Saturday, January 30, 2010


Back in their glory days at Evergreen State College, Crazy Uncle Nick and The Man Who Lives In My House used to refer to a spectacularly stupid screw-up as "whipping an awesome".

(Nick wants to say that they never did anything stupid in college.  They just studied.)

Example:  "Dude, I was skateboarding home from the co-op carrying a case of Oly (or Rainier)  on my shoulder. I hit a bump in the sidewalk.  So the beer went everywhere.  Do you have any cash so I can get us some more beer?"
                  "Dude, that's whipping an awesome!"
For some reason, this phrase has never become part of the general vernacular.

Please note: I made this scenario up. When canvassed for real anecdotes, The Man claimed to remember nothing.  Nick suggested I tell about the time The Man bit a girl on the leg, which got her attention, but not in a good way.  The Man said it wasn't like that at all.  Then he took the 5th.

I whipped one the other day when I thought I set up an automatic bill pay account for one thing, only it went to another thing. Huh.  I felt all technologically competent there, for a minute.  And now we're not sure where a $1200 monthly payment really landed.  Just to make it more awesome, it was The Man Who Lives in My House who noticed this error and pointed out it's awesomeness.  And he may have gone on a little about how now I've got a project for Monday, figuring this out.  I sure do, and I'm really looking forward to talking to customer service and hanging out in line at the bank.

It was ok though, because not 15 minutes later, he was making some pancakes.  I'm not talking about adding water to a mix, here.  He was whipping egg whites and measuring cornmeal and debating the merits of bananas vs. blueberries with the hooligans.  AND he was heating up the real maple syrup.  Which lived in a (cute, vintage) glass jug.  Which he set directly over the gas flame, "just to take the edge off".  Only it kind of exploded.  The good news is no one got glass in their eyeball.  But there had been quite a bit of syrup in the jug, which was now pooling around the burners and dripping into the inner workings of the stove.  Have I mentioned that we have an ant problem?

Interestingly,  The Man's main concern was that I hustle over to the market A!S!A!P! for more syrup.  It should be noted that I stayed out of this whole episode. I was compelled to inquire, though, whether he intended to cook pancakes before cleaning up the syrup.  Just curious.  On second thought, I decided I'd rather be at the market than in the kitchen at that moment, so I grabbed my wallet and headed for the door.

Our house smells like IHOP.  It's awesome.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Words I like:
laff riot
Rock Hudson--used as an adjective to describe extreme midcentury coolness
Virgo--used to describe a very organized person, regardless of his/her sign
Bean counter (a virgo, but less pleasant)
wiggidywack--(that would be the small hooligan)
cupcake--can be a noun, adjective or verb. Try it!

to be continued.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

good sign or bad sign?

What does it mean when you think you might throw up as you finish the third mile?

Monday, January 25, 2010


Innards are in.

We went to Portland this weekend (sans hooligans!  whoo-hoo!) for recreating and eating.  You would not think that Oregon was struggling with 10+% unemployment based on how hard it was to get a reservation.

Le Pigeon called me back:  they'd had a cancellation.  They could seat us at 6.  YAY!  Le Pigeon!  Faux-french-localvore-industrial-chic-deliciousness!  The last time I ate there I had a single scallop the size of a baby's fist.  It was enshrouded in crispy pork fat (That's how it was described on the menu--I felt a moment's repulsion--eeuw!  pork fat!  But really, that IS the best part of the bacon).  It was awesome.  This time I had a similar experience with a crispy duck breast smeared with marrow atop a bed of spaetzle.  Spaetzle bear an unfortunate resemblance to maggots.  But they're really just buttery little dumplings, made with a potato ricer.  I'm now in the market for a ricer.

Le Pigeon is big on "nose to tail" eating.  It's a little challenging:  are you macho enough to eat tongue?  Sweetbreads? Blood sausage? Tripe? Marrow? Venison heart pasta? Maggots (kidding)?  We were, but we could have taken it further.  No one in our wimpy party wanted the sweetbreads.  Maybe if we had, our waiter would have been more impressed.

After our entrees and a second bottle of wine, our deadly serious* waiter came to tell us our dessert options, "Tonight for dessert, we have the St. Honore eclair filled with a foie gras mousse ice cream and drizzled with burnt caramel, we have a dark chocolate cake with peppermint--"

I was compelled to interrupt, "Did you say foie-gras?"

