Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Long and Shorty's of It

Saturday night was a rare occasion.  The girls got together sans children AND husbands and headed to a little NH chain called Shorty's - A Mexican Roadhouse.  Without the whines and cries of our beloved offspring and "The Dans" befriending everyone who works in the restaurant, it was ALMOST as though we were back in college. 

  • College roommates don't mind if you take notes during dinner.  In fact, they encourage it.

  • You will be made fun of if you chose to order a Caesar salad at a Mexican restaurant, even if you can get it as a wrap.
  • After a margarita and a half it is hard to read a menu with no pictures on it.
  • Chinglalingas is a dirty dish to publicly display under appetizers.  

  • Necesito escribir en espanol porque soy una baracha!
  • If something is advertised as "con fajitas" does that mean that it comes with an entire side of fajitas? 

  • What is the difference between being buzzed and just having a plain old good time?

  • If you are going to be an overattentive server, we would appreciate that the drinks come a little more quickly and you care less about what food we are going to order.

  • After a few drinks, Captain Obvious braces us for the fact that she is thinking about changing careers....again

  • Leave it to Holly, of all people, to say the most poignant thing of the night, "Life has changed, but we have not."  Which she then sealed with a manly belch.

Friday, March 27, 2009

In the Kitchen

I like to cook.  And now that I am a stay-at-home person, I feel like it is part of my job description to create intersting and flavorful fare for my family to eat.  And by family, I mean my husband because Natalie will only eat five things and Joe Joe the Bro Bro, well....only eats one for the time being.   

Each week I sit down and make a menu to vary the foods we consume-- a night for some sort of pasta, chicken, beef, fish, pork and vegetarian option.  With this menu making, I try new things each week in an attempt to broaden our (my husband's) horizons.

However, I am finding that with each of these new recipes, there is some random or obscure ingredient that I need to purchase for a tablespoon worth.  I think there should be some swap store or bulk bin to purchase such ingredients.  I want to be able to walk into my local grocery store or whole foods and leave with only two tablespoons of red curry paste or a quarter cup of walnut oil.  These ingredients are taking up valuable cabinet space for important things that are used on a regular basis, like extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.

For the eight of you who read this, I know there must be more purposes  (cooking or otherwise) for the following ingredients:

  1. Walnut Oil purchased for a red snapper dish that I never even made because I couldn't find red snapper.  The bottled is still sealed having been bought at least four years ago.
  2. Tandoori Paste that I used for one Indian chicken dish
  3. Panko breadcrumbs these were just purchased this week for a broccoli dish.  They are made from the center of the bread rather than the crust...I suppose I could have just bought some bread and made them myself and then I wouldn't be in this predicament of sorts.
  4. Tarragon Wine Vinegar I have no idea why I have this, but I have a lot of it.
  5. Red Curry Paste - also still sealed.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


It takes me a long time to hang pictures on the walls of my home.  I am so afraid that I will be unhappy with the placement of the decor and  there will be a hole in the wall - a tiny reminder of my inability to make good, solid decisions.   I know it is JUST a wall, and the hole that is made can be spackled and then painted over.  BUT if I make a hole and then have to spackle, I will have to repaint the entire wall because I will always stare at that little patch of paint that doesn't match the rest of the wall.  Again - failure.  And why stop there?  If I put a new coat of paint on one wall, how is that going to look against the rest of the room?

One can only imagine the fear I have of painting flowers in my daughter's bedroom.  She has this expanse of wall behind her door that is calling out to me, make me pretty.  It is all very Dawson's Creek when Joey has a wall that Pacey has bought her and she leaves it blank for a year.  This is something that I have been wanting to do since I found out four years ago that I was having a girl.  

So today I did some floral research, finding reference flowers I could interpret, put on some Simon and Garfunkel for inspiration, and set to work in her room.  I thought about diving right in, busting out the paint and going for it...alas my phobia stopped me before I did irreversible damage.  I took out a trusty pencil and did a light sketch of one flower.  Hmmmmmm, SURPRISE, I didn't like how it came out.  So I began to erase, which wasn't removing my work quite as quickly as I would have like.  Simple solution, it is pencil, I soaped up a sponge...that didn't work at all.  What kind of pencil is this?  The gods are testing me.  They want me to overcome this irrational fear of things that can easily be corrected.  Brainstorm!  I run to the chalkboard and retrieve a harmless piece of white chalk.  Now I have white outlines on a light blue wall that are nearly impossible to see, but erase easily with one wipe of a dry towel.  

