Cementing our relationship

QUICKIE: I left the hand doctor’s office this morning with a sheet of paper prescribing “NUCLEAR MEDICINE.”  Does this sound like a really bad idea to anyone else?


I broke another bowl this weekend.  I don’t know what it is about me and bowls, but we bought a new set of dishes last year and now have 16 plates, 15 mugs, and 5 bowls.  Kevin cheerfully noted that I neither swore nor spell-swore nor finger-spell-swore this time.  I guess it’s because the loss of a bowl was softened by the fact that my kitchen was going to get vacuumed—an event that only occurs pretty much when I break a bowl.  Hence, the age-old question of the chicken and the egg remains unanswered.


Yesterday Kevin laid a fence post in our backyard and set it in cement.  I helped him do it, which makes it even more mind baffling that 15 minutes later, I set up the sprinkler to water that exact spot.  There was a time in our relationship when Kevin thought those things I did were kind of cute.  He didn’t think it was cute yesterday.  He did hold in his real feelings though, which was fortunate for him because 15 minutes later, he elbow-jabbed a picture ledge in the hallway and knocked 20 framed pictures down a set of stairs.  I watched the pictures fall with a sweet, not-malicious-at-all smile on my face.


We ate at a friends’ house with their four children last night, and I spent the evening swooning at the crazy chaos of it all.  Kevin spent most of it blanching.  I think it went pretty well, except when I had the great idea to place a slingshot target atop the playhouse that the other kids were playing in.  Oh, and except when, during an Angelina Jolie moment, I grabbed two big squirtguns and nailed a second grader in the face with a powerful blast of water.  Fortunately her brother got blamed, and farbeit from me to intercede in sibling rivalry.  Wink  In the two hours we were there, Vincenzo learned how to eat a hot dog without biting it once; how to climb a 10-foot ladder going up to nothing; and how to hurl various objects at lawn gnomes and smaller children.  We measured Vincenzo’s eyes when he got home.  Yup; definitely bigger.


BBQ Chicken & Grape Salad
Summer Squash with Parmesan

Another slice of Beto pie

QUICKIE:  The other day I told Vincenzo we’d eat outside on the picnic table.  This is how he interpreted.
Yesterday morning we were getting ready to go to the Microsoft Company Picnic.  Vincenzo wouldn’t stop twirling in circles as I sunblocked him.  I think I sunblocked one leg three times and the other not at all.  Then Dad called with sad news that the family cat died (RIP Baby Girl), and as I was empathizing, Vincenzo decided to try going potty standing up for the first time.  And without taking his undies off (not a first time for that one).   I kept forgetting to switch my tone from empathetic when talking to Dad to chastising when talking to Vincenzo. 
“I’m so sorry, Dad.  I know how important she—VINCENZO!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! –WAS, excuse me, was to you.  Is everyone—STOP IT!  HOLD IT IN!  STOP—OKAY  I mean okay??  Did Baby Girl—WHO TAUGHT YOU TO DO THAT?—go peacefully?—NOOOOO!  NOT ON MY STEVE MADDENS… ”  Of course, potty defied gravity and soaked the Very Cute Shirt I had put Vincenzo in for the photo-packed day.  I considered changing it to something Much Less Cute but Much More Clean, then decided that whilst thine shirt smells like potty, thine photos never will.
We drove half an hour to the picnic and were greeted by gay clowns (like, really, I mean gay), gigantic basketballs/hoops, pony rides, bungee jumping, and 8 forms of golfing.  Vincenzo poo-poo’d all that and parked himself in the sandbox much like the sandbox 5 minutes from our house where he played for an hour with this expression on his face:
His friend Abby showed up, which was confusing for everyone because Vincenzo had been pretending to be Abby all morning.  “Hai, I’m Abby,” he kept saying.  They shared a mutual, slightly-too-long kiss on the lips as we’ve been trying to stop them from doing for a year now.  Then Abby had to go use the “ladies room” (let’s just call a honeybucket a honeybucket around here) and we snuck away, causing much flailing and rending of clothes on the way out.
I looked back on a sleeping Vincenzo in the car, sand glued to his face a la ice cream, potty stain slightly visible on blue shirt, boogie dried below his nose… and I noticed that neither leg was sunburned.  *Grin*  Let’s toss this day into the success pile.
BTW, thanks for the camera cord, dear!
Love, your Huggy Bear
BBQ at friends’.  S’mores et al!

