Sunday, November 30, 2008
Thursday, November 27, 2008
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
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"
Then I hit on the
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
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
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 ginger...you 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
***So, I am leading up to a Chicken Thigh Recipe Contest. Whoo-hoo. Details tomorrow!!!!
A Strange Similarity?
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
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!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
It Wasn't Me that Forgot! 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 clothes...in 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
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.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Well, I've developed a fear of death lately, but luckily I don't dream about it!
As for the other symbols?
Cats? Bring 'em on. Cats are taking over things in our house and I don't mind. Look, she's seized control of the remote. Today the TV, tomorow the world!
Nudity? The nightmare would be for the person who saw me.
Crashes? Well I worry about car and airplane crashes when I am conscious, but I don't dream about them.
Storms? When I lived in a house where the street flooded, I had nightmares about it. Now...I've had a tree fall my house during a storm but storms don't bother me in my sleep anymore.
Hell? I don't believe in it, so no problem there. One of the benefits of being a non-believer.
Bugs? he earwig that crawled down my pants when I went to the restroom last week? Freaked me out in real life. Again, no dreams.
Only losing teeth seriously bothers me. It's my most common bad dream, followed by a few others:
Losing teeth. This was always the worst. The teeth are all squiggly and wiggly and fall out like Jeff Goldblum's in The Fly. I confess, this dream has decreased in frequency since I've been going to the dentist on a regular basis.
The Frustration Dream: you know, you struggle and struggle and nothing goes right. I continue to have this one occasionally.Finding out I have a final for a class I've never been to. -- this was a common dream throughout high school, college, and even into my 20s and 30s. I welcomed my 40s because it stopped.
Witches in the sewers of San Francisco. I'm SERIOUS!! This was my earliest repeating nightmare, in kindergarten and grade school. It was so vivid, I remembered it for years (but now it's gone). It took place in San Francisco, where my mother and I lived at my aunt's house between my parents' divorce and moving to my great-uncle's in Grover
By the way, did anyone see A Nightmare on Elm Street at Halloween? Being sucked down into my bed would be pretty bad. Unless Johnny Depp was already there. But you know, Mrs. G's got dibs.
So I'm wondering -- what's in your dreams?
Friday, November 14, 2008
And the winner is....
They were stirred, not shaken. Then Ernest drew the winner. (I should have rotated the photo before I uploaded it. Oops. However, I have been politely asked not to upload any more photos this evening because they cause lag when two certain people are trying to play their new Wrath of the Litch King WoW expansion. Since they were polite, I'm leaving it alone.)
Look, his eyes are closed. His other hand is still playing Wow.
And the winner is: Louise, of Potted Frog. Louise, e-mail me with your mailing name and address! smalltownmomblog (at) yahoo (dot) com
The ultimate package is still mostly a surprise to you as well as me, but it will be finalized by this weekend and definitely WILL include chocolate and other items made or obtained nearby, in keeping with my desire to shop locally.
But I am having a difficult decision over the chocolate: Louise, do you want a box of the See's Seasonal Pie Truffles that I raved about? (BTW, I just realized you were the only comment on that post. Is this good karma or what?) Or would you like a box of scrumptious assorted chocolates made 3 blocks from my house? Your choice, just let me know ASAP. Before I eat them all! And don't worry. Whichever one you don't pick will still be gobbled up.
And that made me remember how much fun I had with my only other giveaway, which was a pay-it-forward thingie. So I'm definitely doing a holiday giveaway in December AND I am planning a large book giveaway on my book blog. Details to be posted later!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Smalltown Mom's Leftover Challenge
My personal challenge is LEFTOVERS. They pile up in the refrigerator. No one is willing to eat them unless I haul them out. Sometimes I call it buffet night and lay everything out on the counter for my men to forage.
Other times I try to get creative.
