Monday miscellany

We are mainlining Doctor Who right now so that we can watch the 50th anniversary special before Kevin’s parents get here on Wednesday. We’ve been watching two episodes a day for a bit, which, compared to the zero (0) television I’ve been watching since approximately when Hazel was born, well, WHOA.

Hazel has been sleeping pretty well for a week and a half, and I feel AMAAAAAZING. My brain is working! The fog has lifted for the first time in a month! I’ve been getting a lot done at work. I’ve been able to watch a little TV. I’ve (gasp!) stayed up later than both my kids! Ok, only by half an hour or so, but it does WONDERS for my headspace.

Hazel will get booted into our bathroom for the next week though, and then she’ll bounce back and forth every couple weeks when people visit, and then we go to LA, and then and then and then. So I’m sure that’ll disrupt the already nonlinear progression of infant sleep, but I’m hoping she can roll with it. I’m excited to do all the stuff and see all the people but I’m a little nervous about the impact it will have on Hazel and my sleep.

When we used to drag Eliza all over creation, she did reasonably well, but even when it hit the fan, the burden was spread more evenly over Kevin and me. Now it’s mostly on me – not because Kevin doesn’t want to help, but he just can’t very easily. We stopped working on Hazel accepting bottles from him at some point because it worked better for me to feed her, so now he hasn’t tried in months. Especially now that I’m working full time, it’s challenging to find a good time for him to even try to give her a bottle. No big deal, honestly, except that there isn’t a whole lot he can do for her at night right now. It’s certainly worth it, to see our friends and families, to go on adventures, but it costs me a good bit more this time. I suppose it ends up costing Kevin as well, after a rough night, as he ends up on Eliza duty while I stare blankly into the distance, holding Hazel. Ahhh, parenthood!

Anyways, I didn’t mean to go off about that, I just meant to say: oh, it’s so nice to be well rested! I’m sure it will come and go over the next year, but it’s nice to taste sanity after a few months without. Just knowing it’s there waiting for me is helpful.

Also helpful: good TV shows that I get to discuss with my buddies. Same with good books. Having brain power left over at the end of the day is so refreshing!

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She had an OK night, but still finagled some parental bed real estate this morning. Good thing she’s cute.

Posted in ephemera, little bears, Me me me | 2 Comments

Once upon a summer

Nine and a half years ago, I had the most unbelievable summer. Somehow, I’ve only mentioned it here in passing, a long time ago, but here is what I said:

“…moved into a 2000 Nissan Frontier with my friend, Meredith.  We embarked on a three month journey around the country, which is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done.  Peaked at 20, such a shame.  We spent time in West Virginia (New River Gorge), Philadelphia (this kid we met at the NRG paid us money to move him from his dorm in Philly to….), southern Illinois (there are rocks there.  seriously.), Wyoming (Wild Iris in the Wind Rivers Range), British Columbia (Squamish), California (Yosemite, duh), and Idaho (City of Rocks).  I could spend an eternity talking about this trip, and probably should at some point.  This was the defining experience of my life thus far; it is when I found my confidence, it is when I learned about friendship and adulthood and dumpster diving, it is when I tore the ligaments in my wrist that kept me at UGA for grad school.”

I found the journal I kept during the trip, and I ran across the photoalbum (an actual ALBUM!) the other day, so I’m going to post some excerpts. This trip was, as I said, a defining experience. But since I said that back in 2009, I’ve had some bigger things come along, and the memories are getting crowded right out of my brain, as memories sometimes do.

—-

5.22.2004 – Day 2. Roger’s Campground, New River Gorge, WV

Got to Roger’s at 6ish, after missing US 19 and making our own route for a bit – and paying an extra $1.25 toll – damnit. This place is pretty nice – someone’s yard, basically. Roger is kind, sits around and bullshits with everyone. Alex is here too, and Bash (a friend of his from Chapel Hill). Played Dominoes Muthafucka last night, then spades. And it rained :(

The truck was comfy – see how long till I detest it. Today we are climbing easy, maybe trad a bit and I’m excited.

