Thursday, December 10, 2009

Snowed In

SORRY! SORRY! I'm buried under a world of final exams (my busy time at work), holiday prep and post, and, well, literally under snow.

10-12" shut our city down for two straight days. No, really. I went to the post office with the Kid on Monday around noon and I just got back from my first excursion since. Which was to the grocery store.

We got blizzard-blasted with massive gusts of wind. I LOVE YOU, PRAIRIE! No, really, I DO! It was like being on the moon when I looked outside. All around our shed, the wind had blown all of that snow OFF THE GROUND so you could see huge swathes of grass. But our porch?


BOOM! Taller than the Kid!

So we've been hiding out in the house and quietly going insane. It's not like I am out and arout that often, but NOT BEING ABLE TO LEAVE is maddening. Plus Vee was home with us both days, and our moroseness fed each other's discontent. But the Kiddo was DELIGHTED to have Daddy home!

So maybe there is some component of fate working in my life, because our fridge/freezer decided last night to stop, uh, fridging and freezing our food. Which REALLY sucks, because we just got a shipment of Omaha steaks & stuff from Vee's parents. YEE-IKES!

Always resourceful and EVER MINDFUL OF OUR SURROUNDINGS, I stuffed the goods OUTSIDE IN OUR SNOWBANK and our new fridge/freezer is serving us well. Which is a good thing since WE'RE NOT GETTING SOMEONE OUT HERE TO LOOK AT IT UNTIL WEDNESDAY. Like SIX DAYS FROM NOW Wednesday.

I love negative temperatures!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mooning! Mooning!

(SPOILERS AHEAD!)

Who saw Twilight: New Moon this weekend?

ME!

I went to the new CINEDINE experience in town, which was terribly exciting. Cine! And Dine! The noon showing of New Moon didn't have the option to get regular seating, and since I wasn't really interested in the whole VIP-Reserved section (which is where you can have COCKTAILS) since it was, uh, noon, I opted for the Cinedine seats.

Which were OK, you know. The part that blew my mind the most was the fact that you get ASSIGNED SEATS! Assigned seats! In a movie theater! And I was pretty grateful since I didn't want to have to fend off Twi-teens who were waiting there since last year. But I wound up sitting next to some anyway.

The chow was ok (I tried some SW quesadillas or something, and they were tevs city), but the dude delivering the food SPILLED MY FRIEND'S DRINK ALL OVER and so we missed the whole opening credits/scene since they were apologizing left, right, and center and mopping up that Coke.

But it was fine--it's not like I needed to see the dumb grandma-dream-sequence anyway.

The corniness:
  • Bella + Edward "running through the forest joyfully once Bella gets changed" in Alice's premonition (omFg, the theater broke out laughing because IT WAS SO DUMB!)

  • The gratuituous airbrushed-lower-pelvis shot of Edward before he was going to expose his skin to the sunlight (DUDE, for REAL, we all saw you wearing pants and they were NOT SLUNG THAT LOW! I mean, I can appreciate a good mostly-nude-abdomen-shot as much as the next girl, but NOT WHEN IT WAS OBVIOUSLY FAUXED FOR THE SHOCK EFFECT)

  • Well, basically every time Kristen Stewart spoke as Bella. I know SHE'S CONFLICTED AND ALL, but I am sooooooooo sick of hearing every.single.sentence split into. Two dramatic halves.

The goodness:
  • The fact that Kristen Stewart's "Can I just ask for one thing....kiss me?" eyebrow lift was not as noticeable as it was in the trailers (omG, can I shoot her in the face yet? THE DUMBEST ACTING EVER! And we're stuck with her for 2 more movies!)

  • Edward's wardrobe stylist. Good GOD, I LOVE YOU! WHY COULDN'T EVERY 17 YEAR OLD BOY DRESS AS HOT AS EDWARD WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL!

  • Every time Jacob was on screen. HE IS A GOOD ACTOR, Y'ALL, not just a hot 17-year-old. And I'm not even INTO muscles.

And you should have heard the ladies in the VIP-Reserved section swoon when Jacob took his shirt off to help staunch Bella's blood.

SEVENTEEN OR NOT, Taylor Lautner has GOT IT!

So, I'm not, like, the HUGEST Twilighter in the world, but I enjoyed myself. And I am REALLY anxious for Eclipse now since the whole "Will Edward be with Bella?" thing has been answered, so Rob Pattinson can drop the whole pained-expression-that-constitutes-most-of-his-scenes and just be confident and hot as Edward.

Did you see it? Are you going to see it? DO YOU CARE?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Window Into The Future

Thank God I have a Pie Challenge to keep me trudging through these weeks. I brought the pear pie up to MN last weekend and my rentinos, bro, and sister all chowed down on the dankness.

What was up this week?

Vanilla Cream Pie, the simplest thing in the world. Well, flavor-wise. All it is is a bunch of milk, butter, egg yolks, and vanilla. In a ho-made graham cracker crust. With ho-made whipped cream on top.

MMMMMMM.



Vee and I had a piece with dinner last night, and then I had a piece for breakfast today. And a piece for snack. And a piece for dessert.

Hey, it's a 48-hours-til-starts-sucking special, so I had to get INVOLVED because no one wants that going to waste!

In other mwomdom news, we got some new windows installed in our living room. Yeah, yeah, yeah--it's not like we're in an ancient house where the sills leak frost all winter long, or where the sash is stuck to the frame and GOOD LUCK lifting that ancient rope-filled window channel (real things I lived with the first time we lived here).

But it was like this: I couldn't open our windows without fear of The Kid pushing through the screen and going kersplat on the cement patio below. And when we took off the blinds so that the window dudes could begin work, and The Kid almost busted out the indoor screen (why was the screen on the INSIDE of the windows? Who thought that was a good idea?), I knew it was ALL WORTH IT.

Besides, dogs, TAX INCENTIVES! I can't bring home the good times like last year's first-time-homebuyer tax credit, but I can get my piece of the Obama pie and get 30% of my new energy-efficient window costs plopped right back on my tax return!

Why am I not doing a pictorial? Because, in essence, they look exactly the same. Except now I can harness the prairie wind shoving at our west walls in the summer and BRING IT IN!

Also, now I can clean them since they TILT IN AND CAN BE WASHED! By hand! Not by awkwardly spraying them with the hose (minus hose nozzle, of course, because we cheaped out and bought the jank one for $1.49 and of course that shiz broke so I was creating a "spray" by doing the old thumb-over-the-nozzle routine), soaping them up on a stepladder which didn't allow me to reach to the top of the windows, and then try to spray it all down. Wiping them with a towel? Dream on.

I can't wait for spring cleaning time, y'all. I am going to be blastin some V.M. while the wind tunnel dries them naturally!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

I Love This American Pride

I might have forgotten about blogging, but I didn't forget about MY PIE CHALLENGE! And thanks for all the suggestions, guys--I might try one of those sour cream guys out...WHEN I LOSE MY AVERSION TO SOUR CREAM! No, seriously, I think I can handle it once it's cooked.

So what did I bake this week?

Streusel-Topped Pear Pie with Walnut Crust!



This sucker has been sticky-tagged in my pie book for awhile, and I'd been meaning to get around to making it, but the Nutty Pie Crust always stopped me.

EXCEPT NOW I AM A PIE-CRUST-MAKER AND WAS UNAFRAID!

Seriously, some people might think I am pretty brave for having a baby. Or buying a house. Even though I think neither of those things take "bravery" so much as WILLINGNESS TO DO WITHOUT in order to DO WITH, but I commend myself on my own damn BRAVERY to start making my own pie crust.

My God, in how many posts have I bragged about this miraculous feat yet? I need to shut the hell up--my pioneer forbears on the prairie would have laughed their faces off if I tried to tell them how I am awesome for making my own pie crust. I think DUDES used to know how to make pie crust (well, OBV Ken Haedrich knows, but seriously--like farmplow Laura Ingalls Wilder dad style).

But I'm really anxious to eat this goodie!

In a split post, now--some bloggers might have the style to do two separate posts, but I'm not going to lie to myself and you and make it look like I'm posting more often than I am: TWO THOUGHTS, ONE DAY, I CAN COMBINE THEM TOGETHER--I need to know if you have heard the Toby Keith song "American Ride."

You haven't?

What, is your radio dial not set to US93.3? You don't have one of them old-timey radio-things, you iPodder?

Well, feast your eyes on this ill-capitalized knockoff, because I need you to know these lyrics:

"Lithamus, America's town?" You mean "infamous America's town?" But anyway.

I need you to know them because I am SO disappointed that the song is not called "American PRIDE," which is what I originally thought it was. I was actually INTERESTED in the song when I thought it was about our American Pride, and I was impressed at old Keith for singing so mockingly about the things we have undue and unjustified pride over.

Not the case. American RIDE.

Come ON, TOBY!!! Why did I expect better from the man who lets his id loose during "She's a Hottie?"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

P to the I to the YEP YEP YEP

My new thing is pies.

All right, all right, if you know me, you know that pies aren't exactly my "new" thing. I already sang the praises of Ken Haedrich and I've been rockin' around the clock every fall since '07, living it up with my cookbook.

