Monday, November 30, 2009
I blame my mother. No really, I do. I was perfectly content to stay at the house and eat leftover turkey all the livelong day, but Thursday morning she started in on me with the after-Thanksgiving Day sales. First it was, "Hey, look at this ad... can you BELIEVE this price?" Then it was, "Wow - you really can't pass THIS up, can you?" Then it was, "Let's just make a list..." And finally it was, "So what time are we waking up in the morning?" SHE'S CRAFTY.
So it was that I found myself sitting hunched over and blurry-eyed in my FREEZING car on Friday morning (24 degrees, y'all). Mom and I took two separate cars to further our whole shopping Plan of Attack. Which, I have to say, was totally brilliant. Mom waiting in line at one store (4AM, dudes) while I ran to another store THAT WAS ALREADY OPEN, to get Bean a $15 down-filled parka. Seriously, fifteen bucks. That was when I realized I'd left my wallet back at the house (yes, not smart) and had to have them hold the parka so I could run back to the house, pick up the wallet, then meet my mom at store #1 for the mad-dash first run through the doors. I grabbed the shopping cart, mom ran toward the back of the store to gather certain pre-determined deals, then I made a sweep through the aisles to grab a couple of other pre-determined deals and meet mom at the back, for her to then dump everything into the cart. Easy, right?
Um. I RAN INTO three different people with the cart. I nearly amputated one lady's foot. NOT ON PURPOSE. And then! With the crazy grabbing! And the people SPRINTING through the aisles! And have I mentioned the grabbing? We wouldn't have made it without the careful triangulating power of Ye Mighty Cell Phones. Dudes, I kept calling her, all, "MOM! WHERE ARE YOU? I'M SURROUNDED BY CRAZY WOMEN WHO ARE GRABBING WAFFLE IRONS FOR $5!" I have no pictures except for this horrid blurry thing that I tried to get while standing behind a woman who was filling her cart with blankets. Oh, that one and also a shot I did of my car's dashboard temperature gauge (say it with me: TWENTY-FOUR DEGREES).
But you know what? It was loads and loads of fun. If this is the only year I ever do it, I'm so glad I did. Because this is the kind of weird memory that you just can't fake, me and mom getting up at O Dark Crazy Thirty and calling each other on our cell phones talking about waiting in ridiculously long lines and watching people nearly kill each other with shopping carts. All before 9am. So yes, it was fun.
As is this trip. Chip got here on Wednesday afternoon, and we've been filling our bellies with yummy mom-made food and we even got out of the house to see a movie, just Chip and me (Fantastic Mr. Fox).
Yesterday dad made his famous grilled cheese sandwiches. I even ate one (which my family knows is a MIRACLE since I have normally expressed Extreme Prejudice in regard to the grilled cheese sandwich --yes, even dad's--).
Chip heads back in the car this morning--- he'll be working his way back home, while Bean and I are here for another day, flying home on Tuesday. How's that for complicated?
And you. How was your weekend?
Friday, November 27, 2009
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
As I write this I am waiting outside Shopko with my mom. I am coming to you LIVE from the Friday shopping mess that is the day after Thanksgiving. We are huddled outside in the COLD Utah 4:30 morning. Because we are crazy. And I want to buy a $30 food processor for a mere $5. That's right, FIVE DOLLARS. If you play your cards right I will post pictures of the madness inside the store.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Thursday, November 26, 2009
I am thankful for:
Raindrops and messy kisses and soft bedsheets and a warm house and turkey and mom and dad and Chip and Alice and God and good friends that offer forgiveness before I even ask and technology and my crackberry and a healthy body and eyes that can see and Buddy and Matt and Ana and Emilie and church and Chip's family and people I love and our country and our constitution and people who have come before me and jokes and color and paint and beautiful Seattle and amazing grandparents and furry cat paws under the bathroom door and fuzzy blankets and presents and surprises in the mail and books and Kate and Amanda just down the street and the fact that Alice calls out to me MAMA! and holding a sleeping child and these fingers to type and M! and Eleanor Q and dearest Samwise and her new baby girl (newest of CREAM: THE NEXT GENERATION) and speaking of that: CREAM!, and the incomparable Wandering Nana and my fiery sister Kimmie and the lovable Little Brother Steve and Winston and KAY who has known me since high school and still wants to be my friend and Swistle and funny blogs and my extended birth family and Chelle and big brother Curtis and turkey stuffing and apple pie and food glorious food and art and music and beauty and my funny fantastic laptop and Shelly Huh and swing sets and Sesame Street and my ipod and The Last Homely House and skin and clean drinking water and working with the children at church and Spadoman who calls me his whimsical friend and Spadoman's True Italian Gravy recipe (will be posted here soon) and writing and words and poetry and Stephen Dunn and so very many good books and so very many good writers and school and learning and dedicated teachers and Clueless But Hopeful Mama who still comments at The Creamery