Friday, January 30, 2009
I've been tagged several times on Facebook this week for a "25 Random Things About Me" meme. Since I spent a lot of time thinking about it and writing it yesterday, I thought I'd share it with you. I'm not going to tag anyone. You can play if you want or not.
1-7. I borrowed from a previous blog post.
8. I love music... listening to it and playing it. I play clarinet and djembe drums. I tried to play keyboard with very limited success because I have a hard time making my hands work independently. Lessons would probably help. I got a vintage German concertina for Christmas which I hope to learn to play. I'm interest in trying a didgeridoo sometime.
9. I have a fear of falling since I fell off the gym rings in 6 grade onto my back. My whole body tingled for a few seconds. I'm not afraid of heights; I can be at the top of a tall building comfortably as long as I feel firmly planted, but a step ladder can terrify me if it feels precarious.
10. I never wanted children until I was 34, which coincided with my marriage to Sweetie. I didn't think I'd be a good mother... that I'd be patient enough. Now, Pipsqueak is the best thing in my life. I can't imagine life without her. I loved infancy, toddlerhood and I love her present age. She's just plain fun to be around.
11. I love to cook, but I don't like planning what to make. If someone would just hand me a recipe and all the ingredients, I would be really happy. My cooking has evolved from standard meat and potatoes to actual cuisines: French, Mexican, Asian, and my new love, Moroccan.
12. I'm am so glad I live in a place where nature resides. I just came inside from putting food for the deer under the apple tree. I love seeing deer, wild turkey, beaver, hawks, owls, blue heron and the occasional moose or bear. I love to watch Pipsqueak catch frogs, salamanders and newts. I love hearing the coyotes and owls at night.
13. I wear a nightguard at when I sleep because I clench my teeth.
14. I smoked cigarettes for about a year when I was in my early 20s. It was an accompaniment to drinking. (My mother never knew, so if you see her, don't tell her.) I decided one New Year's Eve that I wasn't going to smoke anymore because it was too expensive and not healthy. I never had another one. But I would smoke the occasional cigar until...
15. The night before Sweetie's cousin's wedding, we were smoking Cuban cigars. I smoked too much, and I felt rotten the whole next day. Food tasted horrible. That was my last cigar, and it was 7 years ago.
16. I still remember my first French kiss. We were at his house with a couple other kids playing spin the bottle by his swimming pool. He was a very good kisser for a 13 year old. His mother had just been raspberry picking, and we'd eaten quite a few. I can't eat raspberries to this day without remembering that moment.
17. I started writing a novel a couple of years ago. It's a suspense in the style of James Patterson. I did the outline for the whole thing and wrote of few chapters including a really steamy sex scene, but I've put it away for now until inspiration strikes again. It's a pretty daunting task.
18. I love thrift store shopping. It's relaxing and invigorating all at the same time. I buy most of my clothes at thrift stores now. I get really good brand name stuff for next to nothing, like Gap jeans for $3.00, an LL Bean fleece for $2.50, and a Coldwater Creek dress for $0.10.
19. I used to drive around with my SLR camera taking photos on the weekends. The other day, I was thinking that I miss doing that. I took a few years off from taking photos at all and left it to Sweetie. I got a digital camera about a year ago, but I use it for my blog and selling stuff on ebay. I need to make the time for photography just for the fun of it again.
20. I've eaten of few strange things: alligator, pigeon, frog (they all taste like chicken), and sea urchin (skip it; it's nasty). I'll try anything once unless it smells bad, or it's still moving.
21. I never drank coffee until I was about 30 years old. My former boss got me into it. He drank Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, and would try different flavors. It always smelled so good. I tried iced coffee first. It was all down hill from there. Now I drink a 1/3 caff cappuccino every morning made with our vintage La Pavoni machine, but it's still made with GMCR coffee.
22. The things that bring me the most joy: the sound of Pipsqueak's laughter or her saying, "I love you, Mommy," the feeling of her arms around my neck and the sight of her snuggled in her bed asleep.
