29 August 2006

five things to eat before you die

I happened upon this fabulous meme from Traveler's Lunchbox entirely by accident, but it was a very happy accident. The only thing I like as much as parent blogs are food blogs. Sometimes I think I like the food blogs even better...so here goes with my list.

1. Cream Tea in London - no skimping on the clotted cream, or anything else
2. An authentic salt bagel with a thin layer of cream cheese, thin slices of perfectly ripe tomato and fresh basil leaves
3. Macaroni and cheese made from the recipe in New Basics, topped with Penzey's India Special Extra Bold black pepper - my arteries clog at the mere thought but what a way to go
4. Lobster, outdoors, in Maine - butter optional, corn on the cob required, preferably picked about the time the pot of water was put on to boil
5. The best hamburger, medium-rare and topped with sauteed mushrooms and Swiss cheese, with perfectly crispy fries and Heinz ketchup

Now that I've made my list, I have to admit there are quite a few surprises. First and foremost, where the hell is the chocolate? Mushrooms barely squeaked onto the list. I've often said if I had to go to a desert island and bring only one food it would be mushrooms. Sushi is another notable absentee. I've been dreaming of sushi for a few weeks now. No stilton, no croque-monsieur (something else I've been craving lately), no ice cream, no pistacios, no brownies, no nutella (off a spoon straight out of the jar, or on a McVitie's digestive biscuit), no roasted garlic or crispy thin crust pizza, no peanut butter or bananas, no orange-cranberry anything. So depressing to have to leave out so much.

I may have to get more specific later on, like "five nuts to eat before you die" or "five Ben & Jerry's flavors to eat before you die".

Needless to say, naming just five was a little painful.

Your turn.

bumper crop

With the return of students (and their cars) to campus there has been some fine bumper sticker viewing. I was bored with the ones I had been seeing all summer. Here's a list of a few of my favorites, old and new:

Bush for Lawn Ornament
Somewhere In Texas a Village is Missing Its Idiot
1.20.09 the end of an error
Somebody please give Bush a blowjob so we can impeach him
Bush/Cheney 2004: No billionaire left behind
Stop Mad Cowboy Disease
Republicans for Voldemort
My kid reads your honor student's email
Madness takes its toll....please have exact change
There's no place like
I'm blogging this
He ain't Kinky, he's my governor

And an extra special one for the Pennsylvanians who may be reading,


22 August 2006

words words words

Oliver's vocabulary has really exploded over the last two weeks. I still don't understand all of it, but we are communicating more effectively every day. If you ask if he needs a diaper, he's likely to respond, "Elmo?" He is saying "DaDa" and "MuMa" pretty regularly, as opposed to calling us "Anna". If you ask him what his name is he will still reply "Anna". He asks for a couple of songs , such as "duck" (and makes a sign he created himself) when he wants "Six Little Ducks" and "rollover" when he wants "Ten Monkeys In the Bed". He can name a lot of the animals in his books, especially hippo, duck, cow, rhino, koala, lion, doggy, kitty (sounds more like "key"), and perhaps the cutest of all the words he says, bunny. I have been calling him my little bunny since he was a few hours old so to hear him say "bunny" just turns me to mush.

He started to say "thank you" over the weekend, though not exactly in proper context. He likes to pick up bits of dog hair from the carpet, hand them to me and say, "thank you."

Today's new word is "Walter". Thanks, Aunt Suzy.

Unfortunately, he has also learned "NO".

19 August 2006

the other "baby" in our house

Before Oliver, before me, CD birthed another baby, named Mulberry. He tended and cared for it for many years. Mulberry went away last October, but as of today, Mulberry is back.

I don't usually flash my geekier side here, but tonight I can't resist. If not for Mulberry, CD and I probably would not have met so it's pretty special to me too. He would not have moved state-side without Mulberry. Our first date was the day version 1.4 was released. I figured out later it was a date. I thought we were merely celebrating a successful release... (short bus, once again).

Mulberry is one amazing email client. It's got a UI people either get used to or loathe, but no one can dispute its capabilities.

17 August 2006

it was all too much for Oliver

This was our last full day in DC on vacation. We went on the DC Duck tour but didn't get to Tabard Inn or the baseball game. We attempted to visit the National Gallery of Art but Oliver was feeling particularly loud and boisterous at that moment so we didn't stay long in the vicinity of the art. He was better when we were in the shop, choosing a few books for him. A cheap ploy on his part, no doubt.

