Monday, April 30, 2012

April Pointless Lists

April recap, eh?  Sadly, all that's coming to mind is that I only have two more monthly recaps after this before I turn 40.  The crisis train continues to roll on down the track, I tell you what.  Hey, I don't think I've mentioned this yet, but anyway, I've got my crisis car picked out and everything, except that Eric says 40 "isn't a big deal" and is so far unmoved.

Which is silly.  I mean, I'm giving him options:

Option one: 1970

Option two: 2003

The only things I'm really firm on is that it has to be a two-seater (I am NOT driving my kids around in my crisis car) and it has to be navy.  I've done the hard part, Eric.  All you have to do is "surprise" me with it.

P.S. This weekend I succumbed to my growing age insecurity and bought a really expensive hair straightener and then got my hair cut / thinned, so now I look like a rock star.  Ish.  I look rock star-ish.  Sort of.  Not really.  But I feel better.  Had I had my crisis car, though, this probably would not have happened.

P.P.S. Eric has decided that if THIS is what I'm doing for 40, he'd better start saving now for when I hit menopause.  The darling!  He's always thinking ahead.  This probably means a menopause car is in my future.  Cha-ching!

Pointless list time!

Books read:
Catcher, Caught by Sarah Collins Honenberger.  You know, this isn't exactly the sort of book I'd usually gravitate towards.  But since all I think about these days is cancer and the various family members who have various forms of it, I figured, what the heck.  Because that's what this book is about--a kid with leukemia whose parents won't / don't get him medical treatment.  He gets vitamins and herbs and a trip to some quack in Mexico instead.  He might be dying, but he's also a teenager.  Issues, is what I'm saying, although I'm pretty sure this kid is the sweetest teenage boy ever created.  He's found and identified with Holden Caulfield, so there's parallels between them constantly.

Anyway, I really liked it.  I couldn't help it.  It was a bummer and a half, and it ends sort of like, what the hell just happened?, but it's interesting to think about.  How much control do you have when you're a kid? How much do parents actually listen to their kids or take into account their opinions?  So that's that.

...And then I meant to get back to American Gods because I love Neil Gaiman, but I think I have to be in a certain sort of mood for that one, and I am most certainly not.  So then I decided to get the Harry Potter collection on ebook now that Pottermore is open, but then I bought a really expensive hair straightener, so there went my slush fund.  I'm reading the first Game of Thrones book instead.  Running a kingdom is tough.  I think it's better to just be plain.

Movies watched:
Rango.  Well, Johnny Depp, so when Eric and the girls started watching, I was all like, okay, I guess I'll watch too.  It was cute.  And a little odd.  So yeah, just as I expected.

The girls are pretty much just using Netflix to watch TV shows they'd be able to see if we had cable.  These shows are stupid and predictable, but they give me hours of quiet, so really, win-win.

Best thing I got in the mail:

Ron Swanson!  From Parks and Rec!

Someday I hope to post about all the adventures Ron and I have been on.

P.S. My friend Dave is awesome.

Garden update:

I swear this is spinach.  I think.


St. Francis looks thrashed, but the tulips are pretty.

Things I learned:
When you start the Occupy Trisha movement, prepare to be occupied.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Just before you hit the floor

I'm having an IBS attack this morning, which is sort of exciting.  I don't think people realize how comfortable a bathroom floor can be.

It is sort of humiliating to have your seven-year-old walk in on you, though, and ask, "What are you doing on the floor?"  Both of the girls are well-versed in this sort of thing--they've seen it often enough--so they don't need much of an explanation.  But still I wonder what goes on in their minds when they see me like that.

My Abigail seems to be headed toward this lovely genetic predisposition (and I've prayed and prayed that she'd have Eric's stomach, but alas, apparently it's not to be), so while she is used to this happening, she also likes to speculate on what I got into.  Poor Abby.  It can't be easy seeing your mother on the floor and knowing that THAT will eventually be you.

I am so, so sorry, child.  You have no idea.

Eric seems to think it's because I have a wicked head cold (P.S. We were hoping to come visit this weekend, Ann, but I'm pretty sure you don't want this.  I'll call you later) and we had the humidifier going last night, which, in his opinion, just made the room "too damn hot."  Well, it did.  I can't argue with that.

Probably, though, it's because Monday I discovered that Peppermint Lifesavers are natural and bought a bag and have been munching on them ever since.  Peppermint Lifesavers are essentially just corn syrup and flavor.  And I don't do well with sugar in general, and corn syrup in particular.  (Don't get me started on high fructose corn syrup, the rat bastard.)  WHY don't I ever learn?  Honestly, this isn't rocket science.

