Monday, March 31, 2014


And no, I'm not talking about one of my favorite local bars....

I'm talking about the steep compliment I got from my oldest today. And believe me, she wasn't necessarily trying to pay me one, she was just making some wacky, slightly off point comment. But I liked it. I like it so much more now, but I liked it when she said it because it was so unexpected.

Let's back up.

While eating dinner tonight my oldest, seemingly totally out of the blue, asked me,  "Do you know what Princess you remind me of?"

I hemmed and hawed a bit, actually having been asked this question before, but my middle daughter piped up almost right away with, "Belle!" Now I consider Belle a good pick, in that she doesn't follow the crowd, and sees the good in even the most unlikely of places/people, and is a voracious reader. But alas, it wasn't Belle she was thinking of....

I ventured, "Sleeping Beauty?" knowing as I do that her name is Aurora, which is where I was born and half raised, and that she has long blond-ish hair. Still never having seen Sleeping Beauty, so not knowing her "personality," I thought my oldest might just be going on the superficials.

But no, she came back with (something like), "Well, she really isn't a princess, not a Disney one, but I don't know, she's kind-of one."

"You remind me of Alice."

"Alice?" I replied, slightly shocked.

Now, I've been Alice for Halloween more than once. Once in the last two years, actually. I can pull off the traditional hair with not much more than a black headband. But Alice? Now, does my girl somehow know about my young adult recreational drug use? Or does she simply think I'm a little nutty? Or living in my own delusional world?



I did not see the connection of her comment to anything, but then the girls filled me in that the family movie we'd be watching tonight was Alice in Wonderland -- Tim Burton's 2010 Alice in Wonderland.

I'd never seen it before.

But I have to say, after having done so, well, my girl paid me quite the compliment. I grant you, she might have based it solely on the fact that Mia Wasikowska, the woman who plays Alice in the movie, has a less than thin nose, and less than large breasts, and dirty blond hair, which are not the things I think are especially complimentary.

But I'm going to cling to the possibility that I reminder her of Alice because of her character traits. The movie starts out with Alice bucking convention at her own (if unknown) engagement party, and then falling down the rabbit hole to that crazy world that makes no sense at all, but which she is somehow able to navigate. Time and time again she rises above the crazy-ass shit that comes her way and manages to move forward. She finds her way. She makes friends that can help her. Um, and let's not forget that the Hatter is none other than Johnny Depp. Way better than Prince Charming any day, am I right?

I know, I know, I'm reading WAY too much into this off-handed comment at dinner, but if Alice can slay the jabberwocky, and my girl says it is she who I remind her of, than goddammit, I can slay whatever jabberwocky comes my way too.

Alice Kingsley: From the moment I fell down that rabbit hole I've been told where I must go and who I must be. I've been shrunk, stretched, scratched, and stuffed into a teapot. I've been accused of being Alice and of not being Alice but this is *my* dream. *I'll* decide where it goes from here.

Thank you, baby girl, for the unintended vote of confidence. I'll take it. xoxo

Friday, March 28, 2014

The World's Smallest Book Club

Mistah and I both love to read.

I read mostly contemporary fiction; he reads lots of non-fiction and natural history. Occasionally we recommend books to eachother -- he recently read Colum McCann's As The Great World Spins; he turned me on to Ivan Doig  -- but we almost never read the same book at the same time . . . with the highly dramatic exception of Lonesome Dove, which we read at the same time, years ago, traveling through California. We had identical 25¢ mass market paperback copies; he started his, I joined in and blew by him, he finished soon after.

We both loved it.

Anyway, twelve years later we thought it would be fun to read the same book at the same time and then, you know, talk about it.

A Book Club! For two!

There are many considerations to take into account when planning the inaugural meeting of a book club -- world's smallest or not.

The Book.
Our book choice, in honor of Spring and next week's Opening Day, was The Natural, by Bernard Malamud.

Good choice, right?

Ancillary material can be helpful, too.

The Food.
It is vitally important, hugely crucial, to have good snacks for book club meetings. Reading is, after all, hungry work.

 For our inaugural meeting, we chose chili . . .

. . . with all the accouterment . . . 

. . . preceded by snacks.

And please, please, don't forget the wine.

The Atmosphere.

For book club -- world's smallest or not -- it's very helpful and exciting to create a relevant Display-of-the-Day . . .

 . . . or two.

Display-of-the-Days are very fun and festive. And Mistah is a Display-of-the-Day machine.

And then . . .

Time to Have At It.

Further Activities.
We happen to have chosen a book that -- 32 years after it was written -- was made into a movie. So we did what any self-respecting book club -- world's smallest or not -- would do.

We borrowed the movie from the library . . .

. . . and bought accompanying peanuts and, um, Crunch 'n Munch. Sigh. I couldn't find Cracker Jacks anywhere.

Sadly, The Natural was made into a really bad, really cheesy, really awful, really Hollywood-ized movie. Like, Hollywood-ized to the point where the entire ending -- the entire theme of the book, really -- is turned completely upside down and exactly opposite.


Still, it was a perfect, brilliant, awesome, inaugural meeting of the World's Smallest Book Club.

