Monday, April 20, 2015

Book review: Bow Wow Orders Lunch

When it comes to the great literature I've been reading lately, nothing compares to the book Bow Wow Orders Lunch.  In the history of literature, right there alongside Moby Dick and À la recherche du temps perdu, sits this unparalleled tome.

In its sophisticated plot the reader finds an intricate pattern that weaves its metaphors back and forth.  The plot and sandwich thicken and we are led through a veritable maze of materialistic metaphor, in which the sandwich represents the rise and fall of the bourgeoisie.  First it builds itself steadily.  The cheese of hope, the bread of a good, plentiful economy -- together they form the perfect equation for attaining the American Dream, building and building, rising and rising...

But then, ah, a twist!  And what a twist is is.  The pattern of wealth and plenty comes to an abrupt halt when there is too much bread.  Bow Wow thought that his cheese/bread back and forth would continue on as it always had, but then, things changed, right out of nowhere.  Bow Wow sees this happen and as he breathes the single, solitary word "No" in horror (the horror, the horror) the bread bubble bursts.  The pattern has changed.  Nothing will ever be the same.

What is a dog to do when things change?  How can Bow Wow adapt to his new situation?  There is less hope in this new sandwich economy -- less cheese, you might say.  The cheese and bread are no longer equal, which is a clear metaphor for how the classes were driven further apart and further inequality was highlighted during the housing crisis. 

What I found really fascinating though was the abrupt ending.  Much like the final slam of a door to a house someone is fleeing in the dead of night due to foreclosure, Bow Wow slams his story shut.

It feels abrupt, but right, too, a final act of defiance against the sandwich economy given to Bow Wow.  He refuses to play.  The denouement is the finest part of the book as it leaves the reader not merely satisfied but achingly full, as though they too have consumed the sandwich with Bow Wow.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pale picnic

We went on a Victorian/Steampunk picnic in Maymont over the weekend, in case you're not an RVA reader and don't immediately recognize the standard picnic place.  I used to own Steampunkish/Victorian clothes!  Alas, this is the best I can do these days.  Apparently the Hayley who bought Steampunk clothes was a more lithe elven thing than the current Hayley.  Whatever though, I think I'm cuter now anyway.  WHATEVER STEAMPUNK CLOTHES, WHATEVER!  I never loved you anyway.


Also: I should really buy stock in sunblock.

Monday, April 6, 2015


I bought that sewing machine and I still haven't taken it out of the box.

The Amazon box it came in through the mail, I should add.  So really, there are two boxes I haven't opened -- the big Amazon box holding the smaller sewing machine in its box....I've achieved the matryoshka doll level of apathy.

It's not that I'm apathetic though, not really.  I want to learn to make stuff!  I'm just so tired.  But not opening a "present" I bought myself is probably a new low.  Do babies give you mono?  That must be it.

Matryoshka print by SandraSuarez

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Something New: Wee Morning Tea

I've been feeling a lot of lassitude about blogging.  But the minute I started working on things this new way, I felt a spring in my proverbial step.  Maybe it's the spring outside, maybe it's the change in writing style & purpose, but this feels like a good direction for me to take.  It has the capacity to be a little more intimate and private.  I've been emailing more lately, rather than only using Facebook for quick chats, and I had forgotten how much I like the letter-format of communication.  I had boxes of letters sent to me from a friend saved for so long.  I'm sad I don't have them anymore.  I want to reignite that feeling of the personal, and combine it with a little pep.

What is this new direction?

Starting now, I'm going to be writing Wee Morning Tea as a weekly spinoff from Wee Hermione.  It'll be the usual books, cleverness, friendship & bravery* steeped just right and sent to your inbox every Thursday morning.  Some of Wee Morning Tea's content will be personal, like the regular blog.  Some of its content will be motivational (but never Pinterest-y aspirational, because barf).  All of it will be calibrated to start your morning off right, with zero horrible news click-bait stories, because I don't know about you, but lately my morning NPR check has been making me want to vomcry.  Also, there might be ponies. Because sometimes you need a wee pony with your morning tea.

(Obvs that's just a screenshot of my actual sign-up page here, or you can subscribe below instantly.)

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*“Books! And cleverness! There are more important things--friendship and bravery" -- Hermione Granger

Monday, March 23, 2015

Dreams: sewing, sign language, sleep

There are so many things I want to DO -- dreams that I've been thinking of forever but haven't made a move to make mappen.  I've finally taken the plunge on one of them by ordering myself a new sewing machine (specifically a Singer 7258*).  I've dreamed of learning to quilt for a long time, mostly because I follow people who have really advanced skills like Nicole of Stitch Press Quilt and Lindsey of Lost and Fawned and Patrick's Aunt Jane who makes award-winning art quilts.  PLUS, I've got a tiny baby and who better to make quilts for than a baby who won't even judge my skill level?  AND her being a tiny little baby and all, I can maybe make some cute baby clothes for her, which sound way easier to make than clothes for people whose proportions are not "eggplant" (yeah yeah, you might be pear-shaped, but your whole body is not the size of pear!).

