A**hole Armadillo and the Flightless B*stard

I currently have a wadded up stuffed pink Snoopy in the cabinet above my refrigerator….

I let Snoopy stretch out a bit for the photo op…

This is not some “the rooster flies at midnight” secret code, nor is it commentary on the beloved Peanuts franchise.

It is the result of lessons learned from A$$hole Armadillo and the Flightless Bastard. Who are they, you ask? I’ll explain in a minute… (Yes, this is a shameless bid for reader engagement, and no, I’m not sorry. )

Fridge Snoopy (hopefully I’ll come up with something less serial killer-esque before I hit post, but for now its the best I have) is our backup Snoopy. Little Ginger imprinted on a pink Snoopy in her collection of stuffed toys about a year and a half ago and decided that was her go-to bedtime stuffed guy. After pink Snoopy suffered a near- decapitation incident we realized we needed backup. I do not posses Doc McStuffins level abilities when it comes to rehabbing injured toys and it was REALLY touch and go for pink Snoopy while he was nearly channeling Anne Boleyn.

Side Note- does anyone else DESPERATELY want a follow-up Doc McStuffins series where Doc is grown-up and a high powered research physician? I want to see Callie the Hippo become a nemesis after not getting due credit for Doc’s accomplishments… Can’t you just see her strolling in saying, “We meet again McStuffins…”

This might just be me and it’s entirely possible that this is a side effect of having Disney+ joining, and becoming a crucial member of your pandemic co-parenting team…

Anyway…. A$$hole Armadillo and The Flightless B*stard….

Big Ginger tended to rotate through a variety of stuffed animals, called his “guys” in his toddler/ preschool years. Then he bonded with a stuffed armadillo and armadillo got upgraded to Armadillo-with-a-capital-A and we moved into life with one specific special stuffed animal. I made sure he was ready for bed every night, triple checked that Armadillo was packed for overnights, kept him clean. I even took Armadillo with me on errands to photograph what he got up to while Big Ginger was at preschool.

What didn’t I do? I didn’t have a backup identical armadillo…. This was a huge problem because that Armadillo was a stone cold asshole.

Armadillo would invariably disappear as we were approaching bedtime. No matter what I did, it would be five minutes to go to powering down for the night, and that asshole would be nowhere to be found. We worked through it, and I became aware of his favorite hiding spots. It got to the point where I could locate him before bedtime and keep tabs on his whereabouts until tuck-in.

However, there was also Armadillo’s other favorite trick – going AWOL in the middle of the night. I’d be woken up by a tear-stained little face (inches from mine) or summoned by a shrieking of “I CAN’T FIND ARMADILLO ANYWHERE!!!! WHERE’D HE GO?!?!?!?!?” Invariably Armadillo would be found in the bottom of the bed, he usually had managed to wrap himself up in a sheet and masquerade as a lump in the comforter… I told you he was an A$$hole….

Finally I decided that I HAD to have a back up armadillo (which is a sentence I never thought I’d write, and honestly hope is never necessary to write again.) My mother and aunt tracked down replacements and had them sent to me in a bid to shore up my armadillo-depleted sanity. I was ready, I had a system, I was going to rotated armadillos to ensure even wear, and…. Big Ginger moved on to another favorite stuffed animal, leaving me with two backup armadillos.

To this day the back up armadillos live in the back of my dresser drawer, both as insurance and reminder of the wonderful lengths (and eBaying) family members will go through when you just cannot face another armadillo hunt (stuffed armadillo- I wouldn’t know where to begin with a real armadillo hunt and NEVER want to find out that information).

With Armadillo out of our life, we moved on to Penguey the penguin. (We tend to opt for pretty on the nose names in this house. I expect if I have grandchildren their names will be, while not super orginal, extremely accurate.) Penguey wound up being a worse escape artist than Armadillo, which I really didn’t think was possible, even thought I have seen all the Toy Story movies, and really should know better.

Penguey did better at not going AWOL in the middle of the night, to his great credit. We were able to return to regularly scheduled middle of the night wake up reasons, including- but not limited to; the dinosaurs on the comforter facing the wrong way and socks falling off feet.

However, Penguey was a massive flight risk (despite being unable to fly) right around bedtime. He mad Armadillo look like a total amateur. At this point I was pregnant with Little Ginger and my penguin detecting abilities were not great. My breaking point was a night that both Father of Gingers and I spent quite a while searching for that stuffed bird, and was at the end of my rope. I may or may not have texted in a fit of frustration ,

“I CANNOT FIND THAT FLIGHTLESS BASTARD ANYWHERE!!!!”

