19 December 2007

DONE.

Did it. Hair cut. There's an 8" ponytail lying in the passenger seat of my car to be shipped... somewhere? Somewhere where hair is needed? Anyone done this before?

Actually make that an 8" ponytail lying in the passenger seat of A's car, as my car spent the night in the car hospital because my "oxygen sensors" are making the ominous check-engine light come on. I was truly hoping the mechanic would say they are clogged up with chicken guts, as that would be easy to explain and not indicate a larger problem, but he says that is not the case. And yet even still, I hope for a chicken-gut diagnosis.

This is probably it for me, as I shut down my desk here and move toward a much-needed Girls' Night tonight and very interesting day tomorrow, promising weighted phone calls, long driving, "honest answers," and ending with a meeting that may open a door. Or a window. Or pick a lock. Whatever. It's all work-related, so we can't talk any more about it.

Then it's the classic Snee Family pack-like-the-house-is-on-fire extravaganza and, finally, up to Indiana with us. And still, we have shopping to do. Like shopping for a time machine so we can go back to October and do this Christmas thing proper. Probably no posts from the land of much snow. But probably good stories when I return.

Happy Holidays to all four of you lovely readers, and many blessings and other good things in 2008.

--Mama

18 December 2007

Here's What I Have to Say About Britney Spears

I check people magazine online almost every day. Well, every day that I work. In fact, I've added it to my Google Homepage. I like to look at pictures, okay? Stop judging me.

Lately, we see a lot of Britney Spears looking the way most of us might look on a Saturday afternoon-- makeup-less, hairbrush-less, hoodied and driving a terribly expensive car, with or without pants. (only one of those does not apply to me on a weekend afternoon, and here's a hint: I drive an Accord.)

Poor girl, that Britney. Nobody leaving her alone, even for a second. Her worst days are just as public as her best. And I feel for her, I do.

But lately, I see tons of photos of Brit-brit walking out of convenience stores with a pack of Marlboro Lights in her hand and I have to wonder what kind of sad, sad life she must be leading without even ONE good girlfriend who will slink down to the corner market and pick her up some smokes. Or paid staff person, even.

Life too public to buy cigarettes at a gas station when you're not exactly wearing pants? STAY IN THE CAR AND GET SOMEBODY ELSE FROM THAT GIANT ENTOURAGE TO DO IT.

Too Much Holiday Information
Today I had to return several boxes of discount work-related Christmas cards to Michael's, which is always a madhouse mix of rockabilly girls with betty page bangs and old ladies with 30 coupons trying to get that garland price down from $1.99 to twenty cents. There were about nine hundred people in line in front of me and nine hundred behind me, and I had just eaten a Christmas cookie back at the office that tasted like a stick of butter with some white chocolate chips in it. Which made me very, very sick to my stomach upon arriving at Michael's.

I waited a very, very long time in line. Through price-checks and tax-exempt codes and, I swear to you, beads being rung up individually. I tried to chat with the person behind me, but she would have none of my holiday cheer. When I finally got up to the register to handle my return, there was all of the commotion and confusion you might expect, with the wrong codes, manager overrides, re-voiding, extra scanning, store credit, starting over, again.

And during the whole process, my stomach was churning, my vision was blurring with impending gastrointestinal doom, the midsection of my body making high-pitched, audible noises. I looked behind me and saw the nine hundred grannies and gothies. I considered telling Deena at the cash register that I reeeeeeeally had to use the bathroom and could we just hold it right here for a minute? But then I pictured an angry mob chasing me to the end of the frame aisle and into the restroom. I pictured not actually making it to the restroom. I heard my stomach. My face got hot, and then cold. Deena kept re-voiding and re-coding. I had purchased 7 boxes and was returning only 6... the kind of math that can make you work very slowly and start over a lot.

And finally! It was done! And could you just sign this slip right here? Yes! Yes I can! I scribble and start to make a beeline toward the back of the store and... wait... what is this? No more rock in the stomach? Able to stand up straight? The emergency had passed! Cookie digested/ absorbed, whatever! I walked out of Michael's and into the sunny parking lot, free of digestive distress when only seconds before I was thinking of ways to deal with possibly shitting my pants at Michael's.

A true.
Christmas.
Miracle.

17 December 2007

Nightmares of Sugarplums

Bird had her first real nightmare at about 4:30 this morning, screaming herself awake and catapulting me down the stairs to comfort. She whimpered and clung and said she was afraid of "the lady." We talked about it being in her imagination and dreams and as much reality vs fantasy that a two-year-old can process.

Last night we also went to a delightful Christmas party (and by the way, can I just say we have the best friends, like, ever?) where Bird sampled many a cookie, and I think maaaaaybe the sugar coupled with all of the grownups-- some familiar and some strangers-- could have triggered the sleep disturbance.

Last night, falling asleep, the exhausted Bird said:

"Don't kiss me, mama. Just go to sleep now."

And bonus weekend Bird Words:

When asked by Santa what she wanted for Christmas:
"Three presents."

And on the way home from church:
"I think Santa has a big bum."

And then, upon further thought, "I think Santa has a big bum and a big binsens*. He goes pee pee by himself on a special potty."

*Binsins: (noun) 1. Bird-speak for "business," which is Bird-speak for private parts/ genitalia.

14 December 2007

Look, a post!

I'm thinking it's time for a haircut.

I think this A LOT. And then I think, "not so much." And I go about my life not having a haircut.

But now I think I do want a haircut. There is always at least one hair in my mouth and one invisible one somewhere on my face causing twitching and clawing at my cheeks, and collectively it's becoming a tangled and stringy mess the longer it gets. I feel like I live my life peering through a curtain of hair-- most often when I'm leaning over looking for something or discussing pressing issues with a two-year-old. Which is about 75% of my time. Not to mention I'm spending waaaaaay more time in the shower than I'd like during our hectic morning scramble, just trying to wash/ rinse/ condition/ rinse.

Now to figure out if I trust the bang-trim lady to do the short-short. I'll keep you posted, I know you're on the edge of your seat.

In other news, I either have a rotten but suspiciously intermittent cold or I am allergic to something in my own home. I'm guessing the Christmas Tree, but I might also place blame on the balls of dog and cat hair rolling lazily from one room to the next, sometimes being mistaken for whole animals all on their own, as in, "Holy Shit, when did we get a guinea pig?" Or maybe the dust, inevitable lurking mold, something. I am sneezing violent, unpredictable sneezes and living life in a big fog at the moment.

But, Christmas is upon us, and I have not created the Advent wreath I was dreaming of for Birdy (though she made quick work of all 24 days of her Advent Calendar), Have not created, purchased, or mailed a single Christmas card (and won't), have purchased exactly ONE gift which is for Bird which happens to be the most awesome sock monkey ever from the Farmer's Market. Soon enough we can remove the tree and see if I'm still blowing out candles from across the room. It might not hurt to dust and vacuum, as well.

Speaking of the Holidays, we are going home, of course. 10 days of touring Indiana from top to bottom-- lots of time in the car and out of a suitcase from house to house to house and back again. And the more I think about all of it and the closer it gets, I have no desire to do any of it. Not the packing, not the drive, not the giving, not the receiving, not the sleeping in a hundred different beds (or rather NOT sleeping-- I have a toddler, you know), not the eating pounds of bullshit that makes my body work poorly, not the hugging and the happy voice and the realizing I've forgotten to pack a bra, not the ten solid days without a moment to myself, without a private moment with my husband, without a quiet moment with my kid. I love being with all of my nearest and dearest, I do-- but this year I just don't want to go.

There, I said it.

11 December 2007

Sick Birds

My Bird, she is sick. 103-degree fevers two nights in a row with rosy cheeks and wilty eyes and a cough that rattles the windows. No good sleep for Bird or anyone else in days. No watching the series finale of the Sopranos as planned, because of all the muting and the "did you hear that?" and the "I'll go snuggle her for a minute."

Bird likes to hold the thermometer in her armpit all by herself. She keeps asking me to take her "pimpiture," and if you've read this blog for more than a week or so you already know that my husband would think that's hilarious, saying things like, "Awwww Yeeeyuhh, mah pimpiture is HAWT."
Pimpiture will smack a bitch upside the mouth, yo.

Bird and I went to the doctor today and got frightened and medicated, in that order. And then we went to Pizza Perfect, at her request, because we treated ourselves to a delightful little lunch there (pizza by the slice, and they'll cut it up tiny for her) after her vaccination bravery on Friday and now apparently that is what we do after doctor visits. Who can argue with that?

It was so crowded that we were forced to vulture a table right out from under another person wandering around hopelessly with their pizza tray, and to make up for it in the Universal sense, we invited another hopeless wanderer to dine with us in our empty seat. Which gave Bird such stranger-danger that she hardly touched her tiny-cut pizza.

