Thursday, December 29, 2005

Hi, Honey, I'm Home

Lovely, lovely trip with the husband and two babes to Alabama to see my family. Lots of visiting, lots of eating, lots of chasing children, lots of driving, but, above all, lots of love.

Back at the ranch, things seemed to go well. The dogs survived our absence, as did the house (this house already burned down once--in 1978). The petsitters were diligent, and loads of mail and packages greeted us when we walked into our kitchen last night. It was Christmas morning all over again as we tore into the new gifts at 10pm.

One delightful part of the trip was seeing how content my children generally are. This is apart from one road-related discipline moment when the 2.5yo was yelling in the car for no other reason than to needle us and his 9mo sister. After N blew through the first warning, D and I were forced to pull over onto the shoulder of I-95 and get out of the car for a minute to show N that actions have consequences. My God, that was scary, and I don't see ever doing that again. Not only did semis roll by closely at 80mph, but the kids cried in our absence (as I would have). I think N learned his lesson. So did I: I need to find a less dangerous method to deal with screaming in the car. Any ideas?

A seems to be sick with a cold this first morning back, and while I am sorry for her, I am secretly pleased to have the time she is sleeping to put to organizing the house. As I type, though, I hear some coos from upstairs. A heavy diaper awaits me.

I'm pondering some goals for 2006, and hope to make a post on this topic in a day or so. Meantime, I've got to be Momma, sort through mail and pay bills, wash clothes, plan some menus, and run various errands. We're back in business here.

I hope that all of you are enjoying the holidays, feeling some peace and some love.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

'Tis the Season


The problem with time is that we think we have it. If we realized that we don't possess time, then perhaps we would become less stressed and more open to the miracles that happen every moment around us.

Please replace every instance of the word "we" with "I" in the above. I admit it, this lesson is for me. I'm the one who's grasping toward the illusion of time. I'm having trouble fitting in everything I have to do for myself and my family before we leave for my folks' next week. And isn't it a shame that I may be missing some of the magic? My 2.5yo son is just now discovering the wonders of Santa Claus, Christmas lights, stockings, and cocoa. I must slow down and breathe it in.

At the top of my to-do list, I should just write:
Every moment is an infinity, and yet, every moment is born and then dies.

Maybe de-pooping the backyard isn't so important after all.


So...
I am signing off until at least the end of December, if not the New Year, when I will return with a little list of goals I'd like to accomplish in the infinity of moments that we everyday folk like to call 2006.

I wish all of my brothers and sisters a wonderful holiday season of joy and peace.
Your faithful,
Mary Louisa

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Seven Things Meme

Oh, I do love a meme! It gives me an excused absence from creating a blog entry from scratch. Thanks to the fetching Lisa Coutant for tagging me.

Seven Things to Do Before I Die:
1. Visit the Puglia region of Italy
2. Finish the novel I'm writing
3. Finish writing and mail my Christmas cards
4. Make the kids' baby books
5. Ski in the Alps
6. Take a luxury cruise of some exotic coastline (without the kids, natch)
7. ummmm, nothing else comes to mind except to keep hugging and kissing and loving on the family

Seven Things I Cannot Do:
1. Lie convincingly
2. Tell a joke. To save my life. My trying to tell a joke is a comedy act in and of itself. You really will laugh AT me, not WITH me.
3. Throw a frisbee
4. See without contacts or glasses
5. Raise one eyebrow
6. Keep a houseplant alive for more than six months
7. Make a convincing croissant

Seven Things that Attract Me to My Spouse [romantic interest, best friend, whomever](not necessarily in this order!):
1. His sense of humor
2. His boyish good looks
3. His smarts
4. His height
5. His sensitivity
6. His creativity
7. His passion

Seven Things I Say (or write!) Most Often:
1. sure
2. yep
3. WOW
4. hugs
5. ML
6. holy crap
7. NO! (when you live with wayward pets and toddling kids, that one gets over-used)

Seven Books (or series) I Love:
1. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
2. Ceremony (Silko)
3. The Crying of Lot 49 (Pynchon)
4. And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street (Seuss)
5. House of Mirth (Wharton)
6. Kozak's Wollie Shelley mysteries
7. Fair and Tender Ladies (Smith)
ooooooh, I could go ooooooon...

Seven Movies I Would Watch Over and Over Again:
1. Groundhog Day
2. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
3. Apocalypse Now
4. The Godfather
5. Miller's Crossing
6. On the Waterfront
7. Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Taylor/Newman/Ives)

Seven People I Want to Join in: (be tagged)
1. Lynsloo
2. Steph C.
3. Becky
4. Erica M-R
5. Christa (I know I just tagged you, but you need something to keep you off your feet)
6. Joshilyn Jackson
7. Shanraye

Be fruitful and multiply the meme, my daughters.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Draw a Map for Me

Am I the only almost-novelist who is just now figuring this out? I drew a map of my fictional setting the other day. It was a revelation. An inspiration. A veritable well-spring of new ideas.

Until I set to diagramming the digs of my sleuth and her fellow citizens, I had ignored in my book concrete (pun intended) illustrations of what gives a small southern town its flavor--bits of local color that beg to be included. There are the monuments of racial strife: the "Academy," or the private school built to "protect" the town's white students from forced desegregation, and the Confederate soldier statue, who faces eternally South. There is the rich religious history: the AME Zion Church as well as the First Presbyterian. Change is inevitable, we know: What will become of the shuttered main street department store or the struggling independent hardware store? New apartments, a bowling alley, a Hardees or Popeye's, and a BP station squeeze into strange spots. A strip joint beckons from the outskirts, across from the Chinese buffet and the Guatemalan grocery.

Can you tell I enjoyed this exercise in world-building? I can't wait to get back to it. First though, two naps are now done, and with them two dirty diapers to be changed. Then snacks. Don't forget the two barking dogs due their dinners. A little playtime and laundry, followed by dinner preparation. But relief is in sight. My husband will be home early tonight (yes, 6:30 is early) for our once-a-week trade-off, when he lets me "do my own thing" for several hours. My atlas awaits...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Speaking of CEREMONY

I mentioned in the post below that one of my favorite novels is Leslie Marmon Silko's CEREMONY. In it, a battle-fatigued Laguna WWII veteran returns home to find his Pueblo dying. The book follows him on his journey to bring himself, his people, and his land back to health. In the process, he is treated by two American Indian healers. I just saw this link today on cnn.com.

Friday, December 02, 2005

15 things about books

Robert Gregory Browne tagged me for a book meme. You list 15 facts and personal preferences about books. It's my first meme!

1. Last year about this time I sold off approximately $300 worth of books from my collection. I don't regret it one bit.

2. At the same time, I donated approximately five moving boxes full of books to our AAUW yearly book sale.

3. At present, I own mostly paperback books. I seem to be on an unstated hardback moratorium.

4. I used to buy all my books used. Force of habit from grad school bag lady days.

5. Now I try to buy new books, since I understand better how an author's career depends on that particular exchange of capital.

6. As a child, my mother and I would go I would go with my mother to the downtown Huntsville (AL) Public Library once a week to check out books. We also checked out artwork to hang on our walls. I will never ever forget the smell of that building, especially the children's room, an odor I will always associate with inspiration and delight.

7. It never in a million years would've occurred to me to be afraid of germs in library books, as Anne Frasier noted, but now that I've read THIS, I'm starting to wonder if I shouldn't be more careful. I do live close to Philadelphia.

8. My two children have approximately one-hundred books. The older is not even two and a half. About twenty of these are books from my own childhood. All but a handful of the rest were gifts.

9. We read POLAR EXPRESS to N last night for the first time. At bedtime he made D read it three times before he would allow the light to be turned off. He woke up an hour earlier than usual this morning, shouting, "My Express Book! My Express Book!" I had to begin the reading cycle again immediately. It has continued throughout the day. I cry every time I read the last page.
How many more days until Christmas?

10. My three favorite novels are, in no particular order, ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN (Twain), CEREMONY (Leslie Marmon Silko), and THE CRYING OF LOT 49 (Thomas Pynchon). I own multiple editions of each. I have lots of second favorites.

11. I have about twenty copies of my own book in my closet. I also have about ten copies of my grandmother's book of stories.

12. I own quite a few first editions by American authors. Do I read them? No. They sit on a shelf inside a closet where the light can't get to them. Brilliant.

13. Giving the gift of a book is one of the finest things one can do.

14. I have never seen my mother go to bed without a book in her hand. Ever.

15. I bought my mom a brick at my local library in thanks for instilling her love of books in me.

Oh, crap! I just realized (a few hours later) that I, too, need to tag people. I tag Christa M. Miller, Matthew Masucci, and Jason Evans to participate!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Turkey Atonement

So, to combat the karmic liability of eating the turkey, I made us a macrobiotic Thanksgiving feast on Saturday. My preparations began Friday night when I whipped up some home-made seitan. Yes, that's pronounced SAY-tan. You can believe it has supplied an endless stream of jokes in our house. I made it the traditional way, with 4 cups whole wheat flour and 4 cups unbleached white flour. You add water and knead all the bran and starch away, leaving only the rubbery gluten. Takes a long time, too much water, and leaves one's wrists rather cramped. Except for the wasting the water (I could've preserved it for bread baking or to pour on the compost pile), I think I upped my score.

So after you've created what looks like a tight ball of yellow elastic bands, you plop it into a broth of water, soy sauce, and kombu. (Macrobiotics is all about sea vegetables, you know, for which I'm game, pretty much, except for hijiki.)

