Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I'm Much More of a Lactivist than I Ever Thought I'd Be
Seven years ago, when I was pregnant with Sophie, my obstetrician asked if I would breastfeed. I casually said I thought I'd give it a "try."

What I didn't know then was how important nursing would become to me or how giving it a try for a few weeks would turn into 8 1/2 months. I didn't know how maddening it was to hear people pass comments, such as "you're still doing that?!" Like it was a nasty habit I'd picked up on the street. I also didn't know it would make me angry when women got kicked out of restaurants and off planes for nursing or how I'd feel when a woman I worked with said nursing in public was "disgusting" and how she was "repulsed" by the sight of it. (A gentle reminder of how that statement could be considered discrimination by human resources shut her up pretty quickly.)

While I was in the hospital, there was slip of paper attached to Sophie's bassinet that read: "BREAST." This was to let the staff know to not give her sugar water or formula. The nurses dutifully sent in the lactation specialist every day but also sent me home with a diaper bag full of powdered formula and coupons to buy more. Talk about mixed messages.

At home, I had difficulties nursing but nothing I couldn't overcome with the help of a lactation consultant, a (free) support group and a batch of new friends I'd made. (One friend even went on to writer her own book.)

Today, the New York Health and Hospitals Corporation announced that it is banning, not just removing, banning, all formula-related promotional material from it's labor and delivery units in an effort to promote breast feeding. The HHC is also eliminating formula giveaways in their hospitals and replacing them with nursing-friendly gift bags. All this coincides with World Breast Feeding week, which kicks off tomorrow.

Now, I'm not saying that moms who don't nurse are bad moms so let's not fan the flames of controversy. All I'm saying is that it makes sense to promote the healthiest of options. It might not even make a significant dent in the numbers of breast vs. bottles, but it's a step in the right direction, for the right reasons.

Getting off my soapbox now....

Monday, July 30, 2007
Full of Self-Loathing that Comes Full Circle
Yesterday I took Sophie to see Ratatouille. This should have been a pleasant enough afternoon but honestly, going to the movies just isn't all that fun anymore. For me anyway.

First, you have to pay more for reserving tickets so you don't have to stand in line where only two of the 15 ticket windows are staffed. For just Sophie and I to walk in the door I was out $20.

You can't go to the movies with a 6 year old without eating popcorn. Honestly, $14.25 for a small Diet Coke, a medium popcorn and a bottle of water is steep, especially when I could buy a pound of popcorn kernals for about $.79.

The total, thus far, is $34.25. Add in the four dollars to take the bus home (we walked to the theater) and we're up to $38.25.

Now, you have to arrive early enough at the theater to pick up your tickets, get your snacks and find a decent seat. To help you pass the time, the theater was kind enough to show previews of next season's Meerkat Manor and an episode of Camp Lazlo, WHICH I COULD HAVE WATCHED FOR FREE AT HOME.

Finally, the lights go down and you think the previews are about to start but it's not the previews. It's ADS. That's right. Commercials. Three of them. I'd seen them all before, too. Which means only one thing: I COULD HAVE WATCHED THEM FOR FREE AT HOME.

Then we sit through a rather long reminder to turn off cell phones and pagers. Now the previews begin. All six of them. OK, Arctic Tale looks like a good one for Sophie but then there was this, and this and this and a Lego movie. And let's not forget the horrific trailer for the horrific Bratz movie. (I refuse to provide a link.)

The 1:45 show I went to see finally started at 2:03, which means I paid the theater $20 to let me watch glorified commercials which we call "Previews" for almost 20 minutes.

Here's where the self-loathing comes in: I work in advertising! It's my job to expedite getting stuff like this out the door so that you, the consumer, can see it wherever you go, be it the mall, the movies, the restroom or anywhere there is something that will sit still long enough to be plastered with a message. And while the number of advertising messages we are exposed to goes up everyday (which is good for my industry and in the end my pocketbook), the prices for admission to venues, like theaters, goes up as well (which is good for the venue but not so much for my pocketbook.)

