Sunday, November 29, 2009

How to alienate Chileans

Margaret, over at Cachando Chile wrote about some of the things gringos do that intentionally or unintentionally alienate, annoy, or offend Chileans, which is bound to happen living in a culture that is not your own. In some situations it is a case of open-mouth-insert-foot by saying something you didn’t mean to say; in other cases it is stubbornly keeping with your own behavior even after lots of insisting that you change it (i.e. walking around barefoot when so many people are worried about your health); in other cases it is expressing an opinion that somehow offends their very chilean-ness (like saying you don’t care for their national anthem).

I mentioned a few in her comment section, like not thinking one of their huge soccer idols (Zamorano) was a very good player (he wasn’t) and defiling their national dish, cazuela, by cutting the large pieces into small ones and eating it with a spoon like the stew that it is (rather than siphoning off the broth and then eating it like a meat-and-potato-plate, with a knife and fork).

I thought I would mention a few more here.

For the first one, I have to admit that I was not blessed with social graces. I try to be good, whatever that means, but I don’t have a lot of patience with formalities. This is hard for me in Chile because of the greetings and good-byes. In Chile you must perform the perfunctory greeting (cheek to cheek kiss) and the perfunctory good bye (cheek to cheek kiss) for all present. If you go to a party, that is a lot of cheek to cheek. When I am not in the mood to be social, it is like pulling teeth and I grump and groan internally about having to appear more civil than I feel. Sometimes I long for the ease of the big sweeping wave good-bye to all; the shout across the room “see you later.”

Not only at parties, but in almost all other situations when you see someone you know, even running into them in the street—you have to greet them with a kiss and then say good bye with a kiss. For someone like me, who has moments of extreme anti-sociality, it is exhausting. You also must greet everyone in the house each morning and say goodnight each evening in the same way.

Sometimes I can get away with not greeting everyone because I am a gringa (foreigner), but I am absolutely certain that I have offended people by not hunting them down to say good-bye. I try to feel sorry about it, but that is exhausting too ;-). I am what I am, in the end, and I do make a lot of effort.

My second example is telling them that La Araucana is mostly fiction. The Araucanos are/were the indigenous people in the south of Chile. History tells that they were so fierce that it took the Spaniards hundreds of years to conquer them. Alonso de Ercilla, a Spaniard during the conquest, wrote La Araucana, which is essentially Chile’s epic poem. It is one of the first pieces of literature from the New World. It is considered a national story of origin and the indigenous characters are considered national heroes (which is ironic, of course, considering how the Mapuche--the indigenous people in the south of Chile--are treated). I don’t know exactly how it is studied in schools in Chile, but according to my husband, it is considered “history”.

The literary criticism, however, suggests otherwise. (It has been a while since I studied, it so I can’t remember all of the details). Though it is thought to be loosely based on Ercilla’s experiences as a Spanish soldier and some of the events may be loosely based on real battles, as far as the native characters are concerned, it is considered doubtful that he would have been privy to the indigenous part of the story. There are also no historical documents that can verify the existence of these characters; from what I remember (though it was a while ago) the “historical” documents related to the story were written after the publication of La Araucana and even based on the poem, as if it were absolute fact, so it is a bit of a chicken and egg dilemma. Furthermore, though Ercilla may have woven some indigenous elements into the poem, it is essentially a literary piece from Spain’s Golden Age and based, in large part, on a similarly written Italian poem. The description of the characters and the events, how he sets up the story, how he claims to have gotten the information, are all classical stylistic elements common at the time. My husband was flabbergasted when I told him that it was probably mostly fiction.

It is akin to suggesting that the story of the Alamo is largely myth (which of course, it is, and I shall now be hunted down by a mob of angry Texans and a mob of angry Chileans—but that is just how I roll).

See other alienation methods with Sara and Emily

Thursday, November 26, 2009


It is not something I talk about much. Fortunately, it doesn’t consume my thoughts the way it once did. I have mentioned it, however, in several comments lately and also for another relevant reason, thought I would share it.

Nothing prepares you to hear the word cancer… nothing… but at 28 I heard it.

