Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Friday, May 27, 2005

chuck e. can bite my ass

i thought i was done with this.

all last week, i had ricki lee jones's chuck e.'s in love in my head. all. week. long. i love that song, i love ricki lee's bizarro vocal stylings, but i was starting to lose it.

then, for the past few days...nothing. nothing! i figured maybe the fever had banished it. seemed like an even trade: a few days of nasty illness for a chuck e.–free head.

ah, but no. chuck e. is stronger than any common cold. for he is back! frolicking in my cerebral cortex, trying to slowly slowly drive me insane....

damn you, chuck e.! daaaaaamn yooouuuu!

miracle product

i love my stroller. wile's aunties got it for us at my baby shower, and it is everything i want it to be. except that, like every stroller, when you try to push it with one hand—say, when you want to make a phone call, or apply lip balm, or drink your tea, or only have one hand free b/c someone decided that he just couldn't take it in the horrible, horrible stroller anymore and needed to be carried—it goes willy nilly all over the sidewalk like a freshman on his way home from the bar (minus the puking).

so i would like to give the brillian people who made the "stroller stretcher" a big fat hug. it does exactly what it's supposed to do. and, unlike the stupid freakin' cup holder i got a few months ago, it was totally painless to install.


Thursday, May 26, 2005

cat belly of the week

as i have been housebound this week with the sick this week and therefore unable to go out and hunt the dog butt, may i present some fine homegrown cat belly:

chicken chicken chicken i'm a finger lickin' winner

so to the surprise of absolutely no one, our son is a carnivore.

we've been giving mr. baby man the solid foods for about 3 months now, and he really hasn't been all that interested. he ate the rice cereal that we started him out on and seemed happy with it, but that was about 60% breastmilk so i don't think it really counts. he hated regular potatoes and applesauce, and tolerated mushed peas, sweet potatoes, bananas, and avocado but never really got too excited about them. he was far more interested in playing with the spoon, and would eventually look at me like "okay, i let you get two little microscopic bites into my mouth and didn't spit them out, can we break out the boobs now?"

stuff he could hold in his hands has been a little more successful—teething biscuits, rice cakes (aka "mess cakes"), melba toast brought to him by cooing waitresses, peas, bread. but still....he just didn't seem too amped up about anything.

until tonight.

the boo and i went around the corner to the spanish restaurant and got half a rotisserie chicken, which i was intending to shred up and use to make some chicken soup for me and stephen and our colds for dinner. when we got home, i was snacking on the wing, and wile, who was still on my hip in the sling, was reaching out for it....so i put him in the high chair, ripped up some nice white meat for him, turned away to retrieve the wing for myself, turned back....and half of what i had given him was gone and he was smiling at me through a mouthful of half-chewed chicken. i waited for the inevitable spit-out (i had been sprayed with banana earlier in the afternoon), but it never came. he swallowed all of the chicken in his mouth and then put more in and chewed and swallowed that too. and then he looked up at me like, "now that's more like it! make with the bird flesh!" i gave him more. and he ate it all. i gave him some more. and he ate that too. we sat in the kitchen for like 20 minutes—an eternity, in baby time!—eating chicken. it was way too exciting.

next up: pork chops!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

(boy and fatty): a desperate cry for their safe return!

today we are proud to bring you a guest post from aunt sarah, aka sassy, which comes at a perfect time as i have been hit with a nasty cold and have absolutely nothing interesting to say—unless you really want to hear about the intricacies of trying to blow your nose while holding a squirming 9-month old... so, without further ado:

on my way home from work monday night a posting on a neighborhood newspaper stand caught my eye. at first (glance i was) saddned by the news of this woman's loss of two of her precious puppies. but as (i read) on, i the flyer provided me with far more entertainment value than a girl could ever hope for on (her walk) home from work! i instantly decided this was too awesome not to share. (enjoy)!!


if you'd like to see a larger version to really get a good look at the weirdness, click here.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

afternoon in the garden

when the little man and i got back from our walk to the epicerie to pick up some stuff for dinner and to the playground for some swinginating, he was content chiling in his stroller so i took the opportunity to do some weeding and pruning. the columbine was blooming...

the boo was happy....

