Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted

There must be a million blogs with that title today. Heh. Sorry to be unoriginal. And sorry I am truly the world's worst blogger, having not done so since I don't know when. (Although I take comfort in the knowledge that my brother hasn't updated his blog in even longer. Now and then I would check his just to reassure myself that there was one worse blogger out there.)

So much to discuss...so little time. I still have a freelance project calling my name so I don't have a lot of blogging time once again. The garden...well, that's a subject for a post all its own, complete with depressing pictures. ASH remains fabulous and adorable, interspersed with 2-y-o crankiness and bad behavior. His 2-y-o molars are finally coming in, so I think we can blame some of the crank on that. Poor baby.

And I voted! Ohhh, I was so happy. No lines whatsoever. I love voting. It makes me feel so much civic pride. Which is kind of dorky, but whatever. Democracy rules. No lie, I have been hoping to cast my vote for Obama since his keynote speech at the convention in 2004. It blew me away. I didn't think he'd ever run in 2008 since he wouldn't have enough experience, but then I was thrilled when he did. Watching that speech, I suddenly COMPLETELY understood the Kennedy mystique, which had always escaped me. This is how people felt--filled with hope for the future and excitement about the possibility of real change. Inspired. Charged with the realization (or remembrance) of this country's awesome power for good in the world. I don't know what will happen--who will win, whether he will be a good president, whether he will really be able to make new policies. But I am almost beside myself at the thought of Obama becoming president. I am thrilled to be able to say I saw that speech and recognized his potential. I remember saying I wanted to move to Illinois just so I could vote for that guy. I'd never seen anything like it. I really, really hope he wins.

On the subject of experience, can I say for a moment that I think all this talk of junior senator, no foreign policy knowledge, blah blah blah--it is such utter bullshit!!! Every president since Kennedy has been a GOVERNOR! Not a lot of foreign policy when you're in charge of Arkansas. I mean, has anybody even pointed that out??? I'd say 4 years in the Senate and an obvious awareness of the fact that other countries even exist make Obama more than qualified. And of course we cannot forget that a number of experienced people have been running the country for 8 years now--running it right into the ground. So much for experience. I think experience gets outweighed by being a total idiot asshole, like some people.

And another thing I've been meaning to post about since August: Must Sarah Palin drag that poor little baby out in the middle of the night at every opportunity? Jesus. He's 9 months old. He needs his sleep. He doesn't need to be paraded around like some kind of prop. I can only imagine the horror of being asleep (as he often seems to be at the ends of these speeches or the debate or whatever) and then blearily waking up to a room full of lights and people and TV cameras and pulsating nervous energy, UGH! She could even make a joke, like "Trig [and DON'T get me started on the awfulness of her poor kids' names, oh my God, I've been wanting to blog about that for months too] wanted to be here tonight but he's got important sleeping to do" or something. Sheesh. I pity that poor boy. Please God, let her not become VP for so many reasons, but partly so that kid can have a hope of growing up normal. I am all for women in politics, but I do think a baby that young, particularly one with special needs, needs his mommy. Call me unfeminist if you like. I don't think she can devote the proper amount of time to him and be VP. Not to mention her other kids, they need her time too. I'll concede that I feel sorry for Obama's daughters too, because I don't think they're going to see much dad for a while (well, if he wins, please let it happen) and they are awfully young for that. This is the drawback to a young president, I guess--young children. Still, I hope he'll find a way to make it work. I think he can do it.

OK, should go nervously watch CNN for a bit (as if it can tell me anything, hours before the first polls close) and then on to the freelance work. Be sure to vote, everybody! Preferably for Obama. :-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

He said "I Love You"!!!

Yes, I am a big dork, but today my son said "I love you" for the first time. (Well, to me. T. says he's said it already, and I'm like, "Not to meeee!" wah, because I don't think I could have missed that even if I do have terrible hearing.) I'm not really sure if he knows what I love you means, but he said it and that's good enough for me. I managed to coax him to say it a few more times today. Yes, I am shameless.

He had his two-year checkup the other day. Flying colors, happily, as usual. Except he still can't make it out of the 5th-10th percentile in weight. Oh well. He pretty much never stops moving, and T is a slim guy, so I don't think he has any real hope of bulking up. We've also started a gym class for him, which is fun although I didn't like the first class as much as the free trial class I took (big surprise). Oh well, I think he'll still have a good time, and I can use the running around time as well. So far he loves to hang on the uneven parallel bars. My little Olympian! (The gymnastics apparati are really for older kids, but the little ones can play around and get familiar with them.) The only problem is he has applied this newfound skill to hanging off inappropriate things around the house: the pedestal sink, an open kitchen drawer....

Here in the 'burbs it is pouring rain and thundering. Not a great situation for getting your kid to nap, but I think he's down now. My poor garden is limping along. I think we might get one more zucchini this year, for a total of, like, 8. Damned cane borers and cucumber beetles. My plan for next year is to spray the hell out of the garden with organic pesticides and/or soap, vs. this year's regime of spraying halfheartedly with pesticide that the guy at the garden store told me was organic but I have my doubts because it smelled like turpentine. It stank, and was a hassle to apply, and T. complained every time and said, Are you sure this is organic? and I defended it but the truth is I was unsure. So let's hope things turn out better next year. Maybe I should also look into whether there are such people as garden-sitters, in case I go on vacation.

Off to go read some more of my latest book and eat a little chocolate. Yay for naptime.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tag! I'm it!

The fabulous Eurydice over at Geeks in Rome tagged me, and I gotta say that I don't know if I have the energy to recount 6 random things about myself, but we shall see.

Here are the tagging rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you

2. Post the rules to your blog

3. Write 6 random things about yourself

4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them

5. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog.

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.

I am not actually going to tag anyone (which probably defeats the purpose of all this, but oh well) because the few bloggers I know have either already done this meme or would never do it so there's no point tagging them. Nevertheless.

