Saturday, August 29, 2009

Something You Didn't Mean To Wear As a Shirt

It was altogether too hot in there. It was too crowded to make it back to where the water was, so the water jugs didn't help us play it cool. And last night, the bands were too good for it, every single one. It was really too hot to wear two flannels on stage, so the musicians could not possibly play it cool. And the beards didn't play it cool, and the ponytails may have kept a little heat off our necks, but they still swayed and felt happy and showed off our exuberance and therefore could not be said to play it cool. The new merch included the golden Zooch, so the merchandise didn't either, and the film crew never even seemed tempted to. It was their night off, after all.
The tallboys in their Tractor 15-year anniversary koozies did not play it cool for long. The dj told us about getting married on that very stage and the photographers smiled behind their cameras, and when the bands came on, they nodded their heads behind those cameras too. The guitars never play it cool, especially when there are four of them on stage at once, and this time the mandolin didn't either, and of course drums rarely do, and last night the drums in questions were Ryan's, gold and sparkly, and loud and good, messy in the best way, like Ryan's hair and Ryan's hair may try to play it cool, but the drums weren't going to. The horns didn't play it cool, neither did the girls with the flowers in their hair or the moms or the area backstage which was even more crowded all than front of stage, and the Tractor was sold out, so it was crowded everywhere, including the area next to the stage just behind the little plastic chain that served as a field sobriety test, which all the Malgals passed...
even though they were not at all, contrary to what this photo might suggest, playing it cool.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What Happened When I Tried To Make a Comment on the Orangette Blog

I didn't really intend to do a whole blog post on dinner at Delancey. The idea of that just sort-of sounded like taking owls to Athens, but then on Orangette today, Molly mentioned a Goethe quote. "Do not hurry, do not rest". I love that quote. It's right up there with E.M. Forster's "Only connect", for me. So I started writing a comment and guess what happened? The operative word ended up being "writing" rather than "comment". I blame it on the upcoming writing week. I don't know what's going to work out for that, but I can feel it brewing. I have hopes. In the mean time, here's what used to call itself a comment.

Susan and I had pastries the other morning at Honore, the bakery next door to Delancey -cannele and macarons and cafe bom-bon, and there was Molly at Delancey! So early, red hair restrained in some cute messy pony-bun thing, trying to keep Jack away from whoever was at the door, while we were sitting just outside on the adirondack chairs, giggling to ourselves and thinking No NO! Let Jack come to the door! We love Jack! I felt the teeniest bit stalkerish and wondered if that well-worn media phrase "we ask that you respect our privacy at this time" ever crosses Molly's mind in those early hours when she is back at the restaurant after a 16-hour day, the tenth in, what, two weeks? In our defense, we were not at ALL the only people sneaking peaks, and at least we didn't actually cup our hands against the glass, right??

Not that we didn't want to.

Kate and I were supposed to have dinner later that night, before the new Mike Daisey show. She was going to make "Kate's Corn Buffet". I don't know exactly what that would have been, but Good would have surely been one word for it, since it was, after all, Kate cooking. Or would have been, if I hadn't suggested Delancey.

It was just that Kate was a little tired, not feeling that great, and we had to be at Hugo House early, and hadn't Delancey been open for like AN AGE, and we STILL hadn't been there yet?? So we each put on some little summer number, and arranged to meet in front at precisely 5 PM. Already, there was a little queue, but it was a cheerful queue, with all of us smiling secret smiles, thinking about love stories and chocolate chip cookies with grey salt and yes, pizza. There was a pretty pregnant woman in a yellow dress, with a big table's worth of handsome friends, and there was a cute girl with a grey dress and leggings, smiling at her date, and everyone else was also looking photogenic, in that particular way that friendly people who spend their time liking things do. Blog readers, Orangette lovers, fans. Lovers of love and pizza and ideas and things that seem impossible but aren't.

Kate said it felt like we were going to see a rock band, a really good one, one you've been waiting and waiting to see.

But the great thing was that it was like one of those concerts that is as satisfying as you think it will be - the live version of the tomato/corn/shallot vinaigrette salad IS better than the recorded version! And the framed photo of the italian man in his suit in the pink chair, and the delicate-looking waitresses in their grey t-shirts, and the tomato salad with the shallot vinaigrette and the kind of corn so sweet that I don't even know how one would find it, and the overall famousness feeling of it all! You can imagine.
I haven't even started on the pizza. We had the zucchini and anchovy and the Brooklyn. Of course, what else? I have to admit, I don't really want to go on and on about how fantastic it was. I just want to say that it was exactly what I expected, exactly what I hoped for and exactly what I was craving. Sometimes you want something to be simple, and just right. We didn't have to ask for the pizza scissors, and I wasn't tempted to use a knife and fork, and I didn't burn all the skin off the roof of my mouth, but nothing had congealed either. The sauce was exactly the way I like a pizza sauce, didn't taste like something you'd put on bruschetta or like spaghetti sauce, wasn't too sweet or overpowered by oregano, it was sort-of one with the crust, which should not for a moment be mistaken for "soggy", it was more that it felt inseparable in the best way, like a perfectly placed phrase in a poem or story, something said at the right moment in the right way, the not only well-worded but just what you wanted to hear, too.
But that was the start of Delancey being popular of course, the way Molly always pared it down to just the right details on her blog, in her book, recipes both made magic by her mythology and demystified by her willingness to share - I made this, she says, you can too.
But of course, even if we could, and really, at our table, only Kate gets put in that camp, the Camp of Could in the Kitchen, why would we want to? It was so nice to be welcomed in by Delancey, to sneak admiring peeks at neighbors, feel famous by proxy, energized and enthused, happy and summery and very very well-fed. And if reading this doesn't make you almost feel all those things yourself, then click on the love story link and get a little taste of Delancey for yourself.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Oh Jon and Kate We Hardly Knew You

They were so much cuter back then!