But my NEW new thing about my pie book is that I am CHALLENGING MYSELF (even more than making my own pie crust, which BTW, can I even tell you how much danker my pies are now that I make my own crust? It's like the easiest thing in the world when you make it with a mixer, and it tastes 2,000,000 times better) TO A PIE MAKE-OFF.

Which is to say, I am making NEW PIES THAT I HAVE NOT YET TRIED for the next four weeks, at least, leading up to the great Pie-a-Thon that is Thanksgiving.

So today I made the first "new pie," which is called Tarte de Sucre (Sugar Pie). Getting back to my French-Canadian roots, y'all! (Did you know I am part French-Canadian? Thanks to my gramma!) It's basically a layer of crumble, topped with MAPLE SYRUP, and topped again with crumble, which makes a most appetizing and very baklava-tasting treat.

Want to see?



BAM! SUGAR PIE!

What's your favorite kind of pie? WRITE IN AND I MIGHT MAKE IT.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I'm Weird 'Cause I Hate Goodbyes!

Vee has a pleasure which he SHOULD feel guilty about, which is listening to the pop-rock/"alterna"/whatever the hell they're calling major label music these days station. More often than not, he can only listen to it when the Kid is asleep or when he's driving around on his own, because DUDE! SORRY, but have you HEARD any songs recently? I do NOT need the Kid listening to "LOL :)" which is one of the more horrifying things I have ever heard, especially with the "I love Fisher Price!" intro which just makes it INSANELY offensive.

But you know, they're not all OFFENSIVE. Well, not in the traditional sense of the word, because MY EMOTIONAL CAPACITY is offended by the twee-ness of one of Vee's favorite songs: "Fireflies" by Owl City.

A.) OWL CITY? Twee name! A city populated by owls! Soooooooo KEY-UTE!

B.) The dude's delivery of words is so riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-diculous, gulping and spitting the words like he can't believe he's getting to sing in front of a microphone, and like if he sings like a kid, maybe we will all exclaim "HOW PRECIOUS!"

C.) The song is all about how FIREFLIES ARE ALL AROUND HIS ROOM and they are only there when he's asleep. ADORABLE!

D.) God, how can I even do this without dissing every lyric? "I'd get a thousand hugs from ten thousand lightning bugs." HUGS FROM BUGS! YOU CUTIE! OMFG! "They tried to teach me how to dance, a foxtrot above my head." AS IF ANYONE 23 YEARS OLD KNOWS SHIT ABOUT FOXTROTTING. Owl City Dude, unless you went to COTILLION when you were in OWATONNA, MN, I can guaran-damn-tee you that you don't know a foxtrot from anything other than 'Dancing with the Stars' and your desire to reference something arcane is SO DUMB!

E.) Seriously. "I'm weird 'cause I hate goodbyes." Dude, WHO DO YOU THINK YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE IS? I know you're singing to teens crying in their bedrooms, but FOR. REAL. Does anyone really believe they're WEIRD if they HATE GOODBYES?

It's been awhile since I did a hate-filled screed about pop culture, but I canNOT control myself when I hear this song! I want to abandon all hope when I imagine the pop culture rising up to meet the twee demands of this generation!

And then I remember all the high school nights I spent listening to preemo like "Everything I Said" by the Cranberries and "You Look So Fine" by Garbage, and I figure if high schoolers corn out by getting cute with fireflies, it's got to be better than THAT!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Reflux Redux

So it's like this: about two weeks ago, after returning from the Wedding of My Best Friend, I drove my ass to the emergency room because I had the second episode in three months where I felt like I was choking, except I could breathe and, oh yeah, this time, I HADN'T BEEN EATING ANYTHING.

It's a terrifying feeling, y'all, to have your esophagus spaz out on you. Which is, in the end, what it was. An esophageal spasm.

The ER dr referred me back to my regular dr, who referred me into a GI specialist for AN EGD. You know what an EGD is? Sticking a camera on the end of a long tube down your throat and checking out the goods.

I went in on Monday for my EGD, which was insane since I have never in my life had "surgery." Ok, I had wisdom teeth removed, but I wasn't even knocked out for it--I had the laughing gas in a tube in my nose, but since I was panic-breathing through my mouth, I didn't really get any of it and I can vividly and distinctly remember the feeling of having my teeth lifted out of my jaw. Horrifying.

I was weirding out at the thought of being knocked out. Vee came with me to be my chauffeur post-EGD since I would be "going under." The nurse informed me I was going to get Demerol (to which ALL I COULD THINK WAS MJ! MJ!) and then a "mild amnesiac." Why was I getting an amnesiac if I was already going to be knocked out? What was I supposed to NOT remember, getting the Demerol? Cause I DO! It was SO. WEIRD! I was laying on my side, IV stuck in my right hand, and the GI doctor informed me that he was putting the Demerol in. I remember looking at the wall, looking at the wall, and then BOOM! The next memory is a slippery-slidey one where I was back in the main room, Vee by my side, and the IV was out.

Apparently I looked at the GI doctor as he explained that he didn't see anything, but I don't remember that. The rest of the day I kept forgetting things and then Vee would exclaim, "Amnesia!" and I would get mad because I could remember SOME things.

Luckily, my EGD coincided with a visit from MY BROTHER, who is finally home from his Korean Year and the Mediterranean Adventure of Two Months, so he helped watch the Kid since Vee had to get back to work.

We waited and waited for the results of my EGD, since dude took a biopsy of some tissue matter in my throat to check for this thing called eosinophilic esophagitis (but if you're cool, you call it EE). EE basically looks like GERD and presents like GERD but is actually food-allergy triggered. I didn't care WHAT it was, as long as I got my body back to normal. But DUDE, it wasn't even EE.

One ER visit, one dr referral visit, and one EGD later, and guess what, y'all?

It was "acid reflux."

Yeah, just good old DUMB OLD I ALREADY KNEW THAT acid reflux.

So I'm Prevaciding for three months to see if I can get it under control, and we'll go from there.

I feel like I am constantly complaining of obscure and requiring-multiple-tests pain, and then it winds up looking like I am an insane hypochondriac when they find, essentially, nothing. I'M NOT MAKING THIS SHIZ UP, but it looks like I am a refluxer, and a carry-my-stress-in-my-chest-cavity sufferer, and, honestly, I'm grateful it's just that.

Friday, October 16, 2009

a change of plans

It's been bazonkaronk all morning at my house. The Kid was up at 7:20am and just went down for her nap at 12:30. She's been getting up at the luxurious hour of 9:30 for the last four days, so NEEDLESS TO SAY, I was pissed.

Is it even worth mentioning that I really HAD promised myself last night that I was going to get up earlier than her, like at 7:30 or something, and DO something with my morning, like watch the morning light creep in while slowly sipping on some green tea?

Does anybody really believe anyone any more when they claim they were GOING to do something and then, WHOOPS! They were conveniently unable to do so any more!

I'm so much more sympathetic these days with changes of plans and all since, IF NOTHING ELSE, having a toddler means your daily plans change, uh, every day. I am also getting mwomy because all the corny aphorisms of "being a mom" are there FOR A REASON. BECAUSE THEY HAPPEN.

"Get ready for no more free time"

"You will not realize how much love you have to give until you have a child"
(awww)

When I was thrift-shopping earlier this week, I found an embroidered wall hanging with the phrase that you've probably heard before; I know I HAD, since my mom had an identical one hanging up in our house as long as I can remember:

I hope when my children look back on today
They remember a mother who had time to play
There will be years for cleaning and cooking
But children grow up when we're not looking

I mean, I'd probably edit mine to say, "There will be years for web-surfing and novel reading," since those are the two things I always find myself guiltiest of letting the Kid do "free play" so I can otherwise occupy myself, but IT'S TRUE! THE APHORISMS ARE TRUE!

She interrupted me all morning by shrieking "Rees! Rees!" and shoving the SAME Elmo book at me until I pulled her up on my lap and, yes, read it to her again, but I found that I kept burrowing my nose into her hair and kissing her head between pages because goshdarnit, I love that Kid!



Library time when you get up from that nap, Kiddo!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Top 100

It's only unbelievable to me, especially since I was on a every-day, then every-other-day, then every-OTHER-other-day writing routine for the first couple of months, which should have gotten me here by month 3, but I'm finally on POST 100 for evadingmwom.

100 blog posts! 100 different (or not so different) things to say over the last nine and a half months. Geez, in that time I could have gotten pregnant and had a baby, right? (Good Lord, is it only moms who instantaneously think in terms of conception-and-childbirth when you see the number "nine months?")

It's amazing that I'm on blog 100 because I can't believe I'm ONLY on blog 100. Guys, I'm SORRY, truly, because I seriously have a moment every day (no, really, EVERY DAY) where I think "Wow, I've got to blog about that." And then I'm doing laundry, or I'm collapsing in front of "Real Housewives of Atlanta," or I'm running to Thrift America to scout for PGV, or I'm returning my mom's phone call, or I'm squeezing in my work during the Kid's nap, and the day passes me by and I've skipped again.

