Monday, December 17, 2012

Bollywood ramblings

While watching the fairly lame movie Salaam Namaste last night, right towards the end, to my surprise appeared . . . Abhishek Bachchan!!  He had a cameo as the "wacky" doctor in a TERRIBLE "hurry hurry people are giving birth at the hospital!" "comedy" scene.  Totally awful, but at least there was that.  Having given birth, may I just say that Ambar's pregnancy was totally unrealistic?  But we knew that already.  Running merrily through fields? Twirling and dancing?  Please.  At that stage, you're happy to (maybe) put on your shoes by yourself and (maybe) make it around your 15-minute loop to walk the dog.  Anyway.

I've also been listening to the Radio Polskastacja Bollywood station as I work on my art projects.  Super fun!  And even the minimal ads aren't too annoying, because they're in Polish!

Oh, and I'm teaching myself Hindi.  I got out some Pimsleur CDs at the library.  It's pretty funny; the first CD is all scratched up, the second less so, all the way to the 5th one, which is pristine.  No one makes it that far!  Ha ha, well, my goal is to at least make it that far, and supplement my learning with films.  You know, pyaar, dil, shaadi, etc.  Yup, I like goofy romance the best!  Oh and I'll admit it, I kind of love Shahrukh Khan, just like everyone else.  ha ha!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Well!  It's been almost a month since my last post.  I find that sometimes I want to post all the time, and other times, I simply do more with my life when I stay away from the computer.  Or perhaps I do all kinds of internet shopping for Christmas instead!!  Ha ha.

Anyway, it's been a good month.  Lots of arts 'n' crafts, thinking thinking thinking, Bollywood movies and Indian music (by my own standards, I think I'm "officially" obsessed), thinking thinking thinking, some Thanksgiving food and pies (no family, but they are going to descend upon us in stages over the next two months, woot!), little toddler girl talking up a storm (what other toddler says, "Corn has a good flavor!  GOOD, GOOD FLAVOR!!!"  Seriously.) and being awesome and skilled and sweet and smart, aforementioned internet shopping (I, uh, need to stop), and general . . . thinking.  Yes.

As far as arts and crafts, I've been thinking about switching up some stuff in my Etsy shop . . . looking around on Etsy, it appears that I've missed several rounds of changes, so now my shop is woefully inadequate (oh, and empty).  Hmm.  More thinking is in order.  I dunno, I've just been thinking a lot lately!  Does anyone else just delight in a lot of deep thought?  Is that meditating?  It kind of feels like it for me.

Anyway, happy thinking!  Time to move on to stage 2 (or is it 3?) of my current project.  I'll share everything soon, I promise. :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy November!

We found a giant mouse in our kitchen, eating our cheese!  Turns out, it was our daughter.  Whew!

I have to draw horses today -- don't ask -- and I'm so rusty!  I could never draw them very well anyway, so now I'm practicing by copying internet pictures.  All I can say is, I'm glad I have a dog, because the back legs are similar.  I still don't understand that whole bone structure, but whatever.  I think my brain would be happier sculpting horses than drawing them, actually.  But my current project is not sculpture, alas!

I'm kind of totally procrastinating because of the horse thing, actually.  As you can see by this post.  Baby's at nursery school so I can do whatever I want, ah ha ha ha ha ha haaaa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  And if it stops raining, I'm totally out in the yard today during her nap.  Sorry, horses.

Oh!  Oh oh oh!  This movie is SO GOOD! Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.  Starring, of course, Shahrukh Khan.  If you don't watch Bollywood movies you have no idea who that is, but if you do, of course you know!  You have to suspend your disbelief that the woman wouldn't recognize her husband in "disguise", but it's fairly easy to do that.  Super enjoyable -- yay, nerdy husbands!!!  Thank you, Joleen, for recommending I drag it out of my giant Netflix queue.

I've been into Bollywood and Indian music again, listening to Bombay Beats as I work on my artsy stuff.  They play this song a lot, and I really like it. (Click link to watch fun video!! I finally saw Kuch Na Kaho, and to my pleasant surprise, it stars Abhishek Bachchan. Did you know he and Aishwarya Rai are married in real life?)

OK, I have to get off the computer and go to the library, go pick up my kid, etc. etc.  Bye!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Tidbits: the library and the baby

* Eleanor is talking, talking, talking!  Tonight at the Indian buffet she said, "Please get some more paneer please!"  She is not even two, and she's already saying please (twice in one sentence), saying "extra" words like "some", and enjoying paneer.  Awesome!  I need to have a whole "my baby is awesome" proud parent post up here soon.

* I love the library.  I can put books on hold and request interlibrary loans for myself and E., all from the comfort of my own computer.  (And occasionally the library has bought books for me their collection when they didn't already have them!)  I get emailed when holds are ready, and they're waiting neatly on the shelf for me to place them on the magical checkout pad and be out the door in 2 minutes.  Eleanor likes to grab the receipt when it prints out!

I was just sitting here, check-boxing books to put on hold in the future.  I love that I can check out books for E. and see what she loves before we think about buying them.  And, NEW! I've started taking out magazines so I don't have to subscribe!

I go in cycles on the library storytime for E.  Currently I can't deal with it because it's super-popular and crammed full of people!  It was like that in the beginning (and I was too scared/overwhelmed to go), but then it cooled off and was really fun for many months . . . I hope these crowds of people lose interest so we can go again.  Even E. gets overwhelmed by it when there's 35 grownups and their assorted kids (that's 70+ people in one room) making a racket and just being intense and eager for storytime!  Gaah!

Oh, two things I hate about the new library?  First, the building's design and complete lack of integration with the street/sidewalk/site.  Second, their parking lot.  I'm not going to rant about it right now, but rest assured, I hate that parking lot with the fire of a thousand suns.  And I hate the building design with the sadness of a thousand dropped ice-cream cones.

* I love E's nursery school and the fact that she consistently takes 2-hour naps every day now.  Did I mention this before?? Now that I'm rebuilding my personal life (connected to, but different from, my "mom life"), I'm pondering what things would have been like for all this time before, if I had had more any sanity breaks, and if she was actually taking consistent naps all along.  I've heard other babies do.  I think some other mothers get through the first year . . . and a half . . . without "going crazy" or experiencing debilitating depression.  Sadly, I feel that I was pretty much nuts for most of that time.  OK, well, at least up through about 15 months.  (I am super grateful to be using the past tense here!) Well, I'm done with all that now!  I get to have the best of both worlds: enjoy my kid, AND have time for my own interests and/or just taking a break. (Oh, and I'm done with nursing, too! That is key! 19+ months of nursing was plenty for me and E. We mutually called it off awhile back and now I really am starting to be able to get my body back.)

