31 March 2008

no shoes dropping today

Nothing horrible happened today! Woo hoo! Some would count the purchase of Crocs for Oliver as horrible, but since I have the same kind in the same color, I cannot agree. Oliver and I now have matching Keens and matching Crocs. I always thought Eleanor and I might have some matching clothes someday (we do have a mother-daughter set of socks) but never anticipated this. Parenthood is just full of surprises.

I have some progress to report on the sleep front. Eleanor has slept all night for the last three nights, approximately 7:30pm - 5:00am. I'm not entirely willing to declare victory, but I am not complaining. She's also down to nursing just four times a day. Though Oliver was down to twice a day by now, and didn't care much about one of them, Eleanor reminds us yet again that she is her own girl. 

And since I really have nothing more to say, I'm going to bed to enjoy all that extra sleep....

30 March 2008

waiting for the other shoe

So all in all, it was a pretty suck-tastic week. In addition to the stuff I already blogged, the following happened:

  • The daughter of a friend died on Wednesday, after being diagnosed with leukemia the previous Sunday. She was 42 years old, and leaves a husband and two young children.
  • A couple of weeks ago I found a lump in my breast. Since I'm still nursing I didn't think very much of it. When I went to the doctor on Thursday she found it too, unprompted. Ultrasound is Tuesday.
  • Also on Thursday word came that another friend died in her sleep. She wasn't 42, but she was too young for that.
Then there's the minivan thing, which in no way compares.

Here's hoping for a better week.

Minivan meets parking garage

I did not cry but it was close.

Mobile post sent by clumberkim using Utterz Replies.

29 March 2008

nose wipe

Eveny day I discover more ways my children are not alike. Oliver asks for a "nose wipe" whether he needs one or not. Eleanor howls at the mere sight of a tissue.

28 March 2008

what's in your fridge?

Sleep deprivation causes me to be unable to remember much of what I have eaten this week. I did some nice chicken thighs in the crock pot with mushrooms but they really were not blog-worthy even if they were ridiculously easy and not our usual dinner fare.

I made some pretty good pasta with sausage and broccoli raab last night but again, not really notable, though watching a 35 month old and an 11 month old eat linguini is pretty entertaining.

Most of my current thoughts of food are revolving around menu planning for the kids' birthday party. I'm trying to come up with a brunch menu for a huge number of people (50+ is not out of the question) that is very kid-friendly and can mostly be done ahead of time. I was sent a recipe for a baked french toast that looks very good. I'm going to break down and use disposable pans. The environmentalist in me is struggling with that one. I am also going to attempt a test run at Bakerella's cake balls this weekend, if I can find the necessary sticks.
I should have saved up the pizza crust I mentioned earlier in the week for today's post. That was probably the best thing I cooked and/or ate all week but I was optimistically thinking there would be something better. Looks like I was wrong.

27 March 2008

a penny for the needle

No, Oliver doesn't yet have an opinion on capital punishment. At least not one that I am aware of. No, it's that Music Together stuff again. Most mornings he wants to sing "Pop! Goes the Weasel" and tries to carefully time it so he says "Pop!" when the waffles fly out of the toaster. Usually we are moving slowly and I have to make the waffles pop out a second time. There used to be tears if we were not ready when the toaster popped but he eventually got past that. Progress, I suppose.

He's got a bright future in botching song lyrics, as you can see. I am not awake enough to get the camera set up for Pop! in the morning but I did manage to capture this little snippet:

I don't know about Oliver but I am getting a little tired of our current Music Together CD, Sticks. It's great, and I'm sure we will continue to use it but I can't wait for the new session to  start in a little over a week. We get a new CD (the disc type, not the spouse!), thank goodness.

26 March 2008

pancetta wednesday?

Leave it to the blogosphere to take a great idea and make it even better. The bacon cups I mentioned in the very first edition of Wednesday Bacon have been taken to the next level, pancetta cups. They are even prettier than the bacon version, if that's possible.

If I had not invited over 80 people to the kids' birthday brunch these would definitely be on the menu.

25 March 2008

pizza perfection

I can't remember which food blog I found this on. I didn't stick a star on it in Google Reader either. If this recipe is yours please send me an email and I will give you proper attribution. It's the least I can do since you have changed my life!

This dough came together very easily and quickly, but it did not stick to the parchment as the recipe says. It did take persistence to get it rolled out. The dough wants to spring back. Just be patient. Even so, this pizza was an hour, start to finish. And the crust was thin and crunchy, just the way I like it. Oliver seems to prefer pizza that crunches too. 

