Friday, June 30, 2006

Recipe for AnnieLouAluruDooDoobieDoo

I figured this recipe out while I was pregnant and sometimes didn't feel like cooking. It's one of my favorites because it's done in one pan and only costs about $5, if you catch good sales.

4-6 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup white long grain rice
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables (I like the baby veg medley with the sugar snap peas, baby carrots, and baby corn cobs)
1 pinch kosher salt
Seasoning to taste (I use shakes of garlic powder, ground sage, tarragon, cumin, dry mustard powder, and minced onion)
1-2 T butter

In a 10-12 inch skillet, melt butter under medium heat. Place chicken thighs, rinsed and patted dry, flat side down for 1-2 minutes, or until browned. Turn chicken over and add chicken broth, then season to your liking. Add rice, and stir to make sure seasoning and rice are submerged into the broth. Add veggies, and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is done, rice is tender, and broth is absorbed (You may remove the lid for the last few minutes to let the broth soak in).

Serves whoever is in the house and might even produce leftovers.

Everybody's Working for the Weekend

And mine has already started. I took today off since I got my work for the week done last night, and took CJ for his checkup. Completely happy and healthy. We had taken him off of dairy as an experiment, per the doctor, for the past month, and he has clearance to start again.

Mommy's making some macaroni and cheese tonight!

On the way back, we ran into clogged traffic on the I-10--people headed west getting early starts on the weekend. So I got off a couple exits early and we stopped at Chik-Fil-A for lunch. They have these new milkshakes that are just as good as the milkshakes at Steak and Shake. Those are gonna get me in trouble.

I had never had a Steak and Shake shake until my last visit to the folks this past May. After a shopping trip to Wal-Mart, I suggested it to Mom and Dad since they don't have that restaurant out here. I had to order a kid's meal for Dad (his appetite isn't what it used to be), and got him a small shake while Mom and I got burgers and big shakes, with whipped cream and a cherry on top. With Dad's diabetes, he really shouldn't have these things often, but with his limited time left with us, like we're gonna deny him a simple shake.

The day after we went, I stopped at the house after going to church with Tooz and the clan. Dad's watching TV, and Mom had gone in for a nap. Dad was playing with his new lift chair; he presses one button, and the chair slowly reclines back and lets him kick his legs up. Press another button, and the chair goes from reclined to a raised position, letting him get out more easily. Dad spends a good chunk of his day "riding" the chair--so much so that Mom has nicknamed him the Urban Cowboy.

Dad and I were watching TV while he was riding his chair, and he looks over at me and says, "I sure wish I had a shake like the one I had last night."

I chuckle and ask him, "Is that a hint or a request?"

He responds by pressing the up button on the chair's remote, which starts raising him up. "You wanna go to Steak and Shake?" I ask, and he nods, still rising.

I go into the bedroom to tell Mom, but she's sound asleep and I can't wake her, so I decide to leave a note. When I go back in the living room, Dad's gone. His chair is empty, his cane is missing, and the front door is open. I look through the screen door, and there's Dad, sitting in my rental car, fishing for the seatbelt.

Laughing, I scrawl a note to Mom, grab my purse and keys, and head out the door. Dad still has his slippers on, he's in such a hurry for a milkshake.

We get there, and I ask him if he wants a vanilla shake--he shakes his head no. I ask if he wants chocolate, and he declines again. Then I remember he loves strawberry ice cream, but he says, "I don't want anything." He's staring at the dashboard of the car, looking somewhat far away.

"Dad, are you sure? We came here because you asked for a shake like last night."

He furrows his eyebrows, searching, then snorts. "Oh, yeah. Vanilla."

We get our shakes after a wait in drive thru. Dad curses a few times, wondering why it's taking so long since he only wants a damn shake. Once he gets his shake and straw, it's silence on the ride home. He's too busy sucking it down to speak. As he gets out of the car, he gives me his best mischievous grin and I realize, I've been snookered.

Snookered good.

