31 October 2008

sharks and spiders


Photo courtesy of CD. We had a great Halloween. Both kids were in good spirits and adorable costumes, and we had lots of help from Aunt Suzy to make our Halloween a festive one. She decorated the house and helped kid-wrangle during trick or treating. She also looked mah-velous in her spider jeans.

Two more photos are on Flickr.

30 October 2008

five more days and counting

I've always found politics kind of fun, and I started young. The summer of the Watergate hearings was an unusually rainy one in Maine, so I watched them. There wasn't anything else to do. I was seven years old. By the time I was 12 I had read both volumes of Nixon's memoirs. Though I started out planning to study music, I ended up a political science major in college. I couldn't wait to vote in my first presidential election, way back in 1984.

Today? I cannot wait for the upcoming election to be over. If only these things could be nasty, brutish, and SHORT! I planned a wedding in eleven weeks. Surely presidential campaigns need not be much longer than that.

I love voting. Since I had children I have always taken a kid with me to the polls. It's good practice for the kids and the polls workers, typically older ladies, seem to be nicer to me when I have kid along for the ride. 

This year marks the first time I have ever seriously considered not voting. From the time Hillary Clinton conceded until John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate, I was pretty sure I would stay home on election day. The Palin choice pushed me over the edge to Obama. Even if McCain had chosen someone remotely reasonable, I probably would have landed in this place eventually. He just hastened the process. I probably should thank him. Well, perhaps not.

I have seen some folks on twitter wonder what we will all have to talk about on November 5. I really don't care, as long as it isn't presidential politics. Anything else will be a welcome relief.

29 October 2008

bacon-wrapped dog food

The recipe for bacon wrapped cornish hens from A Year of Crockpotting is appealing on so many levels that I want to go to the store and get the ingredients right now. If I thought there was any hope of finding a replacement glass lid to my crockpot on that shopping trip that's what I would be doing instead of just telling you about the recipe.

Cornish hens are a favorite of mine. And they used to be a favorite of the dogs, until Penguin developed an allergy to chicken. See, we give raw food to the dogs at our house. Raw meat, raw bones, the whole nine yards. (You feed your dogs BONES, Kim? What are you thinking?? Don't you know chicken bones are dangerous? Here's the story:  Cooked poultry bones can be deadly. Raw are a-okay.) I used to drive many hours to Eberly Poultry two or three times a year and get a couple hundred pound of turkey necks, chicken backs and cornish hens. The hens were always the best. They were "split for the grill" in the summer and we humans often dipped into the dog food for dinner. Half a hen was a perfect balance of muscle meat, organ meat and bone for the dogs, or a nice meal for CD or me. Whole hens could be cut in the back and pierced with two wooden skewers making an X to stay flat on the grill too.

Then Penguin's chicken allergy reared its ugly head and there hasn't been a cornish hen in the house since. I think that was an error on my part, one that I will have to remedy soon.

28 October 2008

NaBloPoke me in the eye with a sharp stick

After two years of doing NaBloPoMo, and surviving reasonably well, Blog365 seemed like the next logical step. Hey, I love a challenge. Okay, maybe not so much, but it didn't seem all that daunting when I started.

Here it is, day 301, and I'm still going. Just 64 more days. Piece of cake. A little thing like NaBlo really shouldn't be freaking me out, right? Right. Once again, I keep thinking I should have a few posts in the tank, just in case, yet only twice in the past 10 months have I queued up a post in advance. The odds my doing anything differently this year are somewhere between slim and none.

So what do you think? Should YOU do NaBloPoMo? Absolutely! In the words of Annie Savoy, "Total exhaustion can be spiritually fabulous."

27 October 2008

better late than never (I hope)

Eons ago, as in August 1, Jenn tagged me for a meme. Jenn was one of my freshman roommates, someone who saw me at my absolute worst, so it probably won't surprise her to discover I still suck. 

The Rules: Rules are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their names. Then the player goes to each of the “named” people’s blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. If you’ve been tagged, you do the same, letting the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer. They, in turn, answer the following questions. Here we go!