Here are my 6 random things:

1. I can drive a stick shift. It rocks. If you don't know, you should learn, just as everyone should know how to swim no matter how far they live from water. (A side note--have you ever watched The Amazing Race, a show whose very nature involves driving in countries around the world, and noticed how many people can't drive a stick??? WTF??? Have they never seen the show before? OK, I can see how they might not know, but LEARN BEFORE YOU GO ON THE SHOW! And how to read a map. Jesus. Such a no-brainer, you would think, but apparently not to a lot of these contestants. If you can't tell, T and I have a secret desire to go on this show. But I'm sorry to say that traveling does not bring out my better nature, and I'm terrified I would be edited to be the Crazed, Bitchy Wife--Why Does This Nice Guy Put Up with Her? contestant. Also, if I get hungry I get even more bitchy, and it doesn't look like a show where you get to stop for lunch much.)

2. You already know this, but I speak Italian. It's always a pleasure to see one of those lists of things people want to do before they die, on which "learn Italian" often appears. Ha! Did it!

3. I deeply appreciate my sense of smell. I just read an article that said a lot of people rate this sense as least important, but I think I'd put it at number 2, after sight of course. I have terrible hearing so I don't care so much about my ears, but I think I'd be totally heartbroken if I couldn't smell my son's head ever again, or T's face. I'm sure this sounds weird, but these are two of my favorite smells in the whole world. In more practical terms, I love to cook and eat, so a loss of smell (and consequently most of my sense of taste) would be a death knell there too. The article was by a woman who had lost hers, and she said it was much worse than you would think. It pretty much sucked the joy out of her life. Did you know Michael Hutchence had lost his sense of smell, which is believed to have contributed to his suicidal depression? I didn't, but I believe it.

4. OMG, I really shouldn't be writing so much for each item in this list, or I will be here all day. Anyway. I was on Jeopardy. This is pretty much my claim to fame for the rest of my life. It was a total blast, and would have been even if I hadn't won thousands of dollars. Hah. Came in handy paying for my wedding and house renovations. If I lived near LA I would seriously consider trying out for trivia game shows for a living. To be honest, I think I would clean up. Sorry to brag.

5. OK, only 2 more to go. I can do it. Ummm...when I was about 8 I was the little kid at Sea World who gets to feed Shamu. Let me tell you, no matter how much you wash your hands, you cannot get the smell of fish off for at least a day. I hate fish. (Eating them, that is. Looking at them is lovely.) Although I imagine even people who like eating fish wouldn't care to have the smell of dead ones on their hands.

6. I tried on some Christian Louboutin shoes yesterday. I covet Louboutins so damn bad. The ones I tried were just classic black pumps, but I figure if I am going to spend that much money on shoes they had better last me the rest of my heels-wearing life. Of course, I am not in a financial position to buy 500-dollar shoes. But I looked at myself in the mirror and, Scarlett-like, I swore, "As God is my witness! Someday!!!"

And that's it for that, as ASH is now awake from his nap. Early. Isn't it always the way?


Been a while, no? Lots has happened, some good, some bad. The bad news, an important relative of my husband's died, so we've been away for a week visiting his family. The good news, we had a nice time hanging out with them, and ASH spent all day every day running around, playing in dirt, visiting his uncle's horses and chickens, riding a tractor (not alone), etc. Rural good times. He slept like a champ all week, not surprisingly.

Good news--well, ASH is just trucking along growing up, and it's fun to see. He seems to have made a language jump--perhaps this developmental leap is to what we can attribute the bad temper and poor sleeping of a couple weeks ago. Now he's through and is being extra cute lately. New words: happy (how gratifying!), fun, run, bike, kite, and the names of his uncle and aunt. Conveniently, T's brother and my brother have the same name, so if we can get him to learn my bro's wife's name we'll be all set. Bro and SIL arrive tomorrow to rest up before they move into an apt a few miles away, so ASH's timing of his new knowledge is perfect. We are psyched to have bro and SIL living nearby! Yeah! Although we will miss visiting them in NYC, it'll be great to have them around. They are major food-lovers, so I hope to glom onto them as they explore local restaurants.

The garden...mpmh. The cherry tomatoes, both colors, are doing great. By failing to adequately stake one of my large tomatoes, I have allowed the main stem to break and I think it may be a goner. I'm peeved because I planned to taste-test it and compare to the other large tomato to see which I might want to plant next year, and I haven't done it yet. Maybe I already know that I won't plant another Brandywine. It is an heirloom variety, but I learned online that a lot of tomatoes go by that name, and you can't really be sure which you are getting. This one looks beautiful when cut and doesn't have big seed pockets, which is nice, but the flavor and color--eh. Not that really WOW red or acidic flavor. Might just be a little too mild for me. Better luck next year.

The zucchini...so sad. After the trauma of cane borers, arrived the heartbreak of powdery mildew. F, man, I am so sick of this. The one year I get to take summer vacation (we tend to be spring/fall vacationers, for some reason, which means never getting to lie on a beach in the hot sun), and it happens to be the year I decide to start a garden, and, boy, if you have a garden I do not think you are allowed to take a weeklong vacation because misery is unleashed while you are gone. Sigh. Well, I am learning. I am half-tempted to abandon gardening altogether but then I will feel too guilty about the hundreds of dollars we spent on wood for the container boxes, etc., which we justified with the knowledge that it was just the startup costs and we would reap the benefits in saving equivalently hundreds of dollars at the farmer's market. Mpmh. Not so much. So far, though.

The broccoli seems to be growing like crazy, but just the leaves. Where are the actual broccoli heads? My SIL in the mid-Atlantic, where we were this past week, has already seen hers come and go. I am hopeful that means mine are only a couple weeks away, but I dunno. Maybe I got a late-harvesting variety.

Happily, the eggplant is growing beautifully [my ordinarily wonderful and supportive husband refers to this as the "one success story" of the garden. Thanks a lot! There are plenty of other sucess stories, mister. Just look at the cherry tomatoes.], although I haven't a clue how to tell when it's ready to pick. It's so much firmer than a supermarket eggplant that I don't know if it's still underripe or if this is what they're like when they're super-fresh. How much knowledge of our agrarian heritage we have lost!

And the hyssop I had sort of given up on since it wasn't flowering or doing anything interesting, has decided to flower. Reprive! It is mixed in with lavender, and and I was thinking of ripping it out and replacing with more lavender so I can have a mini version of a luxuriant Provence-like border. But now I guess I won't. A nice thing is that the lavender flowers in the spring, but the hyssop flowers now, so there's something happening in two different seasons. This is the sort of event I aim for in the garden but rarely achieve.

