Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stockpiling provisions, guarding and snarling.

So, with the baby due to arrive in the next 3-6 weeks, I can happily say we basically have everything we need for him. Right now I'm washing all of his blankets, towels, and clothes so they'll be ready to go whenever he is.

I'm not too nervous about taking care of him at this point, but I am sort of irrationally nervous about my own food supply. As I've mentioned before, I find the concept of not leaving the house for several days/weeks to be a scary one. The idea of not being able to go to the grocery store is especially frightening. Yes, I realize I have a perfectly capable partner who is more than willing to go (he even went to the Winn-Dixie today to see if they had tahini - which of course they did not - to see if he could save me a trip to Whole Foods), but a weird voice in my head says "What if he messes it up and I staaaaaaaaaarve?!?"

I'm used to cooking about 95% of the food I eat. Being vegan in the middle of Louisiana, I don't really have much of an option. But I know I won't be able to keep up my shopping and cooking habits immediately after having the baby. And one can only survive so long on Lebanese takeout (much as I love it). So I've started to freeze leftovers in individual portions. Today I plan on making a vat of lentil stew, and I'll freeze whatever we don't eat tonight. Tomorrow I might make red beans and rice.

My struggle to guard my food from the cats has intensified. Though I enjoy cooking, it is definitely a bit of an effort these days. I feed the cats CAT FOOD twice a soon as they see me open my eyes I'm greeted with incessant, desperate meows. When it comes near the time for their evening feeding, they strategically place themselves near me and give me the intense, unblinking cat stare. I will love them, feed them, and allow them backyard access, but I do not want them anywhere near MY food. The fruits of my labor in the kitchen are for the benefit of David, the baby, and ME.

David thinks the cats deserve more variety in their diet, and that it's cute when they beg at the table. I respond to such behavior by scooping up said cat(s), tossing them to the back yard, and finishing my meal while they look at me through the back door with their wide, pathetic, cat-refugee faces. I'm not falling for it. Stay away from my food. Grr.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Love and food

Here's an interesting article about meat-eaters and vegans in relationships.

I found it via Feministe but I've vowed not to comment on any more posts there that reference veganism for the sake of my own least until I'm no longer under the influence of pregnancy hormones.

Anyway, I consider myself very lucky that David loves my vegan cooking. Some meat-eaters really seem to want meat with every meal, and I'm so glad he's not in that camp! Also, there are a few places where we can go out to eat and both find something yummy. The Mellow Mushroom makes great vegan and non-vegan stuff, and Thai, Japanese and Indian restaurants are usually accommodating.

It might have been harder if we met before I went vegan, because then he may have grown used to non-vegan home cooking. Now, he either has the choice of vegan home cooking, or no home cooking at all (unless he wants to do that cooking, which is rare). Ha! Vegan home cooking wins.

For breakfast today, I made us some cornbread from the 1000 Vegan Recipes cookbook. It's my favorite vegan cornbread recipe so far. I ate it with Earth Balance and some molasses (a good source of iron and calcium for me and the mini-vegan). Yum!

ETA: The real threat to our relationship is David feeding my cooking to the cats. He informed me that they also liked the cornbread...which became painfully obvious about 30 minutes later when one of them (HIS bad bad cat) apparently snuck up on the table to help herself to more. GRRR.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Transportation, freedom, and staying at home

Yesterday I spent several hours looking forward to and preparing for a writer's group meeting, then was stuck at home when my car wouldn't start. After a few fruitless attempts to start the car, and then some fruitless attempts to reach David (to see if he might, by chance, already be on his way home and able to drive me there), I came back inside our house, returned to the couch I'd spent most of the day on, and felt immensely depressed.

This whole pregnancy has been a struggle for me, because I'm not physically able to keep the kind of busy work/art/social life schedule I'm accustomed to. That, and now I'm no longer in NOLA. When my car wouldn't start in NOLA (not an entirely rare occurrence), I could call a cab. Here, I knew I was too far out in the 'burbs for a cab to arrive in time. Most of my friends live in NOLA, so I already find myself feeling isolated here. Sad as it may sound, the writer's group was my only planned social activity for the week.

