29 December 2006

Itchiness and Mark Twain

I am, as I usually am in the twilight of the old year and the whirring gear-up of the new year, feeling itchy and restless.

I had a nice little window into stay-at-home-momming this past week, having a day off to meet up with the visiting S. and her kiddos to run errands and play* in the kids' section at Barnes and Noble. It's all I want in this world, my friendly internetties, and I rack my brain regularly for a way to make it happen, but the numbers don't ever add up. They don't add up by a long shot. I want to stay home with my Bird and have adventures, go to MAU playgroup, library story time. Make her my focus. After having consecutive days off and spending those days with my girl, I felt like we understood each other so much better. Like I knew her better. I loved our little time for what it was, but it made me notice what I'm missing. If you are a SAHM out there, I know it is not all a walk in the park, but please, count your lucky stars that you HAVE all those walks in the park. I would do anything to be in your shoes right now.**

* The kids's section at Barnes and Noble is full of germs. I know this because my kid was a generous contributor to the population of germies. Not that she's deathly ill, but come on-- in the winter, everybody's snotty. So be warned: don't touch the hedgehog puppet. Or 90% of the stuff on the train table.

**I know, whiny whiny me. I'm not saying daycare doesn't have its merits, because it really does have some incredible benefits for parents and children, PROVIDING YOU FIND THE RIGHT ONE, and I cannot make that clear enough. I try to remind myself of the Mark Twain quote that I am about to bungle: "Happiness is not having what you want, it's wanting what you have." I have alluded and proclaimed several times that I want to be a SAHM, but there are many things I enjoy about our current setup, one of which is the two nickels I earn here at the jobby that keeps a roof over our hairy little heads. I have much, I am thankful.

But I really wish I could be a stay at home mom and do art projects on the coffee table vs. sitting at this desk talking to you all. And I will have the last word, Mark Twain, because this is my blog.

Mama Snee's Recipe Corner: Polenta Cakies

I was inspired heavily by this, and since I don't have a ton of money to have my toddler's food shipped across the country when it's a total crapshoot whether she's going to even eat it, I decided to try making my own. The genius lies in the muffin-tin and freezer, not so much the recipe. You could make anything in this format. This is my first attempt:

Polenta Cakies*

  • Polenta (corn grits) -- I bought the dry grits in the bag from the organic section, but you could get a tube of pre-made if you want.
  • Chickpeas (or any kind of bean, I bet black beans would be good)-- chopped if you have a gagger
  • Peas, Carrots, etc. (I used peas, carrots, broccoli)-- frozen or fresh, steamed to soften, chopped into itty bits
  • Shredded cheese

Make Polenta according to package. Add chopped up veggies and beans and cheese. Mix well and spoon into muffin tins. Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes... enough time for the cheese to glue it together.

Freeze most of the cakes, and pop 'em out any time for a quickie meal. These are GREAT for sending along to daycare if you substitute the nasty "meats" coming out of the cafeteria like I do. This thing has MILEAGE! 4 servings of Polenta gave me 12 cakies.

*Note that while Bird was very receptive to the first Polenta Cakie, there has been no repeat performance. The good news is that it was cheap to make, and I have eight more tries sitting in my freezer. I'll just keep putting it on her tray, and eventually, she will become curious. Or worn down. Either way, she WILL eat it again.

Christmas Came and Went.

Hasn't it been a long-ish time?

Do you really want to hear about our Christmas? Because it seems like it happened a thousand years ago. Or at least last year. And I feel like I've already talked it to death on the back porch with A.
Here's a list of things related to this year's Christmas:

1. Hand-made wooden rocking horse for Bird, handiwork by Grandpa Snee.

2. A's declaration of feeling strangely like only a half-adult around his parents, me pointing out that he received a remote-control helicopter as his centerpiece gift.

3. Horseballs, the game. We own a set. A set of horse balls. Wanna come over?

4. Christmas in the mid-south vs. Christmas in Central Indiana:
  • Pros: no travel, no packing, no paying the dog lady, no buying gas, no squishing a thousand presents in one car that was already full on the way up. No back-and-forth between my family and A's family (it IS a big deal, they're 30 minutes apart). No cold weather. No taking vacation days. Actually having a Christmas tree.
  • Cons: It felt like totally fake Christmas. Not cold (freakishly warm, in fact), definitely not snowy. No catching up with college friends who are also home for the holidays. No lazing around at my mom's house. No reading other people's magazines and using fancy shampoo.
  • All that stuff on the cons list? That's all part of the holiday tradition for A. and I. That's just how it's always been. And when you take all of that away and insert the Christmas into our house, it feels so much different. Plus, I didn't exactly feel like the Christmas guests arrived with an open mind about the changing of tradition, but damn, we travel every mothereffing year. One year it took us fifteen hours to drive one way in a snow storm, including a closed interstate, an overnight stay, dogs on an elevator, and overpriced burritos and beer in bed in a hotel room on Christmas Eve. (actually, those last two were okay.) We deserved a break from traveling, we got it, and it didn't feel the same. Game over.
5. A. and I got Bird a grocery cart, and my brother and his fiancee got her a little table and chairs. Both huge hits.

6. S. and S. visiting from Spokane with the cutie boys. Spent an afternoon walking to the fire station and the coffee shop, playing in the living room, pretending like they live here.

7. (Snapshot of a Marriage) A. got underwear from his parents, as he does every year (see "not feeling like an adult", item 1), and they were these high-end Nordstromy boxer briefs with several buttonholed buttons (why? are you going to unbutton those teensy buttons? Are you going to unbutton them half way and let your banana fruit cup peek from your undies? Are you going to layer underneath with a different color?) and all kinds of high-falootin' packaging. Packaging which featured an image of this guy. So for almost a full week now, A. has been talking about the "Alfani Man." Declaring himself an "Alfani Man." Talking about what is and is not suitable for an "Alfani Man." Do you think an Alfani Man cleans out the cat box? Think again, friends! Is it inappropriate for a wife to get herself a piece of pie and coolwhip and not prepare a similar plate for an Alfani Man? Yes! It is wholly inappropriate! It has come down to a (and I am not kidding here) serious sit-down conversation about how the Alfani Man jokes are OVER and need to STOP RIGHT NOW.

8. That reminded me of something from the gigantic Family Hoo Haa at the cabins a couple of weeks ago: A. and his cousins talked about patenting the Booze-iere, which would be a bra with compartments for liquid-- like a water bra but made for sneaking booze into the Kentucky Derby. (inspired by an incident this year involving ziplock baggies). They decided, being enterprising young gentlemen, that they should invent one for men, also, called the "cock-tail." It's clever, no?

21 December 2006

Oppa Bubba!

Loosely translated, it means "Up above the" as in "Up above the world so high," and it's Bird's cue that it's time to sing "Twinkle Twinkle" OR ELSE. Or else she will keep putting her arms up in the air and shouting "Oppa Bubba!" which, let's be honest, is pretty damn cute.

The Bird has been a little under the weather this week, thanks to the mingling of the Middle Tennessee germs with the Northern Indiana ones at the Christmas shindig last weekend. She's been sleeping in crazy late, and I keep thinking I'll stay home from work and we'll watch videos and snuggle up on the couch until she gets better, so I postpone my shower and do domestic things like fold laundry while she's sleeping until 8. But then she wakes up perky and mostly fine save for the snot, and we race around trying to get ready to leave the house. Trickster.

Snapshot of a Marriage, part something-something
Last night, I asked A. if the Christmas Tree needed water. He answered from the next room, "I took care of it." But what I heard was, "Ask Gary about it."
Which launched into a scenario about Gary Coleman's Tree Watering Service, where a customer would call up and ask, "Do you think my tree needs more water?" And Gary Coleman would answer, "Whatchoo talkin' bout, Mama Snee?"

Which reminds me of one of my favorite Christmas episodes of the Simpsons, where at the end of the episode Homer and Gary Coleman and Bart are standing around a pile of burning Funzos, and Gary Coleman comes over for Christmas dinner and delivers the sweet and sentimental holiday line to tie it all up: "Whatchoo talkin 'bout everybody."

You Totally Don't Want to Know This
Yesterday, I farted and it smelled totally not like a fart, but exactly like an old lady's house-- like musty furniture and chicken broth. And I've been eating neither!

It's, um, due to eating ONLY chocolate covered pretzels yesterday, out of the office stash. Didn't even eat my sandwich. Terrible gas. Don't try this at home, because your home will smell like knee-high pantyhose and twenty-year-old issues of Reader's Digest.

We've been renting it. Maybe I've told you that. But it's got me by the balls, for real. God bless DVDs and God bless Netflix. It's the only way I can watch a series of shows, and I can watch them every single night, so I don't have to retain much from one episode to the next.

Mental Health Memory Lane
One of my patients was standing in the parking lot in the torrential rain, waiting for her ride home from the center. Another staff person ran out and brought her back into my office to dry off and wait for her ride. She was about sixty years old at the time (and one of my all-time favorites), wearing no bra, thin polyester shirt, soaking freaking wet. She wanted to go back outside and smoke a cigarette on the covered porch, but I told her she looked like she'd been in a wet t-shirt contest and that she'd be giving everyone a show. She responded with, "OOooh! Can they see my furburger?" Furburger. From a sixty-year old woman who could crochet an afghan in two minutes flat.

