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Friday, September 28, 2012

New Recipes!

I had a draft of a post all ready to be published, all about how Pinterest mystifies, confuses and intimidates me, but considering the fact that the day after writing it, I went on Pinterest and printed out three recipes which I proceeded to make this week, I think I can safely delete that draft.

I will still admit that while I'm surfing the web, I'm never inspired to pin something to one of my boards, mainly because while online I'm usually either at Oh No They Didn't or Words With Friends and I never think to re-pin Paris Hilton's latest crotch shot or my latest 100-point word score.

Anyways, I really want to share these recipes because they were just SO GOOD. I guess one recipe counts as two: Spicy Pulled Pork and Pork Chili Verde soup.

I would have taken photos of the cooking process but since I followed the recipes to a T and because I wasn't actually sure how they'd turn out, I decided against it. So today I will have links and I won't talk shit. Click the recipe names to go to the original web sites. All photos here were borrowed from the original sites in order to tantalize. And hey, I'm bringing these mofos more traffic so they should be pleased.

Bobby's Lighter Tastes Like Lasagna Soup
A.K.A. Lasagna Soup

What I love about this recipe is that it's by Bobby Deen, Paula Deen's son. And thanks to him and his fabulosity, he shaves over 400 CALORIES off the original Paula Deen soup, so each one cup serving is just 225 calories. Even if you double it up, that's only 450 calories for a delicious, rich, hearty and FILLING soup. I never ever ever never leave any food on my plate but when I made this on Monday, I couldn't finish it. I even left bread behind! What the fuck!

This recipe was originally posted on Skinny Taste, and my goodness was there a lot of taste to this! What I love about cooking, or maybe what I hate about cooking is that once you master something, you sort of forget about it. Like using wine to deglaze a pan. Instant sauce! So it's nice to browse around the internet or a cookbook and allow a recipe to jog your memory. That's what was nice about this one. It's so simple, and so easy. Even Todd, who has had countless dishes of mine that use white wine, was blown away by the flavors and richness in a calorically moderate dish. We had it with a side of parboiled green beans sauteed in butter with parsley.

Spicy Pulled Pork

Heather Cristo's site has beautiful photography but who cares when the food is this good?! I have never in my life cooked pork shoulder, or shredded my own meat, but this was easy and delicious and filled my house with tantalizing aromas for hours. I made it Wednesday afternoon so I could use it for Thursday's chili verde, and it was nearly impossible to stay away from it. This, despite the fact that we had steak on Wednesday! Excellent steak too, but I kept thinking about that pork...

Pork Chili Verde

Upon looking at this photo I realized that last night, I totally forgot to top our soup with cilantro and scallions, which not only means we missed out on a dimension of flavor but now I have to figure out what else to use those two things in so I don't waste them. Hmm. I DO have half a pork shoulder left, so maybe I should just make this again! By the way, that's all I did differently to this recipe: I halved it. My dutch oven simply isn't large enough to house a 6.71lb pork shoulder which was the smallest that Fry's had to offer. So I cut the recipe in half, which was easy to do. Oh, and even though we skipped the cilantro and scallions, this soup was unbelievable! AND it wasn't too spicy, even with the jalepeno in it. Todd went back for seconds but, much like the lasagna soup, I was simply too stuffed after one bowl.

I hope you all enjoy these! They were all easy and fun to make, and there really isn't anything better than that for a weeknight supper.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Too Cool for School.

This is basically what scares me about sending Alexandra to a run of the mill public school. Hell, even private schools, but at least private schools aren't slaves to the AIMS. But this is a major reason why I am  giving serious thought to home schooling.


I took Patton for an extremely lazy, easy jog at a local park here in town yesterday late afternoon. My knee was still feeling dynamite after last week's 12 mile bike ride, followed up the next day by a mile walk/run with the dog. I was still so utterly exhausted from painting the living room all weekend (more on that later) and due to all that painting, poor Patton was left cooped up either indoors or sequestered with the damn cat in the backyard. I needed something fun and easy and Patton needed ANYTHING. Poor guy seemed even more emo. While I know we cannot attribute human emotions to animals, it's still sort of amusing to do so. Every time he'd walk around on Sunday Todd and I would say "Oh, I'm depressed" in the deep, lispy Patton voice Todd invented. Wait. Am I talking about running?

Right. Well, I decided I'd jog really lightly, with more of a shuffle step then an out and out prancy, high-kneed jaunty pace. Which actually is better for you. The higher you lift your thighs, the higher the impact and subsequently all the more energy is expelled. But I digress. I figured if I felt anything, ANY sort of sensation coming from my knee, I'd back off, stretch and walk a bit. Which I did about four times.

