Monday, June 30, 2008

Sealing the Deal

Saturday was the 11th anniversary of the 3rd best day of my life: my wedding. I'm amazed at the love we still have for eachother, as well as the fact that we can still talk - not always about our kids - and that we make eachother laugh every damn single day. Yes, we've made some little mistakes here and there, and not every day is kittens, unicorns and rainbows, but overall, we're two happy people who love eachother deeply, and our friendship is strong enough to get us through the non-kitten/rainbow/unicorn-ey days.

Besides, how awesome is my Lawnboy? Each year up to this point, he has made me a gift by hand that coincides with the traditional anniversary gift. Last year was tin, so I got homemade wind chimes, made out of the tops of soup cans (it's really cooler than it sounds). He's ridiculous, and I've never reciprocated, if you were wondering. Eleven is apparently The Year of Stainless Steel, and a few days ago, he said "crap, I haven't figured out how to weld yet." I let him off the hook this year, but he came home with flowers and the new David Sedaris book anyway, which, if I am to be 100% honest, I'll probably enjoy more than I would a welded something or other.

He is the kindest, most gentle soul I've ever come across. I was lucky to find him when I did, even luckier to realize I'd found him, and luckier still to answer his proposal with tears and an immediate OMIGOD YES.

So, hooray for us!

Those other two days? If you haven't figured it out yet: January 17th, 2001, and January 31st, 2007. The days our gorgeous and amazing boys were born.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Kale Dilemma

We have a problem in the garden: way too much Tuscan kale.

Lawnboy and I love it, and we appreciate the health benefits (did you know that a cup of cooked kale has more vitamin C than an orange? thought not, I didn't until yesterday), but we haven't found a way to force it on the boys yet without inducing Fezzik's gag reflex. "Mom, this stuff makes me kak!"

The other problem is that it's the only thing that's ready in the garden right now. And did I mention we have a LOT of it?

I picked about a pound and a half today, and here's what we're having for lunch.

Sesame Kale Salad
1 pound fresh kale
2 T soy sauce
2 T toasted sesame oil
1 T toasted sesame seeds (I'm out of these so we'll probably skip it this time)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 t honey (I used agave nectar)
1 T apple cider vinegar
dash of black or ground red pepper, or more to taste

Separate kale leaves from stems. Chop stems and greens. Steam stems a couple of minutes, then add the greens and steam until just tender. Drain; let kale cool enough to handle it. Squeeze out as much water as possible. Place in serving bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients in another bowl; add to greens. Mix, chill, and serve. Makes 4-6 servings. Or in our house, 132 servings for the boys, one forced bite per serving.

Feel free to comment with your own favorite kale recipes! Scarlet, I know you have some from your time at your dad's.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Just Wondering

Do any of you know how in god's name I ended up with such a skinny kid?

Dude is tall as hell but i just bought him a new set of swim trunks (size 8) and while they're sufficiently above-knee, even tied as tight as they go, they slide down his wee waist and hips until he's standing there naked.

This just won't do, they frown upon naked 7-year-olds at the pool. Well, the normal ones do, anyway. I guess I'll just have to run back to Costco and grab a pair of 7's.

In other Costco news, while I was standing at the optical counter waiting for my number (96) to be called, a crazy lady appeared out of nowhere, reeking of booze (yay, 4 in the afternoon even!) and barged right in on my turn. She was there to pick up her mother's glasses, and yelled into her cell phone, "Mom, I hate this place, you know I hate Costco. You talk to these assholes." and then shoved the phone in the optician's face. Not the best approach, in my opinion. The optician explained to her that while she wanted to help her, because she didn't have a Costco card, she could not process any transactions for her. Then she grabbed a supervisor and literally used him as a human shield between herself and this batshit. He was great, and in his best "I'm using my calmest voice to make sure the mental patient remains calm too" voice, he said "I'd love to help you because I would like you to stop yelling at me and leave the store, but I just can't process any transactions without a membership card." I thought his honesty was refreshing.

