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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Someone is barbecuing in the park outside our building and our house smells like charcoal. It’s a smell that makes me think of camping. It’s been awhile since we’ve had truly barbecued food. I’ve learned to broil steaks and pan fry chicken , but sometimes I miss having grill marks on my food.
I’m doing everything possible to put off cleaning my bathroom today. After shopping and getting Coryn down for a nap, I put away the groceries, emptied the dishwasher, and folded some laundry. All of which needed to be done, but none of which were the bathroom which is my specific chore for the day. I also invented a few chores, wrapping Matt’s Father’s Day presents and writing in his card and decorating a liquid soap dispenser . . . In a way that looks like my two-year-old did it.

Our soap dispenser broke a few months ago, and the one we bought to replace it broke almost immediately. Shortly thereafter I discovered some “Bath and Body Works” foaming soap for sell, and bought four of them, even though we had a Costco sized container of liquid soap under the sink (but no dispenser to put it in). Foaming soap is so luxurious, especially in scents like “kitchen lemon.” Coryn likes it. I like it. Matt seemed to think using it was taking away from his manhood, though, and wanted me to buy some cheap soap.
“But it was on sale!” I pointed out. Now, however, we are down to the last bottle of the stuff, so today, I went and purchased a bottle of dial liquid soap which we should be able to refill over and over again. I pealed off the “Dial” and product information stickers and started to look around for some stickers of my own. I couldn’t find anything except some fabric glue and my collection of cloth ribbons I use for wrapping presents. I selected a shear ribbon and wrapped it around half of the bottle. Then I ran out. So I wrapped a yellow ribbon around the bottom half. I’ll see how it looks when it dries, but I’m not hopeful. Maybe I could crochet a something like a tea cozy except smaller to pop over it.
Matt has a very practical style, and most of the large items in our home reflect this. If we made the decision together, he normally gets his way, so we have a lot of dark wood and square shapes in our furniture. My style is more whimsical, and everything else is that. There are the unintentionally abstract pictures I painted myself from the cat falling from heaven picture in our bed room to the messy rose petal portrait in our living room. I did take a community college art class, but our instructors method of teaching was to walk around eating a sandwich while complaining about then president Bush to his favorite students (ie ones who agreed with his politics) while the rest of us just sat and did whatever we wanted. Literally the only requirements for grade in his class were attendance and to “produce one piece of completed art.” I was at the productive table. I completed four in the time I hung out there, all the while wondering why I was paying for the whole thing. The only three things I got out of the class was some help with color mixing, some perspective hints (given by the teacher’s aide instead of the teacher himself), and a ten percent student discount at my local art store for the semester. Experiences like this really killed any inclination I had towards getting any sort of a degree.
Though that wasn’t the point I started to make. I was going to talk about how I sneak playful whimsy into our home design in the form of a ridiculous number of cat themed knickknacks and hanging quilts on walls.
My husband is uber-practical. He complains about my green towels because they don’t get as clean as the white ones in the laundry and he thinks they smell musty because of it. He really doesn’t want to paint walls any color other than off white, and he is constantly crusading against the clutter on my desk. All pretty down to earth for a guy who spends most of his hours flying a tamed dragon around the imaginary kingdoms of the World of Warcraft.
I’m hoping today to incorporate pictures into this blog for the first time. I haven’t really figured out that feature yet. . .
Well, I took a break and got my bathroom clean and started another load of laundry. Coryn will be up in about forty-five minutes. We’ve started a bad habit of watching Spongebob every evening, so she’ll want to do that and then we’ll see where the evening goes from there. Buenos tardes!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Agony of a Scraped Knee

Today our park time ended with a disaster of the earth ending sort when Coryn scraped her knee. I had brought along some bubble solution and some of the wands I had left over from our Bubble Park Party a few weeks ago.

