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274th Friday Blog Roundup

Snowmageddon is happening at some point today, 24 inches of snow dumped on the greater DC area.  I could not be more excited to be stuck inside our house.  I gleefully stocked up on movies and books from the library, purchased art supplies from the craft store, and braved a two-hour visit to the food store to get baking essentials.  Every two minutes I turn to Josh and crow, “we are going to be snowed in, baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybee!”

We started our prep on Wednesday during that snow storm.  The twins and I trekked to the library to get books and movies and I perused the shelves trying to pick some good things that Josh might like.  After all, it is the library so if you take something out which sucks, no harm no foul and you return it.

The joke in my family is that I was a gay man in my past life, what with my penchant for Stephen McCauley novels, Jeffrey, and bathhouses.  I came this close to checking out Longtime Companion, but I put it back on the shelf.  I also would like it noted for the record that I did not subject Josh to My Own Private Idaho for the 56th time.

So I bring home my library treats and unpack them for him.  “Did you get this movie for me or for you?” he asked, holding up one of the discs.

“For you!” I exclaimed.  “It’s about the Rolling Stones.”

“What makes you think that it’s about the Stones?”

“The title!  The Boys in the Band.  Who else are the boys?”

“Mel, The Boys in the Band is about gay men living in New York City. I assumed you got this for you.  Did you read the back of the box?”

“No…it was covered up by the checkout sticker.”

I thought the movie looked interesting but since you can only have out 10 movies at a time and I already had 9 movies for myself, Josh had me return it and take out one he wanted to watch.  As I put it down on the check-in counter at the library, I said to the librarian, “this movie isn’t about the Rolling Stones.”

You know, in case she thought so too.

She looked at the cover and shook her head, “um…no…quite not.”

I guess she wasn’t tricked by the title.

I also braved the liquor store to get Josh shmancy beer, standing in a long line with other alcohol-consumers, who all seemed a mite nervous to be snowed in.  The store was absolutely gutted–I got one of the two last packs of Magic Hat.  I almost took photographs to document the snow frenzy of 2010, but decided that would make me look strange as I was standing in line.

I have sketch pads and tissue paper and new markers and the first season of the Muppet Show and 24 eggs and a bag of oranges.  We have instated a no-bickering rule in the house with consequences for anyone who snows on my parade (get it?  It’s a snow joke).  I say bring on the snow.  Oh, but please please please don’t let us lose power.


The Wolvog decided last Friday, which was coincidentally also a snow day, that he wanted to learn chess.  I said sure and pulled out my crappy chess set warning him several times that he would find the game frustrating and confusing and in the end, would possibly become so disoriented that he would chew off his own hand instead of moving his rook to A5.

It has happened, I think.  They made a movie about it called Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Wait.  Are you going to tell me that Hedwig isn’t about a chess grandmaster who is frustrated with those one-inch squares on the chess board?

Anyway, we sat down to play chess, I explained all the pieces and how they are allowed to move, and the object of the game.  And then I set him loose.  And decimated him in a few moves.  It’s not that difficult to win against a five-year-old who is not convinced that you mean it when you tell him that his king is in check.

Afterwards he howled about how I was mean.  I was mean and should have allowed him to win and now we needed to play again so he could have one hundred moves and finally beat me.  And I explained that not only would I never “let” him win so he should know every time he beats me that he did it on his own merit, but that games aren’t about holding on to who wins or loses but instead enjoying the time together deep in chess-like thought and then starting over again and again.  Except we wouldn’t be starting over again with chess because he was too young for the game and I was going to kick his ass every round.

He agreed and said that fourteen was a better age.

It’s important to me that he learns how to let go–of both the wins and the loses.  Because the good buzz that comes from a win is fleeting and the sadness that comes with a loss can hang around too long.  And if I can teach him to be more zen about games, I will feel that I have done my job.  As a Juddhist and as a parent.


The Weekly What If: What if it was proven that happiness could be obtained by drinking snow laced with dog pee.? This what if has an obvious shelf-life–once the snow melts, the happiness elixir is gone.  And part of the what if is that you wouldn’t get sick from drinking the snow nor would you know the dog that produced the pee.  Would you drink the snow in order to gain at least a year’s-worth of happiness (remember–it would be a mental state, not a promise of actual good things happening)?


We are hardcore into Purim prep.  On the basket menu this year: sweet and salty butter pecan cookies, homemade oreos, my chocolate chip cookies, hamantaschen, peanut butter crisp candy, vanilla latte toffee, lollipops, and G-d knows what else will be added in the end.  And yes, I am giving away a basket as I always do (I just pick someone out of the comment section) and there will probably be a second chance to win one of my baskets on another person’s blog.  Details to come next week…


And now, the blogs…

I thought this was a really important post by Hold My Hope about how many embryos to transfer when the choice isn’t clear.  She explains the thought process they used to make the decision and I just thought she explained it in such a way that anyone could use her guidelines in the future to help them make their own decision.

