Sunday, October 28, 2012

Plum Tart Thank You

We have friends, S & P, who have no children but always welcome us to their house to use their pool. The kids love going over there - there is a hot tub, a slide... And they're the only kids in the pool, so they get all the toys and floats to themselves.  I usually bring a dessert when we go by, as they have many times commented on how much they enjoy my baking, and do not make such things for themselves.

The other night, S delivered a huge bag of plums to the husband when they met up at their weekly softball game.

I can take a hint. 

I let them ripen for almost a week, then got up early today to put together a tart before the football games started (we have company coming over).

2 cups flour
3/4 cup finely chopped almonds (walnuts are probably more common, but I don't like them)
3/4 cup light brown sugar
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
1 egg yolk
2 pounds ripe plums, pitted and quartered lengthwise

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Combine the flour, almonds, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and the egg yolk. Mix by hand until crumbly.
Press 1 1/2 cups of the crumb mixture in an even layer into the bottom of a tart pan. Arrange the plums on top, skin side down, to form a flower pattern (it works best if you begin at the outside and work your way in).
Sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the plums. Bake the tart for 40 to 50 minutes, until it's lightly browned and the juices are bubbling. 

Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and transfer the tart to a flat plate. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Now to talk the husband into delivering it, once it has cooled...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

What Happened to Basic Human Decency?

I frequently wonder what happened to respect in our society. We can blame many things, not the least of which is reality tv. 

But, in all seriousness, it is a direct reflection of what we teach our children. Not only that we tell them to respect their elders and treat all people with kindness, honesty, and respect. But that we model that in our interactions with the people we work with, our neighbors, the guy emptying trashcans at the park... We all know, whether we want to admit it or not, that kids pay far far far more attention to what we say than to what we do.

And right now, the examples are voluminous and unavoidable. That's right, it's election time.

Seriously, how am I supposed to teach my kids to treat other people as they want to be treated, to offer dignity and respect to every person they meet no matter what that person looks like or sounds like or does, etc, when these people and their 'advocates' are being, to be blunt, absolutely abhorrently vile to one another?!

But a particularly horrible example happened last week. You may have already heard about it. Ann Coulter sent a reprehensible tweet (now is not the time or place for one of my Twitter rants, but damn I want to go there!):

"I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard."   

It hurts me just to type that.

I don't care if you're a Republican or a Democrat. I don't care if you would bear Romney's children or think Obama is the greatest man to ever walk the earth. That statement is completely unacceptable, and if Americans can't see that and call her on it, I fear deeply for our society and children.

But then the light broke over the horizon, and my sadness was dispelled by one of the most beautifully succinct and well-considered responses I have ever seen to a grievous injustice. From Special Olympics athlete and global messenger John Franklin Stephens:

Dear Ann Coulter,

Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren't dumb and you aren't shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?

I'm a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public's perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.

I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.

Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next.

Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.

Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are - and much, much more.

After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.

I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.

Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.

No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.

Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.

A friend you haven't made yet,
John Franklin Stephens
Global Messenger
Special Olympics Virginia
 
Kudos, Mr. Stephens. You have touched my heart. You have exemplified what I hope my children become. I will read your letter to them, and continue to read it to them, and hope that they grow to be as smart, articulate, generous and considerate as you.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Easy Potato Soup

Today was a slightly rainy, cool football Sunday. Soup was the obvious dinner - something warm and hearty, but since I was looking another work week in the eye and needing to still get through my list of weekend chores, something easy.

Enter potato soup. I microwave the potatoes in the afternoon, then leave them on the cutting board to cool. When I'm ready to start dinner, it's all of a half hour of putting it together, and the kids and husband are happy to sit down and inhale it before moving on to packing backpacks and taking baths. (And going back to football, of course.)



What you'll need:

4 slices of bacon
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp black pepper
3 cups chicken broth (homemade is best, but canned will work just fine - this is 1 1/2 cans worth)
2 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed once they're cool
1 cup half-and-half
shredded cheddar cheese
minced fresh chives (if you happen to have them laying about)

First, cook the bacon In a large saute pan, until it's crisp. Set bacon aside and chop it, but keep the fat in the pan!

