Thursday, December 28, 2006

We love cats

(Good boy, Lester)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Vocabulary at 17 months and a predispositioned love for Cheerios...?

Starbeans' vocabulary at 17 months:

  • Bird (brr)
  • Ball (bao)
  • Bus (buh)
  • Mama
  • Dada
  • Grandpa (Bumpa)
  • Up
  • Down (dao)
  • Squirrel (Qrrl)
  • Yes
  • No
  • All done (ao doh) [he signs this too]
  • More (moh) [he signs this too]
  • Hot (haaaat)
  • Cold (cohl)
  • Corduroy (coydoydoydoydoy) [he knows this from the book, Corduroy's Day]
  • Kitty-cat (miaaaow)

I can now give him a choice - "Do you want more or are you all done?" and he tells me what he wants! It is an amazing thing at this point in our lives. This evening, we actually communicated about eating Cheerios: he wanted more, more, more, then he was all done. We're on a roll now!

Incidentally, I bought a box of Cheerios a couple of weeks ago because I couldn't get them out of my mind after half-starving during our rotavirus plague. We don't usually have cereal around the house because 1) Squeeze has weaned himself from it due to his lactose intolerance, and 2) I don't care for it much (aside from my Cheerios cravings, of course). But when we gave Starbeans a handful of Cheerios, it was Love at First Munch. He actually squeals when we get the box down for him.

Now that my brain is clacking into motion, Cheerios was my main obsession during the early-middle days of pregnancy. It was all I wanted; literally, for weeks. I'd wake up in the middle of the night gagging with hunger pains and down a bowl (or 3) of Cheerios. I wonder if the oaty-goodness left its mark in little Starbeans' taste for food?

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Exclamation Point!

Once, on a bus, I overheard a dumpy-looking white woman say, "I nearly starved when my can opener broke - there was just nothing to eat!" She then went on to talk about Chef Boyardee, canned ravioli, weak wrists, and all of her weight-related health problems.

Reading Fat Land is causing all sorts of click-click-clicking in my brain. The pieces are connecting. Presidential Fitness Awards, fast food availability in high school cafeterias, Coke and Pepsi sponsorships at high school athletic events, canned, boxed, over-processed, why my mom didn't let us eat white bread, etc. etc. etc.

Eating well in the US is a learned habit. I don't think it comes naturally to us; or at least, in the last few generations. Big is normal. Most people seem to just expect it. We guzzle soda, slurp canned soups, and chow on frozen pizza and expect to live normal, healthy lives. It has been giving me the down-right creeps. The other day, I watched a girl around my age with angry red gums downing a bottle of Mountain Dew: all I could think about was her poor, sore gums. Sugar is not what that girl's mouth needed. But it is normal to live like that!

Just within the last few months, I have been looking around and thinking, "What the heck is wrong with all these people??" Why are we living like this? a. borealis has had an awakening: now that I am responsible for a little growing body, I want to ensure that he (and we) are getting balanced and proper nutritional intake. I'm not going to be satisfied with Happy Meals and American Cheese. Or [the Enemy]: high-fructose corn syrup.

I have always eaten what is considered "healthy", but I don't think I was anywhere near the nutso path I'm headed on right now. I'm glad, though. I want to get a little nutty. Eating well requires training - knowing how to cook; understanding the role that proteins, fats, and carbohydrates play; eating more fruits and vegetables on a daily basis; knowing what the body needs to function. I'd like to train my offspring to eat wholesomely; so much so, that they won't even know what a Handi Snack or Ore Ida french fries are.

I'd like them to be cultural outsiders in the realm of American eating habits. Weirdos. Unless, of course, everyone else is eating like that too. Then I wouldn't mind fitting in with the masses. But I doubt that is going to happen anytime soon, if ever.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The A-List

Here's a list of the most common searches that land people on my blog:

  • Tight Pants (uh-oh)
  • Svenska Flicka
  • Pumpkin-Apple [bread, muffins...most recently, loaf]
  • Sinus Infection Remedies
  • Peeing Babies

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


I'm in no mood for Christmas this year, with all its festivities.

Perhaps it is because:
  1. Christmas is over-marketed
  2. My family has been stuck down by the rotavirus for over a week
  3. My toddler is teething all 4 molars at once
  4. I thought I was going to be able to quit my job, but now I can't
  5. My wonky upper left wisdom tooth is crowding my teeth and creating massive havoc
  6. There is absolutely no snow outside - everything is varying shades of brown and gray
  7. Our neighbors' dogs bark freely and frequently right outside our very thin side windows

Seriously - it has been nothing but despair and the dumps in my neck of the woods. Squeeze has lost 15 pounds since last week; he pooped nothing but water (10-15 times a day) for 5 days. The rotavirus also steals anything remotely related to an appetite. Starbeans is ultra-clingy and extremely touchy because of his smarting and swollen red gums, and I've reached wraith-status by losing another 5 pounds, down to 130; again, thanks to the rotavirus. I'm 5'9.

One lesson learned: Now that we have an active toddler, I need to be extra-diligent and anal about washing that tyke's hands when we are out in public; particularly if we are going to be at a children's event, like we were on Sunday the 10th (bloody rotavirus).

On a happier note, I am scheduled to have my nasty wisdom tooth extracted on January 2nd. I am literally counting down the days!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

And...she's down!

The entire Borealis family is out for the count.

I didn't even know what day it was today; one or the other of us has been sick for one full week now. To say the very least, it has been the complete pits...complete with vomiting, diarrhea, joint pain, body aches, and massive acid reflux.

(The joy.)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

It doesn't end

Now Squeeze is sick. (It is coming out of both ends - poor guy.) I'd better not succumb, or this ship is going down. I'm going to get out the juicer tomorrow and pump my loved ones full of apple-kale-ginger juice. That ought to do sumpin'.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Aunt Flow and more barfing tales

I am going on 7 (seven!!) days of having my period. The flow has been extremely heavy, which is very unusual for me. It has left me wondering about the first period after childbirth. Can other mothers share their experience(s) with me? It makes sense that the flow would be heavier, as the uterus hasn't sloughed for quite some time (almost a year and a half), but I'd like to have a little back-up in the Sista' Dept.

The Keeper (before-birth size) is working well for me, aside from the heavy flow. Emptying it once a day in the shower was sufficient enough before pregnancy and childbirth, but I've had to empty it several times a day to keep up. I'll give it a few more cycles before I make my move. I might be able to stick with the old girl, which would be very nice.

Starbeans was acting a bit more like himself this evening. He puked a few times today, but not since this afternoon. I'm hoping the worst is over with...? The first night, he threw up every hour or so. He also had terribly stinky diarrhea last night (the poor little guy), but today his poop has been as inoffensive as it was pre-solids. He hasn't had anything aside from milk and water since Sunday night and has been pooping like he did as a newborn - with every pee. I think the virus is slowly being worked out of his system. Thank goodness! It is terrible to watch him suffer like he has. Especially since this was his first time barfing ever. Throwing up is a miserable feeling. He has been whimpering a lot and laying his head on my shoulder while I hold him. It feels very good to know that I can comfort him; that he feels secure and calmed in my arms: it send a rushing current of motherly love into the depths of my heart - kind of like a river.

This sickness has also given me another boost in my appreciation for co-sleeping. Because he is so close to me, I have been able to detect his pre-barf behavior and make a run to the bathroom in time for almost every puke. He threw up in the bed 3 times, but that isn't bad compared to the 10-15 times of night-time barfing he had the last couple of nights, and 2 out of the 3 were the first 2 times. Poor thing. He'd start rolling around and moaning, which was my signal to pick the kid up and RUN; we made it to the tub on time every time.

Poor little Monkey.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Brother Barf, Sister Puke

Ack! I've been cleaning up (and covered in) vomit since last night; and comforting a whimpering vomity baby. Poor thing.

Think of me...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Surfing the Crimson Tide

I discovered this morning what has been causing my undisclosed angst these past few menstral cycle. I got my period for the first time in two years! I find that to be an amazing fact. I'm still nursing, too - but things have obviously slowed down a bit. Starbeans is 16 months.

I've enjoyed my break, but it is nice to have the old girl back.

Yep: you read that right. I was starting to worry about the ins and outs of conception with the absence of my monthly cycle: not that we're trying, but it's nice to know that I don't need to read about it when the time comes.