even though I STILL haven't sent her package and Angela who teaches me so much and Alicia who writes me emails about stuff and my first Jenny and Nutmeg who hasn't written anything since August (miss her) and feet that work and a garden in the spring and planting tulip bulbs and memory and photos and documentaries and glasses so that I can see and thinking and prayer and and lovely brothers- and sisters-in-law and nieces and nephews and apple pie and CJane and the internet and so many talented bloggers and Stacie and Chip playing his guitar and songs he's written just for me and fabric and sewing and buttons and clean clothes and design and yarn and knitting and doing doing doing STUFF and communicating with my child and have I mentioned Chip and Chip's arm rubs and love from Bean and bathtime and evening prayers and Parking at Home and lotion and trees and wind and dirt and purrrrdles and taking chances and The Rainbow Connection and time alone and running and WORDS and time and work and Jefe and Serenity Now (also her lovely emails) and The Laws of Cream and vaccines and sleep and mobile phones and shoes I like and Heidi W and so many people who are nice to me and Halloween and Christmas and Easter and any other holiday except Valentine's Day because that one bugs me and barbequed blue cheese bacon burgers and funny people and feeling inspired and play and The Triumverate and challenges and airplanes and cookies and weird commercials and Mayfly blog because it is so beautiful and walking and not bothering to link to anything and Amy Nate's mom and Amanda M and Pickles & Dimes and you and you and you and you and YOU, most especially YOU.
What's on your thankful list?
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
We don't know how it began exactly, except for me and M sitting on some stairs at our church, talking. He walked by and we called out to him, thinking that it would be fun to talk to the new guy Chip. He seemed interesting. He seemed funny. He was also very cute.
We talked about Shakespeare and Tolkien. We also talked about going to a movie.
M couldn't go, as she was soon to be driving across the country to attend graduate school.
He showed up 30 minutes late to our first date. He also brought his roommate in case he couldn't carry a conversation with me.
It turned out that his roommate was silent the entire night.
Because we didn't stop talking, just the two of us.
We were married just three months later.
And that day was six wonderful years ago.
Happy anniversary, Love. Thank you for being the wonderful person that you are.
In case you love these photos as much as I do, look up my wonderful friend Christina, our wedding photographer. Every image--- so lovely. She's a true artist.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Do not attempt to write a post on a laptop that has the battery life of a fruit fly.
Am eagerly awaiting chip's arrival tomorrow afternoon. He has a power cord.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Friday, November 20, 2009
Other things I've found in Bean's crib: socks, books, sippy cups, Chip's business card case, and her stuffed friend Hurp (met with LOUD DISPROVAL when she discovered she can put him in the crib, but can't get him out). True story.
My husband will argue with anyone who would like to take him to task that a full, complete, well-balanced meal is contained in a large plate of nachos. For dairy, you've got the cheese and the sour cream. For fruits and vegetables, you've got the salsa. For protein you've got whatever beans or chicken you put into the nachos. And for whole grains, you've got Mission tortilla chips (they also make the tortilla chips for Costco - which are the ones we buy). These tortilla chips are made with four simple ingredients that are easily pronounceable in a factory that doesn't use soy or peanuts. These tortilla chips are staples in our house. And yes, Bean eats them from time to time. And yes, she recently used them to demonstrate to me that she knows Chip's name. Hee!
I don't know if I even want to talk about this one, because it's true: Bean bit me. It happened so fast that I barely registered it except for the shrieking pain in my LEG where she bit me. THROUGH MY JEANS. Blah blah blah, immediate time out and lots of tears (me and her). Hasn't happened since. Ugh.
Let me just answer this one by telling you this charming story. Coming back from San Francisco in August, we stopped in a very small California town to take bathroom breaks and get something to eat (only available eatery, the ever popular McDonald's). Before we went in, we figured we'd give Bean some time for leg stretching. The only available space for the leg stretching activity? The 3 foot by 6 foot rectangle of sidewalk leading up and into the McD's. She toddled around the rectangle for a couple of minutes but then realized that the large and spacious PARKING LOT was beckoning her. So, as she's standing at the door of the McDonald's, our dear Bean gets down on her hands and knees and then does this whole bum-first hopeful back up ON HER BELLY on the sidewalk, wistfully aiming for the curb and generally horrifying the parents because remember, WE ARE NOT A FAN OF THE GERMS. So, um? Even though that was three months ago? She's still going down the stairs, ANY stairs, on her belly, bum first. Though I do have to say, as long as I'm around she'll walk down stairs holding my hand. And I'm perfectly okay with that.
