One Fabulous Thing

…because each day has at least one.

02.26.2010 The Joys of a Freshly Made Bed February 28, 2010

Filed under: Household — onefabulousthing @ 10:30 pm

I’m usually the one who takes care of the laundry in our household (my husband does all of the dishes, so I think it’s a pretty fair tradeoff), but today my husband was home and took it upon himself to change the sheets and make the bed.

We tend to be more of the “pull the duvet up so it more or less covers the bed” type of people rather than actual bed-makers, which I think gives me even more of an appreciation for having the covers all aligned and the pillows fluffed and placed just so. When the bed is made correctly, you can fold down the covers like you are in a  nice hotel, and when you slide in your feet don’t poke out the bottom of a sheet that is askew.

A bed that looks like this entices you to get in it at a reasonable hour, instead of staying up too late watching television or movies that could always wait until another day. For once, we listened to the soft summoning of smooth, clean sheets instead of the siren song of another OnDemand episode of Big Love, and had a fighting chance of starting our weekend well-rested.

So, Fabulous Thing #57: My head hitting a crisp, clean pillowcase – that I didn’t have to change.

 

02.25.2010 Curling, Explained (Sort Of)

Filed under: Family,Humor — onefabulousthing @ 9:30 pm

I’ve been a casual viewer of this Olympics, mainly because a lot of the significant events have happened during times when I have been at work or asleep, and the results are everywhere on the internet pretty much immediately afterward so it’s not really worth recording. I always find the personal stories of the athletes and teams compelling, and the bits I have caught have had that element featured prominently in the coverage.

Tonight, after a day that seemed to stretch on for far too long, my husband and I were relaxing on the couch watching some events that were prerecorded. Since I had not yet heard (or honestly, paid attention to) the results for curling, we left it on. My husband is in between jobs right now and has been spending some time relaxing at home this week, so he has been able to watch more than I have. I had never known him to be a curling fan, but as we watched and I messed around on the internet, he was carrying on and exclaiming like he had money on the event.

He started remarking about “rocks” and “ends,” and I paid more attention. I guessed that he had gotten wrapped up in more of the Olympics than I had thought, and since I had always found curling interesting but sort of difficult to parse I was eager to have him break it down for me. We went on like that for a few minutes, me really impressed at how quickly he had picked it up.

Then he mentioned that the move one of the players made was called a “loonie,” and my antennae went up. He followed that up with an overenthusiatic show of disappointment at what seemed like an insignificant move. I called him out and he admitted that he had no idea what was going on. The fabulous thing about it, besides the laugh, is that he shook me out of the terrible habit I have of turning inward after a long day instead of reaching out and connecting with the one person who can help me relax and unwind the best.

So, Fabulous Thing #56: “Sweeping” a bad day under the rug.

 

02.24.2010 I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl February 26, 2010

Filed under: Household,Style — onefabulousthing @ 9:56 pm

Have you read any of those articles that promise to advise you in the Top Ten Ways to Save Money? The first one is always making your coffee at home. We have made strides in switching to coffee at home by purchasing a Keurig, and it should start paying us back in money saved any month now. It’s great to be able to have a cup of fresh, hot coffee (or tea, or cocoa) so quickly, and without dealing with any cleanup.

We always have whole milk in the house these days, and since I have been baking a little more we also have sugar. Scooping out teaspoonfuls of sugar from a 5 pound bag is not the most convenient way to sweeten a beverage, and tends to leave a lot of crunchy crystals all over the countertop. We transitioned to using a small tupperware container a few weeks ago, but then I remembered that I am an official adult and should probably own a sugar bowl.

I think that most people end up with a sugar bowl when they register for their wedding loot, but we didn’t register. After settling in our current house we did buy a nice set of dishes that all match and look nice in a cabinet and only get used once in a while, but I did not get the matching sugar bowl or creamer. I’m not a huge fan of everything being all matchy-matchy, so instead of ordering pieces from our set I decided to get something complementary that I’d like seeing and using every day.

