Comfort food

After spending hours and hours and hours in labor with my firstborn, I was starving. My request? Angel hair pomodori from Romeo's.

After only a few hours in labor with my secondborn – but still starving – what was my request?
Angel hair pomodori from Romeo's.

In the hospital, waiting for Ike-a-saurus to make his appearance? What did I eat?
Yes. Angel hair pomodori from Romeo's.

That was the dinner I had on my birthday, during a wonderful party, on September 10th, 2001 – a lovely memory I have of the night before the world spiraled out of reach for a time.

Every special occasion, every moment that needed cheering, every time I had a meeting and a choice as to where to meet, I always went to Romeo's and had that comforting bowl of steaming pasta, vegetables, pine nuts, extra parmesean. It's been my goto Fancy Meal for over a decade.

But not anymore. Romeo's is gone. Doors closed.

A lot of restaurants come and go in Austin. It's the nature of the beast, I guess. And over the past few years, Romeo's had raised their prices to such an extent we barely ate there even if we did want to celebrate something. I can't help but think, though, that an era has passed. I will have to find a new celebratory dish. A new place to go where I can hide in a dark corner and laugh with friends and get sauce on my nose.

Good-bye, Romeo's. 

I raise my empty pasta bowl to you, and wish you the best.


After some sleuthing, I've discovered Romeo's is only temporarily closed. ANGEL HAIR POMODORI FOR EVERYONE! (As soon as the new wiring is completed inside the restaurant.)

Live-blogging the Oscars!

Tonight! Go find a snack! It's a date! For snacking and snarking!

5:38: Kari and Jenny try to sort out live-blogging together. Jenny, it's your turn. -K

Let's test drive this baby… – JZ

5:41: Jenny and I have nearly sorted it out! Except for the typing at the same time part. But that will just make it more live-ish. And blog-ish. And awesome-ish. -K

When we type at the same time, do our posts arm-wrestle for the spot? -JZ

5:50: So this is your show, Kari. I'll just be Ed McMahon and occasionally sneak a quip in here and there. — JZ

5:53: You can quip any time you want, Jenny. It will be a CRAZY BLOG FREE FOR ALL. Also, it just occurred me to introduce you to everyone. Everyone… this is my friend Jenny Ziegler, hilarious YA author. Jenny… this is everyone. –K

6:04: Hi, everyone! Sorry for the delay. I'm tossing some food at my kids. I think some of it might even be nutritious. -JZ

6:06: Yeah, so a Woolite commerical just terrified all my kids. I don't even know what to say about that. –K

6:19: Milla Jovavich! I wish she'd say "mutli-pass" and then eat an entire tukey dinner. That would be a fanstatic use of red carpet interview time. –K

6:23: "The Oscars is like the Ultimate Prom" I like this. XProm. Older, drunker, doing it in fancier limos. –K

6:30: Michelle Williams looks like a strawberry cupcake! -JZ

6:31: Christopher Plummer is wearing the same boyfriend jacket from J Crew that I want to buy! I wonder if the lining is fuscia? –K

6:36: I keep getting distracted by Robin Roberts' well-toned arms. – JZ

6:41: Tina Fey totally copies you, Kari.  (And you look better in a peplum skirt…) -JZ

6:42: I bet she has bike shorts on under her peplum skirt, don't you? I would. And I would have some little debbies stashed under there, too. –K

6:50: Kari, we need to start a drinking game.  Whenever someone says "spectacular" or "marvelous" or "amazing" we chug something mind-altering.  What do you say? -JZ

6:53: I think Nick Nolte has the face Kenny Rogers was supposed to have.  Very Dorian Gray. – JZ

6:54: *jangles ice in her whiskey and Coke* I'm in, Jenny. Also, I'm wearing Garanimals, just like Zach Galigigiankiaksas. –K

7:00: See!  See what I mean about Robin R's arms?  I think she must bench press George Snuffalupagus every day. -JZ

7:02: Did you notice how Penelope Cruz's new hairdo makes her look older than George Clooney's mom? I'm taking a drink for her, just out of solidarity for bad hair days. –K

7:06: The sight of Penelope Cruz actually pulled my son's attention away from Star Wars: Old Republic -granny hair and all.  Says my boy, "Who's SHE?!"-JZ

