12 November 2009

I'm not gone, I'm just...

Pregnant. Still.

Don't forget about me. I have things to say if you still want to hear them.

But right now I have to pee. Again.

31 days to go, btw.

Can I get a HOLY SHIT?

11 September 2009

Listen alla y'all

Today, I am naming a line of household garment care appliances. Finding and combining words about trust and value and the desire to be the kind of woman to whom pressed drapes and tablecloths are a given. I'm a little out of my element. The only iron I have ever owned is the one I own now, and it was left behind by a previous tenant in a house I rented in 1998. A discolored, renegade college iron. Even then, it was somebody's mom's old cast-off. I'm not getting very far. I am skilled at assassinating the creative process. Sabotage.

Why do I do this? I babystep into the word-world, do some research, find some images that get me to that place where people press (shit, OWN) tablecloths. The lines get wavy and I get into that person's head, start to understand how "Classic" differs from "Essential," how that feels, what combinations of words resonate, fit, complement. And just when I start to see the words and feel them and they have color and weight and texture to me, and they start to interact and kick up some good homekeeping-vibe momentum, I kick out a word. And another word. And they kind of work, no, wait, rearranged they COULD work, and I step back and take a look and say, "that might just be okay." And then I say, "That is a damn fine start." And what I should say next would be something like, "now what if..." but instead, my brain says, "GET THE FUCK OUT OF HERE!" and I do this ultra-quick zoom-out thing, and if you were sitting here I'd make the noise that I think goes with it, and make some wild gestures, but you're not here, so imagine the face you would make if you were asleep and you woke up and realized you were driving down the interstate, because that's the face my brain makes. I HAVE to check email! I HAVE to check facebook! I HAVE to call the pediatrician, HAVE to make a note to call the countertop guy! And we should have a pumpkin party for Birdy's fourth! And I need to look up the Swine Flu! It's like trying to fall asleep and waking up suddenly every time you start dreaming. It is not a good way to work. And it's not getting any irons named.

Looks like we're going with "the Flattenah."

09 August 2009

5:25 Sunday afternoon:

Reclining on the couch with one foot on the ottoman and my belly hanging out of my shirt, talking to Bird about spiders and letting the dog lick a pile of potato chip crumbs from my already-filthy pants.

And that ends our latest trip to Indiana.

06 August 2009

Pothole O'Reilly

Those were my two wavy words to type when I ordered my 7,000th bridal shower gift of the summer on Amazon. Pothole O'Reilly. Sounds like a scruffy little pickpocket.

I was explaining this at the dinner table, and Bird said, "who is Paco O'Reilly?" And yeah, even better.

Bird has been doing this weird exaggerated Southern accent lately, and I can't decide if I love it for its cleverness and her ability to notice and modify language, or if I hate it because it's obnoxious and loud and usually repetitive. Both, I guess.

I'm in the middle of a huge project at work. A project which involves a lot of pressure, and a deadline, and a lot of research. And truthfully, I should be at the END of this project, but I have grown to dislike it very much and spend a lot of my work time searching for distraction. Like the Seinfeld episode where George and Jerry sit down to write the pilot. In any case. This project. Kicking my lazy, pregnant ass all over the room.

Things we have recently prepared and liked, which involve minimal stove time: Mango Avocado Rolls, Edamame Hummus. Yum on both. Go try.

Currently reading: Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc. The library sent an email saying the book was overdue. So I went online to renew it, naturally. And it is ON HOLD for another patron, and therefore un-renewable. But! I am loving this book, in a sad and curious way, so I keep making reading promises and making more headway, racing to finish and return just a little bit late. This is my public apology to the next reader: I do hope you are a hopeful and disorganized library patron like me, that you use the hold list as more of a wish list, and that you will be pleasantly surprised to learn that it's your turn, instead of sitting in your reading chair in the dark all alone, tapping your fingertips on the table until I'm done. Because dammit, I have to finish this book.

23 July 2009

Vocabulary Police, Dawdling, and Over-thinking

If you had been at our house this morning, you would have seen me standing over the washing machine with my arm in almost up to the shoulder, frantically fishing through cold, dark water for my drowned cell phone. Already late for work, you would have heard me say a lot of things to myself. And you would have heard me end with "FUCKING STUPID."

And then, you would have heard a firm little voice in the kitchen say, "Mom. We don't say 'stupid'."


