Sunday, December 31, 2006

What we've been up to...

Today it's been a ton of light and crispy waffles with berries (or not, whichever you prefer), undecorating the tree and putting together kidlet's work/tool table. Kidlet and I went calendar shopping where calendars were already 50% off. Seems like they are giving up a little early. It's not even 2007 yet and the calendar prices are slashed. I'm not complaining though.

Now every is napping and I'm getting ready to do a little knitting. I made a half-assed attempt at getting a photo of it but it was too blurry with the overcast day combined with my very dark and cold house. I've been working on a scarf out of Crystal Palace Merino Stripes. The colors are lovely. The yarn leaves a little to be desired, however. There's a central thread that runs throughout the yarn and the wooly bits sometimes separate, leaving you only with the skinny thread. I've only got one stitch that I missed this happening on but it's not really noticeable. The yarn is soft and lofty and I'll enjoy the scarf nevertheless. The pattern is from Stitch 'n Bitch Nation, "Yo, Drop It". You'd think I'd be thoroughly done with lacy-ish scarves after the last project. But I'm digging it since it's a quick knit and it gives me time to figure out a pattern for my bunny toy I'm going to try next and decide where I'm going to get the proper sized Addi Turbos for the circular sock knitting (the LYS only had 40" length). Although I'm seeing on the LYS's website the coveted needles exist, but now I'm babbling...

Kidlet with her party hat for our "New Year's Eve Living Room Picnic". I'm already starting to feel that must-clean-out-everything-for-the-new-year feeling gathering up strength.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Reflections on New Year's Past

My New Year's celebrations have generally been subdued. When I was little, it seemed like either Casablanca or Top Hat were always on the t.v., instilling my love for old films early. We'd also watch Nebraska kick some booty in the Orange Bowl. These were happy, simple times. When I got to the post-high school years, my friends and I would go downtown for the big countdown. It was always a big let down. I always wanted something magical to happen, to be swept off my feet and do something glamorous. I wanted the ringing in of the new year to instantaneously clear out any of my bad juju and make way for excitement. I guess I got a slight glimpse of what I wanted when I moved to New Orleans with the hubby (then boyfriend, tee hee!). We both worked in high-class restaurants so we never got the big smooch at midnight, but we'd get to see fancy-pants rich folks spend the holiday in 'style', spending gobs of cash. I was manager-on-duty/hostess which meant I had to attempt to keep my hard-drinking waitstaff sober enough to finish the night. This also meant I had to work till 4 in the morning doing inventory, the pain of which was softened by me making my inventory a little smaller (one beer for the inventory, one beer for me). It was better when I started cooking and got to leave at a (more) reasonable hour. We always thought New Year's was for drinking amateurs (just like Mardi Gras, Saint Patty's and Halloween) so our gang of friends would just go home early.

Now I usually spend the holiday snug at home with an old movie (usually "After the Thin Man"). Back to the happy, simple times, eh? Hubby is still in the restaurant biz (for just a little while longer, hang in there, Boo!) so it'll just be kidlet and me. We'll eat tuna melts and chips. I'll have a little champagne. I'll probably fall asleep before midnight so here's a toast to y'all...

"Here's champagne for your real friends and real pain for your sham friends".

Remember to eat fish first thing New Year's Day. The wise, old Latvians say it will bring wealth in the new year. I'm still waiting, but I can't fight the wise, old Latvians so I'll continue the tradition.

Postscript...sad about those restaurants that we both worked at being closed. Damn hurricane.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Holiday in Photos

My birthday cupcakes and a chocolately kid.

The scarf I made for my Mama for Xmas. Pattern from Last Minute Knitted Gifts (this was not knitted in the last minute). I had a really hard time getting any sort of photo of this.

The amazing No-knead bread. So dang lovely and perfect. Made for the smorgasbord.

A photo taken by Ruby on her new Fisher Price Camera that she got for Christmas. I got a teacup and lots of fancy tea (among other lovely things).

Us, hanging out under a bridge on the river on Christmas day. Don't you hang out under bridges on Christmas?

My Baby. I saved up for more than half, received some Xmas cash and promptly joined the hoards of shoppers on this Boxing Day.

Can't wait to figure this thing out. Oh yes.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Five Random Things...

about me since my birthday is tomorrow.

1--Shy. I'm quiet. My mom told me I'd get over it like she did when she hit her 30s, but I'm almost 8 years too late for that. That's ok, I now embrace my quiet nature instead of fight it. This whole blogging thing has been cool for this since I can ramble on without feeling immediately embarrassed in front of people. I only feel delayed dorkiness after I hit 'publish post'.

2--Unphotogenic. Maybe that's why I like taking photos. I can look perfectly normal but when the shutter snaps open, my face contorts into strange configurations. A good reason for me to never join the Self Portrait Challenge.

3--Oysters. My favorite food. Well, maybe sushi is my fave. Or fresh baked bread. Or pie. Or muffalettas. Or salt and vinegar chips.

4--List maker, extraordinaire. I adore making lists. I am constantly making lists. Lists of things I want to do, things I need to do, things I want to knit. I often will put things on my list that are super easy to accomplish, just so I can have the pleasurable feeling of crossing something off my list.

5--Lucky. I really do lead a charmed life. I have wonderful family close by, we're all healthy, I work for a company that does good things. I have a little roof over my head to call my own. I have a hubby, a daughter and two silly dogs that I couldn't love more. Things are good at age 37-almost-38.

I really wanted to make a cool birthday list like hula, but my brain is fried from the gift card madness at work. Tonight, kidlet and I are making cupcakes for my birthday tomorrow. Tomorrow, breakfast, hanging out all day and then sushi for dindins with hub. Alone! Alone with hub! Amazing! After sushi, pick up kidlet and then it's cupcakes and champagne. We'll be having a family smorgasbord Christmas eve followed up by Christmas morning at hubby's dad's place. Then nothing but relaxation until next Wednesday. Lovely, I tell ya. I hope you all have a peaceful holiday, full of laughter and warmth. I'll catch up with you when I'm older.

Monday, December 18, 2006

snow kid, sniffles and stress

snow kid
Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
Sorry about the sporadic posting. Work is seriously kicking my booty. Evil, evil. It's keeping me so busy that I'm barely getting enough time to get my holiday stuff together. Christmas cards? What? Oh, I'm supposed to send those? Right...maybe next week. Oh, it's too late then. Oh dear. Presents? Can I just put them in a pile and cover them with a sheet instead of wrapping them? Wouldn't that be more envionmentally-friendly? You get the picture and them some. And I'm sick. Go figure.

So for your visual entertainment, we have kidlet sporting her fluffy pink coat and her Biggy Wool scarf I whipped up. No fancy stichin', just cozy. And we sure need cozy with this wacko weather.

We had a mini storm this weekend that caught everyone (myself included) off guard. Late Saturday afternoon, the roads made the transformation to 'ice rink'. Everyone in town was invited to take their cars out and share in the skidding. A twenty minute trip took us almost 2 hours as we drove 10 mph home. There was a 30 car pile-up right by the base of our hill. I tiptoed my way through, made it 80% up the hill, and walked the rest of the way home (much to kidlet's delight).

Ok, back to my madness...hugs to all.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The Morning

Poking my head out the back door, I breathe in the fresh, cool air. I hear the breeze rushing through the leafless trees and gently swirling about my Dad's wind chimes. The sky is a deep blue. I am the only one awake.

Time for tea.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Five Things

...that have made me happy lately in this kookoo season.

1. Silence--I usually jump into the car and have the radio on. Usually it's NPR or if Kidlet is along, Muppet music or holiday tunes. But boy, who knew silence could be so good?

2. Belly Laughs--sharing a good ha ha with Kidlet or the hubby has been really helpful to release stress.

3. Giving--bought a toy for Toys for Tots this weekend and made a donation for the local SPCA.

4. Cooking--last week was a frenzy of onion soup, Morrocan vegetable stew, jambalaya. This week we have chili and soon, Pinkie's Brown Sugar Fudge. I swear you'll think you've gone to heaven if you eat this fudge. Not your average fudge.

5. Buying yarn. Ok. I wasn't supposed to but I really, really liked it.

Hope you are enjoying lots of happy things too.

