12.31.2008

Here Comes The Jackpot Question In Advance ...

... what are you doing New Year's Eve? Not sure what you have planned, but I'll be spending the night with my family, my husband, my delicious daughter, at least one Nintendo Wii, some sort of board game(s) involving Trivial Pursuit at a minimum, and a fresh bubbly dish of my "Million Dollar Crab Dip." I can't share the exact recipe -- it's an "ancient Chinese secret" that I will leave to my daughter in my will, and plus besides I never follow recipes anyway (they're more like suggestions, not unlike speed limit signs) -- but here is the recipe on which my concoction is based so that you can enjoy something similar yourself.

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HOT CRAB DIP
from "The Complete Cooking Light Cookbook"
© 2000 by Oxmoor House, Inc.

  • ¾ cup fat-free sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh onion
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup (2 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound crabmeat, drained and shells removed
  • Paprika
Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine sour cream through cream cheese in a bowl. Stir well with a whisk or hand mixer on low. Stir in cheddar cheese and crabmeat. Spoon into a 1½-quart casserole that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes or until bubbly and thoroughly heated. Serve warm with sturdy crackers or breadsticks. Makes 3⅔ cups (which isn't very much because this is one of those things that can be totally snarfed right out of the bowl with a spoon, like the infamous Pumpkin Dip).

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Whatever you're doing tonight, be warm, be happy, and above all else: be safe. Happy New Year!

PS -- Kathy Griffin is co-hosting New Year's Eve coverage on CNN with Anderson "My Other TV Boyfriend" Cooper, so if you're not doing anything else, it might be worth checking out. Kathy is the shizz, yo!

12.30.2008

Resolutions, Schmesolutions

So. Apparently I made some New Year's Resolutions for 2008. Before I start breaking my resolutions for 2009, let's see how I did in the past year (edited for brevity, because if you really want to read all the side notes, you can just click-a-roo and stuff) -- I added my comments at the end of each and crossed out the stuff I actually did:

10. Make a flaming dessert. -- EPIC FAIL. No flaming desserts this year.

9. Be less artsy and more fartsy. -- EPIC FAIL. Have you seen some of the goofy things I did to pictures of my kid?

8. Stop getting into discussions about the Philadelphia Eagles. -- FAIL. I was doing OK when they stank out loud and nobody thought they were going anywhere, and also when our entire city was basking in the delicious glow of the Phillies' World Series win, and then, BOOM! Holy crap, how did this team make it to the playoffs this year?

7. Eat more vegetables. -- This one is a WIN!, surprisingly. Well, maybe not so surprisingly, actually. We are trying to teach the Cupcake good eating habits, and the best way to do that is to have a few of your own. Also, I actually do like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and creamed spinach, so it's not like it's a chore to eat these things.

6. Learn to say "please," "thank you," and "fast" in as many languages as possible. -- EPIC FAIL. But I've been busy changing diapers, watching Dora, and blowing shit up in WoW, so it's not like I have any spare time or anything.

5. Forgive Santa for giving my husband "Guitar Hero II" for Christmas. -- Accidental WIN! Because of (1) WoW and (2) Cupcake. We haven't played "Guitar Hero" in months. Cupcake, on the other hand ...

4. Somehow, some way, forget the words to "Surrender" and "Possum Kingdom." -- Another accidental WIN! Mostly because I haven't listened to much music in the past few months that wasn't written by the Laurie Berkner Band or sung by freaky-ass live-action figurines.

3. Blog more regularly. -- WIN! Now that I have something to blog about.

2. Finish the goddamned novel that I have been writing in my head. -- EPIC FAIL. For now, anyway. I couldn't finish NaNoWriMo, but someday I will write a damn book. It might be a memoir, but it will get written.

1. Live well, laugh often, and love much. Especially myself. -- WORK IN PROGRESS. The living and the laughing and the loving of other people, I can do. Myself, not always so much. But I will continue to work on it.

I'm going to give myself partial credit for that last one, so I completed about 45% of my resolutions for the last year. It's an "F," of course, but all things considered ... I'll take it. I like to set the bar high.

12.29.2008

Baby Boom

Jumping jellyfish, there are babies everywhere these days! Yesterday my grandparents' house was full of them. Not just the Cupcake, either, but also Joey -- and by the way, we got the Cupcake when she was almost a year old, so by then she was already a "big girl," but even so, I can't imagine her ever being as teensy-weensy as Joey is. Holy tomato, he's a little guy! I held him to give him a bottle the other night and it was like he wasn't even there. My mother's handbag easily outweighs him by 10 lbs. And trust me: my mother's handbags are not nearly as cute.

But yesterday the whole gang was at my grandparents', and I do mean The Whole Gang: my mom and dad, my sister and brother-in-law plus Joey, me and G plus Cupcake, my other sister and her fiancé and even the dogs at one point, my Aunt Bet and Uncle Jim plus two of their daughters AND their daughters' boyfriends/fiancés, my Uncle Joe "Quack" and Aunt Sally plus their two kids, my Uncle Ed and Aunt Kathy plus one of their sons, my cousin A.J. and his son, and my cousin Nancy and her husband plus their baby daughter, visiting from Greece. Whew. All in one (pretty small) house. And there were still leftovers afterwards.

It was like going to a bingo -- practically everybody got a baby as a door prize. It was AWESOME. Who doesn't love babies?

12.28.2008

Isn't She Lovely?

My sister and brother-in-law got in yesterday with their delicious baby. (More pics of him to follow, pinky swear.) We did Christmas all over again, exchanging gifts and eating some cookies and having pizza. This was one of the presents for Cupcake from Chicago -- a Little Tikes vanity and stool set* that was picked up for a song at a yard sale. (Yay, environmentally and budgetarily conscious holiday shopping!)



Now -- I know what you're thinking: "But, doesn't this run counter to the whole 'I am not going raise a girlie girl' parenting philosophy?" Yes. Oh yes, it totally does. BUT. Even I recognize that there is nothing wrong with pretend play. She loves the little hair dryer that makes noise and blows the tiniest amount of air. And I recognize that sometimes it's not all about me and what I want. She can be cute and frilly if she wants.

It's the "being spoiled rotten" part we're trying to avoid. Also, the eating of candy all day long even though we're trying to teach sensible eating habits. Although I will be the first to acknowledge that we're getting better with that too.


* This is not the exact item, but it's pretty close. Ours is more pink, as you can see, but they're pretty similar. Also, our batteries are dead, so the vanity doesn't talk, but insofar as I have a pretty strict policy against toys that make noise, I am not so much complaining about that.

12.26.2008

A Day Late

Looks like Vimeo is finally working -- here is the video I wanted to post yesterday. In retrospect, it's probably only interesting to me, but that's no reason why you all shouldn't enjoy anyway:



Merry Christmas again! And, as they said in "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street," oh so many years ago -- keep Christmas with you all through the year.

12.25.2008

Christmas Morning

Merry Christmas everyone! Or Happy Hanukkah, as the case may be! Whatever holiday you are celebrating, I hope you got what you really wanted this year. We did.



Love XOXO, rockle, G & Cupcake.


PS -- There was supposed to be a video but Vimeo is jacked up right now. Maybe later, or tomorrow.

12.22.2008

What Is The Opposite Of Abominable?



Whatever it is, Cupcake is it.

Share The Love

Don't often get political here, but when I do, I want to do it well, and I don't think there is a better way to do it than by linking to this picture. The T-shirt says it all, I think, so no additional comment from me is necessary.

