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Little Bites 10

As organized as I am in many facets of life, my work desk is somewhat of a disaster area — a sea of post-it notes and… more post-it notes and stacks of papers, unused calendars of baby zoo animals (uh, thank you, National Zoo, once again), and invitations.  Buried somewhere on the desk is the computer as well as an unbent paper clip that I often play with while thinking and the ubiquitous penny whistle that I use to annoy everyone in the house.  Next to the desk is a stack of white yaffa blocks that originally came to college with me.  There are haphazardly pushed-in drawers and stacks of books and stacks of book covers (because I don’t like to keep them on the hardback book).  The whole thing is a freakin’ mess.

And it’s the first thing you see when you walk through the front door because the opening to the living room, which is where I have my “office” (I like it in the middle of things so I can be up in everyone’s business in the house… I mean, so I can cook at the same time as working), is down the front hallway.  And my mess is directly positioned in the eye-line of the opening.

My friend and I went to IKEA to buy a new desk.  We had a set of semi-bizarre requirements (which is a whole different story in and of itself) which left us with two options.  One was fine.  One was pure love.

The Jonas is a secretary desk that closes up, locking all of my post-it note piles out of view.  For anyone walking in the house, it looks like I have my shit together.  Pair it with a aspvik file cabinet and you have a brand new home office.  Plus, a file cabinet means that I can engage in my love of colour-coded filing.  Up until this point, important papers were dumped in one of the yaffa block drawers, never to be seen again.  In cleaning up the living room and filling the file cabinet, I found the family tree I created with my grandmother many years ago (it goes back five or six generations), the words I read at her funeral, my book contracts, a short story from grad school with my reading notes included, AND a detention slip that Josh took from a fellow teacher’s desk and filled in for me (as in, I had detention).

We also decided in the same trip to replace the light fixtures in the kitchen.  I have hated our light fixtures for many years, but I’ve never found one better.  But on this trip, my eyes went to a light fixture at the very same moment as my friend pointed to the same light fixture (she knows my tastes well).  I decided immediately to get it, but the icing on the cake is the Swedish name: Fartyg.

We are now referring to all lights as “farty-gees” (as in, “can you turn off the farty-gees if you’re coming upstairs?”), which brings me endless amusement.  Sometimes no one has even said it in hours, but it passes through my mind and I burst out laughing.  Josh commented that my sense-of-humour is like being married to a 10-year-old boy.

Less IKEA-tastic is when one piece broke for the new file cabinet, and I had to drive back to IKEA and spend about two hours trying to get the part.  Which meant that three hours of my day were used up on a broken IKEA piece.  BUT the kicker was that they gave me the wrong replacement part.  So in addition to a more-organized office, I also have a broken drawer that is still waiting for a small piece of plastic.


I once had a boyfriend who commented that I looked tense when I drove because my hands were at 2 o’clock and 10 o’clock on the steering wheel.  He said it in this judgmental tone, one infused with a secondary meaning that I am an uptight bitch OR that I am a terrible driver.  One or the other.  For a long time after he said it, I was self-conscious of it and placed my hands anywhere but 2 and 10.  I would drive one-handed with my fingers curled around the 6 o’clock spot.  Or I’d move them down to an uncomfortable 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock.  Or a completely insane 7 o’clock and 4 o’clock combination.

I still think about this often while I’m driving.


Josh started a new Twitter account, @OldPeopleMag, based on the fact that we are notorious for having People magazines from pre-2008 lying around the house.  Which means that in our world, Brittany and Federline are together forever!  And Bennifer has a real future.  And… er… when we read People magazine, it’s digesting all the news within the frame of knowing how their relationships turned out…  Favourite recent tweets:

If you ask me there’s only one way to describe Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer: A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E! I think Jen hears wedding bells!

NBC announced it will bring it’s sexy, new drama “Playboy Club” to prime time in the fall. It’s the next Mad Men for sure!

Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson look so happy together. A great quarterback and a great entertainer together forever!

