Monday Listicles – Shut up, just shut that shit up already!

It’s Monday once again and time for listicling. Amazingly last week I managed to post more than just the listicle, despite all the busy vacationing that I’m doing, but I’ve got to admit that Stasha’s lists are my favorite posting “assignments” of the week.  This week she asked us to list 10 sounds that drive us bonkers, this was pretty easy for me tonight, as we had a really annoying dinner experience and I’m still rankled from it. The restaurant was hot, as in Dante’s inferno, as in I ordered a soda just so I could rub the cold can on my neck, face, and cleavage in what could have been a very seductive move had I not had sweat running down my temples, as in invest in some fucking fans already. I’m sure you get the picture. Plus the service was abysmal, the restaurant was crowded, and when I say crowded I don’t mean like American restaurants get crowded I mean the waiters kept jostling our chairs as they passed, I could have easily reached over and picked food from my neighbors plate, I could have actively participated in their conversation, and at one point the person closest to me was almost sitting in my lap. Italian – we have no sense of personal space – crowded. This is why I don’t spend time at the beach in Italy in August, because from here on out it can only get worse. The cities on the other hand are wonderfully empty, there’s hardly any traffic, parking is plentiful and unlike the days of yore when one couldn’t even buy milk in cities in August, all services are available and all the people who are still around and working are surprisingly polite and unstressed. Which is why I’m going home on Tuesday. Anywaaaay, I should probably get off this tangent and back to my list of:

10 sounds that make me want to stab someone, then choke them, then throw their limp lifeless body down a ravine

1. clocks ticking

2. hands, fingers, feet, tapping

3. teeth grinding

4. or air being sucked through teeth

5. snoring

6. heavy breathing that almost qualifies as snoring

7. cuticle or nail picking

8. nose sniffling

9. tongue clucking

10. oh, and did I mention clocks ticking

Also, any noise at all when I’m trying to sleep.

I’m not sure, but I may, possibly, be a little high-strung. Just a thought.

p.s. also, yappy dogs, yappy dogs yapping away, make me want to kill myself.

The end.

What women want, or this woman in any case

I wasn’t planning on posting today, but I chanced upon Mamakat’s prompts and couldn’t resist this one, though I’m obviously very, very late…

If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

The answer seems so obvious to me I’m wondering if any of you will be surprised by it. But first a short premise. There are a lot of things I would change about myself, some serious and important, some trivial and fatuous. I’ve always considered myself a work in progress and part of my job, part of living life, is continuously changing and improving and tweaking at myself. I’d like to be more cultured, I’d like to be more patient, I’d like to be more active, I’d like to be more fearless, I’d like to be a better cook, I’d like to can my food and knit scarves and do crafts with my kids… the list is endless, all these things, though, I can work on and strive towards, over the years some I’ll conquer, some I won’t, goals will be forgotten or added along the way, but this is more of a snap my fingers and get a result kind of question and that would take all the fun out of the process. I’m healthy, so I don’t need to change my health, I’ve got a husband I love (most of the time) so I don’t need to change my love life… So, if there was one thing I could change about myself it would be my metabolism. That’s it. That’s the only thing I could think of, off the top of my head that I can’t change by sheer willpower.

The reasons are, I believe, obvious. I’d like to be thin and not have to work for it. Of course, I could be thin if I really wanted to, if it was really important to me (like scarf knitting, apparently), I could stop eating and start running or swimming or doing some other modern torture activity every day and I’d be thin. I’d also be unhappy. Because I like food, I like butter and full fat everything, I like sugar and sodas, and I love my couch and my tv. I’m not a complete sloth, I eat pretty well in fact, I certainly could stand to exercise more, but I’m reasonably fit. I haven’t changed anything since I was in my twenties, when I was impossibly thin and healthy and looked fantastic in a bikini. What’s changed? Well, I’m thirty-six now, my metabolism has changed (also, I had two kids, but mostly it’s my metabolism). This happens to most people, you get older, you gain a few pounds, nothing to do about it but exercise more and eat less; and therein lays my problem. I just need a faster metabolism. So, MamaKat, I’ve answered your question, now how do I go about getting it??

