I listen to a lot of audio books. What started out as a way to help me get to sleep became a constant companion. I listened to them when I drove, when I worked, while I did chores… Pretty much any time I had time to myself that didn’t require my full attention. When I worked for the university, there were thousands of audio books to choose from in the library. There was a while there where I would go down the shelf in the fiction section and pick up anything that looked interesting. Which for me pretty much covers any book whose description doesn’t start with “Former CIA agent Author McSelfinsert…” 
Now that I’m a stay at home mom, the library I have access to is considerably smaller. In fact, I’m pretty sure that both floors of little public library here in town would fit in just one of the six floors of the main university library. Then again, the university library didn’t have a weekly story time, either. Or maybe it did and I just never knew about it. Anyways.
I went to the library in part for the story time, and in part with the hope of picking up more audio books. Imagine how thrilled I was upon signing up for a library card to also get a card with information about Overdrive.
If you haven’t heard of Overdrive, let me tell you how awesome it is. It’s an app on your phone that is like having a pocket public library. It has both e-books and audio books. The only limit is what your own local library has access to at the time. And if they don’t have what you’re looking for, you can do a search to see if it’s available in the Overdrive system and recommend your library pick it up. Thus far, it’s taken anywhere from 2 days to 2 weeks to get a book I’ve recommended, but none have been denied.
There is the draw back that you only get to keep the books for two weeks before they expire. And there’s no keeping it from going back into rotation if you’re not done with it. Which is no big deal if the book isn’t popular. You can just go back and check it out again. But if it is… you may have to wait two weeks before you get it back again. Or more. Fortunately the program saves your place and any bookmarks you have made.
The best part for me? The app has a sleep function. So I can still use it for helping me get to sleep at night. Whether or not it works all depends on the book.
 The book store I used to work for called these “Men’s Adventure” novels. They always stared a ruggedly handsome former CIA agent who traveled around the world solving international terror plots and getting into bed with beautiful mystery women who may or may not have been spies for the KGB whose loyalties were swayed by the power of his penis. This section was between “Horror” and “Romance.”
Ways in which my toddler and my cats are alike.
– The best places to sit are anywhere that Mommy or Daddy has recently vacated and intended to return to.
– The second best place to sit is on Mommy or Daddy’s chest. Bonus points for blocking the TV .
– The best food is anything Mommy or Daddy are eating.
– Don’t like something? Knock it to the ground!
– Absolutely no qualms about eating off of the floor.
– Makes incoherent mewling noises when they want something.
– Needs claws trimmed regularly.
– Prone to randomly running around the house at top speed.
– Constantly under foot. And usually in the kitchen.
– Climbs on things they’re not supposed to.
– Needs to have the blinds raised 8 inches, otherwise they’ll be ruined.
Setting: In the car on the way home from a morning running errands. P’khan is fussing because he’s hungry. We stop at an inconvenient traffic light.
Moose: It’s okay little man. We’re halfway there.
P’khan: *continues fussing*
Moose: We’re halfway there. We’re halfway there.
P’khan: *still fussing*
Acorn: *decides to join in on the whining*
Moose: We’re halfway there.
Me: LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER.
Me: WHOA, WE’RE HALFWAY THERE. WHOAAA-OOOH! LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER!
Moose: Acorn, remind Daddy to never say “halfway there,” again.
Me: I resisted. You just kept saying it!
Everything that is wrong with Swamp Tails can be expressed in one fundamental flaw: They use Old Bay seasoning.
Don’t get me wrong, Old Bay is a great seasoning. I’m personally allergic to it, so I make my own version for when the cooking calls for it, but it’s still good stuff. It is, however, not Cajun. It is very much a New England style seasoning with the slightly sweeter, more “baked goods” types of spices. Creole seasoning tend to be more herbaceous and earthy, with a lot more “hot sauce” types of spices. It’s a subtle difference, but if you’re going to run a Cajun style restaurant, the least you can do is use the right seasoning. Especially when there are so many excellent and widely available Cajun seasonings out there.
The menu looked pretty good at first glance. Gumbo, etouffee, jambalaya, all the usuals. Aps included boudin balls, and there was a liberal use of andouille sausage throughout the menu (although I cannot personally speak to the quality of their boudin or the andouille). I will admit to bombarding the waitress with a ton of questions about the various dishes. Their roux is flour based, which is a usually a good sign. However, the crawfish etouffee was described as being served over creamy cheese grits.
I’ll give the Cajuns in the audience a moment to recover. I know I needed one.
