February 28, 2008

Does this come with leggings, too?

Thank you, thank you again for all of your kind comments. Aunt Peggy passed away last night.

After talking to the nursing home, some family members and the funeral home, it was well past midnight. I feel oddly grownup today - particularly after the funeral home conversation. I was already really tired which was only excaberated by the fact that Anjali has her first tooth trying to burrow its way out of her gums. Poor baby. Who wants to sleep with that kind of stuff happening in one's mouth? So, no - I cannot blame her, but wow. I can see now that I am so spoiled because I am simply not used to sleep deprivation like this. Co-sleeping rocks this house, but even that sometimes does not help a teething baby.

Okay - I promised fun topics, no more doom and gloom.......So, I am going to turn this to a Aunt Peggy Approved Conversation. Fashion. My Aunt Peggy loved fashion and I will never forget how the shoe salesman at Sak's Fifth Avenue would light up when he saw her face. Oh hell, yes. She knew what she was doing in the shoe department.

I need a new swimsuit. Let me preface this by saying that I love, love to swim. My dream would be to have my very own pool. One in which I would not have to be too concerned about Pelt* Maintenance or Chub Rub. Know what I mean? However, we are not a rich people and therefore, I have to subject the general population to my body in all its white, pasty glory every time I go to the pool. For this, I would like to extend my sincere apologies in advance.

Anyway, this is the swimsuit I like:

It is a helluva lot more than I would normally ever be comfortable spending, but I think I can work it out as a birthday gift. I should note that I can use it year round because our gym has indoor and outdoor pools. Furthermore, I am not even going to pretend that this is anything but an Old Lady Swimsuit. I do not care. I have had my bikini days - way, way back in the 20th century (1980s to be exact. ahem) This is a new millennium and I want to feel comfortable going to the pool. I want to feel comfortable knowing that I have not scarred some kid for life after I take the towel off. I want to feel comfortable bending my big butt over as I pluck my children out of the water.

What do you think? Have you seen something better? If you like this one, do you think I should do the top/bottom in the same color? Or different colors?

* © Monkey In A Suit

February 27, 2008


Yes, why thank you. I hesitated popping out such a melancholy post earlier today, but am so glad I did. It gave me perspective and I really, really appreciated your comments. I am now moving on to brighter subject matter. Here we are again - back to your regularly scheduled sarcastic snarkasm (or would that be snarkastic sarcasm?)......

So, it is true - Mojavi is pregnant! She just announced it publicly and is due mid-Octoberish. Congrats, girlfriend - way to Get It On with your husband. I wonder if our weekly Wino Playdates on Friday afternoons had anything to do with this recent turn of procreative events? Speaking of which, I am now officially in a Wino Playdate Group with two pregnant gals - one in her 3rd trimester and one in her 1st trimester. Party on? Yeah. Right. More like POTTY on.

Little Miss Moonshine



Small Potatoes. The Couch Variety.

Garlic Gilroy
He asked for the garlic, so I gave him a spoon. Weirdo. I also have video footage of him licking an onion and saying "Yum!"


Early Worms

Is it ever enough?

Note: I wrote this yesterday, but felt it was too melodramatic. Then, I realized that I wanted this to be here. It is right. It is something I want to remember, my feelings during this time. So this post is for me. Indulge me for a moment. All is not doom and gloom around here and I will have some fun stuff in the next few days. I promise.

I will not get too maudlin on you, but I still feel the need to post about this. I found out on Friday that my Great Aunt P is dying - it will probably be within the next week or so. She is 87, so while this is not Heartbreakingly Grecian Tragic, I am still so very, very sad about it and will miss her deeply. On Monday, I said my goodbyes to her. She is now requesting no visitors save for nurses and her minister. Her husband and son are already gone. She had no siblings. Her body is slowly shutting down and she would prefer no witnesses save for the professionals. I do not blame her.

Oh, who the hell am I kidding? Watch me get maudlin.

