So the Fish Said...

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear.

- Walt Whitman

Meet the Fish

I want to get a pet duck and keep it in the bathtub.
I am addicted to chap stick and altoids.
I am freakishly flexible.


World's Most Beautiful Child

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World's Most Handsome Child

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Other Important Things

Clive Owen

Clive Owen
Pretend Celebrity Boyfriend


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All I Do Is Eat

Hello! I am on large doses of steroids! Oh, no reason, I just really enjoy the side-effects. Like the anger. And the eating everything in sight. (Seriously, I had two lunches today and several snacks and finished dinner an hour ago and am giving serious thought to a bagel.) Oh, and breathing, I suppose I also enjoy the breathing, which I am currently unable to do without the large doses of steroids. Yes, it doth sucketh. But since all I can do lately is yell and eat, I figured we may as well talk about what I cooked last week, so here we go.

Vegetable Chowder - This was billed as vegetarian Manhattan clam chowder where it seems that cabbage was meant to take the place of the clams. It was nothing at all like Manhattan clam chowder, but it was good. Make a tomato-based vegetable soup, add some cabbage, tasty.

Stewed Chickpeas with Zuc-Quinoa - Ok, the title of this recipe is supposed to be a joke, but to get it you have to know that quinoa is pronounced keen-wah. I do know that, and it still took me a week to figure out that if you say "zuc-quinoa" it makes the first half of "zucchini" and then all of "quinoa." Not a very good joke, but now we are at least all in on it. So, the stewed chick peas bit was, you know, chick peas and an onion and a can of tomatoes and there was supposed to be tomato paste but I didn't have any and didn't miss it. The zuc-quinoa was sauteed onions, then the appropriate amount of veggie broth from the quinoa box, brought to a boil, then add the quinoa and cook for ten minutes, then add the zucchini and cook another ten minutes. We liked it. I had never made or eaten quinoa before, and I don't think it was Chris's favorite, but since I have most of a box left and since there are 5 grams of protein in 1/4 cup, we will be eating it more often.

Chili - Did you know that if you are making, oh say chili, and you run out of chili powder, you cannot just fill in the rest of the amount with chipotle chili powder? Well, I mean, I guess you can, but then you may end up like I did with one of the few meals I have ever cooked that was flat out inedible. We both made it through a few bites, and then just ate the bread to try to kill the burn. Lesson learned.

Mushrooms Paprikash with Dumplings - The best part of this meal was teaching the children to say "mushrooms paprikash" and then spending an hour yelling "Hey, what's for dinner?" and having them respond in unison yelling "mushrooms paprikash!" Otherwise, the dumplings were nasty, the dish was bland but edible, but not worth the after-effects. I can usually eat as much of whatever veggies or beans or really anything other than ice cream as I want with no gastro-intestinal impacts, but this seems to have been Too Many Mushrooms. My stomach felt like I had a seven month fetus in there kicking around. Since this was the same night I spent three hours in the ER, it was insult to injury and not appreciated. Don't think we will try this one again.

Budding artist

Hey, you guys wanna see a picture of me naked! Too bad, here it is!

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And before you even start, she messed up my legs and crossed them out to start over. You need not make the obvious joke. And anyway, my husband has already beaten you to it.

Considering

I am considering instituting a strict "you put it away or I throw it away" policy at my house. And applying it to my husband.

I am considering what to do when Child 2 falls in love with a toy that belongs to Child 1, leading Child 1 to insist that some toy she has ignored for two years is her Most Favorite Thing Ever.

I am considering buying a dress. A strapless dress. With airplanes on it. Please go here to tell me what to do about this one.

Cupcakes are Serious Business

From Owen's birthday party yesterday:

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Scenes from a birthday

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Owen, Two!

Sweet Owen,

Two years ago right now I was in labor. Right now you are playing stickers and telling me for the nine hundredth time the story of the jack-in-the-box ("pop weasel, round and round, open, monkey in there!"). You chose your own clothes today, in honor of your birthday and the three feet of snow that have had us trapped in the house for the past week, so you are wearing your doggy pajama shirt, your alligator pajama shirt, and your baseball pajama pants. You speak exclusively in full sentences now, my favorite is "Excuse me please, Mama." I cannot even begin to transcribe your pronunciation of "excuse me" and it makes me laugh every time.

You are very opinionated and want to share your thoughts widely and loudly. I spend all day hearing Owen likes, Owen wants, Owen loves, Owen no like, etc. You adore Barney, trains, dogs, cats, iPhones, spicy food, pop-tarts, jello, running around the house while screaming like a lunatic, throwing snowballs, making choices, and anything at all that you can do all by yourself. You can't pronounce "s" yet and instead say "tch," so ears are "eartch" and please is "pleatch" and kiss is "kitch." You call snow "snowman." You call yourself "Oh-eee" and I am trying hard not to call you that myself because I know you will hate it soon enough, but it is adorable and I can't help it.

You run (fast!), you jump (just barely, but you have mastered the two-footed lift-off and catch a centimeter or two of air), you sing (twinkle twinkle, happy birthday, the Barney clean up song, and Somewhere Over the Rainbow). You can throw a tantrum that makes everyone in the area sit back and watch in awe and terror. You love to blow your nose and brush your teeth and try to drink out of a cup.

