Archive for June, 2010

We have a WINNAH!

Elsha, lucky commenter #18, is the winner of the diapers! Congratulations Elsha! Please send me your address so I can get it to our friends at Huggies!

PS, I used the random number generator, but since I use Chrome and am generally clueless, I couldn’t take a stinking screenshot, despite my best efforts. AM SO DIM.

15 comments June 30th, 2010

Big Fish

You know, in all of my bitching about Sam’s general reticence, I really neglected to mention that she’s awesome at the gym now. So awesome that she starts screaming and squealing with excitement the second we pull up, and my God, she lets them DO STUFF to her now. Today, my girl did a flip on a high (HAHAHA “high”) bar, twice. This is a long-ass way from the first day, when the kid wouldn’t leave my side and wailed through the stupid puppet show and thought the bye-bye hands were some kind of satanic instrument designed to put the bye-bye into her SOUL.

One of the best parts about living back in Boston is that we have so many friends here already. It’s been so cool to run into people I know again, and to reconnect with everyone and their kids (their kids! they didn’t have kids before!) and … oh! I still have so many people left to meet up with again, and really, it’s just so great. Most of our friends, however, work at least half-time on a regular basis (as opposed to my wackadoo freelance schedule), so the people we see the most are Megan and Lila, as Megan has the same sort of wackadoo schedule I do with her photography business.

And dude. DUDE. I never thought seeing my kid have a friend would be so adorable. She recognizes the other kids, sure, but not like she recognizes Lila. Her WHOLE BODY starts wiggling if she sees her, and sometimes, there is yelling. They go toddling over to each other, start touching one another’s faces in weird places (“BE GENTLE!” is a common refrain on my end) and oh, the smiling! The smiling and the squealing and … oh man. MAN. Lila usually says something totally incoherent to Sam, who pretends to understand and occasionally nods and gestures in response and ACK, the little drunk people, they’ve totally run away with my heart.

(Also, since I know many of you “know” Megan, let me also say that she is fantastic, hanging out with her is refreshing and great, and I’d make her hang out with me even if our kids didn’t like each other, and thank God she’s here.)

To totally switch gears, I’ve been trying to give up soda, because I am COMPLETELY out of control when it comes to it, and literally cannot stop myself from downing it in large quantity if it is anywhere nearby. Though I try to keep my food douchery in check, I can’t deny that no matter which way I cut it, soda is awful for me. If you drink regular, you’re basically setting up an IV of HFCS. Drink diet? ACK THE CHEMICALS. Fine! This is fine. I can totally give it up, as I drink a lot of coffee (FROM MY COLD DEAD HANDS), and seltzer is quite delicious and conveniently packaged and fine! Yes, fine.

However, my God, what the EFF is it with seltzer that it EXPLODES everywhere like it’s been Mento’d in one of those godawful YouTube bits? If I had a DOLLAR for every time I wore lime Polar seltzer, my GEEZUZ PLEASE, I would have at least a hundred dollars and WHAT? WHAT AM I DOING WRONG? WHAT? No matter what I do, I end up WEARING SELTZER. This is not okay, and totally not conducive to my new, chemical-free habits. It’s as though the people at Polar don’t WANT the extra business! Or — OR! — they want PROOF that seltzer is good for removing stains, to the point that they are just going to spontaneously shoot it all over you and OH LOOK! That olive oil stain you didn’t even know was there is now GONE! WE ARE MAGICAL.

Bee Tee Dub, swim lessons are Friday and today I bought a swimsuit with horizontal stripes and ACK ACK ACK! What’s worse? IT WAS THE BEST I COULD DO. I almost bought a Miracle Suit, but firstly, $150, no thank you. Second? Look, Miracle Suit people, I may be a little on the less-than-superskinny (or ANY TYPE OF SKINNY) side and yes, I may desire a swimsuit that nips and tucks my butt, boobs and belly into nice, friendly little shapes, but I am OVERWEIGHT. I am not EIGHTY. Why? Why must these suits be in petite little polka dots with ruffles — or worse! — crazy animal prints! No, no, I’m sorry, I’m not going to attend my kid’s swim lessons in a leopard-print suit with a plunging neckline, no matter how great it sucks in my ass or lifts my boobs.

This is how I ended up with crazy horizontal stripes that, oddly, are somewhat slimming, likely because you’re staring at the bizarro stripes wondering why in the Sam Hill I would choose such a suit, rather than gazing at my midsection.

Hey, happy Wednesday!

*Jesca Hoop

37 comments June 29th, 2010

This time it’s pee. Oh, and free diapers.

It’s Huggies Time Again, but this time, there’s a win/win. Or a win. One win, to be specific, really. For suffering through my drivel, you can enter a contest to win diapers below. Assuming, that is, you have a person in your house who needs to be diapered. If you don’t, you can still win the diapers, just, ah, don’t tell us what you’re doing with them. We probably don’t want to know.