I'm back with The Keeper. It took awhile to find it! I am going to see how it holds up (things seem to be going well so far), as the post-birth size is recommended for women who have had children. I don't want to rush out and buy a new one if the old one works just as well. I'll keep(er) you posted.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I'm parched

I haven't been blogging much recently: I've found that when I'm stressed, the words just don't flow. I can't even think of anything to say (aside from complaining, which nobody wants to hear).

So instead, I'll post a picture of Starbeans with a chicken at my parents' house.

We had a very good visit. My parents and siblings enjoyed him so much; and this time, he was able to consciously enjoy them as well. He learned how to say "haaaaaat" (to their wood stove) and a cheery "hiiiiiii" as he walked into whatever room we were in. He learned how to go down stairs backwards, jump on a trampoline (kind of), and tried his hand at picking up cats.

The highlight of our 2-week stay was the amazing snowstorm on Sunday and Monday the 26th and 27th. The northern part of Western WA was covered with a foot of snow. So much snow, in fact, that the trees were bent under the weight: any time outside was accompanied by the grand cracking of tree limbs ripping off and falling to the ground. A sad event, but a terrific crashing noise. My parents had two trees - a dogwood and a pretty little coral maple - that split in half under the weight. We were especially sad about that.

This picture was taken the first night of the storm.

But the most exciting part is that my parents were out of electricity for 5 days. Because they heat with a wood stove and have a gas oven range, we were cozy and well-fed. We brought in bags and bowls of snow to keep the refrigerator cold and put all the frozen goods outside in coolers. Amazingly enough, my mother had a HUGE back-stock of candles. So our evenings were spent in front of the wood stove reading to each other in the candle-light. It was absolutely, positively, gloriously lovely. I'm still reveling in it.

Monday, December 04, 2006

All smiles

My current most favorite thing about Starbeans is the sweet 8-toothed grins he gives me while we are snuggling right before bed. Oh, and the precious closed-mouthed sleepy smiles he gives me while we are snuggling in the morning right after we wake up.

It's just so cute.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

My big boy

Weren't you just a baby?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Gnarled and knotty

I picked two apples yesterday from my grandparents' apple tree; there were more, but I picked only what was within arm's reach from the ground. Starbeans and I ate one of them, my grandparents shared the other. My grandpa chomped on a slice of it while my grandma ate hers like an orange wedge, leaving the peel on her plate.

The apples were big, juicy, and crisp: pleasantly sweet with greenish-yellow skin and a hint of red. My mom thought they may be "King" apples (perhaps Tompkins King?).

My grandparents live in the house his dad built from scrap lumber when he was in high school, replacing the original house. It is located on the original homestead of his mother's father, on a flood plain in a river valley. The Stilliguamish river flows a mile or so from their house. (I have many memories of their flooded basement and fields-turned-lake.)

The apple tree was planted when my grandpa was in grade school: we ate the fruit of an 80 year old tree. It is gnarled and covered with lichens and moss. Even the twigs that the apples grow off of look ancient: thick and knotty like an old man's knuckles, instead of smooth and new.

I like knowing that such an old tree can produce such lovely fruit. It is also interesting to think about how many generations have eaten and used the apples: my guess is five - Starbeans, me & my siblings, my parents, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents.

Someday, I'll have my own apple tree...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Rain, rain, [don't] go away

11:00 o'clock and all is well.

I am at my parents' house in Western WA, where I will be for the next two weeks - my first Thanksgiving at home in 10 years. We flew out last night at 10:00 pm.

We've flown 5 times since Starbeans (15.5 months) was born and it gets progressively worse each time. The more mobile and aware of his surroundings he becomes, the less he wants to be confined to mama's lap in a tiny seat. However, he did amazingly well - I was so pleased. The older couple we were sitting by requested to move: although they wanted me to have the luxury of space, I'm sure it was for their sanity as well. Who wants to sit next to a squirmy toddler?? Thanks to their thoughtfulness, we had an entire 3 seats to ourselves. It was such a relief. I sat in the middle, with him in the window seat and entertained him with books, puzzle-books, nursing, and the window. He finally fell asleep half-way through when I started snuggling and singing to him (nursery rhymes, of course); nothing else had worked up until that point.

Starbeans is sleeping right now - the poor little guy has a lot to catch up on after last night's excitement. In Minneapolis, we spent a lot of time in the arcade where he stared at the flashing lights and even turned a steering wheel or two. At the Seattle airport, he was enthralled with the baggage carousel: toddling around it two or three times with Grandpa O. trailing behind. This morning, he chased my parents' dachshund around and rifled through my sister's room. It's going to be a fun couple of weeks at Grandma and Grandpa's house!!

It is lovely to be home. My parents heat with a wood burning stove, with gives the house a cozy feel. It is wonderfully dreary outside, with a cloudy sky and the constant drizzle of rain and wind whipping the trees. It feels so good. I love the way it looks; I love the way it feels; I love the way it smells.

I love rain. Love it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Hickory Dickory Dock

Hickory Dickory Dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down!

Hickory Dickory Dock.

I love nursery rhymes. I didn't realize it, but Hickory Dickory Dock has 12 stanzas! I need to learn them so I don't have to repeat the same one over and over while I'm singing it.

Starbeans is now consistently signing "milk" and "all-done". It is so nice to actually have some communication other than pointing and shrieking "ee-eee-ehhh!!"

I know he understands me, but so far, he hasn't verbalized much. He does know what a cow, doggie, and kitty says; he is starting to make "hiiiii" and "byeeeee" noises while he's waving 'hello' and 'goodbye'; and he started clapping (on his own) during the song "If you're happy and you know it". He is so dang cute - sometimes I can hardly look at him without feeling all squidgy inside. What I am going to do when he's not my baby anymore??

Today we took him to the library - he plays with puzzles in the children's area, then we went outside and laughed at him running down (small) hills. He only fell once: the very first time. Then he gathered his bearings and toddled quickly down the (tiny) slopes like a roly-poly baker's man.

It is amazing to watch him change and grow and have opinions about things - like wanting to go outside. That is his big thing right now; kind of a bummer, now that it is getting so cold. We are going to have to find him a snow suit for the winter, then he'll be nice and toasty.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Sew what?

My mom gave me her old sewing machine the summer before I turned 23. That was the summer I graduated from college; as well as the year Squeeze and I were married. I wasn't sure how to use it at first, but I was grateful for it: the potential was exciting.

Not unlike canning, I wanted to start on something easy. My main goal was to use it with enough frequency to keep myself familiar with the workings of the machine. At some point, I'd like to get a little more heavy-duty with it (why on earth didn't I give it a try before I had a baby??). However, for now the answer is: gift bags. No patterns, pretty to look at, re-usable.

I've been making them each winter for 4-5 years now: both sides of the family has enough built up to use each year. We trade them back and forth every Christmas; my eventual goal is to phase out wrapping paper completely. I purchased the holiday-themed cloth at our local fabric store after Christmas, with the post-holiday-craze discount prices: 50% or more off, I believe.

They are so easy - simply:
  • Cut to fit the particular present
  • Hem the top on each side
  • Stitch up the sides

You can use it as a bag, with ribbon tied around the top. Or, like I did last year (pictured), use the bags like wrapping paper and fold to fit: secure with ribbons and bows.

Here is another inside into my insanity: I save all the excess ribbon, bows, and ties each holiday to use the following year. Why throw them out?

Gift bags don't have to be limited to Christmas: with the right fabric, they can be used for any gift-giving occasion or birthday. They are pretty, interesting to look at, fun to make, and twice as fun to give.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Svenska flicka

God morgon! (That means "good morning" in Swedish)

I'm really getting into this whole Borealis family history thing. I requested an English-Swedish dictionary from the library - I want to at least slip in a Swedish word here or there in my emails to Lars. I feel like such a lunk, writing to him in English - knowing full well that the brunt of translation lies on his shoulders. Now, his English is more adequate than my non-existent Swedish, but still...

I am spending good chunks of precious free-time examining family trees, pictures, birth-dates, and names. It is really interesting! I've found that I really adore the name Birgitta - several generations of Swedish Borealis women have this name. I also like the name Mats - isn't it cute?

Hej då

That Guy and W.W.

My brother was That Guy for Halloween, and his friend, Jessica, was Wonder Woman. Don't they look fabulous??

Monday, November 06, 2006

Show off ---

Look what I did this weekend:


Good old Lars

Have you ever googled yourself? I suppose most people have; but listen to this story:

Squeeze googled himself several weeks ago, looking for his high school track records (I'm married to a track & field super-star: he went to state in 4 events several years in a row). During the search, he saw his name in a Danish heritage website; following the link, he found his family the subject of detailed conversation. Lars, a Swedish Borealis, was looking for the American descendents of his family: his father's father came to the US as an old man in 1897 and was listed as suffering from "senility" on the Ellis Island record. Some of his sons stayed in Sweden, while other came to the States.

