Friday, November 30, 2007
My brother sent me an email today titled 50 Signs You're a Blogaholic. What follows are the ones that apply to me. Email me if you want me to forward you the entire list.
5. Your family doesn't call anymore; they just check your blog. (That's actually how my aunt found out that I'd burned my arm so badly.)
6. You have daydreams about links from Boing Boing. (Got one! Most exciting day of my life. Um, other than when Joey was born, I mean.)
15. You keep a blog ideas notepad by your bed. And you go to bed early just so you can write in it. (OK, this isn't just for blog ideas, though. The moment I lie down in bed, my brain is filled with ideas, lists, inventions, and things I need to do. If I don't write them down, I spend the next 2 hours repeating these things in my head so I'll remember them in the morning. I lose sleep and still don't remember anything when I wake up.)
16. You check your Adsence revenue more than your bank account. (I don't have this, but I know I would if I did.)
20. Your breakfast of choice is toast, cornflakes and Google reader. (Mine is tea, oatmeal and Google reader.)
21. You care more about what Technorati says about your authority than what your children do. ("Because my Authority is 80, that's why!")
25. Your blogroll is longer than your cell's phonebook. (But, I don't really have everybody I know programmed into my cell phone, so does this count?)
26. You think "I wonder how this'll look on Flickr?" when posing for photos. (I'm starting to think that I should remember to do this, especially considering these photos from a recent costume party we went to.)
And just so you know, I'm wearing a Girls Gone Wild cami trucker's cap. Can you guess the theme of the costume party? Also, these are actually some of the better pictures that were taken of me that night. I'm putting in a request to Aurora to take three or four awful ones off of Flickr. And, I've learned that I shouldn't sing when getting my picture taken, no matter how much I like When Doves Cry.
And Matthew and I (the two on the right) are actually the two sober ones. Betcha wouldn't have guessed that. (FYI, this is a picture of me and my 3 siblings. Tommy and Matt are twins. I'm the oldest. Jenny's in the middle, age-wise that is.)
30. You know what a blog carnival is. (I don't, but I now need to find out.)
35. Your lifetime goal is achieving a Page Rank of 10.
50. You finish reading this and go to make a post with your own additions…
I guess that says it all.
This is what I look like with lipstick. (Doesn't Joey look like a little stinker in this picture?)
9- I went on a date with Corey Feldman's cousin when I was in college. Well, at least he said he was his cousin. And, honestly, why on earth would someone make that up? This guy was pretty cute and drove an expensive car, but was also a great reminder as to why superficial things like that don't matter at all. We went out once.
8- I suppose this goes with the makeup thing, but I don't own any diamonds, nor do I want to. I'd be upset with Jeff if he ever spent that much money on something I'd probably be afraid to wear around anyway (I'm always doing something that gets my hands dirty). I'd be happy to have diamond jewelry if it had been passed down in the family, though. But I'm also the one that has kept an old mule harness because it came from my great- grandparents' farm.
7- When Joey was in pre-school she asked me if she could get her nose pierced (Jenny has one) and I told her yes. She changed her mind when she found out that it hurt and I was kind of disappointed. She would have been so cute. Piercings, shaved or dyed hair on my kids has never bothered me in the least.
6- I didn't know what the song She Bop (by Cyndi Lauper) was about until a couple of years ago, when Jeff told me.
Did anyone have to go look up about number 6? Or am I the only person that didn't know this?
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Especially on a day like this...
Extra Yummy Oatmeal1 T. Ghee (this is clarified butter, but you can use regular butter too)
1/2 t. cinnamon (or more if you want)
1/4 t. nutmeg (freshly ground if you can... it's so worth it.)
1/8 t. allspice (ground)
1/8 t. cardamom (ground)
1 cup oatmeal (not instant)
2 cups water (or 2 cups almond, rice or soy milk- for added protein)
1 T. brown sugar (or to taste)
small pinch of salt (taste and adjust as necessary) Trust me; this is my secret ingredient.
-First heat the ghee in a pan over medium heat.
