Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas

  The week before Christmas should be the best week ever. But it wasn't for me. In fact, most of December was pretty rough. I pulled a muscle in my neck and injured my leg. So I've been in almost constant pain. To make matters worse, much worse, I've spent the last month or so on a Russian literature kick. Don't read The Brothers Karamazov and Anna Karenina back to back, unless you want to be depressed. (The worst part is that I think the fact that I'm depressed means that I didn't really understand either book and I should probably re-read them.) I also realized that any deep or original thought that I thought was my own, has already thought of and deconstructed and metaphored by a Russian who lived over 100 years ago. I'm going to solve this problem by hanging out with people who are dumber than me-- if I can find some. See how long winded I'm getting? That's the influence of the Russians.
  So the week before Christmas, there was a day when I had hit a real low. We had just come from seeing Santa-- which I usually love. But my 11 year old humiliated me by being that kid who, in one breath, asked Santa for a laptop and an ipod touch, and an iphone, and some new ugg boots, real ones, not the fakes. She deserved to be cuffed. But I didn't cuff her, I just went home and sat in the car, depressed. I waited. In the car, in my garage, putting off the impending chores and messed around on Facebook. 

And I stumbled onto this. 




How can you not smile at that? It's really impossible. Diva, children, Fallon. What's not to like? I left the car with happy tears in my eyes, vowing to be happier and do better. I felt so great that I turned on some more Christmas music and blasted my all time favorite Christmas song, Let It Snow, the extra jazzy version by Harry Connick Jr. And I felt so great that I started dancing in the privacy of my own kitchen. Jazz hands and Fosse grapevines and all. I felt so good that I busted out a high kick. And that's when things took a turn for the worse. My injured leg and skinny jeans just couldn't keep up with my festive enthusiasm and I collapsed into a heap. And then I was right back where I started.

  This year I am going to try to not be so hyperbolic and bipolar in my thinking. I am also going to alternate my Dostoevsky and Tolstoy with a little Bravo TV, you know, to try to be a little more well rounded.

A very Happy New Year.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Balti-delphia

Thanksgiving Weekend. All my dreams came true when my mom and my three single siblings came to my house for the holiday. Really, I have been in the VA for 9 years and I have been wishing that I would have some family come to me for a holiday. It was great. This year, instead of Black Friday shopping, we decided to take a little road trip. I was lobbying hard for Monticello or Williamsburg, but as we were discussing it, I fell into a tryptophan coma. I awoke two hours later only to hear that the decision had been made. We were going to head North. The Utahns wanted to see the great cities of Baltimore and Philadelphia.

  The fun part was that we rented a huge van so that we could all ride together. It was also amazing to eat both a Baltimore crab cake and a Philly Cheesesteak in one day. The not fun part was that we had to go to Baltimore and Philadelphia to get them. 

  These two cities have something in common. I know guys who were missionaries in both places. Pete served his mission in Philadelphia, and my sister Lydia's boyfriend (am I allowed to use that word Lyd?) was a missionary in Baltimore. Now, listen non-Mormon readers. In most cases, when you know someone who has lived in a place you want to visit for two years, that person would generally be a good person to tell you where to go and what to see. However, if that person lived in a place for two years because they were a Mormon missionary, PROCEED WITH CAUTION. Because although they can tell you a bit about the tourist attractions, they probably lived in the crappiest part of town and were very poor. Missionaries don't live in the projects, they live right next door to the projects so that they can try to serve and preach the gospel to the people of the projects. But what will probably happen is that they will get bricks thrown at their heads and have their bikes stolen. For Pete this was the case. I can't speak for Hank, but he sent us to the Lancaster Market for lunch. And while we did eat the most amazing crab cakes I've ever tasted, we all left severely traumatized. Do not confuse the Lancaster Market in Baltimore MD with the Lancaster Market in Lancaster County PA. Lancaster County is a delightful place, the only thing that will traumatize you there, are the Amish uni-brows. But after an hour in the Baltimore Market, my children have seen and heard things that have taken away their innocence. Ahhh the dregs of humanity. On our way out, we passed a couple of meth dregs dancing to some music. My brother Dallin took some hilarious video and sent it to me, I was mouse clicks away from posting the video but I realized that the fruit was just too low and one should always think before one posts a 'hilarious' video taken by a 21 year old college kid. Instead you get an insta import: Pete and I, Lancaster Market, and the view across the street from Edgar Allen Poes's house. Or should I say Edgar Allen's 'po' house? Heh.


