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from recovering straight girl…

November 18th, 2009

She’s reviewing big girl boudoir toys over on her blog. She kills me, with the descriptions. Yummy pink!

I will continue to write about… yummy pink sugar cookies. Yes, we need all kinds of writing in this world, yes we do. Hmm. Here’s a question: If you gave me a choice right now between a yummy pink sugar cookie and nooky, what would I take?

Both.

Here’s a thought: For those of you who are long-time readers of blogs (lurkers or not), have your blog needs changed? My writing has changed a lot in five years, mebbe not for the better, who can tell? But I’m going to the blogs for different things now: Less parenting advice, more recipes; less for the serious stuff, more for the humor. It’s not that I don’t need or want the parenting advice, I do. Oh, I do. But I’m not finding as much as I’d like for parents of tweens.

So… why do you go read around?

baking up a storm

October 25th, 2009

the holiday baking has begun over here. it started innocently enough, with some pumpkin bread, and oatmeal cookies. now we’re planning out our strategies for the next couple of months. requests have been made:

1) please don’t bake so much
2) maybe fewer Christmas cookies this year?

requests have been considered.

now along comes Zootie, who has taken up cooking and baking with a vengeance. I’ve read the Pioneer Woman Cooks from time to time, always entertaining over there. But I had never read Bakerella until Zoot mentioned her mini-pumpkin pie bites.

Oh, yumskamie. Here’s what I say to baking!

Sorry, Steve. If we just work out more, I’m sure it will even out???

dear universe

October 8th, 2009

hello.

do you remember when we had time for one another?

yeah, me too.

– wm

ps — happy weekend, everybody. It’s Wordstock here, it’s 3 days off from school, it’s ice cream and Italian food and running into my sister, her red-headed fiance and their friends at dinner. that’s alright. (no, we did not run into the Mayor.) (You will be pleased to note that the service at PIZZA FINO in beautiful downtown NORTH PORTLAND KENTON was the WORST IT’S EVER BEEN IN OUR LIVES.) (No, worse than that, even. I kid you not. It’s a tragedy. It is an urban tragedy how bad the service is, YET WE CONTINUE TO DINE THERE. Why? I have no idea.)

(The best rock and roll song ever.)

Sunday Evening Book Review: “Zero is the Leaves on the Tree,” “The Big Sibling Book: A Journal,” “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Vols. 1 & 2″

October 4th, 2009

Reviewed today:

Really great books tonight. None of them match up with each other, so much, but that’s okay by me, if it’s okay by you? OK!

The new picture book “Zero is the Leaves on the Tree,” was written by Betsy Franco, with illustrations by Shino Arihara (Tricycle Press, 2009, $15.99). The book begins:

“Zero is…
the shape of an egg.
Zero is a number.”

The book goes on to illustrate zero, with colorful, almost old-fashioned art and lilting words. (“…the balls in the bin at recess time,” “…the bikes in the bike rack on the last day of school,” “…the ripples in the pool before the first swimmer jumps in.”) I can see why the littles like number books so much — they provide the reader with a sense of rhythm and order. Nice.

We all know that things sometimes get very much out of rhythm when a new baby arrives. Especially if you’re an older sibling who feels left out. Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s blank journal, “The Big Sibling Book: A Journal” (Potter Style, 2009, $16.99, pages) is aimed at those siblings, and will be a keepsake for the babies, once they’re older. How about… 1) stickers 2) lots of room for photos 3) funny, funny writing “prompts,” including “If you could ask your little brother or sister anything — and he or she could talk back — what would you ask? I am fond of journals and scrapbooks, and they don’t intimidate me (hello, I write and like to make collages) but I know that a lot of people freeze up when “expected” to fill a book. (Even if that “expectation” is coming from within, and is not required by law or anything, for pete’s sake.) This is a nice format, nice layout, and cries out to be scribbled on, filled in and stickered. Same author also published “The Belly Book: A Nine-Month Journal for You and Your Growing Belly” and “Your Birthday Book: A Keepsake Journal.”

One of the most precious things I found after we lost Dear Granny was a puffy pink “This Is My Life” journal that honestly was not her style at all. Not one bit. I opened it expecting to find blank pages. (As an artist friend of mine told me, when she changed the styles of blank books she was creating, “They were just too precious. People weren’t writing in them.” Once she made them shaggier, and not as fancy, then people started scribbling.) Dear Granny had written not just one or two pages, but page after page. Books like this can really mean a lot to someone else, later on. Maybe even to you. (Smiles.)

Now on to cooking. Did I ever tell you that I hate a vegetarian lifestyle? Hate. I tell my kids, That is such a strong word, do you really hate it? Or just dislike it?

I hate that I am a lazy vegetarian cook, let’s say that. And I happen to be a woman who is married to a vegetarian man and we are parents to two vegetarian children. I refuse to do vegetable croquettes with a variety of dipping sauces, a selection of salads, beans on the side for protein, limit the cheese but don’t get all crazy vegan and… It is not my thing, I’m sorry. If I did go to all that trouble, the kids wouldn’t eat it. They live on mac and cheese, peanut butter and… air. Luft und liebe. That’s right — love and air. Steve would be happy, but I wouldn’t be. I have struggled with this whole thing for years, as those of you who are regular readers know good and well.

