Saturday, December 26, 2009

TV is depressing tonight

There's nothing on.

I can watch "Revolutionary Road" (which I've never seen and know is depressing) or "He's Just Not That Into You" (which I've never seen AND have recorded AND suspect is depressing).

I don't want to watch either, but I can't turn "He's Just Not That Into You" off. But I am SO mad at it.

I mad at Ginnifer Goodwin's character, who tries too hard with guys. I'm mad at those guys because if you say you're going to call, call already. I'm mad at Scarlett Johannsen's character, because she's a homewrecker. (If you know someone is married, they are off limits.)

I'm mad at Ben Affleck's character because he's one of those guys who "does not believe in marriage." Nobody doesn't believe in marriage. It's an excuse for an Out.

But mostly, I'm enormously P.O.'s at Bradley Cooper's character, who has a crush on ScarJo's character even though he's married. And he knows he's attracted to her, knows that he shouldn't pursue any kind of contact with her because it would be detrimental to her marriage, but sees her anyway. Privately. Naked.

I'm only halfway through, but I hate this movie. And I really want to turn it off (except I'm rooting for the Mac guy and Ginnifer Goodwin's character). But it's making me appreciate my husband like crazy.

He called when he said he would. He couldn't wait to introduce me to his family. He brought up the idea of marriage first ... enthusiastically. He tells me how much he loves me on a daily basis.

And we have the same exact idea about infidelity. It's not flirting, or kissing, or talking or sex.

It's anything you wouldn't tell your spouse about.

And the fact that my husband gave me a look like, "Duh, of course that's cheating. What else could it be?" makes me intensely grateful for exchanging vows with a good, good man.

(But I'm still going to watch the movie. I'm just going to pause it every once in awhile so that I can go kiss the guy watching Discovery Channel in the bedroom who has never once made me anxious over his interest.)
Bookmark and Share

Friday, December 18, 2009

Free Dog

When we adopted Koa, Matt and I were both prepared for years of smooth sailing in the dog ownership department.

I'd only ever had outside dogs that my dad was in charge of. Sure, I had to feed and water them; and I picked up my fair share of poop, but if they ever went to the vet or the groomers, only Dad knows for sure.

Matt had one dog growing up. From the glowing way my dear husband still talks about this long-since-passed Lab, it seems Beau was a combination of Lassie, Benji and Rin Tin Tin.

Koa is adorable, and a very well behaved dog. He doesn't bark, bite or bolt ... the three B's that would surely land him a one-way ticket back to the animal shelter.

But in the four months we've had him, he's had two long-term bouts of intestinal distress (a very messy situation, if you catch my drift), two ear infections (at the same time), one stomach bug and (most recently) a rather smelly encounter with a skunk.

Let me tell you, he's lucky that him's just the cutest-wootest, most precious doggy-oggums that Mommy has ever ever seed! Yes he is! Yes he is!

Otherwise, he'd be in the free dog box for sure.
Bookmark and Share

Monday, December 14, 2009

Knitting like a sailor

I don't do a lot of gifts.

Over the years, I've had to limit my gift-giving severely, lest it get out of control.

But one gift-giving tradition I insist on (and the hubs doesn't argue with) is knitted blankets for the babies in my life.

I may not be able to knit for everyone (it seems like every few years there is an explosion of babies, and my two hands can only knit so much), but I make it a point to at least get the family members.

So my nephew, Parker, has one of my creations. And his currently-cooking brother or sister will get one, too.

His/hers is an afghan, my first. It's called "Building Blocks," and the idea is that you knit a bunch of small squares, "sew" them together and then knit a border. It's very, very cute.

And very, very life-lessony. I'll tell you why.

There are several geometric figures in the knitted squares. I've done a triangle, a hexagon, and now a circle.

The triangle squares took concentration. They said, "Hey. Focus on your work. The time to play is later."

The hexagonal squares were easy. They said, "Don't forget to enjoy yourself while completing a task. There is nothing wrong with getting in a little gossip or watching 'One Tree Hill' while you're busy getting things done."

The circle squares are a different story altogether. They say, "Nothing less than a red-wire-or-blue-wire level of concentration is required here. Any slight deviation in your attention will result in a knit where a purl should be, or vice-versa. This is a life-or-death situation."

The circle squares (or the 2/3 I've knitted of the first one) have turned me into a sailor. I've used a rainbow of curse words, hurled my work across the room (and sheepishly picked it back up) and turned my back on it for hours.

(I hope none of this is somehow transferable to the baby, through maybe some sort of "Heroes" type gift. He (or she) shouldn't hear that kind of language for many, many years yet.)

