Quote of the day...er...week...umm...hey, look, a quote!!

Tibi gratias agimus quod nihil fumas.

It says "...freedom of...", not "...freedom from...".

Nolite te bastardes carburundorum!

"It's amazing to me how many people think that voting to have the government give poor people money is compassion. Helping poor and suffering people is compassion. Voting for our government to use guns to give money to help poor and suffering people is immoral self-righteous bullying laziness. People need to be fed, medicated, educated, clothed, and sheltered, and if we're compassionate we'll help them, but you get no moral credit for forcing other people to do what you think is right. There is great joy in helping people, but no joy in doing it at gunpoint." - Penn Jillette

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fog

Grey day. Yes, spell check, I use an "e" in "grey". It's perfectly acceptable...quit trying to change me, man...

Grey, grey day. Clouds hanging low, exhaling earthward, chill, damp respirations lingering, tangling themselves in trees, leaving dewy fingerprints on shrubs, no place for wild things to hide from the damp, no place for them to get warm.

The sun is up there, somewhere, but down here is only half light, filtered through soft layers of wetness, no hope of a friendly, stray, warming ray.

The birds are crows pecking at worms on the pavement beyond the yard - not even oil-rich black sunflower seed mix can entice the smaller ones out to add a splash of color to the monochromatic day.

My head is full of mucus. You're welcome. So are my lungs. There's a chorus, a cacophony, of coughing here at Casa de Crazy.

Coughing, sniffling, cattargh, pleas skyward to please make this damned thing go away, we'd really like to breathe again, thank you.

There are things to do, but I don't feel like doing them. I should wrap Bird's Yule gifts while he's not here. I don't have much, but it will suffice...and it's much easier to wrap them when he's not just around the corner - I don't have to be stealthy or wait until ohgod-thirty to get the job done. I may even do it...in a little while...

In a little while...

For now, though, I'm a diffusion of greyness myself, trying to brighten, to warm, but feeling rather limp, damp, and out of sorts instead.

How's the weather in the Blue Nowhere?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Getting Into It

I have a love/hate thing with the holidays.

I love some of the music, the lights, baking, time spent with friends and family, wrapping gifts, the looks of surprise and delight that well-chosen gifts can elicit, and the way the season, if only briefly, can bring out the best in people.

I don't love the mad scramble to buy! buy!! buy!!!, the feelings of obligation engendered by relentless consumerism, the relentless music blaring distortedly over PA systems, the ceaseless auditory hammering of commercials touting cheap plastic crap as the next big thing, the marketing aimed at children that encourages them to equate gifts with love, the fact that this holiday's simple origins have been lost in the glitz, glam, lights and inflatable animatronic doo-dads, and that retailers are now readying their stores for the holidays in October.

I love putting up my few lights outside, and eventually getting a tree up indoors. I look forward to doing these things with Someone for the first of (what I hope will be) many times this year. I love filling my home with the scent of baking cookies and breads, then sending those baked goods out into the world for others to (hopefully) enjoy.

I hate being broker than a politician's promise, and so unable to give gifts as lavishly as I otherwise would. I hate how this time of year can bring out the very worst in people - beatings, stabbings, shootings, thefts, and cruelty abound, usually over some stupid sale item that a retailer has unceasingly advertised as available for one day only, while supplies last, creating huge demand...and yet only ordered a few of them, first come, first served.

I love popping in my Trans Siberian Orchestra CDs and singing along with them. Likewise my Bing Crosby CD and my GRP Jazz collection, all holiday music.

I hate the electronic, frenetic, blaring, grating, saccharine, over-played crap that runs over most retailer's loudspeakers.

I could go on, but why?

I used to work setup for a venerable local tradition, a week-long charity event. That was the beginning of the season for me - setting up the Festival of Trees. The event, like many things, was a victim of the economy and went away. I'm told there's a version of it still going on, but when I offered to volunteer or design something for the sale, I was rebuffed. Sigh.

Now it's the cookie swap that gets me started. Usually in the first week of December, it's a fun way to get rolling - bake up a storm and go swap delectables with friends, telling stories about our recipes and why we enjoy them.

During the next week, I'll haul out the outdoor decorations - a few lights, some garland for the banisters - and run extension cords. Who builds a house with no outdoor sockets? I'd like to ask the builder what he was thinking...

The lights need testing. I had to toss some strands last year because they were beyond my limited ability to salvage. Some of the garland had to go, too - the neighbor's cad had peed all over it, and that's a smell that doesn't go away...and is something less than festive.

I'm not feeling festive right now...but know I will get there.

Today will help - I'm off to the co-op to demonstrate my mad card making skillz, yo...and I'm making holiday cards to (hopefully) sell.

