Friday, November 21, 2014

100 Minutes of Thanksgiving Music

We're having a big Thanksgiving luncheon at work today and knowing how awesome I am at cooking, I got put in charge of the music.  So, if you too are put in charge of the music for your Thanksgiving holiday, no worries. I have already put together a playlist for you.  This is roughly about an hour and a half long, (a little more maybe). And other than a couple eyeball rollers, it's completely listenable! 

All That Meat and No Potatoes                  Louis Armstrong
Mashed Potato Time                                  Dee Dee Sharp
Hey Good Lookin’                         Hank Williams
Be Our Guest                                Angela Lansbury and the cast of Beauty and the Beast
Come On-A My House                    Rosemary Clooney
Maximum Consumption                            The Kinks
Dinner Bell                                                They Might Be Giants
Texas Cookin’                                            George Strait
A Chicken aint Nothin’ But a Bird            Cab Calloway
The Thanksgiving Song                             Adam Sandler
Boogie Woogie Blue Plate                         Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five
Roly Poly                                                    The Little Willies
Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie                   Jay & the Techniques
Ice Cream                                                   Sarah McLachlan
Sugar, Sugar                                               The Archies
Autumn in New York                                 Frank Sinatra
Eat It                                                          Weird Al Yankovic
Sweet Potato Pie                                        Ray Charles & James Taylor
Suppertime                                                 Johnny Cash
Tasty Pudding                                            Miles Davis
I Gotta Get Drunk                                      George Jones & Willie Nelson
Gratitude                                                    Earth Wind & Fire
I thank You                                                Sam & Dave
Pantry                                                         Lyle Lovett
Yummy Yummy Yummy                          Ohio Express
I’ve Got Plenty to be Thankful For            Bing Crosby
Cold Budweiser & a Sweet Tater               Joe Diffie
Meat and Potato Man                                 Alan Jackson
Hot Biscuits and Sweet Marie                     NRBQ
Frim Fram Sauce                                         Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
Chicken Fried                                              Zac Brown Band
I Want a Little Sugar in my Bowl               Nina Simone
 
 
I also have a "B" List, which is only a B List because the A list is for work and I just can't see my boss getting chowing down to Rev. Horton Heat. So, if you'd like to make your playlist last a little longer, take a listen to these:
 
Fatman                                                       G. Love and Special Sauce
Ham N Eggs                                            Tribe Called Quest
Alice's Restaurant                             One of the Guthries I'm currently blanking
Let's Call the Whole Thing Off             Harry Connick, Jr.
All You Can Eat                                      Fat Boys
All You Can Eat                                      Shonen Knife
Let me Teach You How to Eat               Rev. Horton Heat
The House of Blue Lights                      Asleep at the Wheel
Hot Potatoes                                           The Kinks
 
 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Updates

I always feel a little bad when I remember that I let two weeks go by without a blog entry. Sorry about that. As always, if you're on Facebook, feel free to friend me. I usually accept requests even if I don't know you. Unless you're wearing a bikini or offering me part of the inheritance from your 2nd cousin's uncle who is a member of the royal family in Nigeria. I tend to post all the piddly things I used to put on here, so you know, pictures of puppies and fart jokes from my five year old.


At any rate, I also realized that there were some updates I hadn't bothered to post, so here are some of those.

First, the vegetarian thing. I had pledged to try and go vegetarian for the entire month of October. I actually made it through three weeks, then it sort of frittered out. It wasn't because I didn't enjoy it. Actually, I found it really easy to follow a vegetarian diet for most of my meals--it helps living in a town that has lots of vegetarian options, even for take out or, say, breakfast tacos.  This may be controversial, but I'm telling you: soy chorizo is sometimes better than the real thing. A few things led to my vegetarian downfall:  1) I went on a girls' trip out of town with my two best friends from high school. They didn't force bacon down my throat or anything. It was more like we were having so much fun and eating out a lot, so I'd absentmindedly order something with meat for dinner and be too preoccupied with my margarita to care.


