Saturday, December 31, 2005
Bean is sick with a bad cold so I'm staying home with her tonight while Husband goes out to a friend's house for a few drinks and some social time with his guy friends. I don't mind a bit--in fact, I encouraged him to go because I think he could probably use a little time away from the house and all of us. My New Year's Eve is going to consist of the following: finishing this post with a tasty raspberry vodka collins, breathing deeply of the baking apple-streusel pie aroma wafting out of my kitchen at the moment, watching episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" all by my lonesome, and...well, that's it, actually. Personally, I'm feeling like it's a damn good way to close out the old year.
I've been visiting my usual favorite blogs lately and it seems that everyone is waxing introspective and making resolutions right and left. I find myself in just that kind of mood tonight, too. My life is very, very good at the moment, and I am very, very grateful for that DAILY. I sometimes think to myself that I'll look back on these years with Husband and young children and know that they were the sweetest of my life. I wouldn't change a thing. Well, o.k., maybe ONE thing, but more on that tomorrow, if I have time between chopping collards, making country ham biscuits, and simmering black-eyed peas for our guests. In the meantime, I hope all of you out there have a gratifying end to your old year and a cheerful, inspiring beginning to your new. Happy New Year!
Friday, December 30, 2005
Husband is inviting a bunch of his running buddies over after they all finish running a race together. They're all coming with wives and kids in tow. I've invited several of my friends with their respective kids and spouses, partners, etc, and most of them appear to be coming, too. Sister is unfortunately going to be at her dad's, but otherwise it will be an entirely kid-friendly, informal affair with plenty of cold beer for the grown-ups. I find myself really looking forward to it. I expect that a heaping helping of grown-up conversation will help me finally come down in a relaxed way from all the Christmas excitement. The day is supposed to be lovely and sunny so perhaps we'll all mostly stay outside on the deck while the kids swing on the hammock and play in the treehouse. Can't wait!
Thursday, December 29, 2005
This inspired me to think a little more about the personal soundtrack idea. I'm sure this sort of meme has been dreamed up and circulated before, but since I'm new to the blogging world I'm inventing it new for myself. Anyone else can participate, too, if a post-Christmas, self-indulgent activity is in order. Let me know if you participate, okay? I'd love to see what others include as part of their own personal life soundtrack. So without further ado...
The Personal Soundtrack Meme
- First song you remember hearing on the radio as a child: For me this was a Scott Joplin piano tune which was on the radio in 1973 because it was part of "The Sting" soundtrack. I distinctly remember my mom cranking it up on the stereo in our living room so that I could dance to it while she laughed. She knew I loved it. I would've been 2 years old.
- First album you remember listening to as a child: "Some Girls," by the Rolling Stones. Hearing this reminds me of my favorite Aunt Lorrie who was only 9 years older than me. It was the 1970's and I was the personal mascot of my gorgeous, 6-foot tall, Viking blonde aunt. I was allowed to hang out with her in her room while she played albums for me. The Rolling Stones, Heart, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple, Ted Nugent, The Knack. I chose 'em, she put 'em on the turntable. She drove a red Camaro with a white leather interior and could roller skate backwards and very fast in a most awe-inspiring fashion. She used to have me zip up her ultra-tight Jordache jeans while she lay flat on her bed and tried to hold the button closed. My Aunt Lorrie died of cancer last year at age 42 and I still miss her very much.
- Album that takes you back to junior high: Prince's "Around the World in a Day." Even more than "Purple Rain," this album reminds me of being in my sunny bedroom, listening to the weirdness coming out of the speakers, trying to figure out the whole Wendy and Lisa thing. I loved Prince. Still love Prince actually.
- Most played album in high school?: Hmmm, this is harder because I was deliberately buying and listening to music at this point. I guess if I exclude albums that friends had but I didn't (Guns-n-Roses' "Appetite for Destruction" springs to mind--music to drive drunk by), I'd have to say REM's "Green." This wasn't even my favorite REM album, but somehow when I hear a song from it I am instantly transported back to my little bedroom nook in the attic of a particular house in a particular small Southern town that I couldn't get out of fast enough.
- Favorite album in college? Actually, give me 3 favorites: "Hunkpapa," by Throwing Muses; "The Pink Opaque," by the Cocteau Twins"; and "Last Splash," by the Breeders. I guess the Breeders choice reveals that it took me a LONG time to finish my bachelor's degree. 8 years, in fact. Couldn't quite make up my mind about that major...
- Favorite albums to road trip with?: Hands down, these are "Exile in Guyville," by Liz Phair and "Nevermind," by Nirvana. Maybe not a road trip NOW, but they were certainly part of a certain Southern Cities Tour taken by a good friend and I back in the day.
