Category Archives: Food

You gotta believe

So I have this ongoing issue with baking bread, namely that I suck at it. It’s something I have always thought I should be able to do and I’ve never really been successful. Until recently.

I started making a challah every Friday, mostly because I like challah and also because Jillian really loves Shabbat, so it’s nice to have a challah and light candles and all that. The first few I made were really really dense. I got lucky a couple of times and they came out really well, but for the most part, there has been some extremely heavy bread up in here.

I think I know what the issue is, and that is that I don’t knead the dough long enough, at all. I use the dough hook on my stand mixer for about 6 minutes and then I turn it out on the counter and beat the shit out of it for another six or until my arms start to hurt. This takes some patience, which is not a trait I am known for.

But I’m learning.

So for Hanukkah, I decided to get myself that artisan bread book. You know, the Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day book. Making fresh bread every day is a pain in my ass. It takes way too much time, so I figured I would give this method a shot.

So far, so good. I am not a precise cook or baker by any stretch of the imagination. I prefer to feel my way around rather that measure and sift and level off and all that. This bread-baking process almost rewards that approach, because you honestly just chuck all the ingredients in a bowl or whatever, mix briefly and let it sit for a few hours. Then you can make bread out of it, and the bread is pretty damn good. Well, the first day it was. The second day was kind of dense and the third day was just gross, but I think that’s more to do with how I’m storing it than anything else.

Also, maybe I’m a little impatient.

The second batch seemed to go a bit better. I made two small loaves for dinner last night that were a tiny bit on the chewy side, but still quite tasty. Today I used the rest of the second batch to make rolls, and they look lovely but I haven’t busted one open yet.

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The cause of and solution to all of life’s problems

Beer is a big part of my life. I make it, drink it, read about it, and write about it.

It wasn’t always this way, though. I was never a big beer drinker. When you’re a teenager, you drink whatever your parents have in the liquor cabinet, never the beer. You figure they know exactly how many bottles of beer are in the fridge but they don’t always know the precise level of the vodka. When you do drink beer as a teenager, you’re definitely not drinking good beer – you’re drinking whatever cheap-ass shitty beer you can convince your friend’s 22-year-old cousin to buy for you. And of course you don’t like it – you’re drinking the shittiest beer ever made.

Then you get to college, and your tastes change. You’re still underage, sure, but at least now the parties are better because you have friends who are over 21 and while cheap beer is still the best for binge-drinking, it’s usually something slightly better than the warm donkey piss you’re used to. Still, hard liquor is still the fastest way to get blackout drunk, and that’s the goal during these years, right?

It happens to most of us.

For me, I remember the first time I was really aware of what beer I was drinking. I remember what it was. I remember who bought it for me. I remember what bar I was in and even where I was sitting. I remember what month it was, but not quite what day. I remember it so well because it was absolutely a ‘fork in the road’ moment (that had nothing to do with beer, incidentally), and I chose my path that night.

ANYWAY, I had recently turned 21 and was thus able to appreciate all the choices before me. Up to then, I’d been drinking Bud Light (what my boyfriend drank – but don’t worry, he’s reformed now), or Killian’s Irish Red (what Mom had in the house). Beer wasn’t my favorite and it seemed like a waste to branch out and spend money on something that I probably wouldn’t even like.

Then That Night happened, and I haven’t looked back. At beer, anyway. The other thing… yeah. Ha.

I forget exactly where I was going with this. It just struck me last night as I was reading about extreme beers that I could pretty much pinpoint my conversion. I saw the light, man.

So we’re about to make a super-hopped ale, which I cannot wait for, but I will have to. That’s going in bottles, which means a good three or four months from brew day to drinking day. It better be worth it. In the meantime, we’re making a Sam Adams-style as our first attempt at kegging. If it’s successful, then I have a feeling we’re going to go broke buying more kegging equipment, and the vague, unformed plans to run beer lines from the basement to the kitchen will come to fruition.