In Two Days
My in-laws descend upon us. There will be many, many bags of chips.

In One Day
S. and her delightful husband and two fabulous boys arrive in our fair city, all the way from Freezing Ass Cold Spokane. Could not be more excited.

Mine Mine Mine

How do you other bloggers set up that "copyright 2006" business at the bottom of your blogs? Do you have to apply/ pay for that, or do you just throw it out there like some prospector gold-rush jig-dancer staking a claim? Please advise. Because you know there are people lurking out there just waiting to claim my old-lady-house farts as their own. Bastards.

19 December 2006

What Have You Been Doing Today, Mama Snee?

Well, I'll tell you. I've been sitting on my ass, staring at this computer screen. Accomplishing nothing. Moving only to go to the kitchenette to get more cookies and chocolate-covered pretzels. I feel like shit. Sugar-coated, chocolate shit.

So, Velocibadgergirl has corrected me, and rightfully so: Rapeseed Oil is a real thing, AKA Canola Oil, which is a good save on the nomenclature, because who wants to go to the grocery and ask where to find the Rapeseed Oil?

How about another food mix-up story?
This one happened when I was probably about 8 years old, at the beginning of the time my brain stood up for itself and started freaking out any time I encountered a meaty dish on my plate. At the time of my budding vegetarianism.

At my grandmother's house in the summer, my cousins were all hopping around the freezer as she pulled out some ice cream drumsticks. They were from the Schwann Man, who brought frozen meats and treats to all of Southern Indiana on a weekly basis. I was unfamiliar with the Schwann Company, as we barely had two nickels to rub together and we sure as shit were not leisurely paging through a catalog having our bulk frozen foods delivered.

So my cousins were all hopping around, all knees and elbows, yammering about "Schwann Drumsticks! Schwann Drumsticks!" Because, you know, the kids do like the ice cream.

But I heard "Swan Drumsticks! The legs of giant white birds! We are so excited to eat the legs of beautiful, giant white birds!"

When my grandmother presented me with my very own ice cream treat, I couldn't eat it, even though it looked like ice cream with chocolate and nuts. I clamped my lips together and just shook my head. NO. I will not be eating nasty swan legs stuffed in an ice cream cone and covered in ice cream and chocolate. just. NO. You people are disgusting.

Familia Husbandia
So, just returned a couple of days ago from the giant family shin-dig hootenanny that is my husband's extended family Christmas gathering. This year, many cabins were rented in an Indiana state park, as the family is bursting at the seams with new spouses and new children.

It was truly delightful, with a big dinner in the lodge and gift exchange on Saturday night, a chance for Bird to play with other little ones and run, I swear, about eight full miles around the dining room and down the hallways. A. and some cousins took the kids for a hike. The weather was a spooky-warm seventy degrees.

Despite a few dark behavioral clouds (the adults, not the kiddos), we had a really, really great time. Bird became so attached to a 10-year old cousin that she wouldn't give me the time of day. A. stayed up until morning jabbering with his cousins two nights in a row. I connected with a few cousins in a different and deeper way, now that I'm a part of the mama's club. One thing I can always say about this family is that they truly love being together, and it shows. I'm quite lucky to have joined them.

13 December 2006

At Least Ten

How many times a day do you have to say, "I'm serious. Stop licking the couch."?

Guess how many times a day I say it?

In other news, my most dearest friend S. sent me this CD for Birdy and we have not stopped listening to it since. Sweet and singy for Bird, smart and non-nerve-fraying for Mama. A hit all around.

Rapeseed Oil

That's listed as an ingredient on my office-stash jar of peanut butter. I'm guessing they meant Grapeseed oil.

The Bird Report
I usually end my posts with the Bird Report, but I have to tell you these two things because they are about to make my heart explode.

1. Bird said her first "perfect" word a couple of days ago. She's been saying baby-words for a while, like "Dy-puh" and "Ah Duh" (Diaper and All Done), but this one was so perfect. She walked up to A. and said, very very carefully, "Bo-oK." BOOK! Very clearly and exactly how grown-ups say it. Since that day she has been a little parrot with her baby-words, even repeating "Yuck!" when I said it about her diaper this morning. And "Yuck," my friends, is dangerously close to a word I say an awful lot. Time to clean it up.

2. Bird pretends. Last night she had major fun times picking up invisible food out of her rocking chair and feeding it to Bear, who was tricked time after time but never gave up his enthusiasm for the invisible morsels. (Dignan did not wake up for his invisible morsels, and Thomas sniffed them and left the room, because he is an ungrateful bastard-cat. ) But the point is that my kid has a bona fide imagination. And so it begins with the imagining and I am so very excited about it.

Hey, That's My Job

I had a fairly crappy home visit yesterday, two hours away in the middle of Bumfuck in the middle of the all-day pouring rain, blindly trusting my Google Map directions in unmarked-road territory.

The patient's problems weren't fixable, and I walked away with both of us wondering why I'd come in the first place. I visited the Bumfuck Goodwill (excellent home-made red corduroy jumper for Bird) and the Bumfuck Wendy's (same as always, minus cheese mix-up). I saw a lot of Amish people. I saw a horse and buggy hitched up outside and AutoZone. Think about it.

I stopped into the TJ Maxx by my office on the way home, and walked directly to a pair of jeans that were the right size, the right color, and only $20 (vs. the suggested $98 price. I know.) The entire experience took all of fifteen minutes, and I truly felt that my feud with the jeans-shopping forces of the universe was over. I am wearing them today and I think they might be a little too low-rise, and that I may be muffin-topping and undies-exposing when I so much as lean forward. I am too old for this shit, but I will continue to wear these jeans.

I'm Just a Girl

I saw Gwen Stefani on SNL over the weekend. I know I'm neither hip nor cool, and I don't konw anything about anything. But. It was like watching the Head Cheerleader's act in the eighth-grade talent show, entitled "An Original Rap about Algebra and Hairspray."
Maybe that isn't what Gwen was rapping about, but it did involve the Goat Herder song from Sound of Music and whining in a terribly affected voice, and a team of plaid-clad Asian girls in wigs. This is a joke, right? It has to be a joke.

08 December 2006

Story Time

A. just reminded me of this story that happened a couple of years ago.

A new pizza place had just opened in our neighborhood. I was at my friend B's house, drinking Miller Lites and smoking lovely, lovely cigarettes in his kitchen. A. was on his way back from some practice or something. I'd promised A. I'd pick up a pizza on my way back across town, and that we would meet up in cheesy goodness at home base.

I called this place from B's and ordered a large half-cheese half-pepperoni. The guy told me twenty minutes until pickup.

Fifteen minutes after I called, I was on my way home and reasonably close to the place when I got a call back from the pizza guy, demanding to know where I was. I told him I was about 10 minutes away and he exploded with rage. He said I was taking too long.

He wanted to change the plans and deliver the pizza instead of me picking it up. I told him nobody was home to pay him. He wanted to know how fast I could get there. I told him ten minutes, and he didn't like it one bit.

After much back and forth, he kind of softened with defeat. He said quietly, in a thick Middle Eastern accent, "But I just want you pizza to be as most delicious as possible."

The guy was just lookin' out for my pizza. And he got all worked up into a wad over it.

We will be dining on their fabulous carry out this evening, and A. will be phoning in the order from the Baby Wipes aisle at the grocery store. Let's hope he doesn't get hung up in traffic.

The Space Heater In Here is 50 Years Old and Actually Glows Red, Do You Think This is a Problem?

I wish sometimes that I could be less of a shit-talker. This wish comes after a conversation yesterday between Self, Boss, and New Person in the Office. I think that years of working in mental health has my wheels trained to turn in a figure-out-the-person's-motivation-for-the-behavior kind of way, and sometimes when I verbalize my little behavior-mystery-solving it sounds less like insight and more like shit talking. Or maybe it just is shit talking.

The Inner Workings
I had a lovely visit with my OB-GYN yesterday, and if you want too much information about Mama Snee, please, read on!

First, I think I have made an error by switching to the "Mothership University Will Take Care Of Your Family" insurance plan when A. had open enrollment a couple of months ago. I have a feeling we've narrowed our health care options, though I have confirmed that Dr. Awesome Pediatrician will for sure be participating in the plan. I didn't think I would care about leaving the OB-GYN that delivered Bird, but I do. I DO! I don't want to break up with her, and now I think I might have to.

Other discussion topics included alternatives to the Pill, which I have been taking again since Bird entered the world, after two years of not taking it and a year of incubating/ nursing. And something is telling me I shouldn't be taking it, so I'm going to stop taking it. What am I going to do to keep Bird #2 on the waiting list for earth birth? That's right, folks! Day counting! Chemical-free Day Counting! Apparently my options for birth control are: condoms (eh), and the SPONGE. And day counting. I'd like to say I'll keep you posted, but this is probably the last I'll discuss it. Now you (and the entire internet) know about the cryptic marks on my calendar.

Enter Reality
In other medical news, it has been announced that my grandmother has a sizable tumor in her colon, which will be removed next Tuesday. The reality of this news still hasn't touched me, I don't think, as it is being deflected currently by the same shield that lets me sleep peacefully after dealing with the needs of the terminally ill all day long at work. But this is not about me. Direct good thoughts toward my Gran, please, if you could.

06 December 2006

I still haven't eaten dinner, guess I should do that.

