Tuesday, January 26, 2010

9 Completely Random Things You Didn't Know

1. Today I had to attend a scrapbooking convention for work. I admire people that scrapbook, but I just can't do it. Truly? It escapes me. The 300 women I saw today going bonkers for what appeared to be a series of stencils scared me. Really, really scared me.

2. I'm going to Vegas this weekend, with my Houston girls. I cannot wait. My husband is staying home and taking the kids to a local show of "Annie." This weekend? I'm on "Easy Street" and he has "A Hard Knock Life." (sorry, couldn't resist- at least you can't hear me singing "Tomorrow").

3. I joined a book club recently, and volunteered to host this month's session. All was well and good until I drank a bit too much wine and then started acting out my favorite scenes from "Jersey Shore." Instead of demonstrating my intellectual prowess, I told a story about pickles in a spot-on South Jersey accent. And then I showed them where my dog ate my couch. Classy.

4. Tonight was supposed to be my night to cook a mac-daddy dinner, but I was still shaking from my run-in with the scrapbooking fans so I ordered pizza. And checked twitter so I could use the "secret word of the day" and get a free fountain drink. Social media. I love it so.

5. I had to drive to LAX last night to pick up my husband at the airport. I think I'm the only person in the world that loves LAX. I love the pillars of light that surround the "official" entrance to the airport with the cartoonishly large letters that spell out L-A-X. I love that the cops are complete assholes about security, and you can't even idle the engine when you try and pick someone up at baggage claim. (You just slow down, pop the door open, and the person you are picking up throws their bags in and climbs in while the car is still moving. Or you get a ticket. And sent to a jail off the shore of Cuba). I love that security is run by a woman- a no nonsense woman that probably still buys her pantyhose in plastic eggs in the supermarket. That's how tough she is. Plus, everytime I go to LAX, I remember my first time there. I was 15, just moved to Califoria from Hawaii, and saw Kirk Cameron get into a limo. This was the height of "Growing Pains", and it is forever burned into my memory.

6. My dog- my 80lb pile of black fur that thinks he is a lap cat? Smells. And not in a good way. With all of the rain that we've had, he's channeled all of it into one musty, smelly, dog smell. It's payback for making him do his business in the middle of a typhoon.

7. Sunday was National Pie Day. Did you know this? I'm somewhat sad that I did.

8. I am playing Mafia Wars on Facebook, and losing miserably. I never want to fight anyone, or rob anybody. I just want to open casinos, and Italian restaurants. I'm going to wake up one of these mornings with a horse head in my bed, I just know it.

9. Tomorrow I am pitching my newly found Public Relations skills to a new would-be client. This client prides itself on its East coast attitude for the West coast, and I'm wondering if I should act out some "Jersey Shore" stuff for credibility. I'll keep you posted as to how this works out.

The Most Boring Blog Entry Of All Time

My husband spent the weekend in Orlando, at a conference. I can tell you this now, because he is now home, and has returned to his job of protecting us from all would-be home invaders, strange forms of bacteria and door-to-door salespeople.

While he was gone, I cleaned. I know that does not sound exciting, but when this mood strikes, I'm a force to be reckoned with. It's something that must be taken advantage of, because this wind doesn't blow this way that often.

It was the kind of weekend that tied up loose ends- like boxing up the mistaken doll American Girl almost ruined my Christmas with and getting her ready to return to America, or wherever she is from. Finally filing 2 months worth of bills and being able to see the top of my desk. Finishing framing the calendar I bought from Smith & Hawken days before they went out of business and successfully hanging 12 botanical prints in my living room that is ACTUALLY starting to look like a living room, and less like a bowling alley. (I should show you a picture of this one, because it took me an entire afternoon).

My closet still needs cleaning, and I still can't find my debit card. (My kids were "playing" store and it hasn't been seen since). I didn't cook- one night I took the kids out for dinner, the next night we made pancakes. (lemon zest & vanilla are my 2 not-so-secret ingredients). Sunday night, I drove to Los Angeles to pick up my husband and took a deep breath. It felt good. Like we're ready to start the week. Remind me of this on Wednesday, when I'm ready to put someone up for sale.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Internet Is Not So Scary After All

It's Monday.
It's cold outside. And raining.
A harsh return to reality, after a surreal weekend crammed full of fun.

About a week ago, I was on twitter, when I saw a certain photographer of Dallas had the opportunity to visit Los Angeles with her 15 month old. We've virtually known each other for a couple of years, and although we've never met- I quickly browbeat her into extending her stint in LA so we could meet.

Then I got word that she was bringing a friend. Not just any friend- but THIS friend.

When I called my husband at work to tell him, he couldn't understand me at first because I was giggling so much. Then he got worried. He doesn't tweet. He doesn't blog, and generally, he's pretty wary of the internet. But then a case of wine arrived at our house in anticipation of my internet friends' arrival. (They send the BEST hostess gifts. The Cannonball Cabernet is the yummiest thing I have tasted in quite awhile). He laughed his worries away, and offered to cook us dinner so I could drive to LA and pick them up.

They were in the midst of Golden Globes Baby-Palooza. We waited for them by the pool, and as I sat on the chaise lounge and watched my anklebiters do cartwheels in the grass, I laughed at how silly this whole thing was. MinivanMom comes out- and despite her protests about how unfashionable she is (Readers: She DOES know how to apply makeup!) I am here to tell the internet that she is a tall, striking blonde with amazing style. She was wearing a green patterned empire dress, with tall black boots that I immediately coveted.

