Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Salt Lake City Library

Kids, hold on to your hats. Really.

above, the facade of the new-ish public library in Salt Lake City. It's an arc of glass with the library in a quenelle-shaped space inside and a bank of sofas, desks, and other useful things built into the glass.

Inside? A coffee shop (on the left) and retail along the wall:

As you ascend the glass and stone staircase (or take the glass elevator up), you see the study spaces built into the face of the building.

Go all the way up and you find a little park with benches. Want to take in the view? Sure. Want to walk down the edge? You can do that, too. They constructed an open-air walkway that runs around the building's perimeter, going from the very top down along that shiny wall to the outdoor park cupped in the library's embrace.

And because it gets cold in the valley, they built this beautiful three-level fireplace with surrounding sofas:

Fancy a cup of joe? How about a nice book? Curl up and stay a while, why don't you?

I can see how this has become the second-largest tourist draw (after Temple Square) in the city. It's gorgeous. And I haven't even gotten to the Children's Library. Just you wait.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Things We Ate

1. Tortilla soup with a sprinkle of shredded jack, a dab of sour cream, and a liberal dose of hilarity. Oh, and a blueberry tart that added the B to B-Utter.

2. A french dip nearly as good as the ones we used to eat in Pasadena, but (thankfully) smaller, and with a leafy little pile of lemon-vinaigrette-slicked leaves alongside.

3. Polenta, formed into a square, barely seared, floating atop a disk of pomodoro sauce, then topped with sauteed wild mushrooms.

Um. Yeah. Some of these were in private homes, some in casual cafes, some in a tiny, charming restaurant tucked behind a bookstore that has a section titled "Speculative Fiction."

Back tomorrow, with photos. I can't wait to: squeeze my boy(s), pet my dogs, and drink a cup of tea.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Vintage Disneyland

Ok, a little preface here. I'm mostly indifferent to this video, but two things are striking. First, a few of the long views show the area surrounding Disneyland in CA from 1977. Note the green. It is now 100% concrete and buildings. Second, Disneyland itself has open spaces between the rides. It has been over a decade since I've been there, but there wasn't anything like that amount of space the last time I was there, if memory serves. A minor point is that the rides look a lot more like generic amusement rides than those I recall from my last visit. Wow.

Thanks to Boing Boing and Cory Doctorow's obsession with Disneyland.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Daycare, Check!

One item nailed down, thank goodness.

I visited the facility we were looking at for Iain's school next year. It proved every bit as good as we'd hoped, complete with a (huge) outdoor pool (including a beach area for little kids!) (with a big mushroom fountain-y thing!), a mini-kitchen for kids to learn cooking skills, and a fitness program that includes rock climbing. I was there for nearly 2 hours, and when I left they hugged me!

It was great.

So we set that up and now have one less thing to worry about. Now, if only I could get in touch with our realtor...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Off to the Mountains

Callie got a new sweater from her Aunt. Isn't it cute? I dunno what was up with her sad face. She definitely, assuredly, indubitably, was not sad.

Callie and Iain, enjoying the little bridge at the Arboretum. And below, the Dads. They soaked up some sun and had a nice chat and generally looked cool while Iain and Callie frolicked.

Tomorrow morning at o'dark'thirty I'm off to Salt Lake City. It's house hunting, some time with Professor C, and a bit of pre-school examination for me. Iain and Charles have already informed me that while I'm away they'll be eating nothing but ice cream. "And tater tots," I said. "Nope, just ice cream."


Gotta Love Facebook

Sooo...last year a student mis-heard me. He (and his friends) thought I was telling them that Virginia planters transitioned from tobacco to weed during and after the Revolution. Uh, no. That would be wheat. Whhheeeattt.

These days, I carefully pronounce the word, then emphasize it, then explain why I'm whistling out my "w"s. Apparently, that amused one of my students. Also, I'm apparently "Fifi" and I teach in "Fionaville."


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Two things:

1. Above you see the start of something Sarah Hub talked about on her blog like a million months ago. Iain and Callie, at the park, took off at a semi-run (because Iain was in the lead and he doesn't so much run as toddle-really-really-fast). We called after them, but they just stumped along faster and faster. All I could think was Sarah saying that one day your child runs away from you. On purpose. And you're proud, but...

