“don’t want it cart, mama!”

Harry is speaking in full sentences these days (as evidenced in the title of this post, taken from a conflict at the entrance to IKEA), and has picked up on his parents’ linguistic tics. Por ejemplo:

Me (in front seat of car): Harry, whatcha doing?

Harry (in carseat, quietly): Biscuits!

Me: Are you listening to the Biscuit Brothers?

Harry: Yuh.

Both Matt and I use some variation of yup/yes/yeah, and Harry has become an expert mimic, as evidenced in his use of “yuh,” as well as “pretty cool, huh?” and various imperatives and expletives deployed on a day to day basis.

Thanksgiving was good, although it involved a lot of time spent in the car. We visited with my grandparents in East Texas, and stayed in the same hotel as my brother and his family, who were visiting for the first time since my mom’s funeral (March 2004). My bro’s younger child, M, is five months older than Harry and it’s amazing to observe the differences — physical, temperamental, and verbal — among two-year-olds. Harry is shorter than M, and more even-tempered, and they are pretty much on par in language acquisition.
Last night, we drove out to my folks’ place in Canyon Lake to celebrate my stepmom’s and oldest niece’s birthdays a bit early. My stepsister’s middle child is also 2 (about six months older than H), and he is pure id. I have never seen tantrums so fiery and hairtriggered. Harry’s got him beat in the language department, but is also far less physical. Oh, and I see that I’ve already written about this. My bad. You know your blog is in trouble when you’re inadvertently recycling material from a month ago. Oops.

In other news, I’ve become addicted to playing Scrabulous on Facebook. I’ve got a shitload of reading to do in these last two weeks of the semester, in addition to a couple of book reviews (of some none-too-slender tomes) to bang out in these same two weeks. I’m also knitting socks, socks, socks and hoping to get some work done on the dissertation over the break, which should be a breeze, considering Nana’s taking the last two weeks of December off. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

And now, a query. Is Heidegger really that big a deal? Do I HAVE to read Being and Time or can I just crap on about Dasein and pretend I know what I’m talking about? Is it really so important, or can I just go on living a relatively Heidegger-free existence? I welcome existentialist/ontological jokes as well as actual insight.

Oh, and the vegan pumpkin pie from Whole Foods is vomitous.

A non-dairy treat and that soup recipe I promised

I had the good fortune to sample these while at Costco on Saturday (the cranberry almond flavor), and snapped them up immediately. Apparently, they come and go, so I may need to sneak back over there and stock up. Only 2 POINTS per pack! Awesome!

I bought new running shoes I can’t afford today. I really, really needed them and they are quite comfy and I really, really need to start running again. I’ve never had Sauconys before, but if the price is any indication, I’ll be running alongside Katie and Lance in next year’s New York Marathon.

Here’s that soup recipe I promised last week before I got my panties in a twist about stone-age feminism:

Butternut squash and carrot soup
1.5 c. butternut squash, cubed
1 c. carrots, diced
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4c. diced onion
1/4. celery
1 sprig thyme
1 quart vegetable or chicken broth

Heat olive oil over medium heat in 2-quart saucepan
Add onions and celery and saute gently until onions are translucent
Add squash, carrots, and thyme sprig and saute for another 2-3 minutes
Add the broth and increase heat. Bring soup just to a simmer and lower heat
Cover and continue to simmer soup gently until carrots are tender, approx. 25 minutes.
Remove soupd fromheat, discard thyme sprig. Taste and add salt and pepper if desired.
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve immediately.
Serves 4, 1.5 POINTS per serving.

Got a hangnail? Blame the feminists.

Well, Virginia, I think I can safely say I’ve heard it all. Not only is feminism the cause of every bad thing in our society (decline of the American family, war, famine, pestilence, etc.), but now it’s responsible for the extinction of the Neanderthals.

The Neanderthal extinction some 30,000 years ago remains one of the great riddles of evolution, with rival theories blaming everything from genocide committed by “real” humans to prehistoric climate change.

But a recent study introduces another explanation: Stone Age feminism. Among Neanderthals, hunting big beasts was women’s work as well as men’s, so it’s a safe bet that female hunters got stomped, gored, and worse with appalling frequency. And a high casualty rate among fertile women – the vital “reproductive core” of a tiny population – could well have meant demographic disaster for a species already struggling to survive among monster bears, yellow-fanged hyenas, and cunning Homo sapien newcomers.

