Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Eves

In my teens, most New Year’s Eves were spent watching the pre-taped ball drop in Time Square with Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve (B.S. – Before Seacrest.). I drank Dr. Pepper and dreamed of days when I would “have a life.” I envisioned parties like the one in Holiday Inn and An American In Paris. These parties have yet to materialize.

This is not to say that I haven’t experienced some memorable New Year’s moments:

There was that big, gay party in San Francisco when the Weather Girls were lowered from the ceiling on a stage singing their hit, “It’s Raining Men.”

That time at a Breakfast at Tiffany’s theme party in New York where Karen and I were the only ones that bothered to dress up. When it was time to go, we couldn’t get a cab in the snow and walked a dozen freezing blocks in stilettos, tight black dresses, and opera length gloves. We gave up on getting a ride and had a 3:00am breakfast at an all-night diner.

There was an artsy warehouse party on the bay in San Francisco for the New Year’s welcoming 1984. At midnight David Bowie’s "1984" was thundering. Magic-ish.

There was more than one New Year’s Eve spent getting lost in the Hollywood Hills while trying to find “the party” resulting in midnight being celebrated cursing in the car. All dressed up and nowhere (that we could find with our crappy directions) to go.

I have concluded that the big New Year’s thing just isn’t my deal. Later tonight, in the first moments of 2010, I plan to be where I am every night – asleep in bed with a hyperactive dog, a cranky cat, Mr. Rosenberg, and quite possibly a stray 3 year-old.
And I’ve never had more of a life than I do right this minute.

Happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Really Super Cuts

Jeff started a new job on Monday. On Sunday morning he decided to trim his hair to make sure he looked tidy for the big day. Jeff usually cuts his hair himself with the aid of an adjustable hair trimmer, resulting in a style we refer to as “The Matt Lauer.”

I was still in bed Sunday morning when I heard Jeff calling me from the bathroom, “Honey? Honey? Bob get Mama, Daddy’s freaking out a little. I’m freaking out. Honey?”

I came into the bathroom and discovered this:

Jeff had attempted to do his hair and had forgotten to put on the trimmer attachment.

“Honey? Oh my God. It’s bad, right? Oh my God. I didn’t have coffee yet and I just wasn't thinking and Jesus you have to fix this. I’m freaking out. I think you can fix it, right? Maybe do a fade? It's not that bad, right?”

In the immediate crisis I was of no help because I was much too busy laughing until I couldn’t breathe. Also, I can trim neck hair but the “tapered fade” is not in my bag of tricks.

“I can’t fix that. You need a real barber.”

“It’s Sunday. Isn’t everything closed?”

I promised I would help, but first I tried to sell him on some new hairstyle ideas.

"The Kanye - I'm A Let You Finish":

Or perhaps "The Ron Artest" with the name of the new company shaved into his hair to show team spirit:

Once I had wiped the laughter-convulsion-tears from my eyes, I set about trying to fix things. While I was attempting a miracle, our dog wedged herself into our small bathroom and squeaked incessantly on a reindeer dog toy. Bob pulled up his new 18 wheeler and his mini-piano and played along. Jeff moaned and cursed a little under his breath. All of this combined to create optimal conditions for concentrating on the job at hand.

As I worked, my biggest fear is that I would leave my sweet, handsome, husband with "The Forrest Gump":

The finished hairstyle was passable and looked like this:

The best part about the new do is that it will have completely filled in by the end of the week. (And I got breakfast in bed and a blog post out of it.)

High five.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

What A Value

Taking a cue from this sweet blog post by my home slice, Nancy at A Musing Mother, I made a plan to let Bob do some of his own holiday shopping this year. I let him loose at the .99 Cent Store and he did the rest. The results were spectacular.

For Bajan (Bajan is short for “Grandma Jan,” Jeff’s mom):
ceramic sheep, chia pet-ish in style
foot long pink princess pen
“silver” chain with a pearl, rose and filigree circle pendant
(The necklace was very nearly a pair of yellow tie-dyed bikini panties but Bob had a change of heart.)

