Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Fixer Upper

Like you care, but...
 I burned up my favorite non stick skillet several months ago when I was paying attention to several things besides the skillet. It is the skillet that gets used the most, the one with a handle on both sides which cooks up excellent tortillas among almost everything else. It was a spendy little item, which added to the tragedy.

The skillet now has a dulled interior and some kind of crud that does not seem to scrub off for love or money. I have washed the skillet 20 times, trying to repair or revert it back to its original condition to no avail. It looks weird. Food sticks to it. It just doesn't have the "Joie de Vive" that it used to. Its a sad skillet. Disfigured. I was thinking of giving up, but I am no quitter.

Tonight, (instead of making the pies I am supposed to be making) I researched how to repair a skillet such as mine and I learned that I am not alone in this world. Skillet burner-uppers are everywhere and had tried many of the methods I had exhausted.  There was a laundry list of new ideas from baking soda to toothpaste offered. I created my own concoction of cleaning agents into a paste and worried only slightly about the chemical reaction that was occurring in the pan my delicate lady hands were in. Not to worry, at least it is close to Halloween.
just kidding..

As I scrubbed the dickens out of my favorite pan, I thought about all of the things in my life that I wish I could fix with a simple(?) concoction and a lot of elbow grease. I really wish some things could return to their original and better functioning state. I gain a lot of satisfaction when I think things are as they should be.

Sadly, most of the things going on in the world are even more complicated and stubborn to solve than my pan funk.

So...I guess I am off to make pies.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Either/Either, Neither/Neither...Lets Call the Whole Thing Off

Cripes, this is someone's grandma...

And this is probably her granddaughter..

 (Disclaimer: My apologies for the snarky running post yesterday; I think I was the victim of a caffeine and Excedrin overdose. I am much better today and while the RP talk will still make me squint, The Onion loves all of those crazy skinny runner types too, even if she struggles to understand why they do not prefer to do something more sedentary with their time, like reading magazines.)

And speaking of world peace, I want to talk with you all today about politics {{cue scary music here}}.  Every morning on my GMA there are a barrage of Tea Party-ers vs Obama hopers duking it out over who has it, or Left. One gentleman, (whose name I did not catch since I was blow drying during intros) said somewhat correctly that while he "may be drinking the Kool-aid, my opponent has been drinking too much TEA."  I yelled out an "AMEN BROTHER!", which made the kids come running. This guy, who may or may not be worth a plug nickel as a candidate has at least this sentiment correct.

We do have too many Kool aid stands and tea parties going on. Where can we get some nice, clean water without added bullshit? Moderates, I know we are all busy with out own mostly dull lives and staging a revolt isn't really our style, but I think it is partially our fault that politics have swung so far out of reason for.....ever.

During my lifetime, Republican administrations have problems with credibility (Iran/Contra, WMD's among many). During Democratic administrations we have also had problems (Lewinskygate, Obamacare, among many).  Both can be blamed for mistakes made that led to or further complicated the economic meltdown of late. The flaming liberals are jumping up and down on top of their hybrid mini vans, yelling about change. The Republicans are tightening their navy blue blazers and scoffing how things are going to damn well "change" around here in November as well. Meanwhile, Moderates (myself included) are thinking "This is a train wreck. Obamacare seems to have a boatload of problems, but the Tea Party Nazi's are freaking me out". And then we shrug and get on with our day.

In my own lovely, but highly Republican state, a DEMOCRAT as Governor is wildly well liked...I think because he is a moderate, as well as being really funny. He has been touted as being a Democratic Republican, but I truly believe his success as Governor came because he was a middle of the road guy, and was able to make magic on both sides.  Most of the time, both sides were happy with some issues and annoyed with him over others, which I believe to be a true measure of success as a leader. No one was getting their way all of the time with that fella. We have a more moderate Republican on deck for Nov., and I hope he can show the grace and calm of our current guy. We will miss you Gov. Dave.

Many of the Tea Party movement and Liberal Left would choke on their tea/medical marijuana if they knew their congress members were duking it out over bills on the floor, and then attending events with their pals from across the aisle in their spare time. 

So, get to work Moderates! In order to stop having a 4-8 year pendulum swing from the highly Democratic administration to the highly Republican administration (moderates feeling the blade each time it crosses from one side to the other..) we need to speak up and share the moderate view that holds places in both the right and left, and sometimes..NEITHER. Perhaps we could have our own parties, block party style, with a tag line that would apply to both the Radical Right and Liberal Left that said "Don't be Ridiculous!".

