Wednesday, December 23, 2009

as per request...

Enlarged photos of our Christmas Card Extravaganza...


For cereal. Have a bodacious Holiday.

Merry Christmas...

Because Walmart wanted almost one hundred dollars from our already light pockets for Christmas cards this year, we decided to email ours instead. Besides, it's trendy to "be green", so, we're going for that too.

And in the spirit and tradition of our ever unconventional Holiday greetings,
I now present you with this...

circa 1989

(...this is a joke, by the way. My husband does not have a mullet and a mustache. Nor do I run around in tinsel colored sweaters and leggings. Just FYI)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Do you ever feel like you're having 'one of those days'?

Nothing goes right.
No one is on your side.
Nothing fits right, looks right, feels right.
You can't remember things.
You're tired and uncomfortable.
You're clumsy, fidgety, and awkward.
Constantly off balance and bumping into things.
Consistently annoyed.
And burnt out.

Well, I have, for about two weeks now. I don't know what it is, but it's a funk that I can't climb out of. Maybe it's stress. Maybe I'm just tired. Whatever it is, this feeling washes over me every year around this time.

I miss the sun.

It's dark by five o'clock. Everything is a dull and dismal grey. The colossal dump of snow we had last week isn't pretty, and light, and beautiful anymore. It gave me a sore back and numb feet.

I want to go camping.

On our honeymoon, between bouts of  soaking in the ocean and soaking in the sun, when we were too tired to drink just one more all inclusive margarita, we would go to our ocean-view room, lay on the over sized bed and watch the only English station on TV. Morning to night, seven days a week, back to back episodes of CSI played in our native tongue.

I know what you're thinking,
"CSI in Cacuun?? You couldn't think of anything better to do??"
Okay, maybe you're not thinking that, but my mom is. I bet you five bucks.

We were in Mexico for ten whole days. At a resort. There's only so much you can do.
For       ten      whole      days.

The swim up bar was awesome the first couple of days. Until flocks and flocks of people started showing up that weekend. And suddenly, it became a cesspool of disease. Thick, green sludge coated the blue tile and formed spinning whirlpools that floated past our unobservant, slightly submerged noses.

After that it was a completely ruined effect for me, swimming up to a bar.

Then there was the bus, which was awesome for the first couple of minutes. Until we realized it was not awesome, and we didn't know where to go. The bus was probably the most dangerous part of our trip. Never mind the repelling into a bottomless cave, zip lining across a gully, and canoeing in alligator infested marshes that we partook in while we were there, no, the bus scared me the most. Lumbering down the too narrow streets and careening round the corners, the bus bounced us up and down fiercely in our seats. We didn't know where to get off, we didn't even know what we wanted to do. We just wanted to get out of the resort and actually see something. We debated our next course of action. This stop? the next one?
The bus driver yelled,
"Aeropuerto! Aeropuerto! Last stop!"
and the bus came to a deliberate halt. We scurried off having no idea where we were or where to go, only knowing that we didn't want to be anywhere near the local airport hosting single jet planes. So we walked, and walked, and walked. Hailed a cab, and said the only thing that we knew would be universally understood,
We managed to make it back safe and sound, but were really unwilling to do any kind of sightseeing or pool lounging after that. And it is so that we discovered the wonderful American marathon of our all-time favorite show.

It was during one of these 'breaks from vacationing' that we saw it. A music video from a popular Spanish musician, Luis Miguel. It was absolutely hilarious to me. I couldn't stop watching. Which was good, because it played at every single commercial break. Sometimes they didn't even have other commercials, they would just stop the show and play the music video, it was...just...hilarious.

My husband thought the same thing. Whenever it was on we would grab the closest hairbrush or remote and lip synch the unknown words. 'Corny' is an understatement. We hammed it up big time.

He pretended to be the serenading adulterer, matching all the gestures on tv. Pointing his finger, tossing his head back dramatically and clutching his heart. I pretended to be the tempting seductress and would flip my hair in rejection. It was a fun, amusing game we would play, acting out the fate of the star crossed lovers.

