Sunday, January 31, 2010

you tube recommends...

...something that I actually enjoy. Really, I get some weird suggestions from youtube.

"Teenager in Love - Lollipop - Earth Angel - Sh-boom!" by The Four Quarters

inaugural meal

Okay, so we've lived here for over a week now, but things like unpacking and a circulating cold have gotten in the way of making a real meal. Last night, we made our first real meal here. We ate seriously later than I would have liked, but we had to take a walk down to the store to pick up a few needed ingredients. Then, y'know, I did part of the cooking, so, of course, the process took forever. Overall, though, I am very happy with this first meal in the new-to-us La Casa B.

On a whim, we picked up snow crab at the market. Otherwise, we'd have "only" had soup and bread. (When I told Cardo that we were having soup for dinner, he looked at me like, "Seriously, this is all you're offering?!" I get this look a lot.* Dinner, for Cardo, is to include a meat element.) The bread is also from the store. I need to get back to bread baking. I already knew I wanted to make Catherine Newman's corn chowder. I also actually made dessert. This doesn't happen often (and my body thanks me for this -- yes, she does). Long, long ago, I bought the ingredients for an older Cooking Light recipe for pumpkin cake and I finally decided to make it tonight.

Dinner was pretty good. On my first taste of the chowder, I thought, "Oh no, it's bland. I killed it." I added more salt, just as Catherine suggests in her recipe. Also, after the first couple of bites, I began to taste the flavor. Mmm, it was good. I subbed turkey bacon for pork. The crab definitely needed more salt. Rather, the water in which Cardo boiled the crab needed more salt. Next time. The cake was good, but I ate too much. Thanks be, some friends came over for a bit and we sent them home with half the cake. Still, we ate gargantuan pieces. I didn't frost the cake. I sifted confectioner's sugar over the top. Also, I folded six ounces of dark chocolate chips (coated in a bit of flour) in the batter just before pouring it into the baking dish. The recipe calls for box mix, which isn't thrilling, but I really needed to use the ingredients I had bought. I see they have an updated recipe and I'll try that next time.

[No, that's not all my bread.]

[No, that's not one serving of cake. That's all we have left. Last night, we were gluttonous indeed.]

So, here's to many, many more homecooked meals in our new kitchen. Oh, and for more food inspiration, check out Coach J's menu-planning post.


* A few nights ago, this is what I served for dinner:

Cardo was sick and fell asleep on the couch before dinner was ready. I was making dinner late into the night. I was reading Pic some pre-bed books as my food was finishing up and it was pretty cold by the time I got to it. I'll be roasting veggies again soon, though. (Hello, Easy Meal, welcome to my table.) Cardo ate his the next night, along with something else, because, well, refer my above imitation of his reaction to my food. Oh, and the potatoes. They were from a packet. Sorry. We bought them about a decade or so ago and they needed to be eaten. I've eaten so much old food lately that I'm constantly amazed I'm still drawing breath. Also, the potatoes are shaped like that because I was using my measuring cup to dole out a serving.


Gladly welcomed: recipes for soups, stews, jams, sauces. Foods that can be prepared and then frozen for later use.

Grazie mille.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

blog sprint: letting go

One Minute Writer for 1/27/10: You've been instructed to choose one area of your life in which you will suddenly achieve perfection...whether you like it or not! What area will you choose?

Letting go.

Letting go of the (self) expectations for perfection. Letting go of that which causes me too much stress. Letting the to-do list disappear. Ignoring the voice that tells me I'm not living up to others' expectations. Ignoring the voice that tells me I'm not living up to my expectations. Not worrying too much about how much effort others exert in any given situation.

Letting go. Breathing. Enjoying every moment because they pass so quickly.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

attack of the stuff

Last year seemed to be The Year of Acquiring for La Famiglia B. I don't know what it was, but we bought and bought and bought. Of course, the stuff (I'm not talking essentials here, I'm really just talking stuff) we bought was mainly from the thrift stores we frequent, so we weren't spending too much money at any one time (although, duh, spending a little bit of money very often adds up).

In addition to our purchases, we have a rampant case of Paperwork Overflow! (It's like The Blob!)

