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Tuesday, October 30, 2012


I opened up my browser to come here and complain about how my hair is already looking dry on the bottom half, and dull, and ugly and gross and I hate life and my hair sucks and you suck too maybe. But then right there on MSN it stated, against a red drop and in bold, ugly white letters, that the death toll from Super Storm Sandy is already up to 33.

I know that there are horrible things that happen every day I come here to further mire myself in self-absorption by talking about myself as if my opinions matter in the grand scheme of things. But to see a death toll just there, up from 17 this morning, sort of breaks my heart.

Yesterday it was a nanny who killed the two children in her supervision, completely dependant on her, helpless in the struggle. Last night it was a woman beaten half to death outside a Wal Mart at 8pm. Before that, it was an article in Vanity Fair about a young Indian boy separated from his brother and then his family for 19 years. And then it's all the women being subjected to genital mutilation. Before that, it's everything else. Sex slavery. Rapists. Hate Crimes. Bullies and subsequent suicide. War. Torture. Death and pain everywhere.

Sorry to get so maudlin but as a person who lives in a country that blesses her with the free time to blog about dull hair and trips to Disneyland, sometimes I think a little perspective is necessary. No matter how hard it is, it's worse elsewhere. Prayer and gratitude should mingle, from time to time, with sympathy, awareness and heartfelt attempts to make this world a better place.

Since I'm currently unable to go help the wounded or heal the sick, send money to Red Cross or volunteer, right now I'm going to take a moment of silence, and pray for those who died because of a merciless storm, for the families who are mourning, and for anyone else I can think of.

Monday, October 29, 2012

We Went To Disneyland And Left The Kid Home.

1. Marrying Todd
2. Getting impregnated
3. Leaving Alex with my parents while we went to Disneyland

That is my list of Top Decisions I've Made. It's not a long list because I am sticking to only those decisions of Utmost Importance and let me just tell you, leaving Alexandra with her grandparents was such a wildly intelligent move that I marvel, even now, at my outstanding genius. Todd helped.

Last Friday was Todd's and my five year wedding anniversary. We wanted to go to Napa but I think October is like The Busiest Month Ever for Napa and our beloved Churchill Manor B&B was all booked up. After a few cocktails Todd started looking at the cost of flying to France for a week. The reality sobered him up real quick. Then it dawned on the two of us: Disneyland! I'd never been before. Okay, wait. I've been but only rode the Pirates of the Caribbean before being struck down by a vicious migraine so all I did was lay on a park bench until it subsided and then we went home. Fun!

We quickly decided that we'd go and spend two whole days at both Disneyland (I keep typing disnley and it is driving me CRAZY) and California Adventure. But what to do with Alex? She absolutely detested Sea World, and the insanity of the day wound up giving her nightmares. Plus the prospect of spending 80 bucks for a toddler to go some place where she'll only enjoy about 5% of what it has to offer was not enticing. We knew she'd hate it.

We also knew that the chances of snagging a two-room hotel suite for an affordable price would be difficult. Using Get Away Today, we saw that only four hotels in the Anaheim area had available rooms for the dates we wanted, and none of them had two-room suite offers. Todd and I are not early-to-bed types and knew that if we had just one room, we'd be forced to sitting silently in the dark after Alex's 8:30pm bedtime. And did I mention this is our anniversary? Yeah, that's not very romantic.

So it just didn't seem to make much sense to ruin everyone's vacation. But the opposite scenario sounded more appealing: Alex gets three nights and four days with my parents, whom she doesn't know as well as Todd's parents because my mom and stepdad only moved out here like a year ago. They needed bonding time. Plus instead of being dragged around two enormous parks that had little to offer her (princess stuff would be it), she'd go to story time at the library and the playground; get access to my parents' pool; make cakes and crepes (my baby says CREPES now you guys), get regular naps and baths and bedtimes; be the center of attention.

It was set in stone and my God, we had such a good time without her there. Well, let me be more specific. We missed her like crazy but we did not miss having to navigate the dreaded Stroller Parking and I myself loved not having to shove a big Graco stroller through crowds. We didn't miss the tantrums and screaming, the guilt of a tired, cranky kid passing out from sheer exaustion. I didn't have to bring a diaper bag! Hell, I didn't even bring my purse! Todd carried my ID, phone and most importantly my lip balm.

I realized too that every ride we went on, even Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, would have utterly scared the shit out of her. And sure, one of us could stay with Alex while the other rode Space Mountain or the Matterhorn but it was our anniversary. I don't get a whole lot of time with my husband and I didn't want to spend huge chunks of our family vacation separated. And aside from meeting princesses, there was literally no ride tame enough for Alex. Snow White's shit was terrifying, and the tea cups reminded me a bit of Elmo's Flying Fish ride at Sea World. And yep, Alex hated it.

I actually felt bad for all the parents with young children. I saw frazzled faces, exasperated mothers and fathers, and we saw and heard tantrum after tantrum after tantrum. Kids screaming because they were scared. Kids crying because they were tired or hungry or angry. Moms were yelling at their children and the kids were yelling back. I saw several parents resorting to literally having to drag their child by the arm or leg to get them out of a Land. And almost every child I saw that was in a stroller was either passed out cold or looked so over-tired and psychologically checked out. You don't pay almost $100 to do that to your kids.

Now, I have a couple of friends who say their toddlers LOVED Disneyland and I think that's great! If they're into it, then that is awesome. Alex is by no means a shrinking violet or a delicate child. We call her Shredder for God's sake. But if rinky dinky old Sea World kicked her butt and left her unhappy, then the caliber of Disneyland and CA Adventure would have driven her to legally emancipate herself from us.

Next year will be different. She'll be three and a half; she'll be so stoked to meet princesses, ride the tea cups and maybe even drive the car in Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. Hopefully she will be tall enough to ride other stuff, too. I can't wait to show her World of Color, to take her into little shops and recklessly spoil her with dresses and tiaras. I want her to meet Mickey. I want her in my arms as we walk up to Sleeping Beauty's Castle. But that's next year. This year was for Todd and for me. All parents deserve Disneyland without the kids. You need that time together, and after all,  it's the happiest place on earth.

If you're going to Disneyland and are flirting with the idea of leaving the kids at home, DO IT. We had such a fun romantic time together, fingers clasped as we held hands all throughout the park, my head resting on his shoulder (okay, upper arm, he is super tall). No stroller to push. No diaper bag strap biting into my shoulder, bumping into other people. Just two crazy kids, still in love after five years of matrimony, kissing on each other and saying "I love you" and "This is so much fun" and "I am SO glad it's just us" over and over.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Helmet Hair is Sexy.

I recently spoke with a coworker after seeing him carrying a helmet into work, wondering if he now owned a motorcycle.

"A scooter, actually."

So I did the only appropriate thing which was to tell him how my best friend's husband Dwayne, and also one of my close friends, got his leg broken in two places (bones protruding from the skin and all) thanks to a stupid woman who pulled her SUV out in front of his scooter without, you know, looking where she was fucking going. Hilarity ensued for Dwayne for the next several months and by hilarity, I mean excruciating pain, difficult physical therpay and a significant amount of anger. What a fun summer!

My coworker and I chatted briefly about how crucial it was to not only be driving defensively, cautiously and vigilantly but also to wear that helmet. And it made me think, instantly, of one of my major pet peeves.

No, not sandwiches that fall apart although my God, that situation deserves a letter to the editor. I'm talking about people on all manners of bikes with zero manner of head protection on.

People, I know it's almost second nature to try and look cool, but whizzing by on a motorcycle, scooter or bicycle without one make you look like a fucking idiot. It takes all my self control to not yell out "Someone loves you! Put on a helmet!" when I see this. Even my mother in law strongly urged my father in law to get a helmet when he got into cycling, but mostly because she didn't want to have to take care of a vegetable in case the accident wasn't a clean kill.

Seriously, though, if you ride any sort of bike or scooter, please get a helmet. The only helmets that look slightly dorky are bike helmets, but it's still a LOT cooler to survive a nasty fall or wreck than it is to end up severely handicapped, all because you wanted to maintain your super suave image. When you're out there on the road, there is no one else looking out for you, and if you're busy listening to an ipod or worrying about your calorie burn, then you really aren't looking out for yourself, either. Your helmet will, though.

Another issue I have with bicyclists are those who wear flip flops. My father had to give me this advice just ONE TIME because fuck: If you want to risk losing a toenail, ride your bike in flip flops.

Me: AAAAHH GOD NO ::cringes, flaps hands around, dances from foot to foot::

I even wonder if I should bike in long sleeved shirts too, because the idea of skinning off the top two layers of skin on my elbows sends me into a cringe dance that lasts for several seconds. Poor Dwayne's elbow singlehandedly shattered that idiot woman's windshield and left its skin there. So, maybe long-sleeved shirts it is. I already wear gloves, so that saves my palms.

Aaaanyways, you want to be a badass, take up martial arts or crossfit, but please don't think that riding a motorcycle, scooter, or bike without a helmet makes you look like one. Because all I see is someone's mother sobbing hysterically when they get that phone call.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gone Girl.

So I started reading Gone Girl last week, and yesterday I returned it to the library. Not because I finished it that fast, but because I didn't want to mire myself in such negativity. This coming from a girl who likes murder mysteries and vampire sex!

