Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Split Pea Shortage

Over the holiday break, Ernest has been begging for ham. And his mean old Mom, besides having turkey for Thanksgiving, forced him to eat turkey for Christmas, too. Hey, I was craving stuffing and gravy, that's why. So I promised him we'd have ham on New Year's Eve. In our house, that means split pea soup the day afterwards.

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

The Mom's Version of Lag

The kids complain about computer lag all the time, when they are playing WoW. (My Little Secret: I intentionally try to make it worse by uploading photos onto the blog at the same time they are playing!)

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!

Bubble Calendar

Have you seen this? A calendar made from bubble wrap. (Photo from

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

Book Blog Giveaway Time

There's a new giveaway over at my book blog: something for the kids and something for grownups. Go see!

Thanks M-I-L

Yesterday my mother-in-law hosted a family Christmas party and I just wanted to tell her, "THANK YOU!" It was lovely to see everyone, and even lovelier still because she had it catered!
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


My aunt Anna Agatha Amaryllis Agapantha Arsenica Amber (there's a story behind that) was a dedicated birdwatcher. She kept a huge pair of binoculars next to the picture window in our living room. Those binocs were powerful enough to see a waterfall in the hills some miles away! Sometimes I think there was some spying on the neighbors, but their main purpose was birdwatching.

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.

They even use our birdbath when the cat's not around. (It's surprising how many hits I get for "why won't birds use my birdbath?")

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

Night of the Living Bakery Boxes

The tourists have been out in full force in my small town.

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

Pie in the Sky

These practically perfect pies, made on Christmas Eve, were supposed to be saved for Christmas Day dinner. (Yes, that is a Pi sign in the middle of the apple...that's a tradition.)

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.
Love, Santa

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

My Christmas Eve to-do list

  1. Watch Christmas movies/shows (Charlie Brown, Rudolph, Grinch, Christmas Story, Miracle on 34th St, It's a Wonderful Life, etc.)
  2. Grocery shop, because the store will be closed tomorrow.
  3. 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.
  4. Make apple and pumpkin pies for tomorrow.
  5. Watch the wind blow outside and wonder if it's going to rain. Watch Pooh's Blustery Day.
  6. Go out to dinner.
  7. 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

An afternoon date

We invited Ernest along, but he didn't want to leave the house (and WoW). OK, fine.

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 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.

At Long Last My Metallica Post

December 17, 2008. The Forum. Metallica. Incredible.

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 Hot and Sexy Hetfield interacted with the audience. And on behalf of the whole band, how much they appreciated their fans. "Is this your first Metallica show? We must be doing something right." ... "Have you seen Metallica before? We must be doing something right." ...and referring to the audience as "the fifth member of the band." All the mobile members moved back and forth across the stage, and Lars was on a rotating platform.

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

White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies

A teacher (Thank you Mrs. D) made these and they are delish. She kindly included the recipe with the cute christmassy chinese container of cookies. (They were actually for my teacher but she SHARED and let me take the recipe too!)

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) 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 egg
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.

Makes 24.


Holiday Open House

Welcome to the Holiday Homes Tour, organized by Jen on the Edge.

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 ImemyselfI Santa couldn't think of anything to put in them. These stockings are a huge 30" tall. I think Ernest was small enough to fit in his the year we got them.

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.

I'm Slow

If you're here from Jen's Holiday post, please come back later today. Because as usual, I've been procrastinating and nothing's done!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Late Friday Tidbits

I really want to talk about the Metallica concert. It was great, but I am just too tired.

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


Happy ??TH Birthday to my Handy Husband.

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

Small Steps

Slowly, the Christmas stuff is progressing. When is Jen's Holiday Open House, anyway? I still have time.

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.

We 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 we're having a fire and relaxing tonight. Tomorrow we're getting the tree.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Soft Diet

Ernest has entered Braces Phase 2.

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.)


Tuesday, December 09, 2008


The Handy Husband picked out his own birthday gift (besides the tickets to the concert we are going to next week).