So, now our little home is bursting at its little seams, full of stuff. I'm thinking this year should be The Year of Decluttering. This won't be the same as my decluttering project of a few months ago, though. We always have a bag or two of "give-away," but the clutter I'm mainly worried about is the paperwork. Completely unnecessary paperwork. Bills, magazines, junk mail. Oh so much stuff. (Oh so many incomplete sentences!)

We plan on living in our new residence for several years, which actually worries me when it comes to the clutter. I've found we are like goldfish: we expand to fit our surroundings. I'm seeing all of these spaces here, spaces that are asking to be filled with bookcases and books (really, they are).* Before I can begin filling the empty spaces, though, I feel that I need to empty, or at least pare down, some of the mountains of stuff.

Also, back to the point of buying too much stuff last year: we'll just try to buy less this year. Simple, yes? I really am getting better at letting one thing go for every one thing that I bring in. I recently found myself some new walking shoes and I got rid of two (!) pairs of other shoes. I know that I won't be diligent when it comes to books, though. I've given myself permission to collect books. They're my thing.

My main concern right now is Pic's vast amount of clutter. We've finally gotten good about telling her she could choose a book or a movie instead of a toy when we go to the thrift stores. She's like me, and her Auntie L, in that it's hard for her to visit a thrift shop and leave without a book. I wholly support this habit. But, really, she just has too many toys (thanks to Mamma and Papi, I know). She might not find it overwhelming, but I do, and I certainly don't want to collect any more because we don't have room for everything she owns right now. I can see it now: twenty years down the road, she'll be unpacking boxes full of My Little Ponies (that will then be about forty years old) and wondering what she's going to do with them. This is a feeling I know well.

Anyhow, my fingers are starting to freeze (it's cold in here but I can't very well type with my gloves on), so I'll go. Pic and I are going to get outside for a bit today, despite the cold, which really isn't that bad here. When we get back in, it's more unpacking and decluttering for us. I'm not sure if I want to whoop or groan in response to that, so I'll just quietly forge my way through the mess.


*La Casa B is both cluttered and full of spaces at the same time. In unpacking the kitchen, I realized that I like things to be handy (as in, very close at hand) if not visible. This is why we have empty spaces in our cupboards, but piles and piles of stuff on every surface. Ah, well.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

quick up-do

I refuse to go to work with my hair hanging low. I always say that when my hair grows long, I'll actually do something with it, so this resolution to "do" my hair at least every Friday is motivating, or something.

I apologize for the picture being so dark. It's dark in the den. ("Ah, thanks for the profound explanation," you say? No prob.) This picture, taken at close to midnight last night was the first time I'd seen the back of my hair all day. This'll probably be a quick, standard "style" for me.

(Sorry about all of the quotes...I just can't seriously refer to my hair as styled or done-up.)

I'll be away from my computer for a tiny, little bit. It'll probably feel like forever to me. Less cloak-and-dagger and more sunshine-and-unicorns, or something, when I return.

Friday, January 22, 2010

food love and yearning

I have just finished catching up on the archives of Bread & Honey. Oh, I so need to be back in the kitchen. I bookmarked roughly nine hundred (give or take, y'know) recipes from this blog.

Oh Food, how I miss you.

In the meantime: a snack and a food fail (bad news first):

My attempt at chow mein (except when I looked it up on epicurious, it matched more closely with the definition for lo mein). I got a recipe for chow mein from Cooking Light, but I made several changes. I was not impressed, which is too bad, because this made a ton of food. I don't believe I'll try this again.

I have gone through a major cracker phase lately. I still haven't made my own crackers (but they are on the to-make list), so I've just been eating the thirty million crackers we bought from Costco. Cracker, colby jack, Gala apple slices; place under broiler until melty. Mmm. Good, quick snack.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

brown bagging it...

...or, more accurately, Mimi the Sardine-ing it. (A couple of years ago, I bought two lunch bags from Mimi the Sardine -- one bag for Pic and one for me. Love them!)

