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« February 2004 | Main | April 2004 »

w March 25, 2004

Beyond Popcorn and Twizzlers

I clearly need to eat some proper lunch, if I intend to keep this particular movie on television. In an earlier posting, I self-indulgently enumerated my favorite movies, and stupidly neglected to mention the long list of "foodie movies" that just bear watching and re-watching and re-re-watching. First and foremost, at least for me, is Big Night (currently playing on Bravo). Two brothers from Italy, trying to make a go of a restaurant in 1950s New Jersey, create one exquisite night of food and wine...a last ditch effort to achieve the American Dream. Frankly, even though the plot is really sweetly compelling, I could watch this movie muted, and just wait for the food. I won't spoil anything by talking any more about the food, but just like you shouldn't go grocery shopping hungry, don't watch this movie unless you're eating a huge plate of pasta. Though, the soundtrack is just great, so just watch it a couple of times and draw your own conclusions! My favorite line, though..."Sometimes the spaghetti likes to be alone"

Other great foodie movies? Well, Eat Drink Man Woman, which I know I remembered to put on the earlier list. Don't watch that one without at least crummy Chinese food in front of you. Babette's Feast, while a little bleak at times, is another one not to watch on an empty stomach. You might want a fire roaring too, come to think of it, just to get through the cold Danish windswept scenes. Tampopo is a little bit funky, but a lot of fun, and for all of us who made it through university eating ramen, a sort of nostalgia trip. It's also pretty sexy in parts, always a good combination with food.

And then there is Like Water for Chocolate. That has to be the hottest movie ever...EVER. You're never quite sure if it's the food or the steamy love scenes, but that's sort of the point. The only issue with a lot of these movies is that you also have to be prepared to read subtitles, but obviously that just adds to the exotic enjoyment. You might as well turn off the sound and concentrate on the subtitles and glorious repasts. Just don't eat popcorn and twizzlers for these ones.

by Heather Hoffman at 12:30 PM

w March 21, 2004

Bagels, Y'all

Hard to say what it is about Sunday mornings that just cry out for bagels and lox and the newspaper; the closest I got today was whole wheat toast with cream cheese and some coffee, but at least we have jazz playing, in an attempt to seem cultivated.

Gene suggested that if I needed to read the New York Times, I had a computer within arm's reach, but there is just something about having the physical reams of paper strewn around the floor, being walked over by the dogs and chewed on by the Bean. If I had been more organized, I would have picked up some bagels and lox yesterday, but the real problem is, there is just nowhere nearby that actually carries decent bagels or lox. It's a bitch, but there it is. There are many fine things about living on the Peninsula, but Sunday morning bagels and lox isn't one of them.

We did get to talking about how nice it would be to be able to walk down to the bagel shop on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, grab a dozen and some coffee, stop at the bookstore on the way home for the paper, and then spend the day appropriately. It's not quite the Manhattan experience, but perhaps we could make it Manhattan of the South, at least in a small way. Just to have some sidewalks and shopfronts would be pleasant beyond measure, and I'll even take the drunken undergrad component on Friday nights to be able to walk to get ice cream.

For those of you we haven't told, we're thinking very seriously of buying a place (maybe land and building, but that's a big maybe) in Chapel Hill this summer and then gradually moving our base of operations eastward. It's not happening tomorrow, but a few more lazy Sunday mornings sans bagels and the paper, and I might have to ramp up the decampment a bit.

by Heather Hoffman at 11:02 AM

w March 16, 2004

It's Two Time

Yes, that's correct, today is Bean's 2nd birthday...where the last two years have gone, I couldn't possibly tell you. But what is most exciting is that she really and truly is growing up, and we're clearly making progress in all sorts of areas.

She had school today, and I had a bit of crisis of conscience, wondering if maybe I should have taken in cupcakes or something...but she's usually the only kid there, ha ha! I know in kindergarten, when you've got twenty little rugrats, cupcakes are de rigeur; good news is, her teachers had some left over from a birthday yesterday...so Mommy is off the hook for this one, at least.

Need to finish putting her rocking horse together, and pick up a teeny weeny ice cream cake for tonight, but otherwise we're all good. If we also remember to charge up the camera, there will be lots of pictures, preferably with mulitudes of cake smeared across the face.

by Heather Hoffman at 11:14 AM

w March 11, 2004

Resiliency, Thy Name is Bean

4:45 am Wake up, painfully, take showers
5:15 am Get Bean up, no breakfast because the poor kid can't eat or drink anything before anesthesia
5:30 am Leave for hospital...it's still dark outside
6:00 am Check in, things fortunately go more quickly than usual, huzzah
6:30 to 7:30 am Answer the same questions 14 million times for different nurses, residents, doctors...realize that we are now "regulars" in the Day Surgery/PACU and people recognize us. Not sure what to think of this, decide it's survivable
7:30 to 8:15 am Bean is knocked out, examined, Mom and Dad get a cup of coffee and some breakfast. Not even given a pager this time because this is such a short procedure. More huzzahs.
8:15 to 8:45 am Sit with Bean in the post-op area, she wakes up happy as a clam, has some juice, gets dressed, we leave
9:00 am Home. Bean is now fully awake and playing like a mad woman.
9:00 to 12:00 noon Bean is refusing to take a morning nap, having had an earlier drug-induced one. Mom is tearing hair out, as Mom did not get an earlier drug-induced nap.
12:30 to 1:00 pm Nap for Mom
12:30 pm to 5:00 pm Nap for Bean. HUZZAH

She ate a normal dinner, had a good bath, fell asleep at about 7:30, and slept like the angel she can occasionally be. Anesthesia? What anesthesia?