Yes, her dying is not shocking - I knew the end was coming at Christmas when she opened her present from me (a copy of the The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court) She told me then that she could not read books any longer. Two weeks ago, she stopped reading her beloved daily papers - the Kansas City Star and the Washington Post (Note: All the Rabid Readers in my audience just vigorously nodded their heads in understanding as to what all this meant. No books? No newspapers? The end is near.)

I have been losing sleep these past 5 days, waiting for the call from the nursing home. I lay awake at 4 am thinking, "Is she already gone?" I wake up in the morning thinking "Will this be the day?" Furthermore, I am on her living will, so if the need comes for decisions to be made, I am the one who will tell the nursing home what to do next. Granted, the decision was actually made by Aunt P and I will merely be enforcing it, but I am still nervous about it. I sleep with my phone near me - I am so afraid if I miss the call they will proceed with something that she did not want.

I think what makes my heart crumble the most is this:
  1. I will not get to present her with a copy of the book being published late this summer which contains some words that I wrote my very own self. Aunt P was the first family member to whom I told the news - I still have not have really told too many folks because that also involves admitting I have a semi-anonymous blog (I am so not ready to tell my grandma that I write things on this here Internet. For one, she will ask for a printout.) Aunt P was very excited about the book.
  2. Aunt P will not live to see this year's presidential election. A historical election that will probably have a black man and/or white woman and most likely a Vietnam Vet as well. Aunt P was an eager follower in politics - local, national and international. Her missing this year's election is particularly poignant for me and I will be thinking of her when I vote this year.
  3. The next time I buy a handbag or a pair of shoes I will have no one to share it with who truly gets excited. Most folks in my life think it is foolish to spend so much on a pair of shoes or handbag. Perhaps it is, but Aunt P understands why one would do so anyway. When she saw the kids for the last time, she made me promise that I will teach Anjali that accessories make an outfit and that it is worth it to spend good money on your feet.
  4. I will no longer get to share with her all the little silly things that Arun does. She truly enjoyed Arun and it gave her so much joy to remember all the things that her own son used to do. Her son's passing away 6 years ago broke her heart. Having Arun around spurred so many memories for her that she had forgotten. I will never forget how tickled she was with Arun at Halloween as he hopped all over her room in his kangaroo outfit. It reminded her of several Halloweens past that she had forgotten and she described in detail how she had handmade some outfits for her own son.

Any time that someone in your life is passing on, you think. Real hard and real long. I have accomplished so many of my lifelong dreams, although I still have many more. I went to college. I had a career. I found a life partner. I have traveled all over the world. I have had children. Foolishly, I thought that would be enough. Now, I want to see my children accomplish their dreams. I am selfish like that.

Go with peace, Aunt Peggy. Go with peace.

February 24, 2008

Anyone up for a challenge?

Moxie has something going on that I have been referring to as Moxie's 2008 Super-Duper Awesome Health Challenge Dealio Thingie. Or something like that. Anyway, it goes like this - she is challenging her readers to pick 3 items from a list of "healthy habits" and commit to doing them for 60 days - Feb 27th to April 27th. Thus far, the list she has compiled is the following:
  1. Switch out your coffee for green tea.
  2. Stop drinking diet soda (or Crystal Light) and drink water instead.
  3. Actually start drinking 64+ ounces of water a day.
  4. Take Omega 3s every day.
  5. Cut out refined sugar.
  6. Switch from refined carbs to whole grains.
  7. Start reading all labels and not using anything with high-fructose corn syrup.
  8. Exercise for 15-25 minutes a day.
  9. Start running (the 60-day Challenge will end just about the time all the summer 5Ks start). (Read's DoctorMama's post on how to start here.)
  10. Take up T-Tapp (read Summer's post on how to start here.)
  11. Eat 5+ servings of vegetables every day.
  12. Take the stairs every time.
  13. Walk/bike to work.
  14. Go to bed at a decent time.

