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Archive for December, 2009

In my pre-New Years resolution to take pleasure in the simple things in life, I’ve decided to write on one of my favorite foods: the sandwich.

Today C spent the day visiting with his grandparents, leaving me on my own for five whole hours! It was amazing.  The majority of that time was spent wrapping presents at a break-neck pace, organizing, labeling, generally going along with the Christmas frenzy.  However, I took 15 minutes to start the whole afternoon with a simple sandwich.  I know, I know, it may not seem like much, but I really like sandwiches and sometimes, there really isn’t anything better.

A good sandwich really begins with fresh bread; for me, that means fresh sourdough.  Now I don’t have time to bake my own bread, even with a bread maker, so I store-buy.  I typically try to stick to a good diet these days but I just can’t give up my sourdough bread.  Perhaps its a leftover from childhood since my Mom (though good intentioned) made all of our sandwiches, toast, etc with wheat or whole grain bread.  And I hated it (sorry Mom) with a passion!!  To this day a bite of wheat bread turns to sawdust in my mouth.  So to compensate for the majority of days I don’t have any bread, I allow myself some good sourdough sliced bread for big sandwiches.

The next step is the meat.  I’ve always been a fan of turkey, particularly when it’s sliced very thin, even better if it falls into the “shaved” category.  Here’s why: when the slice of meat is too thick sometimes you kind of wrestle with the slice when you take a bite.  The meat can slide out of the sandwich with each bite if it’s too thick.  If it’s thin enough, each bite is like a mini sandwich in itself.

These two are really the most important things in a sandwich.  There are a myriad of add-ons, but they vary widely depending on taste.  For example, I love mayo, lettuce, and alfalfa sprouts (and if I can get an avocado slice in there, even better)(A side note on mayo: I hate hate hate Miracle Whip! It’s sugary and gross!  I will never ever buy a jar to keep in my house, bleck!).  My husband assures me that my love of all these “fresh veggies” clearly defines me as a Californian and somehow wimpy in my love of them.    My husband likes cheese, hot mustard, and tomatoes (all things that I hate on my sandwiches).

I’ll let you decide what makes you ideal sandwich add-ons, but know this, if you don’t have good meat and good bread to start with, it won’t make a damn bit of difference what you slap on top of it!

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Yawn…

Ugh! I am so tired.  C is teething again, and it’s taking forever.  My poor son has been having a very difficult time with his teeth.  The doctor told us that it appears C has “thick gums”.  I swear to God, that is what she told us.  I think it’s a bunch of baloney, honestly, but I don’t know what else could possibly slow down the teething process this much, so I’m going to stick my head back in the sand and pretend I believe the doctor.

C has officially been teething for 5 months.  For a while there his gums would become red and irritated, though never progressing beyond that point.  At five months his teeth came up, butting against his gums so forcefully that the ridges of his teeth could be felt and seen. To everyone’s frustration, the teeth went back down!!

Finally, his teeth officially broke through the gums just last week.  C’s gums are bright red, irritated, and the sharp edges of his two little bottom teeth are sticking out.  So while there is cause for rejoicing (yay we are finally moving forward with the teething), there is also weeping, gnashing of gums, and little sleeping.

As I’ve mentioned before C likes to sleep in our bed when he is upset or in pain.  This sleeping arrangement has been one of the many reasons the last week has been so trying.  I love sleeping next to my son, cuddling while I read and he naps.  I do not love having him in my bed at night, however.

The reason behind this is that I just cannot sleep!  I just can’t!!  I try, but like a whale (whales never shut their brains completely off when sleeping to keep from sinking) my brain never completely shuts off.  I float along the top of the water, occasionally sinking into a deeper sleep, only to feel like I’m drowning rather than settling into the ocean floor for a long night’s sleep, pushing me back to the surface once again.  Some nights, C sinks into his own deep sleep and we drift off together.  Other nights, he tosses and turns while sleeping, keeping me awake, keeping me from every reaching a deep sleep.  This week has been mostly comprised of those sleepless nights.

For a few days I can function like this, without any problems, without feeling any type of backlash.  However, after awhile, those missing hours start to creep up on me.  By 6pm I am wiped out, done for the day. I struggle through the remaining hours of the day, dragging my feet, attempting to entertain little C (while secretly hoping he can entertain himself), ready to fall into bed at any moment.  Yet, when bed time comes I watch my son sleep rather than embracing sleep myself, hoping that tonight he’ll sleep on his own.

I know I’ve written about this before, but tonight I’m hoping that this will be the last time.  At least for the next two weeks, I’ll have back up.  Thank goodness for Christmas break!

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No-no

C has been slowly learning the word “no”, as well as “uh-uh” and a very warning tone when I say his full name.  He’s learning the word no means to stop what he’s doing or what he’s about to do.  He’s also learning that he doesn’t like the word no.

