Category: Brain Food


Moms don’t go crazy because they are inherently crazy. There’s no ‘mom’ gene that I know of that makes us snap. We go crazy because of years of time deprivation. Time? Years of a lack of it? Yes. Yes, exactly.

Time spent doing things, even things you love, is not the same thing as time spent doing whatever the hell you want and need to do for yourself. It’s not that we don’t want to do what we’re doing–we do (“we” being my totally unauthorized way of speaking for all mothers… which at this point, you should realize, I don’t). I’m five months into this, and I’m already losing my shit. Not because I don’t want to be a mother– or a stay-at-home mother– or even what is shaping up to be one of those attachment parenting mothers– because I do. I am doing what I want to be doing. My life right now is a result of planned, deliberate, luck-drenched choices I’ve made. 

However, no matter how much a person loves his or her job, is fulfilled by it, challenged by it, believes in its purpose– everyone needs breaks. And the nature of this job, folks, is that those breaks are few and far between. Even in the best, most privileged circumstances (I count myself, absolutely, to be in this group.)

I don’t mean for this to be one of those Reader’s Digest rants, or something that your mom’s friend or weird, yet folksy neighbor had stuck to their refrigerator or sent you on Facebook… even though I’m rehashing the same material, my education and upbringing somehow leads me to cringe at the comparison. They make good points, those trite little tidbits on mothering– the time invested, the socially invisible work, the effort that goes into the job without easily demonstrable outcomes at the end of each day (unless you get metaphorical on that sh#t, which is fair, but it isn’t the same as having a PowerPoint or report or sculpture or amount of cash or something else that the rest of society can look at and say, Yep, you’ve been working!)… And I agree with all of those points. Who wouldn’t, assuming we’re polling a group of people without their heads up their asses.

But my thing right now is the time. Life is spectacular, and I can roll with all the sh#t that comes along with the job because it’s worth it, but I also need time to myself. And as a stay at home, exclusively breastfeeding, first-time mother, I don’t have that. Even when I’m not “working” in this metaphor, I’m always on call. Always.

Case in point– my husband came home for a couple hours this afternoon so I wouldn’t lose my shit, and I’m taking a break from this short post to go breastfeed. —- Two boobs, a poop and a puke later, I’m back.

Ok, so my already dubious sense of focus is disrupted. I had some stuff lined up about Hanna Rosin, the stupid mommy war stuff and what it might signify, whether “soccer mom” is now a derogatory term, and what that  might mean, a bit of feminist analysis of the “crazy mom” trope…and also some stuff about how my husband is a rock star, my dog is the coolest, and how I’ve got the greatest kid in the world, bar none. Oh. There was likely to be some basic grammatical editing involved as well.

But as far as time goes, at least I just had some. And that short bit of time to myself (which is now over– My Man just headed out the door back to work) makes me feel sane again. I feel good. Screw the editing. This was time well-spent. 😉


First Trimester highs and lows…

The first trimester of a pregnancy (one’s first, in my case) can be a lonely time. If it was planned, the exaltation in actually managing to conceive on purpose is soon checked by the realization that:

  1. One’s husband/partner is frustratingly pragmatic about not getting too excited, making too many plans, or telling too many (or any) people until the pregnancy progresses further.
  2. One generally doesn’t (tactfully) Facebook the news right after the pee-stick changes, even though one feels like doing so (just after skywriting the news and printing up “We’re Pregnant!!!” T-shirts)
  3. Close friends/confidantes/close relatives agree with the cautious approach of one’s husband in keeping things under wraps until you’ve at least seen the doctor.

An adult, educated woman who intentionally gets pregnant is most-likely aware of the many pitfalls that can occur in the early days of pregnancy. She probably has a philosophical approach outlined that is intended to accommodate the uncertainty of the time, the possibility of miscarriage or other travails, and to maintain a mental space for the “if at first you don’t succeed, try try again” attitude tempered with that pragmatism mentioned above.

That’s all well and good, but once the stick shows “positive”, it’s a whole new game.

What one knows can be quite different from what one feels…and to complicate things further, a recurring bit of advice from wiser women than oneself is that one should enjoy every moment of your pregnancy. Pragmatism and the full-body-embrace-of-living-and-loving-the-moment make odd bedfellows.

And yet it happens. And it generally works. I, lots of women, and Walt Whitman are okay with the fact that sometimes we contradict ourselves. We’re manifold. Deal with it.

