Wednesday, December 31, 2008

So D and I got back from our dinner. When we got there, they were playing trendy music and I felt a little out of place with a baby. But then everyone smiled at us and said "Aww" as we passed them on our way to our seats. It was the kind of place that starts off strong and then the entrees aren't quite as good. The appetizers were spectacular. They brought out little dishes of apricots and cherries in some kind of subtle sauce, and a small dish of honey to dip our cheeses in. We got fontina, a sharp cheddar and creamy cow's milk cheese. I didn't think much of the cheddar but the other cheeses were lovely. We also got lentils, which were not quite as good as the cheese initially, but they grew on me. My entree was pasta with butternut squash, hazelnuts and shaved smoked ricotta. The squash tasted oddly like meat. The hazelnuts looked like chickpeas. They didn't have the apple crisp, so we passed on dessert, and I ended up eating some very old sorbet from the freezer at home. Sorbet doesn't go bad, does it?
Happy New Year's, everyone! I'm very excited about the restaurant we're going to tonight. We're going to an early seating with E. It's a pizzeria run by Mario Batali, and I'm still trying to figure out what to get. Will it be the pasta with hazelnuts, butternut squash and smoked ricotta? Probably. And dessert will be the apple crisp, if I get one. So I guess I've figured it out :)

It was snowing, all pretty-like, and now it's stopped.

I may make a cauliflower/tofu/tomato/pea concoction for lunch. If I make it, and it's good, I'll let you know.

And also...I really liked Matrimony by Joshua Henkin. You might want to check it out.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A tale of two bookstores

So I was reading a good book - Good Luck by Whitney Gaskell - when I noticed that page 154 was blank. I flipped through the rest of the book. Roughly half of the pages were blank. I no longer had the receipt, but the book still bore a Borders sticker. So I went to Borders to return it. But every other copy had the same problem.

So I trekked to Barnes & Noble (a better store, but further away) and couldn't find it. I was dejected until a saleslady came up to me and offered to help, explaining that not all of their fiction was on display. I explained the situation and she was enraged. "Oh my God!" she said, looking at the empty pages. "This is defective! It was probably a whole print run." She found a mass-market edition in another section, and actually gave me a store credit for the difference in price between that and my trade paperback - about $6. She kept trying to scan my old copy in and it wouldn't work, so I mentioned again that it was from Borders. That didn't seem to bother her, and she typed the PLU number (or whatever) in manually. I can't believe I actually made money on this! Kudos to B&N for their kindness.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Tonight I told D about PP. He got obscenely excited. PP is a place from my youth. You can get vanilla ice cream there and get toppings from a smorgasbord. They have butterscotch sauce, hot fudge sauce, strawberry sauce, nuts and sundry other trimmings. "I don't know if they exist anymore," I told him. "They were always kind of old-fashioned. They might not have survived in this Internet age."

D left the room and came back with his iPhone. He quickly determined that PP still exists.

Which brings me to...pregnancy. We are probably going to have another baby (not imminently, but within the next 2 years). The thing is, and I know this is shallow and we're not supposed to think about this stuff, but I don't want to gain 47 lbs again. So...those of you who have more than one kid...did you gain the same amount of weight each time? Based on some cursory research I've done (with a small sample size), people seem to gain more weight when they're carrying boys.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Well, I thought this would be the worst Christmas ever when E woke me up at 4 am and cried until 6:30 am. That's when D got the bright idea of giving him Tylenol - E is sick, after all, but my brain was too tired to come up with bright ideas like that. Things improved from there.

I talked with my mother and sister on the phone, then took E to the grocery store to get ingredients for tonight's dinner (bowtie pasta with green beans and red wine-tomato sauce, sprinkled with Parmesan). It was unexpectedly balmy outside. For lunch, D and I will probably take E to a diner. And I'll get my family Christmas celebration in January.

Merry Christmas, everyone...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Christmas that wasn't

For the first time since I moved to New York in 1999, I won't be going home for Christmas. E and I were laid low with the flu or something like it, and my mom came down with a fever and chills last night. So we decided to go in January instead.