I think the revelation is the parchment paper. Since I don't have a peel, I have struggled with getting pizza from counter to oven stone without a disaster. Parchment solved that problem entirely.

I want to play around with adding some whole wheat flour to the dough, since we trying to use less white flour. Next time.

Home-made Thin Crust Pizza (makes two not very large pizzas)

For the dough:
6 ounces of warm water
1/2 teaspoon of yeast
10 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
1/2 tsp salt

For the toppings:
Anything you like. I made one with Trader Joe's pizza sauce, pepperoni, and mozzarella. The other was more exotic. Same red sauce but I added baby bella and shitake mushrooms that had been sauteed in olive oil with lots of chopped garlic, Trader Joe's quattro formaggio cheese blend (parmesan, asiago, fontina and provolone), and a few little blobs of goat cheese. I'll be making more like this in the future, though Oliver preferred the boring one.

Making the Dough:
About 30 minutes to 1 hour before baking, pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees. If you have a baking stone, put it on a rack in the lower-middle part of the oven.

In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, heat the water until it feels barely lukewarm when you test it with your finger (if the water is so hot that you can't leave your finger in it, wait for it to cool down). Add the yeast to the water and use a fork or whisk to stir it into the water. Set this aside for a few minutes and allow the yeast to dissolve. It's ok if the yeast doesn't bubble, but it should be entirely dissolved and the mixture should look like thin miso soup.

Measure out the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and use your hand or a whisk to combine.

Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the water-yeast mixture. Use your fingers or a wooden spoon to combine everything together.

When it comes together into a cohesive ball, turn it out onto the counter along with any extra flour in the bowl that hasn't yet gotten worked in.

Knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic to the touch--about five minutes.The dough should still feel moist and slightly tacky. If it's sticking to your hands and counter-top like bubble gum, work in more flour one tablespoon at a time until it's smooth and silky (below).

Use a bench scraper to divide the dough in two.

Shaping the Dough:
Tear off two pieces of parchment paper roughly 12-inches wide. Work one piece of the dough in your hands and form it into a large disk. Lay the disk of dough on the parchment paper.

Working from the middle of the dough outwards, use the heel of your hand to gently press the dough outward until it's about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. You can also use a rolling pin for this part. We like to make free form pies, but if you'd like a circular pie, you can trace a large circle on the back of the parchment to use as a guide.

Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Note: The recipe says the dough will stick to the parchment paper, making it easier for you to roll out. Mine did not stick but I had no trouble rolling it out, though it took a bit of time. You'll bake the pizza right on the parchment paper. As it cooks, the dough will release from the parchment, and you can slide the paper out before serving.

Topping and Baking the Dough:
Spoon a few tablespoons of sauce into the center of each pizza and use the back of a spoon to spread it out to the edges. Pile on all of your toppings except the cheese.

Using a bread peel or the backside of a baking sheet, slide your pizza (still on the parchment) onto the baking stone in the oven. If you don't have a baking stone, just bake it right on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 5 minutes and then rotate the pizza 180-degrees (most ovens have 'hot spots' your pizza will bake unevenly if it's not rotated). Bake for another 3 minutes and then sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake for another 2-3 minutes until the edges are golden brown and crispy.

Remove your pizza from oven and let it cool on a wire rack. At this point, you can slide the parchment paper out from under the pizza. Repeat with second pizza.

Let both pizzas cool for about five minutes and serve.

the streak is intact

Eleanor went to the Doc today. She hasn't shaken the cold and this morning she refused to eat breakfast. Her appetite had been falling off all weekend, and this is a child who eats anything and everything. Of course, her nursing hasn't fallen off one bit. At the moment, I am glad for that. At eleven months Oliver was starting to have a little whole milk because he was down to just two feedings a day and didn't really care about one of them. Eleanor, on the other hand, still nurses about five times a day, sometimes more. 

So the Doc diagnosed an upper-respiratory infection of some sort. He said her ears are "involved" but he was unwilling to declare an ear infection. Our streak of nearly four child-years without an ear infection continues. I think another day and we probably would have had greater problems so I am glad I took her in. She had not been running the fever like Oliver was last week, but she was much more miserable than he was.

She's taking the antibiotics like a champ and I expect her to be feeling a lot better by tomorrow. She ate a little applesauce for dinner but has mostly been sleeping and nursing, nursing and sleeping.

It seems both kids have inherited my tendency to get sick during extreme changes in weather. We have been experiencing warm days, followed by snow, etc. for the last couple of weeks. Fortunately it appears neither has inherited my penicillin allergy.

