November 30, 2007

How many things?


First, thanks for the NaBloPoMo Survivor's Badge goes to Mrs. Fussypants.

Monkey in a Suit has tagged me for an 8 Things Post and I just cannot resist that crazy bitch. The meme, not Monkey, of course.

8 passions in my life:
X and my kids (the Core of my pathetic existence)
Languages
Reading books, magazines, cereal boxes, graffiti, blogs, the written word (wherever it may exist)
Collecting books
Antiques/Old Things of Interest (e.g. does need to have monetary value)
Traveling/Road Trips (Dude - driving to Wichita is exciting to me. The Flint Hills are absolutely stunning.)
Gadgets/Technology
Being Outside (seriously. Just sitting in my front yard is good enough.)

8 things to do before I die:
Go to India. Specifically to Kottyam, Kerala where X was born.
Read everything Jane Austen has ever written.
Skydive.
See Mount Everest (NOT climb it - just see it. I am utterly fascinated with the folks in Kathmandu who live in its "shadow")
Learn a 2nd language FLUENTLY
Learn how to play Chopin's Funeral Marche in full.
Read all the Harry Potter books with my children.
Go on a proper African safari. No touristy shit.

8 things I often say:

Um, yeah.
Oh shit.
Dude.
Do you want to watch Diego?
Get out of her face. NOW.
One more time and you are in time-out.
What the fuck?
You sexy thang. (Note: poor X. Feel pity for him. I know not what overcomes me.)

8 books I read recently
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell
Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Cane River by Lalita Tademy
Nurture the Nature: Understanding Your Child's Core Personality by Michael Gurian
Bookends by Jane Green
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Road by Cormac McCarthy

8 songs that mean something to me:
I Deserve It by Madonna
Hips Don't Lie by Shakira
Nothing Fails by Madonna
In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
The Captain by Kasey Chambers
Bike by Pink Floyd
You by Bonnie Raitt
Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd

I tag Mojavi, Mamma Sarah, Brit, Marilyn, Rita, Stephanie, Goofy Girl, and finally.......Chocolate Covered Susan.

And yes, there is not a link for Miss Susan of the Chocolate Covered Pistachios fame. You see, Miss Susan has been all High n' Mighty about this here thing we call the Blogosphere. This is my attempt to call her shit out.

I suspect that Mojavi will support me in this.

November 29, 2007

Comparing or Sharing?

First, thank you for the all the great tips about Curly Hair Care! I should note that I do use Suave for Arun's hair and I love that product for his hair. It is also super cheap, which is a bonus. The thing with Anjali is two-fold - she has curly hair AND sensitive skin. We have an appointment with a pediatric dermatologist to see if eczema is an issue. We do not think it is, but we need to rule it out. In the meantime, I am careful with what I use.

Anyway.........The other day, I posted about Arun recognizing the word "zoo". After publishing, I felt sheepish that perhaps I was bragging so I decided to cut the paragraph out of which basically amounted to a Boast Post. However, Jenny had commented on it so it seemed silly to have her comment out there which made no sense. So, I added the paragraph back in. I hated the perception of being a braggart, but truly - I am so damned excited about the prospect of my kids reading. I have been collecting children's books for years in the fervent hope that I would someday get to share them. Last week, when Arun recognized the word "zoo", my stomach did little flips because I was so thrilled. It makes me tingle to think that in a few years, we will be reading books together.

I try to be conscientious about bragging - I feel so lucky that I have Mojavi and Chocolate Covered Susan with whom I can talk about these little things and feel okay that they know I am not trying to be competitive. Besides, I care for their daughters deeply, have seen both of them grow up since newborns and I love hearing about their accomplishments, too. In fact, over the past 2 years, Susan and I have watched our children hop scotch past each other with all the milestones. Back and forth....back and forth...... back and forth..... We have been able to see firsthand how unique a child can be in his/her development. We know that in the end, most kids wind up at the same point eventually so it does not matter who "did it first".

There was a short time in the beginning of our playgroup's life where we had a Competitive Mom in our midst- and oh God, it was miserable. There is such a fine, thin, teeny line between "comparing" and "sharing" - that mother constantly crossed the line and often hurt our feelings in the process. It was a good lesson for Susan and I - as such, we are very frank with each other now about such things. I would be utterly horrified if she ever thought I was trying to make her feel bad by my talking about something that Arun has done that maybe her daughter has not done yet.

The same applies to the Innernets. I want to use this space to share my excitement about my kids, but rest assured, my intent is to never, ever make someone feel bad if their kid had not reached the same milestone yet. I love reading about all of your kids' accomplishments. I hope you feel the same.

November 28, 2007

What do I like?

First, Zoot had some good points today about pimping products and why she does not normally do much pimpage. I should be clear about my own pimpage - I am only talking about stuff on which I have spent my own cash. It is merely stuff that I have happened across - some through trial and error. And truly, I mention things because I want to hear what you have to say back. For example, I talked about lip balms last week and several of you mentioned Burt's Bees. I then remembered I had some laying around - the lip shimmery stuff. I pulled it out and realized that Hey! I do like this stuff particularly now that I am getting used to wearing lip balm. Besides, with our budget this year, Burt's Bees fits in quite nicely as opposed to Aveda which is best saved for the plumper wallet. And I have you folks to thank for reminding me of the Burt's Bees (X would probably like to thank all of you, as well.) Anyway..... I could go and on about all the stuff I have discovered because others mentioned it. In the 3 years I have been blogging, I have posted about 2 thing I received for free - one book about stress and the Mama Knows Breast book. Am I done with full disclosure? Did that cover it? Zoot had some good points.

