Barbara Ehrenreich invalidated her whole Nickel and Dimed experiment for me by refusing to have a roommate. I, too, have worked as a maid, but I sure as hell didn't expect to afford my own apartment on those wages.

Poetry Thursday

The Clasp

She was four, he was one, it was raining, we had colds,
we had been in the apartment two weeks straight,
I grabbed her to keep her from shoving him over on his
face, again, and when I had her wrist
in my grasp I compressed it, fiercely, for a couple
of seconds, to make an impression on her,
to hurt her, our beloved firstborn, I even almost
savored the stinging sensation of the squeezing,
the expression, into her, of my anger,
"Never, never, again," the righteous
chant accompanying the clasp. It happened very
fast-grab, crush, crush,
crush, release-and at the first extra
force, she swung her head, as if checking
who this was, and looked at me,
and saw me-yes, this was her mom,
her mom was doing this. Her dark,
deeply open eyes took me
in, she knew me, in the shock of the moment
she learned me. This was her mother, one of the
two whom she most loved, the two
who loved her most, near the source of love
was this.

-Sharon Olds


Brain Hat - pictures

I guess blurry is better than nothing, right?

Brain Hat

We headed off this morning to the UT Childrens Research Lab again. This time, Saul got to wear the brain hat.

It wasn't as cool as that, but almost.

He started out enjoying himself immensely. There were two researchers who were paying all kinds of attention to him and so many toys that I could see his little baby eyes bugging out. Because B and I are terrible, selfish parents, we have very few toys that light up, make electronic noises, or do other annoying things. But at the CRL? There is no money spared in the interest of distracting kids long enough to glue electrodes to their heads. There was an unfortunate introduction to Elmo that I'm sure I will be regretting in the years to come. There was a mini piano thing that played some infant-friendly funk music. There were so many blinking lights that I tried to remember whether they screened for epilepsy among their subjects.

They put the brain hat on a few times and let him pull it off. He didn't care much, thanks to Elmo's electronic siren call. When they finally added the chin strap, he was a little bit annoyed, but again, Elmo saved the day.

But then she started squirting gel into the connectors and that set him off. He was NOT interested in having strange, squishy gel squirted under a cap all over his head. Cheerios and apple juice and finally a pacifier were required. The experiment itself, which involved watching a TV screen that flashed pictures of pleasantly smiling women, only took a few minutes. After the cap was off, Saul returned to his usual happy self and was rewarded with a bib and a new t-shirt.

Pictures coming soon.


A list of otherwise unrelated things

1. I've read at least two books recently that B refers to as "Steph's liberal propaganda." I have to agree with him. It frustrates me when books with very valid arguments are undermined by vitriolic and sarcastic tones and the assumption that people who disagree are idiots.

2. It's interesting that the health care debate in this country includes references to only Britain and Canada, both with socialist systems, when looking at options. Why don't we look more at other European countries that spend less money per person and enjoy better health?

3. I know I've said this many times before, but I really think Saul is about to get some teeth. Finally. Do you know that he is 10 months old and doesn't have a single tooth?! Not that I mind. The entire time I nursed, I never had to deal with the biting issue, and I love his gummy smile.

4. Lately, I am stressed to the breaking point. I manifest stress is a variety of lovely physical ways, such as headaches, stomach aches, eczema, and insomnia. So I quit the coffee cold turkey several days ago (I had a minor lapse yesterday, but McDonald's mochas are so nasty that I only took a few sips) and I am making a renewed effort to get to the gym at least four times per week. I should go back to yoga classes, but until I lose this baby weight, I'm afraid of doing a down dog and having my butt knock over the little anorexic hipsters that are usually on the next mat over.

5. Do you know that I keep up with over 30 blogs? I counted in my RSS feed. So why don't I have time to clean my house or organize my office?

6. That's a dangerous question and I'm not sure I want to go there.

7. I could really use some coffee right now.

8. Isn't it nice how a numbering system can make my rambling look kind of organized?


Monday Morning Saul

We had a busy weekend. Grandma and Grandpa were in town and Saul did his best to show off and entertain them. I think he might have worn them out - he's not the kind of kid who plays quietly. He tends to get bored of a toy after only a minute or two and then he's on to the next thing, and he loves to make trouble. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures. He never stays still, and I always need both hands to keep him from diving head first over the couch, or climbing on the fireplace, or cornering the cat.

