Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hoosiers and Hondas

There was an article on the front of the business section in this morning's Post-Dispatch that caught my eye. It was titled Hoosiers and Hondas--an interesting pairing as I grew up in the Hoosier state and have always driven Hondas. Apparently Honda is opening a new factory in a small town in Indiana.

"Hoosier" is not a title I claim often around here. For those of you who live in Indy and are not aware, but "hoosier" is generally a derrogatory term (at least here in St. Louis)--meaning people who are ignorant or trashy. I was surprised and highly amused in college to hear my freshman year roommate calling people Hoosiers. To people who live in Indiana, it's just a word that means you're a person from Indiana (or who roots for IU, typically against Purdue, the big state school rival). It's hard to tell whether the article's title meant to poke any fun at the state of Indiana, or to just catch the eyes of the local readers, but I'm sure it gave a few soda-sipping, toasted-ravioli eating readers a smile this morning.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Recent Web Searches

Welcome web surfers. If you searched on one of the following topics and found my site, you're in the right place! Well, maybe it's not exactly what you were looking for....

"knifty knitters"
"pasta salad with olive pesto"
"Sings of impending pregnancy labour" (Note: This is not a typo, someone apparently wants music written about childbirth....)
"myspace motherhood"
"Tennis Anyone"
"alphabet pasta salad"
"banana strawberry smoothie denise austin"
"good charlotte "she was down" "i don't know ""
"march of dimes walk balloons"
"hair dos little ponytails"
"she's a carnivore"

Monday, June 26, 2006

Dancing Fools

Saturday night my husband and I attended a "graduation" dinner for his sister, for completing her family practice residency. Charlotte went to a friend's house for the evening to swim and play, so we got to have a bit of an adult evening. The dinner was at Bevo Mill, which is where we had our wedding reception 5 years ago (July 7th, 2001). The place looked as nice as it did then--the inside is beautiful with dark wood panelling, beamed cathedral ceilings, a huge stone fireplace, and the round area under the actual mill is covered in tiled murals. The weather was significantly nicer than on our wedding day--we had temps of 107 for our big day, but Saturday it was a breezy 80ish degree night. The food was excellent. There were speeches by several people, and awards and gifts of appreciation for various faculty and residents--typical graduation type stuff.

They had hired a DJ to play after dinner, and had the dance floor set up in the round room under the mill. The dance floor has taken a beating in the last 5 years--sections were held in place by duct tape. The group of doctors and guests wasn't very large--I think SIL said there were about 80 people--and there weren't many inclined to dance. My SIL was one of the organizers of the dinner, so she was one of the first on the dance floor after dinner. Her husband, my husband, and I were all with her. We made up probably 75% of the entire group that danced :) Oh well, it was fun.

It's been a long time since we've had the opportunity to get on a dance floor and make fools of ourselves. My husband has pretty good rhythmn--that's one of the things that attracted me to him back in college. My brother-in-law does too. I think the 4 of us spent a lot of time dancing at the various parties in college. We were all part of a co-ed fraternity that believed strongly in the importance of fellowship :) Well, technically, BIL wasn't in the fraternity since he was already out of school, but he attended more events with SIL than some of the regular members did.

The night became a nice memory trip for me. Having dinner in Bevo, and time on the dance floor singing along to Love Shack made me feel like I was 21 again, or at least 24, or maybe even 18. My husband didn't do any back handsprings, and there were no kicklines, and we had to leave before 10 so that our babysitters could get to sleep. Nevertheless, it was a good night.

Thursday, June 22, 2006


Charlotte was sick Tuesday afternoon and yesterday, for the first time in a couple of months. Ever since I went back to work and she started going to daycare, I've been barely earning sick days before she has to spend them with another illness. But it looks like we might finally have gotten ahead of the curve there. And, as baby sick days go, it really wasn't too bad.