7:11: George Clooney always looks so good in a tux — so at ease and uberhandsome.  I think he was actually born in a tux.  It's his actual skin and he just shows up nekkid for the telecast. – JZ

7:12: Gwyneth is wearing… wings? Good to see she's finally entering her pupal stage. –K

7:14: I volunteer to wash Brad Pitt's hair. — JZ

6:16: I feel like Cameron Diaz's dress is an homage to the tauntaun that Luke slept in. –K

7:18: I love how you traveled in time to post that last comment, Kari. Also, we aren't watching the same channel, are we? — JZ

7:20: Haha, yes. I'll deactivate the time machine. We ARE watching the same channel, Jenny, but SOMEONE keeps deleting my hilarious posts, so I am on a brain tape-delay.  –K 

7:27: My spanikopita is ready! –K (that is not a euphamism)

7:35: This beginning montage is the same thing you see in the big silver ball at Epcot, isn't it? –K

7:41: Is that a big Masonic symbol on the stage? — JZ

7:43: Ooh Ooh.  I wish they'd do a Where's Waldo game with seat-filler Carl. — JZ

7:44: Gandalf the Great takes best cinematography! –K

7:47: Wait. … Do they always have a calypso band in the balcony? -JZ

7:50: Yeah, not much for Gandalf to do since Middle Earth was saved. That ship at the end of ROTK took him to Hollywood, I guess. – JZ

7:53: You know, if they would stop with all the montages, they could let costumers and animated short winners make their acceptance speeches without getting played off the stage.  Just sayin'. -JZ

 7:54: J. Lo has very shiny boobs. I bet she could leave an impressive mark if she accidentally walked into a glass door. –K

8:01: Points to Kari for the first boob joke! -JZ

8:06: Is Sandy Bullock underwater? Or is this wine just super strong? — JZ

8:07: I think Sandy was using her Super Serious Voice. –K

8:09: Also, I like Sandy's ice queen handprints across her uterus. That is a fancy dress that says "OH NO YOU DON'T HORNY OSCAR DUDES." –K

8:12: Octavia Spencer wins! Well, if anyone was going to beat Melissa McCarthy, I'm so glad it was her. [pie joke, poop in sink joke] –K

8:15: I was rooting for Melissa, but as long as one of the poop gals won, I'm happy. — JZ

8:16: I'm so proud of us, Kari!  Not even an hour into the show and we've already referred to boops and poo! — JZ

8:17: I meant boobs.  Wine strong. –JZ

8:23: I keep thinking that ginormous prop film reel is going to break loose and we'll have a scene out of Raiders of the Lost Ark. -JZ

8:24: Biggest question of the night… why am I still wearing a bra? –K

8:28: Those sound editors should have written banter for all of the presenters. -JZ

8:30: Kari — I think I know why you are still wearing a bra. Didn't you have an unfortunate nipple accident while watching the Oscars last year? There was blood, if I remember right. -JZ

8:31: (I want to make it clear that I wasn't actually there when it happened.  I just remember Kari talking about it.) — JZ

8:32: I do not remember this bloody nipple incident, Jenny. But I believe you. I do. No really. Absolutely –K

8:33: Tina Fey totally did a Fancy Lady voice. I bet she and Sandy Bullock got together before the show and practiced their Super Serious Fancy Lady voices. Don't you think? –K

8:33: Also, Hugo guy, "indefagable" isn't a word. –K

8:36: I'm typing in my fancy lady way.  Extended pinkies and all. — J

8:38: Wow.  What kind of liability insurance did they  have to have to do that? — JZ

8:39: Luckily none of the trapeze people fell. But if they did, there was a whole room of silicone to cushion their fall. Maybe they get a cut on the insurance premiums for that? –K

8:43: Football documentary! How did I not know about this? Will it replace the hole in my soul left by Friday Night Lights? –K

8:48: My kids wanted to know why TinTin wasn't nominated for best animated feature.  — JZ

8:57: Emma Stone, Sandy Bullock, Tina Fey, Melissa McCarthy, margaritas, my house Saturday night. Let's do it. –K

8:59: I kind of want Nick Nolte to win so Sandra Bullock can go up there and try to translate. –K

