Woman Encounters Obstacle While Following Rainbow to End

Really, I am in better shape than this. But sometimes it takes a glass of wine to realize it.

I just walked out the door holding two of Husbot’s shirts, folded. I am not on the way to the dry cleaner, nor does Husbot own shirts that require poisons to cleanse them; if they reach that state, they get thrown out.

I was headed to the coffee bar, which in addition to coffee, happens to serve a bracing New Zealand sauvignon blanc by the glass. Getting into the car with an armful of shirts by mistake just illustrates how dire my quest was: I am in a state that requires poison to cleanse me.

Yes, it is only 3:29. This is my first and will probably be my last drink of the day, if you’re not counting an oversized homemade iced decaf mocha and not enough water.

It hasn’t been a bad day. In fact, it’s been a good day. It just feels like it’s been about three days, since 6 a.m. Probably because I’m trying to steer us all to a successful Halloween.

I should have gone to bed earlier last night; instead, I sat up practicing face painting. Which I scheduled myself to do for two hours tomorrow morning at Mbot’s preschool. Not only did I offer to repeat last year’s effort, which was valiant if not entirely successful (read about it here!), but to paint a panel of sample designs so that the woman who will take over for me during the afternoon Spookfest will avoid the embarrassment of instantaneously forgetting what a frog looks like when called upon to conjure one onto a four-year-old’s cheek.

Facepainting is kind of like regular painting, except really fast on a moving target. So even Picasso might have messed it up. Of course, chances are, you wouldn’t be able to tell if he did.

I find, while I sit here with my glass of Infamous Goose, I need to list the day’s triumphs:

Harry Potter gown hemmed (with black duct tape) and ironed.

Harry Potter broom padded at the dangerous end with black fleece. Extra glue added between handle and bristles to preempt mid-trick-or-treat meltdown due to falling-apart broom.

Chipless Dale costume examined and sighed over. Projected chance that Gbot will actually wear it without a fuss: 60%.

Chances that I’ll mess up the face painting required to produce a smile and two buck teeth on Gbot’s lower face tomorrow: an even 50%.

Dinner made.

Garbage taken out.

Laundry done.

Car washed. (Really. Needed. To Be. Done.)

Doggie poop cleaned up off living room floor.

Gbot’s nose wiped (twenty times. Tail end of cold.)

Hands washed between doggie poop pick-up and nose-wiping.

A still-coldy Gbot cuddled extra and listened to while wailing over 1. missing his chance to count down for Mbot before he launched out the door to the playground. 2. missing his chance to strap himself into car because he was wailing about missing his chance to count down for Mbot.

Husbot pissed off at wife’s attitude when he came home from work at 2:45 to spell me ’til 5. Excuse wife for not breaking out her first date smile when he threatens to lull them to sleep at 4 pm, which means she’ll be up ’til 9 p.m. putting them to sleep again.

The good news: I am almost ready for Halloween! And my friends and relatives on the Eastern seaboard are safe.

Last but not least, about the photo: I took this two weeks ago in Idaho’s Wood River Valley. Every year, my parents’ neighbor, architect and spare-time-hilarious-actor-in-local-productions, Steve Pruitt, put this witch up at the corner. Steve passed last fall, having lost a long battle with a rare kind of cancer. I never actually met him in person, but many years ago, I saw him in Don Quixote, and I still remember how hard I laughed. Other neighbors have taken up the Halloween witch-in-trouble ritual. And one morning in mid-October, we found her at the end of the rainbow.

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Trick or Treat! It’s Chip and Harry!

Finding time to write this week has been like looking for the Golden Snitch in a heavy fog with Draco Malfoy on my tail.

Gbot’s caught a cold, it’s his birthday week, with all the preparations that entails, and, of course, Halloween is coming at me like a bludger.

I don’t think I even got a chance to tell you what we were going to be for Halloween. Roughly in order, over the past couple of months, Mbot and Gbot were going to be:

the bad cockroach Spider-Man

Batman

Batgirl

the Bat Sisters

“a storming trooper”

Rapunzel

“the big guy not the color of snow what’s his name?” “Darth Vadar.”

