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).


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:
bok choi
mesclun mix
head lettuce
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.

Thursday, June 09, 2005


Did you know that there was a country-wide grilled cheese contest? I did because our local paper covered it and printed the winning recipe, The Caribbean Grill. And I made it one night in a fit of insanity (who wants to spend an hour prepping lowly grilled cheese sandwiches?). But by god, it was the best damn sandwich I've ever had. I'm really glad I made the full recipe, because D and I each ATE TWO. Only substitution I made was that I had to use green bell pepper instead of red, but hey - it was still rockin. Print the recipe and start chopping. I used frozen mango chunks to cut down on prep time and cost. And please use Italian bread. OOOOHHH, I'm gonna have to make this again in a few weeks. I'm already jonesin.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Magnetic Boobies

Add this to my June 4 list of aversions:

- Sally Forth

Now that I've gotten rid of some bile, on to my precious toddler. Who knew puzzle pieces could have so many uses? N owns a Melissa & Doug farmhouse magnetic puzzle we got from Part of the time he plays with the puzzle as intended, but other times he takes the little magnets, especially the airplane, and applies them other ways. He loves to sail the airplane through the air and make airplane noises, squealing "zzzhhhhhhh. zzzzhhhhhhh. eeepen! eeepen!" He also likes to carry the pieces downstairs and stick them to our front doors (metal) and our refrigerator. A few days ago I caught him walking on the wood floor with one piece stuck to the bottom of each bare foot: he had created his own tap shoes. And, of course, what fun could be complete without pretending like your puzzle piece is a nursing pad? Yesterday I watched as N very carefully tucked the squirrel magnet inside his one piece pajama, making sure it was right where Mommy puts her nursing pad, patting it once it lay flat. But that wouldn't do, apparently. He then turned it on its edge so that he could have a booby, and then he patted it again, but it collapsed and fell out the bottom of his pajama leg. I have no idea what the teachers think when he does this at daycare.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


For about twenty-five years now I've had this crazy pipe dream of being totally self-sufficient. Well, I've had several crazy pipe dreams, none of which actually involves pipes, but this one is one that has lasted.

Ever since I decided to eat lower on the food chain, encouraged by my discovery in college of both the original Laurel's Kitchen and Diet for a Small Planet, I've aspired to support myself through the simplest, least harmful means. Then there was my romance with The Good Neighbors (called The Good Life in Britain, I believe), that delightful British television series following the exploits of the quirky Goods, a husband (Richard Briers) and wife (Felicity Kendal) who leave the corporate life behind to become the oddball self-sufficient freaks in the midst of their middle class suburban neighborhood. I'd like to be that freak!

So, where are we going to get $10,000 to install solar panels on our roof so we can sell energy to Conectiv? We've gotta run these dadburn computers somehow. Stringin up a clothesline in the backyard could be a first step in my lifestyle change, but board-stiff, pollen-dusted baby clothes don't make me happy. Spoiled, I guess.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I am disproportionately averse to the following items, in no particular order:

- chess
- the phrase, "get 'er done"
- Terry Gross's interviewing style
- preeningly fashioned facial hair
- azalea bushes pruned into straight-sided, flat-topped hedges or into round balls of shrub
- Bratz. Anything Bratz.
- James Hetfield's "singing" voice