Sick Day

12 December 2012

Life recently has been a flurry of activities that have enticed me away from the old blog. Family in town. End of semester stuff. Now I have a stack of papers to grade that is taunting me right back into blogging. Lucky. You.

Jacob's sister was in town last week, and she was toting our goddaughter, Emma.


Now that she's gone, every morning Jake wakes up saying "uhmma? shh. shh." We let him out of his crib to go look for "Uhmma" and he comes back with his toy hammer. It's all very twisted.

Today, Jake is sick. It was supposed to be a grading day. He was going to my friend's house, and I was going to have a glorious toddler-free afternoon of productivity, but instead I spent the day holding a sniveling 18 month old with the most pitiful little cough. We watched Diego and The Aristocats. (I'm a firm believer in letting sick kids watch TV. I think it's healthy. ) He used to last about five minutes in front of the TV before the greener pastures of mayhem enticed him away, but he's begun to learn the couch potato art.

Jake couch

He's a natural. And the kitchen will be cleaner for it.
I let him eat three bananas because he asked nicely - "Nana! Mo?! Peez?" - even though we usually try to keep the quotidian intake to two. He threw several fits because I wouldn't let him turn the TV ("butt" - ??) on and off over and over again. We went to Trader Joe's and Jake said "hi" to - approximately - no one, and refused the stickers the check-out employee offered him. Little charmer.

I let him take a super long bath while I sat on the floor, sifted through blogs on my phone, and drank box wine. No pooping in the bath. Thankfully. After he went to bed, I did manage to fold some laundry while watching mediocre television.


Oh look, there's candid me with my pixelated nostrils, trendy watch, and coffee, wishing you were here.

I suppose I will dive into grading tomorrow.

Jacob had another infamous birthday on Friday 12/7. I probably should have some tribute post. But, instead, here is a picture:


Honey, I love you. I hope you're reading this on your new iPad Mini and thinking about how royally spoiled you are and about how you should refill my wine glass. But seriously, I love you. And can you go deal with the fact that it's raining and I don't want our kitchen to be a lake in the morning? But seriously...

Thanksgiving Honey Harvest

23 November 2012

Wednesday we did some honey harvesting. Jacob was off of work, and the day was crisp and fall-ish, and the baby was napping. Everything was perfect, so I holed myself in a corner with a blanket over my head while Jacob tackled the first of his two hives.

The last time we tried to harvest honey, I was haunted by one of the bees for three days. My father - who caught the beekeeping fever from Jacob - explained that this bee was a guard bee, and once you've gotten a guard bee riled up there's nothing to do but sting or be stung. He thought it was unusual that the bee hung around for so many days, but after Jacob killed her, I wasn't bothered by a single other bee. So I know it was the same bee, and I know she had it out for me.

I'm still a little scarred. I mean - let's not be overdramatic - I have two beehives so close to my front door that I could spit on them, and I'm cool with that. I just don't love them like I used to. I no longer feel like they're our pets. I leave them alone; they leave me alone.

When Jacob told me he was harvesting Wednesday, I closed every window in the house and completely refused to help. We wouldn't be having any incidents like last time...or that was the plan...until Jacob needed to bring the comb inside. Anyway. Long story short. We opened the door. He passed in the comb. A bee buzzed in with it, and seconds later the bee was in my hair and I was jumping around the house and whipping my hair like a mad woman. I was helpless because Jacob was stuck outside with bees still crawling all over his hood. He really wasn't too concerned though: he'd been stung about eight times by then and figured I could handle it myself. And I did. Necessity mothered some invention in the way of a no-special-tools-needed bee trap for longhaired people, and I feel pretty brilliant about it. Check it:


That's right. There's a bee in there. Bees go for your eyes, so a couple hair whips will snag them in your tresses, and then all you have to do is twist. Bee. Trapped. And dead. Jacob fished it out after he took the photo. Not a believer?? Take two:


This was taken this morning when we came back in the house after running errands because, no, they hadn't settled down 48 hours later, and, yes, they hate me.

See how much calmer I am in the second photo? That's because my Hair Twist Bee Trap is awesome. With the way things have been going, I'm sure I'll have a chance to test it out a few more times. Jacob is very amused by how the bees seem to target me. He told me today: "Maybe they're jealous...I mean, I'm kind of like their pimp and you're like my main squeeze..."



Anyhow. The end of our story is a sweet one.



Yes, those are dead bees collecting on the table; and, no, the fact that the straining comb looks like a hefty bosom is not lost on us - we just embrace it, and let the jokes abound.

What I Wore to Thanksgiving Dinner

IMG_0754Well, Grace, you pretty pleased me right out of the closet, so now the whole internet gets to see what I ate turkey in yesterday. 

