Trying Not To Sound Like Doogie Howser, MD

You can tell yourself these people started out as exceptional.  You can tell yourself they had influence before they started.  You can tell yourself the conditions under which they achieved were different from yours. 

Or you can be like a woman I knew who sat at her kitchen window year after year and watched everyone else do it and then said to herself, “It’s my turn.”

I was  37 years old at the time— Erma Bombeck

So, I’m a year behind Erma, but starting a blog or two is something that has been on my mind for quite a while.  I’ve always been afraid it would wind up sounding like the final scenes of a Doogie Howser, MD, episode where we’d see the lesson learned appear letter by white letter on the blue  computer screen.  To be completely honest, the inspirational nineties music is blaring in my head right now…

As I said, I’m a year behind Erma, and forty is coming at me fast.  I’m in a different place than I imagined, not worse by any means, just different.  I’ve started this to chronicle me getting my ish together, as the kids say (I think they still say that? Anyone??) and as motivation to try things I haven’t before.  My goal is to close out my thirties strong, and enter my forties having tried some things that I have put off until now.  Strap on a helmet, it’s bound to get interesting…




An Open (Slightly Sheepish) Letter to the Universe… Part Two

Hi Universe,

It’s me again. I know you’ve been REALLY busy, but you might remember I wrote you a letter a while back

So, we had a little chat about the whole bucket list confusion issue It felt great to get it off my chest- and, as I said, I get it- these things happen.

Well, I seriously have to thank you – a move to England MORE than makes up for the whole “I missed seeing Kate Middleton” thing. Like to the point where I don’t know what to say… I was thinking at most maybe one day I’d run into Jenny Lawson at the grocery store one day or something and we’d be totally cool. But here we are; you’ve gone above and beyond and I’m feeling a little sheepish. Thank you thank you thank you.

(I should note here we’re relocating to England for FoG’s job. It’s a really exciting time for us and he did a lot to make it happen, just so I don’t give all the credit to the universe. Good job FoG, or I guess I should now say well done)

Back to the letter. I know that you still have a lot of things to sort out, so I don’t want to mess up your work flow, but I thought I’d bring you up to date on where my head is at…

As you might or might not have noticed we’ve already taken the Gingers to get their passports. It may also have come to your attention that their passport photos look like mug shots for a very small pasty crime ring. Big Ginger looks prepared to deny everything while Little Ginger looks pissed that they were caught. It’ll be super fun to have those the next five years. Big Ginger’s first passsport photo was taken when he was about three and a half weeks old. It was an epic experience that involved me making an improvised baby poncho out of a green blanket due to an epic spit up situation that left us with only his white onesie. (I know you were there but I’m filling in everyone else) The man in the passport office said the baby couldn’t be in white for the picture because he’d blend into the background too much. I must have really looked like a woman on the edge because he then backtracked and said if I had a blanket that was not white we could probably work the problem. Boom. Baby poncho.

Now I think about it- Little Ginger is fairly new to the whole command of spoken language thing. I wonder if living in England is going to result in a toddler/preschooler who sounds like Madonna in the late 90s/ early 2000s or Sliding Doors era Gwyneth Paltrow? I guess we’ll find out!

It has also occurred to me that I’m going to have to learn to drive on the wrong side of the road. Hmmm. This might prove challenging for me. I almost failed my driving test because I swerved to avoid a squirrel. Obviously this was before I learned the truth about squirrels. My driving is definitely impaired by my tendency to overthink and that is on the regular side of the road. As we discussed before-I am a total Anglophile and can tea, crumpet, Harrods, Hobnob, Downton Abbey, Sherlock, and BBC my way through anything. However, the driving on the wrong side of the road thing gives me pause. On the upside, thank you very much for a lot of guaranteed content for the blog- assuming I survive the learning curve. It’s time to summon my inner Dowager Countess.

So, I’ll let you go now, I know you have your hands full at the moment. I will just say thank you in advance for the amazing adventure. I’d probably be pushing my luck to inquire about a play date with Duchess Kate and the kids… I do feel like Little Ginger and Princess Charlotte have major BFF potential. Just gonna leave that here. Go big or go to England home, right?

Good luck with the other things you’ve got on your plate. I’m here if you need help

Hugs and Kisses,


Pain Spanx…

img_7693So, I guess we should start with the title of this post.  Pain Spanx is not the name of a metal band comprised of thirty and forty-something moms.  Although, how epic would that be? I feel like I could be on to something here, I’ll have to file that away for later…

Back to the explanation, I’ve be working on getting back into an exercise groove.  It’s absolutely never been my favorite thing, but I know it’s something I need to do.  Last week I took Little Ginger our regular Stroller Strides classes.  Stroller Strides for the uninitiated is an exercise class you do with your baby or toddler and the stroller.  They get to sit in the stroller and be entertained, you get to work out and be entertaining, everyone wins.  It’s a good fit for me as I don’t really find exercise relaxing and it’s not something I’m super jazzed about spending my limited time to myself on.  It also has the added benefit of socialization for Little Ginger.

