Saturday, April 29, 2006

Blog Games

I will posit that Blogtopia is a place and one of my proofs is that it has a culture. It is early Saturday morning so I am not going to explore this in depth. But part of a culture is games. In Blogtopia we play tag.

Here's what I know about tag in Blogtopia. Nothing. Every once in a while I've seen someone "tagged" in their comments but I didn't really get it. Not unlike the play yard in school, I've just stood on the sidelines watching the cool kids have fun. But now I've been tagged, which either means I'm one of the cool kids or jp is just mean and setting me up for some horrible humiliation that will come down during the civics test in 6th period. But I'm hopeful.

So my task is to tell you 6 neurotic things about myself. Then I have to tag 6 other bloggers. That might be weird because my bloggy world is so close that I have to assume that jp has already tagged all the people I would tag. Plus there's the whole "you annoying biatch" thing if I tag someone who doesn't like to play reindeer games.

1) I worry too much about whether or not people will think I'm a biatch if I tag them in Blogtopia.

2) When I was 13 or 14 I read a book wherein a young bride died of cholera in India, on her honeymoon, after eating grapes that were bought from a street vendor and ever since I've been afraid to go to India and eat fruit. I have also been unable to read Love in the Time of Cholera. (Oddly, I don't fear grapes).

3) Every time I get a headache I think it's a brain tumor.

4) Not only am I afraid of spiders but I think that if I squish them and flush them down the toilet they will climb back out to get me and be twice as big as they were when they died.

5) I worry that I will die in some manner that will make people laugh.

6) I was going to say that I worry about The Child all the time and you'd just chalk it up to general motherhood but, for example, when she was an infant I would check her every 5 minutes during naptime to make sure she was still breathing.

Now I have to go tag me a few bloggers who I hope will not be annoyed and understand that I'm tagging them because I think they would have some nice neurotic things to share and because I know they're cool. (Please don't hate me, please don't hate me....)

Labels: , ,

Friday, April 28, 2006

Virginia Wolfe Was Right

Most days I'm perfectly happy with my little desk in the kitchen corner. But sometimes it feels cramped. The laptop occupies most of the desk top so if I ever fancy taking out a notebook and sitting in my window with a fountain pen doing the long-hand-Jane-Austen thing, I can't.

So today I took some of my tax money down to Ikea, looking to get a small computer table or something that, with a little rearrangement of my corner, would give me that extra bit of space.

Ikea is a shopping minefield. I've never gotten out of there for less than $100. There's an ice pop mold here, a bag of 412 votive tea lights there, each little bit only a couple of dollars; such a deal! But today I was on a mission. Aside from marveling at the room displays that pack virtually all the functions of a home into a 700sf space, I wended my way through the labyrinth of Swedish design until I got to the office area. (Ok, I did grab an ice pop mold because it really was only a couple of dollars). I looked at a computer table. I looked at table tops. I talked to a very nice guy named Dean who patiently listened to my design issues and then, brilliantly, suggested a wee dining room table with a drop leaf. You can leave it down or slide it up into place to seat 2. It was the right measurements and the right price so I got the "cash & carry" slip and thanked Dean for his help. I had a wee niggly bit of buyer's remorse but ignored it because I'd been thinking about this for quite a while. It was a plan, not impulse.

Mission accomplished I moved, with purpose and discipline, through Kitchenwares (very tempting) and besides the $12 French press pot, put nothing in my cart. (Come on. $12 for a French press? And we had agreed that we needed one during the great Coffee Maker Crisis of '06). But I got through "Home Organization" (ooh, shiny boxes), the bedding section AND the Marketplace which is full of gizmos and hoohas priced for pennies. I did not browse, peruse or otherwise dally in any way that would lead to impulse purchases. I even got to the register without picking up boxes of ginger cookies or tubs of Swedish fish.

And, ha! The total was less than $100. I felt very smug. And I came home and managed, with next to no trouble at all, to assemble the table. Very cute little table. Very servicable. Except that there wasn't a single configuration that looked or felt right. After much moving about and dealing with large bits of dusty fluff from behind the desk that is never moved I realized that it was never going to work.

So I disassembled the table and stuck it all back in the box and it is in the trunk of my car waiting to go back on Monday (because no one in their right mind goes to Ikea on the weekend).

Here's the thing: while messing around with all of this I realized that I don't want a bigger work area. What I want, at least on some days, is a room of my own. A small studio space that is open by invitation only. And since I'm not going to have that unless we build an addition or The Child leaves home, I am going to use my imagination and be happy with my little corner. Plus, this now means that I actually got out of Ikea for under $20 and that's hot.



I asked The Child what she wanted for breakfast this morning.

She growled and said, "St. Louise".

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Postgame Alert for 4/27

There were tears. There were sobs. And that was just The Spouse.

HMOG, as we Catholic sports moms like to say. The girls lost the first game by 9 points. Remember, this was their first loss all season. It got to them a little. But they went into the 2nd game with a "Good teams fight back"! And they dug in, fought, held the lead and then lost, 28 to 30. This, my friends, is the definition of heartbreak when you're 12. (Or when you're 48 and you see a mess of little girls that you really love crying like wee little things while a bunch of snotty Eastside girls are jumping up and down in all their freakin' victory).


So we shuttle them off to the hall for a good cry. Then Coach tells 'em that they left it all on the court and had nothing to be ashamed of (and he was right). And there was a Hail Mary and a "St. G! Next year!" And then we all went home to bite our pillows.

Postgame Reflection

The game last night was nerve wracking, to say the least. The girls have faced some decent teams over the season but this was really the first time they had to work, the entire time, for a win. But work they did. The first game was a nail biter, with the lead going back and forth a few times before the Dragons cracked it open and held on. But we were all sweating by the time it was over. The second game was much more comfortable. They never lost the lead. More to the point, they never got cocky. They hung in and played it til the last whistle. Then there was lots of jumping and squealing of an excited pubescent girl nature. And that was just The Spouse.

Yesterday morning, to back up, I had a little sports related "come to Jesus" with The Child. Because she sucked in the first play-off game. She hadn't played that poorly since she first learned the game. She knew it, too. She knew exactly what she was doing wrong that made all her bumps go so wild. She wasn't even making excuses or blaming Coach for keeping her on the bench most of the night.

I told her that if she expected to see any play the rest of the tournament she was going to have to get under her bumps, keep her head in the game and show what she can do. And last night that is exactly what she did. She nailed every ball that came to her, she saved points, she scored points, she was hot hot hot. She was so hot that she even got a two finger "you da man" sorta thing from Coach as they came off court for a time-out. I didn't expect to live long enough to see him give her that sort of credit.

So there you go. Game tonight at 5:30.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Postgame Alert for 4/26

St. G's 30, Immaculate 26
St. G's 30, Immaculate 15

Dragon's advance to the semi-finals.

