Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tuesday Random 5: MattDamonMattDamon

1. Today for dinner I made Nu Ways. If you don’t know what that is, it’s ok. It just means you didn’t grow up in or near Wichita, KS. In Iowa, they’re called Maid Rites. I think the generic term is a loose meat sandwich. Anyway, they’re yummy, and I don’t think I’d had them in at least 15 years.

2. I just started reading what seems to be one of the hottest books of the year. “All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr is very good so far, although I’m not too far into it. It’s set in World War two, which is a time period I find fascinating. What are you reading?

3. Last night, The International Man of Intrigue told me there’ s a new movie called ‘The Martian’ coming out in November, based on a book he read. I told him I’d be thrilled to see it with him for our anniversary. The International Man of Intrigue thought I was being disingenuous. He says I only want to see it because it has Matt Damon in it. Now, I’m here to tell you, The International Man of Intrigue and I are not one of those couples that has a celebrity freebie list a la “Friends.” However, a la “How I Met Your Mother,” if he were to die of a horrible hiccuping disease, and Matt Damon’s wife were to die of a horrible hiccuping disease, then I wouldn’t kick Matt Damon out of bed for eating crackers. (If you don’t get the TV show references, just let me translate by saying, I have a little celebrity crush on Matt Damon, but The International Man of Intrigue is the love of my life.)

4. Amelia Earhart has a book project for school based on a famous person’s biography. She chose Wangari Maathai, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004. Amelia Earhart is fascinated by Wangari Maathai because she graduated from the same college that The International Man of Intrigue and I did, and was actually a classmate of The International Man of Intrigue’s Godmother, Favorite Aunt Susie. Ameila Earhart was so excited about the project that she finished it well before its due date and with no complaining. Because of this, I agreed to sew her a dress and headband so she could dress as Wangari Maathai, since they are allowed to dress as their subjects when presenting their reports. I even helped make her a cardboard Nobel Peace Prize. Did I mention I’ve never sewn a dress before and I did this one with no pattern, just a tutorial from Pinterest? It’s not amazing, but it’s perfect for a costume. Facebook friends, you’re going to want to check out pictures on Friday.

5. News about the recent passing of the founder of Nutella, Michele Ferrero, left me practically powerless on my trip to Costco today. Despite a cart full of healthy and organic foods, somehow a two pack of jumbo tubs of Nutella ended up in my cart. It will be delicious on my organic sprouted grain toast. I think I might need a slice now.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Tuesday 5: Racism, Lent, and My Feet

1. Not too long ago, I found out that some casual acquaintances were “scandalized” that we adopted a black baby. Even though I don’t know them all that well, my first instinct, after the shock wore off, was to find them and give them a beating- if not a physical one, at least a verbal one. Then I realized, no, they don’t deserve it. If a grown woman is racist against a 2lb 7oz baby, I’m guessing she’s too stupid to understand any words I’d waste on her. This, Fellow Adventurers, is one of the reasons why, 52 years after Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech, there is still so much racial tension in this country. This is why we can’t have nice things, America. As enraged as it makes me that someone might not love my daughter because of the amount of pigment she has in her skin, I had to remember what MLK said, “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” If that wasn’t enough, I turned on Facebook after writing this and saw my friend’s status, “It is always unfortunate when someone disappoints, though I have been motivated to "up my game" and NOT mirror his/her image. -Moira LastNameHere (Boom. Quote that)." So, I did. Thanks, Moira. (Ok, edited to add, it was pointed out to me that it might sound like Moira was the mean girl. Nope, Moira's status just cemented the reminder that it's better to be the bigger person. Moira is certainly not racist. A family picture is all the proof you need. Sorry for any misunderstanding!)