But you guys? I ran. And it felt so good, and it was so tiring, and it was such an accomplishment. You know, they say that even if you work out for years, if you have to stop, it only takes about 12 weeks to lose what you've built up. GUESS HOW LONG I'VE BEEN OUT TO PASTURE. Yep. 12 weeks. What a bummer, right? 

That gets frustrating sometimes. You feel like if you stop to rest or, in my case, recover, you're doing so on a slippery slope that will only dump you out at that 12 week bottom of Back to Square One. But, yesterday as I was jogging with an increasingly more tired dog (he used to smoke me sometimes, but it seems like the 12 week rule also applies to German shepherds), the idea of cycles came upon me.

I was actually thinking about cycles the other day when I realized it had been a couple of months since I bit my nails, and they've now grown to a pretty, ladylike length. I even painted them with color last night! But with my nails, it's always about a 3 - 6 month cycle with them. Either stress or nerves or a fidgety need comes over me and suddenly I can't stop chewing my nails to shreds. And then, one day, it stops. I stop biting my nails and I just let it go. I stop thinking about them entirely, but through no mustering of will power. The cycle ends.

And that's how it is with everything. I had had fun training and busting my ass for that triathlon. Afterwards, my body needed rest. I kept pushing and pushing until July when it said STOP. So, I stopped and my God, I'm so glad I did. The body, the mind, the entire planet are cyclical. I needed those 12 weeks to get my body back in gear and now, just in time for autumn runs and cool weather bike rides, my body is getting ready for another part of the cycle. The fun part, to be honest.

The same thing goes with my allergies. I was so fed up with them that Sunday morning at 4:30am, when I woke up utterly unable to breathe through my nose despite taking allergy meds, I cried and got up and sulked while Googling Sudafed and rebound congestion. And then around 5am, I realized I just needed to succumb to it. The allergies were linked to the seasons; they'd leave eventually. I had to breathe through my mouth when I'm sick, so I'm going to have to suck it up and deal with these allergies. So I went back to sleep and slept until 9am.

And the same thing goes with my other ailments also. A jaw that won't close. Instead of futzing with it constantly and getting it more and more stiff and sore and tightened up, I gave up. I went to the dentist, got some treatment advice, and it's almost back to normal. My knee hurt, so instead of flailing blindly in life, bemoaning a mysterious injury, I got advice and I accepted my place in the cycle. The same is occuring now with my plantar fasciitis. I need to stretch, I need to ice, I need to accept that it's an issue I have to deal with, I have to accept where I am with it, and I need to fix it. And then, I'll be right as rain.

I frequently feel stuck in my life, in all sorts of small and various ways. I'd love to be home full time, spending hours on my writing, and the other parts of the day doing brilliant and creative things with Alexandra and having quality romantic time with Todd. But I have to work. Oh poor me, I'm stuck! Well, Jil, flip it over and be grateful you have a job! One day I will get the opportunity to do these things, but it's not now. That's now the part of the cycle I'm in. I need to focus on doing a good job in the field I'm in now, not pine for something that simply isn't in the cards at the moment.

I felt so stuck with my stupid knee all summer, too. Can you believe I felt trapped? In an otherwise able body! Instead I should have been focusing on how I was healing it up, getting ready for the next phase of my active life. Being fit and healthy is not just running yourself into the ground all in the name of calorie burn, endurance and strength. It's knowing when to take care of yourself. I feel so foolish all of a sudden, realizing the wasted energy I spent on being negative. I will not be injured, allergy-ridden, jaw-locked for the rest of my life. Well, I will be if I don't take advantage of the time and take care of myself. But if I accept it, embrace it and follow through with a solution, well, that chapter, that cycle, is complete. I move on.

Sometimes there is just a time and a place for things, and for you to be in and often times the options in that place are limited. Sure we may want it all, but realistically that is not an option. There is a time and a place for everything, and sometimes you have put something off to take care of other things, to take care of yourself. It will cycle back around and give you another opportunity, but one needs a bit of patience in life. Sometimes you have to sit this round out and accept that it wasn't meant to be, but next time, it's all yours for the taking.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Review: Brocato Cloud 9 Hair Care

A couple of weeks ago, after trying and failing to put a little body and some waves in my hair with some crappy hair products and an old curling iron, I decided I was fed up, FED UP I TELL YOU, with the stuff I had been using.

I was a die hard Jason fanatic due to its gentle, non-detergent formula that was paraben free to boot. It didn't strip my hair of oils and moisture like most brands like Pantene, um, my God I cannot think of another shampoo brand. Garnier! There you go. Herbal Essences! Okay.