My brother-in-law was visiting and told my husband that he should get some of his moles checked out. My husband was hesitant, but I told him I had to get some checked out too, so we could go together. The dermatologist took one look at him and said that his skin type didn’t have many problems with skin cancer. He took one look at my moles and said that we had to get a biopsy because it could be melanoma. He tried to backtrack a little saying he could be wrong, but in a sense, I knew then, what I would be hearing. I wasn’t much of a sunbather, but I wasn’t from a generation of sun-block. My grandfather had melanoma, so there was an obvious genetic risk as well.

A few days later, I heard it: Malignant melanoma. Skin cancer sounds so superficial. It sounds so insignificant. With other kinds of skin cancers, the chance of death is minimal, almost non-existent even. With melanoma, it is not so simple. With melanoma, it depends on the timing. If you catch it early, stage one, you have a 95% chance of survival. If you catch it too late, stage 4, you have a 5% chance of surviving.

There is a lot of waiting at first, with few answers, as you go through a complex staging process that involves removing the tumor, checking the lymph nodes for involvement and going through a series of scans (CT, PET, MRI) to check for metastases in other parts of your body.

The original tumor was removed, leaving a 7-8 inch scar. The doctors tested the lymph node connected to the tumor site and found a micro-metastasis, which put me in an entirely different risk category. All of the lymph nodes under my right arm were removed and luckily there were no cancer cells in any other nodes. All my scans were clear, fortunately, but since I had lymph node involvement, I was at stage 3a which statistically put me at about a 50-50 chance for a recurrence; and a recurrence put me at a 5% chance of survival. It was terrifying.

The other difficult thing with melanoma is that it is basically untreatable at later stages. The reason the chances of survival are so low at stage 4 is that once melanoma spreads to other parts of you body, chemo and radiation are powerless to deter it. They try new chemo cocktails that work for some patients for a while and they have made some progress with a specialized vaccine, but it is still in the study phases. But mostly, chances are not good.

Melanoma is an immuno-sensitive cancer, so since, chemo doesn’t work well once you get a recurrence, they try to boost your immune system so that your body fights off any cancer cells before forming tumors elsewhere. The standard treatment is Interferon, which your body makes naturally; it is administered, of course, in synthetic, highly toxic doses.

The first month I received a dose daily, which required a port-a-cath: a strange kind of button-shaped object they surgically place under your clavicle, attached to a vein to more easily administer fluids—it is much easier than getting an IV every few days. After that first month, I gave myself shots in the leg three times a week for the next 11 months.

On the positive side, I have seen all of my organs, even my brain—cool! I also had so many needle pricks that year that I am absolutely undisturbed by needles.

The worst part was the first month, in such high doses, there are a lot of unpleasant symptoms, though not nearly as bad as a chemo regimen. The rest of the year was a blur, really, of fear and sickness. I was trying to finish up my Master’s degree, which took me an extra year. I stayed in school and had to continue teaching in order to have health benefits. I wanted to have a diversion though, and to continue with some semblance of a normal life. It was one of the darkest years of my life, and though my husband was very supportive, I felt very alone.

The worst moment was thinking I had a metastasis. Something odd had shown up in my abdominal CT scan. My Dr. ordered a PET scan (a special x-ray to see how your body metabolizes glucose—cancers cells are sugar-greedy). My abdomen was clear, but there was something in my knee, of all places. It looked and acted exactly like cancer. I asked if there were any other possibilities, they said no. I had to get a needle biopsy (not fun under the knee-cap). I waited in horror all weekend for the results, trying to prepare myself mentally for what the doctors were sure was going to be stage 4—it didn’t matter that it was just the knee, once it starts spreading, there is not a lot that can be done. It came back some weird non-cancerous blob that just strangely sucked up a lot of glucose. It was removed, just in case.

One of the things I hated most was feeling that my body had betrayed me. Cancer cells are your own cells gone awry, gone undetected by the normal checks and balances your body has to deal with abnormal cells.

