Friday, September 30, 2011

Hello, Boston!

Hooray! Andy and I are spending the weekend in fancy-pants Boston!

(We have a house-sitter, so please don't get any funny ideas. Not like we have anything worth stealing, but, like, don't try to break into my house and scare the sitter or anything.)

My best friend lives there, and I've tried to visit every year. This is the first time Andy has gone with me, so I'm excited to go visit (and it was one of my goals, so that doesn't hurt!). I've always loved Boston, and even wanted to go to grad school there slash move there forever, so it will be cool to pretend for a few days that that dream worked out, right?

Posting will be light (read: probably nonexistent) while we're gone, so you'll have to comfort yourself by reading me entire archives or something. You should. I do it once in a while, because I have a terrible memory and I often am like, "Oh, right! I did write that!"

Do you love Boston too? What is your favorite, shouldn't-miss thing for me to check out while I'm there?

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I'm spending my evening making grape jelly. Again.

From grapes. Grapes that look like this.
 When my parents moved a few years ago, they bought a house that has a pear tree, a fig stand (I'm going with stand because I don't know what it's really called; it's not a tree though), and four grape arbors. The people who had lived in the house made their own wine, and had a whole room set up for it in the basement, with a stomping tub (it was one of those blue kiddy wading pools, no joke), strainers, big five-gallon carboys to ferment the juice, and even a corking machine. It was quite the set-up.

My parents are not interested in learning to make their own wine. (They are also not interested in raising chickens, even though part of the shed on their property was converted to a chicken coop and even though I offered to buy the chickens and take any extra eggs off their hands. Selfish.) They have a friend who makes wine, so every year he has come over to collect a bunch of bushels of grapes, which he returns several months later as bottles of wine. This is as invested in the wine-making process as my folks want to get. The grapes they grow are not ideal for snacking - the nearest guess lately is that they're Catawba grapes - so we decided to make jelly out of some of them!

Yesterday I went over and we picked a laundry basket full of grapes. It had rained all afternoon, so we took advantage of a dry few minutes to get as much picked as we could. Unfortunately, most of the grapes grew above my head and the vines and leaves were still full of water from the rain, so I was thoroughly damp even BEFORE it started to rain again. Which it did. A lot. But we were over half done, so we just kept going and finished picking clean the entire arbor.

Once the grapes were picked, we had to rinse and de-stem them. This took approximately forever and resulted in very pruny fingers and gunk under every single one of my fingernails. Then we took the de-stemmed grapes and smashed them with a potato masher. We smashed them in colanders set into big bowls, and every once in a while we'd empty the bowl into a container with the rest of the juice. With enthusiastic smashing, we got two full gallons of juice. We also dumped the smashed skins and innards into cheesecloth and hung the cheesecloth over the bowls, to rest overnight, so we'll get some extra juice that way.

Today, we'll start cooking the juice with pectin and sugar until it starts to set. Then we'll funnel it into jars and can them in boiling water. Apparently if you try to make a giant batch of jelly it can refuse to set properly, so we'll be making a bunch of smaller batches instead. We expect to get somewhere between one and two dozen pints of jelly made tonight. (And we only cleared one arbor, so we could do this a few more times. None of us are particularly keen on grape jelly, but we don't know what the hell else to do with these grapes.)

This was a really long post about making grape jelly. Sorry about that. More exciting stuff next time.

Hey! I have an exciting idea! If you want a jar of grape jelly, leave a comment. I'll pick one at random and one of you lucky four readers is getting a jar. (Nikki, you're getting some for Christmas anyway, so you can comment but you're disqualified from the winning.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Fostering: we're getting closer!

Last night was the last of our ten foster classes! Hooray!

We have already had two home visits and have our final one scheduled for about two weeks from now, which will give us time to do all the little last-minute stuff, like put a smoke detector downstairs and return a borrowed kerosene heater to my parents (we can't have it in the house). And before we left class last night, Andy took a minute to explain to our caseworker exactly what our fireplace is and asked if we really needed a certificate of non-use (since we still don't know what that is) if it isn't actually any more capable of burning things than a candle is. She said we don't, so I'm really relieved that I don't have to have the fire department come inspect what is essentially a wooden box.

