Friday, November 28, 2008

Saint Rob

Its the day after Thanksgiving, and the stuffing was awesome. It was just stovetop stuffing, but we added some apples and made three boxes of it so there was plenty. The food was good, the kids and dogs were well behaved, and we had some laughs. My dad seems to be losing his hearing. We've been thinking that he just pretends not to hear my mom, which would be a brilliant strategy, one that I would like to master, but last night we were discussing Kentucky Fried Chicken, for reasons passing understanding, and Roy said there was a KFC near the house where he grew up, and my dad said, "You grew up in Kentucky?" He is convinced his hearing loss is due to earwax build up, and puts these drops in his ears, but I think he's just getting to be an old dude. Does anyone know where I can get one of those ear-horn things as a gag gift for Christmas? Is that cruel?
I floated a test balloon, and confronted my brother about saying "Poor Rob" when hearing about my foot, and, in true Norman fashion, he stuck to his guns and said it again, adding something about me being a pain in the ass. I had asked Rob to stick up for me a little bit, but he can't seem to do that, ever, and I should really stop expecting that he'll figure out how to say something like, "hey, now, Bored Housewife is a wonderful wife and mother has been nothing but stoic and low-maintenance during her injury." Frankly, though, my family probably would have pelted him with cocktail shrimp if he had said anything like that. So they continued to sing Rob's praises, and I started comparing Rob to Jesus and saying how they would totally push me in front of a bus for Rob, and they just laughed and didn't disagree. Rob just smiled smugly, basking in the warm glow of their affection, and totally left me out to dry.
Then I got the little kids to go around and smell the grown ups socks to see who had the stinkiest feet, and Tommy, the three and half year old, declared my brother to have the smelliest feet. Take that, Stinker!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hear Me Roar!

So, I have a bone to pick. I know that I perpetuate this image of myself, through this blog and hanging out with friends, that I am lazy and let my husband do everything. I have gotten a couple of comments lately, that make me feel the need to set the record straight.
I don't joke about my slothiness around my parents or my brother, and they don't even know this blog exists (they wouldn't know how to find it if they did) so they don't necessarily know that I put myself down in this way, but they reveal to me why I do it. My mother told my brother that I had injured my foot and spent the morning in the emergency room, and do you know what my dear brother said? "Poor Rob." Poor who? I spend the entire weekend with my foot bandaged, swapping out ice packs and throwing back the advil, and he says Poor Rob? My mom says Poor Rob too when we're all in Hawaii together and he spends most of the day playing with Leila in the pool while I read magazines and drink mai tais; What about the fact that he loves to goof around in the pool, doing handstands, and playing shark, and throwing Leila in the air, and I love to watch from a reclined position? What about the fact that Leila and I spend all week together and we may need a break from each other, hence the vacation? What about the fact that when Rob decides he's done and wants to reflect sunlight back into the atmosphere off his white chest, I take over, no questions asked? Poor Rob indeed.
Then, last night, I called my mom on the phone and had to kill time talking to my dad, on whom the art of telephone conversation is lost, and when my mom finally came to the phone, I asked her what took so long and she says, "I don't have a husband who does all the dishes, I have to do them myself." Hold on, old woman: I have a man who helps raise his kid and helps maintain his home, and helps his wife with dishes from time to time, and guess what? that's the way it should be for every wife and every mother, and if my mom didn't insist on this during her marriage, and if other women don't insist on this during theirs, that is not my problem, and I refuse to apologize or be made to feel like the lesser partner in my marriage because my husband has been well-trained. As Roseanne said, he did not come out of a box like this. And, by the way, Mom, who raised me to feel so entitled, hmmmm?
So let me be clear about a few things before I continue to brag about what a loser I am most of the time: I do, on average, 90% of everything having to do with this family and this home. I do 95% of the grocery shopping, 90% of the cooking, 85% of the dishes, 97% of the laundry, 90% of the cleaning, 100% of the school-related duties, 97% of the social calendar, 97% of the Christmas preparations, including cards, shopping, wrapping, shipping, cooking, decorating, 95% of dog-related jobs, and most of the cocktail drinking, so that leaves him with roughly 10% helping out. We have agreed that when we are both in the house, chores should be split 50/50, and, accounting for time spent asleep, he is in the house, awake, 44% of the time. Not a bad ratio for him. I did not account for the yard; we ripped almost everything out back there, though, but throw in another 5% on top of his 10% and he's still sitting pretty. Also, I have pointed out to my husband, that a) he spends most of his day seated, while I spend most of my working hours standing; b) he gets a lunch hour and two hours on the bus every day to sit quietly, read, nap, pick his cuticles, whatever he wants; and c) I am in my office on the weekends, and am surrounded by deadlines and to-do lists even when I go to sleep. Not that he complains, he never does, but I felt the need to point this out to him.
I feel better getting that off my chest. Unfortunately, I can't ever win an argument with my mother by proving I have it better than she did, so its no use trying. She grew up with an outhouse and had to make her own maxipads, so she can pretty much shut me up every time. Next time, I'll go back to whining about something, not to worry.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Clutz: Emphasis on Lutz