My number was called when all this was happening, and I said to the clerk "see those words on my Costco card? It says 'Costco Family' - that means that I'm going to be nice to you no matter what, because my husband works here." The clerk smiled and sighed, and the supervisor caught my eye and winked.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blog Lite

Sorry, postings are going to be light this week. I'm taking a class at work all week and am running on about 4 hours of sleep. Three hours of bellydance classes after work yesterday didn't help my mind-numbness, either.

Although it did help my body. Have I mentioned that I LOVE BELLY DANCE CLASSES? Oh my goodness, I am obsessed. What an awesome way to exercise.

And speaking of belly dancing, The Amazing So-and-So was helping with laundry the other day, and guess where my dance veil ended up? Right in the toilet. I wanted a silk one anyway, they're much prettier. Time to go shopping!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Farmers' Market

Went there tonight on the way home, and HALLELUJAH! They have strawberries. See? That's The Amazing So And So, signing "more!" just off camera. And also, displaying his "you're totally not getting more fast enough" face.

You'd think the older one would be tempted by the pretty sights and smells at that market, or even the live music, but no. He wants nothing but to read his book, at any time. There he is, on the couch. And he spent 20 minutes at the farmers' market reading by the fountain. Does anyone know how to read a book in the shower? Because Fezzik would like to know.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Pie to End All Pies

The latest Sunset magazine came for me in the mail on Saturday (thanks, in-laws! I still love my subscription!), and what do you know, within those beautiful thin, glossy pages, was a tip: Grandma's Secret Ingredient for Making Good Pies.

I had come across our blackberry stockpile when I was cleaning out our freezer to make room for all the supposed fish my dad was to bring back from Alaska last month. I'm not bitter, but the fish weren't biting. We have a half-empty freezer, which is fine, but we expected it to be filled to the brim with halibut. Whatever, I'm over it. I needed to use those blackberries up, though, before it's time to pick more this year. I had designs on making jelly, because who doesn't love jelly? But then Sunset arrived, and I was inspired.

I made a deeeeeeeelicious blackberry pie last night. So good, in fact, that if I weren't watching my girlish figure, I would have had a slice for breakfast. And lunch, and perhaps tea. And then, of course, it would be time for dessert. But I digress. Again.

I'm not a secret-keeper. I'll share the recipe with y'all. All 4 of you.

Blackberry Pie (Guts only - make your own crust however you want. Or not, this would make a fine cobbler too)

5 c. frozen blackberries
5 T. instant tapioca*
2/3 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1 t. lemon zest

*the secret ingredient

The lighting was bad by the time I finished it, but I promise to take it out on the patio this afternoon for a photo shoot. That way, you can see the insides - we'll have eaten about 1/3 by then, at the very least.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nastiness, and a Confession in Three Parts

There are a couple things I need to get off my chest.

First, our county passed a law or an ordinance a few years ago that made it very illegal to trap, poison or kill moles and other "wildlife." While I voted in favor of this law, I admit that I'm still annoyed by the molehills in our lovely, dandelion-ridden lawn. The lawn is far from perfect, but it doesn't need any help looking worse!

Our dear Charlie, the laziest 23-lb. cat you've ever heard of, caught us a mole a few months ago, and considerately, he left it on the doorstep. Thanks, Kitty. Good boy. I thought that was the end of it, that he was so lazy and fat that it had to be a fluke, like maybe it was a deaf, gimpy mole who had the misfortune of tunneling up right where Charlie happened to be napping in the sun, and WHAM! The opportunist struck, thereby ending the sad life of the deaf, gimpy mole.

Apparently not. Chuck left us another prize on the doorstep last week. Thanks again, Kitty. Good boy.

Confession The First: I couldn't bring myself to, but I REALLY wanted to touch the fur on these dead moles. You've heard of moleskin, right? They looked so soft. Like,the softest things I'd ever seen. I wanted Lawnboy to skin them and make me gloves, but he wouldn't. For some reason, it was more acceptable for me to touch the fur after it had been detached from the rest of the poor guy's guts and such. Why???

