Friday, February 27, 2009

litany of distractions

Hi, thanks so much for all of your very kind emails, comments, and phone calls. I'm feeling a bit less panicked now. Sleeping a little better, which helps. My current occupation is Distraction from Worrying Thoughts.

The boys, of course, are a very good distraction. ("Oh, Mom, we hate juice boxes now.""Mom, is a tree a renewable resource?" "Mom, what does that guy think he's doing?" "Mom, an iPod cost like a million kajillion dollars, right?") Endless entertainment. In the photo above they are relaxing in the backyard on a Sunday afternoon. Super Q was every inch the hausfrau, puttering around, making sure the blanket was perfect. He wanted to get pillows and blankets and stuffed animals. Flash, meanwhile, was quite annoyed and wanted to get on with the relaxation. It was a pretty funny scene.

Rock Band has been a bit of a distraction. dh has to talk me into it each time, as I am the non-video-gamer in the house. I'm on drums, naturally. (The better to bang out stress, my dear. Also I suck at the guitar part.)

Taco Bell sells their mild sauce in a bottle at the grocery store. This has very much increased my lunchtime ritual of black bean nachos and Charlie Rose. My sister was, I think, appalled at the fact that I like Taco Bell during her last visit. We fancy ourselves the gourmets (or at least gourmands) of the family but she's learning that I have a trashy side. Taco Bell and King of Queens. I think she's drawing up legal documents as we speak to cut me out of the family. Amicably, of course. And my kids can stay in.

The Mt. Everest obsession has returned. I watched all of a Discovery Channel documentary about it in one sitting the other day. I am flummoxed as to why people do this to themselves. I can't stop thinking about it. A climber from Lebanon said it best (after he summited and witnessed a man dying by the side of the trail on the way down). "It's crazy how people come up here... to die." I promise this is the most depressing thing I've watched or read lately. It's been all old Barbra Streisand movies and Annie Dillard books around here. Our book club is reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and I'm having none of it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

it's 2:25 am, do you know where your Mommy is?

Just checked on the boys, looking all wee and comfy in their beds. They don't know I'm awake, trawling the internet for drug interactions between OTC sleep meds and Ambien. (Took the former and it did nothing for me, wondering if I can add the latter). Anyway, the sleep issues have not been completely solved, needless to say. I had a bit of an unexpected cry today. In the hallway. At church. Embarrassing, to have everyone around me trying to figure out what was going on and me somewhat helpless to explain without REALLY spilling it all right there in the hallway. It did feel good to know of their concern, though. Anxiety is just really burning me out right now. How does one explain that in a crowded hallway without looking utterly ridiculous?

Monday, February 16, 2009

why worry later, when you can worry now?

Change has never been a friend to me, even positive change. I know something will change significantly for our family in the near future and rather than wait for the actual event, my body has decided to react to it preemptively, embracing it with a multi-pronged approach: migraines, eye twitch, diarrhea, insomnia, heart palpitations, panic attacks. Yes, we really roll out the red carpet for anticipated crisis around here. When everyone's home I am usually distracted enough to keep these symptoms at bay. But during the day a regimen is required. Happy music is a must. Sondre Lerche is today's favorite (he did the soundtrack to Dan in Real Life, a movie I love.) Also The Shins. Rosie Thomas is off-limits and Red House Painters. Chocolate features prominently (thanks, post-valentine's day clearance!). And, weirdly, I find mopping therapeutic. Seth Stevenson is writing for Ad Report Card again at, which always makes me happy. And I've got a head of kale in fridge. So I should just calm down already.

the quotable Ben Franklin

Just came across this quote from Benjamin Franklin. It seems so modern: I wonder if the diction was updated by the editor. Regardless, I like the message. It seems self-evident but worth thinking about. Especially in parenting, it really is the small decisions, moments, actions, even facial expressions that make up the aggregate message that we send to our kids. And if that doesn't scare the crap out of you, well, you're a better mom than me.

"We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice is made in the context of whatever value system we've selected to govern our lives. In selecting that value system, we are, in a very real way, making the most important choice we will ever make. "

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Remember this post where I said the sad, sad state of the economy had primarily affected how frequently I bought drinks at Sonic? I guess it's poetic justice or poetic blindness or poetic foolishness but the rotten economy is about to hit our family full on in the face. Round two of layoffs at dhs company are certain (we're not very optimistic about how that will turn out), very few jobs are out there, and I'm on day 10 of 4 hours of sleep or less.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

What he said.

my favorite meal

All I feel like eating lately is beans and rice. No, not pregnancy cravings, just very much into beans and rice. It started with the Red Beans and Rice dinner a few weeks ago. This week I moved onto my all-time favorite rice, Cilantro Rice, recipe compliments of Pianogal. The printout of the recipe is all water-stained and forever lost in a folder of other such printouts. I should really just paint it on my kitchen wall for easy reference.

So tonight it's Cilantro Rice, Lime Cilantro Chicken (that recipe comes from the master chef and maker of the awesome Christmas quilt, Meredith), guacamole, and black beans. It's going to be heaven.

Although I like the idea of chunky guacamole with tomatoes and lime peel and jalapenos and onions, my kids are purists: avocado, lemon juice, salt, pepper. Mash. Lick your fingers, eat it straight with a spoon, spread it on anything and everything.

Cilantro Rice (sorry, Pianogal, I tweaked the instructions a bit to make it faster)

1 cup fresh cilantro (go ahead, leave the stems on, no one will ever know)
2 garlic cloves
1 fresh jalapeno chile, stemmed, or ½ can green chilies
2 ½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 carrot, cut into chunks

2 tsp olive oil
1 ½ cups long-grain white rice
1 tsp onion powder
½ tsp ground cumin

In a blender, whirl cilantro, garlic, chile, carrot, and broth until smooth. In a 3-4 quart pan over medium heat, stir oil, rice, onion powder and cumin until rice is a pale golden color, 5-8 minutes. Stir in cilantro/broth mixture. Cover, bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce and simmer until liquid is absorbed, about 18 minutes. If desired, season to taste with salt.
Serves 5-6.

Lime-Cilantro Chicken

2 large cloves of garlic
½ Tablespoon grated lime zest
1/8 cup fresh lime juice
1/8 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
3 Tablespoons olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 ½ pounds)
Lime wedges for garnish

In food processor pulse first six ingredients (garlic, lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, salt, and pepper). Add olive oil; process until blended.
Pour into Ziploc bag; add chicken and marinate in refrigerator for 3 hours.
Preheat broiler. Place chicken on foil-lined baking sheet. Broil, turn once, for 8-10 minutes, or until cooked through.
To serve, garnish with lime wedges.
Serves 4

Sunday, February 01, 2009

sometimes Sundays are boring

Our Sundays can be s-l-o-w. Church is from 8 to 11 am, come home, eat lunch, then 8.5 hours until bedtime. And we don't shop, go to work, or play sports either (we observe it as the Sabbath). We limit TV and movie time. So sometimes we get bored. dh is content to literally sleep all day if given the opportunity, so lots of times it's me and the boys trying to find activities that fall within our family parameters and aren't a total snooze.

Today we made Bad Guy Soup. Super Q tells me we are meant to leave it outside. When bad guys see it, they think, "Oh! Free soup!" They drink it, then die. And don't ever make it into the house to steal the XBox.

Our soup had water, soul seasoning, old lemon pepper, some nasty salad dressing that none of use like, dirt, bark, grass, weeds, etc. It reeks. Not a bad way to clean out the pantry.