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

For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)

We had a great time at the AC/DC concert, once we finally sat down! We hid a dead end walking around the lobby, turned around, hit another dead end, finally got into the arena, walked all the way around to the other side and battled vertigo climbing up into the nosebleed section to our seats. When we got there, a giant pillar was in our way! Oops, we were in the wrong section. We finally found the seats. Actually, not too bad. We looked straight down at the side of the stage (better than being all the way in the back). It was fun to look out at the sea of blinking red horns!

Photo from

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


According to that little box on the sidebar, it's my blogoversary today. I started this blog 2 years ago. Predictably, my first post was titled "Procrastination." Like pregnancy and childbirth, the first 9 months were pretty slow, then it got more interesting. Over that first year, a telemarketer swore at me, I battled with reading glasses, one son built a theremin and the other got a kilt, and I started my ongoing series of concert posts. The second year's been a lot of fun.

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


I saw that word a few weeks ago on's word of the day, and I have been savoring it, treasuring it, and waiting for the perfect occasion to use it.

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


We had a very interesting sunset on Friday, November 28th.

UPDDTE: I need to clarify -- it's not smoke! Just a thick cloud layer, but it was odd the way it stopped right over the hills.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Fruit Schmoot

We had a potluck lunch meeting at work. Fruit salad, that's easy enough.

Whoa! Six bucks for some grapes? What are Holiday grapes? $4 for a melon? This turned into a pricy little dish at a total of $15.14! And what makes it worse? Less than 1/4 of it was eaten.

Family, we're going to be eating fruit salad for a long long time.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

How to talk to...

This little 9 year old cutie pie has a book of dating advice. It seems very sensible.

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.


Yahoo caught my eye with a link to this couple who dress alike.

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.

I 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.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Stop spying!

I swear, Jerry Scott and Jim Borgman are spying on my kids. Both of them.

The last one is hard to read. Here's a link to it on the Seattle P-I website. (That's where I have to get my Sunday Mary Worth fix because my newspaper doesn't print it on Sundays. ) (UPDATE: Duh to me. If you click on the picture, you'll get a larger version. I'm so non-techie.)

I think the state of Frank's man cave is a lost cause. We asked him to clean it up recently: he threw out the trash. He still hasn't unpacked boxes from when he moved in July. I guess that's a good thing. At least most of the stuff is still in boxes rather than on the floor.

Ernest had a friend spend the night last week. I put my leopard-clad foot down and said he had to clear the floor first. So he did. I hope it lasts a while.

However, I have a confession... Shhh. Don't tell. I still haven't hung up my own clothes from last week's laundry. So I guess I can't complain too loudly.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Book giveaway

Head on over to my book blog for the first of several giveaways. This one's all about Stephen King.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

It's 3:45 but we haven't eaten yet. If I eat the big turkey meal at mid-day, I am a goner for the rest of the day. So if we are home alone (which we are), we eat the holiday meal at about 5:00.

The turkey is already done. Stuffing is ready to go in the oven, potatoes are peeled, and I was just about to cut up green beans when I got distracted. I have a secret love for the classic green bean casserole but 1) the handy husband isn't too into casseroles and 2) the kids wouldn't touch cream of mushroom soup. Then I remembered a recipe from the Half-Assed Kitchen. Because it's really about the french-fried onions. And then I thought I'd blog about it.

It's been dark and cloudy most of the day, which confused the cat. She decided it was dinner time before 3:00. It just cleared up just in time for the sunlight to shine into our eyes (gaaahh!) as Ernest and I watch (or not watch) our Pixar marathon. (So far Toy Story 1 and 2, currently watching Cars.) Frank is in his manCave, and his beard is rapidly approaching caveman length. I swear it's grown since yesterday.

The Handy Husband is flipping channels in the other room, and I am not complaining. This is the first real weekend he's had at home for months. All fall, he's been working early, late, and on Sundays to get the new microscope out. The designers tear it apart to fix something, then he puts it together again. Over and over again. They shipped one on Tuesday, and I think the next one goes out next week.

