Monday, October 31, 2005

Lookin Hot!

Baby Girl was drawing yesterday and we were amazed at how good this picture of a pumpkin was.

"Baby Girl! That is a GREAT picture of a jack-o-lantern."

"No, Mommy, that's Gramma."


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Boobs and Poops

When I felt the lump in my breast a couple of weeks ago, I felt a deja vu. I remembered that I had felt it the month prior and sort of mulled it over in the shower. Suddenly, Baby Girl ripped open the shower curtain, started spewing satanic words from her mouth like the Tasmanian Devil and I forgot all about it.

Forgot all about it. That's pretty tough to do, isn't it? But I did. Until I felt it again.

I admit, I was a little freaked out about it. It wasn't until I was on the phone with my friend and we got on the subject of death (nice!) that I remembered I needed to call the doctor. But I didn't call the doctor until later that day. Let me give you a hint. If you have a cold and feel like you are at death's door, or have a migraine or have your arm out of it's socket, the doctor will see you in a week. Tell them you found a lump in your breast and they will see you bright and early the next morning, or better yet, get in there now if you can.

I visited my doctor the next afternoon. She couldn't find the lump and neither could I, which sort of made me glad. She mentioned that drinking too much caffiene can sometimes be a factor if you occasionally feel something. She then said, "Well you're already a year late in getting your baseline mammogram anyway, so I think you should get one. I am also going to have you get an ultrasound at the same time just to be sure."

"What do you mean I'm a year late? I thought I needed to start getting a mammogram when I turn 40."

"No, you should have gotten your first one at 35."

I suddenly felt REALLY OLD.

I am not the type who gets all hung up about birthdays and getting old. I remember a family friend who turned 30 when I was a kid and she cried for over a week. I've just never been bothered by it. I have always felt like I am the same squirrely 22 year old who is still at IU, whopping it up and feeling fine. I didn't feel old when I got married, I didn't feel old when we renewed our vows seven years later. I didn't feel old when I gave birth to the girls, even when the doctor made a comment during the delivery of my second one that it was a high risk pregnancy because of my age. Hell, teenagers have kids. Even my first gray hair didn't make me feel terribly old. Being told I needed to have a mammogram made me feel old.

So today was my appointment. As I drove to the appointment, I wasn't particularly nervous about going. I was irritated. I was told not to wear any perfumes, lotions or deodorant. NO DEODORANT!!! That's like going to work without brushing one's teeth! I was sweating just thinking about not wearing it. I was also thinking about my mother's words when I told her that I was getting a mammogram:

"JESUS H. CHRIST, that was the single-most painful thing I have ever had done."

Great. I tried to keep in mind that my mother never actually gave birth, so I somewhat doubted it could be that painful.

I had a fantastic technician named Danette who did a great job of talking during the whole thing and keeping me distracted. She need not have bothered. It didn't even hurt! I have no idea what the big deal is about getting a mammogram. Now having gone through one, I can't fathom why women are so afraid to get them. If they are worried about someone fondling their boobs, they need to get over themselves. I was starting to think that I should have ignored my doctor about going at such a "young age" when my husband called to see what was going on. I told him all was well and he sounded so relieved. Then, I knew I did the right thing by going, if for no other reason than to assure that my husband that he would not be a single parent any time soon.

In unrelated news, my daughter took her first two craps in the potty today and I couldn't be happier. She and I danced around like a couple of idiots, she got 5 M&M's, she got to watch her beloved Noggin, we called Daddy at work and she got to open the Poopie Present that has been sitting on the counter for several days--a stuffed Tigger. It doesn't get much better than that. Except I could use some deodorant right about now.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Lazy Hausfrau and the Case of the Missing Credit Card

Here at Hausfrau Haus, I never have days during the week in which I just vegetate. I tend to manage my time more efficiently when I am busy. Even though I occasionally bitch and moan about how busy I am, I am blowing hot air. I mean, if I have time to blog about it, how bad can it really be? My life as a vegetable used to be done on the weekends only(as I worked during the week) up until the birth of our second daughter. I rememberly fondly the many weekends my husband and I enjoyed in which much television watching took place, maintaining one's hygiene was completely optional, and improving the ass-groove on our designated spots on the sectional were the only goals we had. We had the good fortune of having a laid-back firstborn who allowed us to indulge in this hedonistic lifestyle. Then Peaches came along, we moved, blah, blah, blah, and now we don't vege.

