Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Old New Foods

I am going to try new old things.

I have tried tomatoes in the past, but I didn't like them.  I think I was doing it wrong.  Just like when I tried sushi.  I went all in.  I ordered the super duper raw stuff and had no idea what I was doing.  Because my anxiety keeps me wanting to be one step ahead of the unknown, I have decided to research even the most basic of things like sushi.  So, the second time I tried sushi, I was determined to find out why everyone else seems to love it, but I didn't.

After a quick tour of the menu at Sushiland, I was better prepared to try an old new thing.  After a 'fake it til I make it moment' with the chopsticks, I discovered that I DO like sushi...or at least the Americanized version of it.

With a success in old new cuisine, I reflected upon what else was I missing out on that I might actually love?  Tomatoes is my next food project.  I will do my research and consider how can I make this a success.  I am only interested in trying new foods that also fit under the category of healthy foods.

I bought a tomato today.  I am going to cut that bad boy up and serve it with fresh mozzarella, greens and balsamic vinegar on whole wheat bread.  I like all of the other things on that sandwich.  I remain hopeful that the tomato is not going to screw it all up.

What other new old foods can I try?

Greek yogurt
Tofu...To be continued!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hold It Together, People

The other day while I was driving, I witnessed the most obscene and extravagant display of road rage that I have ever seen.

Thankfully, I did not have to listen to it.  I just had to endure the hand gestures and numerous sexiest slurs that the man could hurl at me through the window of his black Bentley.

Yes, I was the victim for one whole minute, but it seemed like at least two minutes.  I had the poor judgement to think that I had enough room and enough time to make a risky maneuver, but trust me, I did not have the time or space.  The man in the black Bentley made that shockingly clear.

His hands were waving.  His eyes were bulging.  The veins in his neck were at full flow capacity.  His fingers and hands made movements that should really be reserved for the most heinous of events, yet he spent those obscene gestures on a woman who just stared back at him.  I felt that I was earning my staring behavior.  Usually, I have the good manners to NOT stare, but he wanted me to endure his rage so I just soaked it in.  Part of me loved it because the less I responded, the more he reacted.

I wonder if he wished for a similar reaction from me?  I wonder if he would have sewed expletives with such grace if Tim would have been driving and made the same error?  We all know the answer.

Someone gave me the advice that I should look at the man and think about what brought him to this moment.  Maybe he had a terrible fight with his wife.  Maybe he is suffering from an illness.  Maybe he is in a bad place in his life.  I can't take that advice.  I can't let give people a pass because they have it bad and feel the need to behave badly.  Just hold it together, people.

The next time I am in the Bentley's shoes...well, okay, it'll be Honda...I am going to give the person a pass.  That is when I will use the pass card with ease.  I am saving it for people who show real humanity and make mistakes without spewing disgusting melodrama all over my day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Obsessions of the Moment

In Beauty
I don't wear a lot of make-up.  I am lucky if I get some mascara on my peepers when I leave the house, but I do have a think for lipsticks.  I am picky though.  I can't wear a lipstick that has ANY perfume or scent to it.  My new favorite product is the Clinique Chubby Stick.  It's like I am not even wearing lipstick.

In Time Wasting
I spend way too much time on Pinterest.  I love to see what everyone else is loving and "pinning".  My current obsession is pinning recipes and home improvement tasks.  At least I am not searching and pinning ideas and never doing anything with these ideas.  I have used several teacher ideas in the classroom and loved them.  It is a pretty smart idea, that Pinterest.

In Food
I have been eating quite healthy for two months.  I have lost 21 pounds.  However, I had my first pub fare in months.  Delicious.  Now, I am fantasizing about bleu cheese and bacon burgers with homemade thin onion rings.  In order to get over this obsession, I must find a recipe that covers the trifecta of food for me right now and make it healthy.  Wish me luck.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Inspired by Five Year Olds

This week, two of my kindergarten friends came to school with hearts sewed onto their shirts for Valentine's Day.  The hearts were patterned material that had their favorite things on them.  One had foxes and the other had rainbows.

I was jealous.  I wanted their shirts.  Or a version of their shirts.  My heart shirt would have books or laptops or Kitchenaid mixers all over it.  When I asked these girls about their lovely handmade shirts, they both said that their moms made it special for Valentine's Day.

It inspired me.  Actually, all of my time wasting on has inspired me to take up sewing.  I am not going to be quilting or anything fancy, but I would like to whip up a heart-shaped shirt for me and Elsa.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Soapbox Rant: Baby Piercing

I was walking through the mall on a rare toddler-free shopping trip when I witnessed a very disturbing scene.

