Monday, December 22, 2008

Even as we speak...

Someone's a little worn out from all the Christmas preparations... and jumping.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Fun with Daddy

We have this stuffed greyhound doll that Jodie gave to us when we started trying to get pregs.  Cora has just recently been interested in stuffed animals....playing with them and sucking on their limbs and faces.  

So this morning  the greyhound was in the corner of Cora's crib and she started playing with it.  Jason comes into the room and starts playing with Cora and the greyhound.  Desiring to give an "accurate representation" of what greyhounds do since we have two real ones, he began to gallop the greyhound around her crib, made whining noises, "licked" her face.  Then here's the kicker -- he next proceeded to bend the greyhound over until it was licking its butt.  Yay accuracy.  Now all he needed to do was to have the dog lick Cora again.

I love my husband.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Cora says...

It's been a big month for Cora with lots of new developments (isn't it always when they're this young?)

First up, mobility. Although she isn't crawling, Cora is getting awfully close. She can get up on her knees from her belly by herself, and will rock as though she's just about ready to take a crawl. She can also scoot around, backward, when on her tummy. We had a great incident when we stepped away for a moment while she was down on her floor mat, came back a minute later, and she was several feet away almost underneath the TV cabinet. Sneaky.

And as to the post title, she's also been getting a lot more vocal. The past day or two is the shriek, which isn't all that endearing after the tenth or twelfth, but before that came the "ba" noises. Obviously babies make noise from very early on, but the "ba" is the first sound where she's enunciating like she's trying to actually talk. She'll also do it in response to us pretty often if we make similar noises back. Before we know it, she'll be talking our ear off!

So without any further ado, I give you video of the very "ba" Coraline Clark:

video

video

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I am NOT a boy

Cora would like to state for the record that despite her clothes today, she is NOT a boy. Don't you see the cute little pink thing in her hair? Don't you?!

From Fashion Plate


Oh yeah, and there's a new photo set up about mobility. For now it's just the walker, but I'm sure we'll have various crawling, cruising, stumbling and toddling photos there not that long from now.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Update and a Video Backlog

Before rolling to the photos and videos I've finally managed to eek out time for, I thought I'd give some updates on our favorite little girl.

Coraline has been growing like a weed (in a good sense, not the "choking out all competing life" way... hmm, actually). She's six months old now, and weighs in at 18 pounds! We've got friends with kids over a year that aren't that big. Quite a change from the fifth percentile she was in early on.

This month has seen a dramatic increase in her interest in the world around her. Amber got a walker from the second-hand store a while back, and that was the best thing ever. Cora is finally getting to where we can set her in that for 15-30 minutes at a stretch (sometimes), and she'll happily go with it. A big component there is that she's discovered toys. Oh yes, she is no longer a stranger to the joys of Duckie, Ellie the elephant, Herr Mutt or plenty of other bright colored plastic friends. It's been amazing to watch that change--like a little light going on in her head that "Hey, what are these? They're fun. I want more!"

She rolling over very proficiently, and even okay with spending some time on her belly. She hasn't figured out yet that if she just got her knees under her she could crawl to that toy that's just out of reach, but it can't be far off. Even without the full crawling, she's started inching around. Just last night we put her on a broad floor pad we got from Ikea, and while we weren't looking she managed to scoot off the edge of it. I'm excited and scared at the same time.

Anyway, with that said, I've posted two new photo albums, More Friends and Family and Fashion Plate. First one is self-explanatory. Fashion Plate is all about catching Cora in our favorite outfits before she outgrows them, the little stinker!

And last but certainly not least, here are some video clips for your enjoyment. I really ought to look into getting something to edit the videos, but hey, it's been a month since I downloaded stuff from the camera. I'm just glad I got anything done!

Cora in her bouncy seat, now retired since she's too big!
video

I can't believe she's talking back to Aunt Sarah already!
video

Here she is, dancing away on the changing table
video

Coraline finds her voice
video

Long clip of Coraline waking up. Unlike her parents, she's a morning girl, always greeting us with a huge smile when we come into the nursery.
video

Friday, August 29, 2008

Video Potpourri

Cora was so inspired by Phelps' performance in the Olympics, she just had to get in on the swimming action!

video

Next up we see that just like the song says, waking up is hard to do. (What do you mean that's not what the lyrics say? Bah!)

video

And lastly, you might need the volume up a little on this one. Aren't babies so nice and peaceful when they sleep?


video

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lounging around, having a bite to eat!

