So, as some Saturdays go, this one started out with things falling apart. Our small trash "drawer" has been getting more and more difficult to open. After some physical cajoling and wiggling, I managed to get the rusty old drawer out of its hole. Liam wanted to help all along the way/ When I was unscrewing, he was "unscrewing" (and banging and poking). When I was cleaning, he was insisting on "helping" too. And, when I got out the broom to sweep out the hole, his glee could not be contained. "I want to weep out the hole, too!!!!!!"
Saturday, February 28, 2009
I really love when you sit on the edge of a stormy front and the clouds all gather together like cotton balls. It reminds me of a crowd of people smushed together and expectant...waiting for something...in this case, the rain.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
It was almost 50 degrees today. It makes me itch for spring. I am so excited to be able to go outside in sandals without a coat. I can't wait for a tan. I long for the sun to be beating on my face after 4:30 in the afternoon. In our family, the birthdays line up in spring, one in each month. Mine's third in May. I will be 39. My only trepidation this spring. Oh well...better to keep in shape and keep outside than live like a chubby little pale skinned mole inside, right?
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Reading this wonderful book to Elena from the Metropolitan Museum of Art tonight before bed. I can't remember when we slimmed down from three to two books, but when she picks a book like this one, I am grateful we are only reading two! Anyhow, this is a book that involves the counting of "things" in art. This can be HIGHLY irritating when said objets d'art are hard to count and bothersome to her (and me). She gets downright frustrated when she has to start counting again because she loses track of where she is. Anyhow, beautiful book, just can be a bit of a challenge when you get up to the numbers eight, nine and ten.
So, we got to this page and I was dreading it. It's the "9" page. I know she loses count on numbers this high. So I sigh and turn the page. She immediately gets all excited..."MOMMY!! You got asses like that today, too."
"Asses, Mommy, Asses like that woman [in the top left photo]"
"Mommy (she is speaking slow and deliberate now), you got asses on your forehead this morning at church, too."
Anyone out there speak four-year-old? ;-)
One other funny from Elena on the Ash Wednesday subject. I went to church this morning and she decided not to come. I came home and she was fascinated by the ash marking on my forehead. I told her today is a special day at church and that it is very meaningful for me to go to church on this important day. She clucked her tongue, frowned at me and said, "You see Mom, that's why I didn't want to go to church today. I was afraid that they might put that black marker on my forehead."
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Liam begged to lie down with me in my bed. He asked to "cubber up his toes" and "cubber up your toes TOO, Mommy." Very cute...Another cuteness from our "bed party" (this is a term I coined for rolling around together with my kids on the bed) was when Liam was shocked to hear me say his eyes are blue. He scrutinized mine up close and said, "You have blue eyes too, Momma!" Such a perceptive little guy.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I bought these fruit snacks at Target the other day because Liam cannot go a day without "bruit snacks." So, I bought these Florida's Natural Fruit Nuggets...um...BEST THINGS EVER...Both Liam and I love them to the point of obsession. Before I tried them, I thought it was just the fact that they had the word "nugget" attached to their name, but then I tried them. The orange ones basically taste like when I used to run my fingers around the cardboard inside of the can of orange juice concentrate. It was sweet and tart...these are too. Try them, you'll like them. I liked them so much, I built little buildings, cities and towers with them. They're fun to stack...Liam liked playing the wrecking ball and eating the rubble. Mother and son bonding over food. There's something new.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Turns out you can't take pictures inside of Carnegie Hall, but they can't stop me from documenting my day by photographing the outside while I was driving by...I know, I know, I am insane, but I am still alive. No accidents...
