Monday, January 30, 2012

Everything Counts

Whoopsie! Where's the blogging, lady?

Something will happen soon. Or later. Well, at some point.

Until then, please make your Monday a little more fun by watching this adorableness.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hamma Jamma

Things that are making me happy today:

1. The Pointer Sisters medley that was sung, by all members of my household, at 6:45 am this morning.

2. The fact that Brandy and Monica are coming out with a new duet, although it will never be able to top the sweet action of "The Boy is Mine."

3. A friend telling me about a person he once knew. First name Richard, last name Shaver. And he preferred to go by Dick.

4. The relief I felt when I realized that the red substance all over the inside of my bag was just juice from the swiss chard in my lunch and not bloody gore.

5. Biogirl's vintage cookbook that is filled with disgusting photos, including this one for baked ham covered in green jello mixed with mayonnaise.

First, a photo of the ham. Second, a video of the jam.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Occupie This

The snow has melted off faster than it got here, and the weekend was covered in a mud-flavored Slush Puppie. Are Slush Puppies still a thing? I have fond memories of getting one of those (cherry flavored, not mud) with a pack of grape Now and Laters at the Kmart cafeteria when I was a kid. Oh yes, our Kmart had a cafeteria. Class out the ass, people.

Crisp new snow for a couple of days had us running around outside like nutcases, but the slushy mess had us sticking close to home for most of the weekend, other than a trip to work for me. And then, oh yeah, we also went to this party where there was nothing to eat but miles of pie.

For those of you who may not know, today is National Pie Day. (To which, the obvious reply is: isn't every day National Pie Day? And yes, you may have a point there). In its honor, Biogirl threw a party whereby she served pie and more pie. And also, asked guests to bring pie. Is this not the most genius party idea ever conceived? Methinks it is.

Our friend Heather has a little girl who is 4. Throughout her young life, we have gone to their house on a myriad of days. Sometimes just to hang out, sometimes for a meal, sometimes for a party. She, on the other hand, has only been to Biogirl's house when there has been some sort of party going on. And so in her eyes, Biogirl's house is the Land of a Thousand Vittles. Biogirl's parties always have a nice spread happening, so to a 4 year old? Yummy goodness as FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE. And since she hasn't seen Biogirl's house in its non-party state, I think that perhaps in her mind, she is all "I don't know what is UP with that crazy lady's house full of food everywhere you look, but I'm LIKIN' IT." This time, when it was all pies? I am sure it took the magic to a whole new level.

I think maybe I am transferring my wonder at the pie party concept onto a 4 year old. Probably.

Anyway, there was mushroom quiche, and spinach quiche, and sweet fruit pies, and samosa pies, and pizza pies, and pumpkin pie, and tomato pie, and pot pies...well. You get the picture. In case you don't get the picture, here are some pictures.

And also the people were nice and the conversation good and the laughs were plentiful. Yadda yadda. PIE.

(Ok, I feel the need to explain that last one. Biogirl's dad once had a painter paint a portrait of her when she was little. It is universally acknowledged that the result is creepy. In fact, I don't think the creepy nature of the portrait quite comes through here. Anyway, most of the time the portrait lives in storage. But when Biogirl throws a party, the portrait comes out, usually with something to say. I love that portrait).

Friday, January 20, 2012

Consumables #57

During this week, also known as Dysnowpia 2012 Seattle, many folks are feeling cabin fever. I am hoping that your cabin fever has to do with having your kids home from school and maybe a lack of being able to drive to the store, and does not have anything to do with a for reals blizzard out there or someone busting your kneecaps Misery-style. For some reason when I hear "cabin fever" I always think about Pa Ingalls having to tie a string from his front door to his barn so that he can hang on to it and not get lost in the snow storm, or Kathy Bates and James Caan. I don't know why. I'm just saying, I hope that if you have cabin fever, it is normal people usage of that term, and not me-usage.

For all the cabin-fever-or-not that has been happening this week, I have been light on the consuming, but here's what I've got.

I thought this was so sweet. Ewan McGregor could not be more charming, and Christopher Plummer was delightful and their relationship just made my heart feel all squeezy. It made me cry a bit.

The Recruit
Sometimes if Nordic Boy is waiting for something- like for me to get ready, or for a friend to come pick him up- he will flip the tv on and find a movie and watch it, just for the ten-fifteen minutes he has to wait. Earlier this week, The Recruit was on tv, so he watched a bit from the latter half of the movie. A day or so later, he was waiting again, and he turned the tv on, and The Recruit was playing again, but it was at an entirely different point in the movie, so he watched ten more minutes. He did this about four times all week. First of all, whatever tv channel that was? Wow, showing a real commitment to Farrell and Pacino there. Second of all, how can one stand to watch a movie all chopped up and in the completely wrong order? I don't care what the movie is, that would drive me insane. At any rate, I saw a fair amount of this movie by default this week. Shockingly, it seemed disjointed to me.