Our worker told us that we're the only ones in her group of our class (so about ten people) who have all of our stuff in order. She was still waiting on the results of our physicals, so I called the doctor's office today to get the forms faxed, since I don't trust that they would actually mail them right away. So after our home inspection, she should have everything she needs to complete her part of our homestudy, which will then go to her supervisor for review and final approval, and then we'll be certified!

She also told us last night that she had a group of people who were certified in April and May but that none of them have had a placement yet, so that is a little bit of a relief. We throw a seriously awesome Halloween party every year but were a little scared to schedule it this year, because in our very first information session, the foster dude told us how he'd gotten a placement on his very first day of being certified. I guess it's nice to know we're more likely to have some breathing room.

It's pretty cool to be almost done with the certification process, though.

What questions do you dudes have? Anything you want to know about the process that I haven't said?

Monday, September 26, 2011


Inspired by this awesome post by Lady Smaggle (which reminded me of that scene with the scar description from the 1995 Olsen Twin classic It Takes Two, I'm not ashamed), here's an inventory of my scars, starting from the bottom and working up:
  • I have a small white scar on my right ankle that I assume is from nicking myself shaving. I don't heal quickly, so small scrapes sometimes leave permanent scars. I can never tell if a scratch will stay on me forever.
  • A shiny, almost-gone-now patch on my right knee from a biking incident when I was 16. I was riding my bike home from karate class with my brother (not kidding) when a guy started backing out of his driveway and almost hit me. I wiped out and shredded my knee pretty nicely. The guy stopped his (red sporty) car, rolled down his window, and asked if I was okay. My "Yeah, totally cool, I don't mind the blood dripping into my sock!" somehow must have sounded sincere instead of the sarcastic I meant, so he drove away, leaving me to bike another mile home with gravel in my knee. That was cool.
  • I have a scar on the bottom of my belly button from a piercing that grew out. I got said belly button pierced when I was 16 (the legal age for piercings in New York) with a dude-friend, who got his done too, and who is now covered in tattoos and further piercings. When I switched from the barbell it was pierced with to a CBR, for some reason it started to scar nicely and eventually grew out. Oh, and my mom discovered the piercing at a family party shortly before it grew out, causing a nice two-week grounding right before the scarring. Nice.
  • A small thin jagged-looking scar on my right index finger from scraping it on the gas-tank door on my old car when filling up my car in February a few years ago. No idea why that scratch left a scar.
  • A puffy, inch-long scar on my right bicep from a freak accident in college. I was visiting friends in Pittsburgh and we were walking to get lunch. We were walking through a vacant lot and a friend was slashing at them with a pocket knife, for some reason. Said knife was new and very sharp but had no grip, and went flying out of my friend's hand and flew threw the air, past three other people, and sliced my arm open. I probably should have gotten a few stitches, but instead we got pizza. It healed sort of open and was red, then pink, and is now the color of the surrounding skin, which is to say very pale. I considered having it treated before my wedding, but decided against it because I like the scar more than I like smearing chemicals on my skin.
  • A very thin white scar just above the left corner of my mouth from when I was a kid. It was Halloween, and I was going trick-or-treating as an old woman. I tripped on my very long dress and went face-first into a bookcase, and cut just above my lip. I had to go trick-or-treating with a bandage on my face, which totally ruined the look. Halloween is right before my birthday, though, so my parents let me open a birthday present early. I swear to you I am not making this up: it was two Troll dolls and a fanny pack with special elastic to hold them. I happily wore the fanny pack (but was pissed about the Band-Aid?), and managed to drop one of the Troll dolls in the dark and remember going back out with my dad and a flashlight to search for it. 
  • Both of my ears have scar tissue from third piercings that I let close up. I was planning to move my orbital piercings that I wore through my bottom two holes up a notch, but I took them out when I was student teaching and never put them back in.
 What about you? What's your best scar story?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Awesome Saturday!

