By the middle of last week, we were really getting worried about the bleeding, but by the end of the week it had diminished quite a bit, and by the weekend we didn't see any blood! So although Dr. Israel called in the prescription for suppositories, I'm not going to fill it. She said we don't have to unless Steph starts bleeding again. And if I can keep her from catching yet another cold, that will certainly help! There's also a nasty stomach flu going around.
1. Remember the smelly bench? Well, after two weeks in the garage, it seemed odor-free. We brought it back into the mudroom but soon realized it still smelled a bit. I decided that I really didn't want to have it around, even if I could somehow mask or even get rid of most of the odor. It just seemed so toxic. So I called Sturbridge and told them, and they said they'd FedEx me another one, and I could just pack the first one into the second one's box and call them to pick it up again! I was very impressed. That's what I love about good customer service—they turned a miserable customer into a happy customer in about 3 minutes.
2. Then the new bench arrived and it stunk too. So I was miserable again.
3. I called again and they were really nice again! They said they'd send an empty box for me to pack up the first one in, then I could just call them to have FedEx come pick up both. The woman said, "The smell does eventually go away, but you've already given it the old college try, haven't you?"
4. Now I'm going to buy this one, but with a denim cushion. It's actually better dimensions for the space anyhow, and I'll get it for free because of my LLBean VISA card points! Woo-hoo! I'll find my own storage bins for underneath.
As I mentioned before, we watched a lot of TV last week. Julie's favorite show these days is "Higglytown Heroes" on Playhouse Disney. The premise for each episode is that a bunch of kids have a problem and need an ordinary "hero" to help them out—a librarian, an electrician, a veterinarian, etc. That's all well and good, and there's nothing wrong with a theme song performed by They Might Be Giants, but there are two things that don't sit well with me:
1. All of the people in Higglytown are actually animated Russian nesting dolls. Every now and then they all nest together inside the biggest one.
2. The children are in the care of a squirrel named Fran all day.
The other annoying thing is the song each hero sings, "You can be a hero, just like me!" Fine, except that twice the hero has been a dog (a seeing-eye dog and a fire or police dog, I forget which) and the person singing for the dog (apparently Russian nesting doll dogs can't speak, although Russian nesting doll squirrels can) sings, "You can be a hero, just like he!" or "You can be a hero, just like she!" It's wrong, wrong, wrong! It should be "just like him" and "just like her." They just wanted it to rhyme with "see" in the previous line. ARGH!
This was the longest week in history. We didn't have enough activities planned, mostly because, well, I didn't plan enough activities, but also partly because the week started off with all the kids still getting over colds and partly because it's hard to think of things that all three of them can do together. They watched way more TV than I'd like to admit and announced how bored they were frequently. The few fun things we did get to do (play dates and such) were apparently not quite fun enough. But it's back to school tomorrow! Yippee! They're predicting snow for tomorrow night; all I can say is that if school is canceled on Tuesday, heads are gonna roll.
1. Statesboro Blues (live) - David Bromberg
2. That Hospital - Loudon Wainwright III
3. Dark Hollow (live) - Grateful Dead
4. Bartender (live) - Dave Matthews/Emmylou Harris
5. Contest Coming (Cripple Creek) - Michelle Shocked
6. I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down - Elvis Costello
7. Rudie Can't Fail - The Clash
8. I Know You Know - Lyle Lovett
9. And She Was (live) - David Byrne*
10. Oh Cumberland - The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (with Maraca Berg & Emmylou Harris)
*This is a great live version from Austin City Limits, and David explains what this song is about in his intro: "This is a song about a girl I knew in high school in suburban Baltimore. There was a girl I knew there who used to do LSD and lie in a field by the Yoo-Hoo Chocolate Drink factory, which she claimed was a great place for that kind of thing. I had my doubts, but...!"
Appetizer: Name something that makes you scream.
The Bamboo Chute at StoryLand!
Soup: Who is a musician you enjoy listening to when you want to relax?
Salad: What was the last book you purchased?
The Colors of Us for Julie
Main Course: If you could live one day as any historical figure, who would it be, and what would you do?
Ugh. I hate questions like this. I never wanted to be a historical figure.
Dessert: Tell about a time when you were lost. Where did you end up? How long did it take you to get back to where you were going?
I have a terrible sense of direction. One time I was taking the kids to the Museum of Science (where I've been a bazillion times) and I somehow missed a turn and ended up God-knows-where. All of a sudden, our of nowhere, there was a cop on a horse! He gave me directions and we were there in no time. Stephanie still reminds of that day sometimes!
Nina posted this wonderful writing exercise, and I'm going to reproduce her intro verbatim (get it, verbatim?):
I suppose this is a meme, though I am loathe to call it such. It is an exercise to get you thinking and writing, and the results are lovelier than just about any commonly repeated blog post subject I've seen. I discovered it from Kimberly, who got it from Pratie Place, but it originates from Fragments from Floyd and surely many a college poetry class. It's called "Where I'm From" and is based on a poem by George Ella Lyons.
