All A Blur

I looked at the calendar today and realized that this weekend, on Saturday, Cupcake will be 19 months old -- closer to two now than one, more a child than a baby, walking more and talking more and exploring more and thinking she needs us less and less. Sunrise, sunset, swiftly flow the days.

She's been part of our everyday lives now for almost eight months, almost as long as my sister's been growing her Boba in her belly, and less time by half than we were waiting for Cupcake to find us, and yet it feels like it was only yesterday that we held her for the first time, that we opened our home and our hearts to what we waited so long for. Sunrise, sunset, swiftly fly the years.

And I hardly remember any of it. We went from formula to milk, mashed green beans to beef stew, "daaaah" and "maaaah" to "Daddy" and "Mommy" and "pretty" and "please." What happened? Where did the time go? Who is this person who runs around in my baby's shoes? How do I hold on without holding her back? Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers, blossoming even as we gaze. One season following another, laden with happiness and tears.

Slow down, baby girl. Take your time growing up. Daddy and I aren't ready for you to be a big girl yet.

Thrill of Victory



A thousand times, YES!

Photo Credit: New York Times

Oh my God, I LOVE YOU GUYS. Thanks for a great season. And congratulations on a well-deserved championship.


So when that final out comes, what it does is provide a single unified moment of pure, shared ecstasy. Everyone explodes together, in that one instant. And that’s what you saw last night. And that’s why that moment is forever. You REMEMBER that last out. You remember Orosco. You remember Wainwright. And now, you remember Lidge.

Say what you will about FOX, but after the game ended, the network was smart enough to simply replay the moment of Brad Lidge’s strikeout again and again and again. From every angle. We saw Ryan Howard react. We saw Jimmy Rollins react. We saw the dugout react. We saw Lidge react. We saw fans jump higher than a moon shot. We saw outfielders instantly break into a sprint towards the mound, hands raised. It was if they had isolated a camera on every single person in the stadium in order to capture them in that one fleeting second.

And God dammit, it was glorious.

Oh yes, it sure was.


Crazy Baseball Thought Of The Day

... brought to us by the letters P, H, L, and the numbers 0 and 8, and also our friends over at The 700 Level:
We're emotional wrecks. We have all at some point stated that we'd do unsanitary things to ourselves "if it meant a title." Some seven year olds have seen enough already to question if they'd witness a title in their lifetime. A recent trend seems to indicate that some fans are "trying not to get too hooked" on our teams just to "protect themselves." We lost our minds long ago. I'm tired of complaining about it. Tonight, a ball IS gonna fall our way. Literally. Right into section 145 in the bottom of the ninth to send us into Broad Street euphoria and a potential apocalypse. That fiasco on Monday night was the last straw. The final countdown. The seventh circle. We're here. We've made it out of the figurative and literal monsoon. It's time. We're up 3-1 in the World Series and we're crafting conspiracy theories following Tropical Storm Selig.

[Let's be] done with it. We're three innings from freedom. Free from sacrificing family members, serving prison sentences, and cleaning up vomit. Free from bad bounces, fallacious forecasts, and false hope. And for god's sake, we're three innings to freedom from "there's always next year."

There's always next year, but there's always tonight, too.

Let's go win a championship.

Daddy's Little Devil

All this week, I've been dressing Cupcake in Halloween-themed and/or orange clothes -- a little "thing" of mine, to celebrate the season. Halloween is my second-favorite holiday of the year, right after Christmas, and I gotta tell you, if Halloween involved more gift wrap, I'd be much more into it.

Anyway ... today Cupcake is wearing a onesie that is TOTALLY HER, and also TOTALLY ACCURATE. She takes right after me, but she's her Daddy's girl, and she knows it. (Hey, I SAID she takes right after me.) Click on the pic to go to my Flickr photostream and see the full-length shot.

Halloween monster bodysuit, Old Navy, regularly $9.50
Matching socks, Old Navy, regularly $2.50


Queen of the Internets

I'm not sure which is more strange to me: that Cupcake has recently started saying "butt" and/or "poop" for practically every other word, or that she has suddenly become positively obsessed with looking at pictures of the "baby" on the computer. Of course, she is the baby, and mostly she looks at one picture: this one, from the summer, that I use as my desktop wallpaper.