So far today:
- Slept in later than I have in three weeks. (I still only made it till nine, which is what happens when you have to get up early every single morning for three weeks.)
- Made pumpkin pancakes and bacon for breakfast.
- Cleaned the kitchen. (This is a good thing, as the kitchen was a mess and now it isn't and that makes me happy.)
- Returned beer bottles (in New York, you pay a 5¢ deposit on beer and soda containers) and did our big quarterly Sam's Club grocery shopping.
- Did the teeniest bit of gardening.
- Discovered that Pancakes can jump our fence when we discovered her two backyards over.
- Made applesauce with our lovely CSA apples. I ended up canning three more pints, with about 3/4 of another in the fridge.
- Had friends drop by and had an impromptu dinner party! They brought over a package of shrimp, so we wrapped some of them in bacon and made the rest into shrimp scampi. It was delicious.

It has been so great to not have anything we NEEDED to get done. We've gotten a lot done anyway, but it still feels restful. In a little while, we're going to use some free movie passes to go see Killer Elite (Jason Statham, Clive Owen, and Robert DeNiro? Yes, please!). 

What awesome things have you gotten up to on this delightful Saturday?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Today in irritating vs. awesome

Irritating: I went to bed really late (got home after midnight), turned off my alarm in my sleep, and woke up ten minutes before I was supposed to leave for work.
Awesome: We were out so late to go to a really awesome concert for free at the same venue where we got married.
Irritating: My coworkers are bizarre human beings who don't understand that some conversations might be better had in a conference room or anywhere other than loudly at the cubicle near mine.
Awesome: Um, I'm now up-to-date on my coworker's daughter's cold?
Irritating: I went back to the doctor's to get my TB test checked, and discovered that the stupid nurse practitioner (who I really didn't like - among other things, she totally pooh-poohed the two issues I wanted to discuss, and she asked me which side the infertility was on, as she assumed foster care = infertile, which fills me with a blinding rage, as she is a fucking medical professional) had put on my form that I was taking an anti-dizziness medication I was prescribed TWO YEARS AGO with NO REFILLS when I was going off a different medication. Even though she asked me at my appointment if I was still taking it, and I pointed out that there hadn't been any refills TWO YEARS AGO, so no, I had been off of it for, oh, about two years.
Awesome: Not so much awesome as just more work, but that is the kick I needed to find a GP closer to where I live now.
Irritating: As a result of not getting enough sleep, my almost-cold is rearing its head and I have a sinus headache.
Awesome: I'm fighting it by watching my first-ever episode of Toddlers and Tiaras and knitting, then we're going to dinner with my sister-in-law, her sister, and her sister's husband!

Have you ever had to break up with a doctor's office? Have you ever seen this trainwreck of a show?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Delightful text conversation

So I have a friend who is running in this and I have a brother who was in the Navy and I have a brother-in-law who's in the Air Force. I figured I could combine all these things and have my brother-type-people set her up some sort of training affair, which led to this text exchange:

Me: Hi, Assface!* I have a friend who’s training for a 5k/obstacle course that involves zombies, and I suggested that you could maybe make her a practice boot-camp style course in her yard. Thoughts?
Brother: I don’t know what that means.
Me: You are into fitness, and therefore I want you to set up an obstacle course that mimics boot camp for a friend who is training for a crazy event that involves running 5k, obstacles, and zombies. I don’t know how much more clear I can be.
Brother: a) What? 2) are you under the assumption that boot camp is a giant jungle gym? D) give me more information on zombie 5k and kinds of obstacles.**
Me: A. You're kind of slow today. Must be The Texas*** getting to you. 2. Yes. That's how it looks in "In the Army Now."**** D., look at the gallery. I'm trying to talk our sister into doing the Maryland one.

*My siblings and I pretty much called each other Assface for three years straight. My mom, obviously, disapproves, which is why we now mostly just call each other "Face" in her presence. It's shorthand.
**The a/2/d setup is from Home Alone, and therefore my brother gets extra points.
***He's on a business trip. Don't murder him, because then who will build the obstacle course?
****1. I know it should be in italics, but I don't think my phone knows how to do that. 2. Pauly Shore's third best movie?*****
*****Son-in-Law and Encino Man, duh.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Today is weird.

