Date Night

My husband and I went on a date last night. We got a sitter, got the Monkeys in their jammies, packed up Abby with us, and took off. Oh, how good it felt. It doesn’t matter what we did, or where we went- we just drove around for a long time, enjoying the quiet. We don’t get much quiet these days. Conversation was organic, and sprung up as inspired, rather than smushed in between kid-tastrophes. How nice it was to be away for a few hours.

Abby slept most of the evening, delightful little doll she is. We got a bite to eat, did a little shopping in peace and quiet, and when we got home, the Monkeys were in bed, sound asleep. The perfect Saturday night.

CARS

Tuesday I took the Monkeys to see “Cars”, and I am still recovering. Not from the movie- it was cute and we’ll add it to our arsenal when Costco gets the DVD, but recovering from the experience of taking a 2 year-old, 4 year-old and 7-week-old to the movies. By. Myself.

It was a rookie mistake, but I’m no rookie. I am however, still asking myself “why?” and trying to calm down the tic that has taken over the left half of my face. Let’s just say Eric won’t be going to any movies for, oh, say, maybe a few years. Jeffrey was enthralled and well-behaved, and Abby, well-fed and snuggled in her seat, slept through almost the whole movie.

The saving grace was that it was a noon matinee on a Tuesday- anyone who didn’t appreciate a child rolling on the floor and occasionally biting his mother- could easily have moved. I paid my king’s ransom for the tickets and the king-kong sized popcorn, and I wasn’t going to leave. Enough said.

So, if you have little ones who can sit still for more than 22 minutes, have a go at it. The animation is stellar, per normal for the Disney/Pixar mix, the story is cute and has a good moral, there are some genuinely funny moments- I really liked the tractors and the glow-in-the-dark cars. Beautifully done.

But if you see a woman with a string of red-headed boys and a baby somewhere on her body, you might want to find a seat somewhere else. Away. Far away. Enjoy your movie.

Stephen King’s Thrift Store

Mr. King would turn the new thrift store up the street into some sort of Needful Things novel, and he would undoubtedly do a much better job painting a word picture than I will, but I have to try anyway.

Last night I went to check out the new place, always in the market for cheap dress shirts for my Monkeys. When I walked in, the place just felt, well, weird. I kept thinking- weird…Weird. It was an older building, but recently had been refaced and painted white- everything inside was white- shiny, new, bright white. But it smelled old, musty and aged, like the pages of an old book. Like a thrift store. The contrast was, weird.

As I walked around, I was startled to see really old stuff. Things that in other thrift stores, you see marked Vintage, and marked way up. Clothes my grandmother wore when I was a small child, things I’ve seen in faded photographs from when my mother was young, caftans and hot pants and beaded cocktail gowns- seriously vintage stuff- at 1971 prices- $2 here, 50 cents for something else… Strange. And it was really old stuff- things you could put on e-Bay and get a fortune for. There were records, 45’s, comic books, all looking resonably new- but they were 30 or 40 years old. I found two “Light Bright” games from when I was a kid- still in the box, marked $2.00. I would have bought one, but where would I get the black paper? Strange.

Everything about the place was “out of time”- the music over the speakers was oldies- Jefferson Airplane, Strawberry Alarm Clock, Santana- I just kept shaking my head to try and clear the cobwebs.

There were plates and dishes from my grandma’s when I was young, there were baby clothes made of organza and obviously handmade. Little dresses, again handmade, smocked and immaculate, for $1.99. The fabric was old, but they were all clean and pressed. Weird. The books were old, like from the WWII era, and there was a lot of surplus-like stuff, but all from bygone times- like someone cleaned out storage lockers from 1955… Electro typewriters for $15, big, bonnet hairdryers for $5.00, and a desk lamp I almost bought that looked like something from Ed Harris’ desk in Apollo 13.

I kept walking around marveling at the strangeness. I picked up a dress shirt for Eric, and when I went to pay, the checker-girl was reading. She was reading “Go Ask Alice”. Out of place, out of time. Weird.

Cheese, Glorious Cheese.