For Pops (Bajan’s husband, Bob’s grandpa):
blue ceramic box with dog figurine on lid, Bob instructed me to fill it with candy
“Pops likes dogs… and candy.”

Mee Mee (My mom):
black gloves
lighthouse figurine with flashing light
2 pink, plastic Dora the Explorer cups
“For having drinks at her house.”

Aunt Jen (Bob’s Godmother):
jade plant
“Like in her backyard.”
yellow ceramic cup
Virgin de Guadalupe coffee mug (Will look great on the shelf next to her menorah.)

Black gloves
Silly Putty
“You’re good at making it into a ball and doing the bouncing.”

heart on fire Jesus coffee mug (Jesus is one of our favorite Jews.)
And my favorite...

Rudy Guliani '08 for President bobble-head figurine
“Because it looks like daddy.”
And it so does.

I can safely say our new holiday tradition will be repeated next year.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Santa Claus Is Coming to Apartment 104

On Christmas Eve, a small bunch of us gathered at my mom’s place for dinner. When we were done eating, we let Bob know that Santa was on his way over to bring everyone their stockings, and then he would bring the other presents to our house for the morning. We told him that he would have to hide in the bathroom with me and Bajan and Pops soon so that Santa could come in and do his work. Jeff and my mom would stay out in the living room to “help.” If that all seems a bit complicated that's only because it is.

While we waited for the phone call from Santa to say that he was on his way, my mom and I sneaked off to her bedroom and holed up in the walk-in closet to stuff the 7 stockings for us all. After a few minutes, Bob broke away from the group in the living room and surprised us by bursting into the closet and demanding to know what we were doing.

“Bob, go back with Daddy,” I said, trying to block his view of our covert operation. “I have to help Mee Mee with the kitty.” Bob was then picked up by Jeff and brought back to the living room.

“Wow. That was close. I think he bought the cat explanation,” I said.

“I know but I just hate lying to him,” said Mom.

“About the cat?”


“But the cat is the small part. What about this whole elaborate lie about Santa, or even Santa, which is an even bigger lie? You're fine with that."

“Santa isn’t a lie,” Mom said. He’s Santa.”

To hug my mom, the line forms to the right.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Smacksy Sunday Link: Dave and Bing

Recorded in 1977 for Bing Crosby's "Merrie Olde Christmas" TV special, no holiday season is complete without this sweet Ziggy Stardust meets Mr. White Christmas duet.

Or you might enjoy this chestnut, "Kathie Lee's Hip Hop Christmas." Yes that Kathie Lee.

Merriest and happiest to you all.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Smiling Is My Favorite

I love this scene from Elf. Buddy's enthusiasm for Santa rivals only that of my kid. Wishing you all the joy of the day.
Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas and 1966 and Now

Great Songs of Christmas, Volume 6 has always been the soundtrack to my Christmas season. This "Collector's Limited Edition” album was released in 1966, part of a series created as premiums for Goodyear. Back then, you could purchase these albums for a dollar at Goodyear stores. On the record are many giants of that time like Bing Crosby, Andy Williams, Mahalia Jackson, Johnny Mathis, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

Years ago, my mom recorded the album onto a cassette tape for me so I can still hear our family original with all of the pops and scratches. The record skip in the second chorus of Barbara Streisand’s "Silent Night" makes me feel at home.

The most important feature of this joyous relic is that it was my introduction to Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, real people who became my childhood, imaginary friends. (I was kind of a weird kid.) I’m a lifelong fan of Steve and Eydie beginning with their version of “Let It Snow,” from this album. I have yet to live anywhere that it snows at Christmas but this song is still a favorite, if it’s their version, of course.

The song Bob likes best is "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" by Ray Coniff. I don't believe Bob has developed any particular affection for Mr. Coniff beyond this one song, but time will tell. (The weird kid thing could be genetic.)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Pulling

I sat next to Bob in his bed as he was drifting off to sleep. This bedtime ritual is 20% sweet mother/son time and 80% securing the exits to stop him from stripping naked and running through the house. As Bob was trying to find a comfortable position, he had one leg and part of his head hanging precariously over the edge. I gently scooted him back to the middle of the bed. He sat up suddenly.