In fact, what usually happens is something like this: C will start doing something naughty (crawl over to the dog’s water bowl and start splashing, for example) and I will say “C, no”, quite gently.  Usually he’ll look at me because I said his name, over his shoulder in a very impish manner.  And next…he’ll go back to whatever it was he was doing.  Sigh….So again, I’ll say “C, no!”  Again, a coy look, perhaps a smile, and back to his naughty task.  Finally, the warning fully creeps into my voice: “C!! NO!”  It is then, that he looks back at me with a crumpled face, down-turned mouth, and eyes filling with tears.  There are other times, though, that C begins to cry the first time “no” leaves my mouth.  He looks simply stunned, hurt even.  How could I be so horrible as to tell him “no”?  Why would his own mommy treat him this way???

It is at this moment that I have a silent, internal struggle.  My little boy is crying and part of me desperately wants to give him whatever he wants so he’ll stop crying.  The other part of me is saying “stick to your guns! don’t give in!”, knowing that I’m doing what’s right, what’s best.

Most of the time these episodes simply end with me whisking my crying son into my arms, comforting him, wiping away tears, and finally putting him back down again.  It’s only when I’ve put him down again that I find out if this emotional outburst was true or not.  Some days he looks at me, feeling better, happy with his mommy again.  Other days, the impish smile returns and C zooms off to take up his naughty behavior again.  Sigh….

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As if Christmas shopping wasn’t challenging enough, I’ve been forced to take my son along with me on several occasions.  And when I say forced, I really mean, I have to do some shopping in the stores because there is only so much that I can get on Amazon.

(A quick ode to Amazon: How Do I Love Thee? With thou low prices and quick shipping.  Thou Amazon Prime hast paid for itself, filling me with a satisfaction thou knowest not.  Doubt not my love Amazon when I buyest things elsewhere.  If thou carried better clothing, I would be it with thee.)  Thank you for indulging me in my silliness, now back to the mommy-related post.

The troubles of shopping with a baby begin with the stroller.  C isn’t really big enough to sit in the umbrella strollers for long, so I still rely on the travel system.  Though this system is convenient at times (the car seat fitting smoothly in the stroller has saved me tons of time), it is unfortunately bulky.  The wonderful shock absorbing, larger rubber tires are fantastic for walks with the puppies (see a future post about this soon).  I can as easily roll over gravel as over perfectly smooth tiled department store floors.  They are not nearly as small though, as umbrella stroller tires for much the same reasons.  In short, my stroller is bulky and the tires stick out!

If you’ve been in the stores lately, you’ve noticed that nearly every store, from boutique to giant everything store, has jammed their floor with merchandise.  In Target this means more rolling racks in nearly every section, in PotteryBarn it means overflowing baskets lining the aisles, in the Apple store it means more tables (around which the already crowded store crowds more customers and salespeople).  And while this may be wonderful for the avid, slim single shopper on two feet, it is not so wonderful for the rest of us.  Every time I ran into a basket, a rack, a foot, I cringed, hoping something hadn’t broken.  I also wondered how the disabled navigated their way through these stores.  I couldn’t envision a wheelchair rolling through the aisles of PotteryBarn with a basket blocking the way every few feet.  More than once I was tempted to call the manager and alert them to the fact that the store was obviously not wheel chair compliant!

I did not, however.  What I did do was talk to stranger after stranger.  It seems that shopping with a baby is similar to placing a placard around your neck inviting the world to talk to you.  Usually I don’t mind this.  In fact, when I’m shopping on my own I would love to stop and shoot the breeze.  But the fact of the matter is when I’m with the baby I’m on a tight schedule.  C eats every three hours, due to his over-active metabolism, so by the time we even get out of the house, we typically only have about 1.5-2 hours of shopping time before it’s time to eat again.  And while some babies may be a little more lax about their eating times, C definitely starts to melt down if you don’t get some food into, and fast!

The other ticking clock in the shopping scenario is C himself.  Shopping is a bit like gambling in this respect.  You never know which way things are going to go.  I may get lucky and he’ll fall asleep on the way to the mall and stay asleep as I dash from store to store.  Or he may stay awake the entire shopping trip, dazzling store clerks and shoppers alike with his vocal abilities.  Typically, this isn’t C actually crying or screaming.  More often than not, it is merely C stretching is voice, trying out different sounds at various volumes.  Today those sounds ranged from a whispered “mamamamamama” to a blazingly loud “BLAHHHHHH, AHHHHHHH”.  And while I know these sounds (and many others), as well as their meanings, knowing that these noises do not indicate anything other than my son’s curiosity, I also know that my fellow shoppers have no such knowledge.  As such, I have been the recipient of more than a few dirty looks and impatient eye rolling.  And who has been giving me these looks? Women! Mostly women older than myself.  Women who could easily be mothers, and therefore, in my opinion, be a little more understanding of the noises of an 8 month old.  In my experience it is very easy to note the difference between a true cry and a noisemaker.  Yet, I just say something bland to Little C, like “Hi Buddy, you’re sure talking away”, giving the evil look giver an obnoxious smile. Kill ’em with kindness, right?