Here is how things typically go when I cook.

Remember my son’s infamous quote? “You are the kind of bad mommy who never cooks for her kids”??? Which he said to me at the exact moment I was midway through cooking him a delicious homemade meal? (To his credit, he also told me another time, “You are a goody-good Mommy, I love you!”) Freakin’ kids, what are you gonna do, y’know?

It’s a little ridiculous. We Americans are the fattest people in the fattest nation on Earth, and I’m sweating this? (I don’t really know if we are the fattest people on Earth, I’m just making things up now.)

My point (and I do have one) is that today I decided to cook for me. Just me. I made a delicious pot roast with cipollini onions, baby carrots, potatoes, red wine, oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper. I’ve decide that if I want to retain what small amount of sanity I have left, I must do this occasionally.

I LIKE MEAT.

It. Was. Delicious. And I didn’t have to share with anyone. Steve made homemade pesto last week, and the kids gobbled that up with spaghetti. What did Steve eat? Hmm. I think he had a shot of vodka. Poor thing. Maybe I should fix him a Pop-Tart or something?

Thank you, Julia Child, for inspiring me, you Amazon temptress. I bought volumes 1 & 2 of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and I am in heaven. (There are vegetable, egg, cheese, bread and DESSERT items for my family, do not worry they will not waste away.) Really wonderful cookbooks. I can’t wait until they’re splattered with sauce stains and chocolate smudges. Ahhh…

Happy Sunday, y’all. BON APPETIT!

– wm

waffles

October 4th, 2009

* we would make waffles for the kids. if we had any milk or eggs in the house, that is.

* note to self: grocery shop at least once a week.

* The Beverly Cleary Tour yesterday was bananas.

* at our house we don’t say “it’s a dangerous cycle” we say “it’s a dangerous psycho.” same thing.

happy Sunday, y’all.

– wm

foodie tips of the day

September 22nd, 2009

* Much funner to watch the Food Network than it is to actually cook dinner. JUST SAYIN’. My favorites: the Deens, What Would Brian Boitano Make? and any show where they bake cakes or pies and say snarky things behind each other’s backs and TO each other’s faces.

* Why do we have fancy cable now, not just boring cable like we had before? One word: NHL. This is Hockey God’s anniversary gift from me, I love him so. Show I most don’t “get”: ICarly. Second show I most don’t get: Spongebob. No, don’t bother to explain, they’re both over my head.

* DANCING WITH THE STARS, NIGHT TWO. Tonite. Be there. Vote for Debi and Maks.

* Candy corn + peanuts = tastes just like a Payday candybar.

* Only I don’t happen to have those items, so I put together a canapes platter that consisted of the following: grapes, strawberries, Newman’s Own pretzels (“Crunchy relives stress! It sends your endorphins to their happy place” (or something) — Lady on Food Network, chirping and grocery shopping) and some saltwater taffy that Steve brought us from the beach. One of the flavors is… lavender? WTH? Weird, but tastes good. Fancy taffy guy.

* He took our girl and her best friend for a late birthday getaway. She wanted to do this instead of a birthday party. Nice idea! Nice dad to agree to it.

* All for now, ta-ta.

xo

wm

mmmm…. butter… birthdays… anniversaries… wiener dogs?

September 4th, 2009

She butters the top of the omelet. That’s right. To make it shiny. I love Julia Child.

Went for sushi, then saw the film “Julie & Julia” today (I know, I know, sushi is not French, yet it is tasty). Fun movie, I liked it. Streep and Stanley Tucci were wonderful, of course. I don’t think Nora Ephron has ever made a movie or a book I didn’t like. (My favorites, in no particular order: “Crazy Salad,” “Silkwood,” “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman” and “When Harry Met Sally…”)

The reviews all say something along the lines of, Oh, Meryl’s wonderful but eh, they could have done without Julie’s character. A blogger who is peevish, looking for inspiration with her cooking, and doesn’t always agree with her husband? Yeah, I can’t relate to that at all. hahahaha. I liked both plot lines — thought they were woven together well. I read the Julie/Julia Project sometimes when Julie Powell was writing it. Was glad she got a book deal. Was not so glad to hear that her second book details the affair she had after the first book was published. Eh, it’s not my life. But if you want to sleep with someone other than your husband? Don’t be married.

It’s our anniversary this weekend — can’t say what I’m giving Steve for a present, cuz it’s a surprise. But I think he’ll like it. My sister, the bride-to-be, informs me that eleventh anniversary is steel and jewelry. I’ll get myself some drill bits and get him some jewelry. Good? I won’t be getting myself a boyfriend for a gift, that’s for sure. What kind of lousy present is that? Also, nothing from here. Aroooooo… That’s what I’d really like to give him for an anniversary present — two wiener dogs. The bad thing about wiener dogs: Sometimes they get too nippy. Also they go “pee-pee” a lot. The good thing about wiener dogs: You get to say the word “wiener” all the time and make a lot of “wiener” jokes. That’s kinda fun.