The name stuck….

Fortunately, BG never picked up on it – at least to my knowledge… This could come up years from now.

Good old FB…. I was unable to locate Armadillo for a picture, I told you that guy was a total A-hole

Strangely- I’m STILL waiting to hear from the Mom of the Year award committee… maybe they’re saving me for some sort of lifetime achievement award???

Time has marched on and both A$$hole Armadillo and the Flightless B*stars have moved to way background supporting characters in our life. However, their lessons stay with me.

Just ask Over the Fridge Snoopy.

The Grocery Shopping Cart…

Hello from social distancing day I don’t even know any more…

I was looking across the kitchen this morning, saw the toy shopping cart and started to laugh.

A result of cracking due to the lockdown? That would be an entirely reasonable assumption at this point. It has been a strange and challenging experience for all of us. In this case I was cracking because the grocery cart gave me the perfect metaphor for this scary and bizarre point in time if you throw an elderly Turkish street dog into the metaphor mix.

I really promise I haven’t lost it.

A bit of background…

When Big Ginger had just turned two and was really starting to fully come into his nickname, Ginger Fury, we moved from Germany back to Virginia. We were living temporarily with my parents while we waited for our household goods to arrive and to be able to get into our new house.

A wonderful friend with amazing foresight got Big Ginger the toy grocery cart for his birthday AND held onto it until we got to my parents house. It was wonderful to have a new toy to distract a two year old who was not thrilled about the drastic changes to his life. He loved his “grocery shoppin’ cart” with a fierce passion and would demonstrate that love by careening around the kitchen and family room madly. He looked like the worlds tiniest “Supermarket Sweep” contestant ever. This SNL clip of Melissa McCarthy is an eerily accurate representation of that time in our lives:

Now we get to the Turkish street dog. She had signed on with the organization when I was twenty and I affectionately referred to her as my fur sister. She had always been very sassy and rather set in her ways. In her opinion, her golden years should be spent being pampered, lounging on the dog bed, bossing all of us around, and the occasional constitutional in the yard when it suited her. The “grocery shoppin’ cart” (and the tiny human at the helm) in no way, shape, or form featured in her ideal (or even barely adequate) retirement plan. This created some real problems. She hated that grocery cart with the burning fury of a thousand suns and wasn’t shy about throwing shady looks to let us know it.

We did our best to keep the grocery shoppin’ cart loving camp clear of the hating it camp and were moderately successful. I was the regular recipient of doggy snorts, eyerolls, and dramatic flopping into bed but I thought it was manageable. Then I came down one morning and saw her final word on the situation.

She had pooped.

On the floor.

In a perfect circle around the grocery shoppin cart.

To this day, it remains the most impressive and weirdly eloquent expression of displeasure I have ever seen. There was something slightly awe-inspiring in the attention to detail and commitment to a project.

This lockdown is becoming my “grocery shoppin’ cart.” However, I won’t be choosing that expression of displeasure for several reasons:

  1. I’m very grateful to be safe with my family and we have what we need
  2. I know this is the best choice to keep everyone safe
  3. There are still toilet paper and paper towel shortages

All in all, better not to chance it.

Epilogue:

The grocery cart was moved to a safe location until we were able to move into our house, it continues to be driven at breakneck speeds to this day. My fur sister went on to enjoy her golden years in the manner she expected- free of any annoyance from wheeled toys. She lived to be about eighteen years old and provided unsolicited editorials to the end.

Bag of Hair Blues…

So, the last month has been pretty heavily consumed with moving stuff. I go back and forth between, “I’ve totally got this, it’s all manageable and under control” and “HOLY FORKING SHIRTBALLS THE MOVERS ARE COMING!” (This was the second most famous phrase by Paul Revere) I may also be watching The Good Place when I have a moment… (according to the wise sages who write BuzzFeed quizzes, I’m a combo of Chidi and Janet- in case anyone was wondering)

Okay, back on topic now. Moving means sorting and trying to purge. If I do say so myself, I’m doing a much better job than I have in past moves and have managed to get rid of a lot. I do not like purging. Some of it is I’m always convinced as soon as I get rid of something I’m going to need it. The fact that I’ve found some, um, interesting surprises while cleaning out in the past also significantly factors into my reluctance. However, Marie Kondo would totally give me a gold star right now… until she saw my dresser.

My dresser has a problem. It kind of looks like it could belong to a serial killer. You may be asking why right now…Is there a dark side to me that you never knew about? Are we about to learn about an ill-advised goth phase in my past?

No.

