Saturday, December 27, 2008

Speed Racer

Here are Shiloh and her cousin playing around at my parent-in-laws' house tonight:

Friday, December 26, 2008

Pizza Talk

I realize I run the danger now of becoming "Incessant Blogger" that I speak of in my October 2nd post. I've blogged 3 days now in a row, bam bam bam. What do I do with all of this extra time on my hands?! I blog, therefore I am.

Oregano Face is Michael's newly-earned nickname. I don't want to beat a proverbial dead horse here. (See the "You are my pants" post if you're genuinely confused.) However, I wish I could smear the smell on this post so you could have a whiff of this herbally goodness. Are you familiar with those high-end pizza restaurants which dish up gourmet pizzas and other Italiano food? Their pizzas come complete with a fresh herbal garden array on top, melting into the cheese and flavoring it immensely. Oregano hails from the European region, Mediterranean area and parts of Asia. Check this out: it is one of those herbs high in antioxidants and antimicrobes! Yes, 'tis true! And here's more detail about those antioxidants...the phenolic acids and flavonoids kicks out those free radicals, which is radical since they kill our cells and that is not good. So I want those outta me. And I'm just getting started on oregano. No, I'll quit with some sweet pics of oregano (in a field and in a pot, respectively.) Feel free to learn more at

It must run in the family, because not only Michael thinks Shiloh is an alien. This morning John Dad mentioned how "Shiloh's poop is different since she now enjoys human food." Once again, I must remind you all she is not in an alien, but a human form.

More on pizza. I grew up going to a pizza joint which, craftily described by my parents, was "the absolute funnest" pizza place EVER. Hands down, everyone. It still is (except this other one that I cannot recall the name of that went out of business when I was a child. My family did go to it a few times before it was lost to the world forever. They served all types of yummylicious food, and had a magnificent pipe organ adorned with multicolored lights that lit up when the organist played. We requested songs by writing them on pieces of paper and placing them on the organ's platform. If only it was around now...) Pizza King Station is the one I was describing a minute ago. Have you ever been to one, or heard of it?? A toy train whistles and chugs by the booth we sit in and brings our beverages. A gaming system and a television are also at each booth. Whoa, who does that? Pizza is great in and of itself; then adding such features makes my day, any day.

Shiloh is unable to process any dairy or egg protein. That equals no dairy and no eggs for her and for me, too. So, she hasn't had pizza technically, but she did have a bit of pepperoni and some zesty tomato sauce recently. I ordered a cheeseless pizza at Donato's when we had a family date there a few weeks ago. It was...interesting. But tasty.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Trophy Winners

So, I know it's Christmas Day and I should blog about Christmas-y stuff like family or "the reason for the season" (who is, btw, Jesus)...but I won't be too mushy. There are way too many quirky events that have happened as we've been "on holiday time" to be too serious. We are vacationing at my parents'-in-law's house in frigidly cold Michigan right now. Once we were on the road, I fell asleep in snow-less Indiana. As I dreamt, Mike saw a transformation on the road and endured an interstate blizzard once we crossed Michigan's state lines. Then we hit a driveway blizzard at my parents'-in-law's house. Suppose they weren't really blizzards, but to a lover of sun that I am, any snow is a welcome mat to flurry frenzy.

To the left of the computer that I am currently typing on (which is not in an icy basement, I am forever grateful) is a trophy of phenomenal proportions. Although the size of this is larger than some trophies, I actually am speaking to...Shiloh is perched on my front in a wrap, but she is right back.

As I was saying. Although the size of this is larger than some trophies, I actually am speaking to the award that my father-in-law received that warranted such a thing. His former workplace had a frolicking good time at a company picnic years ago, playing games like volleyball and a balloon toss. When the water balloon toss came around, well, I'll just say that John Dad was up to the challenge. He gave it all he had, and boy, did he! We was the NACQ Water Balloon Toss Winner! Unfortunately, he ripped up his rotator cuff throroughly and had to have a surgery to mend his shoulder afterwards. Yes, he is a passionate water ballooner, but his intense love of the sport wasn't what caused the injury. He already had a post-college softball trauma to the shoulder. The water ballooning simply finished him off. And now, he has this awesome trophy to share as he gears up for the next water balloon toss games (whenever that may be.)

There are two dudes on this trophy--Dude #1 is carrying a briefcase and is stepping forward as though he is about to embark for another riveting office cubicle day. Dude #2 is a Greek triathlete replica with the ancient sandals, toga and ivy head wreath in his hand. It is as though Briefcase Man is the modern-day god-like hero to the days-of-old Greek Olympiad.