Perhaps it is because it is Monday. Perhaps it is because it is a COLD and wet day outside. Perhaps it was because I had to put 5 extra quilts on the bed last night because it was 43 degrees in our house and I just couldn't turn on the heat (it's not November yet!). At any rate, I have not been motivated to do anything beyond the necessary mommy stuff today like feeding and changing diapers. It is currently 3:00 in the afternoon and I am still in my pajamas (as are my kids who are currently napping--YAY!), I am still drinking coffee, I haven't brushed my teeth and I DON'T PLAN ON IT. By the grace of God, both children amused themselves at the same time this morning and I was able to actually watch 20 minutes of Ellen. Is it Christmas? Is it my Birthday?

Here's the problem. I have absolutely no business being this lazy today. I have lost my credit card. I put in the front pocket of my denim jacket Thursday afternoon after I got gas and headed to a doctor's appointment. I realized on Saturday that I lost the jacket. Since I go to so few places and there hasn't been a reason to wear a jacket until a few days ago, I thought it would be easy to retrace my steps. I was reasonably sure that I left it at the doctor's office. Unfortunately, I called them and they don't have it.

There is only one other place it could be. On Friday I took Baby Girl to her artwork class a few miles away at a church. I was certain that I didn't wear my jacket, but I may have. Unfortunately, Misfit Hausfrau is not in the driver's seat--Lazy Hausfrau is. If Misfit Hausfrau were in charge, she would be destroying the house from top to bottom, cleaning out both cars, checking under the deck and behind the barbeque grill for the credit card and jacket. And cursing the whole time. She would also drive the 50 mile round trip to the doctor's office because she wouldn't believe them and would have beat down the doors of the church until some poor sucker opened the door. Instead, Lazy Hausfrau can't seem to get her ass off the couch to do anything more than call the doctor's office and monitor the credit card account from the credit card website. I can't believe I am willing to risk identity theft and the tarnishing of our credit for the sake of lounging.

But here I sit. So, if you see a denim jacket lying around and happen to find a credit card in the front pocket, just email me--I'd sure appreciate it, as would my always fiscally responsible husband, whose head is going to explode when he learns that I still haven't found it.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Those Dastardly Sevens

At the behest of MIM I have been asked to do a "Meme." What is a Meme you ask? I haven't the foggiest, but I think it gives people who don't know you the chance to get to know you by writing about yourself. Which is what I am doing with this blog anyway, but whatever. I'll give it a shot. This is a list of "Sevens."

7 Things I Want to Do Before I Die
1. Have intelligent, happy children who will fist fight to care for me in my old age
2. Adopt a child (Why you ask as it seems I have no control over the two I have? I just do.)
3. Go to a cooking class with SoNotMartha in Tuscany. I'm locked in since she already said she wanted to do it, but we would have a lot of fun!
4. Live in a foreign country for at least a year
5. Be married to my husband for a minimum of 50 years and love him as much as I do today
6. Love on a truckload of grandchildren
7. Write an autobiographical cookbook. Chapters would include food of my youth (Polish food, food containing government cheese or dried milk), the "college years" (will be a short chapter as I only had $11/week to spend on food) and now.

7 Things I Cannot Do
1. Be on an airplane without thinking I will die
2. Resist buying shoes for myself and my daughters
3. Kiss and hug my kids enough
4. Shake my poor self image
5. Watch The Sound of Music without crying
6. Paint my nails
7. Make my mother realize that she CAN snap out of her depression and be a functioning, happy person with some help

7 Things That Attract Me To The Opposite Sex
1. The ability to find my idiosyncrasies charming
2. Intelligence
3. Not afraid to speak his mind without being a jackass about it
4. Well read
5. Honesty
6. Secure in his baldness
7. Good Credit

7 Things I Say Most Often
1. Shut UP! (The way Elaine from Seinfeld did without the pushing)
2. Whaaa?
3. Just a minute...
4. I love you more than chocolate ice cream!
5. Dammit (not around the chillins)
6. No WAY!(or Get OUT!)
7. True Dat

7 Celebrity Crushes
1. John Cusack
2. John Cusack
3. John Cusack
4. Scott Baio
5. Matt Damon
6. Don Cheadle
7.Alice Cooper (not really--just checking to see if you have died of boredom yet!)

7 People I Want To Do This
1. Definitely my friend Erin
2. My Cincinnati Soul-Sista Misfit --who knew there were two Misfits in one town?
3. Jenette, another Cincinnatian!

I have some very interesting friends who do not blog (but should) and should do this:
4.Jen Z--Oh the stories she has...
5. Amy N.--we met in Lamaze and have daughters 2 weeks apart.
6. Stevo--is in the movie biz--oh the stories he has...
7. Mark--Managed Cafeteria and Brasserie in NYC--Oh, the stories...