-When it's hot, remove from heat and add spices.
-Return to heat for about 10 to 15 seconds, just until the ghee begins to bubble and spices are fragrant.
-Remove from heat and stir in oatmeal until it's nicely coated.
-Add the liquid and return to stove.
-Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until all liquid is absorbed (stirring occasionally and adding extra liquid if needed).
I usually serve this with frozen berries, yogurt (or cream), and nuts. If you really want dessert for breakfast, you can make...
1 batch of oatmeal
-While cooking oatmeal, heat oven to 400 degrees and put in an oven safe skillet for 5 or 10 minutes.
-When oatmeal is done, remove skillet, add butter and allow to melt (be careful of spattering butter; ghee won't do this).
-Add oatmeal to skillet and cover with sliced, chopped or shredded apples.
-You can sprinkle with more cinnamon if you want.
-Return to oven and cook for 15 minutes or so.
So, that's it. Joey and I are off to create a Winter Wonderland a la Soule Mama.
So, in the last week I’ve seen…
-An orange Oscar.
-The original Gordon
-Kids playing follow-the-leader through a construction site. (I'm not making this up. And apparently, the best way to do this is by going OVER the boards lying across the saw horses. I'm just saying.)
-Two chocolate cream pies!!!
-A sign for Afro-American cheese sandwiches.
-Bill Cosby smoking a cigar on a children’s television workshop program. (The only clip I couldn't find on You Tube. Weird.)
-And this (with Morgan Freeman & Rita Moreno)…
So, there is no way that any other generation could ever be as cool as ours. I say this simply because we learned to read with Easy Reader.
Electric company was the shit. Period.
No Dora the Explorer or Teletubbies or Rescue Rangers or even Thunder Cats can compare. I’m sorry if you disagree.
But, if you do, you’re wrong.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
"Birdy, meanwhile — well, she's working on her own goals. Like the correct telling of the banana/orange knock-knock joke, which remains currently unmastered. "Banana you glad I didn't say ... Wait. Wait. Banana you glad ... Wait. Banana orange you glad? Hold on. I'm starting over."
This could be taken almost verbatim from a video of Joey telling of the same joke (or maybe it was me that screwed it up). Either way, it reminded me of another joke that Joey couldn't quite get right.
The joke should go…
Dwain the tub, I'm dwowning.
And now, Joey's 2-year-old version…
Dwain, get me out of here. I'm drowning.
Friday, November 23, 2007
Which we aren't.
I guess I haven't mentioned that here. In fact, today is the 10 year anniversary of when we first realized that we really were in love. When you don't have a wedding anniversary, you need to think a bit more about when your commitment to each other began.
I love Jeff. He loves me. I feel most like myself when I'm around him. Basically, he makes me more me.
We plan to be together until one of us kicks it. (But then again, doesn't everybody?)
When I got pregnant and Jeff and I weren't married, my dad was concerned that Jeff might leave me. The funny thing is that my dad and my mom split up after they had been married for many years and had 4 children. Well, that's not actually funny, but the fact that he thought a wedding would secure Jeff to me is.
There is nothing at all that you can do to guarantee that your relationship will last. You can try to be nice to each other, grow with each other, give the other person acceptance and unconditional love. But a signed contract won't protect you from a failed relationship. In fact, it seems that a lot of times, people rely way too much on that paper. They don't think they have to work at it because, well... they're married. What else is there to do?
And besides, what's the other person gonna do? Leave?
So, back to my original point. The similarity between our non-marriage and homeschooling is this… When I list all the reasons for my choices (and believe me, there are many more of them than I'll bore you with here), I worry that I'm offending people that choose differently. When I tell happily married women, with rings on their fingers, that I have no desire to be a wife I feel somewhat uncomfortable. Especially when I'm telling it to women whose identity is heavily wrapped up in being a wife. Those, especially, are the ones that just look at me with a complete lack of understanding.
But, honestly, do you want to know the only difficult thing about our non-marriage, besides making sure the legal stuff is taken care of? (for anyone interested, we are actually married in the common-law sense)
It's the problem of what to call each other.