We left Mexico feeling like we were leaving a new home. A big, fancy home with every meal prepared for us, fresh towels every day, friends at the bar, slippery newly mopped floors, a delectable backyard equipped with four pools and an entire ocean, and warmth, mmmmm, warmth.

So, you see, with such memories engraved in my mind, I know the feeling of peace and tranquility. I know at some point not too long ago in my life, that I felt complete serenity.

I miss my freckles.
I miss my brown skin.
I miss the ocean and the sun.

And when you miss those things already, but you have a bad day, or week, or weeks, you miss them even more.

Yesterday marked day twelve (not that I'm counting) of my bad, 'in a funk' moodiness. I started feeling like I should just get over myself and shake it off, but then I discovered them. My boots. My brand new boots, only two days old, gnawed beyond wear. Compliments of my darling dog.

I cried. But that's not too surprising...

I just sat on my big red couch and cried. Defeated.


Pissed off.

But then, quietly at first, I heard it. The familiar piano tune.
Louder, the crooning voice of a Puerto Rican.

I turn, mascara staining my cheeks, and see my husband with a goofy grin plastered on his face.
Luis Miguel playing on iTunes.

He swoops over to me, scoops me up off the couch and whisks me across the room. We waltz, we laugh, we make fun of one another. He holds me in his arms and lets me cry. I let go off all the bad thoughts and feelings, and...I play.

A veil of weight lifts off my shoulders.
And I have a good day.

To witness the greatness of Luis and his jezebel, go here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Normally, I'm the one who will believe anything. 
Normally, my husband exploits this and uses it to my disadvantage.

The one with the picture that you're suppose to stare, and stare at to try and find out what's wrong with the image until suddenly a big, ugly, terrible face flashes before your eyes with a shrill, retching scream.

And I fall for it every time.

But not today...

Today, I was the victim of blunt force trauma to my jaw-slash-tongue. 

My sweet, innocent, little nephew was crawling all over me. Cuddling, laughing, and crawling, and just being as sweet as can be.

Until he wanted to reach the unreachable. He wanted to see out the window, look out into the world. See the cars and snow and loveliness. But, that required him climbing up onto my shoulders. He did it once and succeeded, but that was with assistance. I hoisted him up myself so I could see his little grin of happiness. The second time, however, I was no longer in the mood. 

Do something once with a toddler, be prepared to do it a hundred times more.

And so, I watched him climb his own way up. Grabbing my legs, lurching himself onto the futon, holding my waist, and bringing one chubby leg up onto my shoulder. The second wasn't as smooth. He hit a wall that was my face. My jaw clenched onto my unsuspecting tongue and I let out a yelp.

Immediate blood.

With a split tongue, I went home. Waited for my husband to come home, and, upon arrival, I told him that I had injured myself. Which isn't that uncommon of a greeting...

My eyes big and batting, I proceeded to deceive him. Never have I pulled off such ploy and deception. But I was ready, and willing... 

"Baby" I said,  "I hurt myself today..."

My concerned husband asked, 

"What happened"

Wheels turning, I planted my tale...

"Well, um...It's kind of, someone was slicing turkey at work today, and well, there was a piece left on the slicer when they were done..."

His eyes got big.

"...and...I...well...I licked the meat slicer."

"YOU WHAT!?!?"

"Yes. Um. I licked the meat slicer. I'm sorry. Are you mad at me?"

"You mean to tell me that you licked the same kind of meat slicer that my cousin almost lost all of his fingers to? and, LICKED it?!!"

I shrug innocently.

"Wow."  he says, "You are such an idiot."

I convulse into a fit of laughter and come clean. 

He won't forgive me, but I got him. 
And I got him good.

It's just too bad that my swelling tongue is outweighing my swelling pride.

Monday, December 7, 2009

operation: rogue orange retrieval...

A friend politely suggested we make a serious effort to remove the lodged orange from the heating vent. Because, it will indeed invite bugs, critters, and, believe it or not...the undead.

