Friday, August 29, 2008
Sorry. In fact, what I will confine myself to is an observation that sometimes I'll be sitting somewhere (reading, perhaps, or working on the computer), and I'll be really, really uncomfortable. And all I would have to do is shift around or uncross my legs or whatever, but I don't. I sort of want to, but I don't. I just stay like that, getting more and more uncomfortable, until I absolutely canNOT stand it anymore, and then I'll finally get creakily to my feet, feeling like an eighty-year-old woman.
Is it prodigious laziness, or remarkable tenacity? You decide.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Today is Thursday. Do you know what that means? 48 hours till BYU Football begins.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
All of our meals look the same these days. Tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, onions, and basil. Oh, and sometimes chard. Then they're either combined with quinoa, rice, noodles, broth, or, as they were last night, pie. Mmmm! The lighting is not spectacular in these pictures, sorry. But the recipe is great. Here it is. Don't be alarmed by the long list of ingredients, it's really not hard to make. Also, one of my favorite things to do for a picnic is to make these into individual, hand-held pies. Just spread filling on small circles of dough, fold them in half, pinch the edges, and bake. Yum.
Cherry Tomato, Cheese, and Zucchini Pie
2 1/4 c. flour
½ c. grated parmesan cheese
pinch of sugar
1 t. coarse salt
3/4 c. cold butter
1 egg yolk
1/4 to ½ c. ice water
Combine flour, cheese, sugar, and salt in bowl. Cut in butter until mixture makes coarse crumbs. Add egg yolk. Drizzle in water until dough just comes together. (I usually use the whole 1/2 c., or even a tiny bit more.) Form a ball. Wrap in plastic. Refrigerate till cold, about 30 minutes. (While it is in the fridge, make the filling.)
Chop up a bunch of vegetables (onion, zucchini, squash) and saute them in olive oil until golden brown. Sprinkle generously with coarse salt. Turn off the heat and stir in two big handfuls of cherry tomatoes. I cut them in half first. Stir in a heaping 1/4 cup flour, ½ c. grated parmesan cheese (high-quality, naturally), 1 T. sugar, and as much fresh basil as you like. Stir it all together and add more salt and pepper as needed.
Roll out the dough into a big circle, much bigger than your pie pan. Then put it in the pie pan, top with the filling, and cut 7 slits evenly spaced around the pie crust. Fold the flaps over so they become the top crust (as shown above). To make it browner you can brush the crust with a beaten egg before baking. Bake at 375 for 45 min. or until golden brown.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
2. I've been hearing a lot of the phrase "step foot," as in, "I wouldn't step foot in that evil capitalist bastion Walmart if you gave me a million dollars." I realize this brands me as a grammar nerd, but shouldn't it be set foot? Although "step foot" conjures up quite an amusing image, like someone doing the hokey pokey.
3. I drove by the hospital yesterday and saw the following on their sign:
"Varicose veins . . . not always just a cosmetic issue."
What's going on? Are health problems now meriting their own political slogans? Or marketing campaigns? I guess I can get on board with that.
Herniated disks . . . ruining a generation, one back at a time.
Tachycardia . . . the future is now.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome . . . it's the digestion, stupid.
Mumps . . . chubby cheeks you can believe in.
4. Another advertisement I saw recently: "Teach your Children to Pray the Soft, Cute, Cuddly Way! www.prayertimecritters.com." Wow!! Amazing. Here I've been teaching my children to pray the cold, ugly, prickly way all this time. If only I'd known something like this was available!
Monday, August 25, 2008
"Yes?" I say.20 minutes later.
Braces: Um . . . do you know, do you have any of that um, brown hose stuff?
Me: You mean the drip line?
Braces: Yeah, that stuff there [gestures feebly]
Me: No. Don't you have any?
Braces: Um yeah, we would have to go to the store and just get some, so, I was wondering if you had some.
Me: No, sorry.
Braces: Oh, okay.
Ding-dong!20 minutes later.
Me: Hi! What's going on?
Cigarette: [averts eyes]
Braces: Um hi, we were just wondering, do you have any more of that brown bark stuff?
Me: The mulch?
Braces: Yeah, that mulch stuff on top there [gestures feebly].
Me: Well, no. Our builder is the one that put in the front landscape, so we don't really have any of those supplies.
Braces: Oh, okay.
*I promise I am not making this up!!*
Me: Oh, hey guys!
