"Someday's gonna be a busy day..."

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Recipes for the vegetarian lurking in all of us....

Well, everyone except my Dad, that is. I'm pretty sure Mr. Feick, Hunter At Large, doesn't have a vegetarian bone in his 73 year old body.

It's been a while since I've posted a recipe or two on this blog, and a combo of having had a recent visit from my best vegetarian pal R and a read through Phil Bean's latest blog entry have reminded me that it's time.

I think I've mentioned that I'm a lapsed vegetarian; if it wasn't for the fact that a) bacon is so darned delicious, and b) I married a former dairy farmer, I think I could have progressed far into the lands of meatless bliss. But I haven't, and I likely won't. Yet I do love veggie recipes, and I've taken to subjecting my husband to one or two meatless meals a week. It goes something like this:

D: "Hey, this looks good. What is it?"
Me: "Oh, just some (mushroom) Spaghetti sauce/(bulgar) chili/ (black bean & yam) burritos/ (ricotta & spinach) casserole." (I omit all words in brackets and smile brightly.)
D: "Mmmm." (Takes a forkful, nearly gets it into his mouth. Stops. Inspects it as though he is an entomologist discovering a new bug.) "Heyyyyyy, waitaminute...where's the meat??!"

D is not a picky soul, bless his meat-loving heart, and he always eats what I cook with little complaint, despite a few jabs about Greenpeacers. I've even won him over to the dark side (e.g. where he says, in a shocked tone, "Wow Kim, this is really good stuff. I mean, I could eat a lot of this.") with a couple of recipes, which I'll now share with you. The only thing I ask in return is that you share a couple with me!

Chicky Salad
1 can chick peas, rinsed & drained
1 large tomato, chopped (or two big handfuls of grape tomatoes, halved)
1/4 cup minced sweet or red onion
1 cup fresh bocconcini mozzarella balls (I use the big ones and tear them up, but you can use mini ones and leave 'em whole)
a handful of fresh basil, torn
three good glugs of olive oil
juice from 1/2 lemon
salt & pepper

Mix it all together & let stand at room temp for 1/2 hour before serving. If you're going to refrigerate, add the tomatoes at the last minute. Refreshing, nutritious and easy.

Avocado and Egg Salad Toasties
1 large ripe avocado, peeled & chopped
4 hard boiled eggs, chopped
3 tbsp good mayonnaise
2 green onions, chopped (or chives, or regular onion)
1 tomato, chopped
squeeze of fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper
4 slices of your favourite bread

Mush the avocado, egg and mayo together. Season with salt and pepper. Add all other ingredients and mix well. Slather on toasted bread. Mmmmm...rich and delicious.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

High five, Dr. Ferber!

Finally: Mummy - 1, Jady - 0!

Well, I guess it's more of a win-win situation. Ye olde Ferber method worked LIKE A CHARM. Baby Jade cried violently for the first night only, and has slept like an angel ever since. Clever baby. Clever Mummy. Clever Dr. Ferber.

Nighty night!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Help me, Dr. Ferber...you're my only hope

Call me cruel, call me unfeeling, call me a bad bad mummy. We are Ferberizing this kid, and the process starts PRONTO.

I used to brag that I had the best little baby in the world, because up until a month ago, Jade usually went to bed around 9pm, got up once at 3am and then slept until 8am. "What a good baby!" people would exclaim when I proudly told them she only got up once. Yes, she was my good, smart, perfect child. Until she turned 5 months old, that is, and began to display a penchant for partying in the wee hours.

I don't mind getting up once a night to feed and change her, but 3 and 4 times gets to be a little much. I become Zombie Mummy, Jade becomes Miss Crankypants, and together we don't win any congeniality contests. Ferberization began to sound pretty good.

Ferberizing, for those of you not up to date on your kiddie psychobabble, is a method of sleep training where you let your baby cry in small increments, while reassuring her that you are still there, you still love her and it's okay for her to GO TO SLEEP. The trick is that you don't crack and pick her up. That's what she wants you to do. That's what she knows YOU want to do. So you have to fight every instinct in your body that is commanding you to go and seize your screaming child in your arms. Instead, you have to fight nature and let her "cry it out," as they say in Ferber parlance.

Several of my friends have used this method with great success. Several others, proponents of attachment parenting, think I am sick and cruel. My step-mom, who is a nurse, applauds Ferber, but I have a feeling that my mother-in-law is in the second camp, although - to her credit - she rarely offers advice. But you can tell a lot from the tone of a MIL's "Oh?" in response to your declaration that you plan to let her beloved granddaughter cry herself to sleep.