Ah, my Bird. She is a piddling, dawdling, piddledawdler in the mornings. A. puts up with most of it since I (theoretically, anyway) start my paid workday earlier than he does, and it is more frequently becoming a power struggle/ battle of wits/ tangle of wills between the two of them. They argue like teenagers. He asks her to put on her shoes, she puts on five finger puppets. He askes her to go get dressed, she spends her time jumping on the bed. He asks her to brush her hair, she ends up in a puddle of tears because she's found her winter coat in the too-small box. He asks her to put on her listening ears, and she says, "I left them at school." He counts to three. She complies at the final second. And more than a few times, Bird says, "Daddy. Settle down." Which, if you know my mild-mannered A., is especially funny. Except not to him.


So, about that too-small box. Looks like it's going to be seeing a lot of action starting this winter-- baby #2 is officially a girl. Time to start naming, sorting, wrapping our heads around what's going on around here. Two girls. Yay and yikes.


No time like the pregnant to over-think some shit: In halfway following a discussion board comment thread, I read the words that push the overthink-buttons of WOH mamas around the country: "evaluate what you give up to go to work and decide if it's really worth it." I'll spare you the details of my rabbit-hole thinking-- my ever-changing and always hazy list of gains and losses that never declares a winner.

All this talk of giving up and gaining. Of worth. How much of it is truly about the benefit to the child and how much of it is about having sorted laundry and clean sheets and time to slow-cook a meal? How much is about parenting and how much is about physically being in and keeping up a home? How much is just straight-up personal, on both sides of the decision?

I have wrestled with internal and external voices that both encourage and challenge my choices as a working-away-from-home mama, and I can tell you with complete honesty that sometimes, the desire to be home with my child during the day really does boil down to having naptime to myself and getting some flowers planted. Running an errand in the middle of the day without paying for it with my lunch hour. Spending enough time in my house to clean it and enough time in my neighborhood to enjoy it. And having time for actual, personal, non-facebook connections with my actual, personal friends. That is what I am missing-- or feel like I've given up-- the most right now. I have time with Bird every night, but I haven't seen some of my dearest friends in months.

13 July 2009


I made this, and I made this.

The first one, simple/ fresh/ delicious and still yum on day 2-- though if you are going to carry over into lunch territory don't mix the roasted cherry tomato mix in with the soup. Keep 'em separate and mix up bowl by bowl, ya dig?

And the second one, HOLY HELL elastic thread, first my enemy and now my friend. Pics and pattern review to come soon, maybe. The dress turned out nice and light and summery, just the right shape for my getting-bigger belly but also the right shape for my non-baby body. Versatile.

10 July 2009

In the garden

"Hey Bird, try one of these tiny orange tomatoes. They're sweet, like candy."

"This one has a butt."

02 July 2009

Well, well, look at THIS! She decides to just SHOW UP again, eh?

I do have an excuse. I haven't been writing because I haven't really been awake for 3-ish months. Completely exhausted and sick as a damn dog and hardly able to construct a quick email sentence about whether or not I am available for a conference call. I mostly needed to be in a quiet and more private space for a bit while I wrapped my brain first around surviving the day and on a bigger scale, the impending whiz-bang close to 2009. At which time, I will be a mama to TWO. 12/13/09, baby. I can't (and won't) say we're ready or that we know how we're going to swing this, but it's what we want and it's good. We'll know what to do when we do it. Things always come together and I'm just trying to pay attention to the signs and opportunities. The excitement is different and more peaceful this time.

One of my to-do lists currently includes the item, "list of demands." I have no idea what I meant when I wrote that, but I like knowing that, at some point, my demands may be met if I would only submit them in list form.

