Tuesday, September 30, 2008
All those literature types need to do some more research into Joseph Conrad. Are they sure he wasn't trapped with an infant with no one else to change dirty diapers when he was writing Heart of Darkness? I mean, to look into that greyish brown-green abyss is truly to look into the Heart of Darkness.
Iain is trying to nap as I write, but seems to have 'nap' confused with 'exercise lungs.'
Monday, September 29, 2008
Today, Iain and Bobo had a sit-down meeting. They discussed butt scratching, ear softness, what it's like to know you could be kissed at any time and be unable to do anything about it. The usual. Bobo tried to convince Iain to stop crying (because it bothers Bobo), while Iain tried to convince Bobo to let him gouge out his eyes. Both parties eventually compromised.
The Bobo misses his old buddy Professor M., though. She knew just where to scratch and she had a certain way of treating him that you just can't find anymore. It was she, for example, who taught him to "get dressed" when it's time for a walk. He knows she found love elsewhere, but he can't help feeling they were meant to be together. Little grey girl dogs can't possibly be as nice as a big brown boy dog. Can they?
Sunday, September 28, 2008
2. Insert Iain into bath. Lay him on his back, submerge him in the water. Grab his ankles and dip his head back to wet the tuft of feathers.
3. Holding Iain under the arms, swish him backwards through the water on his back, then forward through the water on his tummy, repeat. Then take his hands and swish him back and forth while he holds on. Then bounce him up and down a little so he dips his neck ruffles in the water.
4. Place Iain on his back on the surface (Mommy is the surface most of the time). Insert hand into BumbleBee washcloth. Apply soap. Lather it up by making the bee face mouth itself, sort of like Cookie Monster. Dialogue: "Iain! I am soooo hungry for toes!! I muuuust haaaave TOOOEES!!" Proceed to eat toes with washcloth. Make munching noises. Sing:
5. Use BumbleBee to wash the rest, paying special attention to the hiney, which was lately covered in green poo. Must wash that off carefully, because - you know - poo on the baby is bad.
6. Rinse. Swoosh Iain toward the emergency drain, which is stainless steel. When he gets close enough to see his reflection, ask: "Who's that baby? Is he taking a bath? At the same time as you? Weird!" Return to wash position for hair washing.
7. Apply soap directly to feather tuft. Use hands to lather, then give Iain a gentle scalp massage. Try to ignore his expression of serene entitlement ("Ah, the spa treatment. I deserve it, of course.").
8. Lay Iain back in the water, dip head, swoosh water up to rinse off his hair. Do not use the cup or he will be pissed. Do not stop too soon or he will be greasy-headed all the next day. Do not let his twirling feet get too near your throat or you'll be sorry.
9. Holding Iain under the arms, move him to the side of the tub to visit with his puppy. He will reach out his arms to her, let her lick his hands, and gurgle with delight. Try to avoid urge to Eat Him Up!! and instead simply kiss his cheek about 2000 times.
10. Rinse hands.
11. Lift Iain out of tub, into Daddy's waiting grasp, then into his bouncy seat (lined with a fresh towel). Daddy will swaddle him in terrycloth warmth, then take him to be re-diapered, dressed, sock-ed, and his hair brushed.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
New Trick: Rolling over, shoving arm down between the mattress/bumper and the crib bars, getting it stuck, then wailing until someone comes. Repeat.
Old Trick: pulling the pacifier out of your mouth.
New Trick: flinging the pacifier onto the ground.
Old Trick: pat the doggie.
New Trick: try to squeeze out the doggie's eyeball.
Old Trick: dip heel in poo.
New Trick: wait until the diaper has been loosened, then execute a sudden wiggle, resulting in poo up the legs to the back of the knees. Smear on parent as needed.
Old Trick: kick Mommy in the neck in the bed.
New Trick: kick Mommy in the neck in the bath.