Chip and Dale

“the shiny guy” (C3PO)

“the guy who beeps when he’s mad” (R2D2)

Harry Potter

Luke Skywalker

a kitty cat

Han Solo

You can understand why I hadn’t ordered or begun making their costumes until last week, when I made the executive decision that the bots would be Chip and Dale. I bought the necessary fabric and craft items in order to execute my bossy mommy plan. My plan this year was to make the costumes simple and quick. I don’t have time for anything but simple and quick.

Saturday morning, I began and nearly finished Mbot’s Chip and Dale costume. And Mbot was in tears, wailing at the top of his lungs, “I don’t WANT to be Chip and Dale!”

Normally this behavior doesn’t faze me, but it’s a Halloween costume, for heaven’s sake. Who really cares? Not me. Mbot. That’s who.

“What do you want to be?” I asked Mbot, and he announced that he was still vacillating between a storming trooper and Han Solo. We can make you a Han Solo costume, I said. Phew. Easy. We just had to turn his doggie rain boots into black boots. I could figure it out. Then he went to play with his favorite stuffed animal besides Junepy, an owl he calls Hedwig. “I want to be Harry Potter,” he said, and I jumped on that. A boy wizard trumps an Oozie-toting mercenary for the costume of a four-year-old any day.

So he’ll be wearing my black graduation robes, hemmed about eighteen inches. He’ll be carrying the makeshift broom I made from a half-price piece of decorative bamboo and another half-price piece of decorative fall foliage at Joann’s. He’ll be wearing glasses specially made to stay on a four-year-old’s face (earpieces made of pipecleaners stuffed through black-painted drinking straws affixed to elastic to go around the head):

and, in my favorite part of the costume, he will be carrying Hedwig….in the inner portion of my asparagus strainer:

Mbot is thrilled with this arrangement. The smile on his face when I showed him was one of pure satisfaction. He brought Hedwig to Grandma’s last night. He fed her Chex through the bars of her cage and supplied her with water in an empty Play-Doh cannister. He put his glasses on again first thing this morning and “played a fool on me” that he was really Harry Potter.

I was reminded instensely once again of why I love the age of four. Harry Potter’s magic is nothing compared to the magic of loving a bird cage made out of an asparagus strainer.

Liar, Liar, Lance on Fire: A Hero in Hell–or, What the Hell’s a Hero?

While the Bots and I were making the transition from Idaho to Arizona, cool to warm, play days to preschool, Lance Armstrong was making a transition from winner to loser–at least loser of his seven Tour de France victories after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a 200-page document implicating the cancer-survivor-cycling-hero as a key player in what the press is calling the most systematic and sophisticated doping system in the history of professional cycling. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that he will lose out on an estimated $200 million in speaking fees over the next ten years. He’s not quite the hero he was thought to be.

It made me stop and think about heroes.

I found that, although I take my blog’s name from them, I know little about heroes as a group, except that the fictional ones appear on a lot of underpants, and that my children love them. Loving them is the point, right? Aspiring to be like them–the perfect, moral, strong-of-heart, body, and mind-betighted beings–is what it’s all about, right? But when heroes disappoint, time and again, it’s time to dig deeper into our need for them, our expectations of them, and our expectations of ourselves.

So, what, exactly, IS a hero, these days, anyway?

In an article called The Seven Paradoxes of Heroism, Scott T. Allison and George R. Goethals, psychology professors at the University of Richmond, list some interesting findings from studies they did that asked people about their ideas of heros. Here they are:

  1. The truest heroes are fictional heroes (fictional heroes exemplify heroic characteristics to a greater degree than real-life heroes who are prone, to, well, the weanesses of humanity.)
  2. We all agree what a hero is, but we disagree who heroes are.
  3. The most abundant heroes are also the most invisible. (policemen, teachers, mothers)
  4. The worst of human nature brings out the best of human nature. (Tragedies spawn acts of heroism.)
  5. We don’t choose our heroes; they choose us. (We are cognitively “programmed” to find heroes in certain kinds of people, ie, athletes.)
  6. We love to build up our heroes and we also love to destroy them. (I think this one speaks for itself.)
  7. We love heroes the most when they’re gone. (The  most successful president is, well, a dead one.)

