Thursday, March 26, 2009

How I know I live in a very Catholic region

In case there was any question, we live in a very Catholic part of the country. It's possible I just never noticed these things before, but I noticed they were selling something at the grocery store that I don't think I've seen before: a "fresh palm cross."

Terrible Catholic that I am, I had to do a little research to remember that the Sunday before Easter is Palm Sunday, so I guess these are to be used in connection with that. I think, though, that the fresh palm cross must be used in cultures that I haven't been around much. For example, wikipedia seems to imply that these crosses are more Eastern European, and not, say, Mexican, which would explain why I don't remember ever seeing them in L.A.

Note: in doing my research for this entry, I stumbled upon USC's motto, which is: "Palmam qui meruit ferat." This means in Latin, "Let him bear the palm who has deserved it." Apparently the palm branch is a symbol of triumph. Good to know!

Inappropriate stuff people have said to me while I've been pregnant

Now that I'm on full-time bed rest and about a week away from my April 4th due date, I thought I'd take a few minutes to reflect back on some of the . . . interesting things people have said to me in the past six months or so.
  • "My son kicked so hard when I was pregnant, he broke my rib." I have spent months worried about this, of course.
  • Random woman in line at the check-out of the cafeteria in my office, upon seeing I was pregnant. "My first baby lived for 2 days. Then she died. Heart problem." Thanks for planting that seed, random lady I've never seen before . . .
  • At dinner with my 3 best girlfriends here, who - as though I were not present at the dinner table- were debating whether I'd gained enough weight at about 5 months along. Two thought I had not, but the third added, "She's totally gained weight. You can see it in her boobs and her face and her butt. Stand up, Anne, and turn around." WHAT? Good thing I love those girls . . .
  • Very nice lawyer in my office, who certainly meant well, but described labor as, "The pain isn't that bad. You know, it's not like getting a stick in the eye." Note to self: labor is not as horrible as having a stick jabbed into my eyeball. Good to know. Encouraging, even.
  • [As I walked into a historical society board meeting, I was greeted by a nearing-60-year-old man, with no children] "Hello, FATSO!" He apparently lived with his mother for most of his life, and married for the first time just a few years ago. Shocker.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

P.M.P. Deli

For the past three years on St. Patrick's Day, we've been fortunate enough to be in Europe. You know how we always know it's St. Patrick's Day, even though we barely know what day of the week it is? Because there is always, always, always a parade. OK, maybe not always a parade. Sometimes just a bunch of drunk people wearing silly green clothing, hanging out of a bar. London, Rome, Paris- the whole world is stupid on St. Patrick's Day, it seems.

So this year, with little ones due in just 2 1/2 weeks, John was a little glum about not being in Europe this year, nor for the foreseeable future. So we decided to celebrate St. Pat's day with a virtual Europe trip: we'd find the best euro-deli in the area, get some exotic food and drinks we'd only eat abroad, sit on the front porch (now that the weather is getting downright lovely), look at our Europe photos and re-live the good ol' days.

Binghamton is full of (European) ethnic pride, as evidenced by all the summer festivals, and it actually has a lot of delis. But P.M.P. Deli is consistently mentioned as a favorite. When we pulled up outside, I could see why: who doesn't love a mural of a cornucopia of . . . meat products? That's a horn o'plenty you can really sink your teeth into. Clearly, we were in the right place.

Inside did not disappoint, either. The place was full of meats, cheeses, beers, and sweets from every country. And I mean every country. P.M.P. (Pimp?) Deli does not discriminate. Turns out the owner is Italian, and his wife was Polish, so they pretty much specialize in foods from the country of . . . Europea. Awesome- we can relive our time in London, Paris, Berlin, Ireland, Budapest, Italy . . . all in one-stop.

The result was great- a smorgasbord of treats from around the world. We just closed our eyes and it was like it was . . . St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Children's Books

Just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Wegmans Twins

We are expecting in less than 4 weeks, and I gotta admit, identical twins freak me out a bit. While I went to high school with several pairs of perfectly normal, nice identicals, living in Binghamton has somehow spooked me on them, and I think I know why . . .

There is a pair of ethereal identical twins who seem to inhabit Wegmans like the mythological unicorn. We had a sighting this evening, and I was able to give chase and capture these beasts for blog purposes, as I had been hoping for months!

First, a bit of background about our beloved Wegmans: Wegmans is the mother of all grocery stores in the area. Not only is it huge and clean and open 24 hours, it has everything one's stomach could possibly want (except pomegranates, out of season, but that's another story). It is so vastly superior to the other stores in the area that pretty much anyone who has a car (and therefore does not rely on public transportation or walking) goes there. As a result, about 99% of people I encounter on a regular basis shops there. Wegmans is a shared experience around here, much like driving in snow.

A couple of years ago, John said that some of his classmates had been talking and had referenced "the Wegmans Twins." Huh? What was he talking about. "You know, those identical twins who are always at Wegmans." I laughed. Surely there couldn't be two nameless young women who had gained widespread recognition simply from going to the grocery store! Oh yes, my friends, they had. Here's why . . .

The Wegmans Twins probably go there every day, and they are never apart. They walk in, briskly, never getting a cart or even a basket. They pick up some small amount of food (see photo), from which department I know not. There is no conversation between them. There doesn't need to be.

The best part? They are dressed exactly the same, 100% of the time. Keep in mind, these women are probably 30 years old, possibly older. Not only do they always dress exactly alike, they are always wearing some form of modified break-dancing outfit (again, see photo, especially black tracksuit pants). It always looks like they got dressed circa 1989, permed hair, scrunchy and all.

So I'm on a bit of a mission to find out what their deal is. Turns out, they grew up locally and work - yes, of course they work in the same place- at Pets Mart, doing dog grooming. That's about all I know, though. I've got my buddies in the Wegmans fish department working on getting some inside intel, gleaned from the employee lounge, but so far . . . nothing. Stay tuned.