Saturday, December 31, 2005

Crocs for Everyone! & Misc. Other Musings


Crocs for Everyone!
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Happy New Year to all of my loyal readers! It is 6:28 Eastern Standard Time- it is always EST here...Indiana for whatever reason will not go on Central Time (where it belongs) and NEVER falls back or springs forward. It's a wacky place, this Hoosier State.

As I write, Chris and Jack are having their dinners in the living room while they are watching the IU/Ball State game on TV. I am happily sequestered in my bright red office eating my dinner, sipping on a martini and blogging in peace. I spent the day with Jack and even though I adore him, I am delighted to have a bit of a break. Chris had to work all day and has to work all day tomorrow. It stinks but what can you do?

So, what's with the picture, you ask? "Crocs for Everyone!" was our Christmas theme this year. And, in keeping with our theme, we gave Crocs for Christmas gifts to (almost) everyone...our parents, our kids, ourselves, my niece and nephews, our son-in-law, kate's boyfriend, Jack's piano teacher, Jack's preschool teachers, babysitters...you name it. I even got 15% off because I bought so many pairs.

Why? Well, because I love my Crocs. I read a rave review of Crocs in my friend Val's blog and I mistakenly dismissed these fine shoes as being way too trendy for yours truly. Then, one day, for some reason I cannot recall, I decided that they were JUST THE THING! I bought myself a pair of butter colored ones (see photo) and started wearing them all the time in the house. I was hooked immediately! (Val..you were right!) They are so comfortable and lightweight. I think that the people on the receiving end of our little Croc gifts might have been a bit baffled...after all, shoes like this are a bit strange to receive, I guess...but I hope they give them a try. They make great gardening clogs if nothing else. You can just hose them off when they get dirty.

There. That's the end of my CROC commericial.

NORTHEAST GIRL

I realized today that no matter how much I try, I can be no other than the absolute Northeastern Yankee that I am. As much as I love Bloomington, I must admit that I miss the East Coast, especially the Northeast. This is nothing new, I know.

For some reason, it just hit me today that I probably won't be living in my beloved Northeast anytime soon...maybe never. And, while I do accept that fact, it does makes me a little sad. I miss my friends In CT and I miss Chris's old partners and their spouses whom I also count among my friends. I miss being able to get in my car and drive a few hours and see childhood friends and my family. But, what can you do? We moved for a lot of very very good reasons and they remain good reasons. I guess that at the holidays I feel it most. We had to drive about twelve hours (one way!) to visit Chris's family for the holidays and my family is the same distance away in a different direction. Flying takes almost as long because Indy is an hour away and you can't get direct flights to upstate NY (my family) or Williamsburg (Chris's family). I know that these are tiny things compared to what could be wrong, but still, it is hard to be so far away from those you love and enjoy.

Okay, enough of that. On to other things.

I have had some write-in requests from new (but loyal none-the-less) readers. One reader whom I will not name in case she wishes to remain anonymous, asks whether I will be covering penis augmentation as a topic in the future. Further, and more interestingly I think, she asks whether there is such a thing as penis reduction. She also raises the compelling question: Do black people bleach their anuses?

Not to worry, loyal readers. Bloomingtongirl is on the beat and will report on these titilating topics toute-suite. (Is that how one spells that?)

Well, that is all for now. Our soaking tub faucet has recently been repaired (by our favorite plumber to whom we also gave CROCs) and I think that I will give it a try. Then, off to bed early. I have never been one for New Year's Eve revelling. The last time I was up to usher in the new year was for the millenium at a party in CT.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Katie Lou Who


Cindy Lou Who?
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Greetings from Williamsburg, VA. We are visiting Chris's parents for a few days.

We had planned to make the trip in one day but due to crummy weather in the West Virginia Hills (How majestic and how grand, as the anthem goes), we had to break it up and stop on the way in Charleston, West Virginia. Chris grew up there and he was delighted to make Jack and me carsick driving up and down and around some windy roads to show us the two homes of his childhood. Now, I am the first to make fun of West Virginia (What is a hundred yards long and has two teeth? An unemployment line in West Virginia.) But, I have to admit, I was a bit charmed by good old Charleston. The downtown area is well preserved and quite nice. There are some very nice residential areas to boot. Who knows, perhaps Chris will get a wild hair and move us all there next. Think of the material for the Christmas Card... Not having dental insurance would matter not at all. Oops...I jest again. Seriously, it was neat to see where my husband grew up and went to school. And more seriously, we have no intention to get any wild hairs anytime soon.

Though I hate the drive to get here, being here at my in-laws is completely relaxing. As I have mentioned before, I am one of the lucky minority with excellent in-laws.

Today I am going shopping - something we have just about none of in Bloomington. Williamsburg has great outlets and excellent sales right after the holidays. I do my annual stocking up while here. My heart isn't in it like it was last year because Katie is not here to inspire me. Katie was here with us last year and we shopped together. Her birthday is coming up and this may be just the time to get her a little something for it...

Well, that is enough of this newsy and not at all edgy or interesting post. We drive back tomorrow (eleven plus agonizing hours but who's counting). Chris has to work the weekend which STINKS but what can you do?

Cheers to all. More from Bloomington.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Phil & Kate


Phil & Kate
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Happy Christmas to all.

I am absolutely exhausted but I couldn't resist posting this picture of Phil and Kate before I hit the hay.

It goes without saying that I adore Katie and I just love Phil and Kate as a couple. If Kate doesn't marry him someday, I will have adopt him to keep him in the family. They have known each other for years from summer camp and started dating about three and a half years ago.

I will blog more this week about our holiday and about life in general. This Christmas was a good one...Jack was a gem. He actually got a little overcome with emotion when he opened his new T-Rex plush toy that Santa gave him. It was incredibly sweet.

Tomorrow we drive eleven hours to see Chris's parents. I am not looking forward to the drive but I always enjoy visiting them. It is relaxing.

I will write from the road. I have missed blogging.

Friday, December 16, 2005

She isn't so special...

Since we are living in the (very) predominantly Christian heartland, I thought that Jack should be aware that Christmas wasn't just about Santa but rather was ostensibly Jesus's birthday. Of course, this required an explanation of who Jesus was. Where to begin? I told him that Jesus was a very special and wise man who lived many years ago and that some people, lots of them actually, believed that Jesus was the son of God and sort of a god himself. Chris and I are more or less Zen Buddhists, so Jack isn't being brought up with the traditional Christian veiw of Jesus.

Anyway, after this discussion, Jack would, from time to time, ask, "Who is that special guy again?"

Once he said, "Mommy, I don't believe that Jesus was the son of God but if you really wanted to know, you would have to ask the mommy. The one who was the mommy with God. She would know." I considered bring good old Mary up but didn't want to get into the whole virgin birth thing with my five year old.

****************************************************

We ran into a friend of mine the other day and I introduced Jack. Afterward, I remarked to Jack that my friend was a very special person.

"She isn't so special, mommy."

"Yes, she is."

"Well, are they going to make a holiday for HER when she dies?" He asked this a little sarcastically as if to prove his point.

***********************************************


In other news, like almost everyone else I know, I have been busy with getting ready for Christmas (yes, we still celebrate it complete with a tree and santa and all the commerical traditions). I am stunned and happy to report that the card is almost completed and the goal is to have it mailed out by the end of the weekend. If you want to be on our list and think that you are not, please email me your address or leave it on comments. Every year it gets harder. And every year, I swear it is the last one. But, I have to admit, that as soon as it goes out, I am thinking about what to do for next year's card.

Well, that is enough for now. Must put Jack to bed. More later and I hope it is witty.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Move Over Andy Warhol


Photo 24
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
My new computer has this feature called "I-Sight" and some supporting software called photo booth. Essentially, there is a built in camera right above the screen and you can take pictures of yourself all day long if you want. You can also click on different effects and get some really goofy stuff. For more of said goofy stuff, you may visit my flickr.com account where I have posted a few. You just click on this photo and you will automatically go there.

As I write, I am drinking a martini and eating Pizzelles. I made the Pizzelles today at Jack's request and it was a huge mistake for my so called diet. I could eat these like chips. Okay, I DO eat these like chips. Some days, like today, I just say fuck it and eat whatever I like. I always regret it the next day but in the scheme of things, how important is it really?

I still have not found out if the guy at the Y died or not. I didn't check the obits today but I thought it would be too soon anyway. Tomorrow I will look. Nobody at the Y is talking. Damn. I really want to know. For some reason, it means something to me. The experience made me think of how ghastly it must be to be in a war zone and to see death and maiming all around.

Enough of that. This blog is supposed to be entertaining, right? I could always start another blog for heavy social commentary. If I do, I shall notify those readers who have the stomach for it. You know who you are.