Another couple albums up for you. First off is Lounging Around, which features our favorite little cutie in a variety of relaxed situations--recliner, bath time, escaping from her swaddler. Good fun.

Next on the docket is First Food, commemorating the special day on Friday when we finally introduced Coraline to some pseudo-solid food (rice cereal with formula to be specific.) In a special bonus, here's some video of her reaction as well.

video

I think her expression at the end of the video makes plain how she felt about this whole "not drinking all my sustenance" thing.

Don't worry, she'll get the idea eventually. We've added a bit of apple-sauce to the mix the next couple times, and that seems to smooth things over substantially.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Even more pictures

Two new albums tonight. Assorted cuteness is just that--bunches of shots of our little cutie, including some of my favorites where I was teaching her to program. She was frowning at my shoddy client-side scripting. Kids these days...

Next is a couple new looks we were trying on for Cora: goth and wild baby. Seriously, can't I take my daughter to the company picnic without her getting tattooed?

Amber took a bunch of pictures on her recent trip up to Montana. We'll try to get those up soon... maybe even with some video.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fresh pics! Come get your fresh pictures!

After far too long of a hiatus, I've finally gotten some pictures 1) off the camera onto the computer 2) sorted, culled and variously shuffled and 3) posted on the intarwebs!

Two new albums for your enjoyment. You can find the first at Cousins!, which chronicles not one, but two different sets of cousins. Some are of John, Coraline's cousin. Others are Amber's cousins, Jen, Kristen and Scott who came up to visit.

The new album is Friends and Family, which includes various shots of our more immediate family, along with a few friends (hi Nate and Amy!)

Anyway, there's more to come soon. Enjoy!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Poop cleanup on aisle three...

So what is it about being out and about that prompts my kid to blow out her dipes?

Is it that super-cute outfit I put her in just calling for the poo to come and get it? Is it the Murphy's law of poo that the more inconvenient the moment, the bigger the mess? Or could it just be something about the particular position she's in when she's in the car seat...maybe it mimics being on the pot (if so, potty training here we come!)?

I dunno, but it seems to never fail, though today's incident in particular was really a best-case... strike that -- not too bad...scenario as these things go.

I was near the checkout stand at IKEA and one of their family bathrooms was open. In case you haven't been there, the family bathrooms are one biggish room equipped with diapers (albeit too large for Munchie), wipes, and best of all -- an armchair for breastfeeding in private and relative comfort. Also, thanks to the cloth diaper under Cora in the car seat (keeps the poops and back sweaties at bay), she managed to escape soiling the seat by mere millimeters (unlike in the Great Poop-scapades...don't ask...suffice to say that there was liquid poo down in the base under the seat and I have gruesome pictures to document the whole thing). Unfortunately her dress was thoroughly soiled and as soon as I got her dipe off, she decided to become free-wheeling baby who was FULL of wiggles. I mean, really, how do you get pooed clothes off a wiggly baby without getting poo all over the place....including yourself? Oh well. At least she didn't pee all over the place too....again, don't ask (first dipe change in the car on first road trip nearly brought mama to tears).

It kind of boggles the mind when you think about what we moms just consider SOP (standard operating procedure...or is that poopcedure?). Another day, another poop or spitup, or what-have-you. We moms are made of stern stuff. Suck it up and make it happen and all that...though I'm not nearly as balls-to-the-wall as my sis. You want to talk about making it happen and you've got my awesome sister, Sarah. She's fed and changed John in the craziest places cause that's what needed to happen at the time for her to have a life and keep her little guy from melting down. She even cleaned up an up-the-back blowout with only five wipes from one of those sample packs (kept in the bottom of the diaper bag for such emergencies) because she accidentally left her regular wipes at the pediatrician. Now that's what I call making it happen. Forget war stories about 'Nam...we moms could make any red-blooded soldier pale with stories of our ordinary days.