Ah, well. I didn't have my son to spoil that weekend; might as well take the time to spoil my father.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Random Silliness

The vacation countdown is beginning to take over, I think. I can hardly think of anything else than stretching out in my mother-in-law’s backyard with a crossword puzzle, a glass of grape juice mixed with lemonade, and watching CJ play in the grass.

I think Sara’s attempt on Hell’s Kitchen to sabotage her team is a stupid one. Rachel and Virginia (the two she lied to about having dishes ready) are gonna talk to each other and figure it out. Her desperation to be a leader is matched only by her inability to read others’ emotions and know when she’s being an annoying little tool, and lurking behind the prep carts, smirking like the Cheshire Cat, as Gordon Ramsay reams her teammates is not a good way to keep her cover. I think she’ll be the next one to go. At least, I hope so.

I don’t watch American Idol, and haven’t seen a single episode, but is the white haired guy in the Ford commercial *really* the most recent winner? His singing is bland and his attempts to add “soul” are horrible. If he can’t sound better in a 30-second spot when editing to cut down to the optimal material, I have little hope for any career.

Which reminds me—she bang, she bang; oh baby, when she move, she move—whatever happened to William Hung?

I saw a woman with a 20 inch waist walking back from the cafeteria with a plate heaped with fries and chicken wings. Hmm.

I have a theory about weight loss—matter cannot be created nor destroyed, right? So the Earth must always maintain a certain mass to keep its orbit around the Sun. This means the mass of those of us living here must equal the mass of earlier critters, like dinosaurs and wooly mammoths. The ideal beauty used to be women who were Rubenesque, but our ideals have changed to prize women who look like 12 year old boys. It’s no coincidence that our country is experiencing an obesity epidemic on the heels of fashion’s “heroin chic”. It all boils down to this—until Nicole Richie eats a freaking sandwich, I’m not losing a pound.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Vacation Countdown Has Begun

When I was a kid, vacation time was taken for granted in the summers and around winter break. I still long for those days, having a whole summer free, and sometimes regret not becoming a teacher as I'd originally planned when it's 110 degrees outside and I'm shlepping around in my business casual.

The best vacations were the trips to see Grandma (my mother's mother) in Pennsylvania, since we'd go for Thanksgiving and I'd get to miss a few extra days of school. Sure, those trips guaranteed that I wouldn't win a silver dollar for perfect attendance, but at least I was having fun!

It seemed like we would bring the Northern snow back with us on those trips--we'd arrive in the wee hours of the morning, since Dad usually insisted on doing the 16 hour drive in one hop with very few stops. We'd wake sometime the next morning to a blanket of snow covering Fairfax, and I'd beg to go out back with my plastic sheet sled. Mom would say no, since she was warm and cozy in bed, so I'd ride the sheet sled down the carpeted stairs over and over and over until Mom finally got up, got me dressed, and tossed me out the backdoor so she could get some peace.

And yes, I have been thinking that my son will be doing that to me, under some different circumstances, in the next few years.

Any trips outside of where we lived were always family trips. I hadn't traveled with anyone else until Junior year of high school, when the Clan took Lydia and me to Cumberland, Carson-Newman, and Tusculum, and then to Gatlinburg for my first visit there. I think that may have been my first real visit to Tennessee, with the exception of going over Jellico and back on a couple of occasions. I suppose one could say I'm still on vacation, since I haven't really returned from my "visit" to Arizona to meet that crazy Internet guy.

I wonder whatever happened to him? Since he left for work this morning, I mean.

Tom and I began a tradition of "just because" vacations during our carefree years. We've been to Vegas several times and got married there. It'll be a few years before we go back; I want to wait till CJ is old enough to enjoy the silly things, like the Manhattan Express at New York, New York, or the lions at MGM Grand, or the white tigers at the Mirage, Coca-Cola land and that big M&M place I've been dying to go to but Tom has no interest in seeing. I want to see the jousting at the Excalibur and watch my kid try to tackle a turkey leg, waiting for the moment when he realizes he can let the id go and tear into that sucker without worrying about utensils or a napkin.

