Pesca Rant Reason #5

He sounds like he spits when he talks.

I should learn to keep my mouth shut

My good tempered baby seems to have started feeling the pain after he woke up from his afternoon nap. He was fussy all night, in that pathetic sick-baby way. Aside from a short romp around the movie room while I was obsessively casually watching another episode of Project Runway, he insisted on being held by me, and only me, all night. Around bed time, he started tugging on his ear. Not a gentle tugging. More like a pulling. Or ripping. He was making the saddest little moaning and whimpering sounds and it just tears my heart out to hear it.

It doesn't help that I'm a little bit sick myself. I've got a sore throat, a headache, and a low-grade fever. Not enough to put me out, just enough to make my day pretty crappy. I've been getting these little mini two to three day viruses ever since Saul started daycare and they really suck. Still, if I could add a couple of eye and ear infections to my yuckiness and take it away from him, I would in a second.


Saul Update

My poor shorty has bacterial conjunctivitis in both eyes, two ear infections, and a minor sinus infection.

Remarkably, our only clue was the goopy eyes, because he hasn't been particularly fussy or anything. He is very possibly the easiest, best tempered child in the entire universe.

Anyway, he's got some nasty eye drops and a round of antibiotics to get through now. This is his first illness requiring medicine. I have been told that I should temporarily switch to disposable diapers because copious amounts of liquid poo are in our future.

Lovely. I think for every minute of sweet, precious, snugly baby time, there are five to ten minutes of smelly, gooey bodily fluids. But somehow, that one minute is, without questions, totally worth it.


A local church paid for a gas station to lower it's price by $1 on Sunday.

I wonder how many people drove their SUVs all the way across town and then waited in line for two hours (the average wait per this article), probably idling with the AC on, to save a couple of bucks on a single tank of gas.

Pesca rant

Reason #4: He used the word "von Meter-esque" in the broadcast yesterday. Um, pretentious a little?


Disaster, part two

Our (less than a year old) retaining wall went during the storm and took out deck supports, the sprinkler system, and a whole lot of new rosemary plants with it. We discovered the problem because the sprinkler pipes were spewing enough water that there was no pressure left in the indoor faucets. It's a good thing I didn't decide to go out on the deck to water my plants - I might have ended up 30 feet down in the greenbelt.

Is anyone else starting to think that we should just give up on this whole house thing and move back to an apartment?

Disaster, part one

During the huge storm Saturday night, our neighbor's tree fell across their driveway. All the men on the street were positively gleeful. They dug through their garages to find branch cutters, saws, and chainsaws, and had a wonderful Sunday morning acting like little boys with power tools.


Getting a little bit ahead of ourselves

Perhaps seven months is a little bit early for finger painting.


I'm a little behind the times with all these new fangled widgets and such, but Crystal's automated invitation pushed me over the edge. See sidebar for Twitter updates.


The goodness of people

When I read too much news, I start to think that people are inherently evil, lazy, and stupid. But stories about animals always restore my faith in humanity. Seriously. Did you hear about the little penguin wetsuit? I mean can we really be all that bad if we care so much about a 25 year old penguin? And don't even get me started on the doggie dancing.

What, you mean you don't read Cute Overload?

A new first

I do believe Saul threw his first temper tantrum this morning. When we got to the UT campus and parked, I got in the backseat with him and let him nurse. Then I sat him back in his car seat while I rearranged myself and then got out and went around to let him out. I guess he thought I was going to drive somewhere else and leave him in the car seat. He screamed and turned red and purple and arched his back and rolled around and hit anything he could reach. I watched for a few minutes, not worrying about all the college students hurrying past me vowing to never forget their birth control. As soon as I picked him up, he was fine. Interesting.

The research lab waiting room was great - there were lots of toys and he only banged his head once. He passed up all the age-appropriate toys and headed straight for a large tow truck toy with matchbox cars stacked in the back. So much for my gender neutral toy plans.

The experiment involved me sitting in a darkened room with Saul on my lap, listening to music and watching a screen. As soon as I sat down, Saul's brow furrowed and I could see what was going through his head. "dark room, sitting in Mama's lap, music...NO NAP NO NAP MUST NOT SLEEP NO NAP!"

So he arched his back, swung his arms around, clapped frantically, and yelled "babababadabamababadaba" until the lights came back on. Have I mentioned that he doesn't like to go to sleep?

So. We haven't even reached the terrible twos yet. Great.

Another one

Reason number 3 why I hate Mike Pesca: instead of just asking questions of the guests he interviews, he interjects his own opinions and crackpot theories. You're supposed to be just interviewing experts! No one cares what you think! If they did, then you would be the one getting interviewed!