What gets you in the mood?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

In Which Young Kyddryn Has a Vocabulary Lesson

Inspired by Halushki's post.
~~~~~
Some time ago - never mind how long ago - Big Brother joined the US Army.

He was fresh out of high school and he had plans that involved blowing things up, shooting stuff from a distance, and completely rearranging his ankles in new and interesting ways. He and the Army were a match made in heaven, by gum!

Once he made it through basic training, we got to go and watch him march across a field with a whole bunch of other fellows who looked remarkably alike, the Army equivalent of graduation day. I went with Mum and Spouse (my father's mother), and maybe one or two others. Hey, it was a while ago - never mind how long ago - and I can't remember every little thing, can I?

The pertinent thing is, Spouse was there with us.

As we watched the newly-minted soldiers march past, we also watched their families. There were people of many ethnicities present.

Now...I was raised in the Wilds of New England. The people with whom I lived, breathed, was educated, and made mayhem were rather...homogeneous. We looked, to be frank, like we'd been carved out of cream cheese.

Bigotry (not racism, which is something else entirely, a word so ill-used I can hardly believe it hasn't collapsed in a faint and refused to rise form the Davenport for fear of further abuse) was something to which I was a stranger. There was no bigotry in my life. The words, emotions, and concepts of bigotry were as foreign to me as the nation of Turkey remains to this day.

I didn't care then, nor do I now, what color a person's skin was. The external coloration has nothing to do with the internal makeup, and it's what's within that matters most to me. If I judged everyone by the actions of one, the I would hate everyone equally, having known hurt at the hands of men and women of a number of hues and genetic dispositions. In fact, should I allow the external to be my only guide, I would write humanity off entirely and perhaps seek to live among a throng of butterflies, having suffered nothing more than a vigorous flapping by one enthusiastic lovely, which tickled but was otherwise harmless.

Why does it matter?

Well, back to this graduation thing.

Once the parade and ceremonial fuferaw were done, families mingled and waited to greet and congratulate their graduates. Spouse looked around us with keen interest and observed "Look at all the little Pickaninnies!" I have no idea if I've even spelled that correctly, and spell-check isn't saying.

Mum looked pained...but I must have looked as confused as a dog with a grape...what the heck was a...whatever it was she said??

I had sense enough to bite my tongue until Mum and I were alone...but it wasn't easy. Since I was a child, I have loved words and have never been afraid to ask what a new one means and how I might best use it. Pickaninny sounded like something delightful, festive, like...balloons, or pantaloons, or Calliope, and I wanted to roll it around on my tongue, savor it, feel it fizz and pop before releasing it to the delight of would-be listeners. However, I couldn't use a word I didn't know...I have such a resentment towards people who misuse my beautiful language, I won't be one of them - never let it be said I abuse the language...if I've done something wrong it is most likely from ignorance, and I won't be the least upset to be shown how I've erred and how I may right myself.

So...Pickaninny. What was it? Did it taste good? Could it fly? Was it a hitherto unknown article of clothing? What, what??

Once we were alone, I asked Mum about the word, about its meaning and why she looked so peculiar when Spouse said it.

And she told me...bless her, my Mum, who knew I had as much idea of what bigotry was about as a babe would have as to the mechanics of an internal combustion engine...she explained that the word was...derogatory.

My grandmother didn't use it with hatred or irony, just with the ease of her years and generation, but still...

Except in telling this story a time or two (usually to illustrate a point about how easily one may enact bigotry, how unconscious it can be), I've never used the word. It's there, in my personal lexicon, along with a few other unpleasant and unspoken epithets, but it languishes.

What prompted this jaunt down memory lane? Another blogger wrote about her recent experience with an older customer who expressed, much as my grandmother did, bigoted sentiments with the ease and familiarity of her generation...not with rancor, or hatred, but out of a habit born of her times. It reminded me of that day, and how surprised I was to learn that anyone had ever been judged as less-than because of pigmentation.

I'm still surprised by it, and I have been living in Redneck Central for nearly a quarter of a century, now.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Rorschach Test

Yesterday we sent Someone's mom home with a cooler full of Thanksgiving leftovers and a large cardboard box full of fairly pissed off, confused, and probably resentful kitty - she took one of our porch cats home with her.

Rorschach was the only female from this year's crop...in the photo, she's the one with her head resting in the corner of the planter, sort of a grey-tortoise kitty. That photo is the only one I have with her in it, but if you're curious, you can go look at Someone's blog and see more.

We debated which one Someone's mom should take, and Rorschach seemed the best choice - the others, while male, seem to have a tight bond, always walking together, bumping into each other, and flopping down in one large ball-o-cat for naps. It would have been awful to break up their little gang, and Rorschach, while not left out of the love, often hung out on her own in one of the plant pots rather than joining her brothers and cousins on the porch.

We sent her along with lots of love, a warm and cuddly blankie, a bag and some cans of cat food, and a few toys that Bird thought she'd enjoy. Little Dude's heart was breaking - he cried about sending Rorschach away, which didn't make it any easier for me, but I tried to assuage his hurt by explaining that our kitty would be better off with a home, someone to love her, indoors when the weather's bad, lots of food, and no damned neighbor dog constantly allowed to run loose and chase kitties in our yard (don't get me started about that).

I'll miss the little beastie, but I am glad she's got a home. Finding places for the other four my prove more difficult - at least two of them need to be together - they're inseparable now and I can't bear the thought of breaking the bond. I'm OK with keeping them here as long as it takes, and should they still be around if/when we move Northwards to Mum's place, we've already decided that the cats will come with us.

I spent a chunk of the day with this song running through my head, thought I'd share it:


I hope y' all survived Black Friday - I did the only thing that made sense to me and stayed home!

One less set of pawprints on our porch in the morning...

Friday, November 26, 2010

Because I'm Still Recovering From Turkey Overload

I'm posting a couple of videos for you to ignore...er...enjoy...

I've always like this song, and I got kick out of the illustrations in this version. It's in two parts, but hopefully you'll find it worthwhile. It makes me grin, anyway.



Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

I have a few traditions on this day. Not many - the menu I posted last week, recording the Macy's parade so I can watch it and fast-forward through all the crappy pop music, commercials, and talking heads to see the twenty minutes of balloons, floats and high school bands I'm interested in hidden among all that junk, and my list of some things for which I am thankful, in no particular order and in no way complete:

The house in which I live
The Evil Genius
Mum
Someone
Sprout
Gypsy, K, Kit, Sam-I-Am, PJ, Mizz Beth, and all of my friends who put up with me when I am most myself and therefor least likable. They are the net beneath me when I fly and fall
Bread
The scent of leaf loam and woodsmoke in the crisp autumn air
Books, music, and art
Clean, plentiful water
Clean air
Clean clothes
Freedom
Nature and the way she finds to show me something new of herself every day
Words
Song
Dance
Adversity, that joy is all the sweeter
Every creature and plant that I consume to sustain myself, because without the life I take, there would be no life to live
Love - that it exists at all is a wonder, and I feel blessed to know it in many forms
Chocolate, gift from the Gods (yes, even the perversion called "candy bar") (Mmm...candy bar...)
Strong hands
Strong spirit
Strong will
Laughter
Cussed determination not to curl up and die just because life can sometimes be a succession of truly awful, bleak, and desolate days...but sometimes it isn't
The Internet
You

I hope you have a blessed day, and that you the things you're thankful for outweighing the things for which you're not.

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all, from us at Casa de Crazy to you out in the Blue Nowhere and beyond.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Whirling Dervish

Yesterday - bake and frost pumpkin cupcakes, clean dining room, consider laundry, sweeping, and ironing the tablecloth for Thursday but reject those ideas as time consuming and requiring effort. Go pick up Evil Genius, take him and cupcakes to friend's house, let boys play for a while, head home loaded down with hand-me-down goodness from friend's. Consider making turnips and carrots, reject as requiring me to get off the couch.

Today so far - doctor's appointment (specialist says baby is now square in average range of size, fluid still on the low side of average but still a happy number, Sprout will be permitted to come out when she's ready...unless he stays in there long enough to order furniture, and then we're evicting her), quick stop at the grocery store for drugs (drugs're good, m'kay??) and cat food, plus a sudden mandatory eggnog grab (thanks a lot, C, for planting that idea...dang it, I wanted eggnog all freakin' night long!!). Considered popping in to the liquor store but decided to come home and see if such a supply run was needed. Fed Evil Genius breakfast (uh-oh, he saw the Frosted Flakes). Emptied dishwasher, filled it with things I'll need to make dirty again so I can bake the keylime pie later. Peeled and began cooking turnips and carrots.

Still to come today - run one more errand, come home, mash turnips and carrots, chop onion and celery for tomorrow's dressing, keylime pie, pre-steam green beans so tomorrow they just need sauteing in garlic and butter, and fix dinner (pork steaks, rice, pan gravy, and fried okra). Considering sweeping and mopping the floors, but maybe I can convince Mum and Someone's mom to admire the textured ceiling and its newly cobweb-free state...maybe they won't notice the floors, especially if I tell 'me to keep their shoes on. Given the rate of cat hork around here it shouldn't take much convincing. Someone's Mum will also be arriving today, and I need to go down to the guest room and remove the cat food and water dishes and blanket from Rook's convalescence and make sure the bed is decent...and then...then I think I'll take a nap until next week. The turkey will cook itself, right??

What're you up to today?
~~~~~
If you're traveling, I hope it's an easy journey with no delays, TSA hassles, or rude motorists, and that you reach your destination safely and with a modicum of good cheer.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's Going On

Not much of excitement here - still pregnant, still haven't won the lottery, still haven't suddenly discovered that I am really Bill Gates's secret love child (wouldn't Mum be surprised??).

