Monday, March 29, 2010

Welcome, Mamas!

A big, fat, beef-and-bean filled thank you to Erin at Today's Mama who is featuring my blog this week on her incredible website! And a warm welcome to any new readers who have found their way here via Today's Mama! I am in the middle of a short blog vacation, but will return soon.

In the meantime, and since Erin led you to believe that you would find something funny to read, here's a list of favorite posts:

1. All is Fair in Love and Board Games (In which I play Monopoly with my husband and sons. BIG MISTAKE!)

2. The Lipstick Manifesto (In which I attempt to wear red lipstick. Again, BIG MISTAKE.)

3. You'll Know it's for Real When I Get Invited to the Next Barn Raising (In which I stalk the Amish.)

4. Come With Me to the Land of My People (In which I continue to stalk the Amish.)

5. Compliments With a Chance of Meatballs (In which I bribe my children to go to IKEA.)

If you're a new reader, please feel free to leave a comment and say hello. I love meeting new friends. Especially Amish friends, but so far none of them have read my blog. I'm trying not to take it personally.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Guess What My Mama Brought Me?

I think they're from Los Angeles because they're half silicone. (If you know what I mean.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

No Vacancy

The Ryan & Tiffany Bed & Breakfast & Gall Bladder Surgical Recovery Center is officially booked for the week. I'll be sparse here in blogland because I'll be so busy attending to my hostess, nurse, and tour guide duties. I'll be like, "May I fix you something to eat? May I fetch you some gauze? May I escort you to Amish country? May I fix you some Amish gauze to eat in the country?"

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

In the meantime, enjoy this picture of my second favorite room in the house, the guest room. I love it because it's the place where our friends and family stay.

And now, check it out with the swanky vinyl lettering I applied over the weekend...

I think it added a lot, don't you?

See you (sparsely), peeps!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Just Call Me Tiffany Mills-Lohan

This is my favorite room in the house, the screened porch. There's something about it that makes me feel all sorts of giddy. 
I guess it brings back all those memories of summer camp in screened cabins, staying up late with my camp friends and sneaking into other cabins to pour honey all over our unsuspecting fellow campers. Except that I never went to summer camp in a screened cabin. But I did see both productions of The Parent Trap. In reality, I love my screened porch because it reminds me of The Parent Trap. I realize what this means about me.
Yesterday, I de-winterized the screened porch and brought the furniture back in. I sat on the little couch for a while, soaking in the spring sun and thinking about that time when my identical twin sister and I found each other after years apart and cooked up a scheme to get our parents together.

And then I remembered again that, in fact, I have no identical twin sister and my parents have always been together. In Utah. 

Then, I looked over at the table and remembered that hilarious night when my sister and I made our parents eat dinner together. They ate at that very table while she and I played the guitar and sang, "Let's get together, yeah, yeah, yeah, we could have a lot of fu-un!" 

Wait a minute--I'm doing it again, aren't I? 

I'm going to interrupt this blog post to make an/another embarrassing confession: Yes, we are the type of people who buy a statue that looks like our dog.
I feel better getting that off my chest.

Back to the blog post. 

Does it bother you that the table is not centered in front of the couch, and that the tray on the table is not centered on the table? 
I did that intentionally, to annoy my very rigid identical twin sister. She grew up in Boston with our mother and grandparents and let's just say that she's very "particular" especially compared to my laid-back California ranch upbringing with Dad. This picture is going to drive her NUTS! Tee-hee!

You know, if she actually existed.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Beef and Bean Burritos: My Childhood Favorite

When I was a kid, few things thrilled me more than walking into our kitchen and seeing my mom making a giant platter of grilled burritos. Maybe that makes you think that I didn't have a very thrilling childhood, but you should reserve your judgment until you've tried these.

There is nothing fancy about these burritos. I've tried fancifying them with extra ingredients or spices, but I always return to them in their simplest form. So that is what I'm going to share with you. Let's get started, shall we?

We start with the beans. I've gotten in the habit of making my own refried beans, because it's easy and delicious. But, you can easily skip this step and use a can of refried beans. You'll still get full credit.

Dump a large can of pinto beans (drain a little bean juice off first, but not all of it) and a small can of diced green chiles into a medium saucepan. Add a pat of butter and stir it all around. Let it simmer on a low/medium stove for a while and bubble and brew all together. When they're done cooking, use a zhuzher to zhuzh them into the blissful smooth beans they were meant to be.