- Best albums to divorce a husband by, or any other albums worthy of mention: "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," by Lucinda Williams and the "Wayward Bus/Distant Plastic Trees" double album by the Magnetic Fields. Both were albums I listened to constantly just after leaving my Ex. No particular reason, really, I just suddenly had a bit of free time since little Sister was spending some time at his house without me and I was able to frequent record stores kid-free.
- Your personal soundtrack today includes...: Oh, jeez! Like I have time to go music shopping or need one more noise in the house on top of a crying baby and 7-year old questions and the exhaust fan running while I cook! Can I include the opening theme to NPR's Morning Edition? Or anything on a Baby Einstein CD? Pathetic, huh? I'm afraid I don't much keep up with new music these days. But if anyone else out there has any suggestions, I'm all ears!
- So if this is your personal soundtrack, what's the plot of the movie in 50 words or less?: A comedy in which the heroine does lots of drugs, ends a good relationship, rushes headlong into a series of stupid relationships which all end badly, has a baby, resumes the good relationship, has another baby, and everything comes out all right in the end. A total chick flick, y'all.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
So I vomitted 3 times and had 4, um, intestinal incidents between the hours of 1:30 a.m. and 3:00 a.m., with Baby Bean crying intermittently most of this time, I might add. But things sort of settled down with me after that. Husband, however, continued to barf all.night.long and so neither of us got any sleep at all. It was so bad for him that apparently he even passed out with his head on the rim of the toilet at one point.
So I guess that it was some sort of bug that caused Sister to hurl so spectacularly after her Christmas party last week, rather than way too much junk as I had assumed. I found out today that my friend's daughter was also sick that night, so now I feel horribly embarrassed, wondering if ALL those little girl guests were that sick, too. I'm too embarrassed to call their parents to inquire, actually. Though I suppose that since it's a week later I'm a little behind the game anyway.
Sigh. Well, according to my mother, this is a 24-hour bug so hopefully Husband will be better soon and will regain some of the color in his currently gray cheeks. I'm feeling better myself, though I'm still trying to avoid looking into the refrigerator. The mere sight of Christmas left-overs makes me queasy all over again. And if I flashback to the Indian food we ate last night before all this began...urrlgh! The one good thing about being this sick, though, is that your day is very focused. We're sick so we're staying home. No running out to Target to exchange Sister's new shirt for a larger size. No grocery shopping. And no stress about it either. Our job today is just to lay around, drink mild fluids, and try to keep the baby germ-free and entertained. Probably what we need after all the holiday excitement anyway.
Monday, December 26, 2005
It seems to me that Sister had it particularly rough this year the way that the Ex and I worked out her schedule. This year was her year to spend Christmas with me, and to make up for the fact that I would have Sister on two of "his" days, the Ex tacked on one extra day last week and one extra this week to his usual time with her. This means that she's hopped between households every 2 days for the past week, and she's looking a little peaked. This morning when I went in to her room she had the oddest look on her face. It was a little too old for a 7-year old girl--sort of resigned and sad and like she had a secret all at once. Now, it could just have been that I walked in right before she jerked her finger out of her nose, but I don't think it was just that. A little later in the kitchen I was trying to make a few light jokes while I stirred up some pancake batter, and she kept looking at me like she wasn't sure how to respond. She seems very emotionally fragile somehow. Husband says that he always had a tough time right after Christmas because there's such a build up and then the event is basically over in a few hours. Does anyone else out there remember the same thing happening to them? Or do your own kids go through the same thing? Maybe I should damn the torpedoes and try and keep the excitement going throughout the day. Or maybe that's just delaying the crash that's inevitable. I don't know.
Friday, December 23, 2005
Apple Jack Cocktail
2 oz applejack
3/4 oz curacao
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
2 dashes of orange bitters (briefly muddle a twist of orange peel to the shaker if you need to substitute for this)
Shake all ingredients together in shaker with ice. Strain into chilled martini glass and garnish with a thin slice of apple and a strip of orange peel.
Since I haven't actually tried this one yet, you can yell at me if it sucks, but all the components look like they'll work quite well together. I don't think any of us are going to be disappointed. Oh, and a note about orange bitters. There's only one company in the U.S. who makes it anymore. They're the Fee Brothers in New York City. I ordered a case from them a couple of years ago since the shipping was free on a case and the whole order was only, like, $15 or something. However, I do have way more orange bitters on my hands than I can use in this lifetime. If you're a regular commenter and you want some I'll be happy to mail you some as a little Christmas present. Just let me know!
And cheers, y'all!
Thursday, December 22, 2005
My husband has a great relationship with Sister, though she is the Ex's daughter and not his own. They get along beautifully for the most part, though, and Sister is always excited when he comes home from work because she knows she can look forward to a good romp with him. He plays with her in that way that men do with kids and women don't--tosses her in the air, hangs her upside down, makes dumb jokes, you get the picture.
