Monday, October 31, 2005

Horror Stories

Horror Stories
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
If one more person shares their peanut allergy horror story with me in front of Jack, I might have to knock them unconscious. Jesus! What is WRONG with people? It's bad enough that you have to go through the whole peanut thing with anyone serving food...are their nuts in there? Could you please use a clean ice cream scoop...etc...etc. Most people are very accomodating but immediately after they serve you they feel have to deepen the bond they imagine they are forming with you by sharing with you IN FRONT OF YOUR POOR KID a horror story of someone they knew or someone someone they knew knew...and how that someone ate peanuts unknowingly and either got really sick, or had a severe reaction and had to be taken to the hospital. At least we haven't had to suffer through the retelling of someone's fatally bad outcome after peanut consumption.
While these well meaning idiots are going on and on, I try to interrupt them without being rude or causing undue tension on the part of my kid. It is simply a maddening pain in the ass.

There, I got it off my chest. I think that it is especially right on the surface today because it is Halloween and I will have to tell Jack that he can't have about 80 percent of his candy because they contain peanuts. That is a drag. It could be TONS worse and most days it isn't that much of an issue. It is just that I can't stand these horror stories and I just hate Halloween to begin with.

OOH. I am in a sad bad mood. Sorry. I won't write again until I feel a bit better.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

A Costume Masterpiece

Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Here is Jack at home trying on his costume. So much more to little time.
More later.

The Costume

Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Here is Jack in his little parade at his school. I could write volumes about this fascinating costume, but alas, I must join my husband in the living room/TV room/whateverthehellyoucallthishugemcmansionroom to watch Kinsey. After all, we live in Bloomington. Gotta watch the fictionalized version of the biography of one of its most controversial residents.
More later.

TV Dinner Love

Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Here is Jack last Friday evening at the altar of the TV Dinner. He worships these little trays of junk food. I have given in and designated Friday nights to be "TV Dinner Nights". Yesterday, he ate his second TV dinner and watched Star Wars for the first time. He didn't like "Dark Vadar". (Or is it Vedar?)

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Hazards of Spray-Painting

Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Jack's halloween party is tomorrow afternoon at his school. At 2PM the kids will don their respective get-ups and at 2:15 they will parade around the school. Refreshments will follow. Originally, Jack wanted to be Lenny from A Shark Tale and I should have gone with this because you can buy the costume on the internet and be done with it. But nooooo. I just couldn't let it be. I suggested that we make his costume and suggested that a robot would be a good thing to be. He agreed.

Since my in-laws were here all week, I got nothing done (except power eating) so I didn't start on the costume until this morning. I found a box that Jack could 'wear" and cut a head hole and arm holes in it. Then, I made him a helmet thing out of a six-pack carton and two paper towel tubes (antennae). I taped it all together and prepared to spray paint it shiny silver.

I spread out a large disposable tablecloth on our driveway, placed the boxes on top of it and sprayed away. It was a little windy so the spraying was a bit tricky. I was discouraged at first because the tape surfaces and the cardboard surfaces took the paint entirely differently and the box was not very uniform. Then, I remembered that I was doing this for a five-year-old and got over it. I didn't have to win an oscar for best costume design. After a bunch of coats, it didn't look too bad.

Now, as you might recall, the last time I spray painted something on our driveway, my eagle-eyed husband immediately noticed that I had gotten some paint on the driveway itself. I hate when he catches me being, well, being the careless person I often am. I know that I am careless about stuff like this and it bothers me not at all. I just hate when he notices it. So, I was determined to be extra neat this time. I would make sure that no paint got on the driveway at all. And in fact, it didn't. Well, while I was doing the actualy spray-painting anyway.

After I finished the project, I had some errands to do. The tablecloth and the drying boxes were behind my car so I moved them carefully into the garage on my husband's side. I surveyed the driveway and found no paint at all. I was not a little pleased with my self for doing such a tidy job.

I backed out of the garage and pointed my car in the direction of the street. I heard a strange noise. It sounded like I had run over something. I got out to check and found that indeed I had. A can of spray paint.

The can was pretty flattened and its contents had oozed out onto the sacred driveway. The sprayer was hissing in a threatening way and I became worried that the can was going to blow up. I threw the can onto the grass like it was a grenade with the pin pulled out and ran like my ass was on fire into the house to get some towels to wipe up the evidence. I felt like Lucy Ricardo.

I will post a picture of Jack's costume tomorrow when it is all finished. Like my spray-painting career. All finished.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

I Weigh Five Hundred Pounds

My in-laws have been here since Saturday and I have used their visit as an excuse to eat everything I possibly can and now I weigh 500 pounds. I plan to lose all of the excess the weight over the weekend and get back into some of my clothes by Monday. Fortunately, my new bathing suit has some stretch to it so it will still fit and I can swim off the excess lard starting tomorrow. I imagine that I will float beautifully. I just hope I don't displace too much water in the pool.

In an ill-advised move, I went shopping today and bought seven pair of jeans and and two skirts. I needed to try them on at home because the mirrors and the lighting just plain suck at the Muh. (For those of you who don't know, I don't honor the Mall here with the whole name because it is so pathetic it doesn't deserve it. Thus the Muh.) Plus the lighting was terrible (as it always is unless you are in a nice store and of course, we have none of those in Bloomington). So, I brought everything I thought might possibly work home with me. Tomorrow, I will take almost everything back. I probably should wait until I lose a few hundred pounds before I start shopping for jeans in earnest. Shopping for jeans when you are in your forties is tricky business and one must be in the right state of mind and body.