Next, brown a pound of ground beef in a frying pan. Add some spices--salt, pepper, and cumin. I also like some of this Mexican all-purpose seasoning.

Next, it's time to drain the fat. Push all of the meat to the end of the frying pan furthest from the handle. Tip the pan so the grease drains away from the meat and toward the handle. Give it enough time to really accumulate and think of all the calories you're saving by doing this. Take a few paper towels and stick them right in the pan to absorb all that fat. If you don't have any paper towels, you could use a maxi pad or diaper.
Now it's time to marry the beans with the beef. (If you're using canned refried beans, this is where you dump them right into your meat.)

Do you, Beef, take Beans to be your lawfully wedded fiber? And do you, Beans, take Beef to be your lawfully wedded protein? You may now get busy!
Don't they make the best couple? You should have a nice, thick, beefy-beany paste. Let it honeymoon for a minute while you heat your griddle to 300-350 degrees.
Now you're ready to set up a little burrito making station. Get out your flour tortillas, shredded cheese, and two plates.
Take a tortilla and spread some of the beef and bean mixture right down the middle, then sprinkle it with cheese and place it on a plate in the microwave for 22 seconds. (Why 22 seconds? Because I feel bad for all the numbers that aren't integers of 5; they always get left out of the microwaving fun.) You need to warm this in the microwave so that your tortilla is nice and pliable. While one burrito is in the microwave, begin preparing the next one. That's why you need two plates--one in the microwave and one at your fixing station.
Take your soft tortilla and tuck the ends in first and then roll it up, nice and tight.
You're ready to grill! Place the burrito on the grill, with the fold directly on the grill. This will seal it closed and help to keep it's shape. Add the burritos one by one to the prepared grill.
You want to grill them on four sides for maximum tastiness. This is the grilling order: bottom (with fold), top, side, side. The burritos will all be at different stages of grilling, so they will rotate and come off the grill in the same order that they went on.

If you're making a lot of burritos, you can turn your oven to a low heat (as low as it will go) and put the finished burritos on a tray in the oven to keep them all warm until serving.

Alright, it's time to eat! Serve your burritos with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, or my personal favorite--KETCHUP! Mmmmm!
I think you should make these today. I think they will make you happy. Plus, your house will smell amazing. Plus, you'll have a deeper understanding of my blog and all my references to burritos. And I think that's important for both of us.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Field Trip!

Hey, lovelies, let's go on a field trip today to Ginnie's blog, Beautiful Mess! Today Ginnie and I are interviewing a REAL LIFE AUTHOR, Lindsey Leavitt whose first novel Princess for Hire just hit the bookstore shelves. The interview is very entertaining (as is Lindsey) and covers such important subjects as butt cream, Chuck E. Cheese, fortune cookies and Megan Fox.

Head over, read our interview, leave a comment and enter to win one of two signed copies of the book! Congratulations to Lindsey and good luck to all of you in the giveaway!

Alright now, I've already collected your permission slips and the cafeteria has supplied you with a brown bag lunch. Board the bus and head on over. They're expecting you.

But come back tomorrow. I'll be revealing my grilled burrito recipe.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

