Meal plan: 8/8-14

Meal plan is back! Now that I’m back to my luxurious part-time schedule, I have time to curate a (somewhat) thoughtful meal plan and the corresponding shopping list. As it turns out, BK is done with summer day camp and is now set to enjoy two weeks of Camp Mommy. The first order of business is a two-hour kids’ cooking class at Central Market; I’ll do the week’s shopping while he cooks.

Monday: black bean tacos with fresh corn, avocado, Monterrey jack, some beautiful peppers from Johnson’s Backyard Garden, and topped with some Shanita’s Salsitas Hal’s Hot Love. (The black bean tacos have really become my go-to Meatless Monday dish, but they’re sooooo easy and delicious. And healthy!)
Tuesday: grilled ribeye (or maybe baby back ribs, depending on how cheap I’m feeling when I get to the meat counter), potatoes, asparagus, cauliflower (totally not seasonal, oops!)
Wednesday: leftover turkey bolognese excavated from the freezer, whole wheat fettuccine, salad
Thursday: tomato, mozzarella, and basil paninis
Friday: tortilla-crusted tilapia (purchased at Costco and not my favorite, but it’s been malingering in the freezer and I refuse to toss it), perhaps in taco form.
Saturday: probably dining out
Sunday: My folks are coming to babysit the kids while Matt and I go to the quiz bowl. I’ve promised to feed them dinner in exchange, so we’ll have chicken breasts from the grill and a big, huge, healthy taco salad with corn, black beans, tortilla chips, avocado, tomatoes, probably some peppers, and dressed with Shanita’s Salsitas Ki’s K.O.

I’ve decided to cut out or largely avoid white flour-based things, so breads and tortillas will be whole-wheat/multigrain (or corn, in the case of the tortillas). My cousin John cooked a fantastic dinner for us a couple of weeks ago that included grilled chicken, sauteed beet greens, steamed beets, cream peas, grilled corn on the cob, and the (delicious) crunchy noodle salad that I contributed. Since then, I have endeavored to make dinners featuring lots of fresh, healthy veges and a minimum of trashy carbs. Some nights I’m more successful than others. 😉

Not the Pits Granola Bars

I’m always looking for new and exciting things to put in the Big Kid’s lunch box. Having a full-time summer job this year has meant that BK goes to day camp, one that doesn’t serve lunches. So, summer break has not translated into a break from packing his lunch. I will admit to having fallen a bit into the pb&j-Pirate’s Booty-sliced strawberries rut a few times over the past 6 weeks or so.

So, naturally, when Whole Foods announced its kid-friendly cherry recipe contest, I immediately started thinking inside the lunchbox.

This recipe, as written, is not very sweet, but it is also very versatile. You could add in a half-cup of brown sugar, maybe some dark chocolate chips if your family has a sweet tooth (and we all know that dark chocolate goes beautifully with these luscious cherries!). You could use honey as an alternative sweetener, or agave nectar for a lighter taste that’s still suitable for vegans (the golden syrup used here adds a deep, almost nutty flavor, so other sweeteners will change the flavor profile a bit). I see this being a great portable snack for athletic kids to turn to after a rigorous soccer or track practice, or a wholesome power-up before a test or a dance recital.

Not the Pits Granola Bars

makes about 12 bars

1/2 cup fresh cherries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 fresh apricot
3 cups rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
1 cup whole almonds
2/3 cup golden syrup
2 T olive oil
1 t cinnamon
1 t sea salt
1.5 t vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Pit and halve cherries, and place on a cookie sheet with blueberries and pitted, sliced apricot. Dry in the oven until shrivelly but not burnt. Remove and cool.
2. Bump oven up to 350. Spray or oil an 8×12 baking pan (I used Pam) and line with parchment paper.
3. Place oats and almonds in pan and toast for 15 minutes, stirring once.
4. While toasting, whisk together in a large bowl the golden syrup, olive oil, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.
5. After you remove the oats/almonds from oven, bump temperature down to 300. Mix the oats and almonds in with the wet ingredients and stir to coat. Add in the dried fruit and mix thoroughly.
6. Press mixture into pan. Bake for 25 minutes.
7. When completely cool, lift the mixture out of the pan using the parchment paper and transfer onto a large cutting board. Slice into bars. Eat and enjoy!