On the way home while shouting songs at Bird in an attempt to put off the nap until back at our house, traffic was backed up at our exit and we drove slowly through what appeared to be a grand spill of fall yard-waste, red and gold colored leaves and clumps of mud, etc.

Upon closer investigation, we were driving through a large slosh of bird parts, maybe chickens, who knows, with legs and whole parts mixed in, flipping around and splashing blood. The smell was so horrible by the time we reached the large, open-topped truck spilling over with feet and feathers and chicken organs that I almost puked right there in the car.

And now there are entrails and feathers and a whole mess of carnage up under my wheel wells. And my husband, folks, is a dream come true not only with the fabulous quotes ("GLBT? That sounds like a sandwich. I'll have a GLBT on sourdough.") but with the immediate offering to clean the intestines and innards out from under my car without me even thinking to ask. Ladies, if you find a man willing to clean nasty chicken guts off of your car, marry him. You won't be sorry.

07 December 2007

Eight Things That Can Totally Suck It*

1. Construction across the street. Please, drive the backhoe in reverse for ten straight minutes. Then drop something that weighs several tons.
2. Mailman. We don't need that mail, man.
3. Anyone calling my phone.
4. Me, for forgetting to turn off the ringer.
5. Neighbor with booming bass sounds in car. Don't get out of your vehicle and knock on the door, please, just honk your em-effing horn until somebody comes out.
6. Clumsy cat.
7. Stompy, barky dogs.
8. Tickle in my throat/ sneezing.

* When I'm trying to snuggle a freshly-vaccinated toddler down for a nap which, after over an hour of clingy, fussy discomfort will require a 74-point slow-motion maneuver to extract myself from under her fragile sleepiness.


View of a nap through the keyhole

06 December 2007

Recipe Corner: Black Bean Sandwiches

I have had this recipe in my giant folder since 1998, from a Country Living article about black beans. And tonight, in very-late 2007, I finally made it. The recipe was not actually for sandwiches, so I guess I did change it quite a bit, but I am kicking myself for not acting on it at any point in the last ten years. Delicious. This fed A. and I with one sandwich left over for lunch tomorrow (yum).

Black Bean Sandwiches

1 can black beans drained and rinsed
1 tbsp Olive Oil
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 pieces flat whole wheat pita (not pocket pita)
Big handful fresh/ bagged spinach leaves
1 cup feta cheese crumbles (I am totally guessing on that measurement)
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
4 Roma tomatoes sliced about 1/4 inch thick (or you could use any kind of tomato, whatever)

1. Put the black beans in a food processor (or bowl for smooshing if you don't have a processor).

2. heat the oil and add garlic, oregano, and red pepper. Cook a couple of minutes, but don't let the garlic get burned-like.

3. Pour the oil mixture into the processor with the beans and puree.

4. Line a 9 X 13 baking dish with foil. Lay 2 of the pita in the pan and spread with bean mixture.*

5. Layer tomato slices, onion, feta, and spinach on the bean spread.

6. Spread the remaining pita with the rest of the beans and smoosh sandwiches together.

7. I covered it/ wrapped them but I don't think it's necessary-- bake at 275 for about 20 minutes.

*I found it easier to cut the pita in half before assembling-- so I made 4 smaller sandwiches instead of two big round pita sandwiches.

03 December 2007

Awful Mama

This morning, first thing, Bird started removing ornaments from the tree. Dragging all of my shoes out of the closet. Losing my comb. Screeching. Opening cabinets. Throwing forks. Using about 10 perfectly good diapers on her baby doll. Coloring on the floor. Putting stickers on the dog. Climbing the stairs in secret. Emptying the recycling one cracker box and water bottle at a time. Taking items one-by-one from the "Get Out The Door" pile and putting them "away," checkbook in the toy basket, sun glasses under the couch, phone God only knows where.

So I say, as I'm trying for the third time to get mascara on BOTH eyes before dealing with another Bird-related issue:

"Hey Bird, would you like to watch some TELEVISION?"

She immediately dropped my day planner into the dog food. Yes. Yes she would.

I finally got my lunch together, Bird's lunch together, daycare check written, dogs fed, clothes on, etc. I came back into the living room to find her on the couch watching a brain-melting show, looking completely medicated. Awful mama can't be bothered with being a mama, must put child out of commission.

And from there, we moved on to going completely boneless and floppy in a tantrum over her hat, another over her shoes, another over carrying her own bag, and still another over the zipping of the coat, ending in the mother of all tantrums about walking down the front steps ALL BY MYSELF. There was a point where she arched and kicked and twisted in the car seat so that I couldn't buckle it. There was a point where she laid face-down in the yard and I just stood there and stared at her while my eyes welled up. There was a point where I physically wrestled this child into her car seat, with the screaming and kicking and arching.

There was screaming all the way to daycare with a brief period of discussion about having a lovely snack when she got there, what do you think it will be? French toast? Great! and then more horrible, heart-wrenching, snotty, tearful wailing and grabbing at my jacket as Louise the Daycare Lady had to physically remove this little person from my body and I melted right out of the building.

Awful, awful.

And for what? So I can get to my job on time? So I can sit at this desk at a certain mark on the clock and check my effing email?

I'd like to say I handled all of this gracefully, but I'm unimpressed by my performance, starting with the television doping all the way up to the gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands and total loss of all patience and reason.

And now, at my desk, I just feel like a bad mama, like I should run as fast as I can to my Bird and make it up to her.

Again, three solid days of living my real life makes the work-week life seem so cruel.

02 December 2007

Weekend Collection of 10 things

1. Bird talking about seeing "Santa Closet."

2. Also from Bird a few long rants about someone named Jason and how he "Just can't stop," an emotional description involving large hand gestures with her palms out toward you in a "stop right there" kind of motion. No idea what she means, but she means it.

3. An excellent impromptu Girls' night with three of my favorite ladies. (Okay, that wasn't weekend, that was earlier, but still worth a mention.)

4. Falling in love with my city a little bit more at our Public Library, stopping in to check out some books for Bird and happening upon a really fantastic puppet show adaptation of John Updike's A Child's Calendar. I know-- you're thinking of people crouched down with hand puppets behind a little red box making stupid voices, but our downtown library has a really wonderful children's theater staffed with professional puppeteers and everything. Running commentary for everyone's learning pleasure during the performance was provided by Bird:
"It's dark now. There's the guy. There's the other guy. The guy is talking. There's a squirrel!" And so on.

5. Falling in love with my neighborhood a little bit more at our new fab Wine Merchant just right over there around the corner... un-snooty with the friendly wealth of wine information and un-ghetto with the absence of crack addicts and lotto ticket sales/ check cashing services. A true first in liquor stores for our patch of the metro area.

6. My husband knows all (and I mean ALL) of the words to Skid Row's I remember you. Still. And I got to hear every one of them in the car Saturday afternoon while he pointed out a new hole in his jeans:

A: Hey, check this out. (in bad-guy voice, as if he were leaning up against the side of my high school, showing off a full pack of smokes and a fifth of Jack Daniel's.)
Me: What?
Me: Your pants? What about your pants?
A: (points)
Me: Is that the corner of your pocket sticking out of a hole in your pants?
A: Yep. check it out.
Me: *blink*

And that? THAT is what a Skid Row song can do to a person, almost twenty years later.

7. Falling in love a little bit more (or at least making up) with our house. It sounds so simple, but removing a rug that smells like a dog's ass can make the biggest difference in your desire to want to spend time in a place.

8. Last-minute dinner with friends on Saturday further confirms that we don't need to move to Indiana to be close to family, that our chosen family here in Tennessee-- while not a substitute for our nearest and dearest-- is pretty near and dear in its own way, and in some ways even nearer and dearer.

9. Bought the teensiest tree at the Farmers' Market, put it up, decorated it. It's tiny but fits just fine, considering we'll spend so much of this Christmas holiday on the road.

10. Three solid days inside my real life makes my work life look pretty unappealing by comparison.

27 November 2007

One Large Mama

So, my cute little sister-in-law (AKA Mrs. Brother) is really, really good about taking pictures when we're all together. Let there not be a moment undocumented in her presence-- she is on hand to preserve the memories. And when I realize we're dragging suitcases out my mom and dad's front door after 4 days and have not managed to snap a single shot, I'm thankful she's been fluttering around, capturing moments.

She sent Thanksgiving pictures today.

And Oh My Fats, Mama Snee, time to lay off the cheesecake already.

FOR SERIOUS.

26 November 2007

Ah, the Thanksgiving, It is Over.

In case you were wondering, I chose to watch cable instead of posting for the last several days.