On my way home from work today I realized that 1) the baby was not in the backseat (don’t worry, he was accounted for elsewhere), and 2) it was early enough that I could spare 15 minutes to run into a small kitchenware store to see what they had. I found a set that I really like:

These little containers make me happy. I wish that the images these evoke – blue checkered dishcloths, bread baking in the oven, worn butcherblock counters and shiny retro appliances – were more in line with the reality of my kitchen experience – chewed alphabet magnets on a dented fridge, bibs hanging to dry from cabinet knobs, something sticky and crumby on the table. But at least for a few moments as I stir sugar into my coffee I can daydream about the possibilities of what could be.

So, Fabulous Thing #55: Increasing the fabulous quotient of my morning coffee.

 

02.23.2010 Refresher Course

Filed under: Food,Garden — onefabulousthing @ 9:19 pm

Today was the day I began my annual listening of Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I bought the audiobook when it was released in 2007, and have listened to it in the late winter or early spring of every year since. I originally was interested in the book due to my increasing desire to examine where the food I ate came from, and what the food choices I was making meant for my health, the environment, and the economy. I was spending a lot of time in my car for my job at the time, so the audiobook was my format of choice for anything I wanted to “read” easily.

On each listening, I have taken different things from the book. The first time through tied together a lot of the things I had been cobbling together from different sources on the importance of eating sustainably, locally, organically, and ethically. It convinced me to join a CSA, and since that summer we have eaten the majority of our produce from local farms during the season when it is available here in the Northeast. I have permanently changed my buying habits for eggs and dairy, and modified our diet to include less meat in order to avoid cheap meat from CAFOs. I took away the idea that the choices I make by purchasing food determines how the world is used in a very direct way, and that has stayed with me through every trip to the grocery store and every contemplated run through the drive-through window of any fast food establishment.

By the second year through, I had evolved my style of planning and cooking meals based on using ingredients that met the SOLE criteria as best as I could manage, and challenged myself by learning to cook from what was available in season or in the least environmentally impactful way possible. What has stayed with me from that change is how much better food that is in season and local tastes. My husband even started to like vegetables, and was won over by the simple preparations of high quality ingredients. We started to save a lot of money on our food expenditures by readjusting our tastes toward meals from scratch instead of processed foods. I felt more connected to the food I was eating, and started to eat each meal more consciously.

The third time around pushed me into buying a chest freezer, looking into canning and preserving, and figuring out how to make my own baby food from ingredients that were in season and local. I wanted my son’s first experiences with vegetables and fruits to be representative of the best specimens I could find, and he seemed to appreciate that:

This year is the big one. I have my seed catalogs in hand, and a plan for my intended garden. I hold no illusions about being able to grow and preserve enough to sustain us through the year, but I am looking forward to the variety and flavor that the things from my own backyard will add to our diet. I am hopeful that I will be able to preserve some things and enjoy them when there is snow blanketing my yard once again. This year’s review of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is getting me excited for the challenges I have set out for myself, and I am paying closer attention to the description of the progression of foods throughout the growing season, looking forward to fresh greens (hopefully!) in a few short months.

For those of you who have not read or listened to the book, please do. It’s not sanctimonious, overly scientific, extreme, elitist, preachy, or any of the things that you are thinking it might be. One one level it’s a really great story, on another it’s an accessible account of the state of the American diet and what got us there, and on another it’s a presentation of an alternative plan for how to get yourself fed on a daily basis that costs less, takes less oil, helps to keep your food dollars in your neighborhood, gives you more nutritional bang for your buck, and tastes really good.

So, Fabulous Thing #54: Stalking the Vegetannual.

 

02.22.2010 The Sound of Fabulous Things February 24, 2010

Filed under: Music — onefabulousthing @ 9:53 pm

The thing that is the hardest about having this blog is the amount of my leisurely computer time it takes up. More specifically, I have a hard time keeping up with the other blogs that I like to read.

Today, I spent a bit of time reading recent posts at some of the blogs I follow. In a post on Already Pretty I found a link to this CodeOrgan. You can paste in the URL of any website and it uses an algorithm to translate the body of the page into music.

Give it a try with this website or any other one – it’s neat to think about how the sounds and rhythyms relate to the content of the page, sort of like a soundtrack to what you are reading.

So, Fabulous Thing #53: Quirky finds from around the internet.