We quickly hook up with the rest of the party- which not only includes Jen, of Sugar Photography fame (who DOES look like she starred on "Saved By The Bell"!) but her adorable toddler Coco. (Jen is tall- is the entire Posse a gaggle of Southern supermodels? As expected, Jen has epic boobs but a bigger smile). After a quick lunch at In-N-Out, I drove them to Orange County. We visited the beach, the park, they picked lemons and oogled the flora and fauna.

But the best part? You know when you haven't seen an old friend in a while, and the minute you're back together- it's like you never left? That's how it was like with these people that I have never met in person. After polishing off a few bottles of wine (5, but who's counting?) and eating my husband's yummy chicken with morels- we put the kids to bed, lit a fire and just talked (and laughed) until 2am.

I got to see firsthand why Tracey moved to Dallas. This group of women is like a family that they have selectively chosen. They are honest- candidly so. They are very, very genuine. But best of all? They are stinkin' funny. Most of the funny stuff has been locked in the "what happens on the road, stays on the road" vault- but trust me. Hilarity ensued.

The next day, Jen worked her magic and did a photoshoot of my kids that had me weepy just looking at the raw shots in her camera. After dropping them off in time to barely make their flight- I remembered why I love Texas. It's all about the people. And if you're not originally from there, Texas works its magic to get you there. Plain and simple.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Confucius Say: This Girl Is Funny

Last night, I took the youngest anklebiter out with me to pick up some Chinese food. We get in the car, and she immediately pipes up.

"Mommy?" she asks. "Who is farting?"

"No honey, that's just the Chinese food." I reply.

There is a pause. And then she says, "The Chinese food is farting?"

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Smitten With This One...

I know you all know I love food. You are shaking your heads, wondering how I can possibly waste another entry talking about food. Food!

We like to eat around here.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away- I stopped cooking a big dinner on Sundays. We tend to eat a big family lunch after church on Sundays, and dinner is usually mellow- or something we'll grab out. So I shifted the whole "big Sunday dinner" fete to Mondays.

Mondays are dreary. No one likes Mondays. Especially my husband. He detests Mondays even more than Garfield the Cat. And that's saying something, for those of you that were born after 1982. So when I have my act together, I plan a knock down, drag out, time consuming meal for Mondays. It makes everyone happy. It soothes the soul. It makes Monday feel more, well, like Sunday.

This Monday, I cooked this. And HOLY COW! It was seriously amazing. I did not reduce the sauce- I served it right out of the crockpot. I did make the pickled onions, and the red cabbage slaw, and I did serve it on corn tortillas with little bits of jalapeno as garnish.

I'm not usually a fan of the crockpot. I try to avoid condensed things in red cans, and most of the recipes involving crock pots usually use that too. I usually think if you cook anything for 10 hours, it tastes like it. But not this. Seriously. The meat could be shredded with a fork- it practically fell apart. The cabbage slaw had the right balance of crunch, vinegar and sweetness to make me want seconds. But those pickled onions? Stupidly easy- but they make the whole dish get up and sing. Seriously. Even Simon Cowell would have liked this one.

Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Bust out your crockpot and make this. (and don't forget to serve it with your favorite Mexican beer). And then come back here and let me know. Because I love to talk about food.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Catching Up

Happy 2010 everyone!

Our new year started off with an unexpected, unwelcome surprise. Of which I'm not allowed to blog about, or discuss- because it is just plain gross. Seriously. I'll leave it at that.

In other news, have I told you how much I love January? My tree is halfway down, the decorations are halfway in their boxes, and I love the feeling of reclaiming my home. The sparseness, the empty tables- it just feels good. In other news, besides the usual "lose weight, be healthy" etc. of the standard resolutions-- here are a few more I'm adding to my list this year.

1. Plan a REAL family vacation. We went to Catalina for TWO days last summer. That's the most vacation we've had in awhile. Now granted, we live 15 minutes from the beach and visit Disneyland on average, 3xs a month. But still. We need to get away.

2. Try 3 new recipes a month. I did a pretty good job of this last year. I cooked ribs. I made a blueberry pie. We steamed lobsters. I did fancy French food. Now I'm going to strive to cook more seasonally, without leaving much of a carbon footprint. (Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" was my favorite read of 2009). I need to capitalize on the bounty of Southern California's produce. It's seriously amazing. My neighbor knocked on my door yesterday (why yes! It was 2pm and I was still in my jammies) and brought me oranges, tangerines and lemons- picked from her trees.

3. I have some major organizing that needs to be tackled. Before I left for China, I ordered a lovely black lateral filing cabinet for my office. (thanks Ballard Designs!) I envisioned a clear desktop- and oodles of neatly tabbed folders containing all of my organized paperwork. Ummmm..... it contains the paperwork- but it's in stacks, and not filed. And my desk? Is a total mess. So are my closets. My garage. My linen closet. Lots to do here.

4. Focus more on date nights. When I lived in Houston, I was really good about this. We had 2 nights a month- dedicated to spending time as a couple. Every 3 months or so, Matt would take me out to a mac-Daddy dinner and we tried some of the best restaurants in Houston. Since we moved here? Not so much. When we do go out, it's usually for a work function, or to see other couples. I'm tired of having crayons at EVERY meal we have as a couple.

5. Photograph more. We put together awesome photo books for the grandparents for Xmas (thank you Blurb.com!) and it made me realize that I need to figure out how to work the camera (not just in Dummy mode) and take more pictures. My husband is the expert, but I'm the one that's got the time. My friend told me about a class I can take, and I'm seriously thinking about signing up.

That's it! I hope all of you are having a healthy, and welcoming start to the new year. It's gonna be a good one. I can feel it in my bones.