It does, however, intensify the level of introspection in this trimester.

I don’t mean to be a downer. From the get-go, I was so hopeful and so pumped that the pregnancy test changed color…at first, I was absolutely (inexplicably) convinced that I’d willed the stick to change color and that perhaps I wasn’t actually pregnant. For one, it had been too easy. Fun, happy lovin’ sans condoms for a couple of weeks. No stress. No angst. No months and months of trying to conceive and considering fertility treatments and all the drama that is implied to be part and parcel for the 30-something-would-be-parents.

And after over half my life of trying not to get pregnant, and being successful, I was surprised that infertility wasn’t part of that ‘success’. Condoms really work, folks. Wow. Mindblowingly simple.

And not to mention that I still wake up sometimes and think “Holy crap! I’m married! That’s AWESOME!!!!”… getting my mind around the fact that I’m somehow ‘allowed’ to be married (strange as that sounds) took some time… then pregnancy?!? Wow.

And then there’s the realization that creation is going on in your uterus. In your uterus. That’s some real Carl Sagan shit right there.

So the future unfolds, you’re blown away by your new-found superpowers, you’re pumped, and eventually (usually after hearing the heartbeat for the first time), your partner allows him/herself to be psyched.

Nice 😉

Being who I am, I emailed Mom and Dad the second my urine produced that elusive 2nd pink line. And my bestie. And another couple girlfriends.

Being where I am, however, meant that we didn’t tell my Man’s parents or family until we had heard the heartbeat and we had the first ultrasound in hand to show them. It was very special when we did share the news with them, but the delay was not in my nature. Even close Portuguese friends were all very nonchalant about the fact that we didn’t say anything about the pregnancy for months.

…I’ll possibly continue this train of thought later 🙂 Until then, keep on keepin’ on!

Thinking…Posts to Come, Instapaper, and Pinterest

My Darling Gangstas,

I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately… thinking, in general…and definitely thinking far more than I’ve been doing.

It’s been one of those weeks.

Still, I’ve been making mental lists of posts to share:

  1. Strawberry Tart a.l.G. Redux
  2. WTFarro
  3. TVP and Soy nugget explainer
  4. Cinnamon Rolls – no yeast, no egg, no butter…not bad. (I’m still perfecting this with “research” and “experimentation” :P)
  5. Other collected nerdiness that I will filter through 🙂

I’m going to resist doing my pseudo-Ike Turner impression (baby, I love you… I’ve just been so (whatever) I didn’t blog. C’mon baby…) and leave you with something more constructive…


For real.

I’m a hyper-researcher. I just made that word up. Now it means this:

A hyper-researcher is someone who, being always online, automatically looks up everything he or she does not understand, doesn’t know, or wants to understand more fully. All the time. The hyper-researcher looks up recipes, random craft techniques, word definitions, jargon (say, from crime shows, medical shows, comedic and cultural references, academic disciplines, slang) from tv shows or movies as the show is being viewed. This often results in an obscene number of browser windows or tabs being open at any given time.

This is why Instapaper is awesome:

It’s free. They don’t spam you. You add a bookmark to your browser window, and whenever you find an article you want to read (but not now), press the “Read Later” button. The webpage is saved in your Instapaper account in a handy, easily sortable, archivable list. You won’t forget about the info. You can read it whenever. Your computer will thank you.

You can also download the articles/webpages in printable form or in a format readable on your Kindle , iPhone, and iPad so you can read later, offline. You can even forward long email messages to your own Instapaper email address (unique to you) and read them later offline.

Every student should use Instapaper. So should every Gradissima-like nerd. Super-awesome computer nerds probably use something so much cooler I wouldn’t even know about it. That’s their business. For you and I, however, Instapaper rocks 😉

Check it out.

For real 🙂

A little post-script here-

I just stumbled upon this post about Pinterest for those visual folks, and I thought you might like it as an alternative to Instapaper. Check it out if you have the time.

New Site Is the Pretty Alternative to Bookmark Blah

Posted by Amy Keyishian

on May 20, 2011 at 2:09 PM

PinterestI don’t know about you, but I have about 40 kabillion bookmarks that I can never find when I need them. Even when I organize them into folders like “crafts I want to make,” “apartment ideas,” “cute baby gifts,” and “amazing art,” I end up forgetting where I put stuff.

So when my craft-ninja friend Lisa told me about her favorite new procrastination tool, I threw several deadlines out the window and headed over. It’s called Pinterest, and it’s going to revolutionize your design life.

