Friday, May 28, 2010


Ernest has been a pincushion lately.

For his upcoming trip, he had shots for
  • Hepatitis A (he said that was a weird-tingly-feeling one) and
  • Yellow Fever.
  • For Typhoid, he wisely chose the 3-dose oral vaccine rather than the gives 2 more years of protection, too.
That was $43o.

He also had
  • Tetanus (also weird-feeling) and
  • Chicken Pox boosters, and a
  • TB test (it's still a shot) required by the zoo in order to work with the animals.
That was $30 co-pay plus whatever else they bill.

Ouch. [Rub arms.] [Rub wallet.]

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Meat and Potatoes

My guys are meat and potatoes men, so that's always a sure hit for dinner. These are some recent combinations. (Please don't nag me about too much red meat -- I serve a lot of chicken and seafood, too, but this is a meaty post.)

Steak (on sale that week) and loaded baked potatoes. Even my brown thumb has not managed to destroy the chives growing in my garden. They are descendants from a chive plant I brought here in 1988. I just hate being offered "chives" in a restaurant, only to find out they are green onions aka scallions. (Oh, please, click that link. You'll be happy you did.) There's a difference! The steak's not really blackened, it just looks that way. Maybe the HH was a little zealous with the grill pan, but it was still medium-rare inside.

Frank's favorite meal, pork chops! He mixes his potatoes and peas together. Ernest prefers the well of souls gravy.

But sometimes I try to mix it up. Here we have seared (sort of) ahi tuna and rice pilaf. Tuna is so steaky, it falls into my meat category. I love making rice pilaf, throwing in all sorts of odd bits of vegetables to use them up, and the crew likes it almost as much as potatoes.

Wait a minute! I didn't cook this! This was my meal at Ernest's birthday dinner. Buffalo New York Steak. It was good! But I know chives. Chives are a friend of mine. Scallions, you're no chives.

Here's another restaurant meal sneaking in. Estofado. Mmmmm. A beefy stew with a cinnamon flavor. Someone posted a recipe for it, and now I don't remember where I saw it.

Recently, a batch of ginormous burgers. The bottomless pit Ernest ate the whole thing...I ate about half of one.

And lamb. Baaaaaaa. The leftovers make a great shepherd's pie.

What's cooking at your house?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Looking Up

I was walking through town the other day and looked up for a change. In an apartment window over a storefront, a cat was lazily sunning itself. That was a nice surprise...I didn't even realize there was an apartment up there!

So I thought, what if I look up more often?

Stay tuned for more adventures in upness.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Last week the kids made birthday cards -- for MEEEEE!

So I took the cards and made a birthday banner. But I'm not done with it yet, so no picture.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Carole King and James Taylor

The older I get, the longer the hike to the Bowl gets. And a lot of the audience was even older than me! The crowd stayed seated most of the time (enjoying the new padded seats I think!) except for the two babes who got up to dance to Smackwater Jack. Were they aware they were the only people dancing in the whole venue?

It was a great evening of classic music. They alternated songs, with Carole mostly at the piano.

When she did get away from the piano, Carole King was a real spitfire. Sixty-eight years old and dancing around on tall spiky heels. Amazing. And tiny! (although compared to 6'4" James Taylor, who isn't?)

Yes, the earth moved!

And here's some Sweet Baby James.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

5 Decades, 5 Days

No, I didn't plan the party that I wanted. (Maybe later...but that will be another story.) So instead I celebrated for 5 days. Five decades, five days. I think that's just about right.

Day one (Saturday, 3 days before):
  • a work reunion. Huh? Why would you have a reunion of people you used to work with? That's another post!
  • I bought a batch of art supplies for my TCP.
  • When I got home, there was a stack of presents and someone was rehabilitating my bike. (It paid off that I didn't insist they go to the picnic with me). But Oh Dear, that means I have to ride the bike now!

Day two (Sunday, 2 days before):
  • lovely breakfast with bacon and mimosas.
  • BBQ steak for dinner,
  • cheesecake,
  • and the prezzies!!!! Which I did not buy for myself, way to go guys!!!

Day three (Monday, 1 day before).
  • happy hour with Beloved (niece) and Magic (sister-in-law).

