Saturday, April 30, 2011

I have never seen the Gorilla, but I know he is here.

The Gorilla who lives in my house is evidenced only by the banana peels he leaves behind...on the couch cushions....halfway up the staircase...under the bed. The one I just threw away was draped across my computer keyboard. The Gorilla failed to notice the garbage can placed conveniently beneath my desk. He had more important things on his mind, probably. Like world peace, or watching Weird Al videos on You Tube. Gorillas love Weird Al. If I ever catch that gorilla I am going to send him back to the zoo.

Friday, April 29, 2011

If you were wondering how the auction went.....



That's a record.

Here's how we did it:

Kid carnival night was a separate event, about a month before the auction. That brought in $2500+. I'm including it in the total, because we used to combine the two events.

The "suggested donation" for wine or beer was $4. We went through one keg of beer (donated), and 3.5 cases of wine (donated). The jar had $2000 by the end of the night.

We raffled off an ipad. The mac store sold it to us at cost. 3 families put up the money to pay for it. The raffle brought in around $3000.

We sold tickets to the event, $10 each. Teachers were on the "guest list" and did not have to pay. Tickets brought in around $1600.

The auctioned items brought in close to $14,000. We had one table of "big ticket" items ($150 and up). There were over 200 donations. Several classrooms put together elaborate themed baskets (garden, arts and crafts, lego). Some folks paid slightly over retail value, while others got a bargain--i.e. $1000 voucher for orthodontic work for $500. I think that's important because it motivates more people to come to the auction--not just the ones with disposable income.

We had a wine table--this is all the rage! You ask anyone you know who likes wine if they might have a few bottles to donate from their "stash." Bottles should range from pretty darn good ($15) to "Wow!" ($100+). You only need a couple of really over the top bottles to make it exciting. Bag the bottles in plain brown bags and set them out on a table. Customers pay $20, grab a bag, unwrap, and.....ta-da. They got something, maybe something really really good. A friend of mine who's family recently went to one income loved this--she got a great bottle of wine, she could afford it, and she didn't have to compete to get it. We had 72 bottles, which means $1440 dollars. Easy money!

We had to pay for soda, pizza, veggie trays, fruit trays, and cookies. Cost was less than $1000. I did not subtract this in the total because I am still reveling in the triumphantness.

I wore a ridiculous silver cocktail dress from the early 60's, in case you're wondering. Not because it was officially formal or even dressy, but just because I likes me a party dress.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Attentive, not so much

The Larger Hooligan had an indoor soccer game.  It was a bloodbath, our blood, per usual.  He takes these defeats with great good cheer, even exuberance.

"Well, they made 8 goals, but I stopped about 8 goals
(He is playing keeper, lately. "Not goalie, keeper.  Goalies are hockey, mom, duh.")  
And we actually scored 2 goals!  Awesome!"  

He tells me this because he knows that I was probably chatting with the other parents and was not necessarily paying close attention to the game.

I am a failure as a helicopter parent.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

La Nouveau Régime: daily posting or else.

Be aware, though, everything counts. like very short commentary posts, maybe with a picture. or maybe not. or recipes. like this:

Digression: I made pizza a couple of weeks ago when we had friends over for dinner. Unfortunately I got distracted chatting and it burned to a crisp. Good thing we were also making grilled lamb. Good thing everybody liked lamb. When I make lamb for guests I usually makes something else as well because some people really can't stand it. mmmmmm. Lamb. When the Larger Hooligan was little he had a baby lambie stuffed toy. We named it Tasty.

Anyway, the tragedy of the burned pizza was on my mind, so last night I tried again:

Nouveau pizza which does not hardly resemble traditional pizza:

One recipe pizza dough*, with fresh rosemary blended in. roll out as thin as possible.

Carmelize one thin sliced onion. I like to cook it for about an hour.

3 or four minced garlic cloves in 3 T olive oil

1/2 C chopped kalamata olives

8 or 10 chopped dried mission figs (the black kind)

about 4 inched of a goat cheese log

parmesan grated over everything.

I smeared the olive oil/garlic over the dough, added the caramelized onions, olives, figs, crumbled the goat cheese over that, and topped with parm. This is so good it's freaky.

*confession: I bought the dough already made in the deli section of the grocery. I had a late start: too late to make dough. Plus I'm lazy. Or busy, depending on how I spin it.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Hooligans' Band:

Is called "The Wreakers of Havoc."  Isn't that good?  I'm guessing it's all drums and bass, maybe some go go girls,  and harmonica.  That's it.

Food for Spring

I had an amazing plate of lasagna the other day.  I brought some of our fresh eggs to my friend who lost her son this winter.  That was February, and people are still bringing them beautiful meals every night.  We looked through the  heaps of cards and letters together.  We sat on his bed.  We cried a lot, it felt really good.

Then we ate this beautiful lasagna with bechamel sauce.  It was delicious.  Everyone had two helpings.  I left feeling sort of wrung out in a good way:  very satiated and grateful.  What amazing people, to still be so gracious. And what a town, to still be so caring.