I have to say that the finished product is not so bad! It comes closest to tasting like/having the texture of octopus, which we've eaten in Italy and the states. It's a tad rubbery, but picks up the broth flavor very nicely. If you don't want it to have the soy sauce flavor, you can cook it in another sort of broth, I suppose. And people also add herbs to the ball of gluten itself before cooking.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Turkey Post-Mortem

So I ate some turkey on Thanksgiving. White meat. And it was good. Yes, I'm a vegetarian, or a fishetarian. Or something like that. But it was THANKSGIVING, for God's sake. I'm not made of stone, people.

We went to a restaurant buffet for Tgiving dinner and ate many nice foodses, including deep-fried something-or-other served in cream sauce. It was REALLY good. But I wasn't sure what it was, so I asked the waitress. And she in turn asked the chef, within my hearing. And he answered with what sounded like polkin ravioli.

She was as confused as I. She asked one more time.

He: "Polkin ravioli."

So naturally I had to go over and ask him myself, since although I am a food snob, I am not familiar with polkin. "What is it?"

"Polkin ravioli."

From a few steps away, my husband says, "Pumpkin ravioli." As though the waitress and I were in kindergarten.

And I felt like I was, too, because then I remembered they had it on the buffet last year. And the year before. I plead turkey.

Is "polkin" a Delaware pronunciation? Anybody?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Black Friday Sonnet

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.--Great God! I'd rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreath├Ęd horn.

--William Wordsworth, of course. But you knew that.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Proud Mommy Moment


I have to share with you the picture my 28mo son drew of my 8mo daughter today. It was totally unsuggested, uncoached, unassisted by either my husband or me. As he drew the face, he told us what he was drawing ("eyes," "nose," "mouth"). Is he or is he not a creative genius?

In unison: Of course he is!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I Think He's a Mariah Man

Gary is a feature writer, not a book reviewer, but he couldn't help himself when someone dropped a bomb into his inbox.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING, EVERYONE.

p.s. I never got to the television last night to watch L&O:SVU. I'm hoping to be relaxing in front of the fireplace Thanksgiving night, so I'll look for more cop shows later on in the weekend. Thanks for everyone's sage advice.

Monday, November 21, 2005

L&O

So, there's apparently been this HIT SHOW on for a few years now, called Law and Order, and since I am a) philosophically against hour-long dramas, and b) not watching television now at all, I have never seen it. Oh, I've caught a few seconds of big Chris Noth and sassy Jerry Orbach (RIP) through the years, surfing by in search of something fluffier, and I even paused one night to see if Noth could captivate me the way he had on Sex and the City, but, meh, not so much.

And all the mystery community is like--if you want to see good detective work on t.v., watch the first half of L&O. It's tight!

Cut to the chase: two Saturdays ago husband looks up NBC's Law & Order web site to get me the day and time. He tells me, "Sundays, 9/8c." Duly noted. Sunday we get everything out of the way, kids abed, etc. Sit down at the television (guess what room it's in? Yup: "peepee soaked heck-hole" family room--and two bits to the person who can ID the source of that quotation). And instead of promised program we are greeted with some Saturday Night Live Fiascos From The 80s special. Talk about making a special out of NOTHING! But I digress. Where is Law & Order???? D pulls up the same web page for me, and yes, it says Sundays, 9/8c. That just RANKLES me.

So, I go to tvguide.com to see if there are reruns of L&O until the next Sunday (which was two days ago). But no, NO L&O until Sunday the 27th! How can they make me wait on such an apparently popular show!!?? At this point in my story, if you are a sentient American of the twenty-first century, which obviously I am not, you will have been SHOUTING at the bloody monitor, MARY LOUISA, YOU ARE JUST TALKING ABOUT L&O:CI! THERE IS ALSO L&O:SVU AND EVEN L&O:PLAIN OLE-PLAIN OLE. IT IS ON NBC EVERY NIGHT OF THE FRIGGIN WEEK AND EVEN SOME CABLE CHANNELS, YOU PREHISTORIC LUDDITE!! JUST TURN ON THE TV AND IT WILL BE ON SOMEWHERE.

Well, okay, now I know. I'll be sure to tell you what I think.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Did Someone Say Grey Alien?


Jason, just for you, I was able to upload a photo of the elusive alien who landed at our photo shoot.
Look familiar?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Who Let the Dogs Out?



Their little plan of crashing the Christmas photo shoot and not only distracting baby but also forcing the photographer to snap Mama's white legs and sneakers came to fruition last weekend. Must...climb...into...lap.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Sunday Ketchup

Mmmmmm.

In a nutshell, this is what has been going on 'round here.
Gimme Shelter.
Shelter magazines have stolen my heart and mind again, dammit. I haven't subscribed to House Beautiful in at least four years (since moving to DE), but I picked up a few back issues of that and Home at the library and I'm hooked. Again. We are going to redo the family room, and I wanted ideas. Instead, I found crack.

What have you done with my son?
Never admit to anyone that your child's behavior is evening out. Unless you want to awaken the demon within. Yesterday's pea up the nose was small potatoes compared to his concerted attempt today to break his sister's leg. God. Where's that crack?

Anne Frasier Rocks.
She went and done me a Tarot reading. I asked her to look into my future as a writer. Love love LOVE the CHARIOT card over it all. D told me it must represent my Subaru Forester. (Cuz I also love love LOVE me some Forester.) Anne, I knocked off another from the TBR pile tonight, and am starting PLAY DEAD tomorrow!

Smiley When You Say That.
Yeah, okay, I'm gonna stick with the Smiley's 100 Books yahoo group. Please join with me. Or at least tell me I'm not mad.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Dogs for Hire

Years ago, my husband and I joked that we needed to find R & W, our Italian Greyhounds, some occupation that would work off their energy and bring in some extra dough for us. I envisioned R pulling a mail wagon for the postman. W would've been good at running harnessed on a treadmill, recharging fuel cells.

But that was then, and this is now. And now it's no joke. Those dogs owe me big time for what it will cost to refloor the family room. After four years of the occasional "accident" (yeah, sure, W), the carpet is just beyond hope, despite my best attempts to clean up after them with enzymatic deodorizer. The carpet PAD has got to be a rancid, foetid (must be spelled that way to convey the proper degree of horror) mess, that I luckily cannot see. And what of the flooring surface underneath the pad? For all I know, a heretofore unidentified race of fungus is growing there, not unlike the strange sea creatures that thrive in untold depths of oxygen- and sunlight-free water. And when they are uncovered by the men in hazmat suits who will surely have to be called in to re-do our floor, the millions of spores will in unison utter tiny screams of pain at having been exposed to fresh air and daylight. The men will cover their ears and drop to their knees, Capt. Kirk style. It will be hell, and I hope not to be anywhere near to hear it. Or smell it.

Wait, where was I? Oh yes. The cost of new flooring versus my ass-face hounds. R's resume includes such gems as "friendly" and "can destroy stuffed things pretty well." W is kind of spastic, so I thought "enthusiastic" would be a good descriptor on his vita. His skillset includes "three-legged running" (that damn kneecap) and "cleaning up the backyard with mouth." I don't think they'd be insulted to work for minimum wage, and for sure they'd fill your diversity quota. Any takers? Anyone? Hmmm?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

True confessions

Oh, the remorse of a Yahoo groups junkie. I've thought better of my signing up last night for a book club group. It's for Jane Smiley's Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Novel; the group's aim is to read and discuss one book per month from Smiley's reading list of 100. It would take nine years, but I cannot take it at that clip right away. I have so many OTHER books I want and need to read right now besides the ancient ones on the beginning of her list. I fear I must go unsubscribe myself. At least I don't need a lawyer to get out of this one...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Great Holiday Movie!

I think I'll rent this movie over Thanksgiving weekend. Sounds like a great family flick.




Now relive the original trailer, one of the greatest of all time. And that MUSIC? I'm TELLIN' ya.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hold the Mayo Clinic...for now...

I’m a member of the sandwich generation. Just today, I stood for ten minutes at the Target pharmacy counter, seven month old daughter strapped to my chest, to discuss with the pharmacist the proper dosing of glucosamine with chondroitin for one of my geriatric Italian Greyhounds. Yes, I have two young kids and two old dogs, and it is killing me. My dogs, both approximately ten years old, are equivalent in age to my parents, and in much worse shape. Bad teeth, bad skin, bad kneecaps, brains, and thyroids. Not to mention the $4000 bionic leg.

I would rather have my parents living with me at this point than my dogs. It would be cheaper, and I much prefer my dad's blueberry buttermilk pancakes on Saturday mornings to getting up early to shove pills down the sticky throats of pets who have long since gotten wise to our attempted camouflages of peanut butter, baby food, soft cheese, and balls of bread. I will spare you the details of the toothbrushings; suffice it to say that everything the dogs have eaten chez backyard ends up stuck in the finger cot bristles I use to massage their aged maws. This to prevent further $55/tooth extractions at their twice-yearly $250 dentals.

Is it too late to look into pet health insurance?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Ex-English Professors Don't Die. They Just Get Sic.

Why spell tonsillitis with two ll's? Tonsil only has one l. The syllable -sil- never receives the stress, nor is there any danger of making the i in -sil- long, so why double the consonant?

Just a musing as I suffer with a related malady. Since I have no tonsils left to go all -itis, the virus has located a nearby, formerly healthy voice box. Oh, and a formerly presentable right eye.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

How I Am Doing?

My title is a little Do the Right Thing for your Tuesday. Remember that collaged/collective rant? Awesome.

No, really, it IS about how I am doing. I've been gone from writing/reading blogs and most other internet-related things for bout a week now. Needed a vacation, I guess. Plus I've been sick.

