Thursday, January 31, 2008

A Word about Sleep

My daughter Baby J is less than a week short of 7 months old. She doesn't sleep. Well, of course she sleeps, but in no predictable pattern and never more than four or five hours at a time. For example, last night she did her impression of a snooze alarm: asleep for 4 hours, then 2, then 1, then 1 more. And that was a good night!

She also won't go back to sleep unless she's fed. I know all the books say that this is my fault for not being firmer with her, and they're probably right. But I have to look at my own short-term survival. If I feed her when she cries, she'll go back to sleep and so can I, even if it's only for a couple of hours. If I don't feed her, I either have to walk around with her until she settles again or try to ignore her crying. Neither of these has worked because she's amazingly stubborn and single-minded. I eventually give in and feed her, having not gotten any sleep in the meantime.

I've been trying to keep her awake during the day. She's also starting solids, so I'm feeding her that fairly late in the evening. Objectively, neither is really helping, but they do make me feel slightly more in control of the situation.

She gets this from me. I'm almost thirty and I don't actually sleep through the night either.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Speaking of whom...

Admiral Piett has a fan club! Sure, the page hasn't been updated since 2003, but at least it means I'm not the only crazy person out there.

What the Committee did instead of work this evening.

He found this video; he didn't make it. That was someone else. A very clever someone else.

(Bonus: my absolute favorite Star Wars character has a cameo.)

Adventures at the Polling Place

My polling place is the little community center in the park directly across the street from my front door. I love it. (It does tend to cause traffic problems, but my street is small enough, my community is small enough, and these things happen so infrequently that it's not really an issue.)

So yesterday was the Florida primary. My vote for a presidential candidate probably won't count but there was some important local stuff on the ballot. As usual, there were people with placards and fliers hanging out just beyond the no-politicking-beyond-this-point signs. (Those signs are recent and directly related to a local skirmish that I'll post about if I can Google up the names of the guilty.) No one approached us as Miss L* and I walked up to the building.

On the way out, however, was a different story. As we were making our way back home, a guy with small yellow cards practically ran over to get my attention. He handed me one and urged me to read the first paragraph, which read:

"The so-called Florida 'Marriage Protection Amendment' could take away benefits from all unmarried couples in Florida. This amendment won't just ban same-sex partnership recognition - all unmarried couples in Florida could lose the benefits they already have:"

(Then it went on to list the rights in question, such as hospital visitation and existing corporate domestic partner benefits.)

Now, in this matter I am the proverbial choir being preached at. (Hell, I'm all for skipping the civil union nonsense and calling it marriage.) But I was amused to be so specifically targeted by the person delivering this message, as it wouldn't technically impact me at all.

Then I realized that I was walking with a toddler and not wearing a wedding ring. So I suppose it wasn't a huge leap after all.

Oh, the two groups sponsoring the flier were Human Rights Campaign and Florida Red & Blue.

*my two-year-old

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

State of the Union

I only caught a few minutes of President Bush's State of the Union address last night. What exactly is "false populism"? From what I can gather, it sounds like democratically-elected leaders of Latin American countries doing things that we don't like.

(I really did mean to watch the whole thing. I feel like I'm not fulfilling my role as a citizen of this country if I'm not fully informed. Plus, I can't complain about things I'm not aware of. But the Committee* gets twitchy if he has to listen to the president for too long.)

*my husband and all the voices in his head

Monday, January 28, 2008

Must Be Nice

This morning, Trixie (the youngest and silliest of the household felines) was lying on her side in the middle of my bedroom floor, stretched out as far as she could possibly get. Her belly was about four inches away from the space heater. She was also curved at exactly the same degree as the oscillation of the heater.

I wanted to take a picture, but she moved long before I could dig up the camera.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Strawberry Pie

The 7-month strawberry season is one of the absolute best things about living in Florida. This afternoon, I bought my berries from an old guy with no teeth selling out of his van by the side of the road.