This was all very interesting. But the article that pulled it all together for me was written by Scott LaBarge, a philospher and professor of philosophy at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, in California. In his article, On Heroism: Why Heroes Are Important.

LaBarge writes, “We largely define our ideals by the heroes we choose, and our ideals — things like courage, honor, and justice — largely define us. Our heroes are symbols for us of all the qualities we would like to possess and all the ambitions we would like to satisfy….And because the ideals to which we aspire do so much to determine the ways in which we behave, we all have a vested interest in each person having heroes, and in the choice of heroes each of us makes….”

He goes on to say that many kids today haven’t even heard of the likes of Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Susan B. Anthony. And so their choices fall to baseball players, rap musicians, movie stars, and professional cyclists. Which is detrimental largely because when these heroes fall, it leads to “pervasive and corrosive cynicism and skepticism.”

Is there a fix for such cynacism? Yes, and it turns out it’s an important lesson in how to view–and treat–our heroes.

“The best antidote to this cynicism is realism about the limits of human nature,” writes LaBarge. “…We need to separate out the things that make our heroes noteworthy, and forgive the shortcomings that blemish their heroic perfection.”

I agree. I’m not arguing for forgetting Lance’s vast deception. But I am a proponent of continuing to appreciate all the good things he’s done.

LaBarge points out that while the “frailties of heroic people make them more like us…that they seem to reduce the heroes’ stature,” but, paradoxically, this might give us hope that we, in all our own weakness, might to accomplish “deeds of triumphant beauty.”

The biggest problem I have with Armstrong’s deception is that it perhaps robbed others of the opportunity to accomplish “deeds of triumphant beauty.” But isn’t simply finishing a 3,500-mile bike ride over twenty-something mountain passes in twenty-three days that has resulted over the last ninety-nine years in sixteen deaths (wwww.letour.fr) in itself a deed of triumphant beauty?

We don’t have to forgive Armstrong for cheating, or for deceiving us. But we can still admire his Live Strong campaign, his althleticism, her perseverence, and his work ethic. And we should admire our own ability to seek heroism in others and in ourselves.

My greatest concern is how to teach the Bots this stuff. LaBarge maintains that it’s pretty easy. “Heroic lives have their appeal built in, all we need to do is make an effort to tell the stories….Tell your students what a difference people of courage and nobility and genius have made to the world. Just tell the stories!”

Katy Abel, in her article, From Spiderman to Mom: How Kids Choose Heroes, writes of a teacher who does tell the stories. Her students spend over a month each school year studying the Odyssey. They learn that “ancient heroes, unlike modern ones, were warriors who also cried and made mistakes.”

But Abel contends that “if students are asked to write about a hero, but aren’t expected to emulate the hero through good deeds of their own, then the effect is minimal….”

“Start by going home tonight and listing your five most important heroes,” advises LaBarge. And so what will I do? Beyond my own parents, my in-laws, strong women in general, peacekeepers in general, scientists in general, brave artist/writers, and the best teachers I’ve had, and the be-tighted guys on the booties of the Bots, I find I come up short when it comes to knowing much about many heroic figures in history. So here’s what I’m going to do: I’m going to the library. I’m going to the children’s section. I’m going to check out biographies. The Bots and I will read them together. We’ll learn about heroes. And we’ll talk about how we can be heroes, too.

So I thank you, Lance, even while Nike is cursing you, for expanding my sense of possibility about how I might teach the Bots about heroes, and about how to be their own heroes.

Not-So-Famous Drinks of Youth and Idaho

Children and fall: the prettiest reminders of change.

I am so consumed by the present that any glance back into the past is jarring–almost surreal. So much changed when I became a mother. Not just the usual big-then-saggy boobage, belly fat, hair-falling-out, sudden-fact-that-I-am-in-love-with-a-helpless-alien sort of things. I’d married Husbot just one year before; I’d met him nine months before that. I relocated from a place and community I’d lived in and loved for ten years to a foreign land. (Just because the same currency is used and the same language is spoken thirty minutes west of Phoenix, Arizona and the Wood River Valley, nearly two hundred miles east of Boise, Idaho, doesn’t mean the two locations are not as different as Amsterdam and New Amsterdam). At the same time, I lost a friendship–or at least, it changed, dramatically and irrevocably. I still grieve for it.