 2). I also found out, rather bizarrely, that I'm allergic to eggs. I had been having these bouts of hives for probably 6-7 months. I would just randomly break out in a rash all over my arms and stomach and they'd last for several days. This happened at least once every two weeks, sometimes continuously. It was particularly bad in the summer, so that even when it was 100 degrees outside, I was trying to wear long sleeves so people didn't think I had the plague. Some people told me it was stress-related or that it might be heat rash gone crazy. I went to the doctor twice and they'd give me steroid cream that works. But it would just keep coming back. So finally, I went to an allergist and he ran some blood tests. Apparently, hives can be a symptom of an autoimmune disease or even liver failure.  A ridiculous amount of vials of blood later, the results came back and as it turns out, I have an adult-onset egg allergy. It's not serious enough to kill me or anything, just, oh, CAUSE A REALLY ANNOYING RASH.  I used to eat breakfast tacos at least 3-4 times a week, so that pretty much was what was making me Plague Girl.  So, basically I've had to cut out a majority of the eggs in my diet. This has actually been harder than any vegetarian thing. Eggs are in EVERY THING.  Bread, baked goods, pasta, cream sauces, fried foods--you know, all the major food groups (heh).  I still eat bread. I just have to take a Zyrtec every day and sometimes if I eat too many things made with eggs, that #*$ing rash will come back.   So, the reason this made the vegetarian thing go the way of the dodo is because I was more focusing on what wouldn't make me break out and also, I was using eggs as the major protein source in my vegetarian diet. Try as much as I like, I hate goddam lentils. I mean LOATHE them. I know I could also eat other kinds of beans to get protein, but I already live two boys and a husband. We're all full up on flatulence here.


Pupdate: I still have THREE of the seven pupgirls left. The others have been adopted already.  One is leaving today, one is leaving tomorrow and by the grace of God, HOPEFULLY the last one will be leaving on Friday. They are predictably gorgeous now and full of fun. They also try to eat my goddam curtains every goddam day. The weather has been super cold for Austin and rainy this past weekend, so they've spent a LOT of time hanging out in the living room. Our days are generally spent rotating between getting things out of their mouths, trying to convince Hudson not to kill them and plastering the floors with newspaper. I'm a bit ready for a break.


So, that's what we've been up to. What about you?

Here are some recent pictures from Halloween and a trip to the pumpkin patch where we learned that my boys don't like pumpkins all that much.








Saturday, November 01, 2014

Ofrenda

I grew up Catholic and every year we celebrated All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Or more accurately: we justified having big honking Halloween Celebrations because the days are all so close:  October 31st, November 1st (All Saints) and November 2nd (All Souls).  If you're not Catholic and you have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a quick summary from wikipedia.

All Souls' Day is a day of prayer for the dead, particularly but not exclusively one's relatives. In Western Christianity the annual celebration is now held on 2 November and is associated with All Saints' Day (1 November) and its vigil, Hallowe'en (31 October).[2] In the liturgical books of the western Catholic Church (theLatin Church) it is called The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed, and is celebrated annually on 2 November, even if this date falls on a Sunday.[3] In Anglicanism it is called Commemoration of All Faithful Departed and is an optional celebration.[4] In the Eastern Orthodox Church and the associated Eastern Catholic Churches, it is celebrated several times during the year and is not associated with the month of November.
Some believe that the origins of All Souls' Day in European folklore and folk belief are related to customs ofancestor veneration[15] practised worldwide, through events such as the Chinese Ghost Festival, the JapaneseBon Festival. The Roman custom was that of the Lemuria.

If you live in Texas, or grew up here, you'll recognize that these days also coincide with Dia de los Muertos aka Day of the Dead.  Also from wiki:

The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on October 31, November 1 and November 2, in connection with the triduum of AllhallowtideAll Hallows' EveHallowmas, and All Souls' Day.

