Momlife

Some days you spend your grocery budget on snacks and come home with your purse full of spilled blueberry muffin and snot filled wet wipes and unload groceries while your sick baby sleeps in the pack n play at 4pm because his 2 hour nap only lasted 44 minutes this morning.

And you spend your first bathroom trip in hours wishing dinner knew how to prepare itself and wondering if you’ll remember to pour the tea water you set before going upstairs when you go back down.

You listen to the baby breathing heavily through the monitor and think about pulling the crockpot out and try to decide what sauce to use for the chicken.

But instead you really just think about the open tube of Pringles potato chips you left on the counter after you emptied all the bags.

Shopping when momming or sick babying is worse than shopping while hungry when it comes to filling up a cart or emptying a bank account.

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Some Like it Not

When I was in my teens I was pretty obsessed with the 1920s. Though the idea of being a flapper wasn’t very akin to my own very by the book follow the rules goody goody two shoes Hermione of Western New York personality and general behaviour, I loved pretty much every aspect of that period in our history (at least, that is, the study of it). I even did a history term paper on it.

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And occasionally dressed up for 1920s photo shoots with my little brothers.

 

With the recent release of the first film of the Fantastic Beasts set, which takes place in New York City in 1926, my renewed interest has brought me to searching the clothing, home styles, and accessories of the time, while listening to my various Big Band recordings. Unfortunately, this means I get pretty much the same subject line and search result no matter where I look…..

 

The Great Freakin Gatsby.

 

Gatsby Party this. Gatsby Costumes that. Daisy Daisy Daisy Daisy Blah.

 

Look, I enjoyed The Great Gatsby when I read it in high school, but it is not the Be All End All of Roaring Twenties Culture and Existence. And I’m really sick of being encouraged to be the next Daisy Buchanan. She was a shallow bitch and you know it.

 

(I could be wrong . . . I loaned my copy to a boyfriend right before we broke up, and he, like some tightwad jerk who had just gotten dumped for all the wrong reasons, never gave it back . . . so I haven’t read it in a while. But I’m pretty sure I’m right.)

 

But seriously, there are so many more great options, besides that trainwreck of a high society ‘love’ affair, that we could be using as an example of the time! Here are some of my favourites, mostly fictional, but all worthy. You could plan a party or a costume from pretty much any of these, without even coming near Fitzgerald.

 

P.S. this shit’s all from memory, so please don’t mind any accidental inaccuracies or blunders:

 

  1. Thoroughly Modern Millie – Julie Andrews, Carol Channing, and an all around fantastic cast provide a jolly setting with great songs, fun dance numbers, and unfortunately some extremely racist portrayals, in this modern-gal working woman meets high society jaunt and bungling mystery solving romance and story about friendship. I mean, it’s pretty much all those things. There was even a recent (okay, not that recent…2000…that was, like, two years ago, right?) stage production based on the 1967 hit. Raaaaazzzzzzbeeerrrriiieeeesss.
  2.  Singin’ In the Rain. A personal favourite. Follows actors and a production company through the transition from Silent to Talkie. With Romance. And comedy. “Woooots the Big Ideeea?”
  3. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Wizarding World before Potter. With cocoa. I mean, really.
  4. Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. Sexual Tension. Women’s Lib. Good Vs. some very very nasty Evil. In Australia. The seasonal reverse got me really confused until I remembered they weren’t in England (I have trouble deciphering some accents. Sue me. I have hearing loss from standing next to tympani. Allegedly.) Opening credits, btw, look suspiciously similar to the TMM Stage Poster.
  5. Oscar. Oh Em Goodness. It’s so hokey. It’s pretty perfect actually. Stallone. Curry. Tomei. “Not Lisa. The Other one!”
  6. Some Like It Hot. In black and white to hide the ridiculousness of the boys’ makeup. With voice overs because Tony Curtis’ falsetto didn’t sound right. Comedy. Sleezy old men. Romance vs Gold Digging. Music. Gangsters. See-through dresses. And a teensy hint of lgbt+-acceptance.
  7. Anastasia. This Fox (Not Disney, yo!) musical cartoon gave a romanticized, happier fate to the Romanov princess (based heavily on the Ingred Bergman version of 1956), and ends in the City of Lights. Paris holds the key to your heart! (Or it might have just been Dimitri’s hair.)

