Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Silly Haiku Wednesday

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Jenn's challenge this week: a silly haiku about appreciation. I must protest: appreciation (especially appreciation of me) is never silly! But I digress. Let's see . . .

A little respect!
I'm the Rodney Dangerfield
of mommies. Or not.

When I hear, "Thanks for
the grilled cheese sandwich, Mama!"
I can keep going.

During these hard times
I am so thankful to Him
That I have so much.

Image credits:
Rodney Dangerfield: Tanya/Redlight Visuals
Girl Who Loves Cheese: The Grilled Cheese Institute ( for real, people!)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Name this plant . . . please!

I bought this beautiful plant at the Home Depot, mainly because it cost (costed? did cost? was in the act of costing?) I paid $6.00 for it. I feel like a plant that is lush and lovely and purple and costs six bucks is a plant that is meant for me.

But I don't really know what it is. It was out with the mums (a plant that annoys me because I find it all smug and "I get worn by the Homecoming Queen -- nyah, nyah, nyah!") so I assume this purple beauty is a fall-ish plant. Or maybe it's a spring plant that originally cost (costed?) thirty-five dollars. I haven't the foggiest notion.

It was gorgeous in the rain on Saturday, but a) I don't have the camera savvy to take a picture that captures its glamour, and b) it was raining, dudes! There's only so much I am willing to go through for my art.

Ominous information I feel compelled to report -- I tend to kill the beautiful plants. At the beginning of the summer this planter held this whitish silvery thing (What is it? Don't know.) and some English lavender. The ivy is, I feel, a weed and should be ignored. The silvery thing has not changed a bit. It hasn't grown; it hasn't wilted. And I have not done One. Thing. For. It. Clearly silvery plants can take this kind of treatment, but English lavender? Not so much.

Monday, August 24, 2009


OK, so Staples is getting ready for school to start, and has pocket folders on sale for a penny apiece. One penny, people! If you need folders just skedaddle on over to Staples right now -- I'll wait.

So my friend Mindy clued me in to this, and asked me and the urchins to help her buy a bunch of folders that will be used when our high school hosts a big hoo-ha in the spring.

: Practice your bowing down now, before the awesomeness of Mindy, the queen of the bargain-finders.

another tangent:Please note that the EASY button does not in any way imply that Mindy is EASY, or that my urchins are EASY, or even that I am EASY.

When I asked her how many folders she thought they would need, Mindy was v-e-r-y cagey, but her answer involved me and my urchins and her and her urchins all trooping through Staples over and over and over again buying folders twenty at a time (some ridiculousness about "allowing others to take advantage of the savings.")

Well, now -- I thought this would be a fun adventure for a Sunday afternoon, but the urchins did not see it this way. You would have thought I had tied them to the rack or forced them to do Pilates. Much eye-rolling and teeth-gnashing ensued. The girls were bought off with a pretty binder and -- why?? -- a locker magnet in the form of a piggish lamb or maybe a lamb-like cow, I'm not sure. The tall boy had too much fun shooting me the evil eye to be bribed, so I left him to his pleasure.

Mindy's older urchins, by the way, refused to participate in this event -- using the fishy excuse that they are already ensconced on their college campuses six hours away. Anything to get out of a little help for Mom!

My urchins and I bought 240 pocket folders for $2.52. I feel like Ma Ingalls, making my own cheese grater or braiding hats out of weeds. Except different.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Here's what I love:

. . . . rainy Saturdays.

Today we are feeling the effects of the outer edge of the outer edge of Hurricane Bill; for us this means a cool, steady, day-long rain.

Rainy Saturdays around our house mean curling up with a bowl of popcorn and a good book.

Of course sometimes the book gets read, and sometimes it doesn't . . . but that's one more thing to love about a rainy Saturday.

Hope you're enjoying your Saturday -- whatever the weather!

Friday, August 21, 2009

It lives!

Hey, look! My tomatoes are perking up! No, really! This is pretty darned perky compared to earlier this summer. My whining strategy seems to have worked. Maybe I'll market whining as a "green" alternative to chemical fertilizers. Watch out, Miracle-Gro!