Another thing on this topic: I think E. is just at an easier age now, too.  She can communicate, understand, listen, move, play, pretend, entertain herself (and me) with toys and books (sometimes tuning me out even if I want to interact!).  She has her own little agenda and is constantly going, going, going.  It's fascinating.  She's just awesome.  Cute, funny, inquisitive, inventive, creative, smart, blah blah blah, brag brag brag, well it's true, she is just so much more fun and pleasant to be around than when she was a mysterious screaming infant.  As we know, I'm not intuitive in the least, so I'm loving her verbal skills!!

* In having all this free time, I'm starting more new ventures!  I'm not going to talk about it in detail here because some little corner of my brain is embarrassed at how much I jump all over the place creatively.  Luckily, the larger creative corner just does the jumping and doesn't care what I think. :)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Shoebox of photos: Boston!

It has dawned on me that I am never going to be able to make the massive, on-topic blog posts in my imagination, at least not from this current backlog of photos.  So I will present you with a hodgepodge of pictures in several posts.  Maybe we'll come back to some topics repeatedly, maybe I'll manage to sum something up in one post, but for the sake of my feelings -- that is, my feelings of wanting to "be productive" and "finish what I intend" and "share things in a timely fashion" -- I'm just going to start slapping photos up here!

a.k.a. First Trip Home Sweet Home Since October 2010

Eleanor splashes at the beach by my parents' house!

I really enjoyed going home to Boston.  Well, the "going" was not so enjoyable -- baby's first plane trip was rough on us all -- but being home was great!  I finally felt like I was meshed with society again, not on some frontier prairie edge-of-the-universe alcove.  Boston is a place where things HAPPEN.  It is busy and alive and just makes you feel part of some greater hum of existence.  Here in WA, well, I'm happy and alive and all that, but I totally feel removed from . . . everything.  It's like a different world.  A really nice world, more Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood than even Pittsburgh (his real neighborhood!) was, but in no way do I feel like a part of a whole.  There's no whole, just people-pieces that sometimes come together and socialize or meet on the street, and then float off again, leaving you, for the most part, alone and to your own devices.

Where I grew up! (backyard view)
I have never even met my parents' tenants, but I love their urban garden!
Morning glory climbs the elaborate watering system

I do not miss the cars/traffic of Boston, but I do miss the subway!  And holy mackerel, Boston, I could do without your blazing LED-light lampposts blinding me every 10 feet -- talk about light pollution!  I had to laugh because when we came home one night, the streets were as bright as day (or a ballpark, or something)!  I have come to appreciate night-darkness where I live.  I am pretty much convinced, after this visit, that LED streetlights are evil, though A. says more and more cities are putting them in.  Sad!

Speaking of night, I was going to share this a long time ago: obviously Boston is noisy.  Trains, sirens, weird noises, what-you-hope-aren't-gunshots, etc.  I grew up with it.  Here in Vancouver, it is mostly quiet at night except for on the 4th of July, when people go NUTS setting off their own fireworks (which are illegal in MA if I recall correctly) . . . anyway, this past Fourth, I had the most restful sleep EVER during all that racket.  Is that sad, or what?  Ha ha!

One more night thing: I miss crickets!!!  On this trip, every night had the constant hum of a bazillion chirping crickets, something I associate with summer.  I guess crickets out here only live in the country -- not even suburbia -- because I don't think I've heard a single cricket since we've been living here.  OK, that's probably an exaggeration, but there is nothing like the loud cricket chorus here at all!  Also there are no cicadas.  Pittsburgh had more cicadas than Boston.  Apparently cicadas just don't make it this far west??  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate that there are not many bugs here -- and by bugs I mean mosquitoes -- but I miss the sound effects.

The morning glories were out in all their . . . glory!  Here, one type of them is invasive so I think people mostly stay away.  They were everywhere at home!

I must say, 3 things surprised me this trip.  First, it was fairly "green" back home.  You think of the super urban landscape as being gray and dead and whatnot, but in early September, the greenery was going strong!  A. and I were discussing, it's a different sort of greenery back East, a more middle- and lower-story green instead of towering trees in the distance.  Also more rolling hills to display all the layers.  Something like that.

Second, it wasn't as humid as I feared!  I was completely ready to sweat like a pig and be really uncomfortable, since in my current wussy environs we don't have "real" humidity (except for 100% humidity: rain).  But it wasn't that bad.  Nice ocean breezes . . . shade . . . just . . . niceness.

Third, people in public were way nicer on this trip than I ever recall!!  I don't know whether that's because I have now honed a "I'll be generally friendly and approachable to the public" vibe or what, but people were just . . . nice.  Like not complete jerks as usual.  We were amazed!!

OK, here come some photos from Drumlin Farm!  What better place to bring a little kid??  Eleanor loved it of course!  I remember loving it way on up through elementary school as a little nature retreat for this city girl.

As you can see, it's as lovely as ever!  It was the perfect speed for an 18-month-old.  Actually, it was the perfect speed for me, too.  I am certainly a more relaxed person than in the past, and all I want are pretty flowers and soothing nature sounds and cute sheep!  Baaa!

A. and I had a laugh over this sign.  Welcome to the Public Garden -- except you, bicyclists! (We are not anti-bicyclists, just anti-RUDE-and-STUPID-bicyclists . . . which is most of them.  If you are a polite and attentive cyclist, then we love you!!)

We also went to the Aquarium, which was not a super successful trip, but Eleanor liked seeing all the sea critters.  She loves the fish at the Oregon Zoo (and the fish in the Vancouver BC aquarium -- another trip I need to share here soon), so it came as no surprise!

 Rainy day!  We're used to it.
I never thought about it before, but the New England Aquarium is best suited to older, taller kids -- all the tanks require holding up the little ones!  The BC aquarium was better in that regard; almost all tanks reached down to the floor.
 Hello fish!
Hello, other fish!

The NE Aquarium used to play the first 5 notes of the Sailor's Hornpipe (on wacky synthesizer) over their PA system at the start of all announcements, and I was disappointed that they don't anymore!!  Why can't some things stay the same? (Note: as I'm playing that ukulele clip, Eleanor is doing a super cute dance -- love it!!)

