Stuff I’m Digging

Hi all!  Sorry for the radio silence around here.  We went to Cambodia last week to see Angkor Wat, and I’m still processing from that trip.  So much beauty.  So much poverty.  It was a pretty incredible experience, and I hope to share more on that soon.

For now, I just wanted to catch up and share some stuff I’ve been digging lately.  But really – how are you?   Things good?  I can tell you that I am NOT digging the switch from daylight savings in the States.  We didn’t fall back which means I’m now 13 hours ahead instead of 12.  But I don’t have crushing darkness at 5:00 pm now so I should probably shut up about the whole thing . . .

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Family traditions

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Modern Mrs. Darcy posted recently(ish) about family traditions.  I really like traditions.  Growing up we always had waffles on Christmas and always opened stockings first.  I want to try ALL the new things, but I like having some steady standbys to return to.

Since the kids are young, we are still in the process of building our own family traditions.  This was for Henry’s recent third (!!!) birthday.  Maybe he didn’t remember last year, but I did, and I liked deepening the grooves on our past practices.

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Friday Fantastic A Number One Linky Party Extravaganza (and can we be FB friends?)

Hi friends!  Sorry for the light posting this week.  We were traveling for the holiday weekend and now we’re all sick.  (I am totally mouth breathing as I type this post.)

My mom left this week.  I miss her like a toddler loves changing his mind, but I’ve been pumped to get my own room back.  Especially now that everyone’s nights are punctuated by hacking fits.  Sexy!  I am pleased to report that we did everything on the to do list with my mom, plus some bonuses like visits to the zoo and a chocolate factory.  Even though she is gone now, my chin is up, because I think she will be back soon for additional shenanigans.

On the blog front, I owe you guys posts on Montepulciano and surrounding towns, Carnival, Orvieto, Villa D’Este in Tivoli, dining near the Pantheon, and Piazza Barberini.  Also info on the Henry day care situation and an updated state of the situation.  Can you believe we’ve been here six months??  That is 1/6 of my Italian adventure already finito.  I better get on that travel list!

In “exciting” news, Roman Reboot now has its own facebook pageClick on over there if you’d like to see me mangle another form of social media!

Thanks to my sister for these sweet outfits from her recent trip to India.  We may have had to cut Mac out of his bodice after the shoot, but we’ll always have the pics.  🙂

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I didn’t watch the Super Bowl, but I did catch some commercials and the halftime show after the fact.  This Diary of the Left Shark cracks me up.  Every.  Time.

My mom mentioned she was considering getting purse boots for her recent trip.  I think I may have done a spit take.  Say what?  Turns out, Purse n’ Boots are exactly what you’d think.  Boots with space for your stuff.  I scoffed, can it fit your cell phone?  IT CAN.  So they claim.  I must admit that I’m intrigued.  I actually really like the riding and combat boots.  I just wish they had pictures of the boots on actual people.  Can this be comfortable?  It seems like a win for vacations to pick-pockety destinations, except for the fact that most people don’t travel in boot weather.

I like my place, but I would move here tomorrow.

After gorgeous weather all week (I know, I know, shutting up), it looks like it will rain here all weekend.  I’m trying to plan some inside fun.  Shauna Niequist’s Bread and Wine has gotten me more excited about cooking so we may try some new recipes.  (The book is a touch on the churchy side–just mentioning in case not your jam, but I heartily recommend.)  We may even try to watch a whole movie on Netflix.  Lately, we’ve just been picking off TV episodes.  (Here’s a list of best TV on Netflix if you are looking to start a new series.)  OR just drop everything and start watching Bojack Horseman.  Immediately.  Will Arnett.  Aaron Paul.  Amy Sedaris.  Alison Brie.

Meet the most beloved sitcom horse of the ’90s … 20 years later. BoJack Horseman was the star of the hit TV show “Horsin’ Around,” but today he’s washed up, living in a Hollywood bachelor pad, complaining about everything, and sometimes wearing colorful sweaters. Set in an L.A. where humans and anthropomorphic animal-people coexist, “BoJack Horseman” is about one man (well, horse-man) who peaked too early and must figure out what to do next.

If you liked anything slightly oddball like Community, 30 Rock, or Arrested Development, I say to give it a shot.

How you doin’?  Big weekend plans?  Would you try purse boots?  Already finished Bojack?  Pretty funny, right??

Aristocat Fan Fiction

We’ve been sick around here.  3/4 of us so far.  James is still standing strong.  I hope he stays that way, but I fear it is only a matter of time.  The rest of us are a snotty, feverish mess.

Stage right, enter the TV.  Because we try not to watch too much generally, I feel no guilt about employing this weapon in survival mode situations.  TV, chocolate (mostly for me), PJs all day.  Nothing is sacred or off-limits if it will bring us closer to the goal of renewed health and good moods.

One of the fun things about being a parent is revisiting old favorites from your own childhood and sharing them with your children.  A less fun thing is realizing that many of these films just aren’t very good.  And I’m sorry Aristocats.  You just aren’t very good.  There isn’t that much going on, there is only one kind of good song, and that one cat is, dare I say, a little racist.