And honestly -- my strategy truly is green -- as in, I was green with envy over my friend's lush tropical tomato paradise. Heh! -- hang on a minute while I slap my knee . . . .

OK, so we're only talking kind of perky. Ironically, up until now this was the only plant that had produced any fruit. Very, very small fruit.

But check it out! This is almost respectable! You can even see more teeny, tiny tomatoes yearning to be big, grown-up tomatoes -- and then be eaten.

And this right here is a bona fide cluster of tomatoes. Eat your heart out, Coleen!

But -- in other garden news . . . .

Things are not looking so good for the spud plant. We may be emigrating to Ireland after all. Do you think they have signs posted in shop windows: "No dogs or Americans"?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Let's cook! A lesson with pictures!

For my first attempt at a cooking lesson for your edification, I thought I would prepare a little dish that is a specialty of mine. My kids love it and consider it a special treat when I make it for them. Don't be intimidated by the several steps that are required -- the end result is worth it!

Let's start with the ingredients:

First, the reading glasses are crucial; they're just so important for reading the instructions printed on the package. Some people skip this step -- but not me!

You'll need to make a decision about the flavor of Ramen you want to make. My family is partial to chicken; we have tried the shrimp flavor, but food poisoning was a problematic result, so we have gone back to chicken. But hey! -- whatever your family will eat, I always say!

Two cups of water is important. Some have tried to use less, but they have come home from Boy Scout camping trips disappointed -- not to mention dehydrated.

A pot -- so key!

The spicy no-name Tabasco-type sauce is an extra, but I do feel it's important to add those little touches that let my family know I care. If your sauce came back from a Boy Scout camping trip with no lid, here's a little tip: you can stick it in the fridge and hope no one notices. Eventually someone will meticulously craft a new lid. Try it -- it works!

OK! Let's get cooking!

Pour two cups of water into a pot of sufficient size. Don't forget to turn the stove on!

When the water is boiling, carefully open the package of noodles. It is important to tear the package is such a way that you can still read the directions (with your reading glasses, of course!). Boy, did I learn this the hard way!

Now add the noodle square to the boiling water. The noodles must cook for exactly three minutes, so make sure you set a timer.

Here's a tip: when you set the timer on your microwave, make sure you press the "TIMER" button, and not the "START" button. Nobody wants to make a baby with six eyes!

If you want to stir the noodle square, feel free -- but there's no need! I use a butcher knife for stirring -- because that's how we roll at my house.

After three minutes, turn off the heat. Now, we're ready to really spice things up!

First, fish the flavoring package out of the trash, where it got placed accidentally.

Now carefully add it to the cooked noodles and water. This crucial step turns the dish into a soupy masterpiece! If you want to add fake Tabasco sauce, now is the moment. I'm going to skip it this time.

Mmmm! Just look at all of that savory goodness, waiting to be stirred into your creation! Could there be anything tastier?!

Now choose a pretty dish that your best friend covets. This kind of serving piece is perfect for such a fancy dish -- it really brings out the color of the noodles.

Doesn't that look delicious? You can really be proud of yourself when you serve up a meal like this for your family. This is what memories are made of!

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Silly Haiku Wednesday

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It's that time again over at Jenn's blog. You should try it yourself -- you know you want to! This week's theme is separation -- which could go just a whole lot of ways, couldn't it?

I grew up Army;
moving and saying good-bye
seemed normal to me.

The Golden Compass
gave "separation" a whole
new meaning: tragic.

Cooking is so not
My thing. Separating eggs --
Harder than it looks!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hellooo, Nurse!

OK, so you know how I mentioned in a previous post that I was looking for a witty yet loving name for each of my three urchins? Well, my two girls are pretty sure that they should be named after the Animaniacs, of Warner Brothers cartoon fame. Did you ever watch this? Holy merde, it has to be the Best. Cartoon. Ever.

The tall boy isn't convinced, but the real problem is that they are currently tussling amongst themselves over who gets to be Dot; in the Animaniacs world she's the only one who passes for sane -- although the value in being the sanest of three lunatical cartoon critters of indeterminate species escapes me.