Well, it is time to go and work on the Christmas card. No small feat, believe you me.

More later on the all blog network.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Strange, Sad Day

Chris worked this weekend. I had a babysitter come early today so that I could work out and get some shopping done. I went straight to the Y after the babysitter arrived, intent on doing a cardio workout followed by an abbreviated swim. There is only one cardio machine I like out of the bazillion that are there and today it was occupied. Being in a bad mood to start (truth be told, loyal readers, BloomingtonGirl has been a bit blue these past few days for reasons not even worth thinking about after what happened today.) Irritated that I couldn't use the machine I had planned on right away, I changed into my swimsuit. The pool was sort of empty and I had a nice swim. During my last lap, I heard the lifeguard whistle blow. I looked around and couldn't figure out what had happened. There might have been five of us in the pool at the most. Finally, across the pool, I saw a man slumped over a lifeguard, who had apparently jumped in for him. Another lifeguard helped haul him out and then they started to work on him, doing what appeared to be CPR. I couldn't see his face but strangely, I reccognized his swim trunks. I remember swimming with him before, maybe several times, but couldn't recall who he was. I think that he had a heart attack and in retrospect, I would guess that he was probably dead when they got him out. The guards were young women, probably trained in rescue but ill prepared to deal with such an emergency. It was just awful. I ran to get some towels because all I could think of was that the guy must be cold. They left his feet dangling in the water, which bothered me a lot for some reason. He was probaby unconcious but I wanted to go over and hold him and tell him that it was okay and for lack of a better way to describe it, give him love. I didn't know him but I didn't want him to die with strangers who weren't connecting with him. I know, it is weird, but that is how I felt. But, I didn't interfere other than to give a stack of Y towels to one of the girls taking care of him. They cleared the pool area and I went to shower. I was completely shaken up by the whole experience and couldn't stop crying. I called the Y later to see how the guy did but they said they weren't allowed to give out any information, which, lead me to believe that maybe he hadn't made it. I still don't know.

The image of the man lying on the floor at the edge of the pool will remain with me for some time. It reminds me how thin the membrane separating life and death is. How silently we can cross over. How rapidly. On my way out, I heard the desk staff scrambling to figure out what the man's last name was, probably to notify the family. How I would have hated to be on the other end of that call. How quickly everything in your life can change. It would be helpful for the quality of my life if I can just remember that always. What do I have really to complain about?

Well, I am off to bed. I am just so sad about what happened.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

A Blast from the Past and A Blast of Snow, Boob Jobs and War and Peace


Magilla
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Jack watched an old episode of Magilla Gorilla today. He was charmed. He keeps asking why Mr. Peebles (or is it Peeples?) doesn't like Magilla so much. I don't know why but I speculate that he wants to sell him so he doesn't have to feed him. Or something like that. I remember liking the cartoon as a child but my favorite cartoon was certainly the Flinstones. Yabadabadoo!

We got a bunch of snow today and it is still coming down. It is pretty and all that but frankly, I can do without it. I grew up in a snow belt and even was on a ski team but I have lost interest. Jack was completely jazzed and couldn't wait to go out and play after school. I was so grateful that Chris was here to go outside with him. I hate to "play" in the snow with Jack. I also hate to play hide and seek or tag. There, I said it. Think whatever you want of my mothering.

While Chris was out with Jack the phone rang. Our nextdoor neighbor Doug was calling from his car for Chris. He wasn't going to be able to get home very quickly given the road situation so he wanted Chris to go next door and help his wife with some kind of pipe break/water flood disaster in progress. I told Doug that I would send Chris over pronto and assured him that we were glad to help. But I can be bone honest with you, dear readers. I wasn't happy about it. It meant that I would have to go out and play with my kid in the windy cold snow. I resentfully donned my snow gear - well, I borrowed a snow jacket from Chris because someone took my jacket last year and never returned it. I won't mention that someone's name so to protect my younger daughter's identity. I went outside and assumed a cheery voice with Jack and we did a some sled runs down our little hill in back. The runs consisted of me running down the hill as fast as I could while pulling Jack on the sled behind me. The hill is barely a hill and so unfortunately, one has to assist gravity in order to get up some speed. After several runs, I asked Jack if he was ready to go inside. NO! was his answer. I did a couple more runs with him out of some sense of moral motherhood obligation. What kind of person would I be to deprive my kid of happy play in the fresh snow? After a while, I asked again. NO! Well, this wasn't getting the desired result. I would have to try a different approach.

Didn't Jack want to go in to have hot chocolate? NO! We can have it later! A couple more runs. Aren't you getting cold? You must be getting really cold. Wow. Look at all the snow getting up your sleeves. Bet your wrists are cold. Bet they hurt, don't they? Finally, I broke him. In we went. Victory was mine.

In other news, my slight obsession with plastic surgery has surfaced again, this time with my interest split between two areas. Breast augmentations and the String Face Lift. (I will report on the so called String Lift in a future blog.) I am busy researching these procedures and poring over before and after photos. I have no idea what provokes me to do this. It is sort of like watching a car wreck. I can't take my eyes off the view even while being completely mortified. (N.B. I exclude breast reduction from my list of elective plastic surgery because I totally understand why someone would do that. Those of my readers who have felt me up - and you know who you are of course - know that I do not speak from experience on this. But, I just wanted to clarify that I make a huge distinction between a boob job and a necessary and benefical breast reduction. Just for the record.)

I found an interesting website tonight called something like "Find-a-Doc.com". You type in what kind of plastic surgery you want and what state you are in. What comes up is this bizzare list of doctors. Bizarre because on the left side of the page is a before photo and an after photo of the type of surgery you're interested in. I looked up boob jobs so those were the photos I saw. Then, next to the photos in the middle of the page, there was some text describing what you were seeing. I'll give an example:

Category: Breast Augmentation (Breast Implants) Age: 22
Weight: 126
Height: 5'2"
Gender: Female
Skin Tone: Medium
Description: Bilateral Augmentation Mammoplasty

Most descriptions were like the one above. But when I searched in North Dakota, I noticed that what the docs wrote for the "description" line was a bit different. (I looked at several different states to see if there was a marked difference in the age of patients and the after cup size.) The North Dakota descriptions did not refer to the surgery but to the patients' feelings afterward.

"Thrilled"
"Extremely Pleased"
or my favorite:

"Petite asian woman looking for larger breasts" Sort of like some strange personal ad, isn't it?

To the right of the text, is a photo of the smiling (usually male) doctor who performed the surgery with all of his contact information. It was like little business cards for merchants hawking their wares.

I found it interesting that Connecticut was not listed among the states one could browse. There is surely no shortage of plastic surgeons there. It must be that they have their own websites and are not in need of such a service.

Anyway, I know that this is a strange pastime but I really am riveted by plastic surgery. I find it horrifying and seductive all at the same time.

It made me sad to see some of the before pictures because manhy of the women were SO young, some in their late teens, and had perfectly fine breasts. Even better than perfectly fine. Did the doctors inform them that the implants might make mamograms harder to read? I wonder.

Okay, enough of my ramblings. I am off to bed to read MISS MAPP. I heard a radio program commemorating the WAR AND PEACE marathon reading on Pacifica radio thirty years ago (took them many days to finish it) and I was inspired to read it again. I actually loved it the first time. I bought the Penguin Classic version, complete with lots of supplemental essays, or so I guess from the size of it compared with the version I read many years ago. When Chris saw it he laughed his knowing laugh at me. So now I HAVE to read it. Or at least pretend to in his company. It actually shouldn't be hard because it is an awfully good read. When Tolstoy isn't describing war anyway. I sort of skim those sections. The peace part is much more interesting. Battles bore me to tears.

I hope that this blog didn't bore you to tears...

Sunday, December 04, 2005

The News in Brief

Flew into Indy last night in row behind awful Hoosier family complete with fragrant carry-on fast food feast and completely wired wild and crazy small child. Small child attmepts to play peekabo repeatedly with BloomingtonGirl over seat back while small child's mommy finishes her Nathan's hotdog and fries and digs into enormous Cinnabon. BloomingtonGirl smiles painfully at small child while thinking, turn around you little brat so I can read to my own well-behaved kid. Ignored them as much as possible could while being Miss Manners style polite.

Freezing rain on ground. Car covered wtih sheets of ice. Should have tipped us off.

Got home without incident. Didn't check cell phone or home messages. Turned out to be not so great for Zoe.