Well, that's all I've got time for now!  See ya next time!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Commence blog posts!

OK!  Now I have photos on my computer, so I can begin to look through them and find interesting things to share here.  I have some topical posts in mind, too, so there should be a flurry of activity soon.  Latest updates:

* E. is done with her first week of nursery school, and WE ALL LOVE IT.  Two mornings of alone-time per week is already starting to restore my sanity, and E. is apparently having so much fun, she doesn't want to leave when I come to get her.  Win!

* We're eating peaches like crazy.  Hey, peach time is only once a year, so overindulge when you can, says I!  We already canned 19 jars and now we're just pigging out on fresh peaches ALL THE TIME.  We buy 2 flats (that's 20 pounds) of Maryhill peaches a week, no joke!

* We signed up for yard waste removal!  I know, after all these years you'd think I'd already have it, but for various reasons we didn't till now, and I'm excited!  Yes, excited about trash pickup.  This translates to: excited that it's going to be 10 times easier to pursue my favorite hobby and keep our yard lookin' good.  I take it as a personal challenge to fill the bin every other week!  Gardening also keeps me sane, so it's good to have the extra motivation even during those rainy times when all you want to do is curl up and read/die/drink hot beverages/move to places where the sun still shines.  Now I have the dog, the kid, AND the bin to fill -- all to get me outside!

* I'm excited about blogging!  I know, after a big lull, I have all these things I want to share.  I think the freedom I feel surrounding E's school is making me feel like I might just have a life again.  It's amazing.  I will have to expand upon this topic at a later time.

I will leave you with a fun photo: puffy clouds of challah bread!  Have a fantastic rest of the weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Meat, Part 2

So I thought I would write an update about our efforts to eat happy meat!  It's been . . . pretty good.  I just bought our second family pack of meat from New Seasons the other day, so I guess you could say that the first one lasted us 6 months.  Yes, you could say that, but it wouldn't be accurate, because we've been eating other meat in addition to our pack.

1. We've gone through a lot of Foster Farms frozen chicken breasts from Costco.  Like I said before, FF looks to be a fairly happy meat-ish establishment, so I feel OK about that.  I also feel OK that we've been eating more white meat chicken in general -- I guess it's better for us?  Shrug.

2. Costco also now carries organic, happy hamburger (yes, I got sucked in by the article in Costco Connection magazine), so at $4.99 per pound (it's 4-something anyway), it's still not cheap but not totally out of the budget, either.  I really needed this supplement to the New Seasons pack, because the pack only contains a couple pounds of hamburger.  Seriously, pasta with meat sauce* is the easiest and friendliest quick-fix dinner staple, so I just had to have more beef!

3. I went back to buying sad pork at Winco.  I had to!!  This is our lunch staple -- I make a simple pork loin roast with pepper and a little salt and cut it up into sandwich slices -- and without it, the options include super salty and gross presliced stuff, expensive deli turkey (also super salty), waaaaaay too expensive happy pork from New Seasons, or, like, PB+J.  Nothing wrong with PB+J -- I rotate it in some days -- but it just doesn't sustain you the same way.  Basically without the pork sandwich, we'd be hungry and even fatter.  I did find the elusive New Seasons value pack of happy pork ONCE (they never tell you what's going to be in the value bin -- frustrating!!), but it was the wrong cut and did not make enough, anyway.  So, sad pork it is.  It also happens to be ridiculously cheap (sometimes down to $1.78/lb.) so when I walk past it in the 'Co I just can't say no.

(I have been switching up my lunch a lot lately . . . leftovers, yogurt and cereal, salad, etc. etc. . . . sooo . . . I don't know what the point is there.)

Oh, and we've gotten a few sad chickens here and there . . . you know, the roasted ones for 5 bucks that equal the easiest dinner ever . . . if they were happy I'd buy those instead, but there are no happy roasted chickens sitting there looking and smelling delicious when I don't know what else to do for dinner . . . (maybe they are at New Seasons, but NS is across town and Safeway is in walking distance . . . .)

4. We've also been having some happy bacon from time to time!  Well, I don't know if it's happy, but it's nitrite-free and delicious and called Beeler's.  YUM.  OK, looking at their website, it's happy!  Hooray!  It makes me happy, too.

5. Oh, we're also going to start trying to have fish once a week for health purposes.  (Oops, it was supposed to be tonight, because it's trash night and all the leftover stinky fishbits can get thrown out right away.)  Anyway, I'm trying to buy the "good" fish, the wild Alaskan salmon and all that.  Oh well, next week.

I actually have a little guide that the state sent me at some point along with all the baby guide stuff they regularly send me for Eleanor (which is really cool, BTW).  Click for handy fish guide, and print!  Fits in your wallet!

*Don't even talk to me about marinara sauce.  If tomato sauce has no meat in it, I am NOT interested.  For whatever reason, I just hate plain meat-free tomato sauce!! Unless it is covering meat, of course, or involved in a dish containing vast amounts of cheese.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kitchen mess

My kitchen is currently very messy, but it's not just the usual grime and dishes, it's PROJECTS!  Here's what's cluttering up my counters right now (that is, 10pm Sunday night).

* Half a loaf of homemade bread (yep, we've somehow managed to keep making our own, and haven't bought bread in months -- A. has headed up this effort)

* A pan of granola bar cookie snacky things (for me and E. -- this time I added peanut butter, yum!) that I should really put away before bed

* 3 pork roasts cooling on the stove before they get cut up for sandwich meat and frozen

* Cookie sheets from the 20+++ pounds of cherries we've been pitting and freezing . . . sounds crazy, but wouldn't you want cherries on your breakfast every day this winter?

* A raspberry pie I made today, courtesy of our crazy bushes in the yard

* A plastic tub of dried noodles A. and I made the other day, with pesto in the dough -- they are superb!  A little butter and romano on there, and superfluous bratwurst cut up in the bowl . . . insanely good.  I now know how to preserve that summery pesto goodness -- directly in pasta!

* And last but not least, the remains of a giant bowl of popcorn with plastic wrap over it

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Why Today Has Been Awesome

* Eleanor did a sudden interpretive dance in her high chair to Talking Heads' "Once in a Lifetime" this morning: as soon as it came on, she moved her arms alternately up and down almost like a sort of slow-motion go-go dance, then waved them in the air, etc.  Just awesome!

