My Vacation with the Obamas and Amy Schumer

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Disclaimer: The title of this post is misleading and some parts of the story are grossly exaggerated. Also…it’s hard to spell exaggerated.

So there we were, on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard with some dear friends and their children. On the third night of our vacation, the adults went into Oak Bluffs for dinner while the kids were at night camp (the other word for night camp is Heaven). As Jayme pulled the car up to the restaurant to let the ladies out to secure the table, we were greeted by the unfamiliar sight of a police officer directing cars not to stop right out front. It must have taken us too long to unload (I’m not a spry 25-year-old anymore, jeez!), because the officer approached the car quickly, purposefully and concernedly. Natalie and I scurried into the restaurant while the guys went to park the car, and the hostess took us to our table. The table next to us was empty and the table next to that had two brawny men eating fried chicken and mashed potatoes (so what if I notice everyone’s food?). One of the men had an earpiece with that curly old-fashioned telephone cord coming out of it (what are those called anyway? Also, can’t they come up with something more discreet? Like an earpiece drone?), and they both had special pins on their lapels. I said to Natalie, “Someone important is in here.” I know. GENIUS. Scotland Yard, here I come. We looked around and didn’t see anyone we recognized. Then Natalie said, “I bet it’s the Obamas. That’s probably why we weren’t allowed to stop the car in front of the restaurant.” So, it turns out she’s the genius. But I’m taking credit for it. So, after I figured out that it was the Obamas (see what I did there?) we tossed around a few conspiracy theories: the security guards were just decoys, and the Obamas were actually eating somewhere else, etc. When the waitress came over, Jayme asked, “Is he eating here tonight?” She confirmed that he was. “Where?” we asked. “On the back patio.” We ordered our food and spent the rest of the evening having completely forgotten about who we might see and not at all craning our necks every time someone walked in from the back of the restaurant. As we were finishing up our entrees, Barak and Michelle walked into the main dining room, greeted all of the diners by name, lamented the shitty situation that we Americans are now faced with, and then sat down at our table for dessert. Barak had the crème brûlée special (he let me taste it and it was delicious), and Michelle and I split the banana cream pie (also delicious). They were, unsurprisingly, lovely company, and it was one of the best meals of my life. So that’s how we had dinner with the Obamas. Sadly, I don’t have a photo to prove it.

A couple of days later, Jayme was going on a boat tour of the island with his cousin who lives here year round. He asked if we wanted to join, and my husband and older son said yes, but I chose to stay home with Natalie and my daughter and have a girls’ day. I’m so glad we decided to do that, because my husband and Jayme ended up spending the afternoon with Amy Schumer and then I died of jealousy. I’m writing this blog post from the hereafter. I tried really hard to be positive and grateful about how great our day was, but let’s be honest: no amount of positivity and gratefulness can make up for the fact that I could have easily met Amy Schumer and become her best friend. None. Sorry. So here’s what happened. My husband, son, Jayme and his three boys finished the boat tour and went to grab lunch at a general store. Sitting on the porch, eating pizza like a regular old person, was Amy Schumer (I’m going to keep using her full name to emphasize the enormity of this missed opportunity for me, and because I feel like it). When Jayme went inside to get some food, his 3-year-old tripped and fell on the deck, and Amy Schumer got up and helped him. When Jayme came out and heard what had happened, he went over to Amy Schumer and thanked her for helping his son. Her reply, “I saved his life!,” was typical Amy Schumer (in the best way). Then, she hung out with the husbands and kids for an hour and taught the kids how to write jokes and drink beer. She even tested out some of her new material on the guys. While all this was going on, I was a few miles away with wonderful company, but eating a shitty lunch and getting treated badly by a waitress for no reason. But, yes, I’m happy that I didn’t go on the boat ride because clearly it was an uneventful day that no one will remember.

Once I heard about the encounter with Amy Schumer, I told the story about 100 times to anyone who would listen. Finally, my 8-year-old asked me, “Do you love me more than Amy Schumer?” “Yes,” I replied. “Good, just checking,” he said. And that was my cue to stop telling the story. P.S. I only love him more than Amy Schumer some of the time. I just didn’t want to hurt his feelings.

So that’s the story of my vacation with the Obamas and Amy Schumer. I wonder if they remember the stories differently?

Friday Musings–8/4/17

 

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Hello! It’s Friday and I’m feeling a little bit lazy, so instead of writing a blog post, I’m just making a bullet point list of my recent musings. Maybe “Friday Musings” will become a tradition. Happy weekend!

