No Poop For You!

 

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Because I don’t work for a top ad firm or a top pharmaceutical company, I’m sharing my brilliant idea for a commercial with you. The scene: The “Soup Nazi” restaurant from the famous Seinfeld episode of the same name. Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus (in character as George and Elaine) are anxiously waiting their turns to order. George grabs his stomach. Something’s not right. He tells Elaine in so many words that he has a situation down there and needs to find a toilet immediately, but doesn’t want to anger the Soup Nazi or lose his place in line. Just then, they move up to order.

The Soup Nazi and George stare each other down. George is sweating bullets and clutching his stomach. The Soup Nazi reaches below the counter and grabs… Pepto Bismol [or other antidiarrheal medicine]. He thrusts it out over the counter at George and yells, “No poop for you!”

George grabs it graciously and takes it. The next scene shows George and Elaine comfortably enjoying their soup. The company’s logo comes up on the screen and you hear the Soup Nazi again, yelling “No poop for you!”

Would that stick with you or what? I admit the ending needs some work, but you get the idea. It plays to our nostalgic senses, it’s catchy, and becomes what I think would be a very shareable YouTube video. The hard part would be convincing Jason and Julia to sign on. And, you know, the fact that I’m pitching this to no one in particular from the comforts of my couch on a Thursday afternoon. So that’s what’s going on in my brain. What’s up with you?

Not a Happy Space Camper

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My son Jed is almost seven. He’s changing so much (growing, learning, all that great stuff). But perhaps one of the most exciting changes affecting our household right now is the evolution of our Family Movie Night selections. When you have a restricted social life (read: limited babysitter funds and an exhausting albeit adorable 2-year-old), Family Movie Night becomes the epicenter of your weekend plans.

After years of enduring “no people movies” (Jed would only watch animated ones for the longest time), every Halloween and Christmas special no matter the time of year, and the Pokemon catalog in its entirety, we are finally able to introduce him to the movies that we watched as kids: Flight of the Navigator, The Neverending Story, Cloak and Dagger, Goonies.

But my personal favorite is like the white whale of ’80s kid flicks: Space Camp. The 1986 “cosmic comedy adventure” has an all-star cast with Kate Capshaw, Tate Donovan, Joaquin Phoenix, Lea Thompson, Kelly Preston, and Larry B. Scott. It’s never on TV, be it cable or a streaming site. I finally found a video rental store in Asheville (yes, those still exist) that carried it, but the last person who rented it never returned it. And when I found out that a new copy of it costs more than $62 on Amazon, I have to say I couldn’t blame them.

I thought I found the answer to my problems with a foreign copy — foreign to another country, not to us — for less than $10. The reviews were good, it seemed legit. I had won. I had beaten the system. It even came on a day that our Internet went out like it was meant to be. I pushed the disc into the player and waited in anticipation for it to load, and then this popped up:

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I felt like my inner 7-year-old had been vacuumed out into space. SO disappointed. I’m pretty sure Jed was over it and happy to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip. Again.

I’m not giving up though. There’s got to be a way to get a copy of this without spending $60+, right? All of its 30th anniversary nostalgic cinematic counterparts are new and used for less than $10. What makes Space Camp so special? Well, I know why it’s special, but you know what I mean…

If you have any leads, please share! Also please share your favorite movies from childhood that you’re introducing to your children. We’d love some more to add to our list!

I Should’ve Spent More Time on Facebook

…Said no one ever on their deathbed. But it was actually a friend’s Facebook post that served as a wakeup call to me that I was wasting away in one of my anxiety-induced future-planning panics and not being present.

This friend was one of the first moms I ever met in Asheville. We had our sons within days of each other. We went to story times together at the library. Her son’s first birthday party was my first kid’s birthday party. I was so blown away by the artistic talent she displayed on the invitation that it remained pinned on my bulletin board for several years. We still run into each other every now and then and have mutual friends. We are no longer what I would call friends, but acquaintances sounds so cold, and “cold” is not an adjective anyone would use to describe an interaction with “Sarah.”

We are the same age. We have boys the same age. And she was diagnosed with advanced, aggressive, incurable bile duct cancer. When I read these words that she found the courage to write and share, my heart rose into my throat, then sank to the pit of my stomach.

I started this post two weeks ago and yesterday found out that Sarah passed away. I’ve always empathized deeper than I probably should. In preschool, I sobbed when my friend Shannon (not a good friend) told me her grandmother (who I never met) died. I just couldn’t help but put myself in her shoes, imagining how Shannon must be feeling, and it hurt so much. So now, even knowing Sarah as briefly as I did, I’m overcome with sadness for her family and friends. And sad for her that as a mother, she didn’t get to see her child grow up.

