Thursday, January 31, 2008

Words You Never Thought I'd Say

Dear LL Bean:




In the process of re-arranging our house, we'll have a sofabed and a coffee table left over.

The day we decided that those were the pieces that needed to find new homes, I got an email--totally coincidentally--from my SIL that a family in her church lost everything they owned to a house fire last weekend. They made it out with their pajamas.

With a little logistical wrangling, they're going to take our sofabed and table, and maybe some other things if I can get DH to let them go from the attic. They're thrilled, and I'm so happy that our furniture will be put to good use by some people who really need it right now.


I woke up with the plaugue this morning. Apologies if the above isn't all that coherent.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


What do you do when there's chocolate zucchini bread in the oven making your whole house smell like a bakery and you're trying not to snack?

You dance.

Color Me Stumped

Had the annual parent-teacher conference for the four-year-old today. Mostly, it was good. She's outgoing, she's bright, she's friendly, she's smart. Ready for kindergarten.

"I do have one concern," said her teacher. "If you ask her to do something for the first time and she doesn't want to do it, and you push her, she shuts down."

Oh yeah. Don't I know it. The initial "no" is accompanied by wide eyes and clenched fists. Push her, and it instantly escalates to screams and tears and running away. Doesn't have to be something like a roller coaster, either. Just anything new that she's unsure of--writing a small "w" will do it.

It's a battle we've been waging since she was a baby. I can't think of anything that's happened that would make her so cautious. She was a late walker for the exact same reason. And pushing her a bit leads to disaster.

The teacher asked me if I had any solutions. Um...nope! That's just our little girl, I said. She'll rule the world one day, but she'll do it on her own time and at her own pace. Eventually, she'll be fine.

I'm just not sure how this is going to fly in elementary school.


Monday, January 28, 2008


Every time I make this recipe it makes my whole house smell so yummy that I swear I'll make it more often. And then it gets buried in the recipe box and I forget about it for six months.

Today, I remembered. My house smells amazing. I can't wait for dinner.

Chicken Marsala

from Weight Watchers (4 points per serving)

2 tsp olive oil

4 thinly-pounded boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 tsp flour

1/4 cup Marsala wine

1/4 cup chicken broth

1 tbs parsley, chopped

Heat oil over high heat in a large skillet. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Saute until cooked through, about 3 minutes each side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.

In the same pan, saute mushrooms until browned. Sprinkle with flour and stir to blend. Add wine and broth, and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in parsley. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.

Monday Morning

We've entered smackdown mode in my house. The backtalk and attitude have just gone too far. Mommy's done. Kid #1 lost his favorite TV show this morning and Kid #2 went to her room midway through dinner last night and stayed there until this morning. Oh, the joys of parenting! Somebody remind me why we didn't just get another dog?

The new TV comes today. New living room furniture comes Friday. New office stuff is surrounding me in its IKEA boxes, waiting for somebody to haul the old couch and coffee table out of here to make some room. Verizon is coming Feb. 25 to hook us up. We need to remove the surround sound from one room and rewire it in another, and then we'll be golden. I hope. I don't do well with living in a warehouse.

Don't ever call Verizon and tell them that you already have FIOS but need to move it around within your house. It blows their minds. Just keep saying "install" to the computer instead. That works better. Holy long phone call, Batman.

We went out Saturday night to a first grade parents' social at someone's house. We came home at 11-something to find the teenaged babysitter (whom we've used before and liked very much) literally passed out on the couch. Don't really care that she was asleep. But we had the hardest time waking her up! And she was in a daze the entire time I drove her home. Is it horrible that I suspect she was on some kind of substance? *sigh* Should I give her the benefit of the doubt here??

Seriously Jonesing for sugar. *sigh again*

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Stove as Zen

It happened again today. I promised the kids we could make peppermint ice cream this afternoon. By "we could make," I mean that I'd have the cooked, mixed, and cooled custard ready for them to dump into the ice cream maker along with the crushed peppermint candies to mix in there for a half-hour of whirring, twirling fun on the countertop.

Side note: "We cooked" coming from my kids has the same meaning as "I grilled" coming from my husband. Somehow, all the measuring, stirring, preparing, and cleaning up magically happens. They dump stuff into an ice cream maker; he chucks stuff on a fire until it combusts. But they cooked. Uh huh.

Anyway, what happened was that I started making the custard on the stove with my trusty iPod rocking out next to me, and before I knew what happened, I was in culinary Nirvana. Dancing, singing, stirring, totally and completely happy. Not a care in the world except not curdling the eggs and milk.

