I’ve felt pretty strongly about something for a long time, and Kelly’s recent post about Whole Grain Newtons inspired me to finally get if off my chest. Here’s the thing: Turkey bacon is not bacon. They’re not the same thing. They’re just not.
Now, look. It’s fine if you like turkey bacon. You’re allowed. I don’t mind the stuff, I just don’t usually find myself wanting to eat it. It’s a perfectly okay food, if that’s what you’re in the mood for. But if you’re in the mood for bacon — real, delicious bacon — and someone offers you turkey bacon? No. That’s not going to cut it. It’s not an acceptable substitute. The texture’s wrong. The flavor’s wrong. It’s about as far from actual bacon as a protein can get.
Several years ago, when Tim’s parents lived in Atlanta, we went down to visit them over spring break. The night we arrived, we all watched a Jim Gaffigan stand-up special, in which he talked at great length about his love for bacon, as he does. Tim and I both commented about how, yeah, bacon is pretty amazing, at which point Tim’s mom piped up with a story about her and my father-in-law’s trip to the grocery store that morning. “We were about to check out,” she said, “when I realized we hadn’t bought any bacon. I knew you guys would want bacon in the morning, so I made your father go back to the back of the store to get bacon.”
This was great news. Tim’s mom is a wonderful cook, and one of the many perks of going to visit his parents is that we get to wake up to the smell of whatever delicious breakfast she’s prepared each day. So we already knew we had a good breakfast to look forward to in the morning, and Jim Gaffigan had us craving bacon, and now — miracle of miracles! — our delicious breakfast was going to include bacon! This vacation was off to the best start ever!
We got up the next morning, super excited for breakfast, and…you know where this is going, right? It was turkey bacon. There was no bacon anywhere in the house. Now, breakfast was still good, of course. And the turkey bacon was fine. Like I said, it’s a perfectly okay food. But when you’re expecting bacon and you’re presented with turkey bacon…well. There’s just a certain level of disappointment that comes with the realization that the bacon you were so looking forward to is nowhere to be found.
(I should add that Tim’s mom really is a wonderful hostess and always takes great care of us when we come to visit. I think Tim found a polite way to work into conversation later that week the fact that turkey bacon’s not really our favorite thing, and ever since then, whenever we’ve gone to visit, there has always been real bacon available. She doesn’t have to buy us real bacon — I would eat turkey bacon every day of our visits to them without complaint; really, I would — but she does anyway because she’s very nice. The Morning of the Turkey Bacon has become something we all laugh about together, which is why I can write about it here without worrying that she’s going to see it and think that we’re ungrateful house guests, because that’s about as far from the truth as turkey bacon is from real bacon.)
So there you have it. Turkey bacon, as its own, separate-from-bacon thing, is fine. What’s not fine is trying to pretend that it’s in any way a substitute for real bacon. Turkey bacon and bacon might as well be in separate food groups, they’re so different from each other. My brother once wrote a review of the movie Anaconda in his high school paper in which he commented that the only thing the computer-animated snake had in common with the real snake from another scene (I didn’t see the movie, but I gather that there was only one snake character, and the filmmakers used both a real snake and a CGI snake to play the role of the single snake character) was the number of legs. Likewise, the only thing turkey bacon has in common with actual bacon is the presence of the word “bacon” in the name. Other than that, they are completely separate food items. End of discussion.
Turkey sausage, on the other hand? Delicious. Love the stuff. Would gladly eat it in place of pork sausage any day of the week.
1. He’s a chatterbox. He has over 30 words, and his pronunciation is getting more and more clear every day. He clearly says “milk” now instead of “muh,” for example. In fact, he’s so proud of having acquired that “k” sound at the end of words that he often repeats it several times. So “milk” turns in to “milk-ilk-ilk-ilk” and “bike” is “bike-ike-ike-ike.” He also says “deet deet” (his version of thank you) whenever you give him something.
2. When he’s not using actual words, he babbles, but the way he does it, the combination of sounds and the rhythmic cadence in his voice, makes it almost musical. Like he’s singing his conversation at us, or scatting, jazz-style. It’s adorable.
3. He’s trying to learn to jump, and there are few things that make me laugh harder than a “jumping” toddler. He bends his knees, then throws his weight upward with all his might. The result is a chaotic upward flail that often throws him off balance, sending him stumbling to one side or another, giggling uncontrollably, only to do it all over again. His feet never leave the ground.
4. He’s going through a bit of a Daddy’s Boy phase right now, usually when he’s grumpy. When he’s in a good mood (which is most of the time), he’s happy as can be to play with either parent (though if he’s playing with just me he does ask for “Daddy?” every 10 minutes or so). But if something has his diaper in a twist, he wants absolutely nothing to do with Mama. I try to pick him up, read a book with him, play with his trucks, and he screams, sheds giant crocodile tears, and lunges for Daddy. Last week he actually ripped a book I was trying to read with him out of my hands and marched it over to Tim. Point taken, kiddo.
5. He still dances every time he hears music. And his rhythm is usually spot-on. Definitely Mama’s little boy in that respect.