Mama’s Losin’ It

Of grandfather-y things and such.

The premise: Sometimes my brain complicates things way more than is necessary

My mom and her husband are visiting from Houston and every time I see them together it feels a little uncomfortable, it raises a few issues for me. They had a whirlwind and rather disconcerting romance, they met and married within about four months. When they got married I hadn’t met him and I couldn’t attend their completely secret (as in only my brother and his daughter were present and nobody but a few very close people even knew they were getting married) wedding as I had just given birth to the Girl.  I finally met him a couple of months later, but by then the Husband had been diagnosed with leukemia and was spending his days in a sterile room in the hospital and frankly my mom’s new husband wasn’t very high on my list of priorities. Also, he’s very reserved, so despite the fact that we spent two months in Houston at the beginning of the year I still don’t know him very well. Or at all really.

I’m still very unsettled about the whole situation, even though they’ve been together for three years now. Actually, one could say it’s rather unsettling to even be unsettled by a widowed parent’s remarriage as an adult.

Of course, on the one hand I’m thrilled that my mother has found someone, I never would have wanted her to be alone, but on the other hand, I didn’t expect her and my relationship with her to change quite so much.

Also, and rather more to the point, I’m not quite sure how to handle his relationship with my children. They don’t have a maternal grandfather figure. Or rather, he’s their maternal grandfather figure. And he really likes them, he actually acts like a grandfather, he plays with them and talks to them and watches over them when we’re at the park. He’s more grandparent-y than my mother is, as she’s not all that comfortable around, nor interested in, children.

Although, on a side note, she did manage to spend all of yesterday morning on the beach playing with them in the sand, which is probably the most she’s played with them this year.

But all this grandfatherish behavior makes me very uncomfortable. My kids, especially the boy, seek him out, they ask about him, he gets naturally paired with Nana when they ask about her and Houston. Of course, I get their perspective, he’s the guy they associate with a grandfather on my side of their family. He gets paired with Nana cause that’s all they know and an abstract grandpa who’s “in Heaven with the angels” looking over them just doesn’t make much real sense to them.

I guess I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that they’re so comfortable with a person with whom I’m so uncomfortable. He’s a virtual stranger to me, but he’s their grandfather figure.

I am happy that they have him, because it’s one extra person to love them, because they won’t miss out on having a full set of grandparents, because he’s a good guy and their lives will be the better for having him in them. But it still breaks my heart a little.

Right now they call him by his first name, but pretty soon, I’m sure, they’re going to start calling him grandpa or pappy or whatever they decide, and it breaks my heart that that person, that grandfather-y person in their hearts, won’t be my dad. It’s some guy my mother married and none of us really know.

My dad was such a huge catalyst force in my family, so many of our customs and traditions come from him, from his side of the family, that it feels like a betrayal of who we are, of who I am, of what my family is.

It’s so strange to have such conflicting and contrasting feelings. On the one hand I’m happy my mother isn’t alone, I’m glad my kids have two grandfather figures, I like him and his children, but I’m sad that my dad isn’t here to fulfill his role, I have a hard time adjusting to the meshing of the families.

I’m going to have to find a way to make it work, to not make my kids feel guilty for loving him, while keeping the memory of my father alive. I’m sure I’ll slowly become more comfortable around him, I’ll get to know him better, but it will never, it can never, be the same again so I guess in a way I’m happy for them, but I’m sad for me and what could have been.

Linking up today with Shell for Pour your heart out at Things I can’t say.

Monday Listicles – Birthdays

Last week, in what I now consider a moment of foreshadowing, I thanked Stasha for her Listicles because she makes me post at least once a week… and last week I posted nothing else all week. So here I am again, alive and kicking and listicling. I don’t really have an excuse for ignoring my blog other than the fact that being on vacation is actually more time consuming than being at home, doing homey things. I know, poor little ole me.
Oh, I do actually have an excuse, now that I think about it, my mom and her husband are visiting! I have houseguests! Hence, I can’t blog, what with all the beach laying, cocktail sipping, restaurant eating, and varied and sundry gallivanting and cavorting. (For them, I’m still running around after the kids).
This week’s topic is Birthdays(!) brought to us by the lovely Robbie of Fractured Family Tales and for some reason, my mom being here is rather an inspiration to me so here goes…

Birthdays… then….