If wishes were horses…

QUICKIE: Ever since we left Vincenzo with his aunt and instructions to fill his food bowl when she felt like it, he wants to be fed like all the time now.  It’s so annoying.


1.  “I promise I won’t call you ‘Huggy Bear’ ever, ever again.”
2. “I’d love to massage your feet while watching all the Gossip Girl reruns with you.”
3. “Look, I bought you the camera cord after the FIRST TIME you mentioned you needed it on your blog!”  [consider it mentioned, dear]
4. “Hey, honey.  Microsoft is relocating us all to SWITZERLAND for the entire year!”
5. “Your job is SO hard.  I’m a fool for ever referring to it as a ‘permanent staycation.’”


1. Clean out the dryer lint trap so the house doesn’t light on fire
2. Get Lasik so we don’t have to buy 2 replacement pairs of glasses every year
3. Stop dinging up other people’s cars when I open my door
4. Put dirty diapers in the diaper genie instead of just next to it
5. Stop buying cinnamon massage oil that burns his skin and turns him into a gigantic, red-hot gummy bear



Cornbread Taco Bake

Salad with Candied Pecans and Apple

Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream

Bad, Karma! No!

QUICKIE: Whenever Kevin tells Vincenzo he’s going to work, V says, “Don’t forget to bring home some money!”  (Side note: “money” is interchangeable with “Slurpee.”)


Being brand new to the blogging world, I only just now started to read other people’s blogs.  I’m totally addicted to www.amalah.com and think all of you should be too.  All I want to do is hole up and read it, much like when you first met your husband and couldn’t care less about your other friends, family or boyfriend.  I’m pretty cranky about needing to take care of Vincenzo now and then who, in turn, is pretty cranky about not being taken care of as we play tug-of-war with the computer.  In fact, I’m kind of cranky about blogging right now instead of reading amala.com.  It’s kind of like a tug-of-war in my heart.  *whistful sigh*


Anyway, I’m going to take a break from ranking on Kevin to rank on myself today.  I just get so tired of some of my 100% unchangeable habits.  If I could have all the hours back I’ve spent looking for my glasses I’d probably still be in my 20s.  Early 20s.  And for all the times I lose my cell phone, it NEVER occurs to me to actually call it until Kevin gets home from work, sees the lost look on my face, and dials my number.  Undoubtedly I pull it out from under the very couch cushion I’m sitting on.


Then there are these things that happen to me that don’t happen to other people, so I’m pretty sure it’s something I’m doing and not just coincidence.  I sometimes think it’s Karma, and Karma’s got the wrong person.  The other day I put Vincenzo in the stroller to go to the park.  I grabbed the garage door opener and said aloud, “I’m not going to bring the keys this time like I ALWAYS DO because the garage door opener hasn’t failed me in years.”  Um, yeah.  We got back from our walk and of course the opener wouldn’t work so we had to call 3 of the 100 people who have keys to our house before we could get in.  It gave me enough time to form the very beginnings of a theory that the Nalgene bottle that spilled all over the stroller basket might have had something to do with it.


And today I couldn’t find my set of keys and we were late for a zoo date, so I grabbed the spare set of car keys, sans house key.  I closed the garage door from the panel and ran underneath it, thinking, It’s okay that I don’t have a house key; we’ll just use the garage door opener to get back in.  Just as the door finished closing, of course, I remembered about the whole drowning-the-garage-door-opener thing.  Fortunately, the spare garage door opener I hadn’t seen in years chose that exact moment to reappear under a mess of tennis balls and Luna bar wrappers.  Maybe Karma isn’t so bad, after all. 


Now a quick apology for oversharing in yesterday’s blog.  I guess I was hoping for an overwhelming response of, “OMG, I’ve pooped in the park too!  That’s so how it is for everyone!”  As it was, my father-in-law chose that exact day to read my blog for the first time ever.  I don’t think Christmas will ever be the same again.


Pizza and meatless things at sister’s house

What’s brown and sticky?

Quickie: I told Vincenzo to close his eyes and go to sleep and he said, “But if I close my eyes it will be dark!”


There’s this new park near our house called Carillon Woods.  It’s beautiful in every sense…except that it has no bathroom.  Knowing this, I withheld all liquids from Vincenzo’s breakfast and made him go potty like three times before we left.  You all think you know where this is heading, don’t you?  You have no idea.