2. They ran toward Central Baptist Hospital's parking garage (visible, barely, in the distance). Why? Because as we walked along the bottom edge of the Arboretum (yes, this space with zero trees is an arboretum, but that's another story), a helicopter passed over us, slowed, and began a careful descent onto the hospital's helipad. Iain thought he was witnessing the rebirth of humanity, for sure. He was so, so excited. An actual helicopter, actually flying, actually landing, with actual people actually getting off of it. ZOMG. In fact, XOMG.

Cherry Yum Yum Again


That's all I have to say about that.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Callie? Park? Uh Huh!

Yesterday, the sun emerged from its hiding place. No, really. And the temperature reached 60F!

So we hooked up with Callie's staff and went for a walk in the Lexington Arboretum (us and bout 200,000 other Lexingtonians). As you can see above, no one bothered to resist posing the lovebirds on a bench.

Callie got one of her patented "neck-hold" kisses, while Iain considered the chances of another cheddar bunny falling out of someone's pocket.

But then Callie's Mom started making funny faces and before you could say "Waffle!" Iain broke out in a delighted grin.

The Staff told us that when Donna babysat on Saturday night, Callie asked her mother: "Iain come?" No, Sarah explained, not tonight. But Callie kept insisting that if Donna was in residence that must mean Iain was coming over for fun and games. Right? Right??

Mr. Boy had kind of a crunchy day at school today. He woke up at 6am, so that was odd to begin with. Then, at lunch, he had a Total Meltdown. No eating. He kept saying, "Nie Nie!" until finally Donna put him down on his bed. He went straight to sleep. Usually, he has to talk for a while, ask to get up, etc., before he'll nap. Not today. And in the afternoon when I heard this tale and picked him up, he was running a low fever.

So guess what? Tomorrow we visit Dr. W. to see if Iain has an ear infection. Yay! Antibiotics!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Interesting stuff about childhood food allergies over at BoingBoing.

Here's the bit that matters (unless you're desperate to read about the physics of jukebox operations and The Fonz):

"For years, parents have been told to put off introducing their babies to certain foods—things like milk, soy and peanuts—that tend to cause allergic reactions. The idea behind the advice was that, if you gave a baby's immune system a chance to mature before tossing a food trial at it, it might not be so likely to overreact.

But that theory is turning out to be wrong, according to a panel of European and American public health experts from organizations like the FDA and the British National Health Service Trust. There's no evidence that delaying the introduction of potentially allergenic foods does anything to reduce a child's likelihood of developing an allergy, they said. And, in fact, there's some evidence that delaying the foods may actually increase the risk of allergic reaction.

Why? Researchers can only speculate right now, but it might have to do with the fact that you can never completely eliminate environmental exposure to certain foods. Even if you stringently avoid peanuts, you might still come into contact with very, very minute amounts of the allergy-causing nut proteins. As it turns out, it's these small, rare, random exposures that are more likely to set the stage for developing a sensitivity to a particular food, rather than regular consumption.

Once they're ready to eat solids, your baby or toddler is better off being adventurous with new foods." - Maggie Koerth-Baker

Fun with Balloons

This morning Iain is obsessed with watching himself in this video. It's from a long,long time ago. He still laughs exactly like that, though.


Wow. I'm big.

Now that I only go to the doctor when I'm sick (like, weekly), or at major anniversaries (annually, plus that 18-month visit), it's harder to keep up with my growth pattern.

But I know you're curious. Right? You read all about my appetite, so I figure you desperately want to know what I'm doing with all those waffles. Here it is:

34.5 inches tall, 28.1 lbs.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.
(hide your waffles)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Crunch, Crunch

Saturday again. After two weeks of snow (and, as a result, two weeks in which Iain attended daycare 3 days instead of 5) we're pretty much out of ideas. Entertaining the Young Man for 4 days in a row is quite a challenge.

