Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Lady Lights A Cigarette Puffs Away No Regret

Westy (my baby brother) (who is much taller than I am) (and is almost in his mid-twenties) is hilarious. Unintentionally sometimes but still. Hilarious.

Case in point:

I was at my parents house last weekend for a family thing when the topic of baby names came up. (Side note: My little sister and her husband are also expecting their first kid in July. They chose not to find out the sex of their fetus so names are a hot topic in my family right now.) My mom said that she ended up choosing all of our names because my dad's name choices were too bizarre for her. Of course I asked her if she could remember any but the only specific baby naming situation she could recall was that she had hard time convincing my dad that Westy should not be named Valerian. At which point Westy got very indignant and asked why my dad would want to name his son after lady parts. Complete with agitated arm gestures in front of his lady-parts-would-be-here-if-he-wasn't-a-dude area. I love that guy. I feel so lucky that I've got a Westy to make me laugh when life is making me a little blue.

Monday, 28 March 2011

I Don't Want To Stifle Your Flight

I'm struggling.

Life is overwhelming and boring at the same time. Things happen and I want to write but then I start to second guess myself. Is it my story to tell? Is it partly my story and partly her story? Where do I draw the line? How much is mine? So I write nothing and life continues, simultaneously overwhelming and boring. Words and ideas swirl in my head, Willie grows and my belly button continues to disappear, strangers troop through my home while I stand outside and silently will them to love it (and buy it, oh please, someone just buy it already.) Overwhelming and boring.

So I struggle.

I struggle with this space that I love so much. My blog has introduced me to so many awesome people and helped me in so many ways, but has also taken its toll recently. I feel stifled, like this space isn't really mine anymore. Which is silly because I am the one stifling myself. Fretting and doubting and wishing I could just say "fuck it" and write without anxiety.

I struggle with Shawn, who has decided that the city is no place to raise Willie and wants to move to the suburbs if we manage to sell our condo. The suburbs! The mountains, specifically. He dreams of a backyard for the pups and a garage where he can work on his motorcycle and room for us all - Willie included - to have our own space. He references crime rates and asks me to tell him - off the top of my head - where the nearest tree is to our condo and crows when it takes me a full minute to tentatively say that there's some sort of decorative tree two-ish blocks away? I think? He's not wrong. Four people were stabbed a block from our condo just last week and the only reason I remember that tree is because I walk by it every morning and every morning it makes me sneeze. But it's the suburbs. The no skytrain connecting me to downtown, no coffee shop / movie theatre / favourite burger restaurant / market / bank all within 3 blocks of our condo, no concrete highrises reaching into the sky suburbs. I don't think I'm ready for that yet. So we struggle.

Life trucks on and I play the waiting game. Wait to see if our condo sells. Wait to see if we can find a location and a home we can agree on. Wait to meet Willie before deciding on his name. Everything so overwhelming and so boring.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Flush My Worries Down The Drain And Fly Away To Somewhere New

Let's say that you're trying to sell your condo so you have an open house. Your Realtor is busy with another listing so she sends a "professional and completely capable" colleague in her place.

Let's say that you arrive home at the appointed time to collect your keys. You make small talk while your Realtor's "professional and completely capable" colleague collects her things and puts on her shoes.

You prepare to say goodbye when the "professional and completely capable" colleague says, "Oh wait! I don't remember if I flushed the toilet or not" and walks out of the room. You then hear the toilet flush.

What would you do?

Would you tell your Realtor exactly what happened? Would you request that your Realtor never again send this particular colleague as a stand-in without explaining why? Would you do nothing?

Here's the thing: when we arrived home, she was sitting on the couch, reading. We didn't interrupt her while she was in the bathroom.

It's weird, right?

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Half Of Me Is Ready To Leave And Half Of Me Is You

We passed the halfway point a few weeks ago. All of a sudden the number of weeks that have passed is greater than the weeks left before Willie arrives. I try not to think about it too much or I get very clenchy.

My clothes don't fit. I don't feel like I look pregnant. I feel like a thicker version of myself. But I have no idea how much I weigh (and I'm classifying that as a major accomplishment.)

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Let's Talk About All The Good Things And The Bad Things That May Be

Tomorrow is ultrasound day! Bright and early, Shawn and I are going to find out Willie's sex (as long as s/he cooperates.)

We've not kept it a secret that we're hoping Willie's got an outtie but I feel like I should clarify that we won't be disappointed if it turns out we're expecting a lady baby. We would just prefer a boy and aren't ashamed to admit it. I'm sure there are many people who genuinely don't care if they're expecting a boy or a girl as long as it's healthy (that last part has to be said in a singy songy voice) but I also feel like there are a lot of people who don't voice their preference out of fear of looking like an asshole. I fully admit I'm an asshole. And I want a boy. So think penis-y thoughts for us, okay?

Monday, 14 March 2011

Leave The Cauliflower In The Casserole Today

This is not exciting soup. It's comfort soup. It's sore throat, rainy day, feeling blue soup. My Mom has made this soup for as long as I can remember. You could definitely make modifications to make this soup more exciting. Add an onion, maybe some garlic. Spice it up. Sprinkle bacon on top. It wouldn't be Mom's Cauliflower Soup anymore though.