Well, fine.  I've popped some drugs and I am telling myself that I am going to be well enough to go into work this morning as planned.  Because I WANT to, that's why.  I am upright at the moment, which is half the battle.

Irony: I'm going in early because our morning receptionist is taking the next two days off--her birthday was Monday and to celebrate she's going to an asparagus festival this weekend.  Think there's a plum festival in July somewhere?  Because that would be awesome.  Anyway, yesterday as I was trying to explain to Stacey why there were tears running down my face (hint: my throat was being a jerk), she was like, well, I hope you're well enough to come in tomorrow, but if you're sick, you're sick.  And I was like, wouldn't THAT be hilarious?  And she was all, not really, because that would mean an entire day up front by herself.  On a deadline day.

So that was my first thought as I hit the bathroom floor for a little R&R.

Side note: Eric is so awesome.  He usually goes to work by 7 a.m. because he's insane, but one look at me on the floor and he was all, okay girls, let's go!  And took over without any comment.  And brought me a glass of water.

Have I mentioned before that I really love him?

Linkin Park, Hit the Floor.  For obvious reasons.  "What goes up will surely fall and I'm counting down the time."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Try to wake

I can always tell what kind of weekend it's been based solely by the state of my kitchen.  Right now?  Total science experiment.  I'm feeling a little grouchy about the fact that apparently I'm the only one in our little family who can clean a dish or wipe a counter.

Upside: Abby was tired of no treats in the house and made a batch of cookies last night.  Having kids is finally paying off.

Downside: She thinks that when you cook, you don't have to clean.  Well, there's a life lesson waiting to happen.

Upside: The dishwasher detergent that I've been making my own damn self is awesome.  As I was unloading another batch of dishes this morning, I was pondering how I don't really rinse them off or hose them down with vinegar anymore.  Some detergent, a smidgen of castille soap, and wallah!  Sparkly and pretty.  That's really all I'm asking for.

Hello, my pretties!

Upside: I have three "upsides" and only one "downside."

Downside: Make that two "downsides" because my kitchen is still a mess.

Tuesday irony: My public is always complaining about my lack o' posts, and then when I post BACK TO BACK, she doesn't even notice.

What I really like: Making lists like this.  It's ever so much fun.

Well, anyway.

So Johanna had her first coach pitch baseball game this weekend, PLUS it was opening day, which meant a parade and little league introductions and the entire works.  I love how our town is so small that we can just shut down the main street (also known as "the only street") for a little league parade.  It took an entire three minutes, but still!  That's pretty awesome.

Johanna with base coach Daddy.

So in tee-ball, everyone bats and there are no outs.  In coach pitch, everyone bats and there are outs, except that doesn't happen very often.  General lack of aim and whatnot.  Also, the kids haven't figured out how to run more than one base at a time.  All in all, it's quite hilarious and enjoyable.

Hey, one thing worth noting is that last year, opening day was FREEZING COLD.  This year, it was warm!  We wore shorts!  And t-shirts!  And the girls ate snow cones without a hint of irony!

You'd think that opening day would be enough activity, right?  Yeah, me too, but that's not the way things work in real life for some reason.  It was also our valley's blossom fest weekend (hey, we actually have blossoms for blossom fest!  That doesn't always happen) so there were a ton of activities going on as well.

Cherry tree, just FYI.

Admittedly, we didn't get to as many of the activities as I'd hoped--there was just too much going on in our little world--but we did manage to hit a craft fair at (where else?) the fairgrounds, where we saw all sorts of people.  Um, that we actually knew, not just people in general, although there were plenty of those, too.  We also had the fam (including my public) over for a barbecue, which was fun.  And I managed to vacuum out my car.  Wow, the girls are pack rats.  I can't decide if I'm impressed or horrified.

P.S. Sorry I keep harping on the weather, but come on!  We had snow three weeks ago, so the fact that we got up into the 80s this weekend was truly amazing and awesome.  It was the sort of weather that makes me want to read The Host (because it's set in the desert) out on the porch.  I did not actually get to do that, but hey, it's only April, right?  I DID get a sunburn, though!  And a heat rash!  That's something, I suppose.  Also!  You have to look really carefully, but we've got little lettuce plants poking out of the dirt.  I cannot even tell you how happy that makes me feel.