Tall boy claims Dot status because it would be funny -- seeing as how she's the only girl critter, and he's my only boy urchin. My oldest girl (rightly) claims that she is neither "Wacko" or "Yacko" by nature -- unlike her siblings, so she must be Dot. Youngest girl, true to her goofy good nature, doesn't really care -- she just thinks the whole idea is hilarious.

Meanwhile we have been having just a whole lot of fun watching old Animaniacs videos. I have approximately fifteen loads of laundry giving me the stink eye, back-to-school shopping looms ever nearer, and I promised myself I would actually put my Christmas stuff away soon. But I'll get to all that -- later! Right now, I hear the sweet strains of "The Cheese Roll Call" . . . . Gotta go!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Read this book!

OK, so I haven't explicitly talked before about my addiction, but I feel we know each other well enough now that I can open myself to you without you judging me . . . ? Please?

You need to know that I am addicted to books. All books. Alright -- I might walk away from a calculus textbook unmoved, but anything else -- that's my genre. I've got it bad, people. If I'm asked what my favorite book is, I freeze. How could I ever choose?! I have a constantly changing top-five favorites list, but that's really a futile exercise. I just love 'em all.

This has serious consequences for the flat surfaces of my home. It's tricky to find a place to park my can of Coke.

Up 'til now I have held myself back from discussing books with you, because, let's be honest -- I might never shut up. But as you know I recently visited nirvana the United Kingdom -- home to A.S. Byatt, Anthony Trollope, Jane Austen, Evelyn Waugh, Geoffrey Chaucer, J.K. Rowling, Anita Brookner, Salmon Rushdie . . . . OK, now I'm out of breath.

So now that I am home I do feel compelled to recommend one of my favorite books: Persuasion, by Jane Austen. Now, lots of people are Austen lovers, based solely (and justly) on reading her Pride and Prejudice -- but while I bow down before Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy with all of you, my heart beats just a little faster for Persuasion. The poignant story of love and loss just moves me deeply.

And, oooh! The movie version is yummy! Starring Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds (oh, my dears! Ciaran Hinds! Where are my smelling salts?) it's remarkably faithful to the book, beautifully filmed -- in Bath, people! And did I mention Ciaran Hinds?

Read the book! Then watch the movie, and go read the book again!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Silly Haiku Wednesday

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It's Silly Haiku Wednesday again over at Jenn's blog, and the theme is friendship. While I am frequently a silly friend myself, and am lucky enough to have many silly friends (love, love the silly friends), this week's theme doesn't foster a silly vibe -- just a true one. Here are poems for three friends:

Make new friends, but keep
The old. One is silver but
The other is gold.

My oldest friend -- she
Seems more like my blood sister.
No pal is truer.

"I, too, sister!"

Sisters of the heart,

She thinks like me, laughs like me --
Loves me all the tim

My sister -- my best
Friend. We've lived it together;
We share scars and joy.
Sister, friend, sister --
Sister, friend. Friend. Sister-friend.
Sister. Friend. Sister.

Image credit:
Prom night friends: Rob Guillen (1979, God help us.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

It's just not right!

So, on the same day back in May that my dear pal Coleen bought my three tomato plants for me at the local farmers' market, she bought the same number for herself. We both have our plants in big pots for reasons that are boring, having mostly to do with squirrel avoidance . . . .

. . . . but whatever. Look at her stinkin' tomato plants! Her deck is a jungle of tomato-y tomato-ness -- you can't push your way through to the patio furniture without a machete. She seriously has more tomatoes than she knows what to do with. She called me yesterday to gloat worry: "Oh, dear, boo hoo! I have too many tomatoes -- I guess I'll have to make bruschetta." Bitch.

She had us over for dinner the other night, to celebrate our return from England. On the menu: Margaritas and tomatoes. That's it. Oh -- and guacamole, used as a dip for the tomatoes. Like this picture? iPhone, baby! I call it "Still Life with Tequila and Whatever."

Here's a Pioneer Woman shot of my pal making dessert. Mmmmm! Tomato ice cream! Where's that Coronation Spoon when you need it?

So -- let's recap, shall we?

My tomatoes . . . .

Her tomatoes, purchased on the same day, from the same vendor, at the same farmers' market. Hmmm. Did I say something once about an evil tomato plot?