Sunday, November 30, 2008


He's here! The Tiniest Puppy in the World. Which is why we named him Samson. Because it's just funny. He's six weeks old. Too young, really, to be away from his mama, but since she had already been adopted out, we figured there wasn't any reason to leave him sitting with all the other strays who were carrying God only knows what. So, he's here and One Fish is in love. Two Fish likes him just fine but isn't going to win any parenting awards anytime soon. Red Fish is traumatized and may need therapy. He backs away, shrieking like a little girl when the puppy approaches him.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Even Jesus Liked a Good Olive

I've heard that heaven is a very busy place. At least that's what my Sunday school teacher says. Busy, busy, busy with everyone given the job they're best suited for and will best use their spiritual gifts. Well, if that's true, I can't wait. Because I know that when I get to heaven, I'm going to be in charge of a specialty food store and deli. And be able to sing with a voice that someone other than just my children will love. But, I digress.

I cannot open a store in this life for a lot of reasons. Mostly, I'm too lazy to be a shop owner. I'm also too OCD (in my own, strange, non-neat little way) and would work myself to death. I also hate finances and I've heard that being a small business owner requires one to deal at least occasionally with money and bills and other unmentionables. I am pretty sure, though, that in heaven there won't be any bills and I think that if God gives me the job of providing all of us with good creme fraiche and decent olives, he will also provide me with some good help so that I don't work myself to a frazzle. I don't think there is anything heavenly about working oneself to a frazzle, after all.

I really think that any place at all can benefit from a specialty food store. We have a few here. A cheese shop (which I am more enthusiastic about than is really normal) and a family run Cajun deli/market which is one of my favorite places in the world. We also have a delightful Asian market with produce and all sorts of things in the refrigerated section. Some of these things are wonderful and some are nothing I would ever consider cooking in this lifetime. We don't have a really wonderful grocery store, but we do have these three shops which make one feel a bit better about the general culinary taste of the population here.

There are some people who just don't have my taste in food. OK, to be honest, I don't think they have good taste in food at all. I know this is a strange revelation coming from me, who just several posts ago admitted that I like marshmallow peeps. I did admit that I knew this was not normal and so it isn't something I tell lots of people. The Scientist has some sort of low-brow taste in food sometimes. I'd give you examples, but then I might offend the type of person who prefers iceberg lettuce. And I hate to be offensive (recent posts not withstanding).

As my mother has always said, there is no accounting for taste. Lucky for you and me, I have wonderful taste in food (heehee) and the following recipe is a good example.

I have been making this for awhile and is perfect for this time of year. Pumpkin Bread Pudding. I can't even remember where I got the recipe, but in the interest of full disclosure, know that I don't come up with recipes. I only pass judgment on existing ones. Don't cheat yourself by eating this for dessert. Eat it for breakfast- we do.

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

1 loaf raisin bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

zest from one small orange

1 can evaporated milk

15 oz. solid pumpkin

1/2 plus 3 T. sugar, divided

3 eggs

1 1/2 T pumpkin pie spice

1/4 c. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat evaporated milk until hot.

In separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, 1/2 c. sugar, eggs, spice and zest. Gradually mix in hot milk.

Place 1/2 of bread cubes over bottom of baking dish. Pour half of pumpkin mixture over bread cubes. Repeat with rest of bread cubes and rest of pumpkin mixture. Sprinkle with nuts and rest of sugar.

Bake 25-30 min. Can be served with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream (even I don't do ice cream for breakfast though. I do have some standards).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No Excuses, But...

I'm catching some flack for not posting in awhile. It all boils down to two reasons:

1) Red Fish is cutting molars- all four at one time. This is apparently a very long process and requires lots of unhappiness, screaming, and demands for 100% of my time. We're on week number 2 and things may be getting a bit better but I hesitate to jinx myself. In the midst of it, he has developed a diaper rash from hades because all of my children (aka, the whitest children on the planet) have skin that breaks out when anything at all disturbs it's delicate balance. For him, this may or may not have been the 100 lbs. of grapes I let him eat the other day because it was keeping him quiet and happy for the first time in...well, two weeks.

2) We're getting a puppy. I wanted you to have to squint to see that because it is strictly on the DL. It is time and I probably need a whole post devoted to my thought process on this (hint- it did not involve a small amount of rationalization and OCD behavior). The Scientist and I are going to see the puppies this weekend (sans fishies of course because of the whole DL thing). The mother is a red, long haired dachshund and the father is... well, who the heck knows. The mother was dropped off at the shelter with her "boyfriend" who is a Pekinese but it became pretty clear after the babies were born that the old boy had been stepped out on a bit- or at least one all important time. The vets think the babies are probably half Shitzu or something close to it. They are black and white and might be the cutest things ever. Cuter than a guinea pig, I can almost guarantee it.

