Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I have a bunch of posts pre-written. They're wonder killer posts. Things I have wondered, and spent a little time researching or thinking about and I wrote a post. But then I second guess myself and don't post them, because, do you really care how I feel about organic foods? Are you wondering what humidity setting to use on your fruit and veggie drawers in your fridge, or am I the only person who didn't know what settings they should be on? Do you care what the six sides to a conversation are?
Granted, the posts which get me the most attention, both on the blog and in real life (because clearly, this is fake life) are the tomato soup one, which I wrote because I had nothing else to write about. And the buying half a cow, which I honestly didn't think would get that much attention. So I guess I'm not the best judge as to what you want to hear about.
My assumption has always been that the majority of you are only really here for pictures. And I tried to get more pictures of Landon last night, but my camera died. My problem used to be running out of space on the memory stick, now I have a bigger memory stick and the problem is that I don't charge the camera often enough.
No big things going on this week, nothing worthy of it's own entire post, so here's a condensed version of what's going on in my life.
- One of my projects is wrapping up this week - for the most part. Which means my other project is wondering where the hell I am.
- I still have not heard from TREC re: my Education Evaluation. They say on the website that calling will only slow the process down. But I want to call. They cashed my check.
- I saw a sign on the side of the road this morning, a white sign with black spray paint. All it said was "chaos." I need to know what that sign is about.
- Since cutting down (not cutting out, but cutting down) on carbs. I have lost enough weight to get one notch tighter on my belt.
- I don't think the lady that wanted my treadmill still wants it. She has not emailed me back yet.
- We sold a couple lots we own in East Texas. Which is quite a relief, even though all the proceeds from that sale are pretty much already spent.
- There's a poster in my office about safety. It lists all the normal safety things - tripping hazards (file cabinet drawers), personal protection (hard hats), driving safety (don't use cell phones or PDAs while driving), etc. But the first thing on the list? Armadillo Awareness. I don't even know what that means.
- There are also posters up of people in some kind of shrubery maze with binoculars looking at an icon for the company intranet in the corner of the poster. I don't know what that's about either.
- This is a long post for me to have said it was about nothing.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Clinton says my crush on The Pioneer Woman may commence. These are our chicken legs. We used Tony's instead of Hot Salt, because Hot Salt didn't sell very well, and is no longer available in most grocery stores. My only issue was that there wasn't much flavor once you got past the skin. Maybe this would be a good wing recipe, or maybe you should soak the drumsticks longer. Anyway, the parts that did have flavor had good flavor.
Landon spent some time last night checking which cabinets exactly he could and could not open.
He also was treated to a little massage at his daddy's feet.
I had an order for 6 of these:
This is a pillowcase, the letters are appliquéd on like this:
(This is a close up of another one that we have in "inventory." I'm not a "traitor", I have pictures of the A&M ones too, I just don't have a good enough one to give such a close up of the stitching.)
About every six months I get an order from the same lady for 6 B'Port pillowcases. And every time I think about making extras, so that I will already have her next order ready to go. But I'm scared to death that it's her last order and I'll be stuck with them, and my mother is already storing a host of names in bright pink and turquoise and A&M and UT pillowcases.
And Zoey had begun eating solids and needed a bunch of these:
These are hand towels made into bibs with a cotton neck like a T-shirt.
No two are ever exactly alike.
They cover the whole baby.
And the baby can't just tug and rip them off.
Plus, you can wipe stuff down after, cause it's a towel.
Monday, January 28, 2008
On Friday, I went down to my parents house to sew with Kathleen. I finished the 6 pillowcases I had started the previous weekend and she and I both worked on bibs and a couple extraneous blankets for Zoey. (Another post on this later.)