So here's what happened: I was in the rink, trying to nail my triple lutz, and I crashed down on the ice and hurt my foot. No, not really. What really happened was that I was rock climbing near Donner Pass and there was an earthquake and I slammed my foot into the side of the rock. Heroically, I still climbed all the way to the top and rappelled down. No, not really. What really happened is that I was I was on top of a ladder picking a basket of my prize-winning pomegranates and I fell into a pile of leaves on my foot. Nah, all lies.
I tripped over my own enormous foot and fell off a curb, resulting in a torn ligament on top of my foot. Totally not elegant. I went to the ER to make sure nothing was broken, and I don't think the tear is that serious because now, on Sunday, I can kind of slide-limp around the house, but I wont be able to walk Leila to school for a while, and no eliptical for me either.
Can you believe that? I finally get into a work out routine, I'm finally seeing some results, and now my stupid foot is bandaged and I'm going to have to start all over again. The universe is f***ing with me.
The hospital sent me home with crutches, and those are true instruments of torture. On Friday night I took the ice pack off my foot and put it in my arm pits. My whole body is sore, probably from the impact of the fall. Luckily, it happened on a Friday, so Rob was home all weekend and I could just sit with my foot up. I guess its better than being sick. I get to stay in bed all weekend (its the only place I'm truly out off the way) without having to feel miserable and bored. Just bored. I think my dog thinks I'm snubbing him. When I venture out into the house, he kind of glares at me like I've deserted him. I made Rob put him on my lap last night so I could love him up and he wouldn't take it so personally. My foot has gotten a lot better, and hopefully by Thanksgiving I'll be able to stand well enough to make stuffing.
That's my job this year, stuffing. I was thinking of making some barefoot contessa BS where I cut the bread cubes myself and add apples and sausage and sage, but it is Stovetop city instead.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is She Serious?

So, in one of my coupon searches, I got an offer for 90 days of free subscription for a bunch of different magazines, and I got my first one yesterday. It was Martha Stewart Living. I have one question: Is she serious?
I flipped through it, and it is very lovely, but I hardly have what it takes to flip through it again, let alone attempt any of the projects held in its pages. I will now flip to a page at random... Okay, this is an advertisement for Advair on one side, paint on the other. Let's try this again: Right: Glittered faux lemons. This is under the instructions for velvet leaves, and all of this is meant for a new year's eve table setting. I am confused. Why do I need a fancy table setting setting so I can watch New Year's Rockin' Eve and fall asleep on the couch? Do lemons represent something special about new year's eve? Years ago, Martha made centerpieces out of real lemons; are they out of vogue? Can I not use real lemons that I can later squeeze into a cocktail or over a piece of fish?
Let's do another one. (This is another version of the bible flip, only its a Martha flip and doesn't solve any quandaries whatsoever.) Okay, here's a menu for a Savory Buffet: It starts with Champagne, and, so far, I'm in. Then we move on to white crudites with buttermilk dip; I was fine with this until I realized it says "white" crudite. Without actually looking at the recipe, I envision cauliflower and white asparagus and she's lost me. Then there's oysters with mignonette gelee: really? I could probably manage mignonette sauce, but why does it need to be geleed? And am I really shucking my own oysters while I make rice stuffed cabbage and individual pork pot pies? Who has this kind of drive?
Now I'm looking at instructions on how to make body scrub. This seems easy enough to do, but by the time you buy all the ingredients, including essential oils, and special jars and label-sticker stuff, you're better off buying a gold brick as a gift. This is the kind of gift you would give you're neighbors or your kid's teacher, and they would say "wow! thanks!" and then wonder what the hell they're suppose to do with it.
Sorry, Martha. There is a recipe for a delicious looking chocolate bundt cake that I can get behind, but I am reminded why I stopped getting her magazine all those years ago. I feel a lot of pressure when I look at it. I read something once that said even Mrs. Cleaver could not have lived up to Martha Stewart Living. Oh, she might make a lemon pie for dessert, wearing pearls and heels, but were they meyer lemons? Did she grow them herself? Did she churn the butter for the crust and did her own chickens lay the eggs for the custard? Did she build the hen house?
Pass the chardonnay, I'm exhausted.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Saved by a Pot Sticker