And I have to share about the food. The slabs of cheese, sweet summer sausage, salads piled high with veggies and fancy shrimp bowl are all out in the garage. Mom Nola dubbed it "The Cold Room"--and that it is. There's no room in the fridge for all of the vittles, so in the garage it is. Oh, and it is perched on the hood of the Cadillac. Food is much better when it has been on the hood of a Cadillac. So I've heard.

Okay, just a wee bit of mushy stuff. This Christmas is the first year where I've had my own baby. I've been thinking about how much Mary (Jesus' mama) loved her child, and God, to take on the incredible responsibility she did. Birthing a baby in an animal's stall, under a terrorizing king's reign, after a painful journey to her husband-to-be's hometown...and also after being greeted with quite a bit of contempt from those who failed to understand Who she carried--was amazing for a mother to do. Lest I lift Mary up beyond a human admiration, I settle my gaze on Jesus. He loves so well, and so much, and so humbly. To have become a little babe when He is truly Creator God and Covenant God! Oh, how I love Him!

I hope you enjoy whatever you are doing on this day that I like to honor and celebrate Christ Jesus' birth and the God whom I serve and love. He deserves the world's biggest trophy for being the Best God Ever Winner.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Silly Stuff

Once, when Mike and I were on a family vacation--all 17 or so of us on my mom's side--in Florida, we were lounging around in our suite watching the TV a bit. (Although most of the time we were on the beach, after a while the sun started to go to our heads...just disclaimer-ing because I am not a huge television advocate. Moving on...) Saturday Night Live, or SNL for those with a penchant for such comedy, was on the tube and a particular skit that will live on for infamy in our household came on the screen. The spoof was a sort of romance/soap opera/lifelong tribute to couples who've been together forever, and I'll probably butcher the details, but here goes.

The bride and groom in the sketch were at the piano, singing a *terrible* version of a love song for each other. My understanding is that the scene at the piano was the present-day. Highly dramatic, pausing at all the right places, with grand flourishes of the hands and ridiculous facial expressions, they professed their perfect ardor for the other spouse of many years. Then, clips of them singing and performing together at various musical venues through the years ensued. Every time, the flashbacks showed them singing this same particular song. Might I enforce the fact that it was off-key and comprised of awfully dumb lyrics, too? So...I think you have the picture. Well, at some point the man reenacts meeting his wife, and this is somewhat how it went...

Man (singing in an off-tune vibratto with large hand gestures): All of my life...I was looking for felt like felt like I...
Woman (interjecting in an equally off-tune vibratto as she leans toward her husband): ...didn't have any pants!
Man (with an utter look of bliss and surprise): Yes! Like I didn't have any pants! (Singing again) But when I met you, (pointing toward his wife) all of that changed! When you walked in the room, you took my breath away...and then I walked my pants!
Together: You are my pants! You are my pants! Tralalala.........

Oh, it was the worst. And the best. Michael and I, strange humor that we share, thought it was hilarious!! Lately, the "you are my pants" phrase has reentered our home as we pass it back and forth freely to express our own undying love for one another.

Speaking of pants! One Valentine's Day, I purchased some way cool Pillsbury Dough Boy pants for my husband. He wears them all of the time. Sadly, I was backed up on the laundry (a laundrathon has been my life as of late) and so Hubby decided to wear these PDB pants 4 nights in a row. Yes, I did say FOUR NIGHTS IN A ROW!! Yuck!! I have to say, they were basically so fresh that they walked to the laundry hamper for him. After 2 nights, I couldn't take the madness anymore and told him that there were other clean lounge pants in the house for him. He wouldn't have it, though, and Shiloh and I had to endure the stench for another 2 nights. Poor Shiloh. She probably has no idea why the house smelled so badly for a few days, and it wasn't even her diaper this time!

I will not be adding a picture of the pants later because they are still in the dryer.

Michael also wears shirts with holes in the armpits OUT TO NICE PLACES. He's like, "No one will notice." Well, I do! I let him know it is quite an "armpity" (get it?) for him to don the outlandish clothing he does at times. However, he has been called a Pretty Boy before, which is a story that I must share!

Before I found out that I was pregnant with Shiloh, I was a member of an entertainment workforce. At its core, this company appealed to starstruck wannabes to burst onto the big screen or, even, the small screen. Well, I thought it would just be fun to join and could lead to potentially more long-term work that I would enjoy (like commercials, or other extra work.) I like people, I like movies, etc. etc. Well, this membership allowed me to exclusively receive info on when and where gigs would be, all over the United States, so that I could pick and choose my gigs.

