Monday, July 31, 2006
I got to play all of Madeleine's princess games, and I got to read a bunch of books aloud, and I got to see several of Conrad's feel-good movies. Not a bad deal, really, but our larder is starting to look a little empty and I don't know when we'll be able to go shopping.
Maybe I'll just tape up all the pustules or whatever they're called and take the kids to the grocery store.
Stay away from Associated tomorrow before noon, if you don't want to get contaminated.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
He: And on my side it's 11am to 1pm, but then on Union [Street] it's 11am to...
She: has tuned out long ago.
[For my European readers: he was talking about parking restrictions in the neighborhood, street cleaning and whatnot.] Here's the sad part. Both of these people are out of my league, looks-wise. (I'm a minor league player who likes to believe he may have gone far if he'd only worked out more and if his metabolism had cooperated better with all the chocolate he consumed.) Does this mean that, in order to have improved my chances (before I hit the jackpot with Julie, of course), I should have had inane, selfish conversational topics? Or should I just be happy that they are stuck in a conversational quagmire?
Then I saw this.
A woman was getting out of a recently parked car. The door wouldn't open far because there was a tree right there. So she had to extract herself by squeezing and contorting most inelegantly. The guy (her guy, I assume) was watching, rather than getting in again to back the car up. There was plenty of space. Again, these people were generally better-looking than I, and they have a car (which I don't). Do I need to be more of a jerk to advance in both directions?
Finally, I saw a Prius, parked. And it had vanity plates. Funny enough in itself, right?
The license plates read: AUTEUR. Jeez.
But, you know what? If I ever have a car, I think I'll get vanity plates and prepose an H. At least it would be honest.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
No such luck.
Madge found everything boring, except for the overly representational stuff, a photography exhibit of “Sex Workers in Asia.”
The area was roped off and I was trying to usher her past it when she said, “Oh, she’s pretty. I want to see.” Followed by, “Why is she naked in the tub?” Followed by, “Why is the man staring at her?”
So I told her about the male gaze and objectification of women and post-colonialism and fetish of the Oriental in “modern” art and of the museum’s need to attract visitors with prurience while still maintaining an image of ultra-hipness and about how Modern Art isn’t really “modern” or “art” most of the time, but the stuff from the early 1900’s is still fun because it’s experimental in a fun way and how art is aimed at museums mostly and for some reason photography is the only thing contemporaries really enjoy and…
In other words, my tried and true method of bombarding her with so much “truth” that she tunes out.
It still worked when she was four.
Now she hears, “Blah blah blah blah blah sex blah blah blah men blah women blah blah blah blah blah blah.”
Then she’ll ask, “So why is the woman naked and not the man?” And I’ll say, “Hey, do you want to check out the gift shop?”
And we’ll be just fine until she finds the cute Warhol-condoms or whatever.
Friday, July 28, 2006
“Julie,” so named because of the strong, immediate emotional bond, was of an unknown age, possibly 2 days, judging by her initial fuzziness. She was a friend to all and shone with a bright, personable nature.
She asked to be set adrift in the toilet bowl.
*There is, of course, an irony in this. Greek tragedy-type irony. Madeleine feared that Conrad was too rough with “Julie,” so she emptied a cup of its home-made soap-bubble mixture and made Coco put the caterpillar in it. But the cup wasn’t rinsed and the remaining soap was too much for “Julie” (I’m guessing: could it have dried her out?) who curled up and stopped moving, laying there with her 12 or so legs in the air and a couple of tiny bubbles on her “waist.”
“Be Careful, someone got stuck in this elevator tonight (Thursday).”
[It sounds like the “Careful, Falling Rocks” road sign. If you’re not in an open convertible and happen to have the hardtop in your trunk, what exactly are you going to do? Are falling rocks best avoided by going too fast or by driving slowly with your head out the window, ready to swerve off the road - and off the cliff - when the precipitation of rocks commences?]
The sign is on the ground floor. There is only one elevator. We saw the sign on the way out. But, for the way back in, I was prepared.
When we came home, the kids and I went up the stairs to use the bathroom, just in case. When we came down again, the kids were hungry, so I went back up to make some sandwiches and get some drinks. On my way down, I thought, to be safe, let’s also bring some empty bottles in case we have to go potty again. Then I figured, maybe the toolbox would be a good idea. Then I came back to leave a message with Julie at her work to be alert and, if she didn’t hear back from us in five minutes, to call the elevator people. (My cell phone doesn’t work in the elevator, and the call service in the elevator isn’t as reliable as it ought to be.) Then I lit some incense and votive candles, prayed to the orixas and decided to brave it.
Our carefulness paid off. The elevator ride went off without a hitch.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Let a know-it-all feel more knowy, a boss feel more bossy, and, hey, tell them you know the limerick guy.
