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December 31st, 2007

Would you like to read the guest post I just wrote for MetBlogs? I thought so.

Love,

WM

kick ASS!

December 30th, 2007

Steve Brule Last Resort Fighting

because someone out here needs to be blogging, dagnabit

December 30th, 2007

Have you noticed that a lot of people (I’m not saying everyone, but mostly everyone) has decided to take the week off from blogging?

I have needs, people. For instance, if Rockstar Mommy doesn’t post first thing in the morning, like she usually does, I can’t fully enjoy my coffee.

Miss Zoot has been coming through, pregnant and all. Lelo in NoPo turned me on to a great bread recipe, and additionally? She would like to have a word with the government. I would, too. I would also like MORE TO READ but since I’m not finding it, I’ll give you a little. I mean, if Melissa Lion can blog while she’s on the road with a 2-year-old, I think I can blog sitting here in my office, on this beautiful sunny day. (Sunny for now, anyway. It was raining about seven minutes ago.)

I, I, I…
* just worked out.
* and am enjoying the sunshine, and about a dozen new books I received for review and that came in on reserve from the library.
* Also, we’ve discovered Curb Your Enthusiasm, Hockey God just went to pick up the third season from the library. Yeah, yeah, I know. We’re about six years late on this, I do not CARE! It is new to us. I love it and find it aggravating, at the same time. As one of my friends put it, “There are times I just have to bury my face in my hands while I’m watching that show.” Cheryl Hines (so brilliant in “Waitress”) is brilliant in this, too. I love her so.

Hockey God…
* in addition to going to the library, is doing the grocery shopping. He is good at it, having been a produce guy for ten years or something. Longer than that, I think it was. I, personally, think he misses the attention of all the hot housewives who wanted him to squeeze their melons.
* needs to post daily, don’t you think? I do. Go tell him.
* is not thrilled that I’m thinking of doing a Sex DeTox (one of the books I got for review) and that means no nooky for a month. The book claims to help you “Recharge Desire! Revitalize Intimacy! Rejuvenate Your Love Life!” We don’t really need any of that, per se, I just want to be able to tell people, “I’m on a Sex DeTox, gotta go!”

I think…
* this would be a challenge. I like a challenge, don’t you?

Wacky Boy…
*loves being on vacation.

Wacky Girl…
*loves being on vacation, too, and wants to spend the day cooking! I’ll top that — we’ll spend the week cooking — Creole Beans & Rice, Manicotti (using large pasta shells, I’m thinking), tacos, Polenta-Stuffed Green Peppers… I like winter.

Also? Both kids are cleaning their rooms. Ha!

Wacky Cat 3…
*is settling in nicely to Life with Wacky Family. He is fluffy and soft and hardly any trouble at all. (Double ha! He’s a handful, but I love him so.)

I did not…
* get a standard-size poodle (color: apricot) for Christmas, like I requested. That is okay, I guess. Dogs give me fits.

I know…
* I am not really a “poodle type” of person, but my friend M has three and my friend L has one and even though they could all four be described as “somewhat kooky,” they make my friends so happy.

ttfn, Internets. Gotta motor — Wacky Girl wants to jump into the land of Webkinz. Hope you find something out there to read. Send me any interesting links if you do.

Love,

WM

edited to say:

It’s raining again, sun gone.
Now it’s hailing.
Now it’s snowing.
Now it’s sleeting/snowing/craziness, piling up.

It’s sticking!!!

adjusting to holiday break

December 29th, 2007

My kids: “We stay up ’til 11 now and sleep ’til 11!”

(Lucky me.)

Happy Year of the Rat, yins.

WM

for Benazir Bhutto

December 28th, 2007

I dreamt about Benazir Bhutto this morning. National Public Radio got all mixed up in my dreams. Bhutto was with me — we were putting on make-up in the bathroom. In this dream, Steve and I were living where we always live in my dreams — some kind of huge family compound, with lots of rooms and mazes and a huge courtyard with lots of trees and plants.

(Our family friend, A, moved to Amman, Jordan a few years ago, to be with her husband’s family. My “dream home” is how I imagine her family’s home looks, I suppose. I’ve never given it much thought until now, this dream house/compound that always stars in my dreamworld.)

Benazir Bhutto was putting on her eyeliner. She was very beautiful, and very much alive, but she was preparing herself for her funeral. (I thought, You can do that? Why doesn’t everyone do that? How clever she is.)