No sooner had Vincenzo climbed up a ladder at the park than I realized I had to do a number two.  Like, NOW.  Not one of those, “Oh, I’ll just hold it for an hour or three” deals.  I had two options: rip Vincenzo away from the park that he had been excited for all morning or do what I would have told him to do, which would involve a big tree so conveniently growing beside the park.  I was actually in a lot of pain by the time I had considered my options so the decision kind of made itself for me.


Thanks to a cache of wet wipes and plastic bags I keep around for just such an occasion, the incident itself was rather uneventful.  Vincenzo watched from atop the play set, a goofy grin on his face, asking over and over again, “What you doing Mom?”  I’m just thankful the next minivan didn’t show up until I was already on the way to the garbage with my new “brown baby” (one of Kevin’s many, many euphemisms for it), and I’m equally grateful Vincenzo wasn’t in an especially chatty mood that morning when a few kids piled out of the van.


The whole thing felt like such a non-event that it barely even occurred to me to blog it today.  I guess after three years of changing diapers and cleaning up accidents, pooping in a park behind a tree while your son watches is small potatoes.


And to answer the question in this blog’s title: a stick.  What were you thinking?




Deferring to Kevin

That’s haute!

SITSAS–Thanks for checking me out!  I just have a few people/entities I’d like to thank for getting me where I am today.  First, thank you to the Internets and all their tubes.  Thank you to my cat for not blocking those tubes today.  Thanks to my husband for letting me constantly take 40 points off his IQ in my blog posts.  And as my son prays every night, thank you for thank yous.  Oh!  And thank you Heather and Tiffany, our SITSAs House Mothers!


*Feel free to leave your web address with your comment, as I seem to be the only person in the world who doesn’t run my blog through blogger.  🙂


QUICKIE: When Kevin got home from work yesterday, Vincenzo yelled, “Take your clothes off and get in here!”


I was having a hard time deciding what was for dinner tonight so I decided to look through a few old Martha Stewarts.  I didn’t find any recipes I could make without buying shisho or salsify or other ingredients people outside of the Martha Stewart staff haven’t heard of.  Then I saw a recipe she had for dessert.  It was called “Cherries on Ice” and consisted of two ingredients that you simply put in the bowl: cherries, and ice.  I realized then that it’s not at all about what you cook but about how you market it.  I reread a few recipes, went to the fridge, and had dinner planned quicker than you can say “Vacherin with Chamomile-Poached Nectarines and Crème Fraiche.”  I will now share these valuable learnings with you.


1.  Use fancy words for regular stuff.  For example, call peaches “stone fruits” and pie crust “pate brisee.”
2. Think of a name for the dish that includes some of its ingredients and voila!  “Salad” becomes “Romaine Lettuce with Candied Pecans and Pear.”
3. Also name some of cooking methods in the title.  Instead of rice for dinner, my family could be eating Hot Steamed Arborio, for example.
4. Add extra adjectives.  Turn chocolate cake into Old Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake, or pecan pie into Texas State Fair Pecan Pie.


Now that’s haute.  And with that in mind, I bring you…


Colorful Microwaved Mid-Summer Leftovers
Hand Torn Lettuce with Drizzled Vinaigrette
Freshly Scooped Blue Ribbon Ice Cream 


And please feel free to leave your own dinner menu in the comments section!

Sew what?

QUICKIE: Quote from a friend: “I knew I would love my child, but I had no idea how much I was going to like her!
My sister is trying to teach me how to sew.  Again.  I have dreams of sewing a future daughter’s wedding dress, or outfitting a school play, or at least hemming a pair of pants for my comically short legs.  But the rate I’m going, I’ll be the mom bringing chocolate chip cookies to the school play.  Again.
My second bout of the Sew-Sews started when I saw a firefighter jacket for $35 at a store in Seattle, then later that week saw a pattern for a firefighter jacket at my friend’s house, and the idea was birthed.  That was last spring.  I borrowed the pattern and sat on it for 2 weeks.  I spent 2 weeks making various attempts to buy fabric.  2 more weeks passed pinning the pattern to the fabric.  Then I took a 2 week break because, frankly, after 6 straight weeks of working on the jacket I was exhausted.
Today Jnet came over to help me begin to actually sew.  Shortly into the lesson I had broken her sewing machine.  She fixed it.  I broke it again.  She told me she had no idea what I did to her sewing machine, so I explained that I’m real creative like that.  She managed to fix it, then returned to translating PatternSpeak for me.  For example, she knew that “baste” does not mean “to moisten occasionally with drippings,” and she also understood longer phrases like “pin bias tape to back neck edge over collar, placing crease along neckline.”  As she translated, I subtly returned my turkey baster to its drawer.
We sewed awhile longer but it was hard to get into it as I was missing my daily nap.  Fortunately, Jnet is quite perceptive and after an hour told me not to worry; we could stop there for the day and I could go lay down for a bit.  It’s hard for a 70-year-old lady such as myself to break routine.
And so the jacket remains unfinished in my basement and Vincenzo will lose another week of his childhood that could be spent doing great imaginings in his firefighter jacket.  But not to worry—he’s grown quite attached to his Build-a-Bear’s jacket in the meantime.  For any Reno 911 fans, I included a picture of Terry, to whom my child bears quite a resemblance when wearing said jacket:
Vincenzo                            Terry
I think I’ll just go bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies now.

