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Sorry, kids. I’ve been waylaid by life. But who can’t smile after last week’s incredible and staggering election results? I have resisted telling certain people to bite me, but I’m hopeful that I’ll have my chance. ūüėČ

Yesterday I finally discovered the most perfect recipe for meatloaf. Before you ask, no, I didn’t shape it like a question mark. But there’s always hope. But I feel as though a very miniscule chunk of my life has fallen into place. I’ve been searching and searching for a great meatloaf recipe for ages, because let’s face it: Meatloaf is comfort food, through and through. My husband declared this one “Light. Usually your meatloaf is more brick-like.” I’ll take it as the compliment it was intended to be. ūüôā

I have been in a funk lately. I think part of it is realizing that I need to make some serious changes in my life. I need organization. I need motivation. I need to turn thoughts into action. I’m like Hamlet, only not nearly as interestingly tragic. But I’m not sure where to start. And I’m not really, truly sure what courses of action to take. But I’m getting there. I hope.

And so we come to the funny part of this little missive. If you know me, you know that I HEART Christopher Guest. And if you don’t know who that is, watch A Mighty Wind. Waiting for Guffman. Best in Show. And my all-time favorite, This is Spinal Tap. It’s comedy that’s not stupid, and it makes me laugh. It is, to quote the film, “a fine line between stupid and clever.” Anyway, the other day I was surfing along, looking for Christmas toys, and I found these.

 

Go ahead. Click on them. I can’t imagine how much fun those would be after a few margaritas. You could pull them out and start spouting things like “Well, it’s one louder, isn’t it?” and “He was the patron saint of quality footwear.”

I’m cracking myself up now. It’s time to go.

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So the latest development is that my boy likes to bite his toenails.

Yes. You read it right. He bites his toenails. He also bites his fingernails, but anyone can do that. Apparently biting one’s toenails takes some talent, especially when you’re missing some front teeth.

I have no idea why he’s taken up this habit, but I find him on the couch pretty frequently, transfixed by SpongeBob or Avatar or Tom and Jerry, crunching away on his toenails. So the upside is that he’s flexible and has nice strong teeth. The downside is that he bites his toenails!

I just picture this being a relationship deal-breaker somewhere down the road. Girlfriend comes over, uses her key, sees him biting his toenails, and calls the whole thing off. Crushed and embittered, he moves into my basement and codependence begins. Noooo!

Anyway, I’m trying to be smart about it. I don’t want to make a big deal of it. Every now and again, I casually mention that I’ll be happy to cut his toenails if he feels they need it. No. He’s fine. Do I let it go with the hope that it will stop on its own? Time will tell….

So, this is the conversation I can’t have with so many people I know, because I just can’t afford to have that vein start throbbing behind my eye.

The other night, just for shits and giggles, I YouTubed (if that can indeed be a verb) Obama’s speech from the 2004 DNC. Just for the heck of it. I had heard it was great. Fifteen minutes later I was amazed. I had goosebumps. I felt inspired. And that has never happened to me politically. Ever.

The first time I was eligible to vote was the year Bill Clinton was first elected. Going through college, amidst the bliss of not needing to think too hard about the future, I just wasn’t that interested in politics, even though, inexplicably,¬†I minored in political science. And then the Bush thing happened, and like most people I became completely disenfranchised regarding my government.

But now…call it motherhood, call it maturity, call it whatever you want…I care. I care so fucking much about this election that it’s keeping me up at night. As a woman, as a mother, as a good and intelligent person, as an adult who is capable of making my own choice, thankyouverymuch, it just doesn’t compute for me how people think this McCain-Palin ticket is a good idea. You’re entitled to your opinion. I won’t judge you for being Republican. But my mind boggles.

For the first time in so long, I have hope. It sounds cheesy, but I do. I have optimism. I feel as though it’s time for complete change, to hand the reins over to someone young, someone with energy, someone who has good ideas. Someone who can communicate. Someone who also has hope.

Sarah Palin’s politics completely offend me as a woman. I’ve never touted myself as a feminist, but Jesus Christmas. She’s a walking contradiction. Here’s a woman potentially poised to be second-in-command, responsible for the safety and liberty of millions of other women, and her politics will push women backward instead of advancing us. It just irks me that Republicans claim to want less government…except when it involves all those horrible sinful things like, say, choosing to govern your own reproductive processes or wanting to marry the person you love. Separation between church and state doesn’t exist with these people. And that’s fine in your personal life, but not when you want your beliefs to govern me. And the very thought that Hillary Clinton supporters would gravitate to her just because she’s a woman…come on. How insulting.

