Thursday, April 26, 2007

Oh, I forgot....

Last Monday, when I was working, Jake Gyllenhaal came in. He looked pretty much like that. You know, except for not in black and white. He got some food with a girl that he looked not at all romantically involved with and kept doing some weird thing with his hands. Kind of flapping them around.

Off Target

Yesterday I went to Target for some various and sundry items. I haven't been going very often because I have been doing all of my impulse-shopping at BTE.

Target is very close to my house and I have to drive past it to get to BTE but I hadn't been even slightly tempted to go there until yesterday. But I was getting a curtain rod and not $30 worth of ribbed tank tops size medium so I felt entirely justified in my trip.

My first annoyance was in the parking lot. I decided to forego the stroller and let the boys ride in one of those crazy two-seater kid carts because they love riding in them. I didn't see one in any of the corrals but I did see an employee gathering carts so I asked if he would bring me one. He just stared at me with the dumbest look on his face.

I felt like I was in "Idiocracy." But he did bring me the requested cart and as I was strapping the boys in I realized that the second seat belt was broken. They were so excited to be in the cart that I just held it together and wheeled it inside to switch out for a different one. Well, all three that were parked inside were broken. GRRRR....

So I put Lee in the seat of a regular cart and Moomers in the cargo area and that worked reasonably well. I was happily pushing my guys through the baby section when I happened upon this gem:




Can ya'll read that ok? Yes, it says:


Holy shit! Am I just a grumpy old hag or is that seriously disturbing???? I know it's supposed to be tongue-in-cheek-funny but I think it just underlines the fact that our society expects and even encourages girls and women to be superficial and insecure.

So, trip ruined I grabbed my curtain rod and headed out. But not before letting the boys model some sunglasses:

Chillin' in the cart:


Lee!

Mooms!


I was going to buy them but they didn't really stay on all that well and then they pulled them off after about three seconds so I didn't waste my $5.99 each. Impulse buys are harder to justify when I have to multiply them by two.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

How Long Have You Felt This Way?

Recently I went on a major felting spree. I was just trying to remember what the first felted project I ever completed was and I am drawing a blank. But, in case you've never tried it, felting is so satisfying and fun. If you don't feel like knitting something first you can rescue a moth-eaten sweater (must be wool to felt up) and throw it in the wash on hot. Once it's felted you'll be able to cut out pieces and sew them together to make a purse or scarf or whatever.

I was inspired by a lot of the projects in this book:


Although I didn't follow her patterns exactly, I got ideas and went from there. I should have began with something small, like this cozy I knit for my (then) new camera:



But, no. I started with a big-ass purse. Well, it was huge before I felted it. I thought I really messed it up, it was really, really big to begin with but after about four washes it got to a good size.



I used two different kinds of yarn, which was kind of a mistake since they felted differently. The bottom yarn felted really beautifully and quickly and the top yarn took a bit longer. I really fell in love with the Paton SWS yarn, it was so soft and beautiful-- a soy/wool blend. It was almost a shame to felt it.



I hate sewing but I managed to successfully sew a zipper into the felted clutch. I was very proud of myself:



So proud I knit one for my MIL for her birthday:


Friday, April 20, 2007

Sassy

I've been taking a trip down memory lane while reading this book, my latest Amazon purchase...