Ok, counting to ten...

The coolest band that I've never heard

My step-dad is in a new (to him, at least) band called the Intercoastal Pirates. I haven't heard them yet, but his last band, The Nailers, was very awesome.

If you happen to be vacationing in the Brazoria County area (and really, who doesn't want to vacation in South Texas?! The humidity! The mosquitoes! The alligators!) go see them play.



I love him to death, but sometimes I think we could do with a little less personality. My mom always says that the things that drive you crazy about your kids are the things you will admire in them as adults. That was her mantra while me and Becka were growing up - she used to repeat it with a kind of desperation sometimes. I understand now.

Like anyone cares

I have started listening to the Bryant Park Project on NPR. One of the hosts left last week to go on maternity leave and I find her replacement, Mike Pesca, totally obnoxious. He sounds like he's always had a bit too much caffeine, and he's always jumping in with little quips like he's saying "look at me! look at me!"

I'm not sure why he annoys me so much, but I actually thought about writing a letter to NPR about it.

Wouldn't you think I had better things to do with my time?

If so, you would be wrong.

Poetry Thursday

The Foot Thing

On your first visit, you put your feet up
on my polished table. Ankles crossed.
Doc Martens. (And this was years after
they were out of fashion with the young.)

It can't have been easy
for a small woman like you
to have kept your feet up like that.
I had to talk to you by leaning round.

I didn't know what to do -
whether to push them off, offer a cushion,
tell you I couldn't see you for your feet,
or ask if you had trouble with circulation.

I did the sort of thing I always do:
I just set a knife on one side
and a fork on the other as if that were
a customary greeting for soles

and kept my face blank.
It must have been a test, because
I never saw you do it again, not here,
not at home, not in a waiting room.

You came again so many times
I must have passed, though
feel I failed: I still don't know
what you wanted me to do.

-Jane Routh


Beer Bread

This bread is unbelievable. It has no yeast. It requires no rising, no kneading. It is simple enough to make for dinner on a weeknight.

1. Preheat oven to 375 and grease a loaf pan
2. Sift together 3 cups flour, 3 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 cup sugar
3. Add a 12-oz bottle of beer and stir.
4. Put dough in loaf pan and pour 1/4 cup melted butter over the top
5. Stick it in the oven for 1 hour.

That's it. Yummy. It tastes like yeast bread and the crust tastes almost fried from from the butter.

I have made three loafs in the last four days.

State of the garden

Excellent. You can see the first pictures here. I do believe this experiment is going to be a success.


Something useful

I am offering my son up in the interest of science.

On Friday morning, I will be taking Saul by the new Children's Research Lab at UT to participate in a study about the connections between music and speech in infants. I'm quite excited to have gotten in on this. I am completely fascinated by the working of Saul's brain - even more so since I started reading this book.


Anyone want to guess what I do on my day off from work?

I sit at home on my work computer and watch stupid videos on You Tube while waiting for Saul to wake up and play with me some more.

There are many more worthwhile things that I should be doing right now. And I'm feeling very guilty.

But my teeth hurt. So there.

Self improvement

Thanks to the wonderful new draft version of blogger, I am actually writing this on Monday night. When this posts, I will be getting a mouthful of Novocaine in preparation for a four hour dentist appointment to finally fix my teeth.

I've had bonding on my teeth for my entire life due to tetracycline stains, but bonding is a less than ideal situation. Tomorrow, I will have my temporary crowns put on all my front teeth in preparation for the permanent porcelain ones that will go on in about a month.

I'm so excited that I can't even express it. I have been waiting a very long time to get this done. This is generally considered a cosmetic procedure, so it is not covered by insurance. But my wonderfully sneaky sister, who works for an insurance company that will remain nameless, found a loophole that makes it a medical necessity.

And getting to (legally) scam an insurance company just makes it that much sweeter.

Little Prince

Saul has just begun to pick up the concept of signing. He signs a few words to us: ceiling fan, milk, and more, but he doesn't ever get them quite right. The sign for more involves putting your fingers together a few times.

Instead of doing that, he claps his hands. So when he's sitting in his high-chair and I'm not feeding him fast enough, he will clap his hands at me and then open his mouth.

The whole effect is rather imperious.

I know the picture has nothing to do with my son's spoiled habits, but isn't he cute?


Word of warning

I wish someone had warned me about this earlier.

If you feed your child beets, you must be prepared for them to poop what looks like tubes of bright red lipstick.

I can't keep up

Is he trying to stand up or is he trying to do down dog? It's hard to tell. Whatever he's doing, it involves frequent face plants into the carpet, doors, his crib, tables, etc. He's had his first goose egg, so now we're waiting for his first black eye.

