The Bubble Tea Mystery April 23, 2012Posted by Jodi in Lightheartedness.
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I have this one Friend. I hope everyone has at least one friend like this. We were roommates in college and stand-ups in each others’ weddings and have managed to keep a friendship growing through a combined eight children and a thousand miles of distance. She’s undoubtedly one of the reasons I manage to keep a toehold on sanity.
Every year my Friend and I try to get together for a long weekend. Sometimes she flies to see me, sometimes vice versa. This year we’d like to meet somewhere interesting—like Georgia O’Keeffe’s New Mexico—but we’ll see. Planning and anticipating this trip is a large fraction of the fun and has had me thinking through some of the great memories we’ve made in our nearly 20 years of friendship. Lately I haven’t been able to stop thinking of the night we tried bubble tea, so this morning I pulled down my journal from a couple years to refresh my memory.
We were looking for something to do in Philadelphia, where we were staying in a hotel downtown for the weekend, and I called another friend who lives in the city asking for suggestions. His advice resulted in some great entertainment, as I noted in my journal:
[He] suggested that…we take the subway west to the UPenn campus and have a “bubble tea,” which might make the short list of World’s Strangest Drinks. Mine was a fruity tea with gelatin balls, about the size and appearance of blueberries, at the bottom of the glass. These teas are served with an extra-wide straw so that the balls are inevitably sucked up through the straw and into your mouth…and then you must decide what to do with them. At first I tried chewing them, this seemed like the natural thing to do, but they gave off no flavor and the texture was borderline unpleasant. So I tried holding the little blob of goo in the straw with my tongue while attempting to suck the delicious blueberry drink on its own. No such luck, the straw was designed so that each little globule perfectly blocked the opening with no room for even liquid to squeeze through. Finally, I tried swallowing each ball as it came into my mouth, trusting gravity and the momentum of the tea to push the little gag-inducing sphere through my esophagus, which really wasn’t designed to allow for the passage of an object of that size and firmness (question: how often do those little glue balls enter a poor drinker’s trachea?). I concluded this last method seems to be the most likely intended means of ingesting bubble tea, but it left me with a bloated and rocky stomach. Bubble tea is a curiosity I don’t yet understand.
I wrote that in a Barnes & Noble on the UPenn campus. After I’d finished, my Friend and I earned dirty glances from the industrious readers around us by sharing it between ourselves and giggling till our little round bellies shook like bowls full of jelly balls.
Someone help me out, though. What are you supposed to do with the bubbles in bubble tea?
Madness March 22, 2011Posted by Jodi in Dept. of Petty Complaints, Lightheartedness.
First, the good news: I scored an A on my research paper. My professor gave the expected criticism of my punctuation and lack of polish, but then she said, “Your writing is very clear and even eloquent.” Noooom-nom-nom-nom-nom-nom!
(That’s the sound of my Cookie Monster ego devouring the approval cookies.)
Now I must regretfully inform you that I hate the month of March. I think it started in college the day I heard about the Ides. “Beware!” my history professor bellowed from the front of the chapel-cum-classroom as my friends and I snickered from our creaking seats. After class I naively strutted back to my dorm room to be stabbed by a breakup phone call from my boyfriend, who was at school in a neighboring state. That was my second-ever dumping. The third happened exactly a year later—same day, different boy. A stinking quicksand of depression had been sucking me down since January, and the bewildered fellow managed to hang onto my broomstick for a full two months. On March 15 he decided to let go. I don’t hold it against him—he was only nineteen, and he spared me from becoming a very unsuitable youth pastor’s wife.
Then there’s the weather. Yes, yes, it’s silly of me to complain about this. I know what to expect from northern Wisconsin; I was born here (in March, no less). On Sunday my kids quite openly celebrated the first day of spring as I cringed in anticipation of the nemesis their hubris would call down upon us. Today is Reckoning Day: winter storm warning, 6-12 inches of sleet and snow. This, after I forced my gasping thighs to pedal my bike and me the three miles into town on Saturday, basking all the while in sunshine and balmy air. Yesterday I sent the kids to school without snow pants for the first time since November.
Though I know to expect it, a snowstorm this time of year always feels to me like a sign of disfavor. In response, I imagine myself with head cocked sideways, squinting one eye up at the sky, fist raised in defiance. Also, my back is bent into a rickety “C” and I’m walking with a cane. I don’t know why.
Now I remember another reason I hate March: basketball talk. Though I despise the game, apparently most of my friends (at least the ones with the most Facebook time on their hands) feel differently. I want to toggle my caps lock and shout, “I DON’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT YOUR BRACKETS!” But that would be rude. It is, however, socially acceptable to post “Woe is me!” updates every few minutes if you find you’ve chosen poorly at the basketball lottery.
I have picked up a little useful information from my Facebook feed—Wisconsin is apparently involved in something known as the Sweet Sixteen. Though I can’t help but feel proud, I also wish to inform the
NBA NCAA that sometimes alliteration sounds stupid.
Yesterday I saw a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition on prominent display at the Walgreen’s checkout. Go ahead, fellas, publish that nonsense this time of the year when us real women are feeling our cottage-cheesiest.
Ouch! August 3, 2010Posted by Jodi in Lightheartedness, What Is Faith?.