So today we made waffles, like we do on Saturday mornings. I altered the recipe by adding a little vanilla extract, a little orange extract, and the zest of a clementine. It made them crispier (as promised by Poor Miriam*), but the orange flavor was hardly a whisper. I'll have to work on that.

Then, after Iain totally refused to nap, we drove to the library. That kid has radar, I swear. He walked down the aisle, past about 400 books (and kids' books are skinny, so you can't easily read the spines, as you can do with adult books), and reached right into the shelf for the one book called "GO! GO! GO!" It's a book about: fire trucks. What did you think?

20 books later (Inside the Firehouse, Airplanes Through Time, Firetrucks in Detail, etc. etc.), we pried Iain off the puzzle table ("Cement mixer!" "Front Loader!") and took him home.

Whereupon he melted down. Total, utter, crunch. And it was classic toddler behavior, too. He wanted up. No! Down! No, up. UP! etc.

By 6:15 he was fed, bathed, exposed to some Thomas the Tank Engine, and plopped in his bed. Not a peep since then. Whew. Don't ask me about tomorrow.

*Poor Miriam: Layover in Dallas? Nope, changed to a new plane after a mechanical problem. Flight to Australia? Nope, turned around 1.5 hours out over the Pacific because of a mechanical problem. By then it was the middle of the night, so she ended up in a hotel (at 6am! With only her carry-on luggage!), promised to board an 11am flight. BUT NO! Instead, she's supposedly getting out at 11pm tonight, flying straight to Melbourne rather than to Brisbane with a change of planes. I think Miriam's going to need a nice spa day tomorrow.

Friday, February 19, 2010


I loves some noodles, people. Loves them. Noodles for brekkie, lunch and dinner would be Just Fine. Also: waffles.

This morning, Iain told me he wanted to play with his cars. "What about a clean diaper?" I asked. "Play. Bus." Ok, whatever, dude. Then he picked up his teddy bear. "Iain teddy." "Yes, that's your teddy." "Teddy play." He dumped poor teddy out of the crib and onto the floor. Teddy just lay there. "Uh, dude. I think teddy's sleepy. He went nie-nie. He's not that into playing right now."

Iain just looked at teddy as if to say, "Dude! Get up!"

A Girl Needs a Blowout Sometimes

Behold, small cell-phone pictures of wee Isla getting her hair cut for the first time. She's about to become a big sister, so you know she needed to have a spa day.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Bon Voyage

Tomorrow, Miriam embarks on her epic adventure to Oceania. It's a two-day trip, after which she will enjoy two weeks of delicious Australian cuisine, gorgeous Australian sunshine (which she deserves after all that snow), and splendid Australian scenery (I hear this includes the human scenery, but since she'll be on her honeymoon, I doubt that will penetrate.).

Above, her husband, showing off his ring last summer in Tunbridge Wells.* I've thought a lot about this subject, and am convinced that weddings should include a beer break. It was thirsty work, marrying those two. Look how happy Michelle and Kelly are. Look! I rest my case.

Bon Voyage, Miriam. Safe travels and happy trails. I won't weep with frustration that we can't talk. Really, I won't.

*Blogger wants me to replace Tunbridge with "unabridged" or "footbridge." No.


Yesterday, Iain's daycare report said that he had been a bit "possessive" with his toys. I didn't have a chance to ask what, exactly, that meant.

It turns out that what they mean is this: Iain piles all of his favorite toys into the play bassinet (a small, plastic baby crib intended for a doll), then sits on it so no one else can play. Really. Sometimes, the other kids come over and try to step into the bassinet. He grabs their feet and "moves" them away.

Other times, if Iain has been playing with something, he makes it clear that it's his forever. If another kid takes the same toy, 5 or 10 minutes later, and starts to play, Iain throws a fit. "Mine!" he screams "Mine!Mine!Mine!!!"

Tonight at dinner Charles asked Iain how school had been. What did you do? "Play Mine!" Iain replied. So I had to explain what I'd learned.



Last night, we noticed a little bump on Iain's head. It was bruised, and raised like the proverbial egg. Not raised a lot, but raised. He didn't seem bothered when we touched it, but he kept touching it and saying "Hot!" Eventually, we understood that he meant it hurt.

What a mystery.

