Thursday, May 31, 2007

Really Simply Me

Bought myself a treat I haven't had in a while, an issue of Real Simple magazine. I love this mag, but I'm already drowning in paper, so I've cut down on subscriptions. There's something about Real Simple I've always been drawn to. Perhaps its the lovely white space, or the photos, or the fact that it doesn't make you feel like you're completely helpless because you don't already have an up to date wardrobe, a perfect dinner party plan, a House Beautiful interior, or engage in red-hot Chinese basket trick sex every other night of the week.

The back page of the magazine is now a feature that introduces a Real Simple reader, but the questions were fun. So, here are my answers. What are yours?

What makes you laugh?
If my children are tickled about something, I'm tickled, too. Their laughter is infectious!

What's the one thing about your younger self that you'd like to reclaim?
Upper arm tone. That, and the belief that I could teach myself to do anything by reading a book about it. (Don't laugh--I taught myself how to ride a horse that way!)

What are you really good at?
Editing. Boring, but true. I also make fabulous lasagna and can tell jokes well.

Who was your favorite teacher and why?
Mrs. Dempsey, sophomore gifted English. She taught me how to write really fast in all capital letters (came in really handy in college) and how to make peace with the fact that I was a smart girl.

Before I die, I'd like to...
Visit all the countries of my ancestry. I toured Scotland on my honeymoon. Now I have to plan for Ireland, France, Switzerland, and the Azores Islands.

What's your favorite book?
I love, love, love Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale. My favorite children's books are Go, Dog, Go! and The Phantom Tollbooth.

John, Paul, George, or Ringo?
Mick. Stones over Beatles every time.

The big decision I'm currently wrestling with is...
What to throw out. I really, really need to muck out my house, and it's really hard because I am so sentimental!

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Operation Kerosene

We're finally out of school, so I may now finally turn my attention to my house, aka Clutter Central. We're talking Defcon 4 with the clutter. I keep threatening to rent a Bobcat, push everything out into the driveway, douse liberally with Kerosene, and toss in a match. Clean, decisive, and probably illegal in the burbs.

That leaves Plan B, which is do it the hard way. Go through the house, room by room, paring down, tossing out, donating, and keeping only that which has earned a place. Not so easy when we have four clutterbugs contributing to the mess. But it's try, or get dragged down to 33rd for arson (even if it is all my own stuff).

So today, we're making a start. DH is finishing the floor in DD's room--yay! DS and I have been going through the bins of books, junk, etc. that DH brought in as a temporary cleanup measure. Amazing that half his bookshelf is Dr. Seuss when he's just turned 10. Yikes! And what is it with 10-year-old boys and toys with 20 million pieces-parts (think Lego and K'Nex)?? And Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. And Heroclix. And, and, and. Not to mention the sand they drag in from school (we could start our own beach with what they empty from their shoes every day).

At least I can point to a little bit of progress. DS's books are in order, we hung some pictures, and you can walk from the door to the bed without tripping over a bin or impaling yourself on a K'Nex rod. Onward to the closet and the flood pants and ripped T-shirts.

Tomorrow, DD's furniture begins to migrate back into her room. There is hope that I might be able to invite people unrelated to me to have dinner sometime this summer. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Bed List/The Dinner List

Ah, summer break. Fun, sun, and handsome men with their shirts off. An apropos time to revive our Bed List/Dinner List choices, no?


That Posh Spice character, aside from being a stick insect with big breasts on whom clothes hang divinely, gets to come home to Becks every night. Yeah, we hate her.


Anyone who'll name a group Oingo Boingo has got to be an interesting dinner guest. But he's also the man who created soundtracks for many favorite films, including nearly everything Tim Burton's ever directed (Edward Scissorhands and Big Fish are two that make me cry), so there's plenty to talk about. And he's got a cool wife, too--another stick insect blonde, but Bridget Fonda would be cool to hang with.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Books and Cooks: The Glass Castle


Cover Image


It's the last Books and Cooks for the year, so we met at Tolla's, a cute bistro in Winter Park. On the one hand, I object since Tolla's is just one more instance of creeping gentrification, but on the other hand, the weather is gorgeous, and we get to eat outside. This time, temporal pleasure wins out over sociological outrage. And the Stuffed Chicken Tolla--stuffed with spinach, prosciutto, and feta and served over linguine--was quite tasty, too.