  • Mama called the doctor and the doctor said, “Your kids seem confused. Maybe you should consider investing in a life tutor?”
  • I want to be the kind of mother who takes her kids to explore new neighborhoods and visit museums that we haven’t been to, but it’s so much easier to just see a movie near our apartment in a theater that has those reservable, reclining seats. The other mothers are my heroes.
  • “Hey GXW2165. When you almost ran me over in the crosswalk, I bet you didn’t count on the fact that I would be pretty good at recalling letters and numbers.”
  • Has anyone ever gotten hurt from an untied shoelace? (Pooh, pooh, pooh).
  • The wheels on the bus are made of cancer-causing rubber/The horn on the bus goes beep beep beep (unless you live in the city, in which case you can’t honk because you’ll get a $250 fine)./The wipers on the bus go, “Is this acid rain? It tastes funny.”/The driver on the bus goes, “If you see something, say something.”/The grandmas on the bus go, “Give me your seat!”/The babies on the bus go, “Is this organic? Gluten-free? Sustainable?”/The mommies on the bus go, “Ummm…yeah, it’s ummm…it’s all those things. Yeah…organic. Like you said.”
  • A shirt is not a napkin.
  • Yoga, and seitan, and vegans, oh my!

 

People Are Weird–Part 1

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The longer I live the clearer it becomes: people are weird. I don’t mean the kind of weird that everyone used to make fun of in the 90s but is now considered cool. I mean weird like, Did you really just say that? Can you hear yourself? Do you know your audience at all? What kind of adult behaves like that? What’s wrong with you???

To be clear, I know that I can be weird, too. Sometimes my mouth is way ahead of my brain and by the time my brain is aware of what my mouth is saying, it’s too late for my brain to shut it. For example, when I was pregnant with my middle child, a mom asked me if we had selected a name and I said something like, “We have a few in the running. We really like William but we don’t want him to be called Willy. Hate it.” As I was finishing the sentence, that cold, prickly feeling quickly flooded my stomach because I knew just what was coming. She said, “My Dad’s name is Willy.” Of course it was. (It is not lost on me that I’ve just offended some of you. My apologies.)

Once, when my daughter was two, we went to a new friend’s house for a play date. The mom took out a bunch of different containers of Play-Doh and, as she was about to open the first one, I said in a judgmental tone, as if she were the most disgusting person in the world, “This seems like the kind of house where you have to keep the colors separate.” It was. We never went back. It’s too bad, actually. They were lovely people.

Maybe some of you consider this type of behavior to be mean. I guess it’s borderline. But, most of the time, I don’t think it’s done purposely. With myself, I know it’s not. I think most people are just self-involved, tone deaf and sometimes…I’m gonna say it. I’m gonna use the S word…are you ready? Stupid. There, I said it. Stupid. Every one of us is one of these things from time to time and the end result is that we behave weirdly. Why can’t we help ourselves? I don’t know. But I’m happy that I’m not alone. Here are some of my favorite stories (all true) about weird people:

  1. I live in a big city and you live in the suburbs. You say to me, “We thought about living in the city but it just seems so dirty.”
  2. I tell you where I’m going for dinner with some friends and you respond, “I don’t like that place. It’s overpriced, the food isn’t that good and the service is bad.” (A) I didn’t ask for your opinion. (B) You’re not coming, so why do you care?
  3. You and I run into each other on the street. We haven’t seen each other in a while, and we’re genuinely happy to stop and chat for a few minutes. When I have to get going you say, “Can we have lunch soon?” and I say, “Definitely! I’ll send you a few dates when I get home and look at my calendar.” I send you a few dates later that day and I never hear from you again.
  4. I have leftover maternity clothes and you tell me that you’re pregnant (!). I offer my maternity clothes to you and you respond, “Your maternity clothes would be WAY too big on me.”
  5. You and I run into each other at a diner. We’re exchanging pleasantries and then you say, in a very accusatory manner, “Why are you dressed so warmly? It’s not that cold!” I don’t understand. Why do you care if I’m wearing a coat? Did it bite you, my coat? Did the very thought of my warmth offend you to the core?
  6. Once, walking into a movie on Christmas Day, an older woman tried to shove past my husband and me. My husband said, “Please be careful, my wife is pregnant” to which the woman responded, “Well I have cancer!”
  7. You and I take our kids to the beach. I pull out a towel for my son and you say, “Why did you bring such a big towel?” Note: same person who was offended by my coat.
  8. At a crowded hair salon there are more people waiting than there are seats, and several women have been standing for quite some time. You have a seat, as does your leather bag. Is it exhausted, your bag, from being carried all day? Has it had a tough time? In fairness, your bag probably cost the equivalent of half a year of private school. But still…
  9. You and I are waiting on line for deli items at the supermarket. We both have tickets in our hands with numbers on them. Lower numbers get called first. You know how it works. We all do. I was clearly already there when you rolled up with your shopping cart, and therefore my number is going to be called first. When they call my number, you say, “That’s me!” Dude, seriously, you’re not fooling anyone. We’re holding TINY TICKETS in our hands with NUMBERS ON THEM. It’s not a popularity contest. You can’t pretend you didn’t understand. How exactly do you think this is going to play out?
  10. I meet you for the first time at a birthday party that both of our kids have been invited to. We start chatting and I tell you that I’m a lawyer. You ask me if I work because I want to or because I have to. I grab my child and we run for our lives, because clearly you are a sociopath.*