On failure

These were supposed to be black-bottom cupcakes, as seen here. I made them in anticipation of a girls’ night in I’m having here at my house tonight with some friends from school. Kind of a big difference, no? I think that the combination of using mascarpone instead of regular cream cheese and overfilling the muffin cups led to this spectacular baking disaster.

Okay, they’re not THAT much of a disaster. I tried a quarter of one last night and it was quite delicious. It even had the tiniest suggestion of the cheesecake-y “filling” in the center. But because they’re nothing like I had intended them to be, I consider them a failure. But it’s one I can laugh off.

This has been a difficult week. Part of the reason I haven’t been blogging much (because I haven’t had much time to cook — there have been a lot of sandwiches and thrown-together meals around here lately) is that I have been working a full-time job at Pearson (ach! my values!) since April 25. My job requisition is through June 30, and we had made plans for the rest of our summer accordingly. But about a week ago, my boss came to me and told me that there was a way to extend my job requisition indefinitely, by having me support an admin whose boss had just gone on maternity leave. I accepted because I like having the extra money. We’ve been fortunate enough that I have been able to sock most of my pay from this job into savings (well, a nice portion of it. There has been *some* shopping!). So, we signed the Big Kid up for more camp and I made plans to take one day off a week to finish my dissertation revisions.

I supported this admin for three days, then noticed on Wednesday morning that someone else was helping her. I asked my boss about it and she told me that this young woman found me “unhelpful” and that she “didn’t feel comfortable” working with me. So she had been assigned someone else and my job requisition would not be extended.

This stung. Oh, did it sting. I won’t go into all the gory details, but I am guessing that she found me “unhelpful” because I questioned the efficiency of the things she was having me do. (Make binders, then take everything out of those newly made binders and move it into other binders, among other vague, ill-defined instructions.) Basically, I thought this girl was an idiot (not quite sure why I’m using past tense there), and didn’t do a very good job of concealing those feelings. At the end of the day, it was a personality conflict and no one is the bad guy in situations like that, but I still feel like I’ve failed. It’s demoralizing to realize that someone disliked you enough to tell your boss’s boss that you suck rather than tell you to your face.

So, like I said, a rough week. This happened on Wednesday, which meant that I spent the rest of my work week in a pit of self-loathing, wondering what I could have done differently to keep my good reputation there intact. I have endeavored to do a really good job there, and I get along really well with all of my colleagues (save this one guy, but I learned very early on that *everyone* hates him). This also stirred up extremely bad memories of past job failures: I have been fired from more jobs than I care to admit, all from when I was in my 20s and had an extremely bad attitude. I have worked very, very hard to be a better person than the one I was 10-15 years ago, and this incident just churned up all of those long-buried failures back to the surface.

But this is not a complete tragedy. Because the Big Kid is now signed up for camp through July 15, I will have two full weeks to dedicate solely to dissertation work (plus an exciting freelance story). After he’s done with camp, he and I will do all sorts of fun things together: bike rides, pool trips, bowling, trips to the school library for storytimes, and so on. (There will probably also be some summer-bridge-style homeschooling, but he doesn’t know that yet!) I will be able to resume my morning runs. I can go to aqua fitness at the Y at a time that works for our families. I won’t be spending $25 on gas every two or three days. I can catch up on my sewing projects. I can get started on an article and work on my job-market materials. This development is a good thing, for me and for my family. But I still feel like a failure, and I guess only time can help me get past these ugly feelings.

Time, my family, my friends, and ugly cupcakes.

Baked Sunday Mornings: Salt and Pepper Sandwich Cookies

I love Oreos. LOVE. THEM. I almost never eat them because they are part of the horrific industrial food system, not to mention being fattening and devoid of nutrients. (But! They are [possibly] vegan!) That said, these cookies did not capture my interest the first time I flipped through Baked Explorations, and I was ambivalent about their spot on the Baked Sunday Mornings calendar. I’m glad I made them, though, because these are gooooood.

