Tragic Sandwich

Food. Family. Fun.

Archive for the category “Family and Friends”

I’ve Moved!

If you’ve been subscribed to Tragic Sandwich via WordPress or RSS feed, please note that I’ve moved to self-hosted. You can still find the blog at www.tragicsandwich.com, but you’ll probably need to resubscribe. Please do–I would love to see you around the new digs!

The moving van

Photo by Jordon, via Flickr.

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Sand Pail List, Revisited

Sand and Toys

In May, I created my “Sand Pail List” of things I wanted to accomplish this summer. How’d we do? Let’s take a look:

Going to the park
We did go to local playgrounds, but not nearly as often as I’d intended–except for when we were in Santa Barbara. We went to a lot of playgrounds in Santa Barbara.

Summer concerts
Not one. Turns out that the ones held in my friend’s town are on Sunday nights, which didn’t work for us, and we never investigated the ones closer to home. Maybe next year.

Going to the beach
We got to the beach three times this summer, and are going again once Baguette gets her cast off. Labor Day may be over, but southern California’s summer is not.

Swimming lessons
Happening right now! Well, not right now. But we’ve enrolled Baguette in the current session at our local Y, because you cannot keep her out of the water. (Me, either.)

Cooking
Err . . . I’ve done a little, but certainly not as much as I meant to. And I still haven’t gotten back to that farmers’ market.

Well, there’s always fall. What should I call that one–maybe Leaf Bag List? I wonder if that works in the land of no fall colors.

Photo by ~W~, via Flickr.

Splish, Splash: Pools I Have Known

Sunset pool at ucla

I love being in the water. Love it. I once announced that I was pretty sure I could live in the shower in my parents’ guest bathroom.

But pools are better.

When I was a kid in southern California, we had some kind of above-ground pool that my dad almost never assembled. I remember playing in it, but not very many times.

Then we moved across the country. I’m sure someone had a pool in their back yard, but I don’t remember any. Instead, you joined a pool. There were wait-lists. It helped to know a member. After a year we joined one–although it turned out not to be the one most of my friends from school belonged to–and for years we spent lots of time during the summer at the pool.

The year I was eight, I was on the swim team for that pool. We would compete at other area pools against their swim teams. No one had Power Bars back then; between heats, you’d eat powdered Jello mix for energy. Lemon or lime was best. (Do not substitute a Twinkie. A Twinkie will hold you back. Even though it seems like a Twinkie is mostly air, experience suggests that it must really be Dark Matter.) I competed in the 25-free and 25-back. How did I do? Pretty much every time, I’d get third in free and first in back. Was that 25 meters or 25 yards? I don’t remember. I just know that if I could swim backstroke, I could beat everyone else.

Winters were wintery, but that didn’t keep me out of the water. How? Indoor pools. For several winters I would sign up for Winter Swim. I’ve always been good at swimming; whenever the instructor wanted someone to demonstrate a technique we’d just learned, he or she would ask me to show everyone.

Full disclosure: I have never been good at flip turns. Thus my success in 25-free and 25-back. I guarantee you I would not have won in 50-back, much less in 50-free. I was probably never asked to demonstrate a flip turn in either direction.

My other main memory of Winter Swim is a round of bullying that, unlike others, I was unable to deflect or derail. I carpooled with two boys from my elementary school who took it upon themselves to torment me. I have uncertain memories of them spitting in my hair during the car ride home. I loved swimming. I hated the ride to and from.

(I also hated my sweatsuit, which was some horrible 1970s attempt at–microfleece, maybe?–it was sort of fuzzy and when it pilled I wound up with little red fuzzy bits stuck to me, because it is impossible to truly dry off after Winter Swim. Even the locker room is humid.)

We moved to Texas. And, oddly, this is where I stopped swimming. Or not so oddly, if you think about it. We joined a pool that was within walking distance of our home, which meant that our mother wasn’t inclined to drive us. (Although I maintain that “walking distance” in a South Texas summer is about the distance from the front door to the car door.) Also, I was in high school, which meant that the pool and swimsuits seemed fraught with . . . well, fraught with something. I’m not sure I could have articulated it even then, but I stopped being willing to run around in a swimsuit, even at the pool.