Now saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender - it will only take a couple minutes. Then stir in cornstarch, salt, basil and pepper and  mix well. Gradually add the chicken broth, stirring to bring up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Bring broth to a boil, boil and stir for 2 minutes.

Turn the heat down to simmer, and add the potatoes, cream, and bacon. Heat through but do not boil.

Garnish your soup with cheddar cheese, and chives if you have them.

(If I want a much thicker soup, I use one additional potato and mash it before adding it to the broth.)

There you have it - easy peasy lemon squeezy, as J would say!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Meal Planning

I'm trying something here... Let me know if you like it or not.

I spend time every weekend figuring out the dinner menus for the upcoming week, and planning my shopping list, and collecting my coupons. I thought I would share the results with you, in case it could help save you some time.

If you like this, let me know, and I'll try to do it more frequently!


First, I check the calendar to see if there are any nights where someone won't be home, or we'll be unusually late for dinner, or anything I need to work around.Then I check the grocery store deals, see what is scheduled for my CSA box that week, and double-check what is still lingering in the refrigerator and pantry. With that in mind, I start building out menus. Once I've got them, I make a grocery list and go through and pull any coupons I have.

This week, we're getting beets, green beans, mei qing choi (think baby bok choy), potatoes, bell peppers, butternut squash, and fennel in the CSA box. And I got a good deal on pork tenderloin, apples, and grapes at Costco. There's leftover cauliflower, cheddar cheese, kale, and romano cheese that needs to be used. And the grocery store has discounts on pasta and pork chops...And I know I've got stock, goat cheese, chicken, and bacon in the freezer. So...

Tonight I'll use the pork tenderloin I got as Costco and use up the cauliflower and some cheese that's in the refrigerator. Marinated pork loin with pan sauce and roasted cauliflower it is.

Tomorrow will be potato soup. And since the husband is sure to be sitting around watching football (and I'll join him for a bit, of course!), I'm going to make a bunch of almond crusted goat cheese & grape balls.

Monday will be a cajun chicken alfredo and crusty bread.

Tuesday will be an egg and kale casserole - that will use up the kale and cheddar cheese, and some of the bacon left over from Sunday's potato soup, and the half & half leftover from Monday's alfredo. J has gymnastics til 530, and the husband plays softball later. This will be a pretty quick and easy dinner in between!

On Wednesday, a chicken and sweet potato and apple one pot mix. I'll probably even throw in some of the bacon that will still be lingering.

Thursday is soccer practice, so the kids will be getting home late and everyone will be tired. A pasta with green beans, bell peppers, and goat cheese sounds like just the thing... And I can use up the goat cheese left from Sunday's apps.

J has gymnastics again on Friday. And we're all exhausted from a long week. I'm thinking asian noodle soup with the mei qing.

Finally, Saturday. Broiled chicken thighs with mashed potatoes and veggies will use up lots of stuff: chicken thighs, potatoes, bell peppers, fennel... And be nice and warm and filling after the usual crazy Saturday of multiple soccer games and gymnastics practice.

That means my grocery list (after buying grapes, apples, and pork at Costco) is pretty wonderfully small: a piece of ginger, a package of chinese egg noodles, some yellow onions, the pasta and porkchops that are on sale, a small container of half & half, a pint of grape tomatoes, and a sweet potato. Maybe some brussel sprouts if the price is reasonable.

And, last but certainly not least... Costco had a killer deal on a pretty good Chardonnay. I'm usually more of a pinot noir girl, but you can't beat 50% off quality wine. White will go just fine with each and every one of these meals!

(If you want my recipes for any of these posted, please let me know - I make most stuff up as I go along, but I'm happy to share what works for us!)

Beef Tangine

I woke up today thinking about Beef Tangine.

And then I remembered I had promised to post that recipe.

Well, today is the perfect day for such a dinner. Beef Tangine lends itself to fall - warm, comforting, fragrant. 

And easy. If you're like me, Saturday is full of soccer and laundry and errands and house cleaning. While entertaining the monsters. So this is perfect!