Now that you know this is a true story (as is Number 6), I'll just show you this picture from yesterday as evidence. Behold my boot:
And my boot's contents:
You guys, I'm not kidding about this, and honestly it scares me, in a who-is-this-child-and-what-else-is-she-storing-in-her-freakishly-gigantic-brain kind of way. I got a weird scared and excited CHILL when we first noticed what she was doing. I mean, what 20-month-old kid can identify numbers on sight? Is this normal? Please tell me that it's normal and I'll stop feeling like she's going to grow a second head or start playing piano concertos on her Playskool 4-note keyboard. So yes, if we line up a whole bunch of her alphabet blocks, some with numbers showing on the sides, she'll correctly identify the numbers and what they're called. We haven't taught her any of this, we don't even know where she got it from. I mean, she can count to ten, but it's not like I'm using flashcards or anything. She does have some counting books, and maybe she's just noticed the numbers on the pages? But again, it's not like I pointed them out or anything. I will now be posting the following on my bathroom mirror so I will NEVER FORGET: The Bean sees and hears EVERYTHING. You have been warned.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Bean has taken to hiding things in her crib. We think she's doing it to give herself little treats when she's hanging out there later in the evening. The other day when I went to get her after her nap, I found a Noah's Ark finger puppet (Noah, actually - though she also has a giraffe and a monkey and an elephant). Chip had been the one to put her in the crib for her nap in the first place, so of course I asked him about it later: Dude, why did you put Bean in the crib with the Noah finger puppet? And Chip was all, Um, I didn't. She must've thrown Noah in there earlier in the day, for safekeeping. This is not the first time. We've found Sheepie, her stuffed sheep; Germane, her stuffed giraffe; Chip's cell phone; and a stack of Chip's business cards. For safekeeping.
I was feeding Bean recently and she kept picking up individual pieces of food and saying Daddy! Daddy! Piece after piece, picked up in her fingers as she was saying Chip's name. It was really weird. So I told her, "No baby, those aren't daddy. Those are chips." !!!!! To which I then, of course, shouted to Chip "DUDE! ALICE KNOWS YOUR NAME!"
As we were sitting on the floor yesterday playing with blocks, Bean bent down and bit me on the leg. Hard. Hard enough to leave a bruise.
Despite our sincere hope that Bean would be crawling backwards down the stairs when she's a senior in high school, she has now mastered the art of WALKING up and down the stairs, acting like some kind of BI-PED or something. No hands, people. NO HANDS.
In addition to her toy-stashing habits, she is also stashing FOOD and COMFORT OBJECTS. And she's doing it knowingly and remembering WHERE she put stuff later. To wit: a small red bucket with a smattering of cheerios was stuffed into a corner of our bedroom without my knowledge until Bean went to retrieve it yesterday morning. I've also discovered a Red Robin cup of pretzels underneath the toy wagon in her bedroom, a plastic purple cup with several honey bunnies behind one of Chip's guitar cases, and the PACI's. Oh the paci's. Stuffed into the little seat hidey hole of her little singing bus car push/pull thing, inside a bag in the toy basket in the family room, and in the towel drawer of the kitchen (actually, that's a very popular hiding spot for paci's AND food (currently a handful of cheerios) AND random small toys. Clearly, saving things for later.
We thought Bean was just helping to count the alphabet blocks when Chip was playing with her the other day. She kept reaching into the bag to hand him more blocks and saying random numbers (Nine! Two! Five!). And then Chip looked a little closer and realized that she might be actually identifying numbers printed on the sides of the blocks. The he figured that couldn't be possible, so he tried to test her. "Hey Bean," he said, pointing to the tall tower of blocks in front of him, "Where's the nine?" AND SHE POINTED TO IT, SAYING "NINE." Then, "Where's the five?" AND SHE POINTED TO IT, "FIVE." Again with seven and three and eight. Dude.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Which hopefully I will reward (a little?) with actual New Content, even though this is clearly a REDUX. Why the redux? Because there are things we need to talk about! And yesterday's post is a good stepping off point.
Point the first: Bean's skirt.
You are the sweetest lot, really you are. Because when I finished that particular creation I walked out of my studio and announced to Chip I THINK I'VE FINALLY GONE TOO FAR. With the blue corduroy! And the many! different! colored! flowers! And the orange (!) pom poms!!! But it sort of all works... I think. So yes, I did make it my very own self. I've become a little bit obsessed with pom poms lately. If I could have my way, I would be sewing pom poms onto everything Bean wears. So far I've controlled my urges to just jeans and skirts. We'll see how long this restraint lasts.
Point the second: Etsy shop.
Related to Point the First. I'm going to truly jump into the Land of Crazy and open my own Esty shop. I think it's time, even though I don't think I have the time. But I love doing these little creations far too much to keep them to myself any longer. Stay tuned... I'll link here when it's all up and running and ready to go.
Point the third: My hair.
Swistle asked how long my hair has gotten. Behold the insanity...