I’ll have you know that since we talked last, I’ve learned exactly nothing. I fish approximately eleven million diapers out of my dog’s mouth on a daily basis, I still have no idea what size diaper my kid wears, and I … well, I don’t think I’ve told you this before, but you know what I do ALL THE TIME? I forget to put a diaper on my kid post-bath. I know, I know I KNOW. It’s SO HARD, because she loves, and I mean LOVES, diaper-free time. It’s like a GIFT, that diaper-free time, where her little special girly area gets fresh air, and suddenly everything is more interesting, including running at top speed around the living room.

Have I ever told you that we have ceramic floors in our house? Well. We do. Everywhere except the bedrooms. And while this is awesome, in terms of clean up (SWIFFER WET JET YOU ARE MY LOVAH), it’s a little harrowing when it comes to a drunken toddler waddling around the house. This is especially true when I give my kid a little diaper-free time and she, uhh, pees on the floor and then, oh then? SLIPS IN HER OWN PEE and winds up screaming in a puddle on the floor. This is awesome. I feel like a total WINNAH when this happens. I let my kid slip and fall in a puddle of her own urine! Give me a medal!

You can see I take this parenting thing very seriously. I let my dog eat diapers, and my kid falls in her own pee. These are the things I honestly didn’t see coming.

Anyway! Enough. I’m giving away five (5!) packs of Huggies Little Movers diapers, and if you’d like to be entered, just leave a comment below and I’ll choose one at random. If you want to leave a comment, but do NOT want to be entered to win the diapers, just write NO DIAPERS! somewhere in the comment. The contest ends at 10 a.m. EDT on Wednesday. Your diapers will be shipped directly from our friends at Huggies.

Happy day!

*Note, this is a compensated post from Huggies.

180 comments June 29th, 2010

One More Try

You know, I almost feel like asking for wedding horror stories, but after the last several days, things have gotten pretty crazy up in here, and I’m starting to wonder if there are any nice people left in this world, for heaven’s sake. I mean, other than you guys.

So! Back to the usual drivel, which is not nearly as interesting, and for that, I am truly sorry.

One of the hardest things I’ve had to deal with as a parent is that my daughter does not like new things. At all. I’m ashamed to admit that I find this interminably frustrating, and while I am actually amazed at my ability to stay cool when she loses her shit and throws a tantrum about ANYTHING ELSE, I am horribly, embarrassingly impatient when it comes to this. The second the freak-out starts, I feel my blood pressure rising, and I find myself wanting to force her to enjoy whatever activity I’m foisting upon her, because SERIOUSLY, KID. It’s a POOL. I AM DOING THIS FUN-FILLED AFTERNOON FOR YOU. I COULD BE AT HOME WATCHING GLEE RERUNS.

I don’t like myself for this. At all. Because really, the poor kid. The world is brand-new and thrilling and she doesn’t know what any of this stuff is, and no matter how many times I put my “THIS IS SO FUN!” face on, it’s still kind of freaky, right? I mean, gym class is a crazy room full of bondage-style equipment with perky young women singing kind of scary songs about a monkey named Mymo. For the love of God, that’s … well. And yet. It’s hard for me to accept. I am, and this is heartbreaking, a little embarrassed as the other kids go jumping fearlessly into the unknown, while my kid clings to the sidelines, screaming bloody murder and holding on to her mama for dear life. And that statement right there is the worst thing. The worst! I’m her MOM.

There is no reason this should be surprising. I mean, her father and I are not exactly known for our adventurous spirits, so it’s not like she has some kind of wild risk-taking genes in her heritage. But everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, that is not the norm is a total battle. Everything. Our first gym class was a hysterical, clingy tantrumfest the first time we went. Her first trip to an indoor pool? Meltdown. A new restaurant? Breakdown city. Turn on the hose? Screaming! Screaming! Oh, is that your new water table? It MUST be out to rip your face off! Let’s scream!

The other night, I put bubbles in her bath for the first time. Bubbles! Bubbles are fun! It was even Burt’s Bees, so it was a familiar scent! You guys, it was like TERROR ON THE HIGH SEAS. She refused to get in the tub. Refused. Cried. Screamed. Left the bathroom and peed on the floor. Over bubbles.

At the park, she’s uninterested in leaving my side, even when her friends run off to climb the kiddie slide. The swings are about as exciting as it gets. Sandboxes are instruments of the devil, and there is yelling! YELLING!

And yet, we persevere. The second and third time we see things are usually better — for example, we now take bubble baths every night, and she plays like it’s totally normal — but oh, that first time. And I get SO FRUSTRATED. Kid, it’s a SLIDE. There’s no reason to LOSE YOUR SHIT.