So it bothers me that one troubled spot in their relationship is that Husband often doesn't believe the things Sister says. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm under no illusion that my older child is a completely truthful at all times. She's 7 and is still perhaps not entirely clear on absolute truth and the words to use to say something. I feel like I can usually tell when she's trying something out on us, though--trying to manipulate us to get her way, trying to alarm us with tales of other children's behaviour, etc. Last night, Sister complained that her stomach hurt. She started doing this in the bath when Husband asked her to go ahead and wash herself already, using washcloth, yes, but also soap, Sister. And no, you did NOT wash yourself yet, I've been with you the whole time, dear! She's doing all this complaining that she's got a bellyache while giving Husband a hard time about washing, so he assumes that they're part of the same hassle. Sister continues to complain as she emerges from her bath and is asked to tidy her room before dinner. Again, Husband believes that she's just being ornery, trying to get out of doing things she doesn't want to do. And it is true that this is one of the strategies in her well-used arsenal of chore avoidance tactics.
We all sit down to dinner and Sister is looking downright pale. I'm thinking that she really is feeling bad, and frankly with all the crap I allowed her to eat at her Christmas party this isn't an unreasonable theory. Husband is impatient with her, though, and tired of hearing her whine for what he believes is a falsehood. It's hard for me to know quite what to do. I don't want to say anything to challenge his authority in front of her, but I don't want to discount Sister's complaints if she really is sick. After she eats just a little of her dinner I test her, telling her she doesn't have to finish it and she can just brush her teeth and go right to bed. To my surprise, she agrees to this readily and now I KNOW she's feeling bad.
She gets into bed, and I might add that at no time does she ask for her Advent calendar candy or any dessert of any kind. My child does feel bad. I read her some chapters, tuck her in, and kiss her goodnight. When I emerge from her room, I tell Husband, "You know, I really think she's feeling bad. She didn't ask for dessert or anything, did you notice?" Husband sort of hums at me in disbelief, but I don't press him. It bugs me a little that he doesn't believe her, but what do I do? I certainly can't prove it. I can only believe what she's telling me--he does not.
But an hour later, as I'm ironing the border on a baby quilt I've finished, we hear her padding down the hallway, accompanied by some spattering sounds. Shit. I rush into the bathroom, dodging a large vomit splat on the hallway rug, and find Sister at the sink, her belly heaving. Husband is right behind me and is instantly full of remorse. He's apologizing to her for being mean even as she's standing at the sink, barfing surprisingly large quantities of pastel chunks. Husband is feeling so guilty about not having believed her that he races back to her room to begin cleaning up. There is barf EVERYWHERE. All over both Sister's sheets, on her bedspread, her down comforter, the canopy that hangs around her bed, her giant stuffed rabbit, her bookshelves by the door--I mean, enormous quantities of the stuff. And it's all apparently composed of party junk so it's no wonder.
It takes Husband a good half hour to clean and mop and disinfect everything. I'm washing 5 loads of laundry today. The giant bunny and hallway rug may be a lost cause, I don't know. But the good thing is that Husband will probably think twice about discounting what Sister says from now on.
And this is the buffet, post-party. You can see that nearly all those cookies are gone, and the 2 thermos pitchers that contained hot chocolate and hot cider are empty. The fruitcake, however...well, the grown-ups didn't stick around so I was the only one who ate a slice. I do make excellent fruitcake, but it is NOT for children, being the booze-soaked, candied ginger extravaganza that it is.
The afternoon light in our kitchen was such that I couldn't get a good picture of how trashed everything was, but I'm sure you can imagine. Actually, the party went surprisingly well. I don't know if it's that Sister is older and therefore can handle the emotional upheavals of a party better now, or if it's just good policy to always have a friend stick around afterwards to mitigate the pain of the rest of the guests leaving. Either way, out of 9 girls, NO ONE CRIED! I consider it a raving success, and the last big hurdle before Christmas itself. I've hardly wrapped anything and still have peppermint bark, toffee, and pralines to make for some friends, but it all seems easy now.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I am barely holding on to my life with my teeth at the moment, y'all. Why did I ever let Sister talk me into letting her having her own Christmas party today? On top of everything else I'm supposed to be doing for Christmas?! There are 8 little girls coming over this afternoon and their moms may or may not be staying, too. I wish I had an actual head count, but very few of the invitees actually RSVP'd. (Is RSVP'ing out of fashion anymore? Someone please tell me because I can't figure out otherwise why no one bothers to respond to invitations anymore, even when expressly asked to do so.)
So that's happening in what feels like just a few short hours. I'm not going to bother cleaning the house since our stupid white linoleum kitchen floor will only be trashed by all those little feet tracking in mud from the very wet backyard. Thank God that at least the weather is sunny enough for them to actually BE outside. My house is so small that it would be overwhelming if they were all trapped indoors. I'm going to try to keep them busy with games of "Santa Says," Christmas musical chairs, and Christmas Mad Libs. That last will be our calming activity just before the parents arrive again to pick up their girls. Hopefully on time.
