Monday, April 27, 2009

To Buy or Not to Buy

Flipper is thwarting my birthday plans for her by not wanting what I want to give her for her birthday. That might just be the most poorly-formulated sentence I have ever written. She really really wants a "grown up" American Girl Doll. Basically, that means a doll with hair. Lots of hair. Flipper is obsessed with hair. I am actually OK with the American Girl Doll marketing and money-sucking juggernaut; the dolls don't look like sluts, nor do they have the artificial bodies of a stripper, with no ass and huge tits. And since I have no intention of wasting precious tourist-hours on some sort of store that has honest-to-god adults pretending that the dolls are real, I think I am relatively safe. HOWEVER...
Flipper is not complying. By this I mean she is not embracing the doll and historical time period that I want her to. I WANT THE COLONIAL DOLL!!!! Who cares what she wants??? Perhaps I should care a bit more than I actually do. She even went so far as to request a doll that looks like her. I cannot bear the Mini-Me dolls. Plus, the clothes are tacky. And they lack some sort of peaches-and-cream, sunshine-and-rainbows "historical" context that suckers parents like me into plunking down some big bucks in the hopes that my child will learn more than how to be a hairdresser. And so, I am torn: buy her what she truly wants, buy her what I want her to have, (knowing full well how incredibly lame that is), or try to find some sort of "compromise." Like I said...I am torn. Maybe the prairie-girl. Maybe a Mini-Me doll with historical clothes. Maybe I should just stop mind-fucking this to death and buy something already.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A boring but good day

Sick headache notwithstanding, today was a good day. Except for the weather. It is simply impossible for there to be more than 48 hours of nice weather in a row this spring. After work Grampy and I went to a small restaurant in downtown Durham called "Toast" (it specializes in panini, crostini, etc., en route to the library. I had an EXCELLENT panini: chopped, cooked kale, ricotta salata, and pickled hot and sweet peppers. I've never thought of putting greens like kale, collards, etc., on a sandwich, but it was incredible. Also a nice side salad with a touch of fresh mint in the light vinaigrette dressing. Then on to the library where I checked out 9 books in under 15 minutes. Grampy got two. Home with yucky headache; dozed off and on for a few hours while Ella was a perfect angel; she played in her room quietly, brought me homemade "get well" cards every few minutes...she was great. I rousted myself at 5:15 and took a boiling hot bath with a new book and then we had supper, a good one for a chilly, grey day: homemade macaroni and cheese (mine is very, very good-flavored with modesty), roasted asparagus, and fake ribs. We call them "riblets." Ella is getting a bit more aware of how much she loves to eat meat, and that it is all a dead animal. Driving past Allen and Son the other day she commented on just how good meat tasted...and how sad it is that it is dead. Slowly, slowly creeps vegetarianism towards her...we'll see.
Nothing, but nothing makes me happier than a huge stack of library books to burn through.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Yay, Big Chain Store!

I have to give a little shout-out to CVS, our local pharmacy (yes, yes, I know it is a big chain) for their stellar array of Easter candy!! I was denied at Harris Teeter, which had only large bags of candy, much more than one child could consume, and the chocolate bunny was about a foot tall and cost 10 bucks. But they had a few cute things, and then I went next door. I actually successfully avoided Southern Season, which I adore for their incredible display of candy, but last year I spent 30 bucks on Easter goods, because I found them so hard to resist!!! I was determined to stay very close to home. Plus, I am trying to eke out 12 days of driving on one tank of gas. Sister called from Colorado; she had been candy-shopping for her boyfriend's children as well. We compared sugar-notes. It is hard to stop, to not go nutty over the vast array of things available to buy. It is hard to resist the siren's call of cool things, cleverly packaged. It is a constant astonishment to me how very successful advertising is at stoking our "desire" boilers. Ella has our childhood baskets, which were undoubtedly typical of the early 70's, and yet they look positively puny next to the massive baskets kids have today. The beauty of the small, however, is that it cannot be filled with too much, and so I stopped after the blue chocolate "robin's eggs", the much-coveted chocolate bunny (many inches less than 12) and my favorite purchase: tiny "cartons" with speckled egg-shaped pieces of gum. It is sunny after an evening of rain; I can count on one hand how many times I actually WANT it to rain, but I did yesterday. The storms did what I hoped they would: washed the pollen away for a few days. It is clean and clear outside, and we will spend much of our day OUT IN IT.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Spring Break. Cold and Icky.