Pictured while standing on the coffee table in front of the map-wall and looking at my toes.  

Outfit details:

Shirt: Anthro ages ago

Belt: Gifted thrift

Jeans: Ross last year

Jacket: Thrifted in college

Shoes: Iceland (the country)
Necklace: Gift from my dad and brothers a few years ago and and I've hardly taken it off since. Designed by a dear friend, and you can find it on sale here.

Now go eat your leftovers and click around to see the other Turkey Outfits.


14 November 2012

Tuesdays are the days where I play working mom. 

I wake up at a leisurely 7:30 or so, and lie in bed with Jacob while the JakeRamsay toddler destroys the living room.

We get up, drink tea lattes, and Jacob makes french toast. We try vainly to keep Mr. Mannerless from throwing food on the floor. Sit on the porch and talk about the bees and the squash in the garden. 

At 9:45, Jacob trips off to work because that's how offices in LA roll. It's about this time that I remember that I have to teach and I have exactly 1 hour and 45 minutes to get myself and the greasy little boy packed up and out the door. Then life looks like this:

Scramble together some lunch and (sometimes even) dinner for myself. 

Trick Jake into barricading himself in the pack'n'play.


Shower in peace. 

Coconut oil to the face. 
Coconut oil/Baking Soda/Cornstarch blend to the armpits. (You know it!)

Streak past toddler in pack'n'play

Stare at closet trying to find the magic overlap where shirt-without-holes overlaps with outfit-I-haven't-taught-in-this-semester.

Curse because I never go shopping.
Curse because imprisoned toddler is now - rightfully - throwing a fit. Extricate toddler.

Return to bedroom and land the perfect outfit where professional meets academic meets young enough meets old enough meets you-will-be-safe-when-you-sit-on-your-desk-in-front-of-your-students...meets quit dreaming and put your stupid clothes on so Jake will stop pulling off your underwear and we can all get on with our lives.

Shovel toddler into high chair - again - to force lunch down his throat before he goes to my friend's house.

Fumble through my primping ritual because I'm woefully untrained.
Food in Jake's mouth.
Food in Jake's mouth.
Consider styling my hair.
Food in Jake's mouth. 
Forget about styling my hair. 

Pack the baby's bag and my bag and my lunch. Clothe and shoe the baby. Rapidly pick up the house so it won't look like a warzone when Papa gets home tonight. Sling three bags over my shoulder. Free Jake because he's climbed back into the pack'n'play. Secure him at my hip, and begin the 43 step trek up to the street.


Huff. Huff. Huff. Quads. Quads. Quads. Arrive at the street level. Hair clinging to neck. Toddler clinging to hair. Bag straps gouging into collar bones. Pray that none of the neighbors are out to watch me rock the beast of burden in heels look.

Leave 15 minutes late. Turn on Spanish talk radio and reach back to periodically pinch toddler to keep him awake.

Arrive at friend/babysitter's. Carefully place the note I've written to the Beverly Hills Parking Enforcement on the dashboard since I'm not permitted to park on the street (and tickets run a whopping 93$ do I know this...) 

Take Jake up to my friend's apartment as he repeats "Hi Joe Joe." "Hi Joe Joe." over and over. Deposit him on my friend's floor - with Joe Joe. Get an aggressive hand-wave and a loud emphatic "BYE!" as he runs off to fresher and greener toys. (So much for healthy attachment...)

Arrive at school and luckily score a parking spot near the elevators. (This is one of my charisms.) 

Trot to my office and find students waiting at my door. Meet with students. 


Prep. Photocopy. Update Spreadsheets. Answer e-mails. Eat some food.

Walk to class with Wendy. Vent about students.  

Class starts at 4:30. Stupid questions. Bland discussion. Sleepy faces. Mediocre workshop groups.

Eat dinner in between classes at 7:00. Call home to here my child bid me goodnight: "Nynyma" - and then immediately ask to nurse - "Nu?"

Teach second class. Joke around with them because I like these kids more. Meet with student at the break. Meet with student after class. 

10pm begins the long eerie walk across campus in the dark. 

Come home to my lanky husband and some leftovers. Click around the internet. Check next week's grocery deals at Sprouts. 

Borrow Jacob's toothbrush because mine is still in Texas.


One Jakeboy and Three Uncles Texaning it Up

12 November 2012

We returned late yesterday from our four day jaunt. Going back home is always such a whirlwind. The time zone change makes for late nights and groggy mornings. My mom always has some type of new coffee gadget - this time it was a milk-frother - which helps those groggy mornings. There are so many people to see and conversations to be had, and I always feel like I'm being cut in half when I leave.  

It was a great age to take Jake because he speaks "ball" and so do my brothers. So here at least is the uncle time of our trip.


Basketball is certainly the fave, but he's pretty indiscriminate. 

On the inside looking out at a pingpong game.


A little trip to my Alma Mater's football game found us under the Friday Night Lights. Jake stood at the sidelines and leaned so far forward with his mouth hanging open, he almost fell over. He got some action on the field after the game.
jake football FNL

So let this be the jock portion of the trip updates, and I'll soon gleefully post the girlier one. Signing off with three pics of three different uncles and the same toddler three times.
I know. I know. Shamelessly photo-heavy. Perhaps I'll have more words for you when the semester is over in four weeks - but I'll probably have an equally lame excuse for lack of energy by then, so don't count on it.  

Off to the TX

07 November 2012

 West LA was a chilly gray this morning which added some lovely spice to my chai. I sipped on it sporadically while running after a toddler and making breakfast and packing for our trip to Texas this evening.

Fall is a very reflective season as the cold begins to chill your bones, and since California only gives me winks of sub 75 I have to embrace those moments and wax poetical. So here I sit. Baby napping. House Cleaned. Packed for our Trip this Afternoon. Say what?!? That's right, girlies and Jake's uncles, this mama's got her shiznit in a row this morning. I've been a little inspired because I've got Texas on my horizon.

We're headed to see my folks in Fburg in a few hours. An old friend is getting married, and the fam's having a mini reunion that will have to substitute for the holidays. I'm so excited. I get to meet this man and this lady.

I get to go for a jog on my old road with my dad and maybe some of these fools.


All except for pink shirt who's still slummin it Italian style. But I'm trying not to think about that. Instead, I'm thinking about this.

tx road

The rustic beauty and big skies of the homeland.

Classroom and Baby's Room

01 November 2012

 From The Classroom
I have been in a grading hole for the past two weeks. Which means I've been grading student work, sending frantic text messages to Jacob begging him to come home early, and Googling things like "unsupervised activities for toddlers." Productivity be mine.

I realize I only go to work once a week, and thus I should lemonade my lemons or something, but this semester is DOING. ME. IN.

I complain about teaching incessantly, but it has it's moments. And since I've finished my mountain of grading, I'm inclined to share some with you because they've afforded me some gems this semester. Though nothing quite as good as last semester.

One of my students recently asked me if I'd been to "teacher school."

One of them wrote about "conventions" but consistently misspelled it as "convections."

Still another went to a "recession" for her friend's quinceanera.

Then there was this classic: "My coach came over because he could tell that my well-being was bothered...but I kept optimistic thoughts filtering throughout my mind."

Perhaps one needs to have been steeped in grading for days upon days for the above to amusing, but I thought I'd share them just the same.

From the Baby's Room
In babyland we've been welcoming in the new season with a doozy of a cold and feeling mostly like this.
And mom is getting to RUIN JAKE'S LIFE!!!!!! every fifteen minutes when she tries to tackle snot river. He is living with a constant film of crusted boogers on his face because I can't stay on top of all the runniness, and once it's dried over....because as far as he's concerned getting his mug cleaned is nothing short of being waterboarded...and I'm a softie.

Other than that I've been letting him have free reign of destruction so I have time for schoolwork.


And we still throw tantrums whenever mom attempts a photo shoot.


I bet you thought when I gave you a real update you'd get something, I don't know...interesting? unusual? Pumpkin patch? Halloween Costume? Sorry. 

But in other and VERY good news, my friend Jessie has finally crossed the bridge from stalker to blogger, and I couldn't be happier about it. So you should definitely click on over.

Don't forget to keep optimistic thoughts filtering throughout your minds! And Happy Hallow's to all of you!

Just For You

26 October 2012

chat with jacob

 Such is the man I married.

[And, Gmail is in Italian...I'm pretentious like that.]

7 Quick Takes

05 October 2012

I'm gleefully ignoring the queue of student papers that need feedback in favor of generating some of my own words. So off to the quicks with Jen we go.
- 1 -
What oh what shall I acquaint you with? The Gparents Ramsay were in town last weekend and it was marvelous. It was lovely and relaxing and lovely and relaxing. 


My folks do a lot of traveling to visit their various and distant beloveds, so they made it very clear that they had no expectations of elaborate schedules and merely wanted to be with their grandson. So that is what we did. We ate and drank and watched toddler antics all weekend. Seeing my son through their eyes made me realize how quickly he's growing and how little time I spend just...watching him.

- 2 -
Now that they are gone I have returned to the land of list-making and doing everything I can to get Jake interested in some game/toy/project long enough for me to feel productive. Productivity is kind of like a plague.
- 3 -
Jacob hosted a poker night with his Hollywood boys last night. They drank port and smoked cigars and argued about big and little blinds and talked about "their" (i.e. their bosses') movies. "We've got the rights to that book." "Congrats on Looper, dude." "We just signed Jake Gylenhaal." - How glamorous it all sounds, right?