Swimming lessons start on Friday morning, and … oh whoa, this should be awesome. Shall we put an over/under on how long the kid screams? Do you think it will be the WHOLE HALF-HOUR? Because that’s where my money is.

(Side note: I just realized I have four days to find and purchase a bathing suit. I kind of feel like barfing.)

(Also, it’s not really SWIM-swim lessons. It’s more the kind of thing where you normalize the water for your kid and make them less fearful. HAHAHA, IRONY.)

(Seriously, comfort in water is VERY important to me, so yes, we’re starting early. And although the first one will be a scream-fest, I’m fairly confident she’ll get used to it quickly. And if she doesn’t, we won’t do it. But for God’s sake, this is a kid who flipped out screaming the first time she saw her Cozy Coupe and now yells, “AGAIN?” every time I put her in it, so I’d say odds are in my favor up in here.)

And the thing is, I GET IT. I am horrible with new things. I hate change. I fall into comfortable patterns and stick with them — you could set your watch by my weekly routine. And yet the things I find most comforting for myself are the things I find most frustrating in her, and are the things that try my patience the most. But there I am, all, just TRY IT, kid. You’ll LIKE IT. (Thanks, Yo Gabba Gabba!). But honestly, talk about being completely unfair.

But still. Swim lessons. Oh good lord. This was actually my idea, too. And I’ve dragged Megan and Lila down with me. (Megan is worried about Lila wearing the flotation device, but *I* predict that Lila will think swimming is THE MOST AWESOME THING EVER. Lila has balls, you guys. It’s awesome.)

In other news, if you’re the True Blood fan type, I agreed to be a guest on Blog Talk Radio show at 9 p.m. Monday night to talk about Bill and Eric and the True Blood book. The show is an Eric fan site and the hosts call themselves … Viking wenches. Yes, really. I don’t even know what to expect up in here, but the host recently interviewed Kristin Bauer van Straten (PAM!), so color me jealous. I’ll post an updated link when I get it, but the show is called Dead Air (OH HA HA HA) and it’s run by the people who host EricNorthman.net .

It has come to this. But really, I’m looking forward to it.

Also! The book is really and truly available now, so pick it up at Smart Pop or Amazon or the bookseller of your choice. Or listen to the radio show tomorrow night to win a free copy. There’s that, too.

Happy Monday!

*Oh, George Michael. I love you so.

32 comments June 27th, 2010

True Companion

I … LIKE, WHOA. I don’t even know what to say here, except that you all shocked, terrified and amused the shit out of me with your wild tales of staggering, mind-bending rudeness. I mean, WHOA.

HOLEE CRAZYPANTS.

I’ve read every single one of them at least three times and … WHOA. But also, so unbelievably amusing. I mean, what else do you DO when people are that incredible? You laugh at them. There is no other choice.

I also felt a little guilty that there became these dueling stories of kid weddings vs. no-kid weddings, and people feeling defensive about their kid-free weddings, and others being all, “I BRING MY KID EVERYWHERE,” and … whoops. Sorry, folks.

If I may offer a blanket soother on that issue, as well as some totally unsolicited opinions, because this comes up all the time! All the time! First of all, allow me to give my opinion on weddings in general, and I apologize in advance if anyone finds this offensive, it just is what it is:

I definitely think it’s your day, as the bride and groom. I do. I think you have the right to have the wedding of your dreams and do what you want to do, no matter what that entails. You’re the ones getting married, and your memories of this day will be more important than anyone else’s.

HOWEVAH. There are limits. You’re also hosting a party. Yes, it’s your day, but you are also HOSTS. The only way to truly make it all about you is to go off by yourselves somewhere ALL ALONE and do precisely what you want to do, because the only other people who are there are the ones you are paying to be there, and if that means you get to strip down to a blue bikini and scream, “I’M ON A BOAT, MOTHERFUCKER!” while your groom pretends to be Andy Samberg and/or T-Pain, that’s fine.

But again: HOSTS. Contrary to popular bride belief, your guests are not thinking that this, the day of your wedding, is going to be the greatest party of their lives. It’s kind of … well, a little annoying for some (NOT ALL!). Weddings, whether we like it or not, are not everyone’s thing. Long ceremonies can be painful, though necessary, and during busy wedding season, your wedding might be the fiftieth rendition of Hava Nagila that your guests have endured. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you, or aren’t excited to see you get married. It just means … well, probably, and sadly, most people’s idea of a night out involves choosing who they sit with and eating food that THEY order specifically and … well, look! I know! I know! I’m just playing the cynical card here, friends.

