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A New Product Round-up and Book Review, of Sorts

December 20th, 2006

Everyone has been sending me stuff, but have I been kind enough to review any of it? Noooooooooooo. Too busy bitching at Emilio Estevez.

Reviewed today:

And, just to mix things up:

Student’s Go Vegan Cookbook, by Carole Raymond. (And no, I don’t like the placement of that apostrophe, either. Talk to Carole’s publisher about it, not me.)

The God of Small Things, by the political, brilliant and irrepressible writer and speaker Arundhati Roy.

And… (mixing it up, get it?) how about the Jiffy Mixes recipe book? If you go to their website they’ll send you, one, too. If you have an Easy-Bake Oven, Jiffy Mixes work just splendidly and do not cost as much as the Easy-Bake mixes.


Repo Man, Emilio!

December 19th, 2006


May we have a word, Emilio? “Bobby”? “BOBBY”? No. No, no, no, no, no. Repo Man. And in case you’ve forgotten it, here’s a hunk of dialogue:

Otto: You eat a lot of acid Miller, back in the hippie days?

Miller: I’ll give you another instance. You know the way everybody’s into weirdness right now? Books in all the supermarkets about Bermuda triangles, UFO’s, how the Mayans invented television. That kind of thing?

Otto: I don’t read them books.

Miller: Well, the way I see it it’s exactly the same. There ain’t no difference between a flying saucer and a time machine. People get so hung up on specifics. They miss out on seeing the whole thing. Take South America for example. In South America thousands of people go missing every year. Nobody knows where they go. They just like disappear. But if you think about it for a minute, you realize something. There had to be a time when there was no people. Right?

Otto: Yeah. I guess.

Miller: Well, where did all these people come from? Hmmm? I’ll tell you where. The future. Where did all these people disappear to? Hmmm?

Otto: The past?

Miller: That’s right! And how did they get there?

Otto: How the fuck do I know?

Miller: Flying saucers. Which are really? Yeah, you got it. Time machines. I think a lot about this kind of stuff. I do my best thinking on the bus. That’s how come I don’t drive, see?

Otto: You don’t even know how to drive.

Miller: I don’t want to know how. I don’t want to learn. See? The more you drive, the less intelligent you are.

Donald Trump to Miss USA: “You’re Fired”???

December 19th, 2006

Hullo, Internet,

How’s it hanging? Yeah, it’s good here, too. Kids are still asleep (8 a.m. right now — I’m guessing Wacky Boy will wake up around 9:30-10; Wacky Girl I’ll probably see 9ish), I had a quiet breakfast with my husband, fed the pets, the dishwasher is running, I’ve had a cup of coffee and am heading for a second.

I need to work on my new manuscript over Christmas break. And at what point do I begin to call it “my old manuscript”? I think I started it mid-summer, but a mojitos fog prevents me from remembering much of last summer. (Thank God for this historical document that is my blog. If it’s on the Internet, it must be accurate, yes?)

Still not drinking? Correct, I’m still not drinking. I’m not doing it the “right” way, though. The never-touch-booze way of not drinking. The “I’ve been clean for two months/two years/two decades” thing. I know that that works for a lot of people, but I have bad impulse control. So if I’m telling myself, YOU CAN NEVER DRINK AGAIN. EVER! That would send me into panic mode and I’d break out the gin and tonics. But if I say, You can if you want, but why would you want to? Then it’s OK. That makes no sense, does it?

I went out to hear some jazz at the Blue Monk with Hockey God and some friends weekend before last, and had two Bloody Marys. (Nice club, by the way, if you’re in Portland or come for a visit. Intimate, no smoking, good bands.) The really good thing about not drinking — wow do you ever get buzzed when you do drink! But it was kind of, eh, whatever. I’m not so into the booze. So, two drinks since last August or something? Not bad. My family appreciates my new non-grouchy self. I appreciate the fact that I don’t look like a raging drunk after one glass of wine. (“High Irish Flush,” it’s called, when your cheeks get the “red apples.”) And really, the only reason I like a Bloody Mary is for the salad that comes with it. And you don’t need vodka for that. So Virgin Bloody Marys are fine by me.

I think you’ve probably already guessed that impulse control is a problem here. Maybe this was a clue.

My family has no self-control, either. Obviously. But I’m promising you, I am going to try to hammer out an outline for the new book and a few chapters over break. Since the kids enjoy sleeping in, and morning is my favorite time to write. Still trying to get an agent. Keep fingers crossed.

