Monday, August 18, 2008


So, are you guys bored with the market stories? If so, skim ahead, skim ahead...

I went to the organic outdoor market on Saturday morning, as every Saturday morning, but this time, I took the whole fam damnly. I was SO glad to be sharing the market with Sam because 1) we NEED to start doing this thing together... this farm prep... the dreaming, the researching, the imaginging and I don't think that he has a vision in his head of what is possible... I think he needed convincing; and 2) I'm just too damn skittish of the French... I needed him there to ask questions.

And he did!!! The first thing he did was ask the chicken man what makes an organic chicken organic. The guy really was just a vendor, watching someone else's stand. That disappointed me. The guy said, that as far as he knew (this all punctuated with shuffling feet and shrugging shoulders and a why-are-you-grilling-me brow) organic chicken are raised en plain air (free range)and fed organic fodder. They have to have a certain amount of space PER CHICKEN to be considered organic... Cool. Chickens get their own space. But when I asked him what "organic fodder" meant, he said, "Like, organic corn, I guess." It was difficult for me not to growl. The thing that disappointed me the most was that he said the chickens were raised in Ardeche... That ain't close, folks. I guess that chicken is good for a Saturday meal, where I don't feel like cooking and can have the roastin' done for me. But I'm going to have to find an organic and local butcher shop around here who sells local meat... Like I said before, I don't want there to be more petroleum calories in my food than actual food calories, ya know?

The bread was a pleasant surprise. Last week, I bought bread from one stand that was VERY yummy. They even had a little brochure about their place (remember?). Well, after a little more research, I discovered that that mill and bakery, while organic and rustic, is from about an hour away. *sigh* Now, that aint TOO bad by locavore standards (I think 100 miles is the limit for me); but, it still aint close. So, I made Sam ask the guy on the other side of the aisle where he was from. He said, "right here." LYON!!! YAY!!! And not just Lyon, but RIGHT there where the market was. Just like right down the street. I'm sure it's not where they mill the flour (gonna hafta look into it), but it's where they do the baking etc. And MAN that bread was gooooood. It was a French sourdough (where the bread is it's own rising agent--using fermented dough instead of yeast). Pretty cool that they explain the process on the back of the little paper sack they put your bread in. Either way, the bread part aint gonna matter for much longer cuz... *drumroll* I'm gonna make my OWN bread. TODAY.... I'm so nervous I could just... well... this is a family show.

We went back to the stand where I was all embarrassed because of the baskets and what not (I figured out that not only did I not follow basket protocol, but I also butted in line... *eye roll* SO maladroite). Sam did all the negotiating; I just filled the baskets. I got lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, parseley, basil, mint and potatoes.

At another place, we got fresh eggs, goat cheese and something called fromage frais, which is sort of like cottage cheese, but with the texture of something more like sour cream. You add a little sugar and eat it (add some sugar to your cottage cheese and you have about the same flavor). It's also called fromage blanc.

We went straight home for lunch. I made a salsa out of cukes, tomatoes, garlic, onions, mint and basil mixted with lemon juice and olive oil and spooned it into little artichoke heart bowls (okay, the artichokes were canned... I guess I'm not as pure a hippy as I'd like to be... maybe if I can my own artichokes... hmmmm... the wheels are turning...) and sprinkled them with shredded Emmental ("swiss" cheese), salt and pepper. I served that with our chicken and our fresh bread.

Yeah, I took pictures, but, as usual, it's on its way, okay?

Then, immediately after lunch, we loaded back up--put the girls in the double stroller and let Ryan walk--and headed for the trolleybus. We took it to the tram station (but part of it was under construction so we had to take another trolleybus to a different stop). We took the tram out to where we usually DRIVE to Ikea and Auchan (the supermarket). I was so proud of us. For half the price of the gas we would have spent, we all went on the mass transit and of course, Ryan LOVED it. We bought some oven crockery because I wanna start baking some good stuff for us. I also got a cookie sheet and a silicone mat (so I don't have to use parchment paper) so I can make my bread *tummy flutter of anxious excitement* on a flat surface instead of in a bread pan. (Plus, it'll be good for pizza-making... I looked all over for a pizza stone but couldn't find one.)