A list.
  • I had celebrated the return of cooler weather by neglecting to shave my legs for approximately three weeks. Decided to wear a skirt today. Used Andy's beard and mustache trimmer to attack these babies, only to discover halfway through leg one that he had apparently shaved this morning and the thing had almost no charge. Used it anyway, just in slow-motion.
  • Had to attend a harassment seminar at work (company-wide thing). Turns out harassment is shitty behavior motivated by a bias against a particular legally protected status: so your boss can be a total dick, but as long as he's a dick to everyone, it's not harassment, typically. 
  • A coworker who had been out on medical leave for three months came back to work today. She sits a few desks away from me, so I got to hear EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION she had with EVERYONE IN THE BUILDING who wanted to welcome her back.
  • I had to drive half an hour to get a shot. Little-known fact: I hate getting shots. (I hate having blood taken even more.) I had to get a TB test as part of my physical to become a foster parent, but I forgot the paperwork they needed to fill out which reminded me about the TB test, so I neglected to get one on Thursday with the rest of my physical. SO. You have to have the test "read," so I drove half an hour each way on Thursday, then today, then I'll do it again on Friday. Cool.
  • I have Pints and Purls tonight at 7, and I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to try to eat something here before I leave the house in an hour or if I should just order food there.
  • I don't know which knitting to bring yet. If Andy's coming with me, I'll work on the sweater my mom requested for Christmas, but if Andy stays home, I'll work on the fancy scarf I'm making him.
  • I am still fighting the beginnings of a cold, so I want to go to bed early. Going to a pub to knit and hang out with my friends means it's unlikely this will happen.
Reassure me that I'm not the only sissy chicken baby who hates shots! You can see the goo going into your SKIN! 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Baby names

Here we go!

- Cai LaNoi
- Londyn Ny'Drea
- Tessura'e
- Rockie Marie
- Jha'Khi Z'ymire Westly (I could maybe understand Zy'mire. Maybe.)
- Summer Mae Kommer (I rarely print last names, but this is crazy)
- Santana Blade'z
- Graesen (Of all the ways to spell that name, this one is the worst)
- Skylee
- Paetyn (see comment for Graesen)
- Tim'mel
- Addilyn (It just makes me think "addled".)
- Twins named Hudson Dean and Leif Magnus. What?
- Adonis (I just like picturing a really geeky, insecure band kid named Adonis.)
- Twins named Stephan and Stephanie
- Brownlie Avrah
- Jae'ana Ajanae (Her entire name is three letters and an apostrophe.)
- Aryan (How do you not know - or care - about this one's connotation?)
- Sephora
- Samon (I really hope they mean Simone and not Salmon)
- Zayne Eryck

It is going to be so, so hard not to share the name of the kid we end up with. We're either going to get a kid with a name like Zayne Eryck up there, or a kid with a name I just plain am not interested in. I've never really considered any of the names on a top-50 list for any child I get to name, so you know I'm going to end up with a Bella and a Jayden. Ugh.

I'm a judgmental jerk, by the way.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Three ways in which I am awkward

1. Any time I get new glasses, I feel sort of like I'm wearing a costume for the first few weeks. Like, I got these glasses a few months ago and I'm still a little weird about wearing them with big earrings - which, since I have really short hair, are sort of my go-to accessory. I am getting a haircut tonight and am planning to wear my contacts so I can see what the hell is going on, but also so I don't have to talk to anyone there about my new glasses, because they haven't seen them and my old boss there is kind of a bitch, so she'd flat-out tell me if she thought they looked stupid or too hipster-y (I mean, they sort of are) and I just don't want to have to deal with that.

2. Also haircut-related: I used to dye my hair. A lot. And I had a mohawk as recently as a few months ago. But right now it's seriously such a boring, plain-jane cut, in my natural color, that I feel like a soccer mom a little bit. But I'm scared to do anything crazy to it, because of the foster stuff. I know I can always dye over it (probably, depending on what I do to it), or style it so it's not really obvious if it's a hawk, but I still feel like I have to defend myself to people when I look "different." And it doesn't really feel "worth it" to dye it a normal color (I actually have a box of black dye in my cupboard) and deal with upkeep and stuff, because I've always dyed my hair for fun, not to convince people my hair was supposed to be that color. I OVERTHINK THINGS, IS WHAT I'M SAYING.