2. Lent starts tomorrow. I usually don’t have much to say about what I decide to give up or do, but this year, I happened upon someone else’s genius idea that is exactly what I was looking for. It’s called 40 Bags in 40 Days. It mixes multiple things I try to incorporate: By cleaning stuff out, I’ll have things to donate to charity. I’m taking a less literal view of my 40 bags. Some won’t actually be bags- cleaning up my Facebook so my social media is more positive, downloading the pictures from my iPhone so they can be found when I need them, things like that are all “bags” of stuff that  I can move out of the way of the relationship between me and God. So, here’s to 40 in 40!

3. I’m finally watching the final season of How I Met Your Mother. I kind of know what happens, but I am really enjoying it and will be glad to have some closure. Once I have closure, I will go back to watching people hack each other up on The History Channel’s show Vikings. Totally a guilty historical fiction pleasure. It took me a few episodes, but I’m hooked.

4. A couple of weeks ago, I got new socks. This may not sound like a big deal, but I LITERALLY have not purchased socks since The International Man of Intrigue and I got married. That’s eleven and a half years, if you’re counting. That’s a long time. I just don’t go through a lot of socks, since we keep moving to places that are hot. I mean, while most of the US is covered in snow, it got up almost to 80 today. Anyway, athletic socks have come a long way in almost 12 years. They have some little cushion right in the back of the heel. There is some sort of ribbed arch support. They are supposed to help keep your feet dry. They’re awesome! I can’t wait to see how many more technological advancements socks will make in the next 12 years!

5. Speaking of socks, I have a use for them for more than exercising now. Last week, I bought my first pair of cowboy boots! It’s love. They’re pretty classic- brown, pointed toe, classic heel. There is a little turquoise stitching on the upper part. I love them. I’ve wanted cowboy boots for years. The best part of buying them, though, was when Gertrude Bell noticed them on my feet after I picked her up from school. She scrunched up her nose and said, “Mama, why are you wearing cowgirl shoes?” I told her I’d just bought them and I’d always wanted some. She smiled and said she liked my “cowgirl shoes” and was glad I was keeping them!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday 5: Of Elephants and Cows

Ah, Tuesday! 

1. Where we live in Florida, the kids actually get a day off of school to go to the state fair. They get free tickets at school. Since the little ones are free too, I decided to temporarily set my sanity aside and take all four Little Explorers, by myself, to the State Fair. I told them up front that there would be no rides, no games, and no junk. I strapped Laura Ingalls Wilder to my front in the Ergo carrier. (How does anyone with more than two kids survive without a baby carrier?) Amelia Earhart wore a small backpack with a few necessities in it, and was in charge of being Arthur Dent’s “buddy.” Gertrude Bell was in charge of herself because she is the Little Explorer most in tune to “stranger danger” and with the most natural fear of getting separated from us. The whole thing went amazingly well. The Little Explorers had a ball in “Cracker Country,” which is one of those pioneer day living history museums. They even got to make a candle by dipping it in beeswax. The Little Explorers also loved looking at all the exhibits. They got to meet Smokey Bear. They oohed and ahhed over the blue ribbon needlepoint and art. Their primary objective was to see animals. After petting a rabbit and milking a cow, as well as seeing some livestock being shown by young 4-H kids, they were probably the happiest kids at the fair. I treated them to their first funnel cake. They were skeptical, mostly because The Little Explorers pretty much live for cotton candy, and I could tell they were really hoping for some. Once they were convinced of the deliciousness of funnel cake and understood its importance to fair culture, they were sold. I did tell them we’d get cotton candy on the walk back to the car. That walk was probably the only somewhat negative part of the day. By that point we’d probably stayed at the fair about 45 minutes longer than was wise. The Little Explorers were exhausted, and my feet and hips ached from having an extra 25 or 30 pounds strapped to my front. Arthur Dent fared the worst. He got his cotton candy and immediately started squeezing the bag. The cotton candy got deflated and he was then convinced he didn’t get as much as his sisters. He proceeded to begin crying and repeating “My candy!” over and over. Then, he stepped in a mud puddle as we traversed the parking lot looking for the car. He promptly slipped his feet out of his shoes and tried to leave them behind. He then began to alternate the cries of “My candy!” with “My wet shoes!” All in all, that portion of the day was a hot mess. We survived, though, and made some awesome memories. 

