Thursday, July 30, 2009
When Jay came home from work early I thought surely he'd pitch in. But he seemed to be oblivious to all the clues that something was very wrong. He took a nap in his underwear and then brought a giant floor to ceiling bookcase inside and began tinkering with it in the living room. The half painted living room.
Needless to say, I ended up exploding a short while later and we now have one less dinner plate.
Later on that evening, after I had apologized for acting like a crazy possessed demon and Jay had apologized for being a giant dumb ass, I mentioned I wanted zucchini bread. It was one of those casual, flippant statements that I really didn't think much about. I had been reading a blog at the time, saw some fresh zucchini bread, and just thought it looked really good.
Jay said, "Well babe, tomorrow you are going to wake up to the smell of zucchini bread."
I replied, "Whatever. I'll probably just wake up to the smell of your farts." In saying that, I wasn't trying to be mean, it's just that the idea of Jay getting up, trekking to the store for zucchini, and coming home and baking bread all before having to be to work at 9 AM, just seemed impossible.
But Jay did the impossible. He found my zucchini bread recipe all on his own. He waited outside in the dark for the grocery store to open. He made two loaves of zucchini bread, quietly and in the dark, so as not to wake anyone. Sure enough, I woke up to fresh zucchini bread, and it is delicious.
On that note, I'm taking a bit of a blogging break. I've been feeling a little overextended lately. I won't be gone long, just long enough to clean some toilets, hopefully finish painting the living room, watch the rest of Season One of Weeds on dvd, and eat zucchini bread. I just need to relax for a few days and stop thinking so much. I really can't afford to lose anymore dinner plates.
I'll be back in this space probably towards the middle or end of next week. Before I go, I want to announce that next Monday and Tuesday I'll be a guest blogger over at Krafty Kash. I'm honored and thrilled that Kashoan would ask me to write a few words in her little spot on the internet while she's away on vacation, so please follow me over there. And if you haven't checked her out already, she's having an awesome fabric giveaway right now. Do pay her a visit.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
It's not that I don't try to win. I enter contests left and right and have nothing against filling out forms or surveys to earn the chance at a prize. A few years back I even joined Wondertime Magazine's reader panel because they had drawings for cash prizes. In some horrible twist of fate, I won $50 but was never able to contact the woman in charge to claim my prize. I sent dozen and dozens of emails to her and various others at Wondertime, never to hear back from any of them. As malicious as it sounds, I have to say I felt a small bit of joy when Wondertime folded. I felt like sending that woman an email that read, "Suck it! You have to find a new job!" But she probably wouldn't have read it anyway.
So why am I writing all this? Well, because lately I have been winning. There was the shirt from Mag, and the owl print from Daphne, and then last week I was a winner over at Mommy Coddle. I won a print from Presto Bingo. (In case you're wondering, I chose the Whooo is There print. I seem to have a thing for owls lately.)
As an almost life long loser, I have to say I could get used to this winning thing. Now if only all the luck from my blog world winnings could seep over into my real life, it would be much appreciated.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Then he saw my plate of mashed avocado and looked at me with disgust and snarled, "Why are you ruining it?"
That's when I had to tell him to get the hell out of my kitchen.
Two hours later, after it had cooled and set, he declared it one of the best chocolate pies he's ever eaten.
A few notes on the recipe:
*You can't taste the avocado. I swear.
*The original recipe calls for you to cover the bottom of the pie crust with raspberries. I left those out. My daughter doesn't like a lot of "stuff" in her food and I knew once she saw the berries she'd have no interest in trying the pie. Plus, I was already sneaking avocado into her diet, let's not push it.
*This would be super easy to make vegan, if you were so inclined. Trade the skim milk for soy milk and get your hands on whatever vegan chocolate chip substitute you prefer and Voila it's a vegan pie.
*I'm wondering what it would taste like with a graham cracker crust. I'm betting delicious.
