Worlds collide

January 29th, 2009 § 0

I find that it’s difficult to sustain good blogging mojo after as many years as Andrew & I have been doing this shebazzle thang (10? 11?).  It seems particularly difficult now that I’m frittering away my precious free time with my new Facebook addiction.

So, I’m cheating and posting a meme that Andrew & I both responded to on FB.  I think it’s kind of amazing how much we revealed (explicitly and otherwise) by simply fulfilling a request to write “25 random things”.  And as I shared with my husband after reading his, I feel a need to direct people to read his in an effort to explain how he can completely rock my world and drive me nuts simultaneously.


1. I’m a pretty open person, emotionally.
2. Most people don’t know I’m almost as crazy as my crazy husband. He will tell you that I’m crazier. He might be right.
3. I love being a mom, most days, but am really not so good at the traditional mom stuff (cooking, cleaning, etc.)
4. I have the worst memory known to man. I don’t think it was always this way. Was it?
5. I have slightly high ideals for how the world should be. Ok, maybe that’s an understatement.
6. I do also expect a lot of myself. Way more than I expect from other people. This has caused me a not insignificant amount of anxiety in life.
7. I’m more of a risk-taker than people think. I disguise it well.
8. I was lucky to grow up in a school that was more racially integrated than most. I can remember hearing a (racist) neighbor calling one of my friends “colored” and thinking she must have rainbows hidden somewhere underneath her clothes.
9. I think I also believed in Santa much longer than my peers.
10. Some people bother me more than they should. I’m working on that.
11. I’m envious of people who seem to be always happy. I wish I could be more like them. Without medication.
12. I cry at almost anything sad or sappy. I especially cry at anything involving children being hurt. I also sometimes cry when people I didn’t know die.
13. I occasionally dream about living on a farm. Or running a bed and breakfast (and yes, I see the irony in that given my skill level on the cooking and cleaning front).
14. Lately I’ve been dreaming a lot about having foster children.
15. I need to make more time for photography. Sometimes I wish I had pursued this earlier or as a career.
16. And then I think about the student loans I just racked up from grad school and I kick myself for thinking that. I do enjoy teaching too.
17. I think I was cut out for a nontraditional career. Am still trying to find the right path.
18. I snore. Always have. My daughter has a cute snore, for now. I have a feeling mine is not so cute.
19. I have a lot of shame about being overweight. It’s difficult to feel that you walk around displaying one of your biggest struggles in life. Some people can hide theirs much more easily.
20. I am working on all aspects of taking better care of myself, and trying to make my health a priority. This does not come easily to me. I am the person who will equip the whole flight with their oxygen bags before finding my own.
21. I would like to go parasailing sometime. Or at least ride a big zip line.
22. I don’t tend to hold grudges. I get angry, I process it, I’m done. I wonder if my husband will agree with that.
23. I like bike-riding. Especially going really fast downhill. It makes me feel free. I need to do more of it. I would like to recapture my more athletic days.
24. I can ski, kind-of. I’m not so good at the turning side-to-side thing or the stopping thing, but I like going down hills really fast. I guess it’s obvious by now that I’d like roller coasters.
25. I love easily. I especially love my husband and daughter. I am trying to come to terms with the possibility that we may end up as a family of 3. We’re a nice family.


1. I know that many people will expect me to use the words “goats” or “chicken” in this list. But there is absolutely no way I will use either the word “goats” or “chicken” when typing out this list. So, please, adjust your expectations now (Marie). No goats. No chickens. No bull. No shebazzlin’.

2. I hate this. Everybody claims to hate this. This does not seem like a random thing about me, or anyone, really. Nobody really likes to talk about themselves, do they? At least to other people. I’m happy to talk to myself about myself. I usually avoid using the words goats or chickens in the process. However, I do often talk to myself. I can usually not do it in front of other people, however I will sometimes get busted talking to myself when walking home from the train and I don’t realize that someone is walking behind me or coming out their front door…also, very often at work, I talk to myself. This used to be sort of embarassing, but I’ve learned to roll with it. I talk to myself. I sing to myself. Why wouldn’t I? Deal with it.

3. I tend to avoid serious situations by deflecting them with humor. This usually drives people nuts. Especially my wife. What people don’t usually understand is that I’m still being serious on the inside. I just don’t like uncomfortable situations. Well, that isn’t totally true. I do like creating uncomofortable situations (that amuse me).
That also drives my wife nuts.