K.M. asserts the primacy of her doggie's head over Iain's. You decide: Iain, Gaint-Headed Moose, or Waggy McCutie-Pants here? Quien es mas grande?
[I note that Professor M. hasn't tried to put her Bates History hat on McC-P. Chicken.]
[UPDATE: Professor M. replies: "Ms.Gracie does not have an oversized head, but a freakishly over-sizedtongue. It's like she was shopping for it in the Marden's bargain binand they only had Bobo-size."]
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Since this was back in the Dark Ages, we had a typewriter that we used for file labels and envelopes. Jack loved it. Loved it. At about 6 months, he understood that his hands whapping the keyboard caused the clicking noise, and he could do it for an hour if held in someone's lap.
I thought it was hilarious. My co-worked probably prayed for silence. But it kept him occupied.
Fast-forward to Iain. And laptops. And computers with nice, quiet keyboards. And no more fun with whapping. We hold Iain where he can see the computer, but there's no reward for hitting the keys. Instead, he keeps trying to put his mouth on the edge of the board.
But he can see the screen, and occasionally finds something interesting there. Such as himself. If you blow up the photograph above, you'll see that he's looking at his own website. Narcissist!
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
First, the Happy Couple. Note Megan's fabulous outfit, complete with wedding jewels.
This is us, escorting her into the actual wedding ceremony at the gurdwara. Tomoe is in yellow, Daisy in purple, I'm hiding in the back in green, and Megan's sister wears blue. This is one of only 3 or 4 photos, out of 200 or so, in which I appear, which is just the way I like it.
The women at this wedding were a real highlight. I'm sure the men were wonderful - they seemed so to me - but I spent all kinds of time with the ladies (especially getting our hair done), so I can attest to their quality. I couldn't find a good picture of Tomoe, but here's Daisy, with her husband Jasmeet. See that smile? She was like that all weekend.
And here is one of Daisy's sons. As you can see, he's The Cutest Human Being On Earth. In fact, I suspect the real purpose of the Hadron Collider is to repair the rip in the space-time continuum caused by this child. No joke. Also, Secretary Paulson is working to replenish the world-wide cheek supply, which he has cornered.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Piles of deliciousness:
So we shelled them, then we soaked them in water (still doing that. They'll soak overnight). Tomorrow, I'll heat them up in a mixture of water, olive oil, salt, pepper, sage and garlic. Slow and low, they'll cook for a while (about 3 hours), then I'll EAT THEM UP!!!
P.S. To 899: Phhbbbt!! Butter beans are delish.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Normally, Iain gets up between 6 and 6:30, eats, then naps again until 9:30. Then he's up for the day, eating, smiling, eating, poo'ing (if it's Tuesday or Thursday), eating, drooling, eating...
But on Friday, instead, he decided to awaken at 5:45. I bet he thought, "I'll get an early brekkie, then go to sleep with Mommy till a decent hour!" Bad news, kid.
So we were up before 6, and rather than back to bed it was into the shower, dressed, and out the door. We arrived at the office at 7:45, with plenty of time to dump my grading, diaper bag, etc. before going over for coffee and donuts with the Moore Crew.
[Of course, what I thought was my grading - in my black and brown bag that I remembered at the last minute and had to turn off the car and go back inside to fetch - turned out to be a tart pan and an umbrella. The grading was on my desk at home the whole time. As they say on teh interwebs: FAIL.]
At 8:00 we bundled Iain into the Bjorn, walked over to Moore, and surprised Sefton, MacLaren and the rest. We should have had dinner with Sefton and His Immediate Supervisor last Wednesday, but because of my illness (shared by a colleague), dinner never happened. So Iain visited Sefton in his natural habitat instead.
The visit went well. No puking. No screaming. No pooping. And at 9am, we ambled back to Keith Hall, spent an hour not-grading, discussed the future with 2 undergraduates and a grad student, and finally departed for home.
