Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Top 20: Random Things

Becky tagged me for this a couple of weeks ago. I thought it would be hard, but turns out I'm pretty random. So here goes, twenty random things about myself:

1. I can juggle and ride a unicycle. But not at the same time. What am I? A circus performer?

2. I am incredibly indecisive. It took me a half an hour to pick out one tube of lipstick at Sephora. Imagine what it is like for me trying to decide on an item from the catalog-sized menu at Cheesecake Factory!

3. While I have now lived in Maryland almost longer than I lived in Kansas, I will always be a Kansas girl at heart.

4. I hate being hot. You can always add more clothes or blankets to get warm, however when it's hot, you can only go so far. At some point you're naked and still hot.

5. My daughter has the same name as one of my childhood pets.

6. Grape gum turns my stomach.

7. At least one foot has to be uncovered when I sleep. But it absolutely, positively can NOT hang over the edge.

8. Every night, as I head up to bed, I have to check that all the doors are locked. Even if I have just walked in one of them, locking it behind me, I will come back and pull it to make sure.

9. I am a phone-phobic. I get super nervous whenever I call someone, even someone as benign as pizza delivery. I'm sure it dates back to my short-lived telemarketing career. Never yell at telemarketers, it may scar them for life.

10. I love Coca-Cola, but only over ice or in a can. I can't drink it from a plastic bottle. It just tastes wrong.

11. Against all odds, I'm actually not hating working out every day. Who'd a thunk it?

12. I can't stand country music, but I love me some Patsy Cline.

13. I was crazy about Star Wars as a kid. I wanted to be Princess Leia so bad I could taste it.

14. I am pretty sure I am the reincarnation of someone rich and famous, otherwise how do you explain this imperious attitude?

15. I have visited New York City more times than I can count and have never been to the Statue of Liberty.

16. I was not given a middle name at birth. It's something of a family tradition that girls are not given middle names with the expectation that when we marry we will make our maiden name our middle name. And so I have. We didn't give Sophie a middle name, either.

17. I have three first cousins, total, all only children.

18. I sleep on the left side of the bed, which according to some theories means I am in the driver's seat of our marriage. That sounds about right. (I love you, Neil! :))

19. When I was a kid, I had a pet turtle we found on the side of the road. We kept it in a kiddie pool and I made grasshopper soup for it by mashing up live grasshoppers. Yeah, that's not gruesome at all.

20. About once a week, I actually try to move things with my mind. Someday it's going to work.

So there you go, more Cara quirks. I'm not going to tag anyone, but feel free to do this if you'd like.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Great Hunter

He stalks his prey with stealth and grace. Poor things, they never even see it coming.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tiny Town

I visited the tot lot at one of the area malls yesterday. I hadn't been there before and I wanted to check it out. Okay, really I was there to pick up some lipstick at Sephora, but I legitimized my trip by spending some time in Tiny Town. I've never been to one of these mall play areas before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I've heard some not so great stuff, but this one is in a nice mall in a nice area, so I figured what the heck.

What the heck, indeed.

When we walked in, there weren't that many kids, so Sophie was able to cavort without too much trouble. However, I must have landed on exactly the wrong time because within minutes the place totally filled up. There were a few kids the same age as Sophie, but most of them were between 3 and 5. Kids between 3 and 5 are WAY rougher than 16 month olds. Where at first I was able to watch her from the sidelines, after the mass arrival I had to stay right next to her because it was like an NFL game out there. Between the steamrolling and clotheslining, it was pretty rough. Luckily, the whole room was padded, so there was little danger of injury, but for this overprotective mama, it was a tad nerve racking.

There was a little person there with her daughter. She was laughing and chasing after her daughter who was giving her as much a run for her money as Sophie was me. We exchanged smiles a number of times. After a little while she asked me how old Sophie was. I told her she was 16 months old. She said "My daughter is the same age!" To which I replied, "Oh, yeah they're about the same size, I mean, height, I mean, ha...ha." And then I ran off.

Why did I have to bring up size when talking to a little person? I don't think I offended her, but let's just say we didn't make plans to meet there next week.