Kim O'Donnel gets it. Read this (those words are a link, my love, even though they don't look it. Clickity click there). Enjoy. And go cook something.

If the stupid site wants you to register (I HATE THAT), use username and password zapped. Thank you,

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Kicks and Giggles

One of my friends got me on an 80s music kick the other day and I spent much of Monday night creating an 80s playlist for my little soiree last night. Yes, I'm that lame.

Anyway, a couple of people said they liked the mix, so here it is. Enjoy, fellow geezers!

  1. Goody Two Shoes, Adam Ant
  2. Rescue Me, The Alarm
  3. Big Yellow Taxi (Paradise Mix), Amy Grant
  4. Roam, The B-52's
  5. Walk Like an Egyptian, The Bangles
  6. Manic Monday, The Bangles
  7. We Are Each Other, The Beautiful South
  8. Rush, Big Audio Dynamite II
  9. In a Big Country (Radio Edit), Big Country
  10. The Tide Is High, Blondie
  11. Mainstreet, Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band
  12. My Best Friend's Girl, The Cars
  13. Brick House, The Commodores
  14. She Sells Sanctuary, The Cult
  15. Friday I'm In Love,The Cure
  16. Groove Is In the Heart, Deee-Lite
  17. Enjoy The Silence, Depeche Mode
  18. Come On Eileen, Dexy's Midnight Runners
  19. Hot Stuff, Donna Summer
  20. Rio, Duran Duran
  21. Lips Like Sugar, Echo & The Bunnymen
  22. After Midnight, Eric Clapton
  23. Secret Separation, The Fixx
  24. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor
  25. Vacation, The Go-Go's
  26. Galileo, Indigo Girls
  27. Centerfold, The J. Geils Band
  28. Somebody's Baby, Jackson Browne
  29. Stay, Jackson Browne
  30. Everyday, James Taylor
  31. Pink Houses, John Mellencamp
  32. Come Dancing, The Kinks
  33. Sweet Home Alabama, Lynyrd Skynyrd
  34. I Melt With You, Modern English
  35. Kyrie, Mr. Mister
  36. Late In The Evening, Paul Simon
  37. Always On My Mind, Pet Shop Boys
  38. Red Rain, Peter Gabriel
  39. In Your Eyes, Peter Gabriel
  40. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, The Police
  41. I Am Superman, R.E.M.
  42. Shiny Happy People, R.E.M.
  43. I Wanna Be Sedated, The Ramones
  44. She's so Cold, The Rolling Stones
  45. Honky Tonk Women, The Rolling Stones
  46. Beast of Burden, The Rolling Stones
  47. What I Like About You, The Romantics
  48. Rock You Like a Hurricane, Scorpions
  49. Don't You (Forget About Me), Simple Minds
  50. Girlfriend In A Coma, The Smiths
  51. Little Miss Can't Be Wrong, Spin Doctors
  52. Tempted, Squeeze
  53. Black Coffee in Bed (Full Version), Squeeze
  54. All This Time, Sting
  55. And She Was, Talking Heads
  56. Wild Wild Life, Talking Heads
  57. Pride (In the Name of Love), U2
  58. Red Red Wine, UB40
  59. Brown Eyed Girl, Van Morrison
  60. It's Raining Men, The Weather Girls
  61. Play That Funky Music, Wild Cherry
  62. Only You, Yaz
  63. Working for the Weekend (Remastered 2006), Loverboy
  64. Our House, Madness
  65. Jessie's Girl, Rick Springfield
  66. Addicted to Love, Robert Palmer
  67. Blister In the Sun, Violent Femmes


DD is home sick today. What started as the sniffles Saturday afternoon has morphed into a fever and much grouchiness. Should be fun. Urgh.

Glad Fred Thompson dropped out. Now if Rudy and John Edwards would follow suit, we could get down to brass tacks. Speaking of, did anyone else watch the debates the other night? I've never heard so many meaningless sound bites jammed into a single hour in my life. Holy waste of time, Batman.

Sad about Heath Ledger. Mommas don't let your babies grow up to be famous.

The chocolate covered grapes were a huge hit. People were nervous about them at first, but the whole bowl was gone by the end of the night and everybody wanted to know how to make them. Michel Richard, you rock my friend. (If you're clueless here, check my project 365 page. If you haven't been invited, email me. kimthewriter at yahoo dot com.)

We've started the Great House Rearrange. Ordered a chair and a couch from LL Bean on Sunday, a TV and mounting brackets from Amazon yesterday, and hope to order a desk, chair, and bookcase by the end of this week. Then we need a small entertainment center and to get Verizon out to shift about the FIOS, and somebody to take this stupid futon. Not looking forward to all the rewiring that's going to be involved, but it all makes sense in the long run. Next year, I get my bottom-freezer refrigerator and DD gets real big-girl furniture. Wish we could move, but we just can't get what we want on our current budget. So this is the way it is.