Charlie ran a fever Tuesday afternoon and my husband picked her up early. She threw up in the car on the way home, and then a couple more times at home (including all over me--in my hair and everything--yum). She took about an hour's nap around 5:30, which gave us time to eat a pizza (she loves pizza, and I'm glad she didn't have any of that in her stomach when she nailed me). After a much-needed bath, she went back down to bed at 9 and actually slept till 6:30 the next morning. She ate yesterday morning, though not as much as normal, and mostly spent the day on the couch. We went out to lunch with my husband since she seemed to be mostly ok (keeping food down, less fever, just sleepy), and she fell sound asleep on the way home. During her 2.5 hour nap, I got in some reading outside in the sunshine, and a shower. After nap, she watched part of Shrek and part of an episode of Sesame Street, and finally started perking up a bit and playing.

By the time my husband got home from work, she was chasing me around the living room with her baby doll stroller and we'd gone for a walk around the neighborhood. She was thrilled to see her daddy, but for once she wasn't quite as sick of me as she normally gets after a day stuck at home. So all in all, it was a pretty good day, minus the fever. She even went to sleep with less fuss than normal last night--after I tucked her in, my husband only had to make one trip in to re-tuck her before she was out for the night.

If only all her sick days would be so peaceful.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Steak on a stick and other fun weekend entertainments

We had a busy weekend, though we really didn't do that much. Friday night, the 3 of us went to Outback for dinner. Charlotte mostly behaved, though for the last 15 minutes or so, my husband and I took turns taking her for a walk to play with the rocks that line the bushes outside the restaurants. Charlie's fascinated by rocks, and re-located several for the restaurant.

Saturday morning, my husband went out for a run early to beat the heat. Our neighborhood was having garage sales, so after breakfast, we walked around to say hi to people and see if there was anything interesting for sale. I spent a whopping $1.50 to buy a shorts outfit and some toy dice in a bag, all for Charlotte. She is fascinated by the dice M. and I use for our weekly D&D game with friends, so I was hoping that her own set (complete with lavender velour baby-sized backpack to hold them) would distract her for at least a while. She insisted on carrying the bag and dice around with her and to church on Sunday, but, alas, they were no competition for the real thing last night. After garage saling, I went out for a bike ride that turned out a little longer than I expected--apparently some of the roads around our neighborhood aren't as straight and square as I thought they were. Luckily most of the way home was downhill :)

Saturday afternoon we went to a friend's birthday party. Charlotte got to play with their two boys (Gavin and Andrew), and to swing on their swing set. After the party we got together with other friends, S&P, and their son Gavin (it was a 2-Gavin day for the munchkin) for an overly greasy dinner at Denny's. Gavin and Charlotte then amused us for a good hour by chasing each other around the house with a beach ball and a lot of high-pitched squeals. Who needs TV when you have 2 toddlers and a circular path for them to run around?

For Father's Day on Sunday, M. wanted to bbq some ribs. He and Charlotte had matching outfits (a t-shirt for him, a romper for her) that I found at the Disney store. M's sister and brother-in-law joined us for the afternoon, and S&P came up for dinner. The ribs were good, and Charlotte ate most of the meat from one (cut off the bone). She called it "steak" :) She also insisted on gnawing on one of the bones like the adults were doing. In the process, she got food all over her baby doll, which she insisted on holding on her lap while she ate. We rounded out the evening with an encore of the dueling toddlers.

And Some I do...

I wrote over the weekend about seeing a couple of people on MySpace that I supposedly went to high school with, but whose faces and names I just don't recognize. Yesterday I got a message from someone else that I actually do recognize. Well, I didn't at first, but she was a freshman when I graduated, and she's grown up a bit since then :) We were in the color guard together, and the one thing that I remember most about her is that she, along with one of the other freshmen, could sing all of the lyrics to "Baby Got Back" from memory. Our coach took us to see West Side Story at one point, and the two of them sat in the backseat and cracked the rest of us up by singing the whole way there. To this day, when I hear that song, I still remember that particular car trip.