However, I did get a few pictures of him playing in our front yard. He didn't like the feel of the grass on his knees, so he was walking on his hands and feet.



My niece, from now on known as T-Monkey, has started a blog. How adorable is that?

Recipe Friday

Mustard Glazed Shrimp

1 1/2 lb lg shrimp
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced (4 is better)
  1. Shell and de-vein all the shrimp. Ask yourself why you're doing this. Shrimp isn't nearly good enough for all this trouble.
  2. Put three to four shrimp on each wooden skewer
  3. Whisk together mustard, honey, lemon juice, and garlic and brush on the shrimp
  4. Grill 2-3 minutes per side, brushing with the glaze each time you turn them
Verdict: Eh. B gave this a 3 out of 5. I don't even give it that, because I forgot that shrimp isn't so good after you've spent a half-hour pulling out their nasty little intestines. I suspect this could be good if 1) it were grilled longer or hotter and 2) if someone else made it for me. The glaze is good, if a little obvious and boring. It would be equally good on chicken, pork chops, or even tossed with some asparagus. So there you go. This post isn't a total waste.

One more thing. Why do my skewers turn black and fall apart even when I've soaked them all day in water?? Hmmm??


Quick Saul update

Yesterday was a pretty bad day for Saul, probably because we had fed him peaches right before we found out he was allergic to peaches. He was extremely stuffed up and snotty, and he was wheezing whenever he took a breath. I gave him three breathing treatments, which he detests, and forced some Mucinex, which he also detests, down his throat. His breathing sounded so bad that I almost slept on the carpet next to his crib, but finally settled for turning the monitor up as loud as it would go so that I could hear his rasping all night.

This morning, he woke up happy. I gave him watered down apple juice instead of milk for breakfast, and for the first time in several days, he didn't throw it up on me. He was cheerful all morning, and didn't fuss, even when I made him play in the bathtub while I took my shower.

I was scared and overwhelmed yesterday, but this morning I am hopeful that if we are careful, we can make him feel good again. He's such a happy little boy anyway, it's hard to imagine how wonderful he will be when he doesn't feel like crap all the time.

Poetry Thursday

By Daylight

In the tropical glass of a cool, foreign
mirror, I saw myself for the first time:
head forward on my unstraightened spine
from too much reading, cheeks scored

by impatience. I can never control
my eyes - gray, saddened at will,
with an uncurbed glare for looked-for double-dealing,
but still looking half a simpleton's after all.

And then, where the surface wavered,
I saw surprise - a sweating older woman, her coming
printed in faint lines around my mouth - and loved
the old bitch, whole, as if she were my next-door neighbor.

-Elizabeth Macklin



I shouldn't complain so much.

might be the most heartbreaking thing I have ever read.


Saul's allergist just called with the results of his blood test. The unsurprising result was that he has an extremely serious reaction to eggs. The unexpected result was that he is also allergic to peaches. Crazy. I have never in my life heard of someone being allergic to peaches, but whatever. The reaction was not a very strong one, but strong enough that there will be no more peaches. Poor kid, it's one of his favorite foods.

I've been avoiding thinking too much about the future until we got these results. Now I know for sure what's in store. I WILL be "that mom." I have no choice. The scariest thing in the world is to know that a common substance that's around all the time could put your child in the hospital or worse. I feel like there's a danger lurking around every corner and there's nothing I can do. Thank god I've got Carrie and Brad, who have been dealing with this for almost two years now, to support me.

It's a relief to know what has been making him sick, but I wish with all my heart that it was something I could fix.


Under normal circumstances

this would be totally unacceptable. But I've been tagged by Carrie, so here we go.

A - Attached or single: attached to B for EIGHT YEARS now. (oh god, momentary getting-old panic attack coming on)

B - Best Friend: See above

C - Cake or Pie: Cake. Carrot cake. With lots of cream cheese icing.

D - Day of the Week: Lazy Saturdays, of course.

E - Essential Item: iPod. I have a necklace for it and I usually only take it off at night.

F - Favorite Color: Blue. But sometimes yellow. Or green. Um, pass.

G - Gummy Bears or Worms: Neither. Sour patch kids.

H - Home town: G-town, Ghetto Garland, Texas, yo.

I - Indulgences: Root beer float from Sandy's

J - January or July?: July. Once the temperature is below about 60, I have trouble coping.