This kindness, and patience, is most tested by slow sales clerks.  I know, I know.  It’s not their fault that they are new or frazzled or simply confused, nor is it their fault that the shop requires them to go through a whole script of questions with each customer (Would you like to donate to such and such a cause? Are you on our mailing list? Would you like to be? Would you like to open a credit card and save 10%?  Can I put the receipt in your bag? If you enter the contest on the receipt you could win such and such a prize).  Unfair as it may be, I find that as C grows more irritable, I do too.  Standing still in a line is C’s least favorite thing about shopping, as the stroller’s movement usually lulls him into a kind of stupor.  So I mentally urge the clerk to move faster, skip a few questions, do anything to get the line going.  I try not to appear rude, though I am sure I fail at this.  I try not to cross my arms or tap my foot or stare to oppressively at the clerk.  Sometimes I succeed, sometimes not so much.

On the upside of all of this, though, is that all of these factors have made me possibly the most efficient shopper I have ever been!  I have lists before I even leave the house; specific lists of store, item, and recipient so that I don’t even have to think, I can just grab and go.  I seem to have a homing beacon for whatever it is I came to find.  I zero in, find the right item, and move quickly on.  At the register I have my card and id ready.  I’m poised to sign before they ask.  All my answers to their questions are on the tip of my tongue before the past me would have even reacted.  I am in and out of the store before they even knew what hit them! I am…the mommy shopper!

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with a vengeance…just kidding.  I am back though.

It was one week and one day ago today that I turned in my final paper (an analysis of digital reference services and community support) for my Masters in Library and Information Sciences (MSLIS).  I’ve held off writing anything up until this point because I was waiting for my final grades to come in (it also took this long for all those jumbled, exhausted brain cells and neuron pathways to put themselves to rights). Although I was fairly certain I passed all my course, I didn’t want to announce my graduation early, should I jinx it.  But today I found out no jinx could stop me!  Huzzah!  I am an officially certified librarian.  As to my final grades I receive to Yays! and one Meh.

Should you have any of the following questions here are the answers:

Where did you go to school? I went to Drexel University’s ISchool via the internet (as Drexel is in Philadelphia), so my degree was completed 100% online.  I never once met a classmate or professor in person (which was sometimes sad, but other times was awesome–those of you who’ve taken grad classes know what I’m talking about, especially re some of those terrible know-it-alls or group cheerleaders, bleck!)

Hey Erin? Yes? I’m interested in becoming a librarian, where can I learn more about this? Great question, reader! The easiest way is to visit the ALA or American Librarian Association.  They have a page specifically geared towards Careers and Education.  It’s important for your future career to go to an ALA accredited program, so take a look.  There are many programs available 100% online.  Yeah!

Why did you decide to become a librarian? Another spectacular question, reader! You are really on the ball today!  In short, I hated teaching.  There I said it.  Hate me back if you like, but it just wasn’t for me.  I loved my students and those wonderful teaching moments.  To this day I still love literature, learning, and helping others.  So I thought to myself, how can I incorporate the parts of teaching that I loved into a job that doesn’t require me to work 80 hours a week, send kids to the principle, and teach grammar?  After fishing around for a while, I happened to talk to a friend of mine (we’ll call her J) who is a librarian.  So I looked into it more and found that it seemed like an interesting career.  I enrolled in Library school and the rest is history!

What are some of your favorite things that librarians have been called over the years? Yet another stellar question.  I knew I was heading into the correct field when I learned that librarians and libraries have been the butt of right-wing jokes and attacks for decades.  Here are some of my favorites:

Attorney General John Ashcroft referred to the ALA as a bunch of “hysteric librarians” when they refused to support the PATRIOT Act’s Section 215 (giving the government the right to track and view patron records, including computer records, without notifying the patron and issuing that library with a gag order against patron notification).

The FBI meant to insult librarians when they called them “radicals” for protesting the PATRIOT Act.

SafeLibraries.org and other conservative groups referred to public librarians as “porn-pushers”, accusing them of protecting the rights of the few instead of bringing censorship into the library.

I am proud, from this day forward, to call myself a hysterical, radical, porn-pushing librarian.

Here are some interesting Librarian blogs to read if you just can’t get enough:Blogs.

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