OK, that's enough for one post, isn't it? I have been tagged! but I will put that in another post.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bad blogger

Having never been good at keeping a paper journal, I don't know what made me think I'd be better at the online version. Ah, well. We were on vacation for a week in beautiful Kennebunk, ME, then we had family visiting, then the lying-around-on-the-couch-recovering-from-family-visiting period, etc. etc. Plus I was doing a freelance project that ate into my normal blogging time. I guess part of my problem is that whilst blogging I always have the feeling that I should be emptying the dishwasher, doing laundry, other good housewifey things. Or, to be honest, sometimes I am lying around reading and being lazy instead. Reading other people's words is so much less effort than creating one's own.

BTW, I apologize in advance for not hyperlinking anything in this post. Cf. lazy above.

ASH turned 2 on August 1. Hard to believe 2 years ago at this time I was suffering the agonies of sore nipples and sleep deprivation and the deep terror that comes with the realization that you are entirely responsible for this little creature's well-being, and you'd better not fuck up. ASH today is the sweetest, friendliest, most gorgeous child you could ever hope to meet. Lately we've had a preview of terrible-two-ness (sample: Me: "Do you want some edamame?" ASH: "No!" [ASH then takes edamame and eats it.]) but it's easier to handle (at least so far, check back with me later and perhaps I'll be selling him on Craigslist) when I know it's all part of his developmental phase, and when at other times he runs full tilt at my legs and then gives them a hug, saying, "Ohhhhhhh, pat pat pat" because that's what we say when we hug him and he hugs back and pats us the way we do him. It's all too insanely cute for words. I still marvel at my incredible good fortune in being given this amazing child.

I think I'm appreciating him more this week because we are poised to leave him with my dad and stepmother for the weekend while T and I go to New York to catch a Yankees game in the last season before they tear down Yankee Stadium. Sigh. (As good Red Sox fans, we of course plan to root for Kansas City. I am trying to decide whether to be a jerk and wear my Red Sox hat to the game. Heh.) I am simultaneously excited to have a couples weekend and heartbroken at the thought of leaving him behind. This will be the first time we have done so for more than one night since he was born. It'll only be 2 nights, but it feels like a big deal. (His only other overnight was a year ago when my best friend got married and ASH stayed with my dad, with T and me saying we might come back and pick him up that night. Umm, didn't happen.) I know he will be fine but I am still going to miss him like CRAZY.

But we will enjoy baby-free-in-New-York time. We plan to eat with my brother and his wife at Les Halles (home of Anthony Bourdain, although I doubt he's ever in the kitchen anymore, what with gallivanting about for the Travel Channel and being a Top Chef guest judge and all. Fame, so time-consuming. There are always a million things I want to do in NYC and we never do any of them. And now my bro is moving up here to Boston to go to grad school, so it's goodbye, exquisite coop in the West Village. Sigh. I feel like we will never visit New York again without them there, which is of course untrue, but it's just so nice to visit them and New York at the same time. And did I mention their apartment is exquisite? View of the Chrysler and Empire State buildings? Ohhhhh...
In other news--the garden, she ails. My once-mighty zucchini plants were attacked by the dreaded cane borer, a hideous white segmented worm that eats the stems from the inside out. Then the whole plant dies. This has happened to 6 of my 12 plants. Supposedly you can slit the stem, dig out the borer, and then cover up the stem with dirt so it can heal and the plant recovers, but I dunno. Suffice it to say we have not been having the zucchini overload I had anticipated. I get one serving of zucchini about every couple of weeks. Alas.

Not helping matters is the ridiculous amount of rain we've had lately. When we came back from vacation I actually found a small FROG in the garden. No lie. I can't imagine where he came from. I thought at first it was one of those hideous Darth-Vader-like squash bugs, and I was squaring my shoulders at the thought of the murder I was going to have to commit, when I looked closer and saw what it really was. I wonder what's happened to him now that it's a little drier. When it's too wet I also have the problem that my insecticide and fertilizer are made to be dissolved in water and sprayed on, so I have to either water a garden that desperately doesn't need it so I can kill bugs or feed the plants, or...not.

The tomatoes are doing OK so far, although a number of the leaves have brown spots and I don't know if it's OK or some kind of death knell for my only happy plants. The orange cherry tomatoes are the best producers at this point. The red cherries are poky, as well as really too big for optimum pop-in-your-mouth eating. The Brandywine tomatoes are HUGE, and the one that's nearly ripe is already cracking, which I think is bad although I'm not sure. I hope it doesn't rot or fall off the vine while we're gone. Maybe I should bring it to my dad. That's an idea. And my eggplant! She is so pretty! Swelling like a woman in the 3rd trimester. And I haven't checked lately, but I think another eggplant is on the way. I hope there isn't some kind of eggplant borer no one's told me about. Sigh. This whole garden thing is really more trouble than I was led to believe, Mr. Square Foot Gardening. Better luck next year, I hope.

Roses doing great. I can see now that the sad little new ones that weren't doing well--all they needed was more water. Oops. They are so much happier now. At least somebody is!
And finally--TV check-in. I was happy Joshua won So You Think You Can Dance, although I TOTALLY thought it would be Twitch. I mean, come on! Josh was great but not (for me) nearly as entertaining. Still, I was happy. We are completely behind on Project Runway and have yet to form opinions much, although I loved Suede's winning dress in the green challenge, even though Suede himself seems like a total tool. (I mean, "SUEDE"? WTF kind of name is that?) In Olympics thoughts, it is TOTALLY TOTALLY unfair that women's beach volleyball players have to wear these itsy little bikinis and the men wear the most hideously unflattering, body-hiding singlet-type things. Give me some bare chests! And shorter shorts! (When I was saying this yesterday, T pointed out, "Hey, this isn't Top Gun." Well, it SHOULD be.) Don't get my wrong, the bikinis are cute, and the women look great in them, and I guess the scantiness is fairly appropriate in this context. I would just like equal-opportunity scanty. Get on that for 2012, London, OK? At least for swimming and diving there is some good ogling potential.