2. I just started reading “The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming” by Henri Nouwen. I don’t know if it’s just where I’m at right now, but it is really touching my heart. I’ve already gotten a bit misty eyed, and I’m only on chapter one.

3. Laura Ingalls Wilder is almost 15 months old and has entered a really ridiculously adorable stage. She’s got The International Man of Intrigue wrapped around her finger. Her first word was “Dada,” and much to her amusement, she still refuses to say “Mama,” although if she’s feeling particularly magnanimous, she’ll call me “BopBop.” When The International Man of Intrigue gets home, Laura Ingalls Wilder squeals with delight and toddles over to give him a hug. If he doesn’t pick her up and take her along after the hug, she follows him to the kitchen, walking with her tiny hands in the air, waiting to be carried. It’s really heart meltingly sweet.

4. I have this amazing coffee maker. It has a pot for making a large quantity of coffee, like on weekends when The International Man of Intrigue and I require a warm beverage to jump start another ridiculously early Saturday morning with the Little Explorers, but it also has another side that allows me to use either K-cups or my own coffee to make a single cup. When we first got it, I bought a box of mixed flavors of coffee K-cups from Amazon. I don’t use them much, but I find it a really hit or miss thing. Some are amazing, like this coconut one that tasted exactly like a Mounds candy bar. Then there was this morning- I decided to treat myself to a flavored K-cup and chose an apple pie a la mode flavor. I made it and it smelled amazing. It tasted like…wait for it…coffee. So disappointing. 

5. This weekend, Gertrude Bell was skyping with my mom and my mom was telling Gertrude Bell how, earlier in the week, a deer had hit my mom’s car. My mom asked Gertrude Bell if she’d ever seen a deer when she was in the car. Gertrude Bell perked up and said, “No, but we've seen an elephant!” We all laughed, then realized that, yes, once when we lived in Sri Lanka, our car almost got hit by a wild elephant. In the elephant’s defense, we owned a large, gray Jeep Commander. It would be easy to be curious about the shiny looking motorized elephant, I suppose, if one was a real elephant. This, Fellow Adventurers, is how I’m raising weird kids.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tuesday Random 4

1. “To Kill a Mockingbird” is among my favorite books of all time. Based on the Facebook blow up, I’m guessing that it’s not news that it was announced today that Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and literary one hit wonder, will be publishing another book. I have mixed feelings. I want it to be really, really good. If it’s not, I don’t want it to come out. My favorite cousin’s reaction is the best by far. He told his wife, “Did you hear about Harper Lee's new book being discovered? I am *so excited* because up until now, I was familiar with ALL of her work!”

2. Sunday, we had a party. It was a leftover appetizer party. We had lots of frozen junk food in the freezer that we hadn’t used on New Year’s Eve, when we celebrated Gertrude Bell’s birthday, 2015, and our friend Intern Steve’s promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. So, we called the same people who failed to eat the food the first time around: The Brits, Intern Steve, and The Other Intrigues. This time, we managed to eat all the food, and it turned out there was some big game on TV, too. Ok, so we knew about the game. No one had a vested interest in either team, but halftime was AWESOME. Hello, Missy Elliot. I’ve been singing your songs all week! The nail biter ending wasn’t half bad, either.

3. This afternoon, Arthur Dent and I were sitting on the couch, watching cartoons. He’s a very snuggly little guy. I asked him how long we could “huggle” on the couch and he answered, “Ummm, all day.” I’m glad he’s not too cool for me yet. 

4. Honestly, I didn’t do a very good job of taking notes this week. By the time I sit down to blog, I’m usually pretty tired and fried from the day, so if I don’t have an idea, I draw a blank. Sorry to spoil it for anyone who thought this was an actual unplanned stream of consciousness. So this Tuesday, I hope you enjoyed the Random 4.