9:02: Yay!  Christopher Plummer and his plummy lined jacket won! -JZ

9:07: Titanic is being rereleased in 3-D, Kari.  I think that lends itself to a joke about Kate Winslet's boobs. — JZ

9:08: Titanic in BOOB-D! –K

9:09: Are you a little afraid that Brad and Angie are turning into one another? Like two, indentical brangelinas marching through town? No? Just me? –K

9:10: That was an incredibly lame boob joke. *hangs head* –K

9:12: For a while I thought that about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.  She bobbed her hair just as he let his grow out.  They were like the Wonder Twins without the matchy jumpsuits. — JZ

9:14: OK, Eddie Izzard totally did the ginormous book stage prop already.  — JZ

9:16: Also, that was not a lame boob joke, Kari.  I'm pretty sure Kate is a D-cup after all.  — JZ

9:16: Yes! Finally! Some of those Miss America-esque facts about the winners. Why did it take until the music guys? "So and So music guy has no idea what he's doing. Also, he is afraid of windmills." –K

9:18:  Whoo hoo! This best song category means more to me than any other.   Fo' realz!  Go Muppets! Go Brett McKenzie!- JZ

9:23: What do you think about the telecast so far, Kari?  I'm rating it a big "meh."  We need some streakers or wardrobe malfunctions. Or some drunken rambling from Jack Nicholson. — JZ

9:24: Billy Crystal is making me laugh. I totally cracked up with the "what is Nick Nolte thinking" thing. The other stuff is a bit long and gratuitous, though. I *am* enjoying the weird thing the mic is doing – it's sort of robot-izing everyone as they speak. Isn't it? or is that my TV? Or whiskey? –K

9:27: Also, O M G, Angelina Jolie's arms look exactly like Joe's Crab Shack crab legs. –K

9:36: I'd love see Billy Crystal mutter an incantation that would make those giant eunuch Oscar props start marching about and swinging their swords like the Hogwarts knight sculptures. — JZ

9:37: YES. And he could get all teary and say, "I've always wanted to do that." –K

9:40: This guy's name is Oorlagh. For real. And he isn't a dragon or a troll or dwarf. That is AWESOME. –K

9:43: OMG I think the Bridesmaids scared Marty Scrorsese.  I think he thought he was about to get shot. –JZ

9:46: Yay for flying books!  Yay for the man in the jaunty hat! — JZ

9:47: I love, love, the Flying Books short! And William Joyce is a big part of our bedtime reading routine around here. Super cool. –K

9:49: These baby commercials are killing me. NOTE TO SELF: YOU DO NOT NEED ANY MORE BABIES. –K

9:53: Michael Douglas just gave up on pronouncing that name. "And the Oscar goes to Hazavaza*cough* hereyago" –K

9:55: Yes!  The cute baby commercials make my ovaries hurt!  Enough. — JZ

9:56: Man. Maria Shriver's transformation into an actual lobster is almost complete. –K

9:58: All she needs are Angelina's arms. — JZ

10:00: My son is so happy.  "James Earl Jones!  I know who he is!"  (Followed by an endless string of "Luke, I am your father…") — JZ

10:02: I bet Oprah's wishing she got a seat in the calypso balcony. I know I am. –K

10:08: I want to know if the Bridesmaids cast went back to their seats or hit the bar with the animated shorts winners. –JZ

10:10: So what did they do to stop people from clapping during the In Memoriam montage?  Threats? Bribes? Designer gags?

10:14: Natalie Portman. Not a gnome. –K

10:17: Every time I see Gary Oldman, I see those long Dracula fingernails. *shiver* –K

10:19: A short, giant-headed Frenchman wins Best Actor! Hooray!  (I say this as a person who is married to a short, giant-headed Frenchman) –K

10:20: Mystery revealed! That is not a blinged out air conditioner in the Synthesizer Balcony. It is a speaker or amp or something. OK. Mystery not really revealed, but at least I know FOR SURE it isn't an air conditioner. As you were. –K

10:24: Can we start a petition to get Colin Firth on Downton Abbey next season? Just a cameo. Maybe Bates' long lost brother who is also a fancy, rich pirate. –K