In March 1988 I was eleven years old. My dad's friend had a daughter a few years older than me who I had never met. She subscribed to a magazine called Sassy. I inherited all of her issues, then got my own subscription when she let hers run out.
That is where my obsession with magazines began. I had always loved books but this was different. I was awkward and shy and Sassy opened up a whole new world for me. For years I had no idea what most of it meant. The bands I had never heard of, the products I didn't know where to find. The fashions were kind of strange and scary but at some point I got it. I read Sassy for a full three years before I even got my period. During my freshman year I decorated my room by pinning open copies of Sassy to my walls and during my sophomore year I named my new Siamese kitten Sassy.
Around the time I graduated high school it was sold and became a weird mutant-impostor of itself. Then Jane Pratt started her own magazine.
The Sassy article that shocked me the most was in the April 1992 issue with Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love on the cover. I'm sure they were both high as kites and during the interview Kurt showed Christina Kelly, the reporter his back which was covered in scratches. He proclaimed that Courtney was the "world's best fuck"--Yikes! I was traumatized! But I was also so proud because I had already heard of them and was a fan of Nirvana. When I first started reading Sassy I was mostly like "Who's Evan Dando??"
I read the "new Sassy" Jane until just three years ago. It had been unbearably lame for quite a while. I just kept hanging on because of my deep love for Sassy.
But every issue pissed me off. In fact, every issue of every women's magazine pissed me off. Each month I swore I wouldn't read them but then I'd pick one up here and there until the table in my bathroom was covered by a magazine tower. But it was so infuriating. The writing seemed geared towards promiscuous third-graders, the words as basic and non-threatening as possible.
What I liked about Sassy was that it was different and it didn't hype all the same tired old celebrities. But slowly, Jane was just like every other magazine and I had to accept the fact that Sassy was gone and more importantly, so was my girlhood. I am a woman now. But I still love magazines.
When Mothering or Utne comes in the mail I am giddy with anticipation. Some of my favorites tanked, Organic Style and Budget Living most notably. But I have filled that gap with Bust and Brain, Child and Body and Soul. A publication called The Sun once sent me a couple of trial issues and it was incredible. But so far I don't subscribe. I also devour Adbusters when I get a hold of a copy.
But nothing will ever match the thrill I got when I read Sassy. Learning about things my mom had no idea about and would have been too embarrassed to discuss had she known was invaluable.
I have a few issues squirreled away that I read on occasion and one of my big disappointments was the purchase of a giant box of old Sassy's that fell through several years ago. A flakey college student was cleaning out her stuff at her mom's house and posted an ad on Craigslist. She was going to sell them all to me for $15. My guess is that she realized what a goldmine she had and listed them on eBay. *sigh*

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Go Ahead, Make My Day...

Recently I had a few errands to run so I threw the boys into the Volvo and off we sped to the first stop: the post office. I don't ever look forward to the post office but I had to return my tablecloth(s)--yes, I ordered two of the same kind and neither one fit my oddly-shaped table. I could have measured first...hey, how about that?!

After pulling into a convenient spot near the door I unloaded the stroller, then stashed my purse underneath in the basket. Next I put my package in a canvas Whole Foods tote that hangs from the handles. Then I grabbed Moomers and put him in the back seat of the stroller, his usual spot because when L is in back he pulls M's hair. After he was buckled in I handed him his stuffed toy du jour, his bowl o' Veggie Booty and his sippy cup. Then I did the whole thing over again with LeeLee.

It's a hassle, I guess but I have twins and I'm used to doing everything twice. I was so busy with the task at hand that I didn't notice a guy watching me from the passenger side of a truck two spots down. Then he spoke "you got quite a load there, huh?"

I get variations on this theme all the effing time usually it's a chipper "YOU'VE GOT YOUR HANDS FULL!" So instantly I felt irritation. Yeah, dude. I have quite a load. Thanks for letting me know.

Then he mumbled something about his girlfriend being inside. I nodded politely, pushing my stroller away from him, towards the post office. Then he said:
"hey, listen...if you see my girlfriend, don't tell her I said this, but you are the cutest mom I've ever seen."

I glanced up, kind of flustered. I was not expecting him to say anything like that. I had just spent the last seven minutes wrestling the stroller out of the car then the twins into it, not feeling especially attractive.

I said thanks, then went in to the post office. I scanned the room looking to see which girl may have been his girlfriend; what made him think I would know who she was? I noticed a girl with skinny jeans and a cashmere micro-hoodie...maybe that was her. Then I saw a stout, ruddy-faced girl with a tank top and the state of Texas tattooed on her right shoulder...*sigh* that was probably her.

As I go over the encounter in my head I'm tempted to feel a tad creeped out by this guy who was apparently watching me while I wasn't at all aware but compliments are nice and at the time I felt kind of smiley and floaty. Cutest.Mom.Ever I'll take that title. ;)

But I live in Austin, Hot Mama capital of the world so I'm sure he's already noticed a new cutest mom ever.

