Tuesday, November 29, 2005

dog (not butt) of the week

6 great iPhotos

warning: contains materials unsuitable for children

this past summer, when we were in maine, i bought wile a stuffed animal hedgehog. i've always loved hedgehogs, especially mrs. tiggy winkle, and the one i found in pemaquid was especially cute. hedgehog mostly hangs out in wile's crib, which is next to our bed, and often when i come in to the room and catch a glimpse of hedgehog out of the corner of my eye i think it's a cat curled up in the crib.

well, apparently so does trucky. specifically, a girl cat. more specifically, a girl cat in heat. i have to assume that's the case, because that's the only thing that would explain what stephen and i saw when we turned on the light in the bedroom last night: trucky humping the bejeezus out of hedgehog. he had mounted her, had the nape of her neck firmly clamped in a love bite, and was giving it to her full force, going at it like we hadn't had his balls removed six years ago. i really truly wish that i'd been able to capture the act on film, but i was laughing too hard. we did manage to get some post-coital shots:

6 great iPhotos
cigarette, anyone?

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we should probably wash those sheets....

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was it good for you, baby?

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that's my sweet piece of hedgehog ass, bro. keep it moving.

there was a matted spot on hedgehog's fur near her head from where trucky was biting her and a matted spot near her bottom end that...i don't want to think about.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


or, should i say, btietm. i've been a little delinquent on the btietws....

usually fall at the farmer's market is all about the apples for me: the macouns, the winesaps, the occasional jona gold. i make boatloads of applesauce, and eat apple slices dipped in peanut butter at least every other day. but for some reason this year i'm not feeling the apples. i've enjoyed a couple great ones, but i've been much more into the pears: specifically the golden boscs and the little sugar seckles. (hee—i had some seckles out last night, along with some lady apples and clementines, for snacks before our dinner party, and hayes picked one up and said "what is this, toy fruit?" so i told stephen that ryan was making fun of our little fruit and he said, of course, "hayes is a little fruit." i feel a new song coming on....) i haven't done a damn thing with them but slice and eat them, which is partially due to them being so good they don't need any help, and partially due to the young man attached to my hip/leg. but if you get your hands on some and want to do something with them besides the old slice 'n eat, try this recipe. i know, technically it's not something i ate this week (or month), but it's a fantastic recipe.

fall at the market also brings the cauliflower. oh, do i love the cauliflower. my never-fail cauliflower preparation is roasting: cut up the cauliflower into ~1" chunks; toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika; turn out onto a baking sheet and roast for about 30-40 minutes at 400˚. you want the cauliflower to get good and brown, really carmelized on the bottom. do not be afraid of the oil. if you don't use enough, the cauliflower might start to dry out partway through the roasting process. don't despair—just spray or brush it with more oil and shove it back in the oven. i can eat a whole head of roasted cauliflower myself. no problem.

a little more (okay, a lot more) work but also fabulous is cauliflower fritters. take the whole head and steam it till tender. if you have a big pot and a not-huge cauliflower, you should be able to just cut out the core and plonk it into the steamer. i get gargantuan cauliflowers from farmer ted at the market, so i have to hack mine up into a couple pieces to fit it into the pot. anyhoo, when it's tender take it out and run it under cool water till you can handle it. then pull it apart with your fingers, breaking up the florets into thumbnail-sized pieces into a big bowl, and putting the stems on a cutting board where you'll then cut them up into pieces of similar size and then add them to the bowl. now, every time i make these i use slightly different ingredients (depending on what i have in the house) in slightly different amounts (depending on the size of the cauliflower and my mood), so the "recipe" is going to get a little vague here. you'll definitely need at least 2 eggs to keep things together—just break them into the bowl, making a little well in the center of the cauliflower pieces, and beat them a little bit in there before mixing them in. then you'll need some mayo (hellman's, of course). i know, mayo on top of eggs seems like overkill. but it makes them incredibly creamy, and you don't need a lot. maybe 1/4 cup for a medium-sized cauliflower. then you need some starch: i've used flour, bread crumbs, cornmeal, and various combinations of all of these things. you need just enough to make it hold together—it should be kinda sticky/gooey. let's see, maybe 1/3 of a cup for a medium-sized cauliflower? i usually just season it with pepper and sprinkle them with coarse salt when they're cooked, but you can get crazy with the herbs/spices if you want—dill, paprika, cayenne pepper, whatever. i'd say no to thyme, though; it didn't mesh with the cauliflower flavor very well (not that that stopped me from eating the whole batch). so once you've got the batter all set, heat up a big saute/frying pan with about a 1/4-inch of oil (peanut's the best) in the bottom to medium-high heat. drop the batter in by the spoonful (i use a ceramic chinese spoon), flattening the mounds down with the back of the spoon, and fry until golden on both sides, drain on paper towels or a wire rack. they're totally fine plain, but they're awesome with a little sauce—i like mayo thinned with a little water and flavored with lemon juice or hot sauce (crystal, of course). and you can make them one day, let them cool, store them in the fridge, and heat them on on a baking sheet in a 350˚ oven another day and they're just as good. i did this when i served them at sydney's post-marathon dinner, and everybody seemed happy with them. even though they were a teensy bit mushy because i didn't let them cool all the way before putting them in the tupperware and into the fridge....