(Although I did really enjoy this comment from one of the posters: "Incandescent happiness - [you're] doing it right.")

12.21.2008

Candy Everybody Wants



Oh yeah, we played in the snow. And, uh, because it needs to be mentioned: my anonymous mother has big balls. Ahem.

12.19.2008

Snow Day

Cupcake spent the day with my sister. They're at my parents', pretty much snowed in. It's raining here, but just 45 miles away they're expecting a total of 3-5 inches. Fun! Not sure what was on the agenda today but it must have been exhausting, because I received this picture from the field:


Photo by Shelleybeans!


I'm jealous. I could totally use a nap. Anyway, we're heading up there to spring her but it's more likely that we're just going to end up sleeping over. Which could be worse, I suppose: it will be a crowded house, but at least we will be surrounded by most of our favorite people.

And possibly there will be French toast in the morning, which is never a bad thing, no matter the price.

12.17.2008

As If I Were Not Already Depressed Enough


Maybe it's time to crawl in a hole and die until Christmas.
Y / N / Abort / Restart ?

Confidential To My Sister Who Is Half A World Away In Chicago Which Might As Well Be Another Damn Planet ...

... I am listening to "Christmas Eve on Sesame Street" on my iPod, and I remember all the cracks and skips in the record which transferred over to the digital recording, and I remember all the times we played this record to put the cracks and skips there, and I still remember every single one of the words ...

... and I am crying, because I miss you.

12.16.2008

Pointless Update

An useless little addendum to a post from earlier in the week which you are more than completely free to ignore if you want. I was reminded by my mother, "Anonymous," that it is important for me to remember, with nine days to go until The Big Day, that I already got what I wanted for Christmas. No, not the iPhone (squeeeee!) -- the Cupcake. And when you actually get what you want and what you need, then it is time to quote another prophet, and remember that "all you need is love."

Yeah, I know, this post sucks. But I'm going home soon to play with my new toy some more and maybe I'll get another cool picture. Or mess around with Shazam, which is easily the coolest set of 0's and 1's ever strung together. You go follow your own bliss now, k?

12.15.2008

iPhone iFirst iPhoto



Sad but true fact: this is one of the first pictures I took with my Christmas present, an iPhone. Less than two seconds, with no special light settings or enhancements or anything. I think that, for a throwaway snapshot, this one is pretty damn good.

Which means either (1) my regular camera is junk or (2) I am a terrible photographer or (3) how in the holy hell did I live without this thing for so long? (The iPhone, not the tree.)

Don't Panic

I realize that my last post was kind of a downer -- sorry. We're all still alive, just so you know. I didn't go postal and I didn't get all Sylvia Plath. Not that I have not had my moments, but maybe the best thing about being in and out of therapy for 20 years is that you learn to appreciate the value of the old adage: "This, too, shall pass."

Here. Have a picture of my kid. It's not good, but it's cute, and considering the eleven kinds of hell we went through to get this far -- WHY WON'T YOU JUST SIT STILL FOR 10 SECONDS SO WE CAN TAKE YOUR DAMN PICTURE FOR THE CALENDAR, OH MY GOD YOU LITTLE BOOGER! -- well, at least she's smiling.



12.12.2008

Bah Humbug

This is the part of the holiday seasons that makes me batshit butternuts crazy and drives me half to drink and causes me to lose sleep and sometimes laugh out loud to the point of tears at possibly unfunny totally random shit that I read on other people's blogs. (Or maybe it's funny, I don't know, I'm not a nurse and I don't play one on TV. What-the-fuck-ever. MOVING ON!)

I call this time "The Doldrums," or perhaps "The Humdrums," or if I am feeling especially belligerent and self-lothing, "The Dum-dums." In any event, it is the time between St. Nick's and Christmas, that two weeks or so where nothing is necessarily happening except that the list of unfinished holiday-related bullshit lengthens as the number of hours of daylight shortens.

The older I get, the less I feel like dealing with this crap. And of course some of the drama is of my own making, which only exacerbates the problem. For example, every year I ask myself: 70 Christmas cards? Really? How do we even fucking KNOW this many goddamn people? And not even half of them send us cards, so why do we continue to bother?

And the answer, of course, is that these people are our friends and family and if we don't send Christmas cards, hand signed and hand addressed and hand stamped, if we don't do this, then I will be completely consumed with Catholic guilt and I will die of shame and my husband will never be able to show his face in public again because of my failure in my wifely duties.

Yes, yes, I know -- I bring this on myself. Christmas is only one day out of the year, and it's not supposed to be about presents or obligations, but about families and togetherness and celebrations of joy. I know all this. But the expectations! Everybody expects something, even me, and we feel put out and let down if these expectations are not met.

I wish I could turn it off, all of it. Turn off the lights tonight and wake up tomorrow and it will magically be Christmas. Cupcake will open her presents and G will open his and I will open mine and we will eat something, maybe some French toast and sausage, and then we will go back to bed and everything will be over. Done, until next year when it starts all over again.

So ... yeah, I'm depressed. It's the holidays. It happens. Never mind me. I'll just sing "Put a Little Love in Your Heart" over and over again, maybe read some Robert Fulghum books, and soon enough I will be done being Scrooge and I can go back to being me again. Not that being "me" is all that much better. But still.

12.10.2008

Winter Wonderland



From the Christmas party that was thrown by our foster-adoption agency at a twee little local Catholic college. Notre Dame, that joint isn't, nor is it particularly high-budget. I do love me some paper snowflakes, though. Although these could use a little glitter or something.

The original is in my Flickr photostream, which you can get to by clicking on this pic. I love playing around with their Picnik photo editing tool, because I am a Luddite who can't manage Photoshop. Just in case you haven't noticed, I love their "soften" effect, which makes it look like I smeared the camera with Vaseline, like my kid is Joan Crawford or Rita Hayworth or something.

Not much going on -- was sick today, and took some naps, and mostly marinated in my misery, since this is my least favorite time of the year. I am working on an explanation, but it won't have pictures, and I know that's what you people are after. So I farted around with this one so I don't get nagged into an early grave. JAIME.

12.09.2008

So Big



This is a picture of Cupcake after she climbed into her toy doll stroller, all by herself, and managed to get herself stuck. What's funny about this isn't that it happened at all, but that it's already happened more than once. Kids. Heh.

12.06.2008

Um, The HELL?

No pix yet, sorry. The Cupcake Cam shots from the Christmas party the other night are all awful: she's either crying (Santa) or crazy-eyed (pony). Trying for better shots today at the Legion shindig.

Also, confidential to my sister / babysitter: WTF happened last night? Did the cats give you any trouble? It smells like they threw a kegger in the basement. Good Lord.

12.05.2008

Cupcake Update

(1) Went to a party last Saturday night, didn't get la -- wait. WRONG STORY. Went to a party last night, and discovered that Cupcake will do whatever she can to smuggle ponies home from the circus, but she is terrified of Santa Claus. Maybe it's because the role of "Santa" was played by an unfortunate-looking halitosis-afflicted undergrad at a weensy little Catholic liberal arts college, or maybe it's just because it is kind of creepy to sit on a strange man's lap. Unless you're into that sort of thing. Or you work at Scores. In any case, I figure that once Cupcake makes the connection that Santa Claus equals presents, she'll be all right with it.