The kid is a champ.

by Heather Hoffman at 4:02 PM

w March 08, 2004

Mindless Bureaucracy

One of the most tiresome things about having a child with a disability is the endless paperwork that needs to be dealt with. Bureaucracy is certainly a fact of life for everyone, but I have more paper floating around this house than a stationery shop. And I have to wonder, how much of it is truly necessary? Every time we see anyone (at the same hospital, mind you), we have to sign yet another consent form and yet another privacy form and then we get another pink copy to take home to add to our collection.

We live in SILICON VALLEY. There are such things as computers and email, people. Wouldn't it make more sense to sign something once, then have the records electronically? Wouldn't it save money? Wouldn't it save time? Wouldn't it save space?

But that isn't the nature of bureaucracy, now is it? The most frustrating thing about this current piece of "absolutely necessary paper" is that it's a checked box for a procedure she's had done not once, but three times before (general anesthesia). Why is it suddenly so important now to have a pediatrician's sign-off?

Nevertheless, in the interest of not creating more bureaucratic nightmares, I have Bean scheduled to go in to the pediatrician this afternoon to get the stupid box checked.

I just wish there was one for "Is this a waste of time yes/no".

by Heather Hoffman at 1:50 PM

w March 07, 2004

Toddler TV

As much as I sometimes hate myself for doing it, my need for a cup (or three) of coffee in the morning has necessitated our foray into the world of toddler television.
You know the shows I mean: Teletubbies, Rolie Polie Olie, and The Wiggles. All those shows that you're sure were created when someone had just a leetle too much...something...at a warehouse party three years ago.

I certainly don't plunk Bean in front of the tv for longer than half an hour, but it's been enough for me to realize a few things, and capitulate from my sanctimonious, slightly crunchy attitude towards TV for toddlers. One, these shows are utterly compelling, at least if you're still working on your first cup of coffee. I find myself staring at the Teletubbies and echoing "eh-oh!", almost unwittingly. Rolie Polie Olie is just soothing, all those gentle circles and squares. The Wiggles? Well, this morning we're watching our first episode, and it's a little like a cracked out The Monkees, but at the same time, you can't help but like a bunch of men who are willing to act terrifically silly for the benefit of the not yet toilet trained set. Plus, they're actually pretty good!

Two, while I realize that no two-year-old needs to be plastered against a TV for hours on end, it would appear that the quality (let alone quantity) of children's shows has really improved, at least on some channels. I'm not talking about those frenetic bad-joke fests that pass for entertainment on the unmentionable
Od(ious)eon channel, but it's kind of nice to have choices beyond Mr Rogers and Sesame Street.

Don't get me wrong, I love those shows, and they allow me half hour trips down memory lane, but I do like the new ones, especially Miffy. Miffy is this bunny who sort of seems drawn from marshmallows, but she's really cute and the pacing of the show is as gentle as that of the books by Dick Bruna. The one thing I particularly like about Miffy is that, just like Mr Rogers and Sesame Street, its simplicity does not equal stupidity. Miffy doesn't discuss nuclear physics or anything, but the intelligence of viewers is assumed, even as the characters do something as mundane as build a snow bunny.

I was also kind of curious if Bean would react differently to shows aimed at her age group; she doesn't see very well, and so I never really worry about the shows that I watch (granted, this might come around and bite me in the rear when she unexpectedly turns her preschool classroom into the Jerry Springer show). Toddler shows seem to be highly visual, and yet...she loves them. Well, she laughs semi-appropriately, wiggles around, vocalizes and babbles at them in a way I never observe when we're watching, say, a movie or the news. I can't help but think we're maybe even doing her a favor by letting her "watch" at least a few of these, occasionally.

Plus, you know, I get to have my desperately needed infusion of caffeine.

by Heather Hoffman at 8:47 AM

w March 06, 2004

Fast Ball Down the 50-Yard Line

I will be the first to admit that I know little to nothing about sports, as evidenced by the title of this particular Huzzah. I have actually uttered this statement, in great earnestness, in public. Fortunately, I think my husband was the only person paying attention; needless to say, I have yet to be relieved of the ensuing embarrassment.

That being said, I am passionate about UNC basketball...I don't really understand it, frankly; I think that if the ball goes into the opposite hoop thing, it's a good thing. Or maybe not, I really couldn't tell you. I do, however, know how to jump up and down and holler when all the other UNC fans do, and to scream in a mad fit when the Duke fans do.

This got me thinking about the peculiar nature of college sports, and college sports affiliations. I can't decide if it has to do with the inherent spirit of varsity athletics or the fact that we're all incredibly idealistic at nineteen and twenty, but there is this tremendously vibrant quiver that we all seem to possess about some college team or another. I was only at Carolina for a year, but it was quite possibly the happiest year of my life, and maybe for that reason alone I am a fan. It's sure as hell not because I understand basketball, try as my husband might to explain it to me. Then again, he in fact worked for Dean Smith and the UNC team as a manager, so at the very least, I have an insider's knowledge at my disposal. Whatever the reason, I cheerfully dressed my not-yet-two-year-old in an UNC "cheerleader" outfit and forced her to "raise the roof" whenever Carolina did something noteworthy.

She still looks at me as though monkeys have flown from my head, but we're hoping that something will take and we'll have a little Heels fan on our hands in a few years time. I also hope that she has a clearer understanding of sports than her mother, because honestly, in my brain, it's highly possible that basketball, college or otherwise, does incorporate a 50 yard line. If any of y'all out there are willing to take the ninety years to explain this to me, I'm all ears. Until that point, I'm perfectly content to just cuss at the TV screen whenever the Blue Devils make their appearance. As a timely aside, I went trawling for a Duke basketball website, and did you know that if you just type in www.bluedevils.com, you end up with an index for sites about managing depression? Prescient? Perhaps so.

Go Heels...

by Heather Hoffman at 10:08 PM