I'd trade it all for a real yard and some chickens.

- 4 -
On both of those notes, now that Season 2 of The Walking Dead is on Netflix, we've been watching ourselves some wonderful post-apocalyptic (my fav and a half!) TV recently. Revolution gets a big fat lame-o in my book, but I'm probably gonna give it a few more episodes. 

Jacob and I have determined that we would kinda rock it sans electricity. We'd make a stand here in So Cal for a little while before we felt brave enough to tackle the desert and hike to Texas. However, Jacob says he couldn't choose that lifestyle if it were a choice - he wouldn't find value in merely forgoing electricity in order to embrace a more back to the earth existence. I see his point even with all my off-the-grid proclivities. But he's the one who made me look away from the ultra-sound screen so we could be "surprised" just like in the olden days, so I think that makes him rather inconsistent, and he should probably make up for it by getting me some chickens.
- 5 -
I'm thinking about doing a sugar detox now that the lovely Mrs. Patton is rocking the 21 day challenge. Don't tell Jacob it was Grace's idea because I've almost sold him on it and I think he'll balk if I'm doing it to "be like Grace." He thinks my long time dependence on the old CP is unhealthy. But you know what I say to that? There are plenty of others just like me.

- 6 -
My dad and I ran the Catholic Exchange Virtual 5K last weekend - my first and last run of the month of September. We clocked in at a tepid 26:56. Perhaps it would've been more impressive if I weren't half dead and dry heaving for a solid five minutes afterwards. Dad was positively chipper throughout the whole ordeal.


It didn't quite have the fanfare of other 5Ks I've run: sorely lacking in the sponsored snacks department. But I was accosted by a naked toddler upon my return and that was most definitely a first.

- 7 -
Last but not least I suppose I shall tell you about...


Oh yes!! Homemade soda!!! My kefir water is the awesomest of the awesome, and I feel like a crunchy diva. The flavor you are about to witness is Probiotic Peach Vanilla. See it to believe it.

(Be warned: If you follow the above link, know that you'll most certainly run into a video of Jake's newest trick: putting two words together while completely naked.) 

- 7.5 -
And just to clarify.

My toddler does - on occasion - wear clothes.


24 September 2012

I've decided - as my lesson plan appears to be done for tomorrow and I'm moderately organized and my kitchen is clean and my baby is sleeping - to give you all a long overdue update on the offspring and all that he is up to because...well I hardly EVER talk about him and he does SO many just seemed right.

Jake's words:
"bah" - Ball
"bah bah" - Papa
"bah bye duh"- Bye
 "mmmama" - Mama
"hiiiiiiiey" - Hi
"da da" - Bathtime
"da da" - All done
"tchoo" - Shoe
"go" - Go
"go go"  - anything that moves when you push it
"na na" - night night
"na na" - banana
"NO" (pause) "NO" - you said this the last time I was doing this thing

Jake has become royally obsessed with "tchoos"/shoes recently. He's been insisting on wearing a pair that is two sizes too big and adds some serious duck to his waddle.

Yesterday when he woke up from his nap he called for me, and I - being the stellar mother that I am - promptly checked on him five minutes later. But he'd found solace elsewhere.
Beyond eating shoes in his sleep, he likes to play with water on the porch while half-naked.


I'm interested to know how people parented before there were hoses.

Now you're updated. (But if you're not satisfied, you can go here to see how brilliant my baby is at playing Hide and Seek.)

Abu Visits and Jake Watches Sharks on Uncle John's Computer

19 September 2012

Hello hello hello hello hello hello.

I'm venturing out from underneath my rock on this lovely afternoon (still in my PJs, but that's why I like you people so much).
Not much has been going down in our tinier than tiny corner of SoCal besides me doing my best not to be overwhelmed by school. I'm only teaching one day a week this semester which I thought would be WAY easier than two days a week, but it's not, it's nuts. I spend the days before gearing up for my massive Tuesday of interaction with 18 year olds, then I spend the days after wandering around my house doing nothing but making To Do lists with my child bumbling around my ankles. After I've amassed all the admirable tasks I can think of, it is time to teach again. And so the cycle continues.

More notably, Jacob's mother visited last week. 

It was a jolly good time. She had Jake doing things like this:


In her best Montessorial efforts to keep him from doing things like this:


But Siri and he eventually melted her hippy heart. 


Other than that, the word on the streets is: babies. My Facebook feed is completely awash with pink and squishy newborns (and that's saying a lot...because my Facebook has its fair share on the regular.) 