(2) Yesterday I discovered that Cupcake knows what a pigeon is, and can pick one of when there are several birds sitting on a telephone wire on my car, obviously plotting how they can cover the maximum square footage of Volkswagen with poop by doing the minimum amount of work. "Look, Mommy, pigeon!" It kind of freaks me out a little when she speaks in discernible words and complete sentences. Although it is reassuring that she will probably never qualify for a role on Rock of Love since she is already functionally literate.

(3) Company Christmas party tonight! Whee! That has nothing to do with Cupcake, but if you get drunk-dialled tonight, now you know why.

Hope to post assorted pics over the weekend. Peace out.

12.03.2008

And Now For Something Completely Different

Five totally random things that I love about the holiday season that have absolutely bugger-all to do with presents:

1. Clementines. Also called "Algerian tangerines," which sounds so sexy and exotic, doesn't it? There is something so right and perfect about these bright and happy oranges in the wintertime, and especially around Christmas when the nights are at their longest and the little bit of remaining daylight is consumed by stress, fatigue, ennui, and (in my case anyway) the annual bout of seasonal depression. They are easy to peel, easier to snarf down, and I have yet to meet a person who doesn't like them. Even the smell of them is cheery. When I pack my lunches I need to limit myself to only two per day, or I would finish the whole box before I got a single present wrapped.

2. "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits -- the complete 8:26 full-length version. This is a song that I came to adore later in life than I should have; for years, I claimed to "hate" this song because of the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards, where this video beat out a-ha's "Take On Me" for Video of the Year. I still contend that the latter video is far superior, but I'd have to (continue to) be an asshole to insist that Knopfler's song isn't infinitely better. Plus, it was parodied by Weird Al, so you know it's good. This song is the perfect antidote for those all-holiday-music-all-the-time radio stations, especially when the stereo is turned up to 11.

3. The smell of snow. I am not a big fan of driving in inclement weather, but after a lifetime of living in the Northeast and especially after four winters in Syracuse, I have learned to love it when the afternoons get cold and the skies turn that particular shade of grey and the air smells clean and frosty. If you close your eyes tight and pay special attention, you can also detect the slightest aroma of rich hot chocolate with extra milk and lots of Marshmallow Fluff and maybe some freshly-baked snickerdoodles. Or maybe that's just me.

4. Old holiday movies on cable. Blasphemer though I may be, I have never been a fan of "It's a Wonderful Life" (face it, Capra was the U.S.'s answer to Leni Riefenstahl, and Riefenstahl was better at her job), but I am apparently genetically programmed to be unable to turn off "A Christmas Story" or "A Muppet Christmas Carol" or "White Christmas" if I come across them. Same with the new classics that I associate with Christmas lately: "Bridget Jones's Diary" and especially "Love Actually."

5. Christmas cards. Love to get them, but I love to send them, too. Even though I usually send out about 850 squillion every year, it is still one of my favorite things to do to prepare for the holidays. Sometimes it takes months to find the perfect cards, sometimes only seconds, but it really is one of my favorite things to do in December. Because I am some kind of masochist or something.

12.01.2008

Tree 2008

Attention, ladies and gentlemen -- praise the Lord, for the goddamn tree is done. Alert the media, and then send liquor. Lots and lots of liquor.



A few things I have learned about doing up a tree this year: don't do it with a toddler around. Wait until they're in bed or with grandma or off to college, because if you think that getting your tree done right is hard when it's just the two of you and some cats ... well, imagine that multiplied by about 1,000. And then add in some whining and some "Blue's Clues." And did I mention please send liquor?

Another thing is: I always, ALWAYS, buy too many lights. I don't know where I come up with my lightage calculations, but they're just flat-out wrong. We had to buy new everythings this year because when we cleaned out Cupcake's room we misplaced half our lives. I had some really nice gold star ornaments from the year we got married -- gone without a trace. Awesome (and highly coveted) frosted globe lights -- missing in action. Poof! I thought some stuff was in my parents' garage, but apparently they were only able to find my Easter lights (LOL WUT?) ... which, if I recall correctly, were in a box labeled "Halloween" (WTF?!?).

So, anyway, the details: Fraser fir, approximately 7½' tall, fresh cut. "Vintage" cast iron stand (which means "I don't remember when we bought it"). Two strings of clear 100-count mini lights and two strings of clear 70-count globe lights. Six gold-and-silver 8-point star ornaments, six gold-and-silver pointed-oval-shaped finial ornaments, six gold balls (three shiny and three frosted), six silver balls (three shiny and three frosted), two jingle acorns, one gold apple and one gold pear. We used gold and silver scroll ornament hangers and everything is plugged into a green indoor extension cord. No partridge, sorry!

No tree topper -- not yet anyway -- because the one we bought was multicolored (scandal! vomit! seizures!) and was therefore promptly returned. Don't know that one is really necessary, but I will keep my eyes out for a nice one anyway. Hello, Martha Stewart complex! I also bought three extra strings of clear 100-count lights which are going back. Because AH MAH GAH, did I think I was lighting Rockefeller Center, or what?


Tree, lights, star ornaments, finial ornaments, ornament hangers all from Lowe's. Balls from Wal-Mart. Fruit ornaments, acorns, tree stand all from private collection (read: rockle's basement).

11.30.2008

Weekend Update

OMG ... was this the longest weekend ever, or does it just feel like it? Four days off and NOTHING done, except a batch of St. Nick presents and one Xmas gift wrapped. Sheesh. I feel like we never stop around here, and we never sleep, and OF COURSE I dropped Ben Roethlisberger from my fantasy football team because hey, why not? Dumbass. Me, but also him, sometimes.

Anyway: Thanksgiving is officially over and the Christmas rush begins. We got a tree but lost all our decorations, which totally figures and is totally typical for us. Need lights, need ornament hangers, need a tree topper that doesn't blink in Technicolor, need time to get everything together. And I already know THAT isn't going to happen.

Fell asleep in the recliner at my grandparents' today. Apparently this amused my father. Don't know why, but glad I can spread a little joy from time to time. Cupcake passed out asleep as soon as we got her in the car, because she refused to take a nap. Good luck tomorrow, Miss Jeni! Going to finish a Warcraft daily, and then I am taking a Benadryl and calling it a life.

11.29.2008

Rita Hayworth


You might have noticed that we cannot seem to get a "normal" picture of the Cupcake. Either she's being goofy and making faces or being goofy and running away. Just the other day we tried to catch her just sitting on the couch in her elephant pajamas and she POSED for us -- head back, shoulder positioned just so, like a glamour shot from the olden days. Our own little Rita Hayworth, without the red hair. Perhaps I will start calling her Gilda. (Why not? We already call her every other nickname we can think of.)

11.28.2008

Juke Box Hero

Before Thanksgiving dinner, we were all hanging out at my uncle's house. In the basement there is an Xbox and, because my uncle's kids are (a) boys and (2) dorks, OF COURSE there is Guitar Hero. And Cupcake was ALL OVER that mess. She walked right up to Mikey while he was playing some Aerosmith song, pointed at the guitar, and said, clear as day and right as rain, "ROCK."


Ladies and gentlemen, please meet the Next Big Thing In Rock 'n' Roll. No autographs, please.

11.27.2008

Thanksgiving

A very short list of the things I am most thankful for today:

1. Everything
2. ???
3. Profit!

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Seriously, though, I am thankful. I am able to do this -- not just this blog, but this whole life -- because of certain things, certain choices, certain opportunities, certain people that I have had that many others didn't.

