Friday, January 30, 2009

Colbert On Poetry

For last weeks Poetry Friday edition I posted Elizabeth Alexander's inaugural poem Praise Song for the Day. It got mixed reviews. You guys were much nicer in the comments than some of the stuff I've been reading around the web. "Poetry died on January 20, 2009" and "she sounded like the GPS in my car and about as interesting." Yikes! She made an appearance on The Colbert Report where she explained a little more about her poem and why it wasn't so robust.

And I think if Stephen Colbert had taught my Intro to Modern Poetry class in college, I wouldn't have fallen asleep in class so much!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Chicken Tacos

In an effort to keep my husband, WD, from setting up residence at any of the numerous taco trucks around town, I decided to venture away from the Old El Paso taco kits that I usually buy and make my own chicken tacos. The corn tortillas and toppings were a no brainer--the simpler, the better. Just a little onion, some monterey jack cheese, sliced avocado and a little cilantro. But I needed a recipe for some really flavorful chicken.

After searching around online I found the perfect recipe for shredded chicken at For the Love of Cooking. Pam has such great recipes including one for Roasted Tomato and Basil Soup that I'd love to try. And if you're looking for cookie recipes, she has many of those to choose from too, and they all look delicious. I'm so glad I found her blog. Now, I just need to find a recipe for Tacos al Pastor and WD can break his addiction to taco trucks for good!

Shredded Chicken (from For the Love of Cooking)

3-4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 cups chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 TBS onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and boil for 20 minutes (or longer--I've let it boil for an hour before which I blame on Twilight). Shred chicken with 2 forks after they've cooled.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Soccer Revisited

A couple of weeks ago, the fabulous Keri at It Flickers Dimly, tagged me for a photo meme. It's the one where I'm supposed to choose the 4th picture from my 4th folder on my computer and post it. Well, this is the 4th picture from the bottom 4th folder (here's the one from the top). I know I'm changing it up a bit but I still wanted to play because I really like this picture.

It's a pic of Big pup, my 6 year old, at soccer practice. I took it back in September when the weather was perfect. None of this ice that we're having today.

Looking at this picture reminds me of how much fun soccer practices/games were. Right now, "we" just signed up for tiger cub scouts and after only 2 meetings I'm about to lose my mind. I don't like it. I'm not crazy about the discriminatory aspects of the organization. I'm really not crazy about the possibility that I'll have to serve as secretary or treasurer or leader or something like that. And if I end up getting one of those positions, I'm fully prepared to tell the internet about their secret handshake.

Right now, sitting in my lawn chair out in the sun, watching a bunch of kids kick a ball around sounds pretty good.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, January 26, 2009

Second Chances

Get ready, Putz, here it comes!

Scientists say that Venus used to be very similar to Earth. But then something happened to the atmosphere. And now conditions there cannot support life. Hmmm...

What if Venus was the first "Earth?" What if millions of years ago things were being played out there like they are here today? What if the people of Venus didn't take care of their planet and eventually, their excess and apathetic ways caused the planet to heat up to what it is now, almost 900 degrees F?

But the temperature change was not sudden. Let's say that gradually, as Venus' temperature rose, some humans began to die out as others began to evolve in order to adapt to the changing atmosphere. Their bodies changed in order for them to survive 200 mph winds, the lack of water, the heat, and high atmospheric pressure. After thousands and thousands of years, these "aliens" continue to learn and create and explore beyond their planet.

And I believe they are at that point in their technology where they are trying to communicate with us by making frequent trips to Earth. I also believe that our government has known this for years. I think that in us, these beings recognize their past and while they might be trying to learn more about their own origins through us, they may also be trying to warn us of our future here on Earth.

Whew! I'm glad I got that off my chest!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, January 23, 2009

Take Out Your Pencils

Okay. So...yeah. The Inaugural Poem. I don't know. It was okay. Good but not great. And it certainly didn't help that Elizabeth Alexander followed the President and his own speech. How do you top that? I think people were expecting a rousing, moving, rhythmic poem and instead got a quiet, cerebral poem that starts off promising but ends talking about, gulp, love. Love? In an inaugural poem?

