Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oh, and one other little thing ...

More on this when I've got more time to type...

Happy Birthday, baby

Somebody had a birthday today, with the appropriate number of balloons and presents. Yes, this is the same dress from Christmas. Still loving it, Mom-Mom! Here she is with her absolute favorite gifts, a fancy dress from Mom-Mom, and a rubber tiara/mirror/wand bathtub play set from Grandma and Grandpa. She's sleeping with the mirror tonight, after Jason wrestled the wand (which beeps and lights up) away from her and the tiara kept falling off in bed.
What happens when Dad shops at Discount Drug Mart for his contribution to his daughter's birthday presents? Two words: Slippery Slope.
We made cupcakes out of oatmeal snack cake with caramel frosting - it looks sort of like the cat coughed up something in the cupcake liners, but it tastes really good. And at least the kids in her preschool won't be pooping green food coloring for three days like they do after most birthday cupcakes.The three-year-old snarfed down every bit of that cupcake (frosting) about 30 seconds after she got the third candle out. Pesky last candle took three blows to extinguish.

Still to come, when I have time to edit when the kid can't hear the computer - video of her on the inflatable trampoline thingee we bought her.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I saw this in a Bath and Body Works ad, and I said to myself,

"Surely this information would be of benefit to my readers."


o. m. g.

I think the Romans also developed these, right before their decadent culture imploded and all their plumbing poisoned them into stupidity - right?

Tip for all those potential mangroomer owners out there - most ladies (and gay men, I would imagine) are willing to overlook Wookie Back if the rest of you is non-repugnant. Or you have lots of money - either one, really.

Buying a car, part 1

The story so far:

I drive a minivan. I have driven the same boring but reliable Chevy Venture since we moved back to the US in 1999. We bought it then because we were sick of having two cars that were so small we had to take the new tv out of the box in the Best Buy parking lot because otherwise it wouldn't fit in the door. I endured much good-natured ribbing about doing things backwards by getting the van first and THEN having a kid. I like being able to haul 20 bags of mulch at a time, but I don't like driving a tank all the time. I only have one kid, and it's going to stay that way. It's time to downsize a bit.

After poking around in a few new cars and reeling in sticker shock and taking some test drives, I pretty much settled on the Kia Rondo, which is sort of a crossover/hybrid/stationwagon/SUV thingee. Four doors and a hatchback, optional third row of seats to make it up to a 7-passenger car, moderately lousy gas mileage. Nifty storage features, funky seats that fold into all sorts of unusual positions, lots of cupholders, good safety ratings - all that good stuff.

After reading the article that mentions how car salesmen are running scared of their internet sales departments, I decided to see how that worked for me. I sent out two requests via edmunds.com, one for a sort of bare-bones LX model, and one for an EX with leather and a sunroof. The requests got sent to four Cleveland-area Kia dealers, and I've been bombarded with e-mails and calls ever since.


  1. When you send out the request, you fill in very specific information about what you want: color, options, etc. There's no way to fill in "I'd like it, but it's not absolutely necessary," which is I guess why every single dealership felt the need to call me and confirm what I was looking for. But the whole reason I am trying to do this via the internet is that I have a cranky three-year-old hanging on me for a good portion of the day. All kidding aside, I fielded three of the eight or ten calls yesterday while the kid was on the toilet. Ever try to discuss car options and financing while wiping a kid's ass? Yeah, that was fun.
  2. The computer at each dealer apparently doesn't recognize that it's got two requests from the same person, so in some larger dealerships the requests got routed to two different salespeople. Hence the eight or ten calls, by the time you include missed calls and return calls with followup information. Um, I thought this was supposed to make things easier?
  3. Considering how widespread internet car buying is supposedly becoming, you'd think the people in the internet sales department would handle it a little better when I tell them "I don't want to come to the showroom, I want to handle this over the phone, show up and sign some paperwork, and drive off with a car." That doesn't sound so hard, does it? I mean, people do that all the time in their showroom, walk in and walk out a couple hours later with a car. I just want to skip all the tedious "entertain a toddler while the salesmen pretend to make me a great deal while hideously overcharging me for the car" stuff. Sheesh, I just want them to give me a firm quote on a specific car, not tell me what day the Second Coming will occur.
  4. Statement that made them love me even more: "I've requested the same information from three other dealers, and I'm ready to buy tomorrow if you can get me the best deal. But I'm not haggling, and I already know roughly what the going rate is for this specific car in my area - so send me your absolute best price, and I'll let you know if you've won my business."
  5. If you're going to handle business via e-mail, please proofread your messages for punctuation and spelling. I'm not a grammar Nazi (my thesis advisor can attest to my inability to use commas ONLY when necessary - Hi, Stan!), but sheesh, I do have SOME standards ...