Actually, that isn't accurate. For all of the delicious cable television that was available, I actually watched very little of it. And for all of the delicious food that was available, well, that's another story. Two words: Gingersnap Cheesecake. Two more words: Twenty Pounds.

Here's the Recap:

First off, Our Bird. Our Bird, our Bird. Could not have been a better traveler (except maybe that last hour in the car where I had to contort my body to hold her hand from the front seat and sing "mockingbird," complete with the made-up verses, over and over in the dark and pouring rain). But the rest of the time, with the chattering from the back seat and the self-entertaining, really, she just could not have been better. And to top it all off, we had a fabulous impromptu dance party, just Bird and I, south of Louisville in the empty, too-bright, too-loud restroom at McDonalds, jumping around all rumpled and wrinkled and weary, happy to be off the road, unbuckled and on our feet, finally out of the rain. I'm telling you, that kid has some serious moves. And she knows it's funny to dance in the bathroom. I am a lucky mama.

And that says nothing of our first real holiday-with-toddler experience, watching Birdy chattering with family, losing her shyness, baking pretend food for her grandparents, saying "please" and "thank you" and a hundred hilarious one-liners I can't seem to hold long enough in my brain. Snuggling in the guest room at my Mom and Dad's, nose to nose with me, saying, "you be quiet now, mommy. I have to go to sleep."

And the Thanksgiving went on like that, generally peaceful and easy, visiting with my grandparents who made the journey to Littleplace with the help of my Dad, spending time too-rare with my brother and Mrs. Brother and their completely reconstructed dog, talking more about life now, and less about life then.

That distance between past and present is both jarring and peaceful, depending on the second it hits you.

And it isn't always easy to know who or how you are supposed to be-- even as unshakable a person as you may be in your daily life-- when you are back in the mix of family, being a mother and a daughter, a sister and an in-law, a cook and a guest, under the old roof, sleeping in the old bedroom, with the old roles and the new roles and the new people and the old people.

And truly, we are so thankful. We are thankful for family, for a safe trip, for our healthy, happy Bird and her sweet spirit. We are thankful for cars that run well and twenty bucks secretly slipped into my purse for gas. We are thankful for all of the reasons that pull us toward moving back to Indiana, and just as thankful for all of the reasons that keep us here in Tennessee. We are thankful to have enough reasons to want to be in two places at the same time.

And you know, that exhausted and joyful dance party in the bathroom on our long drive home is probably my favorite memory of the whole five days. Which is not to say the rest of our time wasn't completely lovely, because it absolutely was, with the pies and the hugs and the catching up. But this is what I'm talking about, whether I make any sense or not-- the past and the present and roles and relationships and parents and children and things now and things then and it all shifts with this new family of mine that is unfolding, holding me tighter and tighter in a little ball with Bird and A.



On another note, my dogs shit on the floor almost every day we were gone. We're going to run out of dog sitters if this continues.


21 November 2007

Happy to You

Off to Indiana for Thanksgiving.
May or may not post every day like I have (sort of) been.
My parents have internet service,
but they also have cable. Which I enjoy only a few times a year, during holidays like these.

So we'll see.

Happy yellow/ white food holiday to you!!

18 November 2007

Scenes From A Marriage

Leaving church this morning with a styrofoam cup filled with coffee:

A: I really like this coffee, but I think I like it because I don't like it, you know?

Me: um, no.

17 November 2007

FYI

Two songs that get stuck in my head multiple times a week for months now:

1. Some bullshit song by Jewel from the mid-90's that contains this line:
I know that you love me/ and soon you will see/ you were meant for me/ and I was meant for you.

Did you know Jewel was a stalker in addition to being Alaskan? The line that makes this song swallow up my brain is something about how if this guy comes back she'll keep the house clean or some shit and she'll "never leave wet towels on the floor anymore," because that's clearly why the relationship fell apart. It pops into my head when I see A's damp towel lying at the foot of the bed in the mornings. And why, oh why do I know the words to this awful, awful song and why has it resurfaced so many years later?

2. Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks. I don't know all of the words but I know enough for the whole song, verse AND chorus, to stick to my brain for reasons completely unknown to me. The song was a huge hit in my high school with the popular, out-drinkin'-beer-in-the-cornfields-again crowd, and I hated it. They played it (as a joke? maybe?) at my brother's wedding but that was back in March, and here it is November. Talk about a bad houseguest in the ole brain. Go home, Garth. And by home I mean back to Littleplace, Indiana, because I'm sure all those guys are still parked in the cornfield getting trashed and waiting for you and your gigantic black hat.

16 November 2007

So, How Was Your Day, Honey?

I had a two-hour, promising meeting today. With people who are not currently my employer. And that's about all I want to say about that.

Except for one statement: during the discussion, I found myself really distilling all of the peripheral information and goals and bladdyblah to this: the difference between being intellectually engaged and being emotionally engaged is a huge. effing. difference. And I do not lack for emotional engagement in my personal life, making my true "life's work" out of being a wife, mother, friend, sister, and daughter. And I'm feeling today that it's possible that what I truly need out of a vocation is intellectual and creative engagement. I miss that. There is enough emotional activity in my life to fill a bucket.

I have lost 30+ patients this year. All of my patients will die of this disease, but not before it steals their ability to move, to speak, to breathe. And all the while their cognitive abilities will not be affected, trapping a healthy mind in a completely paralyzed body. There is no question, no cause, and no cure.

It gets to you.

When I left my post in the mental health field, my anxiety went through the roof-- anxiety about the person standing next to me in line at the gas station going ape shit, anxiety about unpredictable, violent behavior. Because I saw my fair share of that, but couldn't really process it until I left that environment, as a protection to myself. I don't regret those six or so years because I learned more than I can explain, but I also know it's taken me about 4 years to come down from it.

I wonder how this current job is affecting me beneath my own protective distance.

I also believe that I have been led here for a reason, and I don't mean that in an "I've been led to make a difference" kind of way. I mean that in an "I'm here to be prepared for something" kind of way. Quite possibly to prepare myself for the deaths of people I love-- I am 31 years old and still have all 4 living grandparents, albeit barely. What I have learned about grief and dying is more than valuable to me.

And one other statement (and then enough with the statements): when I was writing for a living, I left because the job changed, not because my interest changed. When my vocational landscape shifts (I move two states away, my employer morphs into a completely different company while I'm on maternity leave), I run right back to social work. Because I'm good at it, it comes easily. I have history in this field (I started in mental health case management with the SPMI* population before I'd even graduated college**). I like to speak in social-worky terms, I selfishly like to know what's best for everybody because I can never decide what's best for my own damn self, and I like to know that I'm doing "good works," as my grandmother would say, and I wonder how much of that pleasure lies in the knowing and how much in the actual doing. There are big, meaty questions to ask myself, and they're not new ones.

I also question what is best for my family-- I thought that my working part time was the right thing for us, so I could have more time with Bird, but living paycheck-to-paycheck (and sometimes not even that) isn't good for us either. I have no idea how to even weigh possibilities on this one-- I believe there are opportunities to earn more where I am, but it's all very, very muddy with the change in leadership.

There is no conclusion here. I also know that for me, the company I keep makes all the difference, and eight hours a day is a big chunk of time.

Stay Tuned.

*Serious and Persistent Mental Illness
** With a degree in English, concentration in creative writing/ poetry, minor in Italian Language, no less. The majority of my working life would be the definition of "accidental career."

14 November 2007

Recipe Corner


Curried Sweet Potatoes with Spinach and Chickpeas


Straight outta The Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet by Nava Atlas. I did not make this one up, I just made it for dinner.
Page 194.


2 large sweet potatoes
one 16-oz can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
one 14 to 16 oz can diced tomatoes
10 to 12 ounces fresh spinach, well washed, stemmed, and coarsely chopped.
1 to 2 teaspoons curry powder (I used one heaping tsp)
salt to taste.

Bake the SPs in their skin until done but firm. (400 degrees, about an hour, give or take based on size.) Peel and cut into large chunks.

Cook chickpeas and tomatoes over medium heat in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer for 5-ish minutes.

Add spinach and cover. Cook briefly, until wilted, 5-ish minutes

Add sweet potatoes and curry and salt, cook over low heat, 5-ish minutes.

Usually I don't follow a recipe exactly (which is why I feel like they're actually mine when I post them here), but this one worked out just great to the letter. Served it with whole-wheat pita pan-fried (fried? sauteed?) in olive oil and my super simple version of cucumber raita: a cup of plain yogurt and half a decent-sized cucumber spun in the food processor.

I baked the potatoes the night before and just kept them in the fridge... so no baking time after work or waiting for those suckers to cool before peeling/ cutting. Made enough for me + A + some sweet potato chunks pulled out for Bird (HA, like she's eating sweet potato chunks, please) with enough left over for at least one lunch.