I felt pretty good that I am doing several of these already -- Omega 3s, tons o' water, decent bed time, reading labels, whole grains when possible, avoiding HFCS when possible. However, I am excited to pick up some more Healthy Habits. At this point, my 3 New Healthy Habits for the 60 day challenge are going to be the following:

  1. Cut out all soda (I have done this for Lent already, but am going to cruise on through April with it)
  2. No beef (I do not eat/cook beef at home, but have been splurging way too much while eating out. The exceptions to this rule will be the occasional haleem, nihari or steak/goat cheese fajita. Which I rarely eat anyway.)
  3. This one I am still working on the details, but at this point, I think it will be "exercising for 30 minutes, 4 times a week". If the weather was warm, I would commit to every day because it is a No Brainer to cruise around the neighborhood with the jogger stroller. However, right now it will require careful scheduling for me to get out to a mall or the gym for exercise. For example, to take Anjali to the gym with me requires scheduling with the gym nursery because she is a non-walker and they can only take on so many babies at once.

So, whaddya think? Up for the challenge? What will be your 3 Healthy Habits? Report back by Wednesday.

February 20, 2008

Where'd the moon go?

Arun is usually on the lookout for the moon. When it disappears from his view out his window as I turn the car in a different direction, he is quick to ask where the hell it went. Tonight during the lunar eclipse, he was duly impressed when it disappeared from view and declared that it was "hiding behind a house".

It is official! Chocolate Covered Susan (yes, that Susan from my post titled "Have you met Susan?") is blogging over at Chocolate Covered Suburb. Mojavi set the blog up for her and then commanded "Ye shall go forth and blog." And lucky for us, Susan is obliging. Her recent post on how out of control candy has gotten at school parties hit home. Arun received more candy for Valentine's day than he did for Halloween. Argh. Anyway.....She is pregnant with Kid #2 and will most certainly be getting something evil from me in April when her baby boy is born (a case of whiskey, perhaps?) So..... please go over and give one of my v.v.v. best friends a proper welcome to the blogging world. Also, feel free to heckle her.

After some negative topical posting here the past few days, I am going to turn to one of my very favorite trite topics: Baby Girl Hair.

I found that for Anjali the following regimen works best - wash every 2 weeks with Cetaphil gentle cleanser, comb while soapy in every direction possible to exfoliate her scalp, rinse, then follow with California Baby Calming Conditioner. Every other day or so, I wet her hair down lightly with my finger and do the Calming Conditioner again. Every single day, I comb through all the rats with my fingers either while she is nursing or just hanging out in my lap. Combs and brushes rarely touch her hair because that is just crazy talk to do that to a Curly Haired Baby. Bah. Besides, at this point, this girl totally does not care if I mess with her hair - why would I subject her to combs and brushes? Anyway, this routine may change when summer hits, but for now during the dry winter months this is working for her.

Hair barrettes have been in order lately and I strong-armed my grandma into buying her a few for Christmas. No Slippy has my heart - they are definitely over-priced, but I did try out some cheapies before buying these. The cheapies do NOT stay in her hair and therefore are practically worthless. No Slippy may be over-priced, but they are wrapped in velvet (to prevent breakage) AND include a magnet (it is a kid-safe one and it prevents hair slippage). I am a very satisfied customer for these over-priced doodads and we will definitely be getting more for her down the line.

One last thing regarding Baby Girl Hair. Our stylist is adamant that Baby Girl Hair should not be given bangs for awhile. As a baby's head grows, more new hair keeps coming in at the hairline. If you cut a baby girl's bangs, eventually, she will have bangs back to her crown. I can see that Anjali is definitely getting more new hair underneath what "appears" to be her current bangs. As such, per this advice, we will not be cutting Anjali's bangs until she is around 2 or 3 years old.

February 19, 2008


Arun has been saying this a lot lately as an affirmation after stating something as fact. As in "Mama, cat says meow. Right?"

So, as you can see in my last post, my inappropriate use of sarcastic hyperbole may have been a bit too much. I do not really harbor the desire to go around punching folks in the face. I promise. Eeks, y'all. In my defense, here in the KC area, our gas pumps are littered with dire warnings and pretty pictures about the dangers of gasoline vapors and static electricity. I guess my assumption was that folks are ignoring those warnings in lieu of warming their booties while re-fueling.

Because Segues Are An Over-Rated Literary Device.