Perhaps Steve wouldn’t like a doggy. Perhaps he would like a goose? Not that kind, the feathered kind. Sure he would! Happy anniversary, Steve. Eleven big years and I love you more every day.

“Never thought about divorce. Thought about murder plenty, but not divorce.” — my late, dear Granny, on the secret to her and my Grandpa’s marital success.

Why didn’t she remarry? “I had the best, honey. Why mess with the rest?”

True, that. Steve, I love you. Thanks for always loving me back.

Hmm. I like pets. I just don’t like their owners, sometimes. That’s all.

(Happy birthday to Wacky Cousin 3.0, we love you, kid. Hope you get to eat as many cupcakes as you want. And a big ol’ happy birthday to my little girl. If I had it my way, sweets, I’d get you three border collies. Happy birthday!!!!!!!!!! Hugs and love and kisses.)

feed the babies, okay? okay.

August 21st, 2009

Nice that the Mayor of my fair city does what I ask him to, since Hockey God won’t. hahahahaha.

Seriously though, y’all. There are a ton of kids going hungry in this world. Can we all do a something (little or big) to help with that?

Peace, and here’s to a chicken in every pot,

wm

Free Lunch in the Parks! That’s What It’s All About.

August 17th, 2009

Mayor Sam Adams, Amy Stephens from the Mayor’s office and everyone else who was involved, THANK YOU for helping to get 1,000 hungry kids fed Monday through Friday, now through the start of the school year. They pulled this one together and they pulled it together fast. (And they’re also working on a plan for next year, I hear.)

The free lunch in the parks program (funded with federal dollars, run locally) doesn’t start until two weeks after school ends, and ends three weeks before school starts! Did you know that? I did not like that math. That is a lot of hungry kids, for a lot of hungry weeks. And we’re not even talking about weekends. It is tough in Portland right now. It is tough a lot of places, and I know we can hang on and get through it, but it’s discouraging. We have a lot of people here who are out of work, and a lot of Oregonians are going hungry. That is heartbreaking, but especially when you’re talking about the littlest residents of the state.

Thanks to Luis Palau, Imago Dei and the Table, the Parkrose and Centennial School Districts, the Water Bureau and everyone else who is working with the Mayor’s office to bridge the gap so kids get fed. One thousand kids fed, five days a week, right up until school starts. Sam and everyone else came through. Indeed, yeah, I’ll say it — “Portland is better together.”

If you or your group is helping work on this, please leave me a note in comments or on Facebook so I can tell you thanks. It means a lot to me — but it means a lot more to the kids.

food, food, food

July 25th, 2009

What we had for dinner this week:

Sunday: Roasted beets (not purple) and carrots (purple) plus basil from the garden, garlic, new potatoes and onions over brown rice; whole wheat biscuits with butter and honey; cherries.

Monday: Pizza Fino! Garlic knots, Caesar salad, focaccia with bean-pesto dip, cheese pizza, pasta Alfredo, pasta with penne, calzone with red peppers and onions. Bonus points: happy hour menu, so it was all cheap, with leftovers, even.

Tuesday: And, because we just cannot get enough pasta over here… Cheese tortellini with alfredo sauce (five-ingredient recipe), greens, cantaloupe slices. The way I did the greens was sooooo good. Oh my gosh, good. I sauteed diced onions with a couple of teaspoons of spice mix my in-laws found for us — Moroccan Spice Mix, with cilantro, lemon, cumin, paprika, onion, garlic, ginger, pepper, mint, cinnamon, raisins, salt and red chiles. Would you like their website? Cocinadelmundospices.com. I washed and chopped rainbow chard, layered that on top of the onions and spices, poured some water on top, simmered, stirred, covered. Once everything was looking right, I took the lid off and let it all kind of braise. Perfect.

Wednesday: Life fell apart. Again. Thai take-out. (Tsunami Thai, home of the best entree ever known to woman — delicious, salty-sweet mango and salmon over rice.)

Thursday: Have no idea.

Friday: Um. Pizza Fino again.

Saturday: Tsunami Thai. Again.

People, my family and I cannot live on take-out! I have to start cooking! Please advise? It’s supposed to be 100 degrees just about every day next week, I have no air-conditioning and do not feel like heating up the kitchen, my kids refuse to eat anything that isn’t macaroni and cheese. Help? Gazpacho? Our tomatoes aren’t ready yet, but I could buy some.

Also, I am still bummed out about my Grandma and missing her so much. It hasn’t even been three months, but you know our society — “Get over it now, would you? Cuz you’re bumming me out.” Grief just kicks my ass. I am tired and need a flipping break. But the cooking cannot be avoided. Nor can the laundry. Everything else? Too bad, you’ll just have to wait.

xo

wm

ps I finally finished my 663-page textbook I’ve been working on forever. One more test + term paper = done.

pss even though I’m not at BlogHer, i did manage to grab dinner out with my girlfriend, and it was so nice. See? Left the house! Also took the kids to OMSI last week. See? Left the house! Today we launched model rockets. Fun.

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