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Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween, Part 2.

I know I already did a Halloween post, but since today is the actual holiday, and since we carved pumpkins with our pal Pete on Friday, I wanted to celebrate a little more. 

Here's Pete's:

Pete's pumpkin is an awesome skull he carved out of an enormous pumpkin that had a soft spot on the bottom, which had to be hollowed out, which of course turned into a lot of jokes about sphincters. Anyways, I never have quite enough courage to do outline-style faces like he did. Or to make rear ends on pumpkins.

Here's mine:

I was really at a loss; originally I wanted to attempt Van Gogh's Starry Night, or at least a portion of it, until I stared in horror for five minutes at the painting online, realizing there was no way in hell I could manage it, even the castle and just one star whorl. So in a nod to the southwest I did something super cliche, outmatched in clicheness by only Kokopelli. And then I screwed up the nose, made him look like Snoopy mixed with a draft horse, and I also effed up  my moon. But whatever, it still reads as coyote howling at sickle moon from the street.

Then there's Mr. Showboat's Todd's:

He did this wicked awesome kitty face and no, he didn't use a stencil. No, he didn't use a kit. No, he didn't get the idea online. He thought it up, did a quick sketch on paper, drew it on the pumpkin with a sharpie and got to work. I mean, would you just look at that? The whiskers, the nose, the fangs and the open mouth, the latter a perfect space through which a candle flame can be seen, like a fiery little tongue. The eyes, the ears, it's all genius. And he didn't use a damn stencil. No fair? Yep, I feel the same way: no fair. Oh, and also super jealous.

Here's the three of us, or shall I say, the two point five of us that evening. Obviously we carved pumpkins between sips of cocktails and beers. But we had an absolute blast and it's turning into a fun little tradition to have Pete over, eat grub, drink alcohol (except for when I'm pregnant, then I just watch them drink) and carve some pumpkins.

Happy Halloween! Stay safe tonight, everyone, and that includes avoiding chocolate O.D.s (impossible!)

Sunday, October 30, 2011


Last year, Alexandra was about six months old when Halloween rolled around. We never dressed her up and took her for a photo shoot and we just stayed home. It was boring. This year, however, we completely redeemed ourselves. We got a babysitter (no toddler costume though, Alex is still too young to get into it), we got costumes, and we got our party on.

I went as the Black Swan. The costume took me some time as far as hunting down a suitable, affordable corset/tutu combo, then more time and labor adjusting it to meet Black Swan/Jil standards (feathers for swan standards, covering my ass for my standards). But I'll be honest, it was the makeup that gave me the most anxiety. I really wanted to do it myself, but I also didn't want to mess it up, get frustrated and cry. Which could happen. But I persevered:

I'm a lefty so the right eye was the easiest for me. I started with that one, obviously.

The (vodka) pause that refreshes! Notice how pale I am? Baby powder. Loads and loads of baby powder. My bronzer brush will never be quite the same.

Presto! This is after I applied lavender powder to set the eyeliner, and just before I re-did my black lines for some definition. Notice the lack of uniformity when it comes to the application of baby powder to the face.


My bestie Kendra went as Joan from Mad Men and was already costumed up when it came time to powder my chest, back and arms with more baby powder. So I was draped in a sheet and she put my bathrobe on backwards which kept reminding me of Van Helsing's autopsy scene in Dracula: Dead and Loving It. In a good way!

All right, we're ready to go!

Oh God, I contemplated posting one of these super lame pose shots. I somehow forgot that I weight more than 90lbs and won't look as ballerina-ish as Natalie Portman did. Anyways, here is my costume in full. It took a lot of time and money but I am very proud of how it turned out. I was the best Black Swan out there!

Ah, here we go! Black Swan, Santa's Cutie, Naked Chef, Joan and Peg Bundy!

Now for the men, because we're all 8th graders deep down and immediately segregate according to gender identification whenever we hang out: Sherlock, Al Bundy (four touchdowns in a single game!), WWII soldier and Alex DeLarge from Clockwork Orange. You gotta hand it to Pete, who went as Alex: for a last minute costume, he sure is creepy as hell.

Look at that dapper dad! We made his cravat from an old bed sheet. Poor thing left his Sherlock hat at home so he just looked like himself but from the past, because he's sophisticated that way.

