...for a different kind of girl

silent surburban girl releasing her voice, not yet knowing what all she wants to say about her life and the things that make it spin. do you have to be 18 to be here? you'll know when i know.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

'and when you think you've had enough of this life...'

...your husband will walk in the door an hour after you thought he was leaving for a three night work stint and inform you he's been fired.


And other words that start with the letter 'F.'

And also no insurance.

Two kids.

One house.

Lots of tears.

It feels like this life never ends.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

'let's all get up and dance to a song that was a hit before your mother was born'

When I was growing up, my bedroom was a purple shrine to all things Duran Duran. Every square inch of the four walls was covered with posters purchased from Coach House Gifts and pinups extracted with surgical precision from BOP magazine. I believe it's safe to say every girl who came of age in the 1980s who had a pulse probably lived in a bedroom like mine.

During the course of my obsession, which is, I'm not going to lie, still sort of with me, my mother was forced to listen to 'Rio' more times than should be legal under some sort of UN treaty. Every time she'd enter my room, she'd ask, "Now, which one is Simon?" and "How come three of them have Taylor for a last name, but they're not related?" and I'd answer "My future husband" and "Some weird twist of fate," and then further educate her on these and all other things pop culture, and I was sure I'd done a pretty good job teaching her. Before I moved away, my mother was aware of Madonna and knew that we shouldn't make eye contact any time she passed by my room as Prince's "Darling Nikki" was blaring from the stereo. I was proud of the pop culture student she'd become.

Cut to this week when mom stopped by my house to give me something she'd found in my old bedroom.

That is an old Nike ad I yanked from a magazine and taped to the back of my childhood bedroom door sometime during my late teens, aka 'The Seriously Angsty Years (Prior To Those Presently Being Experienced).' That, my friends, was the last bastion of my old life, preserved for lo these many years and never uncovered until just recently because my mother no longer has the pleasure of living with a teenage daughter who slams her bedroom door shut in bitter defiance to whatever injustice she feels is being handed her.

(That wasn't me, though. I was the eager to please first born good child.)

Anyway, I couldn't figure out why mom was giving this to me. It's just an old ad, I told her. You could have just tossed this. "I was going to," she replied. "But then I turned it over and, well, I know how much you like the Beatles, so I thought I'd bring it by and let you decide what you want to do with it."

This is what's pictured on the other side:

Ladies and gentlemen - THE BEATLES!!

I think the one in the middle is Paul. The haircut is reminiscent, at the very least. I also think I failed my mom in all things pop culture. Although how a woman who should have experienced life during the height of Beatlemania is this confused is beyond me. If I had a guitar, it would probably gently weep. Perhaps this ad was inspired by the Abbey Road album cover.

Regardless of my failings, I loved that woman when she was 64, and I still do now that she's 66. She makes me happy. Also crazy and exhausted and overwhelmed and irritated and delighted, but mostly happy. So do these other things:
  • Swimming (if for no other reason than it forces me to shave my legs)
  • Finding my INXS Live Baby Live DVD while cleaning and wasting the rest of the afternoon watching it because gah! And swoon! That sea of bodies freaks me out.
  • Stumbling across Improv - Ice Starring Styx on TV this weekend. Figure skating to the music of Styx as performed by the remaining member(s) of Styx? Bring me the cheese!
  • The kind elderly lady who, when I found a book for her today, said, "Cool. Bless your heart!" I needed that.
  • Additionally, the young woman who asked "Where is your erotica?" The word 'erotica' makes me skeevily happy.
  • Saving a ton with coupons. I'm not extreme, but I'm damn efficient.
  • Speaking of my mom, the way she pronounces 'quesadilla.' She doesn't pronounce it as it should be, but rather she's straight up Napoleon Dynamite-style when she says it, and she doesn't even realize she's wrong! I love it.
  • Finally, and without remorse, giving up on The Jersey Shore. No more!
  • Finishing 'The Leftovers' by Tom Perrotta. It's not erotica, but it's good.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

'you cook so well, all nice and French'

I very much enjoy the ritual of cooking meals for my family. One of my goals this year was to reduce the number of times we eat out and instead enjoy a healthy, home cooked meal, so nothing gives me more pleasure than to plan, shop for, and prepare a meal that we'll all eventually gather around and warm our souls over while also enjoying great conversation. Each day as the clock ticks nearer to 5 p.m., and the motivation to journey to the kitchen to begin laboring over the stove approaches, I'm delighted to do this for those who depend on me to nourish them.

My plan, of course, is truly going well. In fact, if restaurants were built on such kudos as "Is this *really* what this is supposed to taste like?" and "I've had worse, I guess," then believe me, friends, I'd have a string of successful eateries dotting our nation's landscape, each staffed by individuals who began their days happy and eager to try new creations only to end them frustrated and packing away leftovers, all at your service! My flagship eatery would be named "YES, it has onions in it! Jesus! Just DEAL!" I hope you enjoy today's special, "If I wanted to poison you, believe me, I'd do it with something other than meatloaf."

Of course, the reactions my meals have been garnering the last few days might make you believe I'm a poor cook. Au contraire, mon frere! I am an excellent cook. I present to you the following photograph as evidence:

(not pictured - the 14 other options I presented my children with for a far healthier, more satisfying meal)

Yummy! Notice the sheen on that pile of Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni (also known as 'the only good Hamburger Helper')! That means it's good for you! Oh, broccoli, your barely green hue makes me feel stronger and healthier just looking at you, so can you imagine how amazing you're going to make my body feel?

