Monday, March 29, 2010

Myth of the Golden Age

Recently, I was playing bunco with a bunch of wonderful women. (Yes, I play bunco now. That's another post entirely.) We were taking turns answering questions from one of those ice-breaker books and a really great issue came up.

Do you think the world will be a better place 100 years from now?

I immediately answered "Of course!"

A bit too loudly it turns out because everyone else just as quickly answered no. One woman in particular seemed to be shocked by my answer. As way of explanation, I made the most logical analogy I could which was "Well would you want to live 100 years ago?" This seemed obvious to me - if you think life is better now than 100 years ago, why wouldn't it continue getting better? The march of modern civilization. Yada yada yada.

It seemed just as obvious to me that her answer would be no. Of course she doesn't want to live 100 years ago! As a woman, you couldn't vote, own property in most states, and your husband could beat or rape you with impunity. I mean 1910 was not exactly the year of the woman.

Well, imagine my surprise when she answered yes. In fact, several women in the room seemed interested in the glory days of the early 20th Century - before birth control, before microwaves, before OPRAH.

And the myth of the golden age strikes again.

"Kids these days just don't respect their elders." "Parents just let their children run wild now a days!" "When I was young, people showed personal responsibility."


I understand that it is most likely some basic psychological response that is hard-wired into our brains but just the same. Things really weren't that great 20 or 50 or 100 years ago. I'm 28 and I had friends having sex in 6th grade. My mother is in her 50's. In high school, she wore skirts so short they wouldn't pass a dress code in the tri-state area. My great-grandmother is 98. When Elvis came along, I'm pretty sure he looked to her like the second coming of Satan.

What I'm saying is that we should all just calm the hell down.

I know the internet seems like a wellspring for every form of sexual deviance known to man but it also is source of support and endless information to those who need it. I know that there is some pretty nasty stuff on TV but there is also amazing art that inspires and educates. And I know some kids really don't have any respect for their elders but they aren't the first and I truly believe they are the exception not the rule.

There are some really great kids out there. Kids who will encounter a world full of promise and possibility.

At least I hope so, because I'm currently raising one myself.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 311

With all the crawling and pulling up, it was only a matter of time before we started on the bumps and bruises too. Here is the first really bad one - right smack in the middle of his cheek. It looks like we've been slapping him around, which I promise we ONLY do when he forgets to pick up the beer with the pizza.

Day 310

So, first I decided to take a shot of Griffin's new favorite thing - pulling up on to his knees on the coffee table - but then...

I looked over and he was suddenly doing THIS!

Monday, March 22, 2010

And we have lift off...

day 309

We had a big Stewart family dinner last night. It was our biggest crowd yet - 10 adults and two children. Last night was my dad's last night in town so he came over with my grandmother, uncle and aunt, cousin, his girlfriend and her adorable son Conner. Nicholas made spaghetti and meatballs, along with eggplant rollatini. It was all delicious and a huge hit.

Conner kept asking if he could play with Griffin and was so sweet with him - even though Griffin wanted every single toy Conner picked up. I guess we'll have to work on that whole sharing thing. ;)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Day 308

This is four out of five generations. On the far left is Griffin's great-great grandmother Maggie Stewart. She is 95 years old. Next to her is my father John and I think you know the next two ;)

Sadly, my grandfather Junior - our missing fourth generation - passed away several years ago. It breaks my heart because I know he would have been Griffin's biggest fan.

Day 307

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 306

Yesterday was the perfect spring day. Not too hot. Not too cold. Blinding sunshine ALL DAY LONG. I walked around all day feeling like I'd just won the lottery.

On top of all that spring happiness, my dad is in town for a visit. He was so happy to see Griffin and vice versa. We had a wonderful day including a trip to the park for some time in the swings. Fun was had by all. :)

Day 305

Monday, March 15, 2010

dispatches from quilt city

Dear Paducah,

Last week was our one year anniversary. I'm sorry I forgot to send a card.

I know our first break-up was hard. You were just a little two clingy those first 18 years and I really needed some space. But now? Now, I think we've both learned some things. We're more mature. We can communicate like adults. I'm so proud of both of us.

