Archive | November, 2012

A Fine Line

29 Nov

Earlier this year I ran into my OB/Gyn at the Museum. It was a little awkward, for me at least. I came this close to saying “Hey! I’m surprised you recognized me with my clothes on”.

What actually came out of my mouth was “Hey! I’m surprised —–uh— how crowded the museum is today!”.

My husband said I should’ve said it, that it would’ve been funny. But would it? What if she is completely uncomfortable with making light of the fact that 92% of our interactions take place with my clothes laying on a nearby chair in a pile. Maybe we’re not allowed to laugh at the fact that she watched me give natural childbirth, in all it’s humiliating glory. Can we talk about the fact that I swore I would never look her in the eye again?

That’s the problem with trying to be funny. It’s a fine line between a good laugh, and “you’ll be receiving a letter from my HR department”.

Hey, did anyone see Mr. Belding as one of the judges on How I Met Your Mother this week? Full disclosure, I backed the Tivo up at least 3 times to re-watch his part.

Did I ever tell you about the time I met him? It was at a Planet Hollywood restaurant in Atlanta circa 1999. He was eating with his wife and some other people. Since I didn’t have the courage to walk right up to his table, I did the classy thing and followed him to the bathroom. My grand plan was to wait by the door of the ladies’ room until he came out of the mens’, and just sort of run into him all cool like “Hey, aren’t you that guy from that TV show?” I realize this paints me with the crazy stalker brush, but it is what it is.

Amazingly, it worked like a charm. Not the keeping it cool part, I totally lost it. But he was the nicest guy and let me gush on about how I’d seen every episode of Saved by the Bell no less than 11 times. He let me walk with him back to his table and introduced me to the other people he was eating with. My memory of the whole things is fading, but I do remember him telling me that my face was as red as my hair (at that time I was pretty heavily into RR07 Intense Red Copper by L’Oreal). I told him I was pretty excited to be meeting him, and my face wasn’t normally so freakishly flushed.

Anyway, I walked on cloud 9 for a while after that encounter. I still have the pants I was wearing that night. My red Wrangler jeans. I’ve never gotten rid of them, despite the fact that from 2003 until a few months ago, they had no hope of fitting me anymore. They’re out of style, and come up way too high on the waist, but I wear them occasionally. Eh, I live in Texas now. Wranglers never go out of style here.

So anyway, maybe sometimes it pays to be slightly inappropriate and risky? Are there times when secretly following someone to the bathroom without their knowledge can result in something good? Yes.

“A building with two Beldings, one of whom is balding.” -Zack Morris upon meeting Mr. Belding’s brother. Haha, classic Zack.

 

Thanksgiving Food

23 Nov

Well, Thanksgiving is over for another year.

I did cook this year, but I almost didn’t.

This year it just so happened that my little family of 4 was on our own for Thanksgiving dinner, which I’m perfectly fine with. No, living 20 driving hours away from your entire extended family is not a barrel of laughs, but it’s our reality and we’ve embraced it.

A few weeks ago I started thinking how I wasn’t really feeling the whole turkey and 8 side items shebang this time and maybe I just wanted to order one of of those catered Thanksgiving dinners from a restaurant where they’ll cook everything for you the day before and you just have to heat it up before you serve it.  Not sure what I was thinking. Thanksgiving is the Super Bowl of cooking – an event I’ve been preparing for all year, and I’m gonna let someone else run the ball for me? note to self: try to make it so there’s less football on the television.

Aside from the fact that I prefer to make my family’s food myself, we would certainly be overpaying for the food through a caterer (pretty sure I can make a green bean casserole for less than $15.99).

So it was a no-brainer. I would be cooking Thanksgiving dinner myself.

Just in case you’re wondering, the catering deal was $60. It’s hard to say exactly what I spent on my ingredients because I picked up a few random non-Thanksgiving food items while I was at the store, but my entire receipt came to $58 and change. Cha-ching! Nailing this already.

I stumbled upon this video, which is the simplest turkey recipe I’ve found. It also happens to produce the most amazing gravy I think I’ve ever tasted. I was nervous about incorporating the neck and heart and stuff because, well, it’s super gross. I like to avoid thinking about the turkey as having been an actual living thing, and acknowledging the presence of a heart really makes that difficult.  But I followed Chef John’s instruction and used the bagged organs to make a stock which later turned into the aforementioned amazing gravy. Pretty sure when whoever first started using “gravy” as a street word to describe something that is better than good, they were inspired by this gravy. The gravy section is in part 2 of the videos, in case you’re actually interested.

What initially caught my attention was his technique of spreading butter under the turkey’s skin before cooking. I’ve never heard of that before. Of course I’ve since found out pretty much everyone else already knows about the under the skin trick and has done it before. This happens to me regularly. Sorta like the time I thought I invented the fact that heavy cream will turn into butter if you whip it long enough.

Anyway, amazing turkey. Here’s a picture of it before it went into the oven. I don’t have an after picture because when it came out of the oven I was thinking more about eating it than taking its picture.

In addition to learning about the under-the-skin thing, I learned that the celery/onion/carrot bed under the turkey is referred to as a mirepoix. Not, as I incorrectly texted to my mom, a meer-plah. Seriously, I had no idea what the guy was saying on the video. Just goes to show you, you’re never too old to ask your mama what a word means.

Anyway, the whole dinner went off without a hitch, amazingly. Except that the turkey ended up cooking faster than I had estimated (my Jedi math skills fail me again), and I had to scramble a little to get the other stuff finished quickly. But yeah. It all worked out pretty well!

