Friday link love

Some serious, most not . . . .

I’m coming across news articles and little tidbits I want to discuss with you, but I never remember them. . . . Until now.  I really hope these links work.  Let me know if they don’t work.

1. This article is about a young woman who was diagnosed with autism at age 21. **The Wall Street Journal link isn’t working–here’s another article about the same person**   Because she was “high functioning,” it took until college for someone to figure out what was going on.  She describes feeling relieved at the diagnosis, because she no longer feels a need to strain to be normal.  . . . It’s a tricky thing because of course a parent does want his kid to have autism, but you want your kid to have all the resources she can. . . . AT the same time, with 1 in 68 people having autism, is it really a disorder?  Or, at higher-functioning levels is it more a personality type?  And does that distinction matter?

2.. Ann Taylor is being bought out by the company that owns DressBarn.  Weird.  I like reading the Wall Street Journal business section from time to time because it’s fun to learn what’s going on behind the scenes at stores where I shop.  (The full text of the WSJ article isn’t available online, so I’m linking to a different article.)

3. The percentage of African-Americans in law enforcement has remained flat since 2007.  With this and all the related news about the Baltimore riots, etc. etc. . . . it’s so frustrating . . . It’s like no one cares about black men until they get shot by the police.   So many black young people–males especially–are on a life course that’s fundamentally at odds with the law.  And it happens in childhood and many barely have a choice.   And all the hiring quotas and body cameras and police training and whatnot in the world isn’t going to change that.  There’s going to be a tension between young black men and the law so long as so many of them have no real lawful options in life.  Could someone out there talk about this please?

4. On a lighter note, I’m thinking a lot about moving soon and what I’ll do differently.  When I arrange and set up and decorate whatever our next house is, I’m focusing on furniture and window coverings, then rugs and wall hangings, and only after that all the knickknacks.  With the current house, I’ve constantly moved mantle decorations and pictures around, never getting the result I wanted because my curtains and furniture sucked.  . ..  Anyway, I was thinking about all this and then later that day I read a post from The Nester on the exact same point.  . . .This stuff doesn’t come naturally to me but I’m learning! . . . Still, the Nester decorates with a lot more knickknacks than I prefer.  Her pictures make me feel a little crowded.

5. A year or two ago I polled you guys about flesh-toned pantyhose.  Guess what?  They’re officially “back.” Ellen called it: Princess Kate can do no sartorial wrong.

6. I am loving, loving the Bossa Nova station on Pandora.  It’s soothing and at the same time it makes me feel like I’m in an Audrey Hepburn movie.

7. Click over to Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum for more quick takes.  Happy weekend!

P.S.  Girl 1 just informed me, “When I grow up I’m going to have five twins!  . . . Their names are going to be Carlos, Carlos, Peg, and Meg!”

Seven Quick Takes 2.27.15

1. The girls and I listened to Kids Songs Jubilee in the van today.  I grew up listening to the Kids Songs tapes by Nancy Cassidy.  Now Girl 1 sits on the couch, reading the songs to herself and singing them.  I love hearing her sing.  And both girls listen to the tape together, singing and dancing around the living room.  Love it.

This is the only clips I can find on YouTube (speaking of which, did you know YouTube has one billion viewers but no profit?):

2. Per Kelly’s prompt, this was my first post.  Random thought off the top of my head.  Nothing much has changed.

3. My most-viewed post is Style & the Stay at Home Mom: A Quest.  By far.

4. My least-viewed post is this (no surprise).  You can read its follow-up here (oooh, exciting!).

5. This post today might end up down at the bottom of the list too, because it’s one of those days . . .

6. where I’m just . . .

7. not inspired.

Oh here’s a thought: how many years off Purgatory should I get for letting my kid “help” me paint?  I’m thinking lots and lots.

IMG_8043 IMG_8042 IMG_8040

Oh, and my new living room arrangement I showed you last week?  These are “before” shots (or a halfway-there shots).  Oh, this house . . . .

IMG_8038 IMG_8039

Click back to This Ain’t the Lyceum for something worthwhile to read.  😉  Happy weekend folks!

Favorite movie musicals

Linking up with Jenna for Five Favorites . . .

Haley and Caroline, among others, have written lists of books that have had lasting impact.  Lately I’ve been thinking about the movies that have had the most lasting impact on me.  Surprisingly (or not?) they’re all light-hearted and most of them I watched in childhood.  Somehow they’ve kept a place in my heart.

Oh–I just noticed this–they’re all musicals.  That makes sense.

Roughly in order of when I first watched them:

WeeSing Together–the first VHS tape my parents bought.  Sally and her red dress.  Songs and lots of drama.  I loved it, and now my girls love it.