So go forth and feel proud of yourself for your extraordinary ordinary day.

A few pics

Cora got a little wild at Dad's company picinic...



Nate and Amy visit from South Dakota.
Cora becomes too cool for her parents. yo. yo.
Last time in the birdie outfit...she's a growin' girl!









So I fell off the earth....

but I'm back. I won't bore you with details....actually it's my only hope of getting this posted before Cora wakes up...

Suffice to say that between recovering from two surgeries (c-section and gallbladder) within the first month of Cora's birth, the special hell that we here at the Clark residence like to call "breastfeeding," nurturing our precious daughter, and trying to get my life back -- blogging fell into that category of "not now." Life is steadily improving, though and I am slowly fighting my way back to some new semblance of order for my life.

It's funny how much the little things count these days. Like getting and keeping the laundry caught up helps me to feel so accomplished. Lately I feel like a freak because I love doing laundry -- I think it's because it's the one thing that is fairly easy yet still a big job to keep up with. I also love it when I manage to make dinner or at least have everything planned and prepped for Jason to finish when he gets home. However, I think the biggest thing that gets me so excited is seeing Cora gain weight. Getting my daughter up to the 50th percentile on weight has been a major battle since she was at the tenth percentile about a month ago...have I told you how much I love that my daughter's average? I don't know how many times we have visited the lactation clinic and how many hours I have agonised over the decision to stop or keep breastfeeding (currently I am still doing it, but supplementing with formula).

Anyways, for the most part I am loving my new life and of course there are "those days" -- but what mom doesn't have "those days"? But we are moms, so we put our heads down and keep on keeping on.

YAY MOMS EVERYWHERE!!!!!

On a side note, you have to check out my sis' blog about my favorite nephew and the latest post features my kung-fu Munchie fighting the stereotypical forces of EDI (Emotional Display Intolerance). I'll try to post an updated picture of Cora if she doesn't wake up for a little bit, but I figure I'd better not press my luck if I want to get my mom off my back about updating my blog.

Later!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

News pics with visitors and a first walk

I'll be writing another post recapping my week home with my two favorite women in the world, but for the moment just wanted to call out an update on the photos. Two new albums--one from visits with the Larsen family and my folks, the other with our first family walk and some other random "cute shots."

As always, check is out on Amber's photo album, or better yet, subscribe to the RSS feed (I've used SharpReader on the desktop, and Google Reader online) and get all the updates.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Almost two weeks!

It's hard to believe that Sunday will be two weeks since little Coraline joined us. The time has flown by, although in that strange way that memory works it's also hard to remember what it was like before she came along and snagged our hearts in her tiny, perfect little hands.

Everyone is doing well. She's had her first doctor's appointment and is gaining weight right on track. Learning to feed has been a bit of a challenge for both Amber and Coraline, but they're great partners and are making it work.

In other fantastic news, I believe we won the baby lottery--Coraline will gladly sleep 4-6 hours at a stretch if she gets fed well and settled (i.e. no diaper/clothes changes after the feeding). I wasn't expecting to get this type of sleep for months, and it makes all the additional things that come with having a baby much easier to handle.

I went back part-time to work this week while my mom was gracious enough to help us out, but I'll be taking the next full week off here. I'm so looking forward to having the time to just spend with my wife and daughter, hanging around the house, our own newly-expanded family.

Anyway, more pictures will be on the way when I get a chance to post them, but life is good since Coraline's arrived!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Homecoming and first bath

Coraline is one week old, and to celebrate we went for dinner at Pho Van... well, actually it just sounded good to Amber but that's reason enough. Fed up Cora right before, and she was meek and mild the whole time.

I've posted two new albums on the site with photos from the last few days' happenings. You can catch them at http://picasaweb.google.com/amber.d.clark. They capture us bringing Coraline home last Thursday, and her first bath just earlier today. Oh the excitement!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Day 2 at home

Yesterday we finally got to come home from the hospital, roughly six days after we initially went in. Whew, things didn't quite go as planned, but still we came away with a positive experience. The nursing care was exceptional, the labor was hard but not as bad as Amber anticipated, and the C-section that we needed to do at the end wasn't that big of a deal despite my oft-present queasiness.

