Friday, June 26, 2009

It Must Be True . . .

I just read this in The Week, their section "It Must Be True . . . I read it in the tabloids." Haven't stopped laughing yet:

"Two baby flamingos at Britain's London Zoo have developed a phobia of the color pink. The month old chicks, named Little and Large, both have the pale gray plumage flamingos are born with. In an attempt to feed them, zookeepers used a pink sock-puppet of an adult flamingo, but it only terrified the chicks. Their resulting phobia of anything pink has worrying implications for their future mental health. "We'll just have to hope they get used to the color," said keeper Alison Brown."

For some reason this reminds me of a recent-ish (January, 2008) study which showed that the vast majority of children dislike clowns. Are afraid of them, even. And yet, there are still clowns all over childrens', well, pretty much everything--from pajamas to blankets, and yes, even some hospital walls. So I don't hold out much hope for those poor flamingo chicks--they're just gonna have to get used to that scary, pink sock monster. Of course, there's always Prozac . . . .

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ecomomics of Happiness

It's true. The little things do make you happy. And sometimes they do make you spend more money.

Most Wednesdays, I take the night off and treat myself to dinner at the same place. Sometimes I hit the gym first; occasionally I try a new place--only because I keep thinking that I need to break myself of the "creature of habit" habit. But I'm rarely satisfied--well OK, there was the one time I skipped dinner all together and saw Burn After Reading instead--but I generally wind up at Vino Santo. Because food-wise and not-minding-if-I-bring-a-computer-a-book-or-a-friend-wise, this is my absolute favorite place to go for a lovely dinner. Every once in awhile I do take a friend!

Tonight, I tried to talk myself into either staying home (a bad mashup of "I'm too unmotivated to decide on anything" and "maybe I should tighten that belt a bit") or trying something different. But old habits and my adoration of the Vino Santo Caesar salad with grilled chicken won out.

I might call it a habit, but what really keeps me coming back is that, like tonight, when I got there, the only open table was "my" table. There were two couples waiting, but as soon as I arrived I was told that MY table was ready. And after dinner when I confided to the waiter that I loved seeing them so busy on a weeknight, he told me that they had actually turned away a table because the only one open was . . . MY table.

I’m not sure that everyone else would find the Caesar salad to be as tasty, or the pan roasted sole with a white wine, butter and caper sauce to be as divine. In fact, even my favorite Daniel Gilbert* might say that, because of the habituation factor, even I don’t enjoy the salad or fish as much as I did the first time. And yet.

Vanity has ever been an economic motivator and it is always in the merchants’ best interest to make sure you want to come back again and again. After all, why would you not want to go where every body knows your name (Norm), where the staff all know where you like to sit and know which menu items you might like and those . . .well, maybe not so much.

It may have been a complete fabrication--even a partial would have felt good--but the waiter said that it was my table, and they were going to hold it on the (very good) chance that I came to claim it. And I was told that my “usual” house white had been replaced and that I probably wouldn’t like it. I didn’t. It was then upgraded to something much nicer—cost (to them) be dammed. Maybe it was a small exaggeration. But there WAS a couple waiting by the door, and there WAS only my table open.

The upshot is that it made me happy. It didn’t cost them a whole lot.

And it made me want to keep going back.

And this post just reminded me to buy my own copy of Burn After Reading.

* I am embarrassed to admit that I didn’t catch Mr Gilbert on the Colbert Report a couple of years ago. But now you can! God I love the Internets!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Daddy, can I [[whatever it was]]?


Hannah, not even bothering to wait until Thomas had left the room:
Mommy, can I [[same whatever it was]]?


Hannah, why did you just ask Mommy when I JUST told you No?

Hannah, without missing a beat and with a smidge of attitude:
Uh, because she's older and she owns the house?
(only true on one count)

Sadly, Thomas did not find this as amusing as I.

Hannah, gazing up at me:
37, 38, 39 . . .

What are you counting?

The little lines around your eyes. I lost track of the little holes [the pores] in your face.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Ah, That New Car Smell

I told Tomas that he could get a new car. This new car:


Thursday, June 11, 2009

If It's Too Hot in the Kitchen . . .

I could have burned my house down today.

Not in a fit of pique. Not in festivities-gone-awry celebration of the impending end of school year.