Does Bristol Palin have what it takes to win Dancing With the Stars? Will her mom run for President? #dwts


Josh had an inspired parenting moment this past week.  The ChickieNob woke up around 11 pm, disoriented and upset, insisting that Josh wasn’t allowed to go to sleep and needed to check on her every minute.  He had bent down to hug her while she was crying, and she had his neck in a death grip.  We went back and forth with her for about 10 minutes, trying to tease out what was upsetting her, insisting that she needed to sleep, and that it would be unhealthy (and insane) for her father to forgo sleep so he could open her bedroom door and peek in once every 60 seconds.

He asked her to reach into her heart and hand him her worries and promised that he would keep them in his pocket so she didn’t have to have her worries in bed with her at night.  I thought that idea was fantastic, though the ChickieNob touched her chest, touched his hand, and then went back to bawling.

He was standing up to leave the room, and she had reached hysteria proportions, screaming and crying as if he had just announced that he was putting all of her stuffed animals through the shredder, when he took off his white t-shirt and handed it to her.  “Why don’t you sleep with this?”  It was still warm from his body and had his smell.  She stopped crying, curled back up in the bed, and went to sleep clutching it.

It’s what we used to do when we first separated the twins from the same crib.  She couldn’t sleep without her brother and would sob, so we started putting her to sleep with a burp cloth that he had soiled with his smelly special formula vomit and drool.  And we’d give him one of her soiled burp cloths.  And they’d both curl up with the other one’s smell (their heads also only three inches from each other since the cribs were in the same room) and go to sleep.

Sometimes we just need a reminder of the other person with us at all times.

What is your favourite smell memory?  What smell brings you comfort?


1 cattiz j { 10.13.11 at 8:39 am }

Do you know that Fartyg means Ship in Swedish? Ah, now I got a bit homesick.

2 BigP's Heather { 10.13.11 at 9:27 am }

Once, after first moving away from my family, my grandmother sent me a box and it had a bunch of things in it – but it had a towel that had been at her house and smelled like her house. I just held it to my face and cried and cried.

Another time, I needed lotion and didn’t even THINK about it – but grabbed the one kind my mother has always used. I was headed to a movie and threw it into my purse. I put it on during the previews and the smell made me miss her so much. I cried the whole movie and called her after it. Our relationship has changed since that time, so has my life…

Now my favorite smells are Katherine right after her bath when she still smells wet and soapy. And Patrick. And my dog’s paws.

3 Kristin { 10.13.11 at 10:10 am }

I love the light fixture (and the name amuses me greatly too).

The smell of real fir trees (preferably Frasier Fir) always brings up childhood Christmas memories and, omg, the smell of Swedish Coffee Cake http://thefertileinfertile.blogspot.com/2009/12/great-recipe-round-up-trial-edition.html reminds me of me mom and holiday baking.

4 Becky { 10.13.11 at 10:15 am }

Yeast rolls cooking, hands down, is my fav smell. Reminds me of my grandmother, who used to cook them. Love that smell. It evokes a warmth, a feeling of safety, and I can see her smiling face and feel her comforting arms. It’s the best.

5 a { 10.13.11 at 10:46 am }

Chicken soup reminds me of my grandmother. But it has to be her chicken soup.

The name of your light fixture reminds me of the time we went to my SIL’s house and my daughter met her sheep, Smokey. My daughter started calling him Fartigo. I couldn’t figure out where she got the name. Turns out she misheard the name of a horse, which was Fargo. Fartigo was a much better name.

6 flmgodog { 10.13.11 at 11:50 am }

Wonder if the t-shirt idea will work with my four year old….lately she ALWAYS wants me to sleep in her bed.

7 Eggs In A Row { 10.13.11 at 11:51 am }

Shalimar mixed with the waxy smell of Revlon Red and Cover Girl powder and coffee. That’s what my grandma always smelled like. I miss her so much that I can’t breathe sometimes, and I will just close my eyes and conjure up the smell. I think that is why I love the Jewish holidays so much…the brisket and the soup and the challot baking all smell so good and familiar, and it’s easy for me to pretend that she is here, underneath all of those yummy aromas.

