is needed to get a good flashless photo if you’re not deliberately going for a time exposure with a tripod and all. So that even with our technology it’s still amazing how much more efficient the human eye is at its job than the camera.

And Just Like That

Filed under:It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on June 29, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

A friend says to me, of somebody else’s two small children visiting a state other than the one they live in, “First time they’ve been out of [small town in largely rural state where they live].” And just like that I appreciate far more the advantages of my military-brat upbringing.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace