Monthly archive for September 2014

244 words about cookie dough, plus song lyrics

Sure, have a nap up there. I don’t see why not.

The other day, as Oliver took a nap perched precariously up on the bannister and then hung there playing with his own tail for a while, Mike asked me, “Do you think he’s just playful, or is he a little stupid?” I do not know the answer to that question, although to be honest I wonder that very thing about a lot of humans too. Something else I have often wondered is whether anyone ever actually gets the number of cookies a recipe claims it makes. (That is a terribly convoluted sentence but I can’t figure out how to make it better, so please bear with me.) I never, ever get anywhere close to that number, and I always assumed it was because of the little lumps of dough that keep detouring to my mouth, but this weekend I was making cookies for an event at our church and I used our usual recipe, which claims to make 5 dozen, but I doubled the recipe and still only got a little more than 6 dozen, and I was even very careful about not eating the dough! I wouldn’t even consider the cookies to be abnormally large, so I don’t understand what is happening here. Perhaps I need to make some more cookies. For research. You know, for science. (Another question for the ages: how did anyone ever get PAST the dough stage to the baking stage in the first place? Cookie dough is not improved by the baking process. It is far superior in its raw state.) (I also often wonder that about eggs. Who was the first person to crack open the shell and think, “Ooooh, yes, I know, this looks like something I should mix up with some milk and some salt and pepper and cook it in a hot pan and eat it with some toast!”)

I have a song on my iPhone that I keep there primarily because it is so terrible it makes me laugh merrily every time I hear it, and part of the reason it makes me laugh so much is every time I am struck anew with the realization that the lead singer of the band (and the song’s composer) is Leonard Cohen’s son. Which means that the guy who wrote these lyrics:

Without you, I’ve been standing ’round just like a statue, laying on the floor thinking about you
I talk to myself like the crazies do, otherwise I’m great, what about you? Yeah, what about you?

The weatherman says blue skies but it’s raining like the clouds all decided to cry
And every time you hurt me I say “it’s all right it’s all right it’s all right”

Without you, I’ve been standing ’round you like a statue
Laying on the couch all day like cats do
Waiting for the phone to ring, but it won’t ring

Shares DNA with the guy who wrote these lyrics:

Then she dances so graceful
and your heart’s hard and hateful
and she’s naked
but that’s just a tease
And you turn in disgust
from your hatred, from your love
And she comes to you light as the breeze

There’s blood on every bracelet
you can see it, you can taste it,
and it’s please baby
please baby please
And she says, drink deeply, pilgrim
but don’t forget there’s still a woman
beneath this
resplendent chemise

So I knelt there at the delta,
at the alpha and the omega,
I knelt there like one who believes
And like a blessing come from heaven
for something like a second
I was cured and my heart was at ease

(In case there was any doubt, the part that makes me chortle with glee is the line about lying around the house all day like cats do. That’s quite the metaphor for someone who claims to have been tutored in lyric-writing by a famous poet.)


Oliver Barrett IV, get down from there! This does not seem safe.

We have been in such a dinner rut lately, eating the same things over and over, until I had what turned out to be a brilliant idea: lend a cookbook to a friend who is more motivated in the kitchen than I am, and upon the return of said cookbook, cook the recipes she marked in the table of contents as worth making. One of the recipes that has made it into our regular rotation lately is a vegan sweet potato and black bean enchilada, which Ellie calls a “chinchillada”. That would definitely not be vegan. Those poor chinchillas.

It is possible our new cat is not the smartest. He spent about 20 minutes on Saturday morning folded in half over the bannister, playing with his own tail. However, he is currently curled up in the chair in my office, sound asleep, which is where Daisy would always hang out while I was working, so it is very nice to have the company. Today is my first day with both kids at the sitter’s! Thursday was supposed to be that day, but I had to go pick Ellie up at noon because she had a fever. Whatever virus it was (probably just a cold — for some reason her immunological response to any stray virus or bacteria cells in her body is to spike a high fever, regardless of whether it is entirely warranted or not) passed through the house on Friday and we’ve been feeling much better since, although when I dropped Zach off at his sitter’s this morning, she mentioned one of the other kids has a cold, which made me realize that in my gratitude and excitement over finding two lovely daycare providers who could accommodate my weird part-time childcare needs, I hadn’t realized that two daycares = two different sets of germs. Oh the humanity. At any rate, I have gotten so much done so far today I am feeling positively giddy! And it is so good for the introverts among us to occasionally spend a little while alone in a quiet house, even if quiet houses are prone to making one a little jumpy, especially if one has recently made the questionable choice of starting to watch Criminal Minds on Netflix.