I have been with the same boy for eleven years, six and a half of which we have spent legally bound to each other.  I have taken on motherhood, not once, but twice now.  I own a home.  I think that perhaps I have used up all my ability to commit in life with no hesitation.  

I will keep you posted on the progress of this project.  

Monday, March 23, 2009

March Madness

March is sort of like the middle child of the year - stuck between being winter and spring. Poor March.  

For me, March celebrates the birth of three very important people.  I have always been steadfast in my belief that the best thing about me is my friends and have been lucky enough to have made them throughout each phase of my life, and though miles continue to separate us and our lives are constantly taking different paths, all roads seem to lead back to each other.

March 9 celebrates Izzy, my college roommate.


To have Izzy in your life, you must be prepared for perpetual sunshine.  We first met at the ripe age of eighteen in Williamson Hall at UNH and while I enjoyed sunshine, I didn't mind a rainy day either.  She loves to reminisce about our first meeting.  It was early one morning, and when I say early, I mean we were up and getting ready for some 8am lecture.  And there is Izzy, dare I say, happy to start a new day even if it is still dark out...I was not quite as thrilled as she to be awake nor was I prepared for someone to be so chipper so early in the morning.  Needless to say, neither of us made a good impression on the other.  

Fast forward three years; she and I end up roommates senior year.  Knowing each other by this point, when she awoke at 4am to attend her nursing clinicals, I would open my eyes, greet her with a good morning, and fall back into my slumber. 

March 14 is the birth of my childhood best friend, Julie.

Julie and I have probably known each other forever, but it wasn't until Bonny Becker's Birthday Bash (that last part for the pure alliteration of it) that we became Best Buds (I can't stop!)  It was actually a birthday party where we made friendship bracelets.  What I remember is Julie being funny and us laughing so hard that it was the first time she made me pee in my pants, and certainly not the last...ImaJean Tallahassee.  Julie is a portal to my childhood and during the rare occasions when our lives put us in New Jersey at the same time, I never tire of her reliving those years.  I do however regret that she has them immortalized on film...

March 23 is for my Clairie

She is the crossover friend who shares childhood memories, but more importantly was the definitive best friend of those weird years after graduating college and trying to figure it all out-- our "quarter-life crisis"  I had sort of moved back to Jersey, for lack of knowing what it was I wanted to do, and she was in some job she hated.  It was during this time that we both found our paths - mine in teaching and hers in fashion. 

This picture is pure blackmail and undermines her beauty in ways that I would never be able to explain, but she was the friend who was undoubtedly the best during this period.
This picture is old, and it undermines her beauty, but it was taken in her dorm room in London and is sentimental, which is also Clairie.  She is everything that is tradition to me in the best way possible. 


Monday, March 16, 2009

10 Things I Don't Understand

These are in no particular order.  However, I believe number one sparked the train of thought as I "patiently" waited for her to saunter out of my car's way, and it just snowballed after that.
  1. People who walk in the middle of the parking lot
  2. Prematurely wearing warm weather clothes (flip flops and capris)
  3. Writing on the bum of girls pants and the mothers who allow this to happen
  4. Kansas...the state
  5. My brother's sense of humor
  6. How it is my child will eat any pungent cheese (blue, parmesean) but refuses to eat a plain old grilled cheese sandwich.
  7. "To Hell in a hand basket."  What does that mean?
  8. Binary code
  9. Plain old calculus for that matter
  10. Why the weight on my body doesn't distrubute evenly

Friday, March 13, 2009

Think Spring


It has been a very long winter.  I am not sure if it was actually colder or snowier  than previous winters as "they" had predicted, but having an infant and a toddler, definitely made it seem so.   

Mental note and unsolicited advice: have babies in warmer weather.

