Friday, April 30, 2010


Every time I go to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard, EVERY TIME, I regret it. EVERY TIME I either think to myself or say to Ben who is usually with me, I am NEVER getting a Blizzard again. And then I go back eventually.

They always make me feel gross afterwards.
They're rarely well made.
They have about a million calories.
They're made with fake ice cream.
They cost $3.50 for a small.

The first point is true, at least for me. They just make me feel gross in that why-did-I-eat-all-of-that-I-never-want-to-eat-again kind of way.

The second point hinges on the fact that my fav Blizzard flavor, in fact pretty much the only Blizzard that I ever get, is the Georgia Mud Fudge with the fudge on top and not mixed in. I don't understand the point of mixing the fudge in. If you do that, it just makes chocolate ice cream. If you want chocolate ice cream, why not have chocolate ice cream instead of wasting the super hot fudge. For all that I *hate* Blizzards, I really love this hot fudge in this Blizzard. Truly yummy, but also why I always feel gross. It's a love-hate relationship. A paradox.

The third point I can't avoid and conveniently forget whenever I find myself ordering one. This also contributes to my feelings of grossness because I inevitably remember after licking out the empty container.

The fourth point is where I'm an ice cream snob. Since I've been living "on my own" and am now responsible for purchasing what I eat myself, the cheap-o ice cream just doesn't cut it anymore. In my opinion, once I've tasted the good stuff, the cheap stuff just tastes terrible, including "ice cream" that comes from mixing a powder with whatever they mix it with...water?

My fourth point relates to my cheapness. $3.50 for mediocre "ice cream" that is badly mixed. Case in point...Tuesday night I caved from a looong day and snagged a Blizzard as I got to campus (I really wanted Coffee Junkies but the one that I pass isn't open anymore) and tried to snarf as much as I could before my meeting with my prof. I got halfway through. After the meeting, I go to finish it off and realize that in the half that is left...there are NO chunks of anything left. None. So this time, it's for more Blizzards for me. I promise!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

What is it about babies?

Abby and I got adventurous and traveled to Panera for supper the other night all by ourselves. It was our first Mommy & daughter treat where we both got to eat. Up until this point, it has always been me going through the drive through at my fav coffee spot with Abby captive in the back seat. She's never gotten so much as a chocolate covered espresso bean on those trips. But, can you visualize what that would be like assuming she could eat it and not choke on it? Amusing image.

At any rate, Abby and I grabbed a sandwich on the way to a brief jaunt at our favorite park. (Abby loves the swings and basically everything else.) I planned in advance, got all her stuff ready, had a game plan about how this would go down by myself with her in tow plus all of our stuff once we got there, how I would pay for my food while juggling her, everything thought out. All good. And, as it turns out, the Panera wasn't even that busy, so I didn't have to juggle our stuff around people once we got there.

Abby is essentially a people person insofar as she likes looking intently at people, occasionally talking with them or gesturing to them, when we are in public. Really, she's never rude towards anyone. And I've found that when you have such a polite little lady with you, people like to stop you so that they can talk with her. Normally, this is fine; when we are trying to eat our dinner, this causes a problem.

What is it about babies that people think that they can come up to you and start messing while your child when they are taking a bottle? (This happened at church.) It's not like people don't have children themselves and don't know that babies are easily distracted and thus less likely to take a bottle when someone comes up to them and wants to get in a baby's face. This truly annoys me, especially when I am careful to find a secluded spot.

What is it about babies that makes people ask them questions? I'm not talking about me or Ben or our family members who generally know Abby and are just talking with her as anyone should with a child. I'm talking about the cashier at a store that basically makes you stop when you're trying to leave so that they can lean over their cash register and barrage your child with uber pointless questions. "Are you sitting there like a big girl? Do you have the biggest little eyes? [a contradiction that you notice as well, I'm sure] Are you helping your mama shop?" For the record, I don't know why, but I don't like being referred to as "mama," which I find people do more often than not when they're "talking" to Abby about me. Why is that?

What is it about babies that when you finagle your way to a sunny 2-person table in a relatively quiet section of Panera with baby in tow and no husband to help, that the couple sitting at the neighboring table have a prolonged conversation about your child with no attempt to a) include you in the conversation or b) talk quietly? A lot bit weird, I think. Really, I don' t sit with Ben and pointedly talk about you who sits beside me sans baby. What is it about a baby that makes people think that social conventions are optional? It made me rather uncomfortable to have this conversation going on, especially because it was super obvious that they were watching everything that I was doing with Abby and I had no one to talk with except Abby to try to drown out their conversation.