The point is, everyone at that wedding is making some level of sacrifice, however small, to be there to see you get married. And … well, a little consideration is kind of nice, on both sides. Yes, you are totally allowed and even welcome to have a kid-free wedding, especially if it’s in the evening at a formal venue, and you’re planning tequila shots with the cocktail hour and a bawdy band lined up ’til the break of dawn. OF COURSE. But then, you are also not really allowed to lose your shit on the couple with kids from out of town (or even in-town) who apologetically says that they tried to get a sitter, but it wasn’t possible, and they’re very sorry they can’t make it. And being flexible — say, for a couple who REALLY can’t get a sitter because their baby is six weeks old, because, well, SIX WEEKS OLD — and making exceptions is kind of nice, too.

It doesn’t mean everyone and their mother is going to suddenly be like, WHY IS MY FOUR YEAR OLD NOT HERE? Most people with kids have brains. I hope. If they don’t, they were probably going to figure out a way to be rude assholes anyway, the kids just happened to be the issue du jour.

Likewise, if a wedding says no kids, for the love of Jesus, then couples with kids should agree that if they cannot get, or are uncomfortable with getting, a sitter, then one or both of them is going to stay home. No, no it is not okay to be like, WELL UP YOURS, I AM BRINGING MY PRESHUS BABY ANYWAY. No. No, that is not okay. Those are the rules. Would you bring your baby to a bar? No. Because babies are not allowed in bars, and you somehow deal with it.

(The example of the baby not allowed ON SITE at a RESORT WEDDING, however? Is crazytown.)

However, if, like the example mentioned above, they have a flipping NEWBORN and the couple getting married is a little clueless about how these things work (i.e., infants that tiny sleep like the dead, even with firecrackers over their heads and no, no a sitter is not possible), then MAYBE doing a VERY SNEAKY and NON-STRESSFUL explanation of the sitch at hand to someone close to the wedding MIGHT be a good idea. It all depends on the bride and groom, really, and how stressful they find the wedding planning, and how much your situation MIGHT impact them.

I am very laid-back, and didn’t mind most questions around my wedding. Some people are not like this. This is okay. Common sense and general personality assessment is sort of required here.

Here’s something else I firmly believe, and cannot be dissuaded from: Your wedding is not all about you. At all. I get physically ill when I hear brides (and grooms) talk about how this day is ALL THEIRS and they’re doing to do whatever they want, everyone else be damned! You think this day isn’t a huge HUGE deal to your parents? Your grandparents, if they’re still alive? Your siblings? Your nearest and dearest? It’s a HUGE deal. HUGE. HUGE. HUGE. It’s a big day for them. They raised you; they watched you grow up; they love you so much it hurts. They worry about you. They want you to be happy.

You are here, in part, because of many of them. And while yes, we’ve all heard the horror stories of in-laws and mothers taking control and making the day all about THEM, when it’s about YOU, I … well, I think those exist, sure (WAGON AND KIDS, AISLE). But I also think too often, brides and grooms get caught up in the ME ME ME part of the day and forget that there are other people for whom this day is, to a lesser extent, important.

As a parent, my daughter’s wedding day is going to be a VERY BIG DEAL TO ME. I know this. That’s my baby. To your parents — the good ones — you’re still their baby, and look at you! All grown up.

So, thank your parents. Include them when possible. Talk to them, and let them know that they’re important and that you love them, and appreciate them. Don’t make them feel shitty. Don’t be bratty. Don’t throw a hissy fit when your mom makes a mild suggestion–she’s probably on edge, too, because again, HER BABY IS GROWING UP AND GETTING MARRIED. COME ON.

Be a grown-up: You’re getting married!

I still worry I didn’t thank my parents enough for helping me get through my wedding and being there. On my honeymoon, I was WRACKED WITH GUILT, because all the people I loved were together, and I was on a beach in the Caribbean drinking a mai tai. So hey, Mom, Dad, Mom, Bob? If you’re reading this, thank you again. So much. For everything.

Common sense! Common courtesy! ACK! WEDDINGS!

Happy Thursday!

*Marc Cohn. The wedding song!

56 comments June 23rd, 2010

Headlights Look Like Diamonds

WE-E-ELL! I have returned after an unplanned week away. Whoops! So! Instead of updating you on the minutiae of what happened in the last week (hint: a deadline, a parental visit, and a few other busy-like things and it’s been so fun-filled that I haven’t even seen this week’s True Blood, is all I’m saying), I am going to tell you the TWO RUDEST THINGS EVER that I can’t get out of my mind and maybe YOU can share other rude things and we can all marvel together! Marvel! At the rudeness!

My mom and stepdad recently moved to a new house. Like, THREE WEEKS AGO. (Note: these are not the parents who were visiting, and yes, I have two sets of parents and I am super lucky like that, and yes, that means two moms and it is ALL VERY CONFUSING, and I’m terribly sorry about that.)

