Saturday, October 31, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

She's a Maniac


Rocky's costume for the playgroup party went a little bit to her head. She tried to get the whole group to jazzercise.


There were a variety of characters that were interested in battles, but nobody really was in the mood for aerobics.
Instead she had to get her workout in at home.



Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Monster Mash


Rocky and Bullwinkle

Six hundred crazy people, including me, lined up on Saturday morning wearing costumes and practically freezing to death to run the Monster Mash 5K. I've been looking forward to the race this whole month and was not let down. It was wild because adults, kids, dogs, and babies in strollers all participated. A guy dressed like a pirate pushing newborn twins in a double jogger passed me at the 2nd mile mark. It was okay though because I passed a couple of black cats, a fairy, and some mobsters during the third. I also passed a banana who had to stop and use a pooper scooper after her dog spoiled the trail, but once they were all cleaned up she ran right by me again. I have a tendency in these races to start out to fast and then kind of run out of gas and barely stumble across the finish line. This time I was determined to take it slowly and try to have a more consistent pace. But, I waited a little too long to speed up. This meant that although I didn't have a particularly fast time, I did have a lot of fun picking off zombies and clowns one by one during the last mile (that sounds more like a horror movie than a community event.)

I could almost hear them thinking, "Curse that moose!" I will admit that the Bullwinkle costume is not very flattering, but it was hilarious the way the antlers bounced up and down with each step. I've never really been able to pull off the 'cutesy' scene anyway. I usually fit better in the category of comic relief.



Laurie, who is my friend, and inspiration in all things running ran with me. When I say ran "with" me I mean that she was so far ahead that I couldn't even see her little bat antennea. She was, as the announcer said, 'The fastest pumpkin of the day." We met up at the finish and watched all the door prizes go to other people. I am glad to have this picture because without her diligent example, I probably wouldn't have been in any shape to be running at all.

Rocky the flying squirrel had a great time watching all the dogs and as a prize for her good behavior earned this pear. It kept her busy for about 45 minutes. In the end I think she ate the whole thing, stem and all.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

More than a Hobby


I enjoy food. I enjoy it way too much and it worries me a little bit that many of my childhood memories are centered on what I was eating. The only thing I remember about being in pre-school is the graham crackers and that when we would sing 'The Farmer in the Dell' and the cheese would always have to stand alone. Sometimes Brandon will bring up an event that we went to in the past and I will respond with something like, "Is that where we had that amazing spinach dip?" I usually can't recall who we talked to, but I have a detailed menu of the whole night stored in my brain. I know exactly what foods go with specific holidays or seasons and I have great memories of having delicious meals as a child and as an adult.
When I was 20 I went on a road trip that lasted over a month. I have a lot of memories about all the different places that we went, but the most vivid memory of all was the night I returned home. It was cold and dark and I was so hungry and when I walked in the kitchen was warm and smelled like spaghetti. It was like heaven.
It is no wonder that I spend a large part of my day playing with food. I check out the recipe books at the library that have full page photos of each dish and look through them over and over. I watch cooking shows, and read cooking blogs.
Cooking is a tricky hobby, especially for those of us who have a tendency to overeat. Too often I feel like I'm wasting time and wish that my guilty pleasure was rock climbing, playing soccer, or something else equally cool.
Preparing food just seems so house-wifey, old fashioned, and really un-hip.

I felt a little better after reading an article in the New York Times, "Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch" by Michael Pollan (who wrote The Omnivore's Dilemma and In Defense of Food...Oh, by the way, I also like to read non-cookbooks that are related to food). He talks about how many Americans watch more cooking on T.V. than they actually do themselves. He brings up the idea that cooking is one of the things that only humans do. He made me feel that by putting in all those hours at the stove I was joining with generations of people who have lived and enjoyed food for thousands of years.
Then I heard an interview with Ruth Reichl who was the editor of Gourmet magazine. She used to be the food critic for the New York Times but gave up the job because she wanted to be able to cook dinner for her family. I couldn't believe that a woman with such a great gig would make that kind of sacrifice. Think about it...her job was to go to all the best restaurants in New York and get paid to eat.
But she said that those hours she spent in her own home preparing food for the people she loved was the best time of her life.
It helped me feel validated about the time that I spend chopping and mixing in my kitchen. I can let myself enjoy the smell of the ingredients and the feel of the heat from the oven and marvel at the way flavors can combine with texture in innumerable ways.
Even in our society of fast food and restaurants we still hold home cooking on a special pedestal. It represents peace, comfort, family and love. I guess it is because we know that if the food was cooked at home it was done by someone we love and who loves us.
I guess it's a pretty hip hobby after all.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Perfect Fall Day


While Brandon was gone Rocky and I had the opportunity to go to the pumpkin patch with a few of our good friends. Brenley also happens to be an amazing photographer and she used her skills to give us these treasures. I already knew that my little girl was beautiful, but now I've got some pretty undeniable proof.