The classes are also a lesson in humility, we often sing to the kids as we work through various exercises.  It is impossible to take yourself seriously as you’re working through a series of exercises that are challenging your already limited coordination AND sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” at the same time.  I’m currently working on a theory that requiring everyone to do something like that would help us work through a lot of societies ills – a few burpees while singing “B-I-N-G-O” will level any playing field pretty quickly.  Maybe Congress should give it a whirl, if nothing else the entertainment value would be totally worth it.

I decided this month I’d add the moms-only class that focuses on High Intensity Interval Training (which is exactly as much fun as it sounds like) to my routine as I am a realist.  If I pay to exercise, chances are I’m going to be better about attending.  So, I upgraded my Stroller Strides membership to include the Body Back class.  I had several reasons for being very hesitant, not the least being the name -I wasn’t exactly sure where my body had gone and why I needed to go get it back?

Nevertheless, last week was my first week of doing both classes and as expected; I. AM. SO. FREAKING. SORE! I feel like I have put on Spanx made of pure pain (upside- great post title).  Once again -totally expected.  I know I’m going to be crazy sore for a bit, but as in the past, if I keep at it, in time, it will get better.  Although, it does seem to take a longer and longer time each time I get back into this… (I see you standing over there, forty.)

What I AM trying to change this time I put on the pain Spanx is how I look at exercise as it relates to my body image.  In the past I’ve viewed the pain Spanx as a just punishment for being in possession of a body that will (as I’ve come to realize and sort of accept) never ever ever look like  what we as a society seem to see as an ideal body.  Even when I’ve been able to run three consecutive under ten minute miles I’ve never been anything approaching skinny or even trim.  So, I’ve viewed the soreness as only fair.  I obviously just didn’t work hard enough on diet or exercise so I should pay the price in discomfort physically as well as mentally.  Now, I’m trying to focus on the fact that while I will probably never feel comfortable wearing a bikini and that that’s just a life experience I’ll miss out on, this body has done some pretty amazing things.

This is the body that has carried me all around the world.  It carries my brain- with all the thoughts and knowledge I have- with it, it takes my eyes to see amazing  sights, it has taken my heart to dizzying heights and crushing lows.  It has soldiered on through joint pain that was not the result of my weight- despite what the doctors were determined to believe. This body has rallied after every surgery for torn cartilage and every bone broken in my ongoing fight with gravity. This is the body that grew my babies and then nourished them.  This is the body that rallied after losing a pregnancy and soldiered on long before my brain and heart caught up.  This is a body that has done absolutely everything I have asked of it and more. Except to be skinny.  Oh, and the splits, but I think I am going to have to let that one go.

So, here we are at me trying to change my attitude to diet and exercise.  A friend has being pointing me in the direction of  Health at Every Size (HAES) and Intuitive Eating information that is well-researched and solid advice. I’m debating ditching the scale, because no matter how hard I try not to- I find myself drifting that way every day for a quantifiable measure of my progress.  I want to stop viewing exercise as something I do to me  as punishment but instead- as something I do for me; to help me be stronger, healthier, and keep some of my stabby tendencies in check. (Right now is a perfect example- spellcheck is determined that neither stabby or stabbier are words.  I’m embracing the total fatigue endorphins brought on by exercise and letting it go – for now. This isn’t over spellcheck.) I want to focus on eating healthy food that I enjoy and listening to signals from my body rather than constantly berating and second-guessing myself.  This is baggage I really don’t want to take into my next decade.  I want to leave it behind with the the self-consciousness I’ve felt, the memories of times doctors have immediately pointed to my size before even reading the chart, the times I’ve been told I’d be so pretty if I’d only lose the weight, and the belief that I’m somehow less than because my body is more than.

img_7689This picture is an excellent starting point for my attitude adjustment. This is a live action shot of one of the classes responsible for the pain Spanx. The instructors take pictures in each class and post them in the group Facebook page. My first instinct on this was to ask them to please for the love of all that’s holy not take and/or post my picture. I was not a fan, to say the least. I’m still not overwhelmed with joy by these pictures, but I am trying to walk the walk and change how I look at things. Instead of seeing a picture that is most certainly NOT my best angle (and I chose the most flattering option of the workout pictures) and seriously questioning the pattern on those pants- I’m trying to focus on the fact that picture is proof I’m getting stronger. It’s a reminder I did something healthy for my body and took some time for me. So, for the time being, I’m going to go with the flow and work on not cringing when I’m tagged. Yay. Growth.