I love those things about you that never change. The way people always say hello - the greetings from those who knew you as a child are especially sweet. The buildings that are like the beloved faces of long lost relatives - the Hotel Irvin Cobb, Concord Elementary, the old Coca-Cola plant. The old men in overalls and trucker hats who turn up when and where you least expect them. The rolling fields and crumbling barns that still take my breath away after all this time.

But I also love some of the changes you have made. I love getting coffee at Etc. and seeing all the artists gathered for their morning chats. I love the new nature walk at Noble Park and how the whole town seems to be there when the sun is shining. I love how excited everyone got when the ice rink opened at the start of winter. Most of all, I love seeing you through my new eyes as a parent. Paducah, you raised me and I think it speaks to the trust between us that I want you to raise Griffin, too.

What I'm trying to say is that I think it's going pretty well. You might not have all the sexy offerings of the big city and I still really wish you had a Target. But, at the end of the day, I think we just might make it.

Plus when we fight, it's nothing a couple Red's donuts can't fix.



Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 300

I mean COME ON. Are y'all still sitting up or did you keel over from the adorableness? I hope you didn't hurt yourself on the way down.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Master Bedroom and Bath

It's been a while since I've posted pictures of our home. As far as y'all know, we've been living in a kitchen, dining room and nursery all this time.

I've been trying to wait until every room is "finished" before I post pictures but am starting to realize my idea of finished might be a tad too exacting. As in, no room is really ever FINISHED-finished. So as long as there aren't huge pieces left to get or major improvements to make I'm going to try to get up pictures of the rest of the house as soon as I can.

Here is our bedroom:

As usual, most of the credit goes to my Aunt Lana who found the awesome floral that inspired the room. She helped me pick out the gorgeous blue on the walls and had the inspired idea to cover my headboard and the ottoman at the end of the bed. Thanks also goes to my mom and Nanny who put their sewing skills to use for me.

This mirror is probably my favorite piece in the room. My mom bought it at an auction for an insanely cheap price. It had a floral scene in the panel that I painted over. Then my mom painted our monogram in in and I think it looks lovely.

When we first bought the house, the master bath was my most hated room. It was weirdly arranged and had only a shower pod and a pedestal sink. I mean you can't get ready at a PEDESTAL sink. It's like against the laws of physics or something. I told Nicholas I would move in only if we remodeled this bathroom beforehand. We basically gutted the entire thing. Took out the shower and pedestal sink. Put in a beautiful new mosaic floor and soaking tub. Painted over the fluorescent turquoise and VOILA a spa-like oasis in which no boys are allowed. I don't care how cute and little they are. ;)

Day 296

Griffin and his Great-Grandaddy Bud.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

And the winner is...

I must share my snarky fashion commentary with the world!!!

7:16 - Cameron Diaz just said the EXACT same thing to Sheri Shepherd that she did to Ryan Seacrest.

7:21 - Tina Fey's ensemble is boring me.

7:22 - I don't know what pains me more Kathy Ireland talking or Miley Cyrus's posture. It's a toss-up.

7:23 - I think Jeff Bridges is sexy and I'm not embarrassed to say it. His wife looks fantastic. Someone want to buy me those earrings? Anyone? Anyone? No? ... And Kate Winslet's necklace. How about now? Any one feeling generous?

7:24 - Could I be happier for Gabourey Sidibe? I mean what if she won. I mean we all know Sandy or Meryl are going to win but WHAT IF? Either way she looks amazing so there's that.

7:25 - Meryl looks resplendent. That's right - resplendent! I wish she were my aunt. No disrespect to my current aunts. ;)

7:28 - I will not be seeing The Back-up Plan, in case anyone was wondering.

7:30 - Whoa whoa why are they making them all stand there? Tad awkward I think. HA! Gabourey Sidibe worked it! LOVE IT!

7:32 - I wish Neil Patrick Harris was actually hosting!?! I wish he were one of my gay best friends (no offense to my current best gays).

7:33 - I guess Steve Martin and Alex Baldwin were like "We don't sing."

7:38 - I don't like the stage. I remember really loving it last year and this year I think it looks cheesy.

7:39 - Why did Alex Baldwin dye his hair? I like the grey.

7:40 - Sam Worthington did not think the Avatar bit was funny.

7:41 - I really hope this War of Roses Cameron/Bigelow thing doesn't go on all night. It's getting old real fast.