"Yes, a foie gras mousse ice cream, we also feature an orange-anise--"

By now I was perseverating, "Do you mean foie-gras as in goose liver? In ice cream?  Are there capers?** Is this Iron Chef night?**?

Our waiter replied with maybe the slightest touch of exasperation--I was, after all, repeatedly interrupting his schpiel, "It's a foie-gras mousse, whipped into ice cream--it's very rich and creamy.  It's one of my favorites, actually."

At this point I did shut up (I may have been kicked under the table.  Thank you, I needed that.)  We heard the rest of the options, and our waiter volunteered--or maybe insisted--on bringing us tastes of foie gras ice cream.

I sniffed mine (wimp).  My brave companions said it tasted good until you swallowed it.  The aftertaste was liver.

Someone needs to explain this to me.  I am an adventurous eater.  I like pate (with lots of capers)--although I can't say the same for scrapple.  Tentacles dangling over the edge of the soup bowl do not faze me.  I'll try any kind of sushi.  I'll eat a hot dog of dubious provenance. I tried the venison heart pasta--a bit chewy, but tasty!  Blood sausage is good as long as you don't think about it. My dad and I used to slurp raw oysters  because they were delicious and it was fun to gross my mother and my sister out.  I just do not get the trend of shoehorning foods that belong in one place into another.  Liver ice cream...the hooligans would say: "ugh-scusting."

* I think this guy was getting paid not to laugh at my (possibly lame) jokes. Usually the fine folks who bring the food in restaurants can be counted upon to play along--it has to do with working for tips. It should be noted that his actual execution of his job was impeccable, and our tipping reflected that.  Far be it from me to pay someone to crack a smile.

**These are examples of my (possibly lame) jokes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Toast, or I heart carbs

I am a toast-o-holic.  I usually have two pieces sometime between when I should have eaten breakfast (I'm not ready to contemplate eating that early) and lunch (who has time for lunch?).  Sometimes we make toast for a snack after school. Later, after the kids are in bed and the kitchen is done and maybe we have folded some laundry while watching Flight of the Conchords (Bret or Jemaine?  Jemaine.  Don't laugh.), I think, "I want dessert.  But we have no dessert.  I know,  I will have some toast, with butter and jam, or cinnamon sugar, or one of each!"  So I do.  And it is good.  Dessert--preferably Alden's mint chip ice cream (if I had another hooligan I would name him Alden) would be better, but toast will do.


Toasters keep dying (of over-use?) on my watch.  I believe I have had at least 6 in the 13 (almost) years we have been married.  The first one was a basic toaster oven that died right around our first anniversary.  Meier and Frank took that as an opportunity to demonstrate their horrible customer service (no wonder they went bankrupt).  The most recent toaster was a Delonghi 4 slicer that I bought at an estate sale to replace the Cuisinart toaster oven that I bought with a coupon at Bed Bath Etc.  The Cuisinart had stopped toasting the top side.  I flipped the toast over manually for a couple of months. I found the Delonghi on half price day ($10!). It worked fine for about a year.  Then the left side stopped working.  I thought, "That's ok, we'll just make 2 slices at a time instead of 4. We can deal. " The right side quit two days later.  So I junked it and burned a lot of bread in attempts to toast it under the broiler.

The Man Who Lives In My House suggested that my tendency to cheapness may have been at the root of the problem, "Just buy a decent toaster instead of some cheap piece of junk!"

Well, OK.  I went to the local awesome kitchen store.  Naturally, my first question was about their return policy. (They stand by their products!)  My next question was, "Which one will not die?"  I came home with a British toaster.  I assume it's the same kind the queen uses because--even on sale AND with a coupon--it was shockingly expensive (He TOLD me to buy a good one!).

It's so shiny I'm afraid to use it.  Maybe later, after the kids are in bed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A really great idea

The small Hooligan:  "I have an idea for a gigantic hot tub!  You could swim underwater to an underwater bowling alley! You get air tanks at the top and flippers to get down there."

Why didn't I think of this?  I will call my contractor immediately.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Project, not even half finished.

I may possibly hate knitting socks. I don't ever want to knit another one, wherein lies the problem:  what will I do with one beautiful (the yarn is beautiful, anyway) hand made sock (IF I even finish it)?  I could have knitted a turtleneck in the time it has taken me to knit 3/5ths of one sock.

