Wednesday, October 10, 2007

I've Gone Insane

Brace yourselves--I've stopped drinking coffee.

Dun dun DUN! If this were an episode of Law & Order, here's where you'd here the "Glung glung!"

Yes, it's true. I've gone cold turkey. I know, what's wrong with me? Well, I'll tell you--I'm trying something new. I read a book called "Skinny Bitch". The title cought my eye. It's basically promoting an organic vegan diet. Yeah yeah--heard it all before. But then I thought, "I wonder if I can do it." You know, just to try it out and see how hard it is. Well, I'm here to say--it's not that hard. I can't do the vegan cheese--just not it for me. And even though all of my wonderful Coffee Mate creamers say that they're non-dairy, there is a milk ingredient in them (sodium caseinate), so that's out. I did have a soy mocha at Starbucks and it was good, so if I'm dying (not so far) I'll have one. But really, this hasn't been tough--and I've lost 1.5 pounds. The hardest part is thinking "ooh, I'll eat THAT!" and then I flip the box over and see those dissappointing words "contains milk". Hmm. Crap. I can't eat THAT. I can't eat crackers, some breads, white sugar (processed with ground up animal bones!!! EEEEWWWWWWW!), chocolate, and a whole host of other things.

Now, this is not exactly inline with my everyday vegetarianism--I do not believe that it's necessary to eat animals. I do not believe that it's healthy to eat animals (for people, for animals, for the environment), I do not believe that it's morraly wrong to eat animals any more than it's morraly wrong to eat chocoalte cake--the Bible clearly states that we can eat them. I just don't think we need to torture them. They are all God's creatures--God's gifts to us. We ought to take better care of them.

I generally feel the same way about eggs and dairy. One difference--it's possible to eat eggs and dairy without harming the animals. True, it doesn't really happen, but I'm taking on one thing at a time. It's like tithing--I know I should do it, but it's REALLY HARD and sometimes I just don't have 10% of my income to spare. I'm not perfect. I don't claim to be. If anyone wants to start in on me for eating eggs and dairy because those same cows and chickens are slaughtered later, I'd like to ask you--do you eat them? If you don't, then GREAT! You're ahead of me. I congratulate you. I may get there someday. I'm just not there yet. I need to spend some more time with my vegan cookbooks.

My current experiment with veganism is strictly on a weight loss level. I want to see if eliminating these things will affect my weight. So far, the answer is YES! And above all, I'm trying lots of new things.

My coffee substitute is AMAZING! I bought some almond milk and some Godiva hot cocoa mix (the kind you have to add milk to because there's none in the mix). WOW! That was good stuff. My general plan is to go vegan during the week and vegetarian on the weekends. I'm spending WAAAAAY less money on coffee, which is nice, and I'm eating lots more fruit. I found a fabulous little market here in Phoenix (Sprouts--same as Henry's in San Diego) which has lots of fun bulk foods. So, will I never eat cheese again, no. Will I never have another cup of coffee? No. I've never been a big milk drinker, so that part is really easy. I'm just trying it out. If you see me chomping down on chocolate cookies or guzzling a frappe, don't point a finger. I'm just taking a break.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

A New Pot

Tragedy has struck the Olson household. Yesterday morning after my daily trip to the gym, I came home at my usual 5:30. Nick hasn’t been sleeping well, so he hasn’t been up with me. It was no surprise that the house was still dark and the coffee had not been brewed. I set everything up and switched the pot on before heading up to the shower.

Despite the insane heat, I am still enjoying 8-10 cups of coffee day. I have managed to cut out the sugar, though I’ve still not been able to go black. Perhaps cutting my cream with milk will help… As I showered, I pondered the different ways I might have my first cup. Are we out of whipped cream? I know there’s plenty of chocolate syrup. Should I finish off the vanilla caramel cream or open the French vanilla (which was all I could find at the store!)?

As I stepped out of the shower, drying and dressing, I noticed something strange. I inhaled. Nothing. I took a deep breath. Nothing. Hmmm. I should be smelling fine Arabica beans by now. Something was indeed amiss. I hurried down the stairs and into the kitchen—there it was, the first sign of a horrible day.