I've found that it is very beneficial to my mental health to get out of the house at least once every day, even if it's only to go to the grocery store. Even though, at 8 months pregnant, my energy level is low, I can't stand sitting around the house all day. I began to picture life without a working vehicle, and I started to panic.

I lived in NOLA for years without a car, but I had lots of interesting places to get to by walking, biking, or public transportation. Here, the roads are narrow, with no sidewalks and ditches beside them. Not that there's anything within walking distance, anyway.

When David came home from work, he was wonderfully comforting and sympathetic, which helped. Then, he eventually managed to get my car to start. It seems to be having some sort of fuel line issue, which was probably not helped when it sat in the heat for a couple of days without being driven. This actually happened last summer, too, and I put some injector cleaner in the gas tank and it seemed to solve the problem. So I'm very glad the car is not dead for good quite yet.

But I have to say, I am worried about the postpartum period. From what I hear, women and their newborns rarely leave the house for a few weeks. I'm really looking forward to interacting with the baby, but I still think being cooped up in the house might depress me. Maybe I'll be so exhausted that I won't even notice, I don't know. But I really don't think I'm cut out for this housewife business.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What I fantasize about.

1. A big glass of wine.

I know some people do have the occasional glass of wine during pregnancy, but I worry too much, so I've only had random stolen sips of other people's wine since November. I love wine so much and I really, really miss it! I hear it's OK to have a little wine while nursing. So I do look forward to drinking wine again in a few weeks.

2. Intense cardio.

Lately, whenever I see fit women out running, I am overcome with envy. And here's the thing: I never enjoyed running. Also, this is Louisiana and it's insanely hot out. I'm sure I wouldn't be out running even if I wasn't pregnant. But it bothers me that I physically can't run these days without discomfort. My cell phone doesn't work in my house, so the closest thing to running I do these days is a mad dash to locate the ringing phone and get out to the patio in time to answer it before the call drops (thanks, AT&T). And even that leaves me out of breath and sometimes gives me a side stitch.

I also miss Spinning, and thinking about it makes me sad, because I really miss my awesome Spin instructor whose class I'll probably never take again (due to my relocation from NOLA), and my friend that used to go with me every week. I've still got the friend, but our years-long Spinning & Brunch ritual is over.

I want the struggle, the endorphin rush, the feeling of accomplishment that intense cardio gave me. Yoga is great for other reasons, but it's not the same.

3. Tomatoes.They give me heartburn now. I can only eat very small amounts of them. Which sucks, because I make an amazing marinara sauce that I could pretty much eat daily. Yet, the last time I ate it, I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like weasels were trying to fight their way out of my stomach via my throat. I guess it's not so bad that my garden was such a failure this year!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The BEST chickpea salad!

So I started on my journey with chickpea salad sandwiches here, and I've made it several times, but tonight I made the BEST batch I've ever made. Here's my recipe:

1/2 cup dry chickpeas
1 small handful fresh parsley
1 small handful grated carrots (can you tell I don't like to measure?)
1 green onion, chopped
2-3 tbsp. (approx., depending on how wet you want it to be) Vegenaise or other vegan mayo
Kelp granules to taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Soak the chickpeas (covered, in the fridge) at least 6 hours. Change out the water, bring them to a boil, and then simmer for 30-45 minutes, until they are soft but not mushy. Drain, and rinse well with cold water.

Put the chickpeas and parsley in the food processor, and PULSE until the chickpeas are broken into chunks. You need to use the pulse setting or else you will quickly end up with hummus, which is awesome, but not what we're going for here.

Transfer chickpeas and parsley to a bowl, add all other ingredients, stir it up, and make a sandwich!

I really think the fresh parsley and green onion make this the best. Also, the kelp granules, weird as they are, are a MUST!