Today, Pic and I were discussing her upcoming entrance into kindergarten. I keep trying to psych her up for this (lame, I know, but for both of our sakes I need schooling to be a positive experience for Pic so I want her to go into it with a good feeling). Kind of as a side note, she told me, "You can make me a sandwich for my lunch, please." We talked about making our lunches together, the night before, just as I did when I was growing up.

I remember the cafeteria and some of the breakfast and lunch choices offered when I was in elementary school. I rarely ever ate school food. I much preferred to bring my food, but I remember feeling odd for this (and for oh-so-many other reasons). I remember the other students actually liking school lunches and I was always mystified by this.

In the transition to middle school, the choices seemed to go from pretty bland to really gross. Even then, I knew the food (ham-and-melted-cheddar sandwiches, greasy pizza, nachos with processed cheese food stuff, ecc) couldn't have been healthy. I continued to bring lunch throughout high school, though I didn't always eat lunch by then. (Early in high school, our campus was closed and we couldn't leave to go home and eat or eat out. We had a "nutrition break" instead. I think this is accurate.)

I sure didn't grow up in a super-privileged area of Vegas. My high school was sometimes lovingly and sometimes derogatorily dubbed a "ghetto" school. I'm sure many thought of both my elementary school and middle school the same way. (I'm not sure about the sixth-grade center I attended.) My parents always worked at least full-time to provide for us, but I have never, thankfully, wanted for anything necessary. Now that I'm older, I consider myself lucky to have been able to bring a lunch every day. I also had breakfast and dinner every day. And snacks.

Now, much later, I know that many, many students don't share in this kind of bounty. I didn't really know much about free and reduced lunches when I was younger. I know a bit more now and I'm definitely thankful that I didn't have to rely on one meal a day, provided by the school. I'm hoping that Pic never has to, either. I am interested in what the lunch options will be when she starts school. Will healthy food be offered? Will it be cheap (and in what ways)? I have a few months left before Pic starts school, but the issue of unhealthy school lunches has been percolating in the depths of my thoughts for some time.

In the meantime: I came across Fed Up: School Lunch Project today. So far, Mrs Q, the writer, has pretty much stuck with documenting the school lunches being served daily to students at her school. She just started and I'm not sure if she's going to do something more with this at some point -- or if someone else will take her experiment further. As she points out, she might be risking her job for what she is doing with the blog, although she is not doing much more than recording daily lunch offerings (hello, bland-looking, way-overpackaged food).

This is one of those issues I come across that almost overwhelms me (okay, I'm easily overwhelmed). I want to stick my head in the proverbial sand. I want to opt out of this kind of system. But, who does that help? My own kid? Ugh. I don't want to get into anything too philosophical here now. I just wanted to ramblingly put the topic out there. And, I wanted to point out Mrs Q's blog -- should prove interesting.


I feel I should add that although I'm not an expert on Biggest Little City neighborhoods, I'm pretty sure that we live in one of the nicer areas of town. (Feel fee to correct me if I'm wrong.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

it's a musical life

Recently viewed here at La Casa B:

"His love makes me beautiful - B. Streisand" [Um, sure "winter brides," those outfits will keep you warm. Hope you're not planning any outdoor weddings.]

This is, of course, Funny Girl.

Pic was in bed and Cardo was working on his car, so I figured, "Why no?" Of course, Cardo came back in while I was watching it and one second after he walked he he looked at me, shook his head, and said, "You and your weird movies."

Anyhow. Pic and I were watching something the other day and a clip of Funny Face came on and she excited said, "You have that movie." She paused, "But I like Hello, Dolly! better."

We have a date to watch Hello, Dolly! once we again have access to our tapes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

yeah, as for those plans

Okay, so I still have Friday plans and I'm still looking forward to cooking and baking (and hearing about your menu planning, Coach J), but, as for my plans for today...didn't happen.

I haven't been sleeping, again. Actually, I can't fall asleep at night and I have trouble leaving sleep in the morning. I'm hoping something will snap this trend soon. For the last couple of nights, Pic has been waking up in the middle of the dark. So, by this morning, I was in no mood to crawl out of my warm bed and drag Pic from hers to take Cardo to work so we could borrow his car. (And, he was cutting it close time wise this morning.) So, we didn't borrow the car and we didn't head over to HoB. Tomorrow, perhaps?