What I'm up to:

Been pondering sourdough. Reading a few bread books, including The Bread Bible and Crust and Crumb to get an idea of the level of involvement for keeping a wild yeast starter alive so I can bake every Saturday. When my parents came back from their vacation in San Francisco back in the 70s, my dad became sourdough-obsessed. He used to make sourdough EVERYTHING when I was little. Then, it was the buckwheat. Buckwheat EVERYTHING. I never minded, really, because pancakes and waffles figured prominently into his baking equation. They still do in my dad's world. Thirty years later, I still like my dad's world on the weekends, because it usually means buttermilk pancakes with fresh blueberries (scratch, in case you had any doubt). He sifts his pre-sifted flour. My dad is a bit obsessive. Yesterday I reached a decision: I need to spend time baking sourdough bread like I need another hole in my head.

Been pondering going to this conference in July 2006: Backspace Writers Conference. Anybody out there going? It will take lots of dough--and not the sour kind--to make it happen, and it also means being away from my dear children for three nights. Such a thing has never been done! Judy would tell Apu, though, "It could happen." Why is this entry full of eighties references?

Reading Harley Jane Kozak's Dating is Murder. Love it so far; just as funny as Dating Dead Men, and just as smart, too. Next on my TBR pile: Susan McBride's Blue Blood, Anne Frasier's Play Dead, and Jennifer Weiner's In Her Shoes. In the past week I finished Dennis Lehane's Mystic River and watched the film. Both really knocked my socks off. The book is inspiring to this fledgling mystery writer because it is so grand in scope yet is a traditional mystery. The film does some wonderful things both in translating the key elements of the book and in creating original images that visually enhance the story. Loved both experiences. Did you all catch Lehane on the convertible in the parade scene?

Fall cleaning. Mother-in-law and youngest brother-in-law arrive two weeks from Thursday, and then D's 40th birthday party "with the guys" will be Saturday the 5th. Trying to clear out more clutter and very slowly get ready for the holidays. This will be the third year I've used Flylady's "Cruising Through the Holidays" system, and every year, the holidays get EASIER. What bugs me about cleaning is illustrated by this: I clean the top of the refrigerator, then I notice the cabinets above it are dingy. Clean them, then I see that there is lint hanging from the bottom of the cabinet edge. Clean that, then wonder about the top surface (that no one every sees), etc. There's always something more to clean. At the risk of sounding like a fanatic--which I care to take because I actually am one--Flylady taught me that you don't have to clean perfectly. It's no big deal.

Not writing my novel. Today, I pledge to get my ass in gear.

Planning some fall menus, now that the weather is cooler. Here's a macrobiotic one I'm going to try to pull off on Thursday. No Blueberry Swirl for us, though. Just a simple, reconstituted dried fruit compote with an oat crumble on top, I think. Maybe a little vanilla yogurt over the top--which actually isn't macrobiotic compliant (nyah nyah).

What are YOU doing now that fall is here?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Summer's Gone

Well, the calendar says so, anyway. You'd never know it from the balmy temps and green leaves hanging around (not that I'm ready to rake, mind you). The last week of vegetables has come and gone, and I'm sad. If you've not been following along, people, we had a CSA subscription this year through Farm to City. Each week a box of vegetables from an organic, Amish-owned and run farm west of Philadelphia went to good use in our kitchen. Greens and tomatoes still make up half of our freezer contents, but I'll bet that'll only last us until the new year. In the fridge, I still have an eggplant, two spaghetti and one acorn squash, a few green bell peppers, lots of jalapenos, carrots, and radishes, and two heads of bok choi. Oh, and a wonderfuly huge head of celery. Our cupboard is overflowing with red and Yukon Gold potatoes. So, there is still plenty to enjoy. I made leek and potato soup tonight and froze half. Which reminds me there is still some ratatouille frozen. I will miss, miss, miss those veggies. If I'd had a moment several months ago, I would've planted some fall crops out back so we could keep getting some green onions, brocolli, and salad greens, but there was neither time nor inclination, most days. The drought would've killed my seedlings anyway, and our dog R (aka "broccoli breath") would've done away with the grown veggies before we could eat them all, most likely.

With the change in seasons comes a change in marketing, in menus, and in cooking methods. I can't say I am sad about that. There is a can of pumpkin sitting at the back of the cupboard, its soft orange whispers growing a little louder each day. One day soon: toasted pumpkin-pecan bread with butter = a slice of heaven.

Brave New World

Oh how modern life escapes this 40 year old.

  • Did you know there is now a silent -0R on many words? I know--WTFBBQ?1!!
  • Tee shirts with the neck cut out, falling off one shoulder, are HOT and NEW!
  • "Emo" is something other than the name of a cherubic comedian, folks.
  • Three words: baby fishnet tights.
  • Friday, October 14, 2005

    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets film question

    May contain spoilers.

    D and I watched the film of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets the other night. Aside from the DVD having a crack and skipping a lot, I enjoyed the movie. I can't stop saying "whomping willow." (Hope that's the proper spelling, as I haven't read the book.) ANYhoo, I am still perplexed by this: Harry and Ron go to see Hagrid in his cottage, to ask him something. Was it "Did you open the chamber of secrets?" or "Who opened the chamber of secrets?" or "Who is this fifties kid in the diary?" I simply can't remember, mostly because Hagrid's lame-ass answer, before he is hauled off to the clink, is "Follow the spiders." TO THE LAIR OF THE MAN-EATING ARACHNID. Why, oh why would dear fuzzy, giant, baby-faced Hagrid send those two lads TO THE LAIR OF THE MAN-EATING ARACHNID? WTF!? She gives them one piece of information that is so insignificant to their quest that I can't even recall it! It fell, like a grain of sand, through the marble-sized holes in my gray matter as soon as I heard it, I'm sure. So, I would like to ask my loyal readers, all two of you--actually just one, since the other is my husband and I've already asked him and he doesn't know--to help me understand why Hagrid plays so with the lives of Our Gentle Wizards-in-Training. Anyone? Anyone?

    Wednesday, October 12, 2005

    So, the catfish was too spunky for its sauce, surprisingly (see blog entry just below). The tahini and lemon and garlic kind of, well, vanished, if you can believe it, behind the pan-fried catfish yumminess! Go figure. So, hummus will be made from the sauce that remains. Or maybe some falafel will be made and the sauce will join it in a pita boat on a short trip to my mouth. Or maybe said sauce will stay in its container, to be tossed in two weeks when I notice it in the back of the refrigerator with the limp radishes.

    And now for something completely different. Blue Jeans. Is there nothing they can't do? Saved my skin today, pretty much literally, which was their original purpose if we can believe those thieving, toothless prospectors. You may know from reading my blog that I am challenged when it comes to getting through the long days with my 6mo daughter and 2yo son--especially the hours between 5:00 and 7:00pm. Latest excitement was tonight, when I poured boiling noodle-water ONTO MY LEGS instead of into the sink. Yes, the sink WAS full of dishes, and yes, the colander WAS too high. MY FAULT TOTALLY. N was in his high chair and AC was in her saucer, so no children were harmed. I seem to be fine, too, just kind of stingy-with-a-hard-"g" on my right knee and shin. Interestingly, if I'd been in my pajamas and barefoot (see BookTarts comments today), I would be one pissed off lobster about now. But I had on my trusty jeans and sturdy shoes.
    (p.s. Thanks, FlyLady.)

    Monday, October 10, 2005

    Strange Bedfellows

    Best way to describe the marriage of catfish and...tahini? Found this recipe on epicurious.com: Catfish Fillets with Egyptian Tahini Sauce, and will try it in another hour. I will report later. If the fish at the last minute says "no" to its companion, I will make hummus out of the tahini sauce for pitas tomorrow.

    Wish me luck.
    p.s. my mother always instructed me to say "filleTs" for fish and "filAY" for meats. I think Julia Child taught her... But dropping names to the fish people at my supermarket doesn't make me look any smarter to them.

    Friday, October 07, 2005

    And it's only 1:00pm

    Did ya ever have one of those days?

    You know, one of those days when the boy wakes up an hour before the alarm goes off, shouting "Little beebar! Little beebar!" And he alternates this with teary, high-pitched wailing and you sit him on your lap and rock until the sun comes up? And then at diaper change, you notice his thighs are covered in hives, but the pediatrician's office doesn't take non-emergency calls till 9:00? And you'd like to call the daycare to see what sort of snacks he had yesterday but they are closed today? And you leave the kids with dad and run to the eyedoctor at 8:45 to pick up your contacts, and find that Friday is the only day they open at 9:00? And you can't wait there for them to open because dad has to leave for work at 9:00? So you go home and start calling the pediatrician, whose nurse's line is busy solidly for a half hour? And all the while, you're hearing this static on the line, wondering what's the matter? And you finally get the nurse and the two of you can barely hear each other, but you make out that you're to give Benadryl and call back in a couple hours?

    So then you realize it's your phone that's screwed up and you call the phone company on your cell phone, which has trouble keeping a signal in your house, and the very sympathetic recording walks you through the test you need to do outside at the network box "but not if it's raining" to see whose side the problem is on, so you gather your screwdriver, your cord phone, your six month old, and your two year old and walk toward the back door, and the phone rings? And it's your parents, whom you haven't heard from in two weeks and you wonder if anyone has died or is in jail? And once you make it through the static-y call just to make sure all is well, you finally go outside, and it has started to rain? And you do the phone test anyway?

    So then you go inside and call the phone company back, and when you assure them that they are at fault they apologize and tell you that they will be happy to come fix your phone on Sunday? And then you put your kids in the car to try for the contacts again, since the doctor's closes at noon on Friday, and, wonder of wonders, you actually get in and get your contacts? And you are feeling so giddy with success that you head over to the Carter's outlet to exchange an outfit that is one size too big, but when you get to the mall, the heavens have opened up, and the closest parking space is in the next zip code? So you bag that one, head home, start calling to report on the ever-shifting hives, and find that the pediatrician's is closed for lunch?