I know now why I do everything mail order. It is just so much more civilized to try things on in your own home. Yes, you have to pay for shipping, but most of the time, it is worth it to me. I suppose I could make the trip up to Indy to some real stores, but it is an hour's drive and it feels like such a waste of time. And, it is SUCH a tedious drive.

I don't know why I am going on about shopping. I guess that ever since the heel incident, I realize how deficient my wardrobe is after almost two years of neglect and no shopping. I have to ramp it up a bit or I am really going to look like a frump. I do realize that pretty much nobody is going notice me anyway but it does make me feel better to look at least decent on a daily basis.

Well, off to bed. Maybe something more interesting will happen tomorrow and I will be able to write a fascinating entry. Stay tuned.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Bad Logos. Bad Vegetable.

Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Who designed this and how on Earth did it get approved? Enough said about that.

Another wonderful Monday because it started out with my writing group. We have a public reading in two weeks to which we invite people to come and listen. I don't know what I will read. It is tempting to read a funny piece because the feedback is so definite. You can tell by laughter if it is well received. I don't have much written that is serious. I have a list of topics I want to explore but they feel so large, so heavy. Way too ambitious for just two weeks to write something. Those are for another time. Light for now.

In other news, Jack insists on eating all meals on his TV dinner dish now. Apparently everything tastes better in the deep blue plastic divided dish. Well, everything except Okra. The dish didn't work its magic on that disgusting vegetable. I let Jack have desert even though he didn't finish his Okra. It is GROSS if you ask me.

Chris bought it at the farmer's market for some reason and we made it for dinner tonight. Well, Chris's mom made it after poring over several of my cookbooks for a recipe. She didn't have one of her own because she is one of the 99% of people who find okra repellent. She breaded and sauted the slimy pods and I prepared a jalapeno mayonnaise to accompany them. Chris ate them but nobody else was enthusiastic. I took the breading off and dipped it in the mayo and that was pretty good. Childish, but good. I slipped the naked okras onto his plate while he wasn't looking. Chris's mom prepared only half of the okra purchased. We slipped the other half in the garbage while Chris was upstairs putting Jack to bed.

Speaking of bed, that is where I am now. The house is quiet and Chris is trying to sleep. I fear my typing might be keeping him awake, so I am going to sign off and read SALT.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Who Reads This Blog & Steve Votes NO

When I started to blog, I don't know who I thought would be reading it. I started writing a blog to document our journey from Fairfield County, CT to Bloomington IN. At the time, I probably thought that my girlfriends from CT would read it and that would be that. I was surpised to find, over time, that my most enthusiastic readers were some husbands of my friends and (surprise) several of my husband's old partners and one of his non-partner best friends. Along the way, especially after the start of this, my second blog, I have picked up various new readers. The number and diversity of my readers is source of great delight to me. I am flattered that people tune in and then come back for more. This blog has become for me a little community of friends, some of whom I haven't even met. Virtual or not, it feels cozy in a hard to describe way. I see now what a lifeline it has been for me in our transition to the midwest. It takes a long time to really get settled - some say two years. I agree with that estimate. At least two years. Maybe more. I can't imagine how hard it would be if I didn't love this town so much.

Anyway, I received many comments about the Heidi boots (see posting from 10/20 entitled "Warning, Boring Rambling Content Below). Some were comments posted directly to the blog and others were directly emailed. Below I am sharing one from one of my husband's best friends. I have his permission.

Steve writes:

"What is this question, are the  boots too Heidi ?  What does that mean?

Are you referring to Heidi Fleiss the Hollywood madam and friend of Charlie Sheen? Are you referring to the model Heidi Klum of Sports Illustrated fame?  Or do you mean the little Swiss girl as portrayed by Shirley Temple in the movie?  

Do they look like boots a high priced call girl might wear? Would they be a turn on for a rich John with a footware fetish?   Do  these boots look like those that would grace the lovely feet of Ms. Klum while she is posing suggestively in a bikini on a tropical beach?  Or do you think that the little Swiss miss might select this footware to go looking for grandfather after escaping from that mean old lady with the kind, crippled rich girl in the mansion in the city far far  away.......Oh grandfather!

The boots are really NOT that attractive as evidenced by the fact that they are on sale!! Think about it.  The store owners  probably bought a railroad car (see Swanson story) full of these ugly boots, which nobody bought, and want to unload them ASAP.  So they figure they'll  send  some  mail order cataogues to  young  women in the Midwest who will think that the boots are so Heidi and consider buying them.. Save your money."

I wish Steve would start a blog, don't you?

Anyway, I must go to bed. Perhaps tomorrow night I will have something more interesting to say and more energy to write it all down.

Mother In Law

Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
I would guess that a few of my readers remember this show...The Mothers-In-Law with Kay Ballard and Eve Arden. It ran for two years in the mid/late sixties. I remember loving this show, though I couldn't have been more than 9 years old when it was on. I don't know what made me think of it tonight. Maybe it is because my mother in law is here. Or maybe it is because my son-in-law is here (that still sounds so weird to me). Me, a mother in law? Anyway, the show was great and I am going to try to find some re-runs somewhere.

So, we have some company. Chris's parents arrived this afternoon and Meg, Abram and Betsy arrived early evening. Betsy is a nice fat baby and is pretty adorable. She is two months old.