I'm a little sad about it, but we decided to make lemonade out of lemons. Health permitting, we might go ice skating on Christmas. It's such a quintessentially New York thing to do, but we've never done it. I haven't been skating in years. Of course, one of us will hold E while the other one skates.

I participated in LibraryThing's Secret Santa exchange, a fun diversion. My Secret Santa sent me Beginner's Greek. I sent mine The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. No word on whether she's gotten it yet.

Friday, December 19, 2008

You're not going to believe this, but...

I saw Ethan Hawke AGAIN. Apparently he has scoped out all the family-friendly establishments in the area, too. It was funny, though - this time I saw his baby first. He was holding the baby on his lap, and the baby was wearing an adorable, tiny knit cap. And no, I don't know whether the baby was a boy or a girl. He was with his wife and his kids from his former marriage to Uma.

We had a nice dinner with two of our friends. I am dying for them to get married. They are so well suited. And they are kid friendly! Some people without babies are scared of them. But they're not. They both love E. E gnawed on the breadbasket and had some applesauce that I brought with me.


Yes, I'm up at 4 am. But the baby slept for an 8-hour stretch, so I can't complain. I just had an apple and D and I are typing away on our computers (though I'm sure he's using his for serious, work-ly purposes).

I hate to admit it, but the dreaded CIO (crying it out) appears to work. We tried it once, when he was 2 1/2 months old, and lasted an hour. We felt sure we had made a mistake trying it at all, but he slept a 6-hour stretch for the first time the next night.

Last night, we tried it again. I had just given him a huge "meal" and D happened to wake him up by coughing. So I knew he wasn't hungry. Against D's objections, I let him cry it out. We lasted an hour and felt sure we had made a mistake. (Sound familiar?) But tonight, he did an 8-hour stretch.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Adventures in solids

So I'm feeding E solids (purees or mashed food, really) and learning as I go. It's funny how I used to think parents were experts. Then again, maybe my parents were, because I was their fourth kid ;)

I've learned that E prefers avocado to just about everything, although he also likes banana (but not frozen), sweet potato, pear, and butternut squash (though it must be pureed enough, and if frozen, it must be frozen in a closed container, not an open-air ice cube tray). It's best to give him something to play with (a block, etc.) as he eats. That will make him open his mouth spontaneously. Also, he prefers to have his mouth wiped with a napkin, rather than a bib. I got a little banana in his nose this morning, but he forgave me (and I got it out).

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

I heart Brussels sprouts.

So I made this and it came out delicious. And pretty, too. I recommend it. You might even want to double it - if the folks at Gourmet think this serves 4 people, they're on crack ;)

Today was a little - okay, a lot - horrifying. I was pushing E in his stroller and we went down the little ramp for handicapped people (you know, the little decline at the edge of the sidewalk). At the bottom of the ramp was a puddle, which concealed a bump. I tripped and the stroller pitched forward. It was awful. A woman helped me get it upright again. I was frantic. She said, "He's not hurt, just scared." I don't know how I'm going to survive the first bruise, etc. And God forbid he plays football. I don't think it's big in New York, anyway.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

First snow

E experienced his first snow in Massachusetts. I didn't get a picture of the actual event, but here he is, ready to go outside.

Monday, December 08, 2008

To have or not to have

So we're already getting The Question: "When are you having another one?" Please note that in my family, 2 kids is a small number. Well, for the older generation. My generation is sticking to 2 kids per family, but anything less would be unheard of.

That's not the reason why I want another one, though. I do love babies. I think they're cute and cuddly and fun. The only real downside is the sleep (sort of) deprivation. More like sleep interruption. But I realize I can't complain. I haven't had a sleepless night since he was born. Even when he was a newborn, he slept for chunks of the night. And he doesn't have colic. Both D and I did, so we were lucky to escape it.

Which brings us to names. We had a hard enough time agreeing on E's name. Names bandied about on the way home: Colin, Conor, Ethan, and Joseph. Neither of us agreed on any name. We have a rough road ahead of us...

Sunday, December 07, 2008

So I just got back from the family Christmas party. Folks, I fell off the wagon. The health wagon, that is. I met my Waterloo - non-chocolate cake with thick white frosting. (Chocolate is not really tempting to me.) I also had a bunch of nuts that were coated with something. My brother's wife made them. All the sugar has me humming!