There was no way I would be sleeping soundly with that information.

So, we decided to delve into the unknown. A world creeping beneath our floorboards, humming with hot, stale air and thick with dust. And by "we", I mean, not me. I mean him. Master of the house.

I wasn't about to plunge my arm into that dark and dingy abyss...

The operation required the following:

One flashlight
One shop vac
One compact mirror
An assortment of miscellaneous kitchen utensils
One fish net
One random dowel
One flashlight
One bottle of clear eyes
A roll of electrical tape
And a Miller Lite, for encouragement...

First, remove heating register grate. Wrench the upper half of your torso into the vent. Realize you can't see. Back out. Place flashlight at the bottom of the vent pointed in the direction of the orange. Fashion a see-it-all mirror out of electrical tape, dowel, and compact. Resume crushed position in heating vent. Repeat this phrase:
"By-God, I think I see it!"

Back out. Fashion long extension arm out of cluster of kitchen utensils. Enter vent again. Blindly feed the extension into the heater and fumble around inside until you have a mental imagine of where you are. Somehow squeeze second hand into the vent, holding the see-it-all mirror contraption. Realize you'll never reach. Keep trying anyway. After 30 minutes...

Come up with a better idea.
Find a fish net. Fasten the fishnet to the end of the utensil arm. Try a swing and swoop method. Try again. And again. Okay...try one more time. Give up. Ask wife for a beer. Receive beer. Curse once...maybe twice. Enter shaft again. Exit shaft immediately. Turn off heat and wait for hot air to subside. Find bottle of clear eyes. Apply liberally.

Get shop vac.
Feed hose through vent. Wonder how you managed to fit inside anyway. Tell wife to "HIT IT" and wait for suction action to begin. Try to pry suction action away from wall of vent. Try again. Pull hose out and fasten new hose attachment. Lose hose attachment in vent. Realize you are now fishing for two lost items. Use second hose attachment to scoot the items closer towards you. Repeat this phrase:
"By-God, I've almost got it!"
Scoop hose attachment out of vent. Slide mirror into vent and behold the orange hath rolled. Get a sudden burst of energy. Fasten fish net to hose attachment and slowly nudge and prod orange until it is within a very uncomfortable arms reach. Reach into vent with arm. Reach. Reach. Grab. Got it. Pull dusty old rotten orange out of vent and toss into garbage delightfully. Take out of garbage so wife can take a picture. Take picture unwillingly. Toss in garbage again. Never let wife put anything near heating registers ever, ever again.


And that, friends, is your step by step tutorial on how to remove a decorative citrus fruit from your furnace.

Now you know.
And, you're welcome.

In case you're wondering, I did learn my lesson. Never put things where they don't belong. Do oranges belong in heaters? 

I now know not.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

bruised bums, egos, and less underwear than yesterday...

This weekend we picked out our Christmas tree. We decided since it's our very first real tree (last year we had a fake one), we should go all the way and cut it ourselves.

It was a perfect day! The sun was shining and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was a decent temperature for an excursion in the outdoors...that is, if picking out a tree were like picking out what flavor ice cream you want today. Which, to me, it isn't. I think we spent a good hour tromping around the farm trying to find the perfect one, so the nice cool weather quickly turned into a bitter cold and, because I wanted to look 'cute' for our first encounter with our new houseguest, I was wearing a skirt and a very non-warm coat.

After debating between four or five trees, we finally committed to an enormous, looming, nine-foot evergreen. It was scrumptious.

Todd was worried that the bungee cords we brought wouldn't hold the tree down. I told him not worry about it. We drove 30 MPH on the highway anyway.

I was right. Nothing happened to the tree.

Also on the agenda for this weekend was shrink wrapping the windows. Whoever conceived this idea is brilliant, our house is suddenly warmer, but really, it's quite possibly the most annoying, irritating chore ever...ever, ever. The double-sided tape never sticks to anything, except everything you don't want it to. And trying to cut those enormous sheets of plastic by yourself is impossible, your arms end up in all the wrong directions and your face squishes up like you just ate a lemon. It's annoying, and difficult. Toss a 9 month old puppy into the mix and you've got major issues.