But today hope was on the horizon.  It was a bit brisk, but at about 40 degrees and with the sun shining, there was just NO WAY we were going to spend yet another day in doors.  Even if it is the library.  Dare I say, it was time to put the books down and just go outside and play.  So, we bundled up, busted out the sidewalk chalk, and celebrated the fact that, at least for today, winter is over.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

For Everything Else There's Mastercard

tap shoes.................12.99
dance lessons .........35.00

Natalie's impromtu freestyle performance...........priceless

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fondos and Fondon'ts

Friday night was a triple threat - a fondue dinner, the company of  Steve and Scott (aka Steve's "people") and no children.  Ahhhh, to be reminded, albeit for a short while, that I do in fact have a life.
  • Do have one n in your Jen
  • Do be aware that new servers who come to your table may be a little frightened by liquored-up extroverts.
  • If one of your dining companions has finished their glass of wine before the next bottle comes, do share the wealth in yours
  • Do pay attention in the meat round, judgement may be impaired by alcohol, steaming bouillon and dim lighting, and you run the risk of e.coli.  Fonfork the meat, transfer to plate, and as disappointing as it is eat with plain old fork.
  • Do insider trading. There are special chocolate combos that only the servers know about.
  • Do be careful of flaming 151 and relish in the memories of drunken cab rides and marks left on Atlantic Avenue.
  • Do approach random gay men and ask what they are drinking, a bomb pop martini is a fabulous spin on a childhood classic.
  • Don't be a hostess troll, if you are going to force us out of the bar to be seated, don't then ask if we want to wait while our fourth party takes care of the tab.
  • Don't talk about human excrement or corn and nuts 
  • Don't be overzealous with your fonfork, spearing your mouth will hurt
  •  Don't say vAHzz, fondue doesn't make you fancy and you will be immediately made fun of by your dinner companions.
  • Don't overstay your welcome, the manager will approach your table and subliminally suggest you get out.
  • Don't take notes while you are eating dinner, it apparently alienates your dinner companions

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Confessions of a Cork Collecter

I am a closet hoarder.  To come into my home you may not notice it immediately, but I do suffer from this problem.  I collect corks.  First, I embarrassed to admit, but this is not all the corks, and I must disclaim that the collection has been amassed over at least six years from special dinners, dinner parties, holiday parties, etc.   This collection has traveled with me from apartment to apartment to house.  I have the best intentions with these corks, to make boards, trivets, useful accessories for the kitchen.  At times I have had delusions of grandeur thinking that with enough I could make a piece of furniture.

As of late I have been staring at these corks thinking that something needs to be done with them.  I can't throw them out and with each new bottle of wine the cork is not thrown in the garbage, but added to the collection.  I owe it to them and myself at this point to create something cork.  

Always looking for a project, I googled in the hopes of finding some cork collector support group or at the very least, some real inspiration to get a project going.  What I found was my problem is not nearly as dire as I thought.  One site suggested a heart wreath...made of cork.  Doing neither wreaths nor hearts, this was not for me.  Another site suggested using the corks as a baseboard in your house.  I believe this was from the famed Norm Abrams.  I am sure he wouldn't dare cork his baseboards.  Searching, searching, I came across cork trolls.  AHA!  Three birds, one stone!  A project that uses cork that will also occupy the three year old.  Life is good sometimes.                       

Monday, March 2, 2009

Still Life

I want to be annoyed by this perpetual winter, but I remind myself that this is New England and winter still gets to run its course for another two weeks.
Since I have no control over this weather, I decided to look on the bright side of snow remembering how exciting, as a kid, it was to have a snow day this late in the year.  As an "adult" I thought about how the snow slows everyone down.  We are always on, always going, we seem to always be fifteen minutes late for something.  But when it snows, there is no rush to be anywhere. We stay in bed a little longer and cuddle up under the covers to stay warm.   

This morning, I lingered over my coffee, staring out the window at the yard blanketed in fresh white, and enjoyed the silence, stillness and cleanliness that the snow brings.  While I do hope that this is the last snow of the season, I did enjoy this opportunity to just stop, and for that I love the snow.