Oh no, he di-in’t

Dood. Them’s fightin’ words.

Don’t fuck with the sock, man.


Maybe Schilling’s blog, 38 Pitches, will address this further. Right now, there’s nothing on there, but he does respond to readers queries (and how fucking cool is that??? How many big league pitchers do that?) and that was the first question out of the box.

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Wow

I just got the mail and there was something in it from Clara Barton Camp. I’d registered O two weeks ago and applied for a campership, but I didn’t think I’d hear anything so soon. Lo and behold, it was the notification letter.

Barton is an expensive camp. Well, to me, it’s expensive. $2,000 for two weeks. That’s a lot of money for us, way more than we can afford. Thus the campership application.

And they awarded her $1450.

Wow.

Just. Wow.

I’m so happy right now. O is going to be thrilled. She’s at the Cape until Friday, with school. More on that tomorrow.

Right now, just wow.

Sniffle. Snuffle. Ah-choo!

I feel like shit. Stuffy head, sneezing every 3.7 seconds, throat raw, eyes watering, ears aching, the whole sh-bang. And why is a fever of less than one degree making me feel like I’m dy-y-y-y-y-ying.

I was nominated for a Blogger’s Choice award. There’s a little doo-hickey over in my side bar. You can go vote for me (or not, your choice), if you’d like. Oh, The Joys nominated me (she’s hysterical. You should be reading her.) because she is the Nominatrix. Don’t get too close to her patent leather stiletto boots. Watch the whip, too.

I have a couple of posts brewing but because my head feels like it weighs about 400 lbs, I’m not writing them. I’m also not writing the articles that are due on, what? Friday? Great. Another shitty article from me. I’m surprised I haven’t been fired yet.

Ugh. Off to curl up in a ball and moan.

That’s so gay

I was reading a blog today and in the comments was this back and forth about the blogger’s new car. Someone referred to it as gay. The blogger responded back in a way that made me assume that they’re long-standing friends. There were a couple of other comments, too, that made me cringe.

It really bugged me. I said so in the comments. I almost didn’t, though, and then I thought “Wait a minute, if I don’t say something, I’m condoning the talk, aren’t I?” So, I commented. Maybe the blogger and the other commenter are rolling their eyes or calling me the PC police, but I don’t care. Not standing up when I feel strongly about something is definitely not my style.

My son’s dad is gay. My sister is gay. One of my best friends is gay. I think I know just as many gay people as I do straight. And it really pisses me off when people use the word gay as a sign of something inferior, something to be laughed at and mocked.

I don’t mean to come across as Miss Prim & Proper. I’m hardly an example of ladylike behaviour. I swear a blue streak. I drink beer out of the bottle. I burp. Loudly, sometimes. I can laugh at a lot of things. But not that.

There. Can is wide, wide open. Have at it.

So mad I could spit

I can’t remember the last time I posted about this and I’m too pissed off to go hunting.

O’s dad is a dickhead. He and his second wife had separated and he told O all kinds of stories about her – that she was a drunk, that he thought she was doing drugs, that she’d thrown things at him. Basically, he filled her head full of horror stories. Then, suddenly, they’re back together and he just wants O to forget all these bad things he told her and welcome her back with open arms.

Needless to say, two months of these tales and O has no desire to see K. Couple this with the fact that K (the 2nd wife) has, in the past, been very mean to O, one time locking O in her bedroom and several times, screaming and swearing at her, both in person and on the phone. K is not exactly on O’s list of favourite people.

Tonight, O’s dad suggested that I was the one putting these ideas into O’s head. He said that I was trying to tell her that he wasn’t her father. He then accused his own brother of lying to O about him, that if O wasn’t going to see him, she has no right to see her aunts or uncles. He was trying to guilt her from every angle. There was a litany of shit that he poured on her head. She got very upset and was crying. Finally, she told him she felt low and when he wouldn’t let her go, she hung up on him.