The coffee pot sat innocently on the corner countertop. The little red light illuminated, indicating that the pot was on and receiving a steady stream of electricity. Strangely, the pot itself was only half full. Had I not filled it all the way? I checked the water reservoir. There was still about 6 cups worth of water in it and yet it was not perking away. I tried turning it off and then on again (hey, it works for a computer!), but nothing happened. I poured a cup of what was in the pot and tasted it—ugh! Sludge. Something was wrong with my coffee pot.

Just after we’d moved to Phoenix, our beautiful thermal coffee brewer with a wake up timer and auto-shut off feature broke. Some tiny spring came off making it inoperable. As you know, I can not survive more than a few waking hours without this sweet nectar of life, so in desperation I bought the least expensive pot I could find. It was a simple model; 12-cup capacity, reusable filter, nothing fancy, but functional. Since then, I’d been eyeing the more elaborate grind-and-brew machines and the very exciting Krupps model that brews using k-cups (Gloria Jeans coffee comes in k-cups!!!!!!!!!!!). So, when my cheap-o model broke, I immediately planned a post-work shopping trip. But what to do now? I absolutely COULD NOT wait until leaving for work and heading to the Starbucks Drive-Thru. No, no that would take too long. I dug through the pantry looking for the small canister of International Foods Instant Orange Cappuccino I’d bought as a last resort on my recent trip to New York City. (Thankfully, there was a Starbucks in the lobby of the Waldorf=Astoria and I didn’t have to suffer while in my two-room suite in lower Manhattan. Sounds rough—I know.). Where was it?!?!? Then I remembered. I’d thrown it out after the first cup—NOT good coffee.

What was I to do? And then it came to me! Was I not the proud owner of a cappuccino machine? Did I not have an entire gallon of milk in the refrigerator? I already knew I had plenty of chocolate syrup! A cafĂ© mocha was in my future! Yes, it took a little longer, and yes, I was a few minutes late getting out the door, but that’s nothing a little reckless driving can’t fix.

Later that evening, Ivy and I put on our shopping gear and headed to Target. I spotted the model I wanted for home brew right away. It was a Mr. Coffee 10-cup with a thermal decanter, water filtration system, wake-up timer, fresh-brew timer (tells you how long your coffee has been sitting there) and this nifty little beeping thing that goes off when the pot has finished brewing. I looked over the display model, making sure I knew exactly what I was looking for, and then went in search of the appropriate box.

I dug through shelf after shelf and could not find this model. I checked end caps and toaster boxes, just to be safe, but the elusive Mr. Coffee was nowhere to be seen. (Perhaps he was in the billiard room with the lead pipe!) I found an orange coated expert, grilling him as to the whereabouts of the bean man.

“Do you know where I can find this model?”

“It should be on the shelf.”

“It’s not. Do you have any in back.”

“No, they’re all out.”

“When will you be getting more in?” This was a useless question. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to wait for the next shipment. He didn’t know.

Distraught and troubled, Ivy and I settled for the non-thermal model of this same pot. It didn’t have a permanent filter and would keep your coffee warm for 2 hours before shutting off. Ok. Fine. I’ll take it. At least it was on sale.

I set the whole thing up last night and started the timer, hoping I’d gotten it right after reading the novel-length instruction manual. I went to bed, disappointed.

This morning, at 5:30 when I walked in the front door I heard the familiar sound. Nick was still asleep, but Mr. Coffee was awake and brewing.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Smellin' Coffee

Coffee is something both my dad and I have a taste for. That being said, however, we have very different preferences when it comes to coffee. I like mine flavored. If even a single flavored bean finds its way into Dad’s morning joe, he notices—Not a flavored coffee fan.

At the very least, I put milk and sugar in my coffee. Most of the time, I add chocolate syrup and whipped cream if it’s available. I used to be fine with the powdered cream, but I’ve since upgraded to the liquid variety, favoring the Vanilla Carmel of Coffee Mate, but settling for French Vanilla when I have to.

As you know, I’m quite the coffee drinker. I’ve also become somewhat of a nutrition junkie. Back in my Kansas days I was on a pretty restrictive diet of no more than 1000 calories a day (yes, I was constantly hungry!) followed by almost two hours on the elliptical every morning. I told myself that coffee was the one thing I would just let myself have. Well, no problem when my calorie intake was so low that my poor body was crying out for some simple sugar. Now that I’ve gotten smarter about my eating I’ve realized that saying “I just have as much coffee as I want” is akin to saying “I’m going to eat healthful foods but I can have as much chocolate cake as I want”. Not exactly a recipe for success. I measured once, just how many calories are in a cup ‘o joe that I might typically drink. Sugar is about 15 calories per teaspoon. I pile in at least 4 of those in my giant mega mug. Chocolate syrup is 100 calories per 2 tablespoons—throw in one of those. Cream varies, but I generally count 40 calories per tablespoon. Gotta have at least 5 of those. That’s about 360 calories. OUCH!

