(3) Tue Feb 01 2005 09:52 Nakie Time:
The boys love to have what we call "nakie time" after their baths. It fits my agenda because they are too squirmey for a toweling off. So, with our arrangement, they get dry and have fun running around like freed maniacs for five minutes. Of course it is all fun and games until someone pees on the floor.
(3) Thu Feb 03 2005 16:27 Granola Mouth:
I haven't made granola, typically a Matkin household staple, in over a month. We made so many batches as Christmas presents for important-someones in Lawrence that I haven't been able to bring myself to the task until today. But since my cousin, Leonard, mentioned granola on his blog, my tummy has been rumbling for it.
I had this great idea to include Samuel in my project, since Atticus was playing at a friend's house and cooking seems to be a perfect kid-helps-mom kind of activity. I gave him a spatula and let him stir the oats and stuff. Before I knew it, he was taking huge fistfuls to his mouth, crumbs falling off his face and into the bowl. Then he was pinching bits of ingredients in his fingers and dropping them onto the floor. Now I have a great mess to clean up. All said and done, it isn't so bad. We did something constructive together, and this time I wasn't so uptight about it. But there is a lesson to remember: theory doesn't always translate perfectly into practicalities.
Tue Feb 08 2005 09:28 Fumbling in the Night:
The boys and I are all stricken with scratchy throats and coughs. I'm not sure about Dave; one can never detect when he is sick. He is a soldier for those types of things. Last night, I was having such trouble falling asleep that I raided our cupboards for anything that would soothe my throat. A well stocked medicine cabinet is one of those things that goes unnoticed until something is lacking. I found some Coldeze tablets on a shelf underneath all our hats in a random closet. What an odd place for such a thing.
We're in for a trip to the pharmacy today.
Tue Feb 08 2005 09:57 Uncle Tom's Cabin:
Well, I finished the book yesterday. It was very interesting, though with 150 something years of added insight to such issues as slavery and the subjugation of African Americans do expose many problems with the text. For example, Stowe seems to trade one set of stereotypes (that of moral-less, unfeeling, barbarians) for another (simplistic, child-like, dependent creatures). One step forward, at least, in the context of history.
The novel also begs the question: is it possible for a white female to fairly represent the characteristics of a culture and race completely different from her own? Can any outside writer succeed in writing the lives of the "other"? Stowe's characters seem to be caucasion personalities dressed in "mulatto" and "negro" skin, terms she uses to categorize characters. All things considered, Uncle Tom's Cabin is an important book, and I'm pleased that such a gutsy piece of fiction came from a woman.
I'm wondering why this is one of the most banned books in the US. Strange what people get up in arms about, sometimes.
(3) Fri Feb 11 2005 14:20 And to finish the week . . . a trip to the pediatrician :
I thought we were all on the mend, except for a few minor complaints. Atticus has been more and more tender each day about his ear hurting (but he has no fever), and he's waking up in the night to remind me several times. Samuel also seemed to be doing well finally, though he has had the most stubborn diaper rash that I figured had turned into a yeast infection. So I called and made appointments for Dr. Riordan to look at Atticus' left ear and Samuel's hind quarters. And boy did I get a few surprises! Atticus has a really bad ear infection--in both ears!! Samuel is recovering from bronchitis, and has ashma like wheezing and coughing. And that diaper rash? Perianal strep, like strep throat, only in the, well, you know. My poor babies are sickies. Now that I have amoxicillin for each and an airway opener for Samuel, we'll all get a little more rest around here. Here's to hoping.
Sat Feb 12 2005 16:31:
I took away a styrofoam egg carton that Samuel had begun to tear to pieces. "Man, it is so hard to control that kid," Atticus says, "he's so crazy."
Sun Feb 13 2005 19:58 Nachos, anyone?:
Dave had this groovy dinner idea when we had leftover black beans: scatter tortilla chips on a cookie sheet (one with a little bit of a lip), heap with warm beans, generously sprinkle with grated cheese, and place in oven under broiler. Watch carefully. Our broiler can be set at a temperature, and we usually put it at 300 degrees. When the cheese is melted, remove nachos from oven, distribute onto plates, and add whatever nacho toppings you desire (fresh salsa, tomatoes, guacamole, sprinkling of lime, cilantro, etc.). Viola! There's supper.