Things I wanted to blog about but don't have the time:
  • My Best Friend's Wedding and how amazing it was to see her as a bride
  • Why Vegas has won the position of 4th Greatest Disappointment (I think the problem here is that I keep EXPECTING THINGS TO BE LARGER THAN LIFE)
  • Adventures in the emergency room (welcome to life as an acid-refluxer)
  • Halloween spiders: myth or FACT ON MY FRONT STOOP
  • The recurring desire to visit Michigan that happens every fall
Post 100 is my post-mark to try harder, and write less, more often. Thanks for holding on for 100 posts, and I'll try to get us another 100 mwomventures in six months this time!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

On TRYING NEW THINGS

My Best Friend's Wedding (HEYO) is rapidly approaching, and as I was starting to pack my shiz for VEGAS, Y'ALL, I decided I should probably try on my Honorable Woman dress and stuff.

I know it's October, so it's spooky time and all, but NO ONE WOULD APPRECIATE my ghostly legs. My legs were so pale, you could see the spider veins (HEYO! TWO HALLOWEEN REFERENCES IN TWO SENTENCES!). Ok, ok, even when I'm "tan," you can still see my spider veins. It's been this way since I was seventeen, guys, I'm not THAT old, so give me and my elderly legs a break.

Anyway, sporting the Snow White look with my dark purple Honorable Woman dress was clearly not the way to go, so I decided to do something drastic. This was no time for me to fuss around with streaky-ass orangey self-tanners, so I , um, called up a salon and scheduled AN AIRBRUSH TANNING APPOINTMENT!

My mind was ALIVE! What sort of mystical wonders awaited me in the basement "spa" area once I entered? Would my "technician" (and yes, she was classified as an "airbrush technician" on the business card she handed me) approach with some tubey-looking thing with a spray can of terrifyingly dark potion attached at the back and hose my legs down like I was at a car wash?

Well, actually, yes.

But it was all good! Because, as Vee said, amazed, when I returned home, "I looked healthy for a change."

Guys, I always take issue with a tan making you look "healthy," because DUDES, WHAT IS HEALTHY ABOUT A LAYER OF YOUR SKIN GETTING RADIATION EXPOSURE? What is healthy about DAMAGED SKIN?

But I was so joyous that I no longer had pale skin that I didn't care!

Buoyed by the success of my faux tan, I struck out for bolder territory: the local consignment sale. This joint hosts consignment sales several times a year, and since Saturday was HALF-PRICE DAY, I was like "YES!" since Kiddo is finally in her growth spurt and sizing out of her footie jammies. The Kid doesn't sleep under her covers (she sleeps like an ostrich with its head in the sand. Except there is no sand. So she kind of looks like a pillbug) and fall is HERE, so I needed to get her some roasty toasty jams.

The sale opened at 11:00am, so I figured I was in GOOD SHAPE arriving at 11:40. You know, early enough to beat those sleepy suckers who were lazing around until post-lunch on Saturday before entering the rest of the world, but late enough to miss the insaniacs who camp out, CONVINCED that there must be a cadre of clothes-with-tags-still-on-them (which THERE NEVER ARE, GUYS. THERE NEVER ARE.).

11:40. There's a line stretching around the building, and I think, "Hmmm, these must be the moms waiting to pick up their consigned clothes that they don't want to go half-price (because you do have this option)."

No. IT'S A LINE TO GET IN.

I was so astonished by the situation that I had no recourse but to get in line. I mean, GEEZ, everyone else was waiting. What sort of experience were they about to have without me?

So I wait. And wait. And we're shuffling forward every three minutes or so, enviously watching the women streaming out with rocking horses tucked under their arms and six-year-olds carrying the rest of Mommy's CHERRY scores, but we're not really getting anywhere. We watched moms FURTHER UP IN THE LINE peel off like fallen soldiers as we rounded the corner of the building and saw that the line extended for AT LEAST FIFTY MORE PEOPLE.

As it started raining, I felt really grateful that I didn't have the Kid with me. There was a mom in front of me with a little boy right about Kiddo's age, and a grandma behind me who clearly didn't think we'd be waiting as long as we were, based on her lack of A COAT. I asked Grandma what time it was, and when she revealed that WE HAD BEEN STANDING IN LINE FOR FORTY-FIVE MINUTES, I announced, "NO WAY am I waiting for AT LEAST another 45 minutes to buy USED CLOTHING for half-off! I mean, think about THE LINES TO CHECK OUT! I'M NOT WAITING THAT LONG TO PAY $3 FOR A USED SLEEPER!" and marched off to my car.

MAN, DID I TELL THEM OR WHAT?!

LESSON TAUGHT, Y'ALL! TEACHER IS IN THE HOUSE! Come on, similarly fed-up moms, fall out behind me, and let's march back to our cars, VALIANT in our UNWILLINGNESS TO WAIT IN LINE for the OPPORTUNITY to pay for USED MERCHANDISE! EVADE MWOM, LADIES!

I think the grandma was just grateful for my space in the line.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

High Time for Pie Time

So last weekend was a blast--of activity. On Saturday, we headed to the Applejack Festival in Nebraska City, EVEN THOUGH we swore we'd never go to the orchards during Applejack Fest again since last year's experience was a hellfest. See, Nebraska City has a year-round population of, like, 10,000. A-Fest brings in 50-75,000 peeps. CITY IS NOT EQUIPPED TO HANDLE IT, and so you find yourself waiting in ridiculously long car lines when all you want to do is make a right-hand turn to get out and back on the road.

Plus, you have to scrap with all the other families who are trying to get the peak apples off the trees. Last year, Kiddo was four months old, and we were huffing and puffing, trying to push her stroller down the orchard paths, clogging up the main artery and watching the lithe young kiddies sprint by with bags full of apples. Our apple haul last year? A disappointing mix of bruised, wormholed Golden Delicious.

But we were PREPARED this year! We got up and out early so that we were at the orchard by 10am; Vee wore Kiddo in the Beco on his back, and I bore A BACKPACK on mine, and we dominated the orchard paths. Golden Delicious? ONLY AT THE END! In the meantime, I picked a peck of Empire, Jonagolds, and Fujis, and by the time we were leaving, the orchard was just starting to reach Applejack capacity.

YES!

See, I had to load up on apples, because on Sunday, we hosted our Annual (which is to say, SECOND YEAR IN A ROW) Chili Hoedown, and you know I had to serve up some homemade pies. I am a serious pie-baking fanatic. Was I always this way? Hell no. I looked, uh, forward to every Thanksgiving when my mama would bake apple pie, but DID IT OCCUR TO ME that I could be doing it myself?

Do you guys remember that VEE DOES ALL OF THE COOKING IN OUR HOUSE and I do the baking?

So, like I was saying, I am a pie-baking maniac, thanks to this book that My Best Friend got me as a wedding shower gift back in 06 called, simply and elegantly, "Pie." Yes, a dude writes it, and yes, a dude is the pie-baking master, and YES, THIS IS THE MOST AMAZING COOKBOOK EVER! Seriously, I found my calling when I found Ken Haedrich. God bless the man.

This year's chili hoedown dessert options were the Golden Delicious Pie with Oatmeal Crumb Topping or the Cider-Infused Apple Pie. But wait! But wait! This year, 2009, is the year that I have finally started making MY OWN PIE CRUST! It's embarrassingly easier than I thought it would be, especially since, cough, I make it with my KitchenAid mixer. I can't believe I waited this long and kept buying those sha-nasty HyVee-brand freezer pie crusts.

I am quite in the throes of my favorite season now. Today is, after all, THE FIRST OFFICIAL DAY OF FALL, and the Kiddo and I are going to celebrate by going to a local orchard and picking some Cortlands, the apples I revere most of all and got a serious bend for when we were living in Michigan. OMFG, eat your damn Honeycrisps, I am CHOWING DOWN on the best pie apples ever.

What are you doing to celebrate fall?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Laboring on Labor Day

(no, I was not GIVING BIRTH. Good night.)

We had my parents (Gramma Goose and Grampa PhD) down to see us for Labor Day weekend. I baked a cherry almond coffeecake pie (coffeecake consistency, pie crust) and, in exchange, they helped put up the IKEA shelves we've been dragging our feet on installing, got a huge headstart on painting the den (AT LAST), and watched Kiddokabiddo on Saturday so that Vee and I could go on AN ALMOST-THREE-YEAR-ANNIVERSARY ADVENTURE to the middle of Nebraska.

Why?

DUDE, BECAUSE! Have you ever driven through Nebraska on I-80? If you haven't, then you need to, and if you have and only have trash-filled things to say about that drive, then YOU SUCK because the prairie, as Laura Bush/"Alice Blackwell" said in American Wife, "is quietly lovely, not preening with the need to have its attributes remarked on."

We got to go to the Archway Museum, which has been tempting us since 2002. It stretches ACROSS I-80!

It was EPIC! I mean, LOOK AT HOW YOU ENTER IT!

Up the escalator and on til morning! You wear these little earphones the whole time and you're hearing voices of pioneers and letters and stuff while you look at the displays. It was great and WORTH THE WAIT!

That's how we do it on anniversaries, y'all: living and loving the prairie. We had to celebrate early since our actual anniversary is the day before MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING and we'll be busy, obviously, since I AM Honorable Woman and all.

We worked our faces off for the rest of the weekend with my 'rents and my arms were so insanely sore by Monday night since I was painting and painting and painting. Still putting the room back together, so I'll get a Home Show post up next week with what we did, but HOLY SNAKE, I have not been that sore since I had to carry Kiddo around all the time.