Oh, and one last cautionary note to those eager to start books clubs of their own, world's largest or no:

It's a really bad idea to eat shelled peanuts indoors.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Arizona is SO strict!

My girl and I took a field trip to Arizona last weekend, and it was grand. We had the pleasure to visit with peeps from both sides of my amazing extended family, which really makes me happier than any girl should be allowed to be. My girl is a great travel mate, everything is super awesome and exciting and she can't wait for the next super awesome and exciting moment. She goes from "I can't wait!" to "That was so great!" and back a million times an hour, and her smile is a permanent fixture (with the notable exception of her face while we waiting in the interminable security line at the airport as our scheduled departure time ticked closer and closer).

The main reason for our visit was to attend the bridal shower of my niece on Bill's side, who is marrying a lovely guy we've gotten to know quite well over the last few years. My girl, as you might expect, can't WAIT for the wedding. It was a busy weekend of activities and fun and frousin love, and I've got good stories from both families that I look forward to sharing.

A funny thing we discovered about Arizona is that there are strict rules about how much time babies are allowed to spend in bars. The guys found this out the hard way during the bridal shower when our resident baby got the boot from the simultaneous boyfest. No babies after 6pm. Isn't that weird? I mean, what harm can a baby possibly do in a bar?


The next day we were enjoying some outdoor activities, and we spectators got to comparing our side heel click skills, as spectators are wont to do. My girl has been in the habit of breaking into a heel kick at random times, much to the delight and confusion of all who surround her. Naturally, the park was a perfect place for her to bust out the moves.

Little did she know that her extended family has a secret hidden talent trove of heel kick aptitude! No sooner was my girl observed heel kicking than an exhibition was born, with siblings calling each other over to show off double clicks, side to side clicks, and clicks of astounding vertical clearance. It was awesome!

Later that same day, we made our way to a nearby pub for lunch and libations. It was well before 6pm, so once we assured the barkeeps that these two reprobates were under our supervision, they were allowed to stick around.

Aside: how annoying is this? My son has recently begun agreeing to pose for photos because it turns out that he does indeed want to be a part of our family archives.
I digress.

There she is! With the groom.

Sure, there were pitchers, but it was a perfectly acceptable venue for both young and old, mature (Clara) and immature (me).
It was a learning experience! Irish car bombs are science.
Eventually, some of the gang wandered inside to check out leisure activities, and certain cousins discovered a long, vacant passageway. See for yourself (scroll quickly):


Really, could she be any more awesome?

Here my girl gets a critique from her cousin Patrick.

She appears to be landing? I was distracted by shuffleboard and merriment. This went on for ages.

Oh yeah, now we're talking.

Does the student surpass the master?
Let's see how he stacks up
He goes so fast he blurs!

You can't win 'em all, grasshopper
Why not stick to more appropriate bar activities for a Sunday afternoon?
I hope Arizona will proudly maintain their tolerance for minors in certain establishments, at least during daylight hours.

They are, after all, pretty much always the best looking peeps in the bunch
And they make excellent designated drivers

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Synchro yogo

There were so many, many things that I loved about my recent stay in Bali. I could go on, and on, and on. And probably will.

But in this particular post, we're going to take a quick look at one of the more memorable afternoons of teacher training. We were told to show up at the pool instead of the yoga space after lunch. So show up we did, then we counted off into pairs, then proceeded to instruct our partners through a 15 minute sequence each, in the pool.

See me over there on the left? In the rain?
As it started to rain harder, we ditched our pairs and instead schooled the group on how to perform our favorite pool trick.

This involved quite a lot of in and out of the pool, in the pouring rain, but eventually ended with an in-pool grand synchronized swim finale.

We definitely deserve some kind of medal, right?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Sweeping the Nation

Remember The Roy?

Of course you do.

I predicted The Roy would Sweep the Nation, and it has. It has!

Exhibit A.

The Seagrape, in Fairfield, CT.

The bar smelled like ass.

But not, as Jacquie so eloquently articulated, the good, curvy part of the ass.

And, okay, yes, Mom did not buy into the hype.

But the rest of us? I think we can all agree. One can hardly deny it.

The Roy? Sweeping the Nation.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Monday Photo Post: Scenes from an Indian Restaurant

We had a funny Saturday in Connecticut.

It was a day that began slowly, but after a six stop luncheon excursion, we got the ball rolling and kept it rolling all the way to India.

The peeps at Coromandel were so lovely and welcoming when we popped in that afternoon to see about  making reservations for dinner (stop 6). I can't help but wonder if they regretted that warm hospitality.

What? We're totally normal.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I give to thee

I am happy to report that I have returned safely from Bali --  no lost plane, no neti pot use killing me dead. Mostly because I took my mother's advice and decided to "just say no."

So, although I did drag the never-opened white ceramic neti pot half way around the world, I opted not open it, not to use it, regardless of the fact that its daily use was explained in detail and recommended during the training.

I was so grateful to disregard the suggestion, and remain alive and well, that I left it's factory packaging intact, gathered some fruit and flowers at sunrise the last morning of my stay, and  proceeded to the small temple in front of my room to leave them as an offering to the Gods.

You're welcome.