4. Speaking about worry… I am borderline OCD at times. I have to check the front door lock about 15 times a night before I can go to sleep. On the odd occasions where I find that I had neglected to lock it earlier in the evening I will do a small victory dance and feel vindicated and justified in performing this behavior for another 6 months. I often make excuses to go to the kitchen a few hours after dinner just to make sure all the burners are turned off. I press the lock button on the car key fob about 6x just to make sure the car is locked. I even “lock” the car doors as I pass the car on the way back from walking home from the train. I still check to make sure Alli is breathing in the middle of the night when I go to bed and anytime I wake up to pee. There are many more, I don’t think I’m even conscious of them all.

5. I really want to have my facebook status read “Andrew Bernatein ain’t afraid of no ghosts” just because it would humor me. Alas, it would be a lie. Ghosts petrify me. I do not like the word “ghost” to be uttered in my house for fear it will disturb any spirits hanging out in our 80 year old building. We had a (several?) ghost in our old apartment building in Evanston. Thankfully, he wasn’t too scary. Not like the one that was in the front hallway there. Marie and I named the back stairwell ghost “Max” and tried to help him get to the other side. Our significant others mocked us. I didn’t think that was wise at the time.

——Beginning of the “Andrew is not only crazy, he’s a chicken” section——

I’m afraid of a lot of other things too. Four of them that pop to mind are…

6. Dogs. Dogs scare the crap out of me. I have gotten better over the years, but I’m still afraid of all dogs until I get to know them and there are very few dogs that do not scare me after a time. Julie will claim that one time when we were walking her Mom’s dog, and a crazy rabid giant dog ran at us, that I ran away across the street and left her for dead. This is totally not true as I did what any sane person would do, which was to run away from danger. I assumed my wife was smart enough to do the same.

7. Heights. I am scared of heights. Being inside a building at a height does not scare me. Walking up normal steps does not scare me. Standing on a 3 step ladder to change a lightbulb SCARES me.

8. Public toilets. I do not like to do my “business” in public restrooms. As I have aged, I have loosened this restriction a little in emergency situations, but I LOATHE public restrooms. I like to poop on my own turf. Or at least friendly turf. One time when we were out of town visiting a friend, I borrowed his car to drive myself from the restaurant we were at to his house (abt 15 minutes away) during the middle of dinner just so I could make a deposit in his bathroom rather than the restaurant.

9. Lightning. Terror consumes me. I run like a small school girl from the car to the house. I have to fight back tears when I walk home from the train in a thunderstorm.

——End of the “Andrew is not only crazy, he’s a chicken” section——

10. I hate the Dave Matthews Band. Hate is not strong enough of a word, actually. Despise? I don’t know. Kill me. One of my most prized posessions is a folded piece of paper I found in a park while walking to the train about 7 or 8 years ago. It was a piece of yellow construction paper that said “Bob Sagat is the Devil and the Dave Matthews Band worships him.” If I wasn’t afraid of needles (should i put that above), I’d get that tatooed on my bad self.

11. I could fill the rest of this with the common answers to the vegan questions. Yes, even though I am “husky” I am vegan. No I did not go vegan for my “health”, but I’ll take any extra health mojo I can get. Yes I feel better now than when I was vegetarian, and yes I felt better as a vegetarian than as a meat eater, but in the end, you just adjust and it all feels normal. No, these shoes are not leather. Yes, they look like leather Yes I can show you the website that sells them or the label on the inside to prove it. No, I do not miss X, where X, most likely equals CHEESE. I still have nightmares about the time I ate goat. Why vegetarian to vegan? You don’t really want to know. But if you insisted that you did, you’d hear something about how I realized that many of the animals I was trying to avoid torturing were still being tortured by the dairy industry. Then you’d ask me how cows on a dairy farm are tortured and I’d try not to tell you, then you’d keep pestering me and I’d tell you more. And then I’d start to get annoyed because I’d start feeling guilty again about the first 38 years of my life. Yes, you are right, I had no idea that plants have feelings too. Wow, what a revelation. I’m going to eat a hamburger now, jackass.

12. I miss my mom. Miss is the wrong word. And it isn’t so much my mom (though I do miss her in the traditional sense) but rather all that comes along for the ride there. But “miss” is close enough, I guess.