He called back and I talked to him. I told him she was too upset to talk to him and that I’d have her call him tomorrow. He started to bluster and blow about going to school on Monday to talk to the guidance counselor – O has been seeing the GC for months because of issues with her dad. He doesn’t think O should be seeing the GC at all, told O that he didn’t want her to see the woman any more. Well, tough. If O wants to talk to her, then she will.

I’m so angry right now that I can’t see straight, never mind type this coherently. Why the fuck can’t he just be a dad to her? And if he can’t be a dad to her, why can’t he just fuck off?

She’s afraid of him now. She thinks he’s going to come to school and pick her up and take her away from me. She told me she didn’t want to go to school next week because she thinks he’s going to come and take her. How can you make your child feel this way about you? What is wrong with him?

Every time O talks to him, she cries. Every time she gets off the phone with him, she says “I”m so sick of being the adult, mum. Why can’t he just act like a dad? He’s making me hate him.”

So, tomorrow, I’m going to call around for a psychologist for her. I wanted to do this before, but she wanted to try to work it out with the counselor at school. I have a bad feeling this is going to escalate, though. I don’t know if O is going to want to cut relations with him permanently, but I figure I’d better get someone more official involved, just in case. Besides, a little therapy never hurt anyone.

Ugh.

Another interview meme

Because I got nothin’ to talk about these days, I asked for another interview. This one is from Andrea, over at a garden of nna mmoy. She’s scary-smart and intimidates the hell out of me with her writing abilities. She’s an all-around amazing person. If you aren’t already reading her, you should be. She’s great.

1. So you read my take on the different vs. diabetes question. As the mother of a diabetic child, how do you see it? If you could trade the diabetes for a visible difference, would you? – Yes, most likely, I would. I do know the damage that teasing over physical differences can inflict on you, though. Growing up, I was teased mercilessly by a boy (Anthony Salvidio, the fat bastard) who was a year older than me. He made my life a living hell from 2nd grade on, pretty much. And what were my differences, you ask? I had a swayback and I wore glasses. For this, I was called every name under the sun, tormented on the playground and hassled in class. I went up a grade for reading and English and he made sure that my time in those classes was as miserable as possible. He made me ashamed of myself.

Diabetes is able to be hidden. That said, it’s a ticking time bomb. At any time, something could go horribly wrong. And it’s not like O hasn’t experienced teasing because of her diabetes. The teasing and stares over a physical difference would be very difficult, emotionally, to deal with and I’m sure they would take a toll on her. Is an emotional toll better than a physical toll? It’s hard to say – you have to have a pretty strong personality and a very healthy self-esteem to get past that. I don’t have that and O is pretty sensitive, too.

I decided to ask O about this and she says that she’d much rather have diabetes. First, you wouldn’t get made fun of as much and second, you can work with diabetes. She said that physical differences can hinder you a lot and make you unable to do things that other kids can do. But mainly, she wouldn’t want to be made fun of and stared at.

Boy, is she my kid….

2. When you were fifteen, what did you think you’d be doing now? – Writing fabulous articles for The New Yorker or The New York Times. I thought I’d be a published author, living in a loft apartment in SoHo and throwing fantabulous cocktail parties where I’d rub elbows with the elite of the literary world.

3. You have five billion dollars. You can buy a cure for diabetes, or you can buy world peace. – World peace. Easy peasey. Someone, some day, is going to come up with a cure for diabetes. World peace seems to be permanently elusive.

4. You have 24 hours to yourself, an empty house and ulimited funds. What are you going to do? – Do I have to stay in my house? If so, have the world’s most comfortable bed delivered to my house, along with a selection of my favourite foods, a personal chef to cook said foods for me and a masseuse to give me a looooooong massage. I’d hire a cleaning service to come clean my house, top to bottom. I’d pick one of my rainy-day staple books – probably a Rosemund Pilcher or Maeve Binchy (my two guilty pleasures) and curl up in bed and read. I’d doze, eat and read. I’d drink cups of tea brought to me by my personal chef. And I’d get some sleep. Lots and lots of sleep.