6. We bought him a tricycle last weekend, and the boy is in love. He knows about bikes from some of his books, and when we asked him if he wanted a bike, he got really excited. We brought it home from the store, and it sat in the box for the better part of the next day while Tim slept in. All morning long, Alexander walked over to the box, pointed at it, and asked “Bike? Bike?” (Everything is a question, asked at least twice. Always.) While Tim was assembling the bike, Alexander kept grabbing the seat, setting it on the floor, and sitting on it, then getting up and stealing whatever tools Tim wasn’t currently using. All the while asking “Bike? Bike?” Finally, when assembly was complete and we put the bike on the floor for him, he could not contain his excitement. He raced over to the bike, shouting excitedly “Biiike!!!” It was a very Kid-like moment. This wasn’t a “I’m a baby and you showed me something new and I don’t really understand it but I think it’s neat because it’s new” moment. He fully understood exactly what was in that box, exactly what Tim was assembling, and exactly what an awesome present we had just given him, so much so that he was bursting with excitement about it. The Kid-ness with which he exclaimed “BIKE!” just about knocked me over. He’s not a baby anymore.
7. He loves being tickled. The other day I Tickle Tackled him, and he giggled and squirmed until I stopped, at which point he immediately asked “More? More?” So I tickled him more. Giggle, squirm, stop, “More? More?” Over and over again, until he had laughed so hard he gave himself the hiccups.
8. He wants to be just like us and imitates everything we do. On a recent trip to my parents’ house, my dad, who is recovering from knee surgery, spent most of the weekend with his leg propped up. Alexander, who loves his “Ba Ba” a great deal, carefully arranged a stool so he could sit on it, then placed a soup can on the floor in front of the stool. He plopped down on the stool and put his foot up on his little soup-can ottoman, just like Bab Ba. This kid, man. He SLAYS me.
9. He’s starting to pretend and use his imagination. A few weeks ago he snagged some measuring cups and spoons out of the kitchen and stirred up some pretend soup, then fed it to us and himself, complete with satisfied slurping noises. Just last week he laid two of his favorite stuffed dogs on the coffee table, patted them gently, and said “Night night!” Then he leaned over and gave one of them a big kiss — “MWAH!” Meanwhile, I melted into a big puddle on the couch, completely overcome by the adorableness.
10. He’s formed attachments to a couple of stuffed animals. He loves his stuffed Clifford (the Big Red Dog), but his absolute favorite is the Cat in the Hat. I spotted this one at Khol’s recently and showed it to Alexander, since the boy loves to point out hats. “Look, Alexander, this cat’s wearing a hat!” Alexander immediately grabbed the toy, hugged it close, and absolutely refused to let go. Not in a “it’s MINE I don’t want anyone else to have it!” way, but more in a “Yes, I love this very much” way. It was only $5, so I took it to the register and pried one arm of the cat out of A’s grip so the cashier could scan the tag, and we brought it home. The Cat in the Hat is a very well-loved friend, who gets lots of hugs, rides on the bike, and snuggles in bed every night. The other night I forgot to bring the Cat in the Hat upstairs at bedtime, but Alexander didn’t fuss about it, so I figured it was no big deal. I realized the error of my ways at midnight when A woke up crying, and over the monitor I heard distressed cries of “Haaat? Haaat?” We don’t forget the Cat at bedtime anymore.
So, it turns out I accidentally went a super long time without writing anything new over here. Stuff kept happening that I kept wanting to write about, but then other stuff happened and I got distracted and then I couldn’t decide what to write about and then suddenly it had been 2 months. Ummm…sorry about that. Anyway, who’s up for a quick recap? Ready…set…bullets!
- To pick up where we left off, SangriaBaby still has the same name he did 2 months ago. I think it’s safe to say we picked a winner. But we’re still not telling what it is. Luckily, he has about a million nicknames already, so we are not without adorable things to call him around other people. My parents usually call him Tiny Tim (for obvious reasons), but lately have started calling him Zachariah (kind of an inside joke). At the dance studio, he’s Baby Mack (our performing group is called the Mack Divas, and we each have our own “Mack” nicknames…mine is Big Mack [again, obvious reasons]). My boss calls him Fred Astaire Jr. Another woman at work just calls him Junior. To my sisters-in-law, he’s Pablo. Tim’s parents alternate between calling him Little Peep and Tiny Dancer. I can’t wait to see which nicknames stick after he’s born and what new ones we come up with once we finally get to meet him.
- I’ve been so focused on all things baby lately that I totally forgot to tell y’all when we finished landscaping our back yard. And, you guys. It is so gorgeous. 90% of the credit goes to Tim, who spent his entire summer vacation digging and planting and sprinkler system-ing and mulching and sodding. I helped with the sod a little, but he and a few of our very generous friends did most of the work. After fighting for 6 summers to make our mess of a yard at the old house somewhat presentable and still not being satisfied with it, I can’t tell you how nice it is to have this yard finished and beautiful and requiring only basic maintenance in the summers to come.
