Friday, October 12, 2007

Mystery Solved!!!

Oh you dears! I loved all those birthday messages! I also love when everyone's like, "I'm a libra too!" because that's just what I'm like. Thank you so much.

Now, only Keryn Page has solved the mystery of the Bjquatrocinco and she's solved it here
which is also where the latest Dalai Mama column is. Thank you, Keryn Page! And the rest of you with your "Bj" dirty minds and your dirty, dirty thoughts: get a room! And then I can send Ben over to talk to you through the door about various candies.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

xo Catherine

p.s. If you wanted to here about either a) my foraging for autumn olive berries, or b) my pickling of nasturtium seeds to make fake capers, let me know. I think that I should stop posting my weird homesteader practices here, though. I hear the crickets chirping out there. Also the loudly unspoken suggestion that I am losing it to my pioneer aspirations, which may be true.


  1. Anonymous11:27 AM

    I'm blushing. Literally.
    -- Keryn

  2. We never tire of your pioneer aspirations! Glad you had a great b-day.

    Enjoy the fall it finally seems to be sticking around!

  3. and what is wrong with pioneer aspirations?

  4. I have pioneer aspirations, too, until I actually spend a few weekends chopping and piling wood for our fireplace. Then I realize that, were I a pioneer woman, I would likely be dead from exhaustion.

    Keep posting yours though. I love to live vicariously, you know?

  5. Don't be silly! We hang on your every word. Tell us more about nasturdium capers!

    No. Really.

  6. "get a room! And then I can send Ben over to talk to you through the door about various candies."

    You are hilarious.

  7. Thanks for letting us know about BJ... I was pretty curious about that. I want to hear about all your aspirations. Because I have none. Well, no pioneer ones anyway.

  8. I have absolutely NO pioneer aspirations, thanks to having Back To The Land 70s parents. Ask me about my goat milk-related trauma!

  9. Anonymous8:11 PM

    I think we all have a bit o' pioneer aspiration. We don't always realize it...what with the electric leaf blowers, riding lawn mowers, and cell phones constantly ringing our ears right off our heads! (Whatever would the settlers think of our dastardly modernized ways? Probably, "Hey! That's great! I wish I'd had a gas weeder like that!")

    We can always go to Old Sturbridge Village for the afternoon and get our fill of hearths and iron smithing if we really want, right?

  10. i was going to tell you happy birthday and i'm a libra, too, but apparently others have already beat me to it. catherine, you are a dear friend to me though we've never met. your words go straight to my heart. i discovered you when i was a newly pregnant mama of a two and a half year old boy, and you had just had birdy. it was a glimpse into my future, and the night i discovered your parentcenter blog i read like 50 entries in a row and laughed until i cried. you are my favorite writer because you capture so perfectly the overwhelming love and vulnerability (you know, the whole "heart walking around outside your body" thing), the hilarity, frustration, chaos, and adoration that is parenting. i read it and repeat "Yes!" over and over again-- you "get it" more than anyone i know. i love that you are so willing to open your heart-- the neuroticism and imperfection-- it is raw and heartfelt. you are doing a wonderful job raising your beautiful children-- I've read about it every step of the way, and I know!-- and they are so blessed to have their history captured so magically.



  11. Anonymous10:34 AM

    Catherine, *please* keep writing about your pioneer aspirations. I love reading about them because 1) I like doing those sorts of things myself; 2) knowing that you manage to juggle your kids and your jobs and still can fruit gives me hope of being able to do more of that stuff in the future; and 3) if you stop writing about doing pioneer-y stuff I'll have no one to point to when I tell my husband, "I'm *not* the only adult woman with a PhD who has delusions of wanting to live in a Laura Ingalls Wilder book!"

  12. Beck, I would LOVE to hear about your goat milk trauma - you will HAVE to share that one!

    Catherine - ever since the Pa Ingalls comment, I just laugh and laugh every time I see my daughter reading the Little House books.... he was crazy and selfish and wonderful all at once, and when I was a kid, I think I had a mini crush on him too. Ma was a patient soul.

    Happy Belated Birthday - I hope it had pickles and more nachos - no cake in sight :D

    We are baking rye bread today.... that is about as far as our pioneer aspirations aspire!

  13. I was wondering if that was who bjquatrocinco was when you made reference to past posintgs, but only just put together the quatrocinco reference ... ahh now I see.