Friday, October 21, 2005

Hot Stock Tip

Just thought I would share with all of you that you may want to invest in Kimberly-Clark stock if you aren't already. Oppenheimer, Prudential, Deutsche Securities and Bear Stearns have all downgraded it since August, but I have some insider information that could change everything.

Baby Girl informed me that she will NEVER poop on the potty. Ever. Never. No Way. Nu UH! Baby Girl wears size 4 clothing right now and is wearing size 6 diapers. They don't make diapers any larger and I just can't do pullups as I am annoyed by the Princesses and stuff on them.

That will leave me no choice but to purchase Depends. For the next 30 years. Even if she gets a job and starts buying them on her own, Kimberly Clark is going to achieve some huge profits for the next several decades.

Shhhh. Don't tell anyone I told you.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Time Out for Busia

"Hi, Mom, Hausfrau here. I thought I would call to let you know what your charming graddaughter said to me today."

"Aw, shit. I can't even imagine."

"Yeah well, do you remember how she likes to say her prayers before she eats?"

"Yes, it's really cute."

"It sure is. Well, a couple of minutes after I made her lunch, she said to me, 'Dammit, we forgot to say prayers!!!'"

(Laughing) "Aw, Christ! You're kidding me?! God!"

"I wish I was. She also said "Dammit" after she dropped her bag of Pla-Dough today."

(Laughing)"Aw, Shit and be Damned! Honey, you guys need to really stop saying those words around her. She is so impressionable!"

"But MOM, she has been swearing like a sailor since we visited you."

"Well shit, Hausfrau, you visited me 3 weeks ago. There's no way she can remember those words from the visit!"

"MOM, we were there less than a week ago! The day after we visited you, she spent most of the day in time out because she wouldn't stop swearing! And it's not as though she just says the words. She actually knows how to use them in the correct context."

"God Dammit, Hausfrau, I am sorry. I guess I am just not used to little ones around. Why didn't you say something when you were?"

"I DID!" You kept ignoring me like you didn't hear me."

"Huh, I must not have heard you. Well, for what it's worth, I NEVER say the "F" word."

"Wanna bet?"

"Well, SHIT Hausfrau--when did I say that?"

"I believe you said, "That God-damned Baby Girl is so Fucking Cute, I can't stand it."

"Oh my God. I am sorry! Well, just tell her that Busia just isn't right in the head and that I am a little cukoo so I sometimes say bad words."

"No problem."

Monday, October 17, 2005

The History of Keeping Up With The Joneses in the Suburbs: Chapter One

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am quite pleased with how our living situation has turned out moving back to the Midwest. Thanks to making a stupid amount of money on the sale of our house in New Jersey, we were able to put 20% down on a beautiful dream home here in Ohio. The house is not really us, but it's very nice and we plan to stay here until the next move. Yes, I said next move as I am reasonably sure this is not the last time we will be moving.

At any rate, we are slowly getting to know some of our neighbors. Some have been quite friendly and were quick to come to our house to introduce themselves the minute the moving truck pulled away. Others have been a little slower in doing so, but that's their choice. At some point over the holidays, I will pop over to their houses with cookies and shame them for not coming to me first.

We are slowly making our home our own. We removed the tether ball pole out of the back yard and have planted a couple of trees. The playset that the previous owner built was designed for 6 year old boys so my husband has been slowly tweaking it to make it a little friendlier for a 2 1/2 year old as shown below:

See? It's kind of cute. It did have a roof on it yesterday, but the tarp was torn, so my husband took it off with plans to put on a new, cedar roof next spring. At the bottom of the slide my husband created an area that is mulched for a smooth landing as the previous owners secured the bottom of the slide with a huge piece of concrete (I am not even kidding!) While he was working on tearing down the roof/tarp, he noticed that the neighbor behind us (whom we have not met) was taking apart his play set. It was slightly larger and seemed newer and in better shape. We were surprised that he was removing it because it looks like they have a few kids (again, haven't met them).

In a bold move of one-upmanship, the following playset was installed in their yard a couple of hours later:

This thing is easily five times the size of the one we have. It's made with gorgeous cedar, a rope climbing thingie on one side, a huge slide on the other. Not to mention the flags. THE FLAGS! Good God, it's GORGEOUS!

It should then, be no wonder that our daughter is now doing this :

See how pathetic she looks? Her sucko swingset doesn't compare to the shangri-la that is behind us. It is downright embarassing that she continues to walk down there, forlornly dreaming of riding the pretty swings that come in the choice of colors, red, yellow or blue. Why should she go down her lame green slide when she could go down the COOL tubular yellow one. She has asked all day if she can go play "ober there."

