Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Appropriate Dress

Monday was chilly in Happy Valley. The temperature read 26, but the wind was strong, so our daily mile and a half walk with Lucy was a cold one. (We shortened it. A mile was plenty.) Despite being fairly well-dressed and covered with a blanket, Rowan got cold and yelled as the wind chapped her cheeks.

On Tuesday, the temp was the same so I decided to really pull out all the stops. Though I didn't expect the wind to be as strong, I wasn't taking any chances. I needed that walk. (Damn you, cookies!) I dressed her in snow pants, boots, and grabbed her jacket, mittens and hat. I tossed the jacket on the floor so she could do her "1,2, Fliperoo!", and went into the living room to find my own shoes, which tend to migrate on a set of little feet. When I got back, she had her jacket on, but the hat was no where to be seen.

"Where is it?" I said, looking around the kitchen. I looked under the table. On top of the table. On the kitchen counter. On top of the freezer. In the living room. On the bookshelf. Nope.

"Sheesh!" I told Rowan. "I must be losing it. I just had your hat here. You have to have a hat on! It's too cold to go with just your hood. You need a hat."

"Hat? Hat?" she answered. Then the light went on in her eyes, and she stomped into the living room in her pink furry snowboots.

She came back wearing this.

Hard Hat Baby

Unfortunately, it didn't fit under her hood.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Olive Garden

is not my favorite restaurant. Not even close. I don't even like it that much. But every once in a while, I get a hankering for soup, salad and breadsticks. I love those big olives.

And my husband? Oh, he's 1/8 Sicilian, which means he's an EXPERT on all things ITALIAN and will NOT DARKEN THEIR DOOR UPON PAIN OF DEATH.

So when we're going out for a quick lunch or supper, I can never, ever get him to agree to go there. Even though his 1/2 Sicilian grandmother loves their tiramisu. IT DOESN'T MATTER. He won't.


We had no leftovers yesterday. I had to eat a Weight Watchers frozen dinner for lunch. It was NOT good. Really. It had some weird bitter green things in it. I don't know what they were. I don't want to know. I ate 1 1/2 pieces of bread with some butter and a stick of CoJack cheese because I'm sorry 6 points is baloney. I need more food.


I was hungry. And I wanted Olive Garden's soup. So I made it.

I used her recipe. It was mind-blowingly good. Really. REALLY REALLY.

And I had all the stuff in the house. And it cooks in the crock pot. I love my crock pot.

Rowan? She said, "Zoop! Zoop! Deee-wisha!"

Lucy drooled on the floor.

And when Dr. B got home, he ate 3 bowls.

Then I told him what kind of soup it was.

He ran into the other room yelling, "No! NO! NOOOO!!! It's Ronica soup! Ronica soup! RonicaRonicaRonica!!! Not freakin' Olive Garden! NOOOOOO!!! It's RONICA GARDEN!"

(Yes, he really said Ronica Garden.)

Though I admit it, it was better than Olive Garden. More chunks, less broth, more hearty. That whole unlimited thing sucks when it's 40% broth they give you--this one isn't like that. And it makes a LOT. It's actually less like Pasta E Fagioli and more like what would happen if Chili and Vegetable Beef soup had a baby. It would be this.

We had leftovers for lunch today. Rowan's face got all orange. I ate a huge bowl. YUM.

Monday, February 16, 2009


We're planning trips. Big ones, with little luggage. One to France in May, with me and Rowan taking a train from Frankfurt to Paris while jetlagged, alone (yeah, that should be fun.) Then another to the Outer Banks of NC in the summer, to a big house with about 10 other families. A house you can't drive to unless you have 4WD because it's right on the beach (which our little Civic hybrid doesn't.) So, we're told to pack for 3 days, rather than the 10 we'll be there. (It has a laundry room.)

So I've been thinking. How could we save space? And I came up with a BRILLIANT idea. We'll all use Rowan's Johnson's Head-to-Toe Baby Wash as shampoo and body wash!!! Perfect. Makes such good sense. Man, I'm surprised no one else ever thought of that.