Those who know me know that even though I am an enthusiastic mother to my own little Jack, I have just about no desire to hold any baby, even Betsy. Before Jack, I wasn't very interested in babies at all. With Jack, it was an entirely different story. I loved holding Jack but I can't think of another kid I have ever wanted to hold. Some people just gotta hold the baby, no matter whose little urchin it is. Not me. And change another kid's diaper? Forget it.

I guess in this case I thought I would feel differently, but I don't yet. Part of it is probably that I am reluctant to get drawn in and fall in love with this little baby. Given everything that has happened in my relationship with Meg, I am gun-shy and unable or perhaps unwilling to move in any closer than cordial. When she decided to have a baby, it certainly changed the rules of our relationship from parental/child to something else entirely. I haven't quite figured out what that is yet. Time will tell but for now, I really think its the best I can do. Occasionally I wish I could be different, but that is never a very productive exercise. So, onward ho.

Enough of THAT. Heavy, heavy. But, I just had to get a little of it out. Truth-be-told, I feel sort of lonely and uneasy tonight. It always throws me off kilter to have house guests, even if I love them dearly. For as social as I appear to be, I am a bit of a recluse and need all sorts of time and space to myself. I get uneasy when I don't get it. I am also really tired since the house alarm went off at 4:30 AM due to a malfunction. It took me about an hour to get back to sleep and about twenty minutes after that, Jack woke me up to start my bright and early day.

Let's end on an upbeat note so that I can sign off feeling cheery rather than a bit cranky and off:

It was an absolutely beautiful day today and we did get to go the the Farmer's Market. I think that if everyone in the world went there once a week, there would be peace on Earth. I am not kidding You just feel that good when you are there. We procured a bounty of goodies. I know I have said it a million times....I LOVE the market. Later in the morning, I went to the Y and worked out and then hopped in the pool and tried out my new bathing suit and goggles. I am happy to report that they are PERFECT. I ordered the suit from Land's End. Boy, do they understand my body a whole lot better than Speedo. It is flattering and is perfectly cut for swimming laps.

Well, I am so tired, I must now sign off. Good night, wonderful readers.

Friday, October 21, 2005

In Other News

I just posted a blog about Jack's first TV dinner. And now, I thought I would blog about my day because I know how fascinating you all will find it.

I made the Bolognese Sauce this morning. Jack got up at 5:50 AM so lucky me, I had lots of time to get it going before the babysitter came at 11. Jack didn't have school today for some evil reason so I had to get a sitter to come over so I could do incredibly important things such as exercise, get my hair cut and take my very first piano lesson. (After this, I am going to practice.)

Well, the sauce smells like the stuff I had on my honeymoon in the place that I can never remember the name was the second city we visited in Italy. It was the most incredible Bolognese sauce ever and I have been in search of it since. The sauce I made tasted good as well, but it seemed to have too much oil/fat on the top. I am refrigerating it so the fat is solidified and I am going to skim it off before I make the lasagne. I think it will be FAB. More as the story develops.

Well, I thought my haircut was at 12:30 so after the babysitter came at 11, I raced to the Y to get in at least 30 minutes of swimming. The pool was a bit crowded with rather large people who made lots of waves, but I still managed to swim my fastest 1000 meters ever and then I rushed to get to the hairdresser's. Well, I forgot that IU is hosting Ohio State in football tomorrow and that made for a bumper to bumper traffic experience on the roads I use most. As a result, I started getting late for my appointment. So I called Steve, my hairdresser at about 12:35 and told him I had gotten stuck in traffic and was circling the block looking for parking and that I would be a little late. He informed me that I was already a lot late. My appointment was at 11:30. OY. He apologized that he couldn't fit me in later in the afternoon.

So, I had an hour and a half now to kill before my piano lesson. I went to the sporting goods store at the mall and looked in vain for another swimsuit (remember the back fat issue? Still there.) While trying on suits I took a long look at my hideous hair. I decided that I MUST get my hair cut right away.

I beelined to a barber shop where I knew there to be a female barber. She took me right away and twenty minutes and eleven bucks later, I emerged a new woman. I have to say that it is a really cute cut. As good as the ones I have paid much (MUCH) more for on the east coast and far more convenient and much cheaper. I loved the speed with which she worked. She cut off at least two inches. My husband didn't notice for two hours after he came home from work. This kind of thing continues to amaze me about him.

My piano lesson was pretty funny. I am taking from the same woman who teaches Jack and I was a bit surprised to find that she uses the same high-pitched, sing-songy voice when teaching me. GOOD JOB! And she sings kid words to the different ryhthms. Like "Run, Mommy, Run, Mommy" and "Charlie Brown and Snoopy". I read music and she keeps forgetting that. But I learned a lot today and I am going to keep it up. I enjoy playing.

Well, that is all for now. I wonder how many readers made it through my little boring journal today to this point. I am working on more witty pieces for the future but as always, can promise nothing.

Of to read more SALT.

TV Dinner

TV Dinner
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Jack read a book this morning in which a little boy ate a TV dinner. Jack had no idea what one was (I boast) but he became immediately obsessed. He begged for one. He got dressed right away and suggested that we go to the grocery store and pick one out. So, I decided to go ahead and do it. I did need to get some grocery shopping done for the impending in-law visit and I thought a little bribe of a TV dinner might grease it a bit. And, boy was I right. This kid was SO excited about picking out a TV dinner. All day long, he kept asking when it was TV dinner time. It was a riot. I let him watch THE FLINTSTONES (the episode where Fred and Barney enter Pebbles in a beauty contest) while he ate his prized TV dinner. Believe me, it was a HUGE treat for him. He asked me to take a picture of him posing with the dinner and then wanted me to take a picture of him chewing the dinner. Then, he had me take a picture of the dinner itself. I poured myself a glass of wine and cozied up on the couch and watched THE FLINTSONES and just loved the whole thing. He is so incredibly sweet.