You are all little boy, racing as fast as you can toward all the new things you can do and learn and try. Yesterday you fell asleep in my lap for an oh-so-rare afternoon nap, and I just sat there and sniffed your neck and ran my lips over your blond buzz cut and marveled at how rarely these days you sit still for anything and how just two years ago we hadn't even met you yet.

I'm so glad we met you, Monkey-O. Happy Birthday.

Love,
Mama

800 pound gorilla

I don't want to talk about the snow, or the shoveling, or how many trees we have lost, or how many of those trees were lost into my next-door neighbor's driveway or in how many places the collapsing trees took out our fence. I am over snow. I am moving to Fiji. The end.

(Ok, it was fun pulling the kids around the neighborhood on their sleds.)

Let's talk about food instead. Here's what I made this week:

Zucchini with chick peas - I talked about this one before, but mention it again because this time I made it with a can of "tomatoes with zesty chilies" that I got at Trader Joe's, and they were not kidding about the zestiness of those chilies. They were mighty zesty, which made this dish mighty spicy, which made it quite different from the first time I made it but also quite good. So if you are considering this one, try it mild and try it spicy, good both ways.

Lentil Shepherd's Pie - This is two cups cooked lentils, an onion, garlic, and a bag of frozen mixed veggies sauteed with broth and seasonings and some flour to thicken things up, dumped in a loaf pan and then topped with mashed potatoes and baked. Easy to make and very yummy, especially if you are married to a mashed potato addict like I am. Leave a space in the potatoes though or the whole thing will explode in the oven. We shall never discuss how I came to know this.

Penne Primavera - Ah the bitter irony of making something titled "primavera" with two solid feet of snow on the ground. Zucchini, yellow squash and carrots julienned (you could surely just chop them, but the julienne bit always makes me feel fancy) in a tomato paste and cream sauce (I use just milk, works fine) and then tossed over the short-ish pasta of your choice. One of Chris's favorites, and other than the fancy knife work takes no time at all to make.

Pizza - I made pizza! From scratch! Both sauce and dough! And it was delicious! Sorry, I am still proud of myself for this one. In fact, I am making it again tonight, except this time I am using the extra dough to make breadsticks instead of cinnamon rolls. Both kids love breadsticks, and I've survived the last three snow storms by shoving fistfulls of M&Ms into my mouth, so nobody needs any more cinnamon rolls around here.

Broccoli Rabe with Rice Noodles - I avoided making this until I had almost run out of other options, because after I picked it and bought all the stuff it didn't sound very good to me after all. But it was! I sauteed broccoli rabe (which I had never had before, tastes like very bitter broccoli) and green onions with soy sauce and black bean sauce and then added soaked rice noodles to the wok for about four minutes at the end. I think next time I will try it with mushrooms and maybe a milder green - Chris suggested regular broccoli, I think it would be good with spinach.

Brownies - I made my first ever batch of homemade brownies yesterday, mostly as a way to entertain the children for twenty minutes. They were a total disaster. I tried to salvage a bit out of the middle last night, but even heaped with Cool Whip they were hard to eat. The rest of the pan went down the sink this morning. Consider this a call to arms, I need a brownie recipe and I need it fast!

22 inches, give or take

The view of my deck from my kitchen window.

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Old Miss

I was nineteen the first time someone called me ma'am without irony. I was horrified. I was nineteen, nineteen! I was not a ma'am! My chagrin lasted for several years, as the ma'am-ings became more and more frequent. At some point, I ceased to notice, probably because there was no longer any way for me to deny my ma'am-ness.

And then this morning, Owen and I stopped at the paint store, and as we were leaving the clerk said "thank you, miss." Miss! I'm thirty-five, I was sporting copious matrimonial hardware on my left ring finger, and I was hauling my two-year-old along with me. I am no more a miss now than I was a ma'am at nineteen. I think the realization of my absolutely ineligibility for miss-ness is the first thing that has ever really made me feel like an adult.

What first made you feel like an adult, or are you still waiting?

Tidbits

Mia is better but a maniac from the drugs. Owen is sick and screamed his head off all day today. This is all you get from me.

Owen was accepted to preschool yesterday. He'll start in September if he is potty trained and if I don't run from the building clutching him to my bosom screaming "YOU CAN'T HAVE MY BABY" and take him home to have to myself for another year. He'll be two and a half in September, and he is so in love with school, and every morning when we drop Mia off he insists on carrying her school bag from last year so that he can pretend he is going to school too and I think he will be ready and it will be good for him but "WAAAAA MY BABY!" Expect a lot of this in the coming months.

Speaking of Owen, at bedtime tonight he spent five minutes pretending to take my head, throw it up in the air, catch it, and put it back on my body. Odd.

We had three or four inches of snow around these parts this morning, and after we had shoveled and played on the backyard playset and built a snowman taller than the children and accidentally knocked it over and built another one, Mia looked at the snow-covered sidewalks and decided it was a great day for a bike ride. Which is how I came to be pulling Owen in his Radio Flyer wagon and following Mia as she forced her training-wheeled big girl bike through the snow drifts. It seems odd runs in the family.