Megan McCain is not my hero in the least, but she made a bit of a splash on the heels of her Dad's crash and burn election (Palin = mistake) to point out that youth in America can't get on board with being Republican when people like Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter are the faces of the GOP. America's young people are a more relaxed about what "traditional values" mean and can't always jibe with the radical right that is the noisiest portion of the GOP. In the same vein, the radical left isn't really where they fit either, likening GOP to Nazi's and such. So, guess what? They aren't getting involved AT ALL. Politics? Learning about the issues? No thanks.

Rise up Moderates, and throw soccer balls at all of the candidates. If you aren't voting, START. That's an easy fix!! Consider becoming a candidate yourself in your local town to at least gain some balance in debates and give voters some reasonable goals to hold on to. Moderates are the largest group, with the smallest voice. Do you really want this guy speaking for you...on either side? Or this lady? SEROSLY??

 Credit to

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Running Program

  Ugh. The new trend of runners are taking over the Starbucks, (particularly on Saturdays, and who exercises on the weekends?) taking up all of the space and chairs with their sweaty, healthy bodies. They talk loudly about (you guessed it) their "running program", shin splints and the 5k/half marathon/marathon they are training for while syncing their giant path mapping watches on their skinny wrists.

It isn't just coffee; everywhere i go lately, people are yapping it about their "running program". I hear it in on Facebook, in airports, lunch restaurants, soccer tournaments, and probably even in church, if I ever went to one (correction: I did hear it at a funeral, check!). They do/don't/love/hate running on treadmills/outside, and sometimes travel in running pairs, like animals loading the arc. Serious RP's are wearing some kind of gel packs around their waist which is just a little weird.

The sudden fascination with running is getting on my last NON running nerve.

So...I have a new running program. Whenever I hear someone say the words "running program", I am going to run as fast as i can in the other direction with my hands over my ears, saying "LALALALALALA..." I am sure those on a running program will discuss my form, and how I will end up with shin splints if I continue to run that way.

I tried an RP once, called the Couch to 5K program, since I like to try new trends myself. I rocked the couch portion, but the 5k part never quite took off...

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ode to the Cassoulet

Here "she" is.
I know this is commonly called a "Dutch Oven", but the jokes those two words inspire in my household have caused me to lean to the lovely french version of "Cassoulet" (actually a recipe, but..). I sometimes pretend to smoke long cigarettes a'la Cruella DeVille when I say Cassou-laaaay. Cassssouuuuulaaaayyyyy.....((blowing smoke rings)). The company, La Creuset technically calls it a "French Oven", so there. The Dutch think they know, but they have no idea. 

I love this piece of cookware, and am only now unashamed of its ridiculous price. After longing after one in a cooking store, my family surprised me with my very own. It is a rustic red, further lending to my French accent. It is heavy as a ox. The handles will burn your hands off. It is not dishwasher safe. If you drop the lid, it will chip out the flooring. However, this is the most perfect pot I have ever owned. It should really have a name of it's own. I will work on it. Nothing chipper, for this is a serious pot. Suggestions welcome.. 

I recently used it to make sweet roll dough  Recipe here, something I had never considered before. It was perfect, since I could do everything in the deep sided pot, and then put the 100 lb lid on to let the dough rise. 

I should let you in on a secret that makes me love the pot even more...I am a crock pot failure. A FAILURE, I tell you. I have been watched, coached, gifted with a new crock pot, and consoled when my supposedly effortless dinner turned out looking and tasting like a grey football. And I can cook! Just, apparently...not in a crock pot. But the cassoulet (yep, still calling it that...) is a miracle worker. The meat is tender, the flavor is ridiculous. And I only have a back injury and some burned hands from lifting it out of the oven.

I made a corned beef that was too awesome looking to eat...almost. Don't tell the Irish I used a French pot.

Here are a few recipes in case you own a D.O./Cassoulet. Please to enjoy. I am all about those short ribs as soon as I lay hands on some.

No knead bread

Short Ribs Provencale


I am like a child when it comes to making excuses to do things I think are mundane. I swear, I would clean my andirons right now to avoid a specific project that needs me (and I need it!), if only I had a fireplace.
In case you HAVE andirons...