That's all for now. Got to go pack for the weekend. For some reason I don't have much trouble packing for the whole family to go somewhere, but packing for ASH to go one place and me another is somehow defeating me. I'm terrified I will forget to pack something major. Like diapers. Luckily, I'm pretty sure my dad knows where to buy them. ;-)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Teh Runway

Oh yeah! Project Runway is back! The initial eps are always a bit slow, but looks promising so far. Fun to see Austin back! He was always one of my favorites. You gotta love a guy who will wear makeup and be no-holds-barred gay gay gay on national television. I see him as someone who has found his place in life to be who he really is, and it's beautiful. Sorry to get all sentimental there for a moment, but really, if you were some gay kid in East Nowheresville, suffering the jerks in high schiool (well, wait, didn't we all suffer jerks in high school? but I digress), well, I can just picture that kid seeing Austin and thinking, Man, there is hope for me. When I get to New York I am going to let it all out! I gotta be me, I just gotta be me! I hope that kid has cable.

Anyway. Tim's awesomeness continues. Heidi looks gorgeous as always, although it looked at one point like she forgot her pants. Sure, if you are a super-hot supermodel you can wear a short dress, 3 kids or no 3 kids, but somehow this just didn't work for me.

I was pretty surprised at who went home. I thought it would be the other guy. I think here we have a clear case of good-TV-potential outweighing designing talent. And how crazy is that crazy lady? She makes Ms. Spit-Mark from last season look like Walter Cronkite.

Can't wait to see what's up this week!


Such was my response to Kherington getting voted off of SY last week. Sigh. I had a soft spot for her. Oh well, gives Comfort a little more time to shake her thing, although I don't think she's got a lot more time left. Am loving the mixing up of the couples, and how about that Joshua? That man be workin' it. I realized that with Gev gone all the guys left are my faves, so I am pretty happy from now on. Especially if they take off their shirts. Not to be too shameless. I have never been a big Courtney fan, so once she is gone the other girls are also ones I like. But maybe Courtney is growing on me. They should tell her to lay off the self-tanner when she's standing next to, say, pasty-white Gev. I guess the only white (ish) guy left is Mark so at least they won't have that problem anymore. I do think the wardrobe department has gone completely insane this season. Maybe they're taking advice from Mary Murphy. (shudder)

My garden is trucking along. I'm having trouble lately with how to keep it properly fertilized without overwatering. We've had plenty of rain, but the fertilizers are designed to be dissolved in water, so I don't know what to do. A bona fide little eggplant is hanging out at the base of a stem. It's so cute! The yellow cherry tomatoes are coming along and I've harvested a few. It really makes you realize what giant farms the people who sell at the farmer's market must have, to be able to sell quarts upon quarts of tomatoes or blueberries, because from my one plant I get about two ripe cherry tomatoes at a time, once or twice a week. The red cherry tomatoes are like in stasis or something, along with the big tomatoes and my many zucchini plants. I'm hoping August will bring more production. Blossom-end rot, chipmunks, and cucumber beetles are still my big nemeses.

Speaking of Latin plurals, is there a fitness instructor anywhere in the country who knows that the singular of "vertebrae" is "vertebra"? If I hear one more person tell me to "roll up one vertebrae at a time" I am going to lose it. I don't think that would go over too well in yoga class. And the teacher is otherwise super great, so. Perhaps best not to piss her off.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

"Dance" Fever

So You Think You Can Dance is on tonight. Whoo! I am typing this from the World's Hottest Guest Room (where the computer is, and A/C isn't), so I can't get into a full discussion lest I melt, but briefly: Was pretty happy with the eliminations. I think Comfort had gotten about as far as she could given her lack of training, and Thayne--he was just never my favorite. Obviously a sweet boy, but. I still love Twitchington and enjoyed the chance to see their solos. But this was a reminder that eventually everybody, even my favorites, goes home. (Well, except the winner, duh.) I'd also like to say that the krump routine was an example of how this show kicks all other dance shows' asses. OK, I never watched more than one or two eps of Dancing with the Stars, season 1 no less, because it is an affront to all that is beautiful about dance. GOD, I hate ballroom dancing, this style anyway. All the spangles and over-the-top showmanship. Don't get me started. But anyway, does that show have KRUMPING? I doubt it. And if so, do they krump to songs like 2 Buck 4 TV? I doubt it even more. This fucking rocked. I may be a white girl from NH without, alas, a drop of soul, but I LOVE krumping, and the faster and harder and dirtier the better. Compare to Step It Up and Dance, which features such gems as "Umbrella" and that dippy Gwen Stefani song. And their hip-hop dancing was repetitive and dull.

I can't wait for Will's partner to go. Mia is right, she is dragging him down. Luckily we know the judges would slit their own throats before they let him go. But did they have to torment us with shots of the divine Miss Allen? I love her. Oh well. I guess it's worth it to keep him in the competition. I totally called it, by the way, that he was just as good as the Alvin Ailey dancers. I was watching them and commented to T that although the SY dancers are very good, the pros were orders of magnitude better and you could really see a difference. Then Will came out for his solo and I said, He must have been backstage watching the AA guys and thinking, Got to bring it! And he did. Love you, Will.

Still hate the quickstep. Stop the insanity! Speaking of which, Mary's outfit was as hideous as usual. And could she visit a cosmetic dentist, because her horsey teeth and gums are really getting on my nerves.

That's all that occurs to me at the moment. Still have a deep love for Chelsie and Mark. Can't wait to see what they do this week!

Monday, July 14, 2008


Amazing what a few weeks of heat and sun will do. Here are the latest photos.