The website is a forum to help people track down geneological information; they researched & provided family history that Squeeze's parents weren't even aware of: Ellis Island records, occupations, census records, etc.

We emailed Lars and the forum volunteer to introduce ourselves and get more information, and several weeks later - family reunion! We are exchanging email, letters, and pictures; and Lars sent us a detailed family tree that dates back to the 1700's. Amazing.

Lars' father was first cousin to Squeeze's Great-grandpa Axel. Now is that fodder for an excellent middle name, or what???

In short: what a small, big world.
All through the power of The Internets.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Scarlet Butt-crack

I feel like posting something dreamy; not a complaint, like "Why does my neighbor insist on showing her butt-crack?"

But seriously: why does she?

For those who check my Currently Reading list, yes - I've been reading The Scarlet Letter for nigh on a month now. Maybe more. I read mostly while I'm pumping at work, which is only 3 days a week; so I don't get anywhere very quickly. I spot-read other things, but a novel: that is a different story.

I find myself drifting while reading it. Hawthorne goes into such deep detail about the physical surroundings, back-history, inner-thoughts, emotions, etc. - I get off track. I really like it, though, especially when little Pearl says things like "What does the letter mean, mother? - and why dost thou wear it?" or "Why doth the minister sit yonder?"

I'm going to make a list of books that I enjoyed as a youngster. By youngster, I mean junior high and younger - both books I read, as well as those that were read to me by my father and aunt.

  • The Secret Garden
  • A Little Princess
  • The Trolley Car Family
  • The Boxcar Children
  • Veronica the Show-off
  • SuperFudge
  • Anne of Green Gables
  • Anne of Avonlea
  • Anne of the Island
  • The Hobbit
  • Lord of the Rings - Fellowship, Two Towers, Return of the King
  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • At the Back of the Northwind
  • The Little House books
  • Little Women
  • Reader's Digest
  • Life magazine
  • Baby-sitter's Club books

I also read countless Nancy Drew books, but can't remember even one story-line or plot. I recognize book covers, but that is it. Interestingly, while I find Reader's Digest incredibly boring and hum-drum as an adult, I couldn't wait for each issue to come as a elementary-aged kid. I read those things from cover-to-cover: very odd, methinks.

I conclude this post with revealing one of my favorite books of all time: Jane Eyre. I love it. I love it! It is definitely in my Top Five.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Night Diaper: Part II

Now that we've been using our wool diaper covers for a couple of months, the time has come to re-lanolize them. This replaces the depleted oils that naturally occur in wool that keep them water-proof and smelling fresh. It is recommended to do this on a semi-regular basis. I noticed that it was time because the diaper covers seemed to smell stronger in the mornings (when the diaper is wet). You can smell the urine on the cover when it is wet, but once it dries out - the scent is gone. This was starting to not be the case, so I re-lanolized them and ta-da! Back to normal.

Here's how:
  • Wash & rinse the diaper cover like normal - cool water, wool wash, swish/squeeze the water through
  • Fill the bottom of the sink (or bowl) with hot water - this allows the lanolin, which is an oil, to dissolve
  • Add a squeeze of lanolin (I used Lanisoh) & swish the water around
  • Add more water to the sink, so it is room temperature (or cooler)
  • Put the wool cover in the water/lanisoh mix and let it soak for 15 minutes
  • Don't rinse - roll in towel & press out excess moisture like normal
  • Lay flat to dry, away from heat & sun

I've been washing our wool diaper covers every 2 weeks; I will probably re-lanolize them either every wash, or every other wash, depending on my observations and added experience.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Oh, the weather

I read a comment posted on a blog yesterday that got me thinking. The commenter said, "We have nice weather year-round because we live in California". Nice weather. Year-round.

What does that mean?

Television weathermen seem to be obsessed with it. At this time of year, it is the elusive 50-60 degree day: clear skies, a light breeze, warm in the sunshine.

But what about Midwestern thunderstorms? Or drizzly spring days in the Pacific Northwest? How about a bitterly cold, bright snowy day in the middle of January? I love these days - I love that weather. Sure: "nice" days are pleasant enough, but don't we want a little variety to spice it up and keep things interesting?

Speaking of television news anchors, they seem peppy about the weather only when it will be warmer than usual in the fall/winter/spring, or cooler than usual in the summer; at least, in Minnesota. Then they can yuk it up with their cohorts, helmet hair and baubled necklaces in place, and talk about how the weather is going to be so lovely.

So nice.

Maybe I just shouldn't watch the news. But unfortunately for me, Squeeze is a television weatherman junkie.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sleep, sickness, and nursing past the first year

I haven't had much time to blog recently; Starbeans has been sick with a cold he caught from a birthday party we went to this weekend. Sunday night he slept for perhaps 2-3 hours, in half-hour increments. He would scream and wail if we went near the bedroom; so, for the entire evening, we either:

  • Took a bath
  • Walked in circles around the house
  • Rocked in the rocker in front of the television, watching PBS (I learned all about the free-trade movement, how Hawaii was formed, watched a Part II of William Golding's Sea Triology on Masterpiece Theater, and saw a 1985-vintage episode of Reading Rainbow)

I slept for 15 minutes around 6 am (or 7 am, according to my body-clock -> daylight savings). It has been a rough few days. I wonder what it is like to have more than one child sick simultaneously? It must be terribly stressful. I did fine once I realized that I wasn't going to get to go to bed that night; but before that, I was pretty frustrated. Poor, sick Starbeans. He's on the mend now, thankfully.

I've been thinking about breast-feeding recently. I plan to do extended nursing with child-led weaning. I'm not sure exactly how long we'll go, what nursing will entail for a 2 or 3 year old, or even how weaning is done, but these are my plans thus far. I'm flexible. I composed a list of why I am so glad to be breast-feeding beyond the "normal" year. Starbeans is 15 months old.

  • I/we really enjoy it: nursing is very special. I feel good knowing that his needs are being met, both physically and emotionally. For him, it is a built in snuggle session and down-time as well as a tasty snack.
  • Nutrition, of course: I never have to worry whether he is getting enough to eat; milk covers (or completes) all the bases. I assume that as the years go on, nursing will be more of a supplement than a daily standard; but at this point, I would say that he is getting his nutrients half-and-half, from both solids and breast milk.
  • Calming: post-nap crabbies disappear with nursing. It provides a nice transition back into the Land of the Living.
  • Handy for traveling: the boob is so convenient (and portable) for us while we're on the go for both thirst and hunger.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bridgna rulz

Although the picture is barely decipherable, I thought it would be fun to share one of my stunning feats: doodling on the water tower of a local farm in my home town; with my good pal from high school, Bridget. We were in college, but emblazoned it with our graduation year for pizazz. I think that was also the night we threw love notes written in español into the yard of our former spanish teacher. Daring!

I'm the nasty girl in green.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Crying over spilt milk

As a mother, there is nothing that throws me off more than a missed nap or a delayed bedtime. I don't know why this is, exactly; but I have a few guesses. Jealously over free-time is one of the root issues; but, I've also wondered if I am more set into routines than I realize. Starbeans has set his own schedule, but sticks to it almost religiously, so I am pretty used to things happening at the same general time each day. Not tonight!

This evening, things were slightly off-kilter: Starbeans and I were out-and-about until 8:00 or so (unusual) and when we got home, the cats (all 4 of them) were roaming the home. They usually "go to bed" (i.e. get shut in the laundry room so they can't pester us) when Squeeze goes to bed - around 7:00 or 8:00 pm. We've had too many years of being awakened at 4:00 am by ridiculous cat fights or caterwauling; and once Starbeans was born, that was it. They spend their nights confined: it is bliss. No getting hissed at when I roll over in bed, no "mreorowing!!!" at the crack of dawn, no cats trying to sleep on my pillow.

For the record: Four (count 'em - 4) cats is waaaaay too many cats. We were nuts. Warn your friends, if they ever get cat-happy: four cats is a wee bit over the top. I can't complain: we were forewarned, but completely ignored the tidings of doom and did it anyway. Now we must suffer for our enthusiasm.