'Boyfriend' sounds like we're in high school.
'Lover' implies that it's all about sex. (If only)
'Partner' sounds like we're gay.
And when I call him my 'Old Man' people think I'm referring to my dad. (This last one bums me out because I like the relaxed, hippie vibe of Old Man.)
Before a work party, Jeff once claimed that he was going to introduce me in the following manner, "And this is Wendy; she's my 'you know'." He would accompany the 'you know' with a suggestive eye roll in my direction, maybe even a little hip action. But, he never actually did it, which is disappointing because it would have been amusing.
So, Happy Anniversary to you, my boyfriend/old man/lesbian (trapped in a man's body) lover. Thank you for the last 10 years. Here's to many more (she says with wine glass raised high, at 9:30 in the morning).
I love you.
Added note- Here are Joey's thoughts on how great her daddy is... He's nice, cool, intelligent, funny, a good father, did I say cool?
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The word processed version that I have came to me via my Aunt Alice, pictured below with Granny in one of my favorite pictures ever. This picture captures the essence of how it felt to be around her.
Gram has been gone for many years now, but her Cornbread Stuffing is a Thanksgiving staple in all of our houses.
Here it is, with thanks to Alice (and the control C function).
Granny’s Cornbread Stuffing (this is enough to feed like 30 people)
2 batches cornbread (see recipe below)
At least two loaves of bread (white or wheat)
1 bunch of celery, diced
2 medium onions, diced
Chicken broth, heated (2 large, at least)
1 t. Celery salt
1 t. celery seed
2 t. Poultry seasoning
1 & 1/2 t. Rubbed sage, not the leaf
You use a ratio of ½ cornbread and ½ bread. Double the cornbread recipe and use at least a couple of loaves of bread. A day or two before you need to make the stuffing, set the bread and cornbread out to dry or dry it out in the oven. It doesn’t have to be hard and crunchy like the store-bought stuffing, but it does need to be dry.
Once it’s dry, in a very large pan, tear up the bread and cornbread into chunks and mix it up. Heat the broth, not to boiling, just very warm. Add the spices to the broth and taste. It should taste fairly strong, stronger than you'd want for the finished stuffing because they mellow after cooking. Adjust seasoning as necessary. Pour most of the seasoned broth over the breads until they’re soggy, reserving about a cup or so and mixing as you go. Mix the cooled, reserved broth with the eggs and then add those, along with the diced onion and celery, to the stuffing.
Then, stuff the turkey (if that's where you cook your stuffing). The remaining stuffing can be put in a casserole dish (pile it lightly and don't smooth; this leaves more surface area to get crunchy). So that it doesn’t get too dry, you can add more chicken broth to the stuffing you’re cooking in the casserole dish. We cooked it at about 350 for an hour or two. It will take much less time if you halve the recipe.
Now, I must admit to monkeying around with my Granny's Cornbread recipe a bit. I have not changed the ingredients, but instead of cooking many little cornbread 'pancakes' on a hot griddle, I do an entire batch in the cast iron skillet. I don't have the patience for the pancakes, especially when I'm making 2 batches to tear up in stuffing. And if you're not into stuffing, this recipe is wonderful (and super quick) to make as a side for a batch of beans and ham. Jenny and Jeff like their cornbread sweet and if you do too, go ahead and add a couple of tablespoons of sugar to the dry ingredients. It's great either way.
1 cup cornmeal
½ cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
¼ cup oil
Butter for oiling
Mix all of the dry ingredients together. Then add the milk, egg and oil and mix well. Heat the griddle and cook the batter like pancakes.
Or for the skillet version... before you mix wet and dry ingredients, bring oven to 400 degrees and put a cast iron skillet on the stove on medium heat.
When the skillet is hot, mix wet and dry ingredients, add a tablespoon or two of butter to the skillet and pour the batter in. The more butter you add, the crunchier the bottom is. Cook on the stovetop for about 5 minutes. Then put in the oven for 5 or 10 minutes, until it's brown on top.
