Ice Cream Hero

We’re in Colorado for three weeks, which is almost long enough to stop saying golly every time I turn the corner at the ridiculously, wantonly, embarrassingly huge grocery store. Today, two days after Christmas, I bought the second to last tub of peppermint ice cream but didn’t also buy the last tub, which makes me a hero. Why am I even telling you this? Surely you’ve already heard, surely songs have been sung about the woman who bought only 50% of the supply of newly out-of-season, once-a-year, not-available-on-my-home-continent sweet dairy treat. I should admit, though, that my hero’s cape was donned this morning in the sure knowledge that both peppermint AND eggnog fudge awaited by return, triumphantly bearing peppermint ice cream or not. (THANK YOU RACHEL W., YOU ARE A PHENOM!!) It would appear that, rather than an absence of self control, I’ve just been saving it over the course of the last cookie-and-fudge-fueled week for one big self-control blowout in the ice cream aisle.

Frida wakes up full of stories and plans for the day. She explains them as we get dressed, saying ‘Maybe some dogs?’ ‘Mama drink coffee’ ‘Christmas tree no no’ ‘Shower by myself. Frida nudist!’ and other gems. When she runs out of things to say, she crosses her arms, tapping her forearm thoughtfully, and says, ‘Let’s see…’

She is a riot.

Max is turning over and is very much enjoying the action here at the farm: fresh air, sunshine, and cousins galore. When he sees your face from across the room he squirms with happiness. He is so cute I want to eat him.

Tobias has been jogging. Today he ran around the block. That’s 8 miles. Earlier in the week some local farmers came over to drop off a bull and stayed for a beer. As we were chatting, they mentioned that they’d seen a jogger. Funnily enough, this information was offered in the ‘News of the Weird’ category rather than the ‘Hey, We Saw Your husband’ category. Not a lot of joggers in these parts.

When we saw my grandmother last week, she said (to Tobias,) ‘Every time I see you I admire your slim figure.’ Does this sound funny to you? Something about it just killed me. What a turn of phrase: I admire your slim figure. I’m going to use that, I just don’t know where or when. Maybe the next time I successfully get my carryon suitcase into the overhead bin.

We’re planning on moving to Olathe, Colorado, and I worry about the meanness of the particular mix of fundamentalists in the region: rabid Catholics, unquestioning Baptists, the Church of the FirstBorn, etc. etc. There are 7 churches in a town of 1,000 people, and that doesn’t count the families who are big enough that they have their own in-home church. Not kidding.

The bagger at the huge grocery store today was named Adam and appeared to be completely through the female to male transition process. He was relaxed and cheerful, which makes me want to weep from happiness. I’m so glad that there’s a place for him here to live and to thrive. Although his life has almost certainly been much, much harder than mine, if there’s a place for him here there must be a place for me, too.


Old Enough

I think of 37 as an age of quiet sophistication, a time when you know a fair bit about wine, and about the seasonality of the really good cheeses, a time when you can afford to buy the most flattering glasses for your face. Hahaha turns out I was thinking of sometime in the murky future (50s, maybe,) because this is what it’s like to be 37:

  • not going to the eye doctor or the frame shop because my two darling offspring simply can’t be trusted with row upon row of shiny glass display cases + 100s of eyeglasses + four sticky hands
  • finding out that I am one year older than the nice new au pair’s mother. Older. Than her mother.
  • running 10 km fairly comfortably, then waking up the next morning surprised that I’m still chubby
  • being good at things that don’t really matter: choosing the ripest cherimoya, piping meringues, spelling ‘meringues’
  • getting better at things that do: making the baby laugh, helping the toddler learn to channel her considerable energies for the power of good over evil, looking up the correct cumbia steps so that our mid-morning dance parties are culturally rich rather than simply annoyingly loud (sorry, downstairs neighbor! Hope you like cumbia as much as Frida does! Oh, wait, not possible.)

I fear that I have lost some of the innocence of my 20s. Back then, I could shrug off a fellow human’s behavior no matter how aberrant, easily assuming that they were likely trying to do the right thing. These days, though, I find suspicion an appropriate response ┬áto any number of occasions: maybe my constant summons to the customs office to haggle over 0.58 cents in customs fees means that I’m on some sort of watch list? Don’t they know that using 30 minutes of a custom’s agents time to collect anything less than 5 Euro is a money-losing proposition? As a way to both make me repeatedly prove my identity, get my face on a surveillance camera, AND annoy the hell out of me, though, it works tremendously well. Why do the cider-drinking college students give money to the young blonde guitarist covering Rufus Wainright with his guitar case half-open as an afterthought rather than the Turkish mother busting her ass playing accordian on the corner day in and day out? Do they just love that Hallelujah song, or are they racist/xenophobic?

I can usually work my way around to a sensible reaction; I usually remember to do the work of calibrating my expectations according the the likeliest outcome (really, Betsy, are you expecting a German customs official to casually wave you toward the door while laughing at the idea that anyone would bother to collect less than a Euro’s worth of customs fees? It’s a customs office, not a commune.) (And honestly that accordian music is not only horribly repetitive but poorly played; ridiculous given that the Turkish woman has 9 hours a day to practice. Wait, maybe she’s not really an accordian player. Maybe she’s a spy! Who is she spying for, I wonder, and does her employer know that the college kids are on to her?)

I’m trying, but I keep feeling like I’m being tested. Who wouldn’t be suspicious to find over a kilo of fennel in the weekly CSA vegetable box? Why so much? Where did they get it? What does it mean to have 20 servings of a spring vegetable sent to you in the beginning of winter? And what the hell will I do with all of it? (Besides carefully separating each bulb to look for hidden messages, obviously.)

Remember, though, parenting two tiny kids doesn’t leave all that much time for paranoia. Instead of ┬ácode ciphering, I’ll close out my 37th year peering at a blurry computer through glasses badly in need of an update, trying to find a recipe that uses six fennel bulbs at once.