24 March 2008

what I learned at my job interview today

Job interviews can be very educational. This one was only an hour, by far the shortest one ever in my professional life. 

1. Jobs like that are what I will always be trying to get away from.
2. I really need to get myself to lactation counselor training.

23 March 2008

all things considered, meh

Lest this blog turn into a total whine-fest, here's the quick and dirty:
  • Oliver's cold is a little better. 
  • Eleanor and I now have it, minus the fever so far.
  • Oliver went splat on pavement this weekend. Twice. Despite the sounds he made at the time, the only visible evidence is a bruise on one knee.
  • Easter was okay. Eggs were hunted. Other than an aforementioned splat, it occurred without incident. I got up at 7am to hide the damn things, not knowing that our neighbors would not be egg hunting until after the mass that.would.not.end. That would be around 11:45am. Someone in the house knew this but did not feel it necessary to share this tidbit with me.
  • Longer naps do not always result in happier Olivers.
  • Tears were shed at dinner, over a meal unfinished and a chocolate bunny withheld. 
Tomorrow, I promise, there will be something more interesting, if not more cheerful, to discuss.

22 March 2008

I officially hate weekends

It's official. I live for Mondays. Oliver very nearly found himself listed on eBay today, but I fear I would have had to pay someone to take him. If this is the beginning of a new phase that lasts more than a week I will be putting together my letter of resignation as his parent.

After a trying early morning with lots of whining and not listening, we went to the zoo for the birthday party of a classmate at Oliver's old school. There were lots of old buddies that he mostly had not seen since last August. He was out.of.control, eventually making me want a time out myself.

And to make things really fun and interesting, my obstetrician was at the party. She didn't deliver Eleanor but saw more of my hoo-ha than any of the other doctors in the practice prior to delivery. She is very nice and any awkwardness was entirely in my head.

Oliver finally got to sleep, about an hour and a half later than usual for nap. Then he woke up crying, much too early. The rest of the afternoon was sprinkled with minor meltdowns, nose wiping, scraped palms from a wipeout in the street, and lots of not listening.

There are not enough chocolate carrots in the world to get me through the rest of this weekend if tomorrow is anything like today.

21 March 2008

we may have to start calling this mediocre food friday

Date night was mostly successful. The movie, Vantage Point, was better than I anticipated. The car chase is nearly worthy of a Bond film. Stuff blew up, which means I can probably get CD to a chick movie sometime soon. 

Dinner was okay. I had hoped to go closer to home for food, patronizing one of our neighborhood establishments, but CD suggested the epitome of mediocre chinese food, a certain chain. I have no idea why he likes this place. It is generally loud and crowded, the service is poor when it is not condescending, and the food is unremarkable. So that's where we went! CD has been so grumpy lately that I thought it wise not to push this particular point. 

For a change, my entree was good! It was szechuan beef and just about set my mouth on fire. Typically their version of "spicy" is pretty meh, even for a lightweight in the spice department like me. Not this time. It was sufficiently spicy that I did not have to drown it in red pepper sauce. In fact, I did nothing to it. It was fine, just as it was. I had a taste of CD's dali chicken and didn't like it.at.all. I can't tell if he did or not, since he typically eats whatever is placed in front of him, without comment. (To be fair, he did once say that a cake I made was good. One comment in 10 years....) In the end, the best part is that I did not have to do any dishes.

When we arrived home both kids were sleeping. The sitter reported a mostly uneventful evening, though Oliver melted down, wanting his mummy, after dinner (where he ate about three bites). He never does this with a sitter. I am going to blame the residual effects of his cold and sleep deficit. Eleanor, though entirely off schedule due to a late nap and an early nurse, went to sleep on the second try. Go sitter!

20 March 2008

date night!

Light posting today...it's date night! So I need to clean up a bit before the sitter comes and clean myself up a bit too. I managed four consecutive days of showers and would really like to make it five. That could be a record since Eleanor arrived.

Oliver was well enough to go to school today. Not sure who was happier about that, him or me. In any case, cough suppressant/decongestant products actually do work on kids over 2, or so it would seem. Thanks, Dr O, for the suggestion that perhaps some OTC meds were in order. Oliver slept great last night, and didn't even wake up when one of his bulletin board squares fell off the wall in the night. CD and I thought he had fallen out of bed but when I went up to investigate, he was snoring away.

Our other news is from my niece, expecting her first child in August. It's a GIRL!!! Eleanor won't be the only girl in this batch of family babies, and this will be my mom's first great-granddaughter, joining the four great-grandsons. Given Eleanor's size I wasn't too worried about her running with the boys at family gatherings but it will be really fun to have another girl around.

