You know what I vant

by mayberry on November 10, 2010

I believe I am a social person–wouldn’t I have to be, to actually look forward to and enjoy a parent meeting at school, as I did last night? But I also require a lot of time alone. A lot, considering the two small children in my care, the husband, the school and community obligations, and so on. I am lucky enough to usually get enough of it, although I sometimes pay dearly in either child care dollars or missed sleep.

I love being at home alone, even though I don’t do anything more exciting than work or read blogs while my children are out at school. It’s just nice when all the interruptions are of my own making, and I get first crack at the refrigerator, and I can talk back to the radio or the Internet if I like.

I love being alone away from home too, especially while traveling. Now that I’ve traveled with kids, I appreciate every minute spent alone in an airport or airplane–minutes I can devote exclusively to my own reading or crossword-puzzling or iced-tea-drinking or even, let’s face it, toileting. Flight delay? If I have reading material and/or Internet access and enough snacks, bring it on. I will sit in this fake leather chair all day. (But could someone turn down the volume on that TV blaring CNN??)

Do you crave alone time more post-kids, if you have them? Do you ever get enough??


by mayberry on June 16, 2010

My very generous husband gave me a very generous gift for my upcoming birthday (the one that ends in zero) and our also upcoming anniversary (another ends-in-zero event).

A dog on a surfboard! Just what I’ve always wanted!

Well, actually, an iPad. I was/am stunned.

After I get over my shock, I’ll need to load ‘er up. If you have an iPad, or covet one enough to have done some window shopping, tell me what I should get! (And P.S., I don’t have anything Mac or Apple–not even an iPod–so I am starting from scratch.)

Belated, but one of the best ever

by mayberry on July 20, 2009

The occasion: My birthday, and that of a friend.

The event: A dinner party in our honor, with four other friends as guests, and our two husbands as chefs/hosts.

The menu:

  • Cold hors d’oeuvres — goat cheese balls with roasted walnuts, crostini with olive tapenade or artichokes and parmesan, fresh gazpacho
  • Hot hors d’oeuvres — scallops with paprika, grilled shrimp, tortilla espanola, chorizo
  • Roast turkey breast with truffle oil
  • Grilled vegetables prepared in a citrus bath
  • Green beans with orange zest and sesame
  • Saffron rice
  • Dessert — raspberry sorbet, mint ice cream, and ginger ice cream with berries and cookies
  • Beverages — red sangria, white sangria, berry bellinis, fruit-infused water (strawberry/rhubarb and lemon/blueberry)

My friend K. and I hatched this plan a few weeks ago and boy did it ever succeed. We were talking about how all she wanted for her birthday was a really nice meal that she didn’t have to prepare herself. We moved into talking about how I would love to entertain more, but my husband gets super-anxious about having things just so when people come over. Somehow these two came together into an idea to have the two guys work together on a dinner party for us. I pretended I knew nothing about this while E. (K.’s  husband) emailed my husband to propose such an event. And then it all came together in my backyard last night. I sat on a chair for about five straight hours eating and drinking and chatting and can you think of a better birthday present?!

Cherry on top: The kids stayed at E.’s house with K.’s parents and when I picked them up, K.’s mom said “These two children have some of the best manners I have ever seen!” I’m sure she was just being nice but I will take that compliment ANY TIME.

IMG_1725 IMG_1730


My jet set friend

by mayberry on March 3, 2009

Recently one of my oldest friends came to town on a cheering-up mission (oldest as in, I’m not going to do the math because the answer will scare me). It was a perfect girls’ weekend–dinner out, a night at a hotel, a yoga class, a little window-shopping, a theater outing. She happened to be here the night of the Oscar broadcast so we watched that together.

Oh, and we got pampered at a spa too, thanks to a Christmas gift from my husband that proved far more valuable than he ever imagined it would. I wrote about the spa in a guest post at my friend Anne’s blog, The Jet Set Girls–where you can get all kinds of insider beauty and travel tips.

R. and I live almost exactly 1,000 miles apart, but we make it work. We don’t talk every day anymore like we did in high school (you know, debriefing the day that we spent almost entirely in each other’s company) or email many times a week like we did before kids (she has three and the hottest topic of our nonstop chatter was whether either of us is brave enough to go for one more). But she came to visit me here in Mayberry when Opie was only a few months old. My kids and I went to see her when she was juggling a brand-new baby and two older boys by herself thanks to a horribly ill-timed National Guard deployment for her husband. We’ve managed to meet up on business trips to New York (mine) and Chicago (her husband’s).

Jobs, houses, and hometowns may come and go, but your best girlfriends? You can always count on.

Corndog with cheese

by mayberry on September 20, 2008

What can’t I live without as a mom, ask to Yoplait Kids and Parent Bloggers Network?

I’m going to have to go the totally corny route and say other moms. Other moms have taught me what to carry, what to buy, and what to ignore. They’ve taught me what to wear, what to sweat, and what not to. They’ve lent me baby gear and dropped off meals in times of crisis. They’ve kept me company on long stroller sojourns and on trips to the mall squeezed in after bedtime. They’ve kept me sane at the playground or cooped up inside when there’s two feet of snow on the ground. (I am so much better at spending long hours with my children when I have a peer of my own at my side.)

They’ve reminded me over and over that I’m not alone. And while I loved my Boppy and my Bjorn and even my breast pump, while I’d never want to give up my bike trailer or chai tea lattes or the DVR or god forbid the Internet, I think I could get through just about anything if a fellow mom was there to hold my hand.

Happy with just a teensy side of guilt

by mayberry on May 11, 2008

That’s how I’m observing Mother’s Day, because isn’t that what mothering is all about? At my request Jeff took the kids out for the day, an extended dance mix of outings and errands designed to give me some time alone to putter around. So far, a little yoga, a little laundry, a long shower, a little Sunday Times, a little blogging while I wait for photos to upload to send to the grandmas.