Twice Baked Potatoes—2 Ways
Cream of Asparagus Soup
Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Water Chestnuts

It wasn’t me!

QUICKIE: I got tired of hearing Vincenzo say, “My legs are tired” when he wants to be carried so yesterday I taught him to say, “Yar!  My peg legs are tired!”  We’re both happier people now.


It seems as though there is something in our house each month that needs money thrown at it.  Kevin comes home from work and sees a wheel to the dishwasher sitting on the counter, or the cord to our blinds half as long as it was in the morning, or the vacuum hose severed from the vacuum.  He gets this look where he pushes his lips together and wrinkles his chin and asks me how on earth I broke such-and-such in this-and-that way.  Lately he’s not buying my explanations, so I thought I’d tell them to an audience who neither emotes nor talks back (even when I beg them).  Congrats—that’s you!


I’ll begin by clearing myself from last month’s flat tire.  One night I parked my car in our garage and the next morning the tire was flat as a pakepake (Vincenzo’s word for “pancake”).  Kevin sighed and asked, “What did you drive over this time?”  I just want to point out he was a little excessive in using the words “this time,” especially considering he got a flat tire himself the following day.  I answered that I hadn’t driven over anything!  The flat tire happened overnight in the garage.  His garage.  The garage that I’m often asking him to clean up because there is junk on every inch of the floor.  Okay, so the tire guys at Les Schwab may have hinted that it looked as though the tire had been run forcefully into a curb a few times, but remember that they’ve never seen Kevin’s garage.


A different day, the dishwasher stopped draining.  Kevin took it apart and found a gigantic fava bean in it, which he held up for me to see, shaking his head behind it.  He put the dishwasher back together (accidentally breaking a kitchen glass in the process) but it still didn’t work.  We call the repair guy who spent 10 minutes with the dishwasher, pulled a piece of broken glass out of the tube that Kevin had previously pulled a fava bean out of, and the dishwasher was fixed.  $200, please.


Then yesterday on my way home from my MRI, I got pulled over on the new freeway on-ramp near Evergreen.  I didn’t have my license because it was in Kevin’s wallet after our weekend in Seattle.  I also had no idea why I was pulled over.  The trooper asked, “Ma’am, any reason you were in the HOV lane today?”  I gasped, “This is an HOV lane?”  $127 later, Kevin was rubbing his forehead at home and asking me if I hadn’t maybe seen all the HOV signs that had been posted above, around and on the ramp.  Well yes, I had seen the signs, but for all the times we rode on that on-ramp together, he never once read them aloud to me.


To summarize…

New tires: $800
Dishwasher repair: $200
Traffic ticket: $127
Clearing my name from all these events: Priceless


Grilled vegetable sandwiches with goat cheese
Stone fruit salad
Spaghetti with roasted tomatoes
Strawberry Lemon Ice Cream Thing

Dangling Cysts

SITSAS–Thanks for checking me out!  I just have a few people/entities I’d like to thank for getting me where I am today.  First, thank you to the Internets and all their tubes.  Thank you to my cat for not blocking those tubes today.  Thanks to my husband for letting me constantly take 40 points off his IQ in my blog posts.  And as my son prays every night, thank you for thank yous.  Oh!  And thank you Heather and Tiffany, our SITSAs House Mothers!


*Feel free to leave your web address with your comment, as I seem to be the only person in the world who doesn’t run my blog through blogger.  🙂


QUICKIE:  During a quiet moments at Staples yesterday, Vincenzo looked up with me with his finger up his nose and yelled, “MOMMY, GET YOUR FINGER OUT OF YOUR NOSE!”