In morning, dog guy called. Zoe spent night at doggie ER getting stitches in her head due to losing fast fight with larger dog in regrettable incident at doggie hotel. Picked up Zoe with impressive new zig-zag Frankenstein scar on her head. Jack rides home with hat over entire head so he doesn't have to see Zoe's scar. Upon arrival home, Chris in his haste to get Zoe into backyard to avoid doggie accident in car or on driveway slips on glare ice and fortunately does not break fall with one of his previously broken wrists. Does cut shin though (same place he cut it on Jack's first birthday) and has to elevate bleeding wound for the morning due to still being on blood thinners. Also injured finger but probably not broken. Later in day, burns hand on the oven element, causing brief flash of pleasant flesh burning odor and resulting in white scar on back of hand. In denial, he resists suggestions to go to APA meeting. (Accident Prone Annonymous)

BloomingtonGirl not injured but very tired. Wonders if there is APAAnon.

Friday, December 02, 2005

S.S. Minnow


captain
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
This happy photo was taken some time after we ran up on a sand bar because we didn't understand how to stay in the "channel". We learned pretty quickly after that, you can be sure.

It was a beautiful, if slightly brisk, day today here. We rented a little boat and went out for a three-hour cruise. Jack was fairly well behaved but after about two hours, he was clearly ready to pack it in. I enjoyed it but I prefer a sailboat to a motor boat.

We spent the rest of the day on the beach and checked out the place where we considered staying and perhaps should have stayed on this trip. It is very nice and I think that if we return here, we will stay there.

On our beach walk today I found myself wondering if I might run into my college boyfriend's parents, who have a place just down the beach from where we are staying. I didn't see them which is probably just as well because his mom never liked me much. I don't blame her a bit. I wouldn't like it if Jack brought home someone like me to meet me either. I am sure that in college I appeared to be an unpleasant combination of sort of arrogant and not very polished. Why? Because I was that. Hard to believe that I evolved into such a perfectly poised, humble grown-up.

Not much else to report. I got quite a bit of sun today and I am pooped. We return to Indiana tomorrow and though I am looking forward to sleeping in my own bed, I have to say that I could take a few more days of this. I haven't been this relaxed in quite some time. There is just something about a change of scene that does one good.

Off to bed to start MISS MAPP, a new book I am trying out. I finished PORTRAIT OF A LADY and I loved it more the second time around even than the first. I was sorry to see it end.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I admit it....I was wrong


orchid
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
About this place, that is. Truth be told, we would actually consider vacationing here again at some point. Surprised? Me, too. But, things have turned around very much since the beginning of the week and we have discovered many charms here.

First of all, the fact that we had an interesting and pleasant day yesterday doing something sort of unusual was a big plus. Then, to follow it with a superb dinner was another check on the positive side. Yes, the beach is a bit chilly, but one has to admit that the sand is perfect - powdery and almost white - and the shell hunting at low tide makes for relaxing walks for us and great excitement for Jack, who loves beachcombing. Where we are staying is quiet and the beach is not crowded. I am sure it is because it is off season, but it is pleasant just the same. We probably wouldn't stay at this place again just because it offers little in the way of amenities and our little unit does not have a private patio with outdoor space. On the other hand, it was VERY reasonable for what we are getting ( A perfectly stocked kitchen, two full baths, a bedroom and a living room) . It is, and I do NOT exaggerate, the cleanest place I have ever stayed. They won a white glove award last year and it was well deserved. We do wonder what toxic chemicals they use to get things so pure after every tenant, though. Or how they find hourly labor to scrub so thoroughly. One of the mysteries of life. Every once and awhile, one of us exclaims, "MY! THIS PLACE IS SO CLEAN!" It cracks us up.

Today was delightful. Jack slept in until 7:30 (the usual wake up call from our dear little one is at 6AM). After a leisurely breakfast, we all went down to the beach for a walk. Afterward, we had an early lunch and headed out to the Marie Selby Botanical Garden (or Titanical Garden, as Jack calls it). Of course, some of my readers (and I know who you are) would think that we are torturing Jack with cruel and unusual methods by taking him to such a place on a vacation. Well, I am happy to say that not only did he learn a little something, he had a great time. And, so did we. The place was incredibly impressive and beautiful.

Tonight we will eat at a Peruvian restaurant that has gotten good reviews and tomorrow we have reserved a boat for rental so we can motor around the area. Tomorrow night, we will return to that wonderful Italian restaurant.

What I don't like about this place is the traffic, but the fact is, you don't have to be much in it, if you plan it correctly. I suspect that it might be unbearable when the season is full blast.

Well, Jack is clamoring for a shower and I am going to read PORTRAIT OF A LADY while he has one. I think it is one of my very favorite books and I highly recommend it.

Bye for now from the girl who was wrong about her vacation.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Phew! Things take a turn for the better....



Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Ah, loyal readers. I am so sorry to have caused you distress and worry about my sad mental state these past few days. You will be happy to know that I feel better today, both physically and emotionally. I suspect one often follows the other.

Today was the turning point of our vacation, I think. I woke up feeling much better than I did yesterday and so my outlook was greatly improved. This morning, we took a trip to Solomon's Castle. It was too cold for the beach and we thought that this way-off-the beaten-track attraction would be interesting. Solomon's Castle was built entirely out of used stuff, or junk, if you will. The outside of the place is made from discarded printing plates from a local newspaper. And so it goes from there. Inside of the place, you take a guided pun-filled tour of Mr. Solomon's sculpture, also made exclusively from discarded materials. It was incredibly wacky and clever and just a delight. Mr. Solomon and his wife (his fifth, by the way) actually live in this "castle" and there is also a "luxury" room available for an overnight stay. Adjacent to the place is the "Boat in the Moat", a boat built by Solomon to resemble the Santa Maria. It is a restaurant and not a terribly bad one at that.

The trip to Solomon's Castle takes you over miles of VERY rural roads and that in itself was a sort of tonic for me. I was refreshed by resting my eyes on some lonely orange groves rather than strip malls. It was simply a nice little trip.

Later in the day we went to the beach and although it was a little chilly, okay, a lot chilly, we had a great time.

Tonight, we FINALLY found an excellent place to eat. Bella Roma was a superb Italian restaurant and it restored my faith in the dining here. Tomorrow we will try an authentic Peruvian place and the night after, our last, we will probably go back to Bella Roma.

Jack was an absolute delight for most of the day. What else can I ask for? Okay, maybe a lap pool and a really great gym, but I can have that when I go home.

Well, the Indiana/Duke Basketball game is on ESPN and I must go and see it. Our tickets are being used by our neighbor tonight but perhaps it is just as well. I suspect that IU is going to get smashed by Duke. So sad.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

The Charms of Florida


Shuffleboard
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Have I mentioned how very much I love Florida? Of course not. Because, quite simply, I DON'T. Apologies to my loyal readers who live in areas which must not be at all like those I detest. I have not visited you but I am sure that your taste in location is superb. Perhaps we should have visited you on this vacation, but we were shooting for warmer weather, which, by the way, we aren't getting terribly much of here.

Anyway, I am going to unfairly say that I do not care for this state, with the exception of Sanibel & Captiva Islands which have escaped the strip-mall/B-Movie look common wherever else I have visited here. Apparently those towns have some effective zoning. Perhaps George Carlin would not be able to say accurately that America was one big shopping mall if the rest of the country had good zoning. But alas, that is a topic for another time. If you don't like the superior cranky me, read no further. I am superior and cranky today.

Today is not a fair day to be taking the measure of Florida or the measure of anything else to be sure. I have been sick all day and it rained buckets for at least half of the day. I don't know what is wrong with me but I suspect- perhaps wrongly- that I had some sort of intolerance to the five hundred pounds of garlic that were in my not very expertly prepared pasta dish last night. Don't get me going on the food in this town. We will try again tomorrow night, we hope, with better results. I know I am incredibly spoiled and it is quite unbecoming to complain about a perfectly fine Florida winter vacation. But, I guess I will simply suffer being ill thought of for today. Check in again tomorrow to see if I have straightened myself out.

Jack is having a great time. That must be said. He LOVES the beach and is enjoying being away, as he mostly does wherever we go. He is a good traveller. But he has been very obnoxious for at least half of every day. Good thing that it is the early part of the day...by dinner when we are in public he is as good as gold. And right now, he is quite charming as he plays a card game with Chris as I write. The solution is to go to a place that has a great kids' camp every day for the half when Jack might feel obnoxious. That way, Chris and I can enjoy some time alone and Jack can be heartily entertained. He loves that sort of thing. I seem to remember making that point strongly to my dear husband in the trip planning stages but he apparently didn't hear me. I thought his hearing was improving as regards myself, but apparently I was mistaken.

Well, that's enough complaining. Don't despair of my happiness, loyal readers. There are indeed wonderful things about this vacation...I just feel too tired and cranky to write about them just now. Perhaps tomorrow.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Here is the House that Jack Built


sandcastle
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
We are in Florida and this is a picture of the sandcastle that Jack built today. Just kidding. We are in Florida but the castle that Jack built was more like a big mound of sand with a half moat around it.