As I’ve been thinking about my goals to meet by forty, the thought kept circling, JAWS-like, in the back of my mind that I should really have a weight goal in the mix. Instead, I’m going to focus on making sure this body, my body, that has done a great job getting me this far, is as healthy as possible as I head into the next decade. Continuing to be realistic, I realize this isn’t something that I can poof into existence.  In all honesty- it would be so much easier to set some arbitrary number goal for pounds to be lost and minutes to be exercised and sulk for a bit if I don’t hit those numbers.  But- it won’t be easier to haul all that baggage around for the rest of my life.  I’m sure there will be more to come about if I decide to ditch the scale, and how I approach the diet aspect this.

Right now, I’m off to approach some Advil and a hot bath with Espsom Salts.

An Exclusive Chat With Mama Bear (in my mind)…

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about a Facebook post I wrote about the Berenstain Bears a few weeks ago.  It’s a show that both Gingers will watch together and they love the books.  As I’ve reacquainted myself with Bear Country, I found I have A LOT of questions.  Like, if there was ever something from my childhood that I needed a VH1-esque “Where Are they Now?” show or a People Magazine cover story, this is it. This might mean I need to get out more and/or accept children’s literature and entertainment more at face value…. Something to think about…

Without further ado, here is how I’d like to imagine an interview with Mama Bear might go.

(I should probably preface this with I love The Berenstain Bears, I adored reading the books as a child and am enjoying sharing them with the Gingers.  I’m not just saying this bc I don’t want to get served by the Berenstain estate with a lawsuit that has a cute little rhyming poem at the beginning that nicely ties up the problem I’m facing…)

Mother of Gingers (MoG):  Mrs. Bear…hmm, I’m not sure what I should call you.  It seems like calling you Mama is wildly inappropriate, maybe that should be my first question? How do you like to be addressed?

Mama Bear (MB): I’m so glad you asked- I’ve been dying clear this up for ages, since the first time I came home to meet my husband’s family.  See, my actual name is Martha, and that is what I went by when we were dating.  His grandmother was there the day I went to meet everyone and misheard my name as Mama.   The woman was a literal effing grizzly, and she was of the old school…

MoG: By “of the old school” you mean…

MB: She still hibernated, and had just come out of hibernation that day.  She was crabby.  Once again- LITERAL grizzly bear.  Crabby in this case means, “will rip your face off if you attempt to correct her.” The woman was terrifying.  There were rumors she had finished off not one but two National Geographic writers.  So if she wanted to call me Mama, I was going to be Mama. Neither of my in-laws to be were about to argue with her, nor was Papa, who at the time was called Quincy.  Here we are forty-plus years later.  The lesson here is sometimes you should push back against family, otherwise you can find yourself going by the wrong name for decades… Just maybe make sure you have a tranquilizer dart handy first.

MoG:  Thank you so much for clearing that up! I’d always wondered what the odds were that your actual names were Mama and Papa.  So Mr. Bear’s actual name was Quincy?

MB: Oh, yes, but I felt like if I was going to have to go by my new name then I was going to call Quincy “Papa” to hopefully make a point about how ridiculously out of hand the whole thing had gotten.  I believe that’s called being passive-aggressive?  Then we got the book deals, and later the television shows, and at that  point we were best known as Mama and Papa Bear, and here we are…

MoG:  I should have said this at the outset, but I was so sorry to hear about Mr. Bear, you have my deepest sympathies.

MB: Oh, thank you so much dear.  We miss him terribly, he was a wonderful man, such a character.  However, we always felt that we were so very lucky to have him for as many years as we did.  The dear man was impossibly accident prone and had absolutely no common sense.  It is a little known fact that we briefly considered suing the show Home Improvement  for  possible infringement.  I mean, the father on that show was an absolute ringer for Papa. Woodworking shop/ Tool show… there’s not that much difference there, really. We didn’t peruse it because once again, the prevailing thought was it would be bad for our brand.

That being said- I know a lot as been written about us reflecting stereotypical bear parents in the wild, and frankly I find that offensive.  Ours was a great love story and we complimented each other, he brought a bit of unpredictability and fun to my life and I brought structure and security to his.  It’s not a story that could be summed up by a little rhyme or a children’s book devoted to solving a single problem!

MoG: Mrs. Bear, you’ve mentioned your brand a few times, would you want to add some more detail to that topic?

MB: Oh, yes I would.  Early on, there was a set idea of how we needed to present ourselves to be successful.  I was a mother with two young cubs and I wanted to ensure our family’s financial security.  So, I made everyone toe the line- opportunities like that didn’t come around all the time.  Come to think of it, I could probably teach Kris Jenner a thing or two if we’re being honest.

