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Chapter XVII

because you never know someone from the very beginning

Month

February 2008

And the Ergo tames the Beast

Much has been written about the best products for babies.  And now I can add my two cents…

The screaming started today at 2PM.  It continued and continued for no apparent reason.  I tried all of the typical solutions – changed the diaper, fed her, burped her, walked her around, played with her, tried to get her to sleep.  All to no avail.  I could not tame the beast.

And as cute as she is (Dr. Jekyll), she already shows her other side (Mr. Hyde).  See the picture:

Dsc00246_4 But nevermind – I think I found a solution.  At least for now…and it’s the Ergo!  It’s an infant carrier that allows me free use of my hands and lulls her to sleep.

Ahh, silence.  And the Ergo tames the beast.

A New Addition Has Arrived

Well, we now have a baby girl :-).  She was born a few days early (like her mother), she made a somewhat dramatic entrance (like her father) and she is practically perfect in every way.  It is surreal to me that as I sit here and type, she is snoring on my lap.  She – mine, ours, a child that will change our lives forever.  That is a lot to wrap our heads around.

And there is so much to say about the whole thing but I am not sure yet if I want to write about her or what I would say.

Being on maternity leave is very very strange.  I have some downtime every day but she is a demanding child, like all babies, I am sure, and every day has been unpredictable. 

I did a will today.  A very basic but needed will.  As soon as you think about birth, you need to think about death. 

I caught a glimpse of myself yesterday in a store window as I was walking with her.  It was me reflected in that window…me with a stroller.  It caught me off-guard.  I love it but I would be lying if I said the image was a tad shocking.

So here we go to the next phase!  And what a wild ride it portends to be. 

My most Master of the Obvious comment yet…

I know this might sound silly, but I realized last night that this is our last week, potentially our last DAY of being childless!  We are not quite at the due date (2/14) but really this could happen anytime.  And the meaning of that is a bit shocking.  Today I sit here at my desk – we have an apartment, two cats, a car, etc.  Tomorrow we could also have a kid.  Just as if we were to run out to the store later and decide to get one.  A kid.  One day no kid, next day, kid. 

Remember that movie, Three Men and a Baby?  All of a sudden on their doorstep was a kid.  That is kind of how this feels.  Imagine going to your front door right now and having a kid for the rest of your life.  Surprise!

Holy crap, as they say. 

Not that I have been unaware of the implications of being pregnant, but still.  Sometimes the reality of these things hits you like a sledgehammer. 

And don’t get me wrong, a good sledgehammer.  But a sledgehammer nevertheless. 

Kablaammmmm!  Kid.

Everyone, send some positive vibes to Madison Square Garden

I believe what comes around, goes around

I believe in karma

I believe in rooting for the underdog and the power of positive energy

Therefore, damn it, I believe in the NY Knicks. 

Even when they lose, they are losing better now than ever before this season, and please, Karma, that has got to come around to their benefit sometime, someway, right?

Slight amendment, I believe in them only if they believe in themselves!  What the hell was that tonight at the end of the game??  They just gave up!  To the CLIPPERS no less. 

harumph.

Like Nails on a Chalkboard…

Ugh – I hate the phrases "Noodle on" and "Crunch the numbers".  Ick.  How about "Think about" and "Do the math". 

And also, "go IPO".  Who says that?  You don’t "Go initial public offering" you HAVE an initial public offering.  Go IPO.  Oy.

Just pet peeves.  I happen to have heard all three phrases today and it’s making my oh so petty head spin.

Barefoot Pregnant and In the Kitchen!

I have to say, I am relishing not really being up to eating out at night.  We used to go out all the time, and that is one of the great things about NYC, but it’s hell on a wallet and it’s crowded and I now almost exclusively wear sneakers since my feet are huge, so I would feel out of place in a fancy-pants place anyway striding in all big-footed in my Nikes, so why bother?  I go home for dinner.