I am way too tired to be remotely interesting or witty so I will keep this brief. We will be here for a week and we plan to do very little other than relax. We are staying in a tiny little "resort" near the beach, almost on the beach. It is a sleepy and relaxing place.

Jack is loving the beach. I got to read almost the entire Sunday NY Times today (the short version available outside the metro area) while Chris and Jack built sandcastles there. This was worth the whole trip for me. It has been ages since I got to sit down on a Sunday and actually read the paper at my leisure. I miss that paper. (Okay, so I miss the east coast...what can I say?) The pathetic Bloomington Herald Times can barely be called a newspaper so I rarely take the time to read it all. I catch up on the Times on line but it just isn't the same as having it in your hands.

Even though I did get to relax and read the newspaper for an hour today, I have to say this: Jack was incredibly obnoxious today until dinner time when he finally shaped-up rather nicely. I was ready to give him up for adoption but most of the couples here are far too old to consider such a thing. I love my kid but let's face it. A vacation with your five year-old is not that. My idea of a real vacation is either to go away alone with Chris (hasn't happened since Spain, two years before Jack was born) or to go to a resort where they have a great little camp for Jack. The latter is perfect. It would give us a chance to have an excellent family vacation and give me daily alone time with my husband or just by myself without feeling guilty that Chris wasn't getting time to relax. Okay, so I am a rotten mother...but at least I am honest.

Well, it is time to sign off. I am SO tired for some reason. Perhaps it is the sea air. More likely it is the two glasses of wine with dinner.

Drowsily yours,
BloomingtonGirl

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Wild Turkey



Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
When we lived in Connecticut, I came home one day to find a big wild turkey standing on the roof of Meg's car in our driveway. I ran to get my camera but was not fast enough. I wish I had that photo to post today. We used to have about twenty or so wild turkeys that strolled through our neighborhood in CT. I always thought it was so cool. Little did I know. The news is filled today with stories of wild turkey uprisings...mean little birds pecking at humans! Please. Do they seriously think that they can stop us from eating them?

Undaunted by these attacks, we ate some turkey today. Chris did a turkey breast on the charcoal grill and it was wonderful. The Thanksgiving dinner I made was not my best ever, but it was very good and miraculously, all dishes were ready at the same time. We ate quite early because Chris had to go to the hospital at 2:30 and work what we call the goofy shift. At least he won't be working Christmas. New Years, yes. But that has never been a big holiday for us.

Kate is in NY visiting her boyfriend and Meg stayed in Kokomo to be with her in-laws, so it was just Chris, Jack and me for the holiday. I considered really scaling everything back and having dinner in the kitchen, not making all the side dishes...etc...but, it felt wrong to me. I mean, why wouldn't you go all out for two of the people you love most? So, I prepared everything I usually do (minus the whole bird) and I set and decorated a formal table. Okay, we did a Dinosaur Thanksgiving motif for Jack, but it was lovely and seasonal. A sort of Martha Stewart does Thanksgiving at the Museum of Natural History. Something for everyone at the table.

In a way, it was a cozy and delicious day. Because we were not having other people over, there simply was less cooking/clean-up to do. Jack and Chris had time to go on a hike this morning. Often when Chris tries to take Jack on an outdoor excursion, Jack complains a great deal about, well, everything. This time though, it was just magic. They both had a great time. When Jack returned from the hike, he was so happy and unusually affectionate. He was cold so I made him some hot chocolate to warm him up. You would have thought that it was the best thing he had ever had. When he was drinking it, he was happy all over. Pure joy. I just wanted to freeze him in time and hold us all there forever.

On the other hand, this holiday was a little lonely. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the preparation of the traditional meal and all that goes into it. I love that it isn't a religious holiday and that everyone celebrates it. For as long as I can remember, we have had lots of people around our table. So, this year was different for me. It really made me think about friends and family. I wish we didn't live so far away. But, as my late friend Michele always said..."It is what it is."

This year I am thankful for many things...you know, the usual stuff...family, friends, health, martinis... I am also thankful that it isn't last year. At last Thanksgiving we didn't yet know that Chris would be having open heart surgery. I am grateful that THAT is behind us.

Well, time to bed. Tomorrow I will be busy getting us packed and ready for our vacation and I need to get my rest.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

My New Love



Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Isn't she lovely? My laptop's operating system is ancient (does one computer year equal about one hundred human years?) and I couldn't upgrade it because of limitations inherent to the computer itself. So, Christmas is coming a bit early this year. I ordered an IMac today for my husband to give me for Christmas. Wasn't that nice of me?

In other news, I am happy to say that I believe that we have nailed down the concept for the Christmas Card this year. For those of you on our list already, you know what a project this has become for me and how much pressure your poor dear BloomingtonGirl is under every year as the holiday season approaches. I thought that all hope was lost this year but then a ray of genius entered my brain and VOILA! a concept was born. I hope that we can put it all together and get it out in a timely manner. If you aren't on our card list, don't despair. I will post the card here or you can get on our list by sending me an email.

Well, off to bed. Watched Empire Falls Part 1 tonight on HBO. Paul Newman is still a looker after all these years. What a class act he is.

More tomorrow between Thanksgiving preparations. Jack and I are going to make a mobile out of turkey drawings and other exciting crafts to brighten up our little holiday.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Home Town Hero



Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
This is a picture of Errek Suer, an IU junior who was a walk-on to the IU basketball team. Isn't he a cutie? He is a home town boy, having gone to Bloomington North High School and he is a whopping 5 feet 8 inches tall. Tonight he scored 13 points, including three three-pointers. The crowd went WILD. They go wild for any walk-on who has a hot game, especially if the walk-on is a short white guy. I love watching this kid play. He is so scrappy and focused. The other guys tower above him but he holds his own and then some.

Indiana crushed the Flordia A&M as expected but it was still a good game. We had Chris's group's seats tonight instead of our own season tickets. The group's seats are in the second row, just about in the middle of the court. The seats are shared among the partners. It is a really exciting place to sit. Our own seats aren't bad, but there is no comparison. The floor seats just spoil us. I looked into getting two floor seats for Chris for his birthday last year but I would have had to pony up five grand a seat just to get the opportunity to buy the seats. It is a (tax deductible) donation to the IU Varsity Club and supports the team. It isn't a one time deal, either. You have to write that check every year to keep the privlege buying the tickets. I guess if they can get it, they might as well do it. Lots of people are that wild for basketball around here.

I am amazed at how much I enjoy the games. The whole Big Ten thing is just a spectacle. The cheerleaders do some really impressive acrobatics and the band is wonderful. I just love the whole scene. I am actually learning a bit about the game as well. Who knew?

Well, I am off to bed.

Chinese Cyclists Sold Separately


Idiot
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
I don't know about you but I think it would be nice if we had a real president instead of a wanna-be action figure.
There. Got that off my chest.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Patented Kegel Master



Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Hi folks. I just couldn't resist this one. My friend Michelle e-mailed me a picture of another device called the Kegelcisor. Of course, it prompted me to do a search for other such devices. You know me, I can't resist this stuff. Not to use, of course...I just gotta know what's out there.

Anyway, there was a myriad of products ostensibly designed to assist one in doing Kegel's exercises, but the most interesting and may I say tacky item I found was this one, the Kegel Master. Note the lovely lavender plastic rose in the photo and the lovely pastel color of the dildo, I mean device. Its retail price is $149.95 but if you order now, you can get it for $98.95 on some websites. One of the sites touts the KegelMaster "as seen on TV". Wow. It must be good if it has been seen on TV.

Here is an animated demonstration of how it works:

Click Here

Reminds one a bit of the old PacMan video game doesn't it?

Testimonials revealed that not only was this device easy to use, but it was "pleasurable " as well. I bet it is. But for that much money, I am certain sure that I can find a reasonable facsimilie in my kitchen. Perhaps the toaster tongs? Nah, made of wood. Could end up in the ER for splinters. You can't be too careful when you are a doctor's wife. You definitely do NOT want to end up at the ER of your husband's hospital with anything involving your vagina and another object. I think that I will skip this altogether.

In other news, I am off the muscle melters and I think that my affect is coming back. My back is much much better. I weigh fifty more pounds from eating and lying around, but I guess that is the price I must pay to heal.

Rome is on. I must go!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Piano Recital


recital
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
My readers will be happy to know that I am much better today and can actually move around the house without yelping in pain. Many thanks to Dr. Deirdre for her phone consult. The muscle relaxers are doing their job magnificently. Can I have a glass of wine with them? It could only help, right? Feel free to leave your comment. I am still not 100% but at least I am not all crippled up, as my good friend Cindy's mom would say. Crippled up. Love that phrase.