The Greatest Show on Earth–the circus, lots of singing, sparkly costumes, love triangles, near-death heroics, and a tragic clown.  Charlton Heston and Jimmy Stewart.  My grandma taped this for us from TMC and we watched it over and over and over.

Hello Dolly with Barbra Streisand and Walter Matthau.  For some reason I still sing this line and crack myself up, “Out there, there’s a world outside of Yonkers, close your eyes and see it glisten, Barnaby.  Listen Barnaby!”  I am so weird, but that doesn’t mean this movie isn’t so so good.

White Christmas–My dear partner, when what’s left of you gets around to what’s left to be gotten, what’s left to be gotten won’t be worth getting, whatever it is you’ve got left.

That Thing You Do–music, cute guys, and the mod mod Sixties.  The perfect movie when you’re 14.  Or 24.  Or 34.

Bonus: Napolean Dynamite.  I saw this in theaters and thought, “They’ve made a movie about people like us!”  It’s not a musical, but it has arguably the world’s best dance routine and the world’s best love song.  So it kind of counts.

“Your mom goes to college.”


What I’m Into (July Edition)

Mexican food, Spanish princesses, an Argentinian cardinal, grammar snobbery and more.

1. This comic:

“Research Ethics” from xkcd

Facebook’s psychological experiment on its unknowing users is old news now, I suppose.  I still think I’ll get back on Facebook one of these days, but that whole brouhaha made me put it off just a leetle longer.

2. Elizabeth Esther’s book, Girl At the End of the World, and her blog.  Wow.  I usually don’t enjoy reading a lot of air-out-your-feelings and theological musings blog posts, but something about Elizabeth’s story and her writing has me hooked.

3. Apropos to one of Elizabeth Esther’s recent posts,  this quote from a talk Pope Francis gave in 2001 (before he was pope):

Christian morality is not a titanic effort of the will, the effort of someone who decides to be consistent and succeeds, a solitary challenge in the face of the world. No. Christian morality is simply a response. It is the heartfelt response to a surprising, unforeseeable, “unjust” mercy (I shall return to this adjective). The surprising, unforeseeable, “unjust” mercy, using purely human criteria, of one who knows me, knows my betrayals and loves me just the same . . . . This is why the Christian conception of morality is a revolution; it is not a never falling down but an always getting up again.

4. Mexican (“Mexican”) food.  A local restaurant makes a rockin’ Sopa Azteca, and it had me daydreaming about more for days.  This is pretty close, if you crush some tortilla chips into it at the end:

Other recipes I’ve enjoyed are for this Mexican chicken:


And these loaded nachos:


5. Grilled eggplant “burgers” brushed with a balsamic vinaigrette, topped with tomato, basil, and melted fresh mozzarella cheese.  To die for.  Equally good if you broil rather than grill the eggplant slices.  Amazingly easy.  All those eggplants I’m getting in our CSA baskets no longer pose a problem.

Photo from Simply Recipes

6. Spain’s two real, live little girl princesses.  How cute are they?!  (Another blogger brought them to my attention.  Wish I could remember who.)  Girl 1 and I spent a while browsing their pictures on Pinterest.  Girl 1 was gratified that the princesses have straight hair, like her.

The princesses’ mother, Queen Letizia, is my new girl crush. Check out this outfit:

Is it just me or is that skirt basically the same as my go-to skort?  It’s like we’re twinsies!  We have the same mom uniform!  ❤ ❤ ❤  I’ll be she reads my blog!

7. I enjoyed Amelia’s post, “Why I’m NOT Trying to Lose Weight Even Though I’m Overweight.

8. Bonus quick take:  Has any grammar snob out there not heard Weird Al’s Word Crimes yet?  If not, here you go.  You’re welcome.

I can’t help it.  I love Weird Al.


Linking up with Leigh for What I’m Into and with Jen for 7 Quick Takes.  Have a good weekend everyone!


7 quick takes about power suits, nail polish, and double entendres

{Apologies if you’re looking for a new Style & the SAHM post.  I accidentally published it early and then removed it.  It will be back on Tuesday.}

1. Even the most successful, powerful women in the world have trouble finding clothes that suit them. That’s what I learned reading this article about the clothing line, Nina McLemore.

The line specializes in styles that are “in road-worthy luxury fabrics and styles that are never revealing” for women “who want to look sharp but not have the focus on their clothing and appearance.”  The clothes comes in feminine colors because  “femininity and color no longer signal a lack of authority.”   Still, the line “doesn’t scream brand name and doesn’t call attention to itself.”  It suits even women who “don’t all come in designer sizes, (which generally stop at size 10 or 12).”  The styles “include options for most body types, and the fabric is tested for comfort and durability.”