Starbeans usually goes to bed at 9:00 pm. But at 9:00, instead of feeling sleepy, he was a live wire. Wiggling and excited. So, we hung out: we played, we took a bath, we looked at books. At 10:00 pm, he was feeling sleepy. Now mind you: the cats were out in force. I couldn't put them away for fear that it would wake Squeeze (an extremely light sleeper); he sleeps in our spare room since he goes to bed so early, which is right next to the laundry room. I figured he'd either wake up from Starbean's joyful yells or the cat's joyful mraows.

So, at 10:00 pm, I was nursing Starbeans to sleep and he was in the midst of the contended throngs of preparing to drift off, when "prrrrrthetetet!", our least clever cat, Little Bud, bounded into the bed right over Starbeans' head, who gave a wild giggle and sat straight up. So much for bedtime!! Wiggle-wiggle-wiggle, excitement, play, run, jump.

Finally, after 10:30 pm, I risked putting the cats away with Starbeans in tow (it went well) and put the kid to bed. I had to pull out all the stops and keep him laying down through tickle-torture until he drifted off to sleep blissfully.

Now that I feel better after writing this all out - why couldn't I have felt amused or affectionate towards the evening's escapades instead of annoyed and frustrated?

I hate being fallible.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Pumpkin Apple Bread

Within the last two years, I bumped into two books at the library that I enjoyed immensely. They are both autobiographical works by Ruth Reichl: Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table and Comfort me with Apples: More Adventures at the Table.

When I worked full-time, pre-baby, I listened to audiobooks while doing my job (thank goodness I never had to talk on the phone). It was a great way to maintain sanity as well as get a lot of "reading" done. I first saw Comfort me with Apples in the audiobook section at our library; I scoffed at it for months before checking it out. Don't ask me why - I'm an idiot. I think that I thought the cover was silly (I do judge a book by its cover). When I finally broke down and checked it out (the culprit being slim pickings), I immediately fell head-over-heels. I really like reading about others' life experience (thus, blogs) and it was thrilling to hear about her life-long love of cooking and food.

Glimpsing into her passion for cooking made me want to delve more into recipes that she had direct influence over. I did a little research and went straight to the library to check out the cookbook she edited: The Gourmet Cookbook. I liked it so much that, in turn, I went out and bought it. Not only are there many fabulous recipes, but it provides a lot of good information about the foods/ingredients used. For example, there is an entire page dedicated to potatoes: the properties of each variety and what they are best used for. For someone who is learning from the ground-up, this is extraordinarily helpful.

I've made this Pumpkin Apple Bread a fall tradition for the last two years. It is delicious. Spicy, sweet, and simply wonderful. Thus far, I've used solid-pack canned pumpkin; but this weekend, I bought a real pumpkin at the Farmer's Market and plan to use that instead. Even better than the real thing, baby! This one is for you, Alison.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 (15-ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped (2 cups)


  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

Make the topping: Blend together flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a small bowl with your fingertips until mixture resembles coarse meal.

Make the bread: Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat over to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-by-5 inch loaf pans

Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice into a medium bowl, Whisk together pumpkin, oil, sugar, and eggs in a large bowl. Add flour mixture. Stirring until well combined. Fold in apples.

Divide batter batter between buttered loaf pans. Sprinkle half of topping evenly over each loaf. Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of bread comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes.

Cool loaves in pans on a rack for 45 minutes, then turn out onto rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Big man on campus

We have a friend in town for the weekend; Starbeans has been enjoying playing with his cell phone: beeping numbers, bopping buttons, and fielding calls.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

11:11, again

I just looked at the clock. It was 11:11 pm.

Big news, little news

Big news:
  • I will be done with my job of 5 years within the next couple of weeks. 5 years is a long time to work at one place when you are only 29 years old! I have been part-time for the past year, but now I am d-o-n-e. A little startling, but good. So good. Squeeze is going from part-time to full-time in his job, which enables me to be able to stay home. We've had a good run: for most of the past year, we have been living on my part-time income and ebay - Squeeze stayed home with Starbeans. Then, in June, Squeeze also got a part-time job and since we've been living on 2 part-time incomes. Not a conventional choice within general American culture, but a very interesting and exciting one. If you work with me and read my blog, SURPRISE!!! You'll be getting an email from me tomorrow.

Little news:

  • My final wisdom tooth (upper left) has grown in and is mercilessly crowding the rest of my upper teeth. It is, in fact, quite miserable. My jaw bone cracks against it if I open my mouth funny. I believe it might be one of the main causes of my problems with bruxia. Picture this: all of my teeth grow downwards (like normal). But this little SOB, it is growing in sideways. Yep. Jerk. I want to get it pulled, but without insurance, that baby will cost 426 dollars. A little steep at this point in I am persuaded to wait.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Be very impressed

I made pizza this evening: my first time ever dealing with yeast.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Sinus Infection Remedy

Since our RSV catastrophe last winter, some of you may know that I have been gearing up for this cold and flu season; an arsenal of home remedies awaits any malady that befalls us this winter. Just you try to get us this year, sinus infection or sore throat! Just you try.

Squeeze has been prone to sinus infections since last winter; it seems now that any minor cold carries with it the threat of sinus pain. We have been using the home remedies found in Prescription for Nutritional Healing during the last few bouts: it has been extremely effective. My sister-in-law is also prone to sinus infections and hasn't been able to rid herself of one without antibiotics for years. Just this last month, she used the salt wash and it knocked her sinus infection out - she said that it made a big difference.

Sinus Infection Remedy

  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Baby snot-sucker or nehti pot

Lay your head on your side, preferably over a large towel or sink. Squeeze (or pour) the warm salt water solution into the top nostril, letting the water flow in, then out, through the other nostril. Depending on how congested you are, some might not make it through (but that is ok). Expect that a lot of snot is going to come out with the water. A LOT. Repeat 3-4 times per day.

Other recommendations:

  • No dairy (except soured products)
  • Drink plenty of distilled water and fresh fruit & vegetable juices
  • Drink plenty of hot liquids, like soups or herbal teas - helping the mucus to flow
  • Use warm compresses or ice packs to relieve pain (whatever works for you)
  • Steam inhalations also ease pressure and promote drainage - a few drops of rosemary or eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam from a distance of 6 inches several times a day for 3-5 minutes at a time

I've also done research online that recommends adding a few drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract to the warm water salt wash, as GSE is a natural antibiotic. We haven't tried this yet: the salt wash has been sufficient. We do, however, have GSE on standby and will use it this winter if necessary.

Prescription for Nutritional Healing contains a lot more information about treating sinus infections through supplements and herbal treatments - not to mention an plethora of other common to not-so-common illnesses. This book is a must-have for home remedies!!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Squeeze and I both work part-time. He, from 3 am (yes - am) to 7 am, Monday-Friday and me, 9-ish to 3-ish, Monday-Wednesday. Got that? He goes to bed at 8 pm and sleeps while Starbeans naps. At work, he sits in a warm van and listens to the BBC (live) whilst delivering bags of checks from one location to another while I fritter my time away in cubeland. I shouldn't say fritter: I have lots to do. But: it is cubeland, nonetheless.

The other day, I devised a mental list of Cubeland Oddities that really get my goat. Mostly jargon, and almost always like fingernails on a chalkboard. I defer:

  • "Why don't you just shoot me an email"
  • "Just shoot me an email and I'll take care of that"
  • "I've got a lot on my plate right now, so why don't you just shoot me an email?"
  • "I'm so busy - I don't have time to complete this or that, so why don't you just shoot me an email. I've really got a lot on my plate."
  • "How was your weekend?"
  • Dress-down day. Like we all get excited to wear jeans.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Do you speak Klingon?

My good friend Melissa encountered some friendly Klingons at a Star Trek convention this summer. I'm not sure if they were able to communicate with each other, but they sure took a sparkling picture. Sassy!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Potty Training

I'm still putting Starbeans on the toilet each morning: he goes pee 9 times out of 10. In fact (and this is a little gross) - the other morning I wondered if I should keep him on there because I thought he might be close to pooping, but I second-guessed myself and took him off the potty. My instincts were spot-on and he unfortunately proceeded to poop on the floor in under a minute, just as I was calling out, "Starbeans, listen to Mama go potty...Starbeans!!...what the...?? Don't move!!!" Thankfully he had poop on the wood floor, instead of the carpet: so it was an easy clean-up.

He pooped on the toilet in the morning the other week too. I was so proud. He seemed a little confused, maybe even a tad alarmed, when it happened. But he didn't get scared and seemed pleased with himself when I started cheering him on.