The Evil Genius is hanging with his dad until tomorrow...Casa de Crazy is unnaturally quiet when he's not here. Rook is looking for a playmate - she's entirely herself again, and full of beans!

The last few nights haven't been very good for sleeping. No, no, not because of that! Heh. No, because I have this small human inside of me, and she insists on growing at an astonishing rate, which puts strain on my spine and joints and means I can only sleep on one side or another without compromising my circulation. I'm fond of circulating. Also, while I can sleep on my right side, I'm in that delightful stage of knocked-uppedness (that is so a word) when heartburn and reflux pay a call, so I'm really relegated to spending most of my nocturnal hours on my left side.

That wouldn't be such a big deal, but for some reason sleeping on one side makes my butt cramp. yes, I said it makes my butt cramp.

Do you know how unpleasant it is to wake up with a cramped behind??

Between Rook, who now thinks nights are time to play! play!! play!!!, and (yes, yes, I just used all kinds of punctuation without capitalization, and followed it with a comma...stick to the point here, people) buttocks cramping, sleep is something of a precious commodity around here. Oh, well - I am trying to see it as warming up for Sprout's arrival and concurrent demands on our time.

Meanwhile, taking advantage of a relatively quiet day, I did some marketing (spent the last of my grocery money, too, naughty me, but I won't have to go again for a week or so and have everything I need for the upcoming cookie swap to boot, so I can't feel too bad about that)(at least, not until I need milk or something and realize I can't go get any)(dang) and am baking the bread for Thursday's dressing. I like to bake it and cut it up a few days ahead, let it sit out and get nice and stale. I'm baking two batches because we want a lot of dressing and because it would just be mean to make the house smell so lovely but tell Someone hands off the goodies. He really likes that bread!

Speaking of Someone, he's out Winterizing the garden under the supervision of a handful of wild-born-but-not-at-all-wild kitties. They want to know why he's messing with their toilet, I imagine.

Tomorrow I'll be making mashed turnips and carrots for Thursday and baking pumpkin cupcakes, then picking up Bird and bringing the cupcakes to a friend's house for her son's birthday.

Whoopsie - timer's beeping, have to go knead! What're y'all up to??

Sunday, November 21, 2010

How'd That Get In There?

Someone has parked a van in the garage.

Yes, I know, that's just ludicrous - that's not where vans belong. And yet, someone has parked one in there. It looks suspiciously like Rosie the Mule (my beloved Astro van).

The vehicle looms where perfectly useful (if empty) cardboard boxes once proudly squatted. Also displaced by tons of steel, plastic, and an engine that still hums along despite nearly 300,000 miles on it:
- a nifty little wooden bench that lit out for the front porch and staked a claim near the railing where the kitties like to perch
- a tool box and a large cardboard box full of something that should be a chandelier but had an odd assortment of old stuffed animals on top that were not mine, nor Bird's, nor Someone's (I believe they belonged to T at one time, and so have gone home with him...I think he was expecting to be picking up the Evil Genius and ONLY the Evil Genius, but the box and tool box insisted, insulted that they should be asked to share space with a VAN in the GARAGE!!!) but were rather mankier than I wanted to explore under to see what was REALLY in the box
- an assortment of plastic Solo cups that did yeoman's duty as seedling starters for the garden but were past their prime (read: cracked, dirty, and prone to flinging themselves all over the place, especially where a body wanted to step at the moment)
- two large and still needed boards that allow us to get the mower up onto the back of the truck without herniating a body part by trying to lift the dang thing
- an old trash bin that has been re-assigned to recycling duties
- the broken microwave that Someone futzed with on principle, and fixed, although the cover may have been a little...er...compromised in the process
- the broken vacuum that I loved but was beyond my abilities to magic or mend (I tried, truly, but no matter what I did it still smelled like it was moments from bursting into flames whenever I turned it on)
- a bunch of items that belonged in the trailer and finally made their homeward journey

Since the van migrated into the garage, I guess we'll let her Winter there...who knows, we may even start a trend...

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Odd Critters

You never know what sorts of things you'll catch...

When you leave the critter carrier out...

And no one's looking...

Don't get used the the view, kid.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Is It Friday Already??

Holy carp, how did this happen? It's Friday!

I don't know where this week went, but it went there without me.

Not much of note going on here at Casa de Crazy -I should have been cleaning house in preparation for the upcoming holiday, but I haven't been. Instead, I've been jaunting about town doing this and that, running errands, and spending Someone's hard-earned dosh on baby clothes.

Yep. Poor man, he made the mistake of giving his pregnant girlfriend a handful of cash and saying it was for the baby. I warned him I would spend it...I mean really...I'm a girl, I'm knocked up, I'm hormonal, and the consignment shops were singing their Siren songs...

Honestly, I was just teasing...I didn't actually mean to spend all of it. That just sort of...happened...but good grief, have you ever been into a children's clothing consignment store? All those sweet, wee, ruffled things with ribbons and bows. I think they play subliminal messages in there.

All I can say is, I lost my head a bit...and K helped. Hey, one should always have a wing-woman on these kinds of excursions.

I showed Someone my finds when I got home, and he seemed pleased with the purchases, so I guess I get to live this time.

Last night at Borders, he scored a Dr. Seuss collection, six stories in one book. Sweet! While Bird has plenty of books he could share or hand down, I really want Sprout to have a few that are all her own. If you were a hand-me-down kid, you'll understand...and oddly, it's the same sentiment that drives my desire not to have her during the holidays - her birthday should be hers, and not lumped in with a bunch of other hustle and bustle. Being a holiday baby sucks.

Today, I have more errands to run, and we are going to clear enough space in the garage to get Rosie the Mule my beloved Astro van) in out of the weather. It's much nicer getting in and out without wrestling the elements, dontcha think?

Most of what needs moving is stuff from our Summer camping/gathering season that just didn't get back into the trailer. Cue the Tetris music - packing bins and whatnot back into the trailer sometimes feels like a puzzle game where we need to make all the pieces fit just so or they'll fall on my head whenever I open the door. Hey, it's happened...many times...ow...

With any luck, I will be able to order Bird's gift from the Holly King, too...I'm hoping to have it shipped to Mum's house so we don't have to haul it up there in secret. Once he's asleep on Yule eve, we'll do any assembling required, so when he gets up it'll be under the tree and ready to play with. It's an extravagance...and I have to admit, while I'll be sad when he finally decides he doesn't believe in the Holly King any more, I'll be kind of glad that I'll finally get some credit for giving him something he's really been wanting.