I heard a baby crying.  It was the kind of cry that is usually only heard at the doctor's office when shots and other unpleasantries are occurring.  When I searched to find the cry, I saw a mother holding her baby in her arms so she could have her ears pierced.

Why would you do that to your baby?  Shouldn't a person have a choice whether or not they are going to put holes in her body?  Why would you put your baby in a physically and emotionally painful situation?  They endure a lot navigating this new world.

When I complained about this moment in the mall to a friend, she asked me when I would allow Elsa to get her ears pierced.  I will allow Elsa to pierce her ears when she asks for it and she is able to care for her pierced ears.  I am sure she will have the gross nickel allergy like her mother and not be able to wear cute earrings, but instead the same old hoops day after day.  But whatever it looks like at that moment, it will be her choice and her pain that she has asked to endure. 

Feelings Proclamations

The nightly routine has turned out to be not so routine.  This is not by my choice.  Elsa has realized that she has a lot more control over her compliance or more likely, non-compliance with the bedtime routine.  Her latest avoidance technique are what I call "feelings proclamations".  She likes to sit in her crib and call out "I am angry.  Very angry."  or "I am happy.  So happy."

Her facial expressions match the words and then, she moves into the dramatic presentation of her feelings.  Dora and Boots, her stuffed best friends, act out these emotions in a story line that may have happened to Elsa recently.  I am her captivated audience.  The show only lasts about three minutes, but don't worry.  There is always an encore.  She makes the feelings proclamation again and the show repeats.

I have tried to video tape this nightly event but then, the show comes to a halt.  I am curious what the next feeling will be...jealousy, frustration, annoyance, elation.  So far, she has three - angry, sad, and happy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Born Again

I am just not going to buy into Valentine's Day.

Or at least the way Target would like me to buy into it with Dora Valentines or special Valentine plates.

To celebrate Valentine's Day, we made heart shaped cookies with pink sprinkles.  Elsa was so pleased with herself as she stood next to me on the steps with her pink sprinkle shaker.  I rolled and cut the cookies and she was a patient girl for her moment to sprinkle.  She used her pent up shaking energy well!  She shook and shook and shook those sprinkles!

Elsa colored two heart shapes for her beloved Miss Arlene and Miss Joanne.

After a couple of practice greetings, she had "Happy Valentine's Day!" down and was ready to greet the day.

For having a mother who is pretty anti-Valentine's Day, I think I pulled it off.  It turns out these sort of manufactured holidays are a lot more fun when you have little ones.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

More Cheese For Me

We are all snobs about something.  Some people are wine snobs.  Some people are shoe snobs.  Some people are literary snobs.  Turns out, you can even be a cheese snob.

I made a soup recipe for my co-workers that had all the midwestern essentials.  A can of this.  A can of that.  It was creamy and delicious and I usually keep the ingredients secret because I know that the can of this and that are not always appreciated.  However, everyone always says, "This is so good".

And wouldn't you know...the cans aren't even the "best" part.  It's the Velveeta.  Yes, the big block of yellow cheese product that can make any healthy creation into an instant artery clogger.  It is not an everyday food, but rather, a twice a year kind of ingredient.

When a co-worker wanted the recipe, I was happy to share it because she is the kind of person who just likes what she likes.  She has no snobberies about food.  However, when she passed along the recipe to a friend, her friend responded with "I don't think I'll be making THAT."

Why was I so offended?  Probably the same reasons that I got offended when a fellow midwesterner came to my house for dinner and commented, "you cook so midwestern".

There is a lot wrong with that statement.  First, I do cook like a midwesterner because I am one.  Second, I see your plate is empty.  Third, I can cook with Velveeta cheese or goat cheese.  Just because I come from a place that loves its 'hotdishes' and crockpot meals does not mean that I can't cook the finer things.  However, I take comfort in those dishes that taste like home.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

It's the Chocolate Chips

If you are like me, just the picture of this chocolate heart-shaped delicacy is enough to put your fragile diet in grave peril.  I pull up to the Dunkin' Donuts and there the donut provokes me and dares me to just order the medium coffee.  I stare down and defeat the donut.  I win that battle. But, can I win the war?  Can I hold out until February 14 when they take that picture down and hopefully, replace it with something that is not sprinkled with chocolate chips?