Another thing I hated was the psychology of it: there is self-pity at first, wondering “why me” and thinking of all the experiences I may not get to have, there is the wondering what I had done to deserve it; there is fear and the difficulty in trying to control the panic; there is anger, there is sadness, there is anxiety, and it was hard to watch those I love try to deal with it.

People have no idea what to say, which is awkward. They tell you about their brush with death in a near-car accident. They tell you it could be worse. They tell you that things happen for a reason. They tell you that you have to be positive.

You say that the near-car accident must have been frightening. You try not to imagine what it would be like if it gets worse. You can think of lots of reasons why you deserve cancer. You feel guilty when you are depressed and fearful. Mostly, you just want to curl up in a ball and cry… a lot.

It is comforting to hear other cancer patients’ stories, but it drove me nuts to hear things like “Cancer was the best thing to ever happen to me” (Lance Armstrong). I guess there is a way in which it changes your priorities, but I would love to never have had cancer, to not know that fear. That fear changes you. It lessens over time. After months, and years, you don’t think about it nearly as much, you don’t obsess on reading stats and studies on the internet, trying to figure out your chances. But with every odd pain, every headache, every bout of dizziness or nausea, you wonder. Every time your check-up time comes around, even though you have felt no symptoms, you wonder if something will show up on the CT scan. You wait with bated breath for the phone call that says “all clear.”

I got such a phone call this Wednesday, after my CT scan Tuesday. After 6 years, my scan still looks normal. I relax; the invisible weight lifts. The nervousness is replaced with a mild euphoria. The anxiety is replaced with gratitude.

I am grateful for all the happiness that has come since that year, especially my two little peanuts.

It has been a happy Thanksgiving.

I hope yours was happy too!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Confession # 5--Love Bites

So, I am a little embarrassed of this one...

not just because I am about to receive a brand, spankin' new Ph.D....

but also because I am 35, which is way too old, right?

but, it is true, nonetheless...

I have been bitten...

by the Twilight saga

Hoping for a small distraction, and curious to see what all the buzz was about, I asked a (very obsessed) friend for the books.

I started the first one Friday night... and read until 1:30 (not smart with kids!) and finally made myself put it down for the night. I couldn't wait until naptime the next day and almost finished it, had just a few chapters to finish.

I don't think they are that well-written, but the story is compelling. I can absolutely see why most guys aren't sharing in the obsession. It is a story of teen love/angst. My first superficial "analysis" is that women (girls) relate because it is how we are first socialized to think of love. It is how teen girls experience love or think they should experience love. I remember that angst, that combination of pleasure and pain, and I am always intensely grateful that the angst-phase passed (it doesn't always, if you have noticed) and that love is so much better and so much more comforting than that. I am slightly concerned that it might perpetuate the myth, for teenage Twilight fans, that this is the kind of love to hope for and hold out for.

I couldn't help but notice that the author went to BYU, which most assuredly means that she is Mormon. (I was raised Mormon, if you did not know). This struck me for several reasons. The author has written a love story about essentially evil beings, which a deeply religious person might not normally be comfortable with promoting, by creating the "monster with a conscience", the vegetarian vampire who does not drink human blood for ethical reasons. The normally "damned" creatures, hoping for a spot in heaven.

Also, in a relationship that is so intense that it would clearly, otherwise, involve sexual intimacy, the author cleverly avoids the "teen-age sex" issue, by using the vampire's strength and potential lack of control as a reason they cannot cross that boundary. Edward's impressive restraint, given the temptation he is facing, has remarkably religious over-tones to me.

Don't worry, I haven't gotten all out of control. I am not dressing up as a vampire. I am not interested in joining Team Edward or Team Jacob (really, I would hope Bella couldn't be that fickle, but she is a teen-ager, after all).

Of course, after reading book one, I went out and rented the first movie (as others were flocking to see New Moon, the second movie that just premiered in theaters.)

The movie was DISAPPOINTING. The acting is terrible; the dialogue is trite; and they cropped scenes from the book in a way that didn't do it justice.

and then there is the fact that this guy:

Does not do it for me!

I am sorry, he is not hot enough for Edward.

