October 2012 archive


He was Mini-Opie from Sons of Anarchy. If you don't get it, you're not cool.

I knew that my child would never be the kind of kid who ran from house to house seeking candy and attention. He would either be the kid who sat down and played with a bug or just passed on the Trick or Treat walk altogether in favor of examining the tail lights on someone’s car.

I was mostly right.

We started out by explaining to Abe he would walk up to stranger’s houses, say, “Trick-or-Treat”, and then open his bag to receive candy from the stranger (something he would never be allowed to do again until this very day next year). He’s 2, so he totally got it.
Then we started walking. Seeing as how his legs are about 1/3 the length of mine, 1/4 the length of my husband’s, we walked really freaking slowly. When we finally arrived at our first house, we pushed Abe up to the door and told him to say, “Trick-or-Treat”. He said something like, “Tick-a-tick-a-tick-a-teeeeeeeeee.” Luckily, the stranger felt that was close enough to “Trick-or-Treat” and handed him some candy. Abe handed it back. The stranger re-handed it to Abe. Abe, seemingly resigned to just accept the candy, put it in his bag. He then stared at the stranger, waiting for what happened next. “Come on, Abe! We’re all done!” But he wouldn’t move.
You see, my son is more interested in people, what’s in their houses, what’s in their SOULS more than any kind of candy. Abe  chose to walk straight into the stranger’s house. I grabbed him, apologizing, and explained we were not going inside, just getting candy. This caused meltdown #1. Why on EARTH would we just take her candy without even getting to know her first? What if she has TRUCKS in there?!

The next few houses were a little bit better. Although he had to touch and admire each piece of decoration on all the porches and front stoops, he did eventually pull himself away to get the candy and leave. Meanwhile, I watched all the three-year-olds in our little group. They were like pros. They knew exactly what to do. They negotiated for more candy, GOT IT, and then ran to the next house, leaving us in the dust.

Then, then the worst possible thing ever happened. A woman walked by…with a dog…on a leash…

“PUPPY!!!!!” Abe ran to this dog like it was his long lost brother, and every time the woman attempted to move along so that she could keep up with her OWN children who were trick-or-treating, Abe screamed and flung himself at the dog. I literally found myself shouting, “Abe! Come on! CANDY!” Nothing moved him. We picked him up and endured meltdown #2. How are we just going to walk around collecting little paper-covered thingies from strangers when there are DOGS to pet?!

Finally, after about the 5th house we got into a groove. He understood what he was supposed to do and he really seemed to be enjoying it, even though he desperately just wanted to chat with these strangers about whether or not they had relatives in the Northeast. We were like normal people with a normal kid who just normally trick-or-treated until…he took off…into the street…where the CARS were. Mommy had a heart attack, chasing Abe and pulling him out from in front of a car that was ABOUT TO RUN HIM OVER. Meltdown #3.
Ok, ok. He ran into the street, yes, but the car was completely stopped and the driver was waving at me. But still. I walked him back onto the sidewalk and another car whizzed past us. You better believe I screamed, “SLOW DOWN, IT’S HALLOWEEN!!” I could see the teenagers inside, sneering at me, and I cared not. I CARED NOT.

And so, after a total of 20 minutes trick-or-treating, we went all the way back home and Abe played with trucks and cars and drank water. Next year. Next year he’s going to be a real kid who FIGHTS for his candy. FIGHTS.


Chilly Willy

“Does he ever wake up a night anymore?” my friend innocently asked.

“No. He really doesn’t,” I stupidly tempted the universe.

So, it’s 3 o’clock in the morning and I hear a little mutter coming from the monitor. Damnit, I thought. I just HAD to say he doesn’t wake up at night anymore. I laid in bed listening for crying, screaming, something. But all I heard was some muttering and then silence. Ok, I thought, I’ll go back to sleep. He’s fine.

At about 7am I felt a huge weight heaped onto my body and I was nearly suffocated by the force. I woke up enough to realize it was my sweet husband pulling the down comforter off the dresser and covering me because it was freaking cold in the house. I snuggled up deep within the covers and comforter and closed my eyes. Then I heard it…the mutter. It was the same mutter I heard at 3 in the morning.