  On to Philly, Pete actually did a great job of keeping us in the few and far between less sketchy parts of town. We saw Independence Hall and did the Rocky steps. Nevertheless, Philadelphia took years off my life and I just realized why. It's because of the junior version of Parkour that my kids have invented. They will find  the most complicated way possible to get from point A to point B. If there is a ledge to walk on, they do it. If there is a step to jump off of, they do it. If there is a space that seems like it might be a bit too narrow for them to fit their fat sweaty heads between, they try it (and fail) anyway. I really don't know how my visiting family could stand it. When it is just one kid, it slows things down but it's pretty cute. But when 5 kids are playing junior Parkour, it is a spectacle at a snails pace. 

  The asterisk here is that it actually was a fun day. I love the East Coast warts and all. And it makes me really really happy to be able to have my family come and stay with me and show off all the sights. And they are  nice to my kids. Like really nice, no judgement, no impatience, they are just helpful and loving all of the time. I know that you would expect this from a Grandma, but the single people in the fam really went above and beyond. Please come spend another holiday with me. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Post Where I Talk About Toms.

I was on pinterest the other day and I saw a link to cheap Toms knock offs. Really people? You can't spring $40 for a pair of shoes for a poor kid? Hey I know they're comfy, but as Megan pointed out, people aren't buying them because they look good. I've seen enough Zhang Yimou films to know that the inspiration for the Toms design isn't exactly the Paris runway. They're commie prison shoes. You know it and I know it.
 
I bought a pair at Nordstrom a few months ago, at first I picked out and purchased the blue sparkly ones, I got about 50 feet from the store, when I realized that I was never going to pull off blue sparkly. So I walked back, and exchanged them for gray. But when I got home I realized they were too small so I went back the next day to exchange them again (along with a set of car tires I needed to return) On the way to the store, I made up a joke about Toms and was pretty excited to use it. I went to the shoe section and found someone to help me get a pair that fit. I chatted with the salesman about Toms as he rung my transaction, you know getting ready for my joke. As he handed me my receipt, I began, "Gosh I feel really bad returning these shoes, I just hate to think about somebody taking shoes back from some poor kid in Africa or something." (These are the jokes people.) My joke was lost on the clerk, he was completely un-phased, "Yeah, you know, a lot of people return their Toms and are really worried about that, but I just explain to them, 'don't worry, they don't take away a pair of shoes that they've given, they just take a pair of shoes off of the next truck.'" I can't decide if that was the stupidest response in the history of responses, or if he was telling a Tom joke that was much much funnier than my Tom joke. It was probably a combination of both.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thoughts on stuff- aka a love to letter to Emily B-M

I mean it this time, I'm going to start blogging again. I was going to start it for realsies. But then I went on this awesome trip to New York with my good friend Emily. It was sort of a last hurrah before she moved away from me and broke my heart. We had a blast. It was epic. Imagine Liz Lemon and Whitney Port being best friends and hanging out in New York together, and that's how it was. Only we are much cooler then Liz and Whitney and have 8 kids between the two of us. Emily humored me while I drug her to a bunch of food places that are on my list. And then I tried to act cool while we did hip things like walk the High Line and did a bit of ultra chic clothes shopping. When she passionately expressed her thoughts on the long term repercussions of what she referred to as disposable clothing, I nodded pensively like I think about that stuff all the time.  It was pretty awesome when we went to the City Bakery for a pretzel croissant (thanks for the rec Janelle) and guess who sat next to us? John Liguizamo. You know what I did? Ignored him, like it was no big deal, 'cause I'm cool like that. Well, I may have told a story in an extra loud voice that I think would make a great movie, but that's beside the point.
 Anyway, here's what I'm getting at. When Emily left, I was forced to do some real soul searching. Emily and I have been friends for our entire adult lives, and we have lived near each other for the last 5 years. She is great company and she makes me feel like I am great company too. But when she left, here's what I realized. I'm not really good company. Let me rephrase that, I'm not good company. This was a huge introspective realization for me. My entire life I've been under the false impression that I was a total blast to be around. It turns out, I've just surrounded myself with nice people. I'm not that friendly, not really chatty, not particularly smart, I'm catty, overly sensitive and judgmental.  I can't believe I'm in my 30's and it's taken me this long to get it. But I finally do get it. I have myself figured out. I am an introvert with a very very high self esteem. And so it is with this understanding that I will pick up blogging again. 

