Monday, December 30, 2013

December In Review

Well, we've made it through another year! I'm saving my evaluation of my 2013 goals for a separate post, but here's what I experienced during the rest of the month. This also marks a year of me doing monthly reviews as opposed to yearly, and I've really enjoyed it! Planning to put these posts together helps me remember and appreciate each little thing during the month as I go along. I hope you've enjoyed it too.

Heard: I found a bunch of stuff I loved this month (visit my playlist to see it all!) but the one song I couldn't stop playing was Oscar Isaac's rendition of Green, Green Rocky Road. I haven't seen "Inside Llewyn Davis" yet though, have you?

Read: I got a bunch of graphic novels for Christmas (hooray!) and then a bunch of time to read them after getting the stomach flu. I finally got my hands on a copy of "A Kiss Before You Go", which turned out to be not quite as poignant as I expected, but perhaps more real. Not all deaths are picturesque and romantic, not all heartache is expressed with flowery words. And by golly, the title of the book gets me every time. I also read "Underwater Welder", which was also different than I was expecting. I wasn't all that impressed by the story, but I am impressed by how messy illustration can convey so much about a character.

Watched: I had the month off of school, so I got to watch a lot more movies. My favorite Christmas movie is "White Christmas", which I got to introduce to my sister-in-law Olivia. Every time I see this scene, I don't even realize what is going on for the first few seconds. Then, mind blown. / Jonas and I also watched "Now You See Me" which was pretty good except for the last 20 minutes or so when the final "trick" and the reveal and everything are a let down. "My Week With Marilyn" also wasn't hugely impressive, except that Michelle Williams totally nailed that dreamy look that made everyone fall in love with her (MM). Eddie Redmayne isn't too hard on the eyes himself.... / Jonas got "Arietty", one of the more recent Studio Ghibli films, for Christmas, and we both thought it was lacking in plot, but the imagination in all the Ghibli films, as well as the beautiful glimpses of Japan and the expert illustration is a treat, regardless. / We finished the Hulu British series Misfits which I can't in good conscious recommend, but if you watched it, let's just agree that the finale was brilliant. / I have saved the best for last, and it is a gem. I think "Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries" is the first Australian TV I've ever watched, and it has me wanting so much more! At first, Miss Fisher's character was a little too coquettish for me, but she's grown on me, and her wardrobe covers a multitude of sins. There are oodles more that I can hardly bare not to post, but I'll leave it to you to watch the show or google your brains out in delight. [images: 1, 2]

Tasted: Still not much cooking on my part, but I did help with Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners at my parent's, which were delicious and tons of fun. Thai/Vietnamese and Indian, respectively. It's not something new that I make, but here is a killer recipe for Chicken Satay with peanut dipping sauce.

  • 40 incredible photos from history, many of them tragic. Three of my favorites are this little girl undergoing medical therapy with ducklings (1956), the kids getting fresh air in their window cages, and the "beautiful suicide". 

  • A humorous letter to Santa from a 10-month-old. This blog is quickly getting itself on to my list of favorite mom blogs. Because it makes me laugh a lot. 
  • A well thought out guide for how to help depressed people. 
  • Rueter's best photos of 2013. Most of them are terribly sad, and many of them will make you cry. Number 36 gets to me especially, for some reason. 
  • Several trips to Santa Barbara to meet up with various friends, which is always enjoyable. 
  • Christmas shared with Welches and Tuckers, and with friends from Ohio visiting which was extra special. 
  • I think I already mentioned there's a flu going about these parts, but I definitely experienced a lot of vomit, my own and the other kind. 
Ishmael: Took it upon himself, starting Christmas day, to start throwing real tantrums with a terribly throaty and hoarse cry accompanied by hitting his own face and tearing away from anyone trying to hold him. It would be hilarious if I weren't the one who had to deal with it. But he has also started roaring at everything (happily) like a lion or monster, which is somehow cute, and making a ridiculous and cute imitation of a horse neighing.

Loved: The colored lights I put in our laundry room for the holiday and reaching a point where I was so shopped out that I did not buy a single thing for myself on either of my Santa Barbara day trips. BOO-YA!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and may 2014 be full of new adventures. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Battle of the Parsnips

I wish I had more funny or interesting or thought provoking things to say about being a mom recently, but good stories need some tension, and neither being a parent nor my child have been difficult to handle in the past several months. The thing that does become harder is the rest of your life; you have more responsibilities and less time than before being a parent, and learning how to work as a team with your spouse and in all other realms is the hard part. To me, there's a very defined distinction between parenthood being trying and the rest of my life being trying because I am now a mom.

