Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I'm not as vile as I thought I was...

Online Dating

After Laurie's laughable NC-17 rating (I'm stealing a lot from her lately), I decided to get my blog checked. I was a little worried. No need. Turns out I write like a mom. Except for saying "penis" once. Now twice.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Peach Pie & Raspberry Tarts

Yesterday we went to my mom's to say goodbye to my nephew Brendan. He's heading to Vancouver for a visit with his dad, who is ill and returning from China. Then he (Brendan) will be moving to Seattle to try to find a job. He had been living in Japan for about 18 months, I think, and came here for about a month this time.

So we made a peach pie to take along. The peaches have been good and peach pie is about the easiest pie in the world to make, so we did. I love fresh peach pie. I don't like the kind you bake. It makes the peaches too mushy. I just make one crust. We brought vanilla ice cream to go with the pie. It was a nice summer treat.

We made raspberry tarts with the leftover dough. Our raspberries are ripening bit by bit. Kelsey loves making tarts. She mashes the fruit a little, and adds a little sugar. For the crust, we use a biscuit cutter and push the little circle of dough to the bottom of a cupcake pan. They're shallow and cute. With these raspberry tarts, she got the raspberries in, then put whipped cream on top and drizzled a little raspberry juice over the cream. Mmmm.... They'd cost a fortune in a restaurant and not be half as good.

I guess Brendan got onto the bus OK. He got a ticket to Vancouver for $90, and you sure can't drive or fly for that. He might have been happy to drive now that he's got a driver's license. He borrowed our station wagon for the test (twice). He's pretty pleased. I hope he finds a job he likes in Seattle. We'll be thinking about him.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Back in the Cart Saddle Again

Over the years, grocery shopping became my job. I used to enjoy grocery shopping. It was fun to buy food I liked and then eat it.

But then we had kids. My kids were not the type who just ate what they were given. They were picky eaters, Kayleigh considerably worse than Kelsey. I always said Kayleigh ate like a racist – if it ain't white, it ain't right. She ate pasta, rice, oatmeal, eggs, peeled apples – no reds, as she said, and that included all fruit and vegetables. Cherries, strawberries, cranberries, raspberries were all a communist plot; she would not eat them. She still won't eat them.

It made grocery shopping a chore, dragging this child, and later these children, to the store when they were uninterested in food that was tasty and healthful. Making matters even more frustrating was taking my mother grocery shopping. She couldn't walk the whole way through the store, so we would put her in a wheelchair. She refused to use one of those motorized carts they had, so I had to push her and her cart and my cart and my kids. What fun. It took hours. Drive to her house, take her to the bank, the grocery store, then drug store, the market where she preferred to buy her milk, maybe out to lunch, back home, put her groceries away, go home, put my groceries away. It was exhausting and boring and frustrating for all of us.

I would put it off as long as possible. I came home angry and uninterested in cooking. We always ordered pizza on days I went shopping.

With Eric working half-time this year, I gladly gave up grocery shopping. He didn't gladly take it up. He was scared and nervous. He knew he would forget things and not be able to find things and buy the wrong things and have a hard time dealing with all the people and the noise. Never mind that it was like that for me, too. I knew where things were, after all.

Regardless, he got used to it and came to enjoy it. Now, though, he is back at work, and I am home for the summer. I am shopping again.

Which means, of course, I am scouring the international foods section. Last week, we – fussy, picky, no-reds-eating children included – ate Companion brand Assorted Vegetables with Quail Eggs, or, if you prefer, Sze-Hsien-Kow-Fu.

You can always tell foreign food because you can pronounce the ingredients: gluten, bamboo shoots, quail eggs, straw mushrooms, soybean extract, water, sugar, salt, soybean oil. "Contain no preservatives or artificial coloring."

The quail eggs had been sitting in that broth for a long time and were no longer white, but brown. The yolks were a tad runny and coated our mouths in a sickening, sticky way. The wheat glutens weren't bad, and the mushrooms were few. Kelsey preferred the bamboo shoots. She likes to eat like a panda.

So, I'm back, and my kids are eating it.

And to be fair, once my sister moved back from Canada and once I was in school (when my mom broke her arm and her back and the following year had a heart attack), I got a lot of help from my siblings taking care of my mom. I needed it. My thanks to them. I still didn't like grocery shopping, though.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Fruity, Booty, Fluty


I am writing this post on my new MacBook. Nice. It has that new plastic smell to it. It arrived yesterday. I've been messing around a little, horrifying Eric by putting RealPlayer on it (gasp!). I need RealPlayer. All my limey radio shows download in .ram. Anyway, I can't help but notice my battery door is already swelling. God. It's going to explode in my lap. Thank goodness they're Apple computers – can you imagine having a hot peach between your legs or a hot banana on your thighs?

Fruity and booty

Speaking of exploding, hot bananas, when we were in St. Louis, we went to the zoo, as I mentioned previously. Welp, there was this elephant, see, and he had a schlong that was about two and a half feet long. It did rather get the crowd's attention. But what really got our attention was when he used his penis to scratch the bottom of his foot. I didn't know elephants could use their members in the same way as their trunks. What control! Can you imagine?

Dude was a bit of a show-off, too. He must have been an old circus elephant. He got up on a stump one foot at a time and held his pose. He arranged his trunk for us. What a ham.


