Thursday, November 29, 2007

Messy Secrets

Before I left the house this morning,
I already had a banana glop
stuck to the side of my sweater
from the Babylove's hand
and a drizzle of coffee
from the drooling, half-asleep mama.

I could have changed my sweater,
but I didn't.
Instead, I readied my
"Oh, my goodness!" face.

If confronted with a helpful soul's
insights into the palatte--
that was my sweater--
a look of surprise
would cross my brow
followed by a self-deprecating chuckle.

In truth, I already knew.

Monday, November 26, 2007

B-nut Soup

I am no Mollie Katzen, but I do like to play in the kitchen. We are firmly in soup season, so I thought I'd offer up this recipe that I made up. All by myself...

  • One butternut squash
  • 3 or 4 apples (Granny Smith seem to do the best...)
  • Sweet potato or two
  • onion (I like the Walla Walla, but it could just be me missing Washington)
  • two heads of garlic
  • leek
  • 3 or 4 cups of vegetable broth
  • a half a cup of white wine (or perhaps more if you have been drinking too much prior to cooking)
  • Half a package of cream cheese
  • Fresh rosemary (or oregano)
The Roasting Part.
You can do this ahead of time. Even roast a whole bunch and throw it in the freezer.
Cut the butternut squash in half (lengthwise) and hollow out the seeds. Cut off the top of the head of garlic and tuck in the hollow space to roast. Lay the squash fleshy side down on the rosemary, so it absorbs some of that yummy essence. Cut the apples and sweet potatoes in half. Cut the onion in half. Put all in the roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Cover with tin foil and bake for about an hour. You want the squash to be soft, soft. The apples will explode into softness.

The Saute Part.
Clean the leek really well. The slice it up and throw it into a pan, heated with a little olive oil. Then pour in the wine so the leek gets a little drunk in the white wine. Cook until the leek is soft and the wine has evaporated.

The Blender Part.
Scrape out the squash and sweet potato. Spoon out the apples, cutting out the core. (I suppose you could do this prior to roasting, but whatever.) Squeeze the garlic. Put the roasted veggies and the leek all in a big ol' pot. Add the veggie broth. (You can also use water.) Scoop ladle fulls into the blender. In one of your blender mixes add the cream cheese. Keep blending until the soup is smooth. Add more liquid to get your desired consistency.

Enjoy with some crusty bread and wine.

(I think that's how I do it. I have given the recipe to someone before and left all sorts of things out...)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tom & Jerry: Redux

To quote Elton John, "The Bitch is Back."

In this case, the bitch is the mouse.

At approximately 5:30 a.m. CST, I went to get Spence after a particularly lovely night of sleep. (No, actually it was sarcasm here.) The fatal mistake? I left the bedroom door open after returning.

Enter Byron the Cat with a mouse tucked in his jaw. A mouse that was decidedly not dead.

A typical Tom and Jerry scene started to play out in our bedroom. Except Tom had an ally.


As the mouse started to dart towards my breast pump, Dave jumped up and started to toss junk out of Byron's way. I grabbed the boy and skittered out of the room. Dave locked himself in the room with Byron and "Jerry."

Safe in the playroom, Spence and I were playing the 'make a tower, knock it down' game and shaking the maraka. No worries, Dave kept us in the loop with a barrage of text messages.

Message #1: "6:04 a.m.: It's a cage match now. Mouse grows tired, cover diminishes. It knows a larger predator is on the scene." One that may or may not be wearing pants.

Message #2: "6:10 a.m.: I almost want to leave. Exhaustion tugs at me but solidarity will see me thru." A tuffle. Footsteps.

Message#3: "6:27 a.m.: Hunters together. He looks east. I look west." A severe picture of Dave's profile juxtaposed with Byron lazily lounging on the carpet was attached.

Message #4: "6:34 a.m.: My weapon." A picture of my school binder. Great.

Message #5: "6:42: Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide." With a picture of our (now) bare floor. I shuttered to think of all of the neatly folded clean clothes that had been folded on our floor.