It did make me feel, though that anytime I notice something nice about someone (which I do frequently because I'm a shameless people-watcher) I should definitely verbalize it, because it feels nice to receive compliments from people not at all obligated to give them to you.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Yoga 911

Today I found myself feeling nothing but anger all day. Actually, I've been irritable and short-fused for days. So I hauled myself to my LYS for some Yoga 911.
And now I feel much more calm and happy. Amazing how that works, huh?
I'll write some other posts this week, but today is family day so I'm going to go hang out with my lovely husband and gorgeous children.
I'm going to leave you with this: stop using plastic shopping bags, por favor. I know a few posts ago I revealed my addiction to plastic, but I did neglect to mention that I take reusable bags with me when I go shopping and you should too! Go here if you need an excuse to shop first.
ps: I once gave Julia "Butterfly" Hill a facial. She's very sweet, of course. This will make no sense if you didn't click on the above link. :)
xoxoxoJen

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Austin: Stinking Hellhole of Sin

Watching this made me forget about my painful boil for about a minute and a half.
I haven't seen anything so funny in a while. Thanks, YouTube!
ps: In a few posts lately I've used the term "SoCo" for South Congress, one of the main trendy shopping areas in Austin. I just wanted to make it clear that I am saying that completely sarcastically. I think it's so incredibly lame to suddenly have stupid shortened names for streets. When I lived in San Francisco I also didn't say "SoMa" for South of Market and I don't say "SoLa" for South Lamar. I can say the extra syllable, no problem.

Boiling Mad

I have lots of posts swirling around in my head. Since I started this blog, most experiences no matter how mundane turn into a potential entry.
I am super cranky, however and no matter how clever a phrase I think I'm crafting in my thoughts, I can't find the patience or energy to try to be witty.
After my nightmarish bowel distress something even more sinister popped up. A boil.
I know, hot, right?? It hurts like a MF and is making me very very angry. Well, it's probably not Uncle Carbuncle's fault entirely. I had to miss yoga and that is the best thing to help me unwind and recharge after a week of chasing around twin tornadoes.
So anyway, that pretty much overshadows my dreamy post-date wrap up, my thoughtful musings on the offerings of SoCo and my updates on the various crafting and reading I have done recently. Those posts will come later, I assure you but right now I am treating this horrible pus-filled monstrosity that has taken up residence on my inner thigh right next to my ladyparts. Gross!
Every time I fall prey to some malady or other I am always struck by how you should never take your health for granted. Ever.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Almost Human Again

Yesterday was crazy. The whole day passed in a weird, sick blur. The boys took a long nap (3 hours) and I could not tell you what I did during that time. When I went in to give them 'wake up nummies' I ended up falling asleep. I remember muttering "just let me lay down for a minute" before crashing out. I awoke two hours later with the boys cuddled in next to me. I'm happy I have such accomodating kids because it truly is miserable to be sick when you're a mama.
I'm finally feeling mostly better today. I fell prey to some evil, evil bacteria. I hope the cook at my (used-to-be-favorite) neighborhood taqueria didn't dip his balls in my burrito fixins....
so today I'm just getting back to the business of running my household, putting away toys, wiping crumbs off of the table, putting dirty dishes in the sink. It kind of feels nice to be back to my routine instead of laying around like a feverish, gastrointestinally- challenged lump.
Tonight my in-laws are coming over to watch the boys and we're going to eat at my BIL's restaurant. I called to get reservations and they were booked so I had to name-drop. I hate that but it works. I kind of feel like my house has to be pristine for my in-laws tonight. I feel like they think our house is kind of a dump so I clean like a maniac before they come over. When my MIL comments that the house looks nice I get all "oh, well..." pretending like I haven't been cleaning like a crazy person.
My new table cloth came today and it was awesome but too small. I'm a loser, why didn't I measure better???
So that's the exciting news. Tomorrow is my "alone day" and I'm going to meet my friend, K
on "SoCo" for some coffee and window shopping. I don't think my body can handle yoga tomorrow.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Taqueria la Diarrhea

*TMI alert

Well, now I have the answer as to why I was so tired. I'm sick. Yesterday I ordered a takeout burrito from my favorite neighborhood taqueria. I've eaten there a million times, but yesterday may have been the last. I woke up this morning feeling crampy and now I'm eating bananas and drinking peppermint tea and trying to get over this as quickly as possible. S called in "late" to work and is corralling the boys so I can suffer in peace. So instead of creating life I'm feeling like death. Is it wrong that aside from all the trips to the potty I feel relieved?

Sad news

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., my all-time favorite author has died. I am really upset. Not since Kevyn Aucoin passed away in 2002 have I cried when a person I have not personally known died.
Vonnegut's books have captivated me for fifteen years; there are more of his books on my shelf than any other author.
God Bless you, Mr. Rosewater.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I'm not...am I?

