Friday, August 28, 2009

Food, oh food!

I joined a blog roll (from now on, I am not going to tell you just how much I hate the word "blog" and how I cringe every time I type it, but please know that I HATE THAT WORD) a few months back and then completely forgot about it. I've skipped all the assignments. Until now! Even though my contribution to this one will be laaaaame, it's a start. Some of the past questions have been more suited to me, but I need to get my rear in gear with something, yes? So, without further ado:

What's the most expensive meal you've ever eaten, and what's the best meal you've ever had?

I do not know what the most expensive meal I have ever eaten was because my husband and I are just coming out of the Poor College Student years, and most expensive meals have been on someone else's dime. We are moochers! Just kidding. Well, mostly. We aren't technically moochers because we do like to treat other people when possible. It's just that we usually treat them to Subway or Denny's. If I had to guess what my most expensive meal ever was--excluding weddings, because I have had some pretty fancy wedding meals, and I can't possibly remember them all--, it would have to be at my husband's family reunion in Canada two summers ago.

There was a salad buffet, if I remember correctly, but then we all got our own entrees. I ordered a steak, medium rare. I do not know if this is a Canadian thing, but my "medium rare" steak came out of the kitchen still thrashing its hooves about. Also, it was huge. Like, the size of my torso huge. The rareness of the steak really put me off; I have a hard time eating meat that is undercooked (I know it's safe; it's entirely in my head), but it WAS delicious. Despite feeling a little green around the gills, I could but recognize that it was one of the best steaks I've ever had in my life. And I've had a lot of steaks.

The best meal I've ever had was at Bunky's restaurant in Madison, WI. I've eaten there twice, which is a shame because it is, as I said, the best food I've ever had in my life. It's Mediterranean food, from Italian to Moroccan, and it is fabulous. There's the hummus and pita, which makes all other hummuses (hummusim?) and pitas hang their heads in shame. There were some other appetizery things that I do not know the names of, and this makes me sad because I like to remember such fond memories using actual words. Such beautiful things should not be treated like a cheap date. There was the fettuccine carciofi, which was your basic fettuccine alfredo, except with artichoke hearts the size of my fist. They have a special place in my heart forever. And, finally, the tiramisù, the crown jewel of the entire dinner. I can't even describe it. I have never had anything like it, and probably never will again, since we've now moved and Bunky's is a bit pricey for us anyway. Perhaps it will still be there when we finally win the lottery.

Monday, August 17, 2009

I am being stalked.

Bored out of my SKULL, people. Once the baby goes to bed, I usually have no trouble finding things to do to keep myself entertained. But today my brain is all flebbbthpt. Like a decomposing jellyfish.

The Child has been teething for, like six weeks, I swear, and it's FINALLY started to poke through. Poor thing. She's utterly miserable half the time, and she woke up last night and three nights ago, completely distraught. We have some teething tablets that help for a little while, but if I want her to stay asleep for more than an hour, I have to give her Tylenol. Liver failure, here we come! Just kidding. I haven't given her that much. Yet.

I do handle these episodes better when I know the reason for them. If it seems she's just grouching because she woke up on the wrong side of the crib that day, I'm all selfish angry mom (I try not to be, and I continually remind myself that I'm lucky just to have a living, breathing, healthy baby, but still... I'm selfish and human). When I know she's hurting, it's not quite easy for me to drag myself out of bed in the middle of the night, but it makes my cold, dead heart flicker with just the faintest signs of tender compassion.

In other news, we believe she has some words. WORDS. MY BABY MAY BE TALKING. *sob* So far, we think it's just "mama" and "dada", but maybe also "hi". She waves hello and goodbye, but it's usually ten minutes after the target of her waving has disappeared from view. She also puts her arms up when she wants picked up. And she can climb onto our bed all by herself. She also climbs off the bed, face-first. We let her do this for a while, thinking it would hurt, and she'd learn, but she never did. She just started not caring. Face planting is fun!

