December 2012

It’s not the end of the year if I don’t have a best of list, right? In no order and not including life events (becoming an aunt, duh):

Best things:

  • Microtel in Jonestown, NY
  • Stella’s in Richmond —  I dream of pastichio
  • The scene from“Louis” when he performs the Who song in the car in front of his unfazed children (Season 2, episode 5, “Country Drive”)
  • The reaping scene in “The Hunger Games”
  • Marisa Wompler’s “Comedy Bang Bang” podcast appearances and on her own Christmas special
  • Going to the houses of people who already have small children
  • This recipe (creamy lemon pasta with spinach and greens
  • My daughter yelling “COME ON, MAN” when I wouldn’t let her put on her favorite shirt which has a skateboarding hot dog on it
  • Amy Poehler’s performance this year on “Parks and Recreation,” especially the Halloween episode
  • Jens Lekman
  • C&M Galley Kitchen – It’s going to be the only restaurant we go to from now on when we’re not in the mood for something specific.  It’s so close, it’s reasonably priced, it’s kid-friendly, and I once had an apple juice/bourbon cocktail there that was very good.
  • NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts — Two or three songs performed by almost every musical act that I like
  • Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden – We went for the first time to see the butterfly exhibit and never left we have gone many times since then. I had no idea that the children’s garden existed. Definitely worth the membership fee.
  • Renting a cabin in James River State Park in September
James River State Park. COME ON!

James River State Park. COME ON!

Worst things:

  • Virginia General Assembly vs. women — Sadly, there will surely be a 2013 edition and then a special gubernatorial election edition, but we are ready.  By “we” I mean the people on Facebook who tell me where to go and quietly chant things.
  • My last dining experience at Don’t Look Back — Seriously, the worst.   Although the waiter was nice enough, by the time I had to point out the 6th thing that was wrong I thought I was maybe secretly being taped for a reality show about pushing mild-mannered people to the edge.
  • Contraband — A movie.  A very dumb movie
  • The end of “Everyday Food” in print form
  • Rainbow Fish —  It’s like 4 pages long, one page is the fish asking a starfish why no one likes him and the answer is “I don’t know, ask the octopus.” WHY EVEN BOTHER WRITING/DRAWING THE STARFISH PAGE? Was the book just accidentally written during a lesson on how to draw starfishes?
More like RainBORE Fish

More like RainBORE Fish

Not sure:

  • Our daughter going from shouting “you butt” when she’s mad at us to “you bad boy,” because although “you bad boy” is very funny it’s still her basically swearing at us. However, she has many times said quietly to herself “you bad boy, Charlie Gown” and it’s adorable to hear.

So, the good outweighs the bad. I win this time, year!

When I was pregnant and at a friend’s house playing with her kids, I marveled at a wooden food play set made by Melissa and Doug. I played with it (probably without the kids) for a few minutes. I thought it was so cute. You could cut the vegetables and bread with a little knife because the parts were connected by Velcro.
I had never heard of Melissa and Doug before, so I assumed it was some indie toymaker and you could only special order toys from its one storefront in someplace like Portland, Oregon. I was so surprised that it was on like a normal company. I think my initial discovery of this toy went something like this:
Me: Oh! How delightful. Melissa and Doug? Am I saying that right? We need to remember this next year” (but since this was pre-baby I probably used the “f” word like twelve times).
I had no idea that Melissa and Doug is basically wooden Fisher Price and the toys are stocked everywhere. You can probably get a Melissa and Doug farm animal puzzle at 7-11. Two and a half years later, I have had so much M&D toys cross into my house that I get anxious whenever I see that red and white logo and hate all people named Melissa or Doug (sorry, Doug).  We like what we have but we have enough. The company won’t stop making quality wood toys! People won’t stop buying it and making me put it somewhere in my house!   Do they think I’m made of closets?
In short, contributions to a 529 Plan are an excellent Christmas gift if you are wondering what to get the small child in your life.

More like Melissa and UGH

More like Melissa and UGH


ps — I do LIKE the toys, and the people giving them (especially the wooden block set, although the U for urn block will lead to some serious talks I’m sure).