Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday Restaurant Visit

Its Friday, and my husband bribed me into getting up early to drive him to work with coffee and the suggestion that I take myself and our daughter out to breakfast. There is this little place built into an old triangle building in the Victorian area called Minnies. You can't sit up in the widows walk which fronts the mostly deserted intersection of main and minor, but the place is warm, friendly and generally serves good food.

Our daughter loves it. The wait staff gives her tomatoes instead of bacon with her pancake, and there are coloring books and crayons. Mom doesn't always insist she sit in her chair, but lets her slide up and down the big booths, and dance in the aisles. Mostly, she watches the locals who drift through the doors to chat over a leisurely breakfast.

In exchange for her outward shows of attention, she offers them smiles, waves and greetings, with the occasional table side visits (if I'm too distracted by coffee or food). We have met grandmothers and retired teachers, their breakfast meetings interrupted by a shy twinkling smile. My favorites are the old men whose fierce demeanor is cracked by boyish grins at her antics. I think she likes the farmers. Their chiseled faces seem stone like and resilient, and it usually takes most of the meal to warm their inner child. Very few people escape without a hint of a smile.

It amazes me how universal a child's joy can be. I wonder how many of those greeters walk out of the restaurant with a feeling different than usual, simply because they ran into a terminally happy two year old. I wonder how many leave chuckling over remembered incidents of parent hood they see echoed on my half asleep face.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Taste and cats

My daughter has strange tastes, especially for a two year old. She adores tomatoes, grapefruit, oranges, lemons (straight slices, I can't even do that), and pretty much every dairy product on the planet. Rather than burden her with sausage or bacon when we go out for breakfast, we substitute in tomato slices and sour cream. She tries almost any food you put in front of her. My favorite Alton Brown recipe (eggplant pasta) is consumed with vigor.

My cats eat two flavors of canned food, do not eat snacks, and refuse to eat the non Ph balanced versions of said flavors.

My daughter will watch almost any tV channel with me, cuddled on my lap. She adores M*A*S*H, my favorite show. Her favorite disney film is the same as mine (Lilo & Stitch) and she claps during game shows.

My cats fall asleep during all three of these.

Non-withstanding the difference in species, I think my daughter has better taste than my felines.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

One child is not enough.

This morning my tolerance level is shrinking fast. Don't confuse the following rant with an obsessive desire to overpopulate the world. Its function is to serve as an explanation for why one would have a multitude of children.

One child, especially one with lots of energy has a hard time self amusing for more than ten minutes. They demand extra reading time, your accompaniment to jump on the bed, and destroy the living room furniture. You are not only the mom, you are also the playmate, co-conspirator and all around source of human amusement.

One child is not enough. With two, there are bouts of time when you are not required, some of them even last for an entire hour. Games become cooperative. Two little brains figure out how to destroy the living room furniture and get into trouble. They feed each other ideas, energy and whatever they manage to light-finger out of the fridge. A stay at home mom can successfully accomplish the list of home making chores, un-hindered by constant interruptions, asides from yelling death threats at the thieves in training.

Ha ha ha, the mother of two, three or eighteen might laugh at my little child number obsession. Two fight, they don't play together, they require twice the time as one. Yes, I reply, but at least you have an excuse for losing patience at 10:30 in the morning.

With just one child, other mothers stare at you as if you are incompetent. Maybe their first child was eager to please, low energy and easily amused. Mine is perusing a French comic book, in between attacking a chair with soap and raiding my purse for credit cards and coins "for piggie". My daycare lady won't even take her, unless there are other small children present to provide a buffer. The only people who think she acts normally are her grandmothers. They smile gently, kick me out of the house and remind me, one is not enough.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Chili, whatever style

There are many different variations of chili. My grandfather spent ten years of his life researching and detailing the culture of the meaty tomatoes collection. Todays dinner qualifies as the original, only because it wasn't created from a recipe. Its the meat chunk from the freezer, ground up, some spices, whatever "chili" like vegis i had in the fridge and a couple cans of tomatoes and beans from the cupboard. Whatever the house held, i threw it in.

My grandfathers favorite chili was made at a little restaurant around the corner from the main street. The owner/cook/proprietor would throw everything left over from his sandwich line, chopped up, into a big pot, and add a variety of secret spices. Then it cooked over night, was served at lunch, added to in the evening, and cooked some more. If the health department wasn't out in force this blending process would continue for weeks. It was the exquisite recipe for recycled food and health department closures.

No Health department will be visiting my humble kitchen in the next year (unless they sneak in while I'm in the bath-tub), so my chili recipe could gladly cook for the requisite week. However, I doubt my husband and I could chow down on chili for even a week. Some traits in taste are not passed downward, and the chili obsession is one of them.

Monday, February 11, 2008


They say the work the average housewife does in one year would cost people over $300,000 to have done with the same degree of dedication. I'm reminded of the word imputed labor. I'm reminded of the fact that jobs only last 5 days a week for eight hours a day, and being a housewife and mother takes about 27 hours a day and lasts seven days a week. Vacation is not an option. Who came up with this job anyways?