If only I knew why Blogger is posting this zucchini pic portrait-style instead of landscape (as I took it and as it appears in Picasa). But here they are! They were very yummy. At left you can see a flower still attached. The female flowers become zucchini (sort of--a swelling at the flower's base becomes the fruit), and the males just grow on stalks. Then bees or other bugs facilitate the magic of pollination. These flowers are absolutely delicious dipped in batter and fried and salted. Especially with Parmigiano-Reggiano, as I accidentally discovered last night. (I guess I knew this, but I had forgotten. I gave ASH some cheese for dinner and when he didn't eat it, I thought, "Yay, I get to eat it!" and made the happy discovery of how good the flowers and cheese are together.) Marcella Hazan says use a cup of water to 2/3 cup flour (sifting the flour slowly into the water and mixing well to avoid lumps), although I find I usually need a bit more flour than this (you want it to be like thick cream, or maybe melted ice cream or something), and I halve the recipe because this is way too much. Dip the flower in briefly and let the excess drain off, then fry in a skillet of hot oil. You'll know it's hot enough when it bubbles madly when you put in the flower. Be careful. Brown lightly on both sides, drain on paper towels, salt, and serve immediately. This makes good onion rings too.

It's not the healthiest recipe, but dang, it is good. I will say that I feel faintly disconcerted about eating the pollen-covered stamen (pistil?) inside the flower, because, you know...that's like flower sperm. But whatever.

Here are my cherry tomatoes!

You forget, when you go to the farmer's market or supermarket and pick up a pint or more of these at once, that each plant produces maybe one ripe tomato at a time. At least, around July 14 they do. So that kind of stinks. But I'm hoping as the season progresses I might be able to eat, oh, 5 at a time. (And I'm a good mom and all, but I do have to fight the urge to keep most of them to myself. I'm selfish that way. But I do fight it and give [most of] the produce to ASH.) These are yellow cherry tomatoes, that's why they're so...yellow. They won't get redder. This makes it hard to know when they're really ready, though.

Eggplant! I am so proud! A little purple baby sprouts from this flower. Note our friend the bee.

Here is a yellow squash, and a flower.

Here are the overview photos.

Sadly I discovered this week that my big tomatoes are suffering, I think, blossom-end rot. I learned from this site (which I just now discovered so that I could show you all what this rot looks like), it says that the manner in which I applied calcium (as instructed by the garden center) may not in fact fix the problem. Good to know! Thank you, intarwebs. And OSU. This may be why I got the rot in the first place, since I dutifully applied liquid calcium to the leaves before the fruit even developed. So I guess it's time to buy lime.

I actually had to prune the tomatoes a little, they were taking over. And the zucchini was stealing all the sunlight from some of my basil, so it was Pesto Time this weekend. (Stop! Pesto Time!) Oh, so tasty. I had forgotten.

Well, someone is sounding very unhappy, so I think it's time I give him a bath and send him to bed. Hope everyone is enjoying a happy summer with plenty of good things to eat. And if you know someone growing zucchini, hit them up for some flowers.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

ASH's first joke

As promised in my first blog post. It is probably not as funny to others as it was to me, but:

The Scene: The changing table.
ASH knocks on the wall next to the table and says, "Kna kna!" (Knock-knock.)
I say, "Who's there? (We haven't really gotten into knock-knock jokes, just the knock itself, but I make the knee-jerk response.)
He says . . .(pause): "Baby!"

I don't know if he knew this is how a knock-knock joke is supposed to go (and if so, how did he know?), or if he just has natural comedic talent. That's my boy.

Maine Fourth of July

An image that pretty much sums up our weekend. If there were a pie or some pork products in the picture it would be even more accurate. Good food, good friends, a lake--what more do you need?

Sorry you can't really see the adorable face of my son (not to mention my husband), but that is sort of on purpose to thwart creepy pedophiles, who probably are not reading this blog anyway, but one never knows, do one? If you are looking for a lovely Maine getaway, may I recommend the Union area? Beautiful hills and farms and ponds, just inland from beautiful seaside Camden, and, best of all, only a few minutes from pie heaven. Try the four-berry pie. You won't be sorry. Mm mm mm. We ate pie there twice in 3 days. That's what I'm talkin' about. Weekend highlights included much drinking of coffee and alcohol, floating on rafts in the perfect-temperature lake (OK, it is technically a pond, but we are not picky), and a campfire singalong followed by a rollicking dance party lasting until Oh-My-God it's 2:30 AM! Just to give you an idea of what a fun group this was, the singalong featured songs like Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)," not so much "Kum-ba-ya." We also set both marshmallows and sparklers on fire and, happily, avoided setting each other on fire. T revealed his inner caveman by bringing armloads of wood for the fire pit, over and over. Grrrr. Be still my heart! (Aside: I see now how easily a forest can get denuded, because MAN do you need a lot of wood to keep even a small fire going for a couple of hours. Imagine if that were your only fuel source.) I unleashed my inner Patsy Cline, singing "Crazy" with all the full-throated pathos of a woman betrayed, and my campfiremates were polite enough to not throw sticks at me. One person even applauded. He might have been drunk, though. ;-)

I can't wait for next year.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Away for the weekend

So my usual infrequent posting rate will be down to nil. And I haven't even gotten to finish watching So You Think You Can Dance yet! Argh! But very happy about each couple dancing twice. I had forgotten about that. Twice as much dancing, far less rehearsal blah blah blah. What's not to love? I only saw the very beginning, but am totally confirmed in my love for Chelsie and Matt, and Twitchington. And confirmed in my negative feelings for Kourtni and what's his name (they did the white-outfits hip-hop routine). They pretty much sucked. Not enough crispness, too vague, not in synch. They did not BRING IT. It was terrible. There's a reason they keep ending up in the bottom. Plenty of contemporary dancers can do some bad-ass hip-hop, and I don't think these two have a bad-ass bone in their body. More later.

Happy Fourth, everybody!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Last week I was all set for So You Think You Can Dance (aka SY). I was literally counting the days. Snickollet was coming over and I was excited to indoctrinate her into the One True Faith (although, to get ahead of myself, I'm not feeling so devoted to it this season). She is new to the show and I hope to get her good and hooked, like me. Then I spent most of Wednesday afternoon being, shall we say, indisposed with (I think) food poisoning. I left Snick a message saying maybe we should cancel. A few hours later, after the 4th and final vomiting episode, I felt miraculously restored to health. I left her another message saying I was still game if she was, though I couldn't have blamed her for not wanting to come over, in case it wasn't food poisoning. Then I saw her email message saying she had to cancel. OK, no big deal. I could still watch on my own, yeah! Cut to a few hours later, ASH is asleep, T on his way home from golf. He comes home and practically runs to change, and I'm thinking, Wow, I know he's into SO You Think You Can Dance, but I didn't think he'd RUN. I settle in with the remote and watch 2 minutes of SY before he comes down and commandeers the TV to watch his Tivo'd Germany Euro Cup game. Um, hi! I was here, ready to watch SY! I said, "You know, Snick was going to come over to watch SY tonight." And he said, "But you knew this game was today." Of course, I didn't know he HAD to watch it the very same day, but I should have, because he is German and soccer really matters. So it was lucky Snick couldn't make it after all, because I don't think any of my neighborhood bars would have been showing SY, more's the pity.

