Category Archives: Not awesome

Parenting is a ball

Tonight we went and had dinner with Drew’s parents, his brother, and his brother’s fiancee. We were having a great time, powering through the fact that our little munchkin apparently skipped his nap today. He was a little whiny during dinner, but when the cake came out (our nearly-sister-in-law’s birthday was this weekend), B perked up and ate a whole (small) piece of cake with an adult fork. How cute!

He chased the dogs around and played with toys and looked at the fish in the pond. Everything was going so great.

Then he picked up a piece of pottery (which I suspected he thought was a ball, and would bounce) and he hurled it onto the floor, where it shattered. I attempted a time out (always tricky at someone else’s house) while Drew cleaned up. Then we got him out of there.

Once he knew he was in trouble, he remembered how tired he was, and was mad we were leaving his grandparents behind, so he was off-and-on upset all the way home and then into pajamas and then into bed. (Where he immediately fell asleep. So…)

I went to take a shower, and I wanted to do something nice for Drew, so I tried to use B’s bath crayons to write a nice, loving note on the shower wall. I used orange because it’s what was in there. I’m glad it wasn’t red.

Because no matter how hard I tried to smoosh the crayon into the wall so it would stay there, it slooooowlyyyy ran down the wall in streaks, making the shower look like a murder scene. Like if the cast of Real Housewives got murdered there.

So now there’s a drippy, orange love message on our shower wall, and I just hope he sees it soon enough before it fades into smeary nothingness.

Some days you win, some days not so much.

Leave a comment

Filed under Children, Drew, Family, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome

Willy Wonka and the Alarming Ultimatum

I was thinking about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971, with Gene Wilder). It’s scary, right? There’s lots of stuff in there that used to give me nightmares. Like for instance:

A bunch of kids and their parents are invited into a creepy factory, led through a maze from which they presumably couldn’t find their way out if they wanted to, and then the kids are picked off one by one. This is like the epitome of the weird, not-really-for-children movies that our generation grew up on.

I was particularly struck by Augustus Gloop. I think I might have a touch of claustrophobia sometimes. Sometimes I (still) have nightmares about being stuck in a small hole or trying to crawl out of a tight space. And I blame that chocolate tube.

ww-augustus

But the other day it struck me for the first time. That would be the worst experience to go through as a parent. And these parents are relatively casual about their kids’ disappearances. Why wouldn’t Mrs. Gloop have jumped into the chocolate river to save her son? I guess Mr. Salt jumped down the bad egg chute after Veruca, and Mrs. Tee Vee fainted when her son had become a tiny television version of himself. But these are really horrible things happening to these kids, and it seems like that would be almost more of a punishment for the parents than for their offspring.

I guess that could be the point. The kids are growing into unlikable and flawed human beings, but they’re still just children. It’s really their parents’ fault for letting these things happen.

I’m not saying every person’s problem is invariably their parents’ fault. But in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, we are shown four different cases of bad parenting that ultimately result in the family being punished. It’s an allegory to warn parents (and those who may become parents) to keep on their toes and raise good, well-behaved, considerate children.

(Conversely, Charlie Bucket is frequently called a “good kid,” and he’s parented hard-core by a mother and four grandparents. He makes the “right” choice, and is rewarded handsomely for it. Parents, take heed.)

This movie came out 43 years ago. I wonder whether it’s working. It’s definitely given me something to think about.

Leave a comment

Filed under Nonfiction, Not awesome

I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going tomato this anymore

I’m giving up. Or taking a stand. Whatever you call it, I’m not going to put up with it any longer.

Tomatoes from the store (or restaurant, or wherever) don’t taste like anything anymore. I love tomatoes, but that’s not what I’m eating on my salads or sandwiches anymore. I don’t know WHAT I’m eating. They are red and round and they vary in size, but there’s no taste. Its purpose is texture only. And let’s face it, tomatoes can have a pretty gnarly texture.

So, this weekend, after shelling out for a clamshell pack of organic grape tomatoes at our local grocery store, only to throw them away because they tasted like soft sour nothing instead of just plain nothing…I’m not going to do it anymore.

I guess tomatoes just really suffer from being out of season, or not locally grown. So from now on, we’ll buy tomatoes during the months from July to October, and we’ll buy them only from farmer’s markets, or we’ll mooch them off our parents. I don’t want to forget what tomatoes taste like. This is the dystopian future I live in. Take that, Hunger Games / Divergent / The Maze Runner.