* I finished with the gravel on our backyard path, and have extra left over to do some off the other side of the patio!(!!!)

* While I was working, Baby E. was playing au natural in her pool/sprinkler and we took the requisite embarrassing baby butt photos, ha ha ha!

* Got a great deal on flagstones for our backyard path!!!  They are going to SPARKLE!  Oh, and this task is now DONE, they are coming next week, so hooray for crossing things off lists!

* Dairy Queen for customized Blizzards and baby's first DQ cone. :)  (she's had other ice cream by this point, of course)

* Dinner shall be some homemade pesto noodles (can't wait to see how they boil up!) and whatever sausages we can find at Safeway on the evening walk we're going on next!  Why?  I crave sausages!

* Tonight's agenda includes watching "Kuch Na Kaho", starring, you guessed it, Abhishek Bachchan!  hee hee!

Have a great Saturday night!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Cloth diapers: the first to go!

Well well!  The first of our cloth diaper stash to FAIL is the Thirsties Duo Diaper!  The velcro on it was getting rather curled and un-sticky, and the other day it fell off of E. in the night!  You can imagine the unpleasant surprise in the morning.  We have obviously abandoned that one!  I was wondering how long all the different brands would last . . . anyway, velcro in general is clearly inferior to snaps.  Another velcro one I made (converted pocket from Bummis cover) is almost kaput as well.  I suppose I could attempt to convert them to snaps . . . hmm, ponder ponder.

Oh, on topic (for once), Bum Genius may be a great diaper (the 4.0 is awesome), but the Cottonbabies warranty (and customer service) SUCKS!  I won't go into unnecessary, ranting detail, but I will just say: do not buy their Flip line, especially not the trainers system -- they break in 2 seconds.  And, to quote my old neighbor Joleen (who I should have listened to long ago! Joleen, if you're reading this, you were so right!!), "Good luck returning anything to Cottonbabies!"  Seriously.  I may buy Bum Genius in the future (a very tenuous maybe), but I'm certainly not shopping at Cottonbabies.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Moms' Group = The One Mom Only.

Well, once again no one showed up to the moms' group (except me and E.)!  Disappointing, because I thought my sign might lure people, but also not unexpected.  I'll give it a couple more weeks before I stop pretending I'm there for a group that doesn't exist.

Oh, I realized that you can't really see the artwork in that last photo, so here's the sign again!

Note: it really did look like that for the first few weeks.  I didn't just imagine up some friends for a "group" that is now just me!  I know, there are many factors -- weather, school, etc.  The new sign has only been up a week; maybe there's still hope.  I did see another neighbor there today by chance, so it wasn't completely lonely.

Oh, randomly, because I'm looking in my artwork folders and talking signs, here is an unused MG plant sale flier I drew, from last year.

They didn't use it because they were trying to get the sale all "professional" looking and this doesn't look very "professional".  I agree that it is more on the creative side, but "professional" doesn't have to mean completely lame.  The flier they ended up making was a totally boring collection of clip art and lousy fonts (as was the one from this year).  I drew them a sign for the 2010 sale (to replace a totally boring collection of clip art and lousy fonts) and they liked that OK.  Then I went on to do all that artwork for the 2010 conference!! Ah well, who knows when I'll get to do MG stuff again, or if I'll even want to at that time.  Blah blah, that came from out of nowhere, sorry!

Monday, June 11, 2012

What I Was Doing, or: A Quick Tour of the Past 2+ Months

Well then!  Here's what I have been up to, not-so-lately!  You know, it's taken me something like 7-10 days to actually get this post sorted, written, and up.  Sad, but that is my life: time is so scarce!  Anyway.

I was quite pleased with my spring bulbs.
This is a bouquet of puschkinia (my new FAVORITE, tiny tiny tiny, beautiful subtle blue and white, smells like grapes!), chionodoxa, and muscari.  This spring, I decided I freakin' love bulbs.  Someday I want a yard with a big bulb garden -- just bulbs, all different wacky types mixed together!  By the way, this bouquet is tiny, like fits in the palm of your hand.

Um, OK, looking at my notes, we went to the beach!  Yes, I have notes.  I like to remember what I do with my life when the days are a big blur . . . and they're continuing to be a big blur.  Yes, we went to the beach, and E. loved the water and didn't want to stop wading and playing, even when her feet turned blue!  Ah, she takes after me!
On the way back we stopped in Rivendell I mean, some random place on the side of the road.  The trip to the coast is so pretty!

Now for a few comics.  Yes, I was inspired to draw a bit!  It happens.  I wish it happened more . . . but I just have to wait for when the inspiration coincides with the time to actually draw.  I'm not going to worry about it; I'm living in the moment! Or something.

And lastly, here is a comic that embodies the spirit of itself . . . because in drawing what the Northwest has done to me, I didn't even feel like finishing and inking it.  So I present it to you in its laid-back pencilled whateverness.  Because, dude! -- I was just done with it, you know?  It is what it is, man.

So, let's see here . . . we had baby's second Easter, which was momentous in that we actually did stuff for her, like dye eggs and hide toys and whatnot.  She had fun running all over the place with her basket and just being adorable.  By the way, this was the last time I'm buying the PAAS egg dye kit!  Compared to, well, even a few years ago, the dyes are so crappy now . . . next time we'll just think of something else, like natural dyes, or whatever.

Moving on, A. and I were good neighbors at a couple community events! (Is this starting to sound like some Xmas letter?  I'd better get some more photos in here soon.)  Our local coffee shop houses the new neighborhood bulletin board (which A. also helped build, BTW), and we stopped by to help plant the landscaping around it.  E. came too of course, and handed out water bottles to the volunteers -- completely her own idea!  We I also painted a tile for the board at a tile-painting party.  Sorry to those people trying to talk to me: I was "in the zone" with my micro-painting of our house and fantasy yard and could not be disturbed.

OK!  I adjusted a raised bed in my backyard, so it's on its way to being nice and not an eyesore!  There are still plant pots in place of round pavers, but I'll get there eventually.
The pavers were dug up from under grass as I work on the path.  I realized that I don't have enough to finish this bed, so I'll have to buy more.  Like I said, I'll get there eventually!  In the bed are an arbutus (wacky impulse buy), geum, wisteria (was already in this decrepit bed that used to be a good idea), transplanted sword fern, transplanted red flowering currant, and this!
Corydalis!  This is another new favorite.  I got one in another shade of blue for my front yard, too.  This plant smells so good -- like iris and grape and just fragrant goodness all mixed together in blue loveliness.