K - Kids: Saul, aka shorty, shortypants, critter, you little monkey

L - Life is incomplete without: See above

M - Marriage Date: December 13, 2003. Right in time to get our tax break.

N - Number of Siblings: one sister, two step-sisters, one step-brother, all awesome.

O - Oranges or Apples: Apples. Cold granny smiths. One of my favorite foods.

P - Phobias or Fears: Charleton Heston, belly buttons

T - Tag Three: Becka, Dana, Laura

U - Unknown fact about me: To B's endless amusement, I eat all my foods separately. I even split out mixed vegetables.

V - Vegetarian or Oppressor of Animal: That's kind of a loaded question, isn't it? I would be a vegetarian if I didn't love steak so much.

W - Worst Habit: Not finishing things, being lazy

X - Rays or Ultrasounds: What a bizarre question. Why not Xenophobe or Open Borders? Xylophone or Glockenspiel? Xenodocheionology or Hodophobia?

Y - Your favorite food: Either a Chipotle chicken burrito or bacon migas from Casa Garcia

Z - Zodiac Sign: Virgo. Can't you tell?


It's so exciting to see Saul start to remember people. He reached for his Aunt Becky yesterday when we got home, and he has been so happy that she and Uncle Greg are around. I'm not sure what he'll do when they aren't there this evening.


Monday Morning Saul

Stacker toy - Very. Good. Buy.

He plays with it for hours. I can even read a book or get some work done on my laptop. This might be the best $15 I ever spent.

We spent the weekend doing a big bunch of nothing. I think we're all exhausted by the constant doctor's appointments and sickness and frequent engagements. It was nice to relax a little.

Aunt Becky and Uncle Greg showed up on Sunday afternoon to stay a few days and Saul is delighted. He loves being the center of attention and is making his best efforts to show off whenever possible. Pictures coming soon.


Recipe Friday

Tortilla Soup

Rotisserie chicken from the grocery store
1 qt chicken broth
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Onion, chopped
5-6 carrots, chopped
2 ears corn, shucked and de-cobbed (or use frozen, if you must)
1 lg can diced tomatoes, drained (farmers market tomatoes are better, if you can get them)
1 can medium enchilada sauce
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
  1. Pull all the meat off the rotisserie chicken and set aside. Put all the bones and skin in a large soup pot with the chicken broth and 2 cups of water. Simmer with lid on for at least 30 minutes, and then strain. Set broth aside.
  2. Add oil to hot pan and then saute onion, carrots, and corn with salt and pepper for about 10 minutes.
  3. Add in chicken meat, broth, tomatoes, and enchilada sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer with lid for 10 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and stir in all of the cilantro
  5. Serve with cheddar cheese, diced avocado, sour cream, and corn tortillas that have been cut into strips, tossed with olive oil, and baked until crispy.
Verdict: I must disclose that this is my very own made-up recipe. But let me tell you, I have spent years perfecting it. This may very possibly be the most perfect soup recipe ever. And it makes endless variations. Another favorite is to leave out the corn and enchilada sauce and add cut up zucchini and a bag of fresh tortellini and then serve with fresh Parmesan cheese. Even B ("soup is a side dish, not a meal") is very happy to have this for dinner and even as leftovers. You might think that it's cheating to use the store chicken. But if you think that, then you suck. The store chicken makes all the difference. Plus, is makes it a soup that can be made after work, rather than a soup that takes all day and uses lots of dishes and makes your kitchen a nasty stinky mess. Seriously. Try this soup. You will not be disappointed.


Butt plug

I'm so glad my step-sis Dana started a blog just so I could plug it and call it a butt plug.

Dana, thank you so much for marrying someone whose last name is Butt.

It's a noble lineage, but a funny name.

Book awesomeness

So Kelly showed me this very cool site where you can keep an online catalog of books you have read. It's so very easy to add books that my entire reading list from 2006 to the present is there (maybe that's also cause I haven't read as many books as I would have liked).

Anyway, check out the side bar - a widget shows the last three books I have read/am reading. And then talk to me about the books. It'll be just like a book club! Except without the pressure and the crappy books that everyone but you wants to read and the need to bring wine and cheese and find a babysitter!

So neat!