    Well, did ya?

    Thursday, October 06, 2005

    What Goes ON in that Head of His?

    Bush's, I mean. This Miers thing? Never been a judge? Hey, that's okay. We'll let you get your feet wet IN OUR NATION'S HIGHEST COURT.

    I know that George Will and I have never voted for the same presidential candidate, but sometimes the man is just plain right. Well, okay, he's always Right with a capital "R." But I mean right as in correct. Look here--(free) registration required.

    Turd by Turd

    Thank you, Anne Lamott, for telling me it's okay to write "shitty first drafts."

    Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    PLEASE DISREGARD THE BLOG ENTRY IMMEDIATELY BELOW THIS. ITS SENTIMENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED OWING TO THE WHIMSY OF PAROCHIAL SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL. SEEMS NO ONE TOOK MY NEEDS INTO ACCOUNT WHEN MAKING OUT THE SCHEDULE. There may, however, be a window of opportunity for another attempt at a "date," if that is indeed what the event is still called, as it has been so long I no longer know the proper lingo, on October 15.

    Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    Oh, the delirious expectation

    There is a CHANCE that I will actually get to go OUT and see a FIRST RUN MOVIE on Saturday night. Naturally, you are skeptical, considering I have a 6mo and a 2yo and a husband who works between 60 and 70 hours a week (some of that time from home, thank God). And rightly so. But I THINK our babysitter does not have to play volleyball that night, and I THINK my children will be healthy enough to leave with her. Ya know, I don't even care what movie it is. I'm just beside myself to be pondering my JUNK FOOD CHOICES. Will I get popcorn and a Sprite? Or will it be Reese's cups? Maybe coffee and a muffin? Junior mints, perhaps? I am willing to GO INTO DEBT to say "meh" to a mediocre movie, as long as I can sit in a dark, air-conditioned cavern with no one pooping or peeing or crying within range of my detectors, and EAT CRAP. And guess what? I don't even have to clean up! I can just wipe my fingers, throw my stuff in the can, and walk out. Finally, if all goes as planned, the kids will be asleep when we get home, and our reign of FREEDOM will continue on into the night.

    But soft you, the witching hour approacheth, when the 2yo inevitably ruins mom's buzz. Still, she intoneth, KEEP HOPE ALIVE.

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Something Awful




    Go here for more hilarity.

    Saturday, October 01, 2005

    THROW NOTHING AWAY DAY, part II

    Okay, so Throw Nothing Away Day is about learning. And mindfulness. And my husband and I are learning just how mindless we are.

    He pitched a popsicle stick he found in the yard into the garbage can, closed the cabinet door, and then looked at me and said, "I just threw something away." He tried to fish it out (still have some of last night's garbage in the bag), but I told him to forget it--we're learning today. So, what could we have done with a used popsicle stick? Don't know. I just know that I want to be aware of what I buy, use, and toss. Awareness will help shape my future decisions, ones I hope will do the world more good. And, as we looked inside the garbage can, I saw two oatmeal packets I had tossed THIS MORNING, for heaven's sake! How could I have used those and pitched them with no memory of it when I wrote the first post today??? I now remember refilling the oatmeal container (it is half plain oatmeal in the big cardboard canister mixed with half maple-brown sugar oatmeal from individual packets). We're trying to cut down the amount of pre-packaged/pre-sweetened stuff for N so that eventually he will eat plain with a little maple sugar poured on it. We're down to half and half now.

    I'm going to the grocery store in a bit to get some apples, bananas, half and half, mozarella, and rolls. I won't use produce bags and I will take my cloth shopping bag to circumvent "paper or plastic?".

    THROW NOTHING AWAY TODAY!

    Yes, that's right:

    It's THROW NOTHING AWAY DAY.

    Click here to learn more.

    If you've already discarded this morning, that's okay, just start from now. I'd have had this post up yesterday, but I've been having trouble with $&*^$( Blogger since their schedule maintenance yesterday.

    So far today, I've tossed two diapers and the foil tear-top from a can of coffee. I rescued D's Onion page-a-day from the garbage to use for a grocery list. He needed some reminding, you see. Since then, he has composted the coffee grounds. We're going to the neighbors for a cookout this afternoon, and it will be interesting to see what is disposable there, and how Dave and I can conserve resources.

    BIG congratulations to my friend the pregnant lady!!!

    That is all. Now go forth and be resourceful.

    Thursday, September 22, 2005

    Weinman and Weiner

    Sarah Weinman interviews Jennifer Weiner and gives us a sneak peek at Weiner's new novel, Goodnight Nobody, in Weinman's article Magical Mystery Tour. I can't wait to get my hands on this book. And you mommies and daddies out there get the title reference, right?

    These two paragraphs from the article caught me off guard, though:

    "I wanted to capture a sense of how women deal with the internalized pressure of motherhood," said Weiner. "Here are these high achievers, high-performing women who are suddenly raising kids and, even though it's the 'best job ever,' feel like they failed to raise them right. So many mothers, and great ones, spend their time living inside their heads, thinking about what's wrong with them."
    Yes, I agree with her assessment above. The article continues:

    These pressures, she explained, have changed considerably from her childhood years. "When my brothers and sisters and I were growing up, my mom had a playpen full of toys she stuck us into — which you just can't do anymore. You can't just leave the kid in there and go watch TV or do your thing. But every time I tried to explain this to her, she wouldn't get it. The standards are so different now."
    Now, I don't put my children in a playpen to go watch TV, but I do have to "do my own thing" occasionally. So I do have a playpen full of toys for AC (6m), and an exersaucer for her to sit and jump in while sucking the funny doggy-clown on a stick. I sure hope mothers today don't feel like they can't leave their children alone to amuse themselves for more than the time it takes to run to the potty--I mean, bathroom--after which they go scoop them back up and continue their guided video viewing or craft time. I spend lots of one-on-one time with each of my children. But I also insist that they have alone time, and that I have alone time, too. My friends struggle with this very issue, and, while I agree with Weiner that "the standards are different now," I don't think "you just can't [use the playpen] anymore." God help me if this were the case.

    Wednesday, September 21, 2005

    Cuddle No More

    My 6mo daughter has just passed the cuddly stage into the boa constrictor stage. You know, the snake where you succeed in getting one part of it to stop strangling your neck, when you realize that another part of it is just about to smash your left kidney? I think AC has as many hands as Shiva. [Stopping to google how many that is, exactly. Oh, only four. Well, that's four too many on my girl.] She will clutch my hair right at the roots and tighten her fist while her two bottom teeth dig into my neck. Then just for fun, she lands a knee to my boob. Aaaah, what source of pain to address first? Any attempt to stop one mishap leads to the others being far more dire due to her displeasure at being thwarted.

    I'm afraid the girl's gonna be a hellion. The teachers at N's daycare must assume I have a cat at home. I don't. I have a daughter whose pasttime while nursing is using her wolverine nails to prepare my forearms for fall planting. This afternoon she launched herself over the side of our bed. Luckily, I had her legs in my hands, so I held on tight. She hung there a moment, inches from the wood floor and staring into the dust ruffle, because I wanted her to get good and scared and maybe not do that again. She laughed. I cried. I think it's time to break out the bubble wrap jumpsuits, for both of us. Marshmallow helmets might also be a good idea.

    Hurricane Rita

    All I can say is, holy shit. It's Category 4 now.

    Tuesday, September 20, 2005

    Tuesday is for Catch-up

    N (2) goes to daycare on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so that leaves AC and me here to get everything done we possibly can before the chaos begins again in the afternoon. I run errands, make phone calls, cook, clean, write, and dream. AC usually eats, plays, screams, and sleeps. This morning she went to the pediatrician for her six month checkup. She is a long thing, 28" inches, and of middling weight, 15lbs 11oz. She still has a honking umbilical hernia and now what is probably a fatty cyst behind her right ear. When we see the surgeon in six months so she can recheck the hernia, we will have her check out the cyst too. We will start feeding AC solid food tonight, if you can call runny rice cereal mixed with breastmilk "solid." Baby cereal requires that I begin pumping milk again, which I should've been doing for the last few weeks. Instead, I've just left off pumping altogether since we never go out without AC or for more than two or three hours. I have no freezer stash, which is pretty dangerous.

    Because I need to start pumping again, my grand plan to clean off my writing desk has been dashed, since it has also been my pumping desk. My Medela Pump in Style backpack and all my cords and tubes and holders and wipey cloths (what we call thin white cloth diapers 'round here) are taking up most of the middle of the desk. On all sides are reading material for those treasured few minutes when I am able to hold the flanges onto my breasts with one hand/arm and hold a book with the other. At the moment, Lansky's Toilet Training is on one side, Highsmith's Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction on the other. The real thriller around here is figuring out how soon to move N from diaper to potty. Since AC arrived, I've been doing all my writing in the kitchen. Or the bedroom. The living room works, too.

    Somewhere under all this crap are some treasures: a printer, a brass piano lamp, and a wire bin with my early novel notes from long ago and far away. These are notes I don't even need anymore, since I've started back from square one with the novel. Eighty pages of manuscript sit somewhere in that bin, along with varied observations and questions that I need to go back and look at someday soon. It may be good! My suspicion, though, is that it is not. Most of it was written in hotel cafes in, sequentially, Madrid, Sevilla, and Granada, when I should've been taking my siesta along with the rest of the country. Instead I was the dotty tourist demanding that the staff dirty up the espresso machine at the wrong hour. All in all, I was pretty productive those three weeks in 1999. No kids or husband at that time, just a wonderful mother to traipse with and--yes, I am blessed--foot the bills.