I just got back from a walk around the 'hood. My whole body feels like it's been dipped into a bucket of fatigue. I'm exhausted, yet there is not any *real* reason to be. I did stay up late and the boys took a shorter nap then usual and the weather's been weird but....
I'm also really overly-emotional. Today on the phone S confided that he thinks an acquaintance of ours may have a husband who's a bit of a prick. Instead of making me switch into gossip mode this tidbit made me say "Oh, honey I just feel so *sob* lucky to have you."
WTF????
If you don't know where I'm going with this...the only other time I've felt this way was when I was pregnant. Please. If there is a God in Heaven, let me NOT be pregnant. I finally feel like I am getting the hang of being a mama to these guys. And I feel ready to re-start my career. I just don't think I can be one of those ladies with a posse of chilluns running around.
But of course, that's always when these things happen.
I want to say it's not really possible since I haven't had a period since November of 2004 and we are "careful" but I know from experience that it's always possible.

So tired

We had a really lovely day today. I love family day-- (when we're both in a good mood and liking each other, that is) It was sunny and beautiful out and the boys were in high spirits. We went to Zilker park, then Stacy pool and had a great time.

I'm so exhausted, though. All that sun wears me out. It was the type of day where had I not been wearing sunscreen I would have been fried.

I just bought a tablecloth from Amazon. Very excited. Our house is very brightly colored and this will go nicely.

I'm feeling close to comatose so I should go, this entry is not going to get much more exciting than this, unfortunately. I haven't uploaded my pictures from my camera yet but I'll do that tomorrow and add them to this post. Anything to make it more interesting! Plus, there are some really cute shots of the boys rocking out at the park.

Speaking of *cute things the boys do*LeeLee has decided he can't live without Mr. Puppy, a brown and white stuffed dog we got from S's mom. He drags him around constantly and now insists on sleeping with him. (my bed's getting crowded...) Now when he wakes up from his nap instead of crying I hear him in there barking at Mr. Puppy. Also, it turns out that Mr. Puppy was a gift to my BIL from his former girlfriend.

M likes to go and get his blankies and bring them to me when he gets tired. Like 'um, hi. maybe I haven't made it clear enough, but I'm kind of sleepy now. Thanks.'
Ok, more later when I'm not so tired.

ps: I just read that Johnny Cash's home burned down. This really bums me out. It had been sold to former Bee Gee Barry Gibb in 2006 .

Monday, April 9, 2007

I Put the "Care" in Skincare!





Today at work I had a hard time lecturing people about how to take proper care of their skin. I have sadly neglected my dermis for quite some time and it was really beginning to show. My makeup was not going on smoothly and everything felt completely out of whack. So tonight after putting the boys to bed I decided to do something about it.
I have a "Skincare Ritual" (TM) that if done properly and regularly leaves my skin "like velvet" (that was for Jeff if he's reading) but having twins coupled with my extreme laziness has pretty much meant that I never really take good care of my skin. Co-sleeping with the boys and burying my face in their fragrant (dirty) little heads all night has been great for my emotional well-being but, well...not so great for my face.
But like I was saying, tonight I started out to do my regular skincare routine but ended up doing the super-duper deluxe version since my skin felt so yucky.
1. I boiled some water in a kettle and added three drops of essential oil
to an aluminum bowl.
Normally I would use the Dr. Hauschka lavender bath but sadly I am fresh out.
2. While the water was boiling I removed my eye makeup with jojoba oil and a q-tip. Once the water was ready I poured it in the bowl and added my facial compress cloth.
3. While the water cooled a bit I brushed my teeth.
4. Once the water was the right temperature, hot but not uncomfortable I compressed my face about five times. This is basically a dip n' press.
5. Next, I cleansed with this.
6. I'm out of Dr. Hauschka toner so I used Pangea instead.
7. Then I applied a mask and steamed for about twenty minutes.
8. After compressing off the mask with tepid water I extracted all the gunk out of my skin with my handy extractor and mag mirror. Keep in mind that I am an esthetician. It's super fun to squeeze out comedones (blackheads) but if you get crazy or press the wrong way you can abrade and bruise the skin, break capillaries and just fuck yourself up in general. So please, go get a facial instead.
9. After squeezing a satisfying amount of hardened sebum out of my pores I applied a second mask, left it on for ten minutes or so, compressed it off and finished up with an ampule, lip balm and hand cream.

