Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Apparently, a lot of people are having split pea soup at this time of year. One store was sold out completely. At the other, I grabbed the last bag of peas. The LAST bag, I tell you.
Is this a holiday tradition I don't know about? I thought it was black-eyed peas at New Year's, not split peas.
I think we'll be celebrating our New Year's Eve tonight on east coast time, so we can go to bed early. There's a lot to do tomorrow, including making that darn soup.
What are your plans for the evening?
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
But there's also MY version of LAG... when I talk to them and the response... comes... agonizingly... slowly... if... at... all...
Yeah, that's what it's like to talk to them when they are sucked in. Well, they'll be sucked back out into the World of Reality next week, whilst I will be chasing leprechauns. Mwahaha!
This would not last a whole year in my house. Popping only one bubble a day would be like eating only one kernel of popcorn. Or one potato chip. Even eating only one day's chocolate out of the advent calendar can be difficult. But this calendar?
A few weeks ago, Ernest and a friend got hold of some long strips of the stuff and had a stomp fest. And there were some of the big bubbles Amazon uses...each bubble about the size of a sandwich bag...which make an extremely loud and satisfying POP.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Mr. Thomas's fingers were just the right size to fit in the olives. And that's the only decent picture I took.
Anyway, Thank You, M-I-L!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
The birdwatching hobby didn't take with me, but one bird I do recognize is a towhee. These small greyish brown birds are everywhere.
Photo from Save La Cresta Ridge and Ravine.
On Saturday, "everywhere" included inside my garage. I opened the garage door with the new opener button on the wall, and flap flap flap....there was a little bird flying around. I don't know if it had been there a while, or flew in when I opened the door. I left the door open and it was gone when I returned from my adventure.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
I had to run the gauntlet to get to the store today. The store's parking lot was nearly empty but the town was not.
I took some detours on my way home to avoid the infested areas. Following two other cars through the back alleys, I was blocked by a horde (OK, five) of them all carrying large white bakery boxes in front of them. Five abreast, just like this:
Aaaargh! Was I to be pelted with raspberry danishes? Taken down by a chocolate eclair? Felled by a fusillade of sugar cookies?
Luckily for me the horde parted to either side of the car. And those other two cars that made it out of the alley before me? I followed them safely to my own neighborhood.
All joking aside, I'm glad people are coming to support our small town's economy. And the pastry? It's to die for.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Who did I think I was kidding? We dug into them right after presents. But was quite enough left for the next day. And the next. And so on and so on....
Frank was happy because he got an effects box for his guitar, and 2 movies. Ernest got a new video game, an awesome book, and 2 tie-dye T-shirts. The HH and I were happy because we were safe and warm in a cozy house on a rainy day. What could be better than that?
One of my friends at work went to Chicago for Christmas. And I keep seeing news reports about people stranded in the Chicago airport. I hope they are staying longer.
And somehow, despite my efforts to go stocking-free, Santa couldn't stand to overlook us on Christmas morning.
For those of you like me, who can't read that fine print (like Mr. H the P.E. teacher who couldn't read his credit card number at the new video store tonight) here is the text of Santa's note:
Hello you little disloyal band of unbelievers.
I don't understand how you thought NO STOCKINGS could stop me.
I still believe in you.
Those small gold boxes of See's Truffles have been a tradition around here for longer than I care to count.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
- Watch Christmas movies/shows (Charlie Brown, Rudolph, Grinch, Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th St, It's a Wonderful Life, etc.)
- Grocery shop, because the store will be closed tomorrow.
- Stay out of the way of Handy Husband's Home Improvement projects (garage door opener and pantry light). Also, he's going to help Ernest take apart his iPod because the headphone jack is pushed in.
- Make apple and pumpkin pies for tomorrow.
- Watch the wind blow outside and wonder if it's going to rain. Watch Pooh's Blustery Day.
- Go out to dinner.
- Open presents (we always open them on Christmas Eve.) Perhaps we should rethink that...if we're not having stockings this year, what will we do on Christmas morning? Actually, I think Santa made a stop at See's Candy yesterday so there will be a LITTLE something.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
So the Handy Husband and I had an afternoon date. We drove to the bigger city and visited the natural history museum. The new Bird Hall is complete. Also there was an exhibit of beautiful paintings from the Oak Group.
We went out to lunch. I had a delicious ahi tuna burger with scrumptious sweet potato fries. Yummy. He had angel hair pasta with tomato and shrimp.
We hit the mall. The ostensible purpose was to go to Sears to look at garage door openers. (Ours is so old...it shrieks even when I oil it...and will not stop if it hits something). Well, they didn't have the type the HH wanted. So we went to See's Candy and Pottery Barn instead!