This is becoming a fun little diversion. I still am annoyed by the site quite frequently, but it has its good points :)

Saturday, June 17, 2006

People I don't even know

Way back when I was first setting up my blog, I first tried creating a profile on MySpace. I quickly decided that the interface sucked, and found a friend's blog here on blogger/blogspot instead. Well, recently one of my sisters showed me her profile on MySpace, and I remembered that they have been continuing to spam me for all this time, so I must still have an account also.

So voila, I am on MySpace. I actually updated my profile to say something useful, and added a picture. I still think the interface sucks, btw. I'm even comfortable with computers, and it's still annoying to figure out how to do what I want to do with it. It doesn't help that I don't have a lot of free time on the computer most days, and when I do, I don't want to spend it clicking on broken links and browsing in circles.

Anyway, another friend told me tonight about finding a couple of old classmates on MySpace, and I decided to waste a little time trying that also. Plus, I'm too exhausted to do much else at the moment, but feel bad going to bed before 9:30 on a Saturday (what a wild life I lead....).

It took a couple of tries to actually get results to return for people from my graduating class. Then, the first two people in the list I don't even recognize. My class had about 200 people, and I knew who most of them were, but I didn't make my 10 year reunion, and I only vaguely keep track of 2 or 3 friends. I may have to pull out a yearbook and see if I can place them. I did find the site of an old, um, flame I guess you'd call him. We never officially dated, just flirted and occaisionally kissed. Boy was that a long time ago. He's now bald and looks a bit heavier than he used to (I suppose I do too, to be fair). It was amusing to see his little collection of photos--there was one towards the end that looked a lot more like the guy I used to know.

I keep trying to search for poeple in all the years that I attended, but I must be asking for the world, since the site keeps choking. Either that or there are a million other bored people online tonight giggling at old bald guys they dated in high school...

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Pasta Salad follow up

It appears the pasta salad went over well. Most of what I brought to the picnic was consumed--pretty good considering the sheer volume of food and the fact that half the people had already filled their plates by the time I got to the park. My husband even complimented me on it (I forced some on him for lunch today) :) He suggested adding pine nuts for some crunch. I think that either cherry/grape tomatoes or sundried tomatoes would add a nice dimension as well. Let me know if anyone tries it :)

Pesto/Olive/Italinish pasta salad

Today there is a picnic for the people in my building at work, and everyone is supposed to bring a dish. This is turning into an expensive lunch, since we are also asked to pay $5 for burgers, brats, fish, and sodas in addition to the side dish or dessert. They asked half of hte alphabet to bring dessert, and the other half to bring a side dish, and unfortunately I was in the side dish half. I say unfortunately because I love to bake, and could have easily whipped up a cake or cookies or somethign to bring in. But, I decided to play by the rules and actually try something new. I made a pasta salad.

I know, I know, there' s nothing that fancy about pasta salad. It really wasn't difficult, once I got through the shopping trip. I took Charlotte with me (mistake #1) to get her out of my husband's hair while he stains furniture (babies and paint thinner don't mix). I had found a recipe that involved a pesto sauce, and wrote down the ingredients, starting with 3 cups of basil. I assumed (mistake #2) that basil would be a fairly easy ingredient to buy. Unfortunately our local Schnucks seems to think that we should pay like $5 for like 2 basil leaves, and I would have spent a fortune on it. I had also seen a recipe that called for sundried tomatoes, salami, provolone, olives, and capers--all things that I, personally, do not like, but that are popular with folks in general. Since I was at the store with a wiggling, shrieking halfling at this point and had no other recipe books handy, I started collecting ingredients.

We were on the second shopping cart (Charlotte wanted to ride in the back of the regular one, and to help open the salami, so we switched to the car one), when I started walking laps around the store trying to locate sundried tomatoes. They weren't with pickles/relishes, not with pasta/italian foods, and not in the produce section. Charlotte undid her buckle and climbed out the window of her little car, Dukes of Hazard style. I asked 2 different workers, who sent me on 2 more laps back to the same sections I'd already visited. Charlotte shrieked and I ended up carrying her on a hip while pushing the cart. Finally I gave up and, remembering the packaged pesto I'd seen near the olives, decided to adjust my recipe.