[Let's pause a moment to bow our heads for Germany's loss in the Euro Cup final.]

Then it took me another day or two to even get to watch SY and the results show, let alone blog. (Garden is doing great but it's true, it's time consuming.) I can't tell if it's the passage of time blurring my memory or what, but I continue to wait to be blown away by SY as I was almost every week last season. This week the only one that brought me back to those feelings was Matt and Chelsie's. I actually had chills watching it. One way you can tell when the dance is good is when it elevates a song you thought was just OK. I admit I turn up the radio and sing along when OneRepublic's "Apologize" comes on, because it was part of a great Danny dance last year. I'll now always associate that song and the one from Matt and Chelsie's routine with these amazing dances, and that makes them special to me.

I really like Matt, for his quirkiness and elegance and Valentino good looks. I finally figured out who he really reminds me of, though--he's like a younger, hotter, Japaneser Pee-Wee Herman. Sorry, Matt--you really are cute and not Pee-Wee-like, but I can't help it. I feel like Chelsie's just OK, but after this performance I like her a lot.

Twitchington: I love them. So cute, so funny, such good dancers. I felt like this wasn't the most PC routine in the world (is prison a dancing matter? I guess it can be, right, Elvis?), but I liked it a lot, particularly how the dance and music went together. That should go without saying, but I don't feel choreographers always work it this well. I loved the bit at the end where they go down the "elevator."

Courtney/Gev: (First--it is so annoying that there are two girls named Chelsea and two named Courtney, which would be bad enough, but then two of those 4 spell the names wrong. Don't get me started on Kherington either. Cor.) This routine was just OK for me. I think I was thrown off by the illusion that she was naked every time she turned that side to the audience. With a show this (generally) great, why can't they have a talk with the wardrobe people? Jesus, it's appalling. I thought it was a beautiful dress except for the nakedness aspect, and even that could have been appropriate on an older woman. Anyway, I'm just not loving this couple, and I didn't feel the chemistry between them. I felt like they were trying too hard.

Comfort/Chris: I like Comfort, but something about Chris doesn't do it for me. I loved this piece at the start, and then it just fell apart for me. ("I was interested, I was VERY interested--then, suddenly, I lost interest.") I totally agreed with the judges that they needed to bring more, be bigger. Generally Comfort does a much better job with this than Chris. I'm not surprised this was his last week. I am excited to see Comfort with a new partner. Why can't they get rid of Tyce Diorio and get more Shane Sparks? Broadway, jazz, whatever--if it's a Tyce routine, you better run, because you are getting voted out this week. (OK, every once in a while he has a good one, but rarely. And the Tyce=Going Home thing tends to hold true, just watch.)

Jessica/Will: Oh, Will, you make me forgive you for the absence of Debbie Allen. (Will is her protege, so she can't be a judge until he's gone, lest there be intimations of undue influence.) I love, LOVE Debbie Allen (doesn't everybody who watched Fame? "Right here is where you start paying. With SWEAT." I love her so much I even watched the Fame reality show she cohosted with Joey Fatone a few years ago that tanked because I was the only one watching.) so this is a big deal. He did not disappoint me, but I'm not into his partner. She's cute and all, but even back in Vegas week I was surprised she made it. My husband and I were sort of rooting for her to be voted out, along with Comfort's partner, and then Comfort and Will could be together, which I think would really work. Although it occurred to me I might only think that because they're both black. It's uncomfortable when you realize you are holding an idea that might be based on nothing more valid than prejudice. Ahem.

Where was I? Ah, Kourtni and Matt. Hey, what's Sinead O'Connor doing choreographing for this show? Choreography was quirky and cool, but I don't know how I felt about the routine overall. It reminded me of the wind-up-doll dance from last season. I'm just not into this couple. He, Thayne, and Chris are my least favorite guys, and Kourtni just doesn't do it for me. Is her resemblance to Courtney Love just an unfortunate coincidence?

Chelsea/Thayne: (Again, WTF with the names on this show? My God. Did all of today's 40-year-old parents get hold of some bad acid back in the day or what? Chromosomal damage is the only explanation.) Oh, the quickstep. Talk about a kiss of death, it is worse than getting Tyce Diorio. Why, WHY keep using a dance that everyone hates and hardly anyone can do? Just to torture people? ONE time, ONCE, it was good, and that was in the season I can't shut up about, last year. Just stop. There are plenty of lovely ballroom dances they could use instead. (More Argentine tango, please!) I noted, as did the judges, the painful rictus of a smile plastered on Thayne's face. I'm ready to see him go. He has just never impressed me. She's cute, but also not my favorite. Bye-bye, Chelsea.

Chelsie/Matt: Best routine of the night. Chills, etc, cf. above. I almost cried, actually. I love you, Matt! That's suit's hot on you!

Katee (please, Lord, make them spell properly!!!)/Joshua: He is another one of my favorites. Baby got BACK! Yowza! (I need to get my husband some pants like those. He too would fill them out nicely.) Great chemistry, great dancing, great bum! I think I was prejudiced by the film preceding where Katee said she was uncomfortable with sexy dancing, because I thought she didn't look so comfortable, and if I hadn't seen that film I probably wouldn't have noticed. Doesn't matter too much because I was busy watching Joshua. What a cutie! His dad, too.

