filling the "God-shaped vacuum"… with waffles?

Damn. It’s hard to get to church* (*p.s. their website sucks – can I offer up a redesign?) every Sunday with Two Tinys. It involves a lot of nursing, rocking, distraction, and heavy lifting (in the case of my bewheeeemoth yearling son). But I think it’s well worth it. Since Ash Wednesday we (or at least I and the child[ren]) have had perfect attendance and it is paying off for our family. It feels good to be tapped-in again. We’re too busy not to go to church.

Another Sunday event we attend regularly before services is a communal breakfast hosted at a friend’s house. While both events have similarities – warmth, fellowship, philosophy, and decent coffee – I find it very strange and a bit jarring when we transition from one event to the other. It’s the Smug Liberals vs. the Comfortable Christians.

The hip Spirituality in these parts (amongst the agnostic / New Age-y / spiritually lazy / what-have-you crowd) seems to consist of a smattering of “love and light”, happy-horseshit vagary, intellectual arrogance, and some Philosophy 101 without too much investment in study, prayer, and stewardship to those outside their own comfortable circle. This group derives their smugness (and hence recieves permission to blast religious types) by their self-held tenet that their personal credos don’t presume to tell others how to live their life (except, perhaps, not to be so intellectually foolhardy as to perscribe to a particular faith with utter sincerity). Hence anything as mundane as Protestantism (or even Christianity in general) is looked upon as dour and unsophisticated and a bit embarrassing (while the same snobbery is not applied to anything Eastern or general “dabbling”). Well, fair ’nuff – a backlash, I suppose, to all the pro-JC bumper stickers and pontifications by vocal-minority far-right politicians.

So then on to my church family, where I encounter a different set of vexations which may or may not have roots in the same anger, fears, and stored-up hurts that I suspect my “pagan” friends are manifesting. In my church circle the Wiccans / New Agers / Seekers / Just Plain Assholes etc. are looked upon as spiritually lost, lonely, egotistical, and beneath it all: feared and vilified. The party line is we are supposed to invite them to church, help them in their needs, pray for them, and seek intimacy with them; but a few years ago at a Christian dinner group when I revealed I actually *roomed* with one and considered her a friend I was met with gasps of horror (and, to be fair, a certain degree of curiosity and a good group discussion after the inital reaction passed). The churchies long to meet others at their needs and share their experience of Christ, yet are overly afraid of what it might mean to really open up to those different than they.

There’s endless justification and backstory behind why both groups hate and fear one another. These days I am wont to listen to my friends and try to figure out how to integrate my separate lives. One problem is when I “come out” to either group I am either regarded with vague disdain (or out-and-out hostility) for the personal bit of naivete I’ve offered or dropped as a trusted friend (this by the liberals), or suspected of being a fairweather Christian for my political leanings (by my churchies). <sigh!> The funniest, yet saddest piece of it all is that both groups are levelling equal amounts of vitriol, inflated righteousness, and ignorance at the other – all the while nursing old wounds and failing in their self-assigned missions to learn to care for one another.

So. Yeah, I feel unheard as the odd girl out sometimes. For now, my family is doing it old-school: going to church every Sunday and throwing in with the heathen mobs the rest of the week. Perhaps one day a friend from one group will cross over with us to The Other Side.

"While you were out ‘earning’ that dollar, you lost forty dollars by not going to work."

It makes me angry and depressed to see fathers not caring for their children. It’s not the guys’ fault, either. Strong, smart, capable women I know are letting this happen. Everyone pretends like it isn’t really going on. But these ladies are still taking most of the weekend and evening care of their child. Men do 12-hour days at work and Mamas, working or no, feel like single parents. Women go off for a week or weekend to their mom’s, friend’s, wherever, and it’s assumed they will take the kids with them. The guys stay home because of course – they have to “work”. I know a couple who – when daddy wasn’t working – still had their kid in daycare. Why is this stuff happening?

I guess it’s easy to put it all on Money. Or that Dad Needs A Break. Or the vague agreement that Mama *is* getting a break by going to her family’s house with her child[ren] – (she’s not). I wonder – why not, even once a year – can’t Mama get away for a while? If it means childcare for the kids, or half-days for Dad at the office, is that so crazy? Lost wages are a hardship – but what is the value of a woman’s / young mother’s feeling of independence and autonomy? Is family survival jeopradized without a day or two of income, when the return on investment is the kids can get to know their father, Daddy can learn how to competently run the household, and Mama can get a break? Who the hell knows, you might have fun.

I think this sort of thing changes face as kids get older and can dress, feed, toilet themselves. Not to say the household becomes more egalitarian: just the inequities change form. It’s depressing. Our family are pioneers in the matter of daddy-care. I just wish we didn’t feel so alone in it.

Today: coffee date with CK, errands for Abbi’s Blessingway, visiting The Husband at his place of employ. Then the gauntlet of shopping for a week’s groceries with two babies. Whew. I am walking out of the store, kids in cart, feeling shellshocked. Then I think of the many full-grown adults who wouldn’t even be able to do what I just did. I smile. I lift my kiddos into the car and give them each a kiss on their gleaming, healthy foreheads.

np – M.I.A.

"I love you so mucks, Mama!"

Yes, that’s me you just saw. Driving by in your hot-ass cockmobile. Yeah, I’m putting the garbage out. And yeah, I’m wearing an apron and those elbow-length yellow gloves. You know why? Because they keep me from getting mucky. Yeah, muck. It’s what I do. Sweeping. Dishes. Toilets. Wiping noses. Mopping up messes. Scrubbing off crayon marks. Cleaning the fridge. One day you’ll have to do it too. Or you’ll have a wife that bitches to and about you because you DON’T do it.