So, if you want to know where to shop this year for toys like Francis the Love Bunny over here, go to the Holiday Shopping Guide for the Indie Sonofabitch Parent at Sweet Juniper.

I love Francis.

Holiday Cheers
So, one of my jobs this holiday season is to pair the families of our terminally ill and financially drained families with members of the community who have volunteered to provide gifts and a holiday meal for them. And what I have to say today is this: Just because the family I assigned you isn't warm and fuzzy does not mean they don't need you. Some people are uncomfortable asking for gifts in the first place, so they may not feel comfortable rattling off their wish list to you on the phone. That's why I sent you a printed copy in the mail. Not everyone is going to meet you at the doorstep, wide-eyed and waiting for you to save Christmas and make it all sappy-better. So no, you can't switch families. And pssst: If your giving is conditional upon the specific emotional return you expect get back, maybe you should re-evaluate, you know, a shitload of things.

The Bird Report
When Birdy is upset or impatient, she whines. It's a regular toddler whine, and it means "get me out of this high chair right NOW," and "Hello, upstairs!? The downstairs has been awake for ten whole minutes!?" and "But I waaaaaaaaaaaaant it! That thing up there!" You understand this whine.

I usually reply in my own whiny voice with "I know, Bird. I know."

So now, at 6am sharp, Bird whines through the baby monitor and pierces the silence of our little attic bedroom, saying "I knnnnnoooooowwwww. I knnnnnoooooowwwww."

It's pretty damn cute.

She's pretty damn cute.

03 December 2006

Hairdo Report

So I went and used my year-old gift certificate and got my hair cut at the fancy salon. (Also a brow wax, which is sort of funny, because my brows are so blonde that they almost don't exist. I could let them go wild and no one would be the wiser.) It was pretty fancy-schmancy. There was a coat check girl.

The hair-doing guy didn't want to talk to me. He didn't even really want to hear how I wanted my hair to look. I started with my usual "Well I was thinking...", and then dug out my wrinkled up magazine pictures, and he was all "uh huh, uh huh, have a seat." When I took it down from the ponytail, he grimaced.

He kept thwapping me in the eye with my own wet hair as he whipped it around, proving just how uninterested he was in anything to do with anything save for the hair on my head, and by even that he seemed slightly bothered.

In the end, we warmed up, he told me he'd just had lipo, and I told him... nothing that interesting. The only question he asked me was "Did you say you have a kid?"
Imagine that in a Paris-Hilton-if-she-was-a-boy voice.

My hair looks remarkably the same, but with better ends.

Snapshots from a Marriage
Me: What time did you get in last night?
A: I don't know, it was late, I had to tear down my drums after the show. I feel really dehydrated.
Me: What a mystery.
A: I know. I don't get it. I drank a lot last night.

01 December 2006

Bringing Crafty Back

I bought this painting at a junk store in southern Indiana. I hung it over our mantel and have stared at it for two years, trying to figure out why I liked it and what to do with it.

And finally! The answer: white crows.

After my whining earlier, all it took was a tube of titanium white and Rubber Soul on the ipod to bring crafty back. At least for tonight.

With Sections like a Women's Magazine

You all should be so proud of me. I've completed so much work-related work in the past few days and have only read a few blogs. Um, except for today. You know, just not right NOW.

For my next trick, I will pay the mortgage and monthly bills using an isufficient amount of money. How will I do it? I... um... don't have an answer for that one. Act of God? Holiday Miracle? Mysterious Benefactor? I'm entertaining all of these realistic and viable options. Make with the ladies' mag topics, already!

Beauty !
Having run out of the regular pink-ish eye shadow I've worn every single day for, like, three years, I tried some brown-ish of the same brand and have re-arrived at the conclusion that I should not wear eye shadow of any kind of actual color, because by 10 in the morning it has all collected under my eyes and I look like the walking dead, or a prize fighter, or a prize fighter that has not slept in 6 weeks. Does this happen to normal people and is there some kind of trick I'm missing? I find that it is common in my life to have missed a key piece of ladylike information that was passed around during my high-school years, like the existence of eyelash curlers or non-gigantic underpants, as I was busy hanging out with the speech team and the gay boys, and the hot tips weren't so much circulated my way.

I sat down and turned on the television during Bird's afternoon nap the other day, which is something I try very hard not to do, due to the time suckage. I watched an early episode of Friends, and all I can say is that if the fashion of the nineties ever makes a comeback, I will spend that period of time retching and gagging and shielding my eyes. What did we have against men's shoulders, dressing them in shapeless sport-jackets 3 sizes too big? And what of the hair? THE HAIR?!?! And I can't even talk about THE BODYSUITS! Those are onesies, folks. Onesies. Let's band together and not let them come back, ever.

I have a fancy hair appointment tomorrow morning. I will be cashing in a year-old gift certificate I received from dear friends to celebrate Birdy's birth. I am considering a return to the "Short n' Sassy." This growing-out is so boring, and I get the feeling it's a preview of the boring end-result, which will make me, at some point, so bored that I will go for the short n' sassy anyway. Thinking maybe I should skip the in-between and go straight for the fit-of-madness short cut. But, knowing that I am going to a top-notch salon and that I will probably never be back, is it wise to go for the short-short when it can't be maintained by its creator? And remember when I said I should write down all the reasons I don't want to cut my hair short again? I didn't do that. And now I don't remember any of them.

Now that I know I shouldn't buy Horizon Organic milk, what are my alternatives? Kroger carries some Naturally Preferred organic, but I'm 99% sure that's code for Kroger Brand and I can't imagine they're doing much better. Any other ideas, or do I have to schlep across town to buy milk at the fancy store? I don't even like having milk in the house, to be honest. But the Bird, she has some myelin sheathing to nourish around her little nervies, and far be it from me to hold her back from that.

Making Stuff!
Yesterday I purchased the new issues of Bust and ReadyMade. And earlier this week found this site and its many links and projects. Can I tell you what happens when I sit down and page through these magazines during naptime at turbo-speed (especially the little ads for hipster-made hipster goods?* FHBH?) I nearly hyperventilate, that's what happens.

I so miss crafting. I even miss failing at crafting, though cigarettes were a fabulous remedy for crushing failure or hair-pulling-out frustration, and they are, sadly, no longer in the picture. I try to memorize and store all of these fantastic ideas and products in my already overflowing brain, I pine and wish and pray for a Gocco, I get nauseous and panicky trying to remember that one thing I saw that I swore I was going to do because it would just be so easy if I could find space for the sewing machine that used to live in what became the nursery. (and, to take it to the next level, the time and thought spent on the crafting is now spent on the parenting, just like the room-and-stuff conversion). I don't resent Bird for replacing my crafting, but when I am reaquainted with it in these hurried and sporadic moments it all reactivates and makes my head spin. Error. Error. Error.

I want to stay home all day and snuggle the Bird and make delicious organic food and listen to NPR and make arty things. But you knew that.

*This is two links, folks. I can't figure out how to separate 'em.

Havin' Babies!
That Bird, though. She is like a fine wine, I tell you. As soon as I think we are at the stage that is the hands-down BEST, and that she should definitely not get any bigger because she could not be any more enjoyable and sweet and hilarious, she ages a little, learns something new (hello, Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes!) and gets even better. She is a silly, silly creature and I still wonder how she found her way to us.

And Another Thing: (really, another thing)

Oh, and look! I changed the template. I must say that Blogger has a long way to go in the template-selection department, but here's one of 'em!

Also, comments are re-enabled. Please use responsibly. This ain't MySpace.

Mama Snee's Recipe Corner

It's so good. SO GOOD.

1. Boil up some penne or other chunky pasta.

2. Meanwhile, sautee in ExtraVirg Olive Oil: 1 can rinsed/ drained chickpeas, MUCH minced garlic (I'm talkin' about, like, 6 cloves).

3. Add 3 or 4 diced tomatoes to your chickpeas and garlic, let 'em get hot and fall apart a little

4. Add fresh spinach to your tomato/ chickpea mix, stir it in until it's nice and wilty

5. Toss in the pasta

6. Grate some parmesan (generously) over each serving. *

7. Save the rest-- this dish has mileage and is even better the second day.

*If you are still buying that powdered "cheese" (and I use the term loosely) at the end of the aisle in the green cylinder, STOP IT. Buy a block of parmesan and get to grating. It only takes a second and it tastes better times a hundred.

Also tried this recipe from Ms. Booty Homemaker last weekend, and it was fabulous. Remember to only mix the eggs with what you're eating RIGHT NOW, as the rest of the hash makes a great leftover.

28 November 2006

Turkey Day Recap

I am officially done with NaBloPoMo. And that's the last you'll hear of it. It was a fine exercise, but posting every day is not good for me. It makes me boring and it feels like a chore.

Thanksgiving in the Smoky Mountains? Don't mind if we do! Can we just come in here and drop all of our stuff in the middle of the room like it just fell from 600 feet and busted open? Yeah? Great! Can we eat all of this food and go to the grocery with you and just throw the fancy and expensive food in the cart? Really? We're going to change poopy diapers in the middle of the living room, cool? And ask to borrow your toothpaste because we forgot to pack any? Can I get bossy in the kitchen? No kidding? Oh, and we're all sick, and this one's teething, is that going to be a problem? No? Got any tissues? Cold medicine? Mood stabilizers?