So....Today, I am raving about two products that are totally stylin' my baby girl's curly locks. It is an odd combination, but it is working for her. As a Straight Hair girl, I am utterly and completely fascinated with Anjali's hair. It has taken me awhile to figure out what works because it is a careful combination of scalp and hair. And most importantly - NO BRUSHES. Maybe, a comb, very lightly, before I apply everything. Overall, a light picking with my fingertips works best. If she ends up being a Curly Girl for Life and ever wants to straighten her hair on an ironing board with an iron, I may have a heart attack.

I hate my heavy, straight hair that resisted even a spiral perm. The thought that my girl may not ever have to suffer straight hair makes my heart sing with joy. And yes, I am fully aware that if she does end up with Curly Hair she will despise that. I think it is every woman's destiny to hate her hair. However, my goal in life is to teach her how to properly care for her particular type of hair and maybe, perhaps, possibly as an adult, she will grow to appreciate her hair for whatever it turns out to be, curly or not.



I use Cetaphil for variety of things. I use it for my face cleanser in the morning - it truly is gentle and moisturizing. I also use it as a diaper rash prevention. The moment a butt in my house turns pink, I begin applying it. It forms a light, non-greasy barrier to moisture (bonus: it does not get gross when on clothes). With Arun, I have rarely had to use diaper cream in his 2 years so far. EVER. Anyway, this is what I use to wash Anjali's hair. Johnson's and Johnson's is a soap and with her curly hair, it seems best to just not wash it with anything soapy. Except that her teeny scalp needs to be washed and it gets flaky and needs to be combed while wet. Cetaphil to the rescue. It does the trick without drying out her hair to a frizz.


It cracks me up that I am already buying expensive product for my girl's hair, but seriously. This stuff does the trick. I wash Anjali's hair with the Cetaphil maybe once a week - I comb her hair while wet with the cleanser - I comb every which way to work her scalp out a bit. About every other day, I wet her hair down a bit and apply the California Baby leave-in conditioner, then I let it dry. Then, I pick it out with my fingers. I never, EVER brush it with a baby brush, once it is dry. Well, only when I want to get Crazy Hair Pictures.

Okay - I open the floor to you regarding baby hair care......

November 27, 2007

Does Arun eat hay?

Updated to add a paragraph that Jenny referred to - I had deleted it, but she caught me.
Lately, I have been playing a game with Arun that I call Silly Questions. I suspect mothers have been playing it for ages, so I cannot claim to have invented it. I ask Arun a series of questions and he answers "yes" or "no". Does Arun eat cheese? Does Arun eat hay? Does the kitty eat yogurt? Does Mama drive the car? Does Anju Baby drive the car? You can guess the answers and which ones make him giggle the most. Anyway....

Arun is so much FUN these days. We still struggle mightily with sleeping and napping - the new bed lasted about two whole weeks. We now use it for hanging out on while we read books. In fact, we have a crib and twin bed in a room in which neither of my children sleep. X and I have totally invested in this co-sleeping thing at this point. Which we are all totally fine with because we are sleeping. Which is a fairly important activity in my life, this thing called "sleeping". Anyway, it is worth the struggles with sleep because other than that, things have been going fairly smooth.

This morning, we had our meeting our Parents as Teachers Educator, R. We both had a moment of "Oh. Hmmm...". At our last visit, I had mentioned that he knew most of his ABCs. This visit, I mentioned that he knows nearly all of them now, but sometimes spaces on the Q and confuses X with K sometimes. R thought on the last visit that I was talking about recitation, not reading. The most exciting thing lately is that he is also able to recognize a few words now - his name, Anju's name, zoo, and DVD (although, does DVD even count as a word? Is it not an acronym?). Anyway, he is totally on his way to Chechov, Dickens, Twain. Right? No? Whatever. It was nice to know that he is on track with that stuff at least because until recently, he had not been Rockin' the Talkin' very much.

Last night, I put the Christmas tree up sans ornaments but with the lights to get him used to it.

Me: Look! Arun, it's a Christmas tree.
Arun: No! Da green tree! GREEN tree.

The kid calls 'em like he see 'em. I am an idiot, apparently.

November 26, 2007

Where am I?

....immersed in a black, black vortex known as "Food Sites and Blogs". Today is a bit out of control so I am going to throw out some snaps of the kids and call it a NaBloPoMo Day. A cheater post to be sure, but still not so terrible in the way of content.

Although, I suppose it could be perceived that I am prejudiced in favor of the subject matter. Whatever.

Simian Snaps

Co-sleeping co-conspirators

Foodie

Monkey See, Monkey Do

November 25, 2007

What is the difference between a wise man and a wise guy?

I cannot leave the house or go to bed when a lamp, washer, dryer or dishwasher is on. A variety of destructive catastrophes weigh heavily on my mind. The lamp could short out. The washer or dishwasher could leak. The dryer could catch on fire. It drives me CRAZY when X leaves any of these things on before we go to bed. Am I simply cautious? Or paranoid? I will let you guess X's pick of the two.

And yes, I would never, ever use a crock pot, which is precisely why I do not even own one. Leave the house with something COOKING on a HEAT source???? ......shudder.......

November 24, 2007

Can I Quote You On That?

Today's theme is Love. Dedicated to You Know Who....

We come to love not by finding a perfect person but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.
-Sam Keen

Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner.
-unknown

Everyone is alone. It's just easier to take in a relationship.
-Anonymous

It doesn't matter what you do in the bedroom as long as you don't do it in the street and frighten the horses.
-Mrs. Patrick Campbell

Love is like racing across the frozen tundra on a snowmobile which flips over, trapping you underneath. At night, the ice-weasels come.
-Nietchze

And most importantly......
Nobody loves no one.
-Chris Isaak

November 23, 2007

What is it about Black Friday?

Note: This is not a rant. I swear.....