Things were different, and would never be the same.

The bots and I return to the Wood River Valley twice a year, and each time, I am confronted with the past. We usually stay with my parents, who retired here twenty years ago; I sleep under the same crewelwork image of a girl carrying a cat that was above my bed in Alaska as a child. There is news of the old boyfriend and his wife, who are friends of friends and family. Every visit to the grocery store in this small town offers chance meetings with former colleagues and acquaintances. Sometimes they recognize me but sometimes they don’t remember my name. I introduce myself. We catch up in that inane way that takes ninety seconds. And then we push our carts in opposite directions, the way our lives have gone.

And so it should not have been unexpected but was nonetheless very strange last night, while inspecting the contents of my parents’ liquor cabinet before dinner, to come across a drink recipe I’d written for my father about fifteen years ago. It was a remnant of still another life, when I was working in my twenties for a famous Denver restaurateur who foresaw trends sometimes a decade before they became trends. (He poured me my first Cosmopolitan in 1993, three years before Carrie Bradshaw first tipped one back in a move that would forever determine the cocktail of choice for women now between the ages of forty-five and fifty-five.)

This recipe was for the Caiperana, which never enjoyed quite the notoriety of its pink sister, but made a comeback ten years ago at wedding receptions and on creative cocktail menus across the country, and more recently has featured in one of Jo Nesbo’s bestselling thrillers, in which the hero, a Norwegian detective with a taste for anything fifty-proof and above, finds himself stuck somewhere in South America and glad that the only available drink is a local version of the caiperana, brewed from the fiery and wince-inducing native liquor, distilled apparently with little consideration for flavor from raw cane sugar.

Who knew you could find video instructions online? (cucabrazuca.com)

In a bow to the past, I’ll transcribe the recipe here as I wrote it back then. It made me laugh, which of course was a bittersweet kind of laughter, because I want it back. I mean, I want the parts of my past the made me laugh back. It’s a stupid thing to want–that’s what memory is for, that’s what stories are for. And soon enough–tomorrow, as it turns out–today will be the past that made me laugh.

Caiperana

For one drink:

1/2 lime

2 teaspoons brown sugar

3 oz. Pitu cachaca

dash simple syrup* (*double-strength hummingbird food)

rocks glass

little spoon (optional)** (**a swizzle stick will do)

First, learn to pronounce both the drink and the liquor. This will entail learning a foreign language, so be ready to practice. Practicing after having served your guests yields the best results as, while your linguistic skills may not improve greatly, your listeners, as they empty their glasses, will become much more accepting of the injustices you perpetrate against the Spanish language.

But practicing beforehand doesn’t hurt. While chanting ca-CHA-cha, ca-CHA-cha, slice the lime in a complicated manner. That is, cube it as if you were cubing a potato, if you ever cube potatoes, but don’t cut all the way through the peel at the tip. You will understand why momentarily.

Place the lime pointy-side down in the glass and pestle it soundly to squeeze out the juices. Meanwhile, repeat, ky-per-ANN-ya, ky-per-ANN-ya quietly to yourself so that your guests don’t know you’re getting a headstart on pronunciation.

Add the cachaca and simple syrup and fill the glass to the brim with crushed ice. Insert the little spoon.

Sip slowly and stir the drink constantly so that the ice dilutes the concoction and you remain scintillating for as long as possible before being reduced to a pleasant stupor. Keep prodding the lime with the little spoon to extract all the juices. If you have mastered them by this time, work the words caiperana and cachaca into the conversation at frequent intervals so that your guests will be duly impressed.

*   *   *

Skol! Salud! Here’s to the past. Here’s to change.