Speaking of being honest- do you seriously think any woman in her right mind would wear the same blue polka dotted muumuu and MOP HAT with her only alternative being an odd little flowered hat for going out for years on end? Even if she is a bear, that’s still concerning.

MoG: I do have to admit I have wondered about that from time to time…

MB:  I’d be worried if you didn’t.  Quincy and I were inexperienced when we wrote our first contract and somehow signed away wardrobe rights…Next thing you know, polka dotted muumuus, overalls, pink jumpers, and the same red shirt as far as the eye can see.  I will never wear polka dots again.  I understood the need for staying true to our brand in the early days, but we all felt like it was getting ridiculous in the later years when all of the other bears in the books and on the shows were wearing contemporary fashion.  Although, it DID help hide the fact we had to switch the cubs out every now and again..

MoG: Excuse me, switch the cubs out?!?!

MB: Oh dear, I wasn’t supposed to say that.  But I feel like it should be obvious.  The books and shows went on for years, but Brother and Sister never aged? How exactly would we have managed that?

MoG: Hmm… Now that you mention it, I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner

MB: I can believe it, dear

(Interviewer note: Who knew there was such a biting wit under that sweet demeanor and mop hat for all those years?)

MoG:  Moving on, what are the actual Brother and Sister up to now? In light of the information you gave me about your and Mr Bear’s names; are those their real names?

MB: Oh heavens, no!  Once again, that was part of the branding.  For a show and book series that was meant to show the normal day-to-day life of a an average bear family, there certainly was a lot of managing going on behind the scenes.  I guess we really did pave the way for the Kardashians…

Back to your question: Brother’s real name was Steve, and Sister is Elisabeth.  The whole thing came about because Steve couldn’t say Elisabeth’s name and called her Sissy.  Then the good idea fairy visited someone and it was decided it would be cute if they were Brother and Sister.  Once again, if I’d known how long it would go on, I would not have gone along with that plan.  It did make it easier when we brought in replacement cubs and my cubs were able to go do their own thing.

MoG: And what are Steve and Elisabeth up to now?

MB: I don’t want to say too much, as they’ve worked very hard as adults to have their lives be private and separate from their early years. Steve lives in California and is a vegan (it’s very important to him I mention that, all the time) lawyer working in the industry.  His wife is a (vegan as well) yoga instructor who works with Goop.  They have three children Grandson, Grandson, and Granddaughter.

MoG: Ummmm…

MB: I’m joking again, dear.  Their names are Mulholland, Rodeo, and Sunset

MoG: Oh.

MB: I know, I think Grandson, Grandson, and Granddaughter may have been better.

As for Elisabeth.  She lives in New York and heads her own design firm “No Bows About It.” I’m sure even you could guess where the whole no bows thing comes from.  She’s doing quite well and travels frequently.

MoG: I realize I’ve taken up a lot of your time, If I could ask one last question- What are you up to these days? You’ve given us such insight to your past and I know we would all love to know about your life today.

MB: I’m very fortunate that our years in the books and on the screen have provided me with lots of opportunities and freedom in my golden years. I did truly love to quilt and insisted on that story line to give me a chance to break out of the rut I’d gotten into.  Now I have an Etsy shop that sells my quilts and I’ve branched out into some clothing lines.  I have high hopes for a collaboration deal sometime next year. I’m wearing one of my new pieces now.

(Mrs. Bear is wearing a very stylish flowing dress in blues and greens complimented by thick bangle bracelets and gold hoop earrings. There is not a frill, polka dot, or mop hat in sight. Her look is miles from what I am used to seeing her in.)

I split my time between a condo in Florida, an apartment in New York and the mother in-law suite at Steve’s.  Fortunately, there is a kitchen in the the suite, because I truly believe that bears are not meant to be vegan.  I’ve also gotten into cruising.  I attempted it once years ago with Quincy but had to spend so much time keeping him from falling over the side and other accidents that it wasn’t exactly a relaxing vacation!  I’m living every day to the fullest and the one upside to the whole Martha/ Mama thing is that I’m not immediately recognized.  Of course being a bear always means I get some curious looks, but what can you do?

MoG: Thank you so much for you time.  It has been an honor and a delight to hear your story.  I wish you all the best in your retirement!

Mrs. Bear chatted with me a bit more, stood to leave, and gave me (what else?) a bear hug.

Jade Rollers and Julia Child…

So, I know this is a super random pairing but bear with me.