But recently they changed their formulas and I must be Princess-and-the-Pea sensitive to stuff like that because instantly I could tell a difference in the feel of the shampoo (slimier) and how it affected my hair. So finally, after getting zero curl in my hair and having it feel heavy and blah and looking dull and blah, after looking into the mirror to see my daughter break off all my deoderant into the cap and claw at it with her fingernails, I decided this mommy needed some better shampoo.

I called my diva-rific friend Kendra and asked what she used. She gave me some names but since she colors her hair and I don't, we decided I just needed to traipse on down to Ulta and browse around. After a lot of fruitless searching (95% of shampoos have sodium laureth sulfate and that stuff is too drying for me), I finally found Brocato. Now some of their shampoos do contain SLS and they all contain some sort of gentler variant, but then I found their Cloud 9 line, which is all about repairing and restoring.

What I was grateful for, considering this stuff is like $17 a bottle, was that they also offered sample sizes. I think it might be because the Cloud 9 line is all about repairing and some people don't feel the need to protect their hair more than once a week or so.

Since my hair is on the long side, I have the dry ends issue, so I wound up going back and purchasing the regular sizes of both the shampoo and conditioner, and here's why: After just one time using them, the texture of my hair was vastly improved. I used a serum from another of Brocato's line, Curl Interrupted, before blow drying and those strange bumps in my hair disappeared completely. I shampoo at night because the idea of getting into bed dirty disgusts and confuses me, but the next day, my hair looks like I did it that morning, no lie.

I haven't felt the need to use a straightener on my hair since I bought this stuff, and considering that simply blow-drying my hair straightens those stupid bumps out (which the straightener was failing to do), it's not hard to see why.

OH. And last night I used a new serum I purchased, since it was on sale at Ulta when I returned for my bigger sizes, is the Cloud 9 Blowout serum, and my God, after I blow dried my hair, I just couldn't stop touching it. I made Todd, my mom and my stepdad touch my hair because it was such an utter improvement. And shine! I almost forgot. While it's not blinded-by-the-sun shiny, there is defintitely an improvement in that area. I am thinking that after these bottles are used up, I'm going to explore more of the Brocato line. While browsing their website I found some different lines that weren't at Ulta, so I may purchase them there (I linked you guys to their site above in the text).

Grade: A+

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Cheese Stands Alone.

I swear, I'm the only person woman on the planet who doesn't absolutely love Pinterest. I just don't fucking get it. Like, I got started and it seemed fun, there are so many pretty things on there. But it seems designed to keep you there on the Pinterest site. Yes, I know about the Pin It button and that I can pin stuff while looking around the internet, but... I don't know. I screw around on the internet to read Oh No They Didn't, check out recaps and the forums on Television Without Pity and play Words with Friends. I can't really re-pin that sort of stuff.

I loved some of the recipes I saw on there though and I'd like to check them out again so maybe I'll go back and discover the magical spell of Pinterest. I'm starting to wonder though if this is a sign of mental retardation or something though. Almost all my girlfriends are on it and obsessed with it and whenever they explain it to me, I'm like "I don't get it" or "That sounds like a microcosm of the internet" or "Isn't that like bookmarks in Google Chrome?" Maybe it's just prettier? I don't know. I don't know because I DON'T GET IT.

And part of it feels like a big race to get your things pinned and re-pinned, like there's a pressure to get followers or to have your stuff pinned. Because the more you pin, the more often you show up on the main page. Me, I am lost in obscurity down in Pinterest's nether regions. It's not even the last thing I think about, pinning stuff I find online, because I literally don't even think about it. I messed around with it one evening, and Todd was like "OOOOH so it begins, the infamous Pinterest" but after the weekend was over, so was my dalliance with it.

Even the ladies who write the blogs I love are going on about Pinterest. Even Heather Armstrong of Dooce got into it which, since I am a huge fan of hers, sort of stung. I really felt alone and stupid after that.

Oh well. I mean if this isn't the epitome of a first world problem, then maybe I'll have to complain about how I smudged my otherwise perfect home pedicure even though I waited like THIRTY MINUTES for that shit to dry. It's a wonder I can even get out of bed in the mornings, with these sorts of crippling setbacks.


How amazing is it that I went on a 12 mile bike ride on Wednesday, then walked/ran Patton yesterday, and am in NO pain?

Why, it's remarkable, it is! My last fitness-related post was way back in July, on the 19th in fact, when I declared myself an offical broken down old plow horse. I had over-worked my legs to the point of seriously offending my patellar ligament (which is the only thing connecting my quad muscle to my shin - fun stuff). July 19th!! It is September 21st, so it took three full months of completely removing all biking and running from my workout regimens. I wasn't to kick while swimming and I limited elliptical workouts to just 30 minutes.