Downton Abbey
Bates' low self-esteem stuff is starting to drive me crazy. And also, Maria Doyle Kennedy really has cornered the market on unwanted-wife roles, what with this and then the whole Queen Catherine thing on The Tudors. That's quite a specific niche.

Parks and Rec

Project Runway All Stars
I can't decide how I felt about them having to do an outfit for Miss Piggy. On the one hand, Miss Piggy is awesome. On the other hand, really? They had to design an outfit for a Muppet? On the other hand, I like it when something unpretentious happens on Project Runway. On the other hand, the fact that the designers all gushed and treated it so seriously was weird. As you can see, there were a lot of hands in my argument with myself on this.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot
If Beginners made me cry a little bit in a sweet way, this one made me cry a lot in a sad way. I want to say it was unbelievably sad, but really, unfortunately it was believably sad. The story was well told, and had a lot of access points in it- it's got history, and science, and racial issues, poverty issues, and genealogy, and ethics, and law, and journalism, and family dynamics. All of it works, and works well together. Nicely done, Ms. Skloot. And p.s. I love saying your last name.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Snow Day

Seattle is shut down, y'all. It started dumping snow on Wednesday night and it hasn't let up at our house yet. We tromped around all afternoon. I came home with straight up icicles in my hair. I'd almost forgotten what that feels like.

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Monday, January 16, 2012


This weekend we celebrated Nordic Boy's birthday. It was quiet, full of love and sweetness, just like him. It snowed a bunch, and we took walks in the silent neighborhood, sometimes turning a corner to find squealing kids sledding down empty streets. We ventured out to a show downtown, and we ate some fancy meals in low lit restaurants that were mostly empty due to the weather. His mom and sisters called him up, and so did my folks, all to tell him they love him. I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and he said he just wanted to see me and his two besties, so we had Biogirl and Delium over and ate and laughed. Biogirl made us waffles one morning and I went to a fancy bakery to find us some cake. He bought himself a present that only he would be super excited about: a dust vac that hooks right up to his power tools so the sawdust is collected before it hits the ground. Who buys themselves a dust vac for their birthday, I ask you?

The same sort of dude who thinks knots are way cool, that's who. When I first met Nordic Boy when he was just a kid, we would go to the local bookstore and he would pore over this big book, about knots. I have teased him about it for years and years. This honker is gigantic- it's got to be a 10 pounder of a book, at least it seems so. Paying for it would have kept us in Taco Bell burritos for literally two months, so buying it was out of the question. Even now, when we can afford that book, he has never bought it. It's something he'll go look at in the store every once in a while, even all these years later. He's had a long and true yearning for that book, and the fascination has never waned. This year, I bought it for him. The delight that this purchase brought him will make me smile for just as many years, I'm pretty sure.

I also took our old deck of cards out of the closet. This deck of cards has been with us for almost two decades. The first thing that Nordic Boy and I ever did together was play cards with that deck, in my very first little apartment back in Illinois. I love that deck. So I wrote out, on each card, one thing that is awesome about that dude of mine. It was hard to limit to 52.

Happy birthday, sweet soul. You rock my socks.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Consumables #56

I have noise-cancelling headphones on right now, and then I decided to chew a piece of gum. Have you ever done this? Hearing gum chewing inside one's own head sounds disgusting, and kind of like a washing machine.

Yes, this is your one-stop shop for high cultural commentary such as that.

Here's what be up! I'm too lazy to put in the links today. Shoddy blogmanship, I know.

Downton Abbey
Nordic Boy is catching up with Season 1 right now, and it just about blew his mind when Maggie Smith was all "what's a weekend?" He was like "God DAMMIT if I could be that rich, to not even know what a weekend is!" He sort of couldn't stop talking about it for a while after that. So Mind? Meet Boggled.

First of all, let's just get it out of the way by first off saying that Idris Alba can make one want to get dirty in your skirty. Ok? We good on that? He's hot and we don't even need to talk about it. Idris, Stringer Bell, Luther, I don't care WHAT your name is. I feel like I might have talked about this show before, since I started watching it a while ago, so forgive the repeat if I did that. This was a little more on the creepy side than I usually tend to watch, but I stuck with it. I think Alba carries it and I'm not just saying that because of the hotness. I liked the whole Silence of the Lambs vibe it had going on.