Jack had his first piano recital today. He was brilliant, of course. I was able to sit through it, though it was challenging to become upright afterward. Anyway, Jack's rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star was far superior to the ten other kids who played the SAME SONG OVER AND OVER AND OVER...oh, excuse me. Yes, it was a little tedious and I was glad when the older kids started playing so I could listen to something besides Twinkle. But, still, it was sweet to see the little kids at the piano. Jack was a little nervous but he had no problem getting up there, taking his bow (he bows really funnily) and playing his little piece. The teacher asked me if I wanted to be in the recital but I declined. Maybe next time...hahaha. The oldest kid was 14 and he was WAY better than I could ever be.

Seriously, I am loving my piano lessons. Right now we are renting a piano for a year to try it out. I am pretty sure that I want to buy one at the end of the rental period. It is more satisfying than other instruments I have played in the past (flute and sax). I still stink at it but I enjoy it nonetheless.

In other news, well, there is no other news really. Chris is grilling hot dogs for dinner and taking care of Jack so that I can rest my back. I feel pretty wimply lying around like this but I have to admit that I am enjoying not doing much at the moment. I even got to take a nap this afternoon before the recital. I LOVE to take a nap and I so rarely do.

I can't say I am looking forward all that much to Thanksgiving, thought it is one of my very favorite holidays most years. This year, Chris has to work the "goofy shift" from about 2:30 to 10PM. Last Thanksgiving, I had two couples and their kids over for dinner and it was really nice. Well, this year, one of those couples is having Thanksgiving at their house and we are not invited. Ostensibly, I have been crossed off the wife's friend list over a babysitting dispute. I apparently stepped on her toes by using her favorite babysitter twice. A babysitter whose name I provided to this woman in the first place. I suspect it must be more than that but the babysitter thing is all I have been told. I mean, she knows that Jack and I will essentially be alone for the holiday and still, she didn't include us. In any event, I don't get this competitive, petty mother bullshit and I hope I never will. It is harder to stay out of the crossfire of that kind of nonsense in a small town like Bloomington, but I am going to attempt to steer clear. It is too aggrivating. I think that my husband is absolutely right when he says that the key to a happy life is a thick skin and a short memory.

Well, the hot-dog chef is calling me to dinner and I have complained enough. One HUGE brightspot today...I learned that Rome will have at least one more season! Hooray...I love that show. Season finale is tomorrow night.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Flat

On my back, that is. I threw my back out in the late afternoon and I literally cannot get up without great pain and pathetic moaning. I was originally going to entitle this entry "Guess I'll Go Eat Worms" because I was feeling that nobody loved me...ect. I am happy to say that this back pain got my mind right off those stupid problems. The bright side is that I get to stay in bed all evening and drink wine (hey, I don't have any Rx muscle relaxers and my husband didn't have time to write me any before he went to the game) while my one of our favorite babysitters takes care of Jack. The only think I am missing is a bag of Tostitos or something like that.

I haven't even had any stiffness in my back for a million years but I think that this trip- so much sitting & sleeping in a different bed every night- might have brought it on. I probably should have skipped my workout today but it's too late now. Besides, I had a great swim...my flip turns were lovely!

This back thing hasn't happened to me for years. I feel so pathetic. I literally had to crawl to the bedroom. I saw first hand how much I do need to hire someone to clean this house. I wanted to vacuum immediately. Alas, I could not.

So, my readers might be wondering why my husband abandoned me and went to the game...well, I forced him to go. It's the season opener (okay...it is against Nickles State...who?) but is should be really fun and energetic all the same. We had a babysitter anyway, so I figured he should go. And, I am glad that he went.

I am writing this in installments and since the last paragraph, I have successfully been to the bathroom (no small feat, believe-you-me) and have gotten myself an icepack and a bowl of my favorite cereal. Yum. Eating helps almost everything.

Well, faithful readers, I fear that I should sign off now. I am unable to find a comfortable postition in which I can hold my laptop and type. Woe is pathetic me.

I hope I will be up and around tomorrow. Otherwise, my husband won't be able to find anything...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

More Basement Blues



Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
When we got back from our trip, I thought I would post this picture...you know...There's No Place Like Home...There's No Place Like Home.

Yeah, there is No Place Like Home for Tornado sirens and irritating periods in the basement listening to that hand crank radio I bought after 9-11. (Along with all that stupid duct tape and plastic sheeting....yes, I did feel stupid for buying it afterward, thank you for asking.) You don't have to use the crank because it does take batteries but the crank is handy when the batteries die or when you have taken them out for use in one of your kid's stupid toys that came without batteries. But, I digress...

Anyway, yesterday, it was about sixty five degrees and not all that bad weather-wise. It was a little overcast and in typical fashion, I paid no attention whatsoever to the weather or the weather report. My husband called me from work to tell me that there was a tornado watch until ten PM. For those of you not living under these delightful weather threats, a tornado watch means that conditions are right to possibly produce a tornado. A tornado warning means that a tornado has been spotted and you are possibly in its path and you should take cover. Cover means the basement for us. And I think that you are supposed to be under a table or workbench while you are in the basement. Of course, we ignore the last part.

The reason that there was a tornado watch was because this huge cold front was going to move through and push out the warm we had been enjoying. Essentially, the forecast was for tornados followed by instant winter. And that is what happened...

But anyway, yesterday, when I picked Jack up from school, it was just starting to get pretty dark and starting to rain. Mid trip, it started to thunderstorm. By the time we got home, a good storm was going. Shortly after that, the sirens went off. We stayed in the basement for about an hour and had to go back down for another hour in the evening. I do NOT want to add any more living space to this house but it looks like we are going to finish part of the basement, just for tornados. My husband complained more than a few times about the tornado thing yesterday and I lovingly reminded him that it was he who dragged us here in the first place so he might want to keep his complaints to himself.

The wind blew like crazy all night and by this morning the temperature was in the thirties and we had some good snow flurries today. Lovely weather here. Grey, damp and mostly pretty cold winters followed by a beautiful spring - beautiful if it is a mild tornado season which it was NOT last year, followed by a hot as hell, humid as hell summer sprinkled with strike-your-house-knock-down-your-chimney electrical storms, followed by what should be an idyllic fall but isn't because somehow it is still tornado season. Is it me or do I seem a little negative tonight?

Truth-be-told, I am feeling a little down. I don't like to write about such things in my blog because I don't like my readers to worry even the slightest bit about this little HoosierMama. But, honestly, I am feeling a teensy-eensy bit sorry for myself today. It is always hard to return from such a whirlwind trip. Even though I am happy to be back, the trip reminded me of how much comfortable I am in CT and how much I miss my friends there. There, I said it. There is an energy on the East Coast that just isn't here for me. On the other hand, the daily living here is SO easy and the general quality of life is excellent. I do accept that it takes more than a year or two to make really really good friends. I will just have to wait for that.

Okay, enough of this ramble. Blech. I am off to bed to try out my new book, Miss Mapp by someone or other I had never heard of. I will report back.

Still wading through Salt but I always end up breaking up my non-fiction reading with novels.

Monday, November 14, 2005

We're Back!!



Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
I can hear the sighs of relief, oh loyal readers. "Phew!" You say. "She's back."

Many of you know that I have been on a whirlwind tour of the Northeast with Jack while Chris toiled away at work and ate fried eggs for dinner each night. I am SO glad to be back but I must say that I enjoyed most of the trip immensely. Jack was a great traveller. I am a bit tired to go into all details, so I will do it in installments, as the spirit moves me.

Our trip schedule was to be in my home town at my parents' house, the very house in which I grew up, on Wed, Fri & Sunday nights. Thurs we would visit my dear friend Cindy & her family in a nearby town and on Saturday, we would be in Connecticut.

Well, Wednesday evening, we arrived at my childhood home. I grew up on the block of Bellinger Ave that is not only one-way but is so narrow that you have to park half-way up on the sidewalk. Anyone driving past a parked car must drive up on the opposite sidewalk. The block has been called Pig-Tail Alley as long as I can remember. As a kid, whenever I had to give someone's parents directions to our house to pick me up or drop me off, I used to say that we lived half-way up Pig-Tail Alley in the toothpaste green house.

Years ago, when my folks decided to have aluminum siding put on the house, they chose a strange shade of green. It was originally a nice little white house with dark green shutters. The choice of this wacky green was odd, because my mother was always quick to derisively comment on the unusual colors that the "DPs" chose for their homes. (DP meant Displaced Person, often having "come over on the boat". For a long time I thought DPs were only Italian because she used the term most for Italians. My mother's own parents were DPs from the Ukraine or somewhere like that where cabbage is a popular staple. But, I digress.