Vain much, are we?

Why Bud Selig Is Bad For Baseball -- Part #586,378

Yes, I stayed up to watch the game last night. All of it. Almost every single solitary minute. We missed a grand total of maybe 15 pitches on the night due to snack breaks, laundry room adventures, and TiVo conflicts.

Yes, I think that the right decision was made, suspending the game instead of calling it due to bad weather. Anybody who honestly believes that a clinching game of a World Series would ever, under any circumstances, be called early due to anything short of the Apocalypse is a nutbar of the highest order.

Yes, I want the Phillies to win, but I also want them to do it fair and square, the old-fashioned way: by playing 36 innings of winning baseball. Maybe there will be inclement weather sometimes. Maybe there will be plagues of flies. Maybe we have to rely on our bullpen and our bats to finish a game once in a while. So what?

But that doesn't mean that shit like this doesn't still annoy the piss out of me:
[W]hat, apparently, none of these players on either team knew -- was that Selig had already made his big decision.

If the rules weren't going to permit him to suspend this game, he was going to have to go to Plan B. He was just going to have to impose martial law -- or at least Selig's Law -- and, essentially, suspend it anyway. By simply declaring the world's longest rain delay. Whether that took 24 hours, 48 hours or all the way to Thanksgiving.

Selig vowed these teams were not going to finish this game "until we have decent weather conditions."

Gee, it's a shame he didn't have that same feeling before he allowed this game to start in the first place. (emphasis added)
Yes, we know people who were at the game last night. They reported that the weather wasn't too bad even up until 9:30 or so. Some drizzly mist, cold swirling winds, temperatures dropping, but nothing that we haven't seen before. Nothing unexpected for this part of the country at this time of year. Nothing that the Eagles haven't played in before.

Yes, conditions got ugly, and maybe even a little scary. Routine infield popups were difficult to field. Puddles were forming around home plate. The rubber on the pitcher's mound was sinking like it was on quicksand. Bases were getting stolen that never should have been, never would have been under normal circumstances.

Or, in other words, if the Phillies wanted to win this game, if they still want to win this game, they're going to have to earn it, which is what they really want, anyway: "'We've been playing for seven months," [second-baseman Chase] Utley said. "Another day or two is not going to hurt us.'"

Yes, I still believe. I'm a Philly girl. What else is there for me to do?


Savory Sunday: Lazy-Ass Lasagna

Not sure what you all do on Sundays, but here at the Casa de Locos, Sundays are all about two things: the 1:00 game, and the 4:30 game. Occasionally we watch the 8:15 game, and once in a while we'll watch MNF, but mostly, between 1:00 and 8:00, we watch football until our heads explode and The Amazing Race comes on.

Sitting around yelling at the television can get exhausting, so we need to do a little gnoshing on the way, and much as I love them, Triscuits only provide so much nutritional value. So we need to eat a real meal. And the real meals we eat on Sundays are usually my favorite of the week, because after all this time, I have learned how to make some excellent nommables that require only a minimum of work. Because TiVo is nice, but watching the game live? Even better.

This week we are having Lazy-Ass Lasagna, because we were in the mood for Italian-ish food and it's super easy, plus we already had a good portion of the necessary ingredients in the cupboard or fridge (which also makes this a BOSSY's Poverty Party Serving Suggestion). The general recipe follows, but before I start, a few reminders: (1) I am not Italian, and I doubt any self-respecting real-live Italian person would actually serve this to company, and (2) I think of recipes as "suggestions," so your actual mileage may vary.