After that last post, I need to write about something super, something wonderful, something I really love- CHEESE! Some people need their caffeine, some need chocolate or carbohydrates or re-runs of The Gilmore Girls- not me. I need cheese.

A few years ago, the California Lottery ran a series of television commercials in which the camera shows the point-of-view of the lottery winner. A male (presumable from the voice-over) lottery winner walks in to a fabulous specialty cheese store, and gazes around silently, taking in the multitudinous cheeses, zooming in on the piles and stacks and wheels and freshness- then the voice-over says “Wow. I could totally afford all this cheese!” that’s it. That’s the whole commercial. And I know how he feels- if I won the lottery (if I played the lottery) I would totally go buy “all that cheese”!

There is a restaurant near where I used to live, I suppose they are elsewhere too, but all it served was fondue. Fondue is food for the the gods- don’t even try and argue with me. A fantastically decorated restaurant, purple walls, gold drapery, velvet chairs, stars shining down, and little pots of bubbling cheese everywhere you looked. Heaven! I haven’t actually eaten there in almost six years, but I still recall it with vividity and love. DH took me there for our first anniversary, and he gave me a string of pearls over dinner (very sweet), but what I really loved was eating cheese for dinner.

I love all cheese- as long as it’s real cheese. From the mild and easy to eat motzarella fresca, to the pungent and die-hard-only aged Stiltons. I’ve even imbibed in the dreaded cartoon stinker, Limburger, and while it’s not my favorite, it wasn’t bad. Few things are more euphoria inducing than walking into a good cheese-monger’s shop. Monger- even the word connotates one who covets. No one else is a monger- only those who love cheese. So here are three of my very favorites, although it’s a little unfair, since I have never met a cheese I don’t like.

Maytag Blue- oh, I love blue cheese. The pungent veins and the crumbly to creamy texture- the blue cheeses are a surprisingly diverse group- far more varied than the chunks you might get in your salad dressing (those are good too, though). The Stiltons are a group unto themselves, and there are the gorgonzola’s and the Roquefort- also a breed apart- and divine. But for a strait-up blue cheese, the American Maytag is the best. Pungent enough, but very creamy, melts in your mouth. Give it to me with a ripe pear and some pecans- oh, heaven! Just skip the stuff in the aseptic packages at your market- cheese has gotta breathe, and a monger is where you go for Maytag.

Aged Dry Vello Jack- hard to find, but oh so worth it! This aged Jack cheese is fabulous, and while fresh Jack is mild and creamy and wonderful for melting, the aged stuff transmogrifies into a new animal. Buttery and intense, the wheels are coated in cocoa and oil for the aging process, so your fresh cut wedge will have a chocolate rind- sounds weird, but it’s divine. The cheese has the texture of any hard, aged cheese- crumbly and crystallized. Yum! I don’t know how or what you would cook with it, but I recommend bringing it to room temp, and just eating slivers.

The Undisputed King of all Cheeses: Parmigianno Regiano. If you have never had this, do yourself a favor- save up ten bucks and go buy a sliver. You will never buy the stuff in the green can again. A good, aged cheese has something remarkable happen to it: the sugars from the milk crystallize as it ages, and when you eat it, the crystals give the cheese an ever-so-slight crunch. It is marvelous, and cannot be replicated- only produced with care and time. There are many domestic companies making parmigianna type cheeses, but Regianno, like champagne, can only come from one region of Italy, made by one group of cheese makers with milk from cows from one area only- and it may sound extreme- but the taste really cannot be copied. Try it. Please, for your taste buds, try it.

Up next time: Ricotta Salata, Cotija, Sheep milk Feta, and fresh pulled Motzarella. I’m drooling.

911

Panicking. Panicking… Internal panic for my sanity… My babysitter that I lined up for today is almost an hour late, and all my plans for the day are teetering on the edge of falling apart, and I am panicking.

I need to get away today. You know the feeling. The desperate desire to just be away– alone (well the baby would be with me, but, you know…) and to run some errands in solitude. I’ve tried to call her a dozen times, but he phone appears to be off the hook. On Saturday, I checked in with her, but I knew I should have reminded her last night with a phone call… Damn.