Awhile back, I asked for opinions about responding to comments. Lately, this topic has come up again. Scribbit has an excellent post about how she deals with comments. Zoot also has a post today about responding to comments. I still feel bad that I do not respond to comments. If you are a frequent commenter, chances are that you're one of my RL friends or you are a blog friend anyway, so that means I am either seeing you in person or am reading/commenting on your blog. I am hoping that is okay. In the past 2 months, as I notice new comments from new readers, I have been automatically adding those folks to my feed reader. Unfortunately, I do not usually get an email address with comments, so it is not a matter of hitting "reply" and responding. Replying within the comment section itself does not seem a good method because folks do not come back to check for a response (I know that I do not do this myself.) Anyway, I hope the status quo is working for all of us. If not, let me know. I also encourage you to read Zoot's post and comment there - this seems to be a great way to get some consensus on what folks think about the whole topic of responding to comments.

Peace. Right? Right.

February 16, 2008

Done yet?

Taxes? Done.

They were not that difficult, but I tend to view every return as fraught with IRS Audit Potential. X does not understand why I take my time gathering paperwork, compiling my own "coversheet" with all the data I need to enter, making careful copies of on-line documents, then carefully putting it all together in a folder. Only then, do I enter the data on-line. Then, I leave it for a day to think about. Then, I carefully recheck all the info I entered. Then, I make a hard copy for my pretty, pretty file folder. THEN, I e-file. It drives X insane, but he knew what he was getting into when he married me. Do not pity him, Innernets.

Anyway, I am glad to be back at this here bloggin' thingie. I have so much I have wanted to say. None of which is very interesting, sadly enough.

I am SO excited - three real life friends in a row have recently announced pregnancies. I simply cannot be more excited for them! These are all friends who have one child already and have really, really wanted to add to their families. I know that feeling. With Arun, I did not feel done. I was very happy with having just him, but always knew that I wanted at least 2 children. Originally, I had wanted 3 children, but X was adamant that he wanted 2. That was fine with me because it met my own minimum and I respected his reasoning for only having 2. We have been very blessed in that we had no struggles completing our family and I will be forever appreciative of that. However. I also have no shyness about stating affirmatively that we are, indeed, Done. This is it, folks - Anjali is our last baby, our last child. Our family is complete. In our house, there will be no more Careless Whispers, no more Gettin' Jiggy With It, no more Shaking All Night Long. Not without protection, that is.

Okay - I just read this whole thing about a mom not letting a SAHD join her playgroup - the post titled SAHD, Really by Suburban Turmoil really hit home for me. We briefly had a SAHD in our group - we already knew his wife quite well. When she went back to work, her husband began to stay home full-time and he came to our playgroup a few times. He was sort of a goof ball, but he was an okay guy. He stopped coming on his own accord - he was just never able to get into a schedule (I have heard through the grapevine that he still has a hard time getting into scheduled activities because he is not organized). While I was okay with having a SAHD in our group, I really prefer to just keep it all gals. Besides, when we play Hot or Not while watching the Dirty Sock Funtime band on Jack's Big Music Show, a SAHD would only serve to cramp our style. For sure, I would not want to play I Never with a SAHD during our Friday afternoon Wino Playdates.

Mojavi recently wrote two excellent posts (here and here) on "being safe while refueling your vehicle" - she covers specific steps for preventing static electricity. THANK YOU. When folks are too wimpy to face the cold weather and they re-enter their cars while pumping gas, I want to run over and punch them in the face (Note: Rayne of Terror called me on the carpet for my strong language. This was a sorry case of my attempt at being sarcastic gone awry.While it does make me angry, I do not really want to punch folks in the face. ) Who do they think they are threatening everyone's safety just because they cannot handle a bit of cold? It infuriates me.
Speaking of Mojavi, she posted some cute video of her daughter Kya and Arun playing the piano. Arun has recently become very enamoured of the metronome because the cartoon Max and Ruby has one exactly like ours (it was my great-grandma's, so it would also be from the 40s, same era as Max and Ruby). Sadly, he does not realize that purpose of the metronome is to help you keep time. Ahem.