...and then...well, see if you can spot the problem in this picture here:

do you see it? do you see the flatbead truck carrying the person in the bear suit and the two hucksters with microphones and the 10-foot speakers? rolling down my peaceful street??? they were from the metro christian center, and they were coming for the children. apparently they have sunday school at the m.c.c. every saturday (yes, you read that right) and if you sign up, they'll send a bus to come pick up your children and take them sun(satur)day school (and, presumably, bring them back). no word on whether the bear would be on the bus. but he would be at sun(satur)day school, and it would be fun, fun, fun, fun!

and i thought the jehovah's witnesses knocking on my door were bad. at least they don't come equipped with a sound system.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

i'm complimented, but not interested

last night it was stephen's night to put wile to bed (under the new sleep regime) and he put him down and he slept for four hours. it was amazing. i even wrote a really euphoric post about it this morning, which never made it to press b/c blogger ate it, but anyway i wrote it and was really happy and cautiously optimistic.

tonight stephen went to see mercury rev and it was my night to put him down. it started out really well: i nursed him and then walked him around, and he fell asleep very easily and things were looking good and then he slept for...one hour. one! hour! one!!! and when i went up to put him back down, it took me an hour to get him to go down—i tried just walking him, but he would wake up when i put him down. then i finally gave in and nursed him, but every time i tried to disengage he would half wake up and fuss....

so i'm trying to put a good spin on this and tell myself that it's because he wants to be with me, wants me there with him, is happier when i'm next to him. which is a nice way to think about it, but doesn't change the fact that him sleeping for an hour at a pop just plain sucks.

and really i don't think he wants me as much as he wants the boobs. and thinking that makes me flash back to seventh grade, when i was crying over some boy and lamenting that none of the boys liked me and telling my well-endowed bff that she couldn't understand my pain and she said "boys don't like me either—they like this [pointing to right breast] and this [pointing to left breast]!" (and as much as i knew she was right i just could not feel for her b/c a) no pain can eclipse 13-year-old-girl pain, even the pain of another 13-year-old girl, and b) my 32-aaaa self would have been just fine with the boys liking me for my chest....). so now i'm not only exhausted and worrying that wile is destined for a life of insomnia, i'm also flashing back on junior high. awesome. now if someone could just come over and feed me some bananas mixed with cooked raisins and maybe pop in a rush cd, my night would be complete.

i'm going to bed.


i'm just not that into her, pt. 2

she replied to my email.

again i hesitated a couple of seconds before sucking i up and opening it, and...it was totally sane and reasonable. she thanked me for responing, and said that my change of heart was sad but that it was my choice and she wouldn't press me. then she asked me to send back this shawl she had lent me when i was pregnant, and i was kicking myself a little b/c i totally meant to ask for her address to send back the damn shawl in my email. i replied that of course i would send the shawl, that i had meant to ask for her address, that i wished her all the best, good-bye.

so all in all i was pleasantly surprised, sitting there looking at the screen thinking "wow, how nice and neat, no drama, she seems to have taken this really we—" and that's when the second email popped into my in-box. and i thought, "ah, now that's the ellen i know and am trying to run from....."

the second email was exactly what i thought the first one would be: asking me to reconsider, asking what she had done to lead me to make this decision, asking if we couldn't talk it over, making reference to the hard time she'd been going through with her sick mother.... it was all there. i could have written it myself. thankfully she also asked for my address to send wile's gift, so i could get away with replying just with our address and a thank you and another "wishing you all the best" rather than really addressing her questions/requests, b/c honestly, i don't know what i would have said. "no, it's nothing that you've done, i just don't like you enough to want to continue to keep in touch"? i...no. don't think i could have found a good way to word that.

so far, no more replies. hopefully the message has been gotten.

Monday, May 16, 2005

high five

diapers can be pretty


the other night i was talking to m and used the phrase "they're so hot right now", and she said "okay, paris hilton." which made me realize that there was an important clarification that needed to be made.

ms. hilton's catchphrase—which i just found out that she had trademarked, dear lord!—is: "that's hot".