Furthermore, just within the last couple days, he starts the celebrations before I even realize that he is peeing. I think that is a really good sign. He looks down, smiles, and then starts clapping and yelling victoriously while I ask, "Starbeans, are you going potty? Yay!!! Starbeans is going potty! Yaaaaay!!" He is starting to make the connection: Toilet = potty. Toilet = potty. He even went pee today after his nap. I'm going to start putting him on the toilet regularly throughout the day (in addition to the morning routine) and see where that gets us. One or more less diapers per day is fine with me; we're on our way!

Friday, October 06, 2006

My Garden Gnome

Gently plucking petals from the geranium: all in a good day's work.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Cloth Diapering: The Night Diaper

The dreaded Night Diaper. As Starbeans is still nursing throughout the night, he wets very heavily. This may also be the case even for babies who sleep a solid 8 hours without suckling - I don't know. No matter. I've found that the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap just can't handle that much saturation, especially as he gets older. Do not get me wrong: they are great during the day. I love 'em! But night-time is a different story.

So, first I tried double-diapering. It worked for awhile. Then I moved to triple-diapering: this seemed to suit our needs much better, but it was hard to stuff that much diaper into the medium sized Whisper Wrap (15-30 lbs). I had read a lot about leak-proof wool diaper covers, so I decided to give it a shot. I bought a Babyology Wool Diaper Soaker off of ebay - the XL size, to accommodate the bulk of the triple-diaper.

I am pleased to report a happy success. No leaks - no wetness - nice and roomy - no smell. I hang it out to dry each morning and it is ready to go by each evening. I thought I'd pass along the word. There are other options for the Night Diaper than disposables (it just took me a little while to get it right).

10/10 update:
I went back to double-diapering (the triple is just too much diaper if it isn't neccessary). I twist the outer diaper and keep the inner diaper flat, so there isn't so much bulk between his legs and his junk is protected. Everything is fine and dandy - I really love the wool soakers. I'm also going to research microfiber - it sounds like an excellent choice to keep little bottoms dry. Thanks for the advice, P.K.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Plan

I'm keeping a food journal during the month of October, to see exactly what I'm eating. I have a few problems - bruxia (tooth-grinding - perhaps interrelated with TMJ?), rosacea, and (potentially) hypoglycemia. Through the book I'm currently reading Prescription for Nutritional Healing - I am interesting in finding solutions through diet and nutritional supplements. But first, I'd like to see what I'm eating. It should be interesting!

I'm also on the low-end of my BMI - so perhaps there is room for improvement to help me maintain my weight while breast-feeding. An interesting fact: I am 5'9. Before pregnancy, I weighed 150, which is on the high-end of normal for my BMI. Now I weigh between 130-135: the low end. That is quite the difference, people! I am getting comments quite regularly and have to wear a belt for the first time in my life (or those pants fall doooown). It's kind of a pain in the butt, actually - but I suppose I shouldn't complain too bitterly. It's all the Milky - mayhap another reason to spur more women to breast-feed their babies.

Monday, October 02, 2006

One for the dame

Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes sir, yes sir,
Three bags full;
One for the master,
And one for the dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives down the lane.

Everytime Starbeans hears Baby Tad (a birthday gift) sing this nursery rhyme, he says, "Ba-ba-ba". While he certainly isn't making the connection that sheep say "baaa", it is so cute to hear him say it! On the subject on speaking: I don't want to rush time forward, but we are at the point where we cannot wait until he starts talking. We are tired of being shrieked at. It ain't all fun and games.

In other news: he continues his obsession with putting things inside of other things. It's like a job (and one that he is very serious about). When I'm in the kitchen working, he will be toddling around and opening various cupboards, intently moving things from one place to another. Lids inside of bowls, measuring cups inside of pots, dish cloths in the broiler, etc. Yesterday, I opened a cupboard door to find a few Mr. Potato Head pieces placed carefully inside a measuring cup. It send a flush of joy through my system. What a little monkey!!


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Maya Wrap Lover

That's me! I love my Maya Wrap. A sling, but so much more. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

  • Sling: 6-8 positions
  • Swaddling blanket
  • Snot rag
  • Grocery cart seatbelt
  • Highchair seatbelt
  • Park blanket
  • Sun shield: car, stroller
  • Peek-a-boo tool
  • Modest nursing (but I've never used it for that)
  • It is beautiful!
  • Shawl (for me)
  • Pocket carries: wallet, keys, pacifier

Updated 11/3: Now that I have a toddler, I can add LEASH to the list. It makes for a splendid leash to keep that kid near you when you need him to be.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Friday, September 29, 2006

A calico post

I found a most excellent blog this evening: Pinch My Salt. That mother went straight to my Favorites. My goodness!

Speaking of blogging, email, internet communities, and the like: I've found that the more I type, the less satisfied I am with my penmanship. I used to feel a great sense of pride over my handwriting; but now when I look in my daybook, it just looks like chicken scratch. I am too fond of the nice, round, evenly-sized font (particularly Garamond) - it has destroyed my handwriting. Or, at least, my affection for it. "Maybe that is good," say the humble ones, "you pompous hen!"

I turn 29 next week - does that mean my teeth are going to wear down faster and my skin look even rougher under flouroscent lighting? Just kidding, but man: where does time go? "Tut-tut," say the older ones, "29 is nearly a baby."

And finally (this dwarf blue spruce is a favorite of mine), look at all the lovely textures and colors in our backyard. Squeeze took this picture the other day. I think it is be-a-utiful!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Feeling teary-eyed...

My heart is broken. I've been reading about Reactive Attachment Disorder, spurred on from reading this blog post last week and keeping up with this blog over the past several months. Both involve institutionalized orphans & the effects of neglect.

Poor things!

Monday, September 25, 2006

EDO did it!

A fine example of what happens when a little brother gains free reign of a digital video camera:

These pictures were taken last December in the very fine (and wet) Pacific Northwest at the Happy Hollow Christmas Tree farm. We were picking out a tree as an entire family, all 7 of us, for the first time in 10 years.

Needless to say, it has always taken a lot of time and many negotiations to pick out the "right" tree. Brother #2, sibling #3 - the bearded one in the 2nd picture (we call him Bison Brent) - was always the most serious in the quest for the Perfect Tree. There is more than one picture from over the years that features him sullen and pouting over a poor tree choice.

I stumbled across these pictures tonight and they made me laugh!

I love you, EDO and BDO.

and JEO

and ALO

and shoooot, while I'm at it: DLO & JACO

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Night, light, & half light

This evening I looked at the clock at 11:12 pm.

Goodnight & adieu ---

Aedh Wishes For The Clothes Of Heaven
William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

Note to self:

Weekend trips with a 1 year old are disastrously nightmarish. Especially when all they can say is, "eeeeeeehhh!!" Let's hold off on this for many months, perhaps years; or maybe we'll just never leave the house again.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Wool Dipes

We are borrowing a wool diaper cover from our friends Mimi & Jackson; they bought it from a garage sale for 4 dollars. It is hand-made (impressive).

Diagnosis thus far: we like it!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Taking time to smell the onions

Convenience foods simply cut to the chase - as if the only point in preparing a meal is having something to eat. But when you cook, you discover the rewards in slowing down and taking time to smell the onions.

Almost Vegetarian
Diana Shaw

I went to my 10 year high school reunion this past summer, where I saw a former classmate, Joey B., who has been living in Spain the past 2-3 years. Whilst back in the States for the reunion, she was also heading down to Arizona, where she was going to put her house up for sale. "I'm done with the US." she said, "Finished. I'll never live here again." Very curious, I asked her her reasoning and what she said resonated with me bigtime.

"I'm sick of the Rat Race. In Spain, I live in a small apartment, teach 20 hours a week, and I am superbly happy. I'm done with the US," she said. It must be all those siestas!

Seriously, though: The Rat Race.

It is so easy to believe The Lie, which I believe fuels The Rat Race. That we need to have this, and that, and that other thing, to be happy or satisfied. Meals needs to be done in a snap and spending time washing dishes afterwards is a sheer waste of time. Isn't that why we have microwaves and dishwashers? Leisure trumps work (in any form), hands down. Why would I want to have kids?? How would I do this-and-this-and-this-and-this with the responsibility of a child? Let's go shopping! Wheeeeeee!

No wonder why we're all fat and so self-absorbed.

A nebulous stew has been simmering in my mind for the past few years. I feel like I'm onto something, but I can't exactly describe it. (Yet.) Why do we make life such of blur of movement? How can we change it? Getting away from the Race is very appealing to me, but I'm not fully sure how to escape. I'm not even sure if I am in it, or only affected by it: we are absolutely steeped in the culture of the Rat Race.