Hi it's XXXX from XXXX Kia the total out the doo price on the rondo including tax is $21,078.63 .I'm sure I can make that an even $21,000.00 . If you and your husband like our figures give me a call ,Also remember this is an LX with the premium pack ,carpeted floor mats and bumber protecters.Don't get confused by lesser numbers on lesser cars CALL ME FOR MORE DETAILS!!! Thanx ,XXXX

So that's where we stand now, I guess. I've gotten three "quotes," none of which gives me a list of exactly what is included in that price (taxes? fees? floor mats? a few details would be nice, guys). So I've asked for clarification, and hopefully I'll have some basis for comparison early next week.

Oh, and the irony of this all so far? The car that has the options I want is in ... Kentucky. If it's down near where we used to live, I'll go pick the thing up myself and get the kid's portrait done while we're there :)

Friday, April 25, 2008


Rife with possibilities


Taking a break

Restoring lost ice-cream-related electrolytes

After the watering was done

Thursday, April 24, 2008

How I spent my morning

Since we're going to trade in or otherwise sell the LazyMamaMobile if we get a new car, I thought I might be able to get more for it if it wasn't the inside wasn't a cesspool of old granola bars and rusty pennies. An hour and a half of cleaning and vacuuming later, I had a clean car interior and a gigundous pile of stuff that came out of my car.

Seriously - wtf? Okay, some of the stuff on the right includes clothes that need to go to the consignment shop and some library books to return, but the rest of it ... Maps of New Jersey? Explain to me why I waste gas toting those around all the time when it's not even contiguous with Ohio. And two maps of D.C.? Three umbrellas, two ice scrapers, two tire pressure gauges, and a flashlight that's had the same batteries since 2001? Yeah, not really necessary for my continued happiness.

Only the bare essentials went back into the car, just enough so the car is functional but still looks tidy. Of course, now I have to tote a huge pile of stuff back and forth to the car every time we use it (like hats and the picnic blanket and the Panera coupon I keep intending to use but forget about every time I'm near the restaurant). But hey - that car is clean! And worth $1,000, according to the low-balling bastards at the dealership I visited today. I'm onto you guys, you know.

Oh, and while I'm on the subject of car buying, I found a rather long-winded but interesting article on edmunds.com, written by someone who worked "undercover" for two different car dealerships to see what really goes on in the sales department. You can find it here. I always enjoy reading these sorts of stories, seeing how the salesmen try to play their customers, seeing how I do or don't fall into their traps.

I've been to about five different dealerships so far this spring, and I saw a lot of this going on there. I've had every approach from "let your kindly grandpa sell you a car" to "clueless and desperate salesman needs your help." Today the salesman was practically running to get Liza a second helium balloon when her first one escaped into the rafters of the showroom ... I think she could have asked for a dozen balloons and a puppy, and this guy would have fetched them if it meant I was more amenable to handing over 20K to his dealership.

But now things are getting down to decision time, and I'm going to have to stop playing Little Miss Uninformed Consumer With Vague Needs And A Cute Kid and start playing Assertive Bitch Who Won't Pay Too Much For The Car No Matter How Pretty It Is.

I'd better start looking for a babysitter, becauseI think I've about used up the entertainment value of balloons and rolling swivel office chairs.

PS - thanks to MindFlush reader J for sending over the overly dramatic car ad ... the sale this weekend doesn't really cover the models I'm looking at, but it gave me an excuse to visit that dealership and see what they're like. Plus, helium balloons and rolling office chairs! Whoopee!

That's my girl!

"If you don't get on the potty right this second ..."