Last year, we took an intense trip to introduce the newest grandchild. CJ was just over six months old and had luckily learned to sit up. He handled the airplanes well. We flew into Louisville, rented a car, and drove to see my folks in Georgetown for a few days. Then it was up to Ohio for a day to see my brother-in-law and his family, then up to Burlington, Vermont, to see Tom's alma mater and spend a day wandering down Church Street, watching the sunset over Lake Champlain, and marveling at how much the real estate market exploded since he lived there 20 years ago.

That was squeezed into a week. CJ was already sick of his carseat. Then it was down to the Cape for a few days to see Tom's parents, check out more lighthouses, and walk down to the private beach and stick our toes in the surf. I have a picture of CJ's little footprints in the sand--just the balls of his feet and toes since we had to hold him up. My other brother-in-law who lives near Boston drove down and grilled bluefish, which is strong, but very tasty when basted with olive oil and mustard. My mother-in-law always has a supply of bluefish since her neighbors love to fish for it, but hate eating it.

Then it was back across Mass Pike and the NY Thruway to Georgetown, with a travel stop in Buffalo, for a few more days until we drove back up to Louisville, returned the rental car in need of an oil change, and flew back home.

We were at the Cape again this winter for Tom's father's funeral, so as packed as our trip was last year, I wouldn't change a minute of it.

In two weeks, we leave for Massachusetts, again, flying into Boston and heading down to the Cape for two full weeks. I've been looking forward to the trip since we booked it two months ago. The time before we go will be busy, spent wrapping up reporting and sending out of office delegation notices and arranging for someone to watch our cats while we're away. But I cannot wait until we can walk down to the bay beach, pulling a wagon with towels, plastic buckets and shovels, and cooler of water bottles, so I can settle down under a nice shade tree and watch my son play in the surf.

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Comedy of Errors

Man, it's been a fun couple of days!

Wednesday, I commenced my drive 50 miles away to the meeting that was taking place for my largest project. Luckily, I was covered on the logistics and setup--one of the benefits of living in the southwest valley is that my coworkers understand my miserable commute and don't ask me to get anywhere earlier than the expected start time. Halfway there, and I mean the exact halfway point, I realize I forgot something very essential--my laptop. See, I was the designated notetaker/action item keeper/documentation maven, so the laptop is crucial. Plus, I was chagrined as this is the first time I've forgotten to bring my laptop from home (and it comes home every night) and I picked a helluva time to space it.

I called my admin, told her what happened, and turned around. I reasoned that finding a loaner laptop wasn't going to happen, and although she was going to make some calls I should start heading back for mine. Luckily, I only got about three miles before she called me back and told me one of the developers would let me borrow his!

I love our developers!

My boss loved this--see, I don't give him anything to complain about since I do my job very well. He told me we'd have to brainstorm some good analogies--like, my leaving my laptop is like a carpenter forgetting his pencil, or a trucker forgetting his CB.

I said, "Like a plumber coming to fix a clogged toilet without a snake?" My boss thought that was excellent.

I got up on Thursday, concentrated on getting dressed and going through my routine, and grabbed my purse and laptop as I ran out the door--I figured that Thursday, nothing was going to stop me!

Heh. This is where it gets good.

I'm coming up on Bell Rd. on the freeway, close to my halfway. In fact, I had just passed the exit I would normally take to get CJ to daycare. Tom had that duty this week. I'm in the middle lane of the three, going with the flow at about 75 miles an hour, when a plumbing truck passes me on the left. I hear a clang, then a muffled pop.

My first thought is the truck dropped something that got thrown to my car, but the truck was on the left, and the sound I heard was on the right. Then the back of my car (actually, my husband's car but we both pay for it) begins to try to fishtail, wobbling back and forth.

I realize I have a flat, and grip the wheel with both hands at 10 and 2, gently working it to compensate for the back movement. Then I throw my right blinker on and gradually reduce my speed by easing up on the gas. Of course, the traffic coming up behind me is parting and passing on both sides, so I have to wait for a gap before I can get into the right lane toward the shoulder.