But I'm delighted to report that, judging from this week's activity and subsequent lack of pain, I'm back, baby. Now, I'm not going to immediately throw myself back into each sport. I'm going to ease in, with a weekly bike ride and just itty bitty walk/runs with Patton. What was interesting to me was that last night I had attempted an interval workout on the treadmill: walk a minute, run a minute, but I felt the old familiar twinge in the knee so I stopped immediately. But then while walking Patton later, I decided to give it a try and I felt zero twinges. It was amazing! I felt so lucky, and so happy, and so free. My jaw is still all messed up and my allergies are driving me insane, but to have this one thing work out for me was an absolute boon.

It was weird, too, because while making dinner last night I had to squat down to get a pan and when I stood up, digging in through my heels for balance, I was actually surprised that I didn't feel it in my knee. It's been that bad all spring and summer, since before I even competed in the triathlon. So that was just wonderful. To think, no pain while doing a mundane task! Are those singing angels I hear? Is that light shining down from heaven above? Yes on both counts!

I can't wait to get back to running. I mean, I can wait and I will, but I will do impatiently, sort of bouncing in my seat, wiggling around, as fidgety as a kid waiting for Santa.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Damn. Today Was A Good Day.

You know, sometimes a day happens and you hope every day can work out as perfectly. I didn't win a million dollars or get a full eight hours at the spa, but it was just lovely. Todd got up early to work on business stuff while Alex and I slept in til 9am. Yeah you read that right!

She got up, we got ready for swim school and off we went. My mom and stepdad (a.k.a The Nonie and The Barrie respectively) and Alex got to swim. She's definitely behind because the other kids are older and are advancing very quickly, but for the first time Alex really conquered her fears about the monkey walk, which is holding on to the edge of the pool and using her hands to "walk" down a short length of it. THEN she did the monkey climb, which is climbing all by herself out of the pool. Today was the first time she did it without a bottom boost from the teacher.

Afterwards we went home, had some food and Alex got to watch Sleeping Beauty ("Wanna watch.. Aurora???" "Sure thing, Bug!") While she watched, I cleaned the house. Hurrah! House is cleaned up by 12pm? What a boon! So that left all the time before nap for some playtime with Alex. We practiced kicking, monkey climbs and dives. Dives were sitting on the edge of the bed and "diving" (a.k.a. slowly falling) into a pile of pillows. We threw her ball, jumped around like bouncing balls, and generally ran around the house destroying all the cleaning I had done.

Alex napped, I screwed around on the internet while Todd worked on a backyard project, and then I went on my first 12 mile bike ride in months with NO KNEE PAIN. I did have some trouble mid-ride when the valve worked loose from my rear tire's tube but I jogged that bike to Performance Bicycle, got it replaced and went on my way downtown. I did give myself a gnarly bike pedal check to my left heel which resulted in blood loss but I kept on and had one hell of a workout.

I came home, cleaned up and showered up while Alex "helped" Todd finish his backyard project. Then we had a delicious steak dinner that was completely devoured and cleaned up by Alex's bath. BUT BEFORE her bath, Todd invented the Pick Up game which is having Alexandra look all around the house for her toys. Like an Easter Egg hunt but with 100% of benefits and profits going to me, the hard work I put in cleaning the house, and my back thanks to no stooping to pick up approximately 2785748 of her toys. While her tub time was right on schedule, her bedtime was rather late since we let her horse around and play in the water. But then Alex went right down after Todd brushed her hair while Alex brushed mine and while we traded turns singing the hair brushing spell from Tangled.

And now, here we are. Todd and I are tired but contentedly so. We're about to watch an episode of Boardwalk Empire and after that I'm going to read in bed while giving my jaw hot compresses because did I forget to mention, my jaw is almost completely back to normal?!

Needless to say, I hope and pray next Wednesday works out so seamlessly. There is nothing quite like getting good quality:

1. Time with my baby
2. Educational swim time
3. Housework finished
4. Workouts accomplished
5. Dinner consumed
6. All around good family time.

Thank you, September 19th. You have done your duty.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Berry Pie!

Well what in the hell did I do last night? I made a pie! That's right, a PIE. A FRUIT PIE. Normally I stick to Chess Pie which is just pie. Which is a funny story because as the ~legend~ goes, and watch out cause it's mildly racist, some big time southern family way back when had some yankee guests for dinner and afterwards the pie was so good, so absolutely divine that those crazy upstart yankees requested to speak with the cook who was of course black, and because she was black she wasn't well spoken and because she was southern the yankees couldn't understand her so when they asked, begged, pleaded to know what kind of pie it was, when cook said "It's just pie" they heard "It's Chess Pie" so there you go.

Can you BELIEVE I told that story in one sentence?