So, the gloves are coming off! While we may not have the McDonald Playland in our backyard, we WILL get all Griswold on your ass when it comes to Christmas decorating. Watch and learn dear neighbors--it is GAME ON!

Friday, October 14, 2005


While I was home this week, I had the good fortune of spending time with a friend of mine. It was 7:30 in the morning and I was pondering going to the local Meijer or WalMart to let my daughter run around the aisles because I knew my Mom wouldn't be up to seeing us until late morning. As I loaded my kids in the car, my cell phone rang. It was my friend, wondering what I was up to. When I told her of my plan, she told me to come out to her house and have some coffee and let Baby Girl play with some toys. I was so grateful to get the offer and happily accepted.

My friend happens to be the daughter of my birth mother. I guess most people would say that she is my sister. Or maybe half-sister since we are sure we have different fathers. While I haven't had any discussions with her as to how we should refer to each other, I like thinking of her as my friend who happens to be my birth sister.

When my parents adopted me the welfare department had told them that my birthmother had been married with a bunch of kids. Apparently the father would leave for long stretches of time and then come back, beat up the mother, etc. Allegedly, I was one of the byproducts of this. Later in life, I found out who my birthmother was and contacted her to receive information on my medical history. I really wasn't interested in meeting her, but I was curious about the possibility of siblings being out there. My birthmother lived 30 minutes from where I grew up so my husband and I visited the local library where she lived on one of our trips home. I looked up yearbooks to see if there were any kids with the same last name (it's not a very common name, so I was reasonably sure that someone with the same last name would be related to my birthmother). I found one girl. She was four years older than I was. I photocopied her photo out of the yearbook and looked for others but never found any.

Over the years I thought about trying to contact this girl, but I was much too afraid. I worried that she might be close to her mother and that my contacting her would be very traumatic. I imagined it turning into a horrible Jerry Springer episode in my head, so I left it alone. Then, a couple of years ago I was on and was looking around. For kicks, I put in L's name and she popped up. I think she had her email address listed for something on there, so I wrote it down and thought I might email her someday. Months later I wrote her a simple email asking her if her mother was "X". I still don't remember what possessed me to do that. The next day I received an email with the question, "Why do you want to know?" I suddenly felt a lot of fear. What right did I have to do this and possibly mess up a couple of lives. So I didn't answer her back.

Almost a year later, I got an email from her:

Hello MisfitHausfrau-

Almost a year ago you wrote, wanting to know if my mother's name was X. I emailed you back wanting to know why. However, I never heard from you.

Every once in a while, during this past year, I'd think about your email and wonder, so..... Yes, my mother's name is X.

Now, I've answered your question, please answer mine. Why do you ask?


I absolutely flipped out and called my best friend and asked her what I should do. She didn't think it was such a good idea to tell her everything at once. I told her that I felt I should just tell her and be done with it. So I did. And then she wrote me back.

Hi -

First, I want to thank you for not using that "unsend" button in your
initial email! When I received your first email, back in September, I had a
feeling I knew what it was about. I don't know why I answered the way I
did. Scared, being careful, maybe? I am sorry. It was what I was hoping
for for quite a while.

As far as I know, my mother still has no idea that I know anything about her
pregnancy/adoption. I don't think that I am ready (nor she) to face that
wrath. I really can't remember how long I've known, but when you have a
mother (unlike your very understanding adoptive parent's) who is not
forthcoming with information from her past, there wasn't a whole lot I could
do about finding siblings. At this point, you probably know more about
X's past than I do. This whole story is so confusing, I don't even
know where to begin or that you even want to hear it.

I do know that it was a very happy day for me when, who I call my "granny",
let slip that I have siblings (yes, that's plural). I always thought that I
was an only child, now I've got siblings. It was a wonderful secret that I
kept between myself and my husband for a long time. I've often wonder who
they were, what they would be like. However, even with the internet,
without anything to go on, there was no where to go. I'm having a hard time
comprehending that I had a sibling living one county away from me for so
many years and didn't know it!

I'll give you a few facts about me (I would like a few more about you, too,
please) and then we/you/me can decide what we want to do from here. You
already know my name. X was not wed at the time she had me, either.
I was born in April, 19xx, so I am your older sister.

Please don't ever be sorry about writing that first email, I'm not.

Hopefully, I'll hear from you soon.



So now, for over a year, we have been getting to know each other. L is fantastic. It has been such an interesting case study in Nature vs. Nurture. My sister and I have always been complete and total opposites. I am constantly amazed with the things that "L" and I have in common, be it ideologies, favorite books, our love of the occasional menthol cigarette, you name it. It has also been interesting to meet someone who shares the same genes. I found out that I am Irish instead of Scottish, twins run in the family and that "L" and I are quite tall (we're 5'5") compared to the rest of the family. People who aren't adopted take resemblences for granted.

