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Read all about the adventures of the Tsao Family during the summer of 2012

Saturday, December 31, 2005

 

Resolutions 2006

It's New Year's Eve. I just poured my first glass of Prosecco, my newest sparkling wine obsession. I've waited all day for this treat, asking Mike several times, "Is it time yet?"

Thomas is in bed. Last week Mike and I decided that he was old enough to go to bed without mommy's, um, breastesses. Mike now bathes him and puts him down himself. And guess what? Thomas is completely okay with this new turn of events; I think I am missing our nighttime cuddle more than he is. Isn't that always the case?

But what a difference sleep makes in a life! When I was thinking about 2005, I realized that my life got a whole lot nicer once Thomas started sleeping better, and that wasn't until he was around six months old. Wow. I now regularly think to myself, Life is good. This time last year I was thinking, How long can I stretch out this prescription for Vicodin?

Overall, 2005 was a good year for me. I realized more fully a dream I didn't even know I had: to be a recognized creative writer. It's such a high to do something you love and have the courage to tell the world about it. It's much better than drugs or even Prosecco. I say that with a glass of bubbly less than six inches from my hand, but I mean it. Seriously.

So what do I want to accomplish in 2006? What do I resolve?

  • In 2006, I resolve to continue writing.
  • In 2006, I resolve to submit more of my work to those who have the ability to reject it.
  • In 2006, I resolve to become better at accepting criticism including rejection.
  • In 2006, I resolve to attend BlogHer 2006. [Think about joining me!]
  • In 2006, I resolve to edit my 2005 NaNo novel.
  • In 2006, I resolve to participate in NaNoWriMo 2006.
  • In 2006, I resolve to take care of me, both physically and mentally. Because it's true what they say: If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.
  • In 2006, I resolve to hug and kiss my babies as many times a day as I can fit into 24 hours. [Does that make sense? You know what I mean.]
  • In 2006, I resolve to read Heidi Raykeil's book Confessions of a Naughty Mommy. [Insert XXX music here.]

    That's it! Now on to my second glass of Prosecco, a cuddle with the husband, and the TV coverage of people with no kids partying it up in Times Square. But before I go, let me raise my glass to you: Here's to you in 2006!

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    Having kids is very nice

    The year in review. Thank you to Maurice Sendak for the inspiration.

    ** January **
    In January
    T was small
    I had no time
    to write at all
    my home from home
    was at the mall.
    Having once
    having twice
    having kids is very nice.


    ** February **
    In February
    life was bleak
    I tried to get out
    once a week
    this kid thing isn't
    for the meek.
    Having once
    having twice
    having kids is very nice.

    ** March **
    In March
    two visitors
    we saw
    Dee Dee and Jess
    walked in the door
    and when they left
    we cried for more.
    Having once
    having twice
    having kids is very nice.

    ** April **
    In April
    our poor Emily
    had a thorn
    we could not see
    the doctor had to
    cut it free.
    Having once
    having twice
    having kids is very nice.

    ** May **
    In May
    we had a
    Mother's Day
    Mike gambled most
    the night away
    he did not win
    but he did pay.
    Having once
    having twice
    having kids is very nice.

    ** June **
    In June
    the day that E was born
    we celebrated
    night to morn
    a juice box
    from her hand
    was torn.
    Having once
    having twice
    having kids is very nice.

    ** July **
    In July
    I could start to see
    what happiness might mean
    to me
    with mommy
    daddy
    E
    and T.
    Having once
    having twice
    having kids is very nice.

    ** August **
    In August
    we flew to Texas
    just to see
    what all the fuss was
    we left knowing
    ya'll must love us.
    Having once
    having twice
    having kids is very nice.

    ** September **
    In September
    Rosa started
    would she work
    was what we wondered
    why'd we wait
    we also pondered.
    Having once
    having twice
    having kids is very nice.

    ** October **
    In October
    days grew shorter
    Halloween
    was lots of bother
    Tommy T
    just wants his mother
    Having once
    having twice
    having kids is very nice.