But not for much longer (I'm hilarious). I will be getting it snipped off by the end of the week - though we're not talking drastic, the ends they are mighty split and I have a personal rule (WHIMSY ONLY RULE, Y'ALL) that the Whimsy of a Certain Age shall not have hair longer than a Certain Length. My hairs have clearly entered into No Man's Land and will be dealt with forthwith. (Which, also, I'm working on a post for some more additional Whimsy Rules a la the Food Rules because that was fun, and also Bzzzzgrrrrl asked.)
Point the fourth: My child.
Let's talk about Early Onset of Twoness, shall we? Because, um, DUDE. This child is all MINE MINE MINE MINE MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE about everything (including some Very Weird Stuff like underclothing that CLEARLY doesn't belong to her). And also? With the strange mood swings? And the running off into OTHER COUNTRIES when she is set free in any open air situation? It's just madness. I would love some suggestions and/or some commiseration. And I'm just going to say, to any of my friends who are pregnant or are thinking of gestating another child with a two-year-old (or almost) in their midst? YOU HAVE MY SYMPATHIES. Because I don't know how I'd manage a Bean-as-she-is-right-now and a Bun (in oven) at the same time.
Point the fifth: My child, viewed from another angle.
But what I can't fathom even more is doing any of this without knowing Bean-As-She-Is-Right-Now. She is indescribable in her zest, her passion, her excitement about Everything. She laughs and whispers and shouts. She kisses and hugs and signs I Love You. She is mercurial--- but in that firecracker's burst of a second when she LOVES someone or something --if you're the object of her affection-- you will glow for days. She makes me feel like a rock star, a superstar, The Absolute End of the Earth of Coolness.
I don't think I've ever felt so popular in my life.
Monday, November 16, 2009
A simple instruction guide for toddlers who desire to get a head start on the magical age known as TWO (an age that the adults seem to actually FEAR).
Step 4: Make the friend laugh uncontrollably by saying MEE-O MEE-O MEE-O MEE-O on maniacal repeat.
Step 5: As your parents try to have a leisurely stroll through Seattle Center, sprint to the giant concrete spheres as you shout BALL! BALL! BALL! BALL! BALLBALLBALLBALL! ...and then get very angry when the BALL! does not roll or move. Do your best to ensure you and your mother get run over by several tourists.
Step 6: Take off another 100 feet and shout UPPITY until your dad places you on a large planter. Run forward and back across the planter, then do your best impression of America's Next Top Toddler Model.
Step 7: Allow your parents to think you are starting to get tired by sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. For fun.
Step 8: Allow yourself to finally be caught and kissed by the visiting friend. Know that you've done a good deed. Not everyone gets to kiss a Bean this fabulous.
Friday, November 13, 2009
In honor of one of my oldest friends Stacie who is going to be in town this weekend, I will tell you a few of weird things that we used to do.
First, Stacie and I would design houses. (I wanted to be an architect or interior designer.) We had our own pads of graph paper, and would take turns sketching a geometric shape (house outline) for the other one. The stranger the shape, the better. Then, we'd draw the rooms inside the shape, thus designing a house. We would do this for HOURS, with all the details of furniture and appliances and everything. It was awesome.
Second, Stacie and I would play school. (I wanted to be a teacher.) We'd set up chairs in the dining room and then force The Little Brother to be our student. My favorite parts were telling him to do homework and then writing notes at the tops of his pages and having snack time.
Third, Stacie and I wrote stories. (I wanted to write.) We did MAGAZINE STORIES, which we would do by cutting pictures out of magazines and trying to tell a story using the pictures. We also worked on continuing stories about (shocker) a couple of middle school girls who lived a fantastic life of huge houses (with FLOOR PLANS, naturally) and lots of friends. They went to a lot of dances and had names with VERY elaborate spellings.
What did you want to be when you grew up? Do you do anything now that is even remotely close?
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Chip is a very suspicious fellow. It may not be the first thing you'd think about when meeting him for the first time (boy that guy is SUSPICIOUS), but if you give him enough time, you'll hear some of his theories. To his credit, he has taught me a TON about never taking no for an answer, always asking questions, and never ever leaving a stone unturned especially when it comes to MONEY. The guy has some kind of crazy gift for ferreting out an overblown price and we have GREATLY benefited from his suspicious nature.
That being said, I will now share some of Chip's suspicions with THE WORLD.
The detergent companies design their bottles to KEEP some detergent in them. So even if they say they have 100 ounces in them, you only EVER get, like, 95 ounces out of the bottle. That way you think you're getting more soap, but you are still compelled to go out and buy a new bottle sooner.