The Dream of New Shoes...


Friday, December 08, 2006

If you don't dig knitting, don't bother reading this post where I'm gushing about Knitty

Holy cow! The new Knitty is up and yeeeooowwwza! I've always checked out Knitty but never was so taken with anything that I felt I needed to knit it. This issue, however, I want to knit it ALL.

Center Square--to learn fair isle techinques
Argosy--to learn entrelac
Corazon and Tiffany--mittens!
Sheldon--cute, cute.

The Monkey socks rule too, as does Cookie's hair (especially in the bottom photo). I sure do miss having wild hair. Right now, my hair is kind of "straggle bob".

Regularly scheduled posts to come later. Took some photos this morning that I need to work on tonight (along with my knitting).

Thursday, December 07, 2006


My heritage is Latvian. It's nice that Latvia is finally its own little country because my whole life, I've had to explain my name (Anita--no, it's not pronounced like the Spanish 'ah-neet-uh', it's 'ah-knit-tuh'. It's Latvian. Latvia is a Baltic republic that was once part...etc.). Having Latvia be its own country allows me to skip over the whole Russian occupation deal. This is why I just go by 'Ani'. But I digress...

Ever since I was a little kid, I've been eating these cookies. And since I'm on a phonetic pronunciation streak...'peep-pah-kooks'. They are thin little gingerbread cookies. My Dad's Mom used to make them with a hint of orange zest. I never got the real recipe from her but I found this one in a 1997 Gourmet magazine. I made some for my Mom's Mom a few years back and she smiled and nodded approvingly. Success! I love pleasing my Grandmother. You know you've done something right when you can make food that reminds your Grandmother of the old country, "just like what we used to have on the farm". I made some pickled beets at Christmas a few years ago that garnered the same reaction.

Kidlet was happy to help me make these. She pulls the chair up to the kitchen island and spends much time sifting the dry ingredients between her fingers. She was very helpful in the rolling and cutting process, "It's like Play-Doh!". And my favorite part is when I take them out of the oven, "Let me feel your hot hand!" She loves to feel the warm oven mitt. She snuggled right up to it and said, "I love your hot hand". Too bad I'm not a pro BBall player, sinking shots right and left and raking in the dough. Ok, that whole hot hand-dough connection was a stretch. Cookies...mmm...

Monday, December 04, 2006

Walk at the end of the working day

the end of work walk
Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
Sorry I've been a slacker at the posting. This is the beginning of my super crazy time at work because I am a gift card elf. Yes, you heard it, a gift card elf. The rest of the year, I'm a computer help desk person but in December, set your computer problems aside! Ani's activating gift cards for the masses! Six days a week! 80% of my day! Tedious! This has been part of my job description for about 4 years now and boy, I'm gonna be glad when it's no longer part of my job description (in February, when the system changes).

Ok, got that off my chest.

Let's see...what else have I been doing (or not)? Messing up my Xmas knitting for about the 8th time, started knitting a scarf for kidlet (photo to come upon finishing), not taking enough photos. I wish kidlet had chosen a fluffier yarn for her scarf. The yarn she chose is Rowan Big Wool in a mélange of pinkness. Being Big Wool, it makes for a pretty thick, stiff scarf.

I'm happy in my Xmas preparations/lead up. It truly was $50 well spent to figure out that I really need to step back and reexamine my state of mind about Xmas (see previous entry, if you missed it). We watched "A Charlie Brown Christmas" this weekend. When I was little, I just dug Snoopy's wild decorating style and cute antics. I never caught the anti-consumer message (even though it bludgeons you over the head). Good stuff.

Ok, friends, I'd better get back to it...sorry this was a little bit scattered, but it's definitely an example of my mental state.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Lesson Well Spent

A few weeks back, I started thinking of ideas for holiday decorating. My theme was old timey, but in a sparkly 1930's movie way (ie. my fave film, The Thin Man). I started purchasing silvery balls to dangle from the ceiling and sparkly candles shaped like trees. I bought some glass candle holders in which to put red tapers and a garland made to look like icicles. On Sunday, while kidlet was napping, I thought I'd surprise her and have a sparkly, shiny decoration filled living room. Well, I put the stuff up was spartan. Sparkly, yes, but cold and sparse. It may have worked in a sleek, modern home, but not on our weathered brick mantle. I was mad. I grumbled and took it all down (except for the tree candles). As I was packing the remaining stuff, I kvetched to myself about how I spent all this money and it all looked like crap. And then I stopped. Why did I spend all this money? Am I trying to buy an instant golden holiday memory with the junk that I put on the mantle? And I realized, yes, that was what I was trying to do. I put up our mismatched holiday stockings next to the tree candles and started making new plans. Maybe we'll go for a walk and pick up some pinecones or branches. Maybe I'll get kidlet to paint a picture in holiday colors. Maybe none of these things will happen but that's ok. Whatever happens, happens. I can't force a good yule on my family. In fact, that's a mighty bad idea. You'd think I'd know better. A lesson (re)learned.

We did get our tree this weekend and hubby pulled out a box of ornaments that his mom had brought by. It was the instant nostalgia fix that I was looking for. Old elves and gnomes, baked dough ornaments painted by a small hand, hubby's first ornament...the tree looks great. The photo above is a little corner that kidlet had decorated. I tried but couldn't get decent pictures of kidlet's decorating style, which consists of about half a dozen star ornaments all dangling precariously from a single spindly branch. Hmmm, I just typed 'brandy', instead of 'branch'. Talk about instant holiday cheer...

Friday, November 24, 2006

Five Words--Holiday Addendum Edition

1. Parade--Ummm, not as good as remembered. The whole first hour was celebrity interviews with people I've never heard of (as we don't watch tv except for The Office, which we download from iTunes). Lots of Broadway show bits. By the time the parade really commenced, an hour later, I was over it.

2. Nutcracker--Oh boy. I decided this was going to be the year kidlet wanted to float about like a sugar plum fairy but I think I decided this about 2 years too early. We pop in the video, I'm bursting with excitement. Kidlet is rapt. Then the tree grows, mice appear, ominous music, the Nutcracker turned into a Macaulay Culkin with a beard...oh dear. "Turn it off! Turn it off! I'm scary!" Ok, that will be put away for a few years. Maybe I'll have to pick up a Muppet Christmas Carol to make up for it.

3. Stress--What is it about holidays that makes me stress out even though we weren't officially doing the giga-feasting thing yesterday? (That's coming tomorrow.) I was snappy on and off all day. It started when I strayed from my pancake breakfast tendencies to make salmon scrambled eggs with mashed potato cakes. Nothing was done at the same time, kidlet was whiny, dogs wanted in and out of the house...oy vey. I'll have to figure out what sets me off. Maybe it was all those tv celebs on the parade broadcast that got under my skin.

4. Pie--I made apple pie yesterday and I think I am getting closer to my pie goals. It wasn't pretty, as they suggested an egg wash which just made it look overdone, hence no photo. But I worked more with the crust recipe and I have some ideas in mind to make it work for me. The filling was pretty good, but could have been a wee bit better. I think by strawberry-rhubarb season, I'll have this down.

5. Nora--The sweet doggina in the photo. One thing I am definitely thankful for this holiday is that she's still kicking and doing well (knock wood). It's too dang cute when kidlet goes up to Nora, puts her arms around Nora's neck and coos "Nora, my sweet dog". Nora looks stoically ahead and never loses her temper with kidlet. Keep on, keepin' on my sweet dog.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

On Why I Dig Thanksgiving by Ani

The beginning...

Thanksgiving as a kid was fun, but it was merely a prelude to the Christmassy (and birthday)goodness to come. I remember watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade on T.V., wanting to be on a float or in a band, marching in the parade. The finale, when Santa comes down the street on the last float, had me glowing with excitement. Christmas! It's on its way! Holiday specials! Rudolph! Frosty! Charlie Brown! Going to the Nutcracker! You get the picture.

The Halcyon Days...