Back to the date...we're going to see Vantage Point. Dinner options will depend on what time the movie ends and what traffic is like. I am hoping for something worthy of Fabulous Food Friday. Otherwise you'll be hearing about what sprang forth from my crockpot this week, or perhaps how I doctored a box mix of cornbread. 

19 March 2008

could it be Wednesday?

Oliver is still home from school. One thermometer says his temp is normal, and the other says it's about 102. He didn't sleep much last night (and I know this because, wait for it, I wasn't sleeping either!) so I thought it was a good idea to keep him home again, if only because I would probably have ended up having to fetch him early anyway.

After both kids "performed" for our architect, who was here to talk about doing some shelves and cabinets in the living room, CD fled the scene and I was left with both monsters children. And by "perform" I mean Oliver asked for a "nosewipe" every 3.5 seconds, announced he was pooping, borrowed the architect's pencil and scribbled on his printout of our living room, and generally acted like a 35 month old. Eleanor was wiggly, wanted to play with Oliver's toys and generally acted like an 11 month old. Fancy that.

Moving on...

The only way I know it is Wednesday is from taking a peek at my blog stats, arranged by date. Hey, look at that! It's Wednesday! Time for bacon, right?

Ree is The Pioneer Woman and her bacon appetizers are sublime...in a totally 1981 sort of way. As a 15 year old in 1981 I was oblivious to just about everything that is important to me now, like bacon, so I will have to take everyone else's word for it. I do remember club crackers though. She includes step by step instructions and photos, including what not to do. I really wish every cookbook included those sorts of photos. I could volunteer to take them too.

we passed ridiculous a long time ago

Remember my steamer saga and that fine company that sounds a whole lot like Gag-me-now? It gets worse. I got the stupid estimate for having the circuit re-wired. I called to find out if they got my fax. They called back to say yes, we got it, now we're waiting for a supervisor to approve it. Then nothing. For a week. I called today and found out it was approved six days ago but no one thought it necessary to tell me. Okay, well, I can move on from that. It's progress, even if I did have to call them, yet again, to find out.

Then I asked if another replacement steamer was being sent. This stumped them ENTIRELY. It took the phone rep 10 minutes to review the file, remain confused about why I needed another unit, me spending another 10 minutes explaining it using words of one syllable or less, then 10 minutes of conferring with a supervisor before telling me it would be 24-48 hours before a supervisor could approve that. 


Steamer.is.dead. It.is.our.fault. Send.new.one. How hard is this, people?

One would think, after all this, that they might be the least bit interested in making me feel a little love. Apparently not.

18 March 2008

we don't need no stinkin' naps

Oliver had a slight temp when I picked him up at school yesterday. He had a cough and sniffles too. By bedtime, though he was acting normally his temp was 102.1. I kept him home today, though the temp was gone and he just had the cough and runny nose (which was clear). We had a good morning, including a brief outing to REI to pick up some shoes I ordered for Oliver. [We are really boring about shoes for him. This is the fourth pair of the same style. I just get the next size when they start to get snug. Booooring...but he likes them, we like them, and they wear well. This was probably the cheapest purchase, thanks to REI's 20% off member sale.]

It was the afternoon when things went to hell. Oliver refused to nap. at. all. He always naps. On weekends when he's home he sleeps 2 or 2 1/2 hours. This is the first time he's not napped in, well, never. 2 years, at least. To make matters worse, he woke Eleanor so her nap was abbreviated. She's shifting towards one nap a day but isn't quite there yet. She's also finally moving towards fewer nursing sessions, but that's a topic for another day.

Not a fun afternoon for any of us. I tried to get them to bed early and mostly succeeded. Eleanor was down by 7:15pm, with Oliver soon thereafter, but he's been restless, despite finally giving him some motrin and putting the vapor plug in his room. I hope he gets some solid rest and is well enough for school tomorrow. Otherwise, I may be reminded yet again of why some species eat their young.

17 March 2008


There is no Pert at Target. Half an aisle of assorted Pantene products, yet no Pert. What am I missing here?

I had a great title for this post but thought of it in the car and thus, it was entirely gone from my head within minutes, certainly by the time I got home. 

do I dare?

I am very hesitant to say this out loud but Miss Eleanor has slept from about 7:30pm to about 5:15am for two nights in a row. I have not had to go in and nurse her again within an hour of putting her down. Last night she made a few little noises at various times, but nothing sustained so I did not go into her room. 

Of course, as soon as I hit that "publish" button the spell will be broken. 