3. Also overthinking-related: my mom and sister are throwing me and Andy a foster-stuff shower. Which is so freaking awesome and will give all the friends who keep saying "How can we help?" a specific way to help, and it will save us a ton of money. But I really like being the center of attention on my terms: because I am a self-absorbed extrovert who thinks she's funny. I don't really like birthday parties, when everyone stares at me while I open shit, and my parents actually had to talk me into having a graduation party by reminding me that I was paying for college myself and that people would give me money. I don't want people to feel like they have to come to this shower, or like they have to get us something, or that we don't want hand-me-downs or whatever. But my sister is mailing the invites (which look freaking great), so she needed me to get her some addresses. I sent out the most awkward email ever to my work friends, telling them they don't have to come, but I like them and it would be cool to hang out, and there will be cupcakes, and they don't have to bring anything, if they come at all, and stuff. I can't ever just be like, Hey, there's this shower, you'll get an invite, come if you want! I have to explain everything. Oh, and I've decided that it will be a good idea to use all-natural slash organic stuff for the kids, but instead of just putting "All-natural or organic baby shampoo, lotions, etc." on our wish list, I had to justify it with a note about how it won't hurt to limit their exposure to chemicals or whatever, so people don't think I'm getting uppity or whatever.

I'm such a goddamn weirdo.

What overthinking have you been doing lately? Are these reasonable things, or am I Elaine-from-Seinfield-level crazy?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Preventative measures!

I have yet another super-busy weekend planned, and it feels like I'm starting to come down with a cold! A cold will absolutely put a damper on my plans, so I'm thinking of bailing on the art opening we were planning to go to tonight (I know the artist!) (and the show is open for a few more weeks, so I can still see it!) so I can stay curled up on the couch, drinking cider and/or tea, and then go to bed early.

Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I'm heading to the Number One Public Market in the country (you should come too, but don't murder me!) to buy a bushel of tomatoes, then I'm heading to a friend's house to spend the day canning said tomatoes. I'm bringing my knitting, to complete the weird pioneer vibe.

Then, Sunday, several friends and I are adventuring out to a small farm owned by some crazy people to investigate the possibilities of purchasing some alpaca fiber from them. One of my friends stopped there to buy some fresh eggs and was charged by a llama, so I'm thinking there will be no way we walk out of there without at least a little excitement. After we settle the alpaca issue, we're driving an hour away to the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival, to buy yarn and delicious festival foods and to look at things like sheep being sheared and handspinning competitions.

It really is an overall Pioneer-Type Weekend, isn't it? I can't let this cold bring me down!

What do you do to prevent a cold from settling in??

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Here's what's stacked up on end tables around my house:

1. The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale. I'm on page 30 (out of 576), and so far it's damn good. Sounds a little crazy - it's narrated by a chimpanzee - but it's very absorbing. I stayed up way later than I should have to get to page 30, by the way. I'm a little scared of reading it in bed, because it's heavy, and I'm a little scared I'll doze off and end up with a broken nose or a sprained wrist.

2. No More Dirty Looks by Siobhan O'Connor and Alexandra Spunt. I've been digging this blog lately, and I've told you guys I'm becoming more and more of a hippy every day somehow. This book (and the blog) is about "clean" makeup and skincare stuff, and it has twenty-five pages of references and notes, so I feel like it's not all weird scare tactics and fake "facts". Plus they're funny.

3. The Education of a British-Protected Child by Chinua Achebe. I haven't started this yet, but it's a collection of autobiographical essays by a brilliant writer. I found it during my last trip to Borders and was so freaking psyched to find a decent book among the piles of dreck that I almost bragged about it to the person standing near me looking at coffee table books about Elvis.

4. A Deadly Yarn by Maggie Sefton. There's a counter in the kitchen at work that is called "the free table." Basically, anyone can leave anything there and if your coworkers want it they're welcome to take it. Some of the weirder shit stays there for a week or so, at which point I assume it's tossed or donated, but some stuff - like unlabeled Easter candy - is snatched up right away. I found this book on the free table today, and you better believe I grabbed it. It's a knitting murder mystery. AND it includes a free recipe! AND it's in large print! I have the inaugural meeting of Pints and Purls (it's a knitting club that involves beer! it's at a pub!) tonight, and I'm hoping to do some dramatic readings from this bad boy.