Once far removed from home, Thanksgiving didn't have much meaning. Or at least that's what I thought the first year we were in New Orleans. But every year after that first year, Thanksgiving grew in importance. It all changed when Hubby had to work and I went to a coworker's home for an "orphans'" Thanksgiving. I didn't expect much but I was gloriously suprised. Mark Bell, our host, made a turkey roulade, deboning the entire turkey, pounding it thin and then rolling up bacon and all sorts of herbs inside. Tons of food was consumed as was copious amounts of REALLY good wine. The memory of that evening is now behind a golden haze but I do remember emphatic discussions about gumbo making and tales from an Icelandic coworker who used to run around and drink homemade vodka with Bjork. Hubby came as soon as he finished working, snacked on what little was left and poured me into the car to take me home. Every year was a little different after this but Thanksgiving started to mean something more to me. I was blessed with a group of amazing friends who loved good food, fun and wine. It also didn't hurt that Thanksgiving was opening day at the New Orleans Fairgrounds racetrack. We'd go spend 20 bucks playing the ponies, watching the immaculately dressed professional bettors with their multicolored suits and pork pie hats. Oysters on the half shell. Beer. Then off to someone's home to eat and collapse in a sated heap.


Those wildly fun Thanksgivings are just happy memories now but the holiday's meaning remains. It's not just parades or food (wine). It's remembering what's good in life. I've sort of come full circle, now that I have kidlet to watch as she watches the parades and then creates her own path. Hope you have lots of good things to think about this feasting day.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Weekend in Review

It's a weird not having to race around, do homework, do housework and then just shoe-horn in the last few moments of the day for fun. This weekend, it was definitely the opposite approach. We went to a Christmas tree lighting (yes, before Thanksgiving...I don't know what to make of that either) with some friends of ours who then came up for dinner. Kidlet ushered the 1.25 year old into her bedroom and shut the door. Wild laughter erupted from her room and the adults got to relax a little too. Later, I heard mad giggling from the bathroom where the toilet was holding a flotilla of rubber ducks.

I didn't do as much crafty stuff as expected (I did manage to cast on one project) but I was a cooking fiend. I worked on my 'make a decent pie' goal and made a mediocre pumpkin pie from the last CSA pumpkin. I made a kickin' cranberry upside-down pumpkin cake. Yeeeoooow! I made pancakes (of course) and I also made carrot soup. I don't think the camera even came out 0f my bag this weekend but I'm looking forward to having Thursday off and playing with that Duaflex. I'd better start making my little tube connector for the digicam.

I still feel like I'm playing hooky and I'd better get it all in as fast as I can. You'd think I'd been working on a Master's thesis or something for all the hub bub I'm making. Sheesh. Oh well, I gotta celebrate the small victories so I keep my momentum up, right? Raise another glass...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Five Words: The Project Edition

Now that I have come out of my 'wow, I finished my class, now I'll raise a glass' haze, it's time to think about the good stuff...creativity! Projects!

1. Knitting--I am so dang ready! I've been seeing stuff I want to knit EVERYWHERE. I saw this in the latest Anthropologie catalog and am inspired. I have a blue bunny sitting in my head made of Rowan Soft Baby. Christmas gifts that still can't be talked about. Socks made of this. I'm hoping I can maybe cast on tonight but I've got some work stuff to take care of when I get home tonight and I really have to start making pie dough as I've got three pumpkins and a box of apples that need transforming.

2. Holiday Cards--I really want to make my own this year. I don't send too many out any more, which is sad because that means I've lost touch with a lot of folks. But on the other hand, that means I might be able to make cards since I only need to make 8 to 10! Seeing the good side of everything, eh? I drew up a little elf-y guy last week and last year (yes, last year) I doodled a reindeer in a necktie that I still like. I bought some blank cards at Ben Franklin last year for when Ruby painted our cards and glitterized everyone's homes but they just aren't the quality I'd like to have. Anyone have any good ideas for getting quality blank cards really fast?

3. Craft Fair--Last year was the first year that work did a holiday craft fair. I made baked goodies that flew out the door. I knew all year the craft fair was coming again and no, I didn't do any planning and now I guess I'm making baked goods again. Last year, I made three different types of brownies (super-choco, mint and peanut butter), Pinky's brown sugar fudge, and chocolate chip cookies. This year, I think I'm going to keep it down to chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter brownies (by special request of a fave coworker), super-choco brownies and a vegan treat (unknown at this point). I've never baked vegan but we do have some vegan folks here and I could tell they were bummed when they asked me last year if any of the treats were friendly for them. Hence the question...anyone out there know any good vegan cookie/treat recipes?

4. Decorations--OH I'M SO EXCITED FOR THE HOLIDAYS! I like to change up the look of the house. Right now, I'm planning the decorations for our little mantle. I think I'm going with a snowy frosty theme with silver, white and either pale blue or red (or both). I'm trying to pull together this stuff a little early, I know it's not even Thanksgiving, but I want to try my very best to keep the holiday as stress-free and relaxed as possible. So I will do all my 'hustle 'n bustle' now.

5. Inspiration--Started reading my Moomin book last night and Tove Jansson's drawings are so simple and beautiful. I need to start drawing a heck of a lot more often.

Ok, I thought blogger lost my post for a moment there so I'd better send it on its merry way. And have yourself a merry little weekend...see, I am in the holiday spirit.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Oh. My.
I can hardly believe it. The dent in my finger from writing as quickly as I could is the only evidence I have that I finished my class this morning. Umm, I think I slayed on the first half of the test, but the essay. Oh, the essay...I do believe I bombed that portion. But it is time to let that go. Till February when I start it all over again...bye bye!

The mail I received yesterday was just in time for the last day in class. I received my Kodak Duaflex camera so I can play at doing this. The camera is in rougher shape than advertised on ebay, but for my purposes, it should be fine. The Moomin book came too! Woo hoo! And the other stuff in the photo are just other goodies I'm looking forward to doing...knitting needles (of course) and learning a few 'easy' Christmas favorites for piano.

Still trying to clear my head of school and jump into the workday so that's it for now, my friends.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yes, those boots...

It was one of those mornings where kidlet takes her time doing everything. Brush teeth? Twice. Elaborate hairdo request? Yup. They are merely ponytails, but this is hard for the hair-impaired such as myself. I ask which shoes she'd like and the answer was "sneakers". We start to put them on. "I want to tie, Mama! Let me do it!" "Honey," (undercurrent of impatience starts to swell) "You need to let me do it. If we had more time, you could try. We. Have. To. Go. Now." Coats are debated over. "Yellow." No, it's too chilly for that one. "Pink." We start out the door. "BOOOOOOTS! I WANNA WEAR MY BOOTS!" "Honey. We. Have. To. Go. NOW." "BOOOOOTS..." The tears start. I snap at her, "We don't have time to go back. We are running late! NO." Full crying mode. We get in the car and drive. Between sniffles, she sings her new favorite sad song by Gonzo on the Muppet CD. My heart is broken.

I am a schmuck. How long would it have taken to change into boots? Mmm, maybe a minute. I can blame it on my lack of sleep last night, the stress of work and school but really, she's a two year old. Patience, Ani, patience! Please, throw overripe tomatoes at me and give me stern looks. Thank you.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Geeking Out

Still geeking out on the camera thing. I started thinking about going SLR but the weight and size (and crazy cost) of those things means I won't be carrying it with me all the time. So there we were, strolling about the computer store, daydreaming of gigantic iMacs, when I sauntered over to the cameras to see if they had the Nikon I had been considering. Well, I then ran across the Canon Powershot A640. Ok, game over. Canon, you win. I will now be saving my pennies for you. 10 megapixels, ton of control, not too big, crazy movable LED...all for the same price as the Nikon. No image stabilization but the ISOs make up (at least a little) for it. It gets rave reviews too. Ok, you may now return to your regularly scheduled Sunday afternoon fun. Mine is called, 'studying for test'.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Five Words

Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
Hip hip horray! It's Friday! Let's all do a bed jump in celebration...

1. Nora--Yes, that's the cute dog on the bed. She went to the vet this week to get routine bloodwork for her hip medicine and our beloved vet, said that Nora is doing well (Nora has cancer, for those who just tuned in). My hypochondria has expanded to my dog and this assuages it for at least 5 minutes. I sure do love that silly, sweet dog.