But now the real fun begins--acclimating to life at home. After several days in the hospital, we'd gotten into a bit of a routine. Amber knew where in the room she could feed most easily, she at least could get room service with a phone call, and there were nurses around all the time to answer questions.

Home provides a whole new learning curve, and I've got to say we're tired. Amber especially, since she's still recovering from major abdominal surgery (why doesn't a C-section seem like major surgery sometimes? It really is!)

Coraline for her part has continued to be pretty fantastic. She rests for several hours at a time regularly--we've had to wake her up for feedings rather than the other way around. Last night she decided that the midnight to 2:30am shift was a great time to fuss, but I've gotten several blocks of > 2 hr. sleep so I'm not complaining.

Hugh and Susan are both here through Sunday, and it's been fun to watch them grand-parenting with Coraline. It's been a blessing to have family and friends around us. I don't know how people do this without that type of support.

Anyway, it's getting to bed-time, so I'm off. Maybe more pictures tomorrow... we'll see what we can do.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More photos

I've posted another crop of photos to the Coraline album on Picassa. You can check them out at http://picasaweb.google.com/amber.d.clark/Coraline.

We'll continue to put up more pictures, and may add other albums so you can also check http://picasaweb.google.com/amber.d.clark for all the latest and greatest in cuteness!

Monday, March 31, 2008

She's here!

Our first child has been born! She didn't end up being a birthday baby for Amber--the day after, with some serious labor in between.

Both mom and child are healthy and happy. Her name is Coraline Hope Clark, and she arrived at 9:10pm on March 30th, 2008. Weighing in at 7 lbs, 1 oz, she was 19 and a quarter inches long. Mom had to have a C-section because of Coraline's large head and her smaller-than-average pelvic bones, but everyone is doing well.

She has my cleft chin, Amber's lips and nose, and might be on track for having curly hair--who knows at this point. What's undeniable is her overwhelming cuteness!

We've set up a Picassa album for posting the photos to at http://picasaweb.google.com/amber.d.clark/Coraline. A bunch came out too dark last night since we didn't want the flash to hurt her little eyes. More will follow, though--have no doubt.

Friday, March 28, 2008

It's time!

Jason posting here for Amber, who is currently at the hospital...

I'm home for a quick couple minutes to get a few things together, and then it's back to the hospital.

We went in for Amber's routine appointment this morning without much expectation. Although she's been more nauseous through the past week, a low-grade headache, and some "fake" contractions for a while longer than that, it didn't seem like things were imminent.

Then they took her blood-pressure, which was a bit elevated. They decided to get a blood test, and while that was out her blood-pressure continued to rise. The doctors recommended moving towards inducing, and since we were already fine with that possibility, we agreed.

Things are moving slow--inducing a baby isn't like a 15-minutes movie birth or anything--but the chances are good that tomorrow's the day. It also happens to be Amber's birthday... double the birthdays, double the fun!

Anyway, I've got to get a few more things together and run!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

You know you've hit a low...

When you find yourself licking BBQ sauce off the mouse because you have been sitting in front of the computer watching TV episodes (NCIS and CSI) while eating ribs. I think I need to get out more...that or find more BBQ sauce.

Best sauce ever:
I like the thicker style best, and Jason likes the hot.

Best ribs ever:
My recipe...adapted from Emeril Lagasse

RIBS!!!

1 rack pork spare ribs (remove membrane from inside the rack…not flesh side)
Essence (see other recipe)
3c. apple cider
½ c. brown sugar

Liberally season both sides of the ribs with Essence. Place the ribs in a gallon Ziploc and set in a baking dish (in case of leaks). Pour cider over ribs, press air out of bag and seal. Refrigerate 24 hours, turning periodically.

Discard marinade and press brown sugar over the fleshy side of the ribs. Wrap in two layers of aluminum foil, sealing each layer well. Place points down on a baking sheet in the oven and cook for 1 ½ hours at 350ยบ or until flesh is pulling away slighly from bone.

EAT!

