Halloween Day Off

It was a real holiday at our house. Carter had the day off school. Not because it is Halloween, but because it was the end of the quarter. That made things extra nice. Not much homework and a long weekend.
Russ needed Carter and me to meet him at the mall to do some mystery shopping for a client of his. That was not a hardship, shopping for insights. Then we all went to lunch together. Carter made sure to get credit for eating two meals in twenty four hours with us. It was an unusual occurrence.
Russ left us after lunch, but Carter and I continued with a little shopping. We were already at the mall and we NEVER go to the mall together. Actually I try never to go to the mall at all. I guess shopping was too strong of a word. We spent a little time in one department in one store and Carter got a few things under the “birthday is coming” umbrella.
We continued our fun girls excursion wth a stop at a cool new nail salon that must have had thirty pedicure chairs. I have never seen such a big place in my life. We just got manicures, but Carter commented that it was a really fun day. I agreed.
Carter had two friends come over to have dinner, give out candy and watch a movie. I walked to my friend Karen’s house for a Halloween dinner. I was not dressed in a costume. When I got there I discovered that my friends Christy and Lynn were also there without their husbands and not in costume so we decided we were actually in costume as sister wives. Luckily, no one asked us what we were. It was great to not have a small child hanging on me begging me to please leave to go scoop candy up. I hate trick or treating.  
I got home just as a family I did not know was walking up our walkway to get candy. They were the second to last group to come to our door, before we were cleaned out. I turned the lights out in the front of the house and retreated to my bedroom, leaving Carter and her friends to watch Funny Girl. Nothing scary going on at our house. Instead of Halloween it should have been called girls day.

 


Is Two Weeks a Tradition?


Last Sunday the three of us went to dinner. It was Russ’ idea as a chance to actually get to eat a meal with Carter. What, with his travel and her school, the two of them are not often in the same place at the same time. It was such a nice dinner Russ suggested we have a family meal out every Sunday until she leaves for camp and college. Carter, sensing better food options readily agreed.
This weekend Russ was up in Philly visiting his family. He made a reservation at a new restaurant and told Carter about our Sunday night plans. While he was still away she came to me about the menu. “I don’t want duck tongues for dinner,” she told me. I looked more closely at the choices and I agreed it was probably not the best place for her. Rather than end the fledgling tradition I suggested a different restaurant.
“I don’t want to hurt Daddy’s feelings,” she said.  
“Daddy doesn’t care where we eat. He just wants to spend time with you.”
Daddy readily agreed to the new choice.  
It was a win-win. Food that made everyone happy. Good company. Great conversation and quality time together. We may have a tradition.
I am wondering if the same dynamics would work if we were at home. Of course I am happy to cook and that way I can make things that are also good for us. Russ usually prefers my cooking over most restaurants, but not Carter. For her “restaurant food” is always better than mine.
I am not sure that time at the table would be half as long if we were at home. I feel like the pull of “other things to do,” would draw Carter away. I guess we are just going to have to keep going out. Fine with me. Russ and I will have years to eat dinner at home, but mere months with Carter.


The Loudness Continues

Tonight I finally paid off the Christmas gift I gave my mother last year. It was a night out to dinner and to see a show at DPAC. Turned out the show she wanted to see was Fun House, but when she got here today she couldn’t remember a thing about it.  
We went to a lovely dinner at Revolution. The only bad part from my mother’s point of view is that she ordered two appetizers and by the time the second one came she was already full and she could not take a doggy bag to the theater. Wasting food is not a good thing in her book.
After the yumminess, we walked down to DPAC where we waited in line to get our bags searched. It took a little longer than I thought it should because we were behind two women who had a bag that was considered too big to bring in the theater and it also contained a flask which they were told was contraband. Such tight security, who knew. I was a little concerned, not because I thought my mother had any contraband in her bag, but that they might have considered my purse too large. It was in fact bout the same size as the backpack of the woman in front of me, but it was purse shaped. Thank goodness we got through.
I enjoyed Fun House and so did my mother, though Fred it was over she told me she did not understand all of it because she was only wearing one of her hearing aids. Turns out she only needs one when she is with me since I am loud and my voice is the register she can hear. Sadly she missed some of the show, but liked it nonetheless. Given its racy nature perhaps she heard just the right amount.
She says a night out to dinner and the theater is her favorite gift. I guess not hearing doesn’t matter.