If Random Is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right

  • Yesterday sucked. 
  • There were many moments of frustration.
  • And one physical battle with the receipt-giving-thingie at the gas pump.
  • I should have apologized to the receipt-giving-thingie for my displaced anger.
  • Most of the suckiness had to do with getting our disgusting tax bill once again.
  • We thought it would be less disgusting this year. 
  • Apparently, this is my annual Taxes Infuriate Me blog post.
  • Sorry to be redundant.
  • I hate redundancy.
  • Redundancy is so redundant.
  • It's like saying the same thing over and over again.
  • Even though we all got it the first time.
  • I prefer dundancy much more than redundancy.
  • Because I like only saying things once.
  • Unless we're talking about my taxes.
  • In other news, my mom is headed into surgery right now to have her gall bladder removed.
  • Her gall bladder began a revolt on Saturday and petitioned to secede.
  • Gall bladders are very ambitious, politically speaking.
  • I'm glad she is having it out today, because she is coming with my dad to visit me next week.
  • Because my house is the best place to recover from gall bladder surgery.
  • My sister came to visit last year a few days after her gall bladder surgery last year.
  • (A little redundant joke for you in that last line.)
  • Apparently, she gave us a glowing review.
  • I told my mom that all of us here at the Bed & Breakfast & Gall Bladder Surgical Recovery Center are looking forward to serving her.
  • Because we are.
  • I think I might get some of that swanky, swirly vinyl lettering for my foyer walls that says, "No Gall Bladders Allowed" to make her feel more welcome.
  • Or maybe, "Families Are Forever, But Gall Bladders Are Not"
  • The reason I don't have any of that swanky, swirly vinyl lettering is that I just can't decide which message I want immortalized in my foyer.
  • Although, I've been leaning toward "Dear Burglars, All the jewelry is from Target" for quite some time.
  • Welcoming yet folksy, right?
  • Speaking of folksy, I have a very hard time pronouncing the word "foyer."
  • There are people who pronounce it "foi-yay."
  • I think those are the correct people.
  • Folksy people, like myself, say "foi-urrrrrrr" with an emphasis on the "urrrrrrrr."
  • I can't say "foi-yay" to save my life.
  • I don't have the pedigree to pronounce it that way.
  • In order to say "foi-yay," one must be related to a Rockefeller, own a private jet, or have at least three Persian cats that go by first and last names.
  • That's why it's all "foi-urrrrrr" around this house.
  • So to quickly recap this post: 
  • Taxes=Sucky
  • Redundancy=Redundant and repititious
  • Redundancy=Beating a dead horse to death
  • Mom=Sedated
  • Gall Bladders=Like Texas
  • Vinyl Lettering=Epitaphs for your house
  • Foyers=Social class distinction
  • Our session is over, see you tomorrow.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Formspring is the New Spring

On the marginal chance that I haven't revealed everything about myself here on my blog, you can ask me an anonymous question on formspring. Let's play Q&A.

I'll update this post with some questions and answers throughout the weekend.

UPDATE! Alright, the questions have begun:

Can I have your hair?
Well, they say that everybody has their price. Make me an offer and let's see if we can find mine!

Do you plan on having more kids?
Probably not, but we never say never. Honestly, it's hard to head back into that baby phase when the kiddos start getting older. (Max will be seven(!) in two months.) Here's a funny story on this topic: The other day we spent some time with another couple who had a toddler girl. Afterward, Christian shook his head and said, "Well, I've decided that I definitely don't want any more kids!" And Max echoed, "Totally!" Okay, then, I guess we know how they feel.

Name an author and a musical artist who inspire you in your writing.
Let's the author category, the obvious choice for me is Natalie Goldberg. I've used her book, Writing Down the Bones, for years as my writing tutor, inspiration, and cheerleader. But I'm terribly fickle when it comes to my current favorite--it is always the one I'm currently reading. But the authors that have made a lasting impression on me are Barbara Kingsolver, Elizabeth Gilbert, and most recently, J.D. Salinger. And music? I've never thought before about music inspiring my writing. My musical taste as I've gotten older has become more and more broad. I really enjoy a little of everything. I don't want you to feel cheated if I don't give a specific artist, so I will say Billy Joel because I have loved him the longest. And right behind him will be the Indigo Girls, even though I don't know if they have produced anything recently.

What is your favorite guilty pleasure? That you're embarrassed to admit?
My inability to stop watching the Real Housewives of Orange County and/or New York. But I am TOTALLY above watching the Real Housewives of Atlanta and/or New Jersey. Wanna know which reality show is missing from the lineup? The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City. Oh mama! Set the DVR now!

Beaches or mountains?
Beaches. With french fries.

Favorite book of all time?
Grover and the Everything in the Whole Wide World Museum. It still sucks me in.

Let's say you and I want to get some good Chinese takeout. Since you are the master orderer, what would you order for us? (from Ginnie)
How about some egg drop soup, Garlic Chicken and then some Fuji Beef? I will also ask for four forks, so that they will think four people are eating and therefore give us four fortune cookies. That way, we'll each get a spare fortune cookie in case our first fortunes are dumb.

What are three things you miss about Utah, and three things you love about the East?
Utah: I miss family and friends, a wide selection of good Mexican food, and the Sunshine Sushi Roll at Tsunami. (Do you miss me too, Sunshine Roll? Do you?) East: I love the landscape, the diversity of people (I'm friends with Jews, Amish, and Unitarians!), and so many great cities to explore.