The general concensus on the internet is that this is the worst poem in the history of the universe, but what do you think? Do you think she did okay or do you think that even Nicholas Sparks could have come up with something better than this?

Praise Song for the Day by Elizabeth Alexander

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Geithner Shmeithner

A couple of months ago, Merriam-Webster announced its Word of the Year for 2008. The winner? Bailout.

Sure, it may not be as exciting as "w00t" (from 2007) or as funny as "truthiness" (from 2006) but "bailout" has its benefits. At least for me it does.

You see, I'm a huge fan of NPR. Last year, when they weren't talking about presidential candidates and the election, they were talking about bailouts. And when they do a story on a government bailout, it usually involves an interview with the Secretary of the Treasury. And I have a big audio crush on Henry Paulson. I've never seen him but I have heard him many, many times while driving Big pup to school each morning. But don't ever ask me what he's talking about. I tend to get lost in that low, gravelly voice of his. So if he doesn't look anything like Kevin Costner, I don't want to know, okay?

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Rock

When we bought the land to build our house on back in 2006, it was a jungle. It was only when we cleared it off that we discovered a huge rock jutting out over the creek.

While our house was under construction, we would pick up something to eat, check on the progess of the house, then head to the rock for a picnic. When we lived in the suburbs, we would drive 2 hours to enjoy a view like this.
And now it's just a short walk from our back door. And whenever I'm out on the rock looking over the water, all of the stress that goes along with everyday life just disappears. It's like a mini vacation--without the stress of traveling, packing, and planning for a vacation.

I hope I never get used to it.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, January 19, 2009


It's the Honest Scrap award! I got this award from 2 wonderful bloggers: Keri at It Flickers Dimly and Michelle at There Must Be More To Life Than Dishes And Laundry. Thanks! I'm supposed to list 10 honest scraps of info about myself. Well, so far I'm up to 18 on my "about me" page and here's 10 more.

1. While driving, I'm often struck by how many white vehicles there are out there. Is that weird? Don't answer that!

2. Yesterday at a baby shower (Hi Elaine!), I was mistaken for the guest of honor who is almost 8 months pregnant. That's not good. I guess I need to get back on the treadmill, huh?

3. In high school I was voted most quiet and most studious. If that doesn't say nerd, I don't know what does.

4. Also in high school, I donated blood one day and 2 hours later I passed out in human physiology class. It was the first and last time I gave blood.

5. In the late '90s I was a huge wrestling fan and went to see a WCW show in Little Rock.

6. I don't understand how "Jack" is a nickname for "John."

7. I used to collect Barbie Dolls.

8. I haven't had a panic attack since October of 2007! The closest I have come since then was when traffic was backed up and I was stuck on an overpass. I could feel it move. And then my heart rate shot up and I had an overwhelming sense of dread. But that was it. It just fizzled out. I have no idea why but I'm glad those days seem to be over.

9. No matter how cold it is, I have to sleep with the ceiling fan on.

10. When I was in my early 20's I was kind of a fuddy duddy. I was very conservative and idealistic but as I've gotten older I've become much more liberal. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go around and what an interesting world it is when we're not all the same.

But wait! I have one more! This is from my good buddy Kat at Sassy Irish Lassie. It's the Premio Dardos award which acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day. That's not something a fuddy duddy would do is it? Because it's no fun being a fuddy duddy. Thanks Kat!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, January 16, 2009

Back In The Limelight

The Presidential Inauguration is just a few days away. Keep your eyes and ears open for a rarity: The Inauguration Poet.

There has only been 3 poets who have had the honor of reading at the swearing-in ceremony. First, there was Robert Frost (for JFK in 1961), then Maya Angelou (for Bill Clinton in 1993) and Miller Williams (for Bill Clinton in 1997). And now you can add Elizabeth Alexander to that list.