I love seeing the parents and thinking about what ASH will do with himself someday. I am so excited for the possibilities. (Here my Irish superstition requires me to say God willing or knock on wood or something.) I was talking with Snick about this, actually, during an audition show. I am always surprised and disappointed at people's parents trying to stand in their way of following their dream. I used the analogy of, if ASH wanted to be a pro football player--I could hardly imagine something I would LESS like him to do. But if he were really talented, and loved it? How could I say no? I'd just have to do a lot of praying for him not to get injured. Or on drugs. Or--well, let's not imagine all the horrible possibilities. We'll just see how fate takes us. At the rate he's going, truck driver or firefighter is looking likely. That boy loves him some trucks.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Hail yes!

I thought we were going to have to start building an ark here a few hours ago. Torrential rain, wind, hail, thunder and lightning. When the first storm passed by I thought it might be safe to venture out to the pharmacy, but I turned on the news to see that another, even bigger, was due to hit my area at 4:48. The time? 4:47. Never mind.

Some aspect of the storm actually broke a leaf off my eggplant plant and the soil around the tops of the lettuce roots was washed away--that's how hard it was raining--but I think everything will be fine. It's a fun aspect of gardening that it makes weather a much more important part of your life. I find myself studying the predictions and making bets on whether I should water or not. I try to water in the morning but most of our rainstorms arrive in the afternoon so it's dicey. I also can't apply the much-needed insecticide until I know whether it's going to get rained off or not.

So tomorrow is So You Think You Can Dance! You know you're a big dork when you find yourself counting the days until it's on again. I can't decide what I think about this season so far. I have a few favorites, namely Twitchington, Mark, and Will, but no one's really jumping out at me (no pun intended) just yet. I'd like to ask, though, where the HECK does judge Mary Murphy shop? The trashy animal prints, the cleavage, the jewelry. Is there a Wet Seal for grownups somewhere? God, so hideous. And can someone PLEASE tell her that the screaming and the "hot tamale train" references are so, so over. People think Paula Abdul is drugged up, they should get a look at Mary.

And is Shane Sparks too busy with the Dance Crew show on MTV to do stuff for SY? (I refuse to type out even SYTYCD--too long!) I know he did the opening number for last week's results show, but I want more! Shane Sparks rules. I think this season is missing the kind of energy he always brings to a routine. I don't know if the choreographers are cutting this season's kids a break or what, but there haven't been many routines that have been truly amazing. I know, it's early days. My husband and I took Argentine tango lessons before our wedding and then did a tango for our first dance, so we were particularly tuned in to the tango routine, which featured one of my favorite moves. But what's the deal with regular tango vs. Argentine tango, and why would you bother with the former when it is a pathetic and boring shadow of the real thing? Also, I can't say I agree with Nigel that the tango should be sleazy. A little dirty, maybe, but that's not the same thing. Can't wait to go to Buenos Aires someday and go to a real milonga. In the meantime, I covet these shoes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Paging Dr. Freud

So I guess I shouldn't blog so much about my garden, because last night I dreamed that where most of the plants had been, there were only empty squares of dirt. Goodbye, zucchini. Addio, tomatoes. It was very sad. I was crushed. Happily everything is still there in real life. (It wasn't really a Freudian dream at all, just anxiety.) I do need to spray some insecticide (organic, natch) to get rid of these little beetles that like to eat the leaves and who knows what else. I keep discovering them in flagrante delicto nestled in the zucchini flowers. I'm sure it's very cozy in there, what with the warm golden light filtering through the blossoms, a perfect spot for romance, but get the hell out, bugs!

In other news--there is no good way to segue here--I've recently noticed that my son has leg hair. I swear it wasn't there a month or so ago. But maybe I am just noticing now that he wears shorts more often. It's these little things that sometimes make me realize how he's growing up. A few months ago I felt for the last remnant of his fontanel and it was gone. In less than 2 months he'll be 2 years old. I'm sure in a moment I'll turn around and he'll be shaving, driving, and graduating from high school, God willing. I realized at some point that part of what's so weird about having a child is that I still feel like pretty much the same person. I still listen to WFNX (after a few months just after ASH was born in which I steadily listened to the local classical station, because I do love classical music, and supposedly it's good for babies' brains and all, until one day I just couldn't stand it anymore. Give me back my Beasties and my Nine Inch Nails!). I still swear more than I should (particularly in the car, alas, and only too late do I realize what I've just said to the idiot in front of me while my little pitcher sits inches away). I still like sharing drinks and gossip with friends. I still like wearing makeup and high heels (even if my feet don't). I don't know what made me think this would all magically fall away and I would switch to sweatpants and smooth jazz. I'm the first of my main circle of friends to have a baby, and I'm enjoying showing them that it is possible to retain one's sense of self while wiping spit-up off your concert t-shirt. Not to sound smug, or like I don't have plenty of days where I don't bother to try to look pretty, or like there weren't days at the beginning where I felt having a baby had been a bad idea (don't tell ASH). Being a parent is the most ridiculously difficult thing in the world. So hard that I genuinely believe if people knew how hard it was, they wouldn't do it. BUT. It is also the greatest, most rewarding, most bringing-love-into-your-life thing you can do. In my opinion. I have Moxie and her commenters to thank for showing me all the different ways there are to parent, and to show me that I'm not alone. And some days, to remind me to be grateful for the challenges I do have, because when you are tired from your 22-month-old waking up crying at 3 AM one day out of the month, you go to Ask Moxie and see someone commenting who is still nursing her cosleeping 2 1/2-year-old 3 times a night...well, then you feel MUCH better.

This is the randomest post ever, no? I'll stop now. :-)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Holy Toledo

So I'm reviewing those posts I just made, and like, Jesus, look at those motherf-ing zucchini, man! I'm sorry, I am probably the only one who cares about this, but I can't get over it. Look at the first batch of garden photos, the 2nd of the group, below the one with the cage. See in the top left square, those 2 or 3 little leaves? (The suare to the right of it is empty.) Now look at the newer post, the 3rd photo down. This is the same view, you can tell by the phone junction box or whatever that is on the house. Look at the zucchini! It fills up the whole bottom left corner of the photo. Admittedly, there is one of the cousa plants in there too now, but I don't think that's what's responsible for all those leaves. I think those are the original zucchini. (The cousas are behind because I grew them from seed instead of plants.) But srsly, I am in so much trouble. After this summer I probably won't be able to ever eat zucchini again, I'll be so sick of it.

