noteworthies from November

Student of the month “for demonstrating honorable character.”

The L’s celebrated a birthday. They were less than thrilled. It seems they are not party animals.

This year’s 4th grade science fair experiment was about German candle carousels and thermal energy. 

Sesame will look out the window for an entire plane ride. The last few flights she chose
to take pictures out the window instead of watching a show or doing any of her several activities.

Houston for Thanksgiving. Lots and lots of card games around that table. 

It took months too long, but Fall finally showed up.
I found all three colored leaves in the backyard then took myself leaf-peeping.

on this most patriotic of days, I made myself see stars

I love the 4th of July. The festivities, fireworks, music, chips and dips. The chance to bust out my red, white and blue paper straws. I love the whole thing. Back home I’d count down the hours until The Boston Pops came on tv. It was one of my favorite shows of the year. There are no Boston Pops or parades in this land we lovingly (?) refer to as ”the butt sweat of America,” so we have to make other plans. The last few years have felt decidedly un-fourth of Julyish, but this year we turned it around.

Sunday night we went to a patriotic concert at church. During one song, they played a slideshow of family members who were in the military. Many were in the World Wars or Korea and let me tell you, it once again confirmed that I love a man in uniform no matter the decade. Had I been alive back then, I would have accepted a marriage proposal from just about any man who put on that cap with the little visor. I repeatedly poked AB and said, “He fought in one of the world wars and is related to someone in our church. Isn’t that so cool! Don’t you think he looks so handsome?” Every time she’d shrug and say, “I don’t know. I guess he looks fine.” As Lorelai says in Gilmore Girls, “You look like me yet my ways are lost on you.”

She perked up significantly the next day when we went to the festivities at the newly renamed Fort Benning. She was so young when Christopher got out of the Army that while she’s been told a lot, she doesn’t remember much of what he did or any of the Army activities I took her took wearing a themed smocked outfit and appropriately matching bow. This time she had 452 questions and observations.
We’re a proud 10th Mountain family so she instantly saw the patch on this guy and took a picture. 

I thought the whole thing was great. The more Pomp and Circumstance with a capital P and C the better. I didn’t bother asking AB if she thought anyone looked good in uniform because she doesn’t give the feedback I’m looking for. Christopher told her about the schools he attended and the countries he went to. I told her about the balls I attended and the many high-ups I met. Guess whose stories impressed her less. Hint: my stories. I did demonstrate for my family and the couple hundred people in the close vicinity what it sounds like when you walk into the back of a parked Black Hawk. I was responding to my friend’s text about makeup colors while walking and BAM. I went smack into the stabilizer. See Exhibit A for the exact details on the scene of the crime.

Exhibit A

When you live with the people I live with, if you accidentally call it a propeller instead of a stabilizer you will be corrected. If you’re Elizabeth and call it a plane instead of a helicopter, you will be corrected. The details are not important here. The fact is I walked into it, they must have heard the smack in Utah, I was mortified and now I have a sore lump on my forehead. I will be contacting the VA to request compensation for my injury. Instead of saying I was injured while doubling checking an eyeshadow name, I’m going to say I was injured while corresponding with a fellow American. Like I said, details are not important here.

The only post to prove June actually happened

I’ve been trying to blog every single day this month. Here we are at June 30th and I have nothing to show for it. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve bemoaned to Christopher about it, I would be on my dream trip to Europe instead of sitting in traffic in our town.

+ Another year of VBS has come and gone. I was asked to make a sign that looked like a highway exit sign. I researched the same font used on real street signs to make it as authentic as possible. When Sesame and I were hanging silhouettes of people in various athletic poses in the church hallway, she told me, “Mom, none of the kids are going to care that the rock climbing guy looks like he’s climbing the picture frame.” I had a suspicion they’d have the same feeling about Highway Gothic, but I would know. Despite my best efforts and hours of arguing with the computer and then the Cricut machine, I couldn’t download the font or get the cutter to work. I had to use a subpar font and cut the letters out by hand. I consoled myself with AB’s supportive comment that the kids wouldn’t notice anyway. It looked realistic and neither the Lord nor the children cared about fonts.

