Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Happy Days

Today was a good day. A little slow getting going, and a little hectic at times, but it all worked out. I managed to make it to Go Go Babies class, albeit about 25 minutes late, and she had a great time. She is in love with the teacher, Ellynne. She just stares at her the whole time. Then we headed over to Prospect Park to take some pictures in the leaves. It's a bit late in the season but we've had some beautiful weather this week and I wanted to take advantage of it.
On the way home, baboushka fell asleep and I decided to stop at a cafe and relax with a cappuccino. I found a little place called Trois Pommes Patisserie on 5th Ave. at Carroll St. The cappuccino was delicious, but the real treat was the little concord grape pie that grabbed my eye. Grape pie? I had to try it. I brought it home to enjoy after my dinner of pumpkin-filled gnocchi and greens. It was spectacular. Who knew?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

There's poop on the floor...and I'm okay with that.

I'm not a neat freak. I would say that I'm about average in terms of tidiness. I'm about half a dozen steps down from Godliness, if you will. I do get stressed out in an untidy environment, and that usually spurs me into action, but sometimes I'd rather just be stressed out.
And then along comes baby. Yes, I blame the baby. She's a great scapegoat, especially since she cannot yet form the words to defend herself. Before E arrived, I managed to make sure that at the end of each day the dishes were done, dirty clothes were put in the hamper, and the place was tidied of daily clutter. I would keep the floors fairly well swept, the sinks pretty well clean, and once in a while I would commission my wonderful husband to scrub the toilet and push a vacuum around for a bit. As systems go, it worked for us.
Fast forward to present day. I am generally still capable of washing most of the dishes by day's end. There are several key spots in the apartment where clothes are routinely deposited, dirty or otherwise, and neither of those spots is the hamper. If by tidy you mean that I can walk through the apartment with relative ease and minimal risk of tripping on scattered debris,, it's not tidy. J still pushes the vacuum around once in a while. The sinks and toilet? Well, they get attention on special occasions, read: when we get visitors.
Does this make me a bad person? I don't think so. In fact, I believe that I remain average in a new category. Average for people WITH KIDS. Although there are days when I may sink to the bottom of that category as well. Take yesterday, for example...
We use cloth diapers. Before E started on solid food, it was just a matter of throwing the whole diaper, poop and all, in a bag and throwing that bag in the washer on laundry day. Now that she's eating big girl food however, it's a whole new ball of...well, you know. I remove the poopy diaper in the bedroom and bring it to the bathroom where I use a handy sprayer (glorified bidet) to spray the poop into the toilet. Then I bring the diaper back into the bedroom and deposit it into the diaper bag. It's not the best system, I realize, but our bathroom is impossibly small and there isn't room for the diaper bag in there. So, once in a while, we lose a soldier. It's embarrassing to admit that I have poop on my floor, but there it is. Last night, as I was walking through the "dining room" (you would have to see our apartment to understand the quotation marks around "dining room"), I noticed a little...chunk...of what I imagined was composed primarily of sweet potato and banana on the floor. Mercifully, it was on the hardwood, centimeters away from the rug. This the kicker: I actually considered leaving it there. (Buries face in hands in shame.) I was on my way to the shower and just didn't feel like going out of my way to grab the paper towels and do the clean-up. But I did (gasp of relief), and it turned out to be a piece of leaf. So the only damage here is to my psyche, as I realize that what used to be a half a dozen steps is now about 20 or so flights.
Let's face it: I'm walking up an escalator going down.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Poor Ralph. He really has been getting the shaft for the last nine months or so. I distinctly remember a time when I wondered if I would be able to love a human baby as much as I love Ralph. Well, unfortunately for him, it turns out I can. But that's not to say that there isn't plenty of room left for my furry first child. He does still rate, of course. It's just that now he has to wait a little longer for his walk, his breakfast and his cuddles.
The good news is that he has gained a new friend, and once he gets over the fear of torture by hair-pulling, I think they will be inseparable.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

What I'm reading

One thing I love about NYC is the stoop sales! The season is getting on now, but throughout the summer and early fall, we would wander around the neighbourhood on weekend mornings, hunting down stoop sales and finding all sorts of treasures. And almost equally abundant are the free items left out on the curb for the benefit of the likes of us. Our apartment is full to bursting of steals and deals that we brag about often.

One department in particular that has benefited most from this new lifestyle is my library. I promised my husband several months ago that I would cease and desist with the purchase of new reading material. I certainly have nothing against the local library, but I grow easy and deep attachments to my books, and have a very difficult time bringing myself to part with them once the due date comes around. I also covet new books. I just love the look, the smell, the feel, the shiny "newness" of them. But, in the interest of not digging further into our black hole of debt for unnecessary luxuries, I have complied. And in return, my neighbours have smiled on me. I have procured no less than 20 books since arriving in Brooklyn, and at least half of those were gifted to me by the fairy book gods who leave them by the boxful outside of their gates for passersby to adopt. The rest have been purchased for a pittance at various stoops.

I am averaging about 2 books a month. A snail's pace, I admit, but my time spent reading is limited primarily to the time I spend nursing baboushka. And so far I have not been disappointed by any of my selections. These days I am reading a book called Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This is a book I discovered last year, while researching books for our book club in Grenada. At the time we had more titles than time to read them and it was dropped from the list. But it has stayed in the back of my mind and on more than one occasion I have been one click away from an Amazon purchase before remembering my vow to my darling husband. So you can imagine my pure unabashed joy at finding it staring up at me while rifling through a box of free books around the corner from our house. Quite serendipitous. I scooped it up and put it aside until I was finished the book I was already reading*.
I picked it up about a week ago now and it has been an effort to put it down at the end of each session. From the first few pages it had me, and each time I pick it up the hooks sink a little deeper. It is a mystery, translated from Spanish, about a boy and a book he discovers that holds many secrets. It reminds me of a more sinister Neverending Story. I am absolutely smitten with it and am now wondering what I am doing writing about it when I could be reading it. Please excuse me...

*A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I think I will devote another entry to this gem of a novel!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


As I sit here munching away on an infinite assortment of sugary sweets, I am happy to report that E's first Hallowe'en was a roaring success! We crammed her into the "newborn" chili pepper costume donated by Jeff's aunt and spent ages photographing her in all sorts of adorable poses before parading her around the neighbourhood collecting candy that she can't eat. And she was fabulously good-natured about the whole thing. Even when another chili pepper turned up on our travels, she graciously offered to be photographed with him. I am already looking forward to next year when she will have more of an idea of what's going on...except then I might have some competition for the candy.