First thing first, Father of Gingers (FoG) got me a jade face roller for my birthday. I’m a sucker for anything natural (looking at you, Morning Thunder) and I have an eye bag situation (looking at you, Gingers). In theory it’s supposed to help moisturize my face by encouraging absorption of products, de-puff my face, and roll the effing wrinkles out encourage my “laugh lines” to move on. (Once again I specifically requested this gift- FoG is alive and well) I also got a bonus gua sha stone with my roller.

My plan for the is to use the roller at least once a day, hopefully morning and night, but I’m trying to be realistic about my ability to diligently roll my face while my hair is metaphorically on fire on school days. Last I checked, “My child is late (again) because I’m pushing forty and doing my best to ward off wrinkles” isn’t going to fly as an excuse for tardiness.  Also, the stress of running late to school is just going to cause more wrinkles, which kind of defeats the purpose. I’ve done some diligent research (I watched a few YouTube videos and picked my favorite) on how to use the roller and I’ll add in the gua sha once I get comfortable (i.e. watch the second half of the YouTube video…)

I was going to use this as a before picture:

But honestly, that’s a pretty low bar for this process to get over. So we’re going to go with this…

Good luck to you, jade roller… this is after a 5:15am wake up because, well, toddler…

So I’ll check back in on this challenge in a week or two and let you know. I totally have a backup plan of bangs (I’ve heard it called Bangtox) if all else fails.

On to part two of today’s random post… Julia Child

As I go through this last year of my thirties, I’m going to try to ask myself, “What would Julia do?”  The answer isn’t always churn out an amazing omelette and add more butter…

I just finished reading, Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz. I read My Life In France years ago and have always been a bit intrigued by Julia. I don’t want to rehash what has already been covered very well by Julie Powell  in her blog, and later her book, and of course there’s the movie as well.  Honestly, for a bit I wasn’t sure if I was charmed by Julia, or Meryl Streep-as-Julia…

For me, my infatuation with Julia isn’t because I love to cook, even though I do love it.  I’ve realized it comes from a place of admiration for an unconventional woman who lead an unapologetic life. I’ve been thinking about Julia a lot as I work on this blog. She  really personified the whole “age is just a number” thing. Her first cookbook didn’t come out until she was in her forties.  She started her television career until her fifties.  I mean, she didn’t even really start cooking until her mid- thirties after she married Paul. What I found most compelling about Julia is she didn’t settle for what society/convention/her family thought she should do in a time where it would have been so much easier if she had.

Julia Child was tall, like remarkably tall.  Six feet, two or three inches, depending on the source.  She definitely didn’t fit the ideal standard for women in that day in age.  It would have been so easy to talk herself into “well, this relationship is as good as I’m going get” or, “this is pretty good, considering my size.”  But. She. Didn’t. Some of it was that she wasn’t sure what she wanted out of life.  However, in reading about her I got the sense that she always knew what she didn’t want.  Sometimes that can make all the difference in finding what you do want. There was an easy, predictable path open to Julia; she could have married a local guy in California and probably led a pleasant, quiet, respectable life.  It wasn’t going to be enough, so she struck out on her own and hit many bumps along the way.  Julia’s unwillingness to settle took her into government service and overseas during World War II, at which time she met Paul Child. It was an unconventional path that led to what became her life’s work. (Needless to say I’m doing some MAJOR paraphrasing here!)

“If it is vile, the cook must grin and bear it, with no words of excuse. Never apologize”

I want this tattooed on my forehead… I won’t do it because that would be awkward, but the desire is still there.  I read this book over my thirty-ninth birthday and this is the quote that stuck with me and I plan on carrying with me to forty and beyond (with apologies to Buzz Lightyear for stealing/modifying his catchphrase).  Not because I plan on starting to throw insane number of dinner parties, but because I plan to abandon the idea I need to constantly apologize.

I am always leery of embracing mantras/ ideas like this because I feel like it can often lead down the wrong path.  I’ve noticed that the people most likely to embrace this sort of thing are those who least need it.  It’s been my experience that those who are most eager to “set expectations” and “set boundaries” are often using it as an acceptable way to say, “I’m going to do exactly what I want to do, but since I’ve told you what to expect, you really shouldn’t be getting mad right now.” That being said, I do think there is a place for ideas like this in day-to-day life.

Is everything I make or do going to be perfect? Absolutely not.  Not. Even. Close.  Sometimes it is going to be, well, vile (and sometimes Pinterest will have had a hand in that).  I’ll just have to move through it and push on.  The hardest thing with giving writing a try is putting these posts out there and not knowing how they’ll go over.  I am constantly surprised by how pieces do and are received.  I struggle with not adding qualifiers to every post justifying it.  I’m going to try to apologize just for having an opinion or for taking up space. It’s going to be a hard habit to break. I will of course apologize if I hurt someone, Julia Child did not just give me carte-blanche to steamroll over everyone for the next year or longer, regardless of how tempting it would be.  I can see myself yelling over my shoulder, “Julia Child told me this was okay!” in way too many imagined scenarios.  I probably need to get out more.