Poetry Thursday - New Poet Laureate Edition

A Hundred Bolts of Satin

All you
have to lose
is one
and the mind
all the way back.
It seems
to have been
a train.
There seems
to have been
a track.
The things
that you
from the
abandoned cars
cannot sustain
life: a crate of
tractor axles,
for example,
a dozen dozen
clasp knives,
a hundred
bolts of satin—
perhaps you
more than
you imagined.

-Kay Ryan
U.S. Poet Laureate


My goal is always to read at least a book a week, or 52 books per year. I keep a notebook where I write down everything I read. I'm not sure why, but it's nice to look back over the books I read and remember what I was doing at the time, and what I was thinking. It's also very helpful as a list of possibilities when I need to buy a present for someone.

Anyway, I would like to post some kind of sidebar with a running list so that I can talk to you people about the books I'm reading. But I'm not sure how to do that - the only thing I can find is a list feature on blogger that will list items, but after a certain number they start dropping off and there's not a way to look at the entire list.

So send me suggestions if you have them. I love to talk about books, but I so rarely get the chance to do it.


Sweet Juniper

You should go read the latest entry at Sweet Juniper. It's rare to find such excellent, thoughtful, polished writing on a blog. Certainly not on this blog, at least.

Cheerio hat

I'm not sure how he got a Cheerio on his head, but it stayed there for quite some time and then he had a delicious surprise when it landed in front of him.

Can someone volunteer to let me punch them?

Just kidding, that's what I married B for!

Ahhh, Saul. He had another allergic reaction yesterday. To what, I don't know. But his face swelled up, paramedics were almost involved, and there will be blood drawing and tests and a sadly limited diet for my little shortypants. I really hate this. Of course I hate it for Saul, because he is miserable and can't eat yummy things like scrambled eggs. But I am having a pity party for myself too, because I don't want to be that kind of mom. I like to think of my parenting style as relaxed. I'm not much into schedules, until now I haven't worried too much about what he eats (aside from making sure it's real food and not from the Gerber Industrial Complex), and I have a hard time getting worked up about germs and dirt. I have never sterilized anything he owns, and his legs tend to turn black after crawling around on my hardwood floors for long enough. So I don't know if I can be the kind of person who has to police things so closely. But I guess I don't have any choice. So we've got another appointment with another specialist on Friday. Until then, he goes everywhere with a big bottle of Benadryl and his diet is mostly milk and Cheerios.

Actually, that's not too bad. I could probably live quite happily on milk and Cheerios. In fact, I think I did for a portion of my pregnancy. But I digress.


Real Simple. Really.

Some suggestions from Real Simple (July issue) on things I can do to make my life easier:
  • Throw a "dipping party" with four types of homemade dip and various crackers, crudites, and grilled shrimp and make the invitations by hand on rubber swim caps.
  • Buy some moisturizer so that I quit looking all wrinkly.
  • Get sclerotherapy, pulse dye laser treatments, and endermologie to rid my body of any reminder that I might have given birth.
  • Do an easy (their word, not mine) remodel on my bathroom by painting, putting up wall-paper, changing out mirrors, re-doing ceilings, buying all new accessories, and changing all the fixtures.
  • Make homemade coleslaw with caraway and raisins
  • Create a lovely and expressive flower arrangement using a cake stand, oranges, drinking straws, and daisies (I'm not even kidding)
  • Upgrade my wardrobe with 14 easy pieces, because I look sloppy and old.
And on the last page, an ad for Electrolux that just sums it all up: "A happy marriage. Great kids. A successful TV show. And now perfectly clean stemware. What more can I ask for?"

I don't know Kelly Ripa, what more can you ask for?

I think I'm starting to remember why I generally don't read anything outside of Cooking Light and the New Yorker.


Monday Morning Saul - nekkid cat wrangling edition

Poor Bella. She hasn't been safe since he learned to climb the stairs.

Oh my god, when did his legs get so long?!

Monday Morning Saul - allergy edition

A possible simple explanation for all of Saul's sickness over the last few months: he's allergic to eggs.

On Saturday morning, I made us all some scrambled eggs. Saul took a few bites and within minutes, he nose started running and he started coughing and sneezing and rubbing his eyes. I took him downstairs to clean him off, still not realizing what was happening. I thought he was just tired and stuffed up and crying because he had rubbed eggs into his eyes. By the time I got downstairs, his face had started swelling up and he was popping out in hives. I yelled at B to bring the camera down so we could take a picture to show the doctor.

