Sunday, February 28, 2010

Life is Like...

...the Sunday crossword puzzle. I do it in ink, which probably isn't smart, but that's just me. Perhaps a hallmark of my stubborn, jump in without fully thinking it through issue. Which means the result is messy yet colorful. Messy because I don't always get it right the first time, I'm bound to make mistakes. With any luck, I make different mistakes so it becomes a learning opportunity. Colorful because I have a penchant for writing in pink or turquoise or purple, sort of how I dress in an overaccessorized fashion with a hippie rainbow of color. Meaning that I don't blend in, even when I try to. Eventually I do get it right, leaving an obvious trail of trial and error in my wake. Evidence of the fact that I'm an open book as well as a terrible liar. I desperately hope that these traits and quirks are part of my charm, since I am not likely to change all that much. If you're looking for boring and predictable, I'm probably not your girl.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Baking with Julia

From the Morning Breads section of Baking With Julia, Child that is, this is a little bit of heaven on Earth. Also known as Irish soda bread. Four ingredients slapped together and thrown in a 375 degree oven for fifty minutes yields this, and I know I'm repeating myself, little bit of heaven on Earth. Crumbly and tender on the inside, crispy and golden on the outside. I enjoy it slathered with butter and raspberry jam. There's nothing like bread in the oven to make a house smell like a home. Or a more effective way to wake up a grumpy teenager.

Julia Child's Irish Soda Bread

4 cups unbleached flour
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons sea salt

You can knead this dough lightly after stirring together, or do what I do, just dump it all in the KitchenAid mixer using the dough hook. If you use a mixer, process until the dough just holds together, if you overmix the bread will turn out tough and chewy. Slash an X into the top of the loaf before it goes in the oven, neglecting to do this step will cause the bread to crack open while it's baking. 375 degrees, 50 minutes. Yum.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Thank You, Dr. Seuss

Since I didn't have my camera close at hand, close your eyes and imagine this: My very tall 17yo son sitting cross-legged on my bedroom floor. He is reading One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish aloud. The cats are quiet and listening raptly. They must be Dr. Seuss fans. Or maybe they just like fish.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

First Person Gastronomics

Sometimes I feel as if I'm experiencing my own life vicariously. Like I'm sitting up and off to the side observing myself, wondering what I'll do next. And if I'll be interesting or exciting or entertaining or if I'll get the obvious vicarious thrill from whatever it is that I do. One thing's for sure, I definitely plan to indulge in first person, non-vicarious activity involving French toast and bacon. Soon. Very soon. Just as soon as that damn bacon thaws!

Monday, February 15, 2010


I must say that when I take that little stroll across the street to fetch the newspaper that I do it with style. Taste is another matter entirely. I usually just toss on whatever is handy that is near the back door. And since it is chilly out there, layers are essential. I really should have gotten a head-to-toe shot so you could experience the full impact of this most original outfit. I was also wearing my microfleece black beret. Yes, that is my flannel nightshirt topped with a fleecy jacket that I often wear around the house. The pink gloves happened to be the closest, those dandy boots are always by the backdoor and I am wearing gray bike capris to eliminate any possibility of southern exposure. I had the restraint to not toss on a scarf to avoid mixing a third pattern into the ensemble. I say restraint because i have a tendency to overaccessorise. I do hope the neighbors are entertained.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine Breakfast for One

And before you have the opportunity to think, oh, how sad! Breakfast alone on Valentine's Day! Allow me to assure you that I'm deeply happy, albeit alone. The other end of that spectrum would be coupled and miserable. With, I'm certain, all the various combinations and variations on the continuum between those two extremes. That said, on this morning of the day we celebrate the joys of love romantic, I am happy to report that for perhaps the first time in my life, my heart belongs to me. And until that moment when Mr. NPBPFM* appears on my doorstep, here and now is a pretty good place to be. Oh, and yes, that is most definitely a homemade banana walnut muffin. Complimented nicely with freshly brewed coffee. And Dove caramels for dessert. My favorite thing about Sunday, any Sunday, is dessert with breakfast.

* Mr. Not Perfect But Perfect for Me

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hat With Moose, Trees & Tassels

If I had known I would be issued one of these way cool hats to wear for the opening ceremonies, I would most definitely have sidelined everything else in my life and tried out for the USA Olympic team. The question is which sport...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

5ive Answers

1. Dilation of the blood vessels in the extremities in direct response to the alcohol content of the beverage.

2. No. That is, in a dish that is compatible with the copious addition of garlic. In summary, then, marinara, no. Oatmeal, yes.

3. I did!

4. The odds must have been quite good. My electronic filing was completed and sent, received by the IRS, accepted by the IRS, and finally, as of today, my refund was directly deposited in my checking account.

5. I believe my happiness is at least somewhat due to the rebelling against my Norwegian heritage and Lutheran upbringing. If these had stuck to me properly, I would be rendered dour, depressed, fatalistic, saturnine and sullen. And grateful, too, because it could be worse.