What did you do for Labor Day weekend? You know, since it was almost a week ago and all.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Thrifting and Sifting

I went estate-saling and garage-hopping last weekend, as has been my Saturday ritual for most of the summer, to pick up odds and ends and stuff for my etsy store.

YES, YES, we all know I can't really craft so hot, but I can LOCATE AMAZING ARTIFACTS AND SELL THEM TO YOU FOR CHEAP!

My etsy store (prairie ghost vintage) has been doing pretty well--I've still got a huge stash of vintage postcards left over from, ahem, my wedding (almost three years ago. Uhhhhhh...) that I'm selling off, and then there's always those THINGS that I find when thrift-shopping where I buy it because IT'S TOO GOOD TO LEAVE IN THE STORE, bring it home, and then feel immediately guilty for spending $3.27 on a set of coffee cups when our cabinet is overflowing.

So I started reselling them.

ANYWAY, when I was estate-saling earlier this summer, which is BY FAR the best way to go--all these oldsters in the old neighborhoods I would LOOOOOOOOVE to live in keep going to assisted living, or dying, and there is probably nothing I love more than wandering around through SOMEONE'S HOUSE, especially when it is loaded with old books and housewares and STUFF ON THE WALLS and, yep, vintage toys--I came across this beauty:



It was pretty skanky and dirty, but the stickers were all in great condition, and I had to buy it for Kiddo. Because I USED TO HAVE ONE!

So she can now store her little farm buddies in the hayloft (how freaking adorable is this? I want to die)


But the TRUE AND AMAZING best find was last weekend. I hit the road at 8:30am (you have to get MOVING early to get anything in this town--there is no point in being out after 10:30am unless it is Sunday and you are half-price-buying at what's left at the estate sales) and went to the first sale on my list, which was in this absolutely STUNNINGLY gorgeous neighborhood that I would die to live in--you know, where all the houses are huge and built in the early mid-century and the trees are mature and OOH! YES-AH!

I walked up the driveway and was delighted to see all the vintage kids' toys--like rocking horses, old stuffed animals, etc. When I say "vintage kids' toys," I am shamefully talking about toys from my youth. I am THAT OLD! So I was smiling to myself as I sifted through a stack of old kids' records (like Care Bears Christmas, Strawberry Shortcake Christmas) and I got really happy when I looked on the ground and saw this old, old toy record player that I KNOW, FOR A FACT, I used to have!

And right beside it was a carrel of old Disney 45s/books where you'd put the record on and read along--including one that made me mist up--THE RESCUERS. I used to spend HOURS staring at those pages and listening to the sad/scary (because, really, it was both. SO SAD!) music while hoping THIS TIME Medusa wouldn't make Penny go into the cave.

(Aside: it was mildly terrifying to see Medusa in the book because EEE-IKES, I have HAD her hair. HAD! HAD! NOT HAVE!)


There was only one other person browsing around, so I plopped down beside the stack and started looking at the records, and I noticed that there was also an old kids' plug-in record player beside it. Wow. I was moved by my childhood memories and so I told the garage sale owner that I remembered most of them from when I was a kid, and mentioned that I had a 15 month old daughter. She told me that she had a daughter around my age, and had her over last weekend to pick out whatever she wanted to keep, and this stuff was what she had rejected.

I asked the lady, "How much for the record player, the toy record player, and the kids' records (meaning the 45s, and meaning individually what was she asking for them, since none of them were marked with prices)?"

She said, "Mmm, how about $8 for them all?"

I was like WHOA! but I knew I only had $6 on me. So I said, "I've only got $6..." and was about to ask what she would sell me for $6, but she said "I CAN DO $6" and offered to help me CARRY IT TO THE CAR!

Basically dying, but as I went for the toy record player, real record player, and the carrel of 45s, SHE GRABS THE ENTIRE CARREL OF 33 1/3S AND BRINGS IT ALONG TOO, and IT DAWNS ON ME THAT I JUST GOT THOSE TOO!

I should have seriously called it a day after that, since I knew I wouldn't get any better deals. And I didn't. But LOOK AT WHAT KIDDO AND I GET TO PLAY WITH NOW!




Anyone in the mood for "Camptown Races?"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Home, and then Home

So. I went to Seattle for the wedding of Vee's best friend + now-wife, and it was utterly and completely exhausting. And I wasn't even in the wedding party! (Vee was best man)

My parents, Gramma Goose and Grampa PhD, along with my sister AKA, were kind enough to fly all the way out there just to babysit. Well, and be on vacation with us in the Pac NW, our first-of-homes, but really it was all because we needed someone to watch Kiddo.

We stayed on Bainbridge Island, a cluster of evergreens, hills, and hopelessly dreamy houses for the work-from-home too-cool-for-Seattle post-yups. I was disgustedly shaking my head at the idiosyncratic tropes that kept bursting against my skull whenever I looked up at the treeline and saw a line of fog (corny, CORNY phrases like "I would give up everything to see this everyday" or "This is what I am MEANT to live amongst"--the same repulsively childish comments I was telling myself when I was ten and we first moved away from Cor Or; believing in the DESTINY of my eventual life in the NW).

WHY COULDN'T I GROW UP?

The flat rooflines of my dream houses, the yards of endlessly tall trees poking their spines against the gray sky, the cool temperature (in August! in August!): I basically relived my adolescence and mooned around the backyard of the rental house as Grampa PhD taught Kiddo how to scoot down the stairs inside, swooning about THE LIFE I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE LIVING!

I am an adult woman, with a husband and a child, a house and a job, and I was making bargains with myself (this alone should have tipped me off: the fact that I was still on the third Kubler-Rossian step) to justify moving there.

MOVING THERE?!

Dude, I love me some prairie, and I love the life I've built, but I was cornily explaining to myself THAT IT ALL NEEDED TO BE SACRIFICED IN ORDER TO GET BACK WHAT I HAD GIVEN UP FIFTEEN YEARS AGO!

(And no, I was not thinking of leaving my husband, or my child, or, frankly, even my job. Working from home STRIKES AGAIN!)

When I am in a landscape that touches me, I automatically start making Faustian bargains because I AM SUPPOSED TO BE LIVING THERE.

The landscape that affects me most strongly? The landscape of my childhood--what I learned to base everything against. Home is SUPPOSED to be heavily treed, the horizon cushioned with uninhabited hills, mountains visible beyond, fertile farms, idyllic sheep, houses built in the 40s and the 50s, recycling bins at the end of every driveway and no Wal-Mart in sight.

Emotions run high when I talk about my time in Cor Or because I was ten when we left, and if you can imagine, the four years that followed (5th-8th grade) were pretty hellish, and the contrast was so extreme that even IF I hadn't been so enveloped in the idea that, if we'd stayed there, my life would have been better, you would have been SURE my life was better.

This is the state I was in as AKA, Gramma Goose, Kiddo, and I drove down through the valley to the Valley (Willamette, thanks) for our ladies-only two-day adventure back to Cor and to the coast.

A STATE OF RAPTURE IN MY STATE OF RAPTURE! O OREGON! There was a REASON people gave up everything to seek HAPPINESS by following THE OREGON TRAIL to EDEN! (It does not help at. all. that the Willamette Valley was actually the valley of promise, the true and honest farmers' paradise where the settlers who were STRONG ENOUGH to PERSIST wound up)

But how can I say this (and then how can I SAY this? Isn't it blasphemy? Won't I be struck down by the MEs of fifteen years?)? I was disappointed. DISAPPOINTED. It WASN'T LIKE I REMEMBERED IT. (And, for the record, I had been back in '94, '03, and '05, so it's not like I hadn't been there since I was a kid)

The constant evergreens--still gorgeous. The hills on the edge of the valley--still comforting and enticing. But it WASN'T WHERE I WANTED TO BE ANY MORE. I don't think you can understand the level of bewilderment as I recognized that emotion. I was so completely and utterly BEWILDERED at my reaction to THE PLACE I HAD HALLOWED AS THE PINNACLE OF JOYFUL LIVING for fifteen years that I kept waiting to shake out of it, to recognize it back as WHERE I WAS SUPPOSED TO BE.

But I DIDN'T.

It didn't get any better. We drove up Marys Peak, we drove out to the coast, we drove through the coastal range, we drove to Portland. And I didn't see one place that fit my landscape NEED.

HOW COULD THIS BE?

It was so confusing; I couldn't think of any way to describe it to Vee when I got home. It was like I peeled off a Band-Aid that had been there for fifteen years and underneath there was nothing there: no scar, no evidence I'd ever been wounded, no wound.

I am still working through my emotions, still sifting through what is left behind, what I have left behind, what I still need to leave behind. I know nothing, but I know this:

I am on the prairie, and I am home. And I love, love, love my life, more deeply and more intensely than I ever have before, because I know, with a bewildering new certainty, that there is no where, NO where, no where in my hidden secret if-I-were-only-living-here daydream life, that I want to be more than here.

And not there.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Ho-ly. Wow.

Ok, seriously, I promise a real post tonight (or TOMORROW MORNING AT THE ABSOLUTE LATEST), but I CANNOT RESIST showing you this AMAZING ETSY FIND:



OH MY GOD, I AM LOSING MY SHIT! Can you even IMAGINE how on EARTH you could explain this to, say, your husband? Your boyfriend? Your meaningless-makeout?