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…and now we have a story to tell!

Thanksgiving 2009. The weather for Thursday looked like it was going to be okay, so we decided to go to the parade. Woke up early, which wasn’t as bad as it should have been, thanks to Piper, who wakes me up before 6AM every day just for fun. Loaded everyone in the car and headed up to Newark to pick up Andy and Carly. Then we all got on the train, which Jillian LOVES, and went to NYC. Walked up 20 or so blocks and found a reasonable spot to stand at 51st and 7th. The parade route changed this year thanks to the pedestrian walkway bullshit Bloomberg installed on Broadway. So instead of standing along that lovely wide avenue, we got to watch the parade and those giant balloons all mashed down 7th. Meh. Not really an improvement.

Jillian had a good time, though. She got to see the Yo Gabba Gabba float and her own personal Jesus, Buzz Lightyear. I am now officially old, because I didn’t recognize fully 75% of the people on the rest of the floats. I got Meb Keflezighi, Carly Simon, The Roots/Jimmy Fallon, Cyndi Lauper, and a few others, but there were a whole bunch of emaciated douchebag boys in skinny girl-jeans that I simply did not recognize yet still wanted to punch in the face.

Eventually, we all got bored, as we do, and decided to walk up to 78th and Amsterdam to the Amsterdam Ale House for lunch/beer. The weather could not have been better, and it’s always fun to wander through NYC during the holidays. Had lunch/beer, then hopped the subway back down to Penn so we could head home. Whilst on the 1 train, we were serenaded by a guitarist and accordion player. La Bamba isn’t my favorite song, but the accordion player was playing with one hand while holdingh is hat out, so he got a dollar from us. That’s talent!

Planning ahead isn’t something we do well. We can do last-minute plans like nobody else, but ask us to think in advance and you’re gonna be disappointed. So it was with Thanksgiving-night’s dinner. Freddie was put in charge of that project, but left it too late and everything was closed by the time he decided what to do. Jerk. So we were all a little bit on edge Thursday night. Good thing we had plenty of beer.

My SIL was in charge of pies for our dinner on Friday, and decided to make them here at the house rather than make them at home and schlep them back on Friday. Fine, not a problem, so we let her have at it in the kitchen. Turns out, there was a wee problem.

I have a double oven. The top one is smaller and I use it a lot for small things. Very useful. The bottom part is the larger one, and I really only use that for large things (like, say, a 22-pound turkey) or if I’m baking cookies I use them both. Now, I have had issue upon issue with this stupid oven, [sing along if you know the words] because the previous owners of our house did not take care of their shit. They put in this beautiful kitchen and promptly destroyed it, so I have had problems with this oven (and the fridge, too!) even though it’s only 5 years old.

The bottom oven? DID NOT LIGHT. I had a similar problem with the top oven last year and got it fixed (to the tune of $400). It was a bad igniter, and I’m thinking that’s what’s wrong with the bottom oven. And, to make my life super-fun, it’s a closed system, so you can’t even light it manually. Thanks, technology!! So… here we are with a 22-pound turkey AND NO WAY TO COOK IT.

I’m tired. I’m hungry. I have a cold, which means a stuffy head and an inability to smell or taste. I have PMS. I’m annoyed with Freddie because he occasionally acts like a total giant flaming gaping asshole when my family is around, so there’s that. None of these things are ingredients for a Rational Rachel, so I start thinking up ways to kill everyone in my house (ways that don’t involve A COOKED TURKEY). Meanwhile, Freddie starts suggesting things. “We can ask the neighbors!”

Oh, riiiiiiiight. Let’s ask the neighbors (not the crazy ones who think I have a geezer fetish – the other ones), with whom we have a casual over-the-fence acquaintance if we can spend 6 hours in their house. Right! Because THAT IS SANE.