“Ow! You pulled my pee pee!”

“No I didn’t. I moved you over. Are you alright?”

“It hurts!”

“I’m sorry you got rearranged in a bad way down there, but I did not pull your pee pee… penis. I wouldn't do that.”


“So, it's time to close your eyes…"

Bob bolted upright, “I need to talk about pulling.”


“Mama, pulling is for wagons and trailers and things that you pull, not for pee pees. You don’t pull a pee pee.”

“Um... Yeah, let’s go with that."

"Goodnight, Mama."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Recipe For Something That Isn't Fruitcake

Last year on Christmas morning we awoke to find bags of homemade treats on our doorstep from a number of the neighbors. Now that I know our street does Christmas, I am in. This year I am hauling out my go-to holiday recipe for baked item gift situations, The Cranberry Bread. It is buttery and orange-y and sweet-tarty and delicious. I’ll be making a dozen loaves.

I found the original recipe in Mademoiselle Magazine sometime in the late 80’s because apparently it was my bible not only for bolero jacket designs and Terence Trent D’Arby interviews but it featured recipes that still hold up. The Mademoiselle version of the bread included coconut and pecans but I have adapted the recipe to exclude those but added double the cranberries and some extra orange zest and now it is perfect. If you really want to fall in love, eat it warm or toast it with some butter. Also: Why is Terence now calling himself “Sananda Maitreya" now? Anyone?

If you live on our block you don’t have to try the recipe yourself, just open your door on Christmas morning and dig in.

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
2/3 cup orange juice
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3 Tbs melted, unsalted butter
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 Tbs. grated orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease an 8” X 41/2” X 3” bread pan. In a large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt, Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the orange juice, eggs and melted butter. Mix well. Blend in cranberries and orange zest. Pour mixture into the loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove bread from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan and cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap. I like to wrap it again in foil, over the plastic. Makes 1 loaf. Or it also makes 2 wonderful mini loaves, if that’s your deal.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oy Christmas Tree

We've had our Christmas tree up for two weeks now and it's starting to make itself at home.

All of the Santas on our tree have mysteriously been to turned to show us their bottoms. "Mysteriously."

The star apparently fell off of the top of the tree. My husband fixed it with scotch tape. He does get bonus points for not taping it on to the tree itself.

Bob has moved this delightful clothes pin Santa (hand made by me at age 7) to the back of the tree, facing the wall. Because, as he explained, "it doesn't really look like Santa."

Bob created this ornament (dried Play Doh clod), and has placed it in prime real estate on the front of the tree.

And if you need Pearl, you can find her parked right here until January 1.

And to all a good night.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Smacksy Sunday Link: Punjabi Jingle Bells

Thanks to Jennifer for turning me on to this swell little version of Jingle Bells. It makes me happy. Merry Ho Ho.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

An Advent Calendar, Sort Of

Date: December 17, 2009
Time: 7:45 pm
Location: Bob’s Bedroom
Transcript As Follows:

Bob: Is it Christmas yet?

Jeff: Not yet, Pal.

Bob: Now?

Jeff: No, Christmas is next week.

Bob: Now?

Jeff: It’s a week from tomorrow.

Bob: Now?

Jeff: In seven more days.

Bob: Now?

Jeff: It’s still Hannukah.

Bob: How about now?

Jeff: No, not now.

Bob: What about –

Jeff: No.

Bob: Do I have a stocking?

Jeff: Yes.

Bob: Can I have it now?

Jeff: You’ll get it on Christmas.

Bob: Is it Christmas yet?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Thank You Lee Strasberg

When I was in elementary school, every December 24th there was a children’s Christmas pageant at our church. As a cast member, I did my time for a year or two as a shepherd. Then, without warning, I skipped the angel years and at the tender age of ten, I was tapped for the coveted role of a lifetime, The Virgin Mary Holy Mother of the Baby Jesus. Score.