A Yale professor and friend of the Obamas, she has said that "writing an occasional poem has to attend to the moment itself, but what you hope for, as an artist, is to create something that has integrity and life that goes beyond the moment" (from The New York Times). I can't wait to hear what she comes up with! And she has promised to be brief--that's my kind of poem!

Ars Poetica #100: I Believe by Elizabeth Alexander

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Michelle Obama's Shortbread Cookies

Ever since the first Presidential Cookie Bake-Off in 1992, the winner of the bake-off has gone on to win the election. There was Hillary Clinton (with my favorite chocolate chip cookies) in '92 and '96. Then Laura Bush in '00 and '04. But 2008 was different. Cindy McCain won the contest with her recipe for Oatmeal Butterscotch cookies but she didn't make it to the White House. That honor went to the Obamas. And personally, I think Michelle should have won the bake-off, too. Her shortbread cookies are dense, full of citrusy flavor, and perfect with a cup of hot tea.

Michelle Obama's Shortbread Cookies (Bake-Off results are here)

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (of course, I used salted butter)
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbs sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tbs Amaretto (I used 1 tsp almond extract)
1 tsp each orange and lemon zest
3 cups cake flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 beaten egg white
chopped nuts or dried fruit, optional (I used chopped pecans)

1. Heat oven to 325°F. Line a 17 x 12 x 1-inch baking pan with nonstick foil. In large bowl, cream together butter and 1-1/2 cups of the sugar.
2. Slowly add egg yolks, and beat well until smooth. Beat in Amaretto and zest.
3. Stir in flour and salt until combined.
4. Spread dough evenly into prepared pan, flattening as smoothly as possible.
5. Brush top of dough with egg white; sprinkle with nuts or fruit (if using) and with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
6. Bake at 325°F for 25 minutes or until brown, turn off oven and allow cookies to sit in oven (with door ajar) for 15 minutes. Cut while slightly warm.

VERDICT: Yum! My mom liked them so much that she made a batch for herself earlier this week. The dough is kind of thick, you won't think that you'll be able to spread it all out in a 17 x 12 pan, but it can happen. The original recipe says that it makes 6 dozen cookies. No way it makes that many. I got around 2 dozen, as did my mom.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Heeeerrrrre Birdie, Birdie

This is a familiar sight in my backyard. This is how my bird feeder looked all last year. Empty. Since the economy was so bad, even the birds felt the effects of the recession. No fast food for them. Instead, they had to rely on their natural instincts for food. Poor birds. But then along came 2009--a new year, a year of hope, a year of change, a year where the month of January has 3 paychecks instead of the usual 2. So I filled the bird feeder and waited. And waited. And waited.

But no birds came to the feeder. Hmmm....I wonder why.


Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, January 12, 2009

Can't Trust That Day

It's Monday. Two down and 50 to go. It's also the beginning of Armageddon Week on the History Channel. A doom and gloom week filled with all kinds of different ways humans could die at the hands of nature and the universe. Those shows always send me into a panic mode where I must have chickens! goats! immediately! And I start planning on converting one of the bedrooms into a pantry full of canned goods. But then I watch The Office and 30 Rock and I'm all Imminent Ice Age? What Imminent Ice Age?

But I have good news! A bright spot in my day! Two of my favorite bloggers have awarded me the Lemonade Award for showing great attitude and/or gratitude. Many, many thanks to Kat from SassyIrishLassie who has an excellent photo definition for the word "hope" and a big thank you to Jen from Another Online Mom who is posting everyday this month about tried and true beauty products and tips. Thank you both!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, January 9, 2009

Believe It Or Not

I know, I've already posted this picture of my mom last year when I told the internet that she accidentally brushed her teeth with hemorrhoid cream, but I love looking at old pictures. I like to imagine what life was like for her back then with 3 brothers, and later, only 2. I also wonder how they fit a family of 6 in that car AND in that house--which is now used for storage.

