Sunday, May 24, 2009


First week's haul from our CSA

I've been thinking this weekend about the bountiful plenty in my life and how ugly and wrong any discontent on my part is.  There is so much joy and richness in my life and doing anything but embracing it is pretty reprehensible.  Some of the abundance for us this weekend came from our first CSA pick-up of the season.  Tiny potatoes, gorgeous bright yellow squash, and shiny spring onions, among everything else.  I'm so excited to be part of a CSA again like we were in Connecticut!  It all looks good this week and I'm excited to see what else we'll get.

The farm is actually in southeastern Oklahoma (about 2 hours away) and the farmers drive into Dallas every Saturday morning for us to pick up our shares at the Dallas Farmers Market.  This place is not really what you normally think of as a farmers' market; there's lots of wholesalers and produce grown in California and South America and whatnot.  A lot of it is not oriented toward retail customers.  However, this past Saturday it seemed much better than it has on my past visits, I'm sure partly because the growing season is now really under way.  Also I think they are finally trying to get Shed 1 (there are four giant open-air sheds with corrugated metal roofs) to be mostly local farmers and dealers selling produce from Texas and surrounding states.  And the place was certainly hopping with people like me wanting to buy.  I bought some eggs from a lady who said her chickens run around eating bugs and grass, and I bought some bacon from Rehoboth Ranch which sounds JUST like one of the awesome farms in the book I just read.  Hmmm, bacon and eggs--  I think some pasta carbonara might be in our future.  We were regulars at the farmers' market in New Haven and I've missed it a lot, but this past Saturday helped reconcile me to the loss.  It's very different, but different in a fun, good way.  There were no hippie farmers, but there were Spanish-speaking families selling gorgeous peaches and Texas cowboy-types with grass-fed steaks.  There were no scones to buy for Grace, but we did get a WONDERFUL breakfast burrito with really delicious salsa.  Things change, but it would be sad indeed to miss out on what is here now while yearning for something that is not.

I'm not sure that comparison is in the spirit of those thoughts, but for completeness here was our first week's haul from the CSA in Connecticut:

Veggies Galore!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Ugh, Violet had what was probably her worst night on record last night.  This just goes to show me 1) what an excellent sleeper she normally is and 2) that I should not tempt fate by staying up too late thinking that it will be fine.  It was NOT fine.  She (along with Rob and Grace) has been fighting a cold of some kind and apparently last night the congestion got the better of her and she just could not sleep.  It was eventually so bad that I actually got out of bed with her; I think this is the first time I have ever gotten out of my bed in the middle of the night with her, at least since those very early days.  She was so unsettled that she was keeping Rob up so we got up and went to the computer where I showed her space walks from the current space shuttle mission (very lulling and drowsy-making yet beautiful) and I browsed some wool diaper cover options.

We did eventually make it back to sleep but this morning found me veeeeeeery out of it.  On the way back from dropping Grace off at preschool, I violated my trying-to-lose-weight, no-processed-food, environmental priorities and got a breakfast burrito at Sonic.  I had already had a smoothie for breakfast but the sleepiness made me desperate for more food.  This is a common reaction for me to sleep deprivation; I feel like my body says, "Fine!  You're not going to sleep?  Well, I have to run on something so give me FOOD."  I always ate a lot during my observing runs during grad school when I stayed up all night at the telescope.  And hey!  It turns out there is scientific evidence that this actually happens.

I was really thankful that Grace had school today so that I could sleep while Violet napped when we got back from dropping her off.  Today is her last day, however, until late August when she will start again at the same little place in the next class with a new teacher.  They are having a party with games and such today, and then it is officially summer vacation.  I'm not sure that she needs a vacation from all the paint and Play-Doh and singing and playground time, but it will be fun to spend more time with her and not have to get us all up and dressed and fed and out the door on those mornings.  I am losing my "get-stuff-done" time but I think we will manage.