Mere, Roger, and me

5.23.2004

Climbed at Butcher’s Branch today. Beautiful, gorgeous day. Sunny and shady and breezy and warm. Trail was switchbacks, murderous for me on the way out – I just go slow, get winded so easily on that stuff. Anyway everything was vibrantly green with sun filtering through. Crossed a pretty creek waterfall, unfortunately these are allegedly sewage runoff so no refreshing dip after climbing. The rock was beautiful also, great features and colors.

Mere belaying

Slab!

Pretty

Went swimming down at Summersville Dam – very nice, more enjoyed the ride though. Alex and Mere. Good talk about life, and what you’re supposed to do with it – we three have so many opportunities, and some would say we’re squandering them, wasting time and not appreciating how we got here – we are so fortunate to be economically comfortable, sound body and mind, etc. – so lucky to have been born to this, rather than where 90% of humans are… and here we are, rather than trying to help others in some way… we are taking the summer off of our ridiculously difficult lives as college students to climb, and forget about the world, what day it is, what terrorism is currently occurring and where, what hunger or disease is ravaging what country… live in my bubble of happiness. But what should I be doing differently? It can be construed as indifference of selfishness or maybe ignorance/naivety. I’m not sure… from that extreme, even establishing my life, working for my own livelihood is selfish. And maybe I am just selfish – I want others to have happiness and opportunities, but not at the expense of my own. I just want everything to be good magically.

Everybody, be kind. I was 20, and hanging out with English/Philosophy graduate students. I’m betting this will only get worse.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Me me me, retrospect | 3 Comments

Watershed

Today had me thinking about watershed moments and big historical events. I was asking my mom what she remembers about some from her lifetime, and there are so MANY – the Cuban Missile Crisis, JFK’s assassination, the moon landing, MLK’s assassination and the Civil Rights Movement, Watergate, Vietnam. I’m sure there are more after that, but, uh, I’m a little fuzzy on U.S. and world history in the 1970s and 1980s, sooo.

Anyway, it’s got me thinking about what the watersheds from my lifetime are – the most obvious, of course, is 9/11 (and subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq). Others are the dot com bubble, the global financial crisis, and all the recent strides in marriage equality (I still feel like we are waiting for The Moment on that one. Come onnnnn).

But I wonder if there are other things that don’t feel that huge to me right now, but in 50 years will prove to be historically significant? And things that felt really big at the time, but will end up being fairly minor or mundane.

Like, I don’t know – Obama’s election in 2008. It felt like a sea change, at the time. Like a huge, big deal. Like history was happening and I was experiencing it, and WOW. And on some level, I think that’s certainly the case: we have a black president! That IS a big deal. But some of the rest of it, the hope and change and everything I felt so swept up by at the time? It feels kind of like a river that turned into a stream that turned into … I don’t know, an overused irrigation canal. This metaphor got away from me. Anyways, it felt like it was going to be a big historical Thing, and now it seems like it’s actually just politics as usual.

Wow, this went in an unexpected direction. But it is my bedtime, so I’m leaving it, even though I’m sure I’ll think of a bunch of obvious things tomorrow, and also that I’ll be embarrassed at my limited world view and lack of awareness of current events.

Posted in ephemera, retrospect | 12 Comments

Thanksgiving Food

Whoa, so Thanksgiving is a week from today, huh. This month (year) is flying by while I busy myself whining about being sleepy. Like, what, I’m expecting to not be sleepy someday? Well, Snooze, bad news: you will ALWAYS be sleepy no matter what, because narcolepsy.

Right, ok, Thanksgiving. Kevin’s parents are coming to visit next week, and Eliza is going to be soooo happy to have her Mammo and Bappo here.

We have hosted Friendsgiving every year we’ve lived here, so this will be a bit of a departure for us. We are still celebrating with friends, but we aren’t hosting and it’s a slightly different crowd – primarily Kevin’s coworkers. It will be nice not to have to deal with cleaning up afterwards, though I am a little bummed we aren’t hosting. Partially because that means fewer leftovers, which is half the fun.