Young Frankenstein
This is one of the first movies Nordic Boy and I ever watched together and we hadn't seen it in a while. It makes me all goopy remembering us watching the first time. "Ovaltine!" To me, that's romantic.

I so did not understand the point of this movie. There was a virus, it spread, people died. I just kept wanting to say "...and?" It was fine though.

All nonfiction this week!

Just Kids, by Patti Smith
For some reason I wasn't expecting this book to be that good. I don't know why. But it totally was! I love it when that happens. I was not overly familiar with Smith (I mean I know her stuff, but am not a fanatic) so there was a lot of interesting stuff that was news to me, and I found her not at all like I thought she might be.

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, by John Vaillant
I can sum up this book by just saying this. Do NOT, whatever you do, FUCK with a FUCKING TIGER. Don't steal food from him, don't mess with tiger babies, don't insult him, don't look at him funny, just DON'T DO ANYTHING. Because that tiger understands who you are, and can find where you live, and can smell you from a long ways away, and will wait for you and remember you for years and you will not even see it coming and then WHAM he will jump out and eat your ass to the bone and then find anyone else that you have been hanging with that smells like you and eat THEIRSELVES TOO. If you have to mess with a lion, ok. If you have to mess with a bear, so be it. Just NOT A TIGER. The end.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay clear of tigers.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cold gray Januar-ay

The thermometer says it's not really that cold, but my body disagrees. It feels colder than the thermometer says. I know, talking about the weather is ceaselessly entertaining. I have been trying not to hole up in my house too much. To that end, I did the following.

1. Brunched out with pals twice.
2. Shopped (ok I just went and touched the clothes) at Horseshoe.
3. Supported Biogirl's pie problem by tagging along with her to A La Mode.
4. Did some rounds around Green Lake.
5. "Helped" Nordic Boy plant a new terrarium (hey, I watched him with waves of encouragement emanating out of me. That's totally helping).
6. Ok, I'm not going to lie there was also lots of holing up and staying in, but effort was made.

Monday, January 09, 2012

The Nordic Job

The Nordic Job: like the Italian Job only with Volvos!

So hey, you want to know what happened around Thanksgiving of 2011? Nordic Boy got laid off. It was so awesome, by which I mean that it was terrifically spectacularly not awesome.

I didn't want to talk about it then because (a) I have a rule about blogging about my work and so it hardly seemed fair for me to blab details about Nordic Boy's, but I just couldn't not talk about the details for a while there, so I thought I better just not mention it at all or diarrhea of the keyboard might happen. I have specific ways that I will talk about my job on the internets and they are super narrow parameters, mostly because I think that work takes up way too much of my brain already so why would I spend more time dedicated to this and also I just think it a bad idea to blog about work in general because there is probably some way that you will get your ass bit by that, or at least I would. And also (b) it was super stressful and Joel had just died in the fall which was still on our minds a lot of course so we weren't really feeling our most strong anyway and so we did something in our family that is akin to "circling the wagons" or "huddling up" but not those things because I don't like sports metaphors and circling the wagons makes me want to barf, as a phrase. Basically, for the month of December, we told people, but in terms of talking about the real stuff- how it felt, and what we were thinking- we kept that for the most significant peeps until recently.

But, now the huddling of wagons is over and I'm still not talking about Nordic Boy's job details, but the feelings stuff? Ok, in a nutshell.

I know that, unfortunately, being laid off is not an uncommon thing to have happen to people these days. Heck, I am from Flint where, when I was a kid, pretty much everyone I knew was getting laid off of something somewhere, so it's not even a new event in my life. I knew what the term "laid off" was by the time I was 4 years old. Still, it sucks. Su-hucks. It sucks because it makes you aware that sometimes, it doesn't matter how good you are at your job, how much of a difference you make while doing it, how much experience you have built up, how much expertise you have, how much your coworkers respect what you do, how well you are liked, how much money and efficiency you bring back to your organization, how much you completely kick ass all day every day, or how ridiculously hard you work. Nordic Boy was at the top top top on all of these fronts, and I am not just saying that because I think he's the cat's pajamas. Really, it's just an objective fact: he is all of these things and more. But keeping his job just didn't have anything to do with any of that. Not one little bit.

Seriously, you guys. Markets shifted and none of that awesomeness that he was bringing to the table meant a good goddamn. When it came to keeping his job, all that good stuff just straight up did not matter.That's fucked up when you have to think about it, and sit with it, and know it in your guts. That's a faceful of reality right there.