And, for your viewing pleasure, I have a final shot of my makeup, at 2am, lipstick half gone, sobriety and good thinking completely out the window:

I just didn't want the night to end. We had so much fun. It was such a joy getting out with our friends. We spend a LOT of time at home because we're always so tired and because parenting is a full time job, so it was such a blast getting out of the house, out on the town for an evening with our dearest friends.

Happy Halloween to all!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Safety First!

If you're not a parent, perhaps the following photo won't send chills down your spine, maybe even fellow parents won't be bothered, but to me, this scenario screams skinned knees, cut palms, bent toenails and a crying child:

She's a great walker and an enthusiastic runner, but she's also a lot like her mother, and gets a little gung-ho in situations that are new to her and might present challenges to her burgeoning skills of perambulation (not that I am new to perambulation, but you get what I mean). So color me delighted when she recently became obsessed with safety:

It's not completely out of the blue. I'm training for a triathlon and so she's seen me in that helmet and toddlers love imitating grown ups. But what a wonderful thing to imitate! I mean, I'm so lucky. I've yet to hear an attempt to sound out the f-bomb, she hasn't done any online shopping and so far, I don't think she's done any laundry and then forgotten about it for five days so its mildewy and gross and cemented to the interior walls of the washing machine.

Poor girl got it on backwards, so mama helped her out:

Right after that photo was taken she was bound and determined to secure the little chin strap, so once again, mama to the rescue. Also, I know the photos are blurry but I just can't delete these pictures, they're too cute. If you squint, it's in perfect focus. Sort of. Not really.

Ok, so this to me demonstrates how brilliant and observant my daughter is. Now that the strap is attached, she is trying to adjust it, just like mama does before every bike ride:

Happy now, mama decides to blind her child by forgetting to turn off the flash:

"Alright, we're safe, let's go party!"

"Wait a second! there's some brickwork over there that I wanna trip and fall on. This helmet is clearly going to get in the way."

Oh well. Like mama, like daughter. At least no F-bombs yet, right?

Friday, October 28, 2011

Pistou Salmon

Now, it's not a true blue pistou (did you see what I did there?) because I pureed it and used a bit of that Trader Joe's butternut squash soup to add liquid to it without having to use like 1/4 cup olive oil because holy calories, batman. But it's still absolutely delectable.

Pistou Salmon*
serves two

- 1 heaping tbsp minced garlic
- 15 - 20 leaves fresh basil, torn
- olive oil, a drizzle or two
- butternut squash soup, a drizzle or two
-12oz - 1lb salmon fillet
- olive oil
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, divided in two portions

First thing's first: make your pistou puree. Gorgeous, especially against the red of my trusty brush!

Okie doke, so get your salmon ready and nestled in the pyrex:

God, just look at that gorgeous fish, it's like a jewel in a platinum setting. Sorry, I'm having a cocktail. Drizzle olive oil on your fish, use a basting brush to distribute the oil evenly, and sprinkle half your cheese directly onto the fish:

Take your pureed pistou and, using your brush, dab the puree onto the fish. The cheese can make it kind of tricky but I firmly believe that initial layer of Parm really adds to the flavor so just bear with it:

Alright, delicious! Now, because I always add more cheese, add more cheese:

But hey, it's not a TON of cheese, and remember, we nixed all that olive oil, so party down. Throw into a 375 degree oven for about 25, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, make your rice; thaw some frozen mixed veggies and fold into the rice once the rice is done. I had a little red bell pepper from our garden so I diced him up and added him, too:

Ooh, the fish is ready! Let's check it out:

Can I get a hell yes? A Hallelujah, perhaps? Plate it up and enjoy!


*I actually use steelhead trout because it's lower in calories and tends to be cheaper but it looks and tasted very close to salmon

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Garden Grossness.

Ok look, I don't care if it makes me a stereotypical, squeamish girly girl, I hate bugs. Not all bugs. Just the really gross ones and the ones that are clumsy fliers (I'm looking at you, june bugs and palo verde beetles). And grasshoppers and praying mantises too, because they fall under clumsy fliers. A bug that flies, that's cool, but a bug that you just cannot run away from or avoid due to their drunk driving, u-turns, swerves, dips and utter bullshit.