What are you reading? Have you ever read a themed murder mystery? This is going to be so awesome!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

On boundaries

Tonight in our foster class, we talked about setting healthy privacy boundaries with any kids who come into our care, and how important it is to be consistent, because a lot of these kids have never seen healthy boundaries. They gave us a list of really awesome specific things to keep in mind - things like "always close the door when you're changing" and "if more than one person is in the bathroom for hand-washing or vanity purposes, the door stays wide open." These are great reminders, because Andy and I are pretty casual about that shit.

The trainers suggested starting to use these boundaries now, so they're full habits by the time we get a placement, especially if we have kids of our own. That way, it's not like the rules change overnight when the new kid arrives. I think this is really great advice, but I'm dreading putting it into practice. This isn't so much because I hate having bedroom doors closed and bathroom doors open, but because I absolutely hate wearing pajamas. (And I still maintain that bathrobes are a great way to freak out religious missionaries.)

I am a restless sleeper. I always have been. This means that any pajamas I wear end up twisted around, tangled in blankets, and generally incredibly uncomfortable. And I've tried lots of different permutations of the whole pajama thing: t-shirts, boxers, tank tops, fancy-pants button down coordinated separates, nightgowns. All of it flat-out sucks. But I think it would be a decent idea for me to start getting used to sleeping with more than just undies on, so I'm trying to figure this out. I google searched "pajamas for people who hate pajamas," but that just brings up a lot of weird shit from some company called Pajamas Media (totally professional name, guys!). I started thinking that booty shorts - like, the kind I sometimes wear under a skirt on a windy day - work okay, because they don't have enough fabric to move around. And I was thinking maybe something one-pieced would be a better idea, so there isn't the hem to ride up and wrap itself around my neck. I also don't want it to be too warm, because I love lots of heavy blankets all winter.

So basically, I want a short-sleeved and -panted union suit that fits a little snug. I realize that this is an incredibly specific and unusual thing, so I've decided to make it even more complicated by saying that I want it to be mostly cotton, if possible. I looked at a bunch of dance uniform sites, thinking maybe they'd have some sort of leotard that fit the bill, but didn't come up with anything.

Any leads on where I could find my ideal, weird, made-up pajama? Do you have any suggestions on how to make regular pajamas suck less?

Monday, September 12, 2011

On football

So in case you haven't noticed, it's autumn in America, which means football season is upon us. I decided last year that I was going to be a die-hard Redskins fan, and I'm super-psyched that they won yesterday but I can't help feeling that I'm a failure as a die-hard fan, since I can only name a handful of players on the team.

You might have guessed about me that I'm not really into sports. Most of them take place outdoors and involve being active, so there's two strikes against it to start. But football? I like football, mostly, I guess. I don't live near enough to any major sports team to have to sit outdoors in crappy weather in uncomfortable seats, which means that most of my football is observed from a living room. This suits me just fine. And usually, football is an excuse to eat shitty food and yell a lot about things that don't matter in the long run, which is also fun.

Andy is a Dolphins fan. His dad is a Bills fan, and the Bills and Dolphins have some sort of rivalry thing, so it was a pretty natural move for little-kid-Andy to pick the team that his dad hated (if you're new here, read that post for some insight there). He also was a fan of Dan Marino, who played for the Dolphins, which fact I totally already knew, but only because of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Andy will happily watch football, but is okay with the fact that not having cable means he misses a lot of games. He also doesn't sulk all week (or at all) when his team loses, which makes me love him even more, because that shit is childish.

So. How the hell did I become a Redskins fan? Well, I picked the team with the most racist name, and I don't like the Braves' colors. No, just kidding. (The Braves are a baseball team, anyway. I looked it up to be sure.) No, the real reason is this: my mom grew up in northern Virginia. Her dad, my grandpa, loved his adopted region enough to become a big fan of the 'Skins, and he started instilling this love in his grandkids when we were still quite young. I remember learning the Redskins Fight Song when I was a toddler, no joke. And I don't really care enough about football to have a loyalty to any team, but I decided I wanted to learn more about the sport. There's too much to try to learn it all, so I decided to pick one team. And as my grandpa died a few years ago and I miss hearing him sing that song, I picked the 'Skins. As far as I can tell from people's responses, "they were my grandpa's team" is as reasonable reason as any other.