Delish! Go forth and make thine own curried sweet potatoes with chickpeas and spinach.

* Edited to Add: Not as good the second day. Still good, but the pita was all gone. Huge difference.

Tough Questions with Mama:
Do I like my job because I like doing what I do, or do I like my job because I'm good at it, and I like being good at things?

What do you do?

So, let's say you're a potty training parent.

It's morning, and your spouse has left for work already, and you have just taken a seat in the parlor with a nice bowl of Corn Chex and soy milk, watching your little potty trainer feed some sort of wooden pizza to a seated, stuffed baby. She chit-chats, you chit-chat, you eat a few of your Corn Chex. They are delicious.

And it gets quiet. Your toddler looks both surprised and terrified.

She says, quietly, "haffa use the potty."

You leap from your chair, shouting, "LET'SGOLET'SGOLET'SGO," like you're heading up some potty-focused fire and rescue squad entering a burning building full of kittens and babies. You shuffle your toddler into the bathroom, a bathroom so small there is really only room for one of you, even when one of you is two years old, but you crowd in and jockey with the door and the sink and try to pull out the potty chair in time for this joyous pee event. You set your cereal bowl on the toilet tank and realize it is about to start an avalanche of magazines and catalogs. You set your cereal bowl on the floor.

Your toddler is having trouble pulling down her jammie pants. You turn around to help and manage to ram your hip squarely into the doorknob, but you don't curse. You help with the pants, you help with the diaper, you realize it is partially too late. There is poop in the diaper. You seat the toddler on the potty chair and proceed to try to shake the poop pancake into the toilet for flushing. You try to turn around and ram your other hip squarely into the sink. You don't curse. You shake the (suprisingly stubborn) poop from the diaper into the toilet. Your toddler pee pees. You make a big deal about it, high fives, stickers for the chart. You help her clean up. You get a clean diaper. You empty the pee-pot and swish it with vinegar, all the while talking up the potty success.

Your toddler goes back to the wooden pizza. You look at your cereal bowl on the bathroom floor.

You think, "I didn't see any poop fall in my cereal when I was shaking out the diaper."

You think, "Surely there is no poop in my cereal."

You think, "But what if there is poop in my cereal? I wasn't exactly watching the cereal."

You think about the floater in the bathtub last week. You gag a little.

You think, "Really, the chance of some poop flying off of the shaking diaper and landing in my cereal are so slim."

You think, "Who has a bathroom this tiny, anyway? Without some kind of flat space to put a cereal bowl?"

You think, "Seriously, what if there is poop in my cereal? There is no poop in my cereal."

You think, "but what if. What if it is down at the bottom of the bowl, or even worse, just a small morsel of poop that I wouldn't even notice."



And then you throw the cereal away, that's what you do.

13 November 2007

Oh, Tuesday, here you are again.

Remember how I said I moved my blogroll into it's new little blog apartment sometime last week? Well, I think maybe I should delete the whole thing. I've been to the end of the internet and back this afternoon, quite unintentionally, and have burned some remarkably useful hours looking at... I don't even know what. Blogs? Pictures? In any case, burning my eyeballs to raisins, once again. If I'm going to waste time, I have plenty more productive ways to do it, you can be assured of that. Maybe I need to have a No Bloglines Before 4pm policy. But then how would I read all of those stinkin' blogs? THE PRESSURE IS JUST TOO MUCH.

I've decided to adopt a dear friend's "I feel sorry for you that you have to be a butthole" approach to anger-processing here in the workplace. I believe the technique was developed for mothers-in-law, but I'm hoping it will work here, at least to dilute some of my anger about our new... um... "leadership." Some days I feel like running from the building screaming, others I feel like this might still be okay somehow if I just sit tight. It also seems I am incapable of making a plan and sticking to it, distracted by possibilities and what-ifs and bright and shiny objects. And, ultimately, comfort. And the bowl of candy on the admin's desk.

In related news, we are out of money. Not kidding. Maybe we will get some more soon?

I have officially applied to take the exam to become licensed in Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. I should start studying, like, yesterday (actually, a month ago), but if you must know the truth I'll wait until I get the go-ahead to schedule the exam and then and only then will I crack a book, closer to the last minute than anyone thought possible. I could pretend otherwise, but the truth is: that's just how I roll.

And lastly, this made me laugh today.

12 November 2007

Ten Years


Birdy's current favorite books are a couple of ten-ish year-old photo albums that live on the shelf beside the couch. They are full of photos of A. and I, so young (21!) and so cute, on vacation at the lake and the beach and being rowdy college near-graduates in our run-down house in Bloomington with a young, fat bear dog, not a dime to our names, and not a care in the world. Except maybe who was playing at Second Story and where we were going afterwards.


I watch A. flip through these books with Bird and I think that this is it, finally, that it's happening. That this is what I secretly or maybe even unconsciously wished for back when these pictures were snapped, before marriage, before babies, before Tennessee, that this scene would actually be real after ten years of storing these not-even-that-great photos. That I would be here, watching my husband page through these little books with this amazing little Bird, watching him explain, "that's your mommy. And that's daddy. And that's Bear with a Wheat Thin on his head. That's your uncle Dave. That's mommy in a bikini. That's mommy and daddy on the boat. That was our house in the country. That was our roommate. That was the time your mom made manicotti."

Sometimes I look through these and think, "wow, who knew?"


And then I think, "we did."

10 November 2007

Still Posting Every Day in November

I went to a wedding.
And then I sat on the back porch with A. drinking beers. And talked about things.
More later.

09 November 2007

Friday is My Day

A bit of housekeeping:
My blogroll has left the nest and now lives in its own page. Link is on the sidebar.


And now, In the spirit of tomorrow's yard sale, I'd like to share with you a couple of things I just can't seem to give up.These are the only black heels I have, and I've had them at least 4 years. These heels are mangled. The soles are thin, the heel is worn at a crazy angle, there are visible nails on the bottom. Part of the seam has split, revealing some shoe-guts, and I touch that part up with a sharpie every now and then and pretend no one is the wiser. I would buy new heels, but I'm constantly telling myself I 'm on my way to a job/ life without heels, so why buy some now? And they stay in rotation another year.



This is Big Mama. We've been together 7 years. This might be my favorite-ever thrift find-- I bought it at Southern Thrift shortly after we moved to this city with a coupla hundred dollars and no jobs. The year we couldn't afford the $6 admission to the Willie Nelson Museum and had to peek over the velvet ropes at his exercise bike, the very bike that was taken from him by the IRS.
I am always tempted to find a new heavy bag when winter rolls around and I find myself carrying several more unexplained pounds of unnecessaries, but I always come back to Big Mama. She used to have some inner pockets that have since ripped out, but she has still never failed me.

And you can tell I didn't go to work today, because I'm in such a fantastic mood I'm going to tell you about
Three Things I Love Today:

1. An entire day to myself. Nothing fancy, but it was mine. So refreshing. My application for the NCETMB is completed, including passport photo/ mug shot. 8 months of paystubs and EOBs and oil change receipts have been filed. Two cigarettes have been smoked, Two episodes of This American Life consumed, and much coffee ingested and processed. Felt good.


2. Stereolab. Rediscovered.
Which tends to happen without explanation on the occasion that I have several consecutive daylight hours to myself. Maybe because I started loving stereolab in college, during the year I finally lived alone.



3. Bird saying, "Actually." And using it correctly, and often. As in:

Me: Do you want milk or water?
Bird: Actually, I want juice.

And then there was this, tonight:

A: (to me) Do you want to just order pizza?
Bird: (Before I could answer) Yes, let's have cheese pizza. Thanks for asking."

08 November 2007

A Piece of Advice from Me to You

Don't do this.

That's right. You're looking at deep fried mac n' cheese that you eat in your car at Sonic. And I ate 6 of these evil little bites today on my way home from a patient visit.

Here's a snippet of telephone conversation:

SCENE I
Parked at Sonic, Columbia, TN, waiting for my order.

me: I'm at Sonic. Guess what they have.

A: dunno.

me: Macaroni and cheese bites.

A: Macaroni and cheese cokes?

me: gross. I'm hanging up.

A: no, really, what?

me: macaroni and cheese bites. I'm so excited. I have to go.

SCENE II
back on the road

A: Hello?

me: These things are so fucking awesome.

A: bye.

SCENE III
ten minutes later

A: Hello?

me: um, they had a weird aftertaste.

A: Maybe you should have ordered a mac and cheese coke to go with them.



And A Bonus Installment of Scenes From a Marriage:

me: Dammit! The zipper on these pants won't stay up all of a sudden.

A: mwahahaha, my plan is working!

me: Your plan to have me walk around the grocery store with my fly down?