I tried it today. It took more to wash me than her, but whatever. It's not known for lather. I cleaned up, washing hair, face and body, and towel drying. And it worked wonderfully!

If you like looking like a haystack.

No wonder my kid looks like Einstein.

I had been a tish irritated with my hairstylist for not cutting my hair enough at the last (very pricey) session, but today I was really, really glad to have the ponytail option.

Does anybody know of a head-to-toe that doesn't give us the "Botte de paille" look*?

*(If not, we'll make room for a bottle of conditioner.)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tip: Maribou feathers + scissors = BAD IDEA.

We have been blessed. Rowan has 2 female cousins who are older than she is, and every few months, we receive bulging boxes from Montana filled with clothes. I rarely need to buy anything, though I sometimes snag a bargain that I know will be cute on her, and I always have more clothes than she can wear. So many things are adorable and fit her perfectly. But some of it isn't my style, so it doesn't get worn often. Then, I feel the inevitable guilt.

It's perfectly good. Practically brand new!

But it'll look weird. Or silly. Or too girly. Or sparkly. Or (insert random reason here).

But it's hardly even been used? Certainly she could wear it once?

So some things never get worn, spending their time at the bottom of the drawer until they are (phew) too small and relegated to the plastic bin in the closet.

The other day, I pulled out an adorable pair of Osh Kosh sage green cords. The shape, the style, the color--all great. But? They had some weird crocheted flowers attached to them that had shrunk into little pink and orange globs. Stuck to the legs. So, while Rowan was in the bath, I pulled out my seam ripper and voilà!!! Plain pants!

I felt so powerful.

Then I grabbed the coral polka dot baby blazer. With the dumb bows. Pluck! Pluck! Bows begone!!!

I dressed her for church in the sage pants with a pink turtleneck and white sweater. She looked great, sans crocheted pink and orange blobs. (I'm saving the blazer for another time.)

I was SuperMom.

Monday morning came, and I searched her closet for something comfy to wear. And I saw it.

The black velour jogging suit. With the embroidered pink butterflies. It was so cute, and it looked brand new. Likely never even washed. And she looks so good in black.

EXCEPT that the hood was lined. With feathers. Pink maribou feathers.

I couldn't do it. Her face would be surrounded by pink fluff that belonged on Blanch Devereau's bedroom slipper. I just couldn't put my strong, tough little girl in something like that.

So while she was in the bath, I grabbed a scissor, and started to work on the stitches.

Man, this is really hard to get at. All these stupid feathers. Those women in that Chinese sweatshop must have been really determined. Fluff and fluff and... SNEEZE. Oh, this sucks. Fine, I'll just cut it. Oh, NO! Fluff! And Fluff! And FLLLLUUUUFFFFFF!!! Oh, NO!!! What have I done???

It was everywhere. On my jeans, stuck to my sweater. In my hair. Infiltrating my contact lenses. Up my nose. In my mouth. On the floor, stuck to the shower curtain, floating in the air. And then? It crossed the barrier into her bath.

And she did not like it. Not one bit.

For the very first time in her life, Rowan asked to get out of the tub.

She clung to me, naked, screaming and terrified.

Of pink maribou feathers.

My tough little habanero-sauce eating girl, taken down by fluffy, rose-colored birdie bits.

Friday, February 06, 2009

25 Random Things About Me: (Yes, Stolen from Facebook)

1. I can't do that tongue roll thing. It has always bothered me, even though I know it's genetic. (And I'm thinking that if you can do it, you are doing it right now. People always do when I tell them.)

2. I lived in Paris for a year. I was very proud of the fact that some French people thought I was French after about 6 months. I am afraid that when I go back I'm going to sound like an idiot again. I think I'm going back for a visit in May! Yay!!!

3. My favorite food in the world is dill pickles.

4. I have had carpal tunnel release surgery on both my wrists. It worked, but my 10-hour/day playing schedule was never resumed.

5. In 7th grade, I was clocked at reading over 1,000 words/minute. I also got in trouble during read-aloud time in 2nd grade because I was 5 pages ahead of the class. I cried. (I really love to read.)