I'm just thankful that he has the whole weekend off to rest and regroup.
I'm thankful Frank's home.
I'm thankful Ernest is still sweet and got a good report card.
I'm thankful for our home and the dinner that will be on the table.
Ernest will be thankful for the gravy!!!!
I'll be really thankful if I get a good night's sleep. C'mon turkey tryptophan, do your magic.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What am I? Chicken Thigh! Contest

Besides the yummy Shoyu Chicken Thighs. I've also used chicken thighs in Jambalaya (instead of the shrimp -- just brown them at the beginning and keep them in the pan while you cook everything else), Chicken Curry, and Chicken Cacciatore

Please, give me a break from turkey this weekend! Share your favorite special recipe using Chicken Thighs.

I'll pick one and cook it on Saturday night, and hopefully feature photos on Sunday. There may also be a prize involved. What kind of prize, you ask? You know me -- I don't know yet! Possibly it will be poultry-related. There are so many ways I could go with that...poultry seasoning? a chicken-themed dish towel? a rubber chicken?

UPDATE: The winner is...... Chicken Chop Suey from China Panda. Because.... frankly....even I could think of barbecue sauce and beer. Honorable mention to Cheri and Jen because no one else bothered. Love you both, that's the prize.

The 6th Photo Meme - "The Ties that Bind"

Blackbird tagged me for the 6th Photo from the 6th Folder Meme. But I didn't like that picture. I renamed some folders and recounted. I also tried 3 of 3 and 4 of 4. Some of the results were: strangers at a ren Faire, food on a plate, other people's cars. Nothing that resonated with me.

Then I hit on the slightly cheaty bright idea of counting from the bottom! 6th folder from the bottom, 6th photo from the end! And voila! This is a keeper. This is one I can blog about!

August 18, 2004: Ernest is 8 years old. He recently discovered a love of ties--so great a love that his piano teacher gave him a batch of her father's ties. I love the creative contrast of the tie and the tie-dye. On the wall in the background? Frank's silhouette from his 8th grade graduation.

There are two other tie photos in that folder:

Ernest and his precious CatBaby, all dressed up with nowhere to go.

And the tie that started it all...

He wore this in his first theatrical endeavor, with a classy white shirt, not a t-shirt! I have no photos of that, but a videotape exists somewhere. He was sad when he had to return this tie to the costumer, and thus the tie obsession was born. He's got quite a collection now. I should get him a tie rack -- they keep falling off the hanger.

There you go, the 6th photo from the 6th folder, in my own backwards style.

Go tag yourselves!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Playing With Fire

It seems the verdict is in... His own blood relatives did not comment (maybe they voted anonymously) but they know him and would say the same thing: Unless he makes a miraculous repair (which is totally possible) the handy husband will get a barbecue for Christmas, because he likes to play with fire.

Musical interlude, which has nothing to do with barbecues.

And if he burns himself, tears go by... Yet another musical interlude which has even less to do with barbecues. I'm just in the mood for some 60's Stones.

And why am I embedding these "old school" videos? Because my Handy Husband is an "old school" barbecue-er. None of that newfangled propane gassy stuff for him. It's wood, baby, wood all the way. Oak wood fires... Which take an hour to get the coals just right. But the food is ever so tasty when it is done.

So let's leave with a little Norwegian wood.

Thank You, BeanPlate

Melanie at beanpaste has a new cooking blog, "beanplate: Eating Well in Lean Times." Check it out!

I have been on the lookout for new things to do with chicken thighs***, because they are delicious and inexpensive. Melanie's Shoyu Chicken Thighs (Show You?) are incredible. Incredibly tasty, easy and cheap. How can it get better than that?

I used half a tray of thighs (5) so I cut the ingredients in half. Go all out and buy the fresh can really taste it.

Ernest said, "These are really good, Mom. Can I have another?"

