Archive for April, 2007

“No wonder people like capitalism so much”

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Indeed. I’m embarrassed to admit it and I don’t know why, but buying something new usually cheers me up. I’m not a big shopper, I can stand it about once every 6 months, but it’s usually a fun time.
I’m also finding that looking at baby stuff is quite the palliative for all the anxieties about becoming parents. Focusing on how we will provide for the physical needs of the baby–a place to sleep, a bathtub, etc.–works nicely to take away my concern about the fact that I have no idea how to take care of a baby. And since there is pretty much an infinite number of things you can buy for a baby (not to mention the amount of money you can spend), this should carry me through the next 6 months quite nicely.
If all this makes you worried about the well-being of our upcoming baby, I also signed us up for the big “how to have and care for a baby” class at the hospital. Wheeee!

operation mind crime

Tuesday, April 24th, 2007

Today I was heating up my Cinnamon Crunch Bagel and found myself singing the lyrics “Feeling like cinnamon toast, feeling like Cinnamon Toast Crunch,” a jingle for cereal from some 20-odd years ago.
I found myself resenting this intrusion upon my consciousness by a meaningless set of phrases about breakfast cereal. I don’t want to think about cereal. I don’t, in fact, feel like Cinnamon Toast Crunch. This cause me to wonder if, rather than being an annoying but harmless part of life, commercial jingles actually constitute a kind of brainwashing–just like backwards masking wasn’t in the 80s.
Perhaps jingles are designed to highjack the thought processes of the target away from the target’s control, even after only one or two hearings, and focus the target upon hitherto unwanted and unconsidered commercial products. Perhaps this is taking away from our nations intellectual and economic productivity–every time we try to think about work, we find ourselves instead thinking about breakfast foods, carpet cleaners, jiffy oil change operations, cat food, and the like.
Perhaps jingles have an even darker side: maybe if we heard enough jingles, our minds would become not our own at all, but the property of the American advertising industry.
Think about it! While you still can…
“one call gets it done”…”no bones, McRib”…”you just said the magic word, and look what you did”…”Meow, meow, meow, meow, Meow, meow, meow, meow, Meow, meow, meow, meow, MEOW, meow, meow, meow”…

food: the lurking horror

Monday, April 16th, 2007

Food has always been my friend, more or less, despite the many social, cultural and health pressures to keep it at arm’s length. You might think, now that I’m pregnant, that many of those old taboos would temporarily disappear since I’m “eating for two.”
You’d be wrong. Sure, I do get to eat more…a little bit more. And I can consume more fat and am being urged from all sides to consume vast quantities of milk and meat, which are usually on the “keep it to a minimum” list. But the vast array of things I’m not supposed to eat, am only supposed to eat in certain forms, and do not have the energy to cook turns these small freedoms into horrible mockeries of themselves.
First, things I am not supposed to eat. They are myriad. I am supposed to eat fish, but only certain kinds of fish, and only in certain quantities. Try to remember which is what and when while you’re wandering around the grocery store with a pregnancy addled brain. Also on the questionable list are soft cheeses (which are soft? I don’t know), sushi, tea (maybe), artificial sweetener (maybe), deli meat, caffeine (maybe), soft-serve ice cream, hot dogs, unpasteurized fruit juices (are they pasteurized? they never say), sprouts, anything served cold that doesn’t get reheated until steaming, and I’m discovering new ones all the time.
One of my recent discoveries was nitrates and nitrites. I had been dutifully microwaving all lunch meat until crispy to eliminate the listeria problem, only to find out it was no good: the nitrates in the lunch meat were still going to give my baby cancer. I’m starting to run out of things to eat for lunch: no lunch meat, no peanut butter, no tuna, all that’s left is cheese and egg salad, which violate the fat content rule.
(Actually, peanut butter is the only thing I haven’t been able to give up. “They” recommend you give it up to be on the “safe side” since it’s not an “essential food”: not for them, maybe, but if I eliminated it from my diet I’d have to go hungry or fill up on saltines.)
Finally, not having the energy to cook. For the first few weeks, not being able to stand the sight, smell, or presence of food was the problem; more recently it’s been colds and headaches. I just don’t have the will to cook as much as I used to, so I’m more reliant on pre-made foods which just aren’t as healthy as the stuff I make.
I foolishly purchased a copy of “What to Eat When You’re Expecting”–it was only a dollar, but I would pay more than that to have the whole thing erased from my memory. Apparently, I’m severely imperiling my baby’s future by not cooking or baking every scrap of food I eat from natural, organic ingredients–no sugar, no fat, no white flour, ever. Sadly, I have neither the time nor money for such an enterprise. I am supposed to eat about 4 bushels of (organic) vegetables per day, close to that much of fruits…anyone who has ever felt queasy knows what result that is likely to have. If you still have room after that, you are to eat whole grains, (organic) meat, and low-fat dairy products. That’s it.
Well, not entirely. You are allowed to eat up to two cookies, once a month. I am not joking.
There’s no middle ground. You either cook everything from scratch, at a time when you have less energy and inclination to do so than at any other time of your life, or you subject the baby to all the deadly additives that comes in pre-processed food.
Food, why have you turned on me after so many years of happy co-existence? I never knew you had it (or, apparently, a lot of other junk too) in you.


Monday, April 9th, 2007

Okay, it’s been in the 20s or 30s and snowing for almost a full week now. It’s April!!! For crying out loud. The daffodils are all leaned over, depressed, burying their faces in the ground and wondering “Why do I even bother?”. The snow isn’t those big, puffy flakes that tell you it’s really spring despite the white stuff, they’re regular little winter flakes. And the cold isn’t fooling around. Back in March when it was still chilly, I kept telling Andy, “But it doesn’t have that biting feeling that winter does. The air feels mellower.” Andy didn’t seem to buy it then, but even I can’t keep lying to myself now. It’s cold. I pulled hats, gloves, and so forth back out of the closet, but just keep putting them away after each usage (not my usual habit, those of you who hold an image of me in your hearts as a tidy housekeeper may be surprised to learn), thinking maybe tomorrow I won’t need them. I actually had to scrape ice off my windshield the other day. Ice! Off my windshield! In April! It’s an outrage!
Actually, I moved to GR during an ice storm just four years ago, but the occasional ice storm is one thing. Snow on the ground for days and days is quite another.
The furnace is burning up the bucks. Garage sales are being canceled. Winter storm warning advisories are being issued. Web sites are advising me to go skiing. This is just beyond the pale, even for midwestern weather fans like me. Boo!


Monday, April 2nd, 2007

You don’t say.