I don't know why but Gone Girl didn't settle with me, despite being really well written. It revolves around a seemingly happy married couple who are anything but, and what happens when, on their 5th wedding annivesary, the wife Amy goes missing. As the husband, Nick is naturally the prime suspect. Since I only read about 40 or 50 pages I'm not giving anything away by saying that, plus I think that, and more, is on the book cover's inside flap.

The reason why I didn't like it is because it's a long book, and I knew I would get seriously emotionally fucked with for a prolonged amount of time, and I wasn't up to the task. I didn't want to feel creeped out and sort of nauseated by the cruel things people do to their loved ones, and I knew that was what I was in for. There was a particularly depressing moment when, after Nick talks about how awkward and... sort of pretentious and self centered his wife's very laborious and time consuming wedding gift was, you read in a flashback (via Amy's diary) how excited she was to plan it all out and how she knew he'd love it.

That's reality in relationships but it broke my heart in a small way, and I didn't want to invest so much of my time, emotions and imagination in something that would ultimately leave a bad taste in my mouth. However I had no qualms recommending it to Kendra, who admittedly likes her stories to be a little melodramatic, a little depressing, a little dark.

I guess I'm just a girl scout Pollyanna when it comes to that sort of thing. Although I love Neil Gaiman's The Sandman series which is such a far cry from Pollyanna, I don't know what to say. Wait, I do know what to say: I didn't like immersing myself in a toxic marriage. I didn't want to read this book and then start imagining all these horrible things existing in my own marriage. Many people would suggest that that very thing is what makes good fiction, getting you to open your eyes, to I don't know, let the story in. But I am not here for that.

There was one line where Amy writes that she doesn't want to be That Wife, that she was perilously close to becoming it, that she didn't want to get mad at her husband for drinking all night with his just-fired friends on their anniversary, but she could feel it happening. I think all of us have felt that way, the mad-but-don't-wanna-be, but in that instant I was reading way too much into the story. Was I That Wife? That Wife meaning whatever it is you don't want to be. Do I needle into Todd too much, am I a shrew, the queen of  harpies, a fishmonger's wife?

And that's when I realized I just didn't want to finish it. I flipped to the last page to see how it ended and my God I am so glad I did because it confirmed some suspicions I had.

I'm trying not to give away the ending, so I will just say that as I get older, I have realized that I just might end up missing out on a lot of good fiction, good movies, etc, because the tone is too depressing. I'll never read Faulkner and after wiking some plots of his stories, I don't think I'm missing out on much. It all sounds like one big reason to take a Prozac. I don't want to waste my time and energy on something that will make me feel sadder or angrier than I was when I started. My time and my life and my imagination are precious to me, so I won't willingly spend 400 pages' worth of my life feeling creeped out and depressed right before bed.

Maybe that makes me sound like a dumbass, but it's how it is.

Friday, October 19, 2012


So I'm starting to get a little restless for the holidays to arrive. I am a December baby, after all, so there is just a natural joy that comes out of me the closer we get to Christmas. Holidays always delight me and tickle my fancy, at least until January 2nd when in a fit of rage I tear all the holiday decorations down, box them up, vacuum and sweep and mop and pretend like all that shit never even happened. Anyways, I'm excited this year for a lot of reasons.

Thanks to the godless pit of Pinterest, I found an easy although extremely time consuming DIY tree skirt that I am really eager to try. I just had to Google this and since I currently can't access Pinterest, that's what I found. Originally I had seen a red and white striped ruffled tree skit, but now I'm sort of going apeshit over that all white one in the first photo. WHAT SHALL I DO. First I have to buy a crappy tree skirt to cover, then I have to stand in front of fabrics for approximately 45 minutes going "But this one.. Okay, no this one. BUT WAIT."

Anyways, it's little things like this that get me, slowly but surely, 110% amped up for the holidays. I also want to make a pumpkin cheesecake to bring to my mom's for Thanksgiving (if she'll let me), and of course make my super fun holiday cookies that I can now make with my adorable daughter. Then there's the matter of how I want to decorate the house. Contemporary? Classic? I don't know! We recently painted the living room a pale, pale icy shade of blue, called Glistening Moonlight and it is sort of nudging me to do a more modern take on Christmas decorations. When I told Todd this, and that it makes me want to dump out all our current Christmas decorations, the fellow Spartan in him said HELL YES (we hate clutter and we hate storing a bunch of crap - the idea of tossing out three huge bins worth of shit excited him). But then, I love a traditional looking tree. It's warm and inviting and nostalgic.