In college, we’d go to the pool–but only to sunbathe. This, by the way, is a terrible plan for a redhead, particularly in an era when SPF 10 was considered to be a lot of sun protection.

Years and years and years later, I married Mr. Sandwich. We drove from our wedding in San Antonio to Los Angeles, and on one of the days before we left for our honeymoon in Hawaii, we went back to that college pool. I swam the length of it (this one I know–50 meters), clung to the side gasping, and then swam back. And while I was done for that day, I later spent many evenings in that pool training for triathlons.

Also, I am still lousy at flip turns, so it’s a good thing that when I compete, it’s in the open water with a noticeable lack of walls.

Now we live in the San Fernando Valley. When we moved there, I said, “I don’t need a pool–I don’t want one, too hard to maintain–but I do need air conditioning.” We have air conditioning, and I will admit that now that I’ve experienced a few Valley summers, I could also do with a pool.

Fortunately, we live within an easy drive of one of the city pools. It’s been closed for several years due to maintenance issues, but they finally repaired it and re-opened it this summer. While I am sorry that it’s now closed for the season, I’m glad we were able to go several times–and at $2.50 an entry ($2.00 with a library card, for whatever reason), I think it’s a much better deal than building, filling, and maintaining one in our back yard.

You know who else loves the pool? Baguette.

It must be genetic.

Photo by samk, via Flickr.

Why Our House Is a Disaster – Weekday Edition

caution tape

We’re refinancing, and on a recent Friday, we had a visit from an appraiser. The house was not even remotely clean, although I did set my alarm for 5 a.m. so that I’d have time to at least straighten up the living room (read: put things in stacks). Instead, I was so exhausted that I just kept hitting the snooze button. Sorry, appraiser.

Mr. Sandwich and I are constantly evaluating the way we spend our time, particularly on weeknights, so that we can finish everything we need to and be ready for the next morning, while still getting Baguette to bed. What does that look like right now?

5:30 a.m.

Get up, wash face and brush teeth, unload dishwasher, wash any dishes in sink and put in drain rack to dry, give dog her medicine, open dog door, take one egg out of the refrigerator, put skillet on burner (which is not yet turned on). If it’s a day when we send lunch for Baguette, prep thermos with hot water.

5:48 a.m.
Finish bathroom routine. Shower if I’m lucky.

5:53 a.m.
Go back to bed to keep Baguette from rolling out; Mr. Sandwich gets up, gets dressed, and leaves for work.

6:20 a.m.
Get up, counting on Baguette to not roll out; get dressed, pull her pre-selected clothes/socks/shoes off of the shelf, get diaper and wipes and put them with her clothes, scramble and cook egg, heat up food to go in thermos, put egg in portable container, put food in thermos, assemble her lunch bag, put her breakfast in her tote bag along with anything else needed that day (set out the night before). Put yogurt and granola in my lunch bag if set up the night before; otherwise plan to buy breakfast at work. Feed dog. Make sure back door is locked, cabinets are latched, stove is off, and refrigator is closed.

6:40 a.m.
Unplug anything that has been charging overnight and put in handbag. Go back to bedroom and change Baguette’s diaper. Put her pajamas in the hamper and dress her for the day. Comb her hair. After she lies back down, sit her up and comb her hair again.

6:50 a.m.
Make Baguette stand up and walk to front door. Pet dog goodbye. Pick up bags, lock door, coax Baguette down steps, put her and bags in car.

6:55 a.m.
Arrive at day care. Get Baguette and her bags out of car, sign her in, drop off tuition or hot lunch money or other paperwork as needed, and walk her to classroom.

7:02 a.m. If I’m lucky.
Leave day care. Drive to bus stop. Park car, run across street, hope to catch bus. If I do, hope to get seat. If I don’t, drive to work. It’s an hour either way.