There are so many more examples of how people are weird. I can’t wait to share more of them with you! Let me know about your experiences with weird humans. Do you have any tips for how not to behave this way, while also not acting like a robot?

 

*We did not leave the party. That part is fictionalized. But that sociopath is still on the loose.

 

TMI. Literally.

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It’s a wonderful privilege to live in America and be able to shop freely for products that we want or need. It’s also a privilege to be able to afford these items. That being said, there are often just too many choices. And, on top of the plethora of choices, there are online reviews of almost every product; sometimes these reviews are helpful, and sometimes they are daunting.

This morning, I was shopping online for a children’s gummy multivitamin that includes enough Iron, Calcium and Vitamin D to make it worth the battle with my kids that invariably comes when it’s time for vitamins. Spoiler alert: said vitamin doesn’t exist. As I was searching, I clicked on one of the customer’s reviews of a vitamin that looked like a good possibility. Here is what he or she wrote:

“My kids like the taste of these but after I found out I have the MTHFR & MTRR mutation and became educated on the different forms of folate and B12, I will never feed these to my kids again. They contain folic acid, you want folate. Folate is easier for the body to absorb since the body doesn’t have to convert it from folic acid to folate. They also contain cyanocobalamin, you want methylcobalamin. Again, this is the usable form and the body doesn’t have to convert it to use. For someone with genetic mutations, it is very important to bypass the conversion that is not working properly.”

Insert crumply face with tears. Now, in addition to trying to find a vitamin, I also have to figure out what the fuck the MTHFR and MTRR mutations are and then decide if we all have to be tested. That’s item 86 on my “to do” list, by the way. And what are cyanocobalamin and methylcobalamin? Do I need to speak to the pediatrician about this? I don’t want to do any more research! I just want a damn multivitamin. Why does everything have to be so complicated?

But it gets worse. I decide to go down the rabbit hole and read the responses to this person’s review. Because I’m a glutton for punishment. Here is the original reviewer’s second comment, in response to another person asking which vitamins he or she would recommend:

“I like [    ] and [    ]. Both contain methylated forms of the B vitamins. They are capsules, so you open them up and sprinkle the powder into food if your child can’t swallow them [My comment: if you visualize this, it’s creepy…picture an after school special about kidnapping]. We don’t do the full dose of 6 capsules either. [    ] gummies contain the methylated forms if you prefer a gummy.  If your child has never taken methylated forms, I would start with only a partial dose and slowly work up. The B vitamins, especially the readily absorbable methylated forms, can be stimulating.”

Ok. First of all, how does she know that “B vitamins, especially the readily absorbable methylated forms” can be stimulating? And why don’t I know that? I’m educated. I interact with adults offline. I take my kids to the pediatrician. Am I supposed to know all of this? It’s just too much. Second of all, I feel like I’m 50 steps behind [Note: might be a funny mom parody of 50 Shades of Grey]. I’m still trying to figure out if folic acid is the same as iron, and why exactly it’s different from folate, and whether it really matters. I might need to go to medical school just so that I can buy a vitamin for my kids. This seems wrong. But don’t I have an obligation to my kids to look into all of this? Please say no.

Now, of course, I had to keep reading the reviews because they sucked me in like a bad network drama. By far, here is my favorite review from this batch. It’s entitled “The Best (after a lot of Research)”:

 “I have spent much time researching vitamins for my kids (ages 7 and 8). [Note: I have spent one hour and I want to cry.]

First, they must be organic. Nothing added that isn’t necessary or doesn’t add value (so NO magnesium stearate, which is banned in the UK because of its toxicity–why do they use it as a filler for so many vitamins in the United Sates?). Nothing artificial.

This product contains no yeast, wheat, milk, eggs, soy, salt, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish, allergens, gluten, casein, gelatin, artificial flavors, artificial colors, salicylates, or preservatives.