We had a very nice dinner at Lebanese Taverna, right across the street from the Woodley/Zoo metro stop. It's the same place we went for lunch on Monday and we found it to be very kid-friendly. Oliver once again ate like a champ, scarfing down bread, hummus, felafel, sambousick and kibbeh. (Tabouleh was rejected...looked too much like a vegetable!) I swear his little belly was puffed out when we left. He looked slightly pregnant. It was past his bedtime, and his nap, pictured here, was somewhat brief, but he did extremely well.

Tomorrow we head home, by way of the Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center, near Dulles. We just didn't get enough of Air & Space.

This has been a great trip but I'm excited to get home and see the dogs and cat, and for Oliver to get back to a more normal schedule. He has a big week coming up, his first in the Young Toddler room at school.

16 August 2006

family photo

Oliver's school asked for a family photo to put up in his new classroom. This is a challenge for us since one of us is always holding the camera. We found a pillar to put the camera on today, in front of the US Capitol. I can still count the number of pictures of all three of us on one hand.

We walked a ton today. Every day this trip has been filled with loads of walking. I feel not the slightest guilt for all the food we're eating. Afternoon ice cream? No problem....at least not until next week's weigh in!

The Air and Space Museum was a lot of fun. The Air Force Band brass quintet gave a concert, which included a beautiful rendition of "Simple Gifts".

Overall, the trip is going well and Oliver is being quite the trooper. Today was a little rough, since he took a 30 minute nap ALL DAY and was over-tired at bed time, but I can't complain. He's been mostly cheerful and adaptable all week. Finding food he will eat remains a challenge but fish sandwiches are a big hit. I have to remove the coating from the fish but he likes it better that way.

Tomorrow: a tour of the memorials (can't decide between the Tourmobile and the Duck Tour...), maybe lunch at Tabard Inn (thanks for the recommendation, Tika!), maybe baseball.

14 August 2006

a little slow

Today I was reminded of being in the delivery room, being told by a nurse to do 12 things at once. I could only manage 6 or 7 of them at a time and made a joke about needing "the short bus." She wasn't amused, so I stopped making jokes like that. Too bad. Today was definitely a "short bus moment."

We're in DC for the week on a forced vacation of sorts. Oliver's school is closed so we decided to go play. It was a hot and sticky day and Oliver needed a bath tonight. So did I. I decided to give the co-bathing thing a try.

Sheesh...why the heck didn't I try this before? It was a pleasant experience for both of us, not to mention being 100 times easier to get Oliver clean. He sat in front of me and I could actually see behind both of his ears. Fortunately, no potatoes were present.

I also got him to lean back a bit when I rinsed the shampoo out of his head. He didn't like it much but it was better than getting soapy water in his eyes. (The shampoo doesn't irritate his eyes but he still doesn't like the water running down his forehead.)

Perhaps most importantly, I didn't care about all of his splashing because I was already wet. And naked.

This is one of those times I should slap myself upside the head.


For photos from the trip, check out Flickr. We spent the morning at the National Zoo (Oliver slept through the first hour -- just getting there was pretty exciting for him) and the afternoon walking back to our hotel in Foggy Bottom, by way of Embassy Row and DuPont Circle.

On the schedule for tomorrow: Baltimore's National Aquarium

12 August 2006

a last hurrah

Penguin is a show dog. She's also my best 4-legged buddy but our bond was initally forged in the show ring. We learned the ropes together and achieved more than anyone could have dreamed when we started. She was twice the winner of the first bitch award of merit at the national specialty show, and even went to Crufts. Not bad for the runt...

At 8 years old, well over the hill for most breeds, she hasn't shown in over a year. I am suffering major withdrawal from dog shows. Once upon a time I was spending two or three weekends a month at shows. Now I am lucky to get to two or three a year, and when I get there I'm usually showing a dog or two that belong to other people. After being a single parent while CD has been traveling over the last few months, I have earned a child-free weekend, don't you think?

So Pen and I are off to Canada in October for what will likely be her last hurrah north of the border. It's two months away but I am thinking about it every day. I will have four days with Penguin and I wouldn't trade that for a ribbon of any color. Regardless of the outcome in the ring, I always bring home the best dog.