She plays Where's the Baby? with blankets and shirts, even though half the time she's unclear on the concept called Actually Hiding Your Face from View. She holds the blanket about up to mouth-level and peers at you expectantly, like, "Hello? I'm PLAYING here, and you aren't playing back? Are you stupid?" Or sometimes she'll just be sitting in the middle of the floor by herself while I go about my business, and she'll start doing it, expecting me to immediately notice. The evil side of me likes to watch from the corner of my eye while she lifts blanket, puts it back down, turns to see if I'm watching, lift, let down, peek, lift, let down, peek, and then finally squeak to get my attention or crawl over and get up in my face so she can chew on my nose.

It's slowly dawning on me that I gave birth to a person. A Someone who will one day go to school, play sports, learn an instrument, fall in love, have babies of her own. I'm so very excited for those things, but they make me sad because I know that if she does those things, she won't be a tiny, snuggly baby anymore.

Do you people remember this:

This was seven months ago. SEVEN. That explosion your hear is the sound of my mind blowing up at the same time that my heart shatters into a million pieces (brain is too flebbbthpt to think of anything but clichés). Thank goodness for 2.0, or this growing up and turning into a little girl business would have killed me already.

Remember how I was all gung-ho about the Oil Cleansing Method a while back? Well, no, you probably don't, but I was fully gunged to the ho. I've never had nice skin. I've never had awful skin, either. It's just always been ick enough for me to be discontent but not ick enough to warrant going to a dermatologist. It also responds very badly to typical acne spot treatments like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. No idea why, but it always seemed to flare up right before prom, and like an idiot, I'd get out the acne treatment gel, hoping this time it would work, and then I'd wake up the next day with Scale Face and cry.

Anyway. I first read about this and thought, "OIL? On my SKIN? On PURPOSE?" But then I tried it. And lo and behold, it worked! And I was thrilled! Mostly because it's much cheaper than the Neutrogena stuff I'd been using. But then I started thinking, well, maybe it's just that I'm pregnant, and I did start having pretty nice skin during second trimester, and it's not THAT much better. Maybe a little, but not a ton. And then I had the baby, and my skin stayed nice, but sometimes skin changes permanently during pregnancy, so I still didn't really know.

Well, this time around, I didn't get first trimester skin at all. A couple flare-ups, and slightly splotchy skin, but nothing like the horror of last time. The other day I ran out of oil mixture and went back to my old Neutrogena standby because I was too lazy to pour a little oil into a bottle. HOLY COWS. First trimester skin was back, and it was UGLY and MEAN. Because I'm an idiot, I kept using the Neutrogena for about a week and a half, and it was still horrible. Two days ago, I finally got around to changing back, and the change was immediate. I have my skin back! And now I can evangelize with full confidence!

(Unlike the website, I don't think this is guaranteed to work for everyone, but if you're like me and your skin responds poorly to even the expensive stuff, or you just want to try something new and see if it will save you some money, just try it. For a week or two. Seriously.)

So, you people know how I am afraid of bugs and spiders and everything in between? (And how on EARTH are spiders part of the animal kingdom? They should make a whole separate kingdom just for horrors of nature, and call it the evil kingdom) These things are stalking me. The other day James and I went on a walk and passed a beetle so huge I was almost not afraid of it because it could have been a puppy. It was black with red or orange markings and two or two and a half inches long. Then, on Friday, I went out with some friends. I was in the middle of a bar in downtown Madison when I looked down and saw another beetle on my leg. I think it was a patent leather beetle, but I'm not sure. I made a scene and hurt a hip muscle. It was embarrassing. Night before last, I was about to snuggle up to my laptop in bed, when I looked over to see a spider scrabbling eagerly toward me. I killed it with my power supply. I do not know how I did this without waking the baby, whose door was open. For the first time in my life, I encountered a spider and did not scream like a teething baby.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Safety is overrated.

We are FINALLY getting around to doing a little babyproofing. I mean, I'd moved all the dangerous chemicals out of The Child's immediate reach (though I have no doubt she'll be quite able to scale the refrigerator by the time she's 2), and anything breakable is out of her reach (again, scaling bookshelves in no time, I'm sure). But I hadn't put anything on the cabinets in the kitchen, and we never do plan to completely babyproof. I like my books and bookshelves within easy reach, and she is perfectly capable of learning what is off limits. She already has, in fact. (please note: this does NOT mean she doesn't sneak off to the bookshelf once in a while because she does, and then she looks over her shoulder at me with a sly little devil grin, and it is VERY hard for me not to laugh and encourage that behavior)

So, with the new one coming, I decided it was in my best interest to make SOME things, at least, a little harder to get at. I started installing "childproof" latches on the kitchen cabinets a few days ago, and I finished up today.