February 10, 2008


Note: This will be my last post until I have completed our tax returns. Unfortunately, a blog can be used by one's husband as evidence in the Court of Procrastination. *gulp*

Anjali turned 7 months on Saturday. I still remember her birth as a Hollywood Moment - the one where there is a tense birth complete with chord around the baby's neck and an OB waiting in the wings to perform a C-section, and then you push! and push! and push! and then you are presented with your wee bunting baby who immediately latches on to the breast perfectly. Cue the angels and cut to closing music. It's a wrap, folks.

Arun's birth was so very different. He had swallowed meconium in utero and therefore, he was whisked away immediately by respiratory therapists so they could suction and observe him for awhile to make sure he was breathing fine. I did not see Arun for nearly 2 hours and it was oddly quiet. I remember when they presented him, it was hard to believe that he was ours and that we had a baby. The entire hospital experience was a hazy one filled with excitement and anticipation. I flitted around my room high as a kite with adrenaline, tidying my room constantly. I gladly sent Arun to the nursery because I wanted to sleep and take care of myself. As I was being discharged, a nurse sternly warned me I needed to slow down when I got home. I did not listen to her and it took me nearly 5 weeks to heal appropriately. Conversely, with Anjali, I took it easy in the hospital and slept as much as possible with Anjali in the bed with me. I rarely sent her to the nursery - I was very anxious that she stay with me and I did not like it when she was gone. I also took it easy at home and healed within 3 weeks.

I just realized today the difference between the two experiences really lies in this simple statement:
Where Arun's birth story was also about me becoming a mother, Anjali's birth was primarily about her being born. With Arun, I was wrapped up in the whole I Am Now A Mother gig and with Anjali, I was more focused on her.

Recently in conversation with my friend R, I accidentally referred to Anjali as an "accident". I immediately corrected my mistake. Anjali was no accident - she was very much unplanned - but she was no accident. X and I had the luxury to be able to take a reproductive gamble and so here we are with two kids, very close in age.

Lately, Anjali's personality is really starting to show itself - she loves music and lights up whenever she hears any sort of song or tune. She is also already showing an independent streak that Arun is still not showing. For example, when I am feeding her, she must grab the spoon and help. No ifs, ands or buts. She is also beginning to get frustrated with her inability to move. She is also still very fascinated with anything and everything that Arun does. The only reason that I am still her favorite person is that I am also serving as a food source. I suspect once she weans, Arun will quickly usurp my position. And finally, gender stereotypes be damned. This little girl is most assuredly a Daddy's Little Girl. I had to wait 6 years for my set of bangles. X has already began searching for her set.

In short, we are just completely delighted with our Little Calculated Risk Seriously Miscalculated. Damn straight, she is the best mistake in arithmetic I ever made.

Infant Carrier
First Time

Last Time

New Carseat

7 Months

A Sprig of Hair

February 7, 2008

Does a penny cost more than a penny to make?

Like most folks, I just adore Snopes - they have an excellent feed of all the urban legends to hit the Internet. This recent one about the cost of making pennies hit home for me. Apparently, it costs 1.2 cents to produce one penny. Fascinating! They make it very clear that it still does not mean we should quit producing pennies - after all, that single penny will be used hundreds of times over, thus making it worth the manufacture.

I am an avid collector of money - I prefer coins, but I have some paper currency as well. I do have a collection of pennies, carefully categorized and all. I also have a pretty extensive foreign collection (some of my favorites are my coins from Kenya, Israel and some hand-stamped ones from India that my Indian step-grandmother passed to me.) In college, I had a lot of international friends. When they would go home for breaks, they would ask me if I wanted them to bring anything back. I would laugh and tell them I only wanted their pocket change. Literally.

My money collection is probably only worth face value, it is just a fun hobby for me - nothing more. One of my greatest regrets while working for the Federal Reserve is that when we were at the Philadelphia bank we were going to try and score a tour with the US Mint which was nearby. However, we could not work it into our tight schedule. My co-worker was equally fascinated with the cash process, so we tried to tour as many of the Cash Depts. as possible when we were traveling to all the Feds as part of the Check 21 project.

