Sunday, April 30, 2006

Dancing with my Baby


Dancing
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
That Jack, he can dance! He even twirled me a few times. It was incredibly cute. I couldn't resist posting this one, even though I will be so glad to spend most of my day away from the little fellow tomorrow. We have seen entirely too much of each other the past three days.

It is Sunday evening, a few minutes to Soprano time. Love that show.

As I write, I simmering a Tuscan White Bean w/ Rosemary soup and I must say that it smells absolutely divine. I have not made the recipe before. If it tastes as good as it smells, I will post the recipe.

We have been toying with the idea of selling the McMansion as I might have mentioned in this post. After all, it would feel rather funny to me and Chris not to have a major upheaval per year. Now, with moving here, Meg's wedding, and Chris's surgery behind us, we've been feeling rather too relaxed. So, we brainstormed one night over cocktails and decided to think about moving as a way to raise our stress levels to normal.

Seriously, this house is really too big and we would rather live in something more manageable. The problem in this town is that there is nothing good on the market. That is what our experience was two years ago and it is probably why we jumped on this place. Don't get me wrong. It is a lovely house in many ways. It just is too big for us.

Well, I must go to watch the Sopranos. More later right here.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Good Looking Couple


Good Looking Couple
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
I know it is impossible for parents to be objective about their children's looks. I imagine even the poor elephant man's mother found him to be a beautiful child. But, even so, I am sure that you will agree that these two are just gorgeous, all subjectivity aside. (So that my readers won't worry that BloomingtonGirl's standards of decorum are slipping, I must mention that I have, of course, spoken to Megan about her unfortunate choice of a red bra under an otherwise lovely ensemble. And I am sure you will be relieved to know that I am sending her a gift certificate to Victoria's Secret for the purchase of more modest colored undergarments. Goodness knows we can't have her dressing like some teen mother. She is twenty-one after all.)

This photo was taken at a family wedding. Jack was debonair in his navy suit. A rather forward five-year-old girl later put the moves on him. He succumbed to such attention as men are wont to do and spent the reception being happily chased around by the charming girl in her party dress. It was very cute. I am hoping to get a photo of the young love birds from my father-in-law to post on this site. Stay tuned. Meg was happy to be able to introduce her new baby and husband to the extended family. Kate was not there, being unable to tear herself away from her last semester at her beloved Washington University. I can't blame her. The real world is starting to loom large for our little graduate so I suspect that she is hunkering down, hoping it might go away. She plans to move to Manhattan to live in sin with her boyfriend of four years. I really like this guy and hope that they marry. I would rather that they marry before they live together but I am very conservative in the matter of cohabitation before matrimony. I think that for young people (read people under forty, especially those who have never married) it is a VERY bad idea. It isn't of course because (gasp) they might be having what my mother would call relations, it is because shared real estate, owned or rented together, entangle a couple in ways that separate residences, even if one is not often used, do not. It surprises me again and again how old fashioned I am in these matters. However, Kate has a good head on her shoulders and I am sure that everything will work out just fine.

In other news, I did two days of pretend day trading of silver futures and I am pleased to report that I made $5100 pretend dollars. The first day I made only $100 but I got the hang of buying low and selling high on the second day and made a whopping five grand. I might study up on this stuff and really get into it. Stay tuned for that as well.

Well, I am off to do the glamourous work of the hausfrau. Grocery shopping...etc. Chris is working today. More later on this delightful channel.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Spring Cleaning & A New Career for BloomingtonGirl?


Paper
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
I have just spent the last two and a half hours cleaning & organizing my office and I am amazed at the amount of paper I have moved around. When I go to pick up Jack from school today, I will drop three large bags of paper off at the recycling bin and I’m not even finished. How does a stay -at-home mom generate this kind of paperwork?

And, all of this paper does not include the mail-order catalogs that clog our mailbox daily. I am not exaggerating. We get from three to six A DAY. I might look at one or two A WEEK, maybe. The rest go straight to recycling. What an incredible waste of resources. I have started cutting out the address part of the catalogues. I will contact the companies with our information and have them remove us from their mailing lists. There. The headlines will read: BloomingtonGirl does her share for the environment. Brava! BloomingtonGirl!