"so hot right now", which i say all the time, is from zoolander. as in "that hansel, he's so hot right now."

so on one hand, we have a vacuous twit. and on the other hand, we have one of the cinematic masterpieces of our time. no correlation!

let's keep this straight in the future, people.

i'm just not that into her

i first encountered ellen in a night class at fit 2 years ago. she sat on the other side of the room so thankfully i never really had to talk to her, because she was—is—the adult learner from hell. if you've ever taken a continuing ed class, you know what i'm talking about: needy, pushy, up in the teacher's grill all the time, hovering over every demonstration and asking a million inane questions...and then not managing to get one assignment done on time. a total nightmare.

then the next semester i'm sitting in the first day of printed fabrics and who comes and takes the empty seat next to me? you know it. she starts talking to me like we were friends in our other class, rambling on about who knows what and asking me to watch the like 10 tote bags and assorted crap that she's dumped on the desk while she runs to the office to talk to someone about some issue she was having with her schedule—i should have switched seats right then. but i'm a sucka sometimes. she sat there the whole semester and glommed on to me and basically wore me down to the point where i was friendly with her. it seemed harmless—she's crazy and annoying and a disaster, but she's not a bad person. just a divorced middle aged woman who is kind of at sea with her life and is immature and needy. and i only had to see her for 6 hours a week.

so this continued through another class the next semester. she continued to talk my ear off every class, i let her put some stuff in my old locker when i moved into a bigger one, i called her a couple times to let her know class was cancelled.... but we never did anything outside of school, we never even grabbed something to eat before or after class (she asked a couple times, but i evaded. people take no for an answer pretty easily from a pregnant lady). it was just a school friendship.

or so i thought.

the calls and emails started coming last summer. "just checking in, seeing how you are, if the baby's born yet, etc." i would email her every once in a while, but never saw her. in the winter sometime she called and said she was going to be in brooklyn for the day and wanted to come meet the baby, and i couldn't think of a good reason to say no, but then it ened up not working out—she called me a couple hours before she was supposed to come over to cancel because she had ended up in a totally different part of brooklyn than she thought she was going to be and it was getting late and blah blah blee, so she didn't come.

i realized that if she had managed to get it togeher to come visit i might never have shaken her, and that i needed to wipe my brow, say "whew, close call", and begin really studiously avoiding her—not taking her calls, not answering her emails. which is, of course, kind of lame, the avoidance game that we play when we want to break it off with a friend or wannabe friend. but lame as it may be, it's pretty much a social norm, and most people get the message after a few unreturned calls and emails.

yeah, well. i should have realized that i wasn't dealing with "most people."

she kept calling. kept emailing. for like 3 months, without any reply from me. it got to the point where i knew i had to do something, but i just couldn't make myself do it. until i got the message on my answering machine yesterday that went something like "kristen this is ellen, i really need a call back, i've called numerous times, and emailed, i'm so fond of you, you can't treat me like this." and as nutbag as she is, she was right. i shouldn't be treating her like that. [of course, she should learn to take a freaking hint....] i still couldn't face calling her, so i sent her an email:

hi ellen -
i apologize for not returning your calls and emails. i know that wasn't the right thing to do. i guess i was doing the passive-aggressive, cowardly thing that most people do when they aren't interested in keeping in touch with a person anymore.
so, finally, i will just be straightforward: as you said in your message on my answering machine, i know that you're very fond of me. and you were very sweet to buy wile a gift. but i'm not interested in keeping up a friendship with you. i'm sorry.
i'm sorry if this hurts your feelings, but you're right---i shouldn't treat you like this anymore, just not answering your calls and emails.
i wish you all the best, and hope that your new grandchild brings you tons of happiness.
- kristen

a couple of hours later, i got a reply. i took a deep breath, opened it, and...it was an anti-spam email from earthlink telling me that i had to fill out this little form to be added to her list of approved people. of course. so fitting. so, i applied for approval and am awaiting her reply. will update when i get it.

i'm only a tiny bit scared that she'll show up on my doorstep.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

lou, i'm feeling you

today was a perfect day.

first of all, it was warm enough that i could wear a tank top, and it smelled like spring and even a little bit like summer....

i woke up at 7:15 and stephen and the boo were still sleeping, so i got up and took a long hot shower all by myself, then got to make a cup of tea and putter around downstairs a little bit before they got up, and stephen did the first diaper change.

we made burgers on the grill for lunch with the awesome organic beef, just-picked bibb lettuce, hydroponic tomatoes, and ciabatta that we got at the farmer's market yesterday, plus big slices of deli pickles, and we ate out in the yard on the blanket. the sun was out but not too hot, and we listened to the mets game* and talked and watched the boo smear a rice cake all over his face.

