Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ach, wee Beastie!

Our poor widdle Beastlet got sick-aroonie.

Saturday was dental hygiene day at Bean Gables, and did you know that dental procedures make one vulnerable to bacterial infections? Think about it - if your gums are sore, swollen, and prone to bleeding, and you poke a hole in them with those horrible tooth scrapers or a vigorous brushing the horrible bacterial cesspit of your mouth has direct access to your bloodstream. It's usually not a problem unless someone is immunocompromised in some way, but by Sunday afternoon Beast was sick.

It's funny how noticeable it is when animals get sick. They don't usually get flues and stuff (probably because they don't go to doggie kindergarten), and when they go down, they go fast. I took one look at Beast and declared her surprisingly rumpled. She was hot to the touch and she growled when I came near.

I can count on one half of one hand the number of pharmaceuticals I've been given in the past decade. Almost nothing. But, the number of antibiotics, eye drops, and steroids prescribed in my name is quite surprising. This time Alexis ordered it in a Cherry-flavored suspension...you'd remember the taste if you smelled it - it's kid's medicine. The pharmacist asked incredulously after being given my birth date: "But she's at least 24?"

Alexis just demanded a bigger bottle of the stuff, and I hoped he was using a calculator.

About five hours after the first dose, Beast's fever broke and she purred to see me. Little kitties - they're so delicate.


Also, I'll have about two cups of bright pink Amoxicillin if anybody's feeling colonized.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Compost porn.

Ooh, baby. That's some sweet-ass compost right there.

Screened, doncha know for the new plantings (normally I don't screen, so there's usually whole avocado pits and clumps of the strange grey goo that dog poop turns into before it disintegrates), ain't it grand!

Note to hospital: Hey, winner,
Please inflate the front tire of the wheelbarrow, or I'll have to ask the Monks.

Monday, May 21, 2007

This. Is. SCIENCE! (more from the archives)

Scene: an evening educational program, circa 1996

Me: What is that, Thaddeus?

Thaddeus: It's a lollypop.

Me: Really? What flavor is it?

Thaddeus (pointing): Lemon.

Me: I like...

Thaddeus (pointing): Orange. Chocolate.

Me: Oh yeah?

Thaddues: Cherry. Lemon.

Me: Wow. And what's that?

Thaddeus: It's a balloon.

Me: Right.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

bitter battle

We unpacked our wall of boxes this weekend. Mom spent a whole rainy Thursday with us - shlepping, sorting, and shelving between 20 and 30 banana boxes of books. Yesterday, we brought out the 30 other boxes of beloved life treasures. Much hilarity ensued, as did a protracted struggle between Crisfield and what can only be described as an Air Trout.

Beware: they're in the air!

At first, they're all congenial...a little ear-tickle, maybe?

Then - attack!

Grrr, argh!

Get back here!

Air Trout does not suffer cowards!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Love the restaurant, hate the food

Is it ever okay to really like a restaurant when the food pretty much sucks? There are so many other challenges to eating in this town: everything closes at 9:30pm, you'll have to wait over an hour for your crappy table, the servers are perfunctorily, superficially, and not-really nice, and it's laughably expensive (more expensive than the everyday Chicago restaurants we've visited). It's not that much fun.

There's some good food to be had - nothing amazing, but fine.

Except we can't stop going to the Big Boy up the road.

The food is kind of terrible, but it's all cheap.
The food is kind of terrible, but you can sit until 2 am.
The food is kind of terrible, but you never have to wait.
The food is kind of terrible, but you can request a booth in the three-season room where nobody else comes by.
The food is kind of terrible, but the waiters are honestly the sweetest, most earnest in town - all these high-school or college-age kids. We have a mutual admiration society - they're always telling us what nice customers we are (and it's true compared with the folks who generally frequent the place) and we're always overtipping them (admittedly not hard on a $12 dinner) and talking excitedly about how nice they were on the way back to the car.

We like the Big Boys. Is that so wrong?

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Bacteria Bender

When you wake up in the morning, you don't remember what happened last night, and your mouth tastes of half sours.

So, as I've written before, I have achey-breaky bowels that tend to flare up and bother me. Bother is actually too weak a word - when it's a really bad flare-up, I often can't sit or stand upright. It's taken me a long time to get used to the idea that I have an actual health problem, since I've always had a pretty unflappable constitution - delightfully dependable and hassle-free. However, now I'm worried about silly things like taking baths (the hot water can actually trigger a multiple-week flare) and Chinese food (which is again on my shit list...no not that kind of shit list, the normal kind) and even cold water at the wrong time of night. Yeah, I know, ridiculous.

