Entries in Family (276)


It's Only Legal In Three States

This past weekend, after touring Reed College, Mrs. G. and her posse got together with the Portland Chapter of their extended family. Mrs. G's in-laws are Italian and there are a lot of them. So many, it can easily take a couple of years to get everyone together on the same night. Saturday was the night and the G. clan enjoyed an evening of family and food.

Lots and lots of food.

Mrs. G's son was re-introduced to his little 7-year-old cousin who he hadn't seen since she was a toddler. He thought she was cute and all, but she thought he was cute and all that. She liked him so much that she proceeded to shadow him for the entire night. She pretty much spent the whole evening trying to kiss him get his attention. After about the third hour of her animated chatter and undying devotion, he tried avoiding all eye contact.
But, as you can see, Reader, it didn't work. She was not easily dismissed.

Later on, with his little cousin draped across his back like a rhesus monkey, Mrs. G's son came up to her and whispered,  "I don't know how I'm going to break it to her that we're related."

Here's looking at you, Kid.


Daughter's College Tour #1: Reed

Reed College was founded in 1908 in Portland, Oregon, by Simeon and Amanda Reed as an independent, coeducational college of liberal arts and sciences. It has only 1,400 students and is located on 116 acres of tree lined goodness.

Residence halls on campus range from the traditional Gothic old dorm block to the eclectic Anna Mann, a Tudor-style cottage designed much like a New York Brownstone. There are also theme residence halls including everything from substance-free vegan living to a cat friendly residence hall. Unlike most colleges and universities, juniors and seniors want to live on campus, and there is a dorm lottery to determine who has to find off-campus housing.


The school mascot is a freakish owl griffin. Former New York Times Education Editor, Loren Pope, says Reed is the most intellectual college in the country. Mrs. G. thinks this is code for very little future income.


All freshman must take Reed's infamous Humanities 110 Seminar, an intense intro to the Classics focusing on Greek, Roman, Biblical and Ancient Jewish history. Juniors must take a qualifying exam in their major's field and all seniors must write and defend a substantial thesis in order to graduate. This explains why Reedies' social hub is the library, where each student is assigned his or her own desk...

and the outdoor Greek-style amphitheatre where students perform their own translations of Oedipus Rex and Euminides. Fun times.

Reed alumni include chef James Beard, social critic Barbara Ehrenreich, poet Gary Snyder, Apple Computer Founder Steve Jobs (who credits his Reed calligraphy class for his focus on choosing elegant type faces for Macintosh) and Mrs. G's husband.


Reed takes its sciences very seriously and has its own nuclear reactor on campus. There are currently approximately 50 students licensed to operate the Reed reactor. In addition to operating the reactor, many students serve as senior staff and in supervisory positions. Mrs. G. finds this scary as hell impressive.

Reed operates under what it calls the Honor Principle. There are no codified rules governing student behavior and, therefore, students and faculty are responsible for their own actions. As far as Mrs. G. can tell this means students can have dogs in their dorm rooms, professors can bring dogs to their classes and dogs can attend Reed class reunions. Reedies like their animals.

Reed passionately embraces the liberal in liberal arts. And, as evident from the bumper stickers in the student parking lot, Reed continues to champion its long and enduring reputation as a left-wing, free wheeling social environment

which, according to the student handbook, often leads to the appearance of, uh, radical leftism. Mrs. G. is thinking that the Reed's Student Republican Group is social suicide very small.
Reed scorns the mainstream. There are no fraternities, no sororities and no NCAA sports' teams. Reedies can fulfill their six credits of physical education through kayaking, rugby, juggling hacky sacks or ultimate Frisbee. At Reed there actually is an underwater basket weaving class.

At $46,000 a year, Mrs. G. was relieved to hear that 50% of students are on financial aid. If her daughter should apply and be accepted to this institution of higher learning, Mrs. G. will be

turning tricks outside this office. Seriously.


The Paradox Cafe (known by students as Parodox Lost) is the student run co-operative coffee shop. For philosophical reasons, the coffee shop refuses to serve decaf. Mr. and Mrs. G. lounged on the dilapidated couch outside the cafe sipping Fair Trader Certified coffee and eating organic banana bread while their daughter had her interview with an admission's counselor. They struck up a conversation with a nice freshman from Vermont who went on and on about how much he loved attending Reed. Mr. and Mrs. G. couldn't help noticing he was wearing a royal blue prairie skirt.

This is Mr. and Mrs. G. processing the whole skirt thing. They were young and cool once...they really were.

And, finally, this is the magnificent tree that Mrs. G. hid behind to have a thirty-second power cry, because her firstborn is applying to college.


Mrs. G's Starbucks Throw Down

Mrs. G. has never been in a physical fight with another person. One time she threw a potted plant at a boyfriend but she was drunk young and passionate. Mrs. G. is a coward lover not a fighter. While she would never be called a doormat, Mrs. G. is not fond of conflict in general and will usually briskly walk her way around it. When it comes to physical conflict of any kind, she will flat out run. Mrs. G. is not into pain. She developed an iron bladder in high school in her effort to avoid ever having to enter the girl's bathroom...a place rife with conflict.