2. Thanksgiving (planning stage)--So excited. I really do love Thanksgiving. I'll save the stories for the actual day but right now it's planning. Lists! Recipes! I'll be making my super easy, super yummy cranberry sauce. I was tempted by another recipe but I think I'll just make that one just for fun, not for the holiday when everyone is expecting the usual. Last year , I made an amazing mushroom stuffing that will now be a feast staple. I think we will also be cubing some butternut squash, tossing it in olive oil, rosemary and sea salt and roasting it till tender. Hubby and I only eat seafood so I think we'll do some salmon and let someone else take care of the turkey. I made the turkey for the first time last year, and, well, it made me cry with anger. It told me it was done and then it wasn't. Delayed feast. Wine was imbibed. Mushroom stuffing was eaten and all was better.

3. Leaves--Must. Rake. Leaves. The trees are almost done with their drop which makes me sad. Now it will be bare trees for months. Time to get to work and sow the seeds for the summer flowers. Whew. Busy weekend ensues.

4. EARLY!--I hear we're closing up early today! Hubby and I may sneak out for sushi!!!!!! Woo hoo! Hope it all works out...

5. Bloggy friends--I really dig y'all. It's been so much fun seeing little bits of other people's lives, exchanging support and inspiration. Love it!

Hugs and cozy weekend fun to all!

Thursday, November 09, 2006


You'd think I was working toward PhD, the way I rant on about school. Nope. Just a little BA (heh heh) so I can then get a Masters as either an Archivist or in Library Sciences. Anyway...
I finished writing my paper for my class last night. Now it's just a test and then I have a break (YAY!!!) until I decide I'm ready for another online class. This class would have been long over had it not been for a 38 inch high imp. That's ok though. If I didn't try to work on school now, in five years I'd look back and say, "dang, I could have almost been done with school (and have a new career) by now". Keep on, keepin' on...

My head is full of ideas this morning. As soon as I get the photos scanned in, I'm going to do some 'long lost friends' posts in the hopes that maybe one of these folks will be googling themselves, find my post and then get in contact with me. I can always hope, eh?

Then I found a perfect oak leaf on my walk in to work this morning. I decided I'm going to clean off all the junk on my work desk and start a little seasonal display of stuff I collect from outside. It's an idea that was kind of sparked by The Children's Year (full of good ideas, this book is).

Ok, it's an uber-hectic day here so off I go. You can stop by flickr if you want any gory details of what is on my desk.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Road Ahead

the road ahead
Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
Almost there...almost there...

That's my mantra right now. I just need to finish writing this paper, take a test and then voila! I'll be done with the class. Whew...what a long, boring trip that's been. I'm hoping to sneak out of work early today to make the paper thing happen. BUT THAT WOULD BE AFTER I VOTE. Vote, my friends. Vote early, vote often (ok, I'm just kidding on the often part).

And then planning! List making! Crafting! Egg-nogging! Camera shopping! The hubby said that since I'm so interested in making photos that maybe I should upgrade. (Happy dance, happy dance). However, I have no money for upgrading at this moment. I'll do a little saving and see what happens. Right now, this looks like my new friend. I have a Nikon right now and have been really pleased with it. The jump from 3 to 8 megapixels and the image stabilization features would be awesome. Anyway, I've got time. My little camera has been doing pretty well.

Enough tech-y talk, I'd better get working if I want to skee-daddle a little early.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Five Words

1--Photos. Dang, I really really really want to start taking more photos. I was a photo major in college for a while (in between French, English, and now I'm a History major). I miss the weekends in the darkroom, the acrid smell of the chemistry, checking test strips and best of all ...the magic of getting the photo you were hoping for! I also love digital photography because by nature I'm impatient and hate waiting for a lab to send back (or destroy--but that's a horrible story) the results.

2--Slackin'. I've been slackin' on thie blog. I guess my mood hasn't been the best as of late and I don't feel like I would be 'planting positive seeds' by kvetching about it here.

3--Dancing. We've been reading Angelina Ballerina and now kidlet wants to be a dancer too (an aside: I don't dig the commercialness of the Angelina empire, but I do like the book). Luckily, we're hitting this interest at the perfect season. I just ordered Balanchine's Nutcracker on DVD. I can't wait to show it to kidlet! I loved going to see the Nutcracker with my parents way back when in Omaha. They had a pretty good production at the old Orpheum theater. The Christmas tree growing out of the stage...magic! I'll fall on the floor with glee when kidlet is old enough to see a real production.

4--Muffulettas, baby. Try this recipe. Really. This is the best sandwich in the world and I will be making a slew of them this weekend. This recipe is the closest I can find to the ol' Central Grocery flavor.

5--Stormy. LOVING the cloudy, rainy weather. I like my seasons to follow the traditional form. You know, autumn is for blustery cool days with rain. Round these parts, fall is usually just an extension of summer: sunny and warm. I like a cloudy week or two. Yes, indeed.

Enjoy your weekend, my friends. Hopefully, I won't fall into a quivering mass in the office on Monday due to my insanely busy weekend that I have up ahead of me. Must keep eye on the prize...muffulettas and beer (or wine, I love thee).

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Our pumpkins
Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
Yup, we actually did it. We managed to carve the pumpkin last night . Kidlet would have nothing to do with the pumpkin guts so I gave her a Sharpie and let her go to town with the little pumpkin. When I was done with the big knife (no blood was shed), I dropped the candle in the big pumpkin and...squeals of delight! Nothing can be better than showing a little kid something for the first time and hearing the glee in their voices and seeing the magic in their eyes.

There was some coaxing this morning to get her in their witch costume. It's a kind of cobbled together affair--a red fairy dress she got for Christmas last year, new, shiny purple witch hat, striped tights, red mary janes. Knowing how she is with costumey stuff (wear for 3 minutes, rip it off NOW!), I figured I didn't want to spend too much effort or cash. But she was happily swapping her witch hat for her buddy's bee antennae at daycare today so all is well.

Now on to the REAL holidays that I dig! Thanksgiving! My birthday! Christmas! New Year's! Anniversary! Woo hoo! Let the fun begin...

Monday, October 30, 2006

Heeeyyy Good Lookin'...

Whatcha got cookin'?

This weekend was all about the stove. Wish it was a lovely, old timey gas stove but it's a crummy electric stove with three tiny burners and one large infurno burner. I made a pancake breakfast (I don't call myself 'pancakemama' for nothing) for the in-laws. I made an amazing brown beer rye bread. I cooked up a gigantic batch of veggie chili. I just got an email from my co-worker saying he brought back a box of apples from the apple orchards which means more pie making is in my future. A BOX of apples. Oh dear. I guess I will be getting a work out on the 'attempting to make good pie dough' task on my life list. I hardly did any homework. I guess all the homey cooking was a reaction to my technological nightmare of a work week I experienced last week.

I didn't get that many good photos this weekend. I'll do the upload later from home for the ones I like.

We didn't carve our pumpkin yet. I'm hoping I can get out of work early enough to do it today. What a slacker Mom I am. Sheesh. My mom would have had me in a little smock, spooning out pumpkin guts on the kitchen floor about 1.5 weeks ago.

This week had better be all about homework for school (and pie, I guess). I'm so close to finishing this class. Almost there...almost there... then it'll be knitty mania for about 3 months before I start, yes, another freakin' class. All in my quest to "Find a profession that makes me say " this is it"" from life list task number 3.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Five Words

1--BUSY. I think this word could count for about 3 words this week. Ok, maybe that would be cheating a little, but, dang! I've been busy! This week ended up being a non-self-imposed bloggy break. Work has been making me uberstressed. At my job, the big wigs were in town and my usual support system has been out of the office all week (but, mercifully, in email contact). The kidlet has already been on an end-of-daylight-savings schedule the past few weeks. She won't go to sleep until 10-10:30 most nights. Which leaves me about a half hour to get us ready for the next day AND do my homework, before crawling exhausted into bed. At least the work thing will mellow out for about a month and then it will madness again. By then, I should be done with the class and kidlet will be sleeping the moment I lay her down at night. Right? Right? Anyone?