Now, a few little things, as long as I’m here:

1) I let Wacky Girl spend her Christmas money to order Emily, Molly’s friend, from American Girl Dolls. Yes, I spent $102 on a doll. Fwaaaaa. No, I can’t believe it either. Actually, I did not spend $102. I spent $115, with shipping. Actually, it wasn’t even my money — it was money from her Wacky Gramps, Wacky Grandma, and Wacky Uncle. Thank you all for making my daughter’s dream come true…

2) Wacky Boy’s Christmas money? He was content to spend $12.90 buying a copy of Dinosaur. (Hockey God had a credit on his Amazon account, yay.) I’ll take the rest of his money and sock it away in his college fund. When it comes time to pay for her college tuition, I’ll tell Wacky Girl to sell her dolls.

3) Christmas cookies are wicked. I am not doing anymore baking. Period.

4) Speaking of wicked, Donald Trump hasn’t fired her, yet, but things don’t look good for Tara Conner, Miss USA. She supposedly tested positive for cocaine, was “lustily kissing” Miss Teen USA, and was drinking at the bars (she’s underage). Where did I hear all this? The View, naturally. Where I get all the information that Housewives Need to Know.

Tara supposedly had her tiara on the bar next to her.

“Yeah, well how do you think she gets the free drinks?” Rosie O’Donnell quipped.

Trump, let her keep the tiara.

(Ed. to say: Just got a bulletin from People mag — my other source of news, besides the View. Is this wrong? Trump is giving her a second chance. “You! Off to rehab!” Happy holidays, Tara, ya little lush.)

Holiday Break?

December 18th, 2006

What? Two small blond children were here when I woke up. No school, for real? For the next two weeks, you say? I slept in until 8 o’clock. The schedule: Both still sleeping at nine; at 9:20 one of them got up; 10 a.m., the other one finally got up. They watched “Santa Clause Two,” had breakfast, and now they’re doing the puzzle that Wacky Girl won at Scooter’s Christmas Party at the Portland Winter Hawks game on Saturday. (Happy Birthday, Scooter!) They also won a T-shirt, tattoos, a key ring with a stuffed Carl Buddig cow attached. And their wicked parents, who rarely splurge for treats (do I need to pay $3.50 for a bottle of water? eight bucks for a hamburger? I think not), bought them french fries. Woo-hoo!

Great game.


December 17th, 2006

A joke from a friend:

Q: What do you do if you’re attacked by a troupe of circus performers?
A: Go for the juggler.

Friday Advice Column for Wacky Mothers & Others

December 15th, 2006

Dear Wacky Mommy:

What do you think it means when you pull up to drop your kids at school, and there are no other people there?


Baffled in PDX

Dear Baffled:

What it means, my friend, is you are an idiot, because school had a two-hour late opening today and you didn’t know. Loser. Yeah, that was us this morning. Funny thing is, we were on time for only the second time this week. Kinda neat, huh? Actually, really neat, because it meant that instead of heading to reading groups, we headed to Sohbet Coffeehouse. I’m having some peppermint tea, and homemade granola with honey and fresh apples. I already had a cappucino, and the kids had hot cocoa.

And… Hockey God’s with us. A rare Friday sighting of my husband. He’d planned to do a troubador kinda thing with Wacky Boy’s pre-k class — playing the guitar for the little tykes as they strolled from class to class, wearing their paper reindeer antlers and jingling bells, singing (you knew it) “Jingle Bells.” (Not the “Batman Smells” version, either.)

But no morning pre-k because of late opening. Funny thing about Portland — anytime there might be a storm, or actually is a storm, or someone remembers one time there was a storm — the town pretty much shuts down. An inch of snow? Leave work early. Lots of rain? Call in sick. Portland is slacker-happy this way.

Thus it is a gorgeous sunny morning here in North Portland, yet we have late school opening. The west side did get hit pretty hard by the winds, I heard. But the Portland School District has a kind of all for one/one for all attitude and doesn’t close schools individually.

Some of our more famous storms: Columbus Day Storm, way back in 1962 — Zoot, there’s a map on there for you; and the various ice storms of the 1970s (We “cooked” Jell-o outside on the back steps! We pulled the sled to Fred Meyer to do the shopping! Then Fred Meyer lost power and we had to leave!) There was the “Big One” in 1995; the flooding in 1996, etc.

It’s not too bad in this part of the world, despite the erratic, moody climate.