Funny of the moment: Bird just said he didn't want to be a Capricorn, he wants to be an Aquarium. Hah!

OK...now that I have cured your insomnia...I really need to get a move on the day...whee...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Whew!

It's not even noon and I'm ready for a nap!

I had an early morning appointment with the specialist - nothing to worry about, they just didn't have my usual time available this week.

Yesterday I signed papers for voluntary sterilization after the baby's born...a fancy-schmancy way of saying I'm gettin' my knitting knotted. I also chatted with the OB about delivery dates...but he said that would really be the specialist's call.

So today, I asked the perinatologist about delivery dates, telling him my preference that Sprout not make an appearance before January 21. He asked my due date - January 24. When I told him that, he grinned and asked if he could give my phone number to his other patients! It seems many of the women who see him want to have earlier deliveries, not later (carrying to term is uncomfortable, and these days more women are just as happy to have c-section rather than wait it out)...and I have just become one of his favorite women because I would carry longer if I could (I know it's silly, but I always wanted a February baby...)!

I was delighted to learn that, as things stand, we will not have to have an early baby. Woo-hoo!! Fluid is up...still on the low side of normal, but within the normal range, and the baby's size is still average.

She's a wriggly thing - yesterday she actually punched the Doppler wand. She doesn't like being pressed in there. The nurse and I both laughed...we heard the punch on the monitor. I have a wee boxer on my hands.

After the doctor's office, I popped by the grocery store and did the shopping for next week - I prefer getting it done earlier rather than later. I managed to score a nice, small turkey that hasn't been injected with brine (allegedly for flavoring and to keep the meat tender, but really I think it's to add weight)(also, I KNOW how to cook, I don't need some chemist mucking about with my poultry and making it fool-proof, thank you)! We do a small bird here - no need for pounds and pounds of leftovers, as I turn it into soup a day or two after Thanksgiving anyway. I got everything I need to have a busy few cooking days...the pantry's a little crowded, but I ain't complaining.

I'm tired, even though I haven't done much of anything today...staying up late and waking up early will do that to a body..so I'm going to take advantage of a few quiet-ish minutes and go take a snooze before the afternoon gets busy again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eassy, Peasy, Mac and Cheesey (With Neither Peas nor Mac and Cheese)

Someone got home last evening. There's laundry to do, and unpacking, and then we start getting Casas de Crazy in holiday order (because I would like NOT to have to do a bunch of cleaning after Thanksgiving to be ready for Yule, I'm lumping it all into one hellish delightful week of dust-bunny hunting and eradication and cleaning induced asthma/allergy attacks).

I figured I'd do an easy post today and show you the menu for next Thursday. If you want a full-on recipe and it's not on the recipe page, lemme know* - I may even try to oblige, although there likely won't be any pictures. Unlike Pioneer Woman (who rocks the house, yo), I don't cook for weeks in advance and do lovely photo-recipe blogs about it all. I'm shiftless that way.

So - what's for eats at Casa de Crazy on Thanksgiving day??

Dinner is a fixed menu...I like to keep it simple and easy, a few things I can make in advance and a few things to fix on the day itself. That way, it doesn't get out of hand with elleventy-million tons of leftovers and pants six sizes too small after one meal. I do ask everyone what they'd like best for dessert and will either make or buy it for them. I figure, if I don't give 'em a coice about what's for dinner, the least I can do is bribe oblige 'em with the good stuff after...

Turkey - because, hello? I think there's some kind of law about that, and I wouldn't want the poultry federation coming after my hide for dereliction of turkey duty. I stuff it with sage, thyme, rosemary, garlic, and sometimes onion.

Dressing - a Thanksgiving without dressing is just unAmuricun, dang it! I don't stuff the turkey, though - I can get more into a baking dish, and if the turkey's stuffed it takes longer to cook, can get dry, and the dressing soaks up all that delightful juice that really ought to go into the gravy. The dressing here is simple - I bake bread a few days in advance, tear it to pieces, and let it sit out to get stale, then season it, add onions and celery, pour on some melted butter and turkey stock, and let 'er bake until fluffy with crispy edges.

Mashed Potatoes - because Mum is a pip and let me glom onto her ricer, I can now make satisfactory mashed potatoes without the involvement of a box and directions I don't follow anyway. Some potatoes, a little cream, a pound or three of butter... There are always leftover 'taties, which will make Someone happy, I think.

Gravy - oooh, if there's a better use for pan drippings, I don't know what it is. I use homemade turkey stock (but no giblets - I don't do innards, sorry) and make as much of this as I can because it's fabulous with leftovers...and really, is there such a thing as too much gravy? I think not...

Mashed Turnips and Carrots - this is one of the things that must be on the table for Thanksgiving. I won't do without it...even if I'm the only one who eats 'em! I won't be, though - Mum likes 'em too, and I try to make enough so that she can take some home (along with a few hundred pounds of other leftovers) and still have a fair lot here, too.

Green Beans Sauteed in Butter and Garlic - I don't do green bean casserole. I know, I know, I ain't right on the head...but the stuff has never agreed with me! Something about the texture, I think, although I am fond of those little fried onions on the top... I was delighted to learn that Someone is a green bean fiend, so now I have an excuse to make plenty of these - they're terrific for snacking on later, and less guilt-inducing than some other leftovers.

Bread - I will bake a second batch of bread for the table. Fresh bread, warm from the oven, with butter melting into it...ooooohhhhh...

Cranberry Jelly - can shaped, just like it's found in nature. Someone doesn't like this stuff, so I'll take one for the team and eat his share.

Mrs. Smith's Dutch Apple Crumb Pie - because Mrs. Smith's is a family tradition, and she makes a better pie than I do. I'm not afraid to admit it - my filling is fine but my crusts are tougher than I'd like them to be, and have you ever baked a pie from scratch? Yeah...not so easy. Whoever coined the phrase "easy as pie" was a smart Alec. Also, I like the crumbly stuff, and have never managed to make it even passable from scratch. I have aspirations, though...

Keylime pie - this I will make here, because nothing says "Pilgrims" like keylime pie, right? I will cheat and buy a shortbread crust for it, though. I like shortbread better than graham cracker. Try it sometime.

Vanilla Ice Cream - Breyer's can do the work for me, and you can't have pie without ice cream. No, really...I saw it in the rule book...

Coffee, Tea, and Fixin's - we'll need the caffeine after all those carbs...groooaaaannnn...