I didn't follow the outline at Floyd's site, though. Here's what I came up with, including later tweaks (with more to come perhaps):
Where I'm From
I'm from Blackberry Lane, from badminton in the backyard, from hot dogs and beans for Sunday lunch, and from jacks on the front stoop. I'm from reel-to-reel home movies, from riding in the neighbor's station wagon, and from waiting all year for "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" to come on TV.
I'm from Swanson's fried chicken TV dinners with apple brown betty dessert, from hammering nails into orange juice cans, from white ankle socks and pixie haircuts and Flintstones jelly juice glasses, and from hand-me-down babydoll pajamas.
I'm from the Saturday night line-up of Brady Bunch, Partridge Family, Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, and Carol Burnett. I'm from touching tongues with my sister, from spaghetti dinners at Marconi's, from Paragon Park, and from my parents' martini before dinner.
I'm from cinnamon toast and Little Kiddles, from Romper Room and Kool-Pops, and from Vaseline on my cheeks when I went sledding. I'm from hopscotch and root beer floats and bobby pins, from baby aspirin and sea glass, and from Keds. I'm from braiding Dad's tallis fringes in shul and kickball until dark and endless games of Spite & Malice.
I'm from magic markers and metal toothpaste tubes and impatiens growing near the driveway. I'm from Mom's red Dodge Dart and the smell of Coppertone, from waiting for the Bookmobile, and from listening to Peter and the Wolf. I'm from giggling during the Four Questions, from Lucky Charms, and from playing Red Rover with Dad in the hallway.
I'm from the 'burbs. I'm from youngest of three girls. I'm from me.
Well, Stephanie is still bleeding, and we've come to the end of the 4 weeks on stool softener. Andy and I both knew in our hearts it wasn't a hemorrhoid causing all this bleeding, but we were willing to give it a try. I firmly believe it's these relentless colds and coughs the kids have been passing around that's causing this flare-up in the colitis, but she's losing more and more blood daily. So Dr. Israel wants us to start on the suppositories of the same medicine she's already taking orally. I know it's going to be upsetting for her and I am just dreading it.
Preheat oven to 450°. Scrub and trim ends off small beets; if you can get both red and gold, so much the better. Slice 1/8" thick and toss with olive oil, kosher salt, and thyme. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet(s) in single layer. Roast for 20–25 minutes, until beets are soft and shrunken, slightly glistening on top, and dark around the edges. (The thinnest slices will be crisp and almost burned around the edges.) Yum, yum.
I blogged recently about John Hiatt's amazing song-writing; specifically, about how "Real Fine Love" was a love song for us older, happily married folks. Well, he can also do a crushing breakup song for us non-Gen-Xers too. This one stops me dead in my tracks every time it comes up on my iPod:
"What Do We Do Now"
What do we do now
What do we do now
What do we do now
What do we do now
When it's lying there with a busted heart
Like a piece of glass, where do you start
Do we pick it up or say goodbye
Is there one tear left for us to cry
What if I can't stay
What if you can't stay
What if I can't leave
What if you can't leave
What if I believed every word you say
What if you believed until today
Do we call the kids or call the cops
Can you hold me 'till this howling stops
Gimme back my steel, gimme back my nerve
Gimme back my youth for the dead man's curve
For that icy feel when you start to swerve
Give us back the love we don't deserve
'Cause we rode it long, we drove it hard
And we wrecked it in our own backyard
"A Cool, Dry Place" was like a poor man's "Kramer vs. Kramer." I like Vince Vaughn a lot, but the movie was disappointing on the whole. Not a total waste of time, but nothing I would bother recommending.
"The Mother" was beautiful and unsettling at the same time. I really appreciated the honesty and frankness of Anne Reid's portrayal of an older woman contemplating her life, including her sexuality. The movie wasn't perfect by any means, but it was extremely thought-provoking and well-done. Come to think of it, Anne Reid's performance was perfect. I added "Liam" to my Netflix queue just to see her again.
You're in the bookstore, browsing the shelves for . . . something. You don't know what, exactly, you're looking for but you'll recognize it when you see it. Picking a book at random you open to the first page and begin to read. Two hours later you're home in bed with a mug of sweet tea, still reading.
That's what's known as a hook. And you can submit your favorite opening hooks here. And then get ready to spend a long, long time browsing through the database.
If you like cream of asparagus soup but want to cut back on calories or fat (or simply don't have any cream in the house), this no-cream soup really fits the bill. It somehow comes out very creamy!
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium onions, chopped
2 medium leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped
6 cups chicken stock
2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed, each cut into 4 pieces
Melt butter in large pot over medium heat. Add onions and leeks; saute until tender, about 15 minutes. Add stock and asparagus; simmer until asparagus is tender, about 15 minutes. Puree soup in blender in batches and return to pot.* Season with salt and pepper. Bring to simmer, stirring occasionally. Serve.