Day four (Tuesday, the DAY)
  • I told co-workers I was fifty, and they said nice things like, "You don't look 50! I thought you were about 42." I love them!
  • Cards from the first graders! And goodies from the teachers!
  • Dinner out with my sons and husband.
  • plus the Carole King/James Taylor Troubador Reunion (concert post coming soon).

Day five (just hasn't happened yet)
  • I've been intending to add another fun day to the list but so far ...yesterday was the dentist and today I was too tired. Not something to celebrate.
  • So I think day 5 will be Sunday, because I am looking forward to 4.5 hours of LOST!! I have my Lost Party Kit!!! Ernest thinks I should save it as a collectible (I think it's sold out - I can't find a link for it any more). But since there are now potato chip grease stains (Ernest!) on the box and it's no longer in mint condition, Frank thinks I should use it. I also have Lost Pint glasses, which are being used with no reservations.
  • The more I think about it, the more I think a Lost Luau is in order!!!
I'll leave you with this Carole King song, which sums up the attitude I am trying to take into my 50s...

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Flowers in a vase.

There's a slight snag in my TCP, in that I'm no longer in Miss L's classroom! She donated her share of my time to the second grade (one of their teachers is out for the rest of the year due to a serious medical problem). But thanks to the timing of recess, I can come back for 20 minutes and catch the end of the art project.

After 45 minutes, Meltdown Man had only drawn 2 stems (no flowers) and a microscopic vase. He was asked to draw a bigger vase and one more stem. He crossed out the stems he had drawn, and drew another vase on the side of the paper. Um, not following directions? Needless to say, he didn't finish the project.

In other news, today is my birthday! I gifted myself some art supplies from Michael's, so I hope to have some new projects to show you in the future!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Patti LuPone has the Hots for my Husband

You'd think I would have picked the Argentinian restaurant before the Patti "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" LuPone concert Thursday night, but no, I am saving that for my birthday next week. Instead I picked "California wine country cuisine." Doesn't that cover just about everything around here? Bouchon ("little cork") was very good.

The concert was great, but that Patti? She had her eye on my husband. Which wasn't too hard because we were in the front row. And he was wearing a red shirt. She sang songs about love and lust. And anytime she said lust, she looked right at him. At the end, she handed him a red rose.

And he, like a good husband, gave it to me.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

My Mother's Day

I had a good Mother's Day weekend, with lots of food I didn't have to cook. I get so excited over that!

  • On Saturday, we visited my mother-in-law and had a delicious lunch.
  • We ate our leftovers for dinner.
  • On Sunday, my guys took me to lunch at my favorite Greek restaurant.
  • My husband cooked most of Sunday's dinner (I confess to making some rice pilaf from a box.)

This is his idea of a garnish...

I laughed hysterically.

Speaking of not cooking, I am eagerly awaiting the summer opening of 4 restaurants within walking distance of my house.

  • Mexican (an old favorite is reopening with the original owners)
  • Spanish tapas
  • a brew pub
  • a branch of Fresco

I can't wait! We have to support our local businesses, right?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Popcorn Rock

Ernest received a popcorn rock for his birthday.

Day Zero...

Day 10...

Day 20...

I have 3 questions: how long will the rock keep growing, where will Ernest put it, and will the dish ever be clean again???

These questions are still unanswered.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


My Tuesday Creativity Project says, Welcome to Onesie World!

Miss L's class decorated onesies for Mrs. G's new baby girl.

Here's mine.

These are the cutest things!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Member's Night

The capys and their keeper were happy. The keeper was happy because she was back with the capys. When the zoo staff heard they would be getting 4 baby capybaras, many employees wanted to be their keeper. Some changed their minds when they found out how much work it was to clean their poo out of the pool. Caplin Rous could tell us all about that.

There was a buffet dinner on the hilltop. While the picnic tables were crowded, the HH and I found a perfect spot to sit, overlooking the condors yet overlooked by the diners. Wow, look at that wingspan. Ernest and I heard the most interesting lecture about condors at his zoo volunteer dinner a few weeks ago.

The meerkats' habitat had been upgraded, and they were out re-digging their holes.

This duck has spent too much time around the flamingos.

And the flamingos, they were arguing over something. That one trying to hide from it all? That's the one I identify with.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Suspect Identified!

