Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sick Day on Planet Girl

Last night Donny had a fever and was coughing alot. He did'nt sleep very well--in fact, we almost brought him to bed with us for the night but decided space would have been a bit too tight. We normally wake him up at 7 to get him out the door at 8:30 but I decided it was too cold and he was sleeping too hard and that a day off of daycare might be a good thing. That meant me taking a vacation day. I've been dreaming of taking a housekeeping vacation day so, in my mind at least, I sacrificed that for the kid. So I'm not a bad housekeeper; I'm a good Mom.

We had a nice day home together and the kid did get in a couple of good naps. Work followed me home, however, and now I'm feeling all vulnerable and conflicted. I'm up for review this year so the magnifying glass is on me already; I'm not enjoying it at all. That being said, I'm 41 and I've got to stop feeling like the youngest lineworker at McDonalds. That's what I'm telling myself today.

I decided that it was high time for Donovan to watch TV. I'd been shielding him far too long and, besides, that's what sick boys do at home. We kicked it old school and I got out one of them there vid-e-o tapes and we watched this and this and, of course, this I wonder what Love and Rockets would think about The Bubblemen ending up as the Goth Teletubbies. Joking aside, I've always loved these videos and, with all that black and white and big patterns, its a wonder Baby Einstein or Lamaze has'nt tried to get Daniel Ash on their design board.

Monday, January 28, 2008

French Women Also Get 3 Years Paid Maternity Leave

A year or two ago, in a fit of self improvement, I got myself a book called French Women Don’t Get Fat. Those who know me that I’ve been on a diet or two in my life but that I’m not really a self improvement type of gal. At any rate, I liked the approach the book took and I did a pretty fair stint of walking the walk. I forget if I lost weight or not, which makes me think that I did’nt, but it was a helpful way to recalibrate my daily routine, which had become way too dependent on vending machines and long naps after work.

In a much more recent self housekeeping moment, I signed up to be on the French Women Don’t Get Fat website. I figured, adrift as I am in this new life of mine, a friendly voice advocating more walking and champagne with lunch might be helpful. If you sign up online you get ONLINE EXCLUSIVES, such as the daily suggested menu, complete with links to recipes and the weekly shopping list. I dutifully printed all of them out for this week and set aside Sunday morning for making out the shopping list.

Friends—pardone, “Mes Amies,”—what sort of lavender infused crack is this woman smoking? I did’nt have the time to do it when the actual shopping was going on but I really wanted to just price everything that was on that list. Even after I crossed off all the spices and pantry stuff we already have on hand it was INSANE. I realize it’s a suggested list but even so, the total cost of even half of it made the very suggestion unconscionable.

I did make Beef Bourginoin (sp?) last night, however, and it kicks righteous ass. Good thing too, as we’ll be eating it all this week. That and whatever the East Liberty McDonalds throws into their dumpster…

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The All Request Lunch Hour

I have gotten a few requests for less prose and more baby. Here are the two most recent photos:

Here is Donny with Snoopy. Snoopy was a gift from Aunt Meeo. Aunt Meeo, as you can see, is smart.

Also smart is my friend Elie, otherwise known as Frenchy or Aunt Crazysocks. Donny is sporting a nice onesie that she sent him.

My son is a lucky, lucky boy.

Ramen Noodles Wait Another Week

Mike and I did the weekly shopping yesterday. We did this according to a zen exercise I suggested: we made a very succinct list. My goal was not to spend more than $25 on foodstuffs. To do this I actually went thru the fridge and the cupboards to see what we already had. Seems simple, doesnt it? Well, somehow we'd gotten into the habit of just buying what we thought we needed. Based on what we already had, our list consisted of some very basic items: pasta sauce, broccoli, eggs. I was worried that Mike's big ticket item of coffee would put us over, plus I had to get a few emergency jars of babyfood. At checkout we clocked in at $14! That's Crazy!

That will make things a little easier when I got to Walgreens today to get Baby Necessities. How we run out of everything--formula, wipes, diapers--at once is beyond me.

But back to the point: I'm geeked that our experiment went well. Now the trick will be, can we eat well on $25 a week? By well I mean both healthy and enjoyable. Details will follow.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Again, I Copy off of Amy

Audrey Hepburn? No wonder people keep commenting on how attractive Donny is. In the spirit of full disclosure, however, I used a photo from when he was 4 months old and his top two look alikes were Danny Devito and Winstin Churchill. Mike made the point, however, that all babies look like Winston Churchill.

Friday, January 18, 2008

What? Is It My Hair?...

It’s only 10:30 here at work and, already, I’ve had 3 people look me up and down when we’ve exchanged in-passing hellos. I even went into the restroom to check myself out in the full length mirror there. I’m wearing a grey sweater and black corduroys that have a sort of neo-classical arabesque print (smallish, not garish). I’m also wearing my black boots and a tasteful pewter brooch. I mean, the pants are a bit much but that’s why I paired them with the plain top. This begs the question: Am I Loosing My Grip on General Reality? I never really get to dress the way I would like to—my job is too Teamster to allow for skirts or nice blouses and kicky shoes. I could be scaling a 7 foot ladder or spelunking into some mouseshit filled basement nook on any given day so I try to dress for function as well as form but I have some NEVERS that I adhere to with as much discipline as I can: no visible stains, no floods, only one piece of jewelry (not counting the wedding ring), no too-short tops, no floral print t-shirts, etc.

