Random Thoughts: It’s Not All About Me

It is day two of Mrs. Crappy Weekend, and I for one hope it is delightful and full of back rubs and beer — or really, for whatever she wants. For this wonderful proclamation, and setting things into motion, Uncle Crappy is on my list for Husband of the Year.

If you are or have a husband, it’s not too late. There is a lot of year left! Just read or slip them my PSA and PSA II for encouragement, information, and guidelines on being an even better husband.


I also want to comment on the awesome-ness of Pittsburgh bloggers via the Iron(ic) Chef Cookoff, which also involved an Uncle Crappy.

I don’t go in for crabcakes myself, but DearDR loves them. It’s hard to get a good one in the ‘burgh, as many of you probably know. Lots o’ filler, very little crab. When we went to Baltimore a few years back (back in the dating days, when my little sister lived there), I think over the course of two days he had about four or five crabcakes. Real, crab-filled crabcakes. It was a little piece of nirvana for him.

And don’t you just love how I called my 34-year-old sibling “little”? That’s kind of awesome.


It is Saturday, and I must get a move on.

in the meantime, here’s a post about underwear. But not the fun kind. You may learn more about how (or if) your favorite blogger folds underwear than you strictly needed to know.


Monkey and I were talking about when she was born (which started because she wanted to know if it was her birthday).

“Oh, yeah,” she said. “I had a long dream about when I was born. It was good.”

“I’m glad,” I answered.

“I didn’t cry at all,” she continued. “Well, I cried a little. But it was okay.”

I Got Nothin’

By the time this publishes, I will be dropping my parents off at the airport. They are currently — it’s 9:30 p.m. EST as I type — sitting patiently in the other room while I hang laundry, write this post, and run next door to my in-laws to make sure everything is in order. The ILs are due back tonight too.

It’s been a little crazy. I have lots on deck, but for today? Nothing doing.

In lieu of something new, that video of Bun from the other day led me to look at other videos I have of my kids. Here’s one from… what, spring 2008? Look how little and round Bun is! Man, it goes fast.

Lost: The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham

I’ll get right to it:

Why did Ben kill John Locke?

This is the question that was in my head when I fell asleep last night, and it popped right into my head this morning. Here are my top five theories.

1. As DearDR pointed out, Ben didn’t kill Locke until Locke mentioned Eloise Hawking. Maybe Ben doesn’t want Locke to meet Eloise (again); maybe Ben doesn’t want Locke to find out about the Lamp-post. To prevent those things, he kills Locke.

2. Maybe Ben doesn’t want to take to risk of being the one in the coffin. Let’s say Ben knows that the O6 have to recreate, as closely as possible, conditions of Flight 815, and he doesn’t want to play the part of Christian Shepherd proxy. He knows the idea is that the Island will resurrect whomever is in the coffin, but his faith… well, it’s weak.

3. Ben knows that suicide will void the pact that Locke has with the Island. So he talks him off the ledge (so to speak) and murders him. Additionally, in this theory, Ben goes on to make it look like a suicide as part of a plan to persuade (read: guilt) Jack into coming back to the Island — and getting everyone else together to come back, too.

4. Ben and Locke are vying for leadership of the Island and leadership of the Others. We hear others over and over again tell Locke how special he is (Widmore, Abaddon, Ben himself) — although they don’t say why. “You just are,” Widmore says. No one, aside from the vision of Ben’s mother, tells him how special he is. He’s sick of hearing about how Locke is some great savior, and decides to test the theory himself by killing Locke.

5. Ben is a batshit crazy mo-fo, and he just wants to kill Locke. Ben’s got his own plan, his own agenda, and Locke alive is going to eff it up. So he kills him, and figures it may come in useful to make it look like a suicide.

What do you think? Why did Ben kill Locke?

Also: I think it was Sayid who killed Abaddon (do you know what Abaddon means, by the way? Check this out. I think if characters on Lost knew this, they wouldn’t go riding around in a car with him. Brilliant actor, BTW.) and tried to kill Locke. I know, Ben said he did, but did you notice the way his eyes cut to the right when he says it? And what’s my motto? All together now: Ben’s a liar!

Great to see Walt. Why didn’t Locke ask him to go back to the Island? Where is Michael? (Aside from on another show at ABC.)

I heart Hurley. I loved how he was totally casual talking to Locke when he thought he was dead, but as soon as he figures out Locke was alive, he freaks. And then freaks even more when he sees Abaddon.