There was a little girl humping the slide. I'm absolutely not kidding. There was a wide padded rail and the girl was straddling it laying down, grinding up against it. She was 3, maybe 4 years old. I am pretty sure she was old enough to know better than to do this in public. I know that some little girls (and maybe little boys, god knows they do when they get older) enjoy rubbing up against things, but isn't one of our jobs as mothers to help them understand that this is not acceptable outside behavior. I wanted to stop her myself and kept looking around for her mama, but couldn't figure out which one she was among the crowd of kids and parents. Yeah, it was uncomfortable.

So there you go. Makeup, midgets and masturbation*. This is how I spent my birthday afternoon. Does it get any better than that?

*Have I just set myself up for some crazy search results or what?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday

I'm getting ready to go meet with the personal trainer for my strength building session. I'm more than a little nervous. He said I would be sore afterward. I just have to keep telling myself that this* is my goal:

PS. Happy Birthday to me! And Happy Mardi Gras!

Update: My butt is so sore.

*That's me about 10 years ago. I know, right? Look at that stomach! And those thighs!
I want them back!

Monday, February 23, 2009

All The Glitz And Glamour

I have kind of lost interest in the Oscars in recent years. I feel like when I was younger, you know, like 30, it was something that I really looked forward to. I never went to any Oscar parties but I watched hours of pre-show and I certainly stayed up late to watch the ending. Maybe I'm out of touch with Hollywood these days. Maybe Hollywood is out of touch with me. I don't know. I do know that I haven't seen the majority of the movies that were nominated and it sounds like neither have most of the people that voted for them. Which means that I'm just not as interested in the outcomes. There were a few things that compelled me to tune in this year, though.

The Underdog. Like a lot of people, I wanted Mickey Rourke to win. He's been about as down as you can get and somehow found his way back. Plus, I was dying to see what he would say for his acceptance speech. Dude was way cute back in the day.

Mickey Rourke Pictures, Images and Photos

And now he looks like this:

mickey Pictures, Images and Photos

I know that time marches on, but YIKES!

AND I kind of wanted Meryl Streep to win, because I think she's a cool lady. My best friend, Aparna, and I have been compiling a list for about 15 years of people that must come to our backyard barbecue party. Meryl is definitely on it. Despite being a mega star for longer than I've been alive, she still seems to be very down to earth. Plus, we could sing Abba songs all night!

AND I was kind of rooting for Slumdog Millionaire because it is the quintessential Cinderella story.

AND I adore Hugh Jackman, so I was interested to see how he would do.

Hugh Pictures, Images and Photos

I am happy to say that I thought his performance was above par. I loved the opening sequence where he pulled Anne Hathaway on stage. Did you see him on Barbara Walters? Hot, hot, hot!

AND I love the quirky things that people say in their speeches: Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto! Anyone?

BUT, my daughter was sick. So when she woke up about half way through the show, I had to go. I set the DVR to record, knowing that watching it later just wouldn't be the same, but my little bean comes first.

I was up half the night cuddling or rocking my poor sick baby, but when she finally went down for a nap this morning, I raced in to watch the show. Wouldn't you know, the show ran long (big surprise, that one) and all of the good stuff came AFTER it was scheduled to end. Which is when our stupid DVR stopped recording. So I didn't get to watch the last half of the show and although I thought I would be, I'm not really that sad about it.

Maybe next year I'll care.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Treadmill Gives Me Gas

Actually I don't think it gives me gas so much as just wakes it up. And it's not like you can let one go when you're surrounded by strangers. When Aparna and I went to Paris for my 30th birthday, a great trip worthy of more discussion on another day, we visited the Musee National du Moyen Age (Museum of the Middle Ages). If you're ever in Paris, I definitely recommend it, that and the catacombs. As we traversed the galleries, I noticed an older gentleman, probably a security guard, sitting in a chair in the arch between two rooms. Just as I passed him, no more than a few feet away, he lifted one cheek and let out the loudest fart I have heard outside of my home. Although it was probably accentuated by the acoustics of the room, it would have done my husband proud. He then settled his butt back down, did a little frenchy teeth suck, and went back to staring at nothing in particular. Aparna and I were DYING.