 Beef Tangine

You will need:
 
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 lb beef shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes (I've used about every cut there is - they all seem to come out tender and flavorful!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 shallots, quartered
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cups cubed (about 1" size) peeled butternut squash (it's about 1 lb) 



Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add beef and toss well to coat.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add beef and shallots; cook about 5 minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 30-60 seconds, til fragrant, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cook 5 more minutes. Then add squash; cover, reduce heat, and simmer until squash is tender.(This takes about 20-30 minutes, in my experience.)

I like to serve mine over couscous. A couple times, when I've discovered I'm out of couscous, I've added a bit more broth and served it with crusty bread, more like a stew.

Either way, it's always amazing.

Enjoy!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A trifecta!

Do you have a child who ends up in your bed most every night? Do you dread waking up with a toe up your nose, and elbow lodged in your ribs, a finger in your ear? Come on, 'fess up. Judging from the number of Google search results, this isn't just a phenomena of my house.

J never came in our bed, not even when he was really little. G, though, from the time she was out of a crib, would end up in our room most every night.

As I've mentioned before, she dealt with night terrors for a long time. So, admittedly, we were not very strict about putting her back into her own bed when she showed up in our room. And, really, we didn't mind. As long as she just climbed in and went back to sleep and wasn't fussing or talking, it was no big deal to have her there. Some nights the kicking and flailing got pretty annoying, but we survived.

But now she's getting pretty big. Between the husband, me, the dog, and a 4 yr old, even a king bed gets a little crowded.

So I've been trying to get her to stay in her own bed for months. I've threatened. I've bribed. Nothing has worked.

Then, the other day, I had a burst of brilliance.

Okay, no, I totally didn't. I just threw something out there.But...

I told her that if she came into our room that night, she should bring her pillow with her. Because she would need to sleep on the floor. She was welcome to come into our room if she was scared or whatever the excuse was, but she wasn't going to sleep in our bed anymore because there wasn't enough room now that she's getting so tall. She would be welcome to sleep on the floor, though, right next to me.

We didn't see her that night. I was merely cautiously optimistic, since she does occasionally stay in her own bed all night. But then we didn't see her the next night, either. I knocked on wood. And now we have been G-free for THREE NIGHTS in a row. That has not happened. Ever. In her mobile life.

I would love to announce that I am the most brilliant parent alive. But I've got to be honest. I just stumbled on it, and it worked.

Now I must share... Spread the word, my friends. And yourself. Reclaim the portions of the bed toward center of that edge you've been hanging off all this time.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Dirty Underwear

I have reached a new low as a mama.

Yesterday, I went to get the kids' soccer uniforms out and ready for them to change post-breakfast. To realize that they hadn't been washed since last weekend's game. Oops. Even worse, I also realized that G didn't have any clean underwear.

This would be no big deal for J. Wear dirty underwear? Okay! Wear no underwear? Even better!

But G is a different story. Whether it's personality or simply being a girl, I'm not sure. But she will NOT wear dirty clothes. And the thought of being without underwear would certainly cause drama.

So I intentionally misled my children.

While they were happily eating pancakes, I grabbed soccer shirts, shorts, and socks out of laundry hampers. I snagged a recent pair of underwear off the top of G's pile. I ran to the garage, and threw the whole bunch into the dryer, ran it for 2 minutes, and came back in with warm, fabric softener smelling clothes. (Except for the socks. Thank goodness they did not sniff the socks. There was clearly no way those things had been washed.)



J pointed out that his jersey was still stained. I 'admitted' to having forgotten to pre-treat it, and promised to do better this week.

They got dressed, oblivious to the fact that Mama is a liar and a failure as a domestic goddess.

But then I went another level down on the ladder of Mamahood.

I totally forgot all about it.

So this morning when G went to get dressed, she realized she had no clean underwear. Cue the epic meltdown.

Lying is a slippery slope, people.

I had to tell her that her laundry was almost done, and I would go get it out of the dryer momentarily.

And then I ran to the garage, grabbed a pair of her underwear from the pile on the floor of STILL unwashed clothes. (Hey - they were sorted and pre-treated. I had made some progress!) I threw the underwear into the dryer that was already running with a load of towels, and let them go for a couple minutes.

Then brought them in triumphantly, as fresh from the dryer panties. (Which is true. They were. Just not fresh from the washer AND dryer panties.)

