Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gut Feelings

My little Katie-Lou is sick. She and I are sharing a sore throat/headache thing but in her it turned into a fever. I picked her up around lunchtime yesterday, but had to stop at the store on the way home to get vitamins, cough medicine and some food for the sickie. In the car, half way to the store she said "Mom, I can't keep my eyes open". So I said "then close them." She did and I extracted a sleeping Kate from the car and plopped her into the shopping cart. She slept through most of the grocery store event, waking only when I put her back in the car to ask me if I remembered to get her some popsicles. Then I lugged her up the stairs and put her in bed. She was awake long enough to insist I read her Rose's Garden, then passed out, giving me time to get some work done, which was the only good thing about her being sick.

That afternoon she had an appointment at the chiropractor. Dr. Liliana commented right away that Kate was all jacked up (my words) then said, as she was checking out Kate's midsection "wow, she has a lot of emotional stuff going on here." She moved Kate around only slightly, this way and that and Kate, who'd been silent, began to tell Dr. Liliana all about her dog Lola and that she is dead and now she's just gone and we really miss her. "She didn't get to have her 9th birthday" Kate lamented. Interestingly, Lola's 9th birthday would have been this weekend, but that had not occurred to me until Kate started talking about it. Kate and her chiropractor chatted a little regarding the fact that yes, we can no longer see Lola but she will always be remembered and maybe we could do something to celebrate her birthday for her...and I stood by trying not to cry.

Later, when she was done being adjusted but was resting on the table Kate said to me "can you give me a hug even though I'm sick?"

When we were on our way to the chiropractor, I wondered if I should have canceled the appointment and tried to get her to her pediatrician for a (much dreaded) throat culture instead. As we were leaving and Kate, Sarah (who also had an appointment) and I talked more about how much we miss Lola, I was happy we'd come. The pediatrician would never have considered that my child might be susceptible to colds and other bugs because her system was so busy trying to figure out what to do with misunderstood grief. This morning Kate is chatting away, playing catch with her sister and has color back in her cheeks. She has to stay home because she was running a fever as recently as 10:00 last night, but she's fine, really.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Girls Gone Hiking

I took the day off because school and daycare were closed for Martin Luther King Jr Day. The weekend was raw and rainy, just plain gross. When I woke up this morning after eight full hours of sleep in addition to being a little disoriented, I felt like I was getting a do-over. We headed out to Arabia Mountain with our friends Kore, Brendan, Catherine and Margaret. We met some new friends along the way, Mike and his gorgeous daughters Lily Mae and Jude Harper. Together, along with a very excited Monkey, we conquered the wilderness. Somewhere out there, a little girl lost her underwear. I'm not kidding. Here are some photos!

You want to see some tired girls and one exhausted puppy? Come on by our place tonight.

Rainy Sunday Afternoon

Friday, January 15, 2010

...And Now, Your Moment of Awwwwwh

This morning Kate told Jeremiah that she loves Sarah so much, she wishes Sarah could have a baby sister, too.

(Before you say anything - no, Sarah cannot have a baby sister or a baby brother. Don't even bother.)

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Subtle Nuances of Leafy Greens or The Vegetable You Know

I'm a fan of leafy greens. You might not have known that since there's no group for me to join on facebook called "Leafy Greens". Not yet, anyway.* I like them because they're full of wonderful vitamins and minerals and it's easy to toss them into most any dish, including juice. I sometimes have trouble with the less subtle vegetables because they seem to want to play a bigger role in my meal and I don't always know how best to costume them. Greens - I can serve just about anything over a bed of them and they taste great.

I needed items for our stir-fry last night, so I stopped by the Whole Foods on Briarcliff on my way home. I like to poke around the veggie section and see what looks good, and I always include something leafy in my stir-fry, right at the last minute. I usually go for bok choy but yesterday they only had baby bok choy and it was so understated I daresay it was more fetal bok choy than baby-aged. Ah, but speaking of baby greens, the baby kale was the crisp-looking and the most alluring shade of spring green...yes, this was the leafy green for the night. I got a few other items and then felt my usual twitch developing - the twitch that lets me know it's time to get out of the store.

I got in line, placed my items on the check-out conveyor belt and waited my turn. My cashier for the day was an older woman, pleasantly round and brown; I anticipated a friendly Indian grandmother type. Everything seemed to be going just fine between the two of us until she got to the kale. "Do you remember what this is?" she asked me. I told her it was baby kale and that's when things took a sudden southward turn. She emitted the kind of laugh you might find yourself unable to stifle if, for example, I said that a bar of soap was baby kale. There was a slight hesitation, to see if I was kidding, followed by an escaped guffaw.

"That is not baby kale" she snorted.

"Really?" I inquired, caught off guard "it looks exactly the baby kale I buy at the Farmer's Market..."

"Huh. Uh, no. Have you ever seen kale? I can show you what kale looks like, if you need me to."

Now I was annoyed. In addition, I was 99% certain that stuff was baby kale. The woman behind me chimed in helpfully -

"There are many different types of kale..." I gave her a thankful smile.

"This is not kale" the not at all grandmotherly cashier reiterated. She began to riffle through her list of SKUs. "This is...oh...what do you call it...."
"Baby kale." I said flatly.

"Do you want kale? I can help you find kale" she said again.

What I wanted more than kale, was to get the hell out of there and forever end my contact with this woman.

"I want that." I said, pointing at the kale. "The item your co-workers also believed to be baby kale, and labeled as such on the shelf." Her head was again buried in the list.

"Ah, here we are..." she rang it up. Frisee.