Right after this picture was taken, he rather forcibly expelled the contents of his stomach all over the bathroom.

We managed to force some Benadryl down his throat and gave him one of the breathing treatments with the nebulizer we had been prescribed a few weeks ago. He continued throwing up and feeling bad for the rest of the day.

This explains a lot. Especially the fact that last week he broke out in hives after eating macaroni and cheese (the pasta was processed in a facility that processes eggs). This weekend I was feeling good about it. We finally had an explanation for everything. I cleaned out our pantry and went shopping to buy new egg-free pasta and crackers and other baby foods.

But this morning when I had to drop him off at daycare and explain what was going on, I got scared all over again. I trust my daycare, but they can't be everywhere all the time. Another kid was sitting at the table eating Teddy Grahams and I saw Saul eyeing them. I know how easy it would be for him to steal a piece of cracker without anyone catching it. I resisted the urge to grab the box and look at the ingredients.

We have an appointment with a pediatric allergist this morning. Hopefully, I will get some answers. And maybe an EpiPen?



Recipe Friday - Carrot Edition

I don't know what's up with me and carrots lately - I've been craving them.

Carrot Bread

3/4 cup sliced carrot
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (I used cardamom)
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup vanilla fat-free yogurt
1 large egg
1 large egg white
Cooking spray
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Cook carrot in boiling water 15 minutes or until tender; drain. Place carrot in a food processor; process until smooth.
  3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine whole wheat flour and the next 6 ingredients (through cloves) in a large bowl. Combine carrot, sugar, and the next 4 ingredients (through egg white) in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. (this is some nasty looking stuff) Add carrot mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined.
  4. Pour batter into an 8-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool bread in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut bread into 12 slices
Verdict: pretty good. For such a dark, wheat-y looking bread, it was very moist. Not too sweet and the spices were yummy. I had a couple of slices buttered with tea for breakfast and it made me very happy.

Steamed Carrots with Garlic-Ginger Butter

2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound baby carrots with tops, peeled
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Steam carrots, covered, 10 minutes or until tender.
  2. Heat butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in carrots, cilantro, and remaining ingredients.
Verdict: it's hard to get a lot simpler than this. For once, Cooking Light had the right amount of salt in their recipe, which of course made mine too salty. But it was still excellent. I doubled the sauce ingredients and added in a pound of asparagus. Very spring-like and fresh tasting. I served it with barbecued chicken and a salad and it went over very well. I took the leftovers for lunch the next day, and while they were a little to soft from sitting overnight, the sauce was even better. I think this will definitely be a recurring side-dish at my house.

Stand in

Recipe Friday is coming. But right now I have to do, um, work. That pesky job is always getting in the way of my blogging.

So for now, here's Saul, looking all like a little man in his button down shirt.


No more Cheerios?

Oy vey.

Poetry Thursday

Acceptance Speech

The radio's replaying last night's winners
and the gratitude of the glamorous,
everyone thanking everybody for making everything
so possible, until I want to shush
the faucet, dry my hands, join in right here
at the cluttered podium of the sink, and thank

my mother for teaching me the true meaning of okra,
my children for putting back the growl in hunger,
my husband, primo uomo of dinner, for not
begrudging me this starring role—

without all of them, I know this soup
would not be here tonight.

And let me just add that I could not
have made it without the marrow bone, that blood—
brother to the broth, and the tomatoes
who opened up their hearts, and the self-effacing limas,
the blonde sorority of corn, the cayenne
and oregano who dashed in
in the nick of time.

Special thanks, as always, to the salt—
you know who you are—and to the knife,
who revealed the ripe beneath the rind,
the clean truth underneath the dirty peel.

—I hope I've not forgotten anyone—
oh, yes, to the celery and the parsnip,
those bit players only there to swell the scene,
let me just say: sometimes I know exactly how you feel.

But not tonight, not when it's all
coming to something and the heat is on and
I'm basking in another round
of blue applause.

-Lynn Powell


Abnormalities: a self-indulgent list

Things Other People Like That I Don't Understand

Cartoons of any type:
I can tolerate things like the Simpsons and Family Guy and Finding Nemo, but I can't get excited about them. And I detest Looney Tunes and the rest. Why? Why the defiance of the laws of physics? And why the frantic humor? Why?