To use another sports metaphor, but only because it is so appropriate that I can't not, Nordic Boy took it like a champ. He really did, and not in a stiff upper lip way. He took it in, felt some feelings, and then moved on to what he could do about it and figured out what he couldn't do about it. Man, if we could package up his reaction to stuff like this, we would be RICH. Also, this is further evidence (as if I needed more) that he is who you want to have around when the zombie apocalypse comes. If the braineaters show up, you all need to hightail it to our house.

Before you all become too worried about the state of things around here (I should have said this right up front, sorry), we are ok, and Nordic Boy has found another job that he starts today. It's hard for us to know how to feel about this- of course we are happy and we want to feel proud of him for getting out there ("put yourself out there!" as the Bachelor always talks about) and making something happen that is positive and a great opportunity, which it is and we do, but I also want to make sure I acknowledge that there are so many other people out there losing jobs, losing homes, losing a lot, and they deserve good things too, pretty likely more than we do. I don't think, and I know that Nordic Boy doesn't think, that he deserves it more than them. I just have to say that and if you are someone that has lost a job and have not been able to find another one yet, good luck to you. Not an ironic, sarcastic good luck to you. (How did that phrase become so flip? "Oh yeah? Well good luck to you, sucker!") I'm not talking about that kind. I'm talking a heartfelt, sincere one. Good luck to you.

Anyway, this was kind of a big deal in our lives, even though the turnaround time was thankfully, luckily so short, and so I thought I would let you all know about it. As I said, he starts his new job today, and he's really excited about it, and again we're lucky that not only did he find something, but it's a something he wants to be doing. And super bonus: no more travelling! At least not on a regular basis. I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I get to see him every single day, and we get to sleep in the same bed every single night. SO COOL.

And to our peeps who were in the wagon huddle: super big ups, y'all.

Friday, January 06, 2012

Consumables #55

Do we still think Jude Law is cute? Like, as a society? Because I can't remember if we're still supposed to be thinking that. Anyway. There were fights and chases and explosions and I liked how Holmes and Watson were sort of in love with each other. They even get to partner dance with each other and it warmed my heart.

There was nothing that I wanted more at a certain time in my life than to live inside the Muppet Show. This movie made me want that again. I want to wear Amy Adams' rainbow outfits and sing in production numbers about how life is a happy song with Rolf's floppy ears going crazy and Gonzo and his weird chicken lovers and Kermit somehow always being so frigging poignant and why can't I do it, WHYYYYY.

There is a thing that happens in lots of kids' movies which I call the "whoaaaaaaa" moment. It's when a chase is happening, or someone falls off something, or slides down a chute, or is in a car or plane or train that goes out of control, and the character goes "whoa!" for about 10 seconds. The whoa moment is everywhere now, and I find it irritating because I am old and crotchety. Hugo is a beautiful film that is heartfelt and suspenseful and does not have ONE whoa moment. Not one! This gives it points in my book based on that alone. Even with that aside, I thought it was lovely. Good job, Mr. Scorsese. And you didn't even have to have Joe Pesci show up to put the beat down on anyone.

Christmas Carol times two
After reading a Christmas Carol again this year, I felt like watching a couple of movie versions. First, we watched the 1938 version starring Reginald Owen. Then we watched the Muppet version with Michael Caine. Both were worth seeing, but I shall warn you that Michael Caine is made to sing in his version which probably could have gone undone.

I basically half-watched this while doing other things. 50% of my attention was still too much.

I could see some people finding this movie completely annoying, but I didn't. I thought it funny and it made me want to take a foodie road trip through England. There was a scene where Steve Coogan is running across some step stones in a river, and gets stuck in the middle, and Rob Brydon yells to him from shore: "Oh no! You're stuck in a metaphor!" That cracked me right up for days.

I liked that this wasn't an idealized portrayal of Charles and Ray. For fans of their work, there is plenty of eye candy, but I wished there was a little more depth in the description of their processes.

It kind of amazes me that this is so popular everywhere. I get so much glee from it because I live in the Pacific Northwest. I mean, I think it's funny anyway, but it's just that extra something-something if you live here.

A spinoff/prequel of Battlestar Galactica, which I should have watched a long time ago but I was kind of mad about how BG ended. So I finally got around to this one, and it was ok, but not a barnburner, entertainment-wise.

Karma, by Cathy Osterle
I give this one points for an exciting plot that will keep people turning pages, and for tackling a specific time and place in history that is hard to find in teen lit: the time period during the time that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated and the riots that followed. Ultimately, I found it disappointing that the characters were so stereotypical, and that all of the Indian population, with only one or two exceptions, were portrayed as a cruel people, prone to terrorism at worst and apathy at best as a whole.

Every Me, Every You, by David Levithan
I know this title is taken from a Placebo song, but every time I picked it up for some reason I couldn't help singing "Knowing Me, Knowing You" by Abba instead. The good news is, every time I sang the words "Knowing me, knowing you," Nordic Boy would pipe in with the "uh huh" part. Oh, you wanted to hear about the book? Silly me. I have read a lot of teen books, but this one tops my list of one of the most emo ones I have read. So just prepare yourself for that. I did like the mix of photos and text though.

The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga
The setting and the point of this book are both not anything new, but what makes it a great read is the character of Balram, the confessor who is telling the story of his crime. He is maddening and sympathetic, funny and scary, and his point of view carried the whole thing for me.

Here is some advice from me to you about combining two activities: cooking and dancing. Nordic Boy and I are great cooking/dance party enthusiasts, and I realized that the best songs for this are ones that have calm moments where you can concentrate on the recipe you are following, etc. But then they have to bust out with a ramp up section where you can kick up a serious groove for a minute. The song that came up on Pandora that really brought this home for me was that Usher song "Without You." Tell me you can't listen to this and know when it is time to measure your ingredients and when it's time to throw your hands up and shake the bootango.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

I don't think so

My TiVo says weird things to me sometimes.

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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Meta Plan

Nordic Boy and I are total planners. There is a part of me that wanted to deny or qualify this before I even finished typing the words. I don't want to sound stodgy. I don't think of myself as a Bert. I think of myself as an Ernie. And I do think that we are pretty good about not sticking to a plan when it's failing, or changing course when we need to. We're not married to our plans. But we do make them, commit to them, and pretty much always follow through on them. I guess we are pretty goal oriented in some ways, although again for some reason I feel embarrassed to say so. It's not the hippy/hipster thing to be, is it? I feel like I am Ben Stiller and Winona Ryder is just going to go off with that fuckface Ethan Hawke. And why the hell did she do that, you guys? Ethan Hawke was SUCH A DICK.

One thing we usually do in January is check up on all the plans we made the January before and check them off the list and talk about what plans we have for the new year and write out how we'll accomplish them. I realize I have been saying for so many years now that I am not a New Years Resolutions lady and so perhaps you are calling me a Full of Crap lady because it sounds like the same thing to you. To me, it seems different. Oh well. Anyway. We have a plan for our house- we have a huge master list of every last thing that we want to do on our house from now until the end of time- and we pick out the things that we think we can tackle for this year. Then we do a projected budget, and a timeline, and a supplies list. We also do a financial plan for the year. We set specific goals and then figure out what it will take to achieve them, and we write that shit out too. Then we make a vacation plan- any trips we need to take for the year? Where? How much vacation time will we need? How much money? Any personal goals for the year? A class one of us wants to take? An experience one of us wants to have? And then...

You get the picture. We plan.

In our defense (again, I am feeling the need to defend this), we don't just plan and put these things away until the next year. We check in with our plans throughout the year, see where we are, what needs attention. And as stick-in-the-mud as it sounds, at the end of the year, it feels SO FREAKING AWESOME when we look over all of those plans and see what we have accomplished. We have a yay us! grand old time every December. Because even if we didn't meet our goals exactly, we probably met part of them, and most of the time it's a big part. It's really motivating and empowering. And more than anything, I think it's a way for us to communicate about what we want out of our lives, what we are thinking about, what we are worried about, and what we can help each other with.

We were talking over one of our plans tonight (this one budgetary). We had gathered up some information and we were going over it and figuring out how to proceed this year. After we were done, he walked over to the kitchen to start dinner, which he did by first looking at our fridge to see the posted - wait for it- weekly meal plan.

Him: Wow, come to think of it, we have a lot of plans in our lives.
Me: I know, we really do.
Him: Let's think about what all part of our lives we have plans for.
Me: What, like just say them? In a list?
Him: Yeah.
Me: What for?
Him: So we can have a picture of our overall plan. What you plan for says a lot about your priorities in life. What you think is important.
Me: What do you mean our overall plan?
Him: Like, what do our many plans paint an overall picture of? When you put them all together, what does it say?
Me: That's deep, dude.
Him: Maybe we should think about the overall plan first, and then do the individual plans from that. Think about it philosophically before we get into the practical.
Me: I think I get what you're saying. Basically, you're saying what if we had a plan that will guide all of our plans.
Him: I think I just tipped us right over into crazytown.
Me: Yeah.
Him: Forget I said anything.
Me: I plan to.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Holiday shots

Stuff I want to remember from the last week or so.