A: (defensive) It still needs some work.

07 November 2007

Bird Says

This evening, at the dinner table, while trying to stuff the sour cream lid down the neck of her shirt:

"Don' worry. I'm just putting it in my pocket. Dass all."

06 November 2007

What I probably should not share

Sometimes I go into the bathroom at work and flip off the new boss from behind the door, both birds raised and blazing. It's quiet but I'm yelling.

Also, when I come home from a rotten day and A. is in an equally rotten mood, it does not double the rotten, but rather, makes rotten squared.

05 November 2007

More City Mouse/ Country Mouse

Visited another small town today, got really lost, depended on the kindness of (many) strangers at (many) gas stations speckled around the big beautiful nowhere to get me where I needed to go.

Could not have picked a more perfect day to drive, wish I'd had my camera. And just when I was really getting my dream on about sitting on the front porch of a big white farm house in a cozy sweater with a cup of coffee on my favorite rocking chair, looking out over the cows and horses and goats to the fiery red and gold mountains in the distance, I drove past a ramshackle trailer, EXACTLY like the one in the Dancing Outlaw scene in which they go "muddin", with about 5 effed-up looking dudes in thermal flannel, a graveyard of cars on the hill, including the burned-out (?) shell of a school bus and fifty mangy dogs and random parts of things, and I kid you not, they stopped what they were doing and stared my car on down the road. I'm sure they're very nice people. (-ish?)But they freaked me out and gave my little country dream a big record scratch back into reality.

04 November 2007

It was like moving except we still live here.

Today we decided to clean/ organize/ move part of the kitchen around, which set off a chain reaction that included my husband standing in the middle of the dining room (which Bird calls the "parlor") holding metal rods that were once a very large metro shelf, surrounded by dusty record albums and toys and shelving parts and unplugged stereo equipment with its guts hanging out, looking like he was going to cry. For my part of the organizing, I emptied and replaced and relocated everything in the few cabinets we do have, purging a few awkwardly shaped baking dishes (heart-shaped spring-form pan, anyone?) while Bird stood over an upside-down laundry basket and poured lentils from a measuring cup into about ten different teeny plastic containers. And all over the floor.

While I was moving shit from here to there and back again, I unearthed something so evil and allergic I don't know if I'll ever be the same, as I have been struck by a never-ending series of violent and unpredictable sneezes that make me think I might pee my pants every single time. Seriously, it has been hours, and the sneezes just keep coming. My head feels cloudy and drugged, maybe from the drugs. Time to have some tea. Aren't you glad I'll be posting every day?

03 November 2007

No, I got them ALL cut.

First off, Bird told me one morning last week that she wanted to wear a belt. And we had this cute ribbon from one of her birthday gifts, so I tied it around her waist. She's worn it almost every day since.


So, here's our shaggy little peach before the haircut:


And now, all groomed up and grown up:


It has been kind of an adjustment, painfully cute as it is, because now I look at her and I think she might really be some kind of kid, not a shaggy toddler-baby. A kid.







02 November 2007

Day Two and Still on the Wagon

Almost failed Nablopomo on my second day, but look at me! Not failing!

Today, Bird had her first real haircut-- a little buster brown hairdo, cute as a button. No pictures yet, because she was awarded a tootsie pop by the beauty shop lady, and therefore had no nap because she was high on sugar, so I had no shower. Which matters not. I didn't take pictures because she has been a grouch.

I visited a patient in a very small (and CUTE) town in Kentucky on Wednesday, and I started feeling my small-town itch (contrary to popular belief, the small-town itch is not something that gets passed around the cheerleading squad and the football team). I'm from a little burg, and sometimes I feel like I should be again. Like my family should be from a small place, because in my life, that's where families come from.

But then I start looking around for kids' haircut places online and get all caught up in some Sniparoo chain out by the mall where you pick from a menu of haircuts and they distract/ overstimulate/ snack your child into submission while they cut the hair. And I decide, "fuck it, we're going to Wayne's Unisex Salon on the big street across from Mrs. Winner's." And we walk in to a true, old-style beauty salon, where everybody's gossiping and sitting under helmet-dryers, and an old lady named Elaine pulls out a big padded booster seat so Birdy can sit in the special chair while she darts in and out of Bird's wee blonde mop with her scissors (with lightning accuracy for an old lady and a moving target, I might add), and everybody coos and pokes at Bird and makes a fuss. It might as well have been Littlesburg, Indiana, population 4000, where I grew up. And I think about the nice Egyptian guys that run the corner market and give me shit for smoking, and how I can walk to the post office, the grocery, daycare, and the library. And I realize I DO live in a small town, smack in the middle of this bustling city. And Birdy might actually get to be friends with a non-white child before college. AND I can buy beer on Sundays. So I'd say we're doing pretty well.

01 November 2007

Here's Something to be Uneasy About

Yesterday at a Fazoli's in Bowling Green, Kentucky I had to tell the counter/ food prep staff that they were out of soap in the bathroom. I would like to think that the soap ran out during some kind of big bathroom rush that happened AFTER the last female employee washed her hands, but there is much uncertainty, as the restaurant was not busy and well after lunch rush, and there was about one female employee. Odds are she was the last one in. Out. guh.


Halloween Story:
Birdy had a monkey costume. A damn cute monkey costume. A damn cute monkey costume that she wore all day on Tuesday at daycare where she learned how to trick-or-treat proper-like. A damn cute monkey costume so damn cute and special that she made an extra phone call to my brother and sister-in-law to tell them all about it before dinner last night.

A damn cute monkey costume that must have been made of molten lava or creepy crawly bugs when A. went to put it on her after supper. She wouldn't even let one foot get in the one fuzzy little leg. NOoooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOONOTWearMonkeySuuuuuuuuuuuuit! with the wailing and the kicking and the tears.

So A. said, "That's fine. But if you want to go trick-or-treating, you need to dress up."

And she did. All by herself. She put on a tutu, a hat knit by my friend S., some butterfly wings, and one red glove.

We decided her costume was "Age Two."

30 October 2007

Cat! DO NOT!

So after my last post I got an email from a concerned friend who thought I sounded depressed. Apologies to all, it had been a shitty week. It's all fine. Or will be fine, whatever. There are things I can't discuss because I'm not dumb about posting work stuff on the internet, but know that there are things in the world that are making me grouchy and I'm trying not to take it out on you, all four of you, my loyal readership. Instead I will take it out on the cat.

Birdy takes everything out on the cat. Direct quote from tonight:

"Cat! DO NOT! You know BETTER!"

I'd like to say she came up with that on her own, but it's definitely a page from my book. But what's a girl to do? That cat knows better! And he breaks things!


A. pinched Birdy's teeny finger totally by accident in a cooler and kind of peeled back some of the skin. She cried. A lot.

A: Oh, Birdy, that breaks my heart!
Bird: It breaks my heart, too!

Birdy will be a monkey for halloween. It will be so damn cute your teeth will melt out of your head, just wait.

I made this, and you should, too. Easy, delicious, with leftover mileage. Passes the Mama Snee test. I also made an Eggplant + Zucchini bake that involved a trip to a second grocery store to find eggplant, all in an attempt to convince myself that I do like eggplant. And sadly, despite my best efforts, I still do not like eggplant. Even smothered in mozzarella. And that's really saying something. There have been times in my life when I would have eaten styrofoam peanuts smothered in mozzarella and asked for seconds.

I'm thinking I'm going to do nablopomo, and I know you think that's funny, considering I post once every year or so, but LOOK OUT, I'm going to think of some things to say.

Starting Thursday, because it's late and I'm tired and in the middle of a freelance project due tomorrow, and I'm going to go on a hunt through all of the kitchen drawers for a stray cigarette I may or may not remember hiding from myself a very, very long time ago.

Here are your bonus pictures.

Helping make Granny-ola bars

This is Bird screaming at Reggie, the fish who came to live with us on her birthday.


This is Bird making some wooden breakfast on Sunday for Baby and Dog at her new birthday kitchen from Granny and Grandpa. It was the laziest of days. The next time I wish for lazy days where Bird and I lay around in our pajamas and cook wooden food and read books and drink coffee all morning while A. makes a huge, delicious breakfast and occasionally shouts out answers to whatever smartypants quiz show is on NPR, remind me that we do that. A lot.

25 October 2007

No Title This Time

Y'all.
I'm cooked.
So many things, not enough things, too many things.

Bird:
is two. Wants to do things "all my byself." Is funny. Is friendly and kind. Is charming. Is in need of a bath. Is not getting enough of my attention.

A:
Is my soother. I encourage you, if you are wound tight or worried about something, to talk to him about it. He will make a few simple comments, dilute the whole thing, and you'll be all like, "okay, pass me a beer, please. All is well." His motto: "nothing is fucked here, dude."