What's On Your Agenda, Today?

Listening to NPR this morning I heard the same word twice within 2 stories.

According to the first story, tomorrow some "conservative Christians" are holding a "Day of Truth" to protest the "gay agenda", which is apparently being advanced today by a "Day of Silence".

The very next report (which I personally think should have been first but whatever) I heard the President explain that his new press secretary, Tony Snow, has the job of explaining his "philosophy, priorities and the actions taken to implement our agenda".

Then I realized, I need an agenda. I usually have a "list or outline of things to be considered or done", which is the first definition of the word in Webster's. But the word "agenda"in the news this morning was used in the context of the second, weightier definition which is "an underlying often ideological plan or program".

Most of us have a plan. I have a plan. Today's plan goes something like this: "I'll blog, then I'll put away the things I ironed yesterday. After that I probably should do the prep work for dinner and then I'll do some editing on the book. The Child needs to be picked up at 2, gotta leave for the game by 4:30 so I have time to give The Dog a bath. Spouse will meet us at the game, we'll have dinner after. Excellent. Good plan".

Some individuals go a step further. They have a purpose. A purpose is never mundane. You might get up every morning because you have to let The Dog out. That's not really a purpose so much as the start of a plan. A Purpose is philosophical. It is a guiding principle which directs your plans. I'm not sure I have fully articulated my purpose but perhaps it is best summed up in the words of the great Carole King: "You've got to get up every morning with a smile on your face and show the world all the love in your heart".

But consider the phrase "She's got an agenda". That sounds serious, maybe even a tad ominous. An agenda is a plan on steroids. I plan to fold the laundry. But if it's an agenda then I'm on a clear cut path to not only fold my laundry but see to it that everyone else folds their laundry. And they are going to fold it the way I want them to because that is my agenda. And if they don't like it then I'm going to get my press secretary to go out there and explain it to them again and tell them why they need to fold laundry my way (it's best, trust me) and why they are unpatriotic and possibly French if they don't.

I'm going to get started on my Plan. If I stay on task I can squeeze in time to develop my Agenda. In case I get to that you might want to check out how to fold a fitted sheet. This will help me advance my Agenda more quickly. Thank you.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Postgame Alert for 4/25

St. G 30, St. B 17
St. G 30, St. B 10

Dragons advance to the next round.

Perfect Fit

Part of the tax refund was earmarked for Mommy. Mommy went shoe shopping.

I wish I could explain what it is about (most) women and shoes but I can't. I just know that given a perfect world, where everyone is fed, healthy, educated and living in peace that whole Imelda Marcos thing makes complete sense to me. For most women shoe shopping is a guilty pleasure, right up there with chocolate and soaps. But the beauty of it is that while you can, theoretically, live without chocolate, in most circumstances you have to have shoes.

Being that I am totally conscientious and all that crap I got rid of 4 pairs of shoes that I do not wear/love/or find comfortable. And, not having Carrie Bradshaw's budget, I also took advantage of the BOGO sale at Payless. Therefore, having made all the necessary justifications to anyone who doesn't get the shoe thing (because obviously I don't have to explain myself to those of you who do) let's take a peek at what Mommy got:


A classic little black pump. Because my only black heels have an ankle strap and a 3 inch heel and even though they are totally comfortable, sometimes a girl just needs something a little less skyscrapery. The little smidge of detailing keeps things interesting.

Next we have:

I know what you're thinking: a bit too Boho for my style. But 1) every girl needs a gold slipper and b) we are going to an auction next month with the theme "Passage to India" and I have the right dress but needed something that said "Developing World with Attitude". Plus I can totally see wearing these with jeans.


I have owned exactly one pair of white shoes in my life and I wore them on my wedding day. These are not white but cream. (Did you feel that? All the men just rolled their eyes at exactly the same time). Classic little sling for those times when I need a neutral (and I do have things that I don't wear as often because a dark shoe won't work). Very basic wardrobe need solved with this baby.

And finally:

Heavens to Manolo, this is my favorite of them all. Beautiful brown mule with super detailing and oh golly is it comfy. Not only do I now have the perfect shoe to wear with the few brown things in my wardrobe, I anticipate buying more brown just so I have an excuse to wear this completely adorable shoe.

Thank you for indulging me. I will try to write something substantive and meaningful next time.


Let the Games Begin

The Child brought home the playoff bracket for this week's games. (She also recorded her predictions at each level, with her team in the "Champions" spot). Hers is the top seeded team, owing to their undefeated record. Other teams went 7-0 but all of them had matches that went to a 3rd game.

They are looking extremely good going into tonight. Everyone is healthy (knock wood - I hope they all play Quaker Meeting at recess). The weakest link on the team at least has a good serve. Everyone else is plenty skilled, if not downright talented. The Child's game has improved so much since last year. She's too short to spike but she's learned how to set, her bumps are dead-on (most of the time) and she is one of the best servers on the squad (this from a kid who was lucky to get the ball to the net last year). Here's how far she's come: she has a guaranteed berth as a starter.

So we're in for a zany week. Or not. It's a sudden death tournament, baby. The second they lose they are eliminated and the season ends, not with a bang but a whimper. (TS Eliot: sportswriter. Who knew?) The sudden deathness of it all has The Child a little restive. She really just wants to think about the championship game on Saturday. The fact that there are 3 do-or-die games between does not make her comfortable. Oh goody. Another "teaching moment".

So I tell her that she has to take one day at a time and give it her best in each game. That's all any of them can do. I tell her that if they talk to each other and keep their heads in the game (always their weakness) they should do well. Very well. They should kick it all the way to Saturday. But first things first.

And of course, I'm just as anxious. You know I love being at home on school nights. You know I love leisurely dinners. This week could be full of rushing, gobbled meals and nary enough time for The Child to do homework but I'm ok with that. I hope it is like that because I want to see them in that final game as much as they want it. And you know I must mean that because tonight's game isn't even until 7:30 which means I have to tape "Gilmore girls".

You'll also be happy to know that I have planned my playoff wardrobe and under no circumstances will my sweatshirt be involved. I learned that lesson. Go Dragons!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Funky Blogger

I can only assume everyone else is having the same issues I am with Blogger today but you know what? I kinda don't care. The fact of the matter is, I spend way, way too much time on my computer. And even though a large amount of that time is spent composing, I'm thinking that a little break isn't the worst thing in the world.

I have 3, count them, 3 writing projects for this week. The final edits on the liturgy book must be done because Writer Friend is expecting his copy at the end of the month. Another little project is due May 1. Meanwhile, I heard last week that one of my submissions is being considered for a book project I found online months ago. But the format has changed and so writers are invited to rework their submissions within the new guidelines. Strictly speaking, that deadline is the middle of May. But the point is, I have things to do. (Gives excited little yelp of writerly joy).