So, in a nutshell: I go to work and make the ads to make the money, to take the kids out where we pay money to see the ads I make at work.

Sunday, July 29, 2007
Breakfast Omen
This morning I made eggs for breakfast for the kids.

I cracked open six eggs. Every single egg had a twin/double yolk with the exception of one, which was a triplet. Six eggs, thirteen yolks. There's an omen in there somewhere.

Saturday, July 28, 2007
Anna Wintour, Your Days are Numbered
Yesterday afternoon I overheard my daughter talking about a Hannah Montana character with her friend. Here's a quote which filled me with a concoction of joy, pride and fear:

"Yes, Lily IS pretty but what I like about her is that she knows how to accessorize."

Friday, July 27, 2007
New Addition to Our Family
No, not new fish.

The newest addition to our family is the baby cardinal that comes to the old grape vines to eat. We think it's a girl since she's not very red. She is mastering flying and losing that fuzzy baby-bird fuzz for real feathers. Unfortunately, I've not been able to snap a picture of her yet.

We-and by we I mean just me....the rest of my brood could care less-are quite smitten with her. She chirps a lot with this squeaky little chirp every time she stops by to eat. And when she does come for a meal, her mom and pop are usually not far behind.

Today is my summer Friday which means I am off today. I ought to be cleaning up a little around here but soon I will be on vacation (only five workdays left!) and mentally I am already there. At 1 this afternoon I will be attending Sophie's circus camp performance then heading home for a playdate with one of her friends. I had planned on doing an activity with them but I think the slip-n-slide will just have to do since I can't seem to get my craft on.

Happy lazy, summer weekend to all.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Identity Theft Update
The ironic part about having your social security number stolen is that in order to prove you are not the person working as a home health aide or responsible for an account that has defaulted, you have to give your social security number out to any one who will listen. You also need to keep copies of your card on hand for filing reports with government agencies or carry the card with you in order to make copies when filing complaints which puts you at risk for identity theft because you are carrying the very document which a thief needs in order to steal your identity.

The other ironic part about having your social security number compromised is that the Social Security Administration, in all its glorious bureaucracy, doesn't take complaints of fraudulent use of a social security number. For that one must go to the FTC and that form took more than an hour to fill out by the time all was said and done. In order to complete some of the information I needed to call the collection agency in order to find out what kind of account the suspect had defaulted on. Turns out it was some sort of gym-type membership with a vague affiliation with Kmart.

I hope the woman who stole the number used that gym membership to give herself buns of steel and in the process got a raging case of athletes foot from the showers. Or worse.

Monday, July 23, 2007
Summer Sunday Afternoons
One my favorite ways to burn off a summer Sunday afternoon is to take the kids over to our local city pool where they can tire themselves out swimming. The kids ran around for awhile then talked me into taking them into the "big" pool where Sophie, who is fully capable of swimming mind you, clung to me for dear life as we waded in the four foot deep area. Any sudden movement made her shriek with fear and dig her fingernails into my flesh. Her shrieking made Harry shriek with laughter. Apparently, the sight of his sister's terrified face is riotous.

My ears are still ringing.

After the pool we went for ice cream and then mommy went for her own personal treat: pupusas from the South American food stalls that are found surrounding the soccer fields in Red Hook.

If you are in NYC on a weekend, this should be on your to-do list. Bring an appetite and your Spanish because you might need it (I ordered in Spanish; it seemed to help). The stalls are nothing more than a bunch of tents and/or tarps and folding tables, plus portable cooking devices of various sizes and power sources. One woman grills corn on a simple charcoal hibachi, some have more elaborate griddles and grills with miniature armies of women cooking homemade food in an assembly line. The stall I visited yesterday sold barbecued beef over rice and beans, pupusas, tamales and fried plantains, plus lemonade and horchata.