Yes, I am a good cook. Just ask my kids, who, after being served this meal, looked lovingly at me over their forks and spoons and declared this the best meal I've served them in days. Nay! Weeks!

"Is this a new recipe?" my oldest son asked. "This tastes delicious! Did you put some kind of spice or something in it?"

Seriously. Yes. I put some kind of spice in the Hamburger Helper to jazz it up. It was called water and whatever that weird cheese powder is. Screw the suggestions on the side of the box that would have creative cooks perking up an already flawless casserole by tossing in a can of diced tomatoes or adding a toasty crust of french onions! We're not in New York City! Let's not get all fancy pants with our palate, m'kay?

Speaking of fancy, it's time for the list of things that made me happy this week, part deux! What a coincidence! The first thing on my list is a delicious food item!
  • Green Monster spinach smoothies - I've honestly had dreams about these, so that gives you a little insight into just how exciting my life is. So good. So filling. So want one in my belly right now.
  • Playing Scrabble on my Nook.
  • Accidental twins days with my coworkers - that moment when I get to work and find out I'm wearing the same color shirt/pants combo as at least one other friend on the clock. We're as simple folk.
  • Scratching tasks off my 'to do' list.
  • Uncluttered kitchen counters - the fleeting bit of time between when my counters are devoid of clutter and everyone else comes home and dumps their stuff all over them makes me feel like I could run the world.
  • Taking the afternoon to do nothing but curl up on the couch and thumb through my magazine pile - on a side note, methinks me's getting too old for Glamour.
  • Playing this song by Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover to all you fans of Community) - yeah, the woman who recently told her kids that, and I quote, "I can't listen to any more of this rappy music" can not stop stop listening to this (NSFW) song. Of course, if I keep gobbing that Hamburger Helper Cheeseburger Macaroni, I'm probably going to end up looking like one of those rap guys' girlfriends, so it's all good.
  • Downton Abbey - I must confess, though, that I'm still watching the first season and recording the second so I can keep up. And that until this week, I thought the show was called Downtown Abbey, which would probably be the American version starring Queen Latifah and Chris Rock.
  • Letting my dog, Max, burrow under my Snuggi (yep) so we could both stay warm and nap in my favorite chair Sunday afternoon.
  • That our free weekend of Showtime allowed me to see the U2 documentary From The Sky Down. I will never not adore Bono.
  • IQ84 by Haruki Murakami - Although maybe you should ask me again in a week when I'm more than 100 pages into this beast.
And that's all I got. Well, that and a gut ache from last night's dinner. Hopefully I'll cure that with my recipe for "Gah! Why can't we just have spaghetti?" tonight. That's not what I call it, of course, but trust me, it'll be delicious! If you're around, you're invited!


Friday, January 06, 2012

if you're happy and you know it, make a list (1)

Happy new year, pals. I trust everyone enjoyed a good holiday season. Only 353 days until we get to celebrate Christmas again! I might need 329 of those to recover from the aftermath of my job, where the spirit of the season was lost on shoppers in the waning days. If you need me, I'm huddled up on the floor between science fiction and romance, muttering to myself.

We chose to keep Christ - and a few other, far less kind words - in Christmas by paying a mechanic more than $600 to replace the rear brakes on my 11 year old used minivan two days after the holiday. Hey kids, you weren't too attached to any of those presents yet, were you? I've still got the receipts right here in my shaking hands!

Good times.

I don't normally do this, but I decided to make some resolutions this year. Are we still talking about our New Year's resolutions? I mean, it's January 6th already. Most of these things, like the rear brakes on my 11 year old used minivan (bitter), have been broken by now, right? I think that tiny pile of candy wrappers on my kitchen counter already today is a pretty good indication I have a greasy (they were miniature peanut butter cups) grip on my goals.

One of the many resolutions I made for 2012 is to think of two things every day that have made me happy in that 24 hour period and keep track of them. I know. It's sort of cheesy, but it gets even more so. I'm tracking my list in a journal I got from Oprah. Seriously. Oprah sent me a journal. For free. Because we're good pals and she knows I have a massive credit card bill looming ahead of me. I've decided to do this because, well, I need the reminder. I need to do this much. I can go through a 24-hour period and not notice even the tiniest bit of good. In the spirit of sharing my cheese (a waxy, generic slice of American), I thought I'd post my list on Fridays. Does that make you happy? Good. Start your own list! In no particular order, here's mine for the week:
  • the way my youngest son, who will be 10 in a few days, still sounds like such a little boy on the telephone
  • the Mike and Tom Eat Snacks podcast
  • the soundtrack to the movie "Drive"
  • taking my dog for a walk by myself at night and peering into neighboring houses (sidebar - people of my community, it is time to take your Christmas trees down!)
  • making a lasagna from scratch (it was delicious)
  • how much my boys talk when it's just the three of us seated around the dinner table at night
  • coffee dates that turn into lunch dates with my friend Monica
  • my friend Monica
  • fortune cookie fortunes
  • writing with pencil
  • people who genuinely thank me for helping them, then stop me later to thank me again
  • that it's January (68 degrees yesterday!) and we've not yet had a measurable snow so far this winter

Pretty exciting stuff, right? I know! Just think, you have this to look forward to EVERY FRIDAY!!

(unless I break this resolution)(except I resolved to floss my teeth - ALL my teeth - every night and I've been doing that hardcore for more than a year, so yep, pretty exciting!)