*The recipe says it makes four servings. I say it makes way more. Because of the richness of it, I was pretty full after eating just a sliver.
All in all, I think this is a really awesome pie recipe that I'd love to play around with a bit more to see what variations I can come up with.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
When I complained to Dawn about the potty language I had to deal with when playing with an eleven year old boy, she said, "Actually it doesn't sound all that different from playing Mad Libs with a 40 year old man." I think she's on to something.
*Make Your PlaceIf you read Angry Chicken, then this isn't the first time you've seen this book. I bought it after she mentioned it because it seemed like something right up my alley. Plus it was only $5. It's filled with all sorts of earth friendly and inexpensive recipes for gardening, body care, cleansers, and first aid.
Some of it is info I'll probably never use---I doubt I'll ever make tinctures. But I definitely plan on using the bath and body and non toxic cleaning sections until the pages are soft and worn.
*The new law that states that honey sold in Florida can be only that...honey. No pesticides, no additives, sugar, or water. I'm thrilled. There should be such strict standards about all foods.*Liz Lemon and banana peels.She has taken to stealing them out of the compost and then playing with them. I suppose this behaviour is actually naughty and I should get on to her for it, but there is just something about her racing around the back yard with a banana peel in her mouth that makes me chuckle. I don't know which of us is more easily amused, Lemon for playing with them, or me for getting such enjoyment out of watching it.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Last year I read my first Lynda Barry book, Cruddy. It was very dark and incredibly emotional. I don't think I ever reviewed it here because once I finished it, I didn't want to discuss it anymore. I thought it was a great, yet horrific and violent piece of literature. Words and images of that nature tend to stick with me in a way I don't enjoy so I did my best to put it behind me.
Anyway, ever since then I've been on the lookout for some lighter Barry. Last time I was at the library I nearly did a little happy dance in between the stacks when I saw One Hundred Demons. The title of the book comes from a painting exercise of the same name and each of the seventeen sections in the book deal with a specific 'demon'.
The first demon is called "Head Lice and My Worst Boyfriend" and is rumoured to be about Ira Glass of public radio fame. When, while working as a volunteer teacher, Lynda catches head lice, she's faced with having to go home and tell her snobby, intellectual boyfriend that he probably has lice too. Needless to say the relationship didn't last and there are numerous reasons why she equates him with a louse.
A lot of the stories deal with childhood and growing up. One that struck me as particularly poignant was "Magic." Lynda talks about her best friend who was two years younger than she was. This didn't matter until she turned 13 and then there was just no way they could be friends because it was "weird and lame." The adult Lynda says, "I did this 31 years ago but my stomach still knots up when I think of it."
I can relate. I can think of at least three friends that I ditched in the early years of high school. The reasons why really aren't important. Maybe they had an annoying laugh or they smelled like Cool Ranch Doritos. Whatever the reason, the deserved better treatment. They didn't deserve to be dumped by me just because I wanted to try to revamp my image.
Actually, I can relate to quite a few of the demons mentioned in the book. Even if I don't feel a direct connection to one, I can easily put myself in the story. Lynda Barry doesn't sugarcoat anything, the people she draws aren't pretty, and she's really good at being brutally honest.
As a rule, I try to not purchase many graphic novels or comic books. They get read quickly and then sit on the bookshelf collecting dust. But I can totally see myself buying this book in the future when money is less of an issue. Or maybe I'll just do another happy dance in the middle of the library.
Monday, July 20, 2009
I won't even begin to mention how much food coloring was used for this trifle. I think next time one of the kids wants brightly colored baked goods, I might just go and get my hands on some of that Wilton Color Spray that Betts is always going on about. I have fantasies about the possibilities of that stuff.
*Since we are on the subject of baking, has anyone ever made a Chocolate Avocado Pie? I saw this briefly mentioned in a movie Jay and I were watching this weekend and I'm intrigued. It looks easy enough and requires no baking.