The way he is described in the book, he should look more like this:

Don't you agree?

I read New Moon, but I don't know if I can bear to see the movie. I am now on book three.

When I am done with book four, I promise I'll find some grown-up literature.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Annoying Facebook conversation and my new Facebook contract

This has been an exhausting week for some reason. I am finishing up the details on my dissertation, which shouldn't take that long, but I just don't want to sit down and finish it.

I have had a weird little headache for three days now. A few minutes ago, I went to take an Excederine and accidentally took a Tylenol pm because I wasn't thinking. I realized my mistake as I swallowed it and panicked. I am already tired and didn't want the added sleepiness and heaviness. In my panic, I even tried to make myself throw up (sorry if that is TMI and very lame). Don't be too worried though, I failed, I have no idea how to gag myself. But I think I did succeed in spraining my tongue.. is that even possible? I bet you all want to take back your "Congrats Doc" comments.

I had this annoying conversation with my mom yesterday (for the record, all conversations with my mom are annoying). I had told my mom about my defense on numerous occasions and it didn't seem to register. So, we were talking about why I didn't want to send an email to the family informing them (again? officially?) of my defense or why I don't want to send a "graduation announcement" email. The reason, if you are curious, is that very few of them care at all (or at least that is how I feel): they don't know what I study or why I have been studying so long or why I have chosen a lengthy degree that will not give me a million-dollar-salary pay-off in the end. They don't ask me about it and seem to get fidgety if I mention anything about my studies. In general, most of them don't ask me much about me: I am the "listener", the "receiver-of-rants" and the "advice-giver".

That part was kind of annoying, trying to justify or explain why I feel so lacksadaisical (sp?) about the family apathy dynamic. So I told her that I had posted a "status update" on facebook. So we started talking about facebook and it became clear that she really has no idea how it works. The conversation went like this:

She: Oh, I didn't get that email, do you have my correct address?

Me: Mom, it's not an email, it is a status update.

She: well, I didn't get the notification.

Me: They don't sent notifications to everyone just because I post an update.

She: well, then how do I find out about it

Me: you get on facebook

She: I don't use facebook that much.

Me: Well, that is where I posted it.

She: So where do I see your status updates?

Me: it shows up in your live-feed on your home page--all the recent activity from your facebook friends shows up.

She: well I think I have two facebook accounts, for my two different emails, which one do you have?

Me: What???? I don't think it matters what email you have, that is just where they send notifications and is used for your login.

She: because I didn't get that notification

Me: mom, there is no notification for status updates.

She: I can't even find facebook on my gmail page.

Me: it's not on your gmail page, you have to go to the facebook page, to sign in

She: I can never remember which email to sign in with or my password

Me: well, you have to write those things down somewhere...

(she gets on her facebook page and starts explaining everything she sees.)

She: Cindy says "blah blah" Roger says "blah blah"

Me: (in my head: I don't care what your friends are doing)

She: I don't see yours

Me: That's because it was last Friday, a lot has happened since them. You can go to my profile to see it.

She: how do I get to your profile?

Me: (silent scream--ahhhhh) you have to click on my name,

She: where?

Me: anywhere you see it, or click on my picture under your list of friends.

She: hmm, I don't see it... pause....

Me: you can click on my name on any comment I have made or even when we "became friends" or go to your list of friends and click on me.

She: you haven't commented on my page

Me: becuase I just send you an email if I need to

She: oh, I see we have some friends in common

Me: (impatiently) umm hmm, most of the siblings

She: where is Q? Why isn't Q on here?

Me: Q is not on facebook, I don't know why.

She: I thought he had a page, I think I have seen it

Me: no that is myspace, he has a myspace page.

She: they have all these new things now, like Twitter, I am on Twitter and I find it very challenging.

Me: Yes, the word limit...yeah, I'm not going to do Twitter.

and on and on

She still wishes that facebook would send notifications for important events like that and she thinks it is weird that facebook says that we "are now friends"

Am I just too easily annoyed?