Also, I couldn't take Pic for a sled ride because the snow melted. Ah, well. We definitely didn't stay cooped up all day, though. We spent a good hour outside, walking over to a local park and playing with our honeys (as Pic tends to call 'babies'). When the ice-water wind started to pick up, we headed back home, but we were feeling warm again by the time we got here.

We were home for snack and resting time before heading out on our next adventure: a bus ride to Papi's work. (Pic absolutely loves to ride the bus.) We made a few stops in an attempt to find some shoes for me. I need something comfortable for walking and aerobics-type exercise, but I just can't spend seventy dollars on a pair of shoes right now, even if I assume that they will last a good year or two or three. (I'm probably cheap, but I'm also kind of mainly unemployed.) I'll take shoe suggestions -- places to buy, good sales, ecc. Please.

Given the storm scheduled to make it over the mountains for the next few days, sledding soon? Yes. Definitely.

Monday, January 18, 2010

looking forward to...

...a Friday date.
...getting back to cooking and baking (I proposed to Cardo tonight that we only eat oatmeal for the next several days so that we only have to use a couple of dishes...we have a HUGE bag of old-fashioned oats).
...dragging Pic through some snow tomorrow (on her sled, people, I promise). newly reinstated weekly trip to HoB tomorrow.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

happiness is...

...sunny yellow houses (Cardo doesn't agree with me on this)
...Pic joining me in the warmth of my bed in the morning (and tucking one of my childhood stuffed animals in with me) like we had yesterday...which lead to us taking Pic out for a ride on her bike kitchen being clean after two days of chaotic mess
...mugs and mugs of hot tea in my favorite silver-starred thrift shop mugs

Saturday, January 16, 2010

and no birds sing (from the mouth of the babe)

As we were walking yesterday (yes, I know, you're shocked to learn that we were walking...AGAIN), we passed a dry cleaning shop. From the top of the building poured a consistent steam. Pic looked at it and said, 'Look at all that smoke! They need to stop that or the birds won't sing anymore.'

Thursday, January 14, 2010

shining my little light for haiti

I don't have adequate words to express the sorrow and helplessness I feel in response to Haiti's disastrous earthquake. I've read and heard and seen so many reports that I'm in a constant state of moving from quiet weepiness to thoughts of hope and peace back to the weepiness again.

Although I, along with the rest of us, have been inundated with information about the suffering of the Haitians and the seemingly insurmountable obstacles that will have to somehow be overcome, I still know that I have no read understanding of what is going on there. Here I sit in my den, just having finished up a mug of hot chocolate, my child resting in the next room, trying to understand an event and its consequences that seem so surreal to me.

I am grateful for what I have, for what we have here in the US. Even when we're hit hardest, I think that we are so much better off than many other people in the world. (Yes, this is spoken from a position of high privilege. I live in the western United States. I've never dealt with hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, terrorist attacks, or anything else even slightly comparable. I know how lucky I am that I can say this. I do not mean to downplay the excruciating hardships of people such as those killed by and those who survived Hurricane Katrina, for instance, but I do believe that we have more at our disposal when faced with disasters. I could continue to go on qualifying, but this isn't my focus here.)

I'm sure that everyone already knows where she or he can send monetary aid if she or he is able and would like to. Just in case, though, here's a list I just pulled off NPR's site. I know that times are difficult, financially, for most people I know. I only donated $5 to Doctors without Borders. Five dollars: an amount that seems to ridiculously inconsequential, but I do believe that every little bit can help.

A couple of other notes. First, I read here, a blog post by Chris Sacca, something I find very useful. Yes, he lists several organizations to which you can send donations, but his last in his list of ways to help is the suggestion to learn more about Haiti. I have a tendency to try to make concrete situations that feel abstract to me. I appreciate that he suggests that we can help just by understanding who it is that we are so disconnectedly sending donations to. (I say "we" here because I don't personally know anyone who has gone down to Haiti to provide physical assistance. All I have been able to send is a small bit of money.)

