Wednesday, December 31, 2008
He'll call me on the way home and say, "Ooh, can we play now? Or do I have to wait until I get home?"
The game works like 20 questions and the questions usually go like this (I'm quoting Frank here):
Friend or family?
Your friend or mine?
Do you know her from college?
From high school?
Well, if it's not one of those who else could it be? How else do we know people?
Is it her first kid?
Oh, it is? That's always more fun!
Then he usually starts guessing.
I'll sometimes give clues like, "You're getting warmer" or "We expected to hear this news for awhile..."
It's always very exciting when he guesses it right after a long game of guess who's pregnant. Like the other week when he guessed Livy Knox. Congratulations, by the way!! (To Livy, not Frank).
Variations on the guess who's pregnant game include "guess who's engaged" or "guess who eloped" or "guess who's getting a divorce" or "guess who's moving."
The second genre of guessing games revolves around US Weekly. When the magazine arrives each week Frank will bring it in from the mail box and say, "Your fries arrived" ("Fries" as you'll recall is short for "friends" and I like to think of the celebs in US Weekly as my fries. Fries, by the way is pronounced "frees.")
Okay, so back to the game: "Guess who's on the cover" Frank will say. Since the magazine is usually at least a week behind the internet I can usually come pretty close. I should be getting one this weekend and I'm gonna guess it's either more info. on J. Lo and Marc Anthony or another minor celebrity weight loss success story.
Then we also like to guess how old the celebs are in the birthday section. When I call them out to Frank it's hilarious because he doesn't know who half the people are. But me, I can usually guess within two years.
But sometimes I'm way off. And then I have to think, "Are these people really my fries?"
Your guess is as good as mine.
This is what Leo likes to do before bath time. He loves to be naked and he loves to dance. There are more pictures but I don't want to post them and risk being under investigation (or the object of hatred from my child when he's a teenager).
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Saying "Mama" and "Dada" but not necessarily to the right people
Banging on things
Playing with all the toys he got for Christmas (including a drum which helps with the banging)
Playing with things that aren't toys (like beer cans, the trash can, shoes and the rug)
Eating books, having books read to him
Climbing on things, including people
Doing the naked dance
Listening to his CD of songs with his name in them ("Let's pretend, Leo!" and "Leo, I think you're special")
Um, did I mention crawling? Gotta go!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
At least those are my reasons.
While I love goodies as much as the next girl, I'm here all day, surrounded by them. And that other guy who's here with me doesn't have teeth. So it's up to me to eat them...or give them away. I'm pretty good at pushing food on people so I thought I'd share with you my tips on how to get friends, family and workers who come to your house to take food from you:
1. Package the food in a cute goodie bag: That's how I got the carpet cleaning man to take goodies yesterday. In a red holiday baggy I put candy canes, mini muffins (left over from the ornament party) and mystery Frito Lay snacks. I did this even though he was late and tracked in mud.
2. Say, "I made it especially for you!" (This works for friends or family, not so much the carpet cleaning man).
3. Tell them, "I'm just going to throw it out." This almost never fails. People cannot stand to see food get thrown away. The only time someone considers refusing is if they think you're bluffing. If this happens, go to #4.
4. Actually hold it over the trash.
5. Say, "I'm pushing it" which has about a 50/50 shot. See, they feel the obligation but then your food just lost of some of its value. But I guess the same could be said for threatening to throw it in the trash.
6. Sneak it into their...purse, pockets, fanny pack (whatever the case may be).
And here is a list of things to say that will NOT get people to take your food:
1. Can I get you something?
2. Would you like some of this?
3. Could I offer you a piece of pie?
4. Are you hungry?
Basically, don't phrase it in the form of a question. Food pushers are action-oriented. My grandma, for instance, just shoves a plate in front you. Frank's Nana will put chips and dip right under your nose (and sometimes a strong drink to go with it).
And if all else fails, you can always do the pinch their nose so their mouth opens trick.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Cookinggal likes everything in her kitchen to be just right--all the cabinets organized, the countertops clear of debris and no drawers that she'd be embarrassed for guests to open (except that one catch-all drawer with batteries, clothes pins, coupons, church offertory envelopes and birthday candles). But there was one thing that always bothered Cookinggal. The fact that she’s writing in the third person? Yes, that’s part of it. But there was something else:
I (back to first person) hated how my dish soap just sat there by the sink. I looked for solutions to this unsightly problem at other people’s houses and I found two:
1. Put the dish soap under the sink
2. Get a cute William Sonoma dish and hand soap caddy
I had issues with both of these. As far as putting it under the sink, maybe I wash dishes more than other people or maybe I’m just lazy but I hated having to bend down to get out the soap every time I needed it. So that didn’t work.