So...what're you having?
~~~~~
*Regarding recipes - hey, I figure if you're reading this you're a grown person with traditions of your own and you don't much need me bossing you around the kitchen...but I figured I'd be nice and offer to let you plan my blog posts for me anyway. I'm not pressed if you aren't, but I'm happy to share.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Aw, Dang, You Mean I Have To Cook?

Someone's coming home today! Squeeeee!!!

Ahem.

So next week is Thanksgiving, in case you just woke from a coma or have been living in a cave for the last little while.

I have been making my menu and the accompanying grocery tome list.

My usual "thing" is to set the dinner menu but to ask guests what they'd like for dessert. I will then make or buy that dessert depending on my culinary abilities.

Someone's mom is coming down, and we're tickled to have her visit again. Mum's delighted at the prospect of meeting her...uh...what do you call the mother of your daughter's baby-daddy? Whew...Emily Post needs to get right on that!

I was thinking about Thanksgiving traditions and thought I'd ask you...what food, drink, or activity makes the day for you? What is it that you can't do without on Thanksgiving??

And hey, because I know you're holding your collective breaths, I'm going to post the menu sometime later this week...

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rookery and Whatnot

An update on Rook - she's still not one-hundred percent, but I feel a little more optimistic about her well-being. Yesterday, I wondered if maybe part of the not-eating trouble was the food. The vet sent home some special canned food, which Rook didn't seem awfully interested in. I was reduced to mixing it with warm water and using a syringe to feed her.

Yesterday morning, she still wouldn't eat the wet food...so I medicated and fed her and got some water into her as best I could, then decided to try something - I came upstairs and grabbed some dry food.

She went after it like a hyena after a crippled wildebeest.

Well...maybe not so much, but she did eat some.

She also used the litter box, although I had to lift her into it again. Sigh. At least she was peeing.

Slightly heartened, I got the Evil Genius dressed and hauled him off to a photo shoot with the Man Dressed as Santa.

When we got home, I checked on her right away. Poor thing, she'd wet her blankie again, but she'd also eaten!

I got her cleaned up and put her in the litter box...and she pooped! Only a parent or pet owner will understand my joy at those three tiny little nuggets. Anyone else will be shaking their head right about now and wondering how far around the bend I've really gone.

I fed her some more of the wet mixture, and she ate more dry food, then jumped up on the bed and hung out with the Evil Genius for a few minutes - he's HER boy, and I think she's missed hanging out in his room with him. He came down to visit her while I fed her, and she seemed quite pleased.

Later, during another visit (I go down every two hours or so to check on her and keep her company for a bit. I also turn on the TV at night. It's on Animal Planet. Yeah, yeah...), she ate some more...and drank water from her dish! Until that point, all her water came through my efforts with the straw (used as a dropper) or the syringe.

If she eats, drinks, and uses the litter box on her own today, I'll let her back out into the rest of the house, which I think will be to the benefit of all - the other cats know something's not right, I miss her slight weight parading across me at night, and the kid misses her stepping on his head in the morning. Of course, we still don't know what's wrong...and may never know, as the kind of testing that could tell us costs an arm, a leg, and a kidney...but I'm hoping that she will fully recover and won't have a relapse when the medication is finished.

Meanwhile, we're heading off to the jungle...or at least, to Chuck-E-Cheese's to meet some friends for a few hours of slightly contained mayhem. Someone has a long day ahead of him - finish out the Faire then pack out, driving home tomorrow. It seems like he's been gone forever, and I will be very glad to have him home again! Sprout misses him, too - I would swear that she knows he's not here, and when he calls (several times a day), she gets extra wriggly.

What're you up to today?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

This is my Pumpkin Spice Cake recipe, adapted for cupcakes. The only difference is the pan used. If you want cake, just use cake pans. Simple.

The players:

For the cake:
2 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ tsp cinnamon1
½ tsp allspice
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cups dark brown sugar
4 eggs1 cup oil
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree

Heat oven to 350. Prepare muffin pan by lining with paper cups or greasing well. I like paper cups - they make for easier clean-up.

Combine flour, cinnamon, allspice, baking soda, and salt in a sifter. Sift and set aside.

Whisk the eggs.

Mix in the pumpkin. I used pumpkin puree I made here at Casa de Crazy - dig that lovely color!

Next, mix in the brown sugar and oil.

Add dry ingredients in batches, thoroughly incorporating each batch before adding more.

Pour batter into muffin papers.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a pick comes out clean. Cool thoroughly before frosting. Makes approximately 2 dozen cupcakes.


For the vanilla-spice buttercream icing
2 sticks (1 cup) butter. Yes, butter. It’s not called “margarinecream icing”, is it?
2 boxes 10x confectioners sugar
Cinnamon (I prefer organic Saigon, myself)
Vanilla extract. Don’t cheap out on imitation, use the real thing!
Powdered ginger
Cream

Allow the butter to thoroughly soften. Whip it with the whisk attachment of your mixer, or beat it by hand in a bowl, until it's light and fluffy.

Pour a liberal measure of vanilla in. How much? Umm...some. You can add more later if it's not strong enough, so err on the side of caution.

Add cinnamon. As much or as little as you want. Again, you can always add more.
Then comes ginger. See the above for measurements...now whisk it, whisk it good...

Dump an entire box of sugar over it. Stir/whisk until thoroughly mixed. Add up to another half box of sugar. You want a think, almost fondant consistency.

Finally, pour in a little cream at a time, mixing between additions, until you have the desired consistency. It should be light, fluffy, and smooth. If you add too much cream and it gets soupy, just mix in a bit more sugar.


Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, frost to your heart's content - you should have more than enough icing for two dozen cupcakes, a sheet cake, a layer cake, or the Chrysler Building.

Any leftover frosting can be stored in the ‘fridge – soften it later and serve with graham crackers or pretzels for dipping. Yeah, the kids’ll be wired, but you can give 'em to the grandparents after.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Whoof

Warning - this may bore you to tears.

Also, I DID make pumpkin-spice cupcakes yesterday amidst all the goings-on, and I'll be posting the recipe tomorrow, which won't make up for the below but should prove moderately more interesting.
~~~~~
What a day, yesterday.

It was Veteran's Day, but here at Casa de Crazy it was also veterinarian's day.

Seems Rook (our rescue kitty from last year) has taken oddly ill. She spent about two days down in Mum's (aka "the guest") room, curled up on a blankie on the floor. I wasn't worried at first - all the cats take turns having a day off, keeping scarce and worrying us humans until we search the house for them. They'll eventually pop out of their hiding place and give us the "What? Can't a girl have some peace??" look.

Rook, however, wasn't just having a day off. She didn't eat or drink for at least a day, maybe two...and she wasn't moving about any, either. I finally brought her upstairs two nights ago, placed on the counter (usually no-cat's land) and coaxed her into eating a few bites of "Special Kitty", our name for canned food. She took a couple of bites, but that was it.

She wasn't interested in the laser pointer. You know that ain't right.

She didn't want to curl up on the bed with me.

Eventually she went back downstairs.

Yesterday morning, I checked on her again. She was once more nestled in the blankie. I picked her up, and she was limp in my arms, unresisting - most unlike the ferret-weasel-monkey-squirrel kitty I'm used to. The blankie was wet; she'd peed because she didn't have the energy to get up and use the litter box. Dang.