The only one I ever did was a Jon McLaughlin music video shoot. I convinced Michael it would be fun and so off we went! We were instructed to dress in our "dance club" attire (which we don't EVER go to, so it was interesting to pick what to wear) and show up at a bar near downtown at a certain time. The music video clips we were going to film were supposed to be like we were at one of his concerts. It was a bear to find parking. Just kidding; we parked right in front of the place. Extras that we were, we waited in clusters outside the bar for Jon to show up so we could get started. Filling out paperwork and meeting starry-eyed extras gave us something to do. Tick, tock. Hours later, Jon showed up and we all got to work. Michael was chosen to go inside first, along with a few other "special" extras, so I waited outside even longer! We later found out that he was picked to go up front for the fake concert because "the director could tell he was a pretty boy." We lost it after we learned of this point of view! I had told him what to wear because he had not a clue! And plus, now you know of his sometimes eather silly other clothing choices! Oh, it was richly funny. What a night. We had to keep clapping and yelling and woo-hooing as Jon played the same part of the chorus over...and over...and over again. It was crazy!

Michael came downstairs a few minutes ago. He currently has a nose infection. Really, he's had it off and on for 4 years, but it's back again and he has finally decided to attack it. I bought him some oregano oil (learned something new) at a natural food and herbal shop, so he's been using that to kill it. I say, get that bad dude off your nose! And that stuff is potent. With every word he spoke to me when he was downstairs here it was like he was breathing oregano fire in my face. Whoo.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Snoopy & Spoons

I went to college to become a teacher. My current pupils and their recent lessons:
*Pearl the dog: no barking at the mailman (she's having a hard time with this one)
*Shiloh: crawl, you can!
*Mike: dirty dishes go into the dishwasher (or, yes, the dog can lick them instead)
*Me: stale popcorn is not for consumption, even if it is free sea salt popcorn

In recent news, our mailbox keeled over and died about 6 weeks ago. Seriously, one day it was, you know, being a mailbox, and the next, it was giving the bushes a high-five. After 6 weeks of looking at it and saying, "We should do something about that" we finally decided to do something about it and called our landlord. He came to the rescue within a few days' time and now! Our mailbox is in a sturdy square of quick-dry cement, and so proud it stands! Our mailman will be tickled that he won't have to reach his entire arm and shoulder into the box just to retrieve our outgoing mail. Speaking of our mailman, last Christmas, he gave us a Snoopy Christmas card. How kind! (I am not jesting here.) Mailmen/women don't have a USPS chief-in-command telling them to give their routes Christmas cards. And our mailman added such a personal touch by thinking of little old us. Hmm. I've never sent out Christmas cards. Well, maybe in high school. But never as the matriarch of my own"family" have I done what some households in America do. I've thought about creating a Christmas website where folks could visit to read up on our antics, but then if somebody stumbled upon it that I didn't know, that would be weird. So, no Christmas website. And no Christmas cards, either.

When my parents-in-law first came into town to spend time with my side of the family for Thanksgiving, they were surprised. Not mildly surprised--an "I need personal space because you're up in my face" type of surprised. Why, you ask? My grandmother chose her fine china and real silver silverware for the day's festive occasion. Lovely creamy linens were on the table. We ate a grandiose meal of roasted turkey, marshmallowy sweet potatoes, crunchy green beans, cornucopia rolls and melted butter, and the like. None of these caused the uproar. It was after the meal that we proceeded to carry on a favorite family tradition...let the picture speak my words...
Yes, friends, that is a spoon. I hope you know that I do all of my own stunts. (That is my mother-in-law in the background laughing.) Back to my story. So, my family all grabs their spoons and *huff*huff* breathes their warm breath onto each of their shiny spoons, and away we go! The entire table is caught up in this Nola Mom joins in...then John Dad! What fun! Every formal dinner should end in such a manner.

Shiloh makes me laugh, uproariously, every single day. Without fail. Here are some reasons why:

She is such a gem. I am very, very thankful that I get to stay at home with her.

Guess that's all I've got.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Alien Poop

I just added a bunch of pics to my older posts. I hardly have time to blog, so adding pictures is a treat! Enjoy!

I am feeling especially giggly right now. You could say just about anything to me, and I would giggle. My daughter just began this new expression where she shrugs her shoulders Like one of those mini cupcakes with a hint of frosting on top. But cuter.

Martha is one of the most beautiful women I have ever met. I haven't seen her in about 5 years or so, but I think about her and pray for her still. She did (or might now) work as a cleaning lady for the college I attended. She was quite the cleaner. Always perky, singing a tune, smiling at me as she scrubbed when I came into the bathroom to use the bathroom or shower or pop a pimple (yes, sigh, even in college.) Well, Martha and I became good chums. I eventually made a point to search her out. Sometimes she was vaccuuming, or wiping down our suite's full-size mirrow with Windex, her latex gloves squeaking against the glass. Wherever or whatever, once I found her, she stopped cleaning and we would catch up. We had such fun talking.