We went to the Master Gardener plant sale and enjoyed Mothers' Day.  I became an official mom when I sat in a chair with MY feet in the baby pool, reading a book while E. played. (This was how my mom spent many a summer evening when I was in the baby pool!) We had all this hot weather a couple months ago, and now into June, I'm scared that the tomatoes I bought at aforementioned plant sale are really not going to do much of anything. Why?  Because now it keeps raining!! :(  We shall see.

This picture is what I was feeling for much of these past couple months.  It clearly shows everything I want in life.  Fresh plants to put in, sunshine, hot beverage, an in-depth guide.  Can you beat this?  No, you cannot.  I just dug around outside this evening, too.  Plants!!

I got a haircut!  Here come the before and afters.
Yes yes, quite long. I spent quite some time during this "hiatus" yearning to move go back to Boston and dreaming that I would get a proper haircut there, but it was not to be.  So I had to try here in town again.
This was the Haircut, Part One.  This is what the stylist gave me, which I dubbed the "nerd cut" because it reminds me of how my hair used to be back when I was an even bigger nerd with limited self-confidence.
(Case in point, this old photo
came to mind whenever I looked in the mirror!)

It wasn't what I asked for (I brought a photo of myself with the cut I wanted and she still couldn't do it), but it was OK.  I went around like this for a few days before I took scissors into my own hands and altered it myself!!  It actually looks really cute now.  I'll have to show you Part Two in a future post, because I can't find a good photo.  Anyway, my current cut is Nerd Cut v. 2.0 -- it's like the B+W photo above, but with added sass and self-confidence and life experience.  (More on my random soul-searching in a future post!)

Then, A.'s sister Marel came to visit us for a while!  I don't even remember how long she was here, but it was something like 3 weeks.  We did a ton of stuff!  A. and I got a couple dates out (including seeing Dark Shadows, which was pretty funny and "interesting" but not my favorite or anything).

We built a new bed frame and got a new mattress!  Thank goodness!!  A. has been recovering from some serious back pain and we knew our old bed had to go.  Note: When it comes to beds, NEVER PURCHASE THE COSTCO SPECIAL.  That is all.
We had to make our own jig/drill press in order to make the bed.  Note how we used some old IKEA Lack table legs!  Ha ha ha ha ha!  The whole point of making our own bed was to avoid IKEA nonsense and the dreaded metal frame, and save some money.  I don't even have a photo of the finished product, but picture a nice, sturdy wood bed.  The headboard comes next.

Anyway, we went to the Farmers' Market a couple times, and the Saturday Market, and dusted off the ol' Wii for some party games and Just Dance! We got a bunch of new iterations of Just Dance, and I plan to incorporate the games into my fitness plan (ABBA, anyone?!).  Thank you, Marel, for reminding me that sometimes when you need energy or motivation, you really do just have to dance and fire yourself up and forget about why you were feeling so mopey and tired.

Oh, my roses have been busting out, and thanks to this climate, I don't have to do anything to maintain them except for occasional deadheading and chopping them back in February!  I just have to brag about this because everyone else is going to get normal summer crops of veggies and whatnot, and I think all this rain is going to ruin my harvest for the 3rd year in a row.  Competitive me has to feel good about something!  So yeah, my house came with a million beautiful no-care rosebushes in back that bloom almost year-round.  Woot.

We watched the transit of Venus across the sun!  Some of us (A. and Marel) were more excited than others (me and E.) about the whole experience, but that's OK.

Here is the binocular setup that A., well, set up.  Note that he has 2 cameras around his neck in the bottom photo.  What a lovable nerd!!  It was really cool to see the transit, truly.  Thank you, gray clouds, for parting so we could see it!

Speaking of clouds, Marel and I almost thought we couldn't go berry picking -- the morning we wanted to go, it was POURING BUCKETS . . . but by the afternoon, it turned into a perfect, sunny day, and we went to Sauvie Island and picked 52 POUNDS OF STRAWBERRIES (more if you count the gallons we ate right off the plants)!!

I love Sauvie Island on a nice day.  Take that, Europe, it's really pretty here, too.
The three of us made jam into the night!!
This is what the aftermath of making 5+ dozen jars of strawberry jam looks like.  Why did we make all that jam?  Well, Marel wanted to take some on her travels, but mainly, because we can.  Hood strawberries are the BEST and freezer jam made from them is the BEST.

Random photo time:
 A super good snack: homemade bread with prosciutto, hard-boiled egg, and melted cheddar on top.
Late-night games of Bananagrams can get wacky.

Oh, and if you bothered to read my comic above, you saw that I mentioned the mom's group at the coffee shop.  Well, after the first month, the mom's group turned into . . . me.  Sitting there with my baby, alone, for 3 weeks in a row.  Then one time my book club friend was able to come (Hi, Kerry!) and another time I met a new person, but then it was back to me -- plus Marel while she was visiting.

Pretty much no one has been showing up either a) at all, or b) at the same time, enough to constitute an actual "group".  Instead of getting sad and giving up, I have made it my goal to continue going at the predetermined time and get this group back on track!  To help in this goal, I talked to the owner and made them a new sign, because their old sign was totally lame (sorry, but it's true)!
Hopefully my new sign will entice more moms to show up, and the moms from before, to come back!  Come on, ladies, please don't just abandon me!  I can (and do) certainly go to the coffee shop on my own, but the thought of having a group to socialize with was a very nice one. (I will try to post tomorrow about how it goes, the first meeting after my sign has been up!)

So there you have it.  A retrospective of my activities while I was ignoring the internet.  I still pretty much continue to ignore the internet, but I do like to share, so I should be around more often on the blog now. ^_^

Thursday, May 31, 2012

a B- just for showing up

Well, I am back!  Back from my self-imposed exile from most computer things.  It's been over 2 months!  I've learned several key concepts that I will share here, and in the next post I'll tell you what I've been up to.