Here is the show we saw:
Orchestra of St. Luke's
Roberto Abbado, Conductor
Andreas Haefliger, Piano
MOZART Symphony No. 35, "Haffner"
MOZART Piano Concerto No. 15 in B-flat Major, K. 450
MOZART Symphony No. 41, "Jupiter"
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Thomas and Friends, in this house, means Thomas and Liam. He is completely obsessed with Thomas. Loves the show. Loves to read about Thomas, play with Thomas, build tracks, etc. He even has fingered his Thomas catalog so much the pages are crispy and weathered. I was laughing today as he was saying the name "Clarabelle" (one of the trains on the Thomas show)...It sounded exactly like "Crap-Out." Clarabelle, Crapout...whatever...they're all our friends in this house!
Friday, February 20, 2009
Sure, it looks like a serene bedroom scene. "Cute sheets," you might say. Well, I am here to tell you that this is one of the scary sights of my parenting career. With my first baby, I was blessed, but spoiled. I lay her down in her big girl bed and two or three months later she figured out that she could actually get out of the bed herself...she had also never figured out how to spring herself from her crib. Suffice it to say, this is yet another point on which my kids are diametrically opposed.
I could say I am grateful for my first being such an angel and I am. Extremely grateful and now realizing how lucky I had it. I am slightly bitter, however, that she taught me none of the parenting skills I need to raise Liam. It appears that these two opposites, these yin and yang siblings, have exposed me to two completely different sides of parenting. I feel unequipped.
Anyhow, on with the story. Today, Liam jumped the rails of his crib repeatedly. When he arrived at the top of the stairs for the fourth time, I put him in the big boy bed in his room instead of the crib. He wailed for an hour and a half, but eventually zonked out. I only had to make about a bazillion trips in there to tell him to lie down, beg him to go to sleep, assure him he was NOT coming downstairs and finally get him to STAY IN HIS BED AND GO TO SLEEP.
So, tonight, I protected myself from myself and disassembled his crib. If the big boy bed is one of the scariest images for a parent, the disassembled crib is one of the most poignant. The baby is not a baby anymore. The bed that has housed the bambino for over two years, is now going to be retired. The screws, stripped from all the rocking, banging and bouncing, have been removed. I tried to get some artsy shots to show you what I was feeling. I took some pictures of the crib rails on their sides. I got a shot looking up at the crib pieces in a tent formation.
And then I noticed this...Liam had tried to 'bix tings with his drewdriver." Here is what I saw...
My sister had my daughter in hysterics yesterday describing her beagle terrier as Muddy-Muddy-Paw-Paw. We went on a walk with the kids and dog. Let's just say Muddy-Muddy-Paw-Paw should be Ruby's nickname. The kids and dog were covered in mud.
While we were walking, some strange dark clouds swirled in above our heads and it started squalling. Snow was coming down so fast the pavement went from gray to white in a matter of moments. It was quite amazing and really neat to be out in it.
There was a time...oh heck, I am still in that time...where I aspired to have a beautiful bungalow home with traditional Arts and Crafts furniture and art. I actually have sold Arts and Crafts collages on ebay, I bought a bunch of tiles with traditional Glasgow roses on them and framed them in oak frames for my home. Right now, I live with my parents. I don't have a home. I long for the day I can paint my walls with earth tones and grays...put up wax stained oak trim and Bradbury and Bradbury wallpaper borders and pretend I live in a real Arts and Crafts bungalow.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Can you imagine growing up and learning to drive on roads that move up and down like a tilt-a-whirl? I was in Michigan last week and I was thinking about how much snow they get there. I can drive on any amount of snow on flat roads like in Michigan. Here in Ridgefield the roads are completely not like that. They are twisted and turny and ridiculously crazy. But, man, even though I am not a great driver, I was at least raised learning to drive on these challenging roads. I should probably put away the camera while I am driving in the snow, however.
I love coffee. I love my coffee hot. Every morning, I preheat my mug...this mug. It's a little out of season in the summer, this mug. It's got snowflakes all over it. I love the shape, size and thickness of this mug. It's perfectly wonderful. I love mornings. I love that first sip. Nothing tastes better. Can't wait for morning.
