Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Unrelated musings

He's coming for you.

I.  Crybaby

There are currently five things that I know of that consistently make Little Bug cry:

  • My cough.  This one is most potent at night; if he's asleep, no matter how deeply, my cough almost always wakes him up crying.  During the day, he only cries when I cough if he's in need of a nap.
  • The vacuum cleaner.  Well, if I'm wearing Little Bug, he'll usually fall asleep by the time I'm done with the apartment.  If I'm not wearing him, the vacuum makes him cry.
  • A certain friend's laugh.  It took us awhile to pinpoint this, but my friend and I eventually figured out that something about her laugh seems to startle him, and he cries.  When this happens, I work hard not to laugh at him.
  • Packing tape.  When I'm using clear plastic packing tape for any reason, the sound of it usually makes Little Bug cry.
  • A certain friend (of Little Bug's) cries.  For some reason, when this one friend of his cries, Little Bug's empathy kicks in and he starts crying too.  But only for this one friend.  Other babies cry, and he totally doesn't care.

II.  Unmentionables

Sometimes, I get tempted to start another blog.  But an anonymous blog, one that no one would know was written by me.  Then I could write about pretty much anything.

You see, there are a few topics that I would very much like to blog about, but for whatever reason I just can't.  Like the family member/friend/random acquaintance/etc. who makes me frustrated/pissed off/etc. and I want to talk about here, but I'm afraid they'll see it and think I don't like them or are talking behind their back when really all I want to do is VENT because I can't actually change things and it doesn't mean I don't otherwise like the person in question I'm just VENTING.  Or various topics related to babies or parenting that I have strong views on but my strong views don't necessarily agree with the societal norm and I don't want to talk about it here because my family/in-laws/friends don't even know I do/don't and I simply am not prepared to open that can of worms yet with them even though for some reason I'd otherwise be okay with discussing my views with strangers I don't know.

Yeah.  That sort of thing.  Maybe some day I'll become brave enough to blog about some of those things openly.  Maybe someday, but not today.

III.  Telemarketers

Today, I received a call from some sort of telemarketer who asked for "the person who owns this number."  I was silent for a moment, and then asked if she had a name.  She said no, just the number.  I asked what she wanted (without providing my name), and she started off into a speech, providing me a company name (financial something or other) and saying they had collected numbers "from my area," at which point I interrupted and asked where she thought I lived.  (Because my area code totally doesn't match my current location... one of the joys of being a Navy wife, I suppose.)  She couldn't tell me, which means she probably didn't know.  I interrupted again and said I was not interested in whatever she was selling.  She said she wasn't "selling" anything, and requested that I listen to what she had to say before saying I wasn't interested.  I interrupted again and asked to be put on their "do not call" list.  I listened long enough to hear her say she would, and then I hung up.

Ugh.  Telemarketers get worse all the time, and that's two minutes lost forever, wasted on a BS call with someone who didn't even have my name, just my phone number.  How irritating.

Friday, November 23, 2012

A month of gratitude

I don't do "Black Friday."  Never have.  Hopefully never will.  I don't think any "deal" is good enough to face the madness at the stores.  Plus, my idealistic side is not into supporting the big stores, although my practical side freely admits that I will end up buying some of my holiday presents at them.

For what it's worth, my morning tea latte did *not* come
from Starbucks today.  Although I do drink a lot of Starbucks.

Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to get to celebrate Thanksgiving in the company of two good friends and their families.  I contributed a lentil shepherd's pie and a pumpkin pie; other dishes included sweet potatoes, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, and an amazing pecan pie.  I have a bunch of leftovers, which Little Bug and I will continue feasting on for at least a few days.  Good food, great conversation, and fun times; D may be away, and I may be unwilling to travel during the holidays, but thanks to a good support network I still had a fabulous holiday.

Little Bug enjoys his first Thanksgiving feast!
It's difficult to get a picture these days that isn't a little bit blurry...

Over the course of November so far, I've been watching as my friends post daily about what they're thankful for.  In that spirit, here is a list of thirty things I am thankful for.

1.  My wonderful husband, D.  As that song goes, "Lucky I'm in love with my best friend..."

2.  My Little Bug, my little sunshine baby.  I am so blessed to have such an amazing son who is helping me to rediscover the wonders of life.

3.  While we're working on those essentials, I'm thankful for the rest of my family, those I'm related to by blood or marriage.  It's nice to have so many people to care about, and who care about us.

4.  Friends, both near and far.  Friends that I've collected over the course of my life thus far and in all of the places I've lived.

5.  I'm thankful D has a secure job that enables me stay home to care for Little Bug.  I'm also thankful D & I are both on the same page financially, and that money is very rarely an issue of contention between us.

6.  I may not have to work, but I'm thankful for being a book reviewer and for my various freelance editing gigs.  The little bit of extra money certainly doesn't hurt!

7.  Of course, I'm very grateful for my little fuzzy monster, Freddy.

Freddy watches Little Bug suspiciously.
Maybe one day they'll be friends...