Start with a medium / largish cauliflower. Wash it thoroughly and break it apart into large chunks. Don't worry about making things bite-sized at this point.

Put the cauliflower in a large pot and add 3 cups of water and 3 cups of milk. I use 2% milk for a little creaminess but you could go either way - skim milk for a healthier soup or whole milk for a creamier soup. It's all about preference. Note that you do thicken the soup with a roux so you do end up with a nice, creamy mouthfeel even if you do use lowfat milk.

Cook the cauliflower in the milk/water over medium/high heat until the cauliflower is tender crisp. Don't have your heat too high or the milk will foam up and boil over the pot and make a giant mess of your stove top.

When the cauliflower is cooked, put a strainer over a large bowl or measuring cup and strain the cauliflower. Reserve the liquid! Do not strain the cauliflower into the sink or you will cry! You want to save the cauliflower and save the warm milk, you just want them separate.

Melt 1/4 cup butter in the pot you just cooked the cauliflower in. Sprinkle 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour over top. Stir and cook over slightly-higher-than medium heat for a minute or so, until the flour smells a bit nutty. Slowly add your reserved milk and whisk so you don't get lumps. Every stove is different so it's difficult to specify a heat. You want your milk to be hot so it starts to thicken but you don't want it to boil. I usually go with a smidge over medium heat.

Once all of the milk has been added, continue to cook (stirring / whisking constantly) until the soup thickens. Not as thick as a cream sauce, but not water thin. Again, it's about preference.

Stir in 6 bouillon cubes. I used chicken Better than Bouillon because I ran out of vegetarian bouillon but it's equally as nice either way. Taste your soup at this point and add salt and pepper to taste. I don't add pepper because black pepper is of the devil and I don't add salt because I find the bouillon to be salty enough. But again, preference!

Cut your cooked cauliflower into bite-sized pieces and add to your soup.

Ladle into bowls (serves 6) and sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Enjoy!

Shopping List:
1 medium/largish cauliflower
3 cups milk
3 cups water
1/4 cup butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
6 bouillon cubes
salt and pepper
cheddar cheese

Thursday, 10 March 2011

And Your Arm Felt Nice Wrapped 'Round My Shoulder

Have you seen Leah's new site Nice Things Now? It's a simple concept, really. Focusing on the nice things we can do every day. Not necessarily grand gestures, just simple instances of sweetness and love. I get the warm fuzzies every time I read a post.

It's made me think about the Nice Things I could be doing. Like this morning, when Shawn was dead to the world at 7am after coming home from a late gig at 2am. I could choose to enforce our "pregnant ladies don't do morning puppy duty" rule or I could get up and deal with the pups and give Shawn 15 extra minutes of sleep. Throw in making eggs on toast for my exhausted rockstar and I ended up with a Nice Thing that made me feel better than the recipient. Don't get me wrong - Shawn was chuffed to wake up to happy pups and breakfast already made for him, but I got such a lift out of making his morning that my Nice Thing turned out to be almost selfish.

Which is kind of the point, I guess. If we're all focused on doing Nice Things for others and end up getting a rush out of making other people happy, it makes sense that there will be less of the not-so-nice-things in our lives. And we can all use some happy, can't we?

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Colours Seem To Fade

I didn't like Wolfgang very much when we first brought him home. I mean, yeah, there was the initial "puppppyyy! fluffy puppy!" excitement but once I got over that, I just wasn't really a fan. He was so tiny and fragile and I was constantly anxious that I'd step on him or Stella would be too rough with him or he'd end up broken somehow. He was so vocal. Stella would give him a little nip or he'd fall off the bed and he'd cry like someone was removing his toenails one by one. He hated being apart from me. He'd wake up multiple times every night to pee or for a drink of water or just to attempt to finagle a cuddle and a treat out of me. So I didn't like him much. He was just this tiny, noisy thing that demanded all of my attention.

Which brings me to my current worry: that I won't be a fan of Willie once s/he is here. I know that babies are not puppies and I shouldn't compare the two but I also know myself. I didn't dislike Wolfgang because he was an annoying puppy. I disliked Wolfgang because I hate change and Wolfgang brought a lot of change to our lives. And I'm thinking it's a pretty safe bet that Willie is going to bring a lot of change to our lives (understatement of the year!) So I worry.

I remember Shawn asking me if I loved Wolfgang when he noticed that I was less than enthused about our newest family member. And I remember that all I could come up with was that he was very fluffy. I liked him because he was nice and fluffy. I'm scared that I'll feel the same way about Willie. That I won't be able to feel anything for him or her, beyond liking that s/he's very soft, or very tiny, or very whatever.

In happier news, next Wednesday is the big ultrasound where we'll (hopefully) find out if Willie has an innie or an outtie. And then I can start worrying about sex-specific issues instead of just general issues like how big of an asshole I am for comparing my unborn child to my dog.