Every year, I have to remind X to avoid All Things Commercial on this day. And every year, I cringe a little inside that I live in such a country where folks go insane like this. I am hard-pressed to explain to him what the big deal is - there are still 30+ days to shop for Christmas, what is the hurry? Also - keep in mind that X was raised Catholic in India, where Christmas is actually all about a Mass for Christ.

For the most part, the holidays do not stress me out. I do not bake - I tried that one year with results that were somewhat edible, but so not worth the work. And I feel little compulsion to make this the Best Holiday EVER for my kid - sure, he is getting some toys because toys are FUN. However, I want his memories to be fuzzy ones of Christmas trees, music, and family. And yes, some toys (did you see that part about FUN?) And lights. Lots and lots of lights (I have plans to do a lot of walking and driving around in neighborhoods this year.) How hard is that? Those are my favorite memories and I know my parents did not freak out every December. I want my kids to remember hanging out and relaxing - maybe doing some special events like attending some of the little festivals around here. Not rushing around in a frenzy while I swipe my credit card to and fro....

I'll admit that it certainly helps that my family has ramped WAY back on the gift giving. I am so lucky! Despite the size of my family, my list totals 12 people. Oh wait - 13 people (Sorry 'bout that, Anjali). My sister and I agree this year to not give gifts to each other's kids (credit goes to The Other Anjali - the one at Life in the Hundred Acre Wood for this. Before her post, I would never have considered the possibility of denying children the magic of toys. However, The Other Anjali's post was compelling enough to convert me to her own level of Scrooginess. hee!) Anyway, my sister will explain to Older Nephew what is going on, but the younger kids will never know the difference. When they are a little older, we will have them draw names so they can exchange amongst each other.

Again.... this is not a rant, but an appeal to folks to be kinder to themselves. It was so hard for my sister to make the decision to not exchange gifts any longer. And I still miss getting her stuff because she was my very favorite person to buy for - she is quirky and creative and it was so much fun finding her gifts. And I still feel a little icky that I will not be giving my nephews and nieces gifts. And it was really difficult a few years back to ask my aunt if we could stop exchanging. And it was awkward to approach the subject with my cousin, too.

Regardless, now that we have done it, a huge weight was lifted off of all our shoulders. When we get together in a few weeks for our Mexican Christmas Buffet at my cousin's house, it will be nice to just focus on being together.

November 22, 2007

Need I Say Anything More?

It is nice when "thankful" is simply a state of being. At times, I have been an ingrate in my life. I hope never to be one again.

P.S. I ate so many cranberries today, my mouth is all tingly and sore.

November 21, 2007

Do you like chapstick?

On the FoodieBytes blog, I am discussing Thanksgiving dinner - eating in or eating out. In the post Flippin' the Bird, I weigh the pros and cons of fixing a dinner at home or eating in restaurant. Speaking of FoodieBytes, someone searched for "animal style" in San Francisco. The website came up with In-N-Out burger. Hee!

Anyway over here, I am talking lips. ...............

Stuff That is Good Because I Like It

I do not like chapstick, lipstick or much of anything else that leaves a mark when my lips touch a glass or cheek. For awhile, Lancome made an excellent long-wearing lipstick that did not leave that mark. Apparently, I was the only one who liked it, because they discontinued it. I wish I could wear lipstick as I really need it to contrast my pasty, pale skintone. However, I cannot compromise on the lipwear in the dry, winter months. My favorite, favorite lipwear is Aveda's Lip Savers. Sadly, it is ridiculously expensive at 8 bucks a pop. I have to supplement with Neutrogena's lip thingie. While effective, it is not nearly as fun as Aveda's.

November 20, 2007

How do WAHMs do it?

Seriously. Are they just parking their kids in front of the TV all day? I do not get it. I have been working on some things for the Big Idea and it has not been too bad, but has required special scheduling and juggling to make sure that we meet all of our play dates, activities and such. Arun has not been in his day school this week, so that has added a new element.

Sure, I cannot really complain that it is has been super stressful since I actually have it pretty good. The kids are easy-going, Arun will play contentedly with his bazillion toys for decent periods of time and Anjali is happy to just watch him. Also, X works from home, so we tag-team many of the Kid Duties. However, but I do have a newfound respect for WAHMs and truly, would never want to be a full-time one myself.

November 19, 2007

Do you love cranberries?

Man, I do. I am always a sucker for a cranberry orange muffin. Always. I even like the canned cranberry cocktail stuff. However, Average Jane and her easy, smeasy, peasy Fresh Cranberry Sauce has me hooked. None of it goes wasted because I eat the leftovers on toast. It is so easy to make - I dump the ingredients into a saucepan and then I let it simmer while I run around getting everything else ready.

Also, one of my very favorite things that I look forward to every Thanksgiving and Christmas is my Great Aunt's weird, whipped cream cranberry salad that includes pecans and grapes. It is an odd confection, but it is so yummy.

Great Aunt Joan's Weird, Whipped Cream Cranberry Salad
  • 12 oz fresh cranberries
  • 2 cups red grapes (halved)
  • 1 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows
  • 2 cups pecans pieces (not chopped)
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup white sugar (divided into 1/2 cup portions)

Preparation
  1. Wash cranberries and drain. Then, grind cranberries in food chopper until finely chopped.
  2. Place ground cranberries into a bowl, cover with 1/2 cup of sugar and let sit. (Optional: you can add another 1/4 cup of sugar in this step if you prefer sweeter cranberries.)Whip the cream with 1/2 cup of sugar until you get firm peaks.
  3. In a large bowl, add the sugared cranberries, grapes, marshmallows, pecans and whipped cream together. Stir by hand with a spatula and let it sit overnight.
  4. Before serving, you can add more pecan pieces for garnish and display (my great-aunt would arrange them in a circle in the center of the bowl.)

November 18, 2007

Is it December yet?