Eating out in restaurants:
So very stressful. Too many options. And people are always asking you things while your mouth is full. And it's always so crowded, like a big, animal feeding trough. And there's so much pressure to enjoy yourself. I do not enjoy myself.

Now that I'm older, I can enjoy chocolate bars and brownies, but they aren't my favorite. As a kid, I didn't like any chocolate at all. Given the option between chocolate and another dessert product, I will usually choose other. And I hate chocolate ice cream. Blech.

Raw Tomatoes:
They taste like something has gone bad.


Solicitating advice

So the ENT visit didn't go quite like I thought it would. I was surprised to find that Saul's hearing tested at the very low end of normal. The doctor said it would be a borderline case, except for the fact of Saul's penicillin allergy. The type of reaction he had, Erythema Multiforme can be very serious, and can also happen with many other drugs besides penicillin. Lots kids end up in hospital burn units because of it. So the doctor has recommended that we get tubes in Saul's ears in order to cut down on the number of times that Saul has to be treated with antibiotics and risk another reaction.

Tubes, of course, require general anesthesia and all the risks that go along with it, plus the trauma and pain of a (minor) surgery for Saul. So what do you think, internet? Did your kids get tubes? Did they survive? How was it?


Monday Morning Saul, Video Edition

A new favorite activity? Climbing stairs. It's the most exhausting thing ever. He climbs up two flights of stairs and we have to follow right behind him. When we get to the top, he expects us to pick him up and transport him back to the bottom to do it again. However, after several trips, we are usually rewarded with a pretty good nap.

Monday Morning Saul

We are going to see an ENT this afternoon to have Saul's hearing tested and I'm afraid tubes will be recommended and then I'll have to deal with that decision. I'm so tired of doctors and tests right now so I hope we can just get through this and then stay away from the doctor for at least a few weeks.


Bitchy Friday

Maybe I'll do a recipe later, maybe not. I'm feeling extra bitchy right now for the following reasons:

1. I have to miss Saul's first July 4th because I haven't got enough work done while staying home with him all week while he was sick. I'm also jealous because today is the first day that he has been feeling better and in a good mood, and B gets to spend it with him instead of me or instead of all of us being a family together at the big neighborhood party.

2. There is an extremely obnoxious old man where I work who, among other horrifying things, made lots of loud jokes when I lost my first baby. He is here today and in a good mood, which means shouting things across cubicles and making semi-lecherous comments to the newer female employees who haven't learned to avoid him yet.

3. I got to work late this morning, which means I probably won't be able to leave early enough to go to the gym. I haven't been all week, and I think it's just contributing to my feeling so awful.

4. I nursed Saul this morning for probably the last time. It had been two days, and I still had to give him half a bottle afterward. My milk has been declining steadily since he was 6 months old and I finally just gave up. I had been hoping to last until 18 months at least. I am disappointed in my body, and sad to give up that particular closeness.

5. This one is probably the hardest. I have been posting ads on Craigslist, looking for a home for Monster. He is not crazy like Sebastian was, but he has snapped at Saul and I just can't take that chance. It is a very hard thing for me because I miss Sebastian terribly, and I can't imagine living with no dogs at all. Here is my ad at Craigslist, and here is the email I got this morning, just in time to ensure that my week would be even crappier:
Please do not get another pet...you people who have kids and dump the dogs are the problem...then later when the kid gets older, you get another dog..this is why shelters are full and forced to euthanize 42 million pets a year...think about it!!!!
I think I need a vacation. But wait, my crappy benefits policy doesn't allow for vacation time. I don't even get holidays off. I trade all that for my 'flexible schedule.'

I guarantee you, however, that I will be in the wine department for sampling time today.


Another one

19th Dallas County inmate freed by DNA

Anyone else starting to question our legal system?

Poetry Thursday

So only 16 of you voted. I assume that the rest don't care whether or not I post a poem every week, so I will keep it up because I like it. The truth is, I would probably keep posting poems even if everyone voted against it, because it's my blog and I automatically win.

The Housewife

Here is the House to hold me — cradle of all the race;
Here is my lord and my love, here are my children dear —
Here is the House enclosing, the dear-loved dwelling place;
Why should I ever weary for aught that I find not here?

Here for the hours of the day and the hours of the night;
Bound with the bands of Duty, riveted tight;
Duty older than Adam — Duty that saw
Acceptance utter and hopeless in the eyes of the serving squaw.

