Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday mugs

Uugh. The Monday morning after a four-day holiday weekend. Is there anything worse?
This is what my household had to say about it:

Are you kidding me?

I feel sick.

I hope you all are making it through....

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Weekend 3- way: talking turkey

So it's over, Thanksgiving 2009. While Ellie and I were having a more traditional Thanksgiving dinner, either with in-laws at home, or in in-laws' homes, Snaquie Jacquie was with her nuclear family blowing through her $50 meal stipend at the Lowe's Coronado Resort. And while I know for a fact that Ellie and I both had Champange, I'm willing to be that Jacquie did too. Right, J?

So what else did you have? How was the 2009 edition of Thanksgiving?

Give me your worst and best of Thanksgiving 2009. Was the high point the intense tryptophan high? Or the bountiful lefties? The low the fact that the Waldorf salad you ordered actually turned out to be wheat berry?


Yes, it was non-traditional. But lovely. Honestly, I would rather have spent the day with family or friends, but I knew that when that option did not present itself, I had to take the turkey by the horns (?) and make this Thanksgiving a great one. And it was!

So, high point/low point. Good one, Beth! I've got to say that there were very few low points, and although the high points were abundant, it is easy for me to name the highest because I was actually cognizant of the exact moment. I had gotten up early to drop off the dog at the boarder and then had an intense, awesome workout before coming home to rally the troops. It was a stunner of a day, wasn't it, Beth? Mid-eighties , for the love of pie. I rushed and fed everyone, gave them a pep talk about how we were going to eat at 5:00 so we had to let ourselves get really hungry for the optimal buffet strategy. I got everyone out of the door and to the hotel, rejected one room and accepted another (beautiful, you'll see), we got into our bathing suits and grabbed the cooler. We found the perfect spot, the kids jumped into the pool, I took out my book, toasted my husband, and then looked at the time: 1:02 pm. High Point.

My, how I do go on! I should save some detes for an actual blog post. But I was asked for a low point, and I've got one for you. It was the moment I realized that I had missed the whole chilled seafood section of the buffet! I was on my way to the chocolate fountain to fill that one last iota of free-ish space in my celestial gut when I spied the towering display of shrimp, crab legs, sushi, and smoked salmon. I was pissed! I really had no choice but to exchange my little dessert plate for yet another platter sized dish - I needed enough space to ensure that the chocolate wouldn't run onto my shrimp!

Oh, Jacquie, that's a terrible low. How did you cope? My low point is really really easy, because it was my low before Thanksgiving, and has been my low ever since. I have a vicious case of poison ivy on my arms from raking my sister-in-law Kelly's leaves on Monday, and it's driving me quite crazy. Not only is it absolutely puke-inducing disgusting, and not only does it feel like my skin's on fire, but it's also making me feel sick. It is the bane of my very existence.

My high point was the moment the 4 of us sat down to dinner, loaded up our plates, and then compared them for the old Hanrahan tradition "Who's got the best-looking Thanksgiving plate?" Mumsie won. I'm pretty sure it was fixed.

Mid-eighties for the love of pie is right, Jacuqie! And the loveliness of the day definitely played into my high point. At about 12:30 we strapped the wee one into her stroller, then walked the 3 blocks to the bay for a brisk walk bout. I'm an extreme weather wimp, but was forced to shed my sweater and walk in just my cami -- it was glorious (not me in my cami, obviously, but the perfectness of the day!). Upon arriving home we found that our neighbor/friend had stopped by with Champagne, and seeing as we were not home, proceeded to walk it across the street to our other neighbor/friend's house. Somehow sensing this, we greeted the across-the-street neighbors before even checking in back at home. Mmm. Champagne toasts, on Thanksgiving, in the eighties. Does it get any better?

Low point? They were few. No Thanksgiving meal lows, like Jacquie experienced. (Good for you, J, for soldiering on!) And luckily no itchy poison ivy either. My low point is the same as it's been for the past few years: no big girls on Thanksgiving day. Sigh. They did call Thanksgiving morning to offer my the cumpulsory, "Happy Thanksgiving, Mom!" before handing off the phone to their sister or the receiver and running off to play. And though I know they are having a ball with their grandparents and cousins, I can't help but miss them....

