Monday, March 31, 2008

The new yuppies

Even if the term "yuppie" had not gone out of use by the early 1990s, I never would have thought of myself as one. Now, however, I think I have to reconsider. I'm not sure why it has this stigma for me, but I feel like our newest purchase, a hybrid, kinda makes us the 2008 version of the yuppie. Actually, more of a yuppie-meets-tree-hugging-hippie. A huppie.

Anyway, it's an awesome vehicle. If you haven't ever driven or ridden in a hybrid, you'll be shocked the first time you turn the key and hear... silence. The engine doesn't turn over. It's battery-powered. Weird.

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Gilmore Girls

After I finished freebasing the entire seven seasons of Buffy in three months, I quickly moved through both Firefly and Angel (during which I re-watched Buffy). Insane, perhaps, but I loved them all.

When I was on maternity leave with the Bug, I had quite a bit of time to fill with a new TV-on-DVD obsession, which unfortunately could not be another Joss Whedon creation. Since Joker wasn't home to partake, I saved Battlestar Galactica to watch with him, and on the recommendations of several friends I got myself hooked on Gilmore Girls.

The series was great, particularly for a new mom. It's a smartly written show, known for its sharp dialog laden with pop culture references, with two strong and beautiful women as the leads. I did get a bit tired of Rory during a couple of seasons, but Lorelai stepped up as less whiny and more sympathetic during those times. The supporting cast is awesome! Paris Gellar, Lane and Zach, Miss Pattie, Sookie and Jackson... Sally Struthers and her husband cracked me up... but it was Sebastian Bach who totally stole every scene he was in! I love the theme song, which Carole King successfully updated from the original follow-my-man-anywhere meaning, though I was disappointed that the opening credits didn't get updated each season.

Last night I finally finished the seven-season series. Despite Season 7 suffering for the loss of Amy Sherman-Palladino, the last couple of episodes sent both Rory and Lorelai off on a very optimistic horizon. Well done. Thanks for the many, many hours of time down the drain.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Big Oyster

As Joker and I learned one summer evening, a big oyster is not necessarily a good oyster. In fact, some big oysters are palatable only when cut in half. Others, such as Mark Kurlansky's The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell, require a bit more work.

The book starts out quite interesting, using the story of that most delicious bivalve to tell the early history of New York City. Before too long, though, it just becomes a gimmick that the author seems to believe has a far more grandiose purpose. The thing that really got to me, though, was his poor writing. I'm not talking about a writing style that I don't particularly enjoy, a la David Sedaris. I mean that Kurlansky's lousy grammar and punctuation would have had my Grandma D stomping her foot in anger. Didn't he have an editor?

I'm not trying to say that the book is without merit. In fact, Kurlansky's use of oyster recipes dating back to the 1600s was quite interesting to me. Had I given it any prior thought, I would have assumed cookbooks to a more of a modern phenomenon. And the gluttony of these recipes was impressive, many calling for fifty oysters or more!

My suggestion would be to skip this book and eat a dozen oysters (of a nice, modest size) the next opportunity you have.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Catnip regulation

Thanks to yesterday's article on the hottest online news source this side of, um, Mexico...(??), I just learned that catnip is biomedically related to marijuana and other psychedelics.

I feel somewhat vindicated in my insistence that neither Buffy nor Sirius was allowed to "experience" catnip until they reached the "legal" age of one year.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A stroll through the courtyard

We had an errand that took Joker, the Bug and I to New Haven on Saturday morning. Since that doesn't happen too often, we enjoyed the opportunity to spend a couple of hours on the Yale campus.

I vividly remember BAR opening to some fanfare - it was such a swanky place; clearly very pretentious (um... really??). What I do not remotely remember was the food; I am sure I was way too broke to allocate beer money to a meal out of the dinning halls. We stopped at Bar for lunch, largely because a couple of friends have recommended the pizza as the best in New Haven. It exceeded all expectations, and the Bug even gnawed her first crust and appeared to love it.

