When my children were younger, whenever I dropped them off somewhere, I would always say three things: “Make good choices.” (This line is stolen from the marvelous mom played by Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday.) “Don’t take any wooden nickels.” (The reasons behind this obscure saying may be found here.) And “Always respect your body.” I have said these lines so often to my four children the words have become part of our relationship and now imply my love, my loopy sense of humor, and my hope they might actually temper their behavior when away from me. I don’t say them all the time anymore but those lines are woven into the fabric of my relationship with my family. (more…)
Archive for the ‘Dabney AAR’ Category
It’s summertime here in the American South and that means lots of great fresh fruit. I love fruit and keep my house stocked with berries, bananas, melons, and peaches. However, some weeks, when my kids are spending more time out of the house, I end up with too much fruit, much of it on the verge of going bad. So, what do I do? I make ice-cream. There is nothing, to me, better in the taste world than freshly churned ice-cream. It’s just incredible. (more…)
Lately I have been amusing the hell out of myself by saying aloud…very slowly…very seriously…lyrics from ridiculous songs. I almost drove off the road last week while intoning the Steve Miller Band’s “You’re the cutest thing/That I ever did see/I really love your peaches/Want to shake your tree.” (Note: pompatus is not a real word.) I am completely unable to keep a straight face while quoting from MacArthur Park (a terrible song written by Jimmy Webb and turned into a disco hit by Donna Summer): ““Someone left a cake out in the rain. It took too long to bake it, and I don’t know if I can make it again.”Singing “Sammy’s so skinny” from Muskrat Love made me laugh so hard that my daughter told me stop it right now–I was embarrassing her. (She’s 15–much of what I do embarrasses her!) (more…)
I’ve had my iPad2 now for a couple of months and I love it. It has completely replaced my aging laptop and I use it for everything but writing blogs and articles. (I still like my full keyboard and big screen for that task.) iPad and iPhone users love to talk about all the great apps there are and it’s true, there any many marvelous apps.
But the two things that have transformed by iPad into a tool I can’t live without are the Logitech keyboard case by Zagg and the BoxWave Capacitive iPad Stylus. The keyboard turns the iPad tablet into a laptop. I couldn’t imagine doing email and writing–when I’m not at home–on the iPad using the touch screen. The iPad connects with the keyboard through Bluetooth and uses very little power. I’ve only had to charge it once since I got it. The stylus makes using the iPad’s touch screen vastly easier… and it doesn’t smudge up the screen. Styluses are very inexpensive and I have three so that I don’t have to worry where I put the last one down. Styluses also function as a more specific pointer than my finger can so I always open just want I wanted to rather then something nearby. (more…)
After twenty-three years of marriage, four kids, four houses, two snakes, one albino hedgehog, one guinea pig and two feral cats, my husband and I have a dog. We had always sworn we’d never get a dog-for years four kids seemed like enough work. As our children aged, they begged and cajoled, promising that they’d do all the work. We would point out they appeared to have a hard time unloading the dishwasher promptly when asked. Then, as the kids aged, I began to ask my husband to change his mind. I believed they were old enough to be responsible and, even better, than the responsibility would be good for them. My husband was not convinced. (more…)
I don’t watch a lot of television. I can count on both hands the number of TV shows I have watched in the past ten years. But, when I watch a show, all of show, I usually become a devoted fan. Currently I am rewatching Battlestar Galactica (the 2004-2009) series. I watched it when it first came out and thought it was beyond brilliant in its portrayal of government, war, terrorism, and “the other.” It seemed to me, especially given the post 9/11 global world, to have things to teach me about incompatible alliances and conflicting creeds. I watched it with my teenage sons and, after each episode, we would talk about when war and its nastier cousins terrorism and torture are used and what it says about the society that uses them. Watching the show was exhilarating—I remember many a gasp when the plot took a staggering dramatic turn. (more…)
Recently, while sitting on my screen porch with my son and Sophie, our dog, he and I discussed when it was grammatically correct to use drank rather than drunk. (We were discussing whether or not Sophie, a puppy, had consumed enough water over the course of the day.) My son, a freshman in high school who has just completed his first year of studying Latin, got tangled up in an analysis of whether or not the tense regarding time–when one drank–was more important than the subject–he, she, we, they, etc….
This conversation is not an anomaly in my life. As a writer and an argumentative soul, I often find myself defending one kind of punctuation or word choice. And, routinely, I find there is more than one way to parse a sentence. For example, recently in Slate.com, Ben Yagoda, a professor of English at the University of Delaware, wrote an article defending the British habit of putting punctuation outside of quotation marks. (This makes sense to me, but is wildly offensive to many an American copy editor.) Every year the world’s most prominent English language dictionary, the O.E.D., adds new words–many of which make linguistic purists shudder. The latest edition included the first ever graphical symbol: the ♥ icon. (This makes me antsy. What will next year bring? The text cu as a word? That does make me shudder!) (more…)
(above) Kristin Chenoweth singing Home from The Wiz on Glee
Yesterday I put together a playlist of my favorite Broadway songs. I couldn’t believe how many there were. I know the lyrics and tune of every song. As I keep telling everyone I meet, I’ll be fifty this weekend. When I think about the first half century of my life, three things define me: family, books, and music. My family—both of birth and the one my husband and I have created—all wish fervently I didn’t have quite such a deep love for bad 70’s songs and for that oft derided genre: the musical. (more…)
Last weekend I went shopping with my 14 year old daughter. We were at the outlet mall and went into Banana Republic, J. Crew, Off Fifth (Sax’s outlet retailer), and the Gap. It was way more work than it needed to be. At each store both of us had to try on items we liked in several different sizes. At Banana Republic, I was a size eight. At the Gap, I was a six. At J. Crew it depended on the item–in pants I was an eight, in shirts I was a twelve. The worst was Off Fifth, a store that carries many different designers. I was a fourteen in one dress and a six in another. I put on jeans that varied from a 29 to a 32.
In fact, the only sizing that was consistent was in shoes. I tried on shoes at several different places–Reebok, Nike, Off Fifth and Nine West and, in every store, I was an eight. The entire experience made me crazy. Why oh why can’t the fashion industry come up with somewhat consistent sizes? I understand that, with all the variation in women’s bodies, that exact sizing is not, on a large scale, possible. But surely the industry could have a set of measurements that all retailers use. (Don’t even get me started on Chico’s at which I, who have size 14 jeans from the 1990’s that still fit, am a zero. If that’s not pandering, I don’t know what is!) (more…)