Maybe the children you know will even eat it.
(1) Sun Feb 13 2005 20:10:
Our thoughtful friends, Liz and John Paul, called up and offered to tend the kids so we could go on a date on Saturday night. We went to the Mediterranean Cafe, which is a little market/ cafe in a strip mall on the northwest side of town. I ordered the falafel with hummus, Dave picked the chicken gyro, and we both had a bowl of red lentil soup. The falafel was the most complex I have ever eaten. I couldn't really put my finger on the spices they used, but I'm pretty sure I tasted cloves! and red pepper flakes. The prevailing taste was not of chickpeas, which is what I'm used to. The Mediterranean Cafe falafel was delish. And the hummus was so tangy and fresh. We thought the lentil soup was good, too, but not good enough to merit the $3.50 a bowl we paid. We could hear the cooks speaking Greek to each other in the kitchen, and we salivated on all the imported foods and treats they had in the market while we waited for our food. We'll definitely go back again.
(3) Tue Feb 15 2005 13:29:
Atticus and I were looking for a new shirt at the store today. I picked out a nice striped shirt, and he said, "No, I want a shirt my friends will say is cool." Translation: I want a superhero shirt.
Four-years-old and already concerned about what people think of his wardrobe? Boy are we in for it.
(4) Wed Feb 16 2005 08:51 Early Extortion:
Atticus: "You have to give me fruit snacks, or something bad might happen."
(5) Sat Feb 19 2005 05:55 The Scent of New Horizons:
It is almost 5:00 am. Samuel climbed into our bed sometime between 1:00 and 2:00 am. When the disturbance was too much to ignore, I woke up to remove him. Then around four o' something I noticed another moving body in my sleeping space. This time, with more difficulty, I woke up and discovered Atticus. I might have kicked Dave awake to take care of him, but Dave's eyes have looked so painfully bloodshot the past few days. I got up to return Atticus to his bed. Then I burrowed under my covers and tried to fall asleep myself. Instead I stared at the backs of closed eyelids, listening to the heater come on and off. I usually have a hard time relaxing enough to fall asleep after night wakings, but especially after multiple needs in a single night. Be warned, all who look forward to creating offspring in your lifetime: children require round-the-clock care. They don't compartamentalize their needs and activities in day time/ night time periods, like adults. You would-be-parents will always be on call, could be needed at any hour. That might sound like a death sentence. Sometimes it is.
The problem this morning is that I've started thinking about The Future. We're well into the fourth semester of Dave's course work. We have only one remaining. By this time next year, Dave will have completed his oral and written exams, and will no longer be a PhD student, but a doctoral candidate. Then, we will only have one task to finish: the dissertation. Granted, this is the most formidable endeavor of all. We have no idea how long of a time committment it will require, but a year is a fair and generous estimate. So, two years to go. Only two Lawrence Farmer's Market seasons left for sure, though maybe three. But in one year, we'll be scoping out the job market, placing applications, floating resumes. That will be exciting. Dave sometimes pitches me different scenarios for jobs. "NYU or University of Chicago, which one?" "UVIC, University of Toronto, or Acadia University?" "BYU or the U of U?" "U-Dub or USD?" Some of these are realistic options, but some of them are made of dreams only. In the end, beggers can be selective, but they have to pick something, and after a cumulative 6 years of marriage with one or the other of us in school, it will be a welcome change to have a "real" job.
Last October I wrote about ambitious plans to possibly finish school in three years. Realistically, it will have taken us four, and if we keep to the one year allowance for the dissertation, this time two years hence, we will be finished.
Tue Feb 22 2005 09:52:
My latest favorite breakfast is oatmeal slow-cooked with a hand full of raisins and a little salt, served with a sprinkling of brown sugar, a heap of chopped walnuts, and a whallup of vanilla yogurt. Yogurt is the "new" component of my staple morning meal. It's like having dessert for breakfast, and it keeps me going like the Energizer Bunny. Try it.