“Why did this happen this way?” she asked me.

I told her, “I don’t know.”

“It did not have to happen this way,” she said.

I told her, “I know. I’m so sorry.”

And she walked out the door.

on writing, and a recipe club

December 27th, 2007

I’m writing out the rest of the Xmas cards. Does that count as fiction writing? I sure hope so. I’d like to think of something clever to say here, but I am just beat to hell tired. Damn holidays. Damn pressure. On a bright note, I cooked dinner tonight for the first time in… weeks. Months? Hard to say.

Hockey God: “Cooking a pot of beans and a pot of rice does not count as ‘cooking,’ per se.”
me: “Yes, it does.”
Hockey God: “But you didn’t do anything with them.”
me: “So?”

We had Tomato/Sweet Potato Soup that I made in the world-famous Rival Crockpot. (Thanks to my sis for the best Christmas present ever — still going strong, a year later.) I’ll list the ingredients, you put ‘em together:

onions
garlic
celery
carrots
sweet potato cubes
tomatoes
vegetable broth
fresh rosemary
sage
salt n pepper

Yes, I made up this recipe myself, Suzy Homemaker that I am. It cooked on high for three hours and was just delicious. Would have been nice with white beans, too, or some smoked turkey.

Also, biscuits… and… vanilla cream pie with a graham cracker crust for dessert. Homemade, for both.

(Told you — brain donor.)

‘night,

WM

Thursday Thirteen Ed. #125: How About A Nice Slice of Pie, Sugar?

December 27th, 2007

Dear 13ers and Usual Suspects,

It’s SNOWING again right here in RIVER CITY! Portland, Ore., is not known for our many inches of snow. We are known for our many inches of rain. Snow = winter = making a big bowl of popcorn and watching movies.

Hockey God and I watched the film “Waitress” last night. Have you seen it? I rarely see movies in theaters anymore, it’s nothing but DVDs around here. It was just a great film — tragic and funny and goofy and moving, all in the right proportions. The DVD includes a featurette about the making of the film, and a sweet memorial to the late Adrienne Shelly, the film’s writer and director.

The movie’s theme of pies made me think of my late cousin, Travis, pie-lover extraordinaire. His famous quote: “I like any kind of pie. I like ‘em all — pumpkin, lemon meringue, apple, cherry, blackberry, chocolate. One kind I don’t like, though. Cow Pie.” (We were at my grandparents’ dining room table at the time, looking out at the cattle grazing in the field.) I miss you, cuz. Just because, cuz. Here are my 13 favorites pies, plus some recipes:

1) Chocolate pie with a graham cracker crust.

2) Pumpkin pie with lots of cinnamon and whipped cream.

3) “I Can’t Have No Affair Because It’s Wrong and I Don’t Want Earl to Kill Me” Pie

Also known as: Vanilla Custard Meringue, Hold the Banana

INGREDIENTS

2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/3 cup brown sugar
cup melted butter
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk, scalded*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 banana, sliced, OPTIONAL

For meringue:
3 egg whites
1/4 cup granulated sugar

1. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and melted butter until well blended. Press crumb mixture into a 9-inch pan. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add sugar and salt. Slowly stir in hot, scalded milk. Add vanilla. Strain the mixture into pie crust. If desired, add chunks of banana. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon.

3. Bake in a lower shelf of preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until set.

4. In a large glass mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add ¼ cup white sugar, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form.

5. Spread meringue over pie after custard is set, return to oven until meringue is slightly brown. Cool at least 15 minutes before cutting. Makes 8 servings.

*To scald milk, heat over low heat until small bubbles form around the edge of the pan; the temperature should read 180-190.

Now, where was I…

4. Apple pie with caramel topping.

5. My Grandma’s Apple Pie.

6. And her Cherry Pie.

7. And her Huckleberry Pie.

8. And her Pecan Pie. Dang, I’m hungry now. Here is her pie crust recipe. I wish you luck, because I’ve never been able to get it just right like she does, even though I’ve watched her make it enough times:

“I make pie crust from scratch. You’d have to watch me do it to get it right. It’s probably two cups flour, dash of salt, and shortening or lard. I used to use lard all the time, but it’s got more fat in it than Crisco. I don’t like the yellow Crisco, I like the white. Use a fork, break it up into crumbs. Have you a glass of ice water — and I mean ICE water, water with ICE in it. Pour a tablespoon or so in at a time — don’t dump a bunch in. The secret with pie crust is be quick. Don’t mess around, be quick with it or you won’t have a tender pie crust.”