*If you have a hand-held immersion blender, you can puree the soup right in the pot. Then just season and serve.
A few years ago, a donation to my local folk music radio station earned me the "Live At The World Cafe - 10th Anniversary" CD. From the get-go, those two discs lived pretty permanently in two of my five CD slots in the car (this was in my pre-iPod days). It's full of great stuff, some that I already knew (e.g., Nanci Griffith) and some that I'd never heard of (e..g, Olu Dara). I urge you to check it out. Richard Thompson's "Beeswing" and Lucinda Williams' "Can't Let Go" are worth the price of admission right there. But the greatest pleasure I have gotten from this CD was "James" by Huffamoose. This has become one of my favorite songs of all time. It is incredibly romantic. The lyrics are below; you can also visit the Huffamoose site and even watch a trailer for the Huffamoose movie. I've downloaded every version of "James" I can find and I never tire of it. It's perfect. Here goes:
We're headed for the Great Smoky Mountains to see the wildflowers bloom in spring.
'Cause we've decided that there's no better place to be for two young people who just wanna do their thing in the spring.
I know we're gonna be happy
'Cause James is a freedom fighter and he lives for the moment.
His parents are hippies and he sees everything through a rainbow.
He's never unhappy 'cause he never wears a watch.
He lives on his mountain bike and he sees beauty in everyone.
And James says he's gonna change the world.
And James says that I am his flower girl.
And James and I we're gonna make a difference.
Just wait and see.
We're gonna set the world free.
It's two years later now and we're both out of college and we've decided to love one another for eternity.
I've got a good job but James says no one understands him.
He's an artist and he needs time to find out what that means.
He answers to a higher calling - the moon and the sun and the stars are falling through his time and his space and I am lucky to be part of it all.
He is bigger than life.
He sees things, he knows things, he is not like you and me.
James finally found a steady job and now we're gonna settle down.
He still loves his music but he knows where his priorities lie.
He stepped on his dreams so many times and wore out the path he needed to take to find the life he thought would just happen to him like the changing of a season.
The WB network will take the famed Looney Tunes characters as models for a new children’s series, “Loonatics,” that will air on Saturday mornings starting this fall. The characters’ descendants—Buzz Bunny and the like—will be superhero action figures for the cartoon set in the year 2772.
In case you can't tell (I could just barely), Bugs is the yellow one. The horror, the horror!
I had all my knives sharpened last week at Sur La Table. Most of them were wedding gifts, so that makes them more than 16 years old! And still in great shape, for the most part. I also have a newish santoku that is razor-sharp now. Heaven. And check out this extremely detailed guide to how to cut just about everything. Some day I'd like to take a real knife skills class; this will have to do for now! For the record, Sur La Table charged just 50¢ per inch and had them all ready the next day.
Pete has been begging to see "Star Wars" for ages now. He believes he's the only kid in his whole kindergarten class who hasn't seen it. I saw it just once, when it was first released in 1977. I remember enjoying it very much and being wowed by the whole experience, but I couldn't really recall how scary it was and I didn't want to scare Pete. Even as an adult, I know what it's like to see something scary or upsetting and wish you could just erase it from your brain. (This has happened to me with movies as varied as "Schindler's List," "Leaving Las Vegas," "The Silence of the Lambs," and "American History X," to name just a few, all of which have one image in particular that upset me terribly and that I can't shake.) Anyhow, I finally decided he could see it, so I rented it yesterday at Blockbuster* (after making the guy there assure me several times over that it really was "Episode IV: A New Hope" that I wanted), and today was the big day. Well, he loved it! Me, I couldn't get over how cheesy it all looks now! The costumes were no better than something you'd see on a "Power Rangers" TV episode, and the special effects were nothing. It's amazing how far we've come in 25 years—when "Star Wars" first came out, it was like nothing anyone had ever seen before, and now it's so very hokey. Don't get me wrong, it's still a terrific story with great, lasting icons and images, but technically it's unbelievably dated.
I also couldn't get over how young Harrison Ford looked. Was.
I still won't buy Pete any toy weapons, so after the movie he fashioned some out of paper. Sigh.
*Blockbuster is really losing it. I rarely go in there anymore, since my love affair with Netflix began. But I do still get the kids videos there occasionally. Anyhow, they have this whole thing now about "no late fees." But then there's a sign near the register that says, "Sorry only works for 7 days. On day 8, you own it." Sheesh.
As I've mentioned before, one of Andy's favorite desserts is Indian pudding. Making it is an all-day affair, however, because you need to stir it every half hour for 4–6 hours. Here, however, is a crockpot version, which he says is almost as good as the traditional version. It takes just as long, but you don't have to keep stirring it.