I caught the evil bird in action!

Turn for your profile...

...and he looks like a simple Brown Towhee. They are usually innocuous little birds who hop around the yard.

He alternated between pecking at the mirror and the window, as if his dual reflections were two different rivals. We'll be glad when mating season is over!

Since that was so icky, here's something pretty to take your mind off of it...

Uploading Wars

I've been unable to finish some blog posts for a few days because everytime I want to upload a picture, my son(s) is/are playing WoW and complain I am slowing them down.

Just now I made a special point to say -- wait a few minutes before you start playing. And a few minutes later, I am asked how long I think it will the heck do I know? It doesn't tell me! so I cancel the upload and say, just go ahead and play. Oh no, he doesn't need to play now, I should go ahead. Then why the heck was he asking?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


What do you do with a big bag of mixed seafood from Costco, which contains Calimari, Mussels, Shrimp, and Scallops?

Make cioppino! This was very good.

I cobbled together a recipe from various sources, and this is what I came up with:

2 15-oz cans diced tomatoes
1 12-oz can V8*
1 8-oz bottle clam juice
1 c. white wine (I didn't measure, I just poured!)
a small onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
crushed red pepper*

*Slap head -- I shoulda had a spicy V8!

Simmer this together for about half an hour, then add

chopped parsley
the giant 2.5 lb. bag of seafood
juice of one lemon

It will look like there's way too much, but as it thaws and cooks it will shrink down. Cook just until the seafood is done and mussels are open.

This made about 6-8 servings, depending on your appetite. Frank and I were completely satisfied with just one bowl. Growth Spurt Boy Ernest and the HH had seconds.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

My Tuesday Creativity Project

When Bossy's L.A. Council told our stories, part of mine was that I hadn't done anything creative in a long time, and I missed that. I have to footnote that -- blogging is creative, isn't it??!!!??? But I do miss creating things with eyes and hands, rather than brain and words, so I decided to do something about that.

I usually don't have lunch duty on Tuesdays and Fridays, so those are automatically my favorite days of the work week. But why do I enjoy Tuesdays more? Because Miss L's class does art when I get there at 9:00 on Tuesday mornings! And I always wish I was doing their projects right alongside them.

So to jumpstart my creativity, I am going to replicate their first grade projects, and post them the following Tuesday. If they don't have art, or it's not something I can do at home, I vow to do something else.

This was last week's project, a doodle! Mine looks like sausage links, but it was fun.

I was so jazzed, I even cleaned up one of my creative spaces at home. I used to scrapbook on this pretty little desk. Then I got a big printer, and stuck it on top of the desk and never used it again. And things got piled on it and next to it. Now, I've uncovered the desk and I hope to finish the 2002 scrapbook you see lying there. (That's the last year before the digital camera took over.)

Ernest asked me, What are you doing?



I guess I don't seriously clean too often.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Game Day

In addition to computer games, we have a large selection of board games in the hall closet.

On Saturday, Ernest and a friend played Citadels and Risk (the traditional version on the 2210 board). Too much strategy for me!

Yesterday, he beat Frank in Monopoly. Then they played Scrabble. What? They've never willingly played Scrabble before; I always forced them into it. I'm the spelling/vocabulary whiz person in the house.

There was a lot of creative rule-bending: proper names, foreign and gamer words were deemed OK.

There was some talk of spelling words down to up and right to left but that got too confusing.

They still needed me: How do you spell gank? Is coattail one word? Does whelp have an H?

What's your favorite board game?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Pasta e fagioli

A great new dish I tried recently was Pasta e Fagioli, from the Half-Assed Kitchen.

Easy and delicious. We are meat lovers, so we did add Italian sausage. The second time I made it, I threw in some zucchini. And look how cute the beans are, all nestled up into the little shells!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Pecking Order

We have a very angry bird in our yard. He doesn't like the car mirrors. He's got a massive beak and pecked at the truck so hard that I thought it left actual gouges. It didn't -- it was just mass quantities of bird spit.

He attacked Frank's car window as well. I think he was pecking at a pile of his own poo here.

I wonder if he's the same one who left the bullet hole?

Any animals going crazy in your neighborhood?