1. It's been REALLY great to not be on Facebook anymore.  Anyone reading, here is some advice: Quit Facebook!  It's so liberating.  A. quit before me, and I helped at least one other person quit, too.  Yeah, I worried about disconnecting from "all the people who I don't stay in touch with any other way", but you know what? -- what am I trying to say -- look, if you only connect on Facebook, how strong is that relationship really?  I am tired of passive friendships I guess.  Does this mean I have fewer "friends"?  Yes, I suppose.  Does this bother me?  I would have said yes a couple months ago, but now, not really.  My mind is just calmer and I have more space to myself.  I'm just going through a friend-meager phase in life (again).  Whatever, I never seem to have many friends, so no big deal.  At least the friends I currently have, I actually see in real life!  Or they can always call or email. ;)

2.  That all being said, I've learned that I'm happier when I share.  I know, it sounds so simple and stupid, but it's true.  Trying to not "waste time" by blogging, and not "get sidetracked" by doing my life comics, has actually made me feel worse.  Worse than what?  Well, my usual baseline "exhausted parent" mood.  (More on that in a future post.)  So I really do need to get my thoughts out, whether on paper, on the blog, or both.  If I don't, A. recently helped me discover that my mind and heart start to make an icky sauerkraut of my emotions.  I don't even like sauerkraut to begin with, so when this occurs, it's really quite sad!  It's like being disappointed with a bun full of sauerkraut when you're expecting a bun with a nice juicy hot dog.  Anyway, the longer the sauerkraut sits, bottled up, the more fermented it gets until sometimes it's a kimchee of depression!  NOBODY WANTS THE KIMCHEE OF DEPRESSION!!!

So I hope to be blogging more, sharing more.  Just to get it out.  Not to compare myself to others or to compete or brag or show off or make my life look perfect.  Let's face it, most people only share the good stuff, so their lives look perfect, and then you come along and read all about it, and of course your life looks crappy by comparison!  Anyway, after my hiatus, I'm not afraid to come on the ol' blog and say, "hey, my life is really good and has its awesome moments, but you know what?  It's also full of frustrations and tears and loneliness and crap!" So there!

Not to get overly analytical or anything -- OK, yes, to get overly analytical -- I can't help it -- I feel like the blog is different from Facebook because it's just for me.  Yes, I'm sharing it with a broader audience, but I'm not expecting anything in return.  Maybe 6 or 7 people read this blog -- I don't know, I never bother to check and comments are rare -- but it's better than having 90 people I know just ignore me.  Or something.  I don't know.  If you know me, feel free to de-lurk and comment, or email me, or whatever.  Or don't.  I'm not just fishing for comments because I just don't care anymore.  I'm just emoting for mental health.  AND, blogging is not the constant barrage of what everyone else is doing, like Facebook was.  Too much fodder for comparisons, jealousy, snarky curiosity satisfaction, and just plain stupidity.

3. Along those lines, my hiatus has taught me that I can go ahead and stop worrying about "what I'm doing" -- like writing my book, doing art, whatever.  I don't have to experience a constant pressure to be doing something important/impressive, or explain (to whom exactly?) why I'm NOT working on something important at any given time.  I'm just trying to do my best at raising my kid, and trying to live in the moment and be happy, and not go crazy or anything.

That's the B- just for showing up.  A. told me this morning, "You know, this job you're doing [raising E.] is really hard!  You get a B- just for showing up!  That's passing -- it's actually pretty good -- so don't worry about trying to be perfect all the time.  You're already doing really well just for the regular routine, so all this other stuff is bonus!"

Does that mean I'm giving up all my goals and dreams?  No!  It just means I'm not WORRYING about them.  They'll happen at some point, some way somehow.  I don't need them to haunt me at every waking (and sleeping) moment. (Yeah, I've been dreaming a lot lately, dreams about school and extra credit assignments and homework and intellectual competitions . . . ?!)  I think for a while, with being a parent, I really was convinced that my goals and dreams were over and I'd never get to do anything else with my life again.  But now I know that this is a choice.  I can at least TRY to work on my stuff when I can, or I can give up completely and have a self-fulfilling prophecy of constant slavery surrounding my child.  It's all about attitude.

5. That said, I've learned that I need to do make time for more fun things for myself.  Like watch Bollywood movies!  And do sun salutations daily! (I really have been doing them daily, first thing!  I do a super-doable four: two on each side.  Don't laugh, I make it easy so I can have a sense of accomplishment for my 2 minutes of yoga!!  I plan to add more when I feel ready . . . which is not yet.)  And I need to let the caffeine flow freely, and take my vitamins, and get out in the sun (or turn on all the lights if when it's raining), and garden, and read books, and take time in the evenings and E's naps for my little projects, and go to the coffee shop, and try to start sneaking in my projects while she's awake (she'll just have to get used to it!!!), and go to my exercise class, and cook fun things, and listen to fun music . . . et cetera.

Next up (when I get the time) is a post of what I've been up to lately, just because I feel like sharing
(and because I drew some comix about it a while ago)!  Welcome back, me!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mini Unofficial Taste Tests Notes to Self

I did a couple unscientific taste tests lately and don't want to forget my findings!  So here they are, in short, on the blog.

Plain Full Fat Yogurts

Nancy's -- the winner, creamy and good yogurt taste.  Awesome because this is the only one they sell at Winco; hence the only one I'd be likely to regularly buy AND it's nice and cheap. A wonderful surprise! :)

Pavel's -- brand I'd never heard of found at New Seasons.  Second best.  Nice yogurt taste, but a bit runny.

Straus -- too tangy.  Sour. I know plain yogurt IS sour, but this didn't have balance.

Stonyfield Farm -- kind of gross!  Watery.  I was surprised because I liked their YoBaby vanilla yogurt in my other test.  I also remember having S.F. at a friend's house as a child (various flavors and plain) and they were all way fattier/chunkier with the creamy bits.  There's no way this is the same yogurt.

Brown Cow -- eh, mediocre, boring, inconsequential.

Expensive Natural Chocolate Ice Creams

This began after A. and I tried Three Twins Bittersweet Chocolate and thought it was really good!  I had to sample more.  I was also curious about how the gum and carrageenan content affects flavor and texture.  My father-in-law hates the taste (?) of carrageenan but it doesn't usually bother me.  I wonder if he'd like to try some of these ones that don't have it!