We are currently in the midst of a pack of Huggies diaper wipes we bought from Costco. Every four wipes (or so), you get an extra long wipe... a double wipe, if you will. My version: I guess the perforation machine wasn't working so well that day. Chip's version: CONSPIRACY. WE'RE USING DOUBLE THE WIPES! THEY JUST WANT US TO BUY MORE WIPES!
car dealership credit score.
Chip tells me that the car dealerships use a "different" credit score than other channels. By "different" he means "tricky and underhanded and intending to swindle the consumer out of thousands of dollars". He's probably right, but I get scared when I think too much about all the underhanded swindlers trying to take my money.
furnaces, forced air, and anything related to heating your indoor space.
I know very little about heating systems and thermostats except how to set them to provide a decently comfortable environment. My husband, however, has taken the Conspiracy of Heating Systems to a new level of crazy. To wit: we'll be sitting at home and the heat goes on. Chip stands to put his hand to the vent and turns to me and says, THERE IS COLD AIR COMING OUT OF HERE. COLD AIR. THE FURNACE HATES US. I can't explain it, of course. I have a feeling (or I hope this is true) that the air just feeeeeeels cold even though it's running at exactly the temperature it should be, but it doesn't matter. According to my husband, the furnace is part of an elaborate conspiracy to cheat us out of heating integrity. Or something. HOWEVER, to his credit, I have recently begun to RETHINK my lack of faith in the whole Heating Conspiracy to Take Our Very Will to Live, and that's because we are staying at a hotel whose entire heating and cooling system is POSSESSED. I spent the first night waking every hour, either turning the heater WAY UP because the thermostat had decided that "68 degrees" should equate to SUB-FREEZING; or waking to turn the heater OFF and also OPEN THE WINDOW because the thermostat had decided to take 72 degrees way on up there to HOT AS THE DESERT FLOOR; OR waking to close the window and turn the stupid heater back on (trying for 70 degrees) because very tiny icicles were forming on my eyelashes. It was not a restful night. The heater? HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATES US.
mortgage paperwork and all the extra charges.
When we were closing on our house, I will never forget sitting at the escrow company's conference table (nervously eating jelly beans) and signing page after page after page. At each page we'd get this little explanation from the escrow agent and inevitably there would be some kind of fee - like, "This is the Page Stapling Charge which will cost you $50" and "This is the Door Locking and Unlocking Charge which will cost you $200" and so on and so forth. We all know where this is going, right? CONSPIRACY. Chip is of the opinion that we need to start a business to just sort of leap in to the Mortgage Piggyback Charges Mafia. I'll let you know how it goes.
chip's newest conspiracy.
You know that Hershey's Kisses commercial where the Kisses are all happily being created in the snappy singy factory? And the chocolate is swirled out of a machine and then flown in happy dancing arcs over the twitchy twirly machines and then wrapped in blissful sparkling aluminum--- only to then be sent in an ecstatic cheerful toss down a CHUTE OF JOY and into the awaiting mouth of a shiny happy girl child? Yeah, so Chip says (every time, with every viewing of this commercial): "You know it doesn't really happen that way. It just doesn't."
I am very happy to report, out of all the terrible evil conspiracies designed to TEAR MONEY AND HOPE OUT OF OUR VERY TIGHTLY CLOSED FISTS--- one thing is NOT a conspiracy. And I have PROOF. PHOTOGRAPHIC PROOF. It's this:
Publisher's Clearinghouse. It turns out they actually DO give away money. Really! Because I saw them in our hotel's parking lot on Tuesday (we're in picturesque south central Washington this week with Chip - Yakima, to be exact). I watched as these two Publisher's Clearinghouse people worked furiously to adhere a million PUBLISHER'S CLEARINGHOUSE decals to a maroon minivan, including a GINORMOUS one to the side. My PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE-SUPPORTED THEORY: they were getting ready to give away a huge cardboard check! To some unsuspecting person who bought a Publisher's Clearinghouse subscription! And Chip? His theory when I told him the story? Are you sure they were going to give away money? I bet they were going to go door to door selling subscriptions (subscriptions that, no doubt, had NO CHANCE OF WINNING A MILLION DOLLARS).
What are your conspiracy theories?
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
It is one of my deepest and most fervent fanciful wishes to have a Smile Time Angel Puppet for my very own. Not Vampire Smile Time Angel, but Regular Smile Time Angel. I suspect that very few of you even know what a S.T.A.P is (though dear Shelly Overlook is a VERY likely person to know exactly what I'm talking about)--- but I'm not going to explain any more than that. Google, Wiki, whatever if you wish, but just know that I covet this particular Weird Object. I'm curious what your Fanciful Covet Object is. You know you have one. It is something for which you have a great desire, but absolutely no use for.
Chip has, on several occasions, attempted to obtain a Smile Time Angel Puppet for me. Because he is AWESOME and also knows me far better than I know myself. On each occasion, his attempts have been thwarted, whether it's because the seller sold it too quickly or it was the aforementioned Vampire version or it was eleventy trillion dollars and even a Fanciful Covet Object has a price limit.