    ** November **
    In November
    lots of writing
    kids get TV
    I get hiding
    novel written
    fast as lightning.
    Having once
    having twice
    having kids is very nice.

    ** December **
    In December
    we had houseguests
    grandmas flocked
    to this here address
    and T turned one
    with much finesse.
    Having once
    having twice
    having kids is very nice.

    Friday, December 30, 2005

     

    Sorry in advance

    I found this on Ann's blog. She found it on Michael's blog.

    Here is the first line from the first post of each month that I blogged in 2005 with links to the original entries.

    I imagined that this would be an interesting, thought-provoking post that would highlight some of the best of what Mom Writes offered in 2005. Instead, what I give you is slightly humiliating and definitely boring. [Note to self: For 2006, make the first sentence of the first post of every month make it seem as though you actually have a life worth living. Jeebus.]

    January
    Must. Write. Now.
    Let me explain to you the greatest accomplishment in a mom of two's life.

    February
    All children, all the time; no entries

    March
    All children, all the time; no entries

    April
    All children, all the time; no entries

    May
    All children, all the time; no entries

    June
    The highlight of my life as of last Wednesday
    I'm having a hard time finding the time to write in my blog.

    July
    Nightstand, deconstructed
    Is your nightstand the window to your soul?

    August
    Blogher '05: Advanced Tools braindump
    As I sat in on the Advanced Tools session led by Alexandra Samuel, George Oates, and Marnie Webb, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I knew at least a little bit about lots of the things we were discussing.

    September
    What's new at Mom Writes
    Mom Writes version 2.0, released today, includes the following changes and improvements.

    October
    The joy of spontaneous scheduling
    With our summer traveling over, the family is settling into an easy-going routine that should take us through fall and into the holiday season.

    November
    NaNoWriMo Day 1: Get your NaNoWriMo Meter here
    I've had a great first NaNoWriMo day.

    December
    Santa Claus, Christmas cards, and the room of despair
    It's been a busy couple of weeks here at our house.

    Thursday, December 29, 2005

     

    Holiday card roundup '05

    [Note: Edited on 12/30/05 to increase number of twins: 2; number of cards that were hand delivered: 1; number of cards that were attached to a plate of cookies: 1.]

    Okay, folks, Christmas Holiday is over. It's now time to remove all Christmas Holiday cards from your home. That's right. Walk over to that decorative wall board you made out of red felt, batting, and old buttons; or that nifty card holder you fashioned out of some old velvet ribbon and an ordinary household stapler; or that fancy cheater's card holder you bought at the Hallmark store; and start recycling.

    But before you do, let's review what the postman brought us this year:

    Holiday Cards: Give and Ye Shall Receive

    Number of cards mailed: 97
    Number of cards received: 37

    Number of cards that contained a Holiday photo: 23
    Number of cards that did not contain a Holiday photo: 14

    Number of cards that contained a Holiday newsletter: 2
    Number of cards that were attached to a plate of cookies: 1

    Number of cards that made me scramble to get another card in the mail: 1
    Number of cards that were hand delivered: 1


    Number of cards from Realtors or Mortgage Brokers: 2

    Number of cards from exes (husbands, wives, girlfriends, and/or boyfriends): 1

    Number of cards from people we do not know
    : 1

    Number of cards that contained a link to the person's website: 1

    Number of cards that announced a pregnancy: 1 (We got one last year, too!)
    Number of cards that wished us a Merry Christmas 2006: 1 (Same person who announced her pregnancy. Her error is understandable.)

    Number of cards that came with a present: 3
    Number of cards that came with a check: 1 (To some relatives, you're never too old for a Christmas check. Thank you, Aunt Barb!)
    Number of cards that came with a homeade Holiday CD featuring songs by The Aqua Velvets and Nina Hagen: 1

    Number of photos that featured kids with coordinating outfits: 2
    Number of photos that featured kids with matching outfits: 3

    Number of photos that featured entire families with coordinating outfits: 3
    Number of photos that featured entire families with matching outfits: 0

    Number of photos that featured twins: 2

    Number of photos in which a kid looks extremely unhappy: 1
    Number of photos that featured kids cuter than my own: 0

    Number of photos in which the people actually look cold: 3
    Number of photos in which a dog looks cold: 1

    Number of photos that featured people on a beach: 2

    Number of photos with dogs: 6
    Number of photos with dogs dressed as reindeer: 1
    Number of photos with dogs wearing Holiday bandanas: 2
    Number of photos with dogs wearing Holiday sweaters: 1

    Number of photos that featured a grandma wearing a Rudolph nose
    : 1 (Hi, Jewel!)