That's kind of how it was up in the mountains this Tofurkey day, as my parents were generous and gracious hosts as always and my brother and his almost-wife were great and we showed up totally sick and teething. Bird had literally the worst night of sleep of her teeny life, waking up screeching every twenty minutes between A. and I in the bed and waking the next morning with a new little bit of toothiness poking through her gums, which now look like whole-kernel corn painted bright pink. Bumpy. Those teeth are just busting to get out.

Add to our family fun that as we departed our fair City, A. triumphantly declared, "I just threw away the last of the cigarettes! I quit!" which was fabulous news but also meant that there was a good chance he'd be a teensy bit surly on top of sickly. No further comment.

I say all of this not to bitch about the holiday, but to marvel that despite all of this, despite our tendency to show up at family functions looking like one of our wagon wheels has fallen off, in need of some TLC and toothpaste, it was all a very good time. It feels so nice to be around family, and even better to watch Bird get to know these people and watch them get to know her. And I know it sounds hopelessly corny, but it's overwhelming to have some understanding that I am loved by my parents in the same staggering and huge way that A. and I love Birdy. The food was tasty, the company was top-notch, the blankets were warm, the view was gorgeous, the weather couldn't have been better.

AND we got back to town with two days to spare before we had to get back to the grindstone(s), so we purchased our very first Christmas Tree at the Farmer's Market on Saturday (makes me feel like I'm at a real house, with real food and some sort of standard of cleanliness, just seeing the reflection of the twinkly lights in the television as we watch the first season of LOST and eat a pint of Caramel Sutra on the couch). Bird is enamored with this giant thing plant in the house, and hears daily from her Dad that "Hey Bird, If we take the ornaments off the tree, then it's just a tree!" She doesn't seem to care about the "just a tree" problem. Her desire for ornaments is powerful and unstoppable, even in the face of prickly tree needles.

Sunday, we packed up and went to the Zoo, where I totally became my mother and packed PB & Js for us to eat inside the zoo, because COME ON that zoo-food is expensive. Bird got to hear the Gibbons making a ton of kooky noises, got to TOUCH a GOAT in the petting area-- definitely a highlight-- and yell at the ducks. She marveled at the meerkats and the toucans but was most interested in the bigger kids running around. We topped it all off with a visit to the spectacularly toddler-friendly zoo playground (picture a large hut with a very padded floor, just for the toddlers) and returned to our little Snee house exhausted and dreamy about animals.

Also at the Snee house this weekend, the dishwasher stopped draining, the doorknob fell off the front door for the very last time, and I have a chunk missing from my front tire that I have been informed will inevitably lead to a blow-out. Rear Pinion leak, you will just have to hold your horses until 2007! (please?)

So, I am back to the work now. Buh. I shouldn't complain, as I've done few work-related things this afternoon, but Buh. I miss A. and Bird and the zoo and days like that one.

17 November 2006

For the Boys

You guys are driving me crazy.

If you were on a sitcom, your characters would be:
1. The sedentary, goody-two-shoes older guy
2. The lanky, harmless but paranoid guy who alternates between pushing back the curtains and yelling, "Who the fuck is out there!?!?!?" and cowering in a corner
3. The wierd, anti-social roomate that eats other people's food and shits in a box in the basement.

Bear, I love you. You are nine years old this month-- nine! And I've loved you since the day A. picked you out of a litter in the back of a pickup in the grocery store parking lot in Indiana. We weren't even dating then, and your fluffy, fat body and sweet, sweet nature is the reason I started going to the park with A. and took the time to learn who we could be to and for and with each other. I owe you a lot, my friend.

I hate that your eyes are getting cloudy and that you don't jump up on the furniture anymore. I mean, I LOVE that you don't jump up on the furniture anymore, but I hate that it's because it's hard for you now. I also hate that your butt is so itchy, or... whatever it is that makes you chomp at it obsessively. We've been to the vet, dude. Several times. I'm starting to think it's in your head. You are becoming stinky with age. And that undercoat will not quit. We are surely known as the Family Covered in Blonde Fur, and I expect PBS to contact me any day now to film a documentary about us, not knowing that because we live in the same house, we are not sprouting the hair but are covered in YOU everywhere we go. There are tumbleweeds of hair in our happy home.

I'm sorry you don't get the love and attention you used to get. I'm sorry that your loudness gets under my skin the way it does. (Seriously! the breathing, the stomping, the random barking at naptime, the jingling, the eating, the chomping!)

Dignan, I wish I knew. I wish I knew why you walk backwards through the hallway door and ONLY the hallway door. I wish I knew (or maybe I don't) where your hangups come from. Whether there's a rhyme or reason to it. Wish I knew why it is that you are always underfoot. You are a big guy, and having you attached to my knees is like walking through a kitchen full of track hurdles. Where most dogs will skitter away when you bump them with a knee, you instead freeze every muscle in that gigantic body, and continue to move toward me when I try to move around you. Like you're always playing a desperate and poorly-planned defense.

You were our surprise baby five years ago, showing up all tiny and warm and sleepy and stray. We named you after a character in Bottle Rocket, but I have always wished we'd named you Mister Little Jeans instead. We've made a committment to you to protect and care for you, special needs and all, and I don't take that lightly. I am so grateful for your gentleness and patience with Birdy. You are a sweet and troubled little soul and I want to give you a safe place to live. But for the love of God, please stay out of my direct path, and stop stinking up the chair in the living room. That is the most expensive damn dog bed I've ever purchased.

Thomas, I am allergic to you and I always have been. Seeing you at the vet eight years ago--homeless and in a cast-- melted my broke-ass college heart, and I spent pennies I didn't have completing your surgeries and having your ribs put back together so that you could come live with us. You have always used the litterbox, and I have not always cleaned it out on time, but you do not complain. You have in your heart a love and devotion for A. that rivals any love and devotion on the planet. And you, too, have been so, so gentle with Birdy. I would scratch you under the chin for that, but I would break out in small hives up to my wrist and my left eye would swell and ooze.

I appreciate the relationship we've constructed and the way we try to respect each other's space, and on the occasions that you get your ultimate wish and scurry out the front door, I am sick with worry until you come back. But stop walking around on the countertops. Stop opening Birdy's door when she's sleeping. Stop scratching at Birdy's door when she's sleeping. Stop singing outside Birdy's door when she's sleeping. Stop fucking with Bear and Dignan. And stop fucking with them especially when Birdy is sleeping. You are the Nap's worst enemy, and I believe you are taking this battle to the next level. Stop. You will lose.

Bombing out on NaBloPoMo

So, as you may have noticed, (or not), I did not post yesterday. I have officially failed at NaBloPoMo, which I kind of already did at the beginning. But I realized today that I am doomed on this one anyway, as I will be spending a large chunk of next week without the internettiness that it takes for one to post entries to one's blog.

It's been a good exercise and all, this posting every day thing, but I think it's making me kind of boring. Kind of like when you take a road trip with somebody and, you know, things get a little stale in the conversation. You start talking about dumb things just to have something to talk about. This blog is on a road trip to Pennsylvania, my lovelies. We'll get there in December and then we'll just talk every few days again, and it will be far more entertaining and meaningful.

Know what's great about my job? The driving. I do love the driving around in the little towns. That, and the decision to give me a fairly generous amount of paid time off beginning in February. Ladies and gents, I'm PART TIME! Have you ever heard of such a thing? I am in shock and awe and, as mimi smartypants suggests in reference to her toddler's nap schedule, I feel like I should spit on the ground or take other preventative measures every time I say "paid time off."

Book Group was last night, and Birdy and O. had a such a fabulous time chasing the kitties around and sharing/ not sharing with each other. Every time we all get together for this non-reading book group, I run around and sweat and put too many things in my arms at once while trying to unlock the car, and make something dumb and unplanned as a food contribution, all in an effort to leave the office, get to the daycare, back home and out the door with toddler and pot luck dish and get our happy asses across town to get to the get-together.

I get stuck in traffic, I curse.

I show up unshowered with mascara rubbed down to my cheekbones, food on my clothes, snot on my kid.

And then I get there and it is so worth it to spend a couple of hours with these friends, even though any conversation I might have is from behind the couch or in the bathroom, wherever the Bird happens to have set her course. I like knowing that we'll all end up with practically identical baby pictures because our kids have all worn the same passed-around clothes. It's just so very nice. (And I'm not just saying this because they read my blog.)

Ready for the weekend? Goodness, me too.

15 November 2006

Give it to Goodwill and You Give Me a Helluva Deal

5 pairs of Bird pants: $8.50.

Plus a sweater and a black Banana Republic shirt with the tags on for me: $8. How did I forget about the Goodwill?

14 November 2006


Off to the cardiologist today with Birdy and her little murmuring heart.
And, as suspected, all is fine, she'll grow out of it, nothing to worry about. Later, I will complain about the amount we owe for this visit (I'm afraid to speculate), but today I believe that good news is priceless.

Sitting on the exam table with her while the doctor did the echocardiogram, listening to that quick little organ pumping away, I just kept thinking that this is the noise I first heard from Birdy, the thing that confirmed that she was a for-real thing at that first ultrasound. The same little heart making the same quick, little lub-dups. The same heart of the silly and gentle biscuit that was in my belly that now walks around and picks up pieces of lint and kisses them.

It feels like a hundred years ago.