So! They moved on a Thursday, and on Saturday, they had a wedding to go to — the groom is the son of some friends of theirs from church; apparently they aren’t BFF with this couple, but they’re friendly enough, I guess. Now, a few weeks PRIOR, my mom ordered a bunch of stuff for the couple off of their registry, but in the move, it ended up in my brother’s car for, um, safekeeping I guess. I don’t even know. But the morning of the wedding, my mother realizes the gift is in his car, is too late to go find him and just decides to mail it later and … well, this doesn’t seem to be a huge deal, AM I RIGHT?

So! Wedding comes and goes, it’s the Tuesday after the wedding, and my mom locates the gift, puts it in the mail and forgets about it. UNTIL!! That afternoon, she fields a call from the mother of the groom, who says, “Tommy said it would be okay if I called you about this, and I hope you don’t mind, but he noticed that there wasn’t a gift from you at the wedding.”

ARE YOU DEAD YET. BECAUSE IT IS AT THIS POINT THAT I BELIEVE I DIED. BUT OH, IT GETS WORSE. BECAUSE SHE GOES ON TO SAY:

“And we thought maybe it was lost, so if you just want to write a new check and pop it in the mail this week, I know they would really appreciate it.”

WHICH MEANS THEY ASSUME THAT IT IS MONEY. AND THEY WANT IT. NOW. THIS IS THE MOTHER OF THE GROOM OH HOLY PANTS.

(It was, if you recall, items off of their registry.)

Now my mother, to her credit, did not tell them to stick an entire fraudulent checkbook directly into their ass, which is what I like to THINK I would have done, but in all likelihood, I’d have stammered something nice and awkward, which is precisely what my poor mother did.

COULD YOU DIE?

I hope they liked the towels and sheets she got them. AHEM.

And now we are moving on to the SECOND rude thing that involves a person I encountered again recently, and for the sake of everyone, let’s leave out how and where and who it is. But it’s an acquaintance that I will likely see somewhat regularly now that we’re all back in the same general area.

So! The first and last time I saw this person was about eight or nine years ago, and we were all recently engaged and happy times, hurrah! She was … well, kind of cold, and I felt as much of a connection with her as I would, say, Paris Hilton, but I tried! I really, really tried. One of my last (and lamest) attempts at conversation was noticing that we had the same style of engagement ring (three-stone Bostonian, whatever) and her reply was, I SHIT YOU NOT:

“Oh! It looks like we do. But mine is bigger.”

I was honestly just sort of stunned into silence, because WHO SAYS THAT? WHO SAYS THAT? It’s one thing if you think it, but please, my God, don’t say these things out loud! Shut your pie hole! Exercise restraint! AND WHAT DOES THAT MEAN, ANYWAY? That you WIN at engagement rings? That your fiance spent a few thousand dollars more? OH MY LANDS WHO CARES? WHO CARES? NO ONE CARES.

(For the record, she was as big of a douche as I remembered. Good times.)

Rude, right? Are you dead from rudeness? Now please, if you would, hit me with your worst rudeness, because I need more to stew about over here, apparently.

Happy Tuesday!

*Arcade Fire

185 comments June 21st, 2010

The Winner Takes It All

Three things, the most important of which is a winner:

1) My parents are coming to visit this weekend, and I’m super-excited, because they haven’t seen Sam since her birthday (the longest they’ve ever gone without seeing her!) and in that time, she’s transformed into a PERSON. With words and everything! Not a ton of words, but you know. She’s ONE. I love having my parents visit, because, well, I love my parents, so there’s that. They always leave before we want them to, explaining that they’ve overstayed their welcome or such nonsense, when honestly, they could stay for a MONTH and I wouldn’t be tired of it. It does make me wonder, however, if they think WE’VE stayed too long when we’re there longer than four days? And how they’re going to feel with me being there for like, a REALLY LONG TIME before BlogHer, with the end of the visit culminating with a weekend-long babysitting fest with my very active PITA daughter? WHAT SAY YOU, MOM AND DAD?

However. I just realized that their visit means that I won’t be watching the season premiere of True Blood live. HORROR. HORROR. HORROR. I mean, I’ll get over it and it’s worth it, but all of you will be watching Eric naked (I HEAR HE IS NAKED IN THE FIRST EPISODE) and I’ll be totally unaware.

2) We have a winnah! Well, TWO winnahs! (More on that below.) But if you didn’t win, and this, sadly, is most of you, the book is available lots of places! And today, I was on their blog talking about, what else, True Blood. You can take a gander at a sample of my essay, too.

