Wednesday, February 27, 2008

"S'more Please!!"

So aging has its privileges. Tonite, for example, my girlfriend wunderfoodie Becca brought me the most delicious cake. It's a giant s'more. We've camped together so knows what a s'more snob I am. How I use dark chocolate and have to get it melty before I'll put on the mallow and top graham cracker. So when she found a recipe for a s'more cake in one of her fancy pants cook books, she thought of me. It starts with a sponge cake that she made out of graham flour. Then chocolate ganache. Then you MAKE your own marshmallow using beakers and thermometers and magic wands, roll them together and shave chocolate on top. It was to die for. Or at least worth turning 40 for.

Bea, on the other hand, is happy to eat snow.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

39 and Holding...

It's 11pm and I have one more hour of being in my thirties... I attended the Temple today and when I got into the dressing room, the lockers in my area were numbers 39-44. I hesitated, then reached for the key to 39 thinking, why not symbolically claim my youth for one more day. But the key held fast and wouldn't budge. I yanked harder and the metal door rattled but stayed shut. I sighed as I easily opened #40 and thought, "I guess that door is closed to me forever!"

How will I celebrate? My dear friend Lindy is throwing me a party that is making my wedding look like a PTA meeting. I can't even stand how beautiful the invitations are and these aren't even the "nice ones" Lindy wanted originally but made me hyperventilate just thinking about. Despite the fact that my family masqueraded as upper middle class living in a gated community, I have some mighty strong white trash roots. I honestly have several cousins who work in the "circus industry" (can you say "carnie?") and half my furniture was snatched from the jaws of the garbage truck. So while I like "fancy" stuff (like glitter hot glue gunned onto flip flops), "formal" makes me really nervous. Other friends have offered to help with food. Some of which were summarily dismissed when Lindy deemed their fare sub par. I really feel like I'll be Cinderella going to the ball on Saturday. So to maintain some balance and keep myself from being even more self aggrandizing about this milestone, I am making sure my actual birthday is low key. The highlight of the day will be going to McDonald's with a few girlfriends. Nothing says 40 like a Big Mac.

So here's a picture I've wanted to share of Denise & I at Dave B.'s 40th birthday party. Yes, it was 80's theme. I am so old that now my teen years are being recycled by tacky stores like Claire's. We had to work so hard to come by gloves like these, cutting off the fingers, sewing on lace, pegging our 501's by hand. And now you can look like Bananarama just by walking into the mall...wereas I had to walk uphill both ways to a thrift store to look this tacky back in '84...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Bea-el-zabub & Hell-oise

Warning: Do not be fooled by these cute little faces. These two toddlers are spawn of Lucifer. While Steph & Jeff are moving in to their place in McJersey, I am mom to 6. Now CeCe was billed to me as the "special" one, the fragile little flower who would miss her mommy and daddy so much that I'd spend my days consoling her. Not on your life. CeCe is a gem. It's double trouble who are making my life insane. While one is attempting to break the DVDs, the other is shimmying under the security gate to raid the ointment shoe box in the back of a drawer. I came into Bea's room to find Ouisie sucking down Desiten with lidless tubes of Neosporin, Monistat, and A&D smeared across the carpet. We've had dancing on nightstands, bags of chips empied, crushed and sprinkled everywhere. I cannot let either of them out of my sight. Uh-oh. I hear a crash.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Crying over spilt milk

I took Jonah to the orthodontist this week and had this panoramic x-ray taken. The glasses cracked us up. You can see all the teeth vying for space, so he will follow his mother's path of having teeth pulled and then wearing braces. There are worse things.

There are a few things I keep meaning to write about but keep forgetting. We got home from our trip Friday nite and when we entered our bedroom, both Dave and I were hit by a wall of stench. Let me brag for a moment and say I inherited my mother's acute olfactory system. So if meat is within 12 hours of going bad, I can smell it. If a mouse dies in the wall, I smell it (even when nobody else does for days). When Dave was camping/consulting and came home complaining that his tent had turned moldy, I took one whiff and knew that a feral cat had sprayed it. So I was going crazy in our room, knowing that that something organic was rotting but not knowing what or more importantly, WHERE.

