So we took our funky rhythms elsewhere. We walked on the beach. Which started innocently enough.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
So we took our funky rhythms elsewhere. We walked on the beach. Which started innocently enough.
Monday, August 30, 2010
It started with Caleb. Caleb and I have secrets, secrets that I will never divulge, even under great duress. Sometimes, Caleb and I allude to these secrets in public (public= in the presence of Ben, Daniel, and Ella), and when we do this alluding, we wink at one another.
Caleb LOVES to wink. He has since he learned how to about a year ago. Ben loves to wink, too, though he hasn't figured out how yet and only manages to blink really, really hard. But Caleb and I, to boost Ben’s self-esteem, assure him he’s a great winker. And then we wink at each other. Conspiratorially.
I’m not sure how many people I’ve winked at in the past month. I started becoming self-aware about a week ago, and I’m really trying to curb the habit. Of course, since it’s a pretty established habit, it’s been difficult to quit it cold turkey. Winking has become spontaneous, like a tick. I’ll be talking to someone, we’ll share a laugh, and before you can say Bob’s your uncle, I’ve winked. Conspiratorially, of course.
I went to Home Depot to get a doohickey that reaches down into drains to grab hair. They sell said doohickey for under $2.00 right next to the Drano. Initially, I was wandering around the plumbing aisle with its long and intimidating tubing, looking very out of place. A Home Depot employee spotted me and thought, “A woman in the plumbing aisle? She must be lost! I will help her!”
I told him I was looking for a thinger I could stick down drains. That’s literally what I said. A thinger I could stink down drains. And he knew exactly what I was talking about. He led me to the doohickey and said, “Is this the thinger you were referring to?”
I grinned. “This is the thinger I was looking for!” I said. Then I winked at him.
And let me tell you that if I were you, I would not wink at helpful, slightly chubby young men working at the Home Depot. They might put their hand on your arm and ask if there’s anything else they can do for you. And you, startled, might take a big step backward and say something like: “Oh, that’ll do it, sir! Yuppers!” Because you’re a dork. And he’ll smile, wanly, and walk away.
The thinger you can stick down drains worked out great. I pulled out miles of black, gunky hair, and had fun doing it, too. Clearing the shower drain gave me a sense of accomplishment I’ve never felt before. Except last week, when I fixed the garbage disposal. And the week before, when I re-wired Daniel’s battery-operated car.
Soon, I’ll be right at home in the Home Depot’s plumbing aisle.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
1. We picked out a puppy, who will be coming home in approximately four weeks. Her name is Kiah.
It is hard to pick out a puppy! I wanted a girl, so that made it significantly easier. There were only three females out of nine puppies.
As we were watching them stumble about and sleep and just be absolutely adorable, I said, for what I hope is the last time I EVER say such a thing:
"I can't tell them apart! They're all black!"
Kiah is a docile, fluffy little thing. What really drew me to her, I think, was the way she sticks her nose in corners when she sleeps. She burrows. In a pen of nine puppies, I knew which one she was because she would lay flat on her belly, nose tucked into the corner, with her hind legs splayed out behind her.
I have a perpetually cold nose, too, so I can totally relate.
2) Thank you for voting on my new blog design. After some consideration, I ditched the chandeliers. They were just too busy. I'm keeping the header for a while but I'm sure I'll change it back sometime. I do this with the furniture at home, too.
3) I went to try and buy my domain back but someone else- someone I'm having a hard time forgiving- swooped in and bought it. Hollygoeslightly.net is now for sale. I made what I felt was a generous offer. You know what the minimum bid was? $480!!!!! I paid $10 for it a year ago! That's a lot of percentage increase there, my good man. It definitely exceeds the rate of inflation.
I was a little upset. I may have teared up. I'm almost over it. Such is capitalism, after all.
I purchased Hollygoeslightly.us which will hopefully be up and running in a day or two.
Am I the first person in the history of personal blogging who has had three domain names for the same blog within 1 1/2 years? I am a disgrace. Truly a disgrace.
To my lovely domain, hollygoeslightly.net: It was my fault. I didn't treat you as good as I should. Maybe I didn't love you quite as often as I could. Those little things- like updating my credit card- I should have said and done, I just never took the time.