13. I met Julie on April 3, 1987 while we were high school seniors looking at colleges. We had our first kiss on April 3, or April 4 in the wee hours of the night. She’ll claim the opposite, but she totally kissed me first. I waited up the rest of the night after I dropped her off at the dorm she was staying at to make sure we could exchange addresses. I still have the little corner of the piece of paper she wrote her name and number on. I laminated it. I like to laminate things. Watch your back. I might laminate you.

14. I am good at making acquanitances. I am not good at making friends. Or I’m not good at understanding who is my friend and who isn’t. I have high expectations. I have a lack of follow through. I have a force field of humor, wit and sarcasm protecting me at al times. I am judgemental and snobby. I am an evil evil person. Or I’m just a loser. I don’t know. Julie is my best friend. Alli is a really close acquaintance.

15. I am addicted to kale. This week between Wednesday and Thursday, I ate a one pound bag of kale. I hope we get a community garden plot this year in order to grow kale. I am also addicted to sriracha. I do not know if you can grow sriracha bottles, but I’ll look into that closer to the growing season.

16. I cannot remember any punctuation rules from school. I’ll often cover for this by just throwing out some “…” and stuff. or just dropping punctuation all together. I am looking forward to Alli learning all these rules so she can re-edify me. Oh, I also tend to not use spell check. I also don’t proofread what I wrote. I regret these

17. Spoons and cups are loaded topics. First of all, you are an idiot if you don’t believe that certain beverages taste better out of certain forms of cups. Water, for insance, should NEVER be drunk out of a ceramic Coffee Tea Club cup. It is wrong. You could die from doing that. Stop now. Same with juice. Of any kind. The list goes on… don’t get me started. Also, you cannot drink water out of a cup and then put another beverage into it afterwards. That is just gross. Though, in our house, since I do most of the dishes, I’ll allow it to happen for Julie and Alli, but I would never do that myself, cuz I don’t want drink cooties.

Regarding spoons. Spoons trump forks. Grapefruit spoons are close to being the ONLY utensil you need. If they were a little larger to account for the eating of soup, methinks we’d only need one kind of utensil in our drawers. Beware, however, spoons can be evil. You don’t want to be caught eating out of some freaky spoon. I can’t describe a freaky spoon, but I know them when I see them. When you are met with a freaky spoon, you may need to use the fork more than you would, but suffice it to say, you are using your fork too much, and your spoon not enough. I know you. I know this is true. You can admit it.

18. I hate the telephone. If I don’t call you, don’t take offense. I hate the telephone. I hate the telephone. I do not like it at work. I do not like it at home. I hate the telephone. As a kid I was afraid (chicken alert) to call places for fear they might…I don’t know, come through the phone and mock me. I would be, for instance, afraid to call a bowling alley and ask if they had open bowling today. As an adult, I’d like to say that has changed. I can’t. I’m still afraid to call people on the phone. I inherited (learned) this from my mom. On a related note, I love my iPhone. Maybe a little too much.

19. I wish I was a better father. I constantly worry that Alli and I won’t be friends when she grows up and this makes me sad.

20. My wife is the smartest human I have ever met. I wish I did a better job of convincing her how amazing she is. At everything. I love her more now than the day we got married. I wish I could do a better job of convincing her of that as well.

21. If I am mocking you, it means I either like you or I hate you. Or both. Or it could just mean that you are alive. Oh, wait, or dead too. I might have a tendency to be a little sarcastic. I’m not sure people notice. I can be quite subtle and tactful. I think those words describe me so very well. Add normal in and you have a wonderful trifecta. Subtle, normal and tactful. Andrew Bernstein. Boo yah.

22. I have not been to a White Sox home game since Julie surprised me with a ticket for Game 2 of the 2005 World Series. I am not sure any game will ever live up to that. I did see the White Sox on the road a few times since then and Alli and I did go see a woman’s professional softball game as well. I miss baseball. I miss playing, reading, simulating, living baseball.

23. I am constantly convinced that nobody likes me. I’m needy like that.

24. I humor myself. A lot. I never get tired of the following jokes:
“On purpose?”
“I used to date __________ back in 1972”
The fist

25. I often say that I am psychic and telekinetic, yet haven’t harnessed the powers yet. I am only partially joking. I am 53% sure that I am psychic (I knew I was going to say that.) My parents did a lot of drugs when I was a kid, so who knows if this is true, or just the qualudes talking, but I was tested at the University of Chicago for psychic ability cuz I predicted something or another. I often have a feeling of deja vu, I attribute this to the untapped psychic ability. I have other examples. I’m too tired to list them.