Lena was driving me nuts. She was always under my feet, leaning up against me, and I just know she was thinking,

"Mom, why are you paying so much attention to this window and not me??"

One particularly difficult window to overcome required me steadying myself on a dining room chair. I  teetered on the seat, stretching myself as far as I could reach...streeeetchhhhh, reachhhhh, go, you're almost there, GOTCHA!...finally got the damn thing to stick.

Just as I'm about to step off the chair, I notice Lena laying directly underneath my descending foot. I pull away to bypass crushing her, but I stumble and come crashing down. I managed to miss crushing her spine, but I miscalculated how close I was to the back of the chair. I was close, close indeed. So close that I now have a major bruise on my rump from landing so hard on the ornate backrest of our antique dining room chair.

Later that day I was on the computer, catching up on celebrity gossip. My clean laundry was waiting patiently in a basket nearby for me to fold and put away. Lena was being abnormally quiet. She was adapting well to the monstrosity of a Christmas tree in our living room. We put all of our shatter-proof ornaments near the bottom of the tree in case she got an appetite and tested the sparkling glassware for her supper. Lena didn't even pay attention to the tree, or the ornaments, or the lights. She did, however, think that the tree stand that held three quarts of water must have been a new watering hole. A buffet of drinks before her, she lapped up every ounce left in it. I replaced the water and scolded her.
(Lena, the Christmas Elf. Notice the orange in the heater, I reference that in a bit.)

At some point I noticed that my house smells like dog. Not just dog, but that smell that overcomes you when you open the door to the vet and it's as if someone slapped you across the face with canine slobber laced with half digested kibble and you get that tickling feeling in your nose that means stray hairs have lodged themselves in your nasal passages and you'll never be able to breath the same unless you're able to let out a good productive sneeze, but that doesn't help either because after you sneeze you just have to breath in deeper, and then it gets stuck in your throat and all you can think about is the nasty saliva that must be embedded in those dog hairs, so you gag, and then gag again, but nothing happens because you're unknowingly trying to prevent yourself from breathing in any more of the air surrounding you and then you pass out and die.

At least, that's what it reminded me of. 

Which is why we haven't had company over for awhile.

Anyway. I tore myself away from the smut gossip website and started to think of ways I could freshen up my home and make it smell like Mrs. Claus resides here. I love the smell of oranges studded with cloves, so I made five of them. Our house is old and has these gorgeous heating registers that blow out a ton of air. I investigated one and thought it might be a neat idea to tie an orange on the inside of the register. That way, whenever the heat turns on, we'll get a huge gust of spiced orange wafting past our noses.

I needed Todd's help holding the grate. He looked at me like I was crazy, but agreed, something needed to be done with the foul aroma of our living quarters.

Before he allowed me to do this, however, he laid down some strict instructions about the care of our new furnace decor. I was to be very careful with the dangling orange and keep an eye on it every day. If it started to shrink, I needed to remove it pronto before it slipped out of it's green, festive noose so it wouldn't fall into the dark oblivion of the heater.

"Don't worry, I'm not a child, I'll keep an eye on it."

For a whole two hours I basked in the scent of spicy citrus, priding myself of what a cunning, cunning woman I was, fooling the furnace and canine smell.

And then, just like a cheap plug-in, the smell left.

It was at that moment that I realized Lena wasn't being abnormally quiet...she was being the kind of quiet that gets her into trouble. If she's not annoying us by whining or chewing at our slippers, she's most definitely got herself into something she shouldn't have. I looked down at my feet. Over at the laundry. And then over to where she lay. Six pairs of my most treasured underpants lay at her feet. Chewed beyond distinction. My most treasured, I mean the kind of underwear you can wear with anything. Wear on a long car ride because they're not uncomfortable, wear with a cute dress because they're not uncomfortable, and wear for a date because you're married and you don't need to wear uncomfortable underwear anymore, so, they're comfortable.