I have an unholy number of books. There are several boxes of them, in fact, stored in our garage. Books that I can't seem to let go. I dream of having a house with a plentiful supply of bookshelves. When Chip asks me my dream square footage (I have a dream square footage number, don't you?), I quickly answer 2,200. It seems like the right number in which to hold several bookshelves. But, seeing as how we don't currently reside in my Dream Square Footage (and it's just fine, really), I have to be wily in my Book Storage Ways. So. We have three decently sized bookshelves. One in Bean's room. It holds my favorite fiction books. Once upon a time it was alphabetized but now I have them organized in there by size and Level of Prettiness. The Prettiest hardbound books are at the top, with the Less Pretty paperback books behind them (it's a really deep shelf). The bottom shelf of the bookcase holds several of Bean's board books and picture books. The second bookshelf lives in the master bedroom. It holds all of my poetry books and plays. Yes, I have an entire section of poetry books and drama. There is also a special shelf for Books In Current Rotation because I am clearly INSANE and am always reading several books at once. I used to keep the Books In Current Rotation on my wee bitty nightstand, but really that was impossible since the nightstand's surface area is smaller than the smallest of books. They ended up sort of living underneath and around the nightstand which was stupid. A bookcase was in order! So! Poetry books and plays toward the top (top two shelves), Books in Current Rotation on shelf number three, then shelves four and five are for Books I Can't Let Out of My Eyesight (books I love, books I look at A LOT even if they are not currently in rotation, books that I consider to be Very Close Friends and need them beside me). I know: INSANE. Anyway! The third bookshelf lives downstairs in the den. It holds instruction books (think gardening and old text books and a psychology book that Chip MUST keep because I think he wants to stay up late at night and diagnose my particular brand of Book Insanity). It also keeps our inspirational books and religious books together. Oh! And dictionaries! There are several dictionaries and thesauri (I have ALWAYS wanted to write a needful sentence with the word 'thesauri' in it and now I have... I feel AWESOME about that. And now so do you. Because you know all about my book storage system.
Speaking of books, I just finished reading Audrey Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry. I absolutely LOVED Time Traveler's Wife and had high hopes for Her Fearful Symmetry. I'm not naive enough to expect a second book to be the same, exactly, but I do usually hope that we can expect a similar tone. And I didn't get that with this book. Where Time Traveler's Wife is extremely intimate, a very up-close-and-personal glimpse into characters that I have come to absolutely adore, Her Fearful Symmetry is a distant passing glance into several characters that I have a really difficult time relating to in any way. I'm curious if any of you read it and what you think. I just started my annual read of Lord of the Rings. I'm really late in starting - usually I start on or around September 22nd, since that's Bilbo and Frodo's birthday and it always seems right to start the book in the Fall. However, in September I was reading the latest installment of My Guilty Pleasure Series of Books (not to be discussed now, but at some future date, I promise, because it merits an entire post for itself). So. September I was reading mumblemumble and then I picked up Her Fearful Symmetry and just finished it a few days ago. Lord of the Rings is currently on the rotation (along with some non-fiction books). I'm keeping the Rotation shelf pretty much empty right now because there is a lot going on and not a lot of time for reading.
You know what there has been a lot of time for (or at least I'm making time for it)? Baking. And since Swistle asked, I will tell you some of my Baking Opinions. I will offer this disclaimer: I don't pride myself on being terribly vocal about any of my opinions, particularly when they are in the family of Controversial Opinions. And I think that food is one of those kinds of topics. So, um, there's that. I'm going to tell you what I do and what I think about what I do - but I sort of don't want to hear it if you don't agree... I guess you'll tell me anyway if you feel that strongly about it, but I wanted to put this out there anyway, just in case. KISSES! I do use Cricso, on occasion. And I know that some people feel VERY STRONGLY about Crisco. (See disclaimer and special request if you feel passionate about The Crisco.) Mostly I use it for my mom's chocolate chip cookies. They turn out better with the white stuff and that's just how it is. (They are seriously yummy.) However, since the whole Peanut Allergy Extravaganza, I haven't been doing much of anything with chocolate, which eliminates the cooking of mom's chocolate chip cookies. Primarily because only a very few (and VERY EXPENSIVE) chocolate chips are made in factories that don't also process our friend, the sneaky peanut. Not that I really let Alice EAT chocolate anyway, which I don't. I'm going to do some experimenting with other brands of chocolate (I used to use Nestle), but haven't yet decided to dip into our SAVINGS ACCOUNT to do so. In other cooking-related things, I'm only opinionated if it affects Bean's health--- so she only consumes organic milk (I worry about the hormone levels in non-organic milk), and mostly organic veggies if they don't cost the budget of a small country. As for baking pans and such, I use what works. Silpat mats for my baking sheets (LOVE), nut cups for my cupcakes (ALSO LOVE - and they're adorably cute), and parchment paper to line bread pands when I'm baking quickbreads (banana, pumpkin, etc.). I don't have many of the silicone baking contraptions because I haven't wanted to shell out the money for them, though I am always tempted by the rainbow selection of colors and shapes.