3 cups milk
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. ginger
Coat crockpot lightly with cooking spray. Preheat on high for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat milk, cornmeal, and salt in a saucepan on the stove and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Cover and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Gradually beat in hot cornmeal mixture and whisk until smooth.
Pour into crockpot and cook on high for 2–3 hours or low for 6–8 hours. Serve topped with vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt (mandatory!).
Spammers load their messages with random chunks of text taken from works of literature (assumably found online so they don't have to type it all out, God forbid) and/or misspelled words so that spam filters won't recognize a high rate of, say for example, drug names (or porn terms or whatever) and therefore reject the message as spam. This is why some perfectly legit messages get rejected for happening to mention "key" words. My wife has had messages to friends at their office addresses refused as spam for using the word "love" in the subject heading. Go figure.
Aha. I didn't realize that some spam filters work that way.
AFTER 16 SEASONS and nearly 350 episodes, it’s amazing that Fox’s “The Simpsons” can still cause a ruckus. Last summer, one of the show’s producers, Al Jean, announced that the series would feature an episode where Homer becomes a minister to make money performing same-sex weddings. Homer also is to perform a wedding for someone close to him, who will come out on the show.
Ever since, there has been an unusual amount of buzz about just who the character will be. In October, London’s Sun newspaper reported that it would be Patty Bouvier, Marge Simpson’s man-hating sister. At the time, Fox wouldn’t comment.
The network still isn’t talking, but it did confirm that the episode, dubbed “There’s Something about Marrying,” will air on Sunday, Feb. 20, at 8 p.m.
THE GOOD FOLKS at www.BetUS.com have seized on the highly anticipated coming out episode. On Jan. 18 the Canadian-based gambling Web site posted odds on which character would come out on “The Simpsons” and began taking bets.
“I believe this is the first time we’ve offered odds relating to anyone’s sexuality, fictional or non,” says Mike Foreman, a spokesperson for the company.
The odds-on favorite is Patty, with 4-to-5 odds, which means, for every $5 you bet, if she comes out, you only get $4 back. Guess all those rumors that she’s going to come out carry some weight after all.
Next in line is Waylon Smithers, Mr. Burns’ dithering, effeminate assistant, who viewers have assumed for years is gay. His odds are 4-to-1, so you’ll get $4 for each dollar you bet that he comes out first.
Foreman says that, after more than 1,000 bets, he was surprised that Homer’s evangelical neighbor, Ned Flanders, at 15-to-1, was getting the most big money bets — many of them at the $500 limit.
“Imagine the kind of press they would get if Ned came out,” Foreman says. “I think that’s definitely something to consider.”
Other characters who visitors can bet on include Patty’s twin sister, Selma, at 9-to-1 odds; Homer’s homoerotic coworkers Lenny and Carl, at 9-to-1 and 13-to-1 odds, respectively; bartender Moe at 15-to-1 odds; Bart’s best friend Milhouse, at 8-to-1; convenience store owner Apu, at 10-to-1; Homer’s boss, Mr. Burns, at 16-to-1; and Homer Simpson himself, a long shot at 20-to-1.
BetUS.com often encourages betting on pop culture issues, like the winners of reality television programs and the outcomes of award shows, but rarely on scripted series such as “The Simpsons.” Foreman says that the company almost always loses money running entertainment pools.
“It’s fun for our customers and it creates a bit of a buzz,” he says, adding that “The Simpsons” pool has brought them to an entirely different market.
OK, so here's the latest spam I received. What the heck is all the text surrounding the drug ads?
From: "Margie Cash" <Stjva@shado.com>
To: "Luzlua" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: contraceptive Symptoms of a Oruvail underdoes include depression
Date: Fri, 18 Feb 2005 23:05:34 -0500
The idea was for this to occur repeatedly, which is why a home computer was
While Sara’s hands were busy packing up the butter, and her head filled with these pictures of the morrow, Mark Donnithorne, riding by Mr. Irwine’s side towards the valley of the Willow Brook, had also certain indistinct anticipations, running as an undercurrent in his mind while he was listening to Mr. Irwine’s account of Dinah—indistinct, yet strong enough to make him feel rather conscious when Mr. Irwine suddenly said, What fascinated you so in Mrs. Poyser’s dairy, Mark? Have you become an amateur of damp quarries and skimming dishes? THE LION wearied Jupiter with his frequent complaints. It is digital creations that resemble plants and insects in a silicon that her problem was the most classic one that angst ridden people have to Fire, and Water. Each has set traps for the unwary in these passages. potential threats to this country's security. People who are releasing this experience, this course has increased my awareness of the many Also, I had the computer simulate a traditional art medium until at last, resigning all hope of victory, the Wind called
1. Ranking Full Stop - English Beat
"So all you really got to do is just a-move you' little feet."
2. Bend Down Low - Bob Marley & The Wailers
"You keep on knockin', but you can't come in."
3. You Take My Breath Away - Eva Cassidy
"Sometimes it amazes me how strong the power of love can be."