Okay, NaBloPoMo is kicking my ass. However, it is not the posting, it is the reading. On top of it, in my new role of Food Blogger, I am now plowing through food blogs to add to my blogroll over at the FoodieBytes blog. Speaking of which, I am posting over there today about portable chopsticks - did you know that disposable chopsticks use up trees to the tune of 25 million a year?? Holy crap!

Anyway..... today marks a special day. On this day, in the year 2000, X and I had our first date. Oh sure, the state of New Hampshire legally bestowed our Love with rights and responsibilities in 2003, but I think there is something particularly poignant about the First Date. Probably even more so than a wedding date. We will not do anything special today, but I do like to remind X that his life changed drastically for the better on this day.

It is crazy to think how much our lives have changed these past 7 years. As much as I say my children are the center of my life, X is everything else. And I am not ashamed to admit that. It seems that often, women are discouraged from hanging their hopes and dreams on a man, but whatever. Our hopes and dreams are so intertwined and tangled at this point it would be a far easier task to untangle the Christmas tree lights skulking in our basement.

November 17, 2007

Can I Quote You On That?

Here is Saturday's cheater post. Honestly, if there is a day I need a cheater post, today is that day. It has been a crazy day.

Reading is arguably a far more creative and imaginative process than writing; when the reader creates emotion in their head, or the colors of the sky during the setting sun, or the small of a warm summer's breeze on their face, they should reserve as much praise for themselves as they do for the writer - perhaps more.
-Jasper Fforde "the Well of Lost Plots"

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.
-Jorge Luis Borges

November 16, 2007

Have you been bitten by FoodieBytes?

By now, you are all privy to the Big Idea. However, you probably do not want to be inundated with posts about it as I shamelessly use this space to further the Cause (have you seen the snaps of my adorable children with their gaping maws as they wait to be fed? No?)

As an Olive Branch, this is what I propose:
All posts will be titled "Have you been bitten by FoodieBytes?". I am hoping this will help those folks that live in the likes of Ohio and Alaska so that they will not have to squander precious blogsurfing seconds weeding through yet another post about FoodieBytes.

Does that sound fair enough? Yes? Okay - moving on............

FoodieBytes is going really well. We are getting some awesome feedback - even on the big sites like Chowhound. This is so exciting.....

One of the cool things about the site is how much I have had playing around with it, finding restaurants that I love to go to when I am in the particular cities supported.

For example, Haandi holds special memories.

It was 2001....X and I went to the DC area for the first time together as a couple. X had just bought a house there and at the time, we thought that would be the place where we would eventually live. For me, it was a chance to see X's "other life" since his company was based there and technically, he was supposed to go back there eventually. I remember specifically wandering through his freshly purchased house, wondering if that would be where we would have our children together. You know - all that dreamy crap you do when first dating.

We ate at Haandi (the Falls Church location) on that trip. We met my cousin Robin there and it turned out to be the last time I saw him before he passed away unexpectedly later that year, which admittedly, makes the meal extra special to me. I still get teary-eyed when I go there and see the table we sat at with him.

So, the food was just superb - we ordered a variety of typical Indian dishes - what I remembered most was their chicken saag. But what struck me most was two things. One, the service. It was polite, respectful. And the decor. It is very difficult to find "fancy" Indian restaurants* in the United States. Sure, dives serve excellent food, but sometimes, just sometimes, you want a cloth napkin. Know what I mean? So, yeah - Haandi has a nice place with good murals and furniture. Furthermore, the service is always, always polite. We go there nearly every time we go to DC together because it is SO nice to go to a fancy desi place for a change. Furthermore, X goes there quite frequently on his own as well when he is in town. It is one of his favorites because as he has said "It is difficult to find a good Indian restaurant with a nice interior that treats you well, too". And he is right.

*No, the hideous Bombay Palace does not count. Gorgeous decor. Nasty food. I was so pissed after a meal there, I nearly asked for our money back, but X thought that would be rude. I do not care if it is a favorite amongst Capital Hill lobbyists. Bleh. That place was so over-rated.

Who the hell do I think am I?

Nobody special, that is for damned sure.

Listen, folks. When I whined about whiners, I meant the folks who grouse about the stuff that is a result of choices.....decisions. Specifically, choices and decisions that are made over and over and over again. For years.

I most certainly did not mean folks that complain about having a juicy cold, a lousy neighbor, a nasty boss, a cranky kid or simply a bad day (Damn you, Daniel Powter). I did not mean the folks who have lost a loved one. I did not mean the gals who are pregnant and in the throes of the discomforts that usually accompany most pregnancies. And truly, if your kid as lice? Whine away. Or write a haiku for our commiseration pleasure. Even better.

No, no..... I meant folks like the person I was in my 20s. The one who made irresponsible financial decisions and wondered why she was broke all the damned time. The one who dated emotionally unavailable guys yet wondered why she was still single. The one who griped, moaned and complained, yet never did anything to better her situation.

Um. Except that I did do something. I eventually took a job that sucked my soul and social life with it. To get that job, I even LIED to the recruiter about my then current salary and then said I had another offer on my plate for 5k more. My palms were sweating during that phone call, but I ended up with the new gig that paid nearly 20k more. 20k that I deserved because I had been underpaid for years. But, like I said - at that job, I had no social life and furthermore, my boss was a backstabbing ass. However, I was so very desperate to get out of my financial situation and it was worth it. I paid off some debt and even was able to buy a house. At the same time, I had begun dating a really, really nice guy. ME! A nice! guy! Who knew?? Because for once, I had given The Nice Guy a chance (the guy's name was X, by the way. In case you were waiting in suspense) And finally.....around that same time, I tried really hard to let go of Old Grievances and I attempted to just forgive, forget and move on. Forgiving is a bit healing to wounds, quite frankly. It is still hard. A tough pill to swallow, but one that digests eventually.