 

I could go on, but as we all know, Seven is the most powerfully magical number.

 

Despite the end of The Noble Experiment, I seem to have an under-abundance of gin. Shame. Bon nuit, mes amis.

 

Gryffindorable or Ravenclawesome?

The summer I was 19 I worked at a library on Chautauqua Lake, in Western New York, where everyone else had read and raved about the Harry Potter series. I knew a teensy bit of the first couple books because I sometimes sat in my little brother’s room as the stories were read to him before bed. (I still remember the chills I felt during the scene in Chamber of Secrets where they find Mrs Norris.)

But the biggest exposure came at the Library.

As the various copies of Sorcerer’s Stone, Chamber of Secrets, and Prisoner of Azkaban were checked in and out and the upcoming release of Goblet of Fire meant a bevy of holds being put on all four books, my coworkers urged me to begin reading the series. I took RW’s hardcover copy of Sorcerer’s Stone from his bookshelf and halfway through bought my own paperback, which I still have, and occasionally carry with me for good luck.

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[This Book is the Property of The Half Blood Kirstin]

The day my reserved copy of book four came in, I had just finished Prisoner of Azkaban (to this day my favourite of the series) on my lunch break, sitting on the huge stone fountain in the middle of the square upon the edge of which the library stands. I finished Goblet of Fire a few nights later, at 4:00 in the morning, with tears streaming down my face.

There are many such tales of my first readings, third listenings, premiere week viewings when the movies came out, foreign language editions, and myriad collectibles based on props from the movies and characters in the books.

The story of Harry and his friends brings a kind of hope, courage, and entertainment I haven’t found in many other places.

We now have the further magic of Fantastic Beasts to enjoy and look forward to, and the various backgrounds and histories offered by Rowling’s website Pottermore to help fill in the gaps in story and character, answering unasked questions we have about lesser characters as well as mysteries solved about the main ones, and of course, sorting us into our Hogwarts and Ilvermorny Houses.

As the world moves forward, social media and the internet do too. Sometimes for the better, but not always. I do not care for the new Pottermore. I don’t go on there much any more, but I do re-sort occasionally just to see how they think I fall in the House array.

Since the summer of 2000, I have always considered myself a Gryffindor. Until, that is, I read Deathly Hallows and discovered the way into Ravenclaw Tower. After all those years I finally knew where I belonged! To get in you got the chance to Learn Something. As a total Hermione when it came to school work this made me exceedingly happy.

Over the years, as I got farther away from my school days, and I faced other difficult life things, I shifted back towards my original assessment. I was a Gryffindor.

Medieval Hermione

Medieval Hermione reads about it in Pennsic: A History.

My husband, clever and full of tidbits of odd knowledge, is a staunch Ravenclaw. We had a pretty well balanced household, and eventually determined our son would probably end up as a Hufflepuff (though sometimes the Slytherin peeks in). I got to take over Nic’s Gryffindor scarf (made for him by his grandmother who simply knew he liked that Harry Potter stuff), and I promised to make him a Ravenclaw scarf when I could afford the yarn. When I sorted into Ravenclaw for the first time when the New Pottermore opened, I was puzzled and then contented to think I’d finally found the right house – that my DH assessment had been right afterall.

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Matchy Matchy Ravenpuffs.

It meant having to make two Blue and Bronze scarves, though, and that might take a little more time and effort: We’ve been together six years and I finally found the right color yarn a month ago. 

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There is enough for one single short scarf. But this might actually be a good thing.

 

On Pottermore, I have been sorted into Ravenclaw twice. And Gryffindor six times. Slytherin and Hufflepuff only one time each. Most recently I have been made a Gryffindor twice in a row.