For my part, I wore a white robe costume, sewn by my mom, a blue towel head scarf and a snazzy fringed belt that had been previously employed as a drapery tie back. We had one rehearsal before the big night. We were given our blocking by the director/someone’s mom. The shepherds were instructed to bring sheep stuffed animals if they had any left from Easter.

On the big night, a nine-year-old angel heralded the glad tidings to the wandering (ADD) shepherds. Three fifth grade wise men traversed afar. After the long and weary trip around the altar to Bethlehem, there was no room at the inn. Then I, The Virgin Mary Holy Mother of the Baby Jesus, wrapped the babe in swaddling clothes and laid him gently in the manger. Moments later, I picked him up and cradled him in my arms. And then, I held Jesus up to my shoulder and burped him. I wasn’t going for the laugh, but I got plenty. I was in the moment.

It’s called method acting, people.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like Melva

A pop psychology favorite question of the late 1970’s was, “If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” The answer was a window into your psyche. You consider yourself a Giant Redwood? Narcissist. You’re a Weeping Willow? Depressive. In 1981 Barbara Walters infamously posed the question to Katharine Hepburn who replied, “I’d probably like to be an Oak. They have great strength.”

My mom tells the story of a time years ago when she asked my grandmother the tree question. My Gram Melva announced that she would be a Christmas tree. Melva was a fun, sparkly, center of attention type, the life of the party. She loved glittery costume jewelry and sweets, and “Santy Claus.” In 1981, she instigated a legendary whipped cream food fight at my Great Uncle Leon’s kitchen on Thanksgiving. When she turned 65, she took up bellydancing.

If you asked a Christmas tree what kind of person it would be, it would undoubtedly say, “Gram Melva.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Signs of the Season

When I was a kid, every year around Christmas time, a box would arrive in the mail from Lolly. Lolly was my great uncle’s mother-in-law, a soft and huggy lady who lived in Borger Texas and wore a house-dress and apron at all times. She was kind enough to remember us every holiday.

Each member of our family received crocheted slippers handmade for us by Lolly. These over-sized baby booties were usually powder blue and featured drawstring tie closures with decorative pompoms. Each pair always gift wrapped in an empty Ayds Diet fudge candy box, the slippers were a sure thing. Like a Charlie Brown Christmas and the smell of cinnamon, the arrival of the slippers meant that Christmas was close.

After a few nights of wear, our toes would begin to stick out of the holes in the large weave crochet, thus heralding the new year.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mr. & Mr. Rosenberg

I overheard this quiet conversation coming from Bob’s room at bedtime as his father was tucking him in.

“Daddy, I love your ring.”

“I love it too, because it means that I’m married to mama.”

“I have a ring.”

“You do?”

“Yes. It means that I am married to you, Daddy, because we are friends.”

“That’s sweet, Buddy.”

There was silence for a few moments and then the yelling began.

“Hey Mama! Can you get my ring out of my dress up bag? It's in my closet! The one I got at Annie’s tea party? I need it for being married to Daddy! Mama! Hurry! I am married now! Come on! I need my ring! You have to find it now! Now! I love it! It's by my hats! Mama?! I need it! The green one! I am married! I can't do sleeping without my married ring! Hurry Mama! Mama! I am putting bedtime on the pause button until the ring gets here! You can do it Mama! Mama!”

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Smacksy Sunday Link: Hung for the Holidays

Look no further, I have found the solution to all of your last-minute holiday shopping problems.
(Be sure to listen to the preview.)
Thanks Amazon.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Smacksy Saturday Photo(s): Picture Day

Bob recently had his pre-school class photos taken.
My order looked like this:

1 - 5/7
2 - 3/5
2 - Wallet
1 - Class Photo

Both of Bob's Grandmother's combined order looked like this:

3 - 8/10
4 - 4/6
4 - 3/5
20 - Wallets
2 - Class Photos
1 - Cute As Can Bee, personalized book
2 - "I Love Grandma" Mugs
2 - Photo Key Chains
1 - Photo Fridge Magnet

His teacher told me that ours was the largest photo order she had seen her years at the school.
It's good to be king.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Chanukah Oh Hanukkah

Tonight is the first night of Chanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. I have been a Rosenberg for more than four years now but I am not really Jewish, merely a Jew-adjacent. However, in my fake Jew-ness I have learned just a couple of things about this holiday.