On children's names, there are a few that we're holding onto for possible future offspring, but there are some I can tell you that we didn't use with Alice and we most likely won't use in the future. Alice was thisclose to being named Brooklyn. We also didn't name her Violet or Grace or Audrey (Chip was in strong opposition). I absolutely opposed Allison and Megan. The boy name arena is a little trickier because we do plan to have at least one more kid, so we're holding some boy names very close to the chest. A few that I know will never be considered because Chip wasn't keen: Quinn, Angus, Gilbert.
I do put sugar on grapefruit halves. When I was little, the sugar was the only reason I even attempted to eat grapefruit. It was one of the only times my parents would let me just POUR sugar on something.
Though I own several pairs of glasses (like 5), I only ever wear one. Because the other pairs are the wrong prescription. I desperately NEED to get a new pair of glasses. I don't wear contacts because my eyeballs won't fit into them (astigmatism).
I vote scented soap and detergent, all the way. I tend to lean toward the fruity end of the Scent Spectrum. I'm crazy about scents, though I've had to seriously scale it back due to Bean's sensitive skin (I have to double-rinse ALL of our laundry or else she breaks out). On a side note, can I just say that I could swim in a POOL filled with Dreft and be perfectly content? As far as I'm concerned, Dreft smells like heaven.
So I guess that gets us started on the Wheel O Reader Questions. You guys rock. Thanks for playing. Hope I didn't bore you. More on the way.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Friday, November 6, 2009
Eating leftover pasta (let's call it day-old pasta, shall we?) is one of the finer pleasures in life. At least I think so. I don't know what it is: the pasta soaking in the sauce overnight in the refrigerator--- it becomes something sublime. My favorite way to enjoy Day Old Pasta is in a cereal bowl, heated in the microwave for 2 minutes. Two slices of buttered bread on the side. Commence eating by spooning bits of the pasta onto the bread and eat. DELICIOUS. DELECTABLE. AMBROSIA. Words that do not understate my enjoyment.
I am usually Alice's Designated Food Service Person. (If you're feeling UNfancy -like UNfancy food-, you might just say that I'm usually the one to feed Alice. Whatever.) Anyway. "Feeding Alice her dinner" is misleading. It's mostly about handing bits of things to Alice and waiting for her to eat them (or not). Then there's the bits that she decides she no longer wants cluttering her work surface (read: tray). She'll gather the bits in her fist and then wave down the Designated Feeder (read: me) to retrieve the bits and whisk them away. It can be a full service gig, though I usually try to multi-task. She knows when I'm not paying particular attention and does everything she can to remedy that by talking to me or asking me for things or by repeatedly throwing pea-size bites of food at my head. You know, whatever works. My favorite thing she does is ask for more. I love expression of need, the way she points to the palm of her hand and says MO, MO, MO. I love that she usually can tell me what she wants MO of, her pointing at the toast or the last green bean or a chicken nugget. It almost makes up for the sheer exhaustion from the 47 trips to the kitchen and back.
Last night I was enjoying Whimsy's Day Old Pasta and also performing my duties as Dinner Waitstaff to Bean. It was not a good mix of duties. The pasta needed my focused adoration, as did Bean. I tried to split my time: a stir of the pasta, a deep breath of its tomatoey goodness, scoop onto buttered bread, bite, smile and swallow--- cough, cough as Alice demands more green beans, stand up, push back chair, take steps to refrigerator, grab more beans to convey back to the Bean, sit and repeat. After a few rounds I decided to just gobble down the pasta, ignore the bliss, just eat the food so I could focus on getting Bean to eat some yogurt. I was not happy about it, but I did it anyway. I might have done some grumbling as I scooped yogurt to her waiting mouth. As she took a bite, she gathered up the crumbs on her tray and handed them to me, "ALL DEN" she smiled, waiting for me to take the crumbs from her hand. I couldn't believe it. Here I RUSHED to finish my dinner and she's DONE? NOW? Maybe she saw the look on my face, the fact that I wasn't so very happy about the turn of events, but she waited until I was leaning in close enough to grab the crumbs from her hand--- I asked her, "You're really all done?" And she tilted her head, smiled, and then sort of whispered in this excited secret voice "APPLE!"
"You want an apple?" I couldn't help but smile.
"APPLE!" she answered.
I got her some apple.
She ate two bites.
It was still awesome.