Lesson learned. I can go for the easily accessible table that just happens to be close by one other table of people or we can wend our way to the other side of Panera in hopes of finding a super secluded corner. I wish that it is socially acceptable for me to turn to our Chatty Cathy neighbor and tell her that she is being a creeper. Despite this, it was an unber successful solo flight with the daughter...totally fun.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Organic living, 1st quarter

I'm proud to say that my/our New Year's resolution is still going strong, even better than ever in a way. We (mostly me) are still actively searching for the best eco-friendly choices for our family. I can't say that I magically lost 10 pounds by rarely eating meat (and I admit, this was something of a motivator as I hear of family and friends who have also undergone vegetarian-esque transformations and have all slimmed down remarkably). And I can't say that I feel wonderful. But, I can say that I feel better about myself in a number of ways: I feel healthier, I feel happy in my choices, and I feel more morally responsible. Through lots of searching and thinking and accidents, I've found out about a lot of stuff that I didn't know before. I know that I've been relying on lists a lot, but humor my tendency once more.

*I've learned that you can buy organic vegetable seeds at Lowes.
*I've learned that my Aldi's doesn't carry organic dairy products. Alas.
*I've learned that I really kind of wish that I live in Carmel just so I could frequent the Whole Foods market down there. It's divine as far as supermarkets go.
*I've learned that Sprout is my favorite organic baby food, partly because it's a company founded by Tyler Florence, my groovy cutie tv chef.
*I've learned that my local Marsh clearanced out all of their Seventh Generation diapers, which happened to all be the exact size that Abby wears. I scored about 200 diapers for $.15/diaper, which is just as cheap if not cheaper than any other diaper.
*I've learned that Meijer is now stocking their shelves with more eco-friendly products from soap to veggies. This pleases me.

*I've realized that it costs a lot of money, not just for organic products but for healthier eating habit products.
*I've realized that I feel really uncomfortable to give Abby toys that are made from cheap plastic or teething rings that are obviously not eco-friendly.
*I've realized that it's virtually impossible to find any eco-friendly clothing in Kokomo without venturing forth in the realms of the internet.

*I've discovered a belief that it's morally irresponsible to know how to act more eco-friendly and then to blatantly choose not to act that way. I want to say that this doesn't apply to everything as how practical or possible is it to sell your car and buy a hybrid? This was something that Ben and I reckoned with as we went through the car buying process a month ago. We didn't buy a hybrid, but we did buy something that works for us and is as earth-hugging as we can afford. I think that I might come across as a hypocrite right here, but I don't think I should be.

We're really trying to live more responsibly. I feel like splitting this year into quarters to re-evaluate as I go. Is the experiment working? I'm pretty sure that I won't be comfortable going back "to the way it was before" when the year is over. I just can't.

Oh yeah, happy Earth week. :-)

Friday, April 9, 2010

sitting at the lake

Right now, right this very instant, I'm sitting in my parents' lake house, watching the wind whip the water (quite forcibly), listening to make sure my daughter is sleeping, listening to my husband make tons of racket in the creaky bathtub as he showers, waiting for my nails to dry, typing on the blog cause that's about the only thing I can do right now with wet nails. (I never paint my fingernails for two reasons: one, it doesn't last more than a few hours...all that work for only a few hours; two, you're basically immobilized for quite a bit of time while things dry.)

We could get used to this kind of lifestyle. It's been lovely and it's been frustrating.

It's been lovely waking up in the morning to a quiet house on the water. Great view. Change of scenery. Animals. Peace and calm.

It's been frustrating as we've been relatively confined in this house as the weather has been torturously cold and Abby seems to have come down with a bit of a stomach bug.

And just because we're ambitious, we're leaving in a few hours to go get our family pictures done. We've rescheduled already. It's a long drive to return to the photographer for our wedding. We really need to do them today. Crossing our fingers.

May the spirit of the lake emobody us all today. We may need some prayers for calm and cooperation.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Fast food bathroom hijinxs

It never fails, every time we take a trip, I learn something about a) being flexible, b) having a sense of humor, and c) being flexible. Mind you, our trips anymore are never more than 2 hours in any given direction. Kokomo is pretty cool like that, I admit. There's almost literally nothing in Indiana that we go to more than once that isn't within 2 hours of us. We're pretty darn centrally located for our personal needs. All of our immediate and a-little-less-immediate family now lives within 2 hours of us with one exception, and these peeps are under 3 hours away. This is lovely, especially since Abby isn't exactly car-seat and long trips friendly. In her mind, if you can't reach some place within 20 minutes, you're going too far. Me, I totally dig that I can comfortably drive to see anyone that I want to see and back in one day.

