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Trash Day

31 Jul

Y’all. I have a problem with Trash Day.

 

I know what you’re thinking and you’re right. You’re totally, totally right. What’s so hard about Trash Day? You bag your trash, you put it out, the gentlemen pick it up, you take your can back, you’re done. Super simple.

 

Except I didn’t grow up with trash day, so…yeah. I mean, I grew up in the middle of nowhere. The thought of trash pick-up services coming to my parents’ house is laughable. If you look at their house from Google Earth, you’ll see an alien landscape. The Texas Panhandle is a gorgeous place, perhaps a bit of an acquired taste to some, but it’s beautiful. Google Earth did us no favors, though. I’m pretty sure they chose the driest, most dismal looking time of the year to photograph my parents’ house and it looks like they live on Tatooine. Seriously.

 

 

Because I couldn’t get the actual Google Earth pic to work, here’s an old-timey view…

 

…and present day. Well kinda. This was taken during a drought in 2011, which is basically what the Google Earth pictures look like.

 

 

And so my parents won’t yell at me for such harsh depictions of our homeland, here’s the Canadian River which runs through my hometown. Now if that isn’t beautiful, then I don’t know what is.

 

So, yeah. Garbage pick-up didn’t happen at our house. And honestly, I’m assuming garbage pick-up happens in the actual town of Canadian, but I’m too country to even know if that’s a thing. Guys, do you hear me? I’m so country I don’t even know if the town of 2,000 people had trash trucks. Surely they do. But I don’t know. Geez. All I know is Dad would load up all the trash in the back of his truck and take it to town to one of the many public dumpsters that were around, toss it in, and that’d be it. No big deal.

 

Here’s the thing about me. I know Trash Day is every Thursday. My problem is that I’ll remember this fact on Monday, Tuesday, and on Wednesday morning at approximately 3 a.m. After that time, Trash Day escapes my mind only to re-enter it when I hear the actual truck passing my house. I think it’s probably a serious medical problem.

 

And get this…there are no public dumpsters around here. So, when I miss Trash Day, I toooootally miss Trash Day. The Panhandle girl in me is irritated by this, simply for the fact that I’d like to be self sufficient. I mean, I can dump my own trash. It’s really no big deal. It’s nice of y’all to offer to pick it up, but I got this. Thankyouverramuch.

 

And then there’s the fact that our deep freezer was accidentally shut off the other day. (Thank you, dear children, you precious cherubs, you.) So we had some meat that went bad. So basically, I could not miss Trash Day this week.

 

And then there’s the fact that one of our trash cans needs to be thrown away. Now, if this was the middle of nowhere, I’d just toss my own garbage can and be on my way. But noooo, here in the city I’m left figuring out how the hell to get rid of a trash can with no bottom. 

 

I tried leaving a note, but the gentlemen who take our trash apparently don’t read politely worded notes on the pizza boxes they’re ramming into the back of their truck. Who knew?

 

Also, in the winter the garbage truck comes around in the afternoon. In the summer apparently it’s earlier. And it’s taken me all summer to realize that this is not just a random, “hey, they’re early today” kind of thing and it’s more of an, “oh, that’s just what they do” kind of thing. I’m thick.

 

So this morning, as I was attempting to get Senor Wiggle-Britches to take a nap for the love of all that is good and holy and refereeing the squabbling girls, I heard the melodic sound of the garbage truck at my doorstep. So I dumped the baby into his crib with his bottle, the way they tell you never to do, you know? And I ran outside in my bare feet like a bra-less wild woman to haul the rotting meat filled crap can to the curb.

 

And I made it. I was even able to ask the young man to just toss the whole damn thing in the truck and I thanked him for his troubles. Win, win, and win!

 

I was congratulating myself pretty heavily as I made my way back to the backyard. Because, I won Trash Day today, guys. I. Won.

 

Except that I totally didn’t.

 

Because there sits our other garbage can, completely full of trash and waiting for that magical journey to the curb.