+ I’ve had several interactions with mechanics and people in the car business lately. I went to Autozone for windshield wipers for both our cars. The kind lady working asked what brand I wanted. Bosch? Rain-X? PIAA Si-Tech? I’ll take any brand that keeps the rain off and doesn’t smear. She asked the make and model of my car and I confidently said 2010 Nissan Rogue. After that, we rolled next door for an oil change. This was not the same place where I told the mechanic “You look hot” meaning ”you have too many layers on for the current temperature and I’m concerned about your risk of heat stroke” not “I am attracted to you.” Obviously, I can never set foot at that place again. I can keep up with the tires, windshield wipers, and any warning lights but I am horrible about getting the oil changed in my car. I’ll go for five years without once thinking about the oil. We’ve been married for 12 years and Christopher will still ask me when the last time I got my oil changed like it’s something I regularly think about. I never look at the sticker they put on the windshield saying when to come in. The last time we had the oil changed, I stuck a piece of paper with the mileage of the next oil change next to the odometer so I’d stay on top of it. I would not let it pass me by this time! Between the wipers and getting the oil changed at a mere 22 miles over the number on the paper, I was riding high on car pride! Daryl the mechanic asked what year my car was and I said 2010. He looked and told me that no, it’s 2014. After a moment I realized he was correct. We did get it the year AB was born, not the year we got engaged. Why Daryl bothered asking when he could figure out the answer himself was an unnecessary step. I don’t need to be a middleman here. Then Lionel the mechanic asked if I needed synthetic, combination synthetic, or high-milage oil. Again with the questions! If the way I remember what year my car is is to know that it’s the same as a major life event and I get that wrong, don’t ask me about oil types. All I know about that is you shouldn’t use olive or sesame oil in your car.

I also recently drove into a brick mailbox.

I NEVER EVER drive into things. I’ve never caused an accident. I had a very clean record. Our neighbors on the next street over have the same house number as us and we frequently get their mail. At this point, the USPS should reimburse me for the number of times a month I fix their work and do a mail drop at the correct house. There was a dip in the ground I didn’t see when I pulled up to the mailbox, the car jerked to the side and slammed into the mailbox. The brick around the mailbox is a bunker so it’s fine, but my car and my heart/ego are not. I felt so sick. Annabelle was very sweet. “It’s ok, Mom! It was an accident! We’ll tell Dad I did it so you don’t have to tell him you did it! He’ll think it was me!” I appreciate the sympathy but that’s not a story he would buy. When I brought the car to the body shop, the man looked at it and said, “Oh! A Rogue! I love those! Bainbridge?” I didn’t know if he was asking where I got it, if he was referring to a specific style of Rogue I wasn’t aware of or what. What I could have done was ask for clarification. What I did say was, “I don’t know…” He said, “Is your last name Bainbridge?” Not only do I not know the year or required oil type, evidently I don’t know my last name. I will not be answering any questions of any kind from here on out.

+ I bought a hat for the cats at Aldi. When I tell you it has brought AB and I an unprecedented amount of joy, I mean it. Linus only kept it on long enough for this picture, but we’ve created an entire storyline to go with his new hat-wearing identity.He is now Master Linus George Krasinski, a French painter visiting the Lourve.

He needed a bowl of fancy French milk after his day of sightseeing.

+ Finally, in other great fashion news, look who I got back into overalls!

Currently, the end of summer edition

Starting: my morning car ride karaoke back up. I only drive to school twice a week so I have to make the songs good. The passenger isn’t overly impressed with my selections but to be fair, I’ve been singing the same two songs for three years now. I sing It’s a Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood and one about having a great day. Once I start a tradition I cannot stop and I will not stop until she asks. Sometimes I change the words to “It’s a hot day in the neighborhood, too hot for September! When will it cool down? When will it cool down?” Copyright pending.
Annabelle did not want a first day of school picture in front of the beautiful balloon arch. I didn’t bother asking. She barely wanted me to walk her into her classroom but I didn’t give her the option. I strolled in like I owned the place. I spent so much time there last year that part of me feels like I do own the place. All the teachers have special beaded lanyards this year and I believe I should have one also. But back to AB. She’s in 3rd grade which is unbelievable. She only started walking last week. I tried to sit with her last week when I was in there at lunchtime and out of the side of her mouth she said, “MOM! I’m with my friends! School is for friends and home is for family and cats!” I said, “Don’t you want a little snuggle? A little kiss? A little hug-a-roo?” “MMMOOOOOMM!!!” But ten minutes later she walked over and kissed me on the head.