If I made you feel second best, I'm so sorry. I tried.
You were always on my mind. You were always on my mind.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
He insisted that Jack is a derivative of John, and is solely a nick-name. I suggested that might be the case for uppity politicians from Massachussetts, but not for western New Yorkers. Or kick-a#@ CTU agents. However, to appease his sense of propriety, I offered up the name Jackson. He became absolutely disgusted. I think Jackson is a perfectly acceptable, nay, lovely name.
A normal person knows that Jack can be “Just Jack,” but my husband is weird.
Because we could not agree on Jack, and because the name Lucy had become inextricably tied to the name Jack, we ended up with two different names altogether. When Caleb came to the hospital to meet his new little brother and sister, we introduced him to “Daniel” and “Ella.” He looked at us, confused, and asked:
“Where’s Jack and Lucy?”
We’ve made the final decision to get a puppy and so this whole name-choosing process has reared its ugly head once again. Here was John’s suggestion:
“We both really liked the name Lucy, so why don’t we just called the dog Lucy?”
“No!” I said.
“Because. We can’t name the dog after my grandmother.”
“But your grandmother’s name isn’t Lucy. It’s Lucille.”
“Same thing! People called her Lucy when she was younger.”
“Not the same thing, but we can just not tell her the dog’s name, if that would make you feel better.”
This from a person who insisted Jack is the same name as John.
Sometimes I want to jump off a bridge.
I’ve actually put more thought into naming this dog than I did any of my kids, which is probably odd, but oh well. I tried to get the kids' input, but they are utter failures in the name-selecting department. Here were their picks:
Ben: Albert Pujols.
“Ben,” I said, “we’re getting a GIRL doggy.”
“Oh.” He pauses. He thinks. “Ella?”
John had been kicked off the name-selecting committee after the Lucy debacle, so it was up to me. I began to think about how each of my friend Lydia’s pets’ names are a reflection of the places she has lived. The two cats have Japanese and Samoan words for names, and her new puppy is called Edelweiss, a German word.
Our puppy-to-be’s mom’s name is a Kenyan word, because her family lived in Switzerland for a year. (No. They lived in Kenya. Just wanted to see if anyone was paying attention.)
I wanted to give my dog a name that symbolized her own ethnic heritage. We are getting an Australian Shepherd, so I began looking up Australian words. I found a lovely Aboriginal word that means “from the beautiful place:” Kiah. Pronounced K-eye-uh. Not Kia like the car dealership.
All excited, I went to tell John. This is what he had to say:
“The breed’s name is actually a misnomer. Though originally believed to have hailed from Australia, the Australian Shepherd breed was actually developed in the western states.”
Long, long pause. I respond:
“Well. Crap.” (A dirty look commences.) “I don’t like you.”
There’s good news. Kiah is ALSO an African word that means “start of the season.” So, we can say we’re paying homage to her mother’s, um, African roots. Plus, we’re getting her at the beginning of fall, so that works too.
I think getting a dog will be a good thing. I really do. Writing a defense of our decision to get a dog would just take too long, so I’ll save it for another post.
My friend Lydia's puppy, Edelweiss. She's trying to eat my deck! (The puppy, not Lydia. Obviously. LYDIA DOES NOT EAT DECKS!) Lydia, btw, is 4'9". THAT is a Bull Mastiff. They are going to look really funny together in just a couple months.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
As a Christian who is sending her kids to public schools, it was quite a refreshing "listen."
Excerpted from Velvet Elvis: Repainting the Christian Faith by Rob Bell
Do you know anybody who grew up in a religious environment, maybe even a Christian one, and walked away from faith/ church/ God when they turned eighteen and went away to college?
Whenever I ask this question in a group of people, almost every hand goes up. Let me suggest why. Imagine what happens when a young woman is raised in a Christian setting but hasn't been taught that all things are hers and then goes to a university where she's exposed to all sorts of new ideas and views and perspectives. She takes classes in psychology and anthropology and biology and world history, and her professsors are people who have devoted themselves to their particular fields of study. Is it possible that in the course of lecturing on their particular fields of interest, her professors will from time to time say things that are true? Of course. Truth is available to everyone.