Back upstairs, I got her to eat a few bites. She wouldn't drink anything, so I mixed water and homemade turkey stock, then tricked her into drinking by getting her to lick cream cheese off my finger. Cream cheese make a body thirsty, and I made sure the water mixture was close by.

She spent the morning on the kitty condo, imitating a cat-shaped lump of misery.

I finally decided we needed a vet visit.

Understand, I love my cats. I once said that if it came down to the cats or the kid, the kid would have to find a new home because the cats were here first. I was only half kidding.

But...

A vet visit? Cha-ching...

And, to use the vernacular, I'm broker than a politician's promise.

Still.

I called Mum and asked if she could help...and she agreed. She knows that Rook is part of our family...she's special to the boy and to Someone, and to me too.

We loaded Rookers up in the kitty carrier (which is large enough to carry several cats, a goat, and a VW Beetle) and headed out.

Rook did not enjoy the ride. She also did her best to convince us that no, really, she was just fine, and if we'd turn around and go home she'd show us...

I'll spare you the vet's office details - suffice it to say I spent three hours in a state of nervous-wreckdome, alternately crying and sneezing. Rook was thoroughly examined and disgruntled, and we left none the wiser as to what was wrong but maybe, maybe it has something to do with a heart murmur, some fluid in her chest cavity, and fairies (or aliens). We came home with some special "Special Kitty", some pills, and the hopes that Rook will rally without further medical intervention. Mum's credit card may never recover...

I was up and down all night, checking on Rook (who once again ensconced herself in Mum's room on the blankie), coaxing her to eat a bit here, a bit there, and getting water into her by means of a straw (used like a dropper). From time to time I lifted her into the litter box, placed nearby for convenience.

I got up at six to give her a round of meds (lobbing tiny pill fragments down a cat's throat in the dark...whee...) and feed/water her. She was still alive, at least...which believe me, is a concern. I can't believe she's getting enough water...it's worrisome...

This morning, I am washing the blankie, as she wet it again...but I did manage to get her to eat a bit more and to drink some...and she was cross enough with me to make her way under the bed and out of my reach.

I'm going to check on her every hour or so...if I can't get her to eat or drink more than I have been, we're going to have to go back to the vet's office, something none of us (including Mum's credit card) really want...

Meanwhile, I still need to bake banana bread and get the baked goods up to Mum's for the co-op opening...but we're not spending the night there, as I am afraid to leave Rook alone for such a long stretch.

Sigh.

Next time around, I'm going in for pet rocks.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Because I'm Just a Wee Busy

Whew. Went and picked Someone up on Monday evening. Got home, did two loads of laundry.

Tuesday, Little Dude was with his dad. They went to see Megamind - Little Dude thought it was awesome. I know because he won't tell me anything about it. Yeah, yeah, but at least he comes by his weirdness honestly. Sister-Out-Law took him shopping for a new winter coat - I have a light one for him, but she found him a nice heavy one for the handful of weeks when it actually gets cold here in Redneck Central. Little Dudeless, Someone and I wound up spending the day on the road running errands. So much for the quiet day at home we were hoping for. Oh, well...we got some tings done that needed doing, and we weren't rushed about it so it was actually something of a nice day.

Today, doctor's appointment (we have officially achieved average, with a weight of about 2 1/2 pounds, give or take) and grocery store, home for a little more laundry and packing, then turn around and drop Someone off at PJ's for one last trip, this time to another Ren Fest. I will probably finish the baby's quilt while he's away.

Tomorrow, I was supposed to meet my friend K for lunch, but we postponed until next week when I can maybe arrange childcare for Little Dude (he's being too sweet to be called Evil Genius, right now) so we can have a grown-ups kind of time. Instead, I will be baking banana bread and pumpkin cupcakes for the new art co-op opening/brunch - the gallery is closing soon, and the co-op is our new artsy home.

Speaking of which - if I can ever get the link to work (right now it just takes me to a blank page, which is not at all useful, but we seem to be having some Internet issues here at Casa de Crazy right now)(oh, right, like that's a surprise) it would be awesome if you'd go check it out and help drive out stat-count up. If I ever get it to work, that is. Sigh.

Friday I'm thinking I'll haul Little Dude and myself up to Mum's. We have a Saturday photo-shoot with the Man Dressed As Santa not too far from her place, and it'll be nice to spend the night hanging out in the hills.

Saturday, photos with the big fella, then home again.

Sunday, I plan to sleep. All day. Really. There are Lunchables in the fridge (what, they're nutritious...all the sodium you need for the week in one convenient package!) and Little Dude can fetch his own beverages, so I figure I can get away with catching up on some sleep. Or, more likely, doing some house cleaning in anticipation of Thanksgiving, sine THAT week I'll be cooking a little every day to get ahead of the game.

Monday, run and get Someone from PJ's. Tuesday and Wednesday, doctor's appointments. Thursday, groceries and (I hope) a date with my friend K.

What're you up to these days?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Letter (or Three)

Dear Lifesavers,

We've been together a long time. I've always been true to you, shunning other candies that tried to mimic your sweetness, your shape, your style, but could never compare. You were one of my go-to candies when I had low blood sugar - I always knew I could count on you.

Lately, though, you've changed.

I can't trust you any more.

I don't know you.

Once upon a time, I could count on green meaning a burst of artificial lime was coming my way, and red was cherry sweetness. Yellow was lemon, orange was...well...orange...and white was pineapple. I was always the weird kid who wanted pineapple or lime when you were offered around by a generous classmate, and was never disappointed by you.

Now?

Now I don't know what's going to assault me when I pop one of you into my mouth. Watermelon? Excuse me, I feel ill - I have never cared for artificial watermelon flavor, and now I'm dodging it at every turn. Pina Colada? Well...that's not too bad. Neither is Tangerine. Blackberry and Raspberry, though...bleh, bleh, double bleh.

I know you thought you had to keep up with the times. I understand peer pressure - we all do. Everyone has been tempted to cave, to change themselves to suit what others think they should be, but Lifesavers...I loved you just the way you were! I know I'm not alone when I say - bring back the original five!! I miss you...
~~~~~
Dear New England Candy Company (Makers of Necco Wafers),

Well, now you've gone and done it.

Since I was a wee lass, I've loved you. You were one of my go-to candies when I had low blood sugar. I use to happily open a roll of your wafers and sort them by color, crunching up the broken ones first, then devouring them by color. Once in a while, I savor one, see how long I could make it last. Chocolates were my least favorite, so they went first. I saved licorice for last. Lemon, lime, and orange were fine, as was the cinnamon...and I adored the wintergreen snap which reminded me of Canada Mints (I haven't had one of those in many years..sigh...). Your little mini-rolls were a delight to have on Halloween, and have been riding around in my car as an emergency pick-me-up for many years.

But you've done something to yourself. Nothing tastes as it should. What happened to the wintergreen? The cinnamon?

You know, change can be a good thing...and introducing new flavors and product lines is so exciting, I can understand you'd be caught up in the glitz and glamour of debuting an all chocolate roll. But did you have to lose your heads and ruin the traditional pressed-chalk discs of goodness?? Some childhood memories are cherished and should not be tinkered with!!

Please, I beg of you, regain your senses and return my beloved Necco wafers to their original glory!
~~~~~
Dear Georgia WalMart Patron who was driving the baby-poo brown Toyota whateverthatPOSwas,

Perhaps you are unaware, sir, that Georgia is a Pedestrian Right of Way state. Let me break the big words down into manageable chunks for you - that means that when there's someone on the paved surface, especially in the crosswalk, you must actually stop and let them cross.