Oy vey. Wish me luck! As one parent said to me a few days ago, someone's going to cry. He meant the girls, but it might be me. Stay tuned for before and after pictures!
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Sunday, December 18, 2005
I dropped Sister off at her dad's house last night for her weekend with him. When we got there, however, his roommate told us that he wasn't there yet, but had called to say that he was on his way. No problem, I thought, happens to all of us. So Sister and I came in to wait in the living room. Not much to do there, though, so she asked if I wanted to go to her room instead. We went back and Sister flicked on the light switch...and I was shocked at the sight of her so-called room.
Her room was filthy--I don't just mean just messy, though it was extremely so--but truly dirty. The bed was unmade with dirty sheets and blankets, and is in fact still one of those tiny toddler beds though Sister is a 7-1/2 year old who stands taller than most of her second grade classmates. What toys were there are still toys she's had since she was a year old, with only a few stuffed animals that are more recent additions. There were 2 adult-sized bikes parked in her room. Her dad's art supplies took up the space on her table. And one of her dad's large, sinister-looking paintings was hung on the wall facing her bed--and by sinister, I mean a demonic face painted entirely in black and yellow glaring out from the canvas.
Sister stood there looking with me, not terribly sure what to do in "her" room. I know she generally doesn't spend the night there with her dad because his parents pick them up when she's with him and they spend their time together out at her grandparents' house. I'm pretty sure that they do this most of the time that they're together, with a very occasional night spent in his house. But even knowing that, I was appalled and saddened that her room had obviously morphed into a space used as part-storage and part-studio. (He does have an actual studio space in the house, by the way--a screened porch enclosed when his parents bought him that house.)
To me, this indicates that he doesn't make the space for her in his life, that he is not thoughtful of her when she's away. I was saddened and pissed and confused all at the same time, imagining how I would have reacted if one of my parents had done that to me, wondering if I should say something to him about it. I don't know if I can without turning it into a big fight. Husband says that it probably doesn't matter so much since her grandma has made a space for her in their house that is presumably clean and welcoming and HER space. He also says that men tend not to think about their homes in the same way that I do, that my Ex is after all a bachelor, not to mention an artist. I guess that's all true, but it still makes me sad to think of Sister not having her own space in her dad's house.
And this does beg the question of why he picks his semi-annual fights with me over how it's not "fair" that she spends more time with me than with him. I don't know what to say to him. That man is a puzzle. In a bad way.
Saturday, December 17, 2005
- Force field
- Stretch ("Like, really far.")
- Come to life ("I can make all my drawings come to life!")
- Talk any way ("In any language, Mama.")
- Stink ("Blecch!" Said holding her nose and grinning.)
- Rip hard stuff ("I mean like stuff you normally can't rip. Like glass.")
- Change age ("I can change ages with anyone.")
- Tornado ("So if there's someone I don't like I can just sweep them up in a tornado and take them away from me.")
- Make up stuff (She gives me a look that says, "As I am doing right now." I nod.)
- Never die (Oh, honey, not before me at least.)
- Understand ("I can understand every kind of language. Like if a bird is saying, "Tweet-tweet," I know what that means.")
- Fairy dust ("There are all kinds, Mama.")
Friday, December 16, 2005
Baby Bean slept through the night for the first time ever! I think it's her new, reduced nursing schedule that's doing something to her biorhythms. Or something like that. I only got 6-1/2 hours of sleep last night because I was, um...accosted by my Husband at 11:30 p.m. But they were 6-1/2 hours of SOLID sleep so I feel great. This morning I hit the ground running. Here's what I did:
- Walked Sister to school and made it there ON TIME! (Score 5 points.)
- Returned home and got Bean off to her first nap struggle-free. (Score 5 points.)
- While Bean napped, I made a batch of macadamia nut brittle and wrote out the list of which of our friends are getting what baked goods when. (Score 10 points, baby.)
- Avoided blogging, email, or web surfing. Made beds, swept up fern leaf litter that Bean keeps stripping off the stems. Picked up scattered toys all over the house. Put a load of laundry in the machine. (Score 10 points!)
- Assembled 2 large platters of home-made cookies and candies demonstrating my and all other parents' appreciation of 100 teachers and staff at Sister's school. Wrapped them in plastic wrap and put them in the car so that I wouldn't have to struggle with it once Bean woke up. (Score 8 bajillion points.)
- Woke Bean up and kept her from being upset by singing cheerfully and making funny faces at her while getting her into a clean diaper, coat, and cute bunny hat. (10 more points.)
- Drove cookies to the school and lugged them in while carrying Bean because actually I was 15 minutes late and would be even later if I set up the stroller and strapped her into it, all so I wouldn't have to make 2 trips up that long ass sidewalk. (Lose 10 points.)