If I could leave my house, I’d hire that cleaning service to come in while I was gone and then I’d go to Boston, get a room at the swankiest, most comfortable hotel there and do many of the same things. I’d go to a book store and find one great book to read. I’d wander down Charles Street and check out all the antique stores. I’d go to the North End and gorge on Italian food and pick up some frou-frouy Italian goodies at the salumerias and bake shops. Then I’d go back to my hotel room and have a massage, followed by a luxurious wallow in a bubble bath, where I’d read my book and sip a glass of wine. I’d have room service deliver something decadent that I’d never tried before. I’d get a pedicure. And mostly, I’d sleep. Sleep and sleep and sleep and sleep.

5. What is one skill or talent that you would love to have, and why? – I’d love to be artistic in some way, be able to take stunning photographs or paint. There are so many times that I try to capture something and I fail miserably. I’d also love to be able to budget my money better. I suck at that. Suck, suck, suck.

Invisible Friends

Blog friends. Message board friends. Email friends. What do you call them? When I’m joking, I call them my imaginary internet weirdo friends, my buddies inside the computer.

My heart is really heavy tonight. I post on a message board for moms and two of the posters there have had horrible losses in the past couple of days. One woman’s husband was killed in a car crash and another woman’s young daughter died. I don’t really know these women, but reading their stories has been tough. Another woman whose blog I read daily is going thru a divorce and reading about the impact this is having on her daughter is agonizing.

Sometimes it seems maudlin and a trifle stupid to be so upset by other people’s problems. After all, I’ve never met any of these women and I don’t know them personally, but they are people I “speak” to often, exchange comments with and for some reason, their sorrows are hitting me hard.

This sucks. Sucks, sucks, sucks and hurts. A lot.

National Poetry Month

It’s National Poetry month. I’m not a huge fan of poetry, being of a far too literal bent to understand most of the imagery and subtlety that poetry contains. I’m sure that says something about me, but I’m not going to delve into it.

Anyway. This is one of my favourites, so I thought I’d share it with you.

THE VOICE YOU HEAR
WHEN YOU READ SILENTLY

is not silent, it is a speakingout-
loud voice in your head: it is spoken,
a voice is saying it
as you read. It’s the writer’s words,
of course, in a literary sense
his or her voice, but the sound
of that voice is the sound of your voice.
Not the sound your friends know
or the sound of a tape played back
but your voice
caught in the dark cathedral
of your skull, your voice heard
by an internal ear informed by internal abstracts
and what you know by feeling,
having felt. It is your voice
saying, for example, the word barn
that the writer wrote
but the barn you say
is a barn you know or knew. The voice
in your head, speaking as you read,
never says anything neutrally – some people
hated the barn they knew,
some people love the barn they know
so you hear the word loaded
and a sensory constellation
is lit: horse-gnawed stalls,
hayloft, black heat tape wrapping
a water pipe, a slippery
spilled chirr of oats from a split sack,
the bony, filthy haunches of cows . . . .
And barn is only a noun – no verb
or subject has entered into the sentence yet!
The voice you hear when you read to yourself
is the clearest voice: you speak it
speaking to you. – Thomas Lux, New And Selected Poems, 1997

30 Hours In New York City;

Or; In which my boobs nearly explode, people beep a lot and no cheesecake is had.

I went to New York City (New York CITY??) two weeks ago, just me and O, to meet up with Allison and Kate. After much to-ing and fro-ing on the subway, we dropped off our bags at the hotel and did a bit of shopping.

Allison was hot to find an H&M, since they apparently don’t have these in Portland. Me, I have one around the corner. I was hot to shop at Dean & DeLuca and when I saw the HORDES of people in H&M, decided I’d just meet up with them later.

Dean & DeLuca makes me drool. It is full of food-wankery, choc-a-block with silly mustards and fancy dijon ketchups and things like truffle oil and high end espresso machines (oh, how I lust after one of those). O and I had a blast poking around, sampling the high-end goodies. And then, O being my daughter and all, said, reverently, “Mum! Loooooooook!” And there was two, count ’em, two tables FULL of chocolates and candies and other luscious goodies. I know I should have bought something for my candy exchange partner (more about that in a later post), but I didn’t have my partner’s name yet, and I didn’t want to get the wrong thing. Oh, who the hell am I kidding? I wanted to eat the candy myself. I’m a selfish, selfish person when it comes to chocolate.