Wishing4One has a post about her grandmum.  And even though I obviously never knew Wishing4One’s grandmum, her description made me smile, even if it was bittersweet with the story of the little girl that comes towards the end.  It is a post that will make you think of your own grandmother.

This post, by The Sweet Life, made me bawl.  And I’m not sure I can say more than that except that it was beautiful and moving.

Mommy-in-Waiting’s Blog has a post about holding it together at work only to fall apart at home.  She explains how she holds those feelings at bay while racing through 80 hours of work a week and then on the weekends, “It’s like the shiny bit gets dull, the happy bit gets miserable and the laughing part just starts crying and crying and crying.  I know it’s because when I am home and don’t have work to distract me, the reality comes crashing down. ”  It’s really a wonderful post.

Lastly, Are You Kidding Me? has a fantastic post comparing the human tendency to boil down life into the computer language of basic and how the if/then statements become untrue in the face of emotions.  Having what amounts to a happy life on paper doesn’t by itself create happiness (but the real question is whether she would be willing to drink dog pee to get it).  Logic simply isn’t applicable in discussing a life or the way we feel, as much as people attempt to do this (usually to the effect of annoying the receiver).

The roundup to the Roundup: it’s Snowmageddon!  Teaching the Wolvog the zen of games.  Answer the Weekly What If.  Purim basket giveaway coming up next week.  And lots of great blogs to read.


1 Terry Elisabeth { 02.05.10 at 8:31 am }

Eeew Mel ! Dog piss ?! Really ? lol
No I wouldn’t drink it because happiness comes from inside, not from extern sources. We have to cultivate happiness…not drink it. Wow. This is something I should tell my family…thanks for the insight.

I should check the weather and see if we are having a snowmageddon too. I wish, I wish !!

2 Terry Elisabeth { 02.05.10 at 8:32 am }

Pfft. Sunny and clear skies. And only -16.

3 tash { 02.05.10 at 8:43 am }

There’s a great line in the new Barbara Ehrenreich book which is along the lines of: Hope is an emotion. You can’t fake hope, learn hope, train and meditate and gain hope. You either have it, or you don’t. And I feel the same way about happiness (and joy). It’s taken me so long to accept that I feel what I feel, regardless of what’s going on (and I mean that both ways) that I don’t think I could drink a happy elixir even if it tasted like champagne laced with chambord.

I’m off to the store now. We’re on the border of the “paralyzing” part of the snowfall map, so I’m set to go with valentines crafts, sugar/flour/chips, a king-cake mix, wii, and DVDs! Hang tough, snow bunny!

4 Bionic Baby Mama { 02.05.10 at 8:46 am }

no, no. hedwig and the angry inch is a slasher movie set in a beauty salon, in which a society matron goes on a rampage after being given a buzz cut by an undercover radical dworkinite.

i think it’s good that you don’t let your kids win games. my folks didn’t either, and the notion that someone would do so always seemed like such a mind-fuck to me as a kid.

5 Bionic Baby Mama { 02.05.10 at 8:46 am }

oh, and i’d TOTALLY drink dog piss. hell, i’d drink it for a MONTH of happy.

6 loribeth { 02.05.10 at 8:56 am }

We had a snowstorm predicted last year that the forecasters were calling “Snowmaggedon.” It turned out to be nothing more than a few measly inches of blowing snow, just your average snow squall. Hmpf.

In the last 25 years I’ve lived here, there have only been two times we’ve had REALLY paralyzing snowstorms (i.e., we couldn’t make it to work) — once in December 1992, when the streets were clogged with snow overnight & transit wasn’t running, and famously in January 1999 (I think?), when the mayor called in the army to help with the snow removal (thereby proving to the rest of the country that their usual & historic disdain for Toronto is well-founded).

We had a LOT of snow last winter, but so far, it’s been relatively dry (knock wood!). Enjoy being snowbound!!

7 Elizabeth { 02.05.10 at 9:43 am }

I love it that we are in the same weather pattern as you – when I got up this morning it was already coming down. My sitter came anyway though so I have to work. Boooo…. as you can see, I’m working really hard right now! My snow day plan was to rehabilitate bath time for V. but that’s another story. We can still do it tomorrow, she’s not too manky yet.