So, today I decided to give Dad’s method a try. I went cold to-furkey on Robin’s coffee and switched to black. I mean, why not? I love the flavor of coffee, right? Who needs all of those refined carbs! I confidently walked into work this morning, poured myself a steaming hot cup of decaf and took a sip.

It was all I had in me not to spit it out. Ugh! But no! I was determined! Millions of people drink this stuff just like this every day. I would join their ranks. I’ve always heard that it’s an acquired taste. Well, I was going to acquire it!

Normally, I down about 4 “Robin sized” mugs a day—probably the equivalent of a Starbucks Venti. Today, at noon, I still have the same cup of black nastiness sitting on my desk that I started with this morning. I’ve taken about half a dozen sips and the mug is more than half full. I guess I’m not cut out to drink with gusto.

What’s a poor coffee lover to do? Cut back? Switch to Splenda? I’m not sure I have it in me. But I’ll give it my best shot. Tomorrow is a new day and a new brew! Lo-cal coffee—here I come!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

What it's Worth

There’s been a bit of hype recently surrounding’s study that says Stay-at-Home-Mom’s would earn $134,000 if they were paid for what they’re doing. Well, I don’t know about that. Let’s face it ladies (and gentlemen—there are plenty of Stay-at-Home-Dads too), we’d all be doing laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. whether we had kids or not. Back in Chicago, when I was waiting for Ivy to arrive, my housework took all of an hour. Most of the time, I was bored. Now, I didn’t have a two story house or even a decent kitchen, so I would imagine that my chores took less time than many other non-working people. That isn’t to say that when our bundle of joy arrived, I didn’t have more to do—I certainly did. Ivy is messy, if nothing else, but I’m not sure that my work as a mom should get me that kind of a salary.

Being a mom is tough. There are days when I’d gladly trade my legs in for extra arms just so I could eat my dinner before it gets cold. I’m not sure a non-parent (whether biological or otherwise) can truly appreciate what it takes to be a parent. To help those of you who may not have kids, consider this:

Imagine your boss. Now imagine that he suddenly can not speak. All he can do is yell. AHHHHH! You have to guess what it is that he wants. Your boss also can not walk, so when he yells, it’s from another room.


You rush in. “What? What is it?”


Do you need that report I was working on?


Is there a meeting this afternoon?


“Conference call?”


You guess and guess, and eventually, he stops yelling. You return to your regular job duties—answering email (laundry), taking phone calls (doing the dishes), preparing your PowerPoint presentation (fixing dinner).

Now imagine that your boss has also lost all control over his bowels and it’s up to you to clean up the mess that he makes. Sometimes his yelling is about that.

Your boss now decides that you are the only one who can meet his needs (you’ve discovered this through his yelling when you’d asked a co-worker to please see what he needs so you can take your lunch break). Since you’re the only one who can do these things for him, your job now lasts 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Your boss calls you every two hours (even at night) and yells over the phone. You have to get out of bed and guess what he’s yelling about, fix the problem, and then, maybe, go back to bed.

Sometimes he yells just to yell.

This is not all you do. In addition to your yelling boss, you have your family, vacations, errands, and of course, the rest of your job duties to fulfill. But the yelling never stops. No matter the time of day or your previous commitments, you must always deal with the yelling boss first.

Now, this is not parenthood in its entirety. Babies are fun, cute, entertaining and of course, we love them to pieces. I wouldn’t trade Ivy for anything. There is no amount of money that can measure the value of what parents do, and I wouldn’t trade one of Ivy’s smiles for all of the millions of dollars in the world. You can’t pay parents enough for what they do, but we will all still continue to do it for nothing.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Two Kitties and a Squish

A bit of squishy history:

1. When I was growing up, on my birthday some well-meaning aunt or uncle would ask "so, how does it feel to be eleven?" or whatever year was appropriate. I was always perplexed by this question. What does one say? How does it feel? My mother, in her wisdom, came up with the perfect response: "Squishy". A ridiculous question, does, indeed, deserve a ridiculous answer. It was perfect.