3) Winnahs! So I did the Random Number Generator thing, and I couldn’t figure out how to get it to show up here, and while I sort of suck and I’m so sorry about that, PLEASE know that I am telling the truth here. In fact, I’ll tell you that the first time I ran the numbers, my own comment showed up and … well, I don’t need to win my own book. And the winners are … #9 and #50. So Terri and Wendy, hit me up with your addresses, and books will be heading your way directly from our friends at Smart Pop!

Have a great weekend!

*Abba

16 comments June 10th, 2010

New World in my View

Kibbles and bits, per usual, but this time with a giveaway! Of a book that I contributed to! Go team! Well, not really on the team part. But on the dinner part? Yes, GO TEAM!

1) The other day, I tasted Sam’s (white) grape juice and thought it tasted a little off. I wrote it off initially, because my allergies are HORRENDOUS right now, and this plus a recent cold means I’ve been stuffy/sickly for weeks on end. No, literally: WEEKS. Anyway, I gave it another taste this morning and, um, no. It was actually teetering towards flat-out rotten, and I’m fairly shocked she hasn’t been wasted, because that shit HAD to be well on its way to wine.

2) The June book for The Book Lushes is The Red Tent, and I’ve literally put off reading this bad boy for TEN YEARS. It’s … interesting. I’m enjoying, but not loving, it. Mostly, and you best believe I’ll be discussing this in the forums, I’m irritated by the writing style, but I can’t put my finger on why.

Also irritating? The fact that Diamant has to remind us somewhere in the range of every ten seconds that men and boys used to get it on with sheep and goats in the fields. Yes, Anita, we get it. I was shocked the first time, annoyed the second, and FULL-ON ROLLING MY EYES by the third. What a shame Christianity has already been sent up too many times, otherwise you’d have the next Satanic Verses on your hands! Or not.

The real point of this is that if you aren’t a member, you should be. Honestly, all the books we’ve picked have been good, if not great, and I’m really, really glad I read them, even if I didn’t like them. It made for a richer experience, too, to know that dozens, if not hundreds, of others were reading it at the same time. You can join and discuss at any time — although it is well into June, I haven’t fully formed my opinion on Olive yet, so that discussion is still happening.

(For those not playing along, the books thus far have been The Help, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Year of Magical Thinking, Olive Kitteridge and now, The Red Tent)

3) Dinner. OH DINNER. You guys! YOU GUYS. SUCCESS. We’re on Day Three of awesome fast dinners — the sausage pasta was a huge hit, as I mentioned, and since then, I’ve done two more meals that rocked and were fast and easy.

First, I made a Mexican rice mish-mash with lean ground meat of your choice (I used beef, but I would totally use ground turkey, chicken or buffalo), browned and then mixed with veggies of your choice (I used TJ’s fire-roasted corn and bell pepper mix, both frozen) and then mixed with rice (um, again, TJ’s chimichurri frozen rice mix — SO GOOD). I threw some taco seasoning on top of it all (cumin, chili powder, coriander, etc. or you can use a pre-mix) and stirred some low-fat cheese and salsa in and VOILA! Mexican mix! We ate this in either taco or burrito shells with light sour cream and jalapenos. So good. So fast — like, ten minutes, TOPS.

Tuesday, we had Greek cous cous and also, DELICIOUS. I used nap time to roast some veggies (onions and red peppers at 425 for 20 minutes), then boiled up some Israeli cous cous and mixed with the veggies and some pre-cooked grilled chicken (I love you, Trader Joe’s!). I made a quick Greek dressing with lemon juice, olive oil, lots of oregano, salt, pepper and feta and threw it on top, plus a little extra crumbled feta on each serving and again, dude, VOILA. I finished it all in a half-hour, and just heated it up a bit at dinnertime. The whole shebang was over and done with by 7 p.m. (Adam got home super-early.)

I feel like I’m winning some kind of BATTLE up in here. For the record, Sam ate the cous cous, but not the Mexican rice. Again, I made it a little too spicy for her delicate little tongue. Adam loved it, but requested that next time I make it with the tiny regular cous cous, as the Israeli version reminded him of spider eggs. However, he’s still gnawing on some leftovers as I type this, so whatever. Awesome.

4) This won’t make sense to many people, but longtime reader Suki? I owe you a thank you. For Kate, you know. And congratulations on your pregnancy! I think about you all the time! (See? This is how I draw you out.)

5) Speaking of books, here we go! A Taste of True Blood is coming out on June 21 and I’ve got two copies to give away. Honestly, my chapter aside, there’s some crazy-ass analysis up in this thing, and it includes pieces by writers who are much smarter and more thoughtful than me. (My chapter is about how Bill Compton used to be hot, but now he’s … well, not. I never said I was an intellectual, okay?)

So! I’ll pick a winner at random, but I realize that some of you might not be into this, so if you want to comment AND you want to be entered, just write BOOK ME! somewhere in the comment, and I’ll include you in the, um, drawing. Which will happen electronically using one of those random generator things, which means that no one of the younger generations will even know what a drawing is.