So, yeah, Chess Pie is just eggs, butter and sugar, really. THIS pie has berries in it! And while I feel like a badass because this is how it came out:

You should probably know that it only has a handful of ingredients, very laid back easy steps and a long enough cooking time that you can bathe your baby, chase her around the house and prep dinner all during the first stage of cooking. If we ate at anything close to a normal dinner hour, then we would have eaten, bathed the baby, put her to bed, cleaned all the dishes and the entire kitchen just in time to pull this bad boy out of the oven, let it cool and maybe have sex or something before eating it. DID I JUST SAY SEX?

I got this out of my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. They have different filling mix ratios of berry to sugar to flour, but since I used mixed frozen, I'm only going to expound on that version. Oh and I didn't have the flour, patience or time to make my own crusts so I used a two pack of store bought and I feel NO shame. It was delicious and simple and easy on the wallet so who could ever complain?

Mixed Berry Pie
Prep time: 50 minutes
Bake time: 1 hour 20 minutes

1 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
5 cups frozen mixed berries
2 Pillsbury pie crusts, brought to room temperature
2 tbsp milk
1 big pinch sugar

Set your oven to 375. In a large bowl mix your sugar and flour together. Stir in your berries and gently toss to coat. Let your berry mix sit out for about 45 minutes.

Gently unroll one pie crust and lightly press it into a 9" pie tin, folding any excess crust under, just to the edge of the tin. Pour in your berry mixture, spreading it out evenly.

Gently unroll the second pie crust onto a paper towel and cut slits into it to let steam escape. Then drape it on top of the berries, and fold the top crust over the edges of the bottom crust. Use your fingers to pinch the crusts together into the flute design like you see in the picture. And if you're better then me, go ahead and make it all symmetrical. I WON'T JUDGE YOU.

Brush the top with milk and then sprinkle with sugar. Take a 12" square of foil (I didn't measure but this is what BHG was all about), fold it in half and cut a semi-circle out of the center of it. They suggest a 7" circle but I will be honest, I didn't whip out my ruler or anything. I did, however, marvel over how fumbling it feels to cut foil with scissors. Yet, I prevailed. I always do.

Now, cover your pie with the foil. This protects the edges from over-browning. Pop your pie in the oven and set your timer for 50 minutes. At the 50 minute mark, remove the foil and continue baking for 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

I was so excited I didn't wait very long, maybe 20 or 30 minutes before diving in. This was my result:

Oh, no, don't get me wrong, I'm not harshly judging it. But see how molten the insides look? I think it would have held its shape far better had I just waited. It was SO GOOD though. Todd and I shared that slice and I swear he morphed into a barracuda the way he went after it, and we're not normally dessert people.

"Why did you bake a goddamn pie then Jil?"

I do not have to answer to you, sir! Now good day (and happy pie baking)!

Monday, September 17, 2012


I wasn't going to talk about it because I already put it up on Facebook in semi-detail and sometimes you just don't want to re-live certain moments in life after you've already re-lived it on a social networking site. But since I don't feel like re-living anything else like the day my period started the very first time or how horrible it was throwing up like 10 chocolate chip cookies the day before summer school started or what it felt like as I stared at the racing pavement beneath my airborne feet after my "friend" stomped on the brakes and I went flying off the hood of her car, I guess I'll re-live yesterday.

Yesterday was family day! What should we do?! Certainly not go to church after Todd did all that work and took all those classes to become a Catholic! Definitely not drive 90 minutes to Wilcox to pick fruit and buy farmer market produce, because that excludes the dog! I decided that Patton was family too and it would suck to leave him home with the fucking cat all day. So we settled on driving up Mt. Lemmon a ways and finding some pretty place to hike around.

We chose Rose Canyon Lake because neither of us had been there and isn't there something kinda cool about a lake on a mountain? It blows my mind! Something horizontal on something that is vertical? IT CANNOT BE DONE.

Rose Canyon is a small little lake at about 6,000 feet above sea level (just try to wrap your head above that one! Water above the level of water? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS), and it is just lovely. I kept saying "This is such a cute lake!" to Todd. It would have paired nicely with a Fargo accent, or maybe even a Fran Drescher accent. Marshy reeds dot the shorelines, and a paved path hugs one side of the lake and a trail on the other that's more rugged, although still totally doable with a toddler but almost impossible with 100lbs of I AM EXCITE dog.

So there are loads of people fishing. I sort of wanted to stick to the sidewalk side because hey, a baby! but Todd really wanted the trail. "I'll carry her if I have to" he says, which probably should have given us the wise idea to have SOMEONE carry the diaper bag but this is family day! This isn't thinking day! That shit is for suckers!

