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Mornings in Our House

Me: I slept oddly. And I had a dream that we got a divorce.
Husband: Huh. Well, good thing you didn’t dream about your teeth falling out. That would be really bad.
Me: What?!
Husband: Isn’t it supposed to be bad to dream about teeth falling out?
Me: As opposed to our divorce?
Pie: Are you getting a divorce?
Me: No. We are not getting divorced.
Husband: I think teeth falling out in a dream means you’re going to die.
Me: If you dream about teeth falling out, you’ll die? How does that work?
Husband: Dunno.
Me: Speaking of death, look Pete Seeger died. Wow, he was 94!
Husband: Pete Seeger? How could he be 94?
Me: He was.
Husband [doing a quick Google]: Oh, I was thinking of Bob Seger. Who was Pete Seeger?
Me: Really? “If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the mooorrrrnnning. I’d hammer in the evening, all over this land!!” Is the boy up? I bet he’d love this song.
Husband: Oh boy. Everything is a song.
Pie: You don’t like her singing?
Husband: She just does so much of it!
Pie: You married her.
Husband: She didn’t sing this much when we met.
Me: Yes, I did. You just weren’t listening.

Note: The boy didn’t like the song any better. Especially when I started to hammer him to wake him up. “Where Did All the Flowers Gone” didn’t go over any better, either. Grumpy family. My singing rocks.

Strike a Flame

It is possible that I am sitting here in total sugar shock because I finished off the bag of Oreos that Lilith brought over last night for movie night. Now, I’m not saying this is what has happened. I am merely saying it is possible.

Of course the daze could also be the numbness that comes from a run on these “feels like 2 degrees” mornings. I hadn’t planned on running, but given that a run in tomorrow’s snow storm may be difficult, I figured I should do it while I could. I decided to end my run at Trader Joe’s so I could buy milk (everyone knows you need milk in a storm, right? It’s one of those strange mysteries of the world. I was going to get the bread, too, but realized if we really do have a storm, baking bread is a good activity with snowbound kids). Really, it’s the walk home from Trader Joe’s that numbs the fingers and freezes the brain. Anyhoos, I’m home, we have milk but no Oreos, and if the power goes out, we are well set on matches.

What’s that you say? I have learned recently that some of my friends are unaware of my match, um, let’s say “collection.” Adam prefers to call it a “problem.” (How is that possible that anyone who knows me doesn’t know about this? I have definitely blogged on this before and surely you’ve seen me grabbing a matchbook or two [yes, I know it's never been just two, but work with me here].) I’ve always liked matches. Who hasn’t? Fire is fun. What’s better to do on a lazy day than play with matches, right? And in the old days, this was no problem. You’d go out to eat. At the end of the meal, you’d grab a book of matches. I got in the habit of picking up two books: one that I put in a tin for a collection and one that I would be able to use. In Seattle, I had a fireplace, and I needed matches to start my fires (or my Duraflame logs, depending on how lazy I was). Nowadays I light Shabbat candles every Friday. I need matches for that. In my New York days I needed matches for… well, can’t quite recall. But I needed matches. Lots of them.

Let me say upfront, I am all for the no-smoking trend. Smoking is a disgusting habit that smells bed and poisons the world. What I am not happy about is the way “no smoking” has translated to “no matchbooks.” Most folks probably haven’t noticed, but matchbooks are slowly disappearing from the world. Take a look next time you go out. Where are the matchbooks? One of Miami Beach’s many charms is that it caters to tourists, many of whom come from countries where smoking is still the norm. Miami Beach often has matchbooks. Every now and then, here in Boston, you will still find a restaurant with matchbooks.

And here’s where the “problem” may be found (not that I am saying there is a problem–just where one might interpret the problem to be): the lack of matchbooks may be causing a hoarding mentality on my part. Because now instead of grabbing two matchbooks, I feel compelled to grab twelve. Some of my friends–thank you, Teener Tuna–understand my matchbook anxiety and they abet me in my matchbook pilfering. Others–I’m looking at you, husband!–find it to be some sort of weird sickness and refuse to help me.