Also, I very much appreciate this post by Amanda at SouleMama. She acknowledges that not everyone can or feels comfortable sending money, but that this is not the only option. She suggests we can also send prayers and positive thoughts. Although I don't pray, I do believe in sending out goodwill in the formlessness of thought, as you probably know from the many times I've asked for you to send goodwill my way. I know some might scoff at such "aid" but I truly believe that it can be helpful to keep someone in our good thoughts. I'm doing this for the people in Haiti.

Here are a couple of other links responding to the devastation in Haiti:

dooce (this is where I found the link to Sacca)
the blankie chronicles (by Kate, whose words I always find comforting)
cake wrecks (where I linked to their Doctors without Borders donation page)

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

things that make you go 'huh?'

I was just browsing the school district website and came across the general dress code rules. One of the rules: no single glove is to be worn at any time. The rule is listed under the heading of safety.


What am I missing here? No Michael Jackson impersonations? I don't see how that's necessarily safety-related, but it's the only thing I can come up with at the moment.

from the mouth of the babe

"Why did the chickens sit on the eggs?


Because they didn't have any chairs!"

[Insert hysterical laughter.]

Monday, January 11, 2010

crafty inspiration

I've seen some truly awe-inspiring uses of imagination in my blog-reading this past week. The first is from The Blankie Chronicles. I have to say that I'd love a room like this.

Also, I've just finished reading through and enjoying all of the archives of Better After and there were some excellent transformations there, too. Actually, there are a lot of excellent transformations, but I definitely have my favorites. They come in the play kitchen variety.

oh so much free time

Nothing fancy, but I'm still in a bit of a transitional phase. Here's to February! In the meantime, I'm focusing on the little bitty things to keep me from thinking of big picture items.

And, wow, my scalp is really pink. It hasn't seen sunlight in forever (we bought sun hats this past year), so I guess I can't at all scoff when Cardo calls me pink.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

i'm ready for my close-up...

...or not.

I just read this over at Storked! The guest writer, Erin, writes about the pre-birth grooming she plans to do (or planned to do, if she's already given birth).

Reading this and reading the comments made me think, "Huh, maybe I'm just weird or I just suck at being feminine."

I felt my first contraction and my water broke, simultaneously, at 3:00 in the morning the day Pic was born. I had just gotten into bed for the night (the insomnia is nothing new) when this happened. I jumped over Cardo to get to the bathroom. I had heard many people say that the amniotic fluid would ruin the mattress and we sure didn't, and still don't, have the money to just go about buying new mattresses. We both got dressed and ready and were at the hospital by four. I might have combed my hair.

I didn't schedule any manicures or pedicures and surely didn't schedule any sort of waxing. I still think that would have sucked, considering how sore I was after pushing a person out of me. Actually, I've never had a pedicure and I got a manicure once, right before I got married, because I thought that's what brides did. Believe you me, never again. I hated having acrylics and the woman actually cut my cuticles and I have major cuticle issues (I've got a little gag reflex going on just writing about it). I can cut and paint my own nails at home just fine, thank you.

However, I didn't realize that so many other people plan these kinds of things pre-birth. I'm guessing it's mainly a psychological thing, as some of the commenters said. They would feel better going into the birthing process if they felt they looked good. I didn't see myself while giving birth, but I just imagine that I was none-too-cute. I don't even remember looking at myself in a mirror for a long time after Pic was born. I really didn't care how I looked. (Hey, doesn't sound entirely different from how I feel about my looks now.)

All in all, this Storked! post just made me feel kind of out of touch with this femininity that perhaps I'm supposed to have. Eh, I'll get over it.

[Pic's up from resting now and she's doing my hair for me. Who needs a salon when I've got Pic? Gotta jet -- we're going to get outside for a bit, until we're sufficiently frozen through.]


P.S. Before I go, let me just say, I don't mind when others avail themselves of salons' facilities. I know that many other people actually care what they look like. And, often, others look really great. I feel that I always just look like me so I'm better off expending my energies elsewhere. ... This is not to say that I don't sometimes wish I could have someone else style my hair, pick out a killer outfit for me and send me off for a night out, but, well, someday.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

it's getting hairy

Or, knotty. Or a big fat mess on top of my head here.