But I have to choose something because we're doing another Christmas Eve open house this year. Last year it almost killed me because I stupidly decided to make it from 11am to 5pm and then serve a lamb dinner to our families. After everyone left at like 10:30pm I realized I was coming down with a sore throat and cold and I wanted to burn down the entire house. But THIS YEAR it's going to be shorter and I'm not cooking a single goddamn thing. Todd and I, plus a few friends, will enjoy dinner after everyone leaves, and dinner is going to be a couple of gourmet frozen lasagnas from Roma Imports, a restaurant/deli/mart that is only Tucson's most raddest Italian restaurant/deli/mart. I'll also be getting all the nibbles from there as well; antipastos, stuffed mushrooms, mini mozzarellas, roasted pepper slices, bread, etc. I'm excited because this year I will actually be sitting around and eating stuff and talking with  my loved ones instead of praying for death in the kitchen.

And then, perhaps most important of all, Alexandra will be old enough to see that something super cool is happening. We'll bake together, wrap daddy's presents together, decorate the tree, that she will just end up shredding, together, and best off all I get to spoil the stuffing out of her. I have SO many things I want to get her. We already got her a Little Tykes plastic picnic table set, but she adores it so much we have to bring it inside the house more often than just keep it outside, so I want to get her a little table and chairs set for her room. Tea parties are a new thing she loves, so little miss needs a home base to have these petite fetes. And I want to get her a little tricycle. And a bunch of Disney princess dolls. And maybe a dress up set for her so she can be Belle or Rapunzel or Aurora. And a huge wooden swingset and mini jungle gym for the backyard. And a pony. And a castle.

I'm so excited to share Christmas with my little love bug. It's going to be absolutely magical.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review: Penzeys Spices

I could have used their actual logo to head this post, but since this little saying that Penzeys has on billboards, bumper stickers and the like, and since cooking is one way I really express my love (aside from comments dripping in sarcasm of course), I went with this one.

Penzeys Spices is an amazing little store. They've got over 250 herbs and spices and going in there for the first time last week with my friend Kendra was sort of like a junkie stepping inside their very first opium den. There are sections dedicated solely to pepper, to chiles, to cinnamon. Mixed herbs like the Parisien Bonnes Herbes, are heavenly. There is the Beef Roast blend which they recommend for not just roasts but steaks as well. It smells incredibly like a rich beef boullion but is sodium free, so I see a new, saltless beef stock provider in my future.

The spices are insanely reasonable as well, considering you can get musty dusty generic spices at any grocery store for about $3 - $5. Lo, that's the average price range at Penzeys, except the quality is through the roof. I was nearly intoxicated by the heady perfume of the cumin jar, and OH YES, they have big sample jars so you can get a whiff. They had jars of diced, dried green bell pepper whose concentrated aroma nearly knocked me off my flip flops. I didn't dare get involved in smelling any of the chile powders but I was sorely tempted.

Those sample jars come in handy, too, because some of the blends are ones you've, or at least I've, never heard of. The Florida herb blend sounded good but the smell wasn't for me. I would have been tempted to give it a try otherwise, so I appreciated Penzeys frank and honest way of doing business.

And let's not even talk about how CUTE the jars are. Oh hell, let's do it!

If I knew how I'd frame that picture with a whimsical water-colored border consisting of mountain meadow flowers and blue birds, those little guys are that adorable. That smaller size usually runs around $3.50 if memory serves, and these larger ones are about $6 or so:

That is a gift set, by the way, in case anyone wants to buy me one.

One thing I'm looking forward to trying is the Raspberry Enlightenment which, so far as I am concerned, is sort of undefinable. It's a jar of what looks like raspberry preserves, but since the instructions recommend using it on white meats, pastas and as a vinaigrette, I'm sure it's more than that. Friday's menu will be grilled chicken with Raspberry Enlightenment and broccoli fritters (HEY-OHHH) so I will definitely report back on how the chicken turns out.

I can't wait to run out of my crappy cumin and go back for the good stuff. I can't wait to run out of all my spices and, as Kendra is doing, slowly replace everying with Penzeys. Yes, it is that good. If you could only smell the toasted onion granules I got, or the crystallized ginger, you'd drool your way over there this very instant. There is a French herb blend I forgot to snag, one that has lavender, and it is so on my hit list.

Grade: A+++

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Follow Through.

Lately I've been trying to make sure I follow through with what I'm doing. I never fully realized my overwhelming ability to leave shit half-done until I got married. Todd and I never lived together before marriage so we found ourselves amused, not annoyed, by the day to day idiosyncrasies of the other person. Todd's was hanging his towels and clothes on doors. I guess being 6'7" really opens up the possibilities of where you can hang your clothes. Mine was leaving drawers open.

You guys, I AM SO BAD ABOUT THIS. It's starting to annoy me because five years after this being pointed out to me, I am still doing it. I am a walking, talking scene right out of The Sixth Sense. It's like being haunted except I am the ghost.