So much more, but I’m out of time for now. If you want a real mind-bender from Doc Jensen at EW, read his comparison/contrast of John Locke and Jeremy Bentham (the 17th-century philosopher and the 18th-century ethicist, respectively). I want his job: Watch Lost, come up with bunches of cock-a-mamie theories, meet everyone associated with the show, and write about all of it.

What I Am: Doing for Lent

I know, I’ve barely established this theme, and here I go all messing with it.

My blog, my rules.

Anywho: I have been thinking for a couple of days now about what to do for this Lent. In the past, I have given up coffee (hello, week-long headache!) and reading novels (hello, new-found respect for non-fiction and crossword puzzles). I know a lot of people (including my mother, my MIL, and one year, DearDR) give up alcohol, but I have been pregnant three times, so been there, done that.

The one thing I think I am doing too much of is spending time on my computer, especially where my kids are concerned. I really need to spend more time with them, especially during the week, when we only get a couple of hours in the evenings together.

No, I’m not going all Anglophile Football Fanatic on you. I love writing every day, and I am going to continue Blog365 — aren’t you lucky? I need this blog, this space, this community. And I believe that writing daily is improving my writing.

But I think I have to cut way, way down on my plurking. Here’s my Lenten vow: When my children are awake, I will not plurk. My “karma” is going to plunge, but I’ll be a better person — a better mommy, anyway. Which is kind of ironic, when you think about it.


In other What We Are news, I did want to share that I have put the kibosh (kind of) on They Might Be Giants, Here Come the 123s and ABCs. The girls would listen to/watch them 20 gazillion times in a row if I let them. They get one viewing, tops. I had to stop the madness!

Instead, we have started really digging into the Scholastic DVDs that Monkey got for Christmas. I first discovered these at my local library, and at Christmas time, Amazon had an amazing deal on the Treasury of 100 Storybook Classics. What was a $100 box set, we got for $44.45.

I really like these for a couple of reasons. First, you get to see some classics come to life. Second, you get to discover classics you’d never heard of before. Third, the voice talent on them is awesome. It includes Raul Malo, John Lithgow, Laura Dern, Pete Seeger, and James Earl Jones, among others.

Fourth, and this is my favorite thing, is you can go check the books out of the library and read along. I can’t tell you how excited Monkey gets when she finds one of her DVDs on the book shelf.

I’m looking at the box and trying to decide what the stand-outs are, but the truth is they are all so amazing. One of the first ones we discovered was “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom”; it is still one of Bun’s favorites. Her all-time fav, though, is the adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are, and the other Sendak stories on that disk. Monkey loves discovering new things; she just watched Chrysanthemum and more Kevin Henkes stories, and told me that was her favorite so far.

Other favorites you’ll find here include Harry the Dirty Dog, Harold and the Purple Crayon (I actually dislike these animations, but Monkey really likes them), Strega Nona, and Click Clack Moo Cows that Type.

I’ll probably be watching more of these with my kids… as I won’t be plurking as much anymore!

Public Service Announcement II

(To clarify: This post was inspired by three things: One, the parents.com article I link to in the first paragraph; two, some frustrated-with-husband plurks from this past weekend; three, my own frustrated desire to get something done on Sunday. In other words: DearDR, it’s not all about you. XOXOXO)

Dear Husbands:

Psst. Your wife is mad at you. Especially if you have children.

It’s okay. Or it can be okay.

Do you know what your wife wants? Of course you don’t — that’s why she’s mad at you! And yes, she wants some things that you just don’t feel like doing, it’s true. But you will be amazed at how little “extra” you have to do.

Here are some things you can do — right now, today! — that will help your wife be less angry at you:

Four simple words: “How can I help?” Ask your wife this tonight after dinner. Really listen to her answer. She wants you to clean up the kitchen? Just do it. Or would she rather you bathe the children? Just do it. And do it all on your own, the first time she asks you. Your wife doesn’t want to be a nag, but if she asks you to do something and you say, “Okay, I’ll do that” and then start surfing YouTube on your computer, she’s going to have to ask you again. And possibly again, and then you will say, “I said I would do it! Stop nagging me” and then her head will explode.

Take care of the kids. No, really. You should have some basic knowledge of how to take care of the children. And, truly, I mean basic. Have a rough idea of their schedules. Know when they eat meals and/or snacks; have a clue about what they like or dislike. Know where their clothes are and how to dress the children appropriately. Do the bath thing, start to finish, once a week. Put them to bed — yes, both (or more) of them, if applicable. Let your wife clean up the kitchen uninterrupted and then sit down a read a book. We will understand if it’s not every night. And we’re not asking you to remember the doctor appointments or school details. Basic.