1 Comment

Filed under Nature, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Self improvement, Tomato, Writing

Your picture frames have changed, and so has your name

I’m suffering from this new dilemma. It has to do with Facebook. (Doesn’t everything?)

This isn’t about how the Facebook newsfeed is now all shared articles, video ads, or people sharing photos attached to recipes. (Where are the pithy status updates of yore? I never thought I’d miss them, but I do.)

This is a relatively new dilemma. Here it is: I’ve started seeing photos where, even when I study each face, I have no idea who anyone in the photo is.

Sometimes, while scrolling, I’ll pass the header telling me “So and so is tagged in a photo.” Then I stare at the photo and try to figure out which one of these people is my friend. When I can’t figure it out, I scroll up, go, “Oh yeah, wow, she’s really changed since middle school” (or whatever), and then go on my way.

But it makes me wonder what is the point of being friends with people if:

a) I never talk to them;
b) they never talk to me;
c) I can’t recognize them in a picture; or
d) there are more than 2 degrees of separation between us.

Not to sound exclusive or anything, but if I’m going to waste time on Facebook, I’d prefer to waste it on people I actually know in real life and care about. (Along those lines, I guess I should also excise those people I’ve hidden and thus forgotten about.)

Oh Facebook…what will I worry superficially about when you’re no longer a thing?

2 Comments

Filed under "Other people", Friends, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Technology

Out with the old, in with the new

I have a dilemma.

I’ll back up a bit. I was at Barnes & Noble the other day, and their 2014 planners were 50% off. I picked up a cute polka-dotted one, but then I stood there thinking, “When was the last time I even used my planner?”

I just pulled it out of my purse. It’s open to the week of October 28.

I love scheduling things and all, but scheduling is so much more straight-forward when you do the same things week after week. My planner was extremely useful when I was juggling three part-time jobs and making sure that I could get to all three of them, and also trying to coordinate seeing shows around the Bay Area. Now that I just go to the one job, and I don’t go out anymore, it’s a lot easier to keep straight in my head where I’m supposed to be. (Answer: work. If not work, then go home.)

Also, Drew and I had a wall calendar this year, which we actually used. And that makes more sense, since it’s accessible to both of us.

I guess my purse planner has been replaced by a combination of kitchen wall calendar and iPhone calendar…which I hate to admit, but there it is. The thing is, I can put appointments into my phone, and they’ll show up on my work calendar as well! Which is very helpful.

So, I guess I don’t have a dilemma, so much as I have a sad fact to face: 2014 is gonna be the first year in many years that I don’t bother buying a planner for myself.

Even though it was $4 at Barnes & Noble, and very cute. Did I mention it was covered in polka dots?

But I didn’t buy it. Instead, I bought the board book version of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, which I later discovered Drew has never even heard of. So I think it was a good choice. (Chicka Chicka Boom Boom also has polka dots on the cover.)

Happy New Year! Let’s raise a glass to 2014 and to moving on, however (un)willingly we do so.

1 Comment

Filed under Books, Endings, Fashion, Holidays, Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Sentiment, Technology

Why I quit nanowrimo 2013

Okay. So, I realize that technically there are still 4 more days in November; and that if you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it; and it’s not over until the fat lady sings, etc etc. But here’s the thing. I have some really good reasons for why I’ve decided to quit Nanowrimo this year.

1. Ultimately this is about fun. So when I’m having an adult temper tantrum because I “have” to write, then the purpose has been defeated. At least for me.

2. I guard my sleep jealously these days (since it’s still interrupted multiple times a night, and it’s always over by 7am at the latest). I’m not about to stay up until 2am writing, like I used to.

3. I thought I liked my story, until I got to a point that I was like, what the heck is this about. (Yes, I know that’s kind of the point of this whole thing.) But then I abandoned it midstream and switched to this YA novel idea. And it was downhill from there.

4. I also joined a dietbet this month, and I won that, so you know, you win some, you lose some.

5. When I started this, I was shooting for 25,000 words (the “real” goal is 50,000). I figured that 25,000 would still be impressive, especially with the other things I’ve had going on this month. And I made it to about 32,000 words. So I think that’s something to be proud of.

So…that’s that. Sorry, I hate when people just whine about how busy they are. But I’m not going to spend the next four days (and over Thanksgiving, even!) feeling guilty and stressed about this. There’s too much other stuff to pay attention to. Sorry, unfinished weird novel. I’ll read you over in a few months and see what’s salvageable. RIP.

