Category Archives: Uncategorized

Dream of the Blue Poodles

Selina was pacing the kitchen floor when I walked in to get some tea.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Oh…just thinking,” she said.

“What are you thinking about?”

“I’m thinking about what kind of dog I want to get.”

We can’t get a dog. Not in this condo, not at the kids’ ages, not while Cole is commuting to work. We got guinea pigs almost a year ago to give Selina a cuddly mammal to molest, but she still spends an inordinate amount of time planning for her someday dog.

“What kind of dog do you think you might like to get?” I ask her.

I try to give her as much fantasy dog as possible, considering how much I feel I’m failing her in the real dog department.

“I think…a poodle. Because it’s curly–like me!”

She changes dog types frequently, but I gently urge standard poodles when given the chance because they are less allergy-inducing. So I was happy to hear this.

“That sounds like a great idea,” I tell her.

She pauses.

“But…I don’t think poodles usually come in blue…

Selina’s Favorite “Green Soup”

This is easy-peasy, delicious and super healthful. Selina begs me to make it.

Green Soup

1 head of cauliflower

2 heads of brocolli

1 large onion

1 large potato

1 quart of broth (any kind–I’ve used chicken, veggie and mushroom–all are good)

4 or 5 tablespoons of butter

salt and pepper to taste

Put the broth on the stove to heat while chopping all the veggies. Toss them in the pot and cook until they’re all soft. Puree with a blender or food processor. Add the butter and stir until melted. (You can skip it if you’re vegan or something, but it really makes a difference.) Salt and pepper to taste.

Serve!

I Used a Pattern!

I have avoided sewing for years, because I just can’t wrap my head around the language of patterns. But once it occurred to me that I can see how a piece of clothing goes together, I decided to try a pattern and fill in what I didn’t understand with instinct/vision.
I found a pattern that required nothing but thread (no zippers, buttons, anything but seam-sewing required) and knocked it out in three days with the same muslin I made that last dress with. (I have enough of that muslin to make underwear for an army.)
I did pretty well, though I won’t be cutting the silk I am sitting on anytime soon.
With this dress, I dyed it in tea to a nice sepia tone. Next I’m going to take some photos of this really nifty urban scene down the corner from our street, photoshop them up a bit, print them in black and white onto iron-on fabric and put them all over my dress.
Meanwhile, I’m going to try yet another pattern or maybe the same one in different fabric before I do my silk dress.
What silk dress? You ask?
I have raw silk left over from a number of sources (one was my first wedding at age 23) in a number of close, but not matching shades. I am imagining a very simple, A-line dress with the different panels made of different colors of this silk so that it has a subtle color-block effect.
A dress like that should be lined though, and I think I mentioned I don’t line things.
So I will either end up making it badly or won’t be making until I’m out of practice muslin.

Faux-q au Vin

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 large onion, (mine was yellow, but whatever) chopped
6 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped a bit
1 stick of butter (or so)
1/4 cup chopped sundried tomatoes
1 cup of flour
1 cup of red wine
2-3 cups of mushroom broth
1 cup of frozen vegetables that includes carrots and peas (mine also had green beans and corn)
salt, pepper, thyme, a bay leaf

Melt the butter slowly in a large skillet. Sautee the onion, garlic and sundried tomato in the skillet while you cut the chicken breasts into a total of six equalish-sized pieces. Mix the flour up with some salt and pepper and cover the chicken pieces with it. Scoot the onions etc. out to the edges of the skillet to make room for the chicken pieces and lay them in the skillet carefully. Let the whole thing cook for a while until the chicken is browned on the bottom, then flip the chicken over and cook another 5 mintutes until the other side is brown.

Remove the chicken to a plate for a minute.

If you have any flour mixture left over, sprinkle a little into the skillet and stir to make a roux. (If you don’t, skip it.) Add the wine to deglaze the pan and turn up the heat to cook it down quickly. When about half the wine is cooked down, add the mushroom broth and bring to a boil. Add the thyme and bay leaf to the broth, sprinkle in the frozen veggies, put the chicken back in the pan, cover and turn down the heat so the whole thing is just simmering.