So I am terrified to try to sneak one out because what if it is not so quiet? I mean, maybe that crusty old french dude thought he was being discreet? Although, given the fact that he elevated his posterior to make for the most effective flatulence, I don't think so. The flip side, what if it IS silent, but deadly? The treadmills are pretty close together and I'm betting a real douzy could not be ignored by my excercising neighbors. I don't want to be forever known as the lady who farted, stinky or not. Holding it in is really the only option. You better believe the drive home is a fireworks extravaganza.

Am I alone in this? Is this an exercising phenomena or is it just me?

On a lighter note, Sophie loves going to the childcare section. She cries for about two seconds when I leave but then she's like, "Ooo, something shiny!" and runs off. It warms my heart. The absolute best part is when I come to pick her up and she is happily playing with the toys and other kids. I like to watch her for a minute, because, you know, she's just so darn cute, before I call out her name. When she sees me, her whole face lights up and she runs over to me, arms and legs flailing, a la Phoebe.

I love having that hour or so to myself, but coming back to her sweet, smiling face is just the best!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

My Boobs Are Bigger

I met with the trainer at the gym for my orientation session yesterday. We spent about an hour together talking about my fitness and weight goals, going over my current lifestyle and health. I told him I wanted to lose forty pounds and that I wanted to be healthier, blah, blah, blah. And then he weighed me. I thought it was going to be bad (Remember the Valentine's cake? So do I and it's gone now.), but actually, the number was 5 pounds lower than what I weighed at the doctor the other day. I was in lightweight workout clothes and had taken my shoes off, though.

He typed a bunch of information into the computer and came up with the information sheet above. Turns out I'm 43. The good news is that if I actually lose 40 pounds, my fitness age will go down to 31. However, based on the images, 40 pounds won't make much different in the way I look. The big ass picture on the left is me before* and the slightly smaller but still big ass picture on the right is me after. Do they look much different to you? Not really, right? That's motivation. Not. I mean it does get smaller, but it's hardly the same as watching Oprah pull 40 pounds of chicken in a wagon. We're talking about 40 pounds, that's 25%(ish) of my current weight, shouldn't it have a greater effect?

So after spending almost an hour talking, we finally got to the exercise stuff. Guess where he took me? That's right, the bloody elliptical. Which as it turns out is not an elliptical but an Arc Trainer. I don't know what the difference is, something about how the pedals move. Whatever, it's hard. He started to program it for 15 minutes but I tsktsked him and he lowered it to 10 minutes. We can't go whole hog on the first day.

He left me saying that we should get together again next Tuesday and we would do strength training. What I didn't realize until forty-two seconds ago was that next Tuesday is my birthday (mark your calendars!) and I have now set myself up for what is sure to be a pain-inducing session on MY day. Yay.

I'll keep you posted on my progress.

*Not an actual picture of me. A computer representation of me based on the information we put in. And for the record, I'm pear shaped, but not that pear shaped. I'd like to think my body is a little more evenly distributed. My arms aren't so spindly and my boobs are way bigger. The hair is about right, though.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bag Tagged

It took me a while to get around to this, but a few weeks back I was tagged by Jen over at Buried With Children for this interesting meme.

Here are the rules:
1) Post a picture of whatever bag you are carrying as of late. No, you cannot go up to your closet and pull out that cute little purse you used back before you had kids. I want to know what you carried today or the last time you left the house.

2) I want to know how much it cost:) And this is not to judge. This is for entertainment purposes only. So spill it. And if there is a story to go along with how you obtained it, I’d love to hear it.

3) Tag some chicks. And link back to this post so people know why the heck you’re showing everyone your diaper bag/non-diaper bag.

When I was pregnant, I registered for a diaper bag. At Babies R Us, Neil and I walked back and forth in the diaper bag aisle and finally settled on one that was reasonably attractive, functional and he wouldn't feel too stupid carrying. Because we figured he'd be carrying the diaper bag all the time. One of my friends got it for me for my shower and I was delighted.

Fast forward about two months and now the diaper bag that had seemed so perfect pre-baby just doesn't seem so practical now. It had a bunch of little insulated pockets for bottles and stuff, which we never used. It had this awkward double zipper top that was tough to use. Meanwhile, half the reason I had picked it was because I was worried about protecting my husband's masculinity and he NEVER carried it. No criticism of Neil, it was just that he never went anywhere with her that I didn't go, too. So I'm left carrying this nondescript rectangular, black, microfiber bag.

