Monday, June 30, 2008

Bethisms #6

As we're driving home from church yesterday:

"What did you learn about in nursery today, Beth?"


"What's America?"

"It's a place where you have flags up."

Well, it certainly will be on Friday.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

School's out! Which means...

...tomorrow afternoon is the Primary Water Party, and my only real responsibility is to bring 50 filled water balloons.

The fact that I'm not really fazed by this speaks volumes. A few months ago I would have been horrified by 1) the fact that I was in any way involved in Primary, 2) the very idea of over a hundred just-out-of-school kids with access to highly volatile water-filled bombs, and 3) the foolhardy notion that I could transport a quantity of said volatile explosives from my house up to the church on what are some very bumpy roads (pardon me while I invoke curses upon the heads of the lame voters in this town who wouldn't come up with the money to get the roads fixed) without turning the trunk of my car into an environment suitable for breeding mosquitoes.

My friend Rose suggested trash-bag-lined laundry baskets for storage and transport (and offered to come help fill the balloons). The Primary president, keenly practical, suggested filling the balloons with a sports-capped water bottle. (She also has a refreshingly sardonic view of what is actually going to transpire tomorrow, thanks.)

I needn't have worried about any of this, though, because the minute I brought the package of balloons home Scott jumped on them with all the wicked enthusiasm of an eight-year-old boy. There have only been two, um, incidents (though he faked chagrin when I wouldn't let him "test" the first balloon on me). Should have known my husband is much better equipped to deal with children — and their games! — than I am.

Cross your fingers that the air pressure doesn't change considerably overnight. And that it's warm tomorrow. And that no slap-happy preschool-aged boy tries to impress Beth by hitting her in the face with one of those babies, 'cause they hurt, and she'll burst into tears and then the fun will be over.

Friday, June 13, 2008

And they're off...

Brooke is, as I write this, on her way to Salt Lake City. Sarah is back in Jersey. Margaret is in Buffalo (and I hear there was shuffling involved). Jen is in New Mexico. Cynthia is way out in the western wilds of Oregon. The women I was closest to in Pittsburgh, the women who laughed with me and cried with me and had babies the same time I did and made it through grad school (our own and our husbands') with me are all scattered.

I should feel happy for all of us, because we're off doing what we wanted to be doing. We finally have income to pay off those student loans, hooray, and the in-limbo feeling of being somewhere we knew would be temporary is over (well, except for Brooke, but that's another story). Instead it makes me sad. We had something really special, something priceless, and it's gone. Okay, not gone gone, but we've replaced library dates and morning walks and campy moviefests with phone calls and e-mail and the occasional visit.

It's been a rough first year here in Boston. (In all fairness, I have to admit I made it worse for myself by holding on to some hope that Brooke's husband would do his residency at Brigham and Women's instead of the U of U, and figuring that if I just made it through the first year I'd have my library-and-lunch buddy to go on grand new adventures with.) But it's a tough audience up here. That famed New England reticence? Alive and kicking, ever so politely. The ingrained formality of this area is such that I don't feel I can or should speak my mind — when I spoke my mind to someone this week I got a curt e-mail telling me the friendship was over. (It's no great loss, but still.) There are playgroups we aren't invited to join, a discussion group that took me off the e-mail list, couples' movie nights I hear about after the fact. No one is trying to be unfeeling; they're very kind when we're around; we just don't belong yet. And despite what you're thinking, it isn't my big mouth that's gotten me sidelined — I've heard the same thing from other newish people here: "It's a tough ward to break into." "No one talked to me for the first year." "There's a huge division between the owners and the renters."

On the other hand, there are people who have been marvelously kind: Danika, and then Mindy, who each took my kids for three days when we had to go out of town, and made them much more fun-filled days than I would have; Jen T., who stepped in and ran a book group discussion for me on zero notice when I couldn't do it (and by all accounts did her usual brilliant job); Marci, who recognized me in line at Costco the first week we were here; Emily, for whom I really should make a mix of gingerbread house party tunes; Lisa, who is possibly more vehemently opposed to the school district's kindergarten plan than I am, and who may even have a bigger mouth than I do; Kiersten and Ana, my terrific neighbors. I like these people. There just isn't enough history yet. We have kids, and the people around us have kids, and that means that we're all a bit wrapped up in our own lives, and it's easy not to think about adding new people to the mix.

So this is my tribute to my glorious Pittsburgh friends. To Brooke, who opens her arms to everyone and will make vats of homemade ice cream to share after a huge backyard circus. To Sarah, who shares hilarious (and potentially embarrassing) stories about herself with anyone who will listen. To Margaret, who won't let you be new in her ward without finding out what you like to do and introducing you to someone else who likes to do it (and inviting you to join book group while she's at it). To Jen, who is Beth's godmother in all but name. To Cynthia, who won my heart when she stepped out of standard-visiting-teaching mode and said, "Can I take Beth for a walk and let you sleep?" I love you all, and I miss you, and I would transplant you all to my corner of the world in a heartbeat, but instead I wish you deep roots in the new places you're planted.

(I know this post was sappy, so I'm apologizing now, and don't leave me comments about how sappy it is! And I know I've been off the blogosphere for a while. The last month has been a roller coaster ride, and I have a lot to write about, and I promise to get to it, but first things first.)

Monday, June 02, 2008

This totally weirded out my innate sense of market segmentation

Could someone please explain what a bright-red Ferrari was doing in the parking lot of Jo-Ann Fabrics this afternoon?