    Yes ... pioneer aspirations. I often long for simpler times, but know I could not hack it without the conveniences of modern plumbing. Nor could I manage stifling summers in pioneer attire. Loved Sturbridge Village as a child. Haven't been in years.

    A very happy birthday Catherine, glad to hear it was a good one. Please keep writing forever.

  14. Anonymous5:56 AM

    Love reading your blog and your posts. I read the Wondertime blog on toothbrushing and thought, "Gosh, I hope she's keeping these for her kids, maybe putting them into a book" and then I realize DUH! Already did that! Time to write another. Living overseas, we are a bit more pioneering that I sometimes like to be, only because we don't always have access to the stuff that make life easier. And we have to shovel cow pies off the soccer field before the kids play on Sundays. But that's another story. Your writing is fantastic and always makes me laugh. Thanks

  15. Honey. You are like my role model of Ma Ingallness, and you know it. Don't you dare quit with the foraging stories!

  16. Anonymous9:42 PM

    Catherine, I didn't want to leave this comment at Wondertime in case it seemed excessively stalker-y, but my daughter (roughly Birdy's age) is in a different class at the same place. She actually seems to thrive on the sort of regimentedness of it all, but her funny little psyche and the pros and cons of the class aren't what I wanted to write about. I just wanted to say that I think you had bad luck with your company at the class.

    Now that you mention it, there do seem to be some of the type of moms you mentioned there, but I'm just always so glad that they're not the overwhelming majority around here (in contrast to, say, the western suburbs where my sister lives, or the cafeteria of my junior high). Frankly, I've run into more of those folks--many of whom are, of course, friendly and lovely, if not exactly soul-sisters of mine--on our side of the river, associated with your employer, than other places in the area. (I work for one of the, um, lesser institutions in the area. With a lot of girls.) We went to a kid's birthday party here last year with a lot of young faculty types, and I was sort of shocked to see that I was the only mom there NOT in super-cool jeans. (I can't even give a brand name, because I lost sight of what "cool jeans" are somewhere around Guess.) I guess I'm just saying, I can feel left out here sometimes as well, but I try to see it more as a funny anthropological thing ("Moms in cool jeans! Who knew?!") and then to retreat to my safe havens of fellow dorks.

    So I promise I'm not stalking, but maybe we'll catch up some day--I'm the one wearing whatever jeans they had at Marshalls. At the 9 am gymnastics.

  17. I don't have kids, I'm not a mom, I'm not even married... But I absolutely LOVE your writings. They just crack me up!! I'm a bit of a lurker, but I've only been lurking around for a few months. However, I have read every single post on ParentCenter and Wondertime, so I kinda feel like I know you. :)

    Anyway, in regards to your gymnastics post, I was thinking that maybe Birdy would do well in an interpretive dance class. I don't know how common it is to find one for little ones such as her, but it really seems like something she'd be into! Actually, probably any type of dance class would be, in my opinion, better than rigid gymnastics. Then again, I may be biased because I was in dance off and on throughout my life, but eh.

    You probably thought of that already on your own, but I just thought I'd mention it in case you hadn't!

  18. Because I didn't say it before....

    I'm a libra too!

    I love hearing about your pioneering skilz.

  19. Oh, but I DO want to hear about your foraging and pickling. Seriously. We have wild rose hips, THOUSANDS of wild rose hips, on our property. Whadaya think. Tea? Jam?

  20. Anonymous11:33 PM

    I am a huge fan of your writing and have read nearly everything you've ever written, but never commented--shame on me! Like so many other of your readers, I laugh and cry out loud at seeing what seems to be my life in your writing (currently my son has 2 sticker charts on his bedroom wall). I have a 3 year old and a 4 month old, and reading (and re-reading) your book has helped me keep my sanity! You are truly gifted and so very generous to share your life and family with us. Thank you and keep writing!

    As a note to "Kate":

    There are plenty of Catherine fans out here in the "western suburbs" who do NOT fit in with the snooty gymnastics moms. To say that we are all like your sister's neighbors or the teenagers in your junior high cafeteria is too broad of a generalization. Not to mention that it's rude, and makes you sound like the elitist. Perhaps next time you are trying to boost someone up, you won't do it by tearing someone else down.

  21. Anonymous5:20 PM

    please, please, please let us know what michael says about your experience with jernastiks... will you please?

    i just ask because i find myself in so many similar situations and wonder if my husband actually takes my daughter to the same tap dancing classes!

    happy, happy birthday fellow libran!