10,000 Maniacs, Like the Weather.  It's about a cold dark day and not wanting to get out of bed, but still, it's the only song I can recall about the weather.  Whatever, it made sense to me.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Speak, but don't pretend

So for some reason when I opened up our front door to let Skilly into the house, the deadbolt decided it hated me and left a smidgen of metal inside my fingernail.  It's like it's both in AND under, which makes it even more special.  It hurts like the dickens.  I've been unsuccessful so far in getting it out, probably because it's on my right hand.  My left hand has no idea what it's doing.  Everything I do with that finger now hurts, even typing this.  But it's either type or cry, and I just don't have that sort of emotional range today.

Seriously, how am I going to get this thing out?  You can see in this picture that I attempted to cut my fingernail back, except all that happened is now my fingernail is uglier than usual:

You can see that little dark speck, right?  Jeez, it's amazing that something so small could hurt SO MUCH.

Getting more coffee... changing the subject...

Here's something cheery I've been meaning to mention: Radon.  Turns out our little area is a pocket for radon!  Eric says it's because we sit on a cinder cone (I actually paid attention!  Except I have no idea what that means, not being a show-off geology minor like SOME people I know).  Outside the readings are fine--which makes sense, I guess, because the radon gets all diluted in the air.  I might have just made that up--but inside?  Scary high.

This whole thing came about, by the way, because one of our neighbors was diagnosed with lung cancer, and everyone was all like, the hell?, because this guy doesn't smoke or anything.  So he got his house tested, and then the neighbors did theirs, and eventually we heard about it and Eric checked ours.  And everyone around us is scary high.

So Eric called and got some quotes, and it turns out that getting radon out of a house is quite a good business.  We finally got "mitigated" on April 17, a couple months after this whole ordeal started (well, waiting isn't that big of a deal, I guess, when you've been breathing this stuff in for nine years anyway).  We've got ugly pipe in the garage now, and ugly pipe alongside the house, but the numbers are going down, and honestly, what's a little ugly pipe anyway?

It could be worse.

Skilly checking out the extension chord
we're using to run the fan until
the electrician gets here...

So that's my public service announcement / after school special for the week.  Please get your houses tested.

Now, I'm off to dig some metal out of my fingernail.

P.S. Eric had to help me dig the metal out of my fingernail.  He used an X-acto knife, which was totally awesome.  And painful.  Turns out I do have the emotional range to cry after all.

So, SO many song possibilities.  Do I want to focus on air or panic?  I put thought into these songs, people!  Oh, I've got it now: Seether, Remedy.  This song is actually pretty sad when you pay attention to the lyrics.  I have a feeling there are just a lot of people in this world who need hugs.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Cracker Project: Tortillas

Once upon a time--like September 2010, according to my kitchen journal--I decided that I needed to learn how to make tortillas.  Funny story: Eric has high blood pressure.  Oh, wait.  That's not very funny at all.  Well, it's genetic, and he's got it under control, and while we're not a very salty family, packaged tortillas have an ungodly amount of sodium per serving.

We can do much better than that, obviously.

So that's what started the trend.  Tortillas are actually fairly simple to make, and the fact that they take four ingredients--one of which is water--makes them even more awesome.  The recipe I was using had me baking them in a very hot oven for like three minutes or something.  And that worked okay.  The finished tortillas were pale and not very bendy--wrapping up a taco took some creativity--but they tasted amazing, so we rejoiced.

But then.  Sometimes a girl just likes to try stuff, I guess.  I wanted to see what would happen if I fried these suckers up.  I broke out my skillet and OH EM GEE.  The results were totally life changing.

Because the fried tortillas?  Have a wonderful smokey flavor, are easy to fold, and actually have some color.  Plus, these things are sturdy.  Now THAT is a tortilla.

This is the only one in the batch that turned out roundish.
Thus, it gets its picture taken so I look all awesome.

And okay, tortillas aren't really crackers.  Or are they?  Honestly, it's a fine line.  I figure since this technique was new to me this month, it totally counts.  Plus!  It's my blog and I'm prone to doing whatever I want.

So!  Here's the recipe:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup shortening
3/4 cup warm water

Mix all that up in your poser KitchenAid for like six minutes, then let the dough rest for about 20 because it's exhausting being a raw tortilla.

Heat up a cast iron skillet and swirl around some veggie oil for good measure. Divide dough into eight to 12 pieces, you know, depending. Roll into circle-ish discs, toss one in the pan, wait a minute and then flip it over and wait another minute.  When it's cooked, remove it, because letting it just sit there burning in the pan is silly.  Start all over again with another disc of dough.