The cookie part has a pleasant depth of flavor thanks to the double whammy of Valhrona cocoa and Dagoba dark chocolate; the white pepper creates heat on the back end. The filling (I omitted the rum because a.) I didn’t have any and b.) my husband wouldn’t be able to take the cookies to work with him if they had “live” alcohol in them) is exactly the consistency of an Oreo filling. The only thing I would change about the filling is that I would also leave out the 1/2 t of salt. Then again, I’m sensitive to salt and tend to find things too salty that others don’t notice. (For example, my husband didn’t think they were too salty at all.)

I let the Big Kid have one before nap and I heard him ask, “Daddy, does this have pepper in it?” I was certain that once he got an answer in the affirmative, he’d stop eating, but he finished the whole thing and even said he wanted one in his lunchbox tomorrow.

(HA! As I write this, Matt Lewis is making the Sweet and Salty Brownies on The Best Thing I Ever Ate! I need to make those again soon.)

Anyway, I only used half of the dough; the first half made 28 sandwich cookies. When I make the second half of the cookies, I might experiment a bit with the filling, maybe throw some blueberries or blackberries in there to complement the pepper.

Baked Sunday Mornings: Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

It’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining and we’re looking forward to a week of springlike weather. We’re headed to Harry’s class friend’s birthday party in a bit and have a fairly lazy Sunday ahead of us. I have lots of projects from which to choose (some tedious, like folding laundry, some creative, like sewing and knitting projects) and I don’t feel overwhelmed. I’ve seen some pretty awesome movement on the dissertation front since Wednesday and things are looking up! We had a really lovely dinner at two different families’ houses in the past week and all is well. I am feeling the love from all corners. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day and what better way to celebrate amor than with red velvet whoopie pies?


Now then, I am a fan of whoopie pies. And I am a fan of red velvet cake. Both are sort of a pain in the ass to make, but soooo worth the effort. One annoying thing about making red velvet anything is that it always takes a full bottle of red food coloring (I’m talking about the ones that come in the box of four primary colors). And, of course, the grocery store never has the single, larger bottle of red food coloring in stock. Yes, they have plenty of green and black on hand, but never red. Maybe that’s a side effect of living in the south. Or it being so close to Valentine’s Day. At any rate, I now have four boxes of food coloring in my pantry, all minus the red. Next time, I’m making blue velvet cake.

True to form, these are a pain in the ass to make, but they are definitely delicious. And there’s something so gratifying about completing a fussy project, you know? And it’s not that it’s hard to make whoopie pies, it’s just that it’s a drawn-out process, especially when you’re like me and forever woefully underprepared. (Special trip to the store for food coloring? Check. Special trip for shortening after polling friends/neighbors/debating using mayonnaise or butter instead? Check. Out of parchment paper? Check. Only one silpat, so that I could only bake off the cookies one dozen at a time? Check.) Which means that maybe *I’m* the reason certain recipes are more complicated than they need to be!

ANYWAY. Using an ice cream scoop has changed my life. No more scraping uneven blobs of batter onto the cookie sheet, kissing goodbye any hopes of uniformity! No more messy fingers! No more fussing with pastry bags when it’s time to put the filling on! No more lopsided whoopie pies! If you make cookies or whoopie pies regularly, you MUST get an ice cream scoop. Srsly. And while the recipe calls for these to be finished with crushed walnuts, I did not because I do not like walnuts.

The most fun part of making these was the assembly, because Harry kept getting more and more excited. He shadowed me around the kitchen as I scooped the filling, smooshed the sandwiches, and arranged them on the platter for photographing. He was so into it, he wanted to take a few photos of them himself! Here’s one of them:

...with a bit of a cropping assist from Mom

This cat could not WAIT to try one of the sandwiches, even though it was only 8am or so. First, I let him pose for a photograph:

Still life with whoopies

…then I let him inhale his very own whoopie pie (no sharing, please!). I think I know why he was vibrating at breakfast. And not the least bit interested in his gingerbread pancakes!