23. Things that peeve me: people that think it's ok to wear "dress" jeans to a wedding, people that plunk their cell phone down on the restaurant table next to the plate like it's a piece of silverware and leave it there throughout the meal, and people that don't heed the turn off your cell phone and no flash photography requests at events.
24. I am never completely satisfied with anything I do. I always evaluate and over-analyze it, looking for ways I could have done it better. (I've come up with other/better ideas for some of the 25 things since I posted this on Facebook yesterday. I'm hopeless.)
25. I was surprised at how difficult it was to come up with 25 things that I was willing to share with everyone. Maybe I'm not the open book I thought I was.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Our dining chairs are family heirlooms over 100 years old. I love them for their soul and their profile... they're comfortable and not too big and clunky. However, (here comes the bugging part) the fabric seats are filthy. That's the worst one, but none of the eight are great. I tried a couple of home upholstery cleaners that barely made a difference. When we had our carpets cleaned a few months ago, I had them try to clean one, but the suction pulled up the candlewicking. Monday, I decided to remove the fabric from one and try washing it in the washing machine. I could see from the tack holes in the wood frame, that the fabric had been replaced a few times. While I'm fixing them, I'm going to tighten the support straps and check the padding, too. Some of the seats feel a bit saggy.
After washing, it got cleaner, but not as clean as I'd hoped. It was a lot of work removing all those tacks, so I decided it was time to find replacement fabric. I picked up some samples at Joann Fabrics yesterday, and held a secret ballot family vote. Each of us got to pick two favorites. And the winner was....
Both Sweetie and Pipsqueak had chosen it. I did not, but since I picked all the choices, I guess I can be happy with any of them. They chose it because it was the most similar to what we have. I, on the other hand, am trying to conquer my fear of color in decorating, but there are plenty of other areas where I can use color, like that ugly yellow kitchen floor that I can't wait to replace.
I'll post a photo of the finished product in the future.
Monday, January 26, 2009
I love to cook, but I also love to talk, so I didn't want to spend cocktail time chained to the stove. I also find it hard to cook well after I've had a cocktail. I made a delicious roast chicken called Poulet Provencale (recipe below), with roasted fingerling potatoes, and pomegranate and citrus broccoli salad. The chicken was in the oven an hour before they arrived, the potatoes went in the oven just as they pulled in the driveway and the salad was prepared and chilling in the fridge. The table was all set and I used my thrifted table runner from Zimbabwe that has all sorts of colors in it so I can mismatch the table cloth, place mats and napkins and have it still look pretty. I even loosened the reins and allowed our guests to bring something other than wine. They contributed dessert, which was all the fixings for banana splits.
I got to visit with our friends, drink a yummy Cosmopolitan (or two) without fear of burning something or slicing off a finger, dinner appeared effortless (and it practically was), and since I was making old favorites there were no glitches or unpleasant surprises. It was a great evening. I can't take all the credit; Sweetie helped with the preparations, and inspiration came from Sandy at 4 Reluctant Entertainers.
And now for the recipe (I made two chickens for 6 people and had enough leftovers for chicken burritos for 3 the next night)....
- 1 pound tomatoes (3 to 4 medium), cut into wedges
- 1 large onion, cut into wedges, leaving root ends intact
- 1/2 cup drained kalamata olives, pitted
- 4 large garlic cloves, sliced, plus 1 teaspoon minced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons herbes de Provence, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 whole roasting chicken (about 5 1/2-6 pounds)
Preheat convection oven to 400°F for regular oven to 425°F with rack in middle.
Toss together tomatoes, onion, olives, sliced garlic, 2 tablespoons oil, 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence, fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a 13- by 9-inch or other 3-quart shallow baking dish. Push vegetables to sides of dish to make room for chicken.