16 March 2008

dreaming of daisy

Oliver has really enjoyed the last 10 weeks of Music Together. He's extremely enamored of Daisy, who leads the class. I didn't realize quite how enamored until a few nights ago. I went in to check on him before going to bed myself and he was talking in his sleep. I thought I heard him talking about "Stacy", though I did not know of any Stacys in his life. The next morning I asked him who Stacy is and he said, "No, Mum. Daisy!" He clearly had been dreaming about her. This was the first time he was willing to discuss his dreaming.

Last Sunday during the Jammie Jam, a special extra evening music class, when Daisy told the children to snuggle up with someone they love, Oliver walked over to Daisy and climbed into her lap. This, while he had the choice of Mum or his favorite teacher from his old school (who met us there to help me with both kids). We try not to take such things personally.

I am not sure how he is going to get through the next two weeks while we wait for the new session to begin.

15 March 2008

toile backsplash

If not for referencing the toile fabric I used in Eleanor's room, or the slate backsplash in my kitchen, no one would ever visit my blog. Those, and the quilted stainless steel backsplash I wanted instead of the slate. People also find me by searching for "baby dogs" and "dogs having babies". I have a feeling, in all cases, this blog disappoints. Not much I can do about it. Blame google.

14 March 2008

plugged in

Not unplugged tonight. Just wasn't practical. I am going to try again tomorrow evening. Though there isn't much going on that's worthy of a post all on its own, there's a bunch of little stuff, like that band-aid over there.

  • Oliver got a boo boo last night. I didn't see it happen but it involved the front door and there was a little blood and a lot of crying. Though he was asking for Grover, finding Cookie Monster on the bandaid made it all better.
  • Eleanor's sleep has gone completely in the tank. Every night this week, except last night, she has needed a second visit before 8pm and required more nursing. (Last night she was so tired from not napping all day that she crashed almost immediately. Then she screamed from 10:30pm to 12:30am.)
  • WWDC is seriously messing with my summer plans. June was going to be complicated anyway, with CalConnect in Madison and my 20th college reunion, then a visit to my family in Maine. Now WWDC is going to be the week we planned to spend in Maine. And CD typically has to be in California the week before and the week of WWDC. How all this is going to play out is anybody's guess. I don't mind going to Maine with the kids by myself. I'll have reinforcements when I get there. (I am not thinking about the drive home, however!) We do have a nanny scheduled to go with us to the reunion, but I really don't want to go without the spouse. Seeing so many people I spent four years being intimidated by becomes a whole lot less fun without him. I was miserable five years ago when we decided to skip my 15th because we had just gotten married and were postponing the honeymoon until fall. It seemed like the right thing to do until the weekend actually arrived. There were tears. And a promise to myself that I would never miss another reunion.
  • Fabulous Food Friday should be all about pie today, since it is Pi Day. Alas, I bailed. Priority one today was getting Eleanor's napping back to normal. There was no room for pie. I did make a new discovery this week, one that may be even more my downfall than Girl Scout cookies. Bolthouse Farms hazelnut latte. Oh.My. Go get some. It's way yummy.
  • I was asked to judge a puppy match next fall. I'm still in a bit of shock about that one. The thought of it is scary as all get out, but after thinking it over a bit I said I would do it. It's a very low-key affair, fortunately. About as gentle an introduction to judging as one could imagine. Still, I will probably spend weeks fretting about it, reading breed standards and the cow judging book that is supposed to be the bible of this sort of thing.
There, I think that's enough for one night.

ballet, with a spotter

I'm pretty sure you shouldn't try this at home.

Courtesy of the very wonderful Mary P.

13 March 2008

finished product

The finished invitations are here! Tara from TwoSheep Greetings combined my favorite elements from the two sample cards and they turned out beautifully! The details of the party are inside, on a green panel. I can't wait to get them in the mail, but I'm waiting for some special .58 stamps. Margaret Chase Smith stamps. I couldn't resist!

Please forgive the fuzziness. I tried to get past the problems I have with lighting by putting the card in the scanner. With raised elements (the cupcakes) that presents a new challenge.

12 March 2008

WB - bonus edition

I happened upon something unexpected at Penzey's yesterday, and since I have been a Penzey's customer since their catalog's were produced on a typewriter and read like a review of world politics, it takes a lot for them to surprise me.

It is named innocently enough...pork chop seasoning, but the little label on their sniffing jar says, "...makes everything taste like bacon!" I have not had the pleasure of testing the infamous kosher, vegetarian Bacon Salt yet, but this sounds like an interesting alternative. I haven't had a chance to try it yet, as I didn't think making my raisin bran taste like bacon would be a good start to the day, but it will be tried very, very soon.