So facebook is what it is and it has its annoying qualities, but I got to thinking about what I limit myself to on facebook. So this is my new facebook contract detailing what I will and will not do:


I will look at photos you post and even comment.

I will tell you that the photos of your baby/kids/grandkids/and maybe even your dog/cat are cute (because it is usually true)

I will post photos of my kids (I may appear occasionally, though I generally take the pics so I am usually not in them [and I am not very photogenic]).

I will read your updates and might comment, especially if they are not about what you are eating for dinner (except for Eileen and the artichokes, because I love artichokes) or what your plans for the evening are.


I will not post 10 status updates a day (not even one a day, acutally).

I will not throw a snowball at you.

I will not poke you.

I will not send you a gift to put under your Chirstmas tree.

I will not send you good Karma (at least not on facebook, I will send you old-fashioned telepathic Karma if you need it).

I will not help you steal arms or bury a dead body in Mafia Wars.

I will not send you a virtual plant for your facebook garden (though I have been known to give real plants as gifts).

I will (probably) not participate in the quest to determine: which celebrity diva I am most like; which of the seven dwarves I should marry; what kind of starbucks drink I am; what periodic element I am; which celbrities I want to be stuck in an elevator with; what crayon color I am; how sexy my name is; what my spririt animal is; how well I know the "Twilight" series. I am a party-pooper, I already know that.

I will not try to beat your score on any facebook game. (maybe... they'd have to come out with a really good one).

I will not send you a picture of a gift or a champagne flute (though I will happily drink real champagne in your honor if you are celebrating).

No offense, but I will probably ignore any of the above objects that you send to me because accepting them usually means that you give that application access to all of your info and list of contacts--which is both creepy and annoying.

Now, let's create a facebook poll: Who still wants to be fb friends with Annje (aka the fb grinch)?

Now I am feeling very sleeeeeeeepyyyyyyy......xkajfoiehioehryoiweqhoiq[

Friday, November 13, 2009

Updates on my updates

So Margaret asked why I mentioned my Facebook competition before my defense. I think because saracasm and humor is my way of dealing with serious issues and pressure.

So you guys know of course that I am not REALLY in competetion for facebook friends, right? I am just being silly and a little sarcastic. (though I am totally serious about wanting to delete my irritating old crush.)

But, with that said, I did get some new facebook friends (thank you mosey and Isabel--it's an honor (or honour)-- I was already fb friends with some of you--which is also an honor) and have now surpassed my hubby, and I can't deny that it feels victorious and glorious. I'll have to rub it in later.

Though truth be told, I have now exhausted all of my facebook-friend-resources. My friend suggestions are even empty... totally empty. Facebook has got nothin' for me. My husband on the other hand has lots of friends that aren't on his fb yet--and everyone loves him... I mean everyone. And in Chile, they keep all of their friends FOREVER--he has fb friends that he went to kindergarten with. I can't even remember where I went to kindergarten.

Now that I think about it, I had better not rub it in. If I start gloating I am sure he'll look up the other 5000 people he knows and I will never catch up. So for now, I am going to bask in the glow of my temporary online popularity (haha) in silence.

Defense... what defense? Oh, you wanna know about my defense?

Ok, but first, I'll tell you that the funniest part of the whole day was the blister on my heel. I wore these shoes that I hadn't worn in a while. I am ashamed to even say that I got a blister, because these are not hot little blister-worthy shoes (is there such a thing as bister-worthy shoes?) They just aren't re-worn in this year.

By the time I walked from parking to my building (15 minutes). I had a blister and was limping, trying to stop the abrasion. I looked around in my bag and found no band-aid...the only thing I had was a pantyliner. So I sat down and put the pantyliner around my heel, inside my sock protecting the heel from further pain. It worked wonders... highly recommended... as long as you have socks on, without them it might look funny.

OK OK OK, so the defense went pretty well. Everyone signed and called me Doctor (though you don't have to quite yet). I am mostly just relieved to have it over with. I wasn't nervous at all until all of my committee members had shown up and then I got the butterflies.