Leave a comment

Filed under Endings, Fiction, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome, Self improvement, Writing

ISON as we know it

The other day, my dad asked me whether I’d heard about this comet. I had, in fact, just noticed the super bright…star? Venus? incredibly slow-moving plane? in the sky that night.

My dad was not super clear on the specifics of the comet, so I had to do a bit of googling. And here’s what I’ve concluded:

1. The comet’s name is ISON.

2. In the next month, it will either a) fly around the sun and away again; b) melt to oblivion when it gets too close to the sun; or c) crash into the sun.

3. I probably don’t have to be afraid of it.

4. But I still wish people wouldn’t say things like, “There is absolutely, positively, 100% no way that ISON will have any effect on earth.” That just seems like asking for trouble.

Because here’s the thing. Comets remind me of a book called Life As We Knew It, written by Susan Beth Pfeffer. It’s a YA novel, so naturally it’s the first of a trilogy. A trilogy about a regular, everyday comet that crashed into the moon, and surprisingly, knocks the moon closer to the earth, which interferes with the tides, volcanoes, etc etc etc. I had such anxiety while I was reading this series, which is all told in diary entries. From the characters realizing something is wrong, and rushing to the grocery store to stock up on canned and nonperishable food, to volcanoes covering the earth in a layer of ash so no food can grow, to a terrible, terrible scene in an elevator…this series gave me super bad dreams. I still think about the story all the time (obviously).

I so wish we had a pantry that I could pack with bottled water and canned goods. I’m sure this is nothing. But still.

Leave a comment

Filed under Being a girl, Books, Dreams, Fiction, Not awesome

Why the 7-Eleven clerk thinks I’m a shoplifter

When I told Drew I was going out and asked him if he wanted anything, and he told me he just wanted a regular Snapple iced tea, I thought it would be easy. But Target didn’t sell Snapple iced tea – Target didn’t sell any single Snapples. They only had 8-packs of Kiwi-Strawberry and Cranberry-Raspberry.

After Target, I went to Dinosaurs to pick up sandwiches for dinner…but all they had in the way of beverages were Mexican Cokes and a fountain soda machine. B and I walked over to the little grocery store nearby, which did have diet Snapple iced tea, so I bought one, just in case, and also a Henry Weinhard root beer because it sounded good. I put these into the same bag with the sandwiches, and B and I headed back home.

I decided at the last minute to stop at the 7-Eleven to see if they had Snapple. They had one left, so I grabbed it from the case. But all I had was a card, no cash, and so to make it seem more worthwhile, I also got a small sugar-free green slurpee.

Inexplicably, there was a long line, and I stood there, balancing a heavy bag of Vietnamese sandwiches and 2 glass-bottled beverages in one hand, a Snapple and a slurpee in the other hand, with a 25-lb baby strapped to my chest. At one point, B got his hands on the straw in the slurpee and flipped green slush onto his face and down the front of my shirt.

Right after that, the guy in front of me left the counter, and as I stepped up to it, the spreading wet spot (from the cold, condensation-covered glass bottles) on the paper bag I was holding gave out, and the diet Snapple slipped out and hit the floor. Normally, I would have just stooped down and grabbed it, or maybe it would never have happened in the first place, but the baby strapped to me makes it hard to quickly squat down, and so I stood there for a minute.

I thought I was mildly exasperated, but the clerk may have read it as guilty.

“What was that?” she asked, as the girl behind me picked up the diet Snapple for me. I thanked her.

“And what’s all this?” the clerk asked, gesturing to the bag.

“That’s stuff I’ve bought elsewhere,” I said. She was already ringing up the diet Snapple. “Oh, that’s not from here…only these things–” (gesturing) “–are from here.”

She looked at me doubtfully. I offered her the receipt from the grocery store. She didn’t take it. I hightailed it out of there.

So maybe she doesn’t still think I’m a shoplifter. But, she didn’t offer me a bag (which would have been helpful, given that my bag clearly had a giant hole in it). So there may still be some hard feelings.

1 Comment

Filed under "Other people", Humor, Memoir, Nonfiction, Not awesome

Do not pass Go

Last night, Travis, Haley, and Erin came over for dinner, and what inevitably turned into games. We played Pixar Monopoly because Drew loves Monopoly and no one ever wants to play.