Have you chosen a title for your novel yet? If so, how did you choose it?
No, I haven't chosen one yet. Titling is not my strength. One of my college writing professors renamed every single thing I wrote in his class. My titles were all terribly cheesy.

And now I have a question for you: Do you formspring? Share your link if you do. I'd love to ask you a question or two.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hot Pad Gazing

I've decided that you can usually tell how long someone has been living on their own by taking a look at their hot pads and oven mitts. Mine are showing the wear and tear of twelve-and-eleven-twelfths years of marriage. Actually, "wear and tear" is not as accurate as, say, "discoloration and random crusty bits."

I've become hyper-focused on my hot pads recently. It's like they were invisible to me until now, performing their function, never asking to be noticed. But now that they've been noticed--yowza! It's time for hot pad intervention. But how? I've carried on an internal debate about what to do with them. Do I simply run them through a wash cycle? Or do I replace them with new, less embarrassing hot pads? Is there something significant and symbolic about them, the number of hot meals they've carried for us? Is it possible that my current hot pads, like shoulder pads, will come back in style? Is there a current style for hot pads? And how would one know?

You're probably thinking this is ridiculous, but that is only because you're not looking at my hot pads everyday like I am. I would feature a picture of them here, but I am too embarrassed by their ugliness. And also, I am lazy. You're going to have to take my word for it.

One set is pink, handmade by who-knows-who, and crocheted in tight, perfect lines. They are thick and effective, but rather ugly. Other than a shirt in my closet, they are the only pink item in my house. The other pair are the thin, quilted, mass-produced variety. They have a cheesy country-kitchen theme (tan, burgundy, and navy blue) featuring a teddy bear wearing a neckerchief and the inspiring, immortal words, "Home Is Where Your Honey Is."

I realize that a hot pad is a hot pad is a hot pad, and why should vanity invade the drawer where these are kept? But, still...

I'm feeling like there should be a third set of hot pads, not unlike the set of plush bath towels reserved for guests, that would stay in the back of the drawer and be used only when entertaining company. You know, a classy set of hot pads. I like the idea of shouting to Ryan from across the kitchen as he reaches to remove a macaroni casserole, "No, honey, not the good hot pads! Those are for special occasions."

I like the idea of setting a beautiful table for Thanksgiving, complete with fine china, linen napkins, and glistening hot pads to cradle our feast. In fact, it will be the pristine hot pads that will push the entire scene over the edge and into euphoria, making us all feel like we're celebrating the holiday inside a Pottery Barn catalog.

I like the idea of my kids growing up and carrying on this family tradition, getting in fights with their future newlywed wives over which of their gifted hot pads will be used everyday and which will be the ones they pull out when Ryan and I come for dinner. You mean, your family didn't have a set of nice hot pads when you were growing up? That is so weird. And WRONG! Because, if she doesn't realize the importance of a nice set of hot pads, I'll have to seriously question her ability to raise my grandchildren.

Yes, now that I really think about it, a classy set of hot pads is definitely in order. I won't be able to call myself a decent mother-in-law someday without them.

What about you? What is the state of your hot pads?

Monday, March 8, 2010

There's Nothing Fun About a Search Party

Like most of us, I didn't enjoy going into the basement alone as a kid. Basements are dark and quiet, two things that repel children. There weren't specific fears associated with my childhood basement (other than my brother Dave who would sometimes jump out from a dark corner wearing a gorilla mask). It was more so the feeling that anything was possible there--hungry spiders, monsters, and ghosts.

Friday afternoon I ventured into the basement against my will to find a couple of things. The basement is still an uncomfortable place for me, but for completely grownup reasons. My basement is a museum of everything that is wrong with me. It is filled with boxes of things I never organized, things I should have thrown away, and enough Happy Meal toys to make a person truly, mournfully sad. The boxes were packed by our movers, a crew of college-age kids doing summer work, and contain such random collections of items that searching through them feels like a bout of schizophrenia: computer cords with a box of checks with a stuffed animal and an old dress shoe. I like to pretend that it's all the movers' fault, but truthfully, they can only account for 42.6% of the blame.

Every box is a time machine, taking me somewhere else in the past, and robbing me of time in the present. Sometimes it's a pleasant trip, like when I found the letter Ryan read to me at my college graduation party, or the tattered children's book I thought was lost forever. But other times it's a total drag. A teenaged picture of me sat in my hands, staring back at me. She was smiling, but not very happy. Part of me wanted to rip the picture in two and let us both escape it.