The first step of freedom is becoming aware of it. The second, I believe, is to start thinking outside of the box, or the confines in which we live. How can we cut back? What can I get rid of? How can I sloooooow doooooown? And another thing, I say ditch all those "living" magazines. They're just out to make a quick buck on all the suckers who want to know, "how to really be happy".
Yuck - gag me with a spoon.

The End.

(Hi Vicky)

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Billboards, babies, and pink on pink

We were gone for the weekend: visiting Squeeze's parents in Western MN.

Billboards of note:

  • Babies were born to be breastfed.

The "No W.T. or Tweekers" Billboard was on a private fence, in big bold red letters, with a big circle-slash through and around it. Very bizarre. Tweekers, I am assuming, are meth addicts. But White Trash - who are they?

The "Babies" sign was a sponsored billboard - we went by too fast to see who paid for it. The letters were white, smallish, and in the middle of a large black billboard. I thought it was an extremely interesting propagandistic ploy to get women to breastfeed their babies (one that I whole-heartedly endorse). I've heard that there is pressure on the government to encourage breastfeeding and that the US has the lowest breastfeeding levels in the western world; but to see propaganda like this up close -- fascinating.

On a side note, I also enjoyed seeing the woman in her light pink shirt standing outside of her light pink house.

I just looked at the clock - it is 11:11. Whoa.


I gleefully hit "Publish Post", hoping that 11:11 would be my posting-time, but I see that blogger tracks based on when you start the post, in this case, 10:56 pm, not when you complete it. Bummer.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Midnight Mower

At 9 pm this warm September evening, as I was putting Starbeans to bed, I heard the sound of a lawn-mower start up.

Apparently, the guy across the street has no qualms with mowing the grass in the window-lit light of a dark night. I chuckled with amusement as the smell of freshly-cut grass wafted in through our bedroom window. It will be interesting to see what it looks like tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Our Starbeans

At the age of 13 months, here is a little bit about Starbeans:

  • He goes potty on the toilet almost every morning. When it comes out, he looks down, looks up, and then we both start clapping. I say, "Yayyyyy! Starbeans went potty on the toilet! That's so good." while he hollers, "Ahhhhhhhh!" (his version of yay).
  • He is obsessed with putting things inside other things. For example: blocks in a bucket, kitchen utensils into the clothes basket, toys in his pack-n-play, newspaper through the baby gate and down the stairs, etc.
  • He is starting to look at books! He looks through his current favorite, My Little Word Book, every night before we go to bed.
  • He is becoming more agile during cat-attacks: he can now corner them, grab a tuft of fur, and go down for the tackle from various positions. The body-slam used to be more a little more shaky and not quite as flexible.
  • He wants to walk everywhere.

and the kicker:

  • Today, while pausing to watch the introduction of Sid & Marty Krofft's Land of the Lost (a favorite of Squeeze's from childhood), he was totally and completely freaked out by the roaring dinosaur chasing the Marshalls. He clenched his fists, started shaking, made faces like he was going to cry, and squeaked out a couple of moans. !!! It was astounding. Where does a 13 month old gain any reference for the fact that monsters, or in this case, dinosaurs, are scary?? I was impressed.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Bride's Keepsake Book

Squeeze and I were married 6 years ago, approx 2 months before I turned 23. I had just graduated from college and thought the whole wedding thing was pretty sissy.

I did, however, buy a vintage 1976 (the year before I was born) copy of The Bride's Keepsake Book. I found it at a thrift store the very summer we were married.

I updated it with pictures and some stories, swatches of cloth from our dresses, and the song list from our Wedding Soundtrack. I'm glad I did - it is fun to look back on. However, I had always looked at the Wedding Gifts section of The Bride's Keepsake Book and thought, "Who has time for that?" Funny, since just within the last year, I relished going through Squeeze's maternal Grandmother's bridal keepsake book. I loved looking at everyone's names, seeing what gift they gave, and figuring out their connection to the family.


I updated my copy of The Bride's Keepsake Book. I just finished today.

It all started last week, when I pulled out the old standby How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. It was a wedding gift; one that I've used quite a bit. I like how he talks about the recipes before going into the details, like, "The US must be very removed from the kitchen to have allowed pancake mixes a hold on the market, because they are ridiculously easy to make".

As I opened the cookbook, I thought about its status as a Wedding Gift but I had no idea who it came from. What a shame! I stated such to Squeeze, then wondered out loud about all of our wedding cards in the big plastic bag stored in one of our cupboards. Squeeze promptly went to the cupboard, pulled out the bag, and began going through the cards until he found the Cookbook Giver. Harley S. (& family): one of my beloved professors from college. That makes the cookbook twice as nice! He even wrote in the card of his fondness for it.

So. I brought out my 1976 The Bride's Keepsake Book, found the very blank Wedding Gifts section, and began transcribing all of our gifts and the givers, divided between our MN reception and WA reception. It has been so much fun. First of all, being able to connect various household items, kitchen tools, and other miscellany with the people who actually gave them to us: very cool. Now I can think of these people as I rinse peas in our colander, or weigh myself on our bathroom scale. I love it!

The other thing that struck me is all the life changes amongst my kin and acquaintance since the year 2000: death, divorce, marriage, and children. Death stands out the most starkly, followed by divorce. Jack and Peggy L. are no longer Jack and Peggy L. - it is now simply Peggy L. My heart aches with the reality of life (death). Entering both of their names on the registry felt so normal, and yet - he was gone as I wrote it.

9/11/06 conclusion:
Re-reading this post is like falling down a waterfall. It just ends; hacked. I don't have the time to edit into coherence, yet I don't want to delete it either. Therefore: it is what it is. A waterfall.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


Today, we woke up deliciously chilly and had to close our windows. I made my favorite soup: White Bean with Vegetables, Garlic, & Rosemary. Starbeans is wearing clothes for what seems like the first time since May. The sky is cloudy instead of beating us senseless with stifling sun rays.

It has come. Autumn!

Friday, September 08, 2006

13 hours: A new world record

Sheesh. We just ended a 13 hour No-Nap Marathon.

Aside from a 10 minute power nap (the dreaded Car Nap), Starbeans was balls to the wall the entire day: 8:30 am to 9:30 pm. I am so tired! Getting him (finally) to sleep was sweet relief; but it wasn't for lack of trying. I've been giving it a shot off and on since 7:00 pm, but he would have none of it. One would think a 13 month old would need to crash at some point. But no no no - he was so juiced up that he went down for the night a full 45 minutes later than usual. Good grief!

On a less exhausting note: Towards late afternoon, Starbeans brought 2 shirts to Squeeze - his new thing is to carry articles of clothing around, one in each hand, and flap them in the air. But this time, Squeeze put them on him, one on top of the other and for the rest of the night he toddled around in his enormous robes - it made me giggle with affection just looking at him. Isn't he precious??

Monday, September 04, 2006

Autumnal Delights

Autumn is my favorite season. Although it is only September 4th and I might be jumping the gun a bit, a list has been stewing in my head the last few days. I must enumerate my reasons for loving it. I must.

  • Cool nights
  • Sun-warmed afternoons
  • The scent of withering leaves
  • Fungi!
  • Beautiful berries - yew, snowberry, crab-apple, bittersweet
  • Brats at the Minneapolis Farmer's Market - loaded with sauerkraut and mustard
  • Campfires!
  • Wearing long sleeves & pants, but not being forced into mittens, scarves, and a big coat (yet)
  • The Annual Borealis Fall Extravaganza - Squeeze's family gathers every fall in the Wisconsin woods. Roasting weenies, popping acorns in the fire pit, walks through the brightly yellowed Sugar Maples.
  • School - I used to look forward to this all summer long
  • Cozy, dark nights indoors
  • Pumpkin-Apple Bread!! (Nummy)
  • Canning cranberries

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Black-Eyed Susans

Reading through the Little House books as a child, I always wondered about Black-Eyed Susans. Laura Ingalls Wilder talked about them a lot. I always admired the name, but never knew what they looked like. I'm not sure if that is because they weren't very common in my part of the country (Western WA) or if my mom simply didn't cultivate them. In MN, they are everywhere. I love them dearly - quaint, lovely, and I really like saying the name.

Black-Eyed Susan!

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tight pants just might save your life

True story:

I've worked for the same company for 5 years now. Cubeland. Hundreds of people on each floor, thousands of people in each building. You know the routine. Recently a 24 year old co-worker's life was quite literally radically altered after a day in skin-tight leather pants.