Smells can play a trick on your mind, I think. Recently my hubby got a sample of cologne that he really liked. It was the cologne that my first love wore RELIGIOUSLY. The minute I smelled it, I was 19, insecure, and convinced he was cheating on me. 😉

8 Eggs In A Row { 10.13.11 at 11:53 am }

Also: I have many magazines to contribute to Josh’s twitter account. I’m sure my husband would love in on the action, he harasses me about my stash constantly. Does he have any use for some bridal magazines circa ’07?

9 HereWeGoAJen { 10.13.11 at 1:16 pm }

Mmm, colored coded filing. You have a label maker, right?

Every time my sister rides in my car, she says “you don’t have to put your hands right just for me.” Apparently she thinks I am trying to influence her driving by driving “correctly” myself. But no, that is just how I drive.

10 Lori Lavender Luz { 10.13.11 at 1:45 pm }

I’ve LOVED Josh’s retweets of @OldPeopleMag. I’m following now. Good to know where to get all my olds (opposite of news).

Josh is such a good dad. Love the way he handled that, and must remember.

Hmmm…this would probably not be a good place to say that the smell of bacon makes me think of Saturday mornings growing up, playing and familying and lolling about with no cares.

11 Lacie { 10.13.11 at 3:10 pm }

Josh is awesome and so are the farty Gs.

12 A.M.S { 10.13.11 at 3:56 pm }

The smell of garlic and onions. It’s the smell that always meant my mom was making a big pot of spaghetti sauce that would simmer all day until you were insane with cravings by dinner time. Smells more like home and comfort and love to me than anything else.

When we first started dating, S would always slip away before the end of a date to put on a bit more cologne so that when he gave me a goodnight hug it would transfer to my sweater and I’d have his smell with me the rest of the night.

13 Mina { 10.13.11 at 4:13 pm }

In German, when they give the traffic report, they tell you where the radars (Blitzer) are and they end on a cheery tone, wishing everyone “Eine gute Fahrt” (the h is silent). After all this time, I still giggle.

Citrus-y hand cream remind me of my mum. But now my favourite smell is George’s, sort of vanilla milk cream… Can’t really describe it, but it’s great and it calms me no matter what. I am calmer when I hold him or get a whiff of him.

14 Justine { 10.13.11 at 10:14 pm }

Gotta love IKEA. We have an item in our basement that is a catch all for wires and duct tape and electronic parts, and it’s called Antonius. Which is how we refer to it, personifying it.

Smells: hard to pick just one. Apple compote reminds me of my dad. As does Old Spice. My grandma’s kitchen smelled like pumpkin bread. And for some reason, I am always comforted by the smell of apple pie. Which is why I have one baking right now. 🙂

15 frankiesoup { 10.14.11 at 4:23 am }

My grandparents’ house had a really unique smell that no one has ever been able to replicate – years of baking combined with a chronic overuse of WD40 lubricant.

If I ever find a similar smell in the world, I will roll in it and then never wash again – I never want memories of that place to leave me.

16 loribeth { 10.14.11 at 1:46 pm }

The smell of coffee, & Folgers in particular, instantly brings me back to my grandmother’s kitchen. She always had a pot going & people were always dropping by to visit. So much laughter in that cozy old kitchen. It’s 12 years this month since she died, 13 for my grandfather. I still miss them both terribly.

17 Baby Smiling In Back Seat { 10.15.11 at 2:16 am }

I read the @OldPeopleMag handle not as old copies of People magazine but as a magazine about old people.

The smell of the shampoo that my twins used as babies is distinctive and so evocative.

18 {sue} { 10.17.11 at 9:30 am }

I live right near IKEA! If you have to come back and stand in line, let me know and I’ll bring coffee!

19 Bea { 10.18.11 at 9:40 am }

Congrats on the desk! I have a similar style… it is never closed, so… hopefully you will do better.

Hive five for Josh! Such a sweet story.

Bah to comments on what makes you look tense.


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