So, you are probably wondering, how on Earth did the TV dinner get invented? Well, funny you should ask, because I happen to have the answer right here!

It all happened in 1954. Gerald Thomas, a C.A. Swanson & Sons executive, had a big problem. What to do with about 270 tons of left over Thanksgiving turkey.

"After Thanksgiving, Swanson had ten refrigerated railroad cars-- each containing 520,000 pounds of unsold turkeys -- going back and forth across the country in refrigerated railroad box cars, because there was not enough storage in warehouses. We were challenged to come up with a way to get rid of the turkeys," said Thomas.

He got the breakthrough idea from the trays used for airline food service. And the TV dinner was born.

The first production order was for 5,000 dinners, thought to be a big gamble at the time. They had about two dozen women armed with ice cream scoops filling the new trays at night.

The first TV dinner featured turkey, corn bread dressing and gravy, buttered peas and sweet potatoes. It cost 98 cents and came in a box resembling a TV.

The 5,000 dinners proved to be a gross underestimation. Swanson sold 10,000,000 of them that year.

Of note, most folks didn't own freezers back then, so the dinners were bought and prepared the very same day.

A frozen fried chicken dinner was introduced in 1955. Turkey is still the most popular Swanson TV dinner, except in Fort Worth-Dallas, where fried chicken is the favorite.

Gentle readers, wasn't that interesting? Well, I thought so.

More in the next post, which, I am starting as soon as I publish this one.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Warning...Boring, Rambling Content Below

Too Heidi ?
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
] The name of my new favorite cereal is Autumn Harvest. Cereal is one of my diet downfalls, believe it or not. I could eat bowl after bowl of it. This new one is by the Go Lean people and it is so yummy. I just tried to sneak a before-bed snack of a bowl without Chris seeing it. I don't know why I sneak it. Maybe I figure that if he doesn't see me eating it he won't notice it on my hips? So silly since this is a guy who sometimes doesn't notice when I cut and color my hair. He just loves me for whatever/whoever I am at the time. But, I digress.

Anyway, today has been a grazing food day. I made some (fabulous, if I do say so myself) oatmeal, dried cherry, white chocolate cookies for a friend and made the mistake of keeping a dozen at home. Wrong move for me. I ate two of those today. I had a bowl of Autumn Harvest for lunch because I was too lazy to make myself anything else. I have been munching and nibbling here and there and I fear that it will add up to quite a bit. Well, it could be worse, right? Such a luxury problem...too much to eat.

Now that it is getting cooler, I must change out my summer wardrobe of shorts to jeans and sandals to shoes and all that. I find that it is hard to put my feet into socks and closed shoes and even harder to put the lower half of me into jeans. I fit into most of my jeans from last year and I was thinking that I should lose a few pounds to fit into all of them. Then, I came to my senses. You see, almost every pair of jeans I wear is from my daughters's closets when they were in high school. Must I continue at age 43 to fit into the jeans of seventeen-year-olds? When I was seventeen, I wouldn't have come close to fitting into these pants by the way. Haven't I earned the right to purchase some clothes of my own? Don't get me wrong, these are classic, nice, jeans. But, I would be lying if I said that they were at all forgiving or comfortable. I think that it is time to be comfortable. After all, if I can't do that in the heartland, where the hell can I do it?

Speaking of wardrobe, I spied a pair of darling boots today in a catalogue of a store I LOVED when I lived in CT. They are black suede and embroidered all over in a floral pattern. Turns out they are on sale half-price. I was thinking of ordering them but I can't decide whether they are too Heidi. They are featured in my picture above today. Any thoughts, gentle readers? The more I look at them, the less I think that they are right. But, I really loved them in the catalogue. Hmm. Could always send them back, right? On the other hand, I live in Bloomington. I might be able to wear them, say, four times this year? Nah, never mind.

As I mentioned, I am reading SALT. Yes, it is an entire book on the world history of Salt. So far, I am reading about Salt in China around 500 BC to 100 AD. The books talks about other things besides Salt, but usually in the context of how those other things fit into the whole Salt thing. Did you know that as early as 100 AD, the Chinese were piping natural gas for use in cooking? Yep. It is true. They discovered it while drilling for salt brine. They noticed that occasionally the men working on the drilling would take ill and die almost immediately. Occasionally, there would be an explosion. At first, the Chinese thought that evil spirits were causing these things. After a time, they realized that they could light the gasses and soon, they started to pipe them using bamboo piping. They would pipe the natural gas to cooking houses where they would cook the brine over an open flame to evaporate the water and get the salt.
Salt was a big deal and often the cause of wars. Who knew?

Anyway, off to SALT for me. Tomorrow is my first piano lesson! I am sort of excited about it. It is also the first time I will attempt to make authentic Bolognese sauce for use in a homeade lasagne I have planned for the in laws. Wish me luck my friends.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Fashion & The Bloomington Girl

Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
I mentioned that I went to a cocktail party on Friday night. I realized it was time for me to do a little maintenance shopping when I put on my favorite pair of flirty shoes and one heel had the little hard plastic thingy missing. So, the metal part was exposed. I couldn't wear them as they were because not only did I sound stupid walking (tap, KLUNK, tap, KLUNK), I didn't want to scratch the floors at my friend's house. Changing shoes was out of the question. The outfit HAD to have these particular shoes. So, I got resourceful. I wrapped duct tape (or is it duck tape?) around the bottom of the heel and colored it black with permanent marker. I felt pretty mighty at first but before I had gotten to the threshold of the host's home, the metal spike had worn through the stupid tape anyway. I told a Fairfield County friend this story along with another story about me spray painting a lamp to update it rather than spending the money on a new one. She said that these things along with me wearing clothes found in parking lots have gotten her quite concerned about me. She said that if she dared to even come to Indiana, she would do some kind of intervention.