This recipe goes great with Mac salad and is a hit any time of year….
I usually cut the raw ribs into 2-3 sections for better marinating…or put them in the bottom of a large Rubbermaid container.

Essence:
Though I just use Italian Seasoning instead of the two herbs.


As a clarification, I don't usually put BBQ sauce on my ribs when they are fresh from the oven. I don't think they really need it then 'cause they are pretty tasty on their own, but I do like the sauce with cold leftovers....well, that and just sticking my fingers in my bowl of sauce and licking it off. It's just that good.

I challenge you to branch out into the culinary world of ribs, and reap the rewards for yourselves.

In response to demand:

So I hear that I have been neglecting my blog. Apparently there are a few addicts out there (especially my overdue pregnant sister who is stir-crazy) who are a bit antsy for their next fixes. Well, here is a sneak-peek at what has been keeping me away.

We have been remodeling our family room and utility room to make way for baby....and I say make way for baby because the nursery (and the rest of the house) is full of the furniture and items that have been displaced from the two rooms because we were too cheap to rent a POD. In retrospect, I so wish we had spent that $200, but who were we to know that this phase of the project would take nearly 1.5 months instead of a couple of weeks? Right....that would be common sense....remodels never go as planned.

Here are some pictures of the chaos as of a month ago....it has only gotten worse my friend....way worse. Add a lot more clutter and a lot more dust and dirt and you will get closer to the current state of affairs. Please bear with me as this is my first attempt at pictures on the blog.

The layout isn't quite working (have to check with the consultant later...you know, I hear he sleeps with his boss...), so the pictures are as follows:


1. Our guest room/office (there is a queen-size bed under all that stuff)

2. Our "living" room (though we haven't really been living in it lately)



3. Our family room (all the stuff is out of there and in the rest of the house right now)



4. The doorway of our future nursery (this is about as far as you can go into the room because there is so much stuff in it)

Thought you all might also like a peek at the colors of our "new" rooms. I will post pictures of the actual rooms on the blog later when things are together.

Paint:
Chamois is five down and two right.

Floor:
Cola is the color of our floor, though of course it is slightly different from the sample. More reddish I think.

Rug:
The rug looks like it is two different colors, but the difference is just in the pile height..alternating between a a low shag and berber-type. We are going to lay it down in the room tonight to make sure we like it and negotiate about size.

We really like how the colors are coming together and making such a warm-looking space. It's a bit echo-ey at the moment, but that should get better when we get stuff loaded into the rooms. Carpet and curtains can do a lot to absorb noise. We will use the white curtains from the front windows for the family room window. Right now, they get so dirty from the dogs poking their heads through to see out the front windows. We will then replace the front curtains with ones in a chocolate tone, and the white curtains shouldn't get as dirty in the family room since the window is not at dog-height.

The project is finally going well and we are set to start the floor sealing on Friday evening, since we cleaned last night and we are supposed to let things dry for two days before the first sealer goes down. We expect to finish painting on Saturday, do a couple coats of wax on Saturday evening, and start installing and filling the storage system on Sunday after church. We then expect to start moving the rest of the stuff in either late on Sunday or on Monday evening.

How exciting is that?!?

I just read back over stuff and found that I was writing "we expect" a lot. This has definitely been one of those projects that has not gone as expected. The plan has been changing ever since we pulled up the carpet in the first place, and even once we started actually working on the floor it has been nothing but hard work...especially for my long-suffering hubby.

It's been like Groundhog Day for him, but cement-style. He goes to work to get paid during the day, then comes home in the evening and on weekends to work on this crazy floor, goes to sleep for a few short hours, then wakes up and does it all over again. He has been a super-trooper and I love him so much and appreciate all that he has been sacrificing to take care of our family. He has been sacrificing two of the things that bring him a lot of joy -- writing and reading, so that we can get this all done before I pop (less than 5 weeks to go!). Each iota of adhesive that he scraped, ground, and sanded from our floor was a visible expression of his love for me. If only all women could be so blessed by their husbands.