 

I’m sorry, old buddy. You’ll have to wait till next week. Or the week after that. Or whenever.

 

 

Image 1 Source. Image 2 Source. Image 3 Source.

News Revealed…and a New Segment!

29 Jun

We’re back from Chicago! More on that later, but for now I wanted to reveal the good news I alluded to a while back…

 

Now that all of the official people have been alerted, I am free to announce that my husband, The Butcher, has taken a position at a new up-and-coming grocery chain set to open in August. This is a big deal because this store is going to be the absolute bomb, very similar to a Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s/Central Market. He’ll be working a meat case that includes very diverse items from bison and grass-fed beef to snake and camel.

 

Y’all. He’ll be selling people camel meat. In Ohio. Get excited.

 

This is very exciting for us because, not only is it exciting to be involved with new trends in the food scene, but it is a HUGE honor to be offered a position. They’ve selected only the top butchers in the entire region.

 

Did I mention that my husband has only been in the butchering program since August? Oh, and he’s only been out of the apprenticeship since May?? Oh, and that he’s brilliant beyond brilliant??? And that he’s my husband????

 

I’m just a little bit proud. No big deal.

 

I think what’s more exciting about this is that he’ll be employed by a company that is ideologically very much in line with how we feel about food. We’re passionate about food education and about knowing where our food comes from. We feel strongly that people need to remember that meat actually comes from animals, a sacrifice we’re very grateful for. We’re also passionate about cuts of meat, what part of the animal they come from, how that translates to tenderness or toughness and how that translates to cooking methods.

 

Ultimately, we feel that, as a society, we take things for granted. That to so many people meat is just meat, food is just food, days are just days. As a couple, we’re trying to instill in our children (and ourselves) that even the most commonplace things have intrinsic beauty and value. Enjoyment of these commonplace things can be significantly increased when we take the time to learn about them, appreciate them, and to use them properly.

 

It’s about meat and so much more.

 

And that is why I’m excited to announce a new segment on Oh Bless Your Heart. Once a month, I’ll be featuring a guest post by my husband primarily about getting the most out of your local butcher shop, but a smattering of other food related things as well. Because he’s not extremely confident in his writing abilities, he’s decided to call it “Butchering the Blog,” but I’m pretty sure you’ll find his writing ain’t too shabby. Anyway, here goes for our first installment! Leave the man some love and tell us what you think!

 

 

 

Top rounds being cut into London Broils…just a typical day at work for the hubz.

 

The world of meat cutting is a rather peculiar place.  The more I interact with both the employees and the public the more I realize there is a huge gap between the two.  This divide between butcher and meat purchaser has, like any relationship, caused a serious misunderstanding on both sides. Butchers are a grumpy lot, I know this first hand.  Many of them have worked in the industry since they were teenagers. Just for reference, the lightest box of meat we see on a pallet is no less than 50 lbs. and these 70 year old dudes regularly unload two full pallets a day, which consist of 15-20 boxes per pallet. They’ve spent decades in a job that has cast off by the public as nothing more than a glorified ground meat salesman.  While they may be grumpy, they love the job with a passion I have never witnessed in any of my other endeavors, and there have been many.

 

While they may be surly old men, some of them are masters of their trade.  While I was an apprentice I had the great fortune of working with a man named Bob who had cut meat for 45 years and the cuts he produced were true works of art.

 

Beef Florentine Pinwheels

 

Meat cutting isn’t as easy as it looks. People assume that anyone can do it, but the difference between a masterfully cut piece of meat and a poor quality one is like comparing Monet to Ed Hardy. It’s like if you went to the kitchen, grabbed some bologna and white bread and then cut your sandwich in half with a power saw. I’m pretty sure you’d end up with a mangled mess. Maybe somebody could do that easily, but not without practice. Just to be sure, maybe you should try it.

 

But don’t really do that, it would be a waste of bologna.

