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Chicken Little

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The daily grind [Apr. 13th, 2013|07:36 pm]
Chicken Little
It's safe to say that I have no life until 7 pm, when the kidlet goes to bed. A typical day begins between 6-7, during which I feed the cats and check email and get stuff done before the kidlet wakes up. If he's late, it's great--I can get a ton of stuff finished and just play with him all day. If he's early, it sucks--I have to split the tasks and spread them throughout the day, balancing getting stuff done with playing with him. I usually do all my writing these days after 7 pm, but yesterday was spent dealing with a sick cat and reading fucktons of tiny print to make sure I was correctly filing everything. Taxes got exponentially more complicated when I started freelancing...suffice it to say that tonight will be spent getting caught up with all of the stuff I should have done yesterday. I don't know why the US government is so terrible about making taxes easier.

Anyhoo: tonight will be more laundry, dishes, cleaning the bathroom. Joy. I can't decide whether to take a cup of tea, which will have caffeine and keep me going, but risk not being able to sleep.
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La la wedding dress la la [Apr. 11th, 2013|04:07 pm]
Chicken Little
I bought a wedding dress today. €425, including the alterations but not the shoes, and I'll probably have to cough up for the things I'll need to curl my hair. It's got a white corset and a red skirt, which probably makes it really strange for a wedding dress, but then I figured: well, at least everybody will remember it. I mean, seriously--you see all of these lovely white dresses on TV shows and in real weddings, but does anybody actually remember any of them? So red it is. The only tricky bit is that I'm still losing the baby weight--I stalled for a while, and then magically lost 3 pounds between last week and this one. So I expect the seamstress the lady uses to totally lose her mind. The dress is originally sized 46 (something between L and XL, 14-16 American), and I wore 38 pre-baby (something like M-L, 6-8 American). My boobs are more or less back to their original dimensions, but there is still a bit of fluff around the middle, and my hips have definitely changed. So yeah...we're definitely going to make the seamstress go bonkers. But it is a lovely dress, and it wasn't too expensive, and if I get invited to a wedding I can wear it again because it's not an obvious wedding dress (though I'll probably have to get the train tailored off if I want to do that).

Rijntje has been putting up more and more of a fight against his naps. Suffice it to say that I'm still working out the optimal degree of tiredness before he goes down with only a whine and not a screaming, crying mess, and that it's tricky. But happily he seems to accept that his bedtime is his bedtime, even if the sun is still high in the sky.
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No carseat after all [Apr. 9th, 2013|08:08 pm]
Chicken Little
I have to admire any store that won't sell you a product--and an expensive one, at that--because your kid isn't ready for it. At the Babypark we were assured that Rijntje could stay in his carseat for a little while longer, and that it would actually be safer for him since the bigger carseats were too big and don't recline as much. He's not sitting yet, and won't be for a little while--he's got decent head control, but he's not rolling over yet.

It did mean, though, that we could purchase a Doomoo beanbag "chair" for him, which actually makes a lot more sense than one of those bouncy-chairs, since he won't outgrow the beanbag chair quite so fast, and it's easier to move. It does mean I'll have to find a new place to put his elephant.
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Word [Apr. 6th, 2013|08:11 pm]
Chicken Little
Need to get started with the angsty-teen-romance I'm supposed to be writing. Plan is to write down the plot outline tomorrow and start with the writing on Monday. Problem is there's a 40,000 word limit on the entire story line, and it's to be written in installments of 10,000 words, with each installment ending in a cliffhanger for the next one. Suffice it to say that 10,000 words isn't really very long, not for fiction. And my first 4,000 words are due in on Wednesday, but I plan to send them something on Tuesday night, because then I've got to start working on the next installment of erotic fiction. Suffice it to say that if the data-entry people quit dicking me around, I'll be in a really good position to make a few demands. oDesk is turning out to be quite good--you have to pick the jobs you apply for carefully, because for every middling sort of job, you'll have 300 Indians willing to work for peanuts, but if you find a job that's very demanding, and you send a killer cover letter, you'll probably get the job. I'm currently 2 for 6 (that's 2 jobs gotten for every 6 applied to) which isn't bad, considering.