"I'll be riding without a spare soon," he said.


Let me explain -

He fell asleep (passed out?) in a pair of tight pants after work; when he woke up, he found himself at a slightly crumpled odd angle, body twisted, legs pressed together, and one of his testicles was aflame. He thought it wasn't much - it hurt for about a week, then the pain went away.

But that sucker grew. The testicle enlarged over a period of about a month until it was the size of a fist. He finally confided in another co-worker, who said, "Are you nuts?? Call the doctor NOW!!!" He did. They told him to come in that day. Within the week, he had an ultrasound, the doctor confirmed it was cancer, and he was scheduled for surgery. Oh yes - he's truly "riding without a spare" now. Interestingly, they removed his testicle through an incision in his lower abdomen and pulled it out, strings and all, from the top.

The tumor was 6 centimeters in length. The doctors said it was a kind of cancer that usually occurs in older men and does not spread. Sometimes, they said, tumors can grow rapidly if pestered. Thus, the life-saving dual purpose of the skin-tight leather pants: ridiculously good-looking and a valuable medical apparatus!


Guys: Turn you head and cough - monthly, at least.
Ladies: Tell your men to check themselves regularly!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I require answers

There are a few questions that have been bouncing around in my head recently:

  • Is it really expensive to buy fresh vegetables and fruits? I read this on a blog the other day (I've heard it before too). Really?? The commenter on the blog proceeded something to the effect of, "Fresh fruits and vegetables are too expensive for our family to buy". Really?? What on earth are these people eating? I mean, seriously: what - are - these - people - eating - ? I've been quite mystified since. Surely canned fruits and vegetables are more expensive than fresh. Aren't they? Cereal definitely is. Meat? Maybe they eat 100% pasta (plain).
  • Why do people with pet dogs allow them to bark as they please? This includes barking at walkers, bikers, people walking into buildings across the street, and anything that moves. Maybe they've just given up? Perhaps they are immune to the irritation.
  • Why do I have more zits now, at the age of 28, than I did in all my teenage years combined? I don't have any conclusions on this one; however, I am thankful that I don't care as much. Then, it would have been complete mortification. Now, it's mostly feelings of slightly perturbed annoyance.
  • Why are people gung-ho to start their baby on solids at the age of 4 months? That is so many more miserable months of punishment, cleaning out disgusting diapers. Starbeans is 13 months: we've been cleaning out his toxic dumps for 2 months now. It is H-O-R-R-I-F-I-C. Another added benefit of delaying solids!

and finally,

  • Why can't it be fall yet?

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Love, baptism, and a new apartment

Our Wilburn went and got himself a ladyfriend. (We had to write him a letter to get a hold of the guy!) Isn't he handsome?

2006 was a big year of change. He moved out of his house of 55 years into an apartment connected with a Lutheran church, started seeing Evy (who lives on the same floor), and got baptized just this past weekend. This guy is 86 years old. Amazing!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Surprise! It's 11:11

I am incredibly fond of the exact hour and minute of 11:11. AM or PM - it doesn't matter.

Uncannily, I regularly look at a digital clock at 11:11 on the dot. I believe that I started noticing it in high school, thinking then (as I do now), "One-one-one-one - cool!"

For example, this morning at work, I glanced at my computer clock at 11:11 AM. Last night, I spotted 11:11 PM on our home computer. And the night before that, I saw 11:11 on our alarm clock as I was drifting into sleep.

Say what?

I've been trying to figure it out recently: do I actually look at the clock more frequently at the specific time of 11:11, or do I just notice it more because it is so unusual? Perhaps I don't take note of 5:28 or 1:32 quite as much as the beautiful 11:11.

However, I can say this: While I do love it, I do not wait around for 11:11 hoping to catch a glimpse - I simply look at the clock, and presto - it's you-know-when. Not everyday, but it seems to be an unusually frequent event. Quite bizarre but always entertaining.

Monday, August 21, 2006


Words I almost always misspell:

  • cheast - chest
  • definately - definitely
  • recieve - receive

I've been forced to memorize chest and definitely, but have to repeat "'i' before 'e' except after 'c'" over and over in my mind before I write down receive. How embarrassing!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Six teeth and a short attention span

I'd like some advice from a few staid veterans.

I need to feed my 1-year-old some, "Sit in your highchair and eat ________ while I wash dishes."

Something nutritious, delicious, and excellent for little fingers.

8/30 Update:
  • elbow macaroni
  • peaches
  • blueberries
  • broccoli tops

Thursday, August 17, 2006

A list that inspires sentiments

I'm a BIG fan of nostalgia as well as a a list hound.

I combined the two in a daybook entry from a few months back that I'd like to share with the general public (that reads my blog).

Things that remind me of:

Grandpa C.

  • hot, black dirt
  • pole beans
  • carrots
  • big gardens
  • prickly cucumber stems
  • pin-striped overalls
  • handkerchiefs - red, blue
  • TV golf
  • bottle rockets

Grandma C.

  • heavy whipping cream
  • big turkey dinners
  • potato salad
  • peanut butter on a spoon
  • canned pickles
  • tooth picks
  • leg brace
  • cane
  • "set" hair
  • The Wig

Together -

  • the smell of boxwood
  • the smell & feel of a dank basement
  • canning jars filled with vegetables
  • pheasant drinking glasses
  • state spoons
  • moss

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Chocolatey-burnt black beans

I often eat black beans and brown rice with a nice side of sour cream and salsa. It is easy to make, tasty, and deliciously filling: a nice lunch to bring to work.

Last night, I cooked rice in a pot (because our rice cooker has been dropped one-too-many times by my main man Squeeze) - it went well. Pre-rice cooker, I could never get rice right; now I realize it was because I never put enough water in the pot. (I've been trying to learn how to cook the last few years.)

I boiled black beans simultaneously; but since they take longer to cook and I was distracted by our new obsession - Twin Peaks, I burnt the crap out of them. I only noticed because of the terrible smell wafting in from the kitchen. I ran in, doused them with fresh water, and went back to Twin Peaks. I am hooked. I can see why the show (and subsequent movie) was an instant cult classic - it is filled with atmosphere, intrigue, humor, endearing characters, mystery, and has a certain sultriness to it. I can't stop thinking about it. All the red hues, the throw-back to 40's glamour, and the music - it is fabulous. I highly recommend it.

Back to the black beans, I've discovered I can eat just about anything - if it was me who cooked it (the exception being the split pea soup that smelled like rotted carcass when we were first married). In addition to hating waste, there is something about the work going into food that makes me able to stomach just about anything. (Honestly though - I've worked myself into being a pretty good cook. I swear it!!)

Anyway, so - like usual, I combined the rice and beans, added a little salt and pepper, and brought the concoction to work today for my noon meal and made the most interesting discovery:

Black beans, once burnt, taste chocolatey in the charred kind of way. It was, as my father-in-law says, "Nummy-nummy-good-good". I probably won't make a habit out of it, but I'm not complaining about this particular botch-up. It tastes good!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Spider on your hat?

I just got back from a wonderful visit with my parents in the Pacific Northwest. It was my 10 year high school reunion, which I thoroughly enjoyed, and it is always a pleasure to bring Grandchild #1 (the one and only) for a visit.

One of the highlights of the trip was seeing my grandpa in his Old Duffer Hat, with, of all things, a spider glued to the bill.


He has been wearing pin-striped overalls since I can remember. In fact, when I was in 8th grade and we moved to the town where he has lived his entire life, I assumed that all the townsmen wore pin-striped overalls. (They didn't.)

He is getting older and weaker and didn't even recognize me when I saw him in June. While he often confuses or forgets my brothers, as in - "Who's that??" - my grandma says, "That's BRENT!!" or "That's Julie's son - ERIK!!", he has never forgotten me; it was a little disconcerting. As I was leaving, he wanted to know who I was.

But he was very coherent this visit. On Tuesday night, he asked me when our flight was getting in to Minneapolis. When I yelled (he's hard of hearing), "5:30 AM!", he responded in a snap - "Just in time to get up".

He loves one-liners.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

exceptional talents or powers

Our child prodigy, Starbeans, has figured out that cats like chasing string. He has them wrapped around his little finger; by holding the pretty red ribbon out and flailing it around a bit he holds the cats' complete attention. Here is Lester, in rapt concentration, going for the gold.


We hit the jackpot: cat and baby entertained simultaneously.

A life of ease!

Sunday, July 30, 2006


My sweet baby is 1 year old today.