*My normal routine is the hot water/bowl/compress step with the jojoba makeup removing and cleansing with the DH cleansing milk followed by the DH toner. It's pretty simple and I'm always so happy to have carved out the time for a relaxing ritual for myself but like I said when things get hectic I unfortunately let things like that fall by the wayside. I'm trying hard to do little things for myself regularly, it really benefits our whole family in the long run. If I feel and look good then I'm happier, more present, and more patient.

Yay, I'm feeling fresh as a daisy!
We had a nice mellow night at home, the house is clean, the boys are asleep and S is in a good mood. Tomorrow we're having some much-needed family time including a trip to our favorite buffet. I think I'll go attempt to wrestle my copy of Bust from my husband and read as much as possible before I am called back to bed by my little bosses.





Sunday, April 8, 2007

Easter Wrap-Up

Today was the boys' second Easter. They still don't have any clue what it's all about which is probably for the best since really, neither do I. We went to Easterpalooza 2 at my friend V's house.
We went last year, too but this year was way more fun since the boys could actually play. They had a great time.

Of course I baked something for the occasion. Coconut cupcakes:



I was going to dye the frosting green to look like grass but then I thought that might be gross:


There was a bouncy castle but I decided to wait until Easterpalooza 3 to let the boys partake:


Moomers got a chance to explore his artistic side:


And LeeLee played with a (luckily empty) water gun:


My MIL came with us:


I didn't know eggs grew on trees!


I think they'll sleep well tonight:


So all in all we had a nice day. Luckily it warmed up enough for us to enjoy the holiday. Now I have a couple of tired-out boys, time for baths and bedtime!

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Plastic Addict






I was just doing the dishes and I noticed that I am surrounded by plastic stuff. And not only do we own it but...I love it. It's bright, it's happy, it's cheap...but I know that:
1. it's horrible for the environment
2. it probably leaches nastiness into the food and water that my whole family consumes.
When I was pregnant I pictured myself and my future offspring surrounded by Waldorf-approved wooden utensils and toys. Now we have so many second-hand plastic toys in our backyard it looks like a Little Tikes retirement home.
We do own wooden toys. When the boys were brand-new we had about 80% wooden toys, now we have about 20%. The problem was and still is that wood is solid and painful when smashed into people. With twin boys, even when they were smaller it became dangerous. They immediately whacked themselves, each other, our pets and even us with their wooden blocks, teethers, push-toys, puzzles and instruments. Melissa and her co-hort, Doug were definitely not our friends.
And that still makes me very sad. It's immensely satisfying to purchase well-made, attractive wooden toys and eating utensils for the boys but it is just more practical to have plastic around. They fling it to the floor, hit each other and the walls with it and it's still fine. Except for the two really huge aforementioned problems.
*sigh*
I wish that corn plastics were more readily available. My only solution so far has been to purchase mostly second-hand plastic stuff (from BTE of course) so that the environmental impact is lessened. However, I have to be really careful that none the stuff we're going to use to eat off of is scratched or damaged in any way so that it isn't toxic to us. So I have bought new plastic bowls for the boys from Target recently, much to my chagrin.
It's tough trying to do what's best for everyone involved: myself, my family, the Earth, our bank account. I'm doing the best I can and trying to do better than that every day.

Yoga

Today was my "alone time" day which has quickly become "yoga day." Today Moomies was super cranky-face and did NOT want his mama to take two steps without him. It broke my heart to leave him, but I have realized that if I don't go to yoga once a week (once a DAY would be awesome but is so not going to happen) I will be a crazy maniac. It really does help me feel more centered and patient. All the breathing alone is helpful since I routinely take short, shallow breaths and have a habit of holding my breath when I am tense. It's something I've done since childhood.
I had a really great class, I've stumbled upon a teacher that is perfect for what I need from my yoga practice. He does tons of breathing exercises but also makes us hold the poses so I feel like I'm getting a workout too. I leave feeling stronger, floaty and wayyy less tense.
Today on my way out of class as I was sipping my Yogi chai I bumped into my former co-worker, C. She now works at my LYS (local yoga studio) It was nice to see her and we chatted for a bit.
It is 36 degrees here today which is just weird and wrong. I raced home, anxious to see my little muffins and arrived to an empty house. S and the dog and the boys were (and still are) gone. That must have meant that they were being super fussy and he needed to get them out of the house. He didn't leave a note which would irritate me beyond belief but since I did yoga today it's alright. I still really really want to be snuggling my boys right now but hopefully he'll be back soon.
There were two women in my class today who said they were sick during the pre-class check-in. This was annoying to me. If you're sick, stay home so I don't have to deep-breathe your germies. I do not want to get sick. We were sick for the first two months of 2007--all of us and it was a nightmare. One of the sickies was a woman who does creative interpretations of all of the poses, she uses jazz-hands, she changes up the arms, she does the breathing in reverse-loudly and she's usually late. Somehow she always manages to plop down right in front of me. It is distracting and makes me think mean thoughts about her. I have to *really* focus on my poses and keep my gaze down or off to the left which I guess is even better for me since it means I'm focusing more on what I'm there to focus on and less concerned with others. *sigh*
Ok, I guess I'll go read and wait for my family to get home. I really wish S hadv'e left a note or at least taken the cell phone with him.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Yawn