It is Spring Break. Except that it is not spring; it is chilly and cloudy and yuck. I think our tentative camping plans are off the table, especially considering that Grampy and Smokey are going sailing on Thursday, which negates any potential dog-sitting. So we will stay here, and I will try to find things for Ella to do, and people for her to play with. Ever a tiring task. I wish we were off somewhere, but we're not.
Ella's break, however, is more fun than mine. She is spending half of every day with the grandparents, which means endless attention, little projects, and today, the fulfillment of a minor dream: tennis lessons!! She cannot wait. How fun it is to see what grabs her interest, what she wants to pursue. She already has a little racket, and smacks the ball on a string that hangs in my parents' garage. It is hung so it rests against my dad's windshield when he pulls in, telling him to stop. The rest of us use our eyes for this task. Anyway, she can bang it for hours, counting how many she can get in a row. I think her record is somewhere in the 40's. So today at 11 she has a private lesson with the tennis pro at my parents' club. Last night-this was adorable-she set out her clothes, ready for action. 2 years ago she would have been too shy to take a lesson with a stranger; now, she can't wait.
My parents, players both, signed Sister and myself up for lessons, and we lasted for exactly one. It was summer. At our club, and the pool, coolly shimmering, only 50 yards away. But now I kind of wish I had learned. It seems like fun exercise.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Here comes...real grass.

I must confess that I am feeling pretty fucking smug right now, over something so pathetically minor that it is almost embarrassing to relate: our homegrown Easter basket grass WORKED!! It was a success!! No hideous crunchy plastic "grass"!! Below, the evidence:

So cute!!! This is 7 days of growth. The basket is mine from 1973, according to what is written on the bottom. Sister's, by virtue of having more pink in it, has become the activity basket, able to leave for field trips, such as the one we took to an Easter Egg party in our old neighborhood today. It was highly successful, as shown by the victor below:

She also adhered to the "three pieces" rule of candy consumption with nary a whiny complaint to be heard, thank god. Each egg in her basket (she crushed the other kids) held a few pieces of candy, which made for quite a haul.
Once home, we walked the damn dogs and then Ella achieved another teeny tiny milestone, one noted only by me: she took a shower, not a bath, by herself, washing her hair, scrubbing her toes, etc. A new era, really.
Tomorrow is my birthday, and for the first time in my whole life I have nothing planned; indeed, it feels like nothingness. But, for some reason, I don't mind that no one seems to remember or care about it save family, and I will do nothing but go to work and come home. No cake, no dinner out with friends, no nothing. I have read that you truly become an adult when your parents die, when you have a child of your own. But I think it is when you no longer care about your birthday.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Sun. Finally.

Finally, finally, the sun is out. After ANOTHER week of blowsy, grey, rainy weather, the skies finally cleared early yesterday morning and it became sparkly and blue and very breezy. After a rather trying week at work I had the whole afternoon free. It started with a lunch at Sandwhich, a place I adore. Grampy had never been, even though at heart is a Chapel Hill-Carrboro person (even though he won't admit it) and I was eager for him to try it out. He got the sardine sandwich, Ella got the comte grilled cheese with housemade harissa ketchup, and I had the goat cheese BLT, instead of the outrageous BLT, which is what I usually get. Ella loved the ketchup, which had a nice kick to it, but wasn't frightfully hot, but she liked Grampy's sardine sandwich even more. One of the two owners enjoyed her rather expanded palate, and told us that her 6 year-old likes sandwiches of fruit leather on a roll. My shock and horror was tempered by he creative mind that decided to create this in the first place!! It also reminded me that I want to make my own fruit leather one of these days. How I want to make everything like instead of buying it, and yet how very lazy I am, how very UN-Little House on the Prairie I really am when it comes right down to actually doing the work. But maybe I'll change my ways. I have houseguests, which I normally get maybe once or twice a year, and I cannot tell you how glad I am to have a sunny day in which to frolic about the Triangle.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


We are walking in the graveyard.
It is raining.
She has her face about .5 inches from the ground.
Here is why: "I like to lick the raindrops off the clover."
I keep walking.