    Wednesday, December 28, 2005

     

    More Mommyblogging love

    Yesterday, I was praised and interviewed and today the beautiful and talented, righteous trio also known as the Mommybloggers have posted an entry I wrote.

    What are you waiting for? Go over there and check it out!

    Tuesday, December 27, 2005

     

    Bounce with me, ya'll

    I'm so honored to be featured today over at Mommybloggers. Go check it out! Beep Beep! Toot Toot!

    It's been a great day all around. Mike had a vacation day and our babysitter/nanny was here with the kids so he and I actually went out and spent the day together. Alone. It took all of my willpower not to suggest that we simply rent a room and spend the day... uh... ordering room service and watching pay per view movies, but I restrained (sorry, Mike!) and we went to the de Young Museum and then downtown to the newly opened H&M department store.

    To summarize, four good things happened to me today:
    * Got to spend the day with my husband sans kids
    * Hung out with sister-in-law and her nice friends for a bit
    * Tried on three things at H&M and all three things fit
    * Got home and found praise and my interview on the Mommybloggers site

    Neat!

    Monday, December 26, 2005

     

    Cookies post-mortem

    I did it! I made myself crazy baking six different kinds of cookies in that bizarre Holiday ritual also referred to as "baking a few cookies to give to the neighbors or whomever comes over."

    There is no such thing as casually baking roughly 18 dozen cookies. That's 18 dozen, people. Also referred to as 18 times 12, which is a long way of saying two hundred and sixteen cookies. Give or take the raw dough equivalent of a couple of cookies that I braved Salmonella to eat furtively over the sink.

    Anyway, I like to summarize after any major project that almost causes me to run screaming to the nut house, or in this case the semi-sweet morsels and nut house. Ha Ha.

    Ha.

    In my working mommy days, we called this a post-mortem. It's an apt term, no matter if you're a harried technical writer or a harried mommy. (P.S. That's harried, not hairy!)

    The Cookies
    L to R: Whipped Shortbread Cookies, Chocolate Rum Balls, Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti, Almond Cookies, Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars, Mom's Ginger Snaps


    Things I want to remember for next year:

  • Start baking cookies a full two weeks before Christmas. There are many events that need cookies in those weeks. Need, I tell ya!
  • Make sure to have plenty of large plastic containers in which to store the cookies. Also can be used to give them away, too.
  • Cookies on doilies on plates are SLIPPERY! Cookies that end up on the floor can cause mommy to scream and cry. Ban doilies from the kitchen.
  • Ginger Snaps are the easiest to make plus they look good.
  • Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars are too hard to make plus they're rich enough to knock a large man on his behind. Next year make Chocolate Chip instead.
  • Chocolate Rum Balls are not for kids but old folks like them.
  • Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti are a pain to make and are ugly as sin unless you decorate them with white and dark chocolate drizzles.
  • Almond Cookies are my favorite. They're not too sweet. The recipe doesn't make enough; next year make two batches. Also, don't forget to garnish (pre-baking) with a sliver of almond on each.
  • Whipped Shortbread Cookies look festive but they have an odd texture. Not sure what the audience reaction is to them. More research is needed before declaring these worthy of another try.
  • In case I need reminding that baking Holiday cookies is worth the effort, I will refer to the following picture:
  • Sunday, December 25, 2005

     

    Merry Christmas 2005!

    Love, Mike, Mary, Emily, and Thomas

    Sunday, December 18, 2005

     

    Emily, tea, and me

    Yesterday I started a new Holiday tradition with Emily: Teddy Bear Tea at the Ritz Carlton.

