March 2007

Astonishing, isn’t it? That there could be a Value Pack of Pig’s Feet hanging out in my kitchen for 4 weeks, and nobody noticed it? It all started when Kathryn was searching for artichoke hearts and ran into Mr. Value Pack in the supermarket. Me, I can’t resist a dare, especially one that involves poking just a little bit of fun at my sweet, unobservant husband. As it is, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen him laugh so hard it brought tears to his eyes.

I went and got my jar of Pig’s Feet on the evening of March 1st. I placed them prominently next to the garganto-jug of popcorn. We eat popcorn a lot, so I figured the feet would be discovered quickly. Not so, my friend. After about a week, I transferred them one shelf up to live with the baking stuff and peanut butter and honey. That day, Derek decided to make chocolate cookies (from a Martha Stewart magazine, no lie.) He got out the baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, etc, without noticing their cloven friends.

About two weeks went by where nothing happened, even when I asked Derek to fish out the peanut butter and honey for sandwiches. One day last week, I was baking and I asked him for the oil spray, which was actually touching the feet. Nothing.

I began to despair of him ever finding the treasure. I started thinking, like Bon did of her husband, that he had for sure seen them, but for some crazy reason, chose not to comment. I talked to Kathryn a couple days ago, and told her my fears. She decided Derek had seen them and was playing mind games with me. She suggested a strategy for forcing him to be the first to break. I was to keep moving the jar to different, obvious locations where he could not fail to notice and say something. Hmmm.

So I put them in the fridge, on the top shelf near the milk and water.


Open the door, and THERE THEY ARE! That was 3 days ago. Since then, I have tried to be around any time Derek opened the fridge, just in case. I asked him for water for dinner two nights in a row. One of those times, he actually grabbed the pig’s feet, moved them to a different shelf, and got out the water. I held my breath. Nothing. Oh, the suspense!

Tonight, I figure he’d have to notice them if I put them on the dinner table with the rest of tonight’s dinner. So, there they were, with the pickled artichoke hearts (fitting, eh?), the falafel, the tzatziki, and the pitas. Doesn’t that sound like a well rounded meal? A grain, a dairy/vegetable salad, deep-fried legumes, and pickled, semi-boneless goodness.

I called everyone in to dinner. The little boys came in first. They started asking, as they always do, “What’s this?” and pointing to everything. “Artichoke hearts,” I said, hoping they wouldn’t make me say out loud what was in the jar. Somehow, (it must be their male-ness) they did not see the pig’s feet.

Derek came in with Kiki in tow, started talking about falafel, looked over, and said, “Who’s gonna eat the pig’s feet?”

I stared at him, blankly.

He asked me where they came from. I asked if he really didn’t know, if he really hadn’t seen them. He said he’d seen them this morning, while I was out running, but forgot to ask me about them. He forgot. Then he actually said to me, “You’re the sort of person that would try to cook with something like that.” I laughed out loud, and said, “Yeah, except NO I WOULDN’T!!! PIG’S FEET!!!”

He really hadn’t noticed them, for 4 whole weeks. He told me that it must be because he just trusts me so much to make good things for him that he doesn’t need to pay attention to what’s in the pantry. My theory is that he’s a man. If I hadn’t put them out for dinner, I would have had to bury them in the backyard with Grandpa’s turtle when we pack everything up to move in August.

So do I win?


I haven’t had this reaction for a long time. I was looking for links for my music meme post, and I found this one, and I started crying. There’s too much to explain, and it goes a long way back. But if you want to watch a real musician playing some real music, here it is. This is good stuff.

Here’s something a little different, but lovely. Lachrimae means tears. A pavan is a 16th century dance. John Dowland is a 16th century composer famous for his lute music.

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Derek and I both have this weakness. We have to eat out, or at least order take-out at least once a week. Usually not more than that, but usually not less. I like to have a break from cooking, and he needs a break from dishes.

So on Saturday, when he got back from camping with the Scouts, he told me about this Peruvian restaurant he wanted to try. Two of the guys on the campout were from Peru, so he had asked them what they thought of the Peruvian restaurant that we used to go to sometimes. They both said it was terrible, and that there was a new one that was way better. So he got all excited and asked them what was good there. He doesn’t speak Spanish, so they made him memorize a couple of names of dishes they like.

We are both pretty adventurous when it comes to trying new things, and we’re both food snobs, too. We like everything, as long as it’s authentic. (I cannot stand to go to a place that calls itself Mexican and is really more like Taco-Bell. It makes me feel violent inside.) We like spicy food, so we’re really not afraid of that aspect. We both served missions for our church where we had to eat things that were not your typical American fare. I have had pigs intestines, brains, boiled skin, chicken heads, intestines, feet, fish eyeballs, fertilized duck eggs (with a little baby chick in there) and some sort of burrowing beetle. So I can take surprises, usually. Not that I want to go back to any of that.

Anyway, we were pretty excited to have REAL Peruvian food, something exciting that we’d never tried before. Maybe something that we’d go back for another day, since the selection of good restaurants in our town is kinda small.

