Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas, Round Two

Here in Phoenix, it was 77 degrees today. On Christmas. We celebrated by getting out of bed at 6:15 a.m. (MST). Santa had indeed visited. We tracked his movements on Christmas Eve via NORAD. Big Fun. He brought The Cousins both guitars (what a musical family!) and for Son, some new Legos. For Son, the highlight was the Playmobil Castle with knights, horses and dragons from the parents and grandparents. For me, an iPod shuffle from MiddleBrow, proving that he is, in fact, the best husband in the universe.
MiddleBrow and Dr. Write spent more than an hour (combined time) assembling said Castle. While it is not technically required to have a PhD in order to assemble German toy products, it certainly doesn't hurt. We appreciated the little accessories, including faux wooden tables and beer steins. Gotta love those Germans.
After naps and showers, we enjoyed a casual dinner of beef, ham, potatoes of many kinds, jello, and assorted veggies. TV viewing was split between animals (bears?) playing football and the dog show. Then, of course, more alcoholic beverages, desserts, cookies, and games.
I beat my four-year-old niece and my sister at Trouble! (yes!) and then my mom defeated my sister and me at TriBond. My mom also won Marry, Date or Dump. She must be cheating.
I also received a Napoleon Dynamite talking pen (it says many things, including "Freaking idiots!") and the DVD. I wonder, will they eventually sell "Way of the Puck" paraphanelia at Target?
So far I have exercised one day at my sister and mom's resort-like health club. And gone for a walk. But each day I have taken some time to sit in the sun and drink beer. Did I mention my mother has somehow gotten me addicted to sudoku? More on that later. Many cookies to eat. Must be off.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Snowshoes, Snow, Grandpa: Must be Christmas

After opening his snowshoes Saturday night, Son, Grandfather and I went "snowshoing" on Sunday, just after the snowing began. We got in a good, brief walk. Enough to allow us to go home and drink hot chocolate, eat cookies, and put our pajamas on. That's what the season is all about.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Christmas, Round One

My father and his wife came down this weekend for Christmas. As soon as they arrived, Son decided it was time to open presents. He received snowshoes, penguins, and books. Hooray! I received some cotton pajamas, and a crossword puzzle game (electronic). It was instantly addictive, and reminded me of being a kid and receiving something you didn't even know you wanted until you got it. I have solved three or four puzzles so far. I'm looking forward to utilizing it on the long drive down to Phoenix for Christmas, round two.
For our dinner, I made Beef Tenderloin (marinated in wine, etc. per my sister's recipe!), roasted vegetables, (a la Barefoot Contessa) and Caesar Salad (thanks Surreal Gourmet!) with the Mionetto novello '05 (an alternative to the Bojelau Nouveau) (sorry , of course I can't spell). So you see I would be sunk without my friends at the Wine Store and those who write cook books.
Middlebrow returned home today after a brief foray to the rainy and cold Northwest.
I finally bought Son a Christmas Stocking. Mine, of course, was knit by my mother when I was a child. It's red and has my name on it. Son's is red and white striped and and was knit by displaced persons in Bosnia. But I think the money I paid contributes to upgrading their standard of living. Otherwise why would they have the tag with the woman's name?
I will post again from Christmas, Round Two, down south. The plan, so far, includes viewing "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" with the cousins, girls night out (which will involve Cosmos, no doubt), making Chex Mix, the dip of my childhood (cottage cheese, garlic salt, cream cheese and red wine vinegar). All of a sudden I'm craving the caramel corn my mother used to make for every birthday sleep over, made with something called "burnt sugar" flavoring. Maybe I can talk my mom into it. Also, there will be much movie viewing on the new huge flat screen tv.
I'll let you know.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Birthday Outing Part Two & Motherhood Redemption

First things first: the dinner at Martine was a sublime experience, reminding me why people spend obscene amounts of money dining out. We began with two tapas: the roasted Chanterelle mushrooms and the Lobster ragout in saffron sauce with a polenta corn cake. I preferred the lobster. It must have been the pound of butter in the saffron sauce. We had the Sangria with this course. Then we had salad and Pinot Noir. I ordered the Beef Tenderloin with the Blue Mash and roasted vegetables. Middlebrow had the Lamb Tenderloin with some kind of pasta. Again, sublime. Then we shared the Chocolate Decadence and each had a glass of Porto. Sorry no pictures. We were caught up in the moment. Then we rented two discs of "Monk," picked up Son and went home.