- Exchanged important documents with local Brownie Cookie Sale Coordinator Lady who works on campus. Only drove around a little while before finding the damn parking lot she was talking about. (Score 5 but lose 10.)
- Went to the mall and found all the presents I was looking for! Picked up birth control prescription and remembered some hair product! (Score 20.)
- Went to the ABC store to buy some fancy Scotch for Husband, but there was a sign that said "cash only, card machine broken." Shit. Who the hell carries cash anymore? (Lose 50 points.)
- Went to a Persian cafe for lunch because I forgot to eat breakfast and was starving, and Bean was growing impatient with the car seat. Lunch was tasty, but overpriced. The owner wasn't terribly comfortable with me nursing Bean in his nearly empty cafe, but he came around when Bean afterwards happily ate the Persian equivalent of tzatziki and curried rice and vegetables. (Score 10 but lose 20 for a $10 lunch.)
- Went to Target to pick up pictures for Husband's father plus a photo album to put them in. Stopped the clerk from overcharging me--a coupon was supposed to be applied, dammit. Also replenished ingredients needed for baking. And for once, avoided spending $100! (Score whopping big points for that!)
- Retrieved platters from Sister's school where someone had kindly washed them for me. Noted that the teachers had hoovered down nearly everything I made for them! And several of them stopped me in the hall to thank me gratefully. Plus, I picked Sister up on time and chatted with the teacher about the diorama viewing happening on Monday. (Score 1,000 points!)
- I rock! Except that I'm blogging again and ignoring Sister who wants to show me her drawings of superhero imaginary friends and all their magical powers. Better go quick before I lose some points here...
Thursday, December 15, 2005
There was freezing rain last night necessitating the delay. We Piedmont-area North Carolinians don't screw around with the frozen stuff when it comes to asking school bus drivers to negotiate windy roads. Actually, this puts me in mind of my least favorite sentence spoken by nearly every Yankee interloper you run across in these parts this time of year. It is always said proudly and with a bit of a sneer plastered on the face: "You people don't know how to drive in the ice and snow!" Then they stand there with a slight, challenging smile waiting for you to take the bait.
You won't find me arguing, however. The fact is, there just isn't that much in the way of frozen precipitation here. Last year, there wasn't one single, measly flake of snow, much to Sister's disappointment. How can you get expert at something you've got to deal with only every other year or so? And it's not like we're wasting our tax dollars on an armada of snow plows and thousands of tons of salt for the roads. What a way to tie up cash, and the stuff does melt. No, I just stand there and let them sneer a minute before I say to them, "Why would you want to?" Seriously, what better reason to stay at home, maybe build a fire, make a pot of cocoa for the kids, bust out the craft supplies, and just hang out? Leave your pajamas on! Make pancakes for lunch! Call the boss and say you just don't feel comfortable driving and so you can't make it to work! There's one thing a lotta y'all don't know how to do, you know. Relax! Don't rush off, stay awhile. I'll make some coffee, and I think I've got some cookies around here somewhere...
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Something happened today that made me really confused as hell about the whole breastfeeding thing. My sweet little baby who began her little biting habit a week or 2 ago? Remember her? Well, today she actually drew blood, she bit me so hard. Not much, granted, but I have 2 bloody little bite marks on my right nipple as we speak. (Imagine me sighing sadly and taking a big swig of my gin and tonic here as I remember this.) My original plan was to nurse this baby for at least her first year like I did her older sister. I even thought I might do it longer since I'm staying at home and had no reason to rush weaning. Sadly, it seems like my plan is being thwarted. I think Bean might be biting me because she's bored with nursing. Her pattern seems to be that she'll nurse for 5 minutes on one side, bite me, and then stop (and grin). I'll tell her firmly "No biting!" and put her upright for a minute, then we switch to the other side. She'll nurse happily for another few minutes, bite me again, and then I'll be so pissed I'll put her down completely. At this point, she crawls away happily babbling to herself. I'm torn between hating nursing and physically cringing in dread when I put her on the breast, and wanting her to stop this NOW, behave herself and just finish out the year, for chrissakes! Just a few more months, child!
She's only 8 months old at this point. Babies don't wean themselves this early, do they? I'm willing to wait out the biting if it's just a phase that she'll grow bored with, but what the hell do I do if biting is her way of telling me she's bored with ME? I so don't want to be strapped to a breast pump for the next four months. I mean, do babies have to have formula if they don't nurse at this age? I don't really want to go that route either. Sigh. Perhaps gin will tell me what to do.
Monday, December 12, 2005
But this is a new era. I'm getting more sleep now as the stay-at-home-mother of another baby--even one who still doesn't sleep through the night--than I ever did as a baker. (Which is perhaps why it doesn't bother me nearly as much as it should that my 8-month old doesn't yet do this...) And just in the past couple of days I've made Mexican wedding cakes, chocolate-speckled meringue kisses, white chocolate peppermint cookies, chocolate crackle cookies, hazelnut sandies, and the dough for spiced almond cookies. Oh, and I've brushed my fruitcakes for the second time with liqueur and rum. My house smells so good when you walk in, what with all those spicy, sugary smells plus the Christmas tree smell on top of that. I might turn out to like Christmas after all.