Or maybe we knew you too well.

I wrote a post a while ago about appreciating J & K and their squabbly ways. How they made me feel better about my own lack of perfection in both marriage and parenting.

I stand by those thoughts.

I think that the couple they originally were on that show were to be admired for the way they managed to make their life work. None of us are perfect. Every mother/father/married/committed person I know struggles with many of the same issues that you could clearly see in those early episodes.

Whether you have 8 kids – or (thankyoujesus) not – marriage and parenthood are difficult adjustments and most of us aren’t naturally equipped with the patience or communication skills to make it work without some bickering, some tension. Some people conceal it better than others, but know a couple well enough, long enough and you'll get a peak behind the curtain.

Which is what Jon and Kate gave us with their show, originally.

I think that they did the show to help their family financially but I think, in the end, it is the show and the attendant notoriety/ fame/ pressure to maintain a story arc that did them in. Not the bickering or squabbling.

When the show started veering away from them living a normal-ish family life and went to them having a trip to Disney World/American Girl/some other crazy publicity stunt activity every week, I think it changed both the tone of the show and their own lives.

Instead of being self-referential, the show became one big advertisement for all the crazy trips you can take with your kids. And I promise you that traveling with any number of toddlers is stressful. But the sponsors want what they want, right?

And the sponsors want a juicy story. The ongoing story of a happy but chaotic family at home making lunch or going to preschool is not such a juicy story.

In addition, I imagine that waking up one day to realize that you are a balding, pudgy, thirty-year-old man with 8 kids could throw a person into premature mid-life crisis mode. Though one would have hoped that getting a chopper from the guys at Orange County Choppers would have been enough.

But hey, bring on the 20-something chicks to make you feel like a young man!

And finding yourself married to said man, while dealing with the body issues one has to deal with after birthing multiples… or even singletons… and the stress of parenting that many kids while juggling public appearances, writing deadlines and most likely some long-buried desire for some romantic attention...

As well as rumors that you are a complete hen-pecking bee-yotch…

Well, I can’t say that I am entirely surprised that they are getting divorced.

But I am sad for their kids.

I am sad for the couple that they were and could have been.

I think that a time will come when they will be sad for that couple too – years from now when all of this attention has died down and they have some perspective.

After all, with eight beautiful children, their lives are tied tightly together forever – married or not.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


Summer, I'm not done with you yet.

Things left:

:: swimming ::
:: an island ::

What else to add?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What I Did Today To Amuse Myself

:: latte for the commute ::
:: dropped off two rolls of 120 ::
:: phone call with Kristin ::
:: trip to the library ::
:: long walk ::
:: DH Lawrence on CD ::
:: bought plums ::
:: watched Bouboule ::
:: ate cucumber sandwiches ::
:: texted Lindsey ::
:: GG reruns ::
:: cracked up at the twins slap-fest ::

coulda been worse

Friday, August 14, 2009


I love it that the boys are inhabiting their own little world. Playing at something, though I obviously have no idea what.

I love that they are giving me the look that says 'Mama? What crazy thing are you talking about?'

I am not so crazy about the fact that they are totally disregarding me. The video after this one is - um - one I am saving for when they are older and need embarrassing.

Of course, I know this is just the beginning.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Moments I Almost Missed

Just thinking about that. Those little in-between times from this summer.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Carroll Boys Update

Thomas, where's Max's ear?

We've got two walking boys. It is exhausting, but it is also hilarious.

If I am sitting on the floor, Max will let out a wild whoop, throw his hands in the air and coming running at me, only to plant a big wet kiss on my face. I call it a Big Max Attack. Thomas will lift your leg up and down. While also saying 'up' and 'down.'

Or rather 'uuuuuhhhhh' and 'daaahhhhhhhhh'. In a very adorable sing-song-ey way.

Thomas, if you are walking down the street with him, wants to walk independently. Does. Not. Want. His. Hand. Held. Tummy sticking out. Marching along.

Max would like for you to carry him. Please.

They are feeding themselves now. Kind of.

Big person food. Pasta and broccoli. They like fish - go figure. Anything with a cheesy sauce. They like their eggs. And their waffles. They still love the yogurt.

And water - my god, I think they would drink the earth dry if we let them. They would like to hold their own - non-sippy, thankyouverymuch - cups. And spill the water everywhere.

They will sit and actually pay attention as you read them a story. Curious George is V. Popular.

As you sit, reading, Max will back his butt up into your lap. Thomas will try to turn the pages for you. Meaning to be helpful, of course. But there is a reason why all of their books have board pages still.

If you ask them to, they will bring you the big green ball. Or a book. Or their bottles. Or Thomas's new favorite stuffy - Mr. Cat. They might even offer you one of the binkies that we haven't bothered to wean them off of yet.

In the bathtub, they like to make big waves. They like the shower sprayer. Thank goodness they don't poop in the tub - because they like to drink the water like puppies.

Again with the water!

They are almost tall enough to climb out of the tub on their own.

Oh wait, nevermind, they ARE tall enough to climb out of the tub on their own.

They have lots of golden curls. Which I will not cut anytime soon. No matter how much their Daddy thinks they look like girls.

Those are my babies. Still.