At first everything was going along swimmingly. I would send out clouds of bubbles, wafting on the breeze. She would chase them down and giggle gleefully as they popped at her finger tips. Then she tripped onto all fours and came up bleeding and screaming. It was just a tiny scrape with red blood beading up through the surface, but apparently Coryn had no frame of reference for blood. She screamed. And screamed. And then she stopped screaming and started sobbing. I dabbed it with a wet wipe. That made it worse. She screamed louder. I produced a band-aid. She was convinced it would bite. She screamed harder, pushing it away. I held her hands away from her knee with one hand and stuck the band-aid on with the other. The screams had now reached a “Save me! This woman is trying to kill me!” pitch. I blew more bubbles. They brought her no joy. I made soothing noises and offered to kiss it to make it better. Nothing worked, though with me avoiding the “gaping wound” itself, she subsided to mournful gasps and whines.

Matt, who had said he would join us after he ate, meandered out, the last few bites of sandwich in his hand.

“Scraped knee,” I winced.

“Are you just going to let her keep screaming?” he asked, not very helpfully, I thought.

“She's hurt,” I pointed out. “She's never scraped her knee before.”

“You know, this just proves that you are coddling her too much,” he said, again, not very helpfully, “if this is the first time she has scraped her knee.”

He then decided to be helpful. He blew Coryn some extra large bubbles and she stopped crying to watch. After a few minutes I breathed a sigh of relief. Then I realized her band-aid had come off and was sitting in a puddle of bubble water.

“Show Daddy your war wound,” I said playfully. Coryn, apparently, has no sense of humor where pain is involved. The memory of her agony came flooding back to her and she started screaming again. We swiftly packed everything up and carried her inside.

Matt insisted on putting hydrogen peroxide on the wound, so after that we sat on the couch in a family cuddle while she shook with rage and fear and all the emotions associated with a betrayal of the “you poured stingy stuff on me!” nature.

“What an awful owie,” Matt soothed. “You should get the purple heart for this.”

I read her “I Am a Bunny,” and she calmed down. Matt walked away, and she looked up at me expectantly.

“Purpoh heart!” she demanded.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I thought tonight I might start by sharing a recipe that I tried for the first time tonight with good results. I got it off the back of a teriyaki sauce label. It’s La Choy Teriyaki Marinade (on a side note, it really frustrates me that the commissary charges more per ounce for the bigger bottle of teriyaki sauce than it does for the smaller one. . . Especially since I’ve had it pounded into my head that bulk is better when buying an item you use frequently. Doesn’t it save them on packaging if I buy one 20oz bottle instead of two 10oz bottles?). Normally I wouldn’t bother mentioning the brand, but this teriyaki sauce has a thicker consistency than ones I’ve used in the past, so it probably matters which type you use. Anyway, recipe:

½ Cup Teriyaki Sauce
1/3 cup orange marmalade
1 tsp crushed red pepper
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp vegetable oil (I used olive. I’m too lazy to stock multiple oil types)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken, sliced into 2x½ inch slices (I just used four medium chicken breasts)
1 (8oz) can bamboo shoots, drained
1 medium red bell pepper, seeded, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp corn starch
1 tbsp water
½ cup cashews (optional) I actually completely forgot about the cashews even though I bought them specifically for this recipe. Anyone want some homeless cashews?

1. Stir together teriyaki sauce, marmalade, crushed red pepper, and ginger in a small bowl until well blended, then set aside.
2. Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over high heat. Cook and stir chicken about four minutes or until no longer pink. Stir in bamboo shoots and peppers.
3 Add prepared sauce to skillet. Stir together corn starch and water until smooth; add to skillet. Cook until heated through an sauce thickens. Top with cashews if desired (or if you remember that you bought them).

I served it over rice. Matt really liked it, though he’s not really a big bell pepper fan. He suggested using broccoli instead next time, but I’m not a big broccoli fan. Basically any vegetable you’d include in a sweet stir fry would work. The crushed red pepper element, also, would’ve probably freaked me out when I was a younger, pickier eater. Coryn, thankfully, has a very open minded pallet for a two-year-old. She eats all kinds of things I wouldn’t touch when I was a kid.