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?
I was freaking the hell out! Well, the actual freak out was Nov 6 but I was well on my way 10 years ago today. CD and I had our first date a few weeks before and I was at the point of trying to sabotage the whole damn thing. I had not figured out he was "the one" yet. I was very conflicted and in general, being an idiot. It was all in my head, of course, and I'm very lucky he didn't run screaming in the other direction.

2. What are 5 things on my to-do list today?

Prepare notes for plot monitors meeting today
Prepare agenda for advisory committee meeting tomorrow
Go grocery shopping
Tidy up -- the boss is coming for dinner tomorrow
Put out ALL the recycling (there's a ton since CD didn't do it two weeks ago when I was away)

3. Snacks I enjoy:
dark chocolate in just about any form, McVitie's digestive biscuits, 

4. Places I’ve lived:
Maine, Massachusetts (twice), Pennsylvania (Swarthmore), Washington, Pennyslvania (Pittsburgh)

5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Stop working and blog the way I would if I had more time to devote to research and writing! Sock away enough for the kids' education and our old age (including a substantial travel fund and maybe enough for a vacation property), pay off the houses and finish the remaining house projects, add a second car. Share the wealth with the family and close friends who have meant so much to us. Donate a substantial amount to the Clumber Spaniel Health Foundation. Donate enough to my alma mater to build a new non-pink building and establish a technology endowment that ensures the infrastructure and staff can keep current with the state of the art. The rest would go to medical and environmental research.

Now I’m supposed to tag 5 more people. Since I know how much you all love that, I am going to ask that you consider yourself tagged and leave a comment here when you do the meme. I am going to encourage Tara to pick this up and start blogging again. You have been missed!

Thanks Jenn. I was at a total loss on what to blog today. 

26 October 2008

if you take a 3 year old to the theatre

Oliver and I had never been to a performance of the Pittsburgh International Children's Theatre until today. I think it is now safe to say Oliver enjoys musical theatre. He sat on my lap, mesmerized except for applauding at all the right times, for the entire show. It didn't hurt that the troupe presented seven stories in 50 minutes, so nothing dragged on for very long. Even if there had been a dud (there wasn't) it would have been over quickly.

The only hiccup in an otherwise perfect mother-son outing was running into Oliver's buddy Jonah. Seeing Jonah was great. Seeing Jonah head for the "patron" section of the theatre was not so great, seeing as we did not fork over the $100 donation to be patrons and therefore had to sit with the riff-raff. That is until 5 minutes to show time when they let the riff-raff move into the many empty rows of patron seating. By then we were settled and the seats near Jonah were taken anyway. Fortunately, we can upgrade even though we bought tickets for the whole series of performances. That's a smart non-profit for you.

Anyway, the performance was "If You Give a Pig a Pancake(and other stories)". Oliver has read If You Give a Moose a Muffinand If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, but all of these stories were new to him, and to me too. He really wanted to stop by the book sale table on our way out but they didn't have one of his favorites from the show (Diary of a Worm) and the line was long so we kept going. I liked The Paper Bag Princess, and really hope Eleanor likes it too since she's probably getting it for Christmas.

Oliver really surprised me, both by being a great theatre companion and by not asking to leave part way through. I once took a five year old to his first movie theatre experience and it didn't last 10 minutes. It seems the child had never seen a live action movie, with real people. He had previously only seen animated movies, a tidbit his parents failed to share with me. It's a good thing this went well since we bought the whole series. Next month? The Velveteen Rabbit!

25 October 2008

spidergirl

There seems to be a spider theme running through our lives lately. First Oliver and I read Charlotte's Web. Shortly after finishing, a very large spider took up residence on the screen covering the window of the kids' bathroom. The spider came and went for a couple of weeks but seems to be gone now that cold weather has arrived.

Then Oliver insisted I get the spider halloween costume for Eleanor, overturning my preference for the adorable bee. Thinking we should just run with the spider thing, I found some "spider web" stuff to decorate with, and a very large spider to attach. 