That’s right, it’s because the Neanderthals didn’t differentiate among the sexes when it came down to hunting game that they are extinct. And because they didn’t protect those precious reproductive systems, they were unable to perpetuate their species. How do we know that all of the fertile women were killed off? How do we know it wasn’t the males who were all stomped and gored to oblivion? Last time I checked, a population needed male and female members to reproduce, so designating the women as the Neanderthals’ “reproductive core” seems a bit disingenuous to me.

It’s dangerous, dangerous business to label the death of a species, the cause of which we’ll never really know, the result of “feminism.” Equal opportunity stomping and goring is not on par with women demanding the right to work (with maternity leave and equal pay), vote, and be protected from sexual harassment, rape, and domestic violence. At best, this is sloppy writing by Colin Nickerson; at worst, it is evidence of an offensive agenda on the part of the writer or perhaps the researchers of Harvard who have published these findings.

And, as A pointed out, many Native American tribes had female warriors/hunters, and they survived just fine until the white folks came along with their poisoned blankets and thirst for Westward expansion. And, what about primates that hunt? Surely it’s not just the males who put themselves at risk in the quest for grub. To label such survival-centric behaviors as feminism is wrong-headed and, frankly, ignorant and assholish.

The Feminine Mesquite

This may very well be my most favorite sentence to spring forth from my brain:

But that won’t stop some of us from dreaming of a day in which at least a few barbecue practitioners run their operations with an eye toward sustainability, opting for grassfed beef over feedlot corn-fattened, where high fructose corn syrup and barbecue sauce never cross paths, and the potato salad is made with ingredients from a garden plot cultivated by the all-female cooperative behind the wildly successful Joan of Arc’s Divine Barbecue, wood-burning pit optional.


Found via Fayrene (howdy, neighbor!):

I Took the Handmade Pledge!

I am really, truly committed to DIYing it this year. However, I did buy some Biscuit Brothers shirts for my niece and nephew tonight, but my justification is that 100% of the proceeds go directly to the Biscuit Brothers, and that’s a cause I can get behind.

The potato chips of mourning*

I’ve been quiet. This week has been incredibly busy, with deadlines out the wazoo. I have another deadline tomorrow, but am not sweating it as much as the paper and Spanish test I had on Thursday.

This class I’m taking on Thursday nights is killing my soul. I am currently taking it for a grade, but am trying to get my status changed to credit/no credit now that it appears it’s not required for my coursework. Ugh. I got my “homework” back from the previous week on Thursday and I got a “check minus.” I am 35 g-d years old and getting my PhD. Check minus has no place in my world. I don’t even give my undergrads check minuses. You know why? Because they are adults, not third graders. Never mind that I’ve spent two weeks reading the book that was the subject of the homework, trying very conscientiously to absorb and understand it. Nor that I’ve been laboring for the past several months on a book project that has snowballed in the home stretch before submitting the manuscript to the publisher’s. Nor anything else that’s going on my life. Nope. Check minus. That’s what I earned. What. the fuck. ever.

Needless to say, I had a bit of a fit. Not publicly, and not directed toward the prof, but there were tears. And if I hadn’t had a weigh in at WW the next morning, there would probably have been wine and/or chocolate.

But I was good, and the scale reflected that on Friday morning. 3.2 pounds gone my first week back in the saddle! It’s amazing how easy it is, although eliminating dairy presents a bit of a challenge in that it is so easy to just grab a yogurt and a piece of fruit for breakfast. A girl can only have so much oatmeal. Since my meeting is on a Friday morning, the first weekend back was pretty difficult. I spent those first couple of days just retraining myself to snack on fruits and veggies instead of Wheat Thins and Goldfish. Once the workweek started, it was much easier to track points — it helps not being five paces away from the pantry, too.

And, of course, I did exactly what I swore to myself (and to M, my WW partner in crime) I wouldn’t do after our first meeting together. The women in the meeting were talking about all of the voodoo/borderline anorexic things they do before meetings. Don’t eat anything with too much salt the night before. Don’t wear jeans. If your meeting is in the morning, don’t eat breakfast. I used to do all of those things, and I hated that I was such a slave to what that scale would say, a reflection of my “true weight.” But, of course, I ate the blandest, most salt-free thing I could find on Thursday night, and nothing passed my lips on Friday morning until after my weight had been recorded. Ridiculous. Also, I’m superstitious and will make sure I weigh on the same scale each week.

It’s crazy, I know, but if it keeps me going and keeps me losing, I guess I’ll just have to settle for being crazy.