I have a wonderful family -- even the batshit crazy ones -- who have supported me in everything -- even the batshit crazy stuff. We may drive each other crazy often and even hate each other sometimes, but it's really because we love each other so very much.

We have our jobs, our cars, our house, our stuff. We have all of what we need and most of what we want, enough even that we can share with others who have less. Maybe we can't give everybody everything, but we can at least make sure they always have tomato soup.

So, whatever else, I am grateful.

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i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
wich is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday;this is the birth
day of life and love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)
-- e. e. cummings

11.26.2008

Home Movies: Take One

So, this is our first attempt with the new video camera. The deets on the machine: picked it up today for $90 at Walgreen's. Just a basic pocket-sized digital video recorder. Runs on 2 AA batteries, with a USB cord to connect it to the computer. Looks like everything is in .wmv format, or at least a format compatible with Windows Media Player.

There is a light on it, so hopefully future movies will not be so dark. The lighting in our house is kind of sparse -- we don't use a lot of lights, and almost everything is "room lighting" as opposed to table or floor lamps. We're working on our technique; the camera allegedly has image stabilization, but I haven't figure it out yet. Also, the zoom is not very smooth. And I need to shut up so that I am not the loudest thing in the movie.



So, basically, a $120k college degree in Television nets you ... a pretty standard home movie. Bad camera work, unfortunate angles, hideous sound. We're working on it. (I was always best in the editing room anyway.) Although if I must say, our movies are going to be better than most because my God just look at that kid.

See? I Told You

This is not my actual blog post for today -- at least I don't think so; I expect there will be more later, when I go home and play with my new video camera that I bought at Walgreen's for cheap -- but I know there are some Skeptics among you out there who question my reasoning for not giving Cupcake too much junk food even though I, myself, need a 12-step, 28-day, inpatient program to deal with my Mountain Dew and/or World of Warcraft problems. Here is an excellent example of what we are trying to avoid, from over at Her Bad Mother. Choice quote:

We tried to intervene, appropriating her smack bag and only allowing her to select a few choice pieces, but it was too late. She happily traded most of the contents of the bag for a new toy, but we discovered the next day, and over subsequent days, that she had performed some sleight of hand and purloined a sizable quantity of candy from the bag before it was removed, a stash that she then divided and tucked into Ziploc bags and squirreled away in hiding places (the oven of her toy kitchen, her sock drawer, a toy suitcase, her backpack) around the house. We would stumble across remnants of her stash while tidying, or discover her under the blankets at bedtime, furiously working the wrapper of a lollipop.

That -- that right there! -- is exactly why we don't give her fudge and cheese curls for lunch, and why we treat applesauce and five Teddy Grahams as a suitable dessert. I gave her a Candy Cane Creme Oreo the other night, a whole one, and it took us almost an hour afterwards to get her to bed. I'm handful already, just by myself; you think G needs this extra crap from her too?

11.25.2008

I Believe I Can Fly

There are two days, sometime in the future of raising the Cupcake, that I dread very much and hope I can put off as long as possible.

One of these is the day that she realizes that Mommy isn't kidding when she says that she has been researching convents -- especially because I caught her being all Mickey-Make-Out with one of the boys at school this morning. (OK, technically I told her to hug him, but I did not expect there to be KISSING.)

The other day? Is the day that she find out that Mommy is big chickenshit who hates heights and roller coasters and who is going to sit on this bench over here and take pictures while you and Daddy go on the Super Turbo Upside Down Mobile ride, OK? Because she's going to laugh at me, and I don't look forward to that.

11.24.2008

Happy Happy Happy



This is the picture I was originally going to post yesterday until Cupcake developed her weird obsession with that damned wristband (which she is still wearing -- I have no idea). I took this picture at my grandparents' house on Saturday while Cupcake was running around being a big ol' sillypants. It's so much fun to watch -- she just does laps around the living and dining rooms, randomly stopping to hug and kiss whoever is there, and using her special toddler calculus to decide who's going to get a (conveniently pre-bitten) pretzel out of the giant Utz tub.

Have I mentioned that my kid is awesome?

11.23.2008

Wristery Mystery

This is a terrible picture and not at all what I expected to be writing about today, but this photo intrigues me because I just don't understand it, and I took the damn thing. Why? Of all the toys and clothes and whatevers in the entire house, why did she choose this hideous, ridiculous wristband that was part of my 2007 Aaron Rowand Halloween costume? Why? She wouldn't let us take it or even touch it -- she just put it on and wandered all over the house fiddling with it. Like it was her Precious, and she was Smeagol.



Honest to God, if I didn't know this was just Cupcake being Cupcake, I would have sworn she was getting one of those wackadoodle Nomar Garciaparra superstitious batter's box tics or something. It was truly bizarre.

Any suggestions as to what, exactly, was going on here?

11.22.2008

Happy Caturday

Today was a good day with nothing to report. Was cold and clear, and we had a great time hanging with the folks. I took some pictures but I haven't had time to sort through them yet -- I promise there will be at least one tomorrow.

Two quick things before I go to bed (yes, really):

1. Nothing in the world -- nothing -- is cuter than a happy little girl in a bright green hoodie running around, laughing and loving everyone around her. Even if her hair looks like a wrecked-up ghetto mess because her mother is hairdo deficient.

2. Stolen naps, taken on the couch while your husband and toddler are in the back bedroom wearing each other out, are absolutely the best things ever. They're even better if you can manage to conk out to the sounds of college football, and if you wake up to the smell of hamburger stew wafting in from the kitchen. Grandmothers for the win!

11.21.2008

Recipe: Pumpkin Dip

Or, if you prefer, "Pumpkin Mousse" or "Pumpkinny Stuff That You Can Eat Right Out Of The Bowl With A Spoon." A nice, sweet little dessert or snack that is quick, easy, and oh so tasty. Perfect at this time of year as an alternative to pumpkin pie. And did I mention good enough to eat right out of the bowl with a spoon? But use a little spoon, don't be greedy. (This recipe originally came from somewhere, I don't know where, but I modified it a little bit anyway. Of course.)
Pumpkin Dip

15 ounce can pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
5 ounce package instant vanilla pudding mix
1½ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or more, to taste)
16 ounces Cool Whip, thawed

In a large mixing bowl, beat pumpkin, pudding mix, and spices on low speed (or by hand) until thoroughly blended. Add Cool Whip, gradually increasing mixer speed. Beat on medium-high for about 1 minute or until evenly mixed and fluffy. Fold into serving bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour before serving.
I served this at a pot luck with ginger snaps and graham crackers (when I wasn't heaping gobs of it into a cup and eating it with a spoon). You can use fancier cookies if you want, but these worked just fine. Lorna Doones would probably be tasty (but they never stick around long enough in my house to be dipped into anything).

This recipe makes about 6 cups of dip. If you want, you can divide this and freeze half for up to a month: put into a lidded freezable container, cover with plastic wrap (make sure the plastic touches the top of the dip to make a good seal when you cover), and then cover with the lid. Otherwise, this keeps for about 5 days (unless you eat it right ... oh never mind).

(No pictures, because we have access to plenty of spoons at work.)

11.20.2008

Small Appliances FTW

This, right here, is reason #5,368,492 why I must -- MUST! -- get my grubby little mitts on a Roomba as soon as possible:

(Found at icanhascheezburger, where else?)