But this morning, all became clear. Meghan provided an ouchie report from yesterday, explaining that at 10:40am Iain heroically tried to break the fall of a friend (who had been sitting on a chair when it tipped over). He succeeded in saving his friend, but bumped his head in the process. Isn't that always the way?

By way of treatment they administered the following: "Lots of TLC" with a little heart drawn in next to it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Musical education.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

On a Positive Note...

"Iain Bog? Callie?"

Tomorrow: 2-hour delay. So that means that I get to sleep in. Yay, winter!

Iain has finally been watching his Thomas the Tank Engine DVDs. These are the videos we bought in California, which we only just started watching this month. There are 3 DVDs, so it's a lot of programming, some of which I'd never seen before.

The best part is that Iain is parroting the language. And Thomas is, of course, British. So today he has been saying "Bother!" over and over and over and over. It's hilarious, and infectious. We were rolling around on the bed, saying "Bother!" and then Charles joined in, saying "Father Bother!" and before you knew it Iain needed tickling. It's a rough job, but someone has to do it.

Of course, by that time, we were all a little punch-drunk. That's what comes of four days straight with NO DAYCARE. Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and....TUESDAY!

That's right. We got all bundled up, drove through the snow to our daycare, only to find it locked up tight. Oops. I checked the local news to see if they closed, but I guess LEX18 wasn't in the loop. Neither were we.

But Charles hardly blinked. He dialed up Callie's House, and before you could say "Bother!" we were piling out on her doorstep. One 2-hour playdate later, everyone was a little less frazzled (including Callie's staff, who were happy to have some company).

For several days, Iain has been demanding to see "Iain BOG!" He particularly likes to go to the "Callie" tab on the right and look through his pictures of his best girl. We did it this morning, in fact. So imagine his delight when we pulled into her driveway: "Callie Hous!"

I still say winter bites. And it doesn't help when your friends are rubbing your nose in the perfect weather of Los Angeles. I'm talking to you, Dr. G.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Winter, Paging Winter - Please Meet Your Party Someplace Else

I am tired of winter. Who's with me?

Miriam: snowed in.
My parents: rained on, incessantly, for...ever.
Kentucky: enduring yet another week of sub-freezing temps, gray skies, and just enough snow to make it dangerous but not enough to make people stay home.

I know the birds agree with me, because about 400 of them came to visit our yard today. If you expand that picture in the previous post you can see that the tree on the right is full of them. I think they're here because they know we're on the same page: I want spring.

Snow Day

Plenty of snow, a thoroughly frosty morning, school canceled, etc. Even Iain's daycare closed, which is fine because we weren't going out in this, anyway.

Did I mention that Iain no longer feels the need to nap at home? Yeah. He's in there right now, talking away, explaining the concept of "injustice" to his teddies.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Whee! I loves my waffles! In fact, the waffle above is my second waffle of the morning, because I can't maintain my Insane Growth Pattern on just a single waffle.

Below, the process:
We tried to adapt Kelly's cinnamon-fiber-intensive-colon-blow waffle to our needs (in other words: Iain does not need more fiber. I shudder to think...). So we added cinnamon and vanilla and a few other things from the recipe, but otherwise stuck to our basic pamphlet-in-the-box recipe.

The result was a mixed bag. Naturally, Iain liked it:

"More waffle? More srup? More butter? I can has your camera?"

But I thought the cinnamon made the eggy-ness of the waffle (Charles' comment on previous batches) even more pronounced. And the cinnamon flavor was minimal. So I think on our next try (next weekend, of course), we'll cut the eggs in half and increase the cinnamon. Or perhaps try orange extract and zest for a citrus kick.

In other news, I am feeling somewhat better today. My sinus headache finally decided to go bother someone else, and though my voice is very Lauren Bacall, it's holding steady. I've had three of my 6 antibiotics, so my fingers are crossed that Zithromax is killing nasty bugs and will continue to do so.

Also, today Iain learned to say, "Read it, please, Dude."

