Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas baking

I can't quite figure out why there are no cookies in my house. I've done more than my usual holiday baking over the past couple of weeks, and there isn't so much as a crumb to be found.

I'm on a ginger kick these days and my baking reflects that. So far this season, I've made white chocolate gingerbread blondies and chocolate chunk sour cherry cookies. (Long gone!) Alison and I did our traditional baking for care packages: sugar cookies, chocolate ginger cookies and cranberry shortbread. The cookies that remained after I mailed our packages were gone in a day or two and we've been left with a serious Christmas cookie shortage for the past week. To compensate, I made chocolate dipped gingerbread men (are you getting the pattern here?) for a parish meeting earlier this week ... but those were gone by Day Two as well. Now I'm contemplating some more baking this afternoon ... I have another ball of gingerbread dough in my fridge, but at the same time, I'm wondering what untried ginger recipes could possibly be left in my cookie cookbook.

I need some inspiration. What kinds of cookies are you enjoying right now? And no pine nuts, please. :)

Thursday, December 18, 2008


For Sam's sake, I'm hoping he cuts a couple of teeth sooner rather than later. I can't wait to introduce him to foods other than rice cereal and pureed prunes. The kid's going to go nuts.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

All for you, Matt!

Sam recently got a new bathtub. He loves it!

Needless to say, there will be bath toys for Christmas. Oh, will there ever.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The thrill of victory

Lately, I've had a few triumphs, large and small:

1. Today I got my eyebrows waxed while sitting up, with my kid still strapped into his Ergo carrier. Begone, frumpy mom-ness!
2. Last week, I interviewed at Stanford for a spot in their internal medicine residency program, and it went very well. In terms of its philosophy, the program is a perfect match for me and my interview day deepened my already deep sense that Stanford is my intellectual home. I've been here so long, I almost feel as though the institution has remade me in its image. I fit here, and it's a lovely, comfortable feeling.
3. I mailed my last Christmas card yesterday.

I'll leave you to discern which triumphs are the large ones.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Girly man

Why does everyone think my baby son is a girl?

Today, Sam and I went to Target and as we were leaving the store, we stopped to talk with the Salvation Army volunteer collecting Christmas donations. She referred to Sam again and again using female pronouns and I didn't bother to correct her. For what it's worth, he was wearing denim overalls, a shirt covered in little cartoon bugs and a navy blue hoodie. Gender-neutral, maybe ... but hardly girly. Then, as we walked to our car, a woman walking the opposite direction caught his eye and said, "Que linda!"


This happens all too often and I think it's strange. My feeling is, sure, it's hard to tell if a baby is a boy or a girl. If the clothes don't offer sufficient clue, ask. But geez, when my kid is dressed in head to toe blue, don't say she-she-she! My favorite of these conversations happened at a Starbucks in Oregon. I had Sam perched in his Baby Bjorn and I was chatting up a stranger as we waited for our drinks. It went like this:

Her: *she-she-she*
Me: *he-he-he*

... repeat and repeat ...

Her: Wait ... is your baby a boy? Are you sure?

For anyone else wondering: yep. I'm sure. Short of karyotyping my kid, I'm sure.

Here are a couple of recent pictures. Does he look like a girl?

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I ordered Christmas cards.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Express mail

Yesterday, I received a shock. I got a Christmas card.

On December 2.


The card was from a dear high school friend and displayed a lovely picture of her family. Coordinated outfits. Everyone smiling, all at once. In a word: impressive. Also: unsettling. I am just never going to be that woman who sends Christmas cards in November. Never ever EVER.

Am I OK with that? I'm not sure.

The funny part about all of this is that yesterday was also the day I decided not to send Christmas cards at all this year. I figure, it would cost somewhere around $100 (50 cards and stamps) and take a couple of (pleasant, latte-fueled) evenings to write personal notes in each card and address them. In years past, I've used Christmas cards as a way to stay somewhat familiar with out of town family and friends, old bosses and coworkers. I was hashing and rehashing all of this with my husband last night. His take: Does my old boss reeeaaaally care if he gets our Christmas card? (Probably, no.) And wouldn't I rather spend that cash on something else -- like a massage? (Definitely, yes.)

OK, so he didn't actually suggest I blow our Christmas card budget at my fave day spa. But still, the guy has a point. The truth is, the people with whom I most want to stay connected ... I already do. And the folks I only think of at Christmas? Maybe it's time to let them go.

Which brings us to the present. I'm having a full-blown personal crisis over the Christmas card issue. Not because I'm mourning the loss of a beloved holiday tradition and not because I think my old boss will be hurt (or even -- who are we kidding? -- notice) when he doesn't get my Christmas well-wishes. But because I've bought into the idea that homemaking is a competitive sport, and I fall further and further behind every day. Holiday preparations are a race and a contest and my friend -- who I am certain intended only to spread holiday cheer and not to make me doubt my very womanhood -- has qualified for the Boston Marathon of Christmas.

Which, I admit, is small-minded and counter-productive. Not to mention, crazy.

Part of me is ready to chuck the Christmas cards into the same heap where I already offloaded homemade baby food and cleaning my own bathroom. This year, I'd like to focus my Christmas energy on what matters most to me: co-chairing the Adopt a Family drive at my parish, sending holiday goodies to the trio of lonely, elderly ladies in my life, helping the Sunday School kids get ready for their pageant. I'd like to go to more concerts and more church services. And I maybe I should get that Christmas massage.

But part of me is simultaneously thinking ... I could order the cards tonight ... they'd be here next week ... two day turn around, three max ...