Tonight Rob and I are meeting with a financial planner who specializes in physicians.  Apparently, he will not always be in training and making a resident/fellow/post-doc level salary and then we are going to need plans for our money beyond squeezing the grocery budget until the next paycheck.  Or so they tell me.  I'll believe it when I see it.  In the process of getting ready for this meeting, we have had discussions about our goals and plans for the future and where we see ourselves in 10 years.  So here's mine:  I have 3 or 4 children (I haven't convinced Rob on the 4th one yet) all school-aged and I teach physics and astronomy as an adjunct at some little college while they are in school, but I don't work too much so I still have time for working out and sewing and other ventures.  I weigh 30 lbs less than I do now, and we have a vegetable garden and a few chickens (again, Rob still needs convincing) and a dog.  We live in a house with 3 bedrooms (maybe 4, if we need a guest room because we live far away from family) and 2 living areas in a city where Rob can bike to work and we can walk to fun things near our house and it's not too hot in the summer (for me) or too cold in the winter (for Rob).  Maybe it would be more accurate to say this is where I see myself in 10 years IN MY DREAMS.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Eight Things I'm Looking Forward To
  1. Our first CSA pick-up, which is scheduled for this coming weekend.
  2. Taking Grace to swimming lessons next week.
  3. Visits from all my living grandparents within the next month.
  4. The next time I'll get to sit down at my sewing machine, probably this evening or tomorrow sometime.  (I'm currently working on an easy pullover tank top for myself.)
  5. Reaching my end-of-grad-school, pre-Grace weight. (I've already gotten to my pre-Violet weight-- hooray!)
  6. Reaching my beginning-of-grad-school, wedding weight.
  7. Fall and/or winter
  8. Having a third child, probably via adoption.

Eight Things I Did Yesterday
  1. Nursed Violet 10 times or so.  At 20-30 minutes a session, that was how much of my day?
  2. Went to church.
  3. Was astonished at the beautiful, mid-70's weather.
  4. Baked a blueberry pie.
  5. Made a lentil & rice salad.
  6. Took this food to a potluck for our Bible study in the evening.  A potluck where we had beer.
  7. Made peach puree out of some bruised peaches for when Violet starts solids in a matter of weeks.
  8. Grew uneasy as all 3 of my immediate family members started to have runny noses and seem out of sorts.  I am doooooooomed...

Eight Things I Wish I Could Do
  1. Find the perfect nursing bra-- I want lift, I want separation, I want support, I want it to fit "right", I want easy nursing clips, and a bit of leak protection would be nice.  Still on this quest...
  2. Get regular professional pedicures.
  3. Knit faster.
  4. Honestly enjoy exercise.
  5. Have a greater level of contentment about living in Texas.
  6. Related to both of those, not get so red-faced and sweaty whenever I get the slightest bit hot.
  7. Make fluffy, creamy scrambled eggs; mine are always such a disappointment.
  8. Somehow make my church more racially (and otherwise) diverse.

Eight Shows I Watch
  1. LOST
  2. Battlestar Galactica (we are not yet caught up so still have the pleasure of another season or so in front of us)
  3. 30 Rock
  4. The Office
  5. The Backyardigans (not really by choice, but yes, I watch a lot of it)
  6. Good Eats
  7. any of Nigella Lawson's shows
  8. Gilmore Girls (I've seen every episode multiple times but still watch one occasionally)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

All Doctored Up

Yesterday we finally made it to Grace's 3-year-old check-up.  Only about 4 months late, right?  And to think that Rob is even a pediatrician...  Anyway, it went well and thanks to the vigilance of our pediatrician in Connecticut, she didn't even have to get any shots.  This is the second time we've tried to have her annual check-up, the first attempt being foiled by a scheduling mix-up (which I am POSITIVE was not my fault) and the swine flu hysteria.  That failed attempt turned out to be the last straw for me with that pediatrician; I have come to realize that she wasn't the best match for my parenting style.  I'm sort of laid-back, attachment-parenting-oriented, and pretty well-read in the parenting literature canon, and she was super conservative in the sense of jumping to (what seemed to me unnecessary) interventions and specialists and whatnot.  I am now dubbing her an "activist doctor"-- you know, like an "activist judge".  Also she was not super supportive of all the usual attachment parenting stuff; I can deal with that, since so few pediatricians ARE, but it was another strike against her.   Her biggest positive trait was taking a LOT of time for visits, but I don't think that's really what I need or want.  Maybe it's that Rob is a doctor or my background in science or whatever, but I don't feel like I need a lot from a pediatrician.   And then to top it off, her office mucked up our appointment so we are bidding her adieu.