I bought a chicken tamale and a pupusa con queso for $3.50. Had I been alone, I would have waited on line for a Honduran taco at the stall next door. I saw two guys eating them and I swear to God the tacos were as long as their forearms.

If this is the food of the countries these intrepid cooks hail from, I want to go. Now.

Sunday, July 22, 2007
Boys will be Boys
We live on a very friendly block and yesterday and to celebrate this friendliness, we had our annual post July-4th block party.

The kids on the block, especially mine, love the block party. It is an opportunity to run the street all day long while the parents kick back and mingle. And by mingle I mean drink.

Sophie was great. She practiced (and gave up) riding her two wheel bike, practiced (and gave up) riding in her Heely's, rode her scooter, jumped rope, played tag, ball and ran around like all kids should. There was a minimal amount of drama on her part and on Harry's as well until.....

Our neighbors have this beat-up old walker toy. Some of the pieces are missing, the pictures have all worn off and generally, it's nothing to write home about. Except Harry loves this thing and their kids could care less about it since they've had it forever. Harry uses it to race up and down the street with it at top speed. Again and again. And again.

Then a little boy who happened to be out for a stroll with his mom saw the toy Harry was playing with and wanted to take a turn. That's when things generally fell apart.

There was a lot of pulling on the part of both boys over this toy. Then screaming. That's when I noticed the power struggle between them. It took a great deal of effort on the part of the other mom to separate our sons. By the time I arrived to help intervene, Harry had regained control of this stupid toy and walked down the block with it, reveling in his victory. I was left apologizing and offering to let her little boy use Harry's brand new Thomas scooter.

Except ten minutes later, the other little boy-I don't know his name since this poor kid was only walking by before he got caught up in the debauchery of running in the street at a block party-wanted a turn with the walker.

There they were, near the fire hydrant. Harry had the walker in his kung-fu death grip while the other boy tried to take a turn. The power struggle was more vicious this time, with the other little boy just trying to get in on the walker toy action and Harry trying to defend it to his death.

Then I saw it. The elbow bent, cocked back. There was a fist and my son attached to the shoulder end of it. Harry was going to punch this poor kid over this toy. I arrived and quickly picked up Harry, all hopped up on Juicy Juice and pretzels, plucking him out of his own personal fight club to come back to our table to eat and regain control of his temper.

I just hope this is not a sign of things to come otherwise kindergarten's going to be a bitch.

Friday, July 20, 2007
Kinda Makes Me Wish I Was Being Audited
I mentioned a couple of days ago the letter we received from the IRS and in our research, I've discovered that I am a victim of identity theft.

Here's what I know so far: my SS# has been used for employment/wage reporting purposes, the perpetrator has opened at least one credit account, which is now long overdue, delinquent and is now in the hands of the legal department of a collection agency.

John's been able to talk to the company I didn't work for while I've been able to contact the collections agency about the delinquent account in my name. So far, all have been helpful.

Next I will need to contact the holy trinity of the credit reporting agencies, the authorities (local and federal since the IRS has come a-knockin'), as well at the FTC and the SSA. For sure there will be complaint forms, affidavits, dispute forms, letters, faxes, sworn testimony, headaches and possibly a lawyer. And a lot of wine.

What I do know so far, are the names (yes, more than one!) and address used on the W-2 form and the credit account. I also know that my signature does not match the thief's and neither do our driver's license numbers.

This morning will be dedicated to attacking this problem from all sides, filling out a lot of paperwork and keeping a timeline/record of all correspondence and communications.

Thursday, July 19, 2007
I Swear The Times Doesn't Pay Me to Talk About Their Dining and Wine Articles....
but I just can't help myself.

Mark Bittman, The Minimalist, dominated the Dining section in yesterday's Times with
101 Summer dinner recipes that take no more than 10 minutes to prepare, not including the time it takes to boil water. I'll take the 2nd one on the list and #59, #72 and #90. I think I love him. I also love this and this. (Try the recipes...you'll fall in love, too.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007
I Need This Like I Need a Hole in the Head
So last night after dinner I went out to get the mail and found a rather thick envelope addressed to me and John.