Because of all those things I did, I am a happier person. Unfortunately, when one makes positive changes in her life, it can leave one a bit smug as to her circumstances. Apparently, I should work on that.

I promise I will try harder, folks.

November 15, 2007

What's the Big Idea?

Since some of you have already received my thoughtfully worded spam, you are aware that X has launched Phase 1 of the Big Idea. It is official.

It is a site called FoodieBytes and it is really, really cool and holy crap, this is only Phase 1. There is still more to come. My only complaint is that Kansas City is not one of the featured cities - currently, this is for those lucky folks in DC, San Francisco, Chicago, NYC, and Boston. Grrrrrr...

Okay, what the hell is FoodieBytes, you ask? The site is a unique place where you can find new restaurants serving your usual favorites. Let me give an example: When I am in Chicago, I like to eat at Sabri Nihari on Devon street. But what if I wanted to find a new place the next time I am in town or what if I did not have time to get over to Devon street for my nihari fix? I can use the FoodieBytes site to do a search on nihari and find a new place. Otherwise, I am stuck calling random Indian restaurants until I find one that serves nihari and I would have to figure out myself whether it was conveniently located to me or not. FoodieBytes provides the maps and everything.

Please check out the site and feel free to either comment here or email me at cagey333ATgmailDOTcom. I would really appreciate any of your comments, questions or criticisms on anything from the site design to the site functionality.

I feel the need to apologize in advance as I totally whore out my blog the next few days for the cause that is the Big Idea. Also, because I am a crazy woman, I agree to do the FoodieBytes blog.

Hold me.

November 14, 2007

Do you want me to give you something to cry about?

Ah, a thoughtful, insightful quote from the the Golden Age of Corporal Punishment......

Over the past week, I have had separate discussions with Mojavi, Rita and Me about folks whining even though they made choices that got them in the very situations they are whining about. I think in Me's eyes, I came across as judgmental and truly - who the hell am I to judge? Maybe so, but it is still frustrating to hear folks complain about the same old stuff for years, only to see clear as day that their situation is of their own making based on very distinct choices they had made.

I try not to whine too much. Truly. While I am writing the 2 Under 2 posts, I am well aware that it is our own damned fault we joined the Club in the first place. Sure, one kid was planned but the other was the result of a Calculated Risk Seriously Miscalculated. However, both were clearly choices made on the part of X and I. We are adults - we know what can happen when one has unprotected sex. There are no accidents to report around here.

So, if I were to whine, what would it be about?

1. I would love to whine about gas prices, but we chose to buy a Ridiculous Car that ridiculously requires premium gasoline.

2. I would love to whine about my workaholic husband, but I chose to marry a guy who told me on our first date that he likes to work.

3. I would love to whine about how our health insurance premiums are more than our mortgage payments, but we chose for X to leave his company and start a new business.

4. I would love to whine about how scared I am with this new business venture of X's, but I chose to marry a guy who will always be an entrepreneur and would be miserable marching to a corporate drum that he did not create himself.

5. I would love to whine about how much I miss TV, reading books, knitting and partying with my friends, but I chose to have kids.

6. I would love to whine about how I cannot just throw my kids into their cribs and shut the door, but we chose to be anti-Cry It Out and we chose to co-sleep instead.

I am opening the floor. What would you like to whine about? Guilt-free, no judgments. :-)

The Best Damned Choices I Have Ever Made


November 13, 2007

What do I like?

I have to switch Wednesday and Tuesday this week since I did not have time to scan in old snaps of myself in my heyday of Big Earrings. Speaking of "big", the Big Idea has taken over my soul, or something like that which has contributed to my lack of free time this week....

Anyway - Flashback Snaps will be tomorrow instead of today. Therefore, I present for you another thrilling installment of Stuff That Is Good Because I Like It.


Seriously, how could I resist a book that has the iconic Hérmes Kelly bag on the cover?? If you like purses, this book is For You. It provides a delightful telling of the history of the handbag and includes wonderful photos of purses throughout the ages. This would make for a sweet little stocking stuffer for someone who loves handbags. Just include some tissues because personally, I began drooling from page one.


When I realized that Costco would not be selling these any longer, I bought 5 bags. We are pretty hardcore when it comes to nutty snacks and this is a staple. We depend on this stuff as a part of our Daily Snacking Routine.

November 12, 2007

What's cookin', good lookin'?

Truthfully, there is not much cooking in this post. This is a Feta Cheese dip that is simply delicious. The ingredients are mostly "to taste". For example, I have not made it since I discovered Greek yogurt, so I will definitely be forgoing the Dannon on the next go-round. However, I think 32 oz of Greek yogurt would be too rich, so I will probably do 16 oz of that ingredient the next time I make it. Or maybe, I will do 16 oz and throw in a few more spoonfuls until the consistency is just right. Or, maybe I will not have a cucumber that day and will decide to leave it out. Or, perhaps I will add my Tastefully Simple Garlic Garlic seasoning mix knock off instead of the onion and garlic it originally calls for. And it could be that I will not have any pita and instead will just eat it by the spoonful, directly from the bowl. I mean, not that I would ever do that.

And yes, this is why I am SO not a baker.

Feta Cheese Dip
1 pkg feta cheese
1 small container cottage cheese
1 32oz container plain yogurt
half yellow onion, minced
1 small cucumber, diced fine
garlic, to taste
oregano, to taste

Mix ingredients together, serve with pita bread or pita chips.


Kelli's Garlicky Goodness  Seasoning Mix
1 1/2 cup dried minced garlic
1/2 cup dried minced onion
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried chives

Keep stored in a glass jar with a tight lid. This seasoning can be added to just about everything. When adding to dips, let sit for a few hours to let the flavors mix and to allow the dried spices to soften up a bit.