Oh, I ate half of one of these (Weight Watchers, remember?) and they were quite tasty. I might eat the other half tomorrow morning with my coffee, as I suspect that this is one of those pastries that tastes EVEN BETTER after the flavors have had a chance to mingle with one another. But, freshly assembled, I could really taste the cocoa (I used the fancy Valhrona kind), which was balanced by the sweet WHAP of the cream cheese filling. Delightful.

This recipe, for me, yielded 16 whoopies (I used a 1/4-cup ice cream scoop). The remaining 14 will accompany my husband to the office tomorrow.

Strawberry pop tarts

I love Pop Tarts, but they are industrialized poison. So, when I came across this recipe via Mrs. Q at Fed Up With Lunch, I decided to give them a whack. My husband likes Pop Tarts, and my son … well, he doesn’t really care for them, which is good, I guess, but sort of a mistake on my part to make them with his school day breakfasts in mind.

Here’s the short version of this recipe: Make a pie crust. Roll it out and cut it into 16 squares. Put a splodge of strawberry preserves in the middle of 8 of the squares and cover them with the remaining 8 squares. Bake at 375 for about 30 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through cooking. Dust with powdered sugar while still warm. The end.

Now then, if you’re like me and you’ve always been intimidated by the idea of making a pie crust and therefore haven’t done it, the longer version of this recipe might be helpful. Why have I never made a pie crust? I don’t know. Now that I’ve done it, effectively, I see that it’s really no big deal and now I never ever have an excuse to spend $15 on a homemade pie at the farmers’ market. I think my Fear of Pie Crusts has to do with having been externally motivated all my life. I craved gold stars, trophies, little pins for my players’ hat to commemorate my (extremely few) achievements in kickball. I needed validation from outer forces to affirm my self-worth. This means that a.) I am afraid to do something that intimidates me because I don’t want to screw it up and b.) the dissertation-writing process has perhaps been more painful and protracted than it needed to be. I’ve never been good at doing things over and over and over until I get them right. I want them done right the first time I do them.

I see my son exhibiting those tendencies and it makes me sad. He will quit in the middle of a Wii game because he’s not winning. Rather than lose and keep trying, he will start the game over. There’s a great Samuel Beckett quote that I have to remind myself of and that my husband and I try to impart a kindergarten version of in our son: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” It’s in the “fail better” where we actually improve; it’s just overcoming that fear of failing that has proven to be my stumbling block, and one I hope we can help to remove from our son’s psychic path as we bring him up.

Which brings us back to pie crust. I think if I had realized that I was making a pie crust as I whipped up these babies, I might not have gone there. But it wasn’t until I was rolling out the dough that it dawned on me. So now I have a pie crust recipe, one that I know is tasty and vetted by Bon Appetit.

Strawberry “pop tarts”

2 c + 2 T all purpose flour
1 t coarse kosher salt
1 t sugar
1 c (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
4 T ice water
8 tablespoons strawberry preserves
Powdered sugar (totally optional, in my opinion)

In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix flour, salt, and sugar. Add butter. Blend on low until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water by tablespoonfuls, mixing until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball. Divide in half. Wrap in plastic. Chill at least 1 hour.

After chilling, line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment. Working with 1 dough ball at a time, roll out dough to a 13×11 inch blob. Square it up, cut out 8 rectangles. Place pieces on parchment.

Put 1 T of preserves in center.

Roll out the other dough ball and cut out 8 more rectangles. Place these rectangles gently on top of the preserves. Gently press the edges, then reinforce these closures with a fork.

They look like giant ravioli!

Use fork to poke a few holes in the tarts. Place trays in freezer and chill for at least 2 hours.

After freezing, position 1 rack in top third and 1 rack in bottom third of oven and preheat to 375°F. Bake frozen tarts uncovered until golden, reversing sheets after 15 minutes, 25 to 30 minutes total. Immediately transfer tarts to rack. Optional: Sift powdered sugar on top of them. But really, they are just fine “naked,” too.