When we got home, he decided to drive the truck to another nearby town with a Home Depot, to look at openers there. And also to buy a new light for the pantry and a roll of metal flashing with which to repair the barbecue. Yes, he has decided to fix the gaping hole. Meaning there is nothing for me to give him for Christmas, and it's a darn good thing for me that I procrastinated about buying a new one. We did wrap his new shoes and put them under the tree.
We had better seats this time. (We were there 10 days earlier for AC/DC). We walked in the arena and were totally disconcerted because there was no end stage. There was a giant flat stage in the center. Three drumsets, one veiled in black.
The first band, with the smallest drumset, was The Sword. They were loud. Someone diagonal from us was complaining, "Your songs all sound the same. Play something that's not in 4/4." Frank said they did play something in 12/8, so there!
The second band had the big drumset up on risers. They were even louder. Their bass player had huge tattooed arms. He looked a little like a friend from high school. (Family members? Imagine Tom I. with long long hair.) I forgot their name. I was too busy looking at the activity in the pit...the whole floor area was a giant mosh pit. What we first thought was a fight turned out to be some fat guys walking in a circle and bumping each other. Someone tried to crowd surf, but fell down. This band replaced Lamb of God, who were "unceremoniously dumped from the tour," according to their replacements. The HH told me it was because the Forum is owned by a church. (Anyhoo, Lamb of God played the Ventura Theater on Friday night. See Frank's footnote.)
Then they cleared the extraneous equipment from the stage and we waited for Metallica. Lars Ullrich's unveiled drum set was not that big. It's not the size of the equipment, it's what you can do with it.
Their set started off with lasers, and just got better. Lights, smoke, fire etc. But most importantly, great music. We only own one Metallica album (the black one, of course, which has been played a lot) so I confess I'm not too familiar with the rest of their songs. The newest CD seems to live in Frank's car and I don't think I've even heard it yet. It didn't matter.
What really impressed me was how much James
The pit was a living organism, a cell full of arm-waving cilia and belly bumping organelles. Crowd sufing mitochondria? (Hey, it's been years since I took biology so cut me some slack here.)
Truly, this was one of the best concerts EVVVVERRRRRR.
Frank's Footnote. Not really his, it's still me. He saw Lamb of God at the Ventura Theater on Friday. He said it was a great show. Lots of action in the pit...apparently the pit divided into two groups and ran into each other. The skinny guys lost. Frank exhibited a mature level of common sense and stayed up a level. He says he got home at 1 a.m and took a shower to get rid of "the man smell." OK.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Except, I am not a white chocolate aficionado (and boy did I work to phrase that so I wouldn't get hit by nasty searchers)...so if I made them myself, I would use the real thing. Because to me, white chocolate isn't chocolate. But these were still yummilicious.
White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. white sugar
1 T brandy (or rum, Grand Marnier, or other liqueur)
1 1.2 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 c. white chocolate chips
1 c. dried cranberries
Preheate oven to 375 F (190 C). Grease cookie sheets.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg and brandy. Combine the flour and baking soda. Stir into the sugar mixture. Mix in the chocolate chips and cranberries. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets.
Bake for 8-10 minutes in the preheated oven. For best results, take them out while they are still doughy. Allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheets before transferring them to wire racks to cook completely.
As you approach our front door, you'll see my wreath. Yes, I did do something different to it this year. I was thinking of fabric bows, or buttons, but then I walked past the pile of stuff in the garage and thought: TOYS. With the help of the trusty hot glue gun, TA DA! My Star Wars wreath. (Ernest's been playing a Star Wars Theme on the piano, so it fits.)
This is the tree I grew up with. Now I can look back with nostalgia and wish we still had it. But at the time (1968) I longed for a real tree.
Because of my Childhood Aluminum Tree Trauma, we always get a real tree. The problem is I can never fit all the ornaments on it. I worked for many years around the corner from a florist, who put up the most beautiful trees every year, loaded with the loveliest ornaments imaginable. After Christmas, they went on sale. 25, 50, then ultimately 75% off. How could I resist?
These are some favorites. I love glass ornaments, especially from Radko.
I am obsessed with food-shaped ornaments. I've got a whole meal on the tree: desserts, fruits, vegetables, including a carrot, onion and potato, and of course the turkey.
Here's a small sampling of the hodgepodge on the tree: Princess Leia, a Radko octopus, a flamingo (Hi, Debbie), I'll see Cheri one SpongeBob and raise her a Cartman from South Park, and there's Ernest in pre-school. The rest of the tree is equally varied.
Snow globes on the mantel...
Nutcrackers on the piano...
Angels from my childhood...
These elves are quite ancient, too...
The elf on the shelf is watching you! I find that song terrifying!
This Santa reindeer sled used to wind up and race in circles on the floor. It's ancient. I remember it from the early 60s. It's sitting on top of some vintage Christmas stockings that I was too lazy to put out.
