Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Troubles with the Wee Folk

In the last week, I've had three major and one minor appliance either die or give me trouble.

First, and most aggravating, my furnace died on Christmas Day. My only-three-year-old, new furnace. The repair guy was stunned to discover a dead motor. "I've never had to replace one. Ever!" Of course, he promptly ordered one, but due to Christmas backlog in the shipping biz, it won't arrive until Thursday. Possibly Friday.

One week, in the winter, with no heat. I am not happy. OK, I know it's a California winter. Not that big a deal, right? But it gets damn cold in the house. 52 degrees ain't my favorite temperature for a living room!

Next up, my dryer wouldn't dry. I had a just few pieces of warm clothing in there, I was still in my flannel jammies and long johns keeping warm while waiting, and after an hour and a half, they clothes were still wet. The girls were driving me up the wall and the dryer thing sent me over the edge. Miles heard the shrieks of frustration from down in the Bat Cave. He came up, laid on hands and, presto! The damn dryer began to work. I'm certain he think this was an ID10T problem.

Next day, I'm pulling the rest of that load of laundry out of the washer and loading it into my resurrected dryer. There was a long tablecloth I was pulling out, when the dripping wet end flew out and smacked me in the face with icy water.  All the clothes in the washer were dripping wet. I abandoned the laundry and went to hide under the covers to have a good cry. Incidentally, Miles has used the thing since and it works just fine for him.

Which brings us to today. Today, my Kitchen Aid mixer started having issues. First, it was making a rattling noise. I discovered a loose screw and tightened it up. After which, the lowest speed wouldn't work and the next lowest setting worked at the highest speed. After getting a face full of flour, I turned the blasted thing off and stomped down to the Bat Cave and flung myself into Miles' comfy chair with a snarl.


"My Kitchen Aid is broken!"


Clearly, I have offended some celestial being or, maybe, the Little People. I'm gonna leave bread and milk outside the the back door to try to appease them. Also, I plan to throw salt over my left shoulder. Then I will find my holey stone and keep it in my pocket to keep the bad fairies away.

Ironic note: The furnace was repaired and now we're too warm.

Cruelly ironic note: Upon returning from LA after New Year's, the furnace is out again.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You be the judge

So, we're having our Annual Tree Trimming Party this weekend. I've been working out what I'm gonna feed all my eager decorating elves and I have a question to put to you, my devoted readers.

I'm seriously considering making a molded jello salad, a recipe of my Gram's she used to make for parties.

Is that lame, or coolly retro?

Addendum: I made "Zippy Ruby Salad". Grandma Nettie's recipe.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

I just couldn't help myself

At choir practice. A rather loud soprano mistake.

Me: "That was me. Dotted half-note, check."

A tenor: "Admit nothing! Deny everything!"

Me: "But I'm not a Republican."

Entire choir: "Oooooooh...."

Friday, December 10, 2010

I may have done something slightly crazy, part 2

Where was I?

Ah, yes. The lady I don't know, with the starving 10 year-old daughter, whom I invited to my house.

Elizabeth wrote about our email exchanges regarding my offer here.  We also made plans to meet for lunch somewhere in LA, when Miles and I are visiting the Dodges' at New Year's. You know, so I can meet her and make certain she's not an ax-murderer who will attempt to slaughter my children, steal my good silver or BBQ my cat.

So, she's coming sometime in February for Jen's Cooking Survival School - the Emergency Version. I have grand plans running around my head which involve a cookbook, with LOTS of room for notes and a really obnoxious apron. (I'll show her to threaten me with ugly garden statuary!) Now I just have to figure out exactly what I should teach her.

Here's my criteria:

  • Recipes should be basic and not involve complicated techniques, like flambe or juggling.
  • Recipes should not "re-invent the wheel". She can buy a salad at Trader Joe's.
  • Results should be able to be used in more than one dish.
  • Result should be reasonably nutritional.

Any suggestions, people?

