Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Finally taking my tagging turn

3 different friends tagged me: Cheryl, Meredith, and Kim. I always forget about doing what I'm supposed to do while on the computer, which is one reason why it's such a black hole of time waste for me. I don't know how to put links on blog entries, and the rules varied (slightly) from each other, so this one will have to be my version of the game. Think of it as playing dodgeball with your friend who can't catch or throw (also me).

The task of this tag is to list 6/7 Random Facts:

1- Although I think of myself as somewhat of a conformist, I always have to change something. I can't even follow my own recipes perfectly, much less others. That includes making a recipe that I have never before tried or tasted. And hence (the kidlets watched Mary Poppins this weekend, what a great phrase), there's always a lot of variety in the food around here.

2- I enjoy whistling, but it annoys me no end when anyone else does it. Very unfair, I know. Just last week, Felicity asked in frustration, "Why did you teach me how to whistle and then you do not let me do it?"

3- I have always wanted long hair... but it looks awful on me, and doesn't grow beyond my collarbone anyway. So it has to be short. Probably better anyway since I don't have the patience to take care of long hair.

4- I hate eggs. And processed cheese. Eggs and Cheetos are my dinner of doom.

5- I'm a night owl. Last Wednesday while I was out, Felicity told the bishop to call back at 11:30 or 12 because I don't go to bed until 4 or 5 in the morning. No, not that late. Pretty consistently around midnight though. Why go to bed at 11 when I'm feeling better than I have all day?

6- I was named for my paternal grandmother, Ellen. My parents added the "Jo" for variety. If I'd been born 1 child earlier (I'm #5), they would have named me Elena. Many people cannot remember or pronounce my name and call me things like Jolynn, Jailynn, Mary Beth (they remember it was some compound name). Some assume my father's name is Joe and mother's name is Ellen, or that I'm from the south. I always tell people to ask me my name as many times as needed; I know it's unusual.

7- Although I am at best a sloppy housekeeper, my spices and cans are always extremely organized. That is due to laziness- when I'm cooking, I don't want to hunt something down while burning something else.

So now I'm supposed to tag 7 people who haven't already done this, and they're supposed to copy/paste the graphic below and start the process over. Trying to think of who even reads this regularly! Uhhhh Liesl, Dawn, Melody, Jaime, Kent/Mel, Halls, Kim Christensen.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Maestro

Maxwell is enjoying the piano these days. These pictures are from the rainy Saturday in September, when Hurricane Ike was sweeping through Houston.

Fire Safety Month Hazards

Yesterday my neighbor told me about how on Wednesday, her 9 year old son's friend decided to take the sheets-tied-together method of exiting the house from the 2nd story window over the concrete patio. He denied it, but thankfully nothing awful happened. Fire Safety month tends to do that to people, I guess. It reminded me of a situation 2 years ago...

We had checked a book out from the library about Fire Safety, called "Stop, Drop, and Roll." The kids loved to read it together, so one morning when I was in the bathroom and heard them chanting that phrase, I didn't think much of it. But seconds later, when the house was filled with smoke, I extinguished the small fire on the kitchen table and it was time for questioning. Seems that my little pyros decided to take the candle burning down from up high and ignite some paper with the flame, to see how good their fire safety response would be. Matthew was 18 months at the time and they ran away into the corners, leaving their younger brother with the fire. No lasting damage, but I was pretty mad.

They were definitely P for Punished. So we are a little extra cautious during Fire Safety Month.

How did my foot get in my mouth when I didn't even open it?

Our house is directly behind the high school. This has many advantages (huge field to play in that we don't have to take care of, soccer practice for both girls is just outside the backyard gate, etc), but a few disadvantages as well (band/drumline practice at 7 am, loud Friday night football games). One disadvantage is that on occasion, kids have cut through our yard on the way to school. I have only seen it happen once, but who knows what goes on when I'm not around to look?