I’m hugging my children a little more this week, spending a little more time on the back deck staring at the mountains and enjoying the outside sounds, spending a little less time on Airbnb planning my next escape.

Fuck a bucket list. I’m keeping a Fuck It list… a list of people, places and things that aren’t worth my time or energy. I may never make it to that women’s surfing/yoga retreat in Mexico, but when I find myself sweating the small stuff or reaching for that imaginary Xanax, I can take out my Fuck It List to remind myself that life is short, and can in the most tragic of situations, be even shorter. Will I wish that I traveled more? Maybe. But I know I won’t wish that I’d been scrolling more through Facebook to see friends on their beach vacations, kids all smocked clothes and smiles, while my own daughter stamps our walls because I’m too busy “liking” everyone else’s lives to notice. Facebook? Fuck it.

 

 

What Nobody Tells You About Hannukah

For nine out of 10 Americans, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Whether you’re Christian or not, Christmas is a big freakin’ deal. Even the buggiest of bah-humbuggers can’t escape the incessant ringing of the Salvation Army bells and the red Starbucks cup fiasco in their social media feeds.

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But here’s what almost 10 out of 10 Americans don’t know: Hannukah is NOT a big deal.

Because it runs in tandem with Santa’s reindeer, many think that this Jewish holiday must hold a great deal of importance. But truth be told, it’s not even in the Hebrew bible. Historically, Jews gave and received gifts on a spring holiday called Purim. The story of Hannukah, which comes from the book of Maccabees, is a minor Jewish holiday at best. And don’t get me started on the Maccabees. How bummed was I to find out only recently that the heroes of our Hannukah story were equivalent to modern day religious terrorists?

And then there’s the oil that was supposed to burn for one day but miraculously burns for eight days, hence the eight nights of presents (the part most folks are familiar with). As a child, I felt smug to have a holiday that lasted longer than Christmas and milked more gifts out of my family. As a parent, I’m glad my children have a reason to get gifts at a time of year when they would otherwise feel left out. But truth be told, Hannukah is not the Jewish Christmas. If you’re not a kid or don’t have kids, then Hannukah is hardly a holiday at all. It amazes me how businesses try to capitalize on such a trivial holiday, even making Hannukah toys for dogs (which of course, I can’t help but buy every year, they’re too funny!).

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Our big holidays are known as the High Holy Days: Rosh Hashanah (the Jewish New Year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). They are nowhere near as fun as Christmas and Easter. No candy or presents. No bunnies or fat, jolly white guys (unless you count the sweaty dude in the third row at temple). Kids can miss school — they are excused absences, but absences nonetheless. And for what? To sit in services all day wearing itchy tights and neckties, followed by more sitting around the family dinner table (in Yom Kippur’s case, after a day of fasting). It’s arguable that being in school is more fun than sitting through a two-hour guilt-ridden sermon about why you should come to temple for more than just two days a year for the holidays.

So if you accidentally wish me a Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, don’t feel bad. Or if you wonder why I might not travel to spend Hannukah with my family, you can stop wondering. Have a very Merry Christmas, and don’t worry about us. We have our Chinese food on Christmas Eve, and our movies on Christmas Day, and we love it.

The Nursery Is Ready. Baby, Almost Ready!

I’m at the point in my pregnancy where I will bring life into the world before my milk in the fridge expires. It’s really any day now. And while I don’t feel as psycho ready as I did the first time, at least I have the nursery all finished!

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My aunt makes these amazing quilts and has created one for our little girl, which will be en route to Asheville with my parents when they come for The Event. I plan to hang it over the crib. She also made a cushion for the rocking chair to match!

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I also want one of those giant letter A’s to go over the day bed. Other than that, it’s pretty much done!

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I could probably do a better job of storing the wipes and dipes, but I know if it’s the slightest bit of an extra step, it won’t last long anyhow.

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As Jed says, all we need now is the baby:)

 

 

12 Things You THINK You Need In Your Life (That Are Only Holding You Back)

Couldn’t say it better myself. Actually living this is the challenge. I’m up for it… are you?

Thought Catalog

“Sages do not accumulate anything, they give it all to others. The more they have, the more they give. The more they give, the more they have.” Unknown

We come with nothing, we leave with nothing.