And may I just say, "ahhhhhhhhh". The Child is back at school, where she belongs. She was very perky and adorable this morning. So much so that we were early to school. This is a good thing. A Monday morning that gets me home and walking The Dog before 8 a.m. is a very good Monday morning, indeed.

Now I'm going to get back to work but not before putting on the soundtrack to "Moulin Rouge" because I have GOT to get "Xanadu" out of my head.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Spouse Said

"There. I mowed the lawn. Now go take a picture so all your little blog friends know I'm more than just a pretty face".

How to Create a Monster

1. Eat pizza with The Family and watch "Xanadu" because jp kept talking about it.

(Maybe it was just the pizza talking but if they'd left a couple of scenes on the cutting room floor it could have been a pretty decent movie. Plus it has Gene Kelly. And of course, Olivia Newton-John, the prettiest girl in the world. (The Spouse said that he was once in love with her and thought all Australian women were that beautiful.)

2. Temporarily fail to remember that the tune "Xanadu" is musical heroin.

3. Remember that the tune "Xanadu" is musical heroin when The Child wakes up humming it. And humming it.

4. Get Child to focus on stupid trade paper about Egyptian cotton by promising that if she stops singing the word "Xanadu" over and over you'll let her watch a clip of the song on Uncle jp's blog.
(This, by the way, works like a charm).

5. Stupid research completed, stand by while Child watches clip. Twice.

6. Start singing and dancing along with Child and Olivia Newton-John.

I'm so screwed. "Now that I'm here, now that you're near in Xan-a-duuuuu"...


Friday, April 21, 2006

Because There is a Child in the House

I'm a bit of a style snob. When The Child was tiny and people gave her toys I didn't care if they were educational. I just wanted them to look good.

I want to think that my aesthetic has informed my child in ways that will manifest in her life someday. But it seems that no matter how one tries to steer a child toward the finer things, they experience a basic gravitational pull toward the ticky and tacky. As proof I offer her big prize, picked up at the Fun Center yesterday. Ladies and gentleman, I give you:

Alien Gumball Head.

I shall call it Suri and I promise to be very careful around it when dusting. (Oops!)

Sweet Dreams are Made of This

Bad Alice blogged about this the other day just as I'd been thinking of bringing up the very same thing. I'll bring it up anyway.

I'm glad to know other bloggers have had dreams about bloggers they haven't met because when I first had one I thought perhaps it was time to get a life. Obviously something is going on if I'm taking you people seriously enough that you would appear in my subconcious.

I do think alot about blogging and Blogtopia. In the early hours as I cycle up from deepest sleep I often start thinking about what the coming day's blog topic might be. The process usually goes something like this:

"Sheesh. I hope there's something in the NY Times or The Child says something clever this morning. 'Cause I got nothin'."

Then, because I'm still in my jammies and vulnerable I start thinking about other blogs. I anticipate that they will be devestatingly insightful or so funny that even leaving a comment is intimidating. Therefore I am thinking specifically of these blog geniuses when I tell myself to stop thinking so much and go back to sleep. Hence, perhaps, the dreams.

I don't remember all my dreams and rarely even remember the details of the ones I can recall but there are a few blog dreams worth noting. And Carl Jung, who I never really got anyway, will forgive my interpretations.

I have dreamed a couple of times about jp. We are hanging out at my dining room table and drinking beer. I think this is because he likes beer and I would like, someday, to make him a batch of fried okra with tomato marmelade. And he likes beer.

One night I had a very vivid dream wherein Charlie was trying to push me off a cliff. Oddly, there was nothing vicious about this although it was a steep cliff and it scared me a little. This came shortly after he invited me to submit something to the Wordsmith project. Definately something to do with being pushed out of my comfort zone.

I had another dream that involved pushing only this time it was Pat and Angela and me pushing something together toward that same cliff. Hmmm. Same cliff. Not sure what to make of that. Neither cheese nor lemons were involved. That would have made complete sense.

Just last night I had a good one. The Spouse and I were at a new Pakistani restaurant. It was full of people, including our priest's secretary. She got mad at The Spouse because she thought he didn't leave a tip. She was yelling and yelling at him outside the restaurant and The Spouse kept trying to tell her that he didn't have to leave a tip because it was included in the price of the meal. I was watching all of this from our table when the owner, Iwanski, came up and asked how we liked his new place. This is what comes of reading his blog just before watching a rerun of "Seinfeld".

Trivia Question: Anybody remember the name of Babu's restaurant in that episode? That's right. Dream Cafe.

Labels: ,

5 Things

Our lawn needs to be mowed. Seriously.

There is a bird, which I'm not clever enough to identify, singing madly in an apple tree outside. It is a rainy morning but he is determined to make it feel like spring today.

An oddly antiseptic smell is wafting from the general direction of the kitchen sink. I plan to go under there eventually and see what has spilled or otherwise needs it's cap tightened.

The best reason I know of to get up early is that the coffee will be at it's best in the minutes after it is brewed. I waited a bit too long to rise this morning and all I can say about my current cup of coffee is that it is hot.

My desk chair is no longer comfortable.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Reconnected and It Feels so Good

I am an addict. I hate to admit it but there it is. I didn't have my email all day and despite all sorts of ctrl-alt-del-ing and switch pushing nothing worked and I had to wait until The Spouse came home to fiddle with it. (Note to Self: You are so screwed if he pre-deceases you. Hopefully the insurance money would cover payments to the computer hacker I'd have to hire to figure out the convoluted and very high tech thing we have going on here).

When my email was finally restored and all those little messages started burbling up I was so happy to see them. Even the ones from Effervesent Mortality and friends offering huge deals on Viagra and computer parts.


Bloggie Charlie has been posting family photos lately. It makes me a little jealous because a) he's led a breathtakingly fascinating life and 2) he was a very cute child, despite his mother's propensity to dress him in, well, dresses.

My mother dressed me in dresses, which was more than appropriate, but that's where the similarities end. I was a cute baby. I was cute up until about the age of 6. Then President Kennedy was assasinated. And 'round about the same time I was hit with a Goofy Stick and spent the next 12 years or so looking quite repellent. But I had a great personality. I think you see where I'm going here.

The Child was a cute baby. And she has continued cute. She has some snaggly teeth that have yet to be altered by orthodontia and she has an aversion to combing her hair but despite these points she is very cute. And, what with the whole journey to teendom, she's beginning to acquire, shall we say, attributes that are moving her from cute to knock-out. With as much objectivity as it is possible to muster I have to tell you that I think she is going to be a gorgeous woman.

