Tag Archives: nerd alert

and now we are 40

15 Mar

I turned 40 a couple days ago. I feel pretty good about that. I didn’t complete any more of the five goals I had set for myself beyond the one about going to Canada. Which I still haven’t told you about, but I’m sure I’ll get around to it. At some point. I’m not giving up on this list, though. I still want to do the other four things, and so I think I shall. I may even add some other things, though I can’t think of what those things might be right at this moment.

You’ll be happy to know that I’ve learned some things in my 40 years on this planet. Not many things, but some. And I’m still learning, which is the most important part, I’m told.

Here are a few (but not all) things that I’ve learned so far.

I’ve learned…

…money is not something to trifle with. Money is a tool, and it can be a powerful tool. On the flip side, tools can be dangerous if not handled properly. Money is no exception.

…and furthermore, there is not nearly enough education around money in this country. Because if you read the news, people are f-ing dumb when it comes to money (I say this knowing that I myself have had my dum-dum moments about money). Given the lack of financial education we as a society have, for God’s sake, people, educate yourselves. Don’t be dumb!

…I am not made of straw. I will not topple over in the wind, and I mean that both literally and figuratively/emotionally/mentally.

…God, I really love dill pickle relish.

…people will still love me even when I’m a jerk. And better yet, they will still like me. Which is good, because I can often be a jerk (and often without realizing I’m being a jerk). And in turn, there are people I still love and like even when they are jerks, and I have no intention of stopping.

…sometimes people don’t like me, even when I’m not a jerk. Oh well.

…I can’t get what I want if I don’t ask.

…I’ve reached a point in my life where I’m not always comfortable leaving the house without putting on my eyebrows.

…take care of your body. It’s the only one you have.

…take care of your mind. It’s the only one you have.

…people who do not support mental health, or feel that taking care of your mental health makes you somehow “less than” are not worthwhile people.

…I was totally wrong when I’d think that there was always someone out there whose life is more together than mine. I realized that that is impossible, because that someone else is not actually living my life, they are living THEIR OWN life, so how can it be more together than my own, when the two lives are inherently different? And furthermore, let’s be real—my life is as together as I make it and/or feel it is. Trying to compare it to someone else’s is just stupid. It’s like believing what people post on social media is the really real-deal of their day to day life.

…“Do it for the story” are (still) great words to live by.

… so are “Never trust a big butt and a smile.”

…relationships (romantic, friend, any kind, really) are hard. Anyone who says they aren’t is lying through their goddamn teeth.

… Who are you? Why are you here? What’s important? What’s not important? are the four guiding questions that resonate with me, and sometimes I have answers and sometimes I don’t.

…writing makes me whole.

This is 40.

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things i miss since becoming a parent

8 Mar

Oh sure, like every parent I miss the usual things like sleep and being able to jet off to exotic lands at a moment’s notice for the weekend,* and going to the bathroom without an audience. But when you become a parent, you adjust to the loss of those things pretty quickly whether you like it or not, and eventually sleep becomes a vague concept, exotic lands are very far away from where I live and thus not really worth the plane flight for a mere 48 hours of different scenery, and well, if you have a dog you gave up going to the bathroom by yourself a long, long time ago.

So no, these are not the things I really miss. The things I miss, since becoming a parent, are much deeper than that.

Sitting at the bar. Swede and I went on a proper date night recently. We went for dinner and drinks and then we went to see a play because we are cultured and shit. And also because tickets were only $15. And we drank our drinks while bellied up to the restaurant bar, and I realized that it is a rare occurrence that I get to sit at the bar and sip some booze. And lo! How nice it was! So adult-like and swanky. And something I just don’t do enough of these days, because bar-sitting is just not conducive to toddlers, particularly those toddlers who like to dick around on barstools rather than just sit in them like a normal person. Also because it is illegal in some states to let people under the age of 21 sit at a bar. But mostly because tiny humans can’t sit still and nothing ruins a good drink faster than having to leave to treat your child for a concussion.

Driving by MYSELF. Listen, I don’t drive a lot in general these days (thank you, commuter train to work, and husband who drives more often than not when we go places) and when I do, it’s usually with two small humans in tow. I love listening to them babble in the backseat, and I can maneuver them in and out of their car seats like a champ. But driving by myself, or even just me and the dog? Wow. Just, WOW.

On Christmas Eve I volunteered to go pick up the pizzas we were serving to our guests (yes, we had pizza, and yes, it was glorious). I got into the car, and after a brief moment of panic when I looked in the rearview mirror and didn’t see either child in their car seat, followed by a quick relief with the realization that they were at home with Swede and various aunts and cousins, well. I have never felt such freedom. I was responsible for no one but myself and pizza! In those 15 minutes, you would have thought I was Julie Fucking Andrews playing Maria von Goddamn Trapp, except instead of a hilltop I was twirling around in a Subaru.

