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Helpful hints: tick removal

11 Jul

Our back yard has a ton of trees, and our dog spends a lot of time out there… which means that despite the flea & tick medication she takes, she still brings in the occasional hitchhiker.  I used to HATE removing ticks, especially since half the time I wasn’t sure if I’d managed to get the gross, tiny head out.


Johnsons baby oilI found a way to suffocate the little nasties!  If I put three or four drops of baby oil on the tick, wait thirty seconds, add another two or three drops, and wait another thirty seconds or so, the tick is so easy to pull out that I can do it with my fingers and some tissue paper.  The longer it’s been in there, the more oil and time you’ll need… but it’s so easy to do.  I imagine it would work just as well on people, and it even smells good!

So there you go… something actually useful!


More from me:

My no good, really bad food day

Top five wine vacations




30 Jun

Today, in my quiet and safe neighborhood, a woman was apparently shot by a random man with a gun.  She was airlifted out of the neighborhood, the cops shut down the whole area, and we are still barricaded indoors awaiting news (from a friend with a police scanner) about whether or not it’s safe to venture out of doors.

To make my fears (which are already edging on the irrational) worse, it turns out that Evi and I were out for our morning walk right when this happened.  Now honestly, our neighborhood is HUGE… so if the whole thing happened on the other side of the community it would be akin to saying it happened two miles away.  So I still have no idea whether or not we’re in any real danger.

Am I scared?  Sure, a little.  I’m certainly not going outside.  What gets me, though, is how different the fear is for me now.  A few years ago we lived in an apartment complex that was almost completely surrounded by a… less than safe neighborhood.  While we lived there, the pizza guy was held up at gunpoint.  I remember being unsettled by it, but not particularly concerned.  This morning, when Aaron called to tell me what our friend had heard on his scanner (I knew nothing about what was happening until he called) I was immediately nauseous.

God, I was just out there with my baby.

I was nearly paralyzed by just the thought that something could happen to her.  I’ve never, never been so deeply terrified of a possibility.  As I sit her beside her, watching her sleep peacefully wrapped in a pastel blanket… as her chest rises and falls in the soft and slightly uneven rhythm of toddler sleep… as her fingers twitch now and then or she wiggles her pacifier, I am overtaken by a fierce, passionate, primal need to protect her.  I have perfectly satisfying visions of marching out the door, spear in hand, to thrash the sabertooth tiger who dared threaten my child.  At first I entertained fears about what I’d do if, panicked and chased by police, this gun toting maniac broke into our home….

and then it occurred to me, with a clarity unburdened by guilt, that I would kill him without remorse.  Knives, chairs, my own bare hands… it wouldn’t matter.  He would not touch my child, not make a move to harm her.  I’d be hard pressed not to kill him for just scaring her.

agressive lionesssource

So wherever you are, you vile criminal… watch where you venture today.  Here you’ll find nothing but teeth and claws.


More from me:

New recipes and wine articles

Review: Morningstar black bean burgers


If you have a moment, please take some time to go and vote for my Mamavation application!  You can see my application video here, and you can “vote” for me by heading to Twitter and tweeting this: Hey @bookieboo! I want @SkinnySushi to be the next #Mamavation Mom. She has my support! The finalists will be chosen on July 5, after which point I will stop harassing you with these messages… unless, of course, I AM a finalist… in which case I will harass you with new messages.  And cookies?

Zoo Weekend

10 May

This weekend was crazy and wonderful.  My parents came up from Florida and arrived at our house with my brother on Friday night.  I made some awesome, slightly hilarious animal cupcakes and we made things easier on all of us by ordering pizza for dinner.  Saturday morning we all got up, had a quick breakfast at Starbucks, and loaded up the car with drinks, cupcakes, snacks, and party supplies for our fabulous zoo birthday celebration.