Confession The Second: We're the type of parents who turn a dead mole on our doorstep into a science lesson for our 7-year old. Lawnboy found the dead dear on his way to work at 5 am, and kindly stuck it into a shoebox so we could all examine it at a more reasonable hour. Does that make us sick? I don't think so, it's nature. The field guide to North American Mammals tells us that this little guy was a broad-footed mole, or a Scapanus Latimanus, although I'm not 100% convinced, because they aren't supposed to live this far north.

This brings us to Confession The Third: We accidentally left that shoebox full of dead mole on the top of our milk box. We are also the type of parents who have milk delivered weekly, so there happens to be a galvanized cooler at our front door, so that our milk can stay relatively cold until we get home on Mondays. Sometimes we leave little notes inside the box. Other times, we leave little things like bags of cookies as a thank-you for the milkman. This time, we left our poor milkman a lovely dead mole. He must have kids too, as the box was placed gently aside, and the milk deliveries have kept up, uninterrupted since our little gift.

We've really got to tip him big this month.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Incredibly Unready

I got home for work tonight, and Fezzik was on the phone, outside, pacing around the patio just like his daddy does when he's on the phone.

Whoa, grownup.

I figured that it was his best buddy, but Lawnboy said "That's Lauryn. They've been talking for 20 minutes."

Lauryn is one of Fezzik's three girlfriends, and the tallest, most mature of the bunch. She's a beautiful girl, really lovely; but seriously almost as tall as I am. That just ain't right for a first grader.

You know what else just ain't right? My son, having three girlfriends.

She's calling back, tomorrow, after dinner. I have no idea when Madison and Smiti plan to call.

The Lodge

When we buy the property and build the cabin (it's going to happen, right?), I'm going to decorate it like a kook.

As if that's different than my HOUSE.

For the record, I do not have a cardboard moose head on the wall at the house, but that's only because I'm already at maximum wall hanging capacity.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Name That Song

If you were a Dead Milkmen fan back in the day, you may remember the song "Takin' Retards to the Zoo." (Sorry Mother-in-Law, I know, but I didn't name the song)

That's NOT what we did yesterday.

We signed up to be chaperones to Fezzik's class field trip to Point Defiance Zoo. We had a blast, for the most part.

One kid had listening problems, and while he was having fun, there were a few panic attacks when he ran on ahead and didn't listen to our threats: STOP! OR I'LL SAY STOP AGAIN!

Other than that, it was hysterical. The beluga whales were cool but sad in their little enclosure. Same with the walruses. The Sumatran tiger was curled up just like our Charlie cat, and I wanted badly to jump in and scratch her on her chin. Had to lead by example, though, and not. Marius was actually a very great kid - we put him in charge of the map, and he not only loved it, he was good at it too. My dear little Nik was cuter than a bug's ear. Why couldn't I have had freckles like his? Mohammed made up stories (read: lies) all day about the bears who eat mushrooms in his backyard, the Forest, and the time he jumped into a cage with a snake. Ok, interesting.

What was MY favorite part of the day, you ask? Why, of course it was sitting down at the end of the trip, talking to the kiddoes about thier favorite parts of the zoo. Why did I think they'd tell me about the animals they liked?

Nik: I want to go last!
Me: Ok, what about you Mohammed?
Mohammed: I liked the wolves, they're just like the ones in my back yard in the forest.
Me: Ohhhkaaaaayyyyyyy...Marius?
Marius: I liked the red wolves too, and their skulls.
Me: Cool! Fezzik?
Fezzik: The eagles, and the aardvark, and the owls, and the raven, and the sharks.
Me: Wow, that's a lot. What about you, Nik? It's your turn now.
Nik: I liked the bathroom. When we pooped.
Mohammed: Me too, I liked the elephant butts when they were pooping.
Me: My work here is done. Let's go meet the bus.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Wasteful Consumerism

Well hello!

