Friday, December 31, 2010

Year in Review

Top events in 2010

Doug & Chelsey announce they are pregnant.  Super excited for them!  We don't share that we've started talking about the possibility of a family ourselves.  Must make our own decision before we bring anyone into the loop.

Jason turns 40  A fun 70's themed party was held and the family and friends embraced the theme with gusto!  Thanks to everyone who made the night memorable.

My friend Matt got married.  He looked high and low for the perfect gal to compliment his witty and rather smart existence.  After lots of dates with the wrong ladies he found someone who appreciates all the wonderful things about him.  I miss his sarcastic side, but am thrilled he's happy.  Wishing them many happy years together.

TP goes to traffic court.  I got a speeding ticket that I deserved but wanted due process.  I got it, and for $150 and a year of good driving record my insurance company will not be notified.  (I have 7 weeks to go!).  It was a bummer to have my 20+ years of clean record wiped away, but the law is the law.  Speed (get caught) and you will pay.

TP's consulting company on the back burner, after being hired as a full time employee by her client.  (Happy news!)

Sad news that an estranged friend died suddenly at age 43.  My heart is broken for her family and am sending lots of love and good wishes to them over the holidays and always.  

Installed a heat pump (air conditioner) in our house.  Jason is delighted and I'm convinced the weather will never again be warm enough to need it now that we invested in it.

Discussions about a baby kick into high gear.  "Maybe we should take down the firewall and see what happens".

Fun visit to friends in Portland and the craziness with their kids (a busy 4 year old) don't scare us... in fact.  We stop using the "firewall" (nerd speak for birth control.)

Holy Shit - We're pregnant.

Long Beach for 4th of July!  Fireworks and friends.

Long weekend to Yosemite.  Damn, tis HOT there in July.

Last Train to Clarkston - camping for a week on the Snake river.  Happy to get color on my skin and hang out with Jason's friends who are now my people too!

Wine Tasting Weekend In Walla Walla
with Becky and her cute hubby.  The being pregnant thing stopped the wine tasting but we had a pool at our hotel. It was perfect!

Jordan is born!  Welcome to our world, nice to meet you sweet little monkey!

Labor Day in Vegas with my sweetie.  Turns out my hair looks fabulous in 114 degree heat.  Maybe a move to Arizona is in order... NOT.

1 Year Wedding Anniversary - weekend road trip along California's northern coast.  SF, Santa Cruz, Monterrey.  I'm still quite pleased with my fella!

It's official - We're having a girl.  Happy tears.

In Denver for Mrs. B's 80th birthday party.  She's amazing.

A rainy and wonderful weekend with my girlfriends at the Lake Quinault Lodge near Forks.  No vampire sightings.

A snowy getaway with the book group to Leavenworth.  (Jason puts up x-mas lights and does secret holiday shopping for my gifts. lucky me.)

Thanksgiving with the cousins.  How fabulous not to have to cook!

Christmas with the family.  Missed Mom & Dad on Christmas but got to road trip to visit the following Monday.  Happy!!!

Counting the weeks until Lucy arrives...  We have 8 to go.  tick tock

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

TP comments on the news

I read an article on today about a man who was arrested after slapping a kid (teen)  on a plane who refused to turn his iPhone off during landing.  The man was being charged with assault. 

I don't agree with slapping the kid (even on the hand as the man alleges) but can feel his frustration.  I've noticed plenty of adults on planes who turn their phones onto sleep mode for the take off and landing instead of "powered off" as the flight attendants require.  I'm not sure who makes these rules, but for the most part when it comes to things like flight safety I'm going to abide by the rules.  (I'm going to get hopped up and mad about the possibility of them feeling me up before I get on the flight, but in the end I will comply.)


"Husband defends reading wife's e-mail"  Oh no you didn't!  In Detroit a bitter battle is taking place between a man and his now ex-wife.  He cruised her personal email account to discover that she was having an affair with her (second) ex-husband.  After consulting with the first ex-husband, they decided that since hubby #2 was a douche bag that they should involve the courts to protect a child in her home.  (I'm thinking it was the child of husband #1).  Anywho... he claims she had previously provided him with the password to her account and that she had given him permission.  She (and the courts) content that he hacked into the account (new password) to illegally view the mail.  I have to say, that even though Jas has my password and I have his, our emails are our own.   Should I change my password or he change his, any previous "permission" to view is revoked. 