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Seven things I hope to do before I die:
- Take a few months and go on a tour of the entire country, east to west and north to south. I'd like to do this with our kids while they're still actually kids. We'd stop to hike out West, tour candy factories wherever we found them,...
- Learn to speak fluent Spanish, and not just the present tense-only, kitchen variety that I know now.
- Have one more baby.
- Turn our little piece of land into a stunning garden full of not only year-round flowers and/or fruit but also birds and good bugs and small wildlife. Our house is small, but I don't want to move from it til at least the kids are grown.
- Go on an archaeological dig in either the Greek islands or somehwhere in Mexico or Central America.
- See my kids grow into happy, intelligent, together women who manage to by-pass the pitfalls of teen-age hood in our little town where kids seem to grow up very fast indeed.
- Become a really expert quilter and sewer.
- Sail on the ocean without becoming violently, gut-emptyingly sea-sick. I can't even float around on a sea kayak in the sound without getting queasy!
- Stop feeling bitter about my ex-husband and his mother's role in my daughter's life. I wish very much to get rid of this.
- Make exercise a priority in my life like I know I should. It's a good thing I fidget. Apparently, fidgety people burn up to 300 more calories per day than non-fidgeters. Also, I bustle.
- Go back to being a vegetarian, despite knowing there are all sorts of moral reasons to do so.
- Avoid putting my foot in my mouth at least once at a party.
- Tell a lie convincingly. I can't stand falsehood of any kind, though sometimes a white lie is helpful. Can't even do those, though.
- Write fiction.
Seven things that attract me to my spouse (significant other, best friend):
- He's got the most appealing mix of erudite, articulate, and raunchy. I love that.
- He thinks of himself as a provider. My animal brain totally digs this, feminism be damned!
- He has interests that he is passionate about that have nothing to do with me.
- He is completely enthusiastic and supportive of my own interests, despite them having nothing to do with him either.
- He is incredibly sweet with our baby, and has always taken care of my daughter from a previous marriage as if she were his own, too.
- He is the voice of reason to my own intemperateness and impetuousness. Even when it means being brutally honest and saying things I don't want to hear. It frequently pisses me off, but I would never change this about him.
- I SO love his sense of humor. He is very witty.
- "No no no, Bean! Don't eat Mama's plants!"
- "How was school today, m'dear?"
- "Oh, does this baby want to nurse? Yes, she wants to nurse with the Mama!"
- "Sister, please come get your kitties/tea set/notebooks and crayons and put them where they go. You know, if you put everything in its place you won't lose things so often."
- "How are we ever going to get this baby to sleep through the night, hon? This is getting ridiculous."
- "Damn cats...!"
- "No biting! No biting the Mama!"
- Black Sun, by Edward Abbey
- Return to Sodom and Gomorrah, by Charles Pellegrino. (This is a book of archaeological evidence for various happenings in the Bible. SO interesting.)
- Aztec, by I think Gary Williams. This is an incredibly trashy, titillating novel set in the time of the European conquest of Aztec civilization. One of my guilty pleasures.
- 100 Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I've read this countless times at this point, and plan to read it countless more.
- "The Snows of Kilimanjaro," which is a short story by Ernest Hemingway. It is crystalline sharp in its description of the last afternoon of a man dying of a gangrenous leg in Africa. A perfectly written story.
- It's been awhile, but my favorite book used to be Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller. Yes, some people think he was an unapologetic misogynist and anti-Semite, but I used to really love his writings. I should really go back and see if this still holds true now that I'm 10 years older...
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy, LONG before Viggo Mortensen entered the scene.
Seven movies I could watch over and over again:
- Um...The Lord of the Rings trilogy, because of Viggo Mortensen.
- Henry and June, about Henry Miller, his wife June, and Anais Nin in Paris. The costumes are superb and Uma Thurman is a very convincing June Miller.
- Wild at Heart. "The whole world is wild at heart and weird on top." Indeed.
- Spirited Away. One of the few children's movies that isn't totally insipid. My husband, daughter, and I were all totally taken when we first saw this movie.
- The Big Lebowski. Good for easy laughs, and eminently quotable.
- Damage, with Jeremy Irons and Juliette Binoche, if I'm in the mood to have a good freak-out cry. This movie is awful and so, so good.
- Big Night. Have I mentioned how much I love food?
Seven people I would like to join in this “Seven Sevens” meme:
Friday, December 09, 2005
Here was the conversation with her friend as we walked home from school:
Friend: Let's pretend like we're kittens.
Sister: O.k., like jaguar kittens.