The rest of the household is out so they missed the deliciousness... we saved a portion for the handy husband, who is working late yet again (the product is supposed to ship tomorrow and then the late nights will end? Please?). Frank is out at "food night" which used to be "taco night" until the all-you-can-eat taco place got tired of them boring. Now it's a Monday night social thing to eat out somewhere anywhere out with a bunch of friends.

***So, I am leading up to a Chicken Thigh Recipe Contest. Whoo-hoo. Details tomorrow!!!!

A Strange Similarity?

Tom Jones, love him or loathe him? I'm on the love him side, but I know some of you are not.

He was rockin' on GMA this morning. (By the way, I love seeing the bari sax player over his shoulder. Frank played bari sax for years!)

Play a little of this, then scroll down.

...Round about 45 seconds, when he started singing "I'm a ma-ah-an," I started noticing certain vocal qualities... something in the timbre of his voice, that reminded me of one of my all time favorites...

(I luurve Tim Curry. )

DISCLAIMER: But please, I beg of you, DO NOT mentally picture Tom Jones in drag. Naughty me, I shouldn't have said that. Because now you're doing it and you're so, so very sorry!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What to Do

Last week I had a plethora of posts...I had so many ideas the posts were scheduled ahead for the whole week. This week? Pfffft. Not much inspiration, until this morning.

This is our cat. She looks innocent here but I saw her! Not 1 minute earlier she was behaving like a KITTEN, I tell you, clawing at the shadows on the wall. Sox, you are 17 years old. Where was your dignity?

And then there is the indignity of it all. The Handy Husband cleaned the ashes out of his barbecue and found that the ashes were all that was holding it together.

There's my leopard-clad foot, to show the scale. He thinks he can patch it???? I think he needs a new barbecue for Christmas.

What do you think? Please vote!

Help Me!
What should I give the Handy Husband for Christmas?

A new barbecue
A Blu-Ray player
Car gadgets
Scotch and chocolate

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It Wasn't Me that Forgot! How Refreshing!

Ernest can be pretty darn perfect and sometimes seems like a grown-up in a boy's body, but every once in a while he slips up and makes a human error like the rest of us. How refreshing.

Mom, can we [we? really?] do laundry soon? I'm running out of clothes. I keep asking you to bring your laundry downstairs. [All weekend long I asked him. And when I checked the situation later, it was only socks that were running short. There were tons of the drawers...on the chair...even 2 clean folded t-shirts mixed in with the dirty laundry.]

Last week I signed a permission slip and wrote a check for Ernest's field trip. I wrote down the date on the calendar: Friday the 21st. But he kept telling me it was Wednesday. I didn't keep a copy of the permission slip to double check, so I believed him and changed the date on the calendar. Yesterday, I asked him why kids were wearing pajamas [this will make sense in a second] to school. Oh, it's spirit week. Today is Pajama Day. Can I borrow Frank's kilt on Wed. for Heritage day? You're going to wear a kilt on your field trip? No, you were right, Mom. The field trip is Friday after all. Ha! Justified! It was a total ITYS (I TOLD YOU SO) moment but I controlled myself! [Mom pats self on back.]

And he forgot his piano lesson today (He was doing a school project and I was at the store.)

I feel so much more normal now. I'm not the only one who forgets things! You'd be surprised how much that lifts my mood.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Odd Museums

Did you see this list of odd museums?

I have actually been to one of them, the PEZ museum in Burlingame, Ca. Tucked away in a small storefront, the front room is a small PEZ store, and the back room has been turned into a treasure trove of PEZ memorabilia.

Here's the owner. He says if you own more than 3 PEZ dispensers, you're a collector. My PEZ are on a shelf in Ernest's bathroom.

He bought the original PEZ factory sign on eBay. There were no other bidders.

The famous jack-in-the-box PEZ. We have one.

Ernest with the world's largest PEZ dispenser . It dispenses plastic boxes with PEZ dispensers inside.

That's the end of my tour, but I think I saw a big basket of PEZ dispensers at Jen's house.