Tuesday night I used up these leftovers: 1/2 an onion, steak-some rather tough london broil, red wine sauce (from the steak), and chili beans. And with the addition of a few things from the pantry, made a batch of pretty good chili. And to top it off, I found 4 leftover biscuits! That's a total of 5 leftovers used.
Combining 5 leftovers at once (yes, the biscuits count!) might be a new record for me as far as numbers go. Although my personal best in taste will always be my chicken soup.
But I need new ideas.
What do you do with a pork chop? Oh, wait, give it to Frank. He will gladly gnaw on a leftover pork chop as a snack.
My leftover dilemma has grown worse as Frank has grown more independent. Sometimes he's here for dinner, sometimes he's not. So I often have unexpected leftovers.
The other night there was some salmon. And I couldn't bear to throw it away, but no one's going to eat it and I don't know what to do with it. That hurts.
What's your favorite thing to do with leftovers? Tell me. Be Creative. I need ideas!
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Wednesday Evening with the TV
The Handy Husband likes the Daily Show and Colbert Report repeats at 8 pm. He seems to prefer watching our oldest TV in the den, because he can flip the channels the fastest on it. (This was one thing he forgot to check out when we bought a projection TV seven years ago. We've replaced it with an LCD which flips a little faster, but still...I don't know what he'll do when the old Sony craps out. We've had it repaired several times.) So I never pay much attention to what's on primetime. Because it all flips by so fast.
Then I discovered Pushing Daisies. I loved it. Imaginative, colorful, mysterious and romantic all at the same time. I watched season one on DVD. Ernest watched with me. So all of a sudden, Wednesday had a purpose. We could watch Pushing Daisies together at 8:00, then MythBusters at 9. For a few weeks, Wednesdays were wonderful. Then they were woeful Wednesdays when it wasn't on for a few weeks. But wait, there's a new episode coming on November 17. Only a week to go.
So, what else should I watch? What's your favorite TV show this year, and why?
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I Have Achieved The Impossible
Footnote: *for the sons it's in piles that they are supposed to put away as soon as they are off their computers. Yeah, right, like that will happen. And Frank should be doing his own laundry. He may have done it a few times. But I do give him notice when I'm doing laundry. "If you want me to do yours, bring it down. Now!" Sometimes he does.
- Whites -- full of socks that somehow ONLY I can match. Why is it so difficult? I should make a chart. HH - puffy white. Ernest - grey heel/toe. Frank - ankle socks. ST Mom - leftovers. It's sad, I have been wearing Ernest's outgrown white socks. Get a life, STM!!! Get some girly socks. The Sock Loft is calling me.
- Red/Yellow/Purple -- mostly mine, a few HH t-shirts
- Blue/Greens -- mostly the HH's jeans and Ts
- Blacks -- This would be all of Frank's (except socks) and most of Ernest's. Frank's laundry showed up just in time for this load.
- Another load of whites, because Frank's socks showed up late
- Sheets -- Our bottom flannel sheet ripped irreparably, but I found an old one in the cupboard. We are now mismatched in a totally colorful way.
If I fold another thing tonight I will scream.
And NO, I'm not dissing the Handy Husband here. Peter Boyle as the Monster in Young Frankenstein is totally HAWT. In fact, add him to my Secret Boyfriend List. (Is that leopard he is wearing? MMmmm.)
I'm going to get my husband some reading glasses of his own so he too can look like this sexy beast.
Monday, November 10, 2008
The Share-the-Luck Fall Giveaway
And so to pass on the good karma, I'm going to give away a Fall Surprise gift box. It's a surprise because I don't know what's going to be in it yet! But it may include chocolate. So if you want to enter, leave a comment. And on Friday, we'll do the low-tech random generator by pulling the name out of a hat.
Favorite Things Meme
I saw this twice the other day, first on The Guider ...those Brits.. hours ahead in the time zones....and later on Jen on The Edge.
1. Political show - Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. That's what I watched on election night. Can't get any better than that.