13 November 2006

Ticky Tacky

Long Board meeting. Bit the nail of my index finger down to a nub this morning, had to take copious notes at the meeting this evening. Painful. Typing is painful. I missed Bird so, so terribly, and that was also painful.

I don't think posts like this were the point of NaBloPoMo. Go hit the randomizer on my sidebar, meet another blog tonight.

12 November 2006

Sunday Again?

Blueberry and waffle breakfast of 11.12.06.
Note to self: required scrubbing.

Where did this week go? And more importantly, the weekend?

This afternoon I had such grand plans to unpack the winter sweaters from their tubs and put them on the shelves where they belong, do some laundry, etc-- domestic catch-up stuff, if you will-- while Bird was napping.

Instead, I sat down on the couch to have a bowl of cereal and turned on the television to keep me company for a second. Rollerball was on. Yes, that Rollerball. The old one.

I was asleep within 10 minutes, and slept for an hour and a half, awakening periodically to what I swear was the Balls- Licking Convention of 2006, hosted by the big dog and the medium dog in the middle of the living room rug.

I can't wait to see what kind of google searches show up in my stats for that one.

11 November 2006

Saturday Night's alright.

Okay, I'm sticking with Blogger. False alarm.

But I may have to get off of MySpace. I think my entire high school is coming after me, like slow-moving zombies in a horror movie. (It may not look like they'll catch up to you, but THEY WILL.) Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of people I'd like to have updates on, but there are a lot of people I never, ever thought I'd encounter again. Like the guy who, the last time I saw him, had just taken a bunch of acid and was running laps around the library commons, being chased by the principal.

Can you see me right now? Because this is what it looks like to be making no progress on your freelance project. I just sat with A. for an hour and watched television. I don't hate television, I just hate aimless consumption of television programs-- when I engage in aimless watching, even by accident, like tonight, I tend to snap out of some kind of trance an hour later and realize I'm grinding my teeth and feeling a little nauseous. And seriously, it is all murder. Every channel. Real murder recreated. Fake murder. RED-freaking-RUM, folks. And football. There's also football.

10 November 2006

Snapshot of a Marriage, II

Mama Snee: I think our microwave is pooping out.

A: Oh?

MS: I was defrosting some vegetables for Birdy, and this WHITE LASER came down and sparked in the dish and totally charred this one little piece of corn, and I think it might have been on fire for a second. The rest of the vegetables were still frozen.

A: **Blink. Blink.**

MS: So I think the microwave is pooping out.

A: What gave you that idea?

I saw the other side, and the grass really is greener
I came to a point where I'd kind of had it with Blogger. Losing my posts and what have you. So I switched over to Wordpress yesterday. See for yourself. I liked that it had its own stat tracking dealie, more interesting templates, easier this, slicker that. But then I realized that when I imported everything, a lot of my pictures didn't make it, and there's not really anything I can do about that now. And the pictures are important to me. And then I realized that when I swapped the template to one I liked better anyway, my photos were back, good as new.

We are in a period of transition, maybe.

09 November 2006

It's 1:08am, so this counts for Thursday.

I'm up late. TOOOOOO late. But you know that manic, crazy, evil-genius energy you get when you've been up late working/ creating? Okay, that I get when I've been up late working/ creating? Even if it's just writing the newsletter for the botanical garden? It's like I'm avoiding going to bed because then it will be a for-real thing that I'm up this late. I'm crazed! No rules! No bedtimes! No shit!

Here is what I want to say:
Birdy is rubbing off on me. I was just thinking about all of this madness with her (though she had a MUCH better afternoon today) when I realized I’ve pouted excessively AND thrown a tantrum in the last few days. Read on:

Pouting: When Andy picked up Thai food for our little family Sunday night, my Priaw Wiarn had some suspicious-looking Tofu in it, which some people like to call STRAIGHT-UP-CHICKEN, which I fished out and became so, so sad over. A. kept asking if it was going to be okay, if there was anything he could do to fix it, and I just kept up my big girly pout over the Priaw Wiarn while he offered to “Maybe steam some broccoli for you to put in it,” because he is the type of really good guy who understands the importance of deep-fried tofu and the role it plays in happiness. But I just sat there in my chair, pushing my cucumbers around in the rice, and said , “no, (puhhhhhhhhhh) I’ll be okay.” (The broccoli was actually a pretty good solution and the dinner was about an eight on a scale of one to ten, but I pouted anyway. Puhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It did not change the chicken to tofu.)

Tantrum: At Kroger, I was desperate to find some butternut squash to make this delish-looking thing in a magazine to take to a dinner gathering. Because I am no good at most domestic entertaining and attending I was really taking this thing seriously because I was going to do it RIGHT and not bring something store-bought from the deli but something I had baked up REAL NICE AND HOT in my own oven, even if I did use a Boboli crust.

In any case, we no longer go to swanky Kroger because now that we’re on a budget and the Starbucks is off limits, the drive across town was deemed “total bullshit” by one husband o’mine, and let’s face it, he’s right, so we made up with Ghetto Kroger and we now shop locally. So the GK—surprise—has no butternut squash. I scooted some other squashes around in the display, nice and dramatic-like, and threw my hands up in the air—feh!—and said to A, through my clenched teeth, “THIS is why I say FUCK THIS KROGER.”* So then A. says, “uh, why don’t you ask the produce guy over there?” Which I did, to appease A, and look like a grownup, and further prove that the GK is shit-tay. And whaddaya know, the produce guy appears with a cart-effing-load of butternut squash.

Putting myself in Birdy’s tantrum-throwing mindset, I’m thinking I can view this two ways: either my tantrum was an embarrassing and irrational slip over nothing and I will learn from this, or my tantrum actually produced the butternut squash in a cosmic-universe-give-and-take-manifesting kind of way.

*When I say I said it "through my teeth", I am serious when I tell you that A. was the only one who heard it, because I kind of seethed it out there. I did not yell "Fuck" in the Kroger. I have a crude vocabulary at times, but I am not a redneck.

08 November 2006

Birdy Crabcakes

Birdy is wearing me out. I love her deep down to the pit of my everything, but my goodness. Where's my cute little munchkin who pops out from around the corner, pointing at me and giggling? Where's my snuggly smoocher? My at-least-sometimes decent eater?

The child that's been at my house for the last two or three days is a screeching thing that looks like that sweet snuggler, save for the contorted face and tears and snot, but ranks far lower on the parental enjoyability scale. She's learned to react to disappointment by collapsing and weeping and wailing on the floor in a sad, diapered heap. I know I said that a few weeks ago, but I had no idea what I was talking about. She is for REAL this time.

She is so frequently overtaken by this crushing sadness that I am at a loss for what to do when she's melting down over the cold hard fact that I won't let her eat whatever that is she found under the dishwasher, her tiny little almost-big-kid body shaking with uncontrollable sobs on the floor. What's a mama to do?

Especially a mama who spends a precious few hours each evening with her sweet biscuit, who wants to preserve the gentle goodness of that block-out-the-world time together? Because now, my friends, that time is filled with unbearable noise that makes me want to simultaneously run screaming from my house, leaving my child behind, and also want to pick her up and hold her to my chest and kiss her fat cheeks until she is smiling again. Except that that does not happen. She arches her back and demands to be put down, then claws at my knees wanting to be picked up and loved.

Big sigh.

And what about the eating? What about when she throws every morsel of food on the floor, or retreats so forcefully from the idea of putting it in her mouth that she is practically climbing backwards out of her high chair? What then? Reward the behavior with MORE cottage cheese and toast (the only food items she will entertain) or stick to my sweet potato guns and shrivel with the guilt of starving my child? WHAT THEN, GENTLE READER? WHAT FREAKING THEN??

I have a feeling this does not get much easier. Different, yes, but I'm guessing the struggles will continue and that this is what "they" mean when "they" say that parenting is so hard. I'm fine with that, with hard work and great rewards. Just make the screaming stop.

Of course, I also sat in my patho class this morning spinning my brain-wheels about what if Bird has apendicitis or something invisible but terrible and she's just trying her birdy-best to tell me about it? And then I realize how unlikely that is, unless her appendicitis is triggered by not getting to watch YoGabbaGabba on the computer for the seventh time. But the thought is still there, the medical catastrophe thought, which I guess I can go ahead and welcome permanently because I am that kind of person, which I makes me that kind of parent.

On a sad note
I hear that Britney and Kevin are breaking up. It's a good thing my state voted to preserve the **ahem** sacred union of man and woman in marriage, and "protected" the definition of beautiful unions like this one from people who want to enter into loving committments responsibly and without disgusting blonde hair extensions. (Or with hair extensions, I'm not judging.) Not that the Souwf has a fantastic record when it comes to recognizing and not trampling on the civil rights of its people, but this one was a no-brainer and we have proven our brainlessness as a state.

07 November 2006

Second Attempt

Oh, holy shit.
I just wrote a very long post and it was deleted by me, all by myself, the copy-and-paste-from-gmail-wizard. Apparently I type on a laptop keyboard as accurately as a gorilla threading a needle.


Okay then, here's a cliff notes version with far less enthusiasm:

I had another awesome lunch. YOU CARE. I had apple slices stuck to wheat thins with globs of peanut butter. Success! And to think, I almost stopped at Sonic for tator tots. Hunger makes you Cray-zay, tator tots are gross AND delicious, and I am too broke for the drive-thru.