We take the trail and pass a bunch of college age boys fishing in their swim suits which was just a mockery of Rose Canyon's no swimming rule. I'm not sure how ferociously they enforce it but I didn't actually see anyone swimming. Either everyone was very obedient or else they had my healthy fear of water, especially when I can't see the bottom. And let me tell you, that water is quite clear but when the bottom drops off, I think it literally dropped off the side of the earth. Rose Canyon Lake is a black abyss. A small, super cute abyss.

We pass all the fishing action and stop on this little rounded out sliver of shoreline. Sandy, loads of sticks just begging to be thrown for a four legged maniac. There were some other people throwing sticks for their dogs about 100 yards further down so we figured hell, let's let Patton have some fun. And boy, did he ever! In the shallow areas he was bounding like a ferocious baby deer from hell, and in the deep abyss part he swam like a shark after those sticks. A few times I think he startled the fish cause they started jumping.

I took off my shoes and socks, rolled up my jeans and waded in a ways. Alex, always up for a good time, followed suit. "Alex at the beach!!" she kept squealing. After many, many stick tosses, I asked if Alex wanted to sit on a log which is when she informed me that she had a poopy diaper! Considering she ate lunch in the car ride up there, which consisted of a banana, two Baby Bel cheeses, an entire snack cup full of peanut butter cracker sandwiches and two fruit pouches, it shouldn't have come as any surprise. But there we were, on a sandy strip of Rose Canyon Lake, many many many many many many yards from the car, with a poopy diaper and a soaking wet dog.

I was going to go back but my feet were wet and I just do not do wet sandy feet inside of socks and shoes, no matter how many of my fellow triathletes did it back in March. So Todd graciously accepted the challenge and took off. Patton would have nothing to do with the whole sitting and relaxing part of family day, so I kept throwing sticks for him, Alexandra by my side, two laid back ladies enjoying the sun, the cool water and refreshing mountain breezes.

Now, recall how the lake is a black abyss? Well, a lot of the sticks were also super black. A lot of them also sank and considering the fact that Rose Canyon Lake doesn't have a bottom, and considering that Patton WILL NOT SURRENDER to a the idea of a fruitless fetch and WILL DROWN HIMSELF searching for the stick, I had to choose my sticks wisely: light, bouyant and not black. A thin old pine stick was working wonders, but the damage of Patton's jaws and the weakening properties of the water rendered it to just five or six inches.

We weren't even in a foot of water. Dry land was literally one step backwards for me. I glanced back, saw a good candidate for replacing the trusty pine one. I thought to myself, "Watch something horrible happen if I go get that stick for Patton" but because it wasn't thinking day, it was family day! I went ahead and stepped back, turned to grab the stick and turned back to Alex.

She had taken some steps forward and had fallen into the water. I only looked for a split second before rushing to her, but I won't forget the image: Alex on her chest, head held high up above the water, arms and legs out like a starfish. The panic and fear in her eyes was so evident, but she didn't make a peep until I had her, soaking wet, in my arms. Then it was safe to cry.

I took her away from the water and sat down on a log to take her clothes off. As I'm doing this, Patton, bored with the drama, bored with the lack of hardcore athleticism, decides to take off swimming towards the other dogs. I become That Woman who screams ineffectively at her fucking dog, but I can't chase after him; first off I couldn't leave Alex but even alone, there's no swimming allowed plus I would never in that water. The other dog owners watched with curiosity (we had already confirmed with each other that all our dogs were friendly), but halfway to them Patton snatched up a small sheet of tree bark that had been floating there. I said "Oh." and the other guys all laughed.

I soothed Alex, wrung out her clothes and held her close, all while Patton threatened to bean us in the heads with various huge, long tree branches. Todd finally came back and we changed the diaper and re-dressed Alex. I was sort of over it by then. It being family day, of course. I was soaking wet in jeans that were several sizes too big for me (beware H&M jeans, those fuckers stretch a LOT), my baby was in nothing but a hoodie, a diaper and socks and shoes, and for some reason having to deal with a mini crisis and a dog all by myself had sort of worn me out.

We hiked up the hill a bit, and I'm glad because Alex saw her very first horny toad and wild mushroom, and I know she enjoyed it. She's such a trouper. I think most children are. No nap, a long car ride then a long hike, a big scare in the water and then another long hike back, another long car ride back, and the only thing she really had to say about it later that night "A little scary. Alex fall down inna water." Me, I felt like an idiot and a horrible parent.

Todd is going hunting for four days in November and I'll be flying solo. You can bet your bottom dollar I won't be taking Alex and the dog to any mountain lake during that time, that's for damn sure.

Friday, September 14, 2012

All Aboard The Complain Train!

1. I rode my bike around town on Wednesday and had a lot of fun. As a result, my knee is killing me and this makes me depressed because will I EVER be able to run or bike again?

