I admit that not a lot happened this week, and I confess that the laziness of the week is directly responsible for this lazy blog entry. I’m even too lazy to wax philosophical about letting my life pass me by as I partake in the bewildered amusement of watching my now twenty-month-old daughter pick out letters of the alphabet on the Bed, Bath & Beyond sign, count to eleven while crawling up the stairs and every so often, out of nowhere, ask, “Where’d Sid (the cat) go?” But I’ll make it all better with pictures! Continue reading
Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day are your two biggest Hallmark holidays, made up to drive sales of greeting cards and other things one generally doesn’t need. Do I sound cynical? Perhaps. But I’m a lot less cynical about Mother’s Day now that I am a mom. Continue reading
Shopping. Once a cherished pastime, the activity has now walked the hall of burden and turned the corner to annoying.
Shortly after Sonja was born, I took on a whole new philosophy regarding shopping. I decided to buy now, sort and return later. That line of thinking has largely served its purpose now that Sonja is older and I have a greater handle on what she needs and doesn’t need. I do return things that don’t meet my expectations far more frequently than I used to, which is the residue that particular philosophy left behind. Continue reading
If I were on twitter, I’d be doing a lot of bitching about my frequent refrigerator leaks with hashtags like #Whirpoolsucks, #fridgelemonlaw and #newappliancewoes, hoping to get a free refrigerator or at least free refrigerator repair out of Whirlpool. Since I can’t confine so much as a sneeze to 140 characters, I’ll take my time explaining things here.
We bought a new refrigerator a little over three years ago, when the old one that came with the house was in need of major repairs. We bought a side-by-side design with an in-door ice maker and filtered water dispenser. It looked like a very nice fridge for a decent price ($800). In the past three years we have replaced the components for the in-door ice maker and had several leaks. The first leak was caused by the line going to the water filter. Several unsuccessful attempts to fix it and several floods later, we bypassed the filter. We have since had a few more leaks from the water line. This is not only inconvenient and annoying but has cost us our floor. Continue reading
In my younger and more vulnerable years, I stumbled upon a book that would change my life.
You’ve probably already guessed that I’m talking about The Great Gatsby. I’m talking about it because I’m re-reading it for the fourth (?) time, and I’m re-reading it because a new movie version is premiering in a few weeks. While I am of the mind that Gatsby is an unfilm-able book, it leaves me no less interested in seeing the outcome. First, though, I wanted to refresh my memory of the book.
In the midst of my reading, it occurred to me – and probably this has occurred to me before – that while it’s no surprise that I admire this beloved American classic, the way I came to it is kind of a surprise. Continue reading
It finally happened. I threw my hands up in the air and admitted defeat. I succumbed to the voice in my head called reason, and I took two pairs of size 18-24 months leggings back to Old Navy and exchanged them for size 12-18 months.
My nearly 19-month-old old daughter is somewhat small for her age. She mostly wears leggings because jeans and other pants sag below her bum, making her look like the world’s tiniest hoodlum. I thought it might be time to upsize a few items in her wardrobe, but the larger size made no contact whatsoever with her waist. Rather than hanging them up in the closet next to nearly a dozen other pairs of pants that do not fit yet, I exchanged them.