I don't know if anyone will eat my pasta salad (I probably won't...again, I don't like any of the ingredients that went into it), but here's the basic recipe:

Cook 1 lb pasta (I used campanelle).
In a large bowl, whisk 2Tred wine vinegar, 1T lemon juice, 1/4c olive oil, 1 clove minced garlic, Kosher salt, and ground black pepper. Add hot pasta, toss to coat, and put in the fridge to cool off.

When the pasta is cool, cut 1/2lb salami and 1/2 lb provolone to 1/4"x2" slices (give or take--bite sized pieces). Coarsely chop 1/2 cup calmatta olives. Add to pasta, along with about 1/2 jar capers (about 2-3T), and 1 carton pesto (about 8oz I think). Stir the whole mess together, and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped fresh basil.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Channeling June Cleaver

Picture this: a stately (*cough*) blonde, wearing a skirt and lace blouse, high heels, and floral apron, chopping vegetables and otherwise prepping dinner for her family while her young child sat nicely at the kitchen table eating a snack. Sound like June Cleaver? Nope, it was me. Every day in our household is just as picturesque as this one. Really. I swear. Ok, everything was true except the "every day" part.

Not convinced? Here's the real story. I have a tennis match right after work today, so I actually shaved my legs in preparation for going out in public in shorts (well, a tennis skirt over shorts, but same difference). Since my legs were actually shaved, I decided I would wear a skirt to work. I have done this before--once or twice. The "high heels" are actually a pair of dressy sandals, and might have a net of 1" of heel to them. They're cute, but not exactly stillettos or anything. I tried to thaw a chuck roast for Tuesday dinner on Monday, but it was still a block of ice yesterday, so it went into the crock pot this morning (hence the floral apron--I didn't want beef juice on my outfit). Charlotte typically eats a breakfast at home before heading to her second one at school, and was in a mood for granola cereal this morning. She likes it with milk, and actually drinks the milk out of the bowl (just like my husband). Her motor skills are improving nicely, so she accomplished this feat exceedingly neatly this morning, and didn't spill a drop on her new, cute (cheap from Walmart) sunsuit.

Since my husband is picking Charlotte up from daycare today, I dropped her off. That meant that I was attempting to get myself and Charlotte ready, feed her 1st breakfast, make dinner, pack my tennis clothes (some that had to be dried first), pack my lunch and still be out the door early enough to be at work by a reasonable time. I actually accomplished all of that, miraculously without tears or a breakdown from Charlotte, without sticky handprints on my outfit, and without forgetting anything (that I know of). Thank Goodness this isn't what our household looks like every day!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Day 3

Moderate success. Charlotte did not go down to sleep well last night, but it wasn't too far from ordinary. Every time she'd realize that I was leaving the room, she'd get up and run for her door. She actually opened her bedroom door at one point, but I don't think it was shut firmly. After 2 or 3 return visits to snuggle her, tuck her in, and tickle her back, she finally dozed off in her bed. We did open her door later in the evening, once she was down. We're not trying to be cruel by shutting her in or anything, but rather 1) keep the noise level in her room down while she goes to sleep, since she's easily distracted, and 2) emphasize that at bedtime, she stays in her room (if not her bed).

Charlie made it through the night without waking. She woke up this morning about 6:15, as my alarm was going off. We heard her walk to her doorway, and holler for us. My husband grunted something to her, and she padded into our bedroom, and around the side of the bed where I was sleeping. I helped her up and we cuddled a bit before I got up to shower, when she moved over to snuggle with her daddy. In my last post, I mentioned the ottoman that I am intending to make to place at the foot of our bed--once that's done she will probably be able to help herself into our bed. While I'm sure she'll be taking advantage of that for a while, at least it won't require us to actually get out of bed to help her. This could be good :)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Day 2.5

Charlotte did not sleep quite as well last night in her new bed. My husband got up with her a couple of times, and ended up bringing her to our bed around 2am. And, Charlotte realized that she could get out of bed to yell for us, because she met her daddy by the door in the middle of the night. We are having a couple of unseasonably cool days (high around 75 today, instead of the normal 85-90), so she might have just been cold. She's also cutting like 4 teeth, so her head might be hurting. It might not be the bed, then, but that probably didn't help.