I hope you have already voted, because if you're just going now you will be waiting for a long time. Also, I don't care about secret voting, I voted NO on ONE, because I don't want descrimination written into any constitution, mine or yours or ours. Marriage Equality. I have a hard time seeing the other side of this one, really. If you disagree with me, let's not discuss it, because I will end up kind of freaking out and spitting when I talk and raising my voice and interrupting you. That's just how I roll.

Today was Birdy's picture day, and I remembered at the last minute. She is wearing an outfit composed almost entirely of hand-me-downs from Eli the underpants-all-night-big-boy-wonder, plus a shirt with puffy sleeves to identify her as female. Still totally cute, exactly how I wanted her to look in the "Holiday Wonderland Scene." Can't wait to see what that might mean. I'm guessing there will be fake snow.

Home, Jeeves, and don't spare the gas.

06 November 2006

Titles Don't Matter

I used to have clients in my mental health days that were obsessive list-makers and note-takers. One in particular whose purse and pockets strained at the seams to hold all of the scraps and lists and reminders she scribbled and scrawled maniacally, all day long. And this, I am realizing, is the path I am on. I am surrounded by scraps of paper, scrawled with illegible words and cryptic abbreviations, in my car, my desk, my bag, my house. And they are telling me to do and not forget things that I have not done and certainly forgotten. Birdy's cardiologist appointment. (Hello again, heart murmur!). Freelance deadlines. Patient details. Invitations. Repairs. Things to buy. Things to make. Food. A reciept with "CW Pr. Sht" written on the back.

This one is a favorite, on a little yellow sticky note hidden under the phone on my desk, so simple and complete I thought I should share it.

Car: stalling
Car: leaking
Car: buying?

Lunch Magic
I know that nobody cares what I had for lunch (as evidenced here), but I want to tell you about this amazing meal I am trying to eat quickly so that it does not become buried in lists:
Handful of Spinach
Cut up tomato (grape tomatoes would have been ideal, but I'm doing my best)
Chunks of mozzerella
Drizzle of Balsamic Vinaigrette.

It is spectacular, and that isn't even the magical part! I'm using a plastic fork to eat it, and it's one of the ones with the kind of thin stubby tines on it, so sometimes when I hit a chickpea just the right way it kind of bends the tine back and fwaps the chickpea to the other side of the plate. And just now, I tried to spear a rogue chickpea, and Floink! It shot right up the sleeve of my sweater! Almost made it up to my elbow! Like a pinball flipper into a pinball... something! Like pinball! Chickpea-sleeve pinball. And nobody saw it but me.

05 November 2006

Sunday Evening Gearing Up

Glargh. I have waited too long to sort through all of the photos from the Event That Was Birdy's First Birthday. And now I am deleting the blurry ones, uploading batches to Shutterfly, lather, rinse, repeat.

Apparently, Bird has learned to shake her head "no." Which she does everso dramatically, when faced, for example, with a chunk of squash. Or anything that is not toast or cottage cheese.

Just when I'm settling into my little groove of the weekend, I realize tomorrow it's Monday. Then back to the driving and the lunch-packing and the kid-dropping and the interacting with people outside of my little bubble.

It can take a few days, really, to hunker down into my own, real life, free of work and studying, and let my roots extend a little bit, dig in, et cetera, tap in to that quiet and simple rhythm of myself and my home full of creatures. Peeling back the layers so I can really live in my actual life for a few days, be really present for a while. Getting used to and fully appreciating having A. around when I'm around. And then, whoa! Sorry! Back on the crazytrain, your time is up.

Gah. Things are so not terrible, really. I'm just feeling like I might not want to go another lap of this race right now, you know?

I could stand to go a few more laps of this, however.

04 November 2006

Seriously, Dumb Blogger

And now my last two posts? Totally gone. This has been my fear with Blogger all along, and now my fear is realized. Time to start printing things out, I guess. I AM participating in NaBloPoMo, even if Blogger is throwing up hurdles left and right.

Dumb Blogger

Okay, I did a longer post earlier, but Blogger said it hadn't saved it or something. In any case, it's gone.

Poor Birdy today. Reeling from that flu shot, feverish, clingy. I hate it when she feels badly (and I know I've already said this), but I do love the snuggliness. It's rare that I get a full hour of child-snuggles on the couch, and today was my day.

On another note, I just spent an hour with A. standing around drinking wine in our garage. There are big visions back there, and that's not just the wine talking. I'm thinking I could actually create a viable workspace for massage out there. Separate building, seprarate parking (alley), separate entrance. Just enough space. Just the brainstorming brings me one step closer to the work-at-home dream.

02 November 2006

Bunnies in the Kitchen

Ever seen a bunny this cute?

Didn't think so.

My frozen pizza is ready. Here's one more:

Oh, and when I saw this entry today, I felt like an even bigger jerk about my Halloween poopness.

01 November 2006

Bee Oh

So, I haven't worn antiperspirant for a couple of weeks now. This comes about after using S's "Nature's Gate" natural deodorant-only stick while I was visiting in Spokane. It was so good-smelling, so non-chemical-y, so non aluminum-containing. So I bought the Tom's of Maine Calendula stick, and while it is also good-smelling, antiperspirants sure do take it one step further by actually stopping the sweatage instead of just covering up the smell with a hippie smell.

But in my old(er) age, I'm coming back around to the hippie smells and all of that stuff I loved in early college, minus the bong hits. And I figured if I'm going deo-only, might as well be in winter.

So if I hug you and I have pit stains, or smell a little... um... "earthy", it's because I'm only deodorizing. And I think I like it.

Too Many Exclamation Points

Okay, I almost took that last post down. It's so pooper. And then I thought--But this is my journal! And it's about what I think! And that's what I was thinking last night when I was sneaking cigarettes on the back porch and feeling lonely on Halloween because A. was working his crazy hours and B. was snoring away and I didn't want to study for my exam! So I'm leaving it, because I thought it, and whether I now think it sounds so, so stupid and overreactive or not, it happened, so it's there.

Enough already? Thought so.

Now I'm going to study. riiiiiiiight.... now. Wait. Okay. um...NOW.

(The exam is in 40 minutes, by the way. Diseases of the Cardiovascular System. Yeah, Hi. )

31 October 2006

Gimme Some Candy

Hey, everybody!
Mama Snee is here to poop your party.

Halloween is my second-least favorite holiday, second to Columbus-Brought-Syphillis Day. It's not that I'm opposed to the cutesly Hallmark crap, or the pumpkin-obsessed suburban candy-apple ladies. I'm not even opposed to the actual ancient holiday or the Pagans doing their Pagan thing. Go on and do it, I won't stand in your way.

What I don't like is the interchanging of fear and thrill. Fear as entertainment. Things jumping out to make you scream. Making you feel afraid, just for fun. Fear is at the root of all destructive behavior and thought, and I don't get why we would want to invite fear-- especially for our kiddos-- in the name of good times.

I don't like that scenes of brutal violence have become a symbol for this holiday-- mock-gruesome injuries, predators with masks and sharp weapons looming over children to make them afraid. Even in non-Halloween time, I've self-imposed a ban in our house on all Law and Order-type shows that sell murder as entertainment, because that shit is toxic to your tiny little soul and the tiny little souls of others. And tonight it's walking around my neighborhood.

As someone who has fought a non-medicated battle with anxiety for several years (maybe even longer, when I think about myself as a kid), I can list for you so many scenes from movies and television and being pressured into haunted-house tours that have stuck with me for YEARS. I can list for you several situations I've been in through my years of mental health casework where looking back, I know my shit was definitely on the line. Where it could have gone another way. Where I may not have left the crack house, may have gotten more than a punch in the eye. I don't see the benefit of replicating that kind of feeling of absolute vulnerability and to-the-core fear in the name of a holiday. I don't understand how feeling unsafe is fun. I don't think running around town with fake blood dripping out of your eyes is funny or cute. I think it's kind of fucked up.

And on another note, I also don't like that 5 boys, about 11 years old, just banged on my door in a "bitch-better-have-my-money" kind of way, and held out grocery bags without saying a word, without wearing any kind of costume. That's just begging. Or demanding. Whichever.

Halloween has missed its mark, become diluted into an Excuse-to-wear-lingere-outside-the-home, Treat-demanding, Fear-scarring day that I will be happy to see pass.

Your Curmudgeon,
Mama "Those-Damn-Kids" Snee

Snapshot of a Marriage

A. and I are sitting on the couch, next to each other, watching television. A rare moment indeed.

Me: What's that on your arm?

A: What?

Me: On your arm... are you wearing a sweatband on your wrist?
(sure enough, he is wearing a black Jaegermeister terrycloth elastic wristband on his left wrist.)

A: Oh, yeah. It's a Jaegermeister wristband.

Me: Been working hard? Need to wipe the sweat from your brow so it doesn't get in your eyes while you work your ass off watching television?

A: Yeah. I'm breaking a sweat.

Me: continue to give him shit about the wristband, ha ha, poke poke.

A: I found it in my jacket pocket (why? what? how?) today. It's nice because it keeps my forearm from rubbing up against my keyboard.

Me: Wait. You wore that to work?

A: Yeah.

Me: You wore a black Jaegermeister terrycloth elastic wristband around your office?

A: Yeah.

Me: (laughing uncontrollably) You're thirty!