Back to the house of my childhood. It is incredibly tiny and there is not more than ten feet between it and the house next door. I remember it as being sort of small growing up. I know that everything looks small when you go home as an adult. But to be fair, my parents have become sort of packrats in their advancing age and the tiny toothpaste green house is packed with all sorts of stuff, mostly dust collecting crap if you ask me...but of course, nobody does ask me. So, the house seems smaller and smaller as it fills up more and more with these irrelevent items. My mother constantly complains about my father collecting stuff and not being willing to throw anything out, but I took a good look around on this trip and I see now that he is clearly only part of the problem. She is almost as bad.

Let's talk about the kitchen. My mother's domain for sure. The kitchen is so packed with stuff that my mother has taken to storing snacks in the upper oven and all of her frying pans in the lower oven, the door for which lost its springs years ago and falls open heavily when pulled. KABOOM. Whenever my mother needs to use an oven, she has to empty out its contents first. It is me? Am I the only person who finds this incredibly odd? And, a fire hazzard to boot? There would be plenty of cupboard space if my mom would just clear out the four or so cupboards which are never opened because they are packed with stuff she NEVER USES. The kitchen table is too big for the kitchen and if four people are seated at it, one cannot get to any part of the kitchen without at least two people getting up.

Ooops...I just realized it is getting very late and I have to get some sleep. I will write more tomorrow. My home town stories must be told!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Night in the Basement


twister
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
And here I thought twister season was over. Last night at about three AM I woke up to a thunderstorm. Before we got struck, I actually enjoyed them. They can be quite spectacular out here in the heartland. But now, they are a little ruined for me. At least until we get some lightning rods installed.

Anyway, soon after the thunderstorm woke me up, the town tornado siren went off. We dutifully got Jack and all went to the basement, where we remained, for an hour or so, until we figured out from the television where the fronts were exactly. Then, we had a midnight snack and went back to bed at 5:30. I am too tired to write much more and certainly too tired to, well, you know.

I hate the thought of adding more square footage to this house, but if we decide to remain here vs. selling this and building smaller, we are going to have to have some part of the basement finished, for these special occasions.

Well, I must go and try to figure out what on earth I am going to read tomorrow night at the read-around.

Bye for now.

Friday, November 04, 2005

IU Basketball Begins Tonight & Jack Gets in Trouble


IU Basketball
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Well, it sort of begins tonight. Tonight is the first exhibition game of the season against a no-name team. Still, it should be pretty fun. We have season tickets again this year and a parking pass, which is key.

This picture is of D.J. Ratliffe (sp?) jumping over his teammates's heads. This guy can jump incredibly high, especially when you consider that he is only 6'4" tall. Now, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, BloomingtonGirl, when did you get interested in sports? Have you abandoned your high-brow cultural leanings? Rush back East, BloomingtonGirl, quick before you start attending Nascar!

Calm down, gentle readers. All is well, when I get home tonight, I shall read some Henry James to balance out the evening.

In other news, Jack got into trouble today at school for flicking a younger kid in the face with his finger. Apparently this is the second day he has done it, having recently learned the compelling skill of flicking. When I tried to discuss the flicking of the younger child, he explained it thus: Well, Mommy, I was teaching Neil how to flick and there wasn't anyone else to demonstrate on, so I did it to him." I fear this kid has my bullshit gene.

Well, we are off to the game.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Freudian Slip Correction

Last night, I woke up at about 4AM and couldn't get back to sleep. I started thinking about the blog I had written earlier in the evening. And I realized that I wrote "Too Tired to Fuck" instead of the correct song title..."Too Drunk to Fuck". I laughed out loud. Was this a sort of Freudian slip on my part?

Maybe I should write a song called Too Tired to Fuck, sex from the perspective of a middle aged mom.

Too Drunk to Fuck is what you might be occsionally when you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn with your kid.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Random notes from driving around town

Yesterday I was listening to Nouvelle Vague in my car. The track was a cover of the punk (?) song "Too Tired to Fuck" and I had it sort of loud. I stopped at a light and didn't worry about anyone hearing what I was listening to because I thought that my windows were closed. The singer enunciates FUCK so clearly and says it many times. Well, my windows were NOT closed on the passenger side and there was one of those massive SUVs next to me with a mom-like person in it looking my way, a little agog. I shut my windows immediately. I hope she didn't know who I was. This is a very small town. But, now that I have written that, I guess I can honestly say that I don't care. So, there.

Speaking of music in the car, I was channel surfing on my radio yesterday and heard a country song about this woman who was driving a car and had her kid in the back and too much on her mind. She hit a patch of black ice and threw her hands up and cried "Jesus take the wheel!" Huh. Now, that's a strategy. I don't think I'll try that one, but hey, there is a screw for every nut.

On the same drive, I was behind a pickup truck at a stop light. The driver was smoking a cigarette in a macho kind of way. He had two bumperstickers. One was something expressing that he stood with W. The other had a peace sign on one side of the sticker. On the other side it said, "The footprint of the American Chicken." It was all I could do not to get out of the car and do, well, I don't know what. It was so rediculous but it made me so aggrivated. I just don't what a peace sign has to do with being a chicken. What a stupid way to see the world. Good money says I wouldn't get along with that guy. Even though this town is not like the rest of Indiana, there is still way more of that here than there was in Fairfield County. Case in point, when I was at Harry's barbershop once. Harry and this other guy were going on about Watergate. They didn't understand "why the democrats were so upset about the break in. They had nothing good to hide anyway." I held my tongue. It wasn't my turf and I knew it.

Well, that's all for tonight. I have to get to some serious writing. I have to do a reading on Monday evening at the read-around for my reading group and I need to get going on a piece for it. Any votes on what I should read? Any entries from this blog strike anyone's fancy? Write in and let me know...

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Mighty Girl


power drill
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Recently, I purchased two ottomans at Target. They were really great looking and inexpensive. I thought they were perfect for what is becoming a sort of modern looking living room. They seemed to be low enough to fit half-way under the glass & steel coffee table. It was the look I was looking for.

Well, next time I won't leave my measuring tape at home. The ottomans were too tall and there was no way the existing legs could be altered without employing a sheet-metal worker. Further investigation revealed, however, that the legs could be removed and possibly replaced. I went to Lowes and purchased some new legs and brackets into which the legs would attach and that I could screw on to the base of the ottoman. The brackets holes alligned with the existing holes in the ottoman. I couldn't believe how easy this would be!

Well, of course I was right not to believe it. The holes in the brackets were too small to accomodate the size screw needed to fasten to the bottom of the ottoman. So, I went to the hardware store and asked the advice of the cute hardware guy with longish hair and a cute...well, I digress here. Let's get back on track.

Anyway, cute hardware guy helped me pick out an appropriate drill bit and I went home to try my luck at power drilling.

I figured out how to insert the bit into my my husband's power drill. It seemed securely attached. So far, so good. I held the bracket and pointed the drill at the existing hole. How hard could this be? I was simply enlarging the hole, not actually drilling a new hole. Of course, upon contact with the whirling drill, the bracket flew spinning from my hand. Truth-be-told, it was a little scary. I realized that I needed to secure the bracket with something other than my hand. I found a clampy thing and fastened it onto the bracket and tried again. It was hit or miss, or shall I say drill or flight. I got one piece drilled and figured that my luck would probably run out and the departing luck might take one of my eyes with it. I donned some goggles (the ones that Jack used for 'digging diamonds" )but I hadn't solved the problem of my bare hand, which was getting a bit nicked up every time the bracket was ejected from the clampy thing. I needed some hand protection and I went with what I know best. I got a hot mitt from the kitchen and used that. It worked! I was able to get the remaining holes drilled without injuring myself. (It wasn't the pain of injury I feared. It was my husband's reaction when they paged him to meet me in the ER...You were doing what??!)

Anyway, I feel so mighty having gotten the job done. Now, the legs need to be painted. Spray paint? Perhaps. Just not in the driveway this time.

I

Monday, October 31, 2005

Horror Stories


Horror Stories
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
If one more person shares their peanut allergy horror story with me in front of Jack, I might have to knock them unconscious. Jesus! What is WRONG with people? It's bad enough that you have to go through the whole peanut thing with anyone serving food...are their nuts in there? Could you please use a clean ice cream scoop...etc...etc. Most people are very accomodating but immediately after they serve you they feel have to deepen the bond they imagine they are forming with you by sharing with you IN FRONT OF YOUR POOR KID a horror story of someone they knew or someone someone they knew knew...and how that someone ate peanuts unknowingly and either got really sick, or had a severe reaction and had to be taken to the hospital. At least we haven't had to suffer through the retelling of someone's fatally bad outcome after peanut consumption.
While these well meaning idiots are going on and on, I try to interrupt them without being rude or causing undue tension on the part of my kid. It is simply a maddening pain in the ass.