To me, the fact that the Catholic holiday and the Mexican holiday fall on exactly the same days and celebrate just about the same thing isn't much of a coinkidink, though both traditions go back centuries from different parts of the world. If you do a minimal amount of digging around, you'll find that there are traditions of honoring the dead in just about any culture you can think of.  Catholics, though, other than the requisite Halloween All Souls Festivals have a special mass, you say some extra prayers, light some candles. Dia de los Muertos, however, is on a completely different level. 

  During the three-day period families usually clean and decorate graves;[4] most visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with ofrendas (altars)...Toys are brought for dead children (los angelitos, or "the little angels"), and bottles of tequilamezcal or pulque or jars of atole for adults. Families will also offer trinkets or the deceased's favorite candies on the grave.Ofrendas are also put in homes, usually with foods such as candied pumpkin, pan de muerto ("bread of dead"), and sugar skulls and beverages such as atole. The ofrendas are left out in the homes as a welcoming gesture for the deceased.[4]  . Pillows and blankets are left out so the deceased can rest after their long journey... these sometimes feature Christian cross, statues or pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary, pictures of deceased relatives and other persons, scores of candles and an ofrenda. Traditionally, families spend some time around the altar, praying and telling anecdotes about the deceased. 

So here I am:  a recovering Catholic living in a state right next to Mexico and not only that, but  my mom's birthday would have been today, November 1st.  Our first without her. I'd like to say that attending a mass in her honor would be enough for me, but I'd be lying if I did.  It occurred to me that spending some time putting together some things that she would like if her soul came to visit would be a nice way to remember her on this day. Now, I don't pretend to believe my mom's ghost is gonna show up on Saturday and sit down with me for a nice chat, but if she did... if She Did..



My "ofrenda" maybe doesn't look super authentic, but let's get real: If I had festooned this thing with papel picado and incense,  Bonnie would have given me the side-eye.  I also didn't use marigolds, which are pretty standard, but honestly, they don't smell all that great.  I  did make sure to put a few of her favorite things:  white chocolate truffles and dark chocolate kisses,  iced coffee, a long letter with pictures telling her what everyone in the family has been up to since she passed (so much! so, so much, it's amazing how much happens in 6mths, you don't realize til you have to share it with someone who didn't see it). Some of her favorite Barry Manilow songs on the ipod. And some things that remind me of her: a necklace she gave me, one of the crocheted ornaments my sister in law made for her that she decorated her Christmas tree with for eight straight years, photographs, and since it's her birthday, some cake. 

It's fine if you think it's a little weird or a little hoo-doo-ey. It's not for you. It's for me. I think about and miss my mom every single day. She's been gone for almost 6 months and it hasn't even begun to hurt less. The only thing that changes is that I find different ways to deal with it that don't involve bursting into tears and making other people uncomfortable. And I gotta tell you, putting this together, remembering the little things she liked, thinking about what I'd like to tell her if her soul, for just one day, came back to visit... It was nice. And if you knew her, you'd know she would've liked that. 




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

10 days!

It's 10 days to Halloween, do you have your costume ready yet?  I...uh..hmmm, now that I think about it, DO NOT. I have the makings of a costume, TWO costumes actually, but I haven't completed them yet. Crap. I gotta get on that.  The reason why I have TWO costumes instead of just the one is that I have a fear of costume commitment. And also, one of the costumes is kinda gross.  I mean, it's not that gross, but maybe a little too gross for say...3 year olds and kindergarteners. So for the event that is at the daycare and school, I have to amend the gross costume I plan on wearing out trick or treating  and to an ADULTS Halloween party to something a little less icky. So, essentially, I'm making two costumes out of one.  Do you want to know what I'm gonna BEE??  heh. Hint there for ya.**

The boys don't have a fear of costume commitment; however, they do lack recognition of certain laws of physics and also, my arts and crafts skills.   Hopper would like to be both an astronaut AND a rocket ship at the same time. By that I take it to mean that he would like to be an astronaut in the act of piloting a ship, which is fine, but DUDE. I'm really not all that good with cardboard or rocket boosters, so he may be S.O.L. 