10:30: Could Michelle Williams BE ANY CUTER? –K

10:32: I hope Meryl Streep is headed to the bar with the Bridesmaids girls and the penis jokes. I bet she can throwdown. –K

10:36: The Artist wins Best Picture! And I wonder where Jenny went. Jenny? Did you run off to the bar with all the Bridesmaids women and Meryl? –K

Gah!  My computer wouldn't let me refresh!  It kept asking me if I was sure I wanted to leave the page. – JZ

10:41: Suggestion:  They need another category.  Best Actress Other Than Meryl Streep. — JZ

10:42:  Suggestion: Colin Firth has to be at every Oscars show.  In fact, he should clone himself and be everyone's date. — JZ

10:45: So other than my techno weirdness, I had a fantastic time!  Thanks, K, for letting me crash your party.  I'll work on my boob jokes for next year. – JZ

10:49: All this fun and I never had to watch a movie with a horse in it. 10 points for not being part of the Academy!

Thanks to Jenny, for popping by. It was lots of fun talking crustaceans and boop with you.


Feeding Ferapy

forty-five minutes
chewing, chewing beef jerky
a work in progress

This has been a weird month. No one ended up in the hospital, which was good. But it appears I got shingles (!), and then everyone got an epic stomach flu that lasted nearly five whole days – PER PERSON, then there was a respiratory thing that two of the kids caught, ending in a blown eardrum and Omnicef.

Through all of that, school was missed, whining was abundant (mostly from me), medications were taken (and thrown away after the side effects were awful), and now we're all worn out.

One of the biggest things was that Ike-a-saurus had to miss several consecutive feeding therapy appointments. Turns out it's hard to get to feeding therapy when a) your mom's head is exploding from shingles and/or some kind of brain explosion and b) when you are puking. So he reverted back to a lot of bottle drinking. I mean A LOT. Water, pedialyte, gatorade, Boost. For a while there it was all bottles all the time and I was sure we had decimated everything we'd learned in the previous months of feeding therapy.

He'd been working so hard to practice chewing difficult foods – and swallow them. The swallowing is often the tricky part. I bought him everything from sour patch kids to beef jerky to help him work those mouth and facial muscles. Practice, practice, practice, and then it was all shot to hell by a solid week of sickness.

Today, though, he's feeling much better. The stomach stuff is gone, the respiratory stuff is almost gone and… wait for it… he's eaten almost an entire piece of bologna with melted cheese on it. I know that doesn't sound like much, but for this 26-pound 3.5-year-old, it is epic. I feel like we need a party!

I'm trying to be calm and cool about it. Not too excited so that he wonders what in the world is wrong with me, but not so nonchalant that it goes unnoticed. I'm trying to be encouraging without, you know, weeping.

Maybe all that beef jerky chewing time wasn't lost after all.

Maybe this kid's knobby knees will fill out a little bit.

Maybe he'll lose that Mr. Burns backbone.

Or maybe I'll settle down and enjoy the moment. Now that I know he can do it, physically as well as psychologically, maybe I'll be less of a push over when he asks for a bottle.


Hooray for sickness? Did it push him over the ledge of figuring food out because he couldn't eat for so many days and finally, finally, felt really hungry? Or did something just coincidentally click in his brain? I guess it doesn't matter.

Ike-a-saurus at a big breakfast today.


The plan for today and tomorrow:

1. Watch some Blue's Clues

2. Eat cake for lunch

3. Argue over whether M&Ms are a suitable dinner

4. Not end up intubated in the PICU

5. Extra snuggles


This is the day that I've dreaded and celebrated every year since 2009. It's the day Ike was rushed into the ICU blue and not breathing. It's the day I heard the words, "We only needed to do chest compressions for less than a minute." It's the first day I heard the words "Cincinnati" and "airway" in the same sentence. It's the day a very tired and talented intensivist, with kick-ass red cowboy boots, saved Ike's life.

It was the worst day of my life, the beginning of the worst week of my life, which in turn began the worst month of my life.

It's a day, week, month, I need to let go – to send soaring into the sky like one of those flaming Chinese lanterns. Let it go, let it go, let it go.

And it's a day for cake. For snuggles. For laughing. For celebrating.

I drink your milkshake, February 13th. And yours, too, equally shitty February 14th. I drink it up.

*points finger* *drinks milkshake*