Saturday, December 02, 2006

wait, am I embracing the 80s now?

Not 24 hours since my last " I just can't get on board with this 80s revival" proclamation (made while perusing racks and racks and racks of long stretchy sweaters with cinch belts at the waist) I have to semi-retract my statement. Why? Because of these people: Grand National. I'm no good at describing or categorizing music; I remember reading about bands with a "garage sound" or "jangly guitars" or whatever, but I could never be that precise. ANYWAY, I'm in love with this band Grand National and, much to my surprise, everything I read about them puts them in the retro-80s category. I guess I'm returning to my oversized tunic-teased bangs roots, as it were. All the same, I recommend them heartily, esp. a song called "Talk Amongst Yourselves". You'll have to, uh, buy the mp3 because I guess the cd is only an import now.

I really wanted to post a picture but, wow, there are so many incredible 80s pictures out there. Just Google Image Search "lisa lisa cult jam" (the "and" operator is unnecessary, don'tcha know) and enjoy the bounty there, including a photo of CHARO!


Yesterday dh told me about this gift card scam . Add it to the list of nefarious ways that screwed-up people are trying to take advantage of others. It made me so angry as I thought about it today while driving in ugly nighttime traffic(on the way home from Taco Bell, of all places. That's a recipe for angst, is it not?)

A thought I've often had returned to my mind: despite nefarious plots, selfish motives, and simple disregard for others, we trust each other out of necessity. Every time we go through a green light, we trust the other drivers to stop on the red light. Despite the many random shootings that occur practically daily, we move around in our world; working, going to school, going to the ATM at midnight. I know, what are we going to do, live like hermits? Yet the idea of that tacit collective agreement is touching, somehow. Despite the differences between us, we can trust each other a little.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Flash and Super Q heart Jimmy Eat World

Oh, dear, I think I've started a problem here. My boys, both younger than 8, are turning into fans of "rock songs". The other night they were SO loud and SO argumentative in the back of the car (which car, you ask? see below... VW wagon, name of Chaz, once beloved by me, now a source of pain every time I remember the c*r*a*s*h ... also mentioned below) ...anyway, I finally said, "OK, if you'll be quiet, you can listen to ROCK MUSIC! (Cheers). I put on a mix CD from a friend. "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World came on, and, well... my boys are now huge fans of skate rock or however you'd categorize it. And now they sing the song all day long. I don't mind too much; it has a Nice Message and all. Better than "My Humps" or something. It's oft requested in the car and we turn it up loud and dance and play instruments. Flash is on electric guitar and he put Super Q on "the other guitar." As usual, I'm relegated to keyboards. Geez.

Monday, October 30, 2006



crock pot roast beef w/gravy and crispy french bread
watching 4 year olds play soccer
hot bath+recent copy of wired magazine
news of new innocence mission cd in the works
catching up on favorite blogs and email


diet hansen's creamy rootbeer (neither creamy nor very much like root beer)
mosquito clouds obscuring view of 4 year olds playing soccer
realizing that wired has too many bad words in it and needs to go now that Flash is reading everything
waiting for innocence mission cd to actually be released
not catching up on balacing the checkbook or scrubbing the shower

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

cure for the common cold (or is it the flu? or bronchitis?)

In the past 3 days, I've undergone a transformation that some may argue was already in the works: I've become a Geriatric Nuisance. It's all due to this mystery virus that I get every year, and this year it struck early. The usual symptoms include: head cold, sore throat, and, eventually, a killer cough that starts in the chest. This year I've mixed it up a bit and added a fever and shallow breathing. That last bit is all the evidence you need of my new status of Geriatric Nuisance. All I can talk about is my Health Problems.

In addition, I lie around all day (or as much of the day as possible), I have partaken of way too much daytime television, I'm drinking peppermint tea almost exclusively (soft foods are also on the menu), and I'm reading a fairly banal Christian Literature book about (no lie) a woman in her 80s who reconnects with her granddaughter. (It includes many sort of funny lines, including one where the witchy controlling mother receives a message from Jesus that goes, "What's it to you if Sam's part of my plan for your daughter?" I just love the idea of Jesus pulling the ol' "whats it to ya" comeback.)