2. In the Midwest, after the rain, you may find your front sidewalk littered with worms. In the summer, they may fry if they don't retreat to the grass before the sun comes out. I remember rescuing many a worm in my younger days. In San Diego, earthworms are replaced by snails. I had never seen a snail until I moved to California. The morning dew is enough to bring them out. In my early morning trips to the gym, I'd often find myself faced with a walking path covered in snails. Though I'd do my best to avoid them, inevitably, I'd step on one. It's a horrible feeling. First they go "CRUNCH" and then, "SQUISH". I always felt like I'd committed a crime. I'd step off as quickly as possible, knowing that it was too late, and sometimes step unmercifully on another. On these sad mornings, before I left for work, I would impress upon my husband a warning: "Beware the crunchy squishies". He knew exactly what I meant and shared my remorse when either of us stepped on one.

Now that you know the origin of squishy, it will still make absolutly no sense when Nick or I refer to each other or Ivy as a squish or squishy. I can't honestly answer why we do it or when exactly it started. Our kitties, similarly, are also squishy--they are squishy kitties. Ivy has a stuffed cat whom we have named Kitty Squish.

In any case, kitties, squishies and all, we once again made the long drive across the country from Missouri to California, and oh, how full of adventure it was!

Now, I'm no stranger to this drive. I've done it twice now, once with Nick, once alone and always with my attack cats, Jean-Claude and Oberon. Technically, Ivy made the trip with me last time since I was pregnant. This time, we decided to make it a family affair. Ivy had done well on her last two car trips--to Madison, WI and from Chicago to St. Louis, but those were relatively short. We had five days in which to make this long drive and had stops planned out incase Ivy couldn't handle anything longer than five hours or so. She and I drove to Tulsa on Monday night and picked Nick up at the Tulsa airport. What a little angle our squish was! She slept the ENTIRE drive. We arrived at the Tulsa airport a little after midnight, found a hotel, went to sleep and got up refreshed the next morning.

The nice thing about most of these hotels along the road is that they serve free breakfast the next morning. Oklahoma was gloomy. Our goal for Tuesday was New Mexico. We planned to stop in Amarillo for lunch (about five hours) and see how Ivy was doing before pressing on or staying in Texas. Again, the squish surprised us. She slept all the way through, sadly, missing the largest cross in the northern hemisphere (I think it was toting the title of worlds largest cross the year before. I wonder who constructed a bigger one...).

Driving along through Texas, I spotted my very first REAL tumbleweed. At first, I thought it was one of those things you only see once, if you're lucky. As we moved through New Mexico, however, we discovered a little known phenomenon--Tumbleweed Farms! Yes, it's true (ok, not really), these little dried up bushes are grown in open fields across the desert. They start out firmly planted in the ground and as they ripen (dry up) they unroot and tumble away! At least that's what it looks like.

Pressing on, we made it to Tucumcari, New Mexico. Those of you who've been reading my blog for a while may recall my previous attempt to stay in Tucumcari. Once again, I discovered hotels to be somewhat full. However, we were able to secure a double. Great! Ivy could have her own bed! Ok, so no, but hey, we had a room and another free breakfast.

Day three--we were shooting for Flagstaff, Arizona. This was a long day. We made it to Gallup, New Mexico and stopped for a snack and a rest. I mean, what's a trip across the country without a stop in Gallup? Day three was tough for Ivy. She was awake a lot more and not at all happy about another day in the car. She was pretty fussy from Gallup all of the way into Arizona. We stopped a few times to feed her and give her a bit of a break from the car seat. With all of these unplanned stops, we were in the car for about eleven hours on day three. We rolled into Flagstaff at almost 8:00 that night and hit the first hotel we saw--a Hampton Inn. Fine! Whatever! I don't care if it's more expensive! Well, we should have cared. It was the worst night's sleep we had the entire trip.

All we could get was a handicapped accessible room or a smoking double. We opted for the handicapped room--at least it wouldn't stink. However, the bed was too hard, the pillows too soft, hot and DRY! Moving under the covers in bed created so much static that it seemed to light up the room (ok, I'm exaggerating just a bit, but it was REALLY DRY). The cats decided to pick this night to get revenge as well. All night long, Jean-Claude was whining at the door. As if we would let him out! He was climbing on things, knocked the phone over, knocked a shelf in the bathroom over and probably a few more things I've forgotten about. To top it all off, Ivy and I were getting sick. I was up every hour either for my own coughing fits or hers. Too many climate changes in too few days. Needless to say, we left early.

