Friday Ramblings

First of all: the dress is blue and black. It just is.

Secondly: Cameron got on a plane early this morning with his eighth grade class. He and I have been far away from each other before– but never because of him traveling away from me. Wonder why that feels so different. (And of course he is having a blast and will be fine. He’s been texting me photos from time to time, because he’s a fabulous kid. Eighth grade trip, though?! Isn’t he only like 6 months old?)

Also: my Jilly will be here tomorrow morning. It’s the best birthday present ever. Because, you know: tomorrow is my birthday. Did you order me those cute outfits from Athleta?

Finally: we were at a school-related event last night. And there was a hairstyle at this event which was so outlandish and crazy that I took photos. And texted them to several people including my sisters. My sisters wanted to know “if everyone is looking around at everyone else, wondering if this is a joke??” This is why I firmly believe that it is my responsibility to tell my loved ones, when they drift into caricature territory. (Confidential to You Know Who You Are: I was telling the girls about the time we took those watermelon shorts away from you. Addie J says she would probably have liked those shorts. You have the approval of a kid who routinely wears a Harry Potter tie with her purple sequin miniskirt and primary polkadot tights. Think that over.)


    Heeeere We Go.

    So, the J has had several nosebleeds over the past week or so. Earlier today, I caved and searched Dr. Internet. Based upon the information I found, I’ve narrowed it down to one of two causes: advanced liver disease or cocaine addiction.

    Obviously it’s not liver disease, let’s not be ridiculous. So…… which one of you is her dealer??

    **Update: thank you for your helpful hints regarding Addie J’s nosebleeds! Good to know she’s not alone. Let’s hope we all get a reprieve from washing pillowcases in the very near future!




      Tuesday Bullet Blog

      • We have reached the point in late winter where everyone in the US who lives in a temperate climate is sick of winter, and everyone who lives in a subtropical climate is posting Facebook photos of themselves in shorts with captions like, “DON’T HATE ME HAHAHAHA!!!” I am always perplexed when people brag about things that are beyond their control, like weather. Or being Irish. Like: didn’t you, yourself, do anything impressive lately?
      • I got the new Athleta catalog in the mail last night. My birthday is Saturday and I will take anything you want to buy me from here. Just contact me for my shipping address, please and thank you.
      • Speaking of my birthday: I turned 40 about a month after Dad died. We had a party at our house, rather than do anything major: I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel on that milestone birthday, so I asked Dave to keep it low-key. He did something slightly bigger than I requested, and it was just right. Earlier this week he asked me what my birthday thoughts were; in our discussion, I mentioned that perhaps he should contact Georgann. He said, “I’ve already spoken to George. You think I’m crazy? I don’t go out on my own with these things.” He’s so good.
      • …But I will be sad, that morning, not to receive an early-morning phone call from my dad. One of the things I miss so, so, so much is the unexpected pleasure of a phone call from Dad during the day. Sometimes he was calling to give me very specific instructions about a car. Other times he was trying to schedule an outing. My favorites were when he was just pissed off about something, and he would randomly call one of us to blow off steam. When I was the lucky recipient, I would just listen delightedly to Dad going off for a few minutes– he always ended those with something like, “….That guy. Anyway, I gotta go back to work. Catch you later.”
      • I’m being interviewed today, for a college publication. I was headed out this morning and I suddenly thought, wait: are they going to want to photograph me? Based on my outfit for the day: please join me in hoping they will not.
      • Have I ever mentioned that everything converges in November and February? I have to complete 2 universes of light cues for a show by Friday. And I still have to work my regular job. AND all three kids have major events between now and then. How will all of this happen? How?
      • …Stay tuned, I guess. I’ll either have something super impressive to brag about on Facebook instead of the weather, or I’ll be fired. Really, it’s going to be one or the other.

        Here’s the Thing:

        I can put up with a lot of weather bullshit, as long as it’s sunny outside.

        Carry on.




          Dad and the Turkey

          I thought you would appreciate hearing this fun story from Louisiana.

