Friday, August 29, 2008

For the Love of...

Dear John:

When I said ixnay on the old white guy...


You all are killing me. *sigh*

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Dear John:

May I call you John? Thanks.

Look, John, I'm going to be frank with you. There are certain facts that most people--particularly those who control things like the armed forces and a rumored red button in a briefcase--are expected to know. Top of the head, off the cuff kind of stuff.  Your name, for example, and place and date of birth. Your wife's name. Your birthday, her birthday, and your kids' birthdays. Your social security number, long as it may be.

You seem good with those. Problem is that you should also know at any moment how many homes you own. If The Donald can keep track, you should too, yes? Hemming and hawing and telling The American Public that someone will get back to them with that one...that's not good, John. That makes everybody wonder if you can possibly relate to Most Of Us, and it starts rumors of dementia. And you're not a young man (71...that's another one you should commit to memory).

That Obama guy, well, all sizzle and no steak, you see? But he has lots and lots of sizzle. It's made him famous. Charisma was invented for him.

You need to take over the steak part, John. Be the steak. 

Learn the numbers. Familiarize yourself with your own life. Get to know some other people's lives too, while you're at it. Or at least get yourself one of those Bluetooth thingies and hook the other end to some advisers, so they can pour the answers in between your ears instantly if necessary. It worked for Dan Rather all those years, you know?

We--and that's The American People "we"--aren't so sure about you yet. You've got that weird hand thing going on that nobody talks about and your wife looks like she was inducted into Madame Tuassad's years ago and isn't aware that she is, in fact, made of wax.  Yes, you're a bazilionaire. And congratulations on that--capitalism is a wonderful thing and God bless you for your success. But in an era when a whole lot of regular folk are losing their homes and blaming the government and big business for it (and I agree with you, but that's a whole 'nother argument. Let's not get distracted.), not knowing that you own more than a half-dozen residences valued at more than $1 million each...that's not good. Really, seriously not good. It's a PR nightmare.

Know the numbers, John. Seriously. That crap'll kill you in November.

Love ya,

The Republicans.

ps--Ixnay on the old white guy for your veep, 'K? Just a tip.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


My five year old thinks "Obama" is the funniest name she's ever heard. It sends her into fits of giggles. Every. Time.



Today, in a fit of "all the other kids went back to school and I'm still stuck in this stinkin' house with my stinkin' mother for the love of Pete," she started calling me Obama.

It's not a nickname I'm amused with.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Stop. Go back. Reverse that.

House deal is ON, baybee!!!

***Smooches*** guys. Thanks for hanging in there with me!!

Just When You Thought Things Couldn't Get Any Worse

There is not an experience in the world like getting into your dork husband's car, asking which CD in his changer is Kid Rock, punching in #2 as he says, and instead of hearing Bawtidaba, having your eardrums torn out and mangled by one of the many movie theme songs of Kenny Loggins.

Trust me on this one.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day

Its about 6:30 on Sunday.

There's a very good chance this house deal is going to fall through. Not of our doing. 

Half of my life is in boxes. My back hurts. My shoulder hurts. I'm exhausted. And we may not be moving. Oh yeah, and we already told the neighbors we were going. So that'll be on a very protective (that's the best way I can put it) block after outing ourselves for house hunting. And living around the corner from The Perfect House. Excellent.

My children have been horrendous today. Absolutely horrendous. To the point that we cancelled plans to have dinner at my favorite barbecue place. No barbecue for me. Dishes and food to cook here instead. In a kitchen that's piled high with paint cans and brushes and spackle for the aforementioned likely-cancelled move. 

I spend too much time on the computer and need to get out and reclaim my life. And that's terrifying.

DH is in a foul mood because of work. So we've been at each other. In the tiny house piled high with boxes. That's been fun.

And my five year old daughter just told me she wished she was born after I was dead. Charming.

I really wish I had a beer around here somewhere.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The House

For those who haven't heard (sha, right), we bought a house.

Not any house. Pretty much my dream house. The house I've been searching for lo these many months. The garage, the big kitchen, the arched doorways, the slate roof, the leaded glass, the gabled windows. The House.

Want to know the funny part? 

It's six houses away from where I live now. 


So here's the deal. This is a house I have drooled over since we moved into this neighborhood. It's about 10 years older than the rest of the 'hood (well, on other streets. This street was the first one built and all the houses on it are that age). I've always thought it was beautiful and had never been inside.