One week, another lady was cleaning the bathroom. No Martha in sight. I asked the woman where Martha was, and she said that Martha's husband was in the hospital. I was devastated. Martha came back to work eventually. When I found her the day she returned, she was crying as she worked. I instantly said, "Oh, Martha, I heard about your husband! How is he?" She wrapped her arms around me and sobbed, "Oh! He died a few days ago!" We gripped each other like baby koalas on their mommies and cried together. I wasn't married at the time, but I could only imagine how hard it would be to come back to work in order to pay the bills after such a time. She had lost her best friend, her confidante, the father of her kids, her provider. Martha wasn't one to give up on God, even when she had suffered losing her hubby. She told me she knew God loved her and would help her through this time. My heart soaked up her words like a thirsty beachfront.

I moved to a different dorm after a while and lost touch with Martha. I cannot forget her face, nor her love for God, nor her friendship. What beauty.

Back to my baby. I feel a bit obsessed with chatting about her nose. You see, she loves to eat our noses. And below, an action shot...
I guess it's only fair I talk about hers a little. She always gets crazy large boogers after she has been doing that scrunchy-whistley thing I mentioned earlier. That must be because she sucks up so much dirt and other lovely items when she does it. Honestly, her boogers can rival just about any adult's.

I'll close with a conversation Mike and I had the other day...
Mike: "Whoa, she just filled up her entire diaper with poop. It was like as much as a human's."
Me: "A human's? She is a human!"
Me: "So it's like alien poop?"
Mike: "Uh...yeah. I meant an adult."

(Btw, he is extremely intelligent, just silly.)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Heart My Husband

If autumn could speak, it would say the word "crispy" over and over again. Can't you hear it now? I hear crispy in cherry pie crusts. Crispy tiptoes through an apple orchard, dropping ripe apples off the limbs until arms and mouths are heavy with jewels. It wreaks crunchy havoc through piles of tartly colored leaves. But now that December-time has come, I don't feel right talking about autumn. I may be the only person who creates this attitude of December=the winter season. Well aware that the official beginning of winter is the 21st-22nd (what does the dash mean? Does winter begin during the dash at 11:59 of the 21st, or during the dash at midnight on the 22nd? Deep ponderings...), I pause to point attentions to the fact that December still feels wintery. Even saying the name of the month aloud blows a mini snowstorm into the room with my breath. Brrr. Better bundle up.

My husband and I keep a fake fireplace in our bedroom. I know, I know. Poke fun all you will (I did until one was purchased for us last year), but it keeps our room very toasty. At night, down goes the thermostat and on goes our little fireplace. The artificial flames have an ambience all their own and have even been known to mesmerize our baby. It is actually a heater which blasts warmth from a small grate-like opening at the bottom. However, there is a door that opens and a few plastic logs with a sprinkle of red glitter on them to denote glowing ashes. Oh yes, a perfect combination for a cool winter's eve. Off come my socks and then my phalanges enjoy a tanning bed until my skin reaches a near-melt factor. Now you're jealous. And a moment ago you were teasing me about owning such a thing. Tsk, tsk.

When Michael and I were newly married, I thought it would be funny to buy him a gag gift of pencils. These pencils are not pencils that you buy for elementary school kids, unless you want the teacher to take them away from your child because he was distracting the other students from learning. Have you ever given or received a particularly hilarious gag gift? This time around, I gave him a set of pencils from the movie The Incredibles. Picture plastic heads on wooden sticks with lead in them. Both have masks to hide their "true identities." Mr. Incredible has a smile--grimace is closer to the truth--on his face with a shock of slicked-back yellow hair. And Syndrome has the sweetest sky-high orange hair I've seen since Carrot Top. My husband loved them. He laughed out loud with that head-thrown-back kind of laugh and said, "Sweet!" However, he has yet to partake in their bountiful writing properties (I would like to say because they have such a special place in his heart, although it's probably not true.) They smirk at me from his pencil holder while I type on this old computer in the freezing basement.

Anniversaries are fun to celebrate, especially when there's no money involved. Creativity is key in these adventures. For our first anniversary, we went to Mackinaw Island in Michigan, the land of horses and fudge. We lodged at a beautiful old mansion in the woods and breakfasted on delicious piping hot meals prepared for the guests at the inn. We rode our bikes along the dusty streets of the island. We took a swim in Lake Huron (I think it was that lake) at dusk while bats made nosedives for my head as they shrieked (that was the last time I'll EVER do that. They only aimed for me, too, which was even weirder.) And we each ate fudge. A. Lot. Of. Fudge. It was good. We spent a fortune on that trip and decided that our first anniversary spent the money for years 2, 3, 4, and 5 as well. year to celebrate the day we were wed, we drove just past the Canadian border into Windsor, grabbed some McDonald's fries to tell people we had bought something in Canada, and took pictures of our foreign soil fest. On the way home, I accidentally got in the semi truck only lane and we had to explain THAT one to customs...My favorite story has to be this past anniversary, in which we had a layover in Charlotte coming back from a wedding in Texas. We stayed at a place called a Microtel (how quaint), then dined at a buffet restaurant next door. Amid mushy peas, Shake 'n Bake chicken and the all-you-can-eat buffet lighting, we re-professed our undying love to one another as we giggled incessantly.