The Tuesday/Thursday teacher sends home the work for the other three school days but I add in my some of own curriculum as well. I was talking to AB about what she’d like to do for art this year and she said, “I’m going to paint the Mona Lisa on a grain of rice with a rainbow over her head.” Cool, cool, cool. I was thinking more along the lines of what pinterest might have to offer but reach for the stars!

Planning: teacher lunches. The third Thursday teacher lunches I was in charge of last year have started back up. Someone who wasn’t one bit at all whatsoever involved with my three successful lunches last year but is in somewhat a position of authority at the school told me I needed to plan the lunches a different way this year. He said we had to send out the information and signup link in a new way that parents weren’t used to. I knew it would fail and told Christopher so several times. Don’t mess with my system when it’s not broken! Don’t do it! Christopher said, “You wouldn’t do well in the corporate world. This is how the corporate world operates.” I wouldn’t and that is why I’m a stay at home mom and not in the corporate world. As I predicted, the new system fell apart in every way possible. We pulled it off by the skin of our teeth but it was a complete disaster from a planning standpoint. Mark needs to stay away from my system!

Unsuccessfully avoiding: football. I am not a fan. It is one of the most unorganized sports I’ve ever experienced and I’ve watched toddlers play soccer. I have a shirt I really like that says “New England vs. Everybody” on it. I wear it loud and proud in honor of my homeland because New England is better than everybody. It never once occurred to me that it was in reference to the New England Patriots. Every time I wear it people want to talk football which is unfortunate because I live in the college football-obsessed capital of the US of A. I cannot escape it no matter how much I try. The only football factoid I can contribute is Tedy Bruschi, a former Patriots player, and I had the same orthodontist- Mom’s cousin Frankie. That is the extent of my football “knowledge” and it doesn’t carry me far.

Wearing: my new hat. I have a well-documented interest in Chance the Rapper. I don’t know if I hear him on the radio (I don’t even like rap), but put a magazine with him on the front next to me and I’ll dive right in. I know about his childhood and his family. I know that a few years ago he decided to quit smoking and read the entire Bible at the same time. Personally, that seems like a lot to attempt at once but more power to him. I haven’t read any recent updates so I don’t know that he succeeded on either endeavor, but I’m sure he’ll personally update me when he has time. I’m very invested in his life. We’re an unlikely pairing, Chance and I, but look at Martha and Snoop. Stranger friendships have happened. I’ve been telling Christopher for years that I love Chance’s black #3 hat. Look what arrived in our mailbox this week. WHEN I TELL YOU I PUNCHED THE AIR FOR JOY.We’re basically identical twins. I can get a job as a Chance impersonator if my job at Board & Brush doesn’t pan out.

Mourning: the death of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II. I appreciated the many texts of condolence I received. Even the swimming lesson teacher texted me yesterday and said, “I know the queen’s funeral is today if you want to push the lesson back so you can watch it.”

One evening you’re on cloud nine with your new hat and the next you’re under a cloud of sadness. Life, man. What a rollercoaster. Maybe I’ll sing a song about it on the way to school.

Currently, the Marvel movies critic edition

Happy February!

We spent the first half of January recovering from our travels and the second half recovering from the ‘rona. It hadn’t hit us since March of 2020 (we were trendsetters) so it was bound to get us again at some point. I’m almost relieved we have it out of our systems for a little while. Annabelle only felt sick for two days but it took me out for over a week. It seems like all we’ve done this year is get sick, recover, cancel appointments/playdates, make never-ending meal plans and school.

check and check

Listening to: the Encanto soundtrack seventeen times a week. AB listens to it over and over and over. I got Finley Donovan is Killing It and True to You on Audible but neither are keeping my attention. I’ve had a hard time concentrating on anything lately so they may be good books and we can chalk it up to user error. Whenever I need something mindless to listen to, I go back to my old faithful podcast Cartalk. I know nothing about cars or the bolts that attach the piston to the internal combustible engine but for some reason, I find listening to an hour of Cartalk relaxing.