It’s funny, yesterday while I stocked up on groceries my husband ran out and stocked up on booze at the local wine shop where he ran into all his beer-night buddies. Then he stayed up late watching a movie and eating cheesecake because he figured his university would be closed today. Only… it isn’t… yet! He’s still holding out for a noon closing though.

Yellow snow… ok, I have to clarify, what do you mean by drink it? Eating it cold is different from drinking it melted and warm. What temperature would it be? This is important! The colder something is the less you can taste the flavors.

Regardless, anyway, I don’t think I’d do it. I’d be tempted, but then I’d think about how hard it would be to cope with life when that magical period of time ended. Plus, my husband liked this quote from The Historian as a description of me: “we take our pleasures sadly.” He claims I actually enjoy the melancholy; maybe I do. Not the depression, per se, but the sweet sadness, perhaps yes.

8 Elizabeth { 02.05.10 at 9:45 am }

p.s. how soon do you think you’ll pop up on Google when people search for “Juddhist”? Did you make that up? I love it!

9 a { 02.05.10 at 9:48 am }

Hey! Thanks for the mention. I would probably not drink dog pee for happiness, but for an unusual reason. I think a full year of happiness would be too exhausting and the let down at the end would be devastating. I like the ups and downs of life – as long as there are some really good ups to compensate for the downs. However, if it were a year of contentment…I might take that, because it would be like a vacation.

I’m still waiting for the 2-4″ of snow that they assured me would be on the ground this morning. It’s just raining. Now we’ll probably get 2-4″ of ice, and I have birthday parties to attend all weekend. I don’t have time to be frozen in. But, enjoy your blizzard – there’s nothing better than the unusual quiet that descends over a city when there’s a major snowfall.

10 susy { 02.05.10 at 9:50 am }

I can’t even imagine having to prep for a snowstorm! I’ll tell you I’m excited for you!! Probably only b/c I’ve never had to experience it. It hadn’t even dawned on me I’d have to prep to stay in. But to prepare for a Hurricane (same as you, food, books, movies!) is like second nature! Hmmf!

And no, no drinking of yellow snow. As much as I love snow cones, I think I’d pass. Knowing it’s only temporary is even less worthwhile! I’ve come to realize, it’s ok to not always be happy. I makes for things to be easier sometimes, but it doesn’t always make things better or take away the reason why you were sad in the first place. Just like the win/lose mentality, that one feels and learns from each experience, I think it’s true w/ happiness. When you reach on your own, it’s priceless!

11 Michelle { 02.05.10 at 10:12 am }

Yes! I would drink the pee snow, I would drink it cold, or chilled or warm. I’m so desperate for some happiness right now, I think I would do it.
I’m on the snow border as well looking forward to cooking and getting reading for or Superbowl party on Sunday with no excuses to leave the house.

12 Calliope { 02.05.10 at 11:05 am }

wait- is this going to be the introduction of muppets to your gang????!!!!! I am soooooooo excited about that. Beyond.
Also…chess…there’s an app for that. Just saying. heh

13 Shelli { 02.05.10 at 11:35 am }

Waiting for the same 2 feet of snow here. We are stocked an ready to go, although you just reminded me I don’t have any clementines!

14 HereWeGoAJen { 02.05.10 at 11:59 am }

Muppets! By the way, the best scene from that entire television series is when Harry Belafonte sings Day-O.

15 The Steadfast Warrior { 02.05.10 at 12:29 pm }

We could use a little snow over my way, it being the Olympics soon and all. But we “Wet Coasters” prefer our snow on the mountains- pretty to look at and no chaos on the roads. Enjoy the storm! May your power stay on and your family remain cozy and warm.

Drinking happy pee? I think I’m with a lot of people here, in that after it was gone, there’d be this huge let-down. I learn just as much from the difficult times as I do the happy ones. I’m not sure I’m willing to give that up. It may suck to be in the dark places for a time but I often find a clarity once I reach the light again.

16 loribeth { 02.05.10 at 12:51 pm }

By the way — I too have season one of the Muppets!! I don’t think it’s on this season, but my favourite Muppet memory is Miss Piggy stalking Rudolf Nureyev in a sauna, singing “Baby It’s Cold Outside” — & then ripping off his towel at the very end, lol. : )

I also love the memory of Elton John singing “Crocodile Rock” with a chorus of crocodiles circling his piano.

17 liljan98 { 02.05.10 at 1:00 pm }

What on earth made you come up with that “what if”? Ugh, the thought alone… But I have to admit, it sounds tempting. Not the snow & the dog pee, but the one year of happiness. So I’m still undecided on the what if…
I admire your thorough preperation for snowmagedon!

