Friday, December 25, 2009

It turns out I'm a snob too. But only a food snob. Because I hate shopping. And ingredients.

Every now and again I slap up a recipe and declare this to be a cooking blog. If it WERE a cooking blog, I would name it "The Reluctant Cook". Because I hate cooking. And laundry. And dishes. And especially shopping.

I love food though. And eating (and incomplete sentences).

So that's how I ended up making four dozen tortillas this past weekend. And four dozen tortillas the previous weekend, plus two loaves of challah bread, and five dozen chocolate chip cookies.

It's like this: I don't feel like stopping at a store.

Somehow I always convince myself that it will be easier to bake bread from scratch than to drive the extra ten minutes in the car. Same with the tortillas. They have them at the grocery store, but they're icky.

They've got ingredients in them I can't pronounce. And if something has ingredients I can't pronounce, then it's not really food. Plus, to get to the grocery store...I would have to go to the store. And that involves shopping, which I dislike.

This week I tried to get a picture of an egret on a telephone wire, but the traffic light turned green and I had to go.

I tried to get a picture of a train car that said, "Do not hammer on train car" but the train was moving too fast.

Who are these people who would grab their hammers, hop out of their automobiles, duck under the railroad arms designed for their safety, approach a moving train and hammer on one or more of the cars?

I didn't get a picture, regardless, so I'm mostly just stuck with this one that I took in an elevator on our trip to Washington:I think instruction #4 should really be instruction #1. Because if you've already read four instructions while trapped in an elevator, haven't you already made a concerted effort not to panic?

And also, I took a picture of a waffle. Though I can't remember why:Could these things even be related to the waffles I make with butter and flour and egg, all delicate and crispy and steaming hot off the waffle iron?

I think I'll just stay a reluctant cook so I don't have to find out.

Happy Christmas to 33% of the world! I hope you're enjoying all kinds of Christmas baked goods that didn't come in plastic wrap!

My next post will probably be either late or picture free or both since I will be traveling.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Walking Pneumonia: Like Regular Pneumonia, Only With Walking. You Still Feel Like Crap Though.

I enjoy new clothing and all, and there's nothing like realizing you've gotten someone the perfect gift, but it's A-OK with me if I never see another shopping mall for as long as I live.

Look: Going to the mall in the holiday traffic is so bad that people were changing their minds. Here they are exiting on the entrance ramp:I saw this on the way to the mall too:So THAT'S what's wrong with us!

Is this car missing a passenger?Here's Sugar saying the blessings over the Chanukah candles. Sugar almost bit Older Gal's face off several times as she worked to accomplish this feat of feline piousness. But Older Gal was relentless:I've said this before about kids and I'll say it again: just when you think you can't possibly take one more cotton pickin' thing in your life, your kid gets lice.

It's like they're walking barometers - Woah! Life's a bit too intense right now! I better keep everyone home by catching some childhood ailment or pestilence!

This time it happened to be walking pneumonia instead of lice.

This is what I love about my sweet pea - she laughs with me about the fact that I get mad at her for having walking pneumonia.

And this is my advice to all you people who have kids too young to drive: run out an and get a stepdaughter this very instant! Seriously, older gal was not only willing to bring my pneumonia-ridden sweet pea to the doctor while I was at work, but she was HAPPY to do it!

So how did I end up mad at the gal for being sick? Like this: teenager wakes up unable to breath. Stays up all night watching a movie on her ipod. Then says, "I don't think I can go to school!"

"WHAT!?!?! You stayed up all night watching movies?!?!?! You are going to school let me tell you!!!" Luckily The-Guy-Who-Knows-A-Song-About-A-Chicken had mercy on her poor little pneumonia-ridden-soul and encouraged me to leave her home with older gal. We found out about the pneumonia the next day.

In my defense, although she was sick enough to stay up all night, she was NOT sick enough to ask me for medicine. I guess I'm just THAT unpleasant when I get woken up in the night.

Happy last night of Chanukah everyone and *H*A*P*P*Y* *B*I*R*T*H*D*A*Y* to my boy! I promise to have you a birthday party one of these...months. And to buy you a lunch kit. And to buy you a slice of pizza on Thursday. And whatever all else I've promised you during year 11!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Forget the Teenageer. Forget Death by Chocolate. December is Going to Kill Me First.