Iain was bewildered. He kept looking at me like, "Isn't this the part where I nap?" "What about now?" But all that stimulation paid off later. He napped like a champ when we got home at 11, napped in the afternoon, and slept from 8-6 this morning.
Here he is, with Grandmother and about a million of his favorite rectangular object:
Sometimes, I prefer to hold my book close. It's a special time for us - me and the book. We bond. I cradle it in my arms and think about how it will make me strong, smart, and powerful. I love the book. My precious, precious book.
They want to take my precious. They covet it. See how they look at it. I must protect it from them, because it's mine. Mine! MINE!
Now, if only the folks over there could get their power back, all would be peachy keen...
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
But four hours later, the cavalry rode into town in the person of Her Excellency, Iain's Grandmother. Thirty hours later, we've got home-made dinners, folded laundry, and (in Iain's case) extensive cuddling. The day is, as they say, saved.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Anyway, having had dogs for more than 10 years, we think of things in dog terms. When people used to talk about their children, we countered with tales of dog-training. I think we were both annoying and dull.
Having a baby has reinforced, though, the extent to which dogs can act as training wheels for a baby. In so many ways, figuring out Iain is like figuring out how to teach a smart animal to potty outside: takes some thinking, some ingenuity, and some dedication.
One big difference persists, though.
When you raise a puppy, you say things like, "And then she looked at me like: where have you been? Don't you love me?" and everyone laughs because the joke is that you've anthropomorphized the dog. It's not a person. It didn't really look at you and think those things. And it won't ever say those things.
With Iain? A whole different world. Tonight, we tried to get him to sleep at Casa Bizzle. He wasn't having it. And at one point, when I went in to try to calm him down, he looked at me like, "where am I? Why are you trying to make me sleep here? This is not my bed, or my room, or my house!"
But when I went back to the grownups, I didn't tell them how he looked, at first. Because in my head, I was thinking "oh, he didn't really look at you like that. I mean, he's just a puppy." And then I thought, "Uh...maybe he did. Because he's not a puppy. And one day, he'll actually say things like 'where are we? I want to go home!'."
That's just freaky. That's one part the dog can't prepare you for.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Back at the house, Charles and I fixed up some ice water to rehydrate. Iain was fascinated by Charles's glass. He stared, he lunged at it, he reached for it.
Finally, Charles let him have a go. If you blow the picture up, what you want to ask is: "what's that pink thing I can see through the glass?"
Thursday, September 11, 2008
On T/Th, I go to school and teach while Charles entertains, protects, teaches and otherwise works to make Iain a good person.
Here's a quiz about Iain's latest pooping schedule:
1. Iain poops on:
c. Anytime Mom leaves the house
d. Whenever Dad's in charge
2. Iain never poops when:
a. It's Monday.
b. It's Wednesday.
c. It's Friday.
d. Mom is on duty.
Ok, tally your points. If you answered "a" to either question, give yourself a piece of chocolate. If you answered "a," "b" or "c" to either question, have a piece of chocolate cake. You deserve it.
And if you answered "d" to both questions: you should take an all-expense paid trip to San Francisco to tour the Sharffenberger factory and get a lifetime's supply of chocolate. You are a genius. How did you know?
Check out today's entry, on milky tea in Hong Kong. I want it, bad.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
For example, about half an hour ago I was reading to him out of the Stark Brothers catalogue. He especially liked the description of the SnappyMac Apple, which is "perfect for eating fresh or baking." He agreed with me that it would be good if he mimicked its growth habit, which is "superior...more open for better air circulation and sunlight on the branches."
We agreed, too, that the Prairie Spy Apple looked nice in the photograph but that "a tangy taste that's great for fresh eating and baking" sounded suspiciously like Granny Smith. In other words, not "tangy" but tart! Iain joins the rest of us in our opposition to tart apples.