1. Strawberry Cheesecake – my mom is not what one would call a baker by any stretch of the imagination. She’s a fantastic cook, but she doesn’t eat sweets, so she doesn’t make them. I remember one of the few birthday cakes she baked for me was the year I turned 13, we were in Canada for a year and she hadn’t scouted out the bakeries yet so she made me a cake… I don’t remember what kind of cake it was, I just remember it was covered in chocolate and bizarrely decorated with kiwis, but she hadn’t accounted for the altitude change (which was mighty since we were in Calgary and she was used to cooking in Houston – practically below sea-level) and the cake didn’t rise, or something. It was inedible. But we all applauded the effort, which was truly a demonstration of motherly love. All this to say that normally, in Houston, she would buy me the most exquisite strawberry cheesecake from a bakery that has, unfortunately, since closed, but that evokes “birthday” to me like nothing ever has since. For my daughter’s second birthday I baked her a strawberry cheesecake, and if it turns out she enjoys them, I’ll bake her one every year until she begs me to stop and do something else already.

2. Anticipation or possibly trepidation – I don’t know if my parents ever forgot a birthday when we were little but for some reason my brother and I approached our birthdays with a certain degree of anxiety, feeling the need to remind our parents of the auspicious event several months ahead of time, then weekly, daily, and finally hourly as the moment drew nearer. We approached the arrival of our birthday with rather more hype than the Rapture or the frenzy preceding the New Year of 2000. It was like a humongous, cataclysmic turning of the clock. Nothing, barring possibly the birth of my two children, has ever approached the same level of unadulterated excitement rife with possibility.

3. Freedom – my parents were pretty strict, but each year that passed we “earned” a small extra privilege, a slightly later bedtime, a little extra television time, more say in what we wore, or what we ate, little things. These extra privileges that accumulated year after year though were much coveted, much anticipated, small tastes of the freedom that was to come with adulthood. Every year that passed we became more “grown up”, and somehow this building up of our desires made them much more appreciated when we got them. Adulthood, represented by the freedom to make our own choices, earned daily, yearly, in small increments is possibly sweeter than it being thrust upon us all at once, or not at all, as is often the case nowadays.

4. Special – as I said, I grew up in an adult-centered, traditional family, i.e. nobody gave a crap what the kids wanted or were feeling at any given time, the phrase “mother knows best” quite likely originated in my family. But on our birthdays, our parents really cared (or pretended to care) what we wanted. I got to choose what the family ate (unthinkable!), my brother had to be nice to me, on a couple of occasions I even got breakfast in bed! I got to be Queen for a day, every year on October 3rd, what more could a kid want.

5. Presents – we never lacked for anything, in fact our lifestyle was often the opposite of that, but my parents weren’t random buyers… they didn’t buy us crap just cause we asked for it or we could afford to. They bought us what we needed, they were generous, but presents were for special occasions and that’s it. We never really knew what we would get. We knew we would get at least one of the twenty two thousand things we had asked for during the year, and we would usually get something that was a complete surprise. Basically, opening presents was exciting.

Birthdays… now…
6. Excitement (veiled in embarrassment) – I still get excited about my birthday. But most of the time, I’m embarrassed to admit it. As adults we’re not really supposed to celebrate ourselves, but after twelve years with my husband, I’m not holding my breath for a surprise birthday party, so despite my age, I still celebrate myself. I anticipate the phone calls, texts and FB messages, I anticipate the presents, I anticipate the yummy cake I’ve baked myself.