"Oh, yes, I know that you thought I was a modern woman of the times, what with my natural-fiber rug, curly willow branch-in-a-vase, and bedroom window overlooking a bustling city. But GUYS, SERIOUSLY, did you not ALSO ascertain that I was the sort of woman who would have a wall cling of Edward Cullen?"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tuesday Morning Scene

It's 9:45am, Tuesday morning, and the windows are closed this morning since the storms have left the air too humid.

Kiddo's fishy-smelling diapers are rinsing for the second time downstairs in the washer (thanks DESITIN: FUCK YOU. Who puts COD LIVER OIL in their diaper cream? A better question: who DOESN'T READ THE LABELS before using an ointment on their Kiddo?), and she is handing me her Hawaiian Lady and her Traveling Lady alternately, then shoving them back in my hands when I try to give them to her.

The coffeemaker is beeping as I try to squeeze two cups of coffee out of the childsize handful of beans we have left, and the coffee will be too watery to drink although I don't know it yet.

I'm sitting on the couch in a yoga tank and yoga pants, not doing yoga and not intending to do yoga, reading from a collection of Joan Didion essays, and I start crying in a very Joan-Didion-1967 way when I finish "On Going Home" because she brings her daughter "home" (which is to say, the place where her family lives in central California) for her daughter's first birthday, and Joan "would like to give her home for her birthday, but we live differently now and can promise her nothing like that."

I pick Kiddo up in a moment of self-pity and put her on my lap and tell her I want to give her home, but she shoves "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" in my face and announces "BNEE! BNEE!" while pointing at Peter and squirms out of my grip, because you cannot miss home if you do not know what it is like to be without it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Kiddo On the Move

So it's like this: Kiddokabiddo has started walking (yes, for those of you keeping track at home, she's two days shy of fourteen months old. And Vee and I were both walking at ten months. Hey, the Kid reads books alone and has been feeding herself since she was six months old. I'm not fussing if she's a little late walking) which means I am spending my days holding her out at arms length, crowing, "Get your balance, get your balance!" and backing away as she walks towards me.

Probably the best thing ever. Parents who kept telling me, "Oh, you'll regret it when she starts to walk--she'll be all over into EVERYTHING," you were wrong. Even though she keeps pulling down my copy of "First Indian on the Moon" off the shelf she ISN'T SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO REACH and bringing it over to me while grunting "Ungh, ungh" (in Kiddospeak, that means 'Read to me.' I don't know why my daughter, who has no problem saying "bunny" and "plane" and calling every liquid "wa-wa" can't say BOOK, but I'm going with it).

Still love that she's walking.

Kid on the move!

I performed one of the greatest Recession Miracles this weekend. I had gotten an email from Gap (to AN EMAIL ADDRESS THAT I NEVER, EVER GIVE OUT, so how they got it is SERIOUSLY ALARMING) letting me know about a recall on a coat I had bought for Kiddo way back in November. (We bought the pink duffle coat, in case you're actually looking at that link)

Buying the coat alone was a major coup, since it was inexplicably marked down from $44.50 to $9.99 (AMAZING!) and, even better, I had a $10 Gap Rewards certificate, so after tax got involved, I paid a whole $0.48 for it.

ROCK AND ROLL!

So I brought the coat in, even though Kiddo has long, long since outgrown it and it was just going to unsafely languish in the saving-for-the-next-kid clothes boxes. DON'T WANT FUTURE KIDDOS CHOKING! Even though I was pretty sure that it was pointless and I would be refunded $0.48 since I put it on my Gap Card and, surely, they will know that fact.

I brought the toggle-still-safely-attached coat to the lady at the counter, she took it, and told me that I would be issued a $44.50 merchandise credit.

YES!

So I bought a bunch of leggings for Kiddo and still have ~$15.

And, um, another $10 Gap Rewards certificate.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Winner! Champion!



Since I doubt you can read that fuzziness, let me tell you that the WINNER of the Pernille Vea Coffee Press, generously donated by Allmodern.com, is...

GRACE, commenter #3!

Grace, if you could send your email address and mailing address to kristineonseventeen at yahoo dot com, I will get your info sent along and your coffee press will be on its way! Congratulations!

And thanks, everyone, for commenting and letting me know who you are. Although I think I already knew who most of you are.

I am crazy-minded busy with work and getting my life back on track after three straight weekends of either being a guest, hosting guests, or traveling, so I'll be back later this week, hopefully, with a real post. In the meantime, in between time, I just need to say two things:

1. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (the movie) was ONE OF THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS I COULD HAVE IMAGINED. And this is coming from a MAJOR Harry Potter fan. More on that later--did you see it? What did you think?

2. Do you know what the most amazing thing about Savannah is? YOU CAN CARRY AROUND ROADIES ON THE STREET AND IT IS TOTALLY LEGAL!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Give It Up! I Am!

I'm smack-dab between the amazing Ladeez Wiikynd of Thurs-Fri-Sat-Sun-Mon (wow, that looks a lot more like Ladeez Wiik--no wonder I'm still recuperating) and the upcoming Bach Bacchanalia in Savannah for My Best Friend, so to keep y'all on your toes, here it comes...

Are you ready?

The sweet peeps at allmodern.com, who've got AMAZING modern furniture like the Aeron Chair by Herman Miller (dude, I should totally have this to go in my office so that my thrift-shopped Herman Miller chairs can partner up with their kin) and lust-inducing housewares (like, oh, basically everything by DwellStudio), were kind enough to contact me and offer up a giveaway.

Right here!

You're thinking to yourself, "Ok, so what did she pick out?"

This coffee press by Pernille Vea!


It beats hell out of my cheapo coffee press, so I'm really jealous of y'all right about now.

Want to be brewing up your morning goods in this sweetie?

YOU GOTTA COMMENT!

I know a lot of you have been hanging out, unwilling to offer your rebuttals on my insane Twilight lust or unable to comprehend why I pimped out actual pictures of myself karaoking during Blog Party Music Week, but you've got to STEP UP and MAKE YOUR PRESENCE KNOWN if you want a piece of that coffee press.

If you don't have a Blogger account, comment with a valid email address. Otherwise, BRING IT ON--one comment per person, but you can have a bonus entry if you comment with a story about a mwom or a dwad. DOUBLE bonus entry if you were the mwom/dwad in question.

I'm closing the entries at noon CST on Monday (July 20 09). So when I get back from Savannah, I'm random-picking a winner.

Don't be like Miley...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Twenty-Something Turns, Well, Twenty-Something

First, can I just say that Keith Urban's tour bus is in town, and probably nothing would make my life like Keith Urban wishing me a happy birthday? Hey, we've both got 13 month old daughters and he's already got a red-headed wife; I'm not looking to hook up. Maybe just a hug. Or a kiss on the cheek. You know, like, that spot right between the cheekbone and the lips.

Anyway.

At 7:30 this morning, Vee brought me coffee, a biker-themed birthday card, and the new Taylor Swift CD (OMG I don't think I have talked yet about how much I love Taylor Swift and how obsessed I am with the new Taylor Swift single "You Belong to Me"--another post, y'all, another post) and woke me up from a dream where I was getting ready for a new semester of college and Vee and I were commiserating over how "this year's crop of new students are actually ATTRACTIVE."

Even in my dreams, I knew I was getting ONE YEAR OLDER and ONE YEAR further away from the adult I was and into the adult I am.

I am twenty-seven today, y'all. That's right: this mwom-evader is revealing her age, forever more, on the elephant-never-forgets Internet, which will record this fact a lot longer than your memories.

I LIKE being twenty-seven. I like being in my late 20s now. And I want you guys to know that I'm 27 because when I haul out the list of things I'm proud of, foremost is that I've done them all by the time I'm 27.

Where am I on my "list of things I thought I'd have done by now?" Like I mentioned in a previous post, I don't have my masters and I sure don't have a baby on the way, but I have a house in a city I love, a 13 month old Kiddo that delights me daily, a solid job (almost FIVE FULL YEARS with them now) with people and a mission that I respect, a family I love deeply and grow closer to with each passing year, friends I can pick right back up with even though we live far apart, and a husband I adore, who I have adored for almost eight years, and who is truly with me in every step of my life.

I don't LIKE being twenty-seven. I LOVE being twenty-seven.

You've made it this far. That means something. It's MY birthday, and while I'm not going to pretend twenty-seven has made me all potlatchy, I can tell you this: there is an EVADING MWOM FIRST GIVEAWAY on the horizon, so keep your eyes peeled and your blog readers updated. And thanks for sticking with me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

All on the Fourth of July

Vee, Kiddo and I had a great Fourth of July with Gramma Goose, Grampa PhD, and AKA up in the Cities: we squeezed in an IKEA run, lunch out at my aunt & uncle's, several walks around the neighborhood, Kiddo's first conscious fireworks display (OMG, can I even tell you about last year for a second? We drove home from MN on the Fourth, and by the time we got home, she was crankdified and I could barely take her out on our deck so that I could see the fireworks.), and a great walk around Lake Calhoun.

Oh yeah, and VEE AND I GOT OUR FIRST NIGHT AWAY FROM THE KID!

