Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I got the notion to finally ask Grandpa DM to help take the old chimney down in our house; it was very old (110 or so years), no longer went all the way to the roof, and was slanted in the attic in a way that was alarming to me. No grass grows on Grandpa DM; quick as a wink he got it all organized with day-workers, figured out how to get the bricks out of the house, etc., etc.. So, as of today we are minus about 2/3 of a chimney. The large mass of it is out in the back yard waiting to joined by the remainder (tomorrow) and hauled away (sometime soon). A significant fraction remains here in the house with us in the form of nasty, nasty made of old lime and brick dust. Will has taken to his room (which was shut up all day and is, he promises, relatively dust free). Maybe tomorrow he'll go to his parents' until I can get all this cleaned up, which is not going to happen in a meaningful way until Friday with my work schedule this week.
I am glad the chimney will be gone. Grandpa DM reports that when the workers started to take it down in the attic large sections just crumbled away and had to be caught to prevent them dropping to the floor. (I knew it; I just knew it.) Given that we're prone to earthquakes around here, I'm so happy not to have to lie awake any more worrying about this. Thanks Grandpa DM!
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Anyway, I found this all strangely touching and was not particularly bothered by it---although I suppose the guys would get in trouble for encouraging something like that, and it's not at all professional, and definitely a home country only type of interaction to invite; and I felt sort of sorry? sad? for the girls because, really, what on earth is the point. And it was all very stereotypical in the way of some of the worst types of stereotypes. Plus, it seems dangerous to do that sort of thing whilst speeding at 65 miles an hour in 3 or 4 lanes of traffic. But here are these guys off to we all know where, for I can only guess, can't even begin to relate to, what kind of hardship and crap. And here are these poor girls, zipping down the road in their car. It was pretty human.
And to think, all I do to support our men and women in uniform is occasionally send money for phone cards so they can call home. Which you all can do here, should you so choose.
Sorry, so long, no post. And I wonder why no one reads this thing. We are all fine. In random order our work week so far has included:
- Trip to the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in south central Washington State. It's something. (Me.)
- Trip to Seattle to the doctor for hearing testing and GI consult. (Will; and, note, it turns out he can hear just fine, thank you.)
- Four shots, two in each leg. (Liam; 15 month check up.)
- Two days of moderate grade fever and feeling crummy. (Will; although he seems like he's doing slightly better or at least not getting worse.)
- Trip to Petco to see real snakes and rats as opposed to the cat-toy versions. (Liam; thanks grandpa DH and GG.)
- Four days in a row of working at least 11 hours and billing at least 9. (Me; woo hoo.)
- Long plane ride home from Boston to reclaim their dog (Grandpa DM and Grandma KM; welcome home!)
And there's still one whole day to go!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Get a heavy pan out and put it on low heat to heat up. Cut up about 4 slices of bacon into smallish dice. Panchetta is good, if you have it, but regular bacon works fine (not apple wood or maple flavored or any of that, just regular bacon). Okay, that's the most complicated part, getting the right bacon. When it's brown and crisp add 1/2 to 1 onion and 2-4 ribs of celery, diced. Saute those until they're basically cooked. Add 3-4 cloves of garlic, diced, and, if you want, 1 or two anchovies. Stir all this around for a minute or so until the anchovies are broken apart. Add about 1 tsp oregano and some red chili flakes and some salt. Stir around some more. This is all over pretty high heat still.
Now comes the cans of stuff. Add one can of diced tomatoes and their juice. Stir around. Add a 3-4 inch or so Parmesan cheese rind. This is exactly what it sounds like: it's what is left after you've eaten all the cheese. I typically have a number of these in the freezer. If you don't have one, don't worry, leave it out. Add 2 cans of cannelini beans. Bring this to a quick simmer and let it go for about 10 minutes to meld all the flavors. Then add 2 or 3 cans of chicken broth, and 2 or 3 cups of hot water. Bring to a boil and let it go for 30 minutes or so. Longer if you like, just keep an eye on it so the cheese rind doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
About 30 minutes before you want to eat it add 1 or 1.5 cups of small pasta. We generally use orzo. Make sure there is enough liquid in the soup to cook the past and still be soup. Dice up some Italian parsley. When the past is cooked add the parsley. Garnish each serving with a little good-flavored olive oil and some Parmesan cheese, if you like. That's it. We're having some tonight.
