Monday, April 28, 2008

I looooooove craigslist

oh Craigslist, you do so much for me. You gave me a new(er) sofa and found someone to take away the old one. You just helped me make a profit of $47 on a pot rack i bought at Goodwill. I'm hoping you will find someone to take away my old mattress and maybe trade me a kitchen sink, tricycle, or man's bicycle for it. i love you, Craigslist.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

a tag I've never seen before

I made up this tag. feel free to do it in the comments here or on your own blog if you so desire.

Last 5 books you've read.

(I'm not counting cookbooks)

The Road to Oz
, L. Frank Baum
Ada Blackjack, Jennifer Niven
Living the Simple Life, Elaine St. James
about 8 different gardening books
Mary Reilly, Valerie Martin


Books on your "to read" list

Last 5 albums you've bought
(for those of us who still buy albums)

Dirty Boogie, Brian Setzer Orchestra
Astral Astronauts, Spoozys
Jukebox, Cat Power
Black and White Album, The Hives
Songs for Young Lovers, Frank Sinatra


5 Greatest/most influential albums you've ever heard
(not "stuck on a desert island," but music that changed things for you)


In The Aeroplane Over the Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel - i never tire of this album
This is Egg Speaking, Mummy the Peepshow - started me on my love of Japanese pop-punk
Mouth By Mouth, His Name Is Alive - my first brush with deconstructed songs
Kid A, Radiohead - the horns, the horns
Through the Looking Glass, Siouxsie and The Banshees - some of their best work

OK, Tag. You're it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

the division of labor

I cook. Dan bakes. rarely are these lines crossed. I make good food; he bakes great cookies. He also likes to make breakfast goodies like pancakes, waffles, coffee cakes, etc. Right now, heaven bless him, he's in the kitchen making something top-secret while I'm supposed to be putting together my Singing Time for church today (shhh, don't tell him i was blogging).

BUT - it's Paul's 6th birthday this week. We're going to take him to Dizzyland (although I still have to figure out where we're going to stow Eli for a day), but on his birthday I want to bake cupcakes. What's more Happy Birthday than a homemade chocolate cupcake with homemade chocolate butter frosting? Then I'm going to sprinkle chocolate-covered sunflower seeds on top. I may get crazy and make German-chocolate style cupcakes with walnuts and coconut in the batter.

Last year Paul wanted a Halloween birthday party - he had been asking for one for six months. So Paul helped make the invitations - we just folded cardstock and Paul drew a ghost saying "boo" on each card. All of his friends came in costumes, we trick-or-treated around the park, and we had a pumpkin pinata (how the heck to you make an N with a tilde?). I made the spooky cupcakes in the above picture.

But this year, no big party. Just some cousins on Sunday with cupcakes, popcorn and a movie, and maybe another pinata (I was raised in southern California - it's just not a kid's party without one). Ah, the top-secret breakfast is ready - it's muffins with a sugar-cinnamon topping. I think Dan's trying to make me fat.

Friday, April 11, 2008

swamped randomness

wow, busy. Dan was working 70 hours a week for a couple of weeks, and I haven't had him home on a saturday for i think seven weeks now.

after three-and-a-half years, I quit working for Backpackgeartest.org. It was awesome, a great way to keep some sanity and a toe in the adult world while the kids were tiny, but I am just too crazy busy right now and sadly backpacking has fallen down the rabbit hole for now. Oh, how i wait for devil Eli to be potty-trained. If you want to stroll down memory lane with me and read some of my scintillating work, here is a summary of my reports. The other work i did was monitoring/editing test series, which may come as a surprise given my lazy style here. i DO know spelling and grammatical rules quite well, but i am a very lazy typist in my non-professional writing. I hope to return to BGT in a year or so, but there are too many demands on me right now.

(Eli just woke up, and his first words to Dan were, "Daddy, how do you say TV in Spanish?")

Our landlord finally decided to pay some attention to the house. well, his wife did. She hired a gardening crew to clean the place up - even rented a dumpster. We filled the sucker up, and at this point the house is almost free of junk and leftover crap from both our landlord and the previous tenants. They even sprayed weed-killer, but so far none of the weeds & crabgrass seem to be dying. The front terrace and planter have been mulched with red wood chips. the house actually looks... nice. Our neighbor teased me, "Hey, they finally figured out what a house is supposed to look like!"

I have put in some tomatoes (a french beefsteak, Sun Gold, yellow pear, "Mr. Stripey," and a green zebra that i haven't planted yet) and chiles (Poblano, Serrano, and Thai Dragon) already. My first batch of from-seed plants has done very well, but the second wave has been a disaster - almost no germination. I must have done something wrong, but I have no idea what.

i counted my cookbooks the other day. i had 56, but i think i've bought 2 since then so let's say i'm at 58. and that's after (gasp) giving some away last month. i am pathetic. I am trying to focus on my best stuff, and start clearing out (or at least boxing up) cooking stuff that just doesn't cut it or is rarely used. My mostest favoritest kitchen tools are my Calphalon 12" everyday pan (it's a shallow wok, a braiser, a pot for sopa seca, it holds my bamboo steamers), my bamboo steamers (no link - mine were both purchased secondhand, although there are a few nice-looking ones on Amazon), my cheapo Farberware usuba knife (though i'm tempted to splurge and spend $20 for a kershaw nakiri), and the Joyce Chen bamboo spatula.

we have tadpoles. Phil, who is the father of one of Paul's school friends, gave us nine of them in a little gladware container. we've transferred them into a big glass bowl and have been feeding them boiled lettuce and distilled water to swim in. we've had them almost two weeks and I haven't killed any of them yet! the bigger ones seem to be starting their leg nubs, so we keep checking daily to see the progress. my camera sucks for macro shots, so i don't have any cool pictures to share.

we also have a lizard - an alligator lizard. he snuck into our house through the garage cat door and i caught him hiding near the front door. We had already put together a terrarium for the praying mantis egg sac we bought at Home Depot, so i popped him in there and put the egg sac outside. we probably won't keep him very long, but i thought the boys would enjoy him.