No, because I was cooking. With the window open. Next to a cluttered counter. On a windy day.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), cooking fires are the number one cause of fires in the home, and twelve percent of kitchen fires occur when something that can catch fire gets too close to the equipment.

In this case, it was paper, caught up by a gust of wind and pushed under the sauce pot, into the flame. I had my back to the stove, but fortunately my nose is very sensitive. By the time Thomas asked if something was burning I was able to say, "Not anymore."

I know I'm not the only one (or, I hope I'm not the only one) who can't manage to keep the kitchen counters clear, so here are a few tips from the NFPA:

  • Stay in the kitchen while you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
  • If you are simmering, baking, roasting, or boiling food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that you are cooking.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire — oven mitts, wooden utensils, food packaging, towels or curtains — away from your stovetop.
If you have a cooking fire
  • Just get out! When you leave, close the door behind you to help contain the fire.
  • Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number after you leave.
  • If you try to fight the fire, be sure others are getting out and you have a clear way out.
  • Keep a lid nearby when you’re cooking to smother small grease fires. Smother the fire by sliding the lid over the pan and turn off the stovetop. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.
  • For an oven fire turn off the heat and keep the door closed.

As I learned today, if it's too hot in your kitchen, maybe it's time to do a little de-cluttering.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Dammit

As sad as I am to have to do it, The Dammit is back. Swear words abound, so cover your ears and try to block the spittle!

Dammit #1:
I'm sick of my book. It's so close to being done, and I'm sick of it. I'm beginning to wonder if I like being able to say "I'm writing a book" more than the thought of saying "I wrote a book! (And NO I don't know when it will be published!)"

Dammit #2:
I had an intellectual disagreement with the woman I want to co-author book number two. Or three. It's caused a bit of a brain jam and I'm not entirely sure why. So the disagreement is Dammit 2a and the brain jam is Dammit 2b. I don't mind so much that we had a difference of opinion--that happens a lot--but this was a real stunner, from a quarter where I least expected it.

Dammit #3:
I could have posted this as a Random Question of the Week:
Why are there always so many more men than women in the right to life crowds?

Dammit #4:
This should have come a couple of weeks ago, but we were all sick and I wasn't blogging. All of this Prop 8 crap. It's bullshit. People were calling in to NPR saying that "it's just a word--if "they" get all of the same rights and benefits as marriage, why do they need the word, too?" Well, if it's just a word, why the fuck are you working so hard to deny an entire community the dignity and recognition you confer upon yourselves with that word?

And why is it OK to say that some-THING is the "perfect marriage of a this and a that?" A cookie that's "the perfect marriage of chocolate and espresso." An interior design plan that's "the perfect marriage of traditional and modern." Why is that OK?

And while we're at it:

For all of you Prop 8 supporters: How does a same-sex marriage affect my marriage? How the fuck does that make my marriage any less than what it is? And who the fuck are you to take on the role of defender of MY marriage? YOU cheapen the institution. YOU make a mockery of it. YOU are allowed to marry and DIVORCE at will. YOU say that marriage is for procreation, yet YOU are free to divorce and remarry as many times as you like and at whatever age you choose, usable sperm and eggs or not. YOU are able to divorce your first spouse after a couple of years and yet deny marriage to a couple who have been together for 20.

I'm sure none of this is exactly coherent, but I was a little pissed when I wrote it.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Happy Birthday To Me . . . .

I love having a family with a sense of humor. I love even more that I love having a family with a sense of humor (which may only make sense to me):

Thanks, John and Penny, for having a sense of humor and for sharing it with me. Oh, and for liking me. That's good, too :) And thanks to everyone else for the birthday wishes!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Charlotte is not a morning person. She comes by that honestly.

Hannah is most definitely a morning person. Charlotte does not appreciate this, but Hannah persists in her belief that the power of positive chattiness will convert her little sister. So I couldn't help but laugh when, a few mornings ago, I heard:

"Good morning Char Char! Can I have a good morning hug? C'mon, give Nana a little huggie."

And then

"Awwww, I got a good morning shove!"

With a little time before art class and no Philz in sight, I asked Hannah if she'd like a Frappuccino:

"A crappuccino? What's a crappuccino?!"


I turn 40 tomorrow. Today, Hannah informed me that I don't look 40.

39, maybe.

But definitely not 40.