Must find summer camps for the kids...

Monday, January 21, 2008

Why Hello There, Destiny!

Did you ever feel like you totally missed your calling?

I love what I do. I'm one of the lucky ones. But I gotta tell you, right now, I'm kind of thinking I missed the boat way back when in my major-declaring days.

I'm having some friends over tomorrow night. DH has this neurosis about red wine and our carpet so we don't entertain often. But he's going to be out and while the cat's away and all like that.

For my birthday, he gave me Michel Richard's new cookbook. I hauled it out today. So far, I've made chocolate-covered grapes (they are to die for, I swear), chocolate ganache-filled macaroons, and the roasted garlic viniagrette for an endive salad with goat cheese, walnuts, and mandarin orange slices. My kitchen is trashed.

But I've been sashaying around my kitchen for hours, groovin' to my new 80s playlist, singing and dancing and spreading chocolate and folding egg whites and having a ball. And wishing I was really a chef.

Can't really go back...don't really want to deal with the long hours of actually cooking in a restaurant, but man, I'm having a blast today. I need to entertain more often. :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008


DD has a bit of a cold, so we've spent the morning in our jammies watching On Demand. In between features, the regular TV clicked on for a moment, to the A&E network.

"Who are those old guys playing music?" I muttered. Old guys rockin' out, actually. To a song I recognized. I started humming along. Who was that? la dee daa...

Oh my god, it's Duran Duran!!

First my toys end up in antiques shops, and now the men whose names I doodled all over my denim-covered school binder in ninth grade are outright, no-lie old.

Off to find my calcium supplements...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Culinary Distraction

OK kids. I'm distracting myself from today's events in Nevada (what the hell is wrong with you people???) with pizza and beer. But here's the thing: I have a great recipe that makes pizza way less waistline- and cholestorol-expanding than the Domino's stuff. And it's good.

Got a breadmaker? Haul that sucker out of the attic corner where it's been banished since your wedding. Clean it off and find a place for it in your actual kitchen. Once you taste this, that machine is going to be your and your kids' new best friend.

To make my yummylicious pizza, you need:

1 cup warm water (should feel like body temperature out of the tap)
1 tbsp regular yeast
1 1/2 cups white flour
1 1/2 cups wheat flour
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive or canola oil

Pour the yeast into the cup of warm water and let it bloom. Don't stir it. Just let it sit on top of the water.

Into your bread machine, dump the other ingredients. Just dump them right in there. Then, pour in the yeast/water mixture. Set your machine on the dough setting, turn it on, and walk away.

When it's done, plop the dough onto your floured kitchen counter. Roll it into a ball. Cut it in half. Each half will make one 12 - 14 inch pizza. If you don't need both, freeze one half. (Thaw it on the counter for about two hours later on)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees with your pizza stone in it. You get that at Target for about $15, and it lives in your oven all the time. Trust me. And get the ceramic one. Those metal ones are just round cookie sheets and we're not making cookies here.

Roll the dough into a circle. Let it sit about 15 minutes. Then prick it all over with a fork. Transfer it to a rimless cookie sheet that you've sprinkled liberally with cornmeal. Top it with sauce, cheese...whatever you want. Slide it carefully onto the hot pizza stone (also sprinkled with cornmeal here) and let it bake about 12 minutes. When it's done to your liking, use a spatula to carefully nudge it back onto the cookie sheet and remove it from the over. Let it sit for a few mintues, slice it up, and serve it.

I use regular pizza sauce and lowfat italian cheese for a really yummy dinner. :) And I didn't make up the dough recipe. I tried a bunch of them from Recipezaar and this was by far my favorite.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Who's Snooty Now?

We have this snooty grocery store food market near my house. I try not to shop there much, but they carry my favorite beer and DH is going away for the weekend and desperate times call for desperate measures, so I swung by today.

Got the beer, grabbed a sandwich for lunch, and was heading to the checkout when I heard my name. Turned to see the mom of one of my son's classmates there.

This mom...she has the bleached hair, the stylish clothes, the makeup. Can we say "intimidating" boys and girls? I've never talked to her cuz, well, why would she want to talk to me and my Life is Good wardrobe and LL Bean comfy loafers, right?

But today she called my name. And we stood there and talked for a good five minutes and she could not have been any nicer. Truly.