An Argument for Sweaters for Trees, Cheerio Bombs, and Brief Prison Sentences

Weebots ‘n’ Knit bombs

Although I’d heard of knit-bombing, I’d never seen it in person until we came across an exquisite example of the practice in downtown Ketchum. Although this might be crochet. The bots were taken by it. It’s a kind of graffiti–adding “wearable art” to public spaces or objects. And maybe because it’s literally soft and fuzzy, it gives a soft and fuzzy message. If John Lennon were alive today, he certainly would pick up knitting needles between sets.

he tank-cozy: An antiwar statement that’s aware of breast cancer, too.  (noeudnoir.blogspot.com)

My friend Solveing, who lives in Colorado and is a mean knitter, first introduced me to knit-bombing, also known as yarn-bombing and sweater-bombing. It is her fantasy to knit bomb the giant devil horse statue near Denver International Airport, although she hasn’t yet purchased the eighteen thousand yards of yarn it would take to realize her vision.

Surely a sweater would make this less ugly. (hickenpooper.com)

I thought it was a splendid idea, but she pointed out that the hideous thing is on Federal property, and she just wasn’t sure a Federal prison offered an environment in which she would thrive, what with no knitting needles allowed (I’m guessing?) and that sort of thing.

Back here in Idaho, yesterday morning, Gbot Cheerio-bombed his placemat. It was the first time he’d actually dumped a whole bowl of cereal, organic milk and all, upside down in a fit of anger about being too big a boy for a booster seat. He is two.

He got a time-out, without his bear, during which he bawled and bawled. This is not normal Gbot behavior. A time-out usually presents him with an opportunity to look at me sideways with a mischievous grin while trying to escape a disciplinary act he does not believe in. Yesterday he just sat and wailed out his argument. He knew he needed the booster seat–when I had removed it, before the bomb, in an attempt to let him make up his own mind about whether he was, in fact, too big a boy, he cried about being too low to eat his cereal.

It was clear that he just needed a reason to cry. He’d been fuss-free since arriving at Nanny and Poppy’s three days before, and the equanimity had obviously taken its toll. He needed to wail for a while. So I let him. And after about fifteen minutes of sadness, he climbed up into his booster seat and ate a new bowl of Cheerios.

One mom’s ingenius (if messy) way to turn that frown upside down: douse the O’s in glue instead of milk. (prairiedaze.com)

The Cheerio bomb made a little more work for me and Nanny, but the payoff–a happy Gbot with a full tummy who’d let off steam–was well worth it.

With that in mind, I think we should all pester Solveig to complete her mission of knit-bombing the Evil Equus. We’d all feel so much better afterward, and it would mean just a little bit of unpleasantness for her. I’m sure she would receive enough chocolate from fans while doing time to make up for the narrow cot, bad food, and really unfashionable outfit. Who’s with me?

Mother Finds Something Resembling the “V” Word in South-Central Idaho

Take me home, country road.

We took the Strider bikes around the block our first evening here. The block in Idaho looks a little different than the one back home.

In the haste of coming off the conference and packing for an unfamiliar airline, which meant packing differently–only one big suitcase and three small carry-ons, I forgot my good camera. Which is a shame, because the bots are finally big and independent and trustworthy enough to give me small moments to fool around with stuff, both technical and non, without destroying the order of the universe.

“What’s the weather like up there, Cap’n Mbot?”

There is a pirate ship in the back yard.

“What else do birds like in their nests, Mom?”

There are ingredients to build birds’ nests. We came back from a walk down the dry creekbed with pockets stuffed with the wormlike tips of cottonwood branches, coin-sized river rocks smooth as gumballs, yellow-gold leaves, grasses, and even a few oriole feathers. After drawing directions for how to do it, Mbot carefully built a nest on the porch railing. He put a few pretzels in as bait. We check them periodically.

Bushwacking to the bewildered* garden (*a garden that’s nearly taken over by wilderness.)

The weather is perfect: frosty or close to it at night, mid-sixties at midday. Aspen leaves shiver in the chilly breeze and the light glows golden under the tall, tangled cottonwoods. We have practically lived out of doors since arriving. Out of doors in the Wood River Valley is my favorite place to be. It is apparently Mbot’s new favorite place, too. After our long creekbed excursion, while Nanny was preparing lunch, Mbot asked her, “Where will you move after this?”

“We won’t move,” replied Nanny. “We like it here.”

“But when you die you’ll move,” Mbot pointed out.

“That’s true,” said Nanny. “We’ll move to Heaven, I suppose.”