 

What I’m getting at is that there are a few people at YOUR local grocery stores who still view meat cutting as the art form and trade that it really is.  Do yourself a favor and seek these people out. They can be tough to sort out and intimidating at times, but if you really pay attention to the details of the work being produced you will be able to spot even fat trimming on steaks, cuts of meat displayed in a visually stimulating fashion and a passion for the trade. You just have to build up the courage to speak with them. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Unfortunately, this is a “while supplies last” kind of deal.  Every day we see more and more prepackaged meats flooding the shelves. These things are evil and must be destroyed.  I mean we don’t even cut fresh lamb or veal anymore! It’s a thing of shame.  Anyway, get to know your butcher. The good one. The one who doesn’t hand you something pre-cut off the main line or out of the service case when you need something really special. Find the guy who goes in the cooler and gets you the best piece of meat he can because it actually means something to him as well.  These artists may not exist forever so enjoy their work while you can.

 

A partial view of his dedication.
Photo courtesy of limelightphotography.com. Tattoo by Doug Kulbis at Voodoo Monkey, Cleveland, OH.

What a Cluster

11 Feb

Ever have one of those days where you are met with opposition no matter where you go or what you do?

 

You know, those days when, I don’t know…maybe you go to get a birth certificate for the baby since the state never mailed you one and you drive around the parking lot of the City Hall for ten minutes because you have no flipping idea which entrance to use. It’s a government operation, so there are about twenty doors, none of which are labeled and there are about three parking spaces, all of which are labeled, “Mayor.”

 

And when you finally park, you think to yourself, “Gee, I bet it’ll be easier to take the girls in via stroller so I don’t have to rip my shoulder out of the socket by carrying  the baby who weighs as much as five cannon balls while juggling the diaper bag/paperwork/holding Mags’ hand. Huzzah for me! This is a brilliant plan!” And you give yourself an extra pat on the back because you actually have the stroller with you!

 

So you follow the signs to the handicap entrance (or what you take to be the handicap entrance, as the signs point kind of towards-ish a door that is definitely not labeled itself). You fight the 400 mph wind to get your progeny in the door and you feel like a complete baller/shot caller ’cause you are all in in one piece.

 

That is, until you see the sign that reads, “Elevator to Second Floor” and it points right up a massive flight of steps. At the top is, indeed, the elevator to the second floor, leering down with pure contempt at your plight.

 

And then you go back outside and ditch the stroller at the car, carry the cannon ball and all of her paperwork inside and curse the day…

 

Until, until!  Your sweet husband brings you home a little somma dis stuff:

Couldn’t be more aptly named.

 

Somehow he surmised from your dulcet tones bemoaning your rotten day that this, and only this would make life better. And he’s right. He is so, so right.

Seven Things:Part 6

9 Dec

The first week of Advent is behind us and now we’re on to week two! I seriously can’t believe that it goes by so fast. I sort of wish we had more time to linger in Advent because I love the anticipation of Christmas so much. Alas, ’tis not to be.

 

But, what ‘tis to be is our Seven Things for this week! Here goes…

 

1.) Middle Earth exploded on the Cleveland Heights Public Library and it was ah-mazing. It was also exhausting, but very, very worth it! We had 108 people go on our quest and some even wondered if the program was put on by a nationally travelling group. We ain’t yo’ mama’s librarians! Here are some pictures of the amazingness:

Isn’t that the greatest thing you’ve ever seen? And the fact that it’s also an accidental Hidden Mickey makes my Cast Member heart smile!

 

 

The Shire

 

 

I need you to know that there was a speaker hidden in that rock so that the dragon could taunt people and then let out horrible shrieks of death when pierced by arrows. Legit.

 

 

And that is why you should support your public library system! And also why you should read The Hobbit.

 

(Please note that I had nothing to do with the creation of these really amazing set pieces except to gawk at the glory that oozes from my coworkers’ hands. However I did make all of the rocks, so you can stand in awe there.)

 

2.) On a completely different note, my sweet friend, Kate, has given me one of the most thoughtful and creative Christmas gifts of all time. I have never read Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (shameful, I know) and she reads it every year. This year she’s reading it aloud and recording it so that I can listen to it! Isn’t that awesome? Aaand I’m loving it. I’d really forgotten how much I enjoy Dickens!