The Curse Of The Loud Laugh

For my child the fact that I have an incredibly loud laugh is often cause for great embarrassment. I tend to hear the funny in things just a split second before others so my big laugh often leads the chorus. When Carter is sitting next to me I usually receive a slap on the arm with a rebuke.
Tonight we went to see her school’s fall production of Picasso at the Lapin Agile, a comedy by Steve Martin. Since Carter is a senior, most of the players are kids I have watched through many fabulous productions, but tonight’s was extra good. Three principles, Thomas Benson, Jaxon Wilkerson and Ellie Dusek are in Carter’s advisory so they are used to me and I to them. Their performances were dead on, delivering the quick witted lines with perfect delivery. Chris Villani, as Picasso had me rolling with his faultless interpretation. I laughed loudly and often, but so did the rest of the audience.
After the show was over, Ellie and a number of other cast mates told me they were looking forward to this show since I would be in the audience. Apparently my reputation as a loud laugher is welcomed by the performers. “Mrs. Lange we could hear you laughing,” was repeated over and over again.
There is no bigger compliment I can give an actor that that of true heartfelt laughter, as long as funny was what they were looking for. I hope that my loud voice did not annoy any audience members, other than my daughter.
I wish that I had a loud sound to recognize the tech crew because the also were outstanding. The set was incredible, especially the lights, and everything went off without a hitch. Bravo to Campbell Hannan and Evan Ballew for their superior stage management. My loud laughs are for you too. Without you doing your job well the timing of the actors would not have been so funny.
I may be loud, but I am happy that my sincere feed back to the people on stage makes them know how much I loved their performances. Laugh loud and often, it makes everyday better.


Women in Leggings

Tonight I went to Smitten, a downtown store for women, where my friend Sara was having a party to benefit a charity. Most of the women there were around my age and the clothes at Smitten are age appropriate for us.
As I was waiting to pay for my purchase a number of us got to talking about leggings, prompted by a sign that joked about appropriate legging over-wear. What is “over-wear” you wonder? It is the shirt or sweater you wear on top that is long enough to appropriately cover your butt in leggings.
Only sweet young things can wear leggings with a shortie top and then only in yoga class. For most of us, we need a good rear view mirror to make sure that we are not exposing something we wish we weren’t.  
As I was standing in line I came up with the solution. Leggings should come with a phrase written across the bottom side of the buttocks area that reads, “if you can read this my shirt is too short” in bright neon words.
It would make pairing the right top with your leggings so much easier because you would only have to glance in a mirror at your backside, or even a big ass, no pun intended, plate glass window to see if you could read the neon words. If you couldn’t, then you would know the shirt you are wearing covers enough.
Of course this advice does not apply to the Kardashians or professional dancers, of any kind, but most of us need a DMZ line that absolutely must not be crossed. Better yet, maybe leggings should be re-thought all together. Na, that’s not going to happen.


Dana Lange Out Loud

Introducing Dana Lange Out Loud, my new podcast from Durham Magazine. For those of you who know me you might think the name is a little redundant, but you know we could not name it Dana Lange Whispers.
My first guest is Michael Goodman who is one of the co-chairs of the education bond committee in Durham. With the election underway in North Carolina with early voting it is very important that Durham voters know about the four bonds for public schools, Durham Tech, the library system and the crown jewel, the Life and Science Museum.
Michael does a good job laying out the importance of supporting these bonds. The best bit of information he passes is is that we all need to turn over the ballot, because the bond questions are on the back.  
Yes, the presidential race is at the forefront of most of our minds, followed quickly by governor, but the bonds have a very local, long term effect on our city. Please listen to the podcast and share it with your friends and neighbors.  
Click here for a link to the Podcast. Dana Lange Out Loud – Michael Goodmon.  You may need SoundCloud to listen, or you can go to the Durham Magazine website and look under the More tab for podcasts.  If you have suggestions for guest I would love to hear from you.  


I Need Multiple Timers

I am a multi-tasker from way back. Seems like I get more done if I am doing more than one thing at a time, but maybe it is not always good. Sometimes when I am cooking something that takes a long time, like caramelizing 20 pounds of onions, I certainly have to do another job at the same time. I can’t stand over the pot and watch it for four hours. So then I start answering e-mail. A job that never ends and can be stopped at a moments notice so I can go stir the onions. Suddenly the phone rings, I stop writing, stop stirring, start talking and my mind forgets that I still need to go check the pot every ten minutes.
I have a watch that has a timer on it. It is probably my favorite feature, after the fact that I also get my text messages on it. If I am smart, and remember, I set the timer on my watch to remind me, “go stir the pot” every ten minutes. It is amazing to me how fast ten minutes goes by if I am doing something like writing or playing a game on my iPad. Yet if I am walking on the treadmill ten minutes takes an eternity. Regardless of what I am doing in those ten minutes, be it something engulfing or something annoying I will have totally forgotten about stirring the pot. If I did not set a reminder I am sure to burn the onions.
I don’t think, actually I know, I did not used to be that way when I was younger. I could keep many balls in the air, in my head, and not forget which one needed my attention at the precise moment. The loss of this skill is the one I think I miss the most, and perhaps it is tied with the loss of my perfect eye sight.
Today I had multiple jobs going at once. I was baking tomato pies and not all of them went in the oven at the same time. I was also roasting Brussels sprouts and cooking carrots. It turned out I needed multiple timers to keep me going. I have multiple timers, on my watch, on my oven and a stand alone old fashioned one, but every time one went off I was not sure which job it was for. I also could not leave the kitchen because I can’t hear the oven timer anyplace except right next to the oven. So maybe I miss my good hearing also. Needless to say I could not multi-task liked I would have in my youth and add one more job to the three I was working on.
Maybe I don’t need multiple timers, but fewer jobs at the same time. I do not like the idea of being less productive, but I don’t want to burn any onions.