I've always imagined myself as a gossipy sort of knitter. In my mind's eye, I fit right in during Civil War America, comfortably knitting and purling away while Scarlett and Melanie discuss the latest exploits of Belle Watling.

But as it turns out, I might fit in more on a whaling ship where men often knit to repair nets and whatnot ... and colorful language was the rule, rather than the exception.
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, December 10, 2009

OK, OK ... I give!

I give up. I'm scheduling Christmas Cookie Extravaganza.

Here's just a smattering of the reasons why:

"If you need to, you can send any extras my way so you aren't tempted," wrote my college roommate on Facebook. "I will take one for the team. I am that kind of friend."

"I've already made two batches this month," a former co-worker practically bragged.


But the big winner was this post, from the hubs:

"Remember when we spent all that money on that big-ass Kitchen Aid life-saving device?," he wrote, menacingly. "Do you remember what you said as we put it in the cart? Because if you forgot, I'll remind you while my Christmas cookies cool."

That's right. I promised the Kitchen Aid mixer, my wedding gift to myself, would pay for itself in spades during CCE.

I think I promised that I'd be able to make even more cookies than usual with it.

Me and my big mouth.

And soon, me and my big fat tummy, because this year's line up is getting good!

Sugar cookie cutouts
Pecan pie cookies
Whoopie pies
Cranberry White Chocolate cookies
Italian anise shortbread
Walnut ball cookies
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Christmas Cookie Extravaganza

I do it every year.

I swear never to do it again every year.

Repeat Sentence No. 1.

When I was little, my grandmother made Christmas cookies. She had a three-tiered tray on which she served them, and I always marveled at all the different kinds. Italian anise shortbread, sugar, chocolate chip, fudge ... and then I moved away, and the multi-cookie noshing stopped.

Three years ago, I realized something.

I can bake.

Moreover, I am a good baker.

So I pored over cookbooks and cookie blogs, looking for recipes to try out. I think my first year looked like this:

Sugar cookies
Cranberry-white-chocolate cookies
Pecan pie cookies
Italian anise cookies

Last year, I decided to kick it up a notch. I went for:
Cranberry white-chocolate cookies
Pecan pie cookies
Italian anise cookies
Chocolate chip cookies
Red Velvet Whoopie Pies

It takes two days to bake all of them, because I use them for Christmas gift for coworkers for both me and the hubs. That entails multiple batches, strategic bagging and storing, and a LOT of paper bags and tissue paper.

I wash untold number of dishes during this extravaganza, and I always regret that at no point in the previous year did I break down and buy the chef's kitchen mat that I always covet ... during Christmas Cookie Extravaganza.

But now Christmas is near. It's about the time of year that I start planning the CCE.

"No," I told myself last week. "Absolutely not. It is exhausting, and nobody needs those cookies this year."

After all, my work has organized its first Secret Santa exchange.

But yesterday, a thought pinged my cookie-shaped brain.

"Mmmm, I could go for a iced sugar cookie right about now."

And today, another one came through.

"We will be Home Alone on Christmas. Wouldn't it be great to have platters of all kinds of Christmas cookies?"

That reminded me that a co-worker gave me this suggestion, if I were to be her Secret Santa: "Don't buy me anything. Just make me more of those Red Velvet Whoopie Pies. That's all I want for Christmas."

I know that the pings are going to come more frequently, and the voices will get louder.

Already I'm mulling over my Dream Team of cookies this year: Cranberry white-chocolate, pecan pie, iced sugar and Italian anise. I know the hubs wolfed down a whole tray of the too-sweet-for-even-me whoopie pies last year.

And it would be very grinch-like not to bring some into the office, right?

These cookies freeze, right?

I'm gaining 10 pounds this month, right?
Bookmark and Share

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My dog is in love with my husband

It's not a secret in my house, but it's true.

My dog is in love with my husband.

He enjoys my stepson, and he loves me ... he's just not in love with me. He saves that hysterical, over-the-top passion for the hubs, and him alone.

Because Koa is a German Shepherd Dog, he manages to look dignified all the time. Every morning when he hears the hubs' alarm go off, I can hear the jingle-jangle of tags as the dog stretches and rises to greet the object of his affection with a lick.

He'll follow Matt around until he leaves for the gym, at which point it's become Koa's duty to curl up in the armchair closest to the garage door and wait for Lord and Master to come home.

All morning, Matt has a shadow. If he's having breakfast in the kitchen, Koa is lying down, head-on-paws, looking up at him. If he's in the shower, Koa is lying in the hallway, head-on-paws, waiting for him. If he's in the bathroom, Koa doesn't even bother to lay down. It's a dangerous room, with all that swirling water and washing, so Koa just stands at attention, nose pressed to the door, until Matt exits.