This is not what this was supposed to look like. I might at least settle for both sides matching, but that's not happening. I just can't figure out how to make this work. Help, please.

Yes, I'm basically asking for someone to sit around and braid my hair, an activity that might seem more appropriate for a sixth-grade slumber party, but, well, my eleven-year-old self missed out on those experiences.

If I'm going to have this much hair, I need to be doing something with it. I'm not ready to cut it off yet, so, really, help.


Friday, January 8, 2010

sleep is for those who aren't me...


And, well, why would I sleep when I could be adrift in the ether, listening to this

-- "The String Quartet Tribute to Smells like Teen Spirit (nirva" [I'm guessing the poster (post-er) ran out of characters for the title?]

-- "The String Quartet Tribute To Red Hot Chili Peppers - Soul To Squeeze" [This one just kind of cuts off at the end.]

? [I'm ending my sentence from above, of course.]

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

needed: blog project

Hello All,

I'm feeling adrift here in the great blogosphere. I need something to focus my attention around these parts. I'm wanting a blog project. Suggestions?

I'm interested in something having to do with photography, although I have a point-and-shoot and I don't know how to do anything special with it. I don't want to subject everyone to a bunch of terrible pictures, but I do so love visual images. I'm thinking something like the outside/inside photographs I've seen on other blogs. Ooh, I also have seen people collect photographs based on themes like color. I like the idea of photography projects because they force me to pay attention to details, scenes, moments that I might otherwise miss.

I'm also interested in something food related. A month of muffins perhaps? A year in cookies? Thirteen ways of looking at a pizza crust (ooh, ooh, that's a definite possibility)?

Crafting chronicles. I have a bunch of skeins of yarn and Furie Queene's knitting needles and I'd love to learn to knit something, if only for what I imagine to be the therapeutic repetitiveness of performing the same knit stitch over and over again. (Of course, I'll have to get past that whole making a big fat knot in the yarn stage I seem to so enjoy visiting.) I'm thinking of knitting scarves.

So, really, I have been looking for a new hobby and I suppose that I'm asking not only for blog projects, but also for a hobby. Insights very welcome.

Grazie mille,

i am no atlas

If the weight of the world were to rest on my shoulders, well, let's just say the world would be rolling around underfoot somewhere.

I'm gearing up for some big changes this year and I'm feeling like I may never sleep again. Right now is one of those times when I really do think that drinking alcohol might be great. I always imagine alcohol as some sort of elixir that calms the fire of anxiety. If not alcohol, perhaps some other soothing substance would be nice right about now. I usually turn to food, especially Ben and Jerry's S'mores ice cream, but I'm trying not to do that right now. This leads to me not at all sleeping and experiencing this restlessness that is so powerful that I cannot sit still for more than a few minutes at a time. I cannot focus on any one thing for more than a few fleeting moments. This is not working for me.

If it weren't freezing and the middle of the night, I'd walk. Alas.

So, here I am, past midnight, semi-coherently and very vaguely, pouring my anxieties into the openness of the ether. I've been pretty good about not doing this as much lately, but, ah, my many woes and self-doubts are pressing on me and it's getting hard to breathe.

I'd like to turn to others for thoughts and advice, but when I feel this way, I always feel that my problems are petty and unworthy of others' attention. But, really, I'd like someone to tell me, "Hey, it's all going to work out. Take it a little at a time. Commit yourself for a short time and evaluate where you are this time next year." Actually, this is what I've been telling myself, but, oh wow, I don't deal well with change.

I hate being so vague, so I'll clue you in a bit on a few of the upcoming changes we'll be experiencing this year:
-- Pic will be entering elementary school
-- we're planning a move
-- I'm needing and wanting a job

When I sit here and think about these things, I feel nauseated. But when I type out the list and read it, I can't help but notice how pathetically tiny the list is. I know that many people are dealing with much more excruciating problems, but I'm not living in their heads, I'm trapped in my own.