p.s. The City Bakery croissants are not as good as mine.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

  It's pretty interesting that I married somebody that has a lot in common with my dad. Both self made men. Fun, friendly, and easy to like. Okay now I'm going to say something that has been written millions of times on millions of blogs so I know that it won't have the value that I want it to have, but I'll say it anyway. Pete and my dad, are the two smartest men that I know. I'm not talking about rocket scientists, I'm sure those guys are sharp. But Bud and Pete are smart smart. Astute, savvy sharp smart. They know how the world works. They think about things, and understand people. They are well read and great writers, they are persuasive. They get it. And that's pretty rare. I'm very thankful to have men like that in my life. 

  Pete had a really bad day yesterday. So I'm going to cut him a break and just say Happy Father's Day Pete, we love you. 

   But because I miss my dad and I didn't really get him anything for Father's day, I think I'll dwell on him a bit longer. The other day, my friend Gayathri was at my house giving me an Indian cooking lesson. I was talking about my dad. (you should probably know, that I look for any excuse to talk about my dad. I know it's annoying, but I do it anyway, I'm a dad dropper) Gayathri asked me what my dad's name was and I told her, "It's Bud."   "Ohhhh." She said, and then there was this all too familiar awkward silence, I could tell she thought that name was ridiculous and she was trying not to laugh. "Oh whatever Gayatri!" I shot back, "Like your Indian names are normal-- I know an Indian named Ba." And her matter-of-fact response was, "Well that's OK because all of our names have meanings." I thought that was pretty funny. 
 
    I wish I could share some of the highest highs and lowest lows, because those are some of my best stories, but my dad is very modest and sort of a big deal so I will try to not embarrass him too much.

   One of my favorite memories with my dad is that April Fools when we borrowed a huge magnet from my grandpa's machine shop and put it in the bottom of a paper grocery bag. Then we glued in a bunch of fake groceries like empty cereal boxes and egg cartons and put it on the top of the car. We got in and started driving around. It was awesome. People were honking and pointing at the top of the car, and we'd pretend like we didn't understand what they were trying to tell us and just wave back like morons. The best was driving through the grocery store parking lot and watching people hurt themselves for the sake of our groceries. We almost felt bad. We drove around for hours. Sometimes people would not do anything but look at the top of our car, they wouldn't smile or anything, just look. That was even funnier because--what kind of an idiot does that? We even got pulled over by a cop. That was a great day. 

   One of the lows on my dad's parenting record what when he would help me with my math homework. I was probably 11, and I asked him to help me with long division. I'm terrible at long division. It made my dad so mad. After I missed like 5 problems in a row, he said, "Okay every time you get one wrong, I want to you say this, 'Welcome to McDonald's, can I take your order?'" He didn't make me say that every time. Sometimes I had to say, "Would you like fries with that?" I learned a lot of valuable lessons that night, none of those lessons were how to actually do long division, but that's what calculators are for right? 


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Pete Goes Down

I've had a really deep thoughts on my mind lately. This was supposed to be a post drawing a comparison between the movies Snow White and the Huntsman, and The Matrix. I'm not kidding. When I saw Snow White last night, all I could think about was the Matrix. I'll tell you what they have in common. Both Directors; Rupert Sanders and the Wachowski Brothers (or Brother/Sister) show their genius in taking two of the worst actors of our generation and making them shine in their starring roles by allowing them to speak as little as possible. The directors figured out that all they had to do was put these two in front of a green screen and say, "Now look serious." 
"Okay, now squint your eyes a little, good, now back to serious." 
Bam, you have a couple of decent movies on your hands. 
 But that post isn't going to happen. 
  Don't take an unfamiliar corner at 45 MPH folks. And if you think that's bad, you should see the body parts that are covered by clothes. Those pics are NSFW, but I'll send them to you if you want.  It's rotten luck that this should happen right before I leave town for a girls weekend in Manhattan with Emily. Pete's in charge. Poor guy, I should be nursing him back to health. Instead, I'll just all too enthusiastically scrub the gravel out with a loofah, slap on some tegaderm, slip him a coupla oxys left over from my pregnancy, and sneak out quietly. If you see Pete out pulling a Jason Russel, or find one of my kids out wandering the streets, if you could lend a hand, that'd be great. 