I hadn't had a good cup of coffee since Oklahoma (they have QT there). I'd seen a Starbucks somewhere in Texas but for whatever reason (driving-related insanity, certainty that it was a mirage, whatever) we didn't stop. I tried drinking the stuff at the free continental breakfasts, but alas, it was undrinkable. A mere sip left me choking and unsatisfied. After our dreadful night in Flagstaff, I was more than on the lookout.

Driving in the left lane of Interstate 40 at 75-80 MPH (three lanes of traffic, I think), I spot the green mermaid.

"Is that a Starbucks?" I shout, pointing.

"Uh, yeah. I think so. Oh, but you're past the exit ramp," Nick said.

Ha! You think a silly little thing like an exit ramp is going to get inbetween my coffee and me? Nosiree! I crank the steering wheel to the right, caring not for cars in my wake. I cut across the shoulder, ignoring the protesting grated pavement and finally lighten up on the gas as I cruise softly to a stop at the end of the exit ramp. I would have my coffee, if it was the last thing I did.

It was just the thing to lift our spirits. We pressed on. From here, the drive wound all over, making it tough to maintain a desirable speed. We pulled up to the Brown's house in Goodyear, AZ around noon--not bad.

A visit with El and Carrie (and of course, Jalen) is always fun. We stayed most of the day, waiting out a wind storm and then Ivy's bed time. If we waited to leave until 7:00 or so, she'd sleep the rest of the way home, which she did. We made it home a little after midnight and had a long night of much needed rest.

This is a temporary situation, however. We're only in San Diego as long as we need to be. Who knows where we'll end up next?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Adventures in Coffee

I like my coffee hot. Unless it’s a frappe. Or iced. What I don’t like are those sleeves they put over the hot cups at coffee houses. As my friend El will tell you, since our Monday night coffee dates in Kansas City, I’ve always pulled them off. I’ve never had my coffee so hot that I can’t hold it long enough to take a sip. The double cupping doesn’t bother me, but I don’t need it. Just don’t put that stupid cardboard sleeve on my coffee. The sleeve dictates where I hold my cup. It’s always around the middle. What if I want to hold it at the top? Or the bottom? What if I want a straw? I don’t like to be told what to do—especially when it comes to coffee.

Nick and have been loyal customers of Barnes and Noble and Starbucks since…well, always. Nick actually worked at B&N just before we got married. My Saturday nights at the airport actually began as entire weekends at Barnes and Noble. I could sit there for hours—and have. It’s better than a library in that there’s coffee. Imagine if the books were available for loan!

I’ve always found Starbucks coffee to be sub-par. I mean, it’s no Gloria Jean’s. There are no Gloria Jean’s in San Diego. The closest is somewhere in Arizona. I’d always struggle with what to order: hot or cold. Mocha or latte. Whip or no whip. Grade or venti (ok, so always venti). Border’s was always the competition. Seattle’s Best was coffee’s worst. Unfortunately for us travelers, many a trip found us seeking out a bookstore. In Portland, OR, we discovered our need for a map when in a foreign city. I think that was our first occasion to actually search for a bookstore. Downtown Portland was home to a very large Border’s. It would just have to do. We only looked at maps, had no coffee, and left. Whoa! Hope no one saw us in there. Unfortunately, we had the same problem in Phoenix (one of our early trips—we so know where we’re going now). Tempe has a nice sized Border’s as well. Several floors, even. But it wasn’t until we were exploring downtown Chicago that I finally broke down and ordered a mocha from Seattle’s Best inside of Border’s on State Street. It was the middle of January and COLD! Ivy was hungry and I needed a place to sit. Fine. I’ll get some coffee. Twist my arm why don’t you. (Ok, so I didn’t need too much convincing. But I wasn’t going to like this coffee.) Well, it wasn’t bad. But our local Downer’s Grove Barnes and Noble was still our favorite place to sit and read while drinking coffee.