"Hold on, let's try this. Liza, I have to go potty, and so does Daddy. If we bring your potty in the bathroom, you and I can pee at the same time! And Daddy can use the bathroom downstairs! It will be like a joint potty trip!"

"Hooray! You mean, like joint compound?"

"Not exactly, but close enough. Pull down your pants, kid."

(Leaning over, shouting into the furnace vent in the floor) "Daddy, I can hear you peeing! Where are you peeing, Daddy?"

"What did you say?"

"You're peeing in the potty! Silly Daddy!" (giggling hysterically)

Hey, at least it's one conversation I had today that didn't include one of her two favorite phrases, "Why?" and "Poopy on the poopy!" I don't even know what that second one means, other than she thinks it's hilarious to say it at the top of her lungs any time poop is mentioned for any reason.

It figures that the one think my daughter decides to do early is start using potty humor, which I've been told is usually a 3 1/2 year thing. Yep, she's mine, all right.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


You can tell when neither of us have looked at our Netflix queue in a while when we end up with two movies at home, and neither of us want to watch either of them. We both tend to add things to the queue on a whim, sometimes because the system recommends them to us based on past rentals, and sometimes because I feel like we "should" watch some of the classics. And sometimes the desire to watch the movie fades before the sucker even makes it to our door.

That's how we ended up with Deliverance and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest a couple weeks ago. Oops ... need to break those up with a comedy in between, I think.

And for the past week we've been sitting on Hello, Dolly! and Live Free or Die Hard, or whatever the last Bruce Willis epic was called. When movies sit around for more than a couple days, both of us start getting antsy, because Netflix only makes sense if you turnover movies pretty regularly. We finally gave in and started watching these paragons of cinema earlier this week when the kiddo went to bed before 8pm.

Boy, was Hello, Dolly! much worse than I expected. I mean, Barbra can sing her ass off and all, but like Jason said, musicals kinda suck when there's too much singing just for singing's sake. And this sucker had a lot of five-minute-long pointless dance numbers in it. I mean, you can say that somebody sitting down and singing a soliloquy is believable, but when the entire population of Yonkers decides to come out for a dance routine before boarding the train to NYC, that's pushing things a bit. Oh, and in case you're ever planning to write a musical, never include more than two far-fetched romantic hookups, okay? Four was waaaaay too many.

Speaking of far-fetched, the Bruce Willis movie takes the cake. Any time you manage to shoot down a helicopter by launching the car you're driving up a concrete bridge support (while you roll out at the last minute and don't fatally wound yourself), you're skating on thin ice. And when chunky henchmen with inexplicable French (?) accents suddenly go all Cirque du Soleil during a fight scene, you've crossed a line you really should have respected. At least the computer geek was cute.

The only thing that's saving our Netflix membership is the fact that we rented Eddie Murphy: Delirious a while ago, and it was every bit as good today as it was when we watched it in high school. Well, okay, the stuff about gays at the beginning is a bit offensive now, but the rest was hilarious. It's appalling how much of my high school lexicon was linked to that movie, now that I think about it, and how many of the little catchphrases still pop up in our conversations regularly. If you've never watched it - and you have a relatively high threshold for crude language - you really need to see it.

As a matter of fact, thanks to the ice cream truck that just cruised past our house (ICE CREAM! ICE CREAM!!), you don't have to go far, just click on the link below to see the "Ice Cream Man" bit from the video.


Monday, April 21, 2008

You didn't really think I was that stupid, did you?

Of course I chickened out and avoided the Quiche of Death.

I justified it by saying that if I had the opportunity to pay $9 (the price of the quiche) to avoid spending the day on the crapper, I'd fork it over in a second, so the quiche went in the trash and I had leftover pizza for breakfast instead.

And the applewood smoked pepper bacon kicked ass, in case you were wondering. We had guests over Saturday night, and the four adults and four kids managed to polish off the whole pound at breakfast on Sunday. And it didn't even set off the smoke detector when I cooked it in the oven - hurray!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Liza helped me take some photos of a finished quilt today. She was very good at posing:

... and taking photos of my crow's feet.


Friday, April 18, 2008

Mean Chef's Vietnamese Chicken Salad

Thank me (and Mean Chef) later.