Another really bright spot amidst the hard slog, is that some most excellent friends came up from Corvallis last Saturday and painted their hearts out. Mike, Lynn, and Jason did all the priming and painting on the walls and ceiling. All that's left is a little bit of touch-up after we finish with the first floor sealant. Mike and Lynn were such an encouragement and just really fun to work with. We wish that we lived closer so we could see more of them, but we always have such a great connection when we do get a chance to spend time together. They are awesome peeps. Wish I had pics of the day, but not much you can do after the fact...darn preg-brain strikes again!

OK, so this has become a super-mammoth post, but hopefully you all will enjoy the rich content...(that's all the rich I got cause we're spending all our money on the remodel....)

Cheers!

Monday, February 11, 2008

What comes out of my navel...

I am sitting here sequestered in the office, staring at my navel while Jason is vacuuming drywall dust from the rest of the house. No seriously. I'm waiting for the kid to kick and thinking about how things look different....way different. So here are a few of the thoughts that come out of staring at my navel.....I bet you were thinking that this post would be about lint, but ladies don't get lint in their navels, they get inspiration.

And to those of you (you know who you are) who are wondering why I am not helping my beloved husband, it is because I am trying to avoid having yet another bad asthma flare because the next one would probably end up with my on prednisone (an oral steroid). We are trying to avoid prednisone because then my gestational diabetes would probably go out of control to where I would have to use insulin, which is another whole level of pregnancy risk and we just don't want to go there.

Suffice to say, life has been a bit challenging lately. Last week was a series of events beginning with a head cold, the start (and today finish) of the drywall phase of reconstruction, asthma (from the construction dust combined with pregnancy) that wouldn't respond to my meds and landed us in the ever-fun realm of late-night health care, and a nasty tangle with some sort of GI bug that had me laid up for almost two days...that is after they ruled out pre-term labor and uterine infection.

Did I say that pregnancy is fun?

Nope.

Just checking.

Cause if I did, then I was having a major case of preggo-brain....and I mean major.

On the upside, the highlight of the week was that I had a fabulous baby shower given for me by my wonderful friend Jodie who has been a major source of joy, encouragement, fun, and inspiration in my life. She is sensitive to the needs of others, gracious, and a fantastic mom. I feel like I learn so much about parenting and womanhood when I am around her...of course, she's probably turning very pink about now and feeling shy of the limelight, but I can't resist praising her beautiful character. Thank you, Jode.

My shower was on Sunday afternoon and Jason's parents were coming up in the morning to visit so that his Mom could go to the shower with me (it was a lot of fun to hang out with them and show off the changing landscapes of our house and my belly). Before they came, though, we had a couple errands to do. So in the process of erranding ( I won't bore you with the details, as I am wont to do), I realized that it was the day for my baby shower. Not someone else's shower, but MINE.

(Here's where I take off my glasses as my eyes mist up)

Our baby is about to arrive. We will hold her and care for her and love her always. But you know, I loved her before I ever knew anything about her. I loved the thought of her years ago when I kept asking Jason if the timing was right for a baby in our lives. I loved her when we finally started trying to conceive over two years ago. I loved her through months of frustration and disappointment. I loved her when we went on the first fertility drug. I loved her when we miscarried our first pregnancy. I loved her through the grieving process that came after the miscarriage, and I will always love the child that we never knew. I loved her when we added the second fertility drug. I loved her that Saturday morning when I peed on that stick and saw the faint second line that was the beginning of knowing her. I loved her when I peed on a second stick on Sunday just to make sure...you know how it goes.....you can never be too sure before getting crazy excited....

She has caused us a few scares already. Taxed my body and our marriage. Caused pain, suffering, and worry, but I still love her and can't wait to meet her. Kind of makes you think about the amazing love of our heavenly Father, doesn't it? How He loves us across time and space, even when we are not capable (or willing) to return His love.

But on Sunday, I was busy wondering who am I that I should have an amazing husband of almost six years who oddly enough, chose me to spend his life with. And here we are just a few scant weeks from holding our long-awaited, oft anticipated, but never overrated baby. I feel like I have just been slogging through a difficult pregnancy (though I don't think pregnancy is totally easy for any woman) with all the months of sickness and additional challenges, but the shower prompted me to suddenly look up and see the veritable light at the end of the tunnel. Our remodel isn't done, the nursery is packed full of furniture and stuff that belongs in the rest of the house, we still have painting and flooring to do before furnishing and moving stuff back into the space and starting to right our topsy-turvy world. I still don't feel great a good portion of the time, but you know, it doesn't really matter....I'm gonna have a baby.