6. I started blogging when we lived in Paris. I have readers all over the world. Sometimes I freak out about that--family and friends kind of have to read me, but why are those people coming back? (So, why are you? Hmmm????)

7. I am allergic to cinnamon. And a whole bunch of other crap. Mostly organic aldehydes, according to Jeff, but also random stuff and things that I've encountered a lot, like Cherry Chapstick and gold. It's getting worse. I had a reaction to eyeliner a few weeks ago. I panicked. Me without eyeliner? That's a polar bear in a snowstorm. (Luckily, it has since died down.)

8. According to the neurologist, I have chronic low seratonin. This results in migraines and insomnia. I hate it. I have an arsenal of knock-out drugs, pain killers and triptans in my medicine cabinet because of it. Yoga helps, too.

9. I am not afraid of spiders. I really have no problem with them at all. (They are not allowed in my house, however. Jeff is all Buddhisty and takes them outside. I squish them.)

10. When I was in 3rd grade, I did that tongue on the pole thing in Kindred, North Dakota in the winter. I realized how stupid it was when I was stuck, and just ripped it off and dealt with the pain. I didn't tell my mom or my teacher. (I was scared of Mrs. Graf. I think I still am.)

11. I hate raw celery.

12. My daughter's middle name is Amelia. Jeff thinks it's after Amelia Aerhardt, but really I meant Amelia Bedelia when I brought it up.

13. This is my lucky number!

14. My mom died when I was 24. She was an amazing woman and an incredible mother. She was also an alcoholic. I miss her every day.

15. I have never once in my life smoked anything. Honest to Pete. (I've eaten a smoked chicken. It gave me the runs.)

16. I love Spaghetti-O's with meatballs. I realize they are gross. I have even eaten them at room temperature, straight out of the can. (It was summer and it was too hot to eat hot food.) My roommate at the time said, "They smell like vomit, but they taste really good." I thought that was a perfect summation.

17. My favorite meal is a rare steak topped with blue cheese, some sort of green veggie and a glass (or 2) of red wine. Follow with cheesecake or crème brulée and I might just melt.

18. I have a sick obsession with cleaning my ears with a Qtip. Drew Braunberger once described it as an "eargasm". I keep trying to stop, but I can't.

19. I am the Clearance Queen. I love to get a bargain, and will wait to buy something if I can estimate that "it will go down more", even if I ultimately lose it. It's kind of like a gambling addiction. I love Target, TJMaxx, Ross, Casual Corner (RIP), JCPenney's, and Kohl's. They have the best markdowns.

20. I want to be one of those people who looks like a rock star, but I just don't. I'm more Princess Grace than Grace Slick. I'm trying to deal with that. The whole Mad Men fashion thing is good for me because fussy 60's styles flatter me much more than deconstructed grungy things.

21. I brush my teeth too hard. My dentist yells at me for it.

22. I say both r's in February. I also use "whom" regularly, and get irritated when people use the wrong your/you're, their/there/they're, to/too/two, its/it's or put the apostrophe in plurals. I also dislike semicolons, but overuse double dashes. I'm working on this.

23. I used to think I was really fat. Then I had a baby. Now I think my body is AMAZING--look what it did!!! When I see photos that used to make me cringe, now I wonder what I was seeing. It's unbelievable what your mind can do to change your perception.

24. I have worked as a server and eventually a bartender at the Palace Sports Bar, the Ramada Inn, The Blue Moose Bar and Grill and Benvenuto's Italian Grill. I really enjoyed it, and I was good at it. I liked being with the people, moving around, making people happy, and making drinks. My Margaritas and Bloody Marys were highly praised. I don't like Bloody Marys.

25. My 4th fingers curve weirdly inward. I always have a hole between them and my middle fingers, no matter how hard I try to push them together. Kristen Kettler said it came from playing the clarinet too much, but I think my mom's hands were like that, too. Mine are just worse.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Rowan's Current Favorite Song

Wombo Lombo by Angélique Kidjo.

This kid has good taste. Angélique Kidjo performed on Jack's Big Music Show, our favorite kids' show (as much fun for me as for her). Will try to get video of her dancing to it, soon. Promise.
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