But let's say her professors aren't Christians, it is not a "Christian" university, and this young woman hasn't been taught that all things are hers. What if she has been taught that Christianity is the only thing that's true? What if she has been taught that there is no truth outside the bible? She's now faced with this dilemma: believe the truth she's learning or the Christian faith she was brought up with.
Or we could put her dilemma this way: intellectual honestly or Jesus?
How many times have you seen this? I can't tell you the number of people in their late teens or early twenties I know, or those I have been told about, who experience truth outside the boundaries of their religion and abandon the whole thing because they think it's a choice. They are experiencing truth in all sorts of new ways, and they need a faith that is big enough to handle it. Their box is getting blown apart, and the faith they were handed doesn't have room for what they are learning.
But it isn't a choice, because Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, the life." If you come across truth in any form, it isn't outside your faith as a Christian. Your faith just got bigger. To be a Christian is to claim truth wherever you find it.
(I haven't read the entire book, though I realize Bell has been called "a heretic" and other unpleasant things. Even a heretic espouses truth once and again, I imagine.)
Friday, August 20, 2010
To make a horribly boring story really long, here we go: my domain registration wasn't renewed because I forgot to update my payment information after my credit card was stolen out of my vehicle along with my GPS, cell phone, and camera, which I know I have griped about in a previous post. Deep breath. Even though a really nice man took the time to call me and warn me my domain was about to expire, I still allowed it to happen because the website Who Is.com does things all weird. They said my domain would not expire until July 2011, but the nice man at GoDaddy said that they actually display the date a whole year later than the ACTUAL expiration date, and you can find this information somewhere on their complicated website. AND Google Apps is apparently different from plain old Google, and I had this whole other email address I didn't even know about. And Google doesn't have a customer service number. You have to troll forums hoping to find an answer to your obscure question.
Bloggy people who are technologically unsavvy NEED someone to walk them through things, so they don't break their monitors with their rather large and bulky Writer's Digest Grammar Desk Reference. (On a somewhat related note, last weekend I used the word electronical in a sentence. ELECTRONICAL.)
It's all been rather exhausting.
To get my domain name back, I will have to pay an exorbitant fee, which is not really in my budget, especially since Caleb informed me yesterday that I better start saving for his Spy School education. It costs lots of money to be a spy, what with all those fancy gadgets and all.
I'm back to my original clunky domain name, holly-goes-light-ly.blogspot.com. If I don't get my old domain back, I will lose a lot of readers. This is very anti-bloggy, the losing of readers.
And to top it all off, this is a conversation I had with Ella's speech therapist today:
Speech Therapist: Does Ella put a lot of things in her mouth that she's not supposed to? (After Ella takes a sticker ST gave her and promptly inhales it like it's pizza.)
Holly: Some things, I guess.
ST: Like what kinds of things?
Holly: Hmmmm. Let's see. Things Ella puts in her mouth. Coins, dimes, pennies, quarters. Marbles. Cereal off the floor. Dry macaroni. Pen caps. Legos. Barrettes, hair bands, hair. Her hair, my hair.
She eats dirt, sand, little pebbles, medium-sized pebbles. Lint. Dust. Grass.
Sock fuzzies, Barbie shoes, memory cards.
And play-doh. Oh,man, how that girl LOVES play-doh.
Why. Is this not normal?
(ST's eyes are wide. Apparently, not normal. Appointment with additional therapist forthcoming.)
So, you can see the STRESS I am under lately. Plus, there's a fly buzzing around my face and a pungent skunk lurking outside. AND, I cleaned my sheets today but haven't put them on the bed yet, so there's that to look forward to.
I'm going to hang in there. Hang in there with me?
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
There was great rejoicing in the land. The possibilities for the future seem so hopeful now: Palestine vs. Israel? Peace is a workable option. A Beatles reunion? Why not? Death is but a small obstacle. A woman’s right to vote? Wait! That happened. Ninety years ago. Feels like yesterday.
I kid. I was not there. In fact, I rarely think much about it. I learned today was the anniversary from google. I did enjoy singing that song from Mary Poppins when I was little- the one sung by the flighty suffragette Mrs. Banks…
Our daughter’s daughters will adore us
And we’ll sing in grateful chorus…
She wasn’t really a great example of the fairer sex, come to think of it. Catchy tune, though.