So, see? I read to him. He liked the LL Bean catalogue, too. We read that after the Stark Brothers. Iain singled out a nice wool sweater for Dad and echoed my appreciation for this fall's colors in the Freeport cardigan. Not only am I teaching Iain to be "literate," I'm making sure he has an eye for shopping!
I won't have to read to him for long, though. As you can see, he's very independent and prefers to read to himself:
Here's a closeup, in case you're not salivating yet.
Yes, they're tasty. In fact, it's possible that we have 50% less roasted tomatoes in the house now than we did at 6am today, but if so I don't know anything about it.
Monday, September 08, 2008
For days, he was fussy all the time - no smiling, lots of crying, bad napping, and little pleasure in things he used to like. He even fussed on our walk in the Arboretum with the Bowes clan yesterday afternoon.
But Dad came to the rescue. Last night, trying to calm Iain, Charles decided to give him the rice cereal a bit ahead of schedule. He wouldn't take it, but seemed hungry. So Charles took the last bit of milk in the bottle and gave him that. Slurp! It was gone. More milk. Slurp! Gone, too. And rice cereal, and nursing half an hour later. Kid was hungry.
The effect on his mood was amazing. Within minutes he was smiling and cooing and generally back to his old self.
Tonight was Day Two of Project Stuffed-Like-A-Tick. After nursing, a bottle, and rice cereal, we gave Iain a bath. Toward the end, I lifted him up and started blowing bubbles on his belly. He smiled a little. Then Juno came over to check out the action. She started licking his toes while I blew bubbles on his tummy.
In response, he laughed. Well - it was more like a giggly hiccup, but it was laughter.
Buy some tomatoes. This time of year, I buy Farmer's Market tomatoes, which are lovely. This method allows you to keep gazillions of them in the freezer all winter. But at other times of year, if you're craving tomatoes, doing this to them will make even crappy supermarket tomatoes pretty good.
Preheat your oven to about 200 degrees Farenheit. 215, 220 is fine, too. Just low.
Slice the tomatoes with a serrated knife (I use our bread knife, because it has a nice long blade). Lay them out on a cookie sheet with a silpat (or spray PAM on it or otherwise make it non-stick). I cut mine about 1/4 inch thick, but really it's just about how long you have to cook them. The thinner you cut, the less time it takes.
Once they're all laid out, sprinkle them with salt (I use kosher because it's crunchy and I can see it and it's less salty) and grind some black pepper over them (optional). Drizzle with olive oil.
Now, stick them in the oven and walk away. Far away. Leave them cooking for 6-8 hours. Or start them at dinnertime, turn off the oven at 11, and go to bed with them still in there. The point is: cook them low and slow. They're basically dehydrating. After a long time, they'll look like soft, gooey sundried tomatoes. They will taste fabulous - sweet, salty, slightly chewy.
You can freeze them (the oil helps with that), or use them in pasta, on meat (instead of ketchup, for example), or with veg (I sauteed yellow squash and added these.). The trays above represent more than 3 lbs. of tomatoes, which will cook down to about one pint-sized container. So if you're awash in tomatoes or you have a small freezer, this way you can keep summer flavors for winter without taking up tons of space.
2. Make and Bake Empanadas:
OK, these aren't the proper empanadas that people like the Frumins recognize. I love those, too. They're particularly good when eaten *with* the Frumins. These are more like a quick snack that comes in empanada form. You could as easily call them a pasty, but that's not as fun to say.
I sautee a pound or so of ground meat (usually beef) with carrots, onion, garlic, and herbs (tons of parsley, some oregano, basil, sage, whatever's around. A couple of good handsful, for sure. Fresh and chopped). I add some chicken stock base (the paste stuff, by the spoonful, with a little water), some ketchup, some Worcestershire sauce, and salt/pepper. When it's all cooked to something that looks good and is tasty (taste it!), I cool it off. I did that the other night.