Thinking about one thing at a time. I was going to say that before I had kids I could separate thoughts into individual…thoughts. But now with kids it all just sort of runs together, at a constant, eager clip, because if it doesn’t, then surely 30 things will be forgotten, whereas if you let it all run together only 10 things will be forgotten. (shoesdiapersextraclothesdidwedropoffthecheckforsummercampwhatsfordinnerwhendidwelastbathethechildrenischeeseandacceptabledinnerwhereareallofourpants)

But then I realized that I’ve never thought about one thing at a time, and it’s always run together. Pre-kids it was maybe only thinking about five things at a time, which is admittedly better than my current 712, but it was never just one thing at a time. So this isn’t really a being-a-parent-thing, it’s just an I’ve-always-been-that-way-thing. Yet still I miss those halcyon days of five. I’m not sure my brain actually knows how to think about one thing at a time. So much chatter over and under and over and under each other in my brain, it’s really no wonder I’m in therapy. But I could do without all the clutter in my head, and I’m hopefully that one day the 712 will scale back to the low 300s.

I’m doubtful, but hopeful.

 

*I’ve never done that.

i can’t even blame jeff

18 Jan

I’ll just go ahead and say it: This was my most pathetic year of movie watching yet.

Eight? Eight movies? That’s all I watched?

What the shit was I doing with my time?

No, really, can someone tell me? My memory of 2018 is hazy at best at this point. (A defense mechanism, as trying to process all that went on last year in one fell swoop would most likely make my brain and heart and toes throw themselves up and declare defeat.)

I could maybe squeeze it to nine movies, if I count all the partials of Netflix/Hallmark holiday movies I watched. I don’t think I finished a single one, gripped instead by the exciting world of sleep that drew me in, drew me away from whatever PR rep/caterer/event planner was falling in love on the screen with the high school boyfriend who got away/prince in disguise/hotshot business man. But seeing as how they’ve all melded together in my mind into one giant super holiday movie (now THERE is an idea for a screenplay!) I’m not sure I should.

And unlike last year, when it was completely and utterly Jeff Bezos’ fault that I didn’t watch very many movies, the fault is all mine this year. In my defense, though I watched only a few movies, the movies I did watch were quality movies and quite spectacular: Lady Bird, Molly’s Game, Black Panther. I watched some simply terrific movies this year.

So at least there’s that.

Movies I Watched + 3 takeaways from each

January 1, 2018-December 31, 2018

 

  • 1. Black Panther*–1. Black Panther has, by far, the best superpowers of any superhero. 2. “I thought you meant Coachella, or Disneyland.” 3. Golden spears and pet rhinos would make the world a better place.
  • 2. Lean on Me*–1. Morgan Freeman and Robert Guillaume. Does it get any better? No. 2. I think we can all agree that the 1989 version of the song Lean on Me is FAR inferior to the Bill Withers version. 3. Charmain! Oh, Laaaance.
  • 3. Sing!*–1. Johnny the Gorilla singing I’m Still Standing is the best. The best! 2. A pig in sequined spandex and a German accent? Yes, please. 3. I really can’t stand that singing mouse. Sorry, Seth, McFarlande.
  • 4. Molly’s Game*–1. Aaron Sorkin, you’ve done it again.Thank you for being talented. 2. Apparently the character played by Michael Cera is supposed to be, in real life, Tobey Maguire? And Tobey Maguire is apparently a complete dick in real life. 3. Idris Elba is in this movie, which I didn’t realize and which I love and also he works for Gage Whitney, which WELL PLAYED, MR. SORKIN. (And if you don’t know what that means then you clearly need to watch the West Wing another few times.)
  • 5. All the Queen’s Horses*–1. I would LOVE to hear Rita’s take on all of this. 2. Who the hell keeps 300 horses? 300 HORSES. That’s just…a lot of horses. How do you keep them all straight? 3. It’s still astounding to me that the city of Dixon never noticed that such large sums of money were going missing.
  • 6. The Secret Life of Pets*–1. You know, even cartoon movies about animals in potential danger make me a little anxious, and are hard to watch. 2. I had to do a LOOOOT of IMDBing to find out the voices behind the characters for this one. Though Kevin Hart, surprisingly, I got right off the bat. 3. This movie made me want to take my dog with me everywhere all the time. More than I do already. Because I’m That Person, and I’m fine with that.
  • 7. Lady Bird*–1. Laurie Metcalf is the newest person to be added to my Fantasy Dinner Party that includes Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet, Kristen Bell, and Reese Witherspoon (and John Goodman and Tom Hanks, if I decide to make it a co-ed dinner party). 2. I used to wonder why parents would get all uptight about their kid going far away to college or moving to a city far away, but I get it now. You spend so many years raising this person that you love more than life itself, and then they want to leave and there’s a risk that they might never come back and it’s heartbreaking to think about. 3. Yup. That’s 2002.
  • 8. Crazy Rich Asians*–1. This was much like and yet nothing like the book. 2. I would not mind going on a free shopping spree on a private island. 3. The long-lost dad thing makes sense in the book, but makes absolutely no sense here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2019 year in preview

3 Jan

I’m not sure if you know this, but 2019 is the Year of the Pie.*

It is because I am declaring it so.