Rocky was fascinated by the petting zoo.


She got to hang out with a couple of her best buds, McCoy and Chloe.



Thanks so much Brenley!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Rigby's Bear their Souls

During an interview on NPR I heard author Michael Chabon say that "A man's wallet is like his soul," while discussing the jump that he made as a father from carrying his wallet in his pocket to putting it in the diaper bag.
I have been thinking about this idea a lot, and as you know, Rocky has recently provided a reason for me to analyze what I've been carrying around in detail. I wonder what it has to say about my deepest
inner-being.
I'll start with the wallet itself. It is common in our society to receive hand-me-downs from older siblings, but with me and my younger sister, it is a system of hand-me-ups. She is always finding cool things at thrift stores and when the thing that she finds is cooler than the thing she already has, I usually get to reap the benefit. Almost always, the not as cool thing is still an upgrade for me.
My wallet is a treasure that I had coveted and it was a great day when it was bestowed upon me. It is the perfect wallet in every way.

It is the right size and shape. Everything fits in an organized clean pocket and I don't have to worry about dealing with a broken snap or a tri-fold that never really works right. Inside I have my license, temple recommend, two debit cards (one that coincides with my secret bank account that is still listed as Marci Howard just in case I need to go on the lam), and a phone card (which will also come in handy while evading the cops -- I've seen enough movies to know that I could be tracked if I used my cell.) I also have a Bi-Mart lifetime membership card that I take into the store every Tuesday to find out that I didn't win the lucky number prize, again.
There is an expired Barnes and Noble membership card that I used frequently in the luxury days before we renewed our relationship with poverty, but now I use the Eugene Library card instead. This system actually works much better because all of our bookshelves are currently filled with medieval Spanish novels and kids books. I was thinking, however, that I might be able to make room for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies if I squeeze everything together a little tighter. I've also got a
U of O recreation pass that could be converted into a membership to the school gym if I would get around to paying the money. It is tricky though because it I actually pay for it, I will be obligated to work out. Then I might accidentally get into shape, which would make it hard for me to fit into my clothes. Right now I'll continue to consider carrying the card around as all the weight lifting that I need.
I don't carry any pictures but I do have an old ticket stub from when Jill and I went to Portland to see the Mountain Goats. I have thought about throwing it away but I like knowing it is in there. There is also an emergency $20 bill in a secret compartment that Rocky doesn't know about.
I think that the time has come to part with the membership card. Rocky will enjoy it in her collection. She's also got Brandon's old Weber State IDs and a used up gift card from Target that she keeps in her purse with a package of flowery paper plates that she feels are necessary to tote around.

Her 'wallet' is also quite functional because it can be used as a hat in a pinch.


I don't think it would be fair if I went through Brandon's soul and spilled all the juicy details, but I will describe the wallet itself.

When we first got married he used to dig his cards out of an old coin purse that was hand-woven in Mexico. When the fraying turned into a hole and all his things fell out at a store one day he used a rubber band as a quick fix. After breaking several rubber bands he finally upgraded to a higher quality option, a ponytail holder. He's been using this system for about three years.


You really can learn a lot about a person from looking at a wallet, and it is probably more than you want to know.

Bonus Picture

Friday, October 9, 2009

Since Brandon has been gone this is how much of our time has been spent.
video

I'm hoping that Rocky's newest hobby, having tantrums, is her way of saying that she is mad that she didn't get to go to Utah with her dad. I have a sinking feeling, however, that it is related the fact that everything that she wants to do is something I don't want her to do...play in the toilet, for example. I feel bad when she is crying, but I feel even worse when she is out of my direct line of sight and it gets quiet all of a sudden. Then I know there is some kind of trouble.

This time I caught her red-handed. It's a good thing for her that she is cute.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What to Do When There is Nothing to Do

To keep myself entertained I put a cell in Rocky's shirt and then gave it a call.


What did I ever do before I had a kid?

Sunday, October 4, 2009

After Conference Blues



I really look forward to conference weekend and when it is over I get depressed. Now it is back to business as usual.