11.19.2008

Mick Jagger, Prophet

Something kind of monumental happened to me today, something I think is worth mentioning, so here it is: for the first time in literally as long as I can remember, I found out that someone I know is going to have a baby, and I didn't immediately collapse into a blubbering, self-pitying mass of tears and anguish.

It sounds very emo, that last statement, but it is in fact the truth. I can't remember when it started, this desperate need to have a child "of my own," but yet here it is. My biological clock has been ticking since I found out I had one, I guess, and it has affected me in ways I have never really been prepared to deal with.

And since we got married almost ten years ago, I have been to A LOT of baby showers. I must have gone to two or three dozen showers since we started trying to have a baby, and that was only about 5 years ago now. Everybody and their sisters have been having babies -- even couples who hadn't yet met when I took my first dose of Clomid have a rugrat or two already.

We both sort of suspected that it was going to be difficult for us if we didn't get pregnant right away, although we never really talked about it. Fact is, I think I knew it even before then -- my cycles were never regular, never normal, never predictable. It's the reason why I started on the Pill in the first place, so I could expect and control what was so natural for everyone else.

Fast-forward what feels like a million years, and we got The Call about The Placement of The Cupcake. Our lives have been so ordinary since then, and yet so extraordinary in so many ways. We have been given the most awesome gift ever: OUR BABY. Not in the way either of us expected, perhaps, but nonetheless, she is ours now, for as long as she will have us.

But in the meantime, real life has happened to other people. I never said this before, and I never talked about it before, but I almost died a thousand deaths when I found out, right around Christmas last year, that my sister had been pregnant before her car accident. I don't know that I ever adequately expressed my condolences to her, because I was dealing with grief of my own.

How could she do this to me? How? Why couldn't she just wait? Just a little longer? What was her hurry? She's only married two years, she's only 30, what's the rush? Why? How? Didn't she know what a great betrayal this was to me? Why did she always have to be first in everything? When was I going to get a chance to be Number One for a change?

It was all about me, of course, which is stupid and selfish and plain wrong. So, so wrong. And I know she is reading this, and -- I am so much more than sorry. But I was angry, and if I learned anything in my 20-odd years of on-again-off-again therapy, it is that anger comes from pain. I was feeling such pain then. We had just been denied a foster placement, and I felt we were running out of time and hope and opportunities.

Of course we now know how this story ends, or at least where it goes from there. We have the Cupcake, and she has Joey, who is the second most awesome and delicious baby in the whole wide world. There hasn't been much time in the last nine months for us to worry about what isn't -- we are far too busy enjoying what is, what is ours, right there, right now.

I shouldn't be surprised that I have been changed by this whole Great Parenting Experiment. Lots of people have told me that being a mother makes you a better version of yourself. Maybe that isn't what astonishes me so much. Maybe it is something else, something I never really thought about before, because I was too busy being a cynical, self-absorbed wretch:

You can't always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find that you get what you need.

11.18.2008

News at Eleven

I really have nothing going on right now. Seriously. It's weird. Normally on a day absent drama I can manufacture some, but I just don't have the energy or the wherewithal right now. Perhaps that is news, or perhaps not. I don't know.

I mean, everything is the same and nothing is different. My job still bores me to tears many days even though I love it. World of Warcraft still holds more of my attention than it ought. The holiday shopping is still not done, although I am getting little things here and there, in fits and spurts, but I'm surprisingly Zen about it this year. Like, whatever, it will get done when it gets done. We had snow flurries earlier today, and they are calling for a chance of snow showers for tomorrow.

If I didn't know better I would say that I am right about to hit the Holiday Funk, and that it would be time to bust open the recreational pharmaceuticals (by which I mean Claritin, Tylenol PM, and some old Prozac that I never finished and which is probably expired anyway), but this?

Gigglefits
This makes me so, so happy to be alive.

11.17.2008

Big Fat Awesome Nothing

Something funny should appear here. Or something witty, at least. Or mildly snarky. But I got nothin'. Today was just ... a day. No serious catastrophes or major calamities, and no real excitement, either. Just one of those days that are, when you have stuff to do and you get it done, or you don't have anything to do and you don't get that done either. There were some tears but mostly laughter, kisses and huggles.

And life is good.

11.16.2008

Shenanigans

We don't always allow Cupcake to have sweets, so when she gets them, it's kind of a big deal. Not to us -- I mean, we just don't let her have them. She gets Teddy Grahams and animal crackers and the occasional Ritz Bit, but her meals usually end with fruit of some kind or, if we're being really indulgent, some Jell-O. We're trying to teach good eating habits, you know?

So when she is around my parents and there is a special occasion, sometimes they let her overindulge a little bit. Or at least get up to no good.

11.15.2008

Family Time

Been a busy day. Hanging out with my sister, parents, and grandparents, watching some football and eating some pretzels and most definitely NOT taking a nap. Been eleventy kinds of awesome. Weather stinks, but we're having a good time. You should be here.

11.14.2008

Breakfast of Champions

We recently got some new furniture for Cupcake -- a little toddler table and chair, so she can draw, read, etc. An unintended benefit is that we can reinforce the self-feeding that they do at school. Now, we just put the food in front of her, and she dives right in and feeds herself.


Top by Okie Dokie @ JCPenney - $9.99
Table and chair from "Gulliver" collection @ IKEA - $24.99 and $14.99
Placemat, sippee cup and bowl from private collection

11.13.2008

Long Strange Trip

Jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, I have been awake for a looooooooooong time. Got up at 4:30, snoozed, got to work at 5:30, farmed the cubicle wastelands, then had an adoption class, which was kind of OK, but it ran late. We are just now getting home and before I shuffle off to bed, possibly to keel over from exhuastion, I have to start installing my Wrath of the Lich King expansion, because: DUH.

So a couple of random observations:
  • Didn't the Italian Chicken Sandwich at Burger King go away for a while, and then come back? I remember getting it in the 80's, possibly up until the early 90's, and then it like disappeared or something. Now it's back. Had one for dinner. It was good, but of course Chicken Parm from a divey sort of local pizza joint is always better. (Hello, Frank's!)
  • And didn't there used to be a French Chicken Sandwich, that was kind of like Cordon Bleu, with Swiss cheese and ham? Or am I just making shit up again?
  • According to my sister-slash-babysitter, she has seen my house more times this week alone than she has in the almost 5 years I have lived here. I have no reason to doubt her; it's just one of those things.
  • Anything will pass for a blog post when it's 10:30 and you're tired and you're trying to get in under the deadline.

11.12.2008

Crazy Hair


I was going to blog about something else today -- no, I don't remember what, and I can't promise it wasn't World of Warcraft -- but then G sent me these pictures and I had to publish them instead.

Today was "Crazy Hair Day" at school and since there are only three little girls in the Toddler Room (Cupcake's class), the teachers redid all their hair. Here is what Cupcake ended up with. This is waaaaaaaaay better than what I sent her to school with -- four sad little piggies, crooked and uneven and pathetic -- and I think it's adorable.

Of course ... tonight is bath night, and those ponytail holders? Are going to be a ROYAL BITCH to undo.

11.11.2008

Wheels on the Bus

Not a lot going on today unless you count MY COMPLETE AND UTTER INABILITY TO PLAY WORLD OF WARCRAFT WITH ONLY TWO DAYS TO GO UNTIL THE EXPANSION THANK YOU VERY MUCH BLIZZARD YOU BASTARDS, so here is a video of Cupcake. Sorry for the poor lighting and bad singing but we are a decidedly low-budget operation around here.