I know, I am the biggest dork ever. It's OK.

In other news, isn't it exciting to run around the house closing the windows when there's a big thunderstorm? I always think so. I know--dork.

Blogging newbie

Aside from the other problem new bloggers probably all have (that is, expecting to post every day or so and then letting days and days go by instead), I am also having a bit of trouble figuring out how to integrate pix and text. Hence this new post, which is really supposed to go with the last post. Oh well.

Here is what the garden is looking like today (well, this week):

I took these pix a few days ago (planning to post them that day, ha ha!) and already things are bigger. The aforementioned zucchini plants, in particular, look about ready to declare independence and start running their own country. In the photos above, they are the ones with the giant Jurassic-Park-like leaves.

Here is the broccoli I'm wondering about:

See how there are 4 stalks together? They came like this from the garden center (although of course the plants overall were smaller). Was I supposed to divide those into 4 separate plants, spaced 10 or so inches apart? Gardeners, I call on thee. Help.

As you can see, everything is divided into compulsive little squares. This is a technique called Square Foot Gardening, the brainchild of a guy who seems to be a bit of a nut, but the regimented organized aspect of this appealed to me. Also the part about not using your own soil (instead you use a mix of compost, peat moss, and vermiculite) because living as we do in a neighborhood of old houses (ours dates from 1890) I figure our soil is full of lead and God knows what else. So far I feel this system is woirking great, although I wish Mel had mentioned that one square foot is really not enough for zucchini. Or maybe it would be if the garden center hadn't packaged 2 seedlings together. Again, was I supposed to divide these? Why don't they tell you these things?

If you're not too bored with my garden yet, here are my roses. First, the climber on our makeshift trellis. We planted this rose 3 years ago, intending to put up an arbor right away, or maybe the next year. Call me June Cleaver but I love a rose climbing over an arbor. As you can see, no arbor yet. But THIS is the year! At last, we are ready. Pix to follow. Obviously if we'd had any idea that the rose would grow so fast and so vigorously we would have waited. Oh well.

Here, the side yard roses. Soon to be joined by annuals.

And a close-up, sadly out of focus (looked fine on the camera!):

I can't wait to harvest. My tomatoes, especially the cherry tomatoes, are really going strong. Just green still, but soon to be red, or yellow as the case may be. I love seeing the squash blossom. So far I haven't been able to catch them before they open so I can stuff them with a filling of ricotta cheese and chives and fry them, Italian style, but I hope to soon. There are both male and female flowers (who knew?) and at the base of the females (I think) you can see the baby zucchini! I feel so fecund.

Son of a BITCH!

Yesterday there were two strawberries where in this photo we see only one. As of this post, there are NO strawberries. Damned chipmunks. I suspected this might happen, because I also have an Alpine stawberry in a pot, and last year when a strawberry was getting ripe I would think to myself, "I'm going to give that one more day to get a tiny bit riper, and then I'm going to eat it." The next morning, it would be gone. T made me an elaborate cage to cover my garden plots, but it is so elaborate it's hard to put in place, so I haven't been doing so. I was waiting to see if I really needed to, hoping this year the chipmunks would be super stupid...or something? Maybe it is I who is stupid. Anyway, we'll figure out some kind of cover. I think we'll reconfigure the elaborate one into something more manageable.

Here are more garden photos. Already I can see that I am going to have WAY too many zucchini. I knew that everyone who plants a garden ends up with too many, so I wasn't going to get a lot, and then I don't know what happened. I came home from the garden center with two green zuc plants when I only wanted one (I think I meant to put one back when I found a better-looking plant, and then forgot). And then I special-ordered some cousa seeds, so I could grow this particular squash I became obsessed with last year. So hey, if you live near me (you know who you are) and you want some cousa seeds, or, in a few weeks, some of my giant glut of zucchini, do let me know. Actually, if you want the seeds and you DON'T live near me, let me know too, for I can just pop them in the mail. You'd have to plant them next year, though--I think it's too late for this year.

Alors, les photos:

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


The title means "a little of everything" in Italian, and "comincia" means "it begins." I'm starting this blog because I realized that though I feel like I'm in touch with far-flung friends (and those not so far-) through their blogs, they are not in touch with me. The title refers, perhaps uncreatively, to my many interests: children, my new garden, cooking and (even more important) eating, reading, watching trashy reality TV, knitting, &c. I will also be counting myself among the mommy bloggers, as my 22-month-old son, ASH, is the best thing that ever happened to me (along with his father, my husband T). And I've been partly inspired to start blogging by the amazing Moxie and the equally stupendous Snickollet. I'm very proud to say I know both of them IRL. (But OK, if I'm being truthful, Moxie and I went to the same college, and we didn't really know each other particularly well. Alas. One of these days I will get to see her in New York, I hope.)

Another goal for this blog is to find out how parents in other countries do things. I find that here in the US, not only do a lot of the parenting books tell you that their way is the ONLY way to prevent your child from growing up to be a sleep-deprived ax-murdering Twinkie-addicted junkie, but also imply that their way is the way all right-thinking parents everywhere do things. When my son was starting solid food, for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about what was OK to feed him. Though I was obsessed with feeding him the "right" things, I couldn't help feeling like nobody in Italy (where I lived for 5 months in Siena in 1995 and almost a year in Reggio Emilia in 2001-02) was tearing her hair out wondering if it was OK to feed her 9-month-old some pasta. If I ever get some international readers, I hope they will feel free to say how they do things in their part of the world. What are children's first foods? Do they sleep in a crib by themselves or do you cosleep? Do you nurse to sleep (do you nurse at all?) or do you put them down awake? And will someone tell me if I can feed ASH prosciutto crudo? It's technically raw meat, so I feel like he shouldn't have it yet. And I doubt he would eat it if I offered. But I wonder.

I'll wrap this up for now, but check back later for posts on So You Think You Can Dance (can this season possibly live up to the glory that was Danny, Neil, and that cute B-girl whose name I've forgotten?), growing broccoli (should I have already divided up the 4 or so seedlings that were packaged together in a cup when I bought them at the nursery? I thought the contents of the cup got planted and that was it!), and my son's first joke.