1 lb. box mafalda pasta (or any other shaped pasta), uncooked
15 oz. container ricotta cheese
At least 2 cups mozzarella or pizza-blend cheese
Italian, pizza, or pasta seasonings, to taste
26 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce (or equivalent homemade)
1/2 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed (or other ground meat)

  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Very lightly coat a 13"x9" baking dish with cooking spray, olive oil, or butter/margarine.
  • Pour uncooked pasta into baking dish and spread out to cover pan.
  • In a bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, seasonings, and 1/2 cup of pasta sauce.
  • Spread ricotta mixture evenly over uncooked pasta.
  • Crumble sausage evenly over ricotta and pasta.
  • Pour remaining pasta sauce over meat, ricotta and pasta.
  • Add approximately 2 cups of water (enough to cover bottom pasta layer completely - the cheeses and meat do not need to be covered).
  • Cover with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 450°F for 1 hour or until pasta is cooked completely.
  • Enjoy!


O Hai!

Just sitting around, being cute and playing with a Dora the Explorer doll.



Let me get this off my chest: I want everybody -- everybody! -- to just shut the fuck up about the goddamn election. Seriously. I feel like this presidential campaign has been going on for eleventy thousand years and at this point it's just so much noise and shouting and finger-pointing and I am just so bloody tired of all of it.

This particular cycle has brought out the very worst in all of us, and I feel like the entire country has been reduced to gangs of unruly children trolling the playground, giving noogies and blowing spitballs and pulling hair and throwing rocks. It's ridiculous and foolish and I expect better behavior from my 18-month-old daughter.

Yet we're supposed to be the grown-ups, eh?

I made my choice for President a long time ago. Most of us did. Everybody uses their own set of criteria to make a decision like this, a complicated personal calculus, and that is fine: everybody's got their something. We all have issues and ideas and principles and practices that are important to us, and we cast our votes accordingly.

That's not the problem, though -- it's the disrespect and disregard for the value of everyone else's opinions that are so gross, so squicky, so immature. People yelling at co-workers and friends and family, whispering and judging and casting aspersions, because this one gets a different sum when they do their internal math than that one. Or, That One.

And ... I just don't get it. McCain supporters and Obama supporters did up the sums and figures and at the end of the day they each came up with different numbers. So fucking what? Who gives a holy flying fart? On Election Day, ONE of us is going to be a winner and ONE of us is going to be a loser and for the rest of us everything will be the same as it ever was.

This doesn't mean that I have lost faith in my candidate's message, or that I think both men or both parties or both platforms are the same. Because they're not. Black/white, young/old, liberal/conservative -- choose your own adventure. But when all this nonsense and hullabaloo is over in ten days, is anything really going to be different? Is anyone really going to be different?

Nobody is going to make you change your mind unless you want to. Nobody is going to make you do anything unless you want to. This is America. Nobody has to do any-damn-thing unless they want to. And you know what else? Nobody except you actually gives a damn what you think about anything except you, anyhow.

To quote some random person on the Internet, from earlier today: "What kind of comic book bullshit is this? We are officially all part of the dumbest fucking electorate ever."


Parade Ensemble

Watch cap. Long sleeve shirt. Sweatshirt. Down vest. Scarf hand-crocheted by my grandmother. Leggings. Socks. Sneakers. Fleece blanket.

I may be a completely insane and possibly immoral lunatic who does not feed her child candy or "cheez doodles," but AS GOD IS MY WITNESS, when I take her to a parade, I make sure she is dressed properly.


Matched Set

Cupcake, G and I went to the Emmaus Halloween Parade on Saturday 10/18, and because we are that twee family that everyone hates, we all wore orange shirts -- so we ended up looking like a set of deranged Northampton-resident-action-figures or something. (As if anybody would buy those.) I like this picture but I don't know why -- Cupcake is looking at me all, "What? I'm eating here. God, you make being cute so hard." And if I am projecting these things into her head now, before we've even gotten to the Terrible Twos, can you just imagine what I'm going to have her saying when we get to The Teenage Afterschool-Special Years? Christ on a cracker.

Fun Fact: There are potato chip crumbs on G's shirt in this picture.


Dancey-Dance Time

Not sure if you've ever heard of "Yo Gabba Gabba," but if you haven't, and you have a small child, you might want to check it out. Or not. Depends on how you feel about DJ's dressed like a young Bootsy Collins, rubber-looking cyclopes, other assorted monsters, indie bands, retro video-game-ish graphics, and songs about parties in one's tummy and getting the sillies out. G hates it, I think it's fine, but Cupcake loves it. Lots of music and little kids and stories about little yellow Martian boys and dancing. I snapped this picture while she was dancing along to a song about having friends.