 

3.) Continuing on the literary strand, I’m currently reading this…

 

“One morning, as Gregor Samsa was waking up from anxious dreams, he discovered that he had been changed into an adorable kitten.” Yes. Yes. Yes.

 

4.) Our church has gorgeous paintings of the saints on the ceiling. Last night at mass, Mag, who had to bring her Nativity people with her, was convinced that the depiction of St. Francis of Assisi was a shepherd. She then proceeded to look for the wise men and I’m fairly certain that she settled on St. Patrick for one of them. No word on the other two, but we’ll keep you posted.

 

5.) Last night I couldn’t figure out why it was so bright in our bedroom until I realized that one of our neighbors went all Clark Griswald on their house with Christmas lights. It is pretty awesome, I’m not gonna lie…there are moving reindeer and I’m pretty sure that there’s a helicopter involved somehow. Not sure what that has to do with the holiday, but we don’t ask questions.

 

6.) Lily is sitting up by herself. Which means she’ll be crawling soon. Which means that mayhaps I should start cleaning the floor now…

Why is my baby big enough to sit up all on her own? And why is there a walkie-talkie under my couch? Mysteries that plague me daily…

 

Also, I seriously can’t get over how much she looks like her Aunt Lauren in this picture. And I love the fact that Lil always makes this face in pictures…like a boss.

 

7.) Final thought for you today, from my Advent devotional by Henri J. M. Nouwen:

“Jesus didn’t live alone. He had Peter, John, and James around him. There were the Twelve and the other disciples. They formed circles of intimacy around Jesus. We too need these circles of intimacy, but it’s a discipline. ...Where are you getting your affection? Who’s touching you? Who’s holding you? Who makes you feel alive? Who says, ‘You are a beautiful person, you are the beloved of God, don’t forget it?’ “

 

I’m daily grateful for the circle of intimacy this blog provides me. Thank you for making me feel loved! And I hope you have a wonderfully restful day today in which you feel how deeply loved and treasured you are…because you truly, truly are!

Storm Update and Cake Recipe

2 Nov

This is a few days past true relevance since we really weren’t affected by the storm as much as others, but here goes anyway. (Do continue to pray for those affected by the storm, I can’t begin to imagine the emotional/physical/logistical state they must be in.)  So, anyway, we’ve been very fortunate since the storm hit.

 

We did have a moderately exciting night in which I attempted to cook some scrambled eggs for dinner but lost power mid-scramble. Luckily for us, we have a gas stove. So never fear, my sweet family was lucky enough to get their dinner, albeit late and lukewarm. Aren’t they so lucky to live with such a classically trained chef who whips up such delicacies in such trying circumstances? I mean, really!

 

The worst part of losing power was that Maggins was in the other room when we were plunged into darkness and it took us a minute to locate her. If you’ve seen my level of “housekeeping,” I’m sure you can imagine the difficulty in navigating through the garbage to find a panicking two-year-old. Luckily for us, we didn’t lose our connection to the interwebs and I was able to show Mags the hurricane videos from Sesame Street that my dear friend, Kate, shared with me earlier. It really helped with her anxiety. Seriously, I just love Sesame Street and if you haven’t seen the hurricane episode you have to. I’m constantly amazed that they’re able to deal with such big scary things with such sensitivity and poise. Sesame Street never panders or condescends and that, that is why you should support public broadcasting!! (And off of my soapbox.)

 

Anyway, we lost power for about a day, but were fortunate enough to be able to have the safe haven of Nana and Papa’s to retreat to. On our drive to said haven we saw  tons and tons of uprooted trees, which always makes me sad. It really was crazy though. I think due to the fact that we had about four days straight of rain and then got the high winds, those poor trees literally fell over, roots and all. At one point we saw a few old, old oak trees completely destroyed, roots in the air, lawns still clinging to their bases, truly a sad, sad sight. But, DO NOT WORRY. All, and I do mean ALL four hundred political signs across the street were unharmed. So you can rest easy that, despite inclement weather, Northeastern Ohio residents are still reminded that Josh Mandel and Sherrod Brown exist. Thank goodness! Without our televisions broadcasting their dueling puppet commercials 24/7, we might forget about them!!