When I was pregnant, he would fetch this or that for me so that I wouldn't have to waddle around. He may have served me because he was tired of hearing me grunt and groan as I did something as simple as pour a glass of water, but I think it was because he loves me (wink.) He encourages me to be beautiful in who I am as a woman. He confronts me in love when I hurt him. He respects me, believes in me, and prays for me. He is a real man, one who is tenderly strong, and strongly tender. He is a leader of many. I admire him. He is my closest friend and I love him with an intensity even more than our fireplace can muster.

Thank you, Michael. I love you, too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Baby Girl

I have yet to share about my little one. She is my beautiful daughter, now past her 6 month birthday; the time has gone by so fast that I am truly bewildered. Ushering in half a year was a fanfare at our household, as she cut her first tooth, said "dada", and ate her first solid food (chocolate pudding) on this day of note. (Btw, never feed your baby chocolate pudding at bedtime, even when it's a special occasion. You may be nodding your head, "of course, I'd never do that," so then you're one up on me. Baby was up for hours after this pudding incident, and I only gave her one bite.)

Living in a home that has limited moving about space has its disadvantages. For instance, brushing my teeth in our itty-bitty bathroom at the same time as my husband is a choreographed dance full of elbows and near bruises, ending in a polite "excuse me" for the 111th time. Or tripping over the open dishwasher has me sadly limping about with sore shins. And the dog...underfoot doesn't even begin to describe her clinginess. But for all the rough points, I love the fact that when I gave birth at home close to 6 months ago, it was in a setting where close quarters was a blessing. We were all in this together...we couldn't help it. Every labor pain rocked the floorboards. I gave birth in a birthing tub, described by some as a huge Whirlpool with heating qualities and ample room. Michael caught her as she entered the world, and after she was passed on to my arms, she gripped my necklace like a gymnast on the high bars. I have never felt more alive than immediately after I birthed my baby. A swirling cocktail of hormones and heightened happiness had me soaring and singing. I sensed a commonality with many birthing mothers of bringing new life to fruition to be the sweetest and best I have ever thus done.

Papa and Baby...notice open mouth
Her voice can bring me to tears, laughter, or a smile. Her smile reminds me of innocent rest. Her cry grabs my heart as I respond with equal fervor. Her touch draws me to her closer still, a whisper of fingers as she searches for me as she sleeps so she knows she's not alone. She is my precious daughter, a bundle of wiggles and softness. Recently, she spoke the name all daddies long to hear--"dada"--and Michael melted into a pool of Proud Papa. (Might I add that her first word was "mama" at 4.5 months. For the record.) When I was pregnant with her, I prayed to God to know how to pray for her (she's His child first, after all.) He spoke to pray peace over her as well as for her to be passionate and expressive. She is most assuredly brimming full of all three! Conversations will be a daily trumpeting call in this family. She's in good company. My mother reminded me a few days ago of my "Word Lists." Apparently, I love words with such an intensity that I created lists of my favorite ones. Words like "whimsical" and "dazzling" are just too good to use just anytime. I think my daughter will create words lists, too. Maybe it'll even be a mother/daughter Friday night adventure. You know I'm kidding.

Today, we played a game of chase with the dog and read a book. We raked leaves together as she took in the air and slept in the back carrier. She jumped in her Johnny Jump-up (what a super investment!) while I made chili for dinner, chewed on her bead toy (the one that is in every doctor's office), and went to the fabric store with a friend and me. "Camel" was a hit today, like every day. My cheeks erupt in a smile now as I remember her on Quackles, a sunshine-yellow rolling duck that is large enough to sit and wheel around on. He has made it through one generation (mine) and is now on round two. A bit maimed but none the worse, Quackles has provided Baby with great entertainment and a new workout for Mama. Daddy Time was sprinkled throughout the day as he kissed and tickled and danced with Baby. She and Daddy took a nap while I washed dishes, caught up on e-mail, bills, and phone calls, and sipped on tea. I also nursed her aplenty, changed her diapers, and dressed her (twice.) And people ask me what I do all day long at home with her. What don't I do?