I also got yeast, organic flour and a few other organic thingies. The one thing I looked ALL over for was a food thermometer so I can go ahead and get started on making my own yogurt (now that I know it's a simple as doing laundry), but I couldn't find the damn thing. I'm gonna make Sam go to the droguerie (a little general store kinda place but really little) to see if he can find one over lunch. Then, all I'll need is a cooler and a few more empty baby food jars and I'll be able to make me some yummy yogurt. I'll even be able to make my own bifidus (Activia)!!! The sad part is that I'll have to buy some organic fruit preserves for flavoring since most of the fruit season is over (except for peaches... I'll make 'em for Sam, but I'm not a big peach lover myself).

It was SUCH a great day!!!

So good and so "Joelie", in fact, that I woke up yesterday morning and asked Sam if he'd like to go see his parents for the day. He had been bugging me all week about going there on Friday (a holiday) but I didn't want to. I figured that since we had spent all of Saturday doing stuff I wanted to do, that it was only fair to give him Sunday.

We left around 10:30 and got there in time for lunch. We ate chicken (I don't know how he gets the stuff so damn tender!!!) with potatoes and green beans from his garden. We also had sliced tomatoes and cukes from the garden decorated with boiled eggs cut in half. *tummy growling*

My sister-in-law came up from her house and brought what she called a cake, but to me it was a pie (I mean, it was baked in a pie pan... it was basically fruit in a pie pan with pancake batter poured into it so that the fruit cooked down and the cake cooked up... It was pretty and it was good, but it wasn't a "cake" y'all).

Two great things happened. 1) She said, "Did you lose more weight?" I said, "mm-hmmm... just a kilo" and she said, "Joelie, it's really a fabulous transformation what you've done since February... Bravo!!!" *blushing* and 2) She saw Sam changing Lily and asked why we were putting her in a cloth diaper. I got to explain that it was to save money and the planet. She was very impressed and somewhat taken aback.

Two bad things happened. 1) My mother-in-law asked how long I was planning to let Ryan's hair grow. "He's gonna look like a girl, pretty soon." I lost it and said, "Gender doesn't have anything to do with one's hair length. I have short hair and I don't look like a boy. And so what if he does look like a girl? Girls are pretty. I don't determine his hair style on the basis of what other people want or think. I love his hair and as long as it doesn't bother him, I'm letting it grow out." *deep breath*... I think I over-reacted... But, I can't help it. And 2) when Laurel started fussing, my sister-in-law said, "Do you give her anything? For her teeth?" I said, "Yeah, sometimes, if she's fevery, I'll give her a little Tylenol so she can sleep, but cutting teeth is perfectly natural and I don't see it as something that needs to be medicated, per se." She says, "What about something homeopathic?" ***Let me stop here and insert that "homeopathic" here and at home means two different things... At home, it sort of means, anything natural you can come up with at home that doesn't need the doctor or pharmacist and isn't synthetic or processed, right? Well, here, homeopathie is like a science... a philosophy... almost, well, like a religion. I don't believe in little candy-coated pellets of poison as a cure to a toothache for crying out loud. I'm sorry... I just don't. And I think for those little pellets to work, you have to believe they are working... I don't want to teach my kid to trust in what is most likely a sweet-tasting placebo.*** So, I say, "No, I don't really believe in that." She says, "Oh, but it works." And I said, "Yeah, it works if you believe in it. And I don't." And she says, "Uh, no, I disagree." And I said, "Okay," smiled and shrugged. Again, I probably over-reacted. I could have just said, "No." But if I do that, then I open myself up for future offerings and I just prefer they don't offer. Thank you very much.

It was just after this that I got the sudden and desperate desire to leave. I looked at the clock and sure enough, it had been five hours... Remember what I said about the French in-laws and the five-hour time period. Thankfully by then, Sam was ready to go, too. Laurel wanted to nurse and since we're weaning her (and because I was uptight and stressed) not very much milk would come out. We didn't realize how quickly my boobs were reacting to not nursing as much, so, we hadn't brought a bottle. Best just to get the screaming, teething, weaning baby into the car and let her sleep.