I shopped at a grocery store in the college neighborhood on Monday. It was heaven: clean, bright interior, landscaped parking lot, well-stocked shelves and Fage yogurt availability. I was asked --MORE THAN TWO times-- not for change or cigarettes but if I could be helped in my food search (the staff must have sensed my wide-eyed wonder). There was actual eye contact as my food was passed over the scanner by the kind hands of a Harris Teeter associate, and polite conversation, even an offer to help me to my car with my seven very manageable bags-- an offer that, admittedly, first tripped my initial "DO NOT follow me to my car, M*f*kr" defense before I realized there is also a HELPFUL kind of following, not just the creepy, "can I have a ride" kind. The icing on the cake? This particularly well-lit, friendly grocery is open until ELEVEN o'clock-- hardly noteworthy to some, but the dingy yellow ghetto groceries close at 9pm due to the sometimes unsavory late night patrons, and visiting at 8:30 leaves you waiting to pay for your mealy, pink tomato in the one open checkout lane, inhaling the scent of a 7-pack per day smoker as she unloads an entire cart of Hungry Man dinners onto the belt while behind you, a ferociously strong person gives you the crazy eye, all of us prepared to accept complete indifference from the disgruntled check out girl with tattoos on her neck who will hear the sound of a dozen eggs being crushed under a watermelon as she bags your items, and throw your tortilla chips in the mix, just for good measure.

Shopping until eleven, like it's the most normal thing in the world. The luxury of it! After a lovely dinner out with old friends, I entered the friendly and well-lit grocery at 8:30pm, childless and free to roam about among the micro-brews and the bok choy, the non-sticky floors and pleasant, non-gaggy smells. It was like a past life. It was like checking into a spa. A spa with more than one kind of yogurt.

25 May 2009

Still here, ya'll.

Quietly cookin' up a big thing over here, hush hush for now.

Getting ready to go on vacation, so so so so ready. Except for packing and getting physically ready. We will do that poorly and at the last minute and it will not matter one bit.

Birdy is a big kid. Unbelievably big. She uses words like "beverage" and "interrupt."

I have been eating an awful lot of cereal.

I have been sewing a little, cursing a lot. Jersey fabric is not for beginners. Also, wingin' it without a pattern-- not for a freshman like myself. A bit of an epiphany today-- that I may enjoy sewing more if I used an honest-to-God PATTERN, instead of trying to hold things up to my body in front of the mirror and guessing. Birdy's skirt turned out super-cute, though. And Venture Alivans got a matching one as well. Photos as soon as I can get her to sit still.

... because our camera just completely sucks. It takes fabulous photos of still subjects in broad daylight, but not active preschoolers. Anxiously awaiting the freeing up of the Panasonic Lumix inventory from backorder.

Got my kitchen painted (by A.) for Mother's Day. S'nice. Again, pictures soon.

Everyone is sleeping at my house, I'm up waiting for a lentil bake to cool so I can fridge it to take to a new baby's family tomorrow afternoon.

Not thrilled about my return to the office tomorrow. Not thrilled.

23 April 2009

Storm a-brewin'

I have 70 lbs of shaking, drooling, clumsy dog trying to fit under this desk with my legs tonight. Who needs the weather man when you've got this guy?

I realized this week that I have been misusing (and misunderstanding) a common business term for about five years now. C-suite. Who knew it actually meant people whose titles start with "C"... CEO, CFO, COO, whatever. I thought it meant "C" suite. Like, not quite "A" suite, just down the hall from "B" suite. Like a C-list celebrity. A C-list executive. As in, probably drives a Taurus.
Fortunately, I discovered this on my own, prior to making an ass of myself, though I might have said, "aaaaaah!" under my breath in a meeting when my own personal lightbulb finally went off.

Also at work this week, the bug guy showed up in his poisonous metal backpack, wearing a tie with illustrated bugs on it. Dude. Way to get into it.

I picked Bird up from daycare and she wanted to show me her "ant hill"-- a paper plate painted green, topped with a paper cup painted brown. I found the one with her name on it, sitting in a row of identical creations, drying and waiting to have fingerprint ants applied in the morning. Walking home, I told her I really liked her ant hill. "No, mama" she said, "Ant Heel."
"Oh," I said. "I always thought it was "Ant hill."
"No. Ant Hee-Yull. Like the Hee-Yull of your foot. Hee-Yull."
A. and I are Midwestern to our core, but that girl is all South.

07 April 2009

Would you like to read something today?

Here is something I read and liked very, very much just now.

Enjoy this Tuesday, will you?

04 April 2009

Woo Hoo Saturday Night + hummus

"Mama, ask me what I'm eating."

"What are you eating?"