Anyway, because I don't want to be caught without the right shoes to wear, I went on a little shopping spree tonight and ordered up a couple of pair of sassy little pointy-toed shoes. A pair of sling back low heeled sexy pumps in black and a pair of leopard flats. I will augment those with a few skirts and tops and I will be all set for the winter social season here. (Hah...winter social there one? For us, it is mainly IU basketball games and for those we wear the obligatory Hoosier T-shirt or sweat-shirt) Cultural/music events here are casual or as dressed up as you like. So, a few dressy stand-by outfits will be good. I hate to spend time putting together a look. I like to have them all ready to go in my closet.

The whole ready-to-go concept is why I have worn what is practically a crew-cut for about a year now. For swimming it is perfect and for biking, also great. The look divides the people I know right down the middle, I think. On one side are those who love it and the other side there are those who don't say much but when I mention that I might grow it out a little, they jump right on it and show all kinds of support for that decision. Hair. It is a funny thing. Right now, it is way too long for me (I actually have to blow dry only takes a minute or two, but still). I am going to get it really short again right after my in-laws visit this weekend. I love them and I don't think they care one way or another what the length of my hair is but I always feel better around them with just a little more of it.

I did spray paint this floor lamp that Chris has been dragging around with him since the beginning of time. It was a shiny brass lamp of good pedigree but it was too shiny and too brassy for me. So, I bought some Rustoleum and sprayed away. Other than getting some on the driveway, which my eagle-eyed husband saw immediately, the process was so easy and the results so good. Now, being who I am, I want to spray paint everything. I also spray painted a Baker's Chocolate Pan and restored it to (almost) its original glory. Several of my readers have the same pan, but for those of you not in the know, I will give some background.

I worked at General Foods in R&D (Coconut Development!) in Dover Delaware after getting out of college. The GF plant was very large and made several products. A major product was Baker's Chocolate. We made the bars for retail sale and also made 10 lb bars for industrial use. The molds for the 10 lb bars look very much like large baking pans except that they have BAKER'S on them along with The Belle Chocolatiere (sp?) the woman who has always been the logo. My pan was sort of rusty and beat up and it was so fun to make it look great. I am going to find a way to hang it in my kitchen now.

Well, off to bed to continue reading SALT. I am actually finding it quite interesting. The full title is SALT A WORLD HISTORY. It is by Mark Kurlansky. It is really a history of salt, which, sounds pretty potentially boring to me even. But, I have to say, that so far, I am finding it to be a good read. I will keep you all posted.

Monday, October 17, 2005


It was a wonderful day! Mondays are always so interesting because they start out with my writing group and that sets the tone for the day. I love being in a circle of women who are supportive and open minded. It is so different from the other social circles I have been trying to find my place in here. I didn't realize it at the time, but the party I went to on Friday night was the first time I can remember since we moved here that I actually was MYSELF at a party. I can't even remember a time here in a group setting when I was so engaged socially. I think that the key is to just seek out more of the same rather than try to form myself into a role I might otherwise have by virtue of my husband being a doctor in this small town. In CT, I never felt that being a doctor's wife or the wife of a partner in a practice had requisite social stuff to go along with it. I think that might have been because we were in a much more metropolitan area and the doctors in the same medical community as Chris actually lived across several towns, not just one. So, our lives were not intertwined the way they are in this small town. Or the way they could be if I let them. And I have sort of decided not to get intertwined. Much easier and just about no downside as far as I can see.

Tonight for dinner I made a delicious Thai dish, very spicy because now Chris has my cold, poor thing. It was stir-fried cauliflower with thai red chile sauce and snow peas and tofu. If anyone wants the recipe, leave a comment and I will post it. I also made some corn muffins this morning with raspberry jam filling. My old friend Michele LOVED those. I think of her every time I make them.

Just watched this week's Rome with Chris. HBO has great series shows. I really like this one. Now, I am off to bed to read. I started SALT last night but I don't think it will be a page turner. I am going to give it a chance. If that doesn't compel, I'll just flip through the lastest mail order catalogues and call it a day.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Tired and a bit Dull

Just put Jack to bed. Chris is working until eleven. It is only seven thirty and I think that I could actually get into bed and go to sleep right about now. I am just pooped. My writing group meets tomorrow and I should put something together for that but I cannot think of anything interesting to write. And even if I could, I am not sure I would have the energy to write it.

It has been a pretty nice weekend, considering that Chris worked both Fri and Sat nights. I got a sitter on Friday night and I went to a cocktail party thrown to celebrate the opening of the new Bloomington Women's Writing Center. Several women who are in my writing group are on the board. It was a really wonderful party, mostly women, probably about seventy-five people. There was such a diversity of women...the kind of women I like to be around. Creative, open minded, smart. Women of all ages, dressed in many different ways, from different backgrounds. I am so glad to be getting to know some of them.