2--CREATIVE. I've been feeling the bug lately but sadly there hasn't been any time to actually do anything about it. Ever since I saw this from Nessie Noodle on Flickr, I've been thinking about printing up my own little version of fortunes to leave out and about. I've got the idea to draw up various animals in fancy clothes (suits, hats, fluffy collars, etc.) and print up fun fortunes, things to do, lucky colors and numbers on the reverse. I think I would actually print these up so I could leave them en masse. My hand drawn cards are still fun to do but I have a hard time leaving them--maybe because I only get a few done a week? Do I get attached to the images? Who knows. I've been wanting to knit but have resigned myself to making knitting the carrot on the end of the "finish your class" pole. I just don't have enough time to make it work right now. I really want to start doing more photos too. Pick up a duaflex for images like this and an old Polaroid...I can dream, eh?

3--MUSIC. I go through phases where all I listen to is NPR and assorted public radio stations via itunes radio. Then I burn out. I brush the dust off the ipod, charge it up and voila! Wow! I forgot I have music I like! It's fun to run the shuffle function. I had Captain Beefheart followed by Prince's "Lady Cabdriver" followed by Wilco. What radio station can do that for me? Stuff I haven't listened to in years pops up and I become nostalgic. The Police. Squeeze. The The. But the song I really wanted to write about today comes from the kidlet. We recently purchased "Muppet Show: Music Mayhem & More - 25th Anniversary Collection" because it's the only one we could find with music from The Muppet Movie. Every morning on our way to work (and daycare), kidlet requests "DOCTOR TEETH! DOCTOR TEETH!" which means she wants to hear "Can You Picture That?" She yells "Ohhh yeah! Whooo!" right along with Dr. Teeth. We both sing at the top of our lungs, totally out of tune but joyous. But the lyrics to this song are awesome. Here are a few selections...

Everybody's lover, everybody's brother, I wanna be your lifetime friend. Crazy as a rocket, nothin in my pocket, I keep it at the rainbow's end.I never think of money, I think of milk 'n honey, grinnin like a cheshire cat. I focus on the pleasure, somethin' I can treasure, can you picture that? Can you picture that?


Lost my heart in Texas, Northern lights affect us, I keep it underneath my hat, Aurora Borealis, shinin down on Dallas! Can you picture that? Can you picture that?

Kid's music? Ha! I think this has a little something for everyone.

4--Positivity. I finished, after savoring for a couple months, Thich Nhat Hanh's "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy & Liberation". There were so many ideas that need to soak in. I'm going to have to read it a dozen more times to even start to touch on these teachings. Anyway, the primary thing that I'm holding from this right now is how we all have seeds planted within us, both positive and negative. We need to water and care for the positive seeds and not to cultivate hate and negative emotions. I've got my watering can and hoe out.

5--Weekend. Oh my. Thank goodness you've arrived and I'm still in one piece. This weekend holds pumpkin carving and pancake Sunday. Mmm...probably some wine. I'd like to bake some bread too. Hopefully there will be a whole lot of homework and photo taking. Here's a photo from last night's bed jumping...well, maybe not. Blogger doesn't seem to be playing nice today. Maybe later.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Look what the cat dragged in...

I cannot resist the lure of your lovely images and silken words, oh Bloggy Pals. About all I didn't do during this little bloggy break was write. Although I can't even say that, as I was writing posts in my head all the time. I still spent time Flickring and reading all my fave blogs. Last Thursday was the only day I didn't touch the internet. It was rather refreshing but I was REALLY excited on Friday because I got to read two, TWO!, days of updates from my regular reads. I'm still not really sure what the heck I'm doing writing a blog but I guess I'll ride this wave until it is fun no longer.

What did I do while I was away aside from feeding my addiction to reading blogs and Flickr? Got my car fixed. Had to start over on the secret holiday knitting project about 5 times. Schoolwork. Housework. Cut all my hair off and it's not getting particularly good reviews. Oi! What is it about long(er) hair that stimulates other people's attachment to it? I wasn't particularly attatched to my (skinny, straggley) shoulder-length hair aside from the novelty factor that it was the longest I had had it in about 15 years. " cut. your. hair. Ummm, it's...nice?" has been the reaction at work today. I now have a very 20s stylee chin-length bob. I think it's cute. So there! Aren't my detractors lucky that I didn't do my fave Jean Seberg cut that I had when I was pregnant? Funny stuff (to me, anyway). Hmmm, that Jean Seberg 'do is starting to look might good again.

My first blogging day back and I rant about hair. Hold tight, my friends. I'll dish out some better stuff soon. Here's a pic of me and the kidlet walking in the desert to get us off this hairy post.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Five Words...brought to you by the letter B

1--Baking. Banana Bread with chocolate chips.

2--Bought. Couldn't resist. 2.5--Bad, Ani, Bad.

3--Backyard. We've just entered the time of year where the backyard starts to fall apart. I really need to get out there and work at creating some 'fall and winter interest' that doesn't consist of dried up leaves, overgrown roses and strewn-about toy gardening tools. Yes, I know the photo isn't in line but it does some bizarre stuff when I format it to be in the middle. Askew, we shall remain.

4--Book--Cannot wait for this to arrive in my mailbox. My love for everything Moomin continues...

5--Break. I think I need to force myself to take a bloggy break and refocus. My words aren't coming out the way I want. In my hurry to post, I'm not taking the time to do it properly and weigh all my thoughts before spewing them all over the internet. Hopefully we'll all come back to a better, stronger, faster (wait, I thought I was writing too fast) blog soon. Time to listen to the fall grasses rustle in the wind and to figure out what the heck it is that I'm doing with this blog business anyway.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wednesday's Blogging Sense of Purpose--gone!

Now that I don't have the CSA wrap-up to discuss on Wednesdays, I'm at a loss this week. I do have some ideas for future Wednesdays but it requires I actually get some scribbling and scanning done. Stay tuned.

Wish I could talk about my knitting but as I've entered secret holiday knitting mode, not much can be discussed. About all I can say is Rowan's Kidsilk Haze is a slippery little devil on my rosewood needles. Definitely not used to knitting this sort of thing. I have been coveting some sock yarns here and here. I can't wait to try socks again! I have worn the pair I made since I grouched about them, and they were really comfy. I felt little rays of pride emanating from my feet. Ummm, at least I hope that's what was emanating from my feet and not some odor.

Feel like I snotted out some brain power with the evil sickness last week. I feel so scattered and am having a hard time concentrating on anything. This, combined with hormonal angst, is making for a potent case of the blahs. I hope that I feel a little more together and positive soon.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I ain't all doom and gloom...

csa pumpkins
Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
We hit the pumpkin patch this weekend (although this photo is of CSA pumpkins from last week's veggie box run). Kidlet took her first spin on a pony and she cried and cried when it was over. "Where's my pony?" is a now a common question. It was fun and now the house looks very fall-like with our display of pumpkins and bizarre squashes (and cobwebs, those, however, were unintentional).

Tonight! BBQ Shrimp Po'Boys! Last week's episode of The Office! Snugglin'! Maybe even starting a new knitting project! Yippee!

The Dark Place

The world is a super creepy place; I just usually choose to whistle past that graveyard. I was doing the morning blog rundown and the first blog I hit, A Bird in the Hand, talked about her sister shutting down her extremely popular blog (littlebirds) due to some bad attention focused on her children. This issue has been one that I've considered quite a bit. How much of my life to share? Considering kidlet is a gigantic chunk of that life, how much of that do I dare reveal? Why do I feel compelled to share in the first place?

I started this blog as a place to meet new folks and share feelings that don't normally come out in regular conversation with the folks I already know. I've been having a lot of fun with it lately. However, in the past month or so, I've had a lot more traffic which is exhilarating to see. Fun!!! More folks are interested in my little corner of the world! But it's also a little nervewracking--what? these people actually want to know what I'm doing? I've been pretty stingy with the photos I post of the kidlet but I think I may just cut them out entirely now. I'll still talk about her, but it's going to be guarded. The blog shut down married with the recent terrifying school shootings in the news makes me so sad that I can barely even stand to think about it. I know these two things are entirely different in scale but it comes from the same dark place. My chest tightens, and I'll just keep whistling.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Five Words (Cards)

I've been leaving little cards that I doodle about town. It's fun. I have to be sneaky. I don't want someone thinking I'm shoplifiting as I dig into my bag and attempt to look nonchalant. I always hope someone who 'gets it' finds them, not someone who says "what the F^&* is this thing I have to clean up and throw away?" So for five words today, we've got five cards that soon will be dispersed...