But... she's an idiot.  It is EASY to set up a free email account that the newest soon to be ex-husband wouldn't know about.  How stupid are you to communicate with your lover on your cell phone or main email account?  When plotting and scheming, set up a new account and your address can be ""

NFL Fines Brett Farve $50,000.  Tisk Tisk Tisk. These sports guys need to keep their business in their pants.  The NFL says that Farve failed to cooperate with the investigation that he sent crude messages to a fellow NFL employee.  (oops)  The lesson here is that if you're going to send pictures of your junk to someone make sure they don't work for the same company that you do or not only are you a douche bag, but you can be charged with sexual harassment.   They can't prove anything, but the fine seems to say "we think you did it" so here's a tiny little reminder that we own your @SS!   (I'm sure his wife isn't too thrilled either.)

Kate Middleton showed people's princess flair when she posed with fiance Prince William wearing apparel from some of the United Kingdom's mid-priced retailers - not exclusive designers - for her official engagement photos.  Oh my,  who cares?  She's a pretty girl who is marrying a guy that may (or may not) be King someday.  Together they seem genuinely happy, so why does it matter what she wears?

Oklahoma man says wife's death was sex fantasy accident And then there's this yahoo.  He claims that he and his (now dead) wife commonly used a gun to enhance their sexual play.  Apparently, putting a gun to her head while "giving it to her" was normal in their world.  And holy shit of an oops to find out the darned thing was loaded.  If it's true (which the police seem to be leaning towards) they are both dumb as an ox and it seems wrong that somehow they didn't snuff each other out in this stupid game.   A lesser part of the story and equally disturbing (to me) is the age difference between the grieving husband and his wholly wife - he was 23 she was 50.  Perhaps she SHOULD have known better. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Ah the holidays! We hosted the "All Family Extravaganza" this year and it was a lot of fun. There were babies, gifts, tons of food, lots of laughter and we didn't have to travel anywhere.
Liam & Jordan hanging out. 

The white elephant gifts

Who is Mans Best Friend?

oh lord... knives

what's up!

Rachel and Shalena loving on Jordan while Daddy Doug naps.

The white elephant gift exchange was a hit. The gift certificates made the rounds, my fun beer steins were stolen from me by an evil evil man who I shall smite for ages. Gifts like wine and DVDs tended to be popular and a poster of Cousin Phil dressed in his finest for Jason's 70's themed birthday party was a riot.

Hanging out with all the new babies was great. Jordan, at almost 4 months is still a tiny girl, but really interactive and a joy to be around. Liam, who is a bruiser at 7 weeks old is a happy content baby. He's big, but very much an infant. Wade, a tiny dude is still squishy and doesn't have head control yet. He's not even a month old yet, but a cutie none the less. Next Christmas we'll have to put a fence around the tree as all three (four plus Lucy) will be VERY mobile. Jordan will be about 16 months old and will likely be wandering around on her own and I'm sure Liam, Wade and Lucy will be scooting around the floor as well. (Lucy probably on all fours, but she'll try to keep up.)

We had way too much food, and it was great. I love a table full of appetizers and then hot food followed by way too many treats. I nibbled all afternoon and then (shame) had to eat again before bedtime. It was fun to dig out my serving dishes and set up a lovely table. People were parked all over the house to eat which was festive. Everyone at sitting formally at tables might have killed the party spirit.

I'm sad my parents were unable to make the trip over, but understood.  Dad wasn't feeling well and the weather wanted to be an issue.  Lucky for us it held out and we made a day trip over on Monday.  (I knew I took the day off for a reason.)  It was a long day, but worth it to bring them gifts, Christmas food and of course.... PIE.

John and Susie left this morning before 7am and while they enjoyed their visit were happy to be headed home.   They will be celebrating the new year with their "other" family - the Niagara Way neighbors.  It is so nice that they have lived on the same street for 40 (some) years and have built a real community in their neighborhood.  It is unusual these days and something to be celebrated.

I'm "back at work" today but thankful for a) a home office and that b) most everyone is on vacation so I can work on my own stuff.  I'll be sneaking off to have lunch with my fella today which is a nice treat.

I hope you all had a lovely holiday and a happy new year!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Keep your EMPHASIS out of the HEADLINES

Each week I cruise through the online version of the old hometown newspaper.  I enjoy catching up and feeling a bit connected to the place I grew up.