That was when I gave up and took the dog out. My mom, fully aware of my capabilities when angered, followed me out to talk me off the ledge. I was pretty much ready for everyone to just shut the fuck up and eat peanut butter and jelly, but she started brainstorming with me. We could butcher the turkey and cook the individual parts. We could… grill it? Maybe? We could maybe put it in the Crock-pot? We could give up and get Chinese, which seemed like a really good idea at that point.

Then Carly suggested one of those electric roaster thingies. Brilliant! Except for the fact that we didn’t own one! Oh, BUT WAIT! Since we were having our dinner on Friday, every store in the world would be open, and EARLY! Hallelujah and we were saved. Sorta. We were hoping that we could just buy one online and pick it up in the store, thus avoiding the “will they or won’t they have it” questioning that we DID NOT HAVE TIME FOR.

Thus began the internet searching. How we would have done this 20 years ago (hell, even 15 years ago would have been a challenge), I do not know. So we checked all the usual suspects, Sears, Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, even Wal*Mart… but no dice. Then I started getting crazy and checking places like Sur le Table and Williams-Sonoma. No dice. But Macy’s, dear, darling, fantastic Macy’s gave us some hope. They don’t have a buy online and pick-up in store option, but they did have an 18-quart roaster with “limited availability” in the Macy’s right near the house. AND they were opening at 5AM on Friday. Since I get up at that time with the dog, I decided that I would brave the Black Friday Macy’s and get me a roaster. God help anyone who dared get in my unwashed, uncoffee-d way.

Ma, being the trouper that she is, volunteered to go with me. I’m pretty sure her objective was to keep me from killing people.

Friday! Morning! VERRRRY early! The dog slept until 6, and so did I. Got up, took the dog out, woke Ma up and we went to Macy’s. Surprisingly, it wasn’t that busy at 6:30AM. The Best Buy parking lot was full-to-overflowing, but the mall was fine. If it hadn’t been dark out, it would have seemed like a normal Saturday. I was almost disappointed that I wouldn’t get to throw any punches, but we made our way up to the housewares section and located our roaster. There were only three of them and I realized that I needed a hand mixer because mine blew up (flames and everything!) so I stationed Ma at the roasters and went off to get a mixer.

$80 later, we were successful and back at the house in time for coffee and bagels! WOOOOO!

The turkey problem was [mostly] solved. Since it was an unknown quantity, we weren’t sure about timing and all that. We would have to wing it. And there was still the issue of side dishes. Ma was confident that between the small oven and the microwave, we’d be fine. And we were, but the timing of everything was pretty complex. And, in the end, I only used the microwave to heat one thing, not actually cook it. Because I am some kind of culinary rockstar. That Dinner: Impossible jackass ain’t got NUTHIN on me.

After 10 hours of cooking and swearing and all that jazz, dinner was served. The turkey was a little bit dry, but that is totally excusable since we had no idea what the roaster would do to it. Everything else was lovely, and I ate very little of it. I’m totally amazed that I cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner without being able to smell or taste any of it. The next day, when I was able to breathe again, I noticed that my stuffing didn’t have enough pepper in it and the gravy was a little bit salty, but other than that, it was perfect. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m amazing.

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Older than Jesus

Well, I turned 34 on Sunday. That was nice. I made the most amazingly-colored cake for myself and spent the day just hanging out. It was very relaxing.

However, I am now older than Jesus, if you subscribe to that mythology. Interesting thought. I was going to make a list of famous people I have managed to outlive (because I’m weird like that) but… who has time? Not me, that’s for sure. I’m too busy chasing Jillian, doing voodoo chants in the garden, and playing Tetris.

I know I’ve been neglecting you, dearest blog, and I do apologize. So much is going on, but not all of it is blog-worthy. I think I’m interesting, but I’m not sure you folks really want to hear about how the laundry refuses to fold itself and how I did the taxes this morning. Right? We’d probably all laugh a lot more about the Wii Fit calling me ‘obese’ and how I need to get my knee x-rayed before I can start running again but first I’m going to the hand surgeon to talk about my tendonitis.