I thought the WS caddy was adorable but, as Frank pointed out, did I want to pump out my dish soap? Absolutely not, I agreed. I’m not gonna stick a big pot under a pump bottle. It’s awkward, annoying and just not practical.
So every time I’d find myself at a store with kitchen stuff—Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Linens and Things, etc—I would search for the perfect dish soap holder, one with a spout on top so I could turn it over to release the soap. Basically, I wanted the functionality of the bottle it came in but in a permanent, aesthetically pleasing container.
I couldn’t find one. Seriously, they just don’t make them.
But then I was at Frank’s Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Jovita’s house over Thanksgiving. I was doing dishes and I couldn’t find the dish soap. I did, however, see the olive oil holder next to the sink and it was filled with a yellow substance. “This is a dumb question,” I said, “but is this the dish soap?”
It WAS the dish soap. I said to sister-in-law Julie (two blogs in a row with a Julie mention!), “Look at this! What a clever idea for the dish soap!”
Julie agreed and said, “Yes, that’s the liquor holder!”
“Ummm…I’m pretty sure it’s the olive oil holder but that’s okay because this is a brilliant idea!”
When we got back home I jumped off the plane, headed straight to Target (okay, it was like two days later) and bought myself an olive oil holder to use as a dish soap bottle:
I’m so pleased with it. Thanks, Aunt Jovita! It looks cute; it works great and only once have I almost used it for cooking.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
Since she was going to be towards the beginning of the finishers we got there early and saw the elite runners coming in. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. Spectators were lined up on either side of the home stretch, cheering and waving and shouting things like, “You’re almost there!” and “You can do it!” and “Don’t puke! Please don’t puke!”
I was so inspired by these athletes. But the best part was after a few of the Kenyans came across the line and then a couple of American guys, a woman came running up to the finish. It wasn’t my friend Cathy because this was still under the three hour mark; it was just some girl. Some really fast girl.
An official time-keeper person who was standing in the road held up his hand to her and screamed, “First Girl! First Girl!” She slapped his hand, gave the crowd a smile and kept on running. What a rock star.
I thought, “Wow, what an amazing accomplishment,” and it actually made me cry. And even though I knew I would never be the “first girl” in any race, or even the second or third or seventeenth, I decided I wanted to run a marathon. And I did…four years later.
I didn’t get to thank that first girl for her inspiration but yesterday I got to thank another first girl, my sister-in-law Julie who ran and won the Tucson marathon on Sunday.
This is Julie after she crossed the finish line and realized she was the “first girl:”
And here is what they wrote about her in the Arizona Star:
Women's winner Julia Simcik finished first in just her fifth competitive marathon with a time of 2:50:12.
Simcik, 26, said running gives her an escape and she was trying to keep it simple in Sunday's race.
"My goal is to look for the girl in front of me and go get her," she said. "But (today) there was no one in front of me. "I didn't like the Biosphere run and I couldn't wait to get back on Oracle (Road). Once you're back on Oracle you feel like you're home free."
Simcik, who lives in Chandler, finished 11th overall.
She said she doesn't maintain a specific training regimen to prepare for races. Instead, she just likes to go on long runs. "I don't do speed workouts. I just try to run every day," she said. "About two months before this marathon I started going on three-hour runs depending on how the weather was."
I told her that only a handful of people in the world will ever know the feeling of being first in a marathon and she should feel special, even though running long races like that is seemingly easy for her. She assured me that it’s not easy and even she felt sore the next day.
And here I thought first girls ran races like that and then ran all the way home, no problem. It’s kind of nice to know that they’re human too.
Friday, December 05, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
I mean, the kid likes peas, carrots, squash and sweet potatoes. I was actually saving apples because I thought he'd like them so much that he'd never go back to veggies.
After he wouldn't eat the apples, I gave him peas and he gobbled them up as if I let him skip dinner and go to dessert.
Who doesn't like apples? And it's actually apple sauce which is even better! I should know; I ate the rest of 'em. His reaction to that? "Fine, mommy. You eat my apples. I'll eat my socks."