7. Others – birthdays aren’t just all about me anymore, I get to celebrate others. I’m in charge of the Husband’s birthday, which is conveniently two months after mine, so if he gets me a crappy gift he gets a crappy birthday party and present. It’s a great motivator. I’m in charge of the kids’ birthdays, and though tiring and often frustrating, it also makes me happy because I’m creating their traditions, their happy memories and one day in the future they’ll be writing a listicle on birthdays and citing my amazing birthday cakes (or something to that effect).

8. Reflection – birthdays now aren’t quite as happy go lucky as they once were, of course. I take them as a chance to stop and think about where I am, what I’m doing, why the hell haven’t I lost that stupid baby weight for yet another year… Every year that passes I take stock of what I’ve done and what I want to do and it gives me a chance to center myself again, to start afresh, for new goals, new motivation, for patting myself on the back or encouraging myself to get on with it. I try to keep it positive, but thinking about where I’m at also gives me the chance to give myself a swift kick in the behind when I need it.

9. Aging – yes, every year that passes I age, I gain a few more wrinkles, I’m not quite as bendy, I’m a little creakier, but I’m also calmer, more aware. I’ve accomplished more, even if it’s just a little, every year I take a step forward. So aging isn’t all bad.

10. Celebrating – I’ve already said this, but birthdays need to be celebrated. Not just acknowledged, but actually celebrated, anticipated, with excitement, like when we were kids. My mother-in-law drives me insane, because she never celebrates anything (ok, that’s not the only reason she drives me insane…), she’s always in a bad mood on her birthday, she’s standoffish, she won’t acknowledge her anniversaries… she’s a curmudgeon. But honestly, every year that passes we have fewer and fewer birthdays ahead of us, fewer celebrations, and we are never getting them back. So I say, whip out the champagne, cut yourself a slice of cake and celebrate your birthday because nobody is going to be celebrating your death. (Or so one would hope.)

So remember… October 3rd! 😉

Monday Listicles – THANKS!

Today’s Monday Listicle is all about the Thanks, so without further ado:

1. Thanks to the older lady at the beach who distracted my two year old out of her tantrum today.

2. Thanks to the asshole who decided he was to cool to stop at the pedestrian crossing thus prompting a valuable lesson on idiots.

3. Thanks to the Boy for insisting we bake a cake yesterday. The cake was yummy and we had fun.

4. Thanks to my Mother for allotting me space in her suitcase again so I can get some much coveted things from home. (Also to my friends who send me vitally important stuff like twizzlers and Fourth of July glo stick bracelets.)

5. Thanks Apple for designing a truly crappy magnetic cover for the ipad3 created purposely (it would seem) so I could drop it and cracked the screen.

6. Thanks to the Husband for not completely loosing his shit over number 5.

7. Thanks to the lovely lady from Senegal selling clothes on the beach (walking with a heavy backpack and arms full of dresses on hangers under the scorching July sun, while we all lie on the beach) for giving me a discount and promising to get me the dress I liked in another color, with a smile on her face and a thanks at the end.

8. Thanks to Nespresso for making a truly wonderful coffee maker, unlike the crappy Lavazza one we’ve been using at the beach.

9. Thanks to Mañana Mama for writing truly poetic posts.

10. Thanks to Stasha for giving me inspiration every Monday and ensuring at least one post gets on here a week.


Free Write – Luck

I’m participating in a new meme today over at Little Cheesehead on the Prairie called Free Write, five minutes of unedited writing on whatever we want. I decided to take the prompt offered this week to get me going so I’m writing about Luck.

Luck. I’ve always considered myself pretty lucky. I’ve had a good life so far, sure, with my share of heartache, disappointment, fear, anger, shame, illness, death etc, but overall, a good life. I was born in a happy family, with loving parents and siblings (some a hundred percent, some half, and now a few step), like most families dysfunctional in our own functioning way. I had good experiences in school, even though we moved around some, changed a few countries, several schools, many languages. Sure, I had my share of disagreements in school, with teachers, with students, but no major bullying, nothing to scar me for life, mostly stuff that just made me stronger, more resolute. We never lacked for anything, in fact, we often had more than most. My parents never spoiled us with fatuous stuff, I didn’t have the coolest bags, shoes and clothes, or the latest technology, but they bought me a new car at sixteen and I’ve traveled pretty much all over the world. Lucky. I got to go to Italy for university and met my husband and started my adult life, I would have wanted to move back to the US, but that didn’t work out… still, I have two wonderful children, a comfortable lifestyle in a rural community and a good life. Lucky. My husband got leukemia, twice, he had two bone marrow transplants and more chemo than I’d like to remember, but he’s here, we’re rebuilding our life. Lucky.