Rowan would like to be both a PIG and a GHOST. And yet, when I suggested that he go as BACON, he blinked at me uncomprehendingly.

So, in short, we have tentative, almost to fruition, HEY IT COULD HAPPEN plans for costumes, yet nothing concrete 10 days out. I'm not worried. I've probably told you this before, but I buy costumes all the time for the boys to play dress up, so we regularly have about a veritable wardrobe for them to choose from. I'll probably just lay them all out and let the monkeys choose which ones they'd like though so help me, if someone asks me to make robot arms out of dryer vents again this year, I will lose it.

**(Ok fine, I'm going as a ZomBee and either  a Spelling Bee or a Queen Bee--get it?? same bee parts, different make up.  Also known as--YOU KNOW I CANNOT RESIST A PUN COSTUME TO SAVE MY LIFE and  I FOUND A BEE COSTUME IN A THRIFT STORE FOR 5 BUCKS)

Monday, October 13, 2014

No Funtos

So, you may or may not know that we've had seven cocker spaniel puppies at our house for a week now which we are fostering for rescue. I've done this before, but it's been a while since I've had seven. Seven is....more than five. Three more than four...QUITE A BIT more than Smidge. What I'm saying here is that we are knee deep in poo over here. So tonight, some of the pups are going to a co-foster. For that reason, I thought I'd try and get a group photo of the girls all together. It was.. Less successful than I thought it would be. At six weeks old, they are at the cocker spaniel equivalent of  a small child taking off his pants smearing chocolate pudding on his hair and chest while screaming NO FUNTOS! YOU MAY NOT TAKE FUNTOS!! Which is to say: they are Rowan. Seven fuzzy little girl Rowans.













Friday, October 10, 2014

Faking It

This is the third Friday in a row that Hop has had some version of stomach upset bad enough to go home from school.  The first two were more of spewing halfway across the room type things and today's was decidedly uh, further south (update: he waited for the spewing til he got in my car. Hoo. Ray). ANYWAY.

 So, I'm getting upset that this is the THIRD Friday in a row that he's sick because I don't know if it means we have to stay home all weekend, how's he going to feel tomorrow, WHAT ON EARTH ARE THEY FEEDING HIM at school on Fridays that's maybe causing this. After I picked the poor kid up and dropped him with his dad and returned to work, I'm talking about it with some of my other coworkers who are also in this day-long training that is preventing me from leaving to take care of him which is already making me feel extremely guilty and crappy. This lady, who I normally like, actually suggests to me that Hopper is lying.

"You know," she says, "Sometimes they do these things to get out of school."
Yeah I know kids do that, I tell her, but there are several things wrong with this suggestion:
1). Its FRIDAY. If he wanted to get out of school, don't you think he'd be doing this shit on a MONDAY?
2). It's not lying when there is ACTUAL PROJECTILE VOMITING

"Oh," She says, "You know, kids have lots of ways to make themselves throw up if they want to get out of something."

Ok, lady, first of all, he's FIVE. He doesn't even know there is such a thing as making yourself throw up. He never saw that particular Lifetime Movie. Secondly, WHAT THE EFFF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT.  I tried to explain to her that Hopper actually LIKES school. He hates missing it. He tried to get me to take him there on Saturday to make up for it the last time he was sick. Besides the fact that when I pick him up he's the color of chalk and got cold sweats and I know I mentioned this about 15 times already, but do you remember that there is a lot of throwing up going on? And you know what she says to me?

"Oh girl, I think you got yourself a faker."

I actually could not even speak there for a minute.  I could not even.  I just...walked away.