New boss:
is a man, is younger than me, eats out every meal (oh, the days of no babies), is totally for-serious, of the not-fuckin-around variety, will probably put the kibosh on my PT daycare opportunity (scheduling issues) and possibly my PT job opportunity. But there are advantages to a non-PT salary, so I'm sitting still and waiting for shit to settle. Something about doors closing and windows opening.
Also something about not having another job and really needing an income, about being in less control than I'd like to believe.

Job:
Where do I begin. I'm doing everyone else's lately. Finding myself in the mental state I fled two years ago when I declared my disdain for offices, slacks, and small talk. Somehow I have a real job again, and a part of me feeds on that, while another part gets food poisoning.

School:
Was over two months ago. Have not started studying for exam. Have not scheduled exam. Have not really thought about massage in a while. Either I'm ignoring the idea because It's easier to get comfortable-ish where I am (I know my way around non-profit work, to be sure), or because I made a sizable mistake when I borrowed all of that money to go to school. Stay tuned on that one.

Dogs:
Are stinky.

Clothes:
All are stupid, ill-fitting, worn or stained. New ones are expensive. And new boss has been wearing a tie every day, so I have a feeling I'm going to get the "talk" at some point, for my continued pushing (shoving?) the limit of casual workplace.

Bangs:
Over it. Growing out.

Edited to Add:
Um, so sorry, this post is pretty much a rerun of the last post. Obviously in need of some changes in the ole life-aroo.

17 October 2007

I'm here.

Did you think I wasn't here? I was starting to wonder myself.

I'm here though, busy at work with expanding duties and changing leadership and full-time possibilities that I'm wrestling with thinking about entertaining maybe.

Busy being filled to capacity with what-ifs and why-nots.

Busy putting off taking the NCTMB exam for my licensure because it costs a fistful of money and also because I crunched some numbers I should have crunched about a year and a half ago and it all looks a little dismal from here with regard to the earning potential that comes with said license.

Busy at home trying to be as mentally present as I can be with Birdy when we are physically there together, busy watching her get bigger and funnier and more imaginative, watching the days fly by, trying to plan a birthday shindig, trying to wrap my brain around the number two, as in two years, as in seven hundred thirty days ago tomorrow my water broke and Birdy entered the world and changed it forever.

But.

There is much work to be done here today. Family budgets are collecting dust and falling apart, bills are piling up, my house is getting grungier, shabbier, and more neglected as the days pass, but the job that pays the bills is the job that wins the attention on this Wednesday. How my temporary, "get through school" job has turned into the real thing-- a time-sucker, a desk-sitter, a brain-taxer-- is a fact that baffles me daily. Did I let it happen or did I want it to happen? Did I ask for it or did I fall into it? Am I beating 'em or joining 'em?

06 October 2007

Upon Learning of the Birth of a Friend's Baby

Me: Hey Bird, do you think we should have a baby in this house someday?

Bird: **blink**

Me: Would you like to have a baby brother? Or a sister?

Bird (thinks for a second, and then): No, I don't want brother and sister. I just have sandwich.

25 September 2007

Tuesday is the New Saturday (because I am not working today, that's the only thing they really have in common)

Debate with Toddler, Round II
"You lay on the white poller and I lay on the green poller."
"Okay."
"This poller is orange, and that poller is white."
"Um, okay, but I think your pillow is green. You just told me that."
"This one is orange, and that one is white."
"That one is green, and this one is white."
"Orange."
"Green."
"Orange."
"We'll just have to agree to disagree."
"Orange."

You say potato, and I say vagina
Also, by evening on the day of the potato-vagina debates, everything was vagina (bachina). Bachina bachina bachina. Bachina for dinner. Bachina on the phone. Bachina in the bedtime book.

As of today, the bachina storm seems to be on its way out, unless you ask Bird what something is called, because you know it's gonna be bachina. My favorite is her scuffed and beloved baby Stella, now known affectionately as Bachina Baby if you ask.

Finally I get to really pretend to be a stay-at-home mom
Bird and I went to story time today at the public library downtown, and she's now sleeping off all of the excitement of the puppets and the songs and the other kids, worn out from exclaiming things. It was all shock and awe at the Story Time today. Bird even walked right up to the puppeteer/ story reader after it was all over and gave him a proper toddler stare down, she was so impressed (and so brave).

We showed up a half-hour early (or a half-hour late, take your pick) for one of the three story times scheduled for today, and went upstairs to check out some books from my list while we waited. I set my water bottle down while dewy-decimaling, and took a few steps away from it to a different shelf. And Bird said, in a non-library voice, "MOMMY! DON'T LEAVE YOUR BEER!"

21 September 2007

I'm Really Just an Old Man on a Park Bench Yelling at the Pigeons

So I had a patient visit today, in a little town out past the suburbs that's getting too big for its britches, if you ask me. I stopped for lunch on my way back through the 'burbs, and I would like to say this publicly: If I ever declare that I am moving to the suburbs, you should know that this is code for "Jesus, take me home, I'm ready to go." I know it works for some people, and sometimes it even seems appealing to me, what with the wide sidewalks and lack of people picking through your trash for cans. But still. For me it's a no-can-do.

The suburbs do crazy things to me, and the soccer-mom traffic makes me hostile and free with the fuck-yous. (though I do not give the finger. Ask my friend J. what happens when you give the finger. You get a brick through your window, that's what.) But anyway.

The suburb I was in today is totally Snootsville. I only stopped there because I had a little extra time and I knew there was a Target + Panera plaza, and I figured that after I watched my patient's daughter stick a tube in the tracheotomy hole in her neck and suck out the mucous, my employer could spring for a soup and salad combo. Also thought I might try to find myself an inexpensve lightweight jacket to wear over t-shirts and tank tops to work, with maybe my gnarly old black heels, maybe something in an army green. Surely Target would have something like that.

What I actually bought: Lucky magazine*, because I like to window shop when I am in the loo, two pumice stones from the dollar bin, and a light blue tee shirt that would have gone great with a lightweight army green jacket, had I found one.

What happens to me when I spend too much time in Snootsville is that I start saying things outloud, kind of under my breath, that are actually directed at people-- things like:
Are you fucking serious? (by far the most common grumble) Do you really need that much car? Do you think that looks natural? No, really, YOU go first. Extensions? Really? Do you expect people to believe those are your actual boobs?

Things like that. Under my breath. Because I just get so fed up. And the mumbling and grumbling at people just brings me one step closer to being just like the crazy guy in my neighborhood that points at passing cars and hollers and does a little jiggy shuffle. Except that he actually has a lightweight, army-green jacket, and I have yet to find one.

There was a woman at Panera that came in at the same time I did, balancing a toddler on one hip and dripping with bags of various sizes and shapes on the rest of her free arm space. At first, I really felt for her. I know what it's like to be a pack mule. But then she just kept stomping around the place in her gigantic heels, sighing and rolling her eyes at everything, bumping into people and cutting in line at the drink station and jumping in front of an older couple to place her order and just being extra-rude in general. And then I noticed that one of her bags was actually a purse-dog carrier.
With a fucking purse-dog in it.
So I said, sort of under my breath,
"Good thing you brought THE DOG."

And she heard me.
My first reaction was something like a little internal "eep!" and I tried to look away, but then got ballsy and looked her right in the face and took all the stink eye she could give me because geez, lady, don't give that old guy a bunch of shit because you just had to bring your fucking dog to Panera.

I also saw a high school cheerleader in uniform and I am not even kidding you when I say that the skirt did not come close to covering her ass. By the time Bird hits high school the cheerleaders will just be naked, slithering around stripper poles on the sidelines, letting everyone see their potatoes. (Hey, come to my eightieth birthday, everyone! I am old and crotchety!)



*I did notice in my Lucky magazine that everybody in the photos has these bangs I have, and I had no idea they were so much the thing. I mean, I guess I had to know somewhere in my brain but I really was surprised to see it on all of these swank models in the shiny pages. Of course, looking at myself in the mirror in the bathroom in my silver hoop earrings and white button-down shirt, and I look more like maybe I should be sitting in a little booth somewhere on the Jersey Turnpike collecting tolls.

Abe Says Eff It

My husband has sent me the link to this shirt twice in two days. I finally had to tell him that while it is truly hilarious (and I sincerely mean that), I just couldn't support the idea of him walking into daycare to pick up bird in a shirt like that. You know, with that foul language that offends me so deeply.

O Pish Posh linked to my Granny-ola on the same day that I was planning to link to her play-dough recipe, which is on my list of things to do this weekend. Can't wait-- I remember my mom making this and I'm so glad she posted it. I'll let you know how it goes.