Last year by the end of the season I had a decent grasp on major players on the team, but it seems I have lost all of that knowledge in the meantime. So we're going to a bar tonight to watch the Dolphins play, and I'm going to bring a printout of this year's roster and some index cards to make myself some Redskins flash cards. Because I am a giant nerd, and also I want to represent.

How do you feel about football? Who's your team?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Domestic day

So far today, some granola just came out of the oven, there's applesauce processing in the stockpot, and I have some organic pumpkin puree waiting to be turned into cookies.

Just so you get a more clear picture of what this is actually like, I never can guess how much things will cook down, so I sterilized a dozen pint jars and am going to end up with six pints, so I have six jars that will have to be re-sterilized when I actually end up using them, plus there are dirty dishes all over the counter, because I removed them from the dishwasher so the jars would all fit. I burned the crap out of two of my fingers when I put a jar in the stockpot and the boiling water splashed up around it and got my hand. The kitchen looks like hell. I only got organic pumpkin puree because it was the LAST JAR OF PUMPKIN in the entire store that wasn't pie filling. (What the crap, Wegmans?) Oh, and I just realized that the pot seems to think it's too full, so it's belching water all over the top of the stove. Cool.

So yeah, I'm being all home-maker-y, but also I'm barely keeping it together. After I make the cookies the kitchen is going to be scrubbed, then to celebrate our domesticity (Andy's mowing the lawn right now, to complete the idyllic picture), we're going out for ice cream.

What domestic adventures have you been a part of recently?

Friday, September 9, 2011


I am currently finding myself in what has become a novel situation indeed: Andy and I don't really have anything planned for this weekend. Oh, yes, there are things that need doing, but we haven't scheduled any of them.

The lawn needs mowing, badly. The sunroom needs to be painted by the end of the month. I'd really like to paint the guest/foster-kid's room (it's currently yellowish pine paneling, which I don't love). The front garden needs mulching, and the bricks we put down for a new garden still need to be mortared in place. But I'm trying to pretend none of that is waiting, so I can enjoy just doing nothing for right now.

My current plan for tonight, which of course is subject to change at any second, is to read the new L.L. Bean catalog that came yesterday (weird fact about me: I absolutely love to flip through catalogs of all kinds, but never order anything out of them), make some applesauce to can, try a new-to-us pizza joint around the corner, then settle in with my knitting and watch Good Hair, the Chris Rock documentary about African-American hair. Maybe I'll end it with a luxurious bubble bath and a book (I'm reading The Dirty Life and I have to say, I'd hate to live with a guy like Mark).

In all likelihood, what will happen instead is that Andy will get home from work and tell me we do in fact have plans and we'll head out to a diner or bar to meet up with some friends, and the documentary won't get watched until Monday night, which will be the next time we'll have an hour and a half without something to do.

Which do you prefer, planned or spontaneous? What are your evening plans?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Not to be creepy...

But if you're the person whose IP is registered in Rochester, NY, and you spent a while reading my blog last night and today, please for the love of god identify yourself. You seem to have read enough to realize that I'm an anxious motherfucker, and all I can think is that you are secretly my mom or one of the coworkers I was critical of the other day.

Plus, maybe we can hang out. I make delicious soup.

But not if you're a creep.

This is weird.

What I ate today

Dudes, I hate when people are all, "Oh my gosh, I had the best salad today! Here is the recipe!" because come on, salad is pretty much salad, unless it's like egg salad or something. Basically, you combined vegetables and were happy with the results. This isn't alchemy; chances are it was going to turn out okay anyway.

But I ate a salad today that was pretty cool, and I had never before combined these ingredients, and I was sad that I hadn't, and I thought maybe you would like to try it too. It's pretty awesome. I mean, it's not going to change your life or lower your taxes, but it will taste good.

Mostly this salad happened because I had all the ingredients on hand and was trying to use them up. Here's what I combined:
-Half a grilled chicken breast.
-Maybe 1/4 cup feta cheese. (Okay, probably 1/3 cup. That shit's delicious, and you can buy it in one-pound bricks at Sam's and then freeze half of it. YOU'RE WELCOME.)
-A quarter of a white cooking onion.
-About half a cup of beets, which I steamed the other day.
-Half a cucumber, chopped up.
-A serious drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.