The icing on the cake came from Eleanor, just before dinner. She launched into a lovely rendition of "Itsy Bitsy Spider", getting nearly all of the words. It was amazing, and utterly unexpected. Her previous two word phrases have been things like "no scratch" and "no touch" so to break into song like this was really incredible. 

Eleanor's new words for today: broccoli, camera, hands, leaves

24 October 2008

are you shaking me off?

All of this baseball stuff with Oliver has had some unexpected consequences. Take this morning, when I asked Oliver to clear his dishes from the table. He looked at me and shook his head. Not being entirely awake, I just looked at him. He shook his head again. When I still didn't respond in what he felt was an appropriate manner, Oliver said, "I'm shaking you off, Mummy," just like a pitcher who doesn't like the catcher's sign. Then he laughed hysterically, of course.

To add insult to injury, whenever Oliver shakes his head like that Eleanor joins in, giggling all the way. She doesn't know what it means yet, but anything that makes her brother laugh must be good.

23 October 2008

sharing the naked

When I picked Oliver up at school yesterday one of his teachers told me that Oliver had been saying "naked" all day. He had taught all of his classmates this cool new word, so they all ran around yelling "naked".

And the best part? None of them have any idea what "naked" means! Each time I have asked Oliver what it means he gives a different answer. Thus far, none of the answers have had anything to do with clothes, or lack thereof. He does claim, however, that I taught him this word. I was doomed the second CD started giggling.

One of my favorite blogs, It's Not All Mary Poppins, regularly shares toddler talk and never fails to crack me up. MaryP is able to perfectly capture what her tots say AND how they say it. The more I read her blog, the more I wish MaryP could clone herself and send one to Pittsburgh.

22 October 2008

weaving with bacon

I don't know quite how to describe this batch of woven bacon and cheese photographs. Paws up, once again, to +clumber, the bishop who keeps me in bacon. And if you make it? Knock yourself out. It's between you and your cardiologist. I had nothing to do with it.

21 October 2008

chew chew


I have been known, on occasion, to release my inner Martha. I had one of those moments last summer and happened to be inside a Williams-Sonoma at the time. A dangerous combination, to say the least.

The end result is that about once a week Oliver gets one of these babies in his lunchbox. He gives it a pretty good rating on the "nom scale".

20 October 2008

is it real? or is it pittgirl?


pittgirl!
Originally uploaded by Uncle Crappy
I think it's fairly obvious that I am not PittGirl. I don't even play her on TV. Still, it was fun to pretend for a little while at PodCamp. As you can see, I wasn't the only one.

For my readers who are not acquainted with PittGirl, check out the motivational poster post (and bring your bladder control). Best.Post.Ever!!!!

I wanna hold your hand



Until very recently, Eleanor resisted all attempts at hand holding, and I do mean ALL. She would freeze in her tracks and refuse to move if anyone tried to take her hand, often throwing in a scream just for good measure.

IMG_0825

Not anymore. I don't know if she learned this at school or it's just a developmental milestone that would have happened anyway. Either way, it makes being out and about with her a lot more pleasant, not to mention safe.

She will even hold her brother's hand. Capturing photographic evidence of that may be a challenge but I will keep trying. They hug now too.

19 October 2008

trifecta!

I hit the social media trifecta this week. Blogher DC on Monday, dinner with the BurghMoms on Friday, and PodCamp today. PodCamp got underway on Friday night but given the other two events, I thought I was pushing my luck with CD to do much more than a brief visit this afternoon. I squeezed in two sessions and met a number of people with whom I had previously only twittered and plurked. Oddly enough, some of the connections I made will likely benefit him as well.

Though I shouldn't admit it here, I went to a session on SEO. It was certainly touched on at Blogher but I stuck my fingers in my ears and said, "LaLaLa" until they stopped talking about it. I'm not sure why but today was different. I listened, even though most of it was wordpress-centric, and took notes. The speaker had a great hook...how to be number one in pretty hats. She talked about a random post on her blog, made when she just posted a picture and a couple of lines of text because she was tired. That post somehow became google's number one hit for searches of "pretty hats". This hit home with me. A post of mine from February of 2007 contains a link to an image of toile fabric on another site. The image isn't even in my post, just a link, yet that yields me more hits per day than any other search. It turns out I'm number two for toile, if you do a search for images.