Estate sale and yard sale today. Bought about a third of a collection of the Sweet Pickles books for Bird, some "fancy dance" recital-type outfits, a sweater (for me), a small ceramic coyote* a whole mess of other crap, and a round table and 4 chairs. Which are in desperate need of a paint job and a little sanding but which will fit so much more comfortably in my kitchen than the big rectangle obstacle we currently use. I chose the kitchen set over a super awesome rocking chair, which was the same price and which I will probably always think about, dwelling on how freaking awesome it would look in the living room. And if not freaking awesome, at least freaking okay. Freaking better. All it needed was a simple cushion recover. Damn.

And really, the table will be very, very nice for us. I promise pictures.

* Bird says "cahita"


I have decided to think of the last week as a small vacation, where I was not productive anywhere in my work or home life, where I ate a lot of bullshit and used the "old shoes" excuse to keep my feet off the pavement. Well, welcome home! And still not getting new shoes! Bought ceramic wildlife and sequined leotards instead! Put down the baguette and run anyway!


Big dog ate 1/2 a can of chickpeas last night, right off the table when nobody was looking. And let me just say that whatever a bean overload can do for you, it can also do for your dog. Loudly.


So, the hummus. Here's the recipe I used. Like the author, I found it to be over-olivey compared to the Bobbi's (because you know I went out and got a tub to do a side-by-side taste test). Next time I'll use a little less water and probably Safflower oil in place of the olive oil. (this time I used 2T olive oil and 4T canola). And I used pre-minced garlic instead of crushing a clove because I didn't have any intact garlic handy. So that probably would have made a difference. But all in all, damn close. And if I hadn't gone all perfectionist on this project, I could have fooled myself into believing it's exactly the same. Considering that making it at home costs about $1.50, it's close enough.

01 April 2009


Something I actually said today walking home from daycare:

"We are not going to go back and put that poop in your bag. And I am done talking about it."

Something that actually happened today:
Home appraisal for the Great Refinance of 2009. Felt super weird sitting on my couch pretending to read my new Vegetarian Times while the (very kind and fatherly) appraiser took a picture of the World's Tiniest Bathroom, clunked down the basement steps, peered into the guestroom/ graveyard of bullshit. And after he left I realized the toilet lid was up, prominently displaying a nice big wad of TP (thanks, Bird) floating around in there, with maybe some... is that pee? Cheers! Thanks for checking out the house! Maybe the memory of the toilet paper floater will erase the memory of the plaster cracks and weird wet spot in the basement!

Something I'm wondering about:
How many pounds of chickpeas can one family eat in a year? Because seriously, we are chickpea-heavy for at least 3 meals a week, and one of which is always Mediterranean Night.* Do other veg families lean this hard on the bean?

Something I'm loving:
Veganomicon. OMG. I've said it before, I'll say it again. Even if you are a raging carnivore, this book has the potential to rock your world or at least your side dish reportoire. A. has developed an addiction to the chickpea cutlets, which we now make in double batches and freeze half for quick & easy deliciousness, though they never seem to stick around long. Tonight's dinner: chickpea cutlet sandwiches with lettuce, tomato, avocado slices, Vegenaise, dijon mustard, red onion on homemade (thank you trusty little breadmaker) french baguette, served with roasted potatoes, onion, and asparagus. And yes, Bird will even eat a chickpea cutlet. This book is magical, I tell you.

Something that did not work:
We were on such a streak with Veganomicon that we branched out to try the Tempeh with broccoli and whole wheat rotini last night, which was under 45 minutes in prep and cook time as promised, but it was an intense 45 mintues. And the verdict? A. started out with, "yeah, I don't know if we should make this again, it seemed pretty complicated." and on to, "Maybe it would be better with a little more vinegar" to "I don't think I'll eat the leftovers, probably" to scraping the pot out into the garbage and saying, "That was disgusting." Should have known by the tablespoon of fennel seeds. I hate fennel. And yet still remain a little shocked that I hated this dish. That's how magic the V-con is. It romances you into thinking you might even like fennel in your tempeh, and you don't hold a grudge when it's gross.

*Mediterranean night = one tub of Bobbbi's Your Favorite Hummus + homemade pita +red peppers, carrots, olives, red onion. One plate, almost no dirty dishes. WIN!

** OMGOMG tried to find a website for the very yummy and insanely garlicky Bobbi's Hummus and came up emptyhanded. I buy it at Turnip Truck so go find it there. BUT! In my search, I ran across a random discussion board post that claims to be the Bobbi's Recipe. I. do. not. jest. After tomorrow (when we are scheduled to have Mediterranean Night, so lookout vampires) I might be the most-seven-dollars-savin'-est mama in the 'hood.