I think Monopoly gets a bad rap – my initial impression of it is that the game goes on forever. (Other first impressions – Risk: people lie and get mad at each other. Clue: it’s way too easy for adults to play. Dominoes: despite playing this game all the time as a kid, I have no idea what the actual rules are.) I’ve played Monopoly with Drew one other time and he’s weirdly good at it.

pixar monopolyI tried to start strong, but I made an entire pass around the board without landing on any property to buy. On subsequent passes, I tried to collect property and save money. I got into a bidding war with Erin on Travis’ property, in the hopes that it might make her run out of money. There was a moment when Erin, Haley, and I formed an alliance to get each of us a monopoly, and I really thought that might be a turning point in the game.

But alas, I was the first one to run out of money and then property, while Drew just built traffic cones (houses) and Al’s Toy Barns (hotels) on everything ever. Erin was out next, then Travis folded, and then there were a couple more turns that were basically Haley handing over everything she owned to Drew. And, for the record, the game didn’t feel that long – when we checked the clock we were all surprised that it had lasted around 2 1/2 hours.

I guess I’m not surprised I was the first one out. I’ve never been that great at Monopoly. I keep thinking I should be better at it. I get the strategy. I just don’t execute it well. Or I don’t have good luck. But as I watched my money go – the 500s, the 100s, the 50s, the 20s – it just stung a little bit, you know? It’s just a game, except that in Real Life I also don’t own any property or have a ton of money. And just in like in the game, it’s difficult to tell where I went wrong.

1 Comment

Filed under "Other people", Dollars, Drew, Friends, Games, Humor, Memoir, Not awesome

Wash & Fold

I’ve been threatening to take some laundry to the Wash & Fold down the street for months now.

If you’re unfamiliar, a Wash & Fold is the real meat of a laundromat – you drop off your laundry and then pick it up again several hours later, and it’s all clean and folded and bagged for you. Drew used to do it in New York all the time – I’m talking gigantic bags of laundry. I never did it, but I think I was a little more regular about just using the laundry room in our building.

We don’t have laundry facilities in this building, and we typically take our stuff to Drew’s parents’ house and do a bunch of wash there if we’re hanging out. But these days, with the additional loads of baby clothes/supplies, it just seems to be piling up. I’ve gotten into a habit of skimming off the top layers from my laundry basket, like the stuff I actually wear regularly, and just washing that. Which means that layers of forgotten clothing and towels accumulate on the bottom of the basket.

True-Life Example: Sometime around the end of February, we finally sucked it up and did all our laundry that was sitting around. At that point, I found, at the very bottom of everything, the pajamas I wore for Christmas morning pictures. Yikes.

So. Today I was getting things done and taking names, and one of the things I decided to get done was to take the tier-3 laundry that was still in my closet, and drop it at the Wash & Fold.

The drop-off went okay. She didn’t put my name on it or anything, but I assumed it’d be okay. And she wrote down my name (maybe?) and my phone number. She told me to come back “later this afternoon.” I was pretty jazzed thinking that by the end of the day, all my clothes would be clean and I would have spent my time on work and other chores.

I went back this evening to pick it up, and a different woman told me it was twenty bucks. Cue exclamation points in my head, but then I guess that’s 16 pounds, and I’m not great with guessing weight, so I guess it might weigh 16 pounds. I tried to hand her my card but she just looked at me and said, “It’s cash only. Didn’t she tell you that?” Ugh, no she did not, and now I have to drive all the way to the ATM to get money because I really need these jeans for tomorrow.

When I got back, I was a little grouchy, mostly because I sensed that my side trip to get cash was going to cost me the parking place right in front of our building. I walked inside and attempted to find the same woman. She wandered over to the counter and asked me where I went to get cash. I was like, Seriously? Just give me my clothes. Then she told me I could have just gone to the ATM at Winters, a bar a few blocks away. Now, I have a thing where I really want to use Bank of America ATMs, since that’s my bank and my card, and it’s not like I had to drive 10 miles to find one or anything.

So, I got my stuff and I got home and I had to get another, slightly farther away parking spot, but it’s still all okay.

But driving home it occurred to me: the Wash & Fold is not for me. And I should have known that. For two reasons:

1) I don’t like other people washing my clothes. Like, I generally avoid letting Drew do my laundry. I just don’t really like the idea of someone else touching my dirty clothes. And,
2) I kind of have a method of folding that I prefer. And it’s not like it’s great folding, or anything, but it fits with the way the rest of my stuff is folded, so I like it.

So goodbye, Wash & Fold. We probably won’t do business together anymore.

I was so proud of myself this morning. I guess pride do goeth before a fall.

16.5! I guess they weren't swindling me after all.

16.5! I guess they weren’t swindling me after all.

Leave a comment

Filed under "Other people", Fashion, Humor, Memoir, Not awesome