I have a lot of work to do, and some of the things I want to do may not even be possible without a change in platform, but that is a last resort. You all remember how long it took me to get off the free template, right?

Eleanor's new words for the last few days: digger, George, frog, Daisy, butterfly, "go dog go", opposites (it's the name of a book), Steelers

18 October 2008

go it alone, build your own

I really should have written this within 48 hours of eating at Vidalia in DC. My notes are not quite what they might have been. Part of the problem was the burnt out lightbulb above my table. The waiter noticed when I was on course number four and offered to move me. Too late, buddy. And by the way, I only understood every third or fourth word you said.

Despite dining alone for the first time in ages, and certainly the first time ever at a place like this, I had a great time. It helped that I'd been reading Garlic and Sapphires, Ruth Reichl's account of her days as food critic for the New York Times. She talks about going to restaurants in disguise and not being treated very well. I half expected to have a similar experience and to feel like I really didn't belong, but that was not the case at all, perhaps because I walked in with a fair bit of determination to enjoy myself.  I wasted no time in getting to work on the menu. Here's what I had, with a sprinkling of notes:

Wine flight, 2oz tasting pours
07 Cabernet Sauvignon, Cat Amongst the Pigeons, Barossa Valley, Au. (ick...and I am usually a fan of Australian reds)
05 Cabernet Blend, Rustenberg, John X Merriman, Stellenbosch S.A. (huge step up)
05 Cabernet Sauvignon, Worthy, Napa Valley (outstanding)

Build your own tasting menu:

amuse bouche - three sips of a tomato soup in a slanted shot glass, a pork salad -- both were very tasty (waiter claimed it was gazpacho but it was hot -- maybe it was that failure to communicate thing)

first course - mosaic of path valley farm tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella, olive crumble, bouqueron anchovies, verbena gelĂ©e and lime-basil emulsion (four little treats and not a dud in the bunch)

second course - wild mushroom ragout a vidalia classic with country ham, chive biscuits and creamy black pepper gravy (never met a mushroom I didn't like)

third course - shrimp and grits wild caught gulf shrimp with creamy grits, house made andouille sausage and sweet onion ravigote (Yummy. Thanks to Trannyhead for the recommendation. It wasn't what I would have ordered if left to my own devices.)

fourth course - lamb from the nightly chef's choice tasting menu. Looked amazing and tasted great, but I didn't write down the complete description and have forgotten what came with it. Needless to say, at this point the dishes were a little overwhelming. What really scared me off the chef's tasting menu was the brains in the second course.

fifth course - vidalia’s lemon chess pie rich lemon custard in a buttery crust with berry compote and chantilly cream (Full sized portion. What the hell are they thinking? Waiter gave me crap about not finishing it. Wanted to know what was wrong. Um, how about I was worried I might explode?)

But wait, there's more.... A plate of little cookies appeared with the check. I ate one that was the size of the tip of my pinkie. The waiter kindly suggested I take the rest with me, thus saving his tip (see fifth course). They were great the next day, thankfully.

Using UncleCrappy's nom rating scale once again, Vidalia easily scores the five nom rating. That's nom nom nom nom nom to you.

And if you're in a city with terrific restaurants but happen to be traveling alone, my advice is to suck it up and go out. Elastic waists help too.

17 October 2008

FFF - postponed, sort of

My review of Vidalia is postponed until tomorrow on account of sangria. It's not exactly raining from the sky but it was briefly in my glass at dinner tonight with the 'burghmoms. As usual, it was a good time. There were regular attendees, a new face, and for a change, a competent waiter. Let's not forget Carl was there too.


Here's something we didn't finish. The center of the brownie was warm but overall it was rather disappointing.

16 October 2008

pulling mussels from a shell

I'm a Tony Bourdain fan. There, I said it. I haven't watched a lot of his TV work but Kitchen Confidential, f-bombs and all, was a great read. The Nasty Bits was a lot of fun too. Yet for all my trips to New York and my focus on food when I'm there, I have never been to Les Halles. I decided this week's trip to DC would be a good chance to try the Washington location. I wasn't disappointed. 