About two weeks ago, we heard it was going on the market. But DH wasn't interested. Said the corner--it's on a corner lot--was too busy. OK fine. Let someone else have it.

Friday night, we were on a walk through the neighborhood with the kids. And DH finally noticed that the house has a very thick row of very tall evergreen shrubs along the property line. They're about 10 feet tall and back to back, so you can't see the road from the yard.  He's a sly one, that DH. It's only been nine years.

So he says, "Let's see if she'll show us the house before she lists it." And he rings the bell. She answers, she says it's going on the market next month, she gives him a ballpark price, and she invites us all in. For the tour.




Instant love. This is my house, you know? This is everything I've been looking for. Charming bedrooms with very cool lines. Plaster crown moulding--nobody has that anymore. A family room AND a living room. A huge, beautiful, wonderful eat-in kitchen with an island and a table with a built-in bench and tons of windows. A great basement with tall ceilings. Built-ins everywhere. No question in my mind at all. Gimme.

We came home. We paced around. We checked email obsessively to see if she'd emailed us her exact price. We went to bed and laid there until 2 a.m., when I finally passed out--I have no idea when DH fell asleep.

Saturday morning, I checked my email early. There was a price. A very low price. I called our agent. She ran over. We walked through the house again. My heart just about burst.

We walked outside. My agent said, "I want to write this contract right now and get it signed before they come to their senses."

And that, my dear friends, is exactly what we did. Lock, stock, and barrel. My house. 

Sunday was my birthday. It was wonderful. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Uh Oh Rach

I caught 30 Minute Meals today at lunchtime. I don't get to do that very often, but DS isn't feeling well and DD was busy torturing him with her five-year-old gnat dance, so my lunch and my laptop and I parked ourselves in the living room and flipped on Food Network.

First of all, holy tight painted-on jeans on television, Batman! Wow, girlfriend. All that money you're bringing in? The word is "stylist." Please. Shell out for one. Or visit the personal shopper at Nordy's next time you're in the big city. Or, I don't know, invest in a full-length mirror. Buy a size up. I sympathize--I have big thighs too--but really. One more number would work miracles. As things stand now, in the words of my late father, a fart is going to blow your head off.

I should say right here that I'm pretty well over Rachael Ray. I loved her for a long time, but dude, she is everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Hawking coffee. Hamming it up on a really terrible daytime talk show. Magazines. Books written at Danielle Steele-like speed. Several cooking-related shows. 

I like that she's not a trained cook. I really do. But can we stop calling her a chef? Because...she's not one. Just like me, see? I love to cook and I love playing with (and eating) food, but I ain't no chef. Neither's our little girl from the mountains. So stop it. 

Back to the show today.

Tight jeans aside...her fly was open. I swear. They filmed an entire stinkin' show with her fly down, and then they aired it. Gaping open with a brass-like zipper flailing about. I have never seen that before and hope to never see it again. 

And second...the great thing about her show back in the day was that it was real. She really did film it in 30 minutes and she really did show you how. Warts and all. She spilled stuff. She burned stuff a little bit. She forgot ingredients. She was like you and me and everybody else who's raced around to get dinner on the table after a long day. Believable. Real.

Today, she threw pine nuts in a pan. She did throw in too many and scoop some back out, so that was cool. But then she talked about toasting the nuts and not leaving them...and she left them.

But that was fine, seeing as how there was no flame under the pan!

Close up to the flame. No heat. No actual toasting of nuts going on.


You can tell most of the shows are using faux ovens when the hosts open them. I've seen Giada touch supposedly hot oven racks more than once with her bare fingers and not flinch. And Alton Brown is more than candid about the fact that the kitchen he's used the past two seasons is a fake, with nary a thermometer that's real in it. But a gas stove with no juice?? Come on! Spare me that one! 

That's my rant for the day. I got a whole half-hour to myself, I popped on Food Network, it sucked, and Sandra Lee wasn't even around to make it suckey. Sloppy reality TV blows, dudes. 

And yes, I need a life.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Enough of the Used Cars!

A new bed for DD fell in our laps this weekend, so we spent part of Sunday afternoon shopping for a mattress set. Not far from our house is "mattress mile," which is a one-mile stretch of a large road with at least 6 or 8 mattress stores on it. It's eerie, really.

One of the stores is a mattress "outet." We like outlets, so we started there. Mr Fancysuit met us at the door with a huge smile. DH said, "We're looking for an inexpensive twin mattress and box spring for her," and pointed at our tiny five-year-old. Mr. Fancysuit grinned even bigger and asked us to follow him to the back of the store. Which we did.

