Thursday, October 28, 2010


The twilight view out our back door. I'm so sad October is almost over. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bike Ride

I finally took my new bike out for a spin. It was a cool, cloudy day, and although I'd only intended to go around the block a couple of times, instead I found myself pedaling full speed out of our neighborhood. I rode for more than an hour, not going all that far from home, but certainly appreciating how much better everything looks from the seat of a bike. I stopped long enough to snap this photo before I headed home.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Roasted butternut squash and potatoes. I've been eating this at least once a week. It's EASY. Just chop up a butternut squash and a couple potatoes, toss with olive oil, garlic/garlic salt and thyme, spread on a cookie sheet and stick it in a 350-degree oven for a while. Stir or flip the pieces every now and then so they get nicely roasted on all sides. Mine usually takes 30-40 minutes, but check it after 20. YUM.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Zombie Dough Skull

During a couple of Piper's recent sick days, we turned to Play-Doh as a way to combat the boredom. I broke out the Halloween cookie cutters and made this (the cutaway skull was accidental, then I filled it with braaaaiiiins). I was quite pleased with myself, Piper was amused, and best of all, my husband was totally grossed out. He likes to watch slasher flicks, yet he could not handle me rearranging the zombie's brains.

"Whaat? His brains are crooked. I'm fixing them."
"Sure you are. That's so gross!"
"Are you saying I'm intentionally trying to gross you out by messing with my little zombie skull?"
"Yes, yes I am."
"Hmm. Well, I wasn't before, but now that you mention it..."

Love means never having to say "braaaaiiiins."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

On the Mend

I think, providing whichever deity is responsible for toddler sickness doesn't read this and smite me for my hubris (probably a Greek one, those gods were bastards), that we are getting better over here. It's been a scary, scary week for me. It started with a little cough last week and progressed into violent hacking, 103+ fevers, and all sorts of digestive pyrotechnics. I learned a few things:

1. True love is hugging and cuddling your kid even though she's got salsa-and-ice-cream puke in her hair.
2. Front-load washers really suck at getting bodily fluids out of bed linens. Especially white duvet covers.
3. I really need to find a pediatrician who will take me seriously.

My vivacious and chatty little girl turned, over the course of two days, into a sunken-eyed, hollow-cheeked child who was too weak to even sit up and play puzzles. I pestered the doctor about the fact that Piper was exhibiting signs of extreme dehydration, but got the same "it's a virus, it'll pass" response I get to everything. Even when Piper lost over a pound in two days, I was brushed off. I was freaked, because for a kid who only weighed 29 lbs to begin with, that's a pretty big loss. She wasn't eating, she wasn't drinking. I had to sit with her in bathtubs full of cool water and pump her full of ibuprofen to keep the fever at a reasonable level. All she could do was lay on the couch glassy-eyed and watch cartoons or listen to stories. I was freaking the hell out. I followed all the instructions I was given to the letter, trying to coax her into drinking Pedialyte or eating crackers, bananas and rice. I kept weighing her and so far she's lost about 3 lbs, 10% of her body weight. I ran her into the pediatrician's office both last Friday and again on Monday, making the 40-minutes-each-way drive only to be told that it was no big deal, not to give her too much medicine (I got yelled at Monday for giving the antibiotic the doctor had prescribed during the Friday visit) and not to let her have any juice. I ground my teeth and tried not to panic as my baby got sicker and sicker.

Finally, on Wednesday, I couldn't take it any more and when, on the way back from a grocery run, she asked to have "chicken and fries" for lunch, we hit a drive-through (like I needed an excuse to get Chick-Fil-A). She ate more at that meal than she had in the past five days put together, and I started to feel a little less anxious.