Here's my annual post about how totally overwhelming the holidays are. I mean December is a nice idea, but who the heck wants to follow through?

For instance it's been over a week and I haven't even mentioned to the blogsville that it SNOWED IN HOUSTON!

It not only snowed, but it snowed and FLOODED at the exact same time! I LOVE Houston! I didn't get the best picture, because I was driving, of course. But that white stuff on my windshield is snow and the cars around me are negotiating flood water.Even if the snow got deep enough, you can't really sled or ski or snowboard in Houston, because we don't even have hills, much less mountains. So my boy made due with his scooter:I'm not sure exactly why I continue to be so amused in the grocery store, but I am. Like so many other people, I've been waiting for YEARS for them to come out with a dish detergent that will make my plates smell like baby harp seals:I realize this is par for the course these days:In fact, maybe by now it's less amusing and more just a generalized feeling of wonder: What are the repercussions of deciding collectively as a society that it's a good idea to allow ourselves to mentally check out ALL of the time? And what REAL dangers will go unheeded because we're accustomed to being warned about the ridiculous? And what will the pendulum look like when it swings the other way? And why does organic food have to be so cotton pickin' expensive?!?

Last picture for the week (ok, little over a week, but it's DECEMBER fer cryin' out loud and I don't handle the month of December well):I saw this in the parking lot at work. I asked the head janitor about it, because he's generally in the know about the comings and goings of...everyone. But all he really offered me was that the bus did indeed have permission to park there.

Anyway, happy Hanukkah Jews! Enjoy your latkes, soufganiot and heart disease!!!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

It's Like Being Serenaded by a Group of Dying Chipmunks

We went up to Washington DC area for Thanksgiving and seriously, the elevators going down to the subway sound like very loud wounded animals.That's actually a different part of the subway, but I thought it was prettier than chipmunky sounding place.

So then we got back to Texas on Saturday, the temperature was still in the 70s, and the city had put up these cute little signs:Which is a lucky thing for those of us confused about what season it is. We're not likely to forget either, because we see the signs on the way to work and the way to school and the way to religious school. And for some reason, we also see dead squirrels. A LOT of dead squirrels.

Religious school is less than two miles from here & we saw ALL these squirrels just on the way there & back:

We saw more dead squirrels than that, but I figure you can probably only take so many pictures of gored squirrel guts before your neighbors start to wonder.

Actually, I posted this because The-Guy-Who-Knows-A-Song-About-A-Chicken has asked for a road kill post more than once. And what the heck kind of wife am I going to make him if I can't even post a few rodent innards as a favor to him?

Younger gal asked why there were so very many dead squirrels, and of course my first thought was that they were expressing their sympathy with the dying chipmunks of D.C. by committing mass suicide.

But then I thought maybe the mass suicide was due to them having been confused about the season when suddenly they realized (due to the signs) that they hadn't gathered enough acorns or something.

I was driving along wondering the exact number of roadkill pictures that constitute an adequate expression of undying love when a squirrel not so much darted but ROCKETED across the road, giving me an live (or narrowly-not-dead) demonstration.

If I had been driving just three miles an hour faster instead of meandering lost in thought about rodent carcass, he or she would have been squished flat to the pavement like the rest of them. Half the squirrels throughout the city must have been repeating his or her mistake at an absurd rate to produce this carnage.

Maybe it's the full moon.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Random Photos

I'm scheduling this to post itself sort of close to Thanksgiving. And so while you're all enjoying your leftover dead bird sandwiches, I figured you could enjoy these sights I saw around town.

First off, I think I need some of this lotion, 'cause I've been feeling all sorts of cynical lately:Also, I found out that in addition to serving up HAPPY chickens in Houston, we are also home of the Pollo Bravo:Now even though I do speak Spanish to a certain extent, at first glance I thought that this would mean that the chickens were brave. And doesn't that sort of make sense, that they would fry up the very bravest chickens in addition to the happiest?

But it actually means the same as the English. So I guess we're just CHEERING the chickens. Like, "Bravo! Way to go!! You're going to be the best dead chicken I ever ate!!!! Rah rah rah!"

I occasionally accuse myself of feeling like a train wreck. Today was the first day I ever saw the remnants of a real one though. Younger Gal took photos out our car window:

It's just not every day you pass a truck full of plastic geese. At least I only pass a truck full of plastic geese every once in a great while:Goat milk lollipops, yum!Actually, my guess is that I'd probably like those.