I move into the right lane as I pass the Bell Rd. offramp, and the movement causes the flat to blow completely. I hear the fump fump fump of rubber flapping on the road as I continue slowing and moving to the right, and I'm really fighting the fishtailing as the rubber flaps out of the way and my rim grinds on the shoulder asphalt. Finally applying my brakes gently, I slow to a halt before coming the Gore point of the Bell Rd. onramp, a little past the bridge that goes over the road itself.

I call AAA and report my problem and location. Then I call my admin, and we laugh hysterically at the bad luck of this morning. Then I call Tom, who is relieved that I am OK and tells me to go ahead and get a new set of tires on the car--we reasoned if one tire was weak enough to blow, the other three are, too.

Tow Truck Man arrives and rescues me from the heat after admiring the blowout. He calls ahead to the repair shop with the tire size so they can locate a set, loads my car onto his flatbed, and we're on our way. He asks what I do for a living, making small talk, and has some good insights into what makes an effective website from a user's point of view. I make mental notes as my admin calls back to check on me and let me know that I'm covered, again, for my absense. My boss has no analogies for this; he's just glad I'm not hurt.

After we get to the repair shop in Sun City, a retirement community in the northwest valley near where I pulled over, I get my first good look at the tire. The sidewall is gone, just completely gone. The tread is intact but has been ripped from the steelbelt and is attached only on the far side. The tread and steelbelt are hanging limply around the rim, bunching and buckling like loose fabric. My fender and wheel well are untouched, and the mechanic determines that the rim is unbent, which is very lucky indeed.

The mechanics and the bay manager gather around me to get my AAA information, and also to ask me about the blowout--where was I? How fast was I going? How did I manage to get over without losing control? I answer and they nod, approving of my actions and perhaps a bit impressed that a female driver in Phoenix can actually handle a moving vehicle safely. Heaven knows there are precious few of us out here.

I spend about two hours at the shop as they find tires, wait for delivery, and fix the car. This AAA shop in Sun City is quite the social hotspot for a Thursday morning. Elderly man stop by with coffee and sit on shaded benches out front, watching the traffic and the customers stopping for gas. I see quite a few golf carts, the preferred vehicle of Sun City, come in to line up at the pump. There is still a full service pump getting some action. One gentleman pops his head in to ask for Harold, who is apparently on vacation, and the gentleman is disappointed as he just wanted to say hello. Another man strikes up a conversation with me, telling me he comes here every month and a half for his oil change.

I got to the business meeting just in time for lunch and to share my interesting morning. I'm surprised at how I kept my cool for the whole thing--the surprise and frustration of blowing a tire, the adrenaline of getting off the road, the chagrin of missing my meeting, the boredom of waiting, and, finally, the unexpected expense of a new set of tires. I'm not sure. I think I just accepted it as being outside my control, so there was no sense in working myself up at all--that anger and frustration would have accomplished nothing. Instead, I just chose to accept it and deal, knowing that at least when I got my car back, I wouldn't have to worry about getting a flat tire on the rest of my commute.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A Few Fashion Tips for the Corporate World

It's summer in Phoenix, and common sense while dressing is inversely proportional to the temperature during this time of year. Summer hasn't even started officially, but I have some advice based on what I've observed so far:
  • If you are female, dressed from head to toe in matching pink, including the cute polish on your buffed toenails, and above the age of 6, I'm sorry that I can't take you seriously during our meeting. I'm trying, I really am. It's not you--my inner feminist won't let me.
  • If your toes and feet are more gnarled and twisted than that tree root I'd prefer sucking to reading Tolkien, please don't wear open toed shoes. Slip-ons are made for a reason.
  • If your shorts are so short that I recall Nair jingles from the early 1980s, you do not qualify as "business casual".
  • Linen is quite a comfortable fabric for our climate--very thin and light. Keep this in mind when choosing among your thong, your striped bikini briefs, and your Hello Kitty underroos before donning that white linen skirt.
  • If you are wearing enough perfume to give a fibromyalgic a migraine from three states away, please don't sit next to me in our closed door meeting. I'm too polite to tell you that you reek, but I'll blog about it later.
  • Oh, and Linen Lady, remember that the fabric of that skirt is thin--please take care while "posing" in front of the picture window near the front doors.