I’ve been too busy/tired/fried to participate much in the menu planning, but I think the hosts are providing a couple of the dishes that are critical to my thanksgiving experience: stuffing, candied yams, and cranberry sauce. I am pretty particular about all three – I want them to be just like my mom and aunt have always made them. The cranberry sauce is classyish, while the other two recipes are less so (stuffing mix, and canned yams with marshmallows. COME TO ME). I think I’m going to make some just for us.

—–

Candied Yams

3 cans (14 oz) cooked yams, drained

3/4 stick butter or margarine, cut up

2/3 cup brown sugar

2 beaten eggs

1/2 to 3/4 cup milk

Bag mini marshmellows

Method:

Preheat oven to 350°

Beat with mixer until well blended.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.  Put marshmallows on top and heat under broiler for 3 minutes.

 

Stuffing

Ingredients:

Pepperidge Farm stuffing

Celery, chopped fine

½ med onion, chopped fine

½ cup walnuts, chopped small

2 apples, chopped small

8 oz sliced mushrooms

water and butter as directed on package of stuffing

Method:

Melt butter and water together in saucepan.  Add all chopped ingredients in large bowl and mix together.  Place in large glass casserole and bake till warm in 350’ oven.

 

Whole Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients:

12 oz bag cranberries

1 Cup Orange Juice

1 Cup Sugar

1 Tablespoon orange rind or zest

Method:

Put all ingredients in saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium and let mixture boil down.  Serve warm or cold.

 

 

Posted in Feed me!, Me me me | 4 Comments

Six quick takezzzzzzzz

1. We finally got back to watching Doctor Who tonight. We had to stop a few months back, because I was too tired and couldn’t stay awake for a whole episode, much less pay attention. We just watched “The Angels Take Manhattan,” and well, damn.

2. Eliza is doing this thing, I think it’s a toddler power struggle thing, but it is making evenings rough. She is picking at her dinner, asking to get down from her chair, choosing not to eat, and then at bedtime, FUh-reaking OUT, begging for milk and food. It is super fun. She is flipping out even if she has eaten a semi-reasonable amount. From the way it plays out, I feel pretty secure that it is a power thing, normal two year old shenanigans, but damn if it doesn’t get me right in the guilt complex when she starts fussing for milk. Thankfully I’ve been reminded by my dear husband and some lovely friends that my well fed, middle class American child is not going to starve after opting out of dinner for a night or two. So I just hope it passes quickly.

3. We now have a food truck near work, and I had pho for lunch. This is HUGE. Our town has a serious dearth of restaurants, and the only decent pho I’ve had around here has been at my friend’s house, or in my own kitchen after she taught me to make it. And I do NOT have time for that nonsense right now.

4. We are out of chocolate cake, Halloween candy, and frozen cookie dough. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I mean, I’d just buy/make more, but I’m trying to quit. I suppose I’ll look forward to thanksgiving pies and Christmas cookies.

5. How long do real Christmas trees last? (Let me google that for you.) (shut up. Just tell me.) we are deciding whether to get a real one, as we have been, or if it won’t last from December 1st till the 25th ish. We’d like to put the tree up after Tday, while Kev’s parents are here, and have it last till Xmas (when my parents will be here.) Fake and pre-lit doesn’t sound half bad to me right now.

6. I’m about to get smoked by narcolepsy so this is all you get. That’ll teach me to go on a lunch date with my husband instead of drafting a blog post.

Posted in ephemera, Me me me | 14 Comments

Seven quick takes

1. A coworker spelled my name “Suzan” today, and I cannot stop laughing about it. I mean, it was in an email to a client, so not totally ideal (somehow “Dr. Suzan Lastname” doesn’t carry quite the legitimacy as my actual name?), but I just couldn’t stop laughing. That’s not even a NAME! I just… how? I’m still cackling. So, you know, if you are worried about people messing up your kid’s name, take heart. People will screw up ANYTHING.

