Suburban Problems, Volume IXVII

These women definitely have great park strips.

When you grow up living in a New York City apartment, you do not think about things like the care and cultivation of of the "park strip" outside your front door (the part that isn't the sidewalk and isn't the street), as it is a spot most likely decorated with things like Diet Coke cans, and a stack of empty Chinese food cartons, and somebody's broken TV. You probably haven't even noticed it's there. You almost certainly have no idea who's taking care of it. And you definitely don't know the term "park strip."

As of two months ago, I know what a park strip is, because it turns out that in the suburbs, you own yours, and when it must be dealt with, it is you who must do the dealing. My park strip, for example, no longer really exists, as it was torn up by the city while they fixed the sewer line running down our street, and then they never came back. And charged me $3,500 for the pleasure. (Mmmmhmm you read that right. Apparently when the sewage from your entire street overflows into your driveway and you call the city to have them come fix it, they won't work on it unless the sewer access point for your property is within five feet of the street. So unless you want to continue accessorizing your front yard with your neighbors' poop, you will have to pay to relocate it. Home ownership, WHEE.)


Come On In

Many years ago - shortly after September 11, I think - I had a conversation with my dad that had something to do with politics and world affairs (super specific, I know). He was lamenting how my generation wasn't politically active; how we "didn't care" like his generation did.

I don't know about you, but here's what's always happened to me when someone starts talking like this: I feel like I'm being lectured and like any contributions I might make to the conversation will fall on deaf ears, and so I stop listening. What my father was saying felt like judgment; like a statement of superiority ("our generation cared...yours, not so much"). And while I don't think what he was saying was unfounded or even necessarily wrong - people who are now in their thirties largely went through their formative years during a time of (relative) prosperity and political calm, which is not the kind of environment that typically breeds vast numbers of revolutionaries - it certainly didn't make me go, "Wait! You're right! SIGN ME UP!"

The conversation made feel guilty, and judged, and irritated. And a person who feels guilty and judged and irritated tends not to be especially inspired to join the community that's making them feel this way.

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Easy (And Incredible) Lemon Curd

I have never come across a lemon curd recipe that I have not wanted to consume in massive, even inadvisable quantities. Even the kind of lemon curd that they use as filling in those little pies you can get at the deli for 99 cents forces me to make weird-ecstatic faces while I eat it (I tend to try to eat these pies in private).

That said, this particular lemon curd recipe, whipped up by Mollie and eaten almost entirely by yours truly, is ridiculous. It's the perfect combination of sweet and tart, and while we included a couple of suggestions for how to serve it below...honesty, you should probably just eat it straight from the jar. That's what I did, and I just have to say: it was a hell of a good decision on my part.


10 Sweatshirts I Want To Wear

Well, okay, the title of this post is sort of misleading. Because I have never met a sweatshirt I did not want to wear (except, perhaps, this one, because as cute as it is I have a feeling that it's made for a different kind of human being than the one I am). And this list doesn't include the sweatshirt that I was wearing in yesterday's post (and that I am, in fact, wearing right this very second).

Not all of the below styles are sweatshirt-priced (although I did leave out this Julie Verhoeven one because I don't think "sweatshirt" and "1,800" belong in the same sentence), but as I've gotten older and grown into a (much) more relaxed, even sporty (?!) look, the kinds of things I'm willing to spend money on have changed. I bought a pair of Louboutins a couple of years ago, and have worn them...I dunno, maybe four times? I recently splurged on a pair of Golden Goose sneakers (on consignment, granted, but still), and have worn them every single day since they arrived.

In short: How much money I'm willing to spend on something has started to be less about what it's "worth," and more about what it's worth to me. And a sweatshirt that's not schlumpy in the slightest and that I can wear dressed down with jeans and flats or dressed up with leather leggings and heels is exactly the type of thing I want in my closet.


So Much Adulting

the adulting sweatshirt from glam camp and ramshackle glam

Perfect attire for the simultaneous consumption of caffeine and alcohol...while paying bills.

(The sweatshirt is here.)

At kindergarten dropoff this morning, I asked my friend what she was doing for Valentine's Day. "Eh, we thought about getting a sitter but you know, ugh." I didn't understand what she was talking about for a second, and then realized that she'd thought I was asking whether she and her husband were going on a date.


My Child Destroyed My Semicolon Key (And Other Things That Happened This Weekend)

Sunday evening, when we finally emerged from confinement.

On Friday night, Kendrick and I dropped our children off with a handful of angels - a.k.a. our son's martial arts teachers, who were holding a "pizza and movie night" for all the kids (siblings welcome) so the parents could go out on their own for a couple of hours. We immediately booked it over to Outback Steakhouse, because I officially have reached the point in my life where I want to go to the place that lets me eat steak the exact way I want to eat it and where nobody cares if I'm wearing a sweatshirt that says Ugh Fine on it and where you can order a single dessert that contains slices of cheesecake, carrot cake, and something called "The Chocolate Thunder From Down Under" (you know, so we can have "just a taste" of each).

We had one of the more lovely and romantic nights we've had in awhile, actually. And then, around 9PM, while I was puttering around waiting for Kendrick to arrive back home after having picked up the kids, it ended.


In Which I Explain The Cloud To My Five-Year-Old

“A Persian Cat living in the sky” is an equally plausible explanation.

Every so often, when trying to explain something to my children, I am struck by the degree to which the world of technology has outpaced my ability to sound like an adult who knows things. Even TV is beyond me. "See, people stand in front of a camera, and then their pictures and voices go onto a...sort of like a piece of tape? And then that goes into a...like, a TV station, and they...tell the picture to go into...space. And then it comes onto your TV. Get it?"

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking to my friend Stephen, and complaining about the fact that every time I have to do anything on my phone I have to first delete everything I possibly can (apps, any and all photos that I'm at least relatively unemotional about, etc). And he said, "Have you put them on the Cloud?"


So Fishy: A(nother) Valentine’s Day Solution For Last-Minute Moms

Remember Monday's post about potato-stamp Valentine's Day cards? The ones you can make with your kids minus the miserable stroll through the craft-store aisles? The inspiration behind it was what you see here: my daughter was napping and all of a sudden my son announced that he was willing to make Valentines for his classmates, and I had exactly two seconds to conceive of a doable plan before losing him to the living room rug, where the epic battle between Mini Cons and random dragon figurines that my mother bought at the Met had finally been put on pause for a moment.

And so this is what I decided to do: help him make school (of fish! whee, puns!)-themed Valentines that ticked all of my personal boxes: inexpensive (check), easy (check), witty (eh, sort of), and (seemingly) original (checkity check check check).

(It is not lost on me that I have an addiction to parentheticals. Moving on.)