I’ve made a few pies in my life. I mean that literally. I’m not trying to be clever or shrug off a major accomplishment as if it’s no big deal, like really I’m a pie expert and could make pie in my sleep and have won pie contests 16 years running but when I’m asked if I’ve ever made a pie simply reply with a non-committal “Oh, I’ve made a few pies here and there.”

I once made a chocolate pie for a Thanksgiving gathering that never set, so it was more like chocolate goo in crust. I didn’t even bring it to the gathering. I’ve made a pumpkin pie. It was okay. I’ve made fresh tomato pie—the only time I ever attempted a homemade crust—and while delicious I know it did not turn out how it was supposed to. (Though if it was still delicious, does it really matter if it doesn’t meet what the recipe says?) I’ve made lemon meringue pie twice and they were both spectacular, far and away my best pie success.

I’ve always been a fan of eating pie, especially good pie. And I define good pie as pie that has a delicious filling (obviously) but also has a crust worth eating. Because you may or may not know this, but a lot of pie crust? Is dumb. And terrible for eating. It’s as bad as having terrible pizza crust, the kind you leave discarded on the plate because there’s no point in spending the energy to chew it.

But last year, while staying with kind friends during The Renovation That Engulfed Our Lives, my friend made three pies in two weeks. And they were amazing pies—complete with amazing crust. They gave me faith in pie crust that previously did not exist. And it made me want to try my own hand at making pie, not once, not twice, but 12 times. Once a month, one new pie I’ve never made. (PS—I’m taking suggestions.) So that’s what I’m going to do in 2019.

Pie.

*I mentioned in a post long ago and many moons away that 2017 was the Year of Ice Cream, and I was WILDLY successful (by my standards) at making one new ice cream flavor per month. I ended up making 10 of the 12 months, with some terrific hits (brown sugar bourbon comes to mind) and some bleh misses (I’m looking at you, baklava ice cream). 2018 was going to be the year of the cookie, but I only made one (pan-bang chocolate chip cookies, which are delicious) and then got tired (pregnancy and house renovations will do that to you) (I know, I know, I sound like a broken record when I say things like that, but that was my 2018, and I’m sure I had other feelings and emotions and that other things happened but for the life of me I can’t remember them right now).

 

 

 

 

 

unpacking, again

8 Nov

We’re still unpacking.*

And it’s making me question many of my life choices.

Why do I have all of these knick-knacks?

Why did we register for 17 different platters? Because now we have 32 different platters.

Why did we pack a paper grocery bag full of junk mail and sundry papers?

Stuff upon stuff upon stuff and it’s overwhelming sometimes to even look at it, let alone dig deeper than the first layer of crumpled newspaper used as protection against…what? Ourselves? Because it’s not as if it was used as protection from other objects banging around next to it. That would require that I’d packed these things in some semblance of order.

I didn’t.

Towels are in with steak knives. Plates are packed with baby toys. Shoes are packed with silverware. There is little rhyme or reason to my packing. If there is any rhyme or reason at all. Really it’s more like it was an unrestrained flinging of things into the nearest container possible and shoving it out of sight. Which worked at the time, and probably made sense to me at the time. A lot of things make sense to Past McPolish. Present and Future McPolish are often left beffudled.

Why do we have so many coffee mugs?

Do I really need a platter specifically for deviled eggs?

Why did I pack all of this janky, half-burned Gladware? It’s stained with the remembrance of 1,000 chili lunches. Why did I think I would actually reuse it?

Another bag of junk mail and random papers? WTF?

I am desperate to not fall into the adage of “filling the space you have.” I am desperate to get rid of crap we don’t need.

Is a cheese knife really necessary? Will a regular knife not work just as well?

Where does this random unidentifiable plastic object belong? Can it belong in the trash? Is it an essential piece of this house and the house will come tumbling down if I throw it out?

Why do we have multiple packs of Q-Tips?

SERIOUSLY WHY THE FUCK ARE THERE MULTIPLE BAGS OF JUNK MAIL AND BULLSHIT PIECES OF PAPER STORED IN OUR BASEMENT AND CRAWL SPACE?

I’ll get there eventually, Interwebs. Maybe.