after lunch we packed the boo into the stroller and walked into fort greene to pick up a couple of plants and it rained a little, but it was a nice, light rain, not cold. i got some purple-and-orange violets from the sweet stoned men at the rasta shop on vanderbilt and dekalb. on the way home we took a scoop around to greene and checked out the community gardens in hopes of getting the boo to fall alseep, which of course he did just as we were pulling up to our gate.... so stephen went around the block again while i started doing my planting, and when they got back the boo was out cold and slept for a good hour in the stroller while i gardened and stephen sat on the steps and drank a beer in the sun and listened to the yankees game.

when the boo woke up charlie brought his grandson cody aka maurice over and the two newest residents of the block finally got to meet. between cody's little afro and the boo's insane curls, there was some epic baby hair going on.

and possibly the most exciting part of the day: stephen put wile to bed and got him to go down, without having to call me in, with no crying.

stephen and i had a perfect spring dinner—fingerling potatoes with anchovy dressing and ramps with bacon—and then he went out to see built to spill at southpaw, who i have no interest in seeing, and i am getting some alone time, sitting here doing this and listening to the purple mix tape.


[*even the fact that the mets lost can't really mar the perfectness—i'm more okay with losing to the cardinals, who i respect (even though they didn't show up in the series last year), than losing to some other team. i mean, you have to like the puhols. and i've had a thing for jim edmonds for years now....]

dog butt of the week

okay, so butch isn't the only sign of spring

the ramps are at the farmer's market, and they are AWESOME. yeah, i'm breaking out the capitals—they're that good.

[ggggaaaaaahhh! i just put my foot in the cat puke that has evidently been lurking under the desk chair the whole time i've been sitting here. ew ew double ew. have to go clean that up and hose off my flip-flop and toes. be right back.]

okay. as i was saying: ramps. i've read about them for years, but never bought them before. but then there they were at my farmers' market last week, at my favorite stand, the one run by the sweet little old man who told me that i should give wile horseradish root to teethe on. i bought two bunches, and then went back this week and bought two more bunches.

ramps, if you don't know, are wild leeks. they don't look at all like leeks, though—they look like wild onions, with scallion-sized bulbs, reddish stems, and these gorgeous silky green leaves. what's mostly written about them is how pungent they are, like the uberonion. and yes, my eyes teared when i tried one raw. and our house smelled pretty ramptastic after i cooked with them. but when they're sauteed, the thing that really came through to me was how sweet they were—but not cloyingly sweet the way leeks can get sometimes, because the sweetness is balanced out by the bite. and the texture of the leaves is amazing—totally pliable and soft but with enough resistance to your bite to not be at all slimy.

so the first time i got them i made spaghetti with ramps from a mario batali recipe i found on the babbo website. mario has never failed me before, and i had all the ingredients, so it seemed like the way to go. it was fanfreakintastic. there's really only one change i would make to the recipe: leaving the greens whole made them a little hard to eat—too much in a bite. but it was nice having them long so that they rolled up with the spaghetti when you twirl it. so i think i would cut them vertically, into narrow strips. we put a little romano on at the table, and it was good. oh and i guess mario leaves the bulbs whole, but i sliced mine vertically, which i liked—they were distributed more evenly than they would be if they were whole, and they got a kinda frizzled texture. but i'll try it with them whole next time, just to compare.

then with this weeks' bunch we made ramps with bacon. it was a recipe that i remembered from an old issue of saveur, but all of my saveurs are still in a box in the basement b/c we're still in post-renovation disarray, so i had to hope that it was out there on the internets. thankfully, there it was. it was just as good as it sounded. ah, bacon. making everything that much better. you cook the ramps in the bacon fat and water and they get all carmelized-y.... one change: the bulbs didn't have enough bite for me a the end, they seemed a little overcooked; i'd use a little under 1/2 cup of water, and keep an eye on them, and add the greens and bacon as soon as the water is absorbed rather than waiting the 15 minutes that the recipe says.

i'm going to put the recipes here because the mario one is a recipe-of-the-month and is going to disappear sometime soon, and the other one might too, you never know:

spaghetti with ramps
by mario batali

1 pound dry spaghetti or linguini
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces fresh ramps
1-2 tablespoons red chili flakes
kosher salt
2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

bring 6 quarts of water to a boil and add 2 tablespoons of salt. add the spaghetti to the pot and cook according to the package direction, until tender but still al dente.
heat olive oil in a 12-14 inch sauté pan over medium high heat. separate ramps by the white root ends and the leafy green top. add root ends to the pan and sauté until tender. add salt and chilli flakes. at the very end, add the greens and sauté until wilted. drain pasta and add it to the sauté pan. toss gently to coat the pasta with the sauce.
divide pasta evenly among four warmed plates. drizzle olive oil over top and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

sally's ramps with bacon
from saveur cooks authentic american, by saveur magazine.