Spending time with a lot of other new mommies, I saw a lot of diaper bags and came to understand that there was a whole wide world of diaper bags out there beyond BRU. I'm not sure how I didn't realize this before, it was just one of those things I never put any thought into. My birthday was coming up, so my mom suggested she get me a new one for my birthday. The search began. And once I got to looking, I was obsessed. I looked at every site I could find.

After poring over what had to be thousands of diaper bags, I finally landed on this one, by Sally Spicer. I agonized about what color to get but in the end I decided I liked what they called "Jade." Looking at the picture on the website, I thought it was sort of a greenish tan. As you can see from my photo, it is way more green than tan, but that's okay. I love it. It cost about $100, which was a little more than I would have spent on myself, and is why it was so kind of my mom to buy it for me.

I have had it for a year now and I love it just as much as I did the day I got it. It is still in great shape, although there are a few spots, and I have no doubt that I will continue to use it for some time.

So, who am I going to tag:

Becky from In The Trenches

Merecat from More MereCatherine

Bailey from I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying

Kristi from There's More to Life Than Laundry

And you! Because the truth is that I would love to see what all of my friends carry!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Exercise Is (Not) A Dirty Word

I went to the gym for the first time today. I dragged my (not) insignificant butt out of the house into a chilly morning, child in arms, ready to face the unknown world of voluntary and intentional self-improvement. I felt more than a little trepidation as I drove there. It has been a long, long time since I set foot in a house of exercise. When I got there I dropped the bean off in the children's holding pen and went off on my way. I felt like it was the first day of school and I didn't know where to go or what to do.

Much like school though, no one was really watching me. Or if they were, there was no obvious finger pointing accompanied by snickers. All in all, it wasn't too bad. I survived my approximately 45 minute workout and am pleasantly sore tonight.

Not surprisingly, my first day had its revelations:

1. The elliptical machine is hard. I mean really hard. I thought it would be fun. Ha. It took all my concentration just to keep my feet on the dagblasted pedals. I couldn't even let go of the hand holds to grab a drink of water. And I had to get off after 10 minutes. On easy.

2. My butt was not the biggest one in there. More importantly, my butt was significantly smaller than several that were clad in tighty-tight exercise shorts or pants. I actually bought a pair of the short version the other day with the intent of wearing them under my loose shorts. Seems like overkill now. I might just join the herd and go in next time thighs ablazin'.

3. I've got to figure out something to avoid the crotch creep. You know, where the fabric pulls up in the inner thigh region. Doing a leg shake every 10 steps or so on the treadmill doesn't seem like a good long term solution although I'll bet it does add a little something to my workout.

4. I desperately need to put together a workout soundtrack. I didn't have my MP3 player with me, so I wound up watching TV. CNN and Rachel Ray just don't get me pumped for some high energy calorie burn like, say, Lady GaGa.

5. Despite the fact that it is in no way a race, I couldn't help looking at what speed/incline the people next to me were going and trying to beat them. If it were a race, though, I would totally have won. And by won I mean lost miserably.

I'm going back tomorrow morning, bright and early, for my complimentary personal trainer session. I hope s/he doesn't make me get on the elliptical.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Except When I'm Hungry

I walked over to my husband a little bit ago as he sat at the computer in our "office." I was heading up to the kitchen and I offered to grab something for him. He asked for another piece of cake* and a soda. I trotted off and returned a few minutes later with the requested items. I leaned over to give him a kiss and told him I loved him.

He responded: I love you, hunny bunny, always sunny.

Me: Yeah, I'm not always sunny.

Him: You are always sunny. Except in the morning...and when you're hungry.

Which, if my math is correct, works out to about 14 minutes of sunny a day. He's a lucky guy.

*I made a yellow cake with chocolate icing for our Valentines dinner. Who me? Diet? Bah. That's why I joined the gym.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

I was sick with the plague most of this past week, sick enough to have Neil stay home one day to watch the bean while I slept. One of the major symptoms of my illness, on top of congestion, coughing, aching and the rest of the Nyquil bottle, was absolute weariness. Any time I could, I slept. Which is why I am so behind on my blog reading, as well as dish-doing, laundry-folding, toilet-scrubbing, etc.