*The best part was when Pete called me from the car on the way home to tell me about the crash, I was on speaker and the car was full of guys. But Pete still described the crash and then said, " So you're not going to be able to have any fun with my butt for the next couple of weeks." I think he might have a concussion. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

June First

   I was 19 when I got married. To a guy I had only known for 9 months.  I don't recommend doing that and forbid my daughters from following my example. Fortunately for me, I am a decent judge of character. Unfortunately for me, by the time I realized that he makes the most disgusting tuna sandwiches ever (equal parts of tuna, mayo, relish, and bbq sauce) it was too late to back out.
    
   A year later I sat in a church meeting. The topic: a happy marriage. The keynote speakers were a very attractive couple about 15 years older than us, they spoke side by side from the pulpit and took turns saying things they loved about each other. "She always keeps the car clean because she knows that's important to me." "He goes to the temple once a week at 6AM and reminds me that he does it for our family." "When I get home from work, she'll stop me mid sentence and say, 'it's 7:50, do you want to turn on the news real quick so you can watch the sports?'" 
   
   I left the syrupy meeting feeling beside myself. This is what a marriage was supposed to be like? All positives, no negatives? I had only been married a year and we had never done any of those things for each other. In fact, the two biggest things I remember about the first year of marriage was a huge fight over watching the playoffs on our anniversary, and a devastating miscarriage. While there were happy times, I was confused because I thought that as a young married, it was supposed to be ALL happy times. I don't know where I got this idea, but it was toxic and the reality of marriage was a hard pill to swallow. 
   
    Then, on a long plane ride home I watched The Story of Us. It was a huge turning point for me. The movie stars Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer who play a married couple who go through hard times during their fifteen years of marriage. I just looked up the movie and Rotten Tomatoes gave it a disappointing 28%. I'm afraid to re-watch it because it Rotten Tomatoes is a pretty good gauge for me and I'm sure it's not really as good or moving as I had originally thought, but it came at the right time for me. And I think anything directed by Rob Reiner is worth watching. I cried through the last scene of the movie, when Michelle Pfeiffer gives her final monologue.
               
                  We're an us. There's a history here and histories don't happen overnight. In Mesopotamia or 
              Ancient Troy there are cities built on top of other cities, but I don't want another city, I like this city. 
              I know what kind of mood you're in when you wake up by which eyebrow is higher, and you know 
              I'm a little quiet in the morning and compensate accordingly, that's a dance you perfect over time. 
              And it's hard, it's much harder than I thought it would be, but there's more good than bad and you 
              don't just give up!  . . . And you're a good friend, and good friends are hard to find. Charlotte said 
             that in Charlotte's Web and I love how you read that to Erin and you take on the voice of Wilbur the Pig 
             with such dedication even when you're bone tired. That speaks volumes about character! And ultimately,
              isn't that what it comes down to? What a person is made of? . . .


   The central theme of the movie? Marriage is hard. Relationships are hard, but they're supposed to be hard because they're valuable. Did I love Pete? Yes. Did he love me? Absolutely. Were either of us perfect? No way, but there was more good than bad and we were pretty good together. It was worth working on.
  