And Velocibadgergirl at Pardon the Egg Salad posted about a camping trip at one of my favorite places in Indiana and maybe the world, Turkey Run State Park. Go see those pics, folks. I spent many a weekend there growing up and her post brought back many, many memories, only a few of them involving fearing for my life in an old school bus trailing a bunch of canoes on a dirt road while being driven to the "put-in." Ah, Turkey Run.


Publish Post

20 September 2007

Blazzy Blazzy

As promised, here is my Mama's recipe for homemade, bullshit-free granola/ breakfast bars, which she suspects she adapted from a recipe printed in the oft-used, dog-eared, spiral bound cookbook that lived on top of our refrigerator throughout my childhood. It's still in print, probably updated, and I think I might just hafta buy myself a copy for old times' sake.

Granny's Granola Bars
1 1/4 cups peanut butter
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 cups granola (I used Cascadian Farms plain Granola)
1 cup raisins
  • combine first three ingredients over med heat until creamy
  • add granola and raisins + mix
  • press into 9 X 13 pan and chill overnight
Delicious this time, and, not being able to leave well enough alone, here's what I'll do next time:
  • Maybe use almond butter, just to try it
  • probably cut some of the granola and sub with sunflower seeds, nuts, flax seeds
  • probably add other dried fruit-- dates, figs, apricots-- in addition to the raisins
  • I will definitely score the bars before chilling-- cutting required some muscle.
Kill Your Television
We're almost TV-free in our house. We watched a short edu-video with Bird last night, and aside from that, I can't remember the last time it was on. Okay, my dad watched some golf last weekend. But. I'm not telling you this to be one of those judgy mothers that says "oh, I wouldn't know, we don't watch tv at our house." I'm telling you this because I'm proud of this tele-weaning even though it was in some ways accidental, and also because I've noticed a chill in the air and I realized that fall is nearly upon us and I have no idea when LOST starts back up again. Do you know? Will you please tell me? Because I have not missed an episode yet and I do not plan on starting now.

Need Recommendations
Two things:
1. Fiction to read. Your thoughts, please. I'm number 997 on the hold list at the library (labia) for everything I want right now.
2. Photo sharing. Seriously. Anyone have thoughts about shutterfly vs. flickr? anyone? Because I think I have to pay Flickr some money to upload the volumes and volumes of baby photos stored in my computer and I want to know if it's worth it.

Ciggins
Still smoke-free and on day 7. (my count was wrong yesterday). Husband on day 5, I think. I'm using a meditation technique to quell the cravings: every time I want to smoke/ think about smoking, I take a deep breath in and really notice it, understand that that breath is my life right now, then send a reason for not smoking out into the world on my out-breath. So far, so good.

What I'm having trouble with is what to do with the TIME. I've not been a day-time smoker for years, I don't smoke right after meals or in the car. I have a toddler so I don't go out to dive bars to see live music anymore. I no longer have a permanently reserved seat at happy hour. These obstacles have been removed. But.

Usually, we put Bird to bed around 8:30, clean up the house a little bit, and go sit on the back porch with a smoke and sometimes an adult beverage. We've fallen into this routine and it's become the time when A. and I connect, discuss, plan, et cetera. And now? We read in silence on the couch for a while and then go to bed at 9:15. Because we don't know how to handle the time.
But.
It will get better.

Times they are a'changin'.
A new executive director has been hired at work.
And it's a man.
And I am unexpectedly resistant to this change.
Because our little 4-woman sorority, while it was a huge adjustment in the beginning, has become a nice, comfy little arrangement for me. We have so little (and at the same time so much) in common and it really works right now. All I need is to share our little one-seater potty with some DUDE.
Meh.

19 September 2007

The Smoke is Clearing

I should have written a blog post yesterday, as A. had a quite-late meeting and I chose to sit in front of my home computer during that time and burn my eyeballs to raisins. But instead of creating something (or cleaning out a closet or a drawer for chrissakes) I sat and read blog after blog, because have you seen my blogroll over there? Out of control. Some editing is in order.

Usually when A. has these late meetings (which happen on our back porch, with beer, I might add), I visit the meeting for a bit and enjoy some beverage and a few smokes. But alas, I have quit smoking-- again-- so I sat inside and frittered away time with nothing to show for it, as I have been known to do.

This quitting has been a good quitting so far-- I'm on day 5, and doing okay. My dear husband has also quit, and while I applaud his effort and I feel hopeful for the both of us, I will say that quitting smoking + marriage = rocky times. Especially when one of us (him) turns into a mean neat freak and the other (me) turns into a big no-skinned over-sensitive weenie. We have our moments when we see each other through the fog and apologize and understand it's a temporary insanity, and we have moments like last night where the two-ish hours I spent with my husband were far, far more difficult than the entire day I spent with a two year old, tantrums and all.
But.
It will get better.

Parts
Yesterday Bird and I ran a ton of errands in the morning. We also went to the library. Which Bird pronounces "Labia."

"Bird, where are we going?"
"To the LABIA!!"
"What will we do there?"
"SEE MONKEYS!"

And while we are on the subject of anatomically correct names for parts, I had always intended to teach Bird the real words for things-- parts, genitals-- rather than give her a cutsey substitute word to use that would somehow lead to her being ridiculed in 6th grade sex ed when she refers to her "cupcake" or other nonsense. But when the time came to step up to the plate, I failed. When she started asking "whassat?" about everything, right around 14 months, I said, "that's your business." And it stuck.

Not that there's anything wrong with "business." She was pointing to an entire region when I said that, not a specific part. And it was just easier. So now she goes around talking about everybody's "bensins," mine, daddy's, even poking at my poor eunich dogs and reminding them how much "bensins" they have missed out on.

It's time to introduce the real words for things, I think. And here's how it went yesterday, I shit you not:
"Bird, do you know what your business is called?"
"BENSINS!"
"Yes, but do you know the word for your business?"
"BENSINS!"
"It's called vagina."
"Potato!"
"No, va-gi-na."
"PO-TA-TO!"
"VAGINA!"
"POTATO!"
And this concludes the first round of the great Vagina-Potato debate of 2007.

Thirty Year Old Granola is Better
Also yesterday while running errands, Bird and I nearly starved to death, so we ran to Harris-this-is-going-to-cost-you-a-hundred-bucks-Teeter looking for snacks. And oh, did we find some snacks. I also heard Sheryl Crow's version of "Sweet Child of Mine" and it was the longest and most grueling three and a half minutes of my life, and I have had a baby come right out of my body.

Anyway. In no time we were back in the car cruising along and scarfing down granola bars. Damn good granola bars. Granola bars bought in haste. "Surely," I said aloud, "these are packed full of bullshit." And do you know what? THEY ABSOLUTELY WERE, full of high fructose maltose nastiness. So when we got home I drug out my own mama's recipe from an old seventies health-food cookbook and went to work. Damn fine granola bars, folks, don't waste your cash at the HarryTeet. I don't have the recipe here with me at work but I will post it later. You won't want to miss it.

It's turned into a free-for-all
Since my wheels are turning too fast (it has become so obvious that I am a morning person), I will stop with the sentences and just list of everything that I am thinking for the next minute or so:
  • Yoga and why the fuck I am not doing it
  • Cutting my hair short (pixie) again
  • If the stuff used to kill off the roaches is going to poison us in the end
  • Scheduled maintenance for my car
  • Severe lack of money, but I feel like the answer is within reach, just can't see it
  • Why do I tune in to Dave Ramsey, that smug sonofabitch
  • Why can't I get Mint to recognize my bank info (that's the reason I got on the computer last night in the first place, now I remember)
  • Throwing things away, thowing LOTS of things away
  • Why do I let my dogs get to a point of stink-out when I could just wash them
  • Whether or not to switch from Shutterfly (used for parents in Indiana, etc) to Flickr (which is 700X easier to organize)
  • Making play dough for Bird
  • Waldorf school, Montessori school
  • LACK OF MONEY
  • Thankful I will be listening to Larry Flick this morning on my drive to see a patient
  • Oh shit, I'm going to be late.

12 September 2007

I can think again, now that the temperature is below 145 degrees in Tennessee

A couple of days ago, I finally met Girl, Corrupted and her sweet Mr. Cooper, live and in person, walking toward me on the Greenway. If you don't already visit her in blogland, you should, because she likes to talk about poop, which automatically makes you a gem of a lady in my book. She reminded me that I have a blog, and I think she may have even shaken a finger at me? Hmmm. In any case. Here I am.