Today, the focus has been on Christmas. Its not even Thanksgiving, but I know Christmas will sneak up soon, and I don't want to be caught with my pants down. I've made a list of people I need to shop for, I've poured over cookbooks trying to decide what treats to make, and I'm trying to nip the Christmas day planning bafoonery in the bud.
I haven't talked a lot about my in laws in this blog. One of them is on facebook and can thus read this whenever he so chooses, and the other one, well, I wont even go there. Suffice it to say that holidays, if we celebrate them together at all, are not based on tradition or even familial obligation, but whether or not there is a boyfriend in the picture, who is not speaking to whom, which parent the children will be with this year and whether those parents are speaking to each other, in addition to the regular family dynamics and subtle manipulations that we all experience to some degree. A plan is made around mid-November, and then the plan changes at least half a dozen times, and I don't trust that any plan is set in stone until the whole event is over.
I am not, by nature, a spontaneous or flexible person, and plan changes drive me insane. I want to know where I'm going, what I'm supposed to bring, how I'm getting there and what time I can leave, well in advance. I know I should loosen up, I know I should "break out!" as my friend says, but I'm comfortable with my rigidity and analness, and I feel like I have enough challenges in this lifetime, what with the dinner making and the working out, that I don't need to tackle my very character right now. Rob and I usually let the more neurotic members of the family take over the planning. We watch them push timing up or back in fifteen minute intervals, or see the menu and locale change, and we just go along. I am slowly learning, though, that I can actually exert some amount of influence over these events by either A) inviting everyone to my house where I can make the rules, or B) have Rob initiate the plan-making and head off some of the insanity at the pass.
Or, I could try to "break out" and roll with it. But that just never gets me anywhere. I really don't want to spend Christmas swilling wine to make my blood stop boiling, counting the minutes until I can get in my car and go home. Actually, I will swill wine either way, but I'd rather drink joyfully than in total irritation. I would venture to guess, though, that this is how many Americans spend their holidays, with fists clenched. And they have to travel on airplanes for the pleasure of gritting their teeth and wanting to kill themselves. That is no way to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Last year, I actually did start a new tradition. We usually spend a bunch of money on some elaborate dinner for Christmas day, usually just for the two of us since Leila wont eat anything, but we end up eating m&ms and ChexMix all day, and drinking mimosas and mulled cider, and by the time dinnertime rolls around I (surprise) have no interest in standing in the kitchen cooking and then cleaning up, or even watching Rob do it. So last year, we did what the ancient Hebrews did: we ordered chinese food. It was fabulous, and I'll do it every year if I get to be in charge. No pesky ham or turkey, no standing rib roast with mashed potatoes. General's chicken! Walnut prawns! Pot stickers, two orders! That is the way to celebrate the birth of Christ, my friend.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fifteen Cheeseburgers

So, I've been to the gym again today, and I'm beginning to appreciate the subtle messages of the locker room. I don't mean that people actually talk to each other, and, frankly, they look at me like I'm yelling in a library when I say something to them, or even acknowledge that they're there, but there are some valuable lessons to be learned in there.
Firstly, I've been so surprised by these women's lack of social response, not only in the locker room, but in the gym at all, that I've been seeing it as kind of creepy. But today I started to wonder if they all feel as bulgy and droopy and sloppy and stinky and hairy and sweaty and unworthy as I do, and that this is why they try to be as invisible as they can. There are the exceptions; As you walk in to the locker room, you turn a corner into the blow-dry, primping area, and sometimes there is a woman there, all thin and perky, naked as the day she was born, blow drying her hair like she's in some kind of naked hair commercial. And there are those who stride, nude and purposeful, to and from the shower. These are probably the same woman who weigh themselves on the scale that's right in the middle of the locker room; I cannot do this. If I'm going to weigh myself at all, I have to be completely alone, except for my demons. Mostly though, women scuttle around the locker room like shy little mice, in and out with minimum fuss. Like me.
Then, there are all the cautionary tales walking around the gym. I walk past the pool area, and there's a window along the hallway looking onto the hot tub and the indoor pool, and I often see people getting in and out. There are many older women who labor to pull themselves out of the hot tub and get to their walkers, and they're bent forward at the waist, and I think, "that could be me in thirty years." Then there are the naked chicks, and they are all shapes and sizes. The first couple of times I went, all I could see were the perfect ones, but now they are the exception, and there are droopy butts and hangy boobs, and pasty white skin every where I look, and I am feeling much more at home. There are two kinds of older women in the locker room: the ones who are fit and thin and sparky, and the ones who are there because their doctor is making them go. I can clearly see which kind I want to be when I grow up.
I'm still in my thirties, and its not too late. I don't have genetics on my side, and I don't have any natural disposition toward exercise or health food, but I can choose it.
Here's another thing, though. I go to the gym, I work out, I sweat like a pig (incidentally, do pigs sweat at all? Or do they pant, like dogs?) then I shower, then I get dressed and then I blow dry my hair. While I'm blow drying, my head and neck and face get all sweaty again! I put the blower on cold when I'm done just to dry to dry the sweat on my scalp. This is annoying. I want to be completely sweat-free when I leave the gym. I want to feel clean and dry and fresh. God, I'm so middle aged. I never used to sweat. In fact, one day about 10 years ago, I was having what I realize now is a totally inappropriate conversation with a co-worker about the fact that I didn't ever sweat. He didn't believe me, so I told him to call Rob at work and ask him, which he did, and Rob confirmed to him that I didn't sweat or ever have B.O. Of course, I was usually dehydrated and tried to move as little as possible, but it was still true. Later, I asserted that I could eat fifteen McDonalds cheeseburgers, and my co-worker had to call Rob again, but this time Rob said there was no way I could eat fifteen McDonalds cheeseburgers, and that I'd probably be puking after three.
But now I sweat. I still don't have B.O. but my I sweat right under my lower lip all the time.
I have to go clean up now. Again. Always.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vive La Bug