This being my second solo meal of the trip I had my game face on. I would be taking no crap from the waitstaff. Though the first person I encountered was rather surly, my waiter took good care of me. I wish I could identify the exact moment when he decided I wasn't insane or likely to stiff him on the tip. Maybe it was when I ordered the full portion of moules et frites. I really don't know. In any case, he treated me like I belonged there and his tip reflected that.

So, here's what I was on my table at Les Halles:

a glass of pinot noir
mesclun with vinaigrette
moules et frites (with white wine, shallots, and garlic)
bread pudding
a french press of coffee

The mesclun was perfect. Not too much vinaigrette, not too little. Perfect.

The mussels were divine. The bowl was huge and I ate every.single.one, then sopped up the broth with a little bread.

The frites were almost perfect but I was so full from the mussels that I couldn't eat them all.

I'd planned to eat half of the bread pudding but opted to leave the whipped cream and half the ice cream instead. It was damn tasty. I would have added a little lemon zest to it, but really, it was great.

As suggested by Uncle Crappy, I give Les Halles a 4 nom rating. That's "nom nom nom nom" to you.

15 October 2008

people you should meet

I had the pleasure of meeting a slew of interesting people at Blogher, and I hope to introduce you to many of them through their blogs in future posts. Blogher got started with an amazing round of "speed dating." I don't know how long it went on but we had sixty seconds to meet a blogger and share info before moving on to the next. Cards were extremely useful in this context, but hardly a requirement. Bloggers seem remarkably able to convey the essence of their blogs in a sentence or two and happy to share URLs by whatever means were available, even, you know it, pen and paper!

If you only visit one site of all the ones I am going to mention, make it wowowow.com. Seriously. I don't know how I didn't hear about this one before Blogher but I am hooked now. Smart women, engaging in a daily conversation on an important topic. It doesn't get much better than that.

There were a few bloggers I thought would be there and I was hoping to meet them. I stalked them throughout the day, finally meeting them at the cocktail party. Goon Squad Sarah and PunditMom (Happy 25 x 2 Birthday!) were all that AND a bag of chips. And for proof I really did meet Sarah (and compare fantasy football scores with her), I offer this bit of photographic evidence:

BlogHer DC 2008 Party

Originally uploaded by shashiBellamkonda

The other bloggers pictured are Wineplz and De (thanks for the cookie!). As I camped out with my wine, bloggers cruised by the table to see Sarah, including Jodifur (go Steelers!). I was just a very happy groupie.

14 October 2008

Ten on Tuesday

My trip to Washington by the numbers:

10 - Metro rides. Every major city should have Metro, including Pittsburgh. 
9 - Blocks walked from National Gallery to Les Halles. Considering how much I ate, I should have walked a lot more.
8 - Glasses of wine consumed over three days, with only one real dud in the bunch.
7 - Courses consumed at Vidalia, if you count the amuse bouche and cookies that came with the check.
6 - New followers on Twitter yesterday directly from BlogherDC. More today too.
5 - Lions and tigers spotted at the Zoo.
4 - Visits to Starbucks. One day I squeezed in two. New breakfast sandwiches look interesting but they were out of the turkey bacon one this morning.
3 - Flights. Ugh.
2 - Kids, sorely missed
1 - Mum, happy to be home

I still need to find time to put together the whole entry on the trip. Both restaurants deserve posts of their own. And so many new bloggers to follow! I will share all of those with you too.

13 October 2008

pins & needles

My best friend in the world for the last 22 years, known here as Tika, is having a baby girl tonight, or maybe very very early tomorrow morning. I'm waiting for a call from her sister. I'm so excited for her I can hardly stand it. As awesome as BlogHer DC was today (more about that later on tomorrow) I would rather be in Milwaukee. I haven't been this ga-ga over a baby I haven't met yet since my own kids. 