*Do you remember a few weeks ago I was upset because the neighborhood stray cat disappeared? That jerk showed up yesterday after an almost three week disappearance looking quite fat. I think he's just living somewhere that serves canned cat food. Asshole. I can't believe I wasted time worrying about him.
*If you haven't gotten a chance to read through the comments on Saturday's post, please do. I love reading about what everyone is keeping in/cutting out of their budget.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Obviously, we don't need these things, but they are relatively inexpensive and they keep us sane. At the end of the day, when I sip my wine or my vodka tonic, I'm not thinking about money. In fact, I've found it's hard to worry about anything with a wine glass in your hand. (Oh, thank you wine.)
If I'm going to be totally honest, I should tell you that when I first subscribed to an online movie rental service, it was with Blockbuster.com because at that time Alec was doing the voice overs in the commercials. (This, people, is indicative of how the mind of a crazy person works.) We were with Blockbuster almost a year, but the service was crappy, the selection sucked, and we were always getting cracked dvd's in the mail. Recently, we switched to Netflix and it is so much better. The movies come quickly and the selection is huge. It's so nice to be able to type in the name of a small, independent documentary, and have Netflix know exactly what I'm talking about. Plus, the movies they suggest to us are much more in line with our personal tastes. I'm still not sure why Blockbuster thought I would want to watch Beerfest.
Jay and I aren't the only ones that benefit from Netflix. Our kids are so far apart in age that they rarely want to see the same movie. Plus, the girl is kind of a loud mouth, so we never get to go to the movie theatre as a family. With the movies coming right to our house, we can plan a family movie night easier, or we can schedule one for each kid.
I realize I'm starting to sound like a commercial for Netflix, and that wasn't my intention. It's just that movie rentals are one more way in which we've made the spending stoppage seem less ominous, and for only about $10 a month. I'm sure that $10 could be better spent paying off a credit card quicker, or the bill for someones broken arm. (Yes, that bill still haunts me. It's the gift that keeps on giving.) But at what cost? In the grand scheme of things, that $10 isn't going to make a huge difference in whether I pay off a bill now, or in six months.
I think every person, and probably every family, has a few things they try to hold on to even when money gets tight. I'd be interested in hearing what little splurges you rely on to keep you happy.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Missing:: My husband. He's been working a lot of long days lately so we haven't had any time together. Fortunately, he's off of work for the next two days. Thank goodness! There are spiders around here that need to be killed.
Reading:: Foxtrot comics. Whenever I start feeling stressed, I read comics. I'm simple that way.
Celebrating:: Our twelfth wedding anniversary tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
First up, I got a care package from Dawn. Aside from being filled with some great thread and large bottles of my favorite shampoo and conditioner, there was a tiny gag gift tucked inside.
The last time Dawn went to Hooters she went into the bathroom and thought she saw the largest tampon machine known to womankind. Upon further inspection she realized it wasn't a tampon machine but a pantyhose machine. In case you've never been to a Hooters before, first off, you aren't missing much. Secondly, I feel I should describe the wardrobe of the waitresses, aka "Hooters Girls." Your typical Hooters Girl wears teeny orange shorts, a shirt showcasing her hooters, and pantyhose. Oh and top it all off with a pair of scrunch socks. It's quite a look.
I imagine the pantyhose machine in the bathroom is for the waitresses, in case one were to get a snag in her hose while doing her job. Apparently the higher ups at Hooters are quite particular about the wardrobe of their girls. Anyway, Dawn thought it would be just hilarious to buy me some footless pantyhose.
I wish I had some orange shorts and scrunch socks to complete the outfit for you, my dear readers. But I've never been a Hooters Girl. (I know!? Hard to believe what with my ample bosom and sunny disposition.)
The second bit of awesome mail was this hooter of a different variety:
A few random notes:
*Dawn isn't a regular at Hooters. She didn't tell me to add that but I'm sure she'd want me to clarify it.