“Awwww,” my husband said.
“What?” I sat up as he stared at Abe in the video monitor.
“He’s cold!” he said, holding up the monitor so I could see my little boy all balled up in the corner of his crib.

So now I’m thinking of the muttering I heard at 3 in the morning and comparing it to the muttering I just heard and wondering how I’m going to explain to the DCFS agent how my child got frostbite on the second floor of our house. My husband brought our little one from downstairs and brought him into our bed. I snuggled his little back and he laid on my husband for almost 6 whole minutes, soaking up the body heat and down-comforter-goodness.

I guess what I’m saying is, yeah, I feel bad about the fact that my kid was cold all night long, but as a result, HE SNUGGLED FOR 6 WHOLE MINUTES.

Worth it?

Kind of.

Scratchy Backy

First off, I am wishing all of you northerners safety during this huge storm. Yikes.

Picking Abe up from school:

Mommy approaches the big glass doors, behind which Abe is waiting.
Abe spot mommy.

Mom: Hi Abey! I missed you! Did you have a good day?
Abe: Hi mom!
Mom: HI babe! I missed you! I love you!
Abe: Mommy car?
Mom: Yep! We’re getting in mommy’s car!

Abe and mommy walk toward’s mommy’s car. Abe spots the car.

Abe: MOMMY CAR!!!!
Mom: There it is!
Abe: Truck.
Mom: There is a truck, yes.
Abe: Biiiiig truck.
Mom: That is a big truck, yes.

Mommy helps Abe into the car. He jumps back out of the car to point at mommy’s taillight.

Mom: Ok, bud. Time to get in the car.
Mom: Yep! That’s mommy’s taillight.

Mommy helps Abe into the car again. She begins buckling his belt. 

Abe: Thnack?
Mom: Ok, yes, I will get you a snack. Wait until I get you in.
Mom: Just a moment. I’m getting you in, then I’ll get the snack.

Mommy hands Abe a bag full of snacks. 

Abe: Thnack. Thanks.
Mom: You’re welcome.
Abe: BUS!
Mom: Yep. There’s a bus. Here we go, on our way home!
Abe: BUS!
Mom: Yep.
Abe: Hmm. Bus.
Mom: Yeah.

The car is silent until…

Mom: Yes, Abe?
Mom: Yes?
Mom: Abe? What? Yes?
Abe: Water?!
Mom: Sure. I have a water. Here you go.
Mom: Yes?

Abe begins drinking the water in a way that would suggest he’s never had water until this moment. After finishing half the bottle…

Mom: Yes?
Abe: MOMMY! No water.
Mom: Are you all done with the water?
Abe: All done?
Mom: Ok. All done. I’ll take…
Mom: Yes. I see that.
Abe: FIRETRUCK (except he adds an “f” in a place that makes this word embarrassing in public).
Mom: Yep. Firetruck.

It is at this point that mommy starts replaying the scene from European Vacation: “Look kids! Big Ben! Paaaarliment!” Except in this car it’s,Look mom! Big Truck! Fiiiiiretruck!” The car is silent again, until…

Mom: What about your thnack? Um, snack.
Mom: What about it?

Abe reaches toward mom with his snack bag. 

Mom: Oh, are you finished with your snack? Ok, I’ll take it.
Mom: What Abe?
Mom: Yes, Abe. Trucks and birds. I see.
Mom: Yes. What.
Mom: Abe you have to stop shouting mommy’s name. It’s distrcting.
Abe: Dimtracting?
Mom: Yes. Distracting.
Mom: WHAT?


Abe: Mommy?
Mom: Yes Abe?
Abe:  Truck.
Mom: Ok. Abe.

Mommy begins considering what she will be drinking when she arrives home. And when she arrives home, Abe does this and everything is adorable again.

The Invisible War

My husband reserved us a seat at the screening of a film called The Invisible War. Being that we are in the business of telling stories, he felt like it might be a good networking move within our community to meet some of the folks who created the film. We got way more than we bargained for.

This film focused on sexual assault in the military. I learned that there are 50% more sexual assaults in the military as compared to civillian life. Women and men are being harassed, assaulted, and raped, often by the very people they report to. This means when it happens, they have no one to tell. And even when they do have someone to tell, next to NONE of the reports are taken seriously. There is no judicial system in the military the way there is in the civillian world. The women and men are left to work side by side with their assailants and risk being perpetrated again and again if they report. These victims are left with no justice and their assailants with no accountability.