I lunged at her from my computer chair to try and get them away from her. But, unfortunately for me, the chair on wheels I so willingly put my trust in, slipped out from underneath me. In a short second I was on the floor, tears welling in my eyes, and grasping my arm and foot that took the major brunt of the fall. Oh, how I hurt. And still do. I have matching bruises, leg and arm, all from a four legged animal.

Because of this, I decided to relieve my stress and perk up the Christmas scent by adding the last few oranges I had decorated. I lifted the register off, tied two more oranges onto the grate, and set it back in it's place.


Oh. Crap.

There it went. One of the oranges propelled itself down the long and dusty vent. Down and down and down into extinction.

If I hadn't gasped so loud, my husband would have never found out. But, I did. And just as I did, he rounded the corner saying,


That 'what' is something I dread hearing. It's the 'what' that makes my tummy skip up into my throat, fully knowing what I did wrong.

I was right about the tree being bungeed to the car, nothing would happen. But I was SO WRONG about the stupid oranges hanging loosely in the register.

He was mad, and rightly so.

Now, the orange sits, distressed and alone at the bottom of the heating shaft. Who knows what will happen. Will it just dry up and stay there forever? or will it attract rodents and monsters and ghosts? (it is an old house after all...)

One thing is certain, there is a moral to this entire post. It took me two bruises, a humbled ego, and several pairs of panties to realize...

More often than I care to admit, my husband is right.


Never put all of your good underwear in one basket.

Friday, November 27, 2009

the thanksgiving edition...

I have so much to be thankful for. So, so much. I can't even begin to think where I would be right now if it weren't for my amazing, supportive family, and my extraordinary husband.

I'm thankful for a tableful of friends and family.

Thankful that I got the chance to talk to my brother on his first Holiday away from home.

Thankful for jokes and stories that we've heard over, and over at the same dinner table for twenty years or more.

I'm thankful that I don't feel ungrateful. That I feel like I belong in the place I'm in right now. I am so unbelievably thankful to be where I am, with the people am I with. Every day it seems I take a peek at my life and wonder, 'is this where you thought you would be, is this what you want to be doing?' and I always, always think, 'YES!!' My life is an amazing life, and I wouldn't change any part of it...

It's the day after Thanksgiving. You might already be wondering why I'm in such a good mood right now and talking about love, and family, and how my life is so incredible...but, it's the day after Thanksgiving...and you know what that means!!

Christmas decorating!!

I don't know why or how it happens, but the minute you tear away the packing tape, your house suddenly reeks of Christmas. Cinnamon oozes out of the boxes, pine wafts past your nose, and suddenly it feels like Santa threw up in your house, spewing Christmas essence all over the walls and cupboards.

It's delicious.

We're the only one on our block to have Christmas lights, but I don't care. It makes me happy...

The wreaths are hung...

and our stockings are resting on the banister...

Glittering snowflakes are dusting the garland. Candles are lit in every corner. Twinkling lights are draped lazily, weaving in and out of faux evergreen, and chandeliers are seductively enveloped in garland.

This is the time of year that I wish I was still living at home. Wishing I still saw the familiar nutcrackers gracing the staircase, my own stocking, hand embroidered by my mom, nestled between my sibling's and clung to the fireplace, and a warm cup of hot cocoa made by my dad out of Nestle's and chocolate milk, extra thick and full of chocolaty goodness.

But, I have my own family now. A family that I have to provide these Holiday traditions for. A husband who longs for his mom as much as I do this time of year.

And so, we adorn our house with cheer and reminders of what our mothers would do. We make it our own, but still bring a piece of our child's heart into our adult home. We listen to "A Charlie Brown Christmas" soundtrack because that tugs his heartstring. And we decorate incessantly because that tugs my heartstring.

We laugh and hug, and laugh again, watching this, and this. We create our own memories and traditions, and we hold each other. Missing the absence of everything we've ever known during the Holiday season, but embracing the traditions we've started for our own little family.