No one really knows how to spell the name.
According to the Jewish internet, each of the following spellings are acceptable:
• Chanuka
• Chanukah
• Chanukkah
• Channukah
• Hanukah
• Hannukah
• Hanukkah
• Hanuka
• Hanukka
• Hanaka
• Haneka
• Hanika
• Khanukkah

The "CH" at the front of the word CHanukkah did present a problem for my Spanish speaking, English as a second language, Catholic daily mass going, Grandma Sophie. The year I was 12, she sent me what she thought was a Christmas card. On the front, a sweet cartoon of little girl lighting a menorah. "Happy Chanukkah to a sweet grandaughter," printed inside. Looked like the word Christmas to her. Either way, I still got 10 bucks.

There are different pronunciations of the word Hanukkah.
Some just go with the "h" sound, others like to get some phlegm behind it. Allan Murray did a bit in his act years ago where he referred to "Chanukkah" as "Chewbacca." I have pronounced it Chewbacca since then.

Dreidel is Jewish gambling.
The traditional Chanukah/Chanukkah/Hannuka game of Dreidel is played with a four sided top (the dreidel) and foil wrapped chocolate coins (the gelt). Note: The only gelt I could find this year at our local Rite-Aid, has pictures of Sponge Bob Square Pants on it.

On each side of the top is a Hebrew letter representing the different game play.

G - Gimmel - The player Gets it all. 

H - Hey - player collects Half of the pot. 

S - Shin - The player Sets one of his own items into the pot.
N -Nun - Or as my son refers to it, "Phone." The player collects Nothing from the pot. 


The game is played as follows:
Divide gelt equally among the players.

Every player contributes one piece of gelt into a central pile. This becomes the "pot." 

Players spin the dreidel in turn and contribute or collect gelt from the pot based upon which letter faces up when the dreidel stops its spin.
The player who gains the most gelt wins.
If the winning player is not my son Bob, there will be fake-Jew hell to pay.

It’s really the lowest tech slot machine ever. This includes the slots at the Mobil station in Pahrump, Nevada.

Happy Chewbacca to you, my friends. May you never land on Phone.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Thursday Ritual

On Thursday evenings, you will frequently find The Family Rosenberg at the Farmer’s Market in our neighborhood. Apparently, there are people who go there to purchase farm fresh organic fruits and vegetables. We want to be those people. We’ve tried to be those people. Sometimes we are those people, but most of the time we are these people:

We circle the block around the library four times looking for a parking space. After the first circle, Bob starts whining helpfully, “We are never going to find a parking space. There are no spaces. How are we going to find one?” After enjoying this pep talk for five or ten minutes, we find a space.

After parking too close to the corner and partially in the red, we head towards the market entrance. Bob requests to play for “just 100 minutes” under the giant tree next to the library. I leave the guys behind and move on to the market.

I rush past the stalls of produce, orchids, and organic honey to take my place in line for Salvadorian pupusas. If you’re not familiar, pupusas are like a quesadilla if the edges of the incredibly fluffy tortillas were sealed up and melty cheese and vegetables or beans or meat was trapped inside a puffy, delicious Salvadorian cloud. These are made with masa flour and are gluten-free. I live for them and our weekly date.

The line to place an order is usually about 20 people deep. I will stand in line for an average of 25 minutes while silently chanting to myself my pupusa mantra, “Don’t run out of shrimp. Don’t run out of shrimp.” Once my order is placed, I am handed a ticket with my number, "54" on it. Then from behind the grill, the tiny lady with the Spanish accent and the shower cap will belt out, "Number eight guys, number eight? Anybody have number eight?" Sometimes they run out of shrimp.

Now the guys have moved on to Bob’s second stop, what he refers to as, “music practice with one of my bands.” Eddie Dread is a fellow who plays the drum while singing reggae-ish versions of “Wheels on the Bus” and other pre-school favorites. He lays out rhythm instruments for the kids to play along with. Bob enjoys the cymbals and putting cash in Eddie Dread’s tip basket.