Today is chilly. 57 degrees. I have already put away all of my Fall/Winter clothes but luckily my favorite thrift store (you will hear more about this wondrous place and my myriad finds at a later date) was having a 1/2 off sweater sale last week so I snagged a black hooded Merino wool tunic for $2.49! So I'm pretty snuggly in my sweater and jeans and Sauconys. (aka the MOST COMFORTABLE PAIR OF SHOES I HAVE EVER OWNED!)

I have a ton of houswifery things on my mental to-do list but I don't really feel like doing any of it. Reorganizing the shite on our corkboard in the kitchen? No. Sweeping the floor? No. Making cupcakes. No. Well-maybe. Doing the dishes? Hell to the No. The funny thing is, most of these tasks are all products of my overactive brain. S doesn't give a shit if I wiped down the stove or not. Actually, most of the time I clean he gets irritated because I moved something of his. To me the new location makes perfect sense but to him I am merely doing things to hassle him.

I'm tired, the boys woke up at 8:30am this morning which did not make me happy. S was glad to have more time with them before he had to go off to the salt mines but the boys were cranky all morning. They like to sleep in, they take after their Mama in that regard. So crankiness is in the air at Casa de Craziness this morning.

The babers are asleep right now, a bit early due to the early rising. This is the time that I would ordinarily be cleaning something but as I mentioned, I just don't feel like it. I picked up a few books at BTE (best thrift store ever) recently so I think I'll sneak in my room (where the boys are sleeping and grab them)

Along with the books I found a white noise machine. I've been toying with the idea of getting one forever, I hate having the neighbors dogs or the trash truck or whatever wake the boys. But I didn't want to pay retail or even Ebay retail (plus shipping no less) but BTE had one for $2.99 which was acceptable. It works perfectly although it's missing the battery cover.

It has 6 settings with different noises. They all kind of sound the same to me except for the heartbeat which is just creepy-sounding in an Edgar Allen Poe kind of way. The ocean makes me want to close my eyes...it sounds just like I'm--well, it sounds just like I'm hanging out under the freeway overpass. And the bubbling brook or whatever the eff it's called sounds just like my toilet backing up and getting ready to overflow.

So the sounds aren't really soothing for me, but toddlers seem to enjoy white noise, the minute I fired it up they were grabbing their blankies and heading towards bed. So I'm pretty happy that I found it. But I'm going to stop there with my gushing about BTE because I promised that I would write another blog about that. This blog is strictly for whining about how I just want to curl up with a book for the day. When I'm in one of these moods S says (in a weird high-pitched voice as he wiggles around) "I'm a worm....I'm a worm, look boys--Mama's a bookworm..." yeah, it's as irritating as it seems. :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Yesterday

"They say Texas weather's always changing/and one thing change can bring is something new." -Steve Earle, Fort Worth Blues

A cold front blew in last night as I slept, making the weather perfect for baking my rosemary shortbread this afternoon. The cookies turned out well, but my idea of using my rad vintage dessert tins as cookie cutters didn't really work out. The cookies spread out, making them regular circles anyway. So, if you make these don't bother trying to make them cute, just cut them out with a glass.
As promised, here is what we did yesterday:

My favorite kind of day is one where S and I just run regular family-type errands together. I almost didn't go with him and the boys but at the last minute I went, foregoing the shower I was looking forward to.


LeeLee and his owie check out the scenery:


Moomers chilling in his comfy carseat:


Leo is so happy when he gets to come along and be part of the family. Leave it to me to pick a dog based soley on his having a perma-smokey-eye. He is one obnoxious dog...but he's handsome!