Our first attempt at the whole Ferber thing occurred last night. Jady Lady sleeps in a crib in our room (Daddy's idea) which makes the whole process even trickier. D is a big softie and I was hoping he'd sleep in the Blue room so as not to disturb my resolve, but he stayed put and admirably held fast to the rules. I fed Jade at 10:30, then again at 2:30, but when the fussing began at 4:45am, I said a silent prayer to Dr. Ferber and let her cry for the recommended 3 minutes before going over to give her a comforting pat. I went back to bed. The crying turned to screams of rage. D and I clung to each other; neither of us needed to say a word, but we were both thinking, "LET GO OF ME! I MUST GO AND PICK UP MY BABY! MY BABY NEEDS ME! LET GO OF ME!!!" We tightened our grip on each other.

At the 5 minute mark, I went and talked to Jade again. The screams turned to shrieks so loud my eardrums reverberated. Same thing at the 9 minute mark, and the 12 minute mark. But at the 15 minute mark, her shrieks subsided into angry hiccuping sobs, punctuated by the familiar "squish squish" sound of Jade sucking the heck out of her favourite two fingers (think Maggie Simpson's soother sound, but wetter). She was still ticked off, but had figured out that screaming wasn't going to help. And she slept through until 7am. Whoo hoo! Best of all, when I asked her this morning if she still liked Mummy, she gave me her signature gummy grin and squealed. Phew.

Tonight is Return to Ferber Mountain; let's hope it goes smoothly. If we crack now, baby Jade will know she rules the roost and that won't do us any favours now...or in 16 years!

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Worst. Haircut. Ever.

I don't consider myself an especially vain person, but c'mon - everyone has something about themselves that they just don't dig. I bet even Aishwarya Rai (purportedly the most beautiful woman in the world) wakes up some mornings and says, "Ugh, look at my perfect eyes. They are just too perfect."

For me, it's my hair. I can count on one hand the number of times I've been satisfied with the cut, style and/or colour. It's baby-fine. It's naturally mouse-coloured. It's limp. To combat these shortcomings, my signature style is two pigtails, which is cute and all, but probably not the best look for someone approaching the big four-oh.

Add the hormonally induced baldness, and I've got myself one annoying hairdo. So I did what any woman does when faced with the ego-slashing horror of bad hair: I made an appointment to get it cut.

My beloved stylist - the only guy who can make me like my hair for at least 24 hours - is in Waterloo. Waterloo may as well be 1000km away these days. Which caused me to act rather rashly, book an appointment with a stylist in the Kink that I didn't know - the first stylist available - and go without any clear idea of what I wanted her to do. Dumb, dumb and dumber.

When she asked the question that all stylists ask ("So what are we doing today?"), I shrugged, explained my issues and said those five fatal words: "Just do whatever you think." I should have known I was doomed when she chirped, "Oh, you're going to be a great client. I love how you don't care what I do with your hair!"

In all fairness, she was very sweet, and did hunt through a magazine for some ideas. She stopped at a photo of someone named Mandy Moore, who had a cute, scruffy little cut that looked easy to work with. Sure, I said. Go for it.

Half an hour later, I looked up from my gossip rag to see that I had been transmogrified from a sort of cute, kinda hip, still youngish pig-tail mum to a 1980's, no-nonsense Wal-mart mop-head Mom. With a capital M. Holy. Crap.

"What do you think?" asked perky stylist. I nodded and manufactured a smile that hurt my face. I told her it was very....nice. Inside, I was screaming "AUGH! AUGH! AUUGHHHHH!" (Which is Dunstan for HOLY CRAP HOLY CRAP MY HUSBAND WILL NEVER KISS ME AGAIN!!)

All of this is my own fault. I do not blame Miss Perky Stylist. I was desperate, I acted desperately and now I have to live with the desperate consequences: Worst Haircut Ever. Thankfully, said haircut will grow out eventually. Unless I snap and shave the rest of it off with D's beard trimmer.

And no, you can't see a picture of it!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Dunstan Dunce

My loving sister from Oz sent us a DVD when I was pregnant. It's called "Dunstan Baby Language," and promised to reveal the secrets of baby talk. I thought the idea was sweet; D snorted and rolled his eyes. Then we kind of forgot about it and at one point it became a coaster for Tanzi's beer during her summer visit. My sister from Oz kept asking me whether I'd watched the DVD and I would hem and haw and say, "Ooohhh, not yet, but next week for sure!"