I won't lie, standing over the skillet is a pain. But it is so worth it.  These tortillas are a thing of beauty.

Ask my girls if you don't believe me.

P.S. I like to make a double batch while I'm at it.  They store up very nicely in the refrigerator, and they store up very nicely in the freezer, so really, why not just go for broke?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

We'll forget the sun in his jealous sky

Oops, I forgot to finish up my whole Easter extravaganza.  Well, when you ramble a lot, things get sort of scrambled.

Basically, all that's left for me to tell you about that day is that we went to Eric's parents' house around 4 p.m., and saw his brothers and sister and their various spouses and children (whom I actually like quite a bit and feel badly about calling them "various," because they're more than that, but).  Visited with Eric's aunts, too.  Abby and Johanna helped themselves to some desserts because they hadn't had enough of that yet, apparently.  And we learned that our niece and her husband are expecting!  That makes two new little people in the family this year.

And: Don't look down!  I can't remember who came up with this or why, but really, it makes a lot of sense.

Also: Eric and I decided on the way to his parents' house that we're going to get some property in Phoenix for a vacation home.  Because I'm tired of being cold.  Abby and Kameron are in, but apparently my Trisha Math Skillz did not convince Eric's brother Chris.  I think maybe my sister-in-law Elaine is in, though.

P.S. Apparently Kam is REALLY in.  Elaine says he won't shut up about it.  Honestly, that makes me very happy.

Anyway!  While Johanna and Abby and her friend Lily and I were being all awesome last weekend looking at art and alpacas, Eric was at home working on projects.  He and Chris decided to put in 30 blueberry bushes sometime last year, and Saturday (the 14th, in case anyone needs to know that sort of thing) was the big planting day.  They worked on readying the beds the weekend prior, and actually did even more random work before that, except I don't pay attention so I can't tell you what that is until Eric reads this and is all, um, let me tell you a story...

Why 30, you ask?  Well, because that's how much room we have.  I'm totally not even exaggerating.  See?

Chris read this variety does better in raised beds.
I think they look pretty darling.

Above our garden area.

Grow fast, little bushes!

In like five years, we will be swimming in blueberries.  I'll be giving gallon drums of blueberry jam away at Christmas.

I think that sounds sort of fun.

When the bushes start to grow, the boys are going to make trellises because, obviously, they're in there pretty tight and eventually we won't have a garden path and how will we pick them?

But that's not all!  (You need to read that last sentence in a Price Is Right sort of voice for the full effect.)  On Sunday (the 15th, as it were) Eric decided the time was nye to plant lettuce and spinach.  He was going to plant cilantro too but apparently that needs to go in only when the threat of frost is over.  And since we had snow like two weeks ago, Eric isn't feeling all that lucky.

Eric makes such cute little straight rows.

We (and by "we" I really mean "Eric") planted lettuce and spinach for the first time last summer, and wow, that was truly a marvel.  Walking out the front door to pick a salad is pretty empowering, if you want to know the truth.  Take that, The Man!

But instead of five years like the blueberries, Eric says that in 40 to 50 days we should be eating this stuff.

I think I can make it that long...

Sting, Fields of Gold.  Because that's sort of plant-y, right?  I got this CD, incidentally, about the same time Eric and I started dating, and I still feel a bit sick to my stomach when I listen to this song.  Love is sort of painful.  Anyway, favorite part of this whole song: "I never made promises lightly and there have been some that I've broken, but I swear in the days still left we'll walk in fields of gold."

Sunday, April 15, 2012

And still we walk without quite seeing things

My public is growing antsy again:
Pointless Ramble from WAY BACK Wednesday?????????????? Come ON girl, your audience is getting restless!!! I know you have a life and have been busy and all that, but Wednesday???   Okay, I've hit you pretty hard in the complaint dept. and I know you get that at work from customers and so I'll lighten up...well, I'll lighten up IF you get a PR posted soon.
Love, Your adoring audience! (I think I'm the spokesperson for all of us, the other couple are probably just too shy or nice to say this!!)
The BEST part of this is how my mother references "the other couple" of people who actually read this blog on purpose.  (I've been getting a lot of hits lately, like in the TENS every day, but I think it was just Mom.  Well, I was cool for a while.)

So this one's for you, public.  I mean Mom.

I have some big news to share: Linkin Park apparently has a new album coming out!  And we can download the first single tomorrow!  People, this is like the best news ever.  The only bummer is that I have to work a full day so I probably will only have time to listen to it like 15 times in a row instead of the 55 it deserves.  (You think I'm joking.  That is so cute.)