- In also-yard-related-but-totally-deserving-of-its-own-bullet news, we also managed to build a spectacular deck this summer! And when I say “we,” I of course mean “Tim and my parents,” because once again I didn’t help much beyond providing moral support. We weren’t anticipating being able to build a deck until next summer, but we managed to find room in our landscaping budget this year, and I am so glad we did. Spectacular as the new house is, the one thing it was missing was a nice place to sit outside with a cold beverage and good friends. Thanks to about a week of hard work from three of my favorite people, we now have the nicest deck (and yard, in my humble opinion) in the neighborhood.
- Tim finished the bulk of the yard work about a week before his summer ended, and he spent that last week of summer playing with his new grill that has a built-in smoker. That week, I came home from work every night to a different smoked meat, and every day was more delicious than the last. We’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year and seriously considering smoking the turkey.
- I am having a small love affair with Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches.
- We had a couple of truly wonderful baby showers thrown by the most amazing family and friends. This child is so loved and spoiled already, and it warms my heart to know he’s going to grow up surrounded by so much love.
- One thing about pregnancy that has caught me by surprise is how uncomfortable I am going to the liquor store. I feel like I need to walk around announcing “It’s not for me! It’s for my husband/friends/deck builders! Stop judging me!” I can’t remember the last time I felt so self-conscious, and I don’t like it.
- We’ve been working hard on the nursery, and it’s officially the cutest room in the house. But that’s a topic for another (picture-filled) post. Which I will hopefully write sometime after we get all the finishing touches in place but before the room explodes from having an actual baby in it.
- I’m still dancing a couple hours a week, but I’m officially done performing until after the baby arrives. I danced in my last show about a month ago, and it was pretty much the best thing ever. We dance at a lot of local community events, so there’s not always a guarantee that we’ll get a decent stage or an enthusiastic audience, but this particular performance was in a real theater, on a real stage, with the most incredible audience. They were there to see live music in tribute to the woman who ran the local Cotton Club 50 years ago, and we got to come on stage during a 30-minute band break. We had no idea what the audience would think of a bunch of white girls tap dancing, but (excuse me while I brag a moment) they freaking loved us. It was the best performance we’ve had in a long time, and it felt incredible to go out on such a high note.
- Remember the dogs? They’re still adorable (laser eyes and all). And completely oblivious to the fact that their entire world is going to turn upside-down in about a month. (And here they thought moving to a house where they’re not allowed on the couches would be the most traumatizing event of the year.)
- In conclusion, here’s The Baby Bump at 35 weeks. At my last appointment, I was measuring about a week ahead of schedule, so either the boy child is going to arrive a little early (we’d be okay with that), or he’s going to be rather large (less okay with that). Let’s keep our fingers crossed for the former, shall we?
- The bride’s vision for the ceremony and reception decor finally comes together and it was 100% worth all the stress in the week leading up to it.
- Only one bridesmaid (me) is set on fire. (Apparently you’re never supposed to spray static guard underneath a dress you’re wearing, because it may ignite a fireball under your skirt with a shocking woosh.) (No harm befell the bridesmaid or the dress…and all the static went away!)
- Macaroni and Cheese is on the dinner menu…and not just the kids’ menu.
- The lead singer of the band is rocking a curly mullet and dance moves you haven’t seen since the 80s.
- The dance floor is constantly full of people shaking what their momma gave them–even my rhythmically-challenged husband– despite the fact that the strongest drink at the reception was root beer.
- The bride (my gorgeous sister-in-law, Aleisha) and groom (my fantastic new brother-in-law, Cliff) are positively radiant, and the glow of their love eclipses the glow of all the candles and twinkle lights in the room.
I know, I know. It’s been FOR-EV-ER since I updated. All three of you who still stop by here on occasion have been sure to let me know, and I’m sorry. But I’ve come to terms with my new identity as a sporadic blogger, and I hope you guys can all learn to be okay with it too.
In an effort to make up for the recent light posting, here’s a look at what’s been happening around here lately.
My niece started crawling and stopped by to show off her newfound skills. Ben and Smalls were completely perplexed by this tiny person on the floor with them and had absolutely no idea what to do with her.
Baby Audrey knew exactly what to do with the dogs: Laugh at them.
My parents came to town for a few days and brought a truck full of salvage decking with them so they could help us turn this:
Not only does it look good, but I’ve noticed that beer and burgers taste way better when enjoyed on the comfort of the deck.
Tim’s little sister went to Disneyland on her birthday and got engaged! We’re all thrilled about the engagement, of course, but I’m also super excited that I don’t have to keep it a secret anymore and can finally talk to everyone — especially Aleisha — about it.
I couldn’t be happier for Aleisha and Cliff. They’re going to have a wonderful life together. Just look at how cute they are!
Tim and I celebrated our 4th anniversary with a long weekend in Colorado Wine Country.
We sampled a lot of delicious wines, ate a lot of yummy food, and saw some beautiful sights on the west side of the state.
On our way home, we met my parents for a beer and got some sad, but not wholly unexpected, news. When we got home, we raised a glass of delicious Colorado wine in a farewell toast to my parents’ dog Tasha.
She’ll be missed by many, including Ben, who loved playing with her when we visited my parents so much that he sulked, hid, and did everything he could to stay and play with Tasha rather than going home with us at the end of the weekend. She was a great dog, and she lived a long and happy life.