So, now that I've gushed on for a few minutes here, I'll return to my previous task. In the morning, I'll wake up and think about this post and think, as I always do after these kinds of posts, "Geez, I'm such a drama-monger. Things don't look quite so scary here in the daylight, on the other side of four or five hours of sleep." Geez, I need to get to bed.


I've always wondered about that Atlas image. What is Atlas standing on? What if Atlas did shrug? (And who is John Galt?) I'm trying to meld the mythical explanation with the scientific one and it's not working for me.

Monday, January 4, 2010

ah, lovable...cones?

I just saw this ad on Sociological Images

I know that the print is small, but right at her waist, it says, "'ADD-vantage' turns Small Figures into EYE-CATCHERS!" All I can think in response to that line is that it looks more like ADD-vantage turns breasts into eye-poker-outers.

Oh, oh, also, in the smaller texts, the copy claims, "Slip it on...instantly you look fuller, sense admiring glances, and only you know why!" Actually, I think those oglers are thinking something more along the lines of, "Are they really shaped like that?"

I'll never understand the desire to make breasts look quite so conical. Hmm.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

i beg of you: food edition

This post is in two parts. Please feel free to help out with either or both. Thanks.

I'm thinking of buying a slow-cooker. Cardo and I have a giftcard we got from my parents for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad!) and I think I'm going to use part of it on a slow-cooker. I've wanted one for a while, but I also want to know that I'll make more than overnight oatmeal with it. I already have an apple butter recipe from Ms Kat and I can ask Coach J for her vegetable soup recipe. But what else? I need more good recipes, please. What else do you all cook in your slow-cookers?

Also, Coach J told me she has a 2-quart slow-cooker without a timer. I was thinking I wanted a timer, but she says it's no big deal not having one. Also, I've only so far seen the timers on the five- and six-quart slow-cookers and I really don't want anything that big. We just don't have the space. And, we just don't have that many people to feed on a regular basis. So, I'm also looking for size and timer recommendations, please.

Okay, now for the second part. Lately, I've been into the idea of chow mein. I ate chicken chow mein the other night and I kept thinking, "I could probably manage to make this." So, does anyone have a good, simple recipe? (Does that exist?) I'm thinking either chicken or vegetable chow mein. Just know that I might, um, ignore certain ingredients like onions (unless they're green) and peppers. I've browsed online for a few recipes, but I want something someone I know has tried and liked.

Okay, so I await your responses. Thanks much.

hello, dolly!

I'm currently reading Dolly: My Life and Other Unfinished Business. I'm very much enjoying it. I didn't know this book existed until I read about it in an NPR review, and then, about two days later, I found it at Goodwill. That was a while ago, but I'm just now getting to it.

I can hear Parton's voice as I read this book (I'm writing about her actual voice here...but her writing definitely has its own stylistic voice, also). The book was published in 1994 and I'm right now hoping that she'll write again in the coming years.

Reading this makes me want to listen to her music even more. (It also makes me want the money to purchase Dolly, a box set of her music, from my wishlist.) I just read past the part where she ends her professional relationship with Porter Wagoner and sets out on her own. This is when she wrote "Light of a Clear Blue Morning," which I love oh-so-much.

[Dolly Parton "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" (1992)] Why is "STACKED" there on the side? I'm sure there's a reason other than reference to her formidable bosom, right?

In speaking of Wagoner, she also talks about "I Will Always Love You," which she says she wrote about the break-up of their working together, not about a break-up with a lover. I remember singing this song when I was young. For a bit, I only knew it because of Whitney Houston, but then I found out it was a Parton song.

I, along with many, many others, find it funny that so many people choose this song to be played at their weddings. It helps if you listen to the lyrics, no? "Things can't really work out, so I'm going to take off now, but, well, I'll always love you." Not exactly the message one wants to hear at the beginning of a marriage. I especially love that she sings this in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. It just makes it all that much more fun when it's chosen for a wedding.

[Dolly Parton - I will always love you]

Speaking of that movie, makes me want to do a little sidestep, too, so I'll include that.

[Charles Durning in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas] He he he.

Friday, January 1, 2010

on comments

I've been meaning to post something on this for quite some time, but, for whatever reason, I just haven't.