  22. Catherine, I commented at wondertime and at family, but just wanted to leave a little note here, as well. Regarding the jernastics (how cute!) class, maybe you should find another class that fits you guys a little better. It's important for you to be comfortable, and as we can see, nothing really fazes her, so she'd be just as happy in another class. Maybe some creative movement or something. I hope you feel better soon and by the way, those ladies are SO lucky they weren't talking about Ben, cause then they'd have all of US to worry about! Who cares if a boy wears a headban anyway??? Would they rather his eyes be covered in hair?
    You're doing a wonderful job as a mother and keep up what you're doing and don't worry about some snotty ladies without an ounce of self-esteme so they feel they have to huddle together and gossip and tear other people down to make themself feel like they "belong". LOSERS!

  23. More homesteader practices, please!

    Another Libra

  24. Catherine, wanna hear something so cool? Well, tonight I was browsing on and I came across two beautiful goldens and you wouldn't believe their names!!! It was a male and female.... any guesses?? Well, their names were Birdie and Bennington. And in parentesis they actually called Bennington Bennie. I know you spell Birdy differently, but it seemed like it was meant to be for me to have these dogs. So, I asked my husband to listen to something and not judge before he answered, and he said, "does it have something to do with Catherine Newman?" I smiled. "Inadvertently", I said. He thought it was cool about the names, but seeing as we already have 2 big dogs, it probably isn't a good idea to get 2 more big dogs. If we had a big house.... maybe. I just thought it was cool and that maybe someone at that shelter is a fan of yours, too. I love your writing and can't wait to hear more about your pioneer aspirations!

    (side note: the word verification it wants me to type in is "yonroch". that seems a little too close to what Birdy said while you were trying to brush her teeth last week;-))

  25. Anonymous10:06 AM sweet, it breaks my heart. I have my own little boy birdy, and the way they work through language and growing up. It squeezes my very soul...

    I can really imagine that class with the mothers, Catherine. I often feel like the mother who doesn't "fit," too, and--mostly--I'm glad not to.

    Carpool pick-up time at school (which is weird that it's called that b/c no one carpools) is my torture time of the day. I'm the one standing off, not talking, not wanting to talk, feeling kind of like a bitch, but thinking maybe I'm just shy? But I'm not shy. I just don't want to put on the face and pretend. Unless I do.

    Who ever imagined this part of motherhood? I certainly didn't.

  26. Anonymous9:31 PM

    Ooh! I'm a libra too!

    I just wanted to comment because I've been a longtime reader of yours, but unlike most of your target audience, I don't have any kids, nor do I plan to for a while...I just turned eighteen. But one day, many years ago, I was researching something or other for a babysitting job, and there was your journal. Your sense of humor and emotional descriptions have made me emphathize, even when I have little to no experience with whatever you're talking about.

    Anyway, I figured it was time I let you know how much I appreciate your work. And I, too, have pioneer aspirations. :)

  27. Oh my goodness. The new column - the one about fears - it is SO good! It's not up on Family yet or I'd comment there. (I'll check back in a couple days) I've never been able to successfully comment at Wondertime. Anyway, it gave me chills! And that is too funny about Ben and his publishing terminology. Syd knows about "pitches" too - only in our house it is songs that are being pitched. One time my husband and I are were talking about this "songplugger" and Sydney goes "Fugger? What's a song fugger?" And I'm thinking to myself, "yeah, there are quite a few "fuggers" in the music industry........

    Julie (aka Nashvegas Native)

  28. Anonymous5:16 AM

    Hey Catherine,

    I'm glad your birthday was so nice. I love hearing about your canning--it makes me think of the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (so terrific!). Because I live overseas like Jenn, I also have to make some of my own stuff too--like bagels for my daughter, who won't eat anything else for breakfast, and fake buttermilk for recipes. And I don't even like to cook! But I think I'm getting more inspired.

    And just to reiterate what so many people said about Waiting for Birdy--it is so fantastic and real that I keep it on my bedside table so I can reread it before going to sleep--it's so funny and reassuring. I'm definitely waiting for the next book. And this time, maybe I'll even be in the States to go to a reading/signing!

    Thanks for being such a wise voice out there for all of us!

  29. I had to take the pepper out of gymnastics class (possbily at the same school but for the really little kids) because he was climbing all the equipment and turnign the knobs trying to take it apart instead of being willing to learn a safety stop. At least Birdie is getting into the glunging :)