The weather was… alright.  The temperature was a little cool, so perfect, and the sun was out, but there was a super high pollen count and a lot of wind blowing the pollen and dust around.  We made it to the zoo right on time and met everyone at the pavilion for a super casual lunch.  Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Evi (she cried!) and then we all enjoyed some animal cupcakes before heading out to see the animals.  Evi took a nice long nap, and then woke up to enjoy the sights.  She didn’t care too much for the big cats or the gorillas, but she loved the elephants, the golden lion tamarins, the cheetahs, and especially the flamingos.  She was also really happy to watch three alpacas chasing each other around the pasture.  She was great all day and took a nice long nap in the car on the way home.

Mother’s Day was a beautiful day, if oddly cool for this time of year.  We had a great breakfast at home with turkey bacon, blueberry muffins, friendship bread, and eggs… plus McDonalds coffee because our coffee carafe is broken.  After some time laughing and talking at home, and a comfy nap with my beautiful little girl, we said a reluctant goodbye to my brother and parents.  They were all headed back to the airport, where my parents were already flying home.  There’s never enough time with family, is there?

Aaron and I took Evi to see his grandmother for Mother’s Day.  We spent a few hours with his family, Evi played the piano for us all, and then we went out for a quiet dinner on our own.  It was nice to sit down at a nice restaurant with my husband and daughter and enjoy good food.  Evi charmed everyone in the restaurant and enjoyed lots of bread and mushrooms.  The drive home was fast, and Evi went to bed easily and slept well all night.

This morning I’m adjusting to life without coffee (until I can find the right carafe to replace our broken one) and hanging out with Evi, who is going through something (growth spurt? teething? slightly sick?) that is making her a little cranky and extra EXTRA sleepy.  We’re taking it easy at home today, going for a nice morning walk, and then spending the afternoon working…

My weekend was busy and chaotic, but wonderful.  Here’s a look at the food/exercise for the weekend too.  My Mother’s Day was celebrated with my mother, Aaron’s mother, Aaron’s grandmother, and (most importantly) my amazing daughter.  My children are what this day is all about.  And so, this little letter is for them.

To my sweet babies:

Aodin… you were my firstborn, my sweet son, and it was you who made me a mother.  You taught me my own strength, showed me the power and meaning of real love, and made me realize that a family is made up of love and laughter, joy and pain, hope, and surrender.  You helped me see the strength of my marriage and my own worth.  You are always in my heart and I  miss you every day.

Evi… oh, my sweet girl.  You are a beautiful miracle and you amaze me every day.  Thank you for being such an easy baby, for being fun and happy all the time, for making this mommy thing so easy.  I hope you know how much I adore you and how utterly you complete our family.  Thank you for helping me take control of my own health so that I can teach you the best way to live.  Thank you for always waking up with a smile for me, even when you’re feeling bad.

My family is so perfect, so ideal, so clearly a manifestation of the love and laughter and joy that make up the best of life’s moments.  Without my amazing husband and beautiful children, I would not be who I am today, and I like me a lot… so thank you to my amazing family.

Thank you too, to all of my friends and family, for all the birthday wishes, adorable gifts, and generous contributions to Evi’s college fund.  She’ll be especially thankful in seventeen years or so!


21 Oct

Behold, my deep, dark secrets.  They aren’t terribly interesting, and they’re likely to utterly destroy any illusions.  You know, since the last post about bacterial infections left me with such a veneer of glamor.  😉