If you plan to use it in the stuffing, go ahead and let it cook longer (maybe turn off the oven) to dry it out. I always do this because I have never once planned ahead well enough to start this more than a day ahead of Thanksgiving.This year, I had Joey to help.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
1. "The first lesson I teach is confusion. Everything I teach is out of context. I teach the un-relating of everything. I teach disconnections. The logic of the school-mind is that it is better to leave school with a tool kit of superficial jargon… than with one genuine enthusiasm. Meaning, not disconnected facts, is what sane human beings seek."
2. "The second lesson I teach is class position. I teach that students must stay in the class where they belong. The children are numbered so that if any get away they can be returned to the right class."
3. "The third lesson I teach is indifference. I teach children not to care too much about anything… I do it by demanding that they become totally involved in my lessons… but when the bell rings I insist they drop whatever it is we have been doing and proceed quickly to the next work station."
4. "The fourth lesson I teach is emotional dependency. By stars and red checks, smiles and frowns, prizes, honors, and disgraces, I teach kids to surrender their will to the predestined chain of command. Rights may be granted or withheld by any authority without appeal, because rights do not exist inside a school…. unless school authorities say they do."
5. "The fifth lesson I teach is intellectual dependency. Good students wait for a teacher to tell them what to do. This is the most important lesson of them all: we must wait for other people, better trained than ourselves, to make the meanings of our lives. Successful children do the thinking I assign them with a minimum of resistance and a decent show of enthusiasm. Of the millions of things of value to study, I decide what few we have time for."
6. "The sixth lesson I teach is provisional self-esteem. If you've ever tried to wrestle into line kids whose parents have convinced them to believe they'll be loved in spite of anything, you know how impossible it is to make self-confident spirits conform. I teach that a kid's self-respect should depend on expert opinion. My kids are constantly evaluated and judged."
7. "The seventh lesson I teach is that one can't hide. I teach students that they are always watched, that each is under constant surveillance by me and my colleagues."
(In the book, he discusses each of these points in much greater depth. It is so worth the read, even if you have no intention of homeschooling. It may just influence how you interact with your kids' teachers. Not that they're poor teachers, but that the whole system is fundamentally flawed.)
For the last couple of months, I've been paying attention to my life, to the things I do on a regular basis, and realized that just having Joey tag along to help me with these things would be a fantastic education for her. When I make a quilt and screw up the addition (like I did), then she can see that math really is applicable to every day life. When I can peach jelly, we can learn about why it's OK to can fruit and tomatoes, but not something like stew (hint- it's all about pH). And when I forget to register my business with the Secretary of State on time (yep, did that too) then she can see what it feels like to pay $30 instead of $10. When I showed her some of the spreadsheets that I use (for taxes, etc) she asked if she could be my secretary. Maybe I'll even start by having her proofread my posts. Heh.
I'm kind of kidding and kind of not. Kids are so separated from the everyday life of their parents. They have no idea what their folks do all day, how they take care of themselves, of their kids, of their home. When they turn 18 and are out on their own, they get that whole real life education thing. And it tends to kick their asses. I know it did mine.
And when her report card came home last Friday, I KNEW that I'd made the right decision. She received almost all B's, which is fine with me; it's a gifted and talented program and that stuff is challenging. What is funny is that she got a C on 'Reads Independently'.
Now this is a kid that needs to be told that she absolutely cannot pick up a book until she has completely gotten ready for school in the morning because otherwise she will lose track of time and read for 2 hours. She absolutely loves to read. I couldn't stop her if I tried. And she got a C because she forgot to write down what she's read (probably because there's so much of it!). Now, I don't mind about the grade; it doesn't hurt me or her. It just shows how little her teacher knows her. In school, it's more important that Joey writes down what she's read than the fact that she probably reads 2 or 3 hours a day.