Future rockstar?

Saul might be the next Gene Simmons.

Also. Need some fake blood for Halloween? Steamed beets pureed with rice will do an admirable job.


Little known fact

I love cauliflower. Yum. All white and pretty and nutty and subtle. And no one can tell if it gets stuck in your teeth. To B's great dismay, I made cream of cauliflower soup last Sunday and served it for lunch. The recipe is one I found on my favorite food site - Epicurious. It has cauliflower and leeks and Stilton cheese and it is beautifully white and creamy. I topped it with some blanched cauliflower, pepper, and fresh thyme.

B said it smelled like rotten gym socks.

But you shouldn't trust his food reviews. If I had topped it with barbecue sauce or Chuys salsa, he would have loved it.





Here are the portraits from Monday. And here are the outtakes.

I love them!


Poetry Thursday

The Night of the Full Moon

On highway 5 the moon
is low and bright in the sky, a natural headlight.
It is not the orange globe of my childhood,
when the dish ran away with the spoon,
nor the oyster of last month,
pearlizing my walk through the lily garden.

It is the moon the general talked
about on the radio station Sunday morning,
when he said "the night of the food moon,
is perfect to begin a war."

Now, I imagine the man in the moon
strobing the cannon of light,
across a field of soldiers and dust riddled road,
down the mountain and into the valley,
past abandoned clothes hanging on the line,
to the darkened houses, a blazing guide.

-Alison Marsh Harding

My boys

Best. Picture. Ever.

Carrie pulled it off again - the family portraits we took are just incredible. I will have the rest up on Picasa by Monday and will post a link.

Video Thursday

Just kidding, the poem is coming in a little while.

But for now, here is Saul getting stuck on top of his giant teddy bear.

And here he is getting tired of crawling around.


What you're really here for

It's so exhausting being charming all day...


Plastic bottle chemical may be harmful

Luckily, B and I are overly paranoid fanatical environmentalist hippies who avoid plastic at all costs. Saul's bottles are all glass, Think Baby, or Medela and are all BPA free. But I hate to think of all the millions and millions of babies who were falsely reassured by the FDA and industry over the last several years.

Here is the website that B and I consult before buying almost anything for Saul.

Things like this make me so angry. Are we really so desperate for cheap junk that we expose our children to all kinds of untested, unproven chemicals?


Hi Mom! You will probably want to stop reading right here so you don't have to beat yourself up about where you went wrong in raising me.

Ok then.

I don't think John McCain is a bad guy. I am positive that he has some integrity, and that's a very rare thing in a politician. I might have even considered voting for him just based on that, if it weren't for his unswerving devotion to putting American soldiers, including my very brave and very awesome step-sister, in danger in Iraq for no good reason that I can see.

But anyway.

I just saw this on CNN. Some of those are good ideas and some are bad. And then you have this:
McCain said he wants Congress to declare a summer gas-tax holiday, suspending the 18.4-cent gas tax and 24.4-cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day this year. Because so many industries rely on gas for production, "these immediate steps will help to spread relief across the American economy," he said.
That might be one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Shouldn't we be discouraging gas use? Don't we want to see less Hummers on the road? The fact that amazed me the most when I saw An Inconvenient Truth is that Americans can't even sell our cars in China because we don't meet their fuel-efficiency standards. Seriously. China. We live ridiculous, unsustainable lifestyles in this country and I don't think I could come up with a worse policy if I tried.

I might be in a minority here, but I would be very happy to see gas prices triple or more.



If I didn't live here already, I'd want to visit.


If I could do anything in the world right now, I would...wait, I would take a nap with Saul. Ok, but after that? I would go see Captain Picard do Shakespeare.

I'm entirely serious.

I lurve Patrick Stewart.



New skill

Oh geez, I can't even get over the adorableness of this.

Project Support Beauty in Nature

Lotus at Sarcastic Mom has a, um, thing going on where she encourages people to write about the changes they are making in their lives to help support sustainability. I have already written about our decision to use cloth diapers, so I won't start preaching about that again.

Another decision we made for Saul's health, and also the planet's health, was to make all of his baby food by ourselves. We had several reasons, most of which mirror the reasons we use cloth diapers. The first and main reason is that we feel it is better for Saul to get fresh, non-pasteurized, organic-where-possible, tasty food. But we also considered the trash that is created by using single-serving throwaway containers. Saul eats A LOT. I imagine we would go through 5-6 jars a day at this point. Multiply that by months and months. Not to mention that baby food rarely comes in jars these days - more like plastic containers that 1) leach into food and 2) will sit in landfills until long after we are all dead.