The sad thing is, I feel like I’ve recently been pulling out of a clothing funk. I’d been incredibly lucky in a few cases, finding things that me and only me can appreciate: 2 big plastic rings on sale at Macy’s (one of which has the cherub from "Japanese Whispers" embedded in it), a bunch of Halloween socks on sale at Filenes, 3 pairs of pants at Goodwill and 2 brand new deeply discounted tops at Macys (these could even be considered “fashionable”). So what’s with the looks?


If you think I’m bad with me, you should see me in the morning, dowsing rod and 1945 fall issue of Vogue Francais in hand, trying to dress my son to impress the other mouthbreathers at daycare. His list of NEVERS includes: camo, sweat suits, specific sports teams and actual advertising and/or brands. Out of spite I try to find kitty themed boy clothes because, as we all know BOYS like DOGS and GIRLS like CATS. I also have to take daycare into consideration—the all black onesie with the grim reaper appliqué is a weekend outfit and the Halloween pacifier with the little devil face (“Binkstifer” as he’s known around the house) is a private pleasure.

I suppose its best for everyone that we didn’t have a girl. Can you imagine? That would be like a bunch of OCD milliners launching a parade float every morning.

Or something.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Not Out of Month Yet

We have been trying (with a fair amount of success) to watch our budget more closely. We’ve filled out a calendar marking when all the bills are due and we’ve been trying to put our receipts in the checkbook on a daily basis. When we first started this new regime there was a mystery stash of money in our checking account that we couldn’t quite account for. It floated around in there for over a month, lulling us into a false sense of security. I checked our balance today and, friends, that little ball of bread has been nibbled away by the guppies of everyday life. Now its back to reality, the reality where childcare is more than our mortgage and my payday is a very long way away thanks to a very early monthly paycheck around Christmas.

Ironically, I read this today. Not to say its the only leak in the boiler room.

Is Tuna Helper any good? I seem to remember it being alright.

Friday, January 11, 2008

This Ankle Cuff Itches

Last night I was in a funk. No particular reason apart from the sameness of my days and nights as of late: work, get the kid, go home, eat, sleep, repeat. It started to feel like house arrest and I just kind of moped around watching TV and consciously deciding not to do any of the small household projects that comprise the jumble and spillage of our current lives. Donny, bless him, was a very good baby throughout this all. We gave him a much needed bath, dressed him in his pajamas and I gave him his bedtime bottle while I watched a rodeo themed (?!?) episode of CSI. Donny slept all night; I did not. I got this tickle in my throat that sent me downstairs for cough medicine at 1 in the morning. Now I’m at work all sleepy and a bit wispy inside thanks to the Corisidin. I should mention that work is turning into a huge, colossal mammoth pile of projects AND I’m up for review this year. I’m trying to just do one thing at a time but everyday is a new to-do list and I’m getting a bit nervous about it all.

What might just get me thru the day is a package my friend Elie sent me. Elie and I are soulmates on many levels: Geminis, ½ Hungarian, Classic Rock geeks, fine soap addicts, devotees of good socks, Frick Art and Historical Center alumni to name a few. She always sends me the best packages and there was one on our doorstep this morning. I opened it quick and grabbed the bag of Kiflics: Hungarian cookies and Diet Coke for breakfast! I know its wrong but, really, today? I could care less.

Oh—and Pittsburgh? They’re kiflics NOT kolachkes. Trust the Hunky: I Know my Cookies.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The Eternal Flow Of The River(s)

Since moving to Pittsburgh, I have heard people mention, with that tone specific to conspiracy theories, that there is a fourth river in Pittsburgh and that it’s underground. Geologists claim that it’s a glacial aquifer but I know better. The fourth river is comprised of the never ending ebb and flow of baby clothes from one mother to another. I’ll bet if you dug a few feet under the fountain at The Point you’d hit an archeological dig’s worth of 4th hand papoose clothes and itty, bitty pilgrim outfits. Luckily for us this ceaseless flow of layettes is contained by tons of rock and silt, otherwise we’d all be drowning in Carter’s Too Cute Onesies.

Not that I’m complaining—far from it! In fact, I just got a great package of pants and overalls for Donovan from my friend Amy, a fellow member in the Motherhood Of the Golden Pig. I’m so lucky to have friends like her; friends that are both generous and have good taste. It makes this motherhood think much, much easier—and a little more enjoyable.

Monday, January 7, 2008

The Man With The Thistledown Hair

Mike and I have each been fighting a cold/cough for the past few days. He had his Night In The Garden the night before last and seems to be on the mend. I'm neither better nor worse, just sort of the same, but my sleep is really very odd. Last night I sort of hovered between asleep and awake and my brain got caught in Dr. Norrell and Johnathan Strange. I read that book for the first time when it came out and then again late last year. Its been touted as sort of a Harry Potter for adults and maybe it is, but what I can say is that it's one of the most well written books I've ever read. Its so well written that you don't realize its haunting you until 4 in the morning when you're convinced that the baby is really too good to be a real baby and is probably a changeling and may not even be in his crib, someone probably took him away to behind the mirror or under the river and you really should check but you can't wake up and what good would it do anyway? Its just so distressing to know he'll be in that horrible place where ladies wear dresses covered in mouths and music is just bells chiming over and over again.

Note: this state was arrived at without the benefit of Nyquil.

On a similar note, our TV gets two channels and we were sort of geeked for the new episode of Medium. Now that I have a kid, tho, I can't take the weird child murder plotlines. Hell, I'm still trying to pull myself out of book I read in October--enough with the creepy doll stuff!

On a welcomely dissimilar note, our bib problems are solved thanks to Ebay! A lot of 18 handmade chenille backed boy-specific bibs are on their way. I don't know why good bibs are so hard to find but I'm doing the butt dance of victory: Jen 1; Bibs 0.