As Vee's Father's Day gift, I got us a hotel room at the Hotel Minneapolis during one of our nights up with my 'rents. Yeah, I know, that seems counter-intuitive: to celebrate the fact that he's a father, he gets to spend a night NOT HAVING TO BE A FATHER. Tevs, doggy--it was rad. When we checked in, I had inexplicably received a $20 food credit (member of HHonors? Random 'First Night Away From Your Kid' fairy? I did not know, but I DID NOT CARE! FREEBIE!), so we had dinner in the hotel restaurant on the main floor. The Hotel Minneapolis used to be a bank, and YOU CAN TELL: huge marble columns everywhere, three-story-tall ceilings on the whole main floor, and yes, the rooms do appear to be former offices, no matter how much mod detailing they toss on them.

The coolest part was THE LIGHT FIXTURES! They had these gigantic metal circles strapped around the columns and red flat petals with lights extended beneath them, and the overall effect was THE COOLEST CORNER OF HELL (ironic, since Vee and I had breakfast at Hell's Kitchen the next morning, which did not appear hellish in any way other than the fact that it was in a basement).




(this is not us, but the cavalier attitude of these two urban twenty-somethings does mimic our presence that night. Except I was not drinking a three-years-ago Cosmo. Dude, get with the times and pimp one of your rad drinks, like the "Gatsby's Daisy" which I DID try, featuring green tea vodka, lavender simple syrup, and tarragon!)

My sister and her boyfriend met up with us a little later and we hung out in the bar portion of restaurant Max. After Vee pounded a Jameson on the rocks, he was out for the count and rowdily accosting Twins fans (Tigers v Twins was on the TV, and Vee is nothing if not Detroit-proud) between verbal assaults on the 60-something scraggly-haired "lawyer" (as he told our bartender) with the highest man-boobs ever (no, really, the dude HAD TO HAVE BEEN WEARING A MANSSIERE) who WAS IN THE BAR BECAUSE HIS 21-YEAR-OLD BRIDE-TO-BE was having her bachelorette dinner in the restaurant and I guess a certain SOMEBODY had to get involved (to the point of ordering Zombies for the whole table of giggling young Asian girls, which gave the entire affair a flavor of Mail Order Bride).

Anyway, it was great to have our first night off of Kiddokabiddo Night Duty after thirteen months, and when Gramma Goose and Grampa PhD picked us up the next morning, Kiddo was delighted to see us, but didn't really miss us THAT much. OUCH!

Great long weekend, easy drive home, but guess what DUMB THING WE DID?

Left VEE'S KEYS and MY CELL PHONE at my parents' house.

WELL DONE, WELL DONE!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

what a kitchen can make you (other than food)

It's been a long time since I've had one of those "Wow, THIS IS MY LIFE?" moments.

So I shouldn't have been surprised when it thwopped me.

I was standing at the stove, one arm akimbo, one arm holding up a bag of rice, staring out the window and waiting for the water to boil, my crazy Kiddo in a Little Swimmers disposable (awaiting tonight's swim class) wawitzing out at my feet, a brown plastic stirring spoon from my mom's old kitchen stuck in her mouth and trying to climb up the stove (it shows her her reflection, which is apparently irresistible).

I had just finished mopping up her PEE from the floor (she has a CHEMICAL BURN, which sounds so much more horrible than it is, but basically it's because of all the ammonia in her pee, and I was trying to give her booty some naked-baby-time so it could heal).

I just took a mental snapshot of my life, and WOW, when I knew I'd be 26, I didn't know it would look like this. Even if I was staying on the "schedule" I drafted at 15 of how my life was going look (which is to say: at 26 I would have a husband, a masters degree, one kid down and one on the way), somehow it was supposed to look a little bit different.

You know, like with glamorous adventures as a mom, or a kitchen view like the model kitchen I used to stare at forever when my parents would drag us to this one home store in Albany.

You don't understand--it was high ceilings, tall cabinets, an ULTRA-LUXURIOUS PANTRY with TWO SETS OF PANTRY DOORS! (where you open the outside doors and there are shelves lining them, but there is also ANOTHER set of doors with shelves and more shelves behind that...it was like an invitation to endless stockpiling), but the number one, ultimate, daydream-inducing thing about it was the view.

Ah, the view.

Outside your windows above the sink, a field of cultivated desert-field stretched out before you, undulating, rolling, and behind it, the beckoning peaks of snow-capped mountains. You could see one other house off in the distance, but you were pretty much out there on your own.

Could I write this off as just a corny stage-prop, a piece of cardboard that every store used in their "country kitchen" display?

No.

I was living in Oregon, and I was CONVINCED that this view REALLY EXISTED over on the other side of the Cascades, over there in Eastern Oregon, and somehow this store had imported the entire kitchen from a house because they just liked it that much, but before they hauled it up, they took a picture (to stay true to the kitchen's complete experience, of course) and blew it up.

That was my life, THAT was my destiny: if I was standing at my sink making rice, I was looking out the window at THAT.


(not quite right, but not too far off)

Or I could be in my prairie town, piss-soaked Kiddo and all, trying to see the horizon beyond the houses, still stretching.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Oh, Michael.

I've been a Michael Jackson apologist since the first rash of child molestation charges back in the 90s, and the "interview series" in 2003 was so lopsided that I couldn't HELP but back up Michael.

Whether it happened, or didn't, I will always be broken down with compassion for Michael Jackson, that he felt like he needed to surround himself with children to make up for the childhood he didn't get. It doesn't excuse anything, it only hints at explanation, but his acts of recreating a childhood that didn't exist and trying to crystallize time have always made me want to cry with the futility of it all.

Michael, Michael, my very first crush-before-I-even-knew-to-call-it-a-crush, like the millions of people around the world, thank you for your music, your gift. I can't stop til I get enough.













Monday, June 22, 2009

Home Show: Master Bedroom is Mastered

Well, hi. What's due is what I'm about to do: to show you our NEWLY REMODELED BEDROOM AT LAST, even though we painted this sucker almost a solid month ago.

Your "Before" refresher?


Ok, that's a REALLY early "before"--note the co-sleeper that Kiddokabiddo has not slept in for a solid year and the lack of new furniture.

Let's try again:





So that's what we were living like up until the day before Memorial Day weekend. EHHHHHH.

What, pray tell, are we living now?

LA DOLCE VITA!







The paint? Olympic's "Caruso", and "French Riviera" as the wall behind our bed. We also bought a new summerweight comforter (Target) and the bed pillows, THE FIRST WE HAVE EVER OWNED, came from IKEA.

We installed an IKEA shelf over my dresser, brought in my long-suffering spider plant and bought a curly grass, and slapped up our other wall decal from Leen the Graphics Queen.



And our art. I'm proud of this since it didn't cost us more than $2.50. We already had the two big framed Yerba Buena and Yerba Mansa prints from Jill Bliss in our guest room (thanks Dad!), but when I moved them into our room, it felt really bare between them.

I, however, am a huge Jill Bliss fan and have been using her datebooks and stationery for years at this point, so I hauled out some unused stationery and notecards, ran down to Thrift America for some preowned frames, and GOT IT DONE!

Recession-era decorating! Reusing what you have! Vee was thrilled that I didn't spend a fortune!

I'm still lusting after the Douglas Fir poster for the guest room since the new decorating theme in there is THE NORTHWEST, but since I just bought a print from 20x200 for the guest room, I guess that will have to wait until the next pay month. In eight days.

Does anyone have any recommendations for TABLE LAMPS or mounted nightstand lights? I think that's the one thing I'm unhappy with so far. We have been using Vee's ancient old light literally since 2002, and I am tired of feeling like I am still in college.

Also, the wall our bed faces currently looks like this:


That's the hope chest my daddy made me as a wedding gift, and it's staying put and receiving glory for the rest of its life, and those are two IKEA mirrors set above it. We want to keep our room decor looking natural and prairie-like since, with the sea color and wavy mirrors, it's too easy to look beachy, which is TOTALLY NOT US.

So what can I do with this wall? Suggestions? Product recommendations? We're trying to keep it cheap, but inspire me!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Live Forever

Our good friends the Botchkos came down to visit us over last weekend, which was especially awesome since we didn't have any visitors planned for the month of June and, well, Vee and I like entertaining. So I made a watermelon chiffon pie as Kiddo crawled around my feet (do not recommend this).

We went down to the Old Market with the Botchkos on Saturday morning, hoping to go antiquing at this awesome antique mall that I knew was going out of business...YES, YOU GUESSED IT, we were just a day TOO LATE, and the joint had a big NO LONGER IN BUSINESS sign on it. DAMN! So we poked around a few stores and then had lunch at a brew pub downtown; the one restaurant, without fail, that we seem to ALWAYS take visitors when we go downtown. It was actually the first restaurant Vee and I ever went to in our beloved prairie city, way back when we first visited back in 02. Ah me, young love.

Back at our house, we decided to watch one of the movies the Botchkos had brought. Mr Botchko and Ms Botchko are movie-watchers-extraordinaires and had supplied us with five from their huge stash to pick from. We picked...

BABYCAKES!

