Saturday, February 2, 2013

Trot Trot

I have mentioned before that pre-child, pre-home ownership, and pre-everything that makes it hard to go on vacation for any significant amount of time, we went to Spain.  To northern Spain, actually, for two weeks.

What I have not mentioned is that A.'s best meal ever was consumed on that trip.  If you ask him what the best thing he's ever eaten was, he'll get all misty-eyed and tell you about the unctuous pig's trotters he had at a restaurant in Soria.

Yup.  The feet of a pig.  And he always uses the word "unctuous" to describe them.

He tried once to cook pig's feet--to recapture the magic if you will--but they were tough and nothing like the much-beloved Spanish porcine feet.

Then the MiL got a book* from the library all about cooking every part of a pig and saw a recipe for pig's trotters in it.  And then, she saw bags of frozen trotters at the butcher shop in the Small City.  So of course she bought some.  Because she's fearless like that.

In her words, she just wanted to see if she could make them edible.

We're all about high standards.


The trotters cook for something like eight hours, which certainly makes them tender.  And the sauce was good.  But the fact remains: They were the feet of a pig.  So they were essentially all skin, fat, and knuckle bones.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but they were . . . well, gross.

Cubby was very excited to eat pig's feet, because he's like that, but he took about two bites and declined the rest.  I did likewise, instead focusing on my mashed potatoes, beets, and peas.  Which left A. to eat most of the trotters himself.  And he did.

His reaction?  Allow me to quote the man directly:

"It's just on the edge of gross.  Maybe over the edge, actually."

"It's pork fat overload."

Then he ate some more.  And then . . .

"I'm shaken."

"Now THAT'S real food.  When you eat three or four pig's trotters, you know you've eaten something."

A. admitted that maybe part of the reason the trotters he ate in Spain were so exceptional was the fact that we hadn't eaten for 12 hours beforehand and so were starving.  But he was still grateful to the MiL for her attempt to recreate his favorite meal ever.

And I was happy with the mashed potatoes, so it was all okay.

* Co-written, amusingly, by a man named Christopher Trotter.

Friday, February 1, 2013


If you were concerned about Cubby's health after yesterday's episode, fear not.  When I tentatively opened his door to check on him at 6:30 this morning, fearing I would find him feverish and tossing about in his own vomit, I instead heard, "I'm ready to get up!"  He then requested "nice cold milk--not Ovaltine," cinnamon toast, orange juice, and an egg.

Obviously a full and speedy recovery for the little dictator.

What he did NOT request, and in fact outright refused, were the ginger ale and saltine crackers I bought for him specially yesterday.  As far as I'm aware, he's never had ginger ale, so I have no idea why he has such an aversion to it.  No matter.  I put the small bottle of it to good use this evening as a mixer with gin and lemon juice.

The saltines he refused because he persisted in believing they were rice crackers, which he does not like.  And the reason he thought they were rice crackers?  Because they're round.


Round saltines?  What the hell, Kraft?  Saltines, as everyone knows, are square.  But this tomfoolery not only included round crackers, but round crackers with sea salt.

What's wrong with regular salt anymore?  Why does all salt need to be sea salt?  Annoying.  And pretentious.


Although I will certainly eat the crackers because I'm a sucker for anything made with white flour, they are not what they used to be.  Not only are they round, but the fancy-pants sea salt is smaller than the salt granules that used to be on saltines, resulting in a less salty taste.  Also, they're not quite as airy and crisp as the square ones*.  They remind me more of salted water crackers.

These crackers these days.  Nothing at all like they were in MY day.

* In case you're wondering how I came to be such an authority on the old-school saltines, let me share my credentials: When I was in college, I would eat an entire sleeve of saltines for lunch in my car on my way from work to class.  So I know a real saltine when I see one.  

Thursday, January 31, 2013

And for the Parental Win . . .

Not me.

Cubby woke up crying from his afternoon nap because his mouth hurt.  An examination revealed his last upper molar coming in.  Further complaints resulted in my breaking out the children's acetaminophen.  While I was in the bathroom wrestling with the packaging on the unopened medicine, I heard a thunk from the adjoining bedroom.

That would be Charlie, falling off the bed on which I had left him.  Shit.

In an impressive feat of baby gymnastics, he somehow managed to fall about two feet away from the bed and land on the rug.  There was no bodily harm.  He didn't even cry, seeming more startled than anything.

Ten minutes later, while undressing Cubby for the warm bath I told him might help his aching tooth*, I got his turtleneck shirt jammed on his (admittedly quite large) head and in yanking it off, pressed right on the sore spot on his jaw.  He backed away from me, shirtless and wailing, screaming, "Don't even touch me!" when I tried to give him a comforting hug to atone for my carelessness.

He's in the running for an Academy Award for Best Dramatic Performance--Toddler Division.