This week while I was in my post-septoplasty/turbinate-surgery haze of meds --> pass out for 3 hours in a dead-to-the-world nap --> lay on the couch with the Internet --> rinse/repeat...Patrick got the official news that he passed his End Of Program exams for his master's degree (with honors!), hooray!  He took a week off for them a month ago, so now we're even in terms of using our vacation weeks for Very Un-Fun Things this year.  He's thinking of getting a certificate in American Sign Language studies too, so he might continue his education and go straight into that short program this fall.  Luckily, since it's not a second master's, it's a reasonable expense for something he wants to do, wants to teach Freddie, and could tack onto his resume.  

It's all about the setting and reaching of dreams around House DeRoche these days.  Lest that sound like these things just magically happen and it's golden every time from sewing machines to sign language classes, it's more like we bring our goals to the table then hem and haw forever going back and forth about worth vs expense, all the what-ifs and why-fors.  Lots of discussion takes place, mostly because as Patrick rightly points out, I worry about money and he doesn't**.  It works itself out and we're able to find common ground by, ugh, compromise (does anybody REALLY like compromise? Compromises aren't entirely win-win.) which is good, but not interesting to blog about?  I don't know.  Maybe it IS interesting.  It's human right?  Handling household finances is a tricky thing, and is a balancing act.  We might disagree on whether to spend money on (gasp) hiring someone to clean the house vs taking a vacation in two years, but reaching goals is an agreement we've come to -- if the other person has a goal, spending money to achieve that goal is on the table for consideration.  It doesn't mean an automatic yes, but it gets due consideration when doing the YNAB*** ledgers every weekend.

And on the better side of the Un-Fun Use of Vacation Days coin (and the good side of the Financial Compromises coin), while my mom watches the baby for her first overnight away from us (eek) we're still taking a day for our 5th wedding anniversary to hit up a local B&B.  And I do mean very local!  (No, not our house.  Not doing the AirBnB thing...yet.)  It's just a fancypants B&B that's a few blocks down from where we lived in the Fan (we can dog-sit our own dogs, we'll be so close...hah!).  I am very excited since all the rooms are named after SLEEPING.  The Slumber room, the Dream room, the...I forget the other one.  Dead to the World room?  Passed Out room?  Nightmare room (hope not).  Anyway.  The point is, sleeping is the THEME, and we're gonna sleep so hard.  This B&B gets me.  

*Affiliate link used
**Money and our relationships to it = so very complicated, right?
***Referral code used -- you save $6, I get $6

Thursday, March 19, 2015

This is the eBook equivalent of a mic drop

Wondering if you should vaccinate your child? Look no further! This book has 100 simple answers to the question, formatted in a way that's guaranteed to be a fast, easy read for busy parents-on-the-go. Buy your copy today and toss an extra copy in your cart for that person you're arguing with on the Internet. 

*Disclaimer: This book is not intended to be medical advice. Please talk to your pediatrician 
about vaccinating your child, though. Seriously.

Shot + Chaser

I know, I'm terrible right?  Luring you into this post with a cute baby picture, then walloping you over the head with a picture of my swollen sad schnoz (I guess technically my nose-shot should be the shot and the cute baby should be the chaser though?).  I swear I'm not posting this as a pity-post!  It's just how things are this week.  Anyway, Wednesday was better than Thursday Tuesday (I can't even keep my days straight).  My mom, BLESS HER, has been taking care of Freddie here at our house instead of hers so she could also take care of me.  So basically she's been taking care of TWO BABIES.  My mom is a saint.  Insert wine emoji + halo emoji here!  

But less about me and more about me, right?

Parenthood does weird things to you.  I haven't been able to do much with Freddie since I've been on a lot of painkillers and very wobbly on my feet, plus she's had a recent fascination with people's faces...particularly noses, which nooooooo.  So, I haven't been able to hold her much, and I've been sleeping away from our bedroom on the couch downstairs (which you'd think would be amazing, but is actually kind of lonely), but finally tonight she was fussy and so I offered to change her.

"I can do it very carefully!" I insisted, and it was like getting a small shot of feel-good-ness.  Yes, I've become that person who says they're happy to change a small sad wet diaper baby.  But I hadn't held her much over the past few days and I needed a cuddle however I could get one.