Plus, she speaks with that horrible backwoods patois and is so completely irritating I would rather rip off my ears than listen to her for more than six seconds. Oy.

And McCain…McCain, McCain, McCain. I give the guy all the credit he’s due as a war prisoner. But he doesn’t make sense. He’s relying on this maverick stuff when by his own admission he voted for Bush’s policies way more often than not. And, frankly, I have to question the judgment of someone who would pick Sarah Palin as a running mate. I know she was picked to energize the party and to appeal to those people who are so right-wing that McCain seems liberal. Shudder. But there are so many other, talented, intelligent, capable, and distinguished women that would have been better candidates.

From this couch, the McCain campaign is dividing people. The Obama camp is trying to unite them. The McCain camp is trying to convince us that a half-black man with an exotic name and background is frightening. Fuck them. I would rather have as my president someone who graduated with honor from the country’s top universities, who has a proven track record of motivating and negotiating, who has chosen as his running mate a man with scads of experience in foreign policy, than a guy who graduated fifth from the bottom of his Naval Academy class who has chosen as his second-in-command a woman who believes the Constitution should be rewritten to ban gay marriage.

So, there you have it. There are twelve days to go. Please vote. Vote for hope. Vote for optimism. Vote for a chance. Please.

So.

A few months ago my husband revealed to me that he doesn’t like taco seasoning, and why. Apparently some years ago, after spending a day with a friend of a friend who apparently doesn’t shower often enough, I remarked that this person smelled like taco seasoning. And he did. He was very fragrant and, umm, cumin-y.

Okay, fine. I don’t need taco seasoning. I can mix up my own little spice blend, without so much salt, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. Heaven knows we don’t want to subject anyone to unwashed-hippie tacos.

But today, he broke the news that, in fact, he doesn’t really like tacos at all.

What. The. Hell? Who doesn’t like tacos? How in the world can a person look at a taco and say, hey, I don’t find that at all appealing?

It’s crunchy, it has meat, there’s cheese, there’s refreshing sour cream. There’s hot sauce. What in the world is wrong with him? The boy and I love tacos. I could easily eat them once every couple of weeks. Plus,¬†as anyone who is the sole cook in her house knows, tacos are¬†an easy trick to have in your bag of dinners.

So we now can add tacos to the lengthy list of things he finds unpalatable. These include onions, peppers of any kind, tomatoes, cucumbers, too much corn in any recipe containing corn, lima beans, tomato soup, green beans that aren’t canned, enchiladas (including a casserole recipe that I have tweaked until it is adored by everyone who tries it…except him), romaine lettuce, asparagus (unless covered in hollandaise sauce), and a slew of other things I probably don’t know about. And now, tacos.

Asshat.

So, lately I have seen the buzz phrase “the Sarah Palin Kool-Aid.” My own father is apparently drinking it by the pitcher, diabetes be damned, even though she has nothing of substance to say and even though¬†the bar is set so low for her that simply not effing up is a victory. So on top of everything else, I’m pondering how I dropped from that tree. But anyway, honestly (and for once), I’m not going on a political rant. The aforementioned phrase, coupled with some recent events of late, have made me think of real, actual Kool-Aid.

Remember Kool-Aid? The creepy talking pitcher that crashed every conceivable kid-related event while shouting its trademark “Oh, yeahhhhhhh!” catchphrase? No? Okay, then. We have a serious generation gap. Watch this and get back to me.

For most of my contemporaries, a non-talking pitcher of Kool-Aid was a constant in the fridge, and millions of Strawberry Shortcake and Benji and Happy Days thermoses were filled every morning with the stuff. My mom must have gotten some sort of super closeout steal on green Kool-Aid when I was in fourth grade, because she packed it for me every blessed day, even though the carcinogenic ADD-causing red flavors were clearly superior. In the summer, my siblings and I happily mixed up gallons of Kool-Aid, drank it, and occasionally froze it in plastic molds to make bastardized Popsicles. I still remember the recipe: mix 8 cups water, 1 cup sugar, and a packet of Kool-Aid, being careful not to get the powder on wet fingers lest it stain them for days.

The reason I bring all this up is that my kid will turn 5 in less than a month, and up until a few weeks ago, he had no idea that Kool-Aid even existed. That might still be the case had we not taken a fateful trip to Royal Farms for an after-school drink. He saw little plastic bottles of Kool-Aid in the cooler, inquired, and wore me down. He was hooked from the first sip.