I like this image. I did another one that said "Simplify" that was nice too. I really need to keep this one in my head though. I think I'm about to jump on the hormone rollercoaster and during this time I tend to make overblown statements like "Ruby has not had anything to eat in WEEKS. Please eat!!!" or "The house is so filthy and ramshackle that the only thing holding it together is the web of dog hair on the floor." Deep and out.

Hey, punkin'! This one is going to the pumpkin patch this weekend.

Ol' moony. I wish I could try to draw an old timey letterpress style-y moon like you would find on an old postcard from the 1910s but alas, I'm merely a scribbler. And may the moon and stars smile upon you this weekend.


This one is going atop the pears at the supermarket this weekend. Get it? (elbow to the ribs) Prickly PEAR...cactuses! Anyone? Anyone? Ok, I adore bad puns.


I love this image and probably won't give it away. Greedy me. Stars, sparkly snow, wooly hat, dreams. Sigh.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

CSA Season Wrap-Up

(Mosaic created with fd's Flickr Toys)

Here we are, the end of the growing season. I wish I could say I had used everything I received from the nice veggie box people but it is hard to come up with yummy recipes that don't take a lot of prep and/or cooking time with veggies you are either not real familiar with or aren't wild for (bitter stir fry greens, just for the record, I am not fond of you). If I didn't have a 9 - 5 job, I think I could have done a better job of utilizing my produce.

It was fun going to get our veggies at the vaguely commune-ish place on the river, Ruby singing songs and yelling her 'VEGGIE BOX' rallying cry. I love a surprise so I always liked peeking in the bag to see what the week's warmth had brought from the soil. I loved the smell of strawberries, then raspberries, wafting through the car on the hot summer evenings as I drove home.

I wish I had done a more careful job of taking my photos but again, difficult to do when you barrel into the house and the dogs are tap dancing and howling for dinner and the kidlet is yelling to watch a few cartoons with a bowl of carrots and cheese while I attempt to figure out what I can throw together for dinner in the next 12.5 minutes. Ahhh...evenings at home, but I digress.

Next year I won't be going the CSA route. I think Ruby will be tolerant enough to wander the farmer's market, where many of these farmers sell their produce. I'd rather pick out what I want and not be stuck with things I don't usually use like bitter stir fry greens. I like adventure in my cooking but I just don't have the time at this point in time. It wasn't the money saving option I had hoped for either. I still spent almost as much as usual at the store, and if you add in the veggie box subscription, it was even more costly. Nevertheless, it was extremely important for me to give my support to these hard-working local farmers who grow organic produce during their first CSA growing season. Three cheers for the veggie box and we'll be seeing you at the farmer's market next year...

CSA October 3

Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
The last veggie box of the season. Pie pumpkins {heart}, a winter squash, peppers, tomatoes and an assortment of potatoes. Look for a follow-up post shortly with the end of season wrap-up.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Sock Disaster of '06 or Learning to Let Go a Little

I seamed the toe of the final sock last night. I put them on and...hmmm, kinda itchy. A little baggy about the ankle (but they do stay up). Wait, what's this? Ugh! Mysterious dropped stitches. So the socks I've spent a bundle of time and money on are, well, less than stellar. They make my feet look even more gigantic than they already are. Oh well. I'm still going to wear them with a certain amount of pride when it gets chilly here in the next couple days. I was really disappointed at first but then, hey, it's the first pair. I've learned a lot. And I'm totally excited about making a whole sock wardrobe. However, it may take me a lifetime: 1 pair of socks per year at the current rate.

Now I'm about to embark on some other new knitty techniques that, of course, I've never tried before, and of course again, they are for Christmas presents. Brilliant! It's like my Mama always said, when she was a young new bride and it was her turn to do a family holiday meal, she'd be sure to make items she never made before with a multitude of complicated steps. Hopefully my gift recipients will be able to let go a little too and enjoy the effort.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Deep and Low

...that's my voice right now, deep and low. A little Garbo without the enchanting accent and after a bender of whisky and cigarettes. This weekend was filled with snot. And daggers shoved down our throats and noses. Not literally, but it sure felt like it.

But there an upside to being too sick think smarty scholastic thoughts...I FINISHED THE SOCKS! Ok, they are 99% done because I have to weave in the yarn ends. I just couldn't do it last night. AND I actually got to watch (part of) a movie while I was knitting! Geez! I have to get sick to have a real life. It's awful though, the whole time I was feeling really crappy, I'd sit, staring at the blinds thinking, "dang, those are really filthy. I must get up to clean those." And then looking past the filthy blinds out the window I'd think, "I'd better get out there right now and start trimming the bushes. This absolutely cannot wait another minute." And then I'd get up, fall into an abyss of snot, and then realize I couldn't do anything. I'm like a perpetual-motion machine, I cannot sit still. And despite this fact, I feel I get nothing done except my homework which I guess really does take up every extraneous minute I have. Ugh, it all spirals back to school, doesn't it?

At least my nose cleared up just enough to smell the rain last night. I'm loving the fallish weather we are going to be getting the next few days. Woo hoo!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Five Words

morning prism
Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.

1. Prisms--Every morning, Ruby and I make rainbows with a little prism that sits on my desk. I tried to get a photo but it's hard to get a good pic--something for me to strive for.

2. Sick--yes, we are. Snot, sore throats, sleeplessness...just in time for the weekend.

3. Flickr--can't say enough about Flickr right now, so dang addictive. I love looking at the photos that people post from all over the world. And I was most honored to find out I have two photos that have been 'favorited' by other members! Here's my latest fave


4. Saints--I'm a dork and love football. Even though I have to avert my eyes for every crappy sexist advert, I grew up watching football (go big red!) and it's in my blood. I was so dang excited to watch what little I got to see of the Saints win. Defense! They actually have DEFENSE. AMAZING. Ok, wipe that glazed look off your faces, y'all. On to the next word.

5.. Chocolate. Having a big chocolate craving right now and I should follow it because...I'm sick! Yes, chocolate will cure me. That and salt and vinegar chips.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

CSA September 26

Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
Butternut squash, multicolored beets, onions, tomatoes, a couple chilis, a bundle of little carrots, a watermelon. The season winds more week to go. I saw pie pumpkins and really wanted one but didn't see any mention of us being able to take one. Maybe next week...oh I hope. Love beets so those should go to good use as will the squash. I haven't tried the carrots yet--the last several loads have tasted either really bitter or stranger yet, soapy. I haven't used last weeks tomatillos yet, so maybe I'll throw them on the grill with the chilis and attempt a roasted salsa.

Just chugging away in the land of indian summer. I've been mentally taking pictures of things and am always surprised when I open up iphoto, thinking about posting some fall-esque scene and realizing...d'oh! I haven't been taking pictures in REALITYLAND. Ooops. I need to get to work on that. I've decided Thursdays and Fridays are my 'homework weekend' so I'm hoping to scan some images that I've been doodling to post (and maybe finish that sock).

I added a few new links in the sidebar. Just more tried and true blogs that I enjoy.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Post-weekend Wrap-up

Busy weekend (need I say that?) but good.

--I'm just a few rows away from doing toe decreases and finishing up those socks. Won't everyone be ecstatic to no longer hear about them? I know I will be. I bought some sock yarn from knitpicks this weekend for a pair that I can start next year, after all the holiday gift knitting. Colorway Rocky Mountain Dusk to remind me of the lovely mountain sunsets of childhood.

--Made pear/berry crip. So fallish, so yummy.

--Took kidlet to the library. I need to remember to make a list of books I want to try because I get there and spend my time with only one eye on the books. The other is on Ruby who is hiding in the stacks, jumping on cushy chairs and entreating me to take her to the water fountain again because "I bery thirsty". Any suggestions of fave kid books we need to investigate? She's only 2.5 so nothing too lengthy.

--Pancakes + football = good. But tonight is the game I truly care about. Pizza + Saints win = very happy me.

--Played in the park. Watched Ruby be shy with the girls younger than her but fearlessly follow the five year old over wobbly rocks.

--Got the kidlet her fall wardrobe which should fit for, mmm, 5.2 minutes? I'll keep my fingers crossed; she was a solid 3T all summer long so here's to hoping 4T makes it to at least January.