I will note that I picked a different pair than yesterday's, so she didn't in fact wear one pair for three days.

I suck. But my kids are happy.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

There's No 'Fun' in Fundraising

If you're a parent of a school-aged child, you are already nodding and groaning. Thinking 'You got that right, woman.' Feel free to skip along, or stay for the rant. Totally up to you. And I understand if you need to go - you've got some wrapping paper to sell. 

So here it goes. I've got to get this off my chest.

 J started kindergarten this year. He's been in for 5 1/2 weeks at this point. And we have been asked for money at least 8 times. At this rate, we're looking at probably 60 or more requests per school year. Times 2 kids, times years to graduation... Oh, somewhere north of 1,500 asks.

I think the worst are the guilt factor ones... If you don't send $5, your child won't be able to go with the rest of his class. (But they don't tell you the alternative, leaving you to envision him stuck in the corner of the kitchen scrubbing pots. He'd probably be allowed to run wild on the playground while one indifferent parent volunteer peruses Facebook on her phone. He actually wishes I wouldn't send the $5.)

And then they lay it on thicker - If you could possibly send an extra $5, another child whose family cannot afford fun things will be able to join us, too! Oh, hell - here's a $20. I need to be able to live with myself.

But the ones that really piss me off are the sales of crap. No one wants this stuff, yet every child in the country is selling it - all at the same time. The odds of J getting anyone to buy this shit are slim. Even if he were the best salesman on the planet. But remember, they know the guilt part works. (See above.) So they also point out that if your child doesn't approach complete strangers in his effort to sell this stuff, he won't be eligible for the fabulous prizes the other kids will all be earning...

As a parent, you have two choices:
1. Take it to work. Here there are only 100 other parents offering the same cheap wares, and more than 100 employees who don't yet have children of their own, so you stand a chance. This works particularly well for food products - selling candy bars to office workers is like shooting fish in a barrel.

2. Pay up.  They always include the 'buy out' somewhere in the letter (i.e. 'In lieu of selling product, we suggest a donation of $150 per child.) Yeah, my kid wouldn't sell $150 worth, here's $50, you scored.

I'm both lazy and cheap. I go for #2 every time.

But let me save all of us - the school(s) and me - some time. Just tell me how much you want. Tell me the whole total for the whole damn year. Tell me why. Tell me what you'll do with the money. And then tell me by when you'd like to receive the check. (As a side note, it would be nice if you would accept American Express. I may as well get some points for this.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Soccer Drama

G started organized soccer this fall. She has played before, in those rec center once-a-week fun camp sorts of things. But this year, she was finally old enough for AYSO. She was soooo excited. Big kid soccer! A team! Games! Uniforms!

She is in U5, so it's still pretty informal - Saturday morning, half hour of drills followed by half hour of 'game'. No teams, really, and no coaches. Parent volunteers out on the field, walking the kids through drills provided by the league. Then they split the girls up and play 3on3.

The first week was awesome. She had a blast. I was proud of how well she played (she really has some natural ability), but even more happy about the big smile she had on her face. All was good.

Then came the second week. Tears, hysteria, screaming. She didn't want to go, she hated soccer, she was 'afraid' of soccer, she was 'never ever playing soccer ever again'. I tried being understanding - she barely qualified for U5, given her September birthday. Without a doubt, she's the youngest girl on the team. But, then again, she is mature for her age, has good ability to follow directions and knows basic soccer skills, and she had SO much fun the week before. How could it have gone so wrong???

Being understanding was getting me nowhere. Other than kneeling in wet grass, holding a sobbing child. So I admit it, I went for bribery. Play the rest of the game, and get a treat. It kinda worked - she went out there, but mainly just stood on the field and whined.

We spent the next week discussing soccer. How good she was at it. How her team was counting on her. How she had so much fun the first week. How she had begged to be able to play, so we had spent lots of money on the registration fees, the cleats, the shinguards... Essentially, we told her that she was finishing out the season. She was a big girl, and she would suck it up. Was that the right approach? I have no idea. But I know that her excuses (scared, tired, hated soccer) didn't make any sense. So maybe she just needed her hand forced.