A defense is not really the END end... but it is the last big task. But during the defense, there are always concessions to make and suggested revisions, so it seems anti-climactic in some ways. I have one little addition to make and a few little revisions, but I WILL graduate. YAY!!

I was worried about one committee member because he is the program director where I collected data. He was added to my committee late and I have never had a class with him, so I don't know him that well--but my study is relevant to him. At one point during the defense, it sounded like he was suggesting an addition that would involve a lot of work and I suffered a minor internal panic attack, but it turned out that it wasn't all that major.

So, there you have it. Two successes! I'll tell you when I give my dissertation to the graduate school and all is officially official and then you can call me Doctor!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

BIG updates!

Breaking News:

The absolute most important update is that, with the addition of the clever, though occasionally snarky travel blogger at bearshapedshere to my list of Facebook friends, I have now caught up to my husband in number of online contacts. Those of you who have been in any kind of a relationship will know how important a competition like this is. I just need one more to surpass him... any offers???

I might actually need two more because there is this certain guy I had a major crush on in high school who I accepted friendship with just to satisfy that 20 year-old curiosity of what he now looks like. Curiosity satisfied! My husband is totally hotter and I am now annoyed daily by his mafia wars progress and his hyper-conservative status blatherings and want to delete him. But to keep my numbers up, I am unable to do that. Thank goodness my dream of marrying him didn't come true. We'd be in a downright pickle about now.

The fb friend number itself is nothing to brag about, mind you, we are both hanging in mid-70's, which is downright pathetic if you look at the 300+ or even 500+ fb friends of some people I know. I don't even know 300 people well enough to be fb friends. Let's just say that it is because I am very selective in who I will allow to be my friend, and not because I am lacking in some very important social graces.

So, yes, if you must know, I consider this a major accomplishment.

If you have bothered to stay around, reading my facebook drivel, I will also tell you that my other major update is that I have my dissertation defense tomorrow, Friday the 13th.

So think of me and send me lots of lucky eloquent vibes.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Run, Rabbit, Run*

I felt good this morning. So I went for a run.

I RAN 10 MILES!! in 84 minutes (that's 8:40 a mile--not too shabby!)

(I could totally end the post here, but you know how verbose I am...)

I run quite a bit, 3-4 times a week, sometimes more. But I normally only run 4-5 miles and it has been years since I ran 10.

I was so happy with myself. I called the hubs and told him, just to brag, and because after 13 years, I still want him to think I am awesome.

I started running as an adult because of my husband--should I admit that? We had gone to the beach town where we always used to go (Quintero), because his grandpa had a little house there. He said: "Let's go for a run" and I said: "OK" And we went. I think that was the moment he was sold (and mine forever). Most Chilean women don't exercise that much (unless that has changed now?). So he was impressed that I said yes and that I kept up the whole way and didn't stop.

I have been running ever since...

We used to run up San Cristobal on the weekends. It is a hill in the middle of Santiago--probably 20-25 minutes or so, ALL UP HILL (and steep), plus the 100+ steps to the Virgin at the top (those killed me!). One day I went on a long run by myself up half of San Cristobal and then along a road that goes along the top of the hill. I ended up way up town (near Escuela Militar, I think, or farther). I wanted to take the subway or a bus home but I didn't have any money, so I just kept running, all the way back down to my apt near Parque Forestal (for those of you who don't know Stgo, that is FAR!) I think I was running for over an hour and a half, I think it was about 12-13 miles or so and the longest I have run.

So, now, after running 10 miles, I am hurting. All my muscles are sore (some of it from the gym the last few days). My legs are wobbly and I have blisters on my toes and some chaffing on my thigh where my shorts rubbed. I want to run a marathon some day soon, and I have a tiny taste of what that is going to feel like--painful!-- Today times 2 plus 6 more miles. It'll take some training.

Our kids have always seen us run and it looks like it will rub off on them. G loves to run and is freakishly fast. Nico loves it too. They chase each other around the house, running laps just before bedtime. Here are some pics of G running last year.

Look at the face of a hard-core runner...

and she is all terrain (which is what my hubs says of me--one of my favorite compliments)

and stretching with papi, after a run.