4. Perpetual Blues Machine - Keb' Mo'
"Tell me why you wanna be so cold, why you wanna be so mean."
5. Have You Seen My Baby - Chris Smither
"I seen her with the mailman slidin' down the street. When you're through with my baby, mailman, you send her home to me."
6. Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder - Loudon Wainwright III
"I found out the hard way you was my better half."
7. From A Distance - Nanci Griffith
"From a distance you look like my friend even though we are at war."
8. All The Money's Gone - Greg Brown
"We Americans, we are so easily pleased - a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and fifty thousand dollars."
9. Five Years Old - Loudon Wainwright III
"Balloons and cake, two kinds of ice cream, guess you'll be a mess."
10. St. Judy's Comet - Paul Simon
"If I can't sing my boy to sleep, well, it makes your famous daddy look so dumb."
Appetizer: Name 2 things you do that you consider beneficial to your health.
1. Avoid trans fats.
2. Take numerous vitamin supplements (which I've been meaning to blog about, stay tuned...).
Soup: If you made a New Year's resolution, how's it going so far?
I didn't officially make one, but I did hope to try more new recipes. So far, pretty good on that front.
Salad: Name something that has happened lately that bothers you.
Stephanie started bleeding again. "Bothers" would be an understatement.
Main Course: What is your favorite quote, and who said it?
I don't have just one favorite, but here's one I like, by Alexander Pope:
"In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold:
Alike fantastic, if too new or old.
Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside."
Dessert: What do you collect?
Today I received the bill for Julie's eye surgery—$1300—and I think that was just for the surgery, not even the anesthesia or other hospital fees. Blue Cross/Blue Shield paid $1285. They also covered all the post-op visits to Dr. Bhatt's office.
I don't forget for an instant how lucky I am to have good health insurance. Wait, make that: I don't forget for an instant how lucky I am to be able to afford to pay for good health insurance. Most Americans are not as fortunate as I am. It's a disgrace, really. I'm not saying the Canadian model is perfect, but it's a darn sight better than what we've got, which is, essentially, nothing.
I think the Splenda people must rule the universe. This stuff (whatever it is...) is everywhere! It's especially insidious when it's hidden in food products geared toward children. We all want our kids to ingest less sugar, but not at the expense of artificial sweeteners, particularly those that might be as harmful as pesticides (just Google Splenda for dozens of sites about the potential dangers of Splenda, or start here and here and here). So far, the good guys are Froot Loops (1/3 less sugar) and Smucker's Grape Jelly (50% less sugar); they really just removed some unnecessary sugar. Then you've got companies like Quaker, which everyone likes to think of as all-natural; well, they put Splenda in their reduced-sugar oatmeal. And lost me as a customer.
I'm aware that Splenda may be a boon to diabetics, but all relevant warnings should be posted about possible harmful side-effects and interactions for non-diabetics as well.
I just added a link to my Amazon Wish List, over there in the sidebar. I don't expect
everyone anyone to rush out and buy me books and CDs; it's more of a way to keep track of what I want to buy next time I get a gift certificate or need to add to an existing order so I can get free shipping! I also think it's fun to see what other people have on their wish lists, so maybe someone will be interested in mine.
This showed up in my e-mail box. I didn't write it, and I don't know who did.
George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?
Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.
George: Great. Lay it on me.
Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.
George: That's what I want to know.
Condi: That's what I'm telling you.
George: That's what I'm asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
George: I mean the fellow's name.
George: The guy in China.
George: The new leader of China.
George: The main man in China!
Condi: Hu is leading China.
George: Now whaddya' asking me for?
Condi: I'm telling you, Hu is leading China.
George: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?
Condi: That's the man's name.
George: That's who's name?
George: Will you, or will you not, tell me the name of the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he's dead in the Middle East.
Condi: That's correct.
George: Then who is in China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir is in China?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Then who is?
Condi: Yes, sir.
Condi: No, sir.
George: Look Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.
George: No, thanks.
Condi: You want Kofi?
Condi: You don't want Kofi.
George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And then get me the U.N.
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.
George: Milk! Will you please make the call?
Condi: And call who?
George: Who is the guy at the U.N?
Condi: Hu is the guy in China.
George: Will you stay out of China?!
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.
George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.
2120 songs, 8.71 GB
Sort by Song Title
First: 'Deed I Do - Chris Smither (It comes up first because of the apostrophe!)
Last: Your Train - Vance Gilbert
Sort by Artist
First: Down To The River To Pray - Alison Krauss
Last: Goodnight Irene - Willie Nelson & Van Morrison
Sort by Album (I have a lot of music that doesn't come from an album—mostly LimeWire downloads of live versions and such, so I looked for the first and last real album listings.)
First: Down Drinking at the Bar - Loudon Wainwright III
Last: Righteously - Lucinda Williams
Find "Sex" - How Many Songs Show Up?