Here is where we were going. You can maybe guess why I almost didn't come:



They randomly had a small flower garden on the way in. I just can't help but take pictures of flowers lately:


On impulse we decided to go to McKinney Falls state park instead of heading home. I had never been, but it was one of S's favorite spots to go as a kid.



We were ill-prepared, we didn't bring any snickies (food) except for a small snack cup filled with crackers for the boys. It was one of the first hot days we've had. I did bring sunscreen, though! (I don't leave home without it)
You couldn't swim because, apparently there was poop in the water or something like that. But nonetheless it was very inviting. Of course we didn't have bathing suits, though so it was just as well.


We came upon a large bouquet of stargazers, my favorite flower on the way in. There were no other cars in the parking lot and nothing else around to suggest that someone was coming back for them. I didn't snatch them right up, though. I decided that if they were still there on our way out I would take them home.

Well, they were still there so I grabbed them and flicked off the beetles that were trying to eat them. I felt a bit weird, like someone was going to pop up and get mad that I was taking them. I still wonder what happened. Did someone bring them for a girlfriend? Did they get into a fight? It seems unlikely that they didn't notice that they were leaving a huge bouquet of flowers wrapped in orange & purple paper.

They look great in my bedroom and smell so lovely! So I hope I didn't steal them from someone who was going to return for them.


It was beautiful there, so many trees and butterflies and flowers to look at. But of course Leo and the boys were more interested in the guys who worked there and their machines.




There is nothing hotter than a cute guy pushing a stroller:


We stayed for quite a while and had a great time but the boys were getting tired and I was starving.


They started to fall asleep the second we got in the car.
Lee fights sleep so hard,


but Mooms crashed immediately:


I started feeling shaky and low-blood sugary and ended up knocking the cap off of S's insulin syringe. As I grabbed for it the needle part stabbed my finger:


Bleeding didn't really improve my jittery-ness, needless to say.
Stupid thing:
Oh, look there's one more cracker in there...


I could have gone home and slept the night through but instead we hung out, made some food, cleaned the house, went for a walk, mowed the lawn and watched Gilmore Girls (and I tried to watch the Pussycat Dolls reality show but S made me turn it off) :(

I thought I did a great job on the lawn--we have a push mower and S usually does it but he got it out for me when I started whining about how messy our back yard looked. I thought I'd push it a bit and stop but it was suprisingly fun. I mowed the whole yard, but apparently haphazardly because he kept saying calling me "Patches."

So like I said, it was a full day but very very wonderful.

There is nothing I like more than hanging out with my family, well that is when S and I are getting along. He had a doctor's appointment yesterday at 8:45am which is the crack of dawn for us, but came back feeling perkier which was nice.

In addition to my rosemary shortbread cookies I also made some lavender lemonade. Squeezing the lemons made me almost unbearably sad. We had the greatest Meyer lemon tree in Berkeley and it made the best lemonade ever. The lemons I have to use (and buy!) here are terrible. Bitter & hard. The Meyers were soft and huge and sweet and juicy. *sigh*

Maybe we could try to plant a tree.

Sultry evening

Today was one of those days that felt like three days in one. It was a really nice day of springtime frolicking with my family. I took lots of pictures and will upload and write about our day in the morning.

But in the meantime I'll write about my night, since I am addicted to blogging right now. Last night I had a dream on continuous loop where I was uploading pictures, creating new folders for them, renaming them and then posting them here, on my blog. It was not an entirely bad thing, but I did wake up feeling poorly rested.

I just made the dough for the rosemary cookies and I think I am going to like them. I'm going to let it chill overnight then I'll bake them tomorrow. I pulled out some great vintage dessert tins that I plan on using for cookie cutters. They are kind of a scalloped flower shape. I have never used them for anything before, they came with S--I'm excited to make pretty herbal cookies with them.

So here's the recipe although if anyone were interested (if anyone's reading this so far) they could have already looked it up on allrecipes.com, where I found it. But here it is anyway:

Rosemary Shortbread Cookies:

1 1/2 c. butter (3 sticks)
2/3 c. sugar or agave nectar (I'm low otherwise I would have used it instead of white sugar for it's low glycemic index. I am hypoglycemic and S is a type 1 diabetic)
2 tblsp. fresh rosemary, minced
2 3/4 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. white sugar for decoration

Beat together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add salt, flour and rosemary & mix until a soft dough forms. Chill for 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface roll out dough to 1/4" and cut out 1 1/2"- 2" cookies. Place cookies 1" apart on greased cookie sheets (or line with parchment paper) Bake 8 minutes or until edges are golden, cool on racks.