For those of you who have never had a good etouffee: 1) I’m so sorry, you are really missing out and 2) Etouffee is served over rice. Or sometimes under it, if the restaurant is feeling fancy. Regardless. Not. Grits. Apparently several reviewers found this to be a “nice twist,” but I personally think a restaurant should get good at the basics before trying to get fancy with things. And sadly, the basics were lacking.
Moose got the fried catfish basket and while the portion seemed to be pretty decent, the fish was declared “a little bland.” He also felt the Old Bay seasoning on the fries was a little much. I got my fries without the seasoning and was given a small dish of Slap Ya Mama to use instead of the Old Bay. The fries were pretty good this way, though they are thick cut fries, which is not my personal preference.
The major issue was my Po-Boy. It came out on sub roll, not a baguette as promised by the menu. So it didn’t have the nice crispy crust required to hold everything together. Not that there was much to hold together. Mine came with a meager 6 shrimp, all of no more than an inch or so. It was also very over dressed, so the whole thing was just a sad, soggy mess.
And just for the hell of it, Acorn had the mini corn dogs. It came with a side of mandarin oranges, so she refused to eat anything until she was allowed to finish those. And then she ate handfuls of Slap Ya Mama (that’s my girl!) and refused to eat her corn dogs until Moose cut them up smaller. She also ate a portion of his catfish, after stabbing it repeatedly with her fork. She did like the catfish, so we probably would have done better with the kids portion of catfish bites. Such are the vagaries of a toddler’s appetite.
We will probably not be returning to Swamp Tails. There are quite a few decent reviews on Yelp, so it’s possible they will manage to break the curse of this location and stay in business for longer than a year. But with a new Razzoo’s opening on the 17th, and a Pappadeaux’s on the horizon, this place is going to have to step up its game to compete.
An Oklahoma senator has introduced a new bill this month proposing a 6,720 hour waiting period for abortions. This controversial new bill would make Oklahoma’s mandatory waiting period one of the longest in the nation.
HB 3862, sponsored by Representative Lilly Williams (R-Enid), would amend the state’s already lengthy waiting period law from 48 hours to 6,720 hours. Over the course of that time, Oklahomans seeking abortions would have to complete a series of state mandated counseling sessions, doctor’s appointments, ultrasounds, and finally a brief hospital stay before the abortion will be performed.
“We want to give women the opportunity to be really, really, really sure they don’t actually want to precious baby that springs forth whole into their womb upon conception,” Rep. Williams reported. “This waiting period will give women plenty of time to consider all of their options before proceeding with the irrevocable decision to slaughter their child like a cold hearted monster who is definitely going to hell.”
When it was pointed out that the waiting period would be longer than the gestation period of most pregnancies, Rep. Williams said only “Well, they should have thought of that before they decided to get knocked up.”
In case it’s not clear, this is most definitely satire.
Random Mommy Blogging, yay!
One of the things that I read obsessively while pregnant with Acorn were those “20 Things Every New Parent Needs” lists. Anything that looked remotely useful went on the registry. I scoffed at most of it, because frankly, a lot of it was pretty useless. But one thing I did thing was pretty neat was the squeeze feeders. Basically, it’s a tube with a spoon on the end and a little hole where the food feeds out onto the spoon. I really liked the idea of having a single piece item that I could fill with baby food and just squeeze out a spoonful at a time. No fumbling with a tub and a spoon, no worrying that I hadn’t brought the right utensil, and best of all, nothing for Acorn to grab on to and mush into her hair.
I wound up with two different kind of squeeze feeders on my registry and was gifted both. And Moose picked up a third while out grocery shopping one day because he wanted to try a different style. So we wound up with three different feeders, plus the bonus item which I will talk about at the end. I will note that the major complaint you will find about the squeeze feeders is that they tend to “spit” if you squeezed the bottle too hard towards the end of the food, spattering food all over any surface within range. However, this is something that happened with all three of the squeeze feeders and was fairly easy to adjust to. Also, none of the squeeze feeders worked very well if we put anything other than super silky food blends into them. The hole is just too tiny and gets clogged up.
Nuby Natural Touch Silicone Travel Infa Feeder – This wound up being our favorite feeder of the whole group. In fact, I bought several more once we decided that this was the feeder to go with, just so we’d always have one on hand when we needed it. The bottle itself holds about 3.5 ounces of food and is a nice ergonomic shape. The wide mouth makes it easy to clean and the clear silicone means it is easy to see how much you have left in the bottle. The major problem we had with this feeder is that the silicone stains, so all of ours are currently carrot colored. It’s not such a bad thing if you’re aware of it. Also, the spoon lid snaps off fairly easily and most of the newer versions have the spoon rest built in.