This morning while getting gas, I was chatting with the guy who was pumping it (the only gas station in Wellesley is a full-service one, so I tend to sit and feel awkward while someone fills my gas tank, unless it is the dead of winter, in which case I feel 50% awkward and 50% happy and warm and relieved) and the topic of converstaion turned to the weather, as it is wont to do, and I said I was a little sad because I have a whole bunch of green tomatoes that I didn’t think were ever going to turn red due to the cold nights we’ve had recently, and he nodded solemnly and said he had heard from a lot of farmers that they were worried about paying their bills due to the short growing season this year. Er, yes, I suppose that is quite a bit more important than my green tomatoes.


Daisy with Ellie, circa 2012

Where did August go? It seems like just yesterday I was whining about the unceasingness of winter, and here we are in September again. I am wearing a cozy sweater, people, and am starting to think of soup! This morning it was even too cold for iced coffee. The passage of time is a wild and crazy thing, isn’t it? I do so love fall, tainted though it is by winter lurking around the edges. And Zach turns ONE in a couple of weeks, which is very strange to contemplate, given that I thought while pregnant that there would never come a time when I wasn’t nauseous all the time, and here we are! Almost a year nausea-free. And with a crawling, laughing, tooth-having, word-saying almost-toddler! He is a delight. I am inclined, slightly, to weep and mope a bit as the first birthday approaches, but I am also inclined to really enjoy this stage of babyhood, and this morning I dropped him off for his first day at a new sitter’s, which is a big milestone and no, I’m not crying, there’s just something in my eye. (My big boy! He didn’t object in the slightest when I left him.) He and Ellie will be going to the sitter’s two days a week, which means hopefully my days of working on the weekend are over for a while. Yesterday I spent the afternoon messing around in the kitchen rather than hunched over my laptop, which was a nice change of pace.

Part of the disappearance of August, I suppose, is due to the fact that it was a somewhat eventful month for us, and not in an overly pleasant way. Early in the month we lost Daisy to her kidney disease, which was not unexpected but was still heartbreaking. The house is very quiet now, and nobody greets us excitedly at the door, and we probably won’t have a dog again for a while because having a puppy plus a baby plus a three-year-old … well, that way madness lies for sure. So I am still feeling a little bereft. Ellie took things better than I expected she would, and has accepted that Daisy is in heaven and wants to talk about that a lot, but she tends to drop the letter “h” at the beginning of words, so it is a little bit like discussing the mysteries and complexities of life and death with the chimney sweep from Mary Poppins.

The following week I developed an abscessed tooth, and I won’t comment any further on that except to say that the tooth that had the abscess was a tooth that I had work done on several years ago by a dentist who specializes in patients with severe dental anxiety, and whose work I have had to have repaired several times since then, increasing significantly each time in cost and unpleasantness and panicky feelings. I say that not for head pats and hair strokings (although I will never turn those down) but to share for those in the audience who appreciate irony.

But! Things are now looking up. At the end of the month, we spent our yearly week volunteering at Camp Hermosa, which is both exhausting and exhilarating and also reminds me that most of the important relationships in my life come directly or indirectly through my association with camp, a simple fact that I will never not be grateful for. There’s Mike, obviously, and the kids, and the very good friends we see every year AT camp but unfortunately rarely elsewhere because you hug them goodbye and say we will see you soon but of course life happens in the meantime, but also there are people like my friend Bethany, who I consider a kindred spirit and who I met through doing some volunteering with the youth program at our church with my friend Chris, who I met through my camp friend Ian (who was in Footloose with Kevin Bacon).

Oliver Barrett IV says hello

Also we adopted a cat. His name is Oliver Barrett IV but we call him Ollie, or sometimes “New Cat”, as in “Oh geez, the new cat is up in the ceiling again!” or “Why did the new cat chew through the cord of the baby monitor?” or “Ellie, remember, you have to be GENTLE with the new cat; he probably doesn’t LIKE to be hugged so tight!” He is very sweet and we like him a lot, in spite of his cord chewing habit. Norton also likes him a lot and has ceased his incessant sad meowing, which is a very good thing indeed, both from a loneliness-reduction standpoint, and from a noise-reduction one. They hissed at each other once and have been peacefully coexisting ever since. The other day I actually caught them CUDDLING. The cuteness level was off the charts.

So that was our August. How was yours?