As soon as the screening of the documentary (which was excellent) ended, a woman in the audience stood up and admitted she was sexually assaulted in the Navy. She said, “I laid there, and they did what they needed to do.” A moment later, another woman cried her way through her story of having been raped in the army, imploring us to help her and other victimes. And then another woman, raped by several drunk members of the Coast Guard. She was told that she should “know better than to walk past a bunch of drunk sailors.” In a room of 50 people, these 3 women stood up and shared; who knows how many more there were? No one could fix it for them. But it was clear everyone was willing to do whatever it takes to see that this stops.

I don’t usually get on soapboxes about social issues over the internet, but I can’t imagine anyone who would disagree with the initiatives being taken (and largely ignored) to stop this abusive culture from continuing to breed. I saw the victims with my own eyes. What can we do? Educate ourselves. We can reach out to the Department of Defense, write to our senators (who are soon up for re-election which means they might be more maleable than at other times), and check out this movie, The Invisible War.

Have a beautiful weekend, everyone, and find your grateful in today.



Having spent much of my day at the Apple store and at Costco (where my debit card was politely declined despite having worked just an hour earlier),  I opted out of a blog today. Instead, I’d like for anyone who has a moment to comment (here or on Facebook) and tell me the most aggravating thing that happened to you today. Let’s cleanse, people. Let it all out.

Food Issues

Salty, snacky, kaley goodness.

First, here’s a fun little vegetarian snack: Kale chips. They’re better than they sound.
Buy a big bag of chopped kale in the produce section. If you get whole leaves you’ll just need to chop it to chip-size. Go through the bag and pull any leaves still attached to the rib and separate. Shout, “Get out of here, ribs.” Toss them in a bowl with some olive oil and salt. If you’re new to kale chips, you may want to add more salt until you get used to the taste. Pile them onto a baking sheet and stick them in the oven at about 300. You can pile these guys because when they cook and shrivel, you’ll be able to separate them out about 20 minutes in to cooking. Let them cook until they’re crisp but not burned, maybe another 15 minutes (but keep a close eye). They’re a delicious snack that Abe even eats!


Since this week is all about food, let’s keep that ball rolling, shall we?

We have food issues in this house.

Five nights out of seven, Abe eats the dinner I prepare for him. Often times it’s turkey roll-ups or sweet potato mash with cheese and a side of something fun like these new Plentils (lentil chips) David found the other day or some olives. Delicious, right? Then there are days like today. I made a delicious ham, mayo, and avocado roll-up for Abe, complete with multi-colored toothpicks. A side of Plentils and a yogurt stick (frozen, of course) made for, as far as I could see, a freaking delicious meal. Abe ate all the yogurt stick, all the Plentils, and refused the glorious roll-ups I slaved over. Fine, I thought. Don’t eat that part. Whatever.

But then. Then Abe was still hungry.

And he wanted cookies.

I don’t know about other moms, but I’m stubborn. If my kid doesn’t eat a little from every category at dinner, there are no cookies. Some might say a two-year-old can’t comprehend that idea. Maybe not, but I’m still not giving him a damn cookie for eating part of his dinner. I began heating up my own dinner because Wednesday is leftover night and…he requested an apple. An apple? Sure. You can have an apple. I handed him an apple and he proudly carried it around taking mini Abe bites and announcing, “Mmmm!”

Meanwhile, Charlie began whining at me for his dinner.

Abe brought the quarter-eaten apple back. “Here’go, mom.” Back to the fridge for something else…this time he wanted a jar of hot banana peppers. Thinking better on my first instinct, I told him he couldn’t eat that. I continued preparing my food while The Tantrum 2012 ensued on the kitchen floor.

More whining from Charlie.

Next? Uncooked collards and a plastic bag of field peas, requested the prince. I retrieved the bag of field peas only after he picked them up and gnawed a hole in the bag. After I showed him what the uncooked collard looked like, he changed his mind.

And, more Charlie whining. Now with extra staring.