Yesterday she got an invitation from Not-a-Boyfriend 2 to go to a fun center this afternoon. Not-a-Boyfriend 1 had also left a message inviting her to do something this weekend. She continues, far as I can tell, to keep a level head about all this. These boys are friends. When I speak to her about these things I do not use the "D" word or the "BF" word and treat such events as no more significant that a play date with one of the M Street Gang. Because, as I told The Spouse months ago, there couldn't be anything more important in her socialization than to have good guy friends.

The Child has a great personality. She's bright, funny, imaginative and sassy. She was born self-possessed and confident, unlike her mother who is still figuring all that stuff out. And she can cook. She has a lot still to learn about life and learn it she will. She won't be allowed to go on real actual dates until probably 16. (I note that the Family Rule Book makes no provision for this and a legislative caucus must be convened ASAP). She may not be the Belle of the Ball but frankly, the fact that she appears poised to avoid the Wallflower experience gladdens my shallow little heart. The Child's worth is resident in who she is, not how many boyfriends she has or whether she's always got plans for Saturday night. This is a message that will be reinforced. And I know that no one gets through life without at least a few dark nights crying into one's pillow. I'm just saying, between you and me, that the whole Ugly Duckling thing is over-rated and I don't mind that she gets to skip that.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My top secret sources provided me with the first ever picture of the world's newest little Scientologist.
Congratulations Tom and Katie!
(You freaks).


My earliest childhood memory is of being in a hospital hallway. I had wanted to play "mommy" and had put my baby brother in my dolly stroller. The aluminum piece of crap snapped like a twig and speared the baby in the chin as he fell to the ground. (He survived and he's a handsome man with a dashing scar just here).

I also remember a time when we went to a department store. I was maybe 3 and very proud because I had dressed myself while Mom was occupied with all the babies. I remember getting out of the car and Mom's sudden gasp and going straight to the little girls department and being at the counter while Mom purchased a pair of panties and her explaining that she wouldn't need a shopping bag.

I have an early memory of being rocked in the dark by my much adored maternal grandfather and of him calling me "Princess". He called me that until the day he died. And I have a very early memory, wispy and vague, that has to do with a kitchen that wasn't ours and a bag of Puffed Wheat cereal in a corner. Mom has been unable to place this in an historical context for me but I know it is real.

What do those fascinating recollections have to do with anything? It is that my childhood memories, including later ones that are better fleshed out with detail, live only in my mind. If I hope to keep them I will need to write them down because otherwise they are vulnerable to the caprice of age. (Not that I have forgotten anything of substance yet. Grammar rules and names of people don't count). The Child, on the other hand, has a complete record through the age of 4 or 5 because we obsessively videotaped her in the early years.

She found "the baby tapes" yesterday and has been indulging in retrospective marathon. She was adorable, to be sure. Chubby, chubby little cheeks and one of the most pixilated, bubbly little personalities you will ever encounter. (The latter is still pretty much the case). She thoroughly enjoys watching herself and admiring her babyish cleverness. But it gets me thinking about her memories. How many of them are "live" in the sense, like mine, that their imprint was left on her brain in the course of being experienced and how many of them are "Memorex" because she has seen it on tape over and over? Do her memories feel different? Can she distinguish between having actually lived through something versus watching it as a sort of rerun? Is it valid when she says she "remembers" some moment in her infancy, which she really can't possibly because she was an infant but we have it on tape?

I'm just wondering.

Still Life

Came across this quote and am still thinking about it:

"What we grieve is not the loss of a grand vision, but rather the loss of common things, events and gestures...Ordinariness is the most precious thing we struggle for, what the Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto fought for. Not noble causes or abstract theories. But the right to go on living with a sense of purpose and a sense of self-worth - an ordinary life".

- Irena Klepfisz, survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto
on the 45th anniversary of the uprising

Ordinary life: the lilac bouquet on my desk, The Dog pattering through the kitchen in search of something to chew, pork chops to brine, bills to pungle, writing to do. And I know Ms. Klepfisz (I love that name) is right. The things that matter most to me are the things that are ordinary and the only thing I fight for is the right to continue pursuing my ordinary course.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Hu's on First, Dick's on Second, "Gilmore girls" are on at 8

Seattle is such a party town. President Hu of China is having dinner tonight with Bill and Melinda and 100 of their closest friends. No. The Neighbor and I declined our invitations. She's got to watch "American Idol" and I, of course, have a fresh episode of Lorelie & Rory.

Sounds like a great meal, though. The Seattle Times reported the menu this morning:

Smoked Guinea Fowl Salad
with Hazelnuts, Spring Radishes & Granny Smith Apples
Fillet of Beef
Walla Walla Onions, Asparagus, Celeriac Puree and Chervil Glace

Alaskan Halibut with Spot Prawns
Spring Vegetables, Fingerling Potatoes & Smoked Tomato Infused Olive Oil
A Vegetarian Option
(The paper didn't say but my money is on Steamed Vegetarians with Sauteed Mung Bean Sprouts on a Bed of Roasted Brussels Sprouts)
Rhubarb Brown Butter Almond Cake

We're going to have sauteed mushrooms and polenta with the first installment of leftover ham.
I could go for some rhubarb cake, though.

And look who else is in town---

Can you believe I found a picture of him actually smiling?

I don't know what he'll be eating tonight but it's a fundraiser so I'm guessing rubber chicken. I hope they run out of cake.

Easter Break

Yesterday was a non-starter for both The Child and I. Sugar hangovers, too little sleep over the past few days, the adrenalin drop after all the fun and frivolity. We were basically slugs and if it weren't for the fact that we had a friend coming from out of town for dinner and a sleep-over, I'm not sure I would have gotten out of my jammies. It was a vegging sort of day, except for the 412 loads of dishes I had to do from the feast.

But starting today things need to be different. The Child has a big school project that pretty much has to be finished this week because of volleyball playoffs next week. Homework time is going to be at a premium if, as I assume, they go all the way to the championship. Unfortunately, the only person worrying about her ability to get this thing done in time is me.

We've always told The Child that grades don't matter as much as her giving her best effort. And I mean that. I don't want her to obsess over grades or stress about academic performance. But could she maybe care a little? And I've got to find a balance between providing necessary guidance and just letting her fail if that's what it takes. At some point she has to own this stuff for herself because I don't plan on following her to college with a cattle prod.

The irony is that I was a huge procrastinator all through school, college included. I could bang out a paper the night before it was due and get at least a B. The Child, with her little friend Dyslexia, is never going to have that luxury. My job is to give her tools, like using a timer and breaking things into baby steps and try to model for her what following through looks like. Then I have to let go and hope that someday it will take.

I have a mess of editorial comments on the liturgy book and a commitment to my Author Friend for a draft by the end of the month. So in the interest of being a good role model I am soon scooting off with The Child to her room and I'll write while she writes. By day's end we'll both, I hope, have something to show for our efforts. If it can be accomplished without yelling, acrimony or Lecture 642b which briefly stated goes something like, "School is a fact of life so stop fighting it and get back to work" so much the better.