Two of those little bundles belong to a couple dear friends from childhood.

Go feast your eyes on this little adventurer here. And satisfy your birth-story-hungry ears.

The other new mom *gasp* doesn't blog?!?! Join me now in an unprecedented effort to cheer her into the bloggy world: BLOG! BRYNN! BLOG! BRYNN! BLOG! BRYNN!

Yes. Brynn. That's her name. And her new baby's name is Piper Joy. And they have a dog that's bigger than both mama and baby put together named Waffles. Now you can go back up three lines and chant with a little more forza.

That is all, as I must away and tend to Mr. Afternoon Nap Refusal. Ta ta.


30 August 2012

Sorry I went dark again. School started back on Tuesday, and I'm still recovering from how productive I've had to be the last two weeks. And I'm lethargic because it's HOT. Going back to school is supposed to be tinged with autumn and pumpkin spiced stuff. Sweaters get me in school mode, but right now sweaters make me want to gag. Between the heat and the fact that Jacob's working late tonight, I was ready to put Jake and myself down for the night at about 3.

Actually, I'm considering making Jake live in his crib until he develops more coordination.

Because the nightmare of all nightmarish milestones is upon us: Jake has learned to climb.

Whenever he encounters a new largish object, he immediately lifts his leg and tries to get a foothold on it. This has all but ruined my life both because I'm always having to get him down from things and because I'm sure he's going to learn how to climb his way out of the porchplaypen and plummet to his death. 

Today I was fussing with our dinky washing machine because I thought I'd broken it, when I heard the Jake-just-fell-off-something thud. But there was no crying baby, just a sick silence. I called Jake's name. Nothing. I ran out onto the porch and looked over the ledge. No baby. I ran into the bedroom. No baby. I turned back into the living room - the very room I'd just run back and forth through three times - and there he was perched happily on the back corner of the couch. My scurrying and screaming was quite the show apparently because he started cracking up. 

The sound I heard was just the little monster lifting the banjo that hangs behind the couch and slamming it against the wall. Brilliant.  

So I cuddled him on the couch, stroking his wispy hair while I settled down my racing heart and thought about how dear he was to me...for about 2 minutes, before I went back and started fussing with the washing machine again and he returned to his climbing expeditions. 

So that's my dud of a story. It's all I can muster right now. 

Well...after that things got real and baby started dancing on the table. And I recorded him because that's how we roll.

In the good news tent because I'm already feeling a little better about life than I was, oh,  three lines ago:

My washing machine is fine. (Tying up loose ends. It's essential for good storytelling.)

My sourdough is bubbling away, and I've become a sourdough pancake maestra. Tomorrow I shall try my hand again at some bread. My first loaf was a Fail McFail and my second was perhaps a C-. So...only the finest in my kitchen.


Go make coconut milk with Farrah because it doesn't get any cooler than that.

Or go visit Lara and make yourself at home in her beautiful blog while you wait patiently for her to post about her new little bundle because that's what I'll be doing. 

Pick Up Ball

23 August 2012

Jake wasn't racking up any points in the independent play department today, so I went off in search of something "new" for him to play with. At this point in time, my husband and I have managed to maintain our elitism about what "kinds" of "toys" our child plays with. Our house is not overrun with plastic monstrosities. How have we achieved this brilliant feat??

Short answer: We only have one kid, and he's only had one Christmas.

Longer answer: Who needs toys when you've got a crafty genius like me for a mother? All of you lucky readers get to read about how today, I donned my DIY hat and rigged us up a basketball hoop.



 Supplies: Cardboard Box and Belt

Instructions: Tie it onto something.

And then have yourself (in the pretty-much-only words of my son) a "ball ball ball."

Based on my experience today, the game will quickly devolve after you bring out the camera.


So...fair warning.

Happy Balling.

I'm Back

22 August 2012

So I've been having one of those weird "Why do I even blog?" weeks. 

Honesty time??

I've been in a funk generally. Money gets tight in August in the Rhodes Casa because Mama doesn't get paid in the summertime. I start school next week which is good because of the $$ involved, but I love summer, and I don't want it to be over, and it just got hot in So Cal. And I like heat in the summer.

I had a dear friend from come visit over the weekend. We had a lovely time, but now that she's gone she made the Texas shaped hole in my heart even bigger than normal.

My little sister is abroad for the semester, and the fact that she isn't a text message away is driving me bonkers.

End of summer has me suffering from a general decline in hygiene. My fingers and toes and leg hair and head hair are all in dire need of attention. Jacob is gone at a networking event this evening which deprives me of any hope of even showering today. 

I've been trying to break the cycle. I did laundry yesterday; I took my laptop into the apple store for a doctoring; and I made a decent dinner. So...mildly productive. But all it takes is some mediocre muffins and a dud loaf of sourdough this morning, and I'm right back where I started. 