Saturday, February 13, 2010


In a comment last week, Bart said:
You Hallorans and your never-ending lurgy. I'm starting to wonder if your house is in the vicinity of a Union Carbide plant.
In reply, I can only say that today I had to go to the doctor. And she said, "Welcome to the wonderful world of sinus infections." Great. I have fluid in my ears, infected sinuses (and a massive headache as a result), a very sultry voice (swollen vocal chords!), and I'm dehydrated. Five more days of antibiotics, please!

[She asked me whether I'd had a flu shot. I said, "No, because I haven't been well for one whole week since August, so I can't ever get one." Oh.]

But how bad could I feel, when I look over the banister and see Iain and Charles reading together? And check out Boris, desperately hoping to be included, watching with deep interest as Iain explains (again) the fascinating world of Fire Engines.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

Today, Iain's class exchanged cards and enjoyed a special party in honor of Valentine's Day. Iain made little paper cards for the kids in his class (five besides him), but he made three special cards for his ladies.

He used glue to put pictures of flowers (thank you, Bluestone Perennials, for your lovely catalog!) onto cardstock, then cut it out in the shape of a heart. On the back he wrote personal notes to Donna, Meghan, and Callie.

When the time came to present his card to Callie, she thanked him profusely, said she loved it, and gave him one of her special "fierce" hugs (the kind where she grits her teeth and gets you in a headlock). Iain blushed!

The party included cupcakes, cheese sticks, grapes and little gift bags with a chocolate heart, a lollipop, and a little clementine orange (the oranges were Iain's contribution to the party). In all, I'd say a successful celebration of the day of love.

Just now, putting Iain to bed, Charles and I said, "Night, night, Iain." And he replied, "Nie-Nie, DonnaMeghan..."

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sausage and Bean Soup

Jen Yu gave me a bean itch. It's true. After reading about her warm lentil and sausage salad, I just couldn't stop thinking "beans, sausage, beans, sausage, YUM."

Meanwhile, in the freezer, a package of sausage sat unloved. It was local sausage. Made by the proud descendants of Italian immigrants who somehow made it to the Bluegrass. The vendors sell their links at our Farmer's Market, where they sometimes wear sausage crowns. They have no shame. [please note that if you hit that link with your sound on, you're going to hear them say "I'll make you a sausage you can't refuse" in a hilariously Freudian Godfather reference, complete with a cartoon "Hogfather."]

And yet I'd let the sausage sit in the freezer for...a while.

No more. As of yesterday, those sausage links have become a delicious sausage and white bean soup. I thought about what Jen did, and then looked up bean soup in Mark Bitman (not terribly useful, but he does have a talent for suggesting that bean soup is so easy you really can do it yourself, no problem). Finally, I decided to wing it.

1 package of sweet Italian sausage (around a pound)
1 sweet onion, chopped, sliced, or diced (use your imagination)
1 can (15 oz.) white beans, drained and rinsed
some fresh Thyme, leaves stripped to make about 2T of leaves.
chicken stock (I used paste plus water. So sue me.)

In a large soup pot (I used a 5 quart LeCreuset, enamel-coated cast iron pot), sear the links over medium heat. Remove to a cutting board. Fry the onions in the pot, stirring a bit. Slice the links into little rounds. After 10m or so, when the onions are browning a little, add the links back and fry them for a couple of minutes. Add the beans, then add about 4 cups of stock (or more, if you want). Add the thyme. No need for salt if your stock has it, but if not then add salt to taste (remember that soup gets salty slowly, so add, wait 10 minutes, then taste, then add more. Except you shouldn't taste it until it's been 20 minutes or so, since the sausage is still a little raw. For goodness sake use stock paste and be done with it!).

Cook it on medium heat for 20 minutes or so.


  • I let it cool, put the whole pot in the fridge overnight, then skimmed off the fat the next morning when it had hardened. If you don't mind delicious porky fat, then skip it. If you have to eat NOW, then skip it.
  • You could use less meat, or more beans, no problem. You could also use pasta or rice instead of beans, but I've been having some issues with adding too much and ending up with a thick gloop. So I like beans.
  • I can think of other herbs that would be good here. I just had thyme in the fridge. Keep in mind that the sausage has herbs in it, so it will add a lot of flavor. For example, my local, Vitos's sausage must contain a ton of pepper, because the soup has a great black pepper flavor. And fennel - most Italian sausage has fennel in it. Anyway, just taste it.
  • Chard or spinach would be delicious in this, but it will get all limp and yucky if you keep it very long. So if you're going to add greens, eat the soup right away.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

I'm So Ashamed

Yesterday, Iain tapped a lampshade and said, "Snow!"
I said: "No, honey. That's just dust."