 

Aaaand segway…So, if you’re stuck inside due to horrible weather or just have someone you’d like to send into diabetic shock, I recommend baking this cake!

 

 

So. Good.

 

 

So here are the ingredients you need to make this lusciousness:

  • 2 boxes of brownie mix, whatever brand you prefer. I told you I’m a chef!
  • 1 recipe of rice crispy treats (1 stick butter, 4 cups mini-marshmallows, 5 cups rice crispies, a bit of vanilla…melt, mix, combine, etc.)  *Note: Make your treats on the thin side so you’ll be able to cut the cake easily, and so you’ll have extra left over to eat later. I’m always thinkin’…
  • One recipe of buttercream frosting – I think I did, like, a stick or two of butter, whipped with some milk and then added a package of powdered sugar, as per Betty Crocker’s recipe. This is where I think I’d do something completely different next time. I may experiment with a saltier frosting, something with peanut butter or caramel, perhaps, because the cake is really just too sweet otherwise, said the woman whose family managed power through and eat the whole thing anyway.

 

Here’s how you do it:

  • Use your brownie mixes to make two round layers. I used a 9 inch round cake pan, which was perfect.
  • Using the cake pan as a guide, cut a 9 inch circle out of your rice crispy treats.
  • Assemble the cake by sandwiching the rice crispy layer between the two brownie layers. I put icing between the layers, as well, just to make sure nothing slid around. I don’t really think that’s necessary, though, since the marshmallows do a good job of keeping everything together.
  • Ice the outside of the cake however you like.
  • Say to yourself, “The Pioneer Woman would eat this!” and consume without guilt.

 

I still have no name for this cake, so any suggestions would be welcome! Have a great Friday, y’all!

 

Natural Childbirth Part II: Lily’s Birth

6 Jun

Here’s Part II of my reflections on my childbirth experiences. You can check out Part I here.

 

While giving birth to Maggie seemed to be an absolutely endless process of pain and waiting and more pain, Lily’s birth couldn’t be more opposite. My greatest desire was for this labor to be as peaceful as possible and it was pretty close to perfect.

 

I started having contractions around four in the afternoon on May 19th. I had spent the day running errands, playing with Maggie outside, and doing housework. Vin’s parents picked Maggie and me up to go out for dinner around 5:30 and we had a lovely meal at a cute restaurant. Even though I was fairly certain that I was in the early stages of labor, I was also fighting a very Texan craving for some spicy food. So, naturally, I ordered the “Ole Burger” for dinner. It was a huuuuuge burger with pepper jack, topped with onion rings, chipotle mayo, and, best of all, pickled jalapenos. It was soooo good!

 

I mention this burger because it ranks right up there with some of the dumbest food decisions I’ve ever made. I just couldn’t stop myself. The “Ole Burger” called my name and there was no turning back.  It was very similar to the time my brother ordered the “Blowout Burger,” or the other time he ordered the “Big Nasty.” We all knew no good could come of it, but sometimes you just can’t tear yourself away. And apparently the ability to resist terribly named menu items is not a skill possessed by either me or my brother. Suffice it to say that the “Ole Burger” will, like a bad, bad penny, keep turning up.

 

So, after I shamelessly destroyed the “Ole Burger,” we went home. Vin’s parents decided to hang out for a while until he got home from work which gave me the opportunity to take a nice hot shower and shave my legs, which I’m sure the medical staff greatly appreciated. The shower was a perfect comfort measure for me. I truly believe that going into labor is one of the most natural things a woman’s body is designed to do and therefore takes us back to our most basic nature. It only stands to reason that darkness and privacy are just what our animal nature needs to prepare to bring a baby into the world. It reduces stress, which can slow down the labor process, and relaxes the mind, body and soul.