Dear Safety 1st,



A Very Frustrated Parent

It's enough to make a mom booze it up while The Child gets herself stuck in the slow cooker.

Granted, this may have been a whole lot easier if we owned a drill, but people, not all parents own drills. Now, though, I would probably sell The Child for a good drill set. This is home project #98372 for which I've had to install screws in something without a drill, and I have had enough.

It does not help that The Child did her absolute best to "help" me do the installation. Mostly this involved shimmying up my backside and grabbing for the hammer (or screwdriver or latch or whatever shiny, dangerous object happened to be closest) and breathing strangely in my ear. I keep saying I'll do it while she's napping, but it seems like such a waste to spend her naps working. That's my lunch break, yo!

Silver lining: My arm and shoulder muscles are BULGING.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Who wants a cute baby? Just for a day?

I wrote myself one of those lame quizzes on Facebook (you are welcome to check it out): "How well do you know _________?" I entitled it, "I'm a narcissist!" The joke is that I kind of am. I have a blog, people, and the number one pronoun used on that blog is "I". Followed closely by "me".

Speaking of me, I need friends, people. How do you make friends in a tiny town when you don't go to school, church or work there, and when all your neighbors are either unfriendly or waaaay outside your age/family situation demographic. Not that I'm only willing to make friends with hip 20-somethings who have babies, but it'd be really nice to have some mom friends. I am an extrovert. I need to meet some people around here, or I will probably slash my wrists. (not really, don't worry)

Today is one of those days. No car today; it's James's week to drive. I'm stuck inside because it's hot out, and heat triggers my nausea (*sob* normally I love ridiculously hot weather). That means no walk. That means feeling blah. That means I'm impatient with Grace, and she gets cranky, and so I'm more impatient, and no housework gets down, and everyone's unhappy, and poor James comes home from a long day of work to find a messy home and a crazy wife and a grouchy baby. Yay!

So I'm not typically this Debbie Downer, but dudes, I am lonely on days like today. I know I chose this life. I chose to be a stay-at-home-mom, and most days I wouldn't trade it for anything. Today? I want to run away. Just for a couple hours. I even called people. On the telephone. Everyone is busy.

In other news, our upstairs hallway remains half-painted. I painted it halfway in a nesting frenzy a few days ago, and it's been so hot and humid that that idea has been out ever since. It would just gum onto the walls and slowly seep toward the floor. Not so awesome. The one good thins is that it looks completely idiotic, and it lifts my spirits a little bit every time I walk through it.

The Child is sleeping again. I suppose I have that to be thankful for. In fact, yesterday she slept until 9 (9! That's 13 hours of sleep!), and today it was 8:30. Weirdo.

Time to do something around here, even if it's just to pick up the dining room table. I find that if the dining room looks neat (the first room you see when you open the door), the rest of the house feels neater. Yes, I have learned to cheat and deceive at housewifery. And I'm proud of it.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I wrote a whole entry about cleaning windows.

This is insanity. Monday I did... I don't remember what I did. But I was productive. Ish. I do know that I went to bed at 8:30 and slept in half-hour increments for the next 11 hours. It was a very weird night, one of those ones where your dreams mingle with the waking world, and even though you know these worries and weird things are not real, your mind just keeps picking at them obsessively so that you cannot get back to real sleep. Oh. No one else does this? Carry on, then!

Yesterday I did eleventy-five loads of laundry AND folded it all AND put it away. And every time a load got done, I thought, "Yesss! More laundry to fold and put away!" I thought this without a trace of sarcasm in my mind.