I’m using her clever twist on a cliché for my title but it doesn’t have much to do with my topic which is about wasting food and other consumable goods.
It seems to me that everybody is extreme when it comes to wasting:
On one side we have people who have no problem throwing things away, even things that are still usable or edible like milk that’s one day away from the due date or pennies.
On the other side we have people who can’t bear to see anything go in the trash. “What? Is that a piece of a pretzel on the ground? Whatever you do, don’t throw it away!”
The former are usually younger folks while the latter are usually those who grew up in the Depression (my grandma).
Both sides have valid points but the Depression-era group has one thing all wrong: They believe that if you put it in your mouth, it’s not wasting. But eating something just because you don’t want to waste it is silly.
A quick hypothetical: your electricity is out so your fridge is off. All the food is going to go bad. What do you do?
If you answered, “eat all the food as fast as you can,” then in my opinion, you’re a little bonkers.
You see, it only makes sense to eat food that’s going to go bad IF it’s going to replace a meal. If you’re just eating because you can’t stand to see it go to waste then it’s the same as putting it in the garbage can. Only it’s worse because it makes you unnecessarily fat.
“But what about the starving kids in Africa?” you say. That argument doesn't make any sense either. A friend told me that when she was younger she used to put her food very neatly on a plate before putting it in the trash, you know, so the kids in Africa wouldn’t have to dig around for it.
So how does you eating extra food help kids in Africa? If you really want to help, signing up for Save the Children make a lot more sense.
Sometimes when I think about eating something just because I don’t want to throw it away, I consider this: “When someone asks me why I've gained a bunch of weight what will I say? My explanation sounds ridiculous: ‘I exercise regularly and eat pretty well but there was this giant cake that someone left at my house and I HAD to eat it all or else it would go to waste.’”
Okay, so most likely nobody’s going to ask you that but still, you want to have an answer ready and that one’s just not gonna cut it.
So to sum it up, unless the food is replacing a meal then it’s better off in the trash.
Wait. I can think of a catchier mantra. Ooh, I got it:
“Better as waste than on your waist.”
Take that, eighth grade science teacher.
Monday, December 01, 2008
- He sits all by himself
- Gets up on all fours and rocks
- Eats carrots, peas, squash and sweet potatoes and is eager to try fruit or just about anything on our plates
- He talks about things like "blah blah blah" and "dah dah dah" and "mah mah mah"
- He laughs when we tickle him under his chin (or really, just when we put Aquaphor on his neck and he thinks we're tickling him)
- He's interested in everything, wants to grab stuff and put it in his mouth
- He drools a lot but we haven't seen any signs of teeth
- Just this past week he seemed to notice a difference between mommy and daddy and everyone else
- He still spits up and now it's colored.
Here's what Leo likes:
- Books about hippos
- Eating books (about hippos or otherwise)
- Eating mommy's hair
- Eating mommy's glasses
- Eating his own socks
- Eating food
- Playing with Edison, the alphabet catepillar (Thanks, Charlie and Colman!)
- Listening to mommy talk on the phone
- Using daddy as a jungle gym
- Riding in one of his four strollers
- Being held while walking around (don't even think about sitting)!
- Songs that involve someone touching his feet like Over the River and Through the Woods, the part that goes "It stings the toes and bites the nose.."
- Playing peekaboo
Sunday, November 23, 2008
"Don't even THINK about shoving me into a locker!"
So you can definitely trust me when it comes to hot, little-known-but-soon-to-be-huge fad tips.
My current fave? SOGs. SOG stands for “Sunglasses Over Glasses.” I’ve started sporting them and from the curious looks people give me, I can tell you that they’re about to catch on.
First, let’s review the history of sunglasses/glasses accessories:
1987—Dwayne Wayne Glasses: Made popular by the character of the same name on TV’s A Different World, these glasses had shades directly over them which the wearer flipped up when indoors.
1994—Clip-Ons: Similar to the Dwayne Wayne glasses, these go right over your lenses but they don’t flip up. Instead, you remove them when you are indoors (or just afraid you’ll see someone you know).
1998—Prescription Sunglasses: A miserable failure. Too expensive. Too hard to keep up with. If you sit on these, it’s a disaster rather than just an inconvenience that can be remedied by a quick trip to Walgreens.
