Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A New Christmas Story

Twas the night before the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Except for the hideous things coming out of Mommy's mouth....

It's been an adventuresome, yet uneventful Christmas around here. Conor picked up a stomach bug that became evident on Friday night. Despite yakking on two pairs of Dave's jeans, it was fortunately a very mild event. For Conor.

The incubation period is apparently 48 hours for a stomach bug. And although Conor only yakked 2 times in one hour, I was blessed with a 6 hour yakking marathon involving hurried trips to the loo every 15 minutes for the first three hours and every 30 minutes for the next three. (I would like to point out that on Christmas Day when my dear friend came over with her adorable 3 day old, we figured out that I had thrown up longer than she was in labor--start to finish)

I certainly don't mind taking one for the team. And indeed this is the second stomach virus I've shared with Conor and Dave hasn't. However, I'd be more than happy to retire my martyr virus status to any takers out there. And again it's much better that I yak for 6 hours and Conor only yaks for one. NONETHELESS, I'd really prefer for Conor's mild experience to be an indication of how mild my illness will also be.

We had a great Christmas altogether. And there was adorableness all around, particularly when Conor spotted Santa's partially eaten cookie. However, the most gift-appreciative creature in this house was Patches. We bought him a couple of toys and a peanut butter treat. The first gift he got to open was just placed in a bag. Once I indicated that this treat was for him, he plunged his head down into the bag and nosed around for about 10 seconds until he gently pulled out the new toy by the edges of its packaging. It was one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. The sweetest thing I've ever seen is towards the end of gift opening when he was starting to unwrap his last present with his teeth in the corner of the room. He has NEVER tried to open a present before, but he knew this one was his, and he was tired of waiting for his turn. It was adorable.

Tomorrow, we're off to sunny warm Omaha for a nephew's wedding over the weekend. What? Omaha is not sunny and warm this time of year? Are you serious?!?! Crap!!! I'd better figure out what the heck I'm going to wear so I'm not freezing my southern ass in the Great Plains of the Midwest.

Happy New Year to you!!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Fish Who Would Not Die

Sergio has made an amazing comeback. He's eating again and swimming around and his fins are spread out. Who knew that we'd have our own Monty Python character living in a fishbowl?

So have you heard of Pingu? Last year, Conor's cousin Carter brought out a DVD of favorite TV shows and within it was a sample of the Pingu animations. I LOVE Pingu! It's one of the shows Conor watches that Dave and I like to watch. (Go! Diego! Go! Not so much)

As part of our Holiday wishes to you, we invite you to watch a Pingu Video (ironically of Pingu fishing).

And then when you see Conor and he goes "QUACK QUACK!!" and pulls his hand away from his mouth like he's playing a trombone, you will realize that he's trying to talk like Pingu. (Although Pingu says NOB! NOB!!)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mama Stink

Conor has started yoga at daycare. A yogini comes by every two weeks and teaches the children different positions. The first class just involved reaching for the sun, but lately, Conor has shown us how he can make himself into a ball and how he can not only do Down Dog, but can then do Down Dog with one hand behind his back.

It's pretty impressive not only that he knows these positions, but that they are teaching children yoga at daycare.

On Sunday, we were decorating cookies together and Conor put his hands in prayer pose and bowed a little while he said "mamastink."

"What?" I asked.

"Manastink. Mamastink. Mamastink," all the while his hands are folded.

"I think you mean 'Namaste'" I suggested to him.

"Mamastink," he replied.

"Namaste," I counted.

This went on for a while until he got very frustrated and said "YOGA! YOGA! I learned this in Yoga cwass!!!"

"I know, honey! I learned it in yoga class, too. And it's Namaste!"

"Mamastink!!" he insisted one more time, although finally willing to concede that maybe Mama might know a bit more about yoga than he. And that she didn't stink.


We continue to be on Death Watch. I thought Sergio had finally kicked the fishbowl Saturday morning when I had to go past just flicking the side of the bowl to shaking it a bit to see if he was still alive. (He squiggled a bit, so we took that as a proclamation that he was not dead yet.) This morning he actually ate something so I think we have a while to go.

It's very sad to see an animal towards the end. We are certainly following his lead on this. Sort of like attachment parenting, but more like attachment fishing, but where the attachments do not involve lures. Also, it's hard to comfort a fish. They don't take to touching and petting all that well.