Incidentally, we consume, as a family, a 25 bag of Heartland Mills (Kansas grown and milled) organic old-fashioned rolled oats about every 4-5 months--even in the summer. We've got to branch out.
(10) Wed Feb 23 2005 10:22 Crummy Addiction:
I think that I've become obsessed with reading my little group of favorite blogs, going alphabetically through my own blog to check for comments, then to jabberwocky, joe, kristen, rachel, swishina, traffic, then to crummy.com, to Sumana's site and to Brendan's, then to my friend Sabine's blog, and her husband Mike's, which I added to my list recently. If no one has posted anything new since the last time I've checked, like fifteen minutes ago, I go into withdrawls and I start to hyperventilate. Well, not really, but I'm pretty pathetic. People: I can't go to the cubical or the office next door to see another fully grown human being, so I am sometimes hungering for virtual company instead. Please don't say your life is boring, or resign your blog to silence. I might just go into histerics.
For readers that don't already know, some of my favorite crummy bloggers are also favorite family members.
(3) Thu Feb 24 2005 08:30:
Some mornings I wake up and deep down inside, I've already decided the coming day is doomed. This is that kind of day.
I don't want to take care of anyone else today. I want someone to take care of me for a change. To make matters worse, Dave left for a conference in Wichita this morning, and he won't be back until tomorrow night.
Man, I hate days like this. Maybe a long, hot shower will lift this malaise better than my lame attempts at peppy self-talk. I'll give it a try. The boys can watch Pee Wee's Playhouse and eat fruit snacks while I try to shoulder the day ahead.
Thu Feb 24 2005 20:41:
Well, my day turned out fine after all. I traded baby-sitting with my neighbor for a couple hours. That helped. Now the boys are in bed. I am going to watch Hidalgo and eat Ben & Jerry's. We'll see how well Vigo performs when he's not trying to save Middle Earth.
Sat Feb 26 2005 17:42:
Atticus pushed a piece of paper under his bedroom door. Samuel, walking by, noticed the sheet slide into the open, so he picked it up and started to walk away. Atticus waited a moment, and then opened the door in frustration.
"Hey, I'm playing mail, not steal the mail!"
(15) Mon Feb 28 2005 21:12 Bought and Sold:
Many of my friends and family members are familiar with my vexation of Wal-mart. Dave and I have grown more and more committed over the years to supporting local merchants whenever possible. When we moved to Lawrence, it was like stumbling upon a treasure trove of local economy. Here there is a thriving downtown of stores and restaurants that one cannot find anywhere but in Lawrence. This isn't only downtown; little thriving companies are scattered all over the city. So are cars with bumper stickers that read: "Vote with your Dollar," and "A Living Wage Builds a Better Lawrence." I bring this up because I read a great op-ed piece in the NY Times today, and it made my pulse quicken. I know that I pay a higher price to shop at, say, The Raven Bookstore, an independently owned shop that sits just around the corner from Borders. I know that if I buy pizza from Rudy's Pizzeria I might spend a couple dollars more than if I went to Pizza Hut (I also wouldn't enjoy their made-from-scratch crusts and sauces, their freshly grated cheese blends--mmmm). Friends, I'm not just buying a book or a slice of pizza (as superior as it may be). I'm buying the privilege of walking down Massachusetts street and seeing my town, not just Anywhere, USA. I'm paying for the benefit of standing behind the owner of the local outdoor outfitter at the grocery store, knowing that the t-shirts and swim goggles I've purchased from her not only help pay for her groceries, but also her thriving dreams. These people are my neighbors, and I'm investing in them.
I understand the allure of rock-bottom prices. But this journalist, Robert Reich, is totally right. No matter where you shop, you get what you pay for.
(2) Mon Feb 28 2005 22:08 The World Is My Cookie:
I made my kids chocolate chip cookies tonight. It was so precious watching those boys gingerly dip their cookies in milk and savor every crumble. How delicious and wonderful this world must seem to them.
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