PS - If you don't like spicy, omit the hot pepper in the salad, or the chili garlic sauce in the dressing ... I don't think you'd need to eliminate both.

New exhibit at the zoo

The Cleveland Zoo has a new exhibit right near the main food court - you can see it while you're standing in line at McDonald's, actually. It's really cool and interactive, letting you get right up close to some rare animals in a remarkable facsimile of their native habitat. Check it out:

That's the rare Good-Natured Tree Toddler, in case you couldn't identify it on sight. I got some good closeups, too - think I should submit them to Nature?

Dear Women of Cleveland:

Hi. Let me first say, I get it. Really, I do. I live here too. I've been living inside in the cold and grey during a winter that's basically lasted since last June. I'm as happy to have a nice day as the next person, and I like to think that I enjoy it just as much, too.

And while an April day with sunny 80F weather makes me feel like taking off all my clothes and frolicking naked in the warm caresses of a beautiful spring day, I don't do it. Unlike the rest of you, apparently, who have decided that anything warmer than 50F merits halter tops, belly shirts, and short-shorts.

You know what? I like those clothes - really, I do. And I'd love to see you wearing them ... at the beach. But at the zoo? When you know you're going to have to bend over a million times to answer your kid's question? And you either haven't seen sunlight in months, or have spent the entire winter in a spray tan booth? And you spent most of the winter curled up with a Krispy Kreme and a book? And you're over 40 and have nursed three or four kids? Dude, we don't want to see it.

So to the middle-aged, well-endowed woman who was wearing a halter top (braless) that probably required garment tape in order to keep the remaining 1/3 of her breasts unexposed, I say - You shouldn't have to do a nip check ever 30 seconds when you go out in public.

And to the otherwise pretty high school girl with massive flanks of cellulite showing beneath her short shorts, I say - That's not helping get you a prom date, honey.

And to the really attractive pregnant woman who sat next to me at the food court, delighted by how pink she was getting, I say - That burn is gonna look sweet in 20 years, Leatherneck, right before The Cancer gets you.


Puritanical Princess

If I die tomorrow, blame it on my own stupidity

Today I drug the kid to the West Side Market for the first time. The market is packed full of fruit and vegetable vendors, butchers, fishmongers, dairies, bakeries, spice stores, pasta stores, yada yada yada. It's enough to leave even a seasoned foodie reeling - but Liza took it all in stride, munching an M&M studded sugar cookie as I wheeled her up and down the aisles, pointing out the giant steer head and the beautiful ceiling and all the other details that it's hard to see on your first visit. You've never seen a kid so excited as her in the vegetable section, naming every obscure thing she could find. I may have the only two year old who can name more than one type of mushroom and can identify artichokes on sight.

I have a love/hate relationship with the market. I love going there - it's soooo much fun to see what is available, especially the things you can't find at the regular grocery. Whole suckling pig? Gotcha covered. Skinned rabbits? Yup. Giant fava beans? Them too. And since many of the stalls sell similar things, a lot of them have samples available which they just about ram down your throat, so it's very difficult to leave there hungry. I thought the lady with the headscarf was going to hold Liza down and forcefeed her if she didn't try some mango ... now THERE's an event I'd pay to see.

But the problem is, I get sucked into the romance of the place, and I always come home with WAY too much food. I always spend a ton of money on fruit that is ripe NOW and food that is perishable, and a good portion of it usually perishes before it gets consumed. This time I was smart and brought a cooler, since I knew we weren't going to be headed home immediately after shopping. And I was doing great, only getting enough stuff to fit in the cooler ... until I came to the Amish quiche stall.

What do the Amish know from quiches? Heck if I know, but Swiss cheese and corn sounded pretty good to me, so I threw one of those in the back of the van. And then there was the florist stall, where they had LILACS. Lilacs - you know, those bushes that smell like a perfect early summer day distilled into clusters of purple loveliness? Yeah, I came back with one of those, too.

So the baba ganouj and the frozen ravioli and the applewood smoked peppered bacon went into the cooler with the cold block, but there was no way the quiche was going to fit in there, much less the armload of lilacs I got for $7. So I made the decision that, hey, quiche is served at room temperature sometimes, anyway, and I'm going to be baking the thing before I serve it, anyway, which should kill off any nasties that breed while it sits in my hot car. Right?