We need to do a better job with housekeeping.

And while we're on the subject of cute things Iain said...

Yesterday, Iain dropped Elmo into his sippy cup (the lid was off because he asked and I didn't know that 5 minutes later he was going to pour the whole thing out on the table!) and I brought him a spoon to fish the little guy out.

We did it, then he grabbed the spoon and dropped it into the cup. "Coffee!" he said.

Charles and I like to leave the spoon in the mug when we drink coffee and tea. I guess he noticed. On the plus side, we can offer him pretty much anything in a mug with a spoon and tell him it's coffee.

Iain's Newest Developmental Milestone/Friend

The above is a cheap, plastic ring that someone at daycare put on birthday cupcakes for a kid I don't know. Iain brought it home 2 weeks ago. Since then, it has become his best friend forever. He tries to feed it (this morning he offered it waffle and then said, "Good job, Elmo!"), he carries it around, he says it wants things ("Elmo waffle brekkie!").

I checked a development chart today. For the last 6 months or so, I ignored all that stuff. I just didn't care that much, and since he was walking late. It's tiresome to watch and wait and hope that people are right when they say, "oh, a couple of weeks!" and "it's not a big deal until you get to 16 months!" Of course, when you get to 16 months, you start to feel it's a big deal.

But that's old news. These days, he walks, he toddly-runs, he's doing fine. So today I checked some not-scientific-composed-to-sell-moms-stuff websites and compared his development to the "norm."

Naturally, it was frustrating. He does some things they associated with 24 months, but not some things they say kids should all do at 19 months. Some things they linked to 23 months he's been doing since he was a year old. Gah!

But the point is, they said that this was an age when kids start talking to, feeding, and otherwise pampering their toys. As in, "tuck in baby" and "does teddie want some oatmeal?" Iain's attempts to feed Elmo, then, are totally age-appropriate and developmentally timely.

I can see why they get along, too. I mean: Elmo likes waffles, Iain likes waffles. Elmo drinks milk, Iain drinks milk. It's a match made in heaven.



At 6:30, screaming. Wailing. Caterwauling. Demands and imprecations. Yet I held firm.

Now, it's 8:49, and all is silent. Hmmm... I started to get kind of weirded-out, worrying that something bad had happened. So I tiptoed in to Iain's room to have a look.

There he was, stretched out flat on his back, snoring like a bear. I guess he's ok.

Monday, February 08, 2010


This is the new face Iain makes when I take his picture. You last saw it here. I guess we've entered the "I am a LION!" stage.

In other news, everyone is sick. Charles still coughs, and has 4 days left on his antibiotics (the 200th prescription of the year so far, in case you're counting). Iain has a fever and isn't eating much. He might have to go to the doctor. I have a runny nose (aren't I attractive?), a sore throat, and a slight cough, plus I'm fatigued. I'm the healthiest among us, which is kind of tragic.

Did I mention the winter storm warning? Nothing like what Miriam's getting over in DC, but enough to make it dangerous to drive (to the doctor, for example) and impossible to entertain a cranky young'un.

At least I got to lecture about witches today. That's always a highlight of my semester.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

How To Go To Bed, By Iain

First, you should know that this is not easy. It's going to require Total Commitment from you and your team. They all have to be on board (see above).

Step 1: Take a bath. Splash a lot. Try to get water on The Staff's glasses, but if you can't achieve that it's always fun to repeatedly drink the bathwater, just to annoy them.

Step 2: Car jammies. You really, really need to understand the centrality of this point. Jammies with cars on them contribute to deep, restful sleep. Studies show it. Studies from Harvard, and stuff.