The most interesting thing about this is the reaction I've received from parents. Some understand why I would want to do this, they just don't think that they could do it themselves. Also, I've noticed that some people take it much better when I don't explain why. When they hear my many reasons, some people get defensive. I think it's because they feel bad that they are unwilling to do it themselves, which is something I can totally identify with. It's taken me 3 and a half years of public school to get up the nerve to try homeschooling.
So, I would just like to say that I've been encouraged to try this by many of the blogs that I've stumbled upon (SouleMama, Full Circle, News from Hawkhill Acres, You're Not Lost You're Here, Circle the World in Big). Just knowing that people out there do this, and maintain their sanity, is a comfort. These are women I respect, many of whom have voices and values similar to mine. It just seems natural to take this next step in Joey's education.
I am so excited.
And completely terrified.
Monday, November 19, 2007
I do know that there's no way to please everyone, and really, that's the great thing about reading blogs; if you don't really like the person that you're reading, just move on. It self selects. And then again, there are the people you just click with. You just immediately feel like good friends. All this based solely on the words they choose to type into their blog. Weird, but kind of cool too.
So, in case you would like to know me a bit better, here's the first installation of "a few random things about me."
5- Pet Peeve- I hate it when someone stands in the way of, or in any way blocks, my mouse navigating arm when I'm on the computer. It just drives me nuts.
4- It is easier for me to remember my library card number than my social security number.
3- The smell of manure makes me smile. I guess because it reminds me of the rural-seeming, suburban neighborhood I grew up in. And because it means organic material for gardening. I doubt that my current neighbors on my not-at-all-rural street feel the same. Unsurprisingly, when I looked back through my pictures, I was able to find one of me shoveling it.
(Using manure for sheet composting)
2- I talk so much that after an evening of hanging out with friends/family, I feel hung over whether I've drank alcohol or not. I assume it's from being dehydrated from having my mouth open all night.
1- As far as I know, I have never written LOL, mainly because I don't ever say 'Laugh Out Loud'. I do use BTW and WTF, along with LMAO (and occasionally LMFAO) because those are terms I actually use in the world beyond the internet. When I find something slightly funny, I write 'Heh'. But I think I would like to start two new ones… Snort (because that's how I laugh) and IPaL (for 'I Peed a Little' because that sometimes happens too). What do you think?
And in case you noticed the label for this post, it's because when I started to write up the "8 things about me" meme that goes around, I came up with many more. Once I saw a blog that had "101 things about me," but that seemed like an awful lot to read in one sitting. So, like most things in my life, I'm dragging it out. Watch for more to come (although I doubt I'll ever get to 8,452).
Friday, November 16, 2007
Over the last few years, as I learned to cook different types of food, my spice selection has grown. Some of these I use only occasionally and since spices tend to loose their flavor over time, I buy small amounts of them. I find most of them in the bulk section at Vitamin Cottage.
Since they don't come in their own little jars, I eventually got tired of a bunch of little baggies in my cupboard. So, I searched around for smallish jars to do this with.
Partly I do this is for organization, partly because I love the way the spices look, especially the whole ones. Sometimes I'm actually inspired to cook something just from looking in here.
You may have noticed that the middle group of containers are different. I bought those about 5 years ago and glued magnets to the back of them myself. Since then, the market caught up with my wishes and made better ones, with magnets already attached. I found these at Cost Plus World Market. They are so great. And they're only 2 bucks a piece. The strips of metal came from a trip that Jenny took to IKEA. They were cheap too (if you don't count the cost of Jenny's plane ticket).
I like being able to store the majority of my spices as the whole seeds (or pods or whatever) and only grind enough for a couple months worth of use. They tend to keep their flavor longer that way. But, on the other hand, I hate it when I need something for a recipe and I have to get out the spice grinder. So it's a fine line between not having enough and having too much.
I would like to mention my favorite tip for the spice grinder. Martha once suggested cleaning your spice grinder by running it with stale bread. That worked fine, but I prefer to use white rice. It seems to clean better and also, you can leave it sitting in the grinder between uses, so it can absorb odors and sort of cut down on the mingling of smells.