Anyways, I started realizing how this one little quirk (we'll call it that to maintain its cuteness and not at all dwell on its irritating nature) sort of bleeds into the way I do tasks. The way I pick up stuff and tidy up rooms in the house is like something out of a schizophrenic's journal. I will be loading the dishwasher, remember that Todd and I had water glasses on our nightstands, and go to the bedroom to get them. Then I will see that the bedroom trash can needs emptying, there are shoes that need to be put away and a ton of Alex's books are strewn about the floor.

So I'll take care of that stuff, put it all away, grab the glasses and walk past the bathroom. Another cup! Goddammit! How do three individuals go through glassware so fast? It's like another M. Night Shyamadingdong movie, Signs, where the little girl Bo takes a few sips from a glass and requires another one. I go in, set down the bedroom glasses because the bathroom rug is crooked, the toilet paper needs replacing and guess WHAT I left my contact stuff and saline solution and glasses out from earlier that morning so let's put THAT shit away and then by the time I come back to the kitchen, I have completely forgotten that the dishwasher is wide open and anyone could have tripped over it or, sometimes, the cat will be trying to lick water droplets off of the open door.

Sometimes this lack of follow through is a direct consequence of my desire to multi-task. I have discussed this before, but I really don't like doing just one thing when I know I can be doing two. It's why I refuse to start housework until I have a load of laundry going. My GOD it gives me thrills just thinking of accomplishing two things at once. My friend Allison told me that in their new house, the old washing machine required someone to sit on it in order to run and I about died at the thought.

Yesterday I was getting a glass of water for Alex and needed to refill the Brita pitcher. So I put the water on a drizzle and handed Alex her cup. I sat with her a bit, then realized I needed to start running her bath. I returned to the sofa to watch a little Beauty and the Beast with her. After a bit she gets up and runs around and so I get up to check out what she's doing and HOLY SHIT the tub is full. I turn off the water and we go back to get her Aurora barbie so Alex can bring her in the tub. Luckily Aurora was on the sofa and I could hear water running. That's weird, I thought. I just turned off the tub. Then I looked into the kitchen and saw the water overflowing out of the Brita pitcher. Way to save water, desert rat! Idiot.

Aside from wasting water, sometimes I kind of like how I go through things. It's fluid. It follows one thing on a path, of sorts, like a river, picking up other things in its current as it goes. And eventually I wind up where I started to finish it off. But at the same time, if I just do a job, like, load the present-and-accounted-for dishes first, finish cleaning the kitchen, and THEN move on, then there is a satisfying conclusion instantly.

Hell, if I can just successfully close drawers before leaving a room, I'll consider it an accomplishment.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cauliflower Crust Pizza.

Um, YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT. Hey low-carb, no-carb people out there? This is the stuff for you. I got the recipe here:  Recipe Girl but naturally I made a few changes, so here we GO

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

1/2 head of a large cauliflower
1 large egg
1.5 cups shredded mozzarella
Garlic powder
Pasta Sauce
1/4 cup mozzarella
1/2 cup sauteed mushrooms
3-4 fresh basil leaves (optional)
1/4 cup shredded chicken or crumbled bacon

Preheat oven to 450. Using a food processor or, like recipe girl did, a grater (gives me shivers, I always grate my fingers), get your cauliflower into small crumbles. I mean, real small.

Put them in a large bowl and microwave them 8 - 10 minutes. Mix into the cauli the egg, 1.5 cups cheese and herbs. Stir to thoroughly mix, until it starts clumping really nicely. Pour it onto a sprayed cookie sheet.

Now, pat the mixture into a round.

Pop that puppy in the oven for about 15 minutes, until nice and golden. Use that time to prep your toppings:

Time to remove! Set the oven to broiler now.

Now for toppings. Sauce...


And all the other good stuff!

It only needs to sit under the broiler for 3 minutes or so. Certainly not as long as 5 minutes. Remove and let cool. I put mine, stupidly, on the oven which was of course quite hot. But when I did the second pizza, I set it on the counter and it really stuck together like pizza! Here is a slice of the first pie:

It was absolutely delicious but it sort of fell apart. It was all because I didn't let it cool. See what I mean?

But when I let the second pie cool, at least 10 minutes, it slid around on the sheet like it was born for it. I could pick up a slice in my hands just like a regular pizza slice. Anyways, the important part is that, regardless of whether it was fork and knife pizza or handheld pizza, both pies were ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS.

And completely worth the mess:

And dishes.

Besides, I know one way to help ease the kitchen clean up blues.


Chicken Satays!

Well what the fuck! Why didn't anyone except that crazy ass British woman, on that one British weight loss show where she actually makes the overweight "guest" show her a piece of their turds, tell me how delicious chicken satays are?!