It's part of the tradition of the party that "Santa" (usually one of my male cousins) gives presents to the wee ones. E got a little duck that flaps its wings as you push it along. When E was summoned to the front of the room, he smiled at everybody on the way. Then when he sat on Santa's lap (maybe because of Santa's bellowing voice), his face crumpled up like a little Kleenex and he burst into tears. As soon as he was in D's arms, good humor was restored.

We also visited my oldest aunt (92) at the nursing home. We found a card table in an activity room, where we changed E's diaper. The trash had some discarded crafts in it, which were soon joined by E's dirty diaper. "I hope that's really trash, and not storage," said my mom.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The great shlep

So I went to the pediatrician today. I chose to take the subway this time instead of a taxi. This involved 3 trains. Yes, 3. Each making 2 stops or less, but still. Yet I enjoyed it much more than the taxi. E prefers the subway, too. People smile and coo at him. (And don't worry, I would never bring him on the subway at night or during rush hour. In fact, he has never been on it later than 2 pm).

I think I enjoyed the trip more because it involved walking (after I got off the subway) and you feel good after walking. Not like a taxi ride when your nerves are singing.

Anyway, I feel like my pediatrician is a mixed bag. She went to a great medical school and she is very careful and thorough. I trust her to take good care of E. Yet we have philosophical differences. She is a big fan of crying it out. She feels that E should be sleeping 10-11 hours uninterrupted every night.

I don't know how realistic this is for every 6-month-old. Sometimes he does do that. Other times he wakes up. Last night I decided not to feed him when he woke up. He went back to sleep after a little comforting from D and ended up sleeping a total of 11 hours, with that one interruption. I don't think this is terrible. Psychologically it is very hard to let your kid cry it out. D said he only had to comfort him for about 10 minutes. And sometimes a pacifier will do it.

I think she is going by the book. I don't think she has kids. Until you have a kid, you don't know what the sound of him crying will do to you.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

I am not going to be abandoning Blogger for Facebook. Now that the novelty has worn off, Facebook is a fun place to get in touch with "lost" people, but you can't really do any writing there. So Blogger still has its place.

I like LibraryThing, also - you can write reviews, get free books, etc. I was reading some other people's reviews and came across a reader who didn't like To Kill a Mockingbird quite as much the second time around. The first time she read it, at age 14, she thought it was the best book ever. I have to admit I never *loved* TKAM. The books I loved that were assigned in high school were Catcher in the Rye and Gatsby. What books did you like from your high school curriculum?

I made a new recipe tonight (new to us). It's basically cauliflower, penne, tomato cream sauce with herbs, and some Parmesan, which is then sprinkled with breadcrumbs dipped in olive oil and baked. Yummy.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

E turns 6 months this Thursday and by all signs, it seems to be a good age. I made it through the mommy & me yoga class today without nursing him at all. Looking at the mothers who were nursing the very young ones through the entire class, I was grateful that phase is over. He also didn't cry at all - except briefly when he woke up from his nap (15 minutes into the class), and he was easily comforted. He is very interactive and even loves strangers. He makes friends on the subway whenever we go to a class. *And* he seems to like butternut squash...unlike his father.

Monday, December 01, 2008

I feel like such a slacker...I've gotten sucked into Facebook. But I am going to try to keep blogging. A few tidbits:
  • We're going to MA this weekend for the family Christmas party. Because of the numerous-ity of my mom's side of the family, they rent a hall. Everyone brings an appetizer or dessert and fun is usually had by all. Here's hoping the trip does not destroy E's sleeping schedule. He has taken to sleeping 10-11 hours a night, waking up once to feed, and waking up another time to get his diaper changed. I'll take it.
  • I just finished Knit Two by Kate Jacobs and really liked it. It was a sequel to the Friday Night Knitting Club.
  • I'm wondering what's the earliest age a child can enjoy Disney World - thoughts? D and I have different ideas on the matter.
  • So far, E seems to prefer avocado to butternut squash, banana and rice cereal (all fed to him separately, of course). He weighs 21 pounds. Update: he is eating the butternut squash! Yay...