Friend: Yeah, big cat kittens. And we like to play in water (said as they splashed through gutter puddles), which is what makes us so interesting.
Sister: Yeah. But actually big cats like to play in water.
Friend: Yeah. And pretend that we don't know where our mothers are.
Sister: Yeah, and pretend that I only have 1 claw left on each of my paws.
Friend: But you usually have 4.
Sister: Yeah, but I only have 1 now.
Sister: (pause) 'Cause one time when I was a baby I had to fight a pterodactyl.
Sister: I had to fight this pterodactyl and I kept losing the claws on my paws until there was just one left. And then I stabbed him in the neck with them.
Friend: And after that we couldn't find our mothers anywhere. We didn't know if the pterodactyl had eaten them or maybe locked them up in his cave.
Sister: Yeah. But afterwards we found some spotted furs and some bones. There were skulls and bones.
Sister: I took the skull and you took one of the foot bones.
Friend: Yeah, and we used them for sword-fighting.
Sister: Yeah, we used some for chewing on and some for sword-fighting.
I love these conversations, when she's playing with a friend who will go the whole "let's pretend" way with her. They check with me now and then, glancing over at me to see if I'm reacting at all to the more outrageous parts of the tale, but I never do. I just keep pushing the baby's stroller along, pretending to enjoy the sun and the breeze blowing down our street.
But I found it just now, shining up at me from its resting place on some pine needles stuck between our back sliding glass door and the beginning of the back deck. I only saw it because I hadn't had time to hang the laundry outside earlier today and was only just now getting to it. The afternoon sun hit its top facet so perfectly that it winked at me as I crossed the threshold. I feel lucky indeed today.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Mothers are anoying
Mothors are nice
Mothers are naguty
Mothors are healthy
Mothors are mean
Mothors know best
Should I be grateful that it at least all evens out in the end? Sigh. Well, there's always adult pleasures to mitigate the sting of your children's ingratitude, no?
1-1/2 oz rum
1/2 oz triple sec
1/4 oz fresh lime juice
2 dashes Angostura bitters
2 oz ginger beer
Stir all ingredients together in an ice-filled highball glass. Garnish with lime and orange slices. Drink and feel like a sucky mom.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
This cocktail always reminds me of the brief time I lived in New Orleans at age 20. I was waiting tables at the Hotel Pavillon right outside the French Quarter. When I would get off working the dinner shift, I would wander over to the Napoleon House which was one of my 2 favorite bars. One night it was especially hot, and as I bellied up I told the bartender, "Make me something refreshing." He made me this.
2 oz brandy
1 oz white creme de menthe (NOT the green stuff)
Stir together in an old-fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Alternatively, you can shake it in a shaker and strain it into a chilled martini glass, but I'm one of those who loves to chomp crushed ice. Note that this is straight booze. No juice or club soda tarting things up.
But I'm not in a room full of adults at the moment. I have to rely on all you out there in the blogosphere. Since it's only fair, I'll kick things off and tell you what we had last night. We had Sister's favorite, Build Your Own Tostadas Night, which involves preparing lots of little bowls of Mexican-themed ingredients (guacamole, refried beans from a can, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, grated cheese, you get the idea) and setting them out on the table along with some fried corn tortillas. Everyone puts whatever they want on them and chomp happily away. Lots of little bowls to wash, but that's what dishwashers and 7-year old table-clearers are for. Oh, and Thursday night is a noodle casserole with tomatoes, ground beef, and cheese. Husband's carbo-loading for his marathon and loves this stuff. That's it for my ideas for the week.
What's for dinner at your house?
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Okay, here goes. We can't actually afford to have a big, booze-soaked bash this year like we usually do for Christmas. We could do something, I guess, but to me, there's no point in having a cocktail party if you're not going to get dressed up and have tons of booze, freshly-squeezed sour mix, 8 kinds of hors-d'oeuvres, etc. Do it swank or don't do it at all, in my opinion. But here's the next best thing, dear readers. I promise I would make you these if you were in my house.
1-1/2 oz gin
1/2 oz Rose's lime juice
juice of half a lime
Pour all these ingredients into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass and give it a good stir. Garnish with a lime wheel. You can also make this straight up--just shake everything together in a shaker and strain into a chilled martini glass. I prefer mine on the rocks, but that's because I get lazy since it's our house drink and all. I have turned many people into converts with this drink.
8 mint leaves
2 oz vodka
1-1/2 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
1-1/2 oz simple syrup
splash of melon liqueur
Wait! Wait! Don't get turned off by the melon liqueur! This is really incredibly good, I promise. Muddle the mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail glass. Add the rest of the ingredients except the melon liqueur, along with some ice, and shake to blend and chill. Strain into an ice-filled old-fashioned glass. Float a splash of melon liqueur on top. Truly delicious and dangerously easy to suck down.