And I remember, amidst all the glimmering lights, pine scented candles, and mistletoe adorning our home, this is a time to love.

It's a time to love deeper than you ever felt before.

mistletoe and
garland and
sparkles and
and pine scented candles
and santa's
and nativities
and red
and green
and giving
and getting
and traditions...

just force you to

love a little deeper.

Happy, happy thanksgiving everyone.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

the wonders and woes of widow's weekend...

I'm alone this weekend. I love my husband more than anything, but I long for this weekend every year. I get to do whatever I want, and it is so incredibly selfish of me, but it's rejuvenating.

This weekend, I promised to bury myself away in my house and write, and dream, and color.

This weekend is all about me.

I got my Netflix in the mail.

iTunes will be strictly playing my 'calm and thinking' music.

I went on my own hunting extravaganza and found my bright red nail polish.

My sketch pad is within arms reach at any given moment.

I get the couch and bed all to myself. I can sprawl out in odd, strange, and unbeknown areas.

I don't have to cook.

Two big novels sit in front of me just waiting to be cracked open.

And my parents even let me borrow their bus, I mean, blazer, so I could go anywhere I want, whenever I want.

It's just me, my puppy, and Carrie Bradshaw.
Girls weekend alone.

I am so excited.

I get home from work, and, since I don't have to worry about my husband needing to back out in the morning, I park across the entire driveway. There I was, taking up the whole dang thing, not a worry in my mind.

I unlock the door, greet my squirming pup, and turn on the heat.

It's late already, so I decide to relax in front of the tube. I put my Sex and the City into the player.

I'm hungry. Nothing to eat. Call Chinese.

My feet are cold.

Tired. So tired. Going to bed.

Get up at 5:30, take pup downstairs, morning ritual.

Go to work. Late.

Late, why?

Late, because nothing went as easily as previously stated.

I parked the car carelessly, all because I thought I had the freedom to do so, since I was the only one occupying it this weekend.
And it took me twenty minutes to back out of the driveway.

I didn't sleep well. I forgot to lock the door behind me, and didn't have anyone to go down in the middle of the night to double check.
I also forgot to turn the heat down.

Not to mention, I didn't sleep well, because the natural balance of my body kept waking me up warning me that I was ready to fall off the bed.
There was no barricade on my right side to prevent me from straying too far. I nearly rolled out of bed three times.

And when I was hungry and wanting to relax the night before?
I couldn't figure out the DVD player, and Chinese only delivers a $15 minimum.

I had to order $15 dollars worth of take-out food. That's almost four meals.

Lena, my puppy, was so incredibly annoying, that I couldn't relax at all. She kept whining, and pacing, and nudging, and it drove me absolutely nuts.
I let out an exasperated sigh.

But it fell on absent ears. There was no one there to interpret my anxiety and take the responsibility of letting her out.

Any time I tried to write, she was directly below me, chewing, and whining, and nudging.

She refused to walk up the stairs to bed by herself.
I had to carry my 50-something-pound wriggling Labrador to her royal sleeping chamber.

When I let her out the next morning, she refused to go outside. Instead, she just sat and cried.
I couldn't figure it out.

I finally realized...
I'm not doing it right.

My husband lets the puppy out every morning. Her routine is the only thing she knows.
And the only thing I know.
She eats first, and then goes out...

But, only he would know that.

I forgot how much I rely on him...

He would have known how to back the car out.
He would have investigated the bumps in the night, and made sure the doors were locked so his girls were safe.
He would have been on the other side of me, on the couch, or in bed, to make sure my feet had his spare body warmth or protect me from catapulting off the edge of the mattress.
He would know how to work the DVD player, and he would have eaten more than half the order I was forced to place for take out.
He would have interpreted my profuse sigh and dealt with Lena without dispute.
He would have carried her up the stairs, or used his deep, booming man voice to order her off the floor.
He knows her morning protocol and knows what makes our pup happy and content.
He knows what makes me happy and content.