Abe stayed at it for about 20 minutes, asking to eat different things around the kitchen. If they were actual food, I let him try it. If not, I told him to go eat his dinner. Have I mentioned that I haven’t gotten to eat dinner yet?! As soon as my dinner was heated up, I sat down at the table. Guess what Abe wanted to eat then? GO AHEAD. GUESS. Only trouble was, my dinner had cinnamon in it. Anyone who reads this blog knows he can’t have cinnamon; he gets chicken pox and nearly everyone dies when he eats it.  Imagine the joyful expression on his face when I told him he couldn’t have a bite of my dinner.

Oh, and more Charlie whining.

It was at about this point that I lost my mind, ran screaming into the bedroom, shut the door, and lept through the ceiling into the attic where I found some of my grandmothers old hats and videos and decided to just stay there forever. Even though I could still hear Charlie whining.

Ok none of that happened.

My husband stepped in and asked what Abe could eat. “Food!” I replied. “His dinner or anything else that is FOOD.”
“It sounds like you need to eat some food,” my husband replied.
“YES. VERY MUCH. I NEED FOOD,” I replied…softly.

My very smart husband turned on an episode of Curious George and Abe left me alone for a whole 15 minutes so I could eat.

And I sent Charlie away to live in a tree to find out how REAL dogs feel at dinnertime.


Leftovers are Food, Too

I save all leftovers. I’m the leftover nazi. There is no amount too small, no dinner too disliked, no food too wilty in the fridge that I will not save. I force my husband to save food, too. If he doesn’t finish his dinner, I make him wrap it up and bring it home so that I can eat it or repurpose it into another meal so that no waste shall be seen. I even make him wrap up the last few bites from our own dinners in foil to constantly remind him that those less fortunate than us would give anything in the world for that foil…

I never said any of this made sense.

Last week I shopped and cooked for 10 people, a food-waster’s worst nightmare. I couldn’t IMAGINE letting a single morsel go to waste and I obviously couldn’t convince these people in 3 short days that even the last few bites of rice were worth something, somewhere, somehow. I inconspicuously wrapped up every bit of leftovers and then later, quickly pulled them all out of the refrigerator during lunches. I would make myself a leftover plate and “ooo” and “ahhh” over it to demonstrate how delicious leftovers can be in an effort to encourage others to follow my lead. I even made myself a spaghetti salad one day. Yes. That’s spaghetti sauce on top of lettuce. Why did I do this? Because the lettuce would have gone bad and there weren’t any noodles left (because heaven knows that no one in their right mind would waste a noodle, but lettuce…)

Now, almost a week after that initial shopping trip, my refrigerator at home is stocked with the leftovers from that trip because I will be damned if we just leave it all to die like so much…old food. My husband reluctantly allowed me to fill a cooler full of leftover food before we left and I emptied it all into our house. I gave some of it to my mom (which she promised to eat) and some of it to the dogs (it’s still not wasting). And with the rest I have made a delicious roasted sweet potato mash, spaghetti squash with marinara sauce, yogurt smoothies for days, and enough apple slices to deliver an entire jar of almond butter directly into my husband’s mouth. YOU SEE WHY WE DON’T THROW IT ALL AWAY? MOMMY MAKES IT INTO SOMETHING WE EAT!

Vegetarian dinner #2! Spaghetti squash with marinara and zucchini! (Say, "Thank you, leftovers!")


If my husband won’t eat my recycled leftovers, Abe does. He loves them. Today he mmmed his way through a bowl of roasted sweet potato mash as if it was caviar and I’ve never swelled puffier with pride. And I’m sure I’m not passing on my psychotic food behaviors on to my child…I’m sure he won’t pile plates of food 3 feet high at a buffet in Vegas 20 years from now and then throw the whole thing away mumbling, “No leftovers. No leftovers. No leftovers.”