On Saturday, I went for a good bike ride. Contrary to what you might think, it is not flat here. South central and southern Indiana have rolling hills and it is quite lovely. The autumn colors are coming out. The sky was blue and the air was crisp yesterday. It was perfect for riding and I felt so mighty! I just LOVE this bike. It may be one of the best birthday presents I have ever gotten. I have to admit that I might even buy one of those silly bike jerseys now that I am into it. If I do, I promise I will post a photo on the blog so you can all have a chuckle.

I had made a couple cooking committments this week so I made a huge batch of my (if I must say so) quite delicious chicken pot-pies today. It took kind of a long time so I didn't feel like cooking dinner. I fed Jack mac and cheese from a box. Might I go to hell for that? Geez, hope not.

Well, I can't continue anymore. I do wish I had something more witty to say. Just about the only witty thing I experienced today was reading one of the Captain Underpants books to Jack earlier. Hilarious books. I think that I like them just as much as Jack does. I don't know what that says about me but I am okay with whatever it is.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


That's the name of my blog today. NeedyGirl. I am so needy today! I just want to be babied and told what a great person I am. I want everyone to say "YEA! YEA for Joni! She is so great! Wow!" And even if everyone did that, it wouldn't be enough. I would just think, Oh they are just saying that. Ever have one of those days? I feel like such a girl.

Well that felt good to get off my chest. I don't know exactly why I feel so needy. Maybe it is because I have a horrific headcold and we have to go out tonight. Or, maybe it is because one of my pals here is mad at me over something really stupid and might remain so for awhile. Or, maybe it is because I am discouraged in my writing. Or maybe it is because I had to watch Ann Coulter on TV last night, and we all know how I feel about her. Or, maybe it is because the sky is grey. Who the hell knows? Best to just get over it.

There. Over it.

I must go and get our tickets for the Leon Redbone concert tonight. Then, pick up Jack and take him to piano and admit to the teacher that we never practice.

Over and out for now.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pasta with Cauliflower

Wednesday Night

I am sitting here writing this while I am eating pasta with caulifower, a really really yummy dish. I shall include the recipe below, as I used to do in blogs of old. This is good fall/winter comfort food.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 TBS butter
1 Medium head cauliflower, broken into one-inch flowerets
3 medium cloves crushed garlic
1 bay leaf
2 tsp. basil
2 cups tomato puree
1 small can tomato sauce
2 cups mixed grated parmesan and cheddar cheeses (extra sharp is good)
1 lb thin spaghetti (whole wheat is very good in this dish)

1) Heat 2 TBS Olive oil in a deep heavy skillet. Add crushed garlic, bay leaf and basil. Saute about one minute and add cauliflower and mix it around to blend. Add about a half cup of water. Cover and cook over low/med heat funtil the cauliflower is tender. Add tomatoe puree and sauce and lower to a simmer. Cook for fifiteen or so minutes.

2) Cook spaghetti. Drain and put in a big bowl. Toss gently with remaining olive oil and butter. Add cauliflower sauce and cheese. Mix it up and serve.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Just A Housewife? BITCH Magazine

Just A Housewife?
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
A mason came out today to give us an estimate on the repair of our front steps. He was very nice and very chatty. He came highly recommended by a good source so I knew he was both a good mason and a decent guy.

After he assessed the job, he got around to asking me what I did. I told him that I was a housewife. There was a time, not so many years ago, when I would have NEVER believed that I would feel comfortable either being or saying I was a housewife. And, there was a time in the more recent past when I used to answer that I was a full-time wife and mother but I USED to be in business development...etc. It never occurs to me now to assert that I used to have a career. I've grown completely comfortable with my role and myself in it. I think that being a full-time wife and mother is the best gig I have had. Way better than being employed by someone else and having to get up and get dressed and get somewhere and get sales and get see where this is going. On the other hand, there are days when I would love to be in the company of someone who isn't completely in love with hearing himself repeat potty words. (When does that stage end?)

Oh, right...back to the mason.

The mason looked at me and asked, "Just a housewife?" I replied, "Yep. Just a housewife." Was a time I would have taken some kind of offense to that question. JUST a housewife??!!! Blah, blah, blah. What happiness to not have to either take offense to that or feel that I must prove my worth to the person asking it. Hooray!

He continued with what I thought to be a bit of an odd question. "How did you come to be a housewife?" I paused. Huh. How did I come to be a housewife? "Well, I got married and had a kid and wanted to stay home with him and his two older sisters." Simple enough. Then he went on to quote Dr. Phil and Dr. Laura about stay-at-home moms (apparently Dr. Phil estimates that a housewife is worth about eighty grand a year and Dr. Laura, well, you know what she thinks.) I didn't know where he was going with this. It wasn't clear at all. Maybe he was just a nice guy making conversation. I am still not used to that, being a bit more comfortable with East Coast ways. I find myself thinking that all interactions should have a point or an agenda. Here, it isn't always like that. People just chat. That's it. I am still getting used to it.

The other day at the local health food store, I went on a little magazine buying binge. I bought two mainstream mags on decorating and one not-so-mainstream mag called BITCH. BITCH is all about feminist response to pop culture. I bought it with a view toward trying to get something published in it (like my piece on plastic surgery). As it turns out, the articles are interesting and funny and right-on. I am going to suscribe. When Chris saw it, he immediately started making fun of it and paging through it, stopping to disparage several features. Then, he came across a sexy ample cleavage shot (in an article about women in advertising) and immediately warmed to the periodical. "Hmm. I can see why this is a good magazine." Nice.

Well, I am off to bed. I hope you like the new blog look. I am trying to learn to design my own site but it is slow going. For now, I have to use the designs of others.