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

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(can't see it? click here)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Yesterday we celebrated my coworker’s birthday with a pizza lunch. We do an in-office lunch for every employee’s birthday, every year. But even though I’ve worked at the same company for more than a decade, I rarely feel like myself during these occasions.

Obviously I am, I don’t transform into some other woman, but it almost feels as though I do, and curiously, she’s not the same woman that shows up for the weekly staff meetings.

Staff meetings are work, and purely work, they don’t involve making conversation about your real life, they focus solely on what’s going on in the office.

But in these less professional circumstances, I’m guarded about certain things, I hold back. Why? Well I guess because my coworkers don’t need to know what time I had my first beer on Saturday or that my oldest daughter is being a pain in the ass or that I’m the “you” in Me and You and Ellie.

In addition to being more cautious about what I say, I also seem to lose half of my vocabulary. I’m not able to express myself well. I’m especially conscious of my lack of eloquence around my boss in said situations.

He’s a very nice, very mild-mannered guy. He’s also a very well educated doctor who greatly values education and intelligence. In fact, I had to take an intelligence test to get my job as Production Editor all those years ago. I’m still not sure if the practice was legal or not, but my score was 99% (thankyouverymuch) so it really wasn’t a big deal, and it somehow proved to him that I was smart enough for the position.

But why is it, then, that all these years later, I’m still conscious of the smart factor around him? Or why am I hyper aware of my mothering skills when picking up my kids at school or when soothing my baby when the nanny is present?

My point, I guess, is that I sometimes tend to view myself as how I perceive others view me. A complete waste of time, if there ever was one, yet still it happens.

These different personas we have (you have them too, right?) are normal, I think, but pretty much a waste of energy. As Don Miguel Ruiz says: “You live in a fantasy where everything you know about yourself is only true for you. Your truth is not the truth for anyone else.” And I agree with this.

So why do we do it?? Why do we adjust, mutate, revise, edit?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


We have a photo folder on our computer called People Peeps, and currently, it's my screen saver. I love it because when I'm walking through the living room and look over at the laptop, I'm always surprised and delighted by whose face I see on the screen.

This week, though, seeing all those fabulous faces is a little melancholy because I will see none of my immediate family peeps on Thanksgiving.

I don't love holidays as much as I used to, and I will be with Mistah's family peeps on the Big Day, and we're lucky enought to be a part of an incredible New London family of love, but still. I will miss the peeps of my blood on Thanksgiving. My original peeps. Like these two. My oldest niece and youngest niece. And their favorite Uncle Schleckah.

And these guys? My Asheville peeps? Oh, I'll miss them so. (Happy Birthday, Erin!)

My youngest Chicago nephew? Dearly.

Hmm, yeah, maybe I won't miss these guys that much. Except for the yogi in the middle. But I'll see him anyway.
Kidding! Doug and the two Marks and the two Bills? How will I live without them on Thursday?
You'd think I'd at least see the locals that day, but no.

Oh, I'll miss this assbag . . .

. . . and I'll miss the cutest coffee thieves in the world.

I'll miss my brother-in-law Doug, especially since I thought I'd be celebrating with him on Thursday. And Dad, who *is* celebrating with him. And Jacquie, of course. But Erica? And her pal? Hmmm. I don't know. Actually, I don't think I will miss them. And I mean that in the nicest possible way.

My niece Corey-girl? Oh yes.

These hoodlums? Naturally.

Aunt Ann? Will I ever.

Jacqueline and Julie-Girl? Are you kidding?

Okay, I don't even want to talk about these two.

And Jane and Dad? Jane and Dad will be together on Thanksgiving. They'll probably be hugging all the day long. Just to get my goat.

I'll miss you guys, my eight darlin' nieces and nephews.

And I'll really miss you guys, the original eight.

But hey. We'll always have Pocmont.

Monday, November 23, 2009

a littie vilege

Birthdays are fun, because you get to be special. Whether or not you choose to inform the world that it’s your special day is a personal choice, but what’s the fun in keeping it to yourself? If the peeps don’t know it’s your birthday, how can they be expected to treat you like you are special?

I like when automated things know it’s your birthday – like when my membership card was scanned at the gym on Thursday, the wee attendant glanced at the screen and said: “Happy Birthday!” And it’s fun to get cards and coupons in the mail from the establishments that I frequent. It reinforces the special treatment that we all deserve on the anniversary of our birth every year.