WB - candied bacon ice cream

More amazing bacony goodness today. From David Lebovitz comes Candied Bacon Ice Cream. It sure sounds good. I mean, you've got "candy", "ice cream", AND BACON. Could it really be bad? I think not.

If you make it, please report back. Drooling bacon lovers everywhere are waiting to hear.

11 March 2008


Pittsburgh's strip district is not what it sounds like at all. It's a great place to get seafood, fresh produce, cheese, pasta, espresso. I could go on and on and never do it justice. I needed to go to Penzey's so a friend and I arranged to meet there and then have lunch. I happened to find a great parking space (and you know what a feat that is in Pittsburgh) right across from Enrico Biscotti. That seemed like a sign pointing me to where we should have lunch.

It's not an overly kid-friendly place, with just a few tightly-packed tables and no high chairs, but they were accommodating. I was trying to decide what to order that I could share with Eleanor when the waitress said they could bring her a small portion of something. That solved my dilemma nicely. Polenta for Eleanor and beans & greens for me. The beans & greens were not as good as Pino's (not enough garlic, too much with the kale) but Eleanor scarfed down lots of polenta and bread, clearly enjoying all of it. [Side note about this child and food: She loves everything. In the last few days we have found that she likes blueberries, cantaloupe, blueberry pancakes, pears. You name it, she'll eat it. Nearly 11 months old and still feeling the need to show me she is not her brother.]

Being in the neighborhood not nearly as often as I would like, I had to take advantage of the biscotti. And check out the new Pittsburgh Popcorn Company.  And have an espresso at La Prima, home to the best espresso I have ever had in the US. As much as I like what I make myself, La Prima reminds me that what makes my espresso good is that it's in my house and I can have it anytime I want without having to find a parking space. 

wears a dress
It was a really good little outing, even if I didn't get any seafood or cheese. 

10 March 2008

he sucks!

Sonday was well worth waiting a day for this week. Oliver mastered an important new skill at school today. He sucks!!! On a straw!!! Since he started taking his lunch to school I have packed a milk box (with straw attached) and a cup for his teachers to put the milk into. His teachers and I all tried to show him how to operate a straw but he insisted on blowing, and making a huge mess with the bubbles in a full milk box. We gave up and forgot about it for a while, like four months or so. 

When I took him to school today I suggested it might be time to give it another go. We did not make any attempts at home. I was pleasantly surprised when his teacher reported total success! He sucks now!

I am thinking this might be the way to go with the potty too. Forget it entirely for months. Then bring it up again. Oh wait. We tried that already. Could be worth doing again. Hmmm.

09 March 2008

return of the empanada

Fabulous Food Friday got postponed this week. It wasn't a terribly exciting week, culinarily-speaking. The food that most grabbed my attention was the pineapple mango empanadas that have returned to Starbucks. Yeah, I know, the evil empire of coffee. Sue me.

When it comes to food at Starbucks, the one thing I have come to expect is that they will have something I like and it will disappear within a week or two of my discovery. (Also true of the Mocha Valencia drink, though it took them a little longer to discontinue it.) This is what happened last year with the yummy empanadas. I found them and poof! They were gone. I was shocked to see them back.

Get 'em while they last.

08 March 2008

one adventure after another

I'd like to say the day was one adventure after another but that's only true if you're used to staying at home with a baby most of the day, with the occasional excursion to Trader Joe's or Target. 

It all started when I put on makeup (!) and headed out to the bus. (One makeup note, probably the only one you will ever see on this blog: Smashbox Photo Finish Primer is truly amazing stuff. I picked up a small sample tube a few weeks ago, though I only wear makeup once or twice a year. It's green, and pretty odd looking, but it does its job exceedingly well.) I waited at the bus stop in some very cold drizzle for quite a while, as I slowly realized there aren't many buses running on Saturday. Just as I was about to give up and beg CD to load up the kids and drive me to pick up my rental car, the bus arrived.

A few minutes later I was getting in a ZipCar for the first time. Once I got over the fact that my butt felt like it riding on the ground, it was pretty good. I filled it with gas, at their expense, and was on my way to the meeting.

I really didn't know what to expect at the meeting. I definitely was not expecting there to be 600 people there, and I didn't know ANY of them. I had spoken with one person on the phone before I was asked to be on the board of directors, but that was it. On my way back from coat check, where I also pump-checked, I stumbled on some tables with name tags and mine was one of them. At least I had an assigned seat!