Tim and I talk all of the time about how we have vices.  Most 'grown-ups' enjoy a little drink here or there, but for us, it is all about the sugar.  Tim likes to get his tingle from soda.  Cold, straight from the can cola.  I take mine in baked good form.  I am on the wagon and trying my very best to hold it together, but that donut might just be my Waterloo.

Monday, February 06, 2012


I am using my blog as a kind of time machine into the past.  I am lucky enough to be able to browse through what was my life for eight years -- minus the past two -- and enjoy each rumination with happy nostalgia.  So, when I was thinking about the Super Bowl last night and how much I detest the hype, I was knee-deep in the middle of 2006.  I came across a post about exactly how much I do not like the Super Bowl and the dreaminess of Tom Brady.

Turns out, I have even more to say about the Super Bowl and the cultural hangover that it forces upon us. I just feel like we can all be better than the Super Bowl.  Once a year, the media and the powers that be create an event that is steeped in commercialism and money, money, money.  Even if you can avoid the actual game and the build up that precedes the game, it is next to impossible to avoid the morning after.

I turn into this anti-social girl who avoids conversations because I do not want to discuss commercials.  I don't really want to hear about which one was funny, or even worse, which ones were not funny.  There is always the person who says, without fail, "They weren't that funny.  I was disappointed."

Disappointed?  Really?  Did you have high expectations for a 30 second form of entertainment that basically exists to encourage you to spend money on their product?

And then, there is the pathos that the media tries to evoke for the loser.  Today, I read a headline about the "emotional loss" for the Patriots.  Go cry in your big bag of money.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

That Darn FB

Like many in the world, I am on Facebook.  My husband does not use Facebook and probably never will.  Not the first wise move he has made in his life.  He probably does not suffer from what many Facebookers suffer from...the thought that enters your mind when you see a post about a sunny vacation, a fun Super Bowl party or even a link to a fantastic restaurant.

You know the thought that I am talking about, right?  I can't be the only one who thinks to herself, "Man, that looks fun.  Why aren't I having fun like that?"

Sometimes this can be motivating.  It can remind you that you DO like to go to new restaurants.  Call the babysitter and make it happen!  Sometimes, it can be confusing.  I do not even like the Super Bowl.  Why am I feeling envious about those potato shaped cookies?!  Sometimes, it can even make you sad.  Ah, man, if I were in that state, I would so be invited to that party!  I miss my chums.  Most of the time, it makes us glad.  That looks like so much fun.  I am glad they had a good time.

A Very Good Chance of Meatballs

I am the kind of person who obsesses.  It doesn't take much for me to start hemming and hawing over something of no consequence.  Today, it is meatballs.

I made homemade meatballs for the first time over Christmas.  The recipe came from my Grandma Mabel.  When I think about her, my mind goes to the Friday nights that we would arrive at her house and we would be served meatballs in a beef gravy with riced potatoes.  It was a food that my mother did not make and it seemed like such an exotic meal to me, yet I always looked forward to it.

So, in my attempt to try new recipes, I decided to give it a go.  They were good, but not as great as I had remembered.  Maybe it was the gravy, but it really was something else.  I was not sitting around Grandma's oval table with the swivel orange chairs.  I was not wondering if there would be rectangle cookies for dessert.  I was not watching my Grandpa take a very, very long time to prepare his plate while the rest of us were already on meatball number three.

Thankfully, I did not give up on the meatball.  I cooked up some amazing Swedish Meatballs from  The secret is you cook the meatballs in beef broth.  Brilliant!  It keeps them from drying out.  Next meatball moment will be asian style meatballs!

I am starting to be embarrassed by how many times I have discussed meatballs with people this week... but here I am...writing about meatballs on a Saturday night.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Once a Circle, Now a Square

It has been two years since my last post...that sounded a little like a Catholic confessional, right?  I have decided to give it a go again.  This blog used to be the place for me to give my two cents on things that were not important, yet were of some mild interest to me.  I was able to hold down the blog with ease for a good four years. 

Then, Elsa came.  All of my energies and creativity went into my bundle of joy.  She is still the priority in my life, but I decided that I must find other outlets of creativity.

You see...I used to be a circle.  I was quite good at being a circle.  I had being a circle down.  No problem.

Then, Elsa came.  Instantly, I became a square.  I had never been a square.  It actually took me a long time to realize that I had become a square.  I kept trying to jam the square into a circle, baffled by the mismatched shapes.

Revisiting my blogging life is my attempt to round out the edges of my square self.