Food and the serving of food — that is my daylong care;
What and when we shall eat, what and how we shall wear;
Soiling and cleaning of things — that is my task in the main —
Soil them and clean them and soil them — soil them and clean them again.

To work at my trade by the dozen and never a trade to know;
To plan like a Chinese puzzle — fitting and changing so;
To think of a thousand details, each in a thousand ways;
For my own immediate people and a possible love and praise.

My mind is trodden in circles, tiresome, narrow and hard,
Useful, commonplace, private — simply a small back-yard;
And I the Mother of Nations! — Blind their struggle and vain! —
I cover the earth with my children — each with a housewife's brain.

-Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
"A house does not need a wife any more than it needs a husband."


I just got back from taking Saul to the doctor again. The receptionist greeted us warmly. By name.

Saul has viral tonsillitis. Not a really big deal. Just one more thing.

He has been sick pretty much continuously for months now. Never anything too serious - viruses, ear infections, colds, rashes, and general contagion. But this time the doctor told me that some kids are just more prone to picking up all this stuff when they go to daycare. She sat down and looked at me and said, "You should take him out of daycare. He never manages to get his immune system back up to full strength before he goes back and picks up another virus."

I sputtered something about how that was impossible and how we didn't have the money to just give up an income and we don't have family close by. She was noncommittal but said something about how hard decisions had to be made and how we needed to add up the cost to Saul of being sick all the time, and not just the costs to us.

I was stunned. It took everything I had not to break down right there. I have been working from home since Tuesday, taking care of Saul. I'm at my breaking point. I have spent hours holding him while he whimpers and cries, trying to reach my arms around him to get some work done on my laptop. I'm sure she didn't mean it like this, but I felt like she was telling me that all my efforts just weren't good enough and that I was selfishly harming my child.

So maybe she's right. I have been thinking that daycare was good for Saul. I thought he was benefiting from interacting with other kids and from playing with neat toys that I couldn't afford. But I guess I have to weigh that against the constant illness.

Here is what went through my head in the minute or so after she said that as I stared at her with my mouth hanging open: "I am a bad mother. Maybe we could sell our house and buy a cheaper one. No. I don't want to quit work."

I know for a fact that I would be a terrible stay at home mom. I am not patient. I have to work very hard to control my temper. I am pathologically anti-social and I'm sure that I wouldn't take Saul or myself out enough. I am pretty sure I would end up depressed and miserable, and wouldn't that make Saul miserable too?

Or maybe I'm just making excuses.

I don't know.

The only thing I can know for sure right now is that I need a break.


Lukewarm endorsement

Right now I'm listening to Barack Obama's first book, Dreams from My Father. I'm finding it quite thought provoking, especially the parts where he talks about his evolving thoughts on race and identity. As a candidate, he's so very appealing. It's hard not to be pulled into the widening orbit of Obama worship. And I admit, I have an "Obama Mama" sticker on my car. I will definitely be voting for him in November. But at the same time, I disagree with many of his policies. Among other things, I am a firm believer in free trade, I'm not interested in taxing 'windfall profits' whatever that means, and I think unions no longer serve a useful function in most industries. And although it isn't an issue this campaign, I know that he is pro-death penalty, which I very strongly disagree with.

But still, he's so. very. appealing. I almost feel that his actual policies don't matter nearly as much as his effect on the mood of the country. So I am voting for someone based almost entirely on a vague sense of inspiration. I'm not sure that's the right way to go, but I guess I will embrace it.

Le Vent Du Nord

You should listen to this story just to hear a guy say "I play the hurdy-gurdy" in a Quebecois accent. Wonderful.


Beat down

I am not in such a great mood today.

*begin whine*Saul is sick, I'm behind at work, I'm feeling draggy and uninspired, and my house is a filthy mess. I think having a sick baby throws everything else off. All of a sudden, I'm not sleeping, I'm ignoring chores in favor of comforting a burning-hot whimpering child, and I have to interrupt my work every few minutes to change a diaper, get a sippy cup full of Pedialyte, or find the infant Tylenol.*end whine*

But I am thankful that I have such a flexible job that lets me *ahem* work from home when needed. I am going to have to put in a lot of overtime next week to finish up a quarter close, but I am confident that a weekend and a box of NoDoz will get me through.

Along with a little Lolcats...