Stir together minced garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, remaining teaspoon herbes de Provence, and remaining tablespoon olive oil. Remove excess fat from chicken and pat dry, then rub inside and out with seasoning mixture. Tie legs together with string, then put chicken in baking dish.
Roast until an instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of a thigh (do not touch bone) registers 170°F, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Let chicken stand 10 minutes before carving. Serve with vegetables and pan juices.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Here’s what you/I have to do:
1) Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late, and you can't go digging through the bowels of your closet for the cutest bag you have. So what if it's ugly; we'll love you anyway. It should be the bag you carried today or the last time you left the house.
2) Tell us how much it cost. Go ahead, and slay us with your frugality and your ability to grab a good deal. Or if you decided to pony up a lot of money, good for you, girl... you deserve it. And if there is a story to go along with how you obtained it, I’d love to hear it.
(3) Tag some of your people. And link back to me, so everyone knows why we're having this little show and tell.
So without further ado, here is my bag...
I got it for about $10 from Old Navy a few years ago. Since it's fleece, it's a winter-only bag. It's super roomy so I can toss in a small book or my mail. I get so many comments on it, and it makes me feel hip even though I'm somebody's mother. It's really hard to be hip when it's below zero, and I'm dressed so I resemble the Michelin Man.
Since Mama Bee shared her contents, I thought I would mine (a little show me yours, I'll show you mine).
- my newly organized wallet
- a pen
- my cellphone
- some feminine products ('cause you never know)
- a miniature deck of playing cards (in case Pipsqueak exceeds her patience level while we're waiting for something)
- an emery board
- dental floss
- pumpkin spice scented hand lotion
- and my matching zebra print gloves.
I'm glad I didn't get this meme a couple of weeks ago before I cleaned out my bag. There was probably six months of receipts, three or four old grocery lists, a salon's worth of hair accessories, postage stamps, and who knows what else.
And now for the tagging...
Thursday, January 22, 2009
And once you've taken care of the inside of his tummy, he likes attention to the outside with a good scratch.
I'm not sure why he decided to put his butt on the pillow, but he looks like it feels good.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
For many, Barack Obama was not the choice, but today, we are not Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives; we are Americans who come together to support a man with a job in before him... a job that most of us would never want to have. He takes office at low point in our history, and he is faced with so much... a tanking economy, war, terrorism and a monstrous deficit. Just tackling one of those would bring most us to our knees. Can he turn this around? I'm certain that it will take considerable time and it won't come without trial and error. He is human, after all, and not a God. Tomorrow the ceremonies and balls will be over. He will step in the oval office for the first day of work and be handed the daily defense reports. Our safety will be in his hands. He seems like a friendly man, approachable and even magnetic. Peace seems very important to him, and he puts forth an outer calm that makes us believe it's possible. In his inauguration speech, he said that everyone would be met with an open hand, if they would unclench their fist. He sets an example for us as a peacekeeper, a father, a husband and a leader.
Today is a moment in history. The children of the future will learn that this was the day of the first black American president. Today is the day that Martin Luther King's dream came true. It's not so long ago that black people were fighting for the right to vote. For the first time in their lives, black children can believe that they can be anything they want to be, even the President of the United States. Every child should have that kind of hope.
And now, I'll get down from my political soapbox to which I will probably not return for many years. I do not typically have strong political convictions, but whether it is the state of the nation or excitement of President Obama's campaign, something in me woke up and I cared what happened. I think that happened to a lot of people.
Friday, January 16, 2009
- 2 oz. Absolut Mandarin
- 1 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1 oz. triple sec
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I do have a question, and maybe all you seasoned bloggers out there could enlighten me because I want to do right by all the wonderful people who read and comment. If someone comments on your blog, should you:
a) respond to them in the your comments section?
b) respond to them personally if you have access to their email?
c) read their blog and periodically comment when you have something to say?