And that's it! I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's Okay to Rape Your Future Step Parents Though. Apparently.

I think I have a disease. It's called: "Volunteering to ride on a bus for three and a half hours with fifty 8-12 year olds. And then spend a weekend with them. And then ride back. For three and a half MORE hours".

And each and every year when the principal asks who wants to do this, I say "ME! ME! ME!!!!"

I was told one time that you should never spend more than 20 minutes packing. So I've tried to reduce the time I spend on any given trip from a few days to a few minutes.

And whoever decided that is RIGHT! Because, as it happens, I still forget and remember in about the same ratio no matter how much time I spend on the packing.

On this trip I forgot a bath towel, BOTH my pillows, and a comb. But I remembered to bring chocolate and my Ipod, so at least I had the essentials.

Just before boarding the bus, I did find a beach blanket in my trunk. But it turns out those things are designed to REPEL water and not absorb it, so they're not much good for drying off. It made a great pillow though.

When my boy and I got back from camp, Younger gal gave gave me further updates on the whole, "honoring your parents" thing. She learned in class that you do have to honor your step parent, because when you dishonor your step parent, then you dishonor your parent.

BUT, she pointed out, that only counts AFTER the wedding. Until then, The-Guy-Who-Knows-A-Song-About-A-Chicken is not technically her step father.

It turns out that I spoke too soon about feeling much safer. She's got seven full months to rape and pillage. And so I think I might just head back up to camp until after the wedding. 'Cuz camp stuff is so much safer, apparently:

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Two more things that go together like bread and butter: rape and pancake mix

So I heard this ad for Fiber One pancake mix on Prairie Home Companion and I thought, "That's CRAZY! Why would you bother adding fiber to pancakes?"

Because when I make pancakes, I make them all delicate and fluffy with real butter like my mom taught me. And why the heck would you want to add fiber to a food that is going to give you a heart attack anyway?

But then I thought, "I guess it's like a Sea Breeze or a Cape Cod. Because with those drinks you can improve your urinary tract while destroying your liver."

And so with the Fiber One pancakes, you can probably destroy your heart WHILE you improve the health of your colon!

When I searched for it I found it at Amazon, which also listed it under the "buy used and new" section! Who buys used pancake mix? Especially not when we all know good and well that we're supposed to be afraid of even UNUSED pancake mix.

But then I looked on the nutrition label and I'm not even sure it WOULD destroy your heart. And how good could it really even taste if you don't add milk or eggs? And so that's why I don't buy box mixes EVEN if they could possibly be good for my colon.

On a totally and completely related note, our family had this heartwarming conversation at dinner the other night:
Younger Gal - There's rape in the Torah. It's true! Noah raped one of his sons...or was it one of Noah's sons who raped him? I think it was one of his sons who raped him! We studied about it when we were learning about honoring your parents! We're not supposed to rape our parents...

Me - Oh good. I feel so much safer now.
This was a little later in the conversation, and to find it funny, you have to know as much as I do about Hebrew, which is practically nothing. But I DO know that our rabbi is always encouraging the kids to add phlegm to their Hebrew, often in the form of a "ch" sound sort of mixed with with a gargle.
Older Gal - Does it really use the word "rape"?
Younger Gal - Yes. It really does. We're not supposed to rape our parents.
Me - What IS the word rape in Hebrew?
Younger Gal - "rape-ch-ch-ch"
Last but not least, I went to a seminar this week on setting limits with kids and stuff. Although I'm not exactly sure WHY I needed to go, when I have this old standby:
"If you don't change your clothes out from the washer to the dryer this very instant I'm going to burn all your clothes and you'll have to go to school NAKED!!!"
Naturally I ordered the materials on how to get your kids to do chores.

Yeah, anyway, the moral of THIS week's story is, I gather, send your kid to a religious school because they learn all sorts of useful stuff like not raping their parents which OBVIOUSLY helps reinforce the limits that you're setting at home*.

And also, pancakes out of a box will probably kill you at some point EVEN if you don't buy it "used", I'm just not sure how yet. But at least you'll have a clean colon when you die.

And also, Happy Birthday Mom!!!! People still want to know about the blood!

(*Seriously I do LOVE having my kids at a religious school, by the way)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Wedding Flowers and Pork Blood, both in the same post. Because those things go together. Obviously.