*When I mentioned to Jay that the pantyhose were probably going to make it into the blog, he jokingly suggested he model them. I said no. You can all thank me later.
*The shade of my pantyhose is Suntan. Just in case you were wondering. And if you were wondering, don't tell me because I'd rather not know. They can be bought at Peavey Hosiery, which appears to be the official hosiery company of professionals.
*Isn't it nice how in the above picture my bed is unmade, my daughter is in her nightshirt, and my floor is disgusting? I know how to Keep It Real.
*I've begun the tedious process of going through all the old posts and re-labeling them a bit. My labels as they are right now are very vague and it's difficult to find things. I've learned this the hard way when I want to link to an old post and I have to look through a years worth of archives under the not-so-helpful label of "Family." So if things look a little weird here over the next couple of days, or a post disappears for a few moments, don't be alarmed. It's just me doing some housekeeping.
Monday, July 13, 2009
I quilted the front, which was something I had never done before. I've always been scared.
I love the outcome and there is something quite relaxing about quilting. The repetitiveness of it perhaps? There are definite plans for a few more. Jay wants big pillows for when we're sitting up in bed reading.
Now if only I can keep that bed hog Liz Lemon off of it:(Yes, she was asleep and yes, she was snoring.)
Sunday, July 12, 2009
I was quite shocked when I won because I never win anything. Jay would argue that twelve years ago I won him, but it is at times debatable whether or not he counts as a prize.
When Mag mentioned that there were limited sizes and all she had was an XL, I thought for sure that this would be sleep shirt sized, especially on me---an active member of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee. But yay it fits! Plus, it has the added bonus of being able to disguise the empty baby house without looking frumpy.Considering I'm not buying any new clothes this year, it was nice to get a shirt to add to the mix. Thanks again Mag!
(Oh, and in case anyone is wondering, the above photo was taken at Jay's store, not at my house. I don't have insole displays and stacks of shoes in my house.)
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Admittedly, the kids didn't like this trip that much. The girl likes our usual grocery store where she can get a free cookie from the bakery, and the boy was disappointed to see that Whole Foods was filled with "healthy organic stuff." (We had kept that part a secret from him.) But you know what? Not everything is about the kids. Jay and I wanted fancy cheese, dammit!
After shopping and eating an overpriced lunch at the Whole Foods Cafe, we headed home. When we arrived, the boy raced through the front door yelling, "I love this house!" I knew he was frustrated about being in the car most of the day, but this proclamation still surprised me. You see, I don't love this house. It's a fixer upper that I'm tired of fixing up. The amount of projects coupled with the down turn in the economy have taken it's toll on me and I'm worn out. Plus, it's too big. I'm a small house girl. I want a tiny cottage. I appreciate my house, it sure beats being homeless...but I don't love it.
While I was putting away the food I thought about what he said and I realized that it isn't really this house he loves, but what it represents: security, family, fun, pets, restfulness, relaxation. He has a different perspective than I do. When I look around my house I see a frustrating amount of unfinished projects, floors that need to be swept, a living room that desperately needs to be painted, a couch with umpteen strange smells emanating from it, and so on. The boy sees none of that and he doesn't notice the smells coming from the couch.
When Jay and I decided to stop using credit cards and halt most of our unnecessary spending, something unexpected happened: Our family became closer and our house became a happier place. We've never wanted the kids to feel like they were having to sacrifice their fun because we want to pay down debt, so we don't give them a chance to think about it. We make being at home fun. We play a lot of games and watch a lot movies. We stay busy at home. We just hang out together.
Life certainly isn't perfect. There are still a lot of things the kids want that they can't have. There are a lot of things I want that I can't have. We have our problems.....but right now, being home isn't one of them.
(My opinion of Whole Foods: Way out of my budget for general, everyday grocery shopping, but perfect for the occasional cooler full of fancy cheese.)