She is college student home for the summer, and a really nice girl- but I know she probably just forgot. How could she possibly know how much I need this and how I look forward to it, relish it, plan my week around my One Day

And so my plans for the day cascade, as well as the potential mental health I was going to retrieve. My disappointment is palpable, tangible. I could almost touch it- maybe throw it through a window? The feeling inside is bad. Kind of panicky and desperate. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Speckles, Spots and Snakes On My Legs

What has happened to my body? When did I go from being a tanned and reasonably attractive woman to this creature I am now? I’ll tell you. It wasn’t marriage- I still looked pretty good even after a year or two of marriage. And it isn’t that I “let myself go” after I got married, either. It’s my children’s fault. That’s right- it’s all their fault- or, rather, what their pregnancies did.

Strange things happen when you have babies. Hormones that allow the little squatter to live and grow inside your body never quite return to normal. And the more babies, the weirder you get.

With my first baby, my once smooth and tan legs grew strange, snakey, undulating, crazy blue veins. The doctor said they might go away after he was born- and they kind of did. But when I got pregnant with #2, they came back, with friends. And, it appears my legs are their new permanent digs. With baby #3 they brought even more friends- friends that were long and undulating, and some new ones too, that looked like pretty little purple spider webs around my ankles. I don’t need any tattoos, I’ve got veins, man.

There are also spots. White spots, the size and shape of freckles, decorating my legs and arms. They don’t tan. At all. I suppose I could color them in with a marker or something, but that’s just too much work. The White Spots also brought friends, and they are the Tan Spots, but they only like my face. The doctor? He said it’s hormones from pregnancy, and no, they probably won’t go away. Lovely. So I have white freckles all over my body, and brown freckles on my face. If I keep getting cuter like this, it could lead to serious problems!

Here is the kicker, to add insult to injury: There are now, (I shudder) small, random hairs that occasionally I find on my… chin. Ughh. It wasn’t bad enough that I’m speckled and have roadmaps etched into my legs, but now I have whiskers, too?? The doctor? Hormones, nothing I can do about it… there is some cream or something, but you can’t use it when breastfeeding, lucky me. I feel like the Dr. Seuss dog-thing that wanted to be in the zoo- but was so freaky he ended up in the circus.

AND, I know, I am not alone! Every mom I have talked to has her own horror story of waking up in Frankenstein’s body after she has a baby. So, darn it, I want to talk about it. If we are all freaky, then none of us are. And that’s what I need today! So, dish, ladies. What alien thing has your body done to betray you since you became a mama?

Quickly, Before Church…

My sons are breastfeeding their dolls.

This morning, while I was feeding Abby, they both come out with their dolls, although Eric’s is actually a baby doll, Jeffrey’s is a stuffed cow- We just will leave that one alone. Anyway, they proceed to sit down on the floor, pull their shirts up, and shove their dollies to their sweet, flat, boy chests. The look on my husband’s face was a mixture of wanting to laugh, and sheer horror.

Target

Most of you already read MMW, but for those that don’t, here is my trip to Target. If, like my cousin Wing-Chang, you have two kids already and might be undecided about having a third, don’t read it. Just don’t.

Die, Little Einsteins, DIE!

What started out cute and harmless- what started out happy little entertainment for my Monkeys- has turned into an anathema, the very bane of my existence, the reason I want to jab an icepick in my ears at 2 a.m.

It’s the song. The Song. You know it, if you have ever unwittingly turned on the the Disney channel- be careful- it will crawl into your brain like an evil insect and nest in your medula, waiting until you are trying to concentrate, or trying to sleep; then it bursts to life, destroying your powers of higher reasoning and your ability to relax and/or calm you mind. Ever.

I lay awake, and the Song plays in my brain. I try singing something else, I try reading, I try getting up and taking a shower- and yet the vile, cursed Song continues to wind it’s way through my brain. There appears to be no antidote. Use extreme caution when handling any material related to the Song. It’s highly contagious- Avoid it at all costs.

Don’t even get me started on Oobi- when I see an arm in my peripheral vision, I startle, thinking it’s gran-poo coming to get me… Maybe I need more sleep?