27 May 2011

Boo, Hiss.

Written by sally @ 1:17 pm — Section: sally

Y’all. Y’ALL. I just got done reading The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Do you find Hadley Richardson, Hemingway’s first wife, intriguing? Is she a romantic/tragic figure in your head? Well, then, by all means, don’t read this book because you will hate her dumb guts.

I don’t think it matters if this is what Hadley Richardson was actually like: pliable, simpering, boring. In a novel — and McLain chose to write a novel, after all — shouldn’t you make your main character likeable or relatable, real in some way? Take, for example, the genius that is Curtis Sittenfeld’s American Wife. Did I think Laura Bush was cool before I read American Wife? No. Do I think she’s cool now? Yes. Sittenfeld gives the character depth. McLain does not.

My other source of ire about The Paris Wife is that I was dumb enough to buy it for my Kindle. Do you know what this means? It means I’m stuck with it! I can’t wrap it up and give to anyone for Christmas! Stupid Kindle! Ok, yes, it was awesome to be able to keep it in my purse. But now it’s gonna be in there FOREVER, mingling with gum wrappers and receipts for Mexican food lunches.

23 May 2011

Welcome to the Park.

Written by sally @ 9:02 am — Section: sally

A few months ago Spike and I were at the neighborhood park. We were doing a little swinging, a little sliding, the usual. This super-humongous pregnant lady arrived with her small daughter and her 900-year-old mother. The super-humongous lady crept very slowly to a bench, where she took a long time to sit down. Then she closed her eyes.

I watched her because her misery was palpable. I was also interested in how the 900-year old mother was dealing with the small daughter, and how interesting it was that the super-humongo never opened her eyes to make sure everyone had not been kidnapped or murdered or had fallen down a well. I thought this was, at once, admirable and shocking.

It had rained the night before (I brought an old towel to wipe the slides off with) and there was a giant mud puddle under one of the porch-swing-esque big swings. I thought it would be fun to sit on the big swing with Spike, so I put him on the swing and then assessed how best to get myself on it. The mud puddle was big enough and the swing high enough that I couldn’t just climb on without getting mud all over my shoes. So I did what any sane adult would do: I attempted to gracefully hop onto the swing.

Only I am not that graceful, and it was more of a body slam into the swing, and the force of my body slamming against the swing sent the swing a-swangin’, and thus little Spike went a-flyin’. Into the air, and then face down into the mud puddle.

After I assessed that he didn’t get mudmurdered, I looked around to see if anyone saw. The other mothers were tending to their children. The only one who was facing me was the super-humongo, and she was obviously teleporting herself to her little stone cottage in her mind. I listened to Spike rant and rave: “Don’t DO that, Mommy! We don’t fall in mud puddles! I need new shorts! I want to go home! We don’t fall in mud puddles, MOMMY!” Dirty and humiliated, we went home.

Spike and I were back at the park on Saturday afternoon (he is still leery of the big swing) and he was having a big time playing with a little girl. Their conversation was killing me:

Girl: What’s your name?
Spike: Spike. What’s your name?
Girl: Caroline. I’m two.
Spike: I’m three.
Girl: I’m a girl.
Spike: I’m a boy.

What else is there to know? Let’s quit the chatter and get to playing!

A woman with a baby strapped to her chest, her nanny holding a baby, and a toddler girl arrived. The woman looked familiar — it was super humongo! No wonder she was so miserable. She was carrying twins. In an unprecented move, I started talking to her, and for a moment I thought I had made a playground friend. I mean, besides the fact that she had a nanny — on the weekend, even! — I thought, ok, maybe.

“Your son looks familiar,” she said. “Does he go to St. Whomever?”
“No, he goes to the Other School,” I said.
“Is that a preschool?”
“It’s a preschool, but it’s a daycare. He’s been there since he was a baby.”
“Oh,” she said. “St. Whomever was really good for my daughter because it was only a few hours a week. I just thought ALL DAY was a little much for her at such a young age.”
I didn’t say anything.
“But, I mean, daycare is different!” she said.

Yep. I hear you, lady.

Then she asked her nanny, “What time does the schedule say bathtime starts?” and I thought, farewell, almost friend! You inhabit an entirely different planet than I do.

Oh, and then it was time to go and Spike didn’t want to and I had to jam him in the stroller and he was fighting me and cutting up and as I cruised out of the park with my shrieking stroller another stupid mother gave Spike a look, like OH YOU POOR THING WHAT A HORRIBLE MOTHER YOU HAVE, and I was done. Look: when I hear a kid cutting up in public, if I give anyone a look, it’s the mother. And the look I give is IT IS OK! WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER! THIS SOUND YOUR CHILD IS MAKING IS NOT INDICATIVE OF YOUR PARENTING IN GENERAL! After the daycare comment and the nanny and then THE LOOK, I was ready to treat everyone at the park to a special ride on the big swing, face down in the mud.