My least favorite thing about living here is when climbers get lost. When families get lost. When skiers ski off-course. There are three climbers lost on Mt. Hood right now — they’ve been missing since Sunday. So send those good thoughts out this way, please. Sometimes it’s not just sunshine and drinking hot cocoa, waiting for school to open.



Thursday Thirteen Ed. #71

December 13th, 2006

The kids gave their gifts to their teachers today — Christmas ornaments, chocolate bars, holiday cards and a poem by Wacky Girl. (Keeping everything simple and within the budget this year.) For this week’s Thursday Thirteen


1. Volunteer in class when you can.

2. Gift certificates — to restaurants, a gourmet grocery store, a bookstore, an office supply place.

3. If you have time, go into the school when you pick up your child and ask if they need help cleaning the classroom — recycle old papers, wipe down the desks, push in the chairs, sharpen the pencils, sort out work to go home with the kids.

4. Buy them a CD player for the class if they need one. Or beanbag chairs. Or bookshelves. Teachers spend way too much of their own money outfitting their classrooms and buying supplies for students.

5. Small gifts are fine — kids’ drawings, cards or letters, poems. Even a thank you note will do. An assortment of teabags, a pound or two of coffee. Homemade or storebought cookies, mints, cheese and crackers.

6. Jewelry. My daughter came home from kindergarten saying, “Some of the kids bought the teacher jewelry for Christmas!” It was from the Dollar Store, but who cares? (If you can afford better, go for it.)

7. Neck wraps — I have a lavender-scented one I love. Heat it in the microwave for two minutes and neckache is gone. Teachers (the ones I’ve known, anyway) seem to internalize most of their stress.

8. Journals, blank notecards, fancy pens.

9. A homemade meal — something easy to transport, that you can leave with them at the end of day. Maybe a casserole with a loaf of bread, a bottle of wine, and dessert. No time to cook? Costco meals are much appreciated, too. (I’m thinking of my neighbors right now — new parents, teachers, the mail carrier — everyone likes a meal that they didn’t have to fix.)

10. A gift certificate for a massage, manicure or pedicure.

11. Fruit baskets — small or large.

12. DVDs, music CDs, books, magazines. Or better yet — subscriptions to magazines.

13. Anything, really, as long as you’ve put a little thought into it.

Honestly? It’s the thought that counts. When I saw my daughter’s teacher reading her poem to himself (she drew little pictures in the margins, it’s totally sweet), then asking her, “You wrote this? Did it take you long?” I don’t know who was happier — him, her or me. My daughter’s kindergarten teacher showed me the best present she got at the end of the school year — a little Matchbox car that one of the kids gave her. (He saw the other kids had brought in gifts, and didn’t want to overlook her.) Now that is a present.

Witchi Tai To

December 13th, 2006

“Witchi Tai To gim-mie rah/
Whoa ron-nee ka/
Whoa ron-nee ka/
Hey-ney hey-ney no wah/

Water spirit feelings/
Springin’ round my head/
Makes me feel glad/
That I’m not dead”

Jim Pepper (peyote chant set to music)

Pepper’s not dead, not really. He’s here every time I listen to his music.

You guys, everyone out there in the blogger world — peace, happy New Year, and much love. I know that a lot of us get depressed and crazy this time of year. Just keep going.

And thanks for reading my blog. De-lurk, would you please? Heh heh heh.


Recipe Club: Moroccan Vegetable Stew

December 13th, 2006

Courtesy of Wendy Johnson, chef and culinary instructor; our friend Zip; and yesterday’s FOODday………

“North African spices are a great way to perk up winter vegetables. In fact, seasonings are the main event in this Moroccan Vegetable Stew, laced with chiles, saffron, ginger, cumin and cinnamon, and served over hot couscous. Eggplant and fennel are nice additions, but if you don’t have all the vegetables called for, you can make a fine stew just from carrots, potatoes and tomatoes, plus the nutty-flavored garbanzo beans (S&W brand has good flavor).

Harissa, a paste of chiles and garlic used in North African food, gives this dish an extra punch. Any leftover harissa keeps well as a spicy condiment for soups, stir fries or tofu and plain brown rice.

Serve this stew with naan, a type of Indian flatbread available at New Seasons, Trader Joe’s, Indian grocery stores, and supermarkets well-stocked with international foods. Check the bakery aisle as well as the freezer section (look for heat-and-eat versions), and bring it to the table hot from the oven.”


“You Must Remember This…”

December 13th, 2006

“A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.”

–Ingrid Bergman

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