On Saturday, we did our normal errands and I made The Pioneer Woman’s Pot Roast. I figured what better way to get a recipe than to use one from a woman who has as much beef as I do and whose husband is as picky an eater as mine is. I was going to borrow my Mom’s Dutch Oven, in case it didn’t go well, I wouldn’t have bought something for one recipe, but I walked off and left it on her counter, so we bought a Dutch oven. Academy, by the way is the place to buy a Dutch oven, it’s was $7 cheaper for the large one than the small one was anywhere else. I had to cut the roast to fit in the Dutch oven. And I used too much rosemary. But otherwise, I think I have our new pot roast recipe. Unfortunately it’s now a weekend meal instead of a crock-pot meal, but that’s ok. It was that good. Clint said it was the best pot roast I had ever made – even with the extra rosemary.
And tonight, I’m making her recipe for Chicken legs. If these turn out to be a hit, she may be my new secret crush. Move over Matthew McConaughey, that’s what you get for having a baby with someone else!
Clint was sick yesterday (and today), so in an effort to stay out of his way, I got Landon to help me babyproof the kitchen and bathroom. We each had a screw driver. He kept pointing his at the back of the knobs. Maybe he thinks we need new ones. He’s gonna have to pay for those if that’s the case, so I’m sure he’ll give it up when he finds that out.
We now have latches on all but 2 cabinets in the kitchen and all the cabinets in the bathrooms. I wasn’t going to do it. But Landon got into the trash under the sink one too many times. He may or may not have taken a drink from a day old cup from McDonald’s that happened to be in there and at the perfect height for drinking. He also liked hauling out the cleaner we use for the counters, which isn’t so much a problem, until he figures out how to spray it.
He still has his own cabinet, it is full of things that are unbreakable, and that we don’t use much. But, he’s not happy about it. And he seems awfully surprised about not being able to open all the cabinets despite the fact that he was there when I put those latches on.
I still have the bar and one other bathroom to babyproof and then we’ll be done.
And it’s taking some time for me to remember how to open the cabinets.
I have tentatively sold the treadmill, it's not in the best place in the house to hang clothes on anyway. I've also sold a TV we're not using, so I'm reducing some clutter, which is nice!
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The long version – his reasoning is that on weekends I lose my temper with him in the mornings prior to eating. What he leaves out is that when we get up on a weekend and I say I’m hungry, he moseys out of bed, takes a leisurely shower, hangs around the bedroom with out a shirt on, falls under the spell of the TV a few times, and even possibly starts doing something entirely different from getting ready, like sorting laundry because he has some NEED to be the very last person to be ready to go anywhere (unless it’s for him, which is another post for another time.)
So at this point, I’m tapping my foot and huffing and puffing and shaking keys and yelling, because when I said I was hungry I had envisioned him jumping out of bed, getting dressed fireman style and walking out to the car, right then, not taking a shower and lounging around for 45 minutes watching TV. And yes, I get mad because when I said I was hungry, I did not mean – I will be hungry in 45 minutes. I meant I’m hungry now! And if I make my own breakfast and not bother him with it? I’m mean because he wanted to have that too, and why didn’t I wait for him. I can’t win for losing.
That does not disqualify me from being a morning person. It has nothing to do with the time of day – it has everything to do with telling someone an immediate need of yours and then having them completely ignore it for 45 minutes. I think it should qualify me for a tax deduction.
The fact that I get so frustrated and angry, I attribute to LBSCBDO (Low Blood Sugar Cranky Butt DisOrder). As stolen from The Pioneer Woman.
He has it too, only his generally manifests itself at 2 or 3 pm after he “forgets” to eat lunch.
Landon will probably be inflicted as well. I’m almost positive it’s genetic.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Monday, January 21, 2008
Fortunately, my mom has an appointment in Houston today and will be bringing it to my house, so I should have a cool picture of the backs of Landon and Zoey's heads to post tomorrow.
I had a girls' dinner on Saturday, and one of my friends that we have been inviting for over a year now, finally showed up! It was so good to see her. I hope she comes again.