So today I finished them. When it comes to pastry, I'm not what you'd call skilled. I tried and tried, but whatever magic you need for good pastry - I don't have it. So I buy Pillsbury. If you get the box with 2 pie crusts in it, you'll need about 2 boxes for the filling. Cut each circle into quarters. Hold it in your hand and fill, using egg wash to seal the edges. Do not overfill! Your empanadas will split and you will have to eat them all up right away. Seal the edges with a fork if you want.
Put them on a cookie sheet/silpat combo, brush with the rest of that egg wash, and bake at 350 for 25 minutes or until they're golden and smell good. Don't move them too much for a few minutes, because they need to firm up. And don't try to eat one hot out of the oven. You'll burn yourself.
You can wrap them in clear wrap once cool, freeze them indefinitely, and heat them up by unwrapping and then microwaving for a minute or so. They make a good lunch because you can take them frozen, let them thaw a bit, then zap them at noon and voila! Hot lunch. Add a salad and an apple and you're done.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Friday, September 05, 2008
First, Iain finally got to try out his BOB. It's been hotter than the surface of the sun here, and blazingly sunny. So we waited and waited, sure that taking him out in a black stroller was a bad idea. Even the dogs, who are desperate for a walk, didn't want to run around the neighborhood in fur coats when the mercury reached 95.
Today, though, the temperature dropped. A storm brought heavy rains to us in the late morning, leaving behind humidity but only temps in the 80s. So when Iain was getting a little stir-crazy after lunch, I decided to take him out for a spin.
As promised, the BOB solved our sidewalk problems. Cracks and uneven pavement that made our little Click-n-Go have a breakdown proved no challenge to the BOB. I drove with one hand while wrangling the dogs with the other hand and talking on the phone with Miriam. Yes, I did. I couldn't find the headphones for my iPod and plus Miriam's charming. So eat it.
Iain seemed to like being outside. In some ways this was his first real walk. Unlike the Click-n-Go, in the BOB he can see ahead, and he's eye-level to flowers, mailboxes and shrubs. The unpredictable jerking motions caused by Boris or Juno freaking out only adds spice to the ride. By the time we returned, he was drowsy. So I popped him into his crib and ZZZZZZZZZZ.
Our second outing was more for the parents. The Bizzles called to see if we wanted to get dinner, and we leapt at the chance to Get Out of This House. So off Iain went to Callie's house, where he got to eat in her high-chair (padding! Fancy.), play with her mom, stare at her toys, and flirt. When we returned it was dark. Charles pointed out that we haven't really been out until after dark in a long time. Granted, it's summer. But still.
And just like the first outing, upon our return I changed Iain into his jammies, kissed him goodnight, and put him in the crib. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
As you can see, I tested it out immediately. Also, note that contrasting stripes is the hot new look for fall.
Plenty of room to stretch out. I have to talk to The Staff about the mess, though. Look how they left this filthy tissue on my desk! I hardly have room for my toy.
This guy's just jealous. Or hungry. Probably both.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
The word clearly got around. Today, I counted seven birds on the porch, and when I went outside more than twenty flew up into the trees.
You're thinking: they don't know you saved that baby bird from a grisly death. Just because they come to the window and look in at you, that doesn't mean they see you as a friend.
Quite right. I'm not their friend. I'm their communal larder. Look what a cardinal did right in front of me this morning!!:
I managed to save some, though. These are the most delightfully bird-sized tomatoes. They taste great, but they're sooo teensy. I told Mother the birds stole my produce, and she said, "Just cut off the part the bird ate." Uh...Mother...that would leave approximately a gram of tomato. See them here, with the lemon verbena:
For a size reference, I tried to have Iain pose with them. Instead, I learned we've entered the Oral Fixation Stage. Evidence:
[No tomatoes, or babies, were harmed in the making of this post.]
[Except by that bird.]
[Of course, I plan to harm these tomatoes, ASAP.]
[No tomatoes for Baby, though. Not till next summer.]