Motherhood occupies some holy pedestal for so many Americans, in theory. Then why does the practice involve so much muck?

Cleaning the fridge is easy when you’re poor (tomorrow’s payday, and not a day too soon!). At least we have two full jars of pepperoncinis (WTF?). I just cooked the last fresh vegetable in the house for breakfast. For dinner, under duress, I have the ol’ brown-rice canned-beans canned-tomato plan up the sleeve – flavored with the old white-trash standby, Canola Oil.

Despite some hardships, today is a day where I am digging this housewife thing. So you, Mr. Hotass Car, can put that in your bong and smoke it.

np – Transatlanticism
Today’s playlist: Van Morrison, Anna Ranger

fugu me!

Ahhhh… the joys of the Dynamite Roll. Coupled with a frosty Red Hook, truly a delight. Another wonderful date night where I come home to a freshly-bathed baby, happy toddler, and a calm home. Lots of dinner dishes, but oh well. I know he’ll do them while I watch a movie with our little girl. I have a Good Man.

Today I busted my arse on uploading the Breeder content. Three issues down, one to go. And I need to mess with the Blogger template. Yes, I am uncool for using a blog template. All youse coding snobs can come over and watch my kids while I fuck around with html.

Speaking of blogs, I may be seducing dear gal pal LoRo to start her own web journal. Our fellow diner and close friend CK is working on her own project (which she’s been stewing on for some time). Our takeover plans were all discussed at our super-important business meeting where I mostly snorted a combo of crazy-ass hot sauce and wasabi (the ahi is only incidental for a sinus steam cleaning).

OK, enough for my tired/unispired posting. Soapy and I are going next door to watch Napoleon Dynamite. Whatever I feel like I wanna do, gosh!

my day is dragging arse

it’s only 1 PM but it feels like later. i’m pretty beat. took a round-trip bus ride with the kids to see The Husband downtown at work. then home to more feeding, cleaning, potty, diapers, the works. plus The Husband neglected to take out the garbage. Again. the kids have been great, thank God.

i just mopped my kitchen floor. it’s one of those chores i actually enjoy. most of the time i am in an entirely different housecleaning triage involving keeping kids.

things i like today:
adium (thanks, Chris!)
my kid’s overalls
my Swiffer
my skanky cup of Yuban (budget’s tight, no more designer coffee)

np – dusty springfield’s “what’s it gonna be”

will blogging ruin – or save – my marriage?

Right now I’m downstairs type-typing away as my husband bathes our oldest child. Any minute he’s going to thunder down here and glare. Will he be mad? Because I know he’s been reading my blog while at work, and enjoying it.

What’s new? Well, my three-year-old is an obsessive singer and right now her top hit is the Starlight Vocal Band’s “Afternoon Delight” (I’m repressing a shudder as I write this). What can I say, it somehow happened while listening to the Starsky & Hutch soundtrack. And speaking of music, today I discovered several of my Pedro the Lion tracks are corrupt on my iPod. Very, very sad.

In other news yesterday’s Top Secret mission was a success. I downloaded the whole Spiderland album by Slint for Ralph. He seemed to like it. Maybe it makes up for him missing the Linux User’s group meeting tonight?

I’m actually posting to my recipe page these days. Check out my cabbage rolls. Really good.

Cabbage Rolls

1 medium head cabbage, cored
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 pound bulk Italian sausage
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1 28 ounce can stewed tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided

In a Dutch oven or large stockpot, cook cabbage in boiling water for 10 minutes or until outer leaves are tender; drain. Remove eight large outer leaves (refrigerate remaining cabbage for another use); set aside.

Preheat oven to 350. Mix tomatoes, garlic, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer for 15 minutes.

In a bowl, combine beef, sausage, cooked rice, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, pepper and 1 teaspoon salt; mix well. Place about 1/2 cup meat mixture on each leaf; fold in sides and then
roll up leaf to completely enclose filling. Place seam-side down in a loaf pan. Top with the sauce. Cover and cook in a 350 oven for 1 hour 15 minutes.

Damn. That thing is good.

guilty pleasures, then & now

Current crutches:
avocado, egg, and cheese breakfast sangich at On Common Grounds
Twin Peaks (only at the end of Season One, so no spoilers!)
dynamite roll at Sentosa (or, “Satan’s Middle Finger Roll” due to hot sauce)
red wine (a perennial for myself)
pinching my children’s bottoms (sooooooo nice)

Fallen out of vogue:
cigarettes (so last week)
chocolate (only while Jodi was here)
breves (only with Abbi)

Stuffed Zucchini

The first recipe posted in over a year! This is a simple recipe but filling and healthy. Even my toddler was impressed.

4 zucchinis, firm and healthy
1 large tomato peeled & chopped
5 tbsp. bread crumbs
1/4 tsp. garlic crushed
salt to taste
fresh ground pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons grated parmesan

Wash zucchini. Make a slit lengthwise and scrape out fleshy part. Place in boiling salted water and boil 2-3 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Drain zucchini and set aside. Saute garlic in olive oil. Add tomato, scraped pulp, 2 tbsp. bread crumbs, salt, and pepper.

Transfer to a baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs and cheese over the zucchini.
Bake 10-12 minutes. Makes four servings.

a little sumthin’

While waiting for My Current Favorite Sandwich at Jordini’s I flipped through The Stranger and came upon a nice little gifty to get for my husband. I’d say more, but I know he reads my blog. Hint: it’s an album. Problem: if it ain’t in the iTunes store, I have no idea how to buy it. ‘Nuff said.