Yesterday Neil called home at about 11:30am. I had just put Sophie down for a nap. I was taking advantage of that time to catch a few z's for myself, so I was less than my usual bubbly chatty self when we spoke. What didn't register at the time, because I was half asleep, was that it was unusual for my husband to call home in the middle of the day just to talk. There's a lot of emailing between us, but phone calls are generally reserved for important messages.

A couple of hours later, after both Sophie and I had awoken from our respective naps, I put her in her high chair and went to go get the mail. However, a surprise stopped me at the door. It was then I realized why my beloved had called. He had sent me flowers! And he was curious if I had gotten them yet. I'm impressed he didn't give his surprise away when he called. I know I would have.

Thank you, my love, for making my day. And my life.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Working Out

I finally broke down and joined a gym yesterday. It's been way too long since I've been happy with the way I looked. In addition to the weight I gained during those first years with Neil, when blissful new couple that we were, we ate out like four nights a week. And I'm not the kind of girl to just order a salad when I'm at a restaurant. Or if I do, it's the big honkin' Cobb Salad with all the fixins. But then there's the extra twenty pounds that I gained when I was pregnant with Sophie that I haven't been able to lose. All of that business about breastfeeding making you lose all the weight may be true for some, but then you're also ravenously hungry, because you're feeding two people. The calories in barely equal the calories out.

I'm not going to feed you a line of bull about how I'm doing this just to get in shape, to have more energy. I'm doing this to lose weight. I mean, I'm going to be healthy about it, and those are positive side effects, but my goal is to get into a smaller size. I know Oprah says that's the wrong way to approach it, but why varnish the truth? I did one of those on-line BMI calculators and it said I was obese. O-frakking-bese. You can't sugar coat that. Something has to change. I do go walking regularly but with the weather so unpredictable at this time of year, it's tough. I need somewhere that I can go that doesn't depend on the weather. We have an exercise bike and a stepper, but I have a hard time motivating myself to get on them. Those hours when Sophie is napping are so dear to me. If I'm not napping myself, then I am trying to accomplish some of the ten thousand things that need to be done around here.

Here's the biggie, and the thing that will probably keep me going back: they have child care. I can go any time of day and she can spend an hour with the other kiddies while I get some time to myself. How precious is that?

I'm pretty excited.

I feel skinnier already.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hair Today Gone Tomorrow

A lot of people, and by a lot, I mean my friend Angie, asked me to post a picture of Sophie's new haircut. I know the rest of you were thinking it, though, so here you go:

Obviously, I went with the bowl cut. Har de har har! Seriously, how cute is that kid of mine?

Just kidding, here's the real deal. The front pictures don't really show much, so a rear shot will have to do. She's been sporting the exposed diaper lately. She must have picked it up at the p'ground. These girls just try so hard to act older.

Baby Hair

I finally broke down and trimmed Sophie's hair yesterday. The wispy mullet was finally just too much for even a doting mother to love.

I truly thought that it would be no big deal to just snip snip and be done with it. Leaving behind a perfectly straight line of hair. What I hadn't factored in was my daughter's absolute inability to sit still and her insatiable curiosity.

From the minute I brought out the scissors, she was craning her neck trying to see what I had. I suppose I made a mistake in trying to be surreptitious with them, hiding them at my side as I approached her. I know there is nothing more alluring than something just out of reach/eyesight. Before she knew what to expect, I swooped in and managed to get the first clip without poking her delicate flesh with the kitchen shears. It went straight down hill from there.

While I did no physical harm to her, it would be seriously stretching it to say that I did a good job. It looked like I used scalloped scissors to cut her hair. It went up and then down and then up and down again. I'm pretty sure I would be able to cut a straighter line on the back of my own head without a mirror.

When Neil got home, he held her and tried to distract her while I attempted to even out my earlier hack job. I am happy to say that I was able to straighten it out a little and she now has a mostly passable 'do.

Every day I see a little less of the baby and a little more of the kid. Today, with her new look, she is even further away from that tiny little bundle I held so close. While so much of me is loving seeing the beautiful little girl she is becoming, I am also nostalgic.