I found out that planning a wedding is pretty similar to planning a bat mitzvah. For both occasions I find myself asking with alarming frequency, "What is that?!? Do we HAVE to have that?!?!?"

Except, instead that being in response to a 12 year old making multiple requests, it's in response to another adult thinking up all sorts of things I never would have even thought of. Like flowers.

In an attempt to reverse traditional gender roles, The-Guy-Who-Knows-A-Song-About-A-Chicken and I had this (fairly typical) conversation last night while talking about wedding preparations:
Him: Will we need flowers?
Me: Flowers?
Him: Yeah, you know, a wedding? Flowers?
Me: Do we have to have that?
Him: Well you'll need something to hold.
Me: Oh. Yeah. I guess I am supposed to hold flowers. You don't mean all over the tables though, do you? Because I think those are expensive. Wouldn't it be better to use that money to booze people up?
Except, that was probably the wrong answer. Because, after all, he is the one who commands the plants around here so I suppose he might actually WANT flowers. And what the heck, they are pretty.

We said all that last night on the way home from seeing Seth Walker at a house concert:He was either totally, totally awesome or I'm just easily impressed. And plus he said the words, "hip ass Quaker", which I've never heard all put together in one sentence like that.

No seriously, it was wonderful, especially for someone who is as big a fan of white guy blues as I am. He said there was a better description for his type of music than "white guy blues", but it involved many more words and didn't seem to really pinpoint it any better.

I would have fixed his red eye, but my computer is so old and tired that it barely even agreed to rotate the picture and post it, much less mess with it before hand.

I posted last week about stalker guy handing my dad blood at a rest area. But I never realized you could just walk right in to the grocery store and buy blood:So that must mean that enough people all over town are saying things like, "Honey could you pick me up a head of broccoli, a bunch of grapes, and a pint of blood?" to make blood worth keeping in stock.

Here's a picture of my cousin's dog. Ain't he the cutest?
And last but not least, here are two animals who were none too happy about us driving through their property:And so the moral of the story is, Seth Walker is even better in concert than his CDs. You can buy blood at the grocery store. And weddings are supposed to include flowers. That's what I learned this week.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Here's the Blood for Vickie

It's been one of those weeks. You know that kind where you're just bewildered come Friday? I keep thinking, "Wow! I made it through another one! How on earth did that happen?!?!?"?

I did make it. I'm amazed. But my week was dominated by work stuff, which I understand is inadvisable to include in blogdom, only interrupted by an incredibly sad event which I can't really do justice on a blog.

So I'm going to borrow a story from my parents (Vickie and Donnie) instead. Dad told me this story almost two years ago, so I may have forgotten a detail or two.

Let me tell you, first of all, that this story takes place in the land before cell phones. It was back in the days when you had to coordinate and plan things ahead of time, lest you unknowingly eat dinner in the same restaurant at the same time as your spouse thinking you're being stood up. Yes, that really did happen to my mom and dad way back in the days before cell phones. But that's a different story.

In this story my dad is driving home one day along the interstate. He lives in Vermont, so naturally the views out his windshield are trees and mountains and wondrous.Dad's admiring the beauty out his window, maybe thinking about what he might have for dinner. Maybe daydreaming. The view is gorgeous, as always. For whatever reason, I forget why, he pulls over into a rest area. Again, he contemplates the view. In Vermont, even the rest areas are beautiful. Relaxed, he turns to open the door of his car. The side window, however, does not offer the same beautiful vista.

Instead, Dad is shocked to see the face of one of mom's coworkers through the window. "Here's the blood for Vickie!" says the man. He hands a vial of blood to my dazed father and leaves.

In case you're thinking my mother is a vampire or worse, she was actually a scientist in a lab at the time. Still, there was absolutely no way for this man to know my dad would be at the rest area and my mother's only explanation all these years later has been...

Yeah. She never offered any explanation. She's like that sometimes. Oh and happy Halloween by the way.

Introduction to Vermont

Partridge Brook Reflections

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Got My Boobs Squishied Today

Work is even more insane than usual leaving me no time or mental resources for much else. For that reason I sat down at the computer and was sort of hoping one of those blog posts that writes itself would come out from my fingers.