The third week was more of the same, with some twists. She was fine on our way to the field, then fell apart when we got there. Another epic meltdown. After a little 'come to Jesus' conversation with her about the consequences of behaving like a baby (namely, being treated like a baby and not getting to do all the other stuff she might want/like to do), she was great for the last half of the hour.

She got tons of praise and encouragement for that, of course. And then the husband and I settled in to see what week 4 might bring.

And she was back to the G of week 1. Smiling, running, having a blast.

I don't get it. Is this a girl thing? (J has never acted like this - hot and cold in the space of a minute - and soccer is not the first time we've gotten this sort of reaction from the second child). Is it just personality? Is there something we can/should do to help her deal with these situations better??

What I know is this: It is Tuesday, and I'm already dreading Saturday morning. It might all be fine. I sure hope it is. But it could also be awful, and I could end up sitting in a field, feeling like the biggest failure a Mama has ever been.

I'm not sure I can handle the drama.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Global Warming Gets Personal

Certainly, I am concerned about global warming. The impacts are so far reaching and significant. And I'm one of those people who really think that we're responsible for the quality of the planet we hand off to our children, and we're not doing such a great job for them right now....

But day in and day out, you can lose sight of that large world view.

Living in Southern California, the weather is pretty much the same. All the time. It's hard to track a real change in weather patterns. And seasons are pretty arbitrary. Even after living here for many years, I like to have that variety, though, even if I have to make it up. So I bring out the 'summer' clothes at the end of March, and the 'winter' clothes at the end of September.

This year, I couldn't do it. The end of September was in the 80s and 90s. I couldn't possibly do boots and sweaters, even being in a climate-controlled office for the majority of each day. Damn you, global warming!!!

I've decided, though, that I can't do it any more. (And by "it", I mean shaving my legs every day.) I'm moving to my cold weather clothes, starting this week. It will be a slower transition than other years - I'm going to have to pair a sleeveless top with the pants, and only wear the cardigan while I'm inside, for another couple weeks, I bet.

The sweat is worth it. I'm so happy to be in a different outfit. And wearing these cute new shoes. Which reminds me - I need to go find another band aid for these blisters. (I'm blaming those on global warming, too, of course.)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

This Would Be Sweeter If I Didn't Have to Pee So Badly...

G still ends up in our bed most every night. It's not a matter of 'if', it's a matter of 'when'. But I don't really mind - she's only 4, Little Dog has been a bed hog for 12 years now so we're used to it, she doesn't talk or fuss. Plus, if you've ever had a kid go through night terrors (G suffered for over a year), anything is preferable to that.

Usually, she comes walking into the room, and without a word just climbs up on my side of the bed. I always move her over me to the middle - even though she's big enough and the bed low enough that falling out wouldn't really be any big deal, I sleep better if I'm not worried about shoving her off.

And she settles between us, and is instantly asleep. No big deal.

But some nights, she is a cuddler. Now I love cuddling with my kids. But not when I have to pee - their knees and elbows are like bladder-seeking lasers.

Last night, as I moved her over me, she clung. Like a vine. You know what I mean... Could not get her unattached. So she slept on top of me for a while, until I was able to slide out. Because I really, really needed to go to the bathroom. And nearly 40 lbs of dead weight on top of me was not feeling so good.  But she caught me with an arm, and twisted, and buried her head in my stomach.  Oh, lord. Not good at all. I waited for her to fall more deeply asleep again, and tried a second time to get away. And she whined and crawled up me to lodge her head under my chin... And threw a leg over my hips. I almost started to cry.

It was almost 3 hours before I was able to sneak out of my own bed. And run to the bathroom. Damn kid.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Pinterest Fail

I don't know about you, but my success with Pinterest-inspired projects is spotty at best. That's across the board - recipes, crafts, etc.

With crafts, I usually blame myself. I'm not really crafty at all. (And that's being nice to myself.)

With recipes, I usually blame the source - I CAN cook.

Yesterday I tried a new avenue - a hairdo. Or a style. Or maybe it's a styling method. It looked so easy - braid hair, twist straightening iron around braids, get the so popular 'beachy waves'.



I preheated the straightener. I braided. (I have thick hair, so I even did four braids instead of the recommended two.) I twisted. Twice on each braid, just in case. I waited. I undid the braids.