(Bring up music, jazz combo, light comping, cue Nat "King" Cole, singing: "This can't be lahve because I
Coco: Daddy, I fink de caterpillar's a she.
("This can't be lahve, I get no
Daddy: Really, what's her name?
("My heart does not stand still, why does it beat? This is too sweet to be lahve.")
Coco: Umm, Julie.
("This can't be lahve because I
Lest you think this is all too saccharine, let me point out that when we found "Julie" she had much more fuzz.
Also, let's not tell Dr. Freud about this, shall we?
Husband to wife at playground: "What movie are we going to see?"
Wife: "The Devil Wears Prada"
The husband's face falls.
(I, of course, am thinking, "Wait, on a Wednesday night they can go see a movie? Who's watching the kid? What's going on? How can I fit into their evening plans?")
(Coco, meanwhile, if you're interested, is face-down in a puddle while Madge is driving a tricycle right at him.)
Here's what needs to happen. They need to see "The Devil Wears Prada in the Caribbean." It can't be that far removed from either movie. I've seen parts of the Dead Man's Chest thingie, and, really, Davy Jones could accessorize some more. Not to mention that a Devil wearing Prada would not be any more far-fetched than the actual plot elements. And the other movie could probably use Johnny Depp. Listening to certain women, it appears that everyone could use some Johnny Depp. I'm not disagreeing.
“So if I had said I was with the camp, you wouldn’t check my bag?”
He stayed calm (though he still looked confused) and asked her to open the bag for him.
She opened it and, as he was about to look inside, shoved it less than an inch from his face, took it back down, and walked off.
He hesitated for maybe a second, then followed her and escorted her off the premises.
The look on her face was priceless.
I don’t know if there’s a point to this, but the scene stuck with me. Mostly because the characters seemed so mismatched (the odds would have been 7-5 in her favor).
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Subway rides, for example. With children.
Today I wanted to go to Manhattan on the Subway, but Coco didn’t. Madge toughed it out. But every time the train pulled into a station, Coco struggled to break free and kept shouting – and I mean shouting – “No more transion! No more transion!” (Transion, I believe, is a conjunction of transfer and station, which, I guess, most accurately reflects his feelings about the matter.)
By the time we got to our desired stop I was a sweaty mess.
But the situation is still understandable, something everyone can read as painful, but somehow necessary. A toddler balking. And it’s not like walking or taking a bus or cab would be any more helpful once you’re already on the train.
No, what truly gets to me is when the train is empty enough for the poles to be unoccupied and therefore irresistible, but not so empty that there is no audience for Madge’s dance. Head back so the hair swings free, back arched, legs - oh, I can’t get into it. It’s an innocent thing, of course, but...
Here, you try finishing this exchange:
“Stop twirling around the pole, please.”
Hm? What do you say that will be satisfactory and not just authoritarian bull that doesn’t fly anyway.
And trust me, I have said, “Would you take ‘because I said so’?” It doesn’t work.
Good luck on solving the puzzle.
Monday, July 24, 2006
This means that one could be an attorney at something else, or the whole thing would be redundant, and lawyers would never do that, would they?
Language-wise, "attorney" means something like "someone to whom powers have been turned over." If you leave out the "in a legal sense" which has overgrown the concept (like a strangler vine), you could have other attorneys.
For example, twice a week an attorney-at-refuse comes by to pick up our trash.
Our local Thai place is our attorney-at-dinner-preparation.
Until the kids were potty-trained (sorry, toilet-learned), I was an attorney-at-excreta.
A pilot is an attorney-at-flight. As is a sufficiently bribed bail-bondsman.
The fun never ends.
But I do.
Oh, one more: attorney-and-cheese on rye, hold the pickle.
See, I thought I had myself weaned from staring at women’s, you know. (I was aided by contemporary fashion which exposes so many other choice bits that I get so confused I give up and look into their faces.)
But now there seems to be a trend (at least in our neighborhood) of t-shirts with writing on them. And women’s t-shirts tend to have writing, you know. Often I don’t get to finish because the writing won’t hold still. Sometimes it wraps around and I feel I ought to lift intruding pieces out of the way. But that might not be polite.
So today I wound up staring at an Asian lady (Chinese-ish Asian, not Indonesian-ish Asian), older. Maybe 45, so not “older” older but too old for what she was wearing, namely a green t-shirt that said, “Tennis Players have fuzzy balls.”
She must have been deep in her laundry cycle, past the outmoded fancy clothes.
Saturday, July 22, 2006
A little before and after.
Note, in the "after" picture, that there is a toilet brush hanging in our shower. Lest you think we have odd grooming habits, let me explain that we had to prematurely retire our previous toilet brush because Coco thinks they are nifty toys.
And, really, it's a much better loufa than the purple thingie we have.