Second post today, but I had just had to tell you that I made the most disgusting thing for dinner tonight. I was kind of in a hurry, and I threw some Trader Joes risotto into a pan (that had defrosted in my car, and then been re-frozen in the freezer, making it a big frozen block of risotto) and then I threw in some broccolini, thinking that the heat and steam from the risotto would cook the broccolini. I was wrong, and grossed out. I am not the world's best chef, but I rarely make something that is so gross, I don't want to eat it, and I give permission to throw it out. It was pasty, it was tasteless, the broccolini wasn't all the way cooked, and, to top it off, I had completely forgotten to rinse the broccolini, so there were little flecks of what was most likely dirt, but what looked like little bugs. It could have been slightly burned risotto, but it also could have been bugs. Rob just ate a fork full and said, "Well, they're cooked." and then added to his reasoning that if the bugs had started out in the risotto (which they didn't, if they were bugs at all,) they would have been frozen. I think he was getting a bug confused with a bacteria, because I told him that a previously frozen dead bug, now heated up, was not more appetizing than any other kind of bug preparation. I have to hand it to him, though, he had another serving, and ate all the broccolini. He must have been really hungry.
Let's see if I can't screw up frozen corn dogs tomorrow...

I've been Oprahed

I just watched Oprah, and I'm all motivated to clean my house. Not my bathroom, of course, but I really want to get my desk space organized and working well, and maybe even put clean laundry and dishes away. I might just be that crazy.
Oprah really is a force. She says read this book, millions of people read it. She says clean your fridge, fridges are cleaned all over the nation. She says lose weight, and people all over America consider eating less and working out while they're staring at the TV snacking on pieces of cheese. The one thing that gets on my nerves about Orpah, is that one day she'll have on Suze Orman, talking about debt and responsible money management, and the next day she's talking about how cool the Kindle is and makes you want to be totally irresponsible and go out and buy one. She talks about how she couldn't handle living in a messy house, but I can't imagine she's personally cleaned out her own fridge in the last twenty years. Her magazine is the same; there's Suze Orman's column, and a few pages later there's "Oprah's favorite things" where she makes you want to buy things that you can't afford that will clutter up your house, like wine stoppers made out of doorknobs, and smelly candles and designer chocolate. Then, there is all the health and beauty info in the magazine, with articles on weight loss etc, followed by the recipe section with pictures of delicious foods.
Still, I love her. I want her to discover this blog and make me famous. I can assure my readers, and Oprah, that this is no "Million Little Pieces" where I've lied about my experiences to make my blog a best seller. When I say I hate making dinner, that's the truth. When I say my bathroom is disgusting and biological, I'm not making that up. You can trust me when I say I'm sloth-like and traumatized by the gym locker room. Its all true, people, I wouldn't lie to you.
I think I'm going to make a little pilgrimage to the Container Store this afternoon and get some ideas for my desk area. I recently moved my desk from my bedroom to the living room, and it is, of course, a mess. I have not yet moved my printer, or my files, or my shredder, so I'm running back and forth when I conduct my important business (like printing out coupons) and that has to change. Also, I still have my magnetic office stuff attached to the wall in the bedroom and it looks kind of strange out of context. There's a little basket with checkbooks and property tax documents attached to the wall right above the new hamper (which, incidentally, has been life changing) and it doesn't make any sense. I don't really have time for this today, but you have to take action when the spirit moves you.
Let's go!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cereal Liar