UPDATE: All 82 are songs by Martin SEXton! Who ever said search functions are foolproof?
Find "Death" - How Many Songs Show Up?
1: Death or Glory - The Clash
Find "Love" - How Many Songs Show Up?
Find "Peace" - How Many Songs Show Up?
2: (What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding - one by Nick Lowe and one by Elvis Costello.
Find "Rain" - How Many Songs Show Up?
Find "Sun" - How Many Songs Show Up?
Abridged from Kelly.
I picked up a little Martha Stewart mag called "Good Things for Organizing." As with any of these publications, there are items that make me want to laugh out loud (a gift wrap station—in my house!), but there are also some very useful tips. So far my favorite is to use effervescent denture-cleaning tablets to clean tea- or coffee-stained mugs—but I've now used them on lots more. Here are the before and after photos of my tea-stained stainless (ha!) steel tea-bag grabber:
And the mug I soaked it in is now spotless too! It also successfully cleaned my toothbrush holder, which was absolutely disgusting inside but difficult to get at with any type of implement.
P.S. Don't buy the mint-flavored tablets!
How's that for two oxymorons, eh?
I still don't care for Michael Chiarello as a TV personality, but he really has some nice, innovative recipes. Last night I made his Asparagus Pesto with Tiny Potatoes and Pasta. This is the sort of food I could subsist on. It is also the sort of food that Andy would be very happy to hear he never has to eat again. So I had it as a main course and Andy had a few forkfuls as an accompaniment to his grilled bone-in rib eye. Ah well. (Note: I apologize for the messy bowl in the photo. A food stylist I am not! Update 3/18/07: But check out this photo!)
Chiarello says, "You will have twice as much of the pesto as you need. You can cut the pesto amount in half, but I encourage you to make the full recipe. It will disappear quickly on bread, toast, or baked potatoes." This is true, except that I had some of the dish itself left over too, so I'm unlikely to use the leftover pesto before it spoils. I think next time I will halve the pesto recipe, unless I'm making it for company.
For the pesto:
1 bunch asparagus, about 1 pound, trimmed and cooked for 5 minutes in boiling, salted water (Reserve water for pasta.)
1/2 cup packed coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 tablespoon minced garlic (This made it very garlicky—even for me!—so I think I will use just a scant tablespoon next time.)
About 1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 pound marble-size potatoes (This is clearly a spring dish, because that's when asparagus is at its yummiest and also when you can find such tiny potatoes. Instead, I bought the smallest creamers I could find and just halved or quartered them.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 pound dried orecchiette or other pasta the same size as the potatoes
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Cut the cooked asparagus spears into thirds. Put in a food processor with the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Keep in mind you will add Parmesan as well, so be careful not to oversalt. With the machine running, slowly add the cup of olive oil. When the sauce is about the consistency of mayonnaise, it has enough oil. Pulse in the 1/2 cup Parm. Thin with water if necessary to achieve a slick, saucy pesto. (I used pretty much all of the oil and didn't need to add any water.) Scrape into a bowl or jar, cover, and refrigerate until needed. You should have about 3 cups. (Keeps about 2–3 days, refrigerated.)
Put the potatoes in a pan of salted cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and let cool for a few minutes. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the potatoes and cook until browned and crispy all over, about 5 minutes. (I cooked them for longer than that, maybe closer to 8–10 minutes.) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm.
While the potatoes are browning, return the water used for cooking the asparagus to a boil. Add more salt and the pasta and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain through a colander, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Pour the pasta into a warm serving bowl, add the potatoes, about 1 cup of the asparagus pesto, several twists of pepper, and the 1/4 cup Parm. Toss well, thinning with the pasta cooking water as necessary. (I didn't need to thin it at all.)
Pass additional Parm and remaining pesto at the table.
We watched the first half of "The Music Man" revival with Matthew Broderick. He's no Robert Preston, but he is quite good. It's long, though, so we'll watch the rest tonight.
Oh yeah, one more thing I like about Valentine's Day: Andy always brings me beautiful flowers. And we exchange cards. Plus Andy makes these great cards for me and each of the kids in which he draws cartoons of our favorite things. I'd scan one in, but he'd get too embarrassed.
I didn't mean to sound so grouchy about Valentine's Day in my other post; I just can't stand the mass-marketing hell that all these holidays have become. One of the main complaints people have about Valentine's Day is that it's so contrived to have this one particular day when you express your love for someone. But, if it weren't for all the pressure exerted by the commercial gods, I don't think people would mind it as much. It's like New Year's Eve: If you've got it in your mind that it's supposed to be some magical, crowning event to top off the whole year, you're bound to be disappointed. If, however, you just relax and enjoy yourself and perhaps reflect on what the prior year was like and what you think or hope might happen in the coming year, you're bound to be better off.
1. Decide that you need more storage for your mudroom. Put all hats and mittens in a basket. Have no idea what to do with kids' sweatshirts, which are rarely worn in the winter.