Just Stop It (A Rant)

Last week I spent 3 days with half the staff who work with my company holed up in a cabin in the woods of North Carolina. Many of us had never met, seeing as we are a virtual company. It was surprising, intense, and exhausting, but oh-so-fun and rewarding. Mostly because of how much liquor we brought to the cabin.
I came home with a renewed sense of tolerance. Being with such a diverse group of people who were all willing to grow without judging others was awesome. And then, as soon as I opened up Facebook and started clicking around, I saw a post that made me spin in my chair and fly angrily across the room (and I wasn’t even in a spinny chair with wheels, it was just like, a wooden chair). Basically, one parent was dissing other parents for not being good enough. I read the responses, which ranged from, “Back off,” to, “You need to take immediate federal action.” I threw my hands up in the air and shouted, “HAVE WE LEARNED NOTHING?!” The vitriolic language these parents used to address each other and, worse, parents who weren’t present to defend themselves had me eating salt and vinegar chips with a side of mayonaise.
Why are we still doing this? Why are we still judging other parents as if we have a clue what we are doing?! And if we see someone making a mistake, like let’s say one that endangers the life of a child, why aren’t we lovingly and supportively educating each other!? AHHHHH!!!!

Ok, deep breath.

I stepped back and realized that I was, in fact, being intolerant of those intolerant parents. And while it’s kind of kitschy to say, “The only thing I don’t tolerate is intolerance,” it never really addresses the problem does it? I never actually calmed down to respond to this particular string of judgey comments, and I wish I would have. I wish I could have said to these men and women, “Hey! We’re all in this together and some of us know more than others. Instead of being mad, why aren’t you stepping up and lending a hand? You’re kind of fracturing the tribe when you act this way, and I, for one, really like the tribe.”

I mean, it’s the reason we’re all so scared of our children having tantrums in public or being anything less than polite at the dinner table. What if one of those angry, judgey parents sees and then goes and writes about it on Facebook?! I, for one, feel like I’m constantly trying to build the mothers around me up because I know they do the same for me. We have the tough conversations when we need to, and relate to each other when we see it all spiraling out of control. “Yeah, you think Abe’s acting like a whack job, you should have seen my little one yesterday…” We have the ability to normalize this experience for each other by relating instead of shaming.

And then, of course, I read a section of Brene Brown’s latest book, Daring Greatly, of which I happen to own a signed copy because I’m JUST. THAT. OBSESSED. and this line jumped out at me: There is no such thing as good parents and bad parents. Think about that. You can poke holes in it with the 5% of parents who were mentally underdeveloped enough to actually harm their own children. But the vast majority of the time, we’re just doing what we think is right. We’re all making choices that we think are good. Sometimes they’re not good. But we’re just doing the best we can given our circumstances, which are so vastly different for each person that what is good for one isn’t good for another. Remembering to feed your child after a hard day’s work shortly after losing a parent and while going through a divorce means you’re doing “good”. Remembering to feed your child nothing but organic, homemade food when your homelife is in order and you are blessed enough to stay at home and raise them means you’re doing “good”.

Do me a favor and the next time you get angry about the way another person parents, dig deeper. Find out what’s going on and if there’s actually a way for you to spend your energy helping instead of judging. It would make my Facebook feed happy.

Farm Bag

After being gone for almost a week, my CSA farm bag sat neglected. My mother keeps Abe by herself while my husband and I are away on work and, as you might imagine, the first and only thing she wants to do at 7:30 every night is pop a bottle of Chardonnay and possibly, possibly a box of macaroni and cheese; never steam an acorn squash. Fresh potatoes, pumpkin, field peas, and cabbage eagerly welcomed me home, asking me to please, “Cook them up good.” Considering I ate my way through Monday, Friday, and the days in between, I decided this week would be a good week to go vegetarian, so I obliged the veggies.

This picture's a twofer- soup and the roasted seeds.

Tonight I made pumpkin soup. This is super, stupid easy. I sauteed onions and a 1-pound pumpkin (peeled and cut into cubes) in a big pan, then added some water to the bottom of the pan, covered, and let hang out until the pumpkin was smooshy. I dumped the whole thing (minus the pan) into my Vitamix (oh stop it, a blender will work fine) with 2 cups of chicken stock, a tablespoon of tomato paste, and a handful of kale. While it mixed, I tossed in one, fresh sage leaf.

So ridic delish.

I warmed it up on the stove when I was ready to serve and topped it with some yogurt (you can use sour cream if you like that better, I prefer some tang) and the roasted seeds from the pumpkin. So, so good.

THEN! I was all, “I can’t just serve soup. I’ll keep cooking…” I tossed some chopped onion, olive oil, and half a cabbage (thinly sliced) into the same pan I used for the pumpkin. I didn’t even clean it first. Julia Child is rolling over and Rachel Ray is doing the neck thing and chanting, “You go girl!” I let those 3 ingredients hang out for about 5 minutes. Then I added a cup of chicken stock and 12oz of field peas. I covered the pan and let those guys party.