Here’s a picture of my plate, before gravy. I didn’t want you to see how much gravy I heaped on. It was embarrassing.

I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving, surrounded by people who love you. I know I did.

ps- It’s officially Christmas now.

Coffee and My Teeth

11 Nov

First of all, this.

Yes.

How amazing is coffee, right?

The dentist once told me I should lay off the coffee, that it stains my teeth and whatnot. I respectfully declined.

Anyway, I went to the dentist on Friday. It was bad. Again.

I have the worst teeth in America. They’re trying their darnedest to ensure I have a full set of dentures by the time I’m 50. Let me assure you that I have the utmost dental hygiene habits. I brush my teeth, on most days, three times. I floss daily. I use a prescription fluoride treatment before bed. I visit my meanie of a dentist every six months.

But every six months, without fail, I have at least one cavity.

Oh if only I could breeze in, get a nice gentle tooth polish and go home, swinging my free toothbrush and floss in the cute little bag with the anthropomorphic dancing tooth on it. Nope. I have to stay an extra hour and get shot up with Novocaine while two people attack my mouth with power tools.

So on Friday, after I got my cleaning done the dentist comes over all like “Hello Stefanie, how are you today?” And I’m like “I’m ok, but I’d be much better if you tell me I can walk out of here without any cavities”. And the man actually CHUCKLES.

Sigh.

Apparently the hygienist who cleaned my teeth and did my X-rays had betrayed me by secretly noting which of my teeth she thought had cavities, and leaving that information on a post-it for the dentist to see. Ugh! I see all that bonding and chatting we did about our kids earlier meant nothing!

I whined a little bit (as I always do) about how unfair it is that I have such a strict oral hygiene routine and I still get cavities. At that point there was some discussion among the doctor and hygienist that perhaps I’m not flossing correctly.

Say what, now? Is there more than one way to jam a string between two teeth?

Well doctor, I was thinking perhaps you aren’t putting on your pants correctly. Cause we all do it another way.

Whatever. Just fix the teeth.

So yes, 2 more cavities. Off we go to the procedure room in the back. Laying back in the chair I’m forced to stare at this toothpaste advertisement poster that they have attached to the ceiling. It’s of this pretty woman with the whitest, straightest teeth you’ve ever seen. I hate youI think.

Every time I come home all numb in the face and crabby I always toss up my hands and say “Forget it! I give up! Why bother? I’m just going to gargle with Dr. Pepper and see what that does.” But I can’t sleep unless I floss, so I keep doing it. Not that I’m doing it the right way anyway.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking, and I’ve found some good news. Someday soon all my teeth will just be pure fillings. There will be no more natural tooth components left, thus no more cavities!

My next appointment is in May 2013. Hear that, cavities? You have nearly six months to settle in, better get started. I’ll help you out by pounding you in further with my sloppy flossing techniques. Happy eating!

 

Colic and Weeds

8 Nov

Really? It’s November and I’m still dealing with these weed beasts? Go dormant already, lawn!!

image

Seriously.

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They’re so unsightly.

The real beating is that I promised myself I wouldn’t let it get this bad again.

After Juliette was born last year we accidentally kind of “neglected the grounds” for some time. That’s a fancy way of saying we didn’t mow or pay any attention whatsoever to our lawn for like 6 months. We were about a week away from some Little Shop of Horrors action. Lucky for us we don’t live in a homeowners association, or we certainly would’ve gotten fined. I’m thankful our nice neighbors never said anything to our faces. Maybe they saw how we were just barely able to function each day with a colicky newborn who never stopped screaming.

What? You wanna know more about the screaming?

Seriously, the child did three things. She nursed, she cried, and occasionally she would sleep. There was never any of that laying peacefully staring into a mirror, slightly amused by her own face. There was never any “look, she just smiled! Do you think it was just from gas?”. No, with us it was “Ok, she’s been screaming for 5 hours straight, do you think her internal organs might be melting?”

The most maddening thing was not so much that she demanded to be held 24/7. It was that according to the law of baby Juliette, you had to be standing. If we did manage to get her to fall asleep while holding and swaying her, and then dared to ever so gently sit down, she would jerk awake and resume the scream siren. Only this time she’d be angrier.

What’s the difference!?!?” We would cry. “How do you even know!!??” Apparently the child has an altimeter built in.

We were so exhausted, every day.

And yes, we tried every kind of “colic” medicine and remedy we could find. We brought her to the doctor many times during her first 3 months of life, begging them to help us make it stop. They tossed around the possibility of acid reflux, and we had a few prescriptions for that, but nothing really helped. She just kind of grew out of it slowly around 3 or 4 months old.  If you happen to be going through this now, hang in there. It will get better.

side note – Our son was the best baby. He rarely cried and started sleeping through the night in his own room at 8 weeks. Maybe we got a little arrogant about our ability to handle a small child and God decided to have a little fun with this next one.

So anyway, once things calmed down on the baby front, I spent a whole weekend “weeding” — though a more appropriate term might be “murdering”. Some of these behemoths were almost as tall as I am, and when I pulled on the first one I fully expected it to reveal its hidden eyes and mouth and yell “BACK OFF, HUMAN! Each time I uprooted one of them with my shovel, I thought for sure I could hear some kind of curse in the wind.

Anyway like I said, once the lawn was cleared I promised myself I’d never let it get that bad again – and it really hasn’t, yet. But it has been some time since either of us have gotten out there with the garden gloves. It’s partly because we’re waiting for winter to come and take our landscaping duties away.

So yeah, it’s bad again. I did pull a bunch, but then I went to mow and the lawnmower was out of gas so I gave up and went inside. The end.

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