Monday, August 30, 2010

What are the chances?

We had finished our dinner and were getting ready to go out when the dog walked into the room, retching. I wondered to myself why he always has to do his puking on my bedroom floor but I was relieved that at least this time I wouldn't discover the sick with my barefoot in the night.
You might wonder why I didn't immediately herd him onto an alternative surface or possibly run for an old towel. The reason is that before either of those plans could be set in motion we realized that this was not your typical vomiting episode.

"Is he choking?" The Mr asked.

"I don't know," I said "What do we do if he is? Google 'Heimlich for dogs?"

We stood there staring for a beat or two wondering if we were about to witness the suffocation of our family pet when my CPR training came to mind. I've been told time and again that the training would be useful in life.

The day finally came.

So, I thought, what is the first thing to do when you can't communicate with the distressed party because they are either, passed out, an infant, or in this case, a dog? The answer is (say it with me) "Look listen and feel for breathing," Should I try to lie him on his back and hang my head over his face while watching for the rise and fall of his tiny chest? No, that couldn't be a good idea. I figured I was already looking and listening and could neither see nor hear anything to confirm or deny that that he was breathing, so I stuck my hand in front of his face to feel for airflow. To my relief, it was there and after a few more seconds of struggle the dog began to recover himself.

I've just now googled Heimlich for dogs. I found, not only an article but an instructional video as well. Sadly, it looks like I'm going to have to add the word "small" to my search and keep looking as no mention was made of modifying for a dog whose ribcage is smaller than a human fist. I know how to modify people Heimlich for babies, but again, lying the dog on his back seems like a really bad idea. Maybe administer the thrust with a single thumb? Odds are, I'll never have need to know.

Friday, August 27, 2010

And she's mine

See my girl? I think she may have finally learned to pose. Do you think I should credit kindergarten for that? She's been going there five times a week for a month now and she adores it. I look at her everyday and think how glad I am for a child so different from myself.
I did not adore kindergarten.
In fact, during first eight years of my public education I spent my mornings attempting to convince my mother I was sick.
Ziz loves to go, she chats freely with all and any of the classmates in proximity. Oh, how I yearned, still yearn, for such an ability.
She also has a taste for competition. After learning on Monday that a kid in the morning class had already brought in the list of all the basic skills each child should acquire before the close of the year, signed by his mother to signify his mastery of it. She sat down with her shoes and didn't rise again until she could tie them herself. With that last accomplishment her list was complete, ready to be signed and delivered to her teacher.
Yellow was the color of the week. On Fridays, one child brings a snack in the week's color to share with the class.
It was our week.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why is dinner always late on Mondays?

Monday mornings, in this phase of my life go off without a hitch. It's the dinners that get me.
Last week we were waiting for our rice to cook through.
We ended up eating it crunchy.
Today I got a late start. Zizza wanted me to watch her tie her shoes (a new talent) "Watch me watch me!" she said. Then when I sat down to watch she would sit there not tying until I looked away at which point she would grouch "you're not watching!" and the whole thing would start over.
During one such encounter I delivered a big smacking kiss to my Enzo but got my aim wrong and landed it right on his eyeball. Ten minutes of crying (him) and soothing (me) and rubbing (him) and reminding not to rub (me) ensued.
When he was sufficiently calm to leave my arms I went back to the cooking that had been interrupted by the shoe tying exhibition but I couldn't find the recipe that had been in my hand when Ziz first called me to watch her and spent another ten minutes looking for it. (It was ont he table)
By the time I was cooking in earnest the Mr was home.

It's still cooking, the dinner, I didn't realize it would need to reduce so much when I started out so it simmers on while all it's accompanying dishes wait, trying to retain their heat.

Meanwhile, upstairs children are trying their best to clean the pile of a mess they made as a surprise for me. The Mr took them up when he got home so I could cook in peace. Once I got to the point where I could leave the kitchen without fear of burning the broccoli I went up to see what was going on. That's when I was presented with my "surprise."
On the sofa where I expected, by the sound of things, to find a sleeping Mr was a pile. Pillows, and blankets enough for the beds of two children, plus various and sundry toys stacked from the seat to the top of the sofa back.
"Where's Pop?" I asked as Enz scrambled to the top of th pile, just where his father's head would be were he napping there. "He's here!" Zizza answered and peeled away a layer of bedding to show that her father was indeed in just the place I expected to find him, his head had slipped to the side making way for Enz to perch in the place I'd expect it to be. I stood there staring at his face for a minute. Was he really sleeping? How could he be? This must be his part in the game...but his face was completely relaxed. No smile hiding there, no tell tale scrunching of eyes. He was honestly sleeping through all of this.
"Do you like your surprise?" they asked me. "Yes I do," I said. "Maybe now you can make a surprise for Pop. Why don't you put everything away before he wakes up, won't that be a good surprise?"
They set to work right away, hauling an impressive amount of stuff down the hall on their first load. Only then did I realize that I'd missed the photo op. I wish I had a picture of that pile to show you. A picture with the Mr's face nestled in among the pillows and toys as proof that he'd honestly slept through the whole of it.
I started out writing to kill time while the excess liquid evaporated from the pot on the stove, and ended up scalding the bottom a bit. And so it goes on Mondays.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