See that? That's the George Washington bridge as you head into New York City. You are driving down the Henry Hudson Parkway, by far my favorite approach to New York City. Well, my other favorite approach was when I was flying into the city on Sunday and we flew up over the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn and Queens. We must have flown over fifteen nameable landmarks. I was fortunate enough to be seated beside someone who had never flown into New York before. She was happy to be regaled with details...there's the Empire State Building, there's the World's Fair Grounds, Yankee Stadium, JFK Airport, Long Island, Central Park, Prospect Park, and HUGE graveyards. I love NY...
My husband taught me this phrase. He says Irish luck is both good and bad. It's apparently a mixed blessing. I am still not sure I know what it means to have luck like that, but I sure love shamrocks. I took about ten pictures of my friends' shamrock plant.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
How could today NOT be a Happy Valentine's Day post? This is the homemade ding dong that Mel gave Dan. She got it at a restaurant that had a little bakery attached where she went for dinner on Friday night. It looks very yummy. Low-carb girl is jealous. Although, low-carb girl has eaten some chocolate mousse she made...bad girl!
Another couple bonus photos...I have driven and ridden over a thousand miles in this little Toyota over the last five days. Today, she just sat outside and gathered moss...er...snow. Lovely, lovely day of rest at my good friends' house in Farmington Hills.
Friday, February 13, 2009
So, the Detroit trip has been a success! Ten meetings with as many different clients. Collecting payment, gathering orders and getting networking leads. I could probably stay here and continue to crack this market for another couple of years. But alas, it is time to go home and see the kiddos. I miss them...There are so many things I wanted today's picture to be that it is not...
Farms with cows and horses that you had to wind almost through to get to huge office buildings. One potential customer had a penchant for stuffed animals, the real kind. He had a stuffed coyote, rooster, beaver and harp seal. Cute, but a touch tragic. One of my favorites was a therapy office called the "REALITY COUNSELING SERVICES" which I SOOO wanted to be today's picture. Unfortunately, GPS took us by it on our way to one of our meetings and I didn't catch a photo, but took us back a completely different way. The little joke in the car was to come up with slogans for the Reality Counseling guys...
Reality Counseling, for those Who Live in a Dream World
Reality Counseling, Helping People Take Life MORE Seriously
Another memorable moment was when we were sitting at dinner in Holland at a cute brewery there, I noticed a person taking a photograph of the neon sign outside the restaurant on the sidewalk. Then I noticed it was more than one person, it was a whole group of people out at seven or eight o'clock at night with tripods set up, taking pictures in the dark. I wanted to grab my camera and hokey pokey right on in!
Our five meetings on "Day 43" were to trot our wares out to: Worden and Co., Grand Craft (mahogany boats), Heritage Guitars (which is run by ex-Gibson guys in the old Gibson plant), Herman Miller of the office environment fame and Dooge Veneers...this cool statue was the last thing I saw before heading off to the hotel.
After a brief rest at the hotel and the Irish/Mexican restaurant next to it (Carlos O'Grady's...weird name!), I got picked up by an old friend from work and went to spend an evening with he and his family. He likes to have private cooking lessons, so when I am in town we cook a meal together. This visit it was pasta with pesto and chicken francese. It was quite good, actually!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
This is Haworth, the office environment company. This one of the four meetings we had today. We are trying to sell these companies on a patented invention we own. I thought this picture particularly communicated the day because it captured the four story high windows in the background and the red tulips in the foreground which just say Holland, MI to me.
I took a bunch of random pictures around the airport, but ultimately settled on this one. I love the way I am peering into the mirrored pillar...I keep thinking Kiki goes on a Business Trip sounds like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington...or, Debbie Does Dallas, but I try to repress that one.
Liam, like his mother, loves rocks. I always collected them and kept them, my most precious possessions. When I was a little girl, the tooth fairy even brought me polished river stones instead of money. I couldn't have been happier!