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Now I remember another point for my bulleted list: I don’t want to live in a world where I’m good. Because I’m that much like those I despise.
Violence, Not to Mice But to Books May 25, 2010Posted by Jodi in Conversations With Books, Lightheartedness.
Last night I wrote on the last page of a journal, so today I’ve been spending time reviewing what I’ve written and transferring some of it to the digital counterpart. I have a system for this; maybe I’ll explain it someday. But something I wrote back in April on a night of insomnia entertained me enough that I wanted to pass it along:
I’ve been using Anne Lamott’s technique for quieting the head voices—putting the mice in the jar. It worked perfectly for me this morning after James left for work. I relaxed and let go and sank down into a blissful sleep. It only lasted about half an hour, due to Armin waking me before 7:00…but blissful nonetheless. Tonight, though, there is one mouse singing music; he’s singing the “Kyrie Eleison” from Missa Festiva, one of the songs we rehearsed in choir tonight. This incorrigible little fellow refuses to give up his music; when I dangle him over the jar he clutches the side and splays his legs to make it impossible for me to force him in without doing physical damage. Well, I don’t want to do that, certainly can’t resort to violence. So I”ll write about him if that’s what he wants. He wears overalls, too. I think maybe he resembles the mouse who wanted a cookie and a glass of milk to go with it.
Lying abed I was musing over the book Bob recommended…is it Chasing Joy or something like that? What I have to say about this book, I imagined saying it in a Facebook status update: “For some books the only appropriate action is to fling them across the room away from you.” Only this requires clarification, because it’s not satisfying enough to merely close the book and toss it aside; no, the book must be open and hurled with such force that the pages flap helplessly like the arms of a drowning man. And the pages much make a delicious crackling as they fall, and the thump of the book as it hits the unyielding surface of the floor must reverberate. That is how I feel about Bob’s book.
I feel a little detached from this entry, almost as if I don’t remember writing it. Which is probably one of the reasons I find it amusing.
KFKD May 19, 2010Posted by Jodi in Lightheartedness, Writing.
Yesterday I was feeling all wonderful and finished up a blog post and had another idea to write about and started it and went out jogging and went out biking and did lots of reading and thought perfect thoughts and was just all-around brilliant. I used it all up. This is all you’re getting today, because I feel like…well, I’m so unimaginative I can’t even think of a worthless thing to compare myself to.
(Oh wait, that’s not all. I recognize this. Anne Lamott warned me about this “station KFKD”:
Out of the right speaker in your inner ear will come the endless stream of self-aggrandizement, the recitation of one’s specialness, of how much more open and gifted and brilliant and knowing and misunderstood and humble one is. Out of the left speaker will be the rap songs of self-loathing, the lists of all the things one doesn’t do well, of all the mistakes one has made today and over an entire lifetime, the doubt, the assertion that everything that one touches turns to…
Well, you get the point. Annie Dillard knows, too, because yesterday she told me that
The feeling that the work is magnificent, and the feeling that it is abominable, are both mosquitoes to be repelled, ignored, or killed, but not indulged.
However, I’m pretty sure what this really means is that my writing is worthless because my parents didn’t name me Anne or some diminutive.)
Priorities May 12, 2010Posted by Jodi in Confessions, Lightheartedness.
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This afternoon at piano lessons Armin caught me sneaking a stick of gum into my mouth. Of course, he wanted one for himself, so I told him to recite the rules for gum chewing. Without stopping to think, he chanted, “No smacking, keep it in your mouth, throw it away when you’re done, and if Mom can hear it, you have to throw it away.” Now…we have only one rule for swimming–wear a life jacket if an adult isn’t on the dock. That tells you a little something about me: in my house, gum chewing is more highly regulated than swimming.
Maybe this sounds foolish, but it’s my way of tying a mental life jacket around my kids. It protects them from the drowning wrath of a mommy whose last nerve was shredded listening to the smacking of cavernous little mouths. And the water at the end of the dock really isn’t all that deep.
The MGS May 11, 2010Posted by Jodi in Lightheartedness.
Today’s the kind of day–45 degrees and rainy in the middle of May–when I need to hook my attention on something lighthearted or risk serious alienation from my family. This morning I asked my Facebook friends to “in 50 words or fewer, tell me why the weather is better in your state than in mine.” My tongue-in-cheek complaint soon backfired as friends started describing dreamy weather conditions, which, in my opinion, consists of anything that includes the words “shorter winters.” I imagined myself reading through a dozen rubbing-it-in comments by the end of the day and stating at the end, “Thank you, I feel much better now. I’ve moved from Oscar to Miss Piggy on the Muppet Grump Scale.”
That’s where things got carried away. I started to fill in the Muppet Grump Scale. Sam the Eagle might lie on the scale between the grouch and the pig. Let’s find a place for Cookie Monster just above Her Piggy Highness. We could take a cue from the Department of Homeland Security and provide a meaningless color code to accompany our ratings: Green for Oscar, gray for Sam, pink for Piggy… Kermit would earn a spot somewhere in the middle (though he might preempt Oscar’s use of green). Those two cheeky hecklers that sit up in the balcony of the theater and remind me of my dad and one of his best friends, they must be included. Who would sit at the top of the rating system? Animal? The Swedish Chef (my personal favorite)?
Got any to add? Want to quibble with my system as proposed? Help me fill in the blanks.