Last night my champion sleeper (ahahahahah, that is so a thing of the past, though she's still a pretty good sleeper, I suppose, and if this is not just a phase that 9- and 10-month-olds go through, I will probably kill myself) woke up at 3:45 and stayed that way until 6:30. I coped by going downstairs and eating a metric ton of black cherry frozen yogurt (and yet I still weighed one pound less this morning). Seriously, I have tried everything I can think of (short of booze; I joke about doing this, but I wouldn't actually, and I hope I didn't have to tell you that) with this kid. I do not know what to do with her. Why would a formerly awesome sleeper suddenly do this? I NEED ANSWERS.

(Before anyone jumps down my throat, yes, I do know that thousands of other kids do not even sleep through the night until they're three. If you tell me your cat just died, I will not yell at you about how I've lost three grandparents and a father-in-law, and IF I COULD BE SO LUCKY I WOULD BE GRATEFUL. Don't worry; if you are one of my friends on here, I am not talking about you. I am talking about other people who do the drive-by notes, which are so often private. I am VERY grateful that she sleeps as well as she does, but when you get used to a thing, and then suddenly that thing turns into a nightmare, it is hard to get unused to it. And I handle sleep deprivation about as well as Bill Clinton handles celibacy.)

Ahem. So. I slept about three hours last night. That's because even after she finally settled, I kept dreaming that she was crying, so I'd wake up in a panic, all, "Oh, not again! What's wrong this time?"

I thought today would be awful. I thought I would spend it lying in bed, trying to recover from the insane amount of work I did yesterday and from a sleepless night. After I fed Grace, I did lie in bed for a while. I watched her bop around our room, mostly between the window fan (if she had a boyfriend, that would be it) and the air filter (and she'd be two-timing it with him).

For the first time in weeks, I enjoyed her instead of just gritting my teeth through yet another day. She made me giggle. I made her giggle. I felt a little of this yesterday, but today I really felt normal and happy again. Not that I've been depressed for the past month, but I have definitely not been myself. Tired and draggy, horrified at the thought of almost all food, yet constantly starving. I had some (pregnancy-safe) anti-nausea pills that really helped, but they also made me drowsy, and yesterday was the first day I didn't need them. Oh, it was great.

About a half hour of that, and I suddenly realized that even though I'd picked up our bedroom yesterday, it wasn't clean, and it was vitally important that our bedroom be spotless and sweet-smelling today. No, yesterday, and oh my gosh it's too late I need it clean now. I wiped down every surface with Murphy's Oil Soap (they need to make a room spray that smells like that; it is the best smell in the world), including the baseboards and window trim and ceiling fan. I vacuumed, and then I vacuumed some more. Then I started in on the windows, and this is where the DOOM! music starts.

These windows. I have not cleaned a window in this house since we first moved in, and now I remember why. When we first got here, I tackled the two front windows in the living room. They were horribly dirty, yet mostly web-free, which is why I chose them. It took me FOUR HOURS. Yes, that is a "four", and that is an "hours". It took me four hours partly because I am crazy and a perfectionist, but mostly it took me four hours because the window needs to be completely disassembled in order to be cleaned. And even THEN you cannot clean it completely. Not even with a toothbrush. It's like Martha Stewart's worst nightmare.

One of the major attractions of this house when we moved in was the new windows. "New windows!" we said, "Energy savings!" we said, "Ease of use!" we said. Silly young couple. These windows have slots up the sides that are JUST narrow enough that they cannot be cleaned with towel, finger, toothbrush, or scalpel. They can be mostly clean, but never completely clean. Do you know what kind of goop collects in those slots? Do you have any idea? It is the stuff of nightmares. And, while the windows swing out nicely so that it is easy to clean both sides, heaven help you if you accidentally take it all the way out. The first time I had to put a window pane back in, my belly was the size of Morocco, and I hadn't eaten all day. This time around I thought it would be easier. Nope. Not in the least! Also, the tabs that slide back and forth so you can swing the window in and out are textured plastic and screwed into the window frame. To clean it (and they were really filthy; this is not a case of me being crazy), I had to unscrew and disassembled each tab, let them soak while I cleaned the rest of the window, then scrub and dry them before putting them back together. This assembly includes one (1) tiny spring, like what you might find in a pen, one (1) small disk-thingy whose purpose I have yet to ascertain, one (1) textured bracket (hi, dirt! come live with us! forever!) that fits over the whole assembly, and one (1) tab onto which you have to fit the spring perfectly before you put the whole thing just right into the bracket, and oops, that spring likes to pop off, and oops, if you put it on just wrong, you have to disassemble the whole thing and start over because otherwise your window will fall out in the middle of the night or possibly on your child's head in the middle of the day.