I think the mix of results makes me a Gryffinclaw or a Ravendor. But if made to choose just one I am constantly at odds between the two main options. While these options are based on a fictional world and shouldn’t cause one quite this much stress, as I could just choose whichever one I want, or none, or all of them, HP has been a deeply important part of my life for the past 17 years, and not having my House settled actually bothers me quite a bit.

 

As I sit here in my Hot Topic Ravenclaw pocketed sweatpants and my ThinkGeek Ravenclaw Bathrobe, I wonder what Godric’s old hat would really say about me.

At time of publishing, I have just ordered myself a Hogwarts Express ticket case for my new phone and a Gryffindor keychain.

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The End.

 

The Scar: A Harry Potter Alternate Universe

Harry Potter has been part of my life for 17 years. Interesting how numbers can be important. A witch or wizard comes of age at 17.

 

And after 17 years of Harry Potter, yesterday I realized that my son is exactly the age Harry was when Lily and James died.

 

This got me thinking, once more, about all the things that scare me about parenthood, primarily, What would happen to my baby if something happened to me and Nic?  

 

I envisioned the scene at Godric’s Hollow. Voldemort walking through the broken Fidelius Charm and into the Potter’s home. I saw Lily pick up toddler Harry and race up the stairs as James tried to hold Voldemort off without his wand.

I grabbed my light-up holly and phoenix feather wand and carried it with me all day, even inside my oversized handbag while out shopping at the grocery store with C, even knowing it’s a kid’s toy, containing two aaa batteries, instead of being made of willow, or being good for charm work. Not exactly a match for a dark wizard’s unforgivable curses. It was a psychological security measure.

 

I thought about what would happen . . . like, even if a dark wizard didn’t show up, what if . . .

 

What if there really had been a car crash like Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had always told Harry that Lily and James had died in?

 

I thought about my sister, and how, thankfully, she’s about as unDursleyish as I am. Though she’s got two kids of her own, I know that she would do her best to take good care of my baby, raise him like her own, give him everything she could and make sure he knows he is deeply loved by his whole family.

 

So, what if that had been the case with Harry? What if his aunt and uncle had cared more?

 

What if Harry ‘s cool aunt & uncle had raised him on elaborate tales of magical heritage and a narrow escape from an evil dark wizard after his parents died . . . in a car crash.

 

The perfect opposite of what happened in the series. Harry as an ordinary boy whose loving aunt and uncle told him bedtime stories about a wizarding world to cheer him up as he grew up parentless?

 

I discussed this with my sister all afternoon.

 

If anything happens to me and Nic, Bettie and Oslowe know what to do.

 

And now, without further ado, my rewrite of an excerpt from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

 

Chapter One. The Boy Who Lived.

Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number 4 Privet Drive, were perfectly normal, if normal were a thing that actually existed. They were above average people who might be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they were fascinated by that sort of thing.

. . . Mrs. Potter was Mrs. Dursley’s sister, but they hadn’t met for several years, because the country was just too big and neither of them had the budget for regular visits.

. . . When Mr. and Mrs. Dursley woke up on the bright, cloudless Tuesday our story starts, there was nothing about the blue sky outside to suggest that a profoundly personal tragedy would soon be gripping news readers all over the country.

. . .

Chapter Two.

Nearly ten years had passed since the Dursleys had been woken by the police bringing their nephew up the front step, but Privet Drive had hardly changed at all.

. . . Only the photographs on the mantlepiece really showed how much time had passed. Ten years ago, there had been lots of pictures of what looked like a large pink beach ball wearing different-coloured bobble hats – but Dudley Dursley was no longer a baby, and now the photographs showed a large, blond boy riding his first bicycle, beside his dark haired cousin, both grinning with matching ripped trouser knees from where they’d fallen one after another around the same corner as they learned how to ride. There was no sign that the second boy hadn’t always lived there.

Harry Potter was asleep at the moment, but not for long. His Aunt Petunia was awake and it was her voice which made the first sound of the day.

“Up, boys! Get up!”

Harry woke with a start. His aunt knocked on the door again.

“Come on, get up!”

