Tag Archives: mother

Life is perfect, never better; still your daughter, still the same

I am woefully behind on this weekend recap. Blame my insane schedule; by Saturday, I will have reviewed 4 plays this week. It’s actually for the best – since I’m on vacation at the end of the month, I’m getting all my work in early this month, so I’ll still have my happy extra paycheck to look forward to (and I’ll still have gotten to see some excellent theater.) But it does mean last week and this week are a little…well, crazy. To put it nicely. However, next week I get to relax a little, pack for vacation, and do some serious catching up on life. (And then when I’m on vacation, I plan on sleeping for a billion hours to catch up on all the sleep I’ve missed lately. What, you can do that, right? Bank up on sleep? That’s totally a thing, isn’t it?)

If I sleep enough, I could wake up 100 years old. Neat, right? Will there be flying cars?

If I sleep enough, I could wake up 100 years old. Neat, right? Will there be flying cars?

Anyway, let’s recap my weekend of adventure. That’ll be all the fun, won’t it? It totally was a weekend of adventure, too. The best kind of weekend.

I had to work on Saturday. THAT wasn’t the adventure. It never is. But working has to happen, of course. So, work work work. Which was busy, busy, busy. Too many people were calling us on Saturday. I got out early, though, because MOM WAS COMING!

Now, Mom was worried, because she’d never driven to my place by herself before. Or even to Albany by herself before. She’s of course come here before, but either with my dad driving, or with one of her coworkers (she works for a company that has a branch here, so has had to come here before for work things.) She borrowed Dad’s GPS and used it all week to make sure she understood how it worked and was SO NERVOUS it would trick her into driving off the highway or into a lake (I assured her that probably wouldn’t happen but she was unconvinced.) She was supposed to be waiting at my place for me when I got home from work, so I was a little nervous when I got home, she wouldn’t be there and I’d have a final gurgling phone call from the bottom of the lake that nefarious GPS had sucked Mom into.


The GPS didn’t drive her into a lake! She made it all by herself!

This made Mom feel very empowered and strong, and that made me very happy for her. I like when people do something by themselves that they didn’t think they could. It makes them all powerful and glowy.

(Yes, I know I’ve lived here for almost 11 years and she’s never visited me alone. She hates driving long distances by herself, and if she and Dad come for an overnight visit, they stay in a hotel because Dad hates cat hair. This is a true thing. He comes over and he looks at the couch and says, “LOOK. AT. ALL. THAT. CAT. HAIR.” and is very disgusted. Poor Dumbcat. He doesn’t mean to be sheddy.)

First, Mom and I had dinner plans. Mom didn’t want anything weird or fancy, because she doesn’t like weird and fancy things. And I didn’t want to bring her to Olive Garden. (I’m not hating on Olive Garden. I just wanted our weekend adventure to be Albany-centric, and a chain restaurant didn’t fit the bill.) So friend A. said, “Bring her to Ralph’s!” and I was all, “No. What is Ralph’s.” And he was all “MY FAVORITE RESTAURANT EVER!” and I looked it up and it was a nice basic Italian place and that fit the Mom-bill nicely and I asked him if I had to make reservations and he said “Nah,” but I was worried because it was the 4th of July weekend and might be busy, so I called them anyway and they were kind of confused by me. “A reservation? Um. Yeah, I guess we could do that? Your name? How many people? 5:00? Yeah, we’ll get you a VIP table. *snicker*” So that was a little off-putting. But friend A. said it was his FAVORITE RESTAURANT EVER! so that was a very strong recommendation.

Well, it wasn't THIS fancy. We didn't eat at a strip club.

Well, it wasn’t THIS fancy. We didn’t eat at a strip club.