(Halloween clothes because we are going to a parade later, which I hope to report on another day.)


Cautiously Optimistic

It's been a while since I blogged about baseball, but that's because being a Phillies fan is like having a bad boyfriend: they're unpredictable sometimes, and they forget to make you happy, and your parents aren't always real crazy about them, and they're tattooed and hotheaded and not always really reliable, and sometimes they go away for your birthday and they don't bring you anything home except a losing streak, and they give you a hard time, and they do stupid shit that even they know they're not supposed to, but even through all that, you love them and you think they love you, and anyway they always manage to somehow come through in the clutch, and maybe one of these days they'll come home with a ring.

I mean, I could go on and on about all the good and the bad and the wacky and the zany and the heartbreaking and heart-stopping things that the Phillies have done this season, but right now, I just want to ... relax a little bit. Catch my breath. It gets exhausting while you're waiting for the other shoe to drop, and I need to settle down and get my bearings. I've been preparing for the worst while hoping for the best since April, and it's made me a little schizo. So I hope you understand that I am ecstatic, and also overwhelmed. An entire city is expecting 25 years of shattered hopes to be erased by a bunch of scrappy guys in baseball uniforms. And so is a little girl. That's a lot of pressure.

Update, from Beer*Leaguer: 'Here it is, the World Series of Blog Entries, the opportunity to swing for the fences instead of sac bunting with a line like “savor the moment.” With hands trembling, a simple “thank you” is all I wish I needed to write. It’s something that hasn’t been ... uttered in 15 years. Thank you, Phillies, for giving us this, with this being the part too wonderful for words, the hard part, the part I knew I must identify when Carlos Ruiz caught the foul pop that brought us to this. To me, this is an escape from past, a reminder that life is right under my nose. How strange it is to be in this place, where all the baggage, accumulated from fandom, and from life, are stripped away until we're left with the feeling of pure joy, and reminds us of the very moment that got us started down this road in the first place. A father, a man of 30, watches Schmitty, a man of 30, in his chair, while his young boy fondles baseball cards on the floor. Last night, that boy, now 30, sat in a chair of his own. Maybe that's why “savor the moment” is used so often, because it’s the very best lesson of all." (Emphasis mine.)

FURTHER UPDATE! Apparently Barack Obama has announced that he is rooting for the Phillies for this series!


Urgent Shopping News That Maybe Affects Only Me

Pfaltzgraff outlet stores are closing! Yikes! I like shopping there to pick up extra pieces to my wedding pattern set, because of course the outlet prices are fantastic. All outlets should be closed by the end on the year -- bonus for this year's Christmas shopping, but bad news hereafter. Of course, Pfaltzgraff dishes will still be available online and in regular retail stores after the outlet stores close.



Fear and Loathing

Because I am not brain-dead or living on another planet, I am aware that right now the Universal Financial Situation is somewhere significantly south of shit and that I really need to be patient and careful and budget-conscious about all my purchases right now, but ... I have $601.50 in my Christmas Club account and I really, really, really want to start shopping.

I can't remember how long I've had a Christmas Club -- three years, maybe? It was after we bought the house, I know that much, so sometime after 2003. That and the Vacation Club are maybe the smartest financial decisions I've ever made in my life until my scratch-and-win-retirement-plan-investment-hedge-fund starts turning a profit.

But I love having a Christmas Club for a totally retarded reason, which is not "so that I can spend cash only on holiday gifts and not have to put anything on a credit card," although that is a nice plus too, since I don't, technically, have much credit available on my cards. To me that's just a minor advantage, though, and only partway worth mentioning.

The real reason why I love my Christmas Club is because I hate people, and therefore shopping, and since I get the disbursement in October, most years I have about 75% of my holiday gifts bought and wrapped before Halloween, and generally I am 95% of the way done by Thanksgiving, which is AWESOME, because I can avoid the crowds.