Nothing makes me feel more special than the sentiments I get from my kids on my birthday. Kids stare at you in starry eyed wonder when it’s your birthday. They know about special. They know about birthdays. Even when it’s not their own birthday, they rejoice in the spirit of the occasion. And why not? Birthdays substantially increase the likelihood that on any given day, there will be cake.

Birthday cards are special too. I love getting cards. My husband likes to get me the cards that bust out in song when you open them. But our kids are card makers. We are all about wrapping gifts in the funny pages and making home made cards. They always come out better than anything that you could hope to find in a hallmark store.

My kids are prone to long, drawn out messages in their cards. They have a lot to say to the birthday person, and they put a great deal of time and thought into how they want to express their sentiments. This year my girl was particularly emphatic in her expression of adoration for me.

Here is the front of her card:

Awwww, sweet!
And the inside.... did she beg inspiration from her holy-roller Aunt Ellie? It appears that message written on the left side of the card is framed by a cross. And on the right?

Oh my.
She likes me! She really likes me!

It is troue.

The drawing that she made on the front of my card is one that can be found on any of the many sheets of sketch paper that are strewn about our house. The fridge is positively silly with them. Here's the full color drawing of the scene. My girl handed this to me at bedtime a few nights ago and said:

"I made this for you, but I can't spell little or village."

on the back:

Of course, my boy made me a card this year as well. He is also known for being extremely demented verbiose and sentimental in his offerings:

And on the back, he drew a beautiful, transformative image that expresses the depths of his love and devotion:

I love you too, honey.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Weekend 3-Way: Priceless

Early next week, I’m going to show you the … ummmmm… interesting birthday card that my younger child made for me this year. It was weirdly sweet, and got me thinking about all the treasures that we bloggers undoubtedly made for our mommies way back when we were still sweet.

This weekend’s 3-way asks:

“What’s the most memorable item you ever made for your parents?”


The first thing that came to mind for me is a Christmas ornament I made for mom, and if you try to tell me that it is anywhere other than on her tree every December, I will cover my ears and bellow a holiday jingle.

The ornament I made is a beaut – it’s a pair of bells, magically appearing to be captured mid-tinkle. The base is cardboard, but it is pimped out with white felt and bric-a-brac details and I could be wrong, but I think there is some golden tissue paper decoupage at play here too. But the crowning glory of this piece is the earrings that make up the ringer thing. What is that thing called? … oh, it’s a clapper. Who knew? Thank you for coming along on my wordsearch journey. Now where was I? Yes, the clapper. The clapper on the glorious bell ornament that I made (with my own two precious little hands) was cut from cardboard, but festooned with a pair of precious stones hot glued to the business end of a pair of clip-on earrings!

Oh yes, be impressed. By stone, I mean rock. By rock, I mean… rock. Pebble? I distinctly remember the surge of pride I felt as mom gushed over this masterpiece that was so much more than just a holiday ornament. It was jewelery! I assured mom that the earring were meant for wearing, the bell was merely a vessel. But she knew a priceless gem when she saw one, she wisely decreed that the earring shall forever remain on the Christmas bells, wrapped and revealed with the upmost of care and respect each and every Christmas for ever and ever. Amen.

Oh, Jacquie, I remember that ornament. It is beautiful. Gorgeous. You are an ar-teest.
Looking for photos in the basement the other week, I came across a folder of cards and stuff I made when I was a kid, for Mom and Dad and for school. What a freak I was. And, apparently, a holy roller. Check out this Mother's Day gem; I think it must have been when I was 7, and in second grade, about to make my First Communion:

That's the front. A song for Mother?

Mother? Ellen? When were we ever not Mom and Ellie? Clearly the nuns put me up to that........

Here's the back. You gotta love the secondary note -- can't have a blank back page, now, can we? And again with the Ellen. But at least I called Mom Mom.
And Mom? You are still the nicest Mother in the world. The whole wide world.

Hmm. This is a hard one. I don't remember many of the gems I undoubtedly bestowed on my mother. I do remember a barrage of those "woven," extremely bright, multi-colored potholders that seem to making a comeback. Curiously, I don't think they were ever used in the kitchen, but maybe that's because they were to beautiful to sully?