I also managed to redeem myself from Bad Mother Purgatory by baking peanut butter/cornflake/chocolate bars on Saturday and Chocolate Chunk cookies on Sunday. The former I froze (most of) to take to Phoenix for Christmas. The latter are for general consumption, which Middlebrow is doing his part to expedite.

Right now, I am collecting final projects from my 1010 class. They seem in good spirits. They ask me for 2010 recommendations. Of course, I recommend High Touch Megastore, Middlebrow, and other faculty members.

Happy grading to all!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Birthday Outing, Part One

Last night I went to Tsunami in Sugarhouse with the girls (and Burger, in town only to defend his dissertation, so we allowed him to be an honorary girl for the night, which only got weird when he wanted to girl watch at Fats Grill).
The evening actually started at Otterbutt's house, with red wine and baby adoration. Then we went to Tsunami where we stood for half-an-hour and drank Plum Fizzes (no one but me seemed to adore this drink). Then we had an expensive bottle of Zinfandel and got a table. During our wait, Dr. Burger showed up.
Tsunami has the best sushi in town. And the best miso soup! Our favorite rolls of the evening were Jenny (crab, avacado, salmon, with thin lemon slices), TNT (I think it was some kind of spicy tuna), DHT (I have no idea what that stands for, but the entire roll was tempura-ed. Yum!). My friend Andie ordered deep-fried Green Tea Ice Cream (also super Yum!). We had more wine in there somewhere, and were joined by two more friends. We closed the place.
Then Dr. Burger, Sylvia, and I went to Fats Grill where Sylvia flirted with boring men and Dr. Burger tried to enlist me in some girl watching, Dr. B demonstrating an obvious preference for the big busted. Then we played pool (we were all terrible, Dr. Burger being slightly less terrible than Sylvia and me). After midnight the bartender wished me happy birthday.
This morning Middlebrow and I opened our gifts. I got slippers, which I had been proclaiming loudly that I needed in our drafty, cold house. I got him a Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (that's the name of the band) CD. Son wanted to get him the Star Wars soundtrack, but as the mother, I got my way.
Looking forward to another blog-worthy meal at Martine this evening. We purchased a digital camera today, so we may have pictures tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Another Significant Failure in My Career as a Mother

Last night, as I was "making cookies" with Son, Middlebrow chastised me for my frequent cries of frustration. The sugar cookie dough (recipe from Sunset magazine) was dry and crumbly. What resulted was: Gingerbread Man de Milo, trunkless elephants, Christmas trees as thick as magazines. But Son enjoyed "frosting" them (dabbing frosting on various parts of the cookie, attempting to lick the frosting off of the cookie and his fingers at the same time, fingerfrosting the cookies, etc.) and eating them. At least I had the good sense to buy the frosting.
I will just chalk this up to the latest of my failures as a mother. Why didn't I just do what I did last year and buy the cookie dough AND the frosting? Why do I try? I should just give in and, like the heroine of I Don't Know How She Does It, learn how to fake my baked goods.
As Middlebrow acknowledged last night, it's going to take a lot of alcohol and coffee to make it through the end of the semester.
Viva el vino!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Indie Films: The Mediocre

I watched You, Me and Everyone We Know this week. It represented, to me, what is worst about indie films, though I do love them. It was arty in a very self-conscious way: gratuitous shots of leaves or the sun, the whole scene with the goldfish on top of the car. It had no arc, and I mean no arc. The pacing was slow, painful in some parts. And there were whole story lines (the teenage girls and the blowjob, for example) that I just did not understand in the context of the film as a whole.
That said, I did like aspects of it. The characters were great. I especially liked the little boy and his explanation of the chore wheel. "There's a metal thing and it helps. With the turning." The movie was a bit disturbing, as a whole, on the idea of children being unsupervised and doing wildly inappropriate things (meeting adult women in chat rooms for example).
I want to love indie film. And every so often there are some great ones (Roger, Dodger; Pieces of April; others I am blanking on right now), but why, in general, do indie films feel they are exempt from the basic ideas of storytelling?
Arc! I want arc dammit!