Life here has taken a turn for the better in the past few days. I don't think I mentioned it last week, but Rob was working unusually long hours due to an unhappy confluence of scheduling brouhahas, not arriving home before Grace went to bed the whole week. I think I often underestimate how much that affects me, and then of course as I've already established, EVERYTHING is just affecting me WAY TOO MUCH these days. Some equanimity has returned to the hormone-addled tangle that is my brain after a lovely weekend and the beginning of a more normal week. Our weekend was quite idyllic, and by that I mean that we indulged the reclusive tendencies of our natures. Rob and I are both moderate extroverts and chat easily with friends and strangers, but nonetheless there is a strong streak of the hermit in us. We have various social butterfly friends who seem to have really interesting and exciting social lives, who seem to thrive on activity and interaction and whatnot, but in contrast sometimes we find ourselves happiest holing up away from the world. I hypothesize that there is some internal meter in humans with a dial labelled on one end "social needs" and on the other "hermit needs". Our dials are set rather more than average toward the hermit needs, I think.
One of the things Rob tried to do while holed up away from the world was to watch Ratatouille, which none of us have seen. (Really, I cannot overemphasize how behind the general flow of pop culture we are.) Grace would have none of it, however. There was a fair bit of yelling and dramatic music and the little rat looking awfully scared-- it really upset her. Yes, this G-rated animated CHILDREN'S movie was just too much for her. I know! I can't believe it either. Her little face crumpled with overwhelmed concern, she hid around the corner from it, she insisted we turn it off. Rob kept trying to surreptitiously finish it on the computer without her noticing, but her eagle eye and sensitive ear noticed each time and she would rush in to protest that she did not like it and require that it be turned off. He ended up having to watch it after she went to bed, which makes me laugh laugh laugh. I'm still a little puzzled, as she watches TV nearly every day while I shower in the morning (and sometimes if I'm desperate for a nap in the afternoon too). Neither Rob nor I are much for yelling, so I think that's a big part of it. Part of me is actually glad that yelling struck her as so strange that she reacted that way. And I guess her usual fare of Blue's Clues and The Backyardigans just doesn't have the same dramatic intensity as an actual film.
And as to my other child, she is doing quite well these days. I am 35 weeks pregnant now and had an OB appointment on Monday where I measured just exactly how I was supposed to. The past few visits, the midwives' palpating has left them completely convinced that she is head down and although not obviously ready for an imminent arrival, moving in that direction. She is definitely getting big and strong, as her movements are not the fluttery gentle frissons of earlier weeks but now the attention-grabbing jabby wallops of late pregnancy. And I am having a lot more contractions, as well as twinges and stabs and pangs in the business area of having a baby, than I remember from last time. I really hope it's all my body actually doing something constructive to have this baby and I would LOVE it if there was something actually happening when they start checking my cervix at these ever-more-frequent OB appointments. With Grace, I ended up going to the hospital for an induction while dilated absolutely nothing, which was fun, let me tell you. Anyway, I bought a package of newborn-sized diapers the other day and am discussing with Rob when to go to our storage unit to get the infant car seat and the crib and the bouncy seat (and the Christmas decorations, although that is unrelated, I suppose). A baby! We are having one!
Also! Banana peppers! We are having a lot of those too! We joined a produce co-op here in Dallas, which is pretty good. It's not quite as fun/delicious/good for the environment as the CSA that we did in Connecticut was; that was all organically grown on one farm that we would visit to pick up our food. This co-op involves going to Dallas Farmers' Market to get produce (the responsibility to purchase rotates through the members) and the people in the co-op tend to only buy from the wholesalers there, so we are getting the same produce you see in the grocery store but just for a screaming good price. Not quite the same thing but nothing to complain about, certainly. I need to take some solo trips to the farmers' market to really scope out what local produce is available so when it's my turn to purchase I can skew the group toward my interests. Anyway, this past weekend we had a produce pick-up day and among the useful collection of onions, oranges, pears, and butternut squash was a HUGE PILE of banana peppers. We counted them up and we had 30 banana peppers. I now feel at a bit of a loss as to what my next step should be. I've used a few already in soup and marinara sauce, sort of as a bell pepper replacement, but such paltry attempts are not up to a challenge of this magnitude. I think I'm going to stuff some, and I think I'm going to do some refrigerator pickles. Heck, maybe I'll pickle them and can them for real with the water bath and everything. That would make a nice big dent in our pile. Rob decided we should keep track of our banana pepper endeavor and has posted a status report on the marker board in our kitchen. It currently stands at 26/30.