1-1/2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1 oz simple syrup
1 cup ice
This is a slushy version of a regular sour. Blend it all together in your blender til it's good and icy. Pour into a highball glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry and an orange slice, preferably speared on one of those little plastic swords. That one's for you, Pie Maker, though I'm not sure you'll want to spend your fancy bourbon on a blender drink. Still, with fresh juices it's hard to go wrong. You can eliminate the blender step if you want and just stir it all up in a glass.
Hot Buttered Rum
1 teaspon packed brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons room-temperature butter
pinch each of ground cloves, allspice, and cinnamon
1/3 cup apple cider
2 oz dark rum
Mash together the first 3 ingredients in a small bowl. Put this paste into the bottom of a mug. Heat cider til it's steaming and pour into the mug. Stir well to dissolve the paste. Stir in the rum. You can garnish this with whipped cream and a pinch of nutmeg if you want, but it's plenty rich on its own and I don't do this. Also, I made a large vat of this for a party once, but really it should be made and drunk immediately, not left on a stove. It's a great way to take the edge off a cold night, though.
Husband walks into the bathroom where I'm applying lipstick and puts on his deodorant. He winces and raises his arms, flapping them about while making more terrible faces and sucking in his breath.
Me: What's wrong?
Husband: God, this stings!
Me: Are you chafed from your long run this morning?
Husband: No, I guess I just scrubbed my armpits too hard in the shower.
Me: (pause) Just using a washcloth?
Husband: No, I used that new thing you have in there.
Me: (incredulously) You mean my pumice stone?!
Husband: Is that what it's called?
Me: That's supposed to be for feet! For scrubbing hard callouses off of feet!
Husband: I was just trying to get extra clean!
Me: Can I blog about this?
I've been thinking a lot lately about food. The food season has just recently switched over to hearty, winter stews and root vegetables and the like. We're also in the midst of the holidays, of course. But I should just come clean as the food obsessed person that I really am. So I've been thinking a lot lately about food and how I can use it to make my children adore me.
I think I'm well on the way with Sister. She's 7 now and has always been a fantastic eater, with only a few strong dislikes that I know to avoid (basically anything spicy or anything in the cooked greens category ). Ever since she's started eating solid foods she's loved them. Once when I fried up a little chicken liver from the chicken I was preparing for dinner, I gave her a little piece and my child asked for more! Makes a Southern mama proud. She'll eat sushi if we go out. Her favorite is salmon roe--you know, the kind that looks like large-ish bright pink soap bubbles? It is a pleasure to feed that child and always has been. And I guess lately I've been realizing that without trying too hard I am becoming her food ideal. The food I cook for her will be the benchmark for all other foods prepared by all other cooks she will encounter as she grows older. Those of you out there who don't give a rat's ass about food will be saying to yourselves, "So what?" But I adore food and am thrilled to have realized this is part of my mama role. I make the cheese grits that the Ex's mother needs the recipe for because Sister won't eat her cheese grits. I make the chicken pot pie. I make the cheese souffle. I fry the catfish. I mash the potatotes. I bake the cookies. And on special occasions, I make the pierogies from the recipe that my Polish grandmother made with me when I was a girl. My girl tells me I'm "the best cooker in the world." To her, I am.
Monday, December 05, 2005
But here I am at last! It's 4:00 p.m. in beautifully soggy North Carolina today and my blogging minutes are limited since Bean will likely wake up from her afternoon nap any second. Up until now I've kept myself busy inside today with various Christmas related activities. We put up our tree yesterday, and somehow managed to cram those 5 boxes stuffed with ornaments onto our tree! Yay for that. But I do have 2 more boxes full of assorted decorations still to decide what to do with. I don't know about the rest of y'all, but I'm getting to where it simply won't do just to put up a Christmas tree in the house. I've got to also put up tinsel star garlands around doorways, strings of lights in any houseplant big enough to hold them, paper garlands on the mantel, bells wound around porch railings, you name it, we're doing it. Sister is ecstatic, of course, and I guess that's why we're going so hog-wild. The days of Christmas done tastefully are numbered in this household. Now, if we could only get Husband to agree to colored lights on the tree instead of white.
Quick, fellow bloggers! Colored lights or white?
Friday, December 02, 2005
Thursday, December 01, 2005
4 oz cheap red wine
1 oz simple syrup
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
Stir together in a tumbler, add ice and maybe a lemon wheel if you feel up to a garnish, and enjoy. This is surprisingly good and quite tasty in the summertime, too, in lieu of sangria. Goes down very fast...
- There is a huge mountain in Poland!
- Christmas there is a huge feast. The holiday spirit lasts untel Febuary!!!!!!
- Polish pepole are called poles. (This, by the way, is hilarious if you're 7.)
- Polish love fun.
- They have decorations of wheat and straw for Christmas.
- Capital Warsaw.
- Languege Polish
- Food pierogies!