Sunday, October 22, 2006

little mouse, little mouse, where have I been?

At lighting stores, actually. We set aside some money ages ago to put some overhead lighting downstairs, and I've been scoping out chandeliers. Mind you, my goal is to put a beautiful chandelier in a narrow room, with a dropped ceiling, and way too much furniture..and have it not look crowded.

Essentially, I'd like a semi-invisible chandelier that would give immense quantities of light (dimmable, of course) so that we could see wee veins easily, while gliding past the problems of the overcrowded room and silly ceiling. Preferably, the chandelier should come with a pre-paid contractor and Candice Olsen. Ya, right.

Here is my top pick for a chandelier: this spare, graceful offering from Hubbardton Forge. And no, it will not fit.

In fact, I'm giving up on the idea entirely, and filing it under 'someday,' and 'in the dream house,' along with an entryway that isn't a stairwell and a kitchen bigger than a large closet. We'll do fine with some plain recessed lighting, and it'll be a cheaper solution. Always good, that.

Where else have I been? Chasing toddlers! The babes is now the toddles, and waddles around, hands raised...and he's gaining speed. So now, in addition to his ability to climb small tables in a single scramble, he can zip around the house, giggling as I follow in hot pursuit. My latest solution: send the Eldest off in pursuit while I try to make things for the hungry masses.

Chasing mice! Our mouse became mice, then mouse again, then mouse upstairs (freaking everybody out), then no mouse, and now mouse again. I'm reserving judgement on the efficacy of the exterminator's work, but at least the quantity of mouse poop has declined significantly. My favorite response to the mouse problem is the Eldest's, of course.

He drew two pictures on his chalkboard. One, was of a mouse, and the other was of a cat. The mouse he circled and put a line through (he's much enamored of 'No Smoking' signs), while the cat he circled, sans line. He explained that, the mouses will see the 'no mouse' sign and leave. If they don't leave, they will see the 'yes cat' sign and run away because they are scared the cats will come.

He might just be right.

Refusing to chase small boys. Yes, refusing. The man and I realized that we were spending an inordinate amount of time curbing the Eldest's tendency to play what we call 'falling down' games. He'd fling himself into the couch from halfway across the room, he'd run and glide, Travolta-like, on his knees and shins, he'd spin wildly and then topple with glee. We'd holler things like, 'don't do that, you could get hurt,' then 'did you hear what I said about falling down games' before finishing with a shriek about not listening and poor choices. Phooey.

We sat the Eldest down and explained that falling down games are now up to him, quietly shuddered about his left knee (a target joint, which means that he bleeds into it rather easily), and called and apologized to the hemophilia nurse practitioner. Who egged us on, telling us that she fully agreed, and we should let him learn his own limits. Especially if it keeps us sane. Sane-er.

I strongly suspect, bye the bye she lives in dire fear of one of her hemophilia-families going ape on her, and the parents simply losing it. She's just so obviously grateful for any signs of compos mentis that she sees in us, that either she thinks we're on the edge or that she sees many who are. Yikes.

...and finally, chasing time! I've begun work on my dissertation again, thanks to a certain stubborn Canadian, who insisted on reminding me that, yes, I have a brain, and maybe I'm sometimes hiding from my own ability to write the dratted diss. Well, she and I have study dates now once a week, and I started re-reading some primary sources, preperatory to writing a new prospectus. My first reading session had me scribbling frantic notes, infuriated at the realization that this random text was useful to me, and I had a conference paper in the makings.

And no time to finish reading the text over the course of the rest of the week, and certainly no time to actually write a hells begotten conference paper! How amazingly infuriating is that.

And how wonderful it is to find that I have a brain, outside of the maternal role, and that it can still fire up and work like that. Must be the partner's grim determination to scrabble up more sleep for me, must be the coffee...and maybe, just maybe, it's that enough brain cells have survived this far to actually do the trick. Gee.
BTW, discovered this blog: The Restricted Gourmet, written by another mother on my food allergy e-group. Let's hear it for defiantly good food! And here's something to add to that thought:

We had an old favorite, German Peasant Soup, which is perfect cold weather food. It is also known around here as Hot Dog Soup, and I'm fairly certain that it answers to both names. Quick, easy, kid-friendly and hearty, this is a great soup.

German Peasant Soup, aka the Hot Dog Soup
1 pkg sausage (we use turkey hot dogs, but the more flavorful the sausage, the better), cut into non-choking hazard pieces
1 Tb caraway seeds
salt, pepper to taste
1 Tb flour of choice (can be omitted)
2 onions, diced
4 potatoes, diced
2-3 Tb olive oil
4 cups water (add more if necessary)

Heat oil, adding caraway seeds. Saute briefly, for 30-60 seconds. Add onion and sausage, sauteeing until onion starts to brown. Add potatoes, water, cook covered for 25 minutes. Add flour to thicken, salt, pepper.

Serve with crusty bread and salad. Serves at least 6.

Tip: cut up the potatoes and sausage the night before, stick them in separate ziploc bags.
Note: freezing this soup works well, though the onion often distintegrates, making for a thicker broth. This is a neat trick if you have a non-onion eating kid, which I do.

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