    Now, I'm productive in a different way, considering the phrase "footloose and fancy free" must never again be spoken in my home. I'm working on the same novel, but from a different place, in more ways than one. And even though some weeks I can't eke out 500 words, I am driven to finish it. I wish I were as driven to artificially extract my breastmilk as I am to write this book. One thing that probably keeps me hooked, the boobs in the book sure as hell aren't for babies.

    Sunday, September 18, 2005

    Throwing Things Away Day

    Well, as Throw Nothing Away Day approaches (Oct. 1), I watched myself today, consuming and tossing. Here's what went in the can:

    • Lint and floor crap, including feathers from the duster, little pieces from the holes of plastic garbage bags, tiny balls of paper from peeled stickers, courtesy N (2y), etc. This stuff gets tossed when I do my weekly (I use that term loosely) house cleaning. There's no way I'd recycle it, by the way. I do shake my feather dusters outside, though, so the birds and rodents have a stab at using the lint for their nests. I guess I could collect the lint and give it to the woods behind the house.
    • Three dryer sheets. I use unscented ones, but I know that doesn't make them any better for the environment. I don't use them in every dryer load (and never in the kids' clothes), though, only the ones that have polyester clothing that could be static-y.
    • Cardboard graham cracker box. You know, I think we have paperboard recycling around here. I'm going to look into that. We do use lots of carboard boxed food (cereal, crackers, cookies, etc.).
    • Hair. I am six months postpartum, and I am still shedding like a sick dog. And I have long hair, which makes it a particular mess. (Speaking of which, I need to clean out the vacuum beater bar before I finish the floors today.) With all my hair loss this year I could've knit a fine sweater for someone. A small someone, mind you. Maybe I can give my hair to the birds! [I know what you're thinking: how much landfill space do LINT and HAIR take up, woman? Are you nuts? Answer: partly nuts, yes. But also partly just thinking out loud about ways things in our environment go around and come around.]
    • Dirty diapers. Hmmm, this one's a stinker. Had to say that. I have plenty of cloth diapers and covers and liners, but with two kiddos pre-potty-trained, I am in no mood to go back to that way of life, which was barely manageable with only one bottom to clothe. Did you know that disposable diaper manufacturers actually tell you to flush the poo before you dispose of the diaper? Reason being, we are not supposed to put human byproducts in the landfills. Does anyone out there follow this guideline? I confess that I do not, but maybe I'll try it for TNAD on Oct. 1. Couldn't hurt, right?
    • I didn't throw this away, but I almost bought it until I thought about it some more: Sorrento Shapesters cheese snacks. I have three $2 off coupons for the stupid things, and I got all excited about that because N loves cheese. But I studied the package and saw that all the little cheese shapes inside are individually wrapped in plastic. Now, I love me a good coupon, but that was the saddest waste I've ever seen. So, I returned to our usual Sargento cheese shapes, which are on sale for $2 a bag, only slightly more expensive than the similarly named product minus discount noted above. And no extra packaging. If a kid needs to take some to school, then put them in a reusable rubbermaid container for goodness sakes!

    It's only 5:00pm, so there'll be casting away galore as I prepare everyone's dinners and tidy up after. Right now, I'm going to the coffee shop for an hour, and I will have my decaf in a mug as I always do, but I also tend to grab a couple of paper napkins while I'm there. Why can't people just grab one napkin when they're at a cafe or restaurant? I'll endeavor to try that today. D has been in charge of the kid care today (except for the few diapers I've changed and the constant nursing of AC I've seemed to do), and I have seen him pitch a few American cheese wrappers (we could buy it sliced fresh from the deli, but it would cost more) and paper towels.

    That's the report for this Sunday, September 18. Good day, and good garbage.

    Friday, September 16, 2005

    Laughter, at last, and Eggplant

    Something finally made me giggle tonight. It's about damn time. D and I get season opera tickets every year to Opera Delaware (the cheap night), and I was just reading the synopses of this season's operas: Rigoletto, Pirates of Penzance, and Don Giovanni. I've never seen any Gilbert and Sullivan (except for what was included in Topsy-Turvy), so didn't know what to expect, but so far I am pleasantly surprised at what looks to be a perfectly silly story. Premise: a nursemaid apprentices her charge to a PIRATE instead of a PILOT. (She's a bit deaf.) And the agreement is that he's indentured until his 21st birthday, but darned if he wasn't born on LEAP DAY. Hilarity ensues.

    In other news, I am sad that I finished off the last of the caponata tonight. I am up to my ears in organic eggplant from the farm, hence we've recently enjoyed eggplant lasagne, ratatouille, and now caponata. I'm going to have to steam and freeze some more fruits tomorrow or we will lose several pounds to over-ripening. I'm also going to make eggplant parmigiana tomorrow, as I have been craving that mightily but do not have time on weeknights to assemble it. Caponata is easy (except all the chopping) and versatile. There are endless variations, but here's what I threw together, based on what was on hand. You can put it on toast (bruschetta), pasta, rice, eat it out of the bowl, or whatever seems appropriate. You can make it saucier than I did by adding more tomatoes or tomato sauce. I like it more salad-y. You can also add fennel, basil, and/or parsley for varied flavor. Oh yeah, some people put bell peppers in it, too. I was fresh out, though.

    Caponata
    about 2lbs. diced, drained eggplant
    one finely chopped onion
    three ribs finely chopped celery
    two cloves garlic, minced
    half cup golden raisins, soaked in a 2-3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
    two-ish Tablespoons little capers, chopped
    two plum tomatoes, chopped
    about 1/2c tomato sauce
    1 Tablespoon brown sugar
    about 1/4c toasted pignoli
    about 1/4c olive oil
    black pepper
    salt to taste
    Saute the eggplant in the olive oil until it soaks it all up and softens (5m). Add everything else but the pignoli (including the vinegar you soaked the raisins in), and saute for about 15m. Adjust the moisture content as needed with tomatoes/sauce, depending on how dry you want it. Add the pignoli at the end, then plenty of black pepper and salt to taste. Let it chill for at least five or six hours, preferably overnight to marry the flavors. I've eaten it for lunch on toasted Italian bread every day for the past five days. I'm sorry it's gone.

    Monday, September 12, 2005

    Diving Back into the Wreck

    (sorry Adrienne)
    I guess the only thing to it is to do it and get back on the blogginghorse. However, today, I wish to point your attention elsewhere, to a grand announcement on a blogspot page. It's not really a blog, though, but because blogs come free and readymade, and good looking sites do not, its author chose to make do with Mr. Mojo Chicklet or whatever that darn free template is called. Take a looksee:

    THROW NOTHING AWAY DAY IS COMING...

    October 1.
    Click it and read, and then please tell five friends.

    Saturday, September 03, 2005

    Blog on Hiatus

    I've begun a few posts over the last few days but have had to abandon them all. I just don't feel comfortable in the midst of this tragedy we're going through. Maybe my feelings are too raw to polish for public consumption, even my feelings about fast food (last night's blog attempt) and my 5mo's drool strings (a few nights back). So, I'm going on hiatus for a while. Everybody love one another, okay?

    Here are some animal charity links, which the FEMA site ignored:
    American Humane Association
    American Kennel Club & Companion Animal Recovery
    American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
    North Shore Animal League of America
    Humane Society of the United States
    PETsMART Charities
    United Animal Nations

    Wednesday, August 31, 2005

    Hurricane Katrina

    I am at turns shocked, saddened, fearful, and awed as I see coverage of the devastation that Hurricane Katrina brought to the southern coasts. That so few people have died (as far as we know now) is a major miracle. But tens of thousands of lives are now ruined for probably many years. What can we do? Pray, if that's your tradition. Or give, an impulse present in all traditions, as far as I know. This FEMA web page lists organizations that are handling cash donations and worker volunteers. I have several bags of baby clothes that I want to send to those in need, but I can't find any aid organizations taking anything other than cash donations (yet). I suppose as the week goes on I may find a way to send these items through a local group here in Delaware. If any readers know how I can get these things to the right people, drop me a comment, please. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

    Sunday, August 28, 2005

    Ten minutes later...

    The babe is awake, writing plans safely scuttled. Whew! Maybe I'll never have to finish that pesky novel. Instead, I've heated some Tasty Bite Bengal Lentils and thrown them over last night's Chinese takeout rice. I checked the foil package of the beans and saw that they are "Best Before: 0729059701." It will be difficult, but I think I can finish them before then.

    And the weekend winds down

    ...so I'll make a few updates. The parents were here again this weekend and sent D and me out to eat at Harry's Seafood Grill, one of my two faves in Wilmington (the other being Moro), while they kept the kiddos. We split the fish taco appetizers, and I had the grilled salmon entree, on a bed of beet carpaccio, horseradish mashed potatoes and arugula pesto. Yes yes yes yes yes. I had a few bites of D's strawberry shortcake (cakes had poppy seeds and walnuts in them and cream had grand marnier or some citrusy liqueur). More yes. My parents are such wonderful, giving people. They cleaned the dirty kitchen floor for us, and they also dismantled and washed a sofa cushion that W had thrown up on. We thought we were going to have to purchase new foam and fiberfill, but my parents were able to salvage it for us by rolling up their sleeves and just washing. And we never ask them to do this stuff. It's as though they have special "need" detectors when they get here that guide them to the things that need to be fixed, and then they fix them. They really are special people. And the kids absolutely love them. Me too, by the way.