Maybe we should leave her door open after she falls asleep so that she can just wander out and find us, I don't know. I think the real problem with that (besides remembering to shut the office door to keep her out of the computer and my sewing stuff), is that she couldn't get herself into our bed alone anyway. Our bed frame is tall, and our mattress has a 6-inch block of memory foam on top of it, so the whole thing stands higher than her head (she's around 32 inches, so we're talking 36+ inches tall). I have some of the materials to make an ottoman/bench thing to put at the foot of our bed, but I will need some time to cut plywood down to size, and still need batting, trim for the bottom edge, and another set of the plates that the legs screw into. Anyway, that's not going to be complete within a day or two, so at best she can toddle into our room and holler from the floor.

We'll see. We've been warned by others that you get several difficult nights as the kids adjust to a new sleeping arrangement before things settle down. So, please pardon any grumpiness in my posts for the next couple of days as we all adjust to the new bed!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Day Two

I am sitting in our home office, which happens to share a wall with Charlotte's bedroom. Specifically, the wall that her bed is on. As I'm typing, I am hearing mysterious bumps and thumps and the occaisional wail from her room. In other words, it's a typical night. Last night was the same. The odd thing is that Charlotte is now sleeping in a toddler bed.

Yesterday afternoon, my husband and I pulled out the crib parts and instructions, removed the side of the crib, and attached the half-size toddler safety rails. Charlotte helped with the screwdriver (attempting to attach a few bolts herself), checked out the mattress supports, and generally made the project challenging. Come bedtime, we followed the same routine as always (jammies, a couple of books, some snuggle time in the rocking chair, and a return trip or two for extra snuggles as she fell asleep). This morning was the same as every other morning--when she awoke, Charlotte promptly hollered for us to come and get her. Nap time too.

I don't think she's figured out that she can get herself in and out of the crib yet. She should know that she physically is able to (she did it yesterday when we were reassembling it), but she has not attempted it at bedtime or naptime yet. I'm not complaining, mind you, just amused. At daycare, she naps on a cot, and when the kids wake up, the teachers make them wait to be "excused" to hop down off their cots and go play (or snack). I think it keeps the kiddos from jumping down and immediately waking all their classmates. But the habit appears to be keeping Charlotte in her bed at home too.

I'm sure it won't be long before she realizes that she can get herself books and toys (or wreck havoc on her drawers and closet). And if we get brave and open her bedroom door at night, she'll be able to walk in to visit us at night, instead of summoning us with a scream. For now, I guess we'll just be thankful that the change of bed hasn't messed up her night time routine too much.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Family support for my new fitness routine

As I was getting ready for tennis last night, I pulled a can of balls out of the closet to bring with me. Charlotte immediately reached for them, saying "Ball", and tried to get the can open. I had bought a multipack recently, and felt I could be nice and share a couple of them with her to play with.

I pulled the lid off the can and opened them, then went to throw away the pop-top. Charlie threw a fit and didn't want me to get the balls out of the can for her. Fine, I figured, opening the can does make a nice "woosh" sound. So I pulled the lid off the other can, and had her "help" me open it. When I went to throw away the second pop-top, she threw another fit, and pulled it out of my hands. I cringed, thinking of the sharp edges on those things, and watched as she tried valliantly to line the top back up on the top of the can. I tried to explain to her that it was all done, and that you can't put the top back on and do it again. I finally got both tops thrown in the recycle bin ("aluminum recylces" is imprinted in the metal).