unlike the cauliflower, which i love unconditionally, i have a more complicated relationship with greens. i want to like them, i know how good they are for me, etc etc, but i've never found a way to prepare them that made me really love them. stephen makes kick-ass collard greens with bacon, vinegar, and brown sugar, but that's a big prOcess, and mine never turn out as good as his. but this fall i've figured out what the problem has been in the past: i wasn't buying my greens from farmer ted. i don't know what this man does to his kale, but it's so freaking sweet you can almost eat it raw. i would steam it for five minutes and eat it with absolutely nothing on it and love it. then the purple kale appeared, which is just as delicious, even more tender, and gorgeous.

i used both of them in frittatas a bunch of times, which is simple and delicious: saute some onion and/or garlic in an oven-proof pan, add the chopped-up kale and cover to let it steam on low heat for a few minutes, then uncover and turn the heat up and saute to cook off any liquid. season with salt and pepper. beat up some eggs then fold in some grated cheese—i used parmegiano reggiano (the king of cheeses) and dry vela jack (amontereyonteray jack from cali)—and pour over the greens. at this point you can either a) let the egg cook mostly on the stovetop, over lowish heat, throwing it under the broiler when it's still liquid just on top, or b) throw it in a 350˚ oven for 10-15 minutes, till it's just set on top. i prefer the 350˚-oven method, which requires less attention.

i have auntie syd to thank for inspiring me to get into the other kale preparation i've been loving: kale, white bean, and sausage mess. saute onions and garlic slowly slowly over low heat in olive oil in a saucepan/dutch oven/what have you. i use this. when the onion and garlic is nice and soft and golden, add the sausage and a couple of cans of beans. i prefer the duck sausage that i get from fresh direct, and navy beans from eden organic—i used to use goya beans all the time, but i started getting annoyed and kinda grossed out by how the beans at the bottom of the can would be almost total mush, so i tried the organic beans and there was no mush and i'm happy. you can throw the sausages in whole or cut up, whichever you'd like. then throw in some stock—chicken, veggie, beef, whatever you have. how much you throw in is up to you. you can use a whole can/carton and make it soup, you can use very little and make it a dish yowith a eat witha spoon, or you can use an amount somewhere in between the two and make it how i like it: soupy enough that you can eat it with a fork but you have plenty of broth to sop up with good bread. so whatever you do, let that all cook until the sausage is cooked through, then throw in the kale, cook for a few minutes to let it wilt, and serve. this is great even if you can't get kale as sweet as what farmer ted grows, just let the kale cook longer.

now, can someone tell me how to make squash—the featured product of the winter farmer's market—so that i like it?