2. Buy a cherry-stained poplar bench that opens up for storage.
3. Be unable to ignore strong toxic stain odor once bench is uncrated.
4. Leave hinged lid open for a week in the mudroom, and leave mudroom window open when weather allows. (Weather will allow for a couple of hours one day during this period.)
5. Decide that strong toxic stain odor has diminished. Do not realize that you're just so used to it, you can't even notice it anymore.
6. Put all of the kids' sweatshirts in the bench and close the lid tightly. Be sure you have not left out a single sweatshirt.
7. After another couple of weeks, suggest that your oldest child wear a sweatshirt to Sunday school, since she insists on wearing a T-shirt but you fear she will be chilly.
8. Remove sweatshirt from bench. Recoil from strong toxic stain odor emanating from sweatshirt. Realize with sinking heart that all kids' sweatshirts could now be used as airborne biohazard warfare weapons. Wish you'd paid more attention to HazMat warnings.
9. Wash everything in liquid Tide. Notice virtually no improvement in odor situation.
10. Call Nancy. Ask her whether Febreze can go in the washing machine, since you don't want to be spraying it for the rest of your life. She doesn't know, but she suggests adding Borax to washing machine.
11. Call Febreze people. Learn that there is a new Febreze product, a Laundry Odor Eliminator! Go to Shaw's but be unable to find it. Call Stop & Shop. No luck. Call Omni. No. Call <shudder> Wal-Mart. Nope. Target. Nix. Give up. Discover online laundry discussion group. No one can find Febreze Laundry Odor Eliminator anywhere! But someone who asked whether regular Febreze can go in the washing machine is told that no, it must be sprayed on dry garments. Suspect that Febreze spray and Febreze Laundry Odor Eliminator are the same product in different bottles but be too cowardly to test this hypothesis.
12. Wash everything in liquid Tide and Borax. Notice a slight improvement in odor situation.
13. Wash everything in liquid Tide, Borax, and Oxi-Clean. (Be unable to recall why or when you bought Oxi-Clean.) Notice a slight improvement in odor situation.
14. Repeat Step 13 three more times. Declare sweatshirts odor-free! Realize that your entire day was spent in the laundry room. Shake fist at people who stained bench so stinkily. Shake fist at Febreze people for not distributing Laundry Odor Eliminator widely enough.
15. Notice that bench is missing. Discover it airing out in garage. Thanks, Andy.
All three kids have colds and coughs. I sent all three kids to school anyhow. Happy Valentine's Day!
Stephanie and her friend Ollie were the only two kids in her class to distribute homemade valentines. The rest were all SpongeBob, Bratz, Spiderman, Scooby Doo, and other mass-market commercial crap. I was horrified. Pete, on the other hand, got several handmade valentines back in return for his efforts. As far as I'm concerned, the only redeeming feature of the over-commercialized sugar-fest that is Valentine's Day is the pure, unadulterated joy of watching (and assisting) kids making valentines.
Oh, and, for the record: Today was the first day without NHRN here to stay with Julie while I went to pick up Steph and Pete from school. Today was also the first day in ages that Julie napped, so I had to wake her up. There oughta be a law! Oh, wait, there is. Chalk another one up for Murphy.
I hate piñatas. We spend years teaching our kids that nothing good can come of hitting, and then we hand them a stick and tell them to whack something really hard for CANDY! There are always a few kids who are terrified of the whole ordeal (as well they should be) and a few who take it altogether too seriously. Then, when the darn thing finally breaks, there's a veritable frenzy of kids pushing and shoving and trying to hoard as much candy and plastic novelty items as possible. The new-style piñatas with the pull-ribbons get rid of the smacking problem but still encourage the hoarding. So Pete recently went to a party where the piñata was an American soldier. How many chilling images of Abu Ghraib went through my mind as the kids took turns whacking the soldier until his head popped off? I can understand the soldier-themed goodie-bag items, but a piñata? Really, really bad taste.
If you have a voyeuristic interest in strangers' best-kept secrets (and who doesn't?), you're going to love this! I found it absolutely fascinating and read every single one. Be sure to click on the "New Secrets Posted Here Sundays" link. I wonder if the people who've revealed their secrets (albeit anonymously) now feel relieved in some way. Oh, and the instructions for sending in your own secret are at the very bottom of the page.
During the school fundraiser's silent auction (shh!), I bid on several items. The only item I won was a gift basket from Origins, which I got for $75. Yesterday I went to Origins to exchange the items in the gift basket, since I do love Origins products but these were not the products I use. Well, guess what, they came to about $95! And I had a $10 gift certificate the lovely Origins folks had sent me over the holidays, so I went home with $105 worth of Origins products I use regularly anyhow, all for just $75. Talk about your win-win!