 

After my shower, I felt very peaceful and continued timing contractions, which varied from about eight to five minutes apart. It was about 8:30 or 9 at that point so I went ahead and called Vin at work to let him know it might be a good idea to get home as fast as he could once his shift was over.

 

I basically spent the next two hours chatting with my family, watching TV with Maggie, rounding up bags, and swiveling my hips through contractions. I looked pretty hot doing my “dance moves”, I’m not gonna lie. But, whatever works, right?

 

I was kind of in awe that my body was actually doing what it was supposed to do so easily. Since Maggie was induced, I definitely had some nerves and anxiety throughout my pregnancy about how I would know when I was really going into labor. However, I was coached for months and months by Vin and my friend, Kate, a doula in training, to trust my body to do what it was designed to do so I adopted a lot of faith in my body and its ability. It was so refreshing and delightful to experience the natural onset of labor and I just kept thinking, “My body’s doing it! I’m really doing it!!”

 

When Vin got home from work a little after ten, my contractions were anywhere from three to five minutes apart and getting stronger. Vin changed clothes, we gathered up our loot, kissed Mags goodbye (since we couldn’t get her to stay in bed) and hopped in the truck to go to the hospital.

 

By 10:45 or 11 we were checked in and I was hooked up to the monitors to make sure this was the real deal. The house doctor checked me out and, much to my joy and surprise, I was already dilated to 5 – almost 6 – centimeters! Lily was doing great and, not only did we get to hear that precious heartbeat, but she had a ridiculous case of the hiccups that literally sounded like she was trying to sledgehammer her way out of my belly.

 

Soon after that we were shown to our room and the real fun began! Vin’s mom and dad were there for a while, which was nice while it lasted, but soon and very soon the “Ole Burger” began to take its revenge. It seemed like such a very good idea at the time…but, alas, if you’re a gal like me, the transition period (going from about 7 to 10 cm’s) means that vomiting is in your future. And for me, it most certainly was. I threw up while in labor with Maggie and, sure enough, the “Ole Burger” exacted its revenge about three times during Lily’s labor. Definitely not as good the second and third times around, I can assure you.

 

Shortly after I began puking my guts out I asked my in-laws to go wait in the waiting room. I don’t know if I’m super-private about this sort of thing, but I feel very strongly about it just being me and my husband in the delivery room. Personal preference, I guess, but I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those women who delivers babies with a ginormous audience of family and friends. The medical staff is enough for me! Also, I think it’s easier to focus and concentrate without having too many people around.

 

The only other person besides Vin who was with me the entire time was our nurse, whose name was Luda. You know, like Ludacris, only more eastern European and less thug. But basically the same. Luda was a complete rock star. She was incredibly encouraging. When I told her I wanted to do everything naturally she was immediately on board and never once did she pressure me to get an epidural or pain meds. She was pretty much the best nurse of all time. She stayed with us the entire time, mainly because Lily was so low that the only way we could get a consistent heart beat was if Luda held the monitor in place, readjusting it as needed.

 

Let me take a moment to tell you how much I detest those monitors. I know it’s important to get a good read on the baby’s heart rate and keep track of the contractions, but, Lordy be, those things are SO frustrating. I had hoped to be able to use a birthing ball and/or walk around during this labor, but since I was hooked up to an IV and both monitors, one of which was finicky, it was pretty much impossible for me to move around the way I’d like to. I spent the majority of the time on the bed, but it was nice to be able to adjust the bed how I liked it and move around a bit there. Still, though, I’m not 100% sold on the fact that the monitors are really, really, absolutely necessary. Again, I get the point, but they seriously get in the way and cramp my style. But, I digress…

 

Unlike Pitocin induced contractions, which are non-stop pain, natural contractions are, in my humble opinion, a total breeze. This is not to say that natural contractions are completely painless, but there’s a definite beginning and end to each one which makes the whole thing a lot more doable. I also thought that the contractions were a lot less painful. Vin, Luda, and I all talked and joked throughout the majority of the labor, which was really fun. Vin and I both agreed later that we kept waiting for it to get really, really bad, but it just never happened.