    High Fidelity, A much better movie, had a similar effect on Peter. In the film, Rob, a record store owner struggles to reconcile his adolescent behavior with his adult responsibilities through a series of top five lists. (Side note: this was Jack Black's break out and him at his absolute best but don't click on the link if the F word bothers you.) First off, the movie stars John Cusack who in a way, invented the hipster. The good kind. And Pete loves Cusack. Because let's face it, when he's cool, he's really cool and you want to be him. The film is packed with great lines about music and life, for example, Cusack muses, "What came first? The music of the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?"
   High Fidelity carries the same message as The Story of Us. When Rob, analyzes his relationship with is girlfriend, "She didn't make me feel miserable, or anxious, or ill at ease. You know it sounds boring, but it wasn't. It wasn't spectacular either. It was just good. But really good." he nails it. Relationships are hard. They aren't all stars and fireworks, and they aren't supposed to be. They're earned and won over time. And that's what my marriage is. It's better than stars and fireworks. It's pretty fun, but it's also gritty and rough. It's picking up dirty socks, and sometimes doing it because you love the person who left them there, but mostly doing it because you're the only one who will. It's telling your wife who just had a baby that she looks beautiful when she's 20 pounds heavier and mean as hell and you both know that it's not true, but it's something she needs to hear. It's publicly throwing your husband under the bus at a church meeting and embarrassing him in front of 70 people. It's telling your wife that dinner tastes like dog food, and then paying for it on the inside when she runs from the table crying and shuts herself in the bathroom for an hour. It's leaving a candy bar for your man in his car after you borrow it.  It's the mutual mistake of ordering shrimp pizza. It's sending your wife to New York, or California, or St George with her friends for the weekend and hoping she'll come home refreshed and happy but not saying anything when she comes home happy, but more tired than she was before she left. It's being amused when she has an abnormal emotional reaction to some strange event. It's letting him know that he's speaking in hyperboles too often. It's sending your husband on a bike ride and really hoping that he has a nice time, because he deserves it. It's the family trip you don't want to go on. It's promising yourself that you'll speak more gently next time. It's a reassuring hand on the back after a disappointment. It's knowing by their breathing patterns that they are tired, so your news will have to wait. It's being patient when they aren't themselves that day, or that week, or that year. It's holding each other when things are bad. It's sharing the joy when things are good. And it's having someone there when the future is unsure. It's a lot of bad, but mostly good. And it's something that I've worked for, so I'm fiercely protective and very proud of it, and it's mine. 

Happy Anniversary Peter. 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Service Man

  We've been in this house almost a year and we are definitely getting our money's worth out of the home warranty. We have to make a call almost once a month. We fork over 75 big ones, and bam, a service man comes. The breakdowns usually come in pairs. A few months ago, it was our dryer and the upstairs heat. Then the garage door and the downstairs heat. Usually Sometimes Two times, the guys were nice and could fix the problem pretty quickly. But get this, both times the two separate service men asked to use the bathroom on their way out the door. I said, OK. They went in, used the toilet, and then left without saying anything. I just heard the front door slam and their truck drive away. This happened two times. Weird right? The extra weird thing was that they completely didn't flush. Just pooped and ran. True story.
   
   On Friday, a nice man from Afghanistan came to look in the attic and try to fix the AC. When he came down to do paperwork and leave, he saw my cute little blond Sloane (4) there inspecting the situation. He turned to me and said quietly, "I'm just joking OK?" 

Huh? I didn't know what he was talking about. And then he turned to Sloane and shouted at her, 

   "Go in your room and get your suitcase and pack your clothes, I am bringing you home with me." 

Sloane looked confused. 

"Go! Go! Right now. You are mine and I am taking you. " 

    I guess he wanted to try and get rid of any preconceived ideas that I might have about people from Afghanistan by showing me that he could joke around? 
    
      Then yesterday two Indian men came to look at the oven. They told me that they needed to completely take it out of the wall and look at it. "Do you have a tavel?" They asked.

"A what?"
"A tavel. This is very heavy and we need to put it on a tavel"
"A table?"
"No a tavel"
"A what?"
"A tavel! A tavel!"

I had no idea what they were saying. And saying it louder didn't help me understand any better. They just kept yelling TAVEL TAVEL. It was so funny that I lost it. I couldn't look at them, I just buckled over, while they yelled, "TAVEL TAVEL." Then once of them said, "A tavel, like you bring to the pool and the beach!" 

"ooooohhhh a tow-ell." I said slower for emphasis, to show them that I am not an idiot. Wasn't too convincing.

Are these normal interactions with service people? 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I'm a Liz Lemon Eater.

  This week had a couple of parenting highs, accompanied with a culinary low. I was pretty excited to see the rain on Monday because that meant that I had an excuse to wear my new rain boots. I spent too much on them which probably explains why it has been such a mild spring. Anyway, I wore them all day even though it only rained in the morning. Monday afternoon as I was getting the kids in the car to take Jonah to scouts, I heard his friend whisper, "Why is your mom wearing those boots? It's not even raining" Jonah snapped, "Well it was raining this morning and anyway, it doesn't matter, it's a fashion thing." 

   One of my proudest moments. He's my favorite.

  It happened again the next day when I let two kids take the rest of the school day off after a rough afternoon dentist appointment. I told them they could relax and watch TV when my toothless tween whined, "That doethen't even thound fun and ith your fault, ever thince you thtopped letting uth watch TV and made uth thtart reading bookth, becauth now TV ith tho boring!" And she stomped off to her room. Yesssss.

