Mommy Moment: The Bread

When Y-Chromo came home for the summer after his first year at college, there were many adjustments that needed to be made. We had to learn that he’d been on his own for 9-10 months and needed more leeway than he’d been given in high school. He needed to adjust to being in a family situation again.

While he was away at school, I didn’t have to buy as much bread for sandwiches as  I did in previous years. His first weekend home, we were nearly out. He informed me he would eat only Supermarket brand bread, if I couldn’t get Supermarket brand peanut butter, he would eat only a certain national brand. He missed Supermarket brand bread while at college.

I was very busy that weekend and did not have time to go to the Supermarket he specified. There is another grocery chain with a store closer to home. In the interest of time, that’s where I went to pick up a few crucial items. Including bread. When I got home, I transferred the loaf of bread into the Supermarket brand bag and stuck it in the freezer. Y never knew the difference.

I think X-Chromo recently told him the story. (She thought it was hysterical when I confessed it to her years later.) He laughs about it now.

Sometimes a mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do.

 

 

Mommy Files: Learning the Language

One of the best things about being the mom of very young children was observing them learning the language. Figuring out how to use words when they didn’t have the vocabulary immediately at hand to communicate their meaning.

X-Chromo was a genius at this.

Two occasions come immediately to mind. She was about the same age for both.

One morning I was getting her dressed and gave her two choices of an outfit to wear. “This one or this one,” I said as I held up two dresses. “The housekeeping,” little X replied.  I was confused. She pointed to the one she wanted. “The housekeeping,” she repeated. Duh! She attended a center-based daycare /pre-school and the dress she wanted had an apron on it. Aprons were part of the housekeeping center.  She couldn’t think of the word, but she knew where it belonged.

Another morning, we were standing in the kitchen, preparing to leave for the day. “Squirrel!” she started yelling out the window. “Get off my summertime!” Again, it took me a moment. “Summertime” was the swimming pool we had in the back yard while the children were growing up. She couldn’t think of the word, but understood it was something we used only in the summer.

 

 

 

Memory: Driving a Stick

This past year I purchased a brand new car. The vehicle is only the second one I’ve purchased where I was the original owner.

The first time I purchased a bare-bone “starter” vehicle: a charcoal gray hatchback with a standard transmission because back then, an automatic transmission cost more, and I was on a tight budget.  The only problem was I didn’t know how to drive a manual transmission. I figured the best way to learn was to buy the car. Then I wouldn’t have a choice.

There were some funny moments those first couple of days. My younger brother still tells stories of me rolling backward at a traffic light on I-690 and panicking about it. But I did learn. And I loved driving a stick. There had been one or two occasions in the past when the ability to do so would have saved me some grief. It’s a handy skill to have.

Even after I mastered the ability, I encountered some amusing moments –that weren’t so amusing at the time.

My boss at the time had some fancy-schmancy sports car–low slung and long in the front. She was also very tall, maybe close to six feet. I am barely five feet tall. She needed me to drive her car . . . I don’t remember the details. The gist was “you know how to drive a manual transmission, my car needs to be someplace I can’t take it, please do this.”  Except even with the seat pulled all the way up, I couldn’t reach the clutch. I was nearly fully reclined, barely able to see over the dashboard, driving in the city (i.e. lots of stop-and-go traffic), driving a hideously expensive sports car that didn’t belong to me.

That was a moment.

Movie-Memory: Big Night & Stanley Tucci

 

 

 

 

I have been watching CNN’s series, STANLEY TUCCI, LOOKING FOR ITALY.  I am in bliss for several reasons: Italy, food, wine, and Tucci himself.

The very first time I became aware of Tucci was in 1996. I must have read about the movie Big Night somewhere, because I was desperate to see it. I don’t think it played in a first-run theater in my area. But eventually it did come to the old second-run theater in my neighborhood.  I convinced my husband we needed to see the film. So one winter night we drove through a lot of snow to see the film. I was enchanted.

As we were leaving the theater, I happened to look down and saw something poking through several inches of freshly fallen snow. It was an oversized key ring with several keys on it. We trudged back into the theater to turn in the keys in case someone was looking for them. Turns out someone was.

The owner of the theater was a cranky old woman who had inherited it from her parents. People who grew up in the neighborhood tell of going to matinees and have Miss DiB**** stalking up and down the aisles with a baseball bat looking for people with their feet on the seat backs or any other number of criminal behaviors.  A former co-worker who knew how to run the old 35mm projectors happened to run into her one days, and her greeting was, “The first show is at 7pm on Saturday. Be at the theater at 6.” My colleague said, “What are you talking about?” She replied, “My projectionist just died, you know how to run the 35mm, be at the theater at 6pm on Saturday.” (He didn’t go.) She was a genuine character.

My story about this genuine character involved that key ring on that snowy night. I located her in the nearly deserted theater and handed her the key ring, saying, “I found these on the sidewalk outside.”

“Where did you get those!” she snarled with a glare.

“I found them on the sidewalk under the marquee,” I repeated.

“These are the theater keys and they’ve been missing.” 

I didn’t like being accused of anything. I reiterated that I’d found them outside and left.

So that was my introduction to Stanley Tucci. I adored him in Julie & Julia. I wish I could remember him in The Devil Wears Prada. He was delightful in The Hunger Games series.  He has a long list of credits for both movies, theater, television, but neither IMDB or Wikipedia list a short-lived public TV series he hosted called Vine Talk. Maybe because was dreadful. I wouldn’t admit I was associated with it either. But there are 13 episodes available on Amazon Prime.

Searching for Italy (Sundays at 9pm on CNN) is much better.

 

 

Motherhood Memory: Child Imagery

When my children were young, we periodically took overnight family vacations. One of the first ones was to Niagara Falls. Y-Chromo was about five. This may have been the first time we were away from home for something that wasn’t family-related. Yes, we’d stayed in hotels for Thanksgiving visits, but there was always the distraction of seldom-seen relatives on those occasions.

Y told everyone we met where we were staying: “Family-friendly” name of the chain.  He always seemed to speak in advertising slogans.

The first morning, we were waiting to go to breakfast–my husband was probably in the shower or watching the news or something. Y turned to me. “Mommy, look at how the sunshine is spreading like butter on the wall.”

Whoa.

“Where did you hear that?” I asked him.

“Oh, I just saw the yellow sun on the wall and that’s what I thought of.”

Y inherited his mathiness from his dad’s side of the family, but that imagery came straight from his maternal genes.