September 2011


Yesterday I told Big Poppa, “I’m not baking every single day, you know!” He’s been pilfering desserts from the counter and freezer bringing goodies to work, and wowing some people with vegan treats…. apple cider donuts, banana bread, almond butter chocolate chip cookies, cornbread, jelly donuts (that my oldest said were as good as Krispy Kreme), chocolate-chocolate cookies…

Today, I didn’t bake. Tonight, a serious chocolate craving overtook me. I’m pretty sure it was cruel karma. I probably could have satisfied my craving with a robust glass of wine, but I still have to pick my middle one up from karate, and I don’t drink anything if I have to drive. As a fellow karate mom says, “This four nights a week karate schedule really interferes with my drinking.”

So… I was rifling around in the cabinet for the ingredients to make my own chocolate bar. Yes! You can make your own vegan chocolate bars with just a few ingredients, and in just a few minutes (insert infomercial smile here)! As I was feeling about in the pantry for the cocoa, my hand lingered on a small foil package. Small foil packages, hidden on the coffee,tea, and cocoa shelf, can only mean one thing… SECRET STASH… a forgotten few squares of a cranberry chocolate bar a friend brought back from Switzerland.

I did the only reasonable thing. I ate the secret stash, while I created my heart-healthy, heart-shaped chocolate bar, that needs to go in the freezer to firm up. The photos attached to the recipe, that I found online, looked like the Brazilian (delectable) treat colloquially known as ‘shit balls’ so I decided to use this sweet ramekin instead. It tasted pretty good going into the freezer, we’ll see how long I can wait to take it out…

I was going to take a photograph of myself, to show you what I look like when a ‘happy face chart’ doesn’t work, but prostrating myself across the bed, sobbing, fantasizing about taking a swim a la Edna Pontellier in Chopin’s Awakening, and taking a photograph, proved too much for even this multi-tasker to bear. Here’s a photo of the ‘happy face chart’….

It’s not working.

The little one started preschool and gave up napping almost simultaneously, and as a result, he does not want to sleep in his own bed all night. I’m a firm believer in the ‘the less they sleep, the less they sleep’ philosophy. I.E. if your kid is not sleeping long enough at night, put them to bed EARLIER. Seriously. Try it. It works. I was ready to put him to bed at 1 o’clock this afternoon.

Anyway, the little one’s been waking up during the night, saying he needs to go potty, needs a drink, doesn’t want to sleep in his bed, his bed isn’t cozy enough, etc.. I’m sure it’s cozy enough because he confiscated the cozy throw my brother and sister-in-law gave Big Poppa and I last Christmas and he’s slept with it ever since, even when it’s 100 degrees. If he just needed to go potty or have a drink, he could go back to his bed afterwards. I know it’s an adjustment phase, it won’t last, and we just need to get through it. The problem is… I’m a f^&*ing train wreck without my sleep. So, I made the happy face chart. I believe in positive reinforcement, and as a former Kindergarten teacher, I can tell you… these charts work! *Except with my OWN children. The little one decided he’d rather sleep with us than get Cars 2 Legos. Sleeping with ‘us’ involves Big Poppa getting a good night’s sleep and me having my hair twirled and pulled and my back kneed and elbowed.

All three of my kids have been in cahoots, ALL misbehaving in the last 24 hours. I spent a good part of my day crying and faking. Crying when I was alone, faking when I volunteered in my middle’s classroom and socialized with other parents at drop-offs and pick-ups. When I say I’m a train wreck without sleep, I’m not kidding. At all. I tried to inhibit my has-her-shit-together-mom persona. I put on bronzer and chapstick to complete the happy face I wore outside the home. I also made myself a pumpkin spice latte to propel me through the afternoon. It got me to about 2 o’clock.

Tonight’s another story. Now that my healthy brown rice and lentils dinner is cooked, I’m toasting making it through the day and wondering how to negotiate a full night’s sleep. Suggestions?!?

I’ve been feeding Big Poppa and the dog the same Full O’ Life fish oil supplement. It’s working out better for Big Poppa than the dog. Here’s the problem…

Maybe you have a dog that takes medicine masked in food or treats. Unfortunately for me, my dog is smarter. He weeds medicine out of food, even from the $10 a bag Pill Pockets. He eats the Pill Pocket, spits out the pill, and says ‘F you’. Well, he doesn’t actually say ‘F you’, but it’s implied. To give him a pill I have to open his mouth, drop the pill as far back in as I can, hold his muzzle shut with one hand, and stroke his throat in a downward motion with the other, until he swallows, and I feel the pill go down. I’ve done this up to four times a day when his allergies kick into high gear, and I’m pretty much an expert. My technique doesn’t work with the fish oil supplement, though. The gel caps are just too big. Honestly, they’re the size of a post partum suppository. Huge. Disgusting.

The vet suggested giving him a fish oil supplement to help with his coat. She said it really helps some dogs. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do to get them down his gullet, but then a funny thing happened. He chewed one up and he liked it. It was lip smackin’ good…

He’s been taking the supplement this way for about a week now, and I really think it’s making a difference in his coat. His fur is starting to look shinier and it feels silkier. Presumably, it feels better to him, too, because he isn’t scratching and licking as much. The problem is that he, and the whole house, are starting to smell like the cod head bait bucket on my grandfather’s lobster boat. My grandfather passed a few years ago, and some of my happiest memories are of lobstering with him, but I’m pretty certain I’m the only one smelling nostalgia around here.

I’m a little in love with the cobbler at the shopping mall. First of all, I love that there IS a cobbler at the shopping mall. Add to that that he’s very old world, and perfectly fits my vision of ‘cobbler’, and there you have it.