Labels: , ,

By Request

Bad Alice is intrigued by the molasses biscuit recipe and jpdc thought the quiche thing sounded yummy so here are a couple of recipes for y'all from Easter. And if you want to try The Spouse's praise worthy B.A.H. you need look no farther than Martha Stewart.

Molasses Biscuits

Makes 10-12 regular size biscuits. Sometimes I use a 1 inch cutter for little tiny guys. If the party is of any size I double or even triple the recipe because these things are a smidge addicting, especially with ham.

2 c. all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 T. packed brown sugar
½ t. coarse salt
1 T. baking powder
¼ t. ground ginger
¼ t. ground cloves
1/8 t. freshly ground pepper
6 T. unsalted butter, chilled and cut in to pieces
¼ c. plus 2 T. milk
¼ c., molasses
1 T. heavy cream, for brushing

Preheat the oven to 375 with rack in center. Sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, ginger, clovers and pepper. Using a pastry blender cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.

In a small bowl, whisk together milk and molasses until completely combined. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, and add the milk-molasses mixture.

Using a fork, stir the mixture until it almost comes together. Gently bring the remaining smaller bits together with fingertips. Transfer dough to a very lightly floured surface, and pat into a flattened circle about 6 inches in diameter and ¾ inch thick. Cut dough into rounds with a 2-inch cookie cutter. Gently press the excess dough together, and cut several more biscuits. Gently press the remaining excess dough together one more time, and cut one more biscuit.

Transfer biscuits to a parchment-lined baking sheet; generously brush tops with cream. Bake until golden brown, 24-26 minutes. Place biscuits on a wire rack to cool slightly.

Crustless Onion & Zucchini Quiche

1 pound onions, peeled
1 medium zucchini, grated
3 T. unsalted butter
1 T. fresh thyme leaves
salt & pepper to taste
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
5 large eggs
1/4 c. milk
3 T. heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and butter a 10 1/2 inch baking dish.

Cut onions in half lengthwise, put cut side down and slice crosswise into very thin slices.

In a large skillet, combine the onions, butter, thyme, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Begin sweating the onions over moderate heat. You want them to soften but not to brown. After about 4 minutes add the grated zucchini and cook for another 4-5 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

Crack eggs into a medium-size bowl and whisk just to blend. Whisk in the milk and cream.

Place vegetables in the prepared baking dish and smooth out with the back of a spoon. Pour the egg mixture over all. Season with a little more pepper and nutmeg. Bake in center of oven until top is golden brown and custard is firm, about 30 minutes. Test for doneness by inserting the tip of a knife in the center of the quiche. If it is done the knife will come out clean. Don't underbake.

Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.

Labels: ,

Wonderful World

If you knit, know someone possessed of that affliction or if you are just in need of a dose of whimsy today, please go check out my friend Pam's blog for a link to the story of and pattern for the tree sweater.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ham for Weeks

We average 10 for Easter dinner. This year it was an intimate 6. We bought the same weight ham as we always do. I will be finding culinary uses for ham well into July.

Dinner was wonderful, the company even better. There was the traditional bursting into song and sporadic re-enactments of bits from "Jesus Christ Superstar". (I'm all about the Yvonne Elliman. The Spouse is all about air guitar).

There are still dishes to do but it's okay. The sun is shining, it's the first day of Easter break which means I got to sleep in (love that) and I know that for the foreseeable future the protein needs of my family can be met through smoked pork products.

Tomato-Basil Bruschetta
Spinach Salad with Mandarine Oranges & Praline Pecans
Molasses Biscuits
Roasted Beet Salad with Walnuts
Chilled Asparagus with Blood Orange Mayonnaise
Crustless Onion & Zucchini Quiche
Lemon Tart with Whipped Cream

Sunday, April 16, 2006


The Child is overdosing on jelly beans and Peeps. The Spouse and The Dog are still sleeping, because they can. The coffee maker is taking its own sweet time.

Yesterday was extremely nasty weather-wise. Very cold, lashing rain, wind shaking all the darling buds of springtime and in some cases, flinging them to the ground without ceremony.
The lawn did not get mowed and it seemed a minor miracle to me that last night at church the Archbishop was able to light the new fire and the paschal candle stayed lit for the procession.

As a consequence of all this weather the Easter Rabbit, rather intelligently, elected to hide the eggs indoors.

Now, in true Easter fashion, He is risen and so is the sun. It's glorious at the moment. Wet and chilly, but morning-sun-shining-through-the-apple-blossoms glorious. I took some extra eggs and hid them out front. Eggs will now be hunted in both tulips and teacups.

I need to get an eggy dish of sausage and peppers going and the hot cross buns want icing. There are still a few bits of prep work to do for tonight's feast and now that the sun has reappeared I can tell where I need to apply the feather duster. Just wanted to check in and wish you a Happy Easter (hey-sana, ho-sana)!


Saturday, April 15, 2006

Holy Saturday

It has been predicted that Easter will be very wet and rainy, as the last few days have been. There have been momentary sunbreaks and I'm hoping for at least 2 more of them: one so The Spouse can mow the lawn and one for the egg hunt tomorrow morning. I'm not holding my breath relative to the first. As for the second, theoretically, we can have the hunt inside. Only 3 children are involved. But it's just more fun, I think, to find an Easter egg in a tulip than a tea cup.

I successfully retrieved the BAH and am happy to report that the jelly beans are true jelly beans. Other than that, yesterday was fairly slow and solemn, as befitting Good Friday. Today is another matter.

I love Holy Saturday, the spring-time equivilent of Christmas Eve. It will be a day of clattering pots and excellent smells what with dying eggs, baking hot cross buns, roasting beets, toasting bruschetta bread, cobbling up pate sucree, zesting lemons, blanching asparagus, juicing blood oranges, turning pecans into pralines and steeping slices of Meyer lemon in sugar syrup. And I may mix up the dough for the molasses biscuits.

I love getting the festal prep work done well in advance of the meal, for two reasons. First, the more I get done now, the more time I have to spend with dinner guests tomorrow. (Fairly obvious but you'd be surprised how many parties I missed before I figured that out). Second, if I don't have a handle on the feast then I won't be able to indulge in that most important of Easter traditions, Mommy's Long Nap.

There is only one logistical challenge facing me this year. Historically, I go to the Easter Vigil on Saturday. The rest of the family goes to the 8 o'clock Mass on Sunday, during which time I aid and abet the Easter Rabbit. But this year we're all going to the Vigil. The Child is very excited to be considered grown-up enough for a 3 hour evening service. The Spouse is looking forward to sleeping in on Easter Sunday, for a change. But I have to figure out a way to hide eggs before brunch that won't involve getting up at the crack of dawn. And once again I think to myself, "Well, dang, if that's your biggest problem...."