2 lbs ramps
1/2 lb sliced bacon [*or you might want to cook a little extra since you cook it first and then set it aside, which means you have a plate of cooked bacon sitting there the whole time you're cooking the ramps and maybe you can resist picking from it but i sure the hell can't]
freshly ground black pepper

to clean ramps, peel off the outer skin, then trim off and discard roots. wash under cold running water to rinse away any dirt and grit clinging to the bulbs or leaves. cut bulbs from the leaves and reserve both.

fry bacon in a large skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden brown, about 15 minutes. remove bacon from skillet, drain on paper towels, and set aside. pour off all but about 2 tbsp bacon grease from pan. [*or have husband remove excess bacon grease from pan with toast for his pre-dinner snack. thanks, honey!]

add ramp bulbs and 1/2 cup water to same skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until bulbs are soft, about 15 minutes.[*see note above] coarsely chop leaves, add to skillet, and cook until wilted. crumble in bacon and cook until ramps are soft and all liquid has been absorbed. season to taste with salt and pepper.

yield: serves 4 to 6

Saturday, May 14, 2005

trogbaby the swinginator!

does the baby have large talons?

wednesday night stephen and i noticed some really red redness on mr. baby man's happy zone.* the next morning it was even redder and a little raw and oozy, so i called the doctor. when she called me back, she left a message--b/c of course i missed the call--saying that if it was a ring around his thang to get to the emergency room right away, but if it was just "denuded" skin to call back and make an appointment.

so of course i had a few minutes of freaking out whether it was a ring and oh my god should we rush to the emergency room before it just falls the hell off?? but then i decided it wasn't a ring, and called back and made an appointment for the next morning.

then, even though i could tell myself in the rational front of my mind that it was nothing serious, i had 12 hours of horrible things running through the back of my mind:
it's hepatitis-b and i'm a bad mother for not getting him the vaccination!
he's going to be sterile!
i let him eat bread at the restaurant the other day and now he's got some terrible wheat allergy!
it's irritation from the cloth diapers and i'm a bad mother for not putting him in disposables!
i didn't clean his hand off well enough after he touched the pole in the subway the other day and now he's got baby herpes!

so, the diagnosis? after a quick look, the doctor told us that she was pretty sure it was...a self-inflicted wound. yeah....

i guess i'm going to have to cut his nails more often. cause lord knows i'm not going to get him to stop touching it.

(* tm some espn baseball announcer a couple of years ago who described a pitch that was in some batter's wheelhouse as being in his "happy zone". hee.)

Friday, May 13, 2005

spring has sprung, word up.

the seasons have officially changed: butch is back on the stoop. oh, there were a couple of late winter sojourns...but now that he's out there every night--and every day, seriously, i don't know when the man sleeps--i feel like spring is really here.

butch talks pretty much nonstop--to his boys who come to visit him, or into his phone--and his signature phrase is "word up". actually more like "worrrdup". sometimes he throws in a "worrrdup, man, worrrdup." i'd say his rate is about 2 worrrdups every 5 minutes. i think it's going to beat out "mama" for wile's first word (up). and though sometimes at 2am i wish he'd shut the hell up, i like butch and like having him holding court out there--it's like a neighborhood watch program.

so you can keep your daffodils, your tulips, your robins--on my block, we've got butch. worrrdup.

Thursday, May 12, 2005


pookiellama is my favorite nickname for my baby. i don't know where it exactly came from...it doesn't have any special meaning; i'm not really into llamas (though i do love "how to get to llama school" from sifl & olly, and, of course, tina, you fat lard). and this isn't going to be a baby-specific site.
so why pookiellama? i like the sound of it. i say it at least 50 times a day. and though not baby-specific, there's going to be a whole lot of baby here, since that is my main gig right now. and...my first choice was taken. by someone who hasn't posted in a year and a half. so, that's my pookiellama up there. aka poo, llams, boo, the boo, mr. boo, monkey man, potato, little man, mr. baby man, baby monster.
so why a blog at all? i decided to do this on a whim, but i think the whim came from the need/want to do something creative, which i haven't been doing lately. not that mothering isn't creative, but i guess i'm looking for a change from the "how can i distract him while i change this diaper?" kind of creativity....