Note: This is a knock-off of Tastefully Simple's Garlic Garlic recipe for their seasoning mix!

November 11, 2007

How do you get your Zen On?

I began "officially" knitting in 2003 when I took a class. Before that, I had taught myself how to cast on, knit some rows and how to bind off. I was not sure what to do beyond that and I am not very good with "instructions". I needed someone to actually show me the moves and I knew no one at the time who could knit. But I had always wanted to knit and therefore, I took a class and never looked back.

Over the years, I have knit ONE sweater, ONE sock, ONE mitten, ONE fingerless glove, ONE cell phone case, ONE baby blanket, a few purses, a slew of hats and too many scarves to count. Knitting wise, I am a jack of many trades, master of none, save for the Hat and Scarf. To say that knitting is a creative venture for me would simply not be true, either. I always need a pattern and it must be followed meticulously or I will get hopelessly lost beyond repair. I am not even a prolific knitter these days, I only get in a few hours each week so my projects are slow going, at best. However, for me knitting is all about the Zen. And never before has it been as important.

Any few moments that can be set aside for knitting is precious. I am currently working on a blanket for Anjali and it requires counting. When I knit that blanket, I have to concentrate solely on the task at hand, I can barely listen to music because I become lost in my thoughts and get off track from the rhythm of the knitting. The blanket will consist of 4 central blocks in a reversible cable, the border will be a simple garter stitch. I am on the last of the central blocks and am so sad that I will be coming to an end with the pattern.

When I was struggling shortly after Anjali was born, knitting that blanket was a refuge of sorts. I could lose myself in the pattern and think of nothing else. I admit, I even cried a few times, feeling overwhelmed with everything going on.

.....knit, knit..... (purl, knit, purl, knit, purl, knit, purl, knit, knit, knit)4x......

I am not the first to compare knitting to meditation. It was just simply the first time I had felt it for myself.

When I am done with the blanket, I have no idea if it will become a comfort object for Anjali. She has several other blankets and a myriad of stuffed animals from which to choose. However, it does not matter because that blanket has already been such a comfort object for me.

November 10, 2007

Can I quote you on that?

Before I can live with other folks I've got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.
-Harper Lee

Good instincts usually tell you what to do long before your head has figured it out.
-Michael Burke

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging prejudices.
-William James


In my 3 years worth of blogging, I have posted some things that have pissed people off or hurt their feelings. This is never my intent, of course, but still..... I have made mistakes. I try to not be controversial - believe it or not. Generally, if I am posting about something that could be perceived as sticky, I am only doing so because I am genuinely interested in your opinions as well. For example, the healthcare post earlier this week - I do have strong opinions on it and that post made me think all day, as well as your comments. After all, if I did not care what you think, I would not leave comments open.

A month ago, I posted about fundraisers. This topic is not something new to me - Goofy Girl and I have discussed these before over the years, as she has been thrown into the fundraising business herself with her son. Unfortunately, that particular post came on the heels of a friend's email about a fundraiser her daughter was having. And stupidly, I did not give my friend a heads up that I was posting about fundraisers. And yes, you guessed it - she was upset when she read the post. I do not blame her. One bit. It totally appeared as if I was taking a passive aggressive swipe at her. I have emailed her twice apologizing profusely. However, I do owe her a public apology as well.

In short, I should not have put that post out there without giving her a heads up beforehand. I was wrong.

I do not want to be afraid to write about things like that, but I do need to be more cognizant of others' feelings.

November 9, 2007

You are kidding me, right?

Back in November of 2004, if someone had told me in that in 2007 I would be the mother to a 2 year old and 4 month old, I would have asked for a hit of whatever it was that they were smoking. DUDE.

Anjali is 4 months old today. When did that happen? Where was I? I hope I did not forget to feed her, at least. I guess all 15 lbs, 9 oz of her is proof that I remembered at least a few times.

She is such a joy. So easy. So giggly. So snuggly. So vocal. And apparently, she has forgiven Arun for all the head butts, eye pokings and ear proddings these past months. Because he is the cat's meow these days - he gets in her face and she just smiles in amazement.

My sister said once that it does not matter if it is your first or your third child, you still enjoy all of their little accomplishments. And it is true - we take such delight in Anju as she is growing and doing such momentous things as rolling over, lifting her head, sitting upright in our laps and discovering that she has hands - which totally rocked her world, let me tell you (Whoa. Hands? Hands!) With Arun, these moments were special because there was a sparkly, shiny newness to everything he did. This time around, it is simply sweet because we know it is our last time to experience it since she is our final baby. We cherish it for what it is - simply a baby growing and discovering this big, beautiful world.

There is something to be said for that and I suspect we could all take a page from Anjali's book.

Thank you for indulging me as a I gush once again about my kids.

Pink Teddy


Pouty


Curly


4 Months

November 8, 2007

What do you need to read?

I was supposed to do "Need to Reads" on Friday, but have realized that simply will not work. You need to read these two links now, while the conversations are still current. Why wait until Friday?

She Doesn't Get It is talking about crazy kids and their parents. In short, whose fault is is when kids get out of control - the parents? Or the kids? Check it out via the Out of Control Kids Our Fault? post. Sadly, it only confirmed what I suspected - folks are irritated by my kids. I cannot blame them, I am irritated by them as well. All kidding aside, many of the comments made me sad. Just sad. Are we really becoming a nation of Kid Haters?

Over at The Soccer Mom Vote, they are discussing Universal Health Care and Melanie is discussing such flamboyant ideas as "personal responsibility":

"Over the last forty years we've somehow come to the conclusion that we are owed something simply because we live in the United States of America. Every election we are ready and willing to hand over more of our responsibility to the government so we don't have to think about taking care of ourselves."