8:05 a.m.
Enter building. Buy breakfast and coffee, or just coffee if I managed to pack my own breakfast (lunch is even less likely). Go upstairs and work.

5:00 p.m. Unless I have to work late.
Leave building. Walk to bus stop. Catch bus home.*

6:00 p.m. Unless traffic is worse than usual.
Exit bus. Get in car and drive home.

6:07 p.m.
Arrive home. Pet dog hello. Change clothes. Put away any dishes in drain rack. Pour milk into straw cups for evening and next day.

6:12 p.m.
Mr. Sandwich brings Baguette home. Feed Baguette as much fruit and/or Goldfish as she will eat.

6:25 p.m.
Take Baguette and dog for walk around the block (1/2-mile distance). Discuss day. Encourage Baguette to walk, but carry her for intermittent stretches. Let her run back and forth when the impulse strikes her.

7:10 p.m.
Return home. Pull together some semblance of dinner for Baguette while Mr. Sandwich helps her play with the hose (it’s hot out). Start her bath.

7:20 p.m.
Change Baguette’s wet clothes and feed her.

7:50 p.m.
Mr. Sandwich gives Baguette her bath. Set out her pajamas and nighttime diaper, take dog out, feed dog, close dog door, wash dishes from her dinner, empty her lunch bag and clean containers, straw cups, and thermos, probably wash the skillet from that morning.

8:05 p.m.
Dry Baguette off, put her in nighttime diaper and pajamas, let her watch Sesame Street. Continue to prep for next day, gathering any paperwork or materials needed for day care. Eat tortilla with peanut butter (if lucky).

9:10 p.m.

Go to bed. All of us, because otherwise Baguette won’t. (Note: That’s “go to bed,” not “go to sleep.” There’s no telling how long that could take.)

What’s missing from this picture?

*This is when Mr. Sandwich does as much laundry as humanly possible in 50 minutes. Neither one of us has time to fold it or put it away.

Photo by skyloader, via Flickr.

5 Things I Found While Looking Around

5 Five

Watermelon Basil Agua Fresca on Kitchen Konfidence

It’s going to be hot this week. I may have to make this later today.

Dogshaming

Sometimes they just insist on behaving like animals.

The Most Striking Tourist Places on 1stTravelStar

I want to go to there.

Curiosity Rover Tracks on Lavoie Photography: Photo JPL

Seems like there might be some trademark infringment going on here, but I still like that we can see the tracks.

How I Know I Love You on Thought Catalog

Mr. Sandwich and I say things like this to each other all the time. We think them even more frequently.

Photo by renaissancechambara

Liebster Award, Round 2

Karen at Dinosaur Superhero Mommy has kindly nominated me for the Liebster Award.

Now I have to admit that this award has been extended to me before. But it doesn’t look like I followed the rules, which say that I should:

  • Share 11 random facts about myself.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers.
  • Answer 11 questions about myself.
  • Ask 11 questions of my nominees.

Eleven facts:

1) I only ate chicken twice while I was pregnant with Baguette, because it grossed me out.
2) I don’t like carbonated drinks.
3) My passport expired a few years ago, and I feel really weird about that because until then, I’d had a valid passport since I was 10.
4) I was unsure about whether I wanted a dog until we adopted Wicket, and now I never want to be without one again.
5) I have known Mr. Sandwich since college, but we didn’t start dating until 11 years after I graduated.
6) Oregano gives me heartburn.
7) My younger brother used to tell people we were twins. I would follow up with, “But he’s three years behind me in school.”
8) I think there are places everyone should visit to get perspective. Those places include L.A.’s Skid Row, and Dachau.
9) I would really like to write a book.
10) I used to pretend to be a baseball fan so that I wouldn’t have to talk about football.
11) I am tired of being asked to fix other people’s writing problems at the last minute. Bring me in earlier, or leave me alone.