Unfortunately, the entire Nina McLemore line is basically one variation or another on the power suit.  Not my style at all.  And their website looks like a time capsule from 1998.

Still, it’s refreshing to read about a line that was built around real women and their needs.  Most clothes seem to be designed with 20-year old, size zero socialites in mind, leaving those with different shapes and different lifestyles out in the cold.  (Twenty-year old, size zero socialites are real women too.  You know what I mean.) At the very least, it makes me feel better about the challenges I have in finding clothes that work.  Apparently I’m in good company.

2. My front flower beds are a disgrace, particularly the one on the right. IMG_6511 IMG_6512 It’s disappointing because I put a lot of work into them over the past three years (not so much this year, when the slug life chose me).  When I created the flowerbed, I laid down newspaper over the preexisting grass and leaves and put down layers of sand and planting soil.  I guess I didn’t build the bed up high enough or something because the crabgrass has taken over completely.

I’m contemplating whether to (a) fight back or (b) pull out the paving stones and replant grass around the bushes (there are azalea bushes beneath all the weeds), or (c) put down pebbles around the bushes and just do flower planters.  I have daffodils down there that pop up every year in the early spring.  I guess I can dig them up and plant the bulbs elsewhere?

3.  Because everyone loves to talk nail polish . . .  I bought some Vinylux nail polish and used it with the Vinylux “7 day” top coat.  The top coat didn’t give me spectacular results when I used it with OPI color, but  so far so good with the polish and top coat combined.  It’s gone 24 hours without chipping, even after I took a shower.  That’s a record for me.  I wish I chose a different color, but it’s not too bad.

Vinylux "Clay Canyon"

Vinylux “Clay Canyon”

4. Some days I listen to this 11 hour recording of Tibetan singing bowls, when my nerves are frazzled.

Pat listened for a little while and observed,

“I like it.  It has all the benefits of wind chimes with none of the commitment.”

5. My brother, John, is a composer.  Some of his compositions are available here for streaming.  He’s written a lot over the years, but my favorite is still Nocturne, from 2008. One of the lesser-known of John’s many musical talents is playing the accordion.  We’ll see if it catches on with Girl 1.

Martha and Sebastian meet a baby chick

6. Speaking of brothers, here’s another photo from my brother Stephen, taken of my sister and her little boy. Aren’t they precious?   010d1b67e3f7bfde411f66677d4bd4c73b8d05db81

7. Question for you  . . . .  A double entendre is where you say something that, on the surface, has an innocent meaning, but can also be taken with a different, less-innocent, usually sexual meaning. What do you call it when that first-impression, surface meaning is sexual, or “naughty,” but the intended effect is to be “oh, ha ha, this is actually innocent”?  It’s like a reverse double entendre.  But what if your underage daughter is involved? What do you call that?  . . . I call it messed up.

And decorating it with this:   IMG_6509

does not make it family friendly when you also decorate with this: IMG_6508

Signing out from prude central (am I??) and linking up with Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes.  Happy weekend!

Theme Songs of My Life

Jennifer asked her readers about their “theme songs”: a song that reminds you vividly of a specific time in your life.

This is fun to ponder.  I’ve been out of the habit of listening to music for so long.  But it’s amazing how many memories and emotions stay connected with a song, no matter how much time goes by.  Here are some of my “theme songs.”

1. She’s Always A Woman by Billy Joel: Pat got me Billy Joel’s greatest hits a few weeks before Girl 1 was born, and we listened to that 3 CD set over and over.  And when Pat first held Girl 1 after she was born, he sang this to her.  We kept singing it to her throughout the coming months.  We played it in the car when she fussed.  No surprise that, at less than two years old, we were singing it to her and she piped in with the “oohs” at the beginning of the refrain, with perfect timing.  Her first song.  The question is whether Pat was prescient in choosing this song, or whether hearing it so much influenced Girl 1’s personality.



1.5 Careful by Guster: This reminds me of driving around, lost, in Northwestern Virginia on a snowy day, with Lizzie.  And of multiple other memories.

2. One Year Past Twenty, by Judd and Maggie.  This is Martha’s and my theme song, only because of the first line:

Somethin’ ’bout the way/

you say “shut up”/

makes me know I’m gonna miss you.


3. Let Your Troubles Roll By by Carbon Leaf: This is Pat’s favorite band.  I listened to their albums over and over again at work, and on the subway to and from work on my little off-brand, old-school MP3 player.  I clung to music, in a way I never had before, to get me through the last few, exhausting months of work at a DC law firm (which also happened to be the last few months before Girl 1 was born).