I managed to restrain myself. I bought two packages of marshmallows – one vanilla, one chocolate. But these are no ordinary Stay-Puft marshamallows, my friends. No. These are light, fluffy, pillowy cushions of sugary goodness, with nary a drop of high fructose corn syrup in sight. This was a marshmallow revelation. I will never look down on a marshmallow again. At least, not a marshmallow of this caliber. Mmm. Yummy.

Then I spotted the Belgian chocolate. The Belgians have a reputation for being boring. Whatever. They make fanTAStic chocolate, which completely redeems them. I got a bar of Dolfin chocolate. It was infused with Earl Grey Tea. Yeah, yeah, wank city, I know, but it’s good. Really good. It’s got a good snap to it. The chocolate is not shiny and you can smell the tea. It gives the chocolate an interesting flavour. There’s a slight hint of bergamot in there, which is nice. It’s not a super dark chocolate, more in the 58% area, so this would be a good bar for someone who’s not huge on dark chocolate but wants to try something different.

We spent another twenty minutes or so, wandering thru the store, petting things and sighing wistfully. But hey, we got chocolate! And marshmallows! Life was good at that moment.

Dinner on Saturday night was at Cibo. We met Art Sweet and Scott Strumello and his partner there and had a good time talking about diabetes in general and dumb comments people have made about diabetes. People compared pumps and infusion sites and endocrinologists. It was very cool and very relaxing to be sitting at a table with a bunch of people who get it, who understand what this life is like, whom you can use shortcuts and abbreviations with and they’ll know what you mean instantly. There’s no sighing or eye-rolling when someone is low or when someone’s pump beeps. It’s all folded into the night, things are dealt with and everyone keeps rolling. It was great. I can’t quite explain the feeling; it was like belonging.

On to the exploding boobs.

I realized when I was about 45 minutes away from the train station that I’d forgotten the breast pump. Since the Bug was staying at home, I’d planned to bring it and pump and store the milk. When you have a baby who nurses roughly every 2 hours, you make a lot of milk. If you don’t find some way to get the milk out, well, the boobs just get bigger and bigger and harder and harder. All day long, every time I glanced down, it seemed I’d added another cup size. Expanding a couple of cup sizes in 8 hours is not really comfortable. Someone bumped into me in Times Square and I hissed at him. Since this was Times Square, I didn’t even get a second look.

I kept popping in and out of the Duane Reade’s that blanket New York City, but couldn’t find any hand pump at all. Toys ‘R’ Us in Times Square had one, but I wasn’t paying $50 for something I was going to use three or four times. I spent a lot of time with my arms crossed over my chest. I wasn’t angry, this was pure boobage protection.

Art-Sweet drove us back to our hotel after dinner on Saturday and kept apologizing to my boobs every time she went over a bump. I don’t believe I’ve ever had anyone apologize to my boobs before – A-S, you are the first.

Anyway.

We met Wendy and Val, who are also pumpers at the Museum of Natural History. Honestly, I could live without going there again. Ever. I’d forgotten how static the place is. O and I went to the planetarium, which was very cool, but I was underwhelmed by the rest of the place.

The museum has its own subway stop with some very cool mural work.

While we waited (and waited and waited) for a train that never showed up, we chatted with an older couple. They commented on O’s Boston College sweatshirt and said that they loved Boston. We talked for a bit about both cities – they cracked me up, they kept finishing each others sentences and talking simultaneously. They were hysterical. The woman said “Oh, you’re so much nicer up in Boston.” I told her she’d obviously never been on the Mass Pike at rush hour.

I was very sad not to get any cheese, any cheesecake or even an bagels. I think I may have broken a couple of NYC by-laws by not doing at least one of those things.

On to the photos:


Some cool graffiti in SoHo.

The ubiquitous water towers.

Like Madonna didn’t already have a big head….