In honor of the occasion, I made this for dinner last night:
Cure for the Common Cold Chicken Soup

6 T chicken base (I like Better than Boullion brand)
2 1/2 quarts water
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1/2 small onion, chopped or 1 tsp dried onion

2 cups chopped cooked chicken
2 cups uncooked noodles
6 mushrooms, sliced
1 T fresh rosemary, chopped

Combine first 5 ingredients. Heat to boiling; simmer, covered 15 minutes or until carrots are tender. Stir in remaining ingredients. Return to boil; simmer uncovered 7-10 minutes or until noodles are tender.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

5K/smash-up day

I'm beginning to think that me+running=catastrophe. First I fall off the treadmill at the gym at prime time for fancy-moms to be there (10:00, right after aerobics or some such class), then I actually get a migraine in the middle of running, now I'm freaked out about the treadmill in general and can't seem to run on it without getting dizzy.

So last Saturday I ran the Houston Race for the Cure 5K. I know, totally small potatoes, but for me it was something of a victory. It was very hot that morning and the idea of (sort of) training for it and then actually finishing it was an important one for me. So anyway, my sister the *real* runner and I complete the race and eventually find our car. And then I smash it in the parking garage! And it's a beautiful car... was a beautiful car. I've never been into any car like I was into that one. As a person who tries to live by the old hippie adage "use things and love people, don't love things and use people" (usually expressed more eloquently than that), I should just be able to shrug this little accident off. And I will, it's just the combination of the cost of the repair and my new suburban shut-in status that are combining to make this something of a challenge.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

ways to avoid updating your blog

a sampling from my Firefox Bookmarks, which frequently distract me from writing here:

black and white herbs
Hassle Free Clip Black and White Clip Art » RetroClipMart | Free Clip Art | Clip Art BooksFree Dog Stencils to Print and Cut Out
Resene Paints - Kids Stencils
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
the innocence mission -
welcomeRadical Librarian: Uh oh: New Orleans mayor gets "racial"
Print Business Cards - Custom Rubber Stamps - Online Business Card Printing
my shore
Watch Out for Mama
Hill Cumorah Pageant
on newspapers and mothering
League Detail
Newspapermom: The News about Janet’s Life
truckin' in the galaxy
Cypress-Fairbanks ISD Home Page ReadyMade [MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION]: Magazines
Frugal For LifeReadyMade: Instructions for Everyday Life
Houston eCoupons
arty borders
Don Peris -
WelcomeFlickr: Photos from beckbot
LocalHarvest - CSA D
etailsvirus-731867.jpg (JPEG Image, 800x600 pixels)
REPRODEPOTFABRICS.COM - vintage reproduction fabrics and retro fabrics plus retro and vintage themed buttons, ribbons, t shirts and gifts! | E-Cards | View E-Card
angry chicken
Baby Kimonos
Tone arms up best exercise for toning flabby arms fast
Steinlen Art Posters
The Scoop
HoorayforHeadbands.pdf (application/pdf Object)
yw instruction
Japanese Kamon Clip Art and Wallpapers
Air Conditioning [Archive] - Community Forums
A Brief History of Junk
T h e Barter B l o g » Fun stuff
Delicious Hawaiian style recipes to create an authentic Hawaiian luau ANYWHERE!
Komen Houston Race for the Cure® : Sponsors
SouleMama: I'm in love....
Komen Houston Race for the Cure® :
From WBEZ in Chicago | This American Life
Flu Wiki - Consequences - Preparedness Guides
5 Inch Tapered Bun Foot - From the Bun Feet Line

catching up

Why have I been neglecting this blog so horribly? I've been asking myself this and just realized that SCHOOL STARTED since I last wrote. So there you go. In the mean time, my sister Camus visited and, boy did we enjoy some tasty homecooked gourmet-ish food: pesto, black bean tacos, and a trip to Carraba's to dip that wonderful bread in that wonderful seasoned oil over and over. We both love cooking, when it's not under duress (e.g. microwaving Spaghettios while the lads chant/whine "I'm hungry! I want gum!" in unison. Why is gum a food in their world? I don't know.) We also spent us some disposable income on some highly disposable sunglasses, headbands, and the like in a shopping "district" here called Harwin St. I could have also availed myself of many, many Paris Hiltonesque belts, bags, necklaces, and shoes, but chose to stick with the aforementioned t-shirt/jeans/flip-flops uniform for now.