When/if I finish this damn sock, I am going to make friends with someone with one leg. I will have a thoughtful handmade gift all ready for his/her birthday. I wonder if there's a market for handmade, single socks on e-bay? Do we know any pirates?

The very near sighted leading the blind.*

My mother called:  "I can't find your blog."
I sent her the address.
The phone rang, "Well I fowarded it to Bobbi (my godmother) but then I tried to open it, and it still isn't working.  Are you sure it's right?"
I double checked.  It was wrong.  I re-sent it, correctly.  
She called again, "It still won't work.  Do you think it's because you have one of those macs? "
"Mom, did you type dot com at the end?"
"No I did dot net, I thought It was dot net."
"No mom, it's dot com."  She hung up.
There were several more calls in this vein.  There were issues of mutual technological incompetence.
Fifteen minutes passed with no call.  "I think she found it, " I thought, "Maybe she will become a fan!   yay!  I will have 7 fans, or does it count if it's your mom?"  I opened my computer to see whether she'd commented.
She hadn't, but she did send me an e-mail with corrections for the "Why I Call him that"  entry: Grandmother's drink of choice was an Old-fashioned, NOT a Manhattan.  And it's Aphasia with an A, not Ephasia.
I stand corrected before my vast readership. Thanks to my mother.

*The Man Who Lives In My House was the one who observed that this whole exchange was like the very near sighted leading the blind.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I ran, dog ran, ducks flew, no high

I ran one mile South, cut across to the park, took the dogbeast off leash so he could sniff around by the stream.  He bounded into and over the stream in pursuit of a family of mallards.  I hollered at him to come back. Dog ignored me in favor of sniffing an australian sheepdog's butt.  After a bit, he tried to come back, but decided he couldn't swim across the stream.  I ran through the shrubbery on my side of the stream, he ran along his side.  We both got muddy.  The guy with the sheepdog was laughing at us.  I ignored him in favor of pretending to be a serious athlete in training--with a minor dog problem.  Dog finally returned via a log bridge and permitted me to snap on the leash.  We ran home.

I feel virtuous and pleased with myself.

Also mildly humiliated to own such a moronic dog.

I think I went about two miles--no cupcake, no coffee.  Only 11 more to go.

Why I call him that

Denis (The Man Who Lives In My House), feels marginalized by his title.  So I will explain:

My grandmother Jane loved to sing show tunes (she knew all the words), pick stocks (she was good at it), and play bridge.  She drank old-fashioneds and smoked elegantly.  She never left the house without big clip-on earrings, coiffed hair, and spectator pumps. She had a fabulous whisky  and cigarettes voice.   In later years she suffered a number of strokes which caused aphasia--she could talk clearly, but often couldn't find the exact word or name she needed.  She worked around that--she was trying to say something about Charles, her husband of 50+ years.

"You know," she said to my mother from her hospital bed, "The MAN.  The Man Who Lives in MY HOUSE."

My mother and I both use this phrase to refer to our spouses.  Somehow, it sums things up.

Friday, January 8, 2010

How to be a pirate

When I was 6, my dad's friend Dr. Larssen gave me a kitten.  And he told me that if I NEVER put my tongue in the hole where my loose tooth was about to fall out, it would grow in gold.  Then he flashed his big gold molar, "See?"

I pretty much believed him.  And I did not want a gold tooth right in front, so I poked my tongue in there assiduously.  But If only I had listened,  I could have been a real pirate, with a good tooth. I wonder how you get a peg leg?  Damn.

I do not give every six year old I meet a kitten.  Their mothers would kill me. I do, however, caution them  to avoid putting their tongues in the holes where their teeth have fallen out.  Then I grab my friend Heidi and make her show them her gold crown, to prove my story could be true.  She is a good sport, and plays along.

Today the smaller hooligan spent most of the afternoon worrying at his loose tooth, moaning that it hurt, taking single bites of apples and then leaving them to attract fruit flies.

Finally, he made me sit next to him at the table.  He marched into the bathroom and returned with a full box of tissues (for all the blood). He was deadly serious and refused to acknowledge my jokes.  He got a cup of water.  Then he sat down next to me, grabbed his tooth, and yanked it out.  I cheered.  He mopped up a little blood, gulped some water, and then said, "SHIT!  I put my tongue in the hole."