I didn’t necessarily need the time alone to happen today of all days, and I do feel kind of bad that I’ve kicked my own kids out of the house on a holiday which I wouldn’t celebrate if it were not for them. But we had breakfast together at the diner and we’ll have dinner together later and I’ll happily take on the whole bedtime routine because my husband will be worn out by 7 p.m. And I won’t mind at all.

Photo from the kindergarten Mother’s Day party.

Can’t … post … brain … frozen

by mayberry on January 24, 2008

This post from last year pretty well sums it up (I see I reached the breaking point a few weeks later in ’07 than I have in ’08).

I knew what I was getting into when we moved here. When Jeff was considering taking the job that brought us to Mayberry, his company flew us here for a recruiting visit. In January. The temperature never rose above 5 degrees F the whole time we were here and I think there was about a foot of snow on the ground.

It was also the first weekend away, alone, we’d had since we became parents nearly two years before. We ate nice meals, we shopped leisurely, we drove around and looked at houses 3 times the size of our apartment that we could actually afford to buy. We went to a chamber music concert. We stayed in a really nice hotel. Need I say more?

Those wily recruiters. Look where it got me.

A kid-free weekend: Let me count the ways

by mayberry on June 25, 2007

2: hours we traveled out of our way (but at least the forest/lake scenery was prettier than the endless farms that we should have been passing, had we not missed our turn)

1: sign I saw that caused me to regret not bringing my camera (a gas station called, I SWEAR, the “Kum&Go”). Oh good, a guy named Dave did take a picture.

1: unnecessary showers I took just because I could

8: times my son threw up while we were gone

3½: hours my dad spent on the floor keeping the vomitous boy company

180: extra minutes of television Jo watched while Grandma and Grandpa were cleaning up vomit

200: sit-ups my mother claimed to do while keeping vigil over napping, sick child

2: family historical sites we passed (Eau Galle, and my grandmother’s hometown – I have her class ring from the local high school, class of ’26)

40+: years that my grandmother’s former boss, an insurance executive who lived in the city which we visited, sent her a box of candy at Christmas

7: tapas dishes we tried, + 1 to-die-for order of blackberry-goat cheese empanadas with vanilla-thyme ice cream

2: things from home I missed (my Tempur-Pedic pillow and my electric toothbrush)

2: kids (+1 dog) from home I didn’t really miss, except I felt bad about the barfing

2: presents I bought for myself (pants, book)

4: presents I bought for the kids (fire-truck flashlight, kiddie gardening set, sunflower seeds, nasturtium seeds)

6: sections of the previous Sunday’s New York Times I brought with me

6: sections of the previous Sunday’s New York Times I actually read


P.S. Thank you all for the nice comments about our backyard. Of course you’re all invited for a cold drink (beer, wine, mojito, milk, take your pick) anytime you’re in Mayberry!


Also, I should say that Opie is fine. The throwing-up lasted a few hours, and then (apparently) he ate like a horse for the rest of the day.

Mayberry ROCKS!

by mayberry on June 16, 2007

The other day Jeff and I got to hear a live performance of one of my top tunes. It didn’t quite rise to the level of Suebob’s ideal (there were two opening acts, for starters), but it was pretty close to perfect anyway. We started with dinner out (luxury in itself), then drove to the venue–a small outdoor amphitheatre along a riverfront, with a concrete plaza/dance floor in front of the stage and a grassy hillside facing it. We parked (for free) a block away. We got there two hours after the show had started (and almost an hour before the headlining act) but there was still plenty of room. We spread out a blanket on a patch of grass probably 75 yards from the stage.

While we were waiting for the band to come on we just sat there gaping at our good fortune (also at the band’s bassist who came strolling along the path right in front of us). We’d paid $15 each to get in. There was plenty of food and beer for sale and even some pretty clean bathrooms (no line). We left our blanket and strolled the perimeter of the park to see what was there; when we returned our spot was still ours. The crowd was happy, kids ran around (not ours!–so much the better), the weather was beautiful. The band came on and put on a phenomenal show. We sang and danced and then wandered back to the car smiling when it was all over. We were home in 20 minutes.

Yeah. Sometimes Mayberry’s every bit as good as New York.

A big little* dose of the funny

by mayberry on April 19, 2007

The other night Jeff and I had a chance to go out (!) with other grown-ups (!) for dinner (!) and to see David Sedaris perform. It was disconcerting to listen to his particular brand of humor in a place like Mayberry. This is a man who described some of the things his boyfriend does (sewing curtains, picking wildflowers) as “beyond faggy” and who called a charity he supported “something for f*cked-up children.” He said he recently quit smoking and felt really bad about it, so he recruited another smoker to take his place — a 19-year-old girl, whom he persuaded with promises of appetite suppression and attractiveness to men.

At the same time, I found it reassuring that he could draw a large crowd here (admittedly, the venue was in a slightly larger town adjacent to Mayberry; but still). I wish I could tell you the funniest parts but I did not stop laughing from the minute he opened his mouth until he stepped from behind the podium, bowed slightly, and left the stage.

But I have to tell you this one cool thing that he does. On every tour (he travels for three months a year doing speaking engagements like the one I attended) he promotes a book that he loves. Not one that he wrote — one by someone else that he thinks is great. (If you go to his home page, you’ll find a link to his “recommended reading list” in the left sidebar.) He must have spent 20 minutes talking hilariously about his latest find, The Zombie Survival Guide.

So if he comes your way: Go.

*He can’t be more than 5’2″.

PS: Another big funny: Sludgie the Whale (his name, not his plight).