English women got the full right to vote eight years after American women did. (It was, English historians explain, a process. Like Ella finally coming around and accepting green foods.)
So commemorate this day and to further exhibit my whitewashed feminist leanings, here are some links to help you embrace your right to vote, no matter your race, creed, or religion, as well as some links about how crappy women still have it, even in certain communities and cultures within America.
And for the record, I love men. Even though they’re hairy.
In fact, I often prefer to hang with men over women. Especially men who… I better stop now. My husband reads this.
Find your local congressman. Or woman.
Contact state and local government officials.
Ann Coulter is so cranky. And she says the dumbest things. I dislike her.
Read about Susan B. Anthony, and if you live in the Rochester-area, consider visiting her home! (Bring some pepper spray. It's kind of in the ghetto.)
Not all "feminists" are pro-choice.
Ban the Burka! A really great article.
Is there anything scarier than sex trafficking?
Female circumcision happens even in the States.
Every 21 days, someone in the U.S. dies as a result of domestic violence.
And just to prove how much I LOVE MEN I post this video "Cool Men Don't Look At Explosions." Because, I think I would totally look at the explosions. And also, as things were exploding, I would be stumbling around and flapping my arms and shrieking. Because I'm a girl. So I really respect you men who don't look at explosions.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Holly, you may wonder, what were you doing with pepper spray in your purse? Well, that is for me to know and you to hopefully never find out.
On Thursday, I tagged along with John to NYC. He had business to attend to, and I had architecture to photograph, so it was a mutually beneficial excursion.
We arrived Thursday afternoon. Our first night we stayed at the Waldorf Astoria. Not really. We stayed at the Doubletree, which is across the street from the Waldorf, so it’s almost the same thing.
There were men with machine guns outside of the Waldorf. Either someone really important was staying at the Waldorf or they heard about me and the pepper spray and decided to take extra precautions. Who knows.
We were only a few blocks from St. Patrick's Cathedral and Times Square, which is a horrible place that no one should be subjected to. Times Square is commercialism on crack. I nearly had a seizure. The wood-fire pizza place we were directed to by Doubletree’s knowledgeable concierge was, unfortunately, within the buzzing theater district.
John’s Pizza (brick-oven pizza of scrumptiousness) is in a deconsecrated church. I ate beneath a stained-glass ceiling. I think all good pizza should be eaten this way, like a religious experience.
Thursday night, John dragged me to a cocktail party. Where people were mingling. And networking. In fact, the whole point of the cocktail party was to gather people in the high technology industry so that they could network with one another.
This is my nightmare.
The event was located at a trendy restaurant/bar in Times Square. I was wearing a name-tag that indicated I was from The Firm. Twice, I explained that I was not a lawyer, but a lawyer’s wife. The third time I was asked, I went with it and explained I was indeed a busy and important attorney who traveled to New York often for business. The children were home with the nanny and I was, of course, exhausted, and I had left my business cards in my office. It’s quite easy to play busy and important. After becoming tired of lying, I found a safe, dark corner to hide in.
Afterward, we went out with John’s friend and client to one of Bobby Flay’s restaurants, also in Times Square. Here’s where it gets icky. We ordered a two-tiered tray of raw seafood. Clam, oysters, mussels, shrimp, crayfish, lobster, crab: raw. Not cooked. Slimy and slippery and slidy down the throat. I’m still here, so apparently this whole cooking our food thing is just another big huge time-waster.
Business was over by Friday, and Holly-time began. I dragged John to Rockefeller Center for an NBC tour and a trip up to the observatory deck. This didn’t happen. The frugal tourist DOES NOT pay $35 to schlep around Rockefeller center. The frugal tourist makes up her own tour. I dragged John all over Manhattan on “Holly’s Literary Tour 2010!!!!” It’s as exciting as it sounds! We hit used bookstores, the Strand, and famous literary landmarks. For lunch, we ate at the White Horse, the very same pub where Dylan Thomas drank himself to death. In fact, I sat in the very same seat where he had his final drink. To be cautious, I ordered a diet pepsi. Quite frankly, I’m surprised the pub still retains its liquor license after what happened to Dylan Thomas.