 

In my usual luck our OB was off the weekend that Lily decided to be born, so the doctor that delivered her was a mystery man from our OB’s practice whom we had never met. By the time we were ready to push and things were getting really serious, I had reverted to keeping a cloth over my eyes so I didn’t actually see the doctor when he came into the room. Imagine my surprise when I looked up at one point and saw that he looked like the cheap Halloween costume version of this man:

 

Gilderoy Lockhart, eat your heart out.

 

This doctor seriously had long, curly, poorly highlighted hair and had the personality of Gilderoy Lockhart. I need you to know that I almost laughed out loud when I saw him. Also, I don’t know if I’ve ever felt closer to my husband than when we both brought up the resemblance as soon as we had a second alone…as if it were the most important aspect of the whole night. Oh, how we love us some Harry Potter.

 

So anyway, once Lockhart finally got there, he pretty much took one look at me and told me to start pushing. Now, I’m not going to lie, the pain got pretty intense once it was time to push. I also cannot deny that I did drop another f-bomb during the process. Apparently I cuss when I’m in labor…what are you gonna do? Luckily for me, though, we only pushed through three contractions and perfect little Lily was born at 2:15 am! Yes, you read that right…we went from checking in around 11 pm to having a new baby at 2:15. Super-fast and super-awesome!

 

 

Lily was immediately put on top of me after she was born, the hospital’s version of kangaroo care. I requested that we have immediate skin-to-skin contact, and was assured that it was standard procedure, but we didn’t get as much time as I’d have liked. I think this is a classic example of both sides assuming that they’re on the same page. In the future I think I’ll be far more specific so that we get exactly what we want out of the situation.

 

The only other complaint I have about this birth experience is regarding the IV. I was told by my OB that everyone gets an IV when they’re admitted so that if anything goes wrong they don’t have to rush to get one put in. Sounds completely logical to me. Granted, I had to have antibiotics anyway because I tested positive for Strep B, but I still get annoyed with IV’s because they get in the way in the same way the monitors do. Anyway, I totally understand the preventative uses for giving everyone an IV upon admission. However, I found it highly ironic that, after having a serious amount of blood loss after delivery which required medication to control, the IV stopped working. Luda actually had to give me the meds through regular shots in order to stop the bleeding. Obviously, I understand that things malfunction and that those things can’t be controlled all the time. It’s just really ironic, that’s all.

 

I can honestly say that I’ve never felt so empowered than after delivering naturally. It was something that I’ve always wanted to do and I was so grateful and proud that we had actually done it. I’ve also never felt closer to my husband. I can’t say enough how wonderful it was to have Vin by my side. Unlike, Maggie’s labor, in which I didn’t want to be touched at all, during this labor I couldn’t get enough. I basically wanted the affirmation that Vin was with me. He rubbed my back like a champ and I couldn’t imagine a better companion. I really feel like we got to be a team this time around; Vin got to take an active role as coach during this labor and he was absolutely amazing. Gosh, I love that man.

 

So, basically, delivering without drugs was really, really excellent. In my humble opinion, given my druthers, I’d much rather do things naturally. Stay tuned for a few more of my thoughts on the subject and a guest post by the hubz…and then we’ll stop beating  a dead horse, I promise!

Big Bird

5 May

Ok, so I haven’t been blogging a lot lately. Or at all. Or whatever. A lot of that is because I’m a gazillion months pregnant and am a bit preoccupied with keeping my head above water. A lot of it is also due to the fact that I’ve been working a TON…’cause life’s like that, right?

 

For those of you who don’t know, I’m now a cashier at a grocery store. While I wasn’t particularly excited about the job when I started – let’s be honest, I was being snobby about it – I’ve actually grown to love it a lot. Much like I learned from being a waitress, I am so grateful for the lessons and insight I’ve gained from this job. And, I’m not gonna lie, I actually really, really enjoy it. Life’s full of unexpected little surprises like that…you’d think I’d start expecting it and not being so pessimistic. Alas, I am human.

