Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oprah, again

It's no secret that I loathe Oprah. When I read this article in Newsweek I was thinking, "Yes! Finally!" This article specifically focuses on the outlandish health claims Oprah's experts have made and the tremendous influence Oprah wields in general. My favorite paragraph:

In real life, she (Oprah) has almost nothing in common with most of her viewers. She is an unapproachable billionaire with a private jet and homes around the country who hangs out with movie stars. She is not married and has no children. But television Oprah is a different person. She somehow manages to make herself believable as a down-to-earth everywoman. She is your girlfriend who struggles to control her weight and balance her work and personal life, just like you.

This is true despite the fact that Oprah often appears distracted in her interviews with real people on her show (the non-celebrities), looking over their shoulders and sort of zoning out during their responses to her questions (and then magically summoning tears at the climax of their story). If she is everyone's girlfriend, she is the girlfriend that talks about AWESOME SHOES while you pour out your heart in the mall food court.

I know she has spearheaded some incredible charity projects. She is certainly a talented entertainer. I just don't relate to the conflicting values her show promotes: obsessing about body image /Girl Power, SHOPPING!/schools for impoverished children, living your best life/worshiping celebrities. I don't get it. But I am glad that she encourages reading, or used to. Does she still do the book club segments?

Friday, June 26, 2009

dear professor

I am sort of reading The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. I pick it up now and then and read one of the short chapters. It has lots of nice ideas, useful for giving one the motivation to find joy in the journey and don't sweat the small stuff and other things like that. Mostly it makes me think about professors I have known. Some approached the status of demigods, causing me to recite embarrassing poems in protest of their dismissal. One film professor actually tested us on his tangential ramblings about celebrities he knew ("What did Elizabeth Taylor say when I made a joke about her shoes in 1978?") In the relatively small pond of a university, professors seem like Triton himself, able to banish us to the depths of humility with a critical comment on a paper.

Back to The Last Lecture. It's worth reading. Some best-sellers make that list for a reason. Some, like a certain unnamed book about a teenage girl and her vampire, do not.

Friday, June 19, 2009

what I miss about Texas

  • road signs that simply say "CHURCH". I always liked the idea that, should a spiritual emergency arise, I could easily find a church. It might have a slightly spooky preacher with really big teeth and a lot of advice on "How to Increase Your Money God's Way," but it will still be a church.
  • you can buy a flat of mangoes on the side of the road. Also rhinestone Obama T-shirts and an assortment of tacky rugs.
  • 75 different varieties of picante sauce in the grocery store, not to mention fresh tortillas made right in front of your wondering eyes.
  • left turns allowed ! (not so in much of Detroit)
  • hot summer days suitable for swimming almost every day.
  • SONIC drinks.
  • so many sweet friends. We really miss you guys!

holy lycopene, Batman!

Like many of my most favorite foods, my mom's salsa is bursting with vegetable goodness (side note: foods bursting with fruity goodness don't tempt me like vegetables. Don't know why.) I seriously like thinking about all of the vitamins and fiber in this salsa, which we eat by the naked spoonful around here, no chip needed. I have occasionally added chipotle peppers canned in adobo sauce (about 2 tablespoons) to this recipe, but it's fantastic exactly as written here. And, yes, those quantities are right. We do prepare it one gallon at a time and give away about half.

Carolyn's Salsa

1 Gallon Recipe
4 28 oz. Cans of whole peeled tomatoes
3/8 pound yellow chilies, seeds and stems removed
3 large jalapenos, seeds and stems removed
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1/8 cup cilantro
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon oregano
1 Tablespoon ground cumin

Put one can of tomatoes at a time in food processor or blender, blend 2-3 seconds. Pout into a big bowl. Repeat until all tomatoes are crushed.
Process chilies, jalapenos, onions, and garlic in food processor until chopped. Pour into tomatoes.
Process cilantro for 5 seconds. Add to mixture.
Add salt, oregano, and cumin. Stir together. Chill and serve.

2 gallon quantities

8 28 oz. cans of whole peeled tomatoes (or 1 10 pound can)
¾ lb. Yellow chilies, seeds and stems removed
6 large Jalapenos, seeds and stems removed
2 medium yellow onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
¼ cup cilantro
2 Tablespoons salt
2 Tablespoons oregano
2 Tablespoons ground cumin

Monday, June 15, 2009


We have bare windows, I have time on my hands, I found Jo-Ann, and now I'm in curtain making mode. I was lamenting the fact that I hadn't found the right fabric for the master bedroom when what did I spy but a yard sale with 5 garbage cans full of rolls of decorator fabric! TURN THE CAR AROUND!
dh obliged and I spent about 20 minutes marveling at this incredible fabric with an even more incredible $4/yd price tag. No, it was not cute vintage fabric, sorry, but it is real "drapery" fabric and beautiful! Yay!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

birthday concert. in which I ROCK.

dh took me to Coldplay! We had such a fantastic time; took me right back to college, minus the black tights and Doc Martens. I did have secret tights on, though, under my jeans, because this is Michigan and it gets cold at night even in June (frost warning last night--ARE YOU KIDDING ME?)

In the background of the above picture is a high-energy tambourine player for one of the opening bands, The Howling Bells. In between his tambourine explosions he squatted down back by the drummer. When it was his turn, he bounded out of his little hiding place and went WILD with that tamborine. Highly entertaining.

The best part was when the band came up to a tiny stage about 10 feet away from us and played "Green Eyes," a favorite of mine. You probably can't tell from the photo that they were so close, but believe me, they were so close to us! I think it was pretty hard on Chris Martin being on such a tiny stage; not much room for skipping and cavorting about.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

the long road North

(the departure)

Oh, happy day! DSL is up and running, I am connected to the outside world. Even hung a few pictures on the walls today.
This cross-country moving business isn't for the faint of heart. Leaving Texas was much more emotional than I expected, considering how we made fun of Houston over the years. We miss our friends there terribly, and I often think of them and what they're up to (and what we're missing out on... sob!)
But we're here now, and soldiering on. By soldiering I mean that the kids are fighting almost constantly and my ability to parent in a consistent and calm manner is waning. Also I ate three Little Debbie cakes in one sitting the other night.
I'm trying to adjust to the Michigan definition of summer, a word that used to mean shorts and flip-flops, playing in the sprinkler, eating dinner on the back patio. Here it means gorgeous, long days with beautiful sunsets and a high of 65 degrees. I've got the heater going at night in JUNE!(With lows in the upper 40s, who wouldn't?) This is like a Texas winter, y'all!
So if the downside is the chilly weather, the upside is the terrain and all of these beautiful trees. Just beautiful. You can actually grow lilacs here, too.
The kids love the house. It has a huge basement and pretty big backyard with a swingset and a spooky storage shed. I like the wood floors and the picture window in the living room. Nobody likes the weird smell at the top of the basement stairs. We've been trying to identify it for days. My vote is stale cigar smoke. Super Q is voting for "dead rats." Antimicrobial Febreze has been a dear friend to me of late. Not a friend to me is the many boxes that we didn't label (?) or that just say "kitchen." What was I thinking? When looking for a can opener to open the only can of black beans in the house, "kitchen" is not a helpful guidepost. Note to self: label more specifically next time. Also, don't MOVE ACROSS THE COUNTRY AGAIN. Also, bring your own fresh ginger, as there appears to be no ginger in the Detroit metro area.