There, along the back wall, was a line of twin mattress sets. All colors, pillow top and regular. First, he tells our kids to "go ahead and jump on them." Which is nice, seeing as this is not a behavior we teach at home. Strike one.

With the kids jumping away, Mr. Fancysuit tells us he can "make a deal" on a set. Translated: the prices on the price tag aren't the real prices. He heads off to conference with his manager saying that he'd hate for us to drive all over town comparing prices with gas the way it is. Strike two.

After a few minutes, he comes back, grinning. "My manager says if you buy this set here [insert patting of mattress] and take it today, I can give it to you for $XXX." We look down. We look at each other. DH says, "When we said 'inexpensive,' we didn't mean the most expensive set you had in the store. Do you understand that?"


We drove across the street. Literally. And 15 minutes later, we drove home with a mattress and box spring that cost *gasp* what the price tag said it cost, and wasn't the most fancy thing in the zip code. The sales guy was low key and helpful, and the deal was simple.

See, there's a reason Saturn caught on so quickly in the early 1990s, and it wasn't because of the high-style of their cars. It was because the sales were straightforward and no-pressure. No haggling. No back-room conferences with higher-ups. Prices are prices, period, amen.

It carries across. I don't want a slimy salesguy scamming me, and neither does anyone I know. I wish all managers would get the hint. The economy would be better for it.

ps--I posted my new Etsy bag on my photo site. I'm so excited!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Two Posts Today!

This has me laughing so hard, I can hardly breathe. Oh man, I wish I'd thought of this!

Verizon Wireless Surprises Customer - Watch more free videos

Stuff and Bother

It is so stinkin' beautiful outside...and all the kids are downstairs playing. *sigh* I'll kick them out with force after lunch. It's too cold out for the pool--that'd get them running for the yard. Very strange for DC in August. I'll take it!

I updated my photoblog, after, what, years away? Sorry. I'll try my hardest to do better with that.

Did you guys hear that the little girl who sang at the opening ceremonies for the Olympics wasn't singing? And that she was lip-synching to another child's voice?? I have serious problems with holding an international event in China. Serious issues. I also hope we don't find out that a certain American super-swimmer is doping (pathetic that I think that way, isn't it?). And I hope the IOC picks more, shall we say, scrupulous and upstanding host countries in the future.

Dear George Bush: You are not an endangered animal expert. Shaddup. Love, The World.

We had this for dinner last night. YUM!! I used cod for the fish and substituted garlic powder for the onion powder. Everybody really liked it. :)

My new bag came from Etsy. I heart it!! Will post a photo later...

Monday, August 11, 2008

How Much More?

Dear Mark Spitz:

Stop being a jackass and let Phelps have his moment, OK? It's not about you.


The World

(and Kim, who eagerly anticipates closing ceremonies and life getting back to post-Olympics-hysteria normal).

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Recipes

Sorry, sorry, sorry.

The stovetop mac n cheese recipe is here. I left out the mustard and the salt but left in the hot sauce, and you really can't taste it per se. I also used regular lowfat milk instead of the canned ick, and I substituted monterey jack for half the cheddar. The kids gobbled it up. Don't try this with lowfat cheese, by the way. BTDT. It gets grainy. This freezes beautifully.

For the french toast sticks, I used my bread machine to make a loaf of wheat bread--you'd have to get a recipe that'll fit your machine. I let that cool overnight, cut the crust off totally, and sliced it into sticks, about 2 x 2 x 4 inches.

Then I made a simple custard (whisk together three eggs, about a quarter-cup of milk, a half-teaspoon of vanilla, and a half-teaspoon of cinnamon).  Heated the pan on medium with a little butter and a little olive oil spray. Dipped the sticks in the custard and cooked them on all sides until golden brown. Let them cool totally on a wire rack and popped them in a freezer bag and into the deep chill. We reheated them in the microwave.

I know these aren't lowfat. But you'll notice the absence of sugar, and you'll also notice that there are no preservatives and very little sodium in these foods. Nothing processed. Which, right now, is my focus. Kids can handle a little fat, but the chemicals and crap scare me to pieces.

I also discovered that Trader Joe's sells fish sticks that meet these requirements, which is totally awesome because I hate breading fish. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Recipes Tomorrow, My Sweets

I am beat.

Went swimming at the retirement community with the kids and my mom this morning. I flippin *hate* putting on a swimsuit.