I've been doing c, but I'm hoping my commenters aren't feeling slighted or unappreciated.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
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And thanks to Allison over at A Day Late and A Dollar Short, I have this great offer for you TODAY ONLY. You can get a full sized bottle of a Sauve body or hair product. Go to Sauve.com and click on the Suavenomics button at the top of the page.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
That expression came from my late father-in-law. When Sweetie was a kid and wanted to go to the sledding hill, his father loaded the kids in the car and gave them a choice... did they want him to drop them off at the top of the hill or the bottom... Did they want to do the worst part first, which would be climbing the hill. He would, of course, pick them up in the same spot they were dropped off, because it would have been too easy for them if he dropped them off at the top and picked them up at the bottom.
I did something similar as a kid. When I was served a plate a food, and there was something on it that I really liked, I would eat that last. Doing the worst part first is a a good rule to live by, and we're teaching it Pipsqueak. She does it more times than not now. Hopefully, it will prevent her from procrastinating when it comes to unpleasant tasks.
Do you do the worst part first?
Monday, January 12, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Pipsqueak got a Smithsonian crystal growing kit as a gift, and being all about "shiny" and "sparkly", this was pretty exciting for her. She said, "Look at all the crystals we can grow! We're going to be rich!" I decided not to burst her happy bubble, and tell her they were worthless.
Sweetie supervised the process and read the instructions aloud, so she would understand what we had to do and what would happen. A week or ten days later, it was time to see what had grown. Pipsqueak was squinting and turning her head and acting like she was afraid of it. When questioned, she said, "I can't look at it!"
"Why?" we asked.
"Because the instructions said, 'No eye contact,'" she stated.
Once we got done giggling, we explained that it was really to "avoid contact with eyes."
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Using a vegetable peeler, shave the zest from the orange in long, wide strips. If necessary, remove any large patches of bitter white pith from the zest strips with a paring knife. Juice the orange into a small bowl and mix with the soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Lucky for me, the answer to my post just fell in my lap. I was reading Becky’s blog where she was having trouble with trolls. (I’d never heard of trolls, but now that I have, I’m sure I don’t want them.) Mama Bee’s comment caught my interest, and while perusing her entertaining blog, I found these 100 statements. The ones in bold are the ones I have done.
1. Started your own blog (only 99 posts ago)
2. Slept under the stars (I was in a lean-to, but it was 3 sided so I could see the stars.)
3. Played in a band (high school band and now community band… not too rockin’, huh?)
4. Visited Hawaii (my honeymoon)
5. Watched a meteor shower (we laid on the lawn under blankets in the wee hours)
6. Given more than you can afford to charity. (That would be really hard for me. It goes against my mindset to do anything I can’t afford.)
7. Been to Disneyland (It was Disneyworld, actually x 2.)
8. Climbed a mountain. (Not big, scary mountains, but I’ve done modest mountains that take nearly the whole day round-trip.)
9. Held a praying mantis (Looked at one up close, but I didn’t hold it.)
10. Sang a solo. (Not when anyone was listening.)
11. Spent the night in a hospital (only when Pipsqueak was born)
12. Visited Paris. (Been to France, but we stuck to the country.)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea. (We were safely moored in a harbor, but we watched it from the sailboat… horizontal lightening… it was fierce.)
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch (Lots… painting, jewelry making, knitting; I’m always experimenting with art.)
15. Adopted a child (Lots of animals, but no children.)
16. Had food poisoning (I’ll skip the details.)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty (Just floated by in a boat.)
18. Grown your own vegetables (every year that the weeds don’t win.)
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept in an overnight train (I was so uncomfortable; if you ever do this, book a sleeper car)
21. Had a pillow fight (when I was a teenager)
22. Hitchhiked (Are you kidding me? With rapists and kidnappers out there? No way!)
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (If any of my former bosses are reading this, it was NOT while I was working for YOU.)