She was well enough yesterday for a quick trip to the big children's library (I was looking for a book they had weeded out, so I could buy it, but no luck) and a treat from the French bakery. I am letting her watch just a little more TV right now, and then I'm shutting the damned thing off. She has watched more TV in the past week than in the past six months, and I suspect there's going to be some withdrawal. I did get to introduce her to a couple new things (I love Kipper, but four hours in a row is enough), like:

- The Last Unicorn, a beloved movie from my childhood. She loved it and now asks to watch "the beaunicorn one" every other day.
- Shaun the Sheep, which was new to me too. I adore Nick Park (creator of Wallace & Gromit) and Aardman Studios*, so I thought we'd give it a shot. It totally cracks me up, and I love that the sheep are always using their brains and cunning to solve problems.
- Hocus Pocus, which is one of my all-time favorite Halloween movies. It's silly and ridiculous and features Bette Midler camping it up like only Bette can. The storyline is still a little bit over my 3-year-old's head, but she enjoys screechy witches on brooms as much as anyone.

I realized this week that once again, my Fall is whizzing away. How is it almost Halloween? We haven't done a single fun Fall thing yet. No hikes, no apple-picking, no cider doughnuts. No pies, no vats of homemade applesauce. I made pumpkin bread, apple-pumpkin muffins, and sweet-potato chilli, but that's been it. We have scheduled a visit to the pumpkin patch Sunday morning. I am trying to work on knitting, but I just can't settle down and get to it. I feel like the summer dragged on forever, and now my favorite months will be over before I can blink. I think it's because October is so warm here (still 80+ most days), I just don't realize what's going on until it's almost over. The leaves have barely started falling from the trees. Yesterday Piper was feeling well enough to play outside for a while, and I attempted to rake up a leaf pile for her and her little neighborhood friend to jump in. The result was pretty pathetic, even though I raked up everything I could find from our front and decent-sized back yards, and a little from the neighbor's yard as well.

*When my siblings and I were kids, my dad used to watch the Angry Kid cartoons with us and he laughed just as hard as we did. Now that I'm older, I understand why he laughed so hard. I totally love the geniuses at Aardman, because the same is true of Shaun the Sheep. Piper and I laugh in the same spots, sometimes for completely different reasons. The original Creature Comforts was much funnier than Creature Comforts America, though.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Sandals Really Make the Outfit

Taken weeks ago, during a "chilly" spell (meaning it was only 67 during the day, not 87).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Sweet New Ride

This bike is awesome. What is more awesome is that it was FREE. I won it. I never win anything, but I am always entering contests and drawings. To have my first win be a totally sweet brand-new Cafe 8 bike...well, I'm over the moon. There's just a few hitches:

1. It's really big. I'm going to have to lower the seat almost all the way in order to ride it with any degree of control. It is not a light bike by any standard, and
2. as I have a 3-year-old who needs to somehow be on there with me, I am concerned about being able to handle a sizable bicycle with a big 'ol extra seat on the back. Particularly since it will contain a squirmy, loud child much of the time.
3. All the child bike seats are really fugly. There seem to be about three models of commercially-available child bike seats in the U.S. and they all look like they're made of Duplo blocks.So I have this sleek, awesome-looking bike, and now I have to make it look like a Tonka Toy by putting a huge plastic seat on the back.  I'm looking on EBay for a vintage one, since they are mostly wire-frame deals that won't add significant weight. Unfortunately, most of the ones I've found so far seem to be rusty, dirty wrecks.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Has it really been that long since I've posted? Argh.

I feel like so far this fall was supposed to be a frantic sprint that would soon wind down, but has instead turned into a marathon. Having Piper in preschool 11 hours per week has turned out to suck up a lot of time, not free up a few mornings. Between the 25-minutes-each-way drive and volunteer duties (which are NOT going well, by the way), I am feeling more time-crunched than ever. My husband is working crazy hours, which leaves almost no time for family stuff. I love, LOVE October, but so far we haven't done any fun fall things - no walks collecting leaves, no pumpkin patch, no apple-picking. I feel like the summer dragged on forever and fall is just sliding through my fingers. Our neighborhood has been particularly unpleasant lately, which is making me anxious and jittery. Piper has been really sick for over a week now, with hardcore stomach troubles and a recurrent raging fever (103+) that my irritating pediatrician assures me is "no cause for alarm." I've also been warned that this thing is highly contagious and that we are sure to get it before long. Which is grrreat, because we both totally have the time to spend a week laying around eating crackers.