In Which Our Heroine Questions the Wisdom of Woof and Moo

5 April 2004

Mark and I were on our way to the flower show yesterday, and I was thinking, and all of a sudden it hit me. "Why are we so intent on teaching little kids animal noises?" I asked. "I mean, with all the words Roo doesn't know yet, why is it so important that he knows that the piggie says oink oink and the kitty says meow? Aren't there more useful words we could be teaching him? I mean, I did it instinctively -- we were playing with the fridge magnets, and I told him the moose says --" And here I bellowed with great contralto gusto. Because the essence of Auntie Mrissa is dignity and don't you forget it. (Incidentally, Robin attempting the moose bellow? Cutest thing in the world.)

And Mark looked at me and said, "Stop trampling on our most sacred institutions!" But seriously, I want to know: why are animal noises important? With things like birds and dogs and cats, I can see why it's sort of important, because then if they hear something making one of those noises but can't see what it is, they'll know. But how likely is it to be imperative that the bear says rrraaaarrr? It's cute, sure. But why is it a sacred institution? Why is it so standard? Any of you have any ideas? What about those of you who grew up outside the U.S. or in a non-"typical" U.S. subculture: were you taught to make noises like various animals when you were small? Do you teach that to your children? Inquiring Mrissas want to know.

Mark and I went to exchange the shoji screen -- we had "walnut shoji screen" on the receipt, but the one they gave us was pine. Oops. They didn't have walnut in Bloomington, so I had them call the other stores. I'll be running up to Maple Grove this morning to get the walnut one. A hassle, but whatever. And the clerk could not say the word "shoji." Even though it's totally phonetic. She wasn't getting other phonetic possibilities, either; it wasn't like she was calling it a shooji screen or something. Ah well.

The Bachman's/Dayton's flower show (not Marshall Field's, dammit, Dayton's!) was all right, I guess. Mostly I was happy to be there. Walking through the skyways! The flower show! Yay! The actual show itself was trying to be too many things at once, I think, and it did a sub-fabulous job at all of them. It was nice, but compared to the last one I went to, meh. Meh, meh, meh. Then we looked at the clothes at downtown Dayton's in case it was different from Southdale Dayton's, which it was, but not in a good way. I wasn't even upset that the clothes in the Oval Room are not for the likes of us, because they were ugly and horrible, too. (Mark says I have to stop saying that things aren't for the likes of us now that we're not poor grad students any more. He says that they're for the likes of us, we just choose not to avail ourselves of them. I'm a bit skeptical of this claim.)

Then we tried Izzy's Ice Cream, which has won some Best of Twin Cities awards. The awards, as far as I could tell, were dirty rotten liars. I mean, it wasn't bad ice cream. It wasn't "throw this crap away!" ice cream. It was just not that great, especially in a town that has Bridgeman's and Sebastian Joe's. We still have ice cream places on our list of things to try (Grande Olde Creamery and Edina Creamery, most notably, but other suggestions are welcome), so I can't state categorically that those two are the best in town. But Izzy's isn't. Their gimmick is the Izzy scoop, a miniature scoop on top of your serving of ice cream. And as ice cream gimmicks go, this just seems lame to me. If it's really awesome ice cream, the little Izzy scoop is not going to excite me particularly more than the essential goodness of ice cream, and since it isn't really awesome ice cream, the little Izzy scoop doesn't excite me in the first place. "Look! A tiny bit more mediocre ice cream! Well, hot da-yum, Maw!"

Later, at home, I discovered that I can, in fact, competently prepare crab. We had crab in the fridge because Timprov had intended to make crab gumbo for Saturday night, but then he hadn't felt good enough to make it (or, it turns out, eat any of the crab last night), so I was faced with cooking it or letting it go to waste. I'd never cooked or cracked crab before. I'd always eaten it in sauces and salads other people prepared. It turns out I can, in fact, handle crab, and with only my brutish strength at that. I'm sorry Timprov couldn't enjoy it, because we don't get it except for special treats. But it was a very summery thing to have last night, crab salads, with Timprov watching baseball in the next room. It's supposed to be over 60 degrees today -- for the only time this week. I guess I'll enjoy it while I can.

I finished Emerald House Rising, and it was good fun, but I think I'm glad that Peg Kerr's career seems to have taken a turn for the contemporary. I started John M. Ford's From the End of the Twentieth Century, short stories and essays. I'm enjoying it, finding parts of it funny and parts interesting; I think it's a pretty good mix for a collection. And I'm returning a biiiiig pile of books to the library today (going through the drive-through, not letting myself go in), so that should help take some of the book pressure off. A bit. So I'd better get on that.

Back to Novel Gazing.

And the main page.

Or the last entry.

Or the next one.

Or even send me email.