Serves 2, if you like to eat a lot, like David and I :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A glimpse into my life.

Backstory: David loves having the windows down while driving in the car, but it drives me crazy when my hair blows into my face. Our scene begins with me making frustrated noises and trying to pull my hair back while it blows around wildly.

David: You know, at work we have hair nets. Would that help you?
Me: (laughing) I'd look like a lunch lady!
David: A what? A munch lady?
Me: (laughing too hard to respond clearly) Lunch lady!
David: What is a munch lady? Like, a munchkin? Like welcome to munchkin land?
Me: LUNCH! The ladies who serve you lunch!
David: Like in a high school?
Me: Yes, they wear hair nets so their hair doesn't get in the food.

(a moment later)

Me: I don't want a hair net, I should just wear a head scarf.
David: Oh, like what's-her-name?
Me: Uh...
David: You know, that lady?
Me: NO I DON'T KNOW! Half of the world's population is female! How would I know who you're talking about?
David: The Kennedy lady!
Me: Oh, Jackie Onassis?
David: Yes!

This type of communication happens daily.

I am proud to note

...that after yesterday morning's dose of angst, I sat down with a few drafts of a short story I attempted to write in 2009, and rewrote it. It took me about twelve hours. It will need revising, but it felt like a good day's work.

David was encouraging me to write short stories on Thursday night. He pointed out that I have a tendency to "start big." For example, my first foray into theater directing was a classic but rarely-tackled LONG Russian play with a cast of seventeen. I was not entirely happy with the results (though it was a major learning experience). My next directing project was a shorter piece of my own, with a much smaller scope. It was more successful.

I do believe in following where the Muse leads. I directed that first play because it was a longtime dream of mine. I wrote my novel because the idea wouldn't let me go. And although I had written a novella in high school, I'd only been writing play scripts since college. So, logically, a short story (or several) would have been a good step. But I didn't have any ideas for short stories.

I took a writing course in 2009, where I was required to write a short story. I developed some interesting characters and a somewhat creative plot. And then I came up with two different bad endings for it, and gave up. I related the plot to David during our conversation, and he said, "that is a damn good plot." I should note that David does not like all of my ideas. And is quite blunt, as a general rule. So this was significant.

David also thought I needed to leave my novel alone for a while, because I was obsessing, and after all I'd just finished the 16 billionth round of revisions on it. He thought I needed to work on other things.

So, back to the short story I went. Yesterday was one of those great writing days where twelve hours felt like twenty minutes. Other than a disappointing excursion to the Winn Dixie (which apparently does not sell tofu), I wrote all day. David called to tell me there was a barbecue at work, and he thought he'd stay there for dinner. It was for the best, because I hadn't cooked anything yet anyway, and besides, I wanted to make tofu.

So he had grilled steak with his co-workers and I heated up a can of baked beans and got back to my writing. And I finished the new draft of the story, and all was well.

Friday, June 3, 2011

What I know and what I feel.

I was thinking a lot yesterday about my artistic goals. I'm looking forward to applying to grad programs, but it's hard to decide what exactly to study when my interests are so varied. The interests in question are centered around writing and theater, so it's not exactly all over the map, but still.

I was asking myself: what is the area in which I have the most to offer? What do I want to learn about most? What have I most enjoyed doing in the past? There is no one answer to these questions.

I know that the best thing I can do right now is to take advantage of the (ever-fleeting) time I have while I finish incubating this baby. I know that obsessing over things I wish I'd done differently in past projects is a waste of time. I know that the more I continue to create, the better I will get.

Still, it is frustrating sometimes. Even though I know all these things, how I feel is that I want to already be brilliant and recognized for it! Maybe it's silly, but it's true. I'm reading Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin for the Atlantic's book club I mentioned earlier, and as I read I keep thinking, damn, she's good. I am not as good as her. Well, of course I'm not. She's Margaret freaking Atwood! Still, it makes me sigh and look at my writing projects and tweak and edit and rewrite sentences and then sigh again.

Oh well, back to work.