This has been an incredibly busy weekend.  And because we were all awesome Friday and Saturday, today has been all about playing catch up.  And begging Johanna to PLEASE stop running around with that laundry basket on her head.

Climbing Mt. Laundry.

"Remember when I was little and I'd run around with a laundry basket on my head pretending to be Rapunzel?" she asked me this morning.  No.  I mean, yes, I remember her running around with a laundry basket on her head--she was probably three or four when that was her main form of entertainment--but the Rapunzel thing is news to me.

I think she just ran herself into a wall.  Good lord, there are a lot of things I think I don't have to say as a parent, but I guess maybe I really do.

Friday!  The 13th!  Was my mother's birthday.  So!  We partied like it was 1948, that's what.  We went to pizza (with Abby's friend Lily in tow) and scarfed it down because it was so delicious, and then we went back to Mom and Dad's for dessert and presents.  Mom had said she didn't want any presents, but that's just whack.  So I got her some flowers (an azalea bush, actually, I guess) and a Ghirardelli chocolate bar.  WITH ESPRESSO BEANS.  Good lord, I had no idea I'd gotten that awesome when I'd picked it out, and it was in my bag at work because I didn't want it to melt in the car, and then I was all, I am going to eat this, I swear!  And Stacey was all, you can't eat your mother's birthday present!  And I was all, she won't even know!  And Stacey was all, how old are you again?  So I didn't eat it after all.

But that's not even the awesome part.  The awesome part is that I made creme brule (Mom's choice--you get to pick your dinner and dessert when it's your birthday, that's just the law) and it was my parents' first time EVER having that.  I daresay they enjoyed it.  Well, you simply cannot go wrong with that amount of egg yolk, cream and sugar, really.

Johanna being Johanna because I didn't
think my public would want her
picture on my blog.

Tangent: I don't have a blowtorch because Eric doesn't think that would be "safe," so I just stuck the thing under the broiler.  Which is cool.  Anyway, I couldn't decide if the sugar was really melting all that well, so I stuck my finger on top just to check.  And entered a world of pain.  Blisters!  And on my right hand pointer finger too.  That did not make typing or writing or living in a general sort of way very pleasant.

So then Saturday.  Got to sleep in.  And then I drug all three girls (because Lily spent the night) to town for an artists' open studios tour.  I'm not an art connoisseur by any means, but the girls are very artistic and like that sort of thing, so I thought it would be fun for them to see the different mediums.  PLUS. I roused myself and left the house!  With my children!  On purpose!

That's gotta count for something.

We saw some cool stuff.  And the artists were all pretty nice, taking time to talk to the girls about pastels or digital imaging or pottery or whatever.  Johanna has decided she needs to take a pottery class and that pastels would be right up her alley "because I like to get messy!"  Abby was fascinated by the digital images and announced that if she were a millionaire there were a lot of prints she would be taking home.

Johanna is learning about money at school, by the way, and it was in no way embarrassing AT ALL to have her going on about how many dollars something was.

One artist was waaaaay out in the woods.  I wanted to see him especially because he's "off the grid," as he explained to me when I called him earlier this month for this newspaper thing I was working on.  He IS off the grid.  Maybe even off the charts, as Johanna kept saying.  Hydroelectric and solar power, living in this little cabin with art displayed everywhere--you basically just had a free pass to wander around the house looking at stuff.  Checking out art in someone's bathroom is awesome.

Also, I sort of wanted his cute little kitchen with the antique stove.

So then we still had a little time left, so we went to an alpaca farm not too far from our house.  Have seen the signs, just never bothered to go.  Well, my sister-in-law raises alpacas, so you know, it's not really that big of a deal, but still, I had roused myself, remember, and was trying to be an actually involved parent, so we went to check this place out.

Alpacas are pretty damn cute.  They've got these lower teeth that sort of curve up, making them look like they're in on a really good joke that you are not.  The girls fed them some... pellets or something, I have no idea, and that was pretty hilarious.  Then they bonded with Charlie, the guard dog, who was this HUGE bushy thing that we all decided we wanted to take home.  You could saddle that dog up, I am not even kidding.  And I'm guessing he'd make a great bean bag chair.


Now, you'd think that this would be enough activity for one day, right?  But!  We also got tickets to this community theater production for 7:30 p.m.  It wasn't the best performance we'd ever seen, but you know, it was fine.  And Johanna really liked it (Abby and Lily were sort of above it all, but I think they just enjoyed the opportunity to freely mock something, if you want to know the truth).  We had great seats, practically front row.  We could SEE.