Cigarette: [gazes across street]
Braces: Hey, sorry to keep bothering you.
Me: No, that's okay. What do you need?
Braces: I was just wondering, um, do you need the dirt on, like, both sides of your house?
Me: Yes, that's right.
Braces: So, like, that side, and then that side too? [gestures feebly]
Me: Yeah, we need it everywhere that the drip line goes. Just basically in our whole yard. Both sides.
Braces: Okay, I was just, uh, trying to make sure I got everything, 'cause I keep forgetting stuff, so . . . I just wanted to make sure.
They reminded me of two little kids trying to get out of going to bed or something [now how would I know about that?]. "I need onnnne more drink!" "I just need to go to the bathroom!" etc. In fact I tried to go outside and bring them a drink, but now they seem to have disappeared. Hmmm.
Anyway, it's nice to be needed. Right?
*That must be the longest sentence ever.
**"To break up lengthy sections of prose, vary your sentence lengths." English minor to the rescue!!
Saturday, August 23, 2008
I know everyone else in the world has probably already written about this, but don't you love watching the Olympics? We were afraid we wouldn't be able to see what was going on, since we only get 2 visible channels on our TV. But luckily channel 5 is one of the good ones. I don't even care what event is on, I love it all. Here are some of the things I love:
1. The guy who is the announcer for the gymnastics (Todd? Andrew?) and he always says things like "Whoooa! Dis-AS-trous!!" and "Oh no, that was a HUGE error!" when the gymnasts do some invisible mistake. [Except to me it sounds like "That element is *cough cough cough* what a disappointing *cough cough* extremely difficult dismount *cough cough* tragedy." (thanks Sam)]
2. I love it when they cry. Happy crying, that is. When they're so surprised and happy that they won. I also like it when someone is really, really happy to get the bronze, instead of disappointed with it.
3. "Gleb Galperin." Gleb??! What a great name. There are so many great names.
4. So I mentioned something about the medley relay (in track) and Sam was wondering what it was (400, 200, 200, 800 m.--I don't think they do it in the Olympics though), and he THOUGHT it was like the swimming medley, which has a different stroke for each leg of the race. So he was trying to figure out what it was: "What do they do, like, running backwards, hopping on one foot, skipping?" Then we were imagining Usain Bolt having to skip around the track. Awesome.
5. That commercial where the guy in China is watching the pretty girl and he trips over a food cart and all this stuff comes crashing down on him and then he goes to the doctor and the doctor is that same pretty girl. Just kidding. I don't like it. But I saw it so many times, I feel it's a part of me. So I guess I do kind of like it, actually.
6. I love trying to tell if a dive was good or bad. You start to sort of feel like you can tell because you're listening to the commentators saying things about it, so you look for if there's a big splash or not, or if the legs were together, or whatever. It makes you feel kind of cool.
7. Michael Phelps. Come on. How could you not love that guy?
8. I wish they showed more events during the evenings. I really want to see things like ping-pong and rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming. ESPECIALLY synchronized swimming. I've heard it made fun of so often, and yet I've never seen it! Last night they were going to show it after midnight, so we stayed up to watch it, but then we fell asleep before it came on. Woke up to see the pole vault at like 2 a.m. Sad. :(
9. Oops, #8 was not something I love. I'll make up for it on this one. Because I looooove the Olympic music. I wish they played more of it, instead of just the beginning fanfare, but it still gives me chills every time.
10. Getting mad at the judges. Yes! The hint of a scandal. Are they cheating? Merely incompetent? Biased? It makes me mad, but deep down I'm happy because I like getting all righteously indignant about it.
11. The French guy, Jacques What's-his-name, president of the IOC. Usually this only happens to me with German accents, but something about his French accent makes everything he says sound like it's a joke, part of a Monty Python skit or something. "Yes, eet is very-very important to us that we have all of ze rules followed to, ah, ze letter. Zees is of ze utmost importance. Well, of course, zat goes weethout saying."