    What else? I'm still trying to keep an eye on my diet, but with the loads of organic veggies we get every week, it's easy to keep it healthy in the main. I just put up about twenty tomatoes yesterday. There's still a watermelon, a spaghetti squash, an eggplant, some edamame, and some peppers left from last Wednesday's box to be eaten before this Wednesday rolls around. I think it'll be eggplant lasagne tomorrow. I made a key lime pie yesterday with some key limes my mother-in-law sent up from FLA. Just enjoyed a piece moments ago. And so there's the rub about the healthy eating. Parents. My parents brought three huge candybars with them, and I bought some bakery cookies and made the pie to provide yummies for them while they were here. So now, we just have this bad stuff around that neither of us needs to be eating. I guess I can freeze the two remaining candybars and we can finish the portion of the first. And the cookies, maybe freeze them too? The pie, of course, we will eat willingly to the point of licking the pan. I'm not joking. Almost.

    First playdate tomorrow with some new mommies. I've been meeting with R and her 18mo for about seven months now, and recently the MOMS club we're in has added three new mommies and their charges to our little group. It just so happens that two of the new mommies are the new president and vice president of the MOMS club, so we'll see what that's all about tomorrow! I'm sure they're all fine gals. Just so their kids aren't smarter'n mine. I know, I know, silly me--how ever could that be?

    AC has just fallen asleep, against all odds, because so has N! D is at work, and I'm alone with the whiny dogs. So, it's prime writing time, my friends. A bientot! (If I knew how to put the diacritical marks in, I would.)

    Monday, August 22, 2005

    Crush on Kohl's

    I am not a shopper. Especially for clothes. Except sometimes on the internet. Then I can try them on here at home and send them back (or, in the case of Lands' End, drive them to Sears and return them). Imagine my surprise then, to discover yesterday that I had been to Kohl's and bought stuff three days out of the past four. And I will go again before it's all over. My new jeans and blazer from Lands' End that arrived last week set this all into motion. You see, when a woman goes down a size and gets a new pair of nice jeans, she needs something to wear with them!

    Part of the draw was a magical coupon in last week's mail giving me 30% off EVERYTHING at Kohl's when I use my store card. Even the make-up, even the sale stuff, even the clearance stuff.

    Thursday was charge customer preview day. I bought two shirts, an Arrow tie for D, a 3-pk of Jockey panties, a 3-pk of Reebok footies, and a pair of earrings. This cost about $45 with all the sale prices and the discount. I tried on a million bras, but none were right.

    Saturday I went back to return the earrings and bought another shirt and a belt. About $12.

    Sunday (yesterday), I got another pair of earrings, some nail polish, and finally found a Warner's bra that fit and that was appropriate for the shirts I wanted to wear it with. Can I tell you how thrilled I am to have a new bra that does not have flaps? I'm still nursing AC, but now for a few hours every once in a while, I can pretend that I am in control of my boobs. This purchase was $25.

    Since I haven't even hit $100 yet, I believe I will go again tonight or tomorrow and look at shoes...maybe some fall clothes for little N. D is going to go at some point to get a pair of dress slacks. Get your shop on--sale ends Tuesday!!

    Saturday, August 20, 2005

    Latoyia Figueroa's Remains Have Been Found

    They have found the pregnant body of Figueroa and arrested her ex-boyfriend in the murder.

    Saturday Anomaly

    Saturday is my internet-free day, but I couldn't let another day slip by with that stupid Demi-Ashton post at the top of my blog. Ugh. So, here's a recap of the crazy last few days.

    Thursday:
    Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delaware has screwed up again, and it will take probably...oh...a year to straighten things out, if the past is any indication.

    I thought W broke (again) his $3600 bionic leg. Emergency trip to the vet with screaming, hungry 5mo girl in tow. All was okay, probably a sprained toe. Ended up picking the boy up from daycare (goes on a T-Th schedule) rather late due to the ruckus.

    Friday:
    NEW CLOTHES!!! I now have some fashionable jeans in a size 10, although I need a belt to prevent the gape in the back that you ladies know about. (Okay, I'll bet you MEN know about that too.) I have two cute tee shirts in brown and black. I also have a new camel blazer for this fall.

    My children nearly drove me over the edge today. Not only did AC scream and cry after five minutes of ANYthing I tried to make her happy, N decided that the baby gate at the top of the upper stairs was just perfect for climbing on and hanging off of backwards. Visions of another emergency trip to the vet who is very nice and is much closer than the people hospital. And we had a kick to the face (N to AC's) that was a couple inches shy of connecting. That was fun.

    And now, without further ado, I will get off the internet for the rest of the day, safe in the knowledge that Ashton and Demi are on their way down, down, down...

    Monday, August 15, 2005

    More distatefulness...

    From CNN.com - Demi calls Ashton her 'soul mate' - Aug 15, 2005:

    Moore says the couple, who recently moved into their new home in the Hollywood Hills, enjoy "sharing a bath with one another and watching 'Court TV.' Snuggling up naked."


    Ewwwwww. I just ate.

    As the Stomach Turns

    Two gustatory notes:


    I rescued my Italian Greyhound W, a fine example of trailer-park breeding, from a life of bloody flea bites and rope burns a little over eight years ago. Hard to believe he's been with me that long, surviving a broken leg and thyroid disease since coming to my supposedly safe haven. W has nasty eating habits--think backyard as restaurant. Well, I just discovered several weeks ago that he has added another delicacy to his menu: dog day cicadas. We are overrun with them just now (can you hear that racket?), which makes my doggy VERY happy. Around 9pm, he begins to jump and squeak and otherwise try to alert us to let him out for his yummy, crunchy dessert. Then he proceeds to harvest bug after bug, many of which are larger than his dainty paws. Here's a photo of the prized treat:


    And another delight that should vibrate with you mothers out there. My 2yo constantly brings me teeny tiny things off of the floor. Some are microscopic, and I just pretend that I have received them and then pretend to throw them away. Some are fairly innocuous, like lint or hairballs. Some are bits of paper or plastic shreds from grocery sacks. Thanks for helping us keep the house so clean, kid. Occasionally a booger will get passed off, but hey I'm innured to that at this point. Unless it's wet. Today, however, a new corner has been turned in this little game of clean up, and the latest pass off nearly made me faint. N handed me a crusty bit of what I thought might have been from his nose. Except he said "booboo." I asked him to elucidate. He pointed to his mosquito bites, which were oozing, and I realized I was holding the former cover of one of those pitiful volcanos. I'm sorry I had to tell you that story.

    Thursday, August 11, 2005

    Today Stuff

    Well, my size 12 jeans continue to grow larger; even freshly pulled from the dryer they are now loose. I am forever pulling them up, which is a happy thing round here. Soon, I'll need to shell out the dough for some that fit, because my size 10s, who have been patiently waiting in the drawer for over a year, are hopelessly out of style in that straight-legged sort of way. Thankfully, they aren't as bad as "Mom Jeans", and although I can get them on at the moment, they look like the spray-on designer jeans we used to wear in the late seventies and early eighties. Not for me, thank you. I just measured myself and find that I've lost 1/2" in the waist and 3/4" in the hips since May. Slow and steady feeds my ego.

    On a more serious note: Latoyia Figueroa is still missing. Here's the current info.

    Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Now THAT's doing your duty

    Our nephew J is currently in Kirkuk, Iraq, as a member of the United States Air Force. He is 21. This is his second deployment there in the three years he's been enlisted. We hope he makes it back again this time.

    Imagine my surprise when we received a letter from him in today's mail, a thank you note for the wedding gift we sent him and his new bride when they wed in March of this year. In it, he apologized for not sending his thanks sooner. Makes me want to hug him really hard, as if I didn't already have lots of reasons to.

    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    Hot enough fer ya?

    Gawl-dobby-doobins it's hot! How many more days of 95-degree SUN can I stand? NOT MANY.

    I hate that I haven't kept up on the blog, but you know my excuse: the heat. It's also the reason I'm not exercising, cooking, shopping, cleaning, etc.; you name it, I ain't doin it cause I have a handy excuse now. What I AM doing is reading blogs. I find at least two more every day that I have to add to my bloglines subscription list. Yep, I'm sitting very still, eating popsicles and reading lots of blogs (mostly about writing/publishing) and I'm also avoiding unnecessary movement by dreaming of being a writer. Because it's too hot to actually write, you know. Really, though, I am getting some writing and planning done, but the houseguest situation always slows down the wheels. Or brings them to a screeching halt. D's younger brother arrives tomorrow night for the weekend. I'm going to try to send D and his brother out with N to the art museum on Sunday so I can at least get a few hours of alone time, if not writing time (if AC cooperates). Funny thought occurs to me: Will people who see the three of them together think N has two daddies?

    On a positive note, I am now pretty consistently at 150, which means I've lost about four pounds over the last two months. Or sweated it all off in the last two weeks. Whatever. Works for me.

    Friday, July 29, 2005

    Just this once, I disagree

    Usually, I am a great fan of Go Fug Yourself's snide commentary on ridiculous fashion. This time, however, I'm a little upset with the gals. You know, Jessica Lange might not have had a plastic surgeon "mess up" that face of hers--she may just be someone who doesn't age as gracefully as, say, Susan Sarandon. Not everyone who is 56 will continue to look young. Instead, I'd like to tell Jessica, "thank you" for NOT botoxing her brow or plumping out those lines around her mouth or hacking away at those bags under her eyes. You're still beautiful, Jessica; you're just a more realistic beauty than so many others.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    Latoyia Figueroa, 5m pregnant, is still missing

    Here's a blog entry on the missing pregnant woman from Philadelphia (about 1hr from my house): The All Spin Zone / Missing Pregnant 25 YO Mother Alert (Non-White Division). Amazing, isn't it?
    Thank goodness CNN.com has now picked up the story.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    It's the little things

    Trying to fasten a three-hook bra behind your back when you have carpal tunnel syndrome is like playing one of those tiny little puzzle games where you tilt the plastic-covered square tile to get the tiny little silver balls into the tiny little holes, and when you finally get one in, you tilt the square again to guide another ball to another hole, but the first ball comes out of its hole, but then you get another ball in another hole, oh yeah, and the square puzzle tile keeps shocking your hands whenever you move it, and it goes on and on, one in and one out, ouch and ouch and ouch, until you say to hell with it, I'll just leak breast milk all over my shirt.