As I wait for our order, I gaze across the lawn at the home of my salty/sweet kryptonite, the Kettle Korn stand. After an internal struggle, I will often resolve to pass it up, knowing that if I bring the bed pillow sized bag home, I will eat it single-handedly, before a Tivo’d episode of How I Met Your Mother makes it to the second commercial break. I will get a stomach ache and I will think it is worth it.

Around this time, Bob picks out the largest cookie offered by the Mexican bakery guy, asks to carry it, and then he “tries it out” by attempting to eat it through the plastic wrap.

Bob and Jeff watch the commuter trains come in and out of the nearby station. Bob demands a ride to Sierra Madre, which he doesn't get. Bob gets upset. Then, they come looking for me.

The guy next to me in line talks about how these same people sell the pupusas at a Farmer’s Market in Eagle Rock and the line is way shorter there. (Thanks.) Then The Joy Killer will say, “These things are great every once in a while but it’s not like you could have them every week with all of the lard they cook them in.” Yeah. He’s right. What kind of idiot would do that?

I decide to get the kettle korn too.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Gram with her father, around 1929

Inspired by this post by Erin at It's Your Movie about her favorite photo of her grandpa, I was reminded of this favorite photo of my grandmother.

In March of 1994, my maternal grandmother, Melva Joyce, turned 70. One of the birthday gifts I gave to “Gram” was an empty journal in which at the top of every page or two, I wrote a different question for her about her life, her tastes, her philosophies, or her memories. I asked her to fill it out in her own time and then give it back to me for my birthday. She completed the book with thoughtful, sweet, and sometimes funny answers.

When I look at this photo of her, I think of her answer to my question, “Have you ever stolen anything?”

“When I was six or so, I stole chocolate from my grandmother’s purse. After a eating quite a few squares, it didn’t taste so good anymore. I learned that what I thought was candy was actually a chocolate laxative. Needless to say I was “set free” for a couple of days. I was found out, but my parents didn’t punish me. They thought my 'situation' was punishment enough.”

Gram passed away in 1998. I miss her. Our book helps.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tikvah is Hebrew for Hope

Bob had a dream last night about our dear friend's dog. Tikvah was a gentle, old, German Shepard who passed away some months back. First thing when Bob woke up this morning he announced, "Tikvah died but heaven is all around her."

We are quite certain that he is right.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sunday Supper #2 and The Super Good Pasta Sauce

Another Rosenberg Sunday Supper has passed and it was a beauty. Jeff’s 92 –year-old grandmother, Grandma Sylvia, and her 95-year-old boyfriend, Nat, were visiting from Florida and were special guests for the evening. (Please do not tell Grandma Sylvia that I have revealed her age to the internet.) She brought her famous strudel cookies which she made in Florida and brought to California on the plane. I adore them both.

My friend Karen brought over a violin (and garlic bread). Grandma Sylvia is a former violin concert-mistress. To kick off the evening, she borrowed Karen’s instrument and laid down a few choruses of “Bei Mir Bist Du Schon." It was grand. Or as Nat put it, “You’ve still got it, Baby.”

We had about 40 of our favorite people crammed into the pad and there were plenty of eats. I made a giant batch of my favorite (gluten-free) pasta and pasta sauce. A number of people asked me what was in the sauce, which is generally a good sign, unless they are asking while spitting something into a napkin – and they were not. The sauce is good, super good. I got the recipe from my friend Loretta Palazzo back in 1994. With a name like “Loretta Palazzo,” you've got to trust the sauce recipe.

Bob wrapped up the evening by leading a few of our friends in a rousing "Doe a Deer" sing-a-long, and then an original work titled, "Poo Poo Song." Our friends are enthusiastic singers, good sports, and apparently enjoy a scatological tune. It was a fine evening.

