January 2010

Day 11: doesn't look like much, but it sure is tasty

File under: Image del día | recipe

I tried out a new recipe tonight, and I loved it so much I had to share.

It's a recipe for huevos rancheros verdes. Anything with cilantro + lime + tomatillo salsa is good in my book.


Day 10: embracing the cold

File under: Image del día | zoo

It was very sunny today, and the temperature hit a balmy 28 degrees. We still have lots of snow on the ground, so did we go sledding? No. Did we build a snowman in the yard? No. We went to the zoo! We love going to the zoo during the winter. First of all, it suits my frugal sensibilities. We have a year-long membership, and it's my right - nay, my duty - to go there even when there are freezing temperatures. Second, it suites my misanthropic sensibilities. The zoo is way more fun when you can enjoy the animals without all of those annoying people annoying you. I really do love going to the zoo in the winter. I highly recommend it.

Here are two of the least annoying people I know.

In the cougar area of our zoo, there is a tunnel that leads to an area with a look-out, so you can get a better look at the cougars. The tunnel is really for kids, not for women (like me) who are old enough to be "cougars," but I have always sort of wanted to go in. But, again, there are usually a bunch of people around. Greta and I went in today, and, ironically, the cougars weren't in there (too cold), but it was fun nonetheless. Pat documented it, since I'm sure I'll never go in there again.

One of my favorite areas of our zoo is the aviary. There is a type of bird that we love called a guineafowl. Pat calls them "chickadillos" because he thinks they look like a cross between a chicken and an armadillo. One let me get some close-ups.

I wouldn't want to get on this guy's bad side. Look at that horn!

I didn't want the animals to get all of the attention. Here's some decrepit-looking plant life.


Day 9: uncle!

File under: Image del día

It will not stop snowing. At least today it warmed up a little so some melted. Even though I am completely annoyed by it, I took some pictures in our yard.

It's a conifer, as Greta would say. (Thank you day care for that one.)

This tree is technically in our next-door neighbor's yard. Purdy.


Day 8: tea that's made out of fancy

File under: Image del día

After we put Greta to bed, we got all wild and busted out the fancy Teaposy tea and tea pot. Pat took the pictures this time.

It's always amazing to me how it looks when you take it out of the package.

Ground control to Major Tom.

Paitently awaiting hot water.



Day 7: the elusive 41-legged ladybug

File under: greta | Image del día

At some point during the last month or so, Greta's drawings went from blobs and scribbles that resemble nothing to blobs and scribbles that resemble something. Multiple pieces of artwork come home from day care a day, and for years I have tiptoed lightly, coming up with creative ways to politely ask what something is supposed to be, trying to avoid hurt feelings or squelching my only child's artistic endeavors. But recently, I can proudly exclaim, "Oh, a snowman!" or "What a great [hairy] ladybug!" Sometimes the faces she draws have such pointy heads they look like Klansmen, but I'm sure it's just a phase. Anyway, I'm very proud of her recent artistic improvements, and I wanted to share a good example.

Check it.

Greta's artwork is almost Maddox worthy now.


Day 6: germ-a-sketch

I have a love-hate relationship with the library. I love reading books without having to pay for them, but I hate touching things that gross people probably brought into the bathroom. My frugality reins over my germophobia, though, so I get most of the books I read from the library. We've been reading some older books for book club, and those are especially skanky. This past month for book club we read Play it as it Lays by Joan Didion, which was published in 1970. The copy I got from the library had the old-school stamps in it dating back to 1977 and 30-some years of people's notes and highlighting and doodles...and germs.

I found it sort of ironic that there was a big ol' kid doodle on a page that had an F bomb on it. I call this page doodlebomb.

I usually can't fall asleep unless I read for a while, and I also can't fall asleep with the thought of germs all over my hands, so I usually have to jump up and wash my hands before I actually go to sleep. That is annoying; the icing on the cake is that this book sort of sucked.

Pat was just telling me they have some pages of a Gutenberg Bible in their rare books collection at work (and supposedly some book from 3,000 BC, but I am skeptical). How many potty germs do you think are on those?

Sorry, Barbara, there is no trivia question in this post. :)


Day 5: oh dear

Guess what Pat Reed just bought?