(By the way, Spike continued to scream for two more blocks, at which point he managed to wriggle out of the stroller straps and dangle dangerously close to the road. He wanted me to carry him, only I couldn’t because Lulu knocked me down in the driveway the day before, so I tried and I couldn’t and so we sat on the curb in front of someone’s house for awhile waiting for a miracle to happen. The miracle was Spike pushed the stroller and we walked, defeated, sweaty, and slowly, the rest of the way home.)

17 May 2011

Skoob and VT.

Written by sally @ 2:53 pm — Section: sally

Hey, I finally finished Bossypants. I bought it, I hated the cover, I started it, I put it away, Spike and I were at a bookstore and he saw it on the shelf and hollered MOMMY HAVE THAT BOOK, finally I took the cover off and took it to the beach, I read it, I giggled, the end.

I think I was most impressed that like myself, Tina Fey also could not get hired at a Ruby Tuesday. (My favorite quote of 1999 came from my friend Steve, who, upon hearing that Ruby Tuesday denied me, said this: “That fuckin’ midget from Austin Powers just made a million dollars and you can’t even get a job at Ruby Tuesday.” If it wouldn’t be confusing, I would have that put on my tombstone.) But yes: I liked Bossypants, although something kept me from loving it. Was it the strange order the essays were in? Was it that part of them were straight memoir, part of them comic essays? I don’t know. Tina Fey would remain my personal hero even if her book were as bad as that one Steve Martin book that gorjus and I bought at the Dollar Tree, thinking we had really gotten away with something, only to find that we had been ripped off.

Now I’m reading Cakewalk by Kate Moses, which is pretty much the perfect book for me. It’s a memoir FRAMED BY CAKE and includes CAKE RECIPES. I think this type of memoir is my favorite: someone not famous writing well about his or her fairly ordinary life. WITH CAKE!

What else have I read lately? The Hound of the Baskervilles. I felt like a big nerd for never having read any Sherlock Holmes, but now I have, and it was delightful, the end.

In television news, I am only watching American Idol out of the corner of my eye (meaning I fast forward to just the singing parts until I’ve had enough, which is roughly 30 seconds). As usual, America, you have disappointed me with your musical tastes. However, so far The Voice is pretty good! The main difference is that most of the people can sing (except that one girl that everyone seems to love who sounds like Stevie Nicks…ISN’T ONE OF THOSE ENOUGH??). And I’m watching Top Chef Masters, and everything on Masterpiece Theatre is awesome lately, and Mildred Pierce blew my mind, but basically I get an hour in the evening to either watch tv or read or do something that isn’t kid-related, so I have drastically cut down on the old tv-watching. Oh my god, and Treme. Treme! So good! Um, and Law and Order: Criminal Intent AND Los Angeles. So maybe I haven’t cut down that much. Whatever.

12 May 2011

Ping!

Written by sally @ 2:19 pm — Section: sally

The man with the tropical print tie sat in the meeting room, listening to a presentation about a new database. He was used to giving presentations, not sitting still during them, so he was busy thinking of clever things to interject. So far he’d only come up with “Oh, I bet!” and had used it a couple of times.

The man had a full head of thick black hair, which he wore over the ear — Beatlesesque, he liked to think — and parted on the side. He would prefer to use some old-fashioned hair cream, grease it up real good, but even a man with a tropical print tie and a short sleeve shirt knew that slick and greasy hair was not appropriate for database training.

Audibly yawning, coughing, shifting in his seat — the man was pulling out all his tricks. No one was paying him any attention. He tilted his cup of partially melted ice and Diet Dr Pepper dregs and tapped it for maximum volume. Nothing. No dirty looks, no angry whispers.

He leaned back in his chair, balancing on the back legs. He reached in his Dockers pocket and jangled his change. Jingle-jingle. He counted the coins with his fingers. That’s a quarter, now a nickel, another nickel, Jesus, why do I have so many nickels. Dime, lint ball, penny, another nickel

The man stopped jingling. He’d fouind something in his pocket he’d forgotten about. What luck! His prayers had been answered!

He carefully pulled out the object, turning it over in the palm of his hand with his thumb.

It was time.

Ping! Ping! He started to clip his fingernails. Ping! A nail skittered across the table. He paused. And then, finally, he heard the sweetest sound coming from someone in the seat behind him.

Gross,” the person whispered.

3 May 2011

Dos and Don’ts According to my iTunes Library.

Written by sally @ 12:43 pm — Section: sally

Do:
As De La Does
I Ever Cross Your Mind
I Love You
It Again
It for Our Country
Me, Baby
Miss America
You Wanna Dance

Don’t:
Ask for the Water
Fence Me In
Go
Go Down
Leave Me on My Own
Make Fun of Daddy’s Voice
Panic
Show Me Heaven
Talk

This McSweeney’s List rip-off was brought to you by the notebook I found buried in a pile on my desk from at least 3 years ago that I discovered while cleaning out during a reallllly boring webinar.