It’s just that my dresser happens to be home to a bag of hair and some teeth that are not mine.

I guess I need to explain more.

Let’s start with the bag of hair. When Big Ginger was about fifteen months old, we took him for his first hair cut. We were still living in Germany and I grabbed a Ziploc bag on my way out the door, thinking I might want to save a lock of hair from his first haircut. We got to the hairdressers and I explained (I thought) that I just wanted the first lock of hair to save. She gave me a strange look but said okay. BG was seated with Father of Gingers and the haircut started. I stood there clutching my sandwich baggie, possibly with a few tears welling up in my eyes, and she handed me the first lock of hair. I put it in the bag carefully, and got ready seal it up, and then, before I knew it, the hair dresser was handing me another lock of hair, I accepted it, and tucked it in next to the first.

Then she gave me another. And another. I kept on collecting locks of hair in my little Ziploc baggie while trying to figure out if there was a way to politely ask her to please stop giving me hair. I couldn’t come up with anything and resigned myself to being the weird American with the bag of hair. We brought it home and I couldn’t bring myself to reach in and pull out a chunk for safe keeping, so I put it in my dresser and didn’t think much more of it. I took BG to a different barber shop from then on so I wouldn’t have to be the “weird bag of hair chick” or worse, find myself with an ever-growing collection of bags of hair. That’s how you wind up on the news, and not in a good way.

The teeth were less of a cultural misunderstanding situation and more a “I’m not exactly sure what to do about this” scenario. BG started losing teeth a few years ago and I felt weird throwing out a piece of my kid. Also, FoG was traveling for work and I didn’t want him to miss out on the full experience. I should probably also mention at that time Little Ginger was still waking up twice a night and I was running on four-ish hours of sleep on a good night. My decision -making processes may not have been at their most coherent. So, I now have a little drawer full of teeth.

And my dresser has a creepy vibe.

I guess on the upside it’s not a shrunken head, right?

Maybe it’s time for me to look into Swedish death cleaning?

Your move, Marie Kondo.

Lamaze breathing, repurposed…

So, the gingers are safely with their grandparents and Father of Gingers and I are in England looking around at places to live/ having an early tenth anniversary trip.

FoG arrived early for work and I caught up with him yesterday. The flight over was so nice and peaceful, and I loved having some travel time to myself. As I might have mentioned before, I’m in one of my favorite countries, as I’m might have mentioned before, and I’m ready to start this adventure. Nowthat we’re all up to speed…

When I’m not dreaming of high school the other stress dream/ nightmare I’ve had for years, pretty much since I learned to drive- is that I’m trying to dive the car from the wrong seat and having to reach over to use the steering wheel. As we’ve discussed before, I REALLY like having things under control, so I think it’s safe to assume the dream is about my control freak tendencies has something to do with that.

Well, yesterday I was literally living the dream.

FoG picked me up from the train station, I hopped into my seat, looked for the steering wheel, noticed it was AWOL, and then remembered I was in England. In my defense, I didn’t sleep on the plane so I’d been up for about twenty-six hours at that point. I pulled myself together and got ready to get back on the road. I should probably mention that FoG was on day two of driving on the wrong (to us) side of the road.

Then I tried to grab the gear shift.

At that point I decided it was best to hold the phone in my right hand while watching the map to reduce the temptation to grab the gearshift. I sat on the left, looked out the window with a view unobstructed by steering wheel or dashboard instruments and quietly chanted, “It’s okay, it’s okay” to myself. I’d take breaks in chanting to assist with navigating and reassure FoG this was not editorializing on his driving. Fortunately he was totally understanding and had bigger fish to fry. Right hand turns have taken on a whole new meaning in his world, mine too.

We’ve now made several car trips without incident.

On a related note- both Gingers signed on to our organization via C-section so I always assumed those hours we spent in childbirth classes before Big Ginger were just a write off. Now I’m happy to report those breathing and relaxation techniques are excellent for working through learning to be on the wrong side of the car and/or feeing like you’re in a stress dream.

I don’t think I’ll be attempting to drive on this trip since it’s going to be a short one. Also, I have a feeling it’s going to take a while if my original leaning to drive experience is anything to go on. I’m also flirting with the idea of writing a book, this would definitely give me some serious material. I should probably brush up on my breathing techniques too..

But Does It Spark Joy?