She's gonna be an amazing mum. I have always thought that my getting married and having kids before her meant something was seriously wrong with the universe. Tonight, a little piece of the universe is being set right.

UPDATE:  Baby A arrived very early this morning! All is well, and I'm dying for a picture of the new family.

12 October 2008

squeeee!

I'm in DC. There are no mouths, noses, or behinds to wipe. In fact, I have no responsibilities whatsoever. I am officially off-duty until I get home Tuesday (before kid bedtimes, if the planets governing travel align). If I wanted, I could sleep all day tomorrow in this posh hotel. And it really is awfully tempting, but I think the fun of BlogHer will win out and I'll be on the metro early. 

I have been taking lots of notes for a big post when I get back. I will share that I started reading the absolute perfect book on the way down, Ruth Reichl's Garlic and Sapphires. I read the first hundred or so pages and loved the parts about going to restaurants in disguise and being treated with sub-standard service. It was all the armor I needed to steel myself for solo dining tonight. I think Ruth needs some of the thanks for the success of my evening. 

Will try to post a few live updates tomorrow.

11 October 2008

oh dark thirty

I just ordered a cab for oh dark thirty in the morning. In this case, that translates to 4:45. In the morning. Will take cab to bus, bus to plane, then another plane, etc. etc. etc. But it will be great and I am NOT complaining. I get to go to the BlogHer Reach Out Tour in DC. And eat out. And sleep!!! I think I may like that last one best.

More from the road, of course.

10 October 2008

FFF - let someone else cook

Fabulous Food Friday returns, and recommends making reservations instead of dinner. My reservation system of choice for the last umpteen years is OpenTable. They tell me I joined in February of 2003, and I have been accumulating points ever since.

I am very impressed with the expansion of OpenTable.  For a while early on I wondered if they were going to make it but now they are in London. They are in a total of 15 countries! I always use them when I am traveling, but now that they have nearly 40 Pittsburgh restaurants in their system, I am starting to use them here at home too.

There's really no reason not to use them. There's no cost to join, and every reservation earns points towards dining rewards. 2000 points is $20. Not a lot but the service is convenient and that's free money. If you can do an early or late reservation, some places even give you 1000 points instead of the standard 100. I love that when I go to New York in February. There is one night in our schedule when an early dinner is required. I love the 1000 point bonus for doing what I need to do anyway.

I just made a couple of "table for one" reservations in DC for Sunday night and Tuesday lunch, before and after BlogHer. I am so looking forward to this trip I can hardly stand it. What's not to love? Posh hotel, good food, fun conference, and no one who needs anything from me. Well, that's not entirely true. Somehow two conference calls have cropped up on Monday for two organizations for which I volunteer, but really, I will not be complaining about this trip. 

09 October 2008

how many sleeps?

At some point during CD's trips, usually past the half way point, we start a little countdown on the chalkboard wall in Oliver's room. Every morning we change the number on "X sleeps until Daddy comes home." As a strategy for dealing with a parent's absence, I recommend it. Oliver is so excited to change the number every morning. He can process that tomorrow we will write "1" and then the morning after that Daddy will, in fact, come home. I think we started this time around day five, when he was really starting to ask for CD in earnest.

I worry a little about chalking up too many of the behavior challenges I see to him just missing Daddy, but we are all a bit stressed. Oliver had a meltdown as we were leaving his school today. He was lollygagging his way through the hall and I committed the sin of going on the stairs before him. It was all downhill from there. He wanted me to have done the opposite of whatever I had just done. I wasn't going to mollify him so I tried to just stick to our exit routine as much as possible, and not let him hit me using whatever means I had. As we passed the playground, with Oliver screaming and hitting, his teacher looked horrified. This is a special side of Oliver that he saves for me, not behavior he displays at school. He got over it before we left and was asking for hugs. At home, he was much better. There were a couple of brief outbursts, emphasis on "brief."

A teacher at Oliver's school this morning asked me if Eleanor could walk. I realized I always carry her or she is in the Ergo on my back during drop-off and pick-up. That's mostly because of her refusal to hold my hand. No more. I put her down, took her hand, and she charged ahead confidently, laughing and giggling all the while. I repeated this when we got to her school and she was ecstatic. I hope I haven't created a monster but she is still insisting I pick her up eleventy thousand times a day so we're probably safe, at least for a little while longer.