I may have done something slightly crazy

I've become online buddies with  Elizabeth the Amazing.  Her hysterical blog chronicles her cessation of recreational shopping for one year and working her way through a list of challenges she calls her Monday Dares. Last weeks dare was to learn to cook!  And she has a 10 year old daughter! Well, that's not gonna fly! God knows what that poor child has been living on, but having read Elizabeth's post, I realized  Something Must Be Done. I immediately commented to the effect she should get her butt to my house for some cooking lessons. Then I sent her an easy recipe and again told her to get her butt to my house for some cooking lessons. I took a while, but I finally convinced the dear thing I was serious.

Why, I hear you ask, would I invite a complete stranger to my home? Because she can't cook!!! I'm not certain if I can explain how this notion horrifies me, but I'm gonna take a shot.

In high school, I'd come home, have a swim, not do my homework, and lie around reading sci-fi novels. My mom would arrive home after work, tired and we'd try to throw something together for dinner. My mother, bless her, was an awful cook; I remember eating a box of Stove Top Stuffing for dinner one night. The result: I was constantly hungry and terribly skinny.

The second part is my time in San Francisco. My roomie was one of the only people I know who grew up eating, and continued to eat, a decent diet. Fruit, veggies, salad, fish, whole grains; the whole shebang. The only fish I ever had as a kid came in a can labeled "Starkist" and I had never eaten a fresh green bean in my life. Cooking with Clay was a revelation. The result: I became a darn good cook.

The final piece of the puzzle is having kids. When I joined the Clark Clan, Miles, Kayla and Cam were eating a lot of boxed mac-n-cheese and chicken nuggets. Well, that came to screeching halt. I became a stay-at-home-mom and a cookin' fool. I baked bread, made dinner every night,  planted a kitchen garden, and attempted to instill some table manners. The result: I became a Food Nazi. Nutrition became  my raison d'ĂȘtre be continued.....

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

I cain't make this stuff up


I was spending some quality time with my sweetie, in the Boudoir, with the door closed. I decided I should check on the Wee Lassies. I open our door and hear Aeron crying.

"Aeron. What's wrong?" No answer. I sit the child up in her bed. She just snivels.

"Boo. What's wrong?!" I ask. A couple times.

Finally I get answer.

"I.....I....want an umbrella!"

In the middle of the night; episode 14.

She did it again.

My precious Boo has had a little cold. Not very ill, just off her feed and snorty, with a headache. Too tired last night to have a bath after dinner. So, I stuffed the kid into her jammies and tucked her in. She went instantly to sleep.

Well, that was easy, I thought. (when will I learn?!)


The first thing I realized was that I was cold. Next, I hear the soft yet piercing sound of Aeron whining in her sleep.

For the love of pete, kid, just stop. Please, please.....

More whining. Clearly, Aeron was not on board with my secret agenda to get some sleep.

No! I'm NOT getting up, dammit! 

The kid ramped up her complaint to keening.

I put a pillow over my head. And I noticed my husband's breathing no longer was the slow, even sound of deep sleep.

Through the down, I could hear the sound of Aeron sobbing. Snarling under my breath, I flung back the covers and stomped off to the girls' room.

Aeron was lying on her side in the fetal position, covers on the floor, giraffe pillow over her head. As I came toward her bed, she squealed and thrashed her legs.

"Aeron!" through my teeth. "Pull up the covers!"

I think I startled her. She jerked awake.

"Aeron! Just pull up the covers!"

I must have put a bit too much intensity in the order. She immediately began to sob in earnest.

Ah, jesus...what have I done?!?

"I'm so sorry, Mama!"

Bloody hell. "It's ok, Boo. Please stop crying. Please. Please. Aeron. I'm begging you."

Well, after a trip to the potty and some snuggles, the child stopped the awful noise. I went back to bed.

Miles said, "So what was that all about?"

"She kicked off the covers." He didn't ask which one.

The Real words to Christmas carols

"Decks the hall in bells and colly, Fa la la la la, la lal a la.

"Now we know our daily bre-ead, la la la, la la la, la, la, la.