 

02.21.2010 Baby People

Filed under: Family,Friends — onefabulousthing @ 9:18 pm

Today was the joint first birthday extravaganza for the seven babies from my New Mom’s Group. All seven babies and all fourteen of their parents convened at the home of one of the little girls, armed with a gift and a  contribution to the potluck. The adults snacked on things that could be eaten with one hand, got some fruit and hummus and guacamole and chips into the kids in some semblance of a lunch, and set them up with a bunch of age-appropriate toys that talk, teach the alphabet and numbers, and spin and open and close in interesting ways.

Here’s what the babies really loved: going into the bedroom of the little girl who hosted the party and taking turns rocking the ottoman for the glider. Taking laundry out of the laundry basket and playing peekaboo with last night’s pajamas. The little girl who hosted carried around a paperback copy of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and graciously allowed the other babies to pull the diapers out from under her changing table. Have you ever seen the PuppyBowl that AnimalPlanet shows during the SuperBowl every year? It was a lot like that.

What I enjoyed so much about the afternoon was watching the babies interact with each other. The last time they were all together in that same house, they were less than three months old and laid in a circle like beetles on their backs, limbs flailing around and emitting muddled humming and squeaking sounds, while we mothers leisurely ate sandwiches. Their “interactions” were nothing more than a few accidental glances at one another and the occasional graze of one baby’s hand against another baby. Today, they made each other laugh. They played with toys together. They looked on in concern when one of their ranks got upset and cried.

I love that my kid has this cohort of agemates to share babyhood and toddlerhood with. Of course, I am ever grateful for their mamas; but today brought a new appreciation of my son’s emerging personhood. It might sound like a really obvious thing, but watching the babies today made me think about how my son and the six of his friends are going to be increasingly social and interactive creatures out there in the world. My son will have relationships with people that I will be only a peripheral part of, and I am happy to get these early glimpses into how he might behave and interact independent of me. What I have learned so far is that he wants to be doing what everyone else is doing, and man does that kid like a game of peekaboo.

The party culminated with a cupcake eat-off, and I am also proud to report that my kid didn’t leave a crumb of his cupcake behind.

So, Fabulous Thing #52: Baby social experiment success.

 

02.20.2010 Decadent Dreaming February 21, 2010

Filed under: Food,Happiness,Work — onefabulousthing @ 9:33 pm

Today, my wonderful husband brought our son to Music Together, and insisted that I stay home and rest. It is true for me that when I get a little tickle in my throat, when I’m feeling a little congested and a little “off,” if I can get some solid sleep and have a restful day I can usually stave off a bout of full-blown illness. This is how I was feeling yesterday, so my husband did what he could to give me enough downtime to try to head off whatever seemed to be coming my way. You would think that would be fabulous enough, but it’s not the One Fabulous Thing for the day.

I was able to sleep in a bit, but I was awake when my husband got the baby ready for class and I was able to blow them kisses out the door as they left. I got dinner going in the crockpot, then retreated back to my bedroom with a copy of a local magazine and my Kindle. I cannot tell you the last time I read in bed during daylight hours, and it was heaven. I read through the local magazine, making note of stores I’d like to check out, local events coming up that would be fun to go to, and local restaurants that might be worth trying.

I say this, but please realize that it’s all mostly talk. I rarely get any time to myself to poke around little shops, and as I’ve mentioned it’s sort of an uncomfortable thing for me. Our weekends are precious, and the mercurial weather means that the planned art gallery walks might be fun and enlightening or bitter icy cold and not happening. We go out to dinner so few times a year that a restaurant would have to be pretty spectacular to make the cut. But that’s not the point. The point is thinking about the possibilities, the depth and breadth of the opportunities that abound in the few square miles around where we live.

The most amazing of these opportunities became apparent to me when I read a short blurb about the contest that a local bakery is running to choose the person who will take ownership of the bakery later this year. For a nominal entry fee and a 280-word essay, the winner will get the keys to the kingdom. My mind was immediately off and running. I would enlist my mother to move down here and manage the day-to-day operation. My kid would grow up with the smell of sugar and vanilla surrounding him, doing his homework at the small tables in the bakery. I could picture myself, tired but fulfilled, carefully piping intricate designs on cupcakes in the early morning hours. It could happen. I could do this.

Will I? I’m not sure. But the essay is composing itself in my mind, the possibilities too attractive to ignore. It’s a little more tangible than the normal “what if I won the lottery” daydreams, and a whole lot more delicious.

So, Fabulous Thing #51: Sweet dreams.