I’ll be closing comments Thursday at 5 p.m. EST, and announcing a winner sometime Friday. Woot.

(Sadly, residents of the United States and Canada are the only ones who are eligible. Sorry, international friends!)

Happy trails! Happy Wednesday!

*KIng Britt and Sister Gertrude Morgan, from the True Blood soundtrack.

56 comments June 8th, 2010

Pieces of What

Let’s see, let’s see … let’s do quick takes, shall we? Because it’s all just bouncing around my head up in here, and there are so! many! things! I want to talk about, none of which are particularly interesting or post-worthy. How’s that for a fun set up?

1) I can’t believe I’m the mom who takes her 15-month-old to, um, gym class, but there you go. The truth is, I do kind of hate myself when I’m sitting in a circle singing some inane song about CIRCLE TIME! WITH FRIENDS! but dude, it’s with Megan & Lila (love!), it’s out of the house at the PERFECT time of the morning, and it’s cheaper than spending my life savings on cheap jewelry I’ll never wear at Target. And she’s faceplant-caliber exhausted after class (HA HA CLASS, like they learn anything), which is worth every penny right there, although honest to God, I feel SO RIDICULOUS when I’m cheering as my wee child is careening down a makeshift zipline in a plastic swing. Yes, that’s right, a zipline. I don’t know, either.

(A ZIPLINE)

(It was kind of awesome.)

2) At said gym, the one thing that makes me NUTSO is that they never refer to the moms by their names, nor do they even ASK WHAT OUR NAMES ARE. There’s this singsongy introduction, and we all share our kids’ names, but since the age group only goes to 22 months, aren’t … well, aren’t the moms more important? For God’s sake, this is really about US, let’s be honest. It’s OUR sanity on the line here, not the babies’.

We had some shifting of our gym days, and when they called to confirm, they were sure to point out to me that “Lila’s mom” agreed to the other day as well. And though obviously I know Lila’s mom, I was like, WHO? WHO IS THAT? And when they told Lila’s mom that they were switching, they said they were going to talk to “Samantha’s mom,” too, and I’m like, GYM LADIES. MEGAN AND I HAVE NAMES. OR SHOULD I JUST CALL YOU GYM LADY?

3) I do believe that I have finally, and for real this time, given up on Grey’s Anatomy. I didn’t see the season finale, nor did I TiVo it, and after hearing of the horror of horrors and what a totally stressful scene it was, I’m just like, really? Really, Shonda? I’m done. I don’t care about Mer, Der, Christina, Owen, Teddy or whoever the eff the next stupidly-named doctor who joins the scene is. I don’t care. I’m finished with you! FINISHED! FINISHED.

4) I am also all set with bathing my child. ALL SET, PLEASE. AND THANK YOU. We’re going through what is very clearly A Phase, but it is an UNPLEASANT phase, one that involves a refusal to have any water on top of her head, which means I can just barely wash it, but conditioning and combing it out? OH PLEASE. At this point, the back of her hair very clearly resembles a NEST of some sort, and isn’t that something we say to be funny? My hair looks like a rat’s nest? HA HA. Hers actually does. The back of it is all tangled and screwy and like, STUFF GETS STUCK IN IT back there. I pull lint out of it on an hourly basis, and I am not kidding, this morning I had a very frustrating moment removing the Velcro arm of a very tiny monkey. There are MONKEYS in my kid’s hair, for crying out loud. MONKEYS.

5) GUESS WHAT STARTS ON SUNDAY? Oh that’s right. TRUE BLOOD. Guess what comes out shortly? MY TRUE BLOOD BOOK. I’m giving away copies this week, so stay tuned! WHOO. Also, I’ll be writing updates throughout the season on Smart Pop’s site, so keep your eyes peeled this season. For my part, I hear that Eric has a new love interest, and while the prospect of more Naked Eric is very appealing, I am strangely possessive over Naked Eric (what?) and am really only interested in Naked Eric with Naked Sookie, even though I don’t even LIKE Sookie that much. How do you even explain this? You don’t.

I also hope Bill is eaten by wolves. Which, given the trajectory of the novels, is not entirely outside of the realm of possibility. (Oh stop, that’s not a spoiler. I only WISH he was EATEN by them.)

6) OH YOU GUYS, WITH THE DINNER SUGGESTIONS. I want to hug and kiss and love on each and every one of you. I have taken them all to deep, deep culinary heart, and have implemented a few of your ideas already. And, in fact, this week is Ground Zero for testing, and I’ll update you as we go. I should also add that explaining the many nuances of Adam’s culinary tolerances is sort of impossible, but that “saucy” does not apply to things that are supposed to have sauce, like pasta.