Monday, February 9, 2009

February Showers

I went to a friend's baby shower this past Sunday. I left at about one, expecting to get there a little after two, which was when it started. Unfortunately, thanks to my inability to correctly follow directions and the fact that TomTom did not know the roads in the new housing development where the party was being held, I did not get there until almost three. I felt like a complete doofus, especially since the only person I knew at the shower was the guest of honor. Despite this less than auspicious start, and the fact that my hormones seem to be raging away, leading to an unfortunate breakout on my right cheek, thereby increasing my self-consciousness factor by about a thousand, always great when meeting a roomful of new people, the shower was a lovely time.

By the time I got to the task of shopping for her gift, pretty much the only things left on the registry in my price range were onesies and rectal thermometers. Plus this is a second child, so they already have all of the basics, which means I was going to have to get creative. Since, I've done one before and what new mother can't use diapers, I decided to make her a diaper cake. Now, I'm no professional, so the results are nothing compared to the beautiful diaper cakes made by the fabulous Renee, but I think it came out pretty well, if I do say so myself. They don't know what they're having, so it had to be neutral, but I worried that she had seen enough of yellow. I spent an hour and a half at the craft store agonizing over what color scheme to use. In the end, I kept coming back to this combination. Click on the image and look at the teal ribbon, it has a beautiful flower detail that I just couldn't resist. All the ladies gushed about my creation, so I think it was a success.

After enjoying the company of some really nice ladies, oohing and aahing over all the wee baby stuff and chowing down on delicious food (including fried chicken, why don't I eat this yumminess more often?), it was time to head home. Neil had taken Sophie over to his parents house for a visit, so I decided to stop in on my way home. Sophie had not taken a nap all day, so by the time I arrived at 5:45, she was plum tuckered out. For the first time in months, she fell asleep in her daddy's arms.

After an afternoon away from my two favorite people, it was pretty great to come home to this:

*Neil is actually NOT a Chiefs fan, but my parents (who are Chiefs fans) delight in giving him Chiefs paraphernalia. While worn often in the privacy of our own home, this is probably the first time this sweatshirt has seen the light of day.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

An Overlapsation Situation

I saw part of this video on a webcast my husband was watching today and I was dying. So I got on YouTube and wound up watching like 10 of this guy's videos. He. is. hysterical. Seriously.

Warning: There is extensive bad language. Do not play in front of children. If you're offended by the F-word, then I recommend you don't watch it. However, if you enjoy a little ribald humor, and people, I do, then you must watch this.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Soups On!

I've been in a soup kind of place lately. With the chilly weather outside, snuggling up with a warm bowl of deliciousness just seems perfect. Not surprising then that last night I broke out the soup pot again. I have a recipe magazine/book that I bought some years back because it looked interesting, but was called "Weeknight Menus," so I figured it would be fairly easy stuff. The joke was on me, though, because while the recipes are most certainly interesting and definitely delicious, quick and easy they are not.

I have a couple that I make regularly, like my Thai Basil Shrimp which I will someday post, but for the most part I have not ventured further into the book. It wasn't until earlier this week, tired of all of my standard fare, that I decided I was going to get more out of this book. To hell with the time and effort involved. So I went through with pen and paper and created a grocery list of all of the things I would need for the four recipes I was planning to make this week. Last night I was featuring Chipotle Shrimp Soup. At the grocery store, I found pretty much everything I needed, except for Chipotle in Adobo Sauce. Which as it turns out is fairly common in Mexican cooking, but not so much in my local Safeway. So, quick thinker that I am, I bought jalapenos with the plan of making my own adobo. Sortof. More on that in a minute.

Side note: I also got some Cilantro which I absolutely adore and would put in everything if I could. When I was checking out, the lady looked up at me as she was scanning those tasty green sprigs and pointed out that it was Cilantro, she wanted to make sure I knew what I had because earlier in the day a woman had accidentally gotten it instead of Parsley. I assured her that I did indeed want Cilantro but I understood the mistake, the two look a lot alike. I had once gotten Parsley instead of Cilantro. She smiled and said, "well, they're pretty much the same thing, right?" I was shocked and appalled. Cilantro has a distinct flavor that is very, very different from parsley. It is used frequently in Asia, India, Latin America, Africa...pretty much everywhere but the US and Europe. Friends, this is not a mistake you want to make. Although sometimes called Chinese Parsley, Cilantro and Parsley are NOT interchangeable.