          One gorgeous Carnival morning last week, Mom and I went for a run through Audobon Park. Halfway through, we stopped near the pond where we may (or may not, this might be a legal gray area) have scattered some of Dad’s ashes. The pond is usually the home of ducks and seagulls and egrets, and that’s what we expected to see as we walked up. Also typically, both of us got choked up as we approached the spot, where, on this morning, two little girls were scattering bread to the birds. They were more or less surrounded by the birds– except for one. One lone bird ignored the free food, choosing instead to stand by itself about ten feet away– right where Dad’s ashes were (or weren’t) scattered a few years ago.

          And it was a turkey. A TURKEY.

          I have never seen a freaking live turkey in Audobon Park in my life. Look– they’re not even on the list of native birds to the park.

          By the time we got to the turkey (a turkey! In the middle of New Orleans!), Mom and I were no longer choked up. Instead we were almost laughing from the ludicrousness. That turkey remained at Dad’s spot, as if waiting for us to arrive. As soon as we did, it moved off with hilarious dignity, to get its share of bread from the girls, who immediately approached my mother. “Would you like to throw some bread?” they asked. And so Mom– who is always a magnet for little kids, they always know she’s a kindred spirit– threw bread to the turkey, while we chatted with them and with their grandmother. The kids were telling us all about how they plot to get the best throws at parades: “We just yell out names,” they told us. “That way, sometimes someone will have that name and think we know them.” Their grandmother nodded.

          “They try to use common names,” she said. “They yell, ‘Uncle Ron! Uncle Ron!'”

          Now, I don’t know how common the name Ron is around you, but I’m pretty sure the answer is “not very.”

          Mom and I spent a good twenty minutes at Dad’s spot that morning, and they weren’t sad minutes. Instead, it was fun and funny and “Oh my God, did they just say ‘Ron’?” and “Is that… is that a turkey?” And when we walked away, I told my mom that Dad had pulled out all the stops that morning. Some families find pennies from their loved ones, others see signs in clouds in the sky….. but Dad goes with turkeys.

          That sounds about right.


            Mardi Gras Madness!

            I had big plans, you guys. I was totally going to be an adult and prewrite some posts for the whole time we were gone, and then I was going to get right on it and tell you all about our fabulous trip as soon as I returned. I didn’t. All my good intentions, before I left, were swallowed up by packing and scanning dog vaccination records and a flurry of grading. I did spend some time working while I was in NOLA, but I did not spend any time here. Then when I returned, it was all unpacking and “the kids need lunches, but all we have is pie crust and condiments” and, well: I’m just getting back to this now.

            Sorry. I’ll make it up to you with a series of fun Mardi Gras photos, how’s that?

            We begin with our traditional arrival breakfast of beignets at Cafe du Monde. The kids are getting older, but somehow they're not making any less mess with the powdered sugar.

            We begin with our traditional arrival breakfast of beignets at Cafe du Monde. The kids are getting older, but somehow they’re not making any less mess with the powdered sugar.

            Mom and I went for a run through Audobon Park, then stopped to see Dad. He is in such a beautiful, peaceful place.

            Mom and I went for a run through Audobon Park, then stopped to see Dad. He is in such a beautiful, peaceful place.

            This is how close we got to a pack (pack?) of wild pigs that live in Honey Island Swamp.

            This is how close we got to a pack (pack?) of wild pigs that live in Honey Island Swamp.

            Gabby caught this awesome insulated cup at Nyx. I look forward to drinking many vodka tonics out of it this summer.

            We caught this awesome insulated cup at Nyx. I look forward to drinking many vodka tonics out of it this summer.

            I walked past the tablets at the Tulane bookstore and discovered that Gabby had already been there. Wonder what clued me in....

            While at the Tulane bookstore, I discovered that Gabby had been checking out the tablets. Wonder what clued me in….