The lights that didn't get put up...
Frank and Ernest's stockings, which are also not going up. We decided not to do stockings this year because
My Christmas shopping is done. The HH and I went out this afternoon and stimulated our town's economy. Yes, I did my part to support the local merchants.
Merry Christmas, and thanks for stopping by.
Friday, December 19, 2008
My left eye became inexplicably blurry at 10:00 this morning. And it itches. Which leads me to believe it can wait til Monday. If it was a brain tumor, it wouldn't be itching.
I went to the grocery store today. When I returned to the car with my haul, there was a squashed plastic spider (about 8" in diameter) next to the car. WWHHYYYY?
I'm going to be gone for the early part of January. Guess what I get to come back to? ..... Jury duty.
Why am I up so late? That's another question I just can't answer. Goodnight, Friends.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
His dad (the Handy Grandpa?) took us out to breakfast on Sunday. The HG quizzed him..."How old are you going to be?" And the HH answered "48?" With a question in his voice. Wrong! Sorry, that was so last year. This year, it's 49. But I told him, "If you really want to start subtracting years I'll go for that." I don't like those 5 - 0 numbers and would gladly go backwards a little bit!
But only for a few years. You don't want to go overboard with the subtraction. My mother was "39" forever, even when it was ludicrous. She covered up her birth year on her driver's license. When you're 59 or 69 or 79 and say you're 39... it just doesn't fly.
Now, my BFF, the opera singer, automatically subtracts a certain number of years off her age because that is what they do in that profession...lying about their age is a given. But it's a consistent number. And she can totally pass as the younger age!
At this point I'm still 48 but I reserve the right to lie about it in the future. Funny how this age thing turned around to be all about me, but as I always say, it's MY blog.
For my husband's birthday: he already got the Blu-ray player (and yes, he was delighted that it was set up for him before he got home).
And tonight, on his birthday, the concert we are taking him to is......
And everyone else except me is taking the next day off.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I did get the following done:
***wrap the presents that were here. But I'm not done shopping. What do I get Mr. Thomas? More Thomas trains? And the eternal question, what does Frank want? He's only come up with 2 DVDs. And where do I hide the thing for the Handy Husband? Maybe at my niece's house.
***decorate the wreath. I get the same lovely wreath from the Boy Scouts every year. But the same three pinecones and red bow get boring.
(I did something a little wild and crazy with the wreath this time. You'll see.)
***get the Christmas decorations out of the closet (Ernest and friend Ern did the digging.)
***order photo cards from ShutterFly. They'll be here Tuesday.
***write a VERY BRIEF Christmas letter. Half a page.
***buy Christmas stamps. The nutcracker ones.
***decide where to put the tree. Again, you'll see.
bailed on decided to forgo the Christmas party tonight. I'm tired and sleepy from the cold, the HH is tired and sleepy from having worked 7 long days a week for several weeks straight...so we're having a fire and relaxing tonight. Tomorrow we're getting the tree.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Phase 1 took place in second grade, when he looked like this.
Adorable, I know, but who wants to look like SpongeBob all through grade school. After Phase 1, he wore retainers for a long long time. Finally, when most of the required teeth had come in, Phase 2 started on his bottom teeth a couple months ago. Now Phase 2.something: he got the top brackets yesterday.
Scene: 9:30 a.m. Take an advil. OK Mom. Put one in your pocket to take at lunch. I won't need it, mom.
Scene: 3:30 p.m. Do we have any soft snacks? Do your teeth hurt? Yes. Did you take the Advil? No. I TOLD YOU SO! How long did your teeth hurt the last time? 4 days. Take the Advil!
So I scavenged in the cupboards and luckily found instant chocolate pudding and jello. I have no idea how old they were but they tasted all right. Turkey soup for dinner, malt-o-meal for breakfast.
Tonight I'm going to stew some pork (on sale $1.99/pound) until it's really tender and make a chili. One pot meals have been working out really well...they can stay on the stove until the Handy Husband gets home at whatever uncertain hour.
(He almost got sent to Switzerland this weekend, but he declined on account of next week's concert tickets. I'm still not telling.)
UPDATE ON FRIDAY: HE SAYS HE'LL BE ABLE TO EAT PIZZA TODAY.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
It arrived today, 8 days before his birthday. (the 9th plus 8 equals the 17th -- I can do second grade math in my head unlike most of the second graders I worked with today.)
Ernest unpacked it and set it up and we earlybirds are using it right now, even though the handy husband isn't home yet. We were like the people that appear before your garage sale is open.