From the IRS.

The letter is not a notice asking me to take care of a small matter to be dealt with at my local IRS office where I will be lauded for my outstanding tax returns like Felix Unger was in the Odd Couple. (Don't look at me like that. I was an awesome episode, Season 3. The episode is called the Ides of April, for those with the DVD). And no, I'm not being audited. But Personal-Touch Home Care of Long Island has reported to the government that I worked for them as a home-health aid and earned $10k in 2005. The IRS would like their $3k in owed taxes, plus interest.

THIS ought to be a fun thing to straighten out.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007
More Squirrel Frustration and Gardening Update
One of the things we did to make our patio more inviting was to put a few strings of white christmas lights up around the aluminum trellis which supports a network of ancient (read: inedible, sour and prone to disease) grape vines. It is quite lovely out there at night....white lights gently the surrounding the seating area, citronella candles lit and strategically placed, a bottle of wine, watching movies on the laptop. Yes, it is all very nice.

Guess who ate the lights? That's right, Senor Squirrel, El Bandito Bushytail. Aka: The F-ing Squirrel.

The lights were not plugged in at the time. Dammit.


Our weather in the Northeast has been just perfect for the garden. Not too wet, not too dry, alternating with hot, stickiness and cool dryness. The plants are loving it, from their outward appearance, all bushy and bright green. I read somewhere a long time ago, that you should pinch off the first set of flowers once you plant your 'maters. It diverts all the energy the young plant would use making fruit into growing a stronger plant, thus making more fruit in the long run. In a fit of disciplined gardening, rather than strutting around telling everyone "Yeah, I've already got flowers on my tomato plants, suckers!" I pinched off the little yellow blossoms. So far so good because there are tons of little yellow flowers all over the plants.

The only problem I'm having is that something is eating my basil in the garden, but not the basil in the pots on the patio. I will need to make a homemade insecticide and see if that works (fancy dishwashing liquid and water in a spray bottle...it doesn't get any easier than that). Otherwise, they will need to be transplanted. The other herbs? Amazing. I'm at the point of giving the stuff away because how much mint, sage and tarragon can one person use?

Sophie and I have decided to plant some more vegetables in the bed opposite our tomato and pepper plants. Supposedly, it won't take long for zucchini to sprout, flower and bear fruit so that's what we're going to plant, along with peas. It's a little late in the season but by late September, here's hoping we'll have plenty of zukes for grilling.

Or, we could just keep them cold in Biscuit:

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Monday, July 16, 2007
Goodbye, Brownie. Helloooooo, Biscuit!
So last week sometime I mentioned that our old refrigerator just didn't seem so cold anymore and after vacuuming the hell out of it, leveling it, turning it off/turning it on, our landlady decided it was high time to get us a new one.

"I would hire someone to come take a look at it but I'd hate to spend the time and money doing that if they don't make parts for the fridge that's a few years old."

That's when I read to her the sticker on the inside of the freezer door: "Avocado, Coppertone and New Harvest colors available in Summer, 1968."

"Yeah, it's a few years old," said the landlady.

If the refrigerator were a child, it would have been in kindergarten the year I was born. So, yeah, it was few years old. 40 to be exact, and poop brown was the first in the series to be manufactured.

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No, John isn't giving me the finger
but you can see Brownie, the poop-brown
fridge,in the background.

Saturday rolls around and the landlady asks for Brownie's measurements and cubic footage. I told her I just need cold air, no fancy gadgets just fresh milk, thank you very much, and on Sunday, she leaves a message that the new fridge will be delivered on Tuesday.

Except at 6:57 am this morning I get a call that-Surprise!-they are coming today. As in Monday today. So I start running around like my hair's on fire because we are NOT ready for this. The schedule, in my head, was: remove magnets Monday morning, clear off the top of the fridge clean out the old stuff we didn't want to keep Monday night and ask the neighbors to hold some frozen stuff for us until our new Whirlpool was up and running Tuesday. All we had to do was surround our perishables with ice on Tuesday morning in coolers and wait for Lowe's.