Eleven answers:

1) What would you do first if you won a million dollars? So many thoughts. Well, I’d pay off our mortgage and my brother’s.
2) What is your favorite room in your home? The living room. I love, love, love the paint color, and it’s where we keep the TV and toys. We do a lot of living in there.
3) What did you want to be when you were a little kid? A lion.
4) What is your favorite book to read to your child(ren) It doesn’t matter. We read what she wants us to read.
5) What is your favorite color? Blue
6) Which kid’s show do you wish was cancelled? We don’t have a lot of exposure yet, but it’s pretty easy for me to pick “Caillou.”
7) What is your favorite holiday? Labor Day, because it’s the one that’s coming up next.
8) What is the most expensive gift you have given someone? Probably the watch that my brother and I gave my dad for his 75th birthday, but I’m not sure.
9) Are you a good dancer? Depends on the kind of dancing. Going to a club? No. Ballroom/swing? Okay. Ballet? Not bad when I was a kid, but 30 years later I’m probably not very good.
10) How many kids did you think you would have as a child? Two.
11) What do you look forward to most about fall? I live in L.A. We don’t do fall here.

Eleven questions:

1) What was your favorite after-school activity?
2) What’s one fact or skill you remember learning from your favorite teacher?
3) What’s the most valuable piece of criticism you’ve ever gotten?
4) If you could only eat one vegetable for the rest of your life, what would it be?
5) Who is your favorite fictional character?
6) What color shoes are you wearing right now?
7) What is your favorite vacation spot?
8) What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to your hair?
9) What time do you usually eat dinner?
10) What’s the best moment of your day?
11) What’s your favorite breakfast food?

Eleven blogs:*

Blogging with Mittens
Katie is a Teacher
Wandering Scientist

*”Hey! That’s only three!” Very true. I’ve been working on this post for two days. It’s very long. I figured I’d give everyone a break.

Can a Toddler Be an Introvert?

Untitled

Recently, Baguette’s teachers asked to meet with us. Apparently she falls asleep throughout the day, and she doesn’t interact with children or her teachers the way they’re accustomed to seeing.

Her sleep is an issue, and we know that. And we’re working on it.

But apparently she’d often rather read a book with Bestie or by herself than trade toys with the other children. And she ignores her teacher when told that it’s time for a diaper change. (Which is strange, because at home she’s so cooperative about diaper changes. [/sarcasm])

What we see is that she holds back a little when first encountering someone–even Mr. Sandwich’s parents, who she sees regularly–but warms up when allowed to do so on her own terms. When Mr. Sandwich picks Baguette up from day care, she and Bestie want to dance and play and spin together. On playdates with one or two other children, she both plays with them and gets territorial with toys, just like they do.

And even in large groups in noisy settings, like birthday parties at indoor playgrounds, she has a great time running from the ball pit to the trampoline to the tiny basketball backboard. It’s not like she’s cowering in a corner. She’s just doing what makes her happy, without the need for constant companionship in her choices.

Also worth noting: when she moved from the toddler room to the two-year-old room, she went from a class of 8 to a class of more than 20, in a much larger setting (and by that I mean that I think our entire house might fit into her new classroom).

I know I’m on the cusp of introvert and extrovert. I can be very outgoing when I choose, but I also really, really like staying home with a book.

So when can we get a sense of whether Baguette leans toward the introverted side of the scale? Because her behavior doesn’t seem to require evaluation–I just think she leans toward smaller groups and smaller settings.

Don’t get me wrong. I do want to know about real problems, and I want to address them as soon as possible. But I don’t see “likes smaller groups” as a problem. It’s just a little different from what they’re used to seeing. And “different” isn’t a problem.

Photo by GenkiGenki, via Flickr.

Santa Barbara Sojourn

Santa Barbara – what’s not to love?

Every girl needs a jaunty hat. Even if it’s her mother’s.

Exhibits were made to be climbed.

Whee!

A girl after my own heart–when I was trying online dating, my full add title was “Mary Jane Watson Seeks Peter Parker; No Green Goblins Need Apply.”

Time for a run (so, also a girl after her Daddy’s own heart).

BEACCCHHHH!