Is that fair? To open his present before he even got here???? Yes, it's a Blu-ray player and I got Sleeping Beauty for it! TOTALLY fair. (I assure you, there's also a man movie for him to watch when he finally comes home. )
Besides, Ernest plugged it in and set it up for him. Now the HH can kick back and enjoy it, without any of the work. (He used to tell me I could never leave him, because I couldn't set up the stereo. Hey, I could deal with the old stereo, but this TV stuff is weirdly complicated. HDMI? How Do Machines Irritate? Ernest seems to have the knack, though. The HH had better watch out!)
OMG, the picture is so clear. The Eyvind Earle backgrounds look like real paintings now. Kind of like that blue precious in the background. I walk by that every day and imagine that tree guarding a precipice...I step off and I am in fairy tale land.
Oh, we need a close-up. Tra la la, I am leaving for fairy tale land now. I'll visit my ancestors, the Brothers Grimm and see what weird characters they have met up with. See you later.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Photo from PremierGlow.com
The opening act was The Answer, a hard rocking band from Belfast, Ireland. Lead singer Cormac Neeson had hair like Ernest (if Ernest brushed it out) and sounded like Robert Plant. They were smokin'! "Cheers!"
Here's the opening we couldn't see, from our seats at the side. (We did have a good view of Angus's bald spot, a little incongruous with the schoolboy costume!)
The show was full of great classic tunes. Even the new stuff sounded like the classics. At one point the beat changed and they went into She's Got the Jack, which included an Angus Young striptease.
BeefCake or ManCake, he's not. ScrawnyChickenCake?
Here's the end, complete with cannons!
Fun! We had a great time. In the "it's a the small world" area, I ran into a fellow mom at the store today...her boy and Ernest went to pre-school together. She mentioned her son liking AC/DC and I said, "we saw them last night!" Turns out she had seen them long ago in San Francisco, early in their career.
Can't wait for our last concert of the year, on the Handy Husband's birthday. I'll leave you hanging as to who we are going to see!
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Speaking of concerts, we are going to AC/DC tonight.
So you can guess what my next post will be about!
Friday, December 05, 2008
Horripilation: A real or fancied bristling of the hair of the head or body, resulting from disease, terror, chilliness, etc. Goosebumps. You know that creepy crawly deliciously shivery feeling!
Ernest and I saw Sweeney Todd on stage last night:
And I had horipillation. It was awesome.
Here's Mrs. Lovett (Carrie Cimma) and Sweeney Todd (Merritt David Janes). During "A Little Priest," she made him crack. Is there a technical theatrical term for that? When the actor starts laughing and can't continue? (I saw it happen to Nathan Lane in "The Odd Couple.")
We were in New York in 2006 when the revival was on Broadway, and I was sorry we didn't get to see it then. Too many shows, too little time.
Unfortunately the Handy Husband had to work, and Frank just bailed on us. Ernest and I decided to go out to dinner beforehand, so we had a lovely evening.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
Ernest gets lots of phone calls from a cute girl in his Algebra class. I know her aunt...who says the dad is great at math. So why is she calling Ernest all the time, hmmmmm? I wonder. I've also noticed that his upper lip peach fuzz is darkening. And his voice seems deeper than usual (he's always had a deep gruff voice for a child --- Frank did too). Oh my, puberty approaches.
Mr. Alec Greven has another book coming out in March: How To Talk to Moms. I can't wait.
Even their Crocs match. Croc Attack!
Living in a tourist town, I can't tell you how many times we've seen "dressed alike" couples and I've sworn NEVER to wear the same clothes as my husband, at the same time. I do admit to having "acquired" 2 of his Hawaiian shirts that somehow got too small. Shrinkage, you know. But he's not wearing them anymore.
freak out am occasionally bothered if we wear the same colors. But you can't avoid red at Christmas. So now I'm going off into my usual tangent.
This was last year's Christmas Party Dress. It was red satin, with a black mesh overlay. Yes, I was OK with him wearing a red shirt because it worked. It coordinated, but was not matchy-matchy. Wow, make-up gives me eyebrows. Note to self: Must remember makeup! And a push-up bra, because The Girls are 48 years old and they need a little more help. It's OK to ask for help. Note to child photographer: don't stand on chair because it makes Daddy's head glow.
This year's dress will also be red/black, but polka-dotty. I'm safe from matchyness because he would not wear dots!!!! He can wear the red shirt again. By the way: I bought this dress last year on sale! It's been in the closet for ever.
Here's my chunky ruby-like necklace, from a local crafts fair. Yes, my closet does resemble a log cabin.
You know I like Coldwater Creek. And here are the cheap Tar-jhay shoes I bought months ago. They were just waiting for the right moment. They have more danceable soles than the adorable black shoes I wore last year. Not that my husband will dance, unless his friends shame him into it again. Shame away, friends!As always, I may be somewhat [cough] overweight, but with these shoes (and the right bra)? Totally HAWT. Green beans hawt. Party day is December 13th.