I’m not the most stringent person when it comes to feeding my kid, mainly because he happily drinks water, eats broccoli, and begs to devour an entire canteloupe before your eyes. I figure (most) everything in moderation, and it all balances out. But he also eats a few too many hot dogs (see below, the ones wrapped in biscuits) and Happy Meals. Still, I try. I refuse to consider the Lunchables he begs me to buy, I water down juice, and I try to save soda for special occasions or particularly yucky medicine. Yet tonight, during an impromptu trip to the dollar store, I gave in when he asked for a six-pack of little Kool-Aid bottles and promised that yes, sometime we can buy Kool-Aid we can make ourselves at home.

I’m not sure what the deal is with me. I’m trying to find a comfort zone somewhere smack in the middle of “organic flax seed” and “Smuckers Uncrustables” (ick). I would still buy organic milk and eggs if¬†they¬†weren’t now $9 a gallon and $5 a dozen, but¬†I would want to add some chocolate to the milk and some cheese to the eggs.¬†I¬†have to confess that I would love to mix up a big pitcher of Tropical Punch Kool-Aid, using the whole cup of sugar…but something inside me fights it. I would like to see him with the red moustache, though. ūüėČ

Or maybe I’m just thinking about it entirely too much. Oh, yeah.

I realize that several¬†posts lately have dealt with foods. This should come as no surprise, given the lamentable size of my ass. But it’s not really the point I want to make with this blog. However, we do have to eat, and I have stumbled across a few new things, made a few new treats, and found myself ruminating over old favorites. So rest assured that I’m not going to focus on¬†food. It’s¬†just what’s on my mind at times. Regardless…

Yesterday my sister-in-law called to say she and her husband were crabbing and to ask if we wanted to come over for dinner. Holy hell, of course we did.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a visual aid. This is the blue crab. It’s found all around the Chesapeake Bay region, although in increasingly smaller numbers because stupid people won’t stop their polluting ways…but that’s best left for another discussion. They’re kind of pretty, in a weird way.

                                    

 

 

 

 

¬†I, however,¬†like them better when they look like this, though you can skip the lemon slices. They’re a little snobby.

¬†Holy jeez. If you have never sat down with a mess of these babies, a beer, a¬†mallet in your hand, and a song in your heart, get thee to the East Coast, post haste!¬†They’re one of my favorite things on earth. Once you get past cracking them open and cutting off the face, delicious eats await you.

Anyway, we brought home the leftovers, I had some for a very late breakfast, and we all tucked into the remainder for dinner. While I am not at all anxious for my boy to grow up, I *am* awaiting the day when he can pick his own damn crabs instead of talking incessantly about how we’re not picking fast enough for him. He will tell you that he enjoys the mustard (if the idea of eating these things skeeves you out, I will spare you the details) and how Uncle Billy enjoys eating the guts. He also demands that you not only pick more meat for him than for yourself, but that you dip said meat in melted butter. The kid’s four and has no concept of cholesterol…what’s a mother to do? The point is that I’m feeling fat and sassy, and kind of salty as well. What a great treat, especially the two nights of not having to cook anything other than…

Ding, ding, ding! The food I’m slightly ashamed to admit I love. My kid adores hot dogs. Seriously…what four-year-old doesn’t? So I indulge this love a bit, but buy turkey dogs so he doesn’t have a coronary by the time he’s eight. Anyway, it occurred to me to wrap the dogs not in crescent roll dough, but in big Grands biscuits, slightly flattened and smeared with mustard. They’re actually really good…good enough to override my urge to bow my head and admit that they’re slightly trashy. ūüėõ

This weekend also marked a first in a long time: one weekend of not going out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. We tend to get lazy on the weekends, but I’m making a concerted effort¬†to conserve money. We did each order a slice of pizza (and holy cow, three slices were nearly $12!), but that doesn’t really count since we didn’t actually go somewhere and sit down, right? Right.

And, finally…raise your hand if you watched the VP debate on Thursday night. I actually spoke to people this weekend who found Sarah Palin’s “folksy” persona appealing. Really? Honestly? My point remains that I don’t want someone “like me” (though trust me, this woman is NOTHING like me) second in command. I want someone better than me: better educated, better skilled, better diplomat, better in every way. A degree earned over six years at five different colleges does not a great VP make. Please.

This articulates my feelings better than I can: http://margaretandhelen.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/bitch-there-i-said-it/

And finally,¬†I submit this. I found it funny…but incredibly scary…but still funny.

That’s the sound of me, right now. Despite a dinner of carbs, I’m wired.