2. Eliza has been a complete sweetheart lately. Ok, that’s a lie, because she is two, but oh, she is the best. She is still obsessed with Winnie the Pooh, but maybe sliiightly less than a month ago. Sometimes she can leave Pooh Bear home, and not totally freak out. But she still needs at LEAST Pooh Bear and Pooh Ball for bed time.

3. Eliza’s interests have expanded to include Disney princesses, despite having seen parts of The Little Mermaid only two or three times, a month ago. She identifies this entire genre of films as “Movie,” as well as the princesses themselves. Her favorite characters are Sebastian and Max. Everyone else is just called Movie. I’m a little scared to let her watch more, not because I’m all that concerned with the princess thing, but because girlfriend is ENTHRALLED by the television. She will stand in front of it, gape mouthed, totally entranced. And she flips her lid when you turn it off or try to get her to pay attention to anything else. I think the house could burn down around her and she wouldn’t notice. That’s useful, actually, when the parental energy stores are low, but then it’s allllll she talks about for ages afterwards, so it’s just not worth it right now. (I’m totally trying to justify our LACK of screentime right here, because I don’t want to sound like a hippie dipwad, all “oh, OUR kids don’t watch TV” which is totally not how it is. IT’S NOT LIKE THAT!)

4. One more thing about princesses. Jonna has totally sold me on the princess/Disney thing, IF my kid decides that’s her bag – it can be fun! Watching my kid enjoy things is really amazing. I’m in. I’m not super psyched about the princess-as-role-model part, but I think a lot of that can go over their heads right now anyways. I do think they are shitty role models, but I don’t really care, right now, and I think my girls will have strong female role models in spades so I’m not that worried. That said, we are hoping we can get them hooked on Hayao Miyazaki movies instead (Princess Mononoke, Howl’s Moving Castle, etc.) because they usually have bad ass female protagonists.

5. Hazel can sit up almost indefinitely without falling over now. She falls over like once a day, and.. well, it’s really funny when she does. You just hear a muted THUNK, and from my normal couch spot, all you can see are her little feeties waving around in the air. She usually keeps on nomming on her toys pretty happily, so I don’t feel too bad laughing.

6. Hazel is sleeping wonderfully about 30% of the time, acceptably well another 30%, and terrrrrible 40%. Actually, that’s not fair. She is sleeping really well, but when she wakes up and chatters to herself for an hour, I CANNOT sleep through it. I have some earplugs, but they hurt/irritate my ears, so I end up taking them out in my sleep. I have some delicate lady earplugs headed my way, so hopefully that will help. I’ve lost my last few weekends to a haze (hah) of night feedings and trying to catch up with naps and generally losing my mind.

7. I have done NONE holiday shopping, and it is stressing me OUT. Although, my brother did send me an email about some good gift ideas for him, after my post last week, so: win. Even better, he confirmed my general train of thought for gifts for him, so I can feel more assured about the things I come up with on my own. Overall, I’m chalking this up as the best possible outcome for talkin shit about your family on the internet.

Posted in ephemera, little bears, Me me me | 10 Comments

Meatball subs with Asian slaw

I’m going to bed in about 45 seconds, but I can’t fail my November posting streak yet. So here: the dinner Kevin and I are eating every other day or so, lately. Meatball subs with Asian slaw.

20131117-201757.jpgDon’t worry, Erica. I’ll never be a food blogger with pictures like these.

Super easy and delicious. The meatballs are Aidell’s. I like the mango jalapeño flavor, and Kevin prefers sweet & sour.

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They are pre-cooked, so I just microwave them for a minute or two. Pop them on buttered and toasted sub rolls and top with Asian slaw.

The slaw is made from shredded cabbage, carrots, and sliced red pepper, tossed with spicy peanut sauce.

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I got the idea/rough recipe from Elizabeth. My peanut sauce is:
0.5 c + 2 Tbsp peanut butter
Juice of two limes
2 Tbsp sesame oil
0.25 c soy sauce
0.25 c rice vinegar
0.25 c brown sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
0.5 tsp garlic powder

We cut the cayenne down to 0.5-0.75 tsp if we are sharing, because it’s pretty kicky.

Posted in Feed me! | 4 Comments