So no. I haven't felt like blogging. Writing always forces me to have some perspective on life, and I've preferred to remain in my grumpy corner counting grievances.

And then Grace goes and shares her little secret, and I got all sappy and sentimental about this blogland and readers coming in droves out of their stalker caves to share in her excitement. I remembered that I love being a part of it. I love celebrating with you all.

That's it. No pictures. 

Ok. Just one. (I even busted out the real camera for you because I'm feeling so inspired.)


7 Quick Takes

10 August 2012

- 1 -
My sourdough starter arrived in the mail this week and has been doing some mildly enthusiastic bubbling over the past two days. The amount of excitement/anxiety I'm feeling over this is certainly unhealthy. I've read the instruction page probably 9 times. Thoughts of it WAKE me UP at night. Not even kidding. When the baby woke up at 3:30 this morning for a little 5 minutes of fussing, I had to talk myself out of getting out bed (not to check on baby, no siree) to see if my sourdough was proofing (you see how down with the lingo I've become?)

- 2 -
This morning there were indeed some bubbles in my starter. And being the Overeager Olivia that I am, I decided to make some less than mediocre sourdough biscuits. The biscuits are another sacrifice to the gods of please save my marriage while I learn to cook Real Food.

They were terrible. We're talking rocks.  

- 3 -
Speaking of marriage, Jacob and I watched Romantics Anonymous last night via the Netflix. It was tres bien, and I recommend it if you feel a hankering for a fun French flick. BUT unless you parle frances, you'll have to read the subtitles and thus you actually have to watch it. You won't be able to fold clothes or crochet or do any other mindless activities during the viewing.  

- 4 -
So quid pro quo, friends, I need some Netflix/Hulu mediocre TV to watch so I can finish embroidering a pillow case. I'm fresh out. Recommendations?? (No Sci Fi please, I take it too seriously. I prefer teen mysteries a la ABC Family or the equivalent.)

- 5 -
I'm washing diapers right now - which I do two mornings a week - and despite how easy I made it seem. It's actually quite tedious in my apartment size front loading washing machine with WAY low water settings. If I actually want to get the soap out of the diapers, I have to manually add water to each rinse cycle through the soap dispenser. Thankfully in the wonky afterthought backhouse where we live, the washing machine nook is right next to our shower, and the shower head is on a hose. Sometimes I try to balance the shower head on the soap dispenser which always ends with wet bathroom walls. 

So instead I just stand there forever holding the stupid shower head spraying water into the washing machine.

[Note my careful smartphone fotografia: I managed to debut my enviable hairdo while simultaneously avoiding armpit exposure. You're welcome.]

- 6 -
Someday I'm sure when I have more than uno caballerito and I've all but given up on cloth diapering, I will look back on this era and glare at my former self for wasting so much valuable nap time. But the current Kate has managed to feel pretty good about herself, because she knows that it's either diaperwatering or blogsurfing, and I already do too much of the latter.

- 7 - 
Multilingualism of this post brought to you service of my Tejano upbringing and

Happy Weekend! And go see The Jen for the rest and the better of the quick takes!

Back to the Summer Grind

09 August 2012

Now that the bee is dead. Papa Jacob has returned to a workplace free of freak out texts from his wife. And Jake and I have returned to our riveting pre-bee-catastrophe routine.

On the porch.

Like so.

Jake Summer

Neighbor's dog
Tennis ball thoroughly dog-slobbered
Empty laundry basket
Hose nozzle
Mother (optional)

Mix them all together and you have Jake's Idea of a Rockin Good Time

Bee Saga IV.2

07 August 2012

I awoke this morning excited that the bees might have settled down enough that the baby and I could venture onto the porch. But, alas, within five minutes of making noise in the kitchen the bee was buzzing outside the window again. Un-be-lievable.

So I called to Jacob who came groggily out of the bedroom. I told him she was back, and I insisted that he kill her immediately.

"I think I'm going to kill her in just my boxers." He said. "For the thrill of it."

By the time he came over to the window, she was gone, and he asked if I was the only one who'd ever seen her... So I spent the rest of breakfast indignantly convincing him that she existed. 

After Jake went down for a nap, we finished our tea on the porch waiting for the attack. The minutes ticked by and the little swarmer didn't show up. The time for Jacob to leave for work was fast approaching (Hollywood hours = 10am start time). He was making polite conversation and enjoying the fact that my eyes darted suspiciously toward anything that moved. I got plenty of lip ("That's a fly, Katie, and that's a bird...") But this bee hated me. And I knew she would come. And she did. 

She flew straight at me. 