I was still thinking about lasagna the next day at the grocery store.  I wanted more.  But I also wanted asparagus, and I had some mozzarella and prosciutto in my fridge that needed using up.  Here's what I came up with:

Spring vegetable lasagna:

Fresh pasta sheets
2 lumps fresh mozzarella
fennel bulb
3 leeks
small zucchini
6 slices prosciutto

I sliced the vegetables thinly and sauteed them briefly in a little olive oil and some minced garlic.  After they were partially cooked I set up the first layer of lasagna as follows:  oil the lasagna pan, line with layer of fresh pasta, add about a half inch thick layer of vegetables, top with strips of prosciutto, slices of fresh mozzarella and a dusting of parmesan.  Then I make the sauce, pour some over, and repeat until I run out of ingredients.

For the sauce:  I  use the juices from sauteing the veggies as a base to make the bechamel.  I probably don't make bechamel correctly, as my concept of it is a creamy/salty/garlicky white sauce with the interesting twist of a a little nutmeg at the end.  Vaguely french,  not healthy, although you could use skim milk, olive oil, and stock instead of cream, butter and vermouth.

 Here's how I do it:

Add half a stick of butter to the pan,  as it melts, shake about 3 T of flour through a sieve and mix it smoothly into the melted butter.  Add a cup of milk or cream, thin to the desired consistency with stock, white wine, sherry, or dry vermouth  (vermouth is best).  Taste, add salt and a pinch or two of grated nutmeg. Keep the heat very low and stir pretty steadily or it will get too thick and lumpy.

Drizzle sauce over each layer of lasagna, top with more parm, and bake at 350 for about 30 or forty minutes until everything is bubbly.  serve with salad and a dry citrusy white wine, or maybe a very dry rose.

This one's easy to modify:  skip the prosciutto for the vegetarians, try with saffron and shrimp for would be good with a light chicken sausage....the possibilities are endless.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Absent without leave, but with good cause.

Today, Text, from The Man Who lives in My House:  "Want to meet me for lunch somewhere?"
Me:  "I would avoid being around me at all costs, if I were you."

A little later, my cell rings, it's my mother.  I know she'll call again if I don't pick up, so I answer: "Hi mom, is it an emergency?"
My mother, "Well no, I just called to chat."
Me: "Mom, it is going to have to wait until Saturday.  But call or text if it's an emergency."
My mom is laughing as I click off.

Why would I turn down a lunch date with a cute guy?  Why wouldn't I enjoy a chat with my mother? Am I crazy?  No.  I am in charge.  In charge of the school auction, in a year where we are facing a budget shortfall so severe that we may lose one of our 11 classroom teachers.  Normally we raise money to keep Reading support, P.E., Music, technology upgrades, library upgrades--"frills"  like that.  Now our funding is so short that we may lose a classroom teacher, in addition to the "frills".  So this auction gig.  No pressure.  

I am homesick for blogging, and normalcy.  Right now I live in auction land.  It is extremely fun, but very time consuming.  I have been an auction wingman for several years now, but the parent who has run the show decided it was time to step down.  I'm not sure whether I stepped up, or whether it was just kind of a default thing, but the power went straight to my head.  I am El Jefe.

So I sort of changed it up--instead of a kid inclusive family event, I got the local public golf course to let us use their clubhouse (for free), and the local brewery to donate a keg, and a local vineyard gave us ten cases of wine--which are currently stacked all around my living room.

This could be a great idea, because who doesn't like a party?  And we will raise extra $ selling beer and wine.  Actually we cannot legally sell the beer and wine, but we can accept donations.  There will be an enormous pickle jar with a big sign that says "DONATIONS."  I think people will get it.

It also could be a total flop.  People could be having so much fun socializing that they forget to bid.  That happened a few years ago, when the school-located auction fell on a gorgeous spring evening.  The kids all ran out on the playground, and the adults were having so much fun chatting and keeping an eye on our kids...we kind of forgot to bid as much as usual.

Still, I am El Jefe.  And I like parties.  I like going to them, and I like throwing them.  If it's a flop, I will do penance by helping with the Jogathon next month.  (We are having a school budget crisis, can you tell?  Lots of fundraisers.  Lots of pressure.  That's a whole 'nother post.)

There will be pizza and music. I think every babysitter in neighborhood has been booked, but just in case, we have childcare available at the school.  I have not even started to go on and on about the donations, but I'll say that an army of minions is running around doing my bidding. I call them the hunter-gatherers. We have bikes and beach weekends and museum memberships and gift cards coming out of our ears, organized by me (not my forte!  Painful!) and also stacked (in orderly piles) around my living room.  The minions all have done this for years.  They remind me about what I should be doing.  If we make some money, they get the credit.

This blog gets credit, too, because I've basically used my blog energy to send out updates to all the hunter-gatherers a couple of times every week since the beginning of February.  I tell them what is done and what's still needed.  I try to make it funny and I hope I don't sound like I'm complaining--I truly am having a ball.  It's a great excuse not to exercise.  Either somebody volunteers to do it or they tell me how to do it, and I add it to my list.

I have had to repress the urge to procrastinate:  I have never been so tempted to paint my bathroom!  Hopefully I can tap in to that urge when this is over  (tomorrow!).

Anyway, I must return to my auctionizing, auctioneering?  Auctionagonizing.....I'll be back next week.