June 30, 2010

Hello Old Friend, no. 2

I was thinking that I could turn my previous posts Hello old friend and A High-Class Blog into Recurring Blog FeaturesColumns? Is that what they’re called? That seems excessive/inaccurate. We’ll go with the more vague Feature (I am The Archaeologist’s Wife afterall, and these are, ostensibly, field notes).

So, here is the second installment of Hello Old Friend, a new Seymour Chase Blog Feature:

The Archaeologist’s brother came down and stayed with us for much of May and a bit of June. It was great to have him around (please come visit us!!!). A couple days before he was scheduled to leave, we decided to get serious about site-seeing/Peru-experiencing/etc. So we crammed a bunch of museums, cathedrals, catacombs, historic districts, humungous fountains, and archaeological ruins into those last few days. I also arranged for us to eat this:

That’s a guinea pig – well, half a guinea pig; we weren’t that hungry.

It’s been 28ish years since I last saw the guinea pig at Mesa Montessori. I don’t remember its name (nor the gender). I don’t recall any tearful good-byes. Actually, I don’t think we ever really hit it off – no ill will or anything …I mean, I didn’t make plans to eat it someday. But that being my succeeding guinea pig experience, I could see how Mesa Montessori guinea pig might take it personally. I’m sure it envisions me saying “Hello old friend” like Hannibal Lecter said “Hello, Clarice”. But I swear it wasn’t like that. It’s just bad timing. There was a lot on my plate. It’s not you; it’s meat. (that last one was for you, Chris)

Now guinea pig (cuy) isn’t typical Limeña food. Lima is a great big modern city and Limeños are citified. It’s apparently one of the new gastronomical “it” places (that’s a thing, right?). But many Limeños were not always Limeños, and occasionally they long for the food from their previous highland home. So thus our opportunity to eat it.

Basically it tasted like chicken - like a chicken wing with the high bone to meat ratio, just a tad gamier.

I also gave a few pieces to Half-O. I figure it’ll be a good story to tell her when she gets older …and goes to preschool.

June 20, 2010

Her Father's Daughter

A story:
When The Archaeologist first left for the mountains, Half-O and I decided to entertain ourselves with a trip to the zoo (it's a pretty cool zoo, but we'll save that for another post). While at the zoo, I misjudged the wetness of the dirt/mud in front of the tiger cage (eager to get us a good view of the huge pacing cat) and subsequently ended up with stroller wheels and red mules encased in sticky mud. Upon realizing the extent of the caking, I let out an "oh, shoot". Half-O saw the mud-covered wheels, heard my "oh, shoot" and thought it all hilarious. She mimicked the "oh, shoot" and laughed and laughed. When she noticed me trying to scrape my shoes off on a step, she said "oh, shoot" and laughed again. As I'd periodically try to dislodge the chunks of mud from the stroller wheels, she'd repeat "oh, shoot" and laugh some more. This continued for much of our zoo day with an encore performance when I hosed off the wheels at home. But while we were still at the zoo, and my annoyance at the mud began to extend to my daughter, I found it was an all too familiar feeling. Had he been there, The Archaeologist would have found it equally hilarious. He too would have recommenced with the laughter at each recollection. Though "oh, shoot" may not have caught his fancy, previous exclamations have, and he too appeared to enjoy repeating them at the launch of each laughfest. So, somewhere not too far from the tiger, I told Half-O that she was her father's daughter. She liked that, and she repeated it almost as much as "oh, shoot".

But that, of course, she gets from me: in addition to our zoo trip, we ate tuna patties and listened to Neil Diamond that weekend.

Happy Father's Day to The Magnificent Archaeologist and to my Fabulous Father as well! Half-O and I are two of the luckiest ladies around.

June 6, 2010

All it's cracked up to be (or the longest post in Eternia, but there's a cute clip at the end)

I’ve never been down with chiropractics. I don’t mean to disparage the profession, the practitioners nor belittle the help so many swear by – it’s just not for me. I assume my bones, joints, soft tissues, etc. have worked out some sort of homeostasis, and if we start mucking with one part, the whole system is going to break down. It’s kind of like Mr. Burns:

Burns: Well, doc, I think I did pretty well on my tests. You may shake my hand if you like.
Doctor: Well, under the circumstances, I'd rather not.
Burns: Eh?
Doctor: Mr. Burns, I'm afraid you are the sickest man in the United States. You have everything.
Burns: You mean I have pneumonia?
Doctor: Yes.
Burns: Juvenile diabetes?
Doctor: Yes.
Burns: Hysterical pregnancy?
Doctor: Uh, a little bit, yes. You also have several diseases that have just been discovered -- in you.
Burns: I see. You sure you haven't just made thousands of mistakes?
Doctor: Uh, no, no, I'm afraid not.
Burns: This sounds like bad news.
Doctor: Well, you'd think so, but all of your diseases are in perfect balance. Uh, if you have a moment, I can explain.
Burns: Well ... [looks at his watch]
[the Doctor puts a tiny model house door on his desk]
Doctor: Here's the door to your body, see? [bring up some small fuzz balls with goofy faces and limbs from under the desk] And these are oversized novelty germs. [points to a different one up as he names each disease] That's influenza, that's bronchitis, [holds up one] and this cute little cuddle-bug is pancreatic cancer. Here's what happens when they all try to get through the door at once. [tries to cram a bunch through the model door. The "germs" get stuck]
[Stooge-like] Woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo-woo! Move it, chowderhead!
[normal voice] We call it, "Three Stooges Syndrome."
Burns: So what you're saying is, I'm indestructible!
Doctor: Oh, no, no, in fact, even slight breeze could --
Burns: Indestructible.

Or if you’re not a Simpson’s fan, it’s like John Daly’s golf swing. He goes way beyond parallel on his back swing, but there are all these other compensations and techniques that work in tandem with the back swing to make it turn out quite awesome. If a golf chiropractor tried to adjust his back swing, the whole thing would be ruined.

So perhaps my spine, et al are not optimally arranged, but the take home point is this: yes, it’s possible that it would be better, but it’s also possible that it would be worse …much, much worse. It’s what I wrestled with before finally getting my eyebrows waxed. Oh and that reminds me – a take home point addendum: even though my brows looked way better and I should have done it years ago – treatments necessitate future treatments – I’m roped in … I mean, I’m not 7 ft tall like Brooke Shields –the average human encounters my brows at or below eye level – you experience the whole brow from that view.

But this post was never meant to be a discussion on chiropractics (or my eyebrows).

I don’t really have any aches or pains at this time.

I only intended it as a lead in to soliloquize on adjustments. Guess I veered off a bit (scoliosis or slice?).

For the past week or so I’ve been mulling over the idea that adjusting to life in a foreign country is not the only thing I’m adjusting to – perhaps a degree or two of the awkward learning curve is adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom. Of course, I’ve been home since the end of November, so it’s a bit more nuanced.

But basically, the adjustment I’ve been adjusting to is no longer having a viable reason to shirk my home duties.

Since moving, I have no responsibilities outside the home and my only contributions are from within the home.

Consequently I am no longer nearly as busy as my husband. He is super duper busy. I am totally not.

I mean it wasn’t super fun when I was working – when every hour was either work or Half-O or sleep. But – it very conveniently eliminated hours for cleaning, cooking, and laundry. I still did those things – but cleaning was more like tidying unless someone was visiting, cooking was minimalist and often something ready-made or take-out except for Sunday, and laundry was done in the wee hours when absolutely necessary.

But how do I justify a dirty house now? Before it was priorities – now it’s a vice – it’s sloth – that’s one of the main ones.

Plus I lost my passive-aggressive option of leaving the garbage or the dishes untouched for a couple days knowing The Archaeologist would soon do them. Whereas once we both had full plates, mine is now pretty sparse – so how can I not wash them? It’s ludicrous to expect him to do all his work and the dishes just because I don’t particularly like to …but I don’t like to.

And I can’t figure how to get out of it without it reflecting poorly on me. (that can’t be the grammatically correct way to say that – what is?)

So, bummer.

Can a personality chiropractor rearrange my brain so that regularly scheduled mundanity no longer makes me want to claw out my eyeballs? First, however, we’ll have to tackle my issue with paying someone a lot of money to do something that I could theoretically take care of myself …I suppose they could offer that part pro bono – a high-yield investment.

But in an attempt to do it myself:

You know the sand paintings (mandalas) that Tibetan Monks make? They’re huge and gorgeous and elaborate – and made by arranging individual grains of sand. And when they’re finished, they are promptly destroyed. It’s the impermanence of the material world.

So cooking, cleaning, and laundry are the daily Sisyphean slogs necessary to keep entropy/e.coli at bay – OR they’re not – they're mandalas - they’re daily rituals reminding me of religious/spiritual/universal principles like the impermanence of the material world, or that I love my family and they would like to eat and not wear smelly clothes (well, Half-O doesn’t care), and avoid scabies.

Frankly I’d rather make sand paintings during Half-O’s nap and then let her destroy them in post-nap elation.

Weekly readjustments will likely be necessary, as well as daily mantras. I fear it’s like waking up early. It seriously never gets consistently easier. Is it Communism where someone who enjoys cleaning would come clean my house and I could go to their home and do something I’m good at and enjoy but they don’t …like read a book? Don’t lots of people feel like they should read more – well, I could read for them, someone can clean my house and do my laundry, and someone else will come by and separate your recyclables.

Of course, whether it’s torture or enlightenment, I’ll do the laundry, cleaning, and cooking because it means I’m home with Half-O. This week I introduced her to funnels and Elvis – both were well received.