Read some cool books, including Early Bird , about a youngish man who moves to Florida and retires there for about a year. Pretty insightful and enjoyable, I thought, although it does get annoying how these McSweeney's types are always the quoted ones on the back of each other's books. Oh, and the author keeps on referring to his "friend Nick" (Nick Hornby)... it gets tedious.

Speaking of name-dropping, you may want to avoid Friendship: an expose by Joseph Epstein. I have so enjoyed his essays in the past and looked forward to reading this book, but the personal anecdotes, while interesting, got to be too much. They also really exposed Epstein's snobby side... all those tedious references to his 3-year friendship with Saul Bellow. If you're going to drop a name, you've got to include enough gruesome detail to hold a reader's interest. Otherwise, it's just another paragraph to plow through (or skip).

Saturday, August 19, 2006

running away...

Despite the media portrayals of glamorous stay-at-home-moms in stiletto heels and shift dresses gossiping about the neighbors, most of us are of the jeans, t-shirt, and flip-flop variety, trying to get chocolate milk (!) out of the carpet while calling to set up a dentist appointment, fastening a Batman cape, and settling a Lego squabble. And, yes, sometimes we want to run away. So I have. On a treadmill. We finally became part of the "going to the gym" crowd, and, just like cell phones and DSL, I'm starting to understand why it is so popular. Put the kids in the (very decent) day care, set mp3 player to a fast Frou-Frou tune, and take off running. For me, the better sleep and (very slight) weight loss are incidental. It's the stress relief and even the occasional runner's high that I seek at the gym. I'm up to 2.5 miles; working toward a 5K in late September.

Friday, July 14, 2006


I was horrified to hear this news when I returned from our trip: 5 U.S. soldiers accused of raping and murdering Iraqi children. Honestly, as if the creaky evidence Bush used to facilitate our initiation of this war, the poor planning of the post-war phase and apparent lack of an exit strategy, not to mention the embarrassment that is Guantanamo and was Abu Gharaib were not enough, now we have soldiers raping and murdering the most innocent of civilians--the very civilians we are there to "liberate."

above-ground Titanic

We returned from our super-bon-bon-long trip around the East/Midwest and are safely back in suburbia. We spent the better part of one day in Detroit, visiting Evan's old house, school, and neighborhood. Saw a drug deal, a prostitute, and many beautiful old abandoned buildings. Evan told me about some sites maintained by "urban spelunkers" who explore abandoned hotels, apartment buildings, train stations, etc. Detroit must be a mecca for these folks because it seems about 50% abandoned, even (especially) downtown. The above image comes from forgotten detroit .
It's eerie and sad to view these photos and think about the decay of some American cities.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

30 minutes of my morning

The following occurs between 7:30 and 8:00 am:

Enter kitchen to discover that the $%#@! mites are back, and have invaded the kitchen table, feasting on the tiny crumbs in the middle where the table leaf would go. While scrubbing all table surfaces, get report in from Flash (my 6 yr old) that there is a WASP in the house. Shoo kids into my bedroom and prepare to attack. Wait until he (yes, I'm sure he was a he) goes behind the roman blinds. Whack the crap out of him with broom and paperback copy of "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone". Put his carcass in a cup, take it outside and deposit him on the nearest fire ant pile (cruel? no, he was dead anyway... this just ensures that he, uhh... returns to the fertile soil). Return to scrubbing table. Put tablecloth on top to prevent further crumb issues. Kill mites; mop kitchen floor. Boys come into kitchen for Breakfast Round 2
. Make breakfast for them. Pour cranberry juice all around. Super Q spills his IMMEDIATELY. Cringe. Super Q gets upset because I made a face and declares "I don't yike eddy-buddy (everybody)." Pour new juice, this time in sippy cup. Retreat to computer to blog the whole thing. Hear suspiciously light-saber-like noises in other room. Save blog entry and return to the trenches.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