When we got home last night, we were exhausted!

The New Book....

Okay, so let me bore you with the writing. It's in the five-folder, right? So, I did the revision of the novel and have a few peeps reading it for me (thanks y'all!!! BTW, you can totally start commenting on it now, if you wanna... Like, send me back chapters if you want to... OR you can wait until you're done... whatever you're comfy with... Just wanted to let you know, you are welcome to send some now...). That left it open for me to start working on the book I left behind before moving to North Carolina.

It's a memoir about my first pregnancy and the subsequent adoption of my first baby. It's a really crappy, scary, crazy story with a VERY happy ending (I guess I gave away the ending a little, huh?). But it's really kicking my butt.

For one, I'm a little confused about the timeline in a very important part of it. The sequence of events being in order is not really important to the story or to the readers... but it's important to ME.

The other thing is that, I'm really a TOTALLY different person now. And since I didn't really take time to reflect much about what was going on (I guess I found it easier just to press forward and stay busy), I am tripping over emotions I never really let myself feel. All of that is very good. It's good for me, it's good for the book and it's good for the future audience. And, they're not entirely SAD emotions either. It's just HARD. Mostly hard to find the right words that convey what I'm reliving in my head and feeling in my heart. I want my audience to know exactly what I remember I was feeling at that time... I'm hoping that there'll be some girl out there who is about to be, already is, or once was--"knocked up"--who'll read my words and take comfort or be inspired.

Cross your fingers.


It didn't happen last week. For one, it rained a LOT and pretty hard. Secondly, I went out that one night with my friend and was hungover the next day. Then, it rained again. THEN, it was a holiday and Ryan was home. *sigh* I did walk ALL DAY on Saturday, so any fears I had about my orthotics are now dispelled. I took yesterday off and I'm going to make today a cross-training day--do a little abs, a little aerobics, a little toning--and will get up early tomorrow and really train.

The other thing that happened is that I spoke to my old running buddy from Houston. The one I did my first big half-marathon with. She's pregnant! I mean, YAY on the one hand, but BOOO on another. I'm SO glad she's gonna have another baby. She totally should. But, on the selfish side, I miss her and want to introduce her to my NEW running guru who has already signed up for the full. Anyway, this pregnant ex-running buddy told me something of which I wasn't aware: They've banned walkers. There are just so many people who want to run Houston that they are now forbidding you to start early or finish late. The time limit is like 6 hours, I think, and I'm almost sure that if I don't get injured I'll be able to finish in that time... But I'm biting my nails anyway. What if I DO get injured? What if this stupid plantar fasciitis doesn't go away? What if my knees give out? What if I'm just too fat? What if, what if, what if...? They are giving full refunds through August. I'm SO tempted to give in. Mainly because, along with the training woes, there's the expense of the plane ticket to the marathon. And now, Sam says that I'll probably have to go by myself because Ryan will have school.

But nope. I'm not gonna give up. I'm going to run this ONE marathon. No matter what. I'm going to train. If I get injured, I'm going to heal. If my heels hurt, I'm going to get a cortisone shot *shudder* I'm going to lose weight. And if something happens and I don't finish it in time, I'll walk it in on the sidewalk and just DEAL with the fact that I don't get a medal. So, there!


I want so bad to apply what I'm reading to my interaction with the kids. But I'm having SUCH a HARD time... I didn't realize just how short my fuse it. And, there are days when I'll be good all day long and I'll control myself and not yell... but it's like a volcano. And then, that evening, two frustrating things will happen at the same time and I'll erupt in Ryan's face. I suck. I'm just going to have to keep practicing. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming... la la la la la la la! (Oh, yeah, speaking of Dory... Ellen got married!!!! YAY!!!!!)

Sadly, this is part of the five-folder that has gotten the shaft of late (other than pix I take with my phone, lol). It's just gonna have to wait until the other four folds get started and running... I guess it's low on the priority list.

Well, I've avoided it as long as I can... Time to go make the bread. I'll let you know how it turns out.

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