Eleanor's teacher conference was today and I learned a lot. The most interesting bit is the large number of ways she is like Oliver, far more than those areas she is different. They are not really the polar opposites I sometimes envision. The best part was hearing which children and teachers she was bonding with, and the activities she likes best, especially books. She has transitioned very well to the group setting and is developing the relationships I hoped she would.

08 October 2008

kicking it up a notch

Eleanor's new words for today:  chris (sounds like "tis"), christina ('tina), charlie, bunny, cat, "blue's clues" (tv was on while I cooked dinner), eyes, nose, mouth

I think there were a couple more that I am not remembering. I'm still amazed at how long she has sustained this language explosion, but for her to produce 9-10 new words in one day is truly staggering. She's kind of scaring me!

07 October 2008

with friends like him...

Painful as it is, I am watching another debate. I know I shouldn't but I can't help myself. I still don't adore Obama but I'm perfectly content to cast a vote against John McCain. Each debate simply confirms this position.

There are a few things I really take issue with, well beyond McCain's excessive use of "my friend(s)". The most disappointing was when McCain kept saying, "I know how to...." or "I am gonna...." but failed to say how, exactly, each of these things was to be accomplished. Clearly it's a big secret and we only get to find out if he wins. Brilliant strategy. He's entirely absolved of needing a clue until next January.

And if McCain is carrying a big stick, what is he trying to say? Puhleese....

I can't think of a single election where my vote has been swayed by a debate. It's a pathetic case of waiting for someone to pull a Quayle, and we all watch.

06 October 2008

hat!



Plates are really not necessary for Eleanor. They make great frisbees and hats though.

Eleanor's new words for today: helicopter (she just says 'copter and points at the sky), gentle, football, bear, moon

05 October 2008

short

Abbreviated post tonight, but my entire body is aching, even the eyebrow that my spinning class couldn't touch. It started at 3am when a very upset tummy reared its ugly head. There wasn't any "action" but I slept fitfully the rest of the night. When I got up I was sure I had the plague that Eleanor had on Friday. I got through breakfast and waited until the respectable hour of 9am to phone my neighbor. I fed her cats for a couple of weeks in August and thought I could call in the favor. She took Oliver and Eleanor for the morning, bringing them back fed and ready for a nap. Minutes after they left my body expelled the plague and left me in an exhausted heap. I slept until the kids returned, and went back to sleep as soon as they were napping. The sitter I scheduled previously showed up about five minutes after they woke up. I fled the scene, heading out to pick up Halloween costumes that were on hold. The longer I was out, the more the body aches took over. I am currently curled up on the couch with a remote and a laptop, trying to follow the Red Sox (more) and Steelers (less), and my fantasy league (kicking butt again!). I'll be asleep very soon.

Eleanor's new words:  Amy (she started to say it after Amy went home), no touch (she hears that a lot), cheerios

04 October 2008

signs of strain

It's been interesting to watch the evolution of Oliver's behavior and how he deals with CD's travel schedule. The older he gets, the more aware he is of his world, the harder it is for him to deal with this sort of disruption. Case in point, he will be in the middle of a happy little baseball game and seemingly out of nowhere he will say to me, "I need a hug. I miss my Daddy." Or "Why is Daddy not at my home?" I love that he can verbalize how he's feeling but it rips my heart in two to see him so sad. Fortunately, he's not somber and depressed for any great length of time. It's just a minute or two here and there.

Eleanor is also letting me know she misses her daddy but it's a bit more subtle. No doubt that will change as she gets older. Tonight we finally had a video chat with him that worked. He's been unable to hear us due to an audio issue with his laptop but for some reason, his wearing headphones seems to solve the problem. Anyway, she lit up like a Christmas tree when she could talk to him.  