But that plan just wasn't going to cut it. No, the plan went something like this:

6:57 am"Good morning. I know I told you the refrigerator was coming Tuesday but they called and said they are coming TODAY."


7:00 - 7:49:30 am Formulate game plan; leave a message with Lowe's for ETA, get kids ready for sitter, take shower, get dressed, call the city to arrange for removal of the old fridge.

7:50 am "Hi, I know you are waiting for Lowe's to call you back with an ETA but they're coming. In ten minutes."

7:55 - 7:59 am Run combs through kids' hair, pack lunches and other necessities and throw it into the stroller, then physically push them out the door.

8:00 am "HiPeggy.Howwasyourweekend?
Gottarun.We'regettinganewrefrigerator.Callmeifyouneedanything!" (It really is possible to talk without coming up for air that early in the morning.)

8:01 am Knock, knock. "Lowe's! We have a refrigerator for you!"

Now, at this point, the only thing I've managed to do is take the magnets off the refrigerator and I only got that far because Sophie helped me before she left. Then the delivery men trotted back out front to find out who was squawking their head off and honking their car horn. It was a very klassy woman, screaming at the truck driver to get the f-out of her way, she's late and works for Mayor Bloomberg, suspiciously drives a car with New Jersey plates (even though she works for the mayor of New York City) and according to her "he can't block the street, goddammit!"

I went back inside because Mayor Bloomberg's hysterical aide was not doing anything to help the headache I was developing and started by putting the milk and other perishables in the coolers, then cleared out the freezer and put the frozen items in a giant pile in the sink. Then I put the non-perishable stuff like mustards and maple syrup, on the counters. Then I yanked the crisper drawers out and piled them in a corner while I put the butter-all three kinds....why do I have three kinds of butter? Who knows, I JUST DO-on the frozen pile in the sink and then the Lowe's guys start helping me. It was a this point that I fully realized in my overreaction to the news that I was getting a new fridge today I had actually under-reacted. I needed much more than 10 minutes to clear out this behemoth of a refrigerator. I think the guys from Lowe's actually felt sorry for me.

"Hey, that's a NICE bottle of champagne you keep in the fridge! Vodka! In the freezer! You guys must like to party," they quipped.

"Nnhh." was all I could say, wondering why I didn't thow away those two stale hot dog buns last week.

Then the younger one of the two handed me a shriveled carrot, a rotting onion and frozen container of Moroccan stew. I found a six year old sealed box of wine-filled chocolate all the way in the back and a long forgotten jar of quince jam. It is amazing how disgusting a refrigerator can get if you don't evacuate every item periodically. All this time, I'd been doing it a shelf at a time, once a month or so. Or whenever the milk leaked or the juice got knocked over.

Anyway, there were were clearing out the fridge, me and the two delivery guys from Lowe's and I realized that for a family of four, WE HAVE A LOT OF FOOD. Even though there were some things well past their prime, we actually use almost all of what we buy, it' just that we like variety so yeah, having three kinds of jam, three kinds of butter and two varieties of mustard takes up a lot of space. Also, d
id you know that in 12 years one family of four can accumulate 957 packets of soy sauce and 493 ketchup packets?

Finally, all the food was removed and I was knee deep in my own personal bodega-in-a-kitchen when Brownie was wheeled out and
"Biscuit" was installed. Biscuit is a 29" wide fridge that is an inch narrower and 2" shorter than Brownie but 1.6 cubic feet bigger. And bright. There are two lights inside which give off enough light to blind you if you look at the bare bulbs and clear crisper drawers so you can see exactly how much fruit you have rotting and how many eyes your potatoes have sprouted and adjustable glass shelves and a place just for eggs and a clear butter compartment to view all three kinds of butter insane people like me insist on having and holy cow this is the run on sentence your high school English teacher warned you about. It's just that Biscuit is big and clean and energy efficient and 3 months old according to the date of manufacture stamp on the inside and I love her. Even though Brownie froze my lettuce sometimes she made ice like nobody's business and hummed soothingly when the windows were closed and the neighbor's dog wasn't barking (which isn't all that often). We will miss Brownie, she wasn't so bad (except when she didn't work) but Biscuit ROCKS.