Derek called them to make an order, and was heartened to find out that they spoke not a lick of English. He ordered Sachi Papas, and Pollo a la Brasa. The other thing he was supposed to order was some kind of drink, but the person taking the order just couldn’t understand his accent, so he gave up.

He drove to the restaurant to pick up the food, happily noted a Peruvian-looking family leaving the building, and came straight back without even peeking. When he got home, he came right in to Kiki’s room, where I was feeding her. Cue dramatic music, as he slowly opens the first Styrofoam container with the Sachi Papas, and sees… French Fries with sliced Hot Dogs. And three suspicious looking dipping sauces. He burst out laughing, as I sat dumbfounded. Authentic Peruvian French Fries? That had been steaming in the Styrofoam, and were now exceptionally soggy. They weren’t even homemade fries, just the frozen ones that every fast food place has.

On to the Pollo a la Brasa. A full leg of a chicken, complete with drumstick, thigh, backbone, all that congealed brown stuff under the backbone, and even the chicken bum. You know, that thing your Grandma call the “parson’s nose.” The thing you never see in your package of boneless/skinless. The thing that has a tailbone, a bunch of squishy fat, and some skin where you can still find a few tail feathers, if you look hard enough. On top of another pile of soggy, now very greasy Sachi Papas. And a small, soggy, greasy bunch of iceberg lettuce with mayonnaise on top. And a slice of winter tomato. (I’ll save the winter tomato rant for another day.)

I think Pollo a la Brasa is some sort of traditional spit-roasted street-vendor fare. And you guessed it, it tasted like it had been roasted at the side of a very busy, diesel fumey congested street. With a very strong hint of campfire. And some extra grease poured on top. Derek is bone-phobic, so I got to pick all the meat off. Because, yes, we still ate it. And then we were sad.

I told Derek he needed to give those boys a lickin’ at church the next day, but he forgot. He was too busy trying to think of creative ways to teach the dangers of pornography to a bunch of squirming 12 and 13-year-olds. (We made some phony doggy-doo with peanut-butter candy and lots of food coloring, put it in a zip-lock bag, and put that in a gift-wrapped box with a bow on top. The lesson being that it may look nice and inviting at first, but it’s really just a bunch of crap that you don’t want in your house or your mind.)

So I don’t think we’ll ever go to that restaurant again. Nor will we take culinary recommendations from any 12-year-old boys, no matter where they’re from. They may be nice kids, but jeez!

The most important part of changing your life permanently is to do it gradually.

So today is Start Small day. You don’t have to wait until Monday to begin a new habit. Start today, with something small that you would like to change. read more…

If only my kids would stay away from the cd player. I got tagged by bon. I’m glad that’s all she stuck me with, since things don’t seem to going too well at her house. Anyway, here it is: List seven songs you are into right now…no matter what they are. BUT. They must be songs you are presently enjoying. Then tag seven other people to see what they’re listening to.

Aaak! Do I really have to admit to the songs I’ve been listening to? First, I must explain my listening habits. I was never a big radio fan. Even in jr. high, I tried to listen to what everybody else was listening to, but I could never get into it. My best friend would always have the radio on, the tv on, be talking to me, and still be able to do her homework at the same time.

Me? If music is on, I’m actively listening to it. It’s not in the background. Sometimes it’s so distracting I get mad inside that I have to be subjected to it. Like in the grocery store? I HATE that. And in movies, if the music doesn’t seem appropriate to the mood or period, I can’t like the movie. Like Moulin Rouge. I couldn’t stand the movie, mostly because the music was such a hodge-podge of styles from too many eras. I also hate Ewan McGregor, and please, please never let him “sing” in another movie.

Also, I got my bachelor’s degree in music. I play the organ. I actually have organ music on cd, but I don’t listen to it. It’s for educational purposes. I also have lots of classical music, ditto.

So what am I enjoying right now? Well, I’ll have to include things I’ve listened to in the past 6 months, because I don’t switch very often. I’m trying not to be embarrased. Here they are:

1. I want you back – Jackson Five

2. Footloose – Kenny Loggins -OK, so it’s really the whole soundtrack

3. Nocturno – Frederico Moreno Torroba, played by John Williams

4. The Twa Corbies – Old Blind Dogs – I listen to this album more than anything else, but I think this is my favorite song on it.

5. Cold Day in July – Dixie Chicks

6. Serenity theme – Joss Whedon – this one’s from Firefly

7. And since it’s nearing Easter, the entire St. Matthew Passion by J. S. Bach, but my favorite song in it is the chorale Wer Hat Dich So Geschlagen?

And here’s the saddest part of my uncoolness. I don’t even know 7 other bloggers to tag. The only one who I would tag is the one who set me up.

Time’s up. There’s no more waiting, no more excuses, no more half-hearted attempts at a beginning. Today is the day. It starts today.

We went for a walk yesterday and saw all the apricots trees in blossom. Which, of course, made us think of popcorn balls. So we went home, popped up some popcorn, and made caramel syrup. The syrup siezed right as I was pouring it, so we had a big bowl of plain popcorn with a few chunks of very sugary popcorn. We ate it anyway. We all got sick.