I just came back from the gym. I don't feel whole anymore without a good workout. I feel so cleansed and refreshed and happy after exercising, I love the endorphins and stretching after 45 minutes on the eliptical is just the icing on the non-fat cake.
RIGHT! Don't worry, its still me. I did just come back from the gym, though. My husband and kid are hanging around my house today because its Veteran's day and I had to get away from them for a while. The gym was an act of desperation. I did 45 minutes, burned 563 calories and elipted five miles. Then I took a long shower and even blow dried my hair there. I challenged myself to stand naked for a few seconds in the locker room, and I made it through.
I'm in a mood. It has something to do with these new birth control pills. The third week is great; I have lots of energy and motivation, but I feel like I'm sleepwalking through the first two weeks. This hormone cocktail is a constant struggle, and no doctor will believe me when I tell them what I think I need. So, I did a little research online, and found that the third week of the pill has a higher amount of progesterone than the rest of the month. Now my question is: is it the ratio of progesterone to estrogen that makes the difference, or can I have the same amount of progesterone and up the estrogen and get the same result? Didn't know you'd be in for a pharmacology lesson today, did you? You just never know what you're gonna get.
I also made chicken stock, but its a little bland. I really don't have anything inspiring or entertaining to talk about. Rob just left to go running (copy cat) and I think I'll watch some Oprah.
I'm going to be part of a focus group tonight, talking about healthy cereals. I'll get paid $110 to talk about cereal, and probably look at cereal advertising (they told me to bring my reading glasses and asked me if I'm color blind.) I feel a little bad because I kind of lied about what kind of cereal I eat. I figured out what they were after, and pretended I eat the cereal that Leila eats. If I had told them about my fondness for Kellog's raisin bran, I would have missed out on the $110, so I stretched the truth, just a little bit. Afterwards, I'm meeting my gay-guy friend in a quasi gay bar so we can catch up and he can look at men. I can look at the men, too, but not with the same criteria.

Monday, November 10, 2008


My dog just ate my brand new Ipod headphones. God dammit. They were just sitting on the coffee table, minding their own business, and now they're in pieces. Brand new. I think I'm going to have to kill him. The power of his cuteness isn't what it used to be. I've built up an immunity to his cuteness, and now I just want to kill him. He looks so innocent. The really bad part is that its my own fault. Dogs get obnoxious when they are bored and don't have enough exercise, and today I went to the gym and didn't walk the dog. Seriously, though, if I go to the gym, which I have to make a priority, and then I take the dog for a walk, there goes my whole morning! My husband wanted a dog. I wanted a dog eventually, but he wanted one now. He talked me in to this. He should get up extra early and walk the dog, and he should buy me new headphones, and he should wash and brush the dog, and train the dog. I wash my hands of this dog.
Except that I can't because he lives in my house, and my house is where I am most of the time. I keep trying to convince Rob that its Take Your Dog to Work Day, but he's not buying it. I bought the dog a little dog bed, and he's chewing on it like its one of his stuffed animals. So ungrateful. Little shit.
Leila wrote all over our fence with chalk. She did this once when she was really little and it took years to wear off. I turned my head, I took a nap, I read a chapter in my book, and now I have no headphones and a graffitied fence. I am done with this day, people, and tomorrow is veterans day so these people who live with me will be here all damn day.
Mother is not amused...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bible flip Birthday Bash

Today is my birthday. So far, so good. I bought myself a book last night, and I've spent the entire morning, and now part of the afternoon, in bed reading it. 95% of the time, I really hate my bedroom. It is not the sanctuary that Oprah says its supposed to be. It is very small and crowded, with piles of laundry and animal fur everywhere, and it is not insulated at all so it is either very hot or very cold. But this was one of those mornings where all the cat hair in the world could not detract from the sun streaming in the window, bright and happy, or the quiet of no dog barking, no leaf blowers blowing, no lawn mowers mowing. I just stayed in bed and read my book by myself and it was perfect and peaceful and lovely.
I read a sentence that made it even better: the author, Anne Lamott, quotes someone named David Roche who says "Eighty percent sincerity is about as good as its going to get. So is eighty percent compassion... So twenty percent of the time, you just get to be yourself." She follows the quote by saying, "Its such subversive material, so contrary to what society leads us to believe - that if you look good, you'll be happy, and have it all together, and you'll be successful and nothing will go wrong and you wont have to die, and the rot wont get in."
I felt such relief when I read that. I only really have to be "good" eighty percent of the time, and the rest of the time I can just be a sloth and be wrong and bad and lazy and all the things I tell myself I am, like, sixty percent of the time. I like rules, I like to know what I am supposed to do, but I find living by all the rules every day a struggle. You have to eat healthy, you have to exercise, you have to be productive, you have to volunteer, you have to floss, you have to take good care of your money and be financially responsible, you have to reduce reuse recycle, you have to cut your toe nails and wash your hair, you have to get your car serviced, you have to walk your dog, you have to be kind to people, you have to try to not yell at your kid, you have to try to look good, you have to find time for yourself, you have to reconnect with your mate, you have to get enough sleep so you can do all of these things all over again tomorrow. Its relentless and exhausting and tedious, and I am relieved to read a rule that says I only have to do all of these things eighty percent of the time in order to qualify.
Last night, instead of going out to a fancy birthday dinner like we usually do, we went to Berkeley with my brother-in-law and his girlfriend and had a really good burrito and browsed in a bookstore. I was in the Religion section where I was looking for the Anne Lamott book I've been reading this morning, and Rob handed me a small thick book called The Daily Bible. Now, I preface this by saying that I mean no offense to any readers who are bible people or are religious in any way, so keep your shirts on. I told my companions that I read in some book about bible flips: this is where you ask a question that's nagging at you, and then flip to a random page in the bible, point to a random passage, and that passage will hold the answer to your particular problem. Sort of like a magic 8 ball. So I asked Katie what her particular problem was and she said "My boyfriend is really gassy." So I did the flip and landed on a passage that said something like, "And he sat on his throne and held his golden scepter..." and we are, of course, picturing a different kind of throne and a different kind of scepter, and I laughed so hard I cried, right in the middle of the religion section of the bookstore. So there we were, in hysterics, and Rob told us we were all going to hell. Then I asked the magic 8 ball, I mean, The Daily Bible, what to do about my misbehaving dog, and I landed on a passage that said Jerusalem had burned down and would be rebuilt. I guess that means that, eventually, I'll get a new sofa.
Finding out that you can be a cretin twenty percent of the time and having a really good burrito and laughing your head off are the best birthday gifts, so, happy birthday to me!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Little Chickens