Now I double-dog-dare you to get that song out of your head. You're welcome.

11.10.2008

Epic Fail

So, I've given up on "winning" NaNoWriMo this year. Or maybe any year, but mostly this year. You may have noticed that the little picture is missing from the sidebar, or maybe you haven't. I don't particularly care one way or the other, which is kind of how I got myself into this mess.

I thought it would be a good idea -- and I still totally do, only it's not a good idea for me. For other people, definitely. In the beginning I thought there was some hope. The purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days, which comes out to about a 175-page novel. Not necessarily supposed to be good, just complete.

For the first three days I was very diligent, and I got to 5,208 words, or roughly 10% of the way through. About what you'd expect. And ... then the election happened, and then something else, and then I dinged 70 on my Mage, and then I got caught up in that one episode of that show with the thing, and then I realized I was bored, and then I got to this point, which is where I give the hell up, call myself a loser, and never think of this again.

On the plus side: now nobody is ever going to have to read my novel where a character based more or less loosely on myself drives a car into the "Weston-Peterborough" bonfire and almost burns down the high school. Because believe me: it was going to be stupid. No sex, no good drugs, and very little rock and roll.

11.09.2008

Pardon The Interruption

I was going to write something that I thought was witty and awesome for this blog post but I just haven't the time, so screw it. We're trying to clean the entire house in like two hours, and do you have ANY IDEA how hard it is to straighten up when you normally live in toddler-induced squalor? And I can't even FIND all my vacuum cleaner parts because Cupcake likes to play with them -- just a few minutes ago she was running around the living room using one of the tubes as a horn.

So, here: enjoy instead this picture of the world's cutest socks, on the world's cutest piggies. But do not try to nom them, for they are mine, all mine:

Garfield Socks

11.08.2008

Absentee Parenting

We need to have a talk about Dora the Explorer and what, exactly, is going on with those parents of hers.

Cupcake loves Dora the Explorer, and it's one of the shows we keep a constant stash of on the TiVo. "Doree!" gets played in pretty heavy rotation, along with Pinky Dinky Doo, Blue's Clues, and when I am in charge of the remote, Yo Gabba Gabba!

(Before you say a word: Yes, I know we watch a lot of TV in our house. But at least we are watch mostly age-appropriate, educational television. It's not like we watch CSI: or Dirty Sexy Money or Two and a Half Men with her. Not often, anyway. And anyway, Pinky kicks ass. Don't you judge me.)

I'm not 100% sure, but I think Dora is Cupcake's favorite show. There's always singing and music and exciting adventures and monkeys who wear boots but not pants -- which, actually, is a large part of the problem.

Dora is always off solving things by herself. I mean, I understand that toddlers can be fiercely independent, but ... helping baby fish trapped in tide pools? Searching for toy fire trucks on the tops of mountains? Delivering presents to Santa at the North Pole? The hell? Who lets toddlers do that by themselves?

"But she isn't by herself," you're saying. You're right, of course: she is getting help from an obnoxious singing map, some kind of creepy magical backpack that can hold entire frickin' space suits, and the pervert monkey. Plus whoever Dora meets along the way, like crabs, bears, lions, dinosaurs, most species in the weasel family, and a Big Red Chicken.

Know what's missing in all of Dora's adventures? COMPETENT ADULT SUPERVISION. I hate to be so literal about a children's show -- especially when Yo Gabba Gabba! doesn't bother me at all, and it totally should -- but WHERE IN THE HELL ARE DORA'S PARENTS? Why is this poor cute little girl wearing a mismatched outfit and an ill-fitting shirt, and tramping all over land, sea, and space without any adults to keep an eye on her?

And why the hell doesn't she have a GPS in her backpack? She's got every damn thing else.

11.07.2008

Chinese Food



I was going to write today about my stupid nerd-tastic life and how I'm going through all this Guild drama in World of Warcraft and it's really upsetting me and giving me heartburn and heartache and woe is me ... and then I got a migraine and wanted to come home and die in my own bed. So I did.

And then when I rose from the dead, I was S-T-A-R-V-I-N-G. Like, I could eat a WHOLE ENTIRE MONKEY and maybe a 2-liter of Mountain Dew levels of starving. And then my husband said the most beautiful words in the history of the Universe, to wit: "How about Chinese for dinner?" And I fell in love with him all over again.

I can't remember the last time we had Chinese food for supper. Been a while, maybe a month or so. Last time Cupcake was not quite feeding herself all the way, so we gave her some finger foods to eat, slipped a couple of lo mein noodles on her plate, and called it a night.

Today G got his usual and Cupcake and I shared an order of chicken and broccoli. She LOVED it, which was very reassuring. She ate the broccoli crowns right up, tried to shove a whole wad of chicken into her mouth, nommed the rice -- she even tried some of my fried dumplings and egg roll.

Good God in heaven, a toddler who eats Chinese food with reckless abandon? I LOVE THIS KID. (Although, after eating cabbage, broccoli, and hoisin sauce? G is going to be on diaper duty tonight.)

11.06.2008

"Is the view pretty good from the cheap seats, A.J.?"

I've blogged about it before, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that I work with some seriously messed-up people. And I work in the "Philadelphia suburbs," an area that is generally strongly conservative, so you can probably imagine that a lot of the hope and the joy and the excitement that I am feeling has been dampened somewhat by these miserable, self-absorbed fucktards.

Example: Whenever a certain somebody who shall at this time remain nameless but I might get around to identifying them later has to do something they don't feel like doing, like say their job, they've taken to plastering on a fake grin and saying "Yes I Can!" by which they mean "Yes I Can Just Tell You To Fuck Right Off Now!"

No real sense of civic responsibility, that one.

So anyway, there has been a lot of talk around here for the past few days over "communist this" and "collective that" and "the people have spoken" and I really want to get in some people's faces and be all "YES WE HAVE, MOTHERFUCKER!" but I don't feel like being fired right now. So I just stay here in my hole and look at the HOPE poster and feel proud for a damn change.

I just don't understand what people are so bitter about. I was torqued as all hell when W stole the 2000 election -- and, yes, I believe he cheated, and I will never be convinced otherwise, so please don't bother -- and I was doubly pissed when he was re-elected in 2004. But I was never angry at the people who voted for him. Confused, yes, disappointed, perhaps, but never angry.

Tonight, I think, or maybe this weekend when I have a minute, I am going to watch The American President for the 800,000th time, and I am going to re-memorize the Big Speech, and on Monday morning I am going to stand in the courtyard outside my building and shout it to everyone passing:
America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. ... You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free." ...We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, [the Republican Party] is not the least bit interested in solving it. [They are] interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it.
This kind of defensiveness is directly contrary to what President Obama, my President, our President, right now the whole world's President, has asked me to do. Senator McCain, too. I should be rolling up my sleeves, getting my hands dirty, digging in. But why do I feel so often like I am one of the few? Why are so many people, already, trying to hide the shovel?

Look, I don't expect anything to be easy for the next four years, and possibly more. I didn't vote for Obama because I had any kind of expectation that he would snap his fingers and solve my problems and suddenly make me anything I am not already. Everything I am, I was before this election, and I will continue to be, even after we have elected someone else.

I guess what I don't get is, why do so many people who oppose him do it simply because they do not understand him? And why are they proud of that? Where is the failure in trying to be different? We have the technology, we can make it better. YES WE CAN.