I also remember a colored sand creation that I made at camp. You know, one of those washed out, de-labeled babyfood jars, that you oh-so-carefully drizzle the colored sand in, one color after the other (mine mostly pastel shades).

To my mother's credit, this gorgeous creation remained displayed in her bedroom in Aurora for year after year after year.

Aren't moms the greatest?

Friday, November 20, 2009

A street named desire

Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s actually “A Streetcar Named Desire,” but what I’ve been thinking about since looking through my holiday address labels yesterday is who the hell names our streets? And is it a job I can get?

I think it would be fun. I googled “street names” yesterday, just for kicks, and found a website that generates the names for you, which completely eliminates my new job, except that the names were shit, which was the website’s point. When did American street names became so excessive and quixotic?

You know, those three- and four-word street names that have nothing to do with the geography or history of the place? Like the one my former condo was located on-- Caminito del Cervato (Little way of the deer)? I assure you, the street has not seen a deer in many, many decades, if ever, at least not since before the university next door was built in the late 1940s.

I tried the before mentioned website’s “street name generator” five times, and it, too, came up with a deer-inspired street name: Quaking Deer Highland, which when you think of it might actually make sense as the deer are surely trembling in fear as bulldozers plow down ever more of their habitat.

It also came up with Bright Beaver Vale, Thunder Bridge Lane (perhaps adjacent to Springsteen's Thunder Road?), and Round Beacon Villa, the latter of which makes no sense at all, but actually sounds familiar to me. A sign that the street naming business is certainly out of control.

In grade school and high school I lived in a beautiful neighborhood where the streets were all British-inspired names like Stoneleigh, Chumleigh, and Hatherleigh. Not a winning theme, if you ask me.

The first house I ever bought was located in another beautiful little neighborhood where the street names were author-inspired. I myself resided on Dumas Street, with Elliott and Browning and Alcott Streets, etc. to the north and south.

The streets in another section of the neighborhood I currently live in are all gem and rock inspired: Agate, Tourmaline, Diamond, Felspar, and the like. This theme works for me, which is nothing more than personal preference.

The most important street you’ll ever live on, of course, is the first one, the one you lived on when you parents brought you home from the hospital, because this street name makes up half of your ever-essential stripper name. We’ve all gotta have one of these to fall back on, especially if our choice jobs, like street namer, fall through.

I lived on Sherwood Road with a cat named Tuesday when I was a baby, so, when they introduce Tuesday Sherwood to the stage, you’ll know it’s me (which sure beats the pants off Samba Caminito del Cervato).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nomemmer Nineteen

When Jacquie was a wee tiny tot, and we asked her when her birthday was, she'd reply, "Nomemmer Nineteen." We asked when her birthday was a lot because the answer was so entertaining.

And today? Is Nomemmber Nineteen. Which can only mean one thing.

Happy Birthday, Jacquie!

Jacquie is stunningly gorgeous, clearly, but that is just one small aspect of her exceptional, diverse, and quite hysterical personality.

She's fun. Okay, that much is clear.

She's also a goofball. We've discussed this before.

She can do rigor mortis like nobody's business.

She learned that from our old family dog, Bogie.

She's an excellent back-up singer. She knows all the moves to Tina Turner's Proud Mary. So does Jane. And now, so do I. Thanks to those two.

She's got a pretty stinking beautiful family.

Cheer up, Jacquie, wouldja?

She's an excellent dancer, especially when Soldier Boy is playing . . .

. . . she looks like a movie star while playing shuffleboard . . .

. . . and she will hang out and close the bar with her like-minded drunks pals.
She's a wonderful mom . . .
. . . . and a fantastic sister.
Really. She is.

And clearly, she's a world-famous hugger, too.

As a kid -- as our baby sister -- she was always cute as a button.

I know this is all about Jacquie, but Jane? Nice outfit. Is that a flightsuit?

Jacquie could always kill it in a cowl neck . . .
. . . and has always been very supportive.

Our Jacqueline. A great sister . . .

. . . a fabulous co-blogger . . .
. . . a rockin' cross-country-trip companion . . .
. . . and a swell friend. In a word? She rocks.

Happy Birthday, Jacquie!