9. I love, love, love the Blueberry Sour Cream Pie at Mom’s Cafe in Salina, Utah.

10. I will also settle for Coconut Cream Pie.

11. Or Peach Pie.

12. A nice Custard Pie will do.

13. But never, ever, ever Cow Pie.

The Day After

December 26th, 2007

Christmas is gone and I say good riddance, ol’ pal. The kids had fun, my husband and family made a huge effort to make things nice — and special, not just the usual routine — but I just was not crazy about Christmas this year. Maybe it’s because I always expect snow, and instead we get buckets of rain — and I want to go out and see the lights, but it’s cold and wet and I am getting over bronchitis and still feeling run-down.

I’ve got no idea. It’s ennui. It’s me being selfish. I keep trying, but I just cannot get out of this little funk.

But yesterday — Christmas Day — it snowed here. (more…)

Book Review: Butterfly Kisses, Love Bug, Let It Snow, Brimax Books

December 24th, 2007

Reviewed today:

Now comes Holly Hobbie with a new Toot & Puddle book, complete with four ornaments — “Let It Snow.” The book is the final in the series. (Little, Brown and Company, $16.99.)

“I wish I could take this morning and put it in my pocket and keep it forever,” says Puddle.

Christmas is just around the corner — what should the best friends buy each other? Nice story, lovely drawings. Pigs can ski? Who knew?

Sandra Magsamen just authored two new board books — part of the Snuggle-Me Stories series (LB Kids, $7.99). Both come with their own charming little finger puppet. It’s funny, but even when you have “big kids” living in your house, they are still reluctant to let go of the puppets and the baby books and more than happy to “review” little kid books. (Our tiny puppets and board books are now packed in the attic, waiting for the day my “big kids” might have little kids of their own.) I can see that these two books will be popular — they have bright, candy colors, the pictures are nicely done and the little stories are sweet (“Love bugs are snuggable/and lovable that is true…” and “Bees buzz along/birds sing a love song…”)

(PS — Speaking of board books — I recently came across the Brimax Books series — spectacular. “Bedtime,” “Mealtime,” “Playtime,” “Knowing,” “Doing,” etc. There are a dozen or more of them. They were first published in England in 1976 and have been reprinted off and on since then. Available through eBay or Amazon.)

Perfect picks for belated Christmas gifts for any little ones you may know.

if only i could tell you

December 24th, 2007

This is the closest I’m getting to a Christmas letter, dear readers. Enjoy it while it lasts.

The kids have decided they need editorial control of my blog. My fiction is my own, but any “cute” little stories about the children now need to be run by… the children. This is a stupid rule. If I could, I would tell you…

All about how my son sleeps with his head entirely under the covers when he’s exhausted. And how his dad has the same kooky habit.

The cat? Does the cat want editorial control, too? Too bad! Wacky Cat 3 is a crazeee little kitten. He’s gained some weight since he came to live with us. He loves to find little toys and odd items around the house, bat them into the air, chase them around and land on them, whoooomph. He is a delight. Except when he’s trying to terrorize our grouchy old lady cat, Wacky Cat 1 (she slashes him) or he’s thumping on Wacky Cat 2 (who is a bit scared of him, but can’t stand to be away from him. Do you have anyone you feel like that about?)…

I might tell you, if I could, how a certain daughter went a little wacky at church yesterday. Her friends got to race around (during the service) disrupting everyone and having a swell time? Why couldn’t she? Fidget, fidget, twitch. Fidget, fidget, crumple paper. The minister told a good story about a rabbi who visited some monks, told them one of them was the Messiah. Fidget, fidget, melt-down. “Can we please skip coffee hour?” Sure.

“What did you get out of that service, hon? Anything?”

“Yes. Not really. Something about rabbits and monkeys?”

Merry Christmas and Happy Year of the Rat.

“A Rat Year is a time of hard work, activity, and renewal. This is a good year to begin a new job, get married, launch a product or make a fresh start. Ventures begun now may not yield fast returns, but opportunities will come for people who are well prepared and resourceful. The best way for you to succeed is to be patient, let things develop slowly, and make the most of every opening you can find. People born in an Earth Rat are said to be logical realists, shrewd, charming, ambitious, and inventive. Of course, the entire horoscope must be considered when making any personality assessment.”

I’m a Dragon. Surprise. You?

WM

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