Ingredients: - 1 can of Hunt’s Traditional Tomato Sauce - 1 firm tomato - 1 green bell pepper - 1 package of shredded parmesan or mozzarella cheese - 1 box of large ridged elbow pasta - 1 lb. of lean ground beef
Optional: - 5 tbsp. of sofrito
* If you don’t know what sofrito is, you need to learn. Ask any Puerto Rican or just visit the hispanic food section at your grocery store.
Directions: 1. Cook pasta according to directions. Preheat oven to 350 F. 2. Heat oil in skillet over medium-low heat. Add ground beef and cook thoroughly. (If using sofrito, add 2 tbsp. now.) 3. Drain fat and return to stovetop. 4. Cut up tomato and bell pepper, then add to beef. 5. Open jar of sauce and stir in. 6. Once pasta is finished cooking, drain and then stir in. (Add the rest of the sofrito if you’re using it.) 7. Cover with shredded cheese and place in the oven for 15 minutes. 8. Remove from oven and allow to sit for about five minutes. Then, dig in! Be careful, your skillet will be VERY HOT.
The first week of Eleanor’s life was bliss, a delightful honeymoon period that Mattie and I were able to enjoy together. We experienced heightened affection for one another as we cared for our newborn. She made it easy considering all she did was eat and sleep, and her diapers didn’t stink. Mattie would feed me from his plate as I nursed Eleanor. We’d spend close to twelve hours in bed each day, watching her every move.
Week two was lovely as well, but then I made the mistake of eating buffalo chicken wings. That sent her into three nights of gaseous pain and poopy diapers that looked exactly like the buffalo wing sauce. Thank goodness for gas drops that seemed to bring her instant relief. Eleanor was kind enough to give us a few hours each night to go out to dinner as she slept in her car seat.
Matt went back to work this past Monday, and my mother and stepfather came into town to give me a hand around the place. Despite our desire to co-sleep with Eleanor, Mom convinced me to start putting her in her crib in the nursery. Lo and behold, she sleeps better and for longer stretches. What is it with daughters not wanting to listen to their mothers’ advice? Mom made tons of good food, stocked up our pantry, took the baby off my hands a couple times, and got my stepdad working on a few projects around the condo.
It was an interesting time for my mother and me. I have always tried to reserve my emotions around her for the most part and she has been the same. What with postpartum hormones and whatnot, I couldn’t hold much back and openly wept in front of her. My mother has always been wonderful to me, but this is the first time that she has been tender to me. Her affection made it that much harder to see her leave.
Yesterday was my first day alone with Eleanor. I won’t say it was a nightmare, but all of a sudden I felt very inadequate and alone. I wept over my baby for a couple hours, begged my husband to come home early, then changed my mind and told him to stay at work. After a bucket of tears, I finally calmed down and tried to discern what my daughter’s cries meant, how I could help her, what I could do to make her comfortable. She cried for so long, all day long, and then finally rested in our friend Emily’s arms with eyes closed, serene.
Nights have been lovely and quiet.
Eleanor will stir and wake me up with a few coos from her crib in the room next to ours. The nursery is our sanctuary. It is very peaceful and feels like a cocoon. She’ll sleep for three hours between feeding sessions, often falling asleep on the breast. Honestly, I have a tendency to fall asleep with her, nestled in our arm chair.
Mattie gets up at 3:45 AM for work during the week. He kisses me and tells me he loves me every morning. I can only assume he does the same with Eleanor now. Shortly after he leaves, she stirs as if she knows he’ll be gone for a while, our knight in shining armor. He’s the one who keeps us happy and safe, who provides for us and is the reason why she and I can be together all day. It’s hard for me to see him leave every morning, too.
Today, our friend Annie took our beloved dog Molly to her new owner. After nine months of feeling immense guilt that I could not care for my dog the way she needed, it was a huge relief to know she was going to a better home to have a better life - a doggy paradise with new friends, an acre of land, doggy bunk beds, and wonderful new parents. It’s strange now, not seeing her curled up on the couch waiting for Mattie to come home so he can take her out to play. Her hair is still all over the place; I have yet to clean it all up. She was so good with Eleanor. I’m sad that they could not grow up together.
Showers are infrequent and sleep is, too. I eat when Eleanor lets me for a few minutes between crying spells. I planned on cleaning the house today, washing the dishes, vacuuming, and everything else before Mattie got home. I wanted to surprise him, but like every parenting book and website will tell you, that’s stuff you just have to let go. So long as Eleanor’s with us, there will always be a few loose ends, but that’s probably good for someone like me.
Eleanor cried off and on today from 10:30 AM to 3:15 PM. That doesn’t make me mad. There are moments when she suddenly stops and looks up at my face with the most pensive expression. I imagine that she’s pondering the reason for her distress. “How can I tell mom what I need? How can I help her help me?” I ask her, “What can I do for you? How can I help you? I’m so sorry that I’m not very good at this yet, but we will get better in time.”
I love her so much. I know one day I will get mad at her, but it hasn’t happened yet. I’m grateful for that. Eleanor is teaching me to trust. She is too young and too good to be manipulative. Every cry is a genuine need. Every quiver of her chin is a desire for comfort. Even though she exhausts me to the point of something akin to a brain freeze, I am so soothed by her whether she wails or sleeps. She’s not out to get me. She doesn’t want to hurt me. She just needs me. I’m her lifeline.
Potentially Ignorant Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation
The first time I ever read the term “cultural appropriation” was when a certain blog took offense to one of my posts featuring the album I did based on the book of Genesis from the Old Testament. I used related hashtags that included “Judaism.” The response was something to the effect of, “Why do Christians do this?” I didn’t necessarily consider the album to be specifically Christian. (If you’re curious, you can listen to it here.) After reading through some information about the blog and browsing other posts, I realized that the curators were self-identified Jews who wanted to combat and raise awareness of cultural appropriation of Judaism. I took the time to remove the offending hashtags from my post and to send them an apology. I had no idea that associating my album with Jewish culture could be considered offensive.
“Why do people have to be this lonely? What’s the point of it all? Millions of people in this world, all of them yearning, looking to others to satisfy them, yet isolating themselves. Why? Was the earth put here just to nourish human loneliness?”—Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart (via thatkindofwoman)
“‘Sexual assault of Asian women on college campuses is a major issue. You get a room of five Asian American women together, and they all have stories about sexual harassment.’ Mainstream America shrugs off the notion of Asian fetishes, believing men who have such fetishes ‘are harmless.’ However, Leung warns, ‘It’s not as innocent as it looks.’ Helen Zia, a graduate of Princeton, commented, ‘It’s the image of Asian American women being exotic and passive and won’t fight back and speak up. Predators think they have free rein with Asian American women.’”—Sunny Woan, “White Sexual Imperialism: A Theory of Asian Feminist Jurisprudence” (via femininobsession)