4. MmmBop by Hanson: Oh, 1997, you were not the greatest year for me.  But I will always love your music.  And say what you want; Hanson was way better than any other boy band.  (Though the BSB put on one hell of a show.)  Other songs that bring back that era for me: Third Eye Blind Jumper, Matchbox 20’s Push (Rob Thomas’s voice, OMG), Paula Cole Where Have All the Cowboys Gone, Savage Garden Truly Madly Deeply . . . so many.

Attending Hanson concert while old enough to drink a beer = the life.

Attending Hanson concert with my sisters, while old enough to drink a beer = the life.

5. Anyone At All by Carole King: Pat’s and my song.  Even though Pat hates it.



Embarrassing revelations tonight brought to you courtesy of Primal Roots red wine, available in fine supermarkets everywhere.

Linking up with Heather for Five Favorites Wednesday.

Five Favorites of the Moment

Real quickly, some favorite things of the moment:

— 1 —

What Not To Wear is now on Netflix!

Folding laundry just got bumped up a lot higher on my priority list now that I have this to watch.

— 2 —

Two pink marshmallows playing in the snow.


— 3 —

Shea and grapefruit hair conditioner from Bert’s Bees.

I found this for 50% off at Target (of course) and gave it a try.  I’m a lot more optimistic about my hair now than I was a few weeks ago.

— 4 —

This CD of Advent music from the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles.   You can hear some samples on the website.

Girl 1 is fascinated by the fact that the singing she hears is from nuns.  Vocation nurturing for the win!

— 5 —

Travel sized Doodle Pros (aka Magna Doodles).  We couldn’t wait for Christmas to replace the one that broke.  We bought one for each girl.  Life. Saver.

Bonus #6:  Homemade whipped body butter from For Goodness Soap (local small business).  I have the chamomile scent.  I use it every day after I shower, and I love the way it feels and smells.


I’m  joining up with Hallie of Moxie Wife, for her Five Favorites link up.  Thanks Hallie!

To My Husband, On Our Anniversary: A Song You Hate

I wanted this song for our first dance at our wedding, seven years ago plus a few days (go ahead and listen while you read this; sorry about the ad):

Pat adamantly disagreed:

“You could have just as easily been someone else??”  What is that, a threat?

I had trouble explaining why this song touched me so much.  After seven years, I understand a bit more.

We met when we were eighteen and nineteen.  I think about all the other people I knew at that time.  Some I’ve stayed in touch with, most I haven’t.  But with one–just one–I share a home, a family, a life.

At eighteen, I didn’t really know anything about anything.  Yet I knew almost right away that I would marry you (though we didn’t actually marry until six years later).  How the heck could I have known whom to spend the rest of my life with?   In that sense, you could have been “anyone at all.”  Somehow, though, I made the perfect choice.

Funny how I feel more myself with you
Than anybody else that I ever knew
I hear it in your voice, see it in your face
You’ve become the memory I can’t erase

You could have been anyone at all
A stranger falling out of the blue
I’m so glad it was you

“It wasn’t in the plan.”  I wasn’t out to find a husband, not for a long time.  But God’s timing turned out to be better than mine.

 I’m not very romantic.  I never had a euphoric, crazy-in-love stage where everything felt perfect and you seemed perfect.  I was aware of your faults almost from the beginning (perhaps because they aren’t many).  Were you aware of all mine?  Probably not.  Just as well; you sure do now!  But even when you annoyed me, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that we were supposed to be together.

It wasn’t in the plan, not that I could see
Suddenly a miracle came to me
Safe within your arms, I can say what’s true
Nothing in the world I would keep from you

So honey, thank you for seven wonderful years, and here’s hoping for seventy more.  And even though you hate it, this song’s for you.  I’m so glad it was you.


Whad’ya Know? We’re Hipsters! {Five Favorites}


1. My new glasses.  Obviously.

2. Pat wears this shirt:

IMG_2985 IMG_2986

. . . ironically.  Because he hates Windows.  Almost as much as he hates Apple.  He only uses Linux.  Which, of course, you’ve never heard of.

3.  One of my favorite bands of all time is so obscure . . .

it doesn’t actually exist.

4.  Forget Pabst Blue Ribbon.  Those who are truly counter-cultural drink . . .


generic brand unflavored seltzer water.

5. To maintain their hipster cred  upon becoming parents, some may dress their tykes in shirts emblazoned with the likeness of Chairman Mao or Che Guevara.  We prefer Life Is Good Santa Claus Monkey long-johns



. . . in blue . . . for our girl . . . in July. . . . Never mind, you wouldn’t get it.

Now head over to Hallie’s blog, Moxie Wife, for some less ridiculous Five Favorites posts.