    It was raining cats and dogs but we dressed in our finest Holiday garb and ventured into The City. Emily wore a maroon velvet dress and a dalmation-spotted fur coat, both items given to her by Grammie Martha. I won't bore you with a description of what I wore; Emily was the star of the show.

    We brought with us Emily's bestest friend, Bear. He wore a maroon velvet bow that matched Emily's dress. I could tell he was particularly stuffed with pride as we strode hand in hand into the lobby of the Ritz.

    For those of you who haven't been, tea at the Ritz is a snazzy affair and the Teddy Bear Tea is no exception. Most of the attendees are little girls and their mothers, and everybody who attends goes home with a belly full of cocoa and cookies and a new teddy bear. We rarely (okay, never) let Emily drink cocoa out of a china cup, but she went to it like she was born to royalty.

    After imbibing in cocoa, tea, champagne, warm scones, and little sandwiches that were almost (almost) too pretty to eat, we were entertained by a gay man wearing an elf suit and a giant teddy bear. Accompanied by a pianist, the elf sang a variety of traditional and non-traditional Holiday classics, including Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, Do-Re-Mi, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, and Don't Cry Out Loud. The last one seemed an interesting choice for a Holiday tea filled with little girls, but what do I know? The kids thought it was funny and the moms did, too.

    The show reminded me of Sing-A-Long-A Sound of Music meets Beach Blanket Babylon with a little La Cage Aux Folles thrown in for good measure. It was interesting, to say the least.

    I was so proud to attend such a grown up function with my little girl. She's growing up right before my eyes! Maybe next year we can go with a grandma (or two!) and an aunt and make it a family tradition.

    Saturday, December 17, 2005

     

    Recipe: Purple Chicken

    How's your weekend? Hanging in there? Good.

    I have been completely inspired by Julie Powell's book Julie and Julia. Cooking with butter and without guilt is a whole lot of fun. Although--as a busy mom--I still need to be able to have an entire dinner ready in 40 minutes or less (Julie and her husband rarely ate before 10 PM when she made dinner), she definitely has inspired me to get the hell into the kitchen and cook my f*ck*n heart out!

    Here's a dish I made up that Mike named Purple Chicken. He said it had a 100% family approval rating, which means that everybody (including Emily and Thomas) ate it and liked it. And they liked it not in a, "You'll eat this and like it!" kind of way, but in a genuine, "Mommy, this good!" kind of way. I was living Every Cook's dream dinner moment. Thanks for the inspiration, Julie!

    Purple Chicken

  • 4 chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4 inch thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 red onion, slivered
  • 3 T butter
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 1 t chopped dried tarragon
  • Salt
  • Pepper

    1. Heat large skillet over medium high heat.
    2. Add olive oil and 1 T butter to pan.
    3. When butter melts, add slivered red onion. Saute onion for two minutes.
    4. Add minced garlic. Saute onion and garlic for another minute.
    5. Salt and pepper chicken breasts. Add to pan. Cook three minutes on each side.
    6. Add red wine and tarragon to pan. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook until chicken is done, another 4-8 minutes? (Test with knife to make sure chicken no longer pink in center -- try not to overcook them like I did.)
    7. Remove breasts from pan. Put on plate and cover to keep warm.
    8. Add 2 T butter to yummy stuff in pan. Raise heat to high and cook for several minutes until it reduces into a saucy mixture and/or you no longer can stand the delicious smell.
    9. Serve chicken with sauce.

    Serves 4 people on a first date or 2 people married for years.


  • I served my Purple Chicken with a spinach and noodle dish (egg noodles tossed with grated parmesan cheese and spinach sauteed in onion, garlic, basil, and oregano). The meal probably goes nicely with a dry white wine, although I wouldn't know; all we had in the front hall wine closet was Berringer White Zinfandel.

    Happy weekend, friends.