I have some "grown-up" rocks I collected at Thatcher Mountain State Park in Albany, NY. I hiked the Indian Ladder Trail, and meandered off the path. I ducked under the railing that was supposed to keep people (people just like me) from skittering down into the gully. I climbed, spider-style, down into the gully. Down there, I found fossils from the Ordovician and Devonian periods. I found crinoids and tentaculites. An amazing find! At one point, I remember pulling myself up to a ledge that was under running water. It was covered in swimming tentaculites. It was an area five by two feet large. It was incredible! Breathtaking! Who thinks this way about rocks? I do. Liam does. My family does. Go figure.
Monday, February 09, 2009
In college, sophomore year, I got a single in Moore Hall. This was desirable. There was a lottery to determine when you got to pick your room. I was in the top third. My friend Kristin was close to last. She ended up in one of the older dorms (was it Penfield?) with a roommate. Her roommate was Kristen Zebrowski. Kristen and Kristin became fast friends, best friends. They could not have been more different in a lot of ways, but they complemented each other beautifully.
Spring semester, I was in a bit of a phase. Lots of walking to campus, working out, playing racquetball...it brought me to Kristin and Kristen's room often. I would head over there after a workout to go hit the dining hall. It was a very comfortable room to visit.
I had a car in college, my aunt and uncle's old Volvo wagon. At the end of the year, I would drive Kristin home to her house in Virgina when she missed her flight...forever late Kristin! Anyhow, I am finally getting to the funny part...One day, I was driving along in my car with the two Kristi(e)ns and I saw another friend of mine from Moore Hall walking. I offered her a ride. She hopped in. I collapsed into paroxysms of laughter as I went to make the introductions. You see, this was my friend Kristin Petherick...Kristen and Kristin, this is Kristin...Kristin, meet Kristen and Kristin...It just cracked me up.
The first telegram my parents sent to my grandparents when I was born spelled my name Christen...you see, they thought they made it up! Silly parents!
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Elena has a lovely new phase. Maybe you'll remember me saying that a few weeks ago she wouldn't leave the living room? Maybe you'll remember that she's recently phobic of being knocked off her feet or of slipping on ice (or the kitchen linoleum floors)? She's quirky, to be sure. Lately, however, she's moved into a specific corner in our family room. She has provisioned this corner so she rarely has to leave it, except to eat or use the bathroom. Coupled with her new found ability to channel surf, she is perfectly content to stay there in her corner all day long. Her mother is starting to get worried.
I find myself understanding the need for one's one place and stuff around them and loving that this corner is a corner in a room we all frequent. I get a little worried that she has memorized the daytime game shows my father watches and can be heard shouting along to "No Deal, No Deal" (as she calls it) right along with him. She seems to at least be a part of it all...whereas when she was in her living room corner stage, she was separate from us all. I like that she's around, shuffling toys, trimming paper (my sister calls her the Yankee Clipper) and playing quietly at projects and solitary games. My dad recently joked that we need to throw some cedar chips over in that corner and install a wheel...sort of bang on, actually. It is slightly more like having a pet than a daughter.
Last night, I drove up the driveway. I had a secret package in my back seat. I had gotten Ketra valentine flowers. I am going to be away for valentine's day (in Michigan, of all places). Anyhow, I pulled up to the garage only to see Liam waving a separate floral bouquet from the window. We BOTH got each other flowers. Magi flowers. Awwww....
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Today, I went to my church, St. Stephen's Church, to honor one of our great parishioners, Sarah Tison. I knew her daughter, Kate quite well. We were dear friends. She is a loving and sweet woman. She now has three kids of her own that I have never met. I remember her wedding, also at St. Stephens. She was a beautiful bride. I remember her father's funeral, also at St. Stephen's. He was a charismatic and funny man who I loved. I worked with her brother, Joe. They called him Joby. He was funny and cute. I was there when he met the women he eventually married. She was there today, pregnant and ripe. They already have one baby. All of them are grown-ups now.