Never mind that said someone was a clearly pregnant woman pushing a cart with a young boy in tow.

Never mind that there were several signs clearly indicating that pedestrians were crossing at any given time and that WalMart and the state of Georgia mandated you yield.

Never mind that the parade-balloon sized woman was halfway across before you ever turned the corner and approached the crosswalk at top speed.

It is the law, ass-clown.

That you managed not to strike me or my child was more a credit to my own reflexes and still-reliable ability to accelerate my arse to unexpected speeds than to your clearly non-existent braking skills.

I understand that the prime parking spot you wanted was open right then, and I know how disappointing it is when you have to park two whole feet farther away from the door - really, it's so tedious having to walk past all those handicapped parking spaces...they're in carts or wheelchairs, for cryin' out loud, they're sitting down, why do they have to be close to the door when we non-differently-abled folks have to schlep ourselves in under our own power?? So unfair...

But trust me when I tell you that people don't make good hood ornaments, and when we get tangled up in your wheel wells we will slow you to a crawl. Also, blood ruins paint, although in your case I would consider anything an improvement - really, did you choose that color, or did you lose a bet?

Next time you may not be so lucky. Quit being a selfish twit - whatever it is you think you need so desperately to live that's inside the Evil Empire, trust me, they won't run out - they have an endless supply of pork skins, chewing tobaccy, and beer. Isn't a life worth a few extra seconds? Oh, wait, never mind - I think your behavior has clearly answered that question...
~~~~~
So, fellow denizens of the Blue Nowhere...who've you been wanting to write to lately??

Monday, November 8, 2010

Parenthood

Yesterday afternoon, the Evil Genius and I found ourselves watching a movie. We'd met my sister-out-law J, and Bird's dad T for breakfast, come home and done a few chores, and I needed a little break...so I turned on the TV in the middle of the day. I haven't done that in a while, but I was tired of cleaning and shuffling toys, and the mess will be there tomorrow or the next day when I'm ready to clean it up.

So we watched Parenthood.

I adore that movie.

Of course, one has a different take on the film depending upon where one is in life...and right now I'm a mum, I'm pregnant, and I'm hormonal, so I got sniffly and a little scared and kinda thoughtful.

It reminded me of something I told Mum a few years ago. Story time...

A few years back there was a spate of storms that ripped through the Southeastern US, including our little corner of Redneck Central. These storms were quite rude, waiting until the wee hours when folks were asleep to come and party, sending tornadoes this way and that and wreaking havoc.

One tornado thought to pay a call on Big Brother's neighborhood. It missed his his house by a bit, although it did knock down all his trees on its way by. As the storm approached his house, he thought to call Mum and warn her. He told her to call me, too, as he was herding his family into their storm closet and he figured I'd need a heads up.

Mum ended the call, looked at the clock, and went back to sleep. She called me later the next morning.

She knew I didn't need a warning. Never mind why.

When she called and told me about her wee-hours call, she asked "What was he thinking??"

I told her "You're Mommy. No matter how old we get, no matter where we are or what we're doing, you'll always be Mommy. It never ends."

At once exhilarating and terrifying...because it is so very true. No matter how old I get, when things go bad or I need reassurance or comfort, I reach for Mum. I dread the day she's not there, reaching back.

Not matter how old he gets or where his life takes him, the Evil Genius will always be my sweet boy, my heart, my best good thing. Don't get me wrong...the Sprout will be my sweet girl, my heart, and my best good thing. Mums can do that...bend the physics of love around our children any way we like, redefine vocabulary to suit our reality.

I hope that, when my children are "grown", I am as good a mother as my Mum is to me. Gods know, I lean hard on her, more often than I'd like...and although she gets tired, sometimes, of propping me up...still, she does. Because she's Mum...Mommy...Ma...

And that's a job title that we never lose.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Wait, I have HOW Long??

If all goes according to the norm (and we all know better than to hold our breath for that eventuality), I'll have a baby in about eleven weeks.

Oh. My. Blessed. Gods. And. Ancestors.

Um.

So not ready.

There's a room, true. It's even clean. There's a piece of art waiting to be framed and put on the wall. There are some of Bird's old toys and books nestled into the rack of bins I bought and assembled two weeks ago week.

There's the diaper pail I still had from Bird's infancy, just in need washing because it's been in the garage all these years (don't ask).

There are a couple of outfits in the closet - some bigger things and three or four newborn sized items, including the one outfit I (finally) bought for her even though I really couldn't spare the cash but damn it, I needed to have something, anything, that I got for her in the closet. There's the little pack of nappies that the clinic gave us.

There's...erm...yeah, that's about it.

While Someone's sister will be giving us a crib (she had twins a couple of years ago, but they never slept much in their cribs and have outgrown them - score one for us!!), and my dear friend M has offered us her youngest's outgrown stroller/car seat combo...they're not here yet. Yes, I know they're coming...but they're not here now.

There's no dresser, either - I prefer a dresser to a changing table, as I'm tall and most changing tables are inches too low for comfort - bending over to change nappies for the next few years is not appealing.

Sprout's room echoes.

We have no bedding - some is on offer from another friend, I just have to collect it. No socks, no little mittens to prevent baby fingernails from scratching delicate baby face, no bottles or wipes or diaper ointment, no burp cloths or changing pads or....

Excuse me, I can't seem to catch my breath...

It's simple, really - in the end, we will make do with what we have. Even if there was no crib, we have several laundry baskets that would do just fine to begin with. Oh, stop looking so horrified - what, you think back in the dark ages people all had nurseries? They used what they had. Towels we have a-plenty, they can double as burp cloths and changing pads. We don't really need the pack-n-play...they're right handy to have, don't get me wrong, but we can get along fine without one.

I can buy a bottle at the grocery store for a couple of bucks, and we only really need one - it can be washed as often as necessary. Honestly, I'm hoping that this time (TMI alert) I won't have to resort to formula...that maybe this time my stupid boobs will cotton on to what's expected from them and I can feed my kid without having to open a can or heat water.

She'll be born in the winter - all I need is a good blanket (and between me, Mum, and other folks I know who knit, crochet, and sew, we have that covered)(Hah! Covered!) to keep her warm.

I've been through this once before...I know how much we DON'T need. A wipes warmer? Really?? A special bottle rack for the dishwasher...umm...no thanks. An ergonomically designed, infant-sized bathtub? What's wrong with the kitchen sink?? Color coded, age specific toys that rattle, squeak, crinkle, and stimulate baby's mental development? No need...I've been saving my empty thread spools and can string them on a bootlace. She'll be entertained for months, trust me...