Frankly, I agree with her. I know that is not a popular opinion, but I do believe it is X's and my responsibility to get insurance for our family. I am most certainly not comfortable with the government being in charge of my healthcare, that is for damned sure. And if the government does take it over, how scary would that be? Jacking up our taxes even further and then we would have no choices. And no, I am not sitting here pretty all set up with insurance. In fact, our insurance currently costs more than our mortgage. No, I am not particularly excited about it, but I do not complain because that is just the way it is. I could gripe about how crappy it is that X has diabetes and now we can never, ever, ever go without insurance, but the cold-hearted truth is that sometimes, life sucks.

November 7, 2007

What do I like?

Sidenote: Why do folks do special "review" URLs of their blogs? Is it because they are receiving free stuff? I am just posting about stuff I have picked up lately that I am loving. Nothing free going on here. Good lord, the last thing I need is another blog - I already have two personal ones and the one for the business.

Today's edition of "Stuff That Is Good Because I Like It"


Curel Foot Lotion
Before I discovered Curel, I HATED lotions. Yet, I also hate dry skin, so I was in a constant quandary during the winter months. I would attempt to use lotions, but hated putting them on because my skin would feel dirty/oily so then I could feel compelled to wash my hands. Curel solved this problem and I have never looked back. It is quick-absorbing and your skin feels like actual skin, afterwards. Shocking, yet true!

I have worn more lotion in the past 6 months than in the past 6 years because of Curel. I am most grateful for them because my July baby has had such dry skin and I have had to slather loads of the goop on her already. I cannot imagine what December will do to her. Anyway, my most recent love is their foot lotion. It is not thick, creamy and overly scented with the usual peppermint. This is light-scented lotion that you can even wear during the daytime. Seriously, who wants their feet to smell like a candy cane? Not me.


FAGE Greek Yogurt
Pronounced "Fa'-yeh", this stuff is a little cup of HEAVEN - particularly when mixed with honey. The honey is better than sugar because sugar dissolves - with the honey, you get sweet, luscious ribbons of honeyed goodness in every bite. Greek yogurt is not thin and puckerish sour like the normal yogurt you may be used to eating. Greek yogurt is thicker and only slightly sour, similar to sour cream.

November 6, 2007

Care to join me on Memory Lane?

The Eyebrows Have It
Before she was even born, I made a solemn promise to my baby girl. I will take her to a good salon the moment it becomes apparent the caterpillars are threatening a mutiny on her face.

It is the least I could do considering my part in the poor girl's Heritage of Hirsute.


1989


Early 1990s


Mid 1990s

November 5, 2007

Dude, where are my TV shows?

Whoa. Last night, I actually got to watch a television show LIVE. You see, most shows get watched on the DVR and sometimes even a few weeks late. For example, I caught up on Chuck over the weekend and watched THREE weeks' worth of episodes. Anyway, I watched The Amazing Race last night and have to say that I am pretty psyched about this season. For starters, the teams are so diverse and different from each other that you could actually keep track of them. My favorites are the Ministers, the Goths and Brother/Sister Engineering duo (Azaria/Hennkedea?) I was even disappointed in the team that lost, I had looked forward to getting to see them.

While I am on the topic of TV, my little schedule quickly fell apart. On top of my usual routine, I could not keep up with all the new shows. Most were abandoned after two episodes or not even caught at all - literally it was Samantha Who? in our house and Aliens in America were not granted visas. The only new shows to survive the fallout were Reaper, Chuck, Dirty Sexy Money and Pushing Daisies. Oh, and Back to You, which is on the edge of being deleted.

Of course, none of this may matter since the WGA strike is on. Alan Sepinwall has a great primer on what the writer's strike will mean to those of that have a slight addiction to TV. Sob. Alan also provides a great link to the LA Times grid that shows exactly how your favorite shows will be affected by the WGA strike. Again, with the sobbing.

However, I will say that I do not blame the writers for striking.

What's cookin', good lookin'?

Today is "recipe Monday" per the Schedule. I am feeling quite lazy, so it would be appropriate that I do a Lazy Recipe. This is a basic chicken salad recipe but I LOVE IT. During the summer, we ate it almost every Wednesday - that is the day that Tamara comes over to babysit for a few hours from 4:30 to 6:30. This means, that we get home at 6:30 and are scrambling to make dinner. Chicken salad, it is.


Avocado Chicken Salad

Ingredients
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - boiled and chopped fine.
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup thinly sliced celery
3/4 cup seedless grapes, quartered
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup light mayonnaise
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced
1 tart apple - peeled, cored and chopped
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Preparation
In a large bowl toss together the chicken, raisins, celery, grapes, pecans. Mix in the mayonnaise. Fold in the lemon juice, avocado and the apple. Chill.

Note: This can be made a few hours ahead of time -- simply hold off on the lemon juice, apple and avocado just before serving.

November 4, 2007

Are you sleeping?

I was supposed to do a knitting post today, but will have to do it later. I have some pics of the pieces for Anjali's blanket thus far, but they are held captive on the camera.

Holy crap. I do NOT know what has gotten into Arun these past few weeks, but he is not sleeping for anything. He fights going to sleep, is completely exhausted and then when he does go to sleep, he wakes up about every hour or so throughout the night. I feel as if I am going certifiably insane. I dread bedtime and have totally, completely given up on naptime. I cannot even stomach trying to put him down.

The oddest part is that when he is awake, he is a dream. Happy, charming, sweet. Even when he is exhausted, he gets goofy and snuggly.

Then, Jackie writes about her own son's sleeping issues and I feel so much better. It is not just us. We are not bad parents. We are not the only ones suffering. Driving around in our cars at all hours of the night. It is probably just some phase Arun is going through. Maybe it is the teeth. Maybe it is developmental milestones he has been hitting lately. Maybe it is the new sister, the new day school. I do not know. I just know that I have to grasp tightly to the knowledge that he will sleep someday. Somehow. Somewhere.

