Sunday, March 25, 2012

Happy Birthday!

To Nerdstar! She might finally be a grown up now that she's 40. (She was about 80 when I met her, then she spent many, many years at 12, then went back to about 80.)

It was also ten years ago we got Ramen dog. Nerdstar had told me every day (really, every day) for about six months that she wanted a dog. She almost got a Palm Pilot for her birthday that year, but nope, we went and got Ramen. I talked her into naming him Ramen as a pre-emptive strike so that our first born human wouldn't be named Ramen!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Noah's food (this is all that he eats)

*Not shown are items such as yogurt, string cheeses, cottage cheese, apple juice, milk, sweet potatoes, fritos, bacon, nila wafers, ritz crackers, and blueberries.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Sigh. Our Food Desert

Ok, this one isn't about Noah. It's about the topic we talk about only second to Noah - food.

There's all this talk of food deserts and the idea that in urban areas a mile is too far to go to a grocery store. Whatever.

We live in Northern Virginia, home to several of the richest counties in the country. We live in the working class part. Our neighbors in the ten houses in our cul-de-sac alone are from several different countries. There are lots of people who work with their hands in a part of the country not known for that. You would think there would be tons of mom and pop, hole in the wall, ethnic restaurants around here. There aren't.

You know why there aren't? Because our dear leaders would rather have PF Changs come to our neighborhood instead - because they're better for the tax base. So, they make zoning laws and tax structures and rents impossible for "the little guy" in the name of "improving our community".

It sucks. And I'm not even talking about the idiocy of DC in regards to something as simple as food trucks. I'm talking about our little suburbia fifteen miles south. I'd say there are enough people from at least fifty different countries that we should have some of the most diverse food choices anywhere. And there are none. When I talk to people who've moved here from anywhere, food comes up and it's always the same - there's no good Mexican food, or Chinese food, or soul food, or Southern food, or anything. The exception is Korean food. The Koreans got it going on. But for us to even go eat some Korean food is a thirty minute drive in traffic. The Asian grocery stores are a forty-five minute drive. And those are all in other counties. We're in the minority, most people won't drive as far as we will for food. So they're stuck with chain restaurants or fast food.

It doesn't have to be that way, but our local leaders aspire to being even more like the rich county next door than to serve the people who actually live in this area.

So, every night when we talk about what we want to eat, we list off ten or twelve places we used to go to in Austin and wish we were there. When people ask if we like living here, I say I love the weather, and I do, but the food situation, along with the traffic and cost of living, will lead to us moving eventually.

Friday, March 9, 2012


I'm not a big fan of Ramen dog (he annoys me with his constant in-the-way-ness), but I am so grateful he's good with Noah. Ramen hates hugs, but every once in a while Noah will stand by him and lean on him and give him a hug.

Twice we've gone to a store and Noah saw a stuff animal and wanted it. Thankfully, he let us put it back before leaving the store, but he hugged on it while we were shopping. So cute! He's has two Pooh bears he'll hug and kiss on.

Noah used to shake his head NO when strangers would get too close. For a while now, he does this thing when we annoy him of batting at his ear/s. Twice this last week, he's batted at his ear when strangers have talked to him at the store or mall. We're not sure why this annoys him.

On the flip side, he actually hugged a little girl his size at a play area in the mall yesterday. It was funny watching them try to figure out how to disengage and back up.

Last but not least, his "yeah" has started to sound just like Lumbergh.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Over this past weekend....

All three of us had a nano-vacation, that means that it's a vacation that lasted less than 24 hours, in Charlottesville, Va. We were supposed to meet up with an old army friend of mine and I guess, for old time's sake, run a local race. Well, things didn't turn out exactly that way, my friend had to cancel since urgent business beckoned, and with a hotel room and race fee already paid for, we might as well make the trip! Noah Maxx only took a 20 minute nap on the way and it was a sort of a precursor for the trip, that neither he or his moms would be getting much sleep.

One of the upside was that another one of our friends called the day prior to the trip and we decided that dinner on Friday will be a good way to catch up and see his growing family of 4. Yes, that friend of mine was also from my army days. We've also arranged to meet up with Ruby Reed and her moms (we'll call her RR) the following day.

For some reasons, I think I've sort of stopped making friends after I left the army, while most of them and myself stay in touch through the cyberspace, in this present life, I guess people are just that much harder to figure out. Perhaps the same goes to us. For me personally, I really miss relating to people (and vice versa) without so many layers of censors and filters. Maybe it's the mentality that I've got when it comes to dealing with people, I think I've gotten that from growing up in New Jersey in the 80's.

Anyway, I think I've probably spoken too much about that, but back to the trip we go.

We drove down to C-Ville in the rain, that same storm front also caused the death of 30+ people in the Midwest, but thankfully, it wasn't as severe in Virginia. We checked in the hotel (Holiday Inn, y'all!) and after they delivered the pack and play for Noah to sleep in, we set out to meet up with my friend at a local restaurant. Our Garmin lead to this empty lot next to this put-put course and with spotty cell phone signals, I was then playing phone tag with my friend. It turned out, that the actual restaurant was at the mall across the street from the empty lot. I think our Garmin has Alzheimer's, I really am beginning to think so.

Dinner was spent trying to chat, feed the kids (there were a 3 year old, 6 months old, and our Noah, at 19 months old.), and by the end of dinner we went into the mall so the kids can burn off some energy. I think I must have ran more than the actual race distance chasing after Noah in the mall. We all had to go back when one of the kids had a diaper blowout that needed to be tended to. I wish my friend well, he's also in the defense contracting industry and things are a bit (to put it mildly) shaky right now, not a good time to have things be shaky when you're trying to buy a house and not be broke.

Back at the hotel, Noah did not want to go to sleep. Maybe it's the different environment, or maybe the pack and play just felt weird. B and I were really tired but when we did finally get to bed, none of us really slept. Maybe it was the caffeine, or maybe it was us not used to the bed. You can imagine how tired I was when I woke up at 6:30 to get ready for the race.

About the race? Well, I was 30 minutes late for it because I got lost. I'm kind of surprised that they still let me in. It was a beautiful but hilly trail that the race was set in. No, I didn't win the race, wasn't even close to it, but that was ok, and it was neat simply to watch other people farting and grunting along the way while I was probably doing the same.

After the race was over, I headed back to the hotel and took a really quick shower while feeding Noah a banana and trying not to trip over anything. We took off for RR's house. It didn't take us but 5 minutes to get there. We played in their basement with a bunch of RR's toys, which Noah really liked and chatted about things ranging from (from what I could remember) toddler care 101 to the people in the rock band that one of RR's moms is in.

We felt kinda bad because by us showing up at that particular time of the day, we had interrupted RR's nap schedule. (For those who are who are wondering, RR is a month older than Noah.) We headed back to the mall and ate at the Chick Fil A there, and then Noah busted his upper lip after a post lunch run in the mall. Thankfully, he didn't bust more than his lip and the bleeding stopped really soon afterward. More importantly, Noah's pain tolerance is high enough that after maybe 5 minutes, he went about business as usual. He even gave RR a kiss on the forehead before we said goodbye! (It was his first kiss to a girl! All of you go ahead and say "awwww..." now!) Thanks to RR's moms for their hospitality and conversations to remind us that we are not alone in this child rearing adventure as we feel at times.

For such a quick trip, I'd say that it wasn't that bad. Noah was a trooper, as usual!

Will probably post a photo or two later, so stay tuned!