Sunday, July 15, 2007
Dear Moo Shu Pork, Where Have You Been All My Life? Love, Meredith
Since Fridays' temperature wasn't hot and sticky, and the stringent rules of the NYC public pools didn't appeal to my mom (no beach chairs, white t-shirts only, etc.) I headed into NYC's Chinatown with Sophie and the aformentioned mom. We had several things on our to-do list, chief among them: eating.

We went to Hop Kee for lunch, one of those below-street-level Chinatown strong holds where you can get Very Good Food. Everytime I've gone in there it is full with New Yorkers and other Chinese families. This is a good sign in neighborhoods like this one, and one we always look for when we are traveling. Always follow the locals and you can't go wrong.

So there we were at a corner booth and we ordered egg rolls and lo mein and fried rice. Then I decided that I must try moo shu pork. Right then and there.

I was not sorry. I love moo shu. Why hasn't anyone ever told me about this? Tender meat, crunch vegetables and a ginger-y, plummy sauce all rolled up in a Chinese pancake? Like a Chinese fajita without the sizzling platter? Sign me up!

And Sophie, who has tried egg rolls before when we order Chinese in and hasn't really thought they were much to write home about, devoured hers, along with the lo mein and about six cups of tea. I remarked to my mom that however they cook the food at Hop Kee, it reminded me of the Chinese food of my youth, when ordering in meant egg rolls and spare ribs and egg foo young and wonton soup from Richard Yees.

After our meal, we shopped. My mission was to find another pair of beaded slippers. A year ago I bought a pair of slippers which were so comfortable that I looked for another pair every time I returned to the area. Friday was my lucky day: I found three pairs...

Then we found a pair slippers for Sophie along with jibbitz for our crocs and a white purse for my mom and a dangly tassel thingy for mom to hang on her lamp at home. Sophie and I also found sparkly hair clips and a gold purse. All the $5 stuff you could ever ask for, lovingly bargained for with a whisper of "You like bag? Gucci? Prada?" and an invitation to follow the shopkeeper into the back of the store for a clandestine purchase of designer knock-offs.

Thursday, July 12, 2007
Rinse and spit
The building's crew has taken a break so I no longer feel like I'm in dentistry hell.

On the homefront, whatever caused Harry's ear to bleed has since healed. There was nothing in his ear to even suggest bleeding. The doctor, or "Lady" as Harry calls her, said there is nothing to be alarmed over, the eardrum (or tympanic membrane as it is called in medical jargon) is intact and have a good summer.


I wanted to post about this yesterday but I didn't have the time. Some people call me crazy to cook for the family every night after working all day. (Well, every night except pizza night.) This article was in the Times' Dining section yesterday and it pretty much sums up my philosophy: plan ahead, keep it simple, cook in quantity when you can. I loved this article. It reminded me that while it would be easier to hit the drive-thru or order in every night, it would be unnecessary and not better for us. I also loved that the author's kids didn't necessarily eat everything she cooked. Kinda like my house, but probably without the tears.

Can't think
I would write a post about how I will most likely end up in the emergency room now that we've purchased Heely's for Sophie except the office I work in is undergoing a re-waterproofing of the facade and it sounds like I am in the skull of the building while the dentist scales its teeth. Without novocaine.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Conspiracy Theorist in the Making
Me: "Harry, do want to start sleeping in a big boy bed?"
Harry: "No."
Me: "Why not?"
Harry: "Because."
Me: "Because why?"
Harry: "Because it's a booby trap!"