birthday princess

Hooray for me, I turned 34 and only had one tiny "I'm getting old and fat and wrinkled and what have I done with my life" crisis. The mini-crisis was soon offset by very nice gifts and cards that arrived, including three packages in my mailbox on the same day! Not that I'm a gift fiend, but wonderful books and clothes and flatware and gift certificates are a pleasant distraction from the aforementioned old/fat/wrinkled anxiety. Thank goodness for thoughtful friends, family and husband and for rad Japanese food, including a coconut tapioca "bubble tea" to drink. (If you are not familiar with this drink, google it now and get yourself to a bubble tea shack asap. You won't be sorry.)

I just finished I Capture the Castle
again. Loved it again. Now it's on to Stumbling on Happiness, which is not as interesting as I had hoped, but good enough for bathtub reading (<-- librarian heresy right there). And, of course, Stiff, thanks to Lindsay and Tony, and Peace Like a River courtsey of Janette. And the incredible America's Test Kitchen cookbook courtesy of Mindy, which not only teaches you how to make birthday cake with an "incredibly fine crumb" but tests barbecue sauce so you don't have to!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

the kite runner

OK, I'm quite late with this review. I know this book is so last year or the year before, but I wanted to review it anyway. First, don't go into it thinking, "ah, now I shall learn all about Afghanistan and its rich culture." You will skim the surface of Afghani culture through the eyes of a decidedly naive narrator, but I came away from it thinking its plot and characters could have come out of any country with a somewhat strict caste or class system. Although the plot was quite interesting, I have to say there is a fairly predictable surprise ending ala Oprah book club that I wasn't keen on.
I just realized all of my previous posts have been sans capital letters. I guess over the last 6 weeks I've changed somehow and now feel I must obey all grammar rules.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

kitchen by banana yoshimoto

Just finished this book, and I always enjoy it, especially the dream sequence, but it really does read like it's translated: a little klunky. I can't decide if it's an especially quirky or austere writing style or an imprecise translator. At any rate, I think it--and Midnight Shadow, which is often published together with Kitchen--is a interesting examination of grief and an honest portrayal of one person's interior life.

But oh, how it makes me crave katsudon and Japanese curry, which, incidentally, is much more flavorful than Chinese curry, but not quite as wonderful as Indian curry.

Monday, March 13, 2006

rosie thomas

Oh dear, first it was Natalie Merchant, then Beth Orton, now it's Rosie Thomas...brilliant female vocalists with the occasional sad song and a cool clothing aesthetic just TAKE OVER my life when I find them. Anyway, she has a lovely voice and I really recommend her. (click on the title of this post to visit her site and listen to a few mp3 files)

My Eyeball Just Fell Out of Its Socket...What Should I Do?

To find out, click here.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006


If you've every been curious about where your 4.5 lbs/day of garbage goes, or the stuff in your recycling bin for that matter, Garbageland is definitely worth reading. It's actually kind of shocking to realize that we haven't really figured out a way to obliterate our garbage. I mean, we are basically doing what we've been doing for centuries: burying or burning garbage. Some is processed for reuse through recycling or composting, but most of it is still "tipped" into a landfill, where it will inevitably leach into the ground and pollute the water and soil. After reading this, I am reminded of how important it is to stem the flow of garbage at the beginning: the point of purchase. Instead of buying individual-sized packages of things, we can buy in bulk. I guess that's my goal for now: buy things with minimal packaging and bring my own packaging (grocery bags, for example) whenever I can. And stop buying things that I just don't need in the first place.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

bo bo yeh yeh

Super Q, my three year old, is becoming a very inventive wordsmith. today he started calling me "bo bo yeh yeh" and I have yet to find a source or even a context for this. in Chinese, bo means throat and yeh-yeh means old grandpa. Super Q also invented an imaginary friend, Woe-Woe, who actually is chinese. Q is totally obsessed with Chinese people; this was, i think, brought on by about 2500 viewings of Mulan.