Not enjoying: when the cats escape from the house. When we got home from church on Sunday, the living room doors were open and both cats were gone. We got Lucy easily but it took a good 30 minutes to get Linus George Krasinski back inside. He found himself a hole under the deck and refused to come out. We finally got him and not two hours later he escaped again and the whole process repeated itself. I almost put up a ‘free cats’ sign. They escape several times a week and it’s the only time the neighbors hear me yell.
“Don’t just stand there with the door open! Now Lulu is out too! There goes Linus under the shed. Grab Lucy! She’s about to go right by—never mind. You missed her.”
                        quality family time under the deck while we waited for Linus to come out of the hole

Crushing: my New Years’ resolution. I have no word of the year. I have no resolutions. My plan is to keep the bar of expectations as low as it can possibly go. My one and only goal for this year was to buy new soap dispensers for the downstairs bathrooms. I crossed that off on January 1st. It might have even been the night of December 31st. We might be headed towards year 16 of this shandemic but we’ll do it with pretty glass bottles.

Showing off: Oliver. I don’t have anything new to say about him but he’s deliciously cute and the world needs to see more of him. When we were in MA, Sesame and I babysat him while Daniel and Erika took Ivy to Boston for the night. Oliver was not as excited about the sleepover as we were. He was very upset his parents would leave him with people who did nothing but dote on him and cater to his every need. He cried most of the time and said “mama mama” in such a pathetic little voice. I knew I had to do something big to turn the ship around and make him like me. I had to redeem the sleepover! We took him to the free zoo (pet store) for the first time in his life and he was as thrilled as an eight-month-old can be. At one point I told AB to watch Oliver in the living room while I used the bathroom. I specifically said to make sure he didn’t eat any of the Christmas tree needles on the floor. She came to the bathroom door to tell me that he was trying to eat the tree but she had given him a piece of tissue paper and told him, “I’m trusting you not to eat this paper while I go tell my mom you’re still eating the tree.” I appreciate her trust in him, however misplaced trusting in a teething baby to not eat a piece of tissue paper may be.

Watching: any shows I can find about cults (or “religious groups that are exclusive and full of rules but not a cult”) and Sweet Magnolias. The topics could not be more different but they both fill a hole in my heart. Several of my friends here are personally offended that the characters on Sweet Magnolias don’t sound authentically southern or use the right southern phrases. Most of the characters don’t sound southern to me and the ones that do sound southern sound like the friends who are offended.

We’re still watching Marvel movies. I’ve told Christopher numerous times that we’ve seen all these movies at least three times each but he insists we have not. We have. I know for a fact that we have. We’ve been watching them for the last 11 years. Why do we keep watching them? Because someone who will remain nameless but whose name rhymes with Farah gets very confused about what has happened in past movies. Christopher doesn’t appreciate many questions being asked in the movie theater so we’re trying to get ahead of the game by rewatching them all now before the next big movie comes out. Questions include but are not limited to:
Why does Loki’s hair always look greasy?
Why is Black Widow considered a superhero? She is extremely annoying and I have no use for her. No one can fight like that while wearing heels and not even having her hair in a ponytail.
Why did they kill off Jarvis?
Why does no one pay attention to Hawkeye like they should? He doesn’t have greasy hair.
Why did they kill off Tony Stark?
Why is Doctor Strange showing up again? He’s rude, has a terrible attitude, and is a selfish stick in the mud anytime he’s on the screen. Why does he survive when Matthew Crawley did not? (Downton is a totally different universe but I never miss a chance to bring up Matthew’s death.)
Who’s that character? What do you mean we learned that character’s backstory in the first iteration of the series directed by so and so in 2009? Do you think I can keep up with other universes when I can barely keep up with what’s happening on this universe?

The same person who continually rolls her eyes and sighs has so many opinions about said movies that you might be led to believe that she is more invested than she cares to admit. You would be correct. I was very upset when my beloved Captain America handed over his shield to a new man. WHY DID HE DO THAT. I will never love another Captain America as I loved him. Don’t come near me with your talk of a “new generation” and “the story must go on” and “plotline development.” Plotline Shmotline. Chris Evans is where it’s at. Yet another new Marvel series has hit Disney+. I’ve been told it’s the same universe as the other movies but on a different timeline or some such nonsense. Or maybe it’s the same timeline but a different universe. I zoned out when I was being told. I have drawn the line in the sand and declared I will not be watching it. Does it have Captain America? No. Thor? No. Iron Man? No. Is Chris Pratt singing and dancing while he hunts for aliens? No again. Then adios, Marvel. I won’t be spending any more time with you. I can’t watch movies where the characters shoot beams/lasers/fire out of their hands and/or eyes. I have a one-character limit for that and the new series has several hand-shooting characters so I will not be participating in that viewing.