18 My Reality { 02.05.10 at 2:12 pm }

Just wanted to tell you your snow joke made me chuckle. 🙂

19 Meghan { 02.05.10 at 2:50 pm }

I think a years worth of happiness would make the rest of my life depressing. I’d rather just maintain my equilibrium…although I don’t always do a great job of that.

We’re all stocked up and ready for the snow too. I say bring it mother nature!!

20 Kristin { 02.05.10 at 3:08 pm }

Can I come hang out at your house during the snow storm? It’s going to be rainy and gross here.

Eating yellow snow?!? Don’t think I could do it. I also think a full year of happiness wouldn’t be a good thing. Pure happiness could be completely overwhelming.

21 jill { 02.05.10 at 5:09 pm }

Have fun in the snow! and LOL @ “The Boys in the Band”!! 😀

22 Battynurse { 02.06.10 at 12:12 am }

Glad you are enjoying the snow or at least the thought of snow. I’m so glad I’m not in the DC area right now as being snowed in sounds horrible. Granted as a nurse being snowed in usually isn’t much of an option. You’re sort of expected at work anyways.
Laughing about the movie.
And no, there would be no snow pee or pee snow entering my body.

23 Jamie { 02.06.10 at 7:35 am }

I think it’s admirable Wolvog ~wanted~ to play chess. I’m 32 and I can’t bring myself to try and learn the rules! Of course I do remember the day when you thought you were entitled to win every game you played. Games were much more fun back then.

I would drink happy pee in a heartbeat. Even if it was just a state of mind. Sometimes I think that is all happiness it. Everyone has life problems and some are better and not freaking out over what they can’t control and just being happy with their blessings. I’m not naturally one of those people. So if snow pee would help, I’d be all over it!

24 Billy { 02.06.10 at 5:47 pm }

When we were kids we liked (hmmmmm… I suppose I still do..) to munch on the sour stalk of this flower, that the folk tale was that it is sour since dogs pee on it. It never bothered us.. And there was no happiness involved in chewing that stalk.. So I guess if you are now going to give me happiness for drinking dog pee, yeah I’ll take it! (oh, and thanks for not letting me know whose dog pee it is, I think I would rather not know..).

25 Bea { 02.06.10 at 8:42 pm }

Dog pee. Sometimes, your mind is kind of strange.

The reason I am equivocating is not because of the pee. I wouldn’t get sick and the snow would water it down and freeze my taste buds, also, probably slow the evaporation of ammonia so it wouldn’t smell so rancid during the ordeal. So a bit gross, but whatever.

What gets me more is that it would be a mental state produced by a sort of drug, I guess you could say, and I am all for taking psychiatric medications as needed, and the odd spot of wine or chocolate for the feelgood factor in moderation, but I’m not sure I would take a whole, straight, consecutive year’s worth of something I didn’t need, even if it was going to be pleasant. Kind of empty. Don’t you think?


26 Bea { 02.06.10 at 8:53 pm }

Oh, and the winning games philosophy is interesting, too, and brings a similar debate. I think it depends a bit how it’s done. It can be understood as an act of indulgence, kind of like giving someone a gift for their birthday (ie not because they deserve the gift, but because they are and because they are loved).

My grandparents and father used to let us win sometimes (and we were beaten sometimes) but we were always aware it wasn’t real, but part of the play. It made it fun to muck around with games that were too old for us to play properly (especially important with an age spread of 5 yrs between oldest and youngest for the sake of sharing and peace) and we had the opportunity to practice rules and strategy so definitely learnt something along the way. And I think it taught us the zen of playing to play, too, especially when we played with younger siblings/cousins/miscellaneous beginners and we had to let them win a bit, just like we’d been allowed to win a bit.


27 coffeegrl { 02.07.10 at 5:26 am }

Once again, I’ll miss the chance to win a fabulous Purim gift basket but all of those things sound luscious and I suppose I might be motivated enough to try to bake something on my own here.

Your gift of a movie for Josh cracked me up!

I think I’d pass on the snow with pee. Mostly because right now I’m feeling like external means of guaranteeing me that state of mind aren’t required (there have been times in the past when it would have been tempting though!).

28 Tireegal { 02.07.10 at 12:19 pm }

Your snowmaggedon prep sounds so fun! Can I come over and play? Your children sound so wise and funny and whimsical. Not sure about the yellow snow just yet:)

29 lynn @ human, being { 02.07.10 at 5:22 pm }

No pee snow here. Unless the only other option was drinking my own pee. ew.

But snow ice cream for sure. Your kids will love it.

In Denver, any time it snows TV weather people predict Snomageddon to the point that I’ve stopped paying attention at all. With rare exception, the storm turns out to be not much.

I hope your No Bickering rule lasts until the snow melts!

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