Jeannette Walls deserves a medal for surviving her childhood. Like many parents, I suffer from all types of insecurities regarding my children. Have I spoiled them? Ruined them? Prevented them from growing strong, flexible, and creative? Fed them properly? Apparently, these questions rarely came to the minds of Rex and Rose Mary Walls, Jeannette's parents. One's an alcoholic, the other's a depressive enabler. It's amazing that with so much against them, Jeannette and her three siblings all survived with their senses of humor intact and became successful, functioning adults.

Reading The Glass Castle is like watching an extremely painful episode of one of those nightmare family shows, except instead of out of control kids, here you have out of control parents. I found it interesting that in our discussion, the only people who had compassion for the parents' plight were those who don't yet have children of their own. Those of us with kids wanted to rush home and hug our own little devils and thank God and all of our lucky stars for the roofs over our heads and the food on our plates.

If the four Walls kids can make it through poverty, starvation, molestation, homelessness, and coal mining, perhaps the fact that I forget to check my kids' homework won't weigh too heavily against me in the lifetime parent sweepstakes.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Here a Chick, There a Chick

One of my email loops tipped me off to this interesting post on chick lit by Jacquelyn Mitchard, of The Deep End of the Ocean and Oprah's Book Club fame. Brava, Ms. Mitchard, for getting the point.

In precis, more and more people, writers and pundits included, are beginning to refer to books written by women about female characters "chick lit." As a writer of chick lit of the classic sort (think Bridget Jones), I have never had a problem with the moniker. But when strong books by women are dismissed out of hand as "chick lit," aka light and fluffy and of little nutritional value, because the author in question happens to have functional breasts, while men who write emotional books exploring traditional women's territory (yes, Nicholas Sparks, I'm talking about you) are lauded as being so sensitive and emotional, I get a bit peeved.

Seems that women's rights and all that are fine, but when it comes down to literary taste, well, you little ladies just ought to scuttle off to the parlor and chat about your insignificant concerns while we menfolks solve the world's problems in the smoking room with our superior masculinity and all.

Whatever. Take a peek at world affairs these days and ask yourself whether the menfolks are doing a bang-up job at running things. Take your time. Umm-hmm. I thought so.

Women can write. Well, I might add. Scoffing at female authors who write women-driven stories (that includes romance novels) does nothing but confirm your own narrow-mindedness. I know plenty of women who read horror and true crime and espionage novels. They're not afraid to explore. But try offering a well-written romance to a man and watch them leap out of the way like cooties have made a comeback.

Seems to me the smoking-room crowd could learn something from all this "chick lit." Hell, they might even figure out some things. What is it they said about the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world?

That hand belongs to a chick. You fellas might want to pay closer attention. The women's fiction aisle of your local bookstore would be a good start.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Gone, Baby, Gone!

La, la, la, last day for seniors!

Tomorrow will be such a relief compared to the beginning of this week. Seniors up my nose. Seniors whining about paying dues (not like they've known about senior dues since last August or anything). Seniors wanting to know if I've graded their final exams 15.2 minutes after completing them. I know they're ready to fly out of the nest, and frankly, I've got the boots ready to kick 'em out!

Graduation is next week. Man, am I ready for that...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Back From the Beyond...

It's graduation season, and that means that my brain has been co-opted by the evil minions of the Class of 2007--aka all of my seniors. They are driving. me. CRAZY. Thankfully, senior exams are this week (guess I'd better get mine down to the copy room, huh?), so their last day is in sight. Yay!

Only a few more days. That, and about 80 research papers to grade. Ugh.

the dish Design by Insight © 2009