20 March 2009


This morning I woke to a gorgeous, crisp spring morning. A dark 5:30, still early enough to be that cozy, blue half-awake time, tucked in under a nice fat blanket with the bedroom window open and twenty more minutes to sleep before the mandatory wake-up and hustle. The world was fresh, peaceful, and willing to wait a few more minutes. I snuggled in to savor it. Birds were chirping. Mostly one bird. Chirping and chirping and chirping. Just singing his chipper little avian song out into the world, to no one in particular, without need for response, right outside my window. Chirp! As if he was chirping inside the very bedroom, perched on the night stand, chirping away. Look here! Chirpchirpchirp! I am awake! I am going to try to find a worm later! I'm thinking about making a nest! My @bird friend said chirp cheep -- hilarious! Chirp! I'm going to shit on your windshield in a bit! Chirp chirp!

I am learning to twitter. I am tweeting. Trying to figure out what it is and why it's appealing. Trying to care enough to keep up with it. Trying to figure out how and why the Tennessee Aquarium is following me. It's all work-related: somebody needs to know how to do it if we're going to be buzzing the buzz words of marketing, I suppose. Chirpbuzz.

16 March 2009

LOOKOUT, I just posted yesterday

And now again today, what is up with that??

If you know me in real life, you know I'm a big menu planning/ grocery shopping/ budgeting nerd. I just used my very last menu/ grocery worksheet (I made 52 copies this time last year, so that's about right, I reckon) and now face the task of creating an updated version. So when I came across this post today, I squealed with glee, pushed my dork-glasses back up on my nose, and adjusted my pocket protector. I am inspired to create a prettier, bad-ass-er version of my tried-and-true system, and more than anything, happy to know I'm not alone when I spread out my cookbooks and tattered recipes on a Friday night and start mapping out my grocery run, aisle by aisle.

Anyway, if you know me in real life, you know I am a clumsy human, both socially and physically. On the physical side of things, I regularly discover small bruises in unexpected places and never think twice about it, as it would be an all-day activity to try to recall the many things I've bumped into, tripped over, or smacked against in the last few days. But in the last week, I have discovered four bruises on the front of my upper thigh, all in a cluster, and I'm now on a fairly passive hunt to find the offending table corner or piece of furniture and move it out of my path once and for all. I will let you know how that goes.

Also, I am going to sew something. Soon. I also need some black flats, because the birthday shoes I loved in July are feeling all clompy and stompish. And I just ate a salad with too much red onion for most people, but exactly enough red onion for me.

*Edited to add:
Also found this post about using Google Calendar to menu plan. It blew my mind. I don't think I'm ready, but I'm intrigued.

15 March 2009

Oh, hello, it is March, I am still here

Lyrics to the song Bird sang to me this weekend, with gusto (and wild hand gestures):

I am going to the DOCTORRRRR
And I am bringing my PURRRRRSE!
And in my PURRRRSE
I have some doctor STUUUUUUFFFF!

My brother in law and his fiance visited this weekend, lovely time, etc.
Took Bird to the "Slumber Party" at daycare (Parents' night out, WOOT!) and finally made it out to this place, which was delightful, and then on to other places closer to home where I ordered additional fine beverages crafted by the first place. We saw friends, we shouted over the crowd, we spent some money. We were OUT and ABOUT, dammit.

When we got back at 11:30, the floor of the daycare was dark and lumpy with sleeping children. And my Bird was the only kid standing up on her mat in her sad little mismatched jammies, watching the door for us to come back. Ouch.

And today, my dear sweet husband has alternated between writhing around in cold sweats and sleeping like a rock. I gave him a mild level of shit about it (attributing his illness to his sinful livin') until I realized he was burning up with fever and probably dealing with actual illness. Since then I have been really, really nice. And Bird has been even nicer, stroking his hair and bringing him saltines and using every giant plastic tool in her doctor kit. I can't wait to see which one of us will be the next victim of the sudden puking fever illness!