In other news, I recently had a little windfall of my very own when the biotech company I worked for just before I had Jack went public. I sold my stock last week and was trying to decide how to invest my wealth. (It isn't a whole lot but after five years with no paycheck of my own, it seems like a bonanza!) Anyway, Chris suggested that I take part of my little account and purchase some silver and today I did just that. Well, I watched the charts all day long and realized at the end of the day that I had actually made a neat little sum (on paper). So based on this experience, I have decided to become a day trader.

Why become a day trader? Well, first of all, to make gobs and gobs of money. I know. You are about to say that the large majority of people who endeavor to day trade don’t end up in the black. Sure, that may be true, but I am not most people. I made money today so I don’t see why I couldn’t make it every day. I probably have something like a Midas touch, you know? But, besides making easy money, I have another important reason. I want to be able to SAY that I am a day trader at cocktail parties. It would go something like this:

"So, what do you do, Mrs. Dr. McGary?"

"Why, little old me? I'm just a stay at home mom and a (pause for effect) DAY TRADER."

I suppose that I could add that I am a writer also, but I don't want to be too intimidating. After all, the goal of cocktail party conversation is to put the other person at ease while you hint modestly at your superiority. I think that I read that somewhere.

But rats! My plan just might be thwarted. I just realized that we don’t even GO to any cocktail parties here in Bloomington. The row of party dresses gathering dust in my closet is a testament to that fact. Maybe it isn’t worth being a day trader if I can’t boast of it at a cocktail party. I will have to reconsider this career choice.

Besides, when would I have time to blog if I were trading those silly futures contracts all day long? I couldn't let my loyal readers down like that, no siree. So, for you, I shall give up fabulous day trading success. And if I DO get to go to a cocktail party here in Bloomington, THAT is what I will boast about.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Exhausted

We returned home yesterday and I would love to write in detail about our trip but I am EXHAUSTED and I think that I am coming down with a cold. (That is a drag but I have to say - knock on wood- that I have many fewer colds in Indiana than I had in CT for some reason.)

Anyway, I will post more later this week. I am going to curl up with some tea and read ANNA KARENINA. Great book. I should be Tolstoyed out when I finish this one.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Whin-ery

Greetings loyal readers. We are in Williamsburg where the weather is just perfect and the hospitality devine. Chris, Jack and I are visiting Chris's parents here and as always, it is so relaxing. I have said it before and will say it again...I am LUCKY in the in-law department. We leave tomorrow for the DC area to go to our niece's wedding. Then, on Sunday, we are back to Indiana.

The title refers to a visit we made today to a huge park in Richmond. The place is called Maymont and has beautiful gardens, a pond, an aquarium and a petting zoo. Jack whined just about all through the visit as is typical for him if he is the least bit uncomfortable. Today, the sun was out and the bees were abundant...not a good combo for little Jackson who is not a rough and tumble kind of guy. Alas, what can a parent do? I think that the thing to do is not to go on these kinds of excursions with the little shaver. The perfect vacation is one where they have a day camp for Jack and a bar by the pool for me. Think what you like about my mothering. I should have been a mom in the 1950s.

In other news, a friend of mine from Bloomington recently had a very successful tummy tuck and truth be told, I can't stop thinking about how nice it would be to have a flat stomach after only one week of recovery agony and about ten thousand bucks. The only thing that keeps me from doing it...okay, the THREE things that keep me from doing it...1) I don't want the scar that will run from hip to hip 2) I am a chicken and 3) my husband won't let me, darling man that he is. I guess I will just have to rejoin the Pilates place this summer.

In other other news...well, there is no other news. I just wanted to post to keep my eager readership sated for news of their BloomingtonGirl.

Must go and get ready for dinner.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Nice Weather We're Having


Radio from Hell
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
This innocuous looking item has been the cause of many sleepless nights for your poor BloomingtonGirl. It is a Weather Alert Radio. For those of you living in areas in which the weather doesn't cause you to fear for your life, you have probably never even heard of one of these evil things, much less considered purchasing one. For the rest of us unlucky people, or at least people like ourselves who can't get used to their new location’s deadly weather, the Weather Alert Radio is a must have.