            Cam and I sampled all the hot sauces except for those in this "sign this first" case.  This is a good time to mention that the kids kept their Barf On Every Vacation streak alive. This time it was Addie J Versus Shrimp and Grits.

            Cam and I sampled all the hot sauces except for those in this “sign this first” case.
            This is a good time to mention that the kids kept their Barf On Every Vacation streak alive. This time around, it was Addie J Versus Shrimp and Grits.

            Here we see Dave, adorably walking the ladder up to the parade route with our friend's daughter.

            Here we see Dave, adorably walking the ladder up to the parade route with our friend’s daughter.

            I had to buy these for two reasons: 1. they are fantastic. 2. my dad used to delight in offering the bag to people, and asking if they liked Hot Nuts.

            I had to buy these for two reasons: 1. they are fantastic. 2. My dad used to delight in offering a bag of these to people at home, and asking if they liked Hot Nuts.

            No, No, Mardi Gras is not for families at ALL.

            No, No, Mardi Gras is not for families.

            Not At ALL.

            Not At ALL.


            But we somehow manage to have a good time, just the same.

            But we somehow manage to have a good time, just the same. Happy Mardi Gras!!

              Cameron the Warrior

              We have friends who live far in terms of distance, but near to our hearts. Uncle Shea and Aunt Maya are much beloved by the kids. Fun Shea story: he was playing swords with a very young Cammy, and at some point yelled, “Touche!” From then on, whenever the situation called for it, Cam would yell that phrase as his 4-year-old self interpreted it: “To Uncle Shea!!”

              So. We got a package today, containing a wonderful photo book of the times our families have spent together. Because Shea and Maya are a fabulous aunt and uncle, they also included gifts for each of the kids– including this: Last fall, their family came to visit for a weekend, and Shea accompanied Dave and Cam to an early-morning scrimmage. Shea took this photo with his phone (yes: HIS PHONE), and it made a gorgeous, high quality poster print. I can’t wait to frame it.


              Shea included with the poster a quote from the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V. When we called to thank Shea and Maya, Uncle Shea told Cammy all about that amazing speech, which galvanized a group of cold, tired, outmanned soldiers into a force to be reckoned with. And then he reminded Cam that, on the day this photo was taken, Cam had a fever, and that when he got home he went straight to bed and slept for 11 hours– yet he was the first one on the field on that frosty late-fall morning, and he played his heart out.

              Cam put the poster, and his quote, on the wall above his bed. And in a shocking (and short-lived) twist, he asked me if I thought  he might enjoy reading Henry V. He’s upstairs, asleep now, right below this gift from his aunt and uncle. A photo of himself, looking like a warrior on the field.

              Thanks, guys. He will love this forever.

                Chinese New Year: Thank the Chinese Gods That’s Over.

                gwyneth-paltrow-nude-jumpsuitSo I’m a Rat, okay? And do not make fun of me for that because Rats are super-great in Chinese astrology. Last year, it was predicted, would be TERRIBLE for Rats. I scoffed. And then…. it kinda was. In terms of surprising disappointments, I mean. Probably the biggest surprising disappointment was the news that my sister and her family were relocating across the country, and actually I can think of two other big ones off the top of my head– none of which I never saw coming. Now obviously we’re all still happy and healthy, and everything is Big Picture fine. But here’s a series of little unpleasant surprises we had last year, just to illustrate:

                • For the first time ever in almost ten years of teaching it, one of my classes was scheduled for a day and time that massively disrupted everything. I cannot overestimate how badly this screwed things up.
                • We had an ear infection situation while on vacation last year, in a kid who had never had one ever, and burned up two full days of vacation with medical visits.
                • A case of the flu led to hundreds of dollars in unanticipated medical costs and forced us all to postpone Christmas.
                • My colleagues and I worked very hard to update our curriculum to reflect a new textbook for the fall. We spent much of the summer on it. And then, when fall semester began: the students had a different edition of the text than the one we integrated.
                •  My dog was bitten by another dog while out for a walk. The other dog’s owners could not have been more Court TV-style “it’s not our fault, your dog probably started it, you can’t prove anything.” And also, the other dog wasn’t up on its shots. Of course.