I don’t know how much of luck is luck or attitude, I try to have a positive outlook (though I’ve had some lapses, truth be told) but I’m pretty sure I’ve got a good guardian angel, or karma, or luck. Whatever you want to call it, I’m thankful for it, a lot of people get a lot of tough breaks so we should really try to appreciate our own good fortune.

Set in my ways, like a cranky old codger

As I’ve mentioned I’m at the beach with the kids, and this time away from home has helped me realize a few things about myself and my life. Our day-to-day here is much simpler, we get up, we have breakfast, we get ready and we go to the beach (with a couple of fights, a crying fit or two, the beds getting made, and me yelling a bit in between). We spend a few hour at the beach, we have lunch, we come home, bathe and nap. I clean and look at blogs, we go out, to the greengrocer, the baker, the butcher, and the candlestick maker. (I’m actually kidding about that last one.) Then we have dinner, go back down to the square for the dancing or kiddie show or whatever entertainment is on offer that night and then we go to bed, get up the next morning and wash, rinse, repeat. If friends come to stay our routine remains pretty much the same, even whilst the chaos level rises exponentially, but it’s all good.

When the husband or the nanny come though… well, I’ve noticed I start getting a little tense, a little more upset, a little… completely pissed off all the time. Why? Because the truth is I’m 36 going on 89. I’m set in my ways, I like things just so, when I settle into a routine I don’t like to have it disrupted. Well, more like I positively despise having it disrupted. The nanny, she puts the dishes away wrong, she puts too much detergent in the washer, she sneaks bleach in the house when I’m trying to green my cleaning products… at home I don’t mind, I’ve got too much to do, and as long as the house is clean I don’t really care how it gets that way. But here, I’m in control of my life, the house is small enough to be manageable and it’s new, everything is where I want it, it’s mine, more than the house we live in every day is. And I want things just so.

The husband, he comes and he wants to go to the beach earlier, or later, he wants to have breakfast at the cafè, he wants to go swimming, or he doesn’t, he hogs the shade, he talks on the phone with the office or his colleagues or his mother. He invites his mother over without asking me, when he isn’t here. He wants to eat dinner out, or in, he wants pizza or sushi or pasta. All legitimate requests, but annoying nonetheless cause he screws with my routine. I can’t just decide and do, when he’s here, I have to suggest, listen, negotiate. Many of these are the same reasons why I wanted to separate a few months back, because life on my own is just easier most of the time. I’ve come to terms with it in my regular life, I realize that with every negotiation I don’t have to face, with every concession I don’t have to make I’m paying the price in sole responsibility, snow shoveling, and spider elimination. So you compromise, in marriage. But I’m on vacation and when he’s around I’m not on vacation anymore. Sure, I’m on an extended version of the mother vacation which means I still cook and clean and run after children, referee fights and all that, but my mind’s on vacation and then he shows up and effectively rains on my parade.

The truth is though, that I should just be thankful that I have a nanny who takes the kids off my hands so I can get some work done, or cleans the house, or irons our clothes, I should be happy to see the Husband on the weekends, to talk to another adult, to go out to eat or have an extra ice cream or a cocktail. I’m just a cranky, old lady, despite my relatively young age. And all I can think of is God help us all when I actually reach my old age cause I’m going to be completely intractable, like a codgery old fool.

Chit Chat and Virtual Coffee

I haven’t done a virtual coffee post in so long, I’m not even sure I remember how to do one! Of course, I’ve never done one on this here blog, so most of you are probably going, huh?? I did almost forty on my other blog so this feels like going back to an old friend, but from a new place. Maybe I should stop blabbing and just get on with it…

Hello dear friends, and welcome to coffee!

