Sunday, March 29, 2009

So I'm studying cupcake recipes online, trying to decide whether I dare.

The kiddo's birthday party is upcoming and we'll need dessert of some kind. Preferably something we can stick a candle in and convince him to blow out instead of, say, grabbing it and trying to eat it or grabbing it and trying to stick it in his hair, both of which seem more likely options for him. We're getting the entree food from a caterer because we're not insane, but dessert remains undecided upon.

Boy, what is it about special occasions that makes people want to prove they can cook? It's not enough that the place is clean and you're out of your pajamas? "Look, I'm actually Martha Stewart! You had no idea, on account of I have Vito's Pizzeria on speed dial and I spend half my workday scarfing vending machine food!" It's like if you can make one side dish, one appetizer from scratch, you've justified referring to yourself as a grownup.

The truth is, DH and I actually can cook. Fairly well, unless our friends are politely lying to us. (For the record, I make a fine banana bread and tasty chocolate chip cookies.) Ability isn't an issue -- time is. When you work all day and then your insatiably hungry Hoover vacuum of a child demands dinner RIGHT NOW, are you going to make beef Stroganoff or are you going to griddle up some turkey burgers, unfreeze some peas and call it a meal? And if you're working the day before you host a party, and you have precisely the amount of energy left over after work and dinner and getting the kid to bed to sink into the couch and watch "What Not to Wear," are you really going to get out the flour and baking powder and start up the mixer?

I can't help but notice that a lot of the cupcake recipes seem to involve using a mix anyway. So Rachael Ray!

So I'm trying to decide what to do, but I'm also deciding dessert is dessert and don't sweat it. Of course, if anyone actually invited to the party reads this, I made it from scratch and Martha loved it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I have decided that I am in no way a bad mother if I occasionally, secretly count down the minutes until bedtime. Ah, blessed silence, restfulness and adult-only television.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Why I occasionally hate people, part 1

So I'm trying to maneuver my way through this shopping center parking lot that is notoriously exasperating to maneuver your way through, when I get stuck mid-lane behind another car. She (let's call her Car A) was stuck because some idiot New York driver in an overlarge truck (let's call her idiot New York driver) was taking up the entire middle of the lane, waiting for another idiot New York driver in an overlarge vehicle (let's call her a constant irritant to time-strapped North Jerseyans already contending with enough traffic without dealing with snotty New Yorkers looking for a cheaper sales tax, thank you very much) to finish taking ten years to back out of her space so that she could claim it.

Car A was getting visibly angry at having to wait for idiot New York driver, and since it was nice out and windows were open I could hear her yelling at INYD for hogging all the space. To which INYD smiled vacantly and shrugged, like "Wow, how was I supposed to know other cars would want to come down this way?" Finally the other INYD finished her last will and testament, or her thesis or whatever was taking her so long in there, and awkwardly started to scoot out of the space. Then INYD figured out that yes, she could in fact move over enough to let Car A through, and did so. Car A moved past, still telling off the other driver. (If you've guessed that most of us who live here have more or less permanent road rage, you'd be right.) I started to move as well, realized that then I would hold up the delicate INYD shifting of parking space power, sighed and stayed put. Then INYD gestured to me to go; seems she'd moved so far over she couldn't maneuver into the space anyway. As I swung past, I couldn't resist; I leaned toward the window and called out, "Get a smaller car."

Why I occasionally hate people, part 2

On my way home from said shopping center, I found myself stuck behind a shiny-looking Hummer. I thought dark thoughts about gas guzzlers and road hoggers and who tools around in shiny new-looking Hummers these days when the whole line faces possible extinction? as we got closer to my turnoff.

And then I saw the driver flick a cigarette out the window.

Now this angers me under normal circumstances -- the world is not your ashtray, pick up your garbage you self-centered jerk, yada yada. But to see someone already trashing the environment with her gigantic exhaust-puffing truck on steroids then further trash the environment with her used cancer stick just blew my mind. So as I pulled up next to her to make my turn, I yelled out the *other* open window, "Get an ashtray!"

(For all the good that did. She probably thought, "Hmm, not driving a Hummer, I don't have to listen to *her*.")

I can't believe no one told me today was Jerk Day. I would've expected a memo. But then, having yelled rude things out my car window at two entirely different total strangers, I guess I helped celebrate it!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

So there have been reports of stunned-looking parents walking out of "Watchmen" with the young children they never should have brought to an R-rated movie in the first place. Which just blows my mind. People, do you not read movie reviews? Do you just blindly blow $40 on whatever's new at the multiplex without stopping to consider age-appropriateness first?

It annoys me personally because as much as I loved the graphic novel, as much as I'm looking forward to seeing the movie, I wouldn't bring anyone under 18 in with me because I know what's in the book/movie and it isn't pretty. Also I'm hearing the movie is even *more* violent, as though that were possible.

The thing is, people tend to assume that if a mask and cape are involved, it's kiddie fare and therefore harmless. Because all comic books and cartoons are cheesy little kiddie things and no adults read or watch them. Except that they aren't, and we do. And most of the comics I have read over the years are the same ones I'll be keeping very, very far away from my kid until he's at least high school age, and maybe older. ("Sandman" and "100 Bullets," for instance.) As for the cartoons ... "Spirited Away" was wonderful and easily an all-ages affair, but "Princess Mononoke" would likely give small children nightmares. And those were from the same director.

So read the reviews, people, they're there for a reason. Google it at least before you buy the tickets. Or, I don't know, don't be too cheap to spring for a babysitter. Because it's not like this only happens with superhero movies. We saw "28 Days Later" in the theaters, and that was scarier than your average zombie flick. And from the back of the theater, I could occasionally hear small children crying. I hope those kids' future therapy bills were worth it.