"That is not..." I began, but saw that frisee (a bitter, impossible to masticate, much lighter in color, far lacier around the leaves, inedible waste-of-salad-space) was a full $1 per pound cheaper than the organic baby kale I was actually purchasing. Since I was being made to endure this combative hag, I felt I deserved the discount.

"Is frisee what you meant to buy?" the cashier challenged me. My new friend in line behind me gave me a wide-eyed Oh My God look. I bet she gets that Get Out Now twitch, too.

" I mean to buy exactly that, whatever you choose to call it." I said, but what I thought was 'why don't you just stick it in a bag and shut your whore mouth!?!' Sometimes I think really mean things. We parted ways and as I walked to my car I congratulated myself for not prolonging that absurd argument about the proper name of leafy green vegetables. However, when I got home I was compelled to find proof regarding the plant I intended to eat later that evening. I Googled "baby kale".

Here is what Google showed me:

And here is what I bought yesterday, on the cheap ( I would like to note, here, that the color of what I bought was a lot like the color in Google's photo, I am not good at photographing food.):

Suck it, mean cashier lady!

*Kevin, before you bother to comment, I know the referenced is a sentence fragment. Don't care.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

How Monkey is Doing

Monkey, age 3 months, is doing very well. Aside from the fact that he's a morning pooper and dislikes immensely pooping in temperatures below freezing, preferring, instead, the warm wooden floors of the indoors, he is shaping up to be a delightful addition to our little family. He adores humans and his own species never fails to get his butt wiggling. He loves the cats, too, though to date, that is an unrequited love. He's a big fan of snuggling, under any circumstances. He walks on his leash like a champ already. We are all very much enamoured of our Monkey.

Lola found her most terrifying enemies in the lawn mower, which she bravely chased down, even nipping at when the opportunity presented itself, and the jump rope. Nothing set that dog in nervous, barking, leaping motion like someone jumping rope. To date, Monkey is aggressive toward the vacuum cleaner, yet, respectfully frightened of it. The playroom holds for him the greatest terrors, even though the vacuum cleaner is seldom found in there.

First, there's the musical Curious George mat, a gift to the girls from my parents. It's usually on, and lives on the floor, dangerously close to the doorway. Anyone innocently entering the room runs a high risk of causing the thing to bark, yelp, moo, snort or sing; Monkey is no exception. In fact, he has figured out how to do it on purpose.

Then there's that gerbil-thing Aunt Jo Jo picked up for Sarah several months ago. Who knew it would become the sought-after Christmas gift for 2009? It lacks a name around here, but we are all mildly amused by it. I like to tap it on its back from time to time just to set its weird little show in motion. The cats, to my surprise, are unmoved by it. Monkey, however, finds it tantalizing. I think the fact that it can back itself out of a corner is particularly off-putting to Monkey. How does it know? Monkey is probably right to be afraid. An army of those things, properly motivated and led, could take over. That would make them less cute, to be sure.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Finally. Ten.

Happy New Year!!!!

Whew, that was a long one, wasn't it? Escalating unemployment, the insurance fracas, not to mention elsewhere in the world war, famine, systematic rape of villagers, riots, governmental oppression. Of course, that stuff happens most years somewhere. I don't think it helps 2009's case, though. On the home front, I discovered I have a nasty allergy to wheat, caught the swine flu, fell down my stairs and my dog died. I'm working on the blues song now. Lots of good stuff happened, too, but it doesn't work well with the blues riff.

We rang in the new year with Sonya, Chris, Steve, Joy (all of whom lost a beloved dog in 2009, too) and our next door neighbors, Allison and Charlie (they had to leave early to put their adorable 9-month-old to bed). We had a Buena Noche dinner (yeah, a week late, but it was still a Good Night), thanks to our Cuban ambassador, Sonya. It was delicious. We worked our way through a fair amount of beer and wine while I did Tarot readings for the family. I've been avoiding doing my own reading because I did a throw for myself on my birthday that was so delightful I just want to ride that one out.

Now we are done with 2009. Ten is a nice, round number. In the Tarot deck the ten is the Wheel of Fortune, a card that symbolizes the mysteries and magic of every day life from why spring follows winter to why some people prosper while others languish to the most mundane of life's little events. Why, for example, do the garbage men drag our trash bin nearly into our neighbor's yard before letting it go or leave it right in the middle of the base of the driveway so we can't even pull the car in? What did we do?

Where was I? Oh yes, this ten is often about letting it be and relaxing in one's surroundings for once. You might think you control it, but you don't, so let it go already. The minor arcana cards, from which today's playing cards were derived, all end go up to 10 (unless you consider the Ace to be last, in which case these all go to eleven. For everyone else, ten is just louder.) Nevertheless, the feeling is that ten is a notable point, a bit of completion of something.

Why do I mention this when I know you don't care at all? It's more for me, really, and isn't that the true spirit of blogging? When I learned it was wheat that was causing my crippling fatigue and itchy, cracked, painful hands, I probably pouted about that for a solid 2 months. Fine, three. You could make an argument for four, it's true... I continue to berate myself for letting Lola get out and run into the street. I even thought it was probably my fault I caught the flu that resulted in a cough so odious I bruised my ribs on one side.

I've thought a lot on the topic of resolutions. This year, taking to heart the message of the Wheel (not the Vanna White one, though this one does require you to fill in the blanks in a metaphorical manner), I will work to be more receptive of my outside world, and spend less time in my head, chewing everything to an unrecognizable mass of malcontent. Who am I kidding? I lead a charmed life. In 2010, I will embrace that and be grateful every day. I'll move from the Blues to Jazz. I'm thinking a bit of Monk for today, specifically.

May your year bring unexpected delights and more importantly, may you notice them!