While I am on topic (sort of), I actually would like to see Mad Money - the premise is some Fed workers figure out a way to steal money that is marked for destruction. I would like to see how they figured that one out because the Fed has some pretty tight ways to prevent that and there are cameras EVERYWHERE in the Cash Dept. Chronic nose pickers beware!

February 6, 2008

Who's the boss?

I am supposed to be doing a post on the food blog today, but obviously I love you all Innernets more than the foodie Innernets. Just don't rat me out to the boss, 'kay?

For awhile, it was as if Arun had turned into some sort of Anderson Cooper with all his investigative reporting skillz. It was as if he had taken it on for his personal mission to apprise me of Every Single Damned Thing Happenin' which rendered all statements worthy of Headline Status....

Trees are GREEN! Look! A stop sign! Look! A firetruck!

Anju is crying! Baby is sad! Trees are GREEN! The sun is OUTSIDE!

Daddy is HOME. Trees are GREEN!

Now, he has gone all Tony Danza on me and is totally about the You're Not the Boss Of Me rigmarole. Alternatively, he also tries to show the cats and Anju who's boss as well. Throughout the day, I now hear "Be careful!" and "No, honey! No, HONNNey!" and "Anju all done eating mama's milk. ALL DONE." and "No, I do it! NO, I DO IT!" and my personal favorite "Dance, Anju, dance. Anju, DANCE." While it is sorta cute, I am tired of him telling me how to drive. Turn around, my ASS. I'll show you "turn around".

Okay - on to pictures.................

Design on a Dime. Literally.
Easily one of my favorite rooms in the house now, this will be winning me no design awards anytime soon, nor ever. Still, it is a cozy room and I love hanging out in it while we play or read books. Some of the sweetest and most giggly memories in my life have happened in this room.

No Pressure.

February 5, 2008

Is THAT your baby?

On Friday, we hung out with my friend R and her daughter K, who will be 3 in June. For much of the visit, K would jab a finger in the direction of Anjali and ask "Is THAT your baby?" I was tempted to reply "What baby? I don't see no baby!", but I suspected that R would not appreciate me messing with her kid's head, so I resisted.

The weekend was good - I got quite a few things done and even began our taxes. The situation is interesting - Little Income with Many Deductions equals Big Refund. Who knew? Furthermore, if there was ever a year to have a baby, 2007 was THE year. Normally, I would be dismayed with such a Big Refund, but since last year was an odd year, I could not have planned for it. I really prefer to pay or receive $500. I loathe Big Refunds - lending the government our money interest-free is not my thing at all. It blows my mind when folks purposely set up their W4 to ensure a Big Refund. Hello! Pay yourself that money and earn some interest!!

The Super Bowl was good, but mostly in that Average Jane and Surrender Dorothy descended upon my house like a pack of rabid locusts. The game was meh and the commercials were boring. But there was wine and food, which always seems to make a situation brighter, no? Jane brought her pomegranate salsa and Oh.My.Lord. It was so good - it is indescribable. Was it the mandarin oranges? The fresh cilantro? The pomegranate seeds? The sprinkling of crack cocaine dust? Get thyself directly over to her site and copy the recipe. You need it. Trust me on this.

The other day reminded me of something I have been meaning to post. It is my Organization Tip #437829 and it is one by which I absolutely swear:

I used to have a complicated system for filing bills and receipts. Now? After bills are paid, I staple them all together - every few months, I shred the earlier months. No biggie. Receipts? A little more stressful because I am a complete bitch when it comes to dissatisfaction with products. If it breaks or does not deliver as promised, I want my money back. My solution for keeping receipts is simple and it works quite well - I have been doing this for nearly 4 years now. About once a week or so, I empty my wallet of receipts and simply put them in the letter holder thingie you see above. This keeps them in a general chronological order. Every so often, I pull out the oldest receipts and shred them. It takes less than 5 minutes. To find a receipt generally takes less than 5 minutes. Easy to maintain and I feel good knowing that if I ever need a receipt it is there.