The quiche and the lilacs sat in the car while Liza and I went to the zoo for a few hours. It was sunny and 80F. I'll post photos later, after I have time to edit out all the extraneous fishbelly-white cleavage that was on display by pretty much everyone but me. Anyway, the lilacs were all wilty when we got to the car, but I've got them in a vat of water in the sink, and I'm hopeful that I can revive them for a day or two. If not, I'll just snip off the wilty flowers and roll around in them like a dog with a dead fish.

As for the quiche, well, I think we're having it for breakfast tomorrow. That means the food poisoning will probably hit while I'm at the shrink's office, so at least I'll be in good hands when I start projectile vomiting. Let's hope the traditional Amish quiche is worth the trouble!

(No, Liza won't be eating the quiche - she's anti-quiche to begin with, and in any case I'm not cavalier enough to chance her getting sick on something I suspect may be bad. Me and Jason, on the other hand ... well, we're old enough to know the risk and decide for ourselves. Who wants to bet I'm going to have the whole quiche to myself?)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


Before - the old owner's furniture and arrangement

After: New paint, new floorplan, new floor, new lights, new couch slipcover, new window treatments

So this room is done. At least I think so.
(and it's just the perspective that makes it look cramped)

Career development

Just in case her pole-dancing career doesn't pan out, I've decided she needs a backup plan ... like drywall repair. Lord knows she's seen enough of it in her lifetime - time to get her involved in the process.
Pink sleeveless knit dresses - the Dickies of the '00s

Of course I let her really do it - how else is she going to learn enough to support me in my old age? She actually did a pretty good job at getting the stuff to stick to the patch, with me finishing the coat by smoothing everything out. Only a couple more coats to go before we can put up the new toilet paper holder!

Gotta teach the kid the most important part of the job - cleanup!

Score so far:

Homeowners: 1

Ugly ceramic toilet paper holder that was glued over a huge hole in the wall with caulk and speckled with old colors of paint: 0

(And can I just say that ripping that ugly abomination down off the wall with brute force was one of the most enjoyable things I've done in a long time? Because it was fun. Lots of fun.)

**** Edited to add:

Note to self: When working with joint compound and a toddler who loves "working" with putty knives, make sure to erect a barrier between her and the patch while the mud dries. Grrrrrr. Guess that's at least one or two extra coats we get to do now ...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sometimes there's a reason a photo wasn't included with the recipe

Exhibit A: Garides Saganaki

The recipe translates this from the Greek as "shrimp with feta," but I think the actual translation is "it looks like something a co-ed threw up after a night of drinking, but it tastes good anyway."

This was one of those recipes that I didn't actually READ before buying all the ingredients - I sort of skimmed it to make sure all the ingredients were things we like, and I got an idea of the amount of time it was going to take to cook, and I was off. About 5 minutes into the cooking I started questioning whether I had read everything right - it just didn't look like any other dish I had made before. But despite reading and rereading the recipe, nothing changed, and the weird way was indeed what I was supposed to be doing.

The shrimp cook for almost an hour in this recipe, but they don't start to look like vomit until the last 20 minutes, after the feta goes in. And despite the long cooking time, the shrimp ended up being tender and moist - maybe the feta and tomatoes help preserve them? At any rate, if you turn the lights down, keep your mind open, and give it a try, you'll be happily surprised.

Luckily, not all versions of this recipe look like mine. You can find a more appetizing photo of a different version here. And that one doesn't cook for an hour, either. Maybe next time we'll try that one ... at least then we'd be able to turn the lights on when we eat!

The recipe I used was from Saveur from many years ago, but I can't find the same version online anywhere. I'll be happy to send it to you if you ask, but there are a plethora of other versions available that frankly look more appealing. They're easy to find if you just search for "Garides Saganaki."

Coincidence? I don't think so.

Once upon a time, I snagged a bunch of old photos from my grandmother's house and made copies of them. Some I snagged because they're my ancestors, and some just because they looked cool. For instance, here's one of the few photos of my great grandparents (that's my mother's father at the bottom of the group):
These photos were relegated to the infrequently visited purgatory of our dining room at the house in Kentucky, and I never put a whole lot of thought into the identities of the people in the "cool" photos.