That should be interesting. I’ve had tendonitis in both of my wrists for pretty much as long as I can remember. I did address it with a previous doctor but her advice was “rest your wrists for six months and it should go away.”



How is that even possible in this day and age? IT’S NOT. And even if I wasn’t on the computer 23 hours a day, I still knit and play Tetris. And SOMEDAY I’d like to get back to music, which means fingers flying over the keys of the saxophone (and the flute, and the clarinet [which, where IS my clarinet, anyway?], and the guitar and someday maybe I’ll even get a piano!), and I cannot even fathom what that will be like because I no longer have any kind of embouchure whatsoever which is sad and depressing but can be remedied if I have any skills left at all which I doubt.


Wouldn’t it be hilarious to start taking saxophone lessons again? HAHAHA, I can’t even fathom what that would be like. And it’s not really necessary, anyway – I just need to start practicing again.

So, for my birthday, I asked Freddie to buy me sessions with a personal trainer. My motivation is such that I think I need someone to kick my ass for me or else I won’t do the necessary to get in shape. And boy oh boy, do I need to get back in shape. Once the results of my knee x-rays are obtained, I’ll have a better idea of what I’m capable of/allowed to do and will progress from there.

Speaking of Jesus, I am performing my own miracles in the backyard. Freddie built me two garden boxes that we filled with a huge load of topsoil (they each hold about 1600 pounds of topsoil) and then I put seeds in! If we’re lucky (and dude, we are so NOT, since it’s 40 degrees and rainy today), we’ll get lettuce! And spinach! And scallions! And… cucumbers, maybe. I don’t follow directions and I don’t really plan ahead so we’ll see if anything at all manages to grow out there. A month from now will be the start of Tomatopalooza 2009, and I’m hoping for success with that.

My garden makes me God. It’s a nice feeling.

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It’s nearly spring, and that means that there is local asparagus in the store! It looked so lovely yesterday that I bought some and cooked it up for dinner.

I always forget why I should be hesitant to do that.

In the interests of environmentalism, I like to use the yellow-mellow policy regarding the bathroom. On a normal day, this is just fine and does not affect us adversely at all.

The day after asparagus, however, is a different story altogether. There are people who do not have that particular genetic sequence that allows them to smell asparagus pee, and I envy those people more than they will ever know.

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Jersey Tomatoes in February

I am getting better about eating things during the seasons in which they grow.

However, this generally means no fresh tomatoes in February. But I’m getting smarter – I’m looking at where things at the grocery store are coming from and I’m trying to buy fruits and veggies from New Jersey or as close as possible whenever I can. The grocery store does not make this easy, mind you, since they are fairly lax about labelling the veggies with their planet of origin.

Anyway, I was in the store today picking up last-minute stuff for the salad that goes with tonight’s dinner (cucmbers, oops; bagged salad, double oops; but I said I was trying) and there were the tomatoes, looking kind of okay.

Now, the myth of the Jersey tomato is a popular one. One that I didn’t believe at first because I’m from OHIO, for heaven’s sake. We have farms everywhere out there! Surely the tomatoes are better? Fewer people, less pollution?

Apparently not. The Jersey tomato is an amazing thing. I have heard of people who have saved seeds from their gardens in New Jersey, thinking that they could just grow them anywhere with the same result. Not so. There is something about New Jersey that makes tomatoes happy. In my own .18 acre of New Jersey, there is something that makes tomatoes VERY happy.

Last year, in my kamikaze garden, I put in 16 tomato plants. 14 of the plants actually survived the summer, and about 9 of them produced. And boy, did they produce. We got to the point where we were just chucking tomatoes directly into the compost because we couldn’t eat them anymore. This year we will have no such problems because we are gonna CAN them suckers.