Okay, I know they're so nerdy, but sometimes they bring tears to my eyes anyway. :)
Friday, August 22, 2008
The boys do have their own chores, and they'll do those if reminded, but I'm talking about helping me with the "grownup" things. And I've been sort of sneaky about how I treat it (cleaning). I act like I'm really reluctant to give it up, like I'll preface it by saying, "I think you are getting old enough to do this, so I guess I'll let you give it a try just this once," or I'll say excitedly, "Guess what I'm going to do today??! Well, I'm going to clean the counters, and if you guys are good, I will let you help." I don't know if they're just not smart enough to see through it or what, but they will say to me, "Can we sweep the floor today Mommy?" or "Can we wash the tables?" And often I'll reply, "Well . . . I don't know . . . maybe I should just do it after you go to bed." "No, no, we want to help you!!" "Well . . . all right, but you have to do exactly what I say."
It takes longer with them helping, but honestly, give them a rag and a spray bottle and they are happy to help forever! Then of course when we're done I make a big fuss over it all ("WOW! Doesn't this look great? I LOVE having such a clean floor! Can you believe how good it looks? We'll have to show Daddy! Let's take a picture!" etc. etc.) and say, "You guys did such a good job, maybe I'll let you help me again next time!"
I was thinking today, as I was walking around the floor pointing out dirty spots with my toe and the boys were scrubbing them off, that they reminded me of those poor little orphans in "Annie." Except my boys are more serious about it. Didn't those girls always look like they were having too much fun during their chores?
I could get used to having all this slave labor. (Can't wait to add Malachi to the work crew!)
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Anyway, we have absolutely LOVED it. Our kids are too little to really get into the alphabet thing, but they've had a great time doing the activities, and I imagine that with older kids it would be fun to let them be in charge of planning a letter too. It has really been fun to challenge ourselves a little and get outside the kinds of things we normally do.
Coincidentally, it takes exactly 6 months to get through the alphabet (26 letters, 52 weeks, see?), so this can keep you busy for a whole year if you go through twice, switching letters the second time.
Here are the things we've done. You'll see that some are really good and creative and some are just silly. But that's part of the fun of it. :)
C--Create something together--we drew up a landscape plan for our future backyard. We talked about what kinds of things we'd want, and drew it out on graph paper, and Sam helped fill it in on the computer.
D--Daisies and delphiniums--Sam brought me a beautiful bouquet of these flowers. Not really an _activity_, but we were sick that weekend, and anyway, who could ever complain about getting flowers?
--okay, this is a silly one. We each had to submit something (art, poetry, or whatever) on the subject of "Elephants with Eating Disorders" or "Elephants and the Environment." Then we had an awards ceremony. I must say that my poem on the subject was very raw and moving. I will refrain from posting it here, but above is Sam's contribution.
F--Arena Football--we went to a Utah Blaze game. Have you ever seen indoor football? It's really fast-paced and fun.
G--Gem and Mineral Show--This is a free yearly show in Spanish Fork. They have all kinds of rocks to look at (and buy). The boys _loved_ it.
--Yes, sometimes our activities were based on expediency. We went to IKEA to pick out hardware for our kitchen cupboards. A trip to IKEA is always kind of an adventure, though, right? We enjoy it. We also went to a play at the Hale Center Theater in the evening. (It was "She Loves Me." Have you seen it? One of my favorite musicals.)
I--Interior Design--Sam and I both kind of get into this kind of thing, so we just went to the library and checked out a bunch of interior design books and then read through them together, talking about what we liked and didn't like.
J--Junk--We went through the house, gathered up tons of stuff we don't need or use anymore, and took a huge load to D.I. Our ward was also having a swap meet, so some of the less awful stuff went to that.
K--Kiwi--We made fruit pizza with kiwis on top. Yum!
L--?--I'm terribly sorry, but I've forgotten what "L" was. Something fun, I'm sure. :) I was writing them down, but for some reason this week got skipped.
M--Moving--Well, this one was a cop-out. We just happened to be moving that weekend, so we called it "M" for moving and were too worn out to do anything else.
N--Nibbles--This was fun--we went to several different restaurants and just got an appetizer at each place. Our boys LOVED this. They are always begging to do it again.
--We had a nice, lazy Sunday picnic. Walked around the lake. Enjoyed the sunshine. It was wonderful.
--Sam and I wrote up quizzes for each other, on any subjects we could come up with. Some questions were hard, and some easy. But it was quite fun to test our knowledge. And for dinner Sunday, I made quiche.
R--Romantic ramen--Sam made Ramen noodles for our dinner. By candlelight. On the nice dishes. How romantic!! We also each were assigned to do a 5-minute oral report. Mine was on the Rorsharch ink-blot test and Sam's was on rugs. Very enlightening.