Unfortunately, this was day five of a twelve day trip for CD. I think we have enough planned for tomorrow that the day will go quickly, and then we'll be back to school days. Oliver is slated to be "line leader" on Tuesday. He has been talking about it for days. It's a pretty big deal for a three year old. 

Though CD will be missing the 10th anniversary of our first date on Wednesday, I am thrilled that he opted to take a red-eye home. He will be back Saturday morning, the gods of air travel willing. I leave Sunday morning for BlogHer in DC and will no doubt be more than ready for a break. 

03 October 2008

have a seat

Today wasn't exactly all that and a bag of chips, but it was not without a few silly moments. Eleanor was clearly not herself when she got up. She insisted on bringing Dolly and her cow to breakfast and would not put them down under any circumstances. The few bites of waffle she ate came from a hand attached to an arm wrapped around a toy.

She didn't have a fever and seemed mostly okay, so I took her to school. Not 15 minutes after getting to the office for a very full day of work I got the call that she had barfed and had to go home. I rescheduled what I could and felt like a total failure about the rest, but with CD on the road, I didn't have a choice.

Once we got home she was very snuggly and wanted to read books. I put her down for a nap and she slept for two hours. She had some toast for lunch, then took another short nap. She seemed very happy and not sick at all, so I let her play while I put away laundry. She followed me into Oliver's room, where she spotted Wally sitting in his adirondack chair. I don't know what she was thinking, since the chair is only about 9 inches tall and not even that wide, but she threw Wally on the floor, put the chair in the middle of Oliver's rug, and tried to sit on it!

We ran a few errands before fetching Oliver. I wasn't thinking clearly when I put Eleanor in the Ergo on my back when we got to Trader Joe's. Fortunately, there hasn't been any more barfing. 

New words for today:  dolly (can't believe it took her this long to say it!), snuggle, football, and seat

02 October 2008

the up side of sleep deprivation

The best thing about getting only four hours of sleep last night? I have no guilt about skipping the train wreck that will be the VP debate. I stick to an earlier prediction that Palin will be dumped from the Republican ticket. 

What really fries my bacon (sorry, that was yesterday) is that she does not bring us any closer to the day my daughter sees a smart, capable woman winning the presidency.

Now if Tina Fey were debating Joe Biden....

UPDATE: You know I watched. At least I didn't get ill, though the thought of Sarah Palin representing our country abroad makes me want to move to the UK and deny I ever lived here.

syllables

I have to post this now or I'll forget. I don't function particularly well on 4 hours of sleep. Damn you Major League Baseball for scheduling the Red Sox for 10pm eastern time. Don't do that again, please, mkay? It was worth it to see John Lester's pitching, Jason Bay hit a homer, and Big Papi to keep his post-season hitting streak alive but there's only so much I can take. Needless to say, prying Oliver away from "highlights baseball" this morning was a major challenge. I made the mistake of telling him that Jason Bay had a home run. At least he didn't fight me on the long pants and long-sleeved shirt.

Eleanor is really racking up the syllables again. New words for the morning are "flowers" and "jacket". She has been working on "flowers" for a few days now but it's very clear now, and she knows that there are flowers on the car seat, in her room, and in a few other places. At least I think she has put it together. She also points to Oliver's car seat and says "Bubba" so you really never know.

I thought the language explosion would have been over a while ago but she has kept it going for weeks now. Let's hope the Red Sox follow suit.

01 October 2008

bacon AND sugar

With humble thanks to my friend Clumber, who writes about a certain Pittsburgh drama that I do not understand even slightly, I bring you the bacon cinnamon roll. The part that intrigues me most is that it unrolls and looks like bacon prior to baking. Well that, and the whole eating part.

And a couple of unrelated notes:

Parent night at Oliver's school was a lot more fun than last year. Instead of being talked at, we were engaged in meaningful ways and I left knowing a lot more about what he is doing. His teacher is brilliant, and not just because she solved the potty problems. He is going to have a wonderful year. Though having kids in two places is a pain, this teacher is worth it. Besides, her husband invented the emoticon. It doesn't get much cooler than that.

Baseball games should not start at 10pm on a weeknight, maybe not ever. That is all.