It's high time I break this blog into categories.

This will be the one in which I discuss one of the things that annoys me most: the marketing of products we don't need and/or could easily, and better, make ourselves.

Exhibit A, the pre-cut, instructions included, cardboard Lemonade/Advice Stand:

What I find especially heinous about this is that a lemonade stand is something that is easily built out of a box. The kind of box that turns up in my own garage from time to time.

Not to mention that this imagination-killing, prefab piece of crap is being marketed on a couple of "green" products websites. What is the carbon footprint of shipping this baby? Because it comes from recycled cardboard, it's considered Green With a Capital G?

What the heck is wrong with using a box you already have? I'm sorry, but the awesomest part of a lemonade stand is when kids build it themselves. Plus, it doesn't cost $60 + shipping & handling (palm tree sold separately).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I just used that word to tell my dear friend Scarlet that I wanted to know how to make THIS.

Yes. I said suchlike. What is wrong with me?

Cute l'il elf, though, no? It's the toadstools, they get me every time. Since I've had boys, my preoccupation with faeries has shifted to an obsession with all things gnomelike and elvin.

And is needle felting easy or not? Because as Scarlet well knows, when I said "I wish I knew how to do this" what I meant was "Please make this for me now."

Monday, June 09, 2008

First Goal Achieved!

Those of you who've known me long know that I've struggled with my weight all my life. I remember being called fat in daycare, which means I would have been about 10 or so, at the most. I go through periods where I want to deal with it, and periods where I want to pretend it's not an issue. The former turns me into an obsessive freak, which leads to the latter, and that is even worse for my health than being an obsessive freak.

Since losing my mom, and then having Tiny Giant Two (I'm reconsidering his pseudonym; his acrobatic skills make me want to rename him The Amazing so-and-so, I just haven't come up with the so-and-so yet), I've been examining what healthy means. I decided about a year ago that I really wanted to be around for longer than my mom was, and for me, that means I've got to get to a normal weight. I could talk all day long about fat acceptance, or my (low) cholesterol and blood pressure, but I'd be lying to you and to myself. So, on my own, I did some research, bought a couple books (namely YOU! On a Diet and The Beck Diet Solution), didn't read them cover to cover, but still lost a few pounds, and decided I needed more than my own self-control to keep going.

I joined weight watchers at the end of April, and so far, including the weight I lost on my own, I'm now down 25 lbs from my post-delivery weight with the 2nd child (probably goes without saying that it was my all-time high).

The best part is that I'm already discovering that some of my nasty food habits (eating in front of the t.v., anyone?) have morphed or gone away! I'm always critical of the prepackaged diets, i.e. Jenny Craig, for the simple fact that they're unsustainable. I need to permanently change what I put in my body, or else I risk failing again. I'm encouraged that I already have a better perspective on how much food my body needs (key word!), and that I caught myself picking up my knitting while we watched a movie the other night. Go me!

P.s. They're right: track what you eat, and you WILL lose weight.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Checking out those mushroom lamps got me looking at the other lovely, overpriced pretties at Rose and Radish.

I think my tea would taste better if I had one of these sugar bowls, don't you? What do you think - regular sugar, or cubes?

Saturday, June 07, 2008

What's Up With the Garden?

The bean seeds aren't peeking up, and it's long past the time that they should. Maybe they were old seeds, maybe the baby seedlings were eaten by the rabbit, we're not sure. There's still time to plant more beans this year, so we just ordered some (thanks Territorial!). I wanted to grow Cannelini beans this year and dry them for use this winter, but it's not working well. I just ordered some violet-podded stringless pole beans. Why grow something green when you have the option to grow purple instead?

The kale and fava beans are doing great. We agree that the butterhead lettuce is the best lettuce we've ever grown or eaten, bar none. Even Fezzik is eating his salads, not just the tomatoes and cucumbers! Tender and sweet, the way I've thought all lettuce should taste.