While I like spending time with her I constantly worry that "X" will find out and that it will destroy their mother-daughter relationship. I don't know that L worries about it as much as I do. I also feel bad that she hasn't been able to tell anyone about me except for her husband because it would apparently rock her family's world as none of them know about me (apparently "X" was very good at hiding pregnancies!) So for now, we are carrying on a friendship and are helping each other fit pieces into a strange family puzzle.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Going Home

I am back from my adventures in Indiana. I decided to go home for a couple of days with the girls so that I could check up on my mother and give her a chance to spend some time with the kids. I am sure you are probably thinking why I would choose to go on a 5 hour drive one way with two kids when I can't even manage to go to the store with them. Well, driving to Indiana is the easy part. I simply hand my older daughter the personal DVD player (she understands it is for long car rides only--not a trip to Target) and allow her brain to rot by watching five straight hours of Dora and Barney. I don't hear a peep out of her unless she asks for a granola bar or water. The baby is easy to predict. I know I can get to the north side of Indianapolis which is roughly the half-way point before she starts to cry and I need to give her a bottle or feed her.

And so we went. The drive there was uneventful. Since I was getting to LaPorte around the girls' nap time, my friend Lorrie had invited me to use her place so the girls could sleep since no one would be home and I couldn't check into the hotel until after 3PM. PERFECT! We got there and were getting settled in for naps when Lorrie and the kids came home. Baby Girl's head almost exploded with glee as she LOVES her friends Emily and Adam. Alas, no naps for the kids.

After a couple of hours there, I needed to get things packed so that we could stop by my mom's for a short visit. I hauled the pack & play and the blow-up Dora bed up the stairs and to the car. Sweating profusely, I went back in the house to collect my kids. Hmmm, it seems that one of Baby Girl's new red shoes is missing. And I mean missing. We tore the house apart for a half an hour. No shoe. Normally, I would have just gone out to the car and gotten another pair. But guess what? I didn't PACK any other shoes becuase I was trying to be efficient and not overpack. OK, well, she can walk to the car wearing one shoe. Wait, no she can't, it is starting to RAIN!

After our jaunt to the Payless, we stopped by to see Busia (that's Polish for Grandma.) We were only going to stay for a few minutes because trips to my mother's apartment must be carefully orchestrated so that we do not stay too long and tire her out.

I guess I need to explain a few things about my mother. She is almost 65 going on 110. After years of depression, alcoholism, smoking, crankiness and just flat out abuse of her body, she is now a very sick woman. She has taken a severe downturn since my father died nearly 5 years ago. She can only take visits in small doses as they tire her out immensely. She refuses to live with my sister or me. She is a very proud woman who doesn't want to bother anyone. She also vividly remembers the day my father's mother just "showed up" to our house and lived with us for 7 years or so. They were the worst years of her life and she doesn't want history to repeat itself. While I understand that, the difference between that situation and ours is that my husband and I are on the same page concerning her and actually WANT her to live with us. This woman has been so sick throughout the years that she didn't make it to my wedding, my vow renewal, or the births of my children. She has only travelled to see us once in the 14 years we have been together and that was while my father was still alive. Now, she is too sickly to really leave her apartment much, but isn't sick enough for assisted living.

At any rate, we showed up to Busia's apartment. Now, she has known for three weeks that we were coming. While I wasn't expecting a baby-proofed living room, I certainly wasn't expecting piles of bills, HUGE scissors, rubber bands and paper clips on the floor and lit candles within easy reach of both kids. Mind you, her desk is PRISTINE. Before I could say, "Hi Mom!" Baby Girl was holding the scissors like Chucky and Peaches was on her back, gnawing a Chapstick. Then my mother decided that since she had a good day, that she should test the limits by wrestling with Baby Girl. After the wrestling match, I helped my mother up and tucked her in on the couch so she could sleep for the night. It was 4:30.

Later, the girls and I checked in to the Hampton Inn outside of town. The girls were exhausted, so I put Peaches in the hotel-issued Pack & Play, and took Baby Girl and some books and walked to the lobby to wait out the screaming fit. I am sure many of you are thinking that I broke at least five laws by leaving her in the room by herself, but I could hear her quite well (as could the employees and people who were checking in) from the lobby, so I knew she was fine. Later, Baby Girl and I went back in the room and whispered stories and fell asleep at around 8:30. The rest of the night proved much more difficult as Peaches HATED the Pack & Play and screamed out every hour on the hour until I put her in bed with me. Then she screamed out every 2 hours. By 5:30 we were up and ready to Rock & Roll.