Pat and Fran Photo booth


Day 4: the coolest table in the nerd set

For a Christmas / housewarming gift, my best friend from high school, Taryn, gave me a very noteworthy gift. She finished a tall end table and took pages from one of our favorite books from high school, and with all of her crafting powers, she affixed the pages to the table. (The binding on her first copy of the much-loved book came undone, which worked out for me.) I often find myself staring at it for unusually long amounts of time. It's a really great table. It is going to look really nice in our reading nook, once I convince Pat the turret portion our bedroom should in fact be a reading nook instead of a guitar collection nook.

Isn't it beautiful?

I love it so much. Anyone who can name the book (without cheating) deserves a pat on the brain.


Day 3: snow and gastroenteritis

Damn. I knew this year was going too well. Moments after publishing yesterday's blog, I heard a cry from Greta that was unmistakable: the cry that takes place about 10 seconds before she's going to throw up. You parents probably know what I'm talking about, or at least recognize the I'm-lonely or I'm-feeling-needy cries from the I'm-feeling-distressed cries. So, we spent a lot of the night consoling Greta, cleaning up, and attempting to fit in as much sleep as possible. It was a very unpleasant night. I will tell you that trifle is pretty going in, but coming up is another story. Today, Greta is just tired and cranky, and I don't know about Pat, but I am overanalyzing every tummy rumble. Oh, and it is snowing like crazy. I took some pictures first thing this morning. We have accumulated quite a bit since then, but I think I would be crazy to leave my nice, warm house just to prove that it snows a lot here. Most people know that already.

Because it would be wrong to photodocument the vomit part of the night/day, you get snow pictures. (I love our house.)

These are my cute, sensible polka dot boots.

It is very rare for us to not leave the house at some point during a day. Very, very rare. But with the silly amount of snow and Greta's sketchy stomach, there was basically no way we were leaving the house today. Greta was bummed and kept asking if we could go someplace fun. She did rule out going to a couple places and at some point even said, "We can't go to the museum because they know I'm sick and because it's closed because it's too cold." Yes, something like that. I like that she thinks the museum knows which of its members are sick.

While I'm not Catholic and not really even religious, I have no qualms about busting out the Saint Anthony prayer when I've lost something. (For those of you who didn't have a Catholic grandmother teach you the Saint Anthony prayer, here's a similar version.) I would stop using it, but it works every time. Does anyone know if there is a saint you can pray to who keeps stomach bugs away? Holy crap, I just found this and this and, wow, this.


Day 2: desserts that will make you want to ditch your resolutions

File under: birthday | Image del día


Tomorrow is my dad's birthday, and we got together today to celebrate. I ended up making two desserts: tapioca pudding and trifle. My dad's favorite dessert is tapioca pudding, but that is not necessarily a crowd pleaser - at least not with most of my family. (I inherited the tapioca-loving gene, though, and Pat likes it as well.) I have made tapioca pudding a few times before with disappointing results, which is indeed disappointing when you spend 45 minutes straight stirring something over a hot stove. Anyway, I tried a new tapioca pudding recipe yesterday from 101 Cookbooks, and it is a winner. So totally worth the effort. And thanks to modern technology, I watched a couple short movies on my laptop, which made the 45 minutes of stirring go by in a flash. It also helps that the novelty of cooking with our new-to-me Wolf oven/range has not lost its novelty.

Not that it's all that much to look at, but here is tapioca perfection in a glass.

Speaking of which, hey Internet peoples, do any of you know what type of glass this is? My grandma gave me a set of 8 of them, and I lost the note she gave me telling me what they are. They're small; they hold about 4 ounces. Juice glass? Cordial glass? I don't know my glassware.

Back to the trifle. For this one I have a tried-and-true recipe that I modified from my Aunt Marianne's original recipe. Hers is homemade pound cake, homemade custard, homemade whipped cream, raspberries, Mandarin oranges, sliced almonds, and sometimes wine, depending on the audience. I make a little lighter version and also cut some corners. I use store-bought angel food cake (which is a huge bastardization of trifle - I know - but I just find the pound cake to be too heavy, personally), custard from a mix (shame on me), homemade whipped cream, raspberries, Mandarin oranges, sliced almonds, and I never ever, ever, EVER let any extra liquid near it. I can't get into soggifying the cake. Soggy is bad.

Lemme know if you want the recipe (the proper one or my little bastard recipe).


Happy Jan 2, peoples.