That's it. If you don't like beets (Andy thinks they taste like dirty corn), then this isn't for you. If you do like them, or are willing to give them a chance, remember that they can turn your pee pink and that it's normal and you probably aren't dying.

And just to be thoroughly boring and food-related, here's what I'm about to start making for dinner: kale and white bean soup!
Do you like beets? Do you also hate salad "recipes"? Are you jealous of me for eating so well today?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

How to be a domestic goddess

1. Leave work 17 minutes late, to make up for arriving at work 17 minutes late.
2. Stop at weird small-town grocery store on the way home. Go to the complete wrong side of the store on a hunt for milk. Who the hell keeps milk way over there? Realize as you wander through the meat department that you have absolutely no idea how much meat is supposed to cost, as Andy is in charge of all meat-buying decisions in our home. Find the milk. Balk at paying $1/gallon more than you would have if you planned an actual grocery shopping trip.
3. Get home. Preheat oven. Peel several quarts of peaches. Do cobbler-type stuff to them. While they're heating, make bread-type portion of cobbler. Split bubbly, delicious peaches into several pans, as these cobblers will be shared.
4. While cobblers bake, halve and pit a few quarts of plums. Clean out weird lidded container that will have to do for storage. Dump plums into container, top with a gallon (!) of brandy. Shake carefully, as lid hasn't given any indication that it's watertight. Put on bar in basement. Cross one more item off mental list of Christmas-type things.
5. Start cleaning kitchen. Take cobblers out of oven. Keep cleaning kitchen.
6. Take one cobbler to neighbors. Wrap one cobbler with tin foil to take to coworker whose daughter outfitted our nursery. Put lid on final cobbler to take to housewarming party tonight.

I'm on Step 3. So far, I've done really well with leaving work late and taking forever to find the milk in a weird grocery store. So, you know, we'll see how much of a domestic goddess I am when it's 8 pm and I'm supposed to be walking into the party with a perfect cobbler.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Baby names

A new installment of weird or awful baby names from my city, in plain old list form, because I'm freaking beat and all I want to do is take my pants off and watch Home Alone:

- Kyzen Claron
- Tyhr'eanna (I swear to you this is how it's spelled in the paper. Tyranny-a?)
- Jisaiah
- Kai'Lanei Nicholle
- Car'tysia Rachelle Sy'Vehya (why capitalize the mid-name V but not the T?)
- Ra'Shell Lamajah
- Noah Guillaume [Polish Last Name] (I just think that combination of names sounds jarring)
- Sin'Cere
- Ehlise (maybe trying to show it's a short-E sound? Still weird.)
- Kristina Kemilah Kennedy [Last Name]. THEY GAVE THEIR DAUGHTER THE INITIALS "KKK."
- Admyer ZaKyle
- Lahyla (how the hell is that pronounced? Are they being creative with Layla? Or maybe Lyla?)

Interesting fact: "baby names" is the most frequent search term that gets people to this blog.

Am I being too harsh? Any of those names seem normal to you?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

On the use of "FML"

I have another Facebook-related public service announcement, you guys. And I'm pretty sure y'all are reasonable adults, so just take this as venting and not as criticism of you all or anything.

I strongly object to people using "FML." The kind of posts that people end with "fml" are, in my experience, not exactly related to life-ruining events. The post that set me off was about an acquaintance leaving her ill-trained and hyperactive dog home alone for twelve hours and the dog destroyed something, which was related in very irritated language and ended with "fml." Really? A dog destroying some cushions on your tacky-looking-anyway couch fucks your life? How about some goddamn perspective?

Here are a few examples of posts I'd be okay with seeing:
- OMG, rebels are breaking into my home and killing my family in front of me. FML.
- I live in a country that still considers women property and I can neither vote nor own land. FML.
- I was raped and am now being threatened by my own family with an honor killing. FML.
- I was victim of a hate crime supported by local law enforcement. FML.
- I was just diagnosed with stage four cancer. FML.

To be honest, this is the image that comes to mind when I read some stupid inconsequential whine about a minor irritation that ends with those letters:
I just feel like we don't really have an right to claim our life is fucked when we get a speeding ticket, you know?

What do you all think? Do you use "fml"? Do you object to it too?