Party in my pan (and you're invited).


About 15 minutes later, I added some fresh thyme, salt, and pepper. The field peas have such a wonderful flavor that I didn’t want to add anything else, but I could see adding rice vinegar, soy sauce, and sesame seeds to really pump the yum-factor.

I love meat. And I can’t ever go vegetarian forever again. But this week I can do it and I’m-ma make it look good. 🙂 Stay tuned.

I even used the pumpkin soup bowls without washing first...

This is South Caroline

I spent all day yesterday driving through the south with my husband and a co-worker en route to North Carolina for a work event. The south lived up to its name.
Picture this: It’s been 4 hours since we stopped for a potty break. We’ve consumed coffee, water, roasted peanuts, boiled peanuts, and ruffles potato chips. We would drive on this road for 90 miles, a highway that runs through one podunk town after one-stoplight town. This road left us few options for franchise gas stations with facilities we could count on as being relatively clean and hepatitis-free. So we had to stop at Bon Bon. That was the name of the gas station. Bon Bon.
We pulled up and saw a woman, dark eyes and long, stringy hair, peer through the signs papering the inside of the window of the Bon Bon store. She watched our car carefully as we exited the car as if she was watching to see if we were going to try and rob her because that’s what happened with every third customer who pulled into this place.
David pumped gas while my co-worker Shane and I immediately noticed the restrooms on the outside of the small, dilapidated building. Outside-entrance bathrooms? Bad sign #1. He approached first, wiggling the door knob. No dice. These outside bathrooms required a key. Bad sign #2.
We shuffled into the Bon Bon store, the entrance so cluttered with South Carolina memorabilia and beef jerky that I immediately became claustrophobic. We approached the clerk’s counter (where I avoided gagging), which was set higher up than a judge’s bench, and the clerk just stared at us still considering her options if big bad Shane and I decide we were in the market for some five-finger Butterfingers.
“Hi?” I asked.
(Read with a strong southern drawl.) “Hey,” she responded, wearily.
“Could we get a bathroom key?”
Her face immediately softened, revealing far too many wrinkles for what I believed her age to be when we walked in. She smiled in what I can only assume was an effort to show me the lack of dentistry practices availble in this specific South Carolina town.
“Oooh! Ok, no problem, y’all.” She reached down and picked up a browned piece of sanded wood with a key hanging from the end. “Ok, so-ow, I oonly hay-yav the min’s reystrume kay ‘cuz…wey-yell, Ah doan evin know wha. This was th’ownly wun hee-yer whin Ah got ta werk.” Shane and I both paused. Do we respond to how ridiculous this is or just say, “Thank you?”
“Ok,” I started…
“Butch’all are welcum to jis use the wun min’s room Ah got a kay fer.”
“Ok…” I continued, but Shane interrupted…
“Hey, maybe the guy’s still in there, huh? Ha!” Shane smiled, waiting for her to respond.
The woman behind the counter paused, blinking blankly at Shane. After several seconds, she understood his joke and laughed at an inappropriate volume. “Oooooh, noooo! No way! Not in thu bay-yath-rooom fer three oww-weeers! Oh no!”
Neither of us responded. I took the bactiera-laden wooden key holder from her with the tips of my fingers, caring not if my obvious and outward disgust offended her, and handed it to Shane. “You first,” I said.
When it was my turn, I will only tell you that the six day old smoke smell was on account of someone putting out 80 to 90 cigarettes in the corning of this 5×5 room on the floor and that the toilet paper sitting on top of the toilet paper roll was too moist for me to even consider using. I decided I was at higher risk trying to wash my hands in this bathroom than going for it out in the world with whatever bacteria I acquired while inside.
I got back in the car and used hand sanitizer on every square inch of skin and fabric I could reach. I tried to explain to Dave the experience I just had, but he was so busy “breathing in the South Carolina air” and admiring the “glorious change of season” that I’m not sure he got it. Certainly if he reads this blog he will.

This is South Carolina, people. A state in our country. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but I’ve sanitized my hands 28 times in the past 24 hours.


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