As always, comments are always a treat.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Wonderful Day and Voyeur?

Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Wonderful Day

I know that I have raved about the Bloomington Farmers' Market before in this blog, but I can't help but do it again. Every single time I go to the market (almost every Saturday from June through October) I want to celebrate it again. It is such an incredible place. Everyone is so happy and nice. The food is beautiful and organic and abundant and seasonal. I could go on and on. Oh, right, I just did. Every fourth week they have a craft section where local artists sell their stuff. There is always live music that is good. In short and in long, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the market.

Today, we bought some artisan cheeses from a local goat cheese maker and a pound of just perfect shitaake mushrooms. We also got some fresh arugula, peacock feathers, fresh bread, local honey, brocolli and baby turnips. I was inspired to cook so I made some fresh organic whole wheat pasta from scratch, rolled it into paper thin sheets and made it into canneloni. For the filling, I sauteed the shitaakes and added some garlic, parsley and dry marsala wine. Then I combined that with some fresh ricotta cheese and parmesan. I made a second filling from sauteed arugula and ricotta. It was a pleasure to make it and even better to eat it.

Kate is home this weekend so it was nice to have a special dinner.

BRAGGART SECTION (please skip this paragraph if parental bragging turns you off)

It is wonderful to have Kate home for the weekend. I am so glad that we are in driving distance of St. Louis and get to spend time with her. She is a senior this year. Next year she might move to NY to be with her boyfriend and go to law school OR (our hope) she might stay at Wash U where they are practically begging her to stay on either for biomedical engineering graduate school or law school. Kate has grown into an accomplished, mature, thoughful, intelligent, fun and last but not at all least, beautiful young woman. I adore her. I hope she will stay in the midwest but whatever she does, I know she will be great.


Voyeur? (Or is it Voyeuse?)

So, I have been reading this random blog that I stumbled across one day while paging through blogs on this site. It is written by a woman who is in a relationship with a terminally ill man. That in itself is interesting but what makes this unique to me is that she is a "submissive" to this guy, whom she calls her master or Daddy. They are married, actually. The submissive/dominant thing is a 24/7 thing, not just sexual. They have a "contract" and they are completely committed to each other. Her writing is intelligent; she is obviously smart. The lifestyle she has is so completely foreign to me that I have really found it interesting to read about. In addition, she works "in the sex trade" and has many "clients". To be sure, there is some very sexually explicit content on the blog, but most of it, I would say 80-90 percent of it is not at all about sex. It is about a real life lived in a completely different lifestyle from my own. I find it so interesting. I don't know what that says about me, but there it is. I know that some of you reading this will tell me to get a life of my own. But, I have a life of my own. A really great one. It just happens to include a curious nature about other lives. This blog gives me a little window into what I find a little completely different to my life. Voyeurism is what some people would call it. Pretty good reading and food for thought is what I call it. Besides, I barely watch any TV. So there.

Well, I am off to sleep. Everyone else in the house is sawing logs, I may as well join them.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Final Frontier? Geez, I hope so. (Rated R)

While recently researching the latest salon & spa offering - anal bleaching- I was startled to discover there are women taking an even more permanent plunge into beautification of the “down below”: Labiaplasty, a.k.a. plastic surgery of the labia. Ever since I found out about this, I’ve been fascinated.

I know plastic surgery is nothing new. Though I disdain it often, I do understand why people go in for a little nip and tuck. While I hope I maintain my position to never, ever have elective plastic surgery, I must admit that occasionally, I hear the siren call of the knife. I have seen some very good face-lifts and boob-jobs and I think to myself, well, if I could get a surgeon that good, I might consider it. I’m not proud of it, but occasionally, I stand in front of the mirror and stretch my face this way and that or pull up my boobs to approximate a surgical lift. Sometimes, I pull the fat on my thighs back to see what liposuction might do. I do the same with my upper arms to see what they would look like if the lunch-lady fat were vacuumed out.

But, for all the thinking I’ve done about various plastic surgeries, a genital remodel has never crossed my mind. Have I been remiss? Do these newly labially-beautiful women know something that I don’t? Should I have been scrutinizing my hoo-hah over the years to determine its aesthetic appeal? Might I have an unattractive one and not even know it?

Faced with these now urgent questions, I turned to Google. I entered “Female Genital Plastic Surgery”. A great many web sites popped up.

After a quick browse, I determined that most of the web sites were real surgical centers offering solutions for genuine physical deformities. The before and after pictures were proof of the legitimacy of this type of surgery. If I were a “before”, I’d beat a fast path to one of those surgeons. But, since I was pretty sure that I wasn’t a “before”, I endeavored to find sites offering truly cosmetic solutions.

And, find them I did, under the umbrella of the Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation Institute, a sort of chain of surgical centers whose mission is to “empower women with knowledge, choice and alternatives.” Who knew that this lofty goal was directly related to the real estate between a women’s legs?

The Flagship LVRI is in Los Angeles and is run by its founder, Dr. David Matlock. He has pioneered a set of pussy-perk-up procedures and is training doctors across the country (and the world!) to perform them. LVRI’s have opened up in such tony places as Greenwich, CT, Alpharetta, GA, Southfield, MI, and my favorite, San Antonio, TX. It’s my favorite because it surfaces from a Google Search as “Texas Labiaplasty”. Did Texan women need an adjustment to accommodate a ten-gallon something or other? I couldn’t wait to find out.