What can I even say about this movie other than IT IS AMAZING, and THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN THE "SOUNDTRACK" with its "babycaaaaaakes...niiiiiiice" awkwardly repeated at random intervals.
(see below for a sample)

I was SCREAMING my head off with laughter--the premise of the movie is that Ricki Lake is fat, and she works as a cosmetologist at a mortuary, and one day she sees this NOT HOT BUT SUPPOSED TO BE dude ice-skating and decides she is supposed to be with him. So she VERY CREEPILY stalks him, and after a series of "this dude is a CHUD with NO LIFE who and he is ENGAGED AND NEVER DENIES IT" events, they stay together.

But not before Fiancee (who is apparently a bitch because she works a lot) beats up Fat Ricki at a New Years party!

Furthermore, Ricki's TRULY A BITCH best friend who hates her because she is happy NEVER GETS HER COMEUPPANCE and when she is lecturing Ricki and Chud about how the world is going to come to an end, Chud AWKWARDLY screams out "Then I'm CLINGIN' TO GRACE! [Ricki's name]".

DUDE IS STILL ENGAGED! AND NEVER DENIES IT! Can you tell that I CAN'T GET OVER THAT?

Anyway, GOD BLESS THE BOTCHKOS for bringing Babycakes into my life. After that, what could we do but FINALLY plant Kiddo's YEAR PLANT?

We had been meaning to plant something on Kiddo's first birthday to honor her, and, ok, I'm just going to say it--we wanted to finally plant her placenta.

YEP, HER PLACENTA!

Vee specially requested that they save it when I was giving birth, and since I was IN THE MIDDLE OF LABOR, I said "Whatever! Fine!" and they bagged it up in a biohazard plastic bag and it has been living at the back of our freezer. FOR OVER A YEAR. But no more! Placenta is supposed to be AN AMAZING FERTILIZER for plants, so I'm just hoping that's what happens and not that MY KILLER PLACENTA takes down Kiddo's hyssop plant.

Sunday morning, we took the Botchkos to our favorite breakfast joint where we all chowed down, and then on to one of our favorite WILD WOODS parks (in fact, the one where we had our engagement pictures taken) before we sent them on their way.

IT WAS AWESOME, BOTCHKOS! LET'S DO IT AGAIN!

But I can't really leave you guys tonight until I tell you about my most recent Twilight discovery. So I was totally going to say that I feel much better with the Twilight series under my belt, and I am going back into it and actually reading all of the words this time, and I wanted to assuage your fears that while I am crazily into Twilight, I wasn't going to, like, make a Youtube video of Edward and Bella and set it to "Live Forever" or anything,

BUT THEN I WENT ON YOUTUBE TO CHECK AND SOMEONE TOTALLY ALREADY DID!


OMG! What is next, did someone make a video of clips of Al Gore and set it to "I Need a Hero" like I dreamed about doing back when they were trying to impress him into running for president?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

IN! TOO! DEEP!

Next blog will be about the great visit with our friends the Botchkos, who came down to visit us from MN over the weekend, but I can't focus because I have been in a "Twilight"-induced K-hole for the last four days.

How deep? Let's put it this way--I drove out to the West library in hopes of getting book2 ("New Moon") and was devastated to realize that every 12-year-old had the same dream this summer--there was a waitlist queue of 84. EIGHTY-FOUR! Since I had bargained an hour of mom-time-away-from-Kiddo with Vee, I had approximately 35 minutes, including drive-time, remaining after my failed adventure.

What did I do? Where did I go?

Barnes & Noble, where I sped-read the first hunk of chapters in "New Moon" for twenty minutes while perched on one of those uncomfortable step stools.

Did it satisfy my bloodlust for Twilight?

What do you think?

Being unwilling to shell out $20/book for the rest of the series, yet mentally incapable of waiting through 84 slow-moving pre-adolescents who would definitely max out their two-week-checkout-periods, I turned to eBay. Then I realized I would have to pay $35+ for the four books and THEN WAIT ANOTHER WEEK OR SO while they were shipped to me.

Unacceptable.

While scanning the about-to-expire listings, I stumbled upon SALVATION:

Some enterprising young kid/adult had SCANNED THE PAGES OF ALL OF THE BOOKS IN and would EMAIL YOU THE PDFS immediately upon winning the bid.

WTF?!??!?! An UTTERLY INGENIOUS scheme that cost the seller JACKSHIT while appealing to FIENDS LIKE MYSELF!

So I guttersniped the poor leader with only 2 feedbacks at the last second (I've been bidding long enough that I KNOW WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN) and actually Paypaled $5.04 over to the seller, and LO AND BEHOLD...

I WAS SENT TO A FILESHARE SITE! With all four books PLUS some bonus material!

First of all, I immediately wanted to share this with my friends because DUDE, it wasn't even the PDFs, I just FOUND OUT THE SITE WHERE THEY WERE BEING HOSTED and TOTALLY ANYONE COULD ACCESS THEM! But before my beneficient nature could take over, I realized that, well, NO ONE ELSE CARED AS MUCH AS ME, and besides, I WANTED TO START READING!

So, my Twilight K-hole. If I was on the computer at all in the last 24 hours (which, believe me, I WAS), I was furiously using Page Down and screaming through the pages of "New Moon," "Eclipse," and "Breaking Dawn." Usually, I'm a LITTLE more discreet and take my time, but with ALL FOUR BOOKS AT MY FINGERTIPS, I was stampeding through the storylines so that I could find out what happened, and enjoying little bits along the way, knowing that I could go back to REALLY read them at any point.

Conclusion? TWILIGHT IS A K-HOLE I WILL GLADLY FALL INTO, but my two complaints are this:

1. Honeymoon scene? NOT WORTH WAITING FOR! When Edward and Bella are making out in "Eclipse" it is SOOOOOO much better! Even the cottage scene in "Breaking Dawn" is better than the honeymoon! Which leads me to:

2. EDWARD NEEDS TO STOP BUSTING UP EVERY MAKEOUT WITH REMINDERS OF HOW THEY SHOULDN'T BE DOING IT! Look, I understand JUST AS WELL AS THE NEXT GIRL that over 75% of Edward's sexiness is his Mr. Darcyian falling-in-love-against-his-will, but DUDE NEEDS TO STOP RUINING LITERALLY EVERY MOMENT and just LET IT HAPPEN without the dumb remorse post-honeymoon!

You're KILLING MY BUZZ!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Twilight Falls

Of few things am I as certain as this fact:

Are you writing a teen novel series which will incorporate mythical, magical elements? If so, LET ME KNOW SO I CAN GET IN ON THE GROUND FLOOR THIS TIME!

Y'all know where this is going. Yesterday, I stopped fighting fate and borrowed a copy of "Twilight" from the library. And as Kiddo happily crawled back and forth between the couch and the sliding patio doors on her own personal track, I tore through the book in three hours flat.

Then obsessively Wikipedia-ed and Googled everything I could about "Twilight," Edward, and, ok, a little bit about Bella.

This is the second time this has happened.

In the spring of 2006, though I had successfully dissed, resisted, and mocked the Harry Potter Mania, I had been through all of the interesting-looking New Fiction at the library, and finally decided to give it a chance. So I shamefacedly went over to the Young Adult section after looking up the author and took home "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone."

It might have rained that afternoon, it might have blizzarded, Conor Oberst might have been playing a free show at the park a few blocks away from me (and yes, he was), but I was LOCKED DOWN, LOCKED UP TIGHT on the couch in my living room, ENRAPTURED by the book. (For the record, I am totally a Snape girl, and I just like Harry's adventures. But my daydreams are not about little Harry Potter. Digression.)

The next day (no, really, the next day), I marched back to the library and checked out as many of the following books as they had. I plowed through all of them during the following weeks, trying to make Vee see how FASCINATING and AMAZING these storylines were so that I would have someone to talk through my THEORIES with! And as I was reading the books, fortunately I was able to ALSO RENT THE MOVIES! Like BASICALLY THE BEST THING EVER!

I was shocked at myself, since I am sooooooo NOT a fantasy/magical reality person. No, really. Like SO not into that sort of storyline. When I was younger, I was violently afraid of "Alice in Wonderland" and I got really, really uncomfortable whenever TV shows or movies would have things occur that didn't make sense in the corporal world. I had a very difficult time understanding alternate realities/the concept of space, and so I avoided them. On reflection, I think that's why I hate scary movies/ghost stories so much--they're all predicated on things "appearing" or beings existing which DO NOT BELONG in regular space and time.

So WHY WAS I SO ENAMORED WITH HARRY POTTER, a series of books about A BOY WHO WENT TO WIZARD SCHOOL and was permeated with magical flying things and spells and beings that should not exist?

I think the key word here is: wizard SCHOOL. THE BOY IS BASICALLY AT A PREP BOARDING SCHOOL, which has been one of my pet fantasies/favorites subjects to read about ever since I was in seventh grade and sending away dreamily for boarding school information so that I could rappell through the woods in my blazer and matching skirt like the girl in the videocassette sent by the Madeira School.

"Prep" by Curtis Sittenfeld? Basically like SOMEONE SAW INSIDE MY MIND AND WROTE A BOOK BASED ON MY FANTASIES. "Special Topics in Calamity Physics" by Marisha Pessl? Keep it coming! Combine that with A REPLICANT OF "The Worst Witch," definitively one of my favorite movies of all time, where Fairuza Balk goes to Witch School and then Tim Curry, as the Grand Wizard, shows up and sings the most amazing song recorded in history, and you've got Harry Potter. And you've got my obsession.