Labels: ,

Friday, April 14, 2006

Flashbacks #2 & 3

Here's a photo of my adorable friend Nicole being an adorable bride toasting The Child. It was a very hot night and I ate a duck breast in peach sauce that I still think about on a regular basis.

And here's one of my favorite photos of me and The Child. It was taken after the religious ceremony during Nicole's 3 day wedding blitz. The Child, who was only 4, had melted down during the church service and been removed by a very angry Spouse. (I was up witnessing the vows at the time). He felt she was being enfant terrible but she was really just enfant triste, tired of travelling, tired of Mama being busy with wedding things.

And that is all the nonesense I have time for. I have still not fetched the B.A.H. (big ass ham) for Easter. I also have to taste test the jelly beans I bought. When it comes to Easter jelly beans I do not like jelly bellies or gummy eggs or super sour jelled treats. I want traditonal jelly beans that taste like red, yellow, green and pink.

Flashback #1

Remember back when I got to dress up and pretend I was living in the the '40's for the 8th grade dinner/dance? Well, here's a photo from that night, with my friends Flyboy and War Bride. (He was bartending and we pretended that he was shipping out for the front that night, after his shift).

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Apropos of Nothing

Around the time we bought our house (8 years ago this week), we decided that we needed a family motto.

The Spouse and I thought about it long and hard, working through numerous drafts and permutations until we came up with something reflective of our family. Then we realized that to be a really good motto it should be in Latin.

Latin is tricky. You can plug words into an on-line Latin translator thingy but it won't necessarily give you what you want. Some words have more than one meaning. Some present day words don't exist in Latin. Such translations require skill. We didn't realize that at first.

We turned it over to a priest friend on the naive assumption that all priests must be good at Latin. Fr. RT came up with something but then another friend got hold of it and gave us yet another translation. The words in the two versions looked similar but we certainly didn't know which was best. So we showed both to our parish priest when he came for dinner (he was in seminary at the Vatican so we knew he knew Latin). He read them, making a pickle face at the first and then asked who had written the second. We told him and he said, "Well, it's not only correct but very elegant".

So there we had it, a correct and elegant family motto in Latin even though we are none of those things:

"Diligere, Convivare, Vitrae Rumpere"
"To Love, Feast and Break Glassware"

Over time I decided that I needed a personal motto as well (really, doesn't everyone?) I reflected long and hard to come up with a few words that embraced my life philosophy. I then turned it over to Mr. Correct & Elegant and he delivered the following:

"Miracula precamini et erneum edite"
"Pray for miracles and eat pudding"
Specifically, I was thinking of this pudding:
Bread & Butter Pudding with Strawberries

4 large eggs
¼ c. milk
¾ c. cream
7 T. sugar
2 T. dark rum or 1 T. vanilla (or go wild and use both)
8 slices white bread
4 T. unsalted butter
1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled & sliced in half

Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, 3 T. sugar and rum and/or vanilla. Set aside

Spread top of each slice of bread with generous amount of butter. Cut slices in half diagonally. Overlap bread slices in oiled 9x13 pan. Pour egg mixture over bread and let stand 1 hour.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Sprinkle pudding with 2 T. sugar. Bake until puffed and golden brown, and pudding has set, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine strawberries with remaining 2 T. sugar. Let stand while pudding bakes. Serve strawberries with bread pudding.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bit of a Worrier

I was a very nervous child. Like the nervous child in "Annie Hall" trying to eat tomato soup under the roller coaster nervous. I have, over the years, begun to learn to master my fears and subject them to my all-powerful....well, no. But I try not to worry. Or at least, I try to worry about things that deserve worrying over. Like the US nuking Iran. You know, stuff I can't control.

That said, one of the things I worry about is that my blog link list will get too long. I don't rightly know how many blogs are out there but even after you subtract all the stupid ones that are just sales pitches, the other stupid ones that are badly written and after you discount all the ones you know you have no interest in reading (anyone who loves Rush, anyone who loves the apocolypse, anyone who loves other people's lovers) you are still left with quite a handful of blogs.

Every time I find a blog I like I am so happy. Then I get annoyed because I barely have time to keep up with the ones I already must read. Not to mention the ones I have to check back on because the author answers comments. And I am almost ridiculously relieved when I go through my list and find that someone hasn't posted recently. One less thing to read today.

But doggone it. Now my dear friend Nicole has started a blog and I bloody well have to link to her because I love her like crazy and because she elected to live in France. Which makes me jealous. You know how I love the French. Nicole will, I hope, tell her story as her blog rolls forward but the bottom line is she met a Frenchman and married him in the most delightful 3 day wedding blitz I've experienced outside of my own 3 day wedding blitz. Now she's got 2 adorable children named for archangels and she has started a blog. So go say 'hi'.


Photo Album

The lighting was really poor. My digital camera did not have the wherewithall to adjust for the fact that all the lighting was way, way up high. And after I played with Photo Doctor everything was left looking like it had been scanned from an old newspaper. Which gives these photos a groovy retro feel. Which is exactly what I intended. Yeah. That's it.

This is Senator Kerry with our overly educated mayor, Jabba the Hut.

Here are the Mayor and the Senator being amused by something Senator Cantwell is saying. See Mrs. Kerry over there by the flag? I shook her hand, too. She's nice.

Here's the gang after all the speeches. There were lots of hugs and thumbs up and cheering. It was a happy time.

Business Casual

Last night I was having wine at The Neighbor's. She admired my ensemble and said, "I should take your picture for your blog". She, like I, feels it important you know that I really don't always look like a Mennonite:

Rubbing Shoulders

Volunteering for Senator Cantwell is generally of the envelope stuffing/coffee making variety but sometimes there are special treats, like yesterday's reception with Maria and her guests, John and Teresa Kerry.

We had been instructed to wear "business casual". Since I actually know what this means and was not dressed like a Mennonite I was assigned to the main lobby where I and 2 dapper gents directed guests to the event. I also got to fetch a fax (very useful) and have a chat with the new campaign press secretary (very wonky).

John Kerry wasn't my first choice in '04, nor my second. But once he was the nominee I got on board and despite my frustrations with the inability of the campaign to get ahead of Cap'n Karl and the Swift Boats, I came to really respect the man. I cried when he lost the election. So it was exciting to be in a fairly intimate gathering (maybe 150 people) to hear him speak. And he was on fire. One of my favorite bits was when he talked about values and how a thorough reading of the Gospels "and even Acts" provides no justification for cutting aid to children, continued disenfranchisement of the poor or avoiding a just solution to the immigration issue. He got a lot of laughs and yeah, he was preaching to the choir but every once in a while the choir needs a good whipping up. Can I have an "Amen"?