Then came the business of giving birth and recuperating and learning to breastfeed and no sleep, and needless to say, Ms. Dunstan was completely forgotten. Until the screaming began, about the fourth week after Jady lady's arrival.

I was slumped on the couch, bleary-eyed, watching my gorgeous daughter turn purple with unexplained rage. She wasn't colicky, and she really didn't scream that much. But when she did - man, oh man, that kid could really holler. For a long time. Her screams made both me and D want to run and hide, which was not a helpful reaction.

It was then that I remembered the promises of the lovely, raven-haired Ms. Priscilla Dunstan of Australia. I lunged for the coffee table, shuffled through the stacks of assorted crap and fished out the magical DVD.

"Your baby speaks Dunstan," it said on the back. "Your baby is talking to you. Now you can understand." Tucking Jade under one arm, I peeled off the cellophane and popped the disc into the DVD player. "You will feel less stress as your baby becomes happier. You will feel like a successful parent," the insert promised. Eight years of research, remarkable story of an Aussie woman, universal language of babies, blah blah blah. I turned up the volume. My husband would likely laugh at me, and my brother-in-law would make that "you're crazy" hand motion when I told him, but I would do it. I would learn the whole freaking Dunstan lexicon if it would only stop the insanity.

As luck would have it, the lesson (and DVD) was short: Dunstan-ese only consisted of 5 words. Yeah. What are these groundbreaking words, you ask? NEH, HEH, EH, EAIRH, and of course OWH. Meaning hungry, uncomfortable, gassy, really gassy and tired. And ALL babies say these words. Yep, all of them, regardless of race, language, background etc. At least, that's what Missus Dunstan says.

Now, call me nutty, but I really did begin to hear Jade say "NEH" (which I came to interpret as HUNGRY RIGHT NOW MUMMY) and "EH" (which means OW OW OW THE GAS! I AM A WINDY BABY!) and this was extremely helpful, as I no longer tried to shove a boob in her mouth when she said "Eh" or put her to sleep when she said "Neh." As for the rest...well, perhaps I wasn't listening closely enough. I don't think I ever heard her say anything else on the DVD.

It's a neat idea, very nicely packaged, and Ms. Dunstan is mighty attractive. The thing that burns me about the whole Dunstan thing though, is that they don't tell you about the million other words babies say. Such as "WAAAAAHHHHH!", which I personally think has to be the most universal of all baby words. Or what about "AAAAIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEE?" Or even "ARRRGHGHGHGHGHGHGHGHHHH!" (Oh wait, that's what I say after a Jady screamfest.)

Anyways, I'm glad there wasn't an exam for Dunstanese, because I surely would have failed. I've taken the handy chart off my fridge, because I got tired of trying to explain and defend it, and frankly, Jady Lady and I are starting to come to vague understandings based on facial expressions. We'll figure each other out eventually, DVD or no DVD.

Now if they'd just make one on the universal language of husbands, I'd be set.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The White Poppy

So what are your thoughts on this: instead of wearing a red poppy, I'm toying with the idea of wearing a white one.

I thought it was a rather new-fangled idea, but apparently the white poppy has been around for quite awhile. Since 1933, according to the 'net; a women's guild in England started wearing them to symbolize their committment to peace. I like that.

I don't typically wear poppies of any colour for Remembrance Day. It just isn't my thing; I never wore an AIDS ribbon, or a Breast Cancer ribbon, or those little angels you sometimes see. I deeply appreciate the sacrifices made by so many not that long ago; heck, Grandpa Feick was a doctor in WWII. I just don't feel I need to wear a poppy to prove it. I don't usually care to attract attention to myself, but there's a wee little bit of the shit disturber in me (pardon my language) that likes the idea of wearing something that might invite conversation.

By wearing a white poppy, I'd run the risk of offending someone, somewhere. Which is not something I'm eager to do. But I am a fan of people talking about things, even in the grocery store line. I'm a fan of making conscious decisions instead of simply sticking a red poppy on my coat because that's what you're supposed to do this time of year. I don't want to disrespect those who "SUPPORT OUR TROOPS," anyone with family in the military or anyone who has lost someone to war; I just like the idea of wearing my peacenik proclivities on my sleeve, so to speak, and being willing to talk to anyone who asks me about it.