2. I opened my mouth funny whilst talking to Todd on the phone on Monday and now when I close my mouth, only the left side of my teeth actually touch. It hurts to chew on that side and OH HELLO did I mention that I need four to five crowns and four to five fillings? HAPPY DAY

3. I put on my old pair of Gap jeans and they're tight. They used to be loose. This freaks me out because I just bought myself a Bill Fucking Murray shirt from The Chive and wanted XL but they only had L and I don't want to look like a sausage in its casing.

4. My hair is really dull and gross and even after straightening it, it has these wavy bits that make me look unkempt. I really don't know how to take care of my hair and it makes me feel stupid.

5. I still have congestion and sound like I have a cold. I still feel mucusy and gross and this pisses me off.

6. We just repainted our porcelain sink and paid a hefty sum for it, thinking it would last awhile, and it already has a crack in it. Not only does that suck but now Todd will most likely be super reluctant to re-paint the tub and the tub is SO GROSS

7. I have pretty severe plantar fasciitis and that fucking sucks. It hurts like crazy to walk first thing in the morning and it, along with everything else, makes me feel like a broken down fat old plow horse or something.

8. The cat and the dog still refuse to get a job.

Happy Friday everyone!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review: Aldo Razavi flats.

Todd and I have been married five years as of the 26th of next month. For our honeymoon we spent a month in Europe. For this momentous occasion I purchased two pairs of flats from Aldo.

I will not get into how horribly the brown pair hurt my feet.

I will, however, get into the fact that aside from a pair of blue flats from Target, that was the last time I bought flats.

Flats flats flats.

So, recently I realized that I was in dire need of some new kicks. Enter my new pair of shoes:

They are suede Aldo Razavi flats and they are so cute! I feel like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz in these bad boys. I loved them so much I bought a pair in black as well. Unfortunately Aldo does not do half sizes, and since my pregnancy somehow gave permission, against my will, to let my feet grow, I'm now a 9.5. In the case of the Razavi, however, the no-half-size rule is a good thing. They do run a wee bit small, so the size 10 is a good fit.

I will say though that after half a day, the backs of my heels feel a little too vigorously rubbed, and I've grown accustomed to wearing XL band-aids on my heels to avoid blisters. I've not gotten a blister yet though. I'm assuming these puppies will break in after a few more wears, since those dreaded brown ones eventually became a favorite pair, and I will even admit that my love for these shoes, and the black pair as well, completely overrides any discomfort I feel. But, thank goodness for band-aids.

Edited 6/11/13 to add: I am actually wearing these cutie patooties right now, and my goodness are they comfortable. Actually about a week after I originally wrote this post (9/11/12 in case my edit messes with my time stamp), the shoes did that magical broken-in-shoe-thing and suddenly stopped rubbing, and fit perfectly. So kudos to you, Aldo. You just got your grade bumped from B to...
Grade: A

Monday, September 10, 2012

Broccoli Fritters!!

These are so good, I just... I am having a hard time explaining just how delicious, just how decadent these taste, and all there are is a lot of broccoli, some flour and some parmesan. So easy, and actually rather fun.

I got the recipe from Smitten Kitchen and considering how beautiful the photography is on that site, I'm rather glad I didn't take shitty pictures of my own cooking experience. Please feel free to ditch this post in favor of the SK one. But I did make some small tweaks between my first attempt and my second, and the second was a lot better.

Broccoli Fritters
makes 4 side servings

18oz raw broccoli florets, trimmed to about 1" size, stems discarded
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2/3 cup finely shredded parmesan
1 cup all purpose flour
1 pinch red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil
Vegetable oil

Lightly steam your broccoli florets. They should be quite tender but not super mushy. As they're cooling, add your beaten egg, parmesan, flour, pepper flakes and S&P to a large bowl.

Add your broccoli on top and with a potato masher (or a meat tenderizer in my case), smash your broccoli up. Now, Smitten Kitchen suggests mashing them a bit, "leaving the pieces recognizable" but I found, on my second try, that mashing them a bit further was A-OK.

Once the broccoli is mashed, start mixing it with the ingredients below until it's nice and chunky. Thoroughly mixed, you know the drill. Now, put a heavy skillet (think cast iron) over medium high heat and add, as Smitten Kitchen puts it, a good slick of oil in there. Just enough to thoroughly coat the bottom of the skillet.

When your skillet is ready, which you can test with a few drops of water, take about two tablespoons' worth of broccoli mix and form a small patty. My friend Kendra did this expertly with her hands, much like you would a hamburger patty.

I want to pause here and say that the second go round my broccoli mix was far less sticky than the first time (I had followed SK's measurements to a T; I think doubling the recipe + 2 more ounces of broccoli really helped the consistency). So if you're going by SK's recipe, I think adding a wee bit more broccoli and mashing it up a bit more may help.