While we were collecting our stuff to take off, the young waitresses in belly shirts were chatting near our table, very obviously about us. They said they were "wondering how we had such a beautiful baby - [we] must have stolen her!"... leaving "from those good-looking people down the street" only implied. One look confirmed that they had the completely honorable intentions of complementing the Bug, and that they had not a clue that they'd totally insulted Joker and I.

Anyway, after lunch we walked over to my former residential college, Timothy Dwight. Even though it's clearly spring break, we were able to find a student to let us in. I don't think I've been inside since graduation, and it actually brought tears to my eyes. The place looks great - the renovation a couple of years ago really improved the common rooms, although since the TV room appears to now be a part of the library, I am not sure where the students watch 2008's version of 90210. The fence around the courtyard has been removed, and comfortable-looking wooden tables and chairs have replaced the stone benches in each corner. Dennis Park's tree has grown lovely.

I showed Joker where I lived each year, where I played countless hours of volleyball in the courtyard, and where I ate so many lousy meals. I was ecstatic to bring the Bug back to a place that meant so much to me!


Friday, March 21, 2008

The gall of commuters

Since my little umbrella rant last fall, I've tried to be nice and upbeat in my blog. But I have to say... I can't believe how some commuters act on the train!

There are two no-nos that I think should be absolute. The first is cell phones. They're really irritating on the train. People talk loudly on the cell phones, and particularly at the end of the day, virtually all of the other passengers just want to unwind, nap or read. And really... why do people think I care about their business dealings or what fountain they're putting on the lawn? If I had it my way, each train car would have a little mail slot, through which offending phones could be slid out and on to the tracks.

The thing that really appalls me, though, are the people who throw their garbage on the floor of the train. I've watched older men in nicely tailored suits unwrap and eat twenty Werther's Originals in a row, throwing each wrapper on the floor under their seat. I've seen people leave apple cores or banana peels on their seats when they get up at their stop. Newspapers are standard, despite the enormous recycling bins on every platform in every station. Beverage containers roll under your feet nearly every ride. And one time when I was pregnant, I actually sat next to one guy who spit dip spit into a little cup the entire way from Grand Central to Stamford, and left the cup on the floor when he got up. Talk about gross. If only I'd had nausea and could have vomited on his pants.

I guess it goes to show that when people have no accountability other than to their own conscious, they'll act in whatever way is natural to them. For the most part, this means being courteous to others and cleaning up their own messes. But for a surprisingly large minority, it simply results in rudeness.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bracket Time!!

There are few things that I enjoy more than reading my favorite blog, Go Fug Yourself. It's snarky, it's witty, and I love it. Plus, I am more amused that I care to admit to see celebrities out in public looking like wackadoodles.

But come mid-March, there is one thing that dominates my energies, pushing the Fug Girls aside. That, of course, is bracket time. People tell me that after you fill out the brackets, and before you get to circle the picks you got correct and x-out the picks you got wrong, there are basketball games. And more games follow before the next round of circling and x-ing. All kidding aside, I actually enjoy watching the games. Some of them, at least.

But back to brackets. I'm pretty good at them, generally finishing ahead of many season-long NCAA fans. Sometimes I win. And I strongly believe in the Bracket of Integrity. No matter how many pools a person enters, she should submit the same bracket across them all.

Bringing me to the point of this post. Wouldn't it be fun if you could fill out TWO BRACKETS this year? AHA! You can! This year, the Fug Girls have created a bracket system for fugly-ness. Whether or not you give a crap about who's dressing like a fool, isn't it just fun to have another bracket to fill out?

Anyone interested in playing with me? Perhaps those of you in the post-Faffarazzi doldrums? Let me know!

Soy formula smells funny

We had to put the Bug on soy formula for a few days while she was getting over a stomach... er... bug. I'd heard people complain about the smell of formula, but really, unless it *is* bad (like you left it out of the fridge overnight), it smells pretty much fine. Soy formula, on the other hand, smells funny. I'm so glad she's moving back to the regular stuff.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Perhaps the fact that a green Coors Light sounds terrible to me is an indication that I'm getting old. Regardless, enjoy a pint of Guiness. Or two. Slainte!