It also helps in reaching those impacted wisdom teeth.
But don't tell Julie.
Before going to bed (she was obviously excited about the upcoming bonanza, so the whole thing was an extended ordeal), we had the following conversation (among many go-to-sleep-I-can’t-I’m-too-excited exchanges).
M: Daddy, do you think the tooth fairy is a boy or a girl?
D: I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about it much. What do you think?
M: I think it’s a girl.
D: You’re probably right.
[several minutes pass]
M: I think the tooth fairy might be mommy. She’s always tired in the morning.
D [trying to hide panic]: No, I don’t think so. I think I’d notice.
D: Wait, you mean that mommy is the tooth fairy for everyone in the whole world, don’t you?
D: No, I think I would notice.
M: But maybe she puts pixie dust on you to make sure you don’t wake up.
D: Hm. Maybe.
Of course I told Julie about this (and had to clarify that Madeleine means she’s tired on weekends, because she doesn’t see how quickly Julie flies out of bed on weekday mornings, etc.). And apparently Madeleine had suggested to her that the tooth fairy is Mrs. Santa Claus, since she obviously knows where everyone is.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
I don’t know.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
If I may channel my nightclub alter ego, Allan Allen, for a moment,
I believe they have a yearly swim meet to compete for the “Double D” cup.
And you’re only allowed to do the breast stroke.
Of course I looked it up. Leave it to Shakespeare to stretch the term in a better way.
The park by our apartment has movies and concerts and plays in the summer. Cool stuff (a bit pretentious but a nice effort, I think). But it is right outside our window, so, if we don’t want to partake, we have no choice. On Thursday we were awakened by a soundcheck/dress rehearsal for “Much Ado About Nothing” around 11pm. Gngngngngngn!
I invited the entire cast up to help put the kids back to sleep.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
I don't know if I'm just not ready for it because we haven't really had much fun during our vacation yet (diarrhea and vomiting don't count for vacation bliss), or because it's yet another step toward being a big girl.
Either way. Let it be stated here that I'll miss her - silly as it sounds.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
I said, "Yeah, Coco, a lullaby on a trumpet. I think that's an oxymoron."
Humor like this always works with the 3-yr-old crowd.
But here's the kicker.
Madeleine said, "You're right."
What does she think "oxymoron" means? I haven't told her. I doubt it came up in first grade. Now I'm curious. What did she think I was saying?
(In other words, the illnesses are now officially over and the kids are back to their normal selves - though a few pounds lighter.)
Anyway, Madeleine was working on one of those books and …
She had printed out a Harry Potter maze from the web and I was reminded of those books. The mazes were always laughably easy. All you had to do was start at the finish and work backwards. Why didn’t any of the editors think of putting in dead ends from that direction?
They did, in their infinite wisdom, think of including the solutions to these at the back of the books. But I figure, if you can’t work a maze on your own, you probably don’t have the wherewithal to locate the solution at the end.
I’ve never seen the appeal of these mazes. Has anyone? Are the writers and editors not aware that the person working on these has an aerial view of the whole thing? Where is the challenge? Are you supposed to pretend they are walls and you can’t see beyond what’s directly in front of you? If so, that is indeed a challenge.
Here’s the biggest puzzle, though. No matter how easy the mazes were, I always did them.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Clever ad, yes.
1) now, rather than just throwing away the annoying flyer, it looks like you've got to scrape some goo off your door, too.
Maybe the pizza grease eases the removal.
2) it really only works if you're home when they stick it on. (Though I'd probably still check it out from the inside after noticing it from the outside.)
3) how much are they paying the leafletters extra to connive their way into a building and then spend the time sticking these things on?
4) Ads like this tend to backfire, I think. Sure, I'd see it and think to myself, "Yes, I'd like some pizza delivered now." But would I call Papa John's?
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
This morning I killed a fly (aren't I tough). Coco wanted to dispose of it, but for some reason the porcelain watery grave wouldn't do today.
He took it to the balcony and let it drop from our dizzying 3rd-floor height.
As the fly fell, he said (age 3, mind you): "AAAAaaaaahhh..."
The kids have been off from school for more than two weeks now, and we're still playing who-can-soil-the-most-sheets-in-one-day. Really. It's time for us to consider getting new bedding.
So cuteness is down to a minimum, as is getting out of the house. Who'd have thought that you'd get cabin fever in the summer?
I wonder if the Beach Boys didn't write some song about this - The First Flu of Summer.
Something about all the others surfing and being beachy in all ways possible while poor old narrator is home with a stomach virus. Or would that be a Leslie Gore song?
[Note to self: write such a song]
Monday, July 10, 2006
So you get to guess who it's by. Or what the title is. Or something.
In other words, I haven't heard from Edsel or Chris B. in a while and want to see if they're paying attention.