OK. I feel much better now.

Monday, June 19, 2006

You Can't Always Get What You Want

But if you whine sometimes, you might find the person posts a blog anyway just the quiet the unruly.

Wait, that doesn't rhyme.

So, I've been working today on producing a deck--in my language, that means creating a PowerPoint document of talking points as the flow for a huge business meeting I have all-day Wednesday and Thursday. So don't bother clamoring for blogging on those days; I'll likely be wiped and not want to look at a computer until I log in for work on Friday.

Caught up on my sleep on Saturday. Tom let me sleep till 1pm, which is a rare, rare occurrence with a baby in the house. Unfortunately, I got caught up by some side effects to my antibiotic which were, um, er, highly unpleasant, shall we say. I would up lying down at 6pm, waiting for the waves to pass, and feel asleep again till about 930. So Saturday was a lost day.

Sunday was better. Woke up at 830, and I meant to get a jump on the day with a run to Costco and maybe some baking. Instead, I spent the day cuddling Christopher. He got his shots on Friday, and was rather subdued. Of course, with five different diseases coursing through his veins building antibodies, I can understand the sluggishness.

Despite not feeling up to snuff, CJ did manage to master climbing up and down off the couch on his own and to learn a new word--big toe! First, he came up to the couch and bit my big toe, then he climbed up and grabbed his feet to pull his big toes into his mouth. I grabbed them and wiggled them, saying, "Big toe!" and he repeated, "Bih doe!"

He even remembered this morning, as I was putting his shoes on his feet. He yelled, "Bih doe!" and pulled his foot to his mouth. Of course, he got a mouthful of sneaker leather, but that didn't seem to faze him much.

Today, I got up after several smacks of the snooze button, went to work, produced my deck--and now I'm home, making dinner and posting about absolutely nothing. Hopefully, I'll come up with some better stuff later, but at least I posted.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I Return to You a Changed B

I went to the doctor's office this morning for the sinus infection. The PA I normally see was out today, so I actually saw my doctor! How novel.

We were able to confirm that it is indeed a sinus infection, and he gave me a prescription for Zithromax to take to knock it out. We talked about how brutal the spring has been for me--this winter was very dry (five months without rain), raising the overall pollution and particle levels of the air around the valley. He prescribed Nasonex to me--the idea is to spray it once in each nostril, once a day, to keep the sinuses open, prevent bacteria from taking hold, and hopefully eliminate future sinus infections. It won't be of help to me on this infection as it takes a week to kick in, so I'm still taking Sudafed to get rid of the congestion.

The good news is this infection didn't completely settle in my ears yet, so that's a relief. I've been in three times since the end of March for colds, bronchitis, and mainly dual ear infections. The last ones I had in May were so bad I was deaf for about two weeks.

The deafness was bothersome, and somewhat alarming. I know that when I hit my old age I will have reduced hearing, just from the damage I've suffered during my first 30 years. But everything sounded like I was underwater; I had to turn on the closed captioning on my TV to understand anything I watched. Even turning my TV up to maximum receiver volume didn't help. For those two weeks, I wondered if this is what it's like to get old, and I didn't like it one bit.

I've seen from catching up on the blogs that age is a common worry. I worried a bit about turning 30, but it hasn't bothered me much. I gave up on preconceived notions of age and maturity a while ago. It seems to me that one does not receive any special knowledge based on a particular year; cumulative knowledge gained from one's mistakes and one's path in life is much more important. Choices we make today may seem inconsequential, but can have significant importance, and second guessing can be toxic. I'll give you a little case in point:

My time in college, for the most part, was not a happy time. I worked through a lot of identity issues, faith issues, and social issues that crippled me at times, and left me barely able to function. I made choices that were stupid; I used people, hurt them, and tossed them away with barely a second thought. Then I left in silly, spectacular fashion, dropping out of sight.