I have no idea how old I was, but I remember very vividly one night when my brother and I were left in the care of a high school-aged babysitter, staying up (!!) until my parents got home, which probably really peeved the babysitter who, I'm sure, would have preferred to yap on the phone to her BFF or watch one of our four luxurious television channels, or any of the things high school kids did before texting and reality TV and the internet. But we were up. And I remember mom and dad walking in the front door, surprised to see us, and me hugging my mom through her taupe-colored trench coat, and her clothes smelling like smoke because they'd been to a bar. Which I didn't understand at the time. But I knew when I hugged her this was no church meeting they'd been to-- that they were out having some kind of fun that did not involve me in any way, in a place I had never seen or visited, and I felt a little "WTF" about the whole thing, clearly, because I remember it now, in my mid-30s. Mostly I was just happy they were home, and a little weirded out about this secret life of theirs. Which is probably how Bird felt when I zipped up her jacket and put on her shoes and she said, "Mama, what did you do?"

In other news, I am trying to complete the paperwork on a refinance, because DAMN interest rates are low. But I can't fight the feeling that I'm signing over permissions I don't understand, like maybe mistakenly joining a cult, or the circus, or becoming an exchange student, or donating my live body to dangerous scientific testing. When they come to collect me and put me in the experimental colony under the volcano, you'll hear me wailing all the way down the block about how I thought I was dropping a whole point.

26 February 2009

If your kid puked in the car on the way there, would you still take them to the dentist?

No? Oh. Um. Okay.

But what if the dentist was 30 minutes away, and you got really lost so you were already 15 minutes late but really almost there and still kind of lost, and you knew you had to find the dentist before you could even begin to find your way home?

And what if the puke wasn't like real puke, but just a little bluecch -- watery nothing that didn't even get on the real clothes, just the jacket? What if it was erasable puke?

And what if she perked up right after? And said she still wanted to go to the dentist?

Still no?

Yeah, well, I totally did.

And she was completely fine at the dentist, puke-wise, but notsomuch look-at-my-teeth-wise, when faced with lying down on the dentist table, which, WTF, we had been talking for a week about the cool dentist chair and that little plot twist totally mucked up the plan. There was much wailing and pulling on mama's clothes and exposing much mama skin and jiggle in the flabdomen and boobular area. And then there was the flossing. Flossing! At three and a half!

Emotionally, it was like taking our old cat to the vet, for both of us: me feeling helpless over the terror of this thing I love, and the subject of the examination coming very close to doing some actual biting. And then she got a treat, all was right with the world.

There was also me lying down on the table like a goof ball and letting the hygenist poke around in my mouth while I, in exaggerated happiness, brushed the very large teeth of a stuffed purple hippo. And Bird sat in a chair against the wall with her arms folded across her chest, giving me and my shenanigans a look that could not be mistaken for anything other than "Surely You Are Not Fucking Serious."

There was also the part where I thought I had locked my keys in the car, but didn't, and the hygenist found them at the front desk while I rooted through my cavernous bag like a raccoon going for the banana peel at the bottom of the garbage can, all grubby wild-eyed and hissing.

And there was also the part where we waited for a long time while they sorted out Birdy's heart murmur history with our pediatrician, and everything was totally fine, just a CYA thing involving possible antibiotics and more drama than I was prepared for at this, our first dentist appointment.

This sounds so traumatic-- Nobody got hurt or permanently emotionally scarred, the whole thing just felt a little more like a pediatrician's visit with shots than the happy fun denist time that this particular practice advertises in their tv commercials.

And then there was also the part where Bird looked really, really tall to me today, in her new dress and "no-feet tights," puke or no puke, with this suddenly big kid face, saying big kid things and asking me to turn off the radio, please, because she was "constentrating."

So yeah. We went to the dentist.

And this evening I made homemade pretzel dough in the bread machine and brushed some egg on top and baked 'em up and OMG.

23 February 2009

I am crossing some shit off my list:

Tonight: Taxes!
Tomorrow: The rest of the shit on the list! *

And just so you know, I never intend to neglect this blog, though I do admit it is often first on the chopping block since I am spending my days clickety-clacking out words in various persuasive and illustrative combinations so as to earn the money to pay the mortgage, buy the toilet paper, etc. Makes the pulling-together-the-words thing a bit less appealing after coming home, cooking/ eating, Bird-ing, bedtime-ing. Seems there is less to write about now, even though there is just as much as ever, and I think it's because I no longer spend hours alone in my car thinking about weird things, encountering fascinating tribes of rural humans, and generally twisting my brain around however I want. Instead, I am flattening it out like a pancake and writing very informative and detailed web sites about technology and services within the healthcare industry. Yes, I know. Maybe I should start smoking again, just to spice things up. Or maybe start drinking. Around noonish.