Last night, Mia's BFF was over for dinner, and I decided it would be fun to let the kids make their own pizzas. So I made the dough from scratch, which I had never done before and it took two tries because the first batch was not happy to see me, and I made the sauce from scratch, and I rolled out individual pizzas for each child and not one of them took more than two bites of pizza. Bitter, but what did I expect? Chris and I, however, loved the pizza and why didn't you people tell me that homemade pizza is so much better than any other pizza ever in the history of the world? And then I used the leftover dough to make cinnamon rolls. I am starting to think I have some type of mental disease.

You know what ticks me the hell off? I'll tell you. 1) People who mail out tax forms on the absolute last legally-allowable day (I'm looking at you, freelance clients, you too, mortgage company). I like to do my taxes early because I hate doing them and then they are done, and these late-mailers ruin January for me every year. 2) The way our letter carrier takes any packages that don't fit inside our mailbox and straps them to the open mailbox door with a rubber band connected to the flag, which has broken the mailbox door three times and the flag twice. Look, I wouldn't want to hike to everyone's door either, but I am tired of fixing the mailbox. 3) People who do not shovel their sidewalks. I mean, if you are unable to shovel your sidewalk, I get it, but if you can shovel your long, steep driveway then you are certainly capable of spending the extra five minutes on the sidewalk. Some of us are trying to ride bikes here.

I have a five-item to-do list for tomorrow, and four of them involve phone calls. I hate phone calls. Anybody want to make my phone calls?

Eaten

Stuff I made last week. Or rather, stuff I made last week that I don't think I've told you about before.

Vegetarian Pho - I used this recipe, and while the broth was cooking Chris said it was the best smelling thing that had ever happened in our kitchen. Which I guess I should be offended on behalf of everything else I have ever cooked, but he was right. Sadly, the taste did not quite live up to the smell. It needed a lot more salt/soy sauce, and even then it was missing something. We suspect that something was "meat." However, I froze two full meals worth of the broth, and we are planning to try it again mixed with a mushroom broth to give it a little more oomph.

Chili/Soup - I never know what to call this, it is basically a very soupy chili. Recipe is here. It tastes good, whatever it is, and I have half of it in my freezer, which always makes me happy. I made corn muffins to go with it. Both of my kids actually eat corn muffins, and there are precious few things in this world that both of my kids eat.

Rattlesnake Stew - This is supposed to be made with rattlesnake beans, but I used small white beans instead. Also onion, bell pepper, broth, carrot, celery, potato, corn, tomato paste and Tabasco. The recipe calls for poultry seasoning, but I left that out. It was good.

Falafel and Tabbouli - Ok, so I made the falafel from a mix. And I usually make the tabbouli from scratch, but when I went to the store to get the parsley and such I found tubs of fresh-made tabbouli for $1.99, which is much less than I would spend to make it, so I bought it. I also bought the pita bread and hummus. Whatever. If I were perfect, you would hate me.

Lasagna - Made in the crock pot, adapted from this recipe. Not actually any easier than making a regular lasagna, but handy for the days when you get home from swim lessons at 6:00 and need to have dinner ready to put on the table the second you walk through the door. Also, I have half of it in my freezer. My favorite thing about cooking is the way it paves the way for future laziness.

Cilantro rice and beans - I have this cookbook that I have used constantly for years, and lately I am going through it and trying to make things I have avoided before because they didn't sound good. So far, everything but one has turned out to be good. This was one of those things. It was delicious, and it takes ten minutes to make. All you need is cilantro pesto (just like the basil kind - throw a bunch of cilantro and two cloves garlic in the food processor and chop, then add oil and salt until it is the way you like it), some leftover rice, and a can of black beans. Mix them all together in a bowl, microwave for a couple of minutes, eat until you want to pop.

Weekend

On Friday morning, I took Mia to the pediatrician for a follow-up on a minor issue she has and, since she had started in with a touch of a runny nose and a mild cough on Thursday and since my poor three-month-old niece had been diagnosed with RSV on Thursday, I had the (non-hotty, although I am sure she is quite attractive, if you go that way) pediatrician take a listen to her lungs. She was fine, no problem at all, in perfectly great shape. Which is why I was more than a little surprised to be rushing her to the emergency room less than seven hours later.

Her oxygen levels were low and not responding to the usual treatments, her chest x-ray was questionable, and the ER doc told me we were possibly looking at another bout with pneumonia. Mia scored herself another hospital slumber party on Friday night, complete with full-time oxygen and regular visits from the respiratory therapist, but come morning she was considerably improved and we would have been out of there with the sunrise had we not had to wait until afternoon for the pediatrician to come spring us.

Mia is doing great, aside from the side-effects of her continuing medications. If you've never seen a four-year-old in full 'roid-rage, you are missing out. She was brave and calm and cooperative the entire time at the hospital, mostly because she was proud of herself for thinking to pack extra socks.

Mia giggled for twenty minutes last night when I told her that she was my hero, but it is the absolute truth.