A St. Louis parting shot: I paid our parking fine today. Damn it. The meters were cheap, but only good for 90 minutes, which is simply not enough time for the bridal party on the day of the wedding. I wonder if the church and the police are in cahoots. "Hey, this is Father Frank. Wedding at ten. Come write the tickets. Usual cut." The tickets are only $10, which makes them a mild "Oh, well," instead of a "God damn it!" I bet they get a lot fewer complaints that way. Seems pretty skeezy to me.


Kelsey decided she wanted to take flute lessons. Kayleigh had been playing piano for a year and a half by this age, so it seemed fair. I don't know anything about flutes. I could help Kayleigh a bit on piano, but I'm pretty well useless with the flute. Anyway, we talked with a couple of people in the know, then bought a flute off eBay. It arrived today. Kelsey is delighted. She had a fun time trying to get some noise out of it. We have to find a teacher now.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Some St. Louis Pics

This is the Arch seen from our horse-drawn carriage. There is a park with a nice fountain, and that capitol-looking building is the old courthouse where the Dred Scott case was heard.

Interesting perspective

Creepy.... This is what you have to climb into to get to the top of the Arch. Inside, it is completely white, there is space for five, but not space to stand.

Here is St. Louis at dusk as seen from the top. It was pretty fun.

Kelsey looking reflective. (snort)

Monday, June 11, 2007

A fun test I stole from Laurie

I could hardly post on her family blog that I got ALL THE ANSWERS RIGHT, which puts me in the 98.36th percentile. But I can certainly brag on my own blog.

It's fun and easy. Although I hate it that they ask your gender and ethnicity.

Back from St. Louis

We're back from Sarah's wedding.

Sarah looked beautiful, of course. And so did my kids, I must say.

We arrived on Thursday and went up in the Arch. That was pretty fun. No line, even. We just showed up and walked on. You have to ride up in little pods. The pods looked like something out of a cheesy science fiction movie. Four minutes up in a hot pod, get out, look around, feel the Arch sway in the wind, back down.

We went on a horse-drawn carriage ride, too. That was pleasant and touristy. People waved at us.

Friday we had the bridesmaids' luncheon. The kids ate cookies, apparently. I thought the sandwich was good. I hope that they someday stop turning their noses up at things and just eat them even though they're not chocolate.

Later came the rehearsal. People were screwing around and Kelsey got lost in the shuffle of the walk down the aisle. It was very upsetting for her. I don't think people without kids understand how hard it is for a young child to be thrust into an adult situation. This was a really big deal for her, an important thing she wanted to do just right. She was pretty nervous, and to have someone else blow it and screw it up for her was frightening and disappointing. She did OK in the wedding, but she was sure not smiling.

Not like the flower girl, who was utterly giddy. Very cute.

The rehearsal dinner was enormous and the food was delicious. There was even tiramisu that wasn't soggy. Thumbs up.

Wedding day came, lovely ceremony (Kayleigh was blessed by a nun), and afterwards the girls traveled around the city with the wedding party taking photos. It was hot and sunny and they all got a little pink. Short break, then the reception.

Again, good food. Also a good jazz band. The kids were tired, so we bugged out about 10.

Kayleigh will be glad not to wear that dress again. It was a bit snug. I bought her her pants size, and should have gotten her a size up. She has smaller hips than she does chest and gut – she has that apple shape, not the pear. Eric's side of the family has these big, barrel chests – huge rib cages and broad shoulders. Kayleigh got that. I'll have to remember that when I buy her clothes. She looked great, though. I kept telling her that women's clothes get more uncomfortable the better they look.

Sunday was a brunch with the parents of the bride. Again, good food. My, St. Louis has good eats. Afterwards we went to the zoo. We were told it was nice, and it was. It was cool and drizzly, which was also nice. The thought of 95 degrees and St. Louis humid would have kept me away.

Quick (relatively) and quiet drive home. I'm spending today putting things away.

I came home to my first story on the front page, which was pretty cool.

I'll post pictures later.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Another Birthday

Yesterday was Kayleigh's 13th birthday. Events like parties often make her unsettled; i.e., crabby. Yesterday was no exception. She just wanted to lie around and play her DS. After she opened her presents, she was much more lively and pleasant. Nothing like cash, chocolate, and more video games to get her going. We also remembered to count her coin jar money on her actual birthday, which is when it is supposed to happen, but we usually forget. Freaky. It came to $38.73. Pretty cool for just sticking stray coins in at the end of every week.

We also picked up our ceramics projects from Fired Up Pottery. Last week, we each painted something. I chose a teapot, Eric did a new dish for the rats, Kelsey painted a mug, and Kayleigh did a box in the shape of a snake. They all turned out nicely.

The colors are much more vivid than I was expecting. We've done this sort of thing before at the Hands On Art Studio in Door County, and the colors were not so bright. They must use a different glaze. Fired Up is a lot cheaper than the one in Door County, but they don't have a large selection, and they only do pottery. The cool thing about the Hands On Art Studio is all the different things you can do – last time, the kids each did a mosaic, I did some welding, and Eric painted a couple of bowls.

It started dumping rain in the late afternoon. Our basement filled up again. Joyo joyum. So I put a bucket under the window, and Eric bailed the window wells. Almost nothing was coming out our gutters. Eric had said (but hadn't actually done it yet) he was going to take the covers off – you know those covers that are supposed to let the water through but keep the leaves out? Well, the birds decided that our gutters were a very nice place to make a nest, so out of the way of predators, so protected but airy. Yeah, well, those birds are so drowned now. Eric discovered the rotting, stinking nest during the downpour and scooped the nasty, organic mass out. The water flowed freely after that. Problem solved. Poor birds.