When I had my shoes on, I grabbed one can to take with me to my match. And got another tantrum. Apparently, Charlotte thinks that *all* the tennis balls are toys for her to play with. I explained several times on my way out the door that the balls are Mommy's and that she has to share. I don't think it sunk in.

*Sigh* It's a good thing I didn't show her the raquet.

Tennis Anyone?

Last night, for the first time since before Charlotte was conceived, I played a game of tennis. I had signed up a month or two ago to play in my company's league, and we were supposed to get started in mid-May. The ladies singles group is divided into two groups--one of about 12 ladies, and one of 4. I was put in the group of 4. Within a day of receiving our schedules, one of the 4 ladies had dropped out. The club "secretary" assured the other 3 of us (after we asked), that he was trying to find another person for our group, but he never followed up on it. So the 3 of us who are left have tried to start setting up matches. I guess we are divided based on ability--the other group thinks they know how to play well, and my group is willing to admit that we don't.

My first match went well, considering how long it's been since I last held a raquet. I lost 6-2 and 6-1, but many of the games were very close. The lady I was playing was the head of my department when I was hired (something like my boss's boss's boss's boss), and it was nice to get to talk to her in an informal setting. She's very friendly and easy-going, and our mutual inconsitency on the courts made for a good matchup. I play the 3rd member of the league next week, and I'm hoping that I won't double-fault quite as many times :)

Today, I am finding the first aches and pains for my efforts. I'm sure by tomorrow I will be feeling pain in muscles that I'd forgotten about. I guess I'm on my way towards one of the fitness goals I'd set for myself earlier in the year. I've been very good at getting a yoga or pilates workout in 4 or 5 nights a week, but haven't done much (any) cardio. I hope I can keep this up the rest of the summer!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Sunrise, Sunset

Whoever decided that riding off into the sunset was supposed to be romantic and dramatic obviously never tried it. In reality, it will give you a huge headache, since you're staring at the sun the whole time. I should know--I was driving home to St. Louis from Indianapolis on Sunday evening, staring at the setting sun the whole way. At first, the sun was high enough that with sunglasses and liberal use of the sun shades in the car I could at least see the road and the cars on it. Soon enough, the sun creeps low enough that I'd have to shade the entire windshield in order block it, which makes driving a bit more challenging. At this point I try my best to focus on the road and the cars, and praying for trees tall enough to keep from being blinded (hills would be nice, but we're talking about interstate 70 through Illinois--there's really not much there). The ironic part is that right about the time the sun is blinding me, it's really getting too dark on the road to drive with sunglasses on--everything gets too shadowy and shady and not enough people have turned on their headlights yet.

We passed a pleasant weekend visiting my mom and baby sister, who's 10th birthday is next week. Katie had dance recitals this weekend, one for jazz and one for ballet, and we enjoyed both. Katie's class is old enough to have a decently complex dance routine, and for most of the girls to remember their steps and their lines, and to have a lot of energy and enthusiasm in the performance.

The studio that Katie takes classes in also gives adult classes, and they also performed in the recital. One of their acts involved half a dozen ladies wearing chaps and cowboy hats dancing to a "Save a horse, ride a cowboy" :) It was also fun to watch the little 3 and 4-year olds in their little bunny and bee costumes, complete with tutus, and to realize that Charlotte's not too far away from being able to do that as well.

The lady who runs the studio is a ballet dancer with 2 grown daughters and a couple of granddaughters, and they (along with several other mother-daughter groups) did a dance to "Sunrise, Sunset". As the lyrics started with "Is this the baby I carried", I couldn't keep myself from tearing up a bit. My little infant daughter is nearly 2, and walking, talking, climbing, running, and generally developing her own personality (complete with the most adorable "No"'s I've ever heard). I remember when I was the little one in the tutu up on the stage, and soon it will be her turn.

Maybe we'll be able to find a local studio that gives the adult classes or mother-daughter classes. I would really enjoy that. My husband took ballet and tap when he was little, too, (there's always one boy in every recital...), and if we have a baby boy at some point, he would likely get dance classes along with his big sister.