When I get up, I walk to the shower unaccompanied. I don't get my morning hello until I'm dressed and in the living room. If I sit on the couch, Koa will trot over and allow me to pet him for a few minutes. I imagine my greeting is something like this:

"Hey, person! Good morning. I hope you slept well. Now if you'll excuse me, HE is walking down the hall and I must follow. But it's lovely to see you."

After Matt leaves for the day, Koa gives a giant sigh and returns to his chair by the door.

"He's gone. Again. Guess I'll just curl up and wait for him."

He doesn't follow me to the kitchen, as I eat my breakfast; or to the bathroom, when I'm putting my makeup on even though I use the very dangerous loud air blowing machine on my fur.

If I make noise reentering the living room, he'll turn his head to look at me.

"Oh. It's you. Hello. I thought it might have been him. Do you know when he's coming back?"

He accepts a quick caress from me when I leave, but then goes back to resting his chin on the arm of the chair.

When I come home about 15 minutes before Matt, I can only assume he hasn't left the chair all day, as I catch him stretching getting out of it. I get a friendly greeting.

"Hey, person! I missed you today! Can we go outside and play? Oh, he's not with you? That's OK, we can play until he gets home, can't we? Aren't you ready to go outside? Aren't you? Aren't you?"

Usually, though, I have to make a quick turn in the house to make sure the dishwasher is unloaded, dishes are put away and the kitchen is clean enough for dinner prep. Koa just lays outside, head on paws, watching me and making sure I can see the whites of his eyes.

"Don't you love me? Why won't you play with me?"

When I'm finished with my chores, I go out and throw the ball around. He runs and fetches, chases and leaps away, and general merriment is had by all. But when the door to the garage opens again, it's a whole different proposition as he drops whatever he's doing to bolt toward his One and Only.

"YOU'RE HOME! I've been waiting for you ALL DAY! I missed you! Did you miss me?! I bet you did! Oh, I love you I love you I love you!!! Come on! Let's go play!! Comeoncomeoncomeoncomeon!!! YOU'RE HOOOOOMMMMEEE!"

And the shadowing continues. If Koa gets stuck outside while Matt is inside, he paces the sliding glass door, following him with his eyes.

If Matt goes outside and Koa is inside, just one small whine will escape his control before he makes the rounds of every door and window in the joint to make sure nothing bad has happened while the trash gets taken out.

Matt walks him after we all eat, and in the meantime I get dinner cleaned up and climb into bed. Every night, without fail, my dignified dog comes straight to me after the walk.

"Hello, person," he seems to say, offering me his neck for a scratch. "I just wanted to make sure you got settled in OK. HE is inside, and I know he's fine. Do you need anything? OK, then. Have a good night's sleep. I'll see you in the morning. Don't worry about HIM, by the way. I've got that covered."
Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Whatever happened to class?

I love novels set before the industrial era.

I love to read about Victorians, pioneers, Canadians and vampires.

You wouldn't think those groups have much in common, but oh, they do.

They've all got class.

They don't curse or talk back; they wear long hems and high necklines; they believe in playing outside instead of watching television; and the only vice they have is (maybe) playing cards or dueling for honor. (Sure, vampires are usually murdering fiends, but not the ones I like to read about. Not the protagonists.)

Not. Like. Now.

Maybe I've spent too much time with Anne of Green Gables, the Forsytes, Jo's Boys, the Dashwoods and the Cullens'. (Now that I read that list, maybe I need to spend more time reading fiction for adults.) But I find an era that values modesty, decency and manners refreshing.

So when I'm in my car and I see Monster Truck Guy flip Cadillac Grandma the bird, I want to stop him and shout, in my best shocked tone: "Edward Ferras would NEVER do that!" Usually, that's followed by, "Don't you have a mother?" but that's a different blog entry.

When teenage girls pass me on the street with skirts up to here and necklines down to there, I want to ask them to save something for later, because if you give it all up now you'll have nothing to hold back; and remind them of how Anne made a daisy chain necklace so she'd feel less naked when her gown dipped below her collarbone.

I even find myself wincing at the overly grotesque lyrics of some rap songs, and flipping to the Michael Buble/Marc Broussard playlist on my iPod. After all, I can just feel Jo (March) Baher's disappointed eyes on me when I lend my mind to bitches, pimps and hos. That's valuable brain space, after all.

Does that make me old? Old fashioned? Hopelessly out of date?


But I think it also makes me a pretty nice gal. One who would look good in an era where hats are in style and shock her knitting group by saying, "Oh, darn!"

(That's not to say that I don't shock my husband by littering the floor with F-bombs when I'm feeling saucy. But once again, another story for another blog.)
Bookmark and Share