Later, we stopped for a drink at Pete's Tavern, the OLDEST establishment of its kind in NYC. In this tavern, O’Henry penned the famous story “The Gift of the Magi.” You know the tale. The wife sells her hair to buy her husband a watch band. The husband sells his watch to buy his wife barrettes. It’s all ironic and a little tragic, but hey. They love each other. And that’s the important thing.
I could not convince John to stop by the literary garden in Central Park, and was also unable to convince him that buying a $30 hair product at Sephora in fact paid homage to the wife in the O’Henry story and therefore fit into the literary theme. But these are sacrifices you have to make when you are married.
That evening, we hung out with my friend, Christine, and her husband, Scott, a five-star chef who is allergic to gluten. We took a taxi to Korea town for dinner. We ate at a restaurant where a man played a shrill string instrument atop a fake cave. We ate Korean barbecue: meat wrapped up in a large piece of lettuce. There was a white grand piano atop the fake cave, too.
You can’t make this stuff up.
After dinner, I was gung-ho about visiting a Broadway karaoke bar, but I forgot the name and address of the spot and, honestly, my three companions seemed relieved about that, which has made me realize that I desperately need a karaoke partner. Male or female, the ideal partner should be able to carry a tune so as not to embarrass me but (and this is important) should not under any circumstances out-stage me. Unfortunately, this rules my sisters out. Call me for additional details.
Christine is a vet tech to the animals of the rich and famous in upper Manhattan. She attends to the German Shepherds who live atop of Macy’s. Did you know there are German Shepherds that live atop of Macy’s? They come out at night, after the store is closed, and sniff out any homeless people who might have decided to spend the night in the furniture department. I’m dead serious.
Christine has the life I wanted. She walks to the library every Saturday, goes to frequent book signings, has an incredible view of the Manhattan skyline, and lives right around the corner from a great gelato spot.
She also lives down the street from a blood clinic. As we walked around the city Friday night, Chrissy pulled out her “Gallonaire” card. She has given a gallon of her own blood to the clinic. (Not all at once. Over time.) She was kind of bragging about it, but whatever.
Each time she gives blood, she receives points that she can redeem for various prizes. She has traded her points for each of the Twilight movies. Please take a moment and contemplate the irony here.
You can’t make this stuff up.
Saturday, we had breakfast and said goodbye to our friends, who were, ironically, driving to visit family in Rochester. (It was a weekend filled with ironies.) John and I had time before our flight so we wandered for a couple of hours before we hopped in a taxi and left for JFK. Which is a horrible, horrible, place. Absolutely awful.
We flew JetBlue both ways, the same airline where that flight attendant who flipped out and went down the emergency chute worked. Our flight was boring and our attendants sanguine, so that was a bummer.
I’m just going to put this out there. New York City is the greatest city in the world. I know this is a controversial statement. Some will certainly argue that London, Paris, or Cleveland is the greatest city in the world. They are wrong. Sure, the people in Manhattan are a bit rude, but you would be edgy too if tourists were constantly bumping into while taking pictures and it took you 20 minutes to drive 1.4 miles.
I punched in the numbers and our family could definitely live, uncomfortably, in a shabby 3-bedroom, 1200 SF apartment in Manhattan if we ate mainly Raman noodles and drank tap water. However, rushing my kids around via subway and the bus seems like a hassle, and a diet of Raman and water might give them rickets, so we’re going to wait until they graduate before we make the big move.
Of course there are pictures! I may frame some of these. Not to brag, but there are some halfway decent shots, here.
St Patrick's shots:
I call this the Doors and Windows series:
John feeds a legless homeless man we found in the park. I believe he was a war veteran.
I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Does anyone?
The Writer from the film Stand By Me
Monday, August 9, 2010
Harry: In eight years.
Sally: But it's there. It's just sitting there, like some big dead end.
I’m the same age as Sally was. Which means next year, I’ll be older than Sally.
I may cry.
The trip to Grandma’s went how I expected. Grandma is a talker. For someone who complains she doesn’t see people anymore, she sure knows a lot about everyone. If you happen to live in the Schroon Lake area, there’s a great possibility that I know what you did, why you did it, who you did it with, and, most importantly, whether or not Grandma approves.