Yesterday, I went to Stitch with C and L and spent a LOT of money. But I got some Yule gifts and a very cool t-shirt for myself (which I did not pay $45 for). I am very committed to purchasing handmade or making Yule gifts this year, but I’m going to have to reconcile myself to the fact that handmade stuff is going to cost more than the lead-drenched, Chinese sweatshop-produced plastic crapola you can pluck off the shelves at Target. But damn, it is hard to justify paying $28 for an embroidered American Apparel t-shirt for rapidly growing children, even though I know I’d be supporting entrepreneurial mothers and friends.

I have work to do, so should sign off. Tomorrow, a recipe for butternut squash and carrot soup. Yum.

*with apologies to Avital Ronell

Zero to 102

When I picked up Harrison from the sitter’s this afternoon, he seemed fine. I saw him through the glass on the front door, sitting on a riding toy. He saw me, too, and lit up like Christmas. “Mommy! MY Mommy!” he hollered, practically leaping into my arms as Nana opened the door.

He wanted to “drive,” so I let him sit behind the steering wheel for a few minutes before luring him into his carseat with a Tootsie pop I’d pilfered from the candy basket at my therapist’s office. He was perfectly fine on the ride home, nothing out of the ordinary.

Matt wanted to put H to bed early tonight because of the time change, and I was amenable. So, I cooked dinner. H was clingy, as usual, but I put him to work transferring a half-cup of lentils between two bowls. After he was done with that task, he then swept them up very carefully, one by one, until Matt got home from work.

The two of them went to play in H’s room until dinner was ready. It wasn’t until H sat down in front of his beloved chicken hot dogs that it became apparent that something was wrong. He was whining and moaning, crying to get out of his chair after just a few bites of hot dog. He wanted to sit in my “yap.” “Sit in yap, Mommy. Up.” He refused applesauce, grapes, crackers, his beloved yogurt. He draped himself over my shoulder and moaned. He hasn’t done that since he was about three months old and delirious with a UTI.
I took him back to our bedroom to lie down on the bed. He could barely keep his eyes open. We watched The Simpsons (“No food for you grad students until you grade 3,000 papers!”). I took his temperature: 101.1 (add a degree for under-the-arm readings). It was 6:20, an hour after I’d picked him up from the sitter’s. After his bath, he lay on the bed snuggled up to me, drunkenly singing his “ABCDs” while Matt read some stories. He was asleep within minutes of me putting him to bed.

My poor baby. It’s been two years since he was this sick, and I’m a little freaked out. Also, this would happen the week I have about eleventy jillion deadlines.

So long, ice cream

So, for the past few weeks (right around the time we went to Seattle), I’ve been having some gastro distress (as usual). It started as bad stomach acid, then moved to a  more southerly region of the bod. Simply put, I’ve been miserable. I’ve tried fiber supplements, Chinese herbs, whining, smoothies, groaning, pouting, being depressed, and sulking. None of these has worked.

Of course, I’ve also scared myself into thinking I’ve got the Big C — ovarian or colon — but I’ve had both areas checked out (short of anything ending in -oscopy) and nothing has presented itself.

Things started to calm down at the end of last week, when I went back to Weight Watchers and also paid a visit to my acupuncturist. Saturday, I was very careful about everything I ate, leaning heavily toward veggies and fruit. I felt fine. When I got home from a meeting before having to head back out for grocery shopping, I had a Skinny Cow (the no sugar added kind), and not too much later, the Misery began. My stomach bloated up, and I left a vapor trail behind me at Central Market (sorry). Later, Matt and I went to see The Darjeeling Limited (love!) at the Alamo Drafthouse, where I had the chicken strips basket. I had both cream gravy and ranch dressing (klassy!) and the gas, it was horrible.

Conversely, I had no dairy yesterday and have had none today and am blissfully gas- and other things-free. I think I’ve found the culprit behind my misery. So, it’s back to soymilk and sorbet for me. Now what do I do with all of this expensive, organic, and highly delicious yogurt I just bought?

(Then again, I’ve also not had any carbonated beverages and have scaled back seriously on my caffeine consumption — what if dairy’s not the culprit? Damn. But the circumstantial evidence points to dairy. Shoot.)

Finally, a meme both painful and hilarious

 Jillian sent me these during our Rhetoric and Identification class tonight. It made me smile, because I would really rather be at home than sitting here talking about Nietzsche’s bad conscience, Hegel’s unhappy consciousness, and the turn of power back upon itself.