There, I got it off my chest. I think that it is especially right on the surface today because it is Halloween and I will have to tell Jack that he can't have about 80 percent of his candy because they contain peanuts. That is a drag. It could be TONS worse and most days it isn't that much of an issue. It is just that I can't stand these horror stories and I just hate Halloween to begin with.

OOH. I am in a sad bad mood. Sorry. I won't write again until I feel a bit better.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Costume Masterpiece


robot5
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Here is Jack at home trying on his costume. So much more to write...so little time.
More later.

The Costume


robot6
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Here is Jack in his little parade at his school. I could write volumes about this fascinating costume, but alas, I must join my husband in the living room/TV room/whateverthehellyoucallthishugemcmansionroom to watch Kinsey. After all, we live in Bloomington. Gotta watch the fictionalized version of the biography of one of its most controversial residents.
More later.

TV Dinner Love


tvdinner
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Here is Jack last Friday evening at the altar of the TV Dinner. He worships these little trays of junk food. I have given in and designated Friday nights to be "TV Dinner Nights". Yesterday, he ate his second TV dinner and watched Star Wars for the first time. He didn't like "Dark Vadar". (Or is it Vedar?)

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Hazards of Spray-Painting


Rustoleum
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Jack's halloween party is tomorrow afternoon at his school. At 2PM the kids will don their respective get-ups and at 2:15 they will parade around the school. Refreshments will follow. Originally, Jack wanted to be Lenny from A Shark Tale and I should have gone with this because you can buy the costume on the internet and be done with it. But nooooo. I just couldn't let it be. I suggested that we make his costume and suggested that a robot would be a good thing to be. He agreed.

Since my in-laws were here all week, I got nothing done (except power eating) so I didn't start on the costume until this morning. I found a box that Jack could 'wear" and cut a head hole and arm holes in it. Then, I made him a helmet thing out of a six-pack carton and two paper towel tubes (antennae). I taped it all together and prepared to spray paint it shiny silver.

I spread out a large disposable tablecloth on our driveway, placed the boxes on top of it and sprayed away. It was a little windy so the spraying was a bit tricky. I was discouraged at first because the tape surfaces and the cardboard surfaces took the paint entirely differently and the box was not very uniform. Then, I remembered that I was doing this for a five-year-old and got over it. I didn't have to win an oscar for best costume design. After a bunch of coats, it didn't look too bad.

Now, as you might recall, the last time I spray painted something on our driveway, my eagle-eyed husband immediately noticed that I had gotten some paint on the driveway itself. I hate when he catches me being, well, being the careless person I often am. I know that I am careless about stuff like this and it bothers me not at all. I just hate when he notices it. So, I was determined to be extra neat this time. I would make sure that no paint got on the driveway at all. And in fact, it didn't. Well, while I was doing the actualy spray-painting anyway.

After I finished the project, I had some errands to do. The tablecloth and the drying boxes were behind my car so I moved them carefully into the garage on my husband's side. I surveyed the driveway and found no paint at all. I was not a little pleased with my self for doing such a tidy job.

I backed out of the garage and pointed my car in the direction of the street. I heard a strange noise. It sounded like I had run over something. I got out to check and found that indeed I had. A can of spray paint.

The can was pretty flattened and its contents had oozed out onto the sacred driveway. The sprayer was hissing in a threatening way and I became worried that the can was going to blow up. I threw the can onto the grass like it was a grenade with the pin pulled out and ran like my ass was on fire into the house to get some towels to wipe up the evidence. I felt like Lucy Ricardo.

I will post a picture of Jack's costume tomorrow when it is all finished. Like my spray-painting career. All finished.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I Weigh Five Hundred Pounds

My in-laws have been here since Saturday and I have used their visit as an excuse to eat everything I possibly can and now I weigh 500 pounds. I plan to lose all of the excess the weight over the weekend and get back into some of my clothes by Monday. Fortunately, my new bathing suit has some stretch to it so it will still fit and I can swim off the excess lard starting tomorrow. I imagine that I will float beautifully. I just hope I don't displace too much water in the pool.

In an ill-advised move, I went shopping today and bought seven pair of jeans and and two skirts. I needed to try them on at home because the mirrors and the lighting just plain suck at the Muh. (For those of you who don't know, I don't honor the Mall here with the whole name because it is so pathetic it doesn't deserve it. Thus the Muh.) Plus the lighting was terrible (as it always is unless you are in a nice store and of course, we have none of those in Bloomington). So, I brought everything I thought might possibly work home with me. Tomorrow, I will take almost everything back. I probably should wait until I lose a few hundred pounds before I start shopping for jeans in earnest. Shopping for jeans when you are in your forties is tricky business and one must be in the right state of mind and body.

I know now why I do everything mail order. It is just so much more civilized to try things on in your own home. Yes, you have to pay for shipping, but most of the time, it is worth it to me. I suppose I could make the trip up to Indy to some real stores, but it is an hour's drive and it feels like such a waste of time. And, it is SUCH a tedious drive.

I don't know why I am going on about shopping. I guess that ever since the heel incident, I realize how deficient my wardrobe is after almost two years of neglect and no shopping. I have to ramp it up a bit or I am really going to look like a frump. I do realize that pretty much nobody is going notice me anyway but it does make me feel better to look at least decent on a daily basis.

Well, off to bed. Maybe something more interesting will happen tomorrow and I will be able to write a fascinating entry. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Bad Logos. Bad Vegetable.


Logo
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Who designed this and how on Earth did it get approved? Enough said about that.

Another wonderful Monday because it started out with my writing group. We have a public reading in two weeks to which we invite people to come and listen. I don't know what I will read. It is tempting to read a funny piece because the feedback is so definite. You can tell by laughter if it is well received. I don't have much written that is serious. I have a list of topics I want to explore but they feel so large, so heavy. Way too ambitious for just two weeks to write something. Those are for another time. Light for now.

In other news, Jack insists on eating all meals on his TV dinner dish now. Apparently everything tastes better in the deep blue plastic divided dish. Well, everything except Okra. The dish didn't work its magic on that disgusting vegetable. I let Jack have desert even though he didn't finish his Okra. It is GROSS if you ask me.

Chris bought it at the farmer's market for some reason and we made it for dinner tonight. Well, Chris's mom made it after poring over several of my cookbooks for a recipe. She didn't have one of her own because she is one of the 99% of people who find okra repellent. She breaded and sauted the slimy pods and I prepared a jalapeno mayonnaise to accompany them. Chris ate them but nobody else was enthusiastic. I took the breading off and dipped it in the mayo and that was pretty good. Childish, but good. I slipped the naked okras onto his plate while he wasn't looking. Chris's mom prepared only half of the okra purchased. We slipped the other half in the garbage while Chris was upstairs putting Jack to bed.

Speaking of bed, that is where I am now. The house is quiet and Chris is trying to sleep. I fear my typing might be keeping him awake, so I am going to sign off and read SALT.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Who Reads This Blog & Steve Votes NO

When I started to blog, I don't know who I thought would be reading it. I started writing a blog to document our journey from Fairfield County, CT to Bloomington IN. At the time, I probably thought that my girlfriends from CT would read it and that would be that. I was surpised to find, over time, that my most enthusiastic readers were some husbands of my friends and (surprise) several of my husband's old partners and one of his non-partner best friends. Along the way, especially after the start of this, my second blog, I have picked up various new readers. The number and diversity of my readers is source of great delight to me. I am flattered that people tune in and then come back for more. This blog has become for me a little community of friends, some of whom I haven't even met. Virtual or not, it feels cozy in a hard to describe way. I see now what a lifeline it has been for me in our transition to the midwest. It takes a long time to really get settled - some say two years. I agree with that estimate. At least two years. Maybe more. I can't imagine how hard it would be if I didn't love this town so much.

Anyway, I received many comments about the Heidi boots (see posting from 10/20 entitled "Warning, Boring Rambling Content Below). Some were comments posted directly to the blog and others were directly emailed. Below I am sharing one from one of my husband's best friends. I have his permission.

Steve writes:

"What is this question, are the  boots too Heidi ?  What does that mean?

Are you referring to Heidi Fleiss the Hollywood madam and friend of Charlie Sheen? Are you referring to the model Heidi Klum of Sports Illustrated fame?  Or do you mean the little Swiss girl as portrayed by Shirley Temple in the movie?  