Long and boring story short, I decided yesterday afternoon that I needed to drive home then instead of tonight so that the girls and I could get some sleep. When we finally got back to Busia's yesterday (at 11AM since she said she was "tired" from the previous 30 minute visit,) I knew that she wouldn't be able to handle us there for very long and I couldn't bear to go back to the hotel. My mother keeps a small footstool near the couch where she sleeps that houses her glasses, remote control, her ashtray and cigarettes, her coffee cup and some medication. While I was in the bathroom, Peaches managed to get into all of it by dumping the ashtray and the remote control into my mother's coffee cup because my mom was too weak to move her. It was time to go home.

So, if you do the math, we had a 10 hour drive and 2 1/2 hours of visiting. I felt really bad about it--especially when I called her this morning at 10:00 AM and she was still asleep. From yesterday afternoon.

Wait Wait! I forgot. I've had to put Baby Girl in time out 5 times today because she repeatedly said the words, "Shit" and "Dammit" all day long, thanks to Busia's potty mouth. Busia also dropped the F-Bomb a couple of times but I don't think baby Girl heard it!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

What I Like About My New Tri-State Area

The people have spoken and Hausfrau has listened. It is only fair that I also write about what I am liking about my new home--especially if there is even a REMOTE chance that SoNotMartha and her family are coming to live here. Which they aren't. Mark my words, they will be moving to a certain foreign country that will remain nameless.

At any rate, there is a lot to like about the OH/IN/KY area. I haven't ventured out all that much as I now have two chilluns and just showering and getting to Target is an amazing accomplishment most days. However, I haven't been a complete hermit. Here are some things I like in no particular order.

1. I like my neighborhood. While the people may be quite churchy and are determined to have us joing SOME christian religious establishment, they are all sincerely nice. Except for the people right next door. I think the dude is holding his wife and child hostage. He is the only one who leaves his house and the blinds have NEVER been open in the 6 months we have lived her. At any rate, people take a lot of pride in their lawns and I am relatively certain that we need not worry about an el camino ending up on cinder blocks in someone's driveway, thanks to the powerful Homeowner's Association.

2. I like Jungle Jim's International Market. I mentioned in my previous post that I call it the "Freakshow of Food." It's true. This place is the vision of a guy named Jim (shocker, I'm sure). He had a fruit stand back in the 70's and built it over the years into a more than 200,000 sq. foot store with food from every corner in the world. Need some fufu flour for your plantains? Jungle Jim's got it! Need a smoked pig's head? Aww, yeah--got that too! Apparently people drive hours to go there to get a taste of their homeland. He has been slowly adding on to the place so that there is a Starbucks, and a bunch of other stores and restaurants going in. He is also the largest wine retailer in the state. They have cooking classes, they've got it ALL--including a monorail that he is building around the perimeter o fhis gargantuan building.

3. The Newport Aquarium ROCKS! It is, by far, the best aquarium I have had the fortune to see. The glass tunnels in which fish and sharks swim around and over you as you walk through them are amazing! My favorite section is the Jellyfish Gallery. It looks like a museum room with a tremendous chandalier and the coolest crushed velvet seating in the middle. Around the room are tanks that have gold picture frames, as if the swimming jellyfish are artwork. It has tranquil music piped in and has quite the calming effect.

4. I like Brown County, Indiana. The Northeast has nothing on Brown County when it comes to autumn! Nashville, Indiana is a small artist community that is great to stroll around. The hiking at Brown County State Park is also great.

5. I like Bloomington, Indiana. It's nice only being a couple of hours from my former alma mater, Indiana University. While I try really hard to not appear to be some pathetic old fogey trying to relive my college years (they were the best years of my life), it's hard to not feel nostalgic when we have a beer at Nick's or walk the beautiful campus.

6. I loves me some Skyline Chili. Cincinnati-style chili is unlike any type of chili you'll ever have. The secret to the chili is that it has cinammon in it, among some other secret spices. Sounds strange, but it is dee-licious! And then, as if it couldn't get any better, the chili is put on top of spaghetti and then topped with cheese. That, is called a "three-way" (insert porn music here.) They also have "four-way" and "five-way" but I have no idea what those are.

7. I like Sharon Woods. Cincinnati has an impressive parks system. Sharon Woods is the largest, I believe. I love it the most because it has a shaded playground. Roll your eyes if you must, but I happen to have two of the pastiest children in Ohio. My daughter can't play on our swingset in the backyard unless it's cloudy day. It's worth the 25 minute drive.