But  now you'll have to excuse me, I gotta go clean up some more pretend vomit from my kid who apparently is into extreme method acting and also apparently has figured out how to rig some sort of high tech undetectable horf simulator under his Power Rangers tshirt. Then I'm gonna pour some wine and think about WHAT IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Veggie Project Update--week 1


It's been a bit hairy over here for the last week or so with having a new round of puppy fosters (7 of them) AND a bonus recurring stomach flu! but I've got some free time in between child horfs, so let me update you on how the Veggie Project is going.. (as I typed that last sentence, my child just came up to me and said that he "FarPooped". I'll let you figure out what that means on your own. Let's talk about food--hooray!).
So, seven days in and I've had a pretty successful week of veggie eating. I did have meat 1 1/2 times. Both of these were on purpose and I'll explain here in just a sec.  But so far, it's really been not all that hard. I'm lucky enough to live about 2 miles from Central Market and work about a mile and a half away from Whole Foods, so I'm not finding it too hard to find lunch things on the go. Plus, with the new puppy fosters, I'm having to go home at lunch for their midday feeding anyway, so I've just been making sure I've got some vegetarian options at home.
Finding a good balance of protein and fiber and other essential things is what I'm starting to work on. I mean, I can eat cheese and bread every day for the rest of my life and be perfectly happy, but obviously, you can't just do that. Well, ok, you CAN. But your digestive system isn't going to like you very much. I've also learned that not all veggie burgers are created equal. A couple of them ended up going to the dogs after one bite and you pretty much know you have an inferior fake burger when a dog that will feast on cat shit turns it down flat.
So, I did have meat 1 1/2 times. The whole number refers to  last Saturday when I went to a shindig at my friend Laura's house and we ate burgers that came from a cow named Darryl.  Darryl had belonged to Laura's sister and was raised on a ranch in West Texas. Apparently, Darryl was also a bit of a jerk who failed as a 4-H project.   Since Darryl fell under my locally sourced meat umbrella, I was OK with it. Darryl may not have been nice, but he was delicious.  The 1/2 refers to earlier this week when Sam made tuna fish sandwiches for us.  I know tuna is meat, I just don't think of it as the same, I guess. We can call it a 1/2 right?
So 1 1/2 times out of the last 21 meals, I figure I'm doing pretty ok.  I'm not gonna lie, cleaning up a massive amount of puppy poo and the after effects of ill children actually sort of helps.  I'm going to warn you about this next bit, seriously, if you're easily icked, don't read past THIS NEXT WORD. But if you ever need a little inspiration for staying on the vegetarian path, I have one visual for you that I guarantee will have you eschewing meat for the forseeable future. Want to know what it is?  (REMEMBER, I warned you):  hotdog vomit.  See? See what I mean? Hummus and crackers for everyone!
Man, I'm SO sorry about that! Up next: puppy pictures, I promise.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

The Veggie Project

I know that most everybody knows that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month...how could you not know with all the pink? (gah, the pink) And I'm down with that. It's also Down Syndrome Awareness Month and ADHD Awareness Month (I would say "holla!" here, but then none of us could keep a straight face).  In addition to all of these extremely important causes, it's also Vegetarian Awareness month starting off with World Vegetarian Day which is today. But, you say, who cares? You are not a vegetarian!  This is true, I am not. You also do not like vegetables all that much! Yes, yes I know, okra is SO gross!   BUT... BUT:  I'm gonna go veggie for the next 31 days.

Now don't go tutting your tut tut at me. I have my reasons.  If you want, I can go into some of them here. Yes?  OK, first, I read this article on Monday. You can certainly have your opinions about Salon as a left-leaning information source, it is, I know. But actually, doing a little googling about factory farm conditions and the USDA and where the meat in our grocery stores and restaurants is coming from will cause you to start plotting out your next salad. Right after you scrub your brain with bleach.  I am only thus far committing to the next 31 days for the vegetarian thing, but I plan to use some of that time to start doing some research in to more local and ethical meat sources. I know of several family members and friends who get their beef and chicken from local sources, or eat meat that they themselves have hunted and processed. I think regardless of how this month pans out, I would still be ok with that. It's the other sources of meat that are scary as hell. It's not just a matter of being an animal lover (which I am) it's a matter of not wanting your meat being from horrific Dante Levels of Hell type shitholes.  It's tough to avoid, especially with two small boys that prefer their chicken nuggets to be in the shape of dinosaurs. I'm not saying I'll be able to make a complete conversion here. We're just...starting on the path, seeing where it leads.