So, I've recently been in the midst of yet another bad week - spurred, I feel, by too long in some hot, salted water - and mom reminded me that I should think about trying probiotics again or energy healing, two of the only things that have ever helped.

I went into People's Food Co-op and got a long, long, lesson in the HOPE diet - which stands for (very) High Fiber, Omega-3 oils, Probiotics, and Enzymes (which my sister Tanya has been trying to get me to use for years). Over the last couple of days, I've been taking enzymes with my meals, which I think may be helping, but I can't tell if it's that or the BILLIONS upon BILLIONS of bacteria I am joyfully consuming.

I left PFC with chewable acidophilus tabs (Blueberry-flavored bacteria - I know what you're thinking: if I like bacteria so much, why don't I just eat off the carpet or something...but I'm snobbishly seeking lactobacilli and shunning E. coli), and my new BFF - Kombucha! Kombucha is a fermentedly delicious drink that fizzes when you open it. It's difficult to describe, except it's like drinking vinager and that it is tasty without being sweet. You can tell that it was once kind of sweet, but the sugars have long since been consumed by those busy little bacteria...who I then drink over crushed ice (no, you can't hear them scream tiny bacterial screams...they're supposed to survive in my gut. I assume they might prefer my warm body to a cold bottle, but who am I to speculate bacterial yearnings?). I recommend the Guava.

The third, but perhaps most significant bacteria-delivery device I've been utilizing is Kimchi. I've always been afraid of Kimchi because of its threatening redness, but it actually doesn't have to be that spicy. I went to one of the Korean groceries (there are two within a mile of our house - take that, New Yorkers), and bought a bottle. I opened it up when I got home and promptly ate two-thirds of the bottle. It's not just that I like it, though I really do, it's as if I discovered a Kimchi thirst, a thirst I never knew needed slaking. It's been always on my mind, and it feels necessary for my comfort - like flossing. I finished the rest of the bottle for breakfast, went back to the store and bought a half-gallon of it.

This gets costly, so I've also decided to try to make my own. Which is also costly but which I mistakenly believe makes me kind of cool.

Two secrets of Kimchi: sugar and fish sauce.

A pile o' garlic, and the view of our lovely day.

Mitn tsibilekh.

Salt destroys plants! You want them wilty? Salt 'em good!


...and this from a 4-pound Napa Cabbage, two large Diakon roots and a cucumber. Look at that compression, people!

I'll leave it a'bubbling for the weekend while we're away.

A final word about bacteria. Please be aware that a ful 1/3 of your um, leavings, are bacteria. When you significantly increase your bacterial intake, well, I'll let you do the visuals (lest I be branded a filth-mongerer).

Monday, May 07, 2007


Jess at six months, and what's she doing?

Knitting. Booties.



People, I've been kicked.

Babies are kickin' and rollin' their skinny little selves around by six months, and Jess is just about six months along.
She's gestating, he's gesticulating.


The only way to fly

You can drink alcohol whilst traveling. Not to say that I’ve never partaken in an auto (or in a theatre, during a boring lecture, etc), but never as genteely as when I’m mit a ban. In the train, you can wander up to the dining car (usually there are plugs over each table, but since there’re not, the conductor will open up the secret red panel where he’s plugged in his cell phone, and let you knock him from the single two-prong spot); and you can listen to all the music you’ve been neglecting on your computer, and drink your way through breakfast and lunch. Want a coffee with Bailey’s, Kahluah, maybe Dewar’s?

"Yes, dear, please feel free."

The coffee’s complimentary with the liquor, and it’s good coffee, people. Amtrak has good coffee.

Lunch? Have a Corona…want a lime? Maybe some chips.

Indiana flashes by, surpisingly fast…for the only downside of the train is when the Norfolk Southern guys act up and block our way – otherwise, we’re into Chicago a half-hour early, stretched and fed and a little happier than when we got on, off to see what six months can do.

Ah, here’s Gary already. Time for some accidental boob-on-boob action with a girl in a track suit on the way to the bathroom. Hey – the rail runs choppy in Chicagoland, sorry about that.

Why do we ever drive?