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    Friday, December 16, 2005

     

    Baking myself crazy

    Holiday photo? check.
    Houseguests? check.
    Christmas cards? check.
    Poem about Christmas cards? check.
    Presents for husband? check.
    Presents for kiddos? check.
    Presents for me? check. (Wait until I post a picture of the new boots I got myself. Oh, baby. Knee high black leather with two inch heels. Why? Because I'm worth it!)

    Now what? Nine days until Christmas and I'm feeling a little too relaxed. I know! I'll bake Christmas cookies! And not just one kind, either. I'll bake a different Christmas cookie every day until Christmas!

    Starting Monday.

    Here's what I've come up with so far. If you've got a great (easy is key) recipe, feel free to share.

    Monday, December 19: Mom's Ginger Snaps
    Tuesday, December 20: Chocolate Rum Balls
    Wednesday, December 21: Almond Cookies
    Thursday, December 22: Cinnamon Hazelnut Biscotti
    Friday, December 23: Whipped Shortbread Cookies
    Saturday, December 24: Chocolate Chip Toffee Bars

    Thursday, December 15, 2005

     

    The Rhyme of the Perfectionist Housewife

    It starts in November, an innocent thought
    Last year's pain all forgotten, what Christmas cards wrought
    It's my biggest project, the one I do best
    It's my chance to reveal what goes on in my nest

    New clothes are chosen for me and the kids
    Nothing new for the husband (He'd rather be dead)
    I spend agonizing moments at ponder in the store
    An eternity later I purchase my score

    Which day shall we ruin? Which friend shall we pain?
    We don't pay for professional photographers, nay
    Which corner of our house looks appropriately merry?
    Which couch is the cleanest and doesn't look scary?

    I lay out on the bed what I want us to wear
    I worry about clothes and makeup and hair
    I know that my kids will look good wearing bags
    It's me that I don't want to look like a hag

    We set up the shot, this shouldn't be too hard
    I sit up straighter and shout out loud
    C'mon, everybody, remember your places!
    Wipe the tears from your eyes and put smiles on your faces!

    But why don't these kids understand what to do?
    Why won't they smile? Why did Emily poo?
    Don't look at the kids, I hiss to my husband
    Just be glad we only have two not a dozen

    Finally we think we may have the one
    Emily Rose has had it, she's definitely done
    But Thomas--my baby!--my cute little guy
    Looks dazed and confused, rather stunned. Oh my!

    But there's no time to try to get all four to smile
    After eight-three takes I begin to taste bile
    I declare that we're done, we're finished, it's great!
    I decide that another would be to tempt fate

    We choose the pic that shows off our best
    Getting out the red eye puts our skills to the test
    But once it's done I'm glad that we did it
    I surf to Shutterfly and order over one hundred

    After the photo the rest seems so easy
    Until the cards with the photo make my stomach all queasy
    It's back to the store that I race with my money
    How much I shell out is not very funny

    But it no longer matters, the cost to my purse
    I've come this far and I've an ego to nurse
    I find the cards that do the photo justice
    My husband knows better than to ask what the fuss is

    Now to the hard part that takes me all night
    Lots of patience and wine, I think I'll drink white
    I make out a list and check it twice
    I address all the cards, don't they look nice?

    After working for hours I start to get dizzy
    My tongue tastes like glue and my eyelids feel fuzzy
    But I continue to work, my time's not my own
    These cards must leave both this house and this town

    To the 100th envelope, I give my last lick
    Swearing that next year this habit I'll kick
    But come December I know the lure will be strong
    And back here I'll be, up all the night long

    With the cards in the mail I'm not feeling wild
    It feels like I've just given birth to a child
    But I know that my hard work has not been in vain
    For the cards will bring joy and it seems I'm still sane

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

     

    My Uncle Jim

    This post is about a special person who has been in my life for a long time. I find it hard to write about special people. I want to do them justice with my words and it's easy for me to absolutely hate what I write. But I continue to write because as imperfect as it is, it's still the best way I have to express how I feel.

    This post is about my Uncle Jim. He is married to my Aunt Mary so he's my uncle by marriage, as they say. I'm not the only one who thinks Jim is a special person. Certainly the rest of my family and all of his family do. Lots of friends and business associates and probably complete strangers think so, too.