8. Finally, I like the fact that every Kroger, Meijer and Target I frequent has a Starbucks in it. Since I am not going to have a chance to go to a freestanding location anytime soon, it's nice to pick up a venti skim latte before I pick up some formula and diapers. Now, if we could just get a Restoration Hardware and an Ikea for Christ Sakes...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Things I Miss About the Tri-State Area

It's hard to believe that we left New Jersey six months ago. We came to the Midwest for several reasons. Being geographically closer to our families was the main priority, although I was expecting we would end up in Chicago. Cincinnati was never on our radar when my husband started interviewing with other companies. But, here we are, and everything is OK. The cost of living here is FANTASTIC. We never would have been able to afford living in New Jersey with two kids, a mortgage and $8K+/year in property tax for a 3 bedroom 1960's rancher with both of us working full time. Hell, we can't even afford to buy BACK our old rancher--even if my husband got a triple promotion to come back.

All in all, we know we have made the right decision in being here. And while I usually had something to complain about when I lived in New Jersey, (who DOESN'T have stuff to complain about in New Jersey--it's what they DO!!!) I have come to really miss some things from the NY/PA/NJ area. These are in no particular order.

1. I miss Wegman's. Wegman's is the Mecca of Grocery Stores. I first learned of Wegman's when we lived in Pittsburgh and I visited SNMartha when she moved to Western New York. Every single time we visited SNMartha and SNMartha's husband, we would get up early before we would head back home, and drive to Wegman's where we would wander the aisles in absolute awe of what a grocery store could be. I had never seen so many beautiful foods and beautiful things in which to cook the beautiful foods. Fortunately, Cincinnati is home of Jungle Jim's which I refer to as the Freakshow of Food. It is equally amazing, so I think I'm going to be OK.

2. I miss Princeton, NJ. We lived 15 minutes from the campus and we were always there. Our daughter started walking in earnest on the campus lawns. She also suffered her first knee scrape there. We miss parking our car on Nassau St. on a beautiful Sunday morning in the spring or autumn and walking from one end of the campus to the other. The shops were quaint, and the Gap and the Banana Republic near the campus ALWAYS had better stuff than the other Gaps in the area (I am easily pleased.) My husband and I had many a beer and meal at Triumph Brewing Company as well.

3. I miss shopping in New York. Who wouldn't? I miss Barney's. It's not like I went there often, but I loved going in there. Pearl River Market in SOHO was one of my favorite stores. I am grateful they have a website so I can continue to buy adorable shoes for my daughters, but it isn't quite the same. Century 21 is a fantastic discount department store. Unfortunately, the website doesn't have shopping on it. I miss Fishs Eddy . Crate and Barrel has nothing on them when it comes to cool dishes! Lastly, I miss Bigelow Chemists. Being a products junkie, my needs were always met (I'm a whore for pretty packaging!). Again, I am glad I can get my Bigelow toner online or at Bath and Body works, but it isn't quite the same!

4. I miss taking the train into the city. I always felt like a kid going on an adventure when I rode the train. Sure, there were drunks and the occasional smelly person riding it, but that was half the fun! I especially loved riding the train during morning rush hour and watching men shave while reading the paper and the women applying their war paint.

5. I miss the subway. I remember first riding the subway as a kid when I would come to New York to stay with my cousin in the summer. I felt so overwhelmed by the people, the oppressive heat and the smells, but I loved every minute of it.

6. I miss Manville, NJ. If any of you are from New Jersey, you might be scratching your head on this one. Manville was named after the Johns-Manville Company, which manufactured asbestos products there. May not sound so great, but the plant closed many years ago and it is cleaned up. What I miss about Manville was the three Polish grocery stores. I didn't have to suffer through Mrs. T's pierogies and Hillshire Farms smoked sausage because I could get my share of REAL Polish Food. Spending holidays in New Jersey without my family was bearable because of that food!

7. I miss my old backyard and my pool. Sure, the 30 deer in my backyard, complete with their shit was annoying, but it was a small price to pay.

8. I miss the Short Hills Mall. That is a locale that is PRIME for people watching. I was never there when there wasn't a miniature doggie or two wearing diamond tiaras, their owners also bejeweled and coiffed. My husband and I definitely brought the income level demographic down when we went there, but it was great fun.

9. I miss Lambertville, NJ/New Hope, PA. These two quaint towns are seperated by the Delaware River. Both towns possess fantastic little restaurants, eclectic shops and pricey antique stores. Walking around there was a great way we spent many a Sunday afternoon.