Another reason is that, without going all into it, I haven't been in the best health the last few months. I don't have anything majorly wrong, but I've got allergy stuff going on, possibly auto-immune stuff going on and my energy level is in the crapper. I've had more than one doctor now tell me that one of the most pro-active things you can do for your own health is start really taking a look at your diet and make some changes. That means less processed schtuff. More plants. Less bread. (god I love bread).  As you may or may not know, I can't cook for shit. So, I always rely on pre-packaged things or easy to get things like fast food.  I'm not saying I'm going to learn how to cook. But I might learn how to put a few dishes together or maybe find some places to eat for lunch with healthier options. BABY STEPS.

So, yeah, 31 days, I think I can do this. I mean the important stuff is already vegetarian: Wine and Halloween Candy, amirite?  I GOT THIS.

I'll update you on how it's going.  Twelve hours in and I'm doing OK!  ha ha.  I had peanut butter on raisin bread for breakfast (baby. steps). For lunch I went to Whole Foods and got a stir-fry tofu bowl. It did not suck. Could've used some more heat and ginger to mask the tofu but it was not inedible. I'm not gonna lie, dinner will probably be tortilla chips and cheese dip. (IT'S LEFTOVERS, I can't let it go bad!). Yeah, I might need a little help with menu planning..

If anyone has any resources they'd like to recommend, either for vegetarian info or for local meat sources, let me know!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Bug and a Wish

I know the people in my life must get very tired of me telling stories about the various ways my children have picked up my potty mouth, and I promise to stop sharing them just as soon as I stop finding them funny.

The latest:

In Hopper's kindergarten class, they have visits from the school counselor every week. She does little "good citizen" lessons on various things like how to pay attention to your teacher by putting on your "listening ears" or how not to be a whiny little vortex of need "You Get What You Get and Don't Throw a Fit!" (I like that one, I really do).

I guess a recent lesson was how to express their dissatisfaction with a classmate's behavior without resorting to violence. What she told them was they needed to remember to use "A Bug and a Wish" i.e. You tell someone what's BUGGING you and then tell them how you WISH they'd act instead. Like, "Harold, it's bugging me that you're hogging the ball, I wish you'd throw it to me every once in a while."  I thought it was super cute and it really resonated with the kids because I hear them using it all the time.

This afternoon, I was asking Hopper how it went at lunchtime today and he says, "Well, C___ was standing behind me blowing noises at me so I gave him a bug and a wish.  But it didn't work, he was still a little bitch."

Thursday, September 18, 2014

TBT Sister Edition

Tomorrow is my sister's birthday, so for Throwback Thursday this week, I'm going to share some of my favorite pictures of her, and by that I mean, those pictures I can post on the internet and still reasonably hope that she won't hunt me down and give me a noogie til I have baldspot. (She can do it, trust me).

I love this one because she's executing the baby wtf look that our family seems to have down pat.


I love how the cat looks like he sortof wants to murder you. 


When I first looked at this photo of Robyn and I dressed in our bridesmaid gear for our big sister Kate's wedding, I thought, huh, that must be shadows or something, there's NO WAY we thought hair that big looked good. 


Sadly, I think we may have thought that hair that big looked good, because here's another one. Yikes.  Damn. 


and this. Oh. Oh dear. I know Mom made this dress for you and you loved it at the time. But wow. Peplums are no one's friend. 


I know you won't mind me posting this one. It was a tossup between this one and the one from 7th grade where you have short hair and prominent teeth. I figured this would buy me some brownie points. 


One of my faves


and weirdly, this is the latest one I have of the two of us, other than the ones of us at our niece's wedding where you're doing The Wobble and I'm laughing at you. Consider my editing those pictures out YOUR PRESENT. 





Happy Birthday Robyn!