11 August 2006

one more sleep

Oliver and I have been counting down how many "sleeps" until CD comes home from being away nearly two weeks. Okay, so Oliver hasn't been counting as much as he has been tolerant of my informing him how many are left.... We are down to just one more sleep, thank goodness. I have the cold from hell, courtesy of the petri dish that is Oliver's school.

CD has been back at the mothership for WWDC. (Okay, he was mostly working, not shopping much, but you get the idea. See what he did last weekend here.) It was nice to read a few of the unofficial sites reporting on WWDC to find out what he's been doing for the last seven months.

Today was Oliver's last day in the "Infant Wing" at school. It was bittersweet, of course. It's exciting that he's moving up to the "Young Toddler" room but I'm very sad to be leaving behind my favorite teacher, Mary. She did tell me that when putting Oliver down for his nap they exchanged promises to visit each other often. Four of his teachers are moving along with him so the transition should not be traumatic. He will start eating snacks and meals in the dining room and sleeping on a mat, but he will be with most of the same teachers and children. Oliver has never been shy about new situations, and besides, when we walk by the new room every day and he peers with wonder through the glass in the door.

As usual, this transition will probably be more of a challenge for the parents than for the child.

07 August 2006


We've reached a new level of imitation. In this photo Oliver is imitating one of his teachers at school. She often puts a finger on her chin and asks the children what song they should sing next. Now Oliver does this whenever I ask him a question involving "what's next?"

I fear he's starting to figure out just how adorable he is, and may be plotting to use this against me.

06 August 2006

down on the farm

We spent a lovely afternoon at Harvest Valley Farm today. We are part of their CSA program and they had an Farm Field Day for subscribers. It was great to see where our fruits and vegetables are growing. We took a ride on a haywagon pulled by a very large tractor and visited a number of fields around the farm.

All the attendees gathered at the end of the tours to share what we had picked along the way. Oliver especially liked the yellow watermelon. He ate three pieces! He also ate a tomato out in the field. I think it was his first. For a kid who tends to avoid vegetables and is somewhat selective about fruit, he was very enthusiastic.

He also enjoyed meeting the farm's border collie, Dell. She accompanied us to all the fields, resting in the shade under the wagon when we stopped. Though she ran off periodically, she always rejoined us. Oliver was saying her name well before we left and continued to say it when we returned home.

All that fresh air must have been good for him. He went to bed without a fuss and was sound asleep by 7:01pm.

04 August 2006

splish splash

A small set of photos taken by Aunt Suzy during Oliver's bath tonight are now up on Flickr.

02 August 2006

so much road rage, so little time

I don't understand how people commute long distances in horrid traffic every blasted day. Oliver and I took CD to the airport on Monday morning, fairly early. It was an uneventful outbound trip, just the way we like it. Coming back was an different story. It took over an hour and the bulk of that time was spent playing the stop and go game. I was reminded how easy my 10 minute commute to work is, entirely without highways. I could do with a few less lights but really, there's little to complain about.

I'm not the most calm driver under the best of circumstances. I have a low tolerance for those who ignore traffic laws, especially Pittsburgh drivers who fail to use turn signals, can't seem to decide which lane they want to be in, blow through very red lights, and insist on executing the "Pittsburgh left" at traffic lights. I yell at other drivers, though I try not to do it unless I'm alone in the car. It's not like the windows are down (too bloody hot for that) and I do try to contain my potty mouth when my little sponge is sitting in his carseat. (New word for the day is "COW!!") I fear his first full sentence will be, "Get a damn turn signal!"

Last week I was flipped off (yes, that finger, thank you very much) by a 50-something in a convertible with his very pretty, albeit mortified and gasping for air, wife. All because I threatened to proceed going straight through an intersection when the light turned green without allowing him his "Pittsburgh left". Note I said "threatened". He made his left, and nearly gave the wife whiplash in the process by putting his foot to the floor from a dead stop. Although Oliver was not in the car I decided to be amused by all this and just smiled. I thought to myself, "Eh, he'll be dead of a heart attack within five years."

If you are coming to the 'burgh I recommend waiting a good three seconds before moving if you're first in line at a light. You never know who's going to go through the red or need to make the left in front of you. I used to think Boston drivers were the worst. Pittsburgh has 'em beat by a mile. And a left.