In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be rolling the wrinkles out of my face while not making excuses and being unapologetic.

“As you wish…” aka I finally saw “The Princess Bride”

So, there’s still a Jade roller and Julia Child post on the way but with the holidays/plague/Big Ginger winter break insanity busyness it’s not quite ready yet. By which I mean it’s a jumble of thoughts that hope to one day grow up to be complete sentences…

Father of Gingers (FoG) and I have been on a kick of watching movies once the Gingers are in bed. It came up that I had never seen The Princess Bride, (I’m still not sure how we got through twelve years together before this bombshell dropped) and I got the usual horrified reaction I’ve come to expect after they initially blurt out “INCONCEIVABLE!”  The reaction is usually combined with utter bafflement that I have managed to be possibly the only girl from the 80s/90s to have not seen this (apparent) cinematic masterpiece all the way through. This is also usually when people start to wonder what kind of childhood I had. Things get really interesting if I share I’ve also never seen all of Goonies or The Neverending Story. At that point people tend to want to stage a cinematic intervention at that very moment and act like I’m a failure as a child of the eighties.

I’d like to pause here for a second and say:

  1. I’m not completely uncultured- I know Clue by heart and I love the Back to the Future trilogy.
  2. I hated being scared by movies as a little kid. Watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit? resulted in months of nightmares and needing multiple under the bed checks (who knew what could be waiting underneath there to get me?) to attempt falling asleep. Seriously, I still won’t watch that movie.  My parents, being sane, wonderful people who valued sleep  (Which I totally get now) did not push me to watch a movie if I decided it was too scary for me. I missed these movies in their heyday as a result, then spent a fair amount of time overseas and never got back to those movies.
  3. As I write this- it’s beyond me why I didn’t find the whole bodies piling up situation in Clue more distressing.

Now that we all know how I got to almost forty without seeing The Princess Bride, I present-

Thoughts you have when watching The Princess Bride for the first time at thirty-nine.

  • It’s story time with Columbo and Kevin Arnold!
  • Look! It’s Claire Underwood! Isn’t that the guy from Saw?
  • Mandy Pantinkin is in this? Does he sing?
  • FoG just informed me there will not be singing. Oh well.
  • Ah, yes, the shrieking eels- aka where eight year-old me bailed on this movie. It’s all coming back now.
  • That’s where, “You keep using that word…I do not think it means what you think it means.” comes from! I feel like I’m thirty years late to a cultural moment here.
  • So, Prince Humperdinck is a bit of a douche canoe…
  • Not getting a strong girl power vibe from Buttercup- Claire Underwood would not approve.
  • Seriously, Buttercup? You don’t recognize your supposed one true love bc he’s wearing half a mask? I’m all for women supporting women but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t seriously judging you right now.
  • FoG agrees- he just turned to me and said he’d like to think I’d not only recognize him but also ask why the stupid mask. I’d like to think I would too.
  • Oh, Buttercup just rolled down a hill, I feel better now.
  • And now there’s so kind of very upsetting angry possum called “the rodent of unusual size”… Welp, that put my bad squirrel experience in perspective. Although, I didn’t see that rodent try to set up camp in their beds…
  • At this point I had to stop the movie and go to bed because sleep is important and Gingers get up early. I picked it back up the following night.
  • Um, that torture machine is a tad extra. Really glad eight year-old me bailed before this point, that would’ve necessitated a solid month of checking under the bed for God only knows what.
  • What the actual hell, Humperdinck? You’re going to kill Buttercup? She is a total pain in a hideous dress but it’s still a bit much.
  • You’re joined by the bonds of love but you can’t recognize the man in a half mask!? Still judging you, Buttercup. (In case you couldn’t tell, this bothered me.)
  • Really Humperdinck?!? Up to level fifty?!?
  • Oh good, Mandy and Andre are on the case
  • “Guide my sword” orrrrr, just go with the fact that the creepy guy with the cart was right in front of the entrance to the dungeon where Westley is.
  • Clearly Humperdinck is a proto- Frank Underwood.
  • Hi, Billy Crystal!
  • Inigo is growing on me… announcing you’re in a rush while asking for a miracle takes focus and determination
  • Um, I don’t think bellows are approved for CPR…
  • Apparently Carol Kane plays the wife, of Billy Crystal’s character. “Run, Lillian!”
  • So, that’s where “Have fun storming the castle!” comes from…”
  • “If I had a month to plan, maybe I could come up with something.” BEEN. THERE.
  • Watch out proto- Frank. Claire is NOT happy
  • I NOW KNOW where “Mawiage is what brings us together” comes from!
  • Wuv…. twue wuv…
  •  Buttercup to Humperdinck :“Why is there fear behind your eyes?”
  • What Humperdinck should have said: “I NEVER mastered smoky eye, okay!?!?”
  • Yay! He finally got to say the whole “you killed my father” speech
  • Seriously?!? The guy runs away? Mandy Pantinkin deserved better.
  • Noooooooo!!!! Not cool. You don’t throw a dagger in a duel.
  • Way to power through Inigo! I guess everyone needs a mantra.
  • “To the pain” is a tad dark there, Westley.
  • But it worked, so there you go.
  • Wow, Westley finds time to give career advice to Inigo before escaping out a window… I’m not sure piracy is a viable option, though.
  • I love a good happily ever after…
  • It’s like the eighties threw up in Fred Savage’s room
  • I love that Grandpa/ Columbo left with a final, “As You Wish…”