This does not bear on my assessment of the film’s merit, but I did not notice as a kid how much Disney was into recycling in the 1970s.  It feels like half the cast of Robin Hood (a film that does stand up IMHO) is voicing the parts here.  Also, the wicked stepmother from Cinderella looks almost identical to Madam, the cats’ owner.  Right down to her hairdo and brooch.  This is just bizarre.  How am I supposed believe that this lady is nice and caring when all I can think is evil Evil EVIL??  Does Disney really only know one old lady hairdo?

But I digress.  I found it interesting that absolutely no mention was made of the kittens’ father.  I mean, kittens must come from somewhere.  They didn’t throw in a line about how the father was gallantly killed in the cat war of ’23 or how Duchess went to the sperm bank and looked at Grade A cat sperm for philosophers and chemists.  Nothing.

So I present the following backstory on Duchess.  A classy cat who mysteriously ended up with three kittens.

Duchess gazed moodily out the window, twirling her diamond collar.  Madam was talking about something again, but Duchess couldn’t make her mind focus.  She took in the room with its plush upholstery and ornate furniture.  It was nice.  No, much more than nice.  It was every cat’s dream.  Or it should have been.  Duchess knew she was lucky, but she couldn’t shake this dreadful feeling of ennui. 

Duchess longed for a cigarette, but she knew Madam wouldn’t approve.  She’d have to wait until after Madam went to sleep.  Duchess had taken to roaming the streets at night.  She no longer bothered to stick to their well-lit and posh area of Paris.  She just wanted something different.  Something to shake her out of this dreadful rut. 

Something outside twitched and drew her attention.  It was that cat again.  That was the third time this afternoon he had stalked down the street.  Oh, he thought he was something, didn’t he.  That swagger.  That cocky swing of his hips.  Even though he clearly thought too highly of himself, Duchess surmised he was probably the kind of cat who could help her find a smoke.

You get the drift.  Or maybe it wasn’t like that at all.  Maybe Madam fixed her up with a nice doctor cat and they were very happy together until he died of Feline AIDS.  (There was random “Feline AIDS” graffiti near our place in Columbia Heights.  It cracked me up every time.)  Or maybe the kittens just showed up on their doorstep and they took them in.

I don’t know.  But I won’t be watching again any time soon to look for more clues.

Image via IMDB

Da Media . . . for Kidz

Ah, da media.  (Picture saying this like Ali G.  Clip is a bit NSFW, it is Ali G after all.  Do not click if references to elephants boning on the National Geographic channel offend you.)

Like many of you probably do, I feel very conflicted about screen time for my kids.  It seems that no screen time is the ideal experience.  But I watched TV growing up, and I think I turned out OK.  I don’t remember what I was doing at age two, but a little older, my sister and I lived for Saturday morning cartoons.  There was plenty of Sesame Street and Mister Rogers in there.  And I remember occasions when we would watch a movie, rewind it, and immediately watch it again.  Of course, we did plenty of other things besides TV.  But I certainly don’t remember my mom obsessing about TV as much.  (I may have blocked it out; I do that sometimes.)

Besides thinking that surely some screen time can’t hurt, I worry that I could be missing a useful tool.  I thought of this again when reading Hanna Rosin’s piece, The Touch-Screen Generation.  The article is from last year and is pretty long, but it has some interesting thoughts, particularly on games for touch screens.  We don’t have an iPad or similar, but I think about uses for the computer.  Henry and I read books about kangaroos and we can instantly look up videos of kangaroos on YouTube.  How cool is that??  We’ve also looked at Harrier Jets, bees, frogs eating flies, and caterpillars becoming butterflies.  When I was a kid, we’d just have to wait and hope Mister Rogers covered it.

These videos are definitely the exception rather than the rule.  I try to avoid videos because Henry becomes a shrieking rage monster when he has to stop watching, and the few minutes of downtime are not worth the aftermath.  At the moment we watch one twenty-minute Winnie the Pooh episode per day and a movie on Fridays.  The Pooh is used to entice him inside from the playground for lunch (I can’t just scoop him up because I’m wearing Mac) and to allow me to feed the baby without Henry trying to tackle me.

I have no idea how this compares to most people.  Should I care?  I don’t want to, but this is an issue where it is easy to feel judged, no matter what you do.  Rosin’s article notes that experts tend to view an hour of screen time as a zero sum game, meaning one hour of TV is one hour of time not spent interacting with parents.  But that isn’t really the way the world works.  There are many hours in the day, and I know that the kids get plenty of interaction, playtime, and downtime.

But.  I’m sure I’ll always feel uneasy.  I feel like I have to justify myself, like I’m justifying to you now.  And it will only get harder as they get older.  The general approach is avoidance, but I’m hoping for memories like making popcorn and watching a movie together.  Watching football on Saturdays.  And I don’t want to just bury my head in the sand thinking about apps and games.  Sigh, one step at a time.

What’s your screen approach?  Any apps or programming you recommend?