My husband recently purchased this thing after we realized that it was possible - indeed probable- to sleep through the town’s tornado siren. To be sure, there are many times when the loud violent thunderstorms that are oft harbingers of their funnel-cloud cousins do the job of the Weather Alert Radio. But, being the cautious folk that we are, we wanted that extra protection that only a Weather Alert Radio could offer.

So, what does this device do? Glad you asked. The Weather Alert Radio is programmed to sound a startling and jarring alarm when there is a threat of severe weather in your area. When you hear the alarm, you push a button on the top and you immediately get the National Weather Service's latest local alert for your area. You can program the radio to alert you to flooding, thunderstorms, snow storms, mud slides...you name it. The thing that we were interested in, of course, was the tornado warning.

At first we didn’t realize that we had to remove those threats that we didn’t care about, so we had a couple of nights of being woken up to be alerted to snow that was coming the next day. I jumped out of bed and was reflexively heading to the basement when I realized that I would probably be safe in my bed since the snow wasn’t coming until the next afternoon. After that, my husband removed the snow alert and other non-important items from our radio menu. Now, we get only Severe Thunderstorm Alerts (completely annoying if you ask me...I mean, I KNOW when we are having a severe thunderstorm. Plus the you get a new alert for each new thundertorm cell so you might get one after another), Tornado Watches (also annoying...this is just a warning that weather conditions are such that a tornado could form - so that might be anytime here in Indiana, right?) and Tornado Warnings, which essentially mean get into the basement or for those in mobile homes, bend over and kiss your ass goodbye.

Lately, we have had many impressive thunderstorms. I used to enjoy these light shows until last summer when one blew up our chimney and knocked out a bunch of our small appliances. Now, I cower in my bed when there is a bad one. We have a futon couch in our master bedroom on the first floor so that we can bring Jack downstairs when the storms are bad. The other night, the lightning made me so nervous that I developed a back ache from tensing up so much. I brought Jack into the basement in advance of the tornado warning, which, of course, we later got. It might have been a bit irrational, but I just can’t stand these storms anymore. If you have been hit once, you know it can happen again. We haven’t gotten lightning rods yet because we haven’t been able to decide whether we will stay in this house long term. Plus, it isn’t proven that lightning rods actually help anyway.

Anyway, we are starting to wonder if the prudent route is to build a one story house of bricks a la the third little pig with the sleeping quarters in the basement. A sort of bunker if you will. That way, you can just go to sleep and not worry about the stupid weather.

In other news, Easter is tomorrow and we do the Easter Bunny thing with Jack. He put out a carrot for the Bunny before bedtime tonight and is very excited about getting something from the Easter Bunny in the morning. I have to say that I feel completely rediculous promoting this silly myth. Santa is one thing, but a Bunny? It is such a stretch that I feel like an idiot lying about it. On the other hand, it is magic to see him so excited.

That’s all of my rambling for now. I have to go and make some pie crust.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Sir Jackson & Other Stories


Sir Jackson
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
This is Jack dressed up as what he says is a King. Rather regal, isn't he?

It is a gorgeous day here in the midwest...sunny and warm with no tornado warnings for a change. Chris is putting Jack to bed and I am going to curl up with Anna Karenina. I didn't intend to read back to back Tolstoy but it just sort of happened that way. Anna is a great novel.

In other news, there is no other news.

More later when I am wittier.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Getting Settled, Stupid People, I am a Pig & Restraint of Pen and Tongue


betsy
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Warning: This is a rambling blog that has no particular point or even wit. Don't say you weren't warned.

I have been reading through my very old blogs recently. The ones from late 2004 and early 2005 (www.jonimcgary.blogspot.com) which describe the preparation for our move to IN and our first experiences here. This exercise is not merely one of nostalgia, though I must admit that it is enjoyable just for that. I am doing this to find material I can develop into larger pieces for a compilation I am working on. It isn't clear what I'll do with it once it is finished. I'll either decide to try and get some/all of it published or I won't. Either way, it is fun to look back on our journey from CT to IN.