Today I’m feeling chatty, but haven’t got an awful lot to say, so it’s just going to be one of those posts….

We’re finally in full on summer mode here, I know that seems weird to most Americans whose summer vacations are almost over but in Italy it goes from mid June to mid September. Entirely too long in my opinion, but no one’s asking me.

I’ve officially moved to the beach for the month, yes, the month. I’m doing the Italian housewife thing and taking the kids to the beach for the summer. Of course, most housewives here who are lucky enough to have a beach house spend the entire summer at the seaside but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, one month is more than enough, I’ve got a vegetable garden to tend to at home after all!

The husband inherited/bought an apartment on the Italian Riviera Ligure last year from his mother and we spent all of last summer renovating it, so this year we get to enjoy it, and let me tell you, it’s perfect. I’m not bragging, it’s perfectly perfect for us. It’s small enough to clean and keep orderly without me wanting to kill myself but large enough so we can have friends visit with minimal inconvenience to all. It’s a 30 second (literally) walk from the beach and has everything you could possibly need within a 2 minute walk range. It’s not a glamorous, nor trendy town, there are few really good restaurants and to say most locals are rude is an understatement, but it’s comfortable, there are shows and various entertainment for kids almost every night, the beach is sandy and the water is shallow for miles, so it’s perfect for young children.

Our BFFs came to visit last week for a few days. There were six (and a half) of us, my pregnant friend, her two kids, myself and my two kids. Let me just say that, contrary to what I had previously thought two kids plus two kids does not equal four kids; two kids plus two kids equals a herd of elephants. On speed. We survived, however, and hopefully they’ll come back and visit next week too.

I’ve discovered both my children are incredible homebodies (trait that they did NOT inherit from me), who have a low tolerance for being far from their familiar surroundings. After a week here they started asking when we’re going home, I’m having a hard time explaining to them that this is their home too.

I’m in the process of co-writing a children’s book with a friend, the process is driving me crazy. I don’t get how real writers do it… It’s a book about a tractor and his capers, it goes with an educational dvd series my friend is producing (filming, editing, and any other ing you can think of), so it’s her idea… but boy, co-writing is hard. Or maybe it’s just hard for me, I need to work on my team playing skills, or something.

On a related (but also not) note, I’ve started taking Bach Flowers for my moods. I went through a mild depression a few months ago, at which point I had decided to ditch my husband and my nanny and run off with the kids, though I hadn’t actually figured out where to… Instead (thank God!) I started following the Mood Cure (not going to get into it, but you can click on the link for more info), ditched only my old blog and miraculously started feeling better. Right now I just have sporadic moments of craziness that I’ve decided to temper with Bach Flowers. I’m focusing mostly on trying to be more patient, so I’m taking a flower called Impatiens (har, har) and, though not miraculous, I am feeling some improvement, I’ve stopped yelling at my kids full-time and am now mean mama only some of the time. We’re all quite relieved. I’m hoping on a reappearance of fun mama soon, as I, and the kids, quite liked her.

Unfortunately, my blogging respite has ended as naptime’s almost over (what do moms of older kids do for free time during the summer I wonder?). Thanks for stopping by to chat, please tell me what’s going on with you, I really want to know!

Toodles, M

Monday Listicles – the macabre one

I can hardly believe that the only thing I wrote on the blog the entire week was Stasha’s Monday Listicle. Well at least I’ve got something to keep me writing; it’s like a compulsion, but not a scary obsessive one.This week’s listicle inspired by Mannahattamamma, based on Nora Ephron’s list of what she will miss and what she won’t, is a teensy bit macabre, yet also, right up my alley, as I’m always thinking of what would happen if I were to shuffle off this mortal coil.