Thursday, July 9, 2009
*Growing up, one of the few things my mom regularly baked was shortbread. For whatever reason, I had never made it myself. Until Monday.Because it's so simple, I thought I'd post the recipe here. (I don't know if this is actually my mom's recipe, I don't know the origins of it. But it's the one she's always used.)
* 1 cup butter, softened (Don't even think of getting unsalted butter. You need the sweet/salty combo. Trust me.)
* 1/2 cup granulated sugar
* 2 cups all purpose flour
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually stir in flour. Spread/pat in an ungreased 13x9 pan. Bake at 300 degrees for 30-40 minutes. You'll know it's done when it begins to brown around the edges.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
1. My first crush ever was in kindergarten. The object of my affection was the smartest boy in class, Moses. Sadly for me, it was a case of unrequited love. Even sadder for me, this was precedent setting, as most future crushes would prove to be one sided.
2. I'm honest to a fault. If I say something, it's the truth---or at the very least what I believe to be the truth at that time. I'm never manipulative when it comes to what I say and I never play mind games. I just can't be dishonest. It's not who I am. I expect the same of those around me.
3. I could watch Spongebob Squarepants over and over again. Day after day. I find it very relaxing.
4. Whenever Jay and the boy clean out the car, they always bring me all the candy they found behind and under the seats and they dare me to eat it. I usually do. Especially if it's Skittles.
5. I don't believe in god anymore. I feel I should say more about this....I don't want it to seem as if I'm just throwing that statement out there to elicit a certain reaction or to start a discussion. I have no interest in arguing theology with anyone. The experiences I've had in my life have led me to my conclusion. Others may have experiences that lead them somewhere else and that's fine. It just isn't the path for me. I spent half my life having faith. It got me nowhere and gave me nothing but a bad feeling. I've now moved on. (I hope my more spiritual readers aren't offended by this because that's certainly not my intention. To each his own, live and let live, etc...)
6. I would love to someday vacation in the Hamptons. (A week in any of these homes would be fine.)
8. I'm incredibly impatient.
9. My best friend in the third grade was a girl named Amber. I stopped being friends with her when I saw her pick her nose and wipe it on the underside of her desk.
10. I can almost fit into my eleven year old son's jeans. Jay joked that if I jogged more and gave up booze I could probably wear them. That's never gonna happen.
Well, there you have it. I'm an impatient, godless, liberal lush. If there was ever a blog post that was buying me a one way ticket straight to hell, I suppose this would be it. I'm not going to tag anyone because I know some of you don't like this type of thing but if you want to play along, please do. I'd love to know more about you. Who do you think is the sexiest US Senator?
Monday, July 6, 2009
Working on :: The french doors that have sat unpainted since being installed over a year ago.Two doors. Fifteen glass panels on each side. That's a lot of taping and a lot of painting with a very small brush. I'm pleased to announce that the side facing the kitchen/dining room is now complete. It took me only three days.
(Jay and I are slowly trying to tackle all the small, inexpensive projects that will need to be done before we put the house on the market. This particular project should really have been finished a long time ago. It wasn't that difficult, just tedious.)
Playing around with :: Diptychs.
As if I needed yet another reason to sit at the computer ignoring the children.
(This Flickr group has some beautiful examples of diptychs.)
Reading :: All Together Dead. This is the seventh book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. I usually enjoy these books. They are mindless, silly reading. I don't like to over analyze them but I must say this one is about to put me over the edge. A lot of it seems too silly and implausible. Plus, the introduction of characters from another dimension is just too much for me. I'm going to keep reading though because the author writes sex scenes really well.
Living in :: Squalor apparently. These children have destroyed my house. I'm anxiously awaiting fall.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Jay is very patient with me when it comes to my silly obsession with Alec. He sits through all the movies (even the girlie ones), buys DVDs for me, and quietly listens to me when I start talking about all things Baldwin related. He even chuckles when I point to the picture of Alec on our refrigerator and tell the kids to refer to Mr. Baldwin as "daddy number two."