I'm not trying to whine, here. I am feeling a little overwhelmed. My house is a mess and Someone's mom is coming for Thanksgiving. That's only a couple of weeks away. I'd like it to be possible for someone who isn't a contortionist to walk through the living room or down the hallway. I'd like to have a slightly smaller dust-critter population and floors that don't look like we're collecting petrified cat hork in our spare time. I'd like to have clean bathrooms and a dining room table that we can, you know, dine at. Actually seeing the top surface of the kitchen table would be a bonus.

Then there's Yule, then Christmas, then...

Uh...breathing...breathing...whew...

There's more weighing on my mind, but I think I'll just spare you.

Right now I'm just muddling along, cleaning a little here, a little there, doing what I can and trying not to dwell too much on how much I can't...because ready or not, in about eleven weeks (I hope), there will be a new resident at Casa de Crazy, adding to the joyful chaos...

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Oh My God It's Moving Toward Us!

Twenty-eight weeks in, almost twenty-nine. We're in the viable delivery (although still terribly complicated) zone.

This past Wednesday I had my weekly appointment with the specialist. He started seeing me weekly in September, when he determined that (TMI alert) I had low amniotic fluid and the Sprout was "small".

Umm.

Define "small", please.

He really couldn't...but eventually, through a visit with my regular OB's office, I got some numbers, something for me to latch onto. I like information...lots and lots of information...to help me figure out what's not right and how to deal with it. The specialist is used to working with women who have some pretty severe problems (either with their own health or with foetal development), women who face terrible choices and information overload and may be overwhelmed by it all. He tends to play things a little close to the vest to keep us from worrying ourselves sick...but in my case, I worry when I don't know. We've gotten better at communicating with each other these last few weeks.

So...small.

She started out measuring (give or take - there's a margin of error even with these marvelous modern machines) in the sixth percentile. That means that out of one-hundred babies, she would be the sixth smallest. Small.

M'kay.

Small enough that he began bandying about ideas like "It's better to deliver at twenty-five weeks and maybe have a live baby than to have a baby that stops growing and have a still birth." Oh. Uh...yeah...

The low fluid was worrying, too.

I don't know what the unit of measurement is - ounces, litres, cups, drops, squirrels - but I know the number he gave to my fluid level. Seven.

So he decided to see me every week, and measure the baby every two weeks (it's pointless to measure every week because the margin of growth would be somewhat negated by the margin of error)(at least, that's what I think he was saying- I'm not entirely convinced he wasn't speaking in tongues).

Next time she was eleventh percentile, fluid level unchanged.

Then twenty-third percentile, fluid still at seven whatsies.

This week, there was more fluid. Apparently a lot more. In a happy way. He decided not to measure her but to wait an extra week because she's looking...erm...average.

I'll take it. For once, I'll take average as being exceptional. He'll measure her again next week...and I'm hoping to hear something close to fiftieth percentile and normal fluid levels. Despite their predictions, I would really like to carry to term. I don't want a holiday baby, or one too close to Bird's birthday, and I'd really like to NOT have another Capricorn in the house (which means after January 20, thankyouverymuch). Yeah, yeah...

Meanwhile...back at the closet...

My clothing is usually loose and comfortable, but not right now. I'm wearing some hand-me-down maternity pants (thanks K) and my big-girl jeans, and some days I still feel like an over-stuffed sausage. I'm tellin' ya, I'm reaching house-like proportions, here.

I feel huge. Ungainly. I feel sorry for the stairs when I go up and down - I don't blame them for creaking. I feel like handlers with long ropes should be maneuvering me past parade crowds in New York City.

Small, my Aunt Fanny! I'm having Gigantor the Mega Baby, I just know it...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Home

Home is where the heart is.

Home is where you hang your hat.

Home is...more than a cliche.

I live in a house. I call it "home". It is my home in the traditional sense - it's a structure wherein I dwell and keep all my crap priceless family heirlooms. The house does not belong to me, but it's mine. Maybe some day I'll explain that.

But is it...home?

I think home is more than a receptacle for junk, a structure.

Much as I love Casa de Crazy (drafty, energy inefficient, not-green, monstrous cracker box thought it be), and its location...it's really just a house.

Home, for me, isn't a place, it's a feeling.

Home is with the Evil genius, Someone, and Mum... When we are together in one place, whatever that place, I'm home. Home is within the circle of Someone's arms, or the Evil Genius's small embrace, or the comfort of Mum's calm, sure voice when I call her in distress. It's the purring of happily nestled cats, content to pass the night curled up around me on the bed, nesting in the blankets. Home is in the small, fluttering, insistent movements of the Sprout as she wriggles and shifts, kicks and jabs, lets me know she's there and has taken up Irish dancing to pass the time.

Home is an abstract sense of belonging, of love, of comfort and solace.

It's devilish hard to define, isn't it? Where's home, for you?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Quiet Thursday

I meant to post some photos from Samhain earlier this week, but between sewing for PJ and getting Someone packed and ready to go with her to FPG, and a little drama from the power company thrown into the mix for fun, the week sort of slipped away. Yesterday was a day for running errands, doctor's appointment, and spending more money than I wanted (but nonetheless needed) to spend on winter clothing for the Evil Genius. Whew, they do grow, don't they??

Today we're having a day at home. Since I woke earlier than the lad, I went on downstairs and worked on the baby's quilt. I may get the top finished later tonight or tomorrow! We'll go to Borders tonight for our usual Thursday thing...I miss Someone when he isn't here, and it helps to keep busy.

On with the pics, eh??

I made a crockpot roast for dinner:

And of course, pumpkin spice cake with vanilla spice buttercream frosting:

I'm a fiend for roasted pumpkin seeds...can't get enough of 'em. Luckily, we had a few:

Here are the punkins:

Someone carved a small swan for the baby:

I decided to forgo the fancy stuff and go with an old-fashioned grinner to frighten away evil spirits:

Mum liked the ghost...it turned out nicely:

Someone also did this creepy, crawly 'rachnid:

T brought Bird home a bit later in the evening, but there was still time for the lad to draw his own design. T helped him carve it out:
We had a peaceful night of it on Sunday - only a small handful of trick-or-treaters came by, so we listened to music, watched baseball, and eventually did our dumb supper. While I missed having my whole gang here, it was nice to have the quiet, too.
How was your Samhain/Halloween?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

I'm Voting Anyway

These days it's like trying to pick the nicest turd in a pile of shit.

Sigh.