Mrs. G. was driving to visit a friend when she decided to swing by Starbucks and grab her morning cup of joe. She pulled into the designated lane to turn left into the Starbucks parking lot when trouble ensued.

Mrs. G. was waiting patiently behind her fellow drivers. Here is a rudimentary traffic chart of how it went down... ringside seats, if you like.
Starbucks is always busy, so it can take a few minutes to safely make the turn.

Mrs. G. was just sitting there minding her own beeswax when she heard the person behind her honk her horn. Mrs. G. ignored it.

Honk...honk...hooooonk. Mrs. G. looked in her rear view mirror and saw a young woman in a red truck laying on her horn and making wild faces that indicated she was very likely in the middle of some kind of psychotic seizure. Mrs. G. threw up her hands in that universal gesture that means take a pill whaaaat already when the crazed driver did this.

The crazy woman truck driver sped dangerously into oncoming traffic and bypassed all the patient drivers in the actual turn lane, drove into the lot, parked and walked into Starbucks just as nice as you please.

So, Mrs. G. finally made her turn and was just about to head towards the drive thru lane when she decided she had had it with uncivilized, aggressive, self absorbed people. She parked her car and walked right into the coffee shop. Getting scared yet? You should be.

Mrs. G. got in line directly behind the horn honking young woman, tapped her on the shoulder and politely said, Is there a reason you were honking your horn at me? There were two cars in front of me. What exactly did you want me to do?

The woman whipped around and YELLED, Don't you be coming up to me and getting all in my face threatening me!

It was about now that Mrs. G. noticed that this woman was large and kind of scary. Mrs. G. looked at the Starbucks barista who was, all of the sudden, busy not getting involved in this ass kicking studying the keys on the cash register like her life depended on it. Mrs. G. looked around the store searching for fellow customers who might help subdue this Amazon if she threw a punch, but none of them would look Mrs. G. in the eye. There was a very strong you are on your own vibe pulsing through the joint

I'm simply asking you what you would have liked me to do, Mrs. G. stammered.

Uh uh, no no... do NOT talk to me again, she said wagging her finger in Mrs. G's face.

Mrs. G. decided she would do what she was told. But the woman wasn't done.

And if you don't want someone treating you like a f***ing b*tch, you had better shut the f**k up. Mrs. G. is not making this up. This is exactly what this woman said, in a really loud voice. Then she went and stood by that little counter where they deliver the coffee and waited.

At this point, Mrs. G. was ready to forget her coffee and head to the safety of her car. It was clear this young woman might be carrying a concealed weapon was unstable. But Mrs. G. just walked over to that little counter and stared. She stared and stared and stared. She had decided that she was going to stand up to this bully no matter what. The gauntlet was down, down as in downtown. Mrs. G's fear was so profound it was, strangely, liberating. She was past the point of no return.

But, suddenly, Mrs. G. sensed that the woman was getting nervous. The woman's eyes were darting back and forth, and she actually looked fearful of Mrs. G. Mrs. G. doesn't know if it was her imposing glare, her substantial bosom, her crow's feet or her I heart books t-shirt, but the bully grabbed her coffee and slunk, yes slunk, out the door. She never looked back.

When Mrs. G. was back in her car, she was shaking and felt a little nauseous, but she also felt incredibly exhilarated. She realizes now that what she did was asinine and immature. It was ridiculously impulsive. It is never a good idea to provoke someone who clearly can whip your butt has some anger issues. People have been shot for less.

But, reader, damn it felt good.




Training Day #1

Mrs. G. woke up with the birds, and after a fair amount of groaning and several pokes at her husband to make sure he was aware of her considerable suffering she rolled out of bed. She had wisely slept in her running clothes thus eliminating the potential obstacle of getting dressed and a surefire excuse for staying under the covers. Mrs. G. slipped on her Nikes and headed out the door. She did not even brush her hair, this is how committed Mrs. G. is.

Reader, this is how it went down:

Mrs. G hit the pavement, and warmed up with a brisk five minute walk. She swung her arms with vigor.


Then she kicked it up a notch and actually jogged for sixty seconds. Did Mrs. G. obey this stop sign? No! She was feeling reckless and, quite frankly, running like a sixty-year-old woman a bat out of hell.


Did Mrs. G. stop jogging to admire this lovely butterfly? No, she did not. Nothing was going to stop her, and this photo was taken two months ago at the zoo so there was actually no butterfly in sight.


Mrs. G. was sweating pretty heavily at this point, but, as per her training program, she alternated sixty seconds of jogging and ninety seconds of walking for twenty-two minutes. Go Mrs. G! You can do it! Don't throw yourself in front of that car.


On the less brisk walk home, did Mrs. G. sit her somewhat large ass down on this rock for a spell? Yes, yes she did.


Did Mrs. G's son later mock her on the very same rock when she told him of her athletic prowess? Yes, yes he did.


So, with day one of training down, Mrs. G. crawled onto her bed and congratulated herself on a job well done. No, that is not Mrs. G.'s cat Tonks. Mrs. G. is not a cat blogger. It's a pile of unfolded laundry.


That'll do feet. 

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