I think I need to let go of my prep school notions of who's friendship material and who isn't. It's a good lesson for today. :)

No Good Very Bad Day

Hey gang

You know the kids' book about Alexander? And his terrible awful horrible no good very bad day? Welcome to Kim's Thursday.

It started well enough. Kids went to school, I went to the post office to mail a package, and then to Barnes & Noble to pick out more books for a baby library I've been putting together for someone who's pregnant. B&N was having a good sale, I got some nice books for the baby, it started snowing a little bit in a very pretty kind of was good.

I drove home. Hopped out of the car to hear a very loud SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS sound. Coming from my tire. My driver's side rear tire. The one I just replaced in September because a piece of metal went through the old one.

I won't bore you with the rest of the details, but it all went downhill from there and culminated with two very wet, very sloppy, very slippery drives to pick up my kids at school (with the stupid worthless heap of junk donut on my van), which then led to two very grouchy kids, and a very harried dinner/cleanup/bed routine. I hate harried nights.

This morning I woke up very nervous. Two reasons: I have someone coming this morning to look at my house and talk about whether our budget is realistic for the home we hope to buy in the neighborhoods we like. I *loathe* talking money and I'm pretty terrified this person is going to tell me that we're insane to pair our wish list with our checkbook right now. We're fine where we are--don't get me wrong. But now that DH is on board with the whole house thing, my heart really wants a bigger kitchen and a few more closets, and an office that's not in the basement.

Second reason: DS has a scout trip to a ski resort this weekend. That's fine. DH is going with him and I know all the other parents and kids and they're going to have a blast. But DH left very very early this morning to head to the ocean side of the state, and then he'll come back this afternoon, pick up the boy, and head aaaaaalllll the way over to the mountain side of the state. All told, about nine or 10 hours of driving. That last couple with my little boy in the car, snow and ice on the road, and a tired driver. I'm trying to talk them into getting up early tomorrow morning and going to the mountain side then, but no dice so far. This has me way more nervous than the house thing. My hands have actually started to shake typing it out. (I have a basic neurosis about something happening to my kids, and this is really playing up on that.)

So. There we are. Cross your fingers for me that disaster doesn't ensue and that everybody arrives in their beds tonight safe and warm and happy. And house hunting. Although that part's not nearly as important as the others.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Educate Me...

I really thought New Hampshire was a fluke, but here comes Michigan. Another win for Hillary.

I will totally admit to being farther right than left when it comes to politics. An elephant wins over a donkey almost every time in my book. I'm not debating that (really...I'm not...let's not go there...thou shalt be ignored).

But Hillary Clinton? We want a female president and she's the best we can do?

First off, this claim she's making of 30 years of political I don't think being married to a politician counts as "experience," per se. She's a fine lawyer. She's a great lawyer--I'll even go that far. Absolutely. But elected official? More like a handful of years than several decades. She's practically a freshman on Capitol Hill.

Serious question: Why are people so enamored of this woman? I watch her and all I can think is "used car saleswoman." We think she's a bitch; she goes on television and cries to prove that estrogen really does inhabit her body. We think she's cold; she flies back in front of the camera and hams it up with Tyra Banks.

I've been told she's strong. But respectfully, I disagree. In fact, I think she's not much of a role model for my daughter on a personal front. How many years has she turned her head to her husband's infidelity? That's not someone who commands respect--he certainly doesn't respect her. And even if she's staying with him to further herself (which I think is a strong possibility), what does that say about her own confidence in making it as a Rodham instead of a Clinton? (Did you notice, by the way, that the "Rodham" she was so adamant about when her husband was campaigning has vanished? *poof*)

Leave him behind for a moment. What has she accomplished? On her own? Besides a lot of talk? I hear her everywhere...I just don't hear people telling me what she as a person (as opposed to a spouse) has actually done that merits the White House and leader of the free world position.

So as I see it, we have this chameleon before the cameras who's ridden someone else's coattails to this point...and it's working. All I can do is shake my head and wonder.

I hope we do have a female president someday. And I hope it's a strong woman with strong ethics and morals, strong ideas, and the ability to affect change on her own.

If I'm wrong about ole' Hil, tell me why. Please...

Monday, January 14, 2008


I have a teensy-tiny bit of an obsessive personality. And it drives even me crazy. I glom onto something and cannot let it go until it's resolved, one way or another. My brain whirrs and clicks and churns. I don't sleep. I talk about it incessantly, whatever it is. I check on it. Think about it. It takes over.

Not a good thing. Not really medication-worthy or anything, but enough to make me and those around me a little bit wacky for awhile.