Do they look like boots a high priced call girl might wear? Would they be a turn on for a rich John with a footware fetish?   Do  these boots look like those that would grace the lovely feet of Ms. Klum while she is posing suggestively in a bikini on a tropical beach?  Or do you think that the little Swiss miss might select this footware to go looking for grandfather after escaping from that mean old lady with the kind, crippled rich girl in the mansion in the city far far  away.......Oh grandfather!

The boots are really NOT that attractive as evidenced by the fact that they are on sale!! Think about it.  The store owners  probably bought a railroad car (see Swanson story) full of these ugly boots, which nobody bought, and want to unload them ASAP.  So they figure they'll  send  some  mail order cataogues to  young  women in the Midwest who will think that the boots are so Heidi and consider buying them.. Save your money."

I wish Steve would start a blog, don't you?

Anyway, I must go to bed. Perhaps tomorrow night I will have something more interesting to say and more energy to write it all down.

Mother In Law


Mothers-In-Law
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
I would guess that a few of my readers remember this show...The Mothers-In-Law with Kay Ballard and Eve Arden. It ran for two years in the mid/late sixties. I remember loving this show, though I couldn't have been more than 9 years old when it was on. I don't know what made me think of it tonight. Maybe it is because my mother in law is here. Or maybe it is because my son-in-law is here (that still sounds so weird to me). Me, a mother in law? Anyway, the show was great and I am going to try to find some re-runs somewhere.

So, we have some company. Chris's parents arrived this afternoon and Meg, Abram and Betsy arrived early evening. Betsy is a nice fat baby and is pretty adorable. She is two months old.

Those who know me know that even though I am an enthusiastic mother to my own little Jack, I have just about no desire to hold any baby, even Betsy. Before Jack, I wasn't very interested in babies at all. With Jack, it was an entirely different story. I loved holding Jack but I can't think of another kid I have ever wanted to hold. Some people just gotta hold the baby, no matter whose little urchin it is. Not me. And change another kid's diaper? Forget it.

I guess in this case I thought I would feel differently, but I don't yet. Part of it is probably that I am reluctant to get drawn in and fall in love with this little baby. Given everything that has happened in my relationship with Meg, I am gun-shy and unable or perhaps unwilling to move in any closer than cordial. When she decided to have a baby, it certainly changed the rules of our relationship from parental/child to something else entirely. I haven't quite figured out what that is yet. Time will tell but for now, I really think its the best I can do. Occasionally I wish I could be different, but that is never a very productive exercise. So, onward ho.

Enough of THAT. Heavy, heavy. But, I just had to get a little of it out. Truth-be-told, I feel sort of lonely and uneasy tonight. It always throws me off kilter to have house guests, even if I love them dearly. For as social as I appear to be, I am a bit of a recluse and need all sorts of time and space to myself. I get uneasy when I don't get it. I am also really tired since the house alarm went off at 4:30 AM due to a malfunction. It took me about an hour to get back to sleep and about twenty minutes after that, Jack woke me up to start my bright and early day.

Let's end on an upbeat note so that I can sign off feeling cheery rather than a bit cranky and off:

It was an absolutely beautiful day today and we did get to go the the Farmer's Market. I think that if everyone in the world went there once a week, there would be peace on Earth. I am not kidding You just feel that good when you are there. We procured a bounty of goodies. I know I have said it a million times....I LOVE the market. Later in the morning, I went to the Y and worked out and then hopped in the pool and tried out my new bathing suit and goggles. I am happy to report that they are PERFECT. I ordered the suit from Land's End. Boy, do they understand my body a whole lot better than Speedo. It is flattering and is perfectly cut for swimming laps.

Well, I am so tired, I must now sign off. Good night, wonderful readers.

Friday, October 21, 2005

In Other News

I just posted a blog about Jack's first TV dinner. And now, I thought I would blog about my day because I know how fascinating you all will find it.

I made the Bolognese Sauce this morning. Jack got up at 5:50 AM so lucky me, I had lots of time to get it going before the babysitter came at 11. Jack didn't have school today for some evil reason so I had to get a sitter to come over so I could do incredibly important things such as exercise, get my hair cut and take my very first piano lesson. (After this, I am going to practice.)

Well, the sauce smells like the stuff I had on my honeymoon in the place that I can never remember the name of...it was the second city we visited in Italy. It was the most incredible Bolognese sauce ever and I have been in search of it since. The sauce I made tasted good as well, but it seemed to have too much oil/fat on the top. I am refrigerating it so the fat is solidified and I am going to skim it off before I make the lasagne. I think it will be FAB. More as the story develops.

Well, I thought my haircut was at 12:30 so after the babysitter came at 11, I raced to the Y to get in at least 30 minutes of swimming. The pool was a bit crowded with rather large people who made lots of waves, but I still managed to swim my fastest 1000 meters ever and then I rushed to get to the hairdresser's. Well, I forgot that IU is hosting Ohio State in football tomorrow and that made for a bumper to bumper traffic experience on the roads I use most. As a result, I started getting late for my appointment. So I called Steve, my hairdresser at about 12:35 and told him I had gotten stuck in traffic and was circling the block looking for parking and that I would be a little late. He informed me that I was already a lot late. My appointment was at 11:30. OY. He apologized that he couldn't fit me in later in the afternoon.

So, I had an hour and a half now to kill before my piano lesson. I went to the sporting goods store at the mall and looked in vain for another swimsuit (remember the back fat issue? Still there.) While trying on suits I took a long look at my hideous hair. I decided that I MUST get my hair cut right away.

I beelined to a barber shop where I knew there to be a female barber. She took me right away and twenty minutes and eleven bucks later, I emerged a new woman. I have to say that it is a really cute cut. As good as the ones I have paid much (MUCH) more for on the east coast and far more convenient and much cheaper. I loved the speed with which she worked. She cut off at least two inches. My husband didn't notice for two hours after he came home from work. This kind of thing continues to amaze me about him.

My piano lesson was pretty funny. I am taking from the same woman who teaches Jack and I was a bit surprised to find that she uses the same high-pitched, sing-songy voice when teaching me. GOOD JOB! And she sings kid words to the different ryhthms. Like "Run, Mommy, Run, Mommy" and "Charlie Brown and Snoopy". I read music and she keeps forgetting that. But I learned a lot today and I am going to keep it up. I enjoy playing.

Well, that is all for now. I wonder how many readers made it through my little boring journal today to this point. I am working on more witty pieces for the future but as always, can promise nothing.

Of to read more SALT.

TV Dinner


TV Dinner
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Jack read a book this morning in which a little boy ate a TV dinner. Jack had no idea what one was (I boast) but he became immediately obsessed. He begged for one. He got dressed right away and suggested that we go to the grocery store and pick one out. So, I decided to go ahead and do it. I did need to get some grocery shopping done for the impending in-law visit and I thought a little bribe of a TV dinner might grease it a bit. And, boy was I right. This kid was SO excited about picking out a TV dinner. All day long, he kept asking when it was TV dinner time. It was a riot. I let him watch THE FLINTSTONES (the episode where Fred and Barney enter Pebbles in a beauty contest) while he ate his prized TV dinner. Believe me, it was a HUGE treat for him. He asked me to take a picture of him posing with the dinner and then wanted me to take a picture of him chewing the dinner. Then, he had me take a picture of the dinner itself. I poured myself a glass of wine and cozied up on the couch and watched THE FLINTSONES and just loved the whole thing. He is so incredibly sweet.

So, you are probably wondering, how on Earth did the TV dinner get invented? Well, funny you should ask, because I happen to have the answer right here!

It all happened in 1954. Gerald Thomas, a C.A. Swanson & Sons executive, had a big problem. What to do with about 270 tons of left over Thanksgiving turkey.

"After Thanksgiving, Swanson had ten refrigerated railroad cars-- each containing 520,000 pounds of unsold turkeys -- going back and forth across the country in refrigerated railroad box cars, because there was not enough storage in warehouses. We were challenged to come up with a way to get rid of the turkeys," said Thomas.

He got the breakthrough idea from the trays used for airline food service. And the TV dinner was born.

The first production order was for 5,000 dinners, thought to be a big gamble at the time. They had about two dozen women armed with ice cream scoops filling the new trays at night.

The first TV dinner featured turkey, corn bread dressing and gravy, buttered peas and sweet potatoes. It cost 98 cents and came in a box resembling a TV.

The 5,000 dinners proved to be a gross underestimation. Swanson sold 10,000,000 of them that year.

Of note, most folks didn't own freezers back then, so the dinners were bought and prepared the very same day.

A frozen fried chicken dinner was introduced in 1955. Turkey is still the most popular Swanson TV dinner, except in Fort Worth-Dallas, where fried chicken is the favorite.

Gentle readers, wasn't that interesting? Well, I thought so.

More in the next post, which, I am starting as soon as I publish this one.