Here's another thing about John Kerry. He is way better looking in person than his pictures suggest. Like this very scary one that I took:

I almost didn't post this because it so doesn't do him justice. Seriously, he is really handsome. Gracious, too. I just wanted you to see how close I got to him. I even got to shake his hand.


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

You Say You Want a Revolution

Yesterday we saw shore to shore demonstrations for immigration rights. Over 25,000 marched in Seattle. I think this is rather exciting. It is important to put a human face on the debate. Whatever laws end up being enacted, they affect human beings and we ought not forget that.

There is talk of this becoming a real movement, with political clout. (I know what you're thinking: but illegal aliens can't vote. You're right. But according to the New York Times, only 18% of registered Hispanic voters turned out in the 2004 election). Both parties are paying attention and they'd better.

But, as someone with more than a little experience with political demonstrations, I need to offer just a word to those building this new movement. Please understand that part of your goal in demonstrating is raising awareness. Consequently, your actions and demeanor should be consistent with your message. For example, an anti-war demonstration that turns violent...not a good thing. Stomping on a Nike sign during a WTO protest - while wearing Nikes - just looks bad.

So, if you're going to be out marching for immigration rights and talking about how much you love America and just want to be a citizen, it would probably be best to leave the Che Guevara banners at home:

Viva la revolucion!

A Handful of Observations

An Orthodox neighbor just came by with some chometz. I always forget about this little neighborhood ritual until the first knock on the door. As it is almost Passover, my Jewish neighbors are cleaning their homes of all leavened products. As some of the token goyim on the block, we are often recipients of these offerings. (And they are always offered with grace and respect). It's usually bread or chips. To The Spouse's eventual delight, Benjamina came by with beer.

It is also possible, apparently, to sell your chometz on ebay. For charity, of course.

The Seattle Times this morning reports that, according to the Census Bureau, Seattle is the best educated city in America. Over half of us have at least one college degree. This provides bragging rights to our mayor, when he convenes with all his other, dumber counterparts. It does not have any significant effect on decision making in this town. All this here eddication just makes us talk and talk and talk about things. Then we commission studies, hire consultants and test focus groups. Then we talk some more. Which is why we still have an aging Viaduct running through the heart of downtown.

Fresh "Gilmore girls" tonight. You know how happy that makes me.

Monday, April 10, 2006

What Not to Wear

One of the great things about blogging is the degree of control. By carefully selecting what is and is not revealed, through judicious editing and the glory that is cutting and pasting, one may create a mystique, an image of oneself which may bear little or no relationship to reality.

Now, for what it's worth, I have yet to tell a lie in this blog. But sometimes, when reading over old posts, even I start thinking I seem like a pretty groovy, sophisticated woman. Well, in the interest of full disclosure (such a rare commodity in today's world that it feels almost avant garde to be this honest), I would like to present you with this photo of me, looking like a Mennonite housewife:

I obviously don't own a full length mirror. If I did I would never have thought that a size 12 skirt, when I'm an 8, combined with an XL (though warm) sweatshirt was a look worth parading in public. When The Spouse showed me this picture I just about died. Seriously, I look like I just crawled out from steerage and am looking for a good ESL class.

But such humiliations have their uses. This picture reminds me I've been a little lazy in my wardrobe habits of late. I blame the sweat shirt. It is so cozy and throwing it on first thing in the a.m. has become a matter of course. Problem is, once it's on I don't feel like taking it off, so I don't dress up. Except on Fridays, when I go to coffee. I would be willing to wear this ensemble for several weeks if I thought that Stacy and Clinton were about to jump out and offer me $5000, a trip to NYC and a make-over. But they aren't, so I refuse to humiliate myself or my family further.

The skirt is getting the big Charity Bag Adios today. And just so you know, I looked fabulous yesterday. But no one took a picture so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Happy Anniversary

You might recall that there was some concern a year ago about the challenges facing the British Poet Laureate as he tried to write a poem commemorating the marriage of Prince Charles to Camilla. I myself found it not at all difficult to compose a modest tribute. Had I a blog at the time I would have been able to share it with you. As it is, I offer it now, in celebration of their first anniversary.

On the Occasion of the Marriage
HRH Charles, Prince of Wales
Mrs. Camilla Parker-Bowles
There were two divorcees from Britian
Who called each other Spanky and Kitten.
She looked like a horse.
He loved her, of course,
for with equine love he was smitten.

Happy 1st Anniversary, you crazy kids!

Palm Sunday Apologetics

The morning sun is starting to burn through the clouds. Good thing, too, as it is our church's tradition on this day to process into church waving palm branches and singing "Hosanna".

Holy Week begins and we are now officially entering DaVinci Code territory. This is the week of great mysteries (if you believe) or major scamitude (if you don't). And with all the hooha earlier this week about the gospel of Judas and the accompanying pontification by scholars on NPR, reading some of the comments on various blogs this week, not to mention the huge and thorny tensions between Christians and Muslims the world over or the "religious" right in this country that seems so hellbent on teetering us over into the apocolypse whether Jesus likes it or not, I feel compelled to answer a question once posed by The Spouse (before he was same), "You seem like an intelligent person. I mean, what about the Borgias?"

In other words, why am I a Christian?

Partly, it's because that's how I was raised. I was in church from teeny tiny and not being there was never an option. And that was before my dad got into the ministry. I was also raised a Democrat. (Funny thing, while I never stopped being a Christian, most of my family did stop being Democrats. I blame Ronald Reagan). Obviously, the values you're given as a child have the potential for major staying power. But not always. So that's not the whole reason.

At some point, I'll spare you the details, the "church" thing became a personal relationship to and with Jesus. In short, I believe what he said, that he's the Son of God and that he loves me. It would have been just as easy to believe otherwise. In fact, it is probably easier to go in the historical character/another prophet/good guy and/or radical firebrand route. I just didn't happen to.

I could tell you stories about how I've felt the presence of God in my life and you'd either say, "Oh yes, me, too." or else "We can talk ourselves into anything". And I grant you, faith can seem quite ridiculous. Here's the good news: with my nonbelieving friends I've never felt compelled to apologize for the fact that I believe AND I have never felt compelled to "save" them. All I feel called to is to love others as I love myself.

I don't have to tell you this but while I do believe, I am anything but perfect. I try to have my life choices (even my politics) guided by Christian principles. But it's not as easy as it sounds. It involves constant engagement, discernment, prayer and contemplation. It would be easier to not bother. But the few times in my life when I tried that it didn't really work. So I keep at it. I will let you know when I get it down. Don't hold your breath.