A few years ago, I went through a "making amends" phase. No, I wasn't in some anonymous support group or dealing with substance issues. I was thinking about some of things I had done and the people I hurt, and I had what I thought might be a profound thought: If only I had gone to college someplace else, maybe I would have gotten my degree, and maybe I wouldn't have done such hurtful things.

Seems like a safe thought, right? If I hadn't gone, if I hadn't met those people, that part of my life wouldn't have happened. But then I started following the logic--what if I hadn't gone to Tusculum?
  • I wouldn't have those few, cherished memories of spending breaks in Atlanta with Wade, doing my radio show, and driving to Asheville in February with Alicia and Jesse to see Ani DiFranco.
  • If I had a degree, it would likely be in History. I only switched to Theatre based on the people I knew in my theatre department.
  • Big parts of who I am today were formed from the freedom I had in college to make those difficult choices and sow my wild oats, so to speak. Many lessons may not have been learned, and the patience and temperance I see in myself today might not have developed.
  • I never would have gone to the computer lab when we got internet access, and I wouldn't have met Tom.

That's the big kicker. Tusculum got World Wide Web access at a specific time, and the 'Net is large place. I doubt I would have met Tom through a different site at a different time. Where would I be today without that? Sure, leaving school and flying halfway across the country to meet someone I barely knew was a dumb, dumb, dumb thing to do, but I got lucky, and it worked out, and I can't imagine what my life would be like without such a wonderful husband, a beautiful boy, and employment that has provided us with a nice house, a comfortable lifestyle, and a good life.

Tooz commented that she knew I had grown up during my visit to the house Derby weekend because I wasn't going straight to the poop jokes. She's right. I still enjoy good poop jokes, but I haven't "grown up" because I performed some rite of passage or turned a magical age. I am who I am today because of the hurtful, impetuous person I used to be; while I regret the hurt I caused, it was necessary. Don't think that I'm advocating some "ends justify the means" approach with carte blanche to stomp on people willy-nilly--that's missing my point.

Sometimes, when we travel, I think we have to go through the brambles and deal with the scratches, the bug bites, and the poison ivy, not just to make it to our destination, but to make the destination worthwhile. I think the pain and struggle helps us appreciate what we have more than if it were just handed to us. And I think it's a necessary part of the journey for us to continue to grow and accept what life gives us, attain the maturity to continue going, and the patience and will to enjoy a life well-earned during our "old age".

Think Before You Speak

Last night, I'm driving on my way to pick up Tom from work (I drop off the boy, then Tom, then go to my office on the days I go to the office), and I hear this intro on the radio. Thank goodness I wasn't drinking anything:

"99.9, playing all your favorites. Sheryl Crow--she's recovering from surgery, and I know we wish her all the best. The First Cut is the Deepest, only on KEZ!"

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bubble Boy

Like most children of working parents, our son spends a good chunk of his week in daycare. There are some benefits and drawbacks to this; one benefit is that they keep the room on a kind of curriculum that changes before the kids get bored with it, so songs and games change regularly. The kids learn some routine around snacks, meals, and naptimes, and they get to know the teachers pretty well.

As far as drawbacks...well, this week CJ came home with scratch marks on his face. Apparently, one of the other children *really* wanted a toy CJ had. He's been bitten (but he's also been the biter on an occasion or two), but for the most part, the kids get along. Lately we've been discovering another drawback we didn't expect:

He's learning.

Learning is great, don't get me wrong, but it's a little disconcerting to discover that your child has things locked in his head that you don't know about. Two examples from the past few weeks:

CJ had been acting up badly during the weekends, and frankly, being a brat. Screaming, tantrums, biting, hitting--typical stuff. Looking around the living room one day while he was having a screaming fit resisting naptime, I realized his toys were way too simple for his age. I hadn't really bought him anything since Christmas--could he be acting up because he was becoming bored?