The paper is a weekly and for the most part does a good job of balancing the bake sale at the nursing home highlights with the larger news stories.

I noticed a headline related to the Governors budget proposal and take issue with how it is presented.

"deep STATE cuts expected TO HURT LOCAL AREA"   Perhaps its a typo, but the emphasis seems to be a bit "non-neutral" and a tad judgmental.  (hey, conservative voters - you get what you voted for... NOTHING)

It reminded me of a helpful article I read in a management book by Dilbert that talked about creative editing.  The suggestion was that you could edit any statement in anyway and as long as you left the words in the correct order you weren't lying.  The example looked a lot like this:

"The Pope commended Mother Teresa today for her stance on food distribution for the poor.  She is against the stealing of food like potatoes and rice from one region to ship to another region.  Local food should feed local families."

"The Pope commended Mother Teresa today for her stance on food distribution for the poor.  She is against the stealing of food like potatoes and rice from one region to ship to another region.  Local food should feed local families.."

Cleaned up
"Mother Teresa is stealing potatoes from local families."

All the words are there, therefore it must be true. 

(funny how I start on one point and then wander to another... I'm NOT A JOURNALIST, continuity rules may be applied loosely.)

My original point is that every newspaper (and network for that matter) should remember one of the key journalistic principals that Edward R. Murrow brought to the profession - State the facts and be neutral.  Opinions are for the OP-ED page. 

And now, for an actual quote:

To be persuasive we must be believable; to be believable we must be credible; credible we must be truthful.
-Edward R. Murrow

Anyway, this applies to all news agencies.  I want the facts, I can form my own decision if it is courageous, outrageous or simply not interesting.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Hide yo kids, hide yo tree

The horrible losses in life

The iPhone is a lovely thing, it makes phone calls, we can text, send email and then there are the games!  Oh how I love to pass those idle hours in the airport or when I can't sleep at night with a game that allows my brain to shut down.  One VERY popular game is called Angry Birds.  The idea is that you use a slingshot to fling birds at structures and inside the structures are pigs.  The object is to blow up the pigs (because they will eat your nest). 

There are many many levels and each is more and more difficult, thus the challenge.  I am happy to get through a level no matter what.  Jason however, feels that to be satisfied he has to earn high point values which are captures in his stats page by the number of stars earned for a level.  Three stars is the best.  He was on a personal journey to get three stars on every level.  He wouldn't even proceed to a new level until he achieved his goal.

You all know that I love this man with my entire being.  But, I will call a nerd a nerd.  My beloved NERD has been bragging to folks about his three star merits and I simply have to sit back and let him geek out.  No amount of telling him he sounds like a kid raving about Atari or Halo has penetrated his obsessed brain. 

Heck, the boy is even RANKED in the online world of Angry Birds.  (I play for the enjoyment, he plays for the glory.)  Of the 36,000 other people who upload their Angry Bird scores to the main game server he is ranked at about 25,000.  Now this won't get him on the medal platform, but really do you want to be THAT guy?  I mean, the dude (just a hunch) that is ranked number one has a cumulative score that is in the billions - seriously!?  I think he hacked into the program or he plays so much that he doesn't eat, sleep or worry about his virginity.

Last night, the unthinkable happened.  Jason's phone seized up while he was playing.  He rebooted and then the Angry Birds application wouldn't load.  At 11:30 pm (with his parents nicely tucked into their guest room) he trekked into the office to "fix" the application.   He came back to bed and made the saddest sound.  I knew immediately what horror had just entered into his life.   All of his hard word had been wiped away.  Not only were is pages and pages of 3 star victories erased but all but level 1 was locked.  In order to play, he has to start over.

I do sympathize, but I also laughed until my stomach hurt and tears were leaking out of my eyes. He's sad but seems determined to start over.  His ranking is still online, but his new games aren't contributing to his score - so in order to improve his ranking he has to make a new name for himself.  I hope he's done before the baby comes or he'll be using his paternity leave to catch up.

Merry Christmas you damn birds!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chuck Norris Riding Godzilla

This lovely watch is on sale at for the paltry price of around $140,000.00 based on the reviews I don't think I can afford NOT to buy it. (they offer financing)  Oh and it qualifies for free shipping!