A very smart friend of mine has often reminded me that it takes at least two years to really get settled in a new place. I think that he's right. Two years and three months have passed since we became Hoosiers and I can finally say that I feel settled. I no longer long for Connecticut. This is our home now. I have become accustomed to the pace and ease of life here and I think that it would be difficult to re-enter the pace at which we used to live. I hadn't felt this way until pretty recently - very recenly actually. I would have a hard time leaving this place now. I have often sung the praises of Bloomington in this blog, so I won't bore you with doing it yet again. Suffice it to say that we really take advantage of the arts/sports/food...etc. here and enjoy the ease and INexpense of it all.

I have even accepted that we are going to stay in this McMansion of a house. As you know, Chris and I have been toying with possibly selling our house this spring while the market is still decent and then renting until we find a place or even building. But, alas, we are too tired and lazy to make a big move again right now AND- more importantly - we've come to realize that we have such amazing neighbors on this street that it would be crazy to move. So, that is that.

Now, on to Stupid People. I have no point to make other than this: If you don't believe that this world is peopled with stupid humans, just turn on Dr. Laura and listen to a few of the callers and the messes they have made of their lives and their childrens' lives. Don't get me wrong...I am no huge fan of Dr. Laura. She is WAY too far right for me. On the other hand, I don't disagree with everything she says. Like everyone and everything, she is a mixed bag. Except for our president. No mixed bag there. He is a pure bag of bad news for this country. But, I digress...

In other news, I am a P-I-G. Yes, it is true. Today, I ate three very light and healthy meals but made sure I undermined every healthy bite by stuffing my face with decadent stuff in between. By way of confession, I ate three (homemade) scones over the course of the morning, (that was after breakfast) and an entire bag of sea- salt bagel chips (about 780 calories total with saturated fat to boot) in the late afternoon. After dinner, I polished off a rich chocolate cupcake - not very big to be fair - and a healthy glass of wine. There. Now that I have confessed, I am spiritually purged. I can't physically purge because bulimia has never been my strong suit. I did take my bike out for the first time this season but it was a brief ride so I can't justify my bagel chip/scone/cupcake food fest. Alas, there is always tomorrow.

Not much else to report. The picture here is of Betsy, my (gasp!) grandaughter and I must say that it does not do her justice. She is a beautiful, happy and very funny little girl. I am happy to report that Megan is a good mother to her and that Abram is a fine husband and father. It is an understatement that I wasn't keen on Megan getting pregnant and married thing at SUCH a young and unprepared age, but I gotta admit she and her husband are making it work. Life keeps teaching me to keep an open mind and a closed mouth. And many of you know that a closed mouth is not a natural state for your BloomingtonGirl.

I have watched recently as two (completely unrelated) families have developed what will likely be permanent rifts and hard feelings over things that could have been prevented had most everyone involved exercised a little less selfishness and also restraint of tongue and pen. Time passes and things change (including how you feel about things, or how angry you are, or how slighted you feel...etc) and it is most often better to have worked out your own feelings in private rather than opened your mouth in the heat of the moment. Or at the very least, to have waited a day or two before you publish your thoughts verbally, on paper or electronically, never able to retract them again. It is a hard thing to do, but it is most always the best thing. I don’t often live up to this lofty goal, but I am getting ever so slightly better over time. Being a stepmother taught me a lot in this area. I am sorry to say that I didn’t learn proactively...I learned from my mistakes. Fortunately, they have all been fix-able.

Friday, April 07, 2006

I'm an Idiot


Seizure
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
So today, I am in Blockbuster (oh, how I miss my MediaWave from Fairfield) and I go up to check out my two movies. The guy at the desk is the one I always get. The light right over us is one of those flourescent ones and it is flickering like mad.

I say to the guy, "You should get that fixed. Someone is going to have a seizure." Now, I don't know why I say things like this. Do I care, really? Or am I trying to show off some completely insignificant (and probably widely known) fact about strobing lights causing seizures? I never really thought about my motivation until today when the guy said,

"I know. I sometimes get seizures from these lights. But, it's okay because I get workmans comp." (What??? Okay? How could this be okay? Why not just change the lightbulb?)

I feel totally stupid for so blithely bringing the topic up and say, "Geez. I'm sorry for being so offhand about it."

And to make things worse, he says,

"That's okay. I don't usually notice that the lights are doing that until someone points it out."

Then I really felt stupid and pretty bad. The poor guy probably had a seizure as soon as I left. Nice work, BloomingtonGirl.