And then it was about ten o'clock and we dropped Lily off at her house and then came home and went to bed and then slept in this morning, except Eric had set his alarm for some reason so he was up about 6:45 which is just stupid, really.  Johanna came bounding in at 8 with a lot to say.  Wow.  It's a good hting I was well rested.

Today has involved laundry, getting my kitchen clean, and going grocery shopping.  I still need to clean the bathrooms and make tortillas, which, incidentally, is going to be my cracker project for this month even though tortillas really aren't crackers.  Oh, and answer some emails.  And order our Disneyland scrapbook because that Snapfish deal ends tonight.

Well, anyway.  Eric says I have until 9 p.m., so why worry?

Toad the Wet Sprocket, Nanci.  I'll take Nanci, for you Loretta's fine.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Leave me be

You know what?  Today was not my favorite.  It just seemed to be Trisha's Stupid Mistake Day, and while I'm all about Never Stop Learning, I am over feeling stupid because that is so 1987.  Well, 1984-1992, if I were being honest about it.  Middle school through early college was tough.

Anyhoo (and I hate it when people say that, so I'm saying it in an ironic sense, just FYI), it wasn't all bad, I guess, so we'll focus on that, shall we?

The scene: The office, me working on some project or another when this really old guy comes in.  And it would probably help to know that our biggest paper of the year was today's edition.

Me: May I help you?
Old Guy: I need six newspapers!  My wife wants to send them to our friends.
Me: Excellent!  Except I can't do that math.  [Hammering away on my really sucky adding machine.]  Um, apparently that's $4.50.
Old Guy: Duh.  I have $4.50 right here.*
*Fine, he didn't really say that, but he DID have $4.50 ready to hand to me.  I need these details BEFORE I attempt to use my adding machine, Old Guy!
Me: [Handing him the papers in front of the counter.]  Here you are!
Old Guy: Whoa.  I didn't think you were this tall when you were behind the counter.  You are a magnificent being.
Me: You are my new best friend.
Old Guy: Yeah!

(Wow, screenwriting is boring.)

So then he started telling me and Stacey how he was born here 95 years ago (!) and about his old newspaper days--sounds like he worked on the production line and maybe even had a newspaper stand or two.  This guy was pretty chill.  (Oops, again, sorry, only cool when Abby says it.)  I am traditionally a hit with the geriatric crowd, although no one has ever called me a magnificent being before.  Well, it's not this guy's fault his eyesight is whack.  He's 95, for crying out loud.

Moving RIGHT along.  Easter!  Was a good, good day.  Maybe a little too good.  My mother hosted dinner.  She's one to slip a dessert onto the sides table because there are too many desserts on the dessert table.  (Hello, Orange Charlotte, my lovely!)  It turns out people are pretty open to making a dessert into a side dish.

Let's discuss the menu, shall we?  Turkey and ham.  Stuffing.  Mashed potatoes and gravy. Salad.  Green beans.  Sweet potatoes (that Eric made and were awesome.  Can I take credit because it's my recipe?).  Veggies.  Pineapple and strawberries.  Raspberry Salad.  Rolls.  The Orange Charlotte!

Then the desserts: Cheesecake with caramel sauce.  White cupcakes with chocolate whipped cream frosting.  Frosted cookies.  Sandwich cookies.  Almond Roca.  Chocolates.

So see?  That detox I was talking about in my last post wasn't really a joke.  But it was all so, so awesome.  P.S. Homemade (almost) everything because my mommy loves me.  Honestly, having food allergies is pretty awesome sometimes.  No, I couldn't eat the Raspberry Salad (which, ironically, I brought), but I mentioned the Orange Charlotte, right?  

So yes, the food was awesome, and so was the crowd: My grandparents (89 and 88 this year). Aunt Ann and Uncle John and cousin Seth.  My parents.  Us (?).

And then my brother Tim came at the eleventh hour, who we hadn't seen since our Disneyland trip.  Well, he works long hours at night for the PO, at least for now.  And Mara totally thinks it's weird that we don't see him more often, but what would happen is that we'd go visit and be there an hour and then have to go home because that's just his schedule, and Eric is anti-"drive four hours to stay one" for some reason.  So we just send emails periodically.  Win-win!

(Sarcasm.  I miss my brother.)

I tried to pay attention (not my strong suit), so I have this to report: Seth was pretty much a bouncer during the Good Friday service in his town.  If Congress / Obama sign something than Tim might be able to keep his job.  Ann can really rock a hat.  People think The Hunger Games is violent (which it is, I guess, but revolutions are never pretty).  And Gramps will carry his own plate, thankyouverymuch, no matter how many times you ask.