I have to admit - making the food myself is inconvenient. I have spent more time than I like to think about steaming heads of cauliflower, mashing up ripe bananas, and spooning purees into ice cube trays. But B and I try to eat healthy, fresh, locally produced foods, so it seems only fair to do the same for Saul, right? And more importantly, I want Saul to have a healthy and beautiful planet to live on and to give to his children and grandchildren.


Ok, what do you think? Anyone?


Back to Saul

I find it slightly distressing that Saul looks nothing like me. Aside from his big square head, which is totally mine, he looks exactly like B.

There is a picture of B as a toddler hanging in a collage in our hallway. He is hugging a teddy bear, and multiple people have commented on how much it looks like Saul.

Ok, on another note: this sight will be undergoing a major makeover VERY SOON. Look for it.


No room in my head

There was a time not too long ago when I would have jumped all over the favorite books poll. I would have written about the idiocy of Dan Brown and I would have speculated on how many people have actually read the entire Bible. (My guess? Not many. America, you liar!)

I might also have commented on the recent death of my life-long nemesis. Or about any of the several books I have read recently. (no really! I read books! Books without pictures!)

But instead, I just keep blathering on about Saul. Has becoming a mommy fried my brains? (no need to answer that, B, unless you want to sleep on the couch tonight)

You people should keep me accountable. Someone send me a nasty email if I don't post at least one thing a week that is not pictures of Saul or a picture of something I have baked.

Okay? Thanks.

Poetry Thursday


People looking at the sea,
makes them feel less terrible about themselves,
the sea's behaving abominably,
seems never satisfied,
what it throws away it dashes down
then wants back, yanks back.
Comparatively, thinks one vice president,
what are my frauds but nudged along
misunderstandings already there?
I can't believe I ever worried
about my betrayals, thinks the analyst
benefitting facially from the sea's raged-up mist.
Obviously I'm not the only one suffering
an identity crisis knows the boy
who wants to be a lawyer no more.
Nothing can stay long, cogitates the dog,
so maybe a life of fetch is not a wasted life.
And the sea heaves and cleaves and seethes,
shoots snot out, goes to bed only to wake
shouting in the mansion of the night, pacing,
pacing, making tea then spilling it,
sudden outloud laughter snort, Oh what the
heck, I probably drove myself crazy,
thinks the sea, kissing all those strangers,
forgiving them no matter what, liars
in confession, vomitters of plastics
and fossil fuels but what a stricken
elixir I've become even to my becalmed depths,
while through its head swim a million
fishes seemingly made of light
eating each other.

-Dean Young



Pretty crappy, huh? Image editing is not one of my talents and I don't have any software that wasn't a free download. If any of you guys know how to make it better, feel free to enlighten me. As long as it's free.

Rosemary raisin bread

It sounds like a weird combination, right? And I don't even like raisins. But the picture in The Book looked yummy, and rosemary grows like a weed in my front yard.

The dough for this one is really wet and sticky, and I think I added too much flour in an effort to keep it from all sticking to my counter tops. You let the dough rise for a long time - 2 1/2 hours. But I don't think I put it in a warm enough place.

The first loaf came out still doughy in the center. Monster enjoyed it.

The second loaf was much better, but still not perfect. I don't think it rose quite as much as it was supposed to, and the crust was kind of floury. Still, the bread was quite good. The rosemary isn't a really strong taste, but it gives the bread a kind of nice underlying herbalness.

BTW, I'm not sure how all the raisins migrated to one side. I swear they were mixed in evenly when I set it to rise.


Scene of the crime

So I am working on my laptop while Saul is playing on the floor next to the desk. At some point I realized that I hadn't heard him make any noise for awhile. So I look over and see this:

He slept like this for over two hours.



It's a bizarre sight that has amused me every year since I moved to Austin - cars and trucks lining the shoulders of Capital of Texas highway while families dressed in their best Easter clothes climb up the steep banks to get to the flowers. For the first time this year, I joined the herd. Twice. But I only had to finger sweep his mouth once for a partially eaten bluebonnet.



Unbelievably, I already have the pictures from our photo session on Wednesday. Carrie did an amazing job of capturing Saul's personality and every single one of the pictures are gorgeous. Here are a few of my favorites. The rest are on my Picasa page.


Picture day

Yesterday, the very talented Carrie came over to take pictures of Saul. He had just woken up from a nap when she arrived, so he was naked except for a diaper and covered in dried sweet potatoes. Lovely.

I cleaned him off, but we left him in just his diaper for almost the entire shoot.

Once he got woken up and realized that there was another woman in the room, he started hamming for the camera. Honestly, if I hadn't been in the room when he was born, I would suspect that he is actually my sister's child.