    The reason why I'm writing about my Uncle Jim is because last week he was hit by a car. He was standing in his driveway and a woman driving too fast for the icy condition of the road spun out of control and hit him. He has lots of broken bones and is in critical but stable condition. He is being kept under sedation much of the time while the doctors continually reassess his condition. Recovering from an accident like this isn't a cut and dried affair.

    Jim is lucky to be alive but the people in his life are lucky he's alive, too.

    In many ways, Jim has been like a father to me. He came into our family when I was 8 or 9 and I remember he had a motorcycle and a beard and he was a lot of fun. He comes from a big Irish Catholic family and they're a lot of fun, too. I was glad when my Aunt Mary married him in a big ceremony at the retreat center that he runs. My aunt and uncle have four kids and if I know anything about how to parent, I learned it from Jim and Mary.

    The only time I can remember being annoyed at my uncle was when I was pregnant and overdue with Emily. I was complaining about my condition to him on the phone and he told me I needed to be patient. If you've ever been pregnant and overdue, you understand how I wanted to strangle him with a phone cord at that moment. The worst part--of course--was that he was right.

    My Uncle Jim is often right. He is one of those rare people who have both intelligence and common sense. You can learn a lot just by watching him interact with others. He is a people person, respectful and commanding at the same time. He can work a room and give a speech like nobody can. I've never seen him falter; he knows what to say and the best way to say it. He has quite a gift.

    My Uncle Jim also is a patient, kind, hard working, and gentle man. He certainly didn't deserve to be hit by a car just minutes after he finished shoveling his sidewalk and right before he was supposed to leave for work. I don't suppose many accident victims deserve it, but in Jim's case, it seems especially unfair.

    Lots of people are praying for my Uncle Jim and I am, too.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2005

     

    Book Review: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

    It's like butter, baby

    I'm in the middle of reading Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen by Julie Powell. I am enjoying Powell's book for two reasons. The first reason is because it is about food and the second reason is because it is based on her blog. Powell's blog--the Julie/Julia Project--chronicled the year she cooked 524 recipes from Julia Child's landmark book on French cooking, aptly titled Mastering the Art of French Cooking. (Powell affectionately refers to the book as MtAoFC.) After the blog, came fame, glory, and a book deal.

    Powell is candid about her reasons for starting the Julie/Julia Project. She was filled with general ennui at turning thirty and specific angst at her ticking biological clock. Due to physical problems, she was unsure if she would be able to have kids, but due to emotional problems, she was unsure if she wanted them. What to do? With a gentle nudge from her patient-yet-tired-from-the-crying husband, she started cooking and blogging.

    The cooking and the blogging saved Powell from an early death due to ennui and angst and eventually helped put her on the path to a new career; because of her blog, she received a 2004 James Beard Award for food journalism. She went from a depressed secretary who was prone to openly crying on the subway to a published author and a food writer.

    I like how Powell writes about preparing food; she’s honest and straightforward. Her quick wit and candor pulls you in and turns you into her new best friend. She writes like a blogger and it works even in this traditional format.

    Powell is upfront with the fact that she has no formal cooking knowledge. This book is as much about her personal journey to finding self as it is about how she followed Child's recipe in hopes of making excellent Beef Bourguignon. Although she feels like quitting the project on numerous occasions, she doesn't. Powell writes,

    "I couldn't quit because if I wasn't cooking, I wouldn't be the creator of the Julie/Julia Project anymore. I'd just have my job, and my husband, and my cats. I'd be just the person I was before. Without the Project I was nothing but a secretary on a road to nowhere, drifting toward frosted hair and menthol addiction."


    I don't know the answer to the big question--does Powell find the holy grail of personal fulfillment when she reaches the end of MtAoFC?--because I haven't finished her book, but after reading half of it, I can tell you that her life is changed because of her blog project, irrevocably and for the better. I also can reveal that she learned to make excellent Beef Bourguignon.