Of course I've done a lot of online shopping in the last few years -- hello Amazon Prime! -- and the added bonus of that is that I can usually get good deals on stuff and if I play my cards right and bother to check my emails regularly, I can often get free shipping, which ends up making my online purchases cheaper than going to the mall.

I learned these Retail Commando skills from my mother, the Queen of the Bargain, who regularly goes to discount retail stores looking for, say, dishtowels, and ends up coming home with Stuart Weitzman shoes for $15. Or she'll leave at 7am for a big community yard sale, and she'll take $12 and a bottle of water with her, and she'll come home with three big garbage bags full of clothes for the Cupcake.

So when she tells me that I should wait a little while to start shopping, I can't help but trust her judgement. "No one will have much money for the holidays," she says. She's no Henry Paulson or Ben Bernanke, but she's been a pretty reliable economic advisor so far. But ... how long do I wait? When is a good time to start? It's already October 11th, and I only have one thing bought. I don't want to fall behind and end up overwhelmed.

What do you think? Start in November? Early? Middle? Late? This is our first Christmas with the Cupcake, and while we are making a concerted effort to not go overboard, we're still doing something. Will I still be able to get smoking-hot discounts on Duplo blocks if I wait until after Thanksgiving? This is uncharted territory for me. I'm nervous and anxious already ... I'm scared. Hold me.

[UPDATE - 6:45 PM -- Went to the outlets this afternoon to do some reconnaissance and get some exercise. Acquired a lovely outfit for the Cupcake, brand new with tags, and IN SEASON, at The Children's Place for $6.48 -- no, really. (Full disclosure: Is also on sale in the mall store, but I saved an additional $2.50 or so at the outlet, and considering it was under $10 to begin with -- BIG savings there, like an extra 25%.) I love outlet shopping, except when I hate it, along with Life, the Universe, and Everything.]


Dance Fever

Cupcake and her Aunt Shelleybeans had a great time dancing at Phil & Kim's wedding reception.


Made a few weensy little minor cosmetic changes to my blog today -- well, OK, technically I changed the whole thing plus I asked for a pony and a foot massage -- and as you can see, shit just ain't right. Somehow I managed to bork the whole damn thing. Trying to get it fixed. We should get back to normal soon. Assuming your definition of "normal" has anything to do with mine, and I don't think of "normal" the same way that anyone else on the planet does.

But anyway ... maybe I should ask for a real live web page for Christmas to go with the Official Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle with a compass in the stock, and this thing that tells time that I already asked for? Maybe?

Not that either of those things would make me less of a Luddite, mind you.


Nail Polish

I ... am not a girlie mom. I hate pink and princesses and froufrou frilly things. Most of the time I barely have time to comb Cupcake's hair before school, let alone style it (not that you can tell either way, because her head is just a mass of curls and frizz anyway). She rarely wears dresses, and the only reason she owns a pair of pink Crocs is because they were $7 at the outlet. ("Price before pretty" is the motto of the retail commando, after all.) Her little Laura Ashley number that she wore to Phil & Kim's wedding? My father bought it.

Part of this is intentional. We are trying to raise her to know that she is beautiful because of who she is, not what she looks like, even though she is a gorgeous girl. Looks fade (although I am already teaching her about the awesome and amazing power of proper moisturization). Figures change. Gravity takes over. Pudding has calories, but they are worth it. Laugh lines are lovely when earned from a life well-lived, and self-assurance: that's forever.

She wears Airwalks. She plays with Matchbox cars and small consumer electronics and sock zombies. World of Warcraft fascinates her. We are teaching her to say words like "truck" and "monkey" and to make Godzilla noises.

And yet, when my mother and our dear family friend Harriet wanted to paint her fingernails, I couldn't resist. Because it's so cute, dammit.


Again with the Damn Pool

Self-explanatory. Cupcake spent a lot of time in the hot tub during the wedding weekend, even though apparently too much exposure can cause brain damage and other horrible stuff. (Not sure we didn't create an issue anyway, because right now she's hiding in G's armpit. Um, ew.)


Good Times

Haven't gotten all the pictures from Kim & Phil's wedding sorted yet, but this should give you a pretty good idea of how much fun we all had.