Also: The girls love an egg hunt, even if it's just the two of them participating.  Ann might be on chemo, but that hasn't affected her wicked ability to hide an egg where nobody is ever going to find it.  Um, less I forget and give hints.

And then we went to Eric's family gathering!  But we'll save that for next time.  It's like I'm all Charles Dickens over here, writing a serial novel and getting paid by the word.  Except that I'm a woman and blogging and not getting paid squat, which is just the way I like it.

Dave Matthews, Trouble.  Because that's what's playing RIGHT NOW and I need a song, yo.  This was on my Bedtime Playlist for quite a while, but then iTunes said I'd listened to it like 500 times but I didn't really remember any of that because I was asleep for most of it, so I replaced it with something else.  Sorry, neither here nor there.  Anyway, I love this song.  Because trouble does NOT see.

Monday, April 9, 2012

This is my life

I've spent my entire morning trying to create our Disneyland scrapbook on Snapfish... from last May.  Well, better late than never, right?  Actually what happened is that Snapfish sent me a coupon for 50% off as many photo books as I can pound out by April 15.  So, like one, I guess.

Still!  Bright side!  I figured out how to get our %$^& scanner/printer/copier/world leader pretend to actually SCAN TO A USB DRIVE.  I'm shouting that part on purpose because it's taken me six months to figure that one out and I'm very excited.  Motivation: Wanting to put the silhouette I had made of the girls at Disneyland in the album.  For some reason it wouldn't scan the entire thing, but still!

Good enough.

Pretty chill, huh?  (Oops, sorry, it's only cool when Abby says it.  My bad.)

What I probably should have been doing instead is cleaning my disaster of a kitchen and taking a walk / maybe including a detox in there somewhere because wow, Easter was a little TOO awesome.  Instead I've just been sitting at the computer trying to remember when we rode Indiana Jones for the fifth time.

But I have A LOT to say about Easter, and I'm afraid if you saw the post I've been writing in all it's humongous glory (well, I got tired of Disneyland, you see, plus Snapfish is sloooooow), you'd be outta here like a flash.  So I'm going to attempt to post it in pieces. 

Let's just start with Easter morning.  Baby steps!

The girls woke up around 6:50 a.m., which I'm pretty sure is the latest we've ever gotten to sleep in on Easter morning.  I'm telling you, seven and 12 is where it's at!  Abby gave up video games for Lent, so the EB* deemed her worthy of the second Harry Potter wii Lego extravaganza.  Johanna pretty much gave up nothing, but still, she got the new Muppets movie just for the sheer awesomeness she brings to the game every single day.  And they got a bit of candy, although not much.  Well, there's no sense in going crazy, right?  A chocolate bunny, a Reese's Pieces thing shaped like a carrot...

This thing.

...and that's all they need to be happy.

Not that the video game and movie didn't hurt.

So Eric and Abby pop the game in and try to figure out how to get Dudley and Harry off the playground and onto this platform that you know leads straight to the Dementors, but also leads back home.  Only there's these Lego pieces you're supposed to levitate or something to make a staircase and no one can figure it out.  After ten minutes Abby goes to find a cheat on the computer while Johanna gives it a whirl.  Abby 0, Johanna 1.  In about three seconds.  Abby didn't even have time to do a search.  We're like, how did you do that?  And she just shrugged and sat back down to watch.  Because that's what she does.  Watch Eric and Abby play.  Well, whatever works.

After a rather relaxing morning, we got ready to go to 10 o'clock Mass.  It was awesome because they changed some of the responses and prayers in November, so all us regular folks know we're supposed to say AND WITH YOUR SPIRIT, but the Christmas and Easter Catholics were all, and also with you, and we were all, losers!

Wait.  This is not making me sound like a very good person.  Um, scratch all that.  

Mass was packed.  It always is at Easter.  We were in a pocket of little kids, and they were all loud and crying and freaking out, and I looked at my two little angels just sitting there being perfect, and I was feeling pretty smug.  Not that babies aren't awesome, because they are.  ESPECIALLY when they're not yours.

That's not really helping me look great either.  Wow, this is hard.  Look, my kids were all loud and crying and freaking out later in the car after a rather long day.  So I'm not one who should really talk, I know this.   But who cares?  They kept it together in public.  And I actually got to pay attention.