Coryn gets so sweaty playing in this weather. Even when playing inside she ends up with her hair plastered to her scalp. I’ve thankfully been able to keep her hydrated so far, but it’s difficult when she’s on the go. Coryn conquers play parks like a Sherpa conquers Everest. She’s up ladders and down slides and clinging everywhere in between. She likes nothing more than to get another kid to chase her in circles, and she played follow the leader with a girl who was at least two years older than her for a good half hour today at the park by the pool then came home and found that her friend Jack was at the park by our apartment, so we invited him and his mom up to our place for popsicles and running around chasing balloons . . . And this after a morning dancing to Weird Al songs.

Well, signing off for now. Coryn needs to get out of the bath and I need to get into it.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I spent an hour tonight lying next to my husband trying to get to sleep before getting up, putting my contacts back in, and slipping out to the living room. If left to our natural bent, both my husband and I would be up every night until at least midnight, but with Matt’s alarm scheduled to go off at 4:30 am he usually wants to turn in before nine, and I like to be there to snuggle . . . Tonight, though, there is just too much of nothing in particular going through my head. So here I am, with my laptop, my herbal tea, and my cat, typing away about nothing in particular.

Our cat, Kamikaze, earned her culturally insensitive name by being a late night wrecking ball. She used to run circles around the living room, shoot down the hall into our bedroom, launch herself onto the top of my dresser, then dive bomb my head as I lay sleeping Later on we discovered her destructive tendencies included chewing through electrical cords and eating socks, so when not supervised she is locked up in one of two safe zones, the laundry room or the balcony. When she saw me up, she meowed pathetically through the screen door until I rescued her. She knows me. She knows if she finds a quiet place to hide I will most likely forget that I let her in and she will be able to have her way with the apartment once I finally settle into bed. She is very clever this way.

I’m a huge tea drinker, not exclusively. I also like coffee, and actually know a fair bit about coffee, having worked for both a mom and pop style coffee shop and a Starbucks/Barnes and Noble Café. I was actually thinking about Barnes and Noble tonight. Matt and I used to use one as our personal library back when we were first married. We’d use my employee discount to get our coffees and sit in the café area reading whatever we wanted, no purchase necessary. I miss those pre-baby days a little bit, but I wouldn’t trade what we have now to get them back. I do wish I could get the employee discount back somehow though. . .

I think I’ll close now with a random quote from my collection:

“The safest way to make laws respected is to make them respectable. When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.” Bastiat.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tail of an Extraordinary Cat

I love children's books: good, pure children's books where the whimsy is a point to itself. Having a daughter like Coryn, who loves stories already, gives me an excuse to read even more of them, but even before her, I was sure to surround myself with fairy tales and story books. One that made a huge impression on me, maybe because of its simplicity, is "Jenny and the Cat Club" by Esther Averill, a sweet story about a shy, black cat in a red scarf who longs to join a society of extraordinary cats, each with their own special talents.

I've always wanted a place like that, for me and my little girl, a place surrounded by good things and good company, a place with extraordinary cats. I'm already convinced Coryn herself is an extraordinary cat . . . and while I know every mother sees their child as above the norm, the life that radiates out of Coryn's eyes and actions is the brightest light I could possibly imagine. Heaven must be brighter, but my imagination can't handle that level of illumination, and it shorts out when trying to fathom anything more radiant than Coryn.

Since this is an introduction of sorts (though most people who read this won't find any surprises; I'm a transparent personality, I like to think.), I should mention my husband, Matt, my lifetime crush. I have been in love with him since I was old enough to handle the emotion, over ten years now. While we were friends all through high school, Matt managed to evade me until adulthood, when I finally wore him down and reeled him in. Matt is my complete opposite, a pessimist with a biting sense of humor who keeps to himself and communicates mainly by grunting . . .but he's also smart and funny and caring . . . and hot. Smoking hot. I'm sure I'll find lots of reasons to write about him.

Well, that's all that I want to say for now.