Then we went to lunch at the retirement community restaurant. Always an adventure. After that, I left the kids with my mom for a sleepover, went to the vet to pick up the WDCL's very expensive thyroid meds, came home to walk her and make some work calls, and cleaned up the joint a bit. DH and I grabbed a bite and then he left for his basketball game (playing, not watching). I've been updating my computer address book so I can install a new invoicing program that will (God willing) work seamlessly with it.

Oh, I also updated the software on DH's new GPS. Don't even ask me why he needed that. I have no flippin' idea. Boys and their toys, I suppose.

Tomorrow, I need to get my hair cut and do a bunch of work before I go pick up the kids at my mom's. But I promise to post some of the recipes we've been playing with. :)


Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Homemade and then frozen French Toast Sticks: Huge success.

Homemade and then frozen chicken tenders: So-so success.

Homemade mac n cheese (Alton Brown's stovetop recipe minus the mustard): Tremendous success.

Homemade and frozen pizza dough: Always a big hit.

Homemade marinara sauce: "This is so yummy, Mommy!!!"

Healthy eating totally rocks, my friends. :)

Monday, August 4, 2008


I can't explain it, but this cracks me up every stinkin time. :)

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Rockin Out with the Natural Thing

This label-reading's not for the faint of heart. Once you start reading labels for high-frutcose corn syrup (I still can't spell it), you start seeing other things. Like sodium, fat, and all kinds of wacky preservatives.

I, um, don't really want my kids eating that crap as a habit. The occasional treat is fine, you know? But day to day? Not so much.

Today, DH took the kids to the ILs house and I spent the last hour or so cooking kid-food to stock my freezer with. Baked chicken tenders were first, followed by a loaf of white-wheat bread. That's going to be sliced up thick and made into the French toast sticks DH loves so much. 

Tomorrow, I'm going to make a big batch of mac n cheese to cut into portions and freeze, and some pizza crusts--I finally found a recipe for a wheat pizza crust that is absolutely to die for, and pretty darned healthy!

Anybody have other good freezable kid foods that I can make? Recipes? Ideas?

I'll share the chicken.

I put into a Ziploc bag about a cup of Italian bread crumbs and a cup of grated Parmesan.

I then lightly stirred together two eggs and put them in a bowl, and put about a cup of wheat flour in another bowl.

Then I cut about a pound of chicken  boobs into tenders.

The chicken pieces got dipped into the egg, then the flour, then the egg again, and then tossed with the bread crumb/cheese mixture. They got put on a baking sheet sprayed with olive oil, and then their tops got sprayed. They went into a 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes.

As Alton says...golden brown and delicious!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It Seemed Like a Good Idea

DH had an errand to run this morning and we had stuff to do later this afternoon, so we broke one of the cardinal rules governing living in D.C. in the summer.

If you must visit the Smithsonian on a hot, sticky summer day when it's supposed to rain, visit first thing in the morning and get out before lunchtime.

Because of DH's Very Important Thing To Do, we didn't get to the Natural History Museum until just before 11 this morning. It took a half-hour to find parking. And then, once we got inside, it was beyond packed. Every tourist from every corner of the earth was there. Pushing and shoving and banging into each other and missing deodorant and letting doors slam in faces and everything that just so totally rocks about living in a tourist city in the summertime. 

We caught a glimpse of the Hope Diamond, visited the insect zoo, flew through the mammal wing, tried to see the dinosaurs (good flippin' luck), and then got hungry. Starving hungry. Thus violating rule #2 about living in DC in the summer.

If you find yourself at the Smithsonian during lunchtime, do not, for the love of God, eat there. There's a reason admission is free, and there are ways they make up for that.

The four of us had three slices of cardboard pizza, one plain hot dog (Hebrew National--a grocery store brand), one small soda, and two milks. 


I kid you not. Thirty. Five. Dollars. DH about choked when it rang up. "I've eaten for less than that at the Kennedy Center," he told the cashier.

For your reference, should you ever find yourself hungry at the Smithsonian, there are at least four street vendors outside the door, selling exactly the same food, for exactly one-third the price. I highly recommend visiting them and enjoying the ambiance of our lovely Mall for your meal, and then going back inside the museum to fight the crowds and see whatever your heart desires.

After lunch, my heart desired home. So we went. And it really was a fun morning. But next time, I'm doing it during the week. On a day when most schools are in session, but our school is off to venerate a saint in the comfort and privacy of home.

Catholic school tuition has its privileges...