My tomatoes? OMG. Oh. Em. Gee. So amazingly good. Between the clay-tastic soil, the fallout from the diesel exhaust from the trainyard a couple blocks away, and whatever the hell Johnson & Johnson is polluting the place with (they have a research & development facility about a quarter-mile from The Butterfly Ranch), my tomatoes were… indescribable. Just… whoa.

The trouble is, they don’t last. We got a few good ones at the end of July, then spent all of August and September eating tomatoes in and on every meal, including breakfast. Sure, we got sick of them, but come January, the body just cries out for some fresh tomato goodness. Here’s where the difficulty arises. Tomatoes like the sun. I have heard of the sun, but haven’t seen it lately. So I’m pretty sure there aren’t a whole lot of tomatoes ripening in the backyards of my state. Still, there they were today, on the shelf, looking all red and tomato-y. I couldn’t help it, and I bought some.

Because I knew it was a splurge, I didn’t buy those sickly pinkish styrofoam balls from Chile. Ohhh no. I don’t want to eat a tomato that is nearly as old as Jillian is because I know it will be a mealy, tasteless disappointment. I plumped for the Campari tomatoes, since they almost never disappoint. Looking at the package, I saw that they are grown hydroponically. I don’t know anything about that except that it’s a good way to grow pot. *Note to self, research just what the hell hydroponic means, just in case it involves ground-up kittens or something.

Even better? These are hydroponically grown in NEW JERSEY. Yep, that’s right. About 50 miles away, in fact. So, while they aren’t the poop-your-pants goodness of my mid-summer tomato bounty, in February? They’ll do.

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There is so much I don’t know

I’m getting ready to plan my assault on Mother Nature. I have such a huge list of things I want to grow (or try to grow, as the case may be) and I’m already fully aware that my ambitions far outstrip my actual skills.

The first thing that needs to be done is the garden expansion. There are probably better/easier ways to do it, but they require tools that I do not have. So it will be me, a rake, and a hoe out in the backyard for a couple of backbreaking days. It will be good for me, ultimately. Then I’ll have to rearrange the area along the back fence, because we had some pretty major erosion there due to my lack of planning last year. So that will need to be fixed somehow.

Then I have to decide what will go where, and when. I have no idea when to plant most things. I suppose I could get a book or find a website or something (I have quite a few sites bookmarked) but that would make sense! Why not re-invent the wheel? There is so much I don’t know. I don’t know when I should put lettuce in, and then what does it look like when it bolts? No idea. I know when to put in tomatoes and peppers, but what about broccoli? Can I put garlic in now or do I have to wait and put that in during the fall? No idea. Do I want to start asparagus from seed and wait at least three years before I can harvest? Or do I want to buy a set of crowns and put them in and hope to harvest next spring?

There is so much to do.


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Experimental cheffing

I like to cook. Usually. I’m much more a fan of baking because although cooking and baking both tend to make a crazy mess and use up every pot and pan in the house, with baking, the results tend to stay around a bit longer.

I’ve been doing a lot of both lately, what with the holidays and cookie exchanges and whatnot coming up. It’s been a crazy time, but I’ve been remarkably organized to the point where I had to run out to the store for sugar and flour only twice. So far.

My baking will make you diabetic. This I can guarantee. I have a friend who is also doing some baking and she talks about hemp seed oil and ground flax seeds and stevia extract and organic this and natural that. Not me, baby. I’m alllllll about white flour and white sugar and butter. These are the things that make us happy. There is a reason why I love Paula Deen, you see. In fact, I am about 75% of the way through with my planned holiday baking and I just opened my 5th five-pound bag of white sugar. Awesome.

What have I made so far?