I know better than to laugh, but I couldn't help it.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

It's already getting Dark (3:30 p.m.)/ Semi random

I find January to be trying, particularly when warm sloppy rain is washing our early snow off the mountains and confusing my tulip bulbs. How am I supposed to wear my awesome coat? The one I found at Buffalo Exchange when I rushed over there the day before Christmas to find funny socks for The Man Who Lives in My House's stocking?  "I'm afraid this is real raccoon,"  said the shopgirl apologetically, stroking the fur around the hood.  YES!  There is nothing better, to my mind, than a dead raccoon.* Nothing, that is, except a scrap of one accessorizing my new coat.  However it's positively balmy out, making any coat other than a gor-tex poncho unnecessary.

*My extreme dislike of raccoons is (I think) well-founded.  Too-wit:  1)My most productive chicken was done in by a raccoon who, after taking the parts he wanted, left me with a grisly mess. 2) Our dog enjoys chasing the varmints off--or he did, until one fought back and bit him in the shoulder.  The ensuing vet bill was $95.  Down with raccoons!  I will sic my hooligans on the next one that trundles through my yard.  Of course, the raccoon would probably love to be assaulted by a barrage of mini-marshmallows (see previous post "weapons make the best gifts").

More on January:  I keep my Christmas lights up until the end of the month.  I think a few lights should be legally mandated for all Oregon residences:  we need light and cheer for our mental health.  The Man Who Lives in My House disagrees.  He put timers on the lights--turning them on a little too late and off a little too early.  He starts talking about how I am contributing to global warming and killing baby polar bears as soon as dusk falls.  Hey, I don't endorse Polar Bear fur ANYTHING.  Just raccoon.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Running-Where's my high?

I told a woman at the gym today that I consider 15 minutes of cardio to be a major accomplishment.  She laughed.  She thought I was kidding.

I hate exercise.  I hate sweating. I hate being out of breath more than anything. And I have suggested to the man who lives in my house that we train for the half marathon.  Should be just great for our relationship.

He will hold me accountable.  Actually I'm pretty sure he expects I will flake, as I have made plans like this before.

I do not think I can run a mile.  I never have.  I generally start wheezing around the third block.  I slow to a walk, and then I start thinking about where the nearest coffee shop is.  That's it!  I'm done.

I hear that you can get addicted (in a mostly good way) to the endorphins.  I want some! I've never perceived a post-exertion endorphin rush. When I do something physically exhausting, i.e. a big uphill hike, I'm so enervated afterward I can't appreciate the endorphins.  I just want coffee--and maybe a cupcake.

Friday, January 1, 2010


I took The Hooligans to The Nutcracker.  I called The Man Who Lives in my House to see whether he wanted a ticket.

His response:"Why are you taking them to the Nutcracker?  Let's take them to Avatar."

Isn't the Nutcracker a cornerstone of western xmas civ.?  You've got to go once so you'll understand why you hear that "doo-doo/doo-doo DOOT-doo DOOO!!!dodooleeleedddooo"  music around the holidays.  And it's the only holiday music I can stand.  And Erika's daughter is an unrecognizable angel in the second act.

"You go for it," he said,  "I'm going to be a little busy."

So we did, but first we had to get dressed.  In real clothes--as in shirts with buttons and collars.  And socks that matched.  And a belt.  And not those pants, they have a hole. All the pants have a hole, or are about to.  Even the "nice" ones.  Much exasperation and eye rolling ensued from all parties.
Finally, they seemed presentable enough. Off we went to the Hult Center, where packs of exquisitely turned out children in shiny shoes and bow ties and matching sibling outfits were scampering about.

My children were ragamuffins.  Especially after intermission, when the smaller one's chocolate cookie ended up smeared all over his shirt.

As for The Nutcracker, there were questions and comments:  Why is she so crazy about a nutcracker?  Why don't they use the nutcracker to crack nuts?  How do they stand up on their toes like that?  Why do the boys always carry the girls around? Why aren't the boys wearing pants? Why don't they talk?  Why do they just dance?  Are they getting married?  Why do people in shows always get married.  I hope they don't kiss, I hate that.

I don't think we're ready for opera.