2. Picnic food - Deviled eggs if they are kept cold. Must. Make. Some. Soon!!!
3. Mixed drink - Margarita or Mojito or Pomegranate Martini. I don't have mixed drinks too often, so it's hard to choose.
4. U.S. President - the new one.
5. Kind of student to teach - the one who has a little bit of trouble, but totally gets it after sitting with me. Not happening enough this year....
6. Hobby you do or wish you still did - I've had a lot of hobbies that have petered out over the years. I'd really like do learn to play an acoustic guitar. Maybe Ernest will teach me.
7. Sports commentator - You've got to be kidding me. I don't do sports. OK, Dick Button on figure skating. Or Jim McKay on the Olympics on ABC. I'm going WAY BACK.
8. Sport to watch on TV - I will watch NHRA drag racing with the Handy Husband. NO, its NOT the same thing as NASCAR.
9. Animal to have as a pet - CATS CATS CATS CATS
10. Halloween costume you have worn - I love every year. Gypsy, Pirate, Mary Poppins, Cleopatra, Dorothy.
11. Kind of dessert - Cheesecake.
12. Comic strip - A) Medium Large, home of Teenage girl president and other great stuff. In the commercial world, he does Sally Forth. B) Dare I admit my secret sick fascination with Mary Worth when she was stalked by Aldo, the Captain Kangaroo lookalike. and C) Frank shows me funnies from Cyanide and Happiness.
13. Style or make of footwear - my LaPlume Leopard Slides. Why does the website call this a snake print? It's LEOPARD, I tell you. Or cheetah. Or even ocelot. I will accept any spotted mammal. But it's so NOT snake.
14. Ice cream flavor - Chocolate all the way baby.
15. College or university president - Excuse me???? Who knows that? I'll say Robert Huttenback who was the chancellor of UCSB when I was there 30umpteen years ago. There was a small scandal back in 1987.
16. Internet news source - Yahoo News.
17. Vacation spot - yet to be discovered.
18. Wine - Too many to count.
19. Way to waste time instead of working - uh, what I'm doing right now? The internet? Blogging? Greatest time waster in the universe.
20. Student excuse for late work - I never turned in work late.
21. Reality show - Little People, Big World
22. Jewelry on a man -Only if he buys me something first.
23. Pizza topping - margarita -- fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Not shared by my pepperoni loving children.
24. Children’s movie - The Wizard of Oz and Sleeping Beauty
25. Celebrity you wish would retire - Jerry Lewis. While he does an admirable thing with his telethon, he has said a lot of inappropriate S**t.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
I got my cake! It wasn't really cake, it was the See's Thanksgiving Pie Truffles! And they are delicious. But I seriously doubt there are any "I got my See's" videos.
I found this, which my kids instantly recognized.
And there's this, which is what I was originally searching for but it took more than 5 seconds to find.
P.S. Frank prefers the Apple Pie. "While they are all really delicious, I prefer the pumpkin," is Ernest's final review. He's the only one to have tried all four flavors.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
Saving Grace For Another Year
This is NOT a good picture of Belinda Bleu. Yes, I've named her already. This is from the website where you can change the color. She really looks less trashy flashy gaudy.
Oh, yeah. That's a better picture.
But ...well...you know...the financial thingies took a serious downturn. And who would buy the yellow car now? So the blue angel is still waiting in car lot heaven.....which is probably good, becuase the HH and I would have
fough tooth and nail been conflicted over who would get to drive her.
Therefore my Grace and I are hanging out while longer. Although she almost has 100,000 miles, she's still a grand old lady. She's not ready for the retirement home yet. And best of all, her registration is down to only $156.
But still...Belinda and I could have had a blast.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Skipping Christmas? [Nooooooo!!!!]
No, people, no. Don't do that. You don't have to spend a lot of money... But please, don't make this recession worse than it has to be.