Baby on Beloved Quackles!
(Notice her "puppy toes"--puppy slippers we always put on her toes to keep them from getting caught up in the little plastic tires)

Had to mention that I make up songs for her about anything, like how getting in the car seat is so much fun, or the tiered musical trio I have for nursing time. Sometimes, she tries to sing after me. Have you ever heard a baby trying to sing? She is precious.

Today, as I have before and will again, I whispered a few truths I hope she always remembers. As she fought sleep, I gently responded with "I love you, and I delight in you." What a gift to be a mama.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Teeccino & Me

If you ever visit my home, I will offer you an array of beverages (depending on what we have on hand.) From Brita Pitcher-filtered water to iced tea, or the Coke Zero my parents-in-law left in the fridge from their last stay with us, I will hurriedly name these all--but I will be disappointed and almost impervious if I have to stop there. I will extend the invitation for you to consume one of the various teas and coffees in our collection. But then...I will also give you the opportunity to choose teeccino. Once the word leaves my lips, I will lean forward (undoubtedly invading your personal space) as I anticipate you agreeing that teeccino would be the best for you today. Even if you choose another, I will still secretly hope you want teeccino later. Yes, it is that good.

Ah...teeccino. A declivity into teeccino brings me face-to-face with a smooth molasses color, nutty and fruity on all accounts as I swish it around so my taste buds can soak in a long, warm bath. What a satisfying beverage. Thinking about the drink causes a stint of horripilation, making me thankful that when I woke up, I began the day well by turning on the "coffee" pot and brewing some teeccino. I think it will be ready in about 2 minutes. Then, I'll scoot upstairs to greet the early morning light once more as I pour my Pier 1 ceramic mug full of my favorite hot beverage.

It's ready! The first tiny sip is all I've had, since the temperature is still frighteningly high. My hands were momentarily cupped around the sides of my mug to bring some blood flow back into my fingers as I sit in this old basement. Alas, I had to release my grip in order to type. Almond milk completes my morning cup...just a little to calm down the warmth and provide a creamy swirl, like an ice cream cone of rich chocolate with a tad of vanilla to lighten the wealth.

(This isn't teeccino, but it is pretty good latte art, don't you think?)

I didn't grow the teeccino beans in my backyard. And they aren't even beans. The ingredients in teeccino are as diverse as there are different types of vegetarians. Starting off with roasted carob and barley, adding some chicory root, then enjoying the fruitful addition of sweet dates, nutty almonds, and crunchy figs is the base of teeccino. By finishing it off with amaretto flavoring, then combining it with the process of a drip coffee maker or French press, into a container of choice deliciously flows my preferred coffee substitute blend, Almond Amaretto Teeccino! Even before that happens, the drink has to come from somewhere. That somewhere is the Mediterranean. The area obviously has many quality goods to offer the world: a sparkling sea surrounded by a creative mixture of stone and earth, sumptuous food choices, people of various backgrounds and creeds. Teeccino's fine ingredients originated in the Mediterranean and the process used to brew the grounds is akin to the area. Absolutely incredible. Good for my soul and for my body. And yours, too.

Here's how: the lack of caffeine is undoubtedly high on my list, at least in comparison to why it's a good substitute for coffee (and at times, tea, too), because of my experiences in college of a painful addiction to coffee which drew me close to a sugary caffeinated pit. I think it is very similar to coffee in taste. Although Michael says he likes teeccino, he doesn't believe it tastes like coffee. However, I have a responsibility to mention that he is a full-out coffee snob. (He even describes himself as so.) Naturally full of non-stimulating ingredients, teeccino actually has energy-related nutrients. Just like Cheerios professes, teeccino is healthy for the heart in its inclusion of potassium and soluble fiber. Inulin in chicory root moves along things in the digestive end (pun intended) and creates an easier time for things to be absorbed that should be. And another amazing benefit is that it will not simply help bring bodily balance but will restore alkalinity, thus making you a much happier person.

I have included a link to the website at the bottom of this post so you can do more research (and online ordering!) if you are inclined. There is much more that I didn't discuss that you could find interesting, including the Top Reasons to be Caffeine-Free and the Caffeine Addiction Quiz (below the main link.) Did you know there are recipes that include teeccino? That is a new one for me. Be sure to check out the teeccino merch before you become overly distracted.

Sip on, my friend.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Horton Hears a Whodini

For those of you unfamiliar with the life and antics of Harry Houdini, he was a Hungarian-born magician who became famous in his role as an escapologist (yes, it really is a word.) After researching a bit about him online, my opinion is that he was a tad creepy, too. For instance, anyone who voluntarily wraps himself in a straitjacket and hangs suspended high above New York City has some serious kooky going on. And the movie Horton Hears a Who, which somewhat recently came out in theaters, is a stellar piece of cartoon cinemagic. I have been partial to kids' movies ever since I can remember. Though you may disagree with the intelligence level of such a film, the creators are quite witty in their use of humor and conversation. Clever to combine the two in this post's title. Michael came up with it. I digress.