I had NO IDEA that a window could make me so angry. Anyway, this time around it only took three hours to do the two windows. This does not include the twenty minutes I spent ducking and weaving when a sneaky bee zoomed into the house in search of...? No idea. I think this is the same bee that tried to traumatize me last summer while I was cleaning radiator covers in the front lawn. Perhaps they are attracted to Pine-Sol, my second favorite cleaning supply.

I am still losing weight. Doctor's appointment tomorrow. I will ask about this because I did not have anything like this problem last time. Even with all the not eating and throwing up more often and feeling like poo, I still gained about ten pounds during first trimester. I have LOST almost ten pounds during first trimester. The vain side of me is thrilled, but I know it's not something you want to have happen during pregnancy. Not ten pounds in a month. I thought that it might stop last week, when I suddenly started feeling a little better and eating more, but it didn't. It slowed, but I'm still dropping weight.

I've run out of things to say.

Here is a grainy photo from my MacBook camera:


It's grainy, but it so perfectly captures her personality: maniacal happiness and constant movement. Also, you can see the hideous former color scheme of our living room. The camera does not adequately capture the horror, but it's close. Imagine both those colors just a little bit pukier, and you'll have it. We can't bring ourselves to repaint the door. It is too awesomely horrific.

To clarify: I don't feel rotten anymore. I feel awesome, for the first time in weeks, despite my lousy sleep. I'm baffled by this compulsion to clean, clean, clean (even though I know it's just nesting), but I feel great.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The root of all kinds of evil?

How most days go:

  • Drag self out of bed by power of coffee alone.
  • Drag self downstairs to pump and watch something on Hulu.
  • Stare at Hulu until baby cries.
  • Fetch baby.
  • Feed baby while Hulu eats my tender head parts.
  • Spend rest of day somewhat paying attention to Grace, somewhat paying attention to my own needs, possibly doing a microgram of housework and somewhat paying attention to my computer.
  • Put baby to bed.
  • Watch more shows or read online.
  • Drag self to bed.

How today went:

  • Drag self out of bed by power of coffee alone.
  • Grace cries early, so no pumping or Hulu.
  • Feed baby in bedroom. My messy, messy bedroom. That is driving me crazy.
  • Change baby.
  • Clean bedroom for an hour.
  • Toss monstrous pile of dirty clothes downstairs.
  • Go downstairs, sort laundry while baby shouts at Cat and makes out with washing machine.
  • Give baby some fruit. And cheerios.
  • Put baby down for nap.
  • Shower.
  • Brush teeth.
  • Take out garbage.
  • Eat something that actually counts as breakfast.
  • Fold a metric ton of laundry AND put it away.
  • Do three more loads.
  • Start thawing meat for dinner.
  • Fold more laundry.
  • Read a book. For HALF AN HOUR.
  • Feed baby.
  • Go for walk/grocery run.
  • Stop and talk to neighbor lady for 20 minutes. The awesome older one with coral lipstick and perfect landscaping. That she does herself. At the age of 432. She is besotted with The child. I glow.
  • Chat with flamboyant older couple in Piggly Wiggly. Both are enchanted with The Child. I glow.
  • Arrive home with groceries.
  • Put groceries away.
  • Play with baby.
  • Put baby down for nap.
  • More laundry.
  • Start dinner in crock pot (oh crap, it says 6-7 hours on HI, not 3-4 hours, so I guess we'll eat at ten!).
  • Dishes.
  • Finally sit down to computer because feet are screaming in pain.
  • Feel like not a totally useless piece of crap.
  • Oh! More laundry! Sweet! (and yes, I'm actually excited for more laundry)

I think I need to get rid of my computer. Except that it's my lifeline to friends and sanity. Hmmm. What to do.