Then, at the RS birthday party, someone had made and decorated 8 different cakes. They were all gargantuan 3-layer cakes, except the lemon-lime pound cake. One had pink frosting, with jelly beans on top and malted milk eggs around the bottom. I, along with everyone else at the party, got sick.

I am sick of making myself sick. I don’t feel good when I eat sugary things. How can I still torture myself with garbage that my poor body doesn’t want? It gives me a headache, it makes my stomach feel funny, and it makes me not eat things that will benefit me. I’m so tired.

So today is Real Wednesday. Things that go into me today will be real. Nothing that comes out of a box or bag. Nothing that has any form of sugar in the ingredients. Nothing that has to list the ingredients. Wednesday will be the day I have only food that remembers where it came from, that I can prepare myself. So here’s the plan:

  • Breakfast: Steel cut oats, toasted in butter (I get local butter, which is so much fresher) with a tiny bit of brown sugar. 2 grains
  • Lunch: Toast, from bread I made yesterday, with natural almond butter that I made last week, a salad of spring greens with olive oil and orange muscat vinegar, some raw carrots, and a smoothie of frozen banana, strawberries, kale, and yogurt that I made with local milk. 2 grains, 3 veggies, 2 fruits, 1 dairy, 1 protein, 2 fats
  • Cheese and bread. 1 grain, 1 dairy, 1 fat
  • Dinner: Red lentil daal with greens, tomatoes, caramelized onions and basmati rice, with yogurt on top. 2 grains, 2 protein, 1 dairy, 3 veggies
  • Snack: Popcorn with butter and salt. 1 grain, 1 fat

Totals: 8 grains, 6 veggies, 2 fruits, 3 dairy, 3 protein, 4 fats

This is so much easier when there is a plan. So today it will be easy.

back to pteradactylbrain >

These are the ways I’ve wasted my time today:

  • checking email. I never get any, so why do I keep checking?
  • reading Martha Stewart Living magazine. Will I ever, ever do any of that insane organization stuff?
  • trying to think of something to blog about. Can’t I just blog when there’s something worthy to record?
  • playing Planarity. This was the biggest chunk of my time today. Like they say, who needs heroin…?
  • watering the sandbox. Yes, watering the sandbox. Grandpa had the cherry tree sprayed with some freaky cherry tree pesticide today, and the sandbox is right underneath it. If I had know the sprayer guy was coming, maybe I could have covered the sandbox with a tarp or something, instead of creating horrific scenarios in my head about my children being poisoned by eating their twirlies with sandbox cherry tree pesticide on their little hands. Instead, I made a veritable mud bath with the amount of water I pumped into the sandbox, hoping all the poison would percolate down into the soil below.
  • staring at the wall. Sometimes I do that.
  • checking my favorite blogs to see if they’ve written something new. Get on it, people!
  • searching for a kitchen utensil that I had seen Zeeb playing with the other day. Why bother? It’s probably in the car. Or in Grandpa’s toilet.
  • thinking about doing laundry. Just thinking.
  • picking up toys from the living room floor. I’m pretty sure I did, anyway.
  • asking Calvin oh-so-patiently to please eat his risotto.
  • dreaming of what my garden will look like, after we move to Ohio, rent a house for a couple years, and finally buy one that hopefully has a big yard and good drainage.

And now I’m avoiding going to bed at a reasonable hour. Hmff.

My baby girl is 5 months old. She is a beauty. She is calm, happy, sweet, and giggly. She sleeps when I want her to, which is a lot. She loves me. I sure love her. The other day as I was nursing her, I had this intense, almost overwhelming desire to just give it up. I wanted to be free of the pain and the bondage of nursing. And the damage to my physique.

This is the third child I’ve nursed. Both my boys were still nursing a couple of times a day on their 1st birthday. I had gotten comfortable, the pain had ended, I’d been able to exercise and look more normal. I even got to stop wearing those crappy nursing bras that are so incredibly not flattering, since they would nurse first thing in the morning, and last thing at night. They were both around 8 months old when they made the transition to 2 feedings a day.

So I can hold out for 3 more months. I want to give my little girl everything she needs. I know if I stop now, she will probably not suffer any psychological or physiological damage. I probably won’t either. But I can’t imagine spending huge amounts of money on something I can make for free. And I do love holding her, letting her scratch the fats around my waist with her razor-sharp fingernails, seeing her try to grin and suck at the same time, and watching her fall asleep every single time she eats.

And it’s not like I can reverse the damage done to my poor body. I’ve given my pound of flesh. Or I’ve been given my pound(s) of flesh. Manufacturing a person is exhausting. I’ve come to believe that the process has many built-in fail-safes. To protect the developing organism, the mother is made to feel tired, sick, and in pain. The mother is then less likely to engage in dangerous activity. Or any activity. The child is not self-sufficient when it emerges, so the nearly broken parent has time to heal, while the infant continues to grow. Nursing a baby human who eats every couple of hours keeps that mom from going out into the world too soon or too fast, when she would do almost anything to be able to get back on her feet.

I want to break away, but I feel a responsibility to this little person not to. I also need her dependence on me. I know she won’t need me for long. So really, I’m not ready to quit.

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