Support your local merchants. I plan to patronize a new store, The Sock Loft. (Owned by a theater mom. Although I didn't have to carpool her son even once this summer because I think he had to work in the sock store all summer. I'm not a real theater mom, like the Matron, I'm just an occasional theater mom.) But back to the socks? My Beloved Niece and her Magical Mother might get excited about that.
And then there's the Book Loft (no, the stores are not related). I'll buy Christmas books there. There is a Strega Nona pop-up book that looks delicious. Remember when the spaghetti pot overflowed??? Think of it in 3-D. And I hope they still have the Maurice Sendak Halloween pop-up.
Support the fine craftspeople that sell their goods on Etsy. Like Jen.
Or visit a local crafts fair. Like where I went this afternoon. And found some lovely handmade things:
A cat pillow in case our cat gets lonely. Or we get lonely for her. (The bright red blanket is in case she has a hairball there, because she's done that a lot in that spot. Yes, we are giving her hairball remedy stuff. But she's old. Hairballs happen.)
Bake something for a friend. Marie has shared her scrumptious recipe for Pumpkin Rolls. These are totally on my things-to-do list.
Donate to a local rescue mission help fund holiday meals. Yes, they sent me two letters on the same day. I feel guilty.
Knit baby hats for Direct Relief International. My Lovely M-I-L is a regular contributor. And even I, the procrastinator, finished a few hats for them.
Offer services: Beloved Niece, do you want a free evening or Saturday? Because I'm hankering for a date with Mr. Thomas.
Give a useful gift. Movie passes? Magazine subscriptions? (The HH gets free gift subscriptions for Road and Track when he pays for his own, so those of you who got R&T last year? No surprise, you're getting it again.) Food and drink items are always welcome in our house.
Plan a lovely holiday dinner. Turkey is cheap. My guest list is open.
I know the economy is bad, but let's not give up on the holidays. Shop at the businesses that mean the most to you.
And we can blog about our holiday decorations, too. No charge for that!
How can we be both economical and support the economy at the same time?
What are your holiday suggestions?
Thursday, November 06, 2008
[Not] Getting Things Done
The laundry pile (clean) is still not folded. 4 days.
The bills are still not paid. 5 days.
The Halloween costumes are still not put away. 6 days.
I'm hoping that by admitting this in writing, I will embarass myself sufficiently to get these darn things done today!
However, on the plus side the dishes are washed and the dining room table is clear.
What annoying little task(s) have you put off this week?
[Update: Laundry folded, bills paid. Two out of three ain't bad. Halloween costumes, while still not put away, at least are not longer on the foot of my bed.]
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Also...the beginning of the month and paying bills. Huge bills show up at the end of the year. Car registration (3 of 4 cars), car insurance (all of them), and property tax bills. Ouch. The reason I'm never EVER EVER selling my mother's house? And why we're going to live/retire there some day? Because the property tax is grandfathered...under $600. Our own house's property tax bill? Huge, even with the Prop 13 controls...because it still goes up every year. And we've owned it 20 years. Up up and away.
The ugly. [You've Been Warned]
Something happened at school today. Do I err on the side of caution, and fuggetaboutit? Or do I speak my mind, couching the situation in euphemisms and comparisons, so you get my drift without me saying anything incriminating.
[Update: OK, I did speak my mind and that post was up for a while, but then my overly cautious sense of judgement kicked in and I decided to delete that part. I'm leaving your comments, however. Thank you.]
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Hello, Mr. President
Hey, and I haven't even named
I am proud of our country.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Signs of Fall 2008
The rotating seasonal artwork #1. In our master bath, we have a series of seasonal prints the Handy Husband brought back from China several years ago and I forgot to change the season until I thought about this blog post.
The rotating seasonal artwork #2. We used to have a calendar hanging at the juncture between dining nook and stairway. No one ever used the calendar. So we recently hung a picture there instead. I get fall and winter, and I think Ernest's art will get spring and summer placement. Yes, I painted this.
And the political signs, of course. Don't forget to vote tomorrow. We voted already, because I like to avoid the polling place.