I miss my man, everything is a lot easier when he's home.

Friday, November 20, 2009

we failed our soil test...

I am terrible at tests. Any test.

I guessed all of the answers on my SAT's (except English, which I miraculously scored 100%). I failed my motorcyclist test by getting the first four answers wrong, I refuse to take blood tests, and I wince every time I go to the eye doctor, worrying they might not believe I can't read the last line.

I am dreadful at science, history, and above all, math. I literally had to use a calculator today to determine how old I am. I'm 23. Apparently.

But, I guess I had high hopes when someone approached us wanting to test the soil on our property. I mean, soil and gardening is my thing. I love it. Whenever I'm in the garden, I feel like a woodland fairy creature , galavanting among the roses and perennials. I send secret wishes to the seeds I've started over winter, telling them to grow, and live, and produce. I gently place them in the ground and coax them into adulthood waiting for the day I can pluck their ripe fruit and toss them gingerly into my mouth.

Students from the university came by a few months ago, snatched a sample of our soil, and then sent it off somewhere to be tested. A few weeks later, the results were tucked between our front door, and I was shocked. Mortified.

Normal amounts of lead found in soil are around 400 ppm (parts per million). In the city, where all the older houses are, like ours, it's normal for them to be as high as 800 ppm.

Our levels are 2,156 ppm.

We have been advised to wipe our shoes extremely well, and take them off right away. No extended periods of playing outside, especially for dogs and kids. And definitely, don't eat the dirt!

I knew we were supposed to be careful with an older house, you know, don't eat the paint off the walls and such, but now we have to be cautious in our own backyard?

To quote some google search results:

"Soil with lead levels of 1,000 ppm or more is considered hazardous waste"

"Fetuses and small children, because of their rapidly developing nervous systems, are more sensitive to and suffer the most harm from lead exposure. Adverse effects include damage to the brain and nervous system, lower I.Q., behavior problems and slow growth. Adults may suffer cognitive decline, hypertension, nerve disorders, muscle pain and reproductive problems."

"By growing spinach for three months, researchers at the University of Southern Maine lowered the lead count in one garden by 200 p.p.m. Of course, the lead-leaching crop cannot be eaten or composted and must be disposed of as toxic waste."

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Spinach is my all-time favorite vegetable, and suddenly it's been turned into a "lead-leaching-crop"! 

What are we going to do!?

I really did not anticipate to fail this test. Mother Nature is my friend, not foe. But, I guess there are only a few options for us. 

Either we sell the house, move to the country, and have soil tests performed on every potential home.

Say, "Oh well!" and risk the health of our unborn babes.


play like this:

(Future family cavorting in anti contamination suits, a space helmet, and a bubble.)

Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 15, 2009

these things i love...

My tiny little family is a cuddly bunch. They break my heart in a million little pieces. And I love them.

Friday, November 13, 2009

the neck that turns the head...

Sometime after we were married, my husband learned a new phrase. I'm guessing it was after filling out legal documents or tax information, but I don't exactly know where he picked it up from. If I could retrace our steps during our quest to legalize our commitment, and prevent him from ever hearing or seeing these words, I would.

One day he just came home and proudly announced,
"Honey, guess what, I'm the head of household."

And that was that.

For months it went on, in a Tarzan-esque voice he would say,
"You, wife. Me, head of household."

I tried to explain to him that it means nothing, nothing to me. I said, I'm not going to iron your shirts or pick your wet towels up off the floor. You better get used to nasty, stinky, musty old towels, and learn to shop for especially stiff shirts. I'll cook for you, but only because I don't trust you to do it, and I'm not particularly fond of hot dogs and spaghettios. I'll do my share of the cleaning, but I get to pick what I want to do and you're left with the rest. This doesn't make me a bad wife, I'm just a strong, opinionated woman who can't be bothered by you. Now go away 'head of household'.