ANYWAYS. Now, add about four patties to the skillet at a time. After just a few minutes, they'll be ready for a flip. Once both sides are a nice golden brown, remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain as you cook the rest of them.

A great sauce for dipping can be simple ranch dressing, or, if you add a generous amount of both chili powder and paprika to plain, non-fat yogurt, that my friends is a tangy deliciousness you'll not soon forget.

I really hope you go out and try these. They were SO delicious, we had them Friday night with steak, Saturday night with ribs, and tonight we're having them with some baked chicken breasts.

Friday, September 7, 2012


1. I'm still pretty sick. I can't believe how hard this cold hit me. I know, I know, it's just a cold but damn. It knocked me on my ass on Tuesday, but I had symptoms all weekend; I just figured they were allergies. So technically I've been fighting this thing for a straight week. I've felt like shit Tuesday through today, a Friday. This just seems so wrong and not fair at all.

Can I just say that on a first world problem level, there's just nothing worse than being sick as a parent. Because you don't get to rest. You are still ON, so even if you stay home from the office, you don't get to clock out on parenthood. I realized this sad fate one time when Alex was less than a year old. It was such a hard day, and I think it made me sicker. I got a lot more rest time during this cold only because Alex is older, able to entertain herself easily, and loves the hell out of the movie Tangled. But still, it sucks and it's hard and it's life, and there you have it. Cookies crumble, etc.

2. I've re-watched almost the entire first season of Once Upon A Time and I'm even more in love with it now. I'm so excited for the season premiere on September 30th. We've recently gotten hooked on Boardwalk Empire too. It's been awhile since I've been in school but am I supposed to italicize TV shows too? Hey, I Googled that shit and I am CORRECT. And apparently you need to italicize the names of ships.
It makes me happy that this site included Starship Eterprise.

In other news, we watched Midnight in Paris and started Water for Elephants. I feel very neutrally about both Robert Pattison and Reese Witherspoon in the latter. I also don't know how I feel about whether or not I spelled their last names correctly. But I DO know that I don't care enough to Google.

3. My baby girl floated in a starfish formation ALL BY HERSELF yesterday at swim school. And she's putting her entire face in the water to "swim" which is code for "letting the teacher drag her through the water because she still won't kick." But still I am SO proud of her, omg. The kids in her class are a lot older than she is, but she's still hanging in there. I registered her for another five week session, with the same kiddos, so I think we'll get real progress. Hell, we already have! The first few lessons were full of tears and now she prances around the house doing "monkey walks" around all the coffee tables and she loves to show off her kicks in the tub. Now, if only she'd do them when she's in three feet of water instead of three inches.

4. Fall is creeping in and I can feel it, and see it, so much easier than the last time I blogged about it. There is a watery quality to the sunlight, and we've had a relative cold snap in the weather (lower 90's), AND it rained yesterday. It makes me wanna shiver, y'all!

Actually, it makes me really excited for Christmas. I can't yet decide if I want to do another Christmas Eve open house or another Christmas Eve dinner. But I definitely know I won't be doing both again. Jesus, that was horrible. But, anyways, yeah. Christmas! Christmas carols, homemade gifts, fires in the fireplace... Such a thrill!

5. Okay, I'm done now. HAPPY WEEKEND

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

This One's For the Birds.

I'm sick as a dog. I don't even have the energy to swear. I'm lying in bed while Todd takes care of Alexandra who is currently watching Tangled for, oh, perhaps the 20th time, have of those times being on consecutive days. But I digress.

My face and neck are so swollen and in such pain I don't believe they even belong to me. Hey, swollen asshole, come get your face back. Hey, I cussed! I'm on the mend.

So like I said I am lying here in misery, but I'm also somewhat entertained between the countless nose-blowing and hacking, all thanks to this cool Finch Feeder Station I bought at Petsmart which is such an expensive stupid store. I found thistle seed for cheaper at a goddamn grocery store. I almost typed grocery station. I must be delirious.

There are currently SIX birds chilling out on this thing. They aren't golden finches but the first bird who visited this morning was a golden finch. There are several birds who are brown but with a warm pinkish red flush on their breasts which are so cute. I feel like Snow White. Hey, maybe she's the asshole who left her swollen angry face on my face.

Anyways, for any bird lovers out there, this thing is pretty cool. I have just recently gotten into bird feeding. My most successful foray is probably the hummingbird feeder I got, but this Finch Station is definitely giving it a run for its money. I just want more golden finches. There's this guy three blocks away who gets tons of them, and my goal is to steal all of his.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day Lunch.

We stopped by Todd's folks' house today for a bit. Let's just say, girlfriend loves her corn on the cob.