Jay is totally confident and secure in the knowledge that he's the only man for me. Oh, he knows I'm a fan. But he's also aware that I exaggerate it a bit for laughs. He gets the joke.
The other evening Jay was sitting outside reading a book, drinking Scotch, and smoking his cigar. I popped out and asked him if he felt like Alec Baldwin. Without missing a beat he quickly scoffed, "Alec Baldwin feels like me."
And there you have it. That's why I love this man.
Thursday, July 2, 2009
To re-cover the various parts, you have to take them out of the cheap plastic molded area. Easy enough. Putting them back in the cheap plastic molded area is not as easy. I may have to sweet talk the husband into neatening up the edges for me.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
The bones of the story are good. Not great, but compelling enough to make you want to read to the last page. It centers around Sally and Troo O'Malley. Their father is dead, their mom is in the hospital, and they are left with their abusive, drunk stepfather. Oh and a murderer/child molester is on the loose. Sounds interesting, right? It could have been.
My main problem with the book is the fact that the author spends so much time reminding us that the story is set in the 1950's. Let me say that again: The story is set in the 1950's. How about a few more times? The story is set in the 1950's. The story is set in the 1950's. It gets annoying doesn't it? That's what it was like reading this book. On almost every page there was a reference to an obviously '50s era product, person, song, etc. After a while it just seemed silly, as if the author sat around with back issues of Life magazine trying to see what was popular at that time. I understand she was trying to set the scene, but most of the time it was unnecessary. For instance when Sally mentions the smell of her father's Aqua Velva, she could have just as easily referred to it as "aftershave". What ten year old girl even knows what brand of aftershave her dad wears? These types of references were on almost every page. The kids eat oleo on Wonder Bread and drink Ovaltine. Can't we just say margarine, bread, and chocolate milk? Or can't we just leave that part out altogether? Really, it doesn't add anything to the story.
Then there are all the obvious 1950's names: Dottie, Fast Suzie, Nell, Troo, Junie, Sally O'Malley. I kept waiting for Wally and The Beav to show up. Or maybe the Fonz. OH OH OH, and don't even let me forget the "Indian" girl that lives four houses down from Mary Lane....do you want to know what her name is? Judy Big Head. I swear to god...Judy Big Head.
Which brings me to the stereotypes: families with a lot of kids must be Catholic, Italians are hairy, and so on. Again, I know it was the 1950's and prejudices existed that just wouldn't fly today, but it got so old after a while and added nothing to the story.
As I mentioned, the two main characters are Sally and Troo O'Malley, the two most unrealistic little girls in the history of literature. The author is horrible at writing in a child's voice. From reading this book, I would assume that the author thinks that kids speak just like adults only they say comin' instead of coming and musta instead of must have. Anyone who has been around a child knows this isn't true. You cannot make a character be a child just by giving them a poor vocabulary and improper language skills.
About three fourths of the way through the book I was able to overlook some of the more irritating parts, and I tried to just focus on the who-done-it aspect of the story. Hmmm....Who could the murderer/molester be? The author sets up the possibility of it being any number of people: the juvenile delinquents in the neighborhood, the slightly creepy brain damaged uncle, the 'light in the loafers' man visiting from California. (But no, it wasn't him. He ran off with the cross dressing gay Catholic priest. Of course there's a cross dressing gay priest! This woman left out not a single cultural stereotype.)
So which one did it? None of them! The murderer/molester ends up being a very minor character that was only mentioned briefly once or twice throughout the book. I think the author committed a heinous sin by having the killer be this completely undeveloped character.
Despite all my complaints, Whistling in the Dark isn't the worst book I've ever read. I feel like it was a really good idea for a story that ultimately ended up being boring and unimaginative. This was the authors first book though, so maybe there's hope. She definitely left herself a lot of room for improvement.