Let her sleep in. Some couples I know divide the weekend: He sleeps in Saturday; she sleeps in Sunday, or vice versa. In short, though, even if you can only do it once a month or so: get up with the children, and don’t let them wake her up. Let her loll in bed until 8:30 or 9 a.m. If you sleep in more often (be honest, guys), then give her a break.

Figure out how to give your wife some uninterrupted time. I don’t know if you know how many times your wife is interrupted in the course of her life with the children. If they are awake, be assured that they are interrupting her. Roughly every 30 seconds (this gets better as they get older, or so I hear). She is constantly turning away from whatever she happens to be doing (cooking dinner, cleaning, laundry, even trying to read a magazine or going to the bathroom) to “deal with” the children. Even if it’s to look at something they want her to see or stopping to say “hi” to the toddler who has run into the room for the umpteenth time yelling, “Hi, Mommy!”, it’s getting on her nerves a little bit.

There are two ways your wife wants uninterrupted time: She wants it out of the house, and she wants it in the house.

Give your wife a few hours — or even a day — off. Encourage her to leave the house. Don’t ask what she is going to do. Don’t ask when she is coming home. Don’t call her cell phone to ask her when or what to feed the children, or if they need baths, or what time they go to bed. This time alone, I almost guarantee, will pay dividends. Doesn’t have to be every weekend. Once a month, though? Would rock.

Give your wife a few hours around the house without the children underfoot. You know that really messy room you’ve been complaining about? Or have you noticed that the kitchen floor hasn’t been mopped in a while? Are boxes of things she means to donate piling up? Quit bugging her about it. She wants to deal with it, she really does. Some days it’s hard enough cleaning up the mess from that day, let alone getting to things that have accumulated. Disappear with the kids for a few hours. Take the children to the mall or the Children’s Museum, or to the zoo, or to a movie. Treat them to lunch at a restaurant. Give your wife a few hours in the house alone. That room, that floor, those boxes, will probably be taken care of. Really. It’s bugging her too.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Well why doesn’t she just tell me this stuff?” There are a few possible reasons that your wife hasn’t mentioned how upset she is:

First, it’s possible that she simply cannot believe that you don’t know what needs to be done around the house and/or with the children. She thinks that you will wake up, and start doing that little bit more — putting your socks in the hamper, carrying that basket of laundry upstairs, bathing the children. She hasn’t said anything because she doesn’t think she needs to say anything.

Second, she assumes that it is her role to do “everything” and since you work full-time (you do work full-time, right?), you deserve a break today. This is very sweet of her, of course, but here’s the thing. It’s not helping her be less angry. And when she snaps — and she will lose it sooner or later, sooner if she also works outside of the home — and throws something at your head, don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

I know, I know, she doesn’t do everything. But that’s how she feels. So help her out a little bit.

Third, she has told you. She has asked you. And you either haven’t really heard her, or after agreeing to do certain things at certain times or on certain days, you haven’t followed through.

No, your wife is not perfect. And yes, she could possibly manage her time a little better, too.

Here’s another a big, important point: Your wife doesn’t want to be angry with you. She didn’t get here alone, but she feels alone — and angry, right now. Be her partner; help her out. She didn’t marry your and have children on a whim. She loves you.

Meatless Monday: A Word on Meat Substitutes

I made one of DearDR’s favorite meals last night, and it was completely meat free.

I use Morning Star Farms Meal Starters, usually their Chik’n Strips, and mix it up with one packet of taco seasoning and 3/4 cup of water. Then you just use the seasoned “meat” to make soft tacos: put some of the seasoned “meat” in a warmed burrito, and add the toppings of your choice. We had salsa, organic sour cream, shredded cheddar, and even rice and beans. I put salad on mine, too. This is a great meal, very filling and tasty.

Bun likes the seasoned strips, but can’t quite handle a burrito yet. She’ll eat bites of mine. But the girls both had rice and beans, some mixed veggies, and some shredded cheese.

Since I became a vegetarian almost 20 years ago, meat analogs have really exploded. Which is great, because it’s so much easier to heat up some Morning Star or Quorn “chicken” nuggets than try to get tofu to taste like chicken.

Some of the regular “meat” we have on hand include nuggets, tenders, the Morning Star Meal Starters (strips of “chicken” or “steak”), “not dogs” (Yves The Good Dog), Yves fake pepperoni (I call it pepperfoni) for pizza, and Morning Star bacon (which we call fake-on) and sausage. My kids love them all. Heck, my kids eat plain cubed tofu. I like Garden Burger riblets, too.