Never enough time spent with the hubs though. Dag nab it. I think we need to make a date. I miss my boo!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Five Words

1. Thinking do I really want to finish school? It's only about 7 more classes before I can finish up the BA degree and then...then what? Then I have to spend another couple years shelling out a ton of money, doing even more work for an online masters degree in library science or archivist. Do I want to spend the kidlet's wee years always tired, cranky and pressed for time? Or do I want to chance losing the credits I already have amassed over the years and have to start from scratch when I'm in my mid-40s? Oi.

2. Reading On The Road by Jack Kerouac for the first time. Can't believe I never read this before. I found it laying about the house and said, sure, why not? Well, I'm digging it! Yes! Yes! Yes! It's fun and light while still managing to make me think.

3. Imbibing spicy basil noodles with fried tofu for lunch (at Bangkok Thai) following with fancy tea and a chocolate chip cookie back at work (ho'made last night, the cookie, that is).

4. Purchased I shouldn't be making extraneous purchases but I'm not very good about that. I just ordered this print and these cards because I just can't get either one out of my head.

5. Weekend! Taking a homework break tonight and maybe watching an old movie while knitting and drinking wine. Taking the kidlet to the library for new bedtime reading. Very few plans and no 'should do' items. No trimming the crazed rosebushes or hedges, no painting the bedroom, no cleaning...must remember, NO!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

CSA September 19

Yup, the frosts have started hitting at night hence a light week. But potatoes!!! Tomatillos, tomatoes, raspberries (yay! still not sick of those), scallions, a small fennel bulb, some lettuce greens and a watermelon. Only two more weeks of the veggie box but they are promising winter squash and broccoli. Looking forward to pan frying up some taters tonight. The veggie box folks included a recipe for a tomatillo salsa which I will try since I am a bit of a tomatillo neophyte.

Fall is coming and I don't just mean the first actual day (this Saturday, for those keeping score). There's a patch of aspen trees that are high up the mountain, at the top of Hunter Creek Canyon, that I check on my way to work every morning. When September hits, I start checking my little grove. Yesterday, a yellowish blush overcame them. Today they are even a little more yellow. I've already decided that when they are all as yellow as the tomatoes in today's photo, I'm going to do a big dayhike up the canyon. I'll pack myself a super fantastic lunch, sketchbook, camera, tea, water and snacks (and maybe even a tiny glass of wine to go with the super fantastic lunch). I love hiking up that canyon but never really made it too far. I've never made it up to the lake up there but I have made it as far as a magical grove of cedar trees. It makes absolutely no sense at all as cedars aren't anywhere else around here (that I know of), just this fairytale/moomin grove. Now I'm questioning myself...are they really cedars, did I really see them or was it part of one of the stories I tell myself at night to fall asleep when I can't sleep? I digress.

Back to work and fall dreams.

Monday, September 18, 2006


peach pie
Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
Yes, Ruby and I attempted the pie-making Friday night. The dough was uber-crumbly and I resorted to rolling out little pieces and piecing them together in the pie plate. I finished it after Ruby went to bed. The next morning, Ruby was so excited! "Pie please! Can I have some pie?" I sliced off a chunk and...sour face followed by sad face. "I don't like it." I consoled her by telling her she'll like apple pie better. I sure hope. I remember not being super wild for pie when I was a kid either and now look! One of my all-time faves! But I'm still not crossing my piecrust wish off my life list yet. It was good, but not dreamy.

Twas a busy weekend. Much running about. Feeling like I'm coming down with something yet energized by the fall weather (and good wine, jambalaya, coffee, and pie). Last night, I had one of those perfect nights with Ruby (at least until it came to bedtime--she's on a nightmare kick). We played inside and out--making mini-croquet sets with playdoh, playing bank with her puppy stuffed animals, reading books. She ate her dinner (yay!!!). No fussing. Just beautiful cool evening on the patio, snuggling, looking at the dusky sky. Perfect.

In craftiness, I knitted about two rows. Whoop Whoop! Dang, when this class is over, I'll be a knitty fiend.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The excitement is's almost the weekend.

Really looking forward to this weekend. No real things that absolutely must be done (just the perpetual list of 'gee, you really should get this done'). I'm happy to spend time with Ruby and we've been discussing pie making. "POUND, Mama! We'll go POUND!" she says as she punches her fist into her little hand. Maybe I should have taught her the delicate arts of gentle folding in regards to pie crust instead of heavy-duty bread kneading. No matter. The peaches have been sitting here on my desk in my icy cold office just waiting to be tossed with brown sugar. At least the innards will be good.

And the weather! Can I say enough about this weather?! A cold front has swept through and it feels like fall, at least for a couple days. I feel energized and happy. A new season approaches and with it a new set of plans and ideas.

And because I can't step away from Flickr, a few Friday Flickr faves...

mini how lovely is this?
Souvenir from Poland - Jeremy in Space I can't believe I've never heard of this show. I guess it's in the public domain now so I should be able to check it out. It's about a bear (stop motion!) who has adventures.
blue egg she sure makes some lovely compositions
(untitled) and since it's the change of season, can you tell I'm thinking about a new haircut? Greg, I promise not to obsess out loud about my hair for the next 3 weeks until I decide to cut it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Life List

As mentioned in the previous post, Nina at wholeself made a list of things she'd like to accomplish in this lifetime. Well, being the afficianado of lists, I couldn't resist. So here we go in no particular order...

--Build a tiny house on a plot of land
--Make a quilt
--Find a profession that makes me say " this is it"
--Become fluent in another language
--Be more comfortable as myself
--Meditate, meditate
--Do a marathon
--Write a kid's book with my Mama
--Learn to relax by letting go of the small stuff
--Make a spankin' good pie crust
--Become a decent photographer
--Live in a small town
--Learn to play piano
--Make a stop motion film or viewmaster reels with critters and sets I create
--Start a local kid's lunch program ala Alice Waters or Jaime Oliver
--Drive an alternative fueled vehicle

I think that's quite a good start. Whew. I'd better get crackin' on it. Or wait, maybe I should relax.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

CSA September 12

Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
A nice end-of-summerish week. A cantelope, a watermelon, two raspberry flats, carrots, a couple peppers, 4 tomatoes, yellow wax beans, garlic, zuke, the last of the basil (sigh), a giga armenian cuke and chard. The veggie box folks included a recipe for a manicotti with chard that I think I might try this weekend. Also, my coworker has a peach tree that unloaded and now I've got peaches for a pie! Woo hoo! We've been reading Richard Scarry's Best Word Book Ever! (A LOT) and there are many pictures of pies surreptiously slipped betwixt its pages, beckoning, beckoning...make pie. I'm a terrible pie crust maker but if I don't try more often than once a year, I'll never get better.

Hopefully, I'll be able to get my 'life list' post in today or tomorrow ala the wholeself. I've loved thinking about this stuff! It's funny, I'll consider writing something down and then I think "Oh no, that's not life stuff. That's just stuff I should start doing." But am I doing it? Maybe I should add "learn to make a decent pie crust" on there.

Monday, September 11, 2006


Dang that was a busy weekend. Ruby insisted on being carried everywhere we went so my arms are now like Popeye after a spinach binge. It was a little trying at times but nevertheless, a good weekend. My favorite part is when we were watching balloons and Ruby would put her little hand on my back and say "You see the purple one, Mama? You see it?" as if I were the little kid and needed help spotting the balloons. Ahh, the cute things that kid says and does...