 Jon McAwesome (Awesomeville, SC (pop. 1))
The Zenith Men's Defy Xtreme Tourbillon Titanium Chronograph Watch or Z.M.D.X.T.B.T.C.M. as I like to call it, is by far the most awesome watch. Chuck Norris riding into the Super Bowl on the back of Godzilla and round house kicking the crowd is no where near as awesome as this priceless poon magnet. When I was just moments from sending my $100k to some needy neo-hippie help group, I stumbled onto this gem. It was like the heavens opened and Jesus himself appeared with this same watch on. I mean how can you not follow Jesus when he's rocking a watch of this caliber. So I asked "What would Jesus do?" Jesus pimp smacked me and said "Forget those hippies, buy the watch!" I was like "HECK YEAH." I busted out my Discover card and bought this rocking piece of art. I mean its art but its also practical too. Like when I take my summer trips to the Marianas Trench, I have no more worries that I am going to miss Tea Time back on the yacht, because water ruined my watch again. It can withstand the immense pressures of the deep due to the wicked awesome titanium. Deep seas, cant beat this. Bullets cant beat this. Heck, I can deflect cruise missiles and the apocalypse. With a watch like this you don't need to tell time, you tell people what time it is. 

If this isn't enough to make you want the watch, how about this review:

Oldballs "GatorRanger" -I think a proper review of this watch needs to be done categorically.

Awesomeness: As one reviewer succinctly put it, this watch is more awesome than Chuck Norris riding Godzilla. However, that statement indicates that the reviewer clearly has not realized the full awesomeness of the watch, as depicted by its "Pandora Setting" whereby a holographic image of Chuck Norris suplexing Gandhi is displayed in full scale. When I first saw it I thought "yeah, that's pretty awesome, but what if I want him to do something different like punching Rosie O'Donnell in the face?" Well, my friends, that option can be downloaded straight from the watch's own satellite.

Value: Poor people can't buy it, which makes it automatically better. The sad-face expressions on people at the soup kitchen when I show it off are beyond priceless. One time I made a guy think I was going to give it to him because he liked it, but then I was like "naw man, you would probably just sell it and buy a house or something. That's lame."

Ability to conquer foreign lands: This watch actually caused several earthquakes in third-world countries when I set my alarm for multiple time zones.

Ability to offend hippies: It offends hippies. All of them.

Ability to offend bleeding-heart whiners: This one chick was like "you could sell that and build a house for poor people!" And I was like "yeah, I totally could. But that would be stupid because then I wouldn't have this awesome watch." She was upset, which was pretty cool.

Ability to cure disease: If everyone bought this watch, absolutely no money would go to disease research and all the people with disease would die so all the disease would die with them. It's sound logic and in the owner's manual for the watch.

Ability to stop terrorists: I would say that Jack Bauer wears this watch, but this watch actually wears Jack Bauer as an accessory.

Faults: There is only one fault with this watch -- that it is priced low enough for wannabes and posers to buy it. I want a watch that only the most elite can afford; I don't want to see Joe Blow wearing this watch because then I would have to throw it away. That's why it got four stars instead of five.

Also, I bought two of them because I like to put them both in a cage and watch them fight for my love.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Monday before Christmas...

We spent time yesterday cleaning our not dirty house.  It's amazing how much time that can take.  It was lovely to split up the effort and he picked up our junk from down stairs and I did the upstairs.

Jason told me that he had a conversation with his parents about how we don't typically vacuum between visits from Angelica the wonder housekeeper and I'd like to say for the record that while we're not on a floor cleaning schedule, all bits get zipped up on a frequent basis.  Of course, the "parents are visiting paranoia" has kicked in and I want to vacuum lines into the carpet before they arrive.  I remember my mom getting into that frantic mode before holidays too, now she lives in a carpet free environment so the pressure is off. Of course, the conversation was not all about that, but he dropped that tidbit on me and in my weakened mental state it has stuck.

I also think maybe the "Shark" floor cleaner will come out tonight.  Jason has one last chore to do before we become hosts and while he's de-residueing the fireplace glass I'll give the kitchen floors a good steam.  He likes to do the steaming, but the faster we get done the sooner I can sit my ever tired butt on a couch. 

Back to the exciting vacuum story - I checked the bag after getting half of the upstairs done and WOW it was full.  I was tempted to go back and re-vacuum every area I had covered with a clean bag, but this tiny baby is making it hard to breathe so it will have to wait.  Maybe tonight, maybe not...