You can throw all of the usual wet blankets on the series. IT'S WRITTEN FOR YOUNG ADULTS, and so IT READS LIKE IT! No, it's not THE MOST AMAZING WRITING OF THE CENTURY. Do you think I care? Do you think it stopped me from waiting in line at midnight on July 20/21, 2007 for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows?



Or do you think that it stopped me from literally reading until 3am that night, then getting up at 9am and reading nonstop until noon, sobbing at parts, and when I emerged into the bright sunlight, almost speechless, being astonished that the world was still going about its normal cycle?

So here I am, with "Twilight," reliving my immersion into a pop culture mania I thought I was beyond and I definitely thought I was too old for. It's no Harry Potter, but I can read about a vampire teen with gorgeously-mussed-hair in love against his will basically any day. Can we get a little closer to TEEN ME?



I just hope the "honeymoon scene" in "Breaking Dawn" is as good as it should be. DON'T MAKE ME WAIT THROUGH FOUR BOOKS FOR NOTHING!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Technological Delight!

My big ambitions with this blog (remember when I was BLOGGING EVERY DAY?) seem to have fizzled out; oddly enough, it is occurring in sequence with a decrease in my workload as I prepare to complete my last full week of 3/4-time work. Is it summer fever? Doubtful, especially on a day like today, with gray skies and temps in the mid-60s.

My big girl Kiddokabiddo celebrated her first birthday last Friday. And by "celebrated," I mean "refused naps and ate some refried beans from the Mexican takeout Vee and I were forced into since her non-nap-iness meant there was no way we could bring her into the restaurant." She did get to open a few gifts, however.

Like the dolly and the fake cell phone I purchased two days prior at Toys-R-Us.

It was so strange going into Toys-R-Us; I seriously hadn't been in one since I was MAYBE fourteen. I stopped going into them right around that time because I would get overwhelmed with this adolescent/pubescent/grown-up emotion that centered around the truth that I was too old to WANT to go toy shopping there, depressing myself that I was no longer interested in getting toys. You know, that old "Not a girl, not yet a woman" thing.

So strolling in, looking for toys for MY DAUGHTER, actually helped alleviate it--GENERATIONAL SHIFT! I picked out a doll for her, which was one of the most emotional things I could have imagined--the idea of seeing my tiny little toddler (not that she's TODDLING, but she AIN'T NO BABY ANY MORE) being tender with a baby doll.

Because I would have felt like a cheapo parent for only spending $8 on my first child's first birthday, I decided to get her another toy. There I am, in the "educational" aisle, about to buy those blocks that are different sizes and fit into that hexagonal box, when I spied...

A TOY CELL PHONE.

Kiddo LOVES my cell phone. Like, LOVES it in a way I never could. Since my Razr is busted and not getting fixed any time soon, I let her play with it, but since Vee has an identical phone, she doesn't know the difference and would likely be calling Oslo if I didn't intervene.

Classic educational toy. Cell phone. What did I buy?



Pretty sure Pregnant Me, New Mom Me, and Ideological Me were screaming at my face, but look at Kiddo's delight!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

She Give Me Fever

Memorial Day came and went, with a visit from Gramma Goose, Grampa PhD, AKA, and Mr Ben to replicate the Memorial Day visit of last year.

Except this time, Kiddokabiddo was OUTSIDE my womb, and I didn't have to call Mom back down three days later when I gave birth!

We had a pretty relaxing time: tons of MEMORIAL DAY food like hot dogs, burgers, steaks, baked beans, chips, and the first summer pie of the season, BLUEBERRY PEACH. Mmmmm. Dad and Ben hauled my blanket chest upstairs to our bedroom, we hung framed pictures, and Mom & Kate & I planted and trimmed shrubbery. Pretty low-key, considering that last year was a fiesta of light installation, outlet replacements, major planting, and dozens of sundry other tasks. We'd only been there for 2 weeks, ok?

Vee had been complaining of a "special" sore throat that "only he gets," so imagine how I was NOT surprised when I woke up with my own "special" sore throat on Saturday morning, accompanied by an annoying half-cough. IT WAS A FULL-ON COLD, and the only kind of cold I get--a summer cold. I don't get sick all freaking winter long, and yet, without fail, I ALWAYS get a summer cold, generally around Memorial Day. And no, it's not allergies.

Last night, however, the "special" sickness made its way to poor little Kiddo, who woke up at 2:30am with a 102 fever. My little Kiddo didn't let it get her down, but she was BURNING UP as I nursed her back to sleep.

And then I COULD NOT get back to sleep because I kept hearing:

This is the first time she's been sick, and although she's not showing any other signs of anything, I feel so bad for her. ALMOST ONE FULL YEAR with nothing other than baby jaundice!

Vee took her in for her one year appointment yesterday and she got her second round of Pc and HiB shots, and I CAN'T HELP BUT THINK THERE IS MORE TO THIS FEVER than just the "special" cold, but I can't prove it.

THIS IS NOT A PROMISING SELL FOR FUTURE VACCINATIONS FOR MY LITTLEBY!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Season Shift

This whole season-shift from semi-warm and mostly sunny to HOT HOT HOT and BLAZING RAYS FROM 9AM-8PM is making me nostalgic. For SUMMER memories, all of them years old, and they smack me in my tracks when I'm trying to go about my normal day, sweeping up Cheerios spilled by the Kiddo or going for a walk.

I have alternately needed to remember:
  • The three-week-long summer trip my family took in summer 98, driving from Indiana to Oregon and back again, doing everything from visiting Prairie Dog Town to camping in Rocky Mountain National Park to trying to see Mount Rushmore through the thick fog (we failed at that)
  • The summer I spent in drivers ed and the feeling that I was either old or insane, being allowed in the drivers seat of a car, in utter control
  • Walking around the huge old conifers at Avery Park (Corvallis), the immense age and weight of them, and watching the tubers floating downstream at the levee
  • My 22nd birthday in Iowa City and finally getting to spend my birthDAY with friends, eating pizza at a bar I'd never been to and never went back to, playing volleyball at a dorm none of us had ever lived in, and feeling the kind of friend-love you only really appreciate when you're three weeks away from moving to THE REST OF YOUR LIFE and the gravity of what you're leaving hits you
It's only natural, I think, that as you enter a new season, you can't HELP but remember the seasons of the years before you. It doesn't make it any easier. THE NOSTALGIC CRAB IN ME, FRAUGHT WITH LONGING FOR MY MEMORIES!

Is it just my astrological bent, or do you feel it too?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Home Show: Ultimate Home Show

Back from my week-long computer hiatus; I got my May Seventeen blog up at last, my Google Reader is exploding and needs to be caught up, but while I was gone, a momentous anniversary passed me by.

It's been over one year now since Vee and I moved back to our beloved prairie city, and over one year now since we've been homeowners.

In commemoration, I present to you:

An Exhaustive List of All of Our Home Improvements

Front Yard
planted flowers
installed new door knocker with OUR last name (no longer captive to the previous owners)
massacred insanely overgrown weeds that had grown thick, branch-like stems

Back Yard
put up clothesline
planted four prairie grasses to serve as a "natural fence"
planted lilac bush
installed rain barrel (working on the rain chain)
put out compost bin

Throughout the House
replaced gross taupe light switches, plates, and plugs with white switches/plates/plugs
ripped up cat-powdered "white" carpet and installed bamboo floors (in hall, living room, dining room, and all three bedrooms)
either replaced or painted scarred-up old molding with white
replaced sick cheap-shower-curtain-looking "drapes" in the basement windows with new ones

Dining Room
instantly removed repulsive 20-year-old "lace curtains" which had literally never been cleaned (I swear to you, this was the very first home improvement we made. I was barfing.)
covered chandelier sticks with patterned sleeves
painted awesome dark gray

Kitchen/Breakfast Nook
painted thrilling green
replaced cabinet handles and hinges from brass to smooth nickel-plated
removed stupid outdated "poofs" over windows
FINALLY ditched ugly one-side-carpet-from-the-early-90s, one-side-shower-curtain "sliding door blinds" and replaced with sheer gray striped curtains

Living Room
painted calming gray
removed dumb green sheer curtains
put up prairie flower decal

Hall
painted light gray
put up prairie grass decal

Main Bathroom
repainted MUCH better green and eliminated corny old border
replaced shower curtain
put up birch tree decals
replaced light fixture
installed cabinet
relocated towel bar

Guest Bedroom
painted bold orangish/red

Kiddo's Bedroom
painted soft green
rearranged curtains

Master Bedroom
painted "peach" (which was an utter mistake and looks the same as the yellow they originally had; TURQUOISE is on the horizon and will hopefully be done this week)
took down sick green blinds and replaced with white
installed new fan/light fixture
took down moldy old sliding closet doors

Master Bathroom
painted yellow (again, mistake, but no color fix on the horizon)
installed new light fixture
installed cabinet (can you believe these peeps seriously had no bathroom cabinet space IN EITHER?)

Downstairs Office
painted two walls terracotta
finally removed bordello cafe curtain

Include random fixes to the house in general (new garage door opening system, etc) and we were busy little bees. No, we didn't do ALL OF THE AFOREMENTIONED ourselves--we had some great helpers.

I LOVE BEING A HOMEOWNER!