It was an inspiring meeting. There is clearly a lot of energy and excitement about the future, and I'm now officially a part of it. It's also very strange because I know none of the history, politics, or personalities. In my last year on another board I was the primary source of institutional memory. In this case, I feel like I am blindfolded, have one arm tied behind my back, and I don't know the secret handshake. I'm sure that will all be remedied in June when board training and meetings start. The adventure is just beginning there.

The drive home was icky. Snowy, icy, foggy, all in a car I wasn't used to driving and made me feel far too low to the ground. It was slow going but I got home without incident, which is more than I can say for the guy I saw in the highway median, aimed in the wrong direction!

CD seems to have survived his longest stint with both kids. I usually escape only to run to the grocery store and one of them is usually asleep. He even got them to Music Together, quite a challenge with two, especially since Eleanor would rather be napping when it's time to go. It's only fair though. He's leaving tomorrow for yet another geek-fest.

07 March 2008


It's night 2 of 52 nights unplugged. See you tomorrow, when fabulous food friday becomes fabulous food saturday.

I have a big night planned, getting organized for my girl scout meeting tomorrow and going to bed early!

maybe not your idea of a happy day, but for me...

It's Gundog Day at Crufts and all is right with the world! Okay, so maybe that's a stretch but if you've been reading the last few days you know what kind of a week I have been having. Cut me some slack.
That's Penguin and me at Crufts in 2004, with judge Bill Ironside's kilt nicely blocking the bitch who beat us. But we are not at all bitter, since that bitch's offspring, owned by a friend, won Best of Breed today. Paws are crossed for him in the group ring.

Showing that day was tough on the nerves. It had taken about 8 months of preparation, once we qualified, in order to get around the UK quarantine and use the Pet Passport scheme to enter the country with Penguin. Lots of things went wrong on the trip, but we survived. The show itself is insane! over 20,000 dogs! Yes, it's four days, but still, that's a lot of dogs. Penguin handled the stress as she usually does, by going to sleep.

I would love to be back there today, maybe without my own dog. My idea of a perfect Crufts experience would be to spend a few days shopping and seeing the other attractions, then be asked by a Clumber friend to take one of their lovely dogs (that they have already groomed!) into the ring. Winning would be a bonus.

If YouTube ever decides to cooperate, I will update this post with a video of Penguin and me at Crufts. She never looked better.

06 March 2008

putting it all back together

Yesterday I told you what fell apart. Today was for starting to get it all back on track. On the real estate front, we got a new auction scheduled for early April and started work on some of the repairs we discovered from the "people posing as buyers' " inspection. On the dog poop front I had yet another conversation with my vet. She wants to do yet another blood test, and this particular one will be $150. She thinks it is the least-invasive next step. I consulted a vet friend for a second opinion and she suggested trying one more food first. This seems reasonable. And I got the estimate for re-wiring the steamer circuit. That's three fires beaten down to a smolder. Like I said, it's a start.

05 March 2008

the handbasket is full

I must have seriously pissed off the universe at some point. I, along with the dozen or so other female bloggers out there who are not pregnant, have a raging case of PMS. [Is this like college when my dorm floor all got in sync, to the point where the guys on the two floors below us would not venture upstairs a few days a month?] It makes me want to alternately spit nails and weep.

It all started Monday, when our adorable foster dog decided to crap all over Oliver's bedroom. He never goes upstairs except at bedtime, so I never close the gate. His crapping problem is recurrent and really, really messy. I put him back on the pills that cause him to be able to control his crapping urge a bit better, though he still produces more crap than I ever thought possible. I swear it's more than the food that goes in, which is probably why he is so thin. At his age, there is probably something going on internally. I see more vet visits in my future, and a visit from the rug cleaning company.

On Tuesday, a new chapter was added to the saga of the steamer. The new unit was delivered, a day earlier than the company told me it would arrive. The guy who brought it in seemed to have no idea that he would be installing anything, especially since he's not an installer. After studying the manual at length, he finally the old unit out and the new one in place and wired in. It worked once, but the second time I turned it on it made the same clicking noise the old one had made when it shorted out. A careful look at the label revealed that the old one was a 220-240v appliance, while the newer unit was 120v, an improvement for the new model year. After yet another lengthy phone call with the manufacturer (rhymes with "gag-me-now"), we are now getting estimates on having the circuit re-wired. I have to fax that to them, at which point they will decide whether they feel like paying for it or not. And maybe then they will send yet another unit to be installed by yet another incompetent hack. I haven't had a working unit since early December. I predict I will be able to use it again sometime in July. 