  1. When Evi is six months old, I am going to switch her to formula.  I know, I can hear the boos of disapproval now.  However, I don’t care.  I have been feeding her breastmilk since she was born and, thanks to latching problems that couldn’t be resolved, I’ve been attached to an electric pump the whole time.  Frankly, I am DONE.  She is growing up happy and healthy and she’s taken to solids like you wouldn’t believe, so I feel like it’s fine.
  2. I am totally having guilt about #1.  Despite my assertions, and my honest belief that switching her will do her no harm, I am still having tiny panic attacks thanks to the dwindling number of bottles in the fridge.  I can’t help it, I feel a little selfish.
  3. I really hate showering.  No, really.  I feel like it’s a massive time suck and I always wish I could do it while doing something else.  I don’t enjoy it or find it relaxing.  I just want it to be done.  Weird, right?
  4. I think I am going to do NaNoWriMo again this year, but only because I am hoping the drive to get the silly certificate will spur me into action in terms of finishing my manuscript.
  5. I am really loving my new job.  I research wineries all day.  It rocks.
  6. If I could, I would stay home and not work, and I would be happy doing it.  Of course, this would require a monetary source I have not yet found…
  7. I also hate anything to do with my teeth.  I don’t like brushing them (though, of course, I do) and I flat refuse to floss them.  I am fully aware of the potential damage done, but I have never experienced anything as disgusting as the feeling of flossing, so I just can’t do it.
  8. I take that back.  The other day I experienced something far more disgusting.  Savannah showed up on the back porch with half a dead squirrel in her mouth.  Yes, half.  No, I don’t know what happened to the other half.  I don’t think she killed it, and I doubt she was the one who ate the first half, but I was still utterly disgusted and commenced calling her Dead Squirrel Face and keeping her off the couch for the rest of the day.  Which brings me to the secret in this one…  Sometimes I don’t like my dog anymore.  I still love her, but ever since Evi came I find I have ZERO patience with her.  I get irritated when she itches, barks, whines…  I am bothered by the noise she makes when Evi is sleeping.  I think a lot of the bother is guilt based, because I feel like she no longer gets the attention she deserves… but I still don’t think we’ll have another dog after Savannah.
  9. I am obsessed with email.  I check my email at least ten times a day.
  10. Despite my utter, unswerving belief in the goodness of science and the absolute necessity of vaccinations…  despite my absolute refusal to believe that vaccines cause harm, I am terrified of Evi getting the flu shot (as per the recommendations of her pediatrician, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the CDC.)  I know why she needs to get it, and I both understand and completely believe that the risk of the flu for her is greater than the risk of the shot, but still…  Watching her get the few shots she’s already had to get in her tiny life has been terribly difficult for me, and the idea of another shot is really hard for me.  I don’t care about getting the shot myself.  If it helps her, or even if it just MIGHT help her, start poking me!  But to give it to her…  it just turns my stomach.  So I guess I haven’t totally made my mind up about it yet, and I won’t until Aaron and I have a long talk with her doctor at her six month appointment, which is when they want to give her the shot.
  11. I haunt a couple of mommy message boards, and I frequently get so angry at the people on them that I have to remove myself entirely for a while.  I think I am a secret snob, and I become totally unreasonable in the face of what I see as parental idiocy, racism, sexism, or simple ineptitude.  Because, you know, I am perfect….  right?  :p
  12. Speaking of -isms, I have a serious hang up about them.  When an acquaintance took a particular tone of voice when discussing a mixed race couple (a tone that suggested, perhaps, a bit of disapproval) I was incensed.  When I see those commercials about how gay marriage is going to ruin the “institution” I feel blind rage.  When I see the commercial for the toy truck that is marketed as “your boy’s best friend,” I contemplated writing to the company in anger for daring to suggest that my daughter isn’t just as capable, just as likely to want that toy truck, which I will now not purchase on principle.  I know this makes me naive sometimes, that the world can’t just work the way I want it to, but I can’t help it.  I am, at heart, a romantic idealist that just wants everything to be FAIR.  I want everyone to have the same chances, the same rights, the same options in life.
  13. I have financial management issues.  I keep aside a certain amount of money every week as spending money, and I tell myself I will save it up for the espresso machine I want, or some new clothes or something.  Almost every week I spend at least half of it on going out for coffee or lunch just to get out of the house.  I know getting out is good, but I wish I would just eat at home and go to the library, because I really want that espresso machine!
  14. I have no idea how to dress my new body.  Not a clue.  I still have clothes that fit, but they don’t fit the same way.  I have bought a few new things, but they are all super casual because it’s hard to go wrong with a t-shirt and jeans.  I don’t know what to do with my new shape, how to flatter it….

Also, I really like lists.  🙂

And I should be working… so I will.