We bought a new chest to hold the pool chemicals to replace the one we apparently didn't put together correctly the first time. After moving the old one out and deciding to use it for pool toys, I was examining the lid (which is the part we smooshed and it wasn't working right) to try and figure a way to fix it (for the record I had a plan with a dowel and a drill and it was going to work) I set the lid back on the base, because it was going to take more effort than I wanted to put out at the moment to implement my plan, and I was going to come back to it, and popped it on correctly. It was almost as annoying as that time we rushed out at 5pm on a Sunday and bought a whole new TV, because one of our only showed a 1/4 inch strip across the middle. But when we got home with the new TV...the old one worked. Almost, this was about 1/6th as expensive.
On Sunday we went to the grocery store with a list of 10 items. And we left with 49. It's that kind of thing that makes me want to join in on this experiment. This family isn't buying anything they don't need, and is making a weekly donation to Good Will. It's not a money issue for them. It's a clutter issue, but the solution has a money benefit.
Landon is starting to babble in such a way that you can almost tell what he's saying. Especially if you're really in tune with what he's up to. Although, sometimes it seems like he's asking you to hold something for him and when you take it, he's mad, and when you give it back, he's mad. So maybe I'm wrong.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Aren't everyone's the same?
Some people’s are more specific than others. (Lose 15 lbs, work out 3 times a week, actually go to the gym occasionally if nothing else to see what they’re using my money for.) But they generally fall under the same categories. Even more so if you include mental health in the “be healthier” category – you could even add stop cursing like a sailor, or be nice to other people.
One time I gave up caffeine for like 2 years. And then I had finals and it was all downhill from there.
And this other time I gave up milk and milk products for like 8-9 months. Fine, it wasn’t a resolution, but it felt like one.
One year even I resolved to not resolve anything ever again. And I totally broke that the next year.
I tried keeping my resolutions secret, and I tried screaming them from mountaintops. It doesn’t seem to matter which way I go, I just do not resolve well.
I have, in my lifetime, only had one resolution that stuck. To drink more water. I was like 14 at the time and probably read an article about how great water is in "Seventeen" magazine. And since we all know that "Seventeen" magazine is the very best at fact checking and a great resource for all your medical advice, I started carrying around a water bottle. I carried it around from then until I graduated from college (not the same one, how gross do you think I am?) and then I switched to an insulated tumbler. I drink water all day long. I probably drink more water during the work day than I do on weekends, but I even have a large cup of water on my bedside table every night.
I would love to hear if anyone out there has actually succeeded in a resolution. I don’t get a lot of comments and people certainly don’t seem to answer my questions, but I am genuinely curious that if we continually (as I do) fail to actually succeed in continuing our resolutions, why do we keep making them every year? Tradition? Tradition of failure?
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Ok fine, it's me.
Here' the deer in the headlights Santa pictures of '07. It's the same Santa from last year.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
That aside, you should know the gist of wonder killing. People cannot wonder around me. At least not outloud. If you ask a question, you should expect an answer. I just can’t fathom the idea that you might want to sit around and enjoy the mystique surrounding something that it so easily answered. I generally will not rest until you have your answer. So I am a killer of wonder. Go ahead, wonder something. I will kill it.
So, were you wondering about buying a side of beef?
Me too! My carcass of beef buying:
1. Lets start with the grade.
Prime, Choice, Select, Standard, Commercial, Utility, Cutter, and Canner are all grades of beef.
Prime is generally what restaurants serve, although it is available in some grocery stores, it’s not available in all of them and they will only have a limited supply. They will also take your first born child in exchange for any steak you buy that is in this grade. It has the most fat-marbling, and therefore the most taste. (I’m talking about steaks here, not ground beef.) This is meat that can be eaten with salt and pepper and that’s it. It’s that good and that tender. I haven’t found a butcher who sells it retail yet.