Houdini performed his stunts before stunned, paying crowds. Why do I write about Houdini? Well, my friends, my baby and my dog are both escape artists (although they are not like him in the creepiness factor.) They do not receive payment for escape feats. They do not perform before amazed and disbelieving people, hushed in anticipation of the miracle they are about to witness. They do not pack out tents with paparazzi and media gurus. But they are escape artists, nonetheless.

I will begin with my Houbaby. She is much cooler than my dog, but my dog is pretty cool too. Every night--and sometimes for nap times during the day--Mike and I swaddle our baby because this is how she feels secure. You know, that whole womb-like deal. My husband calls it her straitjacket, which I hate, and in that case she would have something else in common with Houdini. Every night--and yes, sometimes for nap times during the day--she decides she is through with being swaddled and inches her little baby arm up and out of the swaddler until...wham! One arm free! Then, she twists and wiggles and grunts until...wham! Other arm free! This is all very entertaining. I must admit, however, it's a little less endearing when this is happening at, say, 3:13 a.m., since then I receive the honor of waking up to a firm slap in the face. (In case you are confused, we bedshare. Yes, it's safe. Yes, we researched. Yes, we are aware of the dangers. No, she doesn't sleep better on her own. And yes, we do have our "alone time" and get enough sleep. I'll be taking more questions afterward.) By the way, the swaddler packaging claims that once my baby is swaddled, there is no possible way that he/she can wiggle out. They obviously haven't met my little girl. What strikes me as funny is the look on her face when she busts free--she looks so proud to have foiled the SwaddleMe company as an infant. Here she is in all her swaddling glory:

Now, my dog's tale is completely different. She does her best to give me a headache. Houdoggie is a rescued dog to begin with, a Spitz/Corgi canine I found a few years ago. At one time, she was sadly mistreated, but now, we provide her with optimal snuggles and food. Her little doggie heart is on the mend, evidenced by her happier demeanor. I don't know if it's her background, one of her breeds or just her personality, but she has a knack for discovering holes in our fence and then leaving our premises through those same holes. Sneakily--I've even caught her looking over her shoulder to check if I'm watching--she slides through one of those holes, no matter how many times we've fixed it--"for good this time", Michael always says. Whenever I think it's safe to let her in the backyard all on her own, she pulls a fast one on me. I've found her in neighbors' yards, scaring squirrels out of their minds as she passionately barks. I've found her in the back alley, sniffing rocks. I've found her romping next to another dog. I've found her racing around our yard and woofing at me as though I was the one who escaped! Most embarrassing is when the neighbors find her for me, since she was trespassing on their property (and probably peeing on their rosebushes, too.) Did I mention that she lifts her leg like a dog of the male persuasion? And that she likes to perch on the back of couches like a cat? She is one confused little doggie. Identity issues don't stop her from mastering the escape act, though. Here is Pearl's (our dog) best side. Of course, she uses Baby's lambskin as her own personal sleeping cushion (I wish I could share a pic of her escaping, but I haven't been able to catch her in the act on camera...yet. Duh-duh-duh.)

Hou of you have similar stories to share? I'd love to hear. As for me, I'm ready to go to sleep. Ready for another night of Houbaby freedom fighting and tomorow, Houdoggie departures.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I am officially hennaed

Okay, so no new posts for a month? As a friend of a friend's little boy says it, "That's just part of life." First, our laptop went on the blitz from a nasty virus, and the other computer is tucked away in the drafty, cobwebby basement. Not conducive quarters for my baby to hang out in as I type. Then, there's the everyday tasks of making meals, laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning up after a husband and baby, personal hygiene, sleeping...and this list, of course, is not exhaustive. I also am easily distracted from household tasks to play with Shiloh and get together with friends. Finally, we went out of town for a few days and arrived back home at 1:30 a.m. today. Yawn. (So if this isn't totally coherent, I have a strong excuse, er, reason.)

Enough of that; I have fun to share! I hennaed my hair (pronounced "henna-ed" for those unfamiliar with the plant) a few weeks ago and what a process it was! My hair is naturally blonde, but with time and aging hair shafts, that color is fading into what I like to call a "special" color of dishwater blonde. It looks blonde at the ends when it grows out, but the roots (actually more than just the roots, most of the trunk) stay brownish. This is special because it looks like a bad dye job. But I am the foremost authority on my hair, and I have never, yes, NEVER, dyed it prior to now. Talk about the worst of both worlds! I am shunned by the posey mods who have perfectly coiffed hair because my ROOTS are SHOWING! But then, the au naturel community that I am partial to would be miffed that I am not a true granola girl if my golden locks were fake. Oh, the travesty.