So, yesterday I decided to roast a chicken. It may not seem like a big deal, but I've never roasted a chicken before, and it should be noted that I am disgusted by touching raw meat, especially when that meat still resembles the animal that it started out as. Cooking shows are really like propaganda; I see Barefoot Contessa do something and I think it looks so good and easy, I forget that I am repulsed by raw chicken skin and giblets. My mom once made cornish game hens, and I really tried to eat one, but I just couldn't get past the fact the I could imagine where the hen's little head and feet had been. I just couldn't do it. I like my meat cooked, on a plate, and in no way reminding me of its former life.
I decided to prep the chicken, and place it on a bunch of cut up vegetables so they could roast along with the bird. It was time to remove the giblets. This was the part I was dreading, and I decided to just hold the bird over the sink and shake it vigorously and hope that they would drop out. Nothing dropped out. I looked inside and didn't see any giblets, so I swallowed hard and reached into the bird and felt around for the blubbery grossness and there was nothing. I thought the universe had smiled on me by giving me a giblet free bird, but I started to wonder if I had actually bought the wrong kind of bird. Then I stuffed things into the cavity; a quartered lemon, a bunch of thyme, some garlic, and I realized that I had forgotten to rinse the bird like the recipe says. So I had to reach into the bird AGAIN and get everything out and rinse the bird. I had also forgotten to salt and pepper the inside, so I did that, and re-stuffed it.
Now I had to tie the legs together, so I foraged around for something to tie them with, found some string, and tied them together. It didn't look like it did in the picture, so I tried it a couple more time and then just gave up and tied them together any old way. I place the bird on the vegetables, patted it dry with paper towels, and brushed melted butter on the skin. Very Silence of the Lambs. I put the bird into the oven, and scrubbed my hands with hot soapy water. I was feeling proud that I had touched flabby chicken skin and put my hand in a bird without puking or fainting, and after a while my kitchen started smelling good, and by the time Rob came home dinner was almost ready, but my moment had passed and I let him take over. He took the chicken out of the oven and let it rest under some foil, and when it was time to carve, my kitchen juices kicked back in and I tried to re-enact what Barefoot Contessa had done on TV. It just wasn't making any sense, though, and I couldn't bring myself to rip a leg of the poor thing, and then I realized that I had cooked the whole thing upside down. The breast skin, which was supposed to be all nice and crispy from the butter, was white and flabby (not unlike my own), but the underside of the bird looked great. I felt stupid, but the meat was actually very tasty and juicy. I think that's why it wasn't coming out right when I tried to tie the legs together; once I turned the bird over, it all made more sense.
The ironic thing about the timing of this meal is that earlier in the day I was at a friend's house and she lives on somewhat of a farm, and they just got two dozen baby chicks that they will raise and slaughter and eat. (Apparently, there is a traveling slaughter guy who comes to your house with a truck full of instruments of chicken torture, and coaxes the chickens into the truck and takes care of business. Would you want that job?) So, I went to see the chicks, and I held one, and they were all so cute and fuzzy and peeping, and then later that day I was shaking one of its brethren over the sink to try and get its guts out. Nice.
All of this was really just a way to be able to make more chicken stock since I got such a kick out of that. This was not my last chicken roasting, I will try again and emerge victorious. The one thing I wont do, though, is pick all the meat off the chicken. I really am not a fan of meat-on-the-bone; I don't like ribs, or chops with bones, or bar-b-qued or fried chicken that you eat with your hands. Which makes it all the more weird that I would want to roast a chicken in the first place. But, as long as I have Rob, I have someone who will pick the meat off the bones for me. I am still grossed out by raw chicken, but I've faced my fear and learned to deal with it. That's enough for now, there's no way I'm picking the meat off the chicken.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Dog Day