Monday, November 21, 2005

the ballad of the broken baby: a play in four acts

[well, that was fun. i'm still a little shaky, but much better. i think the culprit was some cranberry-apple cider that had possibly turned the corner.... i decided this when i woke up in the middle of the night, still with the fever and headache and dizziness and also with the new addition of wrenching nausea, and i thought, as a i curled into the fetal position, "this is such a familiar sensation...where have i...aaaahhhh, yes. college. sideshow. too many tanqueray-and-tonics." thankfully, unlike senior year, i didn't end up barfing. but it made me think that the most likely cause of my anguish was the closest thing to alcohol that i'd consumed that day. but i'm back on solid food now, and actually left the house for a longer journey than yesterday's bleary stagger to the corner bodega, mr. baby man clinging to my hip, to fetch some ginger ale.

so now, without further ado....]

act 1

dining room, early evening.

me: okay babe, i'm just going to turn my back on you for a second to put this stuff down on the table and have a sip of my tea. you stay standing there where you are.


me: holy jeez, are you alright?!

wile: [blank, surprised stare]

[mama picks up child, who starts crying into her shoulder. they retire to the bedroom for some therapeutic nursing]

act 2

doctor's office

dr. baker: so, what happened?

me: well, of course i didn't see it, but he fell, i assume when he was taking some steps and possibly tripped, or just capsized. he's just starting to get the walking. he cried, but i've heard him cry harder. but when he tried to crawl, he couldn't—he would try to bear weight on his left hand and he would start crying. so i poked and prodded his hand and wrist and arm and shoulder and he didn't cry, so i figured that maybe it was just sore, which is why i didn't bring him in right away... [looks at doctor like "please tell me i'm not a bad mother for not bringing him in right away"]

dr. baker: totally understandable....

me: ...but then when he still wouldn't put weight on it two days later, we came in.

dr. baker: [poking and prodding mr. baby man's left arm] it's hard to tell with the little ones, but i'd say if he's still not bearing weight on it, you should get an x-ray. you'll have to go over to the hospital, our x-ray guy is gone for the day. but don't worry—at this age, they break easy and they mend easy.

act 3

basement of hospital

[mama pushes baby in stroller out of elevator and down hallway to sign that says "diagnostic radiation" in two different places, with two different arrows pointing in opposite directions.]

me: huh.

[mama pushes baby in stroller down hallway to the right, because why not. finds deserted reception area, but a big sign that says "sign in here for", among other things, "x-ray", so decides she's in the right place. sign-in sheet seems to be with missing receptionist, so she lurks.]

receptionist or nurse or whatever who finally comes down the hallway: can i help you?

me: hi, we're here for an x-ray, someone from dr. baker's office should have called—"

r.o.n.o.w.w.f.c.d.t.h.: you're in the wrong place, x-ray is at the other end of the hall.

me: oh, sorry, the sign there says "sign in here for x-ray".

r.o.n.o.w.w.f.c.d.t.h.: no it doesn't, this isn't x-ray.

me: well, yes it...does. [points at sign]

r.o.n.o.w.w.f.c.d.t.h.: no, it doesn't.

me: [still pointing at sign] uuuuhhh....

r.o.n.o.w.w.f.c.d.t.h.: [finally walks closer and looks at sign, seems completely nonplussed by fact that it doesn in fact have the word "x-ray" on it.] look, i'm telling you where to go.

me: okay! thanks so much for your help!

[mama pushes baby in stroller down hallway to other "diagnostic radiation" area, where they have an inconsequential check-in procedure and a fairly short sojourn in the waiting room before being called by large male x-ray technician, who leads them in to x-ray room.]

l.m.x.t.: so, i'm gonna need you to hold his arm still while we do dis. now i need to ask yous, is dere any chance you're pregnant?

me: oh dear god no.

l.m.x.t.'s raised eyebrows: so you got the one broken child and the thought of another one makes you that appalled? should i be calling child welfare?

my most beatific smile: what was that? i couldn't hear you over the love for my baby that fills every last inch of being, like the singing of angels. love love love love love love love!

l.m.x.t.: okay...so yous got to lay him down on the table [mama plops mr. baby man gently on to the table], and put dis ting on [l.m.x.t. helps mama on with lead apron at least 25 sizes too big for her].

me: [to mr. baby man] alright, honey, do fall back for mama. [wile flops back from sitting position to lying-down position and lies there peacefully.] now we're just going to take some pictures of your arm. see this? this is a really big camera.... [wile immediately pastes on his "camera face"] uh huh, i said your arm, norma desmond, not your little mug.

[montage of l.m.x.t. positioning mr. baby man's arm, mama holding it as still as possible, and mr. baby man really, all things considered, behaving incredibly well.]

l.m.x.t.: okay, now yous can go back into the waitin' room and a doctor will take a look at dese, should't be too long.