* Okay. At a minimum, one of the things on the list. And let's be honest, it's probably not going to be "organize photos" or "guest room closet." That is the kind of shit that I am leaving for Bird and any subsequent children to deal with after I pass from this world at a ripe old age, finally tired from my many years of not really organizing anything, ever.

13 February 2009

Sweet Sounds of Southern Indiana

A list of things my Granny says:

Cheekin (chicken)
Marnin (morning)
Caish (cash)
Schnoe (snow)
Boosh (bush)
dreckly (directly)
downtha (down at the)
deeshis (dishes)

(3/15/09) Edited to add:

Warsh (wash).

Thanks to Mr. Littlebrother-- can't believe I forgot that one.

07 February 2009


There's been a lot going on around here. Tons of work, a little accomplishment, not much balance, more family loss, a sense of things totally falling apart (and also-- weirdly-- coming together), and really, not a minute of time to myself. A lot going on, for sure.

So instead of talking about any of that, I'd like to tell you about a sandwich-- on homemade whole wheat with peanut butter, bananas, thin apple slices, a drizzle of honey and cinnamon, toasted--the very one we just ate on this gorgeous 65-degree Saturday in February.

And now, off to make: pita bread, a shopping list, a trip to the grocery, sense of everything.

26 January 2009

I'll open with a quote, then there will be eleven things:

mama: Bird, which coat do you want to wear?

bird: My pink coat.

mama: Good choice.

bird: I love this coat, in spite of everything.

1. After the holiday feeding frenzy, A. and I gave up cheese, large portions, and junk food. We gave up laziness and tight pants. We bought a bathroom scale and a pedometer, fired up the ipod and started exercising. It's been about a month and we are still, for the most part, on the wagon. The wagon that is full of sunflower seeds and carrot sticks. The wagon in which we sit and stare wistfully at the other wagon, the one full of feta crumbles and sour cream and stringy, gooey lasagna.

2. I have discovered some super kick-ass vegan cookbooks, and have gotten in over my head on occasion but for the most part have learned that there is life after cheese. And that things actually have a taste when they are not covered in dairy products. I'll stop short of calling myself a vegan because I'm just not ready to be That Girl, but it has been a satisfying road so far. Highly recommend Veganomicon and the Vegan Lunch Box, both of which were available at my local library, and that means FREE for all of you playing along at home.

3. Also, I have started running. First on the elliptical machine at the community center, then on the treadmill at the community center during the commercial breaks on Oprah (walking the rest of the time) and in the last few days, running on the actual sidewalks in the actual neighborhood. It is not graceful, and it sure as shit is not easy. And it hurts like the devil, but I keep doing it.

4. A. is doing great with the running, the bastard.

5. We quit smoking a little over a year ago. WOOT!

6. Who the hell do I think I am, anyway?? 13 months ago, I was gnawing on hunks of cheddar and the only place I was running was into the 4-stop to buy a pack of smokes. And look at me now, with all of this bothersome health crap. Apologies. If it makes you feel any better, I am farting like an aging dog with a belly full of pinto beans. On that topic, we are trying to dissuade Bird from saying "fart." She now says she "has the vapors." Ah yes, much better.

7. Job. I like it. Being a mom. Like that, too. Not as mutually exclusive as I once thought. Either I'm getting better at balance or numb to the guilt and the second-guessing. Both, probably.

8. To the person that told me to clean my cast iron skillet with vegetable oil and coarse kosher salt, avoiding water unless it's a true stuck-on emergency: Thank you, kitchen wizard.

9. I hate playing "school." I get put in Time Out a lot. And then there is a version where there is a "teacher" and a "mama" and we replay a dropping-off-at-preschool scenario until I can't remember my own name. This is Bird's favorite thing to do-- she starts insisting on playing school before we even have our coats hung up in the afternoons.

10. I think it is time for a blog diet to compliment my new healthy eating plan. I have, like, nine thousand jillion blogs on my Google Reader. That link over there to my bloglines? Ancient. I've moved on to the Google Reader, and I will subscribe to anything. Everything. Cooking blogs. Mama blogs. People I Know blogs. And all of this blog checking has become a task, a pain in the ass, and it keeps me from writing here. There are things! Out there! That I haven't read yet! So I'll just read one more!