“Mom,” said Mbot, turning to me, “Can we move to this house after Nanny dies?”

I explained that we were lucky that Nanny wouldn’t die for a long, LONG time. And then we agreed it was much more fun being here while Nanny is alive.

And then we ate lunch, and went back outside to play–the bots chasing each other around the towering lilac bush, climbing the rigging of the yard swing pirate ship together, swinging in the hammock together, and discovering the bewildered garden together. It’s as though someone waved a cottonwood wand with a crisp tawny leaf at its tip and pronounced us the family of peaceful playing and quiet cooperation.

This has begun to acquire the feel of a vacation.

It’s That Time Again….

My wine key broke the other night–good thing I own a tool box. It doesn’t exactly relate to my post, except that innovative problem solving is always a must when traveling with bots. And wine, afterward.

…time to get on an airplane with bots.

Yesterday I attended an all-day conference an hour away put on by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Tomorrow at 3:55 a.m., the bots and I leave for the airport to fly to Idaho. In between, we have to run a thousand errands and pack three small carry-ons and one medium suitcase to bring on Allegiant Air, whose low fares (the airline is affiliated with casinos) are less ridiculous only than the hoops they make you and your baggage jump through to get onboard. Fares do not include a seat or any luggage beyond a single “personal item” no bigger than 7″x15″x16″. I am betting on the fact that since the occupants of two seats have dimensions of approximately 40″ x 10″ x 7″, the staff will not charge for two very large stuffed bears.

Once I selected my flights online (a choice of flying either Monday or Friday), then I was sent to a seating chart, where each seat was assigned a different price. Not an extra price if I wanted a choice berth, just a price for sitting down. And they don’t allow you to stand up the whole time, although the bots would probably prefer that option.

My question: Can they factor in where the guy with the body-odor problem who jiggles his knee like he’s got a potty problem, chews gum with his mouth open, and sniffles every thirty seconds is seated? Shouldn’t you get a rebate for occupying the seat next to him? Fortunately, my seat companions are not the devils that I don’t know, but the devils that I do. It’s a nonstop flight, and we’ll be at Nanny and Poppy’s by noon, so I am trying to focus on that.

More on the very informative conference once we are on our way. Wish us luck.

I Killed Your Chicken. Prepare to Dine.

Is it the challenge of hitting a small target? I dont’ really know.

To change things up from updates about where Gbot has last peed (in his Yo Gabba Gabba Vans), here’s a funny famous-person story for you:

Fairyland (from blog.oregonlive.com)

Once upon a time, in a fairytale land called Sun Valley, Idaho, where many a prince and princess of Hollywood rode on their noble G5s to their seasonal palaces among the chairlift towers and real estate offices, there once lived a serving girl named Betsy.

She was a sassy, competent serving girl, laboring by night at a fine northern Italian eatery called Piccolo (now, sadly, defunct). The servers brought gnocchi and lasagne bolognese to the common townspeople who dined there amidst the visiting cinematic royalty such as Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Michael Keaton, and Rita Wilson, and even occasionally the King of the balls, Matts Wielander.

Much Betsy’s favorite famous guest was Jamie Lee Curtis, who was funny, friendly, polite, kind to her kids, whom she always brought with, and a generous tipper. Her husband, Christopher Guest, accompanied them when they came to dine several times each summer. Now, where Betsy the serving girl could easily flirt with Ms. Curtis and exchange tips on where to find nice earrings with Ms. Wilson, she found herself intimidated by Mr. Guest. His expressionless face belied the razor intelligence and cutting wit behind such masterpieces as This is Spinal Tap, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, and, Betsy’s favorite of all time, The Princess Bride. All the world must be so boring to him, for we are mostly morons in comparison to Six Fingered Man, the character he played in The Princess Bride. Who among us doesn’t repeat a young, thin, tight-wearing Mandy Patinkin finally getting the chance to say to Guest’s character in a Spanish accent: “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”?

The Six Fingered Man, eventually slain by a young nobody. (overthinkingit.com)

Each time he came to dine, Mr. Guest ordered the famous Rosemary Chicken–a quarter bird smothered in olive oil and rosemary and then roasted at 800 degrees. No one had ever been known to replicate this dish beyond Piccolo’s kitchen walls.