   I felt like such a great mom that I got a sitter for the following day so that I could meet a friend for lunch. She chose Sunflower. The vegetarian place. Sure, I'll eat anything. 

This was the crowd.


And the decor. What what was the name of the restaurant again? 
Oh yeah.
  It took me a while to figure out what I was going to order. It was hard to choose from the items on the menu.

  • General Tso's Surprise
  • Macrobiotic Root Vegetables and Greens
  • Orange Imagination
  • Adventure of Tempeh Land
  • Wheat Gluten with Fermented Black Bean Sauce
  • Curry Paradise

 Really? I mean, I had to double check to make sure it was actually a menu I was reading. I swear I've eaten veg before but I've never heard of any of this. I almost ordered General Tso's Surprise but I remembered from an experience at South of the Border S.C. that you never order any kind of food with the word surprise in the title. (Don't use the public restrooms there either.) But I felt sort of rushed so I just hurried and ordered the Curry Paradise.

  Okay, now, I don't want to brag, but I'm not ignorant when it comes to food. I've had good food. I know what it tastes like. And I've had healthy food, I know what that should taste like too. Wait, back that up, it doesn't matter whether or not I know what good or healthy food is supposed to taste like. I know what food is supposed to taste like. It's not this. The vegetables were fine. Good even. The sauce would have been decent if it would have been made with non-vegan products. But the "meat," oh the "meat." It was actually soy protein. If I wanted to eat something that tastes like this, I would just drive downtown to K street and eat a piece of grass that the Occupy DC folks have been sleeping on. At least then I'd have a story to tell.  

P.S. I ate all of it. 


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Tone and Language

I've been thinking about how we speak to our children. And by 'we' I mean you. And by 'you' I mean people that I judge. I was at the park yesterday with my two younger kids and Emily's two younger kids. (side note: Emily is raising very fashion conscious children, her two year old was talking about his skate board and at one point he said to my two year old, "Hey Ezra, don't you wish you had my puma's and not those converse shoes?") And I realized why I don't like the park, it's because of the way all of these parents were speaking to their kids. A few of the observations I made. Is this just an East Coast thing? It might be, the parents here are sort of uptight.
  1. You're using the phrase, "appropriate behavior" so much the the meaning has been completely lost. Either your kids don't know what you mean by appropriate behavior, or they don't really care, because you constantly talking about it isn't really changing anything. 
 2. Same goes with the word "choice." 
            Is that a good choice? 
            Is that a good choice? 
           That man is over there smoking a cigar, he did not make a good choice. 
            Aunt Suzie can't afford to come to your ballet recital because she did not make good choice in her life when it came to money. 
Those were actual statements I heard at the playground. Bleck
3. Contractions. They're part of the English language and they're here to stay it's time to introduce them to your child. 

   Now this all pretty subjective. Completely my own opinion, and I'm sure all these kids will turn out fine.  But I'll tell you something that is not okay. This morning after Shea's soccer game, she told me that her coach told her that she, "looked sexy in those pink soccer socks." It's not really okay for a male coach to tell a 9 year old girl she looks sexy is it? He might not realize it, but I am hypersensitive, close to my daughter, and very very judgemental, and unfortunately for him, he's on my radar.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Good In Bread

I'm starting a new series here called Good In Bread so that I can document my bread baking journey. My latest challenge is French croissants. This is the most difficult thing I've ever made. I've probably made 10 batches and haven't yet been completely satisfied. I had to cut back to making them once a week because my kids were starting to complain about eating so many croissants. But they also complain about their diamond shoes being too tight so I decided to ignore them and cut back because the ingredients were breaking the bank. Anyway, this is the closest I've come to a good croissant.
Not as airy as I'd prefer, but see the honeycomb texture starting to form.

I thought I'd take step by step pictures, but I only got photos of like steps 6 and 7 before I realized that time is not your friend when you're rolling out croissants. But if you can't tell, this is pretty.

The good news is that they taste incredible every time. Exactly as if you are in France. The trick is to use European butter and yeast. Now I just need to work on my technique to get the texture I want. The sort of good news is that I made several batches in before I stepped on a scale. So now I need to take a little break from my croissant making, but I'll be back. Oh yes, I'll be back.