This was also my first attempt at homemade piecrust. I think it turned out quite well. The crust was a tad underdone (my oven and I don't have the greatest relationship and I get skittish when baking delicate things). It was also thin in spots, probably because I was using a 9-inch recipe in a 9.5-inch pie pan. But the end result was entirely respectable.

For the crust:
1.5 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
3-5 tbs cold water

Mix the flour and salt together, then cut in the shortening with a pastry blender. Add the water a tablespoon at a time until the dough holds together when pressed. Shape into a 1-inch thick disk. Roll out on a floured surface until 1/8-inch thick and about 2 inches wider in diameter than the mouth of the pie pan. Press into pie pan, trim and crimp the overhanging edges, prick all over with a fork, line with foil and fill with dry rice. (All my baking books talk about "pie weights" but I've not yet been able to prove the existence of any such thing.) Bake at 425 degrees for 4 minutes, remove the foil (and weighty material), and bake for another 8-12 minutes until dry and light brown. I think I baked mine for the full 10 minutes and it was still underdone, but I already mentioned my ongoing feud with the oven.

For the filling:
2 pints strawberries
3 tbs cornstarch
1 cup sugar
2 tbs lemon juice

Clean, hull, and halve the strawberries. Mash half of them and mix with the cornstarch, sugar, and lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened and translucent. (I took the "low heat" recommendation a little too seriously and my berries did absolutely nothing for about 20 minutes. Once I turned the heat up a bit it came along fine.) Let it cool a bit, then stir in the rest of the strawberries and pour into the baked crust.

For the topping:
1 cup whipping cream
2 tbs powdered sugar

Whip the cream and sugar together and spread over the pie. Refrigerate the finished pie when not serving.

Yay, pie!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Learning something new every day

This morning, I learned that "Ben," that doofy Michael Jackson song, was written for the sequel to a ridiculous evil-rats-take-over-the-world movie. In which Ben is the giant head rat.

I'm just not sure where this falls on the disturbing vs. hilarious spectrum.

(This came about when CNN used the movie "Willard" in reference to Mitt Romney's first name. They didn't use the name of the movie, just a clip or two and references to sociopaths and killer rats. I'd never heard of this and it took me far too long to find it on IMDb, especially considering the name of the damned thing is "Willard." For the record, my only association with the name is the second-banana in "Footloose.")

Cold now

It was in the 80s the day before yesterday. Last night, we had a three cat night (and it was bad enough that they were snuggling, rather than just occupying their own spaces on the bed). Stupid schizophrenic state.

Yes, I'm from Florida. We talk about the weather as if it were an actual topic.

Make it stop!

Apparently, yesterday Tyra Banks did the "Plastic Surgery Nightmares" show that all talk shows are required to do at least once. Oxygen keeps playing the ad for their midnight syndicated broadcast (which was two hours ago, so I'm not sure why I'm still being subjected to this).

Main story: "I had a breast reduction and my nipples fell off!"

Yikes. This is why I should put on a DVD when I can't sleep.

(Of course, without 2 a.m. ads I never would have discovered Jingle Jugs. Hilarious and active in breast cancer awareness! And far less scarring as a concept than the previously-mentioned.)

Because there's nothing else on.

Oxygen is playing Peggy Sue Got Married. Again. This is the third time I've had this on in the background in the middle of the night in the past two weeks. It's not a bad movie, but it is deeply unsettling to see Jim Carrey making out with the mom from Seventh Heaven.

(Speaking of the Oxygen Network, I really thought these "networks for women" were supposed to have empowering, forward-thinking programming. Or at least shows that I wouldn't be embarrassed by their very existence. Could someone please explain the socially-redeeming value of The Bad Girls Club?)

(Okay, now that I've actually looked at the link, I suppose it does have a decent premise. But the ads just make it look like incredibly trashy reality TV. And would an apostrophe kill them?)

Testing, testing...

Still trying to figure this thing out. (Sure, I tried having a blog about a year ago. I posted maybe three times and then forgot my password. Here's hoping this one works out a little better.)