Cook for an hour.

Delish!

If you think that sounds too hard, read this recipe. See? Not so bad after all.

Health Versus Weight

As long as I have the scanner out, here’s a look at my latest attempt to improve my lousy winter immunity.  Last time I saw the doctor, she looked in my mouth, my ears and my eyes and said “you’ve been dieting.”

Now, mind you I have not “dieted” a day in my life.  I have often been accused of dieting, though, as well as of having an eating disorder.  The fact is, I have a genetic tendency towards being underweight.  It is one of the reasons the wind blows right through me in the winter and I get month-long plagues when others are having 3-day sniffles.

But something that occurred to me some years ago is that just because I don’t try to lose weight doesn’t mean I don’t have a body that looks and acts like a perpetually dieting body.  It also happens that I do have some irregular–though not intentionally so–eating habits.  I’m someone who forgets to eat breakfast and/or lunch, then wonders why I feel awful at 3 o’clock, remembers I haven’t eaten, grabs a fistful of cashews or a cheese stick and runs out the door again to pick up the kids from school.

It’s sort of ridiculous that I eat like this when I feed my kids so well.  Because I do.  I started them on organic formula that I had to order by the case because at the time our town had no retail source for it.  I proceeded to home-make their baby food out of locally grown organic arugula and other such healthy delights and I used to keep a checklist of their diets to make sure they got everything they needed daily.  I now have that checklist in my subconscious and can tell you at any given moment what they have had a lot of and what they could use now, in about 3-day nutrition cycles.  It’s not obsessive, it’s incorporated into my basic childcare rhythms now like a sense of when Selina last used the potty and ought to try to use it again is in the back of my potty-training mind.

But for myself, I have no such sense.  My body just screams “sugar!” or “protein” at me when I dip too low and I hit my head all Homer Simpson style and rush to the freezer for a defrostable snack.  So, realizing that while I am certainly not dieting, my doctor is nevertheless onto something, I made the chart above, ran off 6 months worth of it and have been trying to monitor my nutrition roughly by the food pyramid.

As you can see, it’s the fruits and vegetables that are a struggle.  I have a bizzaro allergy to raw vegetation and therefore can’t share an apple or banana with the kids without risking anaphylactic shock.  So while I keep a constant supply of whole fruits in the bottom of the fridge and dole them out to Nat and Selina a couple of times a day, I can’t do the same for myself.

I’ve been trying to drink more orange juice, grab a handful of raisins with my cashews now and then (“dried” = not raw), sprinkle frozen spinach (“frozen” = not raw) on my frozen pizza (the way I do for the kids–why not for myself???) and otherwise beef up my fruit/vegetable intake.  But I find that cheese is the easiest and most dominant item in my diet.  Not so good for a person with chronic sinus infection troubles.

Another thing I’ve noticed since doing this is just how awful empty calories are.  There are no records of the junk food I have eaten on that sheet up there, but if you see a day that’s entirely devoid of whole grain or any fruit and vegetables at all, it was probably the day I have donuts for breakfast, rather than multi-grain cereal with frozen blueberries.

This is all just to say that there is no danger of me ever becoming obese, and yet my health is awful.  I am probably ill for roughly 70% of the winter most years.  Sometimes, I’m in bed flat on my back for two weeks, but mostly I am walking around hacking and sniffling and feeling exhausted.  Guess what?  Skinny does not equal healthy. And I am weary of hearing how it does.  For more on this, see my latest post at BlogHer.

National Adoption Awareness Month: 10 Adoption Misconceptions

I promise I have a real post coming for you soon, but meanwhile, here’s my latest at BlogHer.

Is Anti-Bullying Curriculum a Foil for the Homosexual Agenda?

Find out at BlogHer.