It isn't that much fun to identify oneself as a Christian these days. Not just because some people think religion is complete bollocks. I don't mind that as I very often think it's complete bollocks, too. I worry rather a lot about Theocracy and not just by Islamic fundamentalists but by Christian fundamentalists as well. We have our own one-eyed mullahs in this country and it scares me. It scares me that there are a lot of "God fearing" Americans who who really believe that somehow everything will be blissful if we stop teaching evolution, banish gays and put prayer back in the classroom. (And after we do that we can stop educating our womenfolk and criminalize abortion AND contraception. Burning Catholics at the stake might be fun, too. Man, those were the good old days). Those who would make America a "Christian" nation seem to have no concept of least not when it comes to those elements of the gospels which I find so challenging and compelling: love of neighbor, care for the poor, humility before God, the power of prayer, the care of a community of believers. It saddens me, it sickens me, sometimes it angers me and I certainly don't blame anyone who looks at all that and says, "No thanks". (Which, by the way, has Satan laughing his ass off. His job has never been easier).

As for the horrors perpetrated in the name of Christianity, including but not limited to the Crusades, most of the Borgias, Jim and Tammy Faye, funny underwear and pastoral abuse, there is no apology. The thorniest bit about a belief system is the lightening fast way in which it can be used for political gain and self-interest (of course, Christianity hardly has a lock on that particular franchise). That people have, throughout the centuries, fallen short of the Ideal, should hardly be a surprise. All I can do is try not to fall into that trap. I'm not better than anyone because I believe in Jesus. I can't find any justification for that sentiment in the Gospels. In the end, faith is personal and frankly, we'd probably be better off if everyone who believed worked harder at just living it and otherwise kept their mouths shut.

And yes, I believe God created the world, although I'm not particularly concerned about his methods. I also don't believe God is a man, it's just easier to use pronouns. Although when I recite the Creed I never use the masculine. Or the feminine. I just say "God". I believe that there is a heaven but if it turns out that I'm wrong I won't feel cheated. Engagement in each day, as it is given, is occupation enough.

So I look forward to this week. It is a sacred time to journey through Christ's last week: from triumph to betrayal (planned or no), from crucifixtion to resurrection. I celebrate mysteries which comfort and challenge me. I will hang palm crosses over the doors, bake hot cross buns, fast, pray and dye Easter eggs with The Child. It works for me.

And now you know why I'm a housewife and not a formal apologist for the Church.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

It's Official

Final score. Our girls were undefeated in the regular season and by undefeated I mean they didn't lose once. In every contest they won 2 games, thus never having to go to a 3rd.

Playoffs start in 2 weeks.

Why She's The Child

Inquiring (and beer-buzzed) minds recently asked how old The Child was. This wasn't untoward prying. The individual in question was just surprised to find a "child" cooking dinner.

A few years ago I wrote a column for the parent newsletter at The Child's school. I came up with the devise of "The Child" and "The Spouse", not for the sake of anonymity (it was a small school) but because my goal was to touch on universal parenting/family themes. I fancied myself the person who was willing to say out loud what everyone was thinking. In removing our names from the narrative I was creating a modern-day "Everyman"...not so much telling our family story as the story of all families.

When The Child had her birthday this year I considered giving her a new name, such as "The Tween". I could not limit myself to lifestages at all and just call her The Daughter but in the end "The Child" isn't about age but relationship. Years from now (many years, a college degree, 1 year in Europe & a couple years of working) when she presents us with our first grandchild, she will undoubtedly still be The Child.

For the record, she is 12. Also for the record, she's actually been cooking in some capacity since she could stand, although these days she is allowed to use a knife and operate with a degree of independence. Tonight she is preparing meat pies.

So, Miss Healthypants, I hope that answers your question and I hope your head doesn't hurt....

Friday, April 07, 2006

Crisis Averted

The BAH has been ordered. (Big. Ass. Ham.) You may resume your normal activities.

Hippity Hoppity

I got really nervous last night.

We were planning next week's menu and discussing "the game plan" relative to various Holy Week services and The Spouse said, "And we need to call Don & Joe's to order the ham". Then he stopped, looked at me very seriously and said, "Or do we want to do something different this year?"

Had he lost his mind? No ham at Easter?

There is a far amount of flexibility in our party menus. Why, Christmas is a different culinary theme every year. But some things are sacred. Leg of Lamb at Carnevale, Ham at Easter. And besides that, how would we make split pea soup at Pentecost if we didn't have a ham bone?

The Spouse's glazed ham is one of the reasons people keep accepting our Easter invitations. It is, for some, their raison d'etre. If we didn't have ham then the molasses biscuits would be demoted from Ambrosial Complement to lowly Starch Unit. We can fool around with side dishes, experiment with desserts (two this year? one lemon, one chocolate?). We can anguish once again over the semi-eternal puzzle of what wine goes with ham. (Really dry pinks and/or champagne in my opinion, but it always comes up). But there must be ham.

I will order it today.

Sports News

The Mariners are 3-1, the best start they've had since the rockin' season of 2001...the season when they won 116 games. I still believe with all my heart that had 9/11 not happened, they would have gone to the World Series.

The Child's volleyball team is undefeated going into their last regular season game tomorrow. This assures that they will be in the playoffs, which commence the week after Easter break.

I might do some situps today.


Thursday, April 06, 2006


I was cleaning through my picture files and found this. It's The Child being weighed at a produce stand in the Pike Place Market. She was about 1 month old. Can you see her little peanut head? What a little dumpling she was, tinier than a watermelon and 4 times as sweet.

Out with the Crowd

The great Hot Dog Gig of '06 is over. It was just fine. Fun even. The folks I worked with were all great. Our customers were very sweet and patient. One guy sent back one hot dog and he was nice about it. (The bun was too crusty).

It was a long day, though. I was there from about 12:30 to about 6:30. I can still feel it in my lower back. That's a lot of standing around, my friends. But I got to toss peanuts at someone and learned how to pull a beer with minimal foam (because when you're setting down $7.50 for a freaking Coors Light, you kinda want all beer). Plus, I think we made a lot of tips because our principal was with us and she's Irish and adorable.

The Mariners won their first series and are 2-1. Not a bad start. The weather yesterday was gorgeous so the roof was open. "The Safe" is a beautiful "church of baseball" sort of park and I, in my capacity as hot dog/pretzel/beer-vendor and condiment-cart-wiper felt uniquely connected to the experience. I'm glad to have done it. I will do it again. At gunpoint.

The Child did not lose her key and it looks like she got all her homework done. She also came home with a headache. This racheted up the guilt when I learned of it. Because the only thing worse than being a latch-key child is coming home with a headache and mommy not being there to love all over you and give you meds. (And bless her heart, she went without because we are still employing the "only if mom or dad gives it to you" method of pharmaceutical distribution).

Thank you for caring.

Now I have a whole long, gorgeous Thursday stretching before me with no appointments or obligations except to write, finish reading "Persepolis" and engage in slight flitting-about-with-the-duster sorts of homekeeping things. My kinda day.