In the meantime, we cycle through acquiring and releasing (beliefs, relationships, jobs, money, things) and sometimes we fail to strike a balance. We tend to accumulate all kinds of crap that doesn’t serve us: physically and otherwise. Lately, however, there seems to be a shift occurring. On a few occasions I’ve heard of people being turned down from donating to thrift stores because they’re overstocked. Friends and coworkers have all been saying they’re cleaning house and mind.

Simplification seems to be the theme of the year, and it’s about damn time.

We are all pawns in one big capitalist scheme: convince us that we need these things to live, to feel okay about ourselves, and we’ll buy into it…

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Hipster Finds Lifestyle Too Expensive, Reverts Back to Mainstream

For those of you who don’t know, I live in Asheville, a hipster haven in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This little story sums up the culture here rather brilliantly. And the Lettuce Fold is my new Onion. LOVE.

Lettuce Fold

HipsterASHVILLE, NC — Derek Loy has been living the hipster lifestyle for the past two years, but after his bank account began to dwindle, he reverted back to mainstream customs.

“I tried my best,” said Loy, “I really did. I was juicing regularly, eating local and organic, and was doing my best to only drink craft beer. Unfortunately, my bank account just couldn’t handle hipster living.”

Loy said the added stress on his bank account caused him to revert back to a more conventional lifestyle, that he enjoyed in his pre-hipster years.

“All the stuff I was doing was great. Kale salads and IPA’s are delicious, but you know what’s also fantastic: cheap stuff. Bud light, frozen chicken and pizza, Coke. Was I saving a lot of money on clothes? Absolutely. I mean, I was buying stuff from thrift stores that homeless people probably wouldn’t wear. And, because I rarely showered…

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Greyhound’s Anatomy: Vet Building’s Design Gone Wrong?

An animal hospital in North Asheville just finished construction of its new building on a very busy street corner. It’s really nice, but there’s something about it that really bothers me.

See those huge windows? On the other side are the operating rooms. If you’re approaching this stoplight from the other direction, you can turn and see them performing surgeries on animals while you wait for a green light. This just doesn’t sit right with me. I can understand how the windows are nice for the veterinarians, and it would be one thing if the glass were one-way. Who doesn’t like natural light in their work environment? But if it were my dog on the operating table, I don’t think I’d want him on display for anyone walking or driving by to see. What if it were your grandmother or your child? A human hospital would never get away with this fishbowl design.

I was just driving by the other day and saw a dog (or incredibly large cat) under the knife. And that’s another thing. It’s so distracting. I was so entranced by the operation that I didn’t notice the light had turned in my favor. I wasn’t in danger of causing an accident, but in the age of texting, tweeting and doing God-knows-what-else while driving, do we really need something else taking our attention away from the wheel?

Most of all though, it’s the privacy issue. I’m a “dogs are people, too” type of gal, and I can’t imagine my babies undergoing a serious surgery while doubling as a window display for my vet’s business.

If this were your vet, would you have a problem with this? Or is there an advantage to this design I’m not seeing? What would you do?

Panama Trip: A Memorable Excursion to Nidori Beach

The most memorable excursion we took with Casa Cayuco in Panama was to a place called Nidori Beach. That’s where you see me in last week’s post laying out with the cow.

We docked at Punta Valiente and walked on a trail through the rainforest to the next village over, which sits right on the beach. Villagers were eager to help carry our surfboards, cooler and other gear (for a nominal fee) and were very kind and patient with my shattered Spanish.

I had an unhealthy obsession with the cows. This is a very whittled down collection of the pics I took of them. I was like that touridiot in Yellowstone who gets way too close to the elk for a photo op (again, see pic of me with my sunbathing bovine buddy):

But the best part were the kids. Sue taught them how to play root ball. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve lived in WNC for three years and have never been to The Root Bar nor played the game myself, but man, these kids were good!

I got back to the docks before everyone else and a group of children crowded around me. As interesting as I found their culture, Lloyd later told me that they are probably more fascinated and entertained by me than I am by them. They didn’t speak English, and again my Spanish is limited to random vocab I retrieve from the recesses of my brain. I picture the words crawling out of cobwebbed boxes marked “elementary school” as I blurt out “primos” (cousins) and the full sentence, “Quantos anos tienes tu?” (from the many birthday celebrations).

What I lacked in words, I made up for in technology. I pulled our camera out of our backpack and at first started taking pictures of them. Then, I realized that they probably don’t get the opportunity very often to be on the other side of a camera. So I showed them how to point and click. Some of them were too timid, but Edwin really got into it:

Self-portrait.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but when it comes to language barriers, a camera’s pretty priceless.