Mostly it's this: I subscribe to a lot of very beautiful blogs where people take pictures of their morning cups of coffee or write essays about their cherubic children weaving on looms in the wilderness or their gorgeous collection vintage dresses and heirloom quilts and and perfect crafts made in their tranquil, sunlit rooms before they prepare beautiful homemade meals for the family they love so very much, and it is all just such a huge load of bullshit. Obnoxious fiction. But I get sucked in, I scroll through these perfect little fantasies and they cast an ugly little shadow on my real life until I snap out of it and feel disgusted that I've just spent a very real part of my very real life looking at pictures of white curtains and whitewashed floors and reading about peaceful mornings spent playing with blocks in front of the fire or stitching up aprons or other such nonsense. So I am going to unsubscribe to these blogs very, very soon. Or at least put it all in one folder so I can avoid it as if it were cheese.

11. My mom is totally on facebook.

19 January 2009

Brought to you by the numbers 8, 53, and a number between 6 and 10

hours in the car again this past weekend (hey, it beats our usual 10), up and back to E'burgh for the last of the'08 Christmases. It was an especially difficult one, as everyone is still so raw from A's Mamaw's death in November, but everyone kept their shit together for the most part and a good time was had by all. And as a bonus, I passed on my 24-inch Dancin' Singin' James Brown to a STOKED ten year old in the (lively) gift exchange. DSJB was originally a wedding gift from my brother, who reads this blog, and dude, before you get all hot under the collar about it: the Godfather of Soul was scaring the crap out of Birdy and he had to move on to a place where he would be loved. Okay.

Degrees in our house Thursday night, even though the thermostat was promising 72. Ice on the insides of the windows and sub-zero toilet seats. Frozen pipes to the washing machine. Wearing several pairs of socks over my tights, under my jeans. Birdy's icicle fingers.

It got very cold in Tennessee-- the coldest in 12 years or something crazy-- right around the end of last week. It wasn't any colder than what we knew as "normal" in Indiana, but we have softened up and thawed since then and DAMN, single didgets are brutal. And it seems our little old Southern heat pump agreed with us. The heating repair guy came out in his van and spent some time in the scary dirt basement region while I ran up and down the steps to flip breakers on and off (more responsibility than I was prepared for). He delivered a sorry prognosis.

Replace this whole part, he said.

$700, he said.

Wait, he said.

They don't make that part anymore, he said.

Replace the whole thing? I said.

Yep, he said. Ob$cene amount, he said.

Wait it out? Miracle recovery? I said.

Take your chances, lunatic, he said.

Sounds like a plan, I said.

And lo and behold, when the temperature started to feel more like a Tennessee January than a Siberian one, the Little Heat Pump That Could? Totally DID. And we took off our coats and hats and thanked God above in advance for Birdy sleeping in her own warm toasty bed and not digging her little toes into our ribs.

The moral of this story: Sometimes old shit still works, but just part of the time and probably not when you really need it. But old shit does not require financing, just extra socks and sweaters and a decent space heater where you sleep.

A number between 6 and 10

percent paycut. Announced last Friday, the freezingest day, just before I left work to meet the gentleman about my failing heat pump. Asking your child to take off her mittens to eat dinner makes you feel one step away from the poor house, and doing the paycut math in your head while you serve the beans and rice* makes your kitchen feel even colder.

But! I have a job! And the people at that job are optimistic, positive. The cut is promised to be temporary. Kind things were said to me about the way I do my work, and truly, I am feeling quite happy there, finally comfortable. And hey, the heat came back on. Just put on another damn hat and wait it out, right?

*that's not for dramatic effect, we just happened to be having beans and rice, but it did make things seem a little bit more desperate in my moment of hand-wringing.

10 January 2009

You set 'em up, babe, I'll knock 'em down.

TV commercial: That's right, CASH for your GOLD!!

A: They smelt it.

B: Aaaaaand they dealt it.

A. That was the Best. Joke. Ever.

09 January 2009

Time for a little game called "Past Life or Accurate Mimic?"

Bird extends her hand to me, like she's going to shake it.

I shake her hand.

"Hello," she says.

"Hello," I say back. "It's nice to meet you."

"We've met before," she says. "In college."

"Oh?" I say.

"Yes, in Memphis." she says.