On the other hand, that place ALWAYS has lights flickering like that so if one gets seizures from that, one shouldn't work at Blockbuster. So there. Now I feel better.

Some of my loyal readers might be wondering who the aformentioned MediaWave of Faifield is. Wonder no more.

MediaWave is an amazing independent video store in downtown Fairfield, CT, from which we used to rent all of our movies. What made it so amazing? Was it the selection of interesting films? Great prices? Yes, yes and yes. But the best part of the store were the young, film savvy, edgy guys who worked there. I miss their movie recommendations and excellent commentary on what to rent. I miss Drew and Jordan, the best of the best. I read their blog but it just isn't the same as being there.

I know, I could avoid the evil Blockbuster and rent from Cinemat in Bloomington, which is a hip, indy place. But, loyal readers, it is less convenient and their hours don't work for me. I hate to be such an American, but what can I do?

In other news, there were a million severe thunderstorm warnings today and a couple tornado warnings mixed it. It is SUCH a pain in the neck. I don't understand why the midwest is even populated, what with storms here being what they are. I know we will get struck by lightning again...it is just a matter of time.

Well, I have to go tuck Jack in and then whip up dinner for his amazing parents. I am making Pad Thai again...I had a craving.

More later.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

This is Sex Symbol Brigitte Bardot in the 1960's


Before
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.

And this is what she looks like now...


After
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Pictures like this remind me that at some point, EVERYONE has to say Uncle to the aging process. By this I don't mean that you have to let yourself go. I just mean that you have to accept that you no longer look twenty, (or thirty or forty or fifty) anymore. And you do the best with what you have and stop making yourself miserable over it.

Now, it may sound like BloomingtonGirl is getting all lofty in a new agey "accept yourself the way you are" kind of way. That isn't my main point, although it certainly is the goal of someone as enlightened as I pretend to be. My point here is that all the crap you put yourself through to maintain a youthful appearance is ultimately hopeless in the end. It is a losing battle. I suppose we all know this but we sure act as if it isn't true.

I go to the Y several times a week and see lots of older and just plain old women naked in the locker room there. This has been very instructive. Many of these women are pretty fit for their age - there is even a 91 year-old who swims a mile a day. But not one of these women - even those in their middle sixties who are slender and fit - has a young looking body. Wrinkles, saggy skin, age spots, cellulite...par for the course. Ain't nothin' you can do about it...whoa, whoa, whoa...set me free, why don't ya babe? (Sorry, got carried away there.)

Now, you might argue that you can have some work done on your face, right? That certainly makes women look younger when done right. But, at some point, face lifts just start looking weird. Take Joan Rivers for instance? And poor Jessica Lange (where did she have surgery? at a discount surgery center? God Awful!). So, you have to ask yourself, at what point are you going to give it up? Do we think that it will be easier at 50, 60 or 70? Do we think that at some point in the future we are going to wake up and decide to age gracefully after years of struggling against it? Why not make that time right now and use that energy to do something else other than get sucked into the marketing that promises us eternal youth?

I am going to give it a try. As my loyal readers know, it won't last. But, for something new to do, I will try it.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Lots of Prep Work


Pad Thai
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
This will be short because I am tired from cooking. OR maybe from drinking two glasses of wine while cooking.

I made Pad Thai for the first time tonight. It was something I had wanted to make for some time. Jack and I went to the "Oriental Grocery" today to get some of the more exotic ingredients (like dried shrimp (pee-you) and pickled salted radish). The dish took about five minutes to actually cook but the prep work for all the ingredients seemed to take forever. I am glad to report it was delicious. On the other hand, with three pretty good Thai restaurants in town, why bother?

In other news Indiana University has a new basketball coach and that is HUGE here. He used to be the Sooner coach and now he will be the Hoosier coach. Who thinks of these names?? Anyway, I hope this guy can take the pressure cooker that is Indiana Basketball. When I first saw the movie Hoosiers, I didn't really get how much basketball means to these Indiana folks. I do now. It is serious business. If only my overly tall kid would take an interest. He would have it made.

I am off to bed to finish (I hope) War and Peace. I am in the part where Tolstoy is opining about marriage. Love this book.