Loretta Palazzo’s Super Good Pasta Sauce

½ cup olive oil
1 small red onion, chopped
8-12 garlic gloves, minced
1 medium zucchini chopped
½ pound mushrooms, sliced
1 small jar of artichoke hearts, including oil
1 big can of whole, peeled tomatoes
1 small can of tomato paste
½ cup red cooking wine
red pepper flakes, to taste
fresh basil, oregano, and Italian parsley to taste, chopped (I usually do about a half cup each)
black pepper to taste

Sautee first 5 ingredients until onions are translucent. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, then lower temperature and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

The sauce is also fantastic with spaghetti squash. Or just eaten straight out of the pot while it’s cooking on the stove… from what I hear.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Smacksy Sunday Link: Sketchy Santas

Thanks to my friend Lora for turning me on to the disturbing gem of a photo blog, Sketchy Santas. The rest of the year, a strange old man asking a child to sit on his lap is a felony. Perhaps that should also be true in December. Lock up your children, Santa Claus is coming to town.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Smacksy Saturday Photo: I Was A Teen Elf

So this is 16 year-old me at my holiday after-school job at the Capitola Mall. My friend Scott, also 16, is Santa.

This is not the primary thing I would like to have in common with David Sedaris, but so far, it is.

You have 20 shopping days left, less if you're doing Hanukah. Happy Ho Ho.

Friday, December 4, 2009

To Santa, From Bob Rosenberg

Dear Mr. Santa,
I know we may not have a lot of private time to talk next Thursday at the Farmer’s Market when we’re there for pictures, so I am writing you this letter.

You seem super nice on TV. Rudolph is my favorite reindeer but during that show I get up and hide my eyes during the Abominable Snow Man part and also when that mean elf (that mom says sounds like Lewis Black) yells at the short dentist. I don’t know Lewis Black but I know Rudolph and he seems good and that everyone should stop yelling at him.

This whole naughty versus nice deal I'm not so sure about but I guess I've been really nice especially if you are willing to overlook my try-to-scare-the-cat-and-get-her-to-run-into-the-closet-by-all-the-boots game that I was playing a lot in April. Our cat, Pearl, hisses at me sometimes but she is crabby and I think she secretly likes me. Sometimes.

Don’t take it personally if our dog Daisy barks at you during your chimney part of going in our living room on Christmas. Daisy doesn’t like uniforms like the mailman or the UPS guy or the FedEx guy. I think maybe your big elf uniform will fall into her “don’t like” category. I will leave you some cookies and snacks and if you give her one, she will be your friend and try to lick your neck and maybe try to steal the rest of the snacks, so look out.

Today I handed my mom the toys catalog to show her what I wanted for Christmas presents. She asked me which thing I was looking at in there and I told her I was looking at everything in there. She said I should narrow it down to one thing or that I could let you pick for me. Mr. Santa, I know you are a busy guy and everything so I thought you could save yourself the hassle of going through all the pages in the toys catalog and picking and just send over all of the toys in there since it’s all really good stuff, even the girl things. My mom thought this was not a good idea so I thought I should tell you myself in case she doesn’t give you my message.

Have a good flight and please tell Rudolph I think his red light up nose is neat and if I had one on my face I wouldn’t use that nightlight of a seahorse anymore. See you on Thursday.

Your pal,
Bob Rosenberg

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Child Is Hers

Portrait of Daisy by Bob Rosenberg

Before Bob was born, we were given excellent advice about introducing our new baby to the other baby, our dog Daisy. We had heard stories of jealous pets, pets who act out, pets who start turf wars with infants. We were hoping to avoid this. Our dog is very gentle but it was impossible to know exactly what to expect.

As instructed, when we brought Bob home for the first time, we left him outside and Jeff and I went in and quickly said hello to the dog without the baby. (Relax, little Bob was inside our locked yard, grandma out of sight standing guard.) Then we opened the door and let Daisy into the yard to "discover" the baby and then waited for her to come back and "tell us" about him.

She discovered the baby, her baby. He has been her baby ever since. Bob himself describes their relationship this way, "When I feel happy, Daisy is happy. When I am sad, Daisy is worried." She is a sweet Mama. (He crawled into the crate himself. I swear.)