7:43 - It pains me to say this but George Clooney does not look his best. He needs a haircut - just like my husband!

7:44 - I have Woody winning this. Let's see if I'm right.

7:48 - I know Christoph Waltz was the expected winner. I hope there are SOME surprises tonight or this could get boring.

7:51 - DUDE they're doing clips from ALL TEN best film nominees.

7:56 - Cameron Diaz looks dreamy.

7:59 - Up. Duh.

8:01 - Look! It's like how to be classy v. trashy!

8:03 - Nine was TERRIBLE - like I almost walked out terrible.

8:04 - Called it. T. Bone of course.... My mom thought Crazy Heart was about T. Bone Burnett.

8:05 - Nicholas, I love you more than rainbows.

8:06 - I've seen all of the Best Picture nominees except A Serious Man, because Netflix is a jerk. District 9 started strong but finished kind of lame. That's about all I got on it.

8:12 - I'm adding to what I said about Tina Fey. Her dress is boring. Her makeup and hair are just bad.

8:13 - Do you think RDJ purposefully matched his tie to his glasses?

8:14 - I'm predicting Hurt Locker.

8:15 - SNAP! Nicholas predicted Inglourious Basterds. I guess it's official - I'm the smarter spouse! ;)

8:17 - I was confused for a moment. Now, I get it. John Hughes tribute. I'm in favor.

8:18 - HA! What must it be like to walk around as Ferris Bueller the rest of your life? FYI I can quote ALMOST all of that movie.

8:20 - I watched Some Kind of Wonderful for the first time the other day. I didn't enjoy it.

8:21 - Did you know John Hughes had Beethoven's FIFTH? As in a FOURTH followup to Beethoven. Can't believe they left that out of the tribute. Sorry, I don't mean to speak ill of the dead.

8:22 - LOVING the reunion!

8:24 - If you didn't cry during Up, you have no heart.

8:27 - Zoe Saldano needs to have a piece of my coca cola cake. Girlfriend is T-H-I-N.

8:29 - Oh I'm feeling this. I mean who doesn't wonder what the heck this category is about.

8:30 - OMG that baby is so scary. We saw that when they rebroadcast all of Pixar's shorts on ABC a while back. Soooo creepy!

8:31 - I think I predicted Logorama. ... HA! I'm awesome!

8:33 - I picked the Rabit one. Oh well.

8:34 - WHOA WHOA WHOA Is this woman supposed to be up there? What's going on?

8:35 - Ok apparently she's supposed to there. I picked Miracle Fish for this one.

8:37 - Not to be a jerk but if you're going to wear tails your shirt shouldn't be hanging out the bottom.

8:38 - How many Avatars will there be at Halloween? A million. 2 million. I dread it.

8:39 - I predicted Young Victoria just because I LOVED it and I want it to win something.

8:41 - Ok so vulcan ears might be harder than making Emily Blunt look pretty. Whatever.

8:42 - Should I see Star Trek? Is it good? I think it's in my que.

8:43 - I mean come on - he's sexy right? WAY sexy.

8:48 - I wish Rachel McAdams was my friend. I picked Up in the Air.

8:50 - I'm happy with these results. I want Precious to win some statues.

8:51 - "This is for everyone who works on a dream everyday." Nice.

8:52 - U-N-I-T-Y

8:54 - If I am half as awesome as Lauren Bacall when I'm her age - or hell even now - I will be lovin life.

8:56 - Vera Farmiga and Penelope Cruz are wearing very similar dresses.

8:57 - Wait, who won best supporting actor last year? Why is Robin Williams presenting?

8:58 - "I type with purpose." I love that line.

8:59 - Not even kidding. I am sitting here dreading Monique clips because I will then be haunted by that character again for weeks and weeks. Shiver.

9:00 - An Education is really, really, really wonderful and Cary Mulligan makes it.

9:05 - The ribbon and the sash are too much. One or the other.

9:06 - I picked Avatar for all these boring technical awards.

9:07 - Seriously, do we really need to kiss James Cameron's ass anymore?

9:09 - I (heart) SJP I do and I will go see the Sex and the City sequel but that dress is terrible.

9:10 - Bright Star should win. Her outfits were integral and had a presence all their own.