Photo by Mr. Sandwich

Giraffes enjoy being hand-fed romaine lettuce, and Baguette enjoys hand-feeding romaine lettuce to giraffes. Win-win!

Who needs a straw cup?

Never go in against a Sicilian donkey when grooming is on the line!

Baguette’s first time on the carousel. Mommy’s first time not riding a horse.

Finally! The beach!

We are not sure when the beach became so important to her life. This is her third trip ever.

What We Ate on Our Summer Vacation

When we decided we wanted to go back to Santa Barbara, that naturally meant that we wanted to revisit some of the restaurants we particularly enjoyed.

First, though, we decided to cut down on breakfasts out–we rented a studio unit. However, it turned out that what we imagined to be a kitchen was actually a mini-fridge and microwave. I don’t think the place was misrepresented, I think we brought some faulty assumptions. But the mini-fridge did mean that we could pick up a few things at Albertsons and Lazy Acres (which is like if Whole Foods and Bristol Farms had a passionate affair that resulted in a really classy baby) and cut down on our meals out.

So where did we eat?

Some local friends introduced us to Cajun Kitchen, where we ordered a plethora of pancakes, eggs, and sausage. (Just assume we ordered this everywhere unless otherwise specified–one of our goals is to get Baguette to eat, and this meal is pretty much a sure thing.)

El Pollo Rico in Goleta featured BBQ chicken and “tri-tip” (actually skirt steak). Everything was a little dry, but the flavors were great and we did not go away hungry.

We had two dinners at Mesa Pizza Co.–I really liked the crust and toppings here, and Baguette is always a fan of cheese pizza. She’s also a fan of pepperoni pizza, although she’s as likely to discard the pepperoni as she is to eat it.

We also made two trips to Mac’s Fish and Chips Shop on State Street. While most of State could pass for a fairly generic mall that happens to have a street running through it, Mac’s was a find. Between the two visits, we ate fish and chips, bangers and chips, beef and onion pie, clam chowder, and Toad-in-the-Hole. Oh, and mashed potatoes. All delicious. We’ll be back when we’re here next.

Mac's Fish and Chips Shop

If you haven’t had McConnell’s ice cream, you may be able to find it in a Whole Foods near you. We were able to go to their actual brick-and-mortar location, and were not disappointed. While Baguette was intrigued but reluctant to share either Mr. Sandwich’s Golden State Vanilla or my Santa Barbara Strawberry (in a waffle cone, no less), she eventually mustered the courage to take a taste of my ice cream–at which point she yelled, “It’s a party!”

So, naturally, we went back for another party the next night.

By the way, Mad Dogs may have great hot dogs, but I’d pass on the shave ice. It’s not real shave ice–what they’re selling is essentially a sno-cone, and believe me, there is no comparison.

Our return visits were a mixed bag:

Farmer Boy, while one of our favorites last year, dropped from “leisurely” to “so slow we tipped badly.” The food was fine, but not good enough to make up for the incredibly slow service. I was on my third cup of coffee before the meal came, and that included waiting for the fresh pot–and a side order never showed up at all.

We were happier with Garrett’s Old Fashion, with fast, friendly service and good food. It was a marked contrast to the previous morning at Farmer Boy. When we made a final trip on our way out of town, not only did we again get fast service, but the waiter remembered that I’d ordered an extra egg for Baguette the previous day, and asked if I wanted that again. If we lived in Santa Barbara, I’d be a regular.

But I can’t decide: should I be happy or sad that Baguette can open a mini-fridge without assistance?

5 Things I Found While I Was Looking Around

Five

“Smell Like a Monster” on YouTube

Thank you, Sesame Street! (And thank you, too, Wandering Scientist!)

Chicken, Mozzarella, and Asparagus Pasta on The Coterie Blog

Yum. Just, yum.

23 Fun Summer Bucket List Activities for Families on Parenting Squad

If August finds you running out of ideas for what to do with your kids, here are some more.

Cats in Sinks

You really shouldn’t need more explanation than that.

Calm

Perfect for the crazy days.

Photo by super-structure, via Flickr.

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