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April 2009
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June 2009

Puking for a good cause

Why haven't I written? Well, I'll spare you the details but I've been spending more time in front of the toilet bowl than my computer these days. Luckily, it's for a good cause. Sam's going to be a brother!

Sam knew before I did. On three different occasions he came over to me, lifted my shirt, pointed to my belly and said: "Baby!"

I'm just sure I'll feel better one of these days, so please keep checking back :)


Meatless Monday: Homemade Hummus

Homemade Hummus

Source: a combination of Google searches. I tried to find the easiest one with the ingredients I'm most likely to keep on hand. Of course, now that I'm addicted to it I make a point to never run out of garbanzo beans (chick peas). Healthy, tasty and delicious as a dip for veggies, spread for sandwiches or just scooping with a spoon. The last one might not be as healthy as the first.

You need:

  • a food processor or blender (I think the processor works better)

  • 1 14 oz. can garbanzo beans - drain and rinse

  • 2 cloves minced garlic (I always double this because all of us like garlic, I'm already married so I worry less about my breath, besides it's super good for you!)

  • 2 Tbl. water

  • 2 Tbl. extra virgin olive oil (Is that really so much harder to say than the stupid sounding EVOO?)

  • 1/4 tsp. ground coriander   

  • Anything else you think would taste good. I add sun-dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives. Let me know what you toss in there, especially if you like it!

Puree. Let flavors "meld" 15 minutes or longer. I don't know why I put meld in quotes, it's in the directions it just sounds silly. Also, you'll be tempted to skip the last step and not wait. Save a little bit anyway. Taste it in 15 minutes and next time you'll likely wait a little longer.


Descending Mt. Magazine

Progress report: I've lost 35 pound of magazine today. I find that more embarrassing than liberating, though. Mostly because that was just one of the piles Matt pointed to as an example of what he perceives as "too many" magazines. I didn't agree that there was such a thing until I started culling them and saw the same headlines ad nauseam: "Get organized! [we know you'll just add this issue to your current clutter]," "10-minute meals! [lies, lies, lies]," "Lose 10 pounds [without doing a damn thing different]!"
"[Since you aren't really going to lose said 10 pounds, here's a yummy cake recipe that'll never turn out like this picture]!"

Why, oh, why do I do this to myself? I set a 20 minute time limit and started at the top of the pile. I sorted my magazine mountain into three piles: "Recycle", "I want to read more of this" and "keep for reference" - these were mostly writing trade magazines and magazines I want to write for. When I got my first national magazine gig it was awesome to have a nice pile to sort through to get a feel for what's come before. Having said that, surely I don't need every single Oprah magazine I've purchased, especially since that magazine doesn't work with freelancers, allegedly. I'm still planning to break in.

I tried not to think of the money I've spent on these magazines after my stomach got queasy during a rough tally of the stack before me. I have to look at it as the cost of doing business since magazines I buy for market research are a write off. That doesn't mean, however, that I have to trip on all of them on the way to the kitchen when I'm 93.


Chaos

"Well at least you're all settled into your house." Someone said to me recently. I kind of laugh-cried, not sure how to answer. Sure, you would think that after five years in a house, fixer-upper or not, one would be somewhat settled.

Except that we're not. At times it's been better than others but there is always some project going on that spreads construction debris, dust and miscellaneous project paraphernalia throughout the house.

The improvements are substantial and I'm thankful for them but I am beyond ready to feel more at home here. When I was pregnant with Sam we were planning to move to Portland so we put a substantial amount of things in storage. It's still there. While some people argue that it's just stuff and if we haven't needed it for this long we don't need it. To that I say, but I want it. It's my stuff.I am willing to get rid of some of it but not till I get the stuff that I thought I was only temporarily parting with back.

So all this is coming to a head lately as we are making a big push to settle back in. Now that we've got all the rooms where they're going to be, we can figure out where things really go. And donate what doesn't belong here anymore. I love my new office. There's just one problem. It's about a quarter of the size as my old one.

For Mother's Day, Matt volunteered insisted on helping me get a start on clearing out my office. He is hardcore. He also got a lot of ammunition to mock me for the rest of our marriage.

"Are you a depression era throwback or something?" He'd mutter, incredulous as he opened a box full of other empty boxes and then another full of plastic bags and tins. And don't even get him started on the magazines and wrapping paper.

"I thought we got rid of these last time we moved?" He said, just a hint irritated.