We had a single pea come up. Again, I'm blaming seed quality or rabbits. It's too late to plant new ones but we'll get fresh seed next year and see how it does. I'm sad about this; peas are my favorite. Maybe a year without them will be enough to make the worms we had last year go away.

Tomatoes aren't looking too hot, but the weather hasn't warmed up yet so I'm trying to convince them that the sun is on its way here.

Carrots are barely up, and we've got to get a floating row cover on them before the carrot rust fly invades again. Potatoes are doing well, which is a no-brainer. The leeks are looking like green pencils right now, which is great. Herbs are out of control, it's ridiculous. Anybody need any rosemary? How about I mail you some oregano?

I took a look at the planting schedule this morning and noticed that it was almost time to get the overwintering stuff in the ground, so I ordered the following:

  • Toscana kale (deeelish in minestrone or pasta e fagiole soup)

  • Wild Siberian kales (an experiment)

  • January King cabbage (purple outer leaves should be pretty in the winter. again, why green when there's a purple option?)

  • Superschmelz kohlrabi (huge, soccer ball sized kohlrabi I tried a couple years ago at the Madison, WI farmer's market, so sweet and tender that I've been dying to try it ever since)

  • Veronica broccoli (FRACTALS!)

I realize now that I forgot to order cauliflower. I hope the Veronica broccoli does well!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Tiny Giant's Room

If I had money to spend on frivolous, fun stuff like fancy decorations for my kid's rooms, they would look less like the thrift store showroom and more like a clean, Scandanavian, vintagey, but homey, room.

These lamps, for instance. I love these lamps. They would be perfect in the Tiny Giant's woodland-themed nursery, no? Along with the small, natural-wood framed pictures of deer, hedgehogs, and owls.

Click through to Rose & Radish for more pretties like this.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Things I Don't Get

Bright yellow Hummers (are you not conspicuous enough? it has to be yellow?)

Why Fezzik hates to play baseball, when he could be pretty good at it if he tried

Why Fezzik loves to dance, when he's got his dad's (in)ability

People who don't pay attention to their kids, or don't find them the best thing that ever happened to them, or don't make them their highest priority

Why my own brain doesn't always synch up with my mouth

The appeal of cherry-flavored anything

How Tiny Giant Two is already showing signs of being an adrenaline junkie


Artificial watermelon flavoring

Why I sometimes feel self-righteous, even when I realize that I hate that about myself

Scary movies


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

This is What Our Life Looks Like

Before & after the first haircut and the never-ending BIONICLES chronicles!

I'm Caught in the Grip of the City, Madness

Lately things are getting scary at work.

I really enjoy my little piece of this company. It even looks like I will be on the receiving end of a promotion shortly. However! My gut says GET OUT. NOW. WHILE YOU STILL CAN. People are "finding new jobs" in droves, and it's like, the last one to leave the building, could you please turn off the lights? There are managers, in my department, who are hosting resume workshops for their direct reports. Nothing says Your Job Is Not Guaranteed like your manager helping you get your resume up to date.

Change is scary. But is it scarier to wait until you're told that your specific function is unnecessary, or to go out now, and find something new? And should I wait until I have that fancy new title before I throw my hat in the ring, or should I do it NOW. WHILE I STILL CAN???

In short, eep!

Monday, June 02, 2008

True Confessions

I have something to tell you. I love *certain* reality t.v. shows. I know, most of you are shocked. "But how do you have such an immaculate house, if you watch t.v. all the time?" (haha, right).

Here's one of the best things I've seen in a long, long time. I even made Lawnboy stop what he was doing to watch this with me, and looked it up on Youtube to show Fezzik. Hopefully that will help me with my evil plan to teach Fezzik how to do this stuff.

Anyway! It's crazy awesome, and you can see it here. Please ignore the annoying hosts, just like I do when I am plonked in front of the telly. Enjoy!