A: *Blink* *Blink*

Me: And you wore a Jaegermeister terrycloth elastic wristband to work?

A: *Blink* *Blink*

Aaaaand... Scene.
I love him.

Bird Report
Yesterday I got a call from daycare that Birdy was quite upset and had been crying for several hours, taking no naps, refusing to eat. I left work early and picked her up, and sure enough, she was snuggled up to Boy Intern, whine-crying and clinging while he tried to do stuff with the other kids. And in her mouth? Two very threatening bicuspids peeping through the skin of her gums, and two more escalating threats lined up behind them. Poor Bird has a mouthful of sadness awaiting her.

I gave her some Tylenol and we snuggled up on the couch where she pretty quickly fell asleep and headed into a long and fitful three-hour nap. I hate that she felt so rotten, but I have to say I do love it when she's snuggly, when she's so relieved to get up close right under my chin and we hunker down and she sweats herself to sleep.

This morning we tried on the bunny costume again. Pictures to follow, but what a grouchy, grouchy bird.

And, in case you were wondering, I have no candy for trick or treaters and am not looking forward to the mayhem of the wild bumpus hounds every time an unsuspecting little dracula or hobo knocks on the door. Usually moms just stand on our porch in horror and usher their little ones down the steps as I look sheepishly out the storm door and kind of shrug.

30 October 2006

Note to Patients on my Caseload

Dear Patients,

Please stop with the dying. If you die, you will not be eligible for the many programs and services this agency has to offer.


Mama Snee

27 October 2006

Proof That I Should Give Up on Ever Eating Outside of My Home, Ever

Scene: Wendy's Drive Thru, spitting distance from the interstate, on the way back from a patient visit very far from my office. Mama Snee orders a veggie sandwich (regular sandwich-type stuff without meat) with "everything," which apparently meant "without ketchup, mustard, or mayo":

I pulled up to the window and the Wendy's kid says to me, "Are you vegan or just vegetarian?"
Excuse me? JUST Vegetarian? Is there a heirarchy? (Don't answer, I know there is, I ate at the veg/vegan cafeteria in college, where everyone tried to out-vegan each other)

I say, "vegetarian."

And he says. "Guh, I'm a vegan? and the fries are fried in the same oil? as the nuggets? right? You know that, right?"

I said something stupid like "well, I try not to know things like that." But what I MEANT to say was, "That would have been far more helpful if you'd told me as I was ordering, not after I paid, and by the way, bucko, I'm doing my best to eat without getting out of my car in Shitsplat, Tennessee and there are not a whole lot of options, and also by the way, for a vegan you sure do look like YOU'RE WORKING AT FUCKING ALL-BEEF WENDY'S, motherfucker."

26 October 2006

Thursday Post

Three Complaints
With all the hubub these days about privacy and information and medical stuff, people sure as shit want to tell you their entire medical history, outloud, and in a group setting. And my pathology class is full of these people. We almost can't get through the chapters, because everyone wants to pipe up about how they've battled anorexia, their aunt has MS, they might have heard of plantar fascitis because they think their neighbor might have it. And, like, what a coincidence! We're talking about Herpes Zoster, and she has Herpes Zoster! I want to hear about that from the beginning, please, and don't spare any details! Maybe it's just my cold, black, social worker heart, but blech. Over it.

Also, I'd like to go on the record as saying that I really wish my neighbors and their friends would stop pulling up at the apartments across the street with their bass rumbling so loudly that my windows shake. It makes me uncomfortable and it makes me feel threatened, because I consider it to be a fairly aggressive act to create a noise so powerfully loud, like standing in the street with your middle finger extended to everyone within a certain radius. To be the kind of person that doesn't give a fuck about how you might affect the world around you and to flaunt that fact. To roll up my street, essentially shouting, "Make way for ME, I am going to overpower whatever it was you were doing. I'm going to make you NOTICE ME and what a TOUGH, INCONSIDERATE ASSHOLE I AM." It's intrusive and unsolicited and it is a form of bullying with noise. I fucking hate it.

I'd also like to say that when our local NPR station switches to classical format between 9am and 3pm, I switch over to the AM NPR and listen to stuff like Day to Day's Science Fridays, because I am 100% D-O-R-K. I listen to this stuff in the car when I go out on patient visits, in particular, because I cannot, CAN NOT remember the freaking ipod when I leave the house in the mornings. Anywho, even when you're listening to an interview with a guy who made a movie about people who jump off of the Golden Gate Bridge, the AM-ness of it still sounds like conservative christian call-in radio.

It's okay if you do
Would you think I was weird if I told you that I sometimes go to Wild Oats just to smell the Wild Oats smell? Or any natural food store, for that matter? What is that smell? I went in for this, which I love and which they no longer carry, and I left with an eensy bottle of peppermint Dr. Bronner's and a nosefull of natural-food-store-smell. Mmmm. It makes me think I'm healthy. It also makes me want to spend money.

For the attachment parenters
I don't know how you family-bed people do it. Bird was up at 4am this morning, crying, so I put her in the big bed between us. And after A. getting kicked in the nuts and me getting head-butted in the neck, we just decided to get up. Seriously, how does that work?

25 October 2006

I guess I should just get a Flickr account already

This is how I clean up the house:

I put away some dishes, I move some mail around, I put shoes in the giant shoe basket. I open the door to the office. I close it again. I walk into the bathroom and decide that I need to find that gigantic curtain rod that I think is in the garage. Spend 45 minutes looking for the g'dang curtain rod. Give up and study for exam, eat leftovers. Stay up too late and post something dumb on my blog.

SO, I asked all of our family members to write a letter to Bird for her birthday. And everyone (more or less) obliged. I'm thinking others (ahem) are sending theirs in soon. And I waited until tonight to start mine, almost a week late. On a night I should be studying harder for an exam about neuromuscular disorders tomorrow morning. Or doing work for the job I get paid to do, which also deals with neuromuscular disorders. (Why won't these fucking neuromuscular disorders leave me the hell alone?)

...And I'm off track again. I'm trying to write my letter to Bird that I'm hoping we will all be writing every year to let her know who she is and who we are at each point in time. And then we will give them to her for some momentous occasion, like when she has her own children, which blows my mind like a house of mirrors right about now. I am on page three. How does one say the things I'm trying to say about what happens when you grow a human being inside your body and then spend the next year trying to catch up with her on the outside? How do you say all of the powerful and crushingly lovely things you absolutely mean? How do you describe the reorganization of every single tiny cell in your body around the occupation of loving and caring for this one little person that entered your life as an idea, a prediction, a save-the-date card in the form of a little line on a piece of plastic covered in urine as you stood in the bathroom pointing a pee stick at your husband and crying because you were hopeful and terrified?

Gah. Feelings. Maybe I'll post the letter here when it's finished, or maybe it will just be between me and Bird. Either way, my vocabulary has begun to unravel and I'm taking a break. But not going to bed! Because I have had coffee past 7pm! And I do not want to resume the cleaning-up of the wrecked house after the crazy entertaining of in-laws and friends and neighbors and toddlers this weekend! A

For those of you of the giving-a-shit persuasion, here are some photos of the weekend which I may or may not describe in more detail at a later time:
Hat from Camille (and over it with the paparazzi)

Owl Shirty (which is a boy shirt, I know, but I LOVE it)

At the Walk to Raise Funds for the Organization where Mama Works

Mildly creepy birthday baby from Daycare staff

Totally un-creepy sweet birdy bird

Digging the Balloons at the Walk

Not so much digging the birthday balloon on her actual birthday, past bedtime, totally pissed.

The end, good night, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to do so well on this exam.

24 October 2006

Me Again

Oh, hi!

There is this crazy idiot part of my brain that can't seem to let freaking go of the need for linear narrative that follows the timeline of events in my life. Because that is a journal, no? A written documentation of everything you do, including shitting, in a day? So the idiot part of my brain won't let me do a blog entry until I have ample time to sit down and really spell it all out and talk about Birdy's Birthday and her big party and all of the things that I loved and all of the things that made my hair stand on end. Can't possibly communicate until that is out of the way.

Alas, there is no ample time. My poor little gray matter is so fucking fried that this morning as I was fishing for my keys in the gigantoid over-the-shoulder-back-breaker of a bag I've been carrying, A. asked from the kitchen, "What is the salad dressing doing in the tupperware drawer?" Uh. I was making a salad? In a tupperware? For lunch at work? And then I short-circuited?

And later, as I was leaving class, I slung cold coffee all over the floor and the person standing next to me as I gestured in conversation, holding my (lidded, thankfully) insulated coffee mug completely upside down so it could drip coffee all over my pants and the afforementioned floor and classmate. Nothing like an upside-down coffee mug to make you look like one of those "what's wrong with this picture?" pages in a Highlights magazine. I'll tell you what's wrong with this picture, folks: ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. More commitments than I know what to do with. Rushing everywhere. Forgetting everything. Meditation is no longer a difficult practice as the dismissing of thoughts from my mind has become nearly involuntary.

I think I'm going to participate in the Fussy Challenge of writing a blog a day for November. Because I need the kick in the ass.