You guys, I'm feeling very... simultaneously empty and full. I don't know where to go with it. And I know that there have been a million stops and starts at The Creamery in the last few months. So at the risk of sounding very full of myself, I wanted to open the floor for questions. Any question. You ask, I'll answer. Want to know what happened on Halloween itself and if we ever went trick or treating (hardly interesting---- the answer is NO, and WE ATE CHILI AND WATCHED A MOVIE, but see you'd do so much better with the questions than I would. So that's it. Ask me anything, I'll post on Monday with some answers. Go!
Thursday, November 5, 2009
It has come to my attention that there is currently a Cream Deficiency in the geographical area known as the Southwestern United States (and most specifically, in the neighborhood of Santa Fe, New Mexico). Whereas this might not be considered to be a pressing issue in terms of our current Cream Content and its related deficiencies in existence throughout the country - and even the world)--- I am most distressed about the current Severe Lack of Cream in the Santa Fe, New Mexico area due to it being the current residence of one of the original members of The Triumverate* (the member known hereafter as Samwise).
To aquaint you with our dearest Samwise, it would take many more paragraphs than I could possibly write. But I shall briefly offer this: she is a true friend who rescued me on many occasions, in more than one way. Once upon a time she showed up on my doorstep with a lifesize cutout of one Viggo Mortenson as Aragorn. She also dragged me through the hospital emergency room when my back went out after M, Samwise, and I had spent an unbelieveable night laughing at Target and seeing a midnight showing of Lord of the Rings. (Seriously - I literally laughed my back into a writhing mass of trouble. And it was SO worth it.)
Samwise has had quite a series of mishaps in these past few months and is also in her last few weeks of her first pregnancy (a most delicious and creamy baby girl is soon to be joining the fold of Cream, The Next Generation). It is quite simply more than one Creamy Girl can stand.
I have officially decreed an END to the Cream Deficiency and am personally overseeing a CREAM INTERVENTION, nay--- A DELUGE OF CREAM, nay------ A VERITABLE FLOOD OF CREAM to these Southwestern United States. The Supreme and Creamy Whimsy, The Most Delectable Creamy Bean, The Marvelous Creamy Madame M, and The Curiously Cutely Creamy C-Boy (M's little one, in the shorthand) will be flying 'cross these friendly skies in January to descend upon the land of Santa Fe, New Mexico for a TRIUMPHANT TRIUMVERATE REUNION (with kids).
There have been some concerns expressed that such a FLOOD OF CREAM might cause the very land to buckle and the cactus to fall and the sands to be swept into the sea. To such I say, it has long been shown that in the wake of destruction we find rebirth. In the desert of Cream we will see GARDENS.
Long live CREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Samwise, prepare yourself.
We are coming.
Heaven help us all.
Now tell me, please, about your faraway friends and what you'd do for them. Also, what are you going to be doing in January? Please ignore any minor weather disturbances on or around January 19. There are sure to be some complications and fallout from the gravitational pull of the three of us in one place. Seriously, you have been warned.
* The Triumverate is comprised of myself (being The Supreme and Creamy Whimsy), the Incomparable M, and the aforementioned Samwise. These, the most key Minions of Miniondom.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Are we that desperately vain that we are willing to have possible "darkening of eyelids" and "irreversible changes in iris pigmentation" in order to have thicker eyelashes?
Is mascara simply not good enough?
It's sort of impossible for me to visualize going to my doctor to ask for a prescription for the stuff. That would be weird.
Monday, November 2, 2009
It's felt like Halloween has been on the cusp for weeks now. I have been day dreaming about lazing quietly on the couch to watch The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with the lights low and a fire burning, the smell of just-baked pumpkin bread in the air.
I had plans for Alice's costume, imagining that she'd be wearing it to two Halloween parties as well as on Halloween itself. I started to work on it just before October started, giving me plenty of time to complete it. Because of this, Halloween's approach was both exciting and irksome.
Now the day has passed - we're the proud owners of many adorable Halloween photos and both Chip and I are feeling particularly tired and glassy-eyed (the Daylight Savings Time doesn't help things either). It seems like every holiday is like this: the intense build up and excitement, the plans, the allocation of time as we want to wind up all the Holiday prep so as to actually enjoy the holiday itself. After the day is over I always find myself wondering what I can do to make next year a little less hectic.
One thing I learned to do this year was to manage my expectations a little better and to be clear about what I wanted to happen. Case in point: I came to Chip on Saturday morning and told him that I didn't care if we went trick or treating with Alice, all I wanted - and all I expected to get - was some pictures of Alice in her costume.
She fought wearing the hat for several outings already. I didn't have high hopes for her to wear it for pictures, but lo and behold, she did.
But she also insisted on carrying Elmo and her baby.
You win some and you lose some.
How was your Halloween?