Boon Squirt Silicone Baby Food Dispensing Spoon – This was a pretty decent product, and it has many of the same advantages as the Nuby. I didn’t like the opaque bottle, though, and I found the shape of it somewhat difficult to manage. It was very easy to clean, though, which is always a good thing. The spoon cover was a little harder to snap on, but came off with much greater ease while still keeping the spoon itself secure.
Munchkin 4 Ounce Easy Squeezy Spoon – This would be the spoon Moose picked up in the store, looking to try a different style of squeeze feeder. And I really wanted to like this one, I truly did. It had the same ergonomic shape I liked in the Nuby, with the added bonus of colored plastic so that the stains wouldn’t be as obvious. Plus, it stood up on end! Sadly, this was not to be so. The “locking” collar for the spoon is difficult to read and so we spent some time fumbling with the thing trying to figure out if it was open or closed. It was nice to have a full cover for the spoon end, but it didn’t stay in place very well. Then my mother in law opened up the whole assembly to clean some food that had gotten stuck in the locking collar, and the thing never quite went back together properly. It leaked out of the collar and became a great big mess.
Infantino Couple a Spoons – I bought a bunch of these to go with my Infantino Squeeze station and probably could have saved myself the money. As much as I love the Squeeze Station, the pouches simply aren’t rigid enough for me to hold them and the spoon in place. Plus, Acorn now simply sucks the food right out of the pouch. Spoons would just get in her way.
One of the things I mentioned in passing on the “Babies Are Weird” post is how it really is different when the baby is your own. And then I wrote a super rambling footnote about how I have complicated feelings on that particular subject, especially people who say it to women who are childfree by choice.
I never really understood before how people could so casually wipe their children’s noses, or pop a booger out with a fingernail like it was no big deal. I don’t share my late grandmother’s insistence that “snot” and “fart” are four letter words which should never be uttered in polite company, but generally I feel that those sorts of things should be contained to locations more appropriate for gross bodily functions. Namely, the bathroom.
I always figured that parents who could perform such functions for their children simply had a stronger tolerance for that sort of thing. I suppose it is possible that this assumption is true for some people. For me, the hormonal connection that made everything my child did just the absolute cutest included such things as dirty diapers and snotty noses. As the hormonal overload has started to wear off, I have simply become acclimated to the gross realities of parenthood.
Here’s where my feelings get complicated.
There are women who simply know, without hesitation or reservation, that they do not want kids. Their reasons may be as complicated as having decided they don’t want to bring children into our rather fucked up world, or as simple as not liking children. When you say to a woman that her feelings on kids will be different when they are her own, you are suggesting that she go through the not insubstantial difficulties of pregnancy and childbirth, all on the off chance that maybe, just maybe, the chemical changes in her body will overcome a lifelong aversion to children. And yes, it is entirely possible that if they were to become pregnant and carry the child to term, they would look down into the face of the tiny human they have brought into the world and be completely overwhelmed with love.
But what if they don’t?
What if that woman looks down on the innocent child she has created and she still doesn’t want it? There is no satisfaction to be had in being able to announce “See? I told you I’d never want kids.” A child can’t be returned to the store for a refund if you get her home and realize that no, she really doesn’t go with your decor. All options for taking back that choice are terrible, and even the best option of giving the child up for adoption is still painful and complicated and doesn’t guarantee the child a better life than the one they would have had with the mother who never wanted them in the first place.
When you insist that a woman should have children despite her objections, because “It’s different when it’s your own,” you are essentially telling her that you know better than her. That you don’t believe she knows herself well enough to make such huge choices about her body and her life. More importantly, you are potentially condemning both her and her child to a loveless relationship of regret and recrimination. I love my child with a fierceness that I can’t fully articulate, and even that love doesn’t carry me completely through when she’s being fussy or refusing to sleep or spitting up every night. How terrible it would be to deal with all of those things and cope with the complicated feelings of not wanting the child in the first place, and likely the guilt for feeling that way about your own child. What a terrible thing to wish on another person, let alone an innocent child.
There are plenty of people out there who want children. People who have taken the time to consider their personalities and their lifestyles and decided that bringing a child into their hearts and lives is the right thing for them. People who know, deeply and truly, that having a child will be amazing and disgusting and wonderful and frustrating and exactly what they want. Maybe if we stopped placing so much value on the ideal of children and started placing a little more value on the opinions of everyone involved, people would be a lot happier.