    Then you remember what it's all for...
    Peekaboo!

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    Try not to beat the pants off anyone, K?

    You must check out the Underpants Only Video Game Tournament. Good to know that geeks don't wear thongs.

    The Freak is Ten


    D's brother G took this shot of my dog R, who turned ten in June. He had two premolars pulled last week, so you see quite a gap between those canines and the molars. And yet, chew he must. He almost had a canine pulled, but I talked the doc into doing something called a "root plane," if I remember correctly. He and W, his fellow IG, had their teeth cleaned last week, and to compound the insults had a couple of shots and blood tests, too. I walked out of the vet's office $805 poorer. People, don't buy pets if you are strapped for cash. And if you already have a pet, but no money, don't get another pet!! W's five-foot dive cost us $3600 the year N was born. He broke his front leg in several places and now sports a metal plate and screws (internal, of course).

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    Catching Up

    Such a merry-go-round! The parents had a nice visit with us, I think, and left last Wednesday. The next day D and I went to the Weezer concert in Atlantic City; it was delightful (the Borgata is beautiful). Well, delightful until the final encore song, "Surf Wax America," a song I was really excited to hear. Then, the slamming commenced. Who knew, in the middle of the crowd, where we were standing, the only mosh pit of the entire show would spontaneously break out? A forty year old woman who's just had a baby and who has been standing for three hours does NOT enjoy being rammed into by some sweaty, shirtless teenager. Especially when that woman has been feeling the love and is set to be swept away by the joy of the finale.

    D's next older brother arrived at around 1:30am Friday--the ridiculous hour owing to repeated plane delays--and stayed until this morning (Monday). He was able to celebrate N's second birthday with us, and managed to visit Rita's Water Ice not once but twice with his nephew. The birthday party was delightful, and the four kids who ran around our living room (it was raining outside) played together nicely for two hours, against all odds.

    So, now the house is ours again, for the time being. D's younger brother (he has three in all) will be here in three weeks for a long weekend. Back to the laundry pile...

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Yeah, it's Wednesday, but I liked what I saw at MillenniumHippies' blog, the Ten On Tuesday.

    So, here in no particular order are Ten People Who Inspire Me:

    1. My husband
    2. My friend Christa of the writing/momming life
    3. Thich Nhat Hanh
    4. Elizabeth George
    5. J. K. Rowling
    6. My friend Dana of the "I swanee!"
    7. My son
    8. My daughter
    9. My friend Mary of the seven children
    10. Benjamin Franklin

    Saturday, July 09, 2005

    Fifteen Minutes to Glory

    My parents will be here at the end of a long string of fifteen minuteses, more precisely, about 3:00pm Eastern tomorrow. Because the house be a wreck, I have just this evening started working my way through each room, fifteen minutes at a time, a la my guru, The FlyLady. She tells me, "You can do anything for fifteen minutes," and I trust her. I've trusted her for three years now--she hasn't failed me yet. I wear my silver Sunbeam timer set to 15:00 clipped to my pocket, enter a room, hit the start button, and get working. When the timer goes off, I stop where I am and either take a 15 minute break or move to the next room. If the kids cooperate tomorrow, we should finish up the house by about noon. This means I must wake up early on my only day to sleep in a little, Sunday, but for Mother and Daddy, it's worth it. And, you may have guessed, you Murphy's Lawyers, that our guest room toilet is not working at the moment. And the toilet guy who sleeps with me doesn't have the right flapper-ball-cocks to fix it, and so must hie him to Lowe's tomorrow morning (when do they open on a Sunday?) to get some such replacement gasketto to stop the mass leakage that occurs when we let water into the damn thing.

    So, the rents arrive tomorrow and leave for Alabama on Wednesday. Twenty-four hours later, husband's next older brother (he has three) arrives from Florida into Philly airport, probably while we are en route from Atlantic City back to home after the Weezer show. He just told us his arrival time, so, what to do? Anyhoo, he'll be here through the weekend, and will celebrate with us the N-kid's second birthday this Saturday. He will leave Sunday night. THEN, then, my friends, I will probably need a day to recuperate and t-h-e-n, m-a-y-b-e, I will be able to get back to my writing. I started this god-forsaken novel six years ago on a three-week vacation to Spain with my mother. It's gonna take another six years to finish it, I swanee! (My wonderful friend Dana says "I swanee!" I had only heard "I swan!" up to meeting Dana. Who's not from the South? Raise your hands. "I swan!" is a genteel way of saying "I swear!" in such cases as happening upon your Uncle Rondo wearing your perfectly good pink kimono as he swings in the hammock under the magnolia, sipping iced tea. But I digress...) This novel will take me a long time to finish writing, for it just cain't be done in fifteen minute blocks of time. It takes me fifteen minutes just to come up with one word sometimes.

    ...and please forgive me, Miss Welty.

    Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Dear London,

    I love you. I've loved you since I first visited as a wide-eyed sixteen-year-old. You welcomed me with open arms when I lived in your lovely southwestern neighborhoods as a sophomore in college. I have come back several times since to see how you were doing, and always, you were doing wonderfully. So smart, so alive.

    Yesterday, in my joy at your latest accomplishment, I emailed my husband the following message, entitled, "Let's Go to the Olympics":
    London got the bid! We’ve got seven years to get the kids groomed for an international trip. Oh yeah, and to save about five thousand dollars… I think we can do it!!!

    So, today, I'd like to tell you that I am sorry. So sorry that you have been hurt. The thriving center of a country that has for so long sustained me when I needed time away from my own has been injured, and I am hurting with you.

    I like to think that I speak for all Americans when I say that we share your grief, England, and we stand with you. You stood with us when we lost so many in 2001; you are standing with us in wartime, sacrificing your young. We understand much of your pain and we send our prayers in your support.

    See you soon.
    love,
    Mary Louisa

    Monday, July 04, 2005

    Am trying to entertain the wailing baby while the toddler naps and husband plays with the spastic dog in the back yard as the rescue dog tippy toes around his uneaten breakfast in the peepee-soaked-heck-hole that is our family room. Gee, wouldn't this be a good time to update my blog?

    We've been trying to watch Requiem for a Dream for the last three days, and every night something different has prevented us. We are borrowing the "Edited Version" from a friend. What this means is unknown to me at the moment. I have actually put off seeing this movie for several years, but feel I'm finally up for the emotional wallop it will surely dole out. Could be we'll watch it tonight.

    What else, what else? Well, I continue to let my child watch too much television--DVDs really. I let him watch his Thomas the Tank Engine DVD twice this morning. And it is a given that he will watch it a couple more times this afternoon. If I can just keep telling myself, "It's like reading a book," then I will start to feel better. Some days, he doesn't watch anything, but those days are scarcer and scarcer. His other favorite is "The Letter Factory," a LeapFrog video that teaches basic (and I mean basic) phonics. N already knows his letters, but he has since learned the sounds they make from watching the video. He calls this DVD "Frogs," since the frog family are the main characters. Except he can't say "frogs," so he says "fock." Which raises a few eyebrows.

    Husband is back inside, ready to take over AC, so I can get back to my manuscript. :) That is probably the only emoticon you will ever see on my blog which just goes to show you how giddy I am now.

    Friday, July 01, 2005

    Not yet, Sandra, not yet!!

    CNN.com - O'Connor to resign from Supreme Court - Jul 1, 2005

    Oh dear, I have cold chills all over my body. The last thing I want for my son and daughter is to have President Bush replace a judge they can respect with someone who may well ruin their lives. Waiting for his choice will be the worst part of it, I'm sure. And then, there's the replacement he'll get to pick for Rhenquist's spot... Another worry, another day.

    Wednesday, June 29, 2005

    Why I love SAHMing, #2

    I don't have to come home from campus early today to meet the exterminator who will be removing the yellowjackets from inside our foyer. I'm already home. Hiding under the bed, but home.

    Tuesday, June 28, 2005

    Why I love SAHMing, #1

    N and I can sit at a construction site and watch the backhoes at work. And we can stay as long as he wants. Because I do not have to go home and grade essays.

    Monday, June 27, 2005

    If you want to destroy your fanbase...

    We got the Weezer tickets; they came in today's mail. It's Atlantic City on the 14th of July. We even got the babysitter. This is no small investment, folks, so those boys better sing their hearts out. And they'd sure as hell better make up for the disappointment of Make Believe. On first listen I thought it was a fine product. In fact, I still like "Beverly Hills" and "Perfect Situation." But the rest of the tracks are so dull. Where I expected snappy geek-irony, I got high school literary magazine fare ("Pardon Me," "Freak Me Out," and "We Are All on Drugs"). Sigh. You think you know a band!

    Friday, June 24, 2005

    The days have turned different

    AC, the poster child for happy babyhood, has shown herself to be an imposter. In the past week since her 3 month birthday, she has become a shouter and a cryer. No fever, no tooth-points, no more gas or spit-up than usual. Just a change in temperament that is disconcerting, but probably nothing more than normal. As a result, AC must be held more often, nursed more often. As a result, Mommy's arms and hands are tired and sore more often. At my visit to the nurse practitioner Tuesday, I was given splints to wear at night to help with my carpal tunnel syndrome. Additionally, I was given exercises to do, which you may have guessed I haven't done yet. I can't do the megadoses of ibuprofen because I'm nursing, but I am going to have D massage my hands and forearms as was suggested by a friend (thanks Meagan). The splints have helped my overnight/waking pain, but when I woke this morning, my thumbs hurt! I didn't have the splints any tighter or looser than usual, I don't think. I start yoga next week, and would like to be able to do my positions pain free.