I talked it over with Tom and headed out to Wal-Mart, because really, getting new toys for bratty behavior is always a sound parenting technique. But we were pretty sure that something new would catch his attention and maybe keep the peace.

One of the items I got was a bubble gun--this plastic gun-shaped toy into which you screw a bottle of bubbles, insert a couple AA batteries, pull a trigger and voila! 300 bubbles in 60 seconds! I knew they used bubbles in daycare, and I thought this might be something fun for using in the backyard. After I got home and we got CJ up from his nap, I picked the toy up up from the kitchen table to take it out of the package--

And my son comes running from across the room, clapping his hands and yelling, "Bubble! Bubble!"

CJ's speech is mostly random syllables--this was the first real word, beyond mama, dada, and kee-kat that we had heard. And I was dumbfounded! Not only could my son say bubble, but he recognized the toy on sight, knew its exact purpose, and let me know that he knew.

As proud as I was, I was also a little hurt--he'd learned something without me.

After giving this a lot of thought (and telling a lot of coworkers since it's a cute story), I decided to let it go. I can't be there with him all the time, and never really can be, especially once he starts school. I figured I'd just keep an eye out and share his joy when sharing something new with me. His next opportunity came this past weekend.

CJ loves to sing and dance. Granted, it's still just swaying and jargoning in this tuneless lilt, but it's singing, and he's been doing it since he was four months old. The other night, he was doing it again, but as we watched him, we realized this was different.

He was doing this exagerated bowlegged dance, stepping side to side. He held his hands sideways and clapped them, chanting, "Ba. Ba. Ba." Then he brought his hands down while saying, "Dow. Dadow." Then he lifted his hands over his head, and brought them back down for the sideways clapping.

After he finished this, he laughed and clapped, then started the routine again. As I watched, it occured to me that there was something familiar to it, even though I hadn't seen him do it before, when I realized what he was doing.

"Christopher?" He looked at me, clapping sideways. "Itsy-bitsy spider?"

His eyes opened wide and I began to sing the Itsy-bitsy Spider, complete with hand motions. CJ bobbed up and down, smiling and clapping, and mimicking the movements. It was so cool! He did his routine with me again, as we sang the song in our own ways, and my son had the biggest grin on his face, so happy I'd figured out what he was doing.

Again, I had a brief moment of jealousy--something else he had learned without me. But now that I think on it, I think his learning during these years cuts both ways--not just his learning of new things, new words, and new songs, but also our discovery of these things with him and affirming that we understand where he's coming from, even if he doesn't speak our language yet.

Monday, June 12, 2006

I Should Be Sleeping...

But I'm so hopped up on cold and sinus meds that I can't yet. Finally, my sinuses have opened and my head no longer feels completely clogged with sawdust. I'm sure the people at Safeway think I'm insane. I stopped there this morning after taking my son to a couple of appointments and I purchased seven boxes of tissues with lotion, Benedryl, NyQuil Sinus, and Afrin. Oh, and bananas, apples, grapes, 8 boxes of my favorite chili which was on sale, and three liters of mouthwash. See? Insanity. I know my club card tracks all my purchases and someone at corporate has some handy report of all my preferred products and brands. I don't want to know what they think; at least the card is still in my maiden name and I can deny all knowledge if need be.

Anyway, I tried the Afrin, despite the fact that I have never used a nasal spray in my life. I was desperate enough to try about anything to open up my head. I've always been a wimp about things up the nose though. Pool water makes me sputter, and I remember once when I was about 14, my sister and I were eating cold pizza and playing Monopoly and she made me laugh after I took a bite and I accidentally snorted a piece of pepperoni up into my nose. I couldn't say what had happened, since the pepperoni was lodged onto my soft palate; I could only hop and dance and grunt into the living room, pointing at my nose while Dad shook his head, Mom stared, and my sister peed her pants with laughter.