  • 2 batches of fudge – 1 with regular cocoa and 1 with dark cocoa (that batch is um, gone). I can’t seem to find Dutch process cocoa at my grocery store, but that stuff makes the bestest fudge ever.
  • Chocolate-chip cookies
  • Chocolate-chip-raisin-oatmeal cookies
  • Butterscotch oatmeal cookies
  • Sugar cookies (and I used Martha Stewart’s crappy icing recipe instead of my own and now I’m mad at Martha).
  • Snickerdoodles (also gone)
  • Mexican Wedding Cakes (shyeah, like those were gonna last more than a day)
  • Peanut brittle (a new experience for everyone!)
  • Hard Rockin’ Candy: Experiment #1 (raspberry) = FAIL, #2 (cinnamon), #3 (mint), #4 (lemon) = WIN and #5 (cherry) = in progress
  • What’s next? Blondies, something called ‘dream bars,’ lemon bars, toffee squares, more snickerdoodles, more Mexican Wedding Cakes, more fudge, and Hard Rockin’ Candy experiements #6 (tutti fruity) and #7 (raspberry revisited).

    Then, perhaps, a salad will be in order.

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    Here’s some random crap!

    It’s not that I don’t love you, my four blog readers… it’s that, well, things are a bit of a tornado lately and there just hasn’t been time to sit down and write about how awesome I am.

    So here’s some random junk.

    1. WTF is up with my right foot? The sole of it is all hard and leathery and has cracked in places, which is uncomfortable at best and fucking painful the rest of the time. Getting a pedicure is out of the question at the present time, since I’m sure they want someone with oozing sores getting germs all around the place. I suppose I could maybe quit wandering around the backyard in bare feet and put some damn shoes on, but I probably won’t.

    2. I managed to catch a cold. In July. At first I thought it was allergies, but after the initial early-spring pollen showers, I haven’t had any problems. Until this week, which brought on the sneezing and the sneezing and the sneezing. I think it’s going away now, but I still have that sunken-eyed feeling. Sexy.

    3. My garden is quite a sight. The front garden was strewn with wildflower seeds in hopes that SOMETHING would grow there until I can actually sit and look at it and decide on a more permanent way of going on. It’s very pretty, with lots of blue and orange flowers that Jillian enjoys chewing on. Hope they’re not poisonous! I also have a few sunflowers that are still alive, which is a miracle to me since I have never been successful with those.

    4. The back garden is… a tomato jungle. I planted sixteen pods with tomato seeds, thinking I was going to do it right and thin them before sticking them in the actual ground. I overestimated myself and ended up just putting the whole pod in. So now I have a veritable rainforest of tomato plants, which are being held up by a combination of cages and yarn. I need to stake them, like yesterday, but haven’t yet been able to carve out the time. I am hoping beyond hope that the hornworms don’t find us. Those things creep me out SO MUCH (more than soggy Cheerios, if you can imagine anything more horrifying than that) and if I see one, I’m busting out the Agent Orange.

    5. The cantaloupe and the zucchini didn’t make it, sadly. It seems that buying plants from Home Depot is a bad idea – I have never done well with them, because they’re always diseased or something. The peppers I bought seem to be doing okay, and the eggplant… might live… but the others I bought DIED. DIED DIED DIED! Fuck off, Home Depot. Next year we’ll be more organized (ha ha!) and start zucchini and other fun things from seed.

    6. I am trying to get Freddie to let me bust up the front lawn and put raised beds in there, but there is something encoded in his suburban DNA that makes him shrink with horror whenever I talk about NOT HAVING A LAWN. As it is, I refuse to water it no matter how brown and grody it gets because using fresh water on something that is ornamental and ultimately USELESS is so wasteful, it makes me want to barf. So… brown lawn. I did convince him to use a more or less ignored strip on the side of the house for next year’s veggie garden. We’re going to build the beds in the fall and hope that when spring comes, we’ll be able to grow stuff there.

    7. My knitting projects are coming along nicely. I have finished the front of the Big Ugly Sweater and have started work on one sleeve. I might get it done by the time winter rolls around, but let’s not hold our breath. It’s my Aries nature – I love to start things, but the finishing… not so much.

    8. Sewing is happening as well. Sort of. I am far too impatient to actually follow directions, so my projects tend to stall until I have some kind of brainwave that gets me through to the next section. Again – love to start things. I adore picking out fabric, but when it comes time to actually do something with it, I’m already bored and onto the next thing.