Others would push on through and get it done, but oh no...not me. I will instead do a little thing my Mom calls "Rosemary-ing", after a dear friend. I will start one project, then see something shiny that draws me to another project I have needed to consider for oh, about a year. Then, a butterfly will fly by and I will leave the second project to address something on the third.  I will walk past project #1, en route to get a hammer and some duct tape for project #3 and stop for a moment to consider an aspect of #1 again.  Sometimes I will stop and tinker with it, and then think "I had better put something out for dinner..".

I know what you are thinking. Yes, I do. You are seeing my mini projects all over the house, and wondering if my house really looks like the photo of hoarding I posted on an earlier entry to the blog. It doesn't. I will efficiently finish the projects, even late into the night. But only to avoid the thing I really ought to be doing. That can wait until tomorrow. Sigh.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Take my dog..please.

This dog for sale. While sweet natured and not a barker....this dog will eat ball bearings if she thinks they might be food. We have recovered:

  - the entire contents of my purse, including TWO packs of gum
  - tea bags
  - toothpaste from weekend bags
 - evidence from the case of the missing birthday cookies (plastic bag, NO cookies left)
 - my smartly wrapped Christmas gift (formerly under the tree) the snow. Good thing for the bright bow.
 - a house guest's lotion, stolen from her purse during a card game
 - customers Girl Scout Cookies (luckily they were for family)
 - My own ill fated box of Samoas
(The list could go on, but you get the idea.)

We think the pilfering stems from a failed post knee surgery diet, and a week of "fat camp" at my mother in law's house. Since then, if it isn't nailed down and even MIGHT be food, all bets are off. I know, I know some of you are worrying about this naughty dog's intake of both chocolate, xylitol and possibly diamonds, but I assure you, after an entire box of Samoas...she merely napped. Two packs of gum, not even a twitch. I was sort of hoping for death.

The latest victims were TWO print cartridges that I planned to return to the office supply store since I no longer have a printer which uses them.  At around $25 each, I was a little stoked at the idea of cash that seemed to come from nowhere, which could only be spent frivolously.

But, noooooo. Bad dog! baddogbaddogbaddogbaddog. I think she felt bad in this photo, in the Wal-mart parking lot, amidst the cardboard packaging pieces. And she was still hungry.

Why isn't the house spotless yet?

No, this is not really my house...
 Some collateral damage from deciding to make the leap from employed to self employed has been the unfortunate layoff of Darlene, my cleaning lady. Darlene was a great lady (and since she was short) I forgave her for not dusting the tops of my dressers...and other minuscule oversights in the cleaning process. Generally when I arrived home on alternate Mondays, things looked shiny and the whole house had an aura of cleanliness that I did not have to create. I hated to see Darlene go, but I really couldn't justify keeping a cleaning lady when I was going to be here on a consistent basis. So....goodbye Darlene. I will miss you and your little old lady shoes sitting at my front door.

Since the Darlene era has ended, I have cleaned a few closets (not mine), re-organized the linen closet and spot cleaned some of the carpets.  I repaired a broken pantry shelf (yes, me!) and attempted to re-plant some potted perennials (this was a failure, but A for effort!) I am highly mo-TI-vated. After scrubbing my own toilets, I decided my children (particularly my son) needed a lesson in how to clean bathrooms. Perhaps this will inspire better aim and management of misfires in the future, methinks.

I was being chipper "let's learn some life lessons" Mom, showing them the *super fun* process of top to bottom latrine duty. Strangely enough, they LIKE it. They teamed up and shined the place up, worthy of their German lineage. I thought the novelty would wear off, but again today they divvied up the bathrooms and took turns scrubbing. They're weird.

When they clean, these kids take it very seriously.

Chucking It

So...several months ago I was a busy, blackberrying SERIOUS BIDniss woman, flying and driving around the Rockies doing public affairs work. At times I felt very important and smart...but more often I felt haggard and stressed. I missed my house, my kids, my husband and my mother. I hated breathing in and out while checking my blackberry to make sure breathing was on the schedule. I loathed the 10 early morning emails I would receive from my ridiculously intense boss, whose time zone created a buzzing 5:30 am wake up call, complete with anxiety. So, what did I do? I chucked it.  

I have spent the last few weeks doing a LOT of cooking, smiling and non-blackberry-scheduled breathing. I have had lots of coffee with friends, drank at lunch, and walked with the dogs to take and pick up the kids. I even took the kids to school one day in my pj's. It's been dreamy. What has two thumbs and isn't missing the daily grind? Me.

(Technically, I am consulting and have had a few jobs in the hopper to keep me in a miniscule amount of green. And while I lack motivation some days, it's a good kind of lacking...I"m going with it.)