12 October 2006

Aw, Hail to the Naw

Was it Whitney Houston that said that? Hell to the No? I'm thinking it was Whitney Houston in that Whitney-Bobby-Barbara-Walters-or-was-it-Diane-Sawyer interview. Hail to the Naw. In any case, it's hailing here in the mid-south. Eeensy weensy hail, but hail all the same. And it's only October, and yesterday it was almost 80 degrees. Today it is 45 degrees. It's as if Mother Nature gave the mid-south over to her fifteen year old daughter to teach her a lesson about responsibility. And being fifteen and fickle, Daughter Nature changes clothes, like, totally, a hundred times a day.

Say it like you mean it
So, yesterday I was a part of a conversation where one person whispered the word "asshole." As in, said, "My husband can be an asshole." And then another person said, "I always just say 'ah-sho-lay' instead of "Asshole." Person one was delighted! And then person two added, "And instead of shithead, just say 'shi-theed." Yay! Cursing without cursing! Joy of Joys! Discovery of discoveries!

As you can imagine, I am opposed to the practice of modifying the pronunciation of curse words to create lighter cursewords. Lighter cursewords are words like "phooey" and "crap," and those words already exist, so there is no need to dumb down a perfectly good curse word. If one means to curse lightly, then one should certainly use words from the "Cursing Lite" approved list (see "phooey", "crap."). However, if one means to say "Asshole," then one should come right out and say "Asshole." This is what words are made for: to express degrees and intensity of feeling. To define nuances and create accurate descriptions. Words--including "naughty" words-- exist so that we don't have to use cheap adjectives like "nice" and "sad" all the time. So use the word you mean to use, even if that word is "asshole." "Ah-sho-lay" is for the timid.

Of course, there is a chance I will look back on these blog entries in several years and find them amusing but unfit for sharing because of all the obscene language, and regret my free-flowing four-letter goodtimes, the same way I now look at nearly every photo of myself from my college years, young and pretty and smiling and suitable for framing except for the obvious cigarette and canned beer in my hand.

I am also opposed to the general practice of modifying pronunciation to be clever, like saying "Tarzshay" instead of "Target," although that one has crept into our cultural vocabulary and I am certainly guilty of using it. Same for "Krozshay" instead of "Kroger." We have a little cutesy nickname for the Kroger in our neighborhood: "Roger." It is "Roger" because the "K" was burned out for a sweet three years.

Shit Talker
My patient visit went well today (Best yet! Kick ass, Mama Snee!) and involved a long and beautiful drive into and then back out of the countryside, before the hail started. On the way back to the interstate I stopped at the Wendy's drivethru, and as expected, currently feel like ass. In fact, I spent the last thirty minutes of my drive back to the office making a conscious effort not to shit my pants. And come to think of it, that's about when the hail started.

And, in case you were wondering, research has concluded on my office bathroom situation. Thanks to a blind study (meaning nobody else in the office knows I'm even paying attention), and the help of an unaware temp, I have concluded that every single thing you do in that bathroom is audible to the person sitting at my desk, and possibly to the entire office. On the bright side, the entire office population is exactly three people, which leaves only two people to hear you ripping ass in the bathroom. On the dark side, people are definitely hearing you rip ass in the bathroom. And, if you are the temp, people are also hearing you trying to plunge the toilet.

06 October 2006

Friday, Friday

My goodness, that last post was quite a bitchy little number, no? I am sometimes amazed by my own ability to be such a jerk. I'm fortunate to have the opportunity to do the freelance work that will pay for A's colonoscopy bill and my 90,000 mile car service, and I know better than to try to eat out. Also, there was apparently some confusion about the cheese: people were coming out from behind food counters and presenting me with single slices of cheese delivered by their gloved hands. That's what happened. Oh, and I'll totally get robbed on the car service. But I'm not bitching! Just predicting! Toodley dee!

It is a gorgeous day out there. Bright and crispy. Making me want to quit my everything and stay home and make delicious stews and sing to sweet, fat babies. The office is empty this afternoon, and I'm outta here.

Oh, and guess who can go down the toddler slide at daycare all by herself? And does that make her a toddler?

03 October 2006

Your Cheese, Madam.

I am really regretting taking on a big, stupid freelance job that I accepted to make a little money. I call it The Big Stupid Freelance Job. And it is now taking more time than will translate into dollahs (I did mean dollahs, as in dollah dollah bill, y'all) and giving me ugly headaches that are triggered by the squirrel-eating accent. In a word: sucks.

And more bitching: the class I finished today was a complete bullshit waste of my time. Wait, let me rephrase that: I felt it was a complete bullshit waste of my time. Because it was. Today was a big snoozer repeat of the last several classes, which included some taking turns reading outloud from the book. And, um, fuck that. So I spent my last hours of that dreadful class fuming about how I could have been doing all of this other work on the Big Stupid Freelance Job instead of sitting in my chair watching the clock and itching and gnashing my teeth.

And the truth is, if I'd had the time today, I probably wouldn't have worked on the BSFJ, just as I am not working on it right now. Just as I didn't work on it today, when I arrived in a small town for a home visit about 30 minutes early, and decided I should definitely go through the drivethru at Wendy's (never a good decision) before I could sit in my car in the parking lot and sip the Diet Coke I so deserved while I made phone calls for the BSFJ. Despite the ample free time, no progress was made on the BSFJ. Because my sandwich was effed up. And for the second time in four days, I was handed a piece of cheese on a latex glove. This means that statistically, I am handed a piece of cheese on a latex glove every other day.

The first time it happened, I was at the Atlanta Bread Company of Assholes, and in a dramatic situation that involved me getting a cash refund for my shitty lunch, I was handed a piece of provalone on a latex glove. And then today, during my efforts to do anything-- anything-- besides interviewing clients for the BSFJ, I marched into the Wendy's, opened my veggie sandwich, and drew attention to the conspicuous lack of cheese. And I think you know the rest.

BSFJ. Gah.

01 October 2006

Sore Back, Sore Ass, Sore.

Well, I finally found the class at massage school that all of the interesting people are taking. The people who sit around and chomp apples with their big, white, healthy teeth on their breaks and talk about their ultra-cool yoga pants and very interesting lives. People who talk about the Work with a capital "W." It's a class about this kind of massage. And I was so stoked to take it.

So that was my weekend... pretty much all of it, in fact. Friday night, all day Saturday, all day Sunday. All of my classes so far have been easy for me. I've been able to master the skills and feel good about my intuition and intention when I practice bodywork, I've been praised and singled out by my teachers and practice partners, and I've slicked through all of the science classes. If I haven't mentioned it before, I certainly have a little (okay, medium-sized) piece of my personality that is most comfortable being good at things. Being the teacher's pet. In fact, If I'm not the star student, there's a decent chance I'll shut off the effort and just coast through under the radar. (see "college"). I know, it's sick. But I got a 101 in Anatomy and Physiology. That's right. Out of a hundred. Fucking Boo-Ya.

Then comes this weekend class. I get it, but I don't get it. I don't feel it. I'm clumsy with my practice partners and feel like I'm bumbling around in the dark. Swimming upstream. Poking and prodding and fucking it up. And the thing is, I really want to get it. And I know that if I do get it, it will seem so simple and peaceful and intuitive. Which makes me try to force it. Which makes it a graceless mess all the more. Meh. There will be much figurative climbing uphill and mind vs. body wrestling, as I have another all-weekend class in a couple of weeks.

Okay Syrah Syrah:
Drank copious amounts of red wine Friday night on a solo mission to see how hungover I could be for my class on Saturday morning. It started out as a glass with A., but then he left to go play a show, and I stayed on the porch and called S. in Spokane and garbled on and on about how we should take a cruise and how I had saved sixty dollars in the past two weeks. Which is true, but not enough to get me on a cruise ship. Or even to a place where I might see a cruise ship from a distance. Fabulously, I was not as hung over as I should have been, which I credit to my ability to wake up at 4am and regret my behavior and chug two glasses of water and three Tylenol and go back to fitful sleep.

No, I am not ready for some Football:
As previously mentioned in this blog, I live in an "urban" neighborhood, which is also described as historic, eclectic and ghetto, sometimes in the same breath, and it just happens to be directly across the river from the downtown of my city. Also directly across the river from the downtown is the giant waste of many types of resources, the Coliseum that houses (hosts?) the Shitty Professional Football Team that plays here. There are two convenient bridges from downtown to my neighborhood, and thanks to the fat-assed, mullet-wearing, hootin'-hollerin', tacky-merchandise-buying, hive mentality jackass fans of the Shitty Professional Football Team, both of those bridges were closed this afternoon as I tried, with my defeated little head down, to make my way home from class.

Bad Company:
The list of restaurants to which I extend my erect middle finger has now grown to include any restaurant containing the words "Bread" or "Company." Any fast-casual restaurant that operates under either word is fast food in disguise and is sure to clean out your wallet while you clear your own damn table.

The Bird Report:
Walking quickly, chattering, arms stretched out straight behind her, chin tucked down. Like she's a cartoon character with somewhere to go in a hurry. And she might be flying there.

Lots of kisses. Lots of silliness. Lots of personality. Lots of indications that she might be a KID soon, and might give up this baby business for a more exciting opportunity to be a bona fide PERSON. Which I guess makes sense, because she'll be one year old in a couple of weeks.
Three hundred sixty five nights of rocking her to sleep. Three hundred sixty five mornings of feeling like the luckiest little family in the world. **sigh**. I won't get all sappy-weepy on you, yet. But oh, get ready. It's brewing.

Go read a sweet entry about someone else's first 365 days.