I take that back....
At the time I started writing this post a few weeks ago, Ishmael was being his regular pleasant self. He's toddling along like a pro, can answer some basic questions with yes or no head movements, and if I'm missing any kitchen utensils, I have only to look under his bed. I occasionally find him with his hands in the toilet, grinning wildly, but that's charming in it's own way, right?

Well, we've all had colds for the past week, and on Thursday morning (Dec. 5) when I went to feed him breakfast, he absolutely refused to eat anything. Not even apple pie, which he had been wolfing down the night before. We tried every kind of food we could think of, but he would just cry if we got anything close to his mouth, so in the end I figured he must really not be feeling well, and we let it go. He has plenty of chub stored up to allow a few missed meals. He wouldn't eat lunch either, so when I dropped him off at his Grandma Tucker's when I had to go to work that evening, I told her about the predicament, and when I picked him back up around 6:30, he was happily eating a peanut butter sandwich. I was too relieved that he was eating something to feel too irritated that he wouldn't eat for ME.

Fast forward to Saturday night, and the same thing happened, though he's clearly almost over his cold. I steamed some parsnips, which neither of us had ever eaten, but they're kind of like carrots and are supposed to be healthy. I tasted them, so I knew they were perfectly good. I thought maybe his big lunch was still making him full, so I eventually put him to bed without having eaten dinner. Of course, he woke up around 10:30 and wouldn't fall back asleep, so Jonas got him up and tried to feed him, but he still wouldn't eat. I'm already worried that Ishmael is latching on to this idea that if he wakes up in the night and cries for long enough, we'll get him up and feed him. Didn't we already go through this months ago? But anyway, it's hard to steel yourself against a crying baby who you know has an empty stomach.

Sunday morning, he's still refusing parsnips. This is how it goes: I warm them up in the microwave and put them on his tray. I pick one piece up and put it in front of his mouth. He shakes his head with conviction. I keep holding it there, and he opens his mouth and eats it. Good, progress.

Bite two, no go. I'm positive there is nothing wrong with the parsnips and he doesn't seem to dislike the taste, he just doesn't want to eat them. Well too bad buddy, this is breakfast. I sit down across from him with my best firm-resolve demeanor and eat my yogurt. He starts signing "more" and nodding at my yogurt. Yeah, I don't think so. I try to give him a piece of parsnip again, followed by extreme head shaking and now quivering lip and crocodile tears. When I do manage to get a bite past his lips, he spits it out. If I lower the spoon back to the bowl, the crying immediately evaporates. You, sonny, are earning yourself a blog post right now. I guess we've got to give the people what they want!

At this point, Jonas comes into the kitchen as he's getting ready for work, wondering what all the blubbering is about. I'm sitting back with my yogurt, locked in a war of parsnips. Well actually, just as he walked in, I was letting my guard down and peeling a cutie orange for Ishmael to see if he would eat anything. Sure enough, cuties are delicious this morning. You little weasel. Jonas talks me into a making him take a bite of parsnip between each cutie section. The parsnip "bites" involve smashing little bits of the stuff past his teeth on either side of his grimace, with hot and angry tears mixed in. When I'm finished with my yogurt, I put some parsnip bits in the bottom of the cup, and thus trick him into eating a few bites that way. But before long, the cup has been turned on its head to be used as a tribal drum, and the parsnips are on the floor. The usual. We eventually made it through the whole orange and not a whole lot of parsnip, and I'm left a little befuddled as to why my child has chosen this way in which to display his prowess as leader of the rebel forces.