I got this recipe from The Food Network's website and did mostly everything to a T. So if you want to skip this FRAUD of a food post, GO FOR IT

If you enjoy random acts of capslock and bad photography with snarling commentary, then settle back, grab your well liquor cocktail and read on, motherfuckers

(sorry mom)

Chicken Satays with Peanut Sauce
serves 2

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 8 - 12oz chicken tenderloins
  • Wooden skewers, soaked in water 30 minutes (I gave up on these because dude - and if satays means skewers then I guess I just made CHICKEN LONELINESS tonight)
  • Olive oil or vegetable oil if you are crazy about that shit, for grilling
  • Romaine lettuce leaves, washed because once I found a half dead moth in a head of lettuce
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • Peanut sauce that you obviously buy at Trader Joe's because COME ON, I am too busy watching America's Got Talent and drinking to make this shit for myself


Mix the first four ingredients in a shallow dish, and dip, dredge, submerge, slather, the chicken into it. Pick a verb! I love pinot noir!! Anyways. Cover all the chicken tenderloins in the marinade, wrap it up and refrigerate it for up to two hours.

Now, go on a dog walk with your family and run into a shirtless barefoot friend of your husband's who is driving by you and instead of getting out of the car to say hey, just stares at you through the tinted windshield long enough that you begin to wonder if he wants to run over you in his blue Sebring or whatever it was.

You are now home and non-run over, so TIME TO COOK!

Put those chicken tenders on a skewer! 

Weird, huh? Trust me that guy from Food Network!

Heat your griddle skillet to medium high, brushing it with oil so the meat don't stick. Throw them bitches on the griiiiiiddle!!!

So, the recipe said to do this with only medium heat, not medium high, and it also seemed to assume that everyone has a goddamn range that will work like the one a chef from the Food Network has, which is a lying lie from a liar who lies. So after awhile, I upped the heat, and finally got some browning on my meat popsicles


But then I noticed how god-awful uneven the cooking was. So I said later to the skewers in a fit of RAGE

I finally got the chicken in the center of my griddle, directly under the heat, and shit got real in a matter of minutes.

As they sizzled, I prepped my lettuce and cilantro...

Then I plated the bad ass chicken plus the veggies I made that I'm not blogging about because who gives a shit:


These were so tasty, and so fun, and so different. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did and if you already knew about this recipe from like YEARS AGO then I hope you know that somehow my that guy's recipe is better than yours.

The Perfect Gimlet.

Now let me preface that by saying I do enjoy tartness, in both my flavors and my women. My bestie, Kendra, also adores a good tart smack to her cocktails and so she agrees with me that my recipe is stellar.

Vodka Gimlet

2oz vodka (I assume - a serving of liquor typically requires a four count, so for martinis I count eight)
1 tbsp Rosa's Lime
Juice from half one lime
Juice from half one lemon
Lime twist

Pour all that shit except the twist over ice and shake it well. Here's the thing though, for martinis and other stiff drinks, it's best to keep your liquor out of the freezer so that the warm liquor will melt some of the ice. If you use freezer vodka or gin then the drink will be too strong and you will be on your ass before you know it. The thing to freeze is a martini glass to help keep your drink cold.

So after you shake it up, pour it in your frosty glass, pop in your twist, and voila! Deliciousness to the max. I had one last night actually! So bottom's up y'all.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ha Ha.

I'm sure you've heard about, or watched, the video of a little boy reunited with his lovey, Ah Ah, a blue monkey, after three years. He lost the little guy on a camping trip in Yellowstone, I believe, and his mother just happened to find it on Ebay three years later. Yes, the same exact monkey! It was remarkable, and the little boy's emotions over having his Ah Ah again brought tears to my eyes. The fact that he had named his monkey Ah Ah, so close to Alex's Ha Ha, made it even more poignant for me.

Last Wednesday we accidentally left Ha Ha at her swim school, but didn't realize it until the few moments before nap time. She kept asking for him, over and over, as I repeatedly searched the house, the car, the yard. He was nowhere to be found. I knew I had Ha Ha 2.0 ready for such a moment, but I hesitated. I figured it was probably at swim school so I could just reassure Alex of that, have her nap and then we'd go pick him up. But what if a little kid scooped him up? What if he really fell out of the car in the parking lot and someone took him home? I didn't want to make promises I didn't intend to keep. Alexandra has an incredible memory, even remembering songs we sang to her when she was six months old ("Make the baby, IN the bed, make the baby, right IN the bed!"). I didn't think she'd let it go, even for the duration of her nap.