Pragmatic Love

While love is on all our minds this week before Valentines Day, let us consider the pragmatic side of romance.

His: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free!

Hers: Why buy the whole pig when all you want is a little sausage now and then!

Moink, indeed.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


In the Valentine aisle at Wal-Mart, mixed in amongst the chocolates and cutesy stuffed bears holding hearts and pink and red decorations, there is a very tasteful display of Trojan condoms. Packages of Ultra Thins and something called a Pleasure Pack, with a quantity of 12 crossed off and replaced by 14. This is where I fail to resist making the following observation, hmmm, more bang for your buck. Also on the display are cards to take containing information on birth control and STD's. Trojan's slogan is evolve-use a Tojan every time. Which naturally I overthought. If evolution takes place through natural selection and the passing on of desirable genetic traits, thereby producing hardier offspring who are more likely to survive and reproduce and successively pass on desirable traits to their offspring...doesn't the use of a condom effectively prevent this from taking place? Pass the chocolate.

Friday, February 5, 2010

5ive Observations

1. There just isn't a neat, easy, repercussion free method for dumping a friend on facebook. Or in the real world. Even if you are thoroughly fed up with their obsessive, self-absorbed moaning and whining it's easier to just ignore them for a while and see if that sticks.

2. After a meticulous perusal of my most recent paystub, it seems that I am the recipient of a twenty-three cent per hour raise! And this goes clear back to the beginning of 2010! The first $3.68 just slipped right by me!

3. My cat, Einstein, snuggles with me almost every night. His favorite spot is behind my knees. Oh, and Sleeping With Einstein would be an excellent name for a rock band.

4. Beck's Dark is a very tasty beer.

5. Tomorrow night is the fourth Annual Pardi Gras with SPOONCAT! and yours truly shall be in attendance. Let the wild dancing and so forth begin.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

5ive Questions

1. Why do my feet get hot when I drink red wine?

2. Is it possible to put too much garlic in a dish?

3. Could I actually get my taxes done tonight?

4. What are the odds that I could accomplish #3 accurately when I'm well into a second glass of shiraz that will inevitably lead to a third?

5. How is it that I can be so very and deeply happy when my hands hurt, my job mostly sucks and there is a serious lack of romance in my life?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Six More Weeks of What?!?!?

Love this movie. I might actually watch it tonight. And now, let's all drink to world peace. And perform the Heimlich maneuver. And step off the curb into a knee-deep puddle of slush. Then head out to the nearest thrift shop and purchase one of those nifty analog style digital clocks from the seventies. Learn to play the piano. Build a snowman. Catch a child falling from a tree. And polka! I got yooouuuuuu, babe.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Love Lesson Learned

You know that relationship you had when you were twenty? You were in college, on your own, making decisions, learning the lessons of life as you plunged headlong into it. Fearless. Foolish. Fun. You knew it was a bad idea to take even that irresistable second look at him, but that's precisely why you had to. You discovered aspects of yourself during this reckless and passionate interlude that you had no idea were lurking in there, under your high school drama club hoodie and white bikini cotton panties that your mother bought for you at JC Penney. It was all wild and wonderful and blissful and breathless and you fell hard. So hard. Maybe it lasts just a few weeks over summer break, or maybe as long as a couple of years. And just as incautiously and without warning it had begun, it was over. You're utterly devastated. And just like in the beginning, eating and sleeping become secondary. In that onrushing crush of pheromones and flesh, such mundane activities seemed trivial and hardly worth the time. You had been transformed into an ethereal creature who could live on just the air and love. But as it ended, these things have been rendered all but impossible, you want to rest but sleep cannot be summoned, no matter how exhausted your mind and body have become. You struggle to eat but food has lost its visceral pleasure. You might as well be chewing and choking down a forkful of dusty rubber bands. Seeing him from a distance sends a jagged bolt of memory through you so intense that you quiver uncontrollably and swear there ought to be visible wounds. You think you will die. You don't wish to expire, but you wonder how such pain and loss can be born by your heart and the aching body that contains it and survive. The darkness does lift, though, the resilience of youth pulls you through. Life goes on, you heal, you love again. I seem to have gotten the chronology of my life out of order in this area, I waited until I was forty-five to experience knock-down, drag out love that completely and totally consumes you. I must confess that at a number of points in the last five years I thought I was over him, pretty much healed, hard lessons learned. But it wasn't until these last couple of days that I truly arrived at this place. Here. No more longing, no more anger, no more ragged vestiges of hope left alive. Calm and acceptance and relief are mine. I recommend having this particular transformative experience when you're young. Not only is the healing process shorter, but you have the benefit of knowlege gained that can be put to use next time you see that nearly irresistable gleam. It can't be said for certain, but I personally believe that I might have been better suited for marriage if I'd had this relationship earlier in life. Rites of passage aren't meant for the middle-aged, but I did learn a truth or two in the process. I realize that I chose my husband too much with my head. This love that nearly did me in I chose primarily with my hormones. Older and wiser, bruised but not broken, I'm ready to listen to and choose this next love with my heart.