    9. Tomorrow I’m heading up to Massachusetts to party with some of my Imaginary Internet Friends. I need some time away, badly. The last month or so of life here at The Butterfly Ranch has been extremely difficult, but I haven’t really been able to talk about it. It sucks, but that’s the way we roll here. I am thankful that I have my IIFs to vent to, or else this last month would have found me curled up under the dining room table, scratching at imaginary bugs.

    10. Sunday Freddie and I are going to see the Mets! We weren’t counting on being able to get tickets at all this year, since it’s the last season at Shea Stadium, but thanks to his connections at work, we are using someone’s season tickets for this game. WHEEEE! Or, as Jillian would say “Yay Mets! Baseball!”

    11. The Jillian is, as always, a constant source of amazement and delight. She is talking talking talking all the time, and putting words and sentences together left and right. Her latest obsession is airplanes, so every time we’re outside, we look up in the sky for airplanes. She is also a big fan of flowers, and after breakfast every day, she stands at the baby gate to the kitchen and says “Mama. Shoes. Outside, new flowers!” She also likes to learn new words and will happily repeat them all day long. Yesterday’s word was “greenies,” since she wiped some boogers on me and I said “Ew! Greenies!” So yesterday was all about “Mama, greenies in my nose!” And then she would cackle.

    12. I fear the child has been cursed with my hair issues. I have cowlicks all over my head, which means the hair does not lie flat, ever. Jillian seems to have the same thing – her hair grows in about fifteen different directions and cannot be tamed. I am going to break down and get some barrettes to attempt to keep it out of her eyes, but I am not confident that this will help. Freddie is all for cutting her hair, but I refuse to allow him to do that! People just stopped telling me what a cute little boy I have, I’m not about to butch her up again!

    13. I need to figure out what to do with this ridiculously large head of bok choy that I got yesterday. We joined a CSA, which, yay! But you get what you get, and a 2-pound (possibly heavier) head of bok choy was in the basket yesterday and… I’m at a loss. I know it’s related to celery and that I can use it in stir-fry and possibly also a soupy-thing (there’s a Naked Chef recipe that I have made before that was excellent), but other than that… I’m stumped. I tried last week’s [much smaller] bok choy in a tomato sauce over pasta, but I wasn’t thrilled with that combo.

    14. I like the CSA. So far. We paid $350 for a 1/2 share, which looks like it’s going to be plenty. The farm is organic, and our farmer sends out a newsletter every week with little tidbits about what he’s doing and how he’s doing it organically. It’s very interesting. If I had the $$, I would love to buy a bigger plot of land out in the boonies somewhere and grow more food. I’m going to try, year by year, to take over more of the backyard.

    15. And there you have it. Maybe, if you’re really lucky and you wish really hard, I’ll quit being lazy and post some pictures. Jillian’s 2nd birthday is coming up (I know – I can’t believe it either), so maybe I’ll post a bunch of her.


    Filed under Baseball, Food, Friends, House, Jillian, Knitting, Me Me Me


    Jillian and I spend a great deal of time talking about animals and the sounds they make. We point them on in books and as we walk around the neighborhood, and we are getting really good at barking, meowing, and such.

    Right now, I am serving her dinner: chicken, carrots, and cheese. She holds up a piece of cheese and says “cheese!” I confirm. She… throws carrots on the floor and I say “carrots. Do not throw them.” She holds up a piece of chicken and says “whut dat?”

    I say “chicken.” She answers “bok bok!”


    I wonder if she connects the chicken (bok bok!) that she’s “eating” with the chicken in her bedtime book who takes a bath, brushes his teeth, and wears pajamas. And if a connection is made, I wonder what she thinks of all this.

    With cows and pigs and sheep, this isn’t going to be a problem. But with chicken… we’ll see if she figures it out.

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