So off to the restaurant we went! And when we got there, there was a huge line! And people walked out all huffy because there was a 20 minute wait! BUT NOT ME AND MOM! Because we were VIPs, baby! (No, seriously, there was a little card on the table that said VIP and everything. It was super-fancy and Mom was all impressed.) The restaurant was not all that fancy, but it was VERY delicious. Mom doesn’t like red sauce so she had chicken with white sauce and pasta and a glass of wine (“but not more than one, or I will embarrass you on our adventure!” she said, and I had to wonder if she’d ever spent any significant time with me at all) and vegetables and salad (they give you a LOT of food at this place) and I had scallops and seasoned fries (good seasoned fries are one of my weaknesses) and the BEST clam chowder and coleslaw that was only meh. And then the waitress decided she forgot bread and brought us the HUGEST basket of bread and that just made us laugh because we had so much food the table was about to collapse. And other than the coleslaw and Mom’s broccoli (which she couldn’t cut and she was trying REALLY HARD) it was SO GOOD. I was stuffed with scallops. Scallops are one of the best things to be stuffed with. This may or may not be a euphemism, and may or may not be slightly scandalous. Your choice.

Then it was time to go to the thee-ay-tah! This was outdoor theater. I am not a fan of outdoor theater for the following reasons:

  • bugs
  • heat

This is also why I am not a fan of camping or hiking or, well, outdoor things. Period. I’m very much an indoor person.

However, when your paper says, “review the outdoor theater!” you go. Because it is the best job ever. I’d review a play in a portapottie if they asked me to.

Courtesy of the Times Union

Ugh, outdoor theater. Bugs. Heat. WHERE IS MY AIR CONDITIONING?

So we went to the park, where the play was. When I entered the park, I drove a safe speed because of children running around in said park. And also I was looking for a parking spot. A black PT Cruiser got right on my tail, which I hate. There’s no reason to be that close to someone. Not even ever. I continued driving carefully (but not even all that slowly) and looking for a spot. EVIL BLACK PT CRUISER GOT EVEN CLOSER TO ME. And then HONKED.



So I did what I almost always do in those situations, and I screamed, “Are you fucking KIDDING me?” and flipped him off through the back window as I pulled into a spot. (And he promptly squealed around me and drove about 50 mph in the park. Hope you didn’t kill any old people or children, asshole!)

With my mom sitting in the passenger seat. My very religious mother, who doesn’t even like me to say the word “shit” and has sure as hellfire-and-eternal-damnation never heard me drop the f-bomb.

I apologized profusely. She said, very quietly, “thank you.” But in a way that meant “all the breath has been knocked out of my body by what you just did.” Also, she brought it up like 47 times over the time she was there. “And then remember the time you said that super-naughty thing when that impatient man honked at you? Because I DO.”

So we went to the play. Now, just so you know, we are in the midst of a heat wave, with the highest, nastiest humidity, and every few hours we get a terrible thunderstorm so we’re always in danger of flooding (and sometimes do – half of the road to work was flooded yesterday morning.) It is terrible and exhausting and I’ve had a constant headache for a week and I’m cranky as hell and wondering when I moved to the rainforest. So, YAY THEATER OUTDOORS.

There was a snack stand where I immediately bought and guzzled a 20-ounce bottle of water. I find it telling I didn’t even have to go to the bathroom that badly afterward. I WAS SWEATING IT ALL OUT. I immediately went back up and got ANOTHER bottle of water, because, well, it was 90°. NINETY DEGREES. In the OUTDOORS.

(Also, the snack stand had a big sign on it that said “SNANCKS.” What’s a snanck?)

Mom was super-impressed that I went up to the box office and said my name and they had tickets for me that I didn’t even have to PAY for, AND the artistic director of the whole theater came over and introduced himself (not as impressed when I said, “Mom, you know that’s the job I was doing at my theater for the last 3 years, right? It’s not so fancy. Also, of course they’re nice. They’re trying to get a good review.”)

The show was good, and a lot of fun (I was a little worried Mom was going to hate it – it was Spamalot, and Mom doesn’t like sketch comedy or things that are foolish – but she liked it very much, and it made her laugh, and she was very impressed with how professional it all was) but I felt TERRIBLE for the actors. Those heavy costumes! That heat! ALL! THAT! DANCING!

I giggled a lot, as always, at the word "shrubbery."

I giggled a lot, as always, at the word “shrubbery.”

Also, side note, Dad’s biggest fear in the theater (I think we’ve discussed this before) is that an actor will come off the stage and grab him and force him to get onstage against his will. At one point in the show, an actor comes off the stage, picks someone out of the audience sitting in a certain seat, and brings them up on stage. Mom leaned over. “Your father would HATE this!” she giggled gleefully.