Saturday Speculations

4 Apr

In no particular order, here are the things I am thinking about today:

  • Last week, while laying on the couch, (laying? lying?) I heard someone yelling outside.  When I looked out, I saw a man walking away from the water’s edge (we live one house away from the bay) with one dog on a leash and another in his arms.  He was being trailed by two large, black dogs and a yelling woman.  She was yelling at the dogs, who she habitually walks without their leashes.  This is a problem, since we technically have laws here that you MUST leash your dogs.  Also, she walks with the leash in her hand, so I have no idea why she chooses not to use the thing.  Her dogs are nice, but big and young, which means they are full of energy and frequently overwhelm other dogs… especially smaller ones like the one the (clearly annoyed) man was carrying as he left.  Anyway, the woman was clearly frustrated with her dogs, and so commenced to whip them with the leash!!!  For being, you know, DOGS.  If she had followed the law and kept them on the leash, there would have been no issues.  But instead, this amazing piece of work decides that the dogs should be rather viciously punished for doing only what comes naturally to them when uncontrolled.  I would like to use the woman as kindling, and take her dogs from her.  I have NO patience for animal abusers.
  • I finished A House Somewhere.  It is a collection of travel essays about not just visiting a foreign country, but living there for an extended period of time.  I was interested in it in part because I just love travel, but also because I was drawn to the essays about foreigners living abroad in the US.  I wanted to see what America looks like through the eyes of a non-citizen.  The book is mostly made up of excerpts from previously written travel books by various authors, but also includes some original essays written specifically for the book.  Authors include Isabel Allende (writing about the US), Lily Brett, Simon Winchester, and Frances Mayer (Under the Tuscan Sun), so I was reasonably impressed.  Overall I thought the book did a great job of covering stories in more than just Western Europe, including essays based in China, Morocco, and Thailand.  The writing spans all sorts of styles, yet still manages to convey a sense of overall scope to the essays as a whole.  Although I enjoyed the book, I still felt a sense of heavy American/British influence in terms of the identities of the writers.  Ideally, I would have been even happier with the work if it had included some authors whose homes were based in non-Western cultures, and I would have liked to see some essays on living in less popular places like Eastern Europe, the South Pacific, or southern South America.  Verdict: B-
  • This morning, I finished The Alienist.  I am not normally a mystery reader, and definitely not generally a fan of 19th/20th century American history… so I’m not even sure why I chose this book to read. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The book is well researched, well written, and entertaining enough to have kept me interested throughout several hundred pages. Though the ending was probably a little bit predictable for mystery fans, I was reasonably engaged by it all the same. I enjoyed quite a bit of the character work, and I really liked the discussion of early psychological and scientific techniques in criminal investigations.  It took a little bit of getting into in the beginning, probably thanks to a personal aversion to all things American history related, but in the end made a small beginning struggle well worth it.  Verdict: A-
  • Our crib (in honey oak) has officially shipped, and it should be here sometime next week!  Should be just in time for Evi’s arrival, though she won’t be sleeping in it for a while still.  I am pleased, since I like the idea of having that room all finished by the time she is here or soon after.  Here’s a pic of the stuff for the tiny nursery room… we have everything except the glider and the frame for her hand/footprint.nursery1
  • I would KILL SOMEONE for a pizza margarita right now.  And no, a cheese pizza will not do.  Specifically, I want one from Carpaccio“the classic Neapolitan pizza, zesty tomato sauce, fresh basil & fresh Mozzarella.” Unfortunately, it’s a half hour away… so Aaron has offered to MAKE me one tomorrow!  How much do I love him?  MORE THAN WORDS, and almost as much as pizza.  🙂


7 Nov

Be prepared for death by cute.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Deadly Sin?

21 May

I got to pet a sloth!

Sometimes this place has its benefits… Sea World brought a spoon-billed something or other, a Bald Eagle, a Burmese python, a lemur from Madagascar, and a two-toed sloth. The sloth was AWESOME. I got pictures of all of the animals, and a picture of me petting the sloth. SO COOL!  The above picture is NOT me, and also happens to be a THREE-toed sloth… but they are pretty much equal in terms of cute overload.

I want to raise sloths. Will someone pay me to raise sloths? I guess I could just have kids… I mean, what’s the difference really? 🙂

(I’m so funny.)