Today, I went to see him, because my shoes are too big. This never happens to me. I have worn a size 10, since I was 10 years old and prayed my feet would stop growing before the rest of me did. If I had grown breasts when my feet stopped growing, I would have been certain that God existed. As it is, I’m pretty grateful to still be wearing a size 10. Thank, God. Anyway, I bought these shoes, while in a Cole Haan swoon at Nordstrom Rack with my friend G. She says that shoe shopping is better than sex, and I have to say… shoe shopping with her is pretty f*&^ing awesome.

Lo and behold, a few months ago, I wore these shoes out on a date with Big Poppa. We decided to walk from Comme Ca to Sweet Lady Jane for dessert. It was only a couple of blocks, but my shoes were slipping off my heels the whole time, and people were passing us left and right. I held on to Big Poppa and hobbled there. I considered taking the shoes off and going barefoot, but I decided I’d rather be slow than gauche. When the woman in front of me got the last piece of MY FAVORITE CAKE, I knew I should have ran barefoot down Melrose. Damn her and her sensible shoes. I’m going to wear the shoes again tomorrow night, and I do not want to hobble, so I went to see the cobbler. He worked miracles. Now I’m practicing walking, just walking, and my heels are not slipping. Not at all.

I might just play a little ZZ Top on a portable boom box and wear them to pick my sons up at school this afternoon. I need all the practice I can get, and it wouldn’t be embarrassing at all.

Here’s a photo of my happy feet and my running-for-cake-ready shoes…

Today I asked the universe for a little extra motivation as I entered the cardio room at the gym. After trudging up the three flights of stairs to get there, and chanting my personal pep mantra, ‘If you dog it, you’re only dogging yourself’, I knew I needed the universe to intervene. I couldn’t do it myself.

I spent four hours taking out my iPod, taking out my water bottle, and putting my bag in a cubby. Then this adorable, happy guy throws his stuff in a cubby and says, “GOOD morning! How’s it going?” I told him I was trying to get it going and we ended up on treadmills next to each other. He went from 3.6 to 7.0 with me and back down again. Then he jumps off the treadmill, big smile, says “See ya!”, and off he goes. It felt a little wham, bam, thank you ma’am, if you want to know the truth, but I liked it. AND… I wasn’t done. I did two more up and downs, sweated up a storm, and got off. It WAS a good morning.

Want to hear something funny? Big Poppa hasn’t worn his wedding ring since the football-playing-with-girls-finger-jamming incident, and last week I told him maybe I’d keep mine off until he could get his back on. Of course, I was joking. I love wearing my wedding rings. But, I don’t wear them to bed or to the gym. I don’t like the way they feel when my fingers swell. For some reason I slipped them on this morning before going to the gym…

Wedding ring powers activate!

Thanks, universe.

The little one has been obsessed with Buzz Lightyear since seeing Toy Story 3. He wants to be Buzz Lightyear. My friend G gave him a pair of wings a few weeks ago. She laughed the ‘better at your house than mine’ laugh as she showed him how to strap them on and push all the noise making buttons. He wore them every single time he went out of the house for a week. Then, he’d take them off to get in his car seat, put them on when we got to our destination, take them off when he got back in his car seat, put them on when we got home, etc. It was a really long week, but I continually reminded myself that it was an incredible opportunity to practice patience. I practiced and practiced and practiced and practiced…

Now, there’s about six weeks until Halloween.

My mother bought the little one a Buzz Lightyear costume a few days ago, and told him she’d send it in a few weeks when she got a box of things together for Halloween. He asked her, “You can’t go to the post office? You need the mailman to come get it for you?” Apparently, Grammy saw the charm in the demand and flew to the post office to mail it out the next day. Saying someone ‘flew’ to the post office, in Florida, is really something. The average speed limit in Grammy’s hood is 14 m.p.h..

Well… the little one got his costume yesterday and he’s been wearing it ever since. He wore it to pick his brothers up at school today and learned an important lesson. Wearing a Buzz Lightyear costume does not protect one from falling out of trees. I learned an important lesson, too. While thinking you’re a super cool mom, letting your kid wear a costume AND climb a tree, you should be careful not to bash the top of your head on the tree limb, when scraping your child off the ground. It doesn’t look ‘cool’ and it hurts like a mf’er.

The best thing was when we crossed paths with a dad who picks his son up every day. My middle one calls him ‘the dad who never smiles’. Today, he smiled. Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!

My mother makes the best banana bread anyone has ever tasted. It is perfection. It is comfort food with a capital C. The C could also stand for Crisco.

This morning I took the little one to the farmers’ market. We collected all kinds of delicious fruits and vegetables, and then we came home and I started cooking and baking. I made a cabbage and carrot salad, vegan cornbread muffins that are so good the kids are calling them cupcakes, and a Creole red beans and rice dish that I couldn’t stop sampling.

So, this afternoon, feeling confident, I decided to mess with perfection. I took my mother’s banana bread recipe and bastardized it…

Banana Bread
1 T. ground flax seeds in 3 T. water
1/4 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
3 very ripe bananas

1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a loaf pan with cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl combine the flax seeds and water and let sit.
3. In another bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
4. In a large bowl cream the sugar and oil, then add the flax seeds and water mixture.
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and blend.
6. Mash the bananas with a fork, then add to the mix.
7. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

I’m going to commit blasphemy and tell you that I think this banana bread is better than my mother’s. When she comes to visit, I’ll have her taste and be the judge, then I’ll let you know what she thinks…

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