2002—Fit Over Sunglasses: Some claim that they wear these on motorcycles or for skiing but these giant specs are actually popular among Florida retirees.
2008—SOGs: Sure, they seem like Fit Over Sunglasses but the difference is, you don’t have to buy special glasses. You simply where whatever sunglasses you already have over your prescription glasses. Since they’re not large like the Fit Overs, you almost can’t tell the person is wearing two pairs of glasses.
And unlike the Fit-Overs, they fit great on your head. I personally love to double up with a pair over the head and a pair over the eyes: Sometimes I even triple up with a pair on the head and two on the eyes.
Now don’t worry if you don’t wear prescription glasses. You can still be cool and wear SOGs. Just get some of those cheap glasses from Walgreens (Wow. Second mention. I swear I don’t get kick-backs from them) and put those under your regular sunglasses.
This solution is so much more flexible than the old ways: you can wear your aviators, your Hollywood styles, your cat-shaped glasses, whatever. You don’t want to be the last person with SOGs; get some for Christmas. Get them for the whole family! And the best part is, you may not have to get anything. You may have SOGs in your own home and you’re just not wearing them.
Please wear them.
Please wear them soon.
Oh, wait. Did that sound too desperate? Are you getting suspicious that I’m only pushing the SOG trend because I’ve been sentenced by my eye doctor to stay out of my contacts for another month (after two weeks already) and that I don’t know what else to do when I drive or go outside?
Because that is NOT the case! I’m going to keep wearing SOGs even after I can wear contacts again.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Thus started a stream of dumb thoughts (some of which I uttered out loud) that were caused by this power outage.
“Frank, why can’t I see the baby on the monitor anymore?”
“Because the electricity is out.”
“But the monitor has battery back-up! I unplugged it.” (Point Writinggal.)
“But his camera doesn't work without electricity.”
“Why don’t you call the electric company to report the power outage?” suggested Frank.
That I could do. I just needed their number. It was in the files in the closet in my office. On the way there I must have tried to turn on three lights.
Then when I went to call them I noticed my cell phone battery was dying. Better plug it into the charger.
I used Frank’s cell phone.
After learning the whole area was out, I decided I was thirsty. I went to get a drink of water from the dispenser on the freezer door. It didn’t work.
That thing needs electricity too? Who knew? Not me.
Well that doesn’t mean I can’t eat breakfast. Cereal doesn't need electricity.
I opened the fridge to get the milk. It was dark. Ah! Everything’s going to go bad. I didn’t even think of that!
Frank said, “I hope Leo doesn’t get cold.”
“Why would Leo get cold?” I asked.
“Because the heater isn’t working.”
Great! Apparently the heater runs on electricity too!
At least I could still get some work done. My computer was still working (which I figured out was because it had battery power).
When I got back up to my office (with the help of a flash light), I decided to email my mom and tell her about this terrible power outage.
But get this: the internet requires electricity!
As Frank left for work he went to manually open the garage door. See, I wouldn’t think of that. I would just have hit the button and then been surprised when it didn’t open. It’s like I’m auto pilot. Or auto idiot.
I said, “I don’t want to have to lift the garage door again so I’m just going to put my car out in the driveway,” I said.
“That’s a really smart idea!” Frank said.
That’s right. Sometimes I’m smart despite the loss of electrical power. But luckily it came back on in an hour (because while you CAN take a shower without electricity, you cannot, as I discovered, blow dry your hair).
Monday, November 17, 2008
"Hey, why am I the only one eating this mush?"
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
“So Jerry Springer and Medieval Times?” she asked, referring to my other nausea-inducing program.
“Actually, there are a lot of time periods that I can’t eat and look at,” I told her and together we made a list:
Baroque. I appreciate that the paintings are pretty but I don’t want to have a meal and face one of them.
Victorian: There was an incident at the Moody Mansion in Galveston…
The dark ages: Who likes that one anyway?
And ooh, the Renaissance. That might be the worst! I never had any desire to go the Reinnasance festival in Houston. Eat a turkey leg while watching people in Shakespearian garb? No thanks.
Then Thea asked, “What about Little House on the Prairie?”
“Actually, I’m okay with Laura Ingalls Wilder,” I told her. We then figured out that my issues are really more with anything prior to 1900. After that I’m cool.
I mean, I CAN eat and look at historical art and costumes but for some reason the food just doesn’t taste as good. That must be why I didn’t gain weight in Europe.