 

*Current unpacked box count, as of this typing: 3

kind of like glee, without the drama

25 Oct

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A couple weeks ago I went with two of my pals to Choir! Choir! Choir! 

If you’ve ever been to this event, you just clapped your hands and got very excited and started humming the song you learned, trying to remember the harmonizing notes.

If you haven’t ever been, here’s a brief overview: It’s a high school choir reunion with alcohol.

This is the second time I’ve participated in Choir! Choir! Choir! and both times have been memorable experiences. Not because I was suddenly discovered to have a voice like Norah Jones and signed a record contract (my first album will be titled “What the Shit is Going On Here and Where Are My Car Keys?” Look for it this Christmas); but rather because now I know all the words to “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen and “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac. And not only that, but I can harmonize the shit out of both songs.

And I’m a better person for it.

The two guys who founded this event, Daveed and Nobu, basically teach a crowd of people who have typically consumed between one and four glasses of wine or beer the music to popular songs. You self-select into highs, middles, or lows, depending on your vocal range, and learn your part of the music. And sometimes you can stick with your part. And other times your ear fails you and you end up singing a totally different part of the music. (Maybe you’re better at melodies. Perhaps you can’t resist the harmony. Whatevs.) There’s a little bit of comedy, ALL of the audience participation, and more than one person who thinks they have a voice like Norah Jones but in fact is the opposite of Norah Jones and really their voice is more akin to a Muppet but who gives a crap because it’s fun and no one is really getting a record contract so let’s all just calm the hell down and sing a bit.

Singing makes me happy. I’m not terribly good at it, but I so love it. I loved being in choir in high school, and I’ve never made time to pursue community choirs or the like as an adult. Maybe I should. Maybe I will. One day. But in the meantime, I love these types of one-off events that make my heart happy and make me feel like the world IS in fact a beautiful place and people are not completely terrible. Singing feels good, and I like being a part of something that is bigger than just me, even for just a little bit. Together we make a nice song.

(Check out the video of the Chicago event!)

since we last met

18 Oct

Since we last met—and I mean before this lovely autumnal month of changing leaves and earlier sunsets and an acceptable time to wear knee-high boots—a lot has happened in the McSwedolish family.

For one thing, we undertook a kitchen and bathroom renovation in the house that we purchased last year. It was and was not probably the best idea we’ve had.

For another thing, we went to Canada. It was magical. It involved bagels, and poutine. I’ll have to tell you about it some time.

For a third thing, we had a second baby. She is more magical than Canada.

But the most exciting thing that has happened since we last met, my friends, is that I saw where Missy Elliott lives.  

No YOU get UR freak on, because I am not even bullshitting you about this.

In February we went to visit some friends in Atlanta, and one afternoon, as my pal and I were driving….to the grocery store? To get frozen yogurts? Honestly, I’m not sure where we were going. I’m sure there was a point to our drive, but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was now except to see where Missy Elliot lived.

And my friend presented the option to me all casual-like. “Oh, hey, while we’re driving down this road, want to see Missy Elliott’s house? My friends live right around the corner from her and we’re nearby.”

Do I want to see Missy Elliott’s house?

Do I want to see where the woman whose music informed much of my drunken early- to mid-20s lives?

Do I want to see what the home of a woman who has been a powerhouse of music looks like?

Do I want to furiously look up the lyrics to that garbled part of “Work It” and finally figure out what she’s rapping?*

Yes. To all of the above.

So we did.

We pulled into a cul de sac, and drove around slowly and my friend pointed and said, “That’s it there. That’s Missy Elliott’s house.”

And it will probably come as no surprise to anyone (including myself) that Missy Elliott’s house is just a normal house in a cul-de-sac. It’s modern and lovely—different than the Spanish style and lovely houses of her neighbors, which does make it stand out a little. Well, that and the firmly displayed No Trespassing signs—and it was so normal looking that if you didn’t know it was Missy Elliott’s house, you wouldn’t know it was Missy Elliott’s house. I guess that’s the point, though? Celebrities, just like us, etc etc. It’s not like I expected her to be popping moves while floating rhymes on her front lawn while Timbaland and Ludacris made guest appearances, jumping out from the backyard.

Though that would have been amazong.

We admired Missy Elliott’s house for a couple of minutes and then, not wanting to look like suspicious stalkers casing the joint, drove away. I gave a little wave, just in case Missy Elliott happened to be looking out her window at that moment, though what I really, really wanted to do was lean out the window and shout “ICHI NI SAN SHI!”** I did not, though, and you’re welcome for that, Missy Elliott’s Neighbors. But you can damn bet that on my next trip to Atlanta, I just might.

 

*According to the Interwebs it’s “put my thing down flip it and reverse it” backwards

**No idea if I’m spelling that correctly.