Friday, November 17, 2006

A Big Old Messy Mess....

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

They weren't kidding when they said everything is bigger in Texas. The bugs, the hair, the hospitality. (Side note: the bugs are not only big, but horror movie big. We had a bit of roach problem upon moving in, and they liked to snuggle up in Annie's big girl bed. Nothing sends shivers down your spine faster than going to tuck in your wee one, and pulling back the sheets to find 2 cockroaches so big, you could put them in a roasting pan and serve them for Thanksgiving. When I called the exterminator, he asked me to describe them. I said- "big roach." They asked, "how big?" I said VERY. They asked, "big enough to put a saddle on and take them for a ride?" I think they see these roaches/turkeys quite often.)
But I wasn't expecting the weather to get bigger- but it is. Yesterday was a very intense weather day. (I'm afraid I'm starting to sound like a senior citizen- you know how much they love to talk about the weather, but as long as I don't start sending you news clippings in the mail, I figure I'm safe). We got ten inches of rain overnight, and gobs more yesterday.
The thunder was constant- and lightening happened all throughout the day. Our garage flooded, which was just delightful- unfortunately, our friend decided to store some boxes in our garage while he vacationed, and those are now quite soggy. To quote Laurie Bernkner, "it's a big ol' messy mess."
Today, we're drying out and getting ready for a four day visit from Greepa. Annie has "Daddy day" at preschool, and this lucky kid gets to take her Daddy and her Greepa. Should be lots of fun.

A Case of the Grumpies

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

So I'm finally venturing out a bit. After living in Houston for three months- we have finally found ourselves a babysitter the girls adore. Naomi is a high school senior, and she watches Annie and Lucy an afternoon every week, and babysits for us on the occasional night out. (She tells me the movie "Mean Girls" is a totally accurate portrayal of high school today...)
Sunday night, Matt and I tried a sushi restaurant downtown- called Fish. It was very good- not up to Zenbu (our favorite in La Jolla) standards, but very good. It was such a treat to wear lipstick, and talk to my husband without having to spell certain undesirable words.
Tonight, I went to a "Cooking Club" meeting for my Mom's group. The theme was tapas, and eight other women were all cooking up something tapas-related to share. I had high aspirations of making empanadas, but since I was supposed to go to the grocery store this afternoon, and flash flood warnings and tornados were imminent (it was a bit nasty today- like Noah's Ark Nasty), I had to make do with what I had on hand. Luckily, I remembered a tasty dip from a Barefoot Contessa episode- and I whipped that together. (roast up some eggplant, bell peppers and onion- throw in a food processor with tomato paste and Voila!)
My dish was the most "rustic"- these women can cook! We're talking authentic Spanish meatballs, hollowed out cucumbers filled with gazpacho, roasted eggplant with tapenade and feta---- delicious!
I was a bit nervous, because Naomi could not babysit tonight- so the girls were in the hands of their well equipped father. Now Matt was post-call, which means up until the hour he was to start babysitting, he had been at work for 48 hours. That tends to make one grumpy, even if you do not happen to be a person who's baseline is a bit grumpy to begin with. I left my little family with Lucy in the pack-n-play, and Annie sitting next to her Daddy on our bed watching "Jack's Big Music Show".
An hour and a half later (and one urgent phone call to please hurry home) I arrive to find everyone in the exact same position. Lucy is now asleep, but surprisingly, Annie is crying. She tells me she was "feeling grumpy," "took a HUGE poopie" and "Lucy had big boogies". Sounds like I missed one hell of a night at home.