I'm never sure where to post comments to others' comments. I don't subscribe to RSS feeds, so I always have to check back on others' blogs to see if someone has responded to my comments. I'm just self-centered enough that I figure that others don't subscribe to RSS feeds, either (even though I have buttons for doing so here and I've seen them elsewhere). Actually, I just never much think about it.

So, sometimes I post my own responses to responses in my own comments and sometimes I got back to your sites and post my comments there. I think I've finally made up my mind that if I'm solely responding to something you've posted in a comment, I'll comment there. I like to think of the comments as a place for further conversation, but it can't really be if no one goes back and reads the comments.

Anyhow, I'll try this for a bit and see how it goes. (This would be so much more of an issue if I had more than a handful of readers. Fortunately, my dearest readers, we don't have such a big problem here.)

How do you all deal with this? (Please tell me I'm not the only one who thinks about this while she's away from the computer.)

'cause she's a wild and wacky child

When it's too cold and dark to walk outside in the evenings, we often walk in the mall. This is definitely not an ideal option, but it works well enough sometimes. For about a month from Thanksgiving until after Christmas, I refuse to go into the mall, though, because I'm anti-mall-Santa (I'll not get into that now, but you might now think I'm some horrible freak...sorry).

So, it'd been a while since we'd visited our local spending palace, but a few days ago, Cardo and I decided to give it a shot. (And, I have to say that at four days after Christmas, they had yet to dismantle the Santa set-up. I didn't see anyone dressed as the jolly old (giant) elf, but, really, the set-up was still there.) For the last several months, there's been a bungee-trampoline-experience set up in one of the many open areas. Basically, there's a giant trampoline and, over that, a structure that suspends many bungee cords. Kids wishing to bounce are strapped into what looks like a climbing harness and connected to a bunch of bungee cords, the number of cords determined by the weight of the child. I'm probably doing a horrible job of explaining this, but I hope you can picture it. After the kid has removed her shoes, she's strapped into the harness, connected to some bungees and begins jumping. The person operating the...ride (?), raises the cords, allowing the child to bounce higher. This is one of Pic's favorite treats ever.

Although the wait was wonderfully long tonight, Pic opted to sit and wait and have a turn to bounce. She was growing very antsy and grumpy near the end of her wait and I was thinking she might melt down and have to miss the ride. She held it together, though, and her demeanor changed the moment she was strapped in and ready to bounce. And, oh my, is my child a ham. That's not a question. She's definitely a little ham, and I love this about her. She was having fun entertaining the crowd of waiting kids and their accompanying guardians. When she struck a very serene-looking tree pose in the middle of a bounce, though, I was lamenting that I stodgily stand by my dinky old phone sans camera. We didn't get a picture of her mid-air yoga pose, but it's an image I probably won't forget anytime soon.

On a related side-note, we love the guy who runs the ride. (I really feel weird calling it a "ride" but I don't know how else to refer to it.) He's great with kids and he's always treated us well. And, if there's no line, as often is the case when we don't happen to hit the mall in the middle of winter break, he lets the kids stay up for much longer than the posted five-minute time limit.

happy freaking new year

I finally hauled myself out of bed this morning to the sounds of my neighbors screaming at each other. Ah, the sounds of love.

Anyhow, we're planning on hanging out around the apartment today. Pic is watching It's Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown because we have been lax in watching and sending back the Netflix movies lately. I can't wait until we get this set of movies sent back, though, because up next should be The Shop Around the Corner, recommended to me by Ms Kat. I watched it way back when she recommended it, but it's been a while. If we owned it, I'd watch it much more often. My last Netflix choice was somewhat unfortunate. Four Christmases. Ugh. Big fat UGH. I'm still not exactly sure why I watched it, but I won't be doing that ever again.

Cardo's working on his car and I'm doing laundry and posting here. I'm really hoping we'll be able to get out for a walk later today, though. Please cooperate weather. The sky is pretty grey right now, so we'll see.

So, minus our neighbors' heated argument earlier, we're having a quiet new year so far...just the way I like things. I hope everyone else is able to take some time off for themselves also.