[mama and babe retreat to waiting room, where, amazingly, they don't wait too long before a young female doctor comes out, followed by l.m.x.t.]

y.f.d.: hi so he's got a fractured wrist you'll have to go up to the emergency room and have them put a splint on it good luck bye. [turns and practically runs out of the room]

me: [blink] ......um, okay...thank you? [turns to l.m.x.t. for further help, which, thankfully, he seems to be ther to provide]

l.m.x.t.: just go up to da e.r. and make sure you tell dem dat you was down here and dat the x-rays are in da system. easist way to get to da e.r. is to go outside and around da corner and back in. [chuckles] you're probbly gonna be dere a while....

act 4

entrance to emergency room

[mama arrives at door of emergency room with baby on hip, pushing stroller full of their belongings, looks up and sees....stairs. leading up to the emergency room, where the gravely injured and dangerously ill people go, is....a set of stairs. okay, fine, there's also one of those wheelchair elevator thingys, but come on. fucking stairs leading to an emergency room? mama hoists baby higher on to her hip, picks up stroller with left hand, and clomps up the stairs, into the waiting room, and up to the sign-in podium. she takes the sign-in sheet and goes to sit down in the seat across from the podium to fill it out.]

security guard at podium: you cannot take that away from here! you have to fill that out here!

my raised eyebrows: i'm sorry, do you not see the baby on my hip and the overflowing stroller? both of which i just lugged up your stupid stairs?

s.g.a.p.'s blank look: i'm sorry, i stopped noticing anything a long time ago. i just know what the rules say, and the rules say that the little clipboard stays on the little podium.

me: it would be kinda difficult for me to fill it out standing here, with the baby on my arm and all my stuff—

s.g.a.p.: you cannot take it! you have to fill it out here!

me: yeah. okay, i'm just going to take it riiight over here and sit down and fill it out, and i'll bring it right back.

s.g.a.p.: there is no need to be rude!

me: [filling out form] i completely agree.

[montage of mama and baby waiting waiting waiting, including scenes of being interviewed by the triage nurse, purchasing and consuming a granola bar, phoning for paternal reinforcements, walking around the room and around and around and around, and what seems like an endless loop of footage of mr. baby man emptying the contents of mama's wallet onto the seat next to him, mama collecting the contents from the seat and from the floor, putting everthing back in, emptying again, collecting again.... finally paternal reinforcements arrive.]

dad: i can't believe there are stairs leading in to this place.

me: i know. listen, we need to change this child's diaper.

[short montage of dad conferring with several hospital employees as to where a changing table might be located, cause there ain't one in either bathroom, cause you know no one ever brings a baby to an emergency room, nooooo, ending in dad, mama and babe being ushered back into the emergency room itself and told they can use one of the beds back there.]

nurse: what's wrong with him?

me: fractured wrist.

nurse: oh, you're next on the list, you can just stay back here.

me: eeeeexcelent.

[diapers are changed, fussing commences, boobs are offered.]

familiar voice: what are you doing here?

me: [looking up from nursing child in lap] oh my god. hi! what are you doing here?

terra: nola's been sick all week, vomitting after every feeding, and today she seemed really dehydrated so we brought her in. we've been here for hours.

derek: [holding nola, who has a tiny little i.v. tube in her tiny little hand] hi!

me: hi! this is crazy.... well, we have a fractured wrist....

[montage of playdate in the e.r., chatting about our respective sick/hurt babies, trying to keep an increasingly tired mr. baby man from spazzing out. nola peacefully drinks a whole bottle of formula and starts in on another bag of fluids. several nurses and doctors talk to us, then finally we get to see the pediatric orthopedist.]

p.o.: okay, so i'm going to put the cast on now.

me + the dad: cast?? not splint?

p.o.: yeah, we need to do a full cast. he'll have it on for a month, and you can't get it wet.

dad: can't get it wet? at all?

p.o.: no.

dad: um, that could be a problem..... he takes a bath every night....

me: yeah, i can't imagine trying to keep it dry for a month....

p.o.: oh, okay. okay, yeah. i'll go upstairs and get the waterproof stuff.

me + the dad: uh-huh.