A few weeks ago I was looking at the photos (which now hang in the upstairs hall in our new house, right where they're convenient to view while waiting for Someone to finish washing her hands), and I realized that this group wedding portrait (which I copied purely because I liked the photo) is probably from my great grandparents' wedding, which means that the lady with the bouquet the size of a bush is my great grandmother.

And upon closer inspection, I realized that this photo, which I copied because it's hella-cool, is probably also of my great grandmother.

I've had this photo on my desk for several years, as sort of an inspirational "if she can ride sidesaddle in a donkey all the way across the country to see this rock, whatever is annoying you can't really be so hard" knick-knack. And I've always wished that I knew where that rock was so I could go and get my photo taken there, probably 100 years after she did.

Fast forward to this weekend, when the Colorado vacation guide arrived in the mail. Jason and I have been trying to figure out where we want to go on vacation this summer, and he had ordered the guide just to see what's out there. We both sort of flipped through the magazine, dogeared a couple of pages, and went back to eating lunch. I flipped it open at random yesterday, and this is what I saw:

I found the rock!

Summer Mission: Get a photo of me and the great great granddaughter in front of Balanced Rock in the Garden of the Gods Park in Colorado Springs (donkey optional). Guess that settles the vacation question for the year, doesn't it?

Friday, April 11, 2008

Notes from the stove

Tuesday: Maida Heatter's East 62nd Street Lemon Cake, from Saveur magazine
Boy, has it been a looooong time since I've made a cake from scratch ... you know, butter, eggs, sifted flour, all that. For the most part, they don't seem to be worth it. But this one is, well, pretty close to being worth it. For one thing, with the exception of having to double-sift the flour and remember to soften the butter, it's not a difficult cake. Harder than a box mix, but not by much. For another, the texture ends up being different from a box mix (well, duh), but not in a heavy-as-a-brick-and-about-as-moist way that some scratch cakes do. This one was dense and moist, almost like a buttery cross between sponge cake and pound cake. And the glaze was REALLY nice. I let my cake get a little too done despite pulling it 15 minutes before the minimum time in the recipe (stupid nonstick Nordicware bundt pan burns every time), and the glaze totally saved it. It soaks into the surface, then it crystallizes as the cake cools, so there is this crunchy lemon sugar coating on the whole surface. Verrrrry good.
Verdict: I'm keeping the recipe, but for everyday use I'll probably still use the doctored mix recipe from the Cake Mix Doctor book. I know, I suck, but that's what I grew up on.

Friday: Mocha Truffle Cookies, originally from Better Homes and Gardens magazine
I printed this recipe years ago from the Fine Cooking discussion board, where it received good reviews. I made some this morning to take to my trunk show at Birds of a Feather tomorrow ... because quilters love chocolate, and I'm all about kissing up to potential customers. Anything that has three kinds of chocolate in it and isn't burnt can't be too bad - but I wouldn't say they're my favorite cookies of all time or anything. You can't really taste the coffee - the Fine Cooking poster said she uses instant espresso powder instead of coffee, and I think that would help bump it up a little. And I wasn't too fond of how the cookies didn't really melt or spread at all - you're supposed to drop them by teaspoonfuls onto the cookie sheets, which usually means that they'll spread and round out a little. These stayed where they were, so the finished cookies look a little shaggy around the edges. I think next time I might try chilling the (already pretty stiff) dough and rolling them into flattened balls or something. I also think I'll cook them for less time, since only a few ended up with the "soft trufflelike center" the original post described.
Verdict: I'm keeping the recipe, and will try monkeying around with espresso powder and/or different cocoa (I used the ultra-black Dutch processed cocoa from King Arthur, which has a different flavor from standard cocoa, and I generally don't like it as much as regular).