    The nurse told me that the CTS, my knee problem, and my diastasis could stand another two or three months of observation since they are all probably pregnancy/hormone related. Maybe the hormones will shift and the problems will clear up. If not, I am to come back. Then we may do an MRI on the knee and look into low-dose ibuprofen or aspirin. Meanwhile, I am just to rest and not overdo the yoga. Don't you know the nurse, who's 47, told me that they could just be part of getting older.

    Since Wednesdays' produce boxes are now overflowing with perishables, I have begun spending Wednesday nights and Thursdays prepping and freezing what I know we won't immediately use. This is taking lots of time and hand/wrist-work, but it is a chore I enjoy. So far this week I've put up chard and beet greens, and today I will blanch and freeze some cabbage and snow peas.

    I've snuck in a Dorothy L. Sayers mystery this week as I wait for several more Elizabeth George's to arrive via inter-library loan. I'm also reading Stephen King's On Writing. Pardon me for admitting this, but it is laugh-out-loud funny. Who knew? Probably people who've read Stephen King since turning 20... So far it has given me lots of food for thought regarding my own writing, in particular, the advice of a newspaper editor he worked with as a teenager: write the first draft for yourself, then rewrite for your audience. Knowing that I can separate the two and concentrate on one at a time fills me with glee. Can you tell this has been my sticking point in the past? So now, once I work out some logic kinks in a murder I'm considering, I can get back to the actual writing of my mystery manuscript.

    Tuesday, June 21, 2005

    Whad'ya do?


    Sunday's box sends Wednesday's box to hell and back.

    J, our wonderful 16 year old babysitter who lives down the block, brings us a box of pastries at least every other Sunday, sometimes every Sunday. Oy. She has a part-time job at a local bakery, and they send their employees home on Sunday afternoon with the leftovers, since they are closed on Mondays. She used to bring them weekly without fail until I told her I needed to cut back and could she bring them every other? Well, she is halfway sticking to the plan. We've also been on the receiving end of Italian bread and cakes from her shop. No wonder I'm not losing any weight.

    Oh yeah - J, her mother, and one of her two sisters came by last night to buy D's car! This has paid for D's new amplifier and speakers (already installed in the replacement car) and the dogs' dentals, scheduled for next month. I think he spent around $600 for the stereo equipment, and the total cost of the bloodwork, anesthetic, and cleaning for the dogs' heinous moss-mouths will be about $400. More if the vet runs into trouble, like unearthing a colony of tiny, rabid bats in between Waldo's molars. It is not unlikely, considering how little attention we give to their dental hygeine and considering how much shit they eat in the backyard. And by shit, I mean worms, dirt, mushrooms, plants, baby birds, and yes actual poop (squirrel, bird, and their own).

    Attachment

    D broke his favorite mug yesterday. He was really bummed. Thing is, we have another one just like it, but now we only have one left! He is sure we will never be able to replace the remaining one if it somehow dies before we do. Yes, it is a nice mug, with a serene screen print photo of a field of cows. Its origin is sentimental as well, purchased from one of our favorite stores, A Southern Season, in the magical town of Chapel Hill, where we lived for seven years while I attended graduate school at UNC-CH. Truth be told, we've bought three of the same mug there. We initially bought two, one for each of us. He broke the first one while we still lived there, and we replaced it within the week. Those two have lasted us lo these ten or so years, until now. One mug remains.

    So, this morning, I've been thinking about my special mugs. I have several favorites, some of which I would be sorry to say goodbye to. The photo below is the mug I am using at the moment to drink my 25% caf coffee. I bought it at a Covent Garden craft stall in 1981 when I was in tenth grade. My chorus was on a tour of Europe, with stops for concerts and master classes in London, Paris, and Lucerne. At the same time, I bought another handcrafted mug, fashioned in the rope style, various shades of tan and russet with a gently tapered waist. But of the two, this one with the unglazed mousey resting on an ear of wheat is my prefered mug. What if something happened to it? I like to think I could let it go. I won't have the mug any longer, but I will always have the memories of that first trip to one of my favorite cities in the world. I have since returned to London five times, once to live there for four months, and there is little doubt we will return yet again, at least once. Maybe I'll be in the market for a new mug by then.


    This morning's highlight

    A basic misunderstanding about the potty

    Friday, June 17, 2005

    Weezer, Second Attempt

    We didn't get tickets to the May Weezer show in Philadelphia (noted here), but we've been given a reprieve. They added another show near us, July 14 at the Borgata Casino in Atlantic City, NJ. Tickets go on sale through Ticketmaster online tomorrow morning at 10am. Dave and I will be on our respective computers clicking away come 10am, and it is hoped by all that we will be able to score two tickets in the ten seconds it will take them to sell out. The Borgata venue, The Music Box, only holds 3700. Wish us luck. I'm at the moment listening to the new album, Make Believe. It is really pop-y, hearkening back to their beloved first album (the blue one).

    And bless you, Weezer, for offering the CD without a plastic jewel case. You're doing the world good.

    Thursday, June 16, 2005

    Food, Glorious Food

    Most of it green. I am so fortunate to be a part of an organic CSA farm. Yesterday's box held:
    strawberries
    asparagus
    cauliflower
    broccoli
    collards
    kale
    bok choi
    mesclun mix
    head lettuce
    radishes
    scallions
    snow peas
    shell peas

    Last night we had one head of broccoli and salad fixings out of the box as accompaniments to our spaghetti Alfredo. Happily, N will eat broccoli (for the time being). He used to be big on green beans, but now they are typically chewed and then deposited back onto the plate. For dessert, D and I had strawberries on angel food cake with whipped cream.

    This morning, I'm busy putting up the snow peas, collards, and kale. I've just now got the blanched pea pods spread out on cookie sheets in the freezer above the fridge, a quick freeze before I bag and label them for the chest freezer in the garage. For those who don't know, you need to blanch your fruits and veggies before you freeze them to stop their ripening process. Next I'm going to process the greens, which are soaking in a salt water solution to get out the last bits of grit and any bugs.

    Tonight I'll be including the asparagus, bok choi, and snow peas in a stir fry--along with ginger, garlic, red pepper, and tofu--that I'll serve over brown rice. We'll have another thrilling salad, and will probably have some hummus I made Tuesday spread on some whole wheat pita.

    Part of what makes this farm so special is the care they take harvesting and preparing the produce to come to us. They wash it! We visited their farm several years ago, and saw the giant metal spinner they use to wash and dry the vegetables. It is manually powered (they're Amish, remember), but not everything on the farm is. They use solar power to charge generators with which they light their farm at night and run their dairy concern. They milk their cows with electric pumps run from the generators. Some Amish drive automobiles, including the man they use to deliver their produce to the pick-up points.

    I've spent long enough on this entry. N is at daycare today, so I have limited time to squeeze in the freezing. AC and I need to run errands, too. Hey - I haven't had breakfast yet, either, come to think of it. This morning's routine was dreadfully mucked up by a) my husband's dawdling and b) my ignorance of the alarm clock. I will post another time about routines. My life-long struggle.

    Wednesday, June 15, 2005

    Help Me, I'm Forty.

    I am a walking stereotype: turn forty and it all falls apart. Let's make a list of what I need to ask the nurse practitioner about when I see her on June 21:

    -arms/hands (probably carpal tunnel syndrome)
    -right knee (crapping out for twenty-five years now, but lately in a different way)
    -hearing (I keep having to ask D to repeat himself. Is it his deficiency or mine?)
    -face (weird bumpy/itchy rash since about a month after AC was born)
    -blackouts (anemia? low protein? low blood pressure? blowing too many bubbles in the backyard?)

    Can I also get her to do something about my gray hairs and wrinkles?

    Sunday, June 12, 2005

    Week 6 or something

    I've survived week 6 of the babyfat elimination plan. I am doing much better with my eating habits now (she types, as she waits for the babysitter to knock with the biweekly box of pastries). I am also exercising, if only for a few minutes, upon waking and right before going to bed. I start a Thursday-night yoga class June 30. The scale keeps wavering between 151 and 153 every morning, but I perservere. I FEEL better, so I guess that is the best possible result, eh?

    My macrobiotic bent and the weekly organic produce has really spurred me to improve our diets, and it is nice being able to freeze our extras every week so that we will have veggies over the fall and winter when the farm subscription stops (mid-October). So far, I've blanched and frozen spinach, collards, kale, and snow peas.

    But back to the body. I seem to have developed what I think is carpal tunnel syndrome in both arms. For the past couple of months, I've been waking up at night with sore and tingly arms and hands, and my fingers feel as though they are asleep. It also happens when I'm driving, typing, and nursing AC. Add to this a general arm and hand soreness that is expasperating. It's hard to carry the infant car seat, it's hard to vaccuum, it's hard to slice things, basically, it's hard to do anything with my hands and arms. For the longest time, I discounted carpal tunnel syndrome as the culprit, because I thought it was synonymous with repetitive motion disease, or whatever it's called when you do too much of the same movement with your hands and wrists. But when I researched CTS on the internet, I found that my symptoms were classic. And when I saw that it can be caused by water retention due to hormonal changes, I figured that's what I was dealing with. (I don't do that much typing, so I don't think it's occupational.) So, it's off to the doctor--nurse practitioner, actually--for me, June 21. I'm hoping splints and cold packs will be the cure.