I haven't picked up anything crafty in a week. UGH. I'm just plugging away at that class, trying to get it done. I think I have to start getting up super early to get my classwork done. By the time kidlet goes to sleep at night, I'm ready to follow within about 20 minutes. Well, I take that craftiness comment back--I've been doodling at work while I get computers ready for employees. I've been working on a few new cards for leaving out in the big world. Since I recently got a fancy-pants scanner, I'll have to scan some up. And speaking of work, back to it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Balloons in my Backyard

The official end of summer used to mean the Greek Festival for me but with my Dad gone, my Mom and I can't bring ourselves to go. The Greek Festival was a hoot--ouzo, lots of music and learning to do the Greek dances, tons of food and buttery cookies to bring home. So now I look to other events to wrap up summer, aside from the usual cooling trends and leaf color changes. A new(er) annual event for us is the balloon races. I make a ton of chocolate chip cookies and we head out at the crack of dawn to watch the mass ascension. They have a solid four days of balloonacy (I couldn't resist). Ruby and I will be baking fiends as soon as she's up from her nap. (And yes, I just realized I talked about this a couple of posts back)

We've had quite the day so far: some balloon watching in the morning and then up to the lake for a swim and lunch with my Mama. It feels like the bittersweet end of vacation--I won't be needing to take 'daycare days' off anymore since she'll be back to it next week so I'm trying to make the most of it. Have a nice weekend basking in the late summer sun and dreaming of falling leaves and cocoa. Sounds cheesy but good, eh?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

CSA September 5

Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
Look at dem' tomatoes! Jalapeno, a ton of corn, a HUGE bundle of basil, a little herb pack of thyme/sage/oregano, zukes and patty pan squash, raspberries, baby beets, beans (hopefully less bitter than last week), and one of my faves...arugula. I love sage and brown butter pasta (with some sort of protein thrown in). I'm already looking at maybe baking up some pesto foccacia and a tomato soup today. And making a ton of pesto to freeze. I needs me a food processor. I can't really let all that basil go to waste so I'd better get a big food processor, right? Can you tell I'm trying looking for some enablement? Anyway, it's a day off with Ruby and she loves to cook.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


Well, I spent about an hour yesterday crafting up a post that had to do with my thoughts on Burning Man with lots of photos but it all just made me feel icky so I deleted it. It was about how I had felt like a fraud amongst all the hip kids at that big arts festival in the desert. But I must admit, it did make me do some thinking, some yucky, some good. In the end I came up with the conclusion: I am a good egg.

So now here we are at work and now I can't post any of the nice photos I took this weekend. Maybe tomorrow for that.

Everything is hustle and bustle for me right now. I am having the 'changing of the seasons, must change everything' angst. I'm always so excited about the change of seasons. I love 'em all.

This next weekend will be the big balloon races , which is woo-hoo-fun. We had our first balloon flying up over the house this morning. I can't wait to make the traditional Dawn Patrol Chocolate Chip Cookies for the early morning trek down to the park to watch all the balloons lift off. Ruby talked about it for months afterwards last year so this year should be a hoot.

Ok, better get working. Things are crazy round this joint...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Smooth Sailing

The test wasn't so bad. I studied really hard and I think aced the first half, but the essay portion, well, I ran out of steam. That's ok. I've got a solid 'B' in this class. So solid I can't even budge it to the 'A' range, which would be my usual obsession. But at this point, I just want to get through the remaining 15 lessons (of which I already have 4 stockpiled) and then knit, knit, knit. Maybe I'll knit for a semester. Come up with projects and due dates...I'm a nut.

Ok, more exciting posts later. Ruby wants to sleep in a tent so we may have our first camping the backyard.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Studying. For. Test. Hard.

In less than 24 hours, I will be a happy chickita. I will watch a movie, knit and drink wine-- guilt-free, tomorrow night. I take my midterm tomorrow morning. Yes, midterm. I'm officially only half finished with the bane of my existence. Not true, I actually worked ahead while doing test-avoidance. I will be 2/3 done as of tomorrow. I will do a happy dance and you can yawn and take a nap since this post is sleep-inducing.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

CSA August 29

Kidlet is still sleeping. Me? Ha! Never!!!! She even calls our bedroom "Daddy's room" because she doesn't know that I sleep. Anyway...while she sleeps, I post with big mug of tea nearby.

A bundle of basil (never get tired of that), a few tomatoes, a big bunch of assorted varieties of beets, itty bitty fuzzy peaches, zukes and cuke, raspberries (yum), two cantaloupes, green beans, a few carrots and an onion. I've got a couple of little baggies of pesto in the freezer right now. I'll have to try and eke out another batch with this, ahem, maddeningly useless blender. I've still got a ton o' tomatoes from Mama and these CSA tomatoes are a pale comparison to what Mama makes. But raspberries! Yay! And peaches! I had some of the beans last night--some were very very tough. We'll see how many get used. I'll have to look up a nice beet salad because they look so lovely and jewel-like. I long for the days when Ruby was 1 and loved beets. Now she loves milk. That is all. Choco Milk. Milk. Maybe a little cereal in it. BUT THAT'S ALL. Or maybe she just doesn't like my cooking. We go out to eat and she'll eat a giant pancake (ok, she eats my pancakes or else I couldn't call myself pancakemama), bacon, eggs, toast...time for breakfast.

Monday, August 28, 2006


No, that isn't an acronym for a personal ad, that's 'stay at home mama' for those not in the know. I got to play SAHM the past week for a couple of days, and boy, I've missed my calling. I love to make little lunches and do projects (like clean the garage) with the little kidlet. Going out and about running our errands. Taking a day to go to the lake and bask in the sun with my Mama and the little 'un. And I get to do it again this week for 3 days. This time we are going to finish painting the bathroom. A little project that I started on Memorial Day that still won't be finished by Labor Day, as I have to strip the vanity since my impatience during the drying process between coats led to bubbliness of paint. Oh well. The purple wasn't floating my boat anyway. Still getting nowhere as far as craftiness is concerned. Well, I take that back. I cleaned out my craft closet. Although you can't really call it a craft closet entirely as it houses the dogs' food too. It's just a couple of shelves piled high (but now neatly stacked) of yarns, fabric, and bits and bobs. I happily threw some junk away that I've been lugging around since New Orleans--cheap plastic beads made to look like semi-precious stone, Fimo dough beads that have since sealed the drawers shut of a little organizer, said organizer with stuck drawers, old tea towels with prints that were REALLY stained. The junk I keep in the hopes of doing something cool 'someday'...oy vey. As if I didn't already have a ton of 40's and 50's tablecloths that are only lightly spotted that I can use. "Hey, I'll use this extremely dingy and faded tea towel with a vinegar bottle on it! Awesome!" Now if I were a SAHM, maybe I'd have the time to make a funny patch out of the dingy tea towel. Hmmm.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

CSA August 22

Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
A nice week. Raspberries, a ton of basil , a wee bit of lemon basil, watermelon, two cantelopes, chard, zukes, cukes cippolini onions, and endive. I think I need to make a ton more of the pesto to freeze. I also think I'm going to make torta--a baked eggy/rice/chard/cheese bar with the eggs I bought from the veggie folks and the chard.

Looking forward to two days off with Ruby! Yippee! Well, it isn't 100% exciting because we are cleaning the garage today. Bleh. But I think the kidlet will have fun rummaging around in the Burning Man boxes that have odd and flashy clothing and my mini Fisher Price toy collection that she doesn't know about.

Yes, it's arrived and I won't be attending. Burning Man, how I miss ya. If I get a scanner in the next few days, I'll do some nostalgic scanning.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Just swingin' (and sorta sewing)

Daddy and Ruby at the Park
Originally uploaded by Pancakemama.
The Hubs and Ruby at the park. Weekend was pretty good.

Mama and I checked out my little sewing machine. My camera's batteries were dead so I couldn't get pictures of our little sew session. It was a little rough. I started to get real antsy and nervous about sewing. I decided I will be working on some curtains for Ruby's room from fabric purchased BEFORE SHE WAS BORN. Yeah, procrastination sometimes is in my nature. Of course there wasn't enough fabric so we needed to hit the store again to get more. We found something that will work for the rod pocket and the bottom. So next week, we'll finally be sewing some long, straightish seams to get me in the sewing groove. Then I think we'll be working on the quilt instead of the little wee bunny since there's a lot of curves on the bunny pattern and anything more than straight (with room for error) frightens me greatly.

Man, knitting is so much easier. Two sticks and some string. Easy! Ok, if you had asked me four years ago, I would have said something different. After dipping my toes in the realm of socks, I feel confident enought to conquer anything. Ok, anything but fair isle and intarsia. Gotta leave something to conquer in the future.

Well, it's Hubby's first day at school for his master's program. Think lots of good thoughts for him since he's concerned his school is going to go under. I say it won't because no one throws that much money into a project (the school) and abandons it. So there. I sure am going to miss seeing him all the time though. Dang ol' school.