Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Asplode

I promise to not post excessively about gestating the twerps, but let me just say this: I HAVE EXPLODED.  I AM HUGE.  Huge!  I don't know what happened, but somehow, I went from barely showing to being as big as I was when I was 7 months pregnant.  It would be somewhat alarming, if I had room in my brain for things other than pasta carbonara and roasted leg of lamb.  Fortunately, keeping hunger headaches at bay by constant grilled cheese sandwich consumption is relegating anxieties about my increasingly Barbapapa-esque likeness to the distant ether.

We had a fairly calm weekend.  I had ladies night with the ladies on my street and we went to Lalibela for Ethiopian.  I don't dislike Ethiopian food, but I'm not the biggest fan of it either.  I absolutely loathe that they serve the injera lukewarm or outright cold.  It's not enjoyable to scoop up warm vegetables and meat with stone-cold bread.  It was overall a pretty meh experience, foodwise, but a wonderful experience, lady-neighbour bonding-wise.

We (and by "we" I mean "I") made dinner for Momma D last night which served the simultaneous goal of facilitating a visit AND allowing us to piggyback her cable so that we could watch the Oscar's red carpet. I made us roasted leg of lamb (marinated for a day and a half in rosemary, oregano, thyme, garlic, lemon zest, syrah, and olive oil), roasted tatties, a broccoflower mash, and a brussels sprouts and almond salad.

I also made us Momofuku milk bar chocolate cookies which we ate with little dishes of Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream from Ed's.  Delicious!

We sold our stroller on the weekend.  We bought it in 2010 (it's a 2009 model) from some lady who had it for a few months and kept it in pristine condition.  I think we bought it for $540 (she paid $909).  I sold it for   $475, which means that we basically paid $70 to rent a $900 stroller for 3 years.  Pretty solid ROI, if I do say so myself.  Every time I sell something on Kijiji or Craigslist, after the transaction, the Dotytron and I always turn to each other and say, "easy money" like John Connor in Terminator 2.  I always feel like I got away with something.  It's weird, I know.

We also test drove our next one.  The thing is a tank.  There's no way around it when you're going for a tandem double.  It's the City Select Baby Jogger.  It comes with a single seat as a base but then you can buy the second seat and adapter to turn it into a double.  I've seen quite a few people with twins with this stroller and I asked them about it.  It's also got some great features - better than the Uppababy in some cases.  You can lock the wheels so that they don't pivot, the brake is really smooth and accessible, and unlike a lot of the other doubles, you can buy two car seat adapters so you can use it when the bambinos are very wee.  The seats are also super-configurable.  They can face each other or you or any combination thereof.  The Dotytron is gunning for us to buy this one new with a warranty, since this will likely (haha, j/k, MOST DEFINITELY) be the last stroller we'll ever buy.  That being said, we'll probably also get a lightweight umbrella type stroller too, for travelling.

In other news: I feel like I've read A LOT lately.  So many books!  Here's a recap.

Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl is beach reading for winter - immensely readable and disposable, but with a dark undertone.  There were elements I wasn't a huge fan of: namely, the ending, but if I take a step back and don't get so emotional about it, I get what Flynn's overall goal was.  This is a book told from the alternating points of view of a ne'er-do-well overgrown child of a husband, and his game, saintly wife.  Wife goes missing and the chief suspect in her murder is the husband.  What unfolds is a character study of a marriage that has ambitions towards a commentary on our true-crime/Nancy Grace obsessed culture but is at its best when it sticks to being a compulsively breezy novel about the ultimate unhealthy codependent relationship.

While the latest Jonathan Tropper book didn't ascend to quite the same heights as This is Where I Leave You, it was still a pretty good read about yet another sad sack man who doesn't have his life together.  The tone of this one was still comic, but veered a bit more towards the melancholy (the protagonist, Silver, is dying, so yeah, I guess there's that).  I like Tropper's balance between humor and sadness, and I also like that he delves into the male psyche within the framework of the sadsack loser, which is a perspective you don't get all that often.


I was looking for a few quick reads and wanted to get some some of the YA that's being turned into movies off my list (gotta stay ahead of the zeitgeist, don't ya know).  I had read the first book in Ally Condie's Matched series a while ago (review here) and at the time, wasn't so taken with it that I wanted to continue.  It's okay, as far as near-future dystopian YA goes.  All the books kind of drag - there's a lack of action (it's like, diametrically opposed to The Hunger Games in that regard), and it centres the story around a kind of milque-toast heroine who is supposed to be relateable because she is inwardly steely though outwardly compliant and confused (as most teenagers are) and that steeliness has to be discovered over time.  For a book where there's an entire overthrow of the ruling system, the pacing is plodding at best.  Lots of internal here, not a lot of external.  The world hasn't really been well-conceptualized.  I might be experiencing anti-Mormon bias because I found out that the author went to Brigham Young University, which to me, based on my admittedly limited understanding is a fake university that churns out Mormons and probably doesn't teach evolution (or offer a science curricula).  I keep looking for Mormon under/overtones.

This is my Academic Book Club's next pick.  It is SERIOUS fiction (of the National Book Award-winning ilk) but because it is told from the perspective of a 13 year old boy, it avoided some of the trappings of high falutin' literary novels that I am lately not so into.  The story is about the brutal rape of the boy's mother.  The family is Native American and they live on a reservation in North Dakota.  The events take place in the early 1980s.  This is expertly written fiction.  I read up on Erdich and she is (rightfully, I would say from my limited exposure) considered a forebearer of the Native American Renaissance movement in American arts.  This book deftly weaves together politics, family relationships, mystery, and the coming-of-age of a boy.  It's like Stand By Me but better.  What I loved about this novel is that it again forced me to confront the gaping lacuna of my knowledge of reservation life and the experiences of Native Americans.  It is unflinching in its portrayal of the realities of life but also provides a historical, social, and legal context that underpins these realities.  The boy's father is a tribal judge with shades of Atticus Finch.  One particular moment in the book, when the father uses a food metaphor to describe the tenuous, rotten foundations of reservation law, lingers with me still.  It was punishingly good fiction.  Fiction that makes literary fiction less unappealing to a low-brow reader like myself.  

After the brutal violence of The Round House, I needed a break.  So I turned to Where'd You Go, Bernadette? which was everything I wanted and needed it to be: funny, acerbic, entertaining, and a breeze.  Bee is a gifted, precocious teen with an eccentric mum and a Microsoft whiz of a dad, going to a private school in Seattle.  Through email exchanges between characters interspersed with Bee's own musings, you get this cutting look at liberal, wealthy west-coast-isms and the times we live in, wrapped around the story of the sudden disappearance of Bee's mother, Bernadette.  It sends up all kinds of things that I love to see sent up: helicopter parents, the privileged, the west coast and its polar-fleece-swathed-elitism-masquerading-as-populism, gifted kids.  Bernadette is my kind of mum.  Pettiness born out of thwarted creativity, dismissive of small-minded people, eccentric, and a passionate champion of her daughter.  This was a fantastic novel.

The last few nights' dinners have been good, but I'm too busy shovelling food into my gaping maw to take photos.

Monday we had a seafood chowder with croutons (I love love love croutons in a chowder) and salad.  Last night we had cheese tortellini tossed with pesto and blanched broccoli and more salad.  

Fin.



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