Friday: Curried Lentil Soup, photocopied from some cookbook a couple years ago
A few years ago, Jason and I had a not-so-great meal at an Indian restaurant. The next morning we woke up to find we still had it on our breath; Jason remarked that it tasted "like an Indian shat in my mouth." Well, after forgetting to take out the trash full of raw chicken trimmings last night, and making this soup today, my kitchen smells like the Indian not only shat there, but died there, too. Note to self: take out the raw-chicken trash, no matter how little else is in the bag.
If you don't mind your house smelling like curry for a few days, though, this stuff was surprisingly good. I'm not a huge lentil fan - I'll eat an occasional bowl of lentil soup when we're out, particularly with lots of extra lemon juice squeezed over it, but I don't make it at home. This is probably enough to change my mind, though. Absolutely nothing tricky, few weird ingredients, not overly spicy, it was done in about an hour, and it was really tasty. Jason and I agreed that it probably would benefit from having some meat thrown in at the end - I've got some spicy pot roast leftovers I'm eyeing for when we reheat this later on for dinner when I'm too lazy, er, busy to cook. And it needs some sort of bread to go with it - naan would be great, but even a nice homemade yeast bread would go well with it.
Verdict: We both really liked it, at least for the original meal. We'll see how well it reheats and whether we get sick of it as quickly as we did the cabbage soup back in January (gack ... I still have trouble considering eating more of that, even though it was good the first time around). I'm definitely keeping the recipe - this would be good to serve to a crowd, maybe with a salad and some homemade bread, for an impressive meal. Plus, it makes your house smell like curry :)

If anyone wants the curried lentil soup recipe, let me know and I'll send it to you. I couldn't find it after a reasonable amount of searching online, and I don't feel like being Ms. Copyright Infringer today.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

greedy greedy greedy

With the big 0-3 coming up at the end of this month, people have been asking for birthday suggestions for Her Royal Highness. Heck if I know, is my normal answer, but some of the folks were starting to sound desperate, so I took a while to search for some things online that I thought she'd like. Turns out, 3 is the magic age at which kids toys no longer bore the crap out of me. Look - marbles! dominoes! tutus that play the hokey pokey! Giant inflatable croquet sets! I found all of that, and a few other things ... What? It's not like I expect somebody to buy her all of these things! It's just that I thought it would be nice to have the list to refer back to, when the same question crops up again in November and December.

So here's the list:















http://www.hearthsong.com/hearthsong/product.do?section_id=1&bc=1005&pgc=1802&sv=2230&cmvalue=HS1 (the swan lake one)











Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Peepers in the park - video

Finally got around to editing this sucker, and it's only 10 minutes after I was supposed to be in bed! How's that for efficiency?

Anyhoo, here's a way to experience Peeper Central, aka "that swampy place next to the place we had our picnic today."

Picnic in the park

After school today we packed a lunch and headed for the nearest metropark for a picnic. We got a prime spot on the dock, and we only had to chase the Canada goose away twice.

Then we went on a "hike" around the pond/river/swamp/whatever it is. Liza spent most of the hike climbing over the deadfalls (hope that skirt is washable, Grandma!) and throwing sticks into the water. Just as I spotted a 12"+ long fish that I wanted to show her, she flung a yard-long stick in the water and totally beaned the fish. I made her apologize to the fish.
"What do you think made this hole, Mama?"

"Probably a beaver."
"Oooooh. How do you know?"
"Hmm, let's see, where to start ..."

While Liza threw more sticks in the water (with no further damage to the native aquatic life), I watched a pair of pileated woodpeckers feeding their babies in a nest. Here's one of the pair during a scavenging mission:

Liza wouldn't let me take a picture of her with the tree ... until I let her take MY picture with the tree.

All in all, it was a good day. Wouldn't you agree, Little Miss Perky Napless Wonder Child?

Not quite what I was expecting

Yesterday I had a few minutes to chip away at our godforsaken, ankle-deep-in-mud, twig-strewn wasteland of a backyard, and I was surprised to find this:

The latent Girl Scout in me was fascinated, so I searched around, and about five feet away I found this:
... and this ...
... and this ...

... and a whole bunch more. Apparently there was a deer parade in our background recently, and I didn't even have to issue invitations. Thanks to the number of twigs, acorns, mossy areas, dead leaves, and other junk on the ground, it's hard to track them exactly, but I'm pretty sure I can see where the deer went across the yard and then possibly back the way he/she/they came. And given the depth of the tracks and how far apart they are, either this was a giant deer, or a smaller deer moving pretty fast.