8.  My ability to cook.  Being able to make healthy, delicious food for my family is a joyful thing.

9.  Certain convenience foods.  I try to cook fresh whenever possible, but on busy days (like Thanksgiving!), it's nice to be able to substitute gravy mix for my usual homemade mushroom gravy and still be satisfied with my meal.

10.  Certain appliances.  I love my slow cooker, and yesterday my immersion blender made pumpkin pie filling into a breezy process.

11.  Books.  I may not get to read as much as I used to before having a baby, but I still love to read.  I am also thankful for my library, and the fact that it only takes me ten minutes to walk there.

12.  Music.  I love to sing, and I sing to my Little Bug every day!

13.  Pie.  Because, honestly, who doesn't love pie?

A crappy cell phone picture of my pumpkin pie.  And then I ate it.

14.  Tea.  My tea drinking habits have definitely changed over the last year; I can't remember the last time I finished a cup of tea at home without having to re-heat it at least once, and at least half the time I'm drinking lactation tea, but that's okay.  I still love my morning tea!

15.  CSAs.  I may not currently be a member of a CSA (because with D gone, I simply cannot eat the contents of an entire box by myself), but I am incredibly thankful that community-supported agriculture programs exist.  Gives me hope for the future of our food system.

16.  Two Sentinels Camp, my other home, even though it's been a few years since I've been able to volunteer there.  This place, and the other people who run it, played a major role in shaping the person I am today.  Someday, I will be back, I promise.  "Two Sentinels will be my home; makes no difference how far away I roam..."

17.  The Internet.  Enough said.

18.  My health.  I'm glad I am relatively fit and healthy, that I have the physical strength and endurance necessary to keep up with my growing boy.

19.  I'm thankful that I had such a positive birth experience, in a time and place where so many women cannot truthfully say the same.

20.  I'm also thankful I've had the courage to follow my instincts when it comes to parenting.  Raising a child is the hardest thing I've ever undertaken, but also the most rewarding!

21.  Text messages.  Seriously.  Ease of communication is a wonderful thing.

22.  Skype and video teleconferencing on base.  I may be separated from D physically at the moment, but at least I get to see his face in real time every now and then!

23.  The forthcoming arrival of the last book of The Wheel of Time, A Memory of Light.  Closure is coming, my friends!

24.  Board games.  And card games.  And dice games.  And role-playing games.  Yes, I'm that kind of nerd.

25.  Freedom of speech.  I listen to the news every day, and I'm always finding new reasons to value the fact that we have the fundamental right to say pretty much anything.

26.  NPR.  Balanced news coverage is a wonderful thing, and I learn new things all the time from all of the other wonderful programming here.

27.  Home.  I've always had a roof over my head, and I've never lived anywhere where I ever felt unsafe.  Well, our first apartment in Sacramento could be debatable.

28.  Our planet.  Sometimes I start thinking about the miracles of science and nature that have all conspired to create this world we inhabit, and then my head starts to hurt.

29.  Chocolate.  Enough said.  Oh wait, I'm also thankful that I started liking chocolate again once Little Bug was born.  Otherwise, that could have been one of life's little tragedies.

30.  My beloved country.  I am unbelievably blessed to have been born in this nation.  Sure, America has its faults, but I wouldn't want to live anywhere in the world but here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Applesauce BBQ Sauce

When I said I was going to find or create recipes to use my surplus of jarred baby food, Little Bug laughed at me.

Well, try this on for size: BBQ sauce made with applesauce.

Seriously.  Give it a try.  Tangy and sweet.  Mmmmm.
I made Crispy Barbequed Tofu Slices with my sauce!

Applesauce BBQ Sauce

inspired by this recipe on allrecipes.com

1 c applesauce (2 [4-oz.] jars apples/applesauce baby food)
1/2 c ketchup
1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp onion powder

Combine all ingredients in a pot over medium heat.  Bring to a boil.  Cover (or use a splatter screen; you don't want to get hit with this!) and let boil a few minutes, stirring regularly.  Remove from heat and let cool completely (it will thicken).  Makes 1 1/2 - 2 cups.



This is how Little Bug helps when I cook.

I totally suck at taking pictures of food.  But here's the finished product!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Introducing the Post-Deployment Bucket List!

Quickie post here.

Eight months is a long time to be separated from my honey.  And seeing as my primary method of coping is to keep busy (but not too busy; don't want to burn myself out), there are a lot of things Little Bug and I are doing for the first time that we'd like to experience again as a complete family.

I know I won't be able to remember everything on my own, so I'm starting a list!  Here on my blog, where I can add to it as Little Bug and I hit the town and find new things to share.  I'm calling it the "Post-Deployment Bucket List," and I'll keep updating it over the duration of D's deployment.  Go check it out, if you feel so inclined!  There is now a link at the top of the page.

Little Bug at the San Diego Botanic Garden, where we recently visited
with some friends.  So many new things to see!