On the telekinetic thing, I just need a few hours to sit down and master the skill, and I’ll show you all. Just like juggling. Nobody thought I could do it. Three balls and one afternoon later, who had the last laugh? Me. That’s who.

Another delightful addiction…

January 29th, 2009 § 0

Alli Obamicon

If you weren’t thrilled yesterday, maybe don’t read this one…

January 21st, 2009 § 0

However lame my attempt at documenting bits and pieces of our life has been of late, it would be an incredible oversight to not have commented on the enormity of the history that has been made with the election and inauguration of President Barack Obama.  I have been surprised at the level of emotional impact it has had on me and the degree in which it has enabled me to shift my views about our country and our future to include glimpses of positivism.

The obvious initial enormity, and perhaps the explanation for a good amount of the emotional tears I shed, is that a whole generation of youth of many colors are now being raised with the actualization of at least one of the dreams of the civil rights movement.  I don’t mean to imply in any way that our nation doesn’t yet have a long way to travel on the path to ending racial divides and discrimination, but that my daughter gets to grow up in a world where this barrier was broken and where a man of color is valued at this level for the content of his character by a majority of our nation gives me great hope for the future.

My daughter was born during the 2nd month of George W. Bush’s first term.  I was in the middle of a mom and baby yoga session with the 7-month-old version of her when the towers fell on 9/11/2001, after which our country’s rhetoric and actions in the international scene surpassed even my wildest nightmares of what a rogue bully might look like, and did so with the accompaniment of much flag-waving from a citizenry that in large part seemed to buy into the ideals of invasion, war and hate in the name of preserving “the American Way”.  I say this not in any way to condone the events of 9/11 or to minimize the profound loss experienced by so many, but I have been completely unable to understand why we as a nation have seemed unable to look at ourselves in the Global mirror to reflect upon what has bred the kind of anger that fueled that and other terrorist actions.   Instead, we have chosen to give the world an even heavier dose of the same, and have taken it upon ourselves to effect unilateral decisions and to continue to assert our (political and) economic goals at the expense of others.

It is heartening to hear a leader who isn’t putting the same rhetoric out into the world, and who seems to understand the need to extend a hand of partnership before marching out with guns blazing.  I am encouraged to hear someone who seems even moderately aware of the extraordinarily large footprint we make ecologically and economically on this Earth, and is interested in investigating alternatives over preserving the status quo.  I’m further heartened by his ability to convey not only a positive message, but also a pragmatic assessment of the place in which we currently find ourselves as a nation.  Most of all, I’m hopeful about his ability to convey the difficult message to the people of this country that he comes to this role as a leader and not a savior — that we all need to be engaged in the business at hand.  The amount of people who have already been mobilized by his message to participate in the election and inauguration process is, I hope, an indication of a beginning of standing up to participate in the world in a new way.

To participate in a shift of culture from war-think to peace-think, from consuming to preserving, from pursuing self-interest to caring for the global community — these are the greatest gifts that we can give to our children and our children’s children.

I am hopeful, and maybe even cautiously optimistic.  I won’t be belting out the Star-Spangled Banner on any streetcorners, but I can bear to look at the flag and feel something postitive.  And that is indeed big news.

January 10th, 2009 § 0

I don’t know if I’m slaphappy today, but this site cracks me up way more than it should.

Especially this:

[youtube y18EcgSVYNw nolink]

And this, despite that I feel for this poor creature:

[youtube JB4Z0LNGBPY nolink]

And the winner of the “I can’t believe someone spends their time doing this” and the “Where do I sign up” prize goes to the rating system:

Rated for cuteness on a scale of 1-5. (5 being the cutest)
Rated for sleepiness on a scale of 1-5. (5 being the sleepiest)

P.S. Baby humans included.

December 2008 piano concert

January 8th, 2009 § 0

December 2008 – Alli Piano Concert from Julie Bernstein on Vimeo.

Oh No She Didn’t

January 8th, 2009 § 0

And the winner of the 2008 favorite Alli recordings countdown goes to:

Oh No She Didn’t from Julie Bernstein on Vimeo.

Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2009 § 0

Sorry for the tease, been so long I actually had to remind myself of the blog password.  Will aim to publish a bit more frequently than bi-annually in 2009.  🙂

Until then, good tidings and all of that.

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