And since her 61st birthday this year falls on Poetry Friday, I've promised not to tell any embarrassing stories this time. Instead, here's a lovely poem by J. Lorraine Brown called Tintype on the Pond ,1925. Happy Birthday Momma!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Honey Chicken Stir-Fry

The Year of the Ox is upon us (January 26) so I decided to share the only Asian inspired dish I know how to make. It's sweet, savory, spicy, nutty, satisfying, and super easy.

Did you know I'm an Ox? Yep. I am. If you were born in 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, or 1997 you are an Ox too. We are patient, speak little, and inspire confidence in others. We also bring great sorrow and ruin to those who cross us. So you might want to think twice about cutting me off in traffic. Just sayin'.

Honey Chicken Stir-Fry

2-3 chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
1 bunch broccoli
2 TBS honey
1/4 cup stir-fry sauce
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cashews, divided use
1 box (13.25 oz) whole wheat angel hair pasta

Cut up broccoli--just the florets--and put in a microwave safe bowl. Add 1/4 cup water, cover, and nuke for 6 minutes; drain.
Cook chicken in a skillet over medium heat until done. Add stir-fry sauce, water, honey, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil then add broccoli and 1/4 cup cashews. Stir together then serve over cooked pasta. Top with remaining cashews. Enjoy!

Oh, wait! Make this the second Asian inspired dish I know how to make--I forgot about my Peanut Sauce!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

My Favorite Grotesque

This is Gary. He's a grotesque. I'm always tempted to call him Gary the Gargoyle, and in fact, I do most of the time. But he's not a gargoyle at all. A gargoyle is a grotesque that has a spout that redirects water away from a building. That's too much work for Gary. He spends his days and nights underneath the crepe myrtle warding off evil spirits. It would be nice if he could keep tarantulas off my porch too but apparently that's not in his job description either. Is it Gary?

I found Gary at a New Age shop in Oklahoma while visiting my brother. That was probably 15 years ago. I brought him back to my apartment and one morning my sister woke up with an unexplained wound on her leg. Gary was found lying on her bed, so of course, we had no other choice but to believe that he had something to do with it. From then on, he was no longer allowed on the furniture. And when WD and I bought our first house, he was relegated to the outside. Time and the elements have taken their toll on him but he will always be my favorite grotesque.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, January 5, 2009

In The Blue Corner...

The temperature is in the lower 30's today but Saturday we had beautiful, sunny, 70 degree weather. Yep. Love and happiness was in the air, folks. I followed WD around like a puppy. First, I hopped on the back of his motorcycle for a 3 hour ride, which resulted in extreme soreness--somebody remind me never to do that again. And second, WD is a boxing coach so I tagged along to watch some Saturday Night Fights. Thirteen matches, to be exact. And I learned something very important that night. Something that probably many of you already know. Something so eye-opening and surprising to me that I just have to share...

The phrase "throw in the towel"? It comes from boxing. And I saw it happen. A boxer limped to his corner, clearly unable to continue the fight, his coach threw a towel into the middle of the ring, the growing excitement fizzled away and the match was over. I didn't get it. Not at first. But then, I suddenly realized HE THREW IN THE TOWEL!!! A classic idiom played out before my eyes. Now that's excitement!

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Christmas List

We have been working on this Christmas list since early November. Every time the Playskool Police Helmet commercial came on, Big pup would say "I want that! I want that!" Every time Little pup saw the commercial for the Bath Blizzard, he would say the same thing. And when the commercial for Pixos came on? I had to cover my ears. They both desperately wanted Pixos like it was the last toy on earth.
And I'm happy to say, they got almost everything they wanted along with a few surprises.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Thursday, January 1, 2009

They Ate It Anyway

Look at what my poor boys had to eat yesterday. Those are supposed to be grilled cheese sandwiches.

Since Starbucks will be doing away with their peppermint mochas soon, I wanted to surf the net for copycat recipes. I already had the ingredients for a mocha, plus I had found some peppermint extract in the cabinet. I just needed to quickly check on how to make a peppermint syrup. Unfortunately, the words "quickly" and "surf the net" don't really go together.

Stumble Upon Toolbar