One final note if you plan to do this. Make sure that if you attach your metal to the inside of the cabinet door like I've done, to allow enough room for the jars to fit between the shelves in the cabinet when the door is closed.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
It's been many years since we've lived with the constant patina of Cheerio dust that comes with little people. I can't really say I miss it, but I certainly don't mind it as long as it accompanies this sweet little guy.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Oh well, it's still pretty fun, even with the less than stellar pictures.
As I mentioned, Joey was Queen Amidala for Halloween. She did this to match Kam, who was Yoda, pictured here holding his light saber/lint roller.
I sewed the costume from an angel pattern and then ran two wire coat hangers through the bottom hem, sewed on faux black fur (which was crazy messy, thus the lint roller) and then covered some foam with fabric to create the neckpiece and then added more fur, lots and lots of fur. Jenny was instrumental in helping get the neckpiece to come out right.
Here is the best picture I have of the costume. It's of Joey and her two best friends, just before they left for trick or treating.
The headpiece took the longest. Click here to see the process of making the plaster of paris base. I didn't get any pictures of how it went from this...
But, it involved more foam, hot glue, regular glue, spray paint, fabric, a wooden topper thing, regular paint, cardboard and a jewel. If you click the picture it'll take you to Flickr where you can see all my random notes.
Tutorial for Queen Amidala Headpiece
Friday, November 2, 2007
In case you can't read 5 year old, it says, "I feel happy at Joey's house."
Oh, I can't tell you how glad this makes my heart (in case you're new here, Joey's house is also my house). Since one of my goals is to have a home that everyone feels happy and comfortable in, I feel like I've actually reached some sort of important milestone.
Here's a pic of Jaden in her Halloween costume. She was one of the witches (Bette Midler's character) from Hocus Pocus. So cute!
Thanks Jaden! You made my day.
I did not get any pictures that showed the transition from plain white plaster to finished piece, but it involved foam, black & gold spray paint, fabric, ribbon, hot glue, fabrictack glue, wood and glass pieces.
I was way too busy just getting the damn thing done in time for the class party. Sorry. When someone invents a forehead mounted camera that I can wear constantly and take the pictures using a series of blinks I'll be very happy. Seriously, someone get on that.
First, you put down the plastic to protect head and hair. Next time we do something like this, we plan to lay a thin towel down under the plastic to create a little wiggle room on the finished product.
How to lightly squeeze off excess water. Make sure to dump the used water outside, not down any household pipes.
How to apply the plaster of paris gauze. Put pieces crossing each other for added strength.
Do about 3 to 5 layers.
Waiting to dry
After the removal, you can hold it up to the light and check for any see through spots and then add more layers. You want this bottom layer to be pretty sturdy so that when they move around, it doesn't fall apart.
This picture was taken after we made little bowl shaped earpieces (out of the plaster gauze) and attached them (using more plaster gauze). Jenny's marking the line to trim it to match the actual headpiece. We also had to trim around the ears to be able to get it on (since we added the ear pieces when she wasn't wearing it- I'm glad we did it off her head because we wouldn't have been able to get it off her).
I drilled holes and pulled yarn through so we could tie down the roll of foam that's to become the hair.
Your model will need to wear the base if you want to add any other stuff. That way you know that it will sit properly. That duct tape at the chin kept the roll in place until the plaster dried. Just make sure not to add anything too tight to the face that will prevent you from actually removing the headpiece. (for example- if we had wrapped the foam all the way to the end, it would not have come off her head.)
We added only one layer of strips over the foam because we didn't want it to get too heavy. We probably could have gone with two layers, because I ended up denting it in one or two places when I grasped it to take it off. And the whole thing was plenty light as it was.
What's goin on, Joey?
Does this help, Mommy?
Waiting for it to dry while watching the Rockies playing in the World Series. They never should have tried to copyright Rocktober. Dummies.
After it was completely dry, we cut the duct tape, removed it from her head and then cut the foam at the bottom, shaping as necessary with the scissors. After that, I plastered over the bottom of the foam with more gauze to create the final shape.