Flash, my 6 year old, is very much into African Americans. Some of his good friends at school are African American, and he tries so hard to speak like them. It's kinda funny, this very skinny, very white lil tyke trying to sound so cool.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

like a wig in the wind...

just when you think you'll never see a wig twirling down an arterial Houston street, well, your luck changes. yesterday was blustery, and while driving home from the grocery store, I spotted a wig of the brown curly variety blowing around on Hwy 6 here in Houston. every car that passed it sent it spinning in the air and sent me into uncontrollable laughter. wish I had a photo to post...

Thursday, February 09, 2006

saving fish from drowning

just finished saving fish from drowning by amy tan. it chronicles the experience of 11 American tourists kidnapped in myanmar; their journey there, their experience living with their captors, and their rescue,e tc. it's kind of long, and i plowed on through, but i have to say it doesn't measure up to her other work. the characters are shallow, and seem to be without believable emotion. the ending is predictable. one more note on the characters: too many! it was difficult to keep track of the many personal histories and personal entanglements of each one of the tourists in the book. i was actually missing the strong women with dark secrets left behind in China theme that runs through practically every other book by tan.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

the smell of my house

today was a cooking day. i made my sister's fantastic recipe --with 2 pages of ingredients! --for chicken tikka masala, and then a batch of chocolate chip pecan cookies. the combination of the two is a not unpleasant, slightly burnt cumin/coriander/cookie kind of scent. it was blowing in hot and strong through the bathroom vent just now.

Monday, January 23, 2006

a box of matches by nicholson baker

I just read this book for the second time, and i really like it. it is about 20 early-morning musings from a middle-aged man during the winter time, likely in New England (fiction). it mostly deals with the minutae of this man's life and his sometimes very random thoughts, but is beautifully written and (hooray) positive; nothing too tragic in it. actually, it is not unlike a well-edited blog, full of daily events, memories, and the occasional profound thought.

i tend to gravitate to very sad books that haunt me for months. one, the time traveler's wife (see post below) truly depressed me for several weeks. i bought a copy and then, realizing that i should not have this book in my house, i sent it to my sister. hopefully she will fare better with it.

against breakfast food

I haven't been a breakfast person for years, and i think I've figured out the phenomenon: breakfast food is not worth it. i'm much better off with a bowl of chicken herb ravioli or pizza or even (I know, insert *shudder* here) a tuna sandwich than any sort of bread product with syrup on top or processed grain shape with sugar on top or granola bar. (caveat: vanilla flavored miniwheats are excellent any time of day). I just gots to have me protein in the top o' the morning.


don't, I repeat, DO NOT, call your HMO to ask any kind of important information. why? because the "person" answering the phone is really a robot whose sole purpose is to obfuscate simple information, such as the answer to, "is _____ covered?" much better off finding the .pdf version of your plan info and NEVER talking to a live person, ever. ok, now I need some chocolate and a diet coke.

Friday, January 20, 2006

hi-larious Japan travelogue

oh, seth stevenson is one funny man. If you've been to Japan or if you haven't; if you even know where Japan is on the map, you need to read this; 5 full days' worth of stellar humor and crazy fun in Japan, as seen through the eyes of mr. stevenson. then go to the archive and ready everything he's written, esp. Ad Report Card, and laugh yourself out of the cheeto-induced coma you've been in. (I've been in? Whatever.)

brokeback mountain

ok, I don't have a problem with this movie existing, but I saw the trailer 3 times last night, and if I'm not mistaken, it is being touted as a love story [no problem there; it is a love story], but ALL of the clips involving 2 people hugging/touching were between the cowboys and their wives. I think that's a bit misleading. Some poor granny out there is going to think it's a good ol' fashioned western love story and be a little shocked, I think.