So back to the soup.

Here are the ingredients:

3 slices thick sliced bacon, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 cup sherry wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
2 medium sized red potatoes, diced
1 cup whole milk
1-2 tablespoon chipotle chile in adobo, minced (or to taste) *
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced**
1 lb medium shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved lengthwise
1/2 cup heavy cream (I used fat-free half and half and it was fine, but it would certainly be VERY tasty with the fully leaded version)

Saute bacon in a large pot over medium heat until crisp. Add onions,celery and garlic and saute 3-4 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Stir in flour and cook one minute. Deglaze with sherry, stirring to scrape up bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in broth, corn, potatoes, milk, chipotles, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cook 15 minutes. Add shrimp and cream to soup. Simmer 5 minutes to cook shrimp. Salt to taste.

Truth be told, the recipe wasn't that complicated, but between the dicing, slicing and sauteeing, it easily took 45 minutes. So while easy, it is not quick. Great for occasionally, but not weekly. It is spicy, which I love but that can be toned down by using less Chipotle, and satisfyingly filling. My husband raved (This soup is great!) about it, and high praise from him is usually along the lines of "it's fine." This recipe makes about four servings but can easily be doubled and is very good reheated. Great for a chilly winter day!

*I couldn't find this, so I diced one jalapeno pepper and poured a half teaspoon smoke seasoning, 1 teaspoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar and a dash of salt over it. I left it to sit while I prepared the rest of the ingredients, stirring it up occasionally. I know this is probably the bastard son of chipotle in adobo, but I gave it a try and it came out great.

**For those of you that don't often work with Thyme: Instead of mincing, I will run my fingers down the stalk (no comments from the peanut gallery) brushing the itsy bitsy leaves off. It's easy and your hands smell like yummy Thyme for hours.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I wish...

I realized how good I looked 40 pounds ago.

I had a bathtub as big relative to my body as our tub is to Sophie.

Sophie's sleep schedule would be predictable enough that I could make plans and know I'd be able to keep them.

I wasn't always dog tired at 7pm and wide awake at 10pm.

Everything was in HD.

I could find a haircut that I was happy with for more than a week.

My hands weren't always cold.

I could bring myself to wean my daughter.

Exercise was as much fun as laying around.

I could eat dessert every night.

I could pause, rewind and replay life.

My child listened when I said NO.

I could bottle the way Sophie's laughter makes me feel.

Lizzy a very Happy Birthday full of joy and $25 Hondas!!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Bad Teddy

When teddy bears are bad. Or, you know, very good, depending on your perspective.*

*I wonder how many hits I'm going to get for plushie p*rn?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I've gotten into Facebook. A little. And by little I mean that I check it every five minutes, all day long. Just kidding. Sheesh, I'm not that crazy, I only check it every 10 to 15 minutes. Sometimes I even go a half an hour. Kidding, kidding. I do worry that I spend a little too much time on it, though. Between FB, blogging and, you know, taking care of my child, my schedule is FULL.

Last night, a friend mentioned Dogbook. Dogbook, I thought, what whimsy is this? So I googled it and sure enough, it's real. It's an application within Facebook, but for DOGS. You create profiles, put up status updates and post pictures. Your dog can even have friends.

Since I don't have a dog, I thought, hey, maybe there's a CATbook. Indeed there is, friends. I just spent an hour creating profiles for my cats. MY CATS. I wrote thought provoking and funny entries for their Interests. I went through all of my pictures looking for good ones of our furry babies. I even contemplated inviting people to be "cat" friends. But then a touch of sanity returned.

Just so you other animal lovers don't feel left out, there is also Horsebook, Fishbook and Bunnybook (ahem, Julie), there's even Rodentbook.

Heaven help us.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Going up the the hill. 20 minutes up and about 14 seconds coming down. Totally worth it! (To clarify, that's Neil and those are my feet. I'm laying/sitting on a tube of my own, being pulled up the hill by a tow line. Sorry I don't have any coming down pictures, but it's tough to hold a camera when you're screaming and holding on for dear life.)