Step 3: Sesame Street. Watch it. Bring your friends, monopolize the pillows. You'll need about 15 minutes of vintage S.S. (do NOT, repeat: do NOT watch modern Sesame Street - not the same thing at all, and no clinical value) to release your melatonin stores. Once that sleep hormone's coursing through your veins, you're all good.

I provide this information because I want to help people. So many tall people say they're "tired" and "exhausted" and "rocked." I don't know what they're doing at bedtime (because: hello! I'm already asleep), but it isn't working. Try my system - it works.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

It Happened! It Happened!!

Despite Iain's best efforts to stop it (he ran a fever after nap time, in a clear attempt to make us stay home), we did, actually, in fact, no lie, go out and have an adult evening.

Why are you shaking your head? Don't believe me? Try this on for size:

1. We hooked up with Callie's Staff at 4:30, and carpooled down to Richmond.
2. We drank actual adult beverages. Mine had 2 olives in it. We ate delicious little nibbles (stuffed mushrooms, little artichoke eggrolls, tiny roast beef sandwiches with horseradish sauce, boiled shrimp, cheesecake bites, etc.)
3. We talked with grownups. At length. Loudly.
4. We did not change any diapers, get out any wet wipes, tell anyone to get off the stairs, or fetch sippy cups.
5. After the soiree, we went to a restaurant where we sat at a table with no highchairs.
6. We ate supper and talked and no one said "No, don't touch that! That's not for babies! Can we get some extra napkins?"

It was grand. Meanwhile, Iain and Callie

1. Ate ravioli, fruit and ice cream sandwiches with Miss Donna.
2. Played hide-and-go-seek.
3. Waited until Donna was helping the other one go to sleep, then said "Donna?" "Donna?" "Donna?" over and over again.
4. Slept, no problem, until we got there.

In other words: a smashing success.

Friday, February 05, 2010

It's Finally Happening

We're leaving Iain with a babysitter.

Tomorrow night my colleagues will gather to celebrate the recent wedding of our Tudor-Stuart-Elizabethan-Costuming-Gender specialist. She married an Ancient-World-Early-Christianity specialist, so you can imagine the breakfast table conversation in that house.

Anyway. We're headed down the road a bit to dance and sing and make whoopee with her, and Iain's staying here. With Callie. And Miss Donna.

It's all just so exciting. Of course, true to our special superhero talents, they're calling for 4 inches of snow overnight/tomorrow. So it's conceivable that we'll all be snowed in, eating rats and burning our sofas to stay warm until spring. But I have a sense that even in that event Callie's Mom is going to make us drive down for the party.

Poor Pookie!

My friend Sara forwarded the link to the Flickr stream from the New York Public Library. Among other things, they have a lot of Ellis Island photos, and some are just amazing. Check out these two children from Holland, photographed around 1905. Their shoes! The rick-rack on her dress! Her little doll and his comforting hand on her back! ZOMG.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Captain Obvious, Paging Captain Obvious...

So here's my problem. I make the Chinese-ish food. I make the sauce. It's thin. I mix up a cornstarch slurry, like I'm 'posed to, and I mix it in and nothing happens. No thickness, no yummy glossy sauce. Bleh.

Or, I get disgustingly thick, jelly-like goo. Double Bleh!

Problem #2: rice. We're not great at making rice. We do ok. But sometimes it's gross and sticky (I like sticky rice, but there's sticky rice and then there's wallpaper paste), sometimes it's wet, sometimes it has a funny taste and leaves a starch layer on my teeth. I'm crap at rice, as Will might say.

Tonight, I solved both problems.

Months ago, I bought a bag of noodle disks at the Large But Not Very Nice Asian Market. It was maybe 20 disks (the size of a rice cake), dried and pressed. Like ramen. The whole thing cost maybe $2.99. And I thought (tonight), "what if I used noodles instead of rice? Would the planet spill off its axis, ending all life as we know it?"

Prolly not. So I boiled some water, then dropped in two disks and turned off the heat. After about 3 minutes I drained the noodles. They were not fully cooked.