More footsteps and Dave's excited voice. I hear him charging down the stairs in triumph. "The game has been caught! The mouse is dead!" In the end, it was Dave, not the cat, that killed the quarry.

My hero.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Oral Obsession

"I wouldn't say he's far behind. But yeah, he's behind."

With those words, my heart broke into a million tiny pieces. Just like the supposedly unbreakable Corelle bowl that Spence broke the night before when he ceremoniously rejected my attempt at prunes. (Yes, prunes. The love was a one time event.)

I just stared at the doctor. Her resident looked on, nodding knowingly. She looked to be about 24.

"If he doesn't start opening up his mouth and eating solids, he'll need to go see a specialist. He most likely has oral aversion."

Oral aversion? From the boy that nurses 24/7? What about kids developing in their own time? And the fact that he's only 8 months? Doesn't breast milk provide all the nutrition he needs until age 1? You rarely meet a healthy kid, which he is, who doesn't ever eat. Breastfeeding 18 year olds? I don't think so.

But, I nodded. Terrified.

"And how does he do with the Gerber Puffs? Yo Baby? ... What? You haven't given him Gerber Puffs?"

Call the Bad Mom Police. I have denied the boy Gerber Puffs. If you opt out of capitalism, you need to go see a specialist.

"Yes, he has another four weeks to see if he develops before we'll refer him. And how's he sleeping?"

I should have just walked out. It was a trick question. I had been counseled by friends to just lie in these situations, but like cows to the slaughter... I told her.

There was a whirlwind of words, clicking of cry-it-out, and doctor-giggles masked as empathy and then Spence and I were walking out of the doctor's office. A full 90 minutes after we walked in.

It took me a good 11 hours to realize that the doctor was full of shit. Before then, there were lots of self-doubt, fear and sweet potato Gerber Puffs. And now?

He's starting to feed himself. Sucker.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Prunes! Prunes! Prunes!

We've tried avocados, bananas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, butternut squash, peaches, rice cereal, nectarines, green beans, pears, apples, peas, carrots, pluots, mum mums, and they were met with only scowls until...PRUNES!

It is the only food that he will routinely open up his mouth to eat.

Delight is a word that cannot possibly capture my excitement. Bliss? Rapture? Tickled pink?

And it is wrapped in with memories of a friend's mom, Pam. With every mouth full and expression of mirth, I think of Pam and how she lived her life with sheer joy. My mind drifts to memories of Pam dressed up as the Easter Bunny and hopping across the family room. (We were in college.) And her sun-like smile on her son's wedding day.

Why do prunes lead to warm fuzzies of Pam? No, she did not have issues with constipation. She was, however, the prune grand dame of Yuba City. The queen of the famed Prune Festival, now the Dried Plum Festival.

Pam left us way too soon. I wish that there were new memories to add to the old. But as Spence chows down on the prunes, I think of Pam and grin.

If You Give a Mouse Pudding...

There might be a mouse in our downstairs bathroom.

I walked into the kitchen to find Dave hunched down and ushering Byron the Cat into the bathroom. "Go! Go! Go!" he was whispering.

"Whatcya doing?" I asked on my way to get some non-fat vanilla yogurt to mix with No Pudge brownie mix and eat raw.

"You don't want to know."

"Byron catching a mouse?" and with that I had opened the floodgates.

"YES! And I need something for back up. To get the mouse! Go! Go! Get me a broom or a mop. Quick! Quick, woman!"

"Whatcya going to do with it?"

"Get the mouse," he said disgustedly.

This from the man that asks me to 'protect' him from spiders. I went back to watching Grey's and munching on my faux chocolate pudding.

Byron is still in that bathroom. Dave is, as I type, chastising me for not loving Byron enough. "Think of all of the times you have tossed him off the bed. Toss! And now he is defending OUR BABY!" (Our baby who is asleep, mind you.) "When he gets that mouse, I am going to fill his dish to the brim!"

Still no actual sighting of the mouse.