The smartest lions around.


One can never have too many shots of the Chrysler Building. I love this building.


Someone was VERY happy to see me when I got home.

Sweet suffering fuck, woman, where’ve you been??

Hey, Joke!

I made your risotto thing the other night and it got rave reviews. Rave. Even the 12 year-old girl child liked it and her favourite meal at the moment is a bowl of Special K. The baby was digging it, too. Eight months old isn’t too young to eat risotto. She’s still chugging along, so I guess it was ok.

This got scarfed down before I could take a picture, but it was very pretty, with the green asparagus, red tomatoes and pink and white shrimp.

I did make some modifications, which I’ve added at the end. And I took out your notations and added some of my own, just to be a pain in the ass.

RISOTTO MARGHERITA (Serves 6)
1½ cups grape* tomatoes (halved & seeded…tomato seeds are kind of bitter)
2 tablespoons fresh basil – rolled up and cut into VERY fine shreds** in a chiffonade
2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
1 – 1½ teaspoons kosher or sea salt (start with the ½ and adjust to taste)
2 cloves garlic, mashed into a paste
5 cups “pale” defatted chicken stock (if you are using store bought, try to get the kind that is low in sodium and is aseptically packaged in a box)
½ cup yellow onion, diced
1½ cups raw arborio (if you can’t find it but have a Spanish/Latin market nearby, “Valencia” will work in a pinch; if you want to be hyperfoodie, try carnaroli or vialone) rice
½ cup dry white wine, a leftover Pinot Grigio would work here***
2 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, diced ****(if you get the smaller sized ones — bocconcini or ciliengine — your life will be a lot easier)
½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1- Combine the tomatoes, basil, half of the EVOO, ½ teaspoon of salt and garlic in a small bowl, toss well and set aside.

2- Bring stock to a simmer (don’t boil!) in a medium saucepan and keep it warm. Yes, you could “zap” it if you simply must.

3- Heat the other tablespoon of EVOO in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and sauté it until it’s translucent (figure 3 minutes or so). Add the rice, and sauté for an additional minute. Stir constantly, since it’s vital to fully and evenly coat the in the EVOO. Add wine, and cook yet another minute or until it has been nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. (Make sure nothing sticks.)

4- Here is the key part. Add warm stock one ladleful at a time, stirring until each ladleful of stock is absorbed prior to adding the next ladleful…figure about 20 minutes total. Yes, you may switch hands. No, you don’t need to stir it constantly. Every couple of minutes or so, just when the stock is pretty much — +/- 75% — absorbed. The purpose of the stirring is to help evenly release the starch molecules into the liquid, to generate the requisite creaminess.

5- Add tomatoes & co., cooking another couple of minutes, stirring GENTLY (so as not to mush up the tomatoes you just spent all that time cutting and cleaning.

6- I blanched a bunch of asparagus and plunged it into an ice bath to stop the cooking process. I did this a couple of hours before making dinner, just because I have rugrats and I have to cook in stages. There was too much asparagus to use it all, so left-overs will go on my salad tomorrow. I used about 3/4 of the asparagus in the rice – your tastes may vary.

7 – I also threw in some small, pre-cooked, cocktail-sized shrimp that I had in the freezer. (I defrosted them first.) Put these in at the last second. You just want to warm them up, not cook them again. If you cook them again, they will get tough.

8 – Remove from heat and stir in mozzarella in small batches.



9- Sprinkle each serving with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and pepper.

10- Do your impression of Meg Ryan from When Harry Met Sally

* I didn’t have any grape tomatoes on hand, so I seeded and finely diced two vine-ripened tomatoes.

** Cue gasps of horror from Joke, but I had to use dried basil. Fresh would have been better, but I wasn’t bundling up a toddler and an infant just to get some leaves.

*** I used a Reisling (I know, I know, but it was in the fridge. Again with the bundling and the kids and did I mention it was sleeting? Yeah, April 4th, sleet and snow, fanfuckingtastic)

****If your market is anything like mine, you can find fresh mozzarella on the olive bar in the cheese department.

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