I hate my dog today. I know I should be ashamed to say it, I know I should feel like a horrible, inhumane person for saying it, but I don't care. I hate my dog today, and I think I made a big mistake getting a dog, and I wish someone would come and take my dog away. Okay, that last part is probably overstating, but I do want to strangle the little beast. He was so cute when he was little; two and a half pounds of snuggly goodness. And we were such good puppy owners; we kept things out of reach, we played with him all the time, it was lovely and nice. Now, he's hit puppy adolescence where all the training goes out the window. I tell him to sit, he looks at me with defiance. I tell him to go in his bed, he walks out of the room. I turn my back for two minutes, he's on the kitchen table licking syrup off a plate. He steels socks, he tortures the cat and steels his food. He wont leave my daughter's slippers alone so she either has to have cold feet or put her feet up on a chair while she's eating breakfast, and I spend all morning yelling at the dog. There are not words strong enough to express how sick and tired I am of saying, "Perry! Off!" "Perry! No!" and I'm sure my neighbors can hear me screaming at him. My screaming is supposed to startle him into dropping the sock, jumping down off the table, but he just keeps on doing what he's doing, and I'm screaming like a banshee.
He's been limping lately, I don't know why, so I haven't been walking him as much. I had been walking him almost two miles every morning, but I wanted to rest his little leg. So I walked him this morning in an attempt to quell his hyperactivity and bad behavior, and the first thing he did when we got home was steel a sock and run into the backyard with it. Its really hard to hold out a treat and act all sweet and nice, saying "drop it!" when you're blood is boiling. I'm not Andersen Cooper, I can't afford to be replacing socks once a week. Nor do I want to go broke buying the dog stuffed animals so he can rip them apart in five minutes. I have some booby traps set up so that the next time he feels like jumping on a table, he will be startled by loud clanging. I'll get him in line if it kills us both.
This dog is costing me a fortune. I knew he would have to be groomed, but I had no idea what grooming costs. I'm here to tell you, it costs a lot. He needs his hair cut every 10 weeks or so, and it costs almost as much as my hair cuts and I get my hair cut twice a year. There's the food, the vet, the shots, the license, etc. He should shit solid gold.
When I'm in a really bad mood like this, the universe always mocks me in some way. I always get a little sign that my bad mood is meaningless and stupid and I should just get over myself. Right now, that sign is coming in the form of a monkey in Leila's room that is laughing all on its own. It must be under something, or shorting out because every few seconds since I started writing is goes, "boing!HAHAHAHA!" Alright, I get it.
I'm hungry. I'm going to make some yummy breakfast and hold off on killing the dog for a little while.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lies, all Lies!

What an exciting night, huh? Everyone seems to be walking on air today. Moral is high, people are hopeful, strangers are hugging each other. Of course, in my county, Barack (or, Brock, as Leila calls him) won by 80%, so we're pretty confident that we can share our relief and happiness with total strangers without the risk of getting into a fist fight. California also voted, however, to change its constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman only, so one step forward, two steps back. Okay, one GIANT LEAP forward... and two steps back.
But enough about the election. We voted, a winner was decided, and you can't get away from it today, so I will be your respite from election mania.
Yesterday, Leila flushed her vitamin down the toilet. I found out she's been doing this for a little while, and when I asked her about it, she lied to my face. Can you believe that? Little shit. When I said to her, "You are lying to me right now." She looked at the floor and said, "Shoot." She got a talking-to, and I had to try not to laugh and keep the Disappointed Mom look on my face (much more useful and guilt producing than the crazy, angry mom face) and she was very obedient for the rest of the morning. I guess kids have to lie to see what will happen when they do, to see if they can get away with it. She's such a bad liar, though. I can see right through her little rouses. First of all, when I asked her, "What did you with your vitamin?" She said "Nothing!": If she had actually eaten her vitamin, she would have said, "I ate it." Her first mistake. Then there's her face. She cannot not smile when she is lying, and this is a curse for her because sometimes when she's telling the truth, but knows I'm trying to suss out a lie, she smiles, too. It takes all my cleverness and guile to tell the difference. I was a great liar. I could lie about anything, any time, and my mom would believe me. Although, its entirely possible that she knew I was lying all along, but just didn't feel like dealing with it. Its tedious to give the same lecture again and again, and also more work for me to sit at the table every morning watching Leila chew her vitamin, so sometimes you know they're lying, and you just go, whatever.
Sometimes I would lie to my mom because I knew I could. My brother could never lie. To this day he can't lie without his face turning beat red and jittery. Maybe it was because he's blonde and fair skinned, and I'm olive skinned and don't blush easily, but that wouldn't explain the give- away grinning. I can't lie anymore, though. I think I peaked in high school, and now I can't lie without smiling and feeling like my whole body is going to turn inside out. On one hand, you could say that I'm blessed with honesty and integrity, but, seriously, I can't even lie about someone's bad haircut or awful shoes. Its a burden.
In other news, I did 45 minutes on the eliptical this morning. The machine said I burned 500 calories, so I ate at least that much at lunch. Rob says I don't need to do 45 minutes, I can just do 30, but I say I'm a fat cow and that extra fifteen minutes is the difference between losing one pound and one and a half pounds this week. I'm getting better about the nakedness thing. I'm still breaking the club rules and using two towels instead of one to cover myself, but I'm freaking a little less if someone walks by while I happen to be exposed. I started out being grateful for the anonymity that people seem to respect at the gym, but now I think its a little weird. If you know someone from school, isn't it weird to pretend you don't see them? To not say hi? Am I just that starved for interaction? And just when I was starting to feel slightly less pathetic. One step forward, two steps back.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