(the, 'i mean business look')

It seemed effective, he's been perfectly happy and content, even when wearing one solid color head to toe because he ran completely out of clean laundry. At any given time he can look like a stalk of asparagus, or something you wished you hadn't stepped in at the park. And I've been happy too, I cook when and what I want, and seeing him gobble it up within seconds makes me feel gifted, and appreciated (even if it's only because he's had frozen pizza for a week straight and is just thankful for real, substantial food.)

Husband and wife living in blissful harmony...

Until now.

Rockefeller Center put up their dang Christmas tree.
Our downtown has angels perched on every light post.
Santa has set up camp and a photo booth at the mall.


It appears that I blindly let my husband pull the head of household shenanigans on me! I've had a week to let this whole rule of waiting until after Thanksgiving to decorate sink in, and it's finally dawned on me. I've allowed my husband to make a ridiculous rule. Oh, I don't care if he makes rules, but ridiculous rules? When the rest of the world is basking in The Season? And if rules are meant to be broken, why can't I for the life of me seem to break this one?

I tried the Christmas sock thing, but I didn't feel like doing laundry every day. And really? You thought I was actually going to bake? Pfffft.

There are only so many times I can take credit for my sister's glorious baked goodies, and I'm pretty sure my free passes have run out.

I've declared war. This household will not be the same until I get some Christmas cheer up in here. I'm just going to be the biggest brat I can possibly be, maybe that will finally break him.

And if he has anything to say about it, well, I'll just tell him,

Talk to my blog, cause the face ain't listenin'.

(at least we got to test the lights, and hubby doesn't know, but I snapped this picture behind his back.)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Recipe: Garlic Chili Chicken

I'm going to try and share recipes from time to time, so here's one that we had last night. It was kind of spicy, kind of sweet, hard to explain, but really good. If you like to use spices (and lots of garlic) in cooking, this is for you, plus, it's super easy.

I currently only cook for two, so multiply this recipe to your needs. We had plenty for two, plus leftovers for hubby the next day for lunch.

You will need:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 whole head of garlic, roasted
1/4 teaspoon allspice*
1/4 teaspoon pepper*
1/4 teaspoon cumin*
1 1/2 teaspoon chili powder*
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
2 teaspoon oregano
pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil

*Use more or less to your liking

Before you start you'll need to roast the garlic. Heat up your oven to 350 degrees. Cut off the top of the garlic, keeping the papery outsides on, to expose the tops of the cloves. Drizzle it with some olive oil and wrap the whole thing in tinfoil. Leave it in the oven for 45 minutes, then sit back and enjoy the aroma.

When the garlic is ready, mix all of the spices, salt, and cider vinegar in a bowl. Take your roasted garlic and squeeze all of the cloves out into the bowl. Mash together with the spices to make a paste. Cut the chicken into small strips and place in the bowl of spices, turning the chicken several times to coat.

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over low-medium heat. Add the chicken to the saucepan and cook until done.

I added broccoli to the saucepan after the chicken was done cooking and sauteed it together for awhile. Then I served the chicken on top of a bed of whole wheat thin spaghetti- it was great!

Let me know how you like it.

Bon appetit!

the answer is yes.

People always ask me if I enjoy working with my family.

How can I not when every day starts with big, warm hugs, and ends with sticky cheeks from kisses received by the one wearing far too much lip gloss?

Workplace gossip is juicier, and stories to tell date back twenty years or more.

Compliments and criticism are mulled over quietly by each member before being delivered, to try and be as sensitive and caring as possible (for the most part, anyway...) and years and years of trust and learning to communicate are a far better teacher than team building workshops or leadership training courses.

Hysterical fits of giggles are encouraged. 
Dancing in the kitchen is a must. 
Singing out of key is preferred.

Above all that, booty slaps are highly discouraged in all other work environments.

And that's not fun at all.

(As a side note, I could have sworn I saw Jon Gosselin today and I got way more excited about it than I should have. What is wrong with me??)

(It wasn't Jon Gosselin, in case you wondered...)

Monday, November 9, 2009

When the cat's away...

(They did this all by themselves. I had no part in it whatsoever.)