So color me horrified when I went searching for ripe tomatoes so Alex could have a garden snack and found this instead:

THAT IS A GIANT NASTY BUG. Otherwise known as a tomato worm, the sick son of a bitch. Ugh! But what is THAT?! That... that huge brown thing tucked within:

A huge, scary grasshopper (I call them Garys, it makes it easier to handle I guess). And you really can't get the size of him in these photos. Let me explain. I'm almost 6' and I have long fingers. This SOB was longer than my middle finger (the only finger of mine that guy deserves):

Here's another nasty worm, on the underside of the stem in the center of the photo. I didn't even NOTICE these guys until Todd went "Hey look a tomato worm" and I ran barefoot across gravel faster than you can say WTF.

This guy did eventually get my sympathy however, after getting mercilessly attacked by a fly. After the fly landed on him, he'd clean himself. I mean, dude, EVERYONE on this planet knows flies are gross. Even gross tomato worms.

You guys, these worms were everywhere. It makes me less than enthused about rooting around for tomatoes.

 This chubster managed to get underneath the bird netting (which Todd and I both agree sucks in the long run). Just munching away, getting fatter and grosser.

Todd, who took these photos because hell no was I going to get up in there, also wanted to show our next round of tomatoes that are, hopefully, going to ripen soon:

But all I can do while looking at this photo is wonder... how many bugs are there that I can't see??

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Whole isn't actually a visually appealing word, at least to me, in this moment. But, to say it, to have my mouth shape the sound, and knowing that it is applied to your current state of being, is heaven. It's gorgeous. And don't you love that a word that means wholeness sounds whole? The big wide O in the middle, the fact that it is one syllable and yet still a hearty mouthful... The word, it seems, know what it stands for.

Here's what whole stands for, for me:

My first holiday party. All I wanted for Christmas was Todd, and wouldn't you know it....

I got my wish! I married my man and off we went on a true honeymoon, a month in Europe. You know, you have to be very  well dressed, and very  well mannered in Europe:

We had such a great time and I know we impressed the dickens out of those guys. I mean look how hot and sophisticated Todd and I are:

I've posted about our NASCAR adventure before, but did you know that, to make this event possible, I had to pump breastmilk while rocketing down the interstate from Phoenix back to Tucson? Mothers, a large sweater can do wonders, not to mention a little wiggle room when it comes to things like modesty. My Toddorama is worth it though. Nothing quite like whipping around a racetrack at 150mph. Well gee, after that, what do we do now?

Hey honey! We have a night to ourselves, Alexandra's gonna sleep over at grandma's so would you like some steak, red wide, and 12 hours' uninterrupted sleep? No? Me neither! Let's get up early, paint our faces, run like devils under an unrelenting sun, hop/stagger/clamor/limp over about 10 obstacles only to leap over fire, throw ourselves in the mud and crawl under barbed wire. Sound good? Todd's reply: HELL YES

But it's nice to clean up every now and then:

 And it's also nice to know what lies ahead with your mate, your one and only, the only person in the world who made you whole, who made you a mother. So let's ask the cosmos, what's in store for us as happy husband and wife?

Happy Anniversary to my one true love, my rock and foundation, the man who twirls my hair, takes out the trash, gets muddy with me, gets dressed up with me, the man who not only gave me a daughter but who also changes her poopy diapers. To the man who is the Jack Colton to my Joan Wilder, the Westley to my Buttercup, the Arthur to my Molly Weasley.

Todd. I love you. You gave me love and this awesome world I live in. You made Alexandra possible. You also made me, the woman I am now, possible. I cannot thank you enough. Without you... No. There is no without you. Happy Anniversary, my love.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The P Man.

Oh Patton. You drive me insane but I cannot imagine life without your buoyant, jovial, eternally loyal and protective presence. Oh, I forgot to mention goofy, boisterous, baby-toppling, and my-face-in-your-face?

There is nothing but joy and emo-boy love emanating from this 100lb killer.

Also concern for his family, a drive that guarantees he is on the job, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. I've hollered at him for barking while Alexandra is napping, and you can see, literally see the distress on his face, from having to do one job wrong: either guarding the house, or listening to me. He looks panicked, distraught, he face upturned to regard mine while his satellite ears are trained towards the door. It looks, actually, completely opposite from this:

Ah, a happy boy. The entire family, including the damn cat, is outside, under his obsessive, watchful eye, and the baby is, for once in his life, not trying to take bits of dog food out of his mouth so she can eat it.

Life is good. Let's horse around! All I have to do is say "Go get your bed!" and Patton attacks.

I tried so hard to capture a photo of Patton doing the death shake on his dog bed, but it just got more and more difficult. So, I'll just give you the rest of the photo shoot:

Damn, it feels good to be a dog-ga.