Anyways, so with some trepidation, I unwrapped Ha Ha 2.0 and, already sick with the lie that was spilling out of my mouth, I said "I found him!" and she gasped and squealed with relief and delight to see her buddy. But then I handed him to her. She knew instantly, but what saddened me was that she didn't ask me about it. It's like... It was as if she knew I deceived her and that I couldn't be trusted with follow up questions. He was infinitely softer, cleaner, fresher than Ha Ha, and his face was slightly different, the stuffing not being quite identical to Ha Ha. She knew it too. She found the tag that was still on him, where Ha Ha had no white tag. I wanted to whack myself upside the head. I got scissors and cut it off, and once more I lied to my child, saying "Ha Ha is super fresh and clean isn't he?!" and she just went "Super fresh and clean" and gave him a hug.

She napped with him and carried him around afterwards, but she also kept looking at him. We went and got Ha Ha from the swim school but I hid him in a towel so I could do the switch. I didn't want to like, rupture the space time continuum by having her see two Ha Has together side by side. Before going home we went to visit our friends Allison and Eric and to see their new house. While there, Alexandra told Eric about how Ha Ha (2.0) was "all fresh and clean!" because SHE KNEW HE WAS DIFFERENT, omg.

I don't know why it bothered me so much but I just felt deceptive and wrong. I now regret getting Ha Ha 2.0, to a certain degree. I mean, I know she accepted him, but I just don't like that she knew it was NOT Ha Ha but didn't ask me about it. Didn't seem to have faith in what I'd say to her. So I do know now that if the time comes when we cannot find Ha Ha at ALL, like that poor little boy with his Ah Ah, I will not try to cheerfully pass off Ha Ha 2.0 as the original. I will tell her it's another monkey. Offer her to name him something else. Or hell, I might even find a little lovey that is the same style as Ha Ha, but a different animal.

This probably seems like an over-emotional hyper-sensitive mommy post but the fabrication, the cover-up, didn't sit well with me. I'm not one of those new age hipster moms who is all "I won't EVER lie to my child, even about Santa Clause" because Santa is rad and I myself still sort of believe in him SHUT UP DON'T LAUGH. But there are times and places for white lies and fibs, and I just don't think that being faced with the permanent loss of your number one buddy is the time for it. That's for consolation, snuggles and learning experiences.

I don't know. I think I may sound ridiculous but at the same time, I don't care. I just hated that moment when she had Ha Ha 2.0 in her hands, and she knew something was wrong.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Review/Fangirling: The Gaslight Mysteries series

Okay so I'm like going apeshit over this series. It takes place in New York City in the late 1800s, I'm thinking like 1870s - 1880s. The main, recurring characters are Detective Frank Malloy, a rough and tough Irish detective hell bent on saving enough money for the bribe to make Captain, and a high-bred woman, Sarah Brandt, who left the wealth and social standing of her well-established family to marry a doctor, the late Tom Brandt, and become a nurse and midwife. Thrown together in odd circumstances, the pair makes a formidable team when it comes to solving murders in a city where the stark contrast between wealth and poverty is glaringly evident in all aspects.

Victoria Thompson does a remarkable job illustrating how difficult it was to live back then, in a sort of upstairs/downstairs way. The wealthy have it all thanks to their money, including the problems and complications that come with it, while the poor have nothing but grit and determination not to starve, from people living as servants to the poor, barefooted orphans who are as ruthless and cruel as any super villian.

Thompson also points out, time and time again, the hardships women of all social classes had back then; even a rich woman, if divorced by her husband, could literally be deprived of her children, money, the clothes off her back. She would be thrown out of the house and abandoned to thugs and pickpockets, rapists and starvation. Women, even with jobs in factories, couldn't make enough to live on their own thanks to the pitiful wages.

That's why Sara Brandt is such an anomaly, because she found a narrow niche in which to position herself, thanks to the training provided by her husband (who was murdered three years before the start of the series). Add to that her rebellion against wealth and comfort and privilege, her wit and humor, and you can see why she captivates, exasperates and ultimately charms Frank Malloy, who likewise earns the affection of Sarah, though both would be hard pressed to let the other person know.

Frank himself is a great character. He works in the police force which is more famous for its corruption and greed than doing its civil duty, despite Theodore Roosevelt's grand attempts at injecting a little integrity into it. While he plays along with the bribery game in order to advance in rank (bribery being the only way, as valor means nothing), he still has a moral backbone, which is only strengthened as Sarah's approval becomes more and more important to him. That, and being a good father to his poor deaf son, Brian, who was also born with a club foot and whose birth killed his late wife Katherine. He needs to make captain in order to provide a better life for his son and to get him into a school for the deaf, when his 3 year old boy is old enough.

Um, as you can tell, I am all over this series like white on rice. I can't get enough of the books! I started with the latest two in the series, then bought the first two, and checked out the two after that from the library. Now, since I'm waiting on books five and six to come to me, I have nothing to do but blog about them.

