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.