We'll be headed to Babypark on Tuesday to get Rijntje a bigger carseat. Kidlet weighs something like 9 kg by now (that's 20 lbs) and is on the verge of exploding out of the Maxi Cosi, so a bigger carseat is a must. I'm also thinking of getting him a cushion-chair, because I usually put him in the Maxi Cosi while I cook. But yeesh, the prices...the carseat will be at least 200 euros, and the cushion-chair is another 100. All I can say is, thank God for the kinderbijslag money--you get a few hundred every few months to help cover things that your kidlet might need. It's supposed to help cover diapers, and probaly clothes and formula, too. Ours is going to pay for the carseat. And if there's any left over, the cushion-chair, too.
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Cookware [Apr. 1st, 2013|11:24 pm]
Chicken Little
I love flea markets. There was a little one in the neighborhood, so I popped Rijntje in the Moby and walked there. Bought an enameled pot with a lid, which is perfect for cooking things like chili and making things like pulled pork. Cost was all of 2 euros, and we have a pot with a lid--which is actually a bigger deal than you might realize, because somehow during our kitchen reshuffling we lost the lid to our big stainless pot. And we've used it since then, to make chili, and a cassoulet-wannabe (chicken stewed with beans and sausage, but not really a cassoulet because I used chicken instead of something expensive, didn't make my own sausage, and cooked it in an afternoon rather than over the course of 3 days, as per Julia Child's recommendation).

And wow...we were at Oma's for Easter--Rijntje was being admired and overstimulated and consequently uber-cranky. But then she was trying to give her Romertopf to Karel's sister, but they already had one. So then Karel said, "We'll take it." So now we have a Romertopf--it's a big oval clay pot, supposedly very simple: put stuff in it and put it in the oven. Caring for it, though, is bound to be even more fussy than the cast-iron cookware. But still, I'm stoked to try it out.
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Status [Mar. 23rd, 2013|07:41 pm]
Chicken Little
Survived the overnight trip with our sanity intact, but suffice it to say that I have learned to question the wisdom of taking another such trip if the person/people doing the hosting have not had kids. By which I mean "starting from catching the baby". There're just some things that people who have not had kids just don't think about. For instance, space/privacy to breastfeed. And the fact that a four-month old, who's had a relatively regular life, suddenly getting shoved into a new situation can't understand anything that's going on and will be uber-cranky because of it. Don't get me wrong--I am not faulting the hospitality of our friend, who was very good and very gracious about the whole screaming-baby thing. There are just some things you can't expect a bachelor to ever have to consider.

Also, came back to find an interview request for one of my oDesk applications. Freelancing might just work out after all. Here's hoping that the guy gets back to me on the blogging thing. Otherwise I might just start up another blog. "Scientifically Raised"--parenting based on the latest studies. That's the current idea, anyway.
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Status [Mar. 21st, 2013|09:52 pm]
Chicken Little
Rijntje has really started to become a lot more fun recently: he's in the process of learning to roll over, and some time last week he discovered his hands and all the cool stuff he can grab with them (toys), and even better, stuff the stuff into his mouth. Using his hands!

Baby food making is fun, too. Or at least, it's fun to play with the blender. Cleaning up, however, is NOT fun. But we have bananas, broccoli, and apples blitzed and frozen. Will be making pears and string beans later, and a bunch of vegetables as well. Rijntje seems baffled by bananas, but actively dislikes apples. I haven't tried broccoli yet

Tomorrow we head to Groningen in a loaner car (I think?)--Burt is turning out to be a lemon, and luckily Karel thought to buy the extended maintenance package, which covers all of the work being done on the car. So far, Burt has spent more time in the dealer's garage than in our possession--so much though we love the white Almera, I think it's time to cut our losses and ask for a replacement. But it'll be the first extended overnight trip with Rijntje, which will be...interesting, to say the least. I've been wearing Rijntje in the mei tai but I think I'll bring the Moby for this trip--more familiar, and it seems a tad bit more comfortable for him.
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Whew [Mar. 19th, 2013|09:31 am]
Chicken Little
Survived another night of vaccines.