But it looks like Thea and co. enjoyed themselves at Medieval Times:
What a brave girls! I admire them.
Although I’d rather eat at Medieval Times than during an episode of Jerry Springer any day.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
I always say “No, I just sniff a lot.” But here’s what I’ve decided: I don’t really believe in colds. I never diagnose myself with one.
Leo’s doctor asked the other day if Leo had ever had a cold.
“No,” I said.
But there was that time he had a runny nose. And there have been days where I’ve had to extract lots of boogers. But does that mean he has a cold? Not to me. I mean, does having a runny nose and feeling tired really need a name? Can’t you just feel that way?
And that’s when I came up with my big cold theory. Here is a replay of what went on in my brain:
Maybe there’s no such thing as a cold!
Yes, of course! That’s why they can never find a cure.
And they’re always calling it “the common cold.” Well if it’s so common then maybe it’s not something that needs a name. Like if you feel sad because you saw a homeless person, does that need a name? Or if your hair just happens to look bad one day, is there a name for that? Well, I guess that’s a bad hair day. But still, you don’t try to look for drugs to cure it.
But then again, people seem to pass colds from one person to another. They say you “catch cold.” So that makes it seem like a real disease.
But maybe we just think we catch colds. Maybe it’s such a common state of being that lots of people seem to have colds at once, but really they just have some symptoms.
I bet it's a conspiracy by the cold medicine companies. And the doctors. And kids who want to stay home from school. And probably terrorists.
Okay, so my theory isn’t completely solid but I know this: I don’t get colds. And maybe you don’t either.
I think I'm onto something here; I’ve just gotta get more information. No matter what it takes, I’m gonna sniff it out!
He made faces like he didn't like it but kept opening his mouth for more.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
But in 1996 I had a good plan. I was working at the University of Texas Annual Fund office, where we called alums and asked them to donate money to the school Wait…not donate…contribute. We were trained that “donate” was a bad word. By the way, we also had these codes we had to put in the computer for “reasons alum didn’t contribute.” Here were a few:
RICH: UT is too rich already
ATH: I already give to athletics
EX: I already give to Texas Exes
MAD: I’m mad at UT about something
LIB: UT is too liberal.
We had comebacks for all of these although I can’t remember how we overcame the liberal one.
Anyway, at this particular job I wore a head set. One day it occurred to me that drive thru employees wore similar headsets and that’s when I decided I would be a McDonald’s worker for Halloween. Now I had the headset and the khaki pants. I just needed an authentic McDonald’s shirt.
About a week before Halloween I went into the McDonald’s on campus and told the person behind the counter, “I want to be YOU for Halloween!” I thought he would be flattered but he just looked confused. I asked him if I could have a shirt. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even offer to pay for it. (Hey, we didn’t make all that much hitting up alums for money.) The guy said he would ask his manager. He did. She said no.
I was bummed. I figured I would have to come up with another Halloween costume that involved a headset. I thought about just wearing the headset and saying I was a telemarketer. But that’s kind of just like going as myself. It’s like going as “sorority girl.”
All this thinking about McDonald’s got me hungry for the golden arches so later that night my friends and I took a trip through their drive-thru.
(Aside: Tips from Thea, you were driving! Remember?)
I was sitting in the back seat so I didn’t even see who was working the drive-thru but apparently it was my buddy from earlier that day. After he handed Thea our food and she passed it around the car he said, “Wait!” and he handed her a big McDonald’s bag and said, “Just go! Just go!” So we drove off before we looked in the bag. “I think it’s a side salad!” I remember Thea saying.
But it wasn’t. It was a McDonald’s shirt! And not just a t-shirt, a nice polo-style shirt. It sort of smelled but still, it was the real deal!
So my costume was complete. But the story didn’t end well: we all went to a fraternity foam party for Halloween and as it turned out, that was the year that girls decided Halloween was code for “dress like a slut.” Since I had on the most conservative costume at the party, I felt like a dork. Plus, there was a lot of explaining about how I didn’t actually work at McDonald’s. “I swear, this shirt was just donated to me! I mean contributed!”
Thursday, October 30, 2008
-Just today he's decided he has lots to say. In addition to babbling "mamamama" he can now babble "dadadadada" and "blah blah blah." I think that if you asked him what mommy talks about he'd say, "blah blah blah blah."