 

So, here are a few things I’ve noticed/picked up/realized from working as a grocery store cashier. For the sake of not stepping on any toes, I’m not going to use the actual name of the store. I’ll just refer to it as the “Big Bird.” Honestly, it’s just another excuse for me to use a code name. ‘Cause using code names makes me feel cool. But I digress…

 

  • Store music rocks my socks off – I can’t even begin to tell you how much I have come to look forward to listening to Big Bird Radio while working. We get quite the eclectic mix of Motown hits, 90’s boyband classics (I haven’t heard so much Backstreet Boys music since 6th grade.), Miley Cyrus (I secretly love her. Don’t judge.), as well as lots of Celine Dion, Rick Astley, Diana Ross, and the occasional Bob Seger. Oh, and Chicago; lots of Chicago. And The Carpenters…Basically, my life is complete.
  • Store music rocks other peoples’ socks off, too – I can’t tell you how many times I get to have sing-along’s with co-workers and customers. It’s kind of wonderful. It’s also interesting to figure out which songs are the most polarizing. For example, everyone I’ve ever waited on agrees that about a milliondy years needs to go by before we hear “My Heart Will Go On” one more stinking time. Unfortunately for us, it plays on the reg. However, people will legitimately get down to “Lean on Me” and “I Believe I Can Fly.” According to my very scientific studies, R. Kelly still maintains quite the loyal fan base.
  • People are shocked by friendliness – I make it a point to go out of my way to make people’s shopping experience enjoyable, or at least the check-out portion. This is not because I’m a great Big Bird employee, but rather because I believe that life’s too short to be in a bad mood. People are genuinely surprised that I’m so friendly. They’ve told me so on several occasions. And, honestly, this makes me sad. We should all be friendly to one another all the time, right? It shouldn’t come as a surprise to people that someone would want to demonstrate kindness. It really doesn’t take much to brighten someone’s day, so why don’t we do it more readily?
  • Life really is like those Allstate commercials – You know the ones I’m talking about, where somebody does something nice and another person sees them and then it turns into a big chain reaction of niceness. I’ve seen that happen a lot. Someone gives a person an extra quarter to cover their bill, or pays for a magazine, or reminds them of forgotten keys or whatever. It’s nice to see and a joy to be a part of. Kind of redeems that last bullet point. Goodness begets goodness – something we should all remember. All it takes is one person to be the catalyst…why not you?
  • You should buy stock in Stouffer’s – I have never before in my life seen frozen food in such quantities. People don’t cook, my friends, they buy frozen. Now, I’m no economist, but in my estimation, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to get in on that action if possible. Stouffer’s, Totino’s, Hamburger Helper, etc…are all making an absolute killing. (They’re also probably literally killing consumers with preservatives, but that’s an entirely different topic for speculation.)
  • People love pregnant women – This is a fact that I already knew, but I’ve never been able to experience it in this manner before. Working with the public is frequently surprising. I mean, I expected questions about due dates, comments on size, even the occasional delivery room trauma story. I was also prepared for someone to touch my belly without asking. I just kind of figured it’d happen at some point. I was not prepared for the demographic from which this person would come. I assumed that it would be maybe an older white lady. Definitely not. The only stranger who has ever touched my belly to date was – wait for it – a thirty year old black man. He had a four-month-old at home and was all about speculating as to when I’d deliver. The whole thing was so surprising and funny that I am still laughing over it. It was so not what I expected and I love it! He was so sweet and kind to me…and it just goes to show that you can never judge a book by its cover, right?

I’m sure there are a million more stories and observations I want to relate at another time, but I’m running out of steam. All I can say is, I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given to learn and to serve. Remember, there’s no time like the present to be sweet to those around you. Your actions really do have an impact, no matter how small you may think them.

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