I am NOT anti-vaccination. It's just that they're hard on Rijntje, and he, in turn, makes it hard on me. That being said, I'm glad he's getting his shots. Once he recovers, he'll be back to his little bubbly self.

I've been spending a lot more time making food recently. Peanut butter. I think next week will be a stuffed roasted chicken again (and this time I will use the bones to make broth). Meatballs. I have it in my mind to make refrigerator pickles (now that Rijntje's baby food is going to take over the freezer, we have a lot more peanut butter jars), and I'm thinking about making saurkraut or even kimchi. But definitely saurkraut--kimchi is a bit involved, with spices and gloves and all. Not quite sure what I'll use it for, but Julia Child has some recipes, and Karel loves cabbage....

But the biggest thing is bread, though only in the sense that I make it a few times a week, and not in terms of the actual amount of time spent on it. A few minutes to mix together the ingredients, another few minutes to punch it down, and then 30 minutes in the oven. I don't time the rising times--I basically start the bread some time in the early afternoon and forget about it until I go back to the kitchen again. I've just gotten tired of paying through the nose (relatively) for 15 cents' worth of flour and a package of yeast, especially since the white fluffy stuff isn't sturdy enough to hold together when you smear peanut butter. I mostly make white bread, but I've been getting out to the windmill recently for bread mixes. You're supposed to use them in a bread machine, but I get proper loaves just mixing by hand, and the bread stays together better, too.
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Woohoo [Mar. 18th, 2013|10:28 pm]
Chicken Little
[mood |blahblah]

So I might actually be making a bit of money writing, after all:

I might be picking up blogging about life in the Netherlands again--except this time, I might actually get paid. That's a lot of "might", I know--but I've been contacted by the guy who runs a legitimate website (as in, even I've heard of it) who needs a Dutch life blogger, who says he's definitely interested. Really, the main reason I haven't started blogging again is because I don't have the time to set up photos.

The second gig is something I'm not sure I should be proud of: writing smut. For once, I'm glad I have a ridiculously common name, because I get to use a pseudonym to make it easier for people to google. It's a relatively small gig--10 300-500 word flash fics or vignettes or the like, but the possibility is that it will be an ongoing thing, good for a couple bucks a month. By which I mean diaper money, and maybe the kidlet's allowance.

oDesk is interesting. I finally opened a PayPal just so I could use it--I would have had it linked directly to my bank (OMG, a company that recognizes the IBAN system!) but for the annoying habit of the Dutch government (and therefore banks) to keep using the name on my passport as my first name. But PayPal is okay by me. At least I can send money directly to City Kitties, now.
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mei tai and sleeping wars [Mar. 14th, 2013|10:11 am]
Chicken Little
Mei tai is cool--I'm working on figuring out how to sling Rijntje over my back, but once he's in it's pretty smooth sailing.

Rijntje has been giving us issues with going to bed for three days in a row, now. I'm not sure what it is, whether he's just overtired and therefore cranky-times-a-million, or if he's developing an aversion to going to bed. I mean, for most of the time, when I put him down for his naps, I tuck him in, kiss him, and walk away and let him whine for 5 minutes or so, and then he's asleep. When I check on him, he's always fast asleep, and he's always smiling when he wakes up, so I don't think he's got any overly-negative associations with going to bed. I even leave something I've worn the day before next to him, so that he can have the smell of Mommy to comfort him into dreamland. But at night, it's a whole different can of worms. I need to nurse him, and hold him, and then sit with him, or else he just has a meltdown. The good news, though, is that once he's asleep he stays asleep, and if he wakes up in the middle of the night, he's good about going right back to sleep again (though I think he's just too tired to protest as much as he wants to).

Here's hoping that it's just a phase.
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