Meanwhile, I'd been cooking tiny chicken chunks in a very hot pan with teriyaki sauce (they were marinated in it and I just dumped all that in the pan). I added sliced water chestnuts. I added a handful of snow peas. Then I dumped in the noodles. They soaked up the sauce, turned a satisfying beige, and were done in approximately 2 seconds.

Yum. Noodles, chicken, peas and crunchy bits, all flavored with teriyaki but not dripping with it. And no waiting for rice. And no cleaning up the rice pot.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New Jammies!

Fun: taking pictures of Iain.
More fun: pointing the camera at him, pressing the button, then showing him the result. What a ham!

But the real news around here is: Iain has new jammies. And not just any jammies. When I stopped at Kid-To-Kid Tuesday, I bought (in addition to 4 new pairs of pants for Mr. Grows-Without-Cease) a pair of flannel PJ's. Thomas the Tank Engine PJ's, to be precise.

Oh, it's just so exciting I must grab my toes. TOES!

California Update

This just in from our California bureau:

Tonight, our young lady ran around the house shouting, "Macabee!" like, a hundred times.

Further, she pulled the Canadian flag out of one of our kitchen drawers -- what, you don't have a Canadian flag in your kitchen? -- and spent a full thirty minutes sneaking up on the cats and *draping* them with it. So that the cats were walking around under the Canadian flag, bummed, with just a head sticking out. I would like to apologize to Canada.

We're also on a cycle of approximately ten screaming tantrums per hour. That's an average of one every six minutes, dude. I s&*% you not. She makes floppy arms -- she sort of shakes the arms very loosely, with the hands limp and banging around. And informs her parents that they can really-extra-suck it, because NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO YOGURT NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!!!!!!!

I mean, dude. The dad may have to start drinking again.
Ouch. I think the next year is going to be interesting for all of us. Except Callie's Staff, of course. She's already more than a quarter through The Twos, and by all accounts doing fine. I'm a leeetle beet jealous, but she's so cute it's hard to hold it against her.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Running (with or without WAFFLES!)

Tonight we confirmed that Iain is actually running. Running. As in jogging, sprinting, bopping along with a pair of shorty-shorts and a terrycloth headband, looking for birds you can take back to your pad and with whom you can rap about your etchings.

Or something.

Recall that Iain decided to walk at 16.5 months. Plenty of people said, "Oh, you watch. He'll go from crawling to running in a week!" Nope.

NOPE! [I'm not bitter and you can't prove it.]

Instead, he's been toddling all this time. But Sunday night when Callie chased him, I saw him run a bit. Not walkveryfast (what he usually does), but a true run.

And tonight he was doing it again. Real running, with all the stomping and face-plants that implies.

Yay! Now all we have to do is hide the scissors.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Poem for Penzey's

Ancho Chili Pepper Ground
Whole Special Extra Bold Indian Black Peppercorns
Whole Malabar Indian Black Peppercorns
Pink Peppercorns
Cumin Ground
Natural Cocoa Powder
Garam Masala
Powdered China #1 Ginger
Taco Seasoning

Someone special has all this flying to her door from the spice capital of the Upper Midwest.

Behold: The Waffle Monster

Pretty much anything you ask Iain these days results in this: "WAFFLES!"

Brekkie? WAFFLES!
Dinner? Manllaaaaaa! [vanilla] followed, often, by: WAFFLES!

He's eaten the stash I made a week ago (ten waffles in the freezer, 4 eaten by me, that leaves 6 whole waffles in Iain's tummy. And he poached about 1/4 of mine, too, so that's one more whole waffle.). I might have to pack away the waffle iron for a couple of weeks just to break the cycle.

Oh, and he outgrew his pants and weighs 28 pounds. Coincidence? I think not.

In other news, his new favorite book is beaten-up copy of the A to Z book by Sandra Boynton. And here's where I have to give props to daycare: he knows more than half the letters. Knows them perfectly. And many of the rest he only gets wrong because he mistakes them for letters they resemble (for example, V and W, or S and Z).

I should have seen this coming, because Callie can recognize her name. But I confess I never really considered that pretty soon I'd have to come up with a secret cipher so Charles and I can pass notes that say things like "Check out the size of that Head!" and "Are we out of WAFFLES? Oh no!"