11.05.2008

IM's from the Edge

(These are some actual text messages that I sent and/or received last night while pretending to play World of Warcraft. I was actually watching election results on the Internet, with like 9 Firefox tabs open at once. I saw red and blue maps of the U.S. in my sleep last night, what little there was, and at one point I swear to God I dreamed that Shepard Smith (!) and Soledad O'Brien (?!) were arguing over who was getting the electoral votes from which part of the Moon. If this does not prove that there are harmful chemicals and pharmaceutical residues in our public water system, nothing does.)


To Shellybeans! 22:04 - I want to kiss the entire state of Iowa. Even the pigs. With or without lipstick.
From Shellybeans! 22:05 - You are not right ... what is wrong with you?
To Shellybeans! 22:07 - I am not sure. I blame the [family] genes. Them bitches is keerayzee.
From Shellybeans! 22:08 - Joe wants to know if you ate lead based paint chips
To Shellybeans! 22:12 - Not recently. Are they tastier than pizza bites?
From Shellybeans! 22:15 - Joe said yes and good if microwave them
To Shellybeans! 22:16 - Good to know!
From Shellybeans! 22:39 - Grrr
From Shellybeans! 22:40 - McCain just got 3 more votes
To Shellybeans! 22:49 - It's Nebraska. They husk corn there. They're dumb [badword]s.
From Shellybeans! 22:49 - The suspense is killing me
From Shellybeans! 22:50 - Not all corn huskers husk corn
To Shellybeans! 22:52 - Well then those guys are really dumb [badword]s. Or communists. Wait, I'm a communist. They're just dumb.
From Shellybeans! 22:53 - Joe said they are communists
From Shellybeans! 23:07 - Are you dead
To Shellybeans! 23:08 - PINKO COMMIE LIBERALS FTW!
From Shellybeans! 23:09 - Oye vey

America The Beautiful

I am listening to our President-elect speak right now, and I have never, ever, not once in my life, been so proud to be a part of something bigger than myself. These people in Grant Park -- they are America the Beautiful. I am one of them. "This is our moment. This is our time." Yes we can. And we did. And we will.

(And later I will post some of the batshit crazy text messages I shared with my sister while we were waiting for the results. But not now, because I am crying. I am going to go grab my daughter and hold her and tell her that she can be anything she wants to be, and it will be the God's honest truth. Yes we can, baby girl. Yes we can.)

11.04.2008

Si Se Puede

We went. We voted. We now hold our breath.

Unlike other people who went to vote very early this morning, when the polls first opened, we did not have any line at ~4:00 pm. I heard stories of people arriving at 6:45 am and being #25 and higher in line. No such problem for us: there were only three voters at the church where we cast our ballots. There were literally three times as many campaign workers as voters there, including that evil bitch of a Judge of Elections whom I have had to report AGAIN to the County.

Note to E.B.o.a.J.o.E.: You were elected to this position, which means you ran for it. If you hate dealing with people, and especially with voters, as you obviously do, then why do you keep running? You suck at this job, anyway. I let the County know about your McCain/Palin pin, even though the place was wallpapered with anti-electioneering notices. You ignorant slut. And I don't mean that in an affectionate way, either. Also -- laughing at people who are clearly uniformed about the electoral process? Isn't going to make them want to vote again. Although since you're clearly a partisan, and not on my side, that's probably what you're aiming for, anyway. Stupid whore.

Anyway ... now we wait until 7:00, when the news starts covering the results and the Earth potentially crashes into the sun. It's been nice knowing you all, just in case. And I feel very good knowing that, if the Rapture comes tonight, I will be sent off to my own particular hereafter after I let my toddler push the "CAST VOTE" button on my voting machine.

IT WAS AWESOME.


(Thanks to the Obama campaign worker who snapped this pic for us. I am glad you liked Cupcake's shirt.)

11.03.2008

Halloween



We did not go trick-or-treating in the traditional sense on Halloween night, or even at all, if you want to be honest. (I believe we have already acknowledged that I am a Very Bad Parent.) But we did dress up and go visit people, as evidenced here.


I wasn't sure about doing the whole door-to-door thing. I mean, I had a lot of fun trick-or-treating when I was a kid, but at this age? It seems kind of pointless. She can't even say "trick-or-treat" yet. And then there is that whole thing about us not giving her candy. (See "I am a Very Bad Parent," above.)

We went to visit all my grandparents, and we did come home with a very small goodie bag with some snacks in it. Keystone Party Mix, which Cupcake is allowed to eat, and an assload of Nerds, which she most definitely is NOT. So I ate them.

It's been a while since she saw my father's mother, so I couldn't get Cupcake to sit down for a picture, but I assure you that there was hugging and kissing at the end of the night, right before she (and I) dropped off from exhaustion in the car. At 9:30.

11.02.2008

Joey


Ladies and gentlemen and ... I don't know, internet gamers? LOLcats? Whoever else you are, allow me please to introduce to you my nephew, Joey. Isn't he beautiful? (Correct answer: YES, or else I will come find you.)

Being an aunt is pretty cool, except for that he's all the way out in Chicago and I am here in Pennsylvania. But it's probably for the best at the moment, because I understand the really new babies are quite delicious and nommable, and I don't know if I'd be able to help myself.

11.01.2008

I'm An Uncle!*

Joseph Michael Burger
Fri., Oct. 31, 2008 at 10:45 PM CT
7 lbs., 13 oz. -- 21" long

What better way to start off NaBloPoMo than with a BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT? Babies, yaaaaaaaay!