Our first round of guests arrive tomorrow and while I'm not taking any extra vacation Jason is working half days for the rest of the week.  They will make the required Costco run during an afternoon while I hold down the home office and with other events we have scheduled it's going to be a busy week. 

We're skipping baby class on the 22nd, but have worked out how to get the information we'll be missing (the epidural class.)   I received a lot of that information when I was the birth coach for Janie and thus my only concern is that I want to wait until we're well into labor before taking the drugs so that we've progressed a lot before I'm bed ridden. (more on that topic on the baby blog.)

All of our cards have been sent, our lights have been up for a while and it is quite festive and happy in our house.  I do love this time of year and now that I'm not 14 it's not about the gifts I get it's a genuine enjoyment of the family interaction. 

I am a bit blue that this is the third Christmas in a row that I won't be seeing my aunts, but I'm so happy we don't have to choose between spending Christmas with Jason's parents OR my parents.  It is a wonderful thing to have our most favorite soon to be grandparents gathered together in our home.  I wish my brother and his wife could come up, but they have their own family traditions and it isn't practical to drag their whole world up our way or our world down their way.

There is some comfort in keeping our celebration small, the risk of DRAMA is low.  I'm too old for drama that I don't create on my own.  I'm sure that in 13 or 14 years I'll get enough drama with Lucy.  Lucky us!

So, with that rambling I'm off to get more work done (and then a quick break to steam clean some obscure area of the house).

Happy Monday before Christmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

More wonderful things from the Internet

I find that the auto correct on my iPhone is frustrating, but I usually manage to correct it before things like this happen:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

For Jason

This makes me laugh out loud every time I see it. Poor girl

Wild Weather

"They" said it was going to be a wild winter.  A La Nina weather pattern promises to bring wet and more wet with some cold.  These last few days have certainly lived up to that prediction.

The "pineapple express" brought lots of wet in a short amount of time which was exciting to be sure.  A weekend dumping of more than 3 inches of rain in areas leaves us with a soggy mess. 

Last night we had a squall whip through the region that hit our house at about 12:30.  The rain on the windows woke me up and then startled my guy (who sleeps with the aid of a C-pap machine that nicely drowns out all other noise such as the snoring of a pregnant lady.)  The rain was loud enough to wake him up. 

I'm a weather nerd and needed to look out the window to "see" the rain and was kind of surprised to see how windy it was.  The big tree across the street was whipping around and I'm thankful that it is a tree that has not been compromised by a lot of modifications to its root system.  That big happy tree has been allowed to grow and grow without anyone paving over or cutting around it.  It still scares me a bit, but it isn't close enough to take out our house but could do some nice damage to our back fence.

As I was watching the rain, the electrical pops started to happen.  First they were far away and then there was the tale tale crack of the transformer that services our house.  Jason and I zipped into action to turn off computers and the back up batteries.  It was an adrenaline filled few moments with lots of devices beeping including the house alarm. 

The squall was gone before we had the computers off, but the damage was done, we were powerless in our own home.

It's odd how quiet it is in the house with no fans or other ambient sounds.  Going back to sleep was a challenge.  In fact I think we both laid there awake until we heard the power pop back on a bit after 2.  I know, I know, there are activities to do in the dark when there's nothing to do, but  we just laid there, talked and then tried to sleep.  Once the power was restored we (Jason) made a sweep through the house resetting the computers and network and then we were finally able to settle down and go to sleep.

It has been raining like cats and dogs on and off today and I wonder if we get another big wind how many more trees will come down.

It's only December...what will January and February bring??

Monday, December 13, 2010


This is the Stillaquamish river after our pineapple express hit. 

I need a vacation from our weekend

Seriously, I think both Jason and I need a day off.  This weekend was hectic and busy.  Friday, I arrived home at 6pm from my last San Jose trip until after Lucy arrives and I was spent.  We had planned to go to dinner and Jason had done all the nice things to welcome me home, flowers, a clean kitchen and a nicely made bed.  (Nothing says I didn't miss you like when all the extra pillows are stacked on my side of the bed when I come home.  *giggle* )

Unfortunately, I was feeling tired and rather unrepresentable after my day.  We opted for takeout Chinese food, but by the time I stepped into the house I had taken offense at something Jason did or didn't do (seriously, it doesn't matter) and had my feelings hurt.  We had a silent dinner while I tried to recover.   This pregnancy thing at times is like having the worst PMS ever.  The thing is that when I'm emotional the reasons behind it are real, but I know I'm not reacting like I would on a normal day.  Instead of being able to see things with perspective I get a little lost in the "poor me" place.  Thankfully, these moments are not everyday.  I'm also careful not to get overly tired because that seems to be fuel for the insanity fire.