Choice and select are what most grocery store butchers have in their cases what you have to ask for them to cut for you. They may have a few piece pre cut and wrapped, but not many. Choice is a step down from prime in the fat marbling and select is a step down from that. Select tends to be very lean and as such are pretty tough pieces of meats. Most people prefer this because they are concerned with the fat content, but a person who is after taste, will want something with a little more fat in it, like choice or prime. Choice cuts of meat can do the salt and pepper thing too, but the price will not be your first born, but your second born. Select cuts may require some marinade to help break down the tissue in order to have the tenderness that a good steak should have, they might actually just want money for these.
Standard and commercial are going to be the meats that are out on the aisle in the grocery store, they are often sold as “ungraded” or “brand name.” These steaks are often very lean and almost absolutely require marinade. Don’t be skimpy.
Utility, cutter and canner are seldom sold directly to the public and are most often what is used for hot dogs and bologna. And dog food.
So your grade decision is based one several things. 1) What your butcher carries. 2) How you feel about taste vs. nutritional fat content.
2. Grassfed vs.Grainfed.
Most meat you buy at the grocery store is grainfed, unless it says otherwise.
Grassfed beef has some health benefits. It’s lower in saturated fats, it’s higher in beta carotene, and it contains Omega 3 fatty acids (yes, the fish ones). Sources say it also has a slightly gamier taste to it, (mmm…tastes like Monopoly!) it cooks faster because it is lower in fat, and it’s very easy to over cook it because of that. People who like it swear by it and say all kinds of nasty things about hormones and antibiotics and feedlots about the grainfed beef.
Grainfed beef has the flavor we have all come to know (and love). Depending on where you buy, “grainfed” cows may be pastured up until a few weeks before slaughter, they are then taken in and penned up and fed only grain, to fatten them up for slaughter (up those carbs, to up the fats)– sometimes these are called grain finished, that’s not to say that ALL grainfed cattle are treated this way – some are for sure treated far worse, and I’m sure some are treated better. Grainfed beef is juicer and more tender because it is higher in fat.
So the decision on grainfed vs. grassfed is going to be how you feel about fat, and how the cow was treated.
This was not all we learned. Different names of cuts of meat, what they’re good for, I didn’t veer much into the organic stuff, but that’s another hot button topic. Clearly I do not have the space to go into organic methodology or cuts of meat in this segment. Do you need a “Know your cuts of meat” primer?
I will tell you this, despite some of my hippie ways, we landed on Grainfed, Choice.
More info here: Ask the Meat Man
And here: USDA
Got any wonders you want killed? Email me or leave me a comment.
Monday, January 14, 2008
About 5 minutes into this guy's schpeel, the head butcher came in to ask what I wanted exactly and he took over for the first guy. He was concerned that I had wanted to take the beef right then because his truck hadn't come in. He was also concerned that I didn't want 20 roasts, but instead wanted it all in ground beef. Ok, not all, but I only wanted about 4 roasts. At the end, he asked if I wanted to pay then or when I picked it up. I told him I'd pay then.
So he went back and weighed a side - I don't think this was the side we got, because it weighed 410 lbs. When you buy a side, you pay for the hanging weight. You are supposed to lose about 30-35% of that weight to fat and bone. You are supposed to be able to store roughly 30-32 lbs of meat in 1 cu ft of space. A 410lb hanging weight should have translated to 287 lbs, which should have taken a little over 9.5 cu ft. We have an 11 cu ft freezer. It should have all fit in our freezer.
When we got home with it on Saturday, we filled the deep freeze, and the freezer on the fridge outside, and we put a few things in the freezer inside. And we had 22 two pound packages of ground beef left over. Ok, fine we could have probably stuck a few in where we put a few bones in for Scarlett and Fiona, but we already had 49 package of ground beef in the freezer, so we opted to keep some of the bones for the dogs over keeping an excessive amount of ground beef. It was beef that we needed to give away, or it was going to go bad. We called people we thought might want it, some were out of town, some were not really interested. After several failed attempts at giving it away by phone - we decided this was probably not the most effective way to get rid of it, we gave up and Clint and Shane loaded it up in a cooler in the car, and just headed out to drop by on people we know in the neighborhood and ask them if they wanted it. He did manage to give it all away in just 2 stops, which was a relief.