Snoqualmie Mukilteo Mudd (2 gums, carrageenan, vanilla, no eggs) -- yummy, good chocolate flavor, creamy texture.  The only one with no eggs, but this didn't seem to affect anything.
Double Rainbow Ultra Chocolate  (2 gums, no carrageenan, no vanilla, egg yolks) -- I liked this one, though the texture wasn't as good as others.  The only one with no vanilla.  I thought it had a nice chocolate flavor, but A. was unimpressed.  Note: it was cheap, so that was good!
Talenti Double Dark Chocolate Gelato (1 gum, no carrageenan, vanilla, eggs, dextrose, vermouth!) -- We had tried this in the past and thought it was great, but this time around, I didn't like it as much.  It had a weird taste (from the vermouth?) and also chocolate bits which were distracting and not very melty.  So continues my bemusement with gelato . . .

Straus Dutch Chocolate (no gums, no carrageenan, vanilla, egg yolks) -- A. didn't like this one, but it may have been my favorite.  The texture was very airy so it felt like "cheap" ice cream (not premium), but the taste was fantastic!  It tasted like something from my past . . . Hood ice cream?  Something about it made me nostalgic!

Three Twins Bittersweet Chocolate (no gums, no carrageenan, vanilla, eggs) -- very good chocolate flavor and A.'s favorite.  I liked it a lot but it was a teensy bit too melty/watery for me.

These were all a tough call.  When you're sampling chocolate ice cream, none of them are exactly going to be bad, you know?  I would buy any of them again, though perhaps not the Talenti.

Also noted (from other recent ice cream shopping sprees):

Three Twins Dad's Cardamom sounded like it would taste like kheer, but it only had cardamom flavor . . . not that exciting.

Snoqualmie French Lavender was nice, but it needs some vanilla in there!!  My own homemade lavender ice cream was still the best (and I should make it again)!

Snoqualmie Creme Fraiche Gelato was no good.  I thought I'd be getting some pure creamy dairy experience, but it was too tangy-sour, like yogurt.  Still befuddled as to why this is "gelato" as opposed to "ice cream".  If I want a perfect sweet cream flavor, I have to go to the Ice Cream Smith back in Boston .  . .

OH!  And I discovered some valuable information!!  New Seasons sells ice cream from Ice Cream Renaissance (the shoppe on Main Street here in Vancouver) and I found out why it's so terrible!!  They list the ingredients on their pints, and . . . they make their ice cream with HALF AND HALF.  People, just because ice cream contains both cream and milk does not mean that you can just flat out use half and half and expect it to come out all creamy and delicious.  The fat content is going to be off (read: not enough) and your "ice cream" is going to taste like "ice milk" and be really sad and disappointing.  Oh wait, Ice Cream Renaissance ice cream IS sad and disappointing!  I KNEW there was a reason behind its lack of texture and flavor and why it always* tastes like some 15-year-old decided to "get creative" and make "homemade ice cream" by throwing some milk and sugar in the freezer and giving it a stir now and then.  Sheesh. Well, real ice cream makers don't go using half and half, that's all I "half" to say.  har har!

* When I say "always", I mean the 3 chances I gave it when I tried out their shoppe (hey, I do give second and third chances, FYI!), and then when I've had it out of pints at people's houses.  I don't know how everyone around here is so easily fooled into thinking it's the best ever . . . . the only nice thing I can say about I.C.R. is that the shoppe does serve a really good cup of coffee.

New Seasons still has a wealth of weird ice creams to try, without straying into "that's not ice cream" territory (you know, all the ones without milk or gluten or what-have-you -- they have PLENTY of that stuff, too).  I'll be back for more!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A new direction in meat

So, the time has finally come for me to try and "make a difference" and all that and start buying local, pasture-raised, and/or organic meat.  Let me tell you why!

First, I read a really disturbing article (in Oprah magazine, click link only if you want be totally depressed) about CAFO's, or the factory farms that are just no good, and that most normal meat comes from, I assume.  I know there is lots of talk on the subject out there, but I'd been avoiding it because, well, it's depressing.  I prefer to not be depressed in my day to day life.  So sue me, it's true!

Anyway, after reading the article, I kept thinking about the factory farm topic -- it sort of haunted me for a few days.  My thoughts shifted over from, "wow, that's terrible and I wish it was different, but hey, gotta eat" to, "Say, you know, I could start buying all that free-range pasture-fed natural happy meat if I wanted to, and my small choice could make a teensy tiny difference, maybe, and then I could feel good about NOT supporting those factory farms."

Up until this point, the "happy meat" was way too expensive, and my frugal side won out.  I simply didn't care enough about the situation to actually pay THAT much money for my grocery staple.  Why the shift now?  I don't know!  I've already made the mental shift to paying more for food in order to be healthy, so perhaps this meat plan goes along with that.  Yes, I now go to the store and instead of cringing over the cost of fresh veggies, I actually buy them and eat them.  Yes, I'm willing to pay more for things like pre-cut baby carrots, etc. because the convenience means I'll actually eat them.

(Let me interject and say I do my main shopping at Winco, where food is already cheap.  If it were not for Winco, I may still be resistant to the crazy high prices out there.)

Oh, and when it's open/in season, I now freely spend my money at the farmers' market for fresh FRUITS and other things, because they're all so good, and my health is WORTH the high price.  I think before, I only wanted to save money and wasn't thinking about being healthy.  Maybe the shift has come from living here in the Northwest, where it's easy to do healthy things!  We've actually lowered our meat consumption over the past couple years as part of this health thing, so I wouldn't even need to buy as much as I used to.

When I looked into how and where I could buy happy meat, it didn't seem so bad.  We have a deep freeze, so if we wanted to buy, like, half a cow in bits and pieces from somebody at the farmers' market, we could.  I checked some local grocery stores and the new Vancouver Co-op, and settled on the meat at New Seasons Market.  Apparently all their meat is happy, so you don't have to worry.  They also have these value packs at a great discount, which make ME very happy.  And, they have a new location in East Vancouver, which means I will actually go there because I don't have to cross over into Portland.  THANK YOU NEW SEASONS IT'S ABOUT TIME!

Oh, and apparently the Foster Farms chicken we've been buying at Costco is also fairly happy, so I don't have to worry about that, either.  It's a good price, and we're mostly eating chicken these days anyway. (The FF fresh chicken is also grown in the NW, to boot!)

So, yesterday I picked up my value pack from New Seasons!  I froze most of it in the deep freeze, but made a Madras curry with the chicken breasts.  I have to say, there was not much flavor difference or anything, but I felt like a do-gooder for once.