10. I miss Thai Chef Restaurant in Somerville, NJ. Somerville was home to three Thai restaurants, which was unusual considering the town's size. The pad thai and the spring rolls ROCKED, as did their sushi (yes, I said sushi.)

11. I miss Mrs. Chow's in Montgomery, NJ. I am a creature of habit when it comes to eating Chinese Food. I eat Crab Rangoon with Cashew Chicken or Pepper Beef. That's it. Mrs. Chow's ALWAYS made my Cashew Chicken the way I like it--with Cashews and Chicken. That's it. Most Chinese restaurants would sneak a veggie into it, but they don't. My meal always contained equal amounts of cashews and chicken. YUM!

12. I miss Michelle Lorie's Cheescakes in Trenton. It was worth it to drive through the hood for these cheesecakes. My friend Nicole turned me on to them and I found my car frequently veering in the direction of that bakery. They were probably the best cheescakes I have ever eaten.

There are so many other things I miss, like the Staten Island Ferry and Central Park (saw a great Wilco concert there.) If you are ever in the NJ/NY/PA area and spot any of these places, stop by and tell em Hausfrau sent ya!!!

The Relatives Are Coming! The Relatives Are Coming!

I have come to realize that there are different types of house cleaning. There is the typical cleaning one does to their home on a periodic/weekly/monthly basis, where all of the things in the center of a room are cleaned and general pick-up takes place. Everything that doesn't have a place gets thrown in the closet. There is the type of cleaning one does when friends are coming to stay a night or two where it is a little more involved. A window might get washed, slipcovers may get washed since one of the friends is allergic to dogs, etc. And, again, things that don't have a place get thrown in a closet. Then there is the kind of cleaning one does when family comes to visit.

My Aunt and Uncle are coming to stay for a few days. I love them a lot and I am thrilled that they are coming to see us. My family is quite small and dying. Those of us who are around are all over the country and we are not at all close. Unless it's a funeral, we don't see each other. I think the last time I saw my Aunt and Uncle was 2 1/2 years ago when my daughter was christened. Someone in the family came up with the bright idea of combining my daughter's baptism weekend with a memorial service for my deceased grandmother, whose burial plot was finally getting a gravestone. To be honest, I wouldn't recognize my younger cousins if they came up to me on a street and TOLD me that we were related. Sad, but true.

At any rate, my Aunt and Uncle are coming! I must clean!

Now, we have only lived in this house for six months and the house itself is only three years old. How dirty could it be? WELL, it is. Two children, two perpetually shedding dogs and a husband create the perfect recipe for filth. But I am also scrubbing things that I didn't think I would scrub until spring, like the blinds that I cleaned the month we moved in (they were GROSS), the baseboards, the kitchen cabinets (I've managed to have coffee or worse drip down on every cabinet. WTF?!) I don't know what I am going through all this work to impress them. I don't do it for my mother-in-law now that we are two hours apart, but I did used to clean like a Banshee when we were 4 states away. What's worse, I am organizing closets. Hadn't planned on it. But I am. Let's be honest, a friend wouldn't go poking around in closets, bathroom cabinets or desk drawers. You know your family will.

I called my Mom to find out what my Aunt and Uncle's eating habits were because they told me that they didn't want us going to any trouble for them. My Mom informed me that they eat breakfast at precisely 8AM, eat a snack (coffee cake or sweets) at 10AM, eat lunch precisely at Noon, eat more sweets at 2PM, eat dinner at 5PM on the nose (they are in their 60's), and then they eat ice cream in the evening. She also told me that my aunt is a very picky eater and will probably not like anything I make. Fabulous. I will work on plying her with candy, brownies and apple cake for the duration of her visit.

I am trying to plan a reasonable amount of things to do without taxing my Uncle as lots of walking is very painful for him due to circulation problems. However, there is only so much "visiting" I can take. Especially when I know that 95% of the conversation is going to be about my mother and how I need to take charge of her life, kidnap her and force her to live with me since she isn't doing such a hot job taking care of herself or her affairs. I am currently compiling a list of topics that I can use when the conversation goes to politics, religion or my mother. Any suggestions are welcome.

Well, I'm off to polish the silver!!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

Eight Months Old!!

I cannot believe you are 8 months old today. It seems like it was yesterday that I was in a hospital bed, hanging out, reading magazines and waiting for the Pitosin to kick in. So much has happened since then!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I've Been Tagged

Hmmm, M&Co. tagged me. I haven't been tagged in years!

The Rules:
1. Go into your archive.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or closest to).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same.

Oh, yeah--The skies are going to open up ANY MINUTE and rain like it has never rained before.

Well, I am so late in actually doing this so I won't be tagging anyone. Feel free to do it if you like!