S--Stargazing, salt flats--This was a super fun one. After dinner, we drove way out west to the salt flats, laid our blankets out, and looked up at the stars while we talked and told stories and ate the cookies we'd made earlier. The stars are SO pretty out there, and we don't really see many stars here. So it was a great night. Another one that the boys really loved.
T--throw --we had another picnic at the park and then played all the throwing games we could think of. Football, frisbee, catch, etc.
U--Unlimited--we had lunch at a local pizza buffet. Our quantities were limited only by our appetites. (And those are big.)
V--Verse--we had to write bad poems. They were, indeed, very bad. I won't subject you to them.
W--Wall-E, Water day
--Friday night Sam and I went on a date to Wall-E (yes, the kids would have liked it, but I didn't want to hold a fussing baby and a squirmy two-year-old and end up going out and missing most of it), and then Saturday we spent all day doing water things: going to the swimming pool and the splash pool, walking by the lake, and paddling around in the inflatable raft we borrowed from my mom.
X--Xeriscaping--You know what this is, right? Water-conserving landscaping? We picked out some native plants that we like, and planned out our rock wall, etc.
Y--Yummy Yellow desserts
--we had a party with a few of our neighbors where we ate desserts that were yellow. They were quite delicious.
--well, what other option was there? I guess we'll have to think of something different for next time we do "Z"--but our boys love the zoo, of course, and it's nice to have a reason to go.
So, we're now starting on Round 2. Try it yourself if you want! It doesn't have to be stressful or anything, because you just tailor the activity to what you're in the mood for/feeling up to that week. We've had so much fun!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
[Don't you always feel like you sound too perky when you use exclamation points? But how else to express the exhuberance I so often wish to convey? :)]
Update: here is the recipe:
Rosemary-Lime Sparkle Ice Cream
7-10 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups club soda
Strip rosemary leaves from stems and place in small mixing bowl. Add the sugar, milk, and cream; stir to combine. Put bowl in refrigerator and allow flavors to blend for 30 minutes.
Pour rosemary-cream mixture into a blender; blend till smooth. (The rosemary leaves should look like fine green flecks in the cream mixture.) Add lime juice and club soda. Stir well.
Process in ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Serve immediately, or place in freezer to ripen for a few hours longer. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary.
These are pictures I drew in the margins of my papers while I was sitting in classes at BYU. Look at all those crescents! And of all shapes and sizes! (Magnificent!) I was much more pleased with my doodles once I settled on this form as my "go-to" creation. I didn't have to worry about coming up with some horribly misshapen person or animal, but yet I could enjoy an intricacy not provided by simple spirals or other geometric shapes.
These are puffer fish. My friend Rachael drew the first puffer fish during our biology class, and after that we were on a never-ending quest to draw perfect ones. Certain pens were better for the purpose, we found. Many of these pictured here are not spiny enough: that is, they look a little too full and fluffy. Some are quite good, however. Once Rachael sent me a whole card full of puffer fish for my birthday. That was a good day.
Anyone else have any good doodles? Or perhaps you didn't sit through as many boring lectures as I did? If there are any, I would enjoy seeing them.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Well. Anyway, here's a map for you to look at. From this cool site.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
I've never really been that great of a gardener, but at this time of year, I start to get so inspired. It's just so FUN to cook with stuff you've grown yourself. I feel paternal and protective towards our veg, like the people in Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. (You've seen it, haven't you? I love that movie.) All this garden food is just so . . . beautiful!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Anyway, Abe and Sebby and I sometimes play this game in the car called "the true/false game," and it's lovely. The questions that the boys think of are so funny. And although I sometimes miss being in school, when I reflect on the fact that this is the only kind of test I have to take these days, I am suffused with gratitude. So, without further ado, I present:
A True/False test you are guaranteed to pass: (actual questions by Abe and Seb)
1. (Abe): True or False: There's a merry-go-round in the middle of the road, right in front of you.
2. (Seb): True or False: There's a zoo in the road in front of you, and it's made of plastic.
3. (Abe): True or False: There's an elephant in the road, and it's coming right towards us, and it's going to get right in our car.
4. (Seb): True or False: There's an elephant in our car right now, and it's made of plastic.
5. (Abe): True or False: There's a big letter Z on the mountain.
6. (Seb): True or False: That Y on the mountain is made of white.
