Thursday, September 30, 2010

On Being Half Assed

It’s come to my attention that I’m now a blogger. Probably this isn't the sort of thing that sneaks up on most bloggers. But considering that I’ve spent the last three years reading many blogs and thinking (too) deeply about whether or not a blog was really something I could manage, I think it’s best that Lis has forced my hand.

So hey! I’m a blogger. Which, as Lis kindly reminded me this morning, means I should probably post something once in a while.

First off, let’s discuss this concept of being “half-assed.” A friend of ours started using the term a few years ago, mostly in relation to plans we were making—if it was a “half-assed” plan, it meant we could make the plan without feeling commitment shy about it. A sudden need to cancel an outing wouldn’t be taken as lack of love, ditzyness, lack of responsibility or follow-through, etc. We were close enough to understand that on the morning after one of us had had insomnia all night, a day trip to San Francisco probably wasn’t our best bet. We were close enough to understand that sometimes, even when you technically have a plan with a friend, your introvert nature takes over at the last minute and you must. be. alone.

So that was the origin, but the “half-assed” business has spread to other arenas. While it sounds flip, it’s actually come to mean something pretty important to me, and I think to Lis as well. (Though, just because we now have a blog together, we do not yet have a brain together, so I’ll leave it to her to correct me if I’m wrong.)

What I can say with certainty is that both halves of this here blogging team suffer from a certain...let’s call it a “wealth of perfectionism,” shall we? A wealth of perfectionism that doesn’t always serve us as well as we might hope. So half-assed? Really lightens things up—I mean, if what you’re going for is half-assed, just how nuts can you make yourself with the details? Just how comatose from worry can you become over whether it will all be good enough? Just how much can you bother procrastinating when, after all, you’re only going for half-assed?

And the miraculous thing is that if you set out for half-assed and actually get something done, it’s so much more productive than aiming for perfect and being all tied up in knots about even beginning. Whaddaya know?

Of course, the blog name also makes us laugh because some of us around here aren’t actually mamas at all. But apparently, I’m doing okay as a half-assed auntie. Recently, Lis’s profoundly lovely three-year-old patted my cheeks, looked at me adoringly and said, “My little Amy.”

•a post a day keeps the devil away•

Today is the day I pull out the big orange box from storage. Mwaah-ha-ha! It's time to Dec-o-ween, or else the 31st will be breathing down my neck before I know it. Am I the only one who has holiday-decoration anxiety? Probably. I had regular, year-round nightmares--well into adult-hood--that it was trick-or-treat night and I didn't have a costume. Somehow, I hadn't gotten the memo... time was running out... bowls of candy were being emptied! Porch lights were going dark! Stressful. And, thankfully, only a dream. As if I ever missed a trick-or-treat night in my life. This year, the real hurdles are getting in enough Halloweenery* between harvest festival camping, a trip to cuddle my New York nephews, and concerted efforts toward a home-made "robot kitty" costume, ordered by one Penn Atticus, aged three. It's ON! Big orange box, here I come.

*Halloweenery: gingerbread cookies shaped like bats and cats, corn maze spelunking, pumpkin carving and eating and seed-roasting and beer-toasting, something involving tiny candy-cornish pumpkins, and watching Witches of Eastwick and The Nightmare Before Christmas. Singing "this is Hall-o-ween, this is Hall-o-ween..." reallyreallyfast until my husband joins in and we are prancing around the house.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

•this blog•

Is about pies and people and various other half-baked goods. Above: train cakes, by Amy, for a certain three-year-old's birthday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

•everything ripe at once•

Biking past a pomegranate bush the other day, I almost wiped out. Split skin? Really? It was the first day of Autumn of this cool, removed year, and everything has been late in 2010, so I shouldn't have been surprised. I suppose I just forgot that 'late' doesn't mean 'never'. I've been watching the pistachio trees like a hawk, and they are just now coming ripe. The blush on the nut-hull is deceptive, so you have to feel for a plump quality, a varicoscity to the oval that signals the inside shell is split and ready. Until the pistachios puff up like that, there's no use picking any; the husk won’t pop off, and the nut will stay sealed like a chuffed clam.

The pomegranates have begun to split, and it seems like all of a sudden. The Leaf-Footed Bugs are mating with fervor, as though to underscore my discovery. Everything is ripe, and I almost missed it. Isn't that how it always goes? We are paying attention, paying attention, paying attention and then--whoops! Rug out from under. Apart from those abhorrent bugs on top of bugs, the pomegranates seem to be having a good year. The quince are also happening; I discovered a long hedge row of tiny globes a few blocks from my house. I threw some in the oven this morning as an experiment. Not sure they're edible, but they smell nice, and are more manageable now.* There are jujubes; tiny date-like apples that are so sweet this year, they're almost better green than wrinkely-ripe. Anyway, they ripened first and I couldn't wait. This week, I swear, everything. And still more grapes, tomatoes--fruit everywhere. I washed my hair four times, and still had to comb out a dreadlock. Fig milk, pistachio sap. Pine-pitch cowpies on the bike path. Another experiment: save that stuff for the campfire.

To celebrate the Equinox, my toddler had a pomegranate bath. It was really more of a way to break up the afternoon (and save a tremendous load of clean-up), but it happened to be the 23rd. Safely under water, he tore apart purse after jeweled purse. In between seedy mouthfuls, he floated boats of membrane. I took advantage of the opportunity to give him a haircut.



*If you know another way to avoid peeling and coring quince, please advise.