What is going on with the companies that use before-and-after pictures in their advertisements? These are truly an anomaly to the way ads should be. The basic premise is full of ridiculosity. Come now, the person in the "before" picture doesn't even look like the one in the "after" picture! They haven't pulled the wool over my eyes. Also, it is unfortunate how sad the "before" person is. I want to give a bear hug to that person and say, "Chin up, Charlie." And the "after" person is so excited I think he or she must have won the Lottery! Surely the product being advertised isn't that superb. Besides the misleading natures and emotional baggage of these ads, I also am not akin to the way they tout the importance of image: "Buy this or do this, and you'll look like this!" Hogwash.

On to the henna concoction itself. Did you ever make mud pies as a child? Mixing body-art quality henna is like making a quaggy mud pie, except it carries the distinct smell of earth in a way I never knew possible. Pungent, yet nectary. I like it. I added cassia to it in order to make it more blonde, which didn't work, but it still looked cool. My mix was 25g henna, 200g cassia, lots of lemon juice, and some delicious Orange Peach Mango juice from Trader Joe's. Adding OPM juice almost tempted me to eat some of the mix. Almost.

While I fed the baby, Mike mixed up the stuff with gloves until it had a mashed potatoes consistency. I let it sit for a day plus some extra at room temperature so that it could be at the perfect absorbency level for my hair. I gathered old, raggedy towels around my feet and one on my shoulders, poured more lemon juice on the henna mix until it was like yogurt, and went to work. Here is the mix right before I put it on my hair:

(Btw, my baby, who is exclusively breastfed, creates a similar brew in her diaper. I'm sure you wanted to picture that.)

As I gooped the stuff in my hair, I felt this ethereal connection with the ancients, who undoubtedly used this earth goodness to dye their own hair naturally. Gloves were in place on my hands, but I am serious, it was so thick I felt like I should wash my hands off afterwards. It took a good 30 minutes to completely cover my head well. And I looked like a Ken Doll look-alike when it was all on. Then, I grabbed the plastic wrap and sealed it all in for about 2-3 hours.

A hot shower washed it all out, and that was it! I was hennaed! Afterwards, (especially along my hair line) I had a quite rubicund complexion, as my skin is sensitive to about any product, natural or not.

That, my friends, is my first experience with henna. I fervently encourage you to order some henna and try it out yourself. As the Reading Rainbow guy says it, "But don't take my word for it!"

Here's a pic of Shiloh and me soon after I hennaed (the hat covers some of my hair, but I think you can still see the redness.)

Thursday, October 2, 2008


I used to be a Non-Blogger. Without a doubt, I was opposed to even a hint of the idea. Now I had no problem with others blogging, but for me it was this inane realm of Dr. Suess-caliber writing (certainly he was a great children's storyteller, but couldn't you see him blogging?) What was the need for a giant online gushing? When friends or strangers mentioned their blogs and then prepared to ask me about mine, I became shifty as a fox about to raid the chicken pen as I concocted ways to evade the Big Question.

And then it happened. I became a blogger. As of today.

Bloggers are a breed all their own. Obsessive blogger is a creator of energetic bursts of prose, frantic that he'll disappoint his friends if he doesn't blog by noon. Worldwide Traveler blogger lives somewhere outside her followers' sphere and maintains a blog out of necessity of contact with loved ones and supporters. Handmade Wares blogger advertises her exploits in particular crafts. Business blogger is a company-paid exec eager to impress his cohorts and rivals alike. And Furious blogger rants about the rising gas prices, his burned breakfast at the restaurant this morning, the jump in gas prices, the severed donnybrook with his job, and at times a post or two about the influx of expensive gasoline (again.)

And of course, that only covers a few. The truth is, though, that this world is replete with people ready to share their stories with that world. So, what type of blogger am I? I am a Neo-Blogger, which I will define as a new kind of blogger that doesn't blog for any reason except one: the love of the written word. Said differently--I can't not write. It's in me to write. Words grip me and move me and then mess with me. Words are constantly flying through my head ready to land on paper or word processor, in song or poem or prose, like a thirsty honeybee to a sweet flower. In this postmodern age, I resist change for change's sake. I do not blog to be inside the loop (although I am loopy) nor to be technologically savvy. However, to share my words with the virtual world and, virtually the the words of Gimli in the Lord of the Rings (which I can be absolutely neurotic about), ay, I can do that.

So world, here you are.

(Disclaimer: Information presented on this blog is considered public information, unless otherwise noted. Any references made to persons, alive or dead, is completely intentional. If you are or have been or will be a blogger of the various sort that is parodied above, please do not be offended...I was only kidding. At least a little bit kidding...)