But then luckily for me I remembered needed to leave for my first ever mammogram appointment! And what could be better blog fodder than having your boobies squishied beyond recognition?!?! And so, as they say, be careful what you wish for.

Let me tell you something though - it wasn't SO very bad.

I was all worried that whether or not I had gained a pound or two in my boobs would all be a moot point compared to whether or not the mammogram machine burst every last fat cell in my chest. Because I imagine *THAT* would require a whole new set of bras. And I was really scared too, because the bras I like are expensive. And also because I didn't want my boobs to look like pancakes.

I've heard it's worse if you have a mammogram during certain times of the month. So maybe mine wasn't so awful terrible. But I'll tell you what's worse for certain: Childbirth is worse. Having a wisdom tooth out is worse. Getting a crown is worse. Even getting my belly button pierced was worse.

Apologies to anyone who suffered through this who didn't need to be informed about mammograms. I'd post a picture of my pre-squishied chest as a boobie prize (so to speak), but this isn't that type of blog.

Instead here's a picture of a giant Halloween decoration hanging from a neighbor's tree. The spider is pretty huge and, although you can't tell from the picture, it hangs out over the road from the light post. The picture doesn't quite capture it, but it's equally cute and disturbing...sort of like a picture of my pre-squished boobs might have been had I posted one:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Denise Austin's Been Doing Me Wrong All These Years

So The-Guy signed me on to his gym membership. It turns out that as part of the gym orientation, they tell you you're fat. Or at least they told ME that I'm fat.

I tried to argue that all my fat was in my boobs, but the gym guy said they account for boobies. Men are supposed to be some certain percentage and women are supposed to be some other HIGHER percentage. Because they have boobs.

He seemed so sincere that I decided not to waste my breath arguing about how there should be different fat percentages for women with different bra cup sizes. And I suppose he's right to a certain extent, because in part that's why I was there. Because my boobs are all exploding out of my bras and I either need to lose fat or buy new bras, one or the other.

But I (wisely?) decided to keep that information to myself when they asked for my goals during the orientation. I told them my goal was to keep my man company on Saturday mornings at the gym. Because honestly I've got Denise Austin to help me keep my fat under control. Or so I thought.

Still, it's funny how convincing the gym guys can be EVEN THOUGH the art teacher stopped me in the hall on Friday specifically to ask me how I got my stomach so flat after having two babies.

And here's the secret to that one: work out every morning with Denise Austin for ELEVEN YEARS!!!! Seriously, my baby is 11 already. Hers isn't even a year old. I don't think she has to lose hope just yet.

Although Denise Austin totally forgot to tell me I'm fat, so maybe she's not the awesome workout buddy I thought she was. Maybe the art teacher should try the gym for 11 years instead.

Anyway, here are a couple random pictures. My boy raising the flag at school:He's the shorter one without the blurred face.

Older Gal on a turtle rescue mission:
Here's yard of the month near my kids' school:And last but not least, my good for nothin' cat sticking out his tongue:Hope everyone has had a nice weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm Scared of My Own Wedding

So...if you go, I hope you have a good time and all. But I might not be there because it's too frightening for me.*

Rumor has it that weddings are scary because of the whole commitment thing. But as we all know, it's not the commitment that's scary. It's the invitations.

Well, that's not exactly right. Invitations in and of themselves are only paper. I even like to make cards and stuff that look very similar to invitations, see?

I even made a convenient card about death (more commonly known as a "condolence card"):But hopefully I don't have to use it. Or I would hope that, except really The-Guy-Who-Knows-A-Song-About-A-Chicken already used it.

So if I'm not scared of putting death on a pretty card, then you'd think a wedding card would be no big deal, right?

Right, because look, I already made a couple of congratulations for being married cards too:It turns out it's not the invitations themselves that are so scary, because those things can only give you a paper cut. It's how to send the invitations to the right people. "The right people" being, of course, the people that actually want to be there and/or who would be upset if they weren't there.

Oh, and also presents are also very, very scary. Because we already have three times more stuff than any five people need. But they told me at work that we can ask people to donate to charity instead. So that's way less scary. Sort of. I think.

Silly me, I thought getting married could be no big deal if I didn't buy a fancy dress. But it will be okay. As I understand it, we still get to end up married no matter how many different ways we screw up and make people mad. Sort of. I think. I hope.

*I'm KIDDING! I'm totally going to be there.


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