"Mama," said Zizza from the back seat as we made our way home from church. "What do you want me to be when I grow up?"
"A happy woman," I responded. The Mr. was more detailed, "A mama plus whatever else you want to be," he said.
"Hmm," said Ziz "I guess I'll just...think about it."
This is where Enzo joined the conversation. "I wanna be Batman!" he reported.
I'm glad he's got a goal.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pie Maker

I've been making my way through "Pushing Daisies" during the past week and a half. I've also been working on altering a wedding gown with spaghetti straps and a very deep sweetheart neck line to be suitable for a temple wedding. This has given me cause to spend multiple evenings on the sofa, needle in hand as I carouse with The Pie Hole gang.
Surprisingly, considering all of the pie footage I've been screening it wasn't until last night that the desire for pie was too much to be put down. I fought it for a good while, I made it out of the grocery store this afternoon without a single pie making ingredient. When I got home though, I found a Marie Callendars waiting patiently in the deep freeze. I picked it up during a holiday sale last Thanksgiving and it's been biding it's time ever since. Today it's time finally came. I took it out of the oven just a few minutes ago.
MMMMM pie.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Mental Captivity

Warning! This post contains discussion of The Hunger Games Trilogy that may or may not be considered spoilers. Proceed at your own risk.

People have been telling me for months that I should read The Hunger Games. I heard what each had to say, took it under consideration and came to agree with them. One of the things these numerous people told me was that the tertiary piece of the trilogy was due out in August so I decided to wait until then.
Cut to last Thursday when I read the first book and then, Friday when I read the second. At that point I looked on the internet and discovered that the third book won't be released until the 24th which kind of made me want to rip out the portion of my brain that absorbed the story so I could find peace during the ten days that would follow.

On Saturday I went to Boy Scouts of America leader specific training. That's right. I've been made a scouter. A Wolf den leader to be specific. I am ok with this for a few reasons.
1: My co-den leader is is awesome sauce and so far has done all the responsible organizational kind of things that I find so difficult I generally bleed out my ears when I try to do them, so all I've had to do are show up at meetings wearing an enthusiastic face (and a scout shirt) while I nod my head, make treats, and tell eight year old boys what to do when they show up at my house.
2: I really enjoy both making treats and bossing eight year olds around.

So, I'm at the training thingy on Saturday thinking my way through the love triangle of Katniss Everdeen and her suitors, both of whom I adore, when I'm jarred from these ponderings by the Scout trainer who has directed us all to stand and join him in a rendition of "Short Necked Buzzards," It is apparently necessary to participate in such activities with enthusiasm lest one be recognized as a scouting hack and lose the respect of ones den.

For the rest of the weekend my ruminations over the state of the Panem union, whether or not the redheaded Avox girl will have escaped the Capitol and come to play a bigger role in the coming book, and whether I'm rooting for Peeta or Gale, were thought to the accompaniment Of "THREE, short necked buzzards, THREE short necked buzzards, THREE short necked Buzzards, Siting in a BIIIIIG tree," As it ran circles through the back of my mind.
Again I wished for the ability to remove select portions of matter from my brain.

Yesterday in our den meeting the two of us den leaders enthusiastically lead "Short Necked Buzzards" while the boys looked on with a mixture confusion and pity. Toward the end though, as the buzzards "reeeturned" to their big tree and miracle happened. Two of the boys broke through the haze of shame, pity and self conscience and joined us.
I had begun to doubt my fresh earned training. The trainers on Saturday insisted that the boys LOVE these cooky songs and skits and things and joining in with a whole heart is the only way to succeed as a scout leader but I just wasn't seeing it. Luckily we had that break though, chipping away at those boys' sense of decorum and "not getting beat upittude" enough for them to join in before we threw our training out the window and with it our chance at ever becoming a successful wolf den.

I've been thinking. As much as I dislike waiting, these ten days I'm spending in story book purgatory are not entirely wasted. When next Tuesday dawns and I sink into my fresh new copy of Mockingjay the experience will be all the sweeter for having been made to wait. Honestly though, I really love Peeta. But do I actually prefer him to Gale, or is it just that I know him better? I don't see how Ms Suzanne Collins is going to resolve this without me getting angry and heartbroken over one or the other of them. I'm afraid bigamy is the only way.
That, or they could all die but that would be crappy.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Healing power of the breath.

Enzo's been a bit of a grump lately. Like he's completely sleep deprived, which he's not. He's been sleeping beautifully. I guess maybe all the energy he usually uses to behave like a sweet little boys shaped dumpling is being wasted on some ridiculous thing like growth.