So I sit here staring at my navel, wondering who that is inside. Knowing that rough times, a lot of adjustment, a lot of sleep deprivation, and joy are ahead. My world never being the same again.


I am stepping off a precipice that I can in no way ever truly prepare for, and I can hardly wait.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Personal freakisms

So my sister called the day after my last post. I saw her name on caller ID and the conversation went something like this:

Ring...ring...

M: Hey Sis!

S: You are such a FREAK!! (laughing)

M: (laughing) Well, yeah, but what exactly are you referring to in this particular case?

Of course she was referring to the fact that I had such evolved and deep-rooted opinions about something as (perhaps from the outside) mundane and absurd as a breakfast sandwich. So much to the degree that I would write a huge blog entry about it; though isn't airing such opinions part of the point of starting a blog? Nonetheless, she is probably right:

I am a freak. You only need to get inside my head and you will know that she is right.

This particular scenario, however, highlights a belief which I have long held:

We are all freaks.

Each in our own special way.

Think about it:

What do you dream about? Do you dream that you are a lemming running towards the edge of a cliff while wearing a pink and green tutu?

What are the things that make you laugh when you are alone? Stepping on your pant leg and tripping into a wall in your own home and knocking yourself silly?

What do you daydream about? Taking such a warm, relaxing shower that you melt and get sucked down the drain?

Where does your rage go? Do you secretly imagine yourself ramming the erratic driver in front of you who is blocking your lane by driving under the speed limit with their head and hand fused by a cell phone?

What makes you secretly laugh at other people? Is it the professor who taught a whole evening of class with his shirt obviously tucked into his tighty-whiteys and the band sticking up higher than his pants waistband?

What totally wigs you out? Overgrown, dirty, nasty, and/or bitten fingernails and the thought that they might actually touch you?

What gave you years of nightmares as a kid? The thought of bugs in your ears a la Star Trek: Wrath of Khan?

What do you do while you are alone that you know would make someone else snicker? Do you dance and sing show tunes and made-up songs for your dogs?

We all have the secret lives of our mind and alone-ness where fact grows alongside fiction, running rampant in the fertile fields of our imaginations. Some of us just may indulge our imagination a little more than others. But this, I think, is part and parcel of what makes us beautiful individuals....and freaks.

Society couldn't (perhaps) handle all of our inner freakisms, nor perhaps could we handle exposing our freakishness to others. To do so would make us vulnerable in the most intense sense of the word. I would put forth, however, that it is the individuals (like me) who proudly vent a little of our inner freaks (and perhaps rant a little about our passion for breakfast sandwiches), that help make the internet and the world a more interesting place.

So. Wave those freak flags a little higher, folks, and see where your imagination takes you today.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

A Treatise on Breakfast Sandwiches

McMuffin McSchmuffin -- Ain't got nuthin' on me!

Due to the loss of a wrestling match between my body and gestational diabetes, I have had to revamp my diet a bit. Thus, the sad demise of most breakfast cereals as a part of my breakfast routine (the carbohydrates are in and out of my system faster than you can say greyhound). However, all is not loss. The ensuing reacquaintance with breakfast sandwiches a la dad-style (the high chef of egg-dom) has been a high point in my mornings. This reunion has been so intense an experience that lover-like (no, I'm not jumping on a couch), I must tell the world how they too can experience this wonderful, nay, sublime thing called breakfast sandwich.

For me, the sandwich consists of toast or english muffin (though bagels are also appropriate if carbs are not an issue), egg, ham, and cheddar cheese....of course a healthy dose of freshly cracked pepper and judicious use of salt are also appropriate.

To make a sublime sandwich:

First, plan portion size of ingredients to match your toast size -- we don't want naked toast edges. Then prep the stage by inserting toast item (I'll say english muffin) into toaster, but don't push the button until you are ready to start cooking the egg..after all, who wants cold toast?