9:11 - I mean is it me or do costume designers always look terrible!?!

9:12 - Here's fun story. As I was leaving Precious thinking, "I need a therapy session." I saw a girl - I'd say 9 or 10 - leaving the theater. It's a good thing I don't have DFACS on speed dial.

9:16 - Harold Wheeler does DWTS! I love him!

9:17 - Ok, it's 9:17 and we're only like a halfway through. Shouldn't we cut all the cutesy skits?

9:18 - Kristen Stewart Wears. Me. Out.

9:19 - Jaws is scary y'all. For real. I thought it was going to be lame. Not lame. Scary.

9:22 - Lovin Anna's dress. It's so lovely. I can't wear that color and it's not fair.

9:25 - Shocking! I was sure Avatar would win all these technical awards. I was also hoping they'd give Avatar a bunch of small awards and wouldn't feel obligated to give them Best Picture.

9:27 - I'm worried now. What if it works in the reverse?

9:28 - HA! Elizabeth Banks plunked down those stairs like she wasn't scared at all! Love it!

9:29 - I like her other dress better.

9:30 - I enjoyed Inglourious Basterds. It's weird to watch a WWII movie you know is completely false but still it was good.

9:34 - WHOA! Her dress looks about ten times of fantastic under those lights. It wasn't near that exciting on the red carpet.

9:37 - FYI Demi Moore gave birth to her first child in Paducah, KY.

9:38 - I always want to kiss James Taylor on top of his big old bald head.

9:39 - MARTY! Everyone should see that movie - it is one of my all time favorites.

9:45 - JLo's dress looks like bubble wrap.

9:46 - This reminds me of how excited I am about the new season of DWTS.

9:49 - Up should win. So wonderful and memorable. Didn't you leave the theater humming it?

9:54 - I do not find Gerard Butler attractive. He's getting by on his accent.

9:55 - Avatar winning Best Special Effects about sums up how I'm feeling about this Oscar-cast.

9:57 - Up in the Air was just well-done. Well written. Well acted. Well directed. Well done.

10:00 - That Modern Family commercial was funnier than every joke COMBINED in the actual Oscars.

10:01 - I want to go on vacation with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck and their families. I saw a picture of them surfing once and was so jealous!

10:02 - The Cove was so affecting. I hope it wins. Although if Food Inc won, more people would see it and that would be a good thing.

10:04 - Sweet! WAIT! Fisher Stevens did this!?! Wild!

10:07 - Seriously! Keanu got The Hurt Locker. They couldn't do any better?

10:10 - I have genuine affection for Quentin Tarantino. I can't help it.

10:16 - This guy is way cute.

10:20 - It's trite. It's lame. It's AVATAR!

10:24 - Dude, Michelle Pfieffer's dress looks a lot like Vera's and Penelope's.

10:26 - This is nice. Jeff Bridges looks like he might cry.

10:28 - I've met Julianne Moore in real life. She is tee tiny and very very nice.

10:28 - Dear God in heaven, Please don't let them do this for Best Director. If I have to listen to someone go on and on about James Cameron someone is going to get hurt.

10:31 - How do I arrange a lunch with Kate Winslet, Rachel McAdams and Julia Roberts?

10:32 - The Dude abides.

10:39 - Listen, I love Sandra Bullock but Meryl, Carey, Gabby ALL did better jobs.


10:43 - DUDE Spoiler alert Peter!!! Some haven't seen the movie!

10:44 - So you're Gabby. You are nominated for an Oscar and OPRAH is introducing you. Whoa.

10:47 - Come on Academy. Surprise me!

10:48 - Wow. Even though everyone knew she was going to win, it's still kind of crazy. I mean who wins a Best Actress Oscar AND a Razzy in the same year?

10:51 - As a new mommy, loving her speech.

10:52 - If I sat through this whole thing and Katherine Bigelow doesn't win I am going to be so freaking pissed.

10:53 - YIPEE!!! It only took 82 years!

10:58 - YEAH!!! The Hurt Locker was brilliant. I'm so glad it won!

And I'm out! It's been fun. I'll try to get better live blogging software next time Dewayne. :)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Day 292

This morning when Nicholas went to get Griffin. This is what he found.

BAM! Sitting up!