Yesterday on the drive from Zizza's school he was particularly awful. He whined and whined. Whenever I ventured a response he met it with a spitty raspberry. When I recognized the futility of issuing response he whined all the more demanding I answer his gripes.

Once we got home and he was fed, I scooped him up and began to carry him up the stairs. He was much more amiable by this time and was pleased with the game until the thought of quiet time occurred to him. "Are you gonna tuck me in Mom?" he asked. When I confirmed his suspicions he returned to his previous grump state. (Thankfully, minus the spitting as we were now face to face)

Into his room I carried him and maneuvered the two of us onto his bed. He continued to grumble as I covered us both with a blankie. Then as I arranged the second blankie (there are currently three of them in his bed) he noticed that I wasn't getting up. In fact, I was directly beneath him, mattress style. The grumbling stopped and we lay there, belly to belly our breathing staggered such that my belly would sink in exhale and his swelled to inhale. It was perfect mama boy meditation, focus on the breath, and let the tension slip away.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cooking with the sun

Today while I was at church my dinner was cooking in my back yard.
Inside that box (which is actually a solar oven) as you can see, is a pot. Inside the pot is a roast. I compiled the whole thing and set it in a sunny spot in the yard first thing this morning.

At 12:30 just before I left for church I opened it up, added carrots to the first pot and tucked in a second, this one full of bread dough.
When we got home from church I walked through the back door sniffing. I was sort of hoping to send delicious aromas floating around the neighborhood. I hear that's a good way to make friends. It didn't work out though. One thing I can say about the solar oven: it's stingy with the aromatics. At least until you open the lid. Then it smells all kinds of good. Here's what I found in my pots.


I used my regular old stove top to make mashed potatoes and gravy. I tell you what, solar cooked pot roast makes for some mighty tasty gravy. You don't add any liquid to meats or vegetables when solar cooking so the drippings are extra flavorful. Like I said, mighty tasty gravy.

When I was a kid I refused to eat pot roasted carrots. If I could go back in time and change one thing, I'd tell myself to eat the carrots.

Bread, on the other hand is something I've never missed an opportunity to devour.

Here's hoping your Sunday dining experience was equally good.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A froth of fleeting joy

I love the frothy lightness of gauze. In my mind's eye gauze is ideal for expressing my dream of summer through the medium of dress.

The reality of Gauze is that its difficult to work with. It stretches, it expands, it changes shape before my eyes as I cut it, and that lightness. The very thing I seek it for, translates to dramatically different drape than it's weightier friends creating pouf where I want swing.

This time though, I was determined. This time I didn't give up and I didn't deem "almost there" as "good enough" I adjusted and tweaked and entirely reconstructed the underskirt to achieve the shape I was after.

The result is a new favorite dress and the rescue of my relationship with gauze. I had sworn off buying the stuff but I took this piece from my stash and gave it one more shot. I'm sure glad I did.

On a separate note. This post has the benefit of my sister's talent behind the camera. My favorite shot in the series? This one.

We wandered around looking for a shaded spot to catch a few shots and what we came up with was the decorative dumpster surround of a neighboring apartment complex. That poor fellow, just minding his own business taking out the trash suddenly found himself part of my photo shoot. Sorry fella.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Today I am a Champion

Nicknames hatch in my head before they meet the real spoke-aloud world. I usually become aware of new ones circling through my consciousness first and then spend a few days catching them, just shy of rolling off my tongue, before then enter my vocabulary for better or worse.
There's been a new one brewing lately. I'd been trying to hold it in, but it wanted out. It wanted to join the world beyond my head. Hear it's self spoken aloud and by diverse and varied tongues. My mental utterances were not sufficient to satisfy the nickname's greedy lust for audible life. It would not be kept down!
This afternoon the struggle came to a head. It was a close match. If I wanted to keep this particularly ridiculous nickname from firmly rooting itself in my speech I would have to act offensively. I realized this today as we sat at lunch. I shifted my strategy and instead of holding the name in, I said it aloud.
"Lately," I told the Mr. "I've been tempted to call the boy...'Dudey-o Cakes,"
And it was out! The pressure lifted and as we laughed together over the absurdity of the name all hope of it's gaining vocabular strength in anything other than jest, was lost.
Now, you may wonder how the name "Dudey-o Cakes" came to enter my head in the first place.
Well you see "Cakes" is a standard naming suffix in this household. Zizza Cakes, Enzo Cakes, MooMoo Cakes, Lovey Cakes, Puppy Cakes, Girly, cakes, Boy-y Cakes, Sister Cakes, Mama Cakes, Papa Cakes all of these are used on a regular basis. Any name it is subject to having "cakes" stuck on the end of it. That being said, I've been calling Enzo "Dude" for months now. It was a matter of time really, before Cakes came in to play there. Since Dude only has one syllable tacking the y on the end is necessary as Cakes does not fuse well with just one syllable to cling to. I guess the O just snuck in on pretense. If one of the boy's names ends in O shouldn't the name have a place within all his monikers? Something in my subconscious thinks so.