On Saturday, husband and I went out to dinner with friends. The restaurant was quite good and they happened to have matchbooks (which did not influence how I felt about the food–it was mere bonus). So I grabbed a handful on the way in. And on the way to the bathroom. And on the way out. Husband was horrified. “You know, you’re going to get caught and there’s going to be a big article that reads, ‘Wife of travel company executive caught stealing matchbooks.’” No use telling him that they are giving the matchbooks away, and you cannot steal a free item.
(By the way, wouldn’t you say this matchbook haul was worth it to them? Because I just gave them loads of free advertising on my blog!)

The man may scoff, but looking through my collection brings back a lot of memories of former haunts.
matchesTrips: Vegas; Sparks, Nevada; New Orleans; San Francisco; Memphis. Events: our wedding rehearsal dinner; my sister’s college graduation; dinners with my grandparents; my bachelorette party. Friends: Benny’s Burritos with Ken; Kettle of Fish with Jax; Etta’s Seafood with Barb and Steve. That tin is almost as good as any journal.

So next time we go out and you see me grab a handful of matches. Don’t just stand there, mouth agape: Grab a handful and help me out! Bring back the matchbooks! Long live the matchbooks!

Slave to the FitBit

My kids have figured out how to game my FitBit.

I admit it: I’m a slave to my FitBit (and, boy, I wish someone were paying me to proselytize about the FitBit, but this is all just me; and for you Luddites out there, a FitBit is a very fancy pedometer). I compete with friends for steps, most notably the Duchess. This is a blood sport, my friends. No joke. Many a night, I say to Adam, “S**! I’ve got another 1200 steps to reach my goal and the Duchess is way ahead,” so I stay put wherever I am and march in place. (Adam once asked, “Do you think the Duchess ever just marches in place, cursing your name?” I checked with her husband: She does indeed!)

I have made my kids suffer for the FitBit. “We’ll walk there!” I say, to which they groan, but don’t even bother complaining because they know it’s hopeless. The other night, my son, sick in bed, asked me to go get him a glass of water. “Really?” I asked. “Now? Because the FitBit is charging, so any steps I take won’t be recorded, which means they are POINTLESS STEPS! I do not tolerate POINTLESS STEPS!” But he gave me his sick face (okay, so he had strep) so I got him the glass of water. But I was bitter about it.

On our trip to Iceland, I had the following conversation with my children:
Me: So how can we get back to the hotel, but manage to take 2,000 steps to do so?
Pie: How would you know it’s 2,000 steps?
Doodles: Are you kidding? She’s using child labor for her FitBit.

This past Saturday I went to Shabbat services. But I actually considered not going, because wearing the FitBit with a dress is near impossible. I either have to hook it on my bra or on the waist of my tights, neither of which is comfortable and both of which show through dresses. I did go. Without the FitBit. And I was bitter about it. I tried not to think of all those wasted, uncounted steps.

For a while, the kids fought the FitBit, but they’ve recently embraced it; they’ve learned they can make the FitBit work for them. The other night, my son was downstairs. “Mom, can you go upstairs and get my book for me?” he asked.

“You’ve got legs!” I said. “Use them!”

He batted his eyelashes at me. “I’m just trying to help you get more FitBit steps!”

I got him the book.

The girl knows now the magic nighttime words are “I don’t have enough steps!” She’ll often ask me in the evening, “Do you have enough steps?” Because she knows if the answer is “no,” then she’s guaranteed a good half hour of Just Dance with me.

Because the steps must be achieved.

The kids know to fear those days when I stop suddenly and say, “I forgot my FitBit!” Because where ever we are, no matter what we are doing, I will return home for it. The one or two times I couldn’t do this, I spent a day watching the Duchess rack up the steps without me. And I was bitter about it.

Have a FitBit? Let me know. I’ll compete against you, too. Really, it’s all just fun and games (as long as I’m winning. No competitive streak here, thank you very much. And no, I’m not marching in place while I type. At least, not much).

Back in the (Bundled Up) Swing of Things

I love how helpful is: On today’s report it says it’s “12, feels like -5.” But it advises me: “Much colder than yesterday.” Who knew?

Last week, this was me (I’m hard to see, but I’m out there in that little kayak with my sort-of cousin):

And now? Well, you all watch the news. You don’t need a photo of me all bundled up. Getting home was a harrowing experience–flying through the blizzard, driving down an un-salted Storrow Drive in the middle of the storm–and now this cold, which comes after a total melt, making me paranoid about ice.