Then it was home for us, and review-writing for me, and bedtime for Mom. It was also misbehavior time for Dumbcat.

The minute Mom curled up on the couch, Dumbcat used her as a trampoline and jumped with his whole weight on her spleen. “He is heavy and SHARP!” she gasped. But she also laughed because she loves her grandcat.

She said he would be fine and I went to my room to write the review so the laptop and the light didn’t bother her.

After about an hour, there was a HUGE CRASH in the living room. I quietly snuck out. “DUMBCAT!” I hissed. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”

“He’s apparently breaking the whole house,” Mom said in a very sleepy sleepvoice.

What? Not me! I am GUDCAT! I am GRAECFULL and leape around LOTZ, Momme!

I looked all over and couldn’t find him, even in his pots and pans cupboard, but then he appeared from under the couch and we had a merry chase all over the living room and dining room area until I captured him and said “Naughty naughty loud cat!” and brought him back to my room and trapped him in there with a big box fan in the doorway.

He was SO EXCITED. Bed with Mom! ON THE BED WITH MOM! So he headbutted me merrily for a very long time and then fell asleep purring. I was up until very late writing and then emailing people I had been neglecting (sorry if those emails were incomprehensible, people) and then when I left the room to get ready for bed, I trapped Dumbcat in there with the fan so he wouldn’t run amuck in the living room and wake Mom up again.

Well! That didn’t sit well with him. MOM MOM WHERE’D YOU GO, MOM? So he apparently pawed at the box fan with his mitten-paw and managed to knock it over until it made a very loud noise like “wheeeeeeee!” and he LEAPT on it with his big old paws and was FREE! and I was all “Good grief, Dumbcat” but it was too late to go find him because I’m not at all stealthy so I decided Mom would have to deal with loud old Dumbcat on her own.

The mitten-paws in question.

The mitten-paws in question.

Then I woke up in the middle of the night with Dumbcat curled up to me. How he got BACK over the fan without knocking it over? Will remain a mystery. (Leaping, I assume, but he’s about as graceful as an airborne frog, so I’m still stumped.)

Then the next day, Mom got up very early to worship the Lord (she found the church all by herself! Look at her little empowered self go!) and I grumped around on not enough sleep. When she got home, she was all, “How do I get nails like your nails?”

I had fancy nails because I had those Sally Hansen nail sticker thingies on. They’re my favorite because you get to stick them on and they last for like a week and you don’t have to wait for them to dry and there’s no mess. So I was like, “Here! I have a billion boxes of these things. Pick out your favorite, we’ll play beauty shop.”

Mom has always wanted a daughter. I think I saw a tear in her eye.

She wanted boring nails (“No glitter. No skulls. WHY DO YOU HAVE SKULL NAILS? You are so weird”) so we did pearly nails with butterflies on them. I showed her how to stick them on and how to make them pretty and she was all, “THIS IS TOO HARD WITH ONE HAND!” so I ended up doing most of them for her and then I didn’t like that design anyway so I gave her a whole box of the same design to take home with her so she could do her nails all pretty when she got home. She was all “Look at my pretty nails!!!” and that made me laugh.

Then we went to The Nephew’s party, and I’ve already talked about that a little. He was adorable and wonderful and perfect. He always is. And now he is four! Aw, the best age! (I’m biased. They’re all the best age with him.)

And then Mom went home. She made it home in record time because I think she is a little speed demon like her daughter. And we didn’t fight once! And we had many good talks about things going on and she gave me good advice because she knows me very well! And it was a very nice weekend and now she wants to come back when we have more time and we will have more adventures because she knows how to get here ALL BY HERSELF!

Whew, weekend wrapup. Off to bed. Very sleepy. Happy…um…what day is this. Thursday? HAPPIEST OF THURSDAYS! More adventures await us soon!


Bella Italia (now with added self-mummifying saints)

Quick, pop quiz! OTHER than New York City, what was my favorite place I’ve ever visited?

NO, not Poughkeepsie, although some of my favorite people live there. NO, not Albuquerque, although that’s a good guess because you know I love places with “q”s in the name. I think I might have driven through there once, and it was pretty, but too sandy for me. I like green. And trees. Cactuses and pebbles have their place, but give me trees and lawns any day.