Now, while the staff was flattered that Mr. Guest enjoyed the signature dish, there is no more effective way to gain a chef’s distain than by ordering chicken. Ordering chicken announces loud and clear that a diner has little confidence in the chef beyond her or his ability not to fuck up a chicken. Why not venture the fresh summer pea ravioli made of homemade pasta with brown butter? Or the local organic lamb grilled to perfection with the Valley’s best garlic mashed potatoes? Not that Betsy judged. She didn’t really even care. The chicken was delicious. And she, too, had been guilty of ordering the same dish over and over at certain restaurants. Although she never ordered the chicken. No matter how good, it was still chicken.

There came a sad night, the second-to-last night before the restaurant shut its doors for business, forever. Ms. Curtis and Mr. Guest brought their entourage and filled the banquette. Betsy chatted with Jamie Lee and nodded when Ms. Curtis reminded her to bring the check to her end o the table rather than her husband’s. When Betsy took Mr. Guest’s order, she raised her eyebrows. “Chicken again? Or are you branching out this time?” she asked.

“Chicken,” he said (or something like that). “Next time I promise I’ll try something different.”

At which point Betsy said something like, “I’ll hold you to it.” She felt giddy with exuberance. Surely her charm must have had an effect.

But the exchange must have simply strengthened Mr. Guest’s belief that we are all mostly morons. Because, of course, there would be no next time. Betsy didn’t think of this until later that evening driving home.

It made her wish that she’d had the balls to present the chicken as she’d fantasized all summer. She would approach the table. She would lower it before him. She would say, in a bad Spanish accent, “Allo. My name ees Betsy Andrews. I keeled your chicken. Prepare to dine.”

She would have had nothing to lose. Jamie Lee was doing the tipping.

Such are the regrets of a serving girl.

And here, in one of life’s fun ironies, is a Princess Bride reunion article that Lil’ Bro sent from Japan the same day I thought of writing this post:

Christopher Guest was not in the picture; he was probably still at a table subtly abusing his not-so-smart server.

The Race-Cat Pants Dance

 

racing kitty booty!

I finished another pair of pants! Mbot’s new Race-Cat Pants are of Kona cotton and rock six pockets. Pockets are popular in our house. The pocket fabric was designed by “krikany”–at least that’s the username–at Spoonflower.com, a fabulous site where you can buy fabric by the yard in hundreds if not thousands of designs by anyone and everyone including yourself. If you yearn to turn your child’s artwork into a bolt of silk, this is the place to do it.

Mbot wore the pants this morning (it’s cool enough–at least ’til noon–for pants!) and, to the tune of The Boys of Summer, which was wafting from across the parking lot from a painter’s truck, hammed for the camera.

 

Eat your heart out, Lord of the Dance.

Cutest Kid Slippers Ever, Courtesy of the Thief in Vietnam,

Boiled Wool Slipper Boots, Sizes 04-3

who hacked my Paypal account this morning, purchasing three ugly wallets (NOT EVEN CUTE ONES), from three different sellers on eBay, causing me to spend my first two and a half hours alone in many days NOT devising a lovely Monday morning post but calling PayPal and Amex, and changing usernames and passwords on eBay, since “Note: It may take up to 180 days to close your account.” WTF? Now I’m on my way to the bank to deal with it at that end. So not what I’d fantasized about doing with my 2 1/2 bot-free hours this morning.

So I can’t write the post I’d hoped to, but I’m not going to let the bad person far away ruin my ambitions completely: before I head to the bank, I’m going to show you that there is a sale–20% off! on the Cutest Kid Slippers Ever at Garnet Hill.  The bots each have a pair of these boiled-wool babies, whose rubbery soles allow them to go from the bedroom to the Science Center with ease, and after two years, they show much less sign of wear than me. I tell you–cute, functional, and tough? They’re worth $44.00. And just for today, they’re only $36.00.

These slippers never go on sale. Ever. And they always sell out well before Christmas. And since I have to go home and get my other credit card before I can order even as much as a cup of coffee, please don’t buy the shark style in size 12.