…Keep on reading at:

Ian O’Neill asks the question we’ve all been wondering about the Higgs Particle

Aka, a teaser to a cool article from Discovery News 🙂

Good ol’ Ian. 🙂 I enjoy reading his analyses. He clearly enjoys writing, and he doesn’t (as far as I’ve read) go uber-science-douche on people for their beliefs. (I’m not anti-science at all. I’m anti-douche from any background or philosophical standpoint.)  I think of him as a great Slate Explainer -style analyst for popular science issues.

Some examples of these issues follow:

In the Higgs post below, he has fun with the grandfather paradox, M theory, and the Higgs particle as they related to the Large Hadron Collider. He even references Futurama in doing so. 🙂

The real reason I’m reposting this, of course, is to serve up some brainfood to compensate for all those beer milk shakes you just downed. 🙂


We’ve heard the story; a time traveler goes back in time, killing his grandfather. The upshot is that the time traveler ceases to exist. If the time traveler doesn’t exist, how could he have traveled back in time to kill his grandfather?

This logical paradox is known as the “Grandfather Paradox,” and although it makes for a great science fiction storyline — or a seriously creepy Futurama “Grandma Paradox” adaptation — it is a perplexing conundrum that has physicists scratching their heads.


You’ll want to follow this mental snack with a “God Hates the Higgs Boson” chaser. (Trust me, it’s a good read, it’s entertaining and it’s inoffensive. )

In Re: Houses…

A while back, I posted about my excitement/anxiety/angst/elation regarding a possible new house/mortgage/move… This being Portugal, all negotiations go through an agent, and negotiations are slow. Very slow.

Yadda yadda yadda, we’re not going to buy the house. (The details getting us to this point are pretty underwhelming, so I’ve decided to skip them. Because I care. About you. And stuff you’re going through right now.)

We still might rent the house, however…. or we might stick it out in Mafrica through the summer (which will actually be awesome) and then move into the apartment we own have a mortgage on in Malveira. (Malveira, for those of you who don’t live there, is a pretty little place, though it is not as quaint as Mafrica. There’s no palace/convent/historical library, for example. The apartment is in prime real-estate, however, and getting around and walking to the market or the store is a piece of cake. Plus, the apartment is modern, equipped, spacious, insulated, and sunny, from what I’ve heard.)

The upside to pushing off the purchase of a house is actually manifold. True, this is partially attributable to my “always look on the bright side of life…” perspective on stuff I can’t control. (This holds up for the most part…cut me a break ;P) Nonetheless, this way we can enjoy planning and discussing houses, arrangements, design, outdoor spaces, and a host of other details that we otherwise would not have had the luxury of planning. For instance, perhaps we will (someday, in a galaxy far, far away) buy land (either in the Lisbon area or perhaps in the Algarve, where My Man can also work) and build a house. Or maybe we’ll find a house with a huge plot of land, and we’ll have to renovate the house. Or maybe we don’t need a lot of land as much as we thought, but we could build a house with a great courtyard. A straw-bale or rammed earth house would perhaps work, since we prefer a single-level house (perhaps with a loft, because who doesn’t love a loft?). Anyway, the discussions are fun, and they kill time while we’re still freezing our nads off in the Mafrican winter. (It rained all day again. Can you tell by my tone?)

Nowadays, my brain and dreams and many firefox tabs are filled with links not unlike these: (I love the indoor carpet of vegetation on this one!)

(The last one is just fun…)

Anyway, that’s where things stand, for now… No big moves (that we know of) just yet.

At least my sneaky little brain is well-occupied again… world-domination will wait for another day.

More basics, thanks to Chow…

It borders on obsession, I know. I’m loving today. I always do. Chow is righteously cool.

Since I’m looking at helpful basics today, however, the ‘nagging question’ column in Chow seems like a logical stopping point. I was first looking at a fat-bastard plethora of potato skins recipes on Chow, and then stumbled into this helpful post… (back to the basics!)

Are Sprouted Potatoes Poisonous?

Published on Friday, July 25, 2008, by Roxanne Webber / Edit Post

It’s important to distinguish between the potatoes themselves and the sprouts that grow on them.

Potato sprouts are considered toxic due to their potentially high concentration of glycoalkaloids, says Dr. Nora Olsen, an associate extension professor and potato specialist at the University of Idaho.

…