The “Institutes” all offer the same set of services; Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation (R), a one-hour surgical procedure designed to enhance sexual gratification and “Designer Laser Vaginoplasty (R), a set of procedures done to enhance the “aesthetic of the vulvar structures, labia minora, labia majora, mons pubis, perineum, introitus and hymen.” Yeah, I don’t know what an introitus is either and strangely, the web site never explains it. Maybe after you are a regular there you can order it off the menu, like you do at your favorite restaurant.

Here’s my overview of surgical options for your underview.

Let’s start with Laser Vaginal Rejuvenation (R) or LVR. This handy one-hour outpatient procedure can make that birth canal where you passed your ten-pound kid as tight as a drum again. Or, even if you have never had a baby, you might get this done so that you don’t have to dump that great guy with the extremely small penis after all. It will comfort you to know that the pioneering doc who came up with this wasn’t operating in the dark. He knew that women wanted LVR based on market research:

Touts the LVRI web sites: “In one of our patient surveys, women were asked; do women want to be loose or relaxed or do women want to be tight? Women answered 100% - women want to be tight. LVR can accomplish what ever you desire.”

What ever I desire? Just by getting a little vagina lift? Wow. Sign me up.

Next up, is Designer Laser Vaginoplasty(R) or DLV. The caring docs who perform DLV have the “experience and techniques [that] provide the ability to design most anything that one can desire.” Maybe I am not getting something here, but how many different designs could there be for the female genitalia? Isn’t there a sort of standard layout? Don't men have enough trouble finding things already? Why would you want to change it all around?

Anyway, the entire catalog of DLV procedures is described on the various Institutes’ web sites. The dizzying array of things one might have done made my head spin. If you want the full monty, so to speak, you can visit for a complete description of everything they do. To spare my readers the vertigo I got while sorting through it all, here’s my own summary of what DLV is about.

Are your labia not as pretty as you think they ought to be? With DLV, you can plump ‘em up (with your own fat!), slim ‘em down, make them more even, or just perk ‘em up. You can even have those pesky hyper pigmented ends removed so that you have a more uniform color! These “beautiful and natural enhancements” will provide that “youthful, aesthetic look and feel”.

Don’t like your vulva? Fatty irregularities keeping you from getting a date? Get it sculpted to meet your specifications. Or someone else’s specifications if you have no idea what it is supposed to look like.

Wish you were a virgin again? Or perhaps for cultural reasons you have to hang out the sheet after the wedding night? Order up a Hymenoplasty, or reconstruction of the hymen. In this procedure, the hymen is repaired “as if nothing ever occurred”.

And, last but not least, you can have a G-Spot Amplification. For about $2,000, the doctor will locate your G-spot and inject the “G-Shot(TM), a shot of collagen which puffs up the G-spot. This “amplification” lasts for about four months. The testimonials make me wonder how these women get anything done:

“Thanks to the G-SHOT™ , I am always turned on.”

“My G-Spot is always present and ready for action at a moments notice”

“Even during my spinning class I can feel the bike seat pressing on it-and I have to pretend I’m just enjoying the workout”

I forgot to mention that you can have lots of different things done at once. You can combine the interior tightening with an exterior remodel AND get a boob job or nose job or tummy tuck AT THE SAME TIME. Neato, eh? And, if money is an issue, these thoughtful docs will provide a financing program. A sort of Lay-a-way plan so that you can plan to get laid with more confidence.

I hope you enjoyed this overview of surgery for the female underview. I certainly enjoyed learning about it. I don't know what could possibly be next after this, but rest assured that if there is something, you will read about it here.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Word Verification for Comments

To all those who comment on this blog - anyone is welcome to comment, by the way - I have turned on the word verification feature for commenting. All this means is that when you want to post a comment, you have to type in a word that you see on the screen.

Why was I driven to this? I kept getting spam comments on my blog! It is amazing what these people can do.

Miss Piggy

Miss Piggy
Originally uploaded by Bloomington Girl.
Last Monday was Jack's birthday and we had some cupcakes (one each) after dinner to celebrate. The cupcakes were left over from his party and were (I admit it) made from a mix, frosted with that fake frosting from a can. Now, those of you who know me - and I think that might be everyone reading this blog - are probably shocked to hear that I even allowed a cake mix in my sacred kitchen where only scratch baking is done. But, it is true. And you know what else is true? I LOVE cake-mix cake and fake frosting from a can. There. I said it. I'm cheap. What can I say? I even bought two extra mixes and cans of fake frosting for cake emergencies.

Anyway, after Jack opened his presents, Chris took Jack up to bed and I cleaned the kitchen. There were about five cupcakes left and they were a bit banged up and ready for the trash. But, it seemed such a shame to throw them out just like that. So, I decided I would maybe eat the frosting off one before it went into the garbage. Well, eating the frosting gave way to eating the whole cupcake. And they were small, right? Why not have another? In all, counting the one I had after dinner, I probably ate three and a half cupcakes. I thought I would get away with this until Chris walked in and busted me, chocolate frosting on my face. I was pretty embarrassed. He said, "AHA! Now I get it!"

"What do you get?"

"How you can be gaining weight while you are working out so much! You're sneaking food!" He laughed. Then, he threw in some pig snorts for added fun. Actually, he is the one who is always telling me that I am not gaining weight but I have been complaining lately how fat I am. (Wouldn't the world be such a better place if women like me would put their energy into improving the planet rather than obsessing about their weight?...but I digress)

Well, that did it. Back on the diet. Back to counting stupid points and deciding whether I want the martini, two glasses of wine or, well, dinner. Because you CAN'T have it all. Damn.