Monday, July 9, 2007
A Trip to the Zoo and a visit from The Man
We had a fun-filled weekend. The kids are over-the-top excited with having Nana around and I am over the top excited that she is here because she keeps the kids occupied so John and I can do things like the dishes without interruption. I keep "forgetting" to turn on the baby monitor so for two nights in a row, I've also got sleeping done without interruption.

We invited my mother's brother and his wife over for dinner on Saturday. We call them Uncle Billy and Aunt Marilyn because those are their names. But my son Harry has another name for him: The Man. No matter how many times we told him his name, he just kept saying "Man" or "The Man."

On Sunday, because staying home in the air conditioning is SO overrated, we ventured out to the Queens Zoo. We chose this zoo because of it's shadiness and smaller size. We knew we could see all there was to see in a couple of hours, even if you venture into the petting zoo area.

This zoo has a great gimmick for the kids. When you enter the zoo they give you a red decoder card. Each animal has a plaque near their enclosure and in order to learn a fun fact about the animal, you hold the decoder up to the plaque. Sophie felt like a junior detective and Harry didn't really show much interest in it until Sophie wouldn't share her decoder. Then decoding the animal facts took on a great deal of importance to him. His appeals to Nana worked, and Nana gave him her decoder. When I asked him what was written on the plaque, Harry said "Welcome to our Home."

As usual, the house is falling apart now that we have a houseguest. It happens every time we spend copious amounts of time cleaning it in anticipation of a guest. Once an out-of-towner arrives, boom! Someone gets sick or something breaks, leaks or goes on the fritz (see also: the Flood of Christmas 2006). On Saturday, I happened to have Harry in my lap when I noticed blood in his ear. This is a most unusual spot to bleed from and we spent the rest of the weekend peering into his ear with a flashlight, whispering to him in the affected ear and wondering why the refrigerator just doesn't seem so cold. We turned up the thermostat but it didn't seem to do much. So last night, at 10pm, we decided to "quickly vacuum under the fridge." This turned into a one hour process complete with hosing down of the drip pan and removing one pound of a cat hair from the coils. This morning, we continued cleaning the cat hair from beneath the fridge and made an appointment with the pediatrician. Since they didn't have the same reaction I did upon hearing about the bleeding ear, I feel comfortable with his Wednesday at 1:30pm appointment. That will give my husband plenty of opportunites to keep snapping his finger in his ear and for me to continue barely whispering "want ice cream?" to see if the child can hear. (He can.)

At work I googled refrigerators and found out that a refrigerator can burst into flames if there is a buildup of pet hair on the coils.
How was I to know that the motor's fan acts as a little vacuum, sucking up all manner of dust and debris into the netherworld of the kitchen? I'm not proud to say this, but judging from the amount we've pulled out so far, we should have burned to a crisp a long time ago.

Friday, July 6, 2007
Don't Think I Haven't Noticed
Dear Squirrel,

Don't think I haven't noticed. I see you, swishing your puffy little tail around, jumping around in the trees and squawking your little head off. You think I think it's all business as usual and that I have turned my attention to the feral cats who think our backyard is a litter box.

But I know better. I KNOW WHAT YOU DID. You took it. My LAST hen and chick plant.

You can look all innocent, coming up to the window and peering in, seeing what's going on in our kitchen. But if you know what's good for you, you'd better go pray in front of that St. Francis of Assisi statue over in the neighbors garden because if I get my hands on you......


Monday, July 2, 2007
The other 13,999 things? Who needs 'em?
Years ago, I bought a book for a friend of mine called 14,000 Things to be Happy About. It was a list of 14,000 simple, everyday pleasures that could bring a smile to your face. During the workweek my friend Sean would copy a page, circle five things on it and fax it to me. And five days a week I had five reasons to smile.

If I had that book today, I would like to cross off whatever is the first item and replace it with "catching fireflies with your kids on a summer night."
I wouldn't even need the other 13,999 things.