Of course, he doesn't care that I'm sick either. In fact, me being down is prime time to sit on my hair, slap me in the face, and poke at my eyes. Even when he gets disciplined for slapping me, he cries wildly for about 10 seconds, and then slaps me again. I just love it when I accomplish nothing in 5 days off in a row because all I can do it lay on the floor and try and keep either of us from dying. [image source]

I remind myself frequently that "I should not discipline my child for crying." Sometimes I really want to, though. When it's incessant and needless, especially. I also frequently wish I could just sit Ishmael down and have a rational conversation about why he's really getting on my nerves and how if he just told me what he needed, we could work things out from there. I really struggle to treat him like a baby, sometimes. I don't understand disobedience in children - why is "no" not a good enough answer, and why do we want to do what we're not supposed to way more once we know it's off limits? I might understand if the thing Ishmael wanted was really amazing and I was keeping it from him out of spite, but most of the time, it's just "stop kicking me", "stop crumpling that book page", "stop hammering the china cabinet glass with your fork"... are those things really THAT fun? When I think of my relationship with God in terms of a child and parent, I'm mortified by the fact that I'm so disobedient and thick-skulled and God doesn't beat my bum daily.

Ever since being pregnant with Ishmael, I've been getting weekly emails from about what each week may include as far as various developments. Last week's said something to the affect of, "all children test their parent's will at this age, remember to give yourself time out to recharge your patience." I was SO relieved to read that my child is not the only occasional brat, especially since no one believes me that he has his moments.

I am determined that one day, we shall eat parsnips in peace. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

November In Review

A tad late, but here's how November went down....

Music: I just die over Lianne La Havas' cover of Little Dragon's "Twice". See also her cover of "Elusive" (also a rad video). // By far the coolest music video I've seen in a long time goes with Pharrell Williams' "Happy", check it out, but you'll probably see something different than what I saw (intrigued??). (If you have troubles with the website, you can see part of it on youtube).

Movie: I can finally cross "Pulp Fiction" off my list! It was probably my least favorite Tarantino film I've seen so far, but there are some very quotable lines and I wish that bunny diner was a real place! One of my coworkers has been calling me "Uma" with my latest haircut, so that's part of what prompted me to see it. I wish I could dance like those two cats. Or more like, I wish I could let go of myself in that way. I also watched the "Emperor's New Groove" with Annelise, for the first time in ages, and loved it as much as ever. Even though she did get irritated at me for proving that I could quote every single line if I wanted to. (Pull the lever! Wrooooong leverrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!) Someone broke into my car (on Thanksgiving!!) while we were watching the movie, but thankfully there was nothing worth stealing, and they just left napkins from the glove compartment all over the passenger floor. Yay.

Best Bites: I finally found a Carbonara recipe I'm crazy about, and it's super easy! So I made it a bunch of times this month... And so can you. (I use bacon instead of pancetta, because that's what I have in the freezer).

Best of the Web: 

November Events:
  • Ishmael and Michelle went with me to our local Day of the Dead festival, which was not quite as impressive as I was hoping, but we still enjoyed looking around and watching the dancers. 
  • Jonas and I headed down to Beverly Hills for the live Radiolab show. Again, not as impressive as I was anticipating (the latest theory on how the dinosaurs really died), but I'm still glad we got to go, and the Saban theater was so beautiful. I even got two free temporary tattoos that a grumpy merch guy threw at me. Thanks?
  • I talked Jonas into getting a plastic white Christmas tree this year (retro, baby!) and at the end of decorating it together I told him...
  • ...We found out that we have another baby on the way! No big deal... 
  • At my work Christmas party, we got to see PCPA's Mary Poppins. The story isn't my favorite, but I'm always blown away by all the incredible details that go into the set. I'm definitely wishing there had been a way for me to swing being in that technical design program (alas, 80 hours a week for 2 years!).
  • We spent Thanksgiving (and the weekend) with both our families, full of yummy food and a lot of good, honest, conversations with people, for which I am thankful. My mom and Annelise and I each went through our copies of the Taste of Oregon cookbook and marked favorite recipes. I also accidentally gave the other team a point in Cranium by mouthing off about my knowledge of Eames. Sorry I'm not sorry. 
Ishmael Update: I'm not sure how I'm going to report on what Ishmael is up to from now on since "1 year, 1 month" old just doesn't have the ring that "6 months" or "8 months" does. He's finally got walking down, he says "thank you", but it sounds like "gecko" and he's starting to test me quite forcefully (that deserves its own blog post). One thing I'll be posting regularly when it becomes more frequent are the funny things he says. I can't wait! He now has 8 teeth and doesn't try and pull his socks off at all times. Small victories. (I was about to buy him girls opaque black tights - that'd show him! Also, please appreciate the genius in that solution.)