When I was twenty, I went to Rome on spring break, the semester I was studying abroad. We spent three or four days there and I fell in LOVE. The people were warm and friendly (and everyone was so beautiful, my goodness); the food was AMAZING (I still think about the gelato and drool a little, discreetly, into my sleeve, of course, like a LADY); the landscape and views and general atmosphere were so welcoming and so beautiful and so…I don’t know. Homey? I felt at home there. We went to a lot of places on that trip, but there was no place that felt as comfortable as Rome. I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay and soak it in for a while longer. Or maybe forever. If I were given unlimited money, I would first buy a home here (because this is home base) and of course a home in New York City (because, well, New York City) and then a home in Rome. Then I’d be done. And I would just cruise between the three places. And fly my friends in for long periods of time. Like a rich person does, you see.

ANYWAY, a couple of days ago, I was on the phone with Dad, and Mom was all “give me the phone I HAVE NEWS!” Well! I like news! Who doesn’t like news, you know?

So! Guess where Mom’s going in October?


Mom’s been to England and Scotland, but never Rome. And Mom’s Catholic. No, please, let me amend. SUPER-CATHOLIC. Like, she should get a cape and probably a belt with a big belt-buckle or something with SC on it. She is JUST THAT CATHOLIC. So where would super-Catholic people like to go? What is their (sorry for the analogy, but it’s apt) Mecca? Rome, of course.

Mom has been envious for YEARS that I got to go to St. Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel and she’s never been. She might think this borders on sacrilege, honestly. I’m not 100% sure what she thinks 20-year-old me was DOING at St. Peter’s. Being inappropriate? Laughing at the statues? Screaming “WHERE THE POPE BE AT, YO?” I can tell you I was very quiet and calm and reverent. That place was awe-inspiring, even though I am very much a lapsed Catholic. (I would imagine I would have the same type of reverence in an impressive mosque or temple, too, though. My ability to be impressed by beauty knows no religious boundaries. Should it? I don’t think it should.)

"Yo yo yo, where ma bitches at?" is not a thing I said at St. Peter's, Mom. Also, I didn't even laugh at the half-naked statues. Like a LADY.

“Yo yo yo, where ma homies at?” is not a thing I said at St. Peter’s, Mom. Also, I didn’t even laugh at the half-naked statues. Like a LADY.

Anyway, one of Mom’s coworkers heard about a tour to Rome from someone, and got a flyer, and found out if you go alone, you get roomed with a stranger, but if two of you go, you can room together. So she asked Mom, somewhat hypothetically, “You wouldn’t want to go to Rome, would you?”

Mom would. Mom SO would.

But Mom had a question for me first.

“Amy, it’s on your birthday. I told M. I had to ask if that would be ok with you first. I’ve NEVER missed your birthday.”

I gave that a very dramatic pause, then I said, “Nope. That’s unacceptable. I won’t allow you to be out of the country on my one special day of the year. Sorry. You’ll have to tell M. no.”

Mom was very quiet.

“YOU ARE A FOOL, WOMAN. Of COURSE you go to Rome! It’s ROME! You get an opportunity to go to Rome, YOU GO TO ROME! Guess what? I’ll have other birthdays. I plan on having a lot more of them. I’m not even middle-aged yet. Also, you’ll have email, and phones. It’s 2013. You could totally contact me on my birthday. You call M. RIGHT NOW and tell her YES YES YES,” said her evilly mean daughter that is ME.

Mom laughed. “Whew, you were being TRICKY.”

I think it’s funny that Mom was going to jettison a chance of a lifetime for my birthday. It’s not even a MILESTONE birthday, sheesh. And all we do is go to lunch and go shopping. We can do that anytime.

Then she told me what the trip WAS. I was expecting one of those old-people guided tours where they show you some things and keep you safe from gypsies. (When I went to Rome, everyone was all “LOOK OUT FOR GYPSIES.” I never even saw a SINGLE gypsy. I was kind of disappointed by this. I wanted to at least SEE a gypsy, after all this talk of gypsies.)

See? They're THERE. I think they were all on vacation when I visited, dammit.

See? They’re THERE. I think they were all on vacation when I visited, dammit.