My husband and I thought they were delicious (we split one while they were still warm). My son was suspicious of them, saying “they don’t look very yummy.” I finally coerced him to eat a small piece, and he nodded noncommittally (how can he already be like this at age 5? I thought this kind of squirrelliness would come closer to age 12 or so). I offered him one for breakfast this morning and he turned it down. So, the box went to work with my husband (he reported a few weeks back that his coworkers had been complaining that I hadn’t been sending many baked goods with him lately, so I hope they’re happy!). I would keep them here for my own breakfasts, but I can’t afford to eat something with 9 POINTS in it for breakfast.

14 weeks

Here we are, 14 weeks after Laurel’s birth and wow, do things look different on the other side of the 3-month mark.

Laurel is a healthy 15 pounds and change. She LOVES to eat, but only from the source. She will only take about 4 ounces of expressed milk over the course of about 8 hours at the sitter’s. Then in the evening and on the weekends, she’s rarely very far away from my boobs. I have quite a cache of milk stored in the freezer that I hope I don’t have to toss. The version of me that couldn’t keep up with Harrison’s appetite and had to supplement with formula fairly early on would howl in outrage at such an act.

Laurel’s quite the talker. She will just stare at you and grin and coo and squeal — it’s really adorable. I’m trying to ignore the fact that according to Babycenter, she’s supposed to be making P and B and M and D sounds. She’s not, so I’ve taken to chanting “puh puh puh puh, buh buh buh buh, muh muh muh muh, duh duh duh duh” at her several times a day. She’s going to grow up thinking her mother is a moron.

Meanwhile, Harry is really growing into a robust boy with HUGE hands and feet. I swear to god, he looks like a German shepherd puppy with those gigantic mitts! We had to buy him new ballet slippers over the weekend because his previous pair (which we bought back in June, no wonder they didn’t fit anymore) were just absolutely impossible to get on his feet anymore.

The other night, he crawled into our bed without my noticing. I was very confused and surprised and chuffed to wake up with him cuddled up in my arms. Additionally, he has cultivated some very sophisticated verbal and tantrum skills. I hear that’s par for the course for Three. Today I was having a “coo-versation” with Laurel while Harrison was acting like a turd in the background and a got a little pang thinking that my sweet little lady was one day (very soon) going to behave the same way. IMPOSSIBLE! Not my sweet pink little cupcake! (I’m fairly certain I thought the same of Harrison when he was 3 months old, too.)

On the other hand, I had a wonderful, warm, “am kickASS mother” moment this afternoon when H was melting down about wanting to eat cheese and crackers instead of a proper lunch. Finally, I said, “Harrison, you would really help me out by eating a peanut butter sandwich. Want to help me make it?” We took out the pb & j, and the tears dried up very quickly as he spread the pb very artfully over the bread and moved on to the jelly. Matt even gave me the thumbs-up and a mouthed “nice job” from the doorway! Awesome.

Meanwhile, school continues apace. It seems like I’ve got a good, bright, and talkative group of students this semester, and only teaching one section is a nice break. I have been working on the dissertation every weekday and I feel like I’m making progress, if only in my notes and not in actual written form.

I keep thinking that I want to write something about Slumdog Millionaire, but I don’t have the time to articulate it. I do think that it is a celluloid example of Appadurai‘s notion of “modernity at large” but that’s all I’ll say, apart from that I LOVED it and can’t get the soundtrack out of my head.

PBS is running a promo for a Masterpiece Theatre series, “The Tales of Charles Dickens.” The music they’re playing is Coldplay. Weird.

Finally, I found out on Friday that the alternative newsweekly I write for is phasing out the use of freelancers. That will take about $350 out of my monthly income. OUCH. I’m feeling kind of scared, but calmed by Matt’s exhortion that just like everyone else, we may have to tighten our belts a bit. And, in the grand scheme of our monthly household budget, $350 isn’t HUGE, but it might mean fewer trips to Costco and maybe more lunches brought from home. It’s not a house-losing drop in income.