Now, our 2-hour excursions tend to take a weee bit longer since there is inevitably a fussy-must-change-diaper-or-feed-baby pit stop in the middle. Abby is eating something 8 times a day, so to plan even a 2-hour trip around her eating schedule is difficult, and we're getting pretty good at the tag-team feeding adventures in strange, slightly sticky from general lack of upkeep, places.

Every trip we've taken has also taught us a new "AHA!" and/or "I can't believe I'm doing this but we're working with what we have so lets just do this as quickly as possible and move on" moment. Inevitably. Every time. For example...the time I attempted to nurse Abby at a rest stop when I wasn't wearing a nursing bra. This trip taught me to not forget that my daughter needs to eat sometimes. (In fact, I've now nursed Abby in the parking lot of 2 rest areas, both time in a 2-door Honda Accord...tight squeeze.) And, there was the trip when Ben wound up riding in the back of the aforementioned Accord, tight squeeze still an issue, in order to pacify the majorly cranky because she wouldn't nap Abby from Ft. Wayne to Kokomo. This trip taught us to never take Abby on a trip in a 2-door car ever again. Ever. Our return trip today found Ben asking the helpful teenage minimum-wage workers at Panera to kindly heat our dish of organic mixed veggies & beef in their microwave 10 seconds at a time. This trip taught us that Panera is the bomb for feeding babies when heating devices are required as they have microwaves underneath the customer coffee bar for patrons to use. Before we knew about the microwave accessibility, we thought that our request would not be a problem, after all we were in Carmel and the baby food was organic. the norm.

Indeed, today's trip to my Grandma's house and back brought a plethora of learning opportunities in the form of fast food bathroom hijinxs.

First, if you need to heat a baby bottle quickly but safely and happen to have your bottle warmer along but need an electrical outlet, check the bathroom of your nearest fast food joint, say Wendy's. (Sidenote...this is the day that Wendy's both saved us and dissappointed us mightily.) Say you find a handy electrical outlet in the women's bathroom at Wendy's, then you can stand there at 9:45 in the morning when the joint is still relatively empty, holding the warmer as it begins to heat your bottle because the counter is too far away for the cord to stretch. You can also attempt to look as normal as possible so that when someone walks in, you can just smile, nod and say "hey," as if holding a bottle warmer in the bathroom of a Wendy's is utterly normal. But keep in mind that your bottle warmer might produce lots and lots of steam in the heating process whereupon the warmer might become uncomfortably warm to the point of major pain if you were to continue clutching this device all for the sake of your child's satisfied tummy. Before this happens, you may want to take advantage of the small lidded trashcan inside the nearest stall that you can reposition to hold the bottle warmer all the while ignoring the ewwwww factor and then smugly and nonchalantly lean against the wall of the open stall supervising the steaming process of your now safely grounded bottle warmer, again waiting for the revolted and scandalized look from the first patron who enters your makeshift kitchen. Important note--upon entering and leaving the bathroom with a bottle and bottle warmer, ignore the incredulous looks on the Wendy's employees faces. No need to explain. They obviously don't have an infant. Mental note to self...never again look at a mother of an infant who is doing something that you would consider bizarre strangely ever again. You feel like you're now a member of a not-so-secret sorority of MacGuiver moms. If only you have figured out how to use your last 2 inches of masking tape and that paper clip...

Second, if you decide to swing by a Wendy's because your husband feels like a crispy chicken sandwich and your daughter smells like a diaper change is imminently necessary, make sure that you swing by the correct one. Surprisingly, some Wendy's are purportedly family friendly insofar as they apparently allow parents with young children to enter their establishment, but don't be so misguided. It seems that some Wendy's believe that there is no need to include a changing station in either the men's or the women's bathrooms as if baby's have no need to be changed while grabbing a bite to eat. Really??? Really?!?! Yet manners are not wholly lost. The employees will still shout farewells at you as you laugh your way out of the joint, thanking you for choosing Wendy's. Please come again. Wendy's, you let us down.

As this was promptly followed up with Panera's well-placed microwaving accessibility and inclusion of a changing station in their women's restroom, it quickly became apparent that Wendy's has been forevermore crossed off my list of family friendly eating establishments that are good places to stop for a diappy change and a crispy chicken sandwich. Panera, we loved you before and now we love you more. Salmon croissant sandwich on the side? Yes, please.