So, I was chatting with my aunt the other day (I have been very lucky to have a ton of support from my family as I’ve started this whole blogging thing) and she reminded me of an escapade that I had written on a list of topics to write about but then forgotten about (or possibly suppressed, you’ll understand in a second)…

This all took place back before Father of Gingers and I started the whole Parents of Gingers circus act collaboration that is our life today. At the time we were living in Germany and had been married almost two years. It had been a very eventful two years, with a trans- Atlantic move, lots of travel, new jobs, and a guest room fire- just to name a few highlights.

It was summer time and we were headed back to the States to see friends and family. Due to the fact the trip wasn’t very long, we had decided to each go visit our grandparents separately. I went to see my Gran in Texas and future Father of Gingers (FFoG?) was off to Michigan.

I should take a minute here to explain my Gran. Honestly, there’s enough material for several posts but I want to keep this short today. We will be coming back to her, especially as I seem to have reincarnated her in Little Ginger, whom we frequently call ReGran. I guess the fastest way to sum up Gran for this post is- she was a red-headed army nurse in the Pacific during the Second World War, and there were combat boots involved. She was eighty-eight when this happened, living on her own with an aide that came in daily to help her with errands since Gran was no longer driving.

Gran was the original Ginger and my gingers often remind me of her. Big Ginger is named for that set of grandparents, and as I said before sometimes Little Ginger is just my Gran in a toddler body. I never feel Gran’s presence more strongly than I do when I’m trying to unload/reload the dishwasher and Little Ginger feels compelled to supervise.

Gran liked to stay busy, to the point where I was usually totally exhausted by the end of the visit. There was always something we could be doing, dusting off the top of kitchen cabinets, unloading a dishwasher, going through a closet or drawers to clean out any clutter. On this visit, she decided she would really like to go though some filing cabinets that had not been sorted since my grandfather had passed away. I agreed that we could do that (we were going to do it either way, if I’m being honest) so her aide and I got to work.

We got through the first few drawers of the filing cabinet fairly quickly and purged what needed to be purged. Then we got to the top of the filing cabinet, and it was one of those cabinets where the top drawer opened up towards you then slid in, kind of like a garage door, giving shelf space to store things. The key that opened the bottom drawers did not open the top drawer, and it was the only one we had. Fortunately my grandfather had decided that basic lock picking was a skill I should learn when I was a teenager. He was absolutely right and it has definitely come in handy more times than many other things I learned as a teenager- looking at you Trigonometry.

I told Gran and her aide that I thought I could probably get the lock open and got the go-ahead. A few minutes later-success! I lifted the drawer to slide it back, promptly shrieked and let the door slam shut. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’re probably wondering what kind of woodland creature I ran afoul of this time?You be justified in wondering that. Totally justified and completely wrong. Not every traumatic event in my life has been the fault of a woodland creature; although it does seem to be a bit disproportionate compared to other people I’ve talked to. Even without getting into the time a mouse died in my office at the retirement home…

Anyway- back to the filing cabinet.

I opened it again, convinced I couldn’t possibly have seen what I thought I saw, but the fact that Gran’s aide looked equally horrified gave me the sinking feeling I was right. And, yup, there it was, sitting in a display case; a freaking shrunken head! As I sat there, stunned, wondering how this was possibly my life, Gran peered over my shoulder to see what the fuss was about and matter of factly said:

“Oh, I wondered where that had gotten to… It used to be part of a set.”

Other families have salt and pepper shakers that are part of sets and handed down. Or vases, or heirloom quilts. You never hear about anyone fighting over who gets the shrunken heads. Maybe it does happen and it just doesn’t come up in conversation? I just don’t know.

I don’t remember much about what happened after that, I guess a surprise shrunken head when you’re expecting to find decades-old tax returns will do that to a person. I do remember Mexican food and beer were part of the afternoon. It was medicinal at that point. I talked to FoG on the phone that night. He was telling me about his very busy (but surplus head-free) day he had with his grandparents and said he was exhausted. I announced I’d picked a filing cabinet lock and found a shrunken head. I won the conversation/ who’s the most tired contest.

The rest of the visit with my Gran passed unremarkably, and I made a mental note to let my mother and her siblings know about the plus 1/4ish of a person hanging out in the filing cabinet.

I can’t help but wonder what Marie Kondo would have said about the whole situation.

***I should note here that later on after further discussion, it was determined that the shrunken head was not a real one but a souvenir that had been picked up during my grandparents’ time living in South America. So, the good news was I had not disturbed someone’s head. Be grateful for the small things in life, I always say. Whether it’s sunshine or the fact you didn’t get surprised by authentic human remains, just imitation.

The whereabouts of the other half of the set remain unknown.

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,

Katie

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.

“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?

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.

HAHAHAHAHA

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.

#RideTheBison