    I never read Powell's blog so I can't tell you how much re-writing she did for the book, but I like the book's rapid fire "in the moment" feel, which I suspect came from having blog entries--as well as comments--to use as content. Powell writes about dinner parties involving aspic gone awry, sordid IM conversations between co-workers, cozy kitchen conversations with bad-girl girlfriends who like to smoke cigarettes and drink vodka, as well as blow-by-blow accounts of how exactly one goes about procuring hooves or live lobster in New York City. Without ever having to leave the comfort of my bed, I can live the life of a thirty-something city gal who likes to cook, loves to drink, and who uses the F-word in every other sentence.

    Now, I'm not shy of the F-word. I used it a lot BK (before kids). But my favorite word that comes up over and over again in Julie and Julia is the B word. That's right. Say it with me now. Butter. Powell confessed to interviewers that she used over 60 pounds of butter during the year she worked on this project. That fact might make some people ill, but it makes me salivate. Mmmm, butter. And because the food is French, you don't have to worry about getting fat from eating it, right? Don't answer that. At any rate, don’t have to worry about getting fat from reading about it.

    If you're hungry to move your words from the online realm of the Blogosphere and into a more traditional print medium, you can learn a lot from Powell. She teaches us that if you write well, are passionate about your subject, can persevere even when you'd rather give up, and can laugh at both the world and yourself, you just might have what it takes to move your F-word laden prose from the computer monitor into something that sits on a book shelf and makes your mother proud to have spawned you. Bon appetit!

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    Monday, December 12, 2005

     

    Santa Claus, Christmas cards, and the room of despair

    It's been a busy couple of weeks here at our house. First, we enjoyed a visit from my mother-in-law Tutu Jewel, then we enjoyed a visit from my mom Grammie Martha, then we celebrated Thomas's first birthday, and now here I am, trying to get back into my normal routine. The house is quiet. Except for the usual screaming and yelling and shouts of childish delight, that is.

    Tonight I'm taking Emily with me to the monthly meeting of my Mothers Club. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus will be there and it will be the first time Emily's met them. We haven't done much Santa Claus hyping so I'm not sure what she'll think of him. I expect she'll be scared to death of the big hairy man and his equally giant wife; I'm not getting my hopes up on a picture perfect moment.

    In other Holiday photo news, my sister-in-law and brother-in-law were kind enough to take our Holiday photo on Thanksgiving. The taking of the Holiday photo is a blog entry unto itself. Let me just say that 83 shots later we decided that 3 out of 4 people smiling was good enough and we declared it done.

    Because I am one of those people, I send out Christmas cards every year. It's my way of saying, "Hi, friend! Even though I never call or write you an email, here's a picture of me and my darling family. Try not to puke." This year I bought my Christmas cards early at the TJ Maxx sale table, but I discovered when we got our photos back from Shutterfly that two of the three designs I got didn't work with the photo. Don't ask. Then I found the perfect card that did work at the decidedly non-sale table at Flax Art Store in San Francisco. Lesson learned: Shop for cards with photo in hand and get the Crane's; they're worth the money.

    In an effort to tell you way too much information about my internal anal nature, I just want you to know that I'm giving myself a personal deadline of December 15th to get the cards out. Are you scared yet?

    Now that the fact that I'm an anal perfectionist is out of the bag, I will also tell you that I have taken on a new house project. I have decided that I can live no longer with the room of despair. The room of despair is also known as Mike's office. We also sometimes refer to it as the junk room.

    Yesterday, I opened a bottle of champagne (all by myself! A personal I am woman, hear me roar milestone!), poured myself a flute, then opened the door to the room of despair. Three hours later, I was able to see the carpet. I want to tell you about the things my husband owns and how I'm planning to conquer 17 years of memorabilia that he's been collecting since college, but I can't do that justice in one paragraph.

    And that's what's new over in this small square of the Blogosphere. I'd better sign off now and get started on dinner: pasta with butter and parmesan for the kids; mixed greens with roasted tri tip, artichoke hearts, tomato and feta cheese for the adults. I haven't decided yet if I'm a kid or an adult; tonight I may be a little of both.