Slice your cheese...thinnish, but not too thin, we like cheese (right Wallace?). The right idea is thin enough to melt up all gooey, but thick enough to get a really good cheesy taste.

Get your ham out and ready -- no fumbling whilst the egg overcooks and the toast gets cold or (gasp) too toasty. I use 3-4 slices of smoked ham lunch meat. Tip -- Land'o'Lakes is nice and thin and just about the right size to slightly overlap an english muffin (whole grain, of course).

Small frying pan on the stove with appropriate lubricant (I use margarine -- no trans or saturated fat) and whole egg or eggs at the ready.

Now the next step is up to you to know your toaster and stove. I have a slow toaster that requires 1.5 cycles to adequately toast my muffin and gas stove which cooks really fast. Therefore I start the toaster just before I put the heat to the pan, but if you have a fast toaster and slow electric range, you will have to adjust accordingly to get everything hot and ready at the same time...this is a skill that is useful to have in many aspects of daily life....hmmm. ;)

So, crack your egg into the hot pan. Try to keep the edges to roughly the same size as your toast item. Break the yolk, and season to taste (Jason likes Tony Chachere's Cajun Seasoning on his, but I'm a traditional salt and pepper gal). Now it's critical to not overcook your egg or my dad will turn over in the grave that he does not yet inhabit.

Once the egg has set on one side, turn over. Put cheese on cooked side of egg and cover with ham. Now I just wait about 30 seconds before killing the heat (your egg will continue to cook through the wonders of carry-over heat). Then after another 30 seconds or so, I flip the eggy bit back over onto the other side to warm the ham and finish melting the cheese.

When your toast is ready and the cheese is melty put it all together and experience your own love affair with the breakfast sandwich...though with the cheese properly melty, the ham and egg like to head their separate ways enroute to the toast item, but this disaster is easily averted by the forewarned and therefore forearmed.

Word to the wise -- you will need a napkin (or two). I said it was sublime not neat.

This creation is only limited by your pantry and imagination. If you are feeling Continental, you could use mozzarella and salame with a slice of tomato. All American today? Perhaps a little pepper jack and a sausage patty (though cook the sausage before beginning -- but be sure and fry that egg in the tasty fat!). Who's to say you couldn't do a little Wensleydale, eh Grommit? Perhaps with bacon, because of course everything is better with bacon.......mmmmm BACON......aghalaahgalgh.....

I'm interested to hear about your personal forays into the bright new world that is breakfast sandwich, but for now I hear my breakfast calling....

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Obligatory Introduction

My husband says I have to do one of these (obligatory introduction) if I am to have a blog...so I sit here with one of my dogs rubbing his face on my shoulder and sneezing wetly into my face. How nice.

Thus begins the documentation of my life. Inspired by friend's blogs and figuring that this is a good way to keep in touch, I have at last succumbed to the pull of the that thar computernet. My husband has two blogs, so I guess it's time for me to get with the program. Really, I could blame it on the remodeling that we are doing before the birth of our first child (10 more weeks and counting). The TV is buried in what is to be our daughter's room and I am bored to tears and going though veg-withdrawal. Our house is in chaos and I have frustrated nesting instincts. Hopefully we will get done with all of the house projects before the end of next month so that I can spend the last month of my pregnancy rolling around the house getting ready for the baby.

Gosh I sound whiny. Actually my life is pretty terrific and don't I know it. I have a fantastic husband, a long-awaited baby on the way (more on that later), two loyal (if slightly goofy) hounds, and a loving family...not to mention a great bunch of friends. Everything else is small stuff....way to pull it back into perspective, huh?

Here comes the dog (Bruiser) again to snuffle in my face. We have two retired racing greyhounds, Josie and Bruiser, who are litter mates and really great dogs. They are also very tall, so they can give wet-willies pretty much whenever they feel like it, though fortunately they don't do that very often. Anyhoo, I guess Bruiser probably wants something, so I had better go see what it is...probably wants to go outside and freeze off his nether parts...not that he really has much of that anymore...

So, thus begins the blog.