In NYC, home for dinner normally means dialing in for food – Chinese, Indian, Mexican, whatever.  I have friends who use their ovens for extra storage.  Cooking can be a chore, so for New Yorkers, a home cooked meal often comes in a bag and a box.  And we do that, but I really like to get home and cook something.  I find that chopping and prepping and making something is a great way for me to wind down.  Now that said, I am not super interested in cooking for hours on end most weeknights, so I have a few stand-by recipes that I rely upon that are quick and good.  Thought I would share…

  • As much as it pains me, one of the best stand-by quick recipes I have is Rachel Ray’s Jambalaya.  I know she wears her shirts too tight, and has incredibly annoying habits like saying "EVOO" but if you can get past that, this dish is quick and darn tasty. 
  • Continuing on the Rachel theme, I use her curry recipe too, along with the chick pea/zucchini stew from the same episode.  Now this meal is a great one for a dinner party.  It’s better cooked a day ahead, and then all you have to do is heat it up when company comes over, put out the sides like onions, mashed bananas, chutney and let people go to town.  Curry is a bit unexpected at a dinner party, and if you make this the day before, fire up some store bought papadams, if you can find them, you look like a hero.  Add some mango sorbet at the end (and wine or beer all along the way) and everyone has a blast. 
  • I like recipes that are high impact, few ingredients.  The best example is Nigella Lawson’s recipe for chicken with chorizo and canneli beans.  It tastes great, cooks in no time, is great looking on a plate and needs only a few ingredients.  And because you are eating beans and greens on the same plate, it feels healthy (well, the chorizo makes it less healthy but who really cares?)
  • I also enjoy pounding on a few turkey cutlets at the end of a day, dipping them in egg then panko bread crumbs (seasoned with oregano, salt and pepper), lightly frying them and topping them with a little salad.  And the salad goes like this – take either arugula or spinach and mix it with grape tomatoes you have cut in half.  Throw a little salt and pepper over your greens/tomatoes, then ever so lightly toss the greens with extra virgin olive oil.  Next, squeeze some lemon juice on all of that and toss.  Re-season with more lemon, salt and/or pepper, as needed.  Make the salad right at the end or it will wilt.  Pile the salad on top of the warm fried cutlets.  Heaven.  I think this can also be served for company because it looks nice on a plate and tastes great.
  • Ellie Krieger’s pasta puttanesca can be on a plate in less than 15 minutes and it’s really good.  I like to use anchovies from a can rather than paste, but paste is fine, and let them melt into the sauce, and to avoid burning the garlic I mix my chopped garlic with a tablespoon or so of water and toss all of that in the pan.  I also make a pound of pasta and about double everything else in the recipe – she makes a half pound which is never enough (she is a health nut, after all).  The use of whole wheat pasta is great and the arugula works wonders.  I also cheat and use pre-chopped olives (unless I am feeling violent and want to take it out on olives) because pitting olives can be a pain.  I NEVER use cheese on this, as she suggests.  Cheese on a fish pasta is nasty and goes against ever Italian cooking rule I have ever read.
  • And of course, I can not forget old faithful: Roast Chicken.  Perhaps one of the easiest things ever to make.  Because Thomas Keller is a god, I use his recipe.  Take a small bird (2 to 3 pounds), wash it then dry it thoroughly, salt and pepper it, put it in a pan (I use a small cast iron skillet), maybe stuff a half a lemon into the cavity or garlic, and throw the whole thing into a pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 50 minutes.  Take it out, let it sit for 10 minutes while you maybe make a salad, and dig in.  I don’t always truss it, and I am often tempted to eat the whole thing straight out of the pan.   
  • Of course, clams are easy fun and impressive.  Big pot, maybe saute a little garlic and/or onion in some olive oil…maybe some chorizo if you have that around.  Throw in the clams and pour some wine and water over the whole thing (not a lot).  Cover and let simmer until the clams open.  Pour clams and broth into a big bowl.  If you are feeling fancy, toss with fresh chopped parsley.  A nice first course for a dinner party, or just for you on your couch.
  • And then there is soup.  Cream of something soups.  Soup is cool because people who don’t cook have no idea how easy it is to turn a batch of asparagus into a delicious soup.  This recipe is simple and great, and if you use an immersion blender, it’s even more simple and great.  I like to add a dash of cayenne pepper to mine.  If you make some garlic toasts that would be a nice and indulgent addition.

So those are my ideas.  I have other stand-bys but I cannot possibly share all my tricks, right?  Now, what will we have for dinner tonight?

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