On Friday morning, the 28th, I went to the Farmer's Market and bought sweet corn, in addition to a smattering of other vegetables. Pushing Starbeans in an umbrella stroller, I passed by a vender selling pints of beautiful blueberries and raspberries in little wooden square containers.

Seeing them pushed me into the realm of memory.

Last year, July 28th was on a Thursday. The Farmer's Market is downtown on Thursdays in Minneapolis and I was there after an appointment with my midwife. Before catching the bus, I bought sweet corn at one stand; then I passed by a vender selling beautiful blueberries and raspberries in little wooden square containers - and I stopped and bought a pint of each.

As I sat waiting for the bus, feeling hot and miserably pregnant, I thought about the raspberries, the blueberries, the non-pregnant Mexican woman sitting next to me, and wondered, "When...when...??" When on earth was I going to get this baby out of me? Who would it be? Was this woman feeling sorry for me - because I sure was. What would it feel like to not be pregnant again? What would it feel like to have an actual baby?

I brought all the corn and blueberries and raspberries home, but didn't eat any of it: I planned to savor them over the weekend. I wasn't due until August 8th anyways, and good grief - don't first babies go over their due date by at least a week?

We went out for dinner with my grandparents that night, where I pounded down an enormous hamburger, a giant plate of french fries, and drank glass after glass of water and raspberry lemonade. Very strange, indeed, as I barely drank anything after 6 pm last summer to avoid getting up (literally) 4-6 times a night to pee and I hadn't been able to eat much recently either - the baby was taking up too much room. Odd - very odd.

  • 2 am that night/morning, my water broke.
  • 4 am contractions started.
  • 10 am we went into the hospital.
  • All afternoon and evening we labored through back labor, of all unpleasant and painful things.
  • 10 pm, after being stuck at 7 centimeters for 5 hours, my midwife said, "I know you said that you wanted to go naturally, but if I've ever seen a time where Pitocin would be useful in my 30 years, the time is now."
  • 11 pm, Pitocin administered.
  • 1:17 am, Saturday July 30th, our beautiful Starbeans plunked out with nary a cry. The midwife brought him to my chest and I looked at him with utter amazement. He made little squeaking noises and suckled at the breast.

By the time we got back to our sweet corn, it has lost some of its juicy vibrance. We brought the raspberries and blueberries to the hospital with us, but got lost in all the excitement; and, they too, lost some of their umph.

It was strange to walk by the same vendor selling the same beautiful berries, only this time my sweet little munchkin was known to me - sitting in a stroller in front of me and smiling up with his 4-toothed grin. The last time he was snuggled up in my womb, pinching my sciatic nerve, and waiting for his soon-to-be grand entrance.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Lord of the Flies kept me on the edge of my seat to the very last page. I honestly had no memory of the ending, so it was pretty intense.

Very good read.

Starbeans is 1 year old next Sunday. AMAZING. He has been eating solids regularly, so his poop is starting to change and get more stinky. Gone are the days of inoffensive yellow poop - hello, chunks!

It was interesting - today was the first day of his life where he pooped and felt upset about it. As in, he wanted that crap out. I thought that he had pooped, but I burnt my thumb and was nursing it with ice; so because of that, he was sitting in it for awhile (maybe 5-10 minutes). It got to the point where he was fussing and pulling on his diaper, looking up at me in a helpless way. Poor thing.

Another first: Today, I asked him where our cat Tootsie was. He looked over at her and put his hand out in her direction. My child is a genius! Seriously though - we were so proud. It is a lot of fun to watch his cognitive development.

On a side note: The best way to take the heat out of a burn is to ice, then apply lavender oil. It takes the pain right out.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

L of the F

I'm almost done reading Lord of the Flies.

The book before this, Don't Know Much About History, took me almost 4 months to read. Granted, it was probably 600-700 pages and my reading time has been squelched by the more important task of mothering; but I'm flying through Flies lickety-split.

It is really good.

I read it the first time in late junior high (I think I ran into a paperback that my dad had); my main memory of it was at the end of the book when Piggy was pushed off a cliff and dashed against the rocks - and a graphic description of his brains splayed out. I can remember being upset and confused by it. However, reading it again, I can't believe I wasn't more upset by the entire story; perhaps I was too young to understand at the time.

The inside jacket says it perfectly: "Golding's aim [was] to 'trace the defect of society back to the defect of human nature'".

Yo. This speaks to me: I feel like I've had a front-row seat to view all the unsightly defects in my own person, especially within this last year. It has been rough - and I must admit, I don't know how all this junk built up.

Confronting my own ugliness has given me fresh insight into some of the reasons behind our societal ills. I've been thinking about a lot recently. If I have nagging faults that impede my interaction with others, how much harder, then, is it for someone who is truly starting with less? I would say I've had it pretty easy, and yet - there is plenty of hideousness within myself to address.

Human nature.

Yes - it is easier to understand the group as a whole through the rough task of sifting through my own garbage. It has to be done, but crap - it ain't pleasant.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Diddle Diddle

Hey diddle diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon.

The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran away with the spoon.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Edith 'n Archie

We've been cooped up in the house the last several days due to an oppressive humidity-laden heat. It has been like walking in a thick soup. Thankfully, we have what Minnesotans call "air" - meaning central air conditioning.

Where I grew up (in WA), no one has air conditioning. Seriously. No one. It just isn't needed.

The midwest is a different story.

While we've been trapped inside, we've watched a lot of All in the Family.


Has anyone seen much of this show? I hadn't seen much of it, if any - but we got Season 3 on DVD(s) from the library and have been watching it for a week. It is amazing! All the fighting stresses me out a bit (it's just too realistic), but it is extremely water-proof. The writing is tight; the content is gripping; the characters are endearing; and it is funny. How do they do that?

Seinfeld and All in the Family belong in the same class of biting humor. Well-written, a force to be reckoned with, and something to makes us re-examine ourselves.

I like it.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Earache Remedy

My sweet little one was sick for 3-4 weeks this past January with RSV at the age of 6 months. He was so ill that he actually had to be hospitalized at Children's in Minneapolis for 4 days. (We were sick the entire time as well, but that is a different story).

I was completely unprepared for dealing with a sick baby - nay, an extremely sick baby. Aside from giving him cooling bathes and propping him up while he was sleeping, I didn't really know what else to do. We took him to Urgent Care on a Saturday after he had been sick for several days and all the doctor really did was offer us acetaminophen.

Not good enough.

By the time we took him to the ER on Monday, he was severely dehydrated, sleeping 18-20 hours of the day, and when he wasn't sleeping, he was wailing or coughing. He also wasn't getting enough oxygen. We called a Nurse's line and were urged us to take him to the ER - his legs were blue from the knees down when he woke up from his nap.

He hasn't been sick since, aside from a couple of small colds. However, I've been stocking my brain and daybook with an arsenal of home remedies so I will not be so helpless next time. I especially want to avoid antibiotics; and I fear ear infections the most.

I found a handy earache remedy from Natural Family Living - The Mothering Magazine Guide to Parenting. This book also contains excellent advice for the home care of fevers, colds and flus, and general first aid. I'm a big fan of Aviva Jill Romm as well and plan to buy Naturally Healthy Babies and Children: A Commonsense Guide to Herbal Remedies, Nutrition, and Health soon, as I can't find it at the library.

Garlic Oil eardrops:

  • contains antiviral and antibacterial properties
  • add 4 crushed garlic cloves to a jar with a quarter cup olive oil and let stand for 1-3 days -strain and refrigerate for up to 6 months
  • add a few drops mullein, St. John's Wort, or calendula to the oil
  • to administer - run hot water over a spoon until warm, add a few drops of the oil to the spoon, have the child lay dow, ear up, and drop 2-3 drops in the ear
  • plug loosely with a cotton ball
  • repeat 2-3 times a day for no more than 4 days

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might;
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.

The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"

The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky;
No birds were flying overhead--
There were no birds to fly.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand--
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A Pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach;
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."

The eldest Oyster looked at him,
But never a word he said;
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.

But four young Oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat;
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.

Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
Conveniently low--
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes -- and ships -- and sealing-wax --
Of cabbages -- and kings --
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.

"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need;
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now, if you're ready, Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."

"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue.
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said.
"Do you admire the view?"

"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but,
"Cut us another slice.
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"

"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick.
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but,
"The butter's spread too thick!"

"I weep for you," the Walrus said;
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size,
Holding his pocket-handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.

"O Oysters," said the Carpenter,
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?"
But answer came there none--
And this was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.