[final montage of mr. baby man watching with detatched interest as his arm is wrapped up in "the waterproof stuff", which looks like opaque bubble wrap, and then in the goopy mesh that hardens into the cast. there's a little crying after it's done, but nothing cataclysmic, and then we're free to go, down the stairs and out into the night.]

and that's pretty much the whole story, folks. we went to see an orthopedist on tuesday who said that the e.r. ortho had done a good job and that everything looked fine. wile got more x-rays taken and again posed for the x-ray camera like it was his job. d-day for cast removal is december 13th, and the orthopedist said not to worry that he falls on it and/or bangs it into things at least fifty times a day.

Friday, November 18, 2005

yes, we have no bananas

so i spent last night in the grip of what i have to assume was food poisoning of some sort: fever, chills, headache, nausea. i was convinced i had the bird flu, or deep vein thrombosis.

still not on my game.

back soon.

Monday, November 14, 2005

dunh da dunh dunh da da da

after much frustration with a lesser video hosting site, i stumbled upon youtube.com and am finally able to bring you, in all it's glory, the only known live recording of the timeless classic, "nate's got a teenage polish girlfriend."

why yes, i am living in fear that he's going to break my nose

so remember the fall that wile took that i so nonchalantly mentioned? hmm. yeah. well. wile has, as my friend susan puts it, a "special new accessory" courtesy of that fall:

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as you can see, it's really making his life miserable....

you can see more pictures of it on wile's site. i'll provide you with a full description of the discovery and treatment tomorrow night—i blew my energy tonight putting up new bookshelves and chatting with neighbor kennedy, who was over using the computer to find his mom an apartment so that she can move out of his place, where she is currently staying and driving him just a little bit of that special kind of crazy that your mom can drive you when the visit goes on a little too long. and yes, i'm aware that i'm a mom now and will someday drive wile crazy. i think about that every time he puts me in a choke hold and cries when i try to leave him.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

pick a litle, talk a little

sunday night, when wile was saying goodnight to all of the ladies who were congregated in the living room for a post-marathon celebration (yay aunt sydney!), he passed another milestone: he stuck his finger up his nose for the first time.

i'll be the first to admit that i'm a picker. not in public, but in the privacy of my own home? i pick. i do. and if the results of the informal backyard poll that we conducted after dinner sunday night are anywhere near accurate, four out of six people are pickers. of noses, scabs, peeling sunburn skin, what have you. and the other two people say "eeewww!" and laugh at us.

of course, i've been thinking about my picking habits around wile. it'll be a good long time before he can distinguish between things that are okay to do in public and things that are only okay to do in front of people who love you anyway even if you're kinda gross, so i've been trying to set a non-picking example for him. cause nobody wants their kid to be the nose-picker. but it's freaking hard! i'm with the boy 24 hours a day, and much of that time is in the house, just the two of us.... and it's equally as hard to resist picking his nose. (oh, quiet down. you wait till you have kids!) i have limited myself to the boogers on the outside of his nose, which i figure are fair game. not that i have much success, as any time i get anything—a finger, a tissue—within two inches of his nose he goes into total defense mode, writhing and squirming like a crazy little monkey.

yesterday he took a bad spill, flat out on his face and left hand. he was taking some solo steps in the dining room and went over like somebody had hit him with petrificus totalus. he got a bump on his forehead and a scrape right under his nose. the scrape has turned into a scab, which, because it's right under his nose, which is running constantly these days, has become kind of encased in hardened snot.

it's taking every single last shred of my self control not to pick at it.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

dog (not butt) of the week: special expanded great pupkin edition

the first fall that stephen and i lived in this neighborhood, we were at the farmer's market on halloween weekend when we started to notice that all the dogs (there's always a ton of dogs at the farmer's market) had costumes on. at first i just thought "okay, overzealous dog owners", but then we noticed that they were all congragating on the hill over in the park. so, of course, we had to investigate, and oh man, thank god we did. we discovered one of our top ten reasons we're glad we live here: the great pupkin. a dog costume contest. check it out:

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8 great iPhotos

8 great iPhotos

8 great iPhotos

8 great iPhotos

8 great iPhotos

8 great iPhotos