So I bucked myself up, made sure CJ was sound asleep, and went to the bathroom to try the nasal spray. Took a few wasted attempts to get the hang of the delivery method, then BANG! WHOOSH! Solid hit of menthol straight to the sinus tissue. Man, talk about a kick in the pants. It burned, but almost pleasantly so, and I snorted a few times to make sure I could actually feel the mucus parting away. Whaddya know, it actually worked! I've been keeping up with the Benedryl to make sure those sinuses stay open, and now I'm waiting for the NyQuil Sinus to kick in.

I can't remember the last time I craved sleep so badly--probably during my pregnancy, when drinking a glass of water was enough to tap my energy for the day. The problem is I haven't been able to sleep more than two hours, and more likely, one hour, before waking up drowning in snot and needing to blow my nose. I've had very little REM sleep during that time, so I'm feeling better, but freaking beat. I'm intending to sleep in bed tonight--the last two nights I slept on the couch so I could prop myself up and avoid waking Tom all through the night. Last night, I managed to hit REM and was having a lovely dream:

I was bantering with Gregory House, but I don't think it was the TV show. I don't recall any other characters there, but it was definitely not Hugh Laurie, since he was speaking with the American accent. Anyway, he was being all flirty with me because in my dreams I am irresistible even to misanthropes, and just when the dream was getting good--and I mean, whispered, whiskered kisses to the nape of my neck good--time to wake up and BLOW! Gah!

I am so sick of being sick.

Spent the evening watching the premiere of the new Hell's Kitchen after getting CJ to bed (pause to say I love my TiVo) and I have to admit I love this show, even though Gordon Ramsay is one messed up individual. I watch this year like I did last year, wondering how I would fare if I tried, especially since I've gotten pretty good at cooking over the years. I know the first thing I would do if I were accepting to be on the show--I'd get my hands on every Good Eats episode I could and watch nothing but Alton Brown for 16 hours a day--honing my knife skills, understanding the science, and getting ready to cook my pants off. I've already got his tomato sauce (the one with canned tomatoes, not the one with Romas), chicken pot pie, and thin and crispy chocolate chip cookie recipes in the ol' repetoire. What's a few more to learn?

Saturday, June 10, 2006


So Tooz sent me an email with links to blogs from the extended Meadors clan, and as an unofficial member, I figured I ought to follow suit. I'd been following Lydia's Baby Blog for a while, and was pretty stoked to see Jenn posting comments as I think of her every now and then. So, here goes. Lots of topics come to mind, but I think I'll break them up rather than tap myself with on long post.

Catch up for anyone who doesn't know--Tom and I marked 10 years together last Thursday, and Monday marks our second wedding anniversary. Our son, Christopher, is approaching 19 months old and I can barely keep up with him. Not only is he a runner, but he's a climber, and I am constantly turning around to find him perched on a coffee table, the ottoman, an end table--I'm surprised he hasn't made it to the top of the curtains yet.

I've been sick since Wednesday after the big duststorm hit the Valley of the Sun. I've basically been in bed for three days fighting fever and pondering what to do with the tissues and toilet paper wasted from blowing my nose. I have to think that there's something there--maybe a fuel source? Not as efficient as biodiesel, but there are so many people out there with allergies that at least it would be renewable. I suggested to my husband that I could the tissues in construction--replacing wood glue, or compressed into bricks. That's when he felt my forehead and asked if I had another fever.

I actually took some rare sick time from work this week. I'm working at a large global company in their technology division, behind the scenes on our customer website. I'm a Senior Business Systems Analyst, which basically means I act as a liaison between the tech guys and the MBAs so they understand each other. It was very nice meeting Daniel a few weeks ago when I was in Kentucky--he's the first person I met in a while to whom I didn't have to explain my job. We had a very conversation on Sunday morning waiting for Ann before the service started. I decided I like Daniel a lot.

I'm going to go ahead and post this, and see if anyone cares, and then I work on getting some pics of my son up, some funny stories about my visit last month, and some other odds and ends. Tom just got a bowl of ice cream and I'm finding it very tempting.