Right now, I'm obsessed with two things. The first is Weight Watchers, which I rejoined late last week. Counting points...super for an obsessive girl, huh? On the flip side, the program works for me because I am a little OCD about it. Those little points hold me accountable like nothing else in the world. And I *will* go to the pool this summer, dammit.

The second one...I'm not quite ready to announce to the world. Nothing major. Not pregnant, before you go there. A few people near me know about it and I'm trying really hard to shut the hell up before I see their eyes glaze over. But this one promises to be a bit lengthy. If I'm not here as much, well, it's this thing. Nothing personal.

Final note: I'm password-protecting my project 365 page. I want to include photos of my kiddos and get all heebied-out thinking that someone might lift them from the internet. The password, at least, makes me feel better. You're all invited--just email me for the code.

Happy monday, ladies and gents. I'm off to feed my obsessions.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008



Thus spake my six-year-old on hitting a ladder in Chutes & Ladders...

Dear New Hampshire:

It's not even close to April 1.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008


Anybody buying Hilary's crying thing the other day? Me neither.

One of my new year's resolutions was to eat better. I've done pretty well, all things considering. But this drinking water thing...holy flushing! I spend more time in the potty than the other rooms of my house combined. Somebody tell me the body adjusts to this after awhile. That's right, right? RIGHT?

For anyone else who's into beading right now, check out ebay before you buy supplies anywhere else. I just discovered this. :)

We're having a bit of a heat wave here. It's 70 as I type. Unheard of in January. It's nice and I'm enjoying it, but I fear we're going to get slammed next week. When you read about the blizzard in DC, remember you heard it here first. No way the PTB are going to let this slide. Won't happen.

Regarding yesterday's little breakdown, I *think* the insurance/hospital thing is settled. The 15 interviews still aren't going to happen by tomorrow, but not my problemo, hombres, and I have the email trail to prove it. DS is still giving me fits, but I figure I have 15 more years of that so I might as well suck it up. The merlot was darn yummy, and we watched a really fantastic drama last night (Even Money) that took my mind off of the rest of the world. Life stumbles along...

Monday, January 7, 2008


Didja ever have one of those days that just sent you crawling into your jammies by 7 p.m.?

Today was one of those. Started off well enough, with coffee with a few friends and a pretty exciting phone call. But then an editor asked me to interview 15 additional sources for an article I already turned in by tomorrow (for the record, I asked her about those 15 people eight stinkin' weeks ago and was told not to worry about them. Feh.), which is never going to happen. And then the boy came home from school needing to write an apology to his music teacher for acting out in class, so that was swell. Then the kids refused to eat their dinners, and then our health insurance company screwed up a claim and a hospital wants to send us to collections over it. And then DH managed to take the exciting phone call and turn it all upside down so it's not very exciting at all and is just a reminder of things that seem very very unattainable right now.


On the flip side, I got my office shoveled out and it looks fantastic if I do say so my darn self (all the crap from my 365 shot is gone, baybee), and there's a big old glass of merlot waiting for me upstairs.

Here's hoping tomorrow is better. There's always that. :)

Sunday, January 6, 2008

My Eyes Hurt Too

The new look is temporary. Something better is coming, I swear. Patience, my grasshoppahs...

Friday, January 4, 2008


Dear Powers That Be:

In four years, can we please have all of the primaries and caucuses and that sort of thing on one stinkin' day? Pretty please with sugar on top? Cuz quite frankly, I'm tired of hearing about all of these guys and their strategies and their speeches and their religions and their families and their budget woes and everything else.

Let me know when we're down to two. My head threatens to explode.



(although it is darn fun to say "Huckabee," and I might just vote for him so we can all keep saying it. Put a little Andy Griffith in the White House, you know?)

Project 365

I'm playing...

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Two things making my head spin right now:

1. DH finally (finally!) came to the realization that we're simply outgrowing our house. And he finally named a price range and listed three neighborhoods and said if I can find a house in both of those that we like, we can seriously consider buying.

2. Disney. Holy complicated decisions, Batman. Dozens of prices and options and packages and special features and stuff to choose. *Gack*. We got this close to booking a Land & Sea package, and then decided this morning to just do a week at the park. I'm waiting for the travel agent to give me info on the different levels of hotels, meal plans, etc. My Insider's Guide arrived today, so I'm digging into that too. It's enough to make a girl throw up. I swear, I've been to Europe three times on my own and none of those trips came close to being this complicated. Thanks, Walt. Oy.

On the flip side, my new laptop bag came today. :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Just Because

We spent yesterday morning at the National Zoo and hit the new Asia Trail just as Tai Shan was getting his morning snack of bamboo. Which made for a great photo op.