Then he sat in the bath for ten minutes, staring ahead in a most comatose and un-Cubby-like manner (if he's not at Mach 5, there's something amiss), before eventually starting to shiver and cry, telling me his tummy hurt.

It should surprise no one that less than an hour after that, there was vomit.

Not much, and only once, but that was the end of the road for Cubby.  He wedged his overly-large toddler self in my lap, in the position he favored as a baby, and stayed there for an hour.  While I listened to Charlie scream because it was approaching his bedtime and someone other than his mother (that is, A. and the MiL) had the temerity to try to distract him.

When it was time to put Charlie to bed, Cubby refused the company of both his father and grandmother, insisting he would rather be alone.  Though he did allow me to resume my position next to him on the couch after Charlie was asleep.

About half an hour later, I put Cubby to bed too, thus ending another day of the non-stop thrill ride that is motherhood.

I sincerely hope there are no more thrills of a vomitous nature in our near future.  Cross your fingers for us. Thanks.

* Lie--he just hadn't had a bath in a few days and I was trying to think of a way to get him to take one without too much drama.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Better Than Santa Claus*

We received a visit from our own personal fishmonger this evening, quite unexpectedly.

That's right.  Mr. Jason appears with a large dead fish once again.  And once again, he confirms his status in Cubby's eyes as a total rock star.

Honestly, what's not to love about Mr. Jason?  If you're an almost-three-year-old, particularly.  When the man shows up, maple syrup is made, knives and fishing poles appear, fish are caught and gutted, a boat AND a truck are on the scene.


Exciting things just happen when Mr. Jason shows up.  Tonight he called around 6 p.m., just after A. left for night court, to ask if we might want one of the three pike he caught today.  Of course I said yes.  So he brought us the (HUUUGE) fish, along with a field guide to New York State fishes for Cubby and some old copies of Fur-Fish-Game he found at a used bookstore and brought for A.

In return, I gave him some lamb and helped him find the blown fuse on his truck that was making it impossible for him to see his speedometer in the dark.

While I was helping him with the fuse, Cubby came outside with us and spent some time stick-hunting in the dark.  In his socks.  In the rain.

See what I mean about the excitement Mr. Jason brings with him?

So now we have a gigantic dead fish on the patio, another fish reference book that I can spend hours looking through with Cubby, and some old magazines about trapping.  Just another visit from Mr. Jason.

* The MiL remarked that Mr. Jason is like the Santa Claus of fish.  But since Cubby knows Santa Claus isn't real (he pretty much decided this on his own, by the way, rendering my hand-wringing on the subject unnecessary) and Mr. Jason most definitely is, Mr. Jason wins by a landslide.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Return of A.P.D.

It's been awhile since we've had an Audience Participation Day around here, it occurs to me.  I seem to have been nattering on about myself (and now, of course, my omnipresent children) without requesting any input from you for quite some time now.

How rude.

So!  Let's talk, my lovelies!

This question was posed the other day by A. to the room at large at the time*:  Where would you live if you could live anywhere?  And he did mean anywhere.  Another country, a private island, whatever.

The MiL actually said she had never thought about it, but on reflection, she said she would stay right in this area.  For a lot of reasons.

A. would find the most remote piece of land in the high desert as possible, I think.  And high desert (meaning dry, but not really hot) isn't even so much the point as remote.  VERY remote.

He would be a mountain man if he could.  I, however, have no interest in being a mountain woman, so there's that.

I don't have a specific place in mind, though I do love the climate of the high desert as well--oh, how I love and miss dry air--so that part is okay.  But I think I would like to live somewhere where I could have some property without close neighbors, but not so remote that buying milk requires a 30-mile drive over an unimproved road in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

I've been to those areas of the west, you see, and I want nothing to do with that kind of isolation, thanks.

So I don't know where that place is, exactly, but let me know if you live there and I'll come visit.

Okay!  Your turn!  Where would you live if you could live anywhere your little heart desires?

* Which consisted of the MiL and me, because our rooms are actually not all that large or full of people.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Moonlight on the New Fallen Snow

So magical. So beautiful.  So confusing to an almost-three-year-old who thinks it's daylight and time to wake up at 2:30 in the damn morning.  Not so pretty then, when I have to get out of bed and walk Cubby back to his room, tuck him back in, and sing "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" so he'll go back to sleep.

And of course, it would have been when Charlie was actually sleeping.  Had it not been for that unfortunate wake-up, I could have slept a whole five hours, between Charlie's 12:30 a.m. snack and his 5:30 a.m. waking for the day.

The children are obviously conspiring against me and my attempts to get some sleep.

However.  This morning's snowstorm that turned into rain (of course we were out in it--what, you think we'd spend a stormy morning inside by the fire reading quietly and drinking hot cocoa? HAHAHA) means that there is now a heavy cloud cover that will block the almost-full moon tonight and we hope allow all of us to sleep through the night.

Well, all of us except Charlie.  And me.  But maybe MOST of the night.  That's all I'm going for nowadays.