Our only slight complaint? We thought we didn't get any ribeyes. Because they mislabeled them, and it looks like we have 32 T-bones. We estimate 16 each, but you can actually tell from the size of the package which ones are T-bones and which ones are Ribeyes.
While there on Friday, we also bought a couple sausage links, a pound of pan breakfast sausage and a section of premarinated fajitas - mainly just to see how their stuff was. One sausage was garlic beef hot. It has a great flavor and then in knocked you on your butt with the hot, seriously hot, the kind of hot you feed your friends only to see if they can handle it. The other sausage was beef and pork mild - so good, and had just enough of a kick to it. The pan sausage? Well, let's just say that when I clear some room in the freezer? We'll be going back, and we won't be buying Jimmy Dean anymore. And the most surprising? The fajitas? They were not salty like most premarinated fajitas are. They were really good too.
(I did write something up about buying a side of beef for those of you interested, but I'll have to post it later this week, since it's not on this computer.)
We also found some time on Sunday to take Landon to the neighborhood park. He's all about the rock climbing wall, not so much about the slide. We didn't get to try any swings though. And I didn't have my camera on me, but we'll try again next weekend.
Oh, and write this down as historic. We took Christmas decorations down before Valentine's day. I don't think that's ever happened before. Speaking of which, we bought some new stuff this year, and decided that silver will probably never happen on our tree. And to make everything fit in our storage boxes I removed the things that we will likely never use. So I have a kit to fully decorate a tree with silver, clear, and pearly glass balls (they all have silver hanging things). Silver beads, 2 stocking hangers, 2 red and white stockings (traditional), and a country-ish looking tree skirt with a hobo looking Santa on it. It's cute stuff, the ornaments may have been used all of once, if that. If anyone knows of anyone who wants it, I will give it to them. Or I need an idea of who I could donate it to. All a person would need is a tree and lights.
Oh, and The Plan, is moving along. I mailed off my Education Evaluation to TREC this weekend.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
But occasionally you get a laugh, while you fight with him about it.
I can't remember when I said anything, but this is the pumpkin plant from the pumpkin seed that was already sprouting inside the pumpkin we bought at the pumpkin patch. I honestly believe that the only reason it is alive today is because I have yet to touch it.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
First, he grabs a fistfull of dog food out of the bin in the cabinet and puts it in the scoop.
Then he walks around talking about how to mix the food up, like a good little Food Network star in the making.
Most of the time he delivers the food to their bowls (3 pellets at a time), but sometimes you just need a little change of scenery. So, last night he found a good picnic spot in the middle of the kitchen.
And fed Scarlett one piece of food at a time.
He takes his job very seriously.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Monday, January 07, 2008
Thursday, January 03, 2008
You have been here with us now for 15 months. You have a taken a break from making me out to be a lying liar who lies. Things I say about you to other people are generally true even after I say them now. Except sleep, which we will not talk about.
Your love of all things Christmas was only slightly diminished by your fear of Santa Claus. Linda managed to get you to sit in the general vicinity of Santa Claus, so long as Noah was beside you and she had a firm grasp on your waist and you had a firm grasp on her hand. As proof that Santa Claus will not bite off your fingers and toes if you get too close, we have this deer in the head lights pictures of you.
We made a couple rookie mistakes this year with Christmas I think. I realize this was not your first Christmas, but last year you were just a blob, this was your first REAL Christmas. The first one that you actually participated in. We went to one Christmas where you opened presents (more than one). Then had to wait 2 days to open anymore. But the cat was out of the bag. Those colorful boxes under the tree? Those are presents. Don’t you know they are for opening? NOW!!! Who cares who they’re technically for? I mean, they must all be for me anyway. So for 2008, I will have the shopping done by December 1st (you have no idea how great that part of it was), but only the first round of presents will be under the tree. That way, no temptation.