* Title of a book by John Updike.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I do make dinner, but my kids won't eat it

I was thinking about writing this post and was then further inspired by mosey along and anymommy (adapted title).

It is hard to be a mom. I don't mean that in a whiny way, because it is fun and beautiful too. But it is hard to come to grips with the fact that there is very little "me time." That is exacerbated, of course, if you want to do anything besides being a mom.. and by anything, I mean anything. If you want to work, study, blog.. anything. There is guilt. There is lots of guilt. Men don't have it--no matter how many hours a week they work--I don't know why.

There is pressure. You see all the cool things other moms do: crafts, cooking lessons, trips, home-made costumes, cool clothes--things you don't do, can't do, won't do, but feel bad about. Are my children missing out on something?

You see moms juggle multiple kids and you feel bad about complaining about two. There is always something that gives... always. It is often alone time or date night, but there is always something you just can't get to... Dinner, cleaning, laundry, playdates. Anymommy bravely posted that she doesn't make dinner. She has four kids, I don't think I could get out of bed with four kids, much less make dinner.

I do make dinner... usually. I am not bragging...There are lots of things that I don't do, like crafts (the word "paint" brings terror to my soul) and like unnecessarily leaving the house with the kids... it's just not fun. I'll go to the park or my neighbor's house, but that is about it.

But I do make dinner--that makes up for at least something, right? There are nights, of course, where we do mac-n-cheese and chicken nuggets or quesadillas or canned soup. But I try to cook home-made meals as much as possible. I like to cook, so I am trying to come to terms with the routine aspect of it, which isn't all that fun. (I miss the days when I didn't have to feed other little mouths and I could just have popcorn if I felt like it).

I am slightly obsessed with making sure my kids have enough veggies and fiber, so I make legumes, A LOT! And when I make dishes, I make enough to last a couple of days. We try to mix it up a little in the middle, but in busy weeks, it means 2-3, sometimes 4 days of the same meal. My kids can handle about 2.

Last weekend, I made lentils, with lots of carrots, celery, peppers, and a little turkey sausage. It is not gourmet, but it is healthy. G wasn't even particularly happy on day one. Nico obliged. We ate other things for a few days and then had lentils again... they put up a little more resistance. Then we had lentils a 3rd day.

On the 3rd day, G outright refused to touch them. She went to bed early with no dinner (she was over-tired and needed a reminder that she has to eat what she is served--but I felt bad anyway). Nico took one look at his bowl and made this scowl-howl face of dread and started to cry big crocodile tears of self-pity.

I felt like such a bad mom... so the next day I made them mac-n-cheese from a box and chicken nuggets.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Late Halloween pics

So, I am lame. I can't get pics up the day after a holiday.

We had an eventful weekend, in fact, I can't remember the last weekend where we did so many social events. Friday night we had a kid's b-day party at one of those inflatable jumping-gym deals. The kids loved it, especially the foam pit.

Saturday was Halloween. We went to a party at a neighbor's house. Most of the adults dressed up... except us. We are lame, I know. I didn't really have time to put anything together; I even got the kids' costumes late. I was bummed later that we hadn't dressed up, because it might be our last Halloween here for a while.

I usually don't dress up or decorate my house, but I like Halloween. I like it because it seems like the epitomy of Fall: pumpkins and pumpkin patches, hay-rides, crisp cool nights, brown crunchy leaves on the ground, the smell of fall in the air. I like seeing G's happiness at dressing up and going trick-or-treating. I like that there is not as much consumerism or religion attached, it is just simple and fun.

G was a fairy princess--or something like that.

She got a head-start on the candy-eating (I don't really let her eat very much).

Nico was a spider or spider-web. He wasn't feeling well and was very cranky.

He cried when we put his costume on and didn't really stop. So he didn't go trick-or-treating. The hubs took him home and G and I went up and down the street with G's BFF and her mom (one of my good friends).

By far the highlight as far as costumes was this guy, the host. I experienced immense glee notifying him that his nipple was showing.

The other highlight was drinking way too much sangria. I was one happy chica!