And now today, it all really went to hell. The buyers for our house backed out, screwing us in a wide variety of ways. When they presented their list of things they wanted fixed, we sent them a response, agreeing to most of them, even the truly ridiculous ones. We expected they would respond with a request for more than we were offering to do, we would say, "done," and we would all move forward towards a March 17 closing. Instead, their agent called ours and to report her buyers are balking at our saying we would not brace the roof. Our agent told her this was not a deal breaker for us and we would do it. It was a $600 fix. Big deal. Their agent responded with their termination of the agreement. They get their hand money back. We don't get squat. And to add insult to injury, the auction we had scheduled for Saturday has to be cancelled. The second open house was not held, due to our agreement with these buyers. We have to decide whether to schedule a new auction in three weeks or kiss the money we gave to the auction company for advertising goodbye. 

And the cherry on top of this shit sundae was just a little while ago, when Eleanor decided to start her bedtime nursing session with a very, very hard chomp with all eight of her teeth. Good times!


Bet you thought "wednesday bacon" was just a flash in the pan (I crack myself up). Oh, no. Especially when a commenter on last week's post gave me such a good link to talk about today.

Bacon Vodka! I noticed this before the comment was made, but I'll give full credit to my friend from Virginia who claims to be a calls himself Clumber. 

Like last week's bacon cups, I haven't actually tried this but it sounds amazing. My bloody mary's would never be the same. The commenters on the original post have lots of interesting ideas. Please let me know if you try any of them, or have some ideas of your own for how to best use bacon vodka.

Alas, my alcohol consumption is on hiatus. It has recently become clear that my occasional half glass of wine too well correlated to nights when Eleanor doesn't sleep well. A bacon bloody mary will be high on my list of things to try when she is finally weaned.

04 March 2008

the envelope please

The random number generator has spoken and the winner of a $10 iTunes gift card is comment #1. Congratulations Jami, who said: "I like them both, but if I were forced to choose I'd go with the white. Good luck in making your decision! :)" Drop me a line, Jami, and let me know if you want a card mailed to you or an electronic code. We can do either here at TDaaB!

Thanks to all who commented. You're all just as divided as I feared you would be. Like Jami, if forced to choose I'd go with the white too. I think the final product may be a hybrid though. Stay tuned....

03 March 2008

time is running out

You've got just a few hours to vote for the birthday party invitation and get a chance at winning a $10 iTunes gift card. Leave your vote in the comments of this post by midnight tonight, eastern time.

02 March 2008

lead, follow, and get out of the way

Son-day finds me noticing how Oliver interacts with his peers. Sometimes he is very comfortable taking a leadership role. I'm very proud of how he is able to engage a shy child and bring him or her out of the sidelines. I am less impressed when he becomes a follower, as he inevitably chooses to follow whomever is being most disruptive in group settings. I found myself telling the parent of one of these "charismatic leaders", you know, the ones who will either be president or end up in jail, that Oliver would follow his son off a cliff. It is to the point where I am actively seeking to avoid those kids, even asking his music teacher if the kid I'm trying to avoid has registered for the same class time next session.

I can't decide if I'm just taking the easy way out, since when Oliver is tearing around the room chasing the disruptive kid it is a lot more work for me, or protecting him from a bad influence. He would probably learn more if I just got out of the way.

taking a poll, giving a prize

Tara of TwoSheep Greetings has made some amazing sample invitations for the kids' birthday party. She posted samples on her blog, with more views at Flickr. I love them both and can't decide! I took an informal poll last night that was deadlocked. Now it's your turn. Let me know if you like the Green background or the White background in the comments. A randomly selected winner will receive a $10 iTunes gift card.

UPDATE: I guess I should have put a deadline on this. Comment by midnight, eastern time, Monday, March 3, 2008 to be eligible for the prize.

01 March 2008

night one of fifty two

So it was night one of 52 nights unplugged, and not entirely successful. The plan was to avoid all screens, beginning at 5pm. CD sent a text message around 5:20. This is a rare event so I had to grab my phone. We made it to the party at Oliver's school, 45 minutes late due to the snow and insane traffic, and I felt the phone vibrating again. I had new mail and something told me I should check it. It was my realtor, saying she was sick and would not be able to do our call. So, good thing I looked. I am kind of annoyed that I printed out a long document in preparation for the call though. If not for the whole unplugged thing, I would not have had to print it. And then it wasn't necessary in the end. Wasteful, and frustrating.

I did manage to avoid TV and get a whole bunch of magazines cleaned out of my bedroom, but I checked email a few more times in the course of the evening. 

It was also Blog365's day of rest, but I'm guessing you didn't miss me.