Jacob was swatting at her with a dishtowel, and I was running in circles around him convinced she was trying to crawl into my ears. He grabbed my arm and smashed the dishtowel against my head. "I've got her."

Voila. The little dead diva. 

You can even see her stinger coming out...the little *%#*

And did I get any sympathy from my loving husband despite having just been attacked? Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Instead he raised his eyebrows, glanced at my new uniform (matted ponytail and yesterday's almost-running attire) and said, "Well, they emit a sort of pheromone when they die which attracts other bees....So you might want to take a shower."

The best news of the event - which Jacob was sure to point out before leaving for work: the infamous AHB only attack in herds. Never alone.

So we've merely domesticated regular old European Honey Bees with personal vendettas.

Bee Saga IV: Why is AHB a problem?

06 August 2012

Yesterday Jacob decided to harvest some honey. I thought this was a lovely idea. It was a lovely day. Honey is lovely.

He came back half an hour later sans honey. He informed me that they were building their comb "weird." He said they were extra aggressive, and that he'd been stung three times through his cowhide gloves. (He reported this as if he were proud of the little buzzers for achieving such a feat.)

These bees have been generally more aggressive than our last hive. After Jacob pokes around in either of the hives, it usually takes them a day or two before the bees completely settle back down. If we go outside on these volatile days it's not unusual to get chased by a rogue scout. So I wouldn't have thought much of this affair except that I later found this tab open on my laptop:

What is AHB you ask?  AHB is apparently the nice way of saying AFRICANIZED Honey Bee...which is the nice way of saying KILLER BEE.

I've never been stung, so as far as I know I'm deathly allergic. And we have a fourteen month old. And he's never been stung, so he's probably deathly allergic too. And Jacob's researching whether or not they're KILLER BEES???? 


Where in Los Angeles County can AHB be found? Thirty feet from my front door. 

All day today one of them has been buzzing outside our windows. The whole front of our apartment is windows, so it's easy to see her.  Wherever we are, she buzzes outside the corresponding window. She's terrorizing us. It's like she's our pet dog that's gone rabid or something. I decided I should probably go kill her since she'd obviously figured us out and the last thing I needed was for her to go back, do her little wing dance, and tell all her sisters where we live.

Let me just interrupt to say: I'm not a scaredy cat when it comes to these things. At all. Remember this post. I thought that picture was funny. On the spectrum of typical female fear of rodents, bugs, and creepy crawlers, I definitely fall under "butch."

So out I went, armed with the cliche magazine ready to end her life. As soon as I got close to her she abandoned her post by the window and hurled herself right at me. I swatted the air a couple times, and then my mission devolved into a tribalish freak out dance as I jetted back inside and slammed the door. Inside my dance continued as I swung my hair around and shrieked, convinced that the bee was stuck in my ponytail. Jake was giggling in his highchair, apparently finding my derangement delightful.

Now that my heart rate has gone down, I can safely say I'm mortified. A royal basket case. I e-mailed Jacob and said I'm not letting him in the house unless he makes me an offering of that bee's carcass.


Worst of all, baby and I are 100% housebound. Jake can't play on the porch at all, and it's making both of us crazy. Even the balance-the-ball-on-the-yoga-mat game can only last so long.

If you want to read more about our beekeeping adventures (from back when we were all friends) you can go here or here or here.

Otherwise I hope you have a happy Monday that is free of vengeful stinging insects.

7 Quick Takes Friday Morning

03 August 2012

 - 1 -
Jake in an act of heretofore unprecedented generosity slept until 7:45 this morning.

Indeed he was the last one in bed because:

 - 2 -
Jacob and I have been trying to stick to a (not that) heroic wake time of 7am. When we face and conquer the heroic wake time, we get to refer to one another as heroes for the rest of the morning.

 - 3 -
Jacob is fixing his bike right now, so he can start riding it to work. He just asked through the window if I would get the air pump from the closet, the largish closet in our tinyish apartment which smells like a mixture of mold and ammonia with a dash of industrial strength cleaner. And I got it for him. Because I'm a hero. 

 - 4 -
He is using the old pump now and it sounds remarkably like a woman in labor. Raspy inhale, guttural exhale. Weird. Weird weird.

 - 5 -
I'm wearing a neglected shirt this morning. I've been on a laundry strike because it's summer and the machine's been glitchy and, well, it's summer. This neglected shirt has a very wide neck which falls scandalously off one shoulder if I'm not paying attention. Anyhow, I caught a glimpse of myself just now and thought with my blousey shirt and my high ponytail, I resembled something from an old John Hughes movie.