Did I mention that X has been in Boston? We are picking him up this morning, hence the need for a quickie post. I cannot WAIT until tonight, when I can snuggle into bed with only Anjali and just sleep.

November 3, 2007

Can I Quote You On That?

Every Saturday this month, I am going to throw out some of my very favorite quotes. I love quotes so much that I keep track of my favorites in my Palm - it is sort of a hobby, I suppose. Collecting the words of others.

Today's quotes are inspired by a situation a friend has faced this week where her so-called friends have been acting like Big Weinies.

Living a Well-Lived Life

The sum of the intelligence of the world is constant. The population is, of course, growing.
-Anonymous

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

If you are all wrapped up in yourself, you are overdressed.
-Kate Halverson

Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
-Mark Twain

Live so that your friends can defend you but never have to.
-Arnold H. Glasgow

No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible.
-Jerzy Lec Stanislaw

If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.
-Alan Simpson

Character is much easier kept than recovered.
-Thomas Paine

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.

-Dr. Seuss

November 2, 2007

What the hell is a Conchord?

Do I get extra credit for two posts in one day? A Get out of Jail Free card, perhaps? No? Anyway.....

Oh My God.

The Flight of the Conchords is coming out on DVD. Tuesday. Where the hell have I been that I missed this momentous occasion???

You see, the Flight of the Conchords played a special part in my labor with Anjali's birth. After the stressful morning of misunderstanding that my inducement was to be the evening and not in the morning, X and I were out of sorts. We went for some Persian buffet for lunch, put Arun down for a nap and settled into catching up on our HBO lineup from the night before. While watching the Flight of the Conchords, my labor pains began. It is SO painful to giggle while having a contraction. I will never, ever forget that weird sensation because holy crap, the Conchords are THAT funny that you cannot stop giggling even when a contraction begins. Furthermore, when I came home after Anjali's birth and was still recovering from the Baby Birthin' , I still had a hard time watching them because all the giggling made my girly business hurt.

So, yes. I must own this DVD set. The memories, people.

The memories
.

Are you ready to rumble?

So, this is a loose schedule at best:

Monday - Rancid Recipes
Tuesday - Flashback Post In Which I Illustrate My History of Perfecting "Lame"
Wednesday - The Usual Crap Whereby I Totally Sacrifice My Kids' Rights to Privacy
Thursday - This Product is Good Because I Said So (aka Shit I Like)
Friday - Passing the Buck Where I Simply Link to Other People's Shit (aka Linky Love)
Saturday - Cheater Post Where I Simply Repeat What Others More Important Than Me Have Already Said (aka Quotes I Like)
Sunday - Knitting Posts Fraught With Suspense - Since We All Know that Posts About Yarn Are NAIL BITERS.

Average Jane is doing a similar schedule because yes, we are in Junior High. If you would like to also join us in 6th period study hall, feel free to follow along.

Many posts will contain some sort of food element, snaps of my kids, and thrilling updates on the minutiae of my life because living in the suburbs of Kansas City is ample fodder for excitement. Furthermore, I will be shamelessly whoring out my blog to promote our new business, The Big Idea. Unfortunately, The Big Idea is delayed in its release - look for it the 2nd week of November or so.

Sadly, as a telling omen, I was not savvy enough to think ahead and collect links from my favorite posts this week to compile Friday's Post. Also, I will not be linking only to NaBloPoMo victims - I plan to include links from anyone I read who happens to make me laugh, cry or think. However, Manoj is in Boston this week and I am holding down the fort. Unfortunately, the fort does not want to go to sleep AT ALL and when they do sleep, they would rather it be with me sandwiched between them. All my obnoxious posts about co-sleeping are being shoved right up my ass this week. Although, to be truthful, co-sleeping has saved my sanity since at least I am getting some shut-eye. I cannot fathom doing this sleep deprived. The one saving grace is that when the fort is awake, they are adorable and fairly agreeable. Sorta makes it worth it.

The Heir and His Hair


Workin' It


Raceway

November 1, 2007

Is this edible?

Bloggers, start your engines.

It is that time of year again, Innernets. Where we bloggers prove yet again we have no social lives by signing up for something so absolutely ridonkulous. Personally, my kid enjoyed being chained to the coffee table for the month of November last year. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

Anyway, this year is going to be interesting for me to participate in this MoFo NaBloPoMo thingie. Free time is at a premium, but as the tagline suggests, I have a tendency to just follow the crowd. This year, I did decide to do a "schedule" of sorts and I am definitely going light on weekends. Not only will be easier for me to post, but it will be easier for folks to read. That is probably the #1 thing that stresses me out about NaBloPoMo - my feed reader starts to bellow black clouds of smoke with all the activity. I will post my loose plan tomorrow since I am still thinking about what I want to do.

In other news, Arun so did NOT get the hang of trick or treating. Furthermore, he totally and utterly broke his mama's heart last night. Oddly, several houses gave him the choice of pulling candy himself from their baskets. I had to watch with teeth firmly gritted as sweet little bar after sweet little bar of precious, precious chocolate was passed over in lieu of LOLLIPOPS. How did I come to give life to such a traitorous soul? Also, later in the evening, back at home, I was changing a Diaper From the Bowels of Hell and could not make it to the door fast enough. As a result, some asshole kids knocked over my pumpkin - one murderous swipe sending all the ants living in it to a fiery, tragic death.

Oh, and today's title is courtesy of one of the little beggars who kept appearing on my doorstep last night. Unfortunately, I was handing out Playdoh, not brains.

Nothin' But a Sheepdog


Hip Hop Kangaroo


Sheepdog, Worn Out


A Kangaroo With a Very Bad Attitude
Still, better than an emu.