And it does not contain GMOs (as are readily found in corn products [and soy and papaya and many other foods now]). We need to be very concerned with GMOs (genetically modified organisms that insidiously find their way into everyday foods that we feed our family–and there is no way to know if they are in there unless the product is organic–and they ARE in about 80% of our [nonorganic] food–scary). One last thing about GMOs–they cause sterility in 4th generation rats. GMOs haven’t been around for long enough for studies to show their ill effects on us but by the time they do, it’ll be too late. Off the soapbox I go. Sorry.

In any case, no GMOs in this product 🙂

My kids really like the flavor of these. They are coated in sugar. I initially had a problem with that but I got over it because they’re not white with sugar. Plus, I roll the around in my hand before I give them to my kids. this gets rid of some of the sugar. And of course, the sugar adds to their palatability.”

Now full panic has set in. There are too many things to worry about, from this one review alone! Dear God, please send me a multivitamin that does not cause sterility in 4th generation rats. Although, God, between you and me, Earth might not be around in another 4 generations, am I right?

But back to the second review…I just find it hilarious that the same person who seems to be an expert on GMOs, allergies, and preservatives thinks it’s ok that the vitamins are coated in sugar. Because sugar makes things taste good. Obviously. But it’s also the devil. According to my doctor, studies show that sugar is more physiologically addictive than heroin. I don’t know…that sounds worse than being nonorganic. But what do I know?

After an hour of my life lost on this project, my final question for Google is “I have lost my mind–do you know where I can find it?” I bet if I asked Siri, she would have some interesting answers.

P.S. I still haven’t ordered vitamins, and I’m about to curl up in fetal position in the corner and suck my thumb. Come find me when you have a suggestion about which vitamins I should buy, preferably with a link to Amazon. Must be ✔️Prime.

A Politically Correct Love Letter

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A love letter in a time when you can’t tell girls they’re pretty, you can’t praise anyone for results or achievements, and everyone is encouraged to fail.

Dear Quinoa,

Your eyes sparkle with effort and determination. I remember the first time I glimpsed your work ethic. I felt my heart expand and my soul smile. (Side note: turned out it was gas.). I saw your mother at the food co-op last weekend and she said, “Guess what Quinoa made at school yesterday? An effort!” I was so proud. I have never known anyone who tries as hard as you, or who is more focused on the #process than the result. It doesn’t matter that you studied for 15 hours for our Chemistry test and still failed. The important thing is that you enjoyed the process of preparing for the test. When you apply to college, just let the various admissions offices know how hard you tried. They will surely appreciate your effort. Remind them that it’s about the #journey, not the destination.

Speaking of failure, I admire how often you fail. You fail, and you fail, and you fail. I will always remember opening night of the school play last year when you forgot all your lines and everyone laughed. EVERYONE. Well, you got up on that stage the next night and…forgot all your lines again! In my book, that’s a staggering success, because #failure.

Along the same lines, I love your pluck and your grit. You embody the idiom “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” At my birthday dinner a few months ago, the restaurant only had regular lasagna, not vegan lasagna. You explained to the waiter that they could make you a vegan version by using tofu instead of cheese, and ground squash instead of meat. The waiter seemed confused but promised the chef could do it. When the lasagna came out, it smelled too good to be vegan. We all knew it. But you didn’t want to ruin my dinner so you lifted a forkful of the delicious, oozy, cheesy stuff to your lips and tried to force yourself to eat it. You couldn’t do it. So you tried again. Still couldn’t do it. Even on the third try, usually a charm, you couldn’t do it. 27 tries later, that lasagna was in your mouth. I was so impressed. At the end of dinner, you gave me a ceramic heart that you had made in art class. Even though I thought it was a whale giving birth, I could tell you had a good time making it.

I respect how you’re not afraid to put people in their place. I nearly burst with pride when you stomped on Jason’s foot after he said you were beautiful. The nerve of him! You’re not beautiful. You’re a strong, capable, independent woman. Don’t let anyone call you beautiful, ever. Bastards!

I admire your dedication to the debate team. From our last few dates alone, I can tell that you’ve really enjoyed learning how to argue successfully. I look forward to our next date when you can try to argue me out of my position that kale is evil.

You are so patient and you’re a great listener. I thought for sure you were getting tired of hearing my grandmother talk about her bursitis, but you seem so interested every time she brings it up. Most people would literally die listening to her talk about it. #Literally. In fact, I maintain that if a person ever needs to get another person to divulge sensitive information, I can bring my grandmother over to talk about her bursitis. Or about how prunes soften her stool. Done and done.

In summary, you are kind, full of #gratitude, hard working and #blessed. Our bond make us more than #friendswhoarefamily, if that’s even possible. Keep trying, keep failing and keep your eyes off the prize.

In harmony,

Millet