7. (Abe): True or False: There's a big, huge, monkey sitting on the seat, and it's eating a banana, and it's from the zoo, and it's going to be our monkey for the rest of the whole world.
8. (Seb): True or False: My brown monkey is blue.
9. (Abe): True or False: The whole world is blue.
(End, accompanied by raucous laughter)
Friday, August 8, 2008
If I could have a fabulous prize, perhaps I'd choose one of these lampshades (I really like them!):
And here are a few other interesting things I've run across:
Piano doorbell! Wow. I especially like this commentary:
Musical doorbells are annoying enough, but what if you gave your visitors the freedom to express themselves creatively? That's exactly what designer Li Jian had in mind when he came up with the Pianobell. Unless you are friends with a lot of talented musicians, I don't see much of an upside here.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Seb: Can you close the gawage, Abey?
Abe: Sebby! No! I can't touch the garage door! It will kill me! And it will kill you, too, Sebby! It will kill both of us if we touch it!
Seb: And it will kill Mommy, too.
Abe: No, it doesn't kill Mommy. She's not a kid, she's an adult.
Seb: Yes, it DOES it kill Mommy!
Abe: No, Sebby!
Seb: Yes, it DOES kill Mommy!
Abe: Well, it might kill Mommy, but it kills us too!
The food was yummy, and we invited some of our neighbors, and it was pretty fun, but like I said, we're sort of nerdy and I had the feeling they were thinking, "Well? Is this it?" I think they were used to, I don't know, more exciting parties.
Anyway, my new resolve, strengthened by the sight of that fabulous get-together shown in the top photo, is to a.) just do the kind of nerdy things we want to do, without regard to Societal Norms, and b.) invite people who will have great, nerdy ideas of their own.
If such an event sounds enticing, this is your cue to invite yourself over. All we need is an excuse, and not really much of one at that, since as I said, I love parties!
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
In other news, today at the swimming pool we four were the only people there for about a half hour. [Note: I can't tell my two older boys apart when they're in the water. Is that bad?] It was so fun. And probably lucky too, since at one point I heard Sebby saying (what I thought was), "Can there just be playing boys in the swimming pool?" I said, "Yes, that's right," and then looked over to see Seb standing there naked with his swimming suit around his ankles. And realized that what he'd said was "plain boys." As opposed to boys in swimming suits, apparently.
Also, I really like this picture:
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Here I am with the eagerly-awaited results of those 36-hour cookies I tried. They were pretty good. Very good, in fact, but I don't think they are truly my favorite cookies ever. (Many others have tried this experiment as well; I don't pretend to any special expertise except that I really, really like cookies.)
Here's what I thought about the recipe: (find it here)
- I liked the the extra amount of salt---and it was coarse/kosher salt (not sure if that made a difference). It called for 1 1/2 t. instead of the more normal 1/2-1 tsp., and I really could taste it in the dough. I liked the interesting dimension that added to the cookies' sweetness. As far as the sea salt sprinkled on top of each cookie, it wasn't as noticeable as you might think. It wasn't offensive or anything, but I think the extra salt in the dough made more of a difference. I might try just doing one or the other next time.
- I baked some cookies at about 30 hours, then more at 48 and 72. I didn't really notice much difference between the 3 times. The 72-hour ones maybe were a bit more toffee/caramelly tasting, but also a bit more crispy. And even the 30-hour ones had that same toffee flavor. It's quite yummy. When cooked the right amount of time (I did 16 min. instead of 18-20---maybe my cookies were smaller or something?), the outside ring of the cookie has a nice, deep, caramelly crunch to it, with the inside still staying soft. But my favorite cookies achieve that same flavor by the inclusion of toffee chips. So, next time I might try making my favorites, but letting them have an overnight resting period, to see if that intensifies the flavor even more, and if it's worth it.
- I didn't do the 2 kinds of flour---there didn't seem to be any reason for it. I did add quite a bit more flour than the recipe called for---I think. I don't have kitchen scales or anything, so I'm never really sure how accurate my measurements are. I debated whether I should add more (I was trying to be faithful to the recipe after all, or it wouldn't be a valid trial), but I finally just thought I should follow my instincts. You know how you sort of get a feel for how the dough should be. I just added flour until the dough looked and felt right to me.
- I didn't use "high-quality chocolate." Perhaps if I had, I would have been way more impressed.
I hope it grows!