Edited: this is an update and explanation. We are pretty consistent democratic voters in this house. Liam, though, has become fascinated with the photo of John McCain that is on the cover of the Atlantic magazine this month. He loves it. He keeps trying to give John McCain a kiss. I tried to get a picture of that a few days ago or whenever the first picture was taken, and finally was able to get one today. Go figure.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Liam has developed a fever (low, but present) and a stuffy nose and was up most of the night with these complaints. He also is still getting 3 teeth at once and is, understandably, unhappy about that. We hope this is a quick event, that Will doesn't get it, and that Liam feels better soon.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
- Trips to Target (AM) and the park (PM)
- Viewing of a new Baby Einstein video about farm animals (Liam was interested for about half the approximately 20 minute length; Will for slightly longer)
- Playing in water in the sink, and Mollie's water outside (got very wet and messy)
- 2.5 hour afternoon nap
- Not a very good breakfast or lunch, but an enormous dinner of: yogurt and nectarines, green beans, cheese pizza, and baby macaroni and cheese (from a jar), and milk
- Liam and Daddy at the park getting ready to throw the ball for Mollie
- Liam and Daddy reading
- A rare glimpse of Liam and Mommy (also at the park)
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, September 7, 2008
- Cheese pizza
- Fig newtons
- Daddy's expensive strawberry/banana juice (from a straw)
- Mushroom (eaten with the couscous)
- Tortilla with melted cheese
- Bacon (tiny, tiny bits served with scrambled egg)
Foods tried recently that were less of interest:
- Chocolate cake (can you believe it!)
- Marinated and grilled pork
Foods that remain high on the list of favorites:
- Salmon (although I'm thinking of cutting this back and/or having Liam tested for mercury, he probably eats wild salmon at least once a week if not more, he loves it)
- Sauteed zucchini, he cannot get enough of this
- Steamed green beans (also likes them stir fried with black bean sauce)
- Chixpatty (the original, MorningStar version); honestly, Liam loves tofu in any form, but he especially likes chixpatty
- Plain Greek yogurt, or any yogurt really
- Boiled/poached carrots
- Scrambled eggs
- Any kind of soft fruit, but especially nectarines and grapes
- And the all time favorite, most requested food, Gerber "stars" puffed cracker things
He may not ever win any awards for sleeping, but he's a good eater, our baby. Takes after his Mommy that way.
3. Children's' Tylenol, infant drops.
Friday, September 5, 2008
We're all fine here. It has been a busy week. Will's rowing is getting faster, Liam is doing well, and I may someday even get caught up at work. We think Liam was inspired by the Olympic coverage on television. He is very interested in the rings, more so than the other play equipment. Will says he holds almost all of his own weight---but of course, his hands aren't really strong enough to test that theory fully yet.
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Liam was given the Bayley Scale test of Infant and Toddler development. It was really interesting to watch the test. The equipment looked exactly like what is in this picture, except in Liam's kit the baby doll was missing a leg. (He still, or maybe because, was fascinated with the baby doll, he doesn't have any toys like that at home.)
The assessment is basically a play-based test. Liam was asked to do a huge number of specific tasks including:
- Take cubes out of a cup,
- Put all the cubes into a cup,
- Make a tower (stack) of blocks,
- Find something hidden under a washcloth,
- Put pegs into a peg board,
- Point to pictures in books,
- Run a car back and forth to the examiner,
- Imitate noises and actions,
- Bang two spoons or blocks together,
- Drink from a cup,
- Pick up a cheerio,
- Get a cheerio out form a small pill-like container,
- Put shapes into the right places on the shape board (like a puzzle), and
- Look at things when they are named. (E.g., where is daddy?)
The examiner also watched Liam pull up to standing and he obliged by toddling around the room energetically. (He also tried to turn a somersault on the play mat, which he loved. I think a somersault might have resulted in extra credit, but he stopped part way through.) Liam sat on my lap at a table during most of the evaluation and the examiner sat across the table. Will watched. We were not allowed to talk or help or encourage Liam. Liam was very interested in the whole thing, enjoyed the examiner, paid attention and seemed to like the testing. He didn’t cry and only got fidgety a few times when it was taking a few minutes for the examiner to get the next testing toys out of the kit.
The good news is that Liam’s scores were only slightly below average except for fine motor skills where he is a little bit further behind. But nothing was so far below average that it triggered a serious concern and right now there's every reason to believe that he will catch up on his own just fine. They will see him again in December to make sure he's making good progress.
Liam also had his blood drawn to be tested for lead and a few other things, just in case, and his hearing tested. Liam SLEPT THROUGH HIS HEARING TEST. The baby who doesn't sleep was so tired by 3:15 and after the drama of his blood draw, once he got into the quiet hearing test room he just curled up in my arms and went sound to sleep and would not be wakened. They tested Liam’s hearing using a method called otoacoustic emissions, where they put a little thing in his ear and it made a tone and they measured the response of the little ear hairs that process sound and graph it on a computer. Liam's hearing seems to be great. When he goes back in December they’ll do the part of the hearing test that he can’t sleep through, but they’re really not worried about his hearing.
It would be nicer if Liam didn't need to be followed in this way, but on the whole it was a very reassuring visit.
Then, at the end I made the mistake of picking up a pamphlet on MRSA at Children's Hospital and read that immune suppressed people shouldn't come to the hospital because. . .well, you get the picture. Great. Will spent all day there will Liam and me. He is careful, but, still. I will discourage him from going back. And then when we got home Liam wouldn't sleep until almost 9:30 PM and then FELL OUT OF BED at 10:45 or so and spent a least an hour crying. And who can blame him. The bed goes onto the floor today to prevent future falls. Liam seems fine this morning. So, one thing after another. . ..