    What a great night.  I made Leila watch Obama on TV, and she was more excited to see Oprah in the crowd.  
     Now, he'd better not screw it up...

Election Night! Finally!

I'm writing this while listening to CNN, and my election night party starts in a few minutes. I don't think I've ever had so much fun voting. It went by too fast! I mean the actual voting at the poll, not the campaign. I asked Rob what he's going to talk about now that its going to be over, and he assured me he'll be reading and obsessing about the post-game. He'll probably be in withdrawal for a while; be all crabby and listless. He'll have to find a new hobby. Maybe he'll start reading old newspapers and magazines and relive the whole thing starting with Obama's speech at the convention four years ago. If that happens, I'm going to have to kill myself. I need a break from pretending to listen and care about the minutiae of the campaigns. My feeling is, even though I'm a registered independent, I was never going to vote republican, so what do I care about little details? If something really big had happened, like someone had had an affair, or there had been a scandal, I would have heard about it.
La la la la, I'm excited! Wine time!! More tomorrow...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Go Vote

The weekend is almost over, and it was a good one. There were the Halloween trick-or-treating shenanigans (lots of fun, and lots of candy left over) and Leila spent the night at her grandparents house on Saturday so mom and dad had a date. It wasn't the traditional dinner-and-a-movie date that so many couples engage in. It was the, "come over to my house and I'll cook for you" kind of date, only without the coming over part because Rob already lives at my house. It was rainy (finally) and at around 4:30 I decided I'd make a hearty stew, so I went to grocery store and we ate dinner at 9:20. We had cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and watched three or four episodes of The West Wing on DVD. We stayed up to watch John McCain on SNL, and then our date ended the way all my high school dates ended: with no sex.
I didn't have dates in high school, actually. I had long suffering crushes on foreign exchange students and seniors, and pined away like a puppy asking stupid questions like "what's your favorite color?" and stuff like that. I guess I had a date for my eighth grade graduation, but after that, I didn't have a proper date, where you get taken out to dinner, until college. I was out of the country for my junior prom, and I didn't get asked to my senior prom. I asked a guy to take me, and he did, sort of. We drove to event together with some of my friends, and at some point we ate something, but other than that we didn't actually hang out at all. Not the dream we all dream of, but I think proms are supposed to suck. So, I didn't have dates, I had crushes that sometimes ended up in drunken making out, followed by me obsessing about every word and gesture. Not a fun way to live. I once said, "I wouldn't go through high school again if you paid me." To which someone responded, "Why not? You did it for free the first time." That's very true. I'd be really good at high school, now, though. What the hell am I talking about?
I don't know how I got on that topic. Oh yeah, sexless date. Anyway, we had a nice evening, and woke up and walked the dog and got a scone, had lunch with my parents, and then I went to the mall with my mom and we poked around there for a while. She bought me my birthday present (new Ipod) but I'm not allowed to have it until my birthday. Why does my birthday bring out the most immature side of me? Does everyone feel this way? Am I just a spoiled brat? Well, whatever it is, I'm enjoying it this year. I'm one of my few friends who is still firmly in her thirties, so I'm going to rejoice.
By the way, in case you read my post about eating cow tongue, and the question of whether people still eat it has been nagging at you, its been nagging at me, too. So, when I went to the meat counter to get my stew meat yesterday I asked the guy if anyone still eats tongue, and he said, no. He said he's had maybe three people special order it since he's been there (and it was insinuated that this meant it was a rare thing) and I asked if all those people were old folks, and he confirmed that, yes, they were all old folks. Maybe those people were nostalgic about the depression and wanted to roast up some cow tongue for old time's sake. So, there you have it, no one eats cow tongue anymore, and you can now rest easier.
I made the mistake of buying my dog another stuffed dog toy, and there's white, fluffy dog-toy innards all over the floor. This is a problem only because he doesn't let me sweep the floor; he wants to eat the broom. I also bought him a rain slicker.
Go vote.