Well. Ok. Not nearly that cool. And can you say haircut time? It's only been _ _ months since my last visit to any type of hair professional. (Lily, my dear little sister, I do love you. But you don't count. And you're in London where you can drink legally, so no one is feeling sorry for you.) and (Pretty effective blackout curtains we got going on in the corner there, huh?)

 - 6 -
Jacob just came in from the porch after finishing his bike tune up. He took one look at me lying on my stomach on the bed typing this and said: "Ah. Mothering. It's tireless, thankless work."

 - 7 -
So now I must go embrace my vocation...who is currently clawing at my ankles.
And you have me to thank for the superior photography exhibited today.

Happy Friday! And go see Jen for more Quick Takes!

Back from Teethingville and Looking for Answers

02 August 2012

I'm emerging from the darkness of Jake's nightmare of a teething week to ask for parenting advice.

Last week Jake's teeth made his life and my life hell. His first eight teeth came in without too much fuss, and so I thought we were in the Teething Not So Bad Camp. A little drool. A fussy night or two. Boom. Teeth.

But last week..last week...we had the fever, the rashes, the sleepless nights, the fire-hydrant saliva left in puddles all over the house. I kid you not. I literally slipped Mario Kart-banana-peel-style on one of these drool pools.

For days Jake went off like a switch into a royal tantrum whenever he was slightly provoked, and then I followed suit. He didn't eat; I overate. I banished him to the porch diaperless to air out his rashy tush, and I holed myself up on the couch to find solace in the blogosphere while I parented through the window. 

But we seem to be past it now. And Jake has returned to more typical routines. Like carrying a pillow onto the porch and laying on it. And picking it up. And moving it. And laying on it again.

So now that we're out of sickville and I've stopped letting Jake do whatever he jolly well pleases (like watch Netflix while playing with my iPhone) I find myself thinking a lot about getting on the actual parenting wagon. You know...teaching him stuff. (I'm also thinking a lot about kefir grains, and very impatiently waiting for my sourdough starter to arrive in the mail...but let's be honest, like any of you really come here to read about lacto-fermentation.)

Jacob thinks I'm a softie...and he's probably right. So I want to bring some questions to my mom-readers.  

I would ask my own mother, but she's cagey about these things. She's so elusive whenever I ask her for parenting advice. Once I asked her wisdom because I was worried about royally screwing up my kids. She laughed and replied:

"You don't have to worry about that. You will screw up your kids."

Thanks, mom.

And on top of her always helpful one-liners, she's out of the country with my little sister and a dear family friend, and with the three of them gone, my blog traffic has gone down by 75%.

Oh, yes, the questions:
How do you teach things to a one year old? When will he learn the word 'no'? When will he heed the word 'no'? What battles do you think are worth fighting?

I should probably go to the library and check out a parenting book or something. But instead I will ask you all.

And then google it.

Almond Milk

23 July 2012

I know I just posted on my stellar kitchen practices but I felt the need to update you: my sourdough starter has gone flat. 

I'd read to be wary of Day 4. Curse Day 4 when all the life fizzled out of my lovely dough. Now I'm toying with the idea of buying an established starter. I just can't take the emotional roller coaster a second time.

But to cheer myself up, I the Dud Dud Duderson Kitchen Lady, made fresh raw almond milk (from my way overpriced "truly raw" organic almonds.) 

...and it was delicious. So delicious that I'm memorializing it on the family blog: the first ever recipe to be posted on the Log Blog. Food photography? Check.

Super Complicated Raw Almond Milk

1/2 c. raw almonds (soaked in water overnight)
1 1/2 c. water
2-3 dates

1. Put all ingredients in blender and blend (a lot) and then strain. 

I strained it through some cheesecloth (old Ikea curtains). You really have to squeeze it to get the milk out. The thickness of the milk will be affected by how fine the weave of your cloth is. (You could probably also strain it through a mesh strainer but you'd have to press it hard and long to make sure you're extracting all the milk. But you should really go the cheesecloth route. It's way cooler because you get a semi-authentic milking experience and who could pass that up?)

I've now made this twice, so I feel like an expert.

In the end you are left with a slightly sweet almond meal, that I forbid you to throw away, but don't worry. Once I do one more practice run, I'll post a raw cookie recipe and won't you love me then? 

If you have no interest in my culinary meanderings then I shall tell you a story about Jake. Who after playing angelically and independently on the porch yesterday came waddling into the house and brought me two sticks. He handed them to me and smiled, and I about died a happy mother's death. My baby had given me a present.

Well, so I thought. But based on his behavior since then I think he was bartering for something. Something big since sticks are a precious in Jakeland.  Probably an airplane. 

Excuse me while I check on him because he hasn't made a peep in about 5 minutes which means he's probably eating flakes of concrete on the porch.

Update: he's fine. He's holding a stick and waving at an airplane.

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