Now that we’re back in San Diego, it’s the Barnes and Noble, Mira Mesa that finds us frequently indulging. Recently, however, we’ve been doing something dangerous. There’s a Border’s in Carmel Mountain. We went there a few weeks ago because we wanted to do something we don’t normally do (Yes, we’re dull people. Our idea of change is switching bookstores.). Anyway, I decided that as long as Ivy was asleep and I was going to have the opportunity to read for a while, I’d go ahead and reluctantly get some coffee. Little did I know, there was a sneaky barista working at Seattle’s Best that day.

“What can I make for you today?”

“What’s a raspberry kiss mocha?” I asked.

“Just a raspberry mocha.”

“Is it any good?” I asked, skeptically. How could it be any good? It was Seattle’s Best.

“Not bad.”

But they had a list of other mochas. Which should I choose?

“Which mocha is a good mocha? I mean, if you had to pick a mocha—“

He thought for a moment. “Well, the white mocha’s good.”

“Yeah, but I can get a white mocha anywhere.”

“True. You could always try the Snickers Mocha.”

This intrigued me. “Ooooh. What’s that?”

“It’s an almond mocha with a pump of caramel.”

I was tempted. I was beyond tempted. I was convinced. I was sold. This was my mocha. I told him I’d give that a try. As I beheld my decadent treat, covered in whipped cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and a tiny bar of chocolate (non-fat milk!), I could hardly wait to dive in. One sip and I was converted. What a drink!

The Snickers Mocha is now my drink of choice. I’ve ordered it at Starbucks and Seattle’s Best, iced and hot, whip and no whip, but always venti. Why skimp on the ounces? I know it’s gonna be good!

Friday, February 02, 2007


Most people who know me now wouldn't believe it, but when I was in the 8th grade, I had a mouth like the inside of a trashcan--a really dirty trashcan. Like, the kind I use to dispose of my kitty litter. Naughty naughty. Today, I can't even think a curse word. But what's a curse word anyway? Words are offensive because people are offended by them, not the other way around. So, I've made up my own that are perfectly acceptable to shout, no matter who is within hearing distance. For example:


I've been known to say things like "What the schmee?" and when I'm particularly amazed, "Schnoodle my doodle!" I remember a few years ago, I was doing something and got frustrated and shouted out "Oh fruit!" My mother didn't seem too pleased.

"Stop saying that!" she said. When I first met Amy, her word of choice was crumb. One day, her mom told us that it didn't matter what word we substituted, we meant the same thing. Saying fruit was the same thing as saying the "f-word".

But let's think about that for a moment. When I say fruit, do I mean the f-word? Do people who say the f-word mean it? Are they really meaning to shout out "SEX!" That's what the f-word means. No, they don't mean that. They mean something like "Oh, I'm disappointed!" That's all I mean when I say fruit.

So, I will continue with my fruity curses and I'm sure they will evolve as time goes by.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sleep Tight

Ivy's finally down. It took an hour of rocking and back patting but she's finally asleep in her bed. Now I can get into mine. Nick has been asleep for an hour now. It's almost 2am. I've brushed my teeth, washed my face and put on my night shirt. I slide silently beneath the covers and lay my head down. With my eyes closed, I listen for Nick's breathing. That's one. I listen for Ivy's.
I'm listening...
I don't hear it. Maybe I'm breathing too loudly. I hold my breath and listen.
I still can't hear it.
'This is stupid,' I tell myself. 'She's fine.' But I still don't hear it. I'll hate myself if I find her lifeless in the morning. I get out of bed. It's completely dark, but I know exactly where she is. I lean my head down, less than an inch above hers and listen.
The faint hiss is there and her breath is warm on my cheek. I slide back into bed. Now I can sleep.

It's now 5am. I wake up for no reason at all. Jean-Claude is asleep on my legs and Oberon snoozes at my feet. They only sleep with me because Nick kicks them off the bed if they venture onto his side. Turning onto my back, I listen for Nick's breathing. It's slow and steady. That's one. I listen for Ivy's.
I don't hear it. 'I heard her at 2:00. She's still fine.' But I can't sleep until I hear her. I push the cat off of my legs and get out of bed, lean my head down to hers and listen. It's there. In the moonlight, I can see her tiny chest rise and fall. Getting back into bed, Jean-Claude climbs back onto my legs and settles in. I can feel him purring away as if to say 'Everything's fine, you nut. Go to sleep.' I feel better knowing that my whole family is all in one spot, even if it means I go to sleep last and I never sleep alone.