I was spot-on correct about Grandma lecturing me about modern-day toys. When Ben pulled out his Leapster L-Max, Grandma insisted the world has gone (in her words) “too technological. What with microwaves and 600 television channels and tweeters.” Yes- Grandma is opposed to microwaves, cable, and Twitter- though she has no idea what Twitter is. Why have a microwave when your toaster oven does the job just as well? I don’t have an answer, either.
I rarely have an answer.
“So is that thing educational or strictly for entertainment?” she asked about the Leapster L-Max.
“Oh, it’s educational. You can do math problems and reading problems on it,” I answered smugly.
This is when I received the lecture about how we push kids too hard at too young of an age. I looked at Ben. He seemed happy, and unlike a child being pushed. God only knows what she would have said if I admitted the Leapster L-Max was really mostly for entertainment.
Grandma is a paradox. She was bewildered when she learned John was the sole caretaker of the twins this past weekend. One might think she is stuck in the fifties and sixties:
“In my day and age, a man changing a diaper was unheard of,” she stated matter-of-factly. I’m not sure if she approves or not. (I think she’s jealous my husband changes diapers and her husband didn’t. However, if John had narrowly escaped a horrible demise during WWII, I may have granted him a diaper-changing reprieve.)
Then again, she has recently discovered the wonder of Betty Crocker cookie mixes. She insists the mixes, which only require a bit of Oleo, are as tasty as the cookies she used to make from scratch. I beg to differ, but that’s just an opinion.
When in Schroon Lake, I like to walk through town (upstreet, as Grandma calls it) and browse in the little shops. Grandma insists the prices in the little shops are too high and threw a party when the Dollar General came to town.
Last year, the bridge over Lake Champlain that connects Vermont and New York was deteriorating fast and was subsequently demolished. A new bridge is underway. Grandma’s biggest concern? That the temporary lack of a bridge will hurt the Walmart’s business in Ticonderoga. Because, darn it, Oleo is cheaper at the Walmart. God forbid that wonderful establishment ever go out of business.
So, in some ways, Grandma has embraced the changing times.
Speaking of technology, Grandma has a hearing aid now, which is funny, because when I was little I thought she had hearing like a- like a something that has really great hearing. You could not mutter ANYTHING behind that woman’s back. Now, she says “What?” about fifty times during a ten-minute conversation. My voice is a little hoarse from talking so loudly. Plus, I had to translate everything Ben and Caleb said, as they are unapologetic mutterers. Occasionally, Grandma’s hearing aid began whistling, and disgusted, she’d wonder why she bothers to wear the thing at all.
Grandma is a force of nature. She walks for 20 minutes a day in circles in her basement, which is, according to her furnace man, the cleanest basement in all of Schroon Lake. She does this to keep spry, and she is fairly spry for her age.
Mostly, when I visit, I like to hear stories from Grandma: tales from her past. Like the story behind the picture of Grandma and a bunch of her girlfriends in snowshoes, dated 1940. (This was what we did for fun back then! We didn't need any of those fancy gadgets to amuse ourselves...) Like how she didn’t put her wedding dress on until my grandfather drove by her house on the way to the church, honking as he passed. Like how the Word of Lifers (the well-meaning bible thumpers from the popular bible camp in Schroon Lake) came into my grandparent’s store and scared away customers with their proselytizing.
I’ve come to find that my Adirondack outdoor adventures aren’t going to happen when I visit Grandma. There’s too much talking to get done. I suppose the mountains will wait.
Yes, there's pictures!
A short hike through Scaroon Manor
Remnants of the old ampitheatre. This was one of my favorite haunts as a child. Back then, Scaroon Manor was abandoned. There were trails through the woods and people came in to camp and hike, but it was usually pretty quiet in there. Now, the old resort has undergone a major state-sponsored reconstruction. It costs money to get in there now, which I find distasteful. I don't like to pay for my nature. Plus, I liked it when it was wild and abandoned and haunted. The old ampitheatre was tucked back behind the trees...
Pictures of the ampitheatre back in its hey-day.
They filmed Marjorie Morningstar here!