November love list: My boss, who asks me every day how I'm feeling and brings me extra Thai food that her mom cooks. It's all downhill from here in my lifetime of office rapport. I'm also loving that my friend Amber moved back from Chicago. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

300 Weird Eyes

Well folks, this is my 300th post. Thanks to each of you for following along, whether you're an old pal or a new reader! I can't really promise much for the future of Weird Eyes, except that I have no plans to stop any time soon. It's hard to be consistent or try and make this space into a "real" (professional, money making??) blog at this point in my life, but I'm at peace with that, enjoying sharing my musings and discoveries and hearing back from you all on occasion. I do have an updated layout for the blog in the works, which I'm super excited about, but I'm not sure when it will be completed.

You guys probably know a little bit of the back story on the name "Weird Eyes" from my little bio under my picture to the right of the blog, but I'll give you a few more details today. You've probably noticed that the blog address is "Meow Mazagine" - I don't remember whether that had a story behind it at some point, except that I like cats and I used to call magazines "mazagines", along with most other people who grew up speaking English. I may get that fixed some day, but it would require me to fix all the things I've ever linked to on the blog, and that sounds like a lot of tedious work. I don't remember why I chose "Weird Eyes" either, except that I like the quote from Kurt Kobain. I had a crush on him for a while, in high school. My family visited D.C. in 2005 when I was 14, and my parents wanted to get each of us kids something from the gift shop at the Natural History Museum. I'm not sure why, but they had a poster of Kurt Kobain, and that's what I wanted, but my parent's wouldn't buy that for me. I was not very pleased about that, but ended up getting a book of photos by Steve McCurry, which I still have and love. The quote about Kobain liking girls with weird eyes is actually just a bit from a longer quote from a journal entry he wrote.
“I like punk rock. I like girls with weird eyes. I like drugs. I like passion. I like things that are built well. I like innocence. I like and am grateful for the blue collar worker whose existence allows artists to not have to work at menial jobs. I like killing gluttony. I like playing my cards wrong. I like various styles of music. I like making fun of musicians whom I feel plagiarize or offend music as art by exploiting their embarrassingly pathetic versions of their work. I like to write poetry. I like to ignore others’ poetry. I like vinyl. I like nature and animals. I like to swim. I like to be with my friends. I like to be by myself. I like to feel guilty for being a white, American male.”
My other favorite bits from that are liking poetry and liking ignoring other people's poetry, and feeling guilty for being a white American male. Now that I'm old and boring, I don't have a crush on him anymore - he just kind of makes me sad now. I don't consider myself to have weird eyes, except that they can't decide what color they are. I more like the title for the blog because my life thus far (everything I've seen with my two eyes!) has been eclectic, and occasionally weird. Here's one of my favorite songs of Nirvana's, it always makes me chuckle. And if you're a fan of his, check out this awesome story.

Over the past years (in fact, my earliest posts on this blog were carried over from an old xanga blog, if I'm not mistaken!), a lot has changed in my life, and it's both fun and embarrassing to look back in the archives of this blog and see what all has gone down. The first entry, in fact, is about Obama's first inauguration. Good times, and it feels so long ago. And yet, not very long ago at all, somehow.

I've learned that the most popular writing I do is personal, and as it happens, I take comfort in having this space in which to work out my thoughts and feelings when those personal things happen. I enjoy the writing and brainstorming process too - I have lots of things I mull over, wanting to or wondering whether I should write about them (72 drafts in the works as I write this!). I open a new draft and write a few sentences, and it's usually months later that the finished product gets posted. One thing I am planning to start writing more about is my memories of China. What are some things you like to read about here?

As it happens, all things eyes are having a moment in pop culture right now, so I've put together a weird collection to commemorate 300 published blog posts. I definitely have to give a shout out to my Aunt Cathy for showing me some of the following weird eyes.

One of the best Halloween costumes ever. 

Just a weird eye.

My kind of fortune teller's ball

An enormous eyeball sculpture.

A brooch by Salvador Dali. 

plant covered in eyeballs! 

Eyes on nails

A few of my favorite eye-bally things! (See here for product details)

And, for some more fascinating eye-related things:

Thanks again to everyone who reads this blog. Here's to the next 300 posts! 
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