They're easy reads, nothing ooh-la-la about the writing like Dorothy L Sayers' mystery series about Lord Peter Whimsy. But they're also painstakingly researched which, as a fellow writer who had to do research about historical periods, impresses me to no end. I fucking hate research. Anyways, I love that I'm not only following a spark of romance in the books between Sarah and Frank, but am getting a wide-eyed glimpse into a world that is both very different, and then not so different, to our own current times.

I strongly recommend you give this series a try, but if you're planning on trying to reserve them at any of Tucson's libraries, and think you're going to bump me back on the waiting list you are wrong, pal. Wrong!!

Grade: A++

Friday, October 5, 2012


1. Bingley got into a fight with some creature on Monday. His right hind leg was jacked up, there were cuts all over his mouth and a slice in the delicate part of his right ear. He was filthy, covered in oil spots from, most likely, hunkering down under a car all night which leads me to believe that it was not another cat he was fighting, but something much larger that wasn't able to follow him under there.

He refused to eat or drink anything, despite our encouragements, for like two days. He kept trying to pee though, which made us think maybe his bladder had been bruised in the assault. Finally I got Alex's medicine dropper thing and used it to dose the goddamn cat with water, which seemed to really help. And considering that the poor bastard just laid there in my arms, lapping as the water squirted into his mouth, I think he really needed it.

By Thursday there was no improvement on the pee front, so I took him to the vet. 90 minutes and $120 bucks later, we had a cat with a bunch of fluids injected under his skin and two types of drugs to give him. And he only hissed at me and swatted me like once! Wow, what a grateful little motherfucker. I bought him some canned wet food to help increase his hydration and triumphantly fought all my urges to wring his neck and take him to small claims court.

2. After two years of living in this house we finally finished painting it. Todd wrapped up the hallway on Sunday, removing the huge and broken down doorbell box from above the thermostat (and even patching up over the small tangle of wires that were protruding from just beside the front door knob outside the house), and patching up the hole where he had ripped out the hall light from the ceiling after smacking his head into it one too many times (he's 6'7"). It looks a lot better, so much so that we have to wonder why we waited so long. I guess after living with crap for a period of time renders you sort of numb to the unsightliness. Now if I could just get him to gut the kitchen and bathroom...

3. Tuesday night we ordered Chinese food from our favorite place, which also delivers, Szechuan Omei. I finally got something different and MY GOD I am so glad I did: Singapore mei fun. I googled it to figure out what it was to make sure I'd like it (hey white girl) and was surprised to find that it is a very standard basic thing that all American Chinese chefs have to master, much like fried rice. I got it and it was SO delicious, very straightforward in flavors but absolutely tantalizing. It had a smoky sort of BBQ flavor. It consists of super thin, angel-hair style noodles (I think made of rice), scallions, bits of what looked like BBQ pork, some shrimp, bean sprouts and I believe curry. SO GOOD. I want to get it again. Like right now. For second breakfast (I am a hobbit).

4. I'm becoming re-hooked to BBC shows, mostly due to my now ravenous hunger to live in the UK or at the very least somewhere in the US that has grass, cold weather and a legitimate fall weather wardrobe that includes sweaters instead of shorts and flip flops. It's starting to drive me crazy. I've had a yen to move out of Tucson for awhile, but it really set in around May, before summer even began, because I was so fucking sick of being hot all the goddamn time. I want grass for my child to run in, I want to accessorize with layers and shoes and socks, I want to let the dog out in the afternoon without fear he'll die of heat stroke. I wear flip flops because I cannot STAND IT when my feet get hot and my feet are always hot here. My own body is telling me to GTFO. But our families are here, and a ton of our friends and loved ones. I guess I need to convince everyone to move to Scotland.

5. I buckled and re-signed up with the YMCA in anticipation of my Platinum Fitness membership expiring next month. The only thing I'll miss is the cardio theatre room, and since they offer memberships for 9.95 a month, no contracts required, I'm also seriously considering just signing up with Platinum and having two memberships. I mean, while signed up at Platinum I was starting to buckle and pay the $10 day pass to the YMCA just so I could swim in their 25 yard pool because it is truly a superior workout to a measly 15 yard pool. So if I was willing to pay ten bucks for a one shot, why not pay ten bucks for the chance to do the elliptical while watching a movie a couple of times a week? Is having two gym memberships even a thing? Is that crazy? I'm worth it for sure, but... Ehh. I will petition the YMCA to get a cardio theatre?

6. Once Upon A Time is back on and I'm going batshit crazy for its epic awesomeness. WHO IS DR. WHALE. Who is the Mystery Man in the opening scene? Is he Henry's dad? Is he Baelfare, Rumpelstiltskin's son? BOTH? Or is he Peter Pan or the White Rabbit? Will Philip be brought back to life? Will he bone Aurora AND Mulan? Who gave Mulan a bump-it for her hair and how does she do that hairstyle in the woods? Does Aurora help? WHO IS DR. WHALE??