Ergo, tonight’s meal was pasta with sausage, peppers and onions and it was DELICIOUS, if I do say so. I picked up two links of hot Italian chicken sausage at Whole Foods, chopped it up and sauteed it with some onions and red/yellow peppers, topped off with Trader Joe’s puttanesca sauce in a jar, served over whole wheat rotini. SO GOOD. I sauteed the sausage/veggies during naptime, threw the sauce over it, and just left it on low until dinner, when I boiled the pasta and baked a take n’ bake loaf from TJ’s as accompaniment.

Not that you need any tips from me, much less the Food Douche kind, as YOU are the culinary geniuses, but I almost never make my own tomato sauce anymore, since every blasted can of tomatoes has BPA in it, and I’m also kind of freakish about which jarred sauces I’ll use, because an alarming number of sauces have HFCS in them, which, I’m sorry, what? Tomato sauce and corn syrup, what? GROSS. And also, WHY? Plus Trader Joe’s sauces are almost always delicious and superinexpensive and … oh yum. It was great, and we all ate together at 5:30. Only downside: It was a bit too spicy for Sam, as a lot of our meals are, so she had rotini with butter and cheese, plus fruit.

And yet: highly recommend. Also? Leftovers out the ying yang. WIN.

Happy Monday, y’all!

*MGMT

107 comments June 6th, 2010

99 Problems

I’m having some food problems up in here, and though they are not exciting to read about, I can’t imagine I’m the only one staring down the barrel of having no idea what the eff to make for my family, night after night, right?

Help me help you! Or rather, help me and I will TRY to help you in the comments, maybe?

1) Dinner. Oh, dinner. Dinner is a problem, and it didn’t used to be. When Adam worked close to home, he came home around, say … 6? I think? Sometimes earlier. Early enough, though that he would hang with Sam while I prepared and/or finalized dinner, after which, depending on the time, we would all eat together, or put Sam to bed and then the two of us would eat.

Now? Oh now. I don’t even know what changed, but now I’m on my own until Adam gets home — usually around 7, at the earliest — and I don’t know what it is, I CANNOT PREPARE DINNER WITH THE CHILD UP IN MY GRILL. It’s the witching hour, and she eats her dinner at 5:30, after which I get maybe fifteen minutes of calm time before she’s starting to fade and then, OH THEN, there is the full meltdown mode and she needs my FULL ATTENTION. Also, she seems to never be wearing pants at this time, I don’t know why. So there is pantsless yelling, and the dog needs to go out and then it’s bathtime and then bedtime and then, BAM! It’s 7:30, and I haven’t even started dinner yet, and by the time I finish it and we eat, it’s EIGHT THIRTY and then there’s clean-up and the whole evening is gone and … yeah, it’s 9:30, and our big accomplishment is eating dinner. That’s not really enjoyable for either of us.

This is also why I am behind on television, the internet, and my email and general correspondence with non-playdate human beings (although Jesus MJ, thank GOD for them). I miss my friends. I miss my Kate. My Meredith. For God’s sake, I haven’t even TALKED to Meg since I’ve BEEN HERE. And my mother! I don’t even want to tell you the last time I’ve talked to my MOTHER! I’ve been too busy … making dinner? EH?

So … what do I do? I really work to eat healthy in the evenings, so make-ahead casseroles aren’t really my thing on a regular basis. Adam hates pulled meat of any kind, not to mention anything “saucy” (hold me, he’s picky), so most Crock-Pot recipes are out. Usually we eat a grilled meat of some sort, roasted veggies and a salad or other easy side dish. But grilled meats aren’t that awesome reheated, so making them ahead kind of sucks and OH I AM JUST TALKING MYSELF INTO A CORNER HERE. Can anyone help me? What do you do for dinner? AUGH.

Because I tell you, what we’re doing now, isn’t working. At all. We’re exhausted, and up to our arms in dishpan hands by 9 p.m. and looking at each other going, really? This is what we’re doing with our nights? DINNER? THAT’S IT?

2) Dinner for the tiny terror. I am FRESH OUT OF TODDLER DINNER IDEAS. Uncured organic hot dogs! Whole wheat macaroni with melted cheese! Berries! Steamed carrots! Peas! Zucchini! Grilled cheese! Spaghetti with tomato sauce! Cubed cheese! THIS IS MY REPERTOIRE. And she’s so sick of it. I don’t blame her. Mind you, she eats EVERYTHING (well, except for quesadillas, which, WHO DOESN’T LIKE QUESADILLAS, KID?) so it’s not an issue of what she’ll eat/won’t eat. It’s a matter of ease and convenience and total lack of planning

Can anyone help? ANYONE, OH MY LANDS. WE’RE STARVING.

70 comments June 3rd, 2010


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