And is it cold? Sure, but we live in New England, folks. Cold is not new to us. And we aren’t getting slammed the way the folks in the midwest are (what a sad state of affairs when “12 feels like -5″ is the warm part of the country. Folks want to argue about climate change now? If so, this blog from Andy Borowitz is valuable reading).

I will say, though, that this cold is deceptive. For once, this morning, the kids didn’t complain when I insisted on both gloves and hats (normally the boy just likes to use the hood of his jacket). Bundled up, we stepped outside to head for school and all agreed it really wasn’t as bad as people were saying it was. And then we walked one block. And our faces began to hurt. Downright burn. It really is as bad as people say.

Readjustment from Miami is always tough. This year, it’s a bit tougher. But we are going to have summer-like temperatures in the 40s this weekend, so I can pretend I’m out kayaking to Bird Island with my sort-of cousin again.

Good to be home.

Happy 2014!



Just Need to Make It 15 More Minutes


Best Yankee Swap Gift Ever!


Friendly New Year’s Competition


So Long 2013

I had great plans for the last day of 2013. I was going to catch up on all my Goodreads reviews, post photos to the photo blog, take a nap, cook for New Years. Instead, I ate duck fat fries.

So I will enter the new year with the best of intentions and little else. I hope to post pictures as the evening goes, but that could go the way of the nap.

Either way, happy new year to all of you. May it be a year of fulfilled intentions.

Absolute Corruption

Can’t speak of this, because the phones might be tapped. I suspect this blog is being monitored. All I know is we’re in Miami Beach, and corruption is afoot.

Miami is well known for corruption. And I could tell stories about the strange things I’ve seen here as a kid (and, as a matter of fact, I have–I wrote an essay years ago that I really should revise and submit). Crazy things that simply don’t happen anywhere else in the country.

But now it’s reached the upper echelons. It’s gone higher than anyone would have reasonably expected. Corruption has tainted that which was once pure and good.

They’ve gotten to the Tooth Fairy.

This is the only explanation of which I can think: Last night, Doodles had a wiggly tooth. So wiggly it was driving him to distraction. Finally, he just got up and stood in the bathroom going at it until the tooth came out. Great.

“Do you want to leave the tooth here or wait till we get home?” I asked him.

The boy shrugged. “I don’t care.”

I suggested, “Let’s wait till we get home.”

“Okay,” he said.

But then my mother, the Nana, said, “No, no! The Tooth Fairy will come here! You should leave it here!” She was pretty insistent and went on for a bit about how the Tooth Fairy can come to Miami Beach.

I figured it had been a long time since my mom had seen the Tooth Fairy, so I acquiesced. The boy left his tooth under his pillow. I stayed up late, because I wanted to have a little chat with the fairy–you know, let her know that Pie is going to be having some massive tooth work done in the near future. Tooth Fairy and I chatted, she told me she left $2, and that was that.

Until this morning. The boy came running into see me. “The Tooth Fairy left me $12!”


He said, “I got two one-dollar bills and a ten-dollar bill.”

I asked, “Was the $10 wrapped up in the $2?” figuring it was late and maybe the Tooth Fairy had just made a big fat error.

“No,” he said. “It was separate.”

“Are you sure?” I asked. “I saw the Tooth Fairy. She said she was going to leave you $2. Did she accidentally leave you a $10 instead of a $1?”

“No! It was a separate $10. It wasn’t with the $2. It was separate.”

Which must mean that clearly the Tooth Fairy left $2, but the Nana got to her. I bet the Nana is using teeth in some crazy art work.* Why else would the Nana have been so insistent that the Tooth Fairy come to Miami Beach? The Nana must have pressured the Tooth Fairy–I don’t know, for the boy’s tooth? for other kids’ teeth? who can know? Whatever it is, the Tooth Fairy must have sold the tooth either to her or on the tooth black market. I’m only assuming the Tooth Fairy felt a moment of guilt and compassion and decided to give Doodles a cut of her profit,

Corruption in Miami. I’m telling you, it’s real. Protect your family.

* You think I’m exaggerating about the Nana? This is the Nana’s artwork. This all sounds a lot more plausible now, doesn’t it! (And it explains a lot about me, too, doesn’t it?)