Harry heard her walking down the stairs and towards the kitchen, and then the sound of the frying pan being put on the cooker. He rolled on to his back and tried to remember the dream he had been having. It had been a good one. There had been a huge fire engine in it. He had a funny feeling he’d had the same dream before.

 

. . . Harry had always been small and skinny for his age. . . He had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair and bright-green eyes. He wore round glasses. The only thing Harry liked about his own appearance was a very thin scar on his forehead which was shaped like a bolt of lightning. He had had it as long as he could remember and the first question he could ever remember asking his Aunt Petunia was how he had got it.

“In the attack by the dark wizard Voldemort when your parents were killed,” she had said. “I’m sure you’ll have lots of questions.” And she hugged him.

 

 

 

 

Rewritten from:
Rowling, J.K.. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 1997. London: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.

 

 

 

I’ve made mousse au chocolat, so if you’re feeling at all the way I am, come over and have some. Professor R.J. Lupin had it right, you know.

40% Bagel

Being a stay at home mom is hard. I often feel completely unproductive because the results of raising a child are Long Term and not always visible day to day. This is the absolute best, easiest, and hardest job I have ever had.

I am completely responsible for a mostly dependent human life, you guys!

It’s sometimes easy to forget how to be a grown up. As a Parent I have to BE A RESPONSIBLE ADULT All the Time. But it’s hard to also actively be the kind of adult I was in my 20s and early 30s.

Today, however, I wanted to share my morning productivity.

 

Today I have

  • Made coffee
  • Done Pilates (Beginner Mat Workout)
  • Showered
  • Kept my son safe and moderately entertained
  • Fed the Dog Twice
  • Fed myself. And my kid!
  • Got my kid down for his nap
  • Pin Curled my hair
  • Made a cup of tea
  • Made a real sandwich
  • And I made a batch of Bagels for the first time in my life

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(If you go by my pregnancy diet…my son is 40% bagel. Carbs were the main thing I could eat without feeling totally sick for the first few months he was in utero.)

This afternoon I will:

  1. Eat all the Bagels (well on my way to this goal)
  2. Vacuum (haven’t done this yet)
  3. Make Macarons! (another first!)

 

A Vision of Ourselves

Dear Husband,

By the time you come home

we have spent the day

refuting all the compliments

you now rain on us

 

We have spent half the morning trying to keep the baby out of the dog’s water bowl and the other half trying to find clothes that halfway fit because not everyone can make it through a pregnancy in fifteen pounds and our bodies are not ready for size four. We spend our energy fighting our fear and regret that we’ve done everything wrong and our horrific jealousy of our friends who seem to have gotten everything right.

Our tired eyes are glazed with the miracle that overfills our hearts and the bags beneath them are testament to our sleepless hours comforting our cold or hungry or frightened children until they fall happily back to sleep and we lay awake wondering if it will stick or if we should rouse ourselves to walk down the hall to the bathroom.

Unfinished artistry lays on the shelf where it goes untouched for days or weeks. Five minutes to sit and write is taken up with dead batteries and slow servers and a scramble to find a pen.

The living dream is everything we ever asked for. But it is everything else, too. And just because it’s perfect doesn’t mean it isn’t hard.

Hungry

By the time I’m awake enough to make breakfast, Bebe is usually fast asleep in my lap. Breakfast turns into brunch and lunch happens around 2:00pm. Which is good because Nerdboy has a long drive home from work and dinner is sometimes a little later than we’d all like.

(Just kidding, Bebe gets to eat whenever he wants.)

Smile

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Pain is temporary ~ Glory is forever ~ Chicks dig scars.

 

Einstein

I like a good theme.

 

1995 – London – Museum of Moving Images (gift shop)

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2000 – Washington, DC

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2011 – Los Angeles – Griffith Observatory

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Sleeping Patterns

My baby loves being held while he sleeps. I’m glad of this because I love holding him. But sometimes I need to do things like go to the bathroom and I prefer to do that alone. So I try to put him down and he wakes up and I pick him back up and he falls immediately to sleep again and so I put him down and he wakes up and finally I place him in the cradle in our dark bedroom and he stays asleep and I go potty and we all live happily ever after.

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