For 3 days, Dave and I hunted all over for a rogue diaper, a rotten hunk of food, a mildewing item. You may be wondering how something so vile can go undiscovered in a bedroom. In our defense, I have to say that the since Dave's sister and kids have been staying with us, Georgia & Millie are sharing our room and there are baskets with their clothes, sleeping bags and blankets, Barbies and ponies and giant box-forts all over, making it really hard to search. But then I moved the swingball set (our room is the same size as the two car garage it's over) and there was a crunchy patch under it. As I leaned down towards it, I swear the vapors singed my eyebrows. Clearly a huge glass of milk was spilled and left to fester and rot. Almost a week later I am still working on this patch but it's getting better.

The highlight of the week was Tuesday nite when Stephanie, Carolyn & I painted my kitchen a lovely lovely green (Dried Parsley to be exact). We started right after America Idol and finished by 1:30. It looks so good. Now I need to do the cabinets. I'm sure they also get done late at night when the kids are asleep. Bea is obviously the hardest one to paint around, but Georgia & Millie are a close second with their, "Please can't I help paint!" and "You're right mom, it's not dry yet..."

Another item I wanted to mention was a follow up to us getting kicked out of a restaurant last month. When 3 of Dave's sisters, Suzie, Stephanie & Sarah, came out for Georgia's baptism, we went out in a big group to celebrate Suzie's birthday. Lindy made reservations for 11 at this nice place in the North End for Saturday nite. Then they call Lindy to confirm, which she does. And then they call again to confirm, and Lindy was a little annoyed, having to play phone tag about a reservation that was never in question. So was testy on the phone. Whatever. We show up that night, 10 minutes late because the place no longer provides valet and we had to hunt for parking. The chef storms up to Lindy, pointing violently at his watch, and lights into her for being late, for giving the hostess "attitude" on the phone, blah blah blah. Basically, he makes such a fuss that we have to leave. Jeff was awesome though. As we are walking past the open kitchen within earshot of the chef and sous chefs, he makes some comment about getting on to "Chow Hounds" which is a website for reviewing restaurants. Every one of their heads popped up and they had such anxious faces... Ever resourceful, Lindy found another place around the corner that could seat us immediately and was really good (though Lindy hated their olive oil--as she was telling this to the waiter I was so panicky, afraid we'd have to leave a second restaurant in one night). In high school I was kicked out of Denny's, and 5 years ago Jen T. & I were kicked out of McDonalds. I guess I'm moving up in the world.

Fast forward to this week. Lindy finds the name of the owner of Monica's, George something, and calls to chat with him about "the incident." She launches in, telling him about the multiple resersvation confirmation stuff, being late due to change in valet service, the "maniac chef," etc. etc. It takes about 10 minutes, and George listens patiently before saying, "You know, I'm not just the owner. I am the 'maniac chef' too." He apologized and told her to come back in and ask for him to get special service. I'd be scared he'd hawk a loogie in my linguini, but that's just me.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Reefer Madness

Puerto Rico is amazing. We spent the better part of the day snorkeling. We are a few minutes walk from a great spot. The giant reef is right off the beach; you wade in a few feet and it just drops. I can't describe all the fish. I felt like I was in Nemo.