I did recover, took a nice bath, we talked, watched some tv and went to bed.  In spite of the Pepcid that I'm taking religiously I am still being plagued with heartburn (maybe I need one in the morning and one in the evening) and it woke me up at 4 am and my brain started spinning again.  I had to get out of bed, eat something, and then process the dark moody thoughts that were swirling in my head.  I knew I needed to work it out before morning because it simply isn't fair for anyone to wake up to find that their partner, who less than 12 hours earlier they were anxious to see is mad at them and all they did was go to bed.  Thankfully I was able to wind down again and headed back to bed at 5:30.   Our alarm went off at 7am and all seemed normal in my head.  (I'm not discounting my feelings, but really remembering that the thoughts that start with "you never ever...." are likely not rational.) 

We were up early because we had an appointment with the hospital to get a tour of the baby delivery zone.  We were getting the inside scoop on where to park, what would happen, where to go, what to expect, all those things.  We were in the lobby area with at least 6 other very pregnant women when the receptionist came out from behind her desk and cleared her throat.  (Poor thing)  She then told us that someone forgot to schedule the person who gives the tours and that no one could do it for us.  We would have to call and reschedule.  There was a (pregnant) pause in the room and I swear I heard 6 or more people say with their internal dialog "You've got to be f*cking kidding me!?"  We all looked around, stunned and then I couldn't stop myself from asking "This isn't going to happen when we come to give birth to our actual babies right?"  I know the receptionist was just living a nightmare at that moment not of her own doing, and mistakes happen but HELLO OVERLAKE HOSPITAL - you're running a business and we have a choice as to where Lucy is born.  GRRR

After waddling back to the car Jason and I decided that we were only 40 miles away from the Tulalip outlet mall and that we should zip up there.  (see how shopping soothes the beast?)  We like that mall because it is compact, outdoors and we love the Le Cruset, Kate Spade and Nike Stores.  We zip into other stores too but those are our favorite.  (Jason is less impressed with Kate Spade than I am, but he likes to see me happy.)

We then zipped down to the regular mall at Alderwood and then over to the Costco Business center.  (If you've never made the trip to the CBC and you're planning a party - you should.  AWESOME.)

Eventually we made it home and I was able to sneak in a much needed 1 hour drool festival (nap) before we started getting ready for a holiday party.  The rain started earlier in the day and I have to say a nap on a rainy Saturday is a lovely thing.

We ate a light snack and then headed to Duvall in the dark to our destination.  We made a quick stop at Cousin Marty & Lynne's to provide some IT help with an Xbox, but alas the connection to a MAC renders my mobile IT guy useless.    We mingled and nibbled at the party until after 11 when my pregnant body screamed "NO MASS".  In spite of the rain we made it home in record time and I think I was in a coma by midnight.

Sunday we were up early again, but that was by our choice.  We wanted to go out for breakfast before starting our day.  After eggs and meat cooked by other people we took a harrowing ride into Issaquah.  There are many places along SR900 that don't have good drainage and when mother nature dumps 2 inches of rain in 24 hours the creeks flood as do the roads. 

We joined Doug, Chelsey and little Jordan at their church for Jordan's baptism.   Sweet Jordan who is only fussy when she is hungry waited until the moment that their little family stepped onto the alter to start the "hey, feed me NOW" notification.   She was pleasant as pie after her bottle but silly little monkey was a bit cranky for the ceremony.  After the service our party headed back to Jordan's house for food and a nice visit.

We had a bit of a break before having to get dressed up again for yet another party, this time in Seattle.  I knew we wouldn't be at this party for hours and hours because I was tired before we even left the house.  However it was really nice.   This party was for kids and adults but when Santa arrived it was ALL kids.  We sang carols, had a little show and then Santa sat down for pictures with anyone who wanted them.  Of course, while the Santa show was going on everyone was packed into the living room which made it rather warm.  Thankfully, the fire was roaring... I knew I reached my limit when my head began to melt.    We said our thank yous and then zipped away into the blissfully damp and cool evening.