                And as I said, in addition to these smaller issues and to Jilly moving away, I had two other major disappointments. However, to put that into perspective: look at my best friend, the vagina-steaming Gwyneth Paltrow. She’s a Rat, too, and her marriage broke up last year. (Or consciously uncoupled, if you’re looking to make your divorce extra classy-sounding.) That’s, like, a thousand times worse than any of the things that happened to me last year. And then also, remember that the Chinese Year just ended, so she capped off her terrible year by wearing the jumpsuit pictured above. I’m sorry but that just doesn’t happen in a good year.

                So this Chinese New Year will hopefully be better. Apparently, Rats are still in the trenches this year– but we won’t get hit with the shit quite so frequently. And while we will be very busy (so far, that’s shaping up to be totally true), we will actually see benefits come from our labors this year. Or so they say.

                Meanwhile, Gwynnie and I will just keep plugging along.

                  Wednesday Bullet Blog


                  • I didn’t passionately hate the Super Bowl halftime show like so many others did (too safe, you say? Blame Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson). But it needed about 65% more Lenny Kravitz, and like 100% more Missy Elliott.
                  • Due to a four-car pileup on the Interstate, my commute home took TWO HOURS last night. I need to work on being glad I wasn’t in the pileup, rather than irritated that someone else’s misfortune inconvenienced me.
                  • My replacement Fitbit arrived yesterday, thank God. How can I be expected to stop eating the neighborhood grocery’s homemade tortilla chips when I have nowhere to record it??
                  • Last weekend at Dave’s office party, we had a scavenger hunt, which our team lost due to a technicality (we had a police officer’s business card; we need a police detective’s card. Boooo). However, we did inexplicably take home one raw beet; one jar of pickled beets; and a Duck Dynasty calendar which is now on Addie J’s bedroom door.


                  One final note: yesterday, my husband’s family said goodbye to their wonderful, kind-hearted, good-natured patriarch, Dave’s grandfather Clarence. Much love to you, Clarence. And special hugs and love to my mother-in-law, Kathy.

                    I Don’t Want to Know.

                    In my class about marketing the arts, we talk a lot about brand image in entertainment. We always get around to discussing individual artists as entertainment products, and my students always, always know personal details about their lives. And this information always, always colors their perception of the artist’s brand.

                    It’s the way of today’s Everything-is-on-the-Interwebs, constantly embedded, continually streaming information flow.


                    However, I prefer to actually know little to nothing about the artists themselves. It always ruins their work for me. I’ll give you an example: Kanye West is a brilliant musician. I love, love, love his music. I’m less enthusiastic on his fashion sense, but God bless him, he’s very ambitious and he wants to effect worldwide cultural change. His brand image tells me, consistently, that he wants to use his art to make the world a better place. I wish that was all I knew about him!! It’s so positive and uplifting! I wish I had no idea that he was married to a famewhore. I wish I didn’t know that the reason he looks so freaking glum in every photo is because he saw some eighteenth-century paintings once, and “they weren’t smiling” (That makes you look so uneducated, I don’t even have the time to explain it to you Kanye). I wish I had no idea about his arrogance and his ego, getting in the way of his talent. I would enjoy him so much more.

                    Case in point: Rihanna’s new song, FourFiveSeconds. It’s SO good. Paul McCartney and Rihanna and Kanye West? Come on. You could listen to Paul McCartney’s guitar as the only component of this song and be transfixed. You could listen to just Rihanna. I am reminded that Kanye West, when reined in, is a powerful musical force. I just… I wish I didn’t have to listen to Kanye and think, “But he’s such a douuuuuuuche.” Ruins it for me.

                    Which brings me to my main point: if you know anything illusion-busting– anything at all– about Chris Pratt or Jurassic World, please keep it to yourself. Do NOT ruin it for me. I’m too excited about the trained velociraptors.

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