Wednesday morning found me looking oh-so-lovely in my holey pajamas, rumpled hair and glasses as Matthew and I were dragging out the recycling bins. I looked up when a young man called out "Good morning," as he walked directly toward my back gate. I gave him the hairy eyeball, saying in body language, "You've got some nerve!" He stopped and pointed to his shirt- "Atmos Energy!"

Whoops. Too full of humble pie to respond. Well, he'll get over it- that's happened to me so many times, when others have thought me much younger than I am. Like my sister visiting us from AZ, who was ID'd when buying spray paint (with Felicity, Katrina and Matthew in tow) because they weren't sure she was 18 (she's 24).

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Our pepper plant was disqualified from the Olympics

We counted 17 peppers growing on this thing today! Compared to a measly 1 on the other plant, this one is clearly on steroids. The garden this year has been very odd. The cucumbers and peppers are pretty much the only producers, although we had 2 rather measly bean harvests and more than enough basil. No survivors from squash or watermelon, and a pathetic showing from the tomatoes. There is a small green one on the Last of the Tomato Plants, but we'll see if the birds don't get it first. Today I found a half-eaten cucumber and I don't think it was the ants who were consuming. Wish we'd planted some lettuce to have farther into the winter months, but it's already October, so we'll just wait until February.

Fall Desserts

My neighbor and I agreed today, 'Tis the Season to be a jolly size. After all, it's autumn and some of us feel like hibernating soon. This is the time of year that I really enjoy making desserts. Of course I always feel like eating dessert, but sometimes I'm just not in the mood to create yummy food and then have the hassle of cleaning the kitchen afterward. However, as the weather turns, it puts me in a festive mood and suddenly turning on the oven doesn't seem like such an irresponsible thing to do.

I wanted to remember the things I've been making so here's a picture of this weeks' dessert fare.
From left: Cinammon rolls with maple frosting, apple crisp, and pumpkin swirl cheesecakeI need to give credit to Mark for peeling and cutting all the apples for the apple crisp. He's right, it's the hardest part of this dessert.

My notes... These were some of my better rolls. I didn't give in to the temptation to keep adding flour, so they were not dense like they usually are. The maple frosting was a last-minute improvisation because I didn't have any more cream cheese, having used it up in the day before's cheesecake. We were all surprised that just a few drops of maple flavoring into butter/pwd. sugar frosting would make it that good.

The cheesecake was nice, but a lot of work. (Part of it was that Katrina was helping.) Tasted kind of like a blend of pumpkin pie and cheesecake. Not too light and not too heavy. I had to substitute since it called for 1/2 cup brandy and we did not have that. Not knowing what to substitute, I put in 1/4 cup brown sugar and some almond flavoring. It was probably totally off.

The apple crisp was okay. We make this one all the time, because it's brainless and doesn't even require a recipe anymore. So it should be perfected, but the oven got turned off somewhere in the middle, so we had no clue how done it was and played the oven roulette game. Consequently, the "crisp" had mushy apples. Also not enough apples. Mark likes a lot of crisp though so he was satisfied.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Daddy's Occupation

When I was a little girl, I never seemed to know how to explain what my father did for a living. He is an information systems professor, although at the time, I only knew a couple of catch phrases like "databases" and "computers" and "business". I think it's also a pretty good excuse that in the 80s, information systems were not as commonly known of as they are now. To illustrate: my dad has never taken a course in computers or in business, but has a PhD in mathematics and experience in the business world working with developing information systems.

That's background for the conversation Katrina and I had last night. We were reading the book Meet My Grandmother, She's a Supreme Court Justice, and Katrina started talking about her dad (Mark), who has "an insulting job for Deloitte."

"A what?"

"A...a Deloitte job."

"What does Daddy do at his job?"

"He goes to people's houses and tells them how to be better."

So Katrina's concept of Mark's job is that by insulting people, he inspires them to change. Well at least she got the -sulting job for Deloitte part right. And "con" does seem like it would worsen the meaning as a prefix.