We actually had 7 various Christmases to attend this year. Some were without presents, some were as relaxed as pizza. Next year that will probably drop by at least 1, but who knows, maybe next year we’ll actually be invited to the Marshall family Christmas, instead of finding out about it a few days later, despite our continual asking about its existence, and everyone’s continual denial of it.
Your little mind was blown away by all the stuff. You played and played and played until you just couldn’t play any more. When we got home from the last one, we piled all your toys on the guest bed. We sorted them according to things you’re still a little too small to appreciate, things you’re too old for, and things you currently play with. We put all the things you are too old for away in a container. We put the things you’re a little too small for and half of the things you are currently able to play with away in another container. In a couple months, we’ll pick 3 or 4 toys and swap them out for “new” stuff. Because the deal is? Your birthday is like 9 whole months away. So we need to make these toys last.
I have shared my body with you in some form or fashion now for 2 whole years. I had no idea it would last this long. I remember returning to work after only 2 months off and talking to one of my friends who also breastfed. I remember her saying “I miss it.” And thinking “God, I don’t see why you would miss this torture.” And it was torturous for a while, but once we got the hang of it, it was so much better. And I know now why she would miss it. We’re down to 2-3 feedings a day, and that’s as far as I’m weaning you, the rest of the way is yours. Whenever you’re ready.
Oh and one more thing. The whining? It does not tell me what you want. It only annoys the crap out of me. Let’s work on pointing. Or do we need sign language? Or better yet? Real live words. Seriously. I’ll excuse some of it, because at some point in the last month you sprouted 4 new teeth. They were not pointy teeth, so I imagine they hurt coming in, and I can understand the discomfort they may have caused. But they’re in now. So stop it.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Between Monday and Tuesday there were a lot of recap of the year posts, and since I have nothing for today...presenting - duh duh duh duuuuuuh
A Year in the Wood Life
In January we had snotwatch 2007, it came on the heels of snotwatch 2006. I was looking for a nanny, and Clint went out of town, so I decided to make everyone cry. I also made a silent promise to myself to post more. My goal: At least one more post each month than the previous years' total for that month. I totally rocked that goal and WON!!
In February, well...February was pretty slow. I found the pump room at work.
In March, I placed an ad for my child on-line and pissed off the Irish Mob.
In April, we hosted Easter for a portion of the family, and we attended the wedding of a good friend, leaving my child for an overnight for the very first time.
In May, we lost my Uncle John to leukemia and I joined the bone marrow transplant list.
In June, I attended my 10 year class reunion. Started my new job, discovered I had failed my first attempt at my PE, and made the single largest purchase of my life that I cannot sit in or on.
In July, we got Zoey. That is the single most important event. Ok, technically, my sister got her. Whatever, semantics.
In August, I was subjected to multiple ethics tests and still became a thief. I also learned that China was trying to kill our kids.
In September, I was subjected to terrible changes to the TREC rules making me believe I would never achieve inspectorhood.
In October, I took my PE exam again, with not the best of circumstances, but managed to have a really fun weekend of pumpkins anyway. Landon turned 1, I turned into the old lady who calls the cops on teenagers, and we got a lovely leak in our dining room...ceiling still not fixed, thankyouverymuch.
In November, I contacted a potential sponsor and then freaked out because of his conditions. But, TREC realized they were stupid and changed the rules back, or at least for my situation they did.
In December, Landon revealed his green jello underbelly. Second round of PE results brought bad news again.
So 2007 in review - kind of a crappy year. Ok, clearly I write some happy stuff. It's mostly about Landon and it's mostly in his newsletters, which I didn't really highlight here. But this exercise alone makes it sound like I have a really sad life. Maybe I should make an effort to write some funnier stuff this year.