I had an MRI on my right wrist today.  To bring you up to speed, the MRI from my left wrist showed that I have some torn ligaments and a ganglion cyst (which Kevin gets great joy in calling a “dangling cyst”). 


I was kind of excited for today’s MRI, mainly because I get to wear scrubs and they make me feel about four years more educated.  The scrubs are ingeniously designed to fit anyone from size “petite woman” to “300 pound man,” and I fall somewhere on the scale.  You can imagine my disappointment, then, when Mr. MRI (Dr. MRI?) handed me only a pair of scrub pants and told me I could just wear the T-shirt I was already wearing.  I came out of the changing room feeling like a med school drop-out—one who had made it far enough to earn pants but not the shirt.


The MRI was otherwise fine.  Inside the MRI tube I made myself promise not to look at the MRI slides when I get home for fear of panicking.  As soon as I got home I took the MRI slides out and held them up to the window.  I quickly panicked.


Now, I’m not an expert.  The only MRI I’d ever seen before was a week ago when my doctor pointed to a bright white mark and called it a ganglion cyst.  As I looked up at the MRI of my right wrist and saw not one white spot but seven or eight!  Unfortunately, my doctor’s appointment is one week away I’ll have to remain in this state of panic for six more days.  That’s plenty of time for this colony of ganglion cysts to develop intelligence, organize a local government, and decide to overthrow my ligaments or something.  I can only hope that the ganglion cyst on my left wrist will work as some kind of a check-and-balance system.


Anyway, between the radial tunnel, carpal tunnel, torn ligaments, and ganglion cysts, I’m pretty sure the doctor is going to use the word “amputate” at least once in our discussion.  But here’s the bright side: without my arms, I’ll finally be within striking distance of my target body weight.  There I said it.



Layered Tuna and Pasta Salad

Homemade Buttermilk Bread

Wuv, twue wuv

QUICKIE: Today Vincenzo held up one hand to count the fingers on it. He pointed to each one and somehow got 8. The frightening thing is he didn’t even count the pinky.
Kevin and I just got back from a fabulous weekend celebrating our fifth anniversary. And while we had a marvelous time, that doesn’t mean it came without quirks.

We left a detailed note for Aunt Jeanette, who watched Vincenzo overnight. It told her to make sure Vincenzo’s food bowl was full and to keep Clyde the cat off the Internets, as he has a habit of blocking their tubes. (A little nod to my Lolcatz fans.)

As our bus pulled into downtown Seattle, we were greeted by dozens of bikers in various stages of nudity. For a minute I thought we had made a wrong turn and were in Fremont. No one seemed to have any idea why the nude bikers were in Seattle, though Kevin guessed they were protesting something. Yeah, like maybe clothes.

Then, when we went to check into our hotel, Kevin’s friend from New York *randomly* showed up with his own room key in hand. They made a big show of, “Hey, what a coincidence!” and, “What are the chances?” but when Kevin headed to the bar with his friend while I headed upstairs with our bags, it felt like a little more than just a coincidence. No worries. I found that champagne and strawberries are just as enjoyable when you eat them alone as when you eat them with your husband.

On the Pike Place food tour today, we learned that eggplants have sex (meaning gender, not the kind you were thinking), and you can identify their gender by looking at what we discreetly called their “belly buttons.” Later on the tour, an unfortunate series of events resulted in a kid eating some chips I had licked the salsa off of. His dad was the only one laughing harder than we were trying not to.

As we rode the bus home, I kept thinking how people are so much cooler in Seattle than on the Eastside. There were girls pulling off leg warmers like it was 1982; guys with earrings that formed nickel-sized holes in their ear lobes; a man earning money by solving Rubix cubes; another by claiming he was the Cat Whisperer. (FYI never mention to him how sweet his cat is to sit there all day. It seems to be the on-switch for his otherwise repressed anger.) The minute the bus crossed the Seattle-Bellevue border, everyone on the bus immediately seemed so ordinary. And it made me wonder: When people from Seattle come to Kirkland, are they just as fascinated by our Abercrombie sweat suits and lemonade stands? Maybe not.

Yeah, uh, don’t be surprised to see a string of “grilled cheese” dinners this week. I blew a good chunk of our grocery money on a set of Superhero salad tongs, one of which has boobs. Stay tuned for pics.