Ten things I wouldn’t miss

1. Traffic

2. Rude people

3. Dirty bathrooms

4. Bad TV

5. Listening to people talk in the morning

6. Shoveling snow

7. Sweating

8. Ticking clocks

9. Fear

10. Spiders and Cockroaches

Ten things I would miss

1. My loves: the Boy, the Girl, and the Husband

2. My family

3. The perfect yoga lesson

4. The feeling of possibility and hope

5. Driving with loud music

6. Dancing

7. The sea

8. Books

9. Good TV

10. Dreams – awake and asleep

Ah, the hell with it, I couldn’t stop at ten:

11. Nutella

12. Snuggling in my bed

13. Kisses – friendly ones, slobbery baby ones, passionate ones, tentative ones, loving ones, even perfunctory ones.

14. The perfect peace of when I’m alone, doing my thing, late at night, no one to see, nothing to do.

15. Autumn leaves

16. Thanksgiving

17. Seeing my children turn into adults

I could go on and on with the things I would miss, but the more I write the achier I feel in my chest. Honestly, I think the worst thing that could possibly happen to me would be to know I’m dying ahead of time, it would be torture, hell on earth. In fact, I think I’d probably miss the things I wrote I wouldn’t miss too! On the one hand I’ve always thought I’d want to know, so I could prepare my loved ones, so I could tie loose ends, so I could write letters and give advice and direction where needed, but really no one can actually do those things. Better to just go suddenly, poof. But of course, as the Husband’s illness taught us, we have no control over these things, we die when we die and we live while we’re living. And we write lists on Mondays.

Monday Listicles – The totally random edition

This week for Monday Listicles Stasha asked us ten completely random questions, so here’s probably more information than you ever would have wanted about me since I am physiologically incapable of giving short, to the point, answers.

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 23, and find line 4. What is it?

I had a hard time figuring out which was the book nearest to me, as my bedside table is always overflowing with books but this one was the first one to fall off the pile as I approached it: The Lost Art of Real Cooking by K. Albala and R. Nafziger

“our favorite ways for cooking with fresh and bountiful vegetables.”

2. How many times a day do you say Hi?

Not as often as those who live in an English-speaking country… I counted 32 the other day, a surprising amount considering I only say hi to my two kids, rarely to the husband and to a few English-speaking friends here.

3. Have you ever worn a uniform?

Except for a very brief stint in public school (fifth grade) I have always worn a uniform, my very first uniform (when I was five and six years old) was a white Oxford skirt, grey and burgundy striped tie (yes, a tie), burgundy sweater, grey pleated skirt, grey socks, dark blue shoes and navy blazer – please take a moment to imagine that. Yes, my parents were mean. And also, yes, the school was British. For junior high and high school my uniform wasn’t much better but at least I didn’t have to wear a tie.

4. What do you think about the most?

Depressingly, my kids. Or food. Or food for my kids. Also, I think about poop way more often than is necessarily healthy. Occasionally, I also think about a hot, young, rich, well endowed, sex god-like man who falls madly in love with me and whisks me away on secret, wildly passionate and romantic getaways (who is not into freaky s&m mind-control crap with stalker-like tendencies).

5. How many keys are on your key ring?

I had to go look at my key ring to check. Who doesn’t know what keys are on their key ring?? I now have seven keys: door key, little gate key, big gate key, garage key, mail box key and two gate keys for the new house (i.e. barn we’re attempting to turn into a house).

6. What was the last thing you bought?

I am on a shopping hiatus, I can only buy stuff for the kids and as I’ve already done all of their clothes and shoes shopping the only things I’m buying lately are depressingly mundane, like groceries. So probably the last thing I bought was milk, or eggs, as we seem to consume eggs by the truckload. I may, in fact, have to invest in a couple of hens. Though I may first need to come to terms with the concept of chicken shit.

7. Are you growing anything these days?

Since it’s the beginning of summer I’m growing plenty:

and today I found this:

fledgling eggplant

8. What is under your bed?

Mostly nothing, not even dust bunnies as I have allergies. Occasionally a baseball bat, its presence is directly related to how paranoid I am at any given moment.

9. What is most important in life?

Love + health = happiness

10. What is the strangest word you used this week?

This is a tough one, as I regularly use strange, archaic, or completely made up words, this week I did find myself describing someone as having an “Agamemnon complex”. I may, possibly, have made this condition up.