FYI- Spell check doesn't do well with dog breeds. Hasn't heard of most of them apparently. So, apologies to the Pekinese and Shitzu enthusiasts out there for mutilating the spelling of their favorite dog breed. I don't have time to get the dictionary right now. The Dog Whisperer is about to start.

Friday, November 7, 2008

They're Called Adult Britches. Put Them On.

There is a blogging topic that has been nagging me lately. Summed up, it is:
Stay Married, For Crying Out Loud.

The Scientist and I are experiencing a rash of divorce in the lives of our friends (and I know some of them are reading this and yes, I AM talking about you). To be quite frank, most of the divorces are stupid. Yep- the S word. Stupid, stupid, stupid. There are certainly some very valid reasons for deciding to toss your marriage vows out the window. I probably don't need to list them. But, for clarification and for the edification of anyone reading who may not be clear, let me list a few of the not-so-good reasons for thinking about getting the Big D.

1) It's too hard. Really?! Well, no shiot, Sherlock. Labor hurts and marriage can get hard. This is not breaking news. Everyone thinks it's hard sometimes. Did you really go into this expecting a Lifetime movie? Well, go get some money back from whoever did your premarital counseling because you got ripped off. Get over it. You made a promise. Put your adult britches on and keep the promise.

2) This is a newsflash to some people, apparently, so I'll put it in boldface. Most married people do not have sex three times a day. Most married people with children do not have sex even every day. Sex is not a reason to get a divorce unless, of course, the issue is sex with someone not sharing the marital bed in question. These problems can be fixed. See a doctor, get some counseling, read a book and/or look into some lubricant. Sexual issues are not reason enough to leave a spouse. Fix the problem and move on. Know that these things wax and wane, but are fixable problems (you did notice my enormous restraint in not saying "come and go," right?).

3) We're not "in love" anymore. Seriously? Are people serious when they say this?! As a very, very wise woman said recently, love is a choice. Love is not something magical that hits you like a bolt of lightening if you're lucky. Love is an action verb. You can choose to make dinner. You can choose to pull yourself out of a slump for the sake of your children. You can choose to love the one you made your vows to. No one just gets lucky and marries someone perfect. You have to wake up every day and decide that (contrary to lots and lots and lots of evidence) the one you're married to is perfect. Choose it.

4) It will be better for the children if we separate. Unless there is some sort of abuse going on, this is a lie that someone tells themself to justify a selfish decision. No it won't. Making the choice that your children will grow up in a house lacking a unified parental team is serious business. It changes them. It irreparably alters their future and the future of their children. They can still grow up to be loving, useful adults and parents who are a blessing to those around them. But, they'll have to work so much harder to get the pieces back that they could have had in childhood.

As I said, there are several really good reasons to divorce. There are even times when it would be irresponsible and perhaps criminal not to leave. I'm not talking about any of these situations. I'm talking about run-of-the-mill divorce because someone can't keep the promises they made or just don't feel like it anymore or can't take the trouble to work hard for something that is worth it.

Divorce sucks and in the interest of full disclosure let me add that The Scientist is a re-tread. So is my father. I know why these men are no longer in their first marriages but it's past the point of mattering now. I am obviously glad both of them moved on to second wives. One divorce led to my existence. The other divorce led to the existence of my marriage and the birth of my children. So, I'm not completely against divorce when it is truly unavoidable. It just makes me sad when it can be avoided and isn't. And my heart hurts for those friends of ours who are divorcing because of decisions others have made and which they have no control over.

I'm sure I'm not paraphrasing this perfectly, but Billy Graham's wife was once asked if she and Billy had ever fallen out of love with each other. "Oh, yes!" she replied. "Just not at the same time."

Hang in there, folks. It's worth it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

As Promised

Awhile back I resolved to learn to cook a wide variety of foods that were good for me and my family. Here is one I've come up with. Homemade apple sauce and feta roasted tomatoes to follow (gotta perfect the ingredient measurements).

Pumpkin seeds are high in protein (and fat, but since it's a seed, it's got to be the "good fat," right?). They are also high in zink, potassium and fiber. I'm calling them a health food!

No tally on the sodium content of these, but I'll tell you right now... it's high. So, cut the salt if you're sensitive to salt (Mom). The Scientist says he's going to go find some more pumpkins today and dig the seeds out of them so I'll make him some more of these!

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
2 1/2 cups rinsed and clean pumpkin seeds
1 T. olive oil
1 1/2 t. salt
1 T. garlic powder
1/2 t. cayenne pepper (reduce if you're not "spicy people")
1 t. black pepper
2 T. maple syrup (the real stuff)
1/2 t. paprika

Preheat oven to 400. Toss pumpkin seeds with remaining ingredients. Roast 15-20 min. or until seeds are beginning to brown.