Well... moving right along.  We managed to get Johanna in a dress for the occasion with a minimum of wailing and gnashing of teeth.  And yes, we had to bring a change of clothes for afterwards, but the point here is that we actually looked like we were sort of with it for once.  Johanna's socks WERE mismatched.  I think, however, you can still categorize this as a "win."

There's always an Easter Egg hunt after Mass, as well as coffee and doughnuts, but the girls don't even bother to ask if we're doing that, because they just know.  Eric and I are just not going to deal with the crowds for that sort of thing.  My children are totally deprived.  On the upside, I think we've pretty much taught them that the world does not revolve around them and that life pretty much is an unfair bowl of suckiness.  So they have low expectations, is what I'm trying to say.  That should serve them well later on, I would think.

And then!  Well, more stuff happened, but we'll get to that another day, okay?  Because technically I need to get ready for work now.

*Easter Bunny.  Eric's cool lingo.

R.E.M., World Leader Pretend.  For my wireless scanner thing, since there's apparently no Easter songs on my iPod.  I've always really liked this song.  "I raised the wall and I will be the one to knock it down."  I know what you mean, Michael, I know what you mean.  (Also: "This is my mistake.  Let me make it good."  This song is too quotable...)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

You will be the one who cannot talk

Me: [Politely answering the phone with our company name.]
Caller: Hello?
Me: Hello?  [Company name again.]  Can you hear me?
Caller: Just barely.
Me: [Silence.]
Caller: Um... did I call you or did you call me?
Me: You called me.
Caller: Oh.  Can I talk to Allen?

Radiohead, High and Dry.  I love and adore the guitar in this song.  P.S. Abby is not a fan of Radiohead.  I know, I'm ashamed of her too.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

I know how you get your way

So I thought about writing an April Fool's post, but the truth is that I really am not a fan of April Fool's Day.  Maybe it's all the pregnancy announcements on Facebook (riiiiight), or Johanna's instance that there's a spider / snake / bear / mongoose in the house (pretending to fall for that over and over is exhausting), or that I'm just naturally gullible every other day of the year but am on high alert on April 1 and it makes me sort of bitter (another post for another day).

All that is to say: No joke post.  You're welcome.

THIS fine Tuesday morning I did sort of pull one over on Abby, although it was more for the sake of her mental stability than any sick need on my part to prank.  She had an orthodontist appointment, which is all well and good, but then I took her to the doctor's office for the last in a series of vaccinations she's been getting.  What is up with all the shots kids have to get these days?  Good lord!  Back when I was young (cough)... oh, never mind.  I don't enough energy to rant.

She was despondent and despairing after her ortho appointment because she thought she'd be getting her braces off soon.  No such luck.  Triangle bands!  That's sort of exciting, although apparently not when you're on that side of things.  Anyway, afterwards she was all like, so school now?  And I was all nonchalant and, yep.  Except then I drove to the doctor's office, and she was all, no. I am not getting out of this car.  And I was like, I know.  Because she did get out of the car, and I didn't even have to make her, not that I could have anyway--she's 5'11", or dang close.  How do you force THAT against its will?

The sucky part is that we had to sit a full 35 minutes in the waiting room--there's no such thing as an appointment with this sort of ordeal.  It got very boring and tense.  I brought my poser iPad just in case she was in the mood to draw mean pictures, but she wasn't.  She just sat there, staring straight ahead, giving me the silent treatment.  That's cool.  I mean, I did sort of deserve it.

When they finally called her name, she was beyond freaked.  She can really get herself worked up, that one.  Well, she comes by it naturally.  (Hello!  That was me!  That IS me!)  We got a new nurse (although I swear to you, the nurse we always get was behind the counter doing a happy dance because she didn't have to deal with us), who was very nice and very distressed that Abby was so upset.  But that kid sucked it up and was a champ and now we're done.


So on the way home she's all, can I get Taquis?  Now Taquis, in case you aren't in middle school / have taste buds, are what Frito's would be if they were rolled up like a Cheeto and hotter than the fires of hell.  I was like, sure thing.  She got the biggest bag she could find, and I was all, I'm so glad you're not taking advantage of this situation.  Which made her laugh.

So that's pretty much been my morning.  Oh, there's probably time to do some sort of housekeeping chore, except if I play my cards right, there won't be.

Fuel, Gone.  This is what I downloaded instead of NKOTB/BSB.  Take that, iTunes Genius!  Apparently there's some Fuel controversy in that this song isn't sung by the original lead singer, so is it really Fuel?  Honestly, I don't care.  I just like how it sounds.