So to fully appreciate the picture below, I need to give the back story on our niece Eloise (aka "Ousie"). She's not quite 2, but has been talking up a storm for ages. It freaks people out, how articulate she is. Over Christmas she sang "Silver Bells" and does this whole, little miss pageant both arms over the head, slowly lowered as she croons, "Dressed in Haaahhhh-li-day style." So when she was just a year, her mom Stephanie drove past a party store and as soon as Ousise saw the sign, she shouted, "Party City!" The next time they were out they went past another party store and she (correctly) called out "Party Depot!" (This should tell you more about Stephanie's party fixation than Eloise's precociousness) So when we're with Ouisie, every few hours we say "Party City" to which she replies, "Party Depot." Even Bea has gotten in on the "duck season/wabbit season" call and response. So back to Rincon. Today as we were out driving Dave slammed on the brakes and made us go take a picture of this hilarious store. To which I replied, "Condom Depot!"

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I Deserve a Break Today

I feel used and betrayed by one of most central institutions in my life. No, not the Mormon Church (though I do resent both the early & late meeting times). Another institution that, like the LDS Church, is meant to be the same everywhere. Today I got hosed by McDonalds. McScrewed if you will. We are on vacation in Puerto Rico and Dave said he'd go get me my favorite breakfast, an egg McMuffin. I love egg McMuffins. I practically have a testimony of them. I have seriously considered moving to Hong Kong because there, they serve them all day long. I remember my first egg McMuffin. It was the early 70s and my sister and I must have seen an ad on tv announcing the arrival of this culinary genius. So my mom took us to McDonalds in Tarzana, CA the very first Saturday they were served. And I've never looked back. Their magical blend of Canadian Bacon, English muffin and American cheese is a trifecta of all that is right with the English speaking world. While in the early morning sickness stage of pregnancy I learned that the rich protein of egg meat and cheese eaten early enough in the day would stave off puking. Last week, 4 of us entered a McDonalds at 10:29, all hankering for a McMuffin and there were only 3 left. These are some of my dearest sisters in the world, and still, I could not be a good sport and take a sausage bisquit or some other pale substitute.

And then today, Dave gives me this, THING. The meat was the scary luncheon variety that is ribboned with fat and has a rainbow sheen. And, hello, English muffin? Try buns as big as J.Lo's. I couldn't even finish it.

On the bright side, we are in a magical place called Rincon. It's on the far west of the island and is known for it's gorgeous beaches and the good surfing.(today a surfer informed us her favorite waves were usually at "Hobo Beach.") Having grown up around LA, Rincon feels a lot like the Canyons that shoot off the Pacific Coast Highway. It is a weird blend of farmers and surfers and hippies. Unlike the other parts of P.R. I've seen (admittedly, not much) there doesn't feel like a great divide between the have and have nots. I looked this up in the Lonely Planet and they agree.

Too bad I had another dining misadventure. We picked a total locals only place as we had really good luck in Old San Juan with the lunch counters, etc. I don't know what made me queasier, that "Evelyn" as she introduced herself to us, pulled the meat out of tupperware that had clearly been sitting outside in the sun all day, or that she pet the neighborhood stray dog while grilling said meat, or that she used so much raw garlic that it scorched my nostrils, or that she had on a mesh tank top with moles, for real, poking out of some of the holes in the fabric. Mole holes. But being the people pleaser I am, I ate that horrid khabab and said I liked it. Now that I think about it, I ate more of my vile dinner than I did my McBreakfast. Happily, we found another little place that sold amazing fruity drinks and yummy rice and beans. Alls well that ends well.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Georgia's Baptism

Our little Georgia was baptized today. She was so excited--to get baptized, to have so many friends and family in attendance, to NOT have a fever. Dave & Dava spoke; Diane played the piano; Lisa, Jen, Carolyn, Bekka, Becca, & Dava sang; friends did food; and the slide-show I have been working on since December was super sweet. Georgia, who normally hates being the center of attention, just beamed. Dave summed it all up well when he said, "Any day I get to wear a jumpsuit is a good day."

Bea's favorite part was riding the trash cans. Yes, we are hobos.

Now we are frantically shifting gears as we take off for Puerto Rico tomorrow morning. (We lured Dava here on the pretense of Georgia's baptism, convinced her to "stay on for a while" and then planned our escape...)