So never fear, readers (all four of you), I'm alive and well and mostly holding my shit together. My little mental break from/ at work has passed, and I'm back to busting it during the work week. I finished my very last class last weekend and hosted my in-laws for two nights. We traveled to Southern Indiana for Labor Day and attended no fewer than four major family functions/ events, all involving different combinations and permutations of the same group of people wearing different combinations of clothing. And this weekend is the single most big-assed fundraiser for the organization that pays me, A. will be traveling to Indy to play a sloppy drunken mess of songs with members of our old Hoosier college family, and my parents will come into town to visit/ volunteer for the fundraiser/ soak up as much Bird time as they possibly can. I lost my gigantic bundle of keys and discount tags and was made to pay the Honda dealership seven hundred thousand dollars to replace my huge, electronic car key (it has buttons on it. It is complicated.) My large dog seems to be losing his hair and his mind. Bird is getting tall. I cleaned the upstairs bathroom.

So far, September is kicking my ass.


This is just a bonus picture. She's taking a Bird Bath in the sink.


28 August 2007

Eight Things, Doggie

1. I had my chakras treated (by pendulum) on my last day of massage clinic. Do I believe in chakras and energy centers? Yes. Maybe. Mostly. Everything was open and flowing freely except my sahasrara (higher consciousness/ spiritual connection) chakra was spinning in a wide circle. Backwards. WTF.

2. So we went to church on Sunday, in part because I was feeling a little shaken by the whole "your spiritual connection is not only off, it's backwards" thing. My bedside reading has been Blue Like Jazz, a gift from my Dad, and there have been many other nudges lately pointing me back in the direction of our sweet and liberal neighborhood Episcopalians.

3. My Gran is in the hospital, three days before we were scheduled to visit. We will still visit, of course, because what trip to the home town of both of my parents would be complete without forty-seven lunch and other various commitments and the pressure to really soak up the family that is all together all too rarely? She left me a bizarre message Sunday night, and according to my mother there is still an unexplained fever and some not-entirely-with-it behavior. But hey, who among us doesn't exhibit a little fogginess now and then? And then again, I'm also going to guess you're not eighty-seven. Because there's also that. So-- good thoughts toward my Gran, please.

4. I'm reading the History of Love by Nicole Krauss, which had been suggested to me and which I avoided for some reason, probably because I thought the title was hokey and it sounded like one of those best-sellers on an end-cap shelf at the check-out at the grocery, a book by someone with a first name common in my own generation, a book with little to no content, just a semblance of a story riddled with brand names and the pursuit for Mr. Right. Of course, it is not that book. It is beautifully written and twisty and I can't put it down. Next up on the reading list: frantic studying for for the national board exam. I promise not to write any kind of review here.

5. I've been checking this group regularly. Because it's like going to some hipster place and people- watching, without having to fight the line at the bar to buy a beer. Though I wish there was beer involved, sometimes. And sometimes there is.

6. A disturbing new trend in my office: continuing to participate in conversation after you are safely in the little bathroom with the door closed. This is a small office, and now we can no longer pretend the hearable is unhearable. inaudible. whatever. If we can continue our conversation while you're in there, I can't pretend you can't hear me pooping.

7. I got really dedicated to my job a few months back. And now I'm taking a break from that dedication. Many reasons, one of which is that my office is an ovening bunnery, with everyone gestating and wearing granny panties and complaining of heartburn, and wanting to talk about breastfeeding and what kind of pack-n-play they should put on their registry. I am completely willing to kill an hour or two a day this way. Another reason is that I've made it known that I plan to stick around there for a while until I figure things out, and I believe that at that very moment when the words came out of my mouth, my dedication went from flame to flicker. Another reason is that it's heart-wrenching work, no matter what your boundaries, and sometimes I just think you have to lay low, dammit. I'm on break. I'm still doing the nuts and bolts of my job and nothing is falling through the cracks, still enjoying the steady paycheck and the flexible hours, and I'll get my act together soon.

8. Once again, you are rewarded for making it to the end of this post. Bird has been singing "you are my sunshine" on a continuous loop for days, sometimes going for 30 minutes at a time. A. shot and cut this together. Please notice "you make me happy, and that's okay"

25 August 2007

Recipe Corner and Deeper Thoughts

Okay, so I know what you're thinking. That's just pasta and vegetables with melted cheese.


You're right. It's just pasta (the very last straggly pieces of 2 mismatched boxes, combined) boiled right in the same water with frozen peas, carrots, and corn. Then drained and served with a healthy handful of shredded marble cheddar and some delicious, sinful butter. And some salt.

I didn't invent it and I'm not even pretending it's a big deal. I know you probably make your own version. I just don't want you to forget how fabulous and uncomplicated it is.

So I am eating this always-true formula of comfort food deliciousness while my Bird naps and my husband plays basketball with kids half his age at the community center. The house is quiet. I just finished an article I'd been wanting to read. I'm still in my pajamas, and it's 2pm. Even more delicious.

Last week, I got worked up about chemicals and the toxic dangers lurking under our sink, and I threw every spray and solution and powder away, replacing them with a Farmer's Almanac guide to simple cleaning, a bottle of vinegar, some lemons, a bottle of peroxide and a box of baking soda. So far so great, as Bird and I spent the morning deep-cleaning the kitchen, and she was completely welcome to go buck wild with the spray bottle of safe, homemade cleaner and her own sponge. And now my kitchen is mostly clean, my 1930s cast-iron sink is closer to white than I have seen it in a while, the house is quiet, and all is well.

Like I was saying, I'm eating my lunch. I heard some stirring from the direction of Bird's room, and I walked down the hall and leaned against her door frame for a minute, listening for the normal scritching and scratching as she wakes from her nap. No scritching. But all of a sudden, I am socked in the gut by the fact that I am somebody's parent. That I am standing in my quiet house with no larger agenda than to take care of my own, listening for that little person, human being, thing that I created, thing that is both a part of me and a separate life, to rejoin our day. I have a child. I am a mother. It's a sock in the gut and a deep embrace at the same time, and I have to catch my breath because it is too big and too powerful and to sweet and too terrifying to handle.


Like knowing all along there is light in the world and one day looking right into the sun.

22 August 2007

We Have Reached Maximum Occupancy of Brain

Oh, oh, oh, my head is on the verge of explosion. There's too much going on in there, bumping around and against itself and still not making a shred of sense.

I have one more day of intern clinic, and then one more weekend of classes (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation, which is not as bad as it sounds), and then school is over. I will study. I will take the national board exam and I will become licensed.

And then I can't use "I'm in school" as an excuse to not have my shit together, or at least have some kind of a plan for thinking about deciding how said shit will come together. And by my shit, I mean my whole family's shit, because I tend to be in charge of the shit that needs to come together. And I can no longer use "I'm in school" as an excuse for working part time and keeping my family broke. Even a little bit. I'm going to have to own the part-time thing as it relates to the broke-ass thing, knowing that the good-hearted effort to spend more time with Bird also includes the reality that I could be doing more. I could be trying harder to save us from broke-assness.

So then maybe I will give massage somewhere one day a week in addition to my now three-day-a-week job with the dying people and the small-but-steady paycheck. But then, am I following my initial plan to have more time with my family? Or am I just really looking for full-time work after all, no matter how you piece it together? And do I really want to stick around with the dying people? This was supposed to be temporary. And oh, what a mess.

So begins the whirring of my gears, but the cogs and wheels are getting all mucked up with muck and it becomes overwhelming. What if this, what if that, what about childcare, what about another baby, what about the bills, what about the mortgage, what about that ten-year-old car, what about a drink? Yes, I could use a drink, thank you. And I'll kiss you on the mouth if you give me a smoke and talk to me about something else.

21 August 2007

Apparently I Post a lot of Video All of a Sudden.

I've been listening to a lot of Sirius satellite radio lately, thanks to my long-ass drives to see patients in the past couple of weeks. Mostly the Gay Radio station-- the morning show is like sitting with a towel wrapped around my head in my best friend Joseph's kitchen in college with a Vodka + Grapefruit, reading a Celeb-tabloid Magazine while waiting for some kind of freaky-ugly hair dye to work its magic. Except it's early in the morning, I'm wearing slacks, and I'm in the car going to visit dying people. Other than that, it's exactly the same.

Anyway.

I've also been listening to the "Left of Center" station, and being married to an indie music snob for so many years makes me automatically skeptical of a mainstream-ish media outlet serving up some band we saw three years ago at the Springwater. But whatever. I bought a Feist CD with some of my precious, fast-spending Christmas money a while back, on the recommendation of a friend. I hated it. I hated it so much I returned it to Grimey's and got a refund. And now I hear this Feist person all over the Sirius station I listen to the most. And I don't mind it so much. And THEN (please let this get interesting soon), I was bumbling around the internet, stopped at Sweet Juniper, and found this link:



And I must say I like the song much, much better now that I know there's choreography involved. And now that I know that this Feist woman and I have pretty much the exact same haircut.