He's had a good little life, our Sergio. And I think he has a little bit left in him. Maybe he'll make it to Christmas. I'm sure that the holiday holds much meaning for him.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Sergio Death Watch

The fish, Sergio, is not doing so well. First, I must admit that at 4 1/2 years, Sergio is very, very old for a betta. And he's actually quite active, attacking his food and waving his fins at us if we are a bit late on feeding him.

Lately, though, he's taken to either lying on his artificial grass or hanging vertically in the water. Neither of those positions seem all that healthy. Also, instead of attacking his food, which is awfully cute--it's a pellet, but he hunts and kills it, he now sort of lunges towards it and if he misses, well, he sort of takes a nap and waits for the next meal. We really try to drop the pellets very close to his head, but he's not very interested.

Worst, though, is that Dave noticed that his gills are getting crusty. We do not assume this is a good sign.

I wish there was somthing we could do to ease his pain, short of using gin or the freezer. However, I think we'll just continue to provide him with whatever comfort we can (usually a head near his bowl and some sympathetic sounds) and then just flush him when he's officially belly up.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Well Insulated

We just had insulation blown into the walls of our house. Yes, that's right. Our 1943 built house has never had insulation. Ironically, 1943 was the last December with temperatures this warm, so maybe they opted out of the insulation, expecting the weather to hold. Or maybe they were just poor; this house was originally built for factory workers. We have heard that the parents slept in the living room while the 4 kids split the two bedrooms. Or most likely, "global warming" and "building green" were simply not on the minds of the builders or homeowners 75 years ago.

It's been on our mind though since we moved in. One of the benefits of our house is the breezeway, aka, the family room when there was a breeze outside. I have felt a draft sitting in the middle of the room with the windows and doors CLOSED because of the wind coming through our walls. The cabinets have also served as plate warmers or plate chillers depending on the season. Butter left on the counter is either melting or solid as a rock depending on what is going on outside the house.

It really hit me when we went to visit Dave's family in the frigid midwest and it still felt comfortable in their house! I'm so used to drafts and chills and uneven room temperatures that I was SHOCKED to be warm inside a house in the winter.

Next week, they are changing out the last of our old windows, replacing them with double hung windows that we can open. I am thrilled by this prospect.

Of course, if it wasn't 80 degrees today, we might be able to test out how well our new insulation is working. Maybe this weekend, it will get cold again and we can stay toasty in our newly warm house.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Pandora Radio

On Weds, my students told me about Pandora Radio. It's a web site that serves as your own personal radio. You type in an artist or a song and they'll develop a playlist of music similar to the song/artist you like. You can further refine it by giving particular songs Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down.

The nice thing is that it introduces you to new music and musicians similar to the ones you like already.

It does not suck, which is one the highest compliments we give in the south. (Like when I saw Andy Garcia on my morning jogs in Toluca Lake and thought "That man is NOT ugly.")

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Van Guy

Conversation this weekend.....

Dave: Anita wants us to get a minivan. How are you two doing it with the twins?

Twin Dad: Yeah, the mini-van. It's hard. But you can either be Creepy Van Guy or Woussy Van Guy.

Dave: You got the Odyssey.

Twin Dad: Yeah, Woussy Van Guy.

Dave: I hear ya.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Miss Me???

It was hard not to post on Saturday to say "YIPPEE!! I have the night off and I don't have to post!!"

But then that would have defeated the whole purpose, eh?

So, instead, I will talk about the fact that *I* made *bread* this weekend. And when I say *I*, I mean me solo without a bread machine and when I say *bread*, I mean a breadish substance that was actually edible. (Biscuits=hockey pucks around here)

I even attempted this feat due to the Observer's claim (via the NY Times) that this is the easiest bread in the world to make. Indeed, it was so easy, Conor could have made it.

3 cups of water at 100 F degrees
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

Mix that together

Add 6 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour

Mix until there are no dry spots in the flour

Let sit covered with a cloth for at least 2 hours and up to 5

Cut off one-fourth of the dough (grapefruit sized)

Spread some flour on it so you can pick it up and it won't get stuck to your fingers (figured that out on the second loaf)

Stretch it and shape it into an oval

Let sit for 40 minutes and then put it in a greased loaf pan.

Cook for 30 minutes in a 450 degree oven (let the oven heat for 5 minutes at 450)

Cool completely and you have bread.

That's it!

It is the best bread I've ever made by hand. It's the only edible bread I've made my entire life!! I am not a baker, but I baked bread. I'm pretty psyched. I might even ask Santa for the book which apparently has several of these sorts of bread recipes.

Seriously. With something that easy, how can you NOT bake your own bread?