DVR Killed the Television Star

Tuesday, October 03, 2006
We're going on our fourth day of sickness. Sick days aren't fun when you're home with kids. Gone are the days when even having the flu was a respite from dealing with the freaks surrounding your cubicle. Sick days at home now feel like living in Minnesota in the winter... or Houston in the summer.
You can't go outside. You spend your days wiling away the time by trying to come up with entertaining activities that feverish infants and toddlers will enjoy. "Look at Mommy balance that cup on her head! Silly Mommy. Ok, baby, prop your head back up- only two more hours until you can have more Motrin." Any semblance of a schedule you once had is now out the window. My girls spend their days groggily awake, or fall asleep wherever they happen to be...(Annie's current favorite nap place is the area rug in front of the kitchen sink).
But the biggest difference between sick days and normal days is television. We're usually pretty strict with not exposing our kids to too much tv--- especially during the day. Daytime television is a huge pet peeve of mine--- it seems so vapid- after "Sesame Street" or "Between the Lions" the tv doesn't come on again most days until five o'clock. (How else does one make dinner?)
But on sick days? It's open season, baby! More Elmo's World? You got it. Want to see Dora the Explorer for the upteempth time today? Sure thing! As a result, my head not only hurts because yours truly is suffering from the flu, but I have songs stuck in my head. Not just any songs- but "Backpack Backpack" from Dora, and "It's a Big Big World" from "It's a Big Big World" (Does that sloth sound like he smokes pot, or am I just harkening back to my college days?)
Tomorrow, it's back to reality. Back to preschool, playgroup, and a tv-less afternoon. I'll miss my new friends--- be well Dora, stay strong Sloth and hopefully no one can tell me how to get to Sesame Street for quite some time.

Signs Your Toddler is Overdue for Potty Training

Sunday, October 01, 2006

1. They ask to "see their poopie" in the diaper before you throw it away.
2. They run into the pantry and close the door to have a "private poo."
3. They ask you not to grab them by their knees when you're changing them. "No Mommy, no knee. Grab my ankle."
4. Mid-bubblebath, they'll suddenly look up and squeal "No poopie in the tub! No poopie in the tub!" When you ask them if they have to go potty, they shoot you a look like you're the stupidest person on Earth and say "no."
5. They specifically request which character they would like on their diaper. "No Cookie Monster Mommy, I want Elmo."

Book Report

Friday, September 29, 2006
I tend to get obsessed with a certain genre of literature, and gorge myself on it until I burn out. Lately, I've been feasting on books about food. It all started when I discovered Ruth Reichl- and her first book, Tender at the Bone. I loved that so much- I read everything she wrote- ending with Garlic and Sapphires. (For those that don't know, Ruth is the former food critic for the NY Times, and current editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine). Parts of her books are laugh out loud funny, and the recipes she includes look like real keepers. I'm somewhat obnoxious about wanting the world to share in all of the books I love, and I think I've pawned Tender at the Bone off to everyone I know (our mailman thinks I'm a little nutty, but it was a nice conversation starter, and he no longer turns my Oprah magazine into an origami swan when shoving it into the mail slot).

This passion to insist that others will love these books as much as I do sometimes has some rewards. As I was reading The Time Traveler's Wife, I would continually sigh with sadness, or say out loud "what a beautiful book" which started to pique my husband's curiosity. He would kill me for telling anyone this, but since this is my blog, and I can do with it what I please, I will share with you that he did, eventually, read The Time Traveler's Wife .This is important on many different levels. First, my husband has absolutely zero free time. Seriously. For pleasure, this guy reads surgery journals or Xeroxed copies of articles that feature long Latin names and photographs that scare the bejeezus out of you and make you want to be a vegetarian. (Interesting tidbit I picked up being married to a surgeon- do you know what human flesh smells like when they cauterize it with a laser? Steak on the grill). Anywhoo--- it is also important that he read this, because to me, it was his way of saying "hey, I trust your taste. I'd like to share in this with you." He would never actually say this, he may not have meant this, but this is how I took it, and it did mean he got luckier than normal for a bit.

So last night, I finished yet another book in my journey on food. No, it wasn't My Life in France, which I thoroughly loved- and am still stunned that Julia Child didn't really start cooking until she was 34 years old. No, the book that is now my current mission to market to the world is by Bill Buford, and it's called Heat. It's the story of a journalist that willingly works his way up the line in the three star restaurant kitchen of Babbo, in New York City. It's somewhat an admiring expose of Mario Batali (if you don't know him, he's a dead ringer for "Comic Book Guy" from the Simpsons, but Mario wears orange clogs and can cook Italian food better than Don Coleone's Nonna). It's somewhat the story of a 40-something guy changing life-course and abandoning his successful career at the New Yorker to become an apprentice in an Italian butcher shop (this is after the stint at Babbo). If you like to cook, you'll understand the passion--- but even if you don't, you will still be amazed that this guy drops everything and puts up with a ton of shit to pursue this new dream. But be forewarned: his descriptions of short ribs and tortellini will make you so hungry, you may be forced to go raid the pantry and eat spoonfuls of Nutella at 2:30am. Don't say I didn't warn you.