Mom’s super-jazzed about this so I can’t even pick on her. I mean, seriously, she’s all religious. And she’s always wanted to go to Rome. But then I did a search and saw the itinerary and…can I pick on her a little bit? Just a LITTLE. With LOVE.

(Also, when I told Mom I had written this, she was all, “You send me that link! I want to read that post! I want to know where I’m going! And M. will want to read it, too!” so now I am going through and cleaning this up for Mom-consumption. Dear Mom and M., please do not be offended by the content of the blog herein; I am VERY EXCITED about your trip and can’t wait to hear all about it. Also, hi! How nice that you’re reading! And also a little scary! I hope you don’t hate me!)

First, the name of the company doing this tour is Tekton Ministries. I think this sounds like the name of a Transformer. I think any tour would be better with the addition of a robot boombox, right?

ROBOT BOOMBOX! This would be an excellent addition to ANY tour, am I right?


I found a sample itinerary on their website, which is super-outdated (it says you’d visit Pope John Paul II, and he was two popes ago) but it’s for the most part the same except she isn’t going to the places at the end of the tour.

Some of the things Mom will be seeing:

  • The Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum. Fine. I’m down with this. “Mom, wait til you see all the rich stuff in there,” I said. “It makes you sad and think, ‘maybe if they sold some of this stuff, poor people could have dinner.'” “That is NOT what you are supposed to think at the VATICAN,” Mom said. “Those are PRICELESS RELICS.” “They’re not fingerbones of saints, Mom, they’re like gold cups, and there are a kajillion of them, no one would miss like four, and I’m thinking four would feed a minor country, seriously. They are all jewel-encrusted, it’s insane.” “You might have been concentrating on the wrong things while you were there, Amy,” Mom disapproved.

    Mom will like this so much. I'm excited she gets to see this.

    Mom will like this so much. I’m excited she gets to see this.

  • Then Mom gets to have Mass with the Pope. She is SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS. This is the equivalent of me getting to see Stephen King, is my thought. She realizes there will be a billion other people in the square and everyone’s getting Mass at the same time, but this doesn’t faze her. No no not even a little. THE POPE!!! I’m not going to make fun of this. This is her most exciting thing. My thoughts about such a thing and the man’s beliefs on social issues don’t play in here. Let her have her happy thing.
  • A church called “St. Peter in Chains.” This is a thing? Apparently so.

    The internet tells me these are the ACTUAL CHAINS that bound St. Peter in Jerusalem. Huh. There are a lot of ACTUAL THINGS in Rome. How do they know?

    The internet tells me these are the ACTUAL CHAINS that bound St. Peter in Jerusalem. Huh. There are a lot of ACTUAL THINGS in Rome. How do they know they’re actual? Do you think they test them?

  • “…the Basilica of San Andrea del Fratte, where Alphonse Ratisbonne was instantly converted when Our Lady appeared to him.” INSTANTLY CONVERTED! Well, that’s magically quick. Also, hee, “Ratisbonne.”
  • The Trevi Fountain! I don’t know what this has to do with religion but I’m pleased she gets to see a touristy thing. “I threw a coin in there once!” I told her. “It’s probably not there anymore, Amy,” she said. “I was just TELLING you, I didn’t mean go LOOK for it, woman,” I replied.

    Go swimming, Mom, I'm sure you'll find my coin from almost twenty years ago.

    Go swimming, Mom, I’m sure you’ll find my coin from almost twenty years ago.

  • “…Pompeii, where you will visit the famous ruins of a once flourishing and prosperous town. It was taken by surprise in 79 A.D. and buried by the ashes of the Vesuvius Volcano.” I like that Pompeii was taken by surprise. SURPRISE! YOU ARE ALL DEAD NOW! WORST SURPRISE EVER! Also, I’m a little envious she gets to see Pompeii. I’d like to see Pompeii. I find things like that fascinating.

    Mom will be creeped out by volcano-bodies, but I would be so keen on seeing these. Isn't this interesting?

    Mom will be creeped out by volcano-bodies, but I would be so keen on seeing these. Isn’t this interesting?