Fallacy of the Talking Killer
The villain wants to kill the hero. He has him cornered at gunpoint. All he has to do is pull the trigger. But he always talks first. He explains the hero's mistakes to him. Jeers. Laughs. And gives the hero time to think his way out of the situation, or be rescued by his buddy.
An expletive used by knowledgeable film buffs during any chase scene involving a foreign or ethnic locale, reflecting their certainty that a fruit cart will be overturned during the chase, and an angry peddler will run into the middle of the street to shake his fist at the hero's departing vehicle.
Land Boom Rule
In any movie where there is a cocktail party featuring a chart, map, or model of a new real estate development, a wealthy property developer will be found dead inside an expensive automobile.
One-at-a-time Attack Rule
In any situation where the hero is alone, surrounded by dozens of bad guys, they will always obligingly attack one at a time.
Weak-Ankled Female Syndrome, The
Whenever a man and woman are on the run, the woman inevitably falls and sprains her ankle. As a result, the man must drag or carry her and their progress is slowed, stalled or halted.
There's one glaring omission; here's my version:
Laptop That Controls the Universe, The
Any guy in his late teens or early twenties can save the world with any laptop. And it doesn't have to be connected to anything—there's WiFi even in abandoned warehouses on the edge of town! Just in the nick of time, he can figure out all necessary passwords and hack into the villain's system to abort whatever evil is about to be unleashed on the world.
This easy, yummy recipe comes from the ever-perky Rachael Ray: Place turkey in a bowl and season with chili powder. Add
cabbage, chipotles, tomato sauce, and scallions. Toss filling to
combine and season with salt and pepper. Place tortillas in a kitchen
towel and microwave on high for 1 minute. To build chimichangas,
place a generous handful of cheese near one edge of the tortilla. Pile
1/4 of your filling in the tortilla. Tuck sides up and roll tortilla
tightly. Repeat to make 4* large stuffed tortilla wraps. Brush a baking pan with oil (or do what I did and just line pan with nonstick foil). Brush the wraps
with oil and bake until deep golden all over, 15 to 17 minutes. Top
with sour cream, cilantro or parsley, and chopped tomato, as garnishes. *I used slightly smaller tortillas and ended up with 7 of 'em. We've been watching "Six Feet Under" and enjoying it immensely. My only two complaints: (1) The mother doesn't really ring true to me. (2) I don't care for the actress playing Brenda. Looks-wise, she's a cross between Juliette Lewis (whom I dislike) and Juliet Stevenson (whom I like), but she's just not doing it for me. I like everyone else, though.
Smoked Turkey Baked Chimichangas
1 pound thickly sliced smoked turkey, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
2 cups shredded slaw cabbage
1–2 chipotles in adobo sauce, minced
1 cup tomato sauce
3 scallions, chopped
4 (12-inch) flour tortillas
1 1/2 cups, 6 ounces, shredded sharp cheddar, smoked white cheddar ,or Pepper Jack cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
1 vine ripe orange or yellow tomato, seeded and finely chopped
Preheat oven to 400°.
Place turkey in a bowl and season with chili powder. Add cabbage, chipotles, tomato sauce, and scallions. Toss filling to combine and season with salt and pepper. Place tortillas in a kitchen towel and microwave on high for 1 minute. To build chimichangas, place a generous handful of cheese near one edge of the tortilla. Pile 1/4 of your filling in the tortilla. Tuck sides up and roll tortilla tightly. Repeat to make 4* large stuffed tortilla wraps. Brush a baking pan with oil (or do what I did and just line pan with nonstick foil). Brush the wraps with oil and bake until deep golden all over, 15 to 17 minutes. Top with sour cream, cilantro or parsley, and chopped tomato, as garnishes.
*I used slightly smaller tortillas and ended up with 7 of 'em.
We've been watching "Six Feet Under" and enjoying it immensely. My only two complaints: (1) The mother doesn't really ring true to me. (2) I don't care for the actress playing Brenda. Looks-wise, she's a cross between Juliette Lewis (whom I dislike) and Juliet Stevenson (whom I like), but she's just not doing it for me. I like everyone else, though.
Thirty-something years ago, my dad was downtown while a movie was being filmed. He was told he could hang out as long as he didn't interfere in any way. So that's how he ended up with Jack Nicholson in "The Last Detail." Tonight my Aunt Roz was watching TV when it came on, and through the miracle of digital photography and e-mail, I now present Bernie and Jack (and some other actor!).
1. Handsome Molly - Bill Morrissey
2. Black Eye Blues - Paul Rishell & Annie Raines
3. The Weight (live) - Grateful Dead & Allman Brothers
4. Rocky Mountain Time - John Prine
5. Can't Let Go (live) - Lucinda Williams
6. Buy You a Ring - Huffamoose
7. Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out (live) - Eric Clapton
8. Canned Goods (live) - Greg Brown
9. From Clare to Here - Nanci Griffith
10. Monkey and the Engineer - Grateful Dead