But the Tison children, although grown-ups, are orphans now. I don't know if one can ever get over being an orphan. I bet it hurts to lose one parent terribly, especially tragically early. I imagine it's horrid when you lose that second one and realize you are alone. Children are not supposed to lose their parents when they are so young. It is not fair. My only consolation is imagining the happy reunion of Joe and Sarah Tison in heaven this last week, as they embraced, touching for the first time in years...
God bless you!
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
I made these tonight and they were lovely. I made three fillings for them...avocado, chicken and mayo, beef with enchilada sauce, mozzerella, mango and black bean and havarti cheese.
Colombia Venezuela Breads Cornmeal Gluten-Free
Arepas were originally made by the indigenous inhabitants of Venezuela and Colombia. These small corncakes are sold in Venezuelan restaurants called areperías and are stuffed with all manner of fillings like a sandwich. In Colombia, arepas are made a little smaller and are spread with butter or topped with cheese.
Makes 5-10 arepas
Pre-cooked cornmeal (see notes) -- 2 cups
Salt -- 1/2 teaspoon
Boiling water -- 3 cups
Oil -- 3 tablespoons
Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal and salt. Pour in 2 1/2 cups of the boiling water and mix with a wooden spoon to form a mass. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and set aside to rest for 5-10 minutes.
Using wetted hands, form balls of dough out of about 1/4 cup of dough and press to form a cake about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch thick. If the dough cracks at the edges, mix in a little more water and then form the cakes.
Heat the oil in a sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the patties, a few at a time, to form a light brown crust on one side, 5-6 minutes. Flip and brown on the other side.
When all the patties have been browned, transfer them to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they sound lightly hollow when tapped. Serve immediately.
To make filled arepas, split them in half when finished and scoop out a little of the soft dough filling. Stuff with your chosen filling.
Arepa de Pabellón: shredded, seasoned meat and black beans.
Reina Pepeada: chopped chicken, avocado, and mayonnaise mashed together.
Arepa de Dominó: black beans and crumbled white cheese.
Arepa de Perico: scrambled eggs with tomatoes, peppers and onions.
Columbian Arepas: make smaller and thicker and don't bake. Top with butter and melted cheese.
Other possible fillings: grated white or cheddar cheese; guasacaca, ham and cheese, hard-boiled quails eggs.
The sautéing step is sometimes skipped and the arepas are simply baked. In the countryside arepas are often cooked on the grill.
Small arepas can be made and served as appetizers with garnishes on top instead of inside. Or they can be eaten as small biscuits.
Sometimes a little sugar is mixed in with the dough to form sweet arepas (arepas dulces).
The cornmeal used to make arepas is a special, precooked type that usually goes by the name masarepa, or masa precocida. It can often be found in Latino markets. The more commonly found masa harina is not the correct type to use for this recipe.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
I took this picture yesterday. I confess, but it so describes our weekend of trimming, glueing, cutting, and designing valentines. Just as we have a "season" of Christmas card photographing and envisioning the card (that will never be sent), there is also a very prolific valentine producing season. Usually the valentines are given out to few, if you don't get one in the mail, consider this your valentine!
Monday, February 02, 2009
CFG = Cash for Gold
BFD = Big Fucking Deal
Let's just say either I did not send in enough, or this thing is a racket. Enough said.
OK, I had more to say on this subject, so I guess NOT enough said! Please, please if you have done the Cash for Gold thing, write in and let me know how much you made, what you sent, etc. I am just trying to figure out how this thing works. It's steeped in mystery...questions like, What is a troy ounce? Why did I not get an extra 10% as promised? Would I have gotten more going to a jewelry store? Share your stories in the comments section...thank you!
This is the first of two day 33 posts. When I came home from work today, there was a little herd of snow animals waiting for me. It was so cute! There was a zebra, a giraffe and an elephant. There are MANY, MANY more pictures of the animals if you click the picture it will take you to my Flickr account where you can see them.
This whole snow zoo was a brainchild of my mother. She just loves making snow creatures with kids. I still remember the snow turtle we made when I was six. We even got out the food coloring and dyed it REAL green! I had the best mom! Elena has the best Grammy!