  • The Shrine for Mitigating Suffering! Man, there are some NAMES over there, right? Mitigating Suffering! “Mom, say a prayer for me over there, I totally have some suffering,” I said. “Amy, I say prayers for you EVERYWHERE. I’m optimistic that someday one of them might work,” she replied sternly. (I totally tried to find a photo of this shrine to show you but there weren’t any. I have therefore decided it’s just a statue of Mary in a bathtub in some Roman woman’s backyard.)
  • “…the home of Saint Rita, ‘the saint of the impossible.’ We’ll visit her Basilica and view her incorrupt body.” OK, first, my beloved and dearly-missed grandmother was named Rita, and I do so enjoy that she was named after the saint of the impossible. That works on a lot of levels, because a., she made the impossible possible daily because she totally believed in magic, right up until the day she died, and b., she was stubborn as anyone I’ve ever known, so therefore, IMPOSSIBLE. (I think you can see why I loved her so much. We might have related a little bit, right?) What is this “incorrupt body” business? Like, it wasn’t involved in money laundering, or after all these years, it’s not rotted? I’m kind of intrigued but also somewhat disgusted by this. Also at the same place, “we’ll tour Saint Rita’s convent where she received the thorn from Christ’s crown.” WHAT? When were they just handing out such things? That seems hard to prove. How can they prove that’s where that thorn came from and not just from some thornbush? Yes, yes. I understand this is why I’m not the religious type. More the doubting Thomas type, me.

    I found this online and it's apparently St. Rita. Who has a nail in her forehead. And all the blood. Saints are horrifying, right?

    I found this online and it’s apparently St. Rita. Who has a nail in her forehead. And all the blood. Saints are horrifying, right?

  • “We’ll visit the Basilica of St. Clare and view her incorrupt body.” MORE INCORRUPT BODIES! Listen, this is the land of the mob and the Godfather, there’s a lot more corruption there than this itinerary is making out, is my thought. Also, as we learned just the other day, St. Clare was the aunt of St. Amata, also known as St. Aimee of Assisi. St. Aimee! ME ME ME!!!

I told Mom she should go visit La Bocca della Verità, and she said “what is that, I don’t know about this” suspiciously because Mom thinks everything I’m about to tell her is about sex. Never mind that I very seldom if EVER discuss sex with her because it’s awkward and ew ew ew that is my MOTHER, but apparently she thinks EVERYTHING we talk about is sex-related. “It’s this stone face with the mouth open, and rumor has it, if you put your hand in the mouth and tell a lie, it will BITE YOUR HAND RIGHT OFF! I loved it so much!” “Hmm,” Mom said. “I don’t think we will see that. It doesn’t sound very religious at all.”

BITE YOUR HAND RIGHT OFF! (It didn't bite my hand off, and I'm a total liar, so this might not work.)

BITE YOUR HAND RIGHT OFF! (It didn’t bite my hand off, and I’m a total liar, so this might not work.)

Well, I looked it up, and it’s AT A CHURCH, Mom. It’s at a church with the RELICS OF ST. VALENTINE IN IT. So that is VERY religious. Maybe you’re just a liar and you’re scared you’ll come back all one-handed, did you ever think of THAT, Mom? Hmm?

So this sounds very much like a trip that Mom and friend M. will enjoy, because, well, all the religious things and incorrupt bodies (which I looked up and it means they kind of self-mummify rather than rot away to bones, and the photos are…well, kind of horrifying, to be honest) and Jesus-thorns and churches and Popes and such.



If *I* went on a trip to Rome, however, my trip would a lot less religious and a lot more…pasta, bread, and gelato-filled. Museums. A trip up to Venice, which I didn’t get to see. A trip to Florence, which I missed out on. And then more carbs. MORE DELICIOUS CARBS. Until I pretty much died from carbs. And was buried in Rome. Or perhaps became incorruptable, who even knows what might happen, that seems to be a thing there.

I want ALL OF THIS IN MY MOUTHHOLE. Now, please.

I want ALL OF THIS IN MY MOUTHHOLE. Now, please.

Happy trip to Rome, Mom. You deserve the best time. If that’s all saint-mummies and religious relics, go, you. I hope you have the best time.

You’d better bring be back some kickass souvenirs, though. You are MISSING my BIRTHDAY. Can you even IMAGINE such a thing? Sheesh.

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