I know a lot of non-vegetarians may be thinking, “Why not just eat the real stuff?” First of all, let me say, if memory serves, this stuff doesn’t really taste like meat. I mean the Morning Star soy crumbles make a great hearty chili, but it’s not greasy; ditto the pepperfoni, which is tasty on pizza, but no grease. DearDR loves the breakfast sausage; he says it’s just like very lean sausage.

Second: It’s not meat. That’s the genius of it. If you are a well-researched vegetarian, you have made a very deliberate lifestyle choice. For me, it’s a lot about the environmental impact of the industrialized animal food complex. My not dog didn’t produce lakes of manure that one can smell for miles around a factory farm — plus, I know exactly what is in the “not” dog. No suffering happened to produce my Boca burger, which is excellent on a bun with some cheese, ketchup, mustard, lettuce and tomato.

I don’t mean this to turn into a lecture on the evils of factory farming or anything like that. My girls and I are vegetarians, and I am just glad to have so many options that are plant-based to feed my family. I have adapted recipes that my family enjoys without having to compromise my lifestyle choice. It makes me feel good. And it’s easy. As a busy, work-outside-the-home mom, that counts for a lot.

Also, some fake-on crumbled on top of vegetarian corn chowder is delicious.

In short, if you are thinking of cutting down on your meat consumption, you don’t have to make big sacrifices. These meat substitutes are a lot cheaper than real meat (check out the price difference between soy crumbles and a pound of ground beef). They are just as easy to use — a lot easier in a lot of cases than tofu. Meat analogs are convenient, too; you can find them in your grocer’s freezer. Sometimes, when you’re attending a summer barbecue, you can just pick up a package of Boca Burgers, and you don’t miss out on anything.

A Bear for Bun

Because Bun was sick, DearDR brought a little something home from his work to cheer her up. It sings the perfect song for our Bun, and it definitely seems to bring a little smile to her spirit.

I do kind of wish Monkey had been otherwise occupied, though. She’s a little too concerned about getting some attention.

And sorry if the tune gets stuck in your head.

Updated to add: I changed the settings on the video, so it should be viewable now. If not, try this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ9xkTbgWlQ and my email is albamaria30 at verizon dot net.

Problem-Solving with Magnets

Around the time that we were thinking of beginning to think about potty-training Monkey, a friend gave us a magnetic rewards chart. According to DearDR, developmentally speaking, Monkey was still to young for such a tool, but it was nice to have and fun to play with all the little brightly colored magnets. (M&M’s worked for potty training.)

The thing has been hanging in our kitchen for about a year and a half. And after getting all kinds of advice regarding The Littlest Pet Shop toys and Monkey’s obsession with them (thanks, everyone!), I decided it was time to put the chart to work for me.

I sat down with Monkey this past Monday and explained what we were going to do so that she could earn money to get LPS stuff. She seemed interested and engaged.

We decided on six things she would or would not do on a daily basis. Before her nightly treat, she and I would decide how she did, and she would get a magnet (or not). If she has seven magnets in each category, she earns a quarter. If she has no magnets in a category, we subtract a dime. She can earn up to $1.50 a week. Does that sound like a lot? Maybe we should make it a dime for each row, subtract a nickel?

Here are the categories:
Clear the table
Put toys away
Listen to Mommy (the magnet actually says Help Mommy, but she can’t read yet, so I get to make stuff up!)
No Whining (not surprisingly, to date, she has no magnets in this row)
No Temper Tantrums

She seems very motivated, and checks with me to see how she can get her magnets. She loves to clear the table; she needs help remembering to clean up her toys (even as she is ostensibly cleaning up her toys). Listening to me is also difficult, but more from an attention standpoint. I tell her to get undressed for her bath, for example, and I end up telling her about five or six more times because she has to look at a book, talk to her animals, go potty, chase Bun…. You get the idea, no?

Temper tantrums are de riguer for Monkey when things are not going her way. And if she is too tired or too hungry, they are worse. She can really work herself into a frenzy. I wonder why.

Thursday night, I told her no about something, and I could see her temper rising. She even started to yell and raised one foot for a stomp.

Then she stopped. She clapped her hands over her mouth, and put both feet on the floor. She took a breath.

“Oh,” she said. “I almost throwed a tremper pantrum, Mommy. I’m sorry.”

I picked my jaw off the floor, and praised her to the ceiling. (And later corrected her pronunciation.) I also gave her a magnet for it. (It’s the only one in the tantrum row so far. Baby steps.)

We may be onto something.