The party food was light and this momma needs to eat, so what is a girl to do?  DICKS!  It probably wasn't the healthiest choice, but it was happy in my belly.

We were home by 8pm which means - BUBBLE BATH!  Oh how I love that I can still get in and out of my big bathtub.  I'll be sad when it becomes and issue. 

We watched some tv and then headed to bed - exhausted from our busy weekend. The alarm this morning was a mean reminder that we didn't rest enough on our weekend.  We have a very busy week this week, but don't have ANYTHING planned for Saturday.  I think we'll fill the day just fine, but it will be great to sleep in and be on our own schedule. 

Have a great week!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

have fun... if you can

Yesterday's post prompted PNBDave to provide the link to possibly the best pre-family get together planning letter that has ever been written.  I thought i posted it before, but I couldn't find it on my site so here it is.  Be thankful Marney isn't in your family.

From: Marney

As you all know a fabulous Thanksgiving Dinner does not make itself. I need to ask each of you to help by bringing something to complete the meal. I truly appreciate your offers to assist with the meal preparation.

Now, while I do have quite a sense of humor and joke around all the time, I COULD NOT BE MORE SERIOUS when I am providing you with your Thanksgiving instructions and orders. I am very particular, so please perform your task EXACTLY as I have requested and read your portion very carefully. If I ask you to bring your offering in a container that has a lid, bring your offering in a container WITH A LID, NOT ALUMINUM FOIL! If I ask you to bring a serving spoon for your dish, BRING A SERVING SPOON, NOT A SOUP SPOON! And please do not forget anything.

All food that is to be cooked should already be prepared, bring it hot and ready to serve, warm or room temp. These are your ONLY THREE options. Anything meant to be served cold should, of course, already be cold.

The Mike Byron Family

1. Turnips in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. Please do not fill the casserole all the way up to the top, it gets too messy. I know this may come as a bit of a surprise to you, but most of us hate turnips so don’t feel like you a have to feed an army.

2. Two half gallons of ice cream, one must be VANILLA, I don’t care what the other one is. No store brands please. I did see an ad this morning for Hagan Daz Peppermint Bark Ice Cream, yum!! (no pressure here, though).

3. Toppings for the ice cream.

4. A case of bottled water, NOT gallons, any brand is ok.

The Bob Byron Family

1. Green beans or asparagus (not both) in a casserole with a lid and a serving spoon. If you are making the green beans, please prepare FOUR pounds, if you are making asparagus please prepare FIVE pounds. It is up to you how you wish to prepare them, no soupy sauces, no cheese (you know how Mike is), a light sprinkling of toasted nuts, or pancetta, or some EVOO would be a nice way to jazz them up.

2. A case of beer of your choice (I have Coors Light and Corona) or a bottle of clos du bois chardonnay (you will have to let me know which you will bring prior to 11/22).

The Lisa Byron Chesterford Family

1. Lisa as a married woman you are now required to contribute at the adult level. You can bring an hors d’ouvres. A few helpful hints/suggestions. Keep it very light, and non-filling, NO COCKTAIL SAUCE, no beans of any kind. I think your best bet would be a platter of fresh veggies and dip. Not a huge platter mind you (i.e., not the plastic platter from the supermarket).

The Michelle Bobble Family

1. Stuffing in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please make the stuffing sans meat.

2. 2.5-3 qts. of mashed squash in a casserole with a lid and serving spoon

3. Proscuitto pin wheel – please stick to the recipe, no need to bring a plate.

4. A pie knife

The June Davis Family

1. 15 LBS of mashed potatoes in a casserole with a serving spoon. Please do not use the over-size blue serving dish you used last year. Because you are making such a large batch you can do one of two things: put half the mash in a regulation size casserole with lid and put the other half in a plastic container and we can just replenish with that or use two regulation size casserole dishes with lids. Only one serving spoon is needed.

2. A bottle of clos du bois chardonnay

The Amy Misto Family (why do I even bother she will never read this)

1. A pumpkin pie in a pie dish (please use my silver palate recipe) no knife needed.

2. An apple pie in a pie dish, you can use your own recipe, no knife needed.

Looking forward to the 28th!!


Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Beans and Franks

I have a friend who has a marked difference in level of taste with her adopted family (in laws). These folks are perfectly nice, lovely people who simply have a different expectation about holiday events. This person, whom we shall call Sarah, like many of us, have the idea that holiday meals are special and require attention to detail. Maybe not Martha Stewart attention to detail, but something more special than dinner on a busy Tuesday night when the kids have practice after school and the husband is running late after having the oil changed in the cars and you had to squeeze in a dentist appointment between your 10am meeting with your best client and a status meeting with your boss. Darn, I need a nap after that imaginary day.

Sarah has no issue with the members of her new family. She celebrates their life victories and shares her genuine sorrow when things like death or illness occurs. She is a good person and sees that they are good people. However, their idea of a “good time” for the holidays is a massive pot luck where everyone is asked to bring a dish (hot or cold) to feed everyone with enough for leftovers. Her experience has been family gatherings with a savory turkey, or prime rib and flavorful sides with discernable vegetables, hand crafted desserts and nice wine. A large table filled with dish after dish of “whatever feeds 30” does not scream holiday extravaganza to her (or to me for that matter.)

I am an evil friend and when she vented that the idea of whipping up a hot dish for 20 with enough for leftovers made her stomach churn I started a quest looking for 1950's casserole recipes that she could bring. Here are a few that I have found:

Beans & Meatball Casserole

1 lb. ground beef
2/3 c. soft bread crumbs
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 c. sliced onions
1/8 Tbsp. catsup
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. shortening
1 lb. can baked beans (2 cups, if homemade)
1/4 tsp. dry mustard

Mix ground beef, evaporated milk, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Wet hands and shape into 16 balls. Brown in skillet in 1 tablespoon shortening with onions. Cover and cook over low heat 10 minutes. Add mixture of baked beans, 1/8 teaspoon salt, catsup and dry mustard. Cover and heat on top of stove.

Casserole - Ham Roll Ups
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp melted butter
1/4 cup chopped nuts
1/2 cup cracker crumbs
6 slices boiled ham
3/4 cups pineapple juice

Fill slices of ham with mixture and roll up. Place in casserole, pour pineapple juice over all. Bake 350 for 20 minutes.

Frankfurter Casserole
2 Tablespoons butter
1 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tall can of milk
4 cups diced potatoes
1/2 pound frankfurters, sliced in thin rings
3 tablespoons buttered bread crumbs

Melt butter, blend in flour, salt and pepper. Stir in milk, stirring constantly in sauce - thickens and boils for 1 minute. Add potatoes and franks, heat to boiling. Transfer to baking dish. Sprinkle with crumbs. Broil quickly to brown.

I also recommended that if she didn’t want to double or triple these recipes to feed the masses then she could serve the traditional Oyster recipe that Rico’s mom brings to all events. It contains whole oysters, saltine crackers in some mystery cream sauce. (I’ve talked about this before – they look a lot like the genitals of women) . It is a small dish, but most people see it on the table, gag and then move on to a more appealing looking dish. Thus you have an easy to make, simple to transport dish that “serves 20 with guaranteed leftovers.”
Part of my coercion was to explain how much fun she could have by sitting back and seeing if people were confused, repulsed or excited by the mystery 1950’s casserole dish she brought. The danger is that the dish might be a complete hit and she will forever be hounded to bring Frankfurter Casserole to every group event from now until the time that the entire family keels over from heart disease.
Self Disclosure: I am a fan of hearty and easy food. I have been known (in the last week) to whip up a Tater Tot Casserole to feed my people – but in no way do I think of it as special or holiday worthy.
To be truthful Sarah will likely knock herself out and cook something fabulous and savory for the event. It will be delicious and probably not appreciated by 70% if the attendees. However, there will be pockets of family members that will be scanning the table of potato based dishes and jello salads and their eyes will land on her dish and they will think to themselves “oh, thank God for Sarah!” They will fill their plate with her dish and be thankful that the others skipped over it in favor of the taco pizza. She will have to endure comments like "Who brought this strange Butternut Squash Stuffing?" but she'll know in her heart that it was good - REALLY good. Heck, maybe she'll bring it my house.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Preggo Picture

I've been asked to post a pregnancy shot so here it is. This is the belly at 29 weeks.
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Sunday, December 05, 2010