I was worried to watch this movie at this point because so many people have such a intense attachment to it and I didn’t want to watch it and come back with a, “meh” response.  Fortunately, that was not the case.  I loved this movie and I’m mad at myself for not watching it earlier, not in the least because I’ve missed out on thirty or so years of solid opportunities to reference this movie, including my own wedding.  Added bonus- I now understand why everyone said, “INCONCEIVABLE!” every time this movie came up. Since I’ve now discovered some apparently dire deficits in my cinematic history, which movies do you think I need to make sure I’ve seen before I turn forty?  Did I mention I’ve never seen Die Hard?

‘Tis the Season for Miscommunication…

So, it’s been another crazy week here.  Little Ginger is working on setting the world record for longest cold, and I’m chugging gallons of the previously mentioned bison tea. If this is the first post you’re reading, I should clarify this is tea that has a picture of a bison on the box, not bison-flavored tea (I hope).  I’m working on a post about jade rollers and Julia Child, because those two obviously lend themselves to end-of-year reflections (or that may be the bison tea talking).  However, with the cold, the baking, the wrapping, and general holiday craziness- if you want to know how many seconds until Christmas, Big Ginger can help you out- I haven’t had much time to write.  I did want to share a quick story that kind of relates to the season, though…

When I was in college my parents and siblings moved to Turkey.  It meant I got to spend school breaks traveling to new and exciting places, not too shabby.  There were a few catches, I usually had to talk to my professors about condensing my finals schedule as much as possible at the end of fall semester to maximize my travel time, and I occasionally had to supervise the travel of a Turkish street dog who joined the family.  Rest assured there will be more on her at a later date.  It was completely worth condensing my finals schedule, but it usually meant a grueling week and that I was completely wrecked by the time I got on the plane to travel to my family for Christmas.  The second Christmas I did this my final schedule had been insane and I was  exhausted by the time I got on the plane to be on my way. My flight from D.C. to New York was delayed so when I got to New York I had to haul to get to my next flight.  I made it and all I wanted to do was get on my way.

I boarded the plane; got to my row and saw that my seat neighbor was a very grandmotherly woman who immediately smiled at me.  I was thrilled because she looked like the ideal seatmate for the next nine or so hours.  I smiled back and got my bags stowed, grabbed my book (this was mumblemumble years ago, before digital devices made my carry-on considerably lighter).  My adorable seatmate turned to me and patted my arm and started talking to me.  In Turkish.  She was so nice that I smiled and nodded and said “Oh” at what I thought were appropriate intervals.  Turkish had eluded me, I could say a few phrases and count to ten. None of that vocabulary was going to help now. I couldn’t imagine telling my new friend to turn right (I had a decent grasp on taxi directions) so I continued to smile and nod.  She was getting more and more animated so I nodded more vigorously while trying to hazard a guess at was going on in our conversation- I was invested now and didn’t want to let her down.  In her defense, she had said hello to me in Turkish when I originally sat down and I had responded with a hello in my rudimentary Turkish, so I had misled her.  At this point she had said what I thought was “first” and had making a cradling motion with her arms.  The light went on in my head!  My new BFF was telling me about visiting her first grandchild and I knew how to say “how beautiful” in Turkish! Conversation saved! Maybe I should change my major to a focus on International Relations? She started to fish in her bag for what I was sure at this point was pictures of a new baby.  I was pumped, I was ready with my appropriate phrase, we were going to do this…

Then she pulled out her Green Card.  To this day I have absolutely no idea what our by that point twenty-minute conversation was about.  I put on a big smile, frantically did a mental inventory of my ten words of Turkish and unsurprisingly found zero vocabulary that was going to cover this change of events.  So I went back to the original phrase and told her the picture on the card was beautiful.  She looked about as surprised as I would if someone told me my drivers license picture was beautiful.  I smiled, she smiled and we settled in for a companionable flight probably both wondering what exactly had just transpired.  She gave me a big hug when we landed then I had to sprint off to catch the last flight of my journey.  I’ve always wondered what happened to her.