After two hours, I hadn't found either of the things I was looking for. I had an urge to throw myself on the basement floor and pound my fists, but I didn't. Instead, I stuffed a garbage bag full of discarded items, put the boxes back in their stack, and carried a small armful of random finds to a new life upstairs. The one-person search party was temporarily called off.

It occurred to me later that my childhood fears about the basement were actually well-founded, if not misunderstood. The spiders are there, but they are small in number and easy to squash; the monsters are the ones I created myself out of Happy Meal toys, computer cords and old dress shoes. And the ghosts? Well, they're all quite familiar.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

I gave the dog a bath this morning, a chore I've put off for a while. In part, I've put it off because Lucy has a nice natural scent, which I'm guessing is unusual in a dog and therefore should be celebrated. In fact, she smells shockingly like one of my favorite cereals, Trader Joe's Puffins. The other day Ryan poured himself a bowl of the cereal and sniffed inside the box.

"This is the same smell as Lucy," he said.

I smelled the cereal and was surprised to find that he was right. I said, "You must never mention this again."

I don't think it's right to eat a cereal that smells like your dog. Under the wrong circumstances, it could present a problem for the dog.

I also gave Max a shower this morning. He's recently graduated from bath to shower, although he doesn't quite have the mechanics of it down yet like he did a bath. I get him set up and then walk away twenty paces and immediately hear him call, "Moooooooom!" And then I return to adjust the temperature, help him with the shampoo, verify that the suds are out, or hand him a towel for stinging eyes. Then I walk away again, trying to remember what I was doing. As soon as I remember, I hear him call again. Mark my words, kids give you ADD.

The process of showering and getting ready every day fascinates me. We humans are so powerful and smart, bossing around the whole planet, but we're so incredibly faulty at the same time. Once we reach adolescence, we can't go 24 hours without starting to smell bad. And we can't take a six-hour road trip without having to pee at least once or twice. And don't even get me started on sleeping, the most wonderfully weird thing in the world. I'm not complaining, because I love me some sleep, but isn't it mind-boggling that we spend a significant chunk of every single day unconscious? And then there's eating! Food! A few (or several, in my case) significant meals per day!

My dog can go a month without a bath, six hours without a potty break, and 24 hours in between meals. And yet, I'm the one with a checking account. Go figure.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I Know You Love Me, But Do You Think I'm Funny?

Me: Did you see my new header?

Ryan: Yeah.

Me: Do you think it's funny?

Ryan: Yeah.

Me: With the talking butterflies?

Ryan: Yeah.

Me: And one butterfly wants a burger?

Ryan: Yeah.

Me: Were you, like, laughing out of your chair when you saw it?

Ryan: . . . . . . . . . .

Me: But still, it's pretty funny, right?

Ryan: Yeah.

Me: Like, quirky funny.

Ryan: . . . . . . . . . .

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Whipping Out My Expertise

The blogosphere is full of experts on a zillion different subjects, and sometimes I start to get a little bit self-conscious. Unfortunately, if you hang around my blog, you're not likely to walk away much smarter. So I decided that I am going to infuse some of my expertise around here. And then I made a list of all the things that I am expert in:

1. Cubing watermelon.
2. Doing my hair.
3. Putting a loved one through 11 years of schooling without going insane.
4. Creating messes without really trying.
5. Describing cookies.
6. Ordering takeout for a group.
7. Making toast.

I looked over this list and immediately felt bad that I've been holding all this blazing light under a bushel. All I can say is, prepare to be wowed.

What are you expert in?

Monday, March 1, 2010

Thoughts While Eating a Not-Quite-Ripe Pear

I took the pear from the bowl on the counter.
I love a bowl of fruit on the counter.
It looks so pretty.
But I get a little anxious when the bowl gets half empty.
Because it doesn't look as pretty.
So I stop eating the fruit for a few days.
To try and retain some of the prettiness.
And then, I panic.
Because, oh no, the fruit is getting soft!
And I'd better eat it before it goes bad.
(There's nothing pretty about a half-empty bowl of moldy fruit.)
Then it's a race to eat the fruit before it's un-eatable.
Sometimes I win.

Take that, fruit! Who's your daddy now?

But today there's two shriveled oranges next to the sink.
If I put them down the disposal to make it smell nice, do I win?

Related Posts with Thumbnails