Ok, so I haven't made it all the way through but apparently you want these to be on the super-pale side. Overcooking is no bueno. I feel weird making a cookie with no vanilla extract, especially since I have the organic good stuff but I don't want to muck up the recipe. One of the reviewers on allrecipes added some lemon zest and said it was really good, I may do this to half of the dough tomorrow, just for comparison's sake.

It is really, really warm this evening. At least in the mid-70's. The air is humid, heavy and floral-scented. It was an amazing night for a walk but the house is super-stuffy. I hate to turn on the A/C so early in the year but I finally had to in my room, it was roasting even with the window open and fans on. It reminded me that I loooove sleeping with the A/C on all cozied up in my feather duvet. Just thinking about it makes me wonder why I'm still awake.

When I was a kid I would ask my mom to turn up the air so I could snuggle in my blankets better. I hate sleeping without blankets.

I mentioned in a previous post how much I hate not being able to bake during the warmer weather but I just realized I can make lots of cold drinks (lavender lemonade is one I am going to whip up this week) and maybe even ice cream. Plus I can eat lots of great salads. And watermelon. So I'm not as sad about not being able to bake as much. (I'm sure I'll sneak something in the oven)

Ok, I'm getting sleepy. More tomorrow and some pictures.
xoxoJen

Monday, April 2, 2007

This & That

I am so exhausted. Between the full moon, friction between the mister and I, and taking care of the boys I am just fried.
I worked today even though I would have rather been swimming:



Yesterday I began my Spring cleaning. Now that the sun is shining there is dust and grime in every nook and cranny. (or crook and nanny as we say to the boys when we're changing their diapers...)
Luckily, I have Mrs. Meyers to help me:


Oh, did I say I had some "half-eaten cookies"? Well, this was what I had as of last night.


And now I have a few crumbs. Like I said, it's been a rough week. I'm going to try and put the boys to bed in a few minutes then I think I will do my "Skincare Ritual". (I'll tell ya'll the fascinating details of that one day soon)
Oh, and I haven't made the rosemary cookies yet. Now that I'm fresh out of chocolate chip I will probably make them within a couple of days. Plus, the temperature is rising here in Texas which means no more baking for me until late summer/fall. Sadness!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Food!

We've had a rough couple of days here at Casa de Craziness. When I'm stressed out I always turn to food. I especially love to bake when I'm wound up which explains the half-eaten (by me!) batch of chocolate chip cookies I made the day before yesterday.
I really do try to eat healthfully, I especially like to have a good breakfast:



But I am a weak, weak woman and so when S pulled into our local panaderia (Mexican bakery) a few nights ago I caved....


I should have gone home and had this:

But instead I happily gobbled this:



I'm not sure what it is *really* called, but S and I call it the "horn of plenty" it's a flakey pastry shell filled with custard and topped with chocolate. I would weigh 9,000 lbs. if I ate them often but occasionally they really do hit the spot. Yum!
Now I think I will clean a bit and then try out the recipe I found recently for rosemary shortbread cookies. If they turn out well I'll post the recipe.

Spring in Austin

"If you take the time to notice beauty, then suddenly it's everywhere."

This thought popped into my head as I was out for my evening stroll yesterday. I usually take the boys out in their stroller around 6 or 7pm. I go the exact same route, through what S considers the most depressing part of our neighborhood. Sometimes I have to agree. But last night was different. Everything was blooming and once I noticed, I saw everything in a whole new light.

This was my favorite...


It wouldn't be Spring in Texas
without bluebonnets...


The boys love these yellow flowers, they always
point and squeal when we pass them.




I started to wonder if I was going to freak
my neighbors out, taking pictures in their yards...



Most of the houses in my area were built in the
early 60's so there's lots of big beautiful trees.


It rained for most of the day, which is torture
with toddlers in the house but it cleared up
and I found this guy munching leaves in our
yard as we were setting out.



I snagged some rosemary from someone's yard--
I found a recipe for rosemary shortbread that I want to try...


I'm not a gardener, but I think these red lovelies
might be nasturtium...



The rain made everything so green and yummy!



It made me want to run out and plant things,
ASAP


I am such a hippie!



On my walks I usually don't really notice much aside from the houses I pass every day, the cars, the cats prowling around driveways. But this time I just noticed how much is in bloom. springtime in Austin is spectacular, especially after a rainstorm.