* The reference is from an old Reader's Digest bit, where someone (no doubt a blonde in this telling) complained to her pregnant sister that because they weren't finding out the gender of the baby, then the blonde didn't know whether she was going to be an aunt or an uncle.

~~~~~

EXCLUSIVE!
I am also proud to be able to present the very first unofficial paparazzi shot of the newest member of the family:

10.31.2008

10.30.2008

All A Blur

I looked at the calendar today and realized that this weekend, on Saturday, Cupcake will be 19 months old -- closer to two now than one, more a child than a baby, walking more and talking more and exploring more and thinking she needs us less and less. Sunrise, sunset, swiftly flow the days.

She's been part of our everyday lives now for almost eight months, almost as long as my sister's been growing her Boba in her belly, and less time by half than we were waiting for Cupcake to find us, and yet it feels like it was only yesterday that we held her for the first time, that we opened our home and our hearts to what we waited so long for. Sunrise, sunset, swiftly fly the years.

And I hardly remember any of it. We went from formula to milk, mashed green beans to beef stew, "daaaah" and "maaaah" to "Daddy" and "Mommy" and "pretty" and "please." What happened? Where did the time go? Who is this person who runs around in my baby's shoes? How do I hold on without holding her back? Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers, blossoming even as we gaze. One season following another, laden with happiness and tears.



Slow down, baby girl. Take your time growing up. Daddy and I aren't ready for you to be a big girl yet.

Thrill of Victory

Yes.

Yes.

A thousand times, YES!

Photo Credit: New York Times

Oh my God, I LOVE YOU GUYS. Thanks for a great season. And congratulations on a well-deserved championship.

UPDATE FROM THE INTERNETS:

So when that final out comes, what it does is provide a single unified moment of pure, shared ecstasy. Everyone explodes together, in that one instant. And that’s what you saw last night. And that’s why that moment is forever. You REMEMBER that last out. You remember Orosco. You remember Wainwright. And now, you remember Lidge.

Say what you will about FOX, but after the game ended, the network was smart enough to simply replay the moment of Brad Lidge’s strikeout again and again and again. From every angle. We saw Ryan Howard react. We saw Jimmy Rollins react. We saw the dugout react. We saw Lidge react. We saw fans jump higher than a moon shot. We saw outfielders instantly break into a sprint towards the mound, hands raised. It was if they had isolated a camera on every single person in the stadium in order to capture them in that one fleeting second.

And God dammit, it was glorious.

Oh yes, it sure was.

10.29.2008

Crazy Baseball Thought Of The Day

... brought to us by the letters P, H, L, and the numbers 0 and 8, and also our friends over at The 700 Level:
We're emotional wrecks. We have all at some point stated that we'd do unsanitary things to ourselves "if it meant a title." Some seven year olds have seen enough already to question if they'd witness a title in their lifetime. A recent trend seems to indicate that some fans are "trying not to get too hooked" on our teams just to "protect themselves." We lost our minds long ago. I'm tired of complaining about it. Tonight, a ball IS gonna fall our way. Literally. Right into section 145 in the bottom of the ninth to send us into Broad Street euphoria and a potential apocalypse. That fiasco on Monday night was the last straw. The final countdown. The seventh circle. We're here. We've made it out of the figurative and literal monsoon. It's time. We're up 3-1 in the World Series and we're crafting conspiracy theories following Tropical Storm Selig.

[Let's be] done with it. We're three innings from freedom. Free from sacrificing family members, serving prison sentences, and cleaning up vomit. Free from bad bounces, fallacious forecasts, and false hope. And for god's sake, we're three innings to freedom from "there's always next year."

There's always next year, but there's always tonight, too.

Let's go win a championship.
WORD.

Daddy's Little Devil



All this week, I've been dressing Cupcake in Halloween-themed and/or orange clothes -- a little "thing" of mine, to celebrate the season. Halloween is my second-favorite holiday of the year, right after Christmas, and I gotta tell you, if Halloween involved more gift wrap, I'd be much more into it.

Anyway ... today Cupcake is wearing a onesie that is TOTALLY HER, and also TOTALLY ACCURATE. She takes right after me, but she's her Daddy's girl, and she knows it. (Hey, I SAID she takes right after me.) Click on the pic to go to my Flickr photostream and see the full-length shot.

Halloween monster bodysuit, Old Navy, regularly $9.50
Matching socks, Old Navy, regularly $2.50

10.28.2008

Queen of the Internets



I'm not sure which is more strange to me: that Cupcake has recently started saying "butt" and/or "poop" for practically every other word, or that she has suddenly become positively obsessed with looking at pictures of the "baby" on the computer. Of course, she is the baby, and mostly she looks at one picture: this one, from the summer, that I use as my desktop wallpaper.

Vain much, are we?
;-)

Why Bud Selig Is Bad For Baseball -- Part #586,378

Yes, I stayed up to watch the game last night. All of it. Almost every single solitary minute. We missed a grand total of maybe 15 pitches on the night due to snack breaks, laundry room adventures, and TiVo conflicts.

Yes, I think that the right decision was made, suspending the game instead of calling it due to bad weather. Anybody who honestly believes that a clinching game of a World Series would ever, under any circumstances, be called early due to anything short of the Apocalypse is a nutbar of the highest order.

Yes, I want the Phillies to win, but I also want them to do it fair and square, the old-fashioned way: by playing 36 innings of winning baseball. Maybe there will be inclement weather sometimes. Maybe there will be plagues of flies. Maybe we have to rely on our bullpen and our bats to finish a game once in a while. So what?

But that doesn't mean that shit like this doesn't still annoy the piss out of me:
[W]hat, apparently, none of these players on either team knew -- was that Selig had already made his big decision.

If the rules weren't going to permit him to suspend this game, he was going to have to go to Plan B. He was just going to have to impose martial law -- or at least Selig's Law -- and, essentially, suspend it anyway. By simply declaring the world's longest rain delay. Whether that took 24 hours, 48 hours or all the way to Thanksgiving.

Selig vowed these teams were not going to finish this game "until we have decent weather conditions."

Gee, it's a shame he didn't have that same feeling before he allowed this game to start in the first place. (emphasis added)
Yes, we know people who were at the game last night. They reported that the weather wasn't too bad even up until 9:30 or so. Some drizzly mist, cold swirling winds, temperatures dropping, but nothing that we haven't seen before. Nothing unexpected for this part of the country at this time of year. Nothing that the Eagles haven't played in before.

Yes, conditions got ugly, and maybe even a little scary. Routine infield popups were difficult to field. Puddles were forming around home plate. The rubber on the pitcher's mound was sinking like it was on quicksand. Bases were getting stolen that never should have been, never would have been under normal circumstances.

Or, in other words, if the Phillies wanted to win this game, if they still want to win this game, they're going to have to earn it, which is what they really want, anyway: "'We've been playing for seven months," [second-baseman Chase] Utley said. "Another day or two is not going to hurt us.'"

Yes, I still believe. I'm a Philly girl. What else is there for me to do?

10.26.2008

Savory Sunday: Lazy-Ass Lasagna

Not sure what you all do on Sundays, but here at the Casa de Locos, Sundays are all about two things: the 1:00 game, and the 4:30 game. Occasionally we watch the 8:15 game, and once in a while we'll watch MNF, but mostly, between 1:00 and 8:00, we watch football until our heads explode and The Amazing Race comes on.

Sitting around yelling at the television can get exhausting, so we need to do a little gnoshing on the way, and much as I love them, Triscuits only provide so much nutritional value. So we need to eat a real meal. And the real meals we eat on Sundays are usually my favorite of the week, because after all this time, I have learned how to make some excellent nommables that require only a minimum of work. Because TiVo is nice, but watching the game live? Even better.

This week we are having Lazy-Ass Lasagna, because we were in the mood for Italian-ish food and it's super easy, plus we already had a good portion of the necessary ingredients in the cupboard or fridge (which also makes this a BOSSY's Poverty Party Serving Suggestion). The general recipe follows, but before I start, a few reminders: (1) I am not Italian, and I doubt any self-respecting real-live Italian person would actually serve this to company, and (2) I think of recipes as "suggestions," so your actual mileage may vary.


LAZY-ASS LASAGNA

1 lb. box mafalda pasta (or any other shaped pasta), uncooked
15 oz. container ricotta cheese
At least 2 cups mozzarella or pizza-blend cheese
Italian, pizza, or pasta seasonings, to taste
26 oz. jar of your favorite pasta sauce (or equivalent homemade)
1/2 lb. Italian sausage, casings removed (or other ground meat)

  • Preheat oven to 450°F.
  • Very lightly coat a 13"x9" baking dish with cooking spray, olive oil, or butter/margarine.
  • Pour uncooked pasta into baking dish and spread out to cover pan.
  • In a bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup mozzarella, seasonings, and 1/2 cup of pasta sauce.
  • Spread ricotta mixture evenly over uncooked pasta.
  • Crumble sausage evenly over ricotta and pasta.
  • Pour remaining pasta sauce over meat, ricotta and pasta.
  • Add approximately 2 cups of water (enough to cover bottom pasta layer completely - the cheeses and meat do not need to be covered).
  • Cover with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  • Cover pan tightly with aluminum foil and bake at 450°F for 1 hour or until pasta is cooked completely.
  • Enjoy!