* I've been bouncing back and forth between the two recipes below. The first one tastes better but the dough is a bit tough to handle.


And Jeffery Hamelman's Recipe. I guess he's a big deal in the pastry world.

* I also realized how lame it was of me to say, "bread baking journey." Sorry guys.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day

   Giving birth seems to be a common theme in my interneting (new word- bam!) lately. I'd like to share the best of and the worst of. First of all the best of. If you don't have the Bentley twins' blogs on your reader, stop everything and add them right now. I'm not kidding. Do it. Now. These two twins that I used to know married two brothers. And now one of the twins is living in India where she just gave birth to twins of her own. With a little leg work, you can find the link from Chelsea's blog to her twin's blog, where she recounts her visit to India to see her sister and remarks that the newborn twins, "Weren't as cute as I thought they'd be." Completely awesome. I hope it's okay that I'm mentioning these gals on this blog. If isn't okay, I'm sure they'll let me know and I'll edit them out. But if you have a chance, check it out.

 And now for the worst of.  I bought a National Zoo pass for the parking benefits. And all of the sudden I started getting mail with them with news of happenings at the zoo. Well I wish I hadn't. Now let me ask you. To what extent are you comfortable with your tax dollars paying for the health care of animals? My answer is; to NO extent. Although I'll admit that I might not be the best barometer for that kind of thing. Which is why this photo really outraged me.


 Above, you see a c-section being performed on a deer. Picture me in my best Amy Poehler voice. Really? This is so disturbing on so many levels. First of all, as I write, I'm in the process of getting quotes from local bow-hunters (yes, it's a real profession) to help me control the deer population on my property. Do we really need to help them give birth? And second. If you've never had the pleasure of being sliced open c-section style, well, it looks exactly like this. Exactly. Only I don't think I received the same level of high quality medical care that the deer is getting in the pic, and I know that Chelsea didn't get it in India. The look of concern on the faces of the entire team. Nope never saw that. I did however hear my doctor say, "Here's Jonah coming out of the whale!" As he pulled baby Jonah from my uterus. He was quite tickled with his cleverness.
 
   I hope all you women had a great Mother's day. Mine was great. Really, everyone was nice to me. And during the third hour of church, all of the women were treated to dessert, prepared by the men. The highlight of my day was while I was eating, the self-called ward historian came by and asked if she could take a picture of my friends and I. I took advantage of the opportunity by covering the entire row of my top teeth in chewed up brownies and giving the biggest smile I could. It's been my favorite prank since I was 15. I think it's pretty funny. At least it was pretty funny when I was 15 and the reaction was a bunch of teens saying, "Oh Gross! Come on Scruggs!" But when the reaction is just the sweet the stone faced historian looking down at the image on her camera and saying quietly, "Thanks." as she walks away, because she's too nice to show her disgust. Well, then, it's down right hysterical. I'm going to have to start doing that more often.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year.

This is a true story that happened on this day in 2000.

My sophomore year in college there was this guy in my ward named Steve. He was a nice guy. One day I noticed that in the place where his left ear should be, there was only a little flap of skin, like just a lobe, not an ear. Of course I never mentioned it, because I'm a nice girl. But on January 4th when everyone was coming back to school after the break I saw him and said hi. He was all excited and said, "Do you notice anything different about me?" Right away I looked at his ear and noticed that instead of just a lobe, there was a real ear. But then it was weird, I was afraid that if I said, "Hey you have an ear!" He would feel bad, like I define him by his lobe or something, so I just asked him if he'd had a haircut. "Yeah I got a haircut!" he said, "Because I don't need to hide my ear behind my hair anymore, I had a surgery over the break and I got a new ear!" "Oh, wow, hey it looks nice." Well since he brought up the ear, I thought it was okay to lighten things up a bit and without thinking I said, "Hey it looks great! I guess I should wish you a 'Happy New Ear!"

Crickets.

Then came the part when I had to explain my joke. And you know how when you explain a joke it isn't really funny any more? Well, this was not the case. This was one of those jokes, that was sort of clever, but when you have to explain it, it becomes hilarious. 

Steve married a girl named Lisa. And I couldn't help but call her Lisa Lobe. 

Get it? 

Lobe? 

Like an ear lobe? 

You know, and the singer?

Ah forget it. 

Happy New Ear To All.