I try hard to be a local-coffee-shop kind of gal, but today I was tired after hitting the grocery store, and the boy wanted a milkshake, and he’s been sick, so…

I drove through McDonald’s. I tried an iced mocha. Holy shiz. Chocolate. Coffee. Whipped cream. More chocolate. Cold. These are a few of my favorite things.

And now my husband has put a cup of coffee in my hand. Zing. Yum. I could go on with the adjectives, but I think the point is made.

Or maybe it’s methadone. Yes. I believe I have just uncovered the methadone of the food world. Want to know what it is? You know you do.

It’s frozen meatballs. You heard it here, folks. Frozen meatballs.

He hasn’t shown any obvious signs of it, but my boy has been under the weather with strep throat (and staph, wherever the hell that came from) these past two weeks. We didn’t find out until Monday, but he¬†must have had it last week, too, because that’s when they did the throat culture. Anyway,¬†perhaps as a way to atone for being¬†slightly annoyed by the whining, I tend to give him whatever he wants when he’s been sick. So when I asked him what he wanted for dinner, and he said with tremendous sincerity that he wanted spaghetti and meatballs, spaghetti and meatballs it was…or is.

Generally, with the exception of Trader Joe’s orange chicken–because that is stuff you would sell your own mother into prostitution for–I like to make at least the centerpiece of my dinners from scratch. I’ll season my own chicken and patty my own burgers, thanks. Most of the time I chop up my own ingredients to make salad, because while the stuff in the bag is convenient, it tastes like chemicals to me. And I usually make my own meatballs.

The problem with meatballs, though, is that I didn’t have a nice Italian grandma to teach me how to do it. My grandmother was German. She baked, as a general rule. So while I can make a decent meatball, it irks me that you can’t taste them while you’re mixing them to ensure they taste good. Because that would give me salmonella. So it takes me a while…and sometimes they’re great, and other times…not so much.

Anyway, I decided that I didn’t want to fool with mixing and dirtying bowls and using excessive profanity because the parsley fell out of the spice cabinet and into the spaghetti sauce again. So I bought a big bag of cooked frozen meatballs. You add them to your sauce of choice, heat it all up, and have time to blog while it’s melding its beefy, tomatoey goodness.

Holy mother. They were really good. They didn’t have that crusty surface that my meatballs tend to have (because I pan fry them instead of cooking them in the sauce). They were spiced well. They’re obviously not as good as meatballs made by someone who knows what she’s doing, but they were a good substitute. I’m sure anyone who actually did learn to make meatballs at her Italian grandmother’s knee is curling her lip at me, but give me a break. You ship me some meatballs, and I’ll ship you a kuchen. Capische?

You know, you’d be hard pressed to find a guy cooler than my husband. He’s unassuming, he’s brilliant, he’s funny, and he has the most beautiful eyes and gentle soul you could ever hope to see every day in another person. You also probably don’t know anyone with such a diverse aesthetic, or such a huge music collection. He has phenomenal insight, he’s a great dad, he’s a good guy. You’d be lucky to have him. Really, really lucky.

But he’s a dork.

He will freely admit this. He is, however, an old-school dork. No e-mailing or texting for him. Instead, he’s an audiophile, a sci-fi geek, a fantasy game kind of guy. And the fantasy game of the past three years has been World of Warcraft. Or, you know, WoW for those of you not hip to the lingo. The best part of this addiction is when he slips on the headset and talks to other people while he’s playing. I just sort of roll my eyes and chuckle…and remind myself that he could be crawling home at 4 a.m. and wanting to feel me up while smelling of Jim Beam and chaw. Shudder.

Anyway, the boy is, of course, fascinated by this game. He likes to commandeer a character and explore the terrain, climb on the back of a dragon (or a flying cat, because THAT’S extremely plausible) and take to the sky, or, on very rare occasions, take a thwack at some sort of troll. Just this week, he told a kid in the pre-k lineup that he’s a Level 70 Blood Elf. As though anyone knows what in the world that is.

Sometimes I want to smack myself in the head. I never intended for my child to be so plugged in. But he has an imagination that entertains him most of the time. He loves to read, he has great hand-eye coordination, and he’s just an all-around lovely little boy. I wonder sometimes if dorkdom, like eye color, is inherited…but then I think that maybe this is just time for a father and son to pretend together, to be a part of something independent of me, to snuggle up in a chair and laugh and talk.

So scoff if you want, judge if you must. But is your kid a Level 70 Blood Elf? Yeah. Didn’t think so. ūüėõ

…inspired by the vice presidential debate…

MAVERICK! REFORM!

Please shut the hell up about

Maverick. Reform.