As I’m sure any parent knows, even amongst identical infant/toddler sizes, there is tremendous variation in the cut and fit of the clothes. It’s the same in adult clothes. So the fact that I must size down mustn’t seem like a very big deal. It’s not a big deal to the voice of reason in my head. But the voice of reason must debate with the voice of pattern recognition (VOPR). The section of my brain concerned with the established order is strong and mighty, and it does not care for nuances or shades of grey. (And yes, the VOPR has been on high alert since Sonja was born, searching frantically, endlessly and often hopelessly for new patterns and semblances of structure.) Continue reading
I’ve been thinking all week about the season 6 premier of Mad Men on AMC, excited for the return of my favorite show. I’ve also been thinking all week about this blog installment, wondering what I could add to the conversation about this most-talked-about show. A straight recap will not do. Like showing a picture of the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in the ad campaign, anybody can do that. (Although if you want it done well, head on over to Slate Magazine.) I could describe how much I love this show, but I’m sure I would be chastised by Don for devaluing the word. Plus, if I simply listed everything I loved about it, I’d risk being chastised by Peggy for not knowing the difference between ideas and the execution of ideas. That doesn’t leave me much, but here are a few thoughts I came up with in a crisis… Continue reading
No sooner had I finished lamenting my somewhat failed New Year’s resolution than did a photographer friend of mine ask to take photos of my little one to help build her portfolio. I have long been thinking about taking Sonja to a professional photo session, but kept putting off the decision. Should I call Yuen Lui and sit in a studio, or should I buy a groupon for an outdoor photo session? Where would that take place? If I choose to go with a freelance photographer, who should I choose? At what point will I consider that I look good enough to spend money to have my photo taken? Continue reading
Is it April already? It is? Well that means that lo some three months ago, I resolved to take more pictures of my daughter and myself in the new year. Today I can declare that the resolution was somewhat successful in that it reminded me to keep the camera handy for those fortuitous Kodak moments, and to snap away even during the quotidian quiet. I was however woefully unsuccessful in taking more pictures of myself. Each snapshot would cause me to revile in horror, hit the delete button and put the camera away. I think that I could fill pages and pages waxing philosophical and psychological about the fact I don’t like photos of myself, but I won’t. Believe me I don’t want to be that person that turns away from the camera and scolds the photographer, I really don’t. (If I were an actor I’d be Johnny Depp or Paul Newman, not because I would be smolderingly handsome but because I would refuse to watch myself on screen.) That’s just something I am going to have to work on for myself. In the meantime, I do hereby resolve never to shy away from a picture in front of my daughter or remark unkindly about my appearance in a photo, as this is not a mannerism I wish to pass down to my gorgeous, photogenic daughter. Continue reading
In my ongoing quest for quick prep meals, I decided to try an almond chicken stir-fry recipe. I used to steer away from stir-fry because I couldn’t handle the heat (literally and figuratively, pun intended and not intended) but perseverance and a trust that chicken really can cook that fast have led to great improvements. After I cooked the almond chicken to perfection and I was finished strutting around the house, I put the recipe in The Big Blue Binder.
The Big Blue Binder is my version of a family recipe book. My mom had (and still has) an orange and yellow tin box that contains decades old index cards with faded pencil marks, encrusted with grease and flour. It’s cute and full of memories, but I like to run a much tighter ship. My binder is divided into sections by recipe type, the recipes printed by laser onto letter-size paper and protected from cooking elements by clear plastic covers. Not only that, but the worthy recipes, the ones we really like, I manually enter into a recipe template I have created.
Worthy recipes are not easy to come by. After several years of practice I can weed out the really crappy ones by sight. Any recipe calling for cream of mushroom soup, ketchup or heavy on an ingredient I don’t like can be quickly nixed. I’ve found a couple of favorite sites that yield more good recipes than bad, including Simply Recipes and Cook’s Country. In order to make it into The Big Blue Binder, the recipe must be successfully made at least once and be good enough to be made frequently. If I make any substitutions or changes, I take notes that I transfer to the template. I have a section on the bottom right for a rating, between one and five stars, from both Shaun and myself. Obviously there’s nothing in there with just one star, that would be stupid. But Shaun and I have very different tastes so if I love a dish and he only gave it three stars, that dish will get made less often, or we can try to tweak it to get five starts from the both of us. (If this sounds needlessly complicated, it is, but I find this kind of organizational project very soothing.)
I keep recipes I want to try in the front pocket. I keep recipes that are on the fence – ones that have been made and have potential but need to be further tested and tweaked – in the front pocket of their respective sections. The binder is quite full at the moment, but my goal is to weed out the bad, the mediocre and the untested in favor of a full book with all knock out, five star recipes. I wonder what will happen if I ever achieve this goal. Will that stop me from looking up recipes online? Will I finally have a singular and finite recipe resource? Probably not. I’ll probably start a second binder.