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Help an undisputed master of hospitality and dedicated architect of peace in the Middle East out

I have a thousand things I need to do, and I'm sitting here doing everything but.  My first task for the day is to write a bio for RESOLVE to use on its web site.  I don't know, I find that kind of thing pretty difficult.  I think it's supposed to sound important: somewhat formal, laudatory without being overblown, sensible of the honor, comporting itself properly among company.  And yet I keep wanting to type things like, "Mining the rich lode of personal experience, Julie has fashioned her hardscrabble early years into a stunning body of original roots music," when nothing could be further from the truth.  I don't even own a moonshine jug.   Or maybe I could call myself a noted environmentalist who works tirelessly toward planetary greenening.  That, at least, has a kernel of truth: y'all, I compost.  Or I was thinking of a catchy slogan: "A Little Pregnant: Adamantly Refusing to Just Relax, You Ill-Informed Jackasses, Since 283 B.C."  It's hard!  The other Hope Award winners are impressive and purposeful and accomplished, while most days I sit here and do the equivalent of making fart noises with my hand cupped over my armpit.  Oh, they're good noises made by a firm, steady hand and a deeply concave armpit; I do it very well, and I love my work.  But let's just say this exercise is humbling.

When I typed "I need to" above I remembered Ben at breakfast.  The child is a talker, six- and seven-word sentences tumbling out without hesitation.  I wouldn't say he's particularly intelligible; we still puzzle over certain words as Ben repeats them, his irritation visibly increasing, like, "You people.  I clearly said fnmzxvt.  I swear I don't know how pngwczhv such kfwtqsln for bgsfkmmrqz."  And Paul and I are there mouthing to each other, Fnmzxvt? while Ben is shaking his head violently: "No, you stupid cpbvwing ljvtsptmqzvholes.  Fnmzxvt."  But most of the time we pretty much know what he's saying.  Anyway, somewhere along the line he learned the phrase, "I need."  (Strange, considering that I routinely require that he preface his requests with, "If it's not too much trouble, and if you'd be so very kind, at your convenience might you, please, mother...?")  Lately we hear it a lot.  "I need my shoes."  "I need another book."  "I need cat go out my room."  And this morning, as he lunged for the table while I was still strapping him into his booster seat, urgently, "I neeeed cheeeeese!"  Which totally cracks me up.  Risking my very neck, I dive...for Gruyèrrrrrrre!

Which reminds me that we went to a cheese festival last weekend.  There were goats. 


Almost-two is just lovely.

So as I'm sitting here getting distracted from this bio, I'm also avoiding planning a cookout for Ben's birthday, despite the fact that it's taking place, oh, two days from now.  Recently we've been to a few similar parties for kids we know, and each has been low-key and pleasant.  Since it's been so easy for us to enjoy them as guests, I suppose I've been assuming that it will be just as easy to mount one as hosts.  Which, haaaaa, oh, God, anyway, I'm in trouble, because there's probably more to it than just buying some paper plates, opening a container of hummus and a bag of baby carrots, and making vague gestures.  That probably makes it sound like I just don't care, but I do.  I just want to stay as relaxed as possible about the whole thing, as what I've liked most about these other parties is how casual they've been, and I've been told by reliable sources that the magic only happens when you just...stop...trying.

Oh, the other thing I'm doing that I shouldn't be wasting time with is sticking some Facebook business here and there on my site.  I'm just cutting and pasting as if I actually knew what I was doing, but in truth I'm heedlessly messing with forces I don't understand, and I fully expect to be swallowed up by the vortex of evil any second now.  Click "Like" to approve of my supernatural abduction and subsequent ungentle probing!

Anyway, once I recover from becoming the first of my friends to be penetrated by every single one of Cthulu's tentacles simultaneously, I'm thinking burgers, hot dogs, and cupcakes.  I'd like to have some finger food for kids and adults, separate offerings if necessary, as I suppose the real fingers I'm planning to serve might be a taste mostly for sophisticated palates.  I want some cut-up fruit or maybe berries, because it wouldn't be a party if I didn't try to suck the fun out of it by offering healthy food.  I'd like a couple of side dishes, like potato salad but not potato salad.  And probably something in a blanched, chilled vegetable, in case the fruit doesn't convince people that I'm serious, that my body is a goddamned temple all up in here, artificially colored buttercream notwithstanding.

Beer and wine for the adults.  Maybe some helium balloons if I get my act together on Friday, possibly weighted down with rocks, juuust to see if we can get a little toddler-on-toddler skull-bashing going on.  No presents.  No games; these children are two.  Swingset, sandbox, bubbles, and a water table.  Knock your goofy selves out, kids.  Oh, and take the rock with you.  What?  That is the goody bag.

I would love your advice, if you please.  Either help me write a bio — the funnier the better — or suggest something totally-halfassed-easy to make and good to eat for a cookout.  Thanking you in advance, I remain, a bold pioneer in the field of making fake rude body noises, still in its very infancy but showing outrageous promise for the future of humankind.