A week in Vail

We just returned from a very fabulous family vacation in Vail, Colorado. This explains my week-long hiatus - surprisingly, the house we were staying in had no internet connectivity.

As with everything now that we have the Bug, the trip required much farther advance planning than I was once used to, and we started putting the wheels in motion in December. We had a fabulous house to stay in, courtesy of a very close family friend, and it could not have been better. My parents were able to spend their days playing with the Bug, and my husband (I'll call him Joker - he needs a handle, and I can't seem to come up with a better one than the one he already has) and I were able to snowboard to our heart's content.

Vail is a pretty cool mountain (actually, collection of mountains), no question about it. It's in a stunning location, with views of some of the most jagged mountain ranges in the Rockies. It's most famous for its back bowls, to which my limited snowboarding skills allow me only limited access. We were able to check out two of them, and Joker hit a third with my sister and her friends. One word of advice: if you're heading to the China Bowl on a snowboard, skip the Sleepytime (a.k.a. Shit Balls) run and take the Sourdough lift. You'll have to traverse a little at the top of the bowl, but you'll be in a far more agreeable mood.

I can't say I was floored by the nightlife, though I'm sure that's a testament to the fact that I can no longer hang. Only a few short years ago, we'd ski all day and party all night in Aspen. Now, apres ski is about the extent of it, and Vendetta's was a pretty cool bar for that. But mostly, we enjoyed our delicious Colorado beers back at the house, and that suited all of us perfectly.

One little post-script. The car seat wheels were excellent, particularly since my Mom had a stroller for the Bug. The wheel/car seat combo would not suffice for your full stroller needs at your destination, but they definitely do the trick maneuvering through the airport.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Garfield (minus Garfield)

Growing up, I loved Garfield. I mean, L-O-V-E-D. I had stuffed Garfield and Nermal dolls, the comic book collections, collectible miniatures, t-shirts, posters... whatever I could get Mom and Dad to let me have!

So when I saw a link for "Garfield Minus Garfield", I had to check it out. It's an entirely different comic, but really interesting, and funny in a kinda sad way. Poor, hapless ole Jon Arbuckle.

Ridiculous-looking travel item

On Saturday, we are heading out to Colorado for the week. My Grandma's 80th birthday party is on Saturday, and we'll go from there up to Vail for several days of snowboarding! My parents will be with us to watch the Bug, and everyone is thrilled about the arrangement.

All of the websites I've seen, and flight attendants I've spoken with, strongly recommend that a baby sit in her own seat on a plane, in her car seat. While the Bug was in her bucket car seat, this was pretty easy. The bucket was also her stroller, you'd ditch the stroller part on the jet way, and you placed the bucket itself on the seat and strapped the airplane seatbelt across it.

Now she's in a regular car seat, which apparently still fits into airplane seats. I was all set to have my sweet husband lug that thing around while I pushed the Bug in her stroller. Needless to say, we'd have virtually no ability to deal with carry-on luggage, and we'd probably very irritable by the time we boarded the plane.

Until a colleague told me that he'd seen people using some sort of odd-looking luggage wheels attached to a car seat last time he was traveling. A quick search online led me to what has the potential of being a very ingenious product. It's exactly what he described - luggage wheels that you attach directly to the car seat. No need to use a stroller - just look at the happy baby who thinks it's a ride! Wheee!!!

I ordered it from Healthcheck Systems, whose free shipping option had it delivered two days after I placed the order. I'll post a little review after our trip, for anyone who also has babies on the go... with any luck, it's a winner!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Introducing Cheerios

After the Bug's check-up last week, we got the all-clear to start transitioning her from baby food to real food over the next three months. For her first venture into non-mush, we opted for Cheerios, that quintessential munchie for the preschool set.

It didn't take. Don't get me wrong - she loved them. She picked them up, licked them, dropped them on the floor, banged her hand on the tray and watched them bounce. She inspected them, watched me eat them with dramatic flourish, and spit a couple of them out. But she didn't eat a single one.