Like it's no big deal. Like he does it ALL the time.

dispatches from quilt city

Meet Speedy. One of Paducah's most famous citizens.

Speedy was a poor African-American laborer in Paducah during the 1920s. In 1928, Speedy went fishing and never returned. His body was turned over to the Hammock's Funeral Home for a pauper's burial. Instead, the owner A.Z. Hammock used an experimental super-preservative to turn Speedy into a type of statue.

Speedy spent the next several decades in a closet of the funeral home (except for a quick swim during the great flood of 1937) from which he would be pulled out occasionally for the entertainment of tourists and school children. He eventually became a bit of a celebrity appearing in Jet Magazine and Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Eventually, someone took mercy on old Speedy and finally buried him in Maplelawn Cemetery in downtown Paducah.

Now, if that's not a reason to come visit, I don't know what is. :)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Day 291

Griffin had a hard day today. He is apparently allergic to a supplement that we've been putting in his food. Every time it's been his food he's thrown up. For SOME reason I decided that maybe it wasn't the supplement so I put a tiny amount in his breakfast. When he woke up from his nap, he just started throwing up and wouldn't stop. On top of that, he was totally lethargic and would just lay on my chest. It was heartbreaking.

The worst part was I had to go to class but Nicholas came home and he and Mema took great care of him. By this afternoon, he was doing much better and was pretty much himself by this evening. Still, I feel terrible and will never never put that stuff in his food again.

Day 290

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

On Lists

I love lists. Not all lists. Not little to do lists or shopping lists. Big lists. Lists of what you want to accomplish.

When I was in middle school, I remember reading these self-help books for kids. They were all about motivating yourself and achieving your goals. They recommended writing a lists of what you wanted to do in your life.

So I did. I believe it included everything from "Meet Dean Cain" to "Read the Bible." Well, I have never had the honor of meeting Mr. Cain but I actually did finish reading the Bible before I graduated from high school. I guess I've been hooked ever since.

I made another list almost two years ago that has been our family's North Star ever since. It's the one pictured above. I made it in an attempt to convince Nicholas that the changes I were proposing were achievable. As a details man, he was overwhelmed by the prospect of uprooting our lives in DC and all that entailed. However, a professor in college once called me the Queen of Proximate Knowledge and I like to think this means I can also see the bigger picture.

"See this is all we have to do!"

A small list of seven things that would change our lives forever.

Well, that list is almost complete. Even though, the last unchecked item says "Sarah: Take Bar" I refuse to check it off until I've actually passed. However, for all intents and purposes, I think this list has done its job and I've decided to make another list.

I turn 30 on July 28, 2011.

Whoa. Typing that sentence made it seem real.

I'm ready to turn 30. The twenties have been great but I hold no illusions in regards to youth. I think it's because I watched my parents enjoying middle age so much I've always looked forward to it myself.

But just the same - turning 30 is pretty monumental and I was inspired by Making It Lovely who made a list of thirty things she wants to accomplish before turning 30. I decided to do the same and voila!

Thirty before 30
  1. Have another baby.
  2. Visit Abraham Lincoln's birth place and grave.
  3. Watch Griffin play in the ocean for the first time.
  4. Plan the most perfect first birthday for Griffin.
  5. Read A Wrinkle in Time.
  6. Have the most spectacular 30th birthday party.
  7. Organize my pantry.
  8. Learn how to play chess.
  9. Make a crepe cake.
  10. Landscape our yard.
  11. Find a hairstyle I love.
  12. Write a historical fiction short story.
  13. Paint my den and kitchen.
  14. Finish the ancestry book I've been working on.
  15. Have a romantic weekend away with Nicholas sans bebe.
  16. Start doing yoga again.
  17. Run a marathon relay.
  18. Read The Age of Innocence.
  19. Visit my best friend Laura in New York City.
  20. Buy another pair of Manolos.
  21. Go to New Orleans for the first time.
  22. Plan a fantastic girls weekend with my best friends from college who are also turning 30 very soon!
  23. Make these chocolate chip cookies.
  24. Find a job I love.
  25. Turn my current laundry/storage room into a craft/exercise room.
  26. Get a fantastic family portrait taken.
  27. Go back to DC for a visit.
  28. Read The Lacuna.
  29. Go to Lillith Fair.
  30. Learn how to play tennis.