Ten weeks

Why do they call it the babymoon? I’m so much happier now than I was when Laurel was first born. Those first three weeks or so were bad, bad, bad. There was lots of anger and sadness and pain and anxiety and anger and yelling and depression and frustration. That was not a happy time. I think the babymoon is now, when I’m getting a touch more sleep, my lady-baby is smiling and cooing and gurgling. She’s my boo-boo kitty, my kissyface, my lulu, my gooey girl. She’s my sweetest companion and I’m her biggest fan. Can’t say that I felt that way anytime before Thanksgiving.

at the end of our walk this afternoon

at the end of our walk this afternoon

Meanwhile, Harry continues to grow into a doting and devoted big brother. I’m so proud of him and how much he adores his baby sister. He gets more and more sophisticated every day, and it blows my mind. If only he’d eat something other than macaroni and cheese and chicken nuggets (do NOT call them chicken tenders!!!).

tomorrow's turban fashions today

tomorrow's turban fashions today

The holidays were low-key here. No travel, really, except to go visit my grandparent the weekend before Christmas. While there, we surprised Matt with a 40th birthday party complete with a Greenberg turkey and an ice cream cake. On Christmas day, we went out for dim sum with our friends S, C, and I, then went back to our house for another birthday cake for Matt (carrot cake from Upper Crust), wrapping things up with dinner at my folks’. It’s nice to start our own traditions after years of schlepping in honor of others’ traditions. If I never have to travel for a holiday again, it’ll be too soon.

Now it’s all about catching up on work I’ve not had the chance to do in the past two weeks because H has been out of school. He’s at the sitter’s tomorrow (with Laurel) and then goes back to preschool on Monday. I’m having serious, serious reservations about sending Laurel full-time to daycare in a couple of weeks. Suddenly I understand all those women who left the workforce to stay home with their babies. But if I want to meet my goal of having my dissertation defense-ready by December, I have to hand her over to a caregiver. But no one says I have to like it.

Oh, and have you heard Fleet Foxes? Get on it. You’re missing out.

I’m getting ridiculously excited about the James and Wharton seminar I’m taking in the spring.

“oh hai.”

That’s what Harrison said to a passing shopper at the grocery last night while I was perusing the slender pickings in the meat-substitute case (the boys were having chicken sausage with feta for dinner; my lactose intolerance led to my having “chik’n nuggets”). She was a pretty young woman, probably in her mid-20s, and with a very amused boyfriend in tow, who paused to size up his tiny (but formidable) competition. It was really, really funny. She passes by, Harry notices her, busts out with “oh hai,” making bold eye contact. She, taken aback, replies, “oh, hai!” I’m still laughing about it this morning.

I’m currently sat at my favorite local coffeeshop (which reminds me, to some degree of notsuoH in downtown Houston, in its furniture grab-bag days, but maybe not that grungy and sans the open mic poetry nights — shudder) trying to recapture the dissertation-related mojo I experienced ever-so-briefly about a month ago. Turns out, stopping writing to do things like go to Phoenix, get sick, do that damn Music Festival, go to San Francisco (ask me about the horrific panic attack I had on the plane ride home! ’twas awesome) will sort of halt momentum on the Most Important Thing Like Evah. But, I’ve done a lot of reading over the past week and am reshaping my argument, adding some depth, and will hopefully get to the magical 25-page mark for this chapter by the end of the semester.

(Did you know that dissertation chapters are what I consider to be super-short these days? I thought I was going to have to write a 300-page document, but no! It’s more like 125 or something! I can do dat!)

Lots to report, but no time for that now. Meantime, I will say that the recent rains here have made our backyard look all green and lush … and weedy. My garden seems to be thriving, although it wants some pepper plants. If squirrels eat my jalapenos, will it burn their tongues? I hope so, fuckers. That’s what they get for stealing my chard.

Additionally, I’m feeling super grateful for all of the amazingly supportive women in my life, especially those at school who are willing to circle the wagons when necessary to help a sister out.

Oh, and if you’re feeling flush these days, please go read this and consider making a donation. I just cannot even imagine having to go through that with my sweet boy, even though there are days I want to sell — hell, GIVE — him to the gypsies.

“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.