Adaptive Biology

Before I had children, the idea of changing diapers and cleaning up vomit made me, literally, gag. Even the actual changing of diapers the few times I babysat an infant made me throw up in my mouth a little. I didn’t baby sit very much.

Somehow when it’s your own kid, though, these things don’t even make you blink. Vomit, diarrhea, snot, drool — you name it. If it’s flowing out of Bun or Monkey, it doesn’t turn my stomach. (Blood is the exception to the rule. Blood on your baby pushes the panic button.)

This is very curious to me, but I’m sure there’s some biological explanation. After all if our children revolted us with their basic bodily functions, it would be difficult to care for them. So much for the perpetuation of the species.

And it’s a good thing too, because Bun threw up spectacularly Wednesday night. I knew something was up when she didn’t even touch her dinner. Although she seemed just fine playing, she started crying when I tried to bathe her. And then as I was drying her off, she puked.

I caught most of the first wave in her towel, and got her to the toilet. As I was giving her another bath, she puked a little in the tub, too.

Poor Bun.

Her temperature was 102.2, so fingers crossed I gave her a little water and a dose of ibuprophen. She kept that all down and slept through the night.

I got up Thursday and got ready to go to work. Bun started crying, and I went into get her. She seemed a little warm, and she cried for “dinkie, dinkie”, Bun for drink. Dummy me, I gave her some water. I gave her more water. And then she puked all that up, too, at 6:30 a.m.

I thought Dan didn’t start until 1 p.m., but it turns out he had a 9 a.m. patient, so I had to call into work.

Bun insisted on yogurt at 8:30 a.m., and I lost the argument with her. “You’re just going to throw that up,” holds no water with a hungry 2-year-old. Although her fever continued to hover around 100, she did not vomit again the rest of the day. I fed her what I consider ‘sick food’: crackers, soup, buttered noodles. For Bun, she was lethargic, although still energetic enough to play with some toys and try to help me fold laundry. She napped for almost four hours.

She seems to be well on the mend. I have my fingers crossed (again) that I won’t get a call from daycare. And that I won’t be cleaning up more puke this weekend.

Lost Day: 316

It’s clear (to me) that the 316 in the title is also a reference to John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, He gave his only son.” Next week: the resurrection. I’m trying to figure out how Christian Shepherd (hello, symbolic name) figures into this. I thought the symbolism of John for Christian (i.e. Jesus) was a little heavy-handed. IMHO.

It occurred to me last night, very belatedly, that Ben told John in last season’s finale, that whoever moved the wheel couldn’t return to the Island. But — what is my motto when it comes to Ben? — Ben’s a liar! We even saw that in last night’s episode when Jack asks Eloise Hawking if Ben’s telling the truth, and she responds, “Probably not.” Also, I think he knows full well John committed suicide. (Was there a glimpse of this in the preview? I think so.)

For all the answers all these people are seeking, they show a remarkable dearth of curiosity. For instance: Who kicked Ben’s ass? And why wasn’t Sun all over Kate asking where Aaron is?

My first guess on Ben’s ass-kicker was Sayid, in order to keep Ben away from that flight. Only I think Sayid would have just snapped Ben’s neck. Sayid is a big believer in guarantees. Widmore’s people? Desmond? Ben made that call from a dock. Maybe he was going to talk Desmond into ‘fulfilling his destiny’. Maybe he was going to kill Penny in the meantime.

I’m going to think Penny’s dead (possibly Charlie, too) until proven otherwise. By killing Penny, Ben gets his revenge on Widmore, and by getting away (after Desmond beats the crap out of him), he guarantees that Desmond will come after him, to the Island, to exact his own revenge. Unless of course he killed Desmond, too, which Island plans or no, I would not put beyond Ben. He’s a man with his own agenda.

I have a confession to make: I’m a little over Kate as tortured girl-next-door-always-on-the-run. Who has Aaron? The lawyers, probably. Claire’s mother, maybe. I’m afraid I don’t care.

The plane crash looked a lot more like the time-traveling flashes to me, which is curious. It seems that the O6 get back to the Island in Dharma’s heyday, if the blue van and Jin’s jumpsuit are any indication. Also, Jin didn’t look all that thrilled to see Jack, Kate, and Hurley to me. Think he knows they brought Sun with them?

Oh, and I love The Lamppost. Hello, C.S. Lewis. Told you she’d be back one way or another.

I’m going to hit publish now. I’m home with a sick Bun, so if this seems more scattered than usual, I apologize, again. At least she hasn’t puked in about four hours. Knock wood!