The hair I had spent time the day before straightening now looked - ta daa - like I hadn't spent any time straightening it. It was my usual "not straight but not really curly" hair. So, the options are as follows:

1. I have naturally 'beach wavy' hair. (I think not.)
2. Pinterest fail.

I'm putting my money on #2. Bah.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Perhaps This Isn't Going According to Plan

Yeah, so this outlet I thought was a great idea... How long ago was it that I started with the first post? Well over a month ago. Sadly, that seems to be the norm with me. Big idea, get distracted by life. But I'll try to do better, I swear. Because if I ever manage to get a 'follower' (dude, I'd be so excited it would be embarrassing), I wouldn't want them to think I had been abducted or something when I fail to post for - oh, a few months or whatever.

**EXPLANATION TO ALL THOSE I'VE COMPLETELY LOST**
So I started a blog in June. And wrote one post. Then didn't get back to it until today - October. So I wrote this post. And then realized that somehow my original blog had been deleted. I could still see the posts, but they weren't public anywhere... I couldn't figure out the problem, so I decided to just start a new one. But to preserve my honesty, I'm going to go ahead and admit that I took almost 4 months between my 1st and 2nd posts, even though I could totally pull off that today was my first foray into blogging... So. Here we go. Again.

Let's see what has happened.

My baby girl (G) turned 4. It didn't really change a darn thing, she's always been old for her age. But she's impressed to say it.

Baby boy (J) took scissors to the middle of the top of his head. Right down to the skin in an inch wide, 3 inch long swath. 4 days before school picture day. He now looks pretty cute as a cue ball with hair about 1/16" long all over.

The kids had their annual checkup. G is perfectly perfect - 50th percentile for both height and weight. J is still made of lead - 17th percentile for height (sorry, buddy, that's called genetics - and it's your dad's fault, for the record) and 67th for weight. I believe that might make him clinically obese by BMI. Which he's not, at all. Just short and solid.

J has moved to the competitive team in gymnastics. It's so cool to watch these little guys bouncing around, spinning and hanging upside down... He's having the time of his life with it. Of course, he's 5, and everything new is awesome. So long as he continues to enjoy it, we'll keep doing it. But he also loves tee ball and soccer and a million other things, so we've got plenty of options!

Work is pretty irritating right now. Too much to do, ridiculous timelines. Oh, and I've been having severe computer problems for 3 1/2 weeks. Like sometimes can access email, sometimes not. Same with various applications/programs, same with printing... Very annoying. And killing productivity when I really need to be cranking work out. But my team is great, thank god, and they handle a lot I can't possibly get to.

Little Dog and I ran into a coyote on our walk this morning. Like literally nearly RAN INTO it. Yikes. Little Dog (he's 35 lbs, so probably more like 'medium dog', but he's smaller than the other one) wanted to fight, of course. Fool. So my mind was racing with how I would fight the coyote off if he decided to take Little Dog up on the challenge. And also trying to sort through all the rules you hear to determine which were applicable to coyotes vs mountain lions vs bears... Make myself big and loud? Look insignificant? Stare him down? Avoid eye contact? Stay still? Run? I decided to go with an assortment, to confuse him. Watch him, but not lock eyes. Yell at Little Dog, not at coyote. Move to other side of the street, at a measured pace. He watched us for a while, and then must have heard a bunny calling his name, because he continued on his way. Geesh.

Then I got home and went to send the recipe for dinner to the husband. (You see, H makes dinner during the week, since he's home and I get home so late from work that if I do it, the kids would be eating after their bedtime. But I do the meal planning and grocery shopping, and I send him an email with the recipe for the night, if it's something he hasn't made before.) And today I dug up the recipe for beef tangine (I'll post it in the next couple days, I promise!), and copied and pasted it into an email, and went through to make sure it made sense to someone other than me (I can use some weird abbreviations!). And realized we didn't have 3 of the ingredients. I have no idea what I was thinking - not that I forget to buy them, but I didn't even have them on the grocery list last weekend. Sigh... I'm going to blame the fact that G was "helping" me with the list and coupons. So, scramble to come up with something else we could do.

Today is not off to the best start... So thanks for letting me vent to you!