Yesterday we took Grace to a different doctor who Rob worked with during med school and I think we're going to like him.  Poor Grace had quite a bit of anxiety as we approached her appointment, though.  Although she doesn't remember remember getting shots herself, she's seen Violet get vaccinations at 2 weeks, 2 months, and 4 months (crying in angry infant distress), and she's developed quite an antipathy to the idea of shots.  I was afraid that we were headed for a breakdown of massive proportions with just over 30 lbs of flailing toddler protest and terror because now she knows the drill-- they weigh you, look in your ears, and so forth, and THEN the NURSE comes in and causes you great pain.  Fortunately, she didn't have to get any because of differences in schedules between our old pediatrician and these new guys.  She was so happy about it and even mentioned it in her bedtime prayers last night.  Without the specter of shots hanging over her, she was able to thoroughly enjoy having her heart listened to and peeing into a cup.

Speaking of doctor visits and such, I recently looked up Grace's growth chart to compare to Violet's in the hopes of predicting what size Violet might wear when it gets cold.  You may remember that I have continually mentioned that Violet is much bigger than Grace, but no more!  Their weights AND lengths at 4 months were almost exactly the same.  This fact astonishes me, although perhaps I am even more astonished  by the fact that we remember things so wrong.  Grace did in fact develop multiple chins and fat rolls and whatnot by the time she was 6 months old.  I think her drastic slim-down a few months later colors how I think of her growth.  I hope that Violet doesn't change proportions so dramatically.  Worrying about how much your baby is eating, having doctors make concerned faces about her growth, and going in for weight checks is super stressful.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Goodnight Nobody, Goodnight Mush

Either Rob or I have read Goodnight, Moon to Grace every night for, oh, going on 2 years now.  She has gone through stages of being really interested in it, ignoring us as we read, wanting to see the pictures, wanting to look at the words, and perhaps most memorably, insisting it was actually the Sun in the book.  Hence, we really enjoyed this strip from Sheldon Comics:

(click on the strip to view the original comic full-size)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Word to Your Mother

I found out I was pregnant with Grace a few weeks after Mothers' Day in 2005, so the first Mothers' Day that I actually knew I was a mother was her first one out in the world when she was 3 months old or so.  A mother.  To this tiny little creature with chubby arms and perfect lips.  It's a good day to reflect on who I am now, and how my relationship with myself and with the world has changed now that there are small people who call me "Mama".  It still doesn't quite seem real sometimes that I am grown up enough to have children, but at other times I feel fiercely maternal and utterly at home with my life now.  Being a mother may be the role that has changed and enriched my life the most, in a stormy amalgam of biology and affection and faith.

We didn't do much today besides the normal Sunday routines of church but yesterday we spent time with my parents and my sister, who was in town from North Carolina for a wedding.  It is an amazing gift to live close to my parents and I'm going to deliberately soak up this time with them, and the connections that Grace and Violet can forge with them, while we're here.    It's a great thing to reflect on when I'm feeling less than enthusiastic about Texas and Dallas and all that.  So I hope you too had a happy Mothers' Day and were able to honor the mothers in your life.  Now I'm going to go drink the Mexican martini that Rob just mixed for me.

Friday, May 1, 2009


Violet has started to be very distressed by riding in the car, an unwelcome development to say the least.  Grace did the same thing for quite a while, and it makes sense, I suppose-- I myself would not enjoy sitting all strapped in facing backwards where all I could see was the backseat of the car.  And then there's the fact that babies really just want to be held all the time.  Grace finally started to tolerate auto travel better when we could turn around her car seat to face forwards, but that is many, many months away for Violet.  In the meantime, it seems that it doesn't matter if Violet is full and dry and otherwise lacking in anything wrong with her; the car seat is anathema.

I may have discovered a way to pacify her, however, which has worked 2 out the 2 times I have tried it.  I put on a CD (this one in particular) and turned it up REALLY LOUD.  As you may be deducing, this was originally just a ploy on my part to drown out her incessant wailing but it turns out that it stopped her from crying.  Hooray!  On the downside, this cuts down on my NPR time.  And since NPR is pretty much my only source of news (aside from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report a few times a week) I am becoming increasingly less well-informed about the goings on in the world as the days pass.  It's just all about swine flu, right?

I do miss all those kooky NPR folk and their crazy, unlikely names (except for Daniel Schorr who is my NEMESIS).  There must be some effect at work to cause journalists with unusual names to end up at NPR.  This post explains how each of us can create our own NPR name.  According to those rules, I would be Julida Castiglione-Fiorentino and I would be married to Rolbert Galeana.  AWESOME.