The best part for me? They came nowhere near the remains of the garden, which still has a couple raggedy bars of Dial hanging nearby. Score! Looks like we might not need to fly my father-in-law (and his guns) out this spring after all.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

blah blah blah

I keep having lots to talk about ... anytime I can't get to a computer in time to write it down. And by the time I do get to the computer, either I've forgotten the topic completely, or the oh-so-awesome-sentence-that-was-the-linchpin-for-the-whole-essay seems incredibly stupid. And I hate to be a "here's what I had for lunch" blogger, so I've been kinda silent recently.

Since I can't manage to sit down and write a whole post about any one thing, here's a partial list of what I've been meaning to tell you:
  • There are billions of purple crocus in our yard, which Certain People feel we have to go and admire up close (i.e. "stomp all over with rainboots"), and which have attracted the first bees of the season.
  • Thanks to Gimpy and his brethren, our backyard has become a godforsaken, ankle-deep-in-mud, twig-strewn wasteland. It's so bad that I have to rake all the twigs up, put them in a container, and put them out for the trash. I've been using the copier paper boxes that got wet when we put them in the garage after our move into the kitchen, which has the double benefit of getting them out of the garage AND being small enough that I feel like I'm getting something accomplished, even when I only have 10 minutes to work on it before Certain People wander off.
  • I made a new version of vegetable lasagna last night, which was good only because I used Diavolo sauce in it. The recipe called for pretty much every vegetable that wasn't nailed down at the grocery store, and while it was good, I wouldn't say the extra effort was worth it, compared to my other veggie lasagna recipes.
  • I even considered a rant about the $145 I spent on groceries yesterday, which didn't include any detergent, batteries, or diapers, so it was doubly exhorbitant. At least we didn't have to visit the bathroom while we were there.
  • I made a really good pork roast for dinner tonight. I was agonizing over whether to infringe on the copyright of yet another recipe author (at Cooking Light magazine, I think, judging by the font on the clipping I'm working from) by typing the recipe in here, especially given my recent snippyness about copyright infringement from other sources. But the pork was so good! Luckily, my moral quandary was solved by someone else, who had already posted the recipe online, so I don't have to bear the burden of doing it myself. You can find the recipe for Honey-Cumin Roasted Pork with Caramelized Onions here: http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/563/HoneyCuminRoastedPorkwith63953.shtml You totally need to click through and make this stuff ... you mix five things together, slop it on a pork roast, stick it in the oven, and come back an hour later to find dinner pretty much done. The only thing I did differently from the directions was to add a couple tablespoons of flour to the last addition of chicken broth, just to thicken the sauce a little bit. We're not big on au jus around here - we're more likely to ask for gravy you can stand a spoon up in. I didn't take it that far, just thick enough that it didn't form a flood on the plate when we served it ... and I swear, if we hadn't had company over, I'd have been licking the sauce off the plate and sucking it out of the serving bowl with a straw.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


See the dorky-looking blur with the marching trombone? That's me, circa 1990, as in my senior year in high school. Thanks, Steve, for posting this blast from the past!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

I can't believe the nerve of some people


Dear Copyright Infringer and Overall Fuckwit:

I won't even mention your company name here, for fear of driving up your spot on google's search ranks. You know who you are, and if my readers don't, they can read your name on photos of the toys you made at a factory in the Philippines after stealing the design from an independent artist and trying to pass it off as your own.

You're a fraud, a fake, and a liar. You suck.


The entire legitimate Internet crafting community

Come meet Lazy Mama!

When: Saturday, April 12th, 10am to 5pm
Where: Birds of a Feather, 36840 Detroit Rd., Avon, Ohio 44011
Why: I'm going to be showing off my new ruffled yo-yo technique, as featured in the shop's April Block of the Month design. I'll also have a trunk show featuring samples of all of my patterns for sale in the shop, as well as some goodies to share with my adoring public.

Have a question about one of my projects? Hesitant to buy a pattern when you've never seen a sample in person? Curious about whether I really am as drop-dead gorgeous as you imagine? Stop by and mention that you read the blog and I'll have a little something for you!