See? It’s stupid.

Loving: my new purse. I’m not one for name brands, but I am one for sparkle and shine so when I saw a sparkle Kate Spade bag on sale for 70% off I fell in love. I never make large purchases but I thought I would make it my splurge of the decade. Immediately after I showed it to Christopher online it went out of stock. I took it as a sign to stick to my TJMaxx purses. Imagine how delighted I was when Christopher got it for me for Christmas. He’s the reason it went out of stock. You could say sparkle is my signature color.

Organizing: everything that stays still long enough to be organized. I picked up some new organizing bins and baskets and went to town. I organized my makeup drawer at 9:30pm. I’ve watched videos about under kitchen sink organization and efficiency. I’ve bookmarked several different styles of clear containers. Perhaps I should spend a little extra time organizing my hair. Annabelle drew this portrait of me and I can’t say it’s my best look ever.

Currently, the End of August Edition

Reading: Caroline by Sarah Miller. To be honest I didn’t finish this one before it had to go back to the library. It started out with such potential and I did enjoy some of it, but the descriptions were never-ending. The pages telling the harrowing crossing of the river was seven paragraphs too long. The description of Caroline tying down the canvas to protect their possesions from the rain seemed endless. What I really liked was the book was from Ma’s perspective. The original Little House series focuses on how exciting it was for Laura and Pa but doesn’t bring up how Ma felt beyond her saintly attitude. Ma put up with A LOT. Much more than I would have. For as often as I joke about wanting to live back then, I wouldn’t have done well with some (most) of what they went through. I would have told Charles to go on his merry way. My little China doll and I are staying right here in this cabin with real floors, thank you very much.

I’m in the middle of A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum. I needed to get away from my normal genres and this fit the bill. So far it’s very interesting.
From Goodreads: ”This debut novel by an Arab-American voice,takes us inside the lives of conservative Arab women living in America. In Brooklyn, eighteen-year-old Deya is starting to meet with suitors. Though she doesn’t want to get married, her grandparents give her no choice. History is repeating itself: Deya’s mother, Isra, also had no choice when she left Palestine as a teenager to marry Adam. Though Deya was raised to believe her parents died in a car accident, a secret note from a mysterious, yet familiar-looking woman makes Deya question everything she was told about her past. As the narrative alternates between the lives of Deya and Isra, she begins to understand the dark, complex secrets behind her community.”

Watching: A Million Little Things and Making It. We’ve watched every season of Making It and it remains one of my favorite shows. It’s The Great British Baking Show of the crafting world. Everyone is so kind to each other, the hosts are so entertaining and the scenery is lovely.

Searching for: the perfect shower curtain. It’s sad how much this excites me. The one we were given for our wedding is about to bite the dust and not that I’ve been waiting for it’s demise, but I’m ready for it to go. It’s hung in 6 of our 8 houses and it should have retired long ago. The list of shower curtains I’ve bookmarked is growing by the day. This is going to turn into a “if you give a mouse a cookie” situation. First it’s “only” a new shower curtain then next thing you know I’m wallpapering and redoing cabinets for a complete bathroom makeover. It’s a slippery slope.

Not appreciating: shows that include the shamandemic in the storyline. I’m living it. I don’t need to see people wearing masks and talking about quarantine when I watch my shows.

Trying: pilates. I finally got up the courage to try classes at the new gym. Pilates starts 30 minutes after I drop Annabelle off at school so I’m already out of the house and really have no excuse not to go. I was worried the class would be too easy since everyone is easily three decades older than me, but it is a workout. Those older ladies have flat stomachs and a lot of endurance. Their legs keep going around in circles while mine barely make it to the end of 20 seconds. When I tried to stand up at the end of the first class, my legs buckled beneath me and I crumpled back onto the mat. All the ladies got up as gracefully as gazelles. But I will press on because I need to lose between .5-20lbs before Aaron’s wedding in December and I hear pilates is good for body shape.

”This is my exploratory expedition outfit.”

Eating: Red Lobster cheddar biscuits. The new gym is in a strip mall near an Italian restaurant. I left pilates determined to be the picture of health that week, but I smelled the restaurant baking bread sticks and bread was all I could think about. Not an hour later I saw a box mix of cheddar biscuits at the store and it seemed like fate. I won’t say how many I ate but it was more than 3. I doubt I will be losing .5-20lb with that kind of diet.