Will I now buy happy meat exclusively?  That is the plan!
Will it be the first thing to go if money gets tight?  Probably.
Will I stop eating meat?  Hells no!
Will I refuse sad meat if someone serves it to me?  No.  And yes I will keep eating the Costco hotdog, YUM!
What about deli meat?  I don't know!  We tried the happy Lebanon bologna at New Seasons and it was AWESOME, but their pastrami wasn't very good.  I used to roast and cut up my own pork roasts for lunch meat, but that was decidedly Sad Meat . . . but it's super-cheap for something we eat every day.  I don't know!!
Will I buy organic produce and milk now, too?  Probably not -- I'm not ready for that yet.  I do buy organic here and there, but I think local is more important.  I love the farmers' market!  I also grow my own fruits and veggies in the summer, but the amounts are so paltry, of course I have to supplement with purchased produce.

Anybody else switching to happy meat?  I know it's a luxury, but it's probably an important one in the long run.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


OK, after writing that last post I felt cruddy, so I managed to do the following:

a) roped A. into helping me give Eleanor her much-needed bath;
b) gulped down a second cup of coffee;
c) took a walk with E and the dog in the rain and it wasn't that bad;
d) called my best friend;
e) thought up some positive things, and here they are!

(by the way, that troll artist is Rolf Lidberg)

Positive things:

a) I have hereby apportioned this corner of the dining room table for my laptop, so that I may actually do some computing while watching E. in the main room.  See? I'm blogging right now!

b) I have some ideas for rearranging my computer/art room so that it's more usable.  Exciting!

c) I walked by a yard I don't always go by and saw a lovely collection of painted plaster lawn animals.  Nothing like smiling bunnies and turtles to brighten your day!

d) Eleanor is picking up walking more and more each day!  She is on her own two feet now, if only for several steps.  Cool!

e) It is also awesome how E. goes by houseplants and makes a point of sniffing them (flowers or no) ever since I showed her the concept of smelling flowers.  I love this.  Also how she leans in and kisses the characters in her books (totally her own idea).  See?  Just thinking about these things, I can't be in a bad mood.

f) Speaking of flowers, the bouquet I got from Safeway for E's birthday is still going strong!!!!

g) Still speaking of flowers, my daffodils and other assorted bulbs (a bazillion new ones I put in this fall) are starting to come up.  It's not even February!  So right there, despite all its faults, this Northwest climate beats the pants off everyplace else.  For gardeners.  Plants are our consolation prize, or something.


Feeling down about:

* All this rain.  I guess it waited till now to come down; we had a super dry Nov/Dec!!  So now it's just pouring and looks like 6pm all day long.  My poor solar watch only gets recharged when I hang it on a lamp.  Sad.  I really want to go on my normal walks with doggie and baby but I can't bring myself to do it 'cause I don't want us to all get drenched and miserable.  I'd rather it was just cold; I can do cold no problem!!

* I just figured out that my neighbor is a dementor.  That's why I feel so crappy after each encounter.  I'll just keep eating chocolate and practicing casting my patronus.  Begone!!

* Lack of sleep/poor sleep/sore body/not taking care of myself.  'Nuff said.

* That feeling when it's only 8am and you wish it was 5pm already so you could have hubby help and baby bedtime and a tasty dinner and time to yourself.  Oh, and the feeling when all the days are just blending into each other into eternity with nothing to look forward to . . . I hate that.


* We have a really cute new calendar for 2012 with all these watercolored trolls.  I have to go into the other room to find the guy's name.

* There have been breaks each day with no rain/light rain.  No sun, either, but at least I can take a walk and not become "wintry mix" embodied.  Going on walks seems to be my go-to activity when I can't think of what the hell else to do with myself and baby during the day.

* I'm reading Anne of Avonlea (well, the whole series, one book at a time) and that is super good for a mood boost and a reminder to simply imagine away your troubles.

* We finally threw some doors and drawers on our living room shelving, so now it looks way better and baby can't get into it.

* I'm trying to work on some changes around here to let me more easily do the things I want to do, like art stuff, projects, oh and simply using the computer.  Sometimes it seems like I go for days without using it . . . which is sort of good but I do miss having fun diversions . . . hey, wait, isn't this the good list?  Rats.  oh crud, baby's awake now.  So much for blogging . . .

Friday, January 6, 2012


I just wanted to tell you, Internet, that Eleanor did end up napping yesterday for 2 HOURS AND 15 MINUTES!!  All at once!  From about 1:40 to 4:00pm -- that's basically the whole afternoon right there!  I was able to do a crafting project and just relax.  Imagine if I had a whole afternoon to myself like that all the time!  Wow.  I daren't hope for any such thing, but I can dream about it.  You don't even understand how many half-formed projects are getting shoved into the cupboard that is my brain because I just don't have time to do them.

However, her naps have been getting better lately, with a few missteps here and there.  This week alone she had a 90-minute morning nap, then a 105-minute morning, then the magic 135-minutes (!!) yesterday afternoon, and today she slept 80 minutes this morning!  She's supposed to be sleeping now but is having her "quiet time" in the crib and quietly babbling and occasionally thumping.  I'll take it.

Oh, and she's been sleeping through the night again -- no wakeups from 7pm to 6am-ish -- like a champ!  She's always been a stellar night sleeper (and bedtime is so easy-breezy it's kind of scary), but naps are more challenging.  I've decided that it's never worth worrying or grumping over the missed naps -- she's a happy, smart, awesome baby so she must be getting the sleep she needs (though my me-time is basically non-existent, hence the grumping).

Anyway, I can't predict whether she'll sleep in the morning or afternoon, but you know, if I keep getting an hour+ chunk of sleep time per day from her, I may become a normal person again!  Time alone to do something that I want to do?!  These are exciting times.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012!

January 1st and already some of my daffodil bulbs are coming up!  I swear, they were not up yesterday -- they wanted to wait and greet the new year! (They are right by the front door and I have a habit of checking them daily.)

Recipe for a good New Year's Eve:

1. Put baby to bed. This is key.
2. Make a festive fun fondue with delectable dippers!
 (don't worry about how your house is in complete disarray as seen in photo above)

2.5 Tend to baby when she wakes up at 9:30, get her back to sleep (takes 10 mins).
3. Sit on couch and eat fondue and watch a Harry Potter movie and note when it is midnight and kiss your spouse. :)

Happy New Year!

PS- We also gave our fridge its yearly(?) cleaning on the 31st!  Hooray for a grimeless (for now) 2012!!