24. Built a snow fort (we built an awesome one last year
25. Held a lamb (I hugged one, so I think that’s close enough.)
26. Gone skinny dipping (but never in daylight)
27. Run a marathon (Nope… only felt like I have.)
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice (It’s on my short list of places to go.)
29. Seen a total eclipse (solar). (possibly twice, but one may have been a partial)
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset (saw a lot of sunrises when I was pregnant and later as the mother of an infant)
31. Hit a home run (I’m lucky to hit the ball. An athlete, I am not.)
32. Been on a cruise. (I’d rather just pick an island, stay there and explore.)
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person (I was underwhelmed. I thought it would be bigger.)
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (As long as I don’t go back more than 100 years.)
35. Seen an Amish community (but I was in high school and didn’t appreciate it enough… I need to go again.
36. Taught yourself a new language (I make sure I learn restaurant language for any country I visit. I don’t want to go hungry.)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person (We took the photos pretending to push it over instead of hold it up. We're that kind of people.)
39. Gone rock climbing (This is not going to happen. I have a fear of falling.)
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight (on my first vacation with Sweetie)
46. Been transported in an ambulance (and I hope I never will)
47. Had your portrait painted (it was just a caricature)
48. Gone deep sea fishing (not often enough… it is so fun)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (see answer to #12)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (just snorkeling in KeyWest, the Bahamas, Hawaii and St. John)
52. Kissed in the rain (The first time Sweetie kissed me it was raining.)
53. Played in the mud (every spring in the garden)
54. Eaten in a restaurant alone (it's a great opportunity for people watching and eavesdropping... just pretend you're reading a book)
55. Been in a movie (I assume this doesn’t mean “home” movie.)
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (I was an Avon lady once. I’m working on starting a business now.)
58. Taken a martial arts class (not coordinated enough… read: klutz)
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies (bought Girl Scout Cookies?)
62. Gone whale watching (Twice, and it was amazing.)
63. Got flowers for no reason (from my Pipsqueak… she always picks wildflowers for me.)
64. Had your heart broken (only a few times)
65. Broken someone's heart (I'd rather have mine broken)
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (Luckily, I was working at the bank at the time, so they didn’t charge me.)
68. Flown in a helicopter (three times)
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (too many, probably)
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial (in high school… again, under-appreciated)
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt. (One time and I realized it wasn’t the craft for me.)
73. Stood in Times Square. (The first time, I was bugged-eyed with amazement.)
74. Toured the Everglades (saw a few alligators, but the whole thing had a commercial feel that I didn’t like)
75. Been fired from a job (laid off, but never fired)
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London (I’ve been outside the palace two or three times, but not for the changing of the guards. There’s such a crowd, I’m not sure we’d SEE it even if we were there at the right time.)
77. Broken a bone (Just a toe, two times.)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (two out of four car purchases, but I probably will buy used for the rest of my life)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (lots of times, but luckily not in the obituary or crime sections)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House (see answer to #70)
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (I’m going out on a limb here, but the lobster was alive before I dropped it in a pot of boiling water)
88. Had chicken pox (I wish I could forget about this; I had a really bad case)
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury (Oh, I really want to. How come the people that really want to never get called?)
91. Met someone famous (I sold a newspaper and a Garfield coloring book to Neil Diamond.)
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one (I wish this one wasn’t highlighted.)
94. Had a baby (it was the happiest day of my life)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit (I’ve been involved in more lawsuits than I can count; I was a paralegal for 11 years.)
98. Owned a cell phone (who doesn’t?)
99. Been stung by a bee (more times than I can count.)
100. Read an entire book in one day (I do this a lot. I find many books hard to put down.)
I’ve done 59 out of 100, but there are only 16 more that I would really like to do. Feel free to steal this one for yourself.
Friday, January 2, 2009
- I will gain weight.
- I will be sedentary.
- I will spend more money.
- I will attempt to make the house messier.
- I will not try anything new.
- I will not make any effort when it comes to my appearance.
What would your anti-resolutions be?