"Well, I labeled them as something else so they'd get in the van." I confessed. At the time itseemed clever. Now I wonder if maybe I do have a little bit of a hoarding problem. All these boxes and piles of magazines do make me feel kind of claustrophobic but I can't seem to get rid of them. I'm going to have to, though, because the image of me as an old lady working my way through rat tunnels of, ironically, Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Ms., Utne Reader, scrapbooking and writing magazines to ge to the kitchen freaks me out.

As I type this, there is not one single room in my house in order. Not one. I am either going to go crazy today or I'm going to start by getting rid of some magazines. Just a few.


Friday Favorites

Me:

  • Long naps (when Sam takes them, I mean)
  • Being able to take a nice nap while Sam's napping after I've done some Sam-free chores (i.e. all of them) I can count on one hand the number of times this has happened.
  • Watching Sam take a book and go off by himself to "read" it

Sam:

  • The word "No" (said firmly but not in a bratty way). Sometimes he'll put his hand on mine to teach me what it is I'm not supposed to be doing.
  • Lucy's leash and other strangulation hazards he picks up along the way
  • Books - in big piles. It is amazing how fast he can clear his bookshelf onto the floor.

Link of the week: My friend Emily blogs about real life and creative parenting over at Emily Chadwick. She's honest and hilarious. What's not to love?


Condensed version to follow

Hello friends. I do try to make this blog interesting to follow and I know that means posting more often than I have lately. I also don't think it would be interesting for you to follow the medical/emotional roller coaster I've been on the last month but I think there are blessings and some humor hidden in the experience and I will share the condensed version soon. Until then, thanks for your patience and I hope you click back often. I should have my latest column to share later today or tomorrow as well.


Blessings next door

It's been awhile since I wrote a birthday blog but I just have to write one for my good friend and neighbor, and Godmother to my son, Loretta. Or, rather, as Sam calls her, Retta. Loretta, if you're lucky enough to know her, is grace in action. Some of the things she's dealt with in life would send many to crash on a therapist's couch, or at the very least cloud their attitude about the world. Not Loretta. She gets up the next day and asks you how you'redoing. If people were colors Loretta would be the yellow in sunflowers and lemon meringue pie.

Retta is totally one of Sam's people. I have to carry Sam in my arms from the car or else he'll twist himself out of my grasp and charge Loretta's house yelling "Retta! Retta! Retta!" as he runs up her driveway, climbs her steps and starts tapping his little hands on her door.

From the moment she knew he was coming, Loretta has been nothing but loving and supportive of Sam, and us, his parents. We were good neighbors before that news but something about sharing that and the ups and downs that came with it brought us closer. Then, there was the devastating news about Loretta's wonderful husband, Ron's illness and as quickly as the news came, he was gone. He never did get to meet Sam but I'll never forget, near the end of his time with us, the way he told me that Loretta loved babies and to make sure we let her love this little one of ours. "She's great with them, you can learn a lot."

Little did he know how much we would come to lean on her love and support. Just this afternoon, for instance I got a call that I needed to be at the doctor's office in half an hour and thanks to Loretta, I made it. Not only did she watch Sam, she got him down for a nap and then vacuumed, cleaned my kitchen and hung up the coats Sam pulled out of the closet. All of them.

When Sam had his first pukefest, she's the one I called. She's made chicken noodle soup from scratch when we were sick, helped me figure out how to do an embarrassing amount of things around the house and made me laugh even when it hurt to do so. In the short time we've been friends and neighbors there've been hugs, there've been tears and there's been joy. We are so blessed to have her in our lives and are thankful she was born and moved in next door.

We love you, Retta! 


Friday Favorites

Rice Teabag Me:

The Container Store, office supplies and Vicodin (This last one also explains why I'm so quiet online these days. Not much in my writing world, but man the dreams I'm having! Which means I'm sleeping. I should've arranged to burst an ovarian cyst months ago!)

Sam:

Bike rides with his dad, flinging things and his organized playroom (He hasn't actually said so but I can just tell).

And now, for a new Friday Favorites feature, my link of the week:

Derek Young's New American Paradigm: The transformation of US public policy

Nathalie's Notes: You might know Derek from his sometimes funny, sometimes thoughtful and always appreciated comments on my blog. I know him from the bus stop on Pt. Fosdick Drive circa ... well, in middle school let's say.

I'm recommending his site because he truly has a talent for writing about politics and life in a way that is interesting and thought-provoking. And funny.

Click over and jump in and share your comments.