Here's your quote:
Along the bar various claims to personal distinction were being made.
"I have a stainless-steel plate in my head."
"I am one-sixteenth Cherokee."
"I have never voted in my life."
"My mother ate speckled butterbeans every day of her life."
"I don't even take aspirins."
Just rereading it makes me giggle. But then again, I'm weird.
Enjoy. Prize, as always, a poem by me.
(Let's see you Google that one, Edsel.)
Sunday, July 09, 2006
I watched the second half (and the overtime and the penalty kicks) in a bar. Boy, am I a lightweight drinker. As I was two-thirds through my beer - I know I'm a lightweight, so I was pacing myself - we go into overtime, and the guy next to me orders another pitcher for him and his pal. When I'm done with my beer, he pours some into my cup. It turns out we were both among the minority, Italian supporters (some sort of pasta jock-strap, I'm sure), and he felt a bond with me. He was Latin-American, so I couldn't quite get him to understand (linguistically) that I preferred Italy because of the way they turned their first game (against Ghana) around, midgame. A few changes, they sent the attack along the sides, and, boom, they're ahead.
Anyway, I drank the second beer and was a bit dizzy on my entire way home.
I'm such a sissy.
But, hey, now I can try to have a regular schedule again (once the kids are done with their bout of indigestion - I'm sure the washer and dryer will relish a break, too).
Friday, July 07, 2006
Let me insert a comment on my email server (gmail). It "reads" key words in emails and offers links based on these. On the one hand, it's intrusive. On the other hand, it can be helpful. On the third hand, it can be funny. Gmail separates what it suspects to be spam in a separate mail folder, which is nice. I get to look at them and delete them all. Oddly enough, the links are usually for recipes like spam quiche, spam pizza, or spambrosia (I made that up, but just you wait).
Back to my monorail of thought. The subject line (I deleted it rather than read the rest) read: Are you ready for bikini season?
This, of course, set me into immediate panic. I'm not ready at all! I need to remember where I planted my bikini bulbs last fall. (I must say I'm not impressed by the early harvest I've seen so far.) I also need to figure out what they're serving with bikinis this year. I still need to apply for a bikini license. (It shouldn't be a problem if I apply at the Coney Island Bikini Bureau. I'll grease the right palms and I'm good to go.) And, finally, I need to ask the kids where my binoculars are.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Here’s the thing. I usually say that I want my kids to question authority, just not mine. Sounds fair, right? Well, now she’s questioning authority AND invoking mine at the same time.
As they say in Go Fish, “Got what I wanted!”
And, as they say in many a fairy tale, be careful what you wish for.
Before striding into action, I decided to get some more information. “How were they bossing you around?”
“They were telling me I have to put on some shoes.”
“Well,” I said, trying to sound calm and persuasive, “sometimes parents don’t like to see other kids barefoot because then their own kids will whine about wanting to be barefoot, too.”
Sometimes kids understand too well. Madge said she understood, but she still wanted me to tell them not to boss her around.
“You want me to go over there and tell them that it’s okay with me if you don’t wear any shoes?”
“Okay, yeah.” Not quite what she asked for, but L-‘s family lives in our building, and a straightforward, “Don’t boss my kid around!” might not be the most diplomatic approach. As much as the guy deserves it. He has the personality and the physique of a Winnebago. (I don’t want to be mean, so I’ll leave it at that.)
So I go over and tell them that my daughter would like me to let them know that it’s okay with me if she’s barefoot.
I figure that this phrasing might fly. It’s not too confrontational, yet I’m getting the point across.
But of course he says, “There’s splinters on this stage and she could get hurt.”
I froze. Again I was presented with my age-old problem of trying not to sound like a smart-ass while still communicating. So I said, “I appreciate your concern. But it’s still okay with me if she’s barefoot.”
See, on paper (virtually or otherwise), “I appreciate your concern” looks harmless. But I can’t deliver those lines in a convincing fashion. I just said my lines and left.
I have given up having conversations with him a while ago, anyway.
Monday, July 03, 2006
(We were having bagels with cream cheese. The bagels were fresh. I had advised against buying new cream cheese because we still had some in the fridge.)
Julie: So, is the cream cheese still good?
Me [mouth full]: I'm eating it, aren't I?
Julie: Yes, but that doesn't answer my question.
And she's right. That's what ten years of marriage will do for you.
(For those of you with a need to know: the cream cheese was fine.)
(And, for those of you keeping track: Julie - 6,811,576; Philipp - 2.7 [I'm known for losing partial points on technicalities].)
We may not be zoned for it, nor did we get an official permission, but we have recently added a hot tub (green) and a lap pool (blue) to our premises. We hope our landlord doesn't mind.
(And so what if the downstairs neighbors get the occasional shower on their balconies, right? Who's with me? - Apparently not Julie.)