We’re coming up on a few days that are prime time for potentially hilarious miscommunication.  Just remember, it works to say “how beautiful” and smile then sit companionably.. It’ll give you something to smile about later on…

Now off to make more tea. Maybe Celestial Seasonings needs a spokesperson?

Sometimes you need a Bison…

*** A note to anyone stoping by here looking for a Bison recipe or other Bison-related wisdom, this is not that post. I’m sorry.

So, thirty-nine is here, nothing feels too different. I’m still here and had a nice birthday. The countdown is now seriously on. I have several posts in the works about goal-setting and new challenges to since run the streak is on pause until the plantar fasciitis heals up. I have high hopes these posts will be up no later than my fortieth birthday at the rate I’m currently going. Setting reasonable expectations for myself remains a focus, it’s currently doing battle with the whole procrastination thing, this could get interesting.

However, the bubonic plague a cold moved through the house this week. It was mild, everyone bore up well and it pretty much passed without incident.


Little Ginger is more of the “misery loves company” school of thought when it comes to a cold. If she’s congested and having a hard time sleeping- we’re going to know about it and be vigorously invited to participate. This week has involved a lot of time in the rocking chair and a lot of Nose Frida-ing. I’m not going to explain what a Nose Frida is here because those of you who know are cringing and/or giving me the Hunger Games salute in solidarity. Those of you who don’t know what one is, trust me, you’re happier that way and I will not be responsible for ruining your happiness.

The resulting sleep deprivation means I haven’t been as busy trying to iron wrinkles out of my face with my new jade roller as I hoped. It was a birthday gift from Father of Gingers (I asked for it and was happy to get it in case you’re wondering if he has a death wish) and I want to do a post about it eventually. I’ve had to focus on staying coherent and making small trips out of the house to keep us busy and sane.

In an attempt to replace sleep with caffeine I was going through my consolation-prize-from-the-Universe tea at an alarming rate.  I made a mental note to grab some other tea at the grocery store. Then I remembered mental notes were useless at this point and wrote it on a list, on my phone, AND emailed myself for good measure. When we got to the store, I left without the tea. I did get it on a return trip the next day (I may or may not have written TEA on my hand). On the second trip I remembered a tea I saw a while back. I was pretty sure it had a picture of a bison on it and that I needed to investigate this further – if for no other reason than to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. I found it, bought it, and brought it home…

(That’s one majestic bison there- as a bonus, I just realized clouds are bison too!)

I have so many questions. What exactly is Morning Thunder? Why Morning Thunder? Was there going to be a stampede in my kitchen? This doesn’t really sound like something you’d brag about and possibly something that necessitates a doctors care (We’ve run all the tests, and we can only conclude it’s Morning Thunder).

Unless that’s the Bison’s name? Maybe that’s it, although he struck me as more of an Irving.  Honestly, I have even more questions and concerns now.   The box had the magic words on it though, caffeine and energizing. If a stampede of bison was a side effect, I was okay with that. I usually opt for the herbal teas with cute pictures of bears or holiday scenes on the front so I told myself this was growth.

It was too late in the day to brew up the Morning Thunder by the time I got home. This is because I’ve officially hit the age where I have to think about caffeine consumption after a certain hour.  I’m a rule follower, sure, but not to that degree, I’d never let a tea dictate to me when I drink it. I’ll drink Morning Thunder in the afternoon if I want to- I’m a rebel that way.  So, I stumbled down this morning and started the kettle and it was time to meet the bison… I have a feeling Celestial Seasonings isn’t going to be contacting me to be a spokes person anytime soon…

(Getting ready to ride the bison- I’ve got several more of these tag lines at the ready…)

Here I am with my tea in the coffee mug-told you I was a rebel. I drank my mug and then…

I looked like this! No, not really, it’s tea, not a miracle in a mug that is mislabeled coffee. This was after a long shower and time to blow dry my hair, thanks to Father of Gingers doing the school run.  No tea should have that kind of pressure put on it, majestic bison or not.

This is the real after the first sip picture.  I’m thrilled to be there honestly.  I got the tea down and while I didn’t feel a need to scale a mountain to touch the bison-shaped clouds, I did feel a little more awake.  I’m happy to report the kitchen remained stampede-free, which is a good thing because I don’t know how I’d explain that to insurance agent.

All of this to say I still don’t know why it’s called Morning Thunder.  I guess some things are just meant to remain a mystery and sometimes when you see a tea with a random prairie animal on it, you just have to buy it. Especially when you’re sleep deprived.