It’s 11:24, so this will be short. I need to get it posted before midnight. My niece, Hannah Alexis, was born today. She is Wi-Phi’s  (William Philip’s) younger sister, and gets no less nerdy of a nickname. I call her “Hannah Solo.”

As you can imagine, I am wild-eyed with impatience at meeting her, but for now, she’ll just have to accept my presents in the mail- a Star Wars-themed onesie and a Washington Post, because the Houston Chronicle will not be printing anything for a while.

Hurricane Harvey is the main story in the Post, too, but luckily my family was not affected today. They were concerned that they were going to need to deliver Kelly at home, but the waters receded enough to get to Methodist Hospital in Sugar Land.

Although it is interesting to note that had it come to my sister delivering at home, she would have been fine. My dad took EMT I all the way through Paramedic II, so he’s delivered three babies.

No matter what, things would have turned out perfectly. Hannah sure did. She’s a screaming bundle of joy and it is such a relief to hear her cry loudly over the interwebs because Wi-Phi’s birth was so anxiety-laden. For those of you just joining us, he had to have heart surgery as soon as he was born. He is absolutely 100% perfect, but at the time prayer flowed through me like water, and I just had to hope that it was enough.

This birth was better than textbook. After one push, Hannah was here. “They” were even at the office until her water broke. I’m going to remind myself of that every time I get the sniffles and start to complain.

Virtual pink bubble gum cigars and champagne for everyone. I’m going to go look at my niece’s adoring face and see which of my features she got (this is a joke- her mother is my stepsister). If I have anything to do with it at all, maybe when she’s older she’ll have my smirk, because my dad will have taught it to her, just like he taught it to me.

Goodnight, sweet Hannah. Welcome to the world, baby girl. Let me read you to sleep.

In an old house in Paris
All covered with vines
Lived 12 little girls
In two straight lines….

-Ludwig Bemelmans, Madeline



Pan, Pan, y Mas Pan… y Entonces Queso

So, off I go to Dollar Tree to get my few essentials for the week. I bought a lot of things to cook, but no snacks. I am hungry to the point of exhaustion, and need food RTFN. I notice that there is an authentic Mexican panaderia in the parking lot a few doors down, and think to myself that a piece of egg bread or a cookie will tide me over until supper.

I go into the panaderia and start ordering. I decide to get some stuff for breakfast, too, and then I realize I don’t have any cash. I say, “tomas tarjetas (you take cards)?” What I think the woman says is that we have a five dollar limit on cards. Oh, boy. Do you know how friggin’ hard it is to spend five dollars at a bakery? I think everything I ordered was 50 cents each, if that. When I get to what I think is five dollars, the woman says, “no, you have to have TEN dollars.”

Christ on a cracker.

I have already exhausted the number of conchas I can eat by about three dollars already. Conchas links to a Wikipedia article on sweet bread, and if you look at the list, I probably ordered at least one of each. Now we’re up to seven dollars.

Finally, I realize they have a cold case and get a large block of queso fresco. Why I didn’t think of this before is beyond me. It’s like, six dollars all by itself, and infinitely useful in just about everything.

My bread purchases take up, like, three bags, because not only did I buy sweet bread for breakfast for the next eight years, I also bought a few slices of cake and some cookies.

Who am I kidding? Nine years.

I get home and make some macaroni and cheese from the box, but I do it the way I was classically trained to do- mix the fat (I used margarine) with the cheese and flour to make a roux, then add milk. Once that was set, I added shreds of cheddar, salt-free seasoning, and the aforementioned queso fresco. The queso fresco does not melt all